Monday, September 27, 2010

Kamusta po,

My companion and I have had a really good week of work. We were working in one area when my companion decided to knock a house that we had already knocked a few months ago and they wanted nothing to do with us. My companion talked to them and they let us in. They are now one of our progressing investigators and they really enjoy hearing about the gospel. It's crazy that three months ago they wouldn't listen to a word we said, but now you can see that the Lord has prepared them and now they are very receptive. I got to teach some guys from Africa but they don't speak Tagalog so we got to use English. At first, my companion and I really struggled to speak but we got used to the English after a bit. Because it was in English, I was able to use a lot more eloquent words and give better explanations; however, they weren't willing to listen to the spirit so nothing came of the lesson with them. Even with our amazing English, we couldn't touch them because they weren't willing to listen to the spirit.

We had a musical fireside for our investigators and recent converts. There weren’t any talks, just the missionaries singing and special performances from elders and sisters. But the spirit was really strong as we sang, and I think it testified to a lot of people the truthfulness of this gospel.

Every once in a while, our bishop will feed our apartment of elders and he'll feed us whatever we want. One of the elders told the bishop that he really misses American hamburgers; so the bishop took us out to Wendy's for a real hamburger :) The only problem was our stomachs aren't used to that kind of food anymore. We were so excited to eat there but another elder and I almost threw up after eating. I think I might just go back to eating rice...Love you all.

Love, Elder Smith

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hey everyone,

We had a really good baptism this Saturday where two people got baptized and I got to perform the baptism for one of them. It's amazing to see how the Lord develops the people and prepares them to be baptized. I was able to be one of the missionaries who found them and taught them until they got baptized. At first, they didn't really understand what we wanted, but over time I was able to see their faith grow and watch them gain a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. The mom has already submitted names for her family members to be baptized in the Temple; she has also begun telling her living relatives about the church.

We also had our interviews this week with President Howard. He told me what he thinks will happen to me next transfer but he still has to “take it to the Lord” so it isn’t for sure yet; but it could be a really exciting transfer :) Most likely, Elder Vail and I won’t stay together another transfer because he is ready to be a senior. Other than that we are just having fun serving the Lord. I love you all and thank you for your letters.

Love, Elder Smith

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hi everyone,

These past few days have gone by really fast but they have been really good. We got to do a little service project for a member which was really fun (even though it was yard work). We did the regular stuff like pulling weeds, but they also had a lot of old banana trees in their yard that needed to be cut down. They gave us a few machetes and we went to work :) As you can imagine, 18 elders can have a pretty good time with machetes and something that needs to be destroyed... I'll leave it at that. Today for our P-Day, we went out to Alfanso Falls for a zone activity. This was my second time going there but it’s always fun to go out to the province and hike around in the jungle; it's a little different than Pasco :)

On Friday, we had one of the teaching assistants come and work with us to help us improve our teaching skills and know how to better follow the spirit. We only got to work with him that one day but I learned a lot and it was really fun. He really helped me to see how important the spirit is in the conversion process. Of course we always strive to have the spirit, but the teaching assistant taught us how we can better recognize His promptings. As we worked, I could see the difference in our lessons and how much more effective the lessons were when the spirit was the one teaching. I know we are very blessed to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost; and if we strive to listen to His promptings, we will be greatly blessed.

Love, Elder Smith

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hello everyone,

We have had a really busy week with interviews, Temple trips, and Zone Conference but it's also been a very spiritual week for me. We have a new thing we are doing for our investigators every other week. Our President has decided that we should take our investigators to the Temple because the spirit is so strong there. We walk around the Temple and listen to little presentations from other missionaries about Temples and eternal families. We had an investigator go with us and she enjoyed it so much and felt the spirit so strong that she has already given names of family members to the Temple and she is set on going there as soon as possible.

This week, we had a guy come to church that we had never met before. After talking with him, we found out that he saw us on a jeepney and decided to try coming to our church. The Lord brought him right to us and now he is very interested in the gospel. He told us of an experience he had a few years ago when he almost died from appendicitis. He said he laid there with a really high fever just waiting to die; then he saw three white men dressed in white come and heal him. He is convinced that the three men came from the Lord but he has been searching; trying to find out why he is still alive. We taught him about the gospel of Jesus Christ and he wants all the promised blessings of this gospel.

It’s amazing seeing people realize the real purpose of this life and seeing them coming unto the Lord. Thank you all for your letters and prayers for me; especially in doing the Lord's work.

Love, Elder Smith

Thursday, September 2, 2010

This is what I call "the bamboo street" which is a walkway about three feet in the air. We walk on it almost every day and sometimes it goes pretty far over the "ocean." It's not really the ocean because when it's low tide there isn't any water; just really bad smelling mud that they use as a garbage and as a toilet.