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