Monday, July 10, 2017

Aloha

Raam anim (Hello in Chuukese),

Hope things are going well for you all! Things are still going well here island side and the work is going on.

We were able to meet with the Marshall family and they came to church, the kids are totally crazy but they love coming and are having a good time in primary. We were able to teach the oldest (Tiani) and she is still set to be baptized this month. She totally grabbed on to everything we were saying and had a lot of good questions (she probably knows more than I did when I was 10).

Another crazy thing was that by some miracle we were able to get 6 new investigators for the 3rd week in a row. This week it was just by visiting potentials and formers that I have been trying to hit for months and they were all just kinda home this time. There is plenty of work to be done here in the Lanakila area. On top of all this I got to go on an exchange with my new Zone Leader Elder Porter and he is a boss of a street contacter. Definitely made me realize I need to up my game. Elder Lewis said the same thing about our other ZL Elder Klaassen and so we have been doing that more and that is where 3 of our new investigators came from. Its been a good week.

In the non-proselyting news we had the 4th of July this week which was a sad shadow of New Years. Honestly I easily saw 10x as many fireworks at new years than I did this week. People here are patriotic to an extent, but they are a lot more proud to be Hawaiian than American. Speaking of America we also went to Pearl Harbor again and Elder Lock and I swept and mopped a bunch of the senior officer quarters. In other words we got to go behind all the blocked off parts of the tour and snoop around. Always a good time.

But that has been my week. Crazy that it has already been 11 months on my mission, I still feel like I just got here. Just reminds me that I can't be wasting my time here. Need to make every day count.

Love you all and keep up the work of the Lord. Also if you know someone who isn't a member introduce them to the missionaries!

C pop 2 (no idea how to spell it but that's what it sounds like in Chuukese),

Elder Smith





Monday, July 3, 2017

Another Week Flies By...

Aloha!

So this week has flown by, lots of good, lots of bad. Typical week in the mission field.

On the good side Elder Lewis and I were able to get 6 new investigators again this week just by talking to people on the street, not really anything new there I guess we just talked to the right people. Elder Lewis is a wiz with cars so he talks story with anyone who is working on cars or trucks. That's nice because I don't know a thing in that field and lots of people in Honolulu like their cars. Another good thing this week was that we started teaching Sister Marshall's (less active member) kids and found out that the 11 year old Tiani is not baptized. So we talked with her and her mom about it and we will be getting her baptized later this month (if all goes well). Teaching these kids is a riot though, I've taught a lot of kids in my mission but these ones are 11, 7, 6, 4, and 3 so trying to keep them all paying attention is a circus act, but a fun one. Especially when the 7 year old claims to be a J-dub. So that was fun. On top of that we had a rather fun encounter with a roaring drunk Chuukese man and we were able to set a time to see his non-drunk family because of the incident so the lord works in mysterious ways I guess (and no worries there was a Samoan member right there when this happened making sure this guy didn't do anything dumb).

On the sadder side our investigators that we thought were going to be really solid (Athena and her son Justin) moved away very suddenly. We are still trying to find out where they moved to so we can send the missionaries over there, but so far no luck. Keep praying for them though.

Well if there's one thing I learned this week its to never set your goals low and never give up on people. So even if you think someone isn't ready to hear the gospel it never hurts to invite them.

Love you all and have a great week.

Aloha,
Elder Smith


Monday, June 26, 2017

Talofa!

So this has been a pretty crazy week. I have been saying since I got here that this area has a lot of potential and I think after all this time it is starting to show. Elder Lewis and I got 6 new investigators this week (significantly more than I have ever gotten in this area) and a good chunk of them seemed pretty solid, too. One of the situations was pretty funny, I saw one of the less actives that we haven't been able to catch since Lewis and I became comps so we pulled over on the road and talked to her to try and set up a time to visit, only problem is a minute or so into the conversation I found out that this was NOT who I thought it was, but was instead her twin sister who was not a member, soooo we were able to set up an appointment with her and we will be seeing her this week. We also got two solid referrals from the Laie Visitors center and set return appointments with both. Honestly its the first media referrals I have gotten that are both 1. Interested and 2. actually in our area so that was a small miracle in itself.

On a "small world" note, we got a call from a companionship of sisters in the California, Los Angeles Mission who told us that one of their investigators was moving to our area. It will still be a few weeks and they don't have a house yet so it may end up being in another area but hopefully it works out. The crazy part is that one of the sisters that called us is from the same home town as Elder Lewis and they know each other. Pretty crazy how that works out.

Thanks for your support and prayers, always remember to live what you know and share what you treasure.

Love you all!
Elder Smith

Monday, June 19, 2017

Transfer News!

Aloha!

So its the most exciting week of the transfer. Transfer news!! So in a bit of a surprise I will be staying here in the Lanakila ward for another 6 weeks, that will bring me to a total of 6 months in this area making it my 2nd six month area. Elder Lewis and I will be staying together and we are excited to see what the next few weeks hold. The major change is that I will now also be serving as District Leader which, among other things, means I will have to conduct a training of 3 or 4 companionship every week. So we will see how that goes. I guess I couldn't dodge leadership forever.

Elder Lewis and I are still going strong, we basically have nothing in common and for some reason we still get along great. He is super in to cars, sports, and girls which are basically the three things I know nothing about. He'll try talking cars then I'll try talking Batman and then it usually just ends up going back to Spongebob because its the one thing we both love. Who knew?

So this week has also had some educating experiences. After the less than great ward council last week I was really tempted to just bide my time and ignore the "advice" that was given to us by the High Priest Group Leader however I decided that I couldn't just give up on this area so we went and talked to his neighbors who he has invited to church before and they are super solid, their son came to church and we set a return appointment with the mom. In total we had 4 new investigators this week which is more than I have ever gotten in a week in this area. Needless to say the lord is telling me that there is still work to be done in this area.

Thank you for all your prayers and thank you for all you do. Introduce your friends to the missionaries, its something you won't regret!

Love you all!
Elder Smith






Monday, June 12, 2017

Zone Conference and Things Getting...Colorful

Aloha!
What a week it has been.

So the highlight of this week was definitely the Marshall Ohana. They are a less active part member family that Bishop Saula introduced us to. We went over and introduced ourselves, found out her life story and played a bit with her three youngest kids (who are 7, 5, and 3). She really wants to get her kids more into church and she wants to start coming back as well. Her oldest is an unbaptized 11 year old but she is with the Grandma for the summer in Waipahu and the grandma is a J-dub so something tells me she won't really be open to Mormons coming by. Sister Marshall says that she does want her daughter to be taught once she comes back in August though. So after having a lesson with them they agreed to come to church and after coordinating with bishop we got them there which was really awesome to see. On top of that it was Levi Fuaga's farewell on Sunday so I said my goodbyes to him. He went out just about every week with me and Elder Campbell so it was pretty crazy seeing him go. He is going to be an awesome missionary though.

Another cool thing was yet another zone conference, so I got to see people from the Honolulu, Waipahu, and Makakilo zones. The theme of the zone conference was working with members and it made us realize that Elder Lewis and I need to get the point across to the members that we need help since nothing that we are doing to encourage member support has been working. So, in what is probably the most uncomfortable thing I have ever done on my mission, I basically told (In a nice way) a room full active members in leadership positions that they needed to help us out more. This rubbed one person the wrong way and our discussion got... colorful, but in a way I think that better emphasized our point that there is a disconnect between the members and the missionaries and there has been since before I got here. After the meeting we had several members call us and tell us that they were going to start helping us out more so maybe we will actually start seeing some progress in the Lanakila ward. (Just in time for me to leave probably :P).

So yes we will be getting transfer news this week and it honestly is 50/50 as to whether or not I will stay. Either way I will serve where ever the lord sees fit for me to serve.

Right now in my BoM reading I'm in the beginning of Alma (chapter 5, I believe) and in my New Testament reading I am in the back half of Acts (chapter 22 if I remember correctly). Its so crazy how much you miss in the scriptures, I think that this is the first time that I actually understood the time line of the book of Mosiah with the Mulekites and the people of Limhi and the People of Alma and Ammon and all that I could just never tell what was happening. But I finally got it on this read through, guess that is why repetition is so important. Reading Acts has made me realize that my struggles are nothing compared to these early missions, Paul, Peter, Stephen, Philip, they all had it bad, so I can keep working with a better attitude.

Bishop Saula quote of the week: "Unity is important. I know that most of this ward council is older men and women, but united we can take down the Kahuku Red Raiders"

Love you all so much, find someone this week to introduce to the missionaries

Aloha Oe
Elder Smith

Pics of Zone conference, with companion Elder Lewis and Levi's mission farewell.





















Monday, June 5, 2017

All is Well and a Weird Mission Story



Aloha!

So this has been a pretty average week. The spiritual highlight was definitely our interviews with President and Sister Bekker. President Bekker always knows how to answer the questions we don't even know we have, and Sister Bekker always knows how to lovingly correct anything we may be doing wrong. President described his wife as "The most loving steamroller you will ever meet" and I think that just about sums her up. Elder Lewis and I are still out working...we are just trying to find ways to be more spiritually guided as opposed to just doing what we think is right, because often times there is a difference even if what WE think is the right thing 90% of the time. It never hurts to be pushed along by the big man.

One of my good friends in this ward just got his mission call to Korea, Seoul and seeing him so excited and full of the spirit just reminded me how awesome it was to get my call.

The mission is going really well. This is still a fairly tough area but I learn more and more about life every day. Regardless of how much progress I witness I will always be grateful for having been sent here. Sadly the food situation isn't the best, we only have about 2 dinner appointments per week but we have a few ideas on how to make it better. For the moment we kinda have a wrench in everything because our ward mission leader just got released. This could be a good thing because maybe our new one will be more involved in our work, but I just hope it doesn't take forever to get a new one, this ward isn't really known for its quick decision making. Prayers are appreciated.

So on the "weird mission story" side of things we had quite the adventure on last p-day. After emailing, the Kalihi elders needed a ride to Walgreen's so we took them. After doing what needed to be done we were driving out of the parking lot when we heard a loud BOOM and 10 seconds later something impacted our car. I was already pulling out so I couldn't stop to see what hit us but after parking at the Stake Center we saw it left a gnarly dent. So we decided to go back and figure out what hit us. We went and started looking, and E. Lewis found a concrete rock on the ground and when he tried to pick it up it almost burned his hand. A few minutes of detective work later we found out that what had happened was a power surge and gone through a power plant some 50 yards behind us and one of the transformers exploded (the loud boom we heard). This caused one of the concrete insulators on top of the spire to fly into the air at high speed and crash into our car. So after talking to the police on the scene we called Elder Walker and he said that this is definitely a first for him and hopefully a last. So when all is said and done it was a really weird day and we realized that had the insulator had hit us 6 inches in either direction it most likely would have seriously hurt Elder Lock and the shattered glass might have hurt even more of us. So yeah thanks for all the prayers of safety. They work!

Hope everyone is having a great time and that you are always looking for ways to share the gospel. Quick reminder that all missionaries love mail! Love you all.

Mahalo nui and A hui hou
Elder Smith















Monday, May 29, 2017

Aloha from the Islands

Family!

This has been an interesting week. Yesterday me and Elder Lewis were talking about it and we feel like on paper not a lot happened but in actuality a lot happened. Probably the highlight was another lesson with Daniel. We taught him the Plan of Salvation and he enjoyed it and participated quite a bit in the lesson. In the end he whipped out his guitar and started playing, and when he found out that Elder Lewis could play too he got out a broken guitar and gave it to him to repair so they could jam. Elder Lewis was able to fix it within 10 minutes and we now plan on rocking with Daniel at our next meeting. After teaching him of course :P. He was busy this Sunday but he has expressed interest in coming to sacrament meeting so fingers crossed and arms folded for that.

Another family is Leslie and her children Arynn and John. Arynn is a member baptized by missionaries some years ago but he went less active due to being the only member in the family and the ward not doing the best at the follow up for one reason or another. Arynn's mother Leslie has expressed interest in going to the church and has told us that she wants John (her 10 year old son) to be baptized. I think they are golden but they fit into the very large category of people who are unable to meet with us because they work a dozen jobs and all the kids do sports. That's Honolulu for ya.

On the cool side I just found out that a YSA in the ward named Tafe just put in his mission papers. He's on the older side and made a handful of mistakes but he really turned his life around and is one of my favorite people in the ward. Just boosts my testimony that the Atonement of Christ is more powerful and far reaching than anything the world may have to offer and that nobody is too far gone. Along the same line I thought about the last couple months and how much I've changed. I mean I'm still me but it hit me a couple days ago after I walked up to a mostly homeless man on the street tattooed from head to toe, asked him about his day, talked about his family, and offered to say a prayer with him. We went our separate ways and I realized that 9 months ago I never would have done something like that. This mission really is a blessing in every way, its great for the people you meet but it is giving me a better understanding of life. I love serving and I love the people of these islands, even the ones that look like they want to stab us.

Quick reminder to read the BofM everyday and to never stop praying.

Love you all, keep the faith.

Elder Smith

PS - That's crazy that Carson is going to the Marshalls, there's tons of Micronesian immigrants in Honolulu so I've met a handful of people from the Marshall Islands. He's gonna love serving Jisus Kraist out there. Probably will never use the language again but hey it'll be a good skill to have, right?