"Oh The Weather Outside is Frightful"

December 22, 2014 

Family and Friends,
The weather outside is indeed frightful, but the Savior's love for us continues to be delightful. Christmas is right around the corner!  What happened to this holiday season? It has passed by in the blink of an eye!  However, I'm excited for the Christmas food, the Christmas spirit, and the Christmas gatherings that will take place this week.
Our week has been spiritually uplifting and full of several learning experiences! The week felt a tad bit unusual because I had my first birthday on the mission. The big 20. Although I'm no longer a teenager, I hope this doesn't mean I have to be mature, cause that just ain't gonna happen;) It was an amazing day filled with Mexican food and good company. My family sent me lots of good gifts including a door basketball hoop. That was a mistake...not really because my companion and I always have a great time messing around with it! Sometimes, we will even play "horse" to see who will be the investigator and who will be the missionary when we practice teaching with one another. 
Our area is moving slow with our investigators, but we are still pushing forward with an eternal perspective and witnessing miracles. One of the members that has not been to church in about 2 years recently came back into the branch. Also, we are in the process of re-activating our Ward Mission Leader which hasn't come to church in a year! They both have come to church the past 2 weeks! Our small little branch is slowly growing due to the Lord pouring down miracles. We are just loving the opportunity to serve in Quincy. 
I'm excited for the upcoming week because many fun things are in store. I wish you all a Merry Christmas this week and hope that it is filled with joy and happiness. If we want to have the very best Christmas, we must also focus on the birth of our Savior:)  Be safe, stay warm, and have fun. Sending all of my love to you from Washington this special Christmas season <3

Love Always, 
Elder Smith 

The Prince of Peace

 December 8, 2014
Family and Friends,
Joy fills my heart as we dive deeper and deeper into the Christmas season. As we come closer to Christmas, we should also become closer to our Savior.  "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called wonderful counsellor, The Mighty God, The everlasting father, the Prince of Peace" (Isaiah). I love the several names given to our Savior to describe his nature and actions.  One that has always intrigued myself is The Prince of Peace.  Peace is something that we all desire greatly.  However, how do we build a foundation to obtain this peace? What must we do, where must we go, and how must we behave?  Peace can only delight our soul if we express an everlasting love for The Prince of Peace. There is only one source of true and lasting peace. Peace is not exclusive, but open to all of Christ's brothers and Sisters who embrace his open arms. “There is no better time than now, this very Christmas season, for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by Jesus Christ,” President Monson said. I simply love the CHRISTmas season:)
Our week has been nothing less than rewarding. We are continuing to find new investigators, seven new ones this week. Our Zone is encouraging us to get 10 oyms every day. An OYM means "open your mouth." Therefore, we have been doing our best to talk to 10 new people every day. It's actually very difficult when you have so many people to teach:0 I guess that's a good problem to have right?;) Elder Caskey and I are continuing to the love the work here in Quincy. We had the opportunity to put Billy Bob Joe on date this week which was a blessing from the Lord. Billy Bob Joe is a made up name due to privacy issues. I'm pretty sure all of our Hispanic investigators would not have the name of Billy anyway:) One of my highlights of every week is playing RumiKub with our Cambridge peeps. Cambridge is a senior living center here in Quincy. You'd think that maybe I would have a chance of winning maybe once, but they school me every time. "Come on whippersnapper, you can do it!:)" Man, they sure give me a good laugh every week!
Well I hope you all have an amazing week. Stay Classy and Choose the Right!

Love Always,
Elder Smith

Hace Mucho Tiempo Que Nos Hemos Visto

 December 1, 2014
Hi Family and Friends,
Welcome to December, my favorite month in the whole year. Why do I love December? One simple reason. Everyone is just more happy and joyful. That's why! What a great time of the year it is to spend time with family and friends and cherish all the many things that we have been given. Although a large part of this year is spent shopping and spending, must we always remember the importance of this holiday season? HE is the reason, HE is the source, HE brings the joy, and HE performs the miracles. I would encourage everyone, including myself, to truly cherish the true significance of Christmas and focus everything around our Savior, Jesus Christ. The church has put out a phenomenal video titled, "He is the Gift." You can watch this video on Christmas.mormon.org. It is a friendly reminder on where our hearts should be placed this Christmas season.
This week, we have witnessed numerous miracles. The Lord blessed us with nine new investigators who were interested to hear about the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have been grateful to have found so many new families who are prepared and ready. I wish we could take the credit, but there is no possible way we can. This was all brought to pass from the Lord guiding us to the elect.  By allowing us to feel his light in our lives to direct our hearts and direct the people in Quincy.  I love how we are all permitted to feel the light of Christ set direction and provide meaning in our lives. Something I've cherished this week is listening with my heart rather than my mind.
Acting upon the impressions of my heart in all times and in all places. When we listen with our mind, we often become unfocused and confused. However, the heart is what drives us and provides us with certainty. Heart, might, mind, and strength. There is no coincidence that "heart" always comes first in the sequence.
I love you all so much and hope you stay warm.
"If we are to have the very best Christmas ever, we must listen for the sound of sandaled feet." ~Thomas S. Monson.

Love Always,
Elder Smith

Quincy, Washington

November 24, 2014

Family and Friends,
I hope you are all doing well and getting accustomed to this chilly weather. Out here in Washington we received some snow therefore coats were much needed. In reality, I actually like when it snows because more people are willing to let us in when we knock on the door due to the freezing weather. I'd rather get into houses and teach as opposed to knocking on doors.
Well, this week has been exciting, stressful, and full of new experiences. As I mentioned last week, I am now serving in Quincy, Washington. A little background about Quincy. It is a fairly small city, population of about 4,000 people and there is a high population of people that only speak Spanish. It seems as if I'm just bouncing from small city to small city which is something that I prefer. I say this because it makes our companionship more focused on finding the elect. I've been so blessed to serve in small cities. We also cover a little city called George, Washington. hahaha Pretty funny, right? But seriously! Also, it's been a learning experience "white-washing" an area. What this means is that both my companion and myself are new to the this area. It's been a little hard trying to figure out the ropes, but I am faithful that we will get it down soon. My companion just arrived from the MTC and his name is Elder Caskey. He's from Gilbert, Arizona and he came on a mission to work! I'm so grateful and appreciative to be his companion and be his trainer for the next 12 weeks. As we were striving to become familiar with the area this week, we noticed prayer play a huge role. Unfortunately, this area is moving a little slow right now, but we know with obedience and diligence the Lord can provide miracles. We are covering a Spanish branch and were welcomed into the branch by giving talks on our first. I just love when they do that;) 
As far as the living situation, we are in an apartment on the "sketchy" part of town. This is what we have been told... However, the town is so small I'm pretty sure it's all one side! hehe. I have just loved this area thus far and look forward to becoming more comfortable and knowledgeable of Quincy. 
In addition, this week we had a specialized zone conference in which Elder Arnold, from the Quorum of the Seventy, instructed us. It was a spiritual experience which I will never forget. Let's just say, he was definitely bold in the spirit of loving:) I received much guidance about the things that I must do to become a loving district leader. 
Getting transferred to this area has been rewarding. I can just feel and know that Quincy is the place I need to be at this time. My companion and I look forward to hitting the pavement and finding those who are ready to hear The Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are going to do everything we can to become consecrated missionaries and put everything on the altar of sacrifice. The mission is hard, but more so, uplifting. I love you so very much and hope you all have an amazing Thanksgiving week. Remember to also thank the Lord of what you are grateful for as well;) 

Love Always,
Elder Smith

Hasta Ver Warden

November 17, 2014

Family and Friends,
Words can't describe how much I stinking love you! Life is good, you know? I mean, Christmas season is right around the corner and the weather feels great. How can anybody not cherish how amazing the gift of life truly is. May we ever walk in the path of life with a smile on our faces as we cherish the moments that matter most. The moments that involve family, service, and a love for our fellow man. 
We've had an amazing week here in Warden, and received our transfer calls.  I am sad to report that I will be transferred out of Warden. I can't express the love and appreciation I feel for all of the several amazing people I have come in contact with. Although Warden may be small, there is a sense of unity and fellowship that is undeniable. I am thankful to say that I will be transferred to Quincy, Washington. Although I am unfamiliar with Quincy, I know that this is the place where I must go. I was also grateful to receive the call to train another new missionary. This is a great and marvelous blessing that will be a joyful experience. In addition, I was called to be the District Leader. I feel so blessed to take on this responsibility. I know that through these changes, I will continue to grow my testimony and come closer to the Lord.
I found out the secret to missionary work this past week and decided I would share it. The secret to missionary work is happiness and love. Happiness is so vital and crucial as a missionary. Through the hard and through the good, you gotta keep that smile on your face.  Love, the essence of the Gospel. There are three things we must love while serving a mission. First, your companion. Without love for your companion, you alter your ability to teach in unity and teach by the spirit.  Second, a love for your investigators. If we as missionaries are simply going through the motions and don't focus on the needs of our investigators with love, we aren't fulfilling our purpose to invite others to Christ. Thirdly, a love for our Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the source and the light of the world.  He conquers all darkness and is waiting with open arms. We simply must receive his embrace and show our love through obedience. He will bear our grief and carry our burdens, we simply must show that we are worthy.

Love Always,
Elder Smith

Leales a La Fe

November 10, 2014

Como les van?!
Voy a escribir este correo electrónico en español porque suena más divertido. Sólo quiero decirte lo mucho que me encanta cada uno de ustedes! Hace frío aquí en Washington y se va a poner más frío esta semana.
Nuestra semana era bueno y vimos un montón de milagros. Es una bendición ver al Señor a nuestro lado todos los días. Todos nuestros investigadores están haciendo bien y progresando en el evangelio. Una de las familias que nos están enseñando expresamos todas sus preocupaciones con nosotros. Ahora, podemos ayudarles y resolver preocupación con el Libro de Mormón, Jesucristo, etc. Un otro de nuestros investigadores, Mario, tiene una fecha de bautismo para el 29 de noviembre. Antes, Mario tenía un problema con la bebida, pero quiere cambiar su vida. Tuvimos algunas lecciones increíbles con él y le preguntamos si quería seguir el ejemplo de Jesucristo y ser bautizado. De todas las invitaciones que le damos, éste es mi favorito. Aunque puede sentir un poco incómodo, siempre es en los momentos más espirituales.
Nunca he sido más feliz de lo que soy ahora mismo. Nunca me he sentido más cerca de mi Salvador y mi padre en el cielo. Estoy agradecido por la oportunidad de servir en una misión y sentir el espíritu más plenamente. Me gustaría dar mi testimonio de que sé esta iglesia es verdadera. Yo no estaría en una misión si no hubiera orado para saber. El Libro de Mormón es de gran alcance, dejar que te cambia como se me ha cambiado! Te quiero y espero que tengas una gran semana!

Les Amo Siempre,
Elder Smith

The Gospel Is Not Weight; It Is Wings. It Carries Us.

November 3, 2014

Mis Queridos Amigos y Familia,
Starting to get a little chilly outside. I hope you're bundling up in your warm blankets and bringing out the hot chocolate. At a members house yesterday they had their T.V. on as we entered and we saw a Christmas commercial playing. What is this world coming too? :) However, Elder Johnson and I are guilty as well because we have already began playing Christmas music in the car. There's nothing better than some good old Christmas tunes, am I right? ;)
Our week went well as we found two new promising families to teach. The families are coming to us which is proof that the Lord is blessing us.  During one of the lessons, the spirit was so strong that the mother began crying. What a powerful moment and experience it was watching the gospel bring this humble woman too tears. Unfortunately, the family that was previously on date for baptism did not come to church, meaning that we will have to push there date back. However, it's always important to remember that faith in the Lord requires faith in his timing. What a miracle it is too spread gospel happiness in others’ lives and allow them to witness that it carries us.
Also, this week we got to be a little festive and dress up in some Halloween costumes!  We had a ward trunk or treat party that brought in over 250 people. Non-members, less-actives, and members were all socializing and seeing what this church is all about. It was honestly a missionaries dream! Afterwards, we went out to our trunk and instead of handing out candy, we handed out pass along cards and Books of Mormon. All the members thought it was quite hilarious. I can just imagine all these kids going home expecting candy and to their surprise, a picture of Jesus! What better than that?!
I'd like to close by bearing my testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel. The best way to grow in your testimony is to simply share it with another. After being on a mission, I can promise that is true. Therefore, I would like to extend the invitation to share the fruits that come from the gospel with another this week. Like the title states, the gospel is not a burden and the gospel is not weight; it is wings. It carries us. 

Love Always,
Elder Smith

"Courage, Not Compromise, Brings the Smile of God's Approval"

October 27, 2014 

Family and Friends,
    I hope and pray that your week was full of joy and gratitude. Let us continue to care for our fellow beings and express our love for them through humility and charity. "Love is the very essence of the gospel and Jesus Christ is our exemplar." Our Savior's perfect example is a guide of how and why we should live our lives according to his. I'd like to share another quote that has made a deep impact on my life this past week in regards to discipleship. "Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is not an effort of once a week, or once a day. It is an effort of once and for all." Applying this simple truth can bring meaning and direction into our every day lives. I can testify that this is God's truth. These are our days to stand in holy places and as disciples of Our Savior. As the weeks continue to seem short, my companion and I are continually witnessing miracles. Warden may have few people, but the Lord is preparing a lot of them to hear about the fruits that come from the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. The biggest miracle this week was being able to ask a family of three to follow Jesus Christ and be baptized. All three of them accepted the invitation and will hopefully be baptized on the 15th of next month. I love this family dearly and am looking forward to their progression in the gospel. It's amazing to think that we as missionaries, didn't have too much of a part in this miracle. We give all of the credit to our Lord for softening their hearts and providing the fullness of the gospel on the earth today. In addition, this week I was thinking about The Book of Mormon and the role it plays in our conversion. Boyd K. Packer stated, "Perhaps no other book has been denounced so vigorously by those who have never read it as has the Book of Mormon." If you want to ridicule, judge, and scrutinize a book, then first read it. The Book of Mormon is the convincing evidence that this church was restored through a prophet. It testifies so strongly of Christ and is the convincing evidence that God loves his children throughout the world at all times, and in all places. Let us show some courage and pick up the Book of Mormon this week to see the happiness it brings.  Apparently, even the Pope may give it a read! Elder Holland stated, "I want is absolutely clear when I stand before the judgment bar of God that I declared to the world....that the Book of Mormon is true." I stand with Elder Holland and testify that this book is entirely true.

Love Always,
Elder Smith

Love Is The Biggest Conductor of The Spirit

October 20, 2014 
Hello Hello Loved Ones,
    Guess what time it is? It's time for me to tell you how much I stinking love all of you! I can't help but think about all of the exciting things happening in all of your lives. Isn't life just good. As I was thinking this week, I thought about the miracle of life and the necessity to always have a positive mentality. The greatest part of all is there is a solution to remain positive at all times. Gratitude+Humility=Happiness. For example, this week I lost one of my shoes.  I looked and looked and could not find my left shoe anywhere. How this happened, I don't know. After a long and tiresome search, I finally found my shoe in the trunk. I didn't realize that this harmless experience would teach me an important lesson. The following day when I put on both of my shoes, I was grateful to find them with ease. It should not have taken a learning experience for me to become grateful and appreciative. We sometimes walk through the routines of life and don't realize the necessity to simply slow down, relax, and take a moment to appreciate every minor thing the Lord gives us. I was sad when I lost my shoe, but the days prior I thought nothing of it when I had them. He is the source, he is the light, we simply have to be humble enough to accept Him.
    Our week was absolutely amazing....what's new?:)  I just love the mission culture in all honesty.  There's something that gets me pumped up when I put on my name tag and walk out of that door everyday.  I know The Lord is the one pushing and providing this energy. The Spirit of the Lord is powerful, there's no if's, and's, or but's about it. By the voice of the Spirit we can know exactly how, where, and what to give of ourselves. Like the caption of this letter states, love is the biggest conductor of the spirit.  I testify that this is true. Imagine the world based on the principle of charity. "Charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him," Moroni 7:47. How can we allow charity to endure forever? Simple acts of kindness.  This is something that I personally, could improve on. Let us all strive to become a little more Christ-Like this week, however it may be. I'd like to share one more quote that has opened my eyes to this important truth. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf stated, "Love is the measure of our faith, and the inspiration for our obedience, and the true altitude of our discipleship."
Love Always,
Elder Smith