Thursday, April 27, 2017

March 27, 2017 - Loving and Learning

From Mom:

Dear Josh,

Great Grandma's 90th birthday went off without a hitch. The Smith family went all out, of course. The church had long tables of food, a little platform with comfortable chairs for Grandpa and Grandma to sit so well wishers could congratulate them for living so long, and there were three tables set up in the corner with a display of Great Grandma's legacy. As I viewed the display, I saw quilts she had made, favourite recipes, clothes she had sewn, pictures of family playing games, etc. but the overarching legacy was the love and acceptance she has always shown to each of her family members. This was echoed as each child (and a few grandchildren) gave tributes to her; a legacy of love and acceptance shown through food. Haha. It inspired me though. I hope to live to a grand old age to witness such a thing in my own life. She rarely bears her testimony but on Sunday she stood up in the Glenwood church and bore a powerful testimony of living a life with the Gospel at the center of it.

I'm really so grateful you have such a strong heritage. Lucky boy. You were mentioned several times along with Tane, who are the two missionaries of the family right now.

Anyway, I'll attach that paperwork to get your license renewed. You have to print it off and initial each line in section E, as well as sign and date the bottom.

Also, we received a $800 cheque for you in the mail. I'll deposit it into your account, but would you like me to send you some? I had the idea of sending you nine $20 bills, which represent the nine months left of your mission. Maybe it will help supplement your stipend? I don't know. What do you think? I have a new phone now, so I'll try to pay attention to when you send your email and maybe we can go back and forth.

Anyway, as always, sending our love to you. And reminding you that we pray every day for our brother and son.


From Josh:

Life is good here in the San Fernando Valley it is in the mid 70's (20's in Celsius) Nothing to complain about, a few things I have learned though that are good life lessons. 

First not doing the dishes all week makes me feel like trash, when you have to dig in the dirty dishes for the dish you want and then you have to clean it above a sink full of gross cups and plates is not that desirable, will definitely be doing better on doing dishes from now on. 

Second, It is important to be without Hypocrisy and Guile, I recently learned what each of those meant this week and my whole life has changed. Hypocrisy means to act, or to pretend, to put on a mask or to play a part. and guile is another word for deceit and lying. How I have decided to be better at avoiding both of those is being open and honest, being who I am, I have learned that it is also important to do that within the companionship, me and Elder Nelson's relationship have been getting slowly better over time, but something I have learned about Elder Nelson is that he gets caught up in a thought or a project and won't stop until it is done, which is super amazing and I need to learn to be better at that, but it gets a little frustrating when its past 10:30 and there is a project he is working on and I want to go to bed, a few nights I kind of have been just laying in bed until he comes but it always is better when I speak what is on my mind, because he loses track of time and not telling him results in me creating feelings of resentment for no reason when i can just ask if we can go to bed and there the problem is solved.

I went of exchanges with our district leader on Friday to Saturday and we discussed the easiness of the gospel and the straightness of the way how when we live the gospel the things that are hard in life are cleared up with a better understanding of why and how we can face it, like being completely open with people, when we express ourselves and our feelings clearly people can trust us more easily. 
We also discussed what we believe in comparison to the world, and we drew a few comparisons, to a few titles.

Leader (world) - Above others, strong, smart, in control, has power.

Leader (gospel) - Follower of God, meek, submissive to the Lord, humble, learner, kind, loving.

Teacher (world) - Needs to know more then students to give knowledge, teaches, directs, disciplines when class in unruly 

Teacher (gospel) - Comes to learn, asked questions to help people to come to the conclusion on their own, nourishes discussion, encourages and uplifts. 

those are a few examples of some of the things we talked about, we are truly a peculiar people when teacher = learner and leader = follower, it seems completely opposite from the world but that is the attitude we should all have in those positions. 

Story of the week,
We knocked into Evan a young man who opened up and was really open with us, he told us that he had read many religious books and was seeking to find truth and learn from many different opinions, so we asked if he had read the Book of Mormon, and he told us he had read a few bits and pieces of it, and so we asked if we could share a message of the fulness of the Gospel and he got pretty excited, we shared with him the restoration and he asked a few questions once we got to the Great apostasy we asked if he had any questions and he said he didn't, then he stopped and said " wait, so no other church has the authority from God to baptize?" and we said yes, and shared the story of Joseph Smith and how Jesus Christ said that all other churches were an abomination in his sight, it went really well and he accepted a return appointment as well as a Book of Mormon to read. 

Another experience this week happened when we knocked on this door and through the door we heard "Who is it?!" we said "its the missionaries!", "Hold on let me get my gun, I am going to shoot you!" he yelled back. 
I looked at my companion who looked ready to run for the hills. 
"Are you still there?" we heard from the other side of the door.
"Yes sir" I said, and the door whipped open revealing a man in a dirty wife beater holding a heavy meter long ruler and a sheet of paper. "read this paper!" which said no soliciting of any kind and it started listing off everything that counted as solicitation, the thing is under California state law we are not solicitors. but he basically told us that he should beat us with his stick and that he felt threatened by us, we simply told him we didn't want to cause any harm we were just sharing a message of God and left. The interesting thing was I didn't feel a speck of fear when he said he would shoot us, which was interesting to me. 

I know that I am in the Lords hands and that he loves all of us so much, something I realized in a deeper level this week was that when we put Christ as our main focus everything falls into place, when we are intently focused on Christ then questions such as who we will marry and how we can make a difference are answered because the people we choose to hang out with and date will emulate Christ like attributes and also be looking towards Him in their life, I know that if you will make Jesus Christ your center then your life will infinitely improve, I can promise that as you do that you will be able to live up to your eternal potential and become all that God needs you to become. All that is good will become better and all that is bad will melt away. 

I love you all, hope you have a good week.


P.S. I will try to get that paperwork to you sometime today, and that idea of nine 20 dollar bills sounds like a good idea. Lets hope it doesn't get me too trunky ;) JK 

Reply From Mom:

I love your story of the week!!!! Do that every time. :)

And yes, keeping up with the dishes is a small act that has long term blessings. I support your decision to do the dishes. Just make it a part of your routine! You won't regret it.

So, Sam has a tough decision to make. He was just offered a job with Peter Rector's company that pays $17/hr, 60 hrs a week, starting next week, which will go a long way helping him save for his mission and education, etc. BUT, he's scheduled to do his SAT, ACT, GED as well as going to Ontario this summer. If he works, he won't have time to study and might miss out on family activities. What is your advice from your experiences? You worked a ton before your mission and you have a lot of money (there will still be $4000 in your mission account when you get home), but was it worth it to you? Any advice?

Also, I can sense your maturity in your letters. I'm anticipating seeing you again and having long conversations about the Gospel and life.

I'm thinking that being trunky means you think about home so much that you can't be an effective missionary. I don't think that will happen to you, but I think you SHOULD start considering a plan of when you do come home.

Things to think about...

Do you want to stay home and explore options here? (Institute, community classes, university, etc?)

Or, do you want to work? (It's a tough time of the year to find a job but not impossible, then go to school in Sept?)

Or, do you want to go to school in Jan? (You could, you know. You have the money. A semester at BYU-I could be a good option..)

Don't stress about it or let it be a distraction, but you might want to start making a home plan. Just saying. :)

Love you forever,


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