Thursday, December 18, 2014

December 15, 2014 Email

Nothing goes better with hot cocoa than big mustaches-lol!!!

Hey Fam! It's great to hear how all of you are doing. Schedules seem to be full of work, sports, and music all over the place. Work for you and Dad seems to be busy. I kind of wish it was like that here so we could have things to do the whole time. It's awesome to hear Tim and Lindsey are attending church. I have high hopes for them with their engagement and with their new beginnings in the church and life. 

This week was the final week of the tranfers and my companion, Elder Briggs, is heading out of here. He will be serving in the Yuba City area. I will be getting a new companion tomorrow. During the whole rest of the week, we've had crazy storms come through here that had heavy downpours accompanied by 60 mph winds. This all happened throughout the week except for Sunday when we were stuck riding our bikes to church. 

We had some meetings that we had to have this week. That made it fairly difficult to visit people in the area when they are sick and going out of town for the season. 

The investigator that was getting baptized decided he wasn't ready yet. He's ready and clears on all the requirements, but he is afraid of the multitude of people. We let him know who all was going to be at the service and he started freaking out because of some anxiety issues and blood pressure. He gets stressed in crowds but does well in one-on-one interaction. So we will be working with him so he can get use to more people and work through his anxiety. So we didn't get a baptism this weekend, but will be working towards it again. 

So that was the week here in Cali. I enjoy hearing from you and I love the stories you tell. I love you all and have you in my prayers always. 

Elder Smith

December 8, 2014 Email

Hey Family! It seems you all had an average week for Montana. The Christmas concerts are fun to have to invite those to feel the Christmas spirit. 

This week again went by super fast. We didn't have many meetings this week but the week didn't last very long either way. We had several people that we tried to see but had little-to-no luck. Most people we tried to see were less-active members and several of our people weren't home or are sick. This Christmas season will be difficult because most of our people could be out at other people's homes for the season and we won't be able to visit with them. 

We had a great miracle this past week with a now potential investigator. We were heading over to an appointment with an investigator who's on date for baptism this Saturday and we were waiting to cross the street when someone walking down the sidewalk came up to us. He said his name was Forrest and told us that he's been trying to get a hold of us for some time. We showed him the new Christmas initiative the church has put out called "He is the Gift". It's a great video to get people ready for the Christmas season and to discover and embrace the gift God has given us. He said that he would be open to hear from us anytime and that he lived in this apartment complex close by where we were. We, unfortunately, did not get his apartment number from him.😑 So we're going to have to do some hunting to find him again. I think the only thing I would need is music and the call home on Christmas Day. 

Well, I hope you all have a great week ahead and wish you all the best. I love you and have you in my prayers always. 

Elder Smith

December 1, 2014 Email

Hey Fam! It's great to hear you're all doing well. It seems you've been getting some cold but interesting weather up there. The weather down here is wet and cold for several days in a row now. Since that first big rain storm we had, it's been like this non-stop. We need the rain though. Shasta Lake, a lake close to us that usually supplies water, is really low so it's required that it rains a lot here. 

The week went by really fast for us. Early in the week we had some meetings that lasted for most of the day. Wednesday was kind of a slow day for us, so we had to do some finding. Thursday was Thanksgiving, so we cleaned the church building for most of the morning. Elder Briggs and I waited until dinner playing battleship since we can't actively proselyte then took off for dinner at a member's house with several family members. Then we went in early and planned for the week and to finish off the night, we played a game of monopoly where I came in second. 

Saturday we went on exchanges and had a great experience with this one less-active member. We read from the Book of Mormon and we had a great time with him. Sunday was a great Sabbath day. Elder Briggs and I sang an arrangement of "Be Still, My Soul" and we had several people come up to us and say they loved it. I also got your package today and I loved it. It was awesome and I love the hat. 

Well I hope you all have a great time this week and I love you all. 

Elder Smith

  1. 1. Be still, my soul: The Lord is on thy side;
    With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.
    Leave to thy God to order and provide;
    In ev'ry change he faithful will remain.
    Be still, my soul: Thy best, thy heav'nly Friend
    Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
  2. 2. Be still, my soul: Thy God doth undertake
    To guide the future as he has the past.
    Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
    All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
    Be still, my soul: The waves and winds still know
    His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.
  3. 3. Be still, my soul: The hour is hast'ning on
    When we shall be forever with the Lord,
    When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
    Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
    Be still, my soul: When change and tears are past,
    All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

You're One in a Minion, Elder Smith

Here is a fun little package we sent to Mitchell around Thanksgiving.

Everything in it had to do with minions, my favorite was the twinkies that were all dressed like "minion-aries".

November 27, 2014 Email

The Atonement*

Hey Fam! Sorry for the letter situation. My iPads been glitching out with some things. It's great that Stockton and Parker got academics in cross country. Hopefully Parker keeps working on his sports, he's pretty good at them. And your right, it is important we build self-reliance in our spiritual lives. Several people will go off of others testimonies and not have one of their own. When we don't have a testimony for ourselves, we slowly start to loose that faith that we need in this life. That's why it's so important to build our own rather than on others.

This week was good for us here. Several times we met with our investigator, Gary, and he has been getting closer to baptism. He didn't show up to church yesterday, but he just needs to be at church one more time and he can get baptized. Some of our less-actives seem to be doing well but haven't shown to church yet. 

We've had several exchanges since Elder Briggs became a district leader. One time when we were on exchanges, me and another elder tried contacting a referral that has needed to be contacted for a while. When we got to the address, the owner of the house was outside and said the person we were looking for left a few weeks before. We started to talk to her and found out she recently had a death in the family. We talked with her on the the Atonement and how God is our loving Heavenly Father. She was open to hear what we had to say to the point of excepting a Book of Mormon. We hope to meet with her again and to start teaching her. 

Elder Briggs might be getting his visa here shortly, but some things have occurred that might change his waiting. Some calls gave us both some things to wonder about and to be aware about. 

Thanksgiving is going to odd this year. The whole zone will be cleaning the stake centers till the afternoon and then, instead of active proselytizing, we are going to go to members homes all through the day and turn in between 5-6. We will be doing our weekly planning while we are in for the remainder of the day. We do have some people who welcomed us to their dinners, so we'll be going to their houses for turkey and all other foods there. Yum!

I wish you all a great Thanksgiving and pray for you all the time. Best of wishes. 

Elder Smith

*As used in the scriptures, to atone is to suffer the penalty for sins, thereby removing the effects of sin from the repentant sinner and allowing him or her to be reconciled to God. Jesus Christ was the only one capable of carrying out the Atonement for all mankind. Because of His Atonement, all people will be resurrected, and those who obey His gospel will receive the gift of eternal life with God.

November 17, 2014 Email

Hey Fam! It's great that you had a great week. It's great that you were able to help the missionaries Mom. It's great to aid In the Lord's work and to see people progress and want to continue to make those steps of faith. Also, way to go on your Honor Band try outs Stockton! You gotta let me know how it goes and what songs your playing. Keep practicing on your basketball skills Parker and always strive for your goals in everything you do. And a big Happy Birthday to you Brigham! It's weird to think how old you're getting cause it means I'm getting old. Haha! 

Since you didn't get my email apparently, we had transfers last week and Elder Briggs and I are staying the same for another transfer. This week went by super fast for us. We had several meetings and people to see all thoughout the week with little time to see them all. Tuesday was Transfer Day and we had to help Elder Zaugg with getting his stuff ready and to load up. Funny thing was that Elder Zaugg and a sister missionary are both going to my last area and are double covering the same wards. They've been following each other all their missions and they find it very weird. Several new missionaries came into the mission and we got to meet them at our zone meeting this last week. We met with several people and have seen great progression with them. We have someone on date who is willing to make his goal and desire of being a member a reality. 

Well, I've gotta get going. So I wish you all the best and hope to hear from you next week. I love you all and have you in my prayers always. 

Elder Smith

November 4, 2014 Email

Having a little fun at the Oasis Fun Center

Miniature Golf

Laser maze

Go carts

Laser tag

Hey Family! First off, I'd like to say a huge Happy Birthday Mom! I hope you had a great birthday and a great Halloween. Also, big thanks for the package. It was fun and Elder Briggs loves the little sayings and quotes on them. 

This week was kinda slow for us lesson wise. The week started off wih a zone blitz up in another area of the zone we are in. We had the blitz to help out the missionaries there find new investigators and to visit several less-active members there. It was a good experience and was a pretty good experiment for future use in the mission. We then had a rather odd week with the different changes made for the week. On Halloween, we had to set our planning time for the evenings since we were to be in our apartments by 6. This was a mission wide requirement for all missionaries because of incidents in the past involving missionaries or people that dressed like missionaries. So Friday was like a regular day in the afternoon and early evening. Since we got done with planning early, us and the missionaries we live with all got together and played a few intense rounds of Clue while we waited for time to pass. It was actually pretty fun and entertaining for the night. Throughout the week though, we've had a few changes to our schedules. One such change involved moving someone with a huge amount of stuff for such a small home. The move took Elder Briggs and I close to three hours. The other missionaries were there for about six hours. It was crazy moving that family over to their new house. 

We went out to a place called Oasis Fun Center on P-Day yesterday and we didn't get into any internet connections that whole day. It was an awesome day there with a few events set up for us. The people that run the center are members of one of the wards, so we got to do the events without charge. It's kinda like a special deal for missionaries to have fun. We got to choose two out of three events there. There was laser tag, go cart, and mini golf at the center and I chose laser tag and go carts. Both were awesome and fun. I came in second over all in the laser tag round; which is impressive considering I've only laser tagged once before. In go carts I have no idea what place I got. Everyone was getting stuck and jammed into corners and I just lost track of where I was in the race. But I enjoyed it and we all had a blast doing it. After our two events at the fun center, we went to an institute building where a set of senior missionaries let us play some pool table, foosball, ping pong, and air hockey. Everyone had a great time there as well as I. 

Well, sorry I didn't get this email out to you guys earlier. I hope you all have a great week and had a great Halloween. I love you all and have you in my prayers always. 

Elder Smith

Halloween Package

Here is a photo of what we sent Mitchell for Halloween.  I guess this year he dressed up as a missionary-ha, ha!!!

Mom really gets into putting little messages on each thing and having a scripture to go with it when possible.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

October 27, 2014 Email

Joseph Smith (see information below)

Hey family!

This week was interesting. Last Monday, we were at Walmart doing shopping after I had emailed you guys. We just checked out and headed for the doors when some guy came up to us asking if we were Mormon. He started asking us all these different questions about some things he has heard about and studied. At first we thought we might have someone interested in learning more. Then he started talking about some weird stuff.  We asked where he got his information and he told us, the INTERNET. Surprise, surprise. We let him rant a little while then just walked off. Like it was said in conference is month, "The Internet has no truth filter." When we were talking to him, I remembered the promise the angel Moroni gave to Joseph Smith; "...God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people." We stood firm in what we believe and bore our  testimonies and left. When we can't combat with our own knowledge of the gospel, we bear testimony of our spiritual confirmation from God rather than from man. That is something that people can't fight or argue against. I saw it happen and I know the personal testimony is strongest tool and power we can have of the truth. So it's been an interesting start to the week. 

Tuesday, my companion almost got hit by a car. But he's fine and just had a few things to adjust on his bike. We also had a miracle happen with an investigator that day. He says he's been having trouble with finding his answer and feeling the Holy Ghost's promptings. He told us that he had a warm feeling and a strong belief that it was the Holy Ghost with us and as he reads the Book of Mormon. We hope he makes that commitment to baptism and to show his faith. Wednesday was a slow one for us. We just did some service and had some meetings that took up most of our day. The rest of the week was normal, except for Saturday. Recently we've been getting all these rain storms around here this week and had a huge one Saturday. We actually just got out of a great lesson and it looked like it was for the first part of the day, dry. While we were in the lesson, we heard thunder roaring over us and we thought we would be caught in the rain. It wasn't until we got back on our bike that the rain just poured out of the clouds like Cooney Dam at home when it releases water. We only had not even a quarter mile to our next stop and we were completely soaked, it was that bad. We stayed inside until it all died down and had a few other sprinkles throughout the rest of the day. 

Yesterday was the Primary program for our Ward. It was as you expect a Primary program to be, lots of the kids bellowing the songs they know and were full of energy. Oddly enough though, the kids were very reverent and still while they were sitting on the seats up front. It was a good sacrament meeting and full of spirit. 

That's all I've got for ya this week. Hope to hear from ya soon. Love you all and have a great week. 

Elder Smith

Joseph Smith--As a young boy in 1820, Joseph Smith wanted to know which church was true. As he searched the Bible for help, he read that he should ask of God. Acting on this counsel, Joseph went into the woods near his home and prayed. Suddenly, a light shone above him and Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him. When Joseph asked which church he should join, the Savior told him to join none of the churches then in existence because they were teaching incorrect doctrines. Through this experience and many others that followed, the Lord chose Joseph to be His prophet and to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ and His Church to the earth.

October 20, 2014 Email

Hey family! Sounds like you've had a little bit more of a relaxed week this time. It's cool that you're going to a Blue Man Group concert this week. I would love to be at one of those. And yes I have you guys on Facebook. So I can have you guys and some friends on, but I can't communicate with you guys other than through email. So just a heads up for messaging. 

This week was kind of a slow one for us here. We had an interesting thing going on where we only saw less actives and part member families this week. We did however get a new investigator who seems really interested in the church. We hope to get working with her and get her going. We had some of the schedules changed so we could help others with service and to try and find others who were available. Several people have a sickness going around. In fact, one of the Elders in our apartment has had stomach flu for a few days. He's being very cautious about what he eats and how much he eats so he can get rid of the flu as fast as possible. That's one reason we haven't been able to get in with several people this week. 

One miracle we had was yesterday. We were able to get in with a part member that we haven't been able to get a hold of for a while. They recently had a death in the family and have taken it pretty hard. When we arrived, we actually saw the plan of salvation pamphlet on the table. They've been going through it and the less active member helped her husband to understand it better. She is a great support to him and helps us explain some things that help her as well. We encouraged them to keep turning to God and to draw closer to him. Other than that, nothing exciting happened this week. We were going to go to this fun center center where they've got laser tag, mini golf, and go carts. But it started to rain and some people didn't want to do two rounds of laser tag. Don't know why? 

I love you all and hope to hear from you next week. You're in my prayers and I feel your prayers and love. 

Elder Smith

October 13, 2014 Email

Hey Fam! It's great to hear from you. Sounds like you all had a great week and have some great plans for next week. I would strongly encourage you all to watch Meet the Mormons this week. There's a reason it had a sell out when it first went into theaters. I heard that a few theaters around the states that had sell outs, so it's great that the general authorities had the inspiration to put it out to the public. 

It's great to hear Stockton is preparing so hard for a mission. I wouldn't have been able to do what he did in Media class. Way to go bro! It's exciting to hear that cross country will be going to state. Run hard in the last race Briggz to finish the season strong and with a high bar for others to reach. Keep striving to push yourselves Stockton and Parker, in this next race and in State. I hope your getting better Mom. I haven't heard anything from ya about your eye and whether it's getting better or worse. Just curious. 

Also, I forgot to thank you guys for the package you sent for conference.  It was great and Elder Briggs loved the little notes on all the stuff. It seems pretty cool in the mountains where we hunt Dad. I actually miss the snow and the cold it brings to my face. But I'm gonna hate it for a while when I get back home from adjusting to California temperature. 

This week was an interesting week for us here. The beginning of the week started with Zone Meetings and Interviews with the Mission President on how we are doing. Interviews took up most of the day, so we were mostly at the church the whole day. The next day was slow with people not being home and/or busy with other things. He next day, we got out to a lesson and had a great experience with teaching Terri. Unfortunately, my tire got a nasty flat while we were having the lesson so we walked back home which was about 3-3 1/2 miles away. It was long but got to have a good time talking to Elder Briggs. I had to go get some more patches since I ran out patching Briggs's tire since he didn't know how it was done. Being out here teaches a lot to be prepared and to learn fast. Funny thing is is that after I got patches to repair my tire, we found that Briggs had a flat as well. So we repaired that and went about doing the work. Later that night, after a lesson with some investigators, the valve on Briggs's tire which he just patched had blown up on him. So we to go back to the bike shop again tomorrow to get a brand new tube before we can really go far. So a few days of flats and some lessons made it a pretty interesting week for us. 

I hope you all have a great week this week and a great time together. I have you in my prayers and I love you all. Talk to ya next week. 

Elder Smith

October 7, 2014 Email

General Conference is a time when members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints gather to hear counsel from a prophet and the apostles.

President Thomas S. Monson; 1st Counselor Henry B. Eyring; 2nd Counselor Deiter F. Uchtdorf

Hey family! This week was hectic for us again. Plans we made seemed to go differently and we had some curve balls thrown at us to keep us crazy. We had some good visits with investigators and we will be checking up on them to see if they watched general conference. We had a few recent converts watch the general women's broadcast but we aren't certain on whether they watched the other sessions yet. We spent most of the week going around and inviting people, members and non members, to watch general conference and to have questions ready to be answered. We watched all the sessions at the church and saw a few people who weren't members and they seemed to really enjoy it. We hope that they decide to investigate more on what we are about. 

We also got the opportunity to watch the new movie, "Meet the Mormons" so we can have a good understanding of what we invite people to watch. It was great and an amazing description on what we better believe. It went into some great detail on how we show ourselves and on what we do with our faith. I would greatly encourage you to watch it when it comes out. 

The rest of the week was just fast and flew by really quick. I can't hardly remember where all the time went and when we did certain things. It just means that we're gonna have a really slow week this time around. 

I love you all and I hope you know that your letters are a huge support for me out here. Hope to hear from ya next week. 

Elder Smith

General Conference Package

Here is a little package we sent for General Conference.

Just some fun snacks and sayings!!

September 29, 2014 Email

Hey family! It's great to hear from ya this week. I guess I should have told a that I would have Monday as p-day last week. But your letter this week was great. It's cool to hear everyone is doing well up there. It seems really snowy up in Montana right now. I wonder if it'll break the record for snow fall this year. It seems most of the northern regions in America get frozen at random times of the year. It's cool to hear you all have some busy schedules with sports, hunting, and work all the time. It helps to keep you sane and just have something to do. 

This week was hectic for us. None of the plans we made when planning seemed to keep and we had several unexpected times with some people here. The beginning of the week started with some pretty nice storms and had those all throughout the week. We had some good visits and some interesting visits with potential investigators. One of them was a potential who seemed promising, yet when we went over he started to ramble on so we had to move on and visit others when Elder Briggs got a flat that we had to fix. We've been inviting others, member and non-member, to the general conference broadcasts that are happening at the stake center here. So the week has been all tossed around and we did our best to see those we needed to see. 

I love you all and I hope you know that your letters are a huge support for me out here. Hope to hear from ya next week. 

Elder Smith 

September 23, 2014 Email

Hey Fam! Sorry for the later email, I didn't get a chance to get to some WiFi yesterday cause we were at one of the parks here for most of the day then had appointments that needed to be kept.

This week was kinda slow for us out here since we had that Zone Conference with Elder Neilson. We had people reschedule on us and had some people go off the grid for most of the week. We were able to set several more lessons with our people for this week, so we're expecting some good numbers and good lessons for us. We hope to start some of our investigators on a stop smoking program that will hopefully help them toward their baptism. We also have a few others that we're working with to help them through their concerns. Other than what has happened and what will happen this week, we just have some more work to do and doing more service. We did this week, however, help clean out a garage of a hoarder. Don't get me wrong, the lady was nice and had a change of heart to get rid of some stuff, but it was so packed with things that were unnecessary and just lot of other junk. It all seemed to be a long process but we got most of it done.

Well hope to hear from you guys shortly and hope you know that I love you.

Elder Smith