Another month rolls by and we are still loving our house. It's been a quieter week as Ben had exam week and only had 2 exams, so classes were canceled. Ben did really well on his Math and English exam and we are pleased with his first semester. Mainly it meant we got to spend more time with Ben that usual which was good for both us and him.
Grandma and Grandpa Bruce came up again and we were able to finish off the rest of the wiring. Grandpa and I worked together to put 3 holes in the ceiling via the attic to get more light in the kitchen. It's always a hoot having grandpa around tossing Dad's cookies around :). He also had a big motivation to come back up as he bought a snowmobile last time up off of Kijiji and didn't have a trailer to haul it! We didn't have much snow while he was gone so Sam and I took it out for a short run just before he came to "test" it out. It was fun. It's nice to have space! Grandma helped as usual to organize and clean things up and we were able to get most of the basement cleared up with just one big pile left to go into the garage this spring once its done.
Mom and I are excited to be going on a trip to Italy at the end of the month. I managed to get some training arranged in Florence and so Mom of course wouldn't let me go alone so we're going to take an extra week and see some sights. Sam and Ben will stay here and G and G Bruce will be coming up for a week here and then take the 2 girls back for a week in Sparwood.
Abby was pretty excited this week to be going to YW's officially and is looking more and more grown up. I think you are going to be surprised at how much everyone has grown despite the pictures!
This week is Winter camp at the Patricks. Weather is super cold right now (-25 degrees C). (Have you converted to Farenheight yet?). It is supposed to get closer to 0 degrees by Saturday so that will make the camp more bearable. Lots of fun activities planned.
Ava Driessen heads out for her mission in a couple of weeks to Montreal. Looking forward to her farewell talk.
Quick mission story from my mission there.
While serving in the city of Laval, an island just above Montreal and were able to teach a young teen age pregnant girl named "France". She accepted the gospel and was baptized but struggled due to the rough situation she was in. After I was transferred she moved in with a boy friend after having the baby. I didn't hear much from her until I got a call that she wanted be to come to her baby's funeral as it had died in its crib. It was a sad time. I got permission to go back to Montreal (I was in Ottawa by then) and attend the Catholic funeral. It was not a pleasant experience. The Priest asked France if she had had the baby baptized. She answered no. So he asked "did you intend to have it baptized"? She answered yes. So he pronounced it "saved". In my journal I wrote the note "Let's just bend the rules a little more"... Without the light of the gospel and the doctrine of the plan of salvation, it's a guessing game, eh? I was able to share some thoughts from the scriptures at the funeral and encourage her to stay close to the gospel and have never heard from her again.
The mission brings all types of learning and growing experiences.
I hope you are well and living missionary life to the fullest. I enjoyed reading yours and Sam's email exchange last week. I'm so grateful for your example to your brothers and I love the relationship you are maintaining with them. They admire and love you and your choices have a direct affect on them and our family.
As usual, don't stop sharing the small details of your mission. We love to hear them. Let us know if there is anyone we can pray for.
This week has been crazy and has just shot by, it was one of those weeks where we were so busy but nothing got done, a lot of appointments canceled and we have had limited success finding new people to teach, just yesterday we had Dinner with the second counselor and his family, and I was able to do their dishes right after, they were surprised and it didn't really faze me because I had been taught by my parents to do the dishes, and I found that I kind of enjoyed it, while I was doing them I remembered the example set by my father whenever Mom was stressed or having a bad day one of my fondest memories was when dad would do the dishes, and it was something that us boys picked up on a little so whenever Mom was having a bad day the first thought was to clean up something. I don't know if it always worked but now I don't mind doing the dishes. The member was shocked because all of them hate doing the dishes. It was a good night and we stayed longer then we should have but we were able to establish a good relationship and hopefully be more trusted by the members with referring their friends.
I have been reading through the Book of Mormon again and for some reason I have been really relating more and more to the words written in it, everything in The Book of Mormon was placed by revelation and for our benefit, Mormon had hundreds if not thousands of different records and through his life time he had to go through them all and pick the most meaningful experiences out of each of them so no matter what you read in the Book of Mormon it is for a reason, I have loved re-reading the sermon of King Benjamin and the story of Abinadi, when Elder Ardern of the seventy came he said that the Lord packs more into the scriptures then we unpack, and that we need to read them with the mind of a lawyer always asking why to the verses, so that we can pull the most out of it. Every time I read its words I feel an increase in the spirit, my life is changed little by little to fit into that which Christ lived, but I know that no matter how hard we try we will fall short, but thats okay, as long as we rely on the atonement of Jesus Christ as they did of old then we will see the change in our lives, let the atonement take ahold of you and as king benjamin said become children of Christ, read from the experience of Alma, after Abinadi dies Alma teaches the people in secret and when they gather near the waters of mormon Alma Baptizes Helam who was one of the most faithful of his followers, but when he says the baptismal prayer it is different that how we do it these days but in the words he says it is so powerful to see that he says "as a testimony that ye have entered into a covenant to serve him until you are dead as to the mortal body"
It is the same with us, we have established a covenant to serve him until we die, and that is said in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it starts with faith, Repentance, then Baptism and when we are baptized we receive the holy ghost, and then we must endure to the End which means to serve him until we die, to be valiant in the Testimony which we have of Christ.
we have so much to be thankful for, and as we focus on the good things in life we can receive so much more to be grateful for, as it is said signs are given to those who already believe before the sign, and we "receive no witness until after the trial of our faith" as we are strong and trust in those who came before we will be led, and as we die up our time for the Gospel and this great work we will find a more wholesome way to live, one of the first things we teach as missionaries is that God loves us and he wants us to be happy in this life and in the life to come, so even though this time we have on earth is a test, and we will go through so many trials we are still meant to be happy, so pursue happiness and love righteousness.
A couple misfortunes in my life...
Dentist appointments... I really need to get more fluoride into my mouth and take better care of myself.
Lost stuff... My trainee calls it the "Smith posterity curse" (because in a mission your trainee becomes your lineage) I happened to lose my drivers license so I don't know if there is such a thing as someone else getting you a new one, so as things turn out I may not be driving for the rest of my mission. but whatever. as long as I can do the work of the Lord
Some good things though! I have a great family who loves me, I am happy all the time and learning so much as a missionary, I can't wait to learn more, never stop learning!
Here are some pictures of this week: