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!

Aloha!
Elder Smith

Monday, August 7, 2017

Loving Mililani

Aloha!

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