Monday, May 16, 2016

May 9, 2016

From Mom:

Dear Elder Smith,

We all loved the Skype call yesterday. It was definitely a highlight of the year! It's not enough time, of course, and we couldn't get everything in. 

One thing I wanted to tell you about is the crazy forest fire that got so close to Fort McMurray they had to evacuate the entire city of 88 000. So now Edmonton and area has 88 000 displaced people. 1600 houses burned and no one knows how long it will be before the people can go back to the community. The fire is still raging.
It's almost unbelievable how quickly things can change, but this is the cool part....
Everyone has responded to magnificently to help these people. This is what I've seen and heard but there is so much more.
  • * There were so many people evacuating from Fort McMurray, that the city got gridlocked. One woman said she could see the fire coming but they couldn't move their car. Scary! Luckily everyone got out (there is even footage of cars driving with the trees on both sides of highway in flames, embers falling on the hoods of vehicles) BUT eventually people ran out of gas on the side of the highway down the road. Out of danger but now stuck. The few gas stations there were between Fort Mac and Edmonton were quickly sold out of everything. People in North Edmonton quickly went out and bought all the jerry cans they could, filled them with gas and rescued those people, one at the time... For free!
  • *I think the province, through donations has collected about twenty million dollars.
  • *Our Relief Society went to help with sorting donations and they were turned away because so many people were already volunteering.
  • *Hotels have offered their rooms for free.
  • *Restaurants offered food for free.
  • *My friend, Joanne McLennan from Nova Scotia, contacted me to let me know there was a friend of hers from Fort Mac was staying in Leduc with relatives. She asked if I could check on her. Ben and I went with popsicles and toilet paper. Ha ha. She said that they had time to pray as a family and there was no fear as they left. And they are taken care of. I was able to let Joanne know all was well with her friend.
  • *The hardest hit area of the city is also where the church was but it was miraculously preserved.

Oh, there so much more, but I love how the people of Alberta have unified to help. The people of Fort Mac feel loved. Our province has this feeling of #AlbertaProud. It's really nice to see people stepping up.
Crisis affects change, and in this case, I think the change is good. Time will tell if it sticks.

Anyway, love you lots. So proud. Keep going, keep moving your feet.



From Josh:

Man I heard about the fire and I forgot to ask about it, that is crazy, I am glad that everyone is safe, I was worried about that for a bit. 

There were many things that I wished I could have said too, something I have learned while on a mission is that information carefully recorded is important and that you don't know what you will need in the future, one thing I wish I continued doing is yearly pictures, a family in the Chatsworth Ward decided to take a family picture every year in the spot they were married, they have been married nearly twenty years and have twenty pictures of their family growing every year since their wedding, and I remember that I have one of those for a couple years but did not see the interest in it, now I see how cool it would be to see my growth every year.

I also wish I had specific addresses I had wrote down from Halifax because in halifax I was super vague on every detail and I now have no specific information to remember there.

I have also seen the importance of writing in my journal, I have written in it everyday since 3 days before my mission, and I am devotedly doing it for the rest of my mission so that my family can read my experiences and remember what it was like for me.

To everyone in the Smith family! Write in your journals, even the most mundane days can be the greatest treasure, I am reminded of how when we go to Ontario for our big family reunion how we go Metal detecting and are excited to find even a small kitchen knife and treasure things that back then would be counted as pretty much worthless, just think how cool it is to see grandma's Sega Genesis, and how fun it is to play what back then would be something that was a regular thing to own. all this is to show that what you write down now will be a treasure to you for many years to come, I remember when dad would come out and tell us really cool things from his mission because he had been reading his mission journals, The Book of Mormon is a journal of a people, The bible is a record of a people, if you aren't going to write for yourself write for future generations, write things that you think will be of value for your family to know about you, and since you don't know what your family will value, it is important to write as much as you can, Nephi made large plates with the secular history, and he made a separate set just for his spiritual experiences, you never know the impact you could have on those people who will read your words, whatever they may be, so write in your journal!

That is what my feeling was to write and now that I have fulfilled it I am at a loss for words.

How is Bailey doing? 
Is seminary going well?

What is something that you feel that I can do more in my emails, Sam said they were pretty vague so I have been trying to figure out how I can be better at being more specific and finishing a thought, the problem is that I will have one thing that I feel I should write and I am driven for that purpose until I feel like I have said enough on it and then end my thought. 

Anyway, I love you all, it was so great to see all of your faces. 

Stay true in the gospel, because it is true.


I have ran out of time and wanted to send everyone something.

We have finished the Book of Mormon as a Zone and I have felt my Testimony grow so much, and thought I could share it with you.

These things I know.

God is our loving Heavenly Father, I know that he answers prayers with everything we need, and will grant unto us the things which we ask with a broken heart and contrite spirit.

I know that Jesus Christ suffered the atonement for us all, that he is the savior of the world and that he knows everything we are going through,

I have come to find out for myself that the Book of Mormon is a record of sacred scripture and I know what it speaks of is true, I know this through the confirming witness of the Holy Spirit in direct answers to my prayers, I know that in answer to a young boys prayer in 1820 God and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith and has truly restored through Joseph Smith, His church on the earth, I know that God continues to reveal his will today through his Prophet and his apostles I know they are truly called of God and that they direct this church in the ways of light and life. I know this all and will not deny it because I know with a certainty that it is all true.

Elder Joshua Smith

May 2, 2016

We were knocking on doors when this guy said that he had promised his Mormon friend that he would take a picture of any missionaries that knock on his door and send it to our parents, I had him send it to me so I could have the picture also.

Date: Sat, Apr 30, 2016 at 5:14 PM
Subject: Photos Of your children. Enjoy.

Wow how time seems to zoom by! It feels like I was Emailing just yesterday! I can't believe I have been out 4 1/2 months already! 

Real quick as this email time is already coming quickly to a close.

Tuesday April 26

Weekly planning was interrupted a lot today as we helped Brother Lamb an older Gentlemen in the ward remove a giant pool cover from his GIANT pool, seriously everyone here in California has a pool in their backyard.
We taught a lesson to Larry Bell and set a date for him to be baptized on June 18!

Wednesday April 27 

I have now been alive for 20 years, I thank my family for putting up with me for all these years.
Zone Soccer this morning for my birthday was really fun, when we got home we opened our apartment door and found breakfast already on the table and as we walked in our zone leaders jumped out from behind the wall of our apartment hallway,
some of the sisters made sure to get me a cake

Thursday April 28

We were able to give service to a less active family in our ward and just helped her around their apartment as they are the apartment building managers.
On a surprise exchange me and elder call found a young boy named David who is interested in learning about the gospel

Friday April 29

District lunch! we finalized our monthly goals at a chicken cafe and got to know each other a little better.
We taught a lady named Lisette again today and said she did not want us to teach her anymore... :'( 
Ward fundraiser was a blast! and we were able to meet so many new people.

Saturday April 30

We took David Howell (a priest from the ward) to a lesson but when it fell through we decided to go knock some houses and so we were able to give him the chance to feel like a missionary as he is preparing for his mission

Sunday May 1

Fast and testimony meeting today, a lot of great testimonies,
We went to the Makanuii's today and they fed us Enchilada's and everytime I go over there I over stuff myself like its thanksgiving, and have to roll myself out of their door. 

Until next time my friends and family, I love you all.

Elder Joshua Smith

I hope everyone is doing well and keeping out of trouble.

This week in our reading of the Book of Mormon we are in 3 Nephi 17 and I love reading the words of Jesus, Throughout reading the Book of Mormon I have been blessed with the opportunity to strengthen my testimony, when we started reading it as a Zone I was in the middle of my hard time, I had just established what I believed in for sure, I knew that Heavenly Father answered Prayers and that Jesus Suffered and died for me. Everything else, The Book Of Mormon, Joseph Smith, This Church was thrown into doubt, I didn't know anything for sure, I was faced with so much negativity that I had never previously faced. Throughout the time I have been reading the Book of Mormon, teaching the Gospel, and sharing my testimony, I have by small degrees been discovering, and solidifying my testimony, I have come to know for myself that The Book of Mormon is the word of God, that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, that we have a living prophet and twelve apostles truly leading this church, they are called by God to stand as witnesses for him and Jesus Christ, I have come to know for myself that these things are true, and I cannot doubt that I am truly doing a great work, I have seen too much to doubt that this is right. I am committed to doing the will of the Lord during my mission and forever after. 
Strengthen your testimonies, read the scriptures and pray for understanding and a continual witness that these things are true, I know of a certainty that they are because the spirit has born witness to my mind and heart that they are. 

Never fear, only believe. 

I love you guys so much, Please work hard at becoming closer to the Lord and continue to grow in all your talents because the Lord will use your talents for the good in all you do, we had a lesson with an investigator, and sadly it was our last lesson, but as we left I tore out a page in my notebook that had a batman drawing I had made, and gave it to one of the investigators sons who loved batman, we might not have been the ones to convert her, but sometime in the future, something will bring her to knowledge of the truth. 

I got your email dad, and will make sure to get that file to you asap, and for Skype next week I can't remember the time differences, it should be around 4 California time, so it should be around then that I can make the call. 

Continue to build up yourselves to the leaders I know you all are.



I have a problem I have discovered about myself, I do not take too many pictures... I guess I just never remember, its just not my focus to take pictures, so I will try to do better, this next week.