Wednesday, December 26, 2012

"Have a Hero"

I've come up with something I thought would be fun to do with Kevin while he's out. It's called "Have a Hero". Each month of his mission he will come up with someone he considers to a hero to him. It can be anyone, someone from the scriptures, a deceased person or a living individual. He's supposed to let me know who it is and why they are. I thought I'd be fun now but also something kind of neat for him to look back on a few years from now and see who his hero's were and why they were. He told me his hero's would be in no particular order. Check back each month for his new designated hero!
Kevin's "Have a Hero" for the month of the December is Elder Jeffery R. Holland. Kevin says Elder Holland "is always willing to speak his mind and has no reserves about it because he knows God is pleased with him. He is not worried about anything other than just speaking what God would have him speak. He answers only to God and to his servants. I love it. I love his conviction, I love his knowledge and dissection of the scriptures. I love his passion. And he is funny and nice on top of it all! He is my December hero."

Christmas Day Skype

Skyping with Kevin on Christmas day was awesome! He sounded so good and happy to be where he is doing what he's doing. There was laughter and tears shared along with encouragement to him and from him. Kevin suggested for us to read 1 Nephi 4:4-24 as additional scriptural reference regarding the birth of the Savior. Those of us being able to participate in this here in Bakersfield included his brothers, Sean and Drew, Sister Brianne, Brother-in-law Chad, niece Lyla and grandma and grandpa Brown(maternal grandparents). Of course I'm already looking forward to and can't wait until Mother's Day to do it again!

Monday, December 17, 2012

The second week has been awesome. In fact, just before coming in to email I was stuck in a crazy bad downpour! We had to absolutely book it to get from our car to indoors. And I still got absolutely drenched! I got to attend a ward member's baptism this week. I said the closing prayer and was able to participate in giving the Holy Ghost. Super neat!! I have now been a part of 3 blessings for the healing of the sick as well. Love the opportunities to serve and use the Priesthood I've been given. As Christmas is approaching, it has been getting harder and harder to schedule appointments with people. They (unfortunately) have less and less time for God as Christmas of all days approaches. Which is just what Satan wants, unfortunately. Hopefully we are never too busy to hear a message from one of Christ's servants, because if we are, we sure are busier than what He would want us to be! I hope ya'll make time (lots of it) for God this Christmas season. And I know each one of you will. I have heard about the shooting if you are wondering, and it makes me sick just thinking about it. But I take comfort in knowing that God has a plan for each of us, and that that is and was not the end for the innocent blood that was spilled. Read Alma 14: 1-11 It has brought me a lot of comfort and understanding, and I know it will for you as well, especially as the last days approach. :) I have been teaching A LOT of Hispanics thus far. It's unfortunate, because we don't have any Spanish speaking missionaries in our zone, so we just have to get a member who speaks Spanish to come translate for us. We have more Spanish speakers currently than we do English speakers! I am just about over my illness, still have some lingering effects but nothing too horrible.....

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

First week

The first week in the field has been awesome thus far! My trainer's name is Elder Davis. He is from Springfield, UT down in Utah county. He has only been out 4 months or so, this is his 4th transfer! He's been in this area his whole mission thus far. I am in Pensacola, FL. There are something like three to four wards in Pensacola, and I am in the Fox Run Ward. Pensacola is on the beach, however we don't get to see it at all. The Eastern edge of our area is waterfront I'm told, but we just have no reason to be over there. The beaches are white here I'm told. We are only allowed to go if a member takes us there on a P day, but even at that, no getting ion the water of course. My P day is today, Monday. I am writing this letter from UWF, the University of Western Florida. Areas here are basically ward boundaries. So our area covers all of the Fox Run Ward boundaries. It would take a little under an hour for me to get to the very northern edge of our area in a car. We are a half car half bike area, which just means that We share a car with another set of Elders half the time. This first week, it was our turn to ride bikes. So I have been biking like crazy! And while it is true that there aren't any mountains here, it still is pretty hilly, which is a pain, quite literally. Haha! We get the car starting tonight though. My trainer has never actually been up to the top part of our area, and as luck would have it we are actually going up there this week to meet with a less active family. Here is what I know about Pensacola. The people here feel as though they are not quite in the Deep South. They feel like they are just outside of that. They also feel like they are just outside of the Bible belt. From what I can tell, there are a BUNCH of baptist churches, and a bunch of other types as well. So i don't know about that one. But as far as the Deep South goes, I can believe that. It doesn't sound like they eat anything out of the normal for me here, and for the most part I have very easily understood what people have been saying. Now, just so ya'll know, I will most likely have a Southern Draw when you talk to me on the phone for Christmas. It has been for days and already the words "you guys" has completely been wiped from my vocabulary. I say "ya'll" Everyone says ya'll. And I have even in my apartment caught myself talking in an accent. I don't know what is happening! All I know is I am going to be full blown Dixie by this time next year. The ward members are super nice. My first meal was my first night here, with a Polynesian family the Iosefas. (Pronounced Yoo-sef-a) The dad is probably late twenties, almost looks African American, and the wife looks more Polynesian. They have a cute one year old daughter. As we left, he wanted to sing a hymn and then pray. He pulled out a Ukulele and we sang "Love at Home" to the Ukulele. Super cool!  Here are some fun experiences thus far you might enjoy: When out riding our bikes, there were two mean looking Pit Bulls in a big gated yard. They were mean. Barking both times we passed by, chasing us along the fence as we passed by as dogs sometimes do. Well as we are passing the second time, I see the dogs turn around as soon as Elder Davis passed them. I was behind him and didn't think much of it. Next thing I know the dogs are barking their heads off, and I hear some paws on the pavement, and they are loud. I looked back and these two pit bulls are on the street coming right for me. The exact words I yelled ahead to Elder Davis were "Holy Craaaaaaap!!!!!! Gooooooooo!!!!" He turned back and there was fear in his eyes. I started booking it. Boy was I scared out of my mind!! Hahaha but the dogs turned around for whatever reason, and we weren't harmed! Right after that we were stopped by a man on the street as we were riding who told us he wanted us to teach him, and that he knew the Book of Mormon was true. The only catch, however, was that he was homeless, and that he was living in the woods right now. We gave him our number and told him to call us, since we had no way of contacting him. But he told us how he had been living under a member's trailer, and had had the cops called on him, and that he got sick, and nursed himself back to health.... It was interesting, but we'll see how it goes! And then on Saturday, I totally ate it hardcore on my bike. We were travelling on the sidewalk late at night, and I saw Elder Davis, as we were approaching a street, just about eat it because his tire hit a curb. This sidewalk, for whatever reason, had a curb on both sides of it as it approached the street. And not a curb that went down, a curb that went up. Kinda like bumpers when you are bowling. And the reason he hit it was because the sidewalk took this dorky turn like 60 degrees very sharply. So we didn't see it, he almost ate it, and then I was going even faster and didn't have time, and I ended up getting a hole in my pants and getting pretty cut up because I just skidded along in the street. It was so bad. But a nice young man stopped on his bike and asked if we needed help, and we were able to place a Bible and a Book of Mormon with him! The Bible he specifically asked for. It was cool, cause Elder Davis has never placed one of those before. God is watching out for us! Don't expect this long of a letter next week. I love you all!! Sorry I know some of you had questions, I don't have answers just yet. But I love you all! Send everyone my love. Elder Smith

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Field is White, All Ready To Harvest

Elder Smith is now in the mission field, and more ready than ever to share the gospel. He arrived in Florida on Tuesday, December 4th, and was to meet his trainer, Elder Davis, on Wednesday. His first area is Pensacola, which is 196 mi. outside of Tallahassee. We can't wait to hear from him next week!