"This week we faced many trials"

Date: Mon, Mar 25, 2013 at 7:08 AM

Hello Family!

The easter festivities have already started?! I really haven't even thought much about easter yet sadly. Holidays really aren't celebrated much here but it is a good oppurtunity to talk more about the life of Christ in our lessons with investigators and I am sure that next week at church we will be talking about it more. It will be cool to have easter and then General Conference the next week. I am pretty excited for conference!

Well ya the rules about email are different for each mission. In my mission, we can only receieve email from immediate family and send email to immediate family. If anyone else, cousins, friends, aunts, uncles, bishops, or anyone else wants to send us email they have to send it through someone in our immediate family. So people can send me email but they have to send it to you guys first and then you can send it to me. At least for now these are our rules on email. 

Well this week was super busy! I am pretty darn tired but I'm excited for the upcoming week because I think it will be just as busy! I remember when I started my mission and I saw that things were really busy I worried that if we got to busy in the work we wouldn't be able to be led by the Spirit or not have time to try and seek the Spirit. But I have learned that as put put ourself in the work, stay busy, and work as hard as we can, we become tired and dependent on the Spirit. At least for me, I feel like I seek more for the Spirit when I am tired because I know that with my own forces that I have, it is not sufficient to be successful in such a great work. 

This week we faced many trials. A few of our investigators faced lots of big problems and through lots of prayer and work, we were able to overcome them and help our investigators progress. I really saw how Heavenly Father loves these children and that even when there are lots of trials, he always gives us a way to get past these trials and to grow. 

I really learned alot about the Spirit this week and how he works to help us as missionaries to know the needs of our investigators. There were many times this week when I felt an impression or a thought came into my minds that gave me an idea of how to help our investigators. I have to admit a few times I ignored the thoughts ands ended up finding out that if I would have acted on them, I would have better helped my investigators. Sometimes I felt that I should talk about a certain thing and I didn't, then the investigator spoke of his concern and it turned out to match the impressions I had. Maybe that's a little confusing to understand, sorry! My english may be getting worse.

The sisters in our district had an awesome baptim this week. He was a 10 year old who has been going to church for a while and finally his mom got back from traveling or living in anohter place to give permission for him to be baptized. Sadly his parents weren't baptized with him but I learned alot from him. It is awesome to see how such a young boy can have courage to do something different and do what he knows to be right. His knowledge of the gospel is really great and his testimony as well. He already has plans to serve a mission and asked me if he could visit investigators with us. I am excited to teach with him and I know others will feel of his spirit as well and it will help them to become converted to the gospel as well. 

Well sorry I don't have many stories this week. My mind is kind of running a blank! Usually I sit down and my hands just starting typing away. I will have to start looking in my journal to see the things that happened during the week that I can tell you guys. 

My package got here in João Pessoa! I was at the mission office monday and tuesday, I left tuesday at around noon and my package got there later that day! So I will have to wait a little to actually get t but thank you mom! I might be going there on sunday so if I do that will be awesome.

Thanks for all the support! I have the best family in the world. I have really had my eyes opened here on my mission and I am so grateful for everything that I have, especially my family. I love you guys and miss you all so much! Only like 6-7 weeks until we skype again!

Have a great week. I love you all!

-Elder Smith

I hope you like the picture!

1: Our district!
2: Our humble chapel in Belém! Its really a school classroom!
3: We went to that huge Frei Damião statue and there was an awesome view! Luckily I had some binoculars that a missionary gave me!

"I love seeing people progress in the gospel"

Date: Mar 18, 2013 7:16 AM

Hello Family!

Thanks for all the cool pictures, looks like a pretty cool house Abe and Andrea have there! And yes I have already met Elder Shumate, he is an awesome guy and lives close by to us! And the news about the pope is pretty big here. There are so many catholics but it seems like life really has just continued as normal. That's cool to hear about how Quinn and Johanna spoke. I can just see Quinn with that huge smile. I am very happy for Johanna aswell.

Well this week was very busy. It seems to just get busier and busier around here. We have been working very hard and had quite a few people at church as well this sunday. It was a true miracle. I love seeing people at church. It makes you feel like all the work you do is really helping thses people change.

Funny story real quick, this week we were at a zone conference and they give out letters at our zone conferences. Everyone had grabbed their letters and then my mission president just had mine and my companions. As I apporached him to see my leters he pulled out a postcard Laurel had made of me with a 80's style rock mullet wig and my guitar and a muscle shirt when I was like 14 years old with my tongue hanging out. He asked, '' Elder Smith who is this?!'' I responded, ''that's me President''. It was pretty hilarious. I thought maybe I would feel embarrased but I just felt proud that I have such a cool sister that makes stuff like that. Many missionaries enjoyed the picture. 

This week also, when we were knocking on doors, we found a cool family and started talking to them. One of the first questions I asked to the husband was, oh and is this your wife? He responded, no. Turned out to be his 15 year old daughter! I was very surprised. Luckily we all just laughed it off and they let us in. His daughter actually went to church sunday so I am guessing they forgave me quite easily. My companion still makes fun of me for this one.

Well this week we saw some great miracles. We have an investigator who we have been working with for quite a while. When we first found him, I saw him listening to us while we were doing a contact with his neighbor and I felt we should go talk to him. He was smoking but told us of his desire to change. He has changed so much in these last few weeks. He has been really trying to stop smoking but it has been hard for him to get enough courage to make the change. We fasted for him this sunday. My testimony of fasting has grown so much! After church, we broke our fast and he came to talk to me and asked, while close to the baptismal font, is this where I will be baptized this weekend? I said yes, this is where we hold the baptisms. I then added, but you need to quit smoking if you want to be baptized! He then told me, oh yesterday was the the last day. I will never smoke again. This was the first time he had told this to us. I was so happy. I can't even explain the feelings I had. It was such a miracle. I knew that our Heavenly Father was conscious of our investigators needs and really touched his heart. I have seen so many changes in this man. He doesn't know how to read, but to make up for that he likes to grab the Book of Mormon and a journal and copy down the letters. I love seeing people progress in the gospel.

Yesterday I felt pretty tired, but I like feeling tired because it makes me depend more on our Heavenly Father's help. I am really enjoying my companion and we are having some great experiences. I really am seeing ways that I can imporve and I love taking advantages of these oppurtunities. I want to be the best missionary and best person I can be.

I have been thinking alot about Christ this week and sunday I had the oppurtunity to teach the gospel principles class about the life of Christ. He was so perfect and loved so much. Everything we do needs to be centered on Him and we need to always show our love for him by following His gospel. That is the only thing he asks of us. Whenever we have questions about how to be better we need to study His life. When we want to know how to love more, we should study how He loved. When we want ot know how to be better leaders, we should study how He led. When we want to know how we can use our time more wisely, we should study how He used His time. We can find so many answers just by studying His life.

Well I love you all! I hope you have an awesome weeks! Thanks for all the updates and the letters. You guys are the best and it means so much to me! I am grateful to have such a great family. I don't know how I got so lucky!

Have a great week!


Elder Smith

"We have the capacity to help others..."

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 at 7:14 AM

Ola Família!

Thanks for the recipes. I am a little short on funds right now but I will try to see if next week I can make some of these things.

Sounds like alot is going on as always! That's cool Nat is involved with sports and stuff. I loved playing sports and keeping busy. Tell Charlotte happy birthday for me! I can't believe she will be one and I haven't even met her yet!

Well this week I was at a return missionary's house eating lunch and I knew he had served a mission around the same time as Abe and in the same mission. I was looking through some mission stuff he had and I saw a chart of all the missionaries and their areas. It was pretty cool when I looked and saw Elder Hudson's name! This missionary never met Abe because hegot on the mission after Abe left I think but he just had this old chart and I saw Abe's name. It was pretty cool.

Well this week turned out to be a good one. We passed by in alot of our investigators almost every day to try and keep them comitted to going to church. It turned out to have worked well. We had 7 investigators at church! It was pretty cool. I was excited to see them all their and it looked like they really liked it. We have a family we are teaching that started the process of marriage this week. I am pretty excited for them as well. 

In Belém yesterday, we were having a class on the scriptures. The teacher asked the class ''what is the doctrine and convenants?'' and one of our investigators who is only 11 years old and has already read the illustrated Book of Mormon and has started the illustrated Doctrine and Covenants said '' it's a collection of modern revelations''. She continued showing great knowledge throughout the class. She is great and has been attending church for awhile but becuaseof family complications has not been baptized. But we received good news this sunday that made us think much more possitively about the chance of her being able to get baptized soon. 

I really noticed and learned that when we focus in on our goals and do the things that really matter most, we receve results that really matter most and we see real progress in our lives. We have the capacity to help others and we can do it in a way more effectively when he have goals and plans. 

One of our invesitgators is showing good progress as he is try to quit smoking.He has stopped drinking coffee and stopped drinking and now we are helping him to stop smoking. I know he can do it and he has been showing a lot of effort on his part. He really is looking to change his life and I know he will be an example to many.

Our little branch seems to becoming closer and closer. I see changes almost everyweek and I love seeing the progress of so many people. I love the gospel and the chance it gives us to grow and learn. The Plan of Salvation is a plan of eternal progression. How great it is to know that we have so much potential and with our Heavenly Father's help we can reach this potential.

Well I love you all and hope you have a great week! Things are going well here in Guarabira. Thanks for all the support you all give me. In about two months I will be skyping you once again! Time sure does fly!

Let me know if you want me to include more things in my letters home and what these things may be. Sometimes I am not sure what to write!

Tchau for now,

Elder Smith


Date: Mar 4, 2013 6:09 AM

Hey Family! 

It is so great to hear from you guys everyweek. Sounds like fun doing your saturday chores with Nolan! I miss working around the house with dad and going to home depot and buying the polish sausages on saturday mornings. Good times! I can't believe Nat changed a diaper. She is really growing up fast. And my companion is actually learning portuguese pretty fast. He understands alot more than he speaks and usually people can understand most of what he says. I am learning alot of spanish because sometimes he says alot of stuff in spanish. But on a scale of 1-10, it is probably like a 7, I think it is quite a bit easier for them to learn portuguese. He does mix some words sometimes but even when he does the words are pretty similar.

Well this week we started teaching some really awesome families. We have been working with a certain family for quite a while and this week they all went to church together! They are going to get married soon and so I am pretty excited for that. Marriage is pretty expensive here but the branch is going to help them out. When the husband was talking about the church to one of his friends he said, '' it's kind of like other churches, but it's better'' and then when he was talking about the Book of Mormon he said ''it's kind of like the Bible, but better''. He is really growing alot and I believe him and his wife have become even closer because of the Gospel.

This week I had another funny experience. So when we were teaching an investigator, my companion told me after that the lady in the neighboring house was outside rolling up marijuana outside on her steps! I couldn't believe it, we returned to the guy's house where we were teaching and I saw her doing it too just there in the open. I began to question whether it was really marijuana or not. We saw another person doing the same thing at another house so I just had to ask. When I asked what it was they said ''crack''. Crack here is a drug but I think it is a different drug than our crack. I couldn't believe it! Then I saw a policeman stop close by and just ignored what was happening and I was struck with even more unbelief. Later, we went to an investigators house where his parents were doing the same thing, I asked him what it was and he said it was ''crack'' and I said well you aren't going to use it rightt?! And he said ya we will! We are getting ready for São José which is a big holiday here. I said no you can't! And then he showed me what it was. It was those little pop-it things you throw on the ground to explode! I felt pretty dumb. Later when I was telling a member about this story, they said I misunderstood. The real name of this thing is ''track''. It is pretty colse to crack in portuguese. They laughed pretty hard at me. 

But I learned a lesson! When we have in our minds a certain prefixed judgement, we tend to hear things in different forms or see things from a different point of view. If I hadn't thought in the first place that it was drugs, I probably would have understood the word track instead of crack. Just goes to show we can't judge others and we can't come to conclusions before we really know everything about the situation.

Well I love you all and hope you all have a great week. This past week was a good one and we had a great church meeting in Belém. I love hearing the testimonies of these great people. They are all so strong and pure!

I miss you tons!

Tchau for now,

Elder Smith

P.S. Can you get me the recipe for grandmas fruit dip? And also the black bean soup I made one time from your recipe book? I forgot the name of the recipe book. It's a newer one that I think was made by members of the church.

P.S.S. Mom can you have Bishop Cranney email you the email he sent me? And then you email it to me? We can only open emails from direct family members but I really want to read what he sent me!

"The Holy Ghost"

Date: Mon, Feb 25, 2013 at 6:32 AM

Another week gone by so fast!
Thanks for getting that letter of to Tyler. I am pretty excited for him. That's cool Nicole is in Sister Gentry's ward. She is a great missionary! I really liked the story you wrote about the Holy Ghost. I really think we must always have the Holy Ghost with us.
Speaking of the Holy Ghost, at church yesterday I was asked to teach Gospel Principles again and it was on the Holy Ghost. It was fun teaching people about the Holy Ghost and hearing their opinions on why we need the Holy Ghost and how we can have him with us. Last night, we were lacking a little on some of our goals. We got back from church at the group in Belém around 7 o'clock. I thought to myself it would be impossible to fulfill the goals we had. I prayed to know what we could do to be able to fulfill our goals that night. Soon after, I told my companion we needed to change the plans we had already set for the day. And that we would go to a member's house to teach her sister-in-law who lived close by with the members. When we got to the members house, I felt that we should ask their son if he could visit some investigators with us. He accepted (after a little sweet talk on my hand) and we set out to visit a young man we are teaching. After teaching him, we started to do some contacts on the same street. As we were about to leave the street, I felt we should stay on that same street and when we walked bya certain house I felt we should talk to the family their. My companion later told me he felt that we should have talked with this family as well. We clapped outside and they gladly let us in. They were a great family, very unified and very humble. We ended up reaching our goals we were striving for and I really felt the Spirit had guided us last night. It was a cool feeling. I am excited to revisit some of the families we talked to.
That's pretty awesome you guys went to seaside! I used to love going there with everyone.  A little sad that not too many people were there but I'm sure it was still fun. I remember one night I stayed up super late with Cort playing pools with other people. We told them loser pays and we got a few free games that way. I also remember the dance-off we had one year. Good times! Speaking of dancing there was a little kind of chubby kids on the street the other day dancing like Micheal Jackson. It was so awesome. I almost asked him if I could film it but then I thought maybe not. But I am kinding wishing I would have.
This week was pretty busy but I am still enjoying our area. We are going to strat and do some more activities to try and use our chapel to it's full capacity. Sadly, there aren't many activities during the week. But we have made some plans and we will see how it all goes. This worked really well in Geisel and the ward really started growing quite quickly both in numbers and in sprirtuality.
A couple funny stories, Yesterday our ward mission leader asked me to fill up the baptismal font because he was a little busy. So I turned on the water before the sacrament meeting started and just left it. I thought maybe there was a hole that let water out if it got too full. But there wasn't. And I really just forgot about it! Then I saw our ward mission leader rush out of the sacrament meeting after a young man whispered something to him. I then realized what it probably was. After helping out with the musical number, Me and my companion went to go check and the bathrooms had flooded with water because I left the wtaer on! I felt so dumb. Luckily it was just in the bathrooms and we got it cleaned up pretty quick.
Also in the group in the afternoon, the president had asked me to lead the music, but without warning he switched it up and I it was kind of hard to hear when he announced who would pray and lead. So I just got up there to lead the music and a member kind of looked at me funny and then I asked the president who would lead and he said Miguel. I walked back to my seat a little embarrased but luckily no one said anything about it!
Well I am glad all is well back home. I pray for you all everyday. I love you and miss you guys! You are the best family in the world. Thanks for all the letters and emails. I really appreciate them.
Elder Smith
P.S. Mom if you haven't sent the box yet can you put in a frisbee? One of those good thick kinds? If it doesn't work out don't worry about it!