Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Hello everyone!

Louisa is beautiful! It's covered in trees and hills and tracting here lets me see the greatest views. It's been pretty cold here with some slight hailing but it allows me to break out my coat and enjoy the wonderful weather. 

The branch here is really nice and I've had the pleasure of meeting a lot of neat people. There is an African couple here and they're testimonies are AMAZING. I call them Big Mama and Big Daddy (hey, they adopted me the first time I walked in their door). I'm excited to be here and I know the Lord has some great things in store for me and my new companion, Elder Bird.

Elder Bird is a funny guy. I rarely, if ever, see him without a smile on his face and it always keeps me cheery. This is an extremely rural area; far more than Currituck but it's great. I find the rural people easy to get along with.

HEY! IT JUST STARTED SNOWING! WOOT! Well everyone: I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year. I hope we all will remember the true meaning of CHRISTmas and make New Year resolutions that will bring us closer to our Heavenly Home.
Love ya'll,
Elder Smith

"And His name shall be called Wonderful..."

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Being TRANSFERRED to....

 A very SMALL World...
This Elder who is with "Elder Smith" knows a family in our Kalispell 3rd Ward really well!

This Asian Elder is from Australia!
"Elder Smith LOVES his Australian accent!" 

I will use "Elder Smith's" words regarding this picture:

"Elder Angle and I by the training grounds of mercenaries, security, military etc. It's got a history. Two guys in suits by an elite training facility...I think I've found my profession ;)"

 Current missionary companion and "Elder Smith"

This Elder's "cousin" was our 2nd born, Caleb's, MTC companion
when he went on his mission to Taiwan...
(another "small world" moment)

Elder Smith with his mission President's wife
Sister V. Perry

Well everyone, I'm being transferred.

After spending 9 months in Currituck, North Carolina I am being transferred to Louisa, Virginia. To be honest, I feel as if I'm leaving home once again. It's not a pleasant feeling and it's really hard, but I know that the Lord needs me to go to another part of His vineyard. The past several weeks I have been praying that I would stay in Currituck and not until a week ago have I started using the phrase, "Not my will but Thine be done". Does this show that the Lord doesn't care about us or our desires? Does this show that He doesn't answer prayers? On the contrary, isn't "No" an answer? When parents say "no" to a request does it mean they don't care or does it mean they may have some greater perspective and seek for our well-being? I know the answer is the latter. When I received the call from my mission president I really wasn't very happy. It was more like a dagger was placed in my heart, but, in the words of Nephi, "I know in whom I have trusted." I know the Lord "doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation." (2 Nephi 26:24). I'm grateful that the Lord is in control and He allows us to endure things that we have labeled as "trials". Because they help us to stretch, to grow, to learn, and to love. I love Currituck, but I love the Lord even more. I know that we have a loving Heavenly Father that wants us to be happy. I know that Jesus Christ is at the head of this Church and that He leads it. How great the day will be when He comes again and establishes His Kingdom on the earth. How great the day will be that we will be able to embrace Him and then embrace our Father.

"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life." (3 Nephi 5:13)

Elder Smith

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

 This was sent to me by another missionary mom...
It is truly BEAUTIFUL...
Though, I believe with all of my heart...there is NO SACRIFICE 
that can equal...what our Lord and Savior has given us...
Mothers...often feel very deeply when separated from their child...
Our Father in Heaven sent his BELOVED son...and stood watch
over the GREAT SACRIFICE His son was WILLING
to make FOR us...I believe...that could
not have been easy...to witness...
I am so GRATEFUL for the decisions our children have made
to SERVE a FULL-TIME MISSION...I know the time passes VERY QUICKLY...
and the prize given back to the MOTHER...
is the MIRACLE of the
growth of their child... 
Mama Smith

(author unknown)

I skipped the sales after Thanksgiving. The thrill just wasn't there.
No pictures taken with Santa Claus, my decorating has no flair.
His presents are shoes, shirts, and ties, two suits and socks...no fun. I've bought him all white clothes because...This year I'm giving Christ my son.

I've spent more time in the temple, my testimony stirred.
I've reread November's Ensign, Felt strength come from His words.
Our family prays more frequently. My tears are quick to run.
Abraham seems closer because, This year I'm giving Christ my son.

I wonder how those Lamanite mothers, gave their sons to war?
Or how the pioneers chose Zion, their sacrifice was so much more.
My loss will be his presence, I'll miss his smile a ton, for two years we will pray for him, I'm giving Christ my son.

I stare at his face when he's not looking. I memorize his eyes, their shine.
He's always hungered for the part of him, that makes his soul divine.
The stories and lessons he always heard, His choice and mine are one. I'll put my faith in God's hand, This year, I'm giving Him my son.

Past gifts have lost their glitter; I think I finally understand, Christ's birth should be celebrated by giving Him a hand.

It's because I know Christ lives and reigns that all his packing's done. My gift has taken years to make, This year...I'm giving Christ my son.

I know there's One who understands, the sacrifice I'm making.
Who knows the gift I willingly give, The toll it will be taking.
For He has done it all before Greater love - there could be none. For years ago God gave to me, His only begotten son.

The hands I washed, the hands I held, The hands I taught to pray; Now knock on doors to find the ones Who will listen to what he'll say. Because I know Christ needs him, Until all the gathering's done, My gift has taken years to make. This year...I'm giving Christ my son. —

Monday, December 10, 2012

 Ancient Apostles

Living Apostles Today...

Hello Everyone!

This was one busy week. We've been teaching a wonderful woman all the lessons over the course of just a couple days so she is prepared for her baptism on Wednesday. She has set a wonderful example for her family as well, for, there has been several others who have expressed their interest in being taught and brought to the Church. All the events that have transpired this past week has been a testimony builder to me that the Lord is working very hard alongside all His servants. He's preparing the hearts of His children to hear the gospel! Are you going to speak up and begin to harvest?

Last night I had the unique privilege of attending another church with a non-member. As I sat there listening to the sermon and the interpretation of scripture by the pastor, I was pretty disappointed and saddened at the loss of truth that has occurred over the centuries. Amongst other things, he was teaching false concepts about the Godhead and blatantly saying that there is no revelation in these days. I was not surprised to hear these teachings but as he was preaching I kept flipping to one scripture after another stating the prophetic announcements of loss of truth in the last days. Peter prophesied that there would need to be a "restitution of all things" (Acts 3:21). Moroni lamented, "And again I speak unto you who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts, nor healing, nor speaking with tongues, and the interpretation of tongues; Behold I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them. For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing? And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles." (Mormon 9:7-10)

God is not an author of confusion but is a God of order and organization. He's called prophets again in these last days to restore truth! People out there NEED WHAT WE HAVE! Stand up and shout, "I'M A MORMON! I KNOW it. I LIVE it. I LOVE it." then share the great plan of God with those you see. If you have made covenants to serve God, keep them. If you haven't made them, make them at baptism. If you have made them and have broken them, begin now to fix them. Part of that covenant is to live and love the Gospel of Jesus Christ as taught by His modern Prophets. Those prophets are found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If you don't know that for yourself begin reading the Book of Mormon and ask God, in sincere prayer, if what you are reading is right and true and for you. I testify as a true representative of Jesus Christ that it IS true and that it DOES pertain to you. 

"And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good. And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye—for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness." (2 Nephi 33:10-11)

I love you all.

Elder Smith

Monday, December 3, 2012

Miracles...The Gospel Rolls Forth...Through the Spirit of God

"Let Your Light So Shine"

Hello Everyone!

Sorry for the lack of posts...things have been busy! Ok! Where to begin? Well, I don't know where to begin or even tell how awesome the past couple weeks have been. 

I'll share one experience my companion and I had that makes serving a mission so worth it. So, once a week we hold a weekly planning session. That's where we sit down and for a couple hours we will talk about our next week, things we need to do, prepare for, investigators and their needs, how to find new people, etc. etc. etc. Well, there is a part-member family in this branch who are amazing people. He joined the church about a year ago and has a solid testimony and is firm in the gospel. His wife had no desire to join and didn't believe in what we taught about the Church. Since I've been here I have personally been able to witness the Lord preparing her to receive the truth. So many events have transpired that allowed us to go over to their house more often, we'd have dinner, talk and enjoy each others company and before my companion and I would leave we'd share a very simple message and leave. Well, in this weekly planning session my companion and I were talking about this couple and what we should do to help her. We just knew that we had to bring up Joseph Smith and the church with her (something that we never did and I've been here for almost nine months) We show up at their house and she was like, "You showed up at the perfect time. Come on in." She simply stated, "I want to be baptized." I can't tell you, in fact I will never be able to tell you how spiritual that moment was. They were both so happy as well as my companion and I and now we're going to begin teaching her to prepare her for that marvelous day. THE LORD LOVES HIS CHILDREN! He is helping each one to accept the gospel. This is a prime example. I saw her swing from one end to the pendulum to another and we had nothing to do with it. My companion and I knew during our planning session, days before this all transpired, and it was confirmed that wonderful day. This is just ONE of MANY miracles the Lord has performed in just a couple weeks time.

Everyone: I know the God lives and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is HIS Church. Joseph Smith was a true and real prophet! The Book of Mormon is TRUTH! Jesus is the very Christ. I know it. I know it. I know it.

Elder Smith