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.