Wednesday, February 26, 2014

February 25th Email

February 25, 2014

Hey Mom,

How are things at the house? I'm sure Harley was happy when you picked her up. Things have been going great here at the MTC. We've been learning loads of skills that will help us greatly out in the field. When I'm in the classroom, I pay very close attention to what the teacher is saying and jot down whatever feels important. I'm getting plenty to eat here at the cafeteria and have been working on my eating habits. My whole district is all confident that I can improve my eating and get over any road block that comes in my way. The companions I'm with are great. They always keep an open heart, open mind, and open kindness. They always have jokes flying when in the class to keep others awake and alert.

The MTC has changed me so much in my short time being here. It doesn't feel like a week here until you get going and realize that time flies when you learn for four hours at a time. In the short amount of time I've been here, I have gained such a strong testimony on the Gospel and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We constantly do role plays to figure out how to handle certain situations with investigators. We learn the doctrines everyday and learn how to apply them to the investigator's needs and concerns. The first few days here were hard and I couldn't get much sleep here. The hardest part of the day was the six to nine o'clock sessions where we were all just tired and wanted to go to bed. But yesterday we all seemed to be alert and awake to what was being taught. We are all getting use to our schedules and are all getting to be good friends. We all participate in class and all get along with each other. Together we all learn and grow off each other to become a better district. We see our strengths and weaknesses and strive to improve. 

I miss you all and will be eager to hear from you in letters and e-mails. Invite those who wish to keep in contact to ask for my e-mail and address when I write you in California. See you all when I get home and hope to hear from you.
We can certainly see changes already in the way he speaks and thinks.  He is fitting into the role of missionary very well.  

Below is a picture of The Christus.  This is a statue of Jesus Christ that stands in the Visitor's Center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah.  It is a replica of the famous statue sculpted by Bertel Thorvaldsen which is located in the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints placed the 11 foot replica of the statue in the Visitor's Center on Temple Square in 1966 to emphasize that we are Christians and that Jesus Christ is the center of our religion.  As a family we love to look at this statue when we are there.  The marks in his hands and feet really bring home the sacrifice he made on the cross for us. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

First email

February 21, 2014--This is the first email we got from Mitch after dropping him off at the MTC.

Hey Mom, things are going well here. I've been learning loads of teaching skills and have been going to investigator training. I've been getting plenty to eat and have been keeping up with the schedule we've been going on. I miss you guys and love you.


It was short, to say the least, but answered his mom's biggest concern.  Stay tuned as he starts his journey.  We will share his emails and areas where he is serving.

Drive In, Drop Off & Drive Away

February 19, 2014--They have changed the way missionaries are dropped off at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah.  In the past, families went in for a presentation and then said goodbye to their missionary.  Now, we drive in to the MTC campus, pull up to the curb, get the bags out of the car, hug the kid goodbye and drive away.  From listening to people who did it the old way, this new way is much more preferable.  We did get emotional, but it was a short and sweet goodbye.  Mitchell handled it much better than his parents or his brothers.
Here is the traffic jam of all the cars dropping off missionaries.  This is only the missionaries with last names that start with N-S.  There were lines of cars in every direction.  It is amazing to see young people so willing to give up two years of their lives to serve others.  He will be in great company as hundreds of missionaries were dropped off that day.

Mom gets a final hug goodbye

Dad sharing a great moment with Mitch
It was a very quite ride after we left the MTC parking lot (except for the sniffles).  We love Mitch and we are so proud of the way he has lived his life and the choices he has made.  Choices determine destiny. . .he is destined for great things!


This is the last time Mitch and his three brothers will be together for quite some time since Stockton will leave on a mission before Mitch returns from his mission.  Here are our Latter-day Stripling Warriors.

Stockton-17; Brigham-12; Mitchell-19; Parker-14

Elder Smith's Farewell at Church

February 9, 2014--Mitchell gave a great talk in church on preparing for the temple and preparing for a mission.  It is amazing to see this young man step up to the plate, take on more responsibility and really grow from a teenager to an adult.  We celebrated after church with a few refreshments and a little get together.

 A big thanks to all who helped pull this together for Mitch!

Going to the Temple

February 7, 2014--Mitchell went to the Billings, Montana temple to receive his endowment.  For our friends who are not members of our church here is a brief explanation of what the endowment is: One ordinance we receive in the temple is the endowment. The word endowment means “gift” or “bestowal.” As part of this ordinance, we are taught about the purpose of life, the mission and Atonement of Jesus Christ, and Heavenly Father’s plan for His children. We gain a glimpse of what it will be like to live in His presence as we feel the peaceful atmosphere of the temple.

 We loved seeing friends and family in the temple and really appreciate all the support you have given Mitch over the years!

Mom's Momentos

Mom wanted some photos to remember what Mitch looked like before he left for two years.  Here is what she was able to get out of him before he got too tired of taking pictures.
He won't be leaving on a train, but we can't see him off at the airport, so this is close enough

This will be his life for the next couple of years, please be nice California

The foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, scriptures

Studying the scriptures will be an integral part of every morning now

One of those famous smirks

No country roads where he is going

Love this one in front of the river by our house

Couldn't resist a chalkboard note

Getting the Call

December 14, 2013--Here is Mitchell getting his call. . .

With the Push of a Button. . .

November 11, 2013--The next two years of Mitch's life will change drastically.  All it takes is a push of the button on the mouse to submit his paperwork to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He has no idea where he will be sent to serve, but he is ready.  Here we go. . .

. . .now we wait for the mission call to come.  Pins and needles!!!!