"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