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