Monday, September 21, 2015

They Say the Weeks Feel Like Days...

I swear every missionary out here says "The weeks feel like days and
the days feel like weeks" Now right there, I gotta disagree, because
days still feel like days as long as you have a good one planned out,
but the weeks really do go by extremely fast! I can't believe it's
another Monday, and I've been out for a little over a month now! How
about that? Anyways this week was really busy and just packed full of
fun and spiritual activity, so sit down, get ready and buckle up!

So last Monday after P-Day was over, we had our usual Family Home
evening with two families in our branch. One of the families is very
large and both families are pretty loud, so definitely not a family
home evening I'm used to. We left there just in time for us to drive
up to Stroudsburg, which is roughly 45 minutes away. We stayed at the
District Leaders apartment for the night so didn't have to wake up
even earlier to get their for what was in store Tuesday. Also they
have a really nice apartment, and a really nice shower head! Theirs is
massive and crazy nice, while the one at my apartment feels like
someone is slowly dumping a water bottle on you!

We woke up early Tuesday and all rode down together to Broomall for
"Golden Retraining". So out in the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Mission
we aren't called Greenies, they like to call us Goldens. So we took
the 2 hour drive down to be retrained. I don't think 2 hours is too
bad, but the companionship we drove down with is a trio so I was all
squished in the back. It was all good though because Elder Underwood
was teaching me how to solve a rubiks cube because I bought one on
Monday. So we got to the Mission office and it was way good to see all
the other missionaries I knew in the MTC, we shared some experiences,
we all bore our testimonies, we had some training, some food and more
training. Now honestly it was such a long meeting it was hard to
retain everything, but Sister Anderson talked a lot about faith, and
how important it is, especially as a missionary. Faith is what drives
us. She also challenged us to pray for 30 minutes a day total, which
really isn't that hard if you are praying sincerely when you need to!
It's especially easy for a missionary, but if any of you at home, or
wherever you are feel up to the challenge, try praying for those 30
minutes, or   maybe even 15 if that sounds more up your alley! We
ended up leaving Broomall around 4:30 and for some reason the elder
driving took the back roads and it took much longer, and by the time
we drove from Stroudsburg back to Palmerton, it was about 8:00, but
some of our friends Tom and Melani had us come and eat before we had
to go in for our missionary curfew!

Wednesday we went out and helped Tom set up some tree stands up in the
woods. He drove us out to his friends cabin, where we set up all the
tree stands and then he took us to his completely redneck trailer a
few minutes away. It's seriously the coolest, most trashiest thing
I've seen! It's just some old camper that they dropped off on their
property and threw some concrete blocks underneath for it to stand. He
has everything  thought through, like a redneck wood patio, with a
redneck rug and a redneck clothesline, a redneck fire pit and a
redneck picnic table! I'll attach some pictures of it! The rest of
that day we just made a few stop bys to some members and less actives
and taught some lessons. One of our members, Jenny, is a recent
convert, but her husband is in jail, and it's sometimes hard to get a
male member to come along with us, so we haven't been able to teach
her as much, but our plan is to help her get to the temple. That's
what our mission goal is "Teach to Convert, Strengthen Members, Get
them on the road to the temple."

Thursday after our district meeting we did exchanges, so I went to
Stroudsburg with Elder Martinez and Elder Underwood. We picked up a
member from their ward and went out to do the Lord's work! Now I guess
a week ago the trio went out tracting and got a few return
appointments, but they were kinda dumb and didn't write down which
houses they were. So they had a full day planned for us, but they
didn't know where. We got to the street and went on splits, so one of
the other elders and the member went and taught lessons, and me and
the other elder pretty much retracted the whole street. It wasn't
successful at all because it was like 1 o'clock when everyone was
probably working. We met some Wicken lady, who wasn't interested but
gave us some cold water which was nice because it was super hot
outside! We tracted in a few different places, so one of them me and
Elder Underwood went out and we met this old lady who was Methodist,
her door was open so we talked with her through the screen because she
said it was too hard to get up and she wasn't interested so Elder
Underwood told her that even if she's not interested, if there's any
service she would like us to do we would be willing to help, so he was
going to leave a service flyer in her mailbox. Then she all of the
sudden got up and told us to wait there. So a few minutes later she
came out and offered to give us like 50 bucks to help us out. Of
course we couldn't take it, so we explained to her our needs were
taken care of and she asked us all about missionary work then told us
about her husband being in the service on D-Day and we chatted for a
few more minutes. Their names were Mary and Jolly Miller. Happiest
names I've ever heard! We didn't get a return appointment or a lesson,
but that's not important to me. Hopefully we were good examples from
our church and we were as Christlike as we could be, and hopefully we
left a good impression on her, and hopefully the Stroudsburg elders
get a call to do some service for her! After that we had dinner with a
member who smoked for 50 years and couldn't do anything to quit. Then
she decided to pray for help one night and the next morning she didn't
even have a desire! Prayer works my friends. I met a few other members
and it was a pretty solid day. I was told miracles always happen on
exchanges. Back in my area of Lehighton, Elder Stimpson and Elder
Westmann visited this guy named Jeff (not the Jew) who Elder Westmann
met in our area on an exchange last transfer that we haven't been able
to see. He didn't seem to interested on the phone, but I guess they
had an awesome lesson and compared religions (LDS vs. Presbyterian)
and there's a ton of similarities! They taught him, his wife and her
mother. 3 new investigators! Then they helped Tom deliver a freezer to
the Kellars, that we helped line them up, so Elder Stimpson and Elder
Westmann helped out, and on the way back Tom and Melani asked some
questions and they had a nice little lesson on the Atonement and it
helped Tom understand things a lot better. Now I don't know if  I've
ever described Tom and Melani before, so I will now. Pretty much they
are a couple in their early 60s who have been watching out for the
missionaries for years! They aren't members, but they've been taught
(I don't know how well) so they are kinda a work in progress, but they
feed us at least once a week and they are the nicest people ever. To
picture Tom, just think of Santa Clause with a shotgun in one hand, a
beer in the other and his sleigh is one of those side by side UTV's.
Coolest dude ever! Anyways it's a miracle that they kinda changed
Tom's opinion on things about the Church!

Friday we exchanged back, and Fridays are our weekly planning days, so
Elder Stimpson tossed some stuff in the crockpot while we planned and
a few short hours later we had ridiculously good crockpot mac n
cheese!!! I've missed mac n cheese. Anyways, weekly planning lasts
quite a while. Afterwards we taught a lesson to Casper and it was good
because his brothers got involved! Now he won't be baptized on the
10th of October because our branch president wants people to attend
church 4 times before they are baptized. The family situation with
Casper is rough so it's hard to get him to church, but I'm gonna
baptize this little guy before I leave this area. Afterwards we went
to Jeff the Jew's so he could help Elder Stimpson out with something.
They ended up ordering Dominos for us, which is ironic because one
time Jeff was telling us how Dominos sends out menus with the wrong
prices, so when he picks it up it's more expensive. Now he's retired
so stupid things like that he loves to get into! So they complained
and ended up getting some credit to the store, which is why they got
it this one time! The funniest thing is that Jews don't eat dairy with
meat, it's against their commandments I guess, so Elder Stimpson told
me he always gets weird pizzas. This time him and his wife Mary, who
he says is a "recovering roman catholic" shared a cheese and beef
pizza. We all just laughed the entire time with Jeff because we never
thought we'd see the day! He's the funniest guy ever!

Saturday we helped a family move, then we went over to the Kennedys to
watch the dedication of the Aaronic Priesthood Restoration Site in
Harmony, Pennsylvania. We figured it would be good to watch with Bro
Kennedy, because he's not very active. President Nelson of the Quorum
of the Twelve spoke at the restoration and gave the dedicatory prayer.
It was cool to just think about how not very far from where I am right
now, the Aaronic Priesthood was restored to Joseph Smith, and to think
about all he did to get this Church going. There's no way a man would
give his life for a book that he just wrote and made up himself. The
Book of Mormon is true. After that we helped out moving some stuff
around their house, and their grandson Isaiah lives with them, he's
like 4 but he is the cutest kid ever. At church he wears a tag on his
3 piece suit that says Future Missionary! Anyways Bro Kennedy was
thankful we came, because he probably wouldn't have watched the
dedication on his own and he was so thankful for all the moving we
did. We taught a lesson to a recent convert named Charles and then he
came out to visit some people with us.

Sunday I gave a talk in Sacrament about 5 ways sabbath day observance
has blessed my life. 1. Going to Church to take the Sacrament and grow
my faith 2. Get away from worldy things 3. Serve others 4. Relax 5.
Spend time with my family.
For our Priesthood hour, Pres. Relitz decided we should go outside and
continue with that service project we did about a week ago, making
emergency hygene kits, instead of having a lesson. I like how this
branch rolls! After church we helped Tom and Melani load up their
trailer with their side by side and new freezer to make sure it all
rode well before they go on their hunting trip to Utah. Then they fed
us lunch and Tom gave me his new bottle of jalapeno ketchup! It's some
good stuff! It was cool though because they've never really asked me
questions about the church, but each of them at different times asked
us questions about the sacrament, and tithing and stuff! Progress my
friends! Then we went and helped Bro Roseler put his car on a trailer
dolly because it broke down a few days ago. We got it onto the
trailer, but in the progress we busted the bumper off! It was actually
pretty funny because it wasn't my fault and the Roselers bought the
car for 300 bucks so they don't really care. Then they fed us and we
shared a message with them.

So that's how the week went! In some good news, there's a member in
our ward whose niece has been coming to church for the last month and
she wants to meet with the missionaries and our recent convert Jenny
wants her family to start meeting with us, so we are making progress
here! I just have to be patient. I hope things are well back home, or
wherever you all may be! Best of luck to you all! If anyone wants to
send anything my address is

638 Mauch Chunk Rd.
Apartment 2
Palmerton, PA 18071

Thank you for the emails I've received, it's always nice to hear from
you all! Have an awesome week!

Elder Dylan Smith

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