"I love teaching about about the birth of Christ"

Date: Wed, Dec 12, 2012 at 6:05 AM

Ola família!

Thanks for the christmas envelope! I only opened the envelope and I am being patient with the packages. I really liked the christmas tree you guys sent and the movies. Thank you so much!

That's a cool picture you guys took with the drummer boy. I remember going to that christmas celebration last year, it is way cool! Thanks to the envelope you sent and the movies I am starting to feel the christmas spirit alot! We have been sharing a christmas message with alot of investigators and some members to help remind us all about the true meaning of christmas. We have been using that film Joy to the World. It's a good one. That trip you guys took sounds awesome too! I really like church history and it would be cool to see those places some day.

This past week and a half have been a little difficult  We have been struggling to find new investigators and to help our investigators progress. There are quite a few good investigators in our area but it seems like each one is just has a little problem that is keeping them from progressing. I have learned on my mission that everyone has difficulties. Even people who seem to be perfect or have the perfect life have dificulties. Heavenly father does this to strengthen us as we work through these difficulties and turn them into strengths. 

On sunday, we went to the other ward that meets in our building during the morning and there was a visitor there that had lived in Florida for 6 years. His name was Junior and was way excited to speak english with me. I tried explaining to him the Plan of Salvation and I did it in portuguese because it is easier for me but he wanted me to speak english. Surprisingly it was pretty hard to teach in english because I am so used to portuguese! He is a great guy though and the missionaries in his area are going to keep visiting him. 

Well less than two weeks until christmas and skype! I am pretty excited. A little scared because from the pictures I've seen Nat has grown a ton. But Dad, can you make sure my skype name works still and if not can you create a new one? my username is smith.isaac29 and password is bizik29. Thanks!

I hope you all are having a great holiday season. It is alot different celebrating christmas as a missionary. Not many lights or christmas shows but I do love teaching about about the brith of Christ and about this special time of the year. (Wow I sound so missionary!)

Have an awesome week! I love you all and hope everything is going great at home! 

Oh and we had transfers today but I will be staying here in Geisel with Elder Wanderson. I am excited because I love this area and these people!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  (Oh how I miss N'SYNC christmas CD!)

With lots of love this holiday season,


Pic 1: A dead dried up toad we saw on the road!
Pic 2: Thanks for the envelope!
Pic 3: Picture from a church acvitity. Bounce the pencils in the cup!
Pic 4: Picture from church activity. My companion trying to shake off a cotton ball from his nose. We put vaseline on our noses first.
Pic 5: Our friend Jeferson doing the same.

"We contacted a Nolan on the street!"

        Date: December 3, 2012, 8:11:34 AM

Sounds like a great week! You guys will sure be busy during this holiday season! That's awesome Nat scored a goal! How much longer does her soccer season go? Branson sounds like a cool little town, I have never even heard of it before. Lucky laurel, I remember getting my tonsils out, I drank so many slurpees! Thanks for the quote Mom, it's cool to think that I am involved in this work full-time. Our mission president told us this week that the number of people getting on the church website to fill out mission papers was like 700 a week. After President Monson's announcement of the new age, there have been like 4000 a week! He said he is receiving a lot of reccomendations and that about March or April alot of missionaries will be arriving! I am pretty excited!

Well this week was really good. We had some great experiences with some of our investigators. Like everyweek there were of course many downsides, but I like to think about the good things!

During the week we contacted a Nolan on the street! He was in that crouching position that Nolan does when he plays with his toys. He told me he can sit like that for hours. It was pretty cool. When we talked to him he said he has actually been wanting to here more about the church and has been wanting to visit. He lives really close to the church. We returned this week to his house and shared the message of the Restoration with him. He really liked it and he showed up for church on sunday! He really liked church and asked us to pass by later in the week.

Another cool experience was another new investigator we taught this week. We found a cool family knocking doors on the street behind the chapel. They were a little iffy at first but after our second visit with them they started to loosen up and except our message better. We shared a message about families with them that was in the ensign and they really liked it. When we went back there saturday to teach them the Restoration, one of the kids said the opening prayer. My companion helped him say the prayer and after he said the prayer, I looked at the dad and I could see how happy he was to see his kid praying. It was such a cool moment and I felt that this was something the dad had been waiting for. To see his kids talking with our Heavenly Father. It was an awesome experience and we are hoping to see more progress with this family.

Well these are some of the highlights of the week. It's been kind of funny seeing some of the christmas decorations around here. I sometimes laugh because there are so few and it's super hot out. It just kind of looks like there are a few people that never take their christmas decorations down and they leave them up throughout the summer. It is pretty hard to think that it is actually the month of december. It's so hot!

We had a good training this week given by our mission president. He is really an inspired man and I love learning from his experience and knowledge. I learned alot about the Spirit and we had a chance to reflect on our progress and see how we can improve in our work and in our lives.

Well I hope you all have an awesome week. I love you and miss you guys! Have an awesome holiday season! I am grateful for this oppurtunity to serve. I learned alot this week about the Spirit. I think the greatest lesson I learned is that we need to be more than worthy to have the Spirit. We must also have a desire. Once we realize we really need him in our life and we really desire to have his guidance, we then begin to feel his presence and have his companionship with us.

Have an awesome week. Love you guys!

P.S. Hey mom I got my christmas package! Do I have to wait until christmas to open it?! I haven't opened it yet I promise!

P.S. Let me know when you guys get the package I sent!

P.S. Hey make sure skype gets all set up and worked out because it is coming up soon!

"You live and you learn"

Date: Nov 26, 2012 6:26 AM

Holy smokes that's alot of food!

Wow I could hardly believe how much food you guys had there! And grandma and laurel's pies look delicious! I'm glad you guys had a good thanksgiving. There isn't thanksgiving here. I think the only reason I really remembered it was thanksgiving is because a guy in my ward who served in Provo reminded me that the day after would be black friday and then I remembered. But thanks for that thought dad, I never thought about that but it is so true. We often take alot for granted and I think if we had to go a day with just the things we thanked God for the day before it would be a pretty dificult day! Is that tree the tree that you guys chose? That's awesome! I like natural trees because they smell good. My favorite christmas tree was that real flock tree we bought one year.

Well sounds like some fun plans for the holidays aswell with Mark and all. That will be a packed house! I still remember that one christmas when all the cousins came to our house, good times!

Well this week went well. We have a new investigator, a young man, who went to seminary and to church this week. He actually has a friend in the church and has been going to church with her in a different ward but he is going to start coming to our ward now. He is really cool and already has a good understanding of the church. We are going to start teaching his whole family aswell. They are really awesome people and they said they would come visit church aswell with their son. I'm pretty excited!

We have a family we are teaching that isn't really progressing well. But this week we passed by there and showed a short video of the Book of Mormon and I think they rreally liked it. They asked some questions after and agreed to read a part that we marked. I am excited to see how it went and hoping that this sparked some excitement in them. 

I played piano for the primary program this week. It was realy fun and I got this little CTR heart afterwards that they gave out. It was pretty funny because when it came time to sing the primary song about Nephi (I forgot the name of the song in english) some of the kids were like, ''woohoo!'' and they were like yelling when they were singing. I was kind of chuckling and playing piano at the same time. Also I gained an appreciation for primary leaders. That is a hard calling.

This week I got a little sick. I had to take an anti-biotic. It was pretty funny because the anti-biotic that they gave me to take, I already had. It was a prescription that the traveling doctor gave to me before I left. But I learned something. I had been taking that pill when I felt a little sick, but just one at a time. Then when I really was told to use it I told the mission president's wife I only had like three. And then she explained to me that with anti-biotics you have to take them like as a course and not like ibuprofen that you take just when you need it. It was pretty funny. But you live and you learn I guess! Don't worry, I am feeling much better already!

Well this week we are going to really try and find some more new investigators. We are going to try and use some new ways aswell to find these people that the Lord is preparing to hear this message. I really believe that the Lord is preparing many and that we must be ready when we meet them so that we can testify and teach our message with power and authority. There is no greater news than the gospel, nothing greater we can give to these people. 

I love you and miss you all! I hope the holidays continue to be great for everyone. Keep me updated and thanks for all the pictures! Less than a month 'til Santa Clause comes! 

Tchau for now!

Elder Smith

"I am getting a little worried about my balding..."

Date: Nov 12, 2012 7:12 AM

Hello Family! 

Thanks for the birthday box! I opened it on Tuesday night and it was really awesome. Thanks alot! Also I received a few letters and another box from the Badger's so I will have to write some thank you cards. Also, one of the family's in the ward invited us to a family night along with other members and then at the end they surprised me with a birthday cake and another sister even made me a tie. It was fun and really nice of them. I will attach some pictures.

Well funny things, I am getting a little worried about my balding. I bought some ''Stop queda'' shampoo with means like ''stop fall or loss of hair''. I feel pretty old. First it was blood thinners, now this! But that's alright. I know my family will still love me if I come home bald. 

We had kind of a hard week finding, teaching, and overall doing our work. We are teaching a funny young man who is progressing well. His goal is to read the Book of Mormon before his baptism and I seriously think he will do it. He understands scripture really well and has already shown good improvement since he starting learning about the gospel. Sometimes I lose patience with him because he likes to joke so much but I love the guy! 

Also, one of our investigators, finally stopped smoking! It was really cool and I was way excited for him. The only problem is he is moving to Rio de Janeiro today and so we won't get to see the rest of his progress, but we will pass him as a reference to the missionaries there and I hope I can in some way keep in touch with him and see how the rest of his journey goes! 

Well I love you all! I hope you all have a great week. People are starting to put up christmas decorations here. I will have to take some pictures and show you how it looks. It's cool to see decoration but a little weird because it is so hot. It will sure be a different feel this year! 

It is so true about the union you have with your companion and how important it is. Sometimes you have to sacrifice a little and try pretty hard to get union with your companion. But if you don't have love for your companion, it is really hard to teach others the love that comes from the gospel.

I hope you all have a great week. Too bad to hear about the elections, it's a little crazy the changes that are being allowed to be made. Heavenly Father needs us as examples more than ever! 

I love you all and miss you!

Tchau for now,


Bizik Turns 20!!!

Date: Mon, Nov 5, 2012 at 6:13 AM

Hello Family!

Thanks for all the birthday letters and pictures. I really enjoyed it all. Sounds like things are going well back home. I can't believe Nat got braces! They make her look pretty old. Everyone seems to look so much older and I feel like I haven't really even changed! I voted today. It was really easy how they have it all set up and didn't even take much time. Thanks for helping me out with all that. I can't wait to hear how the elections go! Tell Jo Jo hi for me and that I'll have to keep representing the Backstein clan down here for a little longer without her.

Well this week was good. My new companion Elder Wanderson is a great guy. He is really energetic and likes to work. He walks really fast so I think I will be losing some weight this transfer. It has been getting hotter and hotter because the summer is just around the corner. It's hard to believe I have really only experienced winter here. I am a little scared to what the summer might bring! Yesterday during lunch I was sweating so much. I looked like those guys on the gatorade commercials. Except for my sweat wasn't actually gatorade and I am a little buffer than those guys. 

This weekend was also really good. One of our investigators finally was able to go 2 days without smoking! We were really happy and we will pass by there today to see how today went as well. He is already seeming to be alot more happy and it's cool to see the progress in his life. 

Yesterday, a less-active family also went to church who we have been visiting. There are really cool and invited us over for lunch today. It is awesome to see people making such great decisions to come back to church or to enter the church and also to see how the Gospel changes and improves lives. The brother of this less-active who came to church yesterday is also returning to church. He quit his job because it was messing with his family time and church time. He wants a calling, he wants to spend time with his church, and he wants to keep the commandments. It is cool how much trust he is putting in the Lord and he knows that as he keeps the commandments the Lord will bless him and his family. These people are real examples to me.

My pants ripped again this week. I bent over to put on my shoes and they just ripped down the middle. Luckily I was at home this time. I am getting pretty good at sewing though as I fix the little rips that I get from day to day use of my stuff.

Well I have been thinking alot this week about my efforts. If they are acceptable to the Lord. If we are doing our best with the area the Lord has given us to take care of. Also if Christ came now, if I would be ready. I haven't really gotten an answer to all of these questions but I do know that if Christ did come, I would be on the right path. It is great how we have the gospel in our lives to keep us on the path. Although no one is perfect and we all have lots to change in our lives still, we are in the right place to make these changes and to continually strive to do our best.

Well I love you all so much! Thanks for all the birthday letters and such. Mom my package arrived like two weeks ago but I won't get it until wednesday, it is waiting for me though! Thank you so much! 

I miss you all and hope that all continues to go well there. I am grateful to have such an awesome family!



"Sadly, there are no 7-11's here"

Date: 10/16/2012

Hello Family! 

Wow so many new things everyweek! I can't believe Jo Jo is already coming home, I remember writing her a few times on the mission and how she had like six months left and it is already here! And that's way exciting about Cort and Chandler! You'll have to send some pictures. I bet Julie is pretty excited this week. Cool to hear about some of my freinds heading out on the mission, way exciting! I'm glad they are all choosing to serve. The Lord needs missionaries!

Well Mom I didn't receive the e-mail yet, have them try again maybe. I am not sure why I didn't get it. 

Well this week was pretty different than usual. I got an unexpected new companion! Elder Pechel had to resolve somethings at home and left home on wednesday. He was a great elder and I know there are many who will miss him. But he said after he gets everything worked out he can come back. It will be pretty cool if he comes back while I am still here on the mission! But now my companion is Elder Marston. He is from Illinois. He is an awesome guy with a lot of desire to work and be a good missionary. He goes home in December. We get along well and things are going good. 

Yesterday at church was good. It is crazy how in one day on the mission you can feel so happy and sad at the same time. We went to pick-up a less-active member for church. He is having some problems and I know church would help him so much! But he didn't go to church yesterday and I was pretty sad because I know how much happines comes through the gospel. But also, I saw a few new faces at church! We had an investigator there and also a few inactives who are wanting to return came to church. There was a good amount of people there at church and the Spirit was very strong. It was a great meeting.

I think this week will be super busy. We will be working with a lot of less-actives and also with investigators and trying to find more people to teach. Also we have a ward halloween activity saturday. I am pretty excited for the week. 

I was reading in Preach My Gospel today something that caught my eye. It said that as we share the gospel with others, we realize how important the gospel really is in our lives. I thought this to be so true because of the greater appreciation I have gained for the gospel in my life as I have tried to share it. We really see the differences it can make in our lives and the lives of others. The greatest thing we can give is the gift of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Whether we give this gift to investigators, friends, relatives, neighbors, children, it is the greatest gift we can give.

I am grateful for my family and the oppurtunity I had at a young age to learn about he gospel of Jesus Christ and to be raised in a family that holds strong values and teaches the principles necessary for a happy life. 

Well I love you and miss you all! Thanks for everything. You guys are the best. Drink a slurpee this week for me! Sadly, there are no 7-11's here. But that's okay, there are other good things!

Have an awesome week! 


"I learned alot this weekend at conference"

Mon, Oct 8, 2012

Happy October Family, 

Sounds like everything is going pretty well. Exciting about Mike's new job and the new houses. Everything always seems to change so fast when you only get updates every once in awhile. Conference weekend was awesome. I got to watch all of the saturday sessions in english but sunday I watched in portuguese. Conference was a good refresher! I love hearing the apostles and prophets. I gain a stronger testimony of their divine callings everytime I hear them speak. And way to go Romney! Hey did Dad figure out a way for me to vote? 

There were alot of events that went on this week. The week flew by way fast. It seems like time is going faster and faster. We found a really cool new investigator this week. He has a wife and a kid too. He recently moved here from São Paulo and knows a few people in the church. He is really liking the Book of Mormon and came to conference yesterday aswell. We will try to find him and his wife at the same time at home so we can teach them both. 

Yesterday, we were a little sad because we had called investigator, visited investigators, and it seemed that no one would make it to conference. I started a little fast yesterday with a purpose to try to have investigators at conference. When the second session had started, no one had showed. After about ten minutes though, an investigator, Williams, came in with his book of Mormon in hand! I got way excited, then a few minutes later another investigator entered with her little kid. We got pretty excited and it was a great session. I am glad they were able to experience conference and see apostles and prophets of our Heavenly Father. 

I learned alot this weekend at conference. I really like the talk from Robert C. Gay when he talked about how sometimes we justify our actions when really we are just plainly in the wrong. Also that we should let our lives show to others that God truly loves us and all of His children. Something President Utchdorf said that stood out to me was that it isn't the external circumstances that determine our happiness, we determine our happiness. We need to learn to be happy. We can always be happy when we are living the Gospel of Jesus Christ and are striving to be like Him. Also the priesthood session was awesome. They talked about how the world needs more ''real'' men. Men who are worthy, men who are willing to work, men who are kind, men who respect women and others. I thought to myself that I want to be a ''real'' man! I also thought to myself of the greatest example of a man that I have in my life, Dad! Dad you are the best and you give me an example to look up to and strive to reach. Thanks for always being an example even if sometimes I didn't act like I aprecciated it. 

Thanks for the Cameron's letter. And tell Tyler congratulations! I was waiting to hear about his call, I am way excited for him! Will he be speaking english there? I thought it was way cool about the new missionary ages. President Monson is truly inspired and it was cool to hear this announcement. 

Well I love you all and hope all is well! Carve a good pumpkin for me! The Holidays will be starting here in a little. It will be weird to have Christmas in summer. But the Christmas spirit I am sure will still be present! 

Love your favorite son, 


P.S. Hey mom, can you check my balance in my bank account? Sometimes I take out money to send letters. 

Pic: We did a service project and I thought to myself that I didn't need sunscreen cause usually I am fine. But I realized after that I used a regular shirt and not a church shirt so there was new skin exposed! 

"miracles are happening all around us."

Date: 10/1/12

Oi Família!

Thanks for the picture of Nolan, that's a pretty awesome soccer ball! And yes the water balloon fight with Edcarlos was the same Edcarlos as the scripture reading story. That is way cool to hear about the Knight Family and how you guys are involved and all. If I am remembering correctly I visited them once with Dad before? I'm so glad to hear they are going to church! There isn't a feeling much better than knowing you are helping God's children grow closer to Him and enjoy all the blessings of the Gospel. Keep me updated!

This week was good, I went on companion exchanges with another missionary that arrived with me. It was good to learn some things from him and see different ways we can go about the work. 

Dad there is a Peruvian man in my ward! He married a brazilian and they were living in Peru but now they moved here. The wife has alot of family here. They are way nice though and talk about how great Peru is. I told them you served there and all and they asked for your facebook, I'm not sure if you have one so I gave them Mom's name. So Mom if you recieve a message in spanish let Dad translate! They said they would make us some Peruvian food!

A part member family came to church this week. The wife is a member who is part-active and the husband is not a member yet. They also have a son who isn't a member yet. They are very nice and we will go there and talk with them and try to teach them this week. I am hoping we can help them gain full activity in the church and enjoy all the blessings of the gospel. 

The ward is getting pretty excited about missionary work and everyweek the work seems to keep moving forward. We had a great Sacrament/Testimony meeting yesterday. There are so many strong members that go through so much but continue to remain faithful. They are a great example to me. 

I am pretty excited for conference this weekend. We are going to try to max out the power of General Conference and try to get alot of investigators there and less-actives. It is such a great oppurtunity for them to feel the Spirit and gain a testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. We are going to do an activity friday in preparation for conference, it'll be great. 

I have been thinking about something cool I heard here on the mission. I think it was in a stake conference where someone said ''the greatest miracles that happen our the miracles of the converting power of the gospel of Jesus Christ''. I thought this was interesting because many times we think of miracles such as healing the sick, the blind being able to see, and things like this. When really, the greatest miracles are our own conversion and the conversion of others. This miracles matters most because it is the miracle that will bring eternal happiness. Alot of times we hear stories of miracles and think that we aren't worthy of such miracles because we don't see them much in our lives. When really, miracles are happening all around us.

Well I love you all! Thanks for all your support and everything. You guys are the best! Less than three months til Christmas!

Tchau for now!

Elder Smith

P.S. Hey can you try to find a way to get Cameron's emails from Sister Johnson and send them to me? I can only get emails from my family but if you send them to me it's all good. And maybe you can send mine to him somehow. The mail system is just so slow!

P.S. Hey Dad, will I be able to vote this year? Our Mission President said we can vote online?

"Just when I thought I had seen it all."

Date: Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 6:55 AM

Hello family!

Well it sure is the month of moves! We too are moving next monday to an apartment with two bathrooms. Four missionaries, one bathroom, generally there are a few that need to use the bathroom at the same time! Sounds like you guys sure are busy, glad all went well with dad´s surgery, I'm sure he isn't too happy that he can't help, Dad always likes doing that stuff!

Well I will start with a good story like I always like to do. This week I was sitting on the bus on our way back from district meeting. The window was cracked open and the bus was in motion. Obviously not expecting much, suddenly appeared a hand grapping the rim of the window. I got kind of scared and looked out the window. There was a man on a bike gripping the bus and catching a ride! The bus was moving pretty fast too! I am pretty sure he was well trained because he was perfectly stable and had a pretty smooth let go. Just when I thought I had seen it all.

This week went by really fast with transfers and all. We had a ward dinner friday night and we shared a message with the ward. We had everyone take a balloon, blow it up, and try to keep it in the area. When the activity started there were about 40 people with 40 balloons. One by one my companion called a name and one by one each person would leave the circle, leaving behind their balloon for someone else to take care of. At the end of the actvity, I was alone trying to handle all the balloons. We used this as an analogy of union in the ward and how everyone needs to do their part and the work is easy and we can accomplish more. But when there is only a few people working it is really hard and we can't keep all the balloons in the air. Everyone liked it, the food was really good, and quite a few people came.

There are some miracles happening here in this area. I am so grateful to be a missionary and to be able to see all the great things that the Lord is bringing to pass through his children. I know he loves everyone of his children and he wants everyone to be able to enjoy the blessings of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is so simple, the commandments are so simple. It is us that makes everything more confusing. God is our Father, He is perfect and His plan is perfect. We can recieve true happiness through the Gospel. 

This week something way cool happened. A recent-convert of 10 years old showed me an awesome example. He had been having trouble reading the Book of Mormon, he didn't really want to read it. Which I could understand, when I was ten I didn't read the Book of Mormon very much either! But we still have been commenting to him that he should read it. This week, the brother of this child told me he saw his brother reading the Book of Mormon! I got way excited and the next time I saw this child I conragtulated him. I then was told that he had also been reading the Book of Mormon to his younger cousin and was explaining the scriptures to him aswell. And not only that, he had said a prayer before the scripture study aswell with his cousin! What an example his is to me. If this young child is ready the Book of Mormon and explaining it to his cousin, how much more should I be striving to share the Gospel with others! 

This young child's name is Edcarlos. Two weeks ago we had a ward activity and we did a water balloon fight. Edcarlos was born with only one leg and couldn't participate because he has his fake leg on and couldn't get it wet. He was way sad. So today we are going to do a water balloon fight for our P-day and we will have him remove his fake leg and do the water balloon fight with him. I am pretty excited, I think he'll like it alot!

Well I love you all and miss you all so much! I got some new pictures from Andrea today in a letter with some awesome pictures of the family. You guys all looks so great! About three more months until Christmas! Will everyone be home for Christmas?

When I left for my mission, Bishop Cranney told me three things that I needed to do to make my mission a success and how to be happy on my mission. He said I needed to be obedient, work hard, and love everyone. I am gaining a testimony of this counsel he gave me. I am glad to have learned these principles from my family and especially you Mom and Dad!

Tchau for now!

Elder Smith

P.S. Hey mom maybe we can be going to school at the same time again!

"There is nothing greater than the gospel in our lives"

Date: Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 7:43 AM

Oi Família!

Como estão? Today was transfers, I stayed in the same area and I am with the same companion! But I am glad because the work is going well and I am really liking this area. This transfer ends the last day of October, 5 days before my birthday! 

Well this week and a half went well, it was very rushed with lots to do. Saturday was way fun, we had a brother in the ward who wanted to do some visits with us so him and his wife took us around and we visited some families. this brother and his wife are so great and loving. They talked alot about how much they loved doing visits and how much we need to show our love for our fellow brothers and sisters. 

Friday we were teaching a lesson to a member. We were teaching inside his house in the living room, but somehow a chicken managed to trample into the house fighting with another chicken. It scared me! And just when I thought I had seen it all...

We have a good group of investigators. There have been a few ups and downs but we are not giving up and we will do all we can to help these people. There is nothing greater than the gospel in our lives. Nothing that brings more true happiness. I wish everyone would accept this wondeful message. But I have learned that we must do our part and hope for the best. 

I love you all! Christmas is just around the corner and I will be skyping with you all in no time! Tell Andrea that a recent-convert sent a message to her strawberry-chic page on facebook. 

I was reading in Alma this week about the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's. I thought it was cool how they buried their weapons of war and chose to not fight against the lamanites knowing the lamanites would indeed fight against them. I feel like sometimes we do the same things in our lives. We put up a guard and attack others because they attack us. When in reality it is better show forth an example and help and love those who attack you or criticize you, because generally they are those who are in desperate need of your help. 

Well thanks for the emails and pictures, I miss you all!

Elder Smith

P.S. Grandma's suite looks great!

P.S. This picture is a new family in the ward and couple other people, they are so awesome!

"what color are our sins?"

Date: Mon, Sep 10, 2012 at 6:27 AM

Hey Family!

This week has gone by so fast, actually this whole transfer has gone by fast. This week is our last and then we have transfers next wednesday. I can't wait to see the pictures of the new rooms, are Andrea and Abe still living there? That will be way fun to have grandma there, I always wanted grandma to live with us! And Nat started Junior High, crazy. I bet it is a huge change for her but she will get used to it soon and begin to love it. That's cool that she is united with her Narrowsview friends now. 

This friday at our ward activity that we did we did a movie night and played 17 miracles. It was cool because we set up a projector in the church parking lot and everyone sat outside. It was a really fun night. This week will be a game night (minute to win it games). I am pretty excited for that. I still remember when we did this at our Smith family reunion and I remember watching Dad try to slide the oreo down his face and into his mouth without hands. 

Our bishop told a cool story I wanted to share with you guys. It was after a baptism on his mission and there was a little kid looking into the baptismal font. The kid then asked the bishop, what color are our sins? The bishop quite puzzled asked for clarification. The kid explained that in primary the teacher said that when we are baptized our sins stay in the water and we come out a new person. I thought this story was pretty funny. Baptism is so great and is such an important step in our lives. We should all be like this kid and remember that through baptism, or through taking the sacrament weekly, we can be clean from our sins. I believe this kid understood better than most people that baptism cleans us, even though he was a little confused on if sin has color or not!

We have some great people right now to teach and our ward is getting pretty excited to do missionary work. The people here really know how to love others. I have learned that no one is prefect, but we can still love each other in spite of our differences. There is a brother in the ward who always gives me a big hug. Him and his wife are very awesome and treat us like their children. But don't worry Mom and Dad, I will always be your favorite son and you will always be my favorite parents!

Well I hope you all have an awesome week. I love you all and hope that everything goes well. Sounds like there are a lot of things going on there! Tell Grandma hi and that I hope she likes the new place. 

Tudo na paz,

Elder Smith

P.S. Birthday box!? Sweet! Well actually I would like things I can give to some people, like little hymnals in english, or church movies, or ties. I don't really need much. I might need some new white shirts. Mine are pretty stained but I will try hard this week and see if I can't scrub out the stains. I have tried a few methods but nothing seems to get them too well. Other than that, just whatever! Remember that whoever wants to send a package should label well whats inside. You don't have to be too specific but let them know what's in there because if they suspect that there is more than you labeled they charge. Also if you try to send electronics make sure to label they are in there and don't try to sneak anything becuase if you don't label they are in there or try to sneak and they find out they charge alot I think. The people there at the mail place should be able to help. I just say this because the last package I had to pay. Ask around maybe Danny's mom or Brady or Quinn's mom have some good suggestions! Thanks mom!

"the Gospel truely brings change into lives"

Date: Mon, Sep 3, 2012 at 6:57 AM

Thanks for the pictures Dad! The picture of Nat looks like she doesn't have an arm! And I haven't heard much about the news here. People will ask if I like Obama or something like that but not too much. One investigator turned on the tv and the headline said, ''Romney's big speech'' and I really wanted to hear about it but I told him we can't watch tv, I wanted to hear about it so bad! Will I be able to vote? Nice picture of Duffy, I miss the ward!

Well I will start with a funny story. I went on splits this week with one of the zone leaders. At the start of the day on our way to lunch I felt my waistband loosen. I looked down and my belt had broken! The leather like ripped inside of the buckle part. I quickly put it into my backpack and thought no one would notice. After lunch my zone leader asked, did you forget a belt today? And I showed him what happened. It was pretty funny but now I will have to try and fix it. I have a spare but I like to only use it for special occasions.

One of our investigators Damião, is a blind man, but very cool. This week when we were talking about the ten commandments, we were talking about the second one. It says that we shouldn't make graven images or use graven images or something like that, and he said something like '' don't worry I can't see them anyway'' also one time someone asked if he was seeing the video that was a playing at an activity (they were just joking around and knew he wouldn't take it seriously) and he said that it is hard to see at night because it's dark. He loves joking around and always likes to laugh and have fun. He is great. He was baptized by one of his friends in the ward, it was pretty cool.

Cibele showed amazing faith this week. She had so much go wrong. We told her that the week of her baptism would be the hardest, she didn't believe us. She told us though that her week was worse than she could've thought. But she kept on going and she was baptized yesterday, it was awesome! Such a spiritual meeting.

This week I fasted for an investigator to be able to stop smoking. We talked to him Friday that he needs to stop. He has been slowly decreasing and was only at like part of one cigarette each day by this time. We said now he needs to stop completely. When we passed by sunday he had been two days without smoking. What a miracle! After 30 years of smoking, the Gospel truely brings change into lives. This same family already brought some of their family to visit the church yesterday. They are awesome. We have been working with them for awhile and their baptism is marked for this Saturday!  

We are trying to keep the work moving forward here in Geisel-João Pessoa. There is always so much work to do. Yesterday we had a great Stake Conference. My mission president was there and also a member of the Area Seventy. I learned alot about fulfilling our callings and supporting our leaders. When we do these things the Church grows and serves it's purpose of helping God's children obtain eternal life. 

I love you all and miss you! Hope all is going well at home! Thanks for the updates, there are awesome!

Elder Smith

"this work is the work of the Lord"

Date: Mon, Aug 27, 2012 at 6:59 AM

Sounds like a great weekend! 

Things are going well here in Geisel. We found some great new people to teach this week and our investigators are progressing well. I'm glad you made it down there safely in the blurple! That car is one of a kind, I remember I used to beg for a different car because I didn't like it, but now I am very grateful and thank you for keeping me humble Mom and Dad!

Well the family we are teaching has been progressing really well. This week we went there and taught a lesson on repentance and how it can help them change and feel true happiness. Me and my companion sung a hymn at the beggining and the end. The first being in portuguese and the second in english! They really liked it. I will try to send you a picture of them soon. We went there almost everyday this week, one day we asked for all the coffee in the house, we ended up taking three packages! I think she had some still left over from a already opened pack. BUT, it worked! The mom (who was the one with the big problem with coffee) said that since that day she didn't drink coffee! It was so cool to see her exercise the testimony she had. She said the day after we took the coffee was TERRIBLE but now I can see she is much more happy and is proud of herself. The dad has problems with smoking but has diminued alot! He is still progressing and I believe he will be smoke-free this week! I am so happy for them. It is crazy to see how this family who has only begun to gain a testimony is already making such significant changes in their lives based on the testimony they have. They really enjoy the restoration video, they have read parts of the Book of Mormon and have prayed about it and believe it is true. When we went there to remind thme about church Maria the young women was reading and marking in her Book of Mormon! The only sad part is one of their sons isn't really interested but we will keep inviting him to church and stuff!

Church was great this week, I got to see the testimonies of all the great members in our small ward. I could see the strength and desire each one had to be better and grow in the Gospel, no one is perfect, but with a desire to change and a willingness to act, Heavenly Father can make us more than we ever thought was possible. Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to feel the happiness he feels.

Our activity went well this week. We had a rope and blindfolds that went around and into the church. It was a night of the dream of Lehi. We had them walk the course and we explained what had happened after and the significance of this in our lives. I learned alot, especially from a young boy Edcarlos (a young man in the family we are teaching) who would not let go of the bar. He was even kind of sad because not that many people tempted him. But I tried to get him to let go and he wouldn't. He is so awesome. He actually only has one leg but wears a fake one when he goes out. He is way cool.

Our investigator Cibele is doing well, she has been progressing very well, sunday she had a little setback and her mom begged her to stay home because her cousin was there. So she missed church, but I could tell she really wanted to go, just didn't want to disappoint her Mom. But she has a great testimony and I know as she continues she will be a great leader in the church. Her baptism is scheduled for this Sunday.

Well I love you all very much! I learned alot this week, mainly that this work is the work of the Lord. That we are merely instruments in His hands. Our work is to be worthy to be his aid in performing His work. I am grateful to be a part of this work and I hope that I can be a worthy servant in the Lord's hands thoughout my mission. 

Miss you tons! 


Elder Isaac Theodore Smith

P.S. The bishop of a ward I attended sunday said that this scripture is the recipe for happiness- Mosiah 2:41

"Well something funny that happened this week..."

Mon, Aug 20, 2012 at 7:20 AM

Howdy Family!

Wow sounds like everything is happening so fast! I hear that Andrea and Abe got there one week, and then the next they have a house! And Laurel will be moving too! So much is going on, and Nat starts junior high! And you are remodeling the house! Hopefully things can calm down for you guys here in a little bit. Sounds fun though! I can't wait to see pictures of Andrea and Abe's new place and also the finished product of our remodeling. And thanks for the scripture Dad, I can relate well to that sometimes.

Well things here are crazy aswell. We are doing lots of things to get our ward moving! The pace was a little slow here but we are starting to get going now. We have been teaching alot with our members and taking the young men with us during the day. Alot of the young men only have school until 11 or noon and don't have much to do after that so they are usually free and it is something good for them to do! And it helps us aswell, they are fun to be with. Our English class is going really well. Our first class only two people came, but then the second was more like 10! And people are really liking it and are inviting people. Also our activity on friday went well, alot of people arrived late but it was still great. It started with about 10 people and ended with like 25. We did a treasure hunt and I made brownies. Everyone loved them. Tell Mark Lybbert thanks! 

We will continue doing these activities to help the members, non-members and less-actives. The work of the Lord is exciting, never-ending, and fun! I really love these people here and I hope we can leave this ward better than we found it. I am playing the Organ here (they don't have a piano) so that is fun aswell. 

This week during district meeting we decided to fast to find more people, specifically more men because the church needs more men here! During our fast, we found an awesome family that lives really close to the church. We made a contact with the dad, who at the time had a beer in his hand, and he let us come back and teach his family. We are teaching 4 of the 5 members (one of the sons isn't home often and I don't think is much interested). They all went to church sunday and agreed to be baptized! We just need to help them with the Word of Wisdom, I know the Lord will help them because when ever He gives us a commandment, he will always help us fulfill! (1 Nephi 3:7) I am very excited for them.

We also found a lady who has already heard about the church because she is currently using familysearch.org. She came to our english class the same day we knocked her door. The young men washed her cars already too (they are saving up to go to EFY). She is very awesome, just that her ''husband'' is in Rio right now and they plan to marry the beginning of December. We will have to talk to her more and figure out what we can do. She loves our church though and I am excited for her and hope we can help her embrace the Gospel in her life and in her family.

Well something funny that happened this week, one young man had a football and I got way excited because I haven't thrown a football in awhile. I was in my church clothes but I just wanted to make a few tosses. So we did a few tosses and then I remembered my long-snapping days. I bent over to do a long snap and at the same time ripped my pants a little bit. But it's okay cause mom sent me with a sewing kit and so I will sew it right up! It was pretty funny though. It wasn't huge and no one can tell it's there so I continued on throughout the day.

Well I am grateful for the oppurtunity to serve here. I am grateful for the success we have had so far and I hope we can remain humble and hard-working so we can acheive great things here. All things good come from God. We must always remember to give our thanks to our Heavenly Father for all he does for us. I am grateful for this Gospel and for the chance to be a missionary. Sometimes it's hard to deal with the responsibilty of being a missionary, but I can always remember that what I am doing is what Heavenly Father wants me to do and that His spirit can always be with me if I live worthy and am ready to recieve Him. 

I love you all and I hope you have a splendid week! Tchau!

Yours Truly,

Elder Smith

Pic #1: This was after our activity Friday! I love these people!
Pic #2: Me and Elder Pechel! 
Pic #3: This is Marcello, a young man in the ward. He is always willing to help us and is great. One day he was sad and I asked him why and he said he was hungry. Another time he was tracting and teaching with us and he realy wanted ice cream. So we told him we would buy him ice cream if he stayed with us until 7PM. We bought him ice cream, but still he left a little early. He is way funny. 

"Always something new here in Brasil!"

Aug 13, 2012 at 8:41 AM

Dear family,

Howdy! Sounds like the reunion was awesome! Too bad Jake and Abe couldn't go, but it's okay, I know how it feels! But don't worry I know my mission is very important and so I don't feel too sad. I like hearing about everything though. Send me some pictures of the house! I want to see the progress! Not even six months and already so much has changed!

Well this was my first half week in my new area! It's cool, I feel like I already know these people, there already feel like a family to me! There are some great people in the ward. Including one young man named Marcello, he did some visits with us and fell asleep during a lesson, then after he really wanted ice cream so we got him some ice cream and he helped us out for a while. He is great though and has a strong testimony and loves the church.

I had to re-learn how to use the bathroom again. When I got to my new house there was even toilet paper! Just a sprayer thing like we have on our kitchen sink. I asked my companion where the toilet paper was and he said you use that sprayer and then a towel. Or you can just take a shower! Well We did buy some toilet paper this week and so I think we will begin this mode or at least some of us. Always something new here in Brasil!

We have some really great investigators right now. One being a relief society lady who didn't smoke yesterday! She had been smoking for awhile and then went down to two yesterday and now zero! We will work with her more this week and hopefully she can be baptized! Her sister is baptized and her neice has been attending church alot! Just that her mom wants to see her baptism. We have some other great investigators aswell and I am excited to help them out.

We are going to be doing an activity this Friday and hopefully every friday after aswell. There are not many activities here so this will help unite the ward and give members something to do and to bring their friends to. Also we are starting an english class. I hear lots of stories about converts who found the church through an English Class. I am really hoping to help this ward grow in number and quality! 

Well I love you all and I miss you all aswell! Thanks for all your support over the years and now while I am on my mission. I know this work is important and I know the Gospel is the greatest thing! When we live the Gospel and help others live the Gospel, we see the love of our Heavenly Father and the greatness of the Plan of Salvation. 

See ya later!

Elder Isaac Theodore Smith

P.S. Tell Russ I got the 5 dollars and thanks very much!
P.S.S. Can you get me a pancake recipe? A member gave me some maple syrup (homemade, it's a little different than I am used to but what's new?) so I want to use it!
P.S.S.S. My hair was pretty long and so everyone at church was calling me Joseph Smith just like at the CTM!