Monday, June 27, 2011

EldeRRR Smith

So I am pretty much a pirate. I went "swimming" for the first time on my mission and I made a great pirate outfit out of my slacks :)

This week was good, the sun was out and so were we. Rimas has been keeping us busy but because he is getting baptised this week, we won't have tons of people to teach, so this week we tried to get there and find some more baptisms. On Wednesday we had all of our appointments cancel on us like 3 minutes before we left the apartment, so we went contacting. Even though we were out on the road in the sun for like 5 hours it was a blast. We had our A Game on and we were have a good time out talking to people. I think that I have become less patient as I get farther and farther on my mission, when people beat around the bush and are hesitant to see us later, we give them the "god bless you, maybe in the future" line. There are so many people on the streets here in Nice that we don't have time to sit and play Book of Mormon vs Koran with the Muslims or Bible vs Holy Sciptures with the Jehovah's Witnesses. We are kind and tell them, that if ever they want to learn more they can call us. It is like the definition of sorting the wheat from the tares. and it works because when we just get past the talkers we get to talk to more people.

This week as well, I was in St. Raphael on an exchange with an elder from Provo, Elder Merrill, he is like my twin but he is finishing his mission in 5 weeks. I love him, it was a blast.

I also got the chance to baptise Rimas, he asked me to baptise him the day before and I tried to get him to ask a member but he insisted, and so I baptised him, it was great. We had lots of people out to the baptism, usually we have like a max of 20 people but we had like 40 or 45 people at the baptism. It was a awesome. It was the first time that I had baptised anyone besides Jen in the Provo temple, and I didn't really baptise Jen, I baptised Jen for somebody else. He set the goal to finish the Book of Mormon before his baptism, and he finished it the night before. What a powerful tool of conversion, when we don't have the chance to testify to him in his native language, he went straight to the source of revelation and he devoured the Book of Mormon. I love that book, it is super true! before his baptism he wanted to say a quick personal prayer, so he knelt at the the top of the stairs of the font behind a little wall for about 30 seconds. As he prayed I said a pray as well, simply thanking our heavenly father for Rimas and I prayed that Rimas would have a true change of heart and never stray from the truth, we went down into the water and I baptised him, the spirit was so strong. I remembered all of the baptisms that I watched in the MTC or for my other recent converts. and I was so humbled and happy to be able to be an instrument in helping someone come unto Christ by being baptised. It was the feeling that I had wanted ever since I put in my papers and ever since I read that mission call in the family room. MISSIONS ARE GREAT!!!!

Just a quick funny story as well, as you can see in the picture I kind of messed up a pair of slacks, I was trying to bring them in so that they were stylish like my french pants. Epic Fail! So I just cut off the legs and used the legs to make an eye patch. There are all sorts of goofy missionary rules about burning suits for your year mark and all that jazz to I just took the chance to blame my lack of sewing skills on my year mark, even if it was like 2 weeks too late.

Well there you have it, it was a pretty good week. This Friday we are going to meet President and Sister Murdock that should be pretty cool.

We met some cool new people that we are teaching and we are going to try to set a baptismal date with them this week as well so I will keep you posted!!!

Je vous aime!
Elder Smith

ps mom, to be honest I don't drink much fluids I will try to be better
pps POULSEN numero 5!!!! Congrats!!!!! All you mormons are like rabbits! I hope that I will know all of you when I get back!
ppps Happy 4th! Happy Birthday Jen!
pppps just put the whole address that I gave you on the things
px5s they are still looking for a office in Lyon so the office will still be in Geneve for a couple of months
px6s pday has not changed but it is going to change in like 3 weeks, it will be thursday I think, but I am not really sure

Mission 1 Mission 2 !!!!

So I have been on the mission for a year and it is weird weird weird and double weird. Sometimes I feel like I have to do what I have done all over again and sometimes I feel pressure like, there is no time left. I just feel weird.

I will start out by addressing a couple of requests. The package that you supposedly sent, has not come.
Also I have the address of the mission.

8, Chemin William Barbey
1292 Chambesy (GE)

So for my one year mark, I just went out and worked and had a normal day, with ward meetings, teaching lessons and contacting people in the street, it was a good day and we worked well. We came in at night and planned for the next day and I ate some chocolate jello pudding that mom sent me for Easter, it was delicious :) So the night was drawing to an end and I realized that for my entire life I was going to have to tell people that I did nothing for my one year mark, so with about 10 minutes left in the day, I took a bunch of blankets and built a fort around our beds, I put the fans inside and for my one year mark we slept in a fort. It was fun, not very exciting but it was something :/

On Tuesday we had district meeting and after I had an exchange with the zone leaders, it was a blast we went and ate with members because my zone leader served in nice like 4 months ago and there was a bunch of ward members that wanted to see him, we worked as well and all in all it was a good time.

On Wednesday we went to Monaco and taught a less active, we got stood up by our member that was going to help us with a lesson and then we ended up not being able to teach our ami, so that was kind of a bummer but we laughed alot with the less active and his family ( It is the son of the bishop.....ex bishop, he got released like 3 weeks ago)

Our Ami, Rimas, the ruskie is going great!!!! I love him, he eats up everything and just wants to learn more, we decided to watch the testiments with him in russian and english subtitles, by the end of the film there were no dry eyes in the room. The spirit was so so so so strong, we then read a little passage from the book of mormon with him and bore testimony of Joseph Smith, I asked him how he felt as we read and watch the film, he looked at us in silence with his misty eyes and just tapped his heart, and said "boom boom" it was slightly humerous because he doesn't speak french very well, he then look up a word in his dictionary that means "touched". It was a powerful moment. It has been pretty cool teaching Rimas because it has not been us AT ALL that has taught him, he has been converted by the spirit, we teach very simply and we give him passages in the book of mormon to read in russian and he reads and prays and he has had a massive change in heart since the missionaries met him, and even since I met him. He is great and things are looking alright for this Saturday, he should be getting baptised!

I really love this work, since I got to nice I have just felt tired, I hope that I come back to the SLC airport on my feet. The nights are getting so short and the alarm is getting foggy-er and foggy-er. Don't worry, I get out of bed on time but I don't know if my morning prayers are getting understood. I feel like I close my eyes for like 2 seconds, but who needs sleep when you can baptise!!!!

Yesterday we were in Aix en Provence, and we said goodbye to President and Sister Carter, it was so so sad, they have served the Lord with all their hearts and the spirit was so so strong as they testified of the time that they have had here in the south of france. I love them so much, they have taught me so much and I know that the Lord is happy with the work that they have done. Next week we will be in Aix en Provence again to meet President and Sister Murdock. It is a crazy change but I am sure that it will be good.

I love you all and I know that this church is true and I wouldn't trade this mission for anything! have a great week!!!

Elder Smith

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Oops I got Baptized :)

I like Elder Harris, he puts in good work, and I had a week that was the most enjoyable. We contacted a lot of people and have set a good pace for this transfer. Something that I have struggled with is contacting people in the bus and on the tram, I don't know why but it is just way too awkward, Elder Harris showed up and just went for it, so I have also being doing a lot better with that and I am grateful that he just jumped in and started. We started to get in sync with each other when we contact and when we teach and we taught a fair amount of times and we have got some good people headed our way. It is going to be a couple transfer or 2.

We are teaching our ami that is from Russia and he is loving the book of Mormon, he set the goal to finish it before his baptism and he just loves everything that we teach him, he comes to church for all 3 hours, he wants to see us like 4 times a week and he is becoming friends with all the members, it is legit. and I love him. Everytime that I see him I always say "priviette moi brat" (I have no idea how to spell that) but it means "hey my brother". He laughs everytime and always says something in Russian that I don't understand. He is lined up to be baptized on the 25th, and he is very very excited, as are we.

We also found a young Chinese man named Li he is super cool, he is kinda of like one of the fake investigators in the MTC, because he asked blunt perfect questions like. "What is the purpose of my life?" "How can I be happier?" "Who is God?" "What does Jesus do for me?". He is awesome and asked if he can come to church EVERY week, he made an emphasis on EVERY. I informed him that we wouldn't mind and that he is very welcome to come to church. I hope that he will be baptized this transfer as well, he also loves the book of Mormon and the plan of salvation. I need to know how to say "hey my brother" in Chinese as well so dad if you could email that to me pheonoetically that would be great. He is from somewhere near Wuxi so that was cool that I had been there and he is like 21. he will be a future bishop when they open up china.

Story time : Alright Family I got baptized this week. I know that I went to France to baptize people but I got tricked and I am now Raellian. oops :)

So we met some guy that is Raellian, it is some weird group that believes that they have a prophet and he is alive now in Canada, they believe that God is an alien and that there is a big planet where god lives that is full of people that can resurrect other people and that are perfect, he also has talked with angels and apparently one of these angels stole his arm. The guy is like super super super weird but nice and wanted a book of Mormon, so we fixed a moment and met him on a bench and talked for like 25 minutes. He loves the whole Joseph Smith story and had heard it all before, he has already read the Book of Mormon but gave his copy away. We talked about how we need to be baptized and that is why Joseph Smith is so important, because by him the power of god was put back on earth, not just a good message about god and Jesus. He had all sorts of weird ideas about nuclear weapons and aliens and Kolob and governments and angels and prophets and scriptures that he had wrote, He claims to be a messenger and prophet that is here to prepare the world for the end. So we pretty much threw in the towel because it was not worth talking about all these weird things, we were wrapping things up and we were telling him goodbye and he turned to us and said "God is listening to you right now, more than he usually does, (he raised his eyebrows, kinda of telling us that he was the prophet that was going to bring in the last days) and in this action of places my hand upon your shoulder (He put his one and only arm on Elder Harris) I baptize thee" ( then he did the same thing to me). we thanked him for the baptism and told him to call us when the angel tells him that the Book of Mormon is true and that Thomas S. Monson is actually the prophet on the earth.

and just like that I now am a Raellian!
I was WEIRDED OUT, but we did laugh for awhile as we walked to our next appointment

Answers to Questions
We have no AC, we sleep with a fan on our face and the windows open, it is pretty temperature and humid though
I don't know what I am doing for my year mark
I have received no packages

I love you all and I hope that you all have a great week and say Mormon!

LOVE Elder Smith

Forever Families are da best!

Hey family this week was eventful and just enjoyable we have had a couple of changes, both Elder Brough and Elder Duncan got shipped out and I am have a new companion. His name is Elder Harris, he is from Maryland/Draper (his parents moved Draper 2 weeks ago) and I love him very much. He is a good worker and this is his 4 transfer. He was trained by the one and only Elder Allen and his older brother served in Toulouse and trained the one and only Elder Magnan who trained It is a big long tangled up story but it ends up that the world is pretty small.

This week was also pretty sad, I really really loved serving with Elder Duncan and Elder Brough, they are definitely two people that I will be playing golf with and going to the temple with in my old days. Elder Brough is headed off to Bayonne and Elder Duncan is headed off to Angouleme

Antonio got baptized!!!!! It was so so so so great! He came to the chapel with his family about half an hour before his baptism. When they showed up we were there and we welcomed them, Antonio told us that he was able to focus all day and that he could sleep the night before and that he just wasn't feeling very good about his baptism. That was a total change of how he was acting the day before after his baptismal interview, when he came out of his interview he was glowing and very very excited to be baptized. So I gave his wife a tour of the chapel (because it was the first time that she ever came to church) and Elder Brough and Elder Duncan were just talking to him about his baptism. When it was time we started off with some hymns and the talks. Antonio still wasn't feeling very well, and I was starting to get a little nervous. We headed off to the baptismal font and Elder Duncan baptized him, his family and our other ami, Rimas were on the front row, as soon as Elder Duncan began the prayer, the spirit was very strong, everyone in the room felt it, Antonio was baptized and as he came up out of the water he had the biggest smiles ever on his face and he then dived back into the water, we closed the curtain to try to keep this reverent but everyone was chuckling, but Antonio was so thrilled. After he was baptized he changed and he bore his testimony about his baptism and about the change that has happened in his life since he started taking the missionary lessons, he testified with tears in his eyes to his family that he knew he had made a right choice. SO POWERFUL, the next day we had the confirmation that was done by the bishop, which again was such a great moment. After church on Sunday we went to their house and taught the whole family about the temple and forever families, Vanessa ( the wife ) was very interested and she was smiling the whole time, there was a new spirit in there home and the whole family loved the idea of being together forever, also when we showed up there was a picture of their family and the 3 of us sitting on the table and when we left there was also a picture of the temple that we gave them! I love love love the Suarez family and I am hoping to see them all baptised before I leave this city.

Rimas, our Russian ami, came to the baptism and is lined up to be baptised on the 26th, he loves the book of Mormon and the bible and he loves coming to church, he told me that when he came to the baptism all his questions were answered and that his heart was going BOOM BOOM, I informed him that the boom boom is what the scriptures call the holy ghost, he agreed and is looking very good for his baptism.

I know that this transfer is going to bring good things, I am lined up with a new companion that is young and excited and knows how to work and wants to work, I know that I am going to learn lots from him.

Above all I know that is work is true, I know that Joseph Smith saw the Son of God and that Jesus Christ has once again established his kingdom and church upon the earth, I am so grateful for my Savior and for love of my Father in heaven to have sent him hear to earth to die for me. I love you all so very much as well and I hope that you have a great week!!

Elder Smith

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Sorry time is short!

Love you mom and dad, I really really loved your letters this week. Here is the Banniere and some pictures as well. I am almost up to my year mark and it feels so very strange, Jake and Trent and also now on the down hill. We are working and trying to get things going here in Nice. This city has so much potential and we are not getting there, I feel a little blocked because we are contact information (that is what we do all day, we just talk with people as we walk from Rendez-vous to Rendez-vous, it is there name, number and address) but there are SOOO many people that stand us up or give us fake information. Each week that I have been here we have gotten 30 or more people but in total here in Nice we have had only like 14 new people and only like 2 or 3 off those people have gotten to a 2nd or 3rd lesson. In Carcassonne and Perigueux we would get like 10 a week and we would get like 4 or 5 people to a 2nd lesson. I hope that this week will be a turn around because we found 7 new people and we will see if they get to 2nd and 3rd lessons this week. I am feeling good, I am starting to feel old with my year mark creeping up on me, this week I started to feel really tired by the idea that I have a year left, but after some prayer and testimony boosting I am ready for another go at it. I LOVE YOU and I know that this work is true, Joseph Smith is a prophet and the fullness of the gospel is once again on the earth, even if I am tired I cannot deny the testimony and knowledge that my Heavenly Father has given me. I cannot deny it so I must share it!!

Our amis are doing well and Antonio Saurez is lined up to be baptized this weekend

James is doing well and had a great first week as a member of the church

My name is Matt Smith and I have been sober for 10 days

We have another ami his name is Rimas, he is from Russia and he is lined up to be baptized on the 24th of June

Sounds like there is some crazy water in Utah, and it also sounded like Tanelle had some crazy on her lap :) ha ha

These are some pictures from Monaco and my life as a missionary, I have been loving this city and my companions and we will see next week if everything stays the same or if we have some changes because it is the end of the transfer!

Thank you Elizabeth for the update, you got me laughing out loud, another Pack BOY!!! Super super kool!

We are down to the last month of President Carter so everybody is going hard with the pedal to the floor to send him off on a good note, the mission had the highest amount of new amis, people engaged and at church since president carter got here last week