Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Aloha, Ohana

Life is great here in paradise. Met a guy here named Brother Chandler that really reminds me of Brother Scanlan. Probably the coolest member I've met since I've gotten out here. He's a huge Samoan guy who used to be a drill sergeant and then he was the head mechanic of the presidential helicopter during the Clinton administration so he has a framed photo of him shaking Bill Clinton's hand. He also has a very, very, very high respect for missionaries and missionary work. He told us his story of conversion and how he has come to know that the gospel is true. Almost brought me to tears. He also told us that having dinner with the missionaries is the closest thing we can do in this life to having dinner with the savior. That was really a wake up call as to how important missionary work is. Loved that family.

I have done some pretty cool Hikes on p-days. Last week we got up really early to do a sunrise hike only to remember that it's Hawaii and there are clouds everywhere. Still fun though. Today we did a short hike that led us through some pretty awesome Bamboo forest type things. I didn't have my camera but others took pics so I'm still waiting for them to email them to our group.

Here's some random things about Hawaii: Lizards. Are. Everywhere. They're like flies, they just chill everywhere and are constantly running across the sidewalks. Nothing bad though. Also basically everyone owns a dog. and on top of that they all want to kill us. I don't know if it's Satan or Hawaii or what but out here dogs hate missionaries. They all want to take us out and eat us. Especially the little ones. Makes me miss Indy. Also people are less outwardly kind than you mighty think, almost everyone has no trespassing signs or gates around their house or really mean guard dogs. If that's the case we just yell "Aloha" or something over the fence and hope that they come out. Teaching is going pretty good so far, we made a lot of progress with Natalie, got her to commit to baptism so hopefully she will stick to that. Sad thing is that Malia was making a lot of progress but due to some personal issues she is moving to Lanai. There are currently no missionaries on Lanai due to the small population so we're hoping that she won't lose the desire that she has. We're keeping her in our prayers. Yesterday really boosted my testimony on fasting. It can be really hard to do a full day fast as a missionary but my companion and I stuck with it and met a less active that seems really interested in getting back into church and we think that we might be able to start teaching another investigators pretty soon. I'll keep you updated on those if they progress.

I have met a lot of awesome Elders and Sisters. Cool thing is we get a lot of foreign Elders serving here. A lot from Japan, the Philippians, Samoa, and Tonga. Also a lot of the members are from Samoa and Tonga so I've gotten to talk to them a lot about that. Yesterday Brother Siliga (ward mission leader, Samoan) fed us Taro root. Basically Purple Potatoes. I think it's what poi is made of. Not great but not bad, the kind that we had was made with coconut milk so that was actually pretty good.

That's all the fun facts I can think of. Hope everything is going good with you guys. Hope the week goes great, also I hope that Dylan's surgery goes well. He's been in my prayers.

Love you all,
Elder Smith

Story he sent to a friend that passed it along to mom:

Anyway so funny story, a couple days ago I was on splits with the Zone Leaders in the 2nd ward so I was in their area and was with Elder Kang (great guy). He explains to me that he and Elder Jensen had been teaching this woman named Elizabeth but that she lived out of their ward boundaries so they were handing her off to the Elders in the Kailua ward (there were three of them at the time). Anyway I met Elizabeth, she's an older lady, retired elementary teacher and from what I can tell I think she was pure Hawaiian or at least dominantly Hawaiian so naturally she had a lot of cultural stuff around the house. When we sat down on the couch to talk with her guess what's on the wall right behind where she's sitting? Why naturally it's a significantly large portrait of a Hawaiian hula dancer, and naturally since it had to be historically accurate she was topless. So yes, my comp and I had to try and teach this whole lesson while not looking at the "art" that was only 6 inches from her face. Basically the whole time I was mentally shaking my wrist at the wall and thinking "are you kidding me?" After we got out of that house we just started laughing because of the whole situation.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Aloha Everyone!

Alright so here it goes.

We have a few people that we're teaching regularly, "M" is a 17 year old High School Senior who has less active parents but active grandparents, her grandpa is actually our ward mission leader and he is awesome. Mrs. T is an older Tongan lady that is really hard to teach because she just loves to talk. It's hard for us to get anything in so we teach as much as we can. There's a solid guy investigator named that I've heard about but he's been out of town since I got here. Then there's "N", she is an early 20's woman who seems fairly interested but also has a very interesting life. Not a lot that I can talk about in an email or otherwise but she always has some interesting stories to tell us. Hope to be making more progress with her.

I've met a lot of members but the main ones that I see a lot are the Siligas (he is the ward mission leader), Brother Beatty (young men's president), and Bishop Passicalla. He is an awesome bishop and we live in an add on to his house.

I think I'll be getting a haircut this afternoon from one of the Elders, I saw him give one to Elder Zollinger and it seems solid enough. Can't be too picky out in the mission field.

I have a couple photos but nothing all that great, its just kinda a hassle taking it with me everywhere. I'll try to do better.

We live in a pretty financially well off part of town but at the same time most people work a lot. It leads to this bad combination of "people are never home" and "people are too well off to see the need for religion." Basically it's really hard to get people to listen to us but we're trying our best to keep a positive attitude, everyone once in awhile someone listens so we just need to look out for them.

Mom asked what I ate for breakfast - Usually I just eat cereal for breakfast or just skip it all together, not because we can't afford it, it's just that we usually eat lunch at noon and the morning is pretty busy so sometimes i just skip it. Also we are sometimes still full from dinner the night before!

Good spiritual experience to share this week is to never give up. We'd gone a long way down this road with basically no one giving us the time of day then just as we were about to turn around we realized that we were near a referral that we had been given a few days earlier. We dropped by and met him and he seems awesome. He's really busy so it's hard to catch him but he told us he's very glad we came by and that he wants to start meeting with us next week, we really needed that boost so that was great.

Funny moment of the week: early one morning we got out of bed and Elder Zollinger went to use the bathroom but then told me to take a look. I peeked in the door and saw a toad roughly the size of my open hand just chilling there. We spent the better part of our morning chasing this big guy around our pad until we finally tricked him into hopping into a paper bag then we were able to get him outside. Let me tell you theses things can leap. Well that's about all I can think of to send this week, hope everyone is doing well back home.

Missionaries love mail!

Love you all,
Elder Smith

Monday, September 12, 2016

Second Week in Hawaii

So my week was pretty good, better than my first one I'd say. Not gonna lie, doing missionary work here is hard. Everyone here is too content with life so nobody sees the need for church, me and Elder Zollinger do our best to share what we can but we just get people telling us no basically everywhere we go. Sometimes it feels like there's no reason for me to be out here, but then I remember that even Jesus was turned away by many and if I only bring one soul to Christ in the two years that I'm here then that's ok with me. I'll aim high and as long as I stick to that then it will all be worth it. The members here are great, always willing to help out and feed us, so far the amount of walking we do has prevented me from gaining too much weight but that could change once I get transferred to a driving area. Probably gonna gain 40 pounds while I'm here. Haven't had the chance to eat any Hawaiian food yet, nothing weird at least but plenty of rice. I'll let you know when they feed me raw fish or something else hecka sketch.

In terms of my day here is an average example. We wake up at 5:30 and get picked up by the Kahalu'u elders (another ward in our building) because they have a member in their ward that owns a gym. We work out in the gym for close to an hour and then we head back to our pad and shower/eat. After that we have an hour of personal study followed by an hour of companion study. We mostly study out of Preach my Gospel and The Scriptures but I also like to read from Our Heritage and True to the Faith. After that we sometimes do 12 week because I'm a new missionary (it's like basic training type stuff) and then we try to visit or tract people. Usually by then it's lunch time, we either eat leftovers or fast food but we eat pretty quick. 1-6 is our heavy time for preaching and teaching, we try to have a few appointments and visit people who have been taught in the past or less active members. We only have a couple people that we teach regularly and that's usually weekly. After that we have dinner at a member's house and then we try to preach or tract for another hour or so before we head back to the pad. Most people are unresponsive after the sun goes down (around 6:30) so we don't get much luck unless it's a scheduled appointment. After we get back we take the time to total up our key indicators (quality gospel conversations, lessons taught, member presents, etc.). After that we plan who we are going to see the next day and by then it's usually around 10. We get ready for bed, go to sleep, then wake up the next morning at 5:30.

Glad to hear about everything back home, especially Poppi and Brother Scanlan are both doing better. Not sure how much computer time I'm going to have so I'm going to end it here. Hope everyone has a great week.

Love you all,

Elder Smith

Monday, September 5, 2016

Aloha from Hawaii!


My first area is the Kaneohe area serving in the Kaneohe 3rd ward. I'm currently in a biking area but there's a lot of hills so we mostly just walk. I'm in the Kaneohe zone and stake. It's in the North Eastern part of Oahu near the big military base. It rains a little every day but not as much as what the Big Island is getting right now. The flight was long and hard because I accidentally packed everything that could pass the time, the other elders were sleeping, and I wasn't. I tried to sleep but that never really works out that well. I got to know some of the elders at the mission home. I really liked Elder Taka. He's from Oregon but grew up in Tonga so he'll be Tongan speaking out here, he was hilarious though. I sat by Elder Roberts I believe. Like I said they were asleep most of the time. President Bekker seems really cool. I got to know him pretty well and I think he's going to be a well organized president. His wife is great, she's one of the most positive people I've ever met, spent a good amount of time getting to know her.

My comp is Elder Zollinger, he's been out 10 months and is from West Virginia. He's fairly soft spoken but he knows what he's doing, I get along really well with him and the other nearby Elders mostly because we all quote Spongebob and Star Wars non-stop. This week I've only had one teaching opportunity and it was ok, I think me and my comp did a good job I just don't think the woman we were meeting is very interested in conversion of any kind, she just likes the company. We're gonna keep working at it though. This week was mostly tracting and service but we have some appointments set up for next week.

Dinner has been good, so far nothing crazy just haole food. My trainer said we've been getting an unusual amount of Haole food and that we normally get way more Hawaiian or other food.

The hurricanes didn't really hit here, there was a good chance of serious impact on Saturday (all of the missionaries are volunteer Red Cross assistants in the case of an emergency so we all had to be trained over the phone) but ultimately Oahu was left untouched aside from some slightly harder rain. Big Island got hit a bit harder from what I've been hearing but I don't know the details.

The spirit is very strong here, the members are great and simple gospel principles like prayer mean so much more to me now than they did before I came here. Also I started reading Our Heritage, highly recommend it, it's basically the early history of the church but written more like a history book.

Church here was really cool, everybody was excited to meet me and everyone's last name is crazy long so it's gonna take some getting used to trying to get everyone down. This is why everyone should wear name tags!

Forgot to bring my camera today. but next week some pics for sure. Got some sweet views here.

Glad to hear about everyone's health and so so sad to hear about Brother Scalan. He will be in my prayers, if you seen him or his family give them a hug from me. Hope things continue to go well.

Love ya,

Elder Smith