Monday, June 5, 2017

June 5 - Progress

From Mom: 
Dear Josh,

We are excited to hear about your new area! Change is good. You wouldn't want your life to be boring or anything. 😉

How is your companion? Is that monthly $20 making a difference? When do you usually get up in the morning? What is your favourite thing about California? Where do you do your laundry? Can you give us one way to make personal scripture study time more effective?

Ben just admitted to us yesterday that he woke up at 5:30 a.m. every day this seminary year to read the New Testament but has no memory of most of it because he was so tired. I think he must still get some blessings from effort, don't you? 😂 And speaking of Ben, he somehow beat Dad in one game of ping-pong. Dad promised him some Marble Slab ice cream if he ever beat him, so Ben is pretty proud. And yes, now we have a Marble Slab Creamery in Leduc. Whoop! Perfect date night destination.

Everything is going well at home. Our current project is parging the exterior above-grade basement walls. My Auntie Wendy is living in her trailer in our front yard and is the boss of this project. She has Sam tacking up insulation and mesh. She has the girls screening sand and mixing concrete, and I do whatever else there is. She applies the cement and it looks good.

I figure it will take us about a month to get it finished. Sometimes I'm impatient about how long it takes to get things done, but I decided as long as there is progress every day, I will be happy. It is SO satisfying to see progress. And I really love working together as a family. I had a 3-day laugh at the girls, who started singing "Deliver Us," the slave song from Prince of Egypt, when they were required to screen sand until all four planters were full. (The screened sand is used for mixing into the cement.)

Sam's last hurdle for mission papers is getting his wisdom teeth out and writing the GED, hopefully both will be done next month. He's picked up the guitar and has been playing every day. We all love it, even Coco. I was reminded of you picking up and excelling in voice your last year at home. Sam is doing the same thing except with guitar.

The mosquitoes are out in full force. This is why Sam's pants are rolled up ... he slathered anti-itch ointment on his ankles, where his mosquito bites are the worst.

The weather has been nice and hot lately (well, hot for us) and we've spent some time at the river. It's high and muddy but the girls are loving it. We also discovered a very gruelling bike path in the Devon river valley. These stairs are called Legs of Fire Stairs ... and for good reason.

We've also been enjoying the end of seminary, which gives us more time as a family in the morning. We started the Book of Mormon again and I'm always pleasantly shocked at the good spirit that comes into our home as a result. In my personal study, I'm just finishing King Benjamin's address. I've always wondered at how he converted his entire people to the Gospel and discovered a formula. Look up Mosiah 5 and see if you can find it.

Believe ---> Spirit changes hearts ---> Faith ---> great knowledge ---> JOY ---> desire to make covenants ---> becoming children of Christ ---> MADE FREE ---> enduring obedience ---> vs. 15

I think Mosiah 5:15 will become my new ponderize scripture, which is the pop-up on my phone every day. Anyway, I would love your thoughts on this chapter if you have the time one of these p-days. I'll be thinking about it for awhile.

We sure love you, my boy. Serving your mission has blessed our family so much and has far reaching effects. Sam attributes his desire to serve because of your example and I'm so grateful for it. Keep striving. Keep moving forward. Keep your heart on the Lord. I love this Gospel and can say with confidence that all of the good things in my life have come because of it.

Love you forever,


P.S. We have new additions to the family ... four bunnies.

Two grey and two white, Charlie, Buddy, Worm and Teddy. Right now we have them in a cage up in the treehouse (too stinky for the real house). Somehow Teddy (the white escape artist), got out of the cage and down from the treehouse and out in the woods. Mia and Abby were frantic. I wasn't too worried as I knew we just had to leave food out and wait, but my lack of concern was very concerning to Mia. Unbeknownst to me, she went and prayed for help. Not long after, I got a text from Auntie, who saw the little bunny out her trailer window and managed somehow to catch it. She said, "send the girls out and tell them I have a surprise." Mia was overjoyed to get her bunny back and felt like Heavenly Father directly answered her prayer through Auntie.

She bore her testimony about it in church too and my Auntie feels very gratified to know she answered a little girl's prayer.

I love believing in a God who answers our prayers. 😊

Have a great week!

P.S.S. The cousins have been spending more time here, which is really nice. 

From Josh:

This week we have really cracked down on going on exchanged in the district, we went on one with the Zone Leaders, one with the Spanish Elders in our district (so I got to speak the limited Spanish that I picked up when I was in the San Fernando Valley) then the Assistants went on a brief exchange with us and so as of yet I have almost spent more time out of my area then in and have been still trying to grasp the map of the area as well as members names, but I am sure I will get to know them in time. 

My Companion is pretty fun to be around he ability to switch any conversation to a deep doctrine discussion and it can be pretty cool since he is very knowledgeable when it comes to the gospel, he is also on his last transfer so that shakes things up a bit, so we go through times of intense missionary work and times when things take a bit of a lapse but I am really trying to move forward as effectively as I can, which then is a struggle because of my lack of knowledge of this area, so its a working progress.

The Monthly 20$  you send mom is so helpful especially when I don't plan my budget in a month, or when in transfers when i have to get a ton of food to stock up in a new area, so thakn you!   

We get up in the morning at around 6:25, it depends on the day but our nights are spent a lot of times talking and updating and working on individual assignments, sad to say we have gotten to bed late for the past week so the early morning have been a little tough, but I find when we go for exercises and after we are done a little bit of workout I am up and feel good, stepping outside on a brisk morning or going for a walk is an effective way to wake up, pretty much the whole purpose for the work out in missionary work is so we can be awake for our studies, so pro tip to anyone who wants to study early take a step outside, go for a run, get your blood pumping.   

I love California, the weather may be super hot and some of the people not so nice but honestly when you find a good person they are a good person, I love the exotic feel of the palm trees and how much cool things there are to see (ie. famous places where movies were filmed, and cool TV actors)  So I think the coolest thing for me and my favourite thing about Calfornia  is how casual people are, "Yea the Mcfly house is just next door" or  "I talk a lot about starwars with my next door neighbor, she acted one of the jedi in star wars episode three." it just amazes me, one of our investigators in my previous area cleaned cars for Eddie Murphie. 

Our apartment is super cool and has a built in dryer and a really good gym and a walk in closet. definitely spoiled here. 

Case in Point:

One way to improve scripture study is to ask specifically for the spirit to be with you as you study and that you may understand what you read. Prayer at the beginning and the end of scripture study is powerful.

Anyway my week has been full of fun, the problem is we have two churches in our area besides ours 1: Grace baptist, and 2: Saint Cateries catholic church. 
We get Bashed a lot by the Grace baptists and they really try to shatter our testimonies as best as they can, many have a lot of good points though none have read the Book of Mormon, we have to be very careful because a lot of these people are very adept at drawing out my bashing side, it is so much easier to testify and leave especially if they have not had the chance to read the Book of Mormon. 

I love you all and hope your week is filled with blessings and thoughts on Holy Things. 

Joshua Smith. 

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