Sunday, March 6, 2016

Feb 29, 2016

To Dad:

Distracted driving Dad, it sucks, I can attest to that. (Dad crashed the Green Car last week)

I am so glad that I have parents who love each other I think its a major factor to how our family has become so close, along with some others, I love how you have always pointed us to God, and how in every action you have taught us to be the best we can be, I love you guys so much.

when you were a missionary did you have the Mister Brown memorized discussions? and with the first Discussion did you start with the first vision?

My mission visa does work, My scotia card doesn't but as long as my mission visa card is working I will be perfect.
I am not in a bike area, apparently they are trying to get rid of them in this mission... :(
My mission President and his wife, I haven't had much of a chance to talk with them they were super excited that I finally got here, and President Henrie runs this mission a lot like a business.

I cover the Chatsworth ward, it is a ward of about 140 in average attendance with over 300 members so a lot of less active work, they are all super friendly and love to have us over for supper. I am still trying to figure things out. but two wards meet in our building, the Korean branch is the other one and they have their own set of Elders that we meet with regularly 

To Mom:

That sucks about the car, though we all knew it was going to break down sometime, it was only a matter of time. 

That mission statement is pretty good, though most of it we already do, Something I would would be good to add, and this is a second hand opinion, that we add some things you would like to improve on, usually a mission is inspired by a cause, what cause are we striving for? to be a better family? would it be valuable to add a specific challenge? I love everything that it says about our family and hope it can provide us with something to build up to.

This week we have been meeting with various investigators of different varying opinions, Steven is a black guy who leads a church youth group in his denomination, he has been meeting with us to try to see what is true his grandmother recently died causing him to wonder about the after life, he was always taught the heaven or hell fire principle and really wants to go to heaven, I hope he continues to investigate the church so we can teach him the plan of salvation. he has a real struggle with accepting the book of mormon, and doesn't believe that God would call another prophet, since Jesus Christ fulfilled all things, so a lot of his concerns we can't really solve for him, we invited him to pray about it. Something to always remember when inviting someone, apply the law of agency, never say you will do this, instead it is better to always have a will you statement, making the only answers to be either yes or no. Our other investigator is a new christian named Anthony, and he is a details guy, he will always ask us questions that don't really make sense or are so small that its hard to see their relevance, one question was if groves are bad, in the bible it speaks a lot about removing places of worship of other gods which were referred to as groves, and since Joseph saw his Vision in a grove Anthony took it as grounds that our church was false, we then explained how God would not forsake his own creation just for being a creation and opened a couple scriptures about groves being good. 

Something Steven asked us to do is pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true and I prayed to have an increased understanding, and I want to tell you that I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that the Bible is as well and would exhort you all to read them both, if you have a question turn to the word of God and he will answer you, that is why prayer is so important when studying the scriptures because prayer is when you speak you speak to God, when you want him to speak to you look to his words. 

Something I have learned here is that God truly answers prayers, I fasted and prayed to be humbled into the depths of humility and God sent me to California, everything here is completely different, the people are often rude and offensive to us as missionaries, a lot of my own views on teaching I have found to be ineffective, I am continually questioning a lot of my own personal views, and have been struggling to adapt, its like jumping into freezing cold water, my body at this time is still in shock of the plunge and I am confused with the area, with my companions and with how things work here, and I realize there is a lot i don't know, I am basically starting from scratch, pretty much the only thing that has kept me going is the feeling or peace that I am doing the Lords work, and that eventually I will adapt to this new life, it is the polar opposite from Halifax, so I have had to adjust to three different life styles, MTC, Halifax, and California. The one thing I can say is that Missions are truly hard, we are raised on the thought of glory and wonder of missions, but there are often times that people will scorn you, and mock you, your companions will not always instantly be your friend, and people will not listen to you, you will be tired and depressed with no hope of anything improving, but there are the moments when people will listen, when people will see the light inside you, moments that are indescribable, when the spirit lays hold on your heart and you will be overwhelmed with the love that only comes from the Lord, there will be moments when you will love someone so much that you will sacrifice your own relaxation time to be with them and bring them closer to the Gospel, it is those moments you life for as a missionary, that make all the pain worth it, I can truly say I have been humbled, and I can't wait for the time when I can grow in confidence in the Lord in this mission.

I hope you are all doing well and are continually drawing closer to the Lord, Remember that Members do more to convert people then missionaries can ever do. I would encourage you to always have a referral for the missionaries when they come to seek for missionary opportunities, and ways you can serve others.

Love you all

Elder Joshua Smith

P.S
Volunteer work is awesome, I would encourage you guys to find places to do missionary work. Also Family history is cool! I would invite you guys to learn how to get names off of family tree for baptisms, if they haven't been done.

P.P.S

I hate to ask for things but I just so happened to leave my patriarchal blessing at home if there could be some way to get it to me It would be much appreciated.

My address is: 10025 de soto #27 CA USA 91311.

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