"I love being a missionary"

Date: Mon, Aug 12, 2013 at 7:09 AM

Hello Family!

Thanks for the letter! Sounds like your rafting trip will be great! I was talking to a missinoary who lives with me about our rafting trips because he lives in central oregon. I loved those rafting trips! atalie will like it too. Speaking of Natalie, I feel like I don't even know who she is anymore! Laureal sent me a picture of the family this week and the picture started loading and before it got done I had to close it because I was so weirded out about how Natalie has changed! She is like Mel's height and super skinny! She is running cross country? I still remember when we would go on vacations and she would walk super slow because she said her legs were hurting and now she is running cross country! Wow what a change!

I am glad everything is going well though. I miss you all! 

This week was really great! We went to Natal to a meeting we had. It was really awesome. I love President and Sister Soares. They are very inspirational. President Soares talked about how we need to have more faith so that we can convert more people. He said we need to change our vision and open up our minds! I really noticed a change in our zone after that meeting and everyone seems to have fire in the bones now! I am very excited to be here at this time! Also, we had a couple of students from our english class get baptized so that was an amazing experience. One of the young men's mom that was baptized and who we are also teaching, spoke at his baptism. She said that her son had gotten to know the church through the english class and that the church has changed their lives so much. She basically bore her testimony about how she is so grateful for the church in their lives now. It was a very strong experience. I love being a missionary. 

We also had quite a few trials this week. But my companion Elder Paul is great and when times get tough we just kind of have fun and laugh abut the things that are happening. I have really learned that the few trials we hav e are nothing to compared to the happiness and good times we have on the missoin. Looking back o my mission I really don't remember much the hard times, just the good times! We are moving forward here in Sousa with a positive atitude and a strong desire to work!

I was studying alot about faith this week after the training that President Soares gave us. One scripture I really like is Moroni 7:37. I learned that if we aren't seeing miracles in our mission or our lives it is because we don't have enough faith. Another scripture that I love is 2 Nephi 24:24. What we think, will happen. If we are negative about our area or copmanion or the members, we will have negative results. ut if we are positive about our area, companion, etc. and keep working with a positive atitude, we have positive results and miracles happen! I have seen many miracles in my mission and every day my faith continues to grow.

Well I miss you alot! Everything is going good here in Sousa, things are starting to heat up (literally)! Winter is about to end (it almost seems wrong calling it winter) and summer is just around the corner! I am actually getting used to the heat! I felt weird when I turned off the air conditioning one day at the church, it was probably only like  60 degrees but it was super cold! 

As far as the backpack, I think I would really like it! My bag that I have now I have already had it sown  like two times and relined and everything with new cloth and it has a big whole in it again already. I would really appreciate a new bag! Other than that, I guess just some candies is always fun, if you have any more little Book of Mormons too they are really a hot item here. and maybe some ties! I have given a lot away and they are kind of winding down! 

Well I love you all so much and miss you tons! Let me know if ther eis anything you want me to put in letters that I am not doing or types of experiences you would like to hear! And yes I got a letter from you mom like a month or so ago, did you send another one?


Elder Smith

P.S. Hey noodles, stop growing so fast!

Pic 1- All of us with our cool english class shirts we made!
Pic 2- Our zone meeting this last week!

"Why didn't you tell me about this Book before?!'

Date: Mon, Jul 15, 2013 at 6:45 AM

Hello family!

Thanks for all the great news! Sounds like you guys will have a few fun weeks ahead. Too bad a few people won't be able to go to the renion. Family reunions are the best! I am excited for Laurel aswell. 

Well Natalie sent me some pictures from EFY. I am feeling a little weird, I feel like I don't even know her anymore! I hardly recognized my own sister! It's a good thing she put a caption saying that it was her and Abby because if not I think I might have doubted! Ha just kidding but really she is way different! She looks like she has lost some weight, congratulations Nat! I am glad she had a great time at EFY. I loved EFY!

Well this week was pretty awesome, like always, some of the highest of highs and lowest of lows! But we had an awesome experience with a recent-convert, we went to teach him about missionary work and how now that he is a member he needed to help out and introduce his friends and family to the gospel. After leaving a little message with him we did what is called '' Noah's Ark '' where we ask people to say the names of people who they would save if they were Noah and only had like a few minutes to choose the people they loved most to be saved. Then we explain that the church is like the Ark and everyone needs to get in to be saved! So then we go and visit these epople. He put down the name of a friend called Flavio and I asked if we could go visit him and he said ok and so we walked to his house and started teaching him. We invited him to be baptized and he accepted our help. He explained to us how his life has changed because of alcohol and ciggarettes and his expressed his desire to change and get his old life back. That same day we passed by his house going to another appointment and he was sitted outside of his house reading the Book of Mormon. The next day we passed by and he had read like 20 chapters and started explaining everything to us with great detail. He really understands the Book well and his very excited to continue.

Also, while on splits, my companion went with a member to teach some family members of a member of the church who aren't members yet. They had just decided to go there and see if they maybe were interested even though we thought that they probably had already heard about the gospel. Well they went there and started explaining about the Book of Mormon to them. This member's mom is really catholic but on sunday I went to talk to the member about her mom like if she was going to go to church or not and she said that her mom will go next week! Her mom said to her, '' why didn't you tell me about this Book before?!'' The member said she had already tried explaining the church to her mom but it is just now that she is interested and has decided to investigate more. I have gained a really strong testimony that all of us have friends or maybe even family that would give the same response, '' why didn't you ever tell me about the Book of Mormon before?!" if we chose to share this message with others who haven't heard it or accepted it yet. There are so many people who are waited to hear about the gospel. If there weren't, Heavenly Father would be calling so many new missionaries like He is doing. We all need to be a little more diligent in sharing the gospel with others.

I am really enjoying the experiences I am having here on my mission. I know I was called to serve here in Sousa for a reason and that as I try hard to find out that reason and am obedient Heavenly Father will be able to use me as an instrument to bring this work to pass.

Well I love you all and hope you have a great week. I miss you tons! 

Natalie stop changing so fast! It's scaring me!


Elder Smith

"I really love my mission."

Date: Mon, Aug 5, 2013 at 7:27 AM

Hello Family!

Well That's exciting that Josh is home now! But is he okay? Is he having problems with his heart? I am very excited for him. He looks like he is doing great! Give him my email please I want to hear from him!

I am glad the reunion went well and all. Looks like it was a pretty good time. When is Mel going ot have her baby? Have they decided on a name yet? If she wants I will let her name him BIZIK. Its a pretty cool name. Here they use a lot of nicknames and so sometimes people ask me what my nick name was at home and they usually think it is pretty weird.

This last week Elder Paul came in to town to replace Elder Staheli. He is an awesome missionary just like Elder Staheli and I am really excited to work with him. We have some great plans and we are excited to get to work. It is a litle wierd because we both know we don't have too much time left on the mission but we really are trying to make the best of it and make every minute count!

Yesterday we had a couple of the students from our english class at church. It was really great to see them getting interested not only  in english but also the church as well. Our meetings were really spiritual. I think I only rememebr a few times that I felt the Spirit so strong in church meetings. I am really grateful to be serving here in Sousa. I just thought to myself yesterday how much I love these people and this culture. I really love my mission.

Well I love you all and hope you have a great week. I am doing well and I miss you guys!



Elder Smith

"We need to strive to have Christlike attributes"

Date: Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 7:16 AM


I'm glad to hear that everything went well with the graduation and all. I hope the reunion is going good! That's cool that Jeremy and Jonah are getting their eagles! How old are they now? 

Well this last week went pretty well. We had our patience tested alot and it was my last week with Elder Staheli. I really liked Elder Staheli and it was way fun being his companion. He left last night and I am staying with the other elders that live with us. My new companion is Elder Paul. We were in the MTC together so we are already great friends. He is from Washington too. He will probably get here around 11 tonight because Sousa is far from everything!

This last week our english class got even better. People are starting to ask about the church and are very interested in recieving our visits. We contacted a refferal from the english course yesterday. They are a really great family and they said they would go to church sunday with us. We are very excited.

This last week I learned alot about how we need to strive to have Christlike attributes. If we are like Christ,we will be able to live with Him again. ALso, if we are like Christ we will help others feel His love and want to be like Him. I love being a missionary and having this oppurtunity everyday to improve and try harder to be more like Him.

Well today is transfers so things are going to be a little busy but I am excited for the new missionaries to get here. Well I love you all and hope you have a great week! Drink some slurpees for me!

Elder Smith          

pic 1 - The people who make the English class happen!
pic 2 -  A cake we made to welcome the new president and his wife
pic 3 - Doing the helicopter at the talent show


Rexburg is the dream city!

Date: Jul 22, 2013 8:47 AM


Everyone is looking great! I am glad you all got to Rexburg safely. Rexburg is the dream city! Nat is still looking super old to me. I hope the graduation goes well.

Well this last week was one of the best on my mission so far. 

First of all, the district president here in Sousa gave us the idea to start an english class. He was an english teacher and has lots of materials and stuff and was willing to help. Well we talked to our branch missin leader and he helped us organize some things and get the word out. We visited some schools to invite students and people signed up through facebook. Well Saturday we had our first class. Until now, all the enlgish classes I have taught have just been like 15 people or less. Well saturday we had around 150 people in the cultural hall wanting to learn english from us! There are all very excited. We are going to divide the classes by their skill levels and it is going to be legit. Next week will be the last chance for people to join. It is a 24 week course and there are some really great people there. I am excited to teach them all english! The members are there as well and will invite the people to church and to learn more about the gospel. We are doing lots of fun activities to find new people and help integrate them with the members. Saturday night we had a talent show. Elder Staheli, a young man and I did the helicopter thing Cort taught me. It was a hit! The members stated shouting, de novo, de novo, de novo! (Again, again, again!) My neck is still hurting but it was definitely worth it.

Also, we have this awesome recent convert who really showed alot of faith. We went to visit him this last week and we noticed a whole new person. His house had a bunch of alcoholic drink bottles and his appearance was a little scragly. This last tuesday when Elder Staheli went to visit him with another missinoary (we were on companion exchanges) he had cleaned his house and cut his hair and shaved and everything! I hardly even recognized him! Where there used to be a bunch of drink bottles, he now has a bible, The Book of Mormon and church pamphlets. It was miraculous. And the great thing of all, is that ever since the first time I went to his house to start teaching him, (we were also on splits that day) he never drank or smoked again. He completely left his old life behind him to follow Christ. It was amazing. He is already well integrated with the ward and the members. Also this week, we taught him about the Sabbath day and taught him that we don't work on sundays. He has been struggling to find work and so we promised him, that he would find a job if he would tell his boss that he can't work sundays and only accept a job that allows him to do that. The very next morning at 8 AM, a man knocked on his dorr and said he had work for him to do. He told him that he would accept but that he can't work on sundays. The boss said that he too doesn't work on sundays and that he wouldn't need to work on sundays. It was a miracle.

I love being a missionary of Jesus Christ. I have lately been trying to lose the habit of saying that I am a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and instead just saying, I am a missionary of Jesus Christ. 

Well I love you all! I will try to send pictures next week!


Elder Smith