Monday, October 31, 2016

Every Member a Missionary


So this week has been a pretty average one, not a lot to report which is itself not good. The work is moving really slow in this ward, we're keeping a good attitude about it and everything but it can be frustrating when we really want to be busy and just can't find things to do. I know I've already harped on this before but I can't express how important it is for members to talk to their friends about the gospel, as a missionaries it is our job to teach, but it's pretty sad when people take one look at you and already know that they don't want to hear anything you have to say. I have no doubt that if they would hear us out for 5 minutes that they would want to know what it is that we represented and the happiness we want them to have. This week they adjusted our accounting so that now we're only keeping track of how many New Investigators and Member Present lessons we have, so clearly they want to move our efforts towards member involvement in missionary work. Members always say they want to help us so me and Elder Z are just being more bold with them, we're giving them commitments like we would to investigators, hopefully this all starts to work out and we can increase our teaching pool.

So here's something cool, if I'm still in this area next transfer then I might need to also start covering the Kaneohe 5th Branch which is the Tongan branch (as if I wasn't already getting fed enough). If that ends up happening then I'll go to church twice every Sunday and basically have no idea what's going on for half of that unless I decide to learn Tongan. So far all I know is "kaike mate" which means "eat until you die." Should be enough to get me through the first few weeks.

So since P-day and Halloween fell on the same day we basically get a whole day off (since on a usual Halloween you take the evening off anyway) and so all the missionaries in the zone that are available are heading to Elder and Sister Burnside's house (the senior couple in our zone) for a party. I bought a White Power Ranger mask to wear at the party so you know it's going to be poppin'.

Pday will be on Tuesday next week so we can go to the Hawaii temple in Honolulu. Definitely looking forward to that.

But yeah that's basically all I have to report at this point, work is slow but if all goes well it should be picking up in the next couple of weeks. Every member a missionary!

Love you guys!
Elder Smith

Monday, October 24, 2016

Solid Week in Kaneohe

Aloha fam,

So this week has been a pretty solid one, some laughs, some frustrations, some "danggit Smith"s. So all in all an average week in Kaneohe. Oh yeah and obs since I'm emailing you right now my p-day is today. I believe the first week of November my p-day is on Tuesday because we have a temple trip that day, definitely looking forward to seeing the Laie temple. That'll be a great experience. We spend a lot of time in the car either driving to different neighborhoods or playing taxi driver for Elders Henderson and Villanueva which also gives us plenty of time to listen to virtually every talk Elder Holland has ever given. An Elder who went home this last transfer (Elder Kang) gave us his flash drive that had all of them on it, even BYU devotionals and times before he was a General Authority (the funny thing is if you listen to those you start to notice that he cracks the same jokes every couple years. Classic.).

Awesome spiritual experience this week that I gotta share. So you remember Malia right? The teen that we were making progress with but then was going to move. Well she's actually moving this week (not to Lanai thankfully so she'll still have strong church support wherever she goes) and we wanted to get one last lesson in with her before she left so that we could pass her along to her local elders. But then when we told this to the Ward Council they advised us to just invite her to be baptized before she moves, be bold. So we had a lesson with her in Bishop Pasikala's office and we taught her about commandments. After that I started to ease in to the question of baptism and established that she still wanted to be baptized, she said she did but wasn't sure if she was ready. I wasn't really sure how to proceed from there but before I could say anything Bishop just says "Malia. You are ready." Then he bore his testimony about how now is the time for her to be baptized so that she can move forward and improve her life. Her Mom was there also and so was Sister Alameda (one of the RS counselors), all of them were a huge help and in the end Malia agreed to be baptized the week after next (it's after she moves but her records will still be with us so our ward can put it on). I'm honestly so dang excited for this, she needs this so badly. She's made some mistakes but I know that she is heading in the right direction towards correcting those mistakes and coming unto Christ. I've learned that you need to let people know that they don't need to be perfect to be baptized, they just need the desire. I've also learned that it always helps having a bold Tongan with you when you need to extend extreme commitments. So yeah unless something crazy happens she should be my first baptism (not that I'm counting or anything :P).

Someone asked me if it rains much. Does it rain? Yes. Yes it does. It's basically sporadic drizzles and downpours all the time. There's not really a pattern to it either, you're gonna get some water no matter what. I've just learned to always have my umbrella. For some reason Elder Z is always forgetting to bring his. And they call me the greenie.

The polyester ties are holding up as are the rest of the clothing but being out here has made me realize that my collection of ties is severely lacking when compared to other elders. I imagine I'll pick some up here and their over the next two years so you don't need to send me any. Missionaries that are close to leaving have like 30 to 40 ties.

Mom was wondering how I communicate with the mission pres. Aside from my first couple days in Hawaii I haven't seen much of President and Sister Bekker. The missionaries all send him an email every week and he tries his best to email us all back but I think he focuses a lot on missionaries that are having problems. Needless to say he hasn't emailed me much aside from some encouraging words. I really like him though, he talked to me a bit at Zone Conference a few weeks ago to be sure all was going well. Sister Bekker is about the nicest person you'll ever meet, you can tell that she honestly loves each and every missionary.

I think that my favorite new food that I've tried so far is the time I had Filipino food with the Okimoto family (he's Japanese, she's Filipino). Not the nasty weird Filipino food though, I believe it was called Chicken Adobo and Minudo. Don't trust my spelling though, I could be wrong. Thus far no street vendors, there aren't a lot of those here though.

News from the kitchen, not many people signed up for our wards Chili Cook-off so elder Z and I decided to inspire everyone by signing up. We bought ingredients today and have no idea what we're doing. Should be an adventure

Hope everything is good on the homefront. Miss you all. Church is true.

Elder Smith

Monday, October 17, 2016

New car, dead rat

Aloha mi Familia,

I got the Halloween package you sent me mom, thanks! The Elders very much enjoyed. You asked about a b-day present, I think that a Uke would probably be a good present. Elder Z and I are getting along really well. I'd say a solid thing about Elder Zollinger is that he basically likes the same form of entertainment that I do. Movies, video games, TV, books, the whole lot.

This week I learned that apparently some Hawaiian people believe that in the 62nd chapter of Alma when a man named Hagoth sails across the sea and is never heard from again that he actually sailed to the Hawaiian islands and founded Polynesia. There is literally no doctrine backing this up but they have to find some way to tie the BoM into Hawaii. It's amazingly weird. Also something cool about this mission is the amount of missionaries serving here from other countries. So far in my zone alone (in 2 transfers) I've met 2 from Japan, 2 from the Philippines, 1 from Korea, 1 from Tonga, 1 from Samoa, 1 from Chile, and one from some random Micronesian island that I'm not even going to try to pronounce. So yeah it's really cool meeting all of these different cultures.

So this week was a fairly slow week, a lot of people canceling appointments and not being home, but hey the good/bad news is that we have a car now. It's good because it's way easier to get around our area now, but it's bad because now we have to taxi around all the elders that don't have cars. So for now I think we're actually getting less work done than before, but it should even out a bit this next week when the Zone Leaders get their car back. Hopefully. Hey want to hear about a sketchy house we went to this week? So Elder Z and I got a new ward list and so we have been going to all the houses of families or people that are on the new list but weren't on the old list because that would mean that they have moved into the ward boundaries within the last 6 months. So we went by this house and let me tell you it looked like year round Halloween. Crazy over grown grass everywhere, cars with no license plates that had plants growing out of them, stuff scattered all over the floor (from what we could see in the window), and to top it all it had one of those spooky door knockers on the front door. Nobody answered (and the family last name was on the front door so we were at the right place) and when we turned around to leave there was a dead rat on the porch. I'm not talking recently deceased or store bought dead rat, I'm talking this thing has been there so long that parts of flesh were rotting away and most of its skull was visible. Hecka sketch.

Today I made brownies with Elder Z for Sister Alldredge whose B-day is today, then we did some shopping and laundry. Quite an exciting day.

I'm going to try to write letters this week to the sibs but it is really really hard to find time to do that. Tell Dylan that I recognize the name of the Speedster he mentioned in his letter, I think he's an enemy of Jay Garrick from the comics called Rival. He was the first evil speedster in the comics. Thanks so much for the pics of Savy's wedding, still pretty sad that I wasn't able to go. Tell everyone I love them!

Love ya,
Elder Smith

Here's a pic of the old district before most everyone got transferred and Elder Kang went home. Love these guys! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Kualoa Ranch

Elder Smith and his zone got to spend some time at Kualoa Ranch - parts of the original Jurassic Park were filmed there. They had a great time! One of the other Elders moms posted this pic on Facebook.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Two Months a Missionary!


Glad to hear that everything is going well. I was pretty bummed to not be at Savy's wedding but it looks like it all went really well. Maya looks adorable in her dress. Congrats to Savy and Will, can't wait for more pics!

So anyway transfers are this week, Elder Zollinger and I are staying put but a lot of the Missionaries in my zone are transferring out and a lot of greenies will be starting here. 4 new ones, which is pretty crazy. Should be interesting since I am technically also still a greenie (I'll lose the status after my next transfer). Elders here are saying I'm the David Bednar of the zone, I'm still hecka young but I'll have seniority over half of the missionaries around here. Teaching has been good but progress is slow, Elder Zollinger and I have been focusing most of our efforts on getting members involved in missionary work. So please encourage everyone you know to help out the missionaries, I'm not just talking about feeding, that's great and all but it's also a great opportunity for missionary work. Invite non-members to dinner appointments, casually bring up the gospel in conversation, invite to church. It all seems like crazy things for us to do but it really isn't that hard and it makes it so much easier and far more enjoyable to missionary work. So hopping off my soapbox now, we did have a lot of good finding people, we were able to get in contact with 3 different people who used to be taught by missionaries but for one reason or another stopped taking the discussions, all of them seem very interested in starting up again so I'm very much looking forward to that. I'll keep you posted.

Really weird story to share, it's not really spiritual or funny, it was just odd.
So 2 weeks ago I was on exchanges with the Elders from the Kahalu'u ward so Elder Zollinger was in our area with Elder Henderson. After the exchange ended they told me that they had met a Hispanic guy named Alejandro who seemed genuinely interested and invited them to come back. I was excited because people don't do that very often. ON top of that I thought it was interesting because I've run into a lot of different ethnicities on this part of Hawaii but I had never seen any Hispanics. So two weeks later Elder Zollinger remember this guy and decide to swing by and either teach him a lesson or set up a date to come back and teach him. We get to the house (keep in mind I've never been there) and this Hispanic woman answers the door, naturally we assume it is his wife. We say that we are there to talk to Alejandro and she says "who?" we repeat Alejandro and she says that her name is Alejandra. We were both taken aback by this and didn't really know what to say so Elder Zollinger said "last time we were here we met with a man named Alejandro" and she said that she didn't know who that was and that she had only lived in the house for two weeks, which would have been right after the other elders were there the first time. Now normally looking at this you would think that she was just covering for him or something, and we thought that too, but then right after all of this we don't know what to do so instead of just stand there awkwardly I jump into the normal door approach and ask if she wants to know more about the gospel. And she set up a time for us to come back and teach. We walked away from that house so confused and we honestly still have no idea what happened. I'll let you know if that bears any fruit but dang we had a good laugh about. Hope it goes somewhere but if nothing else it's a good story to tell.

My zone all went glow in the dark mini golfing today, the whole place was filled with little kids and us. It was grand. Also I think Hawaii is already messing with my brain, there was a product called Maui Kapowee that is obviously pronounced so that the two words rhyme but I'm so used to reading names and locations with Hawaiian grammar rules so I pronounced it Kah-poh-vay-eh. Took me and my comp about 5 minutes to realize it was a Haole product so those rules don't apply. Hooray for cultural immersion!

I've never had so much rice in my entire life. It is literally served with everything. That is not an exaggeration. Literally. Everything.

Love getting mail - keep those letters coming.

Love you all,
Elder Smith

Monday, October 3, 2016

That Greenie Life

Aloha Ohana,

Zone conference was pretty amazing, we got to go to get trained by President and Sister Bekker and also by our APs and ZLs. If you don't know a zone conference is when 2 or 3 zones of missionaries get together and get trained by the Mission President (President Bekker) and sometimes a higher up. Since I'm new I had to get up in front of everyone and bear my "Greenie testimony" which was pretty cool. These only happen every 12 weeks so there were a lot of other new missionaries there. We got some awesome training on how to work with members and we had some bomb nachos. In the end all the missionaries that are leaving in the next 12 weeks also bore their testimonies then we all sang Aloha 'Oe to them. Let me tell you it wasn't super sad because I only knew 1 of the elders that's leaving but maaaaan when it comes to be my time to be on the receiving end of that I'm gonna bawl. I can tell. Lots of good stuff between them all but over we learned about how to best work with members and how best members can help the missionaries, I also heard a lot about that in conference. We watched conference in the stake center and the rough thing was the sessions are at 6 and 10 AM. Makes it a little hard to stay awake but all in all great conference, loved Holland's talk on Home teachers and how important it is, definitely have a new respect for it. Honestly this week has been hard, not a lot of chances to do missionary work because most of our appointments canceled but hopefully the work will go better in the future. We have a lot of appointments set up for next week. I would say that staying positive throughout the week despite all of this was probably the most faith strengthening part. It's good to know that things will get better, so I'm doing just fine.

Finally got a haircut! It was was good, it's a little weird because it's not what I'm used to but I like it. Elder Zollinger cut it for me.

Ok so are you ready to be jealous? This morning I went to a Ranch where a tons of movies and TV stuff have been filmed. I got to hide under the log that Alan Grant and the two kids hid under in Jurassic Park. I also saw a ton of props from Lost. I'll send pics of those. All in all it was a pretty crazy awesome morning.

Ok so right now all the Elders are standing in the same room as me bible bashing about deep doctrine so it's really hard to focus on what I'm typing. Sorry if the email suffers because of that. I'll attach some pics. I'll email Dad but give him a happy birthday today from me.

Love you all!

Elder Smith

Hawaiian food - good stuff

Lizards are everywhere

Elder Kang and Elder Henderson

The Dharma computer from LOST! Geeking out.

More LOST stuff...


On the LOST computer...4,8,15,16,23, 42...