Remember, It's Better to Look Up

February 16, 2015 

Family and Friends,
As the week begins, great joy fills my soul. I love the hymn in our church, "There is Sunshine in My Soul Today" because it is a friendly reminder to always maintain a positive attitude. This past week has been incredibly busy and incredibly tiring. However, more than anything it's been incredibly rewarding. I feel like my testimony has kicked up a couple of notches because I have spent most of my time either in meetings or on my knees. We have so many ways to receive revelation in this latter day work which is quite frankly my favorite part. The Lord has given us the resources to nurture our testimonies and provide nourishment to our seeds of faith. We can literally communicate with our Father in Heaven. Think about that. When I realize the power and magnitude of prayer, it simply baffles me. We can communicate with our Father in Heaven if we are humble enough to receive his answers.  
This past week I was transferred to Yakima and received a new companion. His name is Elder Knowles and he is an incredible missionary.  He is from Logan, Utah and came to the mission to work.  We are so excited for the work happening in our area and in our zone. Although we haven't had an immense amount of time in our area this week, I can see that the work is on fire here! 
I would like to share this brief story with you about Carl B. Cook, a member of the Quorum of the Seventy.
At the end of a particularly tiring day toward the end of my first week as a General Authority, my briefcase was overloaded and my mind was preoccupied with the question “How can I possibly do this?” I left the office of the Seventy and entered the elevator of the Church Administration Building. As the elevator descended, my head was down and I stared blankly at the floor.
The door opened and someone entered, but I didn’t look up. As the door closed, I heard someone ask, “What are you looking at down there?” I recognized that voice—it was President Thomas S. Monson.
I quickly looked up and responded, “Oh, nothing.” (I’m sure that clever response inspired confidence in my abilities!)
But he had seen my subdued countenance and my heavy briefcase. He smiled and lovingly suggested, while pointing heavenward, “It is better to look up!” As we traveled down one more level, he cheerfully explained that he was on his way to the temple. When he bid me farewell, his parting glance spoke again to my heart, “Now, remember, it is better to look up."
Family and friends, look up this week. Face every problem with a smile on your face and cherish the moments that matter most. I love you so incredibly much and love this work. 

Have a great week,
Elder Smith

Our Daily Walk with Jesus Christ Provides Peace and Purpose

February 9, 2015 

Family and Friends,
First off, I want to say that I love you so incredibly much. Really, I am beyond grateful for the support you have given me and the love I feel from every one of you. Although we are far, I hope you can feel the gratefulness in my heart for the blessing you are in my life. I love the quote attached above given to us by President Uchtdorf. "Our daily walk with Jesus Christ provides peace and purpose." Something that continually catches my eye as I read this quote is the word "daily." I love how the journey to follow Christ is a process of not once a week or once a month, but every single day! As we continually make small and simple daily improvements to follow Jesus Christ more fully, we will feel illuminated by the peace which he brings into our lives. Once we understand his atoning sacrifice by living the doctrine of Christ daily, we will find purpose for this life. 
Our week has been extremely rewarding. The Fernandez family and the Dominguez family are still going strong and increasing their faith in Christ. This past week we received our transfer calls and I'm going to be transferred to Yakima, Washington. When I heard the news I definitely experienced a bitter sweet moment. It's going to be incredibly difficult to leave all of the amazing people I have met in Quincy. Quincy, like all of my other areas, is truly one of a kind. It's incredible that wherever you go you feel the same spirit and become accustomed to the community and wonderful people. Yakima will bring several more new adventures and keep me on my feet. President called on the same day and asked if I would be a Zone Leader. Of course I said I would love too. It will be a growing experience and keep me pretty busy. I thought time was going by fast before, but will now go faster. I will be serving with Elder Knowles. I truly know that the Lord calls on weak people like myself so I can grow personally through this wonderful experience.

I love you all so much and hope you have a great week! 

Elder Smith

Search Onward, Reach Outward, Search Heavenward

February 2, 2015

I write you this week with deep gratitude in my heart for the opportunity to serve a mission. This past week has been rewarding because the Lord consistently continues to shower miracles upon our investigators here in Quincy. The mission is truly a roller-coaster ride of emotions. I wish I could describe it, but I simply can't. Although we have hard days and troubling times, all of those moments get wiped away from the memorable ones. This week we witnessed several remarkable moments which truly allows you to see the power of the Lord and his involvement in this work.
This past week the Lord touched 11 of his sons and daughters to come to church. It was a little humorous because we had more investigators at church then we did members! I think they were a little confused by the testimony meeting, but I know they felt the spirit in the chapel. We also witnessed a miracle this week with the Dominguez family. This family has been taught by missionaries for about a year, knows the church is true, but simply didn't have the desire to be baptized. After thoughtful prayer, my companion and I decided to focus primarily on the kids and allow them to set the example for their parents. It was by far the most intense and spiritually impacted lesson I have ever taught. We were bold in the spirit of loving and had to give the family a big push. The parents gave the 3 kids permission and they now have a baptismal date for the 21st of February. We know that the baptism will touch the parents heart and that they will join their kids on this date. Please keep them in your prayers. Also, we had a lesson with the Fernandez family, and the wife looked at us and said, "I want to be baptized, but I have to get married right?" We were so thrilled and now the two parents are going to pray about a day to get married in the church so they can be baptized after. There is nothing better than watching others develop more faith every time you meet with them! SPIRITUAL OVERLOAD! HAHA
This week we also had the chance to participate in an "Activity Day" for the youth in the church. We had a mini MTC class and we taught the language portion of the MTC. It was a blast! 
Well I hope you all had an amazing week as well!

Love Always,
Elder Smith