Monday, January 30, 2017

P-Day Pics

P-day shenanigans! 

Zone Conference, etc.

Hey everyone!

So this has been a pretty cool week. Not a lot of progress to report but it still felt like a good week.

We had an awesome zone conference this past with the Laie Zone and Mililani Zone. Sadly none of my buddies are in those zones so I didn't get to have an emotional reunion like every other missionary that's been out longer. It'll come though. But yeah the main theme of that was teaching repentance which is something that Elders gloss over or just lightly cover. It really is a major part of conversion. I think that a lot of us focus on the big things and that's it, but repentance should be a daily thing because we aren't perfect. We can't be hard on ourselves for our flaws, but we do need to recognize them and always strive to be better. I say this because repentance was also brought up in a world wide mission conference that was broadcast by members of the Quorum of the Twelve this week. They emphasized the importance of calling others to repentance as well as making sure we have repented for our past transgressions.

Anyway I had a cool experience this week. While Elder Boyd and I were walking we ran into Malia's mother Kahau (remember Malia is the girl we taught and she was baptized) and she told us that things have been going well since they moved to west side. They also told us that Malia has had her baby and that she is doing well. I saw pics of the baby and she is adorable and a mix of basically every Polynesian ethnicity under the son. Plus the child's name is...deep breath...Tifa'imoanalelaleleiosamoa Aaliyah Eletisa Tuitupou and as of yet she does not have a nickname so it's just a mouthful. But seeing that baby made me so darn happy, I guess it was the first time that I realized that this mission isn't for me and it isn't even really for the people we teach, it's the ones that come after them. The work we do here isn't just important in the here and now. It was important in the days of the Book of Mormon and it will continue to be important and relevant in another 2000 years. It also helped me realize that my mission is going to affect people in ways I don't always get the chance to see. Doesn't give me an excuse to be loose about it, but it is a comforting thought.

Anyway thanks for all the prayers and all the kind letters, you guys are the best and I think about you all the time. Send my love to everyone especially Brother (Patriarch) Bullard! He is the greatest.

Love you all!!
Elder Smith

Monday, January 23, 2017



So this week has been an interesting one, Elder Boyd got pretty sick partway through the week so we had to take it easy these last couple days but he is doing better now. We did get the chance to teach once or twice this week so that was nice, an improvement from last week but still not where we want to be right now. But slow progress is better than no progress. Probably the best experience this week was sharing the message of the restoration to everyone that attended a Baptism in the 4th ward. Elder Boyd and I each got to share different parts of the lesson to the crowd and when it came time for me to talk about Joseph Smith's prayer I directly quoted his experience from Joseph Smith History. I now understand why they tell us to do that, I felt the spirit so strong and I know that someone else out there had to as well. I felt my own testimony of the truth grow. I wish I had figured this out earlier haha. Live and learn I guess.

I love this gospel and I love being a missionary. It's the hardest thing I have ever done, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

On the funny side there was a massive spider in our pad this week. Dang thing was big and faster than lightning and smarter than most Elders. Eventually we were able to kill it because you can bet we weren't ready to go to sleep knowing that thing was in our house. It was a terrifying experience. Spiders are not my friend. Bugs here are scary, not like third world scary but still enough to make me hesitate sometimes when I go to bed.

Ooooh quick spiritual moment I had a couple days ago. So there's this less active family that we have been trying to meet with a ton lately but they are never home so we were considering just calling it quits for a bit, but then when we swung by on a whim a couple days ago and met her mother who was visiting from the mainland and when she saw that there were still missionaries trying to get her family to church just just started to cry and thanked us so much for not giving up on her daughter. It definitely let us know that we need to never give up on people, especially her. So hopefully me or someone after me will be able to get them back on the right path.

Well that's all the updates I can think of right now, hope everything is going well back home. Thanks fam for always keeping me updated, it means a lot.

Love you guys!
Elder Smith

Monday, January 16, 2017

Crazy Week

What a week it has been.

So before I address the elephant in the room lets talk about missionary work. So this week has been simultaneously busy and not busy week. We spend most of our days trying to visit part members or less actives but we have had little success in that regard. Most of our appointments need to be rescheduled but hopefully we will start seeing some more work happening this week. I had one pretty cool experience where a really less active guy came to church and was asking us how he could feel gods love and why it seemed his life was always getting harder. Elder Boyd shared a scripture with him and he actually started tearing up saying that he had read that same scripture and that it is what made him realize that he needed to get back into church. After this we had a member of our Bishopric talk to him but before hand he was really hesitant saying that he had met this man before and that we shouldn't trust him (apparently last time he was in the building he punched someone) but we just felt really strongly that he should talk to him. In the end it went really well and we are going to start helping him figure his life out. We will hopefully be seeing him at church next week. After that Brother Aki (the bishopric member) apologized to us for judging the man and thanked us for being wise enough to give him a chance. Made me feel really good after the rest of the work this week turned into a bit of a let down.

We also had Interviews this week which is always fun, I know I said it last time but I love how President Bekker has this amazing ability to correct us by making us want to do better. He gave me some advice on how to improve our area and he told me that I will most likely be moving areas this next transfer (which I already assumed, but it still technically isn't final). The big thing this week was that the worldwide missionary schedule has changed. I won't go into the minutia of the changes because it won't really mean much to you but the big thing is that planning will now happen in the morning instead of at night which will definitely make it easier to do things like write in our journals because frankly I've been pretty bad about that.

Ok so. The video! I can honestly say that finding out about that was probably one of the funniest things ever. Honestly it is so amazing that it went viral. If you haven't seen it check it out. Granted we probably would have been a little less crazy had we known that tons of people would see it but I really don't regret anything Hahaha. Honestly we just kept hearing from members how many views it had and we were just cracking up. Also Bishop Pasikala played it in front of all the youth at SED so that was also pretty hilarious. President Bekker did call me about it yesterday and no one is in trouble (don't worry mom) and he kept telling me how great of a mother I have so no worries. I'm glad it happened.

Anyway so thanks mom for making me famous and let me know if anyone tries to ride our coattails. I feel like it has got to happen.

Love you guys and have a great week!
Elder Smith

Monday, January 9, 2017

Live Aloha!

Elder Smith (driving) with his companion Elder Boyd, Elder Henderson and Elder Villanueva.

Live Aloha!


Well this has been the first week of the new transfer and it has been a strange one. I still have the same comp but a lot of the missionaries I serve around have changed. I really like my new zone leader Elder Harmon and the new Kahalu'u elder seems pretty nice (Elder Anderl is his name). The big change this week was that we lost our car so it was back to hitting the streets and blistering my feet (ok just one blister). It was pretty hard the first few days but it's getting easier. It makes it hard to plan because we can only see so many people in a day now so sometimes we walk 30 minutes to someones house then they aren't home or don't want to see us. On the bright side I don't think I'll be gaining weight this transfer so yaaay. Walking makes it easier to talk to people on the streets and members see us out so we get a lot of honks and shakas. It makes me feel good if I'm ever down so it's a plus.

We had a really good lesson with the Cupchoy's this week. I can't remember if I've talked about them before but they are the next door neighbors of the Katsuno family in the ward and they agreed to taking the lessons awhile back, they are super busy and he asks a ton of questions but I love teaching them. Definitely the highlight of my week. Plus he's a movies junkie and is trying to get more into Star Wars so obviously he and I have a pretty close bond. Not to mention their son is adorable and he looooves me and Elder Boyd. I don't know if it will be me and Boyd that baptizes them, but it's going to happen eventually. I can feel it.

So I hope that everything is going well back home. Sorry to hear about Mace being in the hospital, she is always in my prayers. The same goes for the Scanlan's. I love you all so much and hope that the new year is going well for you all.

Ofa atu,
Elder Smith

* Sent a video to my mom that she will post on her Facebook page - check it out.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Hauʻoli makahiki hou!

Dear Family,

This has been a pretty crazy week but transfer weeks always seem to be like that. So the big thing right off is that I have not been transferred, so I will be spending at least another 6 weeks here in Kaneohe (which will put me here for a total of 6 months). I will be staying with Elder Boyd so not a lot of change on our side. There are a good amount of Elders and Sisters in our zone being transferred so there will be new people to meet this next transfer. The one that might affect me the most is Elder Henderson being transferred to Kauai. First off he's become a good friend so it will be sad to see him go, but on top of that the new elder taking his place tomorrow will most likely have a drivers license which means that the Kahalu'u elders will probably be getting our car so I might be back to a walking area. We'll see. And yes in case you're wondering I am very happy to be staying in Kaneohe! As fun as I'm sure change will be I'm also excited to see this ward change. The work is still slow and there still aren't that many people to teach but I can see improvement, I don't know if me being here another 6 will yield any direct results but I think this ward needs some consistent missionaries to get the ball rolling, I'm just hoping I can play a part in that. I guess we'll see.

I got a pretty wicked cold but I keep on keeping on so hopefully it'll get better by tomorrow when I actually need to do work again.

So fun fact about Hawaii...New Years is insane. Literally there were fire works going as soon as the sun went down, then when midnight hit there were aerial fire works coming from every directions. These aren't stadiums or anything, this was just people in their front yards. And no this wasn't legal at all but literally everyone just does it, it's kinda hilarious. So yeah fireworks were going consistently for about an hour but I think they were still going for awhile after that just more sporadically. All in all a crazy experience. a little scary but mostly hilarious and cool to see so many fireworks and family gatherings. That's another thing I love about this place is how families always gather from near and far during these holidays, it's so cool to see so many members with all of their extended family in church and everything. Plus it gave me the chance to try way more local food at the family parties.

I think my new favorite Hawaiian dish is Lau lau. Basically it's pork cooked wrapped up in taro leaves then again in tea leaves. You take off the tea leaves but you eat the taro leaves and the pork. It looks gross but it tastes amazing. If by some weird chance you can try it I highly recommend.

This morning we went on a cool hike called Lanikai that took us to an abandoned military outpost so that was pretty cool. It's the last P-day with some of these guys so it's bittersweet but it was good to go on one last hike with them. Hope that your new years was awesome and that you are all still doing well. Love you guys!

Elder Smith

Pics are of me, Elder Boyd and 10 year old Saidee from her baptism last week. Such an amazing experience!