Well to start this email out I really don’t
know what to say, other than that I still am not quite able to wrap my head
around the fact that I am going home. I feel like I am in a dream or something
and I am going to wake up and be new in the mission again.
Well the mission has been amazing. I am going
to miss Chile so much. I love the people no matter how many times they were
rude to me. I have grown to love these people and their culture. I know that I
am gringo but my heart tells me that I’m chileno.(and a flaite one if you ask
me). I remember thinking that the mission was perfect and that us as
missionaries we don’t suffer and that all we feel is happiness and stuff like
that. I WAS WRONG, very wrong. I have learned how to suffer with joy, as
President Videla always tells us. I have been able to change and see the big
picture and really why things are important. My testimony has grown and even
though I wouldn’t say that it’s huge I know and can say that it’s grown. When I
first got here I thought that I wasn’t going to be able to preach the gospel
because I didn’t feel like my testimony was big enough and actually felt so inadequate
that I asked my MTC Presidente to send me home and I don’t remember how many
times. For some reason he didn’t give into my askings. I am so thankful for the
help that all my leaders have offered me because if they weren’t men of God I wouldn’t
have been able to learn that God makes weak things strong and that he shows
that he is God through us weak missionaries.
To add to this we had a strange contact with
someone. We knocked at this guy’s door and he came out and started attacking
right away. Well he said that he studies the Bible a lot and then started to
attack us and trying to... well I don’t know what he was trying to prove, but
after talking about the teachings in the Bible for like 15 min. He finally asked
how many times we had read the bible. I told him I had never read the Bible
completely before. He seemed very prideful when we said he had read it
completely through 15 times. Then told us that we needed to study it more and
come back to him and tell him what we learned. Little did he know that he
helped me learn that God really makes weak things strong! Knowing little and
being weak in all the knowledge that the Bible has, I was able to talk and answer
the things he was asking us.
I am so thankful for the opportunitdad that God
has given me the chance to serve him. I love him and know that this is the true
church of Christ and that Joseph Smith restored this church and was able to
translate the Book of Mormon through the power and help of God. I am so
thankful for all my companions even the hard times that I passed with them
because I have truly learned from them and been humbled.
Well this last week was good. We were able to
start working more with the members and we even received some references. Well
man as the mission starts to end I think that it really is a battle and I think
that is why so many missionaries, at least in our mission kind of end lowly. I
have been able to experience a good amount of challenges and well to be honest
I think that really is just part of life. I remember one time when my dad and
some of us, went to Moab and I remember asking my dad what sleeping bag he
wanted to take before we headed out. Well it was a bit of a mix up and I took a
summer bag for him and a nicer bag for me. When we got there in the night I remember
him telling me that he said it was okay if “I” brought the summer bag and well
I think it was a bit mixed up because he was on the phone. But when he told me
that he was willing to take the summer bag and I could have the other bag. I
told him and I quote, "there is a lot of suffering in life and I might as
well suffer now." Well, something like that. I think this has stuck with
me a lot because we all suffer and some more than others but the most important
thing is that we never take our eyes off of Jesus Christ. Even though life is
hard and we feel like we can’t do something, we have to keep trying and pushing
because our potential is much more than we know.
Now in our sector we are working hard and man
it’s rough sometimes but I can feel the help from God and Jesus Christ in those
moments. I testify of the love God has for us and all that he offers us
if we just turn to Him and follow His son Jesus Christ. If we fall of the slack
line, what do we do, we get back up and keep going until we get to the other
side. I know that this is the true church and the road that we need to take. I
love this gospel and am so thankful for Gods plan and for the atonement of our
savior Jesus Christ. HE knows what we need and will always help us, so when
life gets rough keep going because it’s only for a time and we will also grow
closer to God and Jesus Christ through our suffering.
Well this last week he have been trying to work
hard and find more people and to work hard with the members. Well we only had sacrament meeting this last week because of all the rain. It was a littlecrazy because of that and we didn't have water for a good couple days but its fine we
were ready. Also Mario our friend that just got baptized a couple weeks received the priesthood this last week and also will be working with the young men
and it will be awesome. Well I love you all and hope that all are doing
Con mucho amor Elder Smith
(Note from mom: Elder Smiths companion shared more of their week and I wanted to include his thoughts....From Elder Birrell
So, this was a bit of a crazy week and most of that was due to the weather. There were a couple earthquakes this week, one was at 5 AM and shook our bed pretty bad and knocked my watch of the ledge of my bed but neither earthquake was too bad. Here they have two names for earthquakes- Terremotos and Temblores. Terremotos are the serious earthquakes like they just had in Ecuador and Japan. We just had a couple temblores which actually happens all the time here. That wasn't the crazy part of the weather this week, the crazy part was the rain. In rained hard for about four days straight and flooded a lot of Santiago. It also made the water source contaminated, so they cut our water from Saturday until Monday morning. We had some leaking into our house, but it wasn't anything dangerous. A couple Elders from our mission had their fridge blow up, so we're thankful that didn't happen to us. Saturday it rained especially bad, but when we went out to work it looked fine, so we just wore sweaters and didn't take umbrellas. After about an hour of working, the skies opened and we started getting DUMPED on. Within a few minutes we went from being completely dry to completely soaked and we were about to walk to a house all the way across the sector for an appointment. Just then, a stranger pulled up and asked us if we wanted a ride to where we were going. Rides from strangers isn't something we normally do, but it was pouring and we were super grateful. I think this gesture of kindness had an affect on us as two hours later (still raining) we found a very intoxicated man laying down on the grass in a puddle. We passed by him without really thinking, but then realized that that man really needed help. We then picked him up and carried him 45 minutes to his house. While the rain maybe wasn't ideal, I think sometimes we need these circumstances. Both to receive service and to give it and we were super thankful for both.
Well we are doing good. We have an investigator that just doesn't want to accept a date for baptism but really is a member. We
are working more with the ward and it's been great. I think it has helped me to think back to how the sector was when I first got here and man I'm not perfect
but through this whole process I can see how the ups and down have brought the
sector to a better place even though I had to suffer a little bit. We had a
zone conference and it was good I was able to give my testimony and say good bye to everyone, that was weird but I am thankful that I got to do that. We are doing
super good and loving the work. We are finishing strong. I haven't been able to
go to the temple this week because I am waiting to get my new one because mine is
expired so I am waiting.
Thank you for todo Elder Smith
Just finishing emails and then heading to play ping pong! Birthday Celebration!
Well this last week was good. We were so
excited for conference. My companion turned to me at one point and told me that this
had turned into something like a big football game or something crazy. It really has
become to be one of the highlights of the year for me. Hearing the words from
the living prophet and apostles is so amazing and really it makes me feel so
good to hear and find answers to that I have asked to know. . I have grown to love the gospel in so many ways that I didn't think possible and really it gives me so much happiness even though I feel
down because I'm not perfect.. but as we know we wont be perfect in this life. I
really love learning about the talks that the people give and really I never
knew that it was possible to have joy from sitting down for 10 hours watching
people talk. I really loved what the Prophet said in his talk he gave in
priesthood about standing in holy places. It made me think about how I just
want to come home and progress and do what is right and not be engulfed in the
world. It helped me to think about more of the importance of the priesthood and
really what I do. It has helped me realize also what he said in the Sunday
morning talk about choosing to take the harder right than the easier wrong. I
think that this conference has helped me understand that I need to work hard and
finish stronger than ever and everything will be okay after.
This last week was a little crazy, we were
working hard and man it seems like the days are getting shorter and we have
less time because we are not finding enough to do all that we want and need to
We have been teaching a boy named Andony from Peru. He is
amazing. Ever since we found him he has come to church and is even attending
mutual with the youth and seminary. He is progressing and doing well but his
initial doubt that he had was that he had already been baptized before and he didn't know if he could be baptized again. We helped explain to him that he
could be baptized again. But he just wouldn't hear us and put it
together. But in these last 6 weeks that we have been working with him he has
slowly started to progress and the other day we had a good lesson with him. About half way through the lesson the spirit just came over us and it was such a nice good,
warm feeling that confirmed that Andony was progressing and that everything
would be okay.
It's been so amazing to me to see how God works.
Like we read in Alma he works through small and simple things and really that's
how things work. I know that Gods loves us and is here to help us if we first
are humble and look for him and then are willing to do what he wants and
expects of us. I know that Jesus is the Christ and and he paid for our sins and
for our hard times and everything that has, is, or will happen in our lives. He
knows what we need because he has felt the same thing. That is what he does. I
know that the Holy Ghost is here to lead and guide us and to help us gain and
strengthen us so that we can grow closer with God and his son. I know that
Joseph Smith restored this gospel and that he is a prophet even the prophet
that restored the priesthood power to this earth again. This is the path of
never ending happiness and if we let God into our lives he will never lead us
Well this last week was so full of a lot of
things we had to do because we were preparing our investigatorMario to be
baptized. He got baptized on EasterSunday and man it was such a special feeling. I know that God prepares the way for all his children and really if we trust Him and let Him guide us in this dark world we wont have regrets. I love
you all!!! Take care and take the time to read this because well it's what happened with Mario.
Con mucho Amor,
Hace dos meses y medio atrás nosotros hicimos una actividad de zona y una de las referencias que recibimos, encontramos Hermano Mario, su esposa Yemesi en cual es miembro de la iglesia hace muchos años y se bautizó cuando era joven, su hija Romina y su hijo Tomás. La primera vez que nosotros pasamos a visitarles, nos aceptaron en su casa y nosotros empezamos a conocerles. Al empezar a enseñarles invitamos a toda la familia escucharnos, pero solo Mario quería y ni siquiera sabíamos que su señora era miembro de la iglesia, porque no compartió mucho con nosotros cuando estábamos en su casa o no estaría cuando pasábamos. No supimos hasta más adelante que era miembro. Pero en esta ejemplo Dios nos muestra que prepara las personas y que realmente nosotros somos las herramientas en sus manos. Entonces empezamos a compartir el Evangelio de Jesucristo con él. Después la segunda o tercera visita nosotros llevamos un miembro para ayudarnos hermanar y compartir su testimonio. En esta visita le ayudamos a Mario entender y comprender la importancia de la oración en la conversión y le invitamos esta noche a orar para saber si esta es la iglesia correcta, si José Smith es un Profeta de Dios y si él restauró el Evangelio de Jesucristo aquí en la tierra de nuevo, y si el Libro de Mormón es la palabra de Dios. Después de dejarle esta noche, Le dijimos que íbamos a pasar el día siguiente para verificar como le fuera.
Llegamos el próximo día y el nos dijo que sí había recibido la respuesta y que esta era el camino correcto. De esta momento y adelante empezamos a ver mucho progreso, pero sabíamos que no estaban casados. En nuestra planificación semanal nosotros decidimos que sí o sí le íbamos a enseñar la ley de castidad el más pronto posible. Cuando nosotros le íbamos a pasar el folleto de la ley de castidad, él nos contó que se iban a casar. Esta fue tan genial para nosotros porque ni siquiera habíamos dicho algo a ellos de la ley de castidad. Y el día cinco de marzo se casaron.
En todo el proceso de la conversión de Mario nosotros vimos mucho progreso y había muchas veces cuando él nos compartió experiencias cuando sintió el espíritu. Él es realmente un hombre de Dios muy especial, cada lección que tenemos con él, el espíritu es muy presente y siempre tiene algo bueno para compartir o una pregunta para que pueda entender aun más de las cosas de Dios. Y por fin, después de dos meses y medio Mario pudo bautizarse el 27 de marzo y ahora él y su familia pueden prepararse a ir al templo para llegar a ser una familia eterna.
Two months and a half ago we did an activity in our area and one of the references we found was Brother Mario, his wife Yemesi she had been a member of the church for many years and was baptized when she was young, her daughter Romina and her son Thomas. The first time we had to visit them, they accepted us into their home and we begin to know them. To start teaching and to invite the whole family to listen, but only Mario wanted and did not even know that his wife was a member of the church because she did not share much with us when we were at home or would not as we passed. We did not know until later that she was a member. But this example shows us that God prepares people and we are really tools in their hands. Then we began to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him. After the second or third visit we took a member to help Hermana and share their testimony. On this visit we helped Mario understand and understand the importance of prayer in the conversion and invited him tonight to pray to know if this is the right church, if Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and if he restored the gospel of Jesus Christ here on earth again, and if the Book of Mormon is the word of God. After leaving that night, I said we would stop the next day to check how it was.
We arrived the next day and he said yes he had received the answer and that this was the right way. From this time forward we began to see a lot of progress, but we knew they were not married. In our weekly schedule we decided that yes we were going to teach the law of chastity the soonest possible. When we were going to talk about the booklet Law of Chastity, he told us that they were getting married. This was so great for us because we had not even said anything to them about the law of chastity. And on March 5 they married.
Throughout the process of conversion of Mario we saw a lot of progress and there were many times when he shared with us experiences when he felt the spirit. He really is a very special man of God, every lesson we have with him, the spirit is very present and always has something good to share or a question so that you understand even more of the things of God. And finally, after two and a half months Mario was baptized on March 27 and now he and his family can prepare to go to the temple to become an eternal family.