Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Beautiful Creations

Hey hey hey!!
Summer is here! The birds are singin, the butterflies are flyin, the blue sky is showin, and the mosquitoes and ticks are bitin. Earlier this week I sat down on someones porch steps and within 3 minutes had knocked off 2 or 3 ticks and killed about a thousand mosquitoes. You gotta love summer in the South. Also, we had the opportunity to extract an alligator snapping turtle from someone's yard. I almost lost a few fingers in the process but that's beside the point ;).

This last Sunday was great! We had an investigator and a less-active show up to church and they loved it! The investigator called us later and told us how great he felt there and really wants to keep coming. It was a good weekend.

Plus, this is transfers week AND...........................
..................................my companion is being transferred and I am staying in Currituck. But what's even bigger is that I AM TRAINING! This week the mission is receiving a few more Greenie missionaries from the MTC and I have the calling and opportunity to train one of them. I'm super nervous, yet, SUPER excited at the same time. So for the next 3 months I'll be a trainer...crazy...well, this is going to be a learning experience but it will be fantastic!

Speaking of nature, if you just sat down for a few minutes and looked around you and observed every sound, smell, sight and feeling of nature it truly brings a great feeling. "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork." (Psalms 19:1) It's true! "Behold the fowls of the air...your heavenly Father feedeth them...Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow." (Matt. 6: 25-28) How could something like this happen by chance? It couldn't! As Elder Nelson said in General Conference, it's like observing a printing shop explode and expecting a dictionary to be the result. How can one seek for a sign from God as proof of his existence when he has millions right in front of his blinded eyes! "Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God?...all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yeah, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator...And yet will ye deny against all these witnesses?" (Alma 30: 44-45)

Despite the heat and humidity of each day here in North Carolina and all the drops of sweat that fall from my brow, I am eternally grateful to that great Architect of heaven and earth to have made such creations so that I may be reminded each and every day that He lives! He is there! He is continually watching and I may even be so bold as to say He is continually concerned for YOU. His creations are our daily reminders of His existence and we overlook them each and every day.

A close friend of mine reminded me in an email of how both our Father and our Elder Brother end their personal prayers, "Oh be wise. What can I say more?"

Elder Smith

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

First Real Bible Basher...and His gun....

Hey hey hey!

A little note about the mail system here in Currituck. It has been witnessed by several people that it's not the best here. Some people have lost mail so if you have sent me something, and I never responded or anything like that that means I didn't receive it. I hope nobody has lost mail on account of the postage system here.

So! Fun story time. My companion and I were tracting this long gravel farm road and were coming to the very last house. The people of the house had seen us earlier and when they saw us coming up to them (they could see us from like a quarter mile away), they all go inside. When we get to their huge from lawn, a man comes from the front door and starts marching towards us at a very brisk pace. I notice there are two things he didn't have before (I could see him from a quarter mile away too) that he had now: a big book in one hand and something black in a holster on his hip...I recognized both immediately. We didn't even get to go through the usual nice formal greetings! After I complimented him on his house and his beautiful land (it really was a sincere compliment) he starts telling us how we're brainwashed and starts pulling out scriptures from his Bible and reading them off and yelling that we weren't Christians and so on. He had no idea what he was even saying because he contradicted himself several times without us even saying anything. After reading Duet. chapter 4 in response to his Revelations 22 scripture he just started cussing us out and told us to leave. We didn't get on his property in the first place. Yup...first real Bible Basher, and no...I didn't really bash back. To be honest he didn't give us the opportunity. We bore our testimony and how we got it (which he scoffed at) and left. I love being in the South :)

I heard a talk this last Sunday from a youth who was speaking on families. He compared family life like being on a tandem bike. The first two seats are the parents seats and as more children come more seats are added. To keep the bike going everyone must be a participant in the peddling, especially going uphill, who life will be harder on the other members. When someone is not doing their part, it will put a strain on the other members who will, over time, be worn down and soon your family will be coming to a halt. Let me share the Lord's thoughts on the matter,

 "And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents."

"Now, I the Lord, am not well pleased with the inhabitants of Zion, for there are idlers among them; and their children are also growing up in wickedness; they also seek not earnestly the riches of eternity, but their eyes are full of greediness. These things ought not to be..." (D&C 68:25;31-32)

The greatest work is done within the walls of your own home....perform well.
Elder Smith

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Tree of Life

 Lehi and the "Tree of Life"

Hello everyone!

How is everything? Things are going great over here. Things are getting hotter, more humid, the mosquitoes love my blood, and the work of the Lord moves on. We're currently working with a few investigators and actually have one set with a baptismal date! Missionary work is probably the most satisfying thing one can do. I highly recommend it.
Another great thing about being on a mission is having a guaranteed study time for each day! You will learn things every day as long as you stay focused and diligent in your study. I recently finished the Book of Mormon and have enjoyed starting it over again. I'll share something I just recently learned:

In 1 Nephi chapter 11, Nephi is shown the vision of the Tree of Life as well as the interpretation of it. Let me show you a difference between reading the scriptures and studying the scriptures. When we just read the scriptures, we see that the Tree of Life represents the Love of God. But when you study the scriptures we're able to see things a bit deeper. So the Tree of Life is the Love of God...ok...what is the Love of God and how does it bear the Fruit of Eternal Life?

In verse 11, Nephi says he wants to know the interpretation. Immediately, the Spirit shows him the birth and life of the Savior. Then in verse 22, after being asked what he thought the Tree of Life was, Nephi says, "Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men..." The footnote for "sheddeth" refers to Moroni 8:26 which speaks of the "remission of sins". How is that done? The Atonement. Next, in verse 25, Nephi sees the iron rod which "led to the fountain of living waters, or, to the tree of life..." So, the Tree of Life is comparable to a Fountain of Living Water. Living Water? Sounds familiar...let's go to the Topical Guide. In the book of Jeremiah we read, "For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters..." and in John we read, "...Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink...".

Jesus Christ = Living Water = Tree of Life = Love of God

How is Jesus Christ the Love of God?

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Everything in the scriptures (the Word of God = Iron Rod) lead to Jesus Christ. Study hard.

Elder Smith

Monday, May 7, 2012

Shaking Hands with Apostles

Hello everyone!

I hope everything is going well with yall! Things are going great over here. This past weekend has been FANTASTIC! So, we had a special Mission Conference last Saturday where all 200+ missionaries in the Virginia Richmond Mission met together to hear....Elder Russell M. Nelson speak. Also with him was Elder Jensen of the Presidency of the Seventy. It was AWESOME! Words cannot describe how great it was. I was able to walk up and shake their hands as well. Prophets and Apostles? Yup, they definitely exist. The next day, the Chesapeake Virginia Stake (the stake where I reside) had a special Stake Conference where...Elder Russell M. Nelson spoke. I got to hear him speak twice! Very exciting weekend. When he got up to speak on Sunday he had all the primary children stand up and sing "I Am A Child of God". You can imagine what it was like to be in the audience surrounded by a ton of little voices singing with Elder Nelson. This weekend...wow...I've been blessed.

There is one thing in everyone's lives that is taken for granted. One of the greatest blessings that our Father in Heaven has provided us with and we hardly take time to appreciate this great, fantastic, amazing gift. We have this gift from the very beginning that we're born. We grow up with this gift, we learn from this gift, we are comforted by this gift, we are given the best care from this gift. What is this most amazing creation that we take for granted? Surely if it's that amazing we wouldn't be so neglectful of it. Sadly, we are. We are reminded of this gift in the book of Alma,
"Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught them."

This life is hardly ever easy. Yet, our mothers go out of their way, far from their areas of comfort and ease to give US, their children, a break from a relatively easy trial. I don't need to preach on this matter. You all know what you need to do. Thank your mothers as often as you possibly can for everything they have done. You have NO clue, heck *I* have barely scratched the surface on everything my mother has done for me.

Mom: I love you. I thank you for all that you have done. You mean more to me than you know. "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living your baby I'll be.

Everyone: Step up and appreciate this most precious gift that each and every one of you have.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

"Preaching from the Rooftops"
(Taken in FIRST area - Colonial Heights, VA.)
Elders Smith and Bradfield

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Some of the Elders I Serve With...

My District 
(Colonial Heights, VA. area)

Left to Right:
Elders "Smith" - Bradfield (Trainer) - Carpenter, Johnson,
Eagar, Huskinson, and Roberts

This next picture:
"I stayed with Elders Biscocho and Cook during
Leadership Training"

 Left to Right:
Elders Baldwin, Biscocho, "Smith", Cook (former AP)