Sunday, February 26, 2012

It Really is a Small World . . . So Small the Voice of One Man Shook the Earth

Dear family and friends,
So, today is a little different that it has been lately.  So this past weekend we had move calls . . . turns out that Elder Field got moved.  I absolutely loved working with him, such a hard-working, diligent missionary.  The news I bring today is that the world really is very small.  As you may have known, Elder Field was from Bountiful, Ut.  Well my new companion just so happens to have gone to elementary, jr high, and high school with me, Elder Marshall Garey.  Crazy huh?  As I got this exciting news I was also told that I would be senior, as well as district leader.  A little more responsibility never hurts, but I'm super pumped to work with him. 
So my last week with Elder Field started off last Monday by visiting with our little Emily friend and watching "The Restoration" with her.  Yeah, thats pretty much it haha.  
Tuesday we began by heading on up to DongGang for District Training Meeting, where we learned on how we can work on more effective ways to receive member referrals.  We came back from the long ride and sat down with our good friend Hua dx and continued teaching him his new member lessons.  He really understands each of the lessons we teach, and I'm sure he could start proselyting with us and teaching all these lessons.  Later on we met with Klara, another one of our investigators, and talked about a graph, that is in the really old family home evening book, about Heavenly Father's plan for us and Satan's plan for us.  It just helps us see that Satan tries to make us look at the downsides of keeping the commandments, while Heavenly Father only wants to bless us for our efforts.  I really think she needed that because she has only looked at the downsides as we've met and taught with her. 
Well, Wednesday we visited another one of our very old friends, who has started to understand our teachings.  He has realized that his memory is bad, but has been able to remember all we have taught.  He is really good, but his body has been in pain a lot lately, so its been hard to get him on out to church with us.  We then went on over to the hospital with a member and gave his friend who is suffering from cancer a priesthood blessing of comfort.  She has been scared to die, and so we shared a little bit about the Book of Mormon and the Plan of Salvation, which seemed to help her settle down.  We then visited Zheng dx.  Today he brought his friend and so we taught him about the Restoration.  He seemed to like it, and was very willing to start reading. 
Well, now I don't have much time to share about the rest of the week, but Sunday was a great chance to spend time with our recent converts.  We took them up to GaoXiong for Stake Conference.  The talks that were given were so good, each of them invited the spirit which was felt by all.  One of the talks was so powerful that the earth literally shook.  Who knew that what they meant in the scriptures about "they spoke with the power of God that it shook the earth" really could happen.  No one will ever know if it was really by what he said, or if it was just a normal earthquake.  Either way, it was the first one I've ever felt before.
Well times up.  Thank you all for your letters, the package, and your love.  I really love it here and I'm excited to work with my classmate Elder Garey for the next little while as District Leader.  I love you all!
Love, Elder Smith

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy Valentines Day!!!

So today the beautiful blue sky decided to hide behind some dark grey clouds and so it is pouring rain right now.  But that's ok!  Rain or shine, I love it here in Taiwan.  So I know its a bit late, but Happy Valentine's day!  Hope it was a wonderful day for all you lovers out there.  For me, it was lovely day.  Well each day had something eventful happen so lets get on into it ok?!
Monday found us cruising along the very southern shoreline of Taiwan for preparation day.  Visited Maobitou, some famous rocky place, and then BaiSha, one of the well-known beaches here.  After we got done playing we visited with a few recent converts and then headed on over to Family Home Evening where we watched "The Testaments."  Probably one of my favorite church films.  Doesn't matter whether it's in english or chinese, the spirit is always present in the room and just testifys to me that Christ truly did come and that he will come again.
Tuesday we sat down with the newest member of the branch, Hua dx, and began to share with him his new member lessons.  We gave him a triple combination Book of Mormon, and began to review about the Restoration.  After that awesome lesson we visited one of the less-active sisters in the branch.  She hasn't come to church ever since she started having children, which I hear is common here in Taiwan, but we want to start helping her come back.  She has forgotten quite a bit, hasn't prayed or read in a while, so we started with the basics and how family prayer can help her family's relationship have more unity.  It may be a slow process with all her "off the wall children" but it doesn't matter, cause the same thing sort of happened in my family...
Wednesday was a day that will not be forgotten by Elder Field and me.  Our daily plan went along perfectly until our studies in the morning ended.  From there, without going into detail, the entire plan for the day blew up and crashed in our faces.  However, we went according to the spirit and it didn't go all that bad.  We were able to sit down with one of our former investigators and to strengthen our relationship with him.  He is super busy with work, and will be for a little bit longer, but as long as we keep strengthening that relationship, he will be more and more curious about our church. 
Thursday began bright and early by heading on up to GaoXiong for Combined District Training Meeting.  There we learned on how we can better contact families, helping them see that the gospel of Jesus Christ can help their familys accomplish their goals, strengthen their relationships, etc.  It all begins by bearing testimony to them of how this gospel has blessed my own family, and that it definately can do the same for them. 
Friday we woke up to the call that we were going on companion exchanges, so Elder White came down with me to HengChun.  Friday night we visited a family that we ran into last week.  This time we shared about how God shows his love for us by calling prophets.  Most importantly that we have a living prophet, President Monson, who receives revelation for our day, and for our families.
Saturday was another long day of traveling on buses, to exchange back companions.  Got back late afternoon and visited our wonderful bud, Hua dx, and reviewed the Plan of Salvation.  He mentioned to us that he didn't quite remember the plan, and that he wanted to meet haha.  He is so solid and is growing stronger and stronger each day. 
Sunday was an awesome day for those who attended the HengChun branch.  Not only did Hua dx get the Aaronic priesthood, but both Elder Field and I were asked to give 10 minute talks on sacrifice, because a member forgot to sacrifice a bit of time to write a talk on sacrifice.  After the talks and sacrament meeting, we visited two of our progressors at the same time.  We taught them the gospel of Jesus Christ, and both of their concerns came up, which was just that their parents wouldn't totally agree with them getting baptized.  Bearing testimony of the basics is always powerful.  Its through the small and simple things (prayer) that great things are brought to pass (baptism). 
I have noticed on my mission that miracles do come by the small and simple things.  Sometimes the miracles are unnoticed at first, but they are always through the small and simple things such as faith and prayer.  I personally have often overlooked the miracles at first, but looking back I have noticed it occured through one small thing.  Its crazy!  Well, I love you all, I hope you all enjoy the extra day of February this year!
Love, Elder Smith

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hua Dx's Baptism

Hua Dx's Baptism Day (He's one of the 3 smiling!)
Hello Everyone!!!
To start out I would just like to say to my wonderful brother Spencer, "Happy Birthday"!  Miss you and I hope today goes super awesome for you.  Keep doing what you're doing because you are an example to many and are well liked by many.  Love you!  Well, this past week I past 9 months in the field.  Yeah, it has gone by too fast for me.  I have so much more I want to do, so many more people to help, and so many areas I can improve in in such a short amount of time.  Wow!
Well, this past week found me on exchanges with my Zone Leader, Elder Dong.  He is a native and has such a great love for the people.  He truly has a deep desire to understand them and their situations and help them see the blessings from this gospel.  Learned so much from him on how I can be a better, loving missionary in such a short amount of time. 
As for yesterday, we had the baptism of my most favorite aboriginal man in the world, Hua Zhong Zheng dx!  I am so glad I was able to get to know him and help him grow in his testimony.  After his baptism, he shared such a powerful testimony.  The plan was for him to be confirmed next week, but after he shared his testimony, the Branch President suddenly decided to have his confirmation right then.  My companion Elder Field and I were both privileged to confirm him a member of the church.  I absolutely love this man and he will definitely become a super strong member of the church.
I know today message to you isn't very long, but I just want to say that I know that this truly is the Lord's work here on the earth today.  I know that as we do what we're supposed to (remaining worthy, keep the commandments and mission rules, working our hardest) that the Lord will fill our mouths with what to say to help His children.  I know this because I personally have seen it as we have taught Hua dx.  I'm grateful for him, as well as each one of you.  I'm grateful for all your prayers in behalf of me and all the missionaries around the world. I love and miss you all! 
Elder Smith

Monday, February 6, 2012

Stand as an Example of the Believers

Hello everyone,
How's it all going?  February already?!  Holy cow!  Anyway, it's good to hear from you all. Well mom and dad, it sounds like things went pretty well with those two Taiwanese boys.  You'll need to send pictures and all that stuff of them so I can see all what happened.  Seems like you got to experience a little bit of the Chinese culture too, well the language and whatever they may have told you about Taiwan and I'm glad you all got to experience a little bit of what I get to experience every single day.  Well, turns out I forgot my journal today, which means I forgot what all happened last week.  That's the only bad thing about getting old, is you start to forget everything.  
Well, this week we have been working with our good ol' friend Hua dx and helping him work towards baptism.  He really is super amazing and his faith continues to grow day by day.  As of right now, he has a goal to be baptized this next Sunday.  I'm so grateful for his willingness to follow the example of our Savior and be baptized. 
Our other investigator, Zheng dx, still hasn't gotten permission to be baptized.  We've been trying to do all we can with him to get his parent's permission.  We've been thinking a lot lately, and it may not the "permission" that is the problem, it may be his testimony.  So we have started working with him to help strengthen his testimony. 
Other than that, I forgot what happened last week. However, I'd just like to say that I am super grateful for the Book of Mormon and the power each little message brings.  In Mosiah 4:10 it says, "...if you believe all these things see that ye do them."  This little statement reminded me of the scripture that says, " thou an example of the believers..."  I just want you all to think about what you believe in.  Once you come up with it, go out and stand for it!  Ok? haha  I am so grateful that I made the decision to serve a mission and stand as an example for myself as well as to others, whoever they may be.  I love this work, I love my mission, and I love my life.  Til next time!
Love, Elder Smith