Monday, December 27, 2010

Bonne Année et Bon Anniversaire pour moi!!!!!

Well this will be short because I'm back on a french keyboard and it is too frustrating to type.
I absolutely loved seeing all of you! I didn't get so see jen but I loved the text shout out! Christmas was a little wierd for me, just because I was teaching people on the streets and giving lessons then I TALKED WITH MY FAMILY and then I came back to the real world of speaking french and teaching people. Needless to say it wasn't part of my normal routine, but It was great. I thought that it was great being able to skype, I wasn't sure how everyone was going to fit in the den, but you pulled it off. I thought it was super cool and I'm glad I got to see everyone. Expect JENS, I saw you for like 2 seconds and then you went of hiding from me. I'll have to thump on you when I get back, but even if it was short for some of you, know that I love you and I loved seeing you.

Périgueux is really pretty. There are 3 cathedrals and a river that runs through the city with 6 or 7 bridges that cross it. It is more in the forest than Carcassonne. Carcassonne was like a castle surrounded by vineyards and Périgueux is like a little city hidden in the hills and the woods. It is really pretty.

I'm with Elder Heywood, he is from Arizona and I love him. We laugh it up all day and it is super fun. He is a great missionary, but right now he is struggling a little bit with the language. Were going to fix that. President told me to really speak french with him so that is what we have been doing, he is already getting alot better. We both are young and we want to see some miracles here, so we are going to DO WORK!

1.What kind of history does this area have? Branch/ Ward Do you have a building or is it a rented place? Périgueux is Branch and has a Building, Elder Magnan was in Périgueux last transfer and did alot of good work here. Apparently they had some less than awesome missionaries here, about 1 year or so ago, and ever since the city has been suffering a little. But it is on the mend now and we are going to see baptisms soon.

2. How big is the ward? How does it compare to Carcasonne in size as far as members goes? It is a Branch with about 40 to 50 active members

3, Who is getting baptized on your Birthday?
His name is Simon and he actually got really sick this sunday and couldn't come to church so he is getting baptised on the 9th. Now it's just a late birthday present.

4. What is your apartment like?
European. It over looks a little ally way and other buildings and is about the size of the Den with a tiny kitchen and bathroom, I haven't visited a lot of apartments but I heard that is one of the smallest in the mission

5. From the map it looks like you are further North and closer to the Bay of Biscay is it colder? Yeah it is chilly, I wear pyjamas underneath my suit

6. What does being the District Leader entail? How big is your district?
I do calls everynight to check on the other companionships and I do exchanges with every missionary in the district to help him find better ways to work, I do district meetings and train the missionaries in the distirct 3 times during the transfer. I do baptismal interviews for the amis in our district. Our district is Brive, Périgueux and Bergerac, it is one of the smaller districts in the mission. There are only 6 missionaries

7. Who are your amis? Périgueux doesn't have a whole lot of amis for the moment, but we have Simon-male 25, Olivier -male 35, Chantal -female 35 that are progressing.

I love you all!!!!!!! Happy Birthday Mom! and Happy New Year!!!

Elder Smith

Monday, December 20, 2010

Les Photos du Noel de Elder Smiss

Missionary Dinner in Toulouse




Conchita Serge and I



Elder Smith jerkin and soulja boyin for his 6 month mark




Angel Elder Smith



Brother Vital and I



La Famille Martin

JOYEUX NOEL ! from Perigueux

Actually I'm not in Periguex yet but I will be for Christmas. Right now I'm in Toulouse and you are all sleeping. I was waiting for my train, and I have 4 HOURS in between my trains so we decided to go find a Cyber Cafe in Toulouse. I'm not sitting in a very crapped room with 12 computers and my luggage. This whole mission thing is and A.D.V.E.N.T.U.R.E. In Periguex I have been assigned to be the senior companion and the District Leader. I'm not going to lie, I'm a little intimidated and nervous and I wouldn't mind at all for some prayers. :)

It was really hard for me to leave Carcassonne, I've really grown to love them so much, I said goodbye to Sabrina, Conchita, Vanessa, Carlos, Serge, The Kerseys, The Martins, and My Basketballers. I feel like have known them all for years, and I only got to Carcassonne 4 and a half months ago. The Bishop asked me to speak for my last time, I talked about Charity and Love. Because it is the thing that I have seen the most in Carcassonne. As a stranger that came to them, that didn't speak their language, they clothed me, feed me, helped me and accepted me. and Also the Lord blessed me to be an instrument in his hands to bring 2 souls into the waters of baptism. I've only been on my mission for 6 six months as of last Thursday, but I feel like have been in the presence of these people for years. I love them so much. It breaks my heart to know that I won't see many of them until we meet again before our Heavenly Father.

I talked with Carlos and Oridette Bento over the phone because Sister Bento was sick and they couldn't come to church, as we talked and said our goodbyes they begain to thank me for being their missionary, as we said goodbye Sister Bento began to cry and she just said in her french/portuguese "viens au temple, viens au temple!!" I felt one of the strongest joys that I have ever felt, in knowing that I was able to be a tool of the Lord by helping 2 precious souls return to their father. I will never forget this time that I have had and I know that I came across the world to teach Carlos, and If that is all that I do, it will be worth it. I hope to return to Madrid, Spain for their marriage in 2012 just after I've finished my mission.

This weekend was full of similar experiences, and I pray that the Lord will continue to bless these people.

Also this weekend we had a missionary dinner in Toulouse, we had a talent show and a dinner that the members of Toulouse prepared for all the missionaries in the stake. It was really great, it was there that president pulled me aside and gave me my new assignment, I was surprised and I still am a little surprised, but I'm excited to hit the ground in Perigeux and keep learning and working.

We also had a ward talent show, I don't have all the pictues yet, but it was a HOOT! I was the angel in the nativity, me and elder Sautron sang and I played Viva la Vida on the guitar while Brother Vital Danced! he is 65 and teaches karate and I absolutely love him, by the end of the song we were both dancing while I played the guitar. It was hilarious I'll send pictures later and maybe a video if I can get a hold of one.

Last Night we also have a family night with the Bishop, we had a big meal and we help them decorate the house and the christmas tree, we were laughing dancing, listening to Christmas music (mo-tab) and eating treats next to an open fire. IT WAS THE SOUTH OF FRANCE!!! and definitly a christmas that I'll always remember, we played board games and arm wrestles and it was fun to just have little bit of christmas

As for Chirstmas Calls. I'm not sure how this will work, because I'm still not in Periguex, but I will do everything I can to call at 11 o'clock in the morning Utah Time, I don't know it that will be skype or if that will just be with the phone. sorry that this has not been super organized, but I promise that we will talk some how.

I love you all!!!
and I'm excited to hear from you all (and maybe see you all)

MERRY CHRISTMAS Elder Matt Smith


Friday, December 17, 2010

Yo What up?

So I was half way through my email and I got some weird virus prank thing on my computer and now I lost everything! Stinkin' Internet Cafe's

This Week was good but now I have no time to tell you about it.
I got both of the Packages this week, I got the Christmas package before the other one, I don't know how it happened! Me and Elder Sautron are still not really nsync (by by by), but we are doing better. Little by little we are working out the kinks, but needless to say we had an INTENSE campionship inventory this week. wow. almost World War 3. but it's all good now. I did an split with Elder Allen, and I think that I laughed for about 24 hours straight, It was so fun. We decided that we are going to be companions before the end of our missions, I don't how we will work it out, but it is going to happen. We both have the same attitude about missionary work, and it was fun again, not to say that it isn't fun with elder sautron, but it was nice to be happy to work again, not just tired and sluggish.

Shout Outs:MOM AND DAD: Happy Anniversary!!! One of your best choices by far in my opinion! One Choice = One Beautiful Family
JEANELL AND KY: Happy Anniversary! Another great choice, I gave you less (!) because I'm not a result of your choice, but I really do hope that you both have great anniversary's
PORTER: Wow you are big and I can't believe it. Don't grow up too fast, I love you and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
JEN: We can never trust him again.
MIKEY: Toss up between Lady in Red and Stop, Hammer Time

Questions:
1. How are things going? See above paragraph

2. You said that you had learned alot about yourself like what?
I've learned how to motivate myself without the help of some else, and I've also learned that a companionship doesn't work very well when we are not trying to learn -what I mean by that is...if we make mistakes and start blaming the other person, we go know where, but when we realize we aren't perfect and that we are just going to learn and be different the following time. When we have the attitude of learning and trying new things we improve, but when we have the attitude of blaming and being negative, we don't improve and our relationship weakens.

3. Who are your amis now?
Joel - engaged to be baptised but smokes
Caroline - engaged to be baptised but smokes
Conchita - she lives in our stairwell and she is really lonely and sad, and the day that I heard grandma was sad and lonely I asked her if we could teach her, she said yes and turns out she prays everynight to know the truth, she is now reading the book of mormon and engaged to be baptised when she gets the answer to her prayer. I love her, she is great!
Caroline 2 - girl friend of member, they are getting married and she is engaged to be baptised and she accepts EVERYTHING, she wants be married in the temple so bad!
Jeremy and Lucas - Young students that are interested in the mormons
Ally - Young Budtist, hippy, super smart guy, that is interested in the mormons.
VANESSA AND BENOIT - we taught them on saturday and they agreed to keep being taught!!!! I'm pumped for that
4. Do you have interviews with the president? YES If so how often? once every 3 months.

I love you all and I will know on Friday if I'm being transfered or if i'm going to stay in Carcassonne! Thanks for the packages and emails they were great!

Bonnes Fetes!
Love Elder Smith


Christmas package!!!! (it was perfect! scarfs, ties, pens, ihome, SCOTCH-A-ROOS, camera, gloves, jello and fruit snacks!, wow I loved it and I love you, thank you soooo much!)


Elder Sautron and I


Oh just Elder Smith and Elder Allen doing a little bit of service together in a little village named Capendu in the South of France, no biggee


Me and my Basket-Balla's David and Leo


Service Project this morning (we were cutting firewood with a chainsaw, they were impressed that I could just a chainsaw well - it wasn't impressive, I give the credit to Dad for teaching me at the rental houses)


Elder Smith eating some Fruit by the Foot like a Champion (I love American Candy, thanks for sending it)

Monday, December 6, 2010

C'est Decembre Deja?

Wow! I can't believe that it is already December and I have less than 2 weeks left of my 3rd transfer. I feel like Elder Magnan just left! I hope that you are all doing well and that the Christmas preparations are going well, I'm assuming that you all survived Black Friday, and that you all already done your shopping?...yeah right... wishful thinking. Bon Courage and Bon Chance!
It is a little different for me, It is my first Christmas that I won't be doing much shopping, caroling, following traditions, Family dinners, Layton Park Lights, being at the front of the line as we singing "we wish you a Merry Christmas". But it is probably the Christmas that I will be the most focused on the real importance of Christmas. Seeing as all I do everyday is talk about Jesus with everyone, what a blessing!

I had an interesting conversation this week with my companion, we had just left a appointment and we were talking about our ami. His name is Phillipe and he knows the doctrine super well, if he gets baptized he will be a stake president in about 2 days. But he lacks the spirit and that is something that would keep him from being baptized. In most of our appointments the lesson always gets led back to Adam and Eve, he is super smart and he talks DEEP doctrine (kolob, plural marriage, etc etc) and he has really studied the Fall of Adam and Eve as well. He had brought up some good points and we told him that we would talk about them at our next appointment. What it came down to was, that God is perfect so how could he allow/create something that wasn't perfect. As we talked I came to realize that yes, the fall of Adam as negative side effects (pain, death, sorrow) and if we focus on just the Fall it seems like god created something with flaws, I then realized that we weren't looking at the whole picture, The Atonement. The atonement is the cure to the fall, and I've heard that a thousand times in Sunday school and seminary, but I then realized that I didn't understand the atonement. There is lots of bad things in the world, sin, pain, anger, sickness, wars, and I realized that the atonement erases ALL of that, 100%! It struck me that the fall was perfect because there was also a perfect sacrifice. I don't know if this makes sense, but by the end of the night I learned on a whole new level, the power of the atonement, the Greatest of all Christmas Gifts.

Speaking of Christmas- I don't know anything, but just by noticing the patterns that President uses with transfers, I will most likely be transfered the week before Christmas. That means that I have no answers about calls or anything, and most likely if you haven't send the Christmas package, I won't see it until the beginning of February, sorry. If you are a risk taker you can send the packages as late as the 10th but if not, it is probably smarter to send it to the mission office. If I stay in Carcassonne there is a member here that told me I can skype from his house and that the missionaries did it there last year. I have only 1 hour to talk so you can organize yourselves as you like, but I want to speak to all of you. Most likely I will be calling anywhere from 6 to 8 o'clock Christmas Night here, that is anywhere from 10 to noon Christmas morning for you.

For My Birthday- I don't really know. Another SD Card full of pictures? I think that sending me to France was already a good enough present.

This Transfer has been a transfer of lessons, we haven't seen the same success because we haven't worked as well. I hate saying that, I don't want to waste these 2 years, and I feel like we could have been more efficient these past weeks, but if nothing else I have learned a lot about myself and about the work I can do for the Lord.

This week was good, nothing really new and I'm running out of time, the trail that I was following is cold for the moment because we got led to a Jewish man that is in Toronto until next week, we will follow up and see what happens.

Jens Happy Birthday !! I am officially Old, you'll be 11 tomorrow and I'm on a mission. I'm practically already in the grave...its depressing


This letter isn't very exciting, but It was a good week and after a REALLY good fast sunday I feel energized and ready to work hard, and now I'm going to go find some baptisms!!!

I love you all!!! BEAUCOUP BEAUCOUP!

LOVE
Elder Matt

PS this week we ate with members 7 times in 8 days, and I think that I might be getting a mission addition (belly), If you want to send me anything send it low Fat!

Just kidding, Send the good stuff and I'll just have to do more sit ups in the morning.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm Grateful for you all

Bonjour Tout le monde!
Je vous aime beaucoup et je suis vraiment reconnaissant pour tout ce que vous m'apportez! Je ne sais pas pourquoi, mais je me suis senti comme si c'etait nécessaire de vous dire ça en francais.


(TRANSLATION: Hello everybody! I love you very much and I am really recognizing for all that you bring me! I do not know why, but I felt as if it was necessary to you say that in french)

I realized this week that I don't know how to speak english anymore. I have spoken only in french for almost 1 month. Before when I was with Elder Magnan I spoke english for at least 2 hours out of the day, and once a week I spoke english with the Kersey Family. I still speak english with the Kerseys once a week for an hour and a half (ps pictures included are Thanksgiving with the Kersey Family). But aside from that I don't speak english. This week we were in the road and we stopped to talk to someone and he didn't speak french. He was german, and Elder Sautron asked him if he spoke english, the man said yes and then Elder Sautron said, "my companion speaks english" he then turned to me, I tried to speak, but I've never been a missionary in english, the words for a contact and the restoration and the gospel were not in my brain, I know them but I haven't put them into a sentence for 5 months!! I tried to talk to the man and he understood but he looked at me like I didn't know what I was doing. It was a short contact, but I struggled for 30 seconds and then he told us he had to catch a train, It was really funny. Elder Sautron and I laughed for about 5 minutes about how awkward the contact was. I'm going to practice and I hope that I'll be able to communicate with you at Christmas.


This week I ate Thanksgiving with the Kerseys, It was great! Straight up fantastic! The ward was really nice too. I had about 5 families talk to me during the week and last sunday asking me if I was going to eat with the members for Thanksgiving, the holiday doesn't exist at all in France but all the members knew that the Elders needed to be fed on the 4th Thursday of November, It was really kind of the Kerseys to prepare so much for us. We ate Turkey, Chicken, Stuffing, Pie, Brussel sprouts, Mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, non-alcholic champange, Gravy, Turn-ups and Repeat. They just kept putting food on our plates! I had prepared myself and I didn't have a big lunch, just Bread and Cheese...and the cheese was cold :)..loft. Needless to say, I was stuffed and completely dilighted, I think that I was eating just as you were starting the cheese ball and all the Thanksgiving traditions.


As far as missionary work goes, this week was a little rough. No worries, when I say a little rough, it is never depressing. We laugh for most of the day, and just walk and talk amongest ourselves and with people on the road. It was just a little tough because our amis' aren't all progressing and we had planned to have 6 people at church, and we had 1. Sunday makes it or breaks it, we prepare all weak to get people to church and to follow our commitments and sometimes it is awesome, like the week with Carlos, and sometimes it just falls through.


Little Story. This week we were on the same street as the church and I saw a lady do a double take at the church and look at the sign. Busted! I knew she was somewhat interested, I started the contact. "Hi! Do you want a tour of the church!?" she said ok and we showed her around, she asked "Where are the statues and the crosses?" I told her that there wasn't any, and then shared a 2 minutes explination of Joe-sef Smis (Joesph Smith with a french accent), she told us that we could pass by her house, but the adress seem fake. We passed by her house last night and sure enough it was a fake address and in fact it was a jewish family that told me that the messiah was coming and that I was going to suffer, I told them that he already came :) Needless to say they weren't super interested and in a last effort to make us leave the man said "the lady accross the street is interested talk with her. He wasn't serious at all and he closed the door. Elder Sautron turned to walk away and I turned around to the door across the street. Elder Sautron asked me what I was doing, and I told him that were were going to follow this path, of people until there was really no body. We then rang the bell of the other house, it was a old german lady, she told us that she loved Jesus and the truth wasn't on the earth anymore, we then told her that it was restored, We have an appointment tonight with her, we are going to follow it and I feel good about it, even if she is not interested, we are on the path of somebody.

I hope that is finds you well and that everyone had a great Turkey Day!
LLLLOVE Elder Smis





Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Joyeux Thanksgiving!

Dear everyone,
Thank you for the letters, I loved hearing about Taylor, Jake and Trent. Did Charlie make it to chile? Is Ren in the same country as me? Where is Mark? Is he frozen?
I was SO SO excited to hear that David Parker got his mission call and that is going to join my in the vineyard, and I'm also super excited for Elder Jones 2 (Cameron), I'm super excited for them. Does anyone know what Paul Wuthrich is doing? Hope all is well.
I'm not gonna lie, hearing about the Christmas Picnic tugged at my heart stringles a little, and also I'm a little bummed that I won't be joining in the Turkey Bowl this year. But I am also very glad to be hear in Carcassonne even if Thanksgiving doesn't exist, (that is such a sad phrase "Thanksgiving doesn't exist"). You all need to eat double portions for me. I heard that there was 2 feet of snow at the Winter Picnic, that sounds like antartica. I am cold, but I think that it has tappered off, It is kind of like end of september climate hear, and I think that it will stay like that, till about March. Appartently the most it snows here is about 3 inches. Not terrible. The cold thing in Carcassonne is the wind. It seems like it is always breezy or windy here, I need to buy a scarf, cause its a little bit chilly.
This week was.......ok I'll just tell you like it is.....hard. (There have been complaining that the missionary work here is too peachy, and I've been asked to be more negative) I'm not going to complain because its probably one of my biggest pet peaves after the MTC. I think that I was a whiny child, and I'm sorry cause I hated listening to missionaries complain at the MTC. This week was hard, but it is not the fault of France or someone else, besides Satan. Oh geez Satan is a jerk. Our Amie Vanessa.....She has been engaged for 7 months to be baptised on the 4th of December, she has prayed and recieved a testimony and she as felt the spirit and she told us that she knew that she need to be baptised. She is getting married this weekend, and orginally she decided to get married so that she could get baptised. Well last week she got ready and she headed off to church with her fiance and her son. They were running late and they were a little embarrassed to come into sacarment meeting late, just then, this is why I've got a grudge against Satan, they heard the bells ring from the great and abominable church, they stopped and thought "well we haven't been to mass in a long time, maybe we can go this week to see a difference." To make a very long story short, they went to the catholic church for sunday and there the fiance felt better because, it was not the mormon church, she was happy that he was happy and she felt the feelings of her childhood. After 7 months of missionaries teaching them, countless prayers, fasts, and they have decided that the catholic church is the church for them. Needless to same, my heart is broken, I have never felt so happy, than the moment that she told us that she KNEW that she need to be baptised and just 7 days later, she doesn't want to be a part of the church and I don't know if I've ever been more sad. Don't worry we're not going to let her off the hook that easy, but for this week with their marriage, we'll have to wait.
Also this week as been a little rough with Elder Sautron, we get along great, but we have really different ideas about missionary work. He is the senior companion, but I like my ideas. and in my opinion they work better. I know that I'm just being prideful but it has been a little frustrating as we teach, we laugh a lot together and we really do get along, but we have different personalities, I think that I'm going to let him lead, because after all we was called by our mission president to be my leader. BUT, if it crashes and burns this week, we are going to go back to my ideas.
Q&A
1. Where do your French companions go to the MTC at? Madrid, Spain

2. Do you do service every week? Yes, we helped someone move. helped someone sand a door and stuff for painting. gathered firewood in the forest. Organized and prepared a cabin for winter, Cleaned. Just random stuff.

3. Shelley told me that the French celebrate Christmas on the 9th of December is that right? I don't think so, if she is right then they have missed planned the Christmas program in Carcassonne

4. Does the mission have special things planned for Christmas? Talent Show and Zone Conference at the end of the transfer, we are working on a doozey of a sketch "Missionary Celebrity Jeopary" we'll see how it goes
Even if this we was hard. I'm still happy and loving the mission field. I feel like I've seen ALOT of Carcassonne, and I've contacted lots of people more that once. But I'm sure that there are still some elects that are hiding from me. I'll get them this week.
I love you all, Ben good luck with residency, Sara that your for the note. Tres, tell everyone at the Turkey Bowl hello. Happy Thanksgiving!!!!
Love Elder Matt

Monday, November 22, 2010

Joyeux Thanksgiving!

Dear everyone,

Thank you for the letters, I loved hearing about Taylor, Jake and Trent. Did Charlie make it to chile? Is Ren in the same country as me? Where is Mark? Is he frozen?
I was SO SO excited to hear that David Parker got his mission call and that is going to join my in the vineyard, and I'm also super excited for Elder Jones 2 (Cameron), I'm super excited for them. Does anyone know what Paul Wuthrich is doing? Hope all is well.

I'm not gonna lie, hearing about the Christmas Picnic tugged at my heart stringles a little, and also I'm a little bummed that I won't be joining in the Turkey Bowl this year. But I am also very glad to be hear in Carcassonne even if Thanksgiving doesn't exist, (that is such a sad phrase "Thanksgiving doesn't exist"). You all need to eat double portions for me. I heard that there was 2 feet of snow at the Winter Picnic, that sounds like antartica. I am cold, but I think that it has tappered off, It is kind of like end of september climate hear, and I think that it will stay like that, till about March. Appartently the most it snows here is about 3 inches. Not terrible. The cold thing in Carcassonne is the wind. It seems like it is always breezy or windy here, I need to buy a scarf, cause its a little bit chilly.

This week was.......ok I'll just tell you like it is.....hard. (There have been complaining that the missionary work here is too peachy, and I've been asked to be more negative) I'm not going to complain because its probably one of my biggest pet peaves after the MTC. I think that I was a whiny child, and I'm sorry cause I hated listening to missionaries complain at the MTC. This week was hard, but it is not the fault of France or someone else, besides Satan. Oh geez Satan is a jerk. Our Amie Vanessa.....She has been engaged for 7 months to be baptised on the 4th of December, she has prayed and recieved a testimony and she as felt the spirit and she told us that she knew that she need to be baptised. She is getting married this weekend, and orginally she decided to get married so that she could get baptised. Well last week she got ready and she headed off to church with her fiance and her son. They were running late and they were a little embarrassed to come into sacarment meeting late, just then, this is why I've got a grudge against Satan, they heard the bells ring from the great and abominable church, they stopped and thought "well we haven't been to mass in a long time, maybe we can go this week to see a difference." To make a very long story short, they went to the catholic church for sunday and there the fiance felt better because, it was not the mormon church, she was happy that he was happy and she felt the feelings of her childhood. After 7 months of missionaries teaching them, countless prayers, fasts, and they have decided that the catholic church is the church for them. Needless to same, my heart is broken, I have never felt so happy, than the moment that she told us that she KNEW that she need to be baptised and just 7 days later, she doesn't want to be a part of the church and I don't know if I've ever been more sad. Don't worry we're not going to let her off the hook that easy, but for this week with their marriage, we'll have to wait.
Also this week as been a little rough with Elder Sautron, we get along great, but we have really different ideas about missionary work. He is the senior companion, but I like my ideas. and in my opinion they work better. I know that I'm just being prideful but it has been a little frustrating as we teach, we laugh a lot together and we really do get along, but we have different personalities, I think that I'm going to let him lead, because after all we was called by our mission president to be my leader. BUT, if it crashes and burns this week, we are going to go back to my ideas.


Q&A
1. Where do your French companions go to the MTC at? Madrid, Spain
2. Do you do service every week? Yes, we helped someone move. helped someone sand a door and stuff for painting. gathered firewood in the forest. Organized and prepared a cabin for winter, Cleaned. Just random stuff.

3. Shelley told me that the French celebrate Christmas on the 9th of December is that right? I don't think so, if she is right then they have missed planned the Christmas program in Carcassonne

4. Does the mission have special things planned for Christmas? Talent Show and Zone Conference at the end of the transfer, we are working on a doozey of a sketch "Missionary Celebrity Jeopary" we'll see how it goes

Even if this we was hard. I'm still happy and loving the mission field. I feel like I've seen ALOT of Carcassonne, and I've contacted lots of people more that once. But I'm sure that there are still some elects that are hiding from me. I'll get them this week.

I love you all, Ben good luck with residency, Sara that your for the note. Tres, tell everyone at the Turkey Bowl hello. Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Love Elder Matt

Monday, November 15, 2010

Elder Smith's always exciting and much anticipated update

Dear Mom/Dad/Aaron/Lish/Carter/Tim/Sara/Jens/Ellie/Tate/Drew/Tres/Elizabeth/Garrett/Charlie/Morgan/Ben/Tanelle/Addie/Nathan/
Carson/Ky/Jeanell/Annaka/Porter/Skyler/Mia/Jodi/Grandma/Jen/Uncles/Aunts/Cousins/Friends
This week was good. We taught like normal and we have been going out into the countryside to teach our new ami , Joel, he lives in Capendu, it takes about 30 minutes by car to go teach him. As of sunday he had read all the way to Alma 32, and has only had the Book of Mormon for 9 days. We fixed a baptismal date with him for the 27th of November, His main problem right now is smoking, he smokes alot. I think that the word of wisdom is the biggest struggle that people have here. The Wine is a part of the culture and everybody smokes, when we pass infront of the Junior High Schools, there are big groups of 13 and 14 year olds who are out smoking infront of the School. When I first arrived in France it shocked me how much people smoke, I think it is nasty.
We also went out into the countryside to teach Carlos this week, and at Church I confirmed him a member of the church. It was a really cool experience, I had been really nervous during the week, because I wasn't confident with my French. I had been praying all week for the gift of tongues and right before the confirmation I said a quick prayer. As I started to talk, it wasn't a problem at all, I found all the words that I needed and I really felt the spirit guide me and as I said "recevrez Le Saint-Esprit" (recieve the Holy Ghost) it was like the words were falling out of my mouth. After we finished the blessing and I sat back down at the piano to play the sacrament hymn, I couldn't remember the words that I said, and I still can't remember exactly what I said during the blessing. The promise in the scriptures really rang true that I would be given the words that I needed and that I wouldn't be "confounded before men". It was Kool.
Elder Sautron and I get along well, it is a little difficult because, he really really doesn't speak english. It doesn't cause contention or anything, it is just streching my french a little bit. We are trying to work out the kinks for the moment as well, I had never changed companions before, and I didn't realize how in-sync Elder Magnan and I were. But nevertheless we are getting along great, and getting to know each and others habits and ways of teaching. It is good and I really am excited to work with him.
Q&A
1. Tell us more about your companion,how long has he been out? Elder Sautron has been out on his mission for 8 months, he has served in Beziers, Avignon, and Pau...and Carcassonne. He was Danny Allens trainer and he was trained by Elder Ian Thorley, and he is now the District Leader in Carcassonne.
How big of a family? He has 4 children in his family and he is the youngest, One brother and two sisters.
Is his whole family members of the church? - Actually just his brother and him are members of the church, his brother has been a member for about 10 years and he is a Branch President in a little city in the north of France. Elder Sautron himself was baptised two and a half years ago, so actually when he finishes his mission he will have been a missionary for the same amount of time that he has been just a normal member. He is cool, and I think it is super impressive that he left on his mission so fast.
2. Would you phonetically write out your companions name. Sautron (Sore-tron)

3. Does Elder Sautron like to cook like Elder Magnan did or are you cooking now? Yes he still cooks, but not as much as Elder Magnan, In the week that we have been together I have cooked once and he has cooked the rest. With Elder Magnan I think I cook only one time in 2 transfers. But he still cooks like a french person. Almost every meal we start with a salad, then the meal, after bread and cheese and after pudding/yogurt and chocolate/cake. I love it :)

4. Where did Elder Magnan get transferred to? Perigueux. Is that very far from where you are? yeah, it is about 4 or 5 hours away. It is next to Bordeaux in the countryside.
5. Is it windy and rainy? It is starting to get there, we wear our jackets everyday, and sometimes a sweater and coat
Am I getting a cold? Not yet, I didn't tell you but I already had a cold, like a month after I got to France. I had it for about a week and it was slightly miserable, but no my health is fine.
6. What do you want for Christmas? - Rootbeer, Oreos, Peanut Butter, a nice Tie, Pictures, new portable iHome thing, [it broke :( ], New Plug, To talk to everyone, Peace and Tranquility, An eld to world hunger, More Jello,
7. Do you want to keep getting letters from Trent, Jake, Charlie and all your other homies? YES
Love, Love, Love Elder Matt
Ps. We eat with the family from Utah every wednesday, and this week they invited us to eat for Thanksgiving on thursday the 25th with them. Turkey, stuffing, pie, the whole shi-bang, I'm super excited to say the least

Elder Smith's always exciting, and much antisipated weekly update!

Dear Mom/Dad/Aaron/Lish/Carter/Tim/Sara/Jens/Ellie/Tate/Drew/Tres/Elizabeth/Garrett/Charlie/Morgan/Ben/Tanelle/Addie/Nathan/
Carson/Ky/Jeanell/Annaka/Porter/Skyler/Mia/Jodi/Grandma/Jen/Uncles/Aunts/Cousins/Friends

This week was good. We taught like normal and we have been going out into the countryside to teach our new ami , Joel, he lives in Capendu, it takes about 30 minutes by car to go teach him. As of sunday he had read all the way to Alma 32, and has only had the Book of Mormon for 9 days. We fixed a baptismal date with him for the 27th of November, His main problem right now is smoking, he smokes alot. I think that the word of wisdom is the biggest struggle that people have here. The Wine is a part of the culture and everybody smokes, when we pass infront of the Junior High Schools, there are big groups of 13 and 14 year olds who are out smoking infront of the School. When I first arrived in France it shocked me how much people smoke, I think it is nasty.

We also went out into the countryside to teach Carlos this week, and at Church I confirmed him a member of the church. It was a really cool experience, I had been really nervous during the week, because I wasn't confident with my French. I had been praying all week for the gift of tongues and right before the confirmation I said a quick prayer. As I started to talk, it wasn't a problem at all, I found all the words that I needed and I really felt the spirit guide me and as I said "recevrez Le Saint-Esprit" (recieve the Holy Ghost) it was like the words were falling out of my mouth. After we finished the blessing and I sat back down at the piano to play the sacrament hymn, I couldn't remember the words that I said, and I still can't remember exactly what I said during the blessing. The promise in the scriptures really rang true that I would be given the words that I needed and that I wouldn't be "confounded before men". It was Kool.

Elder Sautron and I get along well, it is a little difficult because, he really really doesn't speak english. It doesn't cause contention or anything, it is just streching my french a little bit. We are trying to work out the kinks for the moment as well, I had never changed companions before, and I didn't realize how in-sync Elder Magnan and I were. But nevertheless we are getting along great, and getting to know each and others habits and ways of teaching. It is good and I really am excited to work with him.

Q&A

1. Tell us more about your companion,how long has he been out? Elder Sautron has been out on his mission for 8 months, he has served in Beziers, Avignon, and Pau...and Carcassonne. He was Danny Allens trainer and he was trained by Elder Ian Thorley, and he is now the District Leader in Carcassonne.

How big of a family? He has 4 children in his family and he is the youngest, One brother and two sisters.

Is his whole family members of the church? - Actually just his brother and him are members of the church, his brother has been a member for about 10 years and he is a Branch President in a little city in the north of France. Elder Sautron himself was baptised two and a half years ago, so actually when he finishes his mission he will have been a missionary for the same amount of time that he has been just a normal member. He is cool, and I think it is super impressive that he left on his mission so fast.

2. Would you phonetically write out your companions name. Sautron (Sore-tron)
3. Does Elder Sautron like to cook like Elder Magnan did or are you cooking now? Yes he still cooks, but not as much as Elder Magnan, In the week that we have been together I have cooked once and he has cooked the rest. With Elder Magnan I think I cook only one time in 2 transfers. But he still cooks like a french person. Almost every meal we start with a salad, then the meal, after bread and cheese and after pudding/yogurt and chocolate/cake. I love it :)

4. Where did Elder Magnan get transferred to? Perigueux. Is that very far from where you are? yeah, it is about 4 or 5 hours away. It is next to Bordeaux in the countryside.

5. Is it windy and rainy? It is starting to get there, we wear our jackets everyday, and sometimes a sweater and coat
Am I getting a cold? Not yet, I didn't tell you but I already had a cold, like a month after I got to France. I had it for about a week and it was slightly miserable, but no my health is fine.

6. What do you want for Christmas? - Rootbeer, Oreos, Peanut Butter, a nice Tie, Pictures, new portable iHome thing, [it broke :( ], New Plug, To talk to everyone, Peace and Tranquility, An eld to world hunger, More Jello,

7. Do you want to keep getting letters from Trent, Jake, Charlie and all your other homies? YES

Love, Love, Love Elder Matt

Ps. We eat with the family from Utah every wednesday, and this week they invited us to eat for Thanksgiving on thursday the 25th with them. Turkey, stuffing, pie, the whole shi-bang, I'm super excited to say the least

Monday, November 8, 2010

Miracles, Miracles and More Miracles!

This week was fantastic! Simply wonderful and simply a blast, sometimes missionary work is hard, obviously I don't enjoy when people get upset and such and call me a Jevovah's Witness or whatever. But if I could have weeks like this I think I could handle a 14 year mission like Ammon! ok, ok, ok maybe that is a little bit over the top, don't worry Mom and Jen, I won't stay for 14 years. Ok I will explain:

We have an Amie, Vanessa, she has been taking the missionary lessons since the End of May, when I was still in Utah! She has heard all the lessons several times and she had started to lose her desire, her babtismal date was set for December, because she lives with her fiance and she needed to be married in order to be babtised. She had started to have doubts about the Church and about herself, If she was ready to be babtised or if she wanted to push the date back even more. We could see that things were looking grim, her Fiance Benoit, was saying the same things, He is not committed to babtism, but his lack of faith was effecting Vanessa. Elder Magnan and I gave them a lesson about the Holy Ghost, we taught them about how we feel the Holy Ghost, What it means when we feel the Holy Ghost, When we feel the Holy Ghost and how to qualify for the presence of the Holy Ghost and then we PROMISED them that they would feel the Holy Ghost if the attended the Baptism of Carlos Bento. They agreed and they began to prepare themselves by praying for the Holy Ghost and really making the effort to be spiriually ready for Sunday. Then me and Elder Magnan fasted for them. They asked us "What if we don't feel the Holy Ghost, or what if we don't have good feelings at the Baptism?" We had confindence in the Holy Ghost and we told them that if they didn't feel the Holy Ghost and they had prepared themselves in prayer and reading, that it would be an answer, to postpone the baptism. We prayed Hard for them, and ready did our best to fast for them. Then the day of the Baptism.........bum bum bum........Carlos....(I'll talk about him in a minute), Vanessa and Benoit.......They came to church and it was fast and testimony meeting and then listened and waited for the Holy Ghost, Vanessa said she felt good but she didn't have her reponse, and Benoit said he didn't feel anything. Then the Baptism after Church, We were must more organized this time, we had started to fill up the font ahead of time, we had hymns picked and a sister playing the violin and the bishop and his consellor gave great talks, then the moment of the baptism. Elder Magnan went into the water and Carlos follow, I made sure that Vanessa and Benoit were right up close so they could see everything. As Elder Magnan raised his arm to the Square, and began to speak I felt the like a wind swept into the room, as he babtised Carlos. The Spirit was there and it was very calm. Later after the baptism we talked, Vanessa told us "I will begin to prepare myself more, and I have no doubts. I will be baptised on the 4th of December!" She had been touched and she was moved to tears. Benoit then told us that he felt a feeling that he had never before felt and that eventually he wanted to be baptised. I was so happy and so grateful for the blessings of the Lord, that we had received, it was incredible and I know without a doubt that it was because of their faith, our faith, our fast and the will of our Heavenly Father that they had such a great experience. It was awesome!

Carlos: We also were fasting for Carlos, and he was well prepared. Sister Bento was perfectly heathly, As he was baptised he had an enormous smile on his face, and sister bento was moved to tears, I was so happy for them! They were both so happy and they have already made plans to go to the temple. That is something that I will always be grateful to the lord for, the chance that I had to help in a Forever Family, I loved our other baptism with Sabrina, but there was a special spirit there as a family was united in the gospel. Carlos will be a powerful priesthood holder and they now will have the blessing of being together for time and all eternity, thanks to his choice to be baptisd. It is incredible to be that he just walked into church 6 weeks ago, he lives an hour away from an missionaries, and yet the Lord heard our prayers and led us to an elect, and actually he led an elect to us. 6 weeks ago, he walked into the church and yesterday he was baptised. We have been traveling to their house for 6 weeks, into the middle of no-where France, and it feels like a dream to have been a part of his conversion.

Joel: He is a new Ami, we met him last monday, we talked about the 12 apostles and the prophet and we gave him a brochure about Joesph Smith, he lives 25 minutes away from Carcassonne by car, and told us we could talk to him on the 20th November when he would be back in Carcassonne. He read the brochure and called us back that night, he doesn't have a phone so he walked to a payphone, he gave us his address and we taught him on wednesday, He talked about Joesph Smith, and then he invited us back on Friday he had read the introduction and testimonies of the witnesses and Joesph Smith like we asked. He re-read them because we didn't tell him to keep reading. We told him that he could read as much as he wanted and to start in 1 Nephi 1, we invited him to church and to the baptism of Carlos, he said that he really wanted to come, but there wasn't a bus on sunday and he doesn't have a car. We went and picked him up early on Sunday morning with a member and I asked him if he had had the chance to read a little, he told me "yeah, I read just to right here" He then showed me the page.....2 Nephi 21!!!!! In 2 days he read 110 pages! I asked him how long he read and he told me "all day", he acted like it was no big deal, and me and Elder Magnan were quite excited. He came to the baptism and he really liked it and he told us that he felt a "well-being" during the baptism. Wow! Blessings Blessings and more Blessings!

This week was great, but all of our blessings came at the end of the week, along with all the good news there is a little bit of sad news, Elder Magnan has been transfered as of today, and I have a new companion. I really like my new companion. I have already served with him on exchanges, he is from Versaille, the same ward as Elder Magnan, his name is Elder Sautron. He speaks alot less english than Elder Magnan, I am still in Carcassonne, and I'm super excited to work with Elder Sautron, but I was definitly sad to see Elder Magnan leave. But I think it is clear that the Lord really wants me to learn french. Just another blessing, it is incredible to be a part of this work and I love it. I miss you all, and it is hard, but I love it, and I love the people here. When I see our amie's making choices and coming unto Christ, I feel a joy sweeter that another earthy joy. I hope that I can continue to be blessed.

I sounds like Taylor was pretty sick, I hope he is doing better, Ca C'est pas cool Ca, I don't like it when my cousin tries to die! If some one can tell him, tell him I love him and that he is not allowed to be sick like that and that I'm praying for him.

Congratulations Ellie! and Carter! I was actually sitting in a different baptism during Ellie's baptism, we had some missionaries from Albi baptise a couple at our chapel on saturday because they don't have a font in Albi. I thought about you, and I am so proud of you and so happy that you have personally felt the same happiness that we have had in Carcassonne this week. I love you Ellie! and all the other grandkids too, but this week is special for Ellie!

I pray for you all, and I love you!
Bonne Semaine!

Elder Smith

Pictures - Carlos baptism, the Martin Family (he is the bishop), and Vanessa, Benoit and Elvin

I'll send a picture of the electric thing next week, the one that i have is the right head, but it is not deep enough, I don't know how to explain it, I'll send a picture next week




Tuesday, November 2, 2010

November Already? Wow

Happy Halloween everyone, I'm sorry to hear that it was raining in Utah, but I'm glad that you endured, it was raining here as well. I saw 2 groups of trick-or-treaters and nobody was giving out candy. The French Halloween is totally not as cool as ours. Even worse, in 4 weeks, they don't celebrate thanksgiving at all (of course it is a holiday of american pilgrims) you all need to start preparing and eat till it hurts for me.

This week: Carlos is going to be babtised the next sunday and he is strong. We spoke about tithing this week and he said to us "Yes I'll pay my tithing 100%, if I'm going to be baptised and follow the commandments I need to follow at 100%". Amen!!! He is great, but Satan is doing his best to slow him down, his wife (a member) is SUPER SUPER sick, they couldn't come to church because they were at the hospital and if she stays sick they won't be able to come to the baptism, because they live 1 hour away from the church and they don't have enough gas in the car to go to the church and the hospital, just one or the other, so if they have to go back to the hospital, it will mess up the baptism. They are strong, and they both have great testimonies! and I'm excited to see him baptised.

Our Amis Didier is really struggling with cigarrettes, he has told that he wants be baptised and wants to stop smoking but that it is too hard. He has a testimony already of the Book of Mormon, at our 2nd lesson with him, I asked him to read the Introduction and the first 5 chapters of the Book of Mormon, he did and at the 3rd lesson he told me that it was true and that Joesph was a prophet. Amen!!! He smokes about 20 cigarettes per day and is really dependent on them, Satan is also working on him, because this week he has started to get busy and can't fix a moment to see us.

Over all this week was good, but it was rough. We had our lowest amount of work yet, but we had Stake Conference and a Zone Conference, it was really good. President Carter talked to us about having the spirit he then promised us all that if we were totally obedient until 2011, that the Lord would give the mission 40 babtisms before the end of the year. We are kicking it in to high gear, even if it is difficult we are going to work harder that we have yet, and we are going to qualify ourselves for the blessings of the Lord.

This is the last week of the Transfer and most likely I will have a new companion next week, nothing is for sure, but President usually only allows missionaries to be together for 2 transfers, we will see. I think that I'll probably stay in Carcassonne, but again nothing is sure.

Thank you so much for the mail this week, I got a great Package with Halloween Treats and some BEAU-tiful artwork from the Ben, Tanelle, Addie, Nathan and Carson, Thank you!! I also got an invitation to Ellie's baptism! Ellie I'm so proud of you and I know that Heavenly Father will bless you, you are starting down a path that only leads to happiness and blessings, I'm so happy for you! Congratulations and I love you! and Last but not least I got the invitaion to Grandma Sanders Birthday, unfortuately I won't be able to attend, but Happy Birthday Grandma!!! This is my squeeze from accross the Ocean!!!!

I love you all and I'm so grateful for the opportunity that I have to be here, I've been blessed to be in Carcassonne and with Elder Magnan, and if this is our last week together, we are going to explode the work and sprint to the finish!

Elder Matt Smith

Q & A

Questions:
1. Where do you type your emails?
-at a cybercafe in Centre Ville

2. Why is the English family in France and what was their name I can't find it in my mail?
- The Kersey's lived in Utah for 7 years and the father started a computer programming company in Carcassonne and so they moved here, they choose Carcassonne because it is pretty and they wanted their children to see the mission field and learn the culture. They are really nice and Sister Kersey cooks delicious American Roast Beef and Mashed Potatoes, they feel us usually 1 time per week and it is A-mazing!

3. Why am I writing on a Tuesday?
- Yesterday was the French equivilant of Memorial Day and everything was closed, so we couldn't go grocery shopping or do the e-mails

I'm so happy that you talked to Sister Hatch! When she asked me what I wanted her to tell you I just said "I'm alive, I love you, I'm working hard, and I'm living a fairytale". So if nothing else that is the message of the week.

LOVE YOU ALL!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bonjour a tous, il fait froud mais nos coeurs sont chaud!!!

Dear Everyone,
I am doing well, and this week was good, chilly but not bad, the vineyards are starting to turn red and the leaves are turning yellow, it is really really pretty. I hope that you all are doing well as well. Halloween is coming up and I expect lots of pictures, I need to know what all the grandkids are being, and by the way Grandma and Grandpa and giving extra candy to anyone that dresses up like Uncle Elder Smith for Halloween!!
This is my shout out to Karlee Phelps (Willey), I got your wedding annoucement and I just want to say congrats! You two look great, and I'm super excited for you both!
We taught our Amis - Carlos, who is getting baptised on the 7th of November - It was a good lesson on friday with him and at the end of the lesson he told us that his wife had already explained it to him a little and that he wanted to follow the commandment, that made our job really easy. He told us that he would throw away his alcohol and that he was going to do it, so that he could be baptized. On Sunday he told us that he had had dinner with some friends on saturday and they started the night by offering him alcohol, talk about immediate opposition. He then told us that he said, no and that he just wanted water, his friends persisted, and he just said "no thanks", that my friends is what we like to call faith! I was so proud of him when he told me and I can see that he is changing and he will be completely ready for his baptism! It was a rewarding moment for me to see him gain a small testimony so quickly.
Another Amis - Didier, he is 30, smokes like a chimney and is big, has a scruffy beard and lots of tattoos - he looks scary but he is a GIANT TEDDY BEAR, I love him. He is super kool, the other day when I was on an exchange Elder Magnan saw him, sitting in front of the train station, just chillin' playing his ukulele. Needless to say, Didier is my kind of guy. We taught him the word of wisdom this week as well, and invited him to reduce the amount he smokes per day, he used to smoke about 30 cigarettes per day!!! and now he is down to 15. He invited him to church and he said that he was going to go out and party with his friends, we told him that he would be tempted to drink and smoke if he went out and partied on saturday night, he knew it was the truth. He decided to follow the commandments and he came to all 3 hours of church on sunday and told his friends that he didn't want to go out and party with them. Again it was another rewarding moment to see him choose the right. He is engaged to be baptized on the 13th November, if he keeps choosing the right he will be well ready as well.
This week was good, we taught well and stayed diligent in some tough moments, we went out in to the countryside 2 times for lessons. We were in the rolling hills of southern france, surrounded my sheep, vineyards and fall colors. It was beautiful, we taught Carlos one time and a less active brother, both who live about 45 minutes to an hour away from Carcassonne, the members help us SOOO much, it would be the same sacrafice for you to offer the missionaries a ride to Logan and back. As you can tell the members are so good.
Speaking of the ward, the piano played got released yesterday, and guess who got called as the ward pianist in the Carcassonne......yep you guessed it.......alright mom, go ahead and say it "I told you so".. I should have practiced more......
I love you all, and I hope that you have a great Halloween!!! I loved the package mom!!! The dried Mangos are so good and I've loving the church news!
LOVE , Matt
PS DAD, JOYEUX ANNIVERSAIRE!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Being Weird and Luggage Rack Ride


Bonjour a tous!!!

This week was a little bit chilly and windy. It is almost overcast everyday and winter is getting close. We have been teaching all of our amis' this week, but for the last 2 weeks we haven't been finding as new investigators and its been a little depressing, so we decided to really hit the streets with Le Livre De Mormon and flood Carcassonne with the Book of Mormon. It worked great, in a matter of 2 hours we found 4 people and over the course of the week in total we took 10 contacts that were interested in our message.
This week on saturday we had 5 people not show up to our lessons, when the day started we had planned to teach 7 lessons and at the end of the day just 2. It was a little bit of a downer and we had to make some changes of plans, as we were walking to one of our amis' apartments, the wind gusted up and frankly I was miserable, the lessons had fallen through I was freezing and I wasn't feeling in the best of health. As the wind gusted I turned my head to avoid the wind and I looked at my tag that was flapping in the wind (it was the clip on tag) and I saw "ELDER SMITH". In that moment I realized that all of you were praying for me, my parents, my siblings and siblings-in-laws, my nephews and my nieces, and my friends, and that it was an honor to wear the name "SMITH" on my chest all day everyday, I thought of all the other Elder Smiths', Grandpa, Dad, Ben, Tres, Taylor and I thought to myself "What would they say right now?" I realized that you would tell me to keep going and finish the day strong. So thats what I did. At the end of the day, I was still a little disappointed in vast change of plans, but I had learned a valuable lesson of the power of prayer and of the love families and close friends.
This week I traveled to Toulouse for Zone Conference, unfortunately there was a strike with the train workers and our entire district missed the first half of Zone Conference. But after a little bit of a delay we made it to Toulouse on a different train. It was really good and I enjoyed it. President and Sister Carter talked about asking good questions and about teaching people not lessons. It was helpful for me, because sometimes as we teach the basic first lessons, we have taught them many many times, and I feel a little numb while we teach. I much prefer to have the spirit there and change the lesson to the needs of our investigator so that they can feel the importance of the restoration and plan of salvation.
Amis'
Carlos Bento: Because he lives far away, it has been difficult to teach him and to get him ready for his babtism, we talked with them and we have moved the date back so that we can teach him enough before his babtism. He will be babtised on the 7th of November and Confirmed on the 14th. He has asked Elder Magnan to babtise him and he asked me to confirm him a member of the church. yikes! I'm going to be praying for the gift of tongues, I've never given a blessing in French!
Vanessa: She is doing well, her and her fiance are getting married on the 24th of November and she will be babtised on the 4th of December. We hope that Benoit (the fiance) will be engaged for babtism for the same day. They are doing well and want to know more and more each lesson, Benoit is still yet to gain this testimony, but Vanessa is strong.
Didier: His babtismal date is set for the 7th of November, but we need to DTR (define the relationship), what I mean by that is find out if he really wants to be babtised. He is currently having some major struggles with the word of wisdom.
Sabrina Khemissi: In the past she was striving for babtism and she has been working really hard to get over the habit of smoking, this week she broke down and said it was too hard, and she has been feeling really stressed with her family and friends, she asked that we teach her less and more slowly, it is sad. We are scared of losing her if can't regain her fire.
Caroline: She has a testimony but she is living with her boyfriend. She knows it is true but she is being held back by him. Sadly he is a less active member and he is not a very good example for her, our next step his to get him worthy, so that he can be a good example to her.
We have others, but these are our amis' that we are really trying to focus on this week.
This week has been good. Elder Magnan and I are getting along well and we are enjoying our time together, I think in 3 weeks we will we separated.
I love you all and I pray for you ALL, from Grandma Sanders to Baby Carter, and everyone inbetween.
Elder Smith

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Soggy in Carcasonne

I loved hearing from you all and I hope that all keeps going well. Jodi is moving. Tim doesn't have a shoulder. USU beat BYU :( The Poulsens went to NYC and partied with the Ben Smiths, who are busy in studies and life, the Sealys are busy busy but great, Lish is back to work and the Tres Smiths are doing basement work and finishing soccer season. It sounds like the provo crew is keeping in real as well (this is my shout out to Jen, Mikey, HP, Kelli, Anna, Michelle, Mad Dogg, Kevin, Em, Eric, and the Vegans) ha
I'm super grateful that I bought my coat and my umbrella last week, because it has been raining not stop for almost 48 hours. Yesterday we walked for like 30 minutes in Hurricane Katrina numero deux, and we were drenched. It didn't help that a car splashed with a huge puddle either. We made it to our appointment and then we did it again, We were wet, but happy. We sang several remixes of singing in the rain, there is sunshine in my soul to day, you are my sunshine, and rain drops keep fallin on my head.
Cette Semaine......
Tuesday: We had a district meeting and it was really good. We got new new missionaries in our district, one of which was Elder Danny Allen. It was great, I opened the door to my apartment and for a second I felt like I was back in Kaysville, at Dear Old Davis High School. We both couldn't believe that we were on the other side of the world and we were looking at each other. He was great and I enjoyed the 3 hours we got to spend together. He stayed in Carcassonne on an exchange and I went to Beziers for the day. Beziers was really good. We contacted and taught a recent convert and had a family night with some members as well.
Wednesday: I was back in Carcassonne and we taught some Amis, but had some no shows
Thursday: I was on an exchange in Montpellier while Elder Magnan was at a leadership meeting for the whole mission. It was nice. I was working with an elder from my district in the MTC. It was different. But good, Montpellier is alot bigger than Carcassonne, the exchange made me realize how gratiful I am for Elder Magnan, I enjoy the way we teach and contact alot more. They are good missionaries in Montpellier but it was just alot different, and I felt like we were wasteing time just talking to people. Me and Elder Magnan jump right into contacting. Bonjour we are missionaries, there is a prophet on the earth today! or something like that. but in Montpellier, we small talked and shot the breeze and then started talking about the gospel. Good, just really different.
Friday: I headed back from Montpellier but we had troubles with trains. The Trains were running late, and all sorts of things were messed up, so we ran for our a train and asked the controller if we could pay for our tickets on the train (usually you have to have travel plans and to have bought your ticket already). we road that train as far as we could and then we were in Narbonne, a city without missionaries and it was about 7 o clock and we had no train. We wandered through Narbonne and contacted people, even though there was no missionaries that could teach them easily and then we went back to the train station to find a way to Carcassonne. We ended up doing the same thing, and asking the controller if we could buy our tickets while on the train, he said yes, but there wasn't any seats left. The entire train was booked. He let us buy tickets and we rode in the luggage racks on our way to Carcassonne. It was an adventure for sure.
Saturday: We have an Amis who is going to be babtised in 2 weeks, but he lives out in the country side with his wife(member from Brazil). There is no trains directly for his little village. We woke up early and took the Train to Toulouse and then waited in Toulouse for a little train going to Foix. We took that train and then they met us at the train station and drove us 30 minutes to their house in Lavelavet. In total it took us 3 and a half hours to go teach him. We then taught and ate lunch and they drove us back to the train station. The Train was late but we road back to Toulouse and then again to Carcassonne. We left Carcassonne at 7 in the morning and got back at 7 at night. 12 hours for 1 Rendez-vous! It was important that he was taught. but it took a long time.
so in all reality I wasn't in Carcassonne this week. It hurt the work because we spent alot of time traveling and teaching other companionships Amis'. It was a good we none the less. We have 3 Amis' engaged to be babtised and 3 others that are SOOO close to committing to babtism.
It was a good week, but they numbers weren't their to prove it. but thats OK, we taught those that needed to be taught and we learned many lessons.
I hope all is well. Know that I love you all! This work is the work of the Lord and you can share it aswell, as you live the gospel and show others the joy and happiness of the gospel by example.
LOVE Elder Smith

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Boy oh boy I loved conference!!!!

This week was a little different from last week, last week was my most busy week in France and this week was my least busy week in France. We had alot of Ratez-Vous' (when someone doesn't show up) I think we had 10 or something. So we tried to be busy and we had sent up the week to be busy but apparently these people weren't quite ready for the gospel this week. I realized this week how much of our success is granted from the Lord ............100%!!! We need to teach well and work hard, but if we don't have tons of lessons that means that the Lord had a different agenda. I hope that made sense. But at the same time even though we weren't not crazy busy with lessons we were still teaching alot and found success. One of our Amis', Carlos Bentos, he is from Portugal called us and told us that the Book of Mormon was true and that we wanted to be baptized. We thought about it for a second but we accepted his commitment. :) ha ha it was kinda fun to have the investigator give us the commitment, it made our job really easy. He is going to be baptized on the 23rd of October the same day that his wife was baptized 22 years ago in Brazil. They are really great, and I'm very very excited for them. We are still going to teach him intensely because we want to keep his fire lit, and we want to make sure that he is getting baptized for himself not his wife. We also taught Caroline, the girlfriend of a less active member. She prayed as well and told us that the Book of Mormon was true, again we agreed. :) She doesn't have a baptismal date yet, but we are going to keep working on it.

I also have a new member of my district. His name is ELDER DANNY ALLEN!!!!!! he is in Beziers and I will be seeing him very often, tomorrow in fact, and I've talked to him on the phone several times already. He has a good trainer, French as well, and as far as I've heard they are seeing lots of miracles as well. Beziers has been a little bit cold for the last 6 months, but he has been here for 6 days and they are already seeing much more success. Elder Magnan said that it was normal because new missionaries have more faith. I guess that helps :) I want to have faith for all of my mission so that I can continually see the miracles of faith for 2 years not just 2 transfers.

Sunday was SO SO good!! I loved listening to conference, I listened to half of it in French which was a little difficult, I don't have an apostle size vocabulary in English, so in French.... it was a little rough. And unfortunately, I didn't understand anything of Elder Cooks talk, I was trying but I was totally lost. I'll have to read it in English in the Ensign next month. I really loved the priesthood session and it made me miss watching it was with all the brothers, brothers-in-law and dad. We watched Saturday morning and Sunday morning directly, and Priesthood session and Saturday Afternoon on delay. Unfortunately Sunday Afternoon was live but it was from 10 pm to Midnight and we had to be home. I wanted to hear Elder Bednar and I assume he spoke in the last session. Maybe we'll get to watch it next week, I hope so. I especially loved the talks of the 1st Presidency. I felt like they were talking right to me, and I felt honored to have had received a mission call from these great leaders, apostles and prophets.

I did hear the Temples announced and unfortunately there wasn't a France temple, but watch for next time. There is word that the property has been purchased in Versailles and that the land is already being prepared. I had this knowledge because Elder Magnan's family lives 15 minutes from the temple site. There is also a member in Bordeaux that is helping with the design and blue prints. Apparently they have been this close in the past, so nothing is for sure. But the members are more confident this time.

Are you eating well?
I eat really well, sometimes too well

But I was curious if you had enough money?
I think you probably heard about Elder Spackman. haha They eat out alot and thus it is expensive

Do you pay for your own heat?
Nope, in fact it is kinda of cold in our apartment and the French government doesn't turn on the heat until the 18th or 19th of October, so our land lord gave us a space heater for the nights, its cozy :)

In some places you put coins into a meter to heat your apartment, how do you heat?
Nope

Did you get winter clothes?
I bought one V-neck sweater, it is rather dashing in my opinion, and it is a grayish brown color and it looks good with all 3 of my suits. I am going to by an umbrella this week and a coat, it'll cost about 100 Euros, ouch.

There was another massive protest, it was kinda funny. Elder Magnan said that they usually yell and heckle the missionaries so we had to change our outfits on the fly to try to look normal while we walked past the protest for a block and half, it was kinda funny.





Hope all this well and I hope you all loved conference. I love you.

Matt

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bonjour, en forme?

This week was our busiest (spelling? my English is slowly dying) yet. We taught 29 lessons and we had 7 Amis' at the church on Sunday and Sabrina 1 got confirmed by Elder Magnan, it was great, 10% of the ward was non-members! We have been really really blessed in Carcassonne, because Elder Magnan is the district leader I get to see all of the reports of the cities in our district, and their numbers are not nearly the same. It is crazy that we are in such a small town but we have been able to find so many people that are interested in the gospel. We hardly have anytime to contact, we only met 6 new people on the road this week but we had 5 new amis'!! Usually if we find 10 or 12 we have 3 new amis' because people don't show up to the rendez-vous' or they gave us a fake number or they aren't actually interested, but this week pretty much all of our contacts were interested. The lord knew that we were busy and he put the elect in our path.

Sabrina 2 - is super super awesome and she loves the gospel, she trouble with smoking, but we have talked to her about it alot and she said that she wants to get baptised but she feels unworthy because she smokes, we have started a plan with her this week to stop smoking in 7 days, we are going to work hard with her and when she stops next week she said that she would like to be baptised. We fixed a date of baptism with David, the 16 year old basketball player, and the next day his mom told him that we couldn't come to the church anymore. Talk about the opposition of Satan. We are going to go to his house this week and see whats up and try to get him back. We taught Carlos Vento (bento), he is from Portugal and his is a non member and his wife is from Brazil and a member, we watched the DVD of the restoration in Portuguese with them and then spoke in french with him, she doesn't speak french super well so he translated it to Portuguese for her. She has a super powerful testimony and it was really good. He has already been praying with her and he is excited to read the Book of Mormon now. We also taught Simon and Caroline, Simon is an inactive member that served a portion of a mission and Caroline is his girlfriend. They are super! She has read the Book of Mormon everyday and we talked about the plan of salvation and it was really good, I love teaching them.

It is starting to get rather chilly, frankly in the morning it is freezing, and I don't have any sweat shirts or coat. I am going to buy some sweat shirts today and maybe a coat, if I can find one that is not super expensive. The clothes are about the same price here or a little bit more expensive. There is a sale in January but there is now way I can wait that long. I thought that I could wait and that is why I didn't buy clothes last, but I learned my lesson and I'm just going bite the bullet and spend money. I'm still just as cheap as I was at home.

Random side note 1: This week I was in the bathroom and I wasn't paying attention and I walked right into the top of the door frame (the ceilings are low probably 5'6" door frame) and fell on the floor. I had a very nice goose egg. We laughed about that for awhile

Random side note 2: We eat dinner with a family from England every Wednesday, and Elder Magnan was saying good bye and he tried to say "I love your house" or the sister and he said "I love your eyes" and walked out. We laughed about that for awhile as well.

Who gave the talks at the baptism if you and Elder Magnan were running around trying to get water in the font?
--- 2 Members. Soeur Talbic and Frere Serge. They are the members that we have been teaching with and Sabrina choose to have them speak.

How many of your amis have you found since you came to Carcasonne and how many of them were already there when you got there?
----- We have found 20 people while we have been here and of those 20 we are still teaching 7 and 7 others that were already here

How many baptisms has Elder Magnum been involved in was he as excited about Sabrina as you were?
----Yeah he was super excited too, He has had 5 baptisms.

What kind of a program do they have for retaining and fellowshipping the new members?
----We continue to teach them after baptism, but we try to teach as much as possible with members, for example this week we taught 22 lessons to amis' and we had a member with us for 15 of those 22. We also assign a member to sit with our amis' during Sunday school and sacrament.

When your package comes pay attention to the date that it arrives and let me know so that I can gauge how long it takes for surface mail to get there?
----I got the package on Wednesday the 22nd and It was simply wonderful. I already ate all the oreos and I made Elder Magnan try the gushers and an oreo with the peanut butter, he thought that it was weird and I told him "that is what America tastes like". I loved it and I love the taste of America. Thank you so so so much

How are your shoes holding up?
----In fact I gave one pair of my shoes away already. At the MTC I didn't have room for 2 pairs, but the pair of Ecco's that I have are holding up well. but they are in need of a good shining

Better yet how are your feet?
---- Good. I'm seen some bad blisters from other elders but I'm yet to get them, my shoes really are great. On Saturday we had rendez-vous' all over the city, we usually try to schedule our rendez-vous' close together but on Saturday we were going back and forth all day. We guessed that we probably walked 20 kilometers, I think that's like 12 or 15 miles, I'm not sure. I was tired needless to say and I slept really good.

This transfer has been great, and it is crazy that I've already finished my first transfer, I was happy to learn that I'm staying in Carcassonne with Elder Magnan. This city is great, we figured our numbers out for the transfer and we taught 148 lessons in total. Crazy Crazy Crazy. I'd be happy to stay in this city for 2 years.

Love you all and I loved the emails and letters this week.

Love Matt

Monday, September 20, 2010

From France with Love

This week has been really good, just like all they other weeks. We are SUPER SUPER busy. I can't believe that it is already the end of my first Transfer and that I have had my first baptism.

The Baptism. It is soooo good. We invited all of our investigators to come and had 5 there, and Sabrina getting baptised all together 6. It was after church on Sunday because the bishop and his counselors were in Toulouse for a Stake meeting on Saturday. We got started and had 2 talks about Baptism and the Holy Ghost, we were a little bit worried while they were talking because the font wasn't filled up enough. It was time for the baptism, and there wasn't enough water. Me and Elder Magnan went into Hypermode. Everyone stayed in the chapel and listened to music and sang hymns while we tried to fill buckets up with water for the font. There was no water pressure in the church though because the font was already taking all of it. So we ran outside and into the back shed of the church and found a tap, and a hose. We ran the hose across the parking lot and through the window of the bathroom and into the font. Everyone kept singing and listening to 2 sisters play the flute and violin while the font filled up. Luckily Sabrina is quite short and the water didn't have to be really deep. When the font was filled up we had the baptism, The Bishop baptised her and all of amis' loved it. We have 2 that were there, that felt the spirit very strong and they want to get baptised. It was powerful for them to see them dressed in white and to see someone with the authority baptise Sabrina in same manner that Christ himself was baptised. I loved it. I couldn't stop smiling, I felt the same excitement of opening my mission call (ha ha you all remember that, I didn't gasp this time), and the excitement of leaving the MTC. It was really cool to see the fruits of our labors. After she bore her testimony and it was really good, and she thanked me for finding her, I told her that it wasn't me, it was the Holy Ghost. I will be eternally grateful for the trust the lord had in my to be an instrument in his hands. And how great was my joy for just bring one soul unto the gospel!!





We rarely have time to contact people as much as we would like because we are going back and forth from rendez-vous' (Appointments) and teaching so often. We really have been blessed with so much work. We have about 15 Amis' (Investigators) but not all of them are progressing. Some of them have the impression that we come to teach just to discuss religion, but that is not why we are here. We are here to invite others to come unto Christ and be baptised, in order to that they need to follow our commitments (read, pray, church etc etc). I think that we are about to apply Jacob Chapter 5 and start burning parts of the vineyard that are not ready, (Drop investigators because they don't follow our commitments). It is sad because we would like to teach everyone, and everyone is entitled to the gospel and everyone is entitled to eternal life, but at the same time we need to be effective and find the elect that are ready for the gospel.

Our contacts.

How tall are they?
Ha.. about 5'0'' to 5'11'' Sabrina, the one that got baptised is tres petite and David, he is 16 and I play basketball with him is about 5'11''. Everybody else is somewhere in between.

Do they like ice cream?----
Yes...

Have they read the Book of Mormon and Prayed? ----
Not all of them, but the ones that we can see a change in and are really progressing, yes.

Where do they hail from?
[France; Camaroon; China; Versaille, Spain; Timbuctoo] ----France, Reunion (french island of the coast of madagascar), Portugal, Algeria, Congo

How many in each family? -----
Most of our Amis' are just one person or they are a couple. We have started teaching a less active man with 5 kids and a wife that are not members that are from the Congo. They are awesome and love the gospel. The rest of the family is evangelist and he has a super strong testimony of Joesph Smith, but he wants to be at church with his family and that is why he is less active. It will be really cool, to see the whole family come to the gospel.

How old? ----- David and Leo 16, Ali and Eliane 45ish, Vanessa and Benoit 30ish, Sabrina Tabelion 25, Sabrina Kahmenisse 32, Phillipe 45, Nadia and Phillipe 45, Joelle 40, Jeanne 50, Frere Carlos 55, Christian 55

Do they smile?
Yes :)

Are their questions serious and penetrating? -----
Alot of questions are just about the reason they are on the earth and how they can be saved. There are some that have lived really hard lives, with lots of problems, they ask questions and they bring up things that are really sad. I love when we leave a rendez-vous like that and we have answered a deep question with the scriptures and we know that our investigators have found peace.

Do they stretch your language skills?----
OHHH yeah.

Do you love them? -----
OHHH yeah

Are you still getting along well with your companion? -------
We get along super well. Really though. I feel like I could stay in Carcassonne for 2 years with Elder Magnan. He helps me so much and I love to teach with him.

Is your baptism still on schedule?-------
Yes. She is baptised and She will be confirmed next Sunday.

When you have to cook for yourself what are you eating?------
Elder Magnan cooks, because he is really particular with his french cuisine. I do the dishes. It is a good deal. Usual just some kinda of pasta or dish with some new and fancy sauce. But this week we had 6 mangez-vous' (meal with a member) and it is Fantastic. It is the most Elder Magnan has had in one week on his whole mission....and me too.

I see the Elders around town and wonder if you are walking all of the time or do you ride buses etc.? -----
We walk all the time. sometimes we take a bus if we are going far. or we get a ride from members, but Centre Ville of Carcassonne is probably only the size of BYU's campus and the Chapel is 2 blocks away from that. We walk and walk and walk and walk.

Another Really good week and the work is moving along. I love all of you and I hope that this week goes well. I pray for you all each night and know that the lord has answered your prayers and bless me here because of you.

LOVE Elder/Brother/Uncle/Friend Matt Smith

Picture. Sabrina and Us. Sabrina and Frere Martin - The bishop

Monday, September 13, 2010

WOW!

I have no time. Sorry. I spent my time trying to figure out pictures and reading and such.

It was so good to hear from everyone. I love it. I prefer reading to writing. So really I loved hearing all the updates. Thank you tres, mom, jen, karlee, and yes i did get the package beaner! I loved it. and thank you annaka and porter for the pictures!

Happy Birthday Addie and Happy Birthday Lish and Aaron! Jodi, good luck with the move, I think that you'll love it and I really hope that all goes well with that.

DAD. what is our relationship to Joesph Smith, I think I've been asked that like 5000 times, when ever we see a member, or teach the restoration. It is super funny and there is a family in the ward that calls me Joesph because they think that I'm a decendent or something

This week I had a conference with all of the new missionaries in the mission. all the elders that were in the mtc with me. It was soooo good. We were in Toulouse all day and I feel like when I got here, I got a little bit broadsided, I new it would be hard, but this is really hard. I love it. but it is hard. But after the conference with all of the elders that I had grown with in the mtc. It re-lit the fire for me and I was re-energized for the work. It really was just good, I didn't really learn anything new, but It was a great reminder of all the things that I had the opportunity to do at the MTC and it just simply boosted me back up to my exiting-mtc-energy-level.

This week we are having a babtism and it is concrete. It is the girl that we found on my 3rd day here. She has grown so much and has a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joesph Smith. It was been incredible to me how fast she has changed because of the gospel. In three days we taught. Word of Wisdom, Law of Tithing and Law of Chastity. These ones are usually a little bit harder for everyone. and at the end of each lesson. she just said "yes". She accepted the gospel and the commandments so well. We walk past the church often and about 4 or 5 times that we have passed she is just sitting on the steps reading the book of mormon. The church is about 10 minutes from her house, but she just goes there to read and study the gospel. It is incredible!!!

We set alot of goals on the mission. not because numbers are important, but that we can measure our success and raise the bar each week. This week we were looking grim, our goals were high and we hadn't found as much success as we had hoped for. We planned sunday, the last day of the week for the goals, and if all went well we would reach our goals. well all didn't go well and we had some lessons cancel, we kept praying and trying to get as close to our goals as possible. Then in the last hour of the last day of the last day of the week. we found 4 new people to teach and taught 2 new investigators and we met our goals. literally in about 63 minutes we found people and our prayers were answered. It was incredible and a testimony to me, that prayer works and that the lord prepares a way for his missionaries!

Sorry this is so short but I'm really low on time. Thank you for all the emails and all the love.

It sounds like all is going well, you all have struggles, yet you all have found strength and are keeping strong. I love you and I'm praying for all of you.

I love this work and I am so glad for the opportunity I have to be out in the field.

LOVE Elder Smith

ps mom. if you haven't sent the package yet. Oreos and jello don't exist here either.

LOVE YOU ALL!!!