"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