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.

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