Monday, December 18, 2017

Cyber Missionaries


Well this is incredibly weird. I'm sending this email through my new smart phone and during the course of this sentence I have made about 20 spelling errors. How the heck did I use one of these before? Anyway so yeah the big change this week was that me and Elder Lee got our smartphones and set them all up with churchy dakine. As of now we do not have the SIM cards so they are just fancy scriptures but we will gradually have more capability as time goes on.

Holy cow this is taking me a long time to type. Ugh.

Anyway we had our ward Christmas party this week which was legit, but earlier than that we helped the Elders Quorum (all 3 of them) cook a pig in the Imu. It was cool to see the whole process of how it worked and while we were waiting for it to cook, O (the EQ pres) whipped out a guitar and started playing some hymns and we started singing along. It was really peaceful on this farm and there were a couple families there and the spirit was just so strong. Hard to explain but I can testify that Hymns have a special way of bringing the spirit.

Oh yeah also the most intense blessing of my life happened, one of our members casually grabbed us at the party and asked calmly if we could give his wife a blessing. We assumed she just felt sick or something so we went to the car and grabbed our oil, went back in and met with her. Turns out shes deathly allergic the walnuts and had accidentally eaten one thinking it was a macadamia nut. Me and Elder Lee started panicking internally but we gave her a blessing and she started to calm down. But just to be safe her husband pulled an epi pen out of no where and stabbed her in the leg with it. It was pretty intense. She ended up staying at the party so it all turned out OK. God is good and so is his priesthood.

Speaking of Elder Lee, he and I literally have the same taste in all movies/tv/comics. So yeah we have plenty to talk about. He is awesome.

Our investigator Koen came to the party and had a good time. We are meeting with him again this week and I am looking forward to that.

That's about all I have to report today, pray that I can figure out how to use this newfangled technology and I hope you all find someone to serve this Christmas season.

Mele Kalikimaka!
-Elder Smith

1. Our gecko. We shelter him from the birds, he keeps the bugs down.
2. Elder Lee rollin' in mail (we finally found our mail key)
3. Hawaiian Santa
4. How does one selfie

Monday, December 11, 2017

Kona is Weird

Aloha from the Big Island.

So this has been a long week. Like a really really long week. I feel like I have been here forever and it hasn't even been a week yet.

Here is basic rundown of the week. On Tuesday my flight to Kona wasn't until 2 in the afternoon so I spent the front half of the day just chilling at Honolulu, once I got to the airport I realized I had no clue what on earth I was doing so I found another missionary that was transferring islands (Elder Wills) and he showed me the ropes. Anyway on the plane ride over I talked with some hardcore hippies and gave them some light the world cards which they liked. After that I met my new comp Elder Lee (he is legit and from North Ogden, Utah) and him and the Ke'ei elders tried to make me think that they were super apostate and that we were meeting with some girls on the beach buuut of course it turned out to be a prank. Anywho after exploring the Big Island I can tell you all that the rumors are true:it's big. My area here is like the size of a zone on O'ahu. Day 2 on the island we were called to give a blessing but we got third hand info so we thought we were blessing an old auntie, turns out the message was misconstrued and we were actually blessing a house that had some "unwanted visitors" in it. A little different than we thought but it all went well. Day 3 the Ke'ei Elders tricked Elder Lee into eating a habenero pepper in one bite so needless to say he was down for the better part of the day. Day 4 we realized that we don't have a key to our PO box and its probably filling up with mail right now. We are working on getting the new key but the only one that can order one is who ever ordered the PO box in the first place which is a missionary who has already gone home. Joy. So sorry but I won't be getting anyone's mail for the next little bit.

The rest of the week has been pretty normal but all in all this has been the weirdest first week in an area so far. The members seem pretty cool but its going to be hard to beat the Waipiolani members. Also there are a lot more haoles here than I was expecting, first time on my mission that I've had a white bishop so we'll see if I get along with him (lol). But yeah that was my week, oh duh almost forgot we taught a super awesome lesson to our investigator Koen on the Plan of Salvation. He absolutely loved it and said that it was like he was remembering something that he forgot. Amazing how the lord works. But I love you all and hope that you find a way to lighten someone's life today.

-Elder Smith

(camera is still broken so no Kona pics yet, but here are some from before I left Mililani)

Monday, December 4, 2017

Service and Conference and Kona Oh My

So quite a bit happened this week, lets start from the beginning. We did a lot of service this week for people in our ward as well as some in the other wards. The service at the Kings in our ward went well and was very physically draining, moved 100's of pounds of rugs while getting destroyed by every mosquito on this side of O'ahu. Recovering from the bites was an experience. But aside from that Elder Hayes and I were able to reset Ikaika with a baptismal date in early January. I have loved teaching him and have definitely seen a change in him from the spirit. His desire to come to church has increased and his ability to understand the doctrine has gotten so much better as well. Another cool thing is that he has a really hard time reading, but since he started reading the Book of Mormon his reading has gotten better as well. I know that that book is of God and works all kinds of miracles. Also our investigator Francis came to church this week which was awesome because we haven't seen him in almost a month. He has also been a joy to teach and I know that his faith will lead him to the truth one of these days.

Saturday was a blast, all 100+ missionaries on O'ahu were at a conference in Laie and we got to hear from Elder Stanfill of the seventy. He talked a lot on the importance of following the spirit and how what we need to do and how we need to do it comes easy once we remember who is leading us. Also if we don't have the spirit we don't even have the authority to teach the gospel so that was an interesting thought. All in all it was a fantastic training. In the fun news we (all 100+missionaries) all sang Live Aloha, video will be included.

Then the time came for transfer news, as expected Elder Hayes is staying and I will be heading out. I am moving to the Kona zone on the Big Island, I will be covering the Kealakekua Ward and my new comp is Elder Lee (he came out with Elder Hayes so he's been out about 3 months). I am super sad to be leaving this ward, these have been my favorite members and I have absolutely loved the 4 1/2 months I have spent here. I am excited to be heading to a new area though, new adventures everywhere.

Love you all and remember to keep Lighting the World

Elder Smith​

Monday, November 27, 2017

Terrible Cold and 20 Years Old


Well I think the title to my email just about sums up the week. I was starting to feel a little down in the dumps last Sunday but by Monday I was fine and we were able to do some visits with the youth. Then on Tuesday I went with Elder Hayes to the doctor's office in Kahuku so he could get his prescription refilled and on the way back I started to feel like crap (so everyone at the pharmacy thought we were there for me cuz I looked like a zombie but it was for Hayes and he looked fine). Anyway I felt like crap so I wasn't able to work for 2 days, I finally felt good around Thanksgiving but we weren't suppose to proselyte that day, instead we went to the ward's turkey bowl, then hung out with the Wahiawa elders (who had a turkey that was cooked in an Imu, sooo good), went to a lunch/dinner with the King family (she's Tongan, he's Paulagi, they have 10 kids) so of course we were fed beyond the natural capacity of a human being. Kaike Mate. After that we went to another dinner at the Nakasones and they fed us a lot more. We were down by the end of it.

After we recovered from our food coma we played risk with the ZLs and called it a night. I was better for the rest of the week and we were actually able to get work done, not a lot of progress because just about everyone was recovering from Thanksgiving but we were able to have another meeting with Ikaika and he is so pumped to be baptized, we just need to get his extended family here. Last night we met with a returning family named the Wedgesen's and it was so cool, they had a huge testimony of the priesthood and an awesome story about how it has blessed them. They asked for blessings and a blessing on the house so me and Hayes gave a couple blessings each. Buuut that was basically the week, and yeah and I turned 20 so that was weird, guess I have to start acting like an adult now. We'll see. Hope you all have a great week and that you are ready to #lighttheworld

Elder Smith

1. Me
2. Elder Hayes
3. Ikaika
4. Gangster Cat

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Dynamic Duo


So we had an interesting week. The front half of it was mostly focused on getting Elder Bird ready to go. Before he left for Kona we had another meeting with the Davis family (less actives who want to get back to church) and we had a really solid experience teaching them the restoration. Bishop Goo was there as well and he asked the parents to share their testimonies with their kids. It was a really cool experience and the spirit was really strong and in the end we committed their daughter Kiana to be baptized. She said yes but won't be able to do it until January, all in all it was a great lesson.

After sending off Bird we had a lesson with a potential investigator named Kanoe who had a lot of good questions about our beliefs. The only problem was her 80 year old judge Judy obsessed auntie was there and started asking us all the dumb questions like how many wives did Joseph Smith have (idk, more than one) why don't we believe in the Bible (we do) and why don't we believe in birth control (we do). Anywho we have a return appointment so we will see how that goes. All in all it was a winning situation because I got Poke and Tako out of it.

Next we had a doorstep lesson with a referral named Georgi and her mom Billie-Jo. They had a lot of questions about the Book of Mormon and were totally accepting of a lot of what we had to say. They were super nice and we will hopefully be able to meet with them again soon. But yeah that's our week, some ups and some downs as usual but we are pushing through. It's weird only having one companion, gets a little quiet sometimes and we always feel like we forgot something. its an adjustment. Buuut anyway hope everyone has a great week. Love you all and happy Thanksgiving!

Elder Smith

Monday, November 13, 2017

This Trio's Down to Two


It's been an interesting week here in the Waipiolani ward, we had a bit of a hard time meeting with our investigators but we were able to get Ikaika to church which was a plus. The youth did a great job of fellowshipping him and making sure he feels welcome. That is definitely one of the strong suits of this ward, they are very loving and welcoming whenever we bring people to church. Our Ghanaian investigator Francis came to a fireside about the atonement and he really liked it. The main thing with him at this point is getting him to act on what we talk about. I know that once he realizes what the spirit is telling him he will start committing himself.

In other news we did a service project for a man that lived in a legit shack on a farm so that was pretty cool. At the same time there was a lightning storm going on which was even cooler because despite all the Hawaiian rain we actually don't get lightning and thunder all that often.

We have also been trying to get more members involved with the lessons, the young women's president Sister Chun introduced us to some less active members that we are starting to meet with now so I testify to you all that members working with missionaries is the right way to go. Also the youth have been involved with some of these people which is great because it gets them fired up about serving missions themselves.

So in reference to my title we will be losing Elder Bird as a companion this week, he is going to Kona for the last 3 weeks of the transfer. He is a baller missionary and he will be missed, it's gonna be weird just having me and Elder Hayes again but on the up side at least I can focus a little more on training him.

That's all I have to report this week, good luck to all in your sharing of the gospel and have a great week.
Love and Aloha!
Elder Smith

Monday, November 6, 2017

Tongan Style

Aloha and Happy (late) Halloween!

The three of us had a pretty enjoyable week, though some things didn't turn out quite the way we thought it would. First off Halloween was a fun day, after the sun went down the whole zone got together and played games at the YSA chapel. It was very fun to be able to see all of the zone and to spend some time relaxing. But once November began it was back to work. Me and Elder Bird spent a day with Elder Klaassen in our area and we worked our potential lists to the bone. We were so beat by the end of that day but it felt good knowing that we had given it all that we had. Also part way through the day we were really dehydrated so we stopped at a Tongan members house and asked for a glass of water, naturally we had 3 large glasses of water and about two servings of cake and ice cream, gotta love the Polys.

Aside from the exchange we did service for that same family at their farm. We were able to help them lay some carpet at the farm house and got much food in exchange. Also the neighbor Tongans had caught a pig and were preparing to cook it in an underground oven (pronounced Emu, not sure if that's how it's spelled).

We were also able to find a family this week named the Shavers who the missionaries had met with before, they aren't too interested in converting since he is the pastor of another church but they invited us over regardless. Their son-in-law John McCue mentioned that he doesn't go to church because there is too much man-added doctrine in churches these days. We talked about the apostasy and restoration and he agreed to hear more though he is very skeptical about Joseph Smith saying that our focus should be on Christ (ironic since he brought up Joseph more than we did). Should be a fun adventure in the future.

Those are the main things this week, hope life is good for everybody on the mainland and I look forward to hearing about how you are all sharing the gospel.

Much love and aloha
Elder Smith

Monday, October 30, 2017

Adventures of the Three Stooges

Aloha to all my friends and fam!

This week in the Waipiolani ward we had some great things happen both planned and unplanned. Of course we also had some bad things happen, most of which were unplanned since we try not to plan for those kind of things. First off we had a meeting early in the week with the Wong Family (a less active family trying to get back to church) and set their 9 year old daughter Mochi with a baptismal dater for the 26th of November (which is pretty cool because its exactly a year after my first baptism, Malia, in Kaneohe). They are solid and we will continue to meet with them this month. We also had a lesson planned for the Davis family to get them back to church and baptize their daughter Kiana... but when we got to the lesson Kiana was asleep the whole time so we will focus on baptizing her on a day when she hasn't been at a haunted house for hours. Despite that setback we did talk to the rest of the family and shared some scriptures that came to mind, they started tearing up and said it was exactly what they needed to hear. Bishop Goo was also with us for that lesson so of course it went well, he is just great at making everyone feel comfortable and loved.

We went to the 4-ward trunk or treat as well this week and had a good time. The Davis family and Francis came to that so that was great to see. Winning costumes were Elder and Sister Anderson's grandson who came as an AT-ST from Star Wars complete with a working Nerf Gun that he continuously shot the three of us with, and the Goo Family whose four kids came as the Ninja Turtles while Bishop was Shredder.

The best part though was that we found a younger military couple referred to us by the Visitor's Center who seems to be interested in what we have to say. The wife, Georgie, said that she would read the introduction before we met again this week and she seemed to really mean it. Despite their Catholic upbringing they have a really solid understanding on what the Book of Mormon is, not a new scripture or correcting doctrine, but a second witness used to clarify. It made me really happy to see that.

Anyway that's all for this week, remember to never take what you have for granted and to always find ways to share it with others.

Love and Aloha
Elder Smith

Monday, October 23, 2017

Triple Threat

Aloha friends and family!

This week has been a definite change of routine for us. On Tuesday me and Elder Hayes went to transfer meeting then the airport to pick up Elder Bird coming in from Kaua'i. He is 6"6' and from Mapleton, Utah and has been out for 3 months. That basically means that I am training and greenie breaking at the same time. When president told me that he appreciated that I could "go with the flow" I didn't think that he would be flowing me up and down the river like this. But naw it's been a good time. After trying and failing and trying again to fit a third bed in our room and telling all of of our dinners for the next week that there are now three of us we went on our way.

In terms of lessons we tried to meet with Ikaika but he couldn't because he moved his tutoring to that day so he could go to church, then we rescheduled it but he couldn't go because he got invited to the stake dance. I don't think I have ever been happier because of cancellations in my life. The down side is we had to push his baptism back a bit but he is still set and ready to be dunked when the time comes. This week Bishop Goo set up appointments for us to visit the Davis family and the Wong family, both of which want to get back to church and have a kid that isn't baptized so we are looking forward to meeting them this week.

The theme of the week for me has been attitude. I realized while reading through the Book of Nephi that we give Laman and Lemuel a hard time a lot for being the "bad guys" of the Book of Mormon when in reality they did almost everything that God commanded them, the only difference is that they did it out of stubborn obligation and not out of love of God. Because of this they never had a change of heart and never profited from their sacrifice. So remember that it isn't enough to just go through the motions of being "good" we actually have to BE good.

That's it for now, hope everyone's week was great and that you are striving always to share what you know. Love you all.

That's all folks
Elder Smith

1. Me and Elder Zollinger (my trainer who just finished his mission)
2. Me and Sister Iino (my neighbor who just finished her mission)
3. Dead (huge) rat found at service
4. Comps at the linger longer

Monday, October 16, 2017

Bird is the Word


So here we are again at transfer time, news was a little weird this time around. As expected me and Elder Hayes will be staying in the Waipiolani ward, but we will be getting a third companion named Elder Bird. I have never heard of this Elder before and as of yet I have no idea why we are being put in a trio, guess the lord has something he wants us to learn. In other news my trainer Elder Zollinger has completed his mission and is heading home and my past comp Elder Campbell is going to the west side of Kaua'i. Not much change aside from that.

This week was full of talking to people on the street and trying to find new investigators. Not a whole lot of success but we are loving the work either way. We had a solid meeting with Ikiaka this week and we went over the Restoration, I am pretty confident that he will get baptized so that is pretty cool to see. The Elzingas are another story, we went over to set Preston with a date and found out they are last minute moving to Wahiawa so we will have to hand them to those Elders. The Elzingas are also awesome and they came to church this week which was awesome to see. Keep praying for them. Aside from that not much else to report.

Love you all and keep on being awesome.
Ofa atu!
Elder Smith


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Smith's out of Gas, VanShaar is Peeing in a Bottle, and the Cops Just Showed Up

I'm sure you're all wondering why my email is titled this way, let's just say that there are no dull moments here in the Hawai'i Honolulu mission.

So this week was an interesting one. We were able to meet a bit with the Elzinga family and see where they are, we are feeling good about the plan to start up lessons with just Preston so we are going to be sticking to that. Lessons with him start up this week (finger's crossed). We have talked more with Ikaika and he is pretty set on getting baptized which is really good for us to see, the only thing we need to do now is get him to realize how important church is, him coming regularly is the only real roadblock left (though he did come to scouts this week which was awesome). We also got a new investigator this week named Kenoa who is a Chuukese football player who was referred to us by his coach (a member of the stake presidency. He seemed marginally interested but his fellowshipper is solid so we will see how that goes.)

Also we got the chance to got to the temple today which was legit as always, lots of prayers answered. I feel really lucky to be able to go as much as I do, I know not all missionaries get this opportunity so I am very grateful for it.

I love you all and hope that you all find a way to spread the word. Aloha au ia 'oe!
-Elder Smith

PS. if anyone wants to hear the story behind my title, shoot me an email as to how you shared the gospel this week. Love ya

Mililani Zone at the temple!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Amazing General Conference Weekend


What a week it has been. This week we had interviews, zone conference, and of course general conference. First off in interviews president gave me some direction on how I can improve as a trainer and in general and he also cleared up a lot a few doctrinal questions I had. That's one of the things I love about President Bekker, he is able to be so spiritual and profound in only teaching the pure and simple doctrine of the gospel but at the same time if you have a legitimate concern about deep doctrine of the church he knows everything about that too. I see some missionaries that spend way too much time trying to learn the deep and confusing aspects of the gospel and in doing so lose sight of the simplicity of Christ's teachings. I have had to learn in my mission to not get distracted by the crazy stuff and while I have learned A TON on my mission compared to what I knew before I have more importantly learned the importance of plain and simple teachings.

Zone conference was also awesome, the theme this time was strengthening our own faith. I was one of the missionaries assigned to randomly give a talk and it went alright all things considered. I have come to realize that faith really is the basis of all that we do. It is the first point in the gospel of Jesus Christ and without it nothing else can be fully realized. Our prayers and sacrifices don't really mean much if we don't have the faith to know that they do what God says they will. Like Elder Hales's unread talk said yesterday "faith is what prepares us to meet God". We all start somewhere and that is faith.

Speaking of yesterday, we had an amazing General conference this time around. As usual it was incredibly early (Morning session at 6am, afternoon at 10am, priesthood at 2pm) but it was one of the best one's I can remember. Of course it was sad to not see President Monson there and pretty crazy timing for Elder Hales to have passed away but I know that this work is God's work and will go on regardless of the condition of His servants. Some talks that stuck out to me were President Henry B. Eyring's priesthood address on sustaining leaders in the church (even though we all have human weaknesses), Elder Tad R. Callister's talk on the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon (there's a more detailed version of that given as a BYU devotional called The Book of Mormon: Man Made or God Given. Highly recommend) and Elder Anderson's talk on general conference as a whole and how it's counsel will lead and guide us. I feel so blessed to be lead today by real prophets who have the inspiration to know what the world does need and will need in the future. With everything going on in the world today (I saw a news broadcast this morning at the gym about the shooting in Las Vegas) it is beyond comfortable to know that we have people that make God's will and plan made known to us. I am even more grateful to know that God is infinite and has provided a perfect plan that allows us eternal happiness even if life takes an unexpected turn.

All in all things are going well in the Waipiolani ward. As far as the Elzinga's go we are planning to start only teaching the 9 year old son and less active father since they are the only ones actually showing the desire to act on what we tell them. Hopefully their example will allow their mother to better feel the spirit in the future but for now she is just holding back their progression. We did have another meeting with our 15 year old investigator Ikaika yesterday and we set him with a baptismal date of October 29th! He seemed game for it now we just have to hold him to his commitments to get there. Keep praying for them and for Francis, Felicia, Jenna, and the Davis Ohana. We are so close with these people we just need a little help from on high.

Love you all and remember to always heed the words of the prophets
Elder Smith

1. Extended version of the family pic. My dad Elder Zollinger with both of his sons (me and Elder Cabrito) and both of his grandsons (Elder Hayes and Elder Anderson)
2. Hon-West reunion, Elder Siaosi, Elder McOmber, Sister Kwak, Elder Campbell, and me
3. Elder Zollinger with 4 of his companions (Elder VanShaar, Elder Klaassen, me, and Elder Wood)

4. Ballin'

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Life of a Trainer, Week 2


This week has been very long and tiring but a solid week nonetheless. The same old problems are still there with the Elzingas and Ikaika in that our lessons are always solid but something always comes up that makes it so they can't fulfill their commitments. I still see our lessons with Ikaika bearing fruit but I am starting to wonder about the Elizingas, we will need to pray about what our next step should be because the sad truth is sometimes it takes the missionaries not coming for awhile for people to realize what it is that we bring. But no final decisions are being made yet so we will see.

On a more positive note we had two lessons with Francis and Felicia (the couple from Ghana) this week and both went really well. The first lesson was the Restoration and its the first time that Elder Hayes has done a full lesson before and while he did a good job I definitely got reminded that he is still a greenie. He didn't say anything bad at all but he just completely forgot the lesson plan and skipped some vital parts I had to jump in and cover. But it all went well and the spirit was there. Later in the week I went on an exchange with Elder Zollinger and we taught the same family the Plan of Salvation, it was super solid and he totally accepted it. In fact he was telling us about African culture and a lot of it matched up with what we were teaching.

The senior couple brought another investigator to our ward this week, her name is Jenna Baptiste and she is from Haiti. She really enjoyed the meeting (mostly because it was the primary program) and said that we can meet with her later in the week. Should be a good time.

Also I had a very... interesting experience giving a blessing this week. First time I have ever been asked to cast out an evil spirit so that was certainly memorable. Won't go into much more detail on it but just know that the church is true :D

In terms of the training it is going well. Elder Hayes is a fast learner and I think that he will be a great missionary in no time.

The newest thing on my food experience is a small pizza made with taro bread. Its basically as Polynesian and white as you can be at the same time. So basically it's me in food form.

That's all I can think of right now so I hope that everything is going well on the home front. Keep the aloha going!

Much love!
Elder Smith

PS - President Bekker called and told me about Great Grandpa Cooper's passing. I know he is in a better place. I'm glad I got to see him before I left for my mission.

Blurry pic but still a pic!

Monday, September 18, 2017

First Week as a Trainer


Has it only been a week? Feels like it's been a month (in a good way). Its funny how when you do something new on the mission it just makes time crawl. I have definitely learned a lot this past week and will continue to learn a lot over the next couple months. So my son's name is Elder Hayes and he is from Aurora, Colorado (still no Utah comps, that's five). The first and most unusual thing about him is a difficulty that he has with his left leg, namely that he doesn't have one. So yeah that was a bit of a surprise on Tuesday when President pulled me aside to give me a heads up. His leg was amputated when he was 6 because of cancer in his knee but he has some pretty fancy prosthetic so he is actually a para-olympian gold medalist. Basically I took that as a "don't go easy on him" so right after we dropped his stuff off and did some studying I took him door to door and visiting people for 4 hours, he was tired but then after we got back to the pad I found out that working in the humidity that long actually kinda messed up his leg and potentially damaged the skin... soooo I decided that maybe we needed to plan our day a little smarter and avoid that happening again. He doesn't want me to go easy on him and he is a hard worker but I just don't want to cause a problem that will get him sent home. So now instead of doing our studies in the morning we work in the morning and study in the afternoon so he has time to let his leg air out. It's still a trial and error process but we are figuring it out.

Lesson wise we had a meeting with our former with-date Ikaika and tried to reset him for a baptism date, but I think we need to do a better job explaining the why and less of the what when it comes to these things. He is a bit of a slow learner so there is slow progress with him but we are hopeful. On top of that the senior couple (Elder and Sister Anderson) brought a couple to our ward that might be interested in taking the lessons. We met them on Sunday, their names are Francis and Felicia and they are from Ghana. We didn't get to talk to them much but they seemed really open and said they would come back next week. Also that senior couple is working with another couple who they are bringing next week from Haiti so we are bringing in all the Africans. We are very hopefully about these people and looking forward to the chance of teaching them.

So yeah it has been a long week but a good week, I hope Elder Hayes isn't sick of me yet but if he is that's alright, he's stuck with me. Oh yeah we also got majorly cussed out but a very angry man yesterday because we "cut him off" in traffic. He claimed that he hated our church and was a Catholic and many other things that I will not repeat. The moral is if your mad at someone or being dumb please don't throw your religion at them because I have met lots of wonderful Catholics on my mission and this guy was just disgracing them. Remember that you represent more than just yourself out there.

Anyway love you all and remember to keep spreading the word.
Ofa atu

Elder Smith

Monday, September 11, 2017

Transfer Week


Well I actually have a lot to say so buckle up.

First things first this is transfer week and as such on Saturday we all get notified about leadership calls, about halfway through the day I get a call which didn't really phase me because I figured I was going to get re-called to District Leader (which i was fine with because I know how to do that). So I chatted with President Bekker and he said to me "Elder Smith I've prayed about it and I would like to call you to be a trainer" and I had no clue what to say. Naturally I accepted the calling but I was a little more than uneasy about it so needless to say these next 12 weeks will be very very interesting. I do not know who my new companion will be because President doesn't finalize that until the day before (so tonight) and I will meet him tomorrow morning. This will also be interesting to see because I don't have the area 100% down yet. Elder Fa'alavaau is being transferred to my old area in Hon-west and he will be training also so we are freaking out together. I gave him a bunch of names for him to check up on while he's there so he won't be going in completely blind.

In Waipiolani news we had a really solid lesson with the Elizinga family, they have had a hard time keeping commitments but we are seeing small but sure changes in them, especially Tika (the dad who is a less active). They told us that they are very grateful for us and that though we may not be able to see it we are having a positive impact on their life, it was really nice to hear and I can tell that whether they know it or not they are coming closer to Heavenly Father. We also had the chance to briefly meet up with Junior who we met at the Stake car wash a few weeks back, we set up a time to see him so hopefully we will be able to continue on that this next week.

In world wide news it was recently revealed to our mission that starting in 2018 all of the missions in the united states will begin transitioning to using smart phones. I don't believe that there has been an official announcement on it yet but the guy in the church that oversees all technology was vacationing in Hawai'i and told all the ZL's and they told us. I'm not fully convinced that this isn't some mission wide prank but if it is true it will definitely change the way we work a lot. I'll keep you posted on that.

All in all it has been quite the week and lots to do in the weeks to come. Keep me in your prayers because I am for sure going to need them.

Love you all!

Elder Smith

Monday, September 4, 2017

Waipiolani News


Well we had anther enjoyable week in Waipiolani. It was a tad slow this week but nonetheless enjoyable. The main problem is still getting the people we are working with to follow through with commitments, we had a really good lesson with the Elzinga family and talked to them about how important it is to maintain doing the little things like church, reading, and prayer so that we can gain our testimonies and be truly converted to the gospel. They agreed that they needed to work harder at this if they want to know that it is true... then they overslept and didn't come to church (the one drawback to morning church). Sooo we are still working with them and trying to get them to put forth a little more effort. Keep them in your prayers because they are so close to knowing this is true.

Elder Fa'alavaau had to go to Honolulu to get his blood levels checked (he has a mechanical valve, I call him Cyborg) and we drove all the way there only to find out his appointment was for the next day. So we went to Honolulu again the next day and had his actual appointment. The downside was that was a good amount of driving but the upside is I got to drive through my old area twice so that was pretty cool. Also we got to go to Pearl Harbor again this week (my eighth time) and swept through a bunch of the decks. This morning we had a pad inspection so our place actually looks nice now (pics below) and yeah that about sums up this week.

This past week I was reading in the Book of Mosiah and saw the story of Alma the Elder and his people being suppressed by Amaron and the Lamanites, the unique thing about this story is that instead of the Lord liberating his people immediately he allowed them to be tried and tested through their struggles to see if they would remain faithful (which they did). Along the way though he still heard their prayers and gave them the strength to overcome their trials, he didn't change their circumstance, he just helped them overcome them. I have seen this apply to me a ton over the past year, I was very overwhelmed when I first got out here, but every day as I prayed for help I could feel the Lord their strengthening me, he didn't make the work easier, he just made me better. Little by little. So yeah just some thought for the coming week.

Love you all and thanks for all you do!

Elder Smith

Monday, August 28, 2017

Share What You Know


This week was quite the blur. Most of our investigators were busy this week so that was kinda sad. But we still have hope that they will progress, just remember to keep Ikaika and the Elzinga Ohana in your prayers, they need help keeping commitments. The frustrating thing about work is sometimes we get caught up in the idea that we are only successful if our investigators are doing everything we want them to, but it's important to remember that everyone has their agency and we can only judge our success on how well we invite them to come unto Christ and utilize his atonement. The same goes for member missionary work as well, we can talk ourselves out of sharing the gospel because we think that they will say no, but that isn't what matters. Success in sharing them gospel is not determined by what they say but instead by how much effort we make to testify. Just some thoughts to have this week!

So Elder Fa'alavaau and I were out doing our thing when we saw a less active washing his car. We struck up a conversation with him and got to know him a little better. We found out he is on probation and just got out of prison. He asked if we could share a scripture and the first one that came to mind was Ether 12:6 which says that a witness shall come after the trial of thy faith. We testified to him that as we remain faithful through our trials that we will gain a stronger testimony and become faithful because of, and not in spite of, hard times. He started to tear up and said that that day he was very tempted to begin his "old habits" and that because of our message he knows that God is mindful of him and loves him. He thanked us a ton and it was a really cool experience.

In other news me and Elder Fa'alavaau are still going strong and trying to spread the word. The members are still great and the work is moving forward, even if it isn't quite as fast as we'd like. Also the our two most solid Investigators just got poached by the Samoan Ward so that was a bittersweet moment. Aside from that the week has been great!!

Have a wonderful week and remember that everyone has the chance to share what they know.

Love you all!
Elder Smith

Monday, August 21, 2017

Spreading the Word


So this has been a pretty eventful week . I am still working on getting to know my area but it is coming along little by little. This ward continues to be amazing and I have been able to meet so many great members with a lot of great intent to share the gospel. We had a harder time getting people to church this week but I believe that they are still heading in the right direction. We are just going to need to be better about getting on them about keeping commitments.

We had a really cool stake activity this week where the wards put on a huge free car wash and the missionaries took the people on chapel tours. I have done this in my other areas too but this was much more successful. Elder Fa'alavaau and I were able to give 6 tours and the other companionships were about the same. We got a lot of solid referrals out of it and one or two of them were from our area. The members really made the difference, they put the word out and personally invited a lot of friends. It was all in all a great time and I hope to be able to see this happen more regularly (the stake is considering doing this every 3 months).

On top of this we had a zone conference up in Laie where we learned more about the atonement of Christ and how it is the central point of doctrine that covers our whole church and what gives everything meaning. During the training we had to teach the restoration but tie every point into the atonement. I thought it would be awkward but the more we thought about it and taught by the spirit the more we realized how the atonement really does tie in to everything in this gospel. It's a beautiful thing.

Aside from that it was a pretty typical week of hitting the pavement and visiting less actives, always a fun thing to do. But that's all I have to report this week, hope everyone is spreading the word and being an example. Alofa atu!

Elder Smith

1. Klaassen and Vanshaar
2. Me with my "dad" and "brother"
3. Me and Campbell
4.  Elder Fa'alavaau

Monday, August 14, 2017

One Year Down

Aloha Ohana!

So this week has been a pretty great one. We were able to teach a couple lessons to the Elzinga family and Ikaika Stuart which were both great and the highlight of the week was that they all came to church! So that was great. They are all set with baptismal dates right now but we might have to push a few of them back. They are all progressing though which is always great to see. There are a pair of Samoan girls named Va'e and Tu'ua that are also set with baptismal dates but I haven't had the chance to meet them yet because they have been with family in Waipahu, so hopefully it will work out this week.

A big thing I have thought about this week is how much I took the gospel for granted growing up. I was used to people in my old area having hard times because it was mostly low income housing but this is a much nicer area and yet there are still so many people in unfortunate circumstances. The thing is it almost all stems from someone in the family going against the commandments of God. Some of these family situations are so uncertain and sketchy that it makes me so grateful to have a relatively normal upbringing.

On another note it was really weird to hit my year mark this week. Crazy that a year ago i was a nervous little boy in the MTC, playing beach volleyball with Elder Johnson. A lot has changed since then and a lot will continue to change. I can't wait to see what else there is to do in this area.
Well I don't have time to write much else but just know that this ward is taking great care of us and that me and Elder Fa'alavaau are getting along great. Keep praying for us and we will keep the work going! Love you all!

Elder Smith

Monday, August 7, 2017

Loving Mililani


So this has been an insanely long week, but in a good way. On Tuesday morning we finished packing up the pad and went off to transfer meeting. It was awesome being able to see so many people again and catch up with a few past comps. After saying goodbye to Elder Lewis I met up with Elder Fa'alavaau and we drove to Mililani to start working. I have never been to the central part of O'ahu so it has been really cool to see this area, it is way more beautiful than my last area and the work here is great. This was by far the most warm welcome I have ever gotten into a ward, they all made a point to talk to me, I've met most of the auxiliary leaders already, members have us over all the time, and the best part is they actually volunteer to help us out a lot and give us referrals. I am not one to compare areas but I have a feeling that this ward is going to be my favorite area. My new comp is cool too, he still has his greenie fire so that is awesome to be working with, on top of that the ward loves him. He was born in American Samoa and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. His parents are converts so he has a soft spot for missionary work, he likes a lot of the same nerdy stuff as me so we get along just fine.

In terms of the work we have a handful of investigators we are teaching but I am still in the process of meeting them. There's this kid named Ikaika who we are getting involved in cub scouts and a part member family named the Elzingas that seem really solid. So all in all I love the area, the ward, and the work. I really am at a point now where I just love doing this, it isn't just a duty anymore, it's a privilege.

I had the opportunity to talk this past week with a member in the ward that has been excommunicated and is working on coming back, he told me that God has released him from his covenants because it was recognized that he wasn't mature enough to uphold them so he needs to reevaluate himself before he recommits to the covenants. He basically testified to me that even the church's discipline is an example of our Father's love for us. I think it is the biggest testimony builder in our Heavenly Father's love for us, that he is always willing to take us back.

So yeah that is my first impressions of the area. More to come for sure. Didn't grab any pics this week but I have some more that I took from Hon-West.

Love you all and can't wait to tell you more about Mililani!

Love and Aloha,
Elder Smith