Monday, June 11, 2012

They called me on a mission and a grew a foot or two

Bonjour!

This past week we sent 2 days in Bordeaux doing an exchange and a zone conference. The zone conference was great, I am going to miss them. We also went out into a huge square and did contacting with our tripod and board and had a little fight with a drunk man. It was so funny, he was bothering all of us and I tried to divert him so I asked him to go buy me a croissant and he said yes. I gave him a couple of euros thinking that he would go his way and that that would be the end of him, he came back about 2 minutes later with a huge beer. I didn't mean to but I bought him a beer, things started to get a little crazy and just in time their were 2 police officers that were rolling by on their bikes and one of the Elders saw them and just like that our drunk man got arrested and we were left to share the gospel in peace. It was really funny and then after we actually talked to some really cool people. I am going to miss just being able to stand in the streets of France and testify to people about the Book of Mormon and the Plan of Salvation. Just after we went and knocked some doors and met a really cool student that had been taught by the sisters about a year ago. He was really cool and he was very open to see us again. We taught him briefly about the restoration and about the Book of Mormon.

We also spent 2 days in Toulouse doing an exchange and a zone conference. The zone conference was again great, they always are. We went out with our board and tripod again there was a bunch of really cool people that we spoke with, we gave out a bunch of Book of Mormons and set some appointments for the elders. I love that city! We then flew from Toulouse to Geneva and I saw the Toulouse airport for the last time, I was going in the doors and felt so so strange because I remembered the exact feeling I had when I walked out of those doors when I got to France. We passed our area over to the sisters and then took over in Gex, I love that place. There are so many miracles about to happen for the sisters. The ward is on fire and there are lots of great investigators for them, they are going to have a blast. We then moved to Lyon and I have spent alot of this weekend getting lost and making the same mistakes that I made when we did a white wash in Aix. This new area is SOOOO great, I wish that I would be staying here to work more and see the work progress. We are going to FIND FIND FIND and FIND some more this week. There is nobody in the area book, actually we don't even have an area book yet. So we are just going to attack and then attack some more.

I love my mission, I have had so many wonderful blessings during these two years. I love the Lord and I love this work, I am excited to receive another calling and continue the work in a different area when I get home. I have been change by my mission, I have invited others to come unto Christ and I myself have come unto him. The day when I will meet him again, I will fall to his feet and thank him for his atonement and that is the same reaction and feeling that I have now as I near the end of my mission. I thank the Lord for his love and for his atonement, I will never leave his side and I will always serve his children. What a blessing it is have worn his name on my chest for 2 years. I took his name upon me at baptism and even though I will soon take off my tag, I will wear his name for the rest of my life.I will continue in keeping my covenants and helping others to make and keep their covenants. I love the Lord and I love my mission.

I love you all and I will see you soon!

Love
Elder Smith

Monday, June 4, 2012

Families can be together forever

Bonjour!

Anai was baptized this week, she is a student and will be returning to Spain this summer. She was excited for her baptism and for Mother’s Day she invited her mother to come from Spain to attend her baptism. Her mother was curious because she had met the missionaries in the past in Ecuador and had even attended a temple open house. At the baptismal service her mother was very touched by the members and the talks and testimonies that were shared. As she watched her daughter enter the waters of baptism she began to cry and was very happy with her daughter’s choice. She loved the closing hymnand she took many pictures. After the baptism we asked her if the missionaries in Spain could come by her home and answer questions that she might have and give her a Book of Mormon in Spanish as a gift. She was thrilled at the idea! She took one of our planners and wrote her name, address and phone number and told us that she would be back in Spain on Tuesday and that she would love for the missionaries to stop by. This is a great and marvelous work in which we have the blessing of participating. The missionaries that spoke to our amie’s mother in Ecuador will never know that she and her family have now taken the first steps to becoming an eternal family. The Lord’s vision is so much greater than ours, we must simply follow him and give our best and through our efforts he will accomplish his great designs.

I don't know if I am exagerating but this past week and this week may or may not be the 2 most busy weeks of my entire life.

Monday- We went to Yverdon and did an exchange with some stellar elders, we learned that because of some miscommunication that we needed to leave for Lyon the next day much earlier than planned so I we drove back to Geneva late and crashed into bed

Tuesday- Woke up early and went to Lyon and had a great new missionary training, then we spent the whole night at IKEA buying new furniture for our apartment

Wednesday- President's last Zone Leader Council that was soooo good and then we spent the entire rest of the day until late building IKEA furniture

Thursday- Woke up and kept building IKEA furniture and then drove back to Geneva and taught Leila and Anai. Both of them are great, Leila is progressing super well. You are going to meet her when you come visit.

Friday - The baptismal interview of Anai and then working and preparing for her baptism.

Saturday - BAPTISM!!!!!! It was wonderful. Her mother came and there was a bunch of members, the entire program was in spanish and it went really well.


Sunday - We went and ate with/taught the Attobra family and then we taught Leila as well with the Serrano family. You will meet them as well, they are one of my favorite families that I have met on my mission.

Today - Woke up and did a bunch of stuff and then rushed off to our plane with President and Sister Murdock. Now we are in Bordeaux and we are going to start an exchange in like an hour.

This email was just a bunch of temporal things so I'm sorry about that. I am so so happy. My mission has changed my life, I have come unto Christ. I know that he lives and I know that everything that he asks of us is for our well-being. There is NO greater joy in this life than serving the Lord and his children.

Love Elder Smith


I decided that this mormon missionary thing isn't for me
I am actually going to be a nun


Monday, May 28, 2012

Hello

Bonjour! About 2 weeks ago in order to have an amie participate more in our teachings we had the idea to invite her to teach us a portion of our lesson rather than just us doing all the teaching. We invited her to teach us the 10 commandments with the help of her member friend, she did and it went really well. She became much more comfortable during our teachings. This past week we had invited her to watch the restoration with her friend and we told her that we would be discussing that during our upcoming lesson. We arrived and taught and explained the importance of a living prophet and answered her questions. It was a fairly good teaching which helped her but there was nothing extraordinary with the lesson. She then asked us if she could teach us something that she had prepared. We were of course were delighted and said yes. She had us open to Joseph Smith History 1:15-20. All we did was read and she explained what Joseph Smith had experienced and how he had been called as a prophet. This spirit was strong as she simply re-told us his story. She explained that God had spoken to Joseph because the truth was no longer on the earth, and in all essence she testified to us that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. When she finished, we asked her why she had wanted to share that with us and she said because she had been touched in her heart while she was watching the film and she knew that it would make us happy. She was right. It is such a wonderful blessing to see others come unto the knowledge of the restored truth and we saw how natural it was to share that knowledge when we have been taught by the spirit. Our amie was a great example to us to always be willing to share that which has touched our hearts with simplicity and sincerity Monday- Traveled to Toulouse Tuesday- Toulouse for a new missionary training, LOVED IT! So many great missionaries and a great city Wednesday-Aix-en-Provence!! I saw Greg and Fabrice (Elder Baret) during lunch at Zone Conference. I also said goodbye to Elder Duncan and Harris Thursday- Lyon, Zone Conference with 4 fellow Davis Darts, it was great and we had a wonderful time. Friday- Geneva, Worked on zone conference stuff and then went and taught Leila, it was sooo good, ( see story above) Saturday-Painted at the family serranos home, you will meet them when you come pick me up Sunday-Church, did a cookies pass activity with the ward too our amis and some less actives and taught Leila again, it was a powerful teaching about the nature of God, she has muslim backgrounds and so we taught alot about who God is and our relationship with him, She is really starting to understand the plan of salvation. Q&A Where are you living? in the mission home, but we move to Lyon tomorrow and then we are doing a little bit of living out of suitcases for a week and a half. Are you still in Gex? yes, Anai is getting baptised this weekend and then we will leave. SOOOO COOL! With the mission office in Lyon are you moving there soon? yes :) Where are you this week? Yverdon ( en suisse), Lyon, Gex Love you! Elder Smith

Monday, May 21, 2012

CELIA!!!

Dear Family,

Celia got baptised!!! It was incredible!! She was radiant and her brother baptised her. I don't really remember if I told you her story, but the ward has been waiting for literaly years for her to be baptised. Basically all of her family, cousins and friends were there and half the ward. It was the biggest turn out I have seen on my mission for a baptism. at least 100 people. Celia had been waiting for her dad to baptised before she wanted to be baptised, but during the baptism of an 8 year old about 2 months ago, Elder Claflin turned to me and said " I know it is not the normal moment but I feel that we should invite Celia to be baptised." I said ok, lets do it. We simply asked her "Celia would you like to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptised?" She looked at us and said yes, she even thanked us because she had been wanting to be baptized but she didn't know how to go about it. She was a miracle and she is already making plans to go to the temple with the young women next month. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!





Besides that Zone Conferences and New Missionary Conferences are starting again!!! Back on the road! We have to leave in about an hour and then we will breath a couple of times and then this whole mission thing will be kinda over. CRAZY and SUPER SAD! but I am going to live it up. We took a missionary to the airport this morning because he had extended his mission by 2 weeks in order to help the mission move, it was sad and now I am the next one up. I have been sending missionaries off for the last 6 months and I can't believe that it is turning towards me.

This was our message to the mission and since I don't have tons of time, it is your message too.

As each of us began our missionary journey we received the promise, “The Lord will reward and richly bless you as you humbly and prayerfully serve Him. More happiness awaits you than you have ever experienced as you labor among His children.” We humbly testify that this promise is true. Immediately following the baptism of wonderful young lady from a part member family, we had the opportunity to speak with an amie. She has been taking the lessons for a few weeks but still has some reluctance about baptism. At least, that was the case before she saw a baptism actually take place. We could tell as we were speaking with her that something had changed. We felt impressed to invite her to be baptized. Even though there were people all around eating cake, being loud, and laughing, we followed the prompting we’d received and invited her. She accepted. We testify that the Lord does reward and richly bless His missionaries as we do our best to humbly serve Him. We know no greater joy than that of missionary service. What a beautiful blessing it is to be counted as worthy to labor with God among His children. This is indeed His work.

I love you all!

Elder Smith


Friday, May 18, 2012

Pictures

So I just spoke to you and I am going to speak to you in like not very long so this week I took my time to write some others.

These are some pictures of recent events.

Elder Claflin et Moi à Gex
Soirée Crepe avec la famille serrano
et
Nous et Frere houdin, en train d'etre des gangsters que nous sommes

We have been moving the mission home this week and last weekend and we have been teaching Laila and Anai and both of them are doing really well, anai is super lined up for baptism and laila is progressing well and I hope that she will see have a baptismal date, from the very beginning I have felt very strong about her and I believe she will be baptized soon.  Celia is going to be baptized this weekend and I will let you know how that goes.

I love you all and it was great to see/speak with (madamoiselle parker)  you all!

Love
Elder Smith

Saturday, May 12, 2012

MIRACLES

Bonjour,

Sorry that I am a little late to write you but has been transfer week and as soon as transfers finished we have started packing the mission office and getting things ready to move the weekend and next week. and on top of that we will hopefully have 3 baptisms during the next 4 weeks so we spend every spare moment teaching our investigators. In your emails you have asked a bunch of questions about what I am going to do when I get home and about the trip to pick me up, what I suggest is that you get a pen and paper and when I call on Sunday you can drill me for 10 minutes and then we can talk about how you are and about the greatness of a mission and all that good stuff for another 50 minutes.

So the Miracles...

MIRACLE #1 Last week a family in the ward invited us over to eat right after church with their friend that they had brought to church. We were able to explain who we were and what we do as missionaries. We spoke about Joseph Smith and the members’ friend even said a very sincere prayer after we shared our spiritual thought. During the week she called us and told us that she had spoken with her mother and that she wanted to introduce us to her mother the next Sunday after church. We were thrilled. This Sunday after church we went again and ate with the same members and taught their two friends. We were able to leave a good impression on her mother and now the daughter has accepted to see us a couple times a week in order to better understand our message and work towards baptism. The family that presented us to their friends was less active about 6 months ago and they are now out to church every week, preparing to return to the temple and sharing the gospel with their friends. What a blessing it is to be able to leave the ninety and nine and rescue the one. This family had wandered from the fold and they have now come back and they are bringing others with them.

MIRACLE #2 When I was in Carcassonne I had tried to call an investigator but I got mixed up with the phone and the fact that I didn't speak french and instead of calling our investigator I call the less active bishop that had been offended and hadn't been to church in about 7 years. He was very confused and so was I, so my trainer took the phone and straightened things out, the old bishop thought it was funny and he accepted for us to come over when my companion asked him. We went over and saw him about 4 times when I was in Carcassonne and his home teachers came with us and they began to visit him. I left and the missionaries kept coming over every once and a while and then the Elders that are in Carcassonne recently really started working with this family. To make a long story short, the bishop has come back to church every week for about 2 months and last week he baptised his 15 year old daughter!!! I talked to the Elders and they told me that it was so wonderful, the ward was so so happy to have one of their best friends back and that the spirit was powerful during the baptism. Funny how God can turn something really small into something so big.

MIRACLE #3 On Friday night we recieved a phone call from Greg, back in Aix, and he asked Elder Claflin, "Do you have any plans tomorrow?" Elder Claflin said "no", and Greg said " I would like to invite you to a special occasion tomorrow I will be dressed in white and so will Elder Baret, I'm getting baptised!". I cannot tell you how grateful I am for Greg, there have been so many prayers for him, from many missionaries, friends, family, his wife and himself that he could be baptised. Well God answers prayers The next day, last saturday, Greg was baptised!!!! We begged President Murdock to let us drive down but we couldn't go. Elder Baret baptised Greg the day before the end of his mission, it is such a blessing to have been a part of Greg's story. Apparently they had just had a very spirituel lesson together on Friday night and felt the confirmation of the spirit and decided that he was ready for baptism. IT IS A MIRACLE!!! God is so gracious and I am so grateful to him to have sent me to France to meet wonderful people like Greg and his family.

I love you all, and I have lots I can say, but I will just tell you in person this Sunday, I am excited to see you all and I will call at 5:30 PM Geneva time, which should be 9:30 AM utah time.

LOVE YOU!!!

Elder Smith

Mission Buds


Transfers
Anai
La Famille Willener

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I'll go where you want me to go

Dear Family Since I last wrote you we have started the transfer and have been preparing for Zone Leader council. Today we will be down in Lyon doing that and then we will hopefully get into our area by Wednesday. I don't have tons of time so I am just going to copy and paste the message that we send out to the mission every week for you. Before we began our weekly planning session this week our District Leader invited us to do the last companionship study activity in chapter 4 of Preach My Gospel. In doing this activity we read this quote by Brigham Young that caught our attention. "Ask [God] to put you just where he wants you, and to tell you what he wants you to do, and feel that you are on hand to do it" After planning we set the goal to really look for revelation during our nightly planning about a specific place where the Lord wanted us to be the next day. Later that night we did so and we had the idea to go to a neighborhood that is kind of far away. We had been close to there in the past and had not had very much success. It took us some time to get there but when we arrived we started knocking some doors and everyone was very kind, towards the end of the morning we met 2 families that are very close friends with a member that lives in the area and they both invited us to come back and teach them with their friend. They were both single mothers and were touched by our message that God loved them and their families and that they could have His love in their homes. It was a great experience. Later, on Sunday, we told the member that we had met her friends and she told us that she had recently talked to both of them about the church and that she had been praying for them. Our member was very excited and told us that she would do anything that she could to have them over to her home or to come teach with us. We know that we were sent by the spirit and that our prayers and the prayers of our member were heard. There were also some questions that were asked Are you still planning on a baptism or baptisms on May 5th? Nope, they have been pushed back but they are both still on for later in the month. Have you made any plans for when you get home? Not really, it all depends on if I get accepted to the MTC and it could also depend on when we go to bear lake because I can't miss that. What did you decide about the MTC? I am going to apply in about a month because there is a video that I have to make on a P Day for my application Mother's Day Call? I am not totally sure but I think that we will be calling from a members home and that I will be calling around 5:30 my time, which is like 9:30 utah time. If that works tell me, if not I can call a little earlier or a little later. Love you! Elder Smith

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Satan = Loser, Righteous = Winner

Life is good. This past week and a half were great. Last week we spent most of the time in our area and it was great. We met some oppostion, but what it is new? Satan hates what we do. We were teaching one of our amis about baptism and confirmation during Sunday school. We had invited 3 recent converts to come and participate in our lesson. We talked briefly about faith and repentance and then we had a good discussion about baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Everyone remarked that the Doctrine of Christ was very clear and simple. Then almost all at once, each of the recent converts took the time to testify that the gospel was plain and simple, but before each of their baptisms they met opposition from friends and family. They each testified that it was worth the opposition in order to have the blessings of baptism and confirmation. It was a very powerful moment and our amie could feel the support of the other members, understanding that if she met opposition, there would be people around her to support her. We finished the lesson and as we opened the door of the classroom, the mother of our amie was standing there and wanted to speak to us immediately. We then stepped right back into the classroom and the mother told us that she was frustrated and that she was opposed to the baptism of her daughter. Our amie was very sad and she realized that what she had just learned was very real; she realized that the powers of Satan were very real and that Satan did not want her to be baptized. We spoke with her and her mother and then said a prayer together that the opposition of Satan would not keep our amie from being able to follow Jesus Christ. This experience was a testimony to us that we are truly at war with Satan, he controls the powers of evil and we, as servants of the Lord, hold the powers of heaven. I know that we are called to rebuke the power of Satan and pull down the power of the Spirit from Heaven. Satan will lose, and the righteous will win because we stand with the Lord. We as missionaries are all called of the Lord and we must do all we can to overcome the opposition of Satan. We spent Monday and Tuesday back in Aix-en-Provence and Marseille for P-Day / an exchange. It was great!!!! We got to see the Kool Family with Greg and Jolaine, with Elder Baret, Elder Claflin and myself. I love them so much, I am sure you will love them when you come to Aix. We also got to see Robine, which was so good, she is doing well and it was great to see her again and remember how much we experience together. We spent Wednesday and Today with Elder Heywood and Elder Allen, in Lyon on an exchange / a training for all the new missionaries from last transfer. It was great, I spent the day working with Elder Heywood and was with Elder Allen in the apartment and out an about for the training, I love them both. It is cool to see all of my mission brothers again and so often because we can see how much all of us have learned, and experienced. I love you all and I am sorry that I couldn't write before today! LOVE Elder Smith

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Miracles

Bonjour;

Wednesday - We taught Anai the plan of salvation, she had lots of great questions and it went really well, she is excited for her baptism. We taught a new family, the mother Victoria is not ready for the gospel but her daught Jessica was really cool, I hope that we will be able to teach her in the future enough if her mom isn't ready. We also went and ate with the Serrano family, the family that Elder Bollero and I helped come back. The mom and dad and 2 daughters are back and active and the one son, yoan, who is so cool is almost back. He is going to EFY this year in Provo!!! SOOO COOL!!! I have already set up the dates and I am going to go see him in the middle of July in Provo. We also stopped by a partial member family for the birthday of one of the daughters and had cake.

Thursday - It was pouring rain, but when we left if was just a little gray. So we got pretty wet until we found our way into an apartment building where we knocked some doors. We taught a less active sister, Aurore and it went really well. She is stopping smoking, she has a real desire and we had a powerful lesson about obedience and faith with her. We then went and knocked some doors with the rule of 10s (the rule of 10s is Presidents counsil to us knock at least 10 doors around every person that we visit) we have met a good amount of people just by that simple finding idea. We got let in some doors and taught, I will let you know if they progress

Friday - We had interviews with Presdent in our Zone. We went and taught Celia the plan of salvation, she is excited for her baptism but there is some oppostion that has popped up for her date, her mom (she lives with her step mom) is open to the baptism but whats her to be with her during that, so we might have to move her baptismal date. There was also a partial member family, the frossard family that called us because their non member kids had questions about the church and they wanted to have priesthood blessings. That was a way cool experience, even though they don't know the gospel they literally called upon the elders of the church for a blessing. It went really well and we had a very powerful moment with them. There was a moment during the blessing that I felt to talk about Chasity ( I was giving a blessing to a fairly cute 19 year old girl) .......awkward...... so i hesitated and I lost all flow of words, I realized that I needed to talk about it and as soon as I did the words came back and the spirit came and she began to cry during the blessing. It was a lesson learned for me to never doubt the inspiration of the spirit.

Saturday - We taught a less active family that is coming back with their home teachers and we also taught Anai about the restoration again because she had a question about Joseph Smith, she told us that she told her mother about her baptism and that her mother supported her, her mother is coming up to France from Spain for her baptism but in order to be there we will have to move her baptismal date, that is ok though because it is going to be really cool for her mom to come.

Sunday - We had church and during church. We taught some people in the afternoon and on the way to an appointment we were headed to an appointment and I saw a young mother but I didn't contact her because we were in a hurry. During the whole lesson I couldn't stop thinking about her. After the lesson I told my companion that we had to go knock on the building that I had seen her by in hopes that we would find her, she lived in the second to last door in the building and her name is Gracy. We taught her and have an appointment to come back this week and teach her with her family.

I love preaching the gospel and this week was one of the best weeks of my mission, I know that this doesn't mean anything to you because you are not on a mission, but we met EVERY SINGLE ONE OF OUR GOALS this week. We were very blessed, never once have I had every goal, I have had great weeks where we had really great opportunities to teach and find peope but this week we reached the standards of excellence in each level and we had many opportunities where we were led by the spirit in finding and in teaching! I love this work and I know that if we did not have the spirit to lead us and to guide us and to teach us that we would never be able to accomplish anything, life is beautiful and being a missionary is great :)

Love you all!
Elder Smith

PS This thursday it is the birthday of one of my best mission buddies, Elder Pittson. He served in Aix in the other companionship while I was there and he has been in the office with me for the last three transfers. He is gone today for some apartment stuff so for a good portion of my P Day I made a homemade mustache pinata for him with hangers, tape, card board and paper.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

BLESSINGS

Behold my week

Monday - P day and dinner and a lesson with a less active family that is half way back to church. It is a family that started to come back when Elder Bollero and I were together. La Famille Aeberhard, they are really cool and I love them, we spoke about how they came to know what the missionaries were teaching was true. It was cool to see that their testimonies were still burning strong

Tuesday - A new missionary, Elder Stanford came into the mission all alone, so we spent the day with him, his trainer and President getting him ready for the field. I wish I could be in his place, after President and Sister Murdock took us out to a delicious restaurant and we ate this super fancy great fondue. I ordered horse, it was pretty good

Wednesday - We spent most of the day in Lyon at a Zone Leader Council and then we went and did an exchang in Montpellier. I was with Elder Brough, with whom I served in Nice, it was great. We went out into this huge square and put up a sign and talked to people, it felt like the good ole days back in Nice

Thursday - We finished up in Montpellier and then drove back to Geneva, We met some cool people while we were out contacting and knocking doors, they didn't have any appointments so we did lots of finding and I hope that they will be able to teach some of the people that we met. I contacted a less active member from the north of france and spoke with him for awhile about the sacrament and I invited him to go back to church, he was on vacation. He told me that he kept crossing the missionaries and I told him that it was not a coincidence and that he needed to come back. After all this Elder Claflin and I had a nice 5 hour road trip back to Geneva, lots of laughs and it is good to be back with him.

Friday - We spent alot of the day catching up on projects and things that needed to be done in the office and then we went out and had a really cool experience. A member is taking some post high school classes with a friend and she has wanted to inviter her to church but she didn't know how. She came up with the idea that we stand in front of the high school with a big sign that said 'LAN' on it (her friends name). When she came out of the school her friend was surprised but really loved it, the member, 3 of her friends and us spoke for awhile and gave a Book of Mormon to her friend, she was really touched and very interested in coming to church. We set another time to go see her and I hope that we will be able to teach her

Saturday - We went out and knocked doors and such and then we went and taught Anai, we taught her about the ressurection and invited her to come to the baptism of an 8 year old on sunday afternoon. It was a good lesson and she was very excited to come to church and to the baptism

Sunday - MIRACLES!!!! We went to church and we ate an easter lunch with some members and then we went to the baptism of the 8 year old with Anai. While we were sitting in at the baptism service Elder Claflin looked at me and told me that he needed to speak with Celia, a 14 year old un baptised daughter of a completely active family, so he leaded forward and started to talk to her, he felt that he should invite her to be baptised and she immediately said YES! I would love to, I have been waiting to be baptised. She thanked him and was very touched, we are going to teach her and she is getting baptised on the 5th of May!! 45 minutes later we were teaching Anai and we asked her what she thought of the baptism, she really enjoyed and in our lesson we had 3 sisters from the ward with us, they each took the time to testify of their baptisms and then we invited Anai to be baptised she said yes as well and she will be baptised on the 5th of May as well. 30 Minutes later we were eating dinner with the Celi Family and Vicente, who is a 19 year old non baptised son of a completely active family turned to us and said "when are you going to baptise me?" I said May 5th right away and he laughed, we explained how that could actually work because he was joking and then we asked him if we could teach him so that he could see if he would like to be baptised on the 5th of May and he said yes. We also spoke to one person on the street during all of this 3 hours of miracles and she invited us to teach her and her family the next day.

Yesterday - we went back and taught the woman, victoria and her daughter jessica and they are very interested in coming to church and reading the Book of Mormon, and they already know some members!

This week was full of faith and miracles, I had some great discussions with President Murdock and Elder Claflin and I have never felt so full of fire to find and baptise people, the Lord is pouring out blessings after we put a good amount of hard work and faith into Gex and I am so grateful for his mercy and love to let us work along side him.

I love you all! Happy Easter!
Elder Smith

Monday, April 2, 2012

le primtemps a Geneve

Spring has sprung and life is good. I am already back the groove with Elder Claflin and I am still a little stunned that he is my companion again. He is honestly like a brother to me, funny enough he kind of reminds me of Ben. We get along great and we are excited to baptise. Elder Claflin is just who I needed to help me finish my mission at full blast, and if I am not mistaken you will maybe meet him when you come to pick me up. (concerning picking me up, I think that you said that you are going to arrive in Geneva, but I am going to move to Lyon in like 5 weeks, so I think that might pose a couple of problems :) Can i start emailing members and recent converts and stuff to make sure that we can come see them, that would be great if you can let me know where we will be on what days and how long we will be there)

so my week

Monday - Pretty normal p-day, I recieved Elder Claflin and it was just a normal P day

Tuesday - We got up early and sent off the oldies and then we picked up the newbies. We did a nice round of contacting with them on their first day, I loved it, I wish I was a newbie, we did some training stuff and then we let president take over and we went out into our area and did a little work, passing some referals that the members had given us.

Wednesday - We sent off all the missionaries and then we came home and went out into our area and taught Anai, we are going to try to baptise her this transfer, she is great. Later that night we went and taught a partial member family and had dinner with them, the Yesli family. The mother is remarried and her new husband comes from a muslim background but he comes to church every week and really enjoys the members and the church. We went and invited them to general conference and started see what we can do to help him progress towards baptism, we will see what happens.

Thursday -Thursday we woke up and started moving the office into France because there is legal issues with the new office couple. Then we went home and started packing the mission home and garage because there were some things that had to change because of legal issues and bla bla bla, long story short we spent a good part of the day with president in our jeans throwing away stuff and boxing up stuff.

Friday - (BEST DAY OF THE WEEK) I went on an exchange with Elder Moore, he is a zone leader in Geneva, but there was a problem, neither of us have drivers licenses. So we took the bikes!!! He talked to WAY more people than we usually do in the car, because we would ride up to people and stop them while we were on our bikes and people are surprised because they think that you need help or something. We were also able to help people with groceries and random service things because it is very easy to stop and park a bike compared to a car. The day was full of miracles need less to say, there was even a woman that stopped in the middle of traffic because she recognized 'les elders' on their bikes, she had been trying to get in contact with missionaries for awhile and she is know has the number of the elders in Geneva. We were quite tired and we had to ride our bikes for like 40 minutes to get home because the bus driver wouldn't let us in the bus with our bikes, but it was a great day and I think that we are going to start using the bikes more often.

Saturday and Sunday - Both days were filled with conference and setting up things and stuff, but the spirit was strong. OH it was strong, I love general conference, it is like missionary super bowl or march madness. I got to see saturday morning, priesthood and sunday morning. I would have been able to see saturday afternoon but there was a problem getting conference into mongolian for a bunch of people at the stake center so i spent most of that session running around looking for a laptop and projector and speakers and flashdrives and bla bla bla, I am happy to that we got things to work but it is not very interesting to explain to you how things got working.

Today - we went and play soccer with the elders in geneva and then we rode bikes around in geneva, then we came home and threw a frisby and hit wiffle golf balls with president in his yard and then I just got done with a temple recommend interview with him because my recommend expired at the end of march.

Lilfe is great here in Switzerland and in France
Love
Elder Smith

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Transfer Week

Hello,

This week was transfer week and there is nothing too crazy or eventful to tell you, but this was my week day by day

Monday - Attacked the transfer board with President for about 3 hours and then had P Day

Tuesday - Prepared for the arrival of all the new missionaries and then had to solve a problem with baptismal interview form stuff that took way TOO MUCH time and then we got out and knocked a neighborhood. We had asked a family to pray and send us where they felt like the Lord wanted us to be and it has worked really well. The family sent us to a neighborhood where they have friends and family and then during the week they have called us and told us new areas where we should go and certain friends that they want us to meet. For the moment there are only some great potentials in the neighborhood but it has gotten the members excited about missionary work. I love our members here in Gex.

Wednesday - Attacked the transfer board with President for about 3 hours and then we ran out and taught an ami, named Anai, she is great. She is the nanny of a member and we invited her to church and she has come 2 times. She speaks spanish and is learning french and she has really been touched by the Book of Mormon and by the plan of salvation. We asked her to read 3 nephi 11 and she got tears in her eyes and told us that she new that the book was sent from God, it was a powerful moment, I hope she will be baptised this up coming transfer. Then we came back and attacked transfer board a lot with President.

Thursday- District Meeting and then we attacked the transfer board with President for about 3 hours and things started to just get complicated, transfers were pretty tough this time and so President just stopped in the middle and told us that he need to wrestle with the Lord. We left and went and taught a less active and knocked some more areas where members had sent us. We came back and President had really change the board and everything worked, he is inspired and it is incredible to see the spirit move upon him.

Friday- Some office stuff and then and went and taught the Famille Serrano, a less active family that Elder Bollero and I have been bringing back to church. They are the best and they are almost back to full activity. Last week the brother blessed the sacrament and things are going so so well for them. Their daughter is now looking into BYU and there son is signed up for EFY and the parents and the kids are all at church. It is a true miracle, about 8 months ago they were not that warm with the missionaries and they are now headed towards being worthy to go to the temple. I love them!

Saturday - Random transfer tasks and some good door knocking.

Sunday - We visited some members and did an activity with the ward making brownies and then passing by our amis and some less actives, we also went and taught a partial member family and had dinner with them.

Monday - I got Elder Claflin again as my companion!!!!! I will have spent a total of 7 months with him when I finish, and I will finish with him. I couldn't believe it. I am sad to lose Elder Bollero, he has been such a good companion and now I am back with my brother from Aix! Crazy cool, the Lord is too good to me.

Tuesday - Today - Woke up at 4 45 and took the finishing missionaries to the airport and then today we picked up the new missionaries and have been doing contacting and training all day with them, then tonight we got an hour and a half to get out to our area and do some work.

LOVE YOU
Elder Smith

Monday, March 19, 2012

Groa Bisous de Geneve

This past week went like this

Monday - Woke up. Did some mission reports. Flew to Toulouse. Did an exchange with the chinese speaking missionaries and pretty much just contacted for a the whole night. Talked some pretty cool people.

Tuesday- Woke up. Did a conference for all the new missionaries in the southern zones of the mission. Then cool story - We were at lunch for the new missionary conference and Elder Barton, one of the best missionaries ever, joked about us going to his city (Albi) and doing a blitz for the night and then coming back the next morning for zone conference. It seemed like it was a little impossible and we had different plans. Later we finished the conference and as we were saying the closing prayer, I had the feeling that we should go to Albi, so I talked with Elder Bollero and we looked at our plans, turns out that some things changed and that it was possible to go to Albi, so we did. We hurried off to the train station and we sat down in the train and their was a woman about my age sitting close to us and for the entire train ride I had the feeling that I should offer her a Book of Mormon. I started talking to her, but I DIDN'T HAVE A BOOK OF MORMON. I asked if we could come over that night and give her a book, she was interested and agreed. After getting to Albi we went and gave her a book, she had plenty of questions and was excited to come to church. I really felt like we had been lead literally hundreds of kilometers just to meet her. I hope that she keeps listening to the missionaries.

Wednesday- Woke up. Took the train back to Toulouse for zone conference. We taught about planning and about unity. It was really great to back in Toulouse, I love that place soooo much. After the conference we left and took a train to Bordeaux. The train broke down so we were stuck in Agen for awhile. The train got fixed and we got to Bordeaux kinda late and then went to bed.

Thursday- Woke up. Went to zone conference. We taught about planning and about asking good questions and listening. After zone conference we went and contacted for couple of hours in Bordeaux, there were tons of people and I really enjoyed talking to all these people.

Friday- Woke up and contacted from about 11 to 5. Met some cool people and hope that the zone leaders can start teaching them. Went and taught some lessons and then took the plane back to Geneva and got in a little late and crashed.

Saturday- Woke up and went to do some service for the recent convert mother of our ami chiara. Then we went and then we taught the children of another recent convert. They are super cool and they have a nanny that is 18 and she was really open to the lesson so we invited her to church. All in all things went well and I hope that we can help her kids to get baptised. They are willing to be baptised when they have a testimony, so all we have to do is help them have the testimony.

Sunday- Went to church and had 4 amis and then after church we went and taught Yan our ami. He has been
coming to church for a long time and is very open to the church. We had the chance to start teaching
him and we taught him the first lesson. We took the chance to really focus and ask good questions. We
discussed how he has a testimony of the Bible because he has felt peace, enlightenment and answers to
his prayers as he reads. We then asked him the question “What would that mean if you had a similar
experience with the Book of Mormon?” He answered and told us “I think I would have to be baptized”.
It was a powerful moment that we took to explain to him that we were there to help him have a
spiritual experience with the Book of Mormon. He has now only began his path to baptism, but through
some inspired questions we know what we need to teach him and he knows what he needs to learn.


Life is great and we have began transfers this week so it should be fun.
Love
Elder Smith

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sometimes I have no idea what to put in the subject line!

Dear Family,

This past week went well, we have a zone conference in Geneva and then I did an exchange with Elder Bishop who is serving Yverdon in Switzerland. We had a blast, we were in the MTC together and he is super funny. He has fire red hair and is from Wales. We did quite of bit of finding and all in all we had a great exchange. The rest of week we were getting ready for this week of conferences and working in our own area. We didn't have much happen in our area but we did start teaching Chiara again. Chiara is a ten year old daughter of a recent convert, she was going to get baptised about 6 months ago but her mom had testimony struggles and the baptism got put off. This sunday we went and taught them because things have calmed down and her mom is again strong and at church every week. I know that Chiara will be baptised but her mom is very very very hesitant and that makes Chiara nervous. Chiara loves coming to church and she is there every week and has even expressed a desire to be baptised, so we are going to try and show her mother, Giovanna, that baptism is only the beginning and it is the most important thing that Chiara can do in this moment of her life.

Saturday night we were porting in a small neighborhood where we had been finding many families at home. We weren’t having much success engaging people in conversation, so we decided to start asking people about their families and how they’ve found happiness at home. Shortly after, a man opened the door and we started by asking him about how he had constructed a happy family. His response was, in short, that he had failed and that he was recently divorced. It could have been a disaster of a contact, but instead we took the opportunity to testify about the Gospel and how we had seen it help those around us with family difficulties. The Spirit was strong, and we talked with him about our optimistic message for a few minutes before leaving. Though he decided not to invite us back, we had a very spiritual conversation and we left him with a high opinion of the Church and its teachings. Our attitude and our testimony truly do impact those around us, even in our small exchanges and short contacts with those we testify to daily.

I am writing from Toulouse right now, we woke up and took the plane this morning. We have 2 conferences to do here this week and then we have a conference and an exchange in Bordeaux. We will be back in our area by saturday and we already have some good appointments set up and should have some people (like Chiara) with baptismal dates. Life is good and I can't believe that after this week will be doing transfers again. This mission is going TOO FAST!

I love you all!
Elder Smith

PS Thank you for the card Dad, Mom and Jodi, I opened the singing card and started dancing immediately and then after the music stopped I read the note in the card that had predicted that would dance in opening the card. The office elders and us laughed pretty good about that. You know me all to well.

Q & A
Where was the ocean baptism?
Bordeaux.

What has happen with the people found/taught on exchanges?
The family in Toulouse was taught for about a month and had baptismal dates and was coming to church but then decided that it was too hard, and the lessons have stopped with them

The man in Montpellier is still being taught and things are going well

The family in our area went on vacation and we are going to see them this weekend

I can't remember if there was others that I spoke about but there are a couple answers

Monday, March 5, 2012

On the road again :)

Dear Family



This past week we had the chance to be in Lyon and Aix for Zone Conferences and we really enjoyed

being able to see a good number of missionaries. After the Zone Conferences, we had the chance to go to Montpellier for an exchange. We arrived during the evening and we went out and started knocking some doors. We met a man from Haiti that opened the door and was very receptive to hear us. He let

us in and he told us how he had survived the terrible earthquakes that struck Haiti a few years ago. He

told us that he felt that God had kept him alive because there was something that he still needed to

have in his life and that there was something missing. We took the opportunity to testify to him that

200 years ago God again spoke to man and that we had come to tell the world and to find him. He has a

great faith already and he told us that he would follow our message because he felt that it came from

God. It was simply a testimony to me of the importance of stating our calling with boldness. We have

been sent by a Prophet because God spoke to Joseph Smith. It is a reality and it is a blessing to be able

to tell others about it.


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS


Is Joan going on a Mission? If so where? and When?

Yes, her farewell was last week so she leaves soon but I am not sure where she is going….oops, I think I am a bad friend
Do you want to be home for the 4th of July?

YES, I love the festivals of the 4th way too much. But if you would like to stay longer that is ok as well because I would stay in France for the rest of my days if possible.

I know Aix for Sunday, Carcasonne, Nice, what else?????

That is the most important I think, Perigueux is too far I think, and most likely you will pick me up in Lyon so Gex will kinda be out of the way unless you want to see Geneva

Are there things you want to see and do?

Well I haven’t really seen any museums or churchs or tourist things, so whatever you would like to see is great. There is a great Indian restaurant in Nice that I need to eat at, there are the Kool Family and Greg and Jolaine that we have to see in Aix. And we need to see Dawna in Nice. And hopefully Recent Converts in all places.

We thought that we would get a car when we got there and drive around the south and then fly to Paris and use the subways there does that sound okay?
Yeah sounds good, in the south I can drive you to Marseille and to many a site seeing place like castles and all the fun stuff


Okay how was the mission tour?
Good, I got to see all my companions in just 3 cities. I love getting to see missionaries and be taught by them, I might be biased but my mission has the coolest missionaries EVER
How many forms of transportation did you use?

6, a car, trams, buses, subways, feet and an elevator

Are there missionaries on Corsica?

Not yet, but I spoke with the Nice stake president for about 10 minutes about getting missionaries in Corsica and it could maybe happen before I go home, a really big maybe.

I didn't realize that Pres. Murdock was finishing his mission in July as well. Will you have the mission home moved before the new president gets there?
We should hopefully have the mission home in Lyon, like a week before leave.


Have you had a chance to teach the golden family since you got back into town?
Nope, L


How were Elders Brough and Clafllin?

GREAT!!!! I spent the exchange with Elder Claflin, and we were right back on pace. We found a man the first night and started teaching him the next day and he is great and accepted to be baptized, he was super prepared. Aix was Great as well with Elder Baret and Elder Heywood, we slept in their apartment on Thursday night and then Elder Baret even made us breakfast the next morning. He is a good man. I also slept in Elder Allens apartment for 2 nights in a row and did an exchange with him on Tuesday. That was really sweet!



Love you!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Missionary Life


Watch me work

P Day Soccer

Salut

Peace and Knowledge

Copier Fixer

Under Repair
Salut!

This week was a good one. We spent a bit of time in the office getting things ready for zone conferences this week and we also got out and hit the ground. I put in some pictures of some office work at its finest. We have changed how zone conferences and district meetings function so we have been in the books and papers a bit but that stuff is boring to talk about so I would say much more.

We spent most of the time that we were out of the office passing by members homes or teaching amis, unfortunately we didn't get tons of time to get and find some new people, but we still have started teaching 1 new family that is REALLY REALLY cool. We found their name in an old door to door book and then we contacted them and we got the chance to go over and teach. It was great. The mother is named Lucette and it was her that we were able to teach, because her husband was out of town on work. But she was very prepared by the Lord, she was asking all of the GOLDEN questions like " how can I know if what you are teaching is true?" "How can the message of the prophet bless my family?". Not Kidding. she is very sincere and unfortuneatly we are going to have to see her in about a week because this week we are going to be on a mission tour. We leave tomorrow morning bright and early and then we get home late saturday night. We will be doing a little driving, to Lyon then to Aix ( I love Aix!!) and then over to Montpellier. In Montpellier we are going to do a exchange with Elder Brough and Elder Claflin, two of my favorite companions. I'm excited.

We also went to the largest city in our area ( to be honest it is more of a village) where there are 2 grocery stores and a pretty good amount of people out in the streets and we went CONTACTING!!!!!!!!! I love contacting so much, it is how I have found people during my whole mission, to be honest I am not a huge fan of door to door, actually you could even say that I really don't prefere to do door to door. In our area, we don't really have the choice of contacting because there are only cows and trees that are out, but we went on a saturday afternoon in the city called Ferney-Voltaire ( it is where the famous Voltaire is from) and we found some cool people by contacting. We will be going back :)

There are some pictures of this P Day at the church in geneva, it was fun we played some foot. And then a picture of me being a G while we were contacting.

Life is good and I am loving my mission!
Elder Smith


Monday, February 20, 2012

Life is Beautiful!

FAMILY

A couple of weeks ago I broke my watch and so this past preparation day we took the chance to go into Geneva and look at a couple of stores for a new watch. We went into a store and looked around. I had found a couple of watches and was deciding between colors. I joked with the sales woman, Elodie, and asked which color she would pick if it was her watch. She said “You should pick the gray one because you can wear it to church on Sunday but it is still fun”. We laughed because it was obvious that she knew the missionaries. She told us that she often saw missionaries coming into her store because it is next to the train station. She told us that she even came to church several times as a young woman and she is a close friend of one of our current amis. We talked briefly but she had to work so we left her with a card. The next day we went to eat with our ami (her friend) and she was there! She had spoken with him and she wanted to come to our RDV. We set a return appointment with her and then went back and taught her a couple days later. She is a great. She has started to read the Book of Mormon and we are excited to teach her.

It was a miracle! We went to buy a watch on Monday, Tuesday we ate with the sales woman, and Thursday we are in her home teaching her the gospel. We learned to be ready to be an instrument for the Lord because even when we are not looking for people to teach, people are looking for us!


We have began teaching a non member husband of a sister in the ward, they are a young couple, lively and really fun to visit. His name is Yan, he comes to church every sunday and really enjoys his time but he doesn't have a testimony of the restoration yet. He is also building his own house right now, so every spare moment that he gets after work he is working on the house. But we went and talked to them and they agreed to have us over once a week for short lessons of about 20 minutes. We are excited to see him progress, and as soon as he has a testimony of the restoration he will be ready to go. He is reading the Book of Mormon almost daily with his wife and I am super excited to be able to help him find his testimony.


We also contacted a woman named Valerie and her son Loic. Valerie is french, she had been dropped by the missionaries in the past just because she got quite sick and couldn't recieve the missionaries. She is catholic but she told us that she would like to be baptised and come to church. Her son loic is 10 years old and he hasn't been baptised and he would like to come the church youth activities. They are a great family and they are willing to put in their efforts and work towards baptism. He had a really great lesson with them and the spirit was strong, we could sense her sincere desire to find the truth, she has many questions about God and she is ready to find answers.


We also have been teaching the Attobra family from the congo, I have spoken about them in the past, and things are kind of off and off with them, but we went and taught their daughter, Anais, she is 17 and really cool. She is the most interested out of everyone and she really connected with the young single adult member that we brought with us.


Unfortunately only Yan was able to come to church on sunday, but I feel that we are on the rise and that their is progess to be seen in Gex. Keep us in your prayers!


Love

Elder Smith

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Happy V alentines Day!






ello!

This week has been the week where we have seen the most progress in our area and that we have been pretty busy with mission stuff. This week we have found 3 new investigators, 2 of which are a family that has accepted to be baptized when they have a testimony and hopefully they will come to church this week as well. I will let you know how things go with them. It is a mother and her son, Valerie and Louic, they are really great and are looking for a church to guide them, they are french and we found them in old teaching records.

This week was kinda crazy as you can see because I am writing to you on Thursday, but I am alive and I am happy and doing well. This last week was transfers so I haven't had the chance to sit down and send out an email, lucky mom and dad asked lots of good questions so I am just going to answer some questions.

This is your first transfer being on the administrative side of things how was it?
It is really cool, we spent a lot of time in front of the transfer board and president would bounce ideas off of us, then we would go teach a lesson and we would come back and he would have changed things and prayed and we would start again. We did that for about 3 days, but there were so many times when we could see that the spirit would hit President and he would just start making tons of changes. I also came to realize how much he loves all of the missionaries, he worked so hard and took the time to pray for each elder or sister and at the end, it was perfect. He is a great servant of the Lord and he is inspire, I love getting to work with him.
Do you escort the missionaries around?
Yes, we spent all day monday from 4 in the morning until 10 30 at night and tuesday from 6 in the morning until 6 at night just driving people to the train station, and driving people to the airport and then going contacting with the new missionaries and helping people with transfers. We also did a training with all the trainers and all of the new missionaries.

Would it be necessary or make sense to arrange for hotels in advance?

If arranged in advance it would be cheaper, but it is very possible to wing things. We also have the invitations of some members for eating and visiting things.

If so, is that something that should be done from there [help from your office staff?} or by guessing where we want to be and when and then doing something via the internet?

Probably a mix of both

What is keeping you so busy?
Being a missionary

Where are you this week?
In Gex and Geneva

I decided that if you went to Bordeau you would probably fly there as well. Is that correct? I was looking at a map and I think that Bordeau is about as far away from you as LA is from us.
Yes, that is correct. We will be doing that this transfer

How are your amis?

Great! This week has been going great and I will keep you up to date next week.

What did you decide about working at the MTC?

I think that I will apply and see what happens, it has been on my mind a bit lately so I think that I will put it to prayer and probably apply and see


Love
Elder Smith

The pictures are kind of old, There are from a less active's birthday party, knocking doors, eating at IKEA, sending missionaries home and just being a goof.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Will you be my Valentine?

You are the best mom! I loved the litte card and I was so excited to get the Dictionary, I have been reading it all morning! I was waiting and everyday I checked the mail in hopes that it would come and today was the only day that I got caught up in other things and i didn't have the time check and mail, I came into my office and there it was!!!! You are great!

Dad, I love you too and greatly enjoyed the update this week! let me know about travel plans and such so that I can try to arange to see some of my recent converts, I think that would be great!

Love you!
Elder Smith

-14 C° and Wind

Bonjour!

This week was cold! To be honest we don't really have anyone to teach, we work with many less actives and with the members but we don't have any investigators that are progressing and that we see often. It is always cold when you have nobody to teach, funny how that works out :) We need to put our shoulder to the wheel and teach people! We were outside quite a bit this week, and I am pretty sure that it was the coldest week of my life. We knocked a bunch of doors and found a couple of people with some real potential and we will have to see what happens. This has reminded me of my first transfer in Perigueux, it was cold as well and we had nobody to teach as well, but the Lord blessed us after and we saw lots of success, so we are going to do the same thing, we are going to keep working and I know that the Lord will send us those that are ready to accept the Gospel. It just takes time.

Saturday we had some appointments fall through and so we went and started knocking some doors. We knocked on a door and an American man stuck his head out the window and we asked him if he had ever read the Book of Mormon, he said that he hadn’t read the book. We said to him, “It is a book that has helped us build our faith in Christ. What does your faith in Christ do for you?” He was a little surprised and because it was cold he didn’t want to answer the question with the window open. He closed the window and came down and let us in and he immediately invited his wife to come down stairs and listen to us. We sat down and he said, “Before I answer your question I want to know, what your faith has done for you?” I don’t know why, but I was surprised by his question. We testified of personal revelation and the love that we have for the Savior, the man and his wife were very touched and our testimonies softened their hearts and they began to ask many questions about our faith and the Restoration. They are very strong believers in Christ, and they accepted to read and pray about the Book of Mormon and to accept us again into their home this week.

After seeing this family, the man’s question has stayed in my mind. “What does my faith in Christ do for me?” My answer is that my faith allows me to see clearly in a world that is very unclear and often impossible to navigate all alone. I am grateful for the peace and clearness that come from the Holy Ghost and from my knowledge of the Atonement. It is this same peace and clearness that has taught me that Jesus is the Christ.

I love this work and I am really enjoying my time with Elder Bollero, he is a great missionary and we are getting along great!

Love you all
Elder Smith

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Let it snow!!!

So this week was pretty great, I am writing today because Monday we were in Lyon for a Training and then on Tuesday we were in Geneva for another training.

In Geneva I finally got to see Elder Fitch, he has been out on his mission for more than a year and I finally got to see him, when I walked into the Geneva chapel yesterday he was standing there and I just ran up to him and picked him and gave him a massive hug. It was great to be able to talk with him and see him, he is a great missionary and he is still the great Mark Fitch that I knew from High School. There was a moment when we were doing some practices and I have a good 10 minutes conversation in French with him, he speaks really really well and I am sure that our high school french teacher Mr Miller would be proud. It was great to see him and we should see each other several more times, because we both just got transferred in to the Geneva zone. he is serving in an area like me that is just on the other side of the french boarder, he is in a city called Chambery.


That same day I woke up to a beautiful site as well, SNOW!!!!! as you can see i got pretty excited and ran outside and played in it a little bit. I can't wait to get back and hit the slopes next year



Besides that last week was good, we did an exchange with the Geneva elders and it went really well, because Geneva is an international melting pot there are lots of foreigners, we stayed the entire day at the institute with back to back appointments and all we did was teach about 8 Mongolians. That might be a surprise but in Geneva there are lots of Mongolians there are about with members and investigators combined there is about 30 Mongolians that come to church regularly. One of the Mongolians got baptized this week and he is super strong and will be a great priesthood holder.

Besides that we got stuck in the office a little bit doing reports and things for president and then we got out into our area. We started teaching a man named Sylvain, he is a really really cool man, he is about 30, he has his own construction company and he is really sincere and funny. He has known the missionaries for a while and we just recontacted him and started teaching him. He knows some members and would like to be baptized, we are going to help him, he worries that he won't be strong enough to quit smoking but he wants to. he only smokes every once in a while and he has stopped before in the past. I hope that we will be able to continue to see him and help him be baptized.

We also learned through visiting a member family that there is a young boy, named Greg, who is 11 years old that has never been baptized. His family is very very active in the church and he comes every week, he does his duty to god primary activities and would like to be baptized. His parents got a divorce when he was little and that is only thing that is holding him back from being baptized, so we are going to begin to fast and pray and do everything that we can to soften the fathers heart to that he will give the authorization for him to be baptized.

We had a pretty good week and we are happy and working hard, the members are really great in Gex and there are about our only source of finding people because there are not very many people that live in our area and they all work during the day and are hard to find, he have jumped in at 110 percent to help members share the gospel.

I got a package for the sealy's this week and it made my day, I loved the pictures so much!!

Have a great week
Love

Elder Smith

Monday, January 23, 2012

Toulouse and Cupcakes!

Dear Family

This week was great, we spent about 3 days in Toulouse doing an exchange and doing a training for the new missionaries, it was great! I finally got to work in Toulouse, I have wanted to be transfered there since the very beginning of my mission because it was where I was called to serve. We saw miracles! While I was down in Toulouse we knocked some doors the night of P day and then we came back the next day and taught 2 families that we met, they were super super cool and then we went and taught a 1st lesson to another family that they had already contacted, in 1 day we found 3 familes, 2 familes of 2 and a family of 5! I also got see my trainer, elder.....I mean erwan magnan! that was weird, but great! he is like a brother to me, we laughed and laughed and he told me about life not as a missionary. We also went and did some shopping but i didn't buy anything.

We got back to Gex on thursday and we spent the entire weekend, knocking on doors and teaching people and meeting with members, it went pretty well, we started teaching a really cool man, he has his own construction company, his name is sylvain and is about 30. I hope to be able to see him, as well we did some pretty cool stuff with the ward, I wrote about it in a letter thing to president murdock so i will just copy and paste that

We are on the hunt for families! Like President has told us, there are multiple ways to find families, for example, finding by our own efforts, member and other referrals, potential families (students), and by completing part member or less active families. We set the goal to really use the members in finding families so we talked with our DMP to find out how we could help him and the ward missionaries find families that are in need of the gospel. We brainstormed a bit and we decided to do a cupcake activity last Sunday afternoon with all the ward missionaries. It was great! We announced at church that we were going to make cupcakes and take them to less active families and to our amis, and there were several members that came and talked to us and told us to go by certain less active families and even some of their non-member friends that were familiar with the church. We made the cupcakes at the bishop’s home with his family and the ward missionaries. It was a blast! As we made cupcakes we talked about their ideas for finding families, and about the missionary experiences that they had had. It lit a fire under the ward missionaries, and they kept adding people to the list of people to visit, after we split into 3 teams and in about 2 hours we passed by about 15 families/amis. We found 2 or 3 less active families with children that are not baptized but would like to come to youth activities, and we received some referrals as well. Afterward, the ward missionaries asked if we could do this same activity once a month because they had had so fun sharing the gospel and giving service. It strengthened our testimonies about the importance of using members and service. It was an afternoon filled with laughs and powerful gospel sharing moments.

Members want to share the gospel but sometimes they just don’t know how, so it is a blessing to be able to help them and it will help many find the truth and joy of the gospel.

So yeah, it was super fun and i hope that will be able to see some of the fruits of our ideas!

How are your amis doing? They are doing well, we have 3 straight weeks in our area now, so i hope that we will get to see them more and start getting people to church, that is own main thing, it has been about 3 months since they have seen amis at church here, so that is own main focus, because people can't get baptised if they don't come to church
Tell us a little more about your companion. Even though he has only been a member a short time does he have family support? His Family loves him and still supports him, he has a really cool family and they write him often and send stuff, so yeah
Are there any other members of his family that are members? Nope
If he is an American how come he can drive the car? Because the real problem is that I am from Utah, France only excepts Utah licences for 1 year, but he is from Arkansas so he can drive for as long as he wants
How often do you fly to meetings? Not that often maybe 1 or 2 times every 2 months, we flew this time because it was alot cheaper and faster, the train to Toulouse from Geneva takes like 5 hours and it would cost about 150 euros per person to go there and back and the plane took 50 minutes and it was 40 euros per person to there and back. The tickets were cheap because we reserved them in like december


have a great week!!!
Love Elder Smith



Monday, January 16, 2012

Hello, I am in Toulouse :)

Hello Family!

This week was pretty fun, we did a good amount of traveling and we got to work as well, so I am happy!

Tuesday - We spent about 6 hours doing training for the missionaries that got the mission 2 transfers ago, that we really cool. We help with the trainings but for the most part we just get to sit and eat up the spirit as President Murdock teaches. We went over the profile of what a missionary should be after 3 months in the field. It was a great review for me and I learned tons of new things that I need to be doing. I also got to meet a bunch of really cool missionaries. I love missionaries :)

Wednesday - We spent another 6 hours in training with President Murdock, it was great, I got to see Elder Bennallack and a bunch of missionaries from my zone when I was back in Aix. We also got to do an exchange with the Lyon zone leaders and that went really really well. I really enjoyed Lyon, I am excited to see Lyon when we move there in a couple months, I think that we will be opening up a new area, so that will be cool. the city was nice and the people that we met just had a really great attitude and they were pretty open to the gospel. I did an exchange with Elder Bishop, he is British and was in the MTC with me, he is super funny and we had a blast teaching and working together.

Thursday - We went to AIX EN PROVENCE!!!!!! I got to go back the best city ever, I got to see Robine, and Greg, Jolaine and Anais and Francoise and a bunch of young single adults that I loved when I was there. I also got the work with Elder Heywood, my old companion from Perigueux, that was rad! and I got to be with Elder Baret again! I have been so blessed to have the greatest companions on my mission, every single one of them is like a best friend, I really never had any conflicts with of my companions. I love them all!

Friday - We got back the Geneva, at about 4 after having been waiting in the train stations because of late trains. I lost my bag ( full of scriptures, camera and notebooks) and then went to the American store to buy a mountain dew so that I could drink down my sorrows with something strong, we then called up the train company and one of the conductors had found my bag and it was in a city like 45 minutes away. I WAS SO LUCKY!!! the office elders had called the train and saved my bag, so we then drove to the city called Bellegarde and they had my bag!!! it was great, then we went and got to do a little bit of work in our area.

Saturday -Went well, we got to see lots of less actives and amis, we had about 6 people lined up to come to church (the Gomez family, young couple with 2 really cool boys, the Loué family, less active sister with a non member husband and father, the Auberhard family, less active family with 2 kids not baptized, Soyrara, less active, but is have an interview with the stake president and is pretty much incredible and is going to the temple this year! and Aurore a less active that is also head to the temple!) It was a great day and we had been really blessed to have such good things after not being able to work in our area

Sunday - None of our amis came to church. lame. 3 of the less actives came, so that was really cool, and there were some members that had invited some friends that really loved church, we just got to talk with them and they are not going to be taught this week, but it is very possible that they are going to come next week!

Today - We woke up and did reports with president and then got on a flight to Toulouse! It was really cool to fly in to Toulouse again, I remembered all the feelings I had last time I flew into Toulouse. I have learned so so much since I got here, and it feels like it was yesterday. Today we are going to hit the stores and I think that I am going to get some good looking shoes and a new suit. Toulouse is full of some great missionaries as well and I am excited to be here!


I LOVE YOU ALL!!! congrats to the Poulsens again! and welcome Jayne!

Elder Smith

Leaving on a jet plane !!!

I will write you tonight!
I am flying to Toulouse for a new missionary training, I am super excited! I think that I am going to see Elder Magnan as well because he is there this weekend

Jayne is adorable! congrats poulsens and good work sara! I love nephews and nieces!!!!

Love you
elder smith

Monday, January 9, 2012

Questions

Matthew Smith

8:35 AM (1 hour ago)
to me

Is there much of an LDS presence there?
Yes it is a huge ward, there are about 150 active members, There is something like 35 returned missionaries. The church headquarters of France is in Thoiry and so we have lots people that work for the church. It is great! But there hasn't been baptisms for awhile, like 1 year! We are going to have to change that

How far away in KM?
About 25 kms

Are you driving?
No, my companion drives

Do you need us to do something toward an international driving document?
No we talked to the French National Secretary of Transportation, and I have no hopes of driving even with an international license

Fill us in on all the details of your new companion and assignment.

Do I remember right that Vanessa from Carcasonne eventually got baptized? . .
Yes, but she moved to reunion, it is a French island next to madagascar

. and that Vanessa from Nice has not [yet]?
Correct, but last week I sent the sister missionaries to go teach her (sister bartlome)

What ever happened to Sophie and Dominique and Robine's friend in Aix?
They were nice but lost interest and we slowly lost contact

is the ward/branch of the church in Perigeaux still progressing?
yes, they have seen some baptisms but I think it has slowed down a little bit

Did you have direct contact with Sister Bartlome as her zone leader?
Yes I called her often and I saw her 2 or 3 times a transfer, she was doing great and always had a smile, she is training now so I saw her last week when we sent off all the new missionaries

Any comment re: Anna McKay's impending assignment to France - Paris?
She is soooooooooooo lucky! I loved this country and I don’t think that she could have gotten called to a better place. She was spoke French really well, and I am sure that she is going to tear it up!

are you aware of travel plans and schedules into the future along with mission policies and preferences?
Yes you can come pick me up, just send an email (france.lyon.mission@gmail.com) to the office elders and they will tell you what to do, I know that you will have to contact the church office building so that they can organize the plane tickets for me. Normally the church will still pay for my ticket

So when did you find out that you were going to be an assistant?
The Friday befor transfers this was our conversation

Pres – hello elder smith how are you?
Me – good president, and you?
Pres – good, you are going to be the new assistant to the president. Ok?
Me – ok.
Pres – ok, see you Monday and don’t forget to clean you apartment. bye

How many assistants are there?

2

What is your address?
Elder Smith
8 Chemin William Barbey
1292-CH Chambesy
Switzerland


LOVE YOU
Elder Smith

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Gex (pronouced gex) - mom

So I have lots to say, but ABSOLUTELY NO TIME!!!!!!

I have been transferred to a city called Gex as an assistant, i live in Switzerland at the mission home, but I work in Gex which is in France, I have big giant french snowy alps all around me and it makes me remember how much I love snowy Utah mountains! I had a great birthday! The Kool family and Greg and his wife were soooo kind to me, it was sad for me to go, but I know that the Lord has sent me here. I think you know but they gave me the best surprise that I have ever had, I loved the video so much, and I was so glad to see Ben and Tanelle and the kids, l kept wanting to talk back to them like it was skype, but i realized that they couldn't talk back. I am now with Elder Bollero, he is a great missionary from Arkansas, he was baptized 1.5 years before his mission, and he will finish 6 weeks after me, so he as been a missionary as long as he has been a normal member.

I absolutely loved Aix and it was especially hard to say goodbye to Greg and Robine, I love them a lot and I am excited to stay in contact with them and to see them again!

Yesterday I got to the mission home and we dove straight into getting things ready for new missionaries and into planning things with President for the zone conferences, we spent this entire day with the new missionaries, they are great, we went and picked them up at the airport and they are super tired yet full of energy, I will be finishing my mission as an assistant so there are no more surprises, we are going to be traveling a lot because the mission is really big and we are moving the mission home to Lyon ASAP, but I am more excited for the work with Elder Bollero, we have a bunch of really cool families that have lots of potential in our area, we are going to have to cram things in in order to see them enough, but I think we will see some baptisms! I am definitely not going to get bored for these last 6 months!

Thank you so much for all the personal hand written letters, from all the families and all the kids, I got it the day before my birthday and it was awesome, I loved getting all the pictures and photos! My Birthday went fast, but I had some old companions that had spread the word that it was my birthday so I got a couple of pretty great phone calls from lots of my good friends! Thank you to Jen as well for the great updates, I am glad to hear from you, I thought that you might have died :) not just kidding, really thanks, it was great!

This email was pretty boring i hope that I will be able to talk about investigators and stuff in my other emails, but just know that I am doing well and that I love you!

Love
Elder Smith