Thursday, October 15, 2015

May 19, 2015 Email

Hey Fam! Sorry this letter is late. We keep getting caught up in the activities with other missionaries and it makes it difficult to focus on writing. First off, congrats on the graduation Stockton! It's great that you were able to have fun with your friends and achieve something many kids don't. Let me know when you get your mission papers so I can skype in for that day you open the letter. It's good that you guys are getting ready for summer, it just means the guys will have help Mom out more around the house to help her with feeling less stressed. It's great to hear that Alexa is getting back from her missions! I'm sure she had some great times there and gained great experience to take into the world. If you're able to get out to that home coming talk, let her know I said congrats! 

This week has been good for us. We got plenty of work done and we have had some good success in our area. This last week, we had several meetings with missionaries and our mission president. We had a zone conference that was predicted to only go for about 5-6 hours but ended up going for 9 hours. We had lunch in between it all but it lasted forever. The first part of the meeting was discussing this. New system the mission is putting into the cars to monitor our driving habits. It's designed to help us have better control of how we drive. Such as: fastening your seat belt, watching your speed, and driving less aggressively. For me this isn't too huge of a problem as you know, my companion became a little paranoid about it though. We just get little warnings every now and then telling us whether to slow down, check speed, or informs us when we are driving aggressively. The rest of he meeting was on missionary related topics and that was the meeting. The rest of the week has been good and we are doing great here. 

That's all I've got for you the week. I hope things start to get a little less stressful now that things aren't so busy. I wish you the best and hope you enjoy the week ahead. 

Elder Smith

Other activities, hmmm. . . .

Mother's Day 2015

No email this week because WE GOT TO SKYPE WITH MITCHELL!!!!!!

We had a great time chatting and had several family members out for the call.  Sure miss this kid, but we are proud of all  he has become.

May 5, 2015 Email

Hey Fam! Sorry this is a little late. We had a lot going on and weren't able to get to a place with wifi to email. It's great to hear you're all doing well and staying busy throughout the week. It sounds like you're all getting jammed with all this stuff all at once and it seems you are only able to keep up with so much. It's good to hear Stockton is keeping up with everything in school. I guess when you get to the point he's at you start to get a little distracted with other things rather than school. It's good that he has had some interest and fun in music and sports. It's good that Parker has been having fun and success in track. He seems to do well in it from what I hear. Hopefully they can find a new athlete to participate in that race so they can compete in that event. Good luck at Districts man! Great job on getting the hurdles down Brigz! When I was in track, I absolutely hated the idea of even trying the hurdles in fear of falling flat on my face. Keep working at it and I'm certain you will get them. 

This week definitely had its ups and downs. The beginning of the week especially. We were helping some Hmong member drive some posts in for his garden using post drivers. I though, this is going to be good and fun. We got a whole bunch of posts in and we were moving to another of his gardens. As I was driving a post in that was a little shorter; the post slipped out of the post driver and when I brought the driver down on the post, the back of the driver caught the post and it came slamming on my head. At first I was shocked and though it was just a bruise. As I rubbed my head and looked at my hand, I saw blood. The impact caused a laceration that required three staples to close it. I have to say, the staples hurt more than the initial impact of the post driver. Oouucchh!! It's all good now though. Just another permanent souvenir of the mission. I just need to get the staples removed and that's that. 

We also had some good experiences where we had to give blessings and had some good contacts. We had a chance to get in contact with a less active member that lived in Idaho and has family there now. We came to knowing her by a call from our Ward Mission Leader who got a call from a bishop in another ward that told him to call us and get over there. She has been going through some health issues right now and she is very concerned for herself and her family. We are hoping to get in there and help her in any way we can to get her through this and to get her to church. Ironically, she lives right next to the church so getting her there shouldn't be a huge problem I hope. Yesterday, we got a referral that might be promising depending on how it all goes. We went to set up a time with her and she seems to have some interest. The rest of the week was fairly good in regard to getting out there with the members and getting good lessons with people to help them out. 

Well that's all I've got for you guys this week. And thank you for keeping me in your fast and prayers. I definitely felt it and needed it. I love you all and hope you have a great week. 

Elder Smith

April 27, 2015 Email

Hey Fam! Hope you're all doing well and having fun! This week was slow for us here. With transfers happening and all that, we haven't had too much success with seeing people. We did get to meet with a couple of people that have been making good progress and have been keeping commitments. There was this one guy that was a potential investigator in our Area Book that we had tried to visit. This guy was interested to have us stop by and to talk with him a bit, so we set up a time to meet with him yesterday. When we arrived at the place he lived at, the guy there said that he had just taken off for work. We were disappointed with that because we have to clear out the Area Book to know what to do and get some other work going for us. Another set of investigators we have are working on quitting smoking and are doing a fast from it for a few days. They say they will go on with the fast if they feel they can so that's a great commitment for them. Hopefully they keep up with the fasting cause once they quit that they can, if they want, make the commitment to baptism. Well, that's all I've got for you guys this week. Hope you all are safe and hope you are having fun in all your activities. 

Elder Smith

April 21, 2015 Email

Hey Fam! Sorry I didn't write last week, my email was wiggin out and I couldn't email everything I wanted to email. Last week we went to Bald Rock Mountain where we spent most of the day there and we had a barbecue after the hike. After the hike we went to the church and we emailed till the wifi failed on us. 

It is great to hear you're all keeping busy and doing all that needs to get done. It must be crazy out there with the schedules and everyone is going to their different activities and jobs. It's great the one investigator is making the commitment to baptism and is willing to show Heavenly Father her devotion and faith. Let her know she has a prayer from me. 

Both our weeks have been slow and long. We met with a couple of people last week and hardly saw anyone this week. There were a couple of people that have been making some good progress and are very sincere about changing and making those commitments to change. Yesterday we found out that our golden investigator, who we were going to put in date for baptism, ended up moving down to Fresno where she didn't have the opportunity to learn the gospel or to make those changes like she was here in Oroville. It was such a bummer because she made so much progress and was very open to everything the gospel has to offer for her and now she's back where she has all these bad influences and is in a sticky situation. We are going to see if we can get missionaries down there so she can still learn and make those commitments to he gospel. 

Well that's all I've got for ya for now. Sorry the letter is a little late. P-Day is hectic this week because we got transfers and everyone was wanting to chill and say their good-byes. My companion is leaving and I'll be getting a new companion who seems pretty legit. I love you guys and I hope you continue strong through the week. 

Elder Smith

April 8, 2015 Email

Image result for sacramento lds temple

Hey! Sorry this is a little late to you guys. Yesterday we were in Sacramento attending the temple and were down there for most of the day. It was great though because I hadn't been to the temple ever since I got into the mission field. It was awesome!! The rest of the week was one where it was slow yet went by fast kinda thing. We didn't have too many lessons set up so Elder Laulu and I have been going over our area and seeing who all is still interested in meeting with us. We had interviews with President Marston this week just on how we are and also to interview for the temple. We had to cut our interviews a little short since it was almost 10 in the evening when we went into the interview.  We had a few other meetings throughout the week. General Conference was awesome this year. It must have been great to be in the conference and to see the prophet and all the other authorities. I remember the first time I got to go to a live conference during my senior year. It was a great experience for me and for all who attended. This last general conference was a great one to see. It had such great talks in regard to the Atonement and on the Savior. After Saturday's session, Elder Laulu looks over to me and says,"Well, I guess they want all the missionaries to get married quickly after their mission." Then I look over at him and go,"We all know you're the one that's going to get hitched that quick out of all the missionaries here." We both just started laughing and a couple other missionaries totally agreed to what I said. I think my favorite talk given throughout the entire conference was the one that Elder Holland gave. He talked about how after we have done all we can and when we start to slip after that effort, the Savior reaches out with firm arms and strong hands to make sure we don't fall back into our old selves and become saved through our exercise of faith and our most devoted efforts. The best part I heard of that talk is when the older boy told the younger to go away in fear of him seeing his brother fall, the younger brother stayed rather than let him make that mistake without that safe guard. Just as the younger brother never left the older, Jesus Christ never leaves us to face the challenges of life alone. He is always there for us when we need him, even though we may not always see Him there. That helped me so much and I know that it can help others when they apply the Savior's infinite Atonement into their lives forever.  

This week was great and I wouldn't change it for anything. I hope to hear what all you did this week on Monday. I love you all and you are always in my prayers. 

Elder Smith

Here is Elder Holland's talk: 

Monday, October 5, 2015

March 30, 2015 Email

Hey Fam! It's great to hear that you all have some great activities to do! It reminds me a ton of the things I did when I was home and all the busy schedules when sports and play practice came around. I hope you do well in your senior presentation Stockton! Knock em' dead! It's awesome to hear Parker is doing well in track. It was hard for me to PR in most of the events I was in because of the different running conditions we had. I think it's pretty cool how Parker's getting up to the junior/senior level, he must really be dedicated to his sports to get to that point. Also, I hope him and Stockton enjoy their events with snowboarding and golfing.πŸŽ³πŸŽΏπŸ‚ 

And I agree, it can be tough when you see such good whether and you have to work in school work or anything else like that. Keep working in track Brigs and you'll do great. I hope Mom's search goes well. It can be tough looking for those jobs when you have to worry about all these other things to do. I know it was tough for me because there wasn't a whole bunch of work around when I needed a job. My prayers are with you. It's great that you're able to take a break for a while and get some time at the house this week Dad! I just hope I can still have free time when I'm older and have a family as well. That is just crazy to hear about the whether. I didn't think we could get winds that powerful up there and to have those fires give off that much smoke. It's crazy!

This week has been pretty good for us. We had some good success with getting into people's homes and teaching wise this week. We also got to meet some new missionaries to the zone last Monday and they seem pretty cool. We actually got some really cool miracles this week. Last week we contacted someone looking for her purse and she was willing to hear the lessons. We weren't able to get a hold of her for a while but she texted us asking if we could visit with her. We meet at the church and taught her the restoration and she also accepted a Book of Mormon. She has gone through some tough trials and some difficult pasts; yet she is completely open to learning and to draw closer to God, and that is a huge blessing for us. We committed her to baptism and she accepted it.πŸ˜„ 

Yesterday we got a really cool finding opportunity with a recent converts friend. She has had a few deaths in the family and has struggled with it a lot. She was talking with her friend, who is a member, and she asked all these questions about the Book of Mormon and about the church on several different points. We taught her about the Plan of Salvation and she was so receptive of it. The spirit was so strong there that it got her and my companion tearing up. I love how the gospel can help us understand what Heavenly Father's plan for us is and that we can find comfort in knowing that we can live with our families again. This is one of the many reasons I decided to come on a mission. All of this has been happening to strengthen me because I see the gospel influence lives everyday, and I am blessed to do this for the time that I have hear. 

Well, with that busy week being said it's time to start off the next week. I love you all and have you in my prayers always. 

Love your son
Elder Smith

March 23, 2015 Email

Hey Fam! It's great to hear you've done well this week! It's cool to hear Stockton's play went great. I can't believe he was a hermit!  It's weird to hear that the teachers are switching up again. If this keeps happening than we'll have all of us doing different senior projects. Hope Stockton and Parker do good at their track meet. It's cool that Austin got his mission call. We have a kid here in this ward put his papers in not too long ago and we'll be hearing where he's going in a few weeks. 

This week has been slow. We didn't have too much success with lessons this week since almost all of them canceled out on us or they never responded to any calls or texts we sent to them. Some people have been out of town as well so we can't meet with them anyway. It was difficult to fill the time with things to do but we got a list of people to try and contact. Most of them didn't answer the door or answer the phone when we try to call them. Those who did answer their doors said they weren't interested anymore or they were being nice for the missionaries previous rather than saying they aren't interested.  It was a rough week but that only means that we'll be getting some crazy work done here in the area. We got some new iPads this last week that are supposedly suppose to be faster and easier to use. They're still slow. They don't have Facebook on them yet because we will be going through a course in regard on how to use Facebook more effectively and understand the rules and guidelines set up for us. Sunday was great yesterday. We had some great speakers from the stake come up and give talks regarding visiting teaching and family. 

Well that's all me have for this week. I wish you the very best and hope you have a great week.

Elder Smith

March 16, 2015 Email


Hey Fam! Hope everything is going well for you guys up there. This week was good for us here in Oroville! Yesterday we got our transfer calls in and I'll be staying with Elder Laulu for another 5 weeks this transfer. We had a meeting that consisted of the whole mission, which you already know about, and Elder Neilsen was there along with the Bro. Heaton from the MTC Presidency. We discussed a lot on how to use iPads in the most effective way possible to further the work. That meeting didn't last nearly as long as the zone conference we had last week. This one only went on for 4 hours where the zone conference lasted for 9 hours. The rest of the week was pretty filled with trying to contact people and clearing the area up. Before I got here, this Ward was double covered with Elders and Sisters but we had the Sisters taken out. We found out that there are a few people that didn't get transferred over to us when the Sisters left and we're having to go through and figure out who these people are and try to get them back to us. We've been doing that for most of the week and a lot of finding for those people we lost with the transfer over and been very thorough with organizing it all.  

Well that's all I've got this week for ya. I wish you all the best of times and hope you have a wonderful week.

Love, Elder Smith

March 9, 2015 Email

Hey Fam! It's good to hear things are warming up in Montana. I think you've all had your fair share of snow and cold. If things are getting to busy for you and Dad, put the guys to work. They need to keep up and put as little stress on you two as possible. It's great that the contacts are in to. I've been afraid of having these trials tear since they are my only pair. 

The week has been alright. It's been a little hot near the end of the week and it was only in the 80s. The whole week we were out working and we had some rough times to find people. Most of the people were either out at work or we just caught them at a bad time. We didn't have too much service so it made it difficult to find things to fill up our days. We did get some cool miracles though this week. One of the investigators we have now is from some sister missionaries who's ward boundaries are right next to ours. He's a really cool guy and is very willing to listen and learn the gospel. Another person we found was just an absolute answer to our prayers. We were going to go out with one of the elders in the ward and visit people he had in mind to visit and he had a surprise for us. We were meeting at the church and this one guy just walked into the church building and started to talk with the member. He his name is David and he says that he wants to learn more about the church and what it's all about. He has been going to some other churches seeing which of them is centered on Christ and involves family. Lo and behold, he found it. What started his search into the church is his job. He is working for a company that has several members of the church there and he sees a great light in them and decided to want to learn more. He is very open to us visiting him and is very eager to learn. Unfortunately he wasn't at church yesterday, but I think the time change threw a lot of people off so several people didn't show up until later. 

Well that's all I've got for you guys this week. Keep working hard and I wish you the very best of times. 

Elder Smith

March 3, 2015 Email

Hey Fam! Sorry this is a day late. We were out doing some activities for most of our p-day yesterday. We went out to do this hike out to a small waterfall close by here. It wasn't too far of a hike so I didn't get the same experience as when we went up to Mystic Lake or any other hike up there. It was a good day all the same. It must be getting cold up there with all the snow you guys have been having. Hopefully it isn't as cold as it was last year, cause I seriously don't like the thought of going back to -35 degrees from 80+ weather.⛄️ We've had a few days of rain here and it's been pretty heavy so I'm thankful I'm in a car rather than on a bike. 

This week was kinda fast for us with seeing people and getting some things situated. We had something called a Dinner w/ a Purpose this week where we can only have dinner with members if there is a less-active, recent convert, investigator or a non-member present. It helps us to get better aquanted with people and helps to get a potential investigator. Unfortunately, we didn't have too many of the dinners because we've had meetings go too long or they've canceled the dinner. We had about three dinners where we had a purpose; one wasn't quite with a less-active or non-member but it was good. That dinner we had tilapia and I must say, the fish tastes just like it smells. Anyway, we had some good opportunities to teach and had some good service opportunities as well. One lady said that I could get into landscaping when I get home because we did a great job on her yard. 

Well that's all I've got for ya this week. I hope you guys keep up the hard work and wish you all a great week. 

Elder Smith

1/2 & 1/2 Package

We decided to combine a valentine's and 1/2 way package for Mitchell.  Here is what it looks like. . .

I put in a little note that compares missionaries to camels.  Here is the text:

How a camel is like a missionary. . .
(adapted from Cheryl K. Carpenter)

First is the “hump”.  Yes, you have crossed the mark and are now over the hump of the first half of your mission.  But remember, the hump of a camel is used to store food for the long journey.  Camels can go for long periods of time without food, but he must store his food in his hump.  A missionary has learned from so many experiences, but a wise missionary will store the knowledge he has gained, and put it to greater use in the second half of his mission.

Another important symbol, is what the camel does to be prepared to carry his load for his Master.  A camel sometimes protests his heavy load, but he drops to his knees for his Master, and once started, he patiently carries his load.  As a missionary, sometimes the load seems heavy and difficult to carry.  But when you drop to your knees and bend to the Master’s will, he will carefully lead you and you can bear the load patiently, and do your Father in Heaven’s work as he would have you do.  This is why the camel’s knees are heavily padded, as a missionary, your knees are calloused from the many hours of kneeling in prayer.

The camel has high set eyes that enable him to see long distances.  A missionary has his eyes set on higher things, he follows the Spirit that enables him to see the Children of God, those who are seeking answers, and he teaches them the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The camel has broad, two-toed feet that keep it from sinking in desert sand.  A missionary has a broad knowledge and a firm testimony of the Gospel.  This enables him to teach with boldness and stand firm in his testimony.  The people you teach do not yet have the blessing of such a sure-foot, but as you teach with love and the Spirit, you will help them gain their own testimony that will help them walk on firmer ground.

So you see, a missionary has a lot in common with a camel.  Dedicate yourself to do as the camel does—to serve your Master well and patiently over the long journey.  You have come a long way, there is still much ground to cover.  Continue to move forward, serving with love, until your mission is complete and your Father in Heaving will say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

So, in light of the 1/2 way point and the camel comparison, I packed the box full of his favorite treats (albeit after I had opened all of the treats and removed 1/2 of the contents of each package- ha, ha!!!).  Each treat had a camel label with a scripture reference on it that mentioned camels or the word "half" in each scripture.  The best one was a half-full mountain dew and the reference where it talks about Rebecca drawing water from the well for the camels (I know, I crack myself up-lol)!!!

Happy 1/2 way Elder Smith!!!  Enjoy the rest of the journey!

February 23, 2015 Email

Image result for fast and slow signs

Hey Fam! It's good to hear you're all doing well! It's unfortunate that dad is still struggling with work. It's hard to deal with work when it's a pain to keep up with everything. I hope the guys keep enjoying their activities and get a little free time to help you dad out. It's great to hear there's been a baptism in the branch! I have seen the conversion of others and it is great to see the change and commitment people make. 

This week was both fast and slow for us here. We had some service opportunities to do and had some good experiences from them. We've had some good experiences with the people we see and had some fun. One of the people we saw at church was a less-active member who we were told not to go visit or contact from our mission president. He has all these different ideas about doctrine and has some choice words about members in this Ward here. So that was an interesting talk with him. 

Well that's all I've got for ya this week. I hope you all have a great week and I wish you the best of times. 

Elder Smith