Monday, October 27, 2014

2 October weeks

October 20th......Zone training was this past week. I feel like I got a lot out of it. But I always feel that way! Haha I also gave a talk yesterday on "Hastening the Work of Salvation." Sweet right? I was glad to have been able to do it.
We did in fact have to send Elder Owens back home and also received a different missionary from the MTC. His name is Elder Piiparinen. He's from Wyoming, and yes, no one can pronounce his name. Haha! He's stellar. He is going to be a fantastic missionary! Elder Douglas is the one that has been assigned to be his trainer. He'll do a great job as well!
I have my exit interview with President Smith this Thursday. That'll be a rough one for me! Haha I got papers saying I need to pack and get things ready... Not all that stoked about that either! I talked to President Smith on Saturday night and I asked him if there was anything else I could do for him, and he said "don't show up on the 7th" haha!! I said, "don't think I haven't thought about it."
The work is also well. I think that Callaway will soon be getting a set of spanish speaking elders. That was the reason for the phone call with president. We just keep finding them. This place is chalk full of latinos! It's awesome. Hopefully that will help these people progress!
I don't have too much else for you. There aren't any scheduled baptisms right now, but we are still tryin to kick some booty preparing people to receive the ordinances of salvation. I love you guys!

October 27th.......Hiya! Let me give you an update on life here. Interviews with Pres got cancelled cause he was sick, so they are taking place this week instead. We go on a trade off with the zone leaders this week, which, as you know, is always a good time for me. The work is still going well too! We are working in overdrive trying to get these people prepared to make and keep sacred covenants! A lot of the people we are currently seeing have a bit of a hot then cold streak, ya know? We have been struggling in our finding a lot recently. So we will make that a more concentrated effort this week.
My life is great right now though! Trying to give my heart and soul before having to return home. Trying to learn and serve and give as best that I can! And I love it. Absolutely love it! And I love you all the same. :)

Elder Smith

Monday, October 6, 2014

Conference and closing in on mission's end

Hello all! Is everyone pumped to be alive? I am! It's a pretty swell time to be a member of the church. I loved general conference, and was super edified and uplifted. When we set our goals this week, we had forgotten that it was general conference week. And then Elder Owens went to the emergency room... So we unfortunately were not able to see as many people and give them a Spirit bomb (I like to call it that for whatever reason) as we would've liked! Ah well. All is well that ends well! And these people will be able to successfully endure to the end, I know it! :)
My companions enjoy the past time of "reminding Elder Smith of how much time he has left." It is done in fun and in good taste. But as the end truly is drawing nigh, it has caused me to reflect on the person I am, and the person I am becoming. And I am so pleased and happy with who I have become. I am still working on like a kajillion things, but I have never been a better person than I am now. And I believe that is the miracle of the teachings that we try to follow. The natural result of following Christ is goodness. Which means He is Good! There is not another man that has walked this earth that you could follow in both his example and spoken word like Jesus. Others can preach and teach, but His life emulated in our own just feels amazing! So much joy and satisfaction. Especially when you can feel a forgiveness of those things which you have done wrong. That is the reason I like to do missionary work. That is the reason I share my testimony. That is the reason we all came to earth. To experience the sweet peace that can come in receiving God's love, and then trying to help Him share it with others around you. :)

I love you all. I hope that you watched all of conference, and if not, will go back and watch it. It was amazing, and is absolutely what God needed us to hear. I look forward to hearing from y'all next Monday!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Another week in the life of Elder Smith

Hello! How is everyone doing this week? I'm sure things are just grand. They are here! We received another companion on Wednesday this past week. He was in my zone back when I was in Fairhope my last transfer there. His name is Elder Owens and he'll be here until transfers at least! We have already made good use of him. It has given us the opportunity to split up if a member is available. We did that last night and were able to teach 9 different families in the course of 6 hours! We needed it too because both Elder Owens and I had been under the weather for the week. But no worries, I got some medicine and am feeling spectacular!
We were successful this week at getting back in contact with some of our investigators that dropped off the face of the earth. What a relief! They had been so prepared and yet went so cold all at once, it was a bit concerning. But! We still have got hope. We have an investigator who is prime and ready to be baptized, we can feel it! A few have said that they are waiting on an answer that the Book of Mormon is true and will be ready to go. Awesome, right?!
It's been a great preparation day thus far. We again played disc golf with the zone leaders,and we found 3 discs between all of us! I had my very first fish fry on Saturday. That was loads of fun! We also were able to get up with many people we'd never met before, which is always just great!
Zone training was a fantastic experience as well. I definitely felt the Spirit, felt as though I received very personal revelation on what it was that I needed to do to bless people's lives here. The trick now is applying it, and becoming powerful in it! But I have faith that we will get it.
That is about all I have for you this week! I love and care for each of you all.  Have a great week! :)

Elder Smith

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Half mission conference and happy!!

Hola mi familia! Haha it's funny, because we are teaching so many hispanics right now! Really though. We have four investigators with a potential or two that are mostly spanish speakers! It's awesome. Everything with the work is just really looking up. It's not perfect, but it is steadily improving each week, it seems. Right now we are still in the building phase of our work. Trying to get people to have enough faith in Christ to follow him into the waters of baptism. And while I do wish more people were choosing to enter into that covenant, I am glad my investigators understand how important that commitment is. And I still believe we will be able to see 4 persons baptized before our work is done here in Callaway! It's so exciting.
This week Elder Zwick of the 70 is going to be visiting the mission. It's very exciting! Thursday we have a half mission conference with him. And on Tuesday there is a leadership broadcast at the stake center with him. It's going to be awesome! Plus I get to see all of my friends in the mission, and meet a lot of people I have never met, since I haven't been on this half of the mission!
There really isn't much more to report to you all... I am extremely happy! Trying to do my best to magnify my calling, consecrate all I have to the Lord. Obviously, I am not all the way there yet, but I am really working to overcome all the shortcomings I have! The Lord has been making up for them bigtime recently. :) We are so blessed!

I love you all. Elder Smith :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Positive things this week

Hey hey hey! Cool things this week, as always! President Smith has asked us all to try to strive for 15 lessons a week. Well, this week, our district was able to average over 15 lessons a week for the first time! It was awesome. Super sweet accomplishment. No one had under 13. We are hitting our goals and helping people progress! The sisters have a baptism this week, and I feel like we will have a few right afterward following suit! We had a miracle take place this week. We met up with Anthony!! It was awesome! He is living down here in Panama City now. Got a place to stay, has a job... And so we should be teaching him this week! As you will remember, he is the one that walked from AL down here. It was awesome!! We also were able to use our priesthood this morning. We got a call right as we got on the computers to email that one of a returning members' sons was on his way to the ER. He got his foot crushed in some sort of machine. We gave him a blessing of full healing, and we just received a call that he was going to be released, no surgery needed, and only had 3 broken bones. It was amazing, the spirit was strong! It is the best feeling in the world to be able to serve your brothers and sisters in some way. :)
The work here is really bumpin y'all! Thanks so much for your prayers, I appreciate it so much!
I love you!

Elder Smith

Monday, August 4, 2014

Transfer goal met!

This week was an eventful one! We were able to see 4 of our investigator attend church, found 6 new investigators, and taught over 20 lessons! That was our goal for the transfer, to get our lesson count to climb to 20, so we could help as many people repent as we possibly could!! And the Lord provided a way. We are now trying to transition all that teaching to people making the step and leap of faith and receiving baptism for a remission of their sins! We are still seeing many families return to the church though, which is a great blessing. :)
Also, my exercises in the morning have been going very well! I ran 1.5 miles Friday, 2.5 Saturday, and today we rode our bikes to a nearby disc golf course and played a few holes! :) We also played some a couple hours ago. Good thing we played then, because boy is it pouring now!!
There are so many experiences I'd like to share with you all. I hope you know my lack of detail in writing at times is not because there is nothing to say or talk about, but because there is just soooo much to say!! Anyway, I love you all. Hopefully this week we can all do our best to be a God-send and a miracle in someone else's life. :)

Love, Elder Smith

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Experiencing the Hand of God

Greetings from Panama City! This week has been chalk full of excitement. It's crazy, really! Today we had a member buy our groceries for us. He approached us yesterday and explained that he takes all three set of missionaries to Walmart at the beginning of each month and buys their groceries... I was like, floored away. His name is brother Beard. We have been teaching up the wazoo too! We had 3 new investigators in 3 days, with 3 member present lessons, 2 other lessons, and 2 returning member/recent convert lessons in the past 3 days! It's hardly given us anytime to unpack. Especially because we know no one, nor where anyone lives. It has been quite the adventure for sure!! One of those investigators came from a young man requesting missionaries on mormon.org. He typed into Google "missionaries" because he wanted to learn how to go out and preach the gospel and touch peoples' lives. it popped up mormon.org and he requested us! But I need to share an experience that happened last night. Elder Douglas and I were leaving our apartment after eating dinner, and our neighbor, who was extremely drunk, was outside. This is not out of the ordinary, seeing as though he is always outside, drunk as a skunk. We started talking to him as usual, but what was not normal was the white guy standing there talking to him. Our neighbor was explaining that he needs us to watch out for him when he's intoxicated. We began asking question to the man standing next to him, who was not drunk. He explained he had just recently walked here from Montgomery, AL (some 250+ miles away). He then explained that he would be leaving tomorrow to walk to Colorado. He also informed us he had been in the army and had been deployed in Afghanistan. During his first week of deployment he lost his daughter the 1st week there. The third week there he got injured and kicked out of the military. All of his money went toward paying his daughter's funeral. Anyway, the idea popped in our head to call up a recent convert of ours who is on fire and ask him if he'd be available to meet us at the church to do a church tour. Brother Melander was at work, but said he'd be willing to leave work so he could come. So we went back over, and asked if he'd be willing to come on a tour of our church building. He agreed, and so we set out and walked with him to the church (we can't drive nonmembers). As we walked, we talked some more. He told us he left Alabama because his girlfriend kicked him out of the house, leaving him homeless and jobless. He was looking for direction and purpose in his life, and decided that walking somewhere would give it to him. He was hit by a truck into a "US Hwy 231" sign, which he took as his sign from God. He started down the 231 and ended up here, in Panama City. So we arrive at the church, Ben pulled up just in time. We take him on the tour of the church. Some of the feelings he expressed were "I've always been looking for some place where I felt at home" and "This all just makes sense" or "I feel like this is the reason why I came down here." He informed us at the end that he would not be leaving to Colorado tomorrow, but was going to stick around so he could learn more and attend church with us. Our member, Ben Melander, explained afterward that that had been the most spiritual experience of his life. I have to echo what he said. It was amazing. I felt the hand of God in my life. As I testified to this young man I felt the spirit so strongly that he had been sent here on a purpose, and that this had been the very thing he was looking for, that he walked miles upon miles to find. We have an appointment with him tonight, 7:15, at the church. I am so excited to see what the future holds, and cannot wait to testify that he will see and hold his beloved daughter again.
God is so great. I know that he lives, and the he directs me every single day. I love you!

Elder Smith

Monday, July 7, 2014

On the move again

5 companions in 5 transfers... What the?!  Yes, you heard correctly. I am again getting another companion! This time I am getting transferred. To Callaway, FL! Going to go be a district leader again, and I am so happy about it! I have loved the opportunity to serve the zones of Pensacola and Mobile, but my heart has been in district leading for sure. Like, for sure for sure. And God has given me another opportunity to do it! Can't believe the past 5 transfers though... It has been a whirlwind no doubt about it! Anywho, that is the news for this week!
I am also still itching! Today marks day 22. :) Haha it has honestly been more funny than anything else, at least at this point. I'm used to it now, and although it still drives me crazy, I have been able to laugh about it. I go to the allergy Dr tomorrow. Hopefully all goes well! :)
So Cody, the kid with the BCD(baptism commitment date), was at scout camp this past week! Brother Atwood said "he put the members to shame" during the testimony meeting. Apparently his testimony was so pure, and so great, it touched everyone there. I love that kid! It's too bad I won't be here to see him baptized. He was even telling everyone about his date to be baptized on August 3rd! I am so happy. This area is popping, let me tell you! We had 100% of our lessons to investigators taught with members present this week. 6 of them! That has never happened in this area. We had 5 nonmembers at church yesterday, along with 2 members trying to return to activity!! I know that God's hand is here. I know without a shadow of turning that he leads and guides me daily. I always get so frustrated because of my flaws and weaknesses, and it is just the biggest showing of his power that so much is happening here. Soon they will have 7 investigators to sacrament meeting here, mark my words! Well, today has got a lot in store for me, so off I go... I love you all so much!!

Elder Smith

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Many updates

Mom has been very delinquent in posting update for Elder Smith. Here are a few excerpts from recent weeks and this weeks email, along with some pictures. Enjoy!

"....Got back into by a member, and man that was awkward! They were so displeased.....
......Just saw a member at the library. That is always fun. We are actually eating at their place tonight! :) We taught a family history class at this library this week... We had about 20 non members between the 2 sessions show up! We also got to go on 2 trade offs! Actually, both have been spanish trade offs. It was so neat to be able to be spanish speaking for a day or two! Like, super fun.
We went to lambert's cafe, a super sweet place to eat down there. It is famous throughout the mission. It was a lot of fun! There is a HUGE outlet mall down there as well that we stopped at, Tangers. We played ultimate frisbee on the beach with the both foley companionships too. We stopped at alligator alley and at a thrift store down that way as well. It was a blast! We went down with the Daphne Elders. Anyway! Yes indeed. Zone training went very well! It was lots of fun. I love the zone we have. We've been going on tradoffs here pretty regularly. It's so great to get to know so many fantastic people personally week in and week out. Haha this past trade off there was a missionary who was looking through my ties and called after planning and asked if I would trade him... We ended up doing a 12 tie trade! Hahaha so funny. But it keeps things light and fun, and helps me connect with the missionaries. For the past 4 days now I have been itching soooo badly. Imagine insulation all over you... That is how it has felt. And boy has that been tough for me! It's kept me up at night. And it is extremely hard to be professional when you feel like you need to go grizzly bear style and scratch your back on the nearest tree!! Hahaha anyway. Things are good. I am really learning a lot. Recently the things I have been learning have been wayyyy different than I ever expected to learn. But I tell you, it has been amazing. I am just trying to change as much as I possibly can. And it ain't easy!! I sang in church with my companion this past week!..."

Now this week June 30th
"Today is the 15th day of the itching! But it is all good because I tied my course record in disc golf today. :) Haha but really! Can you believe it? The plan now is for me to get allergy tested in 2 weeks. Let's pray they get it figured out, cause I don't know how much longer my skin can handle the constant scratching! I went to another doctor this past week though. I have faith! At least it is just scratching, right??
Anyway. MLC is this week. It'll be a bit closer to home though, in Crestview, FL. We were able to set a baptismal date with possibly the most solid investigator I have ever taught this past week. He came to church yesterday, and went to scout camp today. He's 12 years old and just the kindest most sincere kid ever. His prayers are amazing. He speaks to God like he is speaking to his friend! He recently told us he was in 2 Nephi chapter 15... Wow! That has been a huge bright spot. We also had 2 other investigators come to church this past week. Things are really picking up. We taught the most lessons I have taught here in Fairhope this past week! Elder Miller and I seem to be more unified, understand one another better, and are teaching better. Happy to say that besides the itching, things are great!
I have been reading "Our Heritage" recently. And I have been floored at what is in there! I think I have neglected "my heritage" a little bit. Growing up, we know that the pioneers crossed the plains, we know Joseph Smith was tar and feathered, mocked, and killed. We know they were driven from place to place. But I had no idea all that went on. I still don't! But I have a much stronger desire to be obedient and follow the counsel of my leaders, and to give everything I have because of what they did for Jesus Christ. It makes me want to study it out even more!
Lastly, I am thrilled to hear about Drew's talk in church and the fun times that seems to have generated. I am sure there are some very bitter sweet times that will commence from now until he leaves, but I am so proud of him, and so glad you all are getting to witness these monuments in his life. I love each of you! And pray that you all will have a Spirit filled week. :)"
Elder Smith

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Tallahassee road trip and golden contact

Yes, that is right. I will be road tripping to Tallahassee for the first time since I entered the mission field! I haven't even caught whiff of the eastern half of the mission since day one. But my streak ends tomorrow. MLC is at the mission home this transfer. So we will be taking off at 10:30 tomorrow morning, staying the night in Tally, and then arriving home about six or seven Wednesday. You should see some pictures on the mission blog, so be looking out for that!! It should be loads of fun.
Saturday we had a great miracle take place! The very first man we talked to, and we talked to sooooo many people that day, was very, very prepared to receive us. We had made the goal going out that we were going to talk to every single person we could, and it payed off right then and there! The first house across the signal light from where we live is where he came out of. I was looking for someone we could contact! Well, I saw the door open through the foliage, I turned right into the driveway, not having seen him, but knowing that someone was coming out. We talked to him about family history, which led into a gospel conversation. He agreed to read the book of Mormon, explained that he was extremely open minded and has always been searching, and therefore hears all people out. We set an appointment, said a prayer, and then after the prayer is what really blew us away. He felt prompted to ask us 2 questions he has always had and has never found answers to: What happens after we die? Do we go straight to heaven or do we linger for awhile awaiting judgement? Second question: Why did God create us in the first place? What was the purpose? He then proceeded to tell us how he believed all that we believe about the hosts of heaven, living with God previously, and God creating this earth as a place for us to learn and to grow. It was... Amazing. He was seeking. Looking. So prepared of God to receive us. We testified that he was correct, and gave him Alma 40 to read, as well as the Plan of Salvation pamphlet. It was the only pamphlet I had on me. The only one! And it just happened to be the one he needed. Elder Buhler and I, and he, for that matter, went away beaming. All of us so edified and uplifted by the power of God. It was amazing. We have an appointment tonight. I will be excited to let you all know how it ends up going!!
I love you all. And I know that this work is true, and that we all have the potential of living with God again if we can only overcome our fears, doubts, idleness, and sin.

Elder Smith

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Alligator Alley

Elder Smith is done in Navarre and got transferred last week back to the Mobile AL Stake. He's serving in Fairhope, AL with Elder Buhler, who used to be his district leader over him when he was previously in Mobile!

"Yes indeed! "Alligator Alley" is in my new area! I'm stoked to see me some gators. Both animal ones and human ones! Haha. Fairhope is an extremely nice area. By far the most wealthy city I have ever spent time in. It's very very pretty here. We are in a ward with 3 other companionships! There is a senior couple, a set of Sisters, and 2 sets of Elders here. Our ward is great! We have President Spencer as well, who used to be the 1st councilor in the mission presidency under President Jensen. So. I am stoked! We ate at the Stake President's house for Easter last night. We also have one of his councilors in our ward as well. Which, funnily enough, is considering taking a job for the FBI in Bakersfield, CA! Is that not cool or what? Haha. Easter was great. We had lunch with a family as well as dinner with the Jurgens. No, I did not get anything for Easter for those of you who asked. But! That is okay! Because there was tons of Easter candy here when I got here. Plus I still have some left over from Christmas, to be honest! Here are some pictures of me at Navarre beach last week. :) Anyway, we had a rough week this past week! The area of Fairhope is not doing all that well, unfortunately! But that is going to change, believe you me! Our zone however, is great. Super good missionaries from what I can gather. Not only that, but we are on track for our goals extremely well! It's a much smaller zone. There are only 20 missionaries, and 2 districts. It is drastically different from the Pensacola zone. Anywho, life is good. Elder Buhler got hit by a car on Saturday, but don't worry, he is fine!! We had an amazing experience on Saturday, earth day, out at the pier. There were so many people, and we didn't want the impression that we were just hounding everyone that we saw, so we just played it cool, and wished people a happy Easter, complimented them, etc. Well, the 2 people we did contact, were long lost members of the church who had not been active in a very long time. Their records were in the wrong ward, and no one knew where they were. And these are 2 different families, 2 separate experiences about ten minutes apart, mind you. Yeah... It was amazing being inspired to talk to them, and then finding out that they were sheep that had strayed! We got their names, phone numbers, address, and will be following up trying to help them come back. Is that not a miracle?! My time is running thin. But I do have a testimony that God lives! I will talk with y'all next week. :)"

Elder Smith

Thursday, April 10, 2014

2 Weeks in the busy life of Elder Smith

Hello everyone!! As I am writing you this email, I am listening to Elder Ballard's talk that he gave yesterday. What a glorious blessing!! Not many people who have lived on this earth has had this kind of blessing from our Heavenly Father! I'm so grateful to live in the time we do. This is the first talk that I've listened to since being on here. I think it is the talk I would like to invite you all to go back and read and or listen to! It is amazing. Such a great missionary talk. I would love to get y'alls thoughts on it!!
As for me this week: It has been great! Trying, but great. MLC (Mission Leader Council) was a very sweet experience. Tuesday we had to go drop in on a district meeting in our zone due to some unfortunate circumstances. We cut everyone's miles by about 250-300 within our zone. We have been trying to plan for our zone training this week as well. That is going to be tomorrow! Anyway, very busy, very fun, very testing! And unfortunately we didn't get to spend much time at all in our own proselyting area this week. But! Next week will certainly be better. :)
Once again, I don't have a ton of time. I am sorry! I'll try to figure something else out so I can update you all some more. I love you!

Elder Smith

Hello everyone! Spirits are high today. It's been a great week! Went on tradeoffs with the assistants, it was awesome! I was with one of my friends from the MTC, Elder McPherson. It was great. We ended up having to do some emergency traveling around to the zones, but that is okay! That day actually was on of the more memorable of my mission. There was a tornado here! One of our members actually was in it... It lifted him off of his feet. It's actually a very dramatic story, but I can't do it justice here. He was trying to run from it but couldn't get any traction with the ground. He is okay, but couldn't have been any closer to death from what I can tell. That weather we had... Was the craziest thing I have ever seen! We were certain we were not to go out in it. And then we were half joking about how there was probably going to be a tornado from it. Well, there was! Multiple actually. Anywho. That guy came to church for the first time in awhile, and brought his daughters, who are currently investigators of ours!! Not many other people kept their commitment to come to church. But that is okay! They will make it. :) We had 3 trade offs this week. Felt like I was hardly with Elder Frederiksen at all! The work here is still pushing along. We have yet to have a zero week on new investigators. I am stoked about that! It means we are finding those God wants us to find! :)
I love getting to hear all that is happening with you all, once again!! People moving into houses, babies being born, birthdays, visits. It's great! I hope that things will continue to go well for our family. I have been trying to make a more conscious effort to pray for each of you all by name, and pray about the concerns you all may have or things you may be going through, and asking God to help in those trials. I wish I could say I had time every prayer, but I don't. But you are a topic of conversation with Heavenly Father and I. :) I love you so much! Until next week. :)
Elder Smith

Monday, March 17, 2014

Spectacular week

Hello everyone! This week has been spectacular. I have already had many neat and awesome experiences. We had a trade off in Brewton on Tuesday. Wednesday we were invited to and attended the stake PEC meeting. We got home so late that night. The meeting went past 9 and we had about an hour drive home. Needless to say we got into bed late that night. And that was even without planning! Thursday we got a call asking for us to come give a blessing in a non member's home because of some strange happenings. Yesterday we were able to have 5 non members attend sacrament that we had invited or had been trying to invite. Sweet, right?! We also found 5 new investigators this past week, with many more people who will likely start investigating this week! I second the words of my wise "Elder" brother - Miracles are very, very real! Our zone is behind on our baptism total. We are needing or wanting to have had 19 people to have entered the waters of baptism as of yesterday, but unfortunately that has not taken place. We currently have had 4 people choose to follow the example of Christ through baptism this year. So! We have work to do. Elder Frederiksen and I have been mulling it over, really trying to evaluate how we can help those we have a calling to help here. And we've come up with some great ideas I think!! We have the blessed opportunity to speak and counsel with the stake president each week. Yesterday we spoke with President Curtis for about 45 minutes. He's currently in Africa, it was 2:30 his time. And yet he was so willing to get up in the middle of the night to talk and counsel with us. He is an amazing example of the law of consecration - giving EVERYTHING he has to God, holding back nothing. I would say I've been blessed with many examples of that throughout my life. Anywho. The work is progressing. Elder Frederiksen and I are working extremely hard to bring salvation to all that will accept the terms therein! And I am completely happy doing it. Once again, time is short. But I love you all! Can't wait til next week so I can tell you the miracles that will have taken place this week!
Love, Elder Smith

Monday, March 10, 2014

Busy busy......

I am already loving getting to serve in Navarre! Just so you all are aware, I have a lot less time than I used to have, so... My emails are going to be cut drastically. I am so sorry! We found four new investigators in 2 days this weekend. We set a baptismal date, had an investigator attend sacrament meeting... It has been eventful already!! We had not had a BCD or investigator at church since Elder Frederiksen has been here, which has been 4 and a half months!! So I am stoked. Already this area is growing. We have not even had the easiest time adjusting. Elder Frederiksen has felt a little overwhelmed, a little scatter brained, and our planning has not been all that fluid, we had my first full day nearly an entire day of planning trade offs, district meetings, weekly planning, transfer goals... We didn't get out to go work until 7. And yet, the Lord is blessing us immensely. It's an amazing feeling! We had a rough time planning on Friday night after such a long day of already planning. I went to bed thinking it was a disaster. And yet, Saturday we found 3 new investigators. We rocked the house. And Ether 12:27 just kept ringing through my ear. It is a reminder from the Lord right from the get go that He wants me to be humble. That the success we are going to have, because I know we will have loads of success, is because of Him, and His grace and mercy. :) I have not yet fully unpacked. I am so busy! I have been to bed late nearly every night. Writing in my journal has been a nightmare. I haven't done it in so long! But I am going to get caught up. Well, I only have 6 minutes left, and I haven't even written anyone else yet... So, I will end here. I love you all so much! Elder Smith
 My new address is 8455 Coastal Breeze Ct Navarre, FL 32566

Monday, March 3, 2014

Transfer and Zone Leading

Yes indeed! Transfers hit and I am shipping out. I am going over to Navarre, which is still in this zone. That actually has been a slightly common occurrence with President Smith, that is, transferring people inner-zone. But I am stoked!! I am sad to report that Elder Wilkey is no longer my zone leader, and no longer the zone leader of this zone. I will be taking his place, however hard the shoes may be to fill. He was here 11 transfers as the zone leader! And I believe the best zone leader this place has ever seen. My new companion is Elder Frederikson. He came to the mission the same time Elder Dattilo came here to the FTM. He's awesome, and I am stoked to get to be his companion. As for the meeting with Elder Ballard, I am not sure that I will be in attendance. Things changed this week. Now only those who are within an hour and a half's driving distance will be permitted to go. The only chance that I have to get to see him will be if there is an MLC associated with him coming. For those of you who served missions, MLC used to be called ZLC. It changed from Zone Leader Council to Mission Leader Council. Anyway! I am of course hoping that that will be the case. But we will see!! Woah. Gotta get back into this. Just spent fifteen minutes on family search and puzzila, and found about 15 ordinances to do! Sometimes on p'days all I want to do is family history work. Like, I love it. I don't know if I told you, but last week I believe I sent about 45 people's names to the temple. I totally love it!! I wish I could do the work myself honestly. But oh well! Another year or so and I can, right?? It astounds me just how much work has to be done still. Some people on that sight are messed up beyond all belief. If only I had the time to fix them! Anywho. We got two extremely solid referrals this week. I am stoked about it honestly! They both seem to be golden through and through. :) Too bad I won't be here to teach them! I got a hair cut today, in case anyone is interested to know. Probably not. But oh well!! :) I don't think I have much more to tell y'all... Just that I love you, I love the Lord, and being on a mission is exactly where I want to be! Love, Elder Smith

Monday, February 24, 2014

Today has been insane in the membrane! But it has been great too. We played floorball for an extended period of time because the Elders and Sisters serving up in Brewton, AL came down to play. It was fun! I played about half the time. There is just not enough time to accomplish all that I need to do! That statement is true for both Pday time and regular proselyting time. I have gained about five pounds in the past three weeks or so. We have been been diligent in our exercising... So I am hoping that is 5 pounds of muscle! Hahaha we shall see I guess though. The real test will be mother's day. And then the final exam will be when you see me in the flesh for the first time. "Wow kev... you really enjoyed that southern cookin'" Haha!! I am stoked to hear that Drew is going to the great nation of Mexico!! I think it is so fitting He is going to do a great job!! I got an email from and old friend from 2nd ward asking me if Sean was preparing for his mission. I chuckled and then responded by relating that Drew had his mission call!! So funny how we have clocks on us 24/7 and yet still time slips into the abyss so quickly. Ha! We had a meeting of the minds yesterday with several leaders including the President of the West Florida Genealogical Society to discuss the big event that we are putting on. There will be more details to come, but man are we getting geared up! It's going to be an open house using family history in order to help people become interested in the church, and genealogy. We are trying to find ways to help people become interested, and I know that family history is one of the best ways we can do it!! This week we taught 20 less active/recent convert lessons. That is by far a record for me. We stayed fairly busy this past week with teaching. We are seeing some people returning even still! We also were able to teach 6 investigator lesson. I am hoping that can come up. This ward is doing a great job though. We, as a ward missionary effort, are over double the mission average for lessons taught per companionship, both in total and in investigator lessons. Our bishop is exercising his keys, our ward mission leader is committed to the work, and we have members that are being a great support! One cool experience I can give y'all - I always forget to share my spiritual experiences with you. Probably because words just cannot and do not describe what actually took place – We were teaching Michael and Itzel last night, our recent convert and his wife. We were able to answer some really big questions for them. On the way over to their house (about a 4 mile walk) Elder Smith and I were talking about just how hard it must be for God to see all of His children, who He has a perfect love for, turn and reject him. Well, one of them wanted to know who was at fault, in the case of their family, for their sister getting an abortion. Her dad was the one that told her that she had to get one, and she went ahead and did it. Michael and Itzel didn't know who was going to be responsible for that at the last day. We discussed that, but the really sweet experience came after they expressed deep sorrow and sadness and remorse that their family was going so far off the straight and narrow path that leads to eternal life. And we then had a very powerful experience, talking about the lessons that they were learning about God, and how He must feel when He sees the wickedness of those He loves most. When we experience others rejecting our purest love, our best intentions, our deepest and most vulnerable feelings, we taste one of the easily forgotten parts of Godhood. The Spirit that was there was so strong. I wish you could have felt it. I hope all of us can bear in mind just how hard it is for our Heavenly Father to see us come out in open rebellion against Him and the love and blessings He is trying to extend. I'm sure He is just waiting so anxiously for the day when we will return to Him, so He can give us all the blessings He has wanted to give us all along. May we all be worthy of such a joyous reunion. I love you, each and every one of you. Elder Smith

Monday, February 10, 2014

Could be better, could be worse

First off, let me tell you about the investigators we currently have! We had to drop 3 of them this week, which was really quite sad. Our pool is beginning to dry up again, which really just stinks! We no longer have any people committed to a specific baptismal date. One no longer wants visits, one is still pretty hard to get a hold of and the other didn't come to church this week which means he cannot be baptized on his scheduled date. So! As you can see, we have a fair amount of work to do! But, the good news is that our district is still doing amazing! We represent, in numbers of proselyting young missionaries, a fifth of our entire zone. Yet within our district we have all of the zones current BCDs! Holler, right? Last week we help all but one! So that is really good for our district. But also sad that the rest of the zone isn't having much luck right now. We had a member out with us each day this past week. Is that not a blessing or what? We received a zone training on Tuesday about that very thing actually. Instead of just having members come out with us, we are to be working with each of the members within the walls of their own homes, teaching someone that they have found, not us! I am hoping that can happen. It really is a different work you are a part of when that is the case. Because the people we are working with have no cars, no phones... It's very very difficult to get in contact with them when that is the case! Cause they are always out walking the streets, or you can't ever call ahead. And so we end up having a lot of dropped appointments, non church attendance, and so forth. So! Our focus this week is going to be to find the very elect! Those who have been prepared to receive us. :) My email this week from President Smith was informing us that Elder Ballard was going to be in our mission March 8th, and that we were all invited to come and participate in that meeting!! I am stoked. Beyond stoked!! Elder Ballard is the apostle that set President Smith apart. I think that is totally neato!! I don't think I have anything else for you all. I know this work is true. I love you all, and hope you have a great Valentine's day!! Elder Smith