"I am really loving the people more every day"

Date: Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 7:45 AM

Hey Family!

That's so cool to hear about the mission calls! Although I am still waiting for someone to get called to my mission! Speaking of missions, my mission is going to divide! In July we will be turning our mission that covers Paraiba and Rio Grande do Norte and we will be having a mission for each state! The work is growing very well! I am pretty excited and it will be cool to see how everything turns out. Tell all these new missionaries I am very proud of the and I wish the best for them! I am way excited for Tyler. It's funny becuase we didn't hang out much in High School but he became like one of my best friends at college. He will be an awesome missionary. Kadyn, Mary, Mary, and Johanna will be awesome too. I am so excited for them all! I bet Kadyn is getting pretty excited to get back to the Mother Land!

Well this week was pretty exciting. I went to pick up my son! (When you train a new missionary they call him your son) It was a fun experience and I really am learning alot. On tuesday I got up early and got on a bus to João Pessoa. There, we had some trainings and got our new companions. There was also a dinner and testimony meeting at our presidents house. And also we ate Açaí! I felt kind of bad because I ate more than everyone else, but it was free and so good! My new companion is from Chile and his name is Elder Cabrera. He is very humble and has a great testimony. I am excited to be working with him. The first time I saw him when all the new missionaries got to the church I felt like he would be my companion. It was a pretty cool experience. 

Looks like some fun Valentine's decorating. I totally forgot about Valentines Day, It didn't even cross my mind when it had come! I think they do have a valentine's type of day here but it is during a different time of the year. 

I learned alot with my other companion Elder G. Macedo. We had a short transfer so we only stayed together 4 weeks but it was some of the best 4 weeks because I learned so much. We have two new missionaries now here in our district so it is a good change. We are looking forward with a good number of positive investigators these next upcoming transfers.

I am really loving the people more every day. My companion, the members, investigators... everyone! I am loving more the culture and the language as well. I don't really like speaking english now. And To be honest I don't know how well it is. On tuesday, our mission president's sister was here and his mother-in-law as well. They don't speak english and so during our testimnoy meeting I translated for my mission presidents wife. It was pretty hard! Not that I didn't understand the portuguese well, but i sometimes just got tripped up on the english words. I am pretty sure sometimes I may not have even made sense. But she told me it was great and that I did wonderful. It was my first time really translating a meeting of some sort and so it was a good experience. I like translating though. I hope I can find a way to use my portuguese through my life.

Well have a great week! I am glad you guys are all well! I love you and miss you guys very much.

I have been thinking lately about the Holy Ghost and have been desiring to be closer to Him. It is so cool to feel a spiritual feeling and act on it. I know and I have learned that we can receive the Holy Ghost if we are worthy and willing to do God's will. We must strive to listen to his words. There isn't much better than feeling the Holy Ghost.

Thanks for all the support you guys give me. You are the best family in the world! I hope one day to be able to raise a family like Mom and Dad did. You guys mean the world to me!


Elder Smithhhhhhhhhhh (The sounds brazilians make when they try to pronounce my name in english, they make this sound while sticking there tongue out because it is a hard sound for them)

"As I put my trust in the Lord and try my best, things seem to always work out. "

Date: Mon, Feb 11, 2013 at 6:46 AM

Hey Family!

That is so exciting to hear about all those people going on missions! I get so excited for them all! Sounds like almost all my friends will be gone when I get back but I am way excited for them. I am hoping at least one gets called to Brasil Joao Pessoa! That would be great! Tell Nat congratulations for the winning free throw points! I used to have dreams about doing something like that. She should definitely keep playing, it never hurts to keep practicing. She will be able to play basketball for the rest of her life. I too think she is an awesome player! Tell her to remember that Micheal Jordan didn't make the team his first year in high school as well. Maybe that will help her out!

Well this week was super busy as well  We have been working with quite a few people who are progressing well. I am pretty excited for them and I hope we can continue to help them in their progress. I love seeing people accepting commitments and fulfilling them. 

This sunday I was called on last minute to teach gospel principles and then called on last minute again to give a talk in the sacrament meeting of the group in Belém. It was a little nerve wracking but it turned out alright. Heavenly Father really helped me!

Yesterday our branch president gave a talk and he spoke on some pretty interesting topics that have really made me think. He talked about how when someone gets hurt or is in physical danger, people will drop everything to try and save that person. But when people are spritually injured or in spiritual danger, we don't act as fastly or with as much urgency. I really have been thinking about that lately and thinking about how when people are spiritually injured, the consequences are much worse. We should be equally or more concerned with helping people who are in spiritual danger than with physical danger.

I am learning alot in this area. It is much different than other areas in my mission and I am seeing new challenges every day. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with the responsibility I have but As I put my trust in the Lord and try my best, things seem to always work out. 

Thanks for all your support! Congratulate all these awesome people getting ready to serve missions! I am very excited for them all! I get so happy when people tell me they are thinking of serving a mission or have already put their papers in. It is pretty excited the work that is going on. I know this work is the work of our Heavenly Father. 

Thanks for Camerons letter. It is really nice hearing about his mission as well. We write each other but it is cool to see what is happening now.

Well have a great week! I love you all and miss you! Tell everyone hi for me!


Elder Smith


Date: Feb 4, 2013 7:12 AM


Thanks for all the pictures and the letter. It means alot! I'm glad you are getting good use out of your new bike! Sounds like a lot of fun things happened this week. And ya there is a catholic priest statue at the top of this hillside here. His name is Frei Damião. I'm not really sure about the story behind him but i've seen quite a few statues of him. There are people that like to go paraglyding here and they take off where his statue is I think. It's fun to watch them sometimes! But Happy Birthday Dad! 

This week was great. We have been working a whole lot! We traveled quite a bit this week as well. On tuesday we went out to a members house who lives pretty far. He is a patriarch and him and his wife are awesome. On the way out there, I was riding with my companion on this old beat down bus. Suddenly I hear the sound of a lamb! I looked back and there were two of them at the back of the bus tied to poles in the bus with ropes. I could not stop laughing! It was pretty funny. Lots of people were getting a kick out of it. The best part was that one got loose and this little kid like 6 years old went chasing after it. Everyone was kind of laughing and watching, then the driver said,''pegou!'' which basically means he got it! Everyone was excited for the little boy. It was pretty hilarious. 

The next day we walked out to teach and investigator with a young man who came along with us. We walked for almost two hours in the hot sun. I saw a dead horse on the side of the road and it had been there so long almost all the meat was gone. It was pretty crazy. Luckily, one of the counselors of the branch saw us as we were about to head home and gave us a free ride back into town. It was a pretty fun experioence though. I don't think I have ever walked so much in my life!

Yesterday, we went to the branch meeting in the morning and then the sacrament meeting of the group in Belém in the afternoon. The group meets at a public school there in town. We take a van there with some other members of our branch. It was pretty interested meeting in a public school for sacrament meeting. But it was one of the most or maybe even the most spiritual sacrament meetings I have ever participated in in my life. It was fast and testimony meeting. There were 29 people there. The testimonies that were born were so strong. Many expressed their desire to do missionary work and help the group grow. Many told some stories about the sacrifices made in their lives to follow Christ and help build up His church. One brother who basically takes care of the group there, said when he got baptized, his mom said that if he got baptized, he would no longer be her son. But he pressed forward and served a mission. He was one of the original three people basically that started the church in Guarabira and now in Belém. When Belém didn't have a group (which was for about 10 years) he always had to find away to take himself and his family to Guarabira to go to church. They didn't have a car. Many times he said they didn't have money to pay for the trip into town. But he said the Lord always helped him find a way. He said he finally was able to get a car, and that it was a miracle for him. I don't know if I have ever met a family so humble. Him and his wife and his children are so strong and faithful. I really can't explain the love I feel for these faithful members. Many here in the branch walk about an hour to church every sunday and for meetings as well. It's crazy the sacrifices some make. I am very grateful for the chance I have to be serving here. I really can't explain all my feelings or exactly everything that I have experienced through words and such short time to write. But I really am loving the people here and have already had many great experiences here in this area.

Well I hope you all have a great week! I love you all so much! Wish me luck this week, this weekend is carnaval! Although I don't think it will be too crazy here in this small town. But we will need to work extra hard to be able to accomplish our goals and such. I will be sure to let you know how it goes. 

Happy Birthday Dad! You are the greatest example to me in my life of the man I want to be when I grow up. I don't know if I showed it well as a teenager but I always admired your example and now that I am having to make decisions for myself, I frequently think about you and Mom and the many great lessons you guys taught me through your examples  One thing I especially admired is the way you always treated mom with respect. (Even when she wanted to spend all your money!) I pray for you guys everyday!

Tchau for now, 

Elder Smith

Pic #1: Some of the crazy hills we climb here in Guarabira
Pic #2:Upon my arrival
Pic #3: Me and my companion walking home from a teaching appointment
Pic #4: The field of the chapel caught on fire! When we called the firefighters they said the unti that puts out fires was busy. We graped the fire extinguisher and got the work done.
Pic #5: A bridge we crossed when the Patriarch gave us a ride home.