Wednesday, August 31, 2016


A few shots of all the Elders and Sisters headed to Hawaii from the SLC airport!

Zack and his MTC companion, Elder Johnson

Elder Smith and Elder Campbell, talking to their moms on the phone before boarding the plane! 

All the "greenies" with President and Sister Bekker

 Elder Smith with President and Sister Bekker

 Elder Zachary Smith, fresh in Hawaii and ready to work! 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

MTC Pics - Week 2

Elder Smith and his district in the MTC

Elders - boys will be boys! 

MTC Part 2

So week one of the MTC felt like about a month, week two felt like a day. Time really starts to fly when you get into the groove of it all. Teaching lessons is getting easier, I'm learning to better teach by the spirit and to the needs of the investigators. When I first started I was so glad to only have to teach 25 minute lessons instead of the 45 minutes that some people got but now I find myself wanting the longer times because there's so much more I want to know about them and talk to them about. All in all I'm pumped for the mission field.

Speaking of that I leave the MTC Monday for Hawaii, so if any of you were planning on writing me from Dear Elder hold off for this one week because they might get lost in the transition period. Surprisingly there have been only two times that I've gotten another Elder Smith's mail. One of them was really confusing because it was too an Elder Zachary Smith but I couldn't tell who it was from. Two and a half pages in I finally realized it wasn't mine. Whoops.

Anyway MTC life has flown by, it's gonna be real hard to leave these Elders and Sisters when we all go our different ways, but we're all excited. Also last Thursday my companion and I were made Zone Leaders. That means that yesterday we had to welcome all 24 of the new missionaries in Zone 41 to the MTC, then me and Johnson were in charge of the Elders from that group. Naturally that was 20-24 of them with 12 of them all going to Ghana. Kinda crazy but we enjoyed leading the orientation and making sure they all felt comfortable.

We've had the chance to hear from a lot of speakers here, my favorite was Juan Uceda of the seventy (from Peru). For starters he sounded exactly like Ricardo Montelbon but on a spiritually note he had a lot of great points. He himself was a convert and assured us all of the power that we held to change the hearts of many. He also stressed giving all your heart, might, mind, and strength to the Lord while serving. That really hit me, you only get as much as you give.

One last closing thought, it's amazing to me how much more meaning Hymns have now that I'm a missionary. The songs Called to Serve and Army of Helaman hit me particularly hard whenever we sing them. It's a great feeling.

Thanks for all the letters and emails, hope to keep seeing them,

Elder Smith

Excerpts of an email to Mom:

Aight here we go with those quick answers. Elder Johnson is from Colorado, also he's ethnically Hawaiian but he's never been there, knows all about the culture though so that's cool. He's great and we get along perfectly. Honestly I'm close to the whole district but I'm really gonna miss the Mesa-narries when we all part ways. Checketts, Dodds, Muir, and Empey are all great guys so saying goodbye is gonna be tough, it's crazy how you can get so close to people in such a short amount of time. I haven't given any blessings but I have participated in two when a few of the missionaries in the district got sick. There's been a cold going around since I got here, I've had it the past couple days but I'm already feeling better. Some got it real bad. I briefly met another Hawaii missionary but for the life of me cannot remember his name. My flight leaves 11:56 am Utah time on Monday so I'll probably be there an hour or two before then, expect a call from me within that block of time, sorry I can't really be more specific. A lot has happened this week, I'll talk more about those in the group email, but I got made Zone leader about an hour after I emailed you last week so that's a thing.

Glad to hear things are going well with Dylan and Poppi back home from the hospital, not sure if it's happenstance but I do really believe that me being out here is helping everyone back home. Yay! Alright well I got emails to type so I'll talk to ya later.

Elder Smith

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Pics from the MTC - Elder Smith and His District

I Have Survived Week 1

Dear virtually everyone I've ever met and some that I don't even know,

As the subject suggests I have indeed survived my first week at the MTC. My District is fantastic, some of them are going to same mission as me while others are going to Mesa, Arizona and Richmond, Virginia. I've managed to run into all my friends from back home at various points in the week so Ty, Triston, JD, and Kimball are also alive and well (in case no one had heard from them). It's kind of funny actually, I spent so much time thinking about what Hawaii was going to be like that I didn't even give much thought to the MTC, now that I'm here getting to the mission field still seems so far away. It's been along week but everyone and their companion has told me that once you're through the first week it all flies by, guess we'll see.

Anyway I've been learning tons of stuff here, they really don't give you much time to take it all in before you're thrown right into the fire. The biggest thing that's hit me is that it doesn't matter how many stories you quote from the book of Mormon or how many scripture mastery references you know by heart, it's about teaching by the spirit. We alone as missionaries can't do diddly-squat by ourselves, but when we teach by the spirit and preach according to the needs of those in front of us then it doesn't matter how well spoken you are, you can change the hearts of anyone. I feel like I spent so much time figuring out the answers to the hard questions that I forgot that it's the easy ones that are the most important.

So my time is incredibly limited, with any luck I'll be able to write another Email later, didn't have enough time to write down everything that I wanted to, but one last thing, If anyone wants to keep in contact with me use Dear Elder, ask my mom if you don't know what it is)

Church is true,
Elder Smith

Excerpts of an email to Mom:

Howdy. Alright so first off sorry its been a whole week, obviously they weren't going to give me the first Thursday off, but Thursday is in fact my p-day, at least until I get out into the field. I'm gonna keep this relatively brief so I have more time to send out details in the big group email. So here's an answer to you questions. My companion is Elder Johnson, he's from Pueblo, Colorado and he will be going to Hawaii with me. I share a dorm with Elder Mawby and Elder Campbell who are also going to Hawaii. There's another group of four Elders in my district: Elders Muir, Checketts, Dodds, and Empey who are all going to the Mesa, Arizona mission (also Elder Checketts is the younger brother of the Elder Checketts that taught my mission prep class, so that was a weird connection). There are 4 sisters in my district: Sisters Wilson, Lee, Bate, and Mooney. As you already figured out Sister Wilson is going to Hawaii and the other three are going to Richmond, Virginia. Honestly it's amazing how close I've gotten to all 11 of them in the short week I've been here, we all keep forgetting how little time we have actually known each other. We all plan to keep in contact during the mission and hopefully meet up after it all, but we'll see. I've managed to see everyone from Clovis but never at the same time: it's easier to find people on Sunday because schedules are a lot closer so we're gonna try to all get together then for a picture. My schedule is basically a 4 way rotation between eat, learn, study, teach. That's really it (I'll go into more detail in the big email). Outside of my district I have not met anyone else going to Hawaii but I have heard that there are at least 2 elders and 2 sisters that will be on the plane with us. Sunday was really great, went to priesthood, went to sacrament, and had to prep a talk because they randomly call on people for sacrament talks (didn't need to give it though). Anyway I'm running out of time so I'm gonna zip through these last couple. Biggest thing I've learned is that it's better to have the ability to teach simple principles than complicated questions. Got the treats, loved them, so did the other elders. I went to a choir practice but couldn't make it to the performance. I met President Burgess briefly the first day and yes I told him I was related to Sarah, I have taken some pics but forgot to put my camera in my pocket so I can't send any right now. Elder Holland being here was a well circulated rumor, we heard from Sister Oscarson instead, still a fantastic talk and got me more pumped to get out into the field. I'm really running low on time, I need to sign off so I can write the group email, just know that I miss you all but I'm not homesick, you don't need to worry about.

Love You all!! (make sure you tell the sibs I got their letters and love them too)

Elder Smith

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The MTC Drop Off!

Elder Smith flew out from the Fresno airport early the morning of August 10th and was picked up and spent the morning with his four aunts - Sarah, Savannah, Ali and Emily. This video shows them dropping him off at the MTC.