Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hey everyone,

For those of you who don’t already know, I was told on Tuesday to pack my bags and get on a plane. So now I’m in my new area in Palawan! When the plane started to get close to the island, I could see nothing but green mountains and a big blue ocean. This place is so different than my last area. My area is a two hour drive away from the main city and it’s right on the ocean. When we were driving here, it reminded me of driving in the mountains back home to go camping; just a small two lane road winding through the hills. There are some differences though like it’s a jungle next to the road and not pine trees. My new companion is Elder Hopkins and I’m really excited to start working later on and see what the Lord has in store for the people here.

I became the district leader here but I'm a little worried, because everyone loved the last district leader and I don't know how to do what he did. But I'm trying to trust in the Lord. They said his work was the best in the mission and they put me here because my work was good and I can keep up the work he did. I have no idea what I'm doing, but I will do my best.

Before I left my old area, we were able to see one more person be baptized. I’m kind of sad that I won’t be able to go back for the baptisms of all my other investigators; it was a really good area and the Lord is really blessing it. That’s about all that’s going on here. I just want to let you know that I know this is the true church and the only way to have eternal happiness. I’ve been blessed to see this gospel change so many peoples' lives for all of eternity.

Love, Elder Smith

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hello family and friends,

Can you believe it’s already almost Christmas?! I thought we were just starting December. I heard you guys got some more snow; that's always one of my favorite things during Christmas. One thing that is really big here is for the kids to go around singing Christmas Chorals. They make instruments out of just about any object such as pop bottles, whistles, or tin cans with rocks in them. The only difference here is you give them a little money when they sing to you. We've had little kids almost chase us trying to get our money. We also have fireworks for Christmas. As missionaries, of course we can't have any, but everyone is starting to light them at night so we get to enjoy them.

We have a lot of progressing investigators in our area thanks to the Lord. We were teaching a lesson to our investigators who are about 23 years old, and when we asked them if they prayed about Joseph Smith like we asked them to, one of them told us he did pray, but just got confused after he prayed. I was a little confused that he would say that and not say the spirit had touched him. We asked why he was confused when he prayed and I think his answer was a little funny. He told us when he prayed, he felt like someone was punching him in the chest. We are now helping him realize how the spirit can touch us and he is now starting to realize that it was the spirit that touched him.

We also have some recent converts in our area who are good active members, but their children haven't been baptized yet so we started teaching them a few weeks ago. One of their daughters just lost her job, but now she has time to listen to the lessons and go to church so I see it as being a blessing. We were teaching her and I asked her why she goes to church and she told us of how she didn't like her family before, because her dad was always drinking and they weren't close to one another. She said after her dad got baptized, her family changed and they are happy now. I've known this family for five months and it's amazing to see the changes that have taken place in their family as the mom and dad accepted the gospel and how their children and cousins are beginning to accept the gospel now too. The gospel has greatly impacted their family and really blessed them. I love you all and Merry Christmas! :)

Love, Elder Smith

Monday, December 13, 2010

Kamusta po kayo,

Another week down that flew by for me. We were busy all week teaching people and getting ready for a baptism of one our investigators. On Saturday, we were able to see Melanie get baptized which was great. We had been teaching her for a few months, but she was having trouble gaining a strong enough testimony to be baptized. Of course we can't give her a testimony, so we really focused on prayer and reading the scriptures so she could know for herself.

We decided to do a review lesson about Joseph Smith to help her. When we finished the lesson, we asked her if she had any questions. We were a little surprised with the questions she asked us. She asked us how many times she would need to go to church so she could get baptized. We were shocked so we asked her if she wanted to get baptized and she said yes. She had already heard all the doctrine and been to church four times so we just had to get her interviewed. She hasn’t been confirmed yet because of Stake Conference, but she was really excited to get baptized. It amazes me how quickly the Lord will bless our investigators with a testimony if they are willing to ask sincerely.

We had one day this week that didn't go too well. No one was home for our appointments, and we felt like we had just walked around all day without getting a lot accomplished. Both of us felt completely drained of energy so we were heading home for the night, but still had about 15 minutes before the end of the day. So I tried to keep working just a little longer.

I tried talking to a few people on the street but they didn't want to hear anything which is always very discouraging. I tried a group of people as a last attempt before going home. To my surprise, they invited us to come back in a few days. They didn't seem too excited, but we went to our appointment with them and to our surprise again, one of the men had read everything we gave him and he basically taught us the restoration. I also take it as a good sign when they can explain the two types of priesthood to you. We have only taught him three times but he wants to be baptized if he receives a testimony. He is definitely someone whom the Lord has prepared.

Love, Elder Smith

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hello po sa inyo lahat,

It has been an amazing week! I wrote last week about a referral that the spirit prompted us to go to and this week they are progressing really well. We taught them about knowing if this is the true church and they said they want to get baptized if they receive a testimony. The Lord is really blessing us with our investigators and guiding them to us or us to them.

About a month ago, a guy was riding his bike as we walked past his house and he stopped to ask us who we were. We taught him a few lessons then he invited his brother to listen with him; they are both very interested in the gospel now. They enjoy it so much that they referred us to their sister and bother who is the family we were prompted to go to last week. They came to church yesterday and the mother said she couldn't stop crying. They already see the blessings in their life as they have listened to the gospel, and I'm almost certain they will be baptized.

We had so many investigators at church on Sunday that we could only sit with a few of them. The Lord has helped us a lot this week, and I know that without His help, we couldn't do this work. We have one family, the Ulans, who also came to church this week. Their son is 13 years old and he got up and bore his testimony in front of the whole church. It was probably the shortest one I've ever heard but very heartfelt and sincere. In his testimony, he said, "I know this church is true. Even though I haven't been baptized I know it's true." He has a lot of faith for being so young but he was a big example to the people at church on Sunday.

We are doing really well and the Lord is definitely preparing the people here. Love you guys :)

Love, Elder Smith

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


How is everyone doing over there? Sana mabuti. Hopefully your Thanksgiving was good with lots of snow. Thanksgiving was surprisingly really good here, but no we still haven't got any snow but I still have faith it could happen. Our Bishop knows about Thanksgiving so he invited us over for dinner; he even had a ham and mashed potatoes. I found a few people that have turkeys but that is for Christmas. Christmas is really big here so we have already had 4 offers for a Christmas dinner :)

My companion had a great idea this week to start looking for a lot more referrals. We started asking everyone for referrals and it's really helped us in doing the work and we have received a lot of referrals from members and investigators. We find a lot of new investigators knocking doors, but it's so much more effective if we get referrals.

On Sunday, we had a really busy day of work. While heading to one of our appointments, my companion said "Elder, we need to go to the referral." We had plans for other stuff but when the spirit says something, that's what you should do. We dropped what we were doing to try and find a referral we had received a few days earlier. We eventually found their house but no one was there. My companion was really disappointed because he was sure that that was what the spirit wanted us to do. I suggested another referral that we had and when I did, my companion got really excited and said "that's the one." We went and found them and they were "the one" that the spirit was guiding us to.

The person who gave us the referral just arrived at their home minutes before we arrived otherwise the people wouldn't have let us in. I was able to start the lesson with a prayer and as I did the spirit filled their home. The spirit told us exactly what to say and I know it touch them. Right as I finished the prayer, before we had taught a single principle, I asked them what they felt. With a few tears in her eyes, the mother replied, and I could tell she was feeling the spirit. It really is great serving the Lord!

Love, Elder Smith