Monday, October 26, 2015

Is your glass full or empty?

It's getting really crazy now! I have just been getting things worked out a lot lately for the next transfer and it is just weird to think that I won't be here for it! There are going to be some big changes here in St. Lucia and as the ZL it's my job to get everybody ready for them! I hope I can do alright with that! 
This week was good but pretty busy! We had 2 baptisms in the zone on saturday and so we went to both of those and I said some goodbyes to some of the members down there in Vieux fort that I got to know a little bit. It was good!
Another highlight of this week was when we took the sacrament to Brother and Sister Joseph. Sister Joe is bedridden due to a stroke that she got 8 days after they were sealed in the temple in the Dominican Republic. They have remained extremely faithful since then. Brother Joe is the Elders Quorum President and never misses. If Sister Joe has a day that she isn't feeling well and Brother Joe wants to stay home with her, Sister Joe will make him go for at least sacrament. Over the last couple months we have been taking the sacrament over to sister Joe and it has been one of the most spiritual events of my entire mission. You walk in and you are just engulfed by the spirit! It is so strong there. They have such a great love for the Lord and you can just feel it. I want my home to be like that when I am older.
Something that I have also learned over the course of my mission was how important family is. I have seen that from so many different people in so many different family situations. Now I've seen positive and negative but we'll focus on the positive. I have seen so many families who just cling to each other because that simply is all that they have to cling to. And they are so happy. It reminds me of something that Uncle Boyd said once, “Sometimes in my growing years I thought we were poor, I later learned that that was not true. We just didn’t have any money. We were always rich in the things most significant in our lives.” They may not have any money or worldly possessions but they have the things that matter! Each other. I have become so grateful for my family over the last couple of years. I love them. I cannot wait to see them again. I'm hoping that I don't cry at the airport. That would be terribly embarrassing! Ha but in all reality that is one of my favorite souvenirs from my mission! I love my family! Family is truly where the real happiness is!
Something else that I experienced this week was as I was getting ready to take the sacrament and figuring out how I was going to do better next week I was really stressed because things weren't running very smoothly in the branch. So that distracted my thoughts a little and then as I was praying I asked, "Why is it so crazy here sometimes?" In a very direct way a thought popped into my mind, "Randon, maybe instead of focusing on what's going wrong. Try focusing on what's going right." That taught me a lot. There were so many things going right but I was just so focused on other things that I missed it. I know many times we get so stressed about things and worried about what is going wrong that we don't slow down to look around and see what is actually going right. I can promise that if we will do this it will bring so much more joy in our lives. No matter what is going on in our lives. Slow down and ask yourself, "Is my glass half full or empty?" It will help! And always remember "when upon life's billows you are tempest tossed. When you are discouraged thinking all is lost. Count your many blessings name them one by one. And it will surprise you what the Lord has done." I know that! I love you all! Have a great week! 
With Love,
Elder Smith

Included in these pictures: Trade off with Elder Dixon at a beach by Donavan's house! i got to be a witness at a baptism! Last time in the water! With my boi Dannus down in Vieux Fort. Had to say goodbye! Suit saturday! P-day Eve! Visiting Brother and Sister Joe! Hope you like them!

Monday, October 19, 2015

"He won't be here in two weeks!"

Finally caught up, this is today, Oct. 19, 2015

I got the subject line from President Herrington when he visited this weekend. As we were talking with members of the branch and he was talking about how missionaries come and go he kept pointing at me and saying, now he won't be here in two weeks! Ha it was so funny. He kept reminding me! It's not like I ever think about it or anything! ;) Ha but it really has been hitting me that I "won't be here in two weeks!" ish. ha it's weird! I am just trying to get a new ZL, Elder Moli trained up a little and then I am going to be riding off into the sunset!
Things are going really well here though! Our member work has been phenomenal and I am so excited about it! Odelllia went to go teach her neighbor, Alma with us and it went really well! She is really open! It was so cool to teach with one of my recent converts! She was so excited about it! We are going to try to meet with Alma again tonight! Things are going great there!
Also we have been working with Sara a little bit and this is actually a really cool story! She became friends with a lady named Tessa and one day she got talking with Tessa about the church and it turns out that Tessa is a member! She got baptized 16 years ago in Canada and before she talked to Sara she had been thinking how she really needed to go back to church. Then Sara introduced us to her and we started meeting with her! She is really cool and has an 11 year old that she wants to get baptized! Crazy! Member work is really working miracles for us right now! I am loving it!
Well I am still sprinting! My endurance is paying off right now! I just hope that I can continue to endure well! I love you all and hope you all have a great week!
With Love,
Elder Smith

"Our ability to endure to the end in righteousness will be in direct proportion to the strength of our testimony and the depth of our conversion."
Richard J Maynes

We had a birthday party for Elder Stephens today! Here are some pics! Sorry about no Pday eve pics. I can't find them on my camera... Maybe next week! 

Time's running out!

The date on this email is October 12, 2015

This week was another pretty good week! We had a lot of really good lesson's with some members and we have been really trying to prepare them to go and teach and it has been really great! They are really excited about it! Odellia is so ready and excited to share the gospel! It has actually been really cool to work with her and to see her excitement about the gospel grow! I've really enjoyed that! The church is true!
We had some disappointments this week though. We had to drop Terry and Victoria because they just wouldn't come to church. That was really hard... Also Alfred still hasn't had his surgery and so he can't get baptized because he can't really leave his house because of his sickness. So that has been really hard as well. To be honest it has been a little bit troubling. I have wanted nothing more than to just go out with a bang and now we don't have any baptismal possibilities before I go home. I have been pretty upset about it! I've even voiced my opinion in my prayers a couple times! Only to be chastened a little and to realize something that I really should've learned a long time ago. That is that sometimes it isn't all about me. Maybe Heavenly Father has a different plan for Alfred and some other missionary needs to be blessed with the opportunity to baptize him. And as far as Terry goes, I learned that as hard as it is for me, it's probably a lot harder for Him to see His children not progress. His children that He has done absolutely everything for and provided every opportunity for and they still won't come. This week I got to see in a very small sense the way God sees and the way He feels. And through all this I came to realize that maybe i should think about that a little bit more. That these are His children. And He loves them too. To say I have been spoiled over the last couple years probably wouldn't be the best way to put I have sure been blessed. The Lord has taken care of me so much and if this is the way it's got to all go down at the end then so be it I guess. I am so grateful for the lesson I am learning right now. We are going to keep working and this area will continue to progress and grow. I know that. This is the Lord's work and He is hastening it. I am so grateful that I have been able to experience that over the last couple of years. I love the Lord. He has been so good to me. I love His work! I just gotta keep running and then turn the page. I'm also always going to remember that the Lord knows best. I love you all! Have a great week!
With Love,
Elder Smith

ps I loved this thought and thought I would share it!
"I had done everything I had been taught to do. We had prayed and received a strong impression to select this doctor. We had fasted and prayed and felt certain that our infant son would be healed through faith and through the power of the priesthood. Yet the Lord had not intervened. Our faith it seems had been no more than vain hope. I began to question everything I had ever believed. As I walked, I felt betrayed and angry. I was overcome with pain.
I am not proud of the conversation I had with Heavenly Father as I walked and wept that morning. After a time, I got hold of myself emotionally. I remember the words of a children’s Primary song coming into my mind. “Heavenly Father, are you really there? And do you hear and answer every child’s prayer?” Because you clearly haven’t been listening to mine or maybe you just don’t really care about me and my son. (“A Child’s Prayer,” Children’s Songbook, 12.)
In that moment, a tender mercy came. In my mind and heart, I felt these words: “Kevin, he is my son too.” The clarity of the prompting was unmistakable. I realized in that moment that I had not understood the purpose of prayer at all. I had assumed that, just because I had a righteous cause, I could use the priesthood and fasting and prayer to change the will of God."
-Kevin W Pearson

As you can see I'm starting to take the diet very seriously. Also you gotta love the sign!

"I'll be at home!"--Coach Boone

Sorry, this mom is late in posting last few emails.  They are all coming now!:) The date on this one is 10-6-15

So let me explain the title of this email a little bit. First off this week was nuts! It was unbelievable! But the climax was definitely on wednesday. So let's reason about this. On wednesday I had a meeting that I skyped into from the church and it was a great meeting on the Book of Mormon! I loved it! Then we went over to Elder Dixon's new apartment and it was delicious! He prepared a great meal! Parmesan chicken that was to die for! Then it was time for me and Elder Smith to go and run some more errands and we walk out to our car and Elder Smith is like, "Dude your bag is gone. Our window is shattered and your bag is gone." I thought he was joking! So I walk up and my backpack is gone and so are my scriptures. It was nuts! So In my backpack was my study journal, preach my gospel and some pens and random stuff. Luckily I took my camera out before we left that morning. Tender mercy for sure. So those things are gone and they took my scriptures that I had since I was 8. I hope they read them. It was definitely pretty upsetting. So I guess I am going to be needing a new set when I get home. The one positive to all of this is I get to quote Remember the Titans again. This happened after someone threw a brick through coach Boone's window. He responded in an interview by saying, "You can tell whoever threw this brick through my window, 'I'll be at home!' " That was what I actually said to Elder Cox (the AP) to tell him that my car had been broken into. Ha so that basically sums up a lot of the week!
I loved conference though! It was so great! I felt the spirit so strong so many times. Particularly when the new apostles spoke. That was a strong moment for me! I tried something that I remember Elder Beck talking about whenever we taught about Prophet's he talked about how we would pray when a new one was called. I'd never done that before but I liked the thought! So I did it with the apostles. The second they opened their mouths I knew that they were called of God. The spirit hit me so hard. I also loved the talk by Elder Holland. I could just picture my mom crying as she was watching it. Ha it was very well put. I know that this really is the Lord's church. It's perfect. Absolutely flawless. I know that the Lord is still at the head of His Church and guides and directs it. So stay in old ship zion. I love you all and I hope you have a great week!
With Love,
Elder Smith

Here are some pics of the incident and our window cover we put in. Also we helped angie move so I snapped some pics of me with some stuff we moved. Also her little son at conference! Gotta love the pineapple shirt! Ha