Friday, September 11, 2015

I'm Outta the MTC!!

Elder Smith arrived in the Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission on September 3. He will be serving in the Lehighton Area of the Lehigh Valley Zone and his companion is Elder Stimpson. Below is a picture of him with President and Sister Anderson. We are so glad that he arrived safely and are excited to hear about the experiences he will have in Pennsylvania! 
What's up everyone! Hope everyone is loving it at home and school and such! I'm lovin it out here! It's been a pretty eventful week so I'll share a little about it!

Last Tuesday after P-Day, one of our district members went home. He was one of the ones going to Philly and one of the ones in our room. It was a big change honestly, now we were down to filling 3 of the 6 beds in our residence. (Ours was much cleaner than anyone elses though!) Anyways we kinda saw it coming for the past few days before, so it was not so much a shock, just a realization that we lost one. That day we had a devotional at night, and a really spiritual experience afterwards talking with one of the branch presidency and emotions ran pretty high after losing an elder. Me, Nebeker and Wilde became a tricompanionship for a bit though, which was fun because we spend a ton of time together anyways. Wednesday was pretty average, we were doing good, until we got back after lunch and we found out we lost another elder. This one is only going home for a few weeks, then he will be back, but it's tough because he was one of the coolest guys I've met here. We all were way close to him, especially me and Nebeker. It's way rough because he's going to Montana, so we won't be able to see him until we return home. We had to run to the front desk to figure out companionships and all that stuff, and I was feelin pretty crappy honestly, losing two of our elders so quickly, but our Heavenly Father knows how to comfort us when we need it. I saw Parker Strong, who is my Stake Presidents son, who just returned from his mission working at the front desk. It honestly was the coolest thing to see someone I recognize from home and be reminded that everyone at home is pulling for me ya know??? Also Wednesday is when all the new missionaries come in so I was able to see Elder Landon Hansen, and a few others that I used to go to school with, and kinda give them some advice which was cool on my part. We got to teach our investigator Sydney that night too. She has so much knowledge of the bible and she knows so much more than us haha it's a struggle. She was so cool though. We had in-field orientation on Thursday which was just boring and lasted from breakfast to lunch, so not much to report. Not much to report on Friday either. On Saturday it was our last class with our teachers, for some reason I don't understand, but oh well. We had some very spiritual experiences with them. We got to teach our teacher Brother Clark, who honestly is the coolest guy ever. He's super chill and he plays the ukulele, and attends UVU. We got to learn a little more about him and I'm gonna miss him a ton. Saturday we also got to teach Jim (who was just our teacher) and we committed him to baptism which really isn't that cool, but we also got to finish our lessons with Sydney, who I think I talked about before, but she's an older lady who loves family history and we got way close with her so she gave us her email to send her cool pics of stuff in Philly!
Sunday was eventfull! I got a pretty bad cold so keep it on the down low, but I got a little extra sleep in the morning, but no worries I didn't miss out on anything because I ate a quick breakfast and was ready to go! Then we kinda just hungout with our district and talked about the gospel and all that cool stuff before we went to sacrament. I got asked to pass the sacrament by some other missionaries, which was no big deal, but here's the part I think my parents will enjoy. Something different here, is you prepare a talk whether you give it or not, and you will find out if you are speaking moments before you talk. Now I know this, so I studied and prepared with the story of Saul being converted. The topic was about repentance so I figured I'd tie it in. I never got down to writing an actual talk for some reason. The Brother who was conducting our meeting stood up and said "Now we'd like to announce our speakers for the rest of today's meeting, if we could have Sister Peterson and Elder Smith come speak to us today" Now keep in mind that there is two Elder Smiths and two Elder Petersons in our branch. So they give four of us heart attacks right there. I was right next to other Elder Smith and the branch president joked with him in weeks past because he's forgotten his nametag and stuff like that, so everyone's thinking it's him. So the Brother conducting says some jokes about four hearts beating really fast down there and then he says Elder Dylan Smith, which was weird because I haven't heard my first name in a long time haha. I think it went alright, I just walked up there with my scriptures in hand and gave a good 3-5 minute talk like they asked, a lot of people said I did very well too! We had a devotional that night by Brother Dalquist who used to be the YM General Pres. and he did a great job. We learned not to look in the rearview mirror. Then for film we watched a talk by Pres. Holland and it was soooo good! He pretty much said you only get these two years once, don't waste it. I also got to see Elder Caleb Potter, who was one of my friends when we were kids, but he moved to Georgia around 4th grade I think, it's been awesome to see him again! Monday has been good, we had amazing lessons by two new teachers and we've been able to do laundry and stuff too so it's been great! I'm lovin the mission, hating the food, but it will get better out in the field! I'll attach a photo of me, Elder Rawson, Newey, Erickson, Potter and Cena. Elder Erickson left to Denmark today, so we said our goodbyes to him, and kinda to the rest of em since me Newey and Cena leave! I'll attach a pic of my district with another district in my branch that we got way close to! It's sad that I gotta leave em, but they are awesome people, never thought I could get so close to people in 12 days! Love you all and I'll talk to you soon!

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