Monday, July 10, 2017


Raam anim (Hello in Chuukese),

Hope things are going well for you all! Things are still going well here island side and the work is going on.

We were able to meet with the Marshall family and they came to church, the kids are totally crazy but they love coming and are having a good time in primary. We were able to teach the oldest (Tiani) and she is still set to be baptized this month. She totally grabbed on to everything we were saying and had a lot of good questions (she probably knows more than I did when I was 10).

Another crazy thing was that by some miracle we were able to get 6 new investigators for the 3rd week in a row. This week it was just by visiting potentials and formers that I have been trying to hit for months and they were all just kinda home this time. There is plenty of work to be done here in the Lanakila area. On top of all this I got to go on an exchange with my new Zone Leader Elder Porter and he is a boss of a street contacter. Definitely made me realize I need to up my game. Elder Lewis said the same thing about our other ZL Elder Klaassen and so we have been doing that more and that is where 3 of our new investigators came from. Its been a good week.

In the non-proselyting news we had the 4th of July this week which was a sad shadow of New Years. Honestly I easily saw 10x as many fireworks at new years than I did this week. People here are patriotic to an extent, but they are a lot more proud to be Hawaiian than American. Speaking of America we also went to Pearl Harbor again and Elder Lock and I swept and mopped a bunch of the senior officer quarters. In other words we got to go behind all the blocked off parts of the tour and snoop around. Always a good time.

But that has been my week. Crazy that it has already been 11 months on my mission, I still feel like I just got here. Just reminds me that I can't be wasting my time here. Need to make every day count.

Love you all and keep up the work of the Lord. Also if you know someone who isn't a member introduce them to the missionaries!

C pop 2 (no idea how to spell it but that's what it sounds like in Chuukese),

Elder Smith

Monday, July 3, 2017

Another Week Flies By...


So this week has flown by, lots of good, lots of bad. Typical week in the mission field.

On the good side Elder Lewis and I were able to get 6 new investigators again this week just by talking to people on the street, not really anything new there I guess we just talked to the right people. Elder Lewis is a wiz with cars so he talks story with anyone who is working on cars or trucks. That's nice because I don't know a thing in that field and lots of people in Honolulu like their cars. Another good thing this week was that we started teaching Sister Marshall's (less active member) kids and found out that the 11 year old Tiani is not baptized. So we talked with her and her mom about it and we will be getting her baptized later this month (if all goes well). Teaching these kids is a riot though, I've taught a lot of kids in my mission but these ones are 11, 7, 6, 4, and 3 so trying to keep them all paying attention is a circus act, but a fun one. Especially when the 7 year old claims to be a J-dub. So that was fun. On top of that we had a rather fun encounter with a roaring drunk Chuukese man and we were able to set a time to see his non-drunk family because of the incident so the lord works in mysterious ways I guess (and no worries there was a Samoan member right there when this happened making sure this guy didn't do anything dumb).

On the sadder side our investigators that we thought were going to be really solid (Athena and her son Justin) moved away very suddenly. We are still trying to find out where they moved to so we can send the missionaries over there, but so far no luck. Keep praying for them though.

Well if there's one thing I learned this week its to never set your goals low and never give up on people. So even if you think someone isn't ready to hear the gospel it never hurts to invite them.

Love you all and have a great week.

Elder Smith

Monday, June 26, 2017


So this has been a pretty crazy week. I have been saying since I got here that this area has a lot of potential and I think after all this time it is starting to show. Elder Lewis and I got 6 new investigators this week (significantly more than I have ever gotten in this area) and a good chunk of them seemed pretty solid, too. One of the situations was pretty funny, I saw one of the less actives that we haven't been able to catch since Lewis and I became comps so we pulled over on the road and talked to her to try and set up a time to visit, only problem is a minute or so into the conversation I found out that this was NOT who I thought it was, but was instead her twin sister who was not a member, soooo we were able to set up an appointment with her and we will be seeing her this week. We also got two solid referrals from the Laie Visitors center and set return appointments with both. Honestly its the first media referrals I have gotten that are both 1. Interested and 2. actually in our area so that was a small miracle in itself.

On a "small world" note, we got a call from a companionship of sisters in the California, Los Angeles Mission who told us that one of their investigators was moving to our area. It will still be a few weeks and they don't have a house yet so it may end up being in another area but hopefully it works out. The crazy part is that one of the sisters that called us is from the same home town as Elder Lewis and they know each other. Pretty crazy how that works out.

Thanks for your support and prayers, always remember to live what you know and share what you treasure.

Love you all!
Elder Smith

Monday, June 19, 2017

Transfer News!


So its the most exciting week of the transfer. Transfer news!! So in a bit of a surprise I will be staying here in the Lanakila ward for another 6 weeks, that will bring me to a total of 6 months in this area making it my 2nd six month area. Elder Lewis and I will be staying together and we are excited to see what the next few weeks hold. The major change is that I will now also be serving as District Leader which, among other things, means I will have to conduct a training of 3 or 4 companionship every week. So we will see how that goes. I guess I couldn't dodge leadership forever.

Elder Lewis and I are still going strong, we basically have nothing in common and for some reason we still get along great. He is super in to cars, sports, and girls which are basically the three things I know nothing about. He'll try talking cars then I'll try talking Batman and then it usually just ends up going back to Spongebob because its the one thing we both love. Who knew?

So this week has also had some educating experiences. After the less than great ward council last week I was really tempted to just bide my time and ignore the "advice" that was given to us by the High Priest Group Leader however I decided that I couldn't just give up on this area so we went and talked to his neighbors who he has invited to church before and they are super solid, their son came to church and we set a return appointment with the mom. In total we had 4 new investigators this week which is more than I have ever gotten in a week in this area. Needless to say the lord is telling me that there is still work to be done in this area.

Thank you for all your prayers and thank you for all you do. Introduce your friends to the missionaries, its something you won't regret!

Love you all!
Elder Smith

Monday, June 12, 2017

Zone Conference and Things Getting...Colorful

What a week it has been.

So the highlight of this week was definitely the Marshall Ohana. They are a less active part member family that Bishop Saula introduced us to. We went over and introduced ourselves, found out her life story and played a bit with her three youngest kids (who are 7, 5, and 3). She really wants to get her kids more into church and she wants to start coming back as well. Her oldest is an unbaptized 11 year old but she is with the Grandma for the summer in Waipahu and the grandma is a J-dub so something tells me she won't really be open to Mormons coming by. Sister Marshall says that she does want her daughter to be taught once she comes back in August though. So after having a lesson with them they agreed to come to church and after coordinating with bishop we got them there which was really awesome to see. On top of that it was Levi Fuaga's farewell on Sunday so I said my goodbyes to him. He went out just about every week with me and Elder Campbell so it was pretty crazy seeing him go. He is going to be an awesome missionary though.

Another cool thing was yet another zone conference, so I got to see people from the Honolulu, Waipahu, and Makakilo zones. The theme of the zone conference was working with members and it made us realize that Elder Lewis and I need to get the point across to the members that we need help since nothing that we are doing to encourage member support has been working. So, in what is probably the most uncomfortable thing I have ever done on my mission, I basically told (In a nice way) a room full active members in leadership positions that they needed to help us out more. This rubbed one person the wrong way and our discussion got... colorful, but in a way I think that better emphasized our point that there is a disconnect between the members and the missionaries and there has been since before I got here. After the meeting we had several members call us and tell us that they were going to start helping us out more so maybe we will actually start seeing some progress in the Lanakila ward. (Just in time for me to leave probably :P).

So yes we will be getting transfer news this week and it honestly is 50/50 as to whether or not I will stay. Either way I will serve where ever the lord sees fit for me to serve.

Right now in my BoM reading I'm in the beginning of Alma (chapter 5, I believe) and in my New Testament reading I am in the back half of Acts (chapter 22 if I remember correctly). Its so crazy how much you miss in the scriptures, I think that this is the first time that I actually understood the time line of the book of Mosiah with the Mulekites and the people of Limhi and the People of Alma and Ammon and all that I could just never tell what was happening. But I finally got it on this read through, guess that is why repetition is so important. Reading Acts has made me realize that my struggles are nothing compared to these early missions, Paul, Peter, Stephen, Philip, they all had it bad, so I can keep working with a better attitude.

Bishop Saula quote of the week: "Unity is important. I know that most of this ward council is older men and women, but united we can take down the Kahuku Red Raiders"

Love you all so much, find someone this week to introduce to the missionaries

Aloha Oe
Elder Smith

Pics of Zone conference, with companion Elder Lewis and Levi's mission farewell.

Monday, June 5, 2017

All is Well and a Weird Mission Story


So this has been a pretty average week. The spiritual highlight was definitely our interviews with President and Sister Bekker. President Bekker always knows how to answer the questions we don't even know we have, and Sister Bekker always knows how to lovingly correct anything we may be doing wrong. President described his wife as "The most loving steamroller you will ever meet" and I think that just about sums her up. Elder Lewis and I are still out working...we are just trying to find ways to be more spiritually guided as opposed to just doing what we think is right, because often times there is a difference even if what WE think is the right thing 90% of the time. It never hurts to be pushed along by the big man.

One of my good friends in this ward just got his mission call to Korea, Seoul and seeing him so excited and full of the spirit just reminded me how awesome it was to get my call.

The mission is going really well. This is still a fairly tough area but I learn more and more about life every day. Regardless of how much progress I witness I will always be grateful for having been sent here. Sadly the food situation isn't the best, we only have about 2 dinner appointments per week but we have a few ideas on how to make it better. For the moment we kinda have a wrench in everything because our ward mission leader just got released. This could be a good thing because maybe our new one will be more involved in our work, but I just hope it doesn't take forever to get a new one, this ward isn't really known for its quick decision making. Prayers are appreciated.

So on the "weird mission story" side of things we had quite the adventure on last p-day. After emailing, the Kalihi elders needed a ride to Walgreen's so we took them. After doing what needed to be done we were driving out of the parking lot when we heard a loud BOOM and 10 seconds later something impacted our car. I was already pulling out so I couldn't stop to see what hit us but after parking at the Stake Center we saw it left a gnarly dent. So we decided to go back and figure out what hit us. We went and started looking, and E. Lewis found a concrete rock on the ground and when he tried to pick it up it almost burned his hand. A few minutes of detective work later we found out that what had happened was a power surge and gone through a power plant some 50 yards behind us and one of the transformers exploded (the loud boom we heard). This caused one of the concrete insulators on top of the spire to fly into the air at high speed and crash into our car. So after talking to the police on the scene we called Elder Walker and he said that this is definitely a first for him and hopefully a last. So when all is said and done it was a really weird day and we realized that had the insulator had hit us 6 inches in either direction it most likely would have seriously hurt Elder Lock and the shattered glass might have hurt even more of us. So yeah thanks for all the prayers of safety. They work!

Hope everyone is having a great time and that you are always looking for ways to share the gospel. Quick reminder that all missionaries love mail! Love you all.

Mahalo nui and A hui hou
Elder Smith

Monday, May 29, 2017

Aloha from the Islands


This has been an interesting week. Yesterday me and Elder Lewis were talking about it and we feel like on paper not a lot happened but in actuality a lot happened. Probably the highlight was another lesson with Daniel. We taught him the Plan of Salvation and he enjoyed it and participated quite a bit in the lesson. In the end he whipped out his guitar and started playing, and when he found out that Elder Lewis could play too he got out a broken guitar and gave it to him to repair so they could jam. Elder Lewis was able to fix it within 10 minutes and we now plan on rocking with Daniel at our next meeting. After teaching him of course :P. He was busy this Sunday but he has expressed interest in coming to sacrament meeting so fingers crossed and arms folded for that.

Another family is Leslie and her children Arynn and John. Arynn is a member baptized by missionaries some years ago but he went less active due to being the only member in the family and the ward not doing the best at the follow up for one reason or another. Arynn's mother Leslie has expressed interest in going to the church and has told us that she wants John (her 10 year old son) to be baptized. I think they are golden but they fit into the very large category of people who are unable to meet with us because they work a dozen jobs and all the kids do sports. That's Honolulu for ya.

On the cool side I just found out that a YSA in the ward named Tafe just put in his mission papers. He's on the older side and made a handful of mistakes but he really turned his life around and is one of my favorite people in the ward. Just boosts my testimony that the Atonement of Christ is more powerful and far reaching than anything the world may have to offer and that nobody is too far gone. Along the same line I thought about the last couple months and how much I've changed. I mean I'm still me but it hit me a couple days ago after I walked up to a mostly homeless man on the street tattooed from head to toe, asked him about his day, talked about his family, and offered to say a prayer with him. We went our separate ways and I realized that 9 months ago I never would have done something like that. This mission really is a blessing in every way, its great for the people you meet but it is giving me a better understanding of life. I love serving and I love the people of these islands, even the ones that look like they want to stab us.

Quick reminder to read the BofM everyday and to never stop praying.

Love you all, keep the faith.

Elder Smith

PS - That's crazy that Carson is going to the Marshalls, there's tons of Micronesian immigrants in Honolulu so I've met a handful of people from the Marshall Islands. He's gonna love serving Jisus Kraist out there. Probably will never use the language again but hey it'll be a good skill to have, right?

Monday, May 22, 2017

Great Week!


So sorry that this is late, it has been a crazy p-day. For one reason or another everything went long. I need to be quick about this because we have a dinner in a bit.

Basically this week has been really good. Elder Lewis is an awesome companion. It's really nice having a companion that has a positive attitude about this place, even when things don't go our way it still feels like we have accomplished what is needed. Our theme lately seems to be that nothing good that we plan for ever works out, but good things happen nonetheless. Just this week Elder Lewis and I were walking and knocking on some doors of members (less actives mostly) and nobody was home so it was a bit discouraging but we kept on going. We ended up meeting a guy named Daniel who asked us a bit about ourselves and what we believed in. We ended up teaching him the whole restoration and gave him a copy of the book of Mormon, at the end he started talking about Christ's role in his life and he started crying and thanking us so much for coming by. He invited us back and Elder Lewis and I have a very good feeling about him. So yeah that's been the standout moment of the week, just remember that good things will happen even if they aren't apparent at the moment. Keep on keeping the faith and introducing your friends to the missionaries.

Love you all!
Elder Smith

Zone pics from Pearl Harbor today

Monday, May 15, 2017

Sunrise Hike


So great to talk to the ohana yesterday! I already hit on most of what happened this week in my call home but just as a recap I got my new companion this week. His name is Elder Lewis and he is from Rexburg, Idaho. He has been out for 5 months and so far has spent all his time on the Big Island. Its been a bit of a shock for him adjusting to everything being so close and working in a city. Where he came from everything is all ranches and so he's been getting pretty sore and sunburned here but he has a good attitude about it so I can't complain. So far so good with him.

This week we also got up early to help Bishop teach the young men about the priesthood after a sunrise hike. So getting up at 4:30 am to be ready for that was not the best feeling but overall it was a great experience. Bishop Saula is just such a great and caring guy and I'm glad that these youth have him to look up to. All in all not a lot has changed but I am really looking forward to another 6 weeks in this ward and I can tell that Elder Lewis and I have a lot of work to do here. The church is true and we all need to spread the word.

Love you guys and thanks for all that you do.

Elder Smith

Pic of some of my MTC district at transfers. Sister Wilson, Elders Campbell and Johnson

Monday, May 8, 2017

Staying in Lanakila!


Aight, so right down to business. So as expected I am not being transferred. Elder Campbell is shipping out to Mililani tomorrow to be companions with Elder Johnson and my new companion will be someone named Elder Lewis coming from the Big Island. He hasn't been out very long (4 months) so basically no one here knows him, should be a fun time.

This week we had Pearl Harbor which is always fun and we had Zone Conference which means I got to see some of my old buddies that are serving in Waipahu, Honolulu, and Makakilo. Also I just found out that Elder Klaasen (Mom, I believe you are FB friends with his mom) is coming here to Hon-West to be our new Zone Leader so that will be fun serving around him.

Anyway sorry for the short email and lack of info but it's been a good week and on the bright side I finally got the zone to set up a group drive so I actually have pics now. Enjoy!

Love you all and can't wait to see you in a week.

Elder Smith

Monday, May 1, 2017

News from Honolulu

Howzit family!

Things have been pretty good here on my side of the ocean. Weather has been a bit rainier the last couple of months but temp wise is doesn't change a whole lot. But as the summer months are coming I've heard it gets miserably hot serving in town. Fingers crossed I'm out of here before July. :P As for my taste buds, I have started to like pineapple more. I don't know if it's just a matter of me changing or the fact that pineapple is just better here. I'm leaning towards the latter.

This week has been a very enjoyable one. Early in the week I went on an exchange with Elder Kirkham and while we were out and about we ran into this guy who lives in the Lanakila housing and he turned out to be a Catholic who is the brother of a member from my last ward in Kaneohe. He agreed to see us again and hopefully we will see him more in the future. We also finally started teaching Ken, the radio DJ, this week as well. It can be hard to catch him because he lives outside of our ward boundaries but he spends a lot of time at Skyson USA which is in our area so we teach him there. If things start to progress we will probably have to pass him to the Makiki elders so they can get him to their church.

A family in the ward (the Crowells) spoke in sacrament this week and invited their non-member friend named Jessica to hear them then talk to us after. We talked to her about the plan of salvation and she liked it but is still relatively committed to the Catholic church. She has a boyfriend that is a member and he said he will read the Book of Mormon with her so hopefully that will push her in the right direction. Fingers and arms crossed. We also found out that there are more part member families in this ward than we knew so we are trying to hit them harder. There's a bit of a feeling of complacency with those families though (from both the member and non member halves) so we're trying to find the most loving way of lighting a fire under them.

We also spent a whole day working with Levi Fuaga in the ward. He is just about ready to get his mission call so he is pretty pumped to be going out with us once a week or so. In hindsight I wish I had been as gung-ho when I was still prepping for the mission.

Well with that this is the last week of transfers so we will be finding out news this Saturday. Odds are I will be staying in Hon-west and Elder Campbell will be moving on to smaller and simpler things. Love you all and hope your week is great.

Love ya!

Elder Smith

Monday, April 24, 2017

Mission Ups and Downs

Got 1,000 things to say and 10 minutes to say them so here we go.

In Hawaii news we did set an 11 year old boy with a baptism date this week. His name is Makama Alcon and he is the son of a recently returning member. Sadly he spends a lot of time on Molokai for now but will be here permanently in the summer, thus the reason why the baptism is so far away. Odds are I will stay here one more transfer which means I will be here to see it but if not I know that me being there isn't the important part.

There's another man we have been working with named Sanfour and he is awesome. Such a humble dude and really likes missionaries the only holdup is he doesn't speak great English and so when we stat talking gospel he gets lost. Odds are we will turn him over to the Sisters that cover the Micronesian branch eventually, but for now he is comfortable with us so we are keeping him. Plus those sisters don't speak Chuukese either they would just have access to members that do.

I also got the sad news that one of the older members in the Kaneohe 3rd ward passed away this past week. Sister Kaneaiakala fed us every month and always had funny things to say. She was full of energy to the end. Some prayers for her husband Wayne would be appreciated, it was a relatively unexpected passing. She was the first person I gave a blessing to on the mission.

This week has been full of ups and downs. There have been some great things and some not so great things and I have been very frustrated this week by the agency of other people. I know that sounds funny but I feel like this week I was able to see more people than ever before in this area but they just aren't doing anything. There are people that need our message so bad but they just aren't returning our texts, people that served full time missions but somehow still strayed off the path and just choose not to come back, people who are active but married to non members and just aren't pushing their spouse to meet with us. Honestly this has been a great week but I find myself getting frustrated with some of these people, I kept getting down on myself because I thought it was something that I was doing wrong but then I remembered something it says in preach my gospel. Even when we are doing all we can, we will still face disappointments, though we should not be disappointed in ourselves. I know this can be hard to do, but in the end we just need to look at our efforts and if we can honestly say that we did all we needed to do then we have no need to blame ourselves on the outcome.

Anyway I'm glad that everyone is doing great and that I'm not the only on getting hit by allergies (though it isn't that bad here).

Love you all and miss you.

Ofa atu
Elder Smith

Movie attached for your amusement.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Happy Easter!


So this has been a very interesting week. I say that because while it feels like it has been very successful on paper we didn't really get anything good on papers (in terms of numbers that we report) so I guess that why they tell us that only we can be judges of our own success haha. Anyway this week started off pretty good with the mission taking a day to have all the missionaries go out and just find new people to teach. Sadly no such luck for me and Elder Campbell, but we did have the opportunity to talk to quite a few people. Got to plant seeds wherever we go.

In Easter news our Sunday program was pretty good. Sacrament was amazing and the lessons in gospel principles and elders quorum were really good. Since it was Easter we did have a lot more of the part member families that came to church, we tried to talk to as many as we could but those people have been trained in the art of dodging missionaries so we will see if any of that pans out. Sadly nobody signed up to feed us on Easter so that was a bit sad, but its all good because Elder Campbell and I spent the dinner break dyeing Easter eggs. What a time :P

I think that Easter is one of the most easily over looked holidays in the eyes of the world, but the Resurrection of Christ is one of the most important events in the history of this earth. Through that we can all conquer physical death and be together forever with Christ and with our families. I don't think I have ever given the holiday that kind of appreciation and I hope that I always remember that and that you do to. I just feel so blessed and its amazing.

My next transfer is the second week of May so I'll be in Hon-West for at least another few weeks (and probably more than that, I think this will be a 3 transfer area, but that's just my guess). But yeah its been another great week here in paradise but let me tell you it has been a lot hotter. It seems like every day its overcast right up until its time for us to work, then suddenly its blazing hot. Elder Campbell and I walk most of the time to try and see more people, but then that means that we get sunburns and are drenched in sweat after like an hour. So needless to say by the end of the day I'm basically a sweaty stinky mess (sorry :P). But yeah here's a funny story for you. So me and Campbell were walking in a neighborhood and a dog started viciously barking at us (typical) and then it charged us but it had a chain on so we didn't flinch. Only thing is it got to the end of its chain and pulled so hard the chain broke. There was like 3 seconds of silence where me, Campbell, and the dog all came to the realization of what just happened then it started to advance on us a bit and we both kinda freaked out (it was a very "built" dog, kinda like our dog Indy) and so we were both prepared to take this thing down with our bags, but luckily by the grace of God or sheer luck it backed off before it tried to bite. Never thought that sorta thing would actually happen to me but I guess it does happen haha.

President Bekker called and told me about Gruncle passing away. I know that it was his time and that he lived an honorable life. I'm just glad that he went peacefully.

Well time is short. Hope your Easter was amazing and that your upcoming week is great.
Love you all,
Elder Smith

Egg dyeing skills.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Temple Blessings


So its been another 8 days, as I'm sure you've come to expect every once in awhile my p-day got pushed back to Tuesday because we had the awesome chance to go to the Laie Temple today, as always it was a wonderful spiritual experience and I think I got the answer to some questions that have been on my mind as of late. I don't think I realized until recently how lucky we are to have a temple so available to us. Like reading the Bible in the Old Testament there was only ever one temple on the continent for the people to worship in. I'm pretty sure there was only one on the American Continent as well. There would be no hope for people living on an isolated island like this to have access to a temple, but here we are with two. Guess that just testifies to me even further that the lord is hastening the work. So just a quick reminder to not take for granted how easy it is to get to the temple :P

On the mission work side of things it has been a slower week, but we have faith that things are going to pick up here in a bit. I had the chance to go on an exchange this week with Elder Boyd so it was just like old times seeing him again. We also found out that someone we were seeing back in Kaneohe got baptized this week (Brother Naipo, not sure if I ever mentioned him) so that was great to hear. Sad I couldn't be there to see it but it isn't about me, it's about the work. It also made me realize that a mission honestly is really short and that I need to make sure I'm not wasting my time out here. As of yesterday I'm officially 1/3 of the way done! I have no idea how that happened because it really feels like I just got here.

Well I got to hurry this along, just know that I'm good, I got your package, and my shoes are still holding together.

Love you guys!
Elder Smith

Monday, April 3, 2017

Conference and Hon-West News


Over on this side of the ocean things have been going pretty well. Not a lot of chance to meet with our investigators this week but we did find a couple new people that show some promise. I'll keep you posted on them. There's this guy our age who is prepping to go on a mission right now so he has been going out with us every week or so, so that has been pretty cool. His name is Levi and his last name I believe is Fu'uaga but off hand I'm blanking on it. Anyway its crazy to be on the other end of the "prepping for a mission" routine that all the 18 and 19 year olds do. Makes me realize that the missionaries I went out with probably had no clue what they were doing because half the time I'm just smiling and pretending I have any clue what I'm suppose to be doing. Granted I'm pretty sure that's 80% of missionaries and basically how people get through life in general so it's good practice :P.

So I'm honestly trying to remember what happened this week and its all kinda a blur. I think all my memory was taken up by conference so I'll mostly talk about that. But first off this was the first week of a new transfer, not a lot of change here in the Hon-west zone aside from the fact that Elder Boyd is now in the zone. It was pretty funny the first day he got here our two companionships went to lunch together and we were all talking about the Kaneohe 3rd ward (his comp Elder Kirkham also served there) and while we were doing this we saw a member from that ward walk by. He saw us all together and just laughed. I miss the people in that ward.

But in conference news it was a real struggle getting up once again because conference starts at 6 in the morning but Elder Campbell and I pushed through and made it. I don't have my notes on me but there were a lot of talks that were just fantastic. One of the things that really stuck out to me was the talk (can't remember who it was by) that said that Jesus loved the rich young ruler. I had just read that story in the Book of Mathew where it doesn't specifically say loved and I'm not gonna lie it really worried me a bit. I know that I'm out here on a mission and that the Lord is merciful, but sometimes being held to such a high standard makes you feel inadequate when you aren't exactly perfect. But when that story was shared it reminded me of something that President Bekker said (I think he might have been quoting someone else but I don't know). "We don't need to be perfect, we just need to be good at getting better." I know that I just need to give Him what I have and have faith that the rest will be taken care of. Man I just love this gospel, it really is for everyone. We aren't perfect, what we do and say isn't perfect, but what we teach is. The gospel is the only perfect thing on this earth.

Glad to hear that the next group of Seniors are all starting to get their calls, waiting to hear who's going to get sent to the Aloha mission!

Hope life is great, don't have much time so I gotta go.
Love you all!
Elder Smith

Monday, March 27, 2017

Transfer Week

Hey Family!

So today is yet another holiday meaning that all the libraries are clolsed and I am emailing from a members house. You might be wondering what holiday, and it is in fact Prince Kuhio Day!... Yeah I really don't know what the point of it is but I guess he was an important guy and it gives everyone a chance to be off school and work so hooray Prince Kuhio!

Anyway this has been a pretty solid week, I didn't realize how fast the time was going by so the reason I didn't mention anything about transfers last week was just because I totally forgot that we were already that far into the transfer. But yeah me and Elder Campbell are staying here in the Hon-West zone so we're excited to see what happens in the next 6 weeks. Lessons have been going pretty good, we have been able to catch more of the part members families this week so that has been a huge help, any RM will tell you that's where the most results come from. Hopefully we will start seeing some progress there. The downside to this area is definitely the fact that the people here are such hard workers, it's great for them but for us it means that they work multiple jobs and are just never home so a lot of our day is just spent trying to contact people that are never there. We keep a pretty good attitude, most days we can see at least one person but even on the days that we don't we just try our best to be our best and know that the lord will take care of the rest (that wasn't suppose to rhyme, whoops).

So in transfer news there isn't a lot of people leaving this zone but one awesome bit of news that I heard is that Elder Boyd is being moved to the ward right next to me so I'm looking forward to hearing from him and going on exchanges with him again. That also means that there are 4 elders in this zone that served in the Kaneohe 3rd ward, we have lots to talk about.

Before I need to hop off here I just need to emphasize the fact that Elder Campbell and I got a couple new investigators this week (more than usual) and while we'd love to take credit it is honestly because the members are staring to invite their friends and non-member family to dinners with us. I think sometimes people are afraid to do this because they (member and nonmember) think that missionary discussions are this big formal scripted event that have to be followed to the letter. Obviously they are meant to be a spiritual experience but its honestly our job to make these people feel comfortable with the gospel and with us. It doesn't need to be a big thing, but it can easily become something great. Just wanted you guys to know that's how the best work gets done.

I love you all and hope everyone is doing their part in this great work.

Elder Smith

Monday, March 20, 2017

Planting Seeds, Working Hard

Aloha fam,

Well I've got a lot to say and no time to say it. Here it goes.

So this was a crazy week from start to finish. First off we had interviews with President Bekker, he just really lifts me up every time I talk to him and every time it just inspires me to be better. Anyway after that we had a zone conference with the missionaries from the Honolulu, Waipahu, and Makakilo zones. I got to see a lot of the missionaries from the old Kaneohe days that are serving there now so that was awesome to be able to catch up with them. The topic of the Conference was self conversion which is something I have been trying to focus on this transfer, I can't be so focused on these people that I forget to take care of myself. I feel like I have learned so much in the last seven months, if nothing else at least I know that this mission is changing me.

On Sunday we met with Sister Alcon who is a member that recently returned to activity, she has an 11 year old son who lives on Molokai but comes to vist every once in awhile and will be moving here in the summer. He has not been baptized so she asked us to talk to him about it and prep him. Luckily I've taught a whole bunch of children on my mission (more than adults sadly haha) so it was pretty easy to get him comfortable around us. I think he's going to be just fine and I always enjoy teaching his age group so this will be a fun series of lessons.

I was talking to Elder Boyd to see how my old area is doing and he told me that one of the part member families is getting baptized in a couple weeks and I was so happy to hear that. I loved the guy so much and he quit drinking while I was there so I knew this was only a matter of time. People in the mission don't know what seeds they're planting so it's hard to see the value of the work some days, I just have to remember that stuff like this doesn't happen because of one missionary alone. I can't do it by myself. We are all in it together and we all have the same goal.

We got in contact with this awesome Korean member this week named brother Skyson who is friends with one of the University of Hawaii radio DJs. The DJ isn't a member but he has member family and he loves missionaries so he lets us take an hour of his show every month to talk about our church and share a bit about ourselves. Brother Skyson asked if we wanted to do this and we agreed. Beforehand I was crazy nervous but in the end I said a prayer and figured that I do this all the time, this was no different. So yeah we just did that this morning and I think it went well. If nothing else I think that the DJ himself is much more open to learning more. Odds are that won't happen to me again but they will be doing that with other missionaries every month.

So I really gotta sign off because of limited time but I love you guys and I love hearing from you guys. I know I don't address it often but thanks for keeping me updated on whats happening back home.

Love you!
Elder Smith

Pic from Zone Conference  - Honolulu West Zone

Monday, March 13, 2017

News from Honolulu


So this week has been a pretty normal week. Probably the most notable thing is that I went on two different exchanges this week. Early in the week I spent a day in Nu'uanu ward with Elder Kirkham and that was pretty cool. He previously served in the Kaneohe 3rd ward so we had a lot to talk about. He wanted to hear all about it, it was one of his first areas and he really misses the people there. Later in the week I spent a day in the Moanalua ward with Elder Willden. He has been companions with both Elder Johnson and Elder Boyd so we also a lot to talk about. All in all I had a good time with both of them and definitely learned something from each.

In my ward news we were able to teach here and there this week. Pretty cool moment was when an investigator asked us a question they had about something Christ said in the bible. It also kinda confused me so I said I'd look into it and get back to her. I couldn't find anything in the scriptures concerning it so I decided to crack open Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmadge. It's quite the read and I feel like a good companion book for it is the Websters dictionary, but once you get past the vocabulary it really does clear up any and all things that come up during Christ's ministry. Truman G Madsen said that the book should be considered the 5th standard work and I don't think he is too far off. But anyway I found the scriptural passage addressed in the book (Mark 12:27 if I remember correctly) and it really cleared it up for me. Hopefully next time I see Yoellah (the investigator) I will be able to use that to clear up her concerns.

Elder Campbell and I also had the chance to go on a hike in the middle of the week with some of the scouts. It also worked for us because the scoutmaster is actually not a member (which is a genius way of getting the nonmember of a part member family to church). So we were able to get to know him better and he seems really comfortable around us now, fingers crossed this becomes something. We also just found out that the cub scout master is also not a member so we might be going for something similar. I don't think Bishop Saula put them there for nothing, but we'll pray about it and see what is best. Just want to help bring these families together.

I'm really starting to gain an appreciation for Preach My Gospel. It can sometimes be a bit of a chore reading it every day but I know that there are great things in there. I recommend checking it out before anyone goes on their mission. And I definitely wish I could have gone to some institute before my mission, everyone makes it sound like the best thing ever. Can't wait to start doing that post mission, gotta keep myself going the right way somehow haha. But honestly I've been learning a lot about the atonement myself and I don't think I ever really appreciated it, I still don't think I fully do but I'm trying to live worthy of that sacrifice. It really just blows my mind that Jesus loves us so much that he willingly did that for us despite the way he had been treated. Then as soon as he's done the very people he suffered for betray and kill him. That kind of character is just unreal, but that's what we need to focus ourselves on.

In mission news this next week should be fun, I've got interviews with president and zone conference this week. I'm particularly looking forward to zone conference because I'll get to see some of my friends in the mission that I haven't seen in awhile.

All in all its been a solid week. Crazy how fast the time is flying, the transfer is already at the back half. Hope that Campbell and I stay together (mostly because I know I'll get lost daily without him, but also because he's a pretty neat guy) but whatever happens is for the best.

Love you guys and hope your week is great. Bye!!!

Elder Smith

Monday, March 6, 2017

Attack of the Children


Alright so I'm back in the library and since I got cut short last week we're going to get right to the point...

Things are still great here in the Lanakila ward. Funny experience of the week was that while Elder Campbell and I were in Mayor Wright's (the low income housing) we suddenly got attacked by a herd of children that wanted to have pictures of Jesus. I handed them all out but as soon as I was out another kid came and I had nothing to give him. I asked Elder Campbell if he had anything and he pulled out a card with the Laie Temple on it and suddenly all of the kids moved from me and rushed him so that they could all get some of those cards as well. Honestly that is my favorite thing about this area, there may be a bunch of people that are facing hard times but the kids still always find a way to have fun. I just love the kids that live and play here and sometimes they love me a little too much (since we aren't suppose to hug/touch kids it can be a little awkward when then all attack us), but ultimately I love it. Campbell is also glad that I like kids because it is kinda obvious that he didn't have any little siblings growing up. It's all good though, he's learning.

I'm trying to take a new approach with the ward, many ward members have expressed to us that the ward has been stagnant for awhile, they don't blame us but they say that there just isn't anyone doing any missionary work in the ward. So I've been trying to meet all the auxiliary leaders in a situation outside of ward council and try to volunteer to help in their calling like teach Elders Quorum or help the youth will Mission Prep or volunteering for seminary security. I'm hoping that if we get more exposure in the ward it will help to keep everyone more missionary minded. Guess we'll see if it pans out.

Just finished my first read through of the Book of Mormon on mission (probably should have finished that sooner but I get distracted by other [approved] books). Anyway I can't explain how much I love the book of Moroni, it is definitely my favorite part of the BoM because I just think of the crazy circumstance it was written in. Like every other prophet had someone to back him up but Moroni was literally the last righteous dude in the land. Every day he thought he was going to die, he even says several times that he did not expect to still be alive so he knows god has more for him to say. There isn't much of a nartitive but he outlines so many basic key doctrines of the church, baptism, sacrament prayers, priesthood ordination, and the importance of charity and prayer. I just have huge respect for the guy.

All in all things are good, went on a crazy hike today and I almost fell down the mountain 3 or 4 times but I made it. Definitely going to be feeling it tomorrow though.

Love you guys and hope that life is great.

Elder Smith

Picture time:
1. Me saying goodbye to the Prescott family in Kaneohe. They were my favorite family in the ward and I believe she talked my mom on fb once
2. Saying goodbye to the Cupchoy Family, my investigators in Kaneohe
3. Last pic of me and the mountains of Kaneohe (I miss those)
4. Me saying goodbye to Elder Boyd
5 and 6. Various hiking pics

Monday, February 27, 2017

Week 2 in Lanakila


Well its been a pretty good week here in the Lanakila ward. There was some good, bad, and funny as usual. I'm starting to get used to this environment more because serving in a city setting is really different than what I'm used to (before and after the mission). So Elder Campbell and I were under the impression that we would just be getting our car back soon since the problem didn't seem to major (just needed the coolant hose patched up) but I guess the mission just decided to fix and sell the car and so the replacement they gave us was a NEW 2017 Corolla. It was literally bought by the mission 4 hours before they gave it to us. So now I am driving that around town and being veeeery careful to not get into accidents because there is significantly less aloha driving here in the city than there was in Kaneohe. On top of that I have to drive since my companion can't and I don't know about half the area still so it's been an experience. Buuuut on the positive side getting lost is the best way to figure a place out, hopefully that will start happening soon.

As far as lessons go, we were able to see a few less actives and set up some appointments with potential and former investigators. This will hopefully be a solid week but we'll see. The ward here is great and for the most part has been very welcoming, not as many people sign up to feed the missionaries so we don't get to meet as many people but we are hoping to turn that around here pretty soon.

P-day today has been solid. Another solid hike up to a waterfall and up at the top we met a family of vacationing Mormons so we talked story with them a bit. One of them served in the Fresno Mission once upon a time so he was talking a bit about his time there. Also while I'm thinking about it, my comps cousin is serving in the Fresno Mission so if you get an Elder Anderson (serving in Madera at the moment I believe) in your ward in the next 18 months tell him hi from Elder Campbell. The Missionary web is always a fun thing.

Anywho I need to get going because I need to email from a library here so I'm a little more crunched for time.

Love you guys!
Elder Smith

Afterthoughts: I left my USB for my camera in Kaneohe. Elder Boyd is sending it to me via zone leaders this next week so for now I can't send you pics from my camera. If I get any from others in the zone I'll shoot them your way.

Pics from Elder Campbell:

Monday, February 20, 2017

Aloha from Honolulu

Aloha Ohana!

Ok so right off the bat I am currently emailing from someone's home because it is Presidents Day so the libraries are closed and the FHC at the stake center is currently under construction. So because of that I do not have access to the WiFi password and therefore cannot send pictures from my camera. Next week for sure.

But I'm sure that the burning question is how do I like my new area, honestly I love it so much. It is not at all what I am used to, figuring out the geography is pretty tough because I am not used to the big city feel of Honolulu, but I'm sure that will come in time. Right after I got here Elder Campbell took me n a tour of the area, but right as soon as we got to the top of the mountain our car started smoking and we had to get it towed to the nearest dealership (there was a leak in the coolant hose). I'm no mechanic but I was under the impression that this would only be a problem for a day or two... but apparently we won't be getting the car back for another week. Hooray for still being in a walking area! So because of this I still have only seen about half of my area (the ghetto half) that is close to where we live.

There's a lot more street contacting here than in Kaneohe and it's a lot hotter and sunnier and even though it's only about 30 minutes away it feels totally different here and they layout is nothing like Kaneohe. The area is pretty ghetto and some parts are pretty sketchy but honestly I've never felt safer. There's something about coming to a low income area that just brings more validity to being a missionary. Like when you are in a nice place like Kaneohe some people just think you are there on a vacation, but serving here in Lanakila people know that you are there because what you have to say is important. There are a lot of low income communities on this half of my area so people know that nobody comes here by choice and they are more interested in talking to us. All in all it's a little rough here but I am loving it. I love it because the people are either totally rude to us or open to us, makes it a lot easier to tell who is worth putting time into. Our area covers this low income housing community that is called "Mayor Wrights", the people there all have it pretty rough but the majority of them are very nice to us. They don't all speak very good English because most of them are straight out of Samoa or Chuuk (Micronesian island) but they all smile at us or offer us water. Let me tell you I usually felt pretty guilty accepting money from people in Kaneohe, but now these people that have next to nothing offer me money and I feel like actual crap. Thing is you can't say no because if you do it's like denying them blessings so you just have to take it. Another thing I love about this place is the kids, they all seem so happy with what little they have and they always ask for pictures of Jesus. One Chuukese kid was telling me that he went to church and I asked him what he knew abut Jesus and he said he didn't know. I explained to him that Jesus was God's son and that he came to bless us all and that me and Elder Campbell were trying to do the same thing. After that I gave the kid a picture of Jesus and he was very happy about it. warmed my heart.

Anyway the missionaries here are great too. Elder Campbell is great and we are getting along fine as companions. A couple other Elders here formerly served in the Kaneohe 3rd ward and so they were happy to hear what has been happening there. My new Zone leaders are great and there is one sister (Sister Christensen) that I served with in Kaneohe so it was good to see at least one familiar face at district meeting.

Hope that everything is going well back home, love you all and you're always in my prayers. Have a great week!

Elder Smith

Elder Johnson and Elder Smith

Elders Johnson, Campbell (new companion) and Smith

Off to a Great Start in Lanakila!