Sunday, May 5, 2013


Contacting day in and day out

Dear Family and Friends, 
It's here...It's really here...I never really thought this day would actually come.  The day that I would sit at this computer unsure of what to say, the last time to share my feelings, my gratitude, and my testimony.  Hopefully I'll be able to express all these bittersweet feelings I have with you all today.  To start off I'd like to share with you all a proverb/idiom (one of those things).  When I was first being trained in FengJia, my trainer shared it with me and it goes like this: 獨樂樂不如眾樂樂.  The best way to explain it is that the one and only kind of happiness is not like all the other kinds of happiness.  Throughout these two years of serving I have been able to experience a lot of different things.  Living in amoung a different people, within a different society where the culture and traditions are somewhat different has helped me see and experience things in a whole new way.  After contacting thousands of people, talking with them about their lives, and sharing the gospel with them, my eyes have been opened and my testimony on the "one and only" source of true happiness has been strengthened.  That "one and only" true happiness comes through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and through His Gospel.  "And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God."  
I am so grateful for these past two years to be able to selflessly serve in order to bring this "one and only" happiness to my brothers and sisters here in Taiwan, to give them a fair chance to receive eternal life in the presence of their Heavenly Father.  I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who allowed each of us to come down to this earth to learn and grow.  I know that He loves each and everyone of us and has restored His gospel to bring us peace and happiness in this life of mortality.  During these past two years I have experienced many trials, challenges, and setbacks, but that's what this life is for.  Facing each of these with faith and hope has helped me learn and grow, and can help us all overcome these challenges.  I'm grateful for our Savior, Jesus Christ, and for the life He lived.  I'm grateful that He has shown us the way to live a happy, meaningful life.  Through following His example, and helping others to do so as well, my faith has grown.  I know that He lived and died for us all so that we might through His gospel experience this "one and only happiness" in this life, as well as in the life to come.  
I have learned on my mission that with faith in Jesus Christ, anything truly is possible.  This past week my companion and I had a wonderful experience.  We have an investigator that has progressed smoothly in the gospel.  All was well until it came to living the Sabbath Day Holy.  He is a chef and because business on the weekends is more demanding and busy, there was an obstacle that dropped in his path of progression to his baptism.  However, this didn't stop him or us.  We all had faith that the Lord would provide a way for him to come to church.  He had read and prayed for courage to confront his boss.  After talking with his boss, he was able to come to church until 10:30 am, but would mean that he would miss the sacrament portion.  We meet again with him to share the commandment of fasting, and we all agreed to fast and pray that he would be able to live this commandment.  Well, last Saturday he gave us a call and said that his boss will let him get mornings off for every Sunday so that he could come to church.  Brother Li will be getting baptized next Monday night, along with two other really amazing investigators who are this Sunday!
I have been so blessed these two years and I would just like to thank my wonderful parents.  Mom, Dad, thank you so much!  Thank you so much for your examples throughout my life.  Thank you for taking me to church every week to learn about the gospel.  Words cannot express my love for the both of you.  I am so so so grateful that you two raised me in the church.  I'm grateful for my siblings, Anthony, Spencer, Julia, and Landon, and I love you all.  I'm grateful for my wonderful church leaders throughout the years and for their service and teaching me the gospel.  I am so very grateful for these past two years to serve my God, My King.  I know that God lives, and that He loves us.  I know that Christ is my Savior and Redeemer.  I know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His Son, and brought back the fulness of the everlasting gospel.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true.  I know that through living the the principles in the Book of Mormon we can draw closer to God, we can understand our purpose in life, and we can find peace in this life and eternal life in the life to come.  I know that Thomas S. Monson is our prophet today.  I know that he does receive revelation and guidance for our day.  I know that as we hearken to the words of the prophets, and follow our Christ, we can experience lasting happiness.  
獨樂樂不如眾樂樂!  I love you all!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Bustin' a Gut

Enjoying the journey

Dear Elder Smith
 . . . My message to you this week is in relation to Cross Country. Remember?!? The team spends most of the week practicing by doing stretching, long runs, intervals, short up-hill runs, etc. Then race day comes. There are lots of nerves and butterflies. Some people are nervous, some are not nervous, but have some other emotion, injury, or concern in mind.
The gun starts. The race is hard. Preparation was part of making it possible. But you still have to put one foot in front of the other and keep a good stride going. Some of the turns  and some of the surfaces are rough. There are usually people ahead of you and people behind you. They are in the race so they are working too.
There are people on the sidelines shouting out praise and encouragement. Some you can’t see. They just shout: “Looking good!” Sometimes you recognize others sending helpful words like: “Keep it up! There’s two just behind you. Push it!”
The race is mostly hard. Some sections seem long, but they go by in a blur.
Eventually, you see that there is an end in sight. An unmarked line is ahead…usually just after a turn at a corner. What happens at that line?
Everyone, including those that are hurting do something unusual but typical. They turn on something that they didn’t turn on during the other parts of the race. They “bust a gut”. They Sprint!! They put everything into it. Some of the results change in the last 50 yards of the race depending on who is sprinting and who is just trying to finish. The last 25 yards matter. The last 10 yards matter. Pushing hard as if there is no finish line shows the integrity and courage of the runner. Everything, including all the skill, capability, work, practice, sweat, learning is brought to the Table.
The metaphor is obvious. It is not just your race. You are setting the table for many others to come. You are an important runner in His Race.
So when you turn the corner . . .
Keep up the Great Work!

Thank you so much for that inspiriational metaphor!  Wow, tears were sitting on my eyes, but I did the best I could from not letting them pour out.  Thank you so much!  I've been sprinting this last little while, and I'm gonna push even harder than I have.  My companion and I have seen so many miracles and blessings everyday from sprinting and working our hardest.  It's just like you said, I'm going to sprint and give it all I've got like there is no finish line.  Can't wait to see you on the other side:)
Elder Smith

Monday, April 15, 2013


Dressed in white--my favorite color to wear!

Hey everyone!  What's up?  How you all doing today?  I hope all is going well for you all.  Well, wasn't General Conference just absolutely amazing?  Oh it was so good.  Because we had quite a few investigators attend, as well as technical difficulties, we were all placed in the chinese session so there was more that could have been absorbed from this conference.  However, I was still able to learn quite a bit and so I'll share a bit about what I liked.  Well, I hear tests and finals are coming up here so the stress is on.  Be strong, walk on.  Well, this past week was absolutely incredible.  Elder Chia and I have been able see and experience so many miracles in these short two weeks together and so hopefully I have time to share some of the things we went through this week.
Monday we had singles FHE and we had one of our investigators, Brother Li, attend.  The topic of the night was on faith, and we all read Alma 32 and discussed the differenent parts and aspects of faith.  I felt this lesson was really good for him and where he is at.  He has a goal to be baptized on the 27th of April and has had some things come up that has tried his faith a bit.  However, as he continues to do the small and simple things in his busy busy life, his faith can be strengthened. 
Tuesday we had a wonderful Zone Training Meeting given by Elder Chia and I.  Well, I thought it was pretty good and really helpful for our zone.  The vision we had was that we can all be happy, successful missionaries that the Lord would be pleased with.  I'm hoping the training helped the missionaries learn what they can do to become such a misisonary.  Then afterwards I went on exchanges with Elder Stratford and had a great time with him until Wednesday.  We worked hard and hit the streets in the pouring rain.  Rain or shine, their is no better feeling than to be preaching the gospel, especially when getting absolutely soaked.  So much fun!
Thursday Elder Chia and I saw so many miracles out and about.  From the morning til mid afternoon we hit the streets hard, probably harder than I've ever hit them before.  We were able to see so many small miracles as we were diligent.  Later on in the day we were able to visit with another one of our progressing investigators, Brother Chen.  We were able to take a family over to join us in the lesson to teach the Restoration.  The Spirit was so strong as we taught him the First Vision and the Book of Mormon, and his jaw was dropped as he was awestruck at such a miraculous experience.  All he could say was, "Wow, so amazing."  Such an incredible experience to experience!
Friday we saw a lot of miracles too, but time will not allow me to share.
Saturday and Sunday were super awesome with Conference.
What I loved from Conferenece/the things that I actually understood from it were the very first few talks, by Elder Packer and then another guy, sorry forgot his name.  However, what I liked was that we need to always protect our nests, our families and home.  There will be unexpected attacks that come and we need to be prepared at all times.  What I liked from the talk afterwards was about building on the foundation of Jesus Christ.  One of the many things I have learned on my mission has been this very thing.  As we build upon the foundation of our Redeemer, we will receive protection from the fiery darts of the adversary.  We can receive help, strength, and motivation to conquer, and not fall into temptation.  Building on this foundation will also strengthen those who are within the nest, our families.  I love my family and I'm grateful that we have been able to stay strong and united as we have built on Christ and his teachings.  I know as we continue to do so that our love and relationship will grow strong and stronger.  I love you all and hope that you can find relief here in a few weeks from tests and school and all that stuff.  LOVE YA!!!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Shine On!

Sister Lu's Baptism Day

Hey hey hey!  How's it going?  It was good to hear from you all and for all the updates with pics and stuff.  Thanks a lot!  So as I said last week I was unexpectedly moved to TaiZhong, in the NanTun area.  Let's just say it's a pretty wealthy area which is nothing like what I've been in my entire mission.  Landon would probably love all the cars here (Ferrari, Porsche, Maseratti, and lots of BMWs) .  So yeah, my new companion is Elder Chia, he's from Singapore.  Let me just say he is a stud.  He is such a kind-hearted missionary and I'm just so happy I get to feel that kind-heartedness daily. 
So Elder Chia and I worked super hard this week and hit the streets to find.  We came across quite a few prepared souls that we look forward to helping them start to progress.  Elder Chia and I have set some goals for what we want accomplished these next few short weeks and we're looking forward to a few baptisms, including a family.  Time is short but we're going to work with all we have to establish the church in NanTun.  We were able to baptism an amazing sister this last saturday, Sister Lu.  She has such strong faith in the gospel already and I know that others will want what she has when they see the light that illuminates from her personality.  She is such a lively new member.
Well, I'm really excited for conference this upcoming weekend.  I'm glad for the shares that I got from a few of you on the things that you liked and learned.  I have been looking foward to this event ever since the last sessions and I'm excited it is finally hear.  I look forward to sharing with you some insights I had and what I learned next week.  Sorry not much was written, but just know that I love you all and you'll be able to hear things in lots more detail here soon.  I love you all!  

Monday, April 1, 2013


Saying Good-bye to Puli

Hey everybody!  Hey's it going?  Things are doing just great here in Taiwan.  So, a bit of a surprise.  Last Wednesday, things shook us all up, we had a pretty good earthquake here and it was fairly large in the area of Nantou, which is where i was at.  Our walls cracked pretty good so we had to run on out of there.  So yeah, I'm all good.  Also, I was unexpectedly moved from Puli back into the city of Taichung for my final movecall.  Not what I was expecting, but I've gone where the Lord needs me.  Well, don't have too much time today, so I'll share what I can.  Alright, here we go.
Monday night we held Family Home Evening with the Xu family, well at least the dad and his youngest son.  We made cookies (thanks mom again for the package) and we watched a film about the Plan of Salvation as we did so.  All went really well, the cookies tasted amazing, and we all were able to strengthen one another.  The gospel is making more and more sense to Brother Xu, and he's picking up more and more which is super awesome to see.  I'm just looking forward to the day when his son can join them on the path back to our loving Father in Heaven.  
Well, sorry it isn't much today!  Although not much was written in this week's letter, there were quite a few miracles that we saw and experienced this past week.  We had a wonderful day at church, learning more about our Savior Jesus Christ.  I was greatful for all those who gave talks and bore their testimonies on the Savior, His Atonement, and Resurrection.  My testimony was strengthened and I know that Christ truly is our Advocate before the Father.  I know that he paid the price for each of the mistakes we all make, and that through the His Atonement we can all receive forgiveness.  Through faith, repentence, and renewing our covenants we can all return to live with our Father in Heaven.  I'm so grateful that the fulness of the gospel is on the earth today.  I know God has restored it so that we don't have to live in darkness, but can walk in light and happiness.  I hope you all can experience that light and happiness the gospel brings.  Til next week.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

"One of the great discoveries in life is finding a dependable person."

Happy Easter

Dear Family and Friends,
Hey! Hey! Hey!  How's it going everybody?  What's new?  If so, just let me know.  It was great to hear from you all this week.  It's the start of a new semester, and the last for this school year.  Hey Spencer, keep it up, work hard, and have fun this last semester as a high school student cause it's the last one you'll get.  Well, this week was absolutely wonderful.  Elder Thorpe and I just had a blast, having so much fun, and getting the work done here in Puli.
This week the entire mission had some training on how we can better allow the Spirit to teach in our lessons.  Yup, that training paid off!  It was really good, and Elder Thorpe and I had quite a few experiences where the Spirit was absolutely strong throughout the lessons, and was the TRUE and ULTIMATE teacher.  One in particular was with a man named Wang Ping Guo.  I ran into him a few days beforehand, had actually sat with him once.  We brought him to our church, gave him a tour, and the just began conversing with him.  After he was comfortable with the everything we were able to find out what he absolutely needed at the time.  Without going into too much, he has had lots of troubles and things in his life that just bring a lot of stress into his life and he just wishes that he could know how to handle each of them.  The Spirit was super strong and was able to guide my companion and I on what to teach and preach.  We shared with him Mosiah 4:9 which teaches us to believe in God.  We were able to teach that God has all wisdom, and is willing to part us all with some of that knowledge, and that that knowledge comes from diligently prayer and search from the scriptures.  He has humbled and as he prayed at the end, the Spirit was super super strong.  This was a testimony builder for me that the Spirit is the true teacher.  We were truly lead and guided through that lesson, and the other lessons we had this past week.  Super great experience.
Other than that we have been able to work with a part-member family.  We have been working with a 7 year old girl named Liu Pin Yu, cutest little girl you'll ever see!  Since her parents aren't members, but her grandma is, we have been teaching her the lessons and she is just truly amazing, and adorable!  We are looking forward to her baptism here in two weeks on April 6, which is a super great day to get baptized!  We're excited about that.
Well, it was a great week!  Had many learning experiences during my studies and out on the street preaching the gospel.  One thing in particular that I learned was when Alma the Younger had his encounter with the angel of the Lord.  He talks about how was redeemed of the Lord, and was born of the Spirit.  He had a change of heart, was changed from a carnal state to a state of righteousness, and became a new creature.  We, all like Alma, can become new, better people, having a change of heart because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  What a great feeling!  Through Christ we can all become better than the person we were the day before.  I'm grateful for that knowledge and know that it is true.  I know Christ is indeed our Savior and Redeemer.  I hope that you all can continue to have that motivation to change and become better than who you were the day before.  I love you all and can't wait to hear from you all next week!  

Monday, March 18, 2013

Today is the Day I Proclaim what I Believe!

Transfer Day is always bittersweet!
Family and Friends,

How's it going everybody?  You all holding up alright?  Everything is going just great here in Puli, and I'm enjoying my time with him.  He's been in the field for about 5 months-ish and is super awesome, and super funny!  We're getting along just fine and so is the work here.  This week was great and so lets just jump right on in.
So, Monday was the first day my companion and I had together to hit the streets.  We visited with a WONDERFUL family (dad's name is Wang De Fu) and yeah.  The dad is a cop and his family is Catholic and so he was a bit apprehensive about meeting with us in the first place.  As we taught him, my companion and I focused on how God has given us His gospel so we can know how we can return to live in His presence and live eternally with his families.  This part of the lesson really stuck out to him, but then he kind of zoned out as we moved on with the rest.  Super sad and we thought as if that was our only chance with this family.  However, at the end of the lesson wife and kids came on home, the kids ran in the door and after a few minutes the wife and kids just loved us and actually asked when we were coming back again.  We're going back on over tomorrow night to visit with the whole family so we're hoping that all goes well!
Tuesday was probably the hardest day of my entire mission.  Why?  Well, my companions bike hadn't arrived yet, because my bike got stolen I'm using the apartment spare, and so we walked the entire day.  I truly admire those missionaries who walk all day cause it is rough on the knees.  Despite that fact, we had a really good day, and had a great lesson with a family in the ward.  There son turns 12 in the next week or two and so we began working with the branch to help him prepare to receive the priesthood.  The best part about it was his less active father was able to help join the lesson and help teach and prepare him to receive the priesthood.  Great experience.
Thursday we visited with the Xu family and had a great lesson with them.  Xu Jia Xiang is the only one who hasn't been baptized yet, and so we've been focusing our efforts on him.  He is almost 12 years old and absolutely loves sports, especially basketball.  Before I got my new companion we visited with them and talked about playing on God's ball team.  While playing you can't do it on your own or else you will lose.  You need the help from other teammates, and we laid out the players on God's ball team.  Through daily practice (reading scriptures, praying as a family, and coming to church) we can work well with our other players and have a chance to win the championship (returning to live with God as families).  This week we focused on one of the most important players, and that is Christ.  We watched a portion from The Testament and talked about it.  Each family member, starting with Jia Xiang, all mentioned that there was a feeling that they couldn't describe as they watched it.  It was incredible to help him receive that witness from the Spirit, and as we continue to work with him to help him recognize it more.  His desire for learning has gradually been growing including that desire to be baptized.  He's a great kid and look forward to what comes up next.  
Overall, this past week with Elder Thorpe has been awesome!  It was great to work with him this first week and to see and feel many things happen.  This week I was able to see the truthfulness that comes doing the small and simple things.  We had a few experiences where we were able to help investigators recognize the feelings that come from the Holy Ghost.  They all felt the Spirit, but when describing those feelings to us, they weren't able to.  One individual in particular expressed to me that as we prayed, she had this feeling in her heart that felt like the sun was shining on her.  She felt a warmness in her heart, but wasn't sure what it meant.  I'm glad I was able to bear witness of the Holy Ghost, and the role it has in learning and testifying of truth.  My personal testimony was strengthened and I know that God truly does love us and sends His Spirit down lead and guide us in our mortal journey here on earth.  I'm grateful for this spiritual GPS in my life.  I love you all, and will talk to you all next week!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Building Upon the Foundation of Christ

New comp, Elder Thorpe
Hey hey hey!
How's it going?  How you all doing this fine day?  Things are going great here in Puli and have some sad and some good news.  Sad news is that Elder Shang, my first Taiwanese companion has moved away, but the good news is that I have a new white companion, Elder Thorpe.  He is from Draper and I love him already.  Things have started off great within the few hours we've been together.  So this past week was full of great learning and spiritual experiences, and today I'll share one of them with you.This past Thursday we were able to visit with a less active family, the Lin Family, and actually visited with the son last week.  So we began off by seeing how much the son remembered when he was in primary.  He didn't remember much at the start but we were able to bring some stories and primary songs to his remembrance.  One we shared with them was about the wise man building his house upon the rock.  One scripture I truly love is Helaman 5:12, where it teaches us that as we build upon the foundation of Christ, the temptations of the devil will have no effect over us.  The mother added a few insights and then brought up Lehi's dream, and stated  that she remembers this most.  We continued to share about these two topics, and as we finished off the lesson we sang together "Families Can Be Together Forever."  During the end of singing I noticed that the mother stopped singing and I watched her closely until we finished.  As she lifted up her head, tears were streaming down her face and her hands began to tremble as she tried to cover them.  She had felt something she hadn't felt in a long long time, and it was the Spirit that had touched her heart.  As we rode home I began pondering upon what had happened and the things I had learned from that experience.  Eternal families is the hope we all have, and that by "small and simple things are great things brought to pass" (Alma 37:6).  As we do the those small and simple things in our life--read and pray daily as individuals/families, go to church, hold FHE, live and keep commandments, etc.--that we build upon the foundation of Christ and get a firmer grip on the iron rod.  It is absolutely crucial that we keep this eternal goal in mind, and do the necessary daily things to attain it.  I personally am grateful for our Savior, Jesus Christ, and for the example he set for us all.  I know that He loves us all and it is because of this love that He was willing to atone for all mankind.  I know it is as we follow his footsteps, his example, that we can experience true joy and and happiness in our mortal journey.  I know that through the scriptures we can study eternal truths helping us build upon the rock of our Redeemer, and hold more firmly to the iron rod.  I know that as we continue to endure on this path, holding firmly to the rod, that we can obtain a fullness of joy with our loved ones in the presence of our Heavenly Father.  I love you all and hope you all can do those things necessary to enjoy this eternal joy.  Til next week!   

Monday, March 4, 2013

Turning 21!

Happy Birthday to Me!

Hey everybody!
How's it going?  How's everyone doing?  Hope things are going alright in cold, cold, Utah.  Well, it's official, I'm now 21!  Doesn't feel like it, but that's ok.  I'm now one year older, and I hope a bit wiser than I was last year.  I had a great time celebrating my birthday, and even there wasn't any ice cream cake I did the best I could (see attached photo).  Thanks for all the birthday wishes and for all your support!  Well, enough of that, let's get on with this past week.  
The week started off pretty good!  Monday night my companion and I held a family home evening activity for our branch.  The outcome wasn't what we expected, but we still had a great time.  We were able to help those individuals, including a few investigators, see how this time together as a family can truly strengthen relationships.  One of our investigators, Brother Chen Huan Wen, mentioned with the entire group that when he gets married he is going to hold FHE because he felt and knew that the time spent as families is limited and as we spend this time together, families will learn, grow, and become more united.  Although it wasn't quite what we expected, the impact it had on those that attended was quite fascinating.  It brought back memories of all the family home evening's that my family and I held in the past.  At that time I sometimes felt that it was boring and that there were friends that I could be hanging out with, or other things that I could do that were better, but I'm grateful for the time my family set aside to hold FHE.  Looking back I have seen the blessings that holding FHE weekly has brought to my family and me, and how it has strengthened the bonds within our family.  Such a great blessing to share with all those who were in attendance at our activity.
One of my favorite things that happened this week was when we visited with a ward member, Brother Luo.  He and his wife have been sick lately and for that reason haven't been able to come to church, and so we went and visited them to strengthen them.  In return I learned quite a bit from his remarks.  He talked to us about hope and how maintaining that hope and never losing hold of it is important in each of our lives.  It reminded me of the tree in Lehi's dream.  Lehi beheld the tree and the fruit that was desirable to make one happy.  He then went forth and partook of it and was filled with great joy.  He then desired that his family could partake of it.  He had this hope and didn't lose sight of it.  It really made me think a lot on my own hopes as a servant of the Lord, and how I can help investigators have similar hopes.  The tricky part is the buildings and other influences in Lehi's dream that cause us to lose sight of that hope.   However, as we hold onto the iron rod, keeping our eye focused on that hope and not losing sight of it, we can and will obtain eternal blessings.  I was grateful for what he shared and we all were truly edified.     
Well, just wanted to thank you all for all the support you have given my family and I these past two years.  It truly is felt over here :)
Love you all!
Elder Nick Smith

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The noblest aim in life is to strive to make other lives happy

Well, it feels like just the other day I emailed you all. How have things gone these past few days? Things are going well here in Puli and its getting better and better. With not much else let’s get on in with the rest of last week. Well . . . 
Thursday we were able to visit with a few less actives. In one of those lessons we particularly shared from 4 Nephi. The first time we visited with him about a month ago we didn't receive a very welcoming visit. However, this time it all changed. We talked about how all the Nephites and Lamanites were converted unto the Lord and about how "there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God." We talked about his life as he began to learn from the missionaries and then after he joined the church. We talked about how through this process he was similar to the Nephites and Lamanites, walking after the things of God and receiving a joy from doing so. When we're happy, God's happy, and he has provided a way for us to obtain an everlasting joy and happiness, and that path is the gospel of Christ. He not only accepted our help in helping him, but he actually told us in what ways we can help him. It was interesting to compare the first visit with the second visit and I'm still wondering what changed his attitude between the two visits, but I know as he realized the joy and happiness the gospel brought to him in the past, he was willing to work towards it again. Just another testimony builder on how the gospel really does bring true happiness into our lives. 
Yesterday afternoon my companion and I had a strange experience. After we ate lunch we left our apartment and went down to where our bikes were. While there we heard some whimpering behind some weed-wacker machines and found this cute, little dog who was obviously a stray. I felt bad for this dog and wished I could help it in some way, and so the first thing I thought of was to whistle (the extremely recognizable way that dad always does at our sports games). It immediately sat up and ran over to me and just chilled by my leg. Right at that moment the 管理員(sorry I don't know how to say it in English) came over and told us to take it out because someone would kill it and eat it. Well, we did what he said and actually placed it in my companion’s basket on the front of his bike. He immediately got comfortable in the basket and feel asleep and we took him to a better place to live. It made me think a lot. We are all the sometimes like this cute, little, homeless dog. Through life we sometimes have wandered into some strange places, and feel alone to the point where we don't know what to do. However, we have a loving Heavenly Father who is there with outstretched hands. As we follow His "whistle", his teachings, his commandments, we will be guided to a better, happier place. I know that Heavenly Father lives and that He does love each and everyone of us. I know He is mindful of our needs and concerns and is willing to answer the cry for help. I know that because He loves us He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to set the example on how we can receive a fullness of joy in this life and in the life to come. 
 I love you all and hope that each of you can continue to experience the joy and love our Heavenly Father has for you. 
‘Til next time! Elder Nick Smith 司馬長老 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Family and Friends,
Hey everybody!  How's it going lately?  So yes, it is Wednesday and feels weird having preparation day today.  Monday we had a Mission Tour where Elder Evans from the missionary department came and talked with us, and then today is temple day for my zone, but because we're too far in the mountains we couldn't go . . . So it's p-day.  One thing I forget to write in last weeks letter was HAPPY BIRTHDAY SPECER!  You're 18, and what does that mean?  I hope that filling those mission papers out soon goes smoothly for you.  This past week went pretty good, and this week has been off to a great start.
The most interesting thing that happened this past week was when we visited former investigators.  We went and visited a Wang family and they invited us in.  We sat down with the dad and his son and began sharing about the gospel.  Well, the dad's interest wasn't there, but his son just so happened to be attending a Christian school in the area and quite loved reading the Bible and praying, and so it was easier to focus the attention on the son.  Well, as things were wrapping up, the mother came down and decided to join the conversation and was just prepared to listen.  Ever since her son began attending this school, she herself opened her heart to Christianity and began to read the Bible occasionally and pray as well.  We will be visiting with them again this Friday, and even though we don't know the turnout of this lesson, it just goes to show that the Lord truly is preparing people to receive this message.  This family wasn't prepare five years ago when missionaries began visiting, but who knows, this may be the time they have been prepared for.  It was just a testimony builder to know that the Lord continues to prepare people to accept this gospel. It's almost like hide-and-seek.  We just gotta go out and look for them and not give up.
Last week we visited with Brother Xu and his son Jia Xiang, the one we are working with to get baptized.  Long story short, Jia Xiang changed our entire lesson plan, but it was for the better.  We had originally planned to finish teaching the Message of the Restoration with him and focus on giving him a spiritual experience and desire to actually want to be baptized.  Well, in previous appointments to be funny, him and his little brother would go through the hymn book to find the shortest hymns and would only want to sing those songs.  Well, this time he found one of the shortest verses in the scriptures which was Alma 18:27, where Ammon is teaching King Lamoni about God.  He helped change the topic on to where we needed to focus the lesson for him.  We were able to help him know more who God is and what relationship He has with him and everyone of us.  He really enjoyed the lesson and was able to share with us the things he learned about God.  Teaching Jia Xiang this time really made me think about Landon because they are about the same age.  Hey Landon, can you do something for me?  I want you to read Alma 18: 24-32 with either mom or dad, or both, and to talk about who God is and what relationship He has with us, especially with you.  And then in next week's letter you can write to me about what you learned, ok?
I began thinking about why it's important to know about God.  I then thought of the scripture John 17:3 that says, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."  Eternal life is to know God and His son, Jesus Christ.  As we come to know more about God, we come to know more about the plan of happiness he has for each and everyone of us.  Without going into a whole lot of detail, I was able to see how important it is for each of us to have a firm testimony of the plan God has for us.  Life is uncertain, and can come to an end when we least expect it, and for that reason we need to be prepared at all times, and in all places.  It is only the gospel of Jesus Christ that can unit families for eternity.  As our knowledge and testimony of this plan grows, so will our determination to serve Him to the end.  I'm know that Christ is our Savior, and His atoning sacrifice is the center of this plan.  I know that through faith, repentance, keeping and living our covenants, and enduring to the end, we can be stand blameless at the last day and be welcomed into our Father's kingdom.  This is the wonderful message I have to share each and every day and I'm grateful for it!  Thank you all for your prayers and support! 
Elder Nick Smith

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Happy Chinese New Year

Sun Moon Lake

Hello Everyone!
Happy New Year!  This week was the start of the Chinese New Year, probably the biggest holiday that the Chinese celebrate.  It is a time where family from all over travel and unite together to celebrate the new year.  This year's Chinese New Year has taken on more meaning this year since I actually understand what everyone is talking about, especially my Taiwanese companion who has explained a lot for me.  So again, Happy New year!  This week was good, it still had it's ups and downs due to this holiday.
So, Thursday we were able to visit with two recent converts, Brother Xu and his son Yi Xiang.  What made our visit much more special was that Brother Xu brought his 12 year old son along as well to start learning the gospel.  At first his son was it kind of in a bad mood, but as we got things rolling along he warmed up to us and later on was super receptive to the message.  On Sunday, he even attended Sacrament meeting and enjoyed it a lot.  This family is almost complete.  Just one more and then they'll all be learning and growing together in the gospel.
Due to the Chinese New Year, families from all over are traveling back to their relatives homes, and are all inside gathered together, which makes tracting our main way of finding.  It has been interesting to see all these families united together, and the joy they are experiencing during this time.  To most, this joy will end when death is encountered.  Although those bits of joy can once again be experienced as we remember those who have already gone on, but it is because of the gospel that we know that the relationships we share in this life can extend beyond the grave.  I'm grateful for the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation and the eternal happiness and joy it can bring to families.  I'm grateful for my family and I love them all!  I'm grateful for the experiences I am given each day to help an individual in need.  This is the Lord's work and I'm grateful to be a part of it.  Happy New Year!
With Tons of Love,
Elder Nick Smith