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,
Mom

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. 
-Exercise
-Reading the Old and New testament
-Prayer
-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


P.S 

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

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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.

Love,

Dad.

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

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