Monday, January 31, 2011


We had a really good week with not too much stuff going on. We had interviews with President Howard which is always a good experience, and I also got to go on exchanges with the zone leaders. I have been on exchanges before, but that was when I was really new in the mission so I had no idea what they were even saying. I went on exchanges with Elder Smith so we had a lot of fun convincing people that we were brothers; really it wasn't very hard to do :) I had a really good day of work with Elder Smith, and I learned a lot about different teaching skills that I can improve.

A few days after our exchanges, I tried really hard to apply what I learned about asking questions to investigators to help them learn. It's kind of weird to think that asking questions can help someone learn new things but it really works. I "taught" a lesson to someone after the exchanges, but for the most part I only asked questions. Instead of having a plastic lecture, we had an actual conversation with me asking inspired questions and her realizing the answer was from the spirit. That experience helped me learn a lot about what is said about letting the spirit teach, not the missionary.

Other than that, things are going really well. I have just one complaint and that is that they have decided to shut the power off every day for the next two weeks... We will have it for a few hours every day but that's still questionable. This little town always has something fun going on in it :) Thank you for all your letters and prayers. I hope you all have an excellent week.

Love, Elder Smith

Monday, January 24, 2011

Kamusta po kayo,

I don't know about all of you back home, but time seems to be speeding up; it feels like I just emailed yesterday. We have been blessed these past few days for investigators, but they came straight from the Lord and not any finding on our part. We have had a few people come to church a couple of times that we hadn't noticed weren't members. We started talking to them and of course they were willing to let us go to their homes to teach them.

One person, whose name is Mary Rose, was one of those people who started coming to church without us ever meeting her. We went to her home to teach when we found out that she had already asked her parents if she could be baptized (all of this happened before our first contact with her). We gave her a baptismal date in the first lesson and she quickly accepted. We thought that was great until we found out that Mary Rose's parents wanted all of their children to go to church and to listen to us! We still don't even know how they found out about the church. Her parents are always working so we haven’t been able to teach them, but we will fast and pray that the Lord will make time so they can listen and go to church like their children.

We have another investigator that I'm really hoping will come to church this week. All of her family has been baptized, but in the six months that she has been listening to the missionaries with her husband, she hasn't really progressed towards baptism. I only got to meet her when we went to talk with her husband, but when I met her, the spirit was really strong about her being ready for the gospel.

We have taught her a few times now and I've been told that she is accepting our message a lot more than she ever has in the past. I've had a lot of spiritual experiences teaching her where the spirit has told me exactly what needed to be said, and she has begun to understand why the gospel is important. With the help of the spirit, she went from sitting in the corner to actually reading the Book of Mormon and praying. It has been fun having the spirit work through us to do the things we need to do.

Love, Elder Smith

Monday, January 17, 2011

Hello everyone,

It's been a super busy week for us. Whenever we have a meeting or activity, we have to drive two hours to the city called Puerto. We had to go to Puerto three times in one week for district meeting, zone conference, and for a zone activity. Needless to say, we've had a lot to do.

For our zone activity, we got to go to "The Underground River" which is the only time in our mission that we can ride a boat, but here we got to do it in a cave. It is pretty amazing to see the things that the Lord can create. We first got to see how the Lord has made a huge hole run under a mountain, and then we got to see how He can make the ocean a pretty rough place. We almost didn't get off the beach, because the huge waves kept pushing the boats back onto shore. Eventually, we were able to break through and get to the other beach where the car was parked.

The week wasn't all fun and games though; we had an amazing zone conference. In December, we set a new record in our mission for the highest baptisms in a month, but the APs and President know that we can do better. At zone conference, we focused on how we can change little things in ourselves to better help the mission. They did things a little different by having us go into a room by ourselves and "find our own sacred grove." We got to spend 30 minutes just praying and trying to listen to what the Lord would have us do. Of course on a mission we are always praying and trying to listen to the spirit of the Lord, but it's rare that we can do it alone.

I personally had an amazing experience just speaking one on one with my loving Heavenly Father. Someone later pointed out how great an opportunity it is that we can speak to an all knowing, all powerful Being whenever we need to. Prayer is something we shouldn't take lightly. I learned a lot from those 30 minutes, and I just wanted to invite all of you to take 30 minutes, by yourself, and have a conversation with the Lord. We are now using the things we learned from that experience to better ourselves to help better bring the Lord's children to him; it is a great work to be a part of.

Love, Elder Smith

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hello everyone,

First off, p-day was awesome! Because we are so far from President Howard, we have another "Mission President" here whose name is President Thomas. He is just like a mission president but is still a councilor to President Howard. President Thomas picked us up on our p-day and took me and three other missionaries to a place called Taytay. My area is the farthest area north but this place is another hour farther than mine. He took us there to look for an apartment so they can put new missionaries there.

After that, he let us check out an old Spanish fort on the beach. Then, he took us to a place called El Nido which is for sure the most beautiful beach I've seen in my life. That was the extent of my p-day, but I thought I would tell you about it and hopefully you don't get maingit (jealous) haha :) Don’t worry I will send you a few pictures when I get a chance. I had a really good time, but it was also great to do all that stuff with President Thomas and see the spirit that he always carries with him.

We have been really busy this week just trying to find people who are ready for the gospel. The people here are great and always welcome us into their homes but it is a little hard finding people who will seek for the truth and are willing to pray to receive an answer from the Lord. We found a family of twelve who are really receptive so we are just trying to work around their busy schedule to find time to teach them. Despite their busy schedule, three of them came to church and seemed to really enjoy it. They are so busy that it’s been hard to find time to even talk to them; but we have been praying for them and I have faith that the Lord will provide a way for them to listen.

That’s what’s going on in Roxas; thank you for all your prayers and letters. I love you all and I always keep you in my prayers.

Love, Elder Smith

Monday, January 3, 2011

Maligayang Bagong Taon,

I can’t believe it’s already 2011! The time is going way fast over here for me. My area is really great; I can see a lot of potential here. Right now we are actually working on two areas about 20 miles apart. We live in Roxas and we go to Magara about twice a week. We are hoping to start building that area and see if we can start a branch. The Magara area is actually where we seem to be having the most success. We are just trying to get the investigators over there to gain a strong enough testimony to be baptized and support a new branch. The funny thing is we have several eight and nine year old children that love going to church but I don’t think they are ready for a church calling in a branch. If you remember, I would appreciate your prayers asking the Lord to testify to the people in Magara. They enjoy learning the gospel and they believe it’s true because we say so, but they haven’t received a strong assurance from the Lord.

This area is very maganda (beautiful) with the ocean and mountains and jungles; it’s really far from city life. Over this week, I’ve wondered if this place is too far from city life because for some reason they like to shut the power off. There has only been one day this whole week where I’ve woken up and we still had electricity. The power usually goes off at about four in the morning and then comes back on at about 8:30. Do any of you know how hard it is to get a good shave while using a candle? Harder than shaving is trying to iron your shirt. Without power, the ironing isn’t possible; I know from experience. We were washing laundry this morning (by candle light) when the water stopped working too. But despite all the temporal stuff, I’m have a great time serving the Lord. I love you all.

Love, Elder Smith