Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Reading Railroad!

So they shipped me out of Morrisville, one of the nicer areas in the
mission and dropped me right into the poorest city around, Reading!
For clarification purposes it's pronounced RED-ING. So now when you
all go play Monopoly you can say Reading Railroad in the correct way
because this is the place where you find that railroad. So a little
background on reading, it's like the 4th biggest city in PA, so we
cover a fraction of it and then the rest of our area is some farmland
(like Lehighton) and some nice suburbs (like Morrisville). So it's
pretty diverse. Luckily I'm still in a ward, the Reading 1st Ward, so
I don't have to deal with branch problems. My new companions name is
Elder Fisher from Roy, Utah. He's been out 3 months.

Oh man oh man so this place is full of Latinos and pretty much
everyone speaks Spanish, it's super interesting! I guess I'll try to
brush up on my Spanish while I'm here. We have a bunch of
investigators who are pretty iffy because that's just how poor people
are. We have this kid named Benneson, he's 19. He's actually part of
this huge friend group who missionaries have been teaching from time
to time. He seems like a good kid and he seems really interested so we
put him on date for July 10th.

Upstairs from him is a girl named Hendy, I think she's from the
Dominican Republic. Missionaries have had a hard time getting in
contact with her, so they have only taught her once, but we stopped by
and she was home! We asked her about her Book of Mormon reading, she
said it wasn't too good. So I asked her where she was at, expecting
Maybe 1 Nephi 15, no she said Alma 6. We also found out her aunt is a
member in the DR, so we had a great lesson with her and set her on
date for July 10th!

The first day I got here a guy ran up to us and asked if we were
Mormons. Then he asked what made us different so I talked to him about
prophets and the Book of Mormon and he asked if he could meet with us!
We've had two lessons with D'Anthony and I'm not going to lie he is
super weird, but he's loving everything and says the Book of Mormon
has been helping him out so much!

We have this other guy named Jason, who thinks he's a gangster but
he's super white, it's funny to hear him talk! Reminds me of my non
hood investigators back in Morrisville.

We are super blessed though because we are teaching this dope guy
named Paul, he's our ward mission leaders friend. Now both of them are
from a country right by Liberia so I'm stoked to be teaching more
Africans! Paul had a date to be baptized this Saturday, but there's
still a ton to be taught, so we pushed him back to June 11th, but he's
super ready!

So it's nice because we have a good amount people to work with, but
I'm still weary of it because of the commitment level of the people
here. This zone has the lowest amount of baptisms this year so I'm
hoping to change that, at least with my district. I live in a house in
a good nice part of the area so I'll attach my address so you can all
send me letters and packages and food! I feel so blessed to be out
here serving a mission. Especially being out 9 months. When I
introduce myself no one ever says "oh your a young one!" Or "you still
need someone to show you along the way!" I've been blessed with great
companions the past few months who have taught me a lot, especially
Elder Mackay, and I've really learned so much and grown to where I
have confidence in teaching people and missionaries about the Savior.
I love you all and I hope you have a great week!

1) my boy Phoenix! He's officially a member now!
2) my favorite people, George and Elder Mackay
3) the new district! As you can see Elder Martinez is somehow still my
zone leader. That makes all 9 months of my mission with him! And his
boy Elder Laine is back with us!
4) I found my love once again

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Elder Smith & Elder Mackay, Missionaries or Home Renovators?

May 16, 2016

What a busy week it was! We taught some sweet lessons and picked up a
new gator named James! Pretty sure he's from Ghana, one of those
really spiritual foreign guys! We got to teach Steve this week, the
guy the sisters handed over to us, and man is he solid! He is on date
for June 5th, which I feel he's ready for, but logistically he
probably won't be able to be baptized then with all the stuff we still
have to teach him! A sweet miracle we saw this week came by teaching
the Rosa's daughter Asiye. She's turning 8 in June and while we just
got told we shouldn't be teaching the kids of member families, we
decided we still needed to because a) we promised them we would and b)
they are so new to the gospel that she wasn't raised up knowing any of
this and c) we teach Jennifer while we are there too so it's not a
waste of our time. So we showed up to teach her and there was a lady
named Sarah there, she's an aid for the kids because they are all
homeschooled. So as we were teaching Asiye she started asking
questions and finally we just pulled her into the lesson and invited
her to pray about the Book of Mormon! She was way stoked when we gave
her a copy, and she said she would read it with Asiye! What a blessing
it was!

The big crazy thing this week was we got asked by some of my favorite
people, the Pray's, to come help clean their new house. So I finally
got to spend some time in the nice part of the ward! It's an awesome
big house, but it's pretty old style and it wasn't cleaned too well
over the years. We had a really fun time cleaning windows and floors,
cracking jokes, eating pizza and tearing apart the kitchen! They were
so thankful that they are taking us to a Brazilian restaurant tonight!
But the renovation doesn't stop there! Ashley bought a new trailer
that needed the carpet removed, so who does she enlist to help? Us of
course! So we tore up all the carpet, but it doesn't stop there! The
next day we went with Corbin and Brother Massimini to install new
carpet! They both have experience with carpet so we were pretty
covered. We ran into like 8 roadblocks during the day but we were
successful in laying down one room and the rest of it will be finished
this week. We used our members AND our investigators wisely! But it
doesn't stop there! We also got asked to move some boxes at the
Daniel's new home. Now remember a few months ago how they told us they
needed more room than their massive house because it was getting too
tight? Well they definitely got more room! This house was absolutely
insane! Probably the most roomy house I've ever been in! The basement
was unfinished and you could easily fit an entire chapel in there!
(missionary terminology eh?)

So while we did some great service this week we are stoked because
Carla and Phoenix will be getting baptized this week! They are both so
excited and doing so well! I've seen them the whole way through and
I'm so stoked for them! Sadly I won't be able to see them be baptized
because I found out I'm getting transferred out of Morrisville
tomorrow. I was extremely disappointed when I found out, so was Elder
Mackay, but I just had to keep singing in my head "I'll go where you
want me to go dear Lord". I've never been so angry to being so content
in just a day. It's a blessing how much church can calm someone down.
I'll miss this place so much, a few tears were shed having to say
goodbye to people but I guess I'm needed somewhere else and I got
called to be a  district leader in a district full of elders. Stark
contrast from the sistrict I've been in the past 5 months, but I guess
I will do all that I can to be of help to those in the district and my
new area. So I'll be writing from somewhere new next week! So don't
send anything to this address, either wait a week or send it to the
mission home. I hope you all have a great week!

a) the carpet slaying
b) my boy Corbin, gonna miss this guy
c) the Rosa gang! Gonna miss em a ton too!
d) district

Monday, May 9, 2016

I Got to Call Home!

It's always a good week when it starts off with a nice birthday meal
for your companion at Buffalo Wild Wings! We had a good week, while we
may have had some unfortunate moments such as no young men, nor their
leaders, showing up to go on splits with us and having to cancel an
appointment, however we taught some fun lessons and we have a lot of
people here in the Morrisville Ward getting ready for baptism.

One of our investigators we haven't seen in a while, Orin, invited us
over for dinner this week. It's always a blast because he says
outrageous things and makes fun of his friend Michelle while she cooks
us food! Towards the end we shared the Mormon message about a bishop
in England talking about what the Book of Mormon means to him, and
somehow shifted into Orin wanting to come to church next week,
inviting Michelle, then telling Michelle she needs to get baptized
with him and started joking with her telling her to quit coffee,
smoking and drinking. Needless to say it was in a joking funny manner,
but I've never had any of my investigators tell another one to get

We were super stoked this week because we were given a new
investigator to teach. His name is Steve and he is a members
boyfriend. He's met with the sisters before and came to church twice.
They found out he lives in our area and handed him over to us with a
baptismal date of June 5th! He's pretty solid and hilarious, we've
been his guide during church and priesthood meeting the past few weeks
so we are stoked to teach him. He also has a great beard!

While yes the week started off great with Buffalo Wild Wings it ended
great talking to my family. For those of you who aren't my family,
they are doing just great and they got a brand new refrigerator which
I'm pretty stoked about! Anyways me and Elder Mackay did a training at
Zone Training this week and we based it off Elder Oak's first
conference address in October of 1984 "Why do we serve?". It's one of
the best talks I've ever read, especially if your a missionary. So I
suggest reading it if anyone's interested. Have a good week everyone!
Stay safe out there and remember who you are!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Good Dogs

This week was busy busy busy let me tell you that! Phoenix had a big
concern about polygamy and some how, probably with the help of the
spirit, we destroyed any concern he ever had. He's way excited to be
baptized and he's doing so well! As well as occasionally coming
running with us in the morning, he came to half price wing Monday at
Tony's and he's feeding us this week! We are so excited for him to be
baptized so we can take him teaching with us all the time! He came to
church again yesterday and was talking to a bunch of different people
and went and sat with some members his age! We are so stoked for him!
Carla is doing well too, sadly she couldn't make it to church
yesterday due to health reasons, so we will probably be pushing her
date back to be baptized the same day as Phoenix, May 21.

This week we were able to pick up a few new less active to teach.
One's name is Alsah, he's 19 and from Liberia. He's a massive
individual and he's got these sweet dreads he's been growing out for a
while. He's just such a nice kid and he's interested in learning about
the Book of Mormon... It's funny because he doesn't even know he's a
member, though he's been to the church before. We also picked up
another Liberian named Urias. He actually served a mission in Africa
about 10 years ago so he showed us all of his pictures and told us all
about his mission and how much he loved it. I guess he's just
incredibly busy doing school and work right now that it's hard for him
to get to church, but his testimony is still there!

We had a sweet service opportunity on Saturday where we got to
volunteer at the Special Olympics track and field competition, but the
best part is what we got to do there! Brother Massimini's brother Phil
own's a hot dog trailer called Good Dogs, based of off Good Burgers,
ya know like "welcome to good burgers, home of the good burgers, how
may I help you?" and he asked us to help him out! It was way fun being
able to watch all the special needs kids doing track and field events
while getting all the parents of the kids hot dogs and pretzels. We
went through 300 pretzels and at least 300 hot dogs too! Let me tell
you they really are good dogs! We ate our share during the event to
provide nourishment for our young hard working missionary bodies. Then
after the event we went to a members for dinner and lo and behold they
fed us hot dogs. So many hot dogs that day...

Like I said it's been a really fun busy week! It's pretty crazy to me
that Mother's Day is coming up this week, already my second time
calling home. Time does fly when your working hard and having fun! A
member made a sweet video of the temple being built and something
pretty interesting is that the temple is being built pretty much as
see level so essentially the foundation could possibly move and the
temple would wear down quick which we know is not how temples are
built. So they drilled deep down into the earth and attached huge
metal cables from the bedrock to the foundation of the temple. How
firm a foundation right? Just as we need to have a firm foundation
ourselves. I hope it's a great week for you all, I know it will be a
good one for me because I get to finish off my week by calling

2) us with Phil
3&4) just a typical raid

White Trash Service

April 25, 2016

As you can see above, this week had a lot of service, but I'll get to
that in a minute. We had a pretty sweet week. Carla and Phoenix both
came to church and they are doing really well! They should both be
baptized within the next month! We had a few sweet lessons this week,
especially a big one with Phoenix that got us past a pretty big
roadblock! Carla even fed us this week! We finally got to have a
lesson with this guy Lucious that Elder Johnson picked up as an
investigator right before he left. He read the restoration pamphlet
and pretty much taught us the entire thing and believes it's true!
Then Nyema came in and pretty much taught him about priesthood
authority, it was crazy sweet because I hardly had to teach! The less
we have to teach, the better they understand.

So this week Joshua's wife Ashley decided she wanted to buy a trailer
7 trailers down from the one they are in now! We volunteered our help
because we all know how much I love to get out of a shirt and tie! So
a small trailer move doesn't sound too hard right? Especially only
being 7 trailers down? But there was a catch! The old couple, Larry
and Mair needed help moving to their new double wide, 4 trailers down.
We were ready to tackle this and get them out quick, but lo and behold
they didn't pack a single thing! No boxes, just a buncha garbage bags
and loose items. This place looked like a decent candidate for
Hoarders. Anyways we moved pictures, frames, garbage, chairs, more
garbage and garbage. Oh and I don't think they cleaned once in the 30
years they have lived there, which was proven when we picked up a
couch and Elder Mackay's foot disappeared in a pile of dust! Even more
evidence was when I couldn't go 20 seconds without sneezing. It took
two days of moving to turn a new fresh double wide into another
hoarders home, there was hardly any room to walk! A few days later we
went back to help Ashley clean her "new" trailer. We found a bunch of
rotting in the wood walls and a ton of water stains on the ceiling
that had been spray painted to cover up the blemishes! There was even
mold growing out of the ceiling and on the windows. Luckily Ashley
hadn't signed anything or handed any money over yet, so Bro Massimini
and her dad talked her out of buying it. So while it may seem like it
was a big waste of time, we had a ton of fun and as Bro Massimini
says, we were BTRing (building a relationship of trust)!

We also got to do more service at the senior center, which was pretty
much just sweeping and moping a huge floor, and we helped Bro
Massimini clean out the Special Olympics shed to get ready for the big
track and field meet next week! It was fun doing a bunch of manual
labor this week, reminds me of all my time in Lehighton!

We had our last interviews with President Anderson this week. He
shined each elders shoes when they came in for their interviews. He's
such a good guy, I'll miss him a bunch. Well that's about it for this
week so I'll leave you with a nice scripture. Sister Anderson had a
Book of Mormon that each missionary marked their favorite scripture
in. Most of my favorites are pretty well known, but then I thought
about a scripture my Uncle Ken told me about at my farewell.
Alma 29:3 But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought
to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me.
We need to just be thankful with what we've been given. Our Heavenly
Father has blessed us with so much and we should be happy with it.
Although we won't be perfect , we are perfect to him. I hope it's a
good week for you all!