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. :)