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)


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

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!

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.