Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April 25, 2016

From Mom:

Happy Birthday, Elder Smith! My baby's going to be 20 years old tomorrow. Sniff. In Mushu's voice, "All grown up and preachin' the Gospel!" Haha. To celebrate, we are mailing you a package ON your birthday. Any requests?
Here are 20 Things I Love About Josh:
1) You were the best baby on the planet. Slept through the night at 4 months, rarely cried, and those chubby cheeks! Love at first sight. Truly.
2) You were born to poor student parents who were resident managers. Patiently, you came with me every time I had to show an apartment until you were 5. (Don't ask me where Stephanie was.) My little buddy. Everyone loved you. You never complained.
3) That home video of you singing "Happy Family." So cute.
4) The time I had to rescue Stephanie from the thunderstorm. I sat you up to the table with dry snacks and told you not to get down. You were 3. When I got back 15 minutes later, you were happily munching, still in your spot. So obedient.
5) Watching you ride your bike endlessly in the cul-de-sac by our barn house. I called out,  "What are you doing, Josh?" You replied matter-of-factly, "Oh, I'm just playing with the wind." I love that imagination of yours. You always had it and always will, I think.
6) Eating carrots from our garden with the dirt still on it. "This is deee-licious!" Made me feel I could actually grow stuff. :)
7) Your public school fiasco(s) gave me the courage to start homeschooling. When I asked you what you thought of Mom being your teacher, I'll never forget the way your eyes lit up.
8) The time you finally took reading into your own hands. You followed me around all day, with your finger holding the place in Chapter 3 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. "Please, Mom! Please read!" I had to tell you to wait until bedtime. Finally you said, "Can I read it myself?" I was so relieved and happy you took it into your own hands. You are so very capable and smart, once you decide. And you burned through that book in a matter of days, which opened the floodgates. I love that you're still a reader.
9) That time I decided to start dressing up a little more for homeschooling days (instead of PJ's or sweats). I came down the stairs and you said, "Mom! You are so beautiful!" Made me feel so good. I adore your sincerity. It comes naturally to you.
10) Kookanusa swimming. My little fish, even though you almost drowned in the Sparwood pool, I couldn't keep you out of the water if I tried.
11) The phase of life where you explored all of Leduc on your bike with your brothers. They look up to you so much. Your example inspires them to be better. I love watching your crazy awesome relationship with them.
12) The way you faced Repentance and overcoming those negative influences in your life. It's the hardest thing you ever did. Once you were on that path, no matter how long it stretched out before you, you never gave up. You are not a quitter and I love that about you.
13) Watching you in Mixed Martial Arts, I witnessed your confidence soar. My gentle boy, kicking butt. Loved it.
14) Tenaciously sticking to your DNA story idea. One day, it's going to be big.
15) Your singing voice.
16) Watching you dread the hard work at Classic and facing it anyway. You've developed the ability to work hard and to stick to a task. (Side note: You received some unexpected holiday pay and a $1800 tax return. As a result, we haven't even touched your Mission Savings yet.) Hard work pays off.
17) The way you decided to value women as divine individuals and treat them accordingly. Of course, they didn't know what hit them and there were some unintended consequences but I think you'll find that happy medium after your Mission. Hahaha. The principle is sound.
18) The respect you've always shown us as parents. (Except that one day for an hour when you were rebellious. Lol!) Dad and I always felt your obedience and honour, which in turn, inspires us to want to be better parents. Your quiet influence effects everyone you meet, even though you don't really realize it. Keep going with that, Josh. You have a quiet strength.
19) Your love of the Gospel, your conviction of the power of the Atonement and your efforts to draw nearer to God. I love that about you. It's the best thing you could ever do in your life... to continue to develop that relationship. Love.
20) Your desire to serve. A mission is a major part of that. It will teach you so much about yourself and how to serve effectively. I love that you are out there serving. You will see miracles.
And there is so much more. You are a treasure to us. Keep going, keep striving. Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life. Be happy. See life for ALL it's possibilities.

Happy Birthday! (And don't forget to send us some requests for your care package.)

I love you forever,

From Josh:

Thank you so much Mom, all I have become and all I will ever be is because of my parents, and the foundation they helped me build, It is because of your faith and diligence in the gospel that I have been able to see that example and learn, I remember when I was little there was a time when going to church was the last thing I wanted to do, but you always said it was what we needed to do, so every week I would reluctantly get dressed for church, how you and dad always were faithful to each other and observed the commandments strictly, and the continual diligence of reading and praying everyday, has built me up more then anything in my life. I love you all for it.

The one thing that I really miss is Dads homemade pancakes, grandma smiths brownie recipe and a couple other things, If I could have one thing in a care package I would want an easy recipe book, because one thing I lack is an ability to cook anything, that is one thing I remember being stressed to do is learn how to cook and it is one of my regrets that I didn't seise the opportunity sooner, so my one request would be a recipe book, with a lot of simple recipe's, something else that I love is seeing you guys, so another thing that would be so amazing would be to have a picture of everyone, Steph sent me pictures in a letter and honestly I treasure those above everything I have ever gotten, pictures and letters are so amazing, worth more then gold, honestly if I had a choice between a thousand dollars and a letter or a picture of someone I love I would choose the latter. Other then that everything else fades into the background, I miss you guys immensely, and I know this is where I am meant to be. 

There are so many blessings that abound in my life right now, as a zone we are in Alma 56 right now and something that caught my eye was Alma 53:20-21 the description of the stripling warriors and Alma 48:11-13 the description of Moroni, and I read verse 17 as well and wondered how I could be better there is definitely a long list, because if there is anyone who is far from being perfect it is me. 
A big topic this week for our zone is diligence, and how we could be more diligent and in what ways, so this morning we were given a challenge to do some personal reflection on what I needed to focus my diligence on. 
Here are a few things. 
-Reading the Old and New testament
-Validating others
-Reading Preach My Gospel

These are a few of the many things I could work on being more Diligent in. I encourage you guys to do the same, take some time and evaluate what you could be more diligent on in your life, whether that is getting to bed on time, use of technology, giving service, sharing the Gospel, whatever it may be, decide to act now and build up your foundation. 

Oh I almost forgot! We were able to see Elder Neil L Anderson and I got to shake his hand! it was an amazing experience and I was in a small group of eight people in our zone that was able to sing "sweet is the work" for Elder Anderson and for the entire mission. I stood right in front of him as we sang, and nearly forgot all my notes. I am so grateful that the Lord has Apostles to lead his church in these days, I have a testimony that Elder Anderson is truly an apostle of the Lord and that the quorum of the twelve are all called of God to be special witnesses of his divinity and to lead Gods true church on this earth, something he said really hit me hard when he spoke to us, He asked if anyone had memorized any quotes of Jesus in the New Testament, and I was at a loss, I don't know how to quote the master of the world! I know a whole bunch of quotes from movies I have seen I could probably quote a couple prophets and scriptures from the book of mormon, but how sad is it that I cannot quote Jesus Christ. Elder Anderson went on to say, "How powerful would it be if at any time you could pull out a direct quote from the master in a time of need, to someone who is sad or depressed Jesus said 'Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth I give unto you' to someone who is angry or upset at someone Jesus said, 'Love one another as I have loved you'" 
That is my new goal, to memorize the words of Jesus Christ, so I can know more fully for myself and so I can impart his word more completely to others. 

I hope everyone is doing well, Please stay true the faith, because this is the one true church on the earth today. 

Joshua Smith


Me and Elder Wilson at the L.A Temple It is HUGE!

Displaying IMG_1240.JPG 

From Dad:
Dear Josh,

Hope this finds you happy and well this week. I've been thinking a lot about you this week for some reason, both remembering some good times from the past and anticipating good times to come. You are my first born son and I love you lots. I'm so proud of you. Finding it hard to believe you are 20 years old!

Yesterday we enjoyed Zachary Nesom report his mission. Lots of people showed up. Isabeau Doig came and I had a nice chat with her. She asked how you were doing.  Zach did a great job. He is a good example of persistence as he pushed through the stigma of coming home and choosing to go back out. I'm thankful for your persistence before your mission to work past your roadblocks to be where you are today. Thanks goodness for the atonement of Jesus Christ.

Sitting here listening to Amelia yell at Coco to stop barking and I'm grateful for the wonderful children the Lord has blessed us with. I'm grateful for the many experiences I see you all going through and I see you growing and learning and becoming and I often feel that my cup runs over with blessings. I was talking with Ben and Sam on the way home from the Leduc Music festival gala about how much I love seeing my kids developing and sharing their talents. Ben of course did really well in the festival and earned a nice sum of money to use on our Lithuania trip.

Mom and I are busy trying to work out the steps to building a house. Definitely feel like Nephi as we go foreword not knowing before hand the things we should do. Exciting as well as scary to make this jump.

Before I forget, can you please let us know your mission procedure for mothers day call? Will you call us? Can we use Skype? When will we have the call, etc. We're excited to talk to you and hope that we can do it by Video somehow.

Have a great birthday week. We love you and pray for you always.



From Josh:

Make sure to tell Isabeau that I am doing well and that missions are awesome! 

I love you Dad, thank you for the constant example you are to me. I hope the house goes smoothly, like Nephi make sure to be led by the spirit, remember the Lords Promise in 1 Nephi 2:20

Journal Letter From Josh

Hey everyone I love you all and hope this letter finds you all well.

Monday April 18 2016

Today our zone went for su-shi and man those California roles were good I learned that you actually mix a little wasabi into soy sauce this whole time I have been just slathering wasabi on by itself! Mixing it in soy sauce tastes way better.
We taught the Orona Family today about prophets, we are helping them with Family home evening and we give the Lesson each time. 

Tuesday April 19 2016 

Weekly planning took forever and we had to stop for a little because we had a lesson with Anthony about enduring to the end... so we did just that and got our weekly planning done.

Wednesday April 20 2016

We had the opportunity to take Anthony to the LA Temple visitors centre today, and I really enjoyed it, Anthony really liked walking around the Temple

We were able to pick up Lisette an devout catholic as an investigator, she wants to learn more about the bible and would wanted us to come teach her what we knew so we are excited.

Thursday April 21 2016

This morning we scheduled a district lunch and ordered pizza when we showed up to get it we found out that we ordered it from a different pizza place 30 minutes away, so we had to scramble to get it and get back to district meeting on time as Elder Wilson is the District leader. 

Friday April 22 2016

Got my first official California sunburn while painting fire hydrants for the community.
while knocking on doors today we were met with little success and were scorned and mocked for our beliefs, one lady put down everything we said and wanted to continue the conversation to belittle us more so we just excused ourselves and left, I can stand most forms of ridicule but one thing I cannot stand is when one person belittles another.

Saturday April 23 2016

Today was a special day because an Apostle of the Lord came to speak with our mission, Neil L Anderson had us all line up so he could shake everyone of the missionaries hands, and our zone was able to sing a musical number for the whole mission, I stood right in front of him the whole time, he gave a special training for us and helped us to improve. I know that he is truly an Apostle of God Chosen to be a special witness of the divinity of God, I know that God has truly restored his true church on the earth today having a structure of 12 apostles and a prophet to lead us. I love this work and I will server the lord till the day I die. 

Sunday April 24 2016

We taught a guy we met yesterday by the name of Luke and he is willing to meet with us to learn more, we were able to teach Francois a black gentlemen about the Plan of salvation, all in all it was a good day. 

I love you all so much, Please stay true to the Gospel because it is true, and there is nothing that can amount to the joy I have felt by living it.

all the best,

Elder Joshua Smith

Monday, April 11, 2016

April 11, 2016

From: Mom

Yes, miracles do happen and Elder Baker was transferred into our ward. He's here for another two weeks before he goes to Texas as his Visa finally came.
Dad told you we went down for Great Grandpa's 90th birthday, and I was struck with the idea that his greatest legacy wasn't his job, his community service or how many fish he caught; but his love for his wife and family. There were SO many people who came and they all love him. He was so humble he thought no one would show up. Lol! You have a fantastic legacy, Josh. You come from a long line of hard working, humble people who love the Lord.

From Josh:

Haha He made it! what a guy.

Its good to see that the family is doing well, I see no scars or anyone missing so I am grateful for that, I Love hearing from you guys and it means a lot to me.

One thing I have figured out about being a missionary, is that there is no instant change from being yourself and being a missionary of the Lord, When I got to the MTC I was still plain old me, there was no instant connection with the spirit, I was not instantly a great teacher, I did not have a sudden desire to talk to every person I met, I had to work at it a lot, I was still struggling with the same insecurities I had when I left. It is a slow, sometimes nearly non existent change, and it puts a greater light on why the prophets tell us we need to be a missionary way before our mission, Sam and Ben this is especially for you, if you don't know how to talk to people now and introduce yourself to new people then it will be all the more difficult when you leave on a mission, don't put off studies thinking as I did that it would just suddenly click when you leave for your mission, Study diligently now, I have had three older people who said to me, Read everything you can get your hands on, everything. Prepare yourself now for the calling that will be yours. Pay inside the gas station, say hello to people you pass on the street, shake peoples hands and introduce yourself at dances and passing through the halls after seminary, be outgoing, and strive to read the scriptures daily with meaning, if you are not reading with purpose you will get hardly anything out of it, pray from your heart, the average prayer is about 30 seconds, here is a cool challenge, at night see if you can lengthen your prayers, Cry unto God in Mighty Prayer and supplication, Draw your heart out to him, Enos Speaks of a wrestle with God, It was not so much a wrestle with God as with himself, Thank God for everyone you met that day, thank him for your family, there was an interesting quote, in Halifax I read which is, "If you woke up in the morning with only the things you thanked God for when you went to bed, what would you have?" The exact quote I cannot state anymore but it was along those lines, the meaning is still there. Enos Prayed for a day and a half before he got an answer, Enos 1:4, Nephi went to the Mount oft to draw himself out in prayer 1 Nephi 18:3 I have gotten to the point where my longest prayer is three minutes, and really it does not matter how much time you spend on it as long as you have a meaningful prayer, so I say again, pray from your heart. 

In my studies lately I have been studying on faith, I am currently In Mosiah chapter 11 but an interesting scripture I read in 2 Nephi 29 is verse 10 Many times people (Members and Non-members alike) do not take into account that God is not confined to a book or even multiple books, he is a living breathing being who loves us and desires to teach us the things we need to know, and often times we get caught in the trap of just going off the words of The Books we have of Gods word, and I am not trying to take any importance off the word of God, for they truly speak of him, and their purpose is to draw all men to God, my first thought when I read this verse was "I can use this reasoning to tell people of the book of mormon!" but it was only when I tried to apply it to me when it drew a greater light on what I needed to do, it emphasized the importance to me of Prayer and scripture reading and personal revelation. How God does speak to us and we can recieve a greater light and knowledge from him if we first draw our hearts to him, then when we read his words in his books he can reveal greater truth as well as helping us grasp the scriptures we read, so that is why it is important to pray meaningfully before study. and to pray after. 

This week is sprinkled a little, and it was like the city turned to a ghost town, rain is basically the worst weather you can get here, and so its a pretty big deal to everyone when it does rain. 

I love you all and hope you will continually draw yourselves to the Lord, because true and everlasting happiness comes when we follow him.



April 4, 2016

To Everyone:

Hey everyone, I Hope this letter Finds you well and doing all right

Alright here we go!

March 29 Tuesday

Our lesson with Anthony went great! when we went in he asked if we could quickly pray so that he could show us how his Book of Mormon reading was going he has read the way to Jacob! and he really loves what the book of mormon speaks on and showed us a couple of his favorite verses that stood out to him. We then talked about service and keeping the commandments of God.

March 30 Wednesday

Book of Mormon challenge for the zone! we are reading the book of mormon 13 pages a day to read it all in a month and a half (aka 1 transfer) 

As the month draws to a close I reflect on why I am on a mission, at first it was because it was out of a sense of duty, but now I have been out for a while I realize that I am out more and more for the love of my God and for the love of other people, I have seen so many miracles and cannot deny that God is in the details of our lives.

March 31 Thursday

Man first District meeting in the transfer and a lot has changed, we have three new Korean speaking elders one new Hermana, and a new companionship in our district, basically the only thing that has stayed the same from our last district is me and Elder Wilson are still companions. 

April 1 Friday

A whole new month! 
I learned something new today, that I did not know before. 
Mid way through knock out we were invited in to an elderly guys home, he was about 85 and he said we was a jew, he said he had heard our message many many times and just told us to get it over with, so we decided to just talk to him first. He considered all religions the same and told us a lot about the beliefs of Jews. One of the things that Jews believe is that none of the miracles in the Old testament are true, like moses parting the red sea, Or even Abraham being commanded to kill his son, they believe they are fictitious stories to teach a lesson. Wow. 

April 2 Saturday 

General Conference! It was wonderful, I really liked the talks this time around, 
We decided to spend a short time knocking on doors before priesthood session and we knocked on the last door we were going to do and this young mother opened up, while talking to her we found she was a catholic and that she really wanted to know the truth about God, she said she had just sat down with her bible determined to find the truth in it where it could be found, she said that just wanted to find the truth God wanted her to find, when there was a knock at the door, and when she opened it there were two young missionaries standing there, they stated they were in fact missionaries and that they were sharing a message of Jesus Christ and that all his truth that he had taught had been restored on the earth, and we asked if she wanted to learn more about the truth. we set a return appointment to teach her more and walked away with a stronger testimony that God is definitely in the details of our life, to me that was a miracle.

April 3 Sunday

Anthony came to General conference! He has been our investigator for over six weeks and we invited him to watch conference with us! he really enjoyed President Uchtdorfs talk the most and was excited to meet with us later this week.

While knocking today we knocked into a muslim woman who said she just believed that Christ was only a Prophet and I decided to bare my testimony to her, I cave come to know for myself that this is true, that Jesus Christ is the son of God and that he is our savior and redeemer, and I told her she could know as well because the Book of Mormon provided a confirming witness she accepted a copy of a Book of Mormon, and told us she wanted to read it to see how I knew, we invited her to read and pray about it and she would know. 

To: Family

I really loved conference so much, let me tell you missionary general conferences are really enjoyable, it is so interesting that you got a lot on the Holy Ghost mom, the theme I picked up and really liked was "we are all children of God and should act like it" and "Always be worthy for the priesthood you hold" My favorite speakers I have to say were definitely all of yours mom, and I have to say that I also really liked M Russell Ballard's about family councils and it reminded me of all of the family councils we did together as a family, especially the times when we would start a conversation at the table and move into the living room and people would join in, I loved one on ones with you and dad, and I think that was a major contributor to who I am today, I learned a lot from you guys. All through out conference I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude to my parents for staying together and building each other and our family up. Because of the relationship we developed it was much easier to trust you and confide in you then it would have been if things were different. I encourage each one of my siblings to prepare to be confident fathers and mothers, you have two super examples right in our home, mom and dad are both super heroes in a world full of inconsistency, I will honor my father and my mother throughout my life and through all time and eternity for the foundation of love and respect they built in me, and for encouraging me to follow and build up who I am. Thank you so much Mom and Dad. 

Being a missionary is the most amazing experience ever, there have been so many things that have happened to me  just in these four months that I cannot deny that this is truly the Lords work and that this is true church on the earth today. Three times it has happened that we have knocked on a door in a place we have felt like we needed to be, and we appeared at the perfect time, one was a young mother who was catholic, she was really wondering what was true and when we knocked on her door it was in the exact moment that she needed, she told us that she had prayed to know what was true and that she had just opened her bible to search for what God wanted her to learn, another was when we had a lesson set up with an investigator and the first member we felt like we needed to call was Bro Hilario who knows fluent English and Spanish, when we showed up our investigator wasn't there, so we decided to knock a few doors with Bro Hilario, the very first door we got to someone told us to talk to their parents, so we knocked on their door and when they opened all they could speak was Spanish! and only know how to say the door approach! but Bro Hilario took over and they invited us in, I hardly understood a thing but after they had spoke a while bro Hilario turned to us and said, "they are members, they have been trying to go to church for years but could not get a ride because they did not know anyone." we got them the Spanish missionaries number and told them they could call them to find a ride to church. If Bro Hilario did not come, if our investigator was there, if we had decided to just go home and not knock a couple doors, then we would not have found those Spanish members, God was Directing us at that time because he knew that couple had a desire to go to church.

that is only a couple miracles that I have seen and this is something that has been on my mind for a while, that we need to be worthy to feel the spirit we need to be sensitive to the spirit, something that was stated in conference that really got to me was this, "are you praying with your heart?" are you just saying words or are your truly meaning them? are you getting on your knees and truly offering up all your desires to God? Sam and Ben, I have told you a few things you could do to prepare for a mission, dad could tell you quite a few as well, but the most important thing that you can do to get ready is 
1 Have a testimony of the Gospel and of the book of mormon
and 2 develop a relationship with God and the spirit and learn how the spirit speaks to you, never stop searching for how you can build a spiritual sensitivity and don't stop learning about God.

I have recently started reading the Book of Mormon again and I am searching for verses that specifically say Faith of faithful, the purpose for this is so I can gain a better understanding of faith so I can increase my faith, faith is closely tied with Trust, faith is a belief in something that is not seen but is true, Trust is a belief in what someone tells you, and a belief in that person, really all we are missing here is pixy dust, because then we could fly, but it is something that was stated in conference, when you don't know where to go put your trust in what you have been taught, and when you feel like you don't know what to believe follow what you have know all your life until you can gain a firm understanding, there have been times on my mission that I have been shown and told a lot of anti about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, and guaranteed you guys will too, no question, and I have been shaken in my faith for a little while there I didn't know if what I believed was true, I was scared because what I thought was a strong testimony was blown aside in a couple days and I didn't know what to do, and so I took a step back from some things I was worried about I took a step back from all my many doubts about the church, and established what I did believe, I had to build my foundation all over again. Or that is what it felt like anyway, and I came away with two things I did believe, I knew for a fact that God does answer my prayers, and that Jesus Christ did die for me. That was it, I had nothing else that I was sure about but those two things, so knowing God answers prayers I prayed to him that I would be able to find out if what I had been told was true, well the answer did not come at once, but I knew that I just couldn't sit back and wait to see if by some miracle God would tell me, I got up and I started reading the Scriptures I continued to serve to the best of my ability, I bore my testimony about all that I knew, and I searched and pondered all I could. and though this time over in reading the Book of Mormon and with conference and the testimonies of my companion and other missionaries, I can say for a certainty and with a stronger conviction that I do know that this church is true, that Joseph Smith was called by God to be a Prophet, and that The Book Of Mormon is the word of God, and I know that we truly live after the manner of happiness, and if we continue down this path, God will always send a multitude of Blessings. in the words of Jeffrey R Holland "God is waiting to bless us."



March 28, 2016

From Jen:

Dear Elder Smith,
After church, I sat down on the couch in the foyer with a woman named Cindy Garbot, recently moved into Leduc from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. This is what she told me...
She lived in Dartmouth for 20 years with her husband where they raised their two boys. Her son's eventually moved West looking for work, which they found. They both married and settled in Edmonton. Cindy had been wrestling with the fact that her children were so far away and she knew she needed to move closer to them when her daughter-in-law got pregnant. It was a hard decision to move away from a community that had so many memories and was so comfortable for her. She prayed for many months for confirmation that this was the right thing to do. Finally, on the first Sunday in January, she prayed for Heavenly Father to give her a solid answer, one that she couldn't deny. She got up and went to church. While sitting in church, a new missionary got up to introduce himself... "Hello, everyone. My name is Elder Smith and I am from Leduc, Alberta..." In that moment, the Spirit bore witness to her that her decision to move to Leduc was the right one.
She was telling me about the Easter  Dinner she had with her entire family and new little grandson and how happy she was to live here. The ward has been very welcoming, which helps.
So, you never know, Josh, just how much good you are doing by the simple fact of living right. You may never see the ripple effects of living righteously, by inviting others to partake of the goodness of a loving God, by forgiving naysayers and following the Spirit. I adore your goal of loving the unlovable. They probably need it more than anyone else. My advice is to not take things too personally. Haters hate because they have a back story and if you knew it, would have compassion.
Remember the lessons from How to Win Friends and Influence People. ;)
I love you dearly. Keep going. Keep trying.
Mom :0)

From Josh:

That is so amazing! make sure to say hi to Sister Garbot for me, 

I have been really struggling this week, there has been a lot of times where what people have said have gotten to me in a deep way, with people hounding us what seems like everyday, and bashing on our beliefs, and investigators pulling up a lot of anti, along with the stress of setting up lessons and trying to find people interested, I have felt a huge strain on my testimony, and there have been a lot of doubts in my mind concerning some of the things said to me. it has been a big trial of my faith and I have found myself more and more having to draw upon what I do know, there have been times this week when my doubts have out numbered what I know and it has been really hard, I have devoted a lot of studies into finding out what I don't know. 
But I have found that as I have put my faith in the Lord I have been blessed so after a particularly hard day I just decided to put all my trust in the Lord and on easter Sunday we were able to go over to a members home and share that easter message, and I felt the spirit so strong as I bore my testimony about the atonement, and from that point I have felt continual assuring witnesses and this email was one of them, thank you so much for that mom.

That is something I have found about the teaching methods of Heavenly father, its interesting to know that everything he does is for us to learn but he will not make us learn, but help us learn, in the scriptures the most popular teaching method of Jesus Christ was that of Parables and Questions, He used parables so that his followers would understand plainly and most importantly come to their own understanding, this is the same with questions instead of answering questions asked by others he often asked questions in return, this enabled people to come to their own understanding and thus retaining and internalizing the topic of discussion and often even things not discussed, the same teaching method is used by God, in genesis with Adam, and also by the spirit with Nephi, Questions are the ultimate teaching method, teaching by empowering the individual. 

Heavenly Father uses challenges and trials to help us gain experience and learn by us using our own agency.

I have a personal testimony that God answers prayers, I prayed last week asking for God to grant me more faith, and I think that these challenges are because he wants me to put my trust in him, I needed to experience a trial of my faith before my faith could grow, and I thank God for allowing me to have that blessing of challenges. 

I love you guys so much, and I am so proud of all of you, I wish I could watch Sam's Routines but I know that he did well, and I wish I could have even half his skill, I am so proud of Ben and how he is pursuing his piano with his usual vigor, as well as Abby for her efforts as well in piano, and I am so proud to have a sister like Mia, whenever I need energy and joy and a drive to continue moving forward I think of all of you.