Monday, September 26, 2016

September 18, 2016

From Dad:

Hi Josh,

Wow, we’re excited for your transfer. New area means new opportunities both for you and those you will meet and server there.  Looks like it’s not far from downtown and quite densely packed. Be sure to let us know your mailing address.

This week has been exciting on the new house front. They poured the basement foundation this week so that is a key factor for our timeline. Next up is sewer this week and water hookups this week.


This week-end was our Stake Conference. We had the opportunity to have one of the Seventy, Juan A. Uceda, from Peru. He had a wonderful spirit with him and loved to share the original Hebrew and Greek translations of scriptures.

An example: Phillipians 4:13 – After translating directly from Greek with some different synonyms, this can become:

“I have power to overcome all things, everything, anything, all manner of things with Christ who makes me strong”.  It was a cool perspective

Another example: Ezekial 20:12

“Moreover also I gave (grant/deliver/appoint/consecrate/entrust) them my Sabbaths, to be a sign(distinguishing mark/signal) between me and them that they might know (by living it the Sabbath Law)that I am the Lord that sanctify them”.

Things are settling down into some routines for us as school is under way and acro/dance and gymnastics and basketball start rolling. Life keeps rolling on. Don’t want to miss a minute by regretting the past or dreaming too much of what might come, so I try to focus on enjoying the present and finding meaning in each moment and experience that gives me the experience I was meant to come here to earth to have.

I want you to know how valuable learning to get along with and work with your companion is. Mom and I have been shocked and saddened by how many friends that we have who have been married for years who decide to divorce. Learning to get along and stick with someone through good and bad is super important to long term happiness.

BTW, Isabeau Doig got a mission call to Australia and leaves in December. She bore her testimony in Stake Conference about it.

On Saturday, the boys and I got to go help sister Hartman paint the trim on her house. It was pretty tedious and demanding, but I loved seeing Ben and Sam just bend to the task and do it with minimal complaints

You are a great example to your family. Keep going strong. Excited to hear your experiences in the new area.

Love Dad.

From Joshua:

The house is coming along really well! and here I was hoping I would be able to help build it., oh well. 

I am in a new area and I have to say it has been an experience, Van Nuys is truly the slums of humanity, or as close as I have gotten to it, homeless people everywhere, poverty, broken homes, and generally a ton of worldly things, in fact (I have been telling everyone this) on the way to visit a less active member my companion Elder Orchard pulled me aside and showed me bullet holes in a school fence where people did a drive by shooting into a junior high school yard, on that same street we passed a pile of rubble that used to be a car, as it turns out someone had lit the car on fire and tried to shove another guy in it to burn him alive, and both got severe burns and had to go to the hospital. So there is some sketchy stuff in the area I am serving and not to worry anyone but I am on bike. ;) so I get to ride around in that area, I am currently using a mission bike right now until I can get my own but the cheapest one here is 450$ dollars and I am kind of stingy, so I either have to rely on junk bikes from the mission, or rip off the band-aid and get it over with. But for now I am content with a mission bike, we need specific locks as well that lock our seat our tires and our bikes to a solid structure because literally whatever can be take will be taken by people. I haven't been mugged yet but I am holding out, I am not worried though, my companion grew up his whole life learning Jiu Jitsu or however you spell it,  because his dad owns a dojo so when the day comes that we do get mugged all I have to do is step behind him and my worries are gone. 

BTW Elder Orchard and I are related through Thomas Edwin Ricks the guy Ricks College was named after, we found that out over dinner. So I am serving with my cousin right now, looks like serving missions are in the family! 

I have been thinking lately of the importance of keeping ourselves away from the world, it is so easy to get caught up in the worldly things, I have realized it more and more here in Van Nuys with crazy things everywhere, immodesty abounding, and I have seen where those things lead, I have done a lot of things I regret in my life and have given into the things of this world a lot, and I have to live with that for the rest of my life, so my advice to you is to focus on the things of God, this Church is true and I know it is, though the constant and steady reminder from God and just seeing the people it makes us, one of the less actives we stopped by bore a powerful witness of the church, and he said this to us "Look out into the congregation at almost every Mormon church, how many of them do you think are alcoholics, how many to you think are cheating on there wives? how many are going and stealing or lying? There could be one or two, but look at anywhere else, the numbers vary drastically" The church is true and all you have to look at is the people it makes us. 

I love you all so much, and will have more exciting stories next week!

Elder Joshua Smith.

Picture, me and Elder Orchard, when I took this picture we were waiting for a recent convert to come to an appointment, and through it there were two fire trucks behind us taking care of an emergency call several houses down. it was also the last day we had in a car.   

From Mom

Oh, Josh! This is an email to get a mother worried. Luckily, I work really hard not to worry about things I can do nothing about. So in the meantime, I will pray for your safety and ask Heavenly Father to look out for my boy. Plus, you know a little martial arts yourself, so I think you can handle it.

Just so you know, I'm posting a little bit here and there from your emails on your Facebook account. It keeps people aware of how you're doing and you have a lot of supportive comments from people especially uncles, grandparents and other family members. So, your example continues to ripple onwards.

Thanks for your birthday wishes for Mia and Ben.... they loved it that you remembered.

I love you forever. Keep your chin up. And you know what? I think you'll see a lot of miracles out in Van Nuys. 

Keep your eyes open to them.


PLUS ... 

You have money, Josh. $6000 will pay for the rest of your mission, which I just barely transferred from your mission account into your chequing account. This means you still have $4000 in your mission account. Say the word and I will get a money order in USD and mail it to you. I'm just saying...

PLUS!! ....

David Garibay contacted Dad. This is what he said...
"And your son is a missionary in my ward. I have witnessed your son be this reserved young man that would come to my house and teach me the gospel. To this young man that has enlightened me and my family so much over the short time that he's been here. It has been amazing to watch your son grow spiritually right in front of my eyes and help me grow as a spiritual leader of my family. Your son is very wise in the Gospel for his age. I want to thank you for giving your son the tools to help me and my family grow in this gospel. Me and my family have really come to love your son and it was a pleasure having him serve in our ward. Your son is destined for great things and will forever be in the hearts of me and my family. I was baptized on May 28, 2016. And I have three children  four-year-old two-year-old and a 10-month-old.  And I feel very blessed to have found a gospel that is complete for me and my family. I would like to friend you so that I can continue to watch her son grow on his mission."

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