Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Week 66

AREA: TucsonMidvale
COMPANION: Elder Blacker 

Friends and Family,
Monday: Today was a pretty good p-day. Since we understood the area a
little bit more and everything things were a lot better planned out.
Apparently some missionaries from our zone play volley ball at a
church building 30 minutes from our place so we decided not to even
go. Went to a members house to do laundry which was awesome. Sister
Collingwood made us lunch and was great company. After laundry we were
on our way shopping and we saw a huge cloud of smoke, being curious
young men decided to go check it out and it was a house fire.
Unfortunately the cops blocked it off so we couldnt even see flames:(
Did shopping, emailed, etc... normal pday stuff. Members brought us to
Chiles for dinner which was good.

Tuesday: Today was not too bad. We had foodbank and it was actually
kinda boring without Travis. We are there for the service though...
not the socialization. After foodbank we went home for lunch and
everything to find out our appointments canceled... all of them. Ended
up spending time cleaning up the areabook some more. After that we
went over to an older sisters place to share a message and visit. She
is so cute, she is almost 90 years old. The whole time we were there I
wanted to smile because she was just so happy. I hope when I'm 90 i'm
still smiling away. After that we had dinner and then more Area book
clean up. Almost done with that thank goodness:)

Wednesday: District meeting today. Had a pretty good training on
planning, which is I feel one of the most important things you could
do for having a productive week. After district meeting we grabbed
lunch quick and then headed out to Sells (Indian reservation) to help
a less active member with some yard work. We then headed immediately
over to dinner which we were late too because we weren't expecting it
to take as long as it did to get to her place. Super cute, at dinner
there were two little boys 6 and 4. They were both being pretty
energetic and crazy... so I told them if they behave and listen I will
give them a present that is out in the truck. They both were excited
and were well behaved the rest of the night. At the end we shared a
thanksgiving message with them and invited them to say a prayer and
only say what youre thankful for. At this point I took out the box of
prayer rocks Savannah kindly made for me and had the 6 year old open
it. Literally, his face showed the most disappointed face I have ever
seen. He then goes "a rock? Thats lame." Did not expect that coming at
all... haha it was super cute though. We tried to talk it up and
explain what it was for but proceeded to see it for what it was... a
rock with paint on it. Disappointing to me that he didnt like it...
but also super cute haha.

Thursday: Went on exchanges with Elder Koon which was alright.
Exchanges always give me anxiety... especially when I am the one to
leave the area. Most of the day we spent at the foodbank in their area
which was a lot different than any of the other ones I have been too.
It was started by a local church and had a very interesting system
that I didn't completely agree with or understand... Good thing though
is we fed over 175 families which was good. Helped get them all ready
for thanksgiving. Had dinner with some cool members and then had a
lesson with a less active who has some issues. He was pretty
pessimistic and only said negative things. His life has been
challenging but there is no reason to only talk about the bad things
that have happened in your life. Felt I was able to help him with some
of his issues which was nice. Swapped back and that was pretty much
our day.

Friday: Today wasnt too bad. Weekly planning day as usual. Right when
we were about to start weekly planning, we had a maintenance guy come
and fix one of the light switches. That kinda brought things off task
but we got back on track once they left. Got as much planning as we
could done before leaving for dinner. Dinner went well and then we
went to a investigators place. They were the kind of investigator that
I feel just want to hang out rather than listen to our message. Not
sure if we will be going back over there but its all good there are
lots of people out there.

Saturday: Spent a good part of the day finishing up all of weekly
planning which was good. We had dinner with Henry as usual and then
had a lesson with an excommunicated member of the church. Hope to help
him as best as I can... I don't have authority though in that area of
things though so all I can do is encourage him. Very cool guy
though... He is a professional quilter, owned a business selling 100%
natural soaps, and no longer is doing that business so has a TON of
soap left over. He was nice and gave us some of the stuff that is
sitting around.

Sunday: Today was pretty good. We did not have any investigators at
church unfortunately but a few less actives came which was exciting:)
Had to calm Tyna down before church because something that pissed her
off. Tyna gave me a great letter talking about all the things she is
thankful for. Glad I have been able to help her in as much as I did...
at first she gave me headache and now she makes me smile. Shes one of
the most amazing people I have met on my mission and she is an
inspiration to me that change is possible through the Atonement of
Jesus Christ. Since we have church at 1 we leave right around dinner
time so we went home for dinner and then went to our bishops house to
share a message and talk. Super cool family.

This week during my studies I finished up Alma in the Book of Mormon.
Really got a lot more out of the war chapters this time through than
previous times. I loved the great example that Captain Moroni and his
army set. No matter how difficult things were they always true to the
gospel and endured. They were blessed for their loyalty with their
lives. Just like them we need to strive to be keep all the
commandments, take upon ourselves the name of Christ, and always
remember Him. None of us are perfect though and thats why theres an
Atonement. So we can repent and be cleansed of our sins and be worthy
of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. I love this gospel
and I love that I am out teaching it to the people of Tucson. Love you
all! Have a great week! And have a great thanksgiving:)


Elder Smith

Elder Blacker and I trying to be redneck. We failed. 

Cool picture of the Angel Moroni being put on the Tucson Temple

 Getting eaten up by a cute dog at a less actives.

Week 65

AREA: TucsonMidvale
COMPANION: Elder Blacker 

Family & Friends,
Monday: Today was my first pday in my new area. Not the pday that I am
used to for sure. Our schedule did not go at all as planned. Next week
should be better though now that I know what to be aware of and what
to prepare for. Even though I'm not in Central Ward anymore, we still
are close enough to Roy's to do laundry there. Next week we are going
to try and find someone else's home to do laundry at so we dont have
to drive as far. We have about 2300 miles on our car so we are fine
with miles... just takes up 20 minutes of our time to get there.

Tuesday: This morning around 8 we had our carpets cleaned by a member
in my last wards company. They did a really good job and feel like I
can lay face down on my carpet and sleep on it if I wanted. After the
carpet guy left we started our studies before leaving for food bank.
It was a pretty good day at food bank today, we prepped a bunch of
pallets of food for the line. After food bank a Spanish senior
missionary couple invited us over for lunch and Sister Jones made some
really good Mexican soup. Spent some time there talking and getting to
know them better before we had to leave for an appointment with Will
which ended up canceling because he had to vote which is good. Went to
the Bagley's after that and spent some time talking with them. Spent
the rest of the time organizing the areabook to see where we are at...
says that we have a total of 14 investigators although only 1 of them
has been taught in the last month. Unorganized missionaries stress me
out:/ because then other missionaries have to come in after them and
organize it all.... super fun.

Wednesday: Today was pretty fun, this morning was pretty normal. After
lunch we met up with a member who's responsibility is to clean up the
ward lists in the stake by contacting all of them. By doing this he
has made the list a lot smaller and more accurate. Said that in our
ward alone, after going through the list he removed 180 families
because they had moved to a different area. Anyway... he needed some
4x4 (our truck) to visit some of the people on the list who lived out
on the Indian reservation. Took us about an hour to drive all the way
out there and we met up with one of the local members and went on
splits. Only got to visit a few people but it was pretty cool. Super
cool that I get to serve on an Indian reservation. We are trying to
get enough people on the reservation to go to church so they can start
a branch because there is only a group that meets twice a month there
for sacrament and other than that they have to drive the hour north to
Tucson. Pretty fun day overall and had some good experiences.

Thursday:  Had zone conference today. Literally was in a meeting from
10-3... and stayed and waiting for people we were giving a ride home
till about 4. The conference was really good, there was a variety of
topics that they talked about. The one that stuck out to me the most
was Mission Presidents discussion on obedience and how it is important
to strive to be as obedient as we can in all the small and simple
things that we are invited to do. After the conference we went home to
change and then went straight to dinner. We then rushed over to our
appointment with Mercury, a new investigator, which went really well.
We discussed how through Christ we can be forgiven repetitively. He
was excited and had a strong desire to come closer to Christ. We
extended a baptismal date for the 17th of December and he accepted.

Friday: This morning we had an apartment inspection and passed:) glad
my cleaning payed off in more ways than one. After that we spent some
time doing our normal Friday things and then had an appointment with
Kim. Taught about having thanksgiving daily. Even though we may have
trials, look for the things to be thankful for in those trials. Had
dinner with an awesome family after that, went to a members to drop
off some pants to get repaired, and then went home for the night.

Saturday: Today was pretty good, spent a lot of the day organizing our
area book. I wonder if others lack of organization skills affects
future missionaries that are in the area. We had a total of 14
referrals... After organizing it we have 3. Most of them were super
old and others were just not contacted. We had dinner with Henry who
is a returning member who is a really great guy and is very motivated
to help us with the work. He is a great example of member missionary
work and how it should be. He has a strong desire to bring his friends
to the church and is using us to help that happen.

Sunday: This morning we had ward council which went really well. I was
pretty much solo all day though which was different. Elder Blacker
went down for sacrament meeting at the Reservation and then I went to
Midvale ward. Ward council was fantastic, I was able to get a bunch of
names of people we can visit next week. Mercury came to church which
was awesome! He was very involved and was not afraid to give input.
After church we got back together and went to dinner at the ward
mission leaders house. They cook a very interesting meal... it was
Japanese and had a lot of different kinds of mushrooms in it. It was
still very good though.

Recently in my studies I have been reading alot about the wars that
were going on and in these chapters I love how it always talks about
how young the stripling warriors were and how they were righteous and
firm in their faith. A lot of the time I feel that a lot of the youth
in the church feel that it is okay to wait till they are older to
start really applying the gospel. Believe me that is not worth it at
all... I spent most of my life doing my own thing and it was not worth
it. I learned a lot from my past, but I also know that if I would have
chosen to apply the gospel then, like the stripling warriors, I would
have been protected and stayed strong for whatever may come at me. I
love this gospel and I know that it can strengthen us and help us to
conquer anything that comes at us.

I love you all! Have a great week:)


Elder Smith

Tall people problems...

Just hanging out

My side of the room in the apartment

Study room

Daily planning

Week 64

AREA: TucsonMidvale
COMPANION: Elder Blacker 

Friends & Family,
Monday: Not too bad of a Halloween... Didn't really feel like it was
haha. I spent alot of the day packing and getting ready for transfers
tomorrow. Thats pretty much our day. Nothing too special

Tuesday: Transfer day! This morning I woke up super early to get to
the transfer site. When we got there we were able to say goodbye to
the missionaries who were taking off to go home. After the site we
went to my new apartment which was a disaster... there was junk
everywhere. There was so much junk I couldnt unpack so I spent alot of
the day cleaning & organizing the place. Had a lesson with one of the
investigators in the area named Will. He is one of the construction
guys working on the Temple. His responsibility is the lights which is
super cool.

Wednesday: The place was still a mess so I continued my cleaning until
we had to go to meetings. Cant believe how much junk there was in
here... This was probably the worst I have seen. It wasn't gross from
a sanitary standard, it was just very cluttered. The bedroom was in
the living room and the desks were in the bedroom. Not sure whos idea
it was to do that... switched everything back which was a blast. Had a
baptism this evening for an investigator named John Jose. He has been
meeting with missionaries for about 4 years and just got married to
his girlfriend last week so he could get baptized. The previous week
the drains backed up with sewage which was disgusting. We had to clean
the font & make sure that everything looked good for the baptism. Got
that all done and had an amazing baptism. I take no credit over any of
it... I have never met John before the baptism. It was still a really
great experience still. Travis even came, he even knew John from back
when he lived on the Indian reservation. After that we went home and
crashed for the night.

Thursday: Woke up and again... continued cleaning some more... you
should have seen it. Had foodbank and everything which was fun but not
the same without Travis. Pretty much all we did today besides clean &
organize the apartment.

Friday: Woke up and finished the last thing on the list of things that
needed to be done... cleaning the bathroom. Got the bathroom all
cleaned and then we had to go to a lesson at a recently reactivated
member named Kim. She is a super cool woman that I hope to continue to
tell you more about in the future. After her lesson... I cleaned
more... well... mostly organized. Had dinner and then Travis came by
to say goodbye because he is moving to Utah to work for the foodbank
up there. Super excited for him but I will miss him for sure.

Saturday: Finished up all of the cleaning today so we could actually
do things in our apartment and I wont have anxiety because of how
cluttered and unorganized it is. Finished with a quick vacuuming of
the carpet and vents. Felt a huge relief after finally getting it
done. I feel bad for taking so much time cleaning and organizing but
tonight I felt the blessings from my efforts. This evening a member
named Henry brought us out to dinner and on the way home brought us
over to a friend of his. Went in and ended up talking to him (rick)
about the gospel and how it will give us strength to overcome even the
most difficult of times. The lesson was amazing and we set a baptismal
date for December 17. He does live in the Central Ward boundaries
though so we will have to pass him off. (P.s. Thats how close I am to
the area I was in for 7.5 months) He really seems to be enjoying the
gospel already and its times like this I love being a missionary. Went
back to Henry's to pick up our truck and talked with Henry's neighbor
named Tiger who is kinda crazy. He told us alittle about his life
story which blows my mind. Not sure if its true but for some reason
I'm drawn to him and want to help him get his life back.

Sunday: First Sunday in the Midvale Ward. This ward is alot smaller
than central but it was really good. Rick came to church today with
Henry and he seemed to enjoy it. It was fast and testimony meeting so
I went up and bore my testimony/introduced myself. It is definitely
different having church at 1:00 instead of 9:00. This will take some
getting used to for sure. After church we went and visited Tyna quick
even though she isnt in my ward anymore. Felt like she needed a quick
drop by. After that we went home and ate before leaving to visit with
Bishop Rees's family. Super cool family that I shared my Lego message

There is quote I would like to share with you. It is,

"I encourage our Saints all over the world, wherever possible, to
strive to stand more often in holy places."
                   - James E. Faust

Something I would like to invite you to ponder about this quote is how
it says "strive to stand more often in holy places." Now in this world
today and how crazy it is. It practically impossible to 100% of the
time be standing in a holy place unless you live in the temple. In our
life now we are told by prophets to be in the world but not of the
world. I have a testimony of this. As I cleaned my new apartment all
week as my companion looked at me crazy... I thought about how this
relates to life. I believe that a dirty, cluttered, and smelly home is
not a holy place that the spirit could dwell very easily. Sometimes
others may not necessarily agree with us with what a "holy place"
is... and that will happen. What we can do about this though is
continue to endure to the end. Show them by example the blessings that
come from standing in holy places. Worry about yourself and how you
can make sure you are standing in holy places and I can promise you
that they will follow your example eventually. Id like to end with
something you have probably all heard before... "cleanliness is next
to Godliness" haha its totally true! Love you all! Have a great week
and thanks for all the love and support you have shown to me:)


Elder Smith

Ryan & Travis

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Week 63

AREA: Central Tucson     
COMPANION: Elder Esplin
Monday: Woke up super early this morning and went on a hike with some
other missionaries in the zone. It was a pretty fun hike. We pretty
much walked up a paved path for accouple miles. It had a pretty view
from the top of it though looking down on all the crazy people of
Tucson haha. After the hike we spent most of the time just hanging out
at Roys. Had dinner with the Vincent family and we carved pumpkins for
their family home evening activity. It was pretty fun:)

Tuesday: Had foodbank, had a lesson with Hannah, went to Arshad's and
had a lesson on how we are all children of God. The language barrier
is sometimes difficult but we try to teach as simple as possible so he
understands the message we are sharing. Met with a struggling couple
in the ward. The husband has some addictions he is trying to overcome
and we decided to take them on and help them out. John Williams came
who is an amazing addiction survivor who has devoted his life to
helping people recover from their addiction. He once was a 400 pound
man who took 600 pain pills a month. He now has lost over 175 pounds,
ran two marathons, and has been 5 years sober. Such an inspiration to
me... if he can overcome that... I can overcome anything too:)

Wednesday: Had a zone breakout this morning and listened to departing
missionaries "dying testimony." meaning they are going home and bear
their testimony to the zone. Went to the foodbank for travis's going
away party. He is moving to Salt Lake for his job so his work threw
him a party. Went home to finish up on some studies till we went to a
lesson with Craig which actually went really well. He has been doing
pretty good recently... pretty sure hes still drinking alot but he was
sober when we were with him.

Thursday: Had a district breakfast this morning. Had what I thought my
last foodbank visit... but it was travis's last day with him working
with us so it was fun/sad at the same time. After foodbank we had a
pretty good lesson with the williams family about how we can help them
prepare to go to the temple. We then had a lesson with Josh & Vannessa
which went well I think. Richard, Vanessa's husband ditched out for
some reason... that was our day pretty much.

Friday: Wasn't too bad of a day, this morning we had to pick up my
medication, we then ate lunch, and started planning. Things with Cody
havent been doing too  good medically... he has been struggling and
having stomach issues so the appointment we had planned with them
canceled. That was pretty much the day.

Saturday: Had a goodbye lunch with travis this afternoon at Sunny Daze
Cafe which was okay. Its not my fovorite place but they give
missionaries half off so thats good. Went to the ward halloween party
which was fun. Travis cameThey had this trippie tunnel that made you
feel like you were walking on the way. Got our transfer calls this
evening... I'm going to midvale ward! :) different zone which is
nice... but I'm only moving literally 3 miles down the road. I will be
going to the same building as I am now, should see all the people I
worked with in Central every Sunday so that should be nice. Had an
awesome lesson with Michael, we lost contact with him for awhile and
didn't know what happened. Stopped by and he seemed to have some
concerns with the Book of Mormon. We told him more about the Book of
Mormon and by the time we left he was excited to read and find out if
it was true.

Sunday: Woke up super early to go to Catholic mass with Travis. It was
super cool to go to Mass as a LDS missionary. The pastor was very nice
and gave a very good sermon. After his church he came to our church!
It was awesome:) he even stayed for all 3 hours. After church we went
to Roys for lunch. We invited some people that we are working with
which was cool. Went home after that and spent most of the day
packing... after packing we went and visited a potential that was
super solid. Scheduled a follow up with him. Unfortunately I will not
be able to see his progression but I will be close enough by to hear
about it.

The message I would like to share today is about are we hiding from
repentance? We have been blessed to have the ability to repent of our
sins. We all sin everyday, so therefore we should all be repenting
everyday. I have seen the blessings of striving to repent daily. Every
night I try to think back on my day and ask God to help me to be come
a better person. Jesus Christ payed for our sins already, his hand is
reached out waiting for us to grab hold and lift those burdens from
us. Don't be afraid of repentance, all it means is to be sorry for the
wrong you have done and change to become a better person who is
happier with the choices they make. Thanks for all you do:) Love you!


Elder Smith

Lunch at Sunny Daze

Saying goodbye to Richard Anderson p.s. The shot of faith guy

The big tall guy is going to be my new companion, his name is Elder Blacker.

Travis at church

Pumpkin I carved