Thursday, February 26, 2015

Week 3

Happy Thursday!

I am over halfway done here at the MTC! I can't believe how fast it is going now. Its scary that I'm going to be out of here in only 2 and a half more weeks buts its also so exciting to think about.

Well I received good news yesterday! A notice came in the mail saying that I will be going to Salt Lake City on Thursday, March 5th to the Mexican Consulate. So next P-Day. I'm not sure how long it will take and when I will be able to email that day but that means I'll be getting my Visa real soon I think! 

Not much happened this past week, but there are a few cool experiences I would like to share. This past Sunday in Sacrament Meeting I got to perform in the special musical number. Elder Stott, Hermana Haws, Hermana Myers and I sang A Child's Prayer acapella. We only practiced it for like 15 minutes the night before so I was a little worried about it but not really because it's a simple song. That song has always been special to me and the Spirit was so strong when we sang it. The Spirit that I felt was undeniable. 

Sunday night devotional was one I will always remember because I got to sit in the podium seats! Elder Stott was asked to give the opening prayer, and as his companion I have to be with him at all times. I wasn't complaining! Haha there were TVs right in front of us showing the face of the speakers and the special videos that are also on the projectors, but we couldn't see the projectors from the podium. I was really hoping for a General Authority to speak for that Devotional but I knew GAs really only come on Tuesday devotionals for some reason. It was still so sweet facing 1,500 missionaries during the meeting. I tried extra hard not to fall asleep or pick my nose during that devotional because they would all be looking at me...haha just kidding I would never do that anyways ;) 

We had a great speaker for the Tuesday night devotional. I mean they're all great but there were some gems said on Tuesday night. The speakers were Gérald Caussé and his wife. He's the First Counselor of the Presiding Bishopric of the Church. I'm pretty sure he has spoken in General Conference recently. Sister Caussé talked about how the power of the Holy Ghost is a superpower. She even talked about Spiderman and Superman in her strong french accent. It was kind of funny. I never thought about it like that, but it really is super human. We have been given the power of God, nothing is more powerful. 

Brother Caussé spoke about one of the greatest missionaries to walk the earth, Paul. In 1 Corinthians chapter 2, Paul talks about how inadequate he felt. He said that he wasn't a good speaker, he had fear, and that he felt weak. Those are all things that I and a lot of us feel on a daily basis. Paul literally trembled with fear but he was able to be an incredible missionary because he relied on the power of The Lord, not the power of himself. Brother Caussé said, "It is not about the wisdom of men, but of the power of God." That is why The Lord sends out 18-19 year old young men and women to teach the restored gospel. Yes, there are older, smarter, more mature people the Lord could send but when we tremble in inadequacy, all we can do is rely on The Lord. And that is all we need. 

Here are a couple of other quotes from Brother Caussé that I really liked:

"When you are on the Lord's errand, you are entitled to His help."

"Look at yourself as the Lord looks at you."

"A bold missionary is a humble missionary."

It was such a great talk, I wonder if they post them online anywhere. Also, there is a video I want you all to watch even though it's directed towards missionaries. We watched it during class one morning and it is one of the most powerful videos I have seen in a while. I think it is only on YouTube. The title of the video is "Missionary Work and The Atonement." The video shows cuts of Elder Holland and President Eyring speaking with a video of Christ's crucifixion. It is powerful. 

Always Remember Christ and what he did for us. Recuérdele! 

Thank you for sending pictures from home! It was so awesome seeing all the snow you're getting!

Love you!!! 
Elder Smith

Thursday, February 19, 2015

P-day #2

P-day number two is here! A lot of things happened this week. This last week has really been a roller coaster of emotions. One minute you are down and discouraged about absolutely everything, and then the next moment you have super high spirits and are the happiest you've ever been. The emotional extremes by themselves are exhausting, but then add the incredibly busy schedule and it's even more impossible to get through a day. But the strange thing is I really love it. 

Last Sunday I was asked to give a talk in sacrament meeting completely in Spanish! The topic for last Sunday was persevering to the end. How it works is everybody is supposed to prepare like they are speaking in sacrament meeting and we take the Sacrament, President Doman stands up and announces who will be speaking. I had a strong feeling he was going to choose me to speak because the week before he told me that he saw something special in me, which surprised me. Usually 3 missionaries speak during Sacrament Meeting and I was the only "newbie" missionary who was asked to give their talk in Spanish. The two other Elders from my district who spoke were just asked to bare their testimonies in English! Definitely not fair haha.

For the MTC choir performance this week we sang "Consider the Lillies." Oh man I love that song so much, it was so awesome singing it with so many talented missionaries. We performed during the Tuesday night devotional. That's when the choir always sings. The Sunday night devotional was really special too. The special musical number was a group of five Elders that are going to serve in the Netherlands. I forgot what song they sang but they switched back and forth from English to Dutch and it sounded so sick! I've come to know that singing in Spanish is way better than singing in English. Well I guess it depends on the song but the way that Spanish flows so much better than English it sounds really nice. I prefer saying my prayers in Spanish too even though I only know a limited amount of things to say in a prayer in Spanish. I speak a lot of "Spanglish" in my personal prayers. I'm pretty sure the Lord understands Spanglish (:

Also, it was so cool seeing Josh again for our Tuesday morning service assignment. He showed the whole district his proposal video and it was way cool! I thought to myself earlier in the week that I remembered he was going to pop the question on Valentine's day. I'm bummed that I'm going to miss all the festivities but making sacrifices is all part of the mission. 

Pretty much most of class and study time is dedicated to either Language study or lesson preparation. We have TRC three times a week, which is teaching either teaching our progressing investigator or we teach volunteer members a short 20 minute lesson. Almost every day we role play with all of our teachers as they pretend to be an investigator that they taught on their mission. Right now my companions and I are teaching 4 different investigators multiple times a week. That is not including the two lessons we teach the volunteer members every Monday night. It is very stressful and difficult to remember which investigator is which and what their individual needs are.

Throughout this week I felt a little discouraged because I didn't feel that I have been progressing as fast as I want to. I felt like I was stuck in a rut for the majority of the week. I've been asking God for help to give me energy and a clear mind throughout the day. I've never prayed so much in my life. Everyday I probably pray 10-15 times so I have a lot of opportunities to speak to God about how I feel and ask for help and guidance. My testimony of prayer as grown exponentially in these 2 weeks. It was yesterday after a really good lesson with Santiago (Who is really our teacher Hermano Bush) I realized that went in with nothing but a Libro de Mormón and faith and was able to teach him what I wanted to teach him. If we trust in out Heavenly Father, I know he will answer our prayers and give us comfort and peace. 

Thank you for all of your prayers because I definitively can feel the blessings! I love you and hope the family has a great week!

Con Amor,  

Elder Smith

Thursday, February 12, 2015

First p-day e-mail!

Hi Mom!!!
My first P-Day has been awesome so far! We woke up really early like at 5:45 to go to the temple with my zone. It was such a special experience to do a session with our zone. We have grown so close and we are one big family away from home. We all have different stories and backgrounds and are so different its amazing how close we have become in just one week. But wow, where to start. The food is good, but not amazing. I think its just Cannon center food. The best part is the unlimited ice cream! :) There are orange creamsicles, rootbeer float ice cream popsicle things, ice cream sandwiches and other stuff and you can just grap whatever you want. The first few days I went crazy with that stuff but I started eating healthier and work out with the other elders every Gym period because it just makes you feel better physically. 
 Like I said in my hand written letter, I am in a trio companionship. Elder Holmes and Elder Stott are my two companions. They are so amazing and we've just become such great friends. Elder Holmes in serving in Guadalajara Mexico and Elder Stott is serving in San Jose, Costa Rica. We are the only foreign missionaries in our zone. Elder Stott is the white muscular one and Elder Holmes is the Spanish looking Elder. I know we took a picture with Josh on our service project morning but I have more pictures with us that other Elders took with their cameras. Hopefully they can send them to me and I can relay them to you at some point. 
 The language is coming along but it is really frustrating trying to teach lessons and having a language barrier. We've been teaching an "Investigator" almost every day all in spanish. She is actually a teacher here and already a member, I think, but they don't tell you that so the experience is as real as it can be. I have learned that as long as you focus on bringing the spirit into the lessons, it can still be a great lesson even with the language barrier. This has reaffirmed my testimony of the power of the Holy Ghost. I will have an idea of what to say or how to answer her questions (Valeria is our Investigator) but I can't figure out how to say what I want to so many times and its really tough. I understand a lot more spanish and can pick up a lot of what she is saying to me though which is cool.  I heard from an RM here that Mexicans speak some of the fastest Spanish in the world and no matter what I learn here, I'm going to go into the field and not understand anything for a few weeks...great hahaha. I want to learn as much as I can here at the MTC though, and be as prepared as possible. It is pretty tough to stay diligent and focused crammed in a small room in class for 8 hours a day, especially cause everyone gets along with each other so much we get distracted. My companions have a bigger problem then me at staying focused and that't the only thing that I can say poorly about them. Its the Lord's time and it bothers me when its wasted at times throughout the day. 
 Its hard for me to not have any alone time and it overwhelmed me a bit in the first few days but I am getting used to it and the incredibly busy schedule. We almost have no down time from when I wake up until I lay my head down at night. I really needed this P-Day for some R&R. I also got to sing in the MTC choir for devotional this past tuesday! It was such a cool experience, I can't wait for a General authority to come speak one week so we can sing for him. 
 In this first week at the MTC we have had a couple meetings with the branch President Doman, which have really been more like testimony meetings. And both times everyone just weeps as the testimonies are being shared. The Spirit is so strong in those meetings it is tangible. What really got everyone was when Sister Doman started talking about our future sons and how they are going to rely on your experiences as a Missionary and look at you for answers and see you as the most incredible man they know. I can't really explain it very well but wow it was powerful. What she described was exactly how I look at Dad and exactly what I want to be to my children. I love the MTC so much, I know Christ walks these halls looking over his army. Where else in the world are you going to see 18-20 year old young men and women preparing to share the teachings with Christ all day everyday to preach the truth to the World? I know this is sacred ground and there is an explicable feeling here. 
 I love you all so much. I hope all is well.
 Love, Elder Smith

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

February 5, 2015 written letter home

¡Hola Familia!
Josh(brother), Elder Stott, Elder Smith, Elder Holmes, Abby(cousin)

Well I am alive and well.  I ran into Monica right when my shuttle pulled into the MTC and I got to say hi to Josh today.  Well I think it was today even though it seems I saw him so long ago.  These first few days go on forever, but other Elders say after the first week it goes a lot faster.  There is so much to write about but I have no time between the last class and lights out.  We met our Branch President, President Doman tonight.  He is a huge BYU football fan and has a son playing on the team.  I know there have been a lot of Domans on the team throughout the years.  Like Brandon Doman.  I think President Doman is his uncle.  He told us we could write a letter home today because our first p-day will be next Thursday.  Tomorrow morning my companions and I (we are a trio) are teaching an investigator in full Spanish.  There is no place like the MTC and I know I will continue to love it more and more as time moves on.  My companions are Elder Holmes and Elder Stott.  They are the coolest guys and I will be able to talk about them more in my emails on p-day.  Elder Holmes is going to Guadalajara Mexico and Elder Stott is going to San Jose, Costa Rica.  I am starting to think that if I get my visa soon that I won't want to leave Provo until the six weeks!  I know that this is where I need to be.  This place is a place of miracles.  Elders that have been here for just a couple of months seem like they have been here for a year because they know so much about the language and they have such a light in their eyes.  This is a lot more than I was planning to write but I could go on and on.  I love you all and I think about you often when I'm not thinking about learning Spanish.  I will have a lot more time to write on p-day and typing will be a lot faster.


Elder Smith