Monday, August 14, 2017

One Year Down

Aloha Ohana!

So this week has been a pretty great one. We were able to teach a couple lessons to the Elzinga family and Ikaika Stuart which were both great and the highlight of the week was that they all came to church! So that was great. They are all set with baptismal dates right now but we might have to push a few of them back. They are all progressing though which is always great to see. There are a pair of Samoan girls named Va'e and Tu'ua that are also set with baptismal dates but I haven't had the chance to meet them yet because they have been with family in Waipahu, so hopefully it will work out this week.

A big thing I have thought about this week is how much I took the gospel for granted growing up. I was used to people in my old area having hard times because it was mostly low income housing but this is a much nicer area and yet there are still so many people in unfortunate circumstances. The thing is it almost all stems from someone in the family going against the commandments of God. Some of these family situations are so uncertain and sketchy that it makes me so grateful to have a relatively normal upbringing.

On another note it was really weird to hit my year mark this week. Crazy that a year ago i was a nervous little boy in the MTC, playing beach volleyball with Elder Johnson. A lot has changed since then and a lot will continue to change. I can't wait to see what else there is to do in this area.
Well I don't have time to write much else but just know that this ward is taking great care of us and that me and Elder Fa'alavaau are getting along great. Keep praying for us and we will keep the work going! Love you all!

Aloha!
Elder Smith

Monday, August 7, 2017

Loving Mililani

Aloha!

So this has been an insanely long week, but in a good way. On Tuesday morning we finished packing up the pad and went off to transfer meeting. It was awesome being able to see so many people again and catch up with a few past comps. After saying goodbye to Elder Lewis I met up with Elder Fa'alavaau and we drove to Mililani to start working. I have never been to the central part of O'ahu so it has been really cool to see this area, it is way more beautiful than my last area and the work here is great. This was by far the most warm welcome I have ever gotten into a ward, they all made a point to talk to me, I've met most of the auxiliary leaders already, members have us over all the time, and the best part is they actually volunteer to help us out a lot and give us referrals. I am not one to compare areas but I have a feeling that this ward is going to be my favorite area. My new comp is cool too, he still has his greenie fire so that is awesome to be working with, on top of that the ward loves him. He was born in American Samoa and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. His parents are converts so he has a soft spot for missionary work, he likes a lot of the same nerdy stuff as me so we get along just fine.

In terms of the work we have a handful of investigators we are teaching but I am still in the process of meeting them. There's this kid named Ikaika who we are getting involved in cub scouts and a part member family named the Elzingas that seem really solid. So all in all I love the area, the ward, and the work. I really am at a point now where I just love doing this, it isn't just a duty anymore, it's a privilege.

I had the opportunity to talk this past week with a member in the ward that has been excommunicated and is working on coming back, he told me that God has released him from his covenants because it was recognized that he wasn't mature enough to uphold them so he needs to reevaluate himself before he recommits to the covenants. He basically testified to me that even the church's discipline is an example of our Father's love for us. I think it is the biggest testimony builder in our Heavenly Father's love for us, that he is always willing to take us back.

So yeah that is my first impressions of the area. More to come for sure. Didn't grab any pics this week but I have some more that I took from Hon-West.

Love you all and can't wait to tell you more about Mililani!

Love and Aloha,
Elder Smith









Monday, July 31, 2017

Aloha oe Hon West

Alooooha!

So this has been an insanely stressful week. Like, really really stressful. But before I get into that here is the Transfer news, after 6 months in the Lanakila ward I will be transferred to the Mililani Zone where I will cover the Waipiolani Ward. I don't know exactly where the ward is but the zone as a whole takes up most of the center of the Oahu and is the only part of the island that doesn't border the ocean. I am really excited to see what working there is like, especially since i believe most of the area is military. My new companion will be Elder Fa'alavaau (Fah-ah-la-vah-ow), I met him briefly before. He is ethnically Samoan but is from Alaska and I believe he only speaks English. He has only been out for 3 months so I will be his "greenie breaker". Also I am still the district leader in my new area.

So the reason for the stress is that on top of me being transferred Elder Lewis is also being transferred out to the Honolulu Zone meaning that two new elders will be picking up where we left off. Normally I would be fine with that but because of scheduling problems Tiani's baptism had to be pushed back a week and now none of us will be here for it. We have been running around like crazy making sure it is being handled by the ward because we don't want there to be any confusion. So prayers for that to go well will be appreciated.

So basically a lot is up in the air right now, but I spent a lot of time praying and even though I am stressed beyond belief to pass this area off to two new elders, I know that it is the Lord's will and that one way or another His work will be done.

So beyond that there isn't much else to say, the church is till true and we are still preaching the word. Can't wait to update you on my new area.

Mahalo Nui and aloha oe Hon West

Love you all,
Elder Smith


Pics of my area























Saturday, July 29, 2017

Latest Pics from Hawaii













Last Week of the Transfer

Aloha!

So its been a really quick week for me. First off we had interviews with President and Sister Bekker which went really well and helped me know what I need to work on and see how far I have come since my last interview with him. This next transfer I am going to be working on being an example because we can't be out preaching the gospel if we aren't living it.

I went on an exchange this week with Elder Fanene in the Moanalua 2nd Samoan ward. So basically I sat there for 6 hours while he talked to a bunch of people in Samoan. But every once in awhile I would hear the word Pulagi which is what they call a white person so I know I was at least being discussed.

After that we had Zone conference so I was able to catch up with some old and not so old friends. The theme of the conference was the Book of Mormon. Really broad but discussing it in detail has really shown me how much of a miracle the book really is. It is simple enough that an 8 year old can know that it is true, but complicated enough to know that no man short of a genius could have written it on his own, and while I have crazy respect for Joseph Smith he was no genius. The conference made me realize that I don't testify of the book nearly as much as I should. I testify of Christ of course, but most people already have that belief. Testifying of the BoM will help strengthen everyone's faith in Christ, especially mine.

So this Saturday there were 2 separate baptisms in the stake so it was cool to attend those. Also our investigator Tiani is set to be baptized this Saturday which we are super happy about. The only problem is that the boyfriend of her mother does NOT like us at all so it can be a little hard trying to contact the family and set up the baptism. Keep praying for that to work out, this family needs the spirit in their home.

And yes this will be the last week of the transfer which means that I will most likely be assigned to a new area soon. I plan on making this last week count though. Start placing your bets as to where I'm off to next (my guess is the Marshallese branch in Waipahu, because God has a sense of humor).

Thanks for all the support and prayers, I really do love you all!

Mahalo nui loa
Elder Smith

New Investigators!

This has been a wild week. So first off Elder Lewis and I are trying to wrap our heads around how this happened but we got a crazy amount of new investigators this week. Some are more solid than others but we just kept asking people if we could come back and share more about our beliefs and about Christ and people just kept saying yes (which I'm not really used to) hopefully this will all turn out but I am starting to see how the Lord prepares people for us out here in the work.

Probably the highlight of the week was a lesson we had with an investigator named Leslie. She has seemed really solid to me since I got here but we have never been able to set up a solid appointment with her but after 5 months in this area we were finally able to meet with her and her 10 year old son. We recapped what she had been taught years earlier when she had been taught by missionaries and then we bore our testimonies of the restoration and how it blesses our lives and unites our families. The spirit was really strong and so we asked them both to commit to a baptismal dater and they agreed so as of now they are set to be baptized on August 26th. Praying for them to make that date because there are still some things that she needs to get over but we all have confidence that through Christ's atonement she can make it through anything.

On the fun side the Hon-west zone got to travel up to Laie and go to the temple today. Always a beautiful experience, really builds my testimony of the importance of a temple. Also makes me realize how lucky we are to have so many on the earth today. Also going up to the North Shore gave me an excuse to drive through my old area in Kaneohe. Any excuse to see that place is a good excuse.

One funny story though, Elder Lewis and I were walking up this hill when a non member slows down his car and says "You boys are doing great work, God bless" and drives away. Its always great to hear stuff like that so I say "man some of the people around here are so nice" as soon as I say that another car slows down and this guy yells "hail Satan" and drives away. So if you want to know what people's opinion of us are its pretty 50/50. All in all I was just laughing at the whole thing.

Well thank you for all the prayers, they are definitely working and I am truly grateful for all your support. You are the best, love you all.

Aloha,
Elder Smith







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