Monday, January 31, 2011

Change, Change and more Change

I don't have a lot of time to write this week, but I love you all and I was so happy to see so much mail!
Well lets get started. CHANGES!!!!!!!

1. Elder Heywood is being shipped of to Avignon
2. I have been called to be a trainer, and I will be getting my son tomorrow in Toulouse! To be honest I'm scared to death but it is just what I needed, this is going to push me to my best. No options. I can already tell you that I will be exhausted this transfer but I am so excited to get this new missionary. I just want to be as good as my trainer was (ps my father,trainer, is sitting next to me as I do my emails this week, because we are on exchanges in Bordeaux), I am sure that he was by brother in the pre-existance, I love Elder Magnan!
3. I am no longer in the mission of Toulouse! Yep thats right, as of next July my mission doesn't exist. It is now the Mission of Lyon, we will double in size, right now our mission is 3 stakes and we will be getting 3 more stakes! I don't know if I am very excited about the change, because I opened my misson call and was filled with the excitement (as you all saw) when I saw TOULOUSE and now I will be leaving out of Lyon and doing all sorts of Conferences there. It is ok, but I was very surprised and we'll see if I ever get up north.

Voila! The changes of the week. Right now I am in Bordeaux with the Zone Leaders (Elder Magnan and Elder Mayer, they are frenchies) and with the other trainers of the Zone. There are only 2 trainers that are from our zone. Me and ELDER ALLEN!!! It is crazy. Elder Allen and I will be spending this PDAY together and tomorrow until we get our sons. So really right now in France, Elder Allen and Elder Smith are companions and Elder Gibbons and Elder Smith are companions!! It is a very small world.

This week was better than last week, we taught more and we found some more people to teach.

We found a new family. It is the brother of a member that has remarked that when they are at their sisters house they feel "something", and when the missionaries are over they feel the same thing. They want to understand how a family can be together forever. GOLDEN!!! We were very excited to meet them

Also, we found a lady on the street, named Sophie. She is 45 and not married, doesn't smoke or drink, respects the law of chastity and is looking for the true church. GOLDEN!!!! She has read up to 2 Nephi and she told me the book was true and the Joesph was a prophet. I happily agreed :) It is my goal to get her wet this transfer!! (babtised)

Alright you kids, keep it real and stay kool. I love you all and I hope that I servive this week.

Elder Smith

ps I will be doing a baptism interview as well this week in Brive. I hope that I even get to show my son his city!

Map of new mission boundaries


New Mission President that I get in July

Kent Hyrum Murdock, 63, and Barbara Coulam Murdock, five children, East Mill Creek 12th Ward, Salt Lake East Millcreek North Stake. Elder Murdock is an Area Seventy and a former stake president and counselor, high councilor, bishop, bishop's counselor and missionary in the Franco-Belgian Mission. Chief executive officer, O.C. Tanner Company. Born in Montpelier, Idaho, to Joseph Grant and Sarah Ora Griffiths Murdock. A ward Relief Society compassionate service leader, Sister Murdock is a former counselor in a stake Relief Society presidency, ward Primary president and teacher, ward Young Women president and adviser, and stake young single adult adviser. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, to John Louis and Verna Tobler Coulam.


The District

The middle of nowhere (Farges France, next to Montpon)

Elder Heywood and I, keeping in kool with some pythons ( we had dinner with a family that has pythons, twas kool)

Elder Heywood and I

My Father (Elder Magnan) and I

Monday, January 24, 2011

J'aime la France

This week was good. Nothing really happened but it was still good. I did an exchange with Elder Barton, one of the Elders from the MTC, it was a blast!!! We laughed and worked well for the whole day! We were just swaping stories and memories from the MTC and it made me realize just how much fun I had at the MTC. It was a party back in Provo.

I have been learning alot this transfer, I don't know if it has been my most effective transfer because as the first companion I keep learning lessons from my mistakes, I'm trying to learn and most of the time my learning comes from my mistakes and mess-ups. The plan of salvation just keeps making more and more sense to me while I've been on my mission. We need oppostion in all things or we would never be able to learn and recognize the good. I'm grateful for the things I've learned and for the lessons that I have been taught by the Lord, my companion, and the people of France while I've been here during this transfer. I know that I have been sent here to this city for a reason, I still feel like there is blue skies ahead and that there is somebody here that we are going to meet. But I know for a fact that the Lord sent me here to taste a little bit of some humble pie and to scrape my knees a little.
We will find out about transfers this weekend and it is about 99% positive that I will be staying in Périgueux but we'll see about Elder Heywood. I have loved being with him, I haven't spoken alot about him. But he is great! We get along perfectly and we have never had conflicts, not once. This saturday I learned a very powerful lesson from him and the Lord. We were in the chapel waiting for someone to come and he was reading his scriptures and I was playing some hymns, it was a very calm moment and the spirit was there as we sat alone in the chapel. Suddenly Elder Heywood stopped and said "I feel like we need to pray", we went to our knees and prayed in the chapel for our ami that was coming to see us and that we would be able to have the spirit with us as we taught. The Lord answer our prayer a little bit differently than we had thought. Our ami never came, but one of the sweetest spirits that I have ever felt while I have been on my mission entered the room, It became as clear as day for me and Elder Heywood that Joesph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon was the word of God, that the Church of Jesus Christ had been restored to the earth and that we had been called by a prophet to be a part of this Church going forth. It was a moment that I really received a confirmation that I needed to be on a misson and that the Lord loved I felt full of the spirit and I felt like I couldn't contain the feelings that were inside me. At the end of the day we didn't have a lesson with this person and I don't know if we will ever see them again but if I came all the way to France just to have that experience, I would do it all over again.

I know this church is true. I cannot deny it and I can't do anything else but put my best into it; I love this Church. I love you. I love the Prophet Joesph Smith and I love my Savior with all my heart and I know that he lives.

Have a great week
Elder Smith

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Our Utah Family took these pictures of Perigueux that are way better than all my pictures, This is where I go contacting everyday and where I walk around looking for souls. It's pretty :)

This about 500 meters from our front door

Bonjour à tous, C'est moi Elder Smiss

This week was good, we decided that we were going to invite EVERYONE to come to church and that we were really going work for it. So we had our district meeting on Tuesday and we discussed getting people to come to sacrament meeting, after the district meeting I went to Brive on an exchange and worked with Elder Nicholes, I had already done an exchange with him before in Beziers during my 2nd week in the mission. So it was kool so see how we have changed and I really enjoyed working with him again. I got back to Périgueux on Wednesday and got back to work. Our Amis' are dropping like flies and we spent a good amount of time in the streets this week inviting people to come to church and trying to find new people. We met several people that were sincere about wanting to come to church but they didn't want to give us contact numbers. We invited them anyways and prayed that they would come to church, we did this on Friday and Saturday as well. We prayed and went to Church and were really praying to get people out to sacrament meeting and we had a total of ................0 amis' at church. Don't worry this isn't a depressed e-mail but needless to say we were a little bit let down on Sunday. We have planted some seeds and invited people and that is all we can do, the Lord will do the rest if these people are ready for the gospel.
At Church on sunday we had one of our recently reactivated members back to church, while we were sitting in sunday school and I was teaching about the Plan of Salvation, her 22 month baby puked ALL OVER DA PLACE!!! wo I don't know where the little thing was hiding all of that stuff, her mom picked her up and ran to the bathroom and before she got there the child had repeated this same process about 5 times ALL OVER HER MOTHER!!! It was really really gross and there was plenty of mess to clean up. I called a change of plans and he went janitor style for sunday school. In all reality it was really sad, we came to find out that this child has been sick for about 2 months, we called another changed of plans and taught about the priesthood and blessings. We then gave her a blessing with a couple of the brothers. During sacrament meeting this happened again and then off they went to the hospital, we prayed for them that day and that night. and thanks to our heavenly father she has been released from the hospital and she has been cleared from the sickness. It was a cool story, that we had to laugh about to keep from cry. haha

I had zone Conference yesterday, and it was great as well. I loved hearing from president and sister carter. there is another story that I have to tell you in 2 years because it is WAY TOO LONG, but one of the elders in my district was going to go home early this week and after some good talks with president Carter he is being emergency transfered to Bordeaux and I'm getting a new missionary to the district, it is actually one of my friends from the MTC Elder Barton he is my same age and he is becoming the senior companion for his first time so I will be doing a couple extra exchanges with Bergerac in the up coming weeks.

Thanks to you all, especially MOM and DAD and JEN who wrote me, I love to hear from you so much!!!

LOVE Elder Matt

Q and A

1.Who plays the piano in your branch in Perigueux?
NOT ME!!!!! yeah! Brother Hamilton plays

2. Is Danny Allen still in your district or Zone?
He is in Angouleme (sp?) and he is in my Zone, I saw him yesterday at Zone Conference and it was absolutely wonderful, we just sit there and laugh every time that we see each other

3. What are you eating? Pasta and Rice Are you both cooking? YES Do you need recipes? No we are both creative people

4. How big geographically is your district? BIG, probably 60 km radius
How long does it take you to get to your other cities? It takes an hour by train to go to Brive and it takes 50 minutes by bus to go to Bergerac
Do you stay over when you go to do splits? YES

5. How big is your zone? Big about 1/3 of the mission
How many missionaries are in your zone? 24 How many zones in the mission? 4

6. Your building is a regular church building like in Carcasonne? Yes, it is exactly the same

7. Do you eat crepe's a lot or is it like hot dogs in the USA eat them on the 4th of July or on a picnic? It depends, 1 or 2 times a month. But I have a bagette about everyday and usually a patistery every 2 days.

8. If you do eat them a lot what do you like in them? Nutella or Jam

9. Is your weather still real cold? Nope, it hasn't been below 45 C for about 2 weeks

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Un petit mot de Perigueux (Perry guh)

First things first, I got 3 packages this week!!!!! It is official that you are all too good to me. That you Jeanell, Jodi, and Mom. I don't know if there are others on the way but, I got 3 this week and I will relate the story of that glorious wednesday. I got all of the packages on the same day. I ran giddily up the stairs of our apartment building with 2 packages in my arms. I came into the apartment and began to tear into them, wrappers were flying between cries of joy, a scarf, beef jerky, mangos, snickers, candy bars, oreos, peanut butter, an SD card with new pictures, a card that played music different than Mo-Tab!, and plenty of other things. I opened the oreos and crunched that piece of heaven between my teeth and sighed with cookie in my mouth "God Bless America!". I later went to leave the apartment and found a 3rd package with LONG JOHNS in it. I was thrilled, I had said to elder heywood just the day before, " I wish I had long johns like yours" and voila. I got some!! It was great, I love you all!
I also would like to express my jealously to Ben and Tres for leaving me out of the Brother Ski Trip, that sounds rad and I hope that it is great, and I demand that we have another in 2012.
The work is still a little slow but it is picking up, we found a single mother with a son that is now reading the Book of Mormon, we also have a friend of a member that is interested and came to church. The Branch President has also began to take a liking to the missionaries and he trusts us more, he wants to work more with the members and he is willing to teach with us. I'm not sure what has changed but it is good. He calls us and asks us if we need help and if we can help with the ward almost everyday, it is alot better.
I want to tell a small funny story as well, we were walking this week at about 8 30 and there was a drunk homeless man and his dog walking towards us, (that isn't rare, there are alot of bums in France and luckly the bums in Périgueux like "Les Mormons", when we walk pass them they usually shake our hands or give us a fist pound and say "Sup Mormons", we also gave them candy for Christmas so that helped too. So we are walking towards one of the bums and just as we pass he yeld "BOOOOO!!!" I jumped, and let out a little girly squeak and he kept walking, I don't why I told you this story, but Elder Heywood and I laughed about it for about 15 minutes.
Fast story, we walked past this african woman infront of the church, and started to unlock the gate at the church we I looked back and decided to go back to her, she was carrying her groceries and she was exhausted, we hadn't really noticed before. We went back and asked if we could help her, she told us that she had said a prayer when we passed and said "Jesus, if these boys are really your servants send them to help me please", we indeed came back to help her, we carried her groceries to her apartment (which were stinkin heavy for 2 twenty year olds, and she is about 40 and had carried them alone) we carried them for about a block and up the stairs and she had carried them for like 20 blocks. She was so tired and we were gratiful to have been able to help, we didn't talk about the church because she was so tired but we will be going back this week.
Well thats all folks, but I want you to know that I know this church is true and I am so glad to be a part of the great work, do you best to help the work move forward in your wards too.
Elder Smith

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy 2011 and I'm 20? Weird

Yesterday I had a 1/4 life crisis and a 1/4 mission crisis.(assuming I live to see 80 years). How did I get here? I swear I was watching matlock with mom after kindergarden like yesterday and I remember that I was holding Jens when he was like an hour old like yesterday. It has flown by!!! I also feel like I just got to the MTC like yesterday. I don't how it happened but after my crisis I realized that It has been a pretty good 20 years, I broke some bones and crashed a few many times on my longboard but I'm not dead. I'm actually just the opposite, I'm in France and I'm on the Lord's work and there is no other place I would rather be for my 20th birthday. (random side note: my mission president called me to wish me a happy birthday, he asked me how I was feeling as a 20 year old and I told him I felt like I was almost dead and old, he laughed and reassured me that I was only beginning a great year in the south of France, I like him)
This week was a little less than awesome with the work because of the Holidays, everybody was busy and not available to be taught so I'm excited to get back into the flow of normal life. We are teaching lessons but we teach alot of Members and Less Actives, I prefer to teach unbabtised people but it is still good. The Branch here has been struggling for a moment, Church used to be packed with about 75-80 people (I know that is only like the primary back in zion, but it's great here) and there is only about 35 people that are at church. There has been some conflicts with the bishop people have been offended and not to help they had some less than awesome missionaries, But none the less the members that we do have a really great! They are strong and they are enduring to the end, I really want to help turn this situation around, I don't know exactly how but I want to do it.
I really feel like I am supposed to be in Périgueux, but I'm still not sure why. I feel like I have some kind of task to do but I haven't found it. President told me "I was suprised when I learned, but the Lord wants you to serve as the senior companion and distrist leader in Périgueux", by the look on my face President knew that I was quite suprised as well and kind of laughed. It was true I really was surprised and I felt super overwelmed, but when I got to Périgueux, I just felt good. I still feel good. I'm just trying to find my mystery task.
Question Time!
How is the District Leader assignment? Great!! I taught my first district meeting and I really felt good about it.
Are you traveling regularly to work with the elders under your direction? Not yet, but this we I will be going to Bergerac
Are you teaching them how to be effective in following the Spirit and allowing the Savior to be in charge of each day? I'm trying my best, the district meeting went well and after I felt edified by the spirit by the things we discussed
Are they diligently preparing themselves as effective tools to be guided each day in building a great work and strong branch among the French people? YES
What about Elder Magnan? He is great and I've already done 2 exchanges with him, It is fun. Just like the only days in Carcassonne.
Is he doing the same for you? Yes, he teaches me something new everytime I see him and work with him
How is it different? we are more of equals, it is no longer trainer and greeny, it is missionary and missionary
How is it the same as before? we still laugh and have all the same jokes, we still wrestle at the end of the night and I still win
Do you get to "do the work" your/His way? OUR WAY
Is your Ami Simon still scheduled for baptism next week? Nope, he is struggling right now to accept the law of chastity
Have you been called upon to do interviews? yes, and It was really cool to decided that someone was ready for baptism, I can now see why the bishop and my leaders do the things they do, I have never had that experience before to be lead by the spirit in that kind of situation, so it was really really kool.
How is your language in those situations? Fine
How is Elder Heywood's language coming? Better
Are you using your French on him to help him along? yep
How far away from Carcasonne is your new location [in Utah terms]? Bear Lake to St. George give or take 50 km
From the internet pictures, the area is quite pretty. not a question but yes.
One picture is of a large cylindrical structure in the center of the city.
Have you seen it? YES
What is it and why is it on the tourist list of interesting sites? A great big beautiful cathedral that I haven't been inside yet

Is your apartment near the river that winds through the city? about 5 minutes

The branch leaders and their families. Do they invite you to their homes? Yes, 4-5 times a week
Are they willing to trust you with their friends and neighbors? not yet
Do neighbors in France interact freely and regularly with each other or do they tend to keep their distance? they are more private
Are there cafes on the downtown streets like we see in the movies featuring Paris? yes, everywhere
Is the food similar to that of Carcasonne? yeah, they eat alot of duck here, I didn't eat duck in Carcassonne
Are the Hamiltons members of your branch? yes
Why are they in France? he teaches english
Where in Utah did they come from? Orem

How about a current list of investigators -- yours and everyone else's in the entire District? Nothing really big and not enough time

How is the weather? Cold in the mornings, do able in the afternoon and cold at night. but our apartment is warm
Your mother sent long johns. YES!!!
I enjoyed the birthday song, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!
Elder Smith