Monday, July 30, 2012


My apologies... I forgot to POST "Elder Smith's" message from LAST WEEK...(Mama Smith)

Hello Everyone!
I don't much time today so this will be brief. It was a good week! I got the recipe for some AMAZING spaghetti sauce (you gotta love good ol' Southern cookin!) and we saw a car on fire. Yup, crazy week.

It's also almost Pioneer Day! When we're asked to give up time, money, or talents for the Church is it really a sacrifice? Think of what the Pioneers faced and GAVE UP for the Church, or rather, for the Savior. The message of sacrifice is well said in the well-known hymn of "Come, Come, Ye Saints". Consider its words:

Come, come ye saints, NO toil NOR labor fear, but with JOY wend your way. And though we die, before our journey's through, HAPPY DAY! All is well. Gird up your loins, fresh courage take, our God will NEVER us forsake. And soon we'll have this tale to tell, All is well. ALL IS WELL!

There is no sacrifice too great for God. He gave everything for us! Why are we so jealous to hold back things for Him? Afterall, even in the end it's for our benefit! Everything HE does is for our benefit (2 Nephi 26:24)! How hard is it to do something for a friend or a complete stranger? Do something good for someone today! Indeed do it EVERY DAY!

I wish yall the best!

Elder Smith

Monday, July 16, 2012

"Bee" Stings and "Be" of Good Cheer

 Elder Smith is saying goodbye to
Elder Johnson - who was heading home 
from his mission.

Elder Smith and Elder Eagar wearing the same tie...
Both got their ties from the MISSIONARY MALL before their missions
Got to love it!

This was one busy week. Cleaning yards, getting stung by bees, awesome teaching appointments...I'm pooped. That's why we have P-Day! Anyways. Yes, as mentioned I got stung...twice. We were doing some service in someone's yard and I pulled back an old tarp that had been sitting in a pile for several years. I just happened to look down and noticed I had upset a huge nest of ground bees. Well, of course I took off but wasn't thinking where I was running companion. No worries! He only got stung once. It's actually a miracle I only got stung twice. I looked down and notice I had about 15 (that I could see) all over me and they were sticking their stingers in my shirt and pants. Well, one got lucky and flew UP my pants and stung me in the thigh (I should be grateful he only got that far) and another jabbed me in the ankle. I get wounded for doing a good deed! The moral of this story is in the end, service jabs you in the rear. Just kidding! Always serve people no matter what the cost (my wounds still itch even after 4 days). Oh and I accidentally hit a kid with a baseball but that's another story.

The story of the bee sting is actually a good beginning to what I want to share. Many times we'll get "stung" by things seemingly collapsing all around us even when we're doing everything we should. That can create feelings of discouragement, sorrow, anguish and maybe a little bit of confusion. Why should we go through these trials when we're doing so good? Well, I learned that lesson this past week. As I said, we had an awesome busy week but deep down I was dying because we weren't completely a certain goal we were trying to achieve. I kept asking myself, "What am I doing wrong!?" It was killing me that despite our hard work and effort things weren't exactly going the way WE wanted. After all, we are trying to accomplish what the Lord wants! Yesterday, (Sunday) was the worst of it. Not one of our investigators came to church and that just put the cherry on top for me. Despite all this, that afternoon as we went to work I noticed "tender mercies" that helped my load go away. Talking to a man across his fence, sitting down with an elderly lady and listening to her talk, and other things that occurred. Something began to grow inside that said, "You're doing your part, don't worry about the rest. That's my job." I went to sleep completely at peace after a week of internal turmoil. Why do I share this? To emphasize the point that no matter the discouraging circumstances, everything is under control. "Therefore, let your hearts be comforted...for all flesh is in mine hands; be
still and know that I am God." (D&C 101:16) "...For ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." (Ether 12:6). Faith is truly a gift and it was given to me yesterday. No matter what happens, especially if it isn't what we want or view as what God wants, He knows best.
A shepherd will often break the legs of his sheep so he can immediately go and mend the wound. Why does he do that? As he takes care of the sheep during this time the sheep learn to trust him and know that he's there to help him. That way the sheep will know to listen to that voice so the shepherd can keep them from harm. God will allow us to go through the pits of hell so He can then come and heal our broken hearts and bind up our wounds (Psalms 147:3). When we want to give up, look up at the sky and say, "Not my will, but Thine be done." Follow the example of the Savior in the Garden of Gethsemane. As He lay bleeding on the ground, experiencing the most exquisite pain and anguish that would destroy any human being, even as He begged our Father to "let this cup pass from me," He declared, "not as I will, but as Thou wilt." My faith has grown and I'm at more peace then I have ever before been. The same will occur for you if you endure it well.
Brothers and Sisters, be of good cheer! The future is as bright as your faith.*

Elder Smith

*Be of Good Cheer by President Thomas S. Monson, April, 2009

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hey hey hey!

ATTENTION TO ALL WHO READS THIS: Don't forget to wish Deborah Smith (my mother) a HAPPY BIRTHDAY this Thursday! Don't forget! I'll be watching.........

This week has been H-O-T! I'm surprised I haven't melted yet. But I guess I need to sweat off all this extra luggage I'm gaining so I'll quit complaining :) The members here are so good to us. We're fed nearly every night and the food is fantastic! There is a family here who is famous for their Waffle Challenge they do for every missionary that is new to the area. The previous record was 6 1/4 waffles...sounds easy right? Yeah, that's what I thought as well. So knowing me and how I have to be dumb enough to take up every challenge that comes my way took up the challenge. I'm somewhat sorta happy to announce that I beat the record by eating 6 1/2 waffle and not passing out. I beat the record! I was a champion! companion speeds by me and eats 8 waffles without flinching....oh well, I beat the record. Also, I have discovered the best root beer in the whole world. If you're ever in the Outer Banks area stop by the Weeping Radish. Their root beer is the best ever! I guess I'm not doing myself any favors when it comes to the extra luggage but it's worth it.

I'm sure everybody is aware of the loss of a great entertainer. Andy Griffeth passed away this past week which is huge news in this area. His home is in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and he lived around 40 miles from me. This little area has a lot of fame.

The past couple weeks have been quite busy for this mission. There is a new mission wide goal for the month of July that has every area working hard. What would cause such an increase in effort and strain? The answer would be that our wonderful mission president has given us a vision for the month of July. Vision gives people something to work toward, a goal if you will, that helps people keep making step after step. The scriptures tell us, "Where there is no vision, the people perish:" (Proverbs 29:18). When one doesn't have somethings to work towards, he slows down and begins to stagnate. What is it that motivates Latter-day Saints to volunteer so much time and effort to church callings, family responsibilities, and service opportunities, without any thought for any temporal reward? Love is one such vision. What is the greatest commandment? Love God and love your neighbor. "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matt. 22:40) Some might interpret that verse as meaning if you love God and neighbor then you can hang up or throw away all other commandments. False. The keeping of all other commandments and laws of God stem from these two great commandments. The Celestial Kingdom is another vision we have. To have the eternal perspective and realize that this life is too short and fragile to screw up and know that this is the life for us to prepare to meet our Maker helps to strive toward becoming like our Father in Heaven, for, only those who are like Him will live with Him and dwell in His presence.
Vision has this mission working at 100% capacity. Is vision helping you to work at 100% capacity? If not, get a clearer vision.

This work is true and this work will not die. It is the work of not only salvation, but the work of exaltation. I know it. I know it because God has revealed it to me and has reminded me when I ask. Call me foolish, deceived, brainwashed, whatever you want! It doesn't mean anything because you're not perfect and don't know everything. He IS perfect and DOES know everything. I think I'll listen to the latter choice.

Elder Smith

Monday, July 2, 2012

"6" Months, already...

 Currently - "Home Sweet Home"
Barco, North Carolina

Inside Trailor
Study Area

Wow....July 4th will mark 6 months of my mission...I can't believe that a quarter of my mission is over. Time FLIES as a missionary! I'm afraid of blinking for I might miss the next 18 months! Honestly, this past week seems like it has flown by. We have been working hard here in the blistering heat and sweltering humidity of North Carolina. I think Sunday was the worst day for humidity. I thought I was breaking my fast because of all the water I was inhaling! But it's all worth it. We have been working with a few referrals and the members who referred them. There is one girl that we're teaching who shows a lot of promise! The family who is working with her is AWESOME. They're so missionary focused and they've been a great help. Seriously, members that are always willing to help missionaries in any way possible are such a great help.
Looks like I'll be going to the dentist here soon as well! I got a nice hole in one of my teeth due to what I think was a very well placed elbow in a basketball game. Oh the adventures of a missionary.

Sometimes the scriptures can seem a little ancient. I confess I have thought this as well and if I keep that thought in mind during my studies it destroys my opportunity to learn. The key is to "liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning." (1 Nephi 19:23). In my personal studies this morning, I had the privilege of reading the words of the prophet Abinadi in the Book of Mosiah, chapters 12 & 13. In chapter 12, Abinadi is taken before the king and his priests and examined so they could find some means to destroy him. He stands firm in his testimony and boldly speaks of their wickedness. He asks them questions regarding the law of Moses and how well they have been keeping it and how well they've been teaching it. Now we've moved past the law of Moses, so why should this be so important to us in our day? Let's go through the scriptures and liken them to ourselves.

Chapter 12
"I say unto you, wo be unto you for perverting the ways of the Lord! For if ye understand these things ye have not taught them; therefore, ye have perverted the ways of the Lord."
"Ye have not applied your hearts to understanding; therefore, ye have not been wise. Therefore, what teach ye this people?"
"And they said: we teach the law of Moses."
"And again he said unto them: If ye teach the law of Moses why do ye not keep it? Why do ye set your hearts upon riches? Why do ye commit whoredoms and spend your strength with harlots, yea, and cause this people to commit sin, that the Lord has cause to send me to prophesy against this people, yea, even a great evil against this people?"

Let's translate this to today's language:
What do we teach? We teach the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and the words of the Modern Prophets. These contain the law or doctrine of Christ. The law we should be living by. So if you teach these things, whether it be at home, Sunday school, Relief Society, Priesthood, in a talk or in any other situation, then why don't you keep it? Actions speak louder than words. "Preach the Gospel always; use words if necessary" (St. Francis of Assisi)

Let's continue: (Verse 31)
"And it shall come to pass that ye shall be smitten for your iniquities, for ye have said that ye teach the law of Moses. And what know ye concerning the law of Moses? Doth salvation come by the law of Moses? What say ye?"
"And they answered and said that salvation did come by the law of Moses."
"But now Abinadi said unto them: I know if ye keep the commandments of God ye shall be saved; yea, if ye keep the commandments which the Lord delivered unto Moses in the mount of Sinai..."

What do you know about the scriptures? Will you raise your voices and say that salvation comes through the Bible? or the Book of Mormon? or from something some prophet has said? I know that if you keep the commandments, indeed, if you live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (which are contained in the scriptures) then you will be saved.

Abinadi then begins to teach the commandments as handed down to Moses. In chapter 13 in verse 27 he makes this point:
"And now ye have said that salvation cometh by the law of Moses. I say unto you that it is expedient that ye should keep the law of Moses as yet; but I say unto you, that the time shall come when it shall no more be expedient to keep the law of Moses."
"And moreover, I say unto you, that salvation doth not come by the law alone; and were it not for the atonement, which God himself shall make for the sins and iniquities of his people, that they must unavoidably perish, notwithstanding the law of Moses."

The Book of Mormon doesn't provide salvation. The words of any of the modern prophets don't provide salvation. "Salvation doth not come by the law ALONE". The law is meaningless unless we KEEP THE LAW and obey with EXACTNESS. Remember: Just because you've been baptized with God's Authority, and just because you've been to the Temple and partaken of those sacred ordinances does not guarantee life in the Celestial Kingdom with God. The actual performance of the law and being cleansed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ (which can only occur through FAITH and ACTION) are what qualify you for exaltation.
See? Isn't scripture study fun?

Elder Smith