Dear Elder Smith,
It's that time of the year that we are happy to be alive. The sun is sunny, the leaves are out, the lilacs are starting to bloom, the birds are back from their southern migration and there are baby animals everywhere. Spring was late this year so we're extra happy because we had to wait for it. (Can you see Mia in the forest?)
Today we will be building rabbit hutches (the girls' project) because I made the mistake of taking them to see the baby bunnies at the Carlson's. We're getting four; two grey and two white. We'll keep them under the treehouse and, I suppose, the girls will have an added responsibility. Not such a bad thing.
Dad and I are currently on a supplies run for the garage, which we are starting in earnest. My Auntie Wendy is staying with us for a bit while she is between jobs and it sounds like she knows how to build one. Thankfully! (because we don't). Lol!
Dad and I have been out of our comfort zone for over a year now and it seems like we are getting better at it. Something we seem to say/do a lot now is, "When we're stuck, what CAN we do?" Usually there is always some small thing we can act upon. Here's a good example... I was really disappointed to realize we couldn't get a garden this year because our back yard is still torn apart with the septic issues we had over the winter, the ground sinking and piles of dirt are still waiting to be relocated to the driveway (that still needs to be built). I needed to plant this weekend but the ground just won't be ready in time. The septic mound is partially covering our old garden space. I was really disappointed, so Dad thought ... 'maybe I'll just text Nick (our new neighbour who bought the Milner's place) to see if he can bring his tractor over to rototill what's left of the old garden space. (One small thing he could act upon.) Poof! Nick came over the next day and now I have a garden space (small is better than nothing). And we got most of it planted already. I'm so happy!
On Saturday we spent the day with the Ames' for Campbell's graduation. Calvin and Campbell moved out and got their own place in Red Deer and scheduled to attend Red Deer College in the fall. Campbell is taking pre-med and Calvin is apprenticing to be a cabinet maker.
Sam also got his graduation certificate in the mail. I feel a little bad that we don't make a bigger deal of our graduation but not too bad. 😉 I'm super proud of my kids for not acting entitled. I have to say that grad is fun but the amounts of money spent on dresses and booze makes my head spin and I like the way our family does things.
Other than that, life is going along as it always does. I really loved our Mother's Day Skype. Dad recorded it so I was able to go back and listen again. I have to say that you look so fantastic. Happy. Glowing. Worthy. There is something in people's countenances when they partner with The Lord, and you got it. So happy.
My most recent Ponderize scripture...
... and I've been thinking a lot about things-to-ask-God and knowing that the purpose of prayer is to teach us how to align ourselves with His will. I've come to the conclusion that Heavenly Father wants us to be our best selves and anything that helps us develop and learn is worth asking for. I love how the Lord works with us as we strive. That daily effort is vital to our growth because it invites the Spirit on a consistent basis. Never underestimate the Spirit as a source of power and strength.
I hope you have a fantastic week, my boy. I sure love you. Keep working. Keep striving. Continue on the path. It's SO worth it. Return with honour.
Wow, so the news for this transfer is that I am leaving, I am going to Seco Canyon it is the ward right on the border with Saugus so I am basically going back to the same ward technically, same area same weather and its going to be Hot! Really looking forward to it though! My new companion is Elder Nelsons Old one and he loved him so I am really excited to figure things out with him.
I don't really like change, but I have been feeling like it has been my time to go, I have fulfilled my purpose here and have learned what I needed to learn, it is interesting that I always know when I am leaving.
This past week was pretty great I was able to go on exchange with my district leader and we discussed and learned a lot together. There is a BYU devotional called "The Character of Christ by David A Bendar" which I highly recommend.
We said a lot of Good byes to a few members in the ward, the people in these pictures I have learned to love so much.
I am super sad to be leaving this ward honestly, I have grown close to so many people, there are some who I will never forget and always treasure the time we had together, and I am looking forward to grow relationships with them even after my mission, I honestly am so humbled by how much love that I can feel for the people here in Tarzana. Relationships are something that we can take with us even after we die... few things in life really matter, all the money in the world will be gone, cars, toys, movies, video games, all that will waste away, but those few things that really matter are the relationships we develop, the knowledge we gain, and the people we are, and each one of the relationships I have gained here I hope to continue and grow on through the eternities. nothing is more important to me then that... though it is hard to stay focused on those things, in everything in life we need to have a focus on developing a relationship with Jesus Christ, when our center is Christ then everything falls into place, I think sometimes we forget that God wants to give us everything we need and he desires to grant us every righteous desire, I know that I have fallen into the trap of thinking that if I dedicate my life to Christ then I won't be able to do what I want to do or that I will be miserable when the path of Christ, but really that is the path to happiness, it may not be happy all the time and we will still experience pain and hardship but we would experience it either way and wouldn't you rather have Jesus Christ lifting you up throughout.
Something that was interesting this week.
we were knocking doors and this lady opened up and said, "The sisters were here yesterday! but hold on I have something for you!" and so we were pleasantly surprised until she brought out that Million dollar bill, it is a known anti-mormon tool in the mission and a lot of missionaries have it because of this certain website. Anyway she started in hard core full basher mode she would not let us speak... this was on the exchange we were on and we were both Canadians (Elder Cardinal is from southern alberta)... so we couldn't get a word in edge wise as you can see in the picture it went over points such as how we believe that there are many gods, and how we believe we can become God, and how we believe Jesus Sweated for our sins (I do not know where that comes from but that isn't what we believe) and so on basically telling us everything we believe, and how the things on that paper must be our doctrine because it said right on it that we believed that stuff. so after thirty minutes she let us speak, but two words later she took our words and found fire anew (This is a basher method called Bounce boarding according to Elder Smiths "Bashing 101")
anyway we finally had to tell her that we had an appointment at that moment that we had to go to and turned and started walking away mid sentence... it may sound rude but there are times when that is needed, as we walked away she walked with us and continued to talk and bash us, we crossed the street and she didn't follow but continued to tell us her opinion on mormons until we walked out of range of her voice.
Key to remember to all those planning on serving a mission: Do not Bash back, it only fuels further debate and the spirit of contention is of Satin, Pure heartfelt testimony is the only way to share our view according to the spirit, the Lord has said you cannot teach unless it is by the spirit. So gain a testimony, learn to love the Gospel and discover for yourself the things which God has restored in our time.
I love you all.
Elder Joshua Smith
About the pictures.
1. Picture with Julie and Jade Ryser, two outstanding women
2. Me and the Smith's in our ward
3. me and Bishop and sister Yang.
4. Anti mormon material that I studied out and answered in the bible a few points
5. My Companion Elder Nelson
P.S. I will try to get a scan of my passport and that picture, could mom send that page again because it came in that blurry, it wasn't the scan.
P.P.S. I will be emailing Tuesday next week because its memorial day Monday.