"There is so much work to do and i love doing it!"

This is a picture of us in Sousa during the companion exchange we did!

Date: Mon, Jan 6, 2014 at 9:09 AM


Happy Birthday mom! Looks like a pretty tasty cake you got! That is really funny about Judy's gift too. I bet everyone thought it was pretty funny. 

This last week was great! I got to travel to Sousa, my old area, and work there for the week. It was awesome! I got to visit some converts and see people who I had taught who were baptized after i left and our now super strong in the church! Also, i got to see lots of fruits from the english class we did. One young man who was baptized because of the english class is now the branch secretary and is preparing to serve a mission! I am so excited for him! I know that miracles happen when we are working in the Lord's work. 

I really enjoyed going to Sousa because I got to see what affect missionary work has on an area. When members and missinoaries work together, great things happen and lots of people are blessed through the gospel. I have realized that there are alot of people who want to join the church and lots of people who accept the gospel. But one of the hardest things is a recent-convert leaving his old life behind him and starting a whole new life. There are so many new things to learn and if the converts don't have support from the members of the church, they will look for support from other people.

I am really grateful for the chance I have to serve a mission. I love my mission and i am trying to take advantage of the time i have left. There is so much work to do and i love doing it! I am so grateful to have the gospel in my life too. There is so much I learn in the church and I can't even imagine how lost I would be if i didn't have the gospel in my life.

I love you all!

Elder Smith

"A grandma who is sweeter than skittles..."

Date: Mon, Dec 30, 2013 at 5:34 PM

Feliz Natal!!

Well Christmas went very well. It was so great talking to you guys and seeing everyone. I really missed Mel and Jake and Paigers and Daphne and Henry though. Tell them I miss them and love them! You guys all look great! Everyone looks happy and Mom and Dad and Grandma look younger! Maybe its just skype or maybe mom's new hair doo but everyone looks great. I probably look older because I am getting balder I think but whatevs!

This year was very special for me. Last year I think i was so shocked about how different Christmas was here that I didn't really enjoy Christmas fully but this year I already knew what to expect so I really was able to get in the christmas spirit and i got a new look on what christmas is all about. 

Two things that happened this week that helped me learn a few lessons. 

One was with a lady in our ward who is pretty well off financially. She is a lawyer and has a nice apartment and lots of nice things. She invited us over one christmas eve to have dinner with her and she invited some of her family members who aren't members of the church. What I thought was incredible was how much time and thought she put into the dinner. It was very nice and I felt like she did that because she wanted to give the best she could to her family and to us as missionaries. She even gave us some presents to open and I really felt the love she had for us as missionaries. She treated us like true representatives of Jesus Christ.

The other story was with a family who is alot more needy in our ward. They don't have hardly anything. There house is very small and the live a very simple life. The dad is a fisherman and he has a samll fishing boat that the made himself to catch food for his family. In his prayers he asks God to help the other fisherman that live close to him catch food so that they can feed their families. His children also work trying to catch crabs in little homemade crab traps along the riverside where they live. Well this last week, they caught quite a few crabs and sold them on saturday. That same day after getting money, this man tried to give my companion and i 20 reaias (10 dollars) to eat a nice dinner at night. I almost cried when he offered it to me. He told me "I usually don't have money but when i do have it I like to give it to others". I couldn't accept it and i told him i would much rather have dinner with him and his family at their house one night. After trying to give it to me again he accepted and said,"okay, we'll eat some fish one night with you guys". I was happy and very touched. Even though the amount he was willing to give was a lot less than the other lady in our ward, he was willing to give what he could. He treated us like true representatives of Jesus Christ.

Well I love you all so much. After skyping you all, i remembered how grateful I am for having such an amazing family. I really don't know what i did in the pre-existence to deserve two parents who truly love me and what me to do my best and support me in all that I do. A grandma who is sweeter than skittles. Four sisters who are super cool and love me too. Two brother in laws to keep an eye on me and mess around with and who show me an example of the kind of guy I need to be when I am older. And 5 nieces and nephews who are awesome and make me smile and laugh really hard!

I love you all. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Elder Smith

P.S. Sorry this email was a little cheesy but like a wiseman (Bryce) once said, every cracker needs a little cheese!

"One cool experience that happened this week...'

Date: Mon, Dec 23, 2013 at 11:36 AM

Hello Family!

I am very excited to talk to you al on Christmas! 7 PM it is then! I have already talked to the member who has skype where we will use it. 

Well I guess I don't have too much to tell you since I'll see you on skype in a couple days but one cool experience that happened this week was that we went to visit a referral that we had gotten from a member from another ward. They said there was someone at the house that just spoke english and not portuguese. Well we went there and we met an awesome family. There a woman that lives with them, she is from Ukraine and is dating a guy here in Brasil. She speaks Ukrainian, Hebrew, russion, english and polish. It turns out that she actually has knwon of the church for quite a while now and she wasn't able to join because of the laws of her country and a family who has totally different religious backgrounds but she loves the church and went to the ward christmas party on saturday. I think she liked it because there a quite a few members in our ward that speak english as well and so she got to know lots of people. It is interesting teaching in english but I am excited to see her progress. Elder Adams and I are having a little trouble speaking english perfectly with her but its good practice for christmas day when we talk to you guys! It was funny because she had a hard time believing we were from the US because we didn't speak super smoothly. 

Other than that things are going well. We are teaching another amazing family who is progressing really well and the ward is really integrating them good. We are working with them so that they can get married but they are very excited about the church and love the changes that are happening in their lives.

Well I love you all and I can't wait to talk to you on Christmas! Merry Christmas!


Elder Smith

"we need to talk to everyone and open our mouths about the gospel"

Date: Mon, Dec 16, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Hello Family!

Well I am excited to talk to you guys next week. 7 PM will work for me too. I wasn't sure because one of the guys that lives with me said he might skype at the same time but I think this year we will use skype at an internet cafe or in the office so there won't be any problem. 

I am really loving the Christmas countdown presents you sent me! I have never had anything like that before! Thanks alot! I am using one of the ties you sent me right now. You are the best family in the world!

As far as Christmas traditions go here in Brazil, they really just commemorate Christmas Eve. they have a huge dinner and invite a buunch of friends and family over and stay up super late. So as missionaries who have to be home at 9 and can't party there aren't many traditions to follow! One tradition I like is the sweet bread they make during this time of year and usually it is a gift that people give to one another. It is kind of like christmas cookies in the united states. I think we are going to make cookies for the people in our apartment building this week and share a message with them! 

I have learned that we need to talk to everyone and open our mouths about the gospel. We never know who will accept our message. For example, we found a pizza place not too long ago that was the cheapest pizza close by. So sometimes we would buy pizza and the delivery guy was pretty cool. Everytime he dropped off the pizza we would talk to him and we invited him to learn more about what we do as missionaries. Our ward is split in two areas and so the other missionaries that live with us went to teach him. He accepted the invite to go to church and he found what was missing in his life. Yesterday he was baptized and it was a very spiritual experience. I know that our Heavenly Father is preparing His children to receive the gospel. The ward was very excited about his baptism and he has alot of friends already. 

Well I love you all and i hope you have a great week. Can't wait to talk to you next week! 

Elder Smith

"Miracles are happening all around us!"

Date: Monday December 9th

Thanks for the pictures dad! Looks like everyone is in the chirtsmas spirit. I have been listening to some christmas music and I am feeling like it is more and more like christmas. I have been eating alot of panetone as well which makes it feel like Christmas. Panetone is pan dulce dad. I didn't understand exactly what time i should call, is it 2pm  or noon? Do you know what time that is for me here? okay i will get a number for you to call too. 

This last week was really great. My new companion is awesome. He has so much love for the people and big desire to be an awesome missionary. We have been working really hard and we have been teaching some awesome people. I love my area. Miracles are happening all around us! I am glad to be here at this time. 

This last week we were with a member teaching an investigator. We gave the investigator a book of Mormon and she said she would read it. She said she actually had one before and had to gone to church already and everything. The member that was with us said, now you just need to be baptized! We asked her why she wasn't baptized before when she was investigating the church, she said no one really encouraged her to do so, but now that her friend had invited her again and we were teaching her she would like to go to church and become a member! It was awesome. There are people who aren't members of the church just because they don't know where it is or weren't invited to go. So many people are looking for the truth. We need to recognize this and just invite everyone to church because there are alot of people who are curious but were never invited. This experience really helped my testimony. 

We are also teaching a few other great families. Do you guys remember that guy we were teaching who stopped drinking and smoking and doing everything wrong and I said would be baptized? Well he and his wife were baptized and their adopted son who is a member of the church got to baptize them. It was such an amazing thing to see. 

Well I love you all and I hope you have a great Christmas. 


"My biggest Christmas wish this year..."

Date: Thu, Dec 5, 2013 at 9:42 AM

e aĆ­ family!

Sounds like thanksgiving was an awesome day! Ya natalie told me she made the team. I am excited for her. When does the season end? maybe i will be able to see a game or two. if not, try to record one for me to watch! 

Everything is going well here. This week, three new missionaries got here. I love seeing the new missionaries and how nervous they all look. I remember my first day and how nervous I was. This next transfer we should be getting about 15-20 new missionaries so I am really excited for that! I have a new companion, Elder Adams. He is from enterprise utah, he is an awesome guy with a strong desire to serve the Lord. I will miss Elder Olsen, he is a great missionary but he is still here in the zone so I get to see him alot. 

We are teaching some amazing families! My biggest chirstmas wish this year is that they all get baptized! I love participating in this work. Every day that goes by seems to be busier and busier. Time seems to be getting shorter and shorter. The Lord is truely hastening His work and there a lot of people who are ready to accept the gospel. I have felt my faith increase these last few months. I am truly seeing miracles everyday. 

One miracle i am seeing is a family who we are teaching. the husband said he has been having trouble finding work these past few weeks. He washes cars and said that letly business has been slow. At church sunday, he bores his testimony in teh gospel principles class about prayer. He said that on thursday when we went to visit him and his family, it was one of the first prayers he had really said with us and he said that after that prayer, cars started showing up out of nowhere and now he is having a lot of work to do! His life is getting better and he knows it is because of the blessings he is recieving from the Lord.

Well I better get going. I love you all so much! 


Elder Smith

P.S. Chirstmas is right around the corner! I will have between 10 in the morning and 6 at night to talk to you guys. what is the best time to call? I want to know soon so that I can coordinate with my companion.