Monday, February 27, 2012

Missions are SUPER AWESOME!

 Elder Richard G. Scott

Hey hey hey!
Missions are great and everybody should go on one...I don't know what else to tell yall. You can never fit everything that happens in a week into an email. So many cool things are happening here in Colonial Heights I honestly don't know where to start.

Any funny stories? mmm...nothing that yall can appreciate. uh...we ran into a Catholic priest at Walmart today and had a really cool conversation with him. We turned into an aisle and almost ran into him and when i saw the collar i thought, "uh oh". So I just smiled and said hi and what-not and it turned into a cool conversation. I was hoping he'd follow us to the Chinese Buffet we went to for lunch so we could talk with him more. Unfortunately, he was borrowing a Bishops car and was like, "I gotta go or else the Bishop will be really mad." Yeah. It was funny. Yeah...

SO! This Saturday we have a baptism of an entire family and I. am. STOKED! The work is moving forward every day and I'm so privileged to be a part of it. This last Sunday we had our stake conference which included 43 other stakes from around the area (it was broadcasted from Salt Lake). Every talk was amazing! The final speaker was Elder Richard G. Scott (oh, did I mention that Elder Scott's nephew is my Stake President?'s sweet. And he looks JUST like him. It's crazy) and his talk was E.X.C.E.L.L.E.N.T. I have had so many awesome spiritual experiences...It's actually kinda frustrating that I can't write it all.

It seems that nowadays the church and its members are in the spotlight a lot. Nearly everyone has heard of us and, unfortunately, many want us to change to fit in with society. We are asked to lower our beliefs and standards so we may become "unified" with the rest of the world so we can all be "friends". That is not our role as Latter-day Saints. We have the fulness of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ and with such knowledge WE are called and chosen to rise up and be an example to all the world. "Verily I say unto you all: Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations;" (D&C 115:5) Do not go with the flow of society. This life was never meant to be easy. We are to fight the current of ever changing standards and morals and when we finally choose to do so, then and only then, do we qualify for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. We must always be aware of ourselves and where we stand on the grand scale of morals and behavior. Examine yourselves and determine now to change and be better. We aren't snatched all at once. The process and path to hell is very slow and very hard to discern. "For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good. And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security...and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell." (2 Nephi 28:20-21) Too many Latter-day Saints have fallen because they thought they were "safe". It all begins with one "little" commandment we miss. We decide to miss a day of church here and there. We decide to skip out on one day of scripture reading or prayer. Or, we decide to let one little thought linger for "a little bit longer" in our heads. Or, maybe, we decide that some little rule is too strict and it's ok to loosen up a little bit. It's ok to laugh at that standard. It's ok to listen to that song....No. That is when the devil has hold upon our hearts and leads us away from the light into everlasting darkness. Arise, and let your light shine forth unto the world! Don't settle for anything that the world may pretend to offer. It has NOTHING. Be strong. Listen to and obey EVERY. LITTLE. WORD that the prophets, apostles, stake presidents, bishops, and parents have told you. Meticulous obedience is the key to eternal life.

"Oh be wise. What can I say more?"

Elder Hyrum Smith

P.S. It's nice for missionaries to receive mail. Just throwing that out there :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Virginia Richmond Motto/Creed...

Virginia Sara Perry The type didn't come out large enough to properly see that it was Sister Gail Stock who wrote this piece which is a missionary interpretation of the "Soldiers Creed". The Stocks are one of our military relations couples. They and the others who serve on our military bases do so much good!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Work is Moving FORWARD!

The work is moving forward! This past week has been super super awesome. I was able to go on exchanges yet again, but this time I stayed in my area and had two other elders come in. So, I was in a trio PLUS I got the car for my area. After two months of being deprived of a vehicle it was really nice to drive a car again.

So, the super awesome news. We have an entire family set for baptism for March 3rd! They are the most amazing family ever! They have been searching for years for the right church and well, now they've found it! They story is so so awesome and when we taught the Plan of Salvation, spoke about temples, and spoke about eternal families...the Spirit was super strong and they loved every part of it. They are a family I will never forget and will definitely keep in touch with.
We have another girl set for baptism on the 17th and again, she is super cool. We've taught her the Restoration and she totally accepted it. Every time we ask her a question about something or when we get talking on any certain topic, her ideas totally coincide with the Gospel. She's super funny and cool too.

So many other things have happened I don't know what to write! As I said, the work is moving forward and I am SO privileged to be a part of it. I have come to love the people of Colonial Heights and desire so much for them to be happy. If you have the opportunity to serve a mission DO NOT MISS IT. There is nothing greater. There is no greater responsibility than to preach the gospel (See the back of chapter 1 of Preach My Gospel. Quotes of all the prophets on missionary work).

In my studies this morning, I read Alma 24. Other than passages that speak of Christ and His Atonement there is NO other chapter in the Standard Works that is more inspirational than this one. It is the story of the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi (people of Ammon) and the proof of their conversion. EVERYONE WHO READS THIS BLOG, PLEASE read this chapter. The entire thing. Read it multiple times, in multiple ways all in one sitting. You will learn MUCH from those pages. I don't know how to expound on what I felt and learned. All I can do is urge each and every one of you to take the time out of your day to read this great chapter.

This work is true. This Gospel is true. Jesus Christ lives and is my Redeemer. Thomas S. Monson is the chosen mouthpiece of God. The Book of Mormon is a true book of scripture, written by ancient prophets, and contains the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I so testify, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Elder Hyrum H. Smith

P.S. Yes, the picture below is a picture of me and my trainer, Elder Bradfield. He's such a stud. This was taken on my first day out in the field. I can't believe my first transfer period is almost over (every six weeks).

Monday, February 20, 2012

Picture Posted By Elder Smith's Mission President's Wife

Today, I discovered that Elder Smith's mission President's wife
had posted a number of pictures of the incoming
missionaries in January...Guess who
was one of them?
Yep...and this is the picture that was posted!
He sure looks HAPPY! 

Elder Smith and Elder Bradfield 
26 January 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

Oh...the Things That Happen...

Oh the things that happen...

So, it appears that I'll be an uncle for the 22nd time this year. Congratulations to my sister and bro-in-law, Angel and Jared! Yes, for everyone who has their mouths wide open and who didn't know that my family was that large always remember that my family is like a family of rabbits. I'll let you take that thought from there.

SO! This has been quite an eventful and fun/crazy/cool week. I've been able to experience my first of several things. My first Mission Conference (where all the missionaries in this mission get together and get taught certain things in order to improve and so on and so forth (in this case it was half the mission)) occurred Tuesday and it was pretty darn good. I was able to see several of my MTC district members and my mission pres that day so it was pretty good. That day I also went to Olive Garden for the first time in my life. That place is gooood. I had the all-you-can-eat soup, salad and breadsticks deal. like i said, that place is gooood. It was also the beginning of my first exchange. I was able to exchange with Elder Carpenter, one of my Zone Leaders and it went really really well. We taught an investigator the Plan of Salvation and committed them to baptism. The mission is the greatest thing ever. 

As Elder Carpenter and I were talking he told me that he knows a missionary who is serving in the Montana Billings Mission. An Elder Jamsa who many of yall know and who I have had the pleasure of going on splits with. Small world. Anyway let me move on. THURSDAY WAS THE GREATEST DAY EVER! As I've probably mentioned before, we've been teaching the Wagner family and they are AWESOME. A couple weeks ago we committed them to baptism and this past week we set a date! Yeah...I'm super stoked. It's so great to see a family progress and come closer to their Savior. The mission is the most amazing thing ever.
Hey! and we actually had a little bit of snow here. My comp was going crazy (he's from Utah and loves snow) and insisted we do some tracting during the snow flurries. yippee......just kidding it wasn't that bad. Tracting in a "snow storm" actually helps people to be nice to us and let us in their home. Yesterday was pretty sweet. We ran tracted into a guy named Frank and he is super super excited about the Book of Mormon. We gave him a copy, explained what it was and so on, then committed him to baptism...pretty much on his doorstep....yeah....super freaking amazing. We're meeting with him Thursday evening.

I'm loving my mission though. The work is moving forward and I'm loving the fact that I'm part of it.

This past week I've kept coming across this same scripture. I first heard it in mission conference, then I saw it in my personal studies, and now it seems to be everywhere so i'll share it. There are plenty of times in our life where we may feel alone, forgotten, overworked, depressed, seem to be pushed to the limit, and sometimes we may yell at the heavens, "Why are You doing this to me?" There is NOTHING that happens to us that is NOT for a good reason. "These experiences will be for your good." We have great experiences in life and we have horrible experiences in life. Because we are experiencing hardship doesn't mean we're doing anything wrong. So, for those times you feel forgotten or perhaps even despised or hated, remember these words:
"Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands"  Isaiah 49: 15-16.

Are we not loved? Are we forgotten? I testify that we are NEVER alone. We are NEVER forgotten. He has the reminders on His hands and on His feet. Do we have control of what happens to us? Not always...but we ALWAYS have control of how we react. Never rebel against God. Always remember that there is ALWAYS a higher purpose to every hardship and experience. When the temptation comes to be angry with your Father or with your Elder Brother for something you are experiencing, "Be still, and know that I am God." 

Have an eternal perspective throughout this life and you will be exalted on high. You will be greeted by our Savior and you will be greeted by our Father and will be enveloped in their embrace forever more.

I know this is His church and His Gospel. I know the He is real and He loves us. He knows us better than we know ourselves. I testify and witness that these things ARE TRUE. In His sacred name, even Jesus Christ. Amen.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Elder Pittard and Elder Smith

Elder Ryan Pittard and Elder Hyrum Smith
were boyhood friends in our FLORIDA

However, the
Pittard family moved to another state or two...
and these two young friends...
went on and developed into
incredible Young Men...
in different areas of
Father's vineyard...

In January, however,
they both ended up being at the right place
at the right time...and found each other
in the MTC.
Ryan's mother sent me this picture
of the two of them...
before they both left to enter
their fields of their labor...
Elder Ryan Pittard - Argentina Buenos Aires NORTH Mission
Elder Hyrum Smith - Virginia Richmond Mission

Monday, February 6, 2012

Time is Flying!

One month down 23 to go! but who's counting? It's crazy how time has flown by. It's only been a week and a half but it seems like the MTC was ages ago. Crazy. Well, the update for this week...let's see...where to begin. Might as well begin with the really good stuff. So last Thursday night we went to see the Wagner family. They are non-members who came in touch with the missionaries about a month or so ago and was taught how families could be together forever. They latched on that like a flea to a dog (see how Virginia is changing me? I'm scared). They started coming to church immediately after that but due to their busy schedule usually only half of them come or they only come for one meeting BUT THEY TRY! Since their schedule is finally slowing down, we had the opportunity to go to their house last Thursday evening and teach the first lesson (The Restoration) IT. WAS. AWESOME!!! They HAD to have felt the Spirit. My comp and I sure did! I had the blessed opportunity to issue the baptismal challenge and they immediately said Yes! Usually people will be like, "yeah IF i feel it is true" or something like that. BUT THEY DIDN'T! They were just flat out YES. They seriously felt the Spirit. Bro. Wagner and their two kids were able to attend church (Fast and testimony meeting no less) and to attend all the meetings! It felt good to go up and share my testimony in my new ward. Things are going great! This family is GOLDEN and I'm definitely praying for them.

Oh, so funny story. Last night my companion and I were driving in an area known as Ettrick (it's the ghetto of Colonial Heights), we're kinda lost to since he didn't want to use the GPS, and we turn onto this dark, windy, long, lonely, scary, road with no houses but just trees on either side (remember this is at night) so we were convinced we were going to die. As we turn a corner our lights shine on this puddle and with the light hitting it just so and due to the pine needles, the puddle looked BLOOD RED. no joke. We both see it and yell "WHOA!" We seriously thought it was blood. After passing it we finally decide to turn around and since he had to back up...yours truely had to get out and back him up (mission rules) so i was pretty sure I was going to get jumped and what not. We escaped but it was pretty sketchy. Ok, so yall might not find it funny but it was pretty funny to us (afterward).
That same night we decide to go tracting (HORRIBLE idea to do on Super Bowl Sundy) but we saw this house that was completely dark, looked abandoned and what not since there wasn't a car or anything but we were like whatever we'll just try it. We walk up, and I swear it looked haunted, but there was a sign next to the door that said, "Doorbell not working. Push the BIG RED BUTTON (emphasis added)". Below that was this big red button that we were sure was going to spring some kind of trap. Elder Bradfield hestitantly pushes the button AND........................................................................ a doorbell rang and this little old woman who wasn't interested answered the door and we left. end of story let's move on. Yeah, pretty adventurous story huh?

I am continuing to meet the people of the ward and as i've said before, we're fed almost every night. This is a great area and I hope we can work wonders. Scratch that. I hope the Lord can work wonders through us. that's better. OH! So since yesterday we weren't meeting up with much success, at one point I just looked at the sky and semi-jokingly (sorta) said, "Can I PLEASE get a miracle tonight?!" My companion laughed and we moved on. BUT! The Lord seemed to have answered that prayer. Ok, so we were leaving a members house and as we were leaving a car pulled up into the parking lot. As we passed the car a guy jumps out and yells, "Hey! are you Mormons?". My comp and I stop and were like, "...yeah...." and he called us over to talk with him. He started asking us question about what we believe, how are we different from the rest of Christianity, what we thought of Jesus Christ and so on. He was like, "Here let me give you my number and address! I want you guys to come over and tell me more." He had accepted Christ as his Savior and was very open to many philosophies. Yet despite the cigarette and beer in his hand and his excessive cussing, he was a very nice and pleasant guy to talk to. I felt really good as we were walking away. Unfortunatly he lives outside of our area so we'll have to refer him to other elders BUT he was legitimately interested and it was really really cool. I'm confident that was the miracle I was looking for. (No. this isn't Greenie enthusiasm or anything this actually seems to be really good).

So, I gotta go soon so I'll leave with this:
Trials and hardships are BLESSINGS. Consider the story of Alma the elder in Mosiah 23 and 24 (READ THESE CHAPTERS) The Lord blesses his people CONSTANTLY because he loves us and wants us to be happy. He also chastens and tries his people for their benefit as well. Trials do not always come because of wickedness. Alma and his people were an extremely righteous people and did everything they could to serve God and each other. Then the Lamanites and the wicked priests of King Noah come into the scene and enslave them and begin to persecute them. I love how they react  though. They submit WILLINGLY and humble themselves before their captors and trust completely in God. As a result of their continuous prayers and faithfullness (DESPITE hardship) he lightened their load and eventually brought them out of bondage. READ THOSE CHAPTERS. I know this work to be true and despite every hardship is WORTH IT. When people get angry and begin to reject the Lord "because it is too hard" they have forgotten all the good he has provided. I know this work is true and say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Elder Hyrum Smith

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Facts About Hyrum's Mission

We received a little note in the mail, yesterday, from Hyrum...and he gave some "fun facts" about his mission:
  • There are over 200 missionaries in the Virginia Richmond Mission
  • Franklin, West Virginia is a new addition to the mission - the first time missionaries have been sent there in awhile...
  • There are 7 STAKES in the mission - so the mission is divided into 7 ZONES...each STAKE representing ONE ZONE
  • Each WARD within each STAKE has a pair of missionaries...
  • Hyrum's TRAINER has been in the area Hyrum is serving in for over 6 months!
  • Extremely DIVERSE Mission - have baptized Asian Buddhists to Middle East Muslims...
  •  Met a Sister ELKINS - Aunt of Jonathan Cattron in the Flathead Valley YSA Branch! Kenny is to tell Jon that when he sees him! (Thanks, Kenny!)