My First Week in Warden, Washington

July 21, 2014 

How was everyone's week?  Is everyone still enjoying the hot weather and the sun burns?  It's getting quite toasty and the sun is really starting to quick in during this time of year.  Also, it's amazing how fast the summer flies by when you're serving a mission.  I can't believe were almost in the month of August!  Why can't these two years go by slower?!  The heat is really picking up here as the highest temperature of the week was about 109 degrees!  Hydration is truly essential when you are continually moving from place to place.
So as I mentioned last week, I recently got transferred to Warden, Washington. How would I describe Warden, Washington in five phrases?  Nice people, farmland, 1500 person population, no stores, and WOW!  Never in my entire life have I lived or even seen a place like Warden.  When I was driving around I simply thought to myself, where am I?  My companion that has been here for about 4 months knows almost all the people in the city.  "That's Mr. Whillebee....that's Bob Swiffer....etc."   However, I'm not going to lie...I think I just may like it.  I'm the type of person that likes to be placed into a different lifestyle and a new way of living; and warden is as unique as it gets in my personal opinion.  One of the down sides of living in Warden is the smell that the potato factory produces. It smells like vomit.  However, it's all part of the experience!:)  The English Ward is super solid with about 175 people that attend every single week, it was awesome to see that many people come to church.  The Spanish Branch has on average of about 10 people that show up.  It was kind of interesting to be in a sacrament meeting setting with only 10 people.  This only goes to show that my companions and I have some work to do!  The big Hispanic church in Warden is the Assembly of God church, and unfortunately they talk very poorly about the LDS church.  One older gentleman's door that we knocked on this week couldn't see very well and was very excited for visitors.  He asked our names and we replied by saying, "Elder......"  As soon as he heard the word Elder he looked up and said, "BYE, GO AWAY, BYE, BYE!"  It's so interesting to see the several different responses we receive when knocking on doors. 
My new companions are Elder Sittman and Elder Johnson.  Elder Sittman has been on his mission for about 23 months and is heading home in the next few weeks.  He is from Cypress, California. Elder Johnson arrived to the mission about 5 days ago and is a great missionary!  Over the course of the next 12 weeks, I will be training Elder Johnson.  He is a great guy and to my surprise, he already knew Spanish perfectly before coming into the mission!  His mom is from Spain and he grew up learning both English and Spanish.  Hopefully, he can train me on learning some spanish;)  Elder Johnson is from Spanish Fork, Utah. Our first week together as a companionship was good!  We taught several less-active members and our two on-dates.  We have two investigators that are getting baptized on this Saturday.  They have been teaching these two investigators since I arrived.  However, I know them both very well and have taught them several times and can't wait to see them make this amazing change in their lives.  There names are Sara Leishman and Jesus Maderagales.  Unfortunately, we don't have a large handful of investigators, but I'm hoping that will change here pretty soon:)
This week I have grown such a testimony of the eternal importance of developing Christ-like attributes and applying them in our everyday life. When we try our best to stand as witnesses of God at all place and in all things, we will truly feel a light grow inside of us that indescribable.  One of my favorite scriptures in regards to discipleship is found in Alma 7:23.  It reads, "And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive."  We truly have so much to be grateful in this beautiful world that we live in.  As we strive obediently to seek out the best in others and continually develop a change within ourselves, the Lord will bless us. 
I love you all so much and hope you have a phenomenal week!
Love Always,
Elder Smith

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