Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Excited for the new year

It was great to see you all on Christmas. I loved it! I want you all to know that I have a testimony of our Lord and Savior, and that He was in fact born for all of us I love this season...... I am really looking forward to the new year. It feels like I am going to learn a lot in this new year. I'm excited about all the prospects the new year holds. We are going to be setting new goals for the mission, and are going to be setting new goals for ourselves. New year is such an inspired time of year! It should be renamed "the day of repentance" After all, it is the closest thing we come to as a nation in terms of mass repentance!! :P Some of you asked if I miss having the snow for this time of year. Yes, I definitely do! It's a welcomed trade off, but in terms of ideal weather, I really love the snow. Hmmm. Things are going really well for us. Since we talked, Elder Smith and I have found 5 new investigators! All in one day, might I add. We went out and just contacted loads of potentials, and did our best to talk to everyone! That is by far the most I've had in a day. Elder Smith talked with his family yesterday. That seemed to go well. We were again at the Iosefa's place. :) I am loving and using the gifts that were given to me. Thanks for all of your sacrifices for me. It has definitely made my life easier. :) I would like to report on the amount of candy I have. 2 drawers full. Yeah.... I am STACKED with sweets. I don't know how I will ever finish all that I have! I woke up sick on Saturday. Please pray it goes away! Haha I have strep-like symptoms, however, the mission nurse doesn't think it's strep. Well, since I saw y'all so recently there isn't much more to say! I hope y'all can grow closer to God this new year. I love you! Elder Smith

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Excerpts from a couple of emails in recent weeks

….......This district is AMAZING. Some of the most hardworking and obedient missionaries that I know. District meeting was a total blast. I love the district! I love the Spirit that comes from those district meetings. It is awesome to be surrounded and uplifted by so many good people. Time after time I am blown away by the things they are doing and the people they are. I have learned so much from each of them. And it's all been different! The new senior couple in the district, the Wrights, are awesome too! I have no complaints at all. The companionship is going really well. I have been totally humbled having Elder McEwan around. I am continuing on working through my flaws and weaknesses and shortcomings. And it feels great! Developing patience and love and diligence and humility. There really isn't anything better. :) We are still finding new people, the people we have are awesome and are progressing......... I had to take a little psychological survey, just to make sure that it was not mental stress that was the root of all my problems. I will be hearing back fairly soon on that, and I will let you know how it goes! But I am feeling fine. I have not had to take the headache medication that they gave me at all! Yee!! I have been on the biggest mail drought in quite awhile! I've been blessed the past 2 transfers until this week. But I've been told by a few of you that I've got some letters coming. Which is awesome! Here is an update on transfers: I am staying here with Elder Smith in Pensacola. My friend from the MTC is an assistant to the president. Elder McEwan is going back to Perdido with another missionary. So! Not much has changed for me this transfer. Just gonna keep on keeping on. :) I'm so happy! I'm looking forward to improve farther than I've improved before! I am committed this transfer to become all that God has asked me to become. This transfer I am putting together all the knowledge I've gained, and am gonna see what can happen from obedient, spiritual living! So i talked with the mission psychologist this week! It went very well.They halted all procedures and medical appointments on me and Elder Smith. We first needed to see if these things can be explained mentally, then SLC will clear us to find out things medically if they can't be worked out emotionally. So! That is what is going on with that. I seem to be fine. All the tests they had me do came back normal. But I did find out that I am a perfectionist, apparently!! So that's pretty cool. :).........I am happy with transfers. Michael got baptized on Saturday! That was awesome. I feel very blessed, even though I don't really feel as though I deserve it. We have a lot of work to do though! This entire transfer we have had at least one investigator to sacrament meeting. And this was the first week we did not have someone to be committed to be baptized! We have a guy who is very close, who had one last week. But that feels as though the date is stressing him a bit, so we had to drop it. But I am really hoping and praying for some more success this transfer. i have a feeling a lot will change. But hopefully I can keep the streak going! I have had a baptism a transfer the past four transfers, so I am praying that will continue on! :) I love you all. And miss you very much.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Fun, crock pot cooking and ties!

Hello! It has been a stormy day in Pensacola again. Seems like p'days here are always rainy! It's okay. As I have expressed before, I love the rain!!! The thunder was terribly loud last night. It woke both me and my companion up! But it was definitely worth it. :)
The beach and naval air museum last week was super fun and awesome. I have loads of pictures, but they are gonna have to wait until next week to be sent! My camera is nearly dead and most all the pictures were actually not taken on my camera. Anywho, it was a blast. Played some beach volleyball, collected some white sand, and saw loads of planes, including some blue angels! Sweet, right?
I got some sweet ties this past week too from a senior missionary who is going home tomorrow. Their names are the Watson's. In the beginning of my mission they are the ones that were older that were in the district pictures. Their replacements arrived Friday! It'll be sad to see the Watson's go. Nearly 8 months of my mission they have been in the district with me! But back to my original point: Elder Watson gave me some sweet ties!
For district activity tomorrow we are going to be playing volleyball and ping pong. Last night I made some chicken and vegetables in the crockpot that I'll serve there. We'll see how it tastes! I put carrots, onions, garlic, potatoes, peas, apples, tomato, tomato juice, water, salt, pepper, garlic powder and of course some chicken in there! I plan on getting all the solids out later today and then making a gravy with the juice left over from all that. And then I will cook some rice and serve like a chicken roast over rice and gravy type thing. Wish me luck! (I told y'all I have been trying out my hand a little more in cooking!)
 Let me see here... What else can I tell y'all?? Well, we should have a baptism either this week or next. The boyfriend that is trying to be baptized first needs to get married! They want to get married, planned to yesterday, they just have no money! So that is what is the determining factor. But he is super solid. He gives us rides and everything! He is very cool. Anyway, that is something we are looking forward to this week. They have asked Elder Smith and I to be their witnesses at their wedding. Everything is plugging along though. The work continues to improve, and I am feeling ultra blessed that I get to be a part of that movement. I hope y'all are doing well, and hope those in Utah are enjoying the snow! I love you.
 Elder Smith

Monday, November 11, 2013

Goals accomplished and then some!

Hello! I am emailing you from a member's home today. The Jasons. The one I played floorball with last p'day. And this p’day I am going to the naval air museum!!! Yeee!! Also gonna go to the beach and play some volleyball I think. I'm stoked! We hit every single one of our goals this past week. That has been a huge focus in the mission, and it felt amazing to achieve them! We exceeded many of them too. We were up above the 20 lesson mark again, which rocks. The district is doing really well. I am loving it! We had a trade off with the zone leaders this past week. It was crazy. Everything got twist, turned upside down!! It was hectic. Elder Smith has been experiencing some health challenges as well and is undergoing some testing, so hopefully when results come back, they’ll explain something!! Poor guy. He is not feeling well currently. He is facing the decision to go home or stay! It is definitely taking its toll. But we had interviews with President Smith. They went very well! I love all interactions with him. He mostly asked about my health. No surprise there!! Haha We found some new investigators this week. Which is significant because it has been a struggle in our mission! This week has been phenomenal. And I know that Sean and I say this every week, but I am short on time because of Veteran's Day, and all the fun things I am going to do for once on a p'day. It's only taken me a year!! Haha but I love you all. Know that I am happy and enjoying every minute of talking to people about God's love. :)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Smith, Smith and Smith!!

It feels like coming home, I have to tell you. Being in the Pensacola ward is fantastic. Today bumped into a former investigator I had in Fox Run who is going to let me refer the sisters there to teach her again. Also on Wednesday, the first day that I was back, I saw one of the ladies from Fox Run that, while I was there, was having the hardest titme ever. I may have mentioned that this lady had had it worse than anyone I'd ever seen or heard. Well, I saw her at Wal Mart, and to my great surprise, she's active!! One of the people living at the house she rents got baptized!! And, not only that, but guess who baptized him?! TJ! Ahhhh. I got to see TJ on Wednesday too. Man, it has been awesome. I am humbled and feel beyond blessed to be back.
 As for the work in Pensacloa, it is going really well. We have a baptismal date we set yesterday with a 20 year old named Michael. He is getting married the week before and should be ready to go on the 23rd! So that is just awesome. Tomorrow we go on a trade off with the Zone Leaders, Elder Wilkey and Elder Frederikson. That should be very fun! We are gonna blitz the area... So we'll see how that goes! They are also going to be attending (and evaluating) my first district meeting ever! So that'll be kinda weird too I suppose. But I'm excited. Also, Elder Wilkey was my first zone leader! (Yep, he's still here) There is work to be done here in Pensacola, and I get the feeling I am needed here. Y'all remember me mentioning Brother Iosefa? Well, he and his wife are in this ward now!! They were one of my favorites from Fox Run. :) They are polynesian, and I sent a pic of him playing the ukelele? Yeah! Those ones. In this ward we have 4 missionaries: Elder Smith, Elder Smith, Sister Fisher, and you guessed it, Sister Smith!! Haha that has been causing everyone to lol out loud. :)
I talked to Angie via email today. And oh my goodness. I am so happy!! She said she is going to get baptized. That she has just had tons of fears and demons to get over. But that she finally feels like she is ready. I cannot tell you all how happy that makes me!! It just blows my mind. I saw her Wednesday before I headed out, she was one of the last ones I saw! But she really has been opening up, as I had been opening up! She pretty much just spilled all the beans today. And I still get to teach her a little something something every Pday! I am so grateful for that. It was not easy leaving that family! But luckily President has allowed me to continue to keep in touch and encourage her. :)
As for my health: It's the same. I actually woke up today with a monster headache. But I have determined not to let it keep me down! Well, I love you all. Miss you like crazy. But in the same breath, am so glad to get to be out here. It rocks! I love you!
Elder Smith

Monday, October 28, 2013

Change and No Change

Well, back to Pensacola for me! I am going to the Pensacola ward of the Pensacola stake! And get this... My companion's name is Elder Smith! Hahahaha oh man that is gonna be rough. "Hello, I'm Elder Smith" "Hello, I am also Elder Smith!" lolz out loud God must have a sense of humor! I am stoked to have my old Zone Leader back Elder Wilkey. He has honestly been my favorite thus far. There are 2 more sets coming into mobile as well! Sisters and Elders... It is ridiculous!! There will be 5 sets here in Mobile. That is a huge and awesome blessing, and to think, when I first got here we only had 2! I suppose I will spill the beans as well... I didn't tell y'all, but I actually have been training Elder Clayton this past transfer. It has gone great, I just feel badly because I haven't been able to help him like I've needed to being sick and all. I think that could be a big part of the reason I am getting transferred. President and I talked about that last Saturday. Also, I'm going to be serving as a district leader when I get to Pensacola. I hope that goes well... I definitely feel inadequate for that calling. I have not felt like the missionary I want to be or even once was with the whole illness thing. It has been a struggle keeping my desires to serve up! But as for the work here in Mobile, it continues to thrive and prosper. We have a baptism happening tomorrow. I'm stoked about that! Lee is doing great. I just gotta make sure tonight that he is completely ready. It has been a long process for him being Buddhist and all... I am sad to leave Angie, but I know that she will be baptized. I have faith that she will make the right decision. I've really grown close to the people I've been teaching, so it is definitely bittersweet to be transferring all over again! But I'm excited and ready for the change. Apparently my work here in Mobile is finished for a bit! And that's okay with me I suppose. And in regards to my health, I am still having the pains, not much has really changed. I have just decided to trust God and go out and work hard. I know that is all God asks of me. He has given me the strength to stand another day, and as long as I have that, I will go. I've been resting now for 2 weeks and have seen 0 improvement. So I figure my resting is not doing my health any good, and it is not helping the people I'm serving any, so why do it?! And that, after much prayer, reading my patriarchal blessing, and pondering, is my decision moving forward. :) I am loving my mission. I'm relishing the opportunity God is giving me to grow this upcoming transfer. I just hope I can do what He is asking of me. :) I love you all, I will try to get you the address of my new place soon!! Elder Smith

Monday, October 21, 2013

Down But Not Out

This is the email from Elder Smith today. A more current update to his condition follows at the bottom of the post.

 "So I called Dr. Rose last Monday night. He determined that it would be beneficial to see if I had mono! I have been hoping so badly that I have it, just so all these symptoms can be explained. Well, the text from him this morning was that I have had, in the past, both mono and CMV, but that there is no sign that they are currently effecting me. CMV, for those who do not know, is like mono. Just like a cold is less severe than the flu, however, CMV is less severe than mono. Dr. Rose calls it mini mono. So anyway, the news is that I still don't know what is causing the chest pains. They have been going now for 3 weeks. But, the good news is that we now all know that I have had two kissing diseases. So that's a plus, right?? Haha we will see how it goes moving forward. President Smith asked me on Saturday what I wanted to do. I told him I had no idea. I have been sleeping an extra 2-3 hours this past week, and have been feeling super guilty about it........President Smith said that was completely okay, and that I was not a horrible missionary for doing that. Ah. I just got off the phone with Sister Smith. President Smith is going to be giving me a call to discuss the options moving forward. Seeing as they now have no idea what is causing all this, I guess he and I and the Lord have some decisions to make. I'm sure they will keep you informed! Just so all of you know, however, I am going to do everything I can to beat this here, in the mission field. And that is all I have to say about that!
 Once again, on to far less depressing news. Things are totally looking up for the area!! We have a baptismal date a week from tomorrow with Lee, our investigator from Malaysia. And Angie is doing fantastic. We've been able to go back over and meet with her! We did it three days in a row this past week. :) .......We found yet another investigator last night through some part member family visiting. That has been so fruitful for us recently. His name is George. He is super awesome, and should be a great investigator. We feel as though, just from part member families, that there will be 6 baptisms taking place here in our area by the end of the year. Mark it down, that is what we are going for!! Plus anyone else we find through other means. :)
 But anyway, I love you all. I know that you all are doing your best to become more like our Heavenly Father wants us to become, and that gives me great joy. I am going to work on being submissive this week. I really want to just absolutely listen to all that God sees fit for me to do, say, see, etc. I love you, and I am sure I will be in contact about what is going on health wise!!"

 ***Note: The following is the most recent update since receiving Elder Smith's email earlier in the day: Doctors are pretty confident after tests to this point that he has had and continues to have a viral infection. They will treat his symptoms with a couple of medications, he will continue to rest as necessary and be monitored closely. All involved (especially Kevin) are hopeful that the treatment plan will be a turning point in his condition and he'll be on the road to recovery and be able to overcome this while remaining in the field.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Worry not....

Elder Smith started his email this week talking about his recent chest pains and discomfort as many have expressed an interest in how he's doing with that. It doesn't sound like he's over it unfortunately, but says he's doing alright and not to worry. He said, “ I have had to take some extra time to sleep recently. I have been treated for inflamation around the heart. They had me take NSAID pain relievers. That was not working. I called the mission Dr, he wanted to see if it was heartburn. I have been taking Prevacid, which you are to take once a day. He is having me take it 2 times a day. And I think that is what has been wiping me out. And, it isn't helping either. But I think I could have told you that was gonna be the case before I even took this! It does not feel like acid reflux in the slightest. So, I have yet to receive any answers on why I am having pains. Or where they are coming from. It seems as though they have ruled some things out though, which is great! The 2nd EKG they did showed different results than the first. The cardiologist did not seem worried about the 1st EKG result in the slightest. Neither did the mission Dr, for that matter! Now, just to say, "But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole." Luke 8:50. Stop the fear, stop the doubt, then God can work miracles. So, please, stop all the worry. Just trust that God knows what He is doing, and that this is something that just needs to be, and then maybe I will be healed. Deal? That is really all I will say about it. But I will keep you informed on what is happening. The pain is not bad enough or frequent enough to keep me from working though!.......” He went on to share these other things that have been going on. “I got a sweet new teal tie. Elder Dattilo's girlfriend's roomate has been sending me some letters. Angie is still willing to talk with us, she is just far more... closed off than she was before. There was going to be a baptism in the ward Saturday for another set of missionaries. It fell through......... And we are trying to find some new investigators!! It has not rained here in ages. We went on a trade off with the zone leaders on Friday. I really really enjoyed that. We met a man tracting. Right next to the church. 33 years old, in a red shirt, backwards cap, gold grill on the top teeth, african american. He let us right in. He shared that he had previously been a drug dealer, but that he gave up that life. Told him he could find greater love and peace with his family through this message. And then we set a baptismal date with him! It was... Amazing. We had miracles happen that day. Found a million and a half potentials and some investigators..... I don't have much more to say other than I am loving the mission. I am dreading the fact that today marks 11 months. I don't want this experience to end. I have so much to learn, so much to experience, so many people to help before I can even think about leaving. So pray that I get my stuff together and make it happen! I love you. :)” Elder Smith

Monday, October 7, 2013

Hurricane Karen & Conference

Hello everyone! Hope you had a good week. Here things have been out of the ordinary! "Hurricane Karen" was a huge joke. We were being prepared to evacuate, we had our 72 hour kits all ready to go. Nothing! It ended up coming ashore as a low pressure system. Not even a storm when it made landfall! So it of course was a relief, and a bummer too. Haha we have blue skies and almost no humidity it seems right now though. That's actually been a cool after effect. I really really enjoyed general conference. I was edified and strengthened. Many of you asked what my favorite talk was. I haven't really had a chance to ponder on it much, but I always love Elder Scott's talks. His was definitely up there again for me. As for my health, all is well I guess. The mission doctor did not seemed concerned with the pains I am feeling, so I am just bearing them and hoping they go away soon! Having an ultrasound done certainly was a new experience, however!! This week has been a bit of a lull. We had a trade off, had to get a baptismal record signed, 10 hours of general conference, apartment searching, flyer making, meetings with the public library, doctors visit, plus the storm drama. Needless to say we did not get as much work done as we would have liked/hoped for. Also, Angie dropped us. She texted on tuesday morning asking for space, and this morning confirmed the dropping. That has really had me down in the dumps. We had grown pretty close. I also have just not been able to do all I've wanted to do this transfer yet. I was hoping to be able to start this transfer off right. Turning over a new leaf. With all the time we've had to spend doing things besides proselyting, it has kinda whipped me. but I have determined to be everything that I can be with God's help, and let God do the rest. We are in desperate need of finding new investigators. So that will be the focus for us this week!! One talk that does come to my mind that I'd just like to mention - actually, this was a theme I saw in conference - small and simple means are great things brought to pass. On the other hand, Satan gets us with the small things as well. The talk by one of the members of the 70 in which he spoke of his grandparents deciding just one random sunday afternoon to go for a family drive instead of attend sacrament meeting changed their lives forever. It really is that easy, it can happen that fast. I hope we all can commit to living the gospel 100% all the time, every time. I love you!! Elder Smith
Pictures from last weeks baptism, MTC District at the Half Zone Conference & Elder Davis, his trainee, me and my current companion Elder Clayton

October's Hero

My hero for the month of October is President Thomas S Monson. He is an amazing man. I was inspired specifically by him many times this general conference. With his wife passing away, and all that has to follow as a result form that, on top of the pressures of being the prophet, he just smiles, waves, inspires, blesses, jokes. I love it. I love him! He talked to the brethren in Priesthood session about their home teaching. He did not call them out, tell them that they need to repent. He was perfectly mild and loving with his address. I know he wanted to rip into us about doing our home teaching. Some places get like 7% on their home teaching. And yet he talked of love, and kindness. He did not say to do it just because they cannot be saved without it. He said to do it because we love the people. He also was willing to mention that he was going to write in his journal that the Sunday morning session was one of the best he's ever attended. That is fantastic. Who says that in conference? I mean, that just shows how down to earth he is. It shows me that I can ALWAYS learn, I just have to want to. He is an amazing story teller. As a child, you can tell he was a handful. And yet, he turned into such an amazing man. He talks dearly of all of the previous general authorities that he has met. He associates himself with the people without prominence in the world. He visited the sick, and the widowed, and made friends with seemingly everyone he came in contact with. He is the prophet of the hastening of the work of salvation. He will forever be remembered for that, and must have been one of the choicest spirits of our Heavenly Father in order to be called as prophet at such a time. :)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Urgent Care, Baptisms and Half Mission Conference

Elder Smith has been experiencing some chest discomfort/pain in recent days which required a trip to the Urgent Care. Based on the exam and findings with the initial tests, he will be undergoing further evaluation to better determine what is going on. Despite this, he continues to think positive and do what he can to serve. Regarding this he said, “.......I am not concerned. I got a blessing from Elder Clayton and things are good! It's just more of a guessing game at this point. But, the Elder Smith saga continues. :) I am not supposed to do any exercising or driving until I get checked out further. All I really have gathered from the past twenty four hours is that they have no idea what is going on with me! But the Dr. did say that it was almost certain, from his findings, that the pain I am feeling is associated or originating with the heart." He continued with, "Now, on to far less depressing topics!! Haha seriously though y'all, I'll be fine! The work here is going swimmingly. We had a baptism this Saturday! Elder Clayton baptized Mackphie and I baptized Aslinda. I'll send some pictures. :) Alsinda is 9, and her brother Mackphie is 8. It was awesome to be able to have them baptized together!! We also have two other baptismal commitments, with more on the way be assured! :) The Half Mission Conference with Elder Pino was justy great too. He talked very much about the doctrine of Christ, and how we can more fully teach the doctrine in our work. He also spoke, as well as President Smith, about our mission goal of 450 baptisms. They both emphasized concentrating and keeping our eyes fixed upon that goal. I got to see everyone that was in my MTC district, and I also got to see my previous companions, except for Elder Dattilo. It was amazing! I really enjoyed it. I was actually the one who drove the van to Crestview. :) President Smith is looking at sending one or two more sets out here to mobile, believe it or not!! Witth the campus opening up and Family History taking off like it is, he may send out some other missionaries! It's cool to see all that is happening here. What a spectacular blessing it is to be allowed to participate in this great work of God. :) …........I am happy! And it is raining. I love you all! Talk to you next week. :)" Elder Smith

 Please remember him in your prayers, thank you.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Progress is at a fantastic pace!

“Elder Clayton is my new companion! And he rocks. He is from Salt Lake. And is a total boss! Went to Skyline High School. I am absolutely loving getting to be his companion. He really focuses on committing people to pray. Prayer is a huge thing for him. I love it! He has so much enthusiasm to be doing missionary work. The work continued to roll forth at a fantastic pace. All of the people we are currently teaching are part member families. We have 7 investigators. 3 with dates to be baptized. We had over 20 people at church who were either less active or investigators/nonmembers from our efforts. That is unreal, when you consider at the beginning of my time in the area they were averaging less than 100 people per week in attendance. Most of the people who came either came for the first or second time since I've been here. Like. Awesome... Things are just great. We split our area too, which makes it even more significant!!! We have been working very closely with the zone leaders, helping them with their maps, information about members, so forth. They also have no phone, so the past week we have been sticking pretty closely together with them. Other things that have happened this week: The LDSSA got approved. I feel very accomplished with that. The stake has desperately needed that for a long time. Grateful I was able to help in getting it set up. The other huge news has to do with family history. We scheduled an appointment with the head librarian at the closest library to our house to discuss the possibility of a family history class there. He LOVED the idea. We just found out the Mobile Public Library system is going to back it as their own program. All around Mobile we will be teaching classes on how to do family history. 2 times a month. And we should be able to turn those into teaching opportunities. That is HUGE. Like, amazing. We will be able to advertise at the libraries for the class, they will provide the resources... I am stoked. So. All in all, things here are just going wild. There is tons of work that is coming our way, and we have plans to have even more!!............. We have Elder Pino of the 70 coming this week to Crestview for a half mission conference. I am stoked about that!! Also, we have got a baptism coming up this Saturday. So pray for that!!! I am just so happy to be doing what I am doing. Serving God. I haven't found anything better than serving God with all of my heart might mind and strength. There is peace that you get that you can't get any other way. Your mind is clear, your heart becomes pure. It is worth all the effort that it takes to get here, to stay here, and to be apart from all of you. You all need to know that I love you, and would not be the person I am without you. Thank you so much!! Elder Smith

Monday, September 16, 2013

Lightning, goals and transfer

Last week Elder Smith and his companion saw a lightning strike about 500 feet in front of them and they saw the smoke it created after it hit the post! That's kind of scary! Also, in spite of illness related issues with he and his companion the past couple of weeks, there were successes! He said last week, “......we had a totally amazing week number wise!! We exceeded most all of our goals.......we are having a lot more investigators show up in our pool now. I am really looking forward to keeping it rolling! We have a baptismal date coming up on the 21st.” In today's letter he shared, “We had some crazy numbers this week. Like, totally crazy, let me tell you. We exceeded or met almost every single goal. We had 4 investigators to sacrament meeting! Most I've ever had, I believe. I also got news that TJ (an investigator we worked with extensively) got baptized. Man!! I am stoked!!!!! Our new baptismal date is with a part member family..... We got the husband, who hasn't been in at least 5 years, to come to church too!! Holler!.....” He went on to say that his week was awesome, things are cooking there big time and there are huge changes taking place. Sounds like he'll have a lot to update us on in the near future! This week is transfer week in Elder Smith's mission and he says that his current companion Elder Dattilo is heading to Tallahassee to go work with the missionaries in the mission that are waiting for their visas to come in so they can go to Brazil. He will be helping them learn Portuguese. Kevin is getting a new companion and his area (the zone) is getting split in to a Mobile North and a Mobile South zone. Elder Smith continues to work hard, be excited about the work and better himself as a person and servant of the Lord.

Monday, September 2, 2013

September's Hero......The late Elder Wiberg

My hero for the month is Jason Wiberg. For every reason possible. As you know, he was killed a week ago while serving as a missionary in Singapore. He was hit by a car while he was out biking. I am so moved by Elder Wiberg. He obviously had no idea he was going to get hit that day. He did not know that his final day on this earth was going to be spent serving in God's army. But I know he lived his life in a way that was pleasing to God. The scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon, teaches me that this life is a time for us to prepare to meet God. And that this is a time for us to learn the lessons in the flesh that we need to learn in order to become like our Savior. As he was a missionary, we know that God trusted him with some amazing things. God trusted him with the calling to share his testimony full time with the world. He was given the Melchizedek Priesthood, which means he was worthy to act in God's name. He was representing the Savior himself until his very last breath. God obviously saw that he was righteous. Amazingly righteous. He learned all the lessons he needed to in this mortal life. I just think about him, and how righteous and Christlike he must have been like, in order for God to call him out of mortality like that. By the reaction of his parents, I think you can just see how solid he was. From what my mission president told me, his parents were handling it very well. Not cursing or questioning God, but showing true faith during undoubtedly the hardest time of their lives. I will forever be grateful for the exchange I had with him in the MTC. He was so happy. Excited to see me, wanted to talk with me, was so so stoked about going to the field to teach. He saw me, immediately gave me a hug, and asked how I was doing, told me how excited he was to see me. I cannot wait to have the same type of greeting on the other side of the veil. I really cannot say enough about Jason. But I will forever be grateful for the sacrifice he made on behalf of God's children. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865585314/Parents-couldnt-be-more-proud-of-late-LDS-missionary.html

Taking the opportunity to study

This past week has been a test! Elder Dattilo has been in bed sick most of the week. I have taken that opportunity to cook, clean, try to get fully better myself, and of course read the scriptures...........A lot of the people in the area are sick. For example, the last 3 people we went to see yesterday all missed church because of illness. And it seems to be pretty much the same stuff. Coughing and sinus stuff. Also, many of you know about my friend Jason Wiberg who passed away. Some of you have asked about how that is going, what it has been like. It has been a challenge. I was very saddened on Monday to hear that he had passed away. I saw him in the MTC. He was the happiest guy in that place. He was stoked to see me, I was very excited to see and talk to him. As you can probably imagine, this past week, with a ton of time inside, I had loads of time to reflect and think. Also, I was able to tell Elder Dearden, a friend from my ward who is in the same zone as me. We went out of the zone conference, cried it out for a minute, and then went back in. That was tough for him to hear, tough for me to tell him. Anyway, I know that Elder Wiberg is preaching the gospel in the spirit world right now. I know God will receive him into the Celestial kingdom, and that he was an amazing missionary. I am sad I won't get to see him again for a little while, but as the scriptures say over and over "the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ." Thank goodness for my knowledge of the plan of salvation. I don't know what I would do if I did not believe that was true. With the time I have been granted inside, I have used that time to really delve into the Book of Mormon......In conjunction with the August issue of the Ensign on how to study the scriptures and receive revelation, I feel like my testimony is greatly increasing. I am really studying the scriptures. I am making a map of the Book of Mormon, for example.......... I mention this just to let you know that i love the scriptures. I am making it my life long goal to be a student of God's word. I don't just want to scratch the surface, to get the easy and obvious things. I want to dive deeper. I want the mysteries of God to be unfolded before me. And as I've been reading in Alma, I have seen that God is willing to give us those mysteries, but we have to want them, and do all we can to receive them!........ Zone conference was super good. The food that brother leferink made was amazing! The alligator snapping turtle tail was super good. It was a huge hit. All the missionaries loved it, it seemed. I'm doing well though. Learning a lot, and I am happy with the person I am becoming. If only I could get there quicker. I love you!! Elder Smith

Monday, August 26, 2013

Really good week!

"Hey y'all. This week has been good. Really good. We had a fireside last night that went extremely well. It was all about missionary work, how to do it, why we do it, etc. Put on by the Ward Mission Leader. Super good. Had some investigators there, recent converts, a ton of members. It was a pot luck! The different things they learned about were sharing the gospel in their every day lives, missionary work through family history, reactivating members, and sharing the gospel through social media. Then they talked about the ward mission plan. The commitment left was for every family to have their own family mission plan. It was very uplifting, very edifying. Hopefully it helps the people of Mobile come into the gospel more frequently. Our Ward Mission Leader spoke in church yesterday. He brought 7 nonmembers to hear him speak. He asked some of his friends to come support him as he spoke and they responded favorably! I thought that was just amazing. Very very very cool to see. We will be having our first zone conference with President Smith tomorrow. I am really really looking forward to that. We have a member of the church who is not currently active but that LOVES the missionaries. He has committed to single handedly cook for 45 missionaries. Which means he is planning to cook for 90 people, he said, because he knows how much missionaries eat. He is amazing. Only has one leg, is in a wheelchair most of the time. but very very loving. He is paying for it all out of his own pocket. And when you consider that he is cooking snap turtle tail, gumbo, greens, biscuits, rolls, cheese grits, hominy, okra, peach cobbler, and undoubtedly more things, cause that is just how he is, that's pretty astounding. He has committed to come back to church, too! We should be seeing him there next week. :).......... I have been doing a lot of things that will come as a surprise to maybe all of you! This morning I sowed my pants that had a rip in the seam. Yesterday I cooked spaghetti noodles, black beans, chicken, and some spices and seasonings to make a tasty dish for 4 missionaries! I also made some garlic bread along with that. I have made some homemade fried rice, monkey bars, the list goes on and on! So yes, I have learned how to not be a slob and how to be a useful member of society (maybe "the household" would be a more applicable term). Hahaha but it's fun. I'm enjoying myself. Pretty much everything I'm cooking is my own recipe. Which is very exciting! And I was not really shown how to sew either. I watched an elder do it in the MTC, but God helped me out today to learn how! :) As you can tell, I am pretty excited. We are having tons of success right now. Saturday we found a lot of seemingly very solid potential investigators. We have 3 appointments, so we are very much looking forward to that.......... I love you all so much. God had truly blessed me in allowing me to learn from you and to love you. Thank you so much for letting me be an important part of your lives. I love you!" Elder Smith

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Completely Committed

Word on the street is that a tropical depression hit the past two days or so. We wouldn't know, of course, cause we don't have access to the weather, but it was cloudy for literally 2 straight days, which is so out of the norm here. Saw the sun and was like, where has that been the past couple days?? And then wake up to more wet weather. I am loving it! The medicine I am on, as I said, prevents me from going out in the sun. Well there was a service project on Saturday, and because of the cloud cover, I was able to do it! It was a fiasco. We were cutting up an oak tree for a family in the ward. It was organized by one of the deacons, and we were asked to come help. It was a project! The tree was huge, water logged, and very, very heavy. I spent a good amount of my time cutting the wood for firewood. It was a blast! The bishop had to go to the hospital due to a finger injury. That was a scary moment, but he immediately received a blessing, and his finger was alright for the most part. Still broke it and had to get stitches, but did not lose it, thankfully! I also smashed my finger! Boy did it hurt. Still hurts! But I'm fine. It's just purple now. The service project was a blast though. It felt very good to change up things and serve physically for awhile. I have been feeling pretty good for the most part recently. In the past four days or so I have only had a headache about twice. It seems as though the antibiotic is working. I just finished it, so I'm praying that the headaches will cease now. So nothing to worry about in that department!! Our Ward Mission Leader got back from a three week vacation this week. Thank goodness!! We could noticeably feel a difference in the work when he was gone. He is doing a fantastic job. Really giving his calling his all, and is undoubtedly magnifying his calling. It's awesome to be able to work with someone so closely who strives to do what the Lord Himself would do. The LDSSA forms are now officially completed and submitted. We are now waiting on the university to approve the papers and we will be able to proselyte on campus! Elder Dattilo is particularly excited for this prospect. Ever since leaving the 3rd largest city in the world, he has dearly missed contacting people on the streets. Haha! I have personally been working on improving my studies and desires recently. I want to have a stronger desire to follow in Christ's footsteps. I want to study for the people that I am working with. I want to receive revelation on behalf of those I serve, and want to do everything within my realm of authority to help them accept the restored gospel. I have been hitting PMG (Preach My Gospel)very hard. Trying to understand even more fully what exactly God expects of me as a missionary. Trying to increase my knowledge of the doctrines. I have been reading 30 minutes every single day out of the Book of Mormon. I have also been studying every day for 15 minutes out of Preach My Gospel. And it has helped immensely. It is helping me focus upon others more than anything else. I at times feel like I have no idea how to help people come back to church. I feel as though I have no idea how to help people actually get baptized and confirmed. So that is my focus right now. I have become in the past transfer a better person than I have ever been before. The trials that I've passed through since coming to Mobile have really helped me become more Christlike. I spent a transfer really focusing on that. And now I am trying to get myself to be the best missionary I have ever been. Because if I can couple being the most Christlike I can be with my best understanding of how to fulfill my calling to find, teach, and baptize, amazing things are going to happen here. I want each one of you to know that I am completely committed to my calling to preach this gospel. I am here because of Jesus Christ. I believe that He is the Savior of the world, and has forgiven me of all that God has seen amiss within me. And for that reason alone, I am here. When you feel the Holy Ghost tell you that you are a child of God, and have a specific purpose for living here, and that you have been forgiven by the only Being who has authority to forgive sins, in my opinion, that is life changing. It is something that cannot be denied. It should be something that changes us forever. For me, the decision to do missionary work boils down to this: Do I really care about being forgiven of my sins? Do I really appreciate the gift God has given me? Do I really understand the fact that Christ's suffering was specifically for me? Have I really felt His love surround me and comfort me? If I have, then there really is no other choice than to serve God for the rest of my life. There really is no choice between going on a mission and not going on a mission. There is really no reason to skip church, to shrink form my callings, to be unkind to someone. Because if I really truly believe that I have been forgiven, then I had better be willing to share it. To hold the gift of eternal life, forgiveness, peace of mind, and every other fruit of the gospel and not share it would just show God that I actually could care less about the gift He gave me. It would show Him that I don't really cherish the fact that He sent Christ on my behalf. To not share the gospel is basically telling God that you want the blessings but are not willing to put in the effort for them. One of the problems people face that do not have enough money to live is the simple fact that they do not want to work for it. They want to be supported by someone or something else. It's exactly the same for us. We want to be saved, but we don't want to follow every single commandment in order to receive such a blessing. To quote Jeffrey R Holland "Salvation is not cheap." If I expect to be saved in the Kingdom of God, to have all of my sins forgiven me, then I should live worthy of such a blessing. Every fiber of my being should desire salvation for others. I read today in PMG a quote from Joseph Smith: "After all is said and done, the greatest responsibility we have is to preach the gospel." That hits me hard every time I read it. The very man who set up this church again on the earth said that I have no greater responsibility in my life time than to help other people into the gospel. So, to finish off my thoughts, I say all this because this is what I have been feeling. I know I am not committed enough to my calling. I at times don't desire above all else to share the gospel. But I know I need to. I know that God has entrusted me and each of you with a very sacred calling. "For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation." (D&C 82:3) So, if I really feel like God has given me spectacular and marvelous experiences, then He expects me as well to do something about that. And that is what I have set out to do this transfer. I hope all of you will reflect on just exactly what God has given you, and ask yourselves "am I living worthy of such blessings?" I love Jesus Christ. I love His Church. I am so grateful to have the knowledge and light I already have, and am absolutely thrilling in the opportunities to receive more. I love you all so much!

Kevin's Hero for August

My hero for the month of August is President Smith (new mission pres). I have already grown to love that man so very much. He has shown a lot of concern and involvement personally on my behalf, as well as on Elder Datillo's behalf. With me being sick, and Elder Datillo dealing with some problems he has not ever faced before, he has taken the time to listen. To counsel. To inspire, uplift, motivate, and love. He cares a ton about the people of the Florida Tallahassee Mission. He has shared personal experiences and examples in order to help Elder Dattilo and I. He responds to my emails all individually, and ensures that I know I am being listened to and helped each week. He delegates responsibilities in order to help the leaders of the mission grow and improve, and so he can have as much time as possible to do the most essential things. He came home from serving as a mission president in the Martial Islands in order to take care of a family emergency. He obviously knows where his priorities are, and his family comes first. He loves Sister Smith with all of his heart. He never served as a stake president before either time getting called to be a mission president, and yet he knows so much about working with members, so much as to how to find people to teach. He wants us to find as many people we can to hear the restored gospel. I'm sure it was extremely hard to come into a mission and take over the responsibility. But he knew he had been given keys, and that he was authorized to use those keys to help bless the mission. He knows there is a specific purpose for him being our mission president. He does not pretend to be President Jensen, and does not even try. He teaches by use of parables, much like Christ does. He is very good at giving compliments. While he was here, he made it a point to compliment us on what we were doing well. I am so much looking forward to learning and serving under his direction for the remainder of my mission!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Recent Baptism!

A young girl named Courtney that Elder Smith and his companion have been teaching was baptized by her grandfather on Saturday and he couldn't be more excited. He said, “that was definitely a great experience!” Below are pictures at the baptism.
Elder Smith continues to experience headaches and sinus issues but is being treated and hopes that they subside. He said they're tough to kick but he continues to work through it.
In other news he shared, “Elder Datillo made the decision this week to stay as long as he possibly could, which is going to be Jan 2nd. He is a champ. He had the option of ending earlier, and chose to take the high road. Mad respect for him. I am learning a ton about true discipleship from him! We had a missionary from Toxey with us on Wednesday while his companion was transferring. That was extremely fun, being in a trio...........As for the USA campus, we have all the students we need on board, we have a student advisor, leaders of the LDSSA have been called, and so now all we will be waiting on is the University to okay the association, and then we will be able to work on campus!! I'm very excited about that. Feels like we are making a permanent change in the right direction. The stake has been trying to do this for years.............We were able to talk to the wife of a member who is not currently active, and she is wanting to learn about the church! So we will be seeing her tomorrow. There are loads of part member families here. I think that is where we will be focusing. Helping a family get on track to getting to live together for all eternity is the best thing I can really think of............”

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

LDSSA......slowly progressing

Well, neither Elder Smith or his companion got transferred this week. They're happy to be able to continue where they are. The LDSSA they're hoping to help establish on the campus of USA is slowly coming along. Kevin says, “The LDSSA is going well. The stake is moving quickly for us. By Thursday we are hoping to have names of officers to submit to the university. Then all we have to do is bug the university about the progress of the paperwork. Just gotta try to help them move it along for us.” I'm sure he'll keep us posted! He's excited about an upcoming baptism this week (Saturday). The baptism will be that of a young 9 year old girl named Courtney. The fact that he did not get transferred, he'll be able to see that through and is really looking forward to it. Unfortunately for Kevin, he has experienced rather severe allergies and some illness since being out. Most recently he's been suffering from headaches (4 weeks) and is in the process of some testing to better determine the cause. He continues to stay positive and work through the challenges of not feeling up to par. Please remember him in your prayers and pray for relief and treatment so he can continue to serve to the desires of his heart. Enjoy these photos he shared!!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Campus missionaries

"This week was excellent and things are looking up here for Mobile!............We have found some sweet people. I love the people of the South. They are so kind. Literally everyone will talk about God in almost every situation. Doesn't mean they want to convert, but everyone here has such a strong relationship with God and Chris. Our meeting with the president went great. He and Sister Smith sat in on our companionship study, and had only good things to say.........We asked him about working on the campus of USA (University of Southern Alabama), and he told us that if we could find out what we had to do to be able to work on campus, we could be campus missionaries next transfer. So that is what we have been doing and working on. There is no LDS Student Association at USA, and that is the big obstacle we have to over come. Because if there were, we could go out on behalf of the club and try to recruit more members, therefore we could proselyte wherever we wanted on campus. But because there is not one, we cannot do that. So, that is the task! To set up an LDSSA on campus. And that requires lots of stuff ........ But, is that not totally crazy? We could be campus Elders in a week and a half! We also set to baptismal dates this week. Both of them are with 9 year old girls, whose family members are members, but have yet to be baptized. One for August 10th, the other for August 31. So we are pumped about that! We had a woman and her husband, she is a member, he is not, come to church yesterday too. Hopefully we can find a way to help him into the gospel! We are going to spend some of pday there today. There also was a family who has not been to church since I've been here who came. So things are happening! It's awesome. I love seeing people change their lives. There are 30 people coming out this transfer, and 30 the next transfer!! Crazy, huh? We already have 200 missionaries in this mission....."

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

This past week for Elder Smith and his companion has been one of reevaluation, refocus and re commitment. He said, “this week was one not to be repeated. But we have learned some very valuable lessons.” His new area has a ward mission leader who is “a total boss and is doing great things. He said the bishop has only been in for about 4 months and is trying to change things around. “Things are slowly but surely happening here. It's pretty great.”
He was able to finally meet his new mission president and is looking forward to serving under him. Meeting president Smith was awesome. He is a very funny person, and it is apparent has great ideas for how the mission can reach new heights. He says he will not harp on obedience, but that his desires for us is to have a doubled portion of the Spirit, which requires obedience. Basically, he wants to have our focus be on the why, not just the action.

He and his companion have had a soon to be missionary tagging around with them. He is going to Manaus Brazil in two weeks. He's from California and was visiting his sister there. Kevin said, “It was cool to have him come out with us.” He mentioned that they had some people at church and will be commencing the teaching of two 9 year old girls in the ward, so baptisms there will be soon to follow!

July's Have a Hero

Elder Smith's Hero for July is his current companion, Elder Dattilo. “He is a fantastic companion! He served an honarable full time mission in Brazil for 13 months. He was sick with infection the entire time. Hardly ever let it effect him work wise though. As a result, he had to go home early but received a letter for having served an honorable mission........ It would have been totally fine to have moved on with life, but he said the he couldn't have lived with himself knowing that he denied missionary service.........So he resubmitted his papers. He worked quietly on it, didn't tell many people. He got his call, and four days later he was to enter the mission field again. He is an amazing example of magnifying callings. He by no means had to come back out. In fact, by the church's standard, he had already served faithfully. But he wanted to go up and beyond that. His attitude here is one of optomism. He feels like he can do anything the Lord asks of him. He has had some super difficult times since being back out. Under a week before he was supposed to come back out, one of his best friends died. And then another of his friends died since being out. And yet, he stayed out here. Again, he coud have gone home, but he stayed. He pushed through the pain and hurt and discouragement. He conquered the fears Satan was tempting him with. He serves me daily. And he doesn't do it out of duty. He does it out of love....... When he falls short, he immediately picks himself back up and keeps an eternal perspective. I could go on and on about Elder Dattilo. But without a question, he is my hero this month. He is an amazing person, and I learn something new from him each and every day, just because of his example.”
Elder Smith didn't have a whole lot to say this week, however, he is enjoying his new area in Mobile, AL. His new companion is Elder Datillo from Edgewood, Washington. They are one of three sets of missionaries for the same ward. The two of them have quite a bit in common including a friend from Bakersfield!! That was a fun discovery! In the past couple of weeks they've had some referrals from mormon.org and are also seeking out some less actives. He said it's rained there for the past several days and that he's dreamt of gators but is yet to see one! Here's a few pictures he forwarded to us

Monday, June 24, 2013

Transfer time!

Transfers amongst missionaries is common........they happen every 6 weeks! Some of us though wondered if Elder Smith would ever be transferred out of the Fox Run Ward in Pensacola. It has been his first and only area since he arrived in the field December 4, 2012. Well, this week he will in fact be transferred and he's going to the Mobile Ward in the Mobile AL Stake. He is very excited and looks forward to going and help strengthen that area.
He says they had a few more returning members out to church this week plus a new investigator that came for the first time! "The work in Fox Run is going to explode," he said.
Elder Smith really enjoyed the recent missionary broadcast and truly felt the spirit of it. He shared that, "I felt inspired to do better. To hear that the role of missionaries will be changing sent a charge of enthusiasm within me. The work is transforming. Nothing is the same as it was 20 years ago. Consider all the changes that have happened since then. Mormon.org, preach my gospel, raising of the bar for missionary service, and lowering of the age at which missionaries can begin to serve......The work "will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every climb, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done." The Lord is establishing His Kingdom on Earth. I am so grateful to be apart of this. Grateful to be able to try to "catch the wave."
He seemed to have an enjoyable birthday and appreciated all the thoughts, cards, gifts etc. he received. Following are a few pictures from his birthday!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June's "Have a Hero" choice for Elder Smith is his dad.
The words shared with his dad are too personal to share here but he loves and admires him and considers him a hero.

HaPpY bIrThDaY Elder Smith!

Well, this is birthday week for Elder Smith. He's leaving his teenage years as he will be 20 on Saturday! Regarding this he said, “I will officially no longer be a teenager this Saturday. Crazy sauce! It definitely hasn't set in. But I'm excited! What could be better than having a birthday serving God's children?” Kevin has been fighting some type of illness in recent weeks that's been zapping his energy, but he remains positive and continues to work through it or spite of it. He's hopeful that the new medicine the doctor prescribed will have him on the mend. He and his companion are having great success with trying to get people to return to church. There's apparently been 8 so far who have returned and there's more that are interested. In addition to the less actives they've been working with, they have a couple of investigators they're teaching. One is an English woman and her family lives in Brisbane Australia of all places! So Kevin says......”I may have some super solid referrals for Sean as soon as he is first out. Kinda neat isn't it?!” He says transfers are next week and to stay tuned for that! He's certainly due having been in the same location (ward) since arriving to the mission field in early December!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The past month for Elder Smith has had its ups and downs as missions do. The three investigators that were to be baptized all fell through. One as a result of her husband not allowing it to take place and the other two due to non church attendance. However, he states, “We have seen a lot of success recently in the work of returning members to the church. We are working with a lot of members who have had the desire to return sparked with in them, and it feels great to help them return. The investigator side is going well too. As y'all know, I still haven't seen anyone enter into the covenant of baptism, but that's alright. Helping people change their lives is what I'm here to do. And I am seeing that happen with members and nonmembers alike. As long as I am bringing people closer to Christ (or at least doing my best to) I'm happy! I have had lots of fun with the work this week. It is awesome to be transformed by God each and every day. That's something I want to have happen for the rest of my life!” In other news, they got a brand spankin new car, a 2013 Toyota Corolla and when they got it it only had 173 miles on it. He's getting introduced to the humidity there and gearing up for hurricane season! The lightening and thunderstorms are quite crazy he states. He continues to work out, has gained some muscle mass and says he'll be Hulk Hogan before we all know it! Kevin's mission President is soon to be realeased. He's in his last few weeks. Kevin has developed a strong admiration for President Jensen and will be sad to see him leave. He says, “As President Jensen's stay is beginning to end, I am having some mixed emotions. The work will go forward, the mission will get better, I will grow, but I still will miss him and his counsel. He is a great man. One of the most knowledgeable, intelligent, and obedient men I have ever met. I hope I can someday live up to the Christlike examples that have been set before me.”

Monday, May 13, 2013

After having the opportunity to see Elder Smith's face and hear his voice yesterday for Mother's Day, I can tell you that he seems to be enjoying every moment of his missionary experience. It is so apparent that he loves the Lord, loves the work, and loves the people. He's in the Bible belt part of the country where the Baptist religion is very prevalent, but works hard to both create and find opportunities to share the gospel. He and his companion are looking forward to an upcoming baptism of an investigator at the end of this month. He has started and is committed to a recent workout routine which he is excited about and joked about how "different" he'll look in 7 months when we see him again! He's grateful for the encouragement and support he feels, but like missionaries do......he'd like more! Any email or snail mail contact you could have with him, he'd greatly appreciate!
May's Have a Hero

This month Kevin chose me, his mother as his hero. After stating many things, most of which are too personal to share, he said, "......I wouldn't have it any other way." So here I am, feeling humbled and honored that he considers me a hero. I hope I can continue to do things that will qualify me as such.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"Missionary life is going well. I love it! We now have 2 people committed to be baptized, and I am stoked! Both for the month of May. We also went to PCC on Saturday. It was pretty cool. It stands for Pensacola Christian College. As you can imagine, here in the South, the Bible belt, we were not received all that well. I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure you can find PCC on Wikipedia. I would look it up. Like BYU rules times a zillion. Way strict. Anyway, we got invited to a Russian Bible study up there from an investigator, so we went there, and well, got stared at by just about everyone. One guy, as we were leaving, came up to us laid into us for being there. We were allowed to be, we checked in with security, but he just could not wrap his head around Mormons coming onto a "Christian" campus. Needless to say he was not happy to see us, and let us know that! But our investigator, she is way nice. We met her at a softball game. She came up to us and asked who we were, what we believed, and all that. Gave her a BOM, said she'd love to read it. We actually had no intentions of going there, but we both felt like we needed to stop and hope that someone would talk to us. And she did!......."

 Kevin's Have a Hero for the month of April is the Prophet Joseph Smith "My hero for the month of April is Joseph Smith. There is so much to be said about Joseph Smith, and all that he did. Firstly, he was a great boy. He wasn't just someone to be looked up to as a man, he was always an example for good, even living in a time where the gift of the Holy Ghost wasn't even on the earth. He studied the Bible much during his early youth, by himself. Just because he loved God. He had faith in Him. He was willing to trust in God, and not lean to his own understanding. His simple act of faith, a prayer, changed the world forever. He showed just how powerful prayer can be. As a young adult he was mocked and belittled. He was beaten, bruised, and bled. Besides the Savior, we learn from modern day prophets, that he did more for the welfare of the entire family of God than any other person who has ever walked the earth. Elder Holland always gives credit to Joseph Smith. He related that from him, we have more scripture than by any other prophet. He was thrown in jail, spat upon, starved, falsely accused, and yet found great joy and comfort in God's promises. He left his wife and children knowing full well that he would never, in this life, see them again. His faith and trust in God was immense. He got to see the Resurrected Lord and our Eternal Father, together. He issued in the first temple work in thousands of years, let alone baptism, confirmation, and the sacrament. He loved his enemies. All of them. Even in jail, he was still trying to preach the gospel. I could literally go on for ages, but to put it simply, everything that I now know and enjoy, I owe to Joseph Smith. Most importantly, my family can be together forever because of his simple act of faith. It is true what is said. Joseph did indeed move mountains by his faith."

Monday, April 8, 2013

April 8, 2013

As a result of sending so many pictures this week, Elder Smith didn't have enough time to write a whole lot. He did say that he is "alive and well, and happy to be a missionary." He continues to serve in Pensacola in the Fox Run ward. Transfers were last week and he did get a new companion, Elder Foster from Midvale, Utah. He said, "Transfers were crazy, it was raining quite hard, and was pretty difficult!" Elder Smith felt that conference was phenomenal and that everything talked about reminded him so much of what they as missionaries testify of and preach on a daily basis. Enjoy the pictures!