Monday, August 23, 2010

I'm definitly not in Kansas anymore!

Hello everyone! where to begin?

1st off. I loved being able to talk to those that I spoke with, I'm sorry that I didn't get to talk to everyone. I love you all and I'm so glad you all enjoyed bear lake! CONGRATS LISH AND AARON!!!!!!!! I can't believe it, I'm so happy for you and for the newest member of our family!!!!!

Turns out they taught me the wrong language in the MTC! Ha! They are definitly not speaking the same french that I learned. Everything is different here :) Even this keyboard is in a different language and it is rather difficult to type this e-mail. But in all reality it is great here! I spoke with a women in the Paris Aeroport, and it was super fun! When I got to Toulouse my mission president and his wife were waiting for us with open arms. We got to the mission home, ate, talked and went to work. On our 3rd contact we placed a book of mormon, it was awesome how fast we got to work. Then we went to the mission presidents home and ate and president sent us to bed early so that we could get over our jet lag quickly. I love president and sister carter, they were so kind and we all knew that they had been waiting for us and that they loved us! Jen sent me some questions that trent answered and it will be the best way to update everyone.

What is your companion's name? Elder Magnan

Where is he from? Versaille France! He is native! I told everything is different. I live with a French person, in a TINY apartment that is under the roof so I have to crouch in the shower and I commnicate with my companion in broken french and broken english. Its crazy!

How long has he been out? He has been out for 10 months or so, this is his 2nd transfer in this city

What do you like about him? He is hilarious and a good example to me, he also talks with people and tells me where to go. Its rather helpful :)

Is he a real hard worker? He works hard and diligently. He understands the importance of obeidance and he gets kind of annoyed if we barely slip up or are wasting time, which is a good thing to be annoyed at! He's great I love him!

Is he real obedient?

What is your area like? Carcasonne is my city, it is in the french country side, it has the largest castle in europe, it looks like a movie, its really pretty, 50,000 people, about half a quarter of the size of kaysville..........ish

How far from the mission office is it? 1.5 hours by train

How much of the conversations can you follow when your companion is speaking to some one? I actually can understand OK, but they speak so fast and with an accent that sometimes I get lost and I can't keep up with the conversation

Have you tried to speak to local people in French yet? Yes. It is hard, but I can speak OK, and when they don't respond it is really easy to talk to them :) like in sacrament meeting I was asked to talk about my family and share a brief testimony for 5 minutes, but that wasn't too tough cause nowbody was speaking back to me

How is the weather? HOTTTTTT. When these garments ware out, I'm converting to the onepiece silkys :) HaHa I'm not really going to wear those but it is very hot and very humide

Did your travels go well? Travels were good. I traveled again on Friday and had an exchange with the zone leaders in montpeiller, it was good then we travel by bus to a city called Le Grande Motte and taught a lesson about 200 yards from the meditairain (sp?), it was awesome and super pretty

Did you get any sleep on the plane overnight? about 3 hours

How big is the city you are in? I already answerd this ..........sorry

How many missionaries in your ward or branch? Me and Elder Magnan with about 60-70 members in the carcasonne ward

The field is white hear we have 2 investigators with babtismal dates this transfer and 3 others that are committed to be babtised by we haven't set dates yet and now for story time

1 - We gave the 1st lesson to a women named Pierette, she is from Cameroon, She was ready for the gospel, as we taught she was eating it up. as I told her there was a prophete on the earth she said "why haven't I heard of this prophet?" I said "thats why we are hear, to tell you this!" we talked about the book of mormon and asked her to be babtised when she received the answer to her prayer and she said "BIEN SUR" (of course) It was awesome!!!!!!

2 - It was time to go home for the night and we were walking down the street, Elder Magnan was on the phone with one of our investigators or something and there was 2 routes back to our apartment, I had the thought the turn left and head home that way...OK...so I turned left and saw a women and the Spirit said "talk to her" I thought....oh I don't speak french this is a problem cause elder magnan is on the phone so we passed her :( Then I was told "bad move, go back!" I wasn't going to be told twice so i stoped and waited for elder magnan to finish her conversation and we went back, we then talked to Sabrina for 1 hour and 10 minutes, gave her a book of mormon and invited her to church (this was our last contact on saturday night) she said yes and was at church the next day, she too was ready for the gospel and after after we taught her the 1st lesson she too accept to be babtised when she recieves her answer. She knows the bible very well and on the street she was asking all about the spirit world and the atonement it was really neat to be able to follow the spirit and I was humbled to be able to teach her.
on that note, franch is great and I have lot to learn and its going to be hard, but I'll keep working
my address is:

Les Missionaires/Elder Smith
85 Boulevard Barb├Ęs
11000 Carcasonne
France

I love you all, and it really was so good to talk to all of you and to those that I couldn't talk to I'm so sorry. I love you all so much and I tell each person the reason I'm here in these clothes with a tag on is so that I can share the happiness I have found with my loving friends and family with them. I love you again. The church is true and know that I'm praying for you!

LOVE
Elder Matthew Sanders Smith

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Matt's 1st Area

This is supposedly a famous castle in his area that I saw on Wikipedia and it draws thousands to millions of visitors every year. Looks pretty cool.

And here is a map of where he is located:


Matt has arrived

Dear Parents of Elder Smith

Your son has made it to Toulouse yesterday. He is great, and we
will enjoy working with him. This picture was taken this morning, just
before he left for Carcassonne where he will be serving for now.

Thank you for preparing and sending such a good missionary here in
Toulouse. Sister Carter and I will do our best so that those months
he spends with us will be joyous and rewarding for his knowledge of
the Gospel and of the Atoning Sacrifice of Jesus Christ for each one
of his children.

Sincerely,

President Carter
France Toulouse Mission

Saturday, August 14, 2010

La France est presque ici!!

HELLO EVERYONE!!!

I'm super jealous that you all get to be together at bear lake this week. I'll need to see some pictures! Play extra hard for me, and someone will need to eat an extra smore for me. I hope a good time is had by all and know that I think of all of you together alot and I'm jealous. It lightens my jealously that I get to go to France in 2 and a half days. I'm really excited to meet my trainer and the Mission President, I pray for them daily and I'm pretty pumped to meet them.

Just in case it you are not aware, my address in Toulouse is:
Elder Matthew Sanders Smith
France Toulouse Mission
4 Rue Alaric II
Compans Caffarelli
31000 Toulouse
France

I know that I will probably see an increase in E-Mails because I will now be on the other side of the globe, but just know that actual letters are always enjoyed as well. I should be arriving in Toulouse at 11:45 in the morning on the 17th (Toulouse Time), and hopefully I'll be able to send a quick email to you telling you that I am alive. If not I'll make a withdrawl at an ATM and you can check my bank account and see what city I am assigned to. I really excited to start teaching the people! I got a little bit of a taste of actual teaching this week at the TRC, I taught a non-member in French, he is getting babtized but is working on setting a date with provo elders, he volenteers here because he likes the missionaries. It was really fun to teach him the Plan of Salvation, and see this excitement about the gospel. I'm very anxious to see the same excitement with the people in France.
I'm going to be calling in the morning on monday around 8 or so, and if I don't get through with everyone I'll will be calling from Atlanta around 3 or so. Hopefully I'll be able to hear from you all! I'm excited!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHARLIE! I'm sorry that I couldn't be there for your B-Day but know that I love you! You better keep practicing your soccer skills so you can run circles around me when I get back. Happy Birthday Bud, I love you.
Lately I've been trying to increase my knowledge and teaching abilities with Le Livre de Mormon, it has been difficult because for all my life I have know the scriptures in English, but I've been praying and working hard and on Tuesday we had an great devotional on using the Book of Mormon with investigators. It was great and a definite answer to prayer for me. They talked about how important it is to start from the front and read, The First Presidency sent a message saying that they want people to read from the beginning in order to learn line apon line, and that we are to use the Book of Mormon as Moroni intended, witht the stories and examples of great prophets. I'm stoked to use the book of mormon this new way.
Lish, Beaner, Mom and Jen thank you for the letters this week! I love hearing from all of you! Lish, I am exstatic for this baby boy and I pray for you continually!
I talked with one of the teachers yesterday and he told me that my french was ready, I have things still to practice, but he expressed his confidence in me and it was a definite boost to my excitement. I am so grateful for the blessing I have recieved here, and being able to learn the French language.
Mom, the email worked! you are a natural, I've washed my clothes and me bags are half packed :) I already spent the travel money though.........I had to get a shot and it was $97, so that $100 dollars of traveling money is now $3 dollars. I'll probably need some more. Thanks!

I love you all and I'm excited to hear from you! Have fun at Bear Lake! Pray for the people in france and all over the world to be softened by the gospel. I love you and I know this church is true and this work will move forward.

A Bientot

Elder Smith

Friday, August 6, 2010

BONJOUR!

Hello everyone! I was so glad to hear from everyone this week! I'm getting super excited for France. Before I went into the MTC my mind was focused on franch and then I realized I wasn't going to franch yet, I was going to the MTC. But this time it's real!!!

All the elders in my district have had the same experience thus far
"Oh where are you going?"
France!
"Oh that'd be tough and you'll be pretty discouraged."

MOST ANNOYING THING EVER! Not once does it say in the scriptures, "the field is white all ready to harvest, except france is brown". This past week this has become ever so clear to us. We have had 3 devotionals and about 5 discussions on the need for Faith in this work. I'm so excited to get to franch because this gospel is to go to "every nation, tongue and people" including france! I've been praying for my Mission President, Future Companion and for the hearts of the people to be softened and prepared!
This wednesday a new missionary came in and I was sitting next to him in the cafeteria, he is going to Tuscon and he dropped the line "Oh, France will be tough, and the people will hate you" Bad move :) We had just had a super energizing lesson on a the need for Faith, Diligence, and Obedience and we were all bubbly to get to franch. I proceded to give him the France may have a bad rap now, but in 2 years it'll have a good rap. I'm so excited to get to franch and be able to get there be obedient, faithful and work hard!
I speak more and more french each day and I have set goals to be fluent in all the tenses and the 1st 3 lessons in french, I love to speak french and I'm excited to be able to be immersed in the language!
I love you all and I'm sorry this is so short, but I've done the same thing for the last 7 weeks everyday. Thank you ben and tanelle for the shout out from philly, I'm super jealous to hear that you got to have a legit philly cheese! Lish and Aaron sounds like a crazy house and I'm excited to hear about our new baby boy. What is his name going to be?

Love you all and thank you for everything. the church is SOOOO true and i'm pumped to share it with all those in france.

Elder Matthew S. Smith