Sunday, December 11, 2016

Nov 7, 2016

From Dad:

Hi Josh,

We have had a life in a week this week. Lots of ups and downs and great learning experiences. We are seeing the Lord’s blessings all around us and stressing probably more than we should be as we are learning to trust the Lord.

Were you part of the North America broadcast yesterday? There were some good messages, though we had to piece them together as our building internet was sporadic. I liked the talk about learning how the Savior teaches and striving to emulate that. President Champion gave an amazing talk about patience and it was helpful for our situation. The Lord’s time is different than ours and he loves us infinitely, so we can trust him especially when we obey his commandments. D&C teaches that the Lord is bound when we do what he says and if not, we lose that promise. We are more than ever trying to trust and obey him. One thing that was mentioned was that if we want a particular blessing, we should look to understand the law upon which it is predicated and live that law more fully and completely and then watch in faith for it to happen! A great idea, I think.

Grandma and Grandpa Smith came up for a visit this week-end. It was so good to see them. Grandpa Smith and I put in the back stairs to the basement door and were pretty proud of ourselves for doing our own stair stringer! Ben helped cut the stair treads using the skil saw. The weather has thankfully been very cooperative and quite warm for November which is a tender mercy.


Another disguised tender mercy came when we learned that the carpenter that was to do our internal stairs backed out due to other time commitments. This was concerning as we also hoped he would help us put in cold air vents for our furnace which involves cutting holes in our upstairs walls. I was nervous about doing this myself mostly from a tools and time perspective, but in the end worked with Grandpa to discover that it wasn’t as hard as I imagined in my mind and we were able to get 3/5 vents cut in Saturday evening. It is actually a great way to spend time together, working on something and talking. I really love my Dad and am thankful for the heritage of faith in our family.

We had the walk through with the builder on our house upstairs and everything is pretty much ready for us to move in! Mom is super excited and me also, just a little worried about money as usual. That is my lot and the lot of husband providers everywhere. Trick is not to obsess or be paralyzed by it. Another great opportunity to put our trust in the Lord.

Mom has her own stresses. She’s taken the lead on getting our Leduc house ready for and showing it for renting December 1st. Keep us in your prayers for us as to be able to rent it to good people for the rent we need to cover our expenses. This is  a critical piece for us.

Another tender mercy happened Sunday as I have been trying to think about what to do for the basement stairs. Then I talked to Norm Depeel at Church and he knows where to pre-order them! Whew, another piece to the puzzle falling into place. Sometimes the Lord truly does give us line upon line instead of everything all together!

The garage pad was poured this week. That was a great step for us too. Most of the big critical jobs have been done now except for the gas line.

Grandpa and Grandma asked a question that you are probably a little bit uncomfortable answering but that I’ll ask anyways J How many baptisms have you been able to participate in?

Sure love you Josh. We have a great family and you are a key part of our eternal family. Your example and encouragement is a huge blessing to the eternal lives of your brothers and sisters. Thank you for choosing to serve and to server faithfully!



From Joshua:

Well family! What can I say but that I love you!

It is crazy how fast time has gone I was thinking about when I first trained a new missionary, that was only yesterday... then I thought about it a little more and realized that that was almost an entire 6 months ago! that is half of my mission so far and right now I am almost at half my mission, I got a new calendar today that goes to December of next year! Wow, how time flies. Was it like this with you Dad? I will be home before I know it and it is scary to think how literal that is, I feel like I am running out of time to do all of the things I need to do... to answer grandma's question I have been a participant in two baptisms, one that I found then I left and a few months later I got an email from my trainer that he was baptized so it was a neat feeling to have been the introduction to the gospel, then the second one I came in and helped David Garibay to set up the program for his baptism so I don't really count that as one from me but I was part of it. 

A mission is a great and wonderful experience, we have been learning a lot about faith recently and how it cannot change two things.
1. Other peoples agency.
2. Gods will.

This week we knocked into this man named Brian, he was really nice to us and invited us in for a drink of water, I thought it was such a great opportunity to share the gospel with him and we entered into his abode, we sat and he went to get us some water, I looked at his desk and saw two bibles on the table marked and written in a lot... something that could mean two things, that he is looking for truth or he will try to impose the bible on us... he cam in and we sat and had a friendly conversation for a little while, we learned he had taught a bible study class for ten years... uh oh... he shared with us he had numerous conversations with other missionaries before... its starting to look like the second option... and he said he had some concerns... yep, second option, but maybe not... we talked for a little while agreeing on many things, and after we had agreed on those doctrinal points, he asked "well if we agree on so many things, what don't we agree on?"... opening line for a bashing session... Being careful with my answer not ready to make the first move here and trying to avoid conflict I asked him what he thought we disagreed on, he answered that he wanted to know about the Book of Mormon, why we believed that there was another book when revelation 22:18 said different, we explained how each of the books in the Bible were separate at one time so it would probably only be talking about the book of Revelation, then we shared scriptures from Deuteronomy 4:2 and Proverbs, so we shared how God had not meant for the bible to be everything, but that he wanted us to speak to all his children not just those in Jerusalem but also to those in other countries around the world, we also shared John 10:16 of Christ speaking of other sheep which were not of that fold. He was quiet for a second then he started talking about another thing he was concerned about that we believed baptism was essential for salvation, but that he considered it to be a work and it wasn't by works that we were saved but by faith alone, we shared how it is a commandment of God Jesus Christ said that it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness, just before he was baptized and again when he spoke with Nicodemus how we must be born again of water and of the spirit to enter into the kingdom of God. Brian discounted that fact and said that Jesus could have been talking about anything, that that was too little proof for something as significant as baptism... about halfway through the conversation I could feel the spirit stand up and walk out of the room, and my one thought was we should probably follow him too... but I felt like I could change this mans mind, forgetting that without the spirit you cannot teach, he continued his debate saying that it was unimportant for people to be baptized for the dead, because of the thief on the cross, and Jesus telling him that today you will be with me in paradise, thus building the justification for death bed repentance, we shared 1 Corinthians 15:29, he read it and said that that was only a sliver of information and that he couldn't accept it, with everything that we said I could almost see a brick wall in front of his head and everyone of our words hitting it and falling short. So after two full hours of this we excused ourselves to the words that The Book of Mormon is false, we shared that we knew it was true and that was it. But I learned a valuable lesson that you should learn from me Sam and Ben, Bashing someone with the Bible is fruitless and if that someone has it in his or her mind to bash you then you will get nowhere, when someone starts a bash they usually have already set in their minds that they will not listen to you, and they sure will not be proven wrong in the bible, there are 2500 different christian denominations in the world and all of them claim the bible to be true, do you really think that people who bash you will be convinced through the Bible, yet something that none of them have is the Book of Mormon something else that is wonderful about this church is that if you have any doubts you can pray to God to know what is true and he will tell you, you can trust in him completely, now if you are struggling with your beliefs then pray, and then honestly seek the answer through much study and pondering, and you will find the truth, and that truth will be the same as everyone else's answer who honestly are seeking, because truth is not different for every person, absolute truth is just that, absolute and based on eternal principles and no one can deny that. I have come to find out that The Book of Mormon is true, and that Joseph Smith truly translated it as a Prophet of God and that there is a living Prophet that is the mouth piece of God in these days and that Christ is truly heading his church, even the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. 
Now the only question you have to ask yourselves is "am I an honest seeker of truth?" because if you are you will find it, on the condition that you are willing to act in accordance with the knowledge you receive. 

We have had many experiences this past week and some will be answered with pictures.

We ate out at an Asian buffet and I tried spicy octopus for the first time and it actually tasted good once you got past the look of the thing and the suction cups on the tentacles, we bike a lot and the picture of the tent and the graffiti pretty much sums up Van Nuys for you. Homeless people and hooligans.

Love you all and will be praying for everything with the houses to go right, be safe until we meet again. 


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