Monday, December 28, 2009

Maligayang Pasko!!! (Merry Christmas)

Hey everyone! I'm so glad I got to talk to some of you; it was great hearing from you. Christmas was good; we really got spoiled. On Christmas Eve we had zone conference and President Howard and Sister Howard gave us pizza and candy and we watched a movie on Emma Smith. After that we went to Elder and Sister Smith's home for another movie, little gifts, food, and some spiritual stuff about Christmas. It was really cool. It doesn't feel much like Christmas here but I got to reflect on Christ's birth and it's amazing to me that he willingly came here to die for us and provide an atonement so we can return home to Him. Every day I love Christ more for all He has done for us.

I hope all of you had a great Christmas. I love you all and I hope you're all doing well. Stay safe and remember how blessed we are as members of Christ's true church. I know this is His work and I know He loves us. I have felt His love; His arms of love are always outstretched towards us waiting to embrace us if we come unto Him.

Love, Elder Smith

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hello everyone,

We went to the Temple with a recent convert this week. We didn't go in we just showed her stuff. She is really excited about working towards going to the Temple. We also took her to the Family History Center. We had a bit of extra time there so I started asking the sister about it. While I was there I looked up some of my family and the work that has already been done. It's so cool! I'm actually really interested in family history now; I never thought that would happen. I've learned how important this work is. It's one of the greatest works we will do here on the earth. Our families are just waiting for us to do their work for them. I looked up some family and found Emma Sommer who I got my middle name from and Joseph Hyrum Smith. I just think it's so cool! These are real people. I saw some people who have been found and just need to be taken to the Temple and I wanted so badly to do their work for them. It really is an important work.

Well other than that it's been a short week because of transfers. I hope everyone is doing well. I love you all.

Love, Elder Smith

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hey everyone,

Well it's been a crazy, busy week. We have been working a lot (like always). I can't believe I'm already done with one transfer. I'm still in the same area and with the same companion.

So I had some crazy food this week. 1) Fresh squid from the ocean 2) Wasabi, some stuff you put on sushi that is super hot! (the elders didn't tell me it was hot). 3) Monkey :) We went to a member's house and they started feeding us. I knew something was up when they were all staring at me, then the mom said "it's monkey" Crazy! It was actually pretty good.

Well we don't get much of a Christmas here, but we got to bring Christmas to some orphans. We went and sang at an orphanage as a zone. I've never seen anyone as grateful as these little kids were. They wouldn't let us leave after we were done singing. They all came up and started hugging us. It really reminded me of what Christmas is really about and the love that Jesus Christ has for us. I hope you all remember how blessed we are for what He has done for each of us. We would have nothing and receive nothing if it wasn't for Him.

I love you all!

Love, Elder Smith

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hello everyone,

Sorry this email is late. The internet was down here. It's crazy; things just stop working for no reason. The power will just go out for hours or the water or the internet; it's crazy. I'm in a town but it's not really nice. There are lots of just houses and if you go past the houses there's just rice fields or "jungle" and mountains. It's a small town but a lot of people. It's way different than any place I've ever been to.

Well it's crazy this transfer is over next Wednesday. I won't be emailing next Monday either because P-day gets moved for transfers. Most likely I'm staying here; I'd like to stay. We have couple missionaries here, Elder and Sister Smith, who are really great. We get to have Family Home Evening every other week at their house. We have a good dinner, a lesson, games, and ice cream which is a luxury here. They are really great. They have a blog it's On it, they have pictures of us and us singing at our zone conference. You can look at those pictures since I've been really bad about sending any.

Well something cool but kind of bad happened this week; I got sick. I really didn't think I was going to be able to work for the day but I remembered something someone said in the MTC. "Have faith and take the first step." So that's what I did. I said a prayer and took the "first step" out the door. We worked for 9 hours and although I didn't feel 100%, I was doing pretty good. When we got home for the night, right when I sat down in our house the sickness came back. It was cool seeing the Lord help me do His work and answer my prayers.

During the week, we got a referral for a lady; she is 96 years old and wants to be baptized. She is reading the Book of Mormon and she came to church which is a good ways away from her home. It's never too late for someone to come to the Lord. It's so great seeing people receive the gospel here. We have a lot of investigators; the Lord has really prepared these people.

Well I love you all and I'll write again on Wednesday and let you know if I'm staying in this area or not.

Love, Elder Smith

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hey everyone,

Sorry I couldn't write earlier this week. We got to go to the Temple this week and that meant our P-day gets moved; I didn't know that. It happens eveytime we go to the Temple or have transfers (transfers is on the 16th! That's crazy). Well this week has been really busy. The Temple was great today except we had to wake up at 2 am to beat the traffic. I'm pretty tired and we work for a few hours tonight but it's great. This week we also had interviews, splits, and a baptism for a little girl; it's been crazy!

We have been really busy lately. This area that I'm in is so great! We taught a guy a really quick lesson when we tracked into him. When we were leaving he said in English "Come back again." The spirit was really strong as we left and I looked back at him when we got a ways away from his house and he was reading the pamphlet we gave him; it was so cool. Well sorry this is pretty short but I've got to go. I love you all and hope all is well.

Love, Elder Smith

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hey everyone,

I baptized an 11 year old on Saturday. It was kind of weird because we didn't have a font so we just went down to the river, but it was pretty cool.

The language is slowly coming along. I don't always understand what is going on because of the language but the work is still going forward. It is great when we walk into a home and see that the investigators have been reading the Book of Mormon or the reading assignment we gave them. The language is difficult but I see the Lord's hand in my progress. It's great to be serving and know I am doing the Lord's work.

We found a guy while knocking on doors. He is paralized from the waist down from an accident, and we had a cool experience with him. We were teaching and the thought came to me to give him a blessing. Just a short while after that my companion asked him if we could give him a blessing. I never told my companion that I thought we should. We gave him a blessing and the spirit was really strong. His wife, who hadn't been in the room, came in with tears in her eyes.

It is so great to know that this is the true church of the Lord. My testimony about this gospel is so strong and I know it's true. There is no way we can find happiness if we aren't following the Lord. It's so great to be sharing what I know to be true with others.

Love, Elder Smith

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hello everyone,

Well it's been a crazy week. We teach a lot and I'm trying as hard as I can to learn this language so I can teach better. I've gotten to teach twice in English which was really nice. I've had some cool experiences where I've been praying really hard to know this language and in a lesson, I would understand everything that was being said. It has been a testimony builder to me that through the Lord anything is possible.

Again, this week the Lord has shown me how blessed I am. We were in the city for zone conference and we were walking down some stairs and I saw a little boy, probably about 5 or 6 years old, curled into a ball sleeping on the stairs. It was raining so I was wondering why he was just laying there. An Elder told me that he was probably homeless. I can't believe how little people have here.

We had a baptism on Saturday. She is such a great lady; she has a lot of faith. I was going to baptize her; I was all dressed up and ready to go when the Elder that had been teaching her for months (but was transferred) asked if he could do it. Of course I let him, he was the one that taught her everything. I'll just count that as 1/2 a baptism :) just kidding. She gave her testimony afterwards. The only word I understood was "maganda" which means beautiful. The gospel really is. It's amazing and I love it!

I've had trials here but the Lord has taught me so much already. My testimony grows more everyday. I pray we all won't take for granted the many blessings the Lord has given us. I know His hand is in our lives daily.

Love, Elder Smith

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hey everyone!

Well I'm finally here in the Philippines! My area is Naic, which is a ways from Manila. My companion is Elder Riparip. He is Filipino and this is his first time training. He is a really good Elder and is always trying to work his hardest and do the best that he can. It's so different here than back home. I think the Lord has sent me here to humble me and show me how blessed I am. People here have so little. I realized I took a lot of things for granted back home. Just the simple things we have they don't have here; like hot water, clean water, showers, washing machines, carpet, and traffic laws. My companion and I live in one of the nicer homes and we just have a hose to shower with. An Elder said they don't have traffic laws here, they have traffic suggestions. But the people here are really great.

All the kids get really excited when they see us walking down the streets. They always run up and want to shake your hand or hold your hand and walk with you. It's kind of weird when 6 kids are holding your hand as you walk down the street. I tried out smarting them by putting my hands up where they couldn't reach them but they just grab your shirt.

The people are always feeding us which is kind of hard for me because I really can't eat that much. The food is different but most of the time it's pretty good; LOTS of rice though. People just let us into there homes. I don't know if they care what we teach because I can't understand them, but I'm working on that.

The language is way different here. Eveyone speaks with an accent so it's really hard to understand them. Even if they speak English it's hard for me to understand. But I know that with the Lord's help all things are possible and through Him, I will be able to learn this language.
I hope everything is going well back home. Thank you for all your prayers. Love you all.

Love, Elder Smith

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hey everyone,

Today is the day! I'm finally heading to the Philippines. I'm not at all ready but I'm really excited and I know if I put my trust in the Lord all things are possible.

A few quick things that happened this week: L. Tom Perry came which was really cool, and President Utchdorf was also at the MTC yesterday but no one saw him; I just heard about it from some of the security here.

During my teaching appointment on Thursday I messed up pretty bad. We were talking to the guy about the law of tithing and how important it is. I was teaching, in Tagalog, when I thought of a scripture to have him read. I had him read in D&C 89, in Tagalog. Scriptures in Tagalog are really hard to understand, so it wasn't until later that I realized that I had him read about the Word of Wisdom. After he read it, I continued testifying of the importance of paying tithing. It was pretty funny but I'm not going to make that mistake again.

Well time is sort so I got to go. Sorry this letter is pretty short, there is really not any time to do anything. Also, I'm sorry to anyone I didn't write a letter back to. I appreciate your letters but there just isn't enough time to write back every time, but thank you for your letters. I love you all and hope everything is going well.

Love, Elder Smith

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hey everyone,

One more week! I'll be flying to the Philippines on Monday the 2nd. I leave Salt Lake at 4:50 P.M. and I get to the Philippines at 11:45 A.M. on the 4th. It's going to be a long flight. I can't believe I've already been here for about 60 days. I'm not at all ready to speak the language but I know the Lord will help me when I get there.

Every Sunday during Sacrament Meeting, the branch president picks 2 missionaries to give a talk in Tagalog. You don't know if you could be called so you have to prepare a talk before hand. This week went by so fast I completely forgot to prepare a talk. The one week I forget is the week I get called to speak. I only had a few sentences in english prepared. I got up there and just had to translate what I wanted to say into Tagalog. It wasn't the best talk but I actually did okay. I'm really excited to go to the Philippines and learn this language and teach the people there about Christ. Well I hope everyone is doing good. I know that this church is the true church and I am so grateful to be able to help share this great gospel with others. I love you all.

Love, Elder Smith

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hello everyone,

Well this week has gone by really fast. I can't believe I'll be leaving to the Philippines in 2 weeks! We are supposed to get our flight plan on Thursday. I'm really excited to go but at the same time I feel so unprepared. Sometimes I feel like I barely know how to greet someone let alone teach them the gospel. I guess that's where faith comes in.

I did have a cool experience on Thursday at my teaching appointment. I'm always so worried about saying the right words in my teaching that I don't really pay attention to the needs of the investigator. When we were teaching, our investigator asked me what the atonement was. I had no idea how I could answer because I didn't know any of that vocabulary in Tagalog. I just did my best to answer her and tell her my feelings for Christ and His atonement. I think I actually did pretty good. I said sentences that I've never tried to create before. I realized as long as I'm trying to teach by the spirit, the Lord will make up for what I don't know in Tagalog.

This week we had 5 new Tagalog speaking districts come in (about 60 missionaries). It's so cool seeing so many missionaries going to serve. Other than that, I'm just working hard and trying to learn as much as possible. I hope everyone is doing good. I love you all and hope the Lord is blessing you each day as much as he is blessing me.

Love, Elder Smith

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hey everyone!

Well this week has been hard. All of my classes are now in Tagalog. Most of the class I sit there just trying to figure out what our teacher is saying. We are supposed to reply in Tagalog but that is so hard. Most people give up after a few words. This week we also had to teach the first lesson in Tagalog. I did a lot better than I thought I would but it's still far from being half way okay. During one part of the lesson, my companion was teaching and I got so lost because he speaks so fast. I thought I knew where he was at so I started to teach. Afterwards, I realized I had skipped everything about Christ and His apostles.

Teaching the lesson this week is going to be even harder. All of the Elders got new companions this week. My companion and I are still together except now it's a three person companionship. I don't know how well we are going to teach if there are three of us. Even though it's hard, I know the Lord is really helping me a lot. At times I understand what is being said even though I don't really know the words.

A really cool experience I had this week was in the referral center. I talked to a guy who doesn't think he believes in our church. His brother is learning about it so he got on to ask questions to better understand our church. I talked to him for about 45 minutes answering questions and telling him about Joseph Smith. At the end, I asked him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. He said he would! I was so excited to hear he was really going to try and find out if the church is true.

Well that was my week. Only three more and I go to the Philippines and I can't wait! Love you all.

Love, Elder Smith

Monday, October 5, 2009

Hello everyone!

Well this coming week has me a little worried. I have to teach the 45 minute first lesson in Tagalog and I'm far from ready. I'm trying to work hard and although I know it wont be perfect or even very good, I know all things are possilbe with the Lord. Someday I'll get this language down, I just pray it's sooner than later :) One cool thing this week was we had SNOW! It was pretty much nothing but I loved it! I really hope we get a lot here before I leave because I won't see it for 2 years.

So this week has been amazing with conference. I loved being able to hear the words of the Lord through His prophet and apostles. It's amazing to think that we have a living prophet to guide us. All the questions that I had were answered during conference. I loved the talk by Jeffrey R. Holland. It is really impossible to think that Joseph Smith made up everything. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that this gospel is the true gospel of Jesus Christ and this is His church. It is amazing to be part of this work and to be a part of the endless blessings the Lord provides to His saints. I could go on forever about conference and the spirit that comes from it and how I know this gospel is true. I am so blessed to have been raised in the gospel and be able to share it with others. I have begun to realize how blessed I am, but also how often I take this knowledge of the gospel for granted. There is endless joy in the loving arms of the Lord. His love for us is endless. He loves us so much he sent His son to die for us. I don't know of any greater love than the love of our Father in Heaven and His son Jesus Christ.

Well I love you all and I hope everything is well. I pray for you and I know the Lord watches over you.

Love, Elder Smith

Monday, September 28, 2009

Hey everyone!

Not too much going on this week again. Not a lot changes in the MTC. It's like going to school all day long, plus the spirit. The language is going alright but it seems like my progress is slowing down which worries me, because in a week and a half I have to teach the restoration in Tagalog. It's really nice having people come and talk to us two times a week because it helps bring the spirit and helps us work harder. My testimony is growing everyday and I'm trying to become better each day. One thing I didn't like about this week was that a bunch of missionaries going to the Philippines got to leave. Everyone else doesn't like it either because we still have six weeks left. A few new Philippines missionaries came, one of who gets to leave in three weeks because he was born in the Philippines.

Some people in my building just down the hall got really sick. Some even got put into a room by themselves for two days. My whole district has gotten sick but luckily not very bad. Other than that, nothing new has been happening. I hope everything is well at home.

Love, Elder Smith

Monday, September 21, 2009

Well this letter is going to be pretty short. P-day went really fast so I don't have time to write much. This week has been pretty good. On Thursday I had my language task and I didn't feel prepared for it at all but the Lord really blessed me and I actually did ok. I still have trouble with the language, but I know the Lord is blessing me and I will learn it. Just like Nephi said, the Lord doesn't give us a commandement unless He gives us a way to accomplish it. The best part of the week was Tuesday's devotional. For some reason everyone could feel that something special was coming that day. Sure enough Jeffery R. Holland came to speak. It was so cool! Everyone stood up when he walked in and the spirit became so strong just by him coming in. He gave a great talk and it really inspired a lot of missionaries to start working harder, me included. Other than that, just classes and studying. I hope everyone is well.

Love, Elder Smith

Monday, September 14, 2009

Hey everyone! Well this week has been a lot faster but the days are still long. They have a saying here that "a day feels like a week, but a week feels like a day" and it is really true. I thought I was doing a good job learning the language because I understand what is going on in class but the Lord decided to humble me this Thursday. Every Thursday we have to teach the 1st or 2nd lesson to a return missionary, that is easy. We also have a language task. Last week we had to talk and testify in Tagalog to 2 RMs for 5 minutes each. I felt good about what I knew, but they spoke so fast I didn't understand a word, not even the words and sentences I know. I realized I have a lot more work to do.

It is cool seeing the work of the Lord go forth. The Philippines branch for church got so big it got split; we had over 100 missionaries and we have 60 more coming in 2 weeks! A bunch of missionaries are leaving today so last night they sang, "Till We Meet Again" in a different language and it was really spiritual.

I had a cool experience Saturday. We went to the referral center for the first time to call people to see if they got the free item they ordered (like a Bible or DVD). Only one person answered, excluding the one that hung up on me. He had ordered a free Bible so I talked to him about it for a bit and asked him if he wanted a free Book of Mormon. He said he didn't like the idea of modern revelation so he didn't want it. I talked to him some more and testified about it and he said he was interested and he would allow missionaries to bring him one. I was so excited! I'm so glad I got to be a part of it.

Well I miss you all and hope everything is going well.

Love, Elder Smith

Monday, September 7, 2009

Kamusta everyone! These last few days have been really long. I never realized how long a 16 hour day was until I got here. We wake up at 6:30 every morning and we don't stop working until 10:30 to go to bed. Everyone says the first few days are the hardest and I've noticed the days are starting to get a little faster so I'm excited for the new week to begin. Sunday is my favorite day so far because there is a lot more time to sit and study and feel the spirit. The last few days I've been so busy I'm just now starting to get used to being here. I was really excited for the temple trip today but it was cancelled because of Labor Day so I'm a little disappointed; oh well, I'll just look forward to going next week. Kasama ko si Elder De Guzman (My companion is Elder De Guzman). He is great. He is always trying to do what is right and is really excited to go teach. He is from Texas but his parents are from the Philippines so he can't wait to go and maybe teach some of his non member family there. He knows a little Tagalog so he helps me whenever I don't understand. Mahirap ang wika so akin (the language is hard for me). I'm working hard though. It's like speaking everything backwards and you have to know a lot about noun markers, different kinds of pronouns, the focus of your sentence and remember what words mean so it takes me a while to say anything but we talk it as much as possible. I'm working at it a lot and I know the Lord is blessing me so I know I will learn it. I'm excited to be apart of this great work and I'm trying my hardest to be prepared to go out and teach. I miss everyone so much and I hope everyone is safe.

Love, Elder Smith

p.s. My address is:
Elder Jacen Sommer Smith
MTC Mailbox #314
PHI-Man 1102
2005 N. 900 E.
Provo, Utah 84604-1793