Monday, August 27, 2012

Watch What You Say...

Hello Everyone!

Wow....this has been a super AWESOME week! I won't go into details but let's just say that several people have made the commitment to come closer to Jesus Christ :D. There have been several tornado warnings as well. I guess little ol' Satan is trying to scare us away but I say, "Nu uh! You little devil!" and then the tornadoes go away. So it's all good. :)

So, a week ago we received a text (yes, we're allowed to text) from a member of the branch presidency asking if one of us (oh and when I say "us" I'm referring to my companion and I) could give a talk on Sunday. Unfortunately, my companion got a hold of the phone first and proceeded to tell me, "Elder Smith! I'm going to volunteer you for the talk." I didn't think too much about it for I thought I would only have to talk for 5 minutes (A few weeks prior my companion only had to give a 5 minute talk so I thought I would luck out). Nope! I didn't get to be a "youth speaker" so it had to go for 20. I hope it went well because I didn't make any notes.

Oh! So cool story: Last Monday me and three other elders were eating at a restaurant laughing, talking and so on. This guy suddenly walks by, drops a napkin on our desk with a long note on it, and keeps on walking. It was kind of a shock so we all turn our heads to begin reading, "I couldn't help it, but as I was listening to you four speaking [(at this point we all stopped, looked up at each other and said, "uh oh...what did we say?")]..." and he proceeds to say that he's never heard a group of "young men" speak so maturely and how we got the title of "Elder". He left his email and told us to contact him. We were in Elizabeth City (outside my area) so I just look up and say, "Well, looks like you have a potential investigator." We were shocked and pleasantly surprised. Looking back I remember pretty much all that we were talking about and wonder which parts he picked up to think so highly of us. Now this story isn't meant to brag or boast but to tell something that I learned.

One of most cliche statements as members of the Church is to always be an example and be careful of what you do and say because PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS WATCHING. We've all heard that. Well, I didn't always believe it until last Monday. We had to stop and think about what we were talking about after reading that note. Well, shouldn't we always living our lives in such a way that we won't EVER have to wonder what we talked about or what we did? We are told in the scriptures, "But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not." (Mosiah 4:30) and "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." (1 Timothy 4:12).
It's not longer a cliche statement for me. People are always watching YOU. I don't care what you think, it's so true. Especially if they know you're LDS. Be careful. Actually, DON'T be careful. Live your life in such a way that you won't have to worry at ANY TIME if what you say and do will affect someone negatively. If you need to change, do so. That's what repentance means: to change.

Elder Smith


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Thoughts regarding..."Leadership"...

 "Becoming Fishers of Men" will be more "fruitful" than this picture! 
Hello Everyone!
Oh...what a week. We had a tornado warning that other day, but no worries! I only got picked up off the ground about 2 or so feet...just kidding. But we did have a tornado warning (that means it touched down) and a nasty storm to add to that so it was a fun day. The work has picked up a lot here in Currituck and my companion and I are very happy. We're teaching a couple (the wife being a grand-daughter to a member here) and they're really excited about the Church. The Lord has also prepared other hearts for the message of the Gospel that we're currently involved with. It's really exciting!
I went on a Priesthood fishing trip this last week and caught TONS of fish. Sure, they were only about 3 or 4 inches in length but it was a good catching day :D The weather was perfect and the smell of the ocean was...oh...heavenly.

I've noticed, as I'm sure many of you have, that people tend to aspire to position and authority. Everyone has their own interests, motivations, and abilities that lead them to desire some station. This is especially found in the Church where people think that they're only "worth something" if they are called into a presidency or stake position. Some may even desire high position so they can me known as a "leader" for their own self-gratification.
"Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men..."(D&C 121:34-35)

True leadership comes from a desire to serve, help and uplift. A leader cannot lead unless he has learned how to be a follower. A follower of Christ and His perfect example. He was and is the GREATEST of all, yet, He stooped down to wash the feet of those He led. He "descended below all things" and from the service was the perfect leader. King Benjamin and King Mosiah were beloved of the people they presided over because of their service to the people. They didn't walk around town walking with puffed up chests, or seek to rebuke and reprove "because they could". Love is the motivator, the Spirit is the Key, and Christ is the Reason.
When one is called in any position, it is for two reasons: 1: The Lord knows it is time for you to stretch a little bit and grow a little more and become a little more "refined" so you can be one step closer to achieving your full potential. 2: Because the Lord knows that you can touch at least one person's life by your example and service.

Who cares about receiving praise and glory from other imperfect human beings? The only opinion that matters is that of the Lord's, and it's only when we serve Him by serving our fellow creatures with the attitude of true love, that we will be able to hear those blessed words, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

Elder Smith

Monday, August 6, 2012

We are the clay...

Hello Everyone!
How has your week been? Been enjoying some great summer plans? Well, I wish I could say I have. It seems that all our plans that we made this past week got blown out of the water! But such is the way of things. I have discovered that I actually have a little bit of creativity! My companion, Elder Fletcher, is quite the poet. Ever since he's been out, he'll just sit down and write out a poem and they always turn out really good! So, I figured I'd try my luck and write him a little poem for when the time comes that we split. It turned out really good! I was shocked! Sure it took me a few days to write a few lines but in the end...well...I'll confess I got a little prideful in my work ;). Later, I attempted to try my luck out again and write another poem. I thought and thought about a topic and then it hit me! I'll write one on the Book of Mormon (once a missionary always a missionary). Dang...I must say it is fantastic. I think I'll submit it to the Ensign or New Era. Unfortunately I forgot to bring it with me so ya'll will have to wait till next week for me to post it.

With the hot summer weather and the several dirt roads we have, it's easy to kick up a lot of dust. Needless to say, we come home pretty dusty as well. But as the scriptures say, aren't we all dust? In our companionship study this morning Elder Fletcher shared an interesting insight that he gained from his studies and it ties into dust. In Mosiah 3:5, King Benjamin mentions how Christ will come in a "tabernacle of clay". This, of course, is referring to the physical body. Clay has the ability to be shaped and fashioned, molded you might say, into a great creation. We are nothing but dust and Christ is the "living water". Think about it: Clay is able to be fashioned when it is wet and moist. We, as dust, can only be fashioned when we are moisturized with the water of the Atonement and thus can be shaped into what our Father in Heaven wants us to be.
I know the Atonement is real and was performed out of Love.

Elder Smith