Friday, July 30, 2010

Je vous aime!

Bonjour Tout le Monde,

This week has been great. I sent off Elder Jones and recieved Elder Gibbons, Mulford and Rigby!

I felt so much love from home, A package from the Poulsens, Mom, and Jen! You all are too good to me. Thank you soooo much! On Wednesday we got 63 new missionaries. Prior to their coming I had thought If I was any different than when I entered the MTC, as I thought about it, I felt the same. But when we got our addition to the herd, I could see how much the MTC has blessed my life in only the 6 weeks that I've been here. My Lord has already began to mold me into the missionary that he wants me to be. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to serve and the opportunity I had of observing such great examples, Dad, Tres, Ben, Tim, Aaron, and Ky! Also to all my nephews, especially you Jens and Garrett, You will love your missions, even though they may be far off, it is never to early to begin to foster a testimony in the Lord Jesus Christ. Enjoy primary, help your Moms and Dads and you'll be ready before you know it.

On Tuesday we had a devotional from Elder Gene R. Cook. It was awesome and I really really enjoyed my experience.
We arrived early and sang the prelude music as usual, and I couldn't help but feel SO happy! It was strange, I knew I was feeling the Spirit, but typically when I am in a setting with the spirit my mind grabs hold of something and I learn a specific lesson that I can apply to my studies and such. But as I sat there my mind was wondering and I was SO happy but I didn't know what the spirit was trying to teach me. As Elder Cook began he addressed us and titled his talk " How to Discourage Discouragment" He listed and discussed these points
1. Pray
2. Use the Scriptures
3. Testify
4. Use Music
5. Express love and Gratitude to God and Man
6. Share spiritual experiences where appropriate
7. Provide Priesthood Blessings
It was fantastic! As he discussed #5 he shared a story of a Mother (his wife) and how her pray was answer on her Elder on a lonely Christmas Night. As he began to tell this story. I realized what the spirit had been preparing me for. I had the very strong impression of the love of the Lord in my life. I realized that I had never had family struggles. All of you have always been there to support me. As I sat there I began to feel the love of all your prayers, especially the prayers of all the grandchildren. I am so grateful for the love that I feel for all of you and the love, support and prayers you Mom and Dad. I love you all and this experience filled me with excitement to bring families together in france. I am Stoked! It is hard for my to express the value of the Family and Friend Relationships I've had in my life, they are the most precious things I can possess and because of the sacrafice of Jesus Chirst and the Temple I never have to lose them. I realized how much my dear friends from high school(Trent, Jake, Charlie, Jen etc) and my dear familiy (All my siblings, Parents, nephews, nieces, In-laws and grandma) ment to me and I became very excited for france.

I love you Mom, Dad, Lish, Aaron, baby pack, Sara, Tim, Jens, Ellie, Tate, Drew, Tres, Elizabeth, Garrett, Charlie, Morgan, Ben, Tanelle, Addie, Nathan, Carson, Jeanell, Ky, Annaka, Porter, Skyler, Mia, Jodi, Grandma Sanders and I'm so grateful for the influence of the gospel in all of our lifes.

PS. Lonely Charlie As well and JEN
PPS. All the Aunts and Uncles TOO!
PPPS. Thank you Brian and Shelly for Taylor's Email and your Letters :)
PPPPS. I will probably be calling from the Airport at like 6 in the morning on the 16th, I'll let you know for sure when I find out.

Love Elder Smith

PPPPPS. Sad to hear that me car is gone, but at least is has gone to the a good cause and a loving home :) thanks mom and dad love you

Friday, July 23, 2010


Bonjour ma famille and mes amis! Joyeux vingt-quatre de juillet!!!!

This week we taught at the TRC, our first full lesson en francais. It went well, We said everything that we planned on and I understood everything for the most part. My companion wasn't quite as involved but it was our first time so it's no big deal. We taught for about 30 minutes, he would share a scripture and give about 30 seconds and then I'd talk for about 10 minutes, and then he'd share again. It was really fun! As soon as we walked in the family took a picture of us and after we taught she told us she'd e-mail the picture to us. so when I get it I'll forward it on. The TRC was an eye opener for sure though, I was just starting to feel confident in my french and I've been sufficiently humbled and have plenty more to study.
The food here is getting exponentially worse and I'm super excited for some fresh french food. I get Taylor's e-mail and letters from him, It gets me super excited to go and share this wonderful gospel with REAL people. I also feel like this week was my best week thus far, I have found my groove for studying and I'm much more efficient my time. I love a solid afternoon of studying, at times it is super tiring but I still enjoy being here and the experience of learning and and focusing on the gospel.
This wednesday we 64 new missionaries!!!! Right now we have 32 missionaries, This new group is going to triple us. There will be no showers, no washing machines, no tutors and no more French Investigators (Fake investigators). I am super excited to see some familiar faces. We will get Mully, Ren and Danny this week, they will crowd us, but we all are excited to see some new life in the zone. PS I'm no longer the District Leader, just a regular ole missionary, and thats fine with me, I enjoyed being the district leader but Its nice to have more time for my studies.

I love you all and I'm sorry these e-mails are kinda short, I do the same thing everyday and tres was definitly right when he said it starts to feel like ground hogs day. A great ground hog day, but nevertheless a ground hog day! I love you all and love to hear from you.


Elder Matthew S. Smith

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Here are some pictures I have taken... ENJOY!

Vie la France

Elder Carson et Moi

The Zone

My District

Elder Carson et moi

Happy 4th!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Whooooooooooa I'm half way there!

Bonjour Ma Famille et Mes Amies!

I've offically served half of my sentence at the MTC. You know I've been out for 30 days and I'm not discouraged but we're definitly low on babtisms and investigators. It seems like everyone is familiar with our church but we're just not getting in the doors. Don't worry I'll keep the faith and continue to search for those that are ready for the gospel. (As I write this, I think I'm really funny! but you all probably think I'm wierd and that I've already been warped into a weird missionary. You're probably right)

The MTC is good. Lots of things to study and never enough time. It is hard for me to write something new because I've done exactly the same thing for a month, but alas I will try. I feel like for the most part I can find a way to say what I want to in French, at times it is choppy and full of errors, but I can get my point across and carry a decent conversation. The teachers keep telling me that it's in my genes(Mon Cousin Elder Smith) that I pick up french quickly, I have picked it up faster than I antisipated and am grateful for the blessings I've been given with the language. Nevertheless I still feel like I have BEAUCOUP DES CHOSES to learn. I've taught about 4 or 5 lessons in french to the teachers but never at the TRC. The TRC is where volunteers that speak french come to the MTC and we role play with them. This wednesday will be our first TRC in French, I'm excited and hope that I'll be able to teach. My companion is still struggling with the language, but he is increasing. This week I came across the scripture in 2 Nephi 28:30 "line upon line, precept upon precept" I've learned that I need to be patient and that the lord will give me what I need when he knows that I need it. It has been an especially important lesson for me this week.

Happy Birthday to Jodi Today! and Alicia on Sunday! I hope that your Birthdays are Great!!!!!

Elder Gnehm is leaving on monday and I'm super jealous, I've been here for almost twice as long as him and he is leaving. He'll do great and I'm super excited for him.

Mother. I loved getting your letter and I was so glad to hear about Brayden and his Mom, that filled me with happiness and I hope to hear more about them. To answer your question, on the first night here my companion and another elder were wrestlers in High School and were having a friendly competition when suddenly it became an alpha male battle :) We called blood and they stopped, it was quite funny, but all was in good sport.

Elder Carson after wrestling ... Oops!

Dad. Thank you for your letter it was more strengthening than I can tell you. I loved hearing from you and your missionary efforts, This past week we sang Lead Kindly Light in the devotional and as soon as I heard the words I couldn't help but tear up and feel so grateful for your great example to me. Latter an elder shared the poem "The touch of the masters hand" and again I was reminded of your great strength to me.

I love you all and I am so grateful for your prayers, I feel them Each and Every Day. I pray for you and am so grateful for all of you and so grateful for the lords work. I love you!!!!

Elder/Brother/Uncle/Friend Matt Smith

Friday, July 9, 2010

People Actually Leave This Place

We lost about 20 elders this week and I went to San Francisco! I will send lots of pictures. I did get to see the Fireworks from the MTC, all the missionaries were allowed out on the south lawn and we were allowed to stay up until they were over. They were good, but I honestly think that K-Town fireworks put the Stadium of Fire to shame. I'm excited to witness the kaysville fireworks in 2012. I'm glad to hear that everyone had fun and that I was represented at the fireworks with my blanket. My french is increasing, I can talk with the fluent french volunteers, it is choppy but I can express myself fairly well. I still have plenty of things to learn and the fluency of my speaking needs alot of work, but I'm definitly learning. But as for San Francisco.......I woke up at 4 AM and got the the airport at about 6, nobody would give me a straight foreward answer about calling but I decided to play it safe and didn't call. I can call in 6 weeks though. It was AWESOME to be out in the real world. in the MTC being a missionary is normal but I am not normal out in the real world. In SLC lots of people recognize us but some people that are traveling are taken back by 11 missionaries that are walking in a pack. We talked to some people, as I sat in the Burger King in the Airport I had a distinct feeling to talk to 2 gentlemen, I was afraid but i approached them. We just talked and nothing came of it, but It was a good experience be able to discuss a little about the church and practice just getting to know and contacting real people. I watch one Elder in our group get SHUT DOWN by a lady, I respect his guts but it was hilarious to see the look on his face! We stepped up and talked to her to ease the awkwardness but it was still so funny. We got delayed but got to San Francisco and went to the consulate. we had shuttle all around San Francisco and it was nice. At the consulate we just gave them paper work and they accepted us and we got visas, it was simple. After we went to Pier 39, that was way cool. People were taken back by us 19 year old boys that are walking around smiling, talking french, with Jesus Christ on their chests. It was neat. I had a delicous sour dough thin crust Pizza at pier 39. People were drawn to us because we were different. One group of missionaries got contact info from a teenager that walked up and was like "how do I become like you, I love being a christian and I want what you have" !!!! it was so unreal, we were shocked that it was so perfect, we hear about those stories in the MTC but they seem unreal, and then it happened! After Pier 39 we went to Girdelli Chocolates and I got a shake, I didn't have the stomach for an Earthquake but it was fun to be there because I remember going there as a kid with the Fam! After Girdelli we went back to the Airport and I crashed on the plane and got back to the MTC by about 9 and crashed at 10 30. It was a great day and a great expericence. As we passed people and talked to them, I couldn't help but think that everyone of these people needs this message and God loves each of them. It was great and got me super excited to be able to go give this gospel to the people in France. Over all a good week! Love you all and thank you for all the support, love and letters. Keep it coming!

This work is true and I loved being able to get a small taste of the real work!

I love you all!

Brother/Uncle/Elder Matt Smith

Pictures from San Francisco Adventure

AT&T Park - Home of the San Francisco Giants

Coit Tower


Friday, July 2, 2010

Another Week, I'm practicly a veteran now

It has been a fantastic week, we had a special devotional and it was .....(drum roll please) Elder Oaks! It was a great talk on the uniqueness and true fullness of our message. I love going to the devotionals because even though some of the topics are not what I am studying or praying about, just being in the atmosphere of the spirit I learn things and prayers are answered. If there is one thing that I've learned the most here, it is that the Spirit gives us answers not only through our own feels, I knew this before but I have experienced it countless times already here. I have been taught by feelings, thoughts, questions, talks, songs, others, scriptures. Everything around me is somehow related to my progression and learning. I love it.
I love singing at the devotionals, there is something about singing called to serve with 2000 other missionaries (striply warriors parallel, its cool I know :) ) we had another devotional on sunday, from sister Elaine Dalton, the general YW president. She talked about Faith, Confidence, Virtue and Diligence, another fantastic devotional! Unfortuantly when all the elders found out that it was a member of the YW presidency people seemed bummed. yet after, we all felt pretty dumb because it was a POWERFUL message, there are things that the sisters can teach so much better and get the message across so much more because they carry that sweet spirit with them.
Benjamin - I love the world cup updates still and I was irrate that Ghana once again eliminated the US. grrrr
Sara well done on the wasatch back and with girls camp, it sounded fantastic and like a great experience. Happy anniversay to Ben and Tanelle Last Week and Happy Birthday to Sara and Elizabeth tomorrow. I'll be thinking of you all while you are at the parade and enjoying the 4th and I look forward to July 4th 2012. There are rumors flying around about us being able to go outside and watch the stadium of fire fireworks, I hope so. but we'll see.
I guess I didn't give too many details on my actual living circumstances so, here they are.

2 companions ships in our room, me my comp. and and elder from kaysville, Elder Tony Hill, and and elder from west vally, Elder Godfrey. Classes are great, long but great. My french is increasing and I'm getting frustrated slightly because my companion is hesitant to speak french so he is declining. We are working hard together and We'll get him head the right direction. The food here tasted good for the first 3 days, but now I will be honest, I hate eating. They but sleeping seditives in the food i sware. When we fast, we have tons more energy and focus (some of that is because we are fasting, yet I know some of it is because we don't have that food in us)

The question has been raised by many if it is distracting that I get mail. THIS IS NOT TRUE! send me as much mail as you would like. I think about you all the time so when I get updates, it allows me to be reassured about your lifes and then I can focus rather than worry. don't feel obligated, yet don't be hesitant to send me letters.

I got the package from the sealys thank you very much, I loved it. I got my license mom and dad, thank you and THANK YOU JEN for the nerf basketball hoop, C'est tres excellent!

Je vous-aime. (I LOVE YOU)

Elder Matthew Sanders Smith

HAPPY 4th!

Forgot to tell you. I will be going to the french consolate in San Francisco this Thursday. leaving SLC at about 7 in the morning, if I'm able, I'll call and say hey from the Airport, I'm not sure what the rules are. and I tried to attach photos but I can't at the MTC so i'll send them in the mail and you'll have to scan them on to an e-mail,once i'm in the field I can attach photos but the people at the MTC hate us having fun (just kidding but sometimes I think that)

Thanks again LOVE Elder Smith