About Me

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I've been dreaming of serving a mission my whole life, and I've always been "The Future Missionary". Now, I have been blessed with the call to serve in the Arizona Mesa mission, where missionary service has become a reality to me. What more could I ask for? Life is good!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

When Sore Trials Came Upon You

First of all, this is not going to be a blog post full of complaints about how hard my life is. I will not pretend like I haven't had an absolutely BLESSED life, because I really have. I am not complaining, or comparing. I have realized that avoiding trials in our lives isn't really an option (they come to everyone), but being able to deal with them is totally up to us, and we have complete control over the way we handle the things that come at us.

With all of that being said, I feel that I have endured some of the most potent trials of my life in the past 16 months, serving my mission. Many of these trials have been quiet, personal, and under the surface. Some haven't. All of them have torn me down, humbled me, and ultimately turned me to full reliance on Heavenly Father, which I am grateful for. It's a wonderful thing to come out of a trial closer to God than you were before it happened. 

But, I often wonder, "Why are these things happening now? Why on my mission? What is up with this timing? It seems all wrong.  I'm trying my hardest to be more obedient now than I ever have before. Shouldn't that mean that I have less trials? Shouldn't that mean that life will be easier for me?"

Mmm, probably not.

I know that i'm not the only one who has ever felt like this. You can probably think of several times when you have felt the same way.There may not be anything that you can do to eliminate trials, but there is always something that you can do to endure them. I will share with you how I do it. 

1. Pray. One of my favorite hymns is "Did You Think to Pray?" A particularly insightful line in the hymn states: "When sore trials came upon you, did you think to pray? When your soul was full of sorrow, Balm of Gilead did you borrow, at the gates of day?"  Balm of Gilead was a resin used in Old Testament times to heal wounds. Prayer is our Balm of Gilead. It is ALWAYS available to us. Imagine the healing power that can come from the Creator of our souls when we feel broken. Surely, He knows how to heal us, and pick us back up.

"Though we may feel we are “like a broken vessel,” as the Psalmist says, we must remember, that vessel is in the hands of the divine potter." -Jeffrey R. Holland, Like a Broken Vessel, General Conference October 2013

2. Forget yourself. This can definitely be hard. When in the midst of heartache, it's easy to want to literally wallow in the dread of it all. This does NO good.Stop that. 

The easiest, and least painful way to move on with life is to do just that. Move on. Get out of bed, pray really hard, and start focusing on someone other than you. This will help you feel like you can still contribute. Hmm... That's weird. ;) Contrary to popular belief, the world still needs you, and you can still do good, even with a broken heart. One of my recent companions, Sister White, is good at this. She serves her way out of heartache. She is a great missionary because of it!

3. Hope. Have it. Hope has always been this great concept that I've never been able to grasp onto completely. I've never understood how to apply it. But the Book of Mormon explains it simply and clearly. Consider these two passages:

Mosiah 4:29- "Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend."

Ether 12:4- "Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God."

I believe in God. I believe that He has a plan for me.  Why does that matter? Because when things don't go my way, I can still hope for a better world. There is so much of God's plan that we do not yet know. There is so much in store for us as we are "sure and steadfast". Keep going.

4. Be Grateful. Being grateful is a good feeling. I loved the council of President Uchtdorf he gave in his address titled "Grateful in Any Circumstances", during this last General Conference:

"When we are grateful to God in our circumstances, we can experience gentle peace in the midst of tribulation. In grief, we can still lift up our hearts in praise. In pain, we can glory in Christ’s Atonement. In the cold of bitter sorrow, we can experience the closeness and warmth of heaven’s embrace."

Don't procrastinate the day of your gratefulness! Complaining, whining, and wondering what it would be like if life could only be different is nothing but destructive. Being grateful will actually make things easier. If you feel like you just can't be grateful, like it's impossible, then you are wrong. If you don't feel like being grateful, then I lovingly say to you, get over it. Extra emphasis on lovingly. :)

5. FUN. This is my favorite part. :) Surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Make some memories. Get out of the house. I'm pretty lucky that i'm on a mission and that someone is forced to be my best friend all day everyday. My current best friend is Sister Henretty.

This is us. 
We have fun. #hoodrats

 More fun times:
Best district in the mission. 

Sister Sparhawk!

(ALL Highgroves YSA's are my favorites)
(Actually, just all the people that live in Mesa are my favorites)

 Christmas Caroling! Reversible caroling costumes are the only way to go. I LOVE Sister Bickmore!


First time holding birds! I was pretty excited.

If there's ever any extra mattresses lying around, this is what you do with them.

It's pretty safe to say that between all of these super great and fun moments, there were hard times that felt like they JUST WOULDN'T END... But they did. And when they were over (and sometimes before they were over), we took pictures. :)

"And finally, in all of living have much of fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured."-President Gordon B. Hinckley, Stand True and Faithful, May 1996

Sister Snyder 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What It's Like Serving a Mission in a Mormon Town

Over a year ago, I was called to the Arizona Mesa Mission.

Just to give you a little bit of background, I have always wanted to serve a mission, and I have always wanted to serve in a foreign country. I always thought that I would. I love adventure, people, food, music, and I love experiencing things that I'm not used to.

...Now it's super fun honesty time. When I opened my call I felt disappointment. Ah, I'm so ashamed to say that! It was a humbling experience to open my call, to read Mesa Arizona, and to claim my mission. It was a time in my life where the Lord told me to do something different than what I wanted. Telling people that I was serving in Mesa often led to a response like "Oh, wow, what are you going to do there? Everyone is Mormon already!" People often told me of their children serving in Europe or South America, and how hard their missions were and how lucky I was to be serving in an "easy mission". I lovingly refer to people who do this as "mission shamers".

Then, after a few months of that, I was finally able to come to Mesa. Oh man, I fell IN LOVE. The sunsets, the weather, the bikes, the members, the non-members(there are plenty of them to go around) It even smells good here. Arizona is the most wonderful place in the world. Anywaaaaaays, once I got here, I knew that it was my place. I knew that all of those thoughts of disappointment, and all of those comments of discouragement were wrong. I knew that even though I was speaking English, and I was eating normal, "Mormon mom food"(no complaints) Mesa AZ was going to give me an adventure, and I knew that it definitely wasn't going to be easy.

I often get asked by Mormons and non-Mormons, "What is it like to serve a mission here?" I usually just say "Oh, it's the best!" But, there is obviously much more to it than that.

So, what is it really like to serve a mission in a Mormon town? Let me tell you!

1. EVERYONE knows you.

Pro:When I go to Walmart on P-Day, I get a lot of friendly "Hey sisters!" That's always nice. Sometimes people even pay for our food (whoa, charity). Recently, we were walking around, and a little girl saw us, and recognized us as missionaries. She smiled and waved, and said: "HI ELDERS!" We got a good laugh.

Con: On all of the other days of the week, when we are trying to find someone to teach, people don't want to listen, because they are so used to it. Everyone knows the Mormons. Everyone already has three copies of the Book of Mormon. Everyone has already talked to the missionaries. The other churches around here even have "How to talk to the Mormon Missionaries" classes. C'mon guys. Would Jesus do that? ;)

2. Our areas are small. 

Con: Some areas are 1 square mile. The areas are SUPER picked over. Good luck trying to find somebody that you haven't already talked to.

Pro: We get to interact a lot with our fellow missionaries. We play sports with each other in the morning. We sometimes eat lunch together. Guys, it's pretty cool. There is just something about people that have been called to the same mission as you. I will love the people that I served with here, forever.

3. We have a lot of members.

Pro: Members have been the BEST part of my mission. They take care of us. They love us like our moms would. They feed us. I love the members here more than anything. This is my favorite place in the world because of them.

Con: With so many members, a few of them are bound to make mistakes (We all do it. The Church isn't full of perfect people.). Then, people remember those mistakes, and use them against the missionaries. It usually goes like so:
-Me- "Hey! We are mission-"
- Old Guy On Street- "Oh, I hate Mormons, because, one time, when I was in High School..."

(Just so you know, nobody can say anything bad to me about Mesa Mormons. They are the best kind. I am their #1 fan. #mesa4liiiife)

4. Also...

We have:
  • Cars (sometimes)
  • iPads (be jealous)
  • Dinner with members, EVERY NIGHT
Also, also...
  • We use Facebook and blogs (obvi.)
  • We work with a lot of strong church leadership. 
  • We have the coolest mission president in the church.

We are SO blessed in the Arizona Mesa Mission. I cannot deny that. We have a lot of things that other missions don't have. I am humbled by this. I often think "If I have all of these great things in my mission then why is it still hard?"

Luke 12:48 says: "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required"

I am proud to be serving my mission in a Mormon town, where much has been given to me. When I say I'm proud, what I really mean is that I know with a surety that this is my place. It always was, and it always will be. I am full of gratitude and joy for the experience that it has been so far. I have different challenges than others have on their missions. That's ok. I have learned that you don't go on a mission to learn a new language. You don't go on a mission to go home and brag about your mission.You go on a mission to invite others to come to Christ, and to grow closer to Christ yourself.

So, don't be a mission shamer :) Know that mission calls are issued by a prophet of God, who hears God's voice. The Lord needs and trusts His missionaries in Utah, just as much as the missionaries serving in Africa. In fact, He even trusts you, wherever you are in your life right now, to be missionaries with your neighbors, coworkers, and friends, and to support the full-time missionaries in your area. Whoo. God trusts us, guys. Think about that. What are you doing to deserve that trust?

I love Mesa with all my heart. My mission is everything to me. I'm learning that when others put my mission down, it's only because they don't understand. I know that I am supposed to be here in Mesa. I know that the challenges that I have found here are bringing out the real me, the me that God sees. I was created by Him to become someone great. Mesa is part of His plan to help me become that person.

So. What's it like serving a mission in a Mormon town?... It's the best.

Sister Snyder

Friday, February 14, 2014

What To Do If You Lose Your Name Tag

When you go on a mission, you get to wear this nice name tag. You put it on everyday so that others around you recognize you as a missionary. It has your name, and it also has the name of the church on it. This is my name tag:

I love my name tag, and I love everything that it stands for. One thing that I do not like about my name tag is that I have the ability to take it off, set it down somewhere, and lose it. This morning, as we were heading out, I realized that I didn't have my tag on, so I proceeded to grab it from it's designated spot on my dresser, and I realized it wasn't there. If you ever lose your name tag, or anything else of great worth to you, I recommend that you follow the same steps that I followed this morning:

1. Pray.

2. Look for it on the shirt that you wore yesterday. (Good luck remembering what you wore yesterday)

3. Tear apart your whole room.

4. Ask the household cat if maybe she has seen it.

5. Pray again.

6. Start crying. (on the inside, not on the outside)

7. Admit defeat, and wear your companion's extra tag.

Guys, lesson is: Don't let the small things bother you. I'm sure I will find my tag at some point, but until then, I will have fun having the same name as my companion.


Sister Snyder ;)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Perks of Serving in a Young Single Adult Ward

I've served in family wards for most of my mission. I LOVE family wards. They are wonderful. But about 6 weeks ago, I was transferred into a YSA ward.

What is a YSA? Let me tell you.

A YSA is a "young single adult" who is between the ages of 18-31, not married, has no children, and is AWESOME.

Serving in one of these wards is very fun, and I really love learning from all of these people. They are around my age, and going through a lot of the same things as me, so they are easy to love, and easy to laugh with. Let me tell you a funny story about an experience that I had with some of my favorite YSA's this past week. I think this will help you understand what I'm talking about.

Ok, so, this really cool kid in our ward signed up to feed us (we love it when our members feed us! It's the best part of our day).

During dinner, the fact that I am gluten intolerant came up into the discussion. One of the roommates that was in the kitchen asked "What happens when you eat it?"

I replied jokingly "I don't want to talk about it!"

Then, with no hesitation, the kid who was feeding us yelled "SHE TOOTS!"

This is why I love being a YSA missionary. There really is never a dull moment.

President Hinckley once said "Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured." Serving in this area has helped me to slow down, and enjoy making memories and friends. Guys, life is SO good! Laugh a little. Enjoy the people around you. Heavenly Father wants us to have joy! We are a part of His "divine plan of happiness".

I know that His plan is real, and that we have a purpose here. He really does know us, and has so much in store for us. I am happy with the things He has given me- even the trials. I love my life, and I especially love the people in it. You guys are pretty cool.


Sister Snyder