Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Week 101

AREA: Safford, AZ
COMPANION: Elder Maloy

Friends and Family,

Monday: Nothing too exciting today... just a regular pday.

Tuesday: Working real hard to find through members. We have been going
through the entire directory and asking everyone for referrals. So far
it has been unsuccessful... I know that it will work though. We just
need to be patient and pray that as we continue to diligently seek for
referrals, we will find someone. Had some active member lessons which
went really well. This evening we helped clean the Gila Valley Temple
which was a great experience. Even though it is a small temple, it is
just as beautiful inside as the others.

Wednesday: Had a very good studies this morning. Had a zone breakout
and set goals for people to be baptized next month. Recently I have
had a feeling there is a family of 5 in our area who is ready to be
taught, we just need to find them somehow. Had some pretty good
lessons this evening. One was with our new investigator Andreas. We
set a baptismal date with him for August 26th. Had a lesson with a
less active this evening who had a ton of questions about the church,
some of which were clearly him trying to disprove the church. Great
thing is we were able to give him an answer he was comfortable with
for every one he asked. Only one he couldn't understand is believing
in something based off of a feeling. That we can't explain... you have
to experience it in order to know what we mean.

Thursday: Had interviews with President Browning this morning which
went very well. Had a good talk with him about my plans about going
home. Helped work on a float for the Pioneer Day parade with the YSA.
It was super cool! Its a robot that stands up! After that we had a
great time with some less actives from the YSA branch this evening. We
had some good moral conversation but for the most part it felt more
like hanging out.

Friday: Had a great weekly planning day. Finished the Book of Mormon
this morning again during studies and it was fantastic! Now I get to
start over:) Super excited:) There is a girl in the YSA branch that
has hypoglycemia and texts us all the time to bring her a pop... Feel
like we are being taken advantage of, except every time we have
brought her one we do have a great talk with her about the church. She
is super weird but hopefully things turn around with her. Stopped by a
new move in tonight and her boyfriend served in the same mission in
Virginia that my roommate in college went to. Heath, that is you:) His
name is Skylar Perkins. Super awesome thing is skylar is driving up to
Salt Lake this week and offered to drive some things up for me! So
happy about that:) After them we visited with the Ungermans briefly
and they seem to be doing well.

Saturday: Did some yard service for a sister in the ward for a few
hours. She had so many weeds and dog poop in the backyard even after 3
hours of working non stop, we didn't have time to clean it all up. The
member has a lot of medical issues and is unable to do yard work. Went
out with a member contacting less actives which was good. Found a
potential YSA investigator with him. Today there was a bunch of
Pioneer celebrations which was fun. There was a parade and fireworks.
After the parade a guy wanted to ask some questions about the
church... he was completely wasted and was driving too. Called the
police on him after talking. Hopefully they caught him... there were a
lot of people walking on the roads.


Sunday: Church we had an awesome turn out of less actives. No
investigators unfortunately:( There were so many though and it made me
very happy. The speakers prepared very good talks too which all had to
do with sacrifices the pioneers made at the beginning of the church
compared to our times. It is amazing what sacrifices were made on
those trails across the country.

Spiritual Thought:

As I am coming to a close of my mission, it gives me an idea of what
Enduring to the End is really like. Except with enduring the end in
life, we dont know when it will end. These past 23 months I have
definitely learned a lot and I look forward to applying it into real
life. I have seen the blessings of applying the principles of the
gospel the best I can. There are times that doing are best can be
difficult and we may fail a few times, but we just need to remember to
get up and try again. This principle applies in all aspects of life
whether it is school, family, friendships, relationships, etc.

2 Nephi 31:19-20---

19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait
and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you,
Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ
with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who
is mighty to save.
20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ,
having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.
Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of
Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall
have eternal life.

Have a great week everyone:) Keep pushing forward:) Love ya:)

Love,

Elder Smith


Skylar Perkins, guy who served in the same mission in Virginia  as
my old roommate heath.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Week 100


AREA: Safford, AZ
COMPANION: Elder Maloy

video
Friends and Family,

Monday: Nothing too special

Tuesday: It was transfers today and nothing is changing with us so we
didn't have much to do with that. Went to food bank to volunteer and
they had a bunch of food there that we were able to take home. After
that we brought some Elders that are on bikes to Walmart to shop. We
had a lesson with Dana which was nice. Talked about scripture study
and how to do that. Luckily we went to the church instead of her
house. Her house smells like cats so bad! We then had a lesson with
the Williams and that is about it.

Wednesday: Volunteered for a community food bank drive this morning
which was fun. A lot of people come by and get food donated by the
community food bank in Tucson. Threw off our schedule a lot though
which was annoying. Had to rush to zone break out super fast and then
district meeting which went well. Had a bunch of good lessons and then
that was about it.

Thursday: Had a lot of appointments cancel today which sucked. Had
back up plans though which worked out well. Tried to reach out to a
lot of less active members.

Friday: Weekly planned today and it went very well. We have all our
lessons for next week planned out and everything!

Saturday: This morning was alright... had service at a members in
another persons area and ended up getting on their roof to fix their
swamp cooler and clean out their gutters. Everyone else we were with
was raking up the junk all over the yard. Had some great visits with
some less actives and some great lessons as well. Derek got baptized
as well which was soo exciting! We started teaching him around the
time I came into the area. He moved once we finished the lessons
though so some other missionaries got him interviewed and then he got
dunked! What was super awesome was that I had told myself I wanted to
see at least one more person who I taught get baptized! Next thing I
hear, he is getting baptized! So proud of him. Dale, our neighbor came
to a less active lesson with us which went very well.

Sunday: Amazing Sunday... Not sure if any of you have been to church
and felt that the speakers were speaking specifically to you, but
thats what happened today. Very good speakers and the spirit was very
strong. I had been pondering on something things for some time and
their talks were exactly what I needed to hear. That was more in the
family ward. The Kimball YSA branch had amazing talks too!! They
invited people to speak on how to have a more meaningful sabbath day
observance. The people then practically indirectly called everyone out
for using their phones in sacrament meeting all the time. It is so bad
it has gotten to the point if investigators come to church, they
question why everyone is on their phones. Very happy about that. This
evening we had not accomplished our goal of hitting SOE's (standards
of excellence) which is just number stuff.... we were determined to
find two new investigators but unfortunately no luck. We felt their
had been some miracles that happened that night, we just weren't meant
to be their for them.

I have a testimony that God knows us better than we know ourselves.
When we pray, we may not always agree with what our answers are but we
must act on the answers we do receive.

"...prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it
profiteth him nothing." Mormon 7:6

I have seen the blessings of praying with real intent and how doing it
can help us to come closer to Christ. Following the will of the Father
is the best thing we can do in this life to be happy. I love my
Savior, I know He lives, and I know he loves me too.

Have a great week everyone! See you soon!

Love,

Elder Smith


Derek's baptism



Week 99

AREA: Safford, AZ
COMPANION: Elder Maloy

Monday: typical pday, nothing too exciting to report on.

Tuesday: Happy 4th or July! We did not do anything super exciting
unfortunately. This morning we went to a pancake breakfast with a
different ward and that was about it. The rest of the day we attempted
to visit people, unfortunately nobody was home. Didn't have anyone
sign up for dinner so we had some tacos at the Smith's home and then
the Curtis family texted and said we could come over to their place
for some BBQ.

Wednesday: Alright day... it was one of those days that everything
canceled and you had to keep using your backups but none of them
worked. That kinda sucked... Weighted myself and I am currently about
185 lbs and I came out at 150... that means I have gained 35 lbs on my
mission. Not as bad as I originally thought I did though. Since I'm
going home soon, I thought I would take my morning workouts a little
more serious so I have been running. I'm so out of shape its crazy!

Thursday: Had a zone conference and met the Brownings! It was super
cool to finally meet them and they are awesome! They have 3 kids
currently staying with them at the mission home and another who will
be joining them in august. They range from the ages of 5-17. Super
crazy!! Total they have 8 kids I believe. He definitely has an amazing
vision for the mission and I look forward to briefly seeing what is to
come in the mission. After the conference we had one of the best
lessons I have been to in awhile! It was with a less active in the YSA
branch who came home from his mission early and went less-active
shortly afterwards. He has been struggling with his faith and during
our visit we found that faith just a little bit. We decided to switch
it up slightly and invited him to teach us, he got to the second point
of the restoration lesson and started to cry. The happiness he felt
when he remembered that God blesses us with families. After his lesson
we found a new investigator named Adreas! Very exciting day!

Friday: Weekly planning day... evening included us meeting with some
members and having district prayer.

Saturday: Tried to do visits all day, was alright... had some lessons
in the evening. Dinner was great! Dale had a party type thing with
steaks! Super good and had a few people over from the elders quorum.

Sunday: Very good sabbath! Had a good amount of less actives at church
today and an investigator. Was in church practically the whole day and
ended with mission prep.

The gospel blesses families. After the lesson with Kevin, I pondered a
lot on how happy the gospel has made my family. The gospel has always
been a part of my families life and sometimes when something has
always been apart of your life in general, you take it for granted. I
am grateful to have grown up in a home with the restored gospel of
Jesus Christ. I am grateful for my parents who made it a priority to
have weekly family home evening, daily family prayer and scripture
study, weekly church attendance, and much more! I love my parents so
much:)

3 Nephi 18:21 --- "Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my
name, that your wives and your children may be blessed."

Have a great week:)

Love,

Elder Smith




Week 98

AREA: Safford, AZ
COMPANION: Elder Maloy

Friends and Family,

Monday: pretty typical pday, nothing too exciting to share unfortunately.

Tuesday: Somewhat of a sad/good day. Part of missionary work is
teaching people and having them drop you... Ethan dropped us this
morning. Said that he just felt he was wasting our time which was too
bad. Other than that, we made some plans on how we could involve the
ward members more. Spent some time at the church this evening and was
able to talk with a guy who came home early from his mission in the
MTC. The only difference between him and me when it came to the MTC
was that he went home. It was a pretty cool experience to be able to
relate to him in ways and testify to him of how worth it was to push
through those 12 days of hell.

Wednesday: Had a pretty fun day. Had district meeting and I invited
Elder Maloy to give the training and he was happy to do so. It went
well. After district meeting we spent time contacting less actives and
then had a lesson with our newer investigator Chuck. He is a pretty
cool guy and has a desire to change big time. When we came out of the
lesson we saw how big the fire really was on the mountain and wow! The
fire started June 7th from a bolt of lightning and now has burned over
17,000 acres... that was just by Wednesday though.

Thursday: went on exchanges with Elder Degrange and Witzel. I went
with Elder Witzel in his area and it was pretty fun. It was super hot
being in a bike area for a day but it was fun being with Elder Witzel.

Friday: Good weekly planning day. The morning we did a little extra
studies which was very enjoyable and then we started some planning.
After some planning we had interviews with President Passey which went
really well. Pretty sure that was considered my "dying interview." Not
sure though... pretty sure I will have at least one more with
President Browning when he comes into the mission. He will be coming
into the mission on the 1st of July! Can't believe the Passey's are
going home.

Saturday: We had some great lessons today! The first one was with a
less active that loved to talk which is understandable because it
doesnt seem like she gets out much because of her health. We then
attempted/successfully visited with some less actives/potentials and
then visited with our new investigator Arthur, the one missing a leg
and foot. The lesson went well, we taught about the restoration of the
gospel and the Plan of Salvation. Taught about how we will receive a
perfected immortal body when we are all resurrected and that we can
have eternal families as well. His face lit up and the thought of that
I felt almost brought him to tears. Ended the night with a lesson with
James, a less active which went very well too:) taught the restoration
and he loved it.

Sunday: Typical Sunday, didn't have anything too exciting happen. Had
some less actives at church and it rained which was nice. Did not put
out the fire though which was unfortunate, the current amount of land
burnt in the fire I believe is about 35,000 acres! This thing is out
of control!

I would like to bear my testimony of the Book of Mormon and that it
has the power to change people. The message it proclaims is a perfect
message. It is the word of God and was given to us to make us happier
and I am a witness that it really can make us happier. Since I have
started reading the Book of Mormon everyday, I have seen a light come
into my life that I never had felt or seen before. I promise you that
if you commit to read it, you will gain a testimony of the
truthfulness of it, come closer to Christ, gaining a testimony of the
restored gospel, and experience more happiness in your life than ever
before.

I love you all;) have a great week everyone:)

Love,

Elder Smith

Week 97

AREA: Safford, AZ
COMPANION: Elder Maloy

Friends and Family,

Monday: This morning we had a great time playing tennis at a members
house. After all our normal pday things we had a lesson with a
potential investigator named Victoria and her mom. Her mom is a member
and she seems very interested in coming to church which was super
exciting!

Tuesday: Typical missionary day... studies and visits. Ended the night
with going out with a couple of members to do some home teaching.

Wednesday: Did service this morning helping someone move and ended up
digging through the trash for a bunch of free stuff we could donate to
the mission. It was a bunch of pots, pans, measuring cups, etc. They
were throwing them all out and they were super nice things. After
doing that we got ready for district meeting. Had some lessons this
evening with the Williams family and Chuck. Lesson with Chuck went
well, the Williams I'm pretty sure were all hyped up on sugar. Chuck
our investigator has been hanging out a lot with a less active who is
starting to come back to church.

Thursday: Had a doctors appointment in Tucson today so we spent a
majority of the day there. Went and visited some people which was
super fun:) Saw Sister Broadbent:) It was great to see her and see the
home I lived in when I first came out on my mission. After her place I
went and visited the Barnes. Sister Barnes was there and it was so
great to see her:) went back to Safford and immediate headed to dinner
and then a lesson/splits. I went on splits with Brother Curtis and
Maloy went with Kale. Elder Maloy went to the lesson with Dana and I
visited a bunch of people with Brother Curtis. Got dropped off at the
lesson after doing visits and spent some more time talking with Dana.

Friday: Weekly planning day! That is pretty much what we did all day
till we went to a YSA activity where we played kickball and ate BBQ.
While playing kickball and I was up to kick I kicked FOUR fouls! In a
row! It was awesome ;) After the BBQ Dana's friend Hannah-who is a
less active member, was having some medical problems and asked if we
would be able to give her a blessing. Went over to Dana's again with
chuck this time and gave Hannah a blessing. It was a pretty powerful
experience:)

Saturday: Helped clean the church this morning and then had a prayer
with the Passey's and the rest of the missionaries in the mission over
the phone. Today they left for home and President Passey is no longer
my mission President. We now have president browning. Excited to get
to know him for the next 4 weeks. I'm curious of what his plan for the
mission are. Had another lesson with Dana answering some questions she
had about repentance. That was about it for the day...

Sunday: Had an awesome turnout at church today! 4th ward had some less
actives there that had not been there for a while. YSA had two
investigators there, one of them was a new investigator! After church
we went to mission prep with Matt Hackett, who just was set apart as a
missionary and is reporting to the MTC Wednesday. Got to know him
pretty well since being here and he is a cool kid. He will be serving
his mission in Indonesia which should be super awesome!

Something I would like to put emphasis on this week in my message is
that God loves us more than we can comprehend. Throughout the
scriptures he expresses His love to the people of that time. It may at
times not seem like it but I know He does love us all. God gave us a
plan on how to return to live with Him again. This plan is called the
Gospel of Jesus Christ. Only through Jesus Christ can we be worthy to
enter the kingdom of God once again but this time in perfected
immortal body.

Something I have been pondering on this week is how important it is to
remember that I love my Heavenly Father very much. As I have pondered
on this love I have for Him, I have gained a greater amount of respect
for Him and what He does for us everyday. It has also given me a
stronger desire to keep the commandments and sincerely repent of my
wrong doings. I invite you all to ponder on the love you have for
Heavenly Father. I have seen how it has given me a change of heart and
have a stronger desire to make Him more proud.

Thank you so much everyone for all you have done for me:) Look forward
to seeing you soon. 30 more days :)

Love,

Elder Smith





Week 96

AREA: Safford, AZ
COMPANION: Elder Maloy

Friends and Family,

Monday: Typical pday... nothing too exciting happened.

Tuesday: Started working on "my plan" for going home. Recently the
church started giving missionaries going home a packet of things that
help prepare us for going home. A better title for it I feel like
though is "the trunky packet" It has not been that big of a
distraction... but it has also forced me to think about what home is
like haha kinda annoying. The rest of the day we pretty much did
regular missionary work, nothing too exciting.

Wednesday: Didn't have district meeting today so we went about doing
normal missionary work.

Thursday: Had an awesome opportunity to visit the Tucson Temple! It is
sooo beautiful! I wish I could go back again and I hope I can soon
with an investigator or something. We had to leave for Tucson super
early so we were pretty tired. On the way home we were able to stop by
and see Tyna which was fun. She is doing well it seems like, Hannah as
well. Wesson, the dog I found is doing well too. He recently went to
the vet and got "fixed" so he is wearing a cone. It was nice to be in
Tucson for a little bit... but I dont really miss it haha Tucson is
too hot haha.

Friday: Typical planning day... nothing very different from what the
days are usually like.

Saturday: On exchanges with the zone leaders. I was with Elder Duncan
for the day and he is a pretty cool guy. Spent the morning doing
service for a less actives in one of the neighboring wards. The rest
of the day we spent contacting people and doing studies. We did find
one new investigator which was awesome! His name is Arthur, he has one
leg and half a foot on the other. Super sad situation but a very
humble guy.


Sunday: Not a typical Sunday or Fathers Day. About two weeks ago there
was a lightning storm that caught the mountain on fire. They didn't
put any effort to put it out because they were stupid so now its
traveled across all of Mount Graham. Our neighbor Dale has a family
cabin up on the mountain that has been in their family since 1933 and
the fire people told them that they needed to evacuate. They closed
the mountain this morning at 6am and are no longer allowing civilians
up there. The cabins were in danger of burning down. Dale came over
that morning and told us about that so we offered to go up with him
and help. We got permission from the mission president because of the
circumstances allowed us to go and so we spent our day from 8:30-3
cutting down brush around the cabin and carrying towing it off
somewhere. The reason they do that is it could potentially save the
cabin from burning down if the fire were to pass through. Dale is the
certified water guy for the county too so I spent most of my time with
him helping him with the water lines and cleaning up the junk from
around the huge 65,000 gallon water tanks which provide water for the
mountain. Anyway... it was super exhausting but it was definitely a
great feeling to have the opportunity to help the community up there
in that way. We came back and showered to then go out and do regular
missionary work. Had a pass off lesson with an investigator named
Chuck who has a pretty crazy life it sounds like. Very humble and has
a desire to learn.

Spiritual thought:

The thought I would like to leave with you today is on missionary work
and the importance of working with the missionaries to invite your
friends to hear about the gospel. This past week we were in a meeting
with the ward missionaries and I said something that may have sounded
rude but as I explained it turned into making a lot of sense. I said
something a long the lines of inviting your friends to learn more
about the church should be like pushing someone into a pool. Hear me
out... the principle behind this is that we do not know who is and is
not ready for the gospel. The only person who does know is God. A lot
of the time we hold back on invitations to learn more about the church
because we believe our friends aren't ready and that we need to help
prepare them. What better way to see if they're prepared or not than
to send the missionaries over to their house to say hi?? There is an
example of this in the book called "the power of an everyday
missionary." I would encourage anyone who hasn't read it to read it!
If you want to be a missionary and give your friends an opportunity to
feel the happiness and joy that you have felt from the gospel read
it:) and invite the missionaries to go and
visit them, no matter which missionaries it may be. Love you guys!!
Have a great week!

"Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every
creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish;
yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless
torment did cause them to quake and tremble."
 -Mosiah 28:3

Love,

Elder Smith



The ones with fire are the Frye Fire which has burned over 35,000
acres over the past few weeks.


The family in mermaid tails is my new mission president that will be
coming on the 1st. His company is called Fin Fun, he is the guy in the
middle.


From left to right Ken,
Dale(our neighbor), me, and Elder Maloy.


Week 95

AREA: Safford, AZ
COMPANION: Elder Maloy

Friends and Family,

This week was pretty much same old same old... After almost 23 months
of writing these emails its just now starting to get to the point that
I am tired of doing it... haha maybe thats why they make LDS missions
only 24 months.

Unfortunately there was not something tremendously exciting to report
on. I wish that there was more to say... spent a lot of time
contacting less active members and hopefully will be able to find some
new investigators next week.

Thank you for everything everyone:)

Love,

Elder Smith


Lightning did strike the mountain earlier in the week and so there was
a wild fire. Still burning too, it should be contained pretty soon
though.




Week 94

AREA: Safford, AZ
COMPANION: Elder Maloy

Friends and Family,

Monday: Memorial Day today was actually pretty lame. None of our wards had an activity so we pretty much did what we usually do. Nothing too special other than Elder Inskeep had to pack. While I was at sports I was feeling super tired so I decided to take a nap. 

Tuesday: Had to drive to Wilcox because that is where the transfer site was. Wilcox is 45 minutes away... Got my new companion though and he is awesome! Super cool thing was that he is from Enid Oklahoma which is where my young men's leader growing up moved too awhile back with his wife:) Tom and Sarah Cottle. Right when he told me he was from Enid, immediately I asked him if he knew the Cottle's and sure enough, he did! He was in their ward! Other than that we pretty much unpacked and moved things around the apartment. 

Wednesday: Had district meeting today after a zone breakout. It was cool to meet some new missionaries. After district meeting nothing too exciting happened. 

Thursday: Today was pretty awesome, after foodbank we went and visited some less active members and we feel like we may be getting somewhere with them. Hopefully they will come to church soon:)  In the evening it was somewhat stressful... we had to go on splits for a lesson with our investigators Dereck and a less active named Bryant. Figured out who was going where and everything worked out great! Dereck will be getting baptized on the 17th of this month!

Friday: Weekly planning day. That is pretty much all we did other than the fact that we had a great lesson with our investigator Ethan before he left on his trip for Colorado. Hopefully while he travels he will have a chance to read the Book of Mormon and gain a testimony of its truth:) Had a ward missionary meeting this evening as well which went really well. 

Saturday: This morning we were blessed enough to be able to attend the temple. A member in our ward that is leaving on his mission soon for Indonesia received his endowment and he invited us. It was amazing to be able to go:) I love the temple so much  and the peace and joy that comes from going. Super exciting that today is the first day of the temple open house! Pretty soon we will be able to go hopefully! It looks so beautiful and it is so amazing to be able to have been here in the mission for the ground breaking and the open house! Had some great contacts the rest of the day which was great. 

Sunday: Today was a great Sunday. Pretty much it was a normal Sacrament service both times other than the fact that we had a bunch of less actives at church! That was exciting. After church we had a linger longer with the YSA and then had dinner with the Hackett's. Taught mission prep which was fun. After mission prep we had a great talk with a lot of the people who were at mission prep. We are trying to talk them into going to YSA and so far it is going well. 

Thought: 
Alma 26:37 ​"Now my brethren, we see that God is ​​​mindful​ of every ​​​people​, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen." 

God loves us more than we can comprehend. God shows his love to us differently every single day. 

Have a great week everyone:) 

Love,

Elder Smith