Monday, April 25, 2011

Kamusta kayo,

Wow, Easter is already over! I can't believe it. People get kind of crazy here for Easter but it wasn't too bad. We saw a HUGE parade of about thirty thousand people walking down the street carrying their Santos (basically a huge Christ, Mary, or cross that they made). They closed down a major street to do it too. They also closed another street, built a huge stage, and did a seven day play of Christ's life and death. Some of the stuff they did wasn't exactly how the Bible describes it. There was one scene where they had "Roman" soldiers marching back and forth on the stage and every time the soldiers came out, the band would play "Onward Christian Soldiers" haha.

I had a nice Easter feast too. The APs took me and my companion out to eat on Saturday to a Mexican restaurant! They had burritos that weigh about a pound! It was awesome! I haven’t had a good Mexican meal in over a year and a half. It was the best Easter dinner I’ve ever had. Rice is good and all but a little variety never hurt anyone haha :)

This week had some ups and downs but it was good overall. We found this awesome new investigator. She is really receptive to the spirit so she already believes that Joseph Smith is a true Prophet. She even understands that because this is the true church, she needs to be baptized; she understands all of this and we have only taught her twice. Right after that lesson however, we got some upsetting news.

We have an investigator, Vanessa, who has been going to church for about six months with her grandma. Her mom is really busy so we can’t teacher her, but she was totally fine with Vanessa being baptized and us teaching her when she got time. We taught Vanessa everything and got her ready to be interviewed for baptism.

The day of the interview we went over to their house to see Vanessa crying. We don’t know the whole story, but for some reason Vanessa's mom doesn’t want anything to do with us and doesn’t want Vanessa to be baptized. She got in a fight with her boyfriend so we think she is just taking it out on us. We tried talking to her but any time we get close to her she yells at us and runs away. So we are just praying and hoping the Lord will soften her heart again.

So that is my week... I love you all and you are in my prayers.

Love, Elder Smith

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tapos na ang isa pang Linggo!

We got to see some pretty awesome stuff happen this week. Early Saturday morning, my companion and I got to go to the temple to an endowment of the first person I saw baptized, Linda Bidbid. I got really close to her and her family way back in my first area and she was finally able to go through the temple. It was really awesome for me to see them again and see how much she has grown in the gospel. I was really excited when I saw her baptized, but it was an even better feeling when I got to see her in the temple.

Right after we had finished at the temple, we rushed home for a baptism of our investigator, Genesis. Genesis is an awesome kid that has been going to church for six months now! He doesn't have any problems with the word of wisdom or anything else and he really wanted to be baptized but is dad wouldn't ever allow it. His dad is always busy at work too so we can't ever teach him and encourage him to let his son be baptized. My companion told Genesis that he just needed to pray every day that his dad would let him be baptized, and that’s what Genesis did. One day Genesis just asked his dad if it would be okay for him to be baptized and his dad said yes. To make things even better, his dad come to the baptism and I really think he felt the spirit. Hopefully his dad will find time to come to church or let us teach him or something.

I'd just like to point out how blessed we are back home to have members that are willing to speak in church. Last Sunday, I was asked to give a testimony in church because I was the new elder in the ward. So when the 1st counselor was looking for a replacement speaker this Sunday, I thought I was off the hook. They had no speaker for sacrament meeting so 30 minutes before we started, they decided to invite me to speak for 15 minutes. Of course I said yes and did my best to follow the spirit and give a talk for people I don't even know. But the spirit knows everything so it actually turned out really good.

It’s been a fast week but a good one. Thank you everyone for all your prayers and letters. I love you all.

Love, Elder Smith

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hello everyone,

Another week has already ended! It feels like I just emailed two days ago but now it's time to email again. This week I think I witnessed the healing of the sick. If you remember, my companion had to have an in-grown toenail removed last week. I watched them remove the nail and it looked pretty gross after she cut half of his toenail off. We were told that he would probably be up all night in pain and that he shouldn't work for the next three days. They gave him a little pain medicine but only enough for two days. By the end of the night, his toe was starting to hurt him pretty bad, and we have one thing that the doctor didn't know about; the priesthood.

Before the removal of my companion’s toenail, another doctor in our ward and I gave my companion a priesthood blessing. My companion slept the whole night without any pain in his toe. He had a little pain while we worked the next day but not very bad. They said he wouldn't be able to work for three days but we were out and working the very next day. That night he needed to change some of the gauze so I got my camera for evidence of his disgusting toe, but when he took off the bandage, I could barely tell that something had even happened to him. My companion never had to finish his pain medicine and by the second day his toe looked like normal. I have no idea how it healed so fast other than that the Lord had blessed him after we gave him a priesthood blessing. It was pretty cool to see.

We finally got to watch conference this week and it was way awesome. I loved all the talks and seeing how I can improve myself to better help the kingdom of God here on earth. I also really enjoyed the priesthood session about being a better priesthood holder and how big of a responsibility it is for us. Being on a mission, I’ve really learned to value the words of a living prophet. About 90% of the people we come in contact with say “it’s all one god, it doesn’t matter where or how you worship him.” Looking at some of the crazy ways they worship, I’m grateful for a prophet that tells us what we really should be doing as followers of Christ; not just following the false teachings of man. Like Elder Holland said, they are all angelic messengers of the Lord. We really are blessed.

Love, Elder Smith

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hey everyone,

I'm doing really well over here; the new area is great! It's way different than all my other areas. It is SO loud here! In my other areas, a lot of people couldn't afford a vehicle, but here it seems like everyone has one so there are always loud horns and exhausts wherever you go (exhaust here is totally different than back home because there are no sound laws).

I remember in one of my areas I could look over the Manila Bay and see the city and it always had a dark cloud of pollution around it. That is my area now and there really is a lot of pollution, because there are so many people living here that they literally live on top of each other.

The work here is a little different too. Out in the province, you can just knock on doors and people will let you in but not here in the city. Luckily, there are some really good members in the ward who give referrals and somehow we just get new investigators without really knocking on doors.

I did go to the hospital again this week, but it wasn't for me this time haha :) My companion had in-grown toenails that needed to be removed. I never thought I would be in hospitals so much while on my mission, but it seems like missionaries get sick a lot out here. However, the Lord always gets us back on our feet pretty quick and then we are out working again. We have been working hard this week and it looks like we are going to have a lot of success in the coming months.

Love, Elder Smith

Friday, April 1, 2011

Hi everyone,

I don't have a lot of time right now; I'm just writing to let all of you know why I didn't right on Monday. No one freak out or anything but I was in the hospital for a few days. I had a really high fever last week, but it got better on Thursday and on Friday, my stomach hurt just a little. The pain wasn't very bad so we just worked the day as normal but the pain got worse throughout the day.

That night I was up until 12:30 with a horrible pain in my abdomen and I couldn't stop throwing up. At 12:30 in the morning I couldn't take the pain anymore so I woke up my companion and we went to the hospital. They had to give me three things of pain killer before the pain went away and then they admitted me. They gave me some antibiotic medicine and I got a blessing and there was very little pain after that.

The doctor didn't want to let me go in case something was wrong so they ran a few blood tests, and I got an ultrasound (don't worry I'm not pregnant) and a CT scan. I wasn't really in any pain unless you pushed on my abdomen but they worried that it could be appendicitis, because they could see from the CT scan that there was a little swelling. We eventually just checked out because we had a meeting in Manila that we needed to be at.

President Howard has decided to transfer me off of Palawan so I can be close to the good hospital in Manila just in case something happens. I'm now working in Pasay with Elder Taylor; we were in the MTC together. This area is nothing but deep city! I went from the rural island of Palawan to deep city Manila, but it is an awesome area.

I've only worked today but I love this place and Elder Taylor is a really good companion. I might get to go back to Palawan but it isn't for sure yet. I think they are going to run a few test here, because the hospital is way more advanced than the last one I was in. So that's what is happening here. Don't worry I'm fine; I'll let you know if anything else happens and I'll reply to all of your letters next week.

Love, Elder Smith