Friday, September 11, 2015

Alrighty everyone, I'm no longer in UT so keep me updated on cool
things that go on back home! Anyways it's been an eventful week so
I'll get right into it!

Monday after I finished emailing we all went and said our last
goodbyes to the sisters in that other district. We sang songs and
stuff and had a little testimony meeting. I feel like I came outta
some church movie about the MTC haha but it was actually pretty fun
and a good time. After that we went back to our residence and spent
all night trying to finish up all of our food, and packing and saying
goodbyes and stuff. I gave a blessing to my comp Elder Nebeker, after
he gave one to me with the help of two other elders. Neither of us had
done it before, but it's tight because words seriously just came in my
mind so quickly! I can't even remember what I said though! Anyways, I
wrote in my journal that even though the food sucked and the classes
were long, I met some rad people and had some great times so the MTC
will always be a good memory for me.

Alright so Tuesday morning we have to wake up at like 3:45 so we can
checkout of the MTC at 4:30. Well we get checked out all fine and we
are waiting for the bus and this kid comes up and asks if we are goin
to Philly, so we are like yeah dawg, and he's like alright cool my
visa for France hasn't come yet so I'm goin to Philly too! His name is
Elder Underwood and he's from Sandy and he likes skiing and stuff! So
we are all kickin it and the bus doesn't come until like 5 so we hop
on and we take a 10 minute bus ride to the train station and have to
unload all of our stuff off the bus then on the train. We had like an
hour on Frontrunner then they drop us off so we can take trax for like
30 minutes. Honestly like they couldn't just drive a bus like 45
minutes to the airport??? We got to the airport at like 7:30 and
through security at 8:00. Our planes take off was 9:45 so we had some
time to go call home! I was way excited about it, so I got to the pay
phone and I've already forgotten my home phone number, so after
thinking about it I just called my moms phone and for those of you who
know me very well, I don't cry very often. Well let's just say that's
no longer the case haha I don't know what's happening to me! The
minute my parents said hello I just had tears rolling down my face,
luckily I was in the corner so no one could see me bein a wuss! I had
a cold as well, and my parents knew that so the entire time I was
sniffling they just thought I had a really bad cold haha I didn't want
to tell them that wasn't the case. I felt bad because I didn't want to
say much because I knew if I did I would cry more so I probably seemed
really bored talking and I'm sorry for that Mom and Dad. You don't
realize how much you miss and love your family, friends and even just
Utah until your about to leave it all for the next two years. After
talking to them I got to eat my first real meal since going to the MTC
and let me tell you, that McDonald's breakfast was heavenly! We
boarded the plane and I sat next to an older couple for Delaware who
told me all these good places to eat and all these fun things to do in
Philadelphia and a few other places. They were super nice. I wanted to
sleep on the plane, but it was so uncomfortable and I didn't want to
pass up on my complimentary half can of soda! So I didn't get too much
good sleep, but 4 hour flights are no bueno. We got to Philly and met
Pres. Anderson and Sister Anderson. They are so sick! I got to ride
with them from the airport to their home which is amazing by the way,
and fed us lasagna and holy crap I haven't tasted something so good in
like 2 weeks! We had some interviews and meetings about the mission
then we just gotta chill most the night and talk to everyone.

Wednesday we woke up real early and got breakfast and went to
transfers. They gave us all this info that mostly went over my head
and then we went to go meet our companions. Now I don't know how
transfers work in other missions, but here we go to the gym in the
church and they put on a big slide show to announce companionships,
it's like a huge production. Anyways I was like the 3rd companionship
to be shown up there, so my companion is Elder Stimpson, he's a farmer
from Idaho, he likes raising cows and stuff haha it's pretty dope but
not something I'd ever be interested in. He just farmed for a year
after high school then went on his mission, so he's 20 and he's been
out here for 6 months. After transfers we had the meeting where we got
our iPads and set them up, which they are super convenient. My area is
Lehighton which is like two hours north of Philly so we had another
long drive. Our apartment is in a town called Palmerton, and all the
houses look the same because it's some old mining town. We went
tracting and honestly knocking doors could be the worst thing, by the
time the night was over I was missin home real bad.

Thursday is when we have district meeting, so we have to drive another
hour to get there haha, but my district is my companionship, a trio of
elders and two sisters. What's sick is that Elder Underwood is in the
trio so we are tight now haha, it was nice seeing other missionaries
because there's none around us for a long time. After transfers we
taught this boy named Casper, who's 9. We taught him the restoration
and I was showing him pictures in the beginning of the Book of Mormon
and there was a picture of Alma baptizing someone so he asked about it
and I told him about it, asked if he wanted to be baptized and he said
yes so we've got him scheduled for October 10th! I think he thinks I'm
cool because he asked me to help him say the closing prayer then he
just wanted to show me all of his fishing stuff haha, he's a cool
little kid. Then we went and met with this less active guy named
Dexter. He's this big black dude and we talked with him for a bit and
challenged him to come to church on Sunday, then when we were leaving
he said I don't look like those regular missionaries they send out, I
look more like one of those Abercrombie and Fitch models or something
like that! Dexter is the bomb haha. Then we met with two couples who
aren't really interested in the church, but they love missionaries and
they take good care of them so our Branch Pres. said to go visit them
and just be good examples, but they are some of the nicest people ever
so I'm cool with that!

Friday we did weekly planning which takes up a huge chunk of the day,
then we knocked on doors which honestly no one even answers their door
here so it's really discouraging. We ended up picking up a member
named Daniel whose 19 and trying to save up money to go on a mission.
He talks a lot, it's funny, so we went and helped a lady named Lori
move some stuff at her house with his help. She rewarded us with Baja
Blast so I was a very happy camper!

Saturday we went to this thing called Sailors Mess which is just all
the members of the branch who are veterans go and eat breakfast on the
first Saturday of the month and our branch president said he'd pay for
us if we went, we aren't gonna pass up on free food so we went. It was
nice to meet some more members. President Relitz actually moved from
Murray in 2006 and was a police man there so it was fun talking to him
about Utah. After breakfast we went and pulled weeds for a sister in
the branch, then we had lunch at Taco Bell which somehow is less
ghetto here than it is in Centerville? We went and helped a some
members in our ward demolish their bathroom downstairs. The Kellars
are an older couple but they are way sick. They fed us dinner and
Sister Kellar will talk your ear off, and Brother Kellar is really
just the coolest guy ever. He had a heart attack a few years ago which
slowed him down a little, but he's still a strong little dude and just
a great guy. When we finished knocking down tile we went into his
forest in the backyard to dump some stone and he brought his gun with
him in case there was a pig back there. Now I guess out here, if
there's an animal in your backyard, you shoot it and you eat it! It's
a weird concept but it's pretty cool honestly.

Sunday we went to church, which was a whole new experience because I'm
no longer in a ward of like 500 people in Centerville, I'm in a branch
of 50 people. You can imagine the long breaks between testimonies!
What was funny is when we were at the Kellars they were joking about
the people who get up every month in testimony meeting to say some
crazy things, just like me and my family would sit around and do at
home. The church and the members are the same wherever you go. Sunday
school was like 5 people, then we got asked to teach young women's so
me and Stimpson taught one girl and her dad! That's the life of a
branch I guess! Afterwards we visited a family named the Kennedys and
Bro Kennedy plays golf and has a huge guitar collection so we talked
quite a while, and we got fed dinner from the Roselers, who I guess
feed us every Sunday! They are a younger couple who live kinda out in
the farm land which is nice compared to this crowded town I live in.
They are way nice though and we talked to them for a while. They are
actually moving to San Antonio in a few months which is sad, but I
probably won't be in this area by then anyways.

Honestly it's been a ride so far. Some days are tough, any missionary
will tell you that, but there's some good people who make it so much
better. I miss you all so much. I miss utah a ton too. You don't
really know how great it is until you leave. Sometimes when I'm bored
I get on google maps on my iPad and just look at places in Utah. A lot
of people out here don't even know what Utahs like, they all know
Stimpson is a farmer from Idaho, so they ask me if I'm a farmer too.
All the members always ask me if my first name is Joseph and then they
ask if I have any relation to him. It's getting kinda old haha but I
guess I gotta get used to it. So anyways my mission president said we
can take as long as we need to email on pdays and there is nothing to
do for fun in my area and I have my iPad all day anyways, so don't
feel like I wouldn't have time to email people back if any of you
wrote me! We can also read emails any day, we just have to wait until
Monday to respond, and after some long days it's nice to come back and
read some emails before I go to bed, so please write! I'll attach a
pic of all the elders in our branch before we left the MTC, i don't
really have any pictures from here yet. I love you all so much, hope
things are going well wherever you are!

Also if you'd like to write letters or send packages the address for
our mission office is

721 Paxon Hollow Road Suite B
Broomall, PA 19008

Elder Dylan Smith

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