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