Monday, November 28, 2016

The Baptism

Dear Everyone,

This has been an insanely long week, not a bad one but in hindsight this week feels longer than the whole last transfer. Being the companion that is taking over the area has made me realize that I don't know the layout of my area nearly as well as I thought I did. It also means that I am driving all the time now, weird that I hadn't done that in so long. Anyway so a big part of this transfer was getting a new companion. Tuesday we went up to transfer meeting and I said my goodbyes to Elder Zollinger and sent him off to the big island. Also at transfer meeting I was reunited with my whole MTC dorm so I got to see Mawby, Johnson, and Campbell again. It hasn't even been that long but man it felt like a lifetime since I saw those guys, that was great.

So a cool mini miracle, Elder Boyd and I went from the transfer meeting to our last meeting with Malia before her baptism and during the meeting we were trying to figure out what their new ward would be since they just moved, and after a bit of discussion we discovered that the family now lives in the boundaries of the ward Boyd just came from. So we were able to get the info of the new ward really easily and now the hand off from ward to ward will be smooth, which makes me very happy because I was kinda stressed out about the whole thing.

So Elder Boyd is pretty cool. It's definitely a change from Z to him, mostly because Elder Z was very quiet and Boyd is very loud, not in a bad way at all but it sure is a change. It'll be good though, no worries.

So Thanksgiving was pretty great, we had it at the Aki's home and got to know their family better (Brother Aki is in the bishopric here) and we had large quantities of food. Hawaiian and Chinese. Also there were some cool BYU-H students that were there as well. They were from Hong Kong and my comp was hecka awkward talking to them so that was fun to watch.

Birthday was solid, thanks for the gifts mom and dad, the Uke has been tuned enough to where it sounds good now. I'm learning various hymns and church songs as well as CCR and Metallica. Gotta keep myself well rounded. Also the crackers were very appreciated, it has been many moons since my last Ritz.

So here's the biggie. The Baptism. It was very stressful but once it all started it was smooth and went off without a hitch. I gave a short talk on Baptism and honestly started to choke up as I was saying it. Who knew I actually had feelings right? Right after the baptism we had a car wash and I forgot to bring service shoes so I just did it in p-day clothes and proselyting shoes. I was styling. But the car wash was solid, we gave some chapel tours and just had a grand time. Also at least 6 people came and took tours just because Elder Henderson was sign waving while wearing an opug mask. Another average day in Kaneohe.

To top it all off I had to give a talk in Sacrament about missionary work this past Sunday and literally every time this week that I tried to write it something else came up so in the end I didn't write the talk and just free-styled the whole thing. All things considered it went pretty well so that was a relief.

Those are the contents of my eventful week. Apparently Moana came out? People around here seem to like it so it has the approval of the locals (not that most people would consider Kaneohe local, but it's close enough for me). Go see that if you haven't and give me the haole perspective.

Love you all!
Elder Smith

A couple baptism pics - Elder Boyd and I with Malia and some of her family

Monday, November 21, 2016

No More Greenie Status

Sorry mission portal has been down for the last few hours so I need to be quick!

Mum the packages did come, did not open them yet. Elder Zollinger is for sure heading out. He's going to Kona zone on the Big Island to be a Zone Leader. I'll be staying here in Kaneohe and my new comp will be someone named Elder Boyde ( he will be the new district leader). I really don't know anything about him aside from his name. I'll let you know more next week.

So on a spiritual note we all had personal interviews with President and Sister Bekker this week. He is so awesome, he really does his best to know each of the Elders on a personal level. Even when he is chastising us you can tell he is doing it out of love. He made me realize that I am not studying enough out of Preach My Gospel, I would recommend everyone look through that now and again just to know what we can all do to be better missionaries. Also in terms in of reading material I also recommend the book Our Search for Happiness by M Russell Ballard. I just finished reading it and it is so inspirational. It is more centered on non-members understanding us but it really is worth reading. Malia's baptism is this week so I'm pretty pumped for that, sadly Elder Z will not be here for that. Also there are some new opportunities that have come up for possible new investigators. Un-coincidentally right after a fast.

I hope that civilization is not crumbling without me there. I love you all and think of you all the time.
Love you guys and sorry I can't write more! Happy Thanksgiving to all! I'll be eating food. Lots and lots of food.

Elder Smith

Monday, November 14, 2016

Missionary Life

So as you can see by the pictures I have sent the dryer is not fixed. Elder Z and I went to Times (local grocery store) and bought some clothes hangers and twine and made a makeshift clothesline that bends and weaves its way through our whole house, then we set up a bunch of rotating fans to dry them off. An Elder makes due. After we washed our clothes, we washed our car with a kitchen sponge. If that doesn't define missionary life I don't know what does. So I'm not sure if I've said this before but in Hawaii almost no one has an air conditioner, just copious amounts of rotating fans, it's cheaper I guess but it sure as heck takes some getting used to. Also not many people around here have dryers or dishwashers, it's seen as a waste of energy so everyone hand washes dishes and air dries their clothes, makes our circumstances a little harder but there are elders in worse spots so we don't complain.

So work wise this was another slow week, the appointments we had set up canceled but on the bright side we have a lot of appointments set up for this next week, it's the last week of the transfers so Elder Z and I are hoping to end on a strong note. Especially since this will probably be our last transfer together.

So there is no for sure system of who gets transferred when but 9/10 times you are trained in one area for 2 transfers then your trainer is moved and you get a new companion who is still experienced but who you have to teach about the area. There are exceptions to this, but that is just what usually happens. President Bekker was at stake conference this Sunday and made a remark to me about leading my area soon so that basically confirmed that Elder Z will be leaving. I'm kinda nervous to be the senior elder already but I know that I'll figure it out with the Lord's help.

I went to a baptism of a child of record this week, got me super excited to see Investigators get baptized. I'm so excited for the end of the month when I can see that happen. Ooooh also we got in contact with a 10 year old cousin of the child that was baptized and I think we are going to start working with her, she's taken the lessons she just needs to be dunked. Also after the baptism we went to a dinner at the grandparents house and we had poke (raw fish) and tako (octopus). Not gonna lie they were both very good, the food here is growing on me. Even the spam believe it or not.

So Trump is President, Not sure if I will ever get used to that. Our political knowledge is pretty limited when there is no exposure to the world so I really didn't expect him to be the winner. Hope the mainland is still there when I get back.

Keep spreading the good word!
Love you all!
Elder Smith

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Hawaii Temple P-day

Aloha Ohana,

Ok so I'm hopping right into this, I thought I had like an hour more on here but it turns out it might just be a few minutes. Sorry!

Temple was awesome today, it was cool being in one of the first temples that was ever built, very simple interior but still just so spiritual. So great! Being in the celestial room is just such a beautiful experience, it really is the closest we can get to being in the presence of God. I will send pics!

So I had an awesome lesson with Malia this week, we taught about Tithes and Fast offerings and she was so much more receptive and conversational with us this week (she is really shy). I think it was because she consistently prayed every day this week, it is amazing seeing how something so simple that we often take for granted can have such a positive change in a person. We have decided on a date of November 26th (tried to get it for my birthday on the 25th but it didn't quite work out) so I'm really hoping I don't get transferred on the 22nd, that would be poor timing, but odds are I'll stay here and get a new comp.

Hey so I forgot to mention but I Elder Z and I made chili for our ward Halloween party a couple weeks ago and turned out hecka bomb. Especially considering we had nothing to measure the ingredients with or a crock pot to keep it warm. An Elder makes due.

So yesterday we found out that the dryer at our pad doesn't work anymore, we're getting it fixed but in the meantime let's just say that all of our rotating fans were temporarily dedicated to drying off all of our white clothes which were in turn strung up all around the interior of the pad. Good times.

I went on several exchanges this week so it was awesome getting to see other parts of the Kaneohe Zone. I got to know Elder Villanueva really well on our exchange. He's from the Philippines and was only converted like two years ago. Also he's 23, it's weird how when we're all on a mission we seem like we're the same age and yet in reality he's 5 years older than me. He's awesome though.

Some quick facts before I gotta book it that I keep meaning to tell you but forget every P-day.
1. The organ player in our ward is 8 years old. That is not an exaggeration, he acts just like an 8 year old, he just plays the organ like a champ
2. In Hawaii high school football is bigger than NFL (Hawaii has the most high schools that go pro per captita so they see a lot of people here go big). It's the same type of fan bases as professional sports, plus all the high school games are so on tv. I think it's great that so many people support the high schoolers here.
3. Hawaiian slang of the week: Howzit = How is it going. Been using that one from time to time, basically everyone says it. And it isn't so complex to the point where I look overly haole when I say it.

Anyway I'm so sorry it's another rushed week but we'll be back to normal p-days next week.

Love you all so much!

Elder Smith

(Kaneohe Zone at the Hawaii Temple - Elder Smith 2nd from right)