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!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Pics from My Last Week in Kaneohe

Aloha, Kaneohe!


Well this has been a pretty crazy week. So as you already know it is transfer week meaning that I am being transferred out tomorrow, and since word somehow managed to find its way to you already, yes I am being transferred to the Honolulu West stake/zone and will be covering the Lanakila ward. I am suuuper pumped because my companion is Elder Campbell who I am already good friends with from the MTC. I managed to dodge leadership another transfer (phew). I don't know much about my new area aside from the fact that it is in a fairly ghetto part of town. I will definitely have a lot to talk about next week concerning that.

In terms of what happened this week it was a fairly normal week and a bittersweet last week here. We were able to see our usual and set up some appointments that I won't be here for, we were introduced to the girlfriend of one of our members who is interested in taking the missionary discussions so hopefully that will work out. I went around and said my goodbyes to members that I have come to be particularly close to and took pictures with them... sadly as I am writing this I realized that I left my camera at the pad and probably won't be able to send any until next week (sorry mom).

I recently asked my mission president how to tell if I had truly made a difference in my area as I am leaving it and he told me that you can judge how much of a difference you made based on how much you have grown to love the people. I hadn't really given it a lot of thought until I was sitting in sacrament meeting on Sunday looking around and realizing that if I ever see these people again it won't be for a long time. I know I haven't talked a lot about members in my emails but there are a lot that I really enjoyed talking with and getting to know and others that I worked with in ward council. The Prescotts, the Alexanders, Lani Kai, the Katsunos, the Masakis, my ward mission leader Brother Siliga and his wife, and of course Bishop Pasikala. I realized that I really do love these people, I love this area even through the hardships and while I am sad to leave them I am looking forward to building the same relationships in Lanakila. Years from now the vast majority of this ward probably won't even remember my name but that's ok, they may not see the change but I do, there may not have been huge amounts of baptisms or major conversion in the last six months, but there has been a change in mindset. Members are reaching out to friends and less actives, ward missionaries and dropping by peoples houses (there weren't any ward missionaries when I got here), and our ward mission leader (who was brand new when I got here) has now fully realized his calling and is working hard to help us. I know this ward is better now than it was six months ago, whether that's because of me or not, I'm glad that I got to see it.

Love you guys so much and I can't wait to tell you all about my time in the ghetto.
Ofa atu,
Elder Smith

So because I got to know most of the missionaries here pretty well I figured I'd compile a list of everyone in my zone in the time that I've been here. Can't promise that I'll be able to do this in every zone but here is the Elders and Sister from the Kaneohe Stake in the last 6 months.

Kaneohe 1st Ward: Sisters Toufu'i (Tonga), Alldredge (Utah), Haskell (Utah), and Ogawa (Japan)
Kaneohe 2nd Ward (ZLs): Elders Kang (Korea), Jensen (Utah), Mitchell (Ohio), and Harmon (Utah)
Kaneohe 3rd Ward: Me, Elders Zollinger (West Virginia), and Boyd (Arizona)
Kaneohe 4th Ward: Sisters Christensen (Arizona), Iino (Japan), and Yamamoto (Japan)
Kahalu'u Ward: Elders Shelton (Utah), Henderson (Wyoming), Villanueva (Philippines), and Anderl (Utah)
Kailua Ward: Elders Funtanillia (Philippines), Kimball (Utah), Savaii (American Samoa), Pugh (Idaho)
Keolu Ward: Elders Yamamoto (Japan), Travis (Idaho), Zaluski (Utah), and Graham (California)
Olomana Ward: Sister Karitea (Micronesia), Weymouth (Utah), Elgueta (Chile/Norway), and Dabney (Utah)
Waimanalo Ward: Elders Teerlink (Utah), Bradly (Utah) and Sterrin (Utah)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Transfers are Coming...

Hey fam,

So yeah there was a temple trip this week and so my P-day got moved to today. Sorry I forgot about that until after I emailed this week. Buuut yeah I had an awesome time at the Laie temple, it's such a beautiful place and just has a really cool vintage feel to it. It was one of the first temples (5th I believe) and you can just feel the spirit there so strong.

So just a quick reminder that in all likelihood this is my last week in Kaneohe, transfer news comes out Saturday and that will put me at 6 months in this zone. Not sure where I'll go next but I know that there was a purpose to me being here and there will be a purpose for wherever they send me next. I honestly love this place, the people are amazing, the views are incredible, and I get to spread the gospel. I'm excited to see where I go next but I'm also sad to leave this place. But anyway my time isn't up yet and there's still work to be done here.

Elder Boyd and I actually had the chance to meet with the Cupchoys twice this week and honestly I just love teaching them so much. I don't know how long it will take and I don't know who will do it but they will be baptized eventually. I love them so much. This week we committed them to attend church with their neighbors the Katsunos. It's slow progress but definitely progress. I'll have to get a pic with them before I go.

Anyway so the weather has been crazier than normal. The winds have really picked up and when you mix that with even more rain than usual you get an uncomfortable time for missionaries without a car. Also the worst day was naturally the one where Elder Boyd and I forgot our umbrellas. What an experience that was! But yeah so apparently Fresno has been flooding pretty bad, what's worse, that or the drought? Hahaha you guys can't catch a break.

Love you guys!

Elder Smith