Monday, October 16, 2017

Bird is the Word


So here we are again at transfer time, news was a little weird this time around. As expected me and Elder Hayes will be staying in the Waipiolani ward, but we will be getting a third companion named Elder Bird. I have never heard of this Elder before and as of yet I have no idea why we are being put in a trio, guess the lord has something he wants us to learn. In other news my trainer Elder Zollinger has completed his mission and is heading home and my past comp Elder Campbell is going to the west side of Kaua'i. Not much change aside from that.

This week was full of talking to people on the street and trying to find new investigators. Not a whole lot of success but we are loving the work either way. We had a solid meeting with Ikiaka this week and we went over the Restoration, I am pretty confident that he will get baptized so that is pretty cool to see. The Elzingas are another story, we went over to set Preston with a date and found out they are last minute moving to Wahiawa so we will have to hand them to those Elders. The Elzingas are also awesome and they came to church this week which was awesome to see. Keep praying for them. Aside from that not much else to report.

Love you all and keep on being awesome.
Ofa atu!
Elder Smith


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Smith's out of Gas, VanShaar is Peeing in a Bottle, and the Cops Just Showed Up

I'm sure you're all wondering why my email is titled this way, let's just say that there are no dull moments here in the Hawai'i Honolulu mission.

So this week was an interesting one. We were able to meet a bit with the Elzinga family and see where they are, we are feeling good about the plan to start up lessons with just Preston so we are going to be sticking to that. Lessons with him start up this week (finger's crossed). We have talked more with Ikaika and he is pretty set on getting baptized which is really good for us to see, the only thing we need to do now is get him to realize how important church is, him coming regularly is the only real roadblock left (though he did come to scouts this week which was awesome). We also got a new investigator this week named Kenoa who is a Chuukese football player who was referred to us by his coach (a member of the stake presidency. He seemed marginally interested but his fellowshipper is solid so we will see how that goes.)

Also we got the chance to got to the temple today which was legit as always, lots of prayers answered. I feel really lucky to be able to go as much as I do, I know not all missionaries get this opportunity so I am very grateful for it.

I love you all and hope that you all find a way to spread the word. Aloha au ia 'oe!
-Elder Smith

PS. if anyone wants to hear the story behind my title, shoot me an email as to how you shared the gospel this week. Love ya

Mililani Zone at the temple!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Amazing General Conference Weekend


What a week it has been. This week we had interviews, zone conference, and of course general conference. First off in interviews president gave me some direction on how I can improve as a trainer and in general and he also cleared up a lot a few doctrinal questions I had. That's one of the things I love about President Bekker, he is able to be so spiritual and profound in only teaching the pure and simple doctrine of the gospel but at the same time if you have a legitimate concern about deep doctrine of the church he knows everything about that too. I see some missionaries that spend way too much time trying to learn the deep and confusing aspects of the gospel and in doing so lose sight of the simplicity of Christ's teachings. I have had to learn in my mission to not get distracted by the crazy stuff and while I have learned A TON on my mission compared to what I knew before I have more importantly learned the importance of plain and simple teachings.

Zone conference was also awesome, the theme this time was strengthening our own faith. I was one of the missionaries assigned to randomly give a talk and it went alright all things considered. I have come to realize that faith really is the basis of all that we do. It is the first point in the gospel of Jesus Christ and without it nothing else can be fully realized. Our prayers and sacrifices don't really mean much if we don't have the faith to know that they do what God says they will. Like Elder Hales's unread talk said yesterday "faith is what prepares us to meet God". We all start somewhere and that is faith.

Speaking of yesterday, we had an amazing General conference this time around. As usual it was incredibly early (Morning session at 6am, afternoon at 10am, priesthood at 2pm) but it was one of the best one's I can remember. Of course it was sad to not see President Monson there and pretty crazy timing for Elder Hales to have passed away but I know that this work is God's work and will go on regardless of the condition of His servants. Some talks that stuck out to me were President Henry B. Eyring's priesthood address on sustaining leaders in the church (even though we all have human weaknesses), Elder Tad R. Callister's talk on the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon (there's a more detailed version of that given as a BYU devotional called The Book of Mormon: Man Made or God Given. Highly recommend) and Elder Anderson's talk on general conference as a whole and how it's counsel will lead and guide us. I feel so blessed to be lead today by real prophets who have the inspiration to know what the world does need and will need in the future. With everything going on in the world today (I saw a news broadcast this morning at the gym about the shooting in Las Vegas) it is beyond comfortable to know that we have people that make God's will and plan made known to us. I am even more grateful to know that God is infinite and has provided a perfect plan that allows us eternal happiness even if life takes an unexpected turn.

All in all things are going well in the Waipiolani ward. As far as the Elzinga's go we are planning to start only teaching the 9 year old son and less active father since they are the only ones actually showing the desire to act on what we tell them. Hopefully their example will allow their mother to better feel the spirit in the future but for now she is just holding back their progression. We did have another meeting with our 15 year old investigator Ikaika yesterday and we set him with a baptismal date of October 29th! He seemed game for it now we just have to hold him to his commitments to get there. Keep praying for them and for Francis, Felicia, Jenna, and the Davis Ohana. We are so close with these people we just need a little help from on high.

Love you all and remember to always heed the words of the prophets
Elder Smith

1. Extended version of the family pic. My dad Elder Zollinger with both of his sons (me and Elder Cabrito) and both of his grandsons (Elder Hayes and Elder Anderson)
2. Hon-West reunion, Elder Siaosi, Elder McOmber, Sister Kwak, Elder Campbell, and me
3. Elder Zollinger with 4 of his companions (Elder VanShaar, Elder Klaassen, me, and Elder Wood)

4. Ballin'

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Life of a Trainer, Week 2


This week has been very long and tiring but a solid week nonetheless. The same old problems are still there with the Elzingas and Ikaika in that our lessons are always solid but something always comes up that makes it so they can't fulfill their commitments. I still see our lessons with Ikaika bearing fruit but I am starting to wonder about the Elizingas, we will need to pray about what our next step should be because the sad truth is sometimes it takes the missionaries not coming for awhile for people to realize what it is that we bring. But no final decisions are being made yet so we will see.

On a more positive note we had two lessons with Francis and Felicia (the couple from Ghana) this week and both went really well. The first lesson was the Restoration and its the first time that Elder Hayes has done a full lesson before and while he did a good job I definitely got reminded that he is still a greenie. He didn't say anything bad at all but he just completely forgot the lesson plan and skipped some vital parts I had to jump in and cover. But it all went well and the spirit was there. Later in the week I went on an exchange with Elder Zollinger and we taught the same family the Plan of Salvation, it was super solid and he totally accepted it. In fact he was telling us about African culture and a lot of it matched up with what we were teaching.

The senior couple brought another investigator to our ward this week, her name is Jenna Baptiste and she is from Haiti. She really enjoyed the meeting (mostly because it was the primary program) and said that we can meet with her later in the week. Should be a good time.

Also I had a very... interesting experience giving a blessing this week. First time I have ever been asked to cast out an evil spirit so that was certainly memorable. Won't go into much more detail on it but just know that the church is true :D

In terms of the training it is going well. Elder Hayes is a fast learner and I think that he will be a great missionary in no time.

The newest thing on my food experience is a small pizza made with taro bread. Its basically as Polynesian and white as you can be at the same time. So basically it's me in food form.

That's all I can think of right now so I hope that everything is going well on the home front. Keep the aloha going!

Much love!
Elder Smith

PS - President Bekker called and told me about Great Grandpa Cooper's passing. I know he is in a better place. I'm glad I got to see him before I left for my mission.

Blurry pic but still a pic!

Monday, September 18, 2017

First Week as a Trainer


Has it only been a week? Feels like it's been a month (in a good way). Its funny how when you do something new on the mission it just makes time crawl. I have definitely learned a lot this past week and will continue to learn a lot over the next couple months. So my son's name is Elder Hayes and he is from Aurora, Colorado (still no Utah comps, that's five). The first and most unusual thing about him is a difficulty that he has with his left leg, namely that he doesn't have one. So yeah that was a bit of a surprise on Tuesday when President pulled me aside to give me a heads up. His leg was amputated when he was 6 because of cancer in his knee but he has some pretty fancy prosthetic so he is actually a para-olympian gold medalist. Basically I took that as a "don't go easy on him" so right after we dropped his stuff off and did some studying I took him door to door and visiting people for 4 hours, he was tired but then after we got back to the pad I found out that working in the humidity that long actually kinda messed up his leg and potentially damaged the skin... soooo I decided that maybe we needed to plan our day a little smarter and avoid that happening again. He doesn't want me to go easy on him and he is a hard worker but I just don't want to cause a problem that will get him sent home. So now instead of doing our studies in the morning we work in the morning and study in the afternoon so he has time to let his leg air out. It's still a trial and error process but we are figuring it out.

Lesson wise we had a meeting with our former with-date Ikaika and tried to reset him for a baptism date, but I think we need to do a better job explaining the why and less of the what when it comes to these things. He is a bit of a slow learner so there is slow progress with him but we are hopeful. On top of that the senior couple (Elder and Sister Anderson) brought a couple to our ward that might be interested in taking the lessons. We met them on Sunday, their names are Francis and Felicia and they are from Ghana. We didn't get to talk to them much but they seemed really open and said they would come back next week. Also that senior couple is working with another couple who they are bringing next week from Haiti so we are bringing in all the Africans. We are very hopefully about these people and looking forward to the chance of teaching them.

So yeah it has been a long week but a good week, I hope Elder Hayes isn't sick of me yet but if he is that's alright, he's stuck with me. Oh yeah we also got majorly cussed out but a very angry man yesterday because we "cut him off" in traffic. He claimed that he hated our church and was a Catholic and many other things that I will not repeat. The moral is if your mad at someone or being dumb please don't throw your religion at them because I have met lots of wonderful Catholics on my mission and this guy was just disgracing them. Remember that you represent more than just yourself out there.

Anyway love you all and remember to keep spreading the word.
Ofa atu

Elder Smith

Monday, September 11, 2017

Transfer Week


Well I actually have a lot to say so buckle up.

First things first this is transfer week and as such on Saturday we all get notified about leadership calls, about halfway through the day I get a call which didn't really phase me because I figured I was going to get re-called to District Leader (which i was fine with because I know how to do that). So I chatted with President Bekker and he said to me "Elder Smith I've prayed about it and I would like to call you to be a trainer" and I had no clue what to say. Naturally I accepted the calling but I was a little more than uneasy about it so needless to say these next 12 weeks will be very very interesting. I do not know who my new companion will be because President doesn't finalize that until the day before (so tonight) and I will meet him tomorrow morning. This will also be interesting to see because I don't have the area 100% down yet. Elder Fa'alavaau is being transferred to my old area in Hon-west and he will be training also so we are freaking out together. I gave him a bunch of names for him to check up on while he's there so he won't be going in completely blind.

In Waipiolani news we had a really solid lesson with the Elizinga family, they have had a hard time keeping commitments but we are seeing small but sure changes in them, especially Tika (the dad who is a less active). They told us that they are very grateful for us and that though we may not be able to see it we are having a positive impact on their life, it was really nice to hear and I can tell that whether they know it or not they are coming closer to Heavenly Father. We also had the chance to briefly meet up with Junior who we met at the Stake car wash a few weeks back, we set up a time to see him so hopefully we will be able to continue on that this next week.

In world wide news it was recently revealed to our mission that starting in 2018 all of the missions in the united states will begin transitioning to using smart phones. I don't believe that there has been an official announcement on it yet but the guy in the church that oversees all technology was vacationing in Hawai'i and told all the ZL's and they told us. I'm not fully convinced that this isn't some mission wide prank but if it is true it will definitely change the way we work a lot. I'll keep you posted on that.

All in all it has been quite the week and lots to do in the weeks to come. Keep me in your prayers because I am for sure going to need them.

Love you all!

Elder Smith

Monday, September 4, 2017

Waipiolani News


Well we had anther enjoyable week in Waipiolani. It was a tad slow this week but nonetheless enjoyable. The main problem is still getting the people we are working with to follow through with commitments, we had a really good lesson with the Elzinga family and talked to them about how important it is to maintain doing the little things like church, reading, and prayer so that we can gain our testimonies and be truly converted to the gospel. They agreed that they needed to work harder at this if they want to know that it is true... then they overslept and didn't come to church (the one drawback to morning church). Sooo we are still working with them and trying to get them to put forth a little more effort. Keep them in your prayers because they are so close to knowing this is true.

Elder Fa'alavaau had to go to Honolulu to get his blood levels checked (he has a mechanical valve, I call him Cyborg) and we drove all the way there only to find out his appointment was for the next day. So we went to Honolulu again the next day and had his actual appointment. The downside was that was a good amount of driving but the upside is I got to drive through my old area twice so that was pretty cool. Also we got to go to Pearl Harbor again this week (my eighth time) and swept through a bunch of the decks. This morning we had a pad inspection so our place actually looks nice now (pics below) and yeah that about sums up this week.

This past week I was reading in the Book of Mosiah and saw the story of Alma the Elder and his people being suppressed by Amaron and the Lamanites, the unique thing about this story is that instead of the Lord liberating his people immediately he allowed them to be tried and tested through their struggles to see if they would remain faithful (which they did). Along the way though he still heard their prayers and gave them the strength to overcome their trials, he didn't change their circumstance, he just helped them overcome them. I have seen this apply to me a ton over the past year, I was very overwhelmed when I first got out here, but every day as I prayed for help I could feel the Lord their strengthening me, he didn't make the work easier, he just made me better. Little by little. So yeah just some thought for the coming week.

Love you all and thanks for all you do!

Elder Smith