"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

I Don't Understand Why I Am so Happy!

October 13, 2014 

    Is anybody else excited for Halloween, I'm looking forward to it. Granted, when we knock on peoples doors they will think we are fakes, but to their surprise we will be the real deal!  It'll be awesome.  "Trick or treat, nice costumes!" "Thanks for the candy, can we treat you with a message of happiness and joy?"
    The Lord has given us another week of fun adventures and lots of missionary work.  Warden, Washington is just the place to be I guess. The empty farm fields, the great people, and the crazy occurrences which we see daily. This past week, we taught more lessons than we ever had before.  We are seeing the tender mercies and miracles of the Lord every day.  It goes to show that the Lord truly is leading and guiding this work, we simply have to be humble enough to give all the credit to him. When we do everything "Because of Him" we notice ourselves become spiritually strong.  Only He makes weak things become strong. "But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance" 1 Nephi 1:20. It all comes from exhorting faith and acting upon that faith.
    All of our investigators are taking small steps towards progressing in the gospel.  Although we don't have any "golden" investigators at this point, we will strive and push to get more people into the waters of baptism.  Our mission really struggled last month as we only had 16 baptisms. Our goal was 60.  Just shows that we have to keep acting in obedience and diligence. We are currently teaching two families which we are hoping will progress forward.  Every night, you can only pray that your investigators will follow-through with the commitments you leave with them.
Our mission is also implementing a new service website called Just-Serve.  This website allows all members, missionaries, or citizens to participate in service opportunities that are already organized.  Our Mission President told us that we need a minimum of 10 hours of service every week! WOOOHOOO!  "If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, HELP SOMEBODY." I love this quote because it truly does have so much significance. The act of providing service is one of the best ways to demonstrate Christ-like love to one another. The scriptures tell us that, "When we are in the service of our fellow beings, we are in the service of God."    
    Providing a helping hand and looking for opportunities to help another should be applied daily.  When pride overwhelms ourselves, we don't have anytime to love anybody else.  I love being on a mission because I can serve.  I would encourage everyone this week to find someone who is in need, and provide a helping hand. I can promise that as we do this in a united effort, our love for our fellow beings, ourselves, and our Savior will increase dramatically. I love you all so much and send all the love in my heart from Washington!

Love Always,
Elder Smith

What a Week, What a Week!

 October 6, 2014

Family and Friends,
        The Lord is hastening the work and is allowing us to receive guidance and love through our modern day prophet and his counselor's. General Conference is an essential tool given to us to be spiritually fed and uplifted. Through conference, I noticed that my heart was touched and my faith was increased. "The Gospel of Jesus Christ opens the path of what we will become," stated D. Todd Christofferson.  Once we align our will with the father's, we will notice His gospel change us, shape us, and feed us with spiritual guidance. I'd like to share one more quote. "The process of gathering spiritual light is the quest of a lifetime," promised President Uchtdorf. May we all let the Light of Christ gleam brighter and brighter in our lives as we seek for that light, therefore "it can grow brighter and brighter until the perfect day" (D&C:50).
    This week Elder Johnson and I were also pleased to hear that we will remain companions for at least six more weeks. Once we heard the wonderful news, we both jumped up and hugged in excitement (hitting our heads together). It was well worth the pain we endured. Serving in the small town of Warden has served as a blessing to both him and I. We are excited for the people the Lord will continue to place in our path as we serve Him with diligence and obedience. We're also looking forward to the fun experiences too continue. In all honesty, were both pretty crazy and have an interesting sense of humor.
    Another fun experience we shared this week was teaching the seminary class for a couple of days. It brought me back to the good old days of waking up early and attempting to stay awake. However, it's a whole new perspective when you are teaching the class as opposed to simply listening.  I love teaching classes for the fact that I too learn so much from teaching the lessons. I absolutely love the youth in the ward as well which made teaching a lot of fun.
    As far as our investigators, they are all doing great thanks to all of your prayers. We had the opportunity to find another family this week that is prepared and ready to hear the gospel. We know that if they keep their commitments, they will see the happiness that comes from this church. What a blessing it is to apply the Doctrine of Christ in our lives and share it with others. Faith, repentance, baptism, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. So simple, yet so powerful.  Yesterday, we witnessed the baptism of one of our investigators, Michael. Watching him take this leap of faith and apply the Doctrine of Christ was heartwarming. I was privileged to perform the baptism. The overwhelming feeling of the spirit was incredible as him and I entered the waters of the font.  We asked afterwards how he felt and he replied, "Man, I feel the spirit."  Wow, such simple words impacted my heart so deeply. Utilizing the priesthood was a blessing beyond belief.  Thank you all so much for your sincere prayers.
    I love you all so much and hope your week in nothing less than fantastic.

Love Always,
Elder Smith

8 Months - This is a Joke… No Me Gusta Esto

 September 30, 2014

    I'm going to start off with a joke this week to spice things up. Why did the cookie go to the hospital???? Anybody? Anybody? Because he felt crummy.
    Our week here in Warden has been great. Elder Johnson and I are getting a little scared because this is the last week of the transfer and we never know what is going to happen. Everyone in my zone predicted that I am going to get transferred which actually makes me disappointed. You grow so close to people in one area and right when you feel comfortable, they boot you out. However, I know that wherever I get transferred will be another place where I can learn and grow. If you love missionary work I guess it doesn't matter where you get transferred right?
    Today, we had the chance to attend the Columbia River Temple.  Talk about a good start to your week, the temple is the place to do it! "Heavenly Father is planning a great family reunion, and when we go to the temple we are helping!"  This week we had the opportunity to continue to find several of people that are ready and prepared to hear the gospel.  One family in particular, the Perez family, was very responsive to our message!
     Another one of our investigators, Michael, may be getting baptized this upcoming Sunday! I hope he passes the interview;) Life is good, missionary work is good, and may we all cherish every moment we encounter!  Sorry for the short letter, running out of time. AWWWWWH!

Love Always,
Elder Smith