It Never Ends....

December 14, 2015

Hello family and friends,
As I sit here in front of the computer screen my heart is full of a bittersweet feeling. I can hardly believe that this will be my last email I send while serving as a representative of Jesus Christ. Throughout my life, I have been blessed with growing opportunities and spiritual experiences. However, I stand with Elder Holland when he stated, "No young man could have ever served a mission and been more affected by it then I was." As weeks have passed, I have noticed my Savior guide me and walk beside me. His light in my life has illuminated brighter and brighter than ever before. He knows me, he loves me, and he is truly the Prince of Peace. I've come to know that he feels this way about each one of you as well. We are all brothers and sisters here during this mortal experience and our purpose is to return to live with our Father in Heaven with our eternal families. He expects us to exercise faith, repent daily, enter into the waters of baptism, receive that wonderful gift of the Holy Ghost, and enjoy to the end. All of these blessings are made possible by developing and becoming more Christlike. As we follow Christ and come to the conclusion that "his grace is sufficient, after all we can do," we will notice and feel an everlasting joy fill our lives. The apostle Paul declared, "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." Charity truly never does fail. 
As I wrap up my final email, I would like to express appreciation to my companions, my Mission President, His Wife, my parents, and most importantly my Heavenly Father for providing this experience. Although my mission has ended, my desire to serve the Lord has not. I am a changed boy, and desire with all my heart to continue rendering service. These truly were and forever will be, "My best two years."

Love Always,
Elder Smith

Our Winter Wonderland

December 7, 2015 

Family and Friends, 
Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful. This week we got about 4 feet of snow and I absolutely love it! We are sliding in our Toyota Corolla and I'm finally learning how to drive in the snow. I'm a California kid and highly inexperienced and inadequate, therefore I take it slow. 
On Wednesday, I received an unexpected call from President Lewis and he informed me that I would be transferred to Leavenworth. Leavenworth is one of the biggest attractions for Christmas in the state of Washington. It is an old Bavarian styled village that attracts 2 million people during the Christmas season. Our purpose is to advertise the new Christmas video, "A Savior is Born." My new companions are Elder Gleed and Elder Tays. They also will be returning home on December 18th. President Lewis definitely received heaven sent inspiration for placing missionaries in Leavenworth. What an incredible way to spread the Christmas cheer and share that Jesus Christ is the true gift of Christmas. We contacted over 500 people over the course of four days and all together did a total of over 42 hours of service. The members of this ward are phenomenal and have already had a deep impact on my heart. I mentioned that in my testimony on Sunday about their "impact" and one of the members found it comical because the night before she backed into our car. What a pun, right?! Anyways, life is just wonderful and we feel as if we are in a winter wonderland. I've never been so sore and exhausted, but I can't think of a more exciting way to end these greatest two years of my life. Please see the pictures attached to appreciate the beauty of Leavenworth. A quick side note. After talking to several people this week with many types of backgrounds, EVERYONE is interested in coming closer to our Savior this holiday season. Please don't be frightened to share the gospel. If you are, I would invite you to read, "A Word for the Hesitant Missionary" by Elder Uchtdorf. This short two minute video is very non-threatening. Please please please share the spirit of Christmas with all of your loved ones. 
Although this news was exciting, I will greatly miss Elder Kiser. He's actually sitting right next to me because we are in the same zone, so I don't miss him toooo much;) I'm grateful and appreciative for his righteous example in my life. 

Love you all so much,
Stay safe,
Elder Smith

A Savior is Born

November 30, 2015 

Family and Friends,
December has come! The snow is falling, the ground is slippery, and the Hispanics are going in for the season! What better gift could we give this season than a knowledge that we have a loving Savior. He'll be by our side this Christmas season as we discover and embrace the gift he has given. He is the true gift of Christmas. He knows us, he cares for us, he can bridge the gap from sorrow to everlasting happiness. 
Our week was incredible. As the dreaded day of December 18th comes closer, my heart is full of a bitter-sweet feeling. I hope and pray that I have done everything I could to fulfill my purpose as a missionary and share the good news of the restored gospel. This gospel changes us and molds us into the men and women our Heavenly Father wants us to be. It's all made possible through His son, Jesus Christ. Imagine a world without a Savior. Darkness and gloom with fill our hearts. Therefore, may we all commit to lift those who need comfort and provide hope for the weary this Christmas season. This website might help you spread the cheer.
It was Thanksgiving week and we spent dinner at the Haag's home. They are wonderful members who help us out in countless ways. I wish to express gratitude to my family for being a light and a source of happiness for me in my life. I wouldn't be serving a mission without the Heavenly help The Lord has given me. This Heavenly help, was each one of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 
Yesterday, I was thankful to attend the baptism of a former family I was teaching. The Ceja family. Tears filled my eyes as they all entered into the water. It has taken a lot of work and a lot of prayers all in preparation for this special day. Our wonderful Brothers and Sisters are flocking to the font! It's been amazing to be blessed to witness all of these baptisms as I wind down for the last stretch of my mission. 
I love this gospel and I love my Savior. I know this church is true and I cannot deny it!

Love Always,
Elder Smith