Tuesday, July 11, 2017

June 26, 2017 - Steps

From  Dad:

Hi Josh,

It's been a pretty good week here at the Smith acreage (we need to name this place I think :) ). We were able to make significant progress on the garage Saturday, we poisoned and replaced a rabbit, Ben finished classes for the year (only one more exam to go), and Sam got a 5 day job with John Ripley. 

This week we are heading down to Sparwood to camp with Dave and Jen's family, attend a play by Dennie Burton on Friday, drive back through the night and arrive Saturday morning to run a foam fest race in Leduc for Canada day. I think I'm getting too old for this frantic of a plan, but it's gonna be a great memory once I recover :|

We were excited to get picture and a brief text about your visit to the temple with the Garriby's. That is the pinnacle experience to see someone you've taught go through the temple.



I've been really thinking a lot about the ways I can become what the Lord needs me to become. Amazingly enough, whenever I think like this, the answers always tend to be the same.... go figure. And the answer is (drum roll please) - get up early and study the scriptures, exercise and pray. Every time. And interestingly enough, it works... until I start slacking on it again and have to go ask again for what I already know :). One other thing that came strongly to me this time, though, showing me that the Lord works line upon line, is the power and importance of service. Both giving and receiving. We have been super blessed by members of our ward helping us with our garage. I was quite worried about who could come help with the trusses a) because it isn't safe to do it by myself and b) I've not really done it before. Up until 2 days before, no one had responded to my facebook post (which isn't terribly surprising, people rarely do as I'm not an active poster). I prayed for help and then realized I needed to do something instead of waiting for it to fall from heaven. So I started texting my HTers, friends and neighbors and Saturday morning we had a crew. And one of them (Mike de Vries) had done trusses before and was even willing to be the middle guy perched up in the trusses. It was a huge blessing to have friends come and help. So this week we also went and helped the de Vries fix up their rental house in Leduc (their old house) as their renters had trashed the place. It felt great to serve and be served.  
Hope you have a great week. Continue to tell us the stories of your mission. Are you writing faithfully in your journal? You'll never regret keeping good track of this amazing time of your life!

Let us know when you get your license in the mail. It should be there very soon.

Love Dad.








From Josh - My Goodness!:

This week has been a crazy but good week. I am really getting more and more confident in this area, and I somewhat feel as if the Lord is helping me, so much in my life I have gone back and forth in being confident and not, and I know that confidence comes from God, because those times when i did not feel confident at all was when I wasn't living worthy of the Spirit, but now as I am constantly living worthy and as I read and pray and make sure that I am looking to God for my support I am growing more and more confident in Him, I know that if we are always looking to God for our support he will guide us and help us to accomplish his will, as we are faithful He will not leave us alone. 

I have been reading through the New Testament again after having finished the Book of Mormon, I have loved reading through the life of Christ, there have been a lot of people lately who have tried to convince us of our evil ways, I have been considering a lot lately the way people view the word of God, and how they shut out the thought that God could speak today. We met this one person who was super nice, but after he learned we were Mormons he tried to tell us how wrong we were, I tried to keep it a friendly exchange, though it was kind of hard when we were trying to tell him that there were Prophets and more scripture on the earth, and he was trying to tell us the opposite, we both were being confrontational while trying to be kind and eventually I had to just accept the fact that we were going to disagree so we shook hands and left on a good note.

Earlier this week we had a great lesson with one of our investigators, after every lesson me and my companion usually review and check how we can improve and that was one of the few lessons that was completely by the spirit and we could not even think of how we could do better, it was literally the perfect lesson.
The person we taught has two kids and so we were able to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they had many good questions like why we celebrated the sabbath on sunday, we were able to share how it is a day we set apart for special reverence to the Savior and how we can keep our thoughts on him. All in all I love being a missionary. 

We had interviews with President Henrie the other day and I asked him what I could do my last 6 months that would help me to make the greatest difference and he said something that I have been thinking about a lot. "Embrace the awkward" to not be afraid of walking across the street and talking to people, boldly stating our beliefs even when someone does not seem to be the most friendly. and I have been really trying more and more to step out of my shell, I have never been the best at just talking to random people but the more I do it the more I will gain confidence in it and the more the Lord can trust me. 

The coolest experience this week was when I had that chance to got to the Temple with the Garibay's, I love them so much and it was so cool to see how much light that had entered into their lives, I have so much memories in their home, and I cherish every moment I get to spend with them because they bring so much joy into everyone's life around them, there were so many people who came to attend with the Garibay's and it is amazing to see that they have not only made changes in their life but in mine and in so many others. 

I love you all so much and if you have any questions then feel free to ask i will always do my best to answer them, I loved the pictures from home and love seeing your faces and hearing of your adventures, I am doing my best over here as a missionary of the Lord and I am grateful for a supportive family that I can look to, look for those missionary opportunities in your lives because they are there and the more you share the more God will put people in your path. 

Love,

Josh. 

One from Elder Long doing a program to prepare you for life back home, and another from my camera of me at the temple with the Garibay's



From Mom:

Hey, Josh!

I randomly received a text last night from Jill Aubrey, who told us all about The Garibay Family going to the temple. That's so fantastic! Did the mission give you special permission to attend? We were pretty happy around the supper table last night talking about it. I can only imagine how gratifying it is to have a hand in someone else's progression. 😊

Questions:

Did you receive your driver's license yet?
Let us know when you do...

Also, Sis. Adamkewicz keeps bugging me about whether or not you received a package from them? It would have been awhile ago now.

Info:

Sam will submit his papers after July 13 and then the wait begins.

Ben will write his last school exam tomorrow and then we will head to the mountains for two days.

We also signed up for a Foam Fest in Leduc. It's running 5 km with a bunch of obstacles in foam and mud. Me, Dad, Ben, Sam and Uncle Mark. Wish us luck. Lol! The hard part is that we run at 8:30 a.m. and the boys will get in at 3 a.m. the night previous because they are watching a play in Cardston. So, hardly any sleep, then racing. Should be interesting. Pray that Dad doesn't get injured.

The garage continues to go up ... this week it was the trusses.



We have workers landscaping the yard. When we got a really hard rain, the best mud puddle formed and the girls couldn't resist.





Auntie is still around and waiting for a job call back and in the meantime she's been really helpful around the house. This morning we went and dug up a bunch of raspberry plants from The Francis' and transplanted them in our garden. Second try. Do you remember our first try of transplanting raspberries? Those didn't make it. The field took them over. This time, I'll try to keep on top of them.



We also made our annual trip to Fort Edmonton Park. It's tradition after all.





So, it's been a great week overall, except for one thing ... I have been in a foul mood for three days. Couldn't shake it until I realized I haven't had personal prayer or scripture study for three days (just too busy, which means I'm TOO busy), so this morning I made it a priority to spend some time studying and it made ALL the difference.

I love how inviting the Spirit makes everything in life beautiful. Perspective, patience, long suffering and so much more. And now I'm back to my regular sunny disposition. Lol!

Love you forever,

Mom






June 18, 2017 - Happy Future Fathers Day

From Dad:

Hey Josh,

Hope you had a great week! It has been a good week for me this week. My main Father's day gift was that we got a good start on our garage! Yesterday we had a crew out from our ward and we were able to get the walls and a couple of trusses up! It is very exciting to see it emerge and take shape. 


I think we are happiest when we are creating and building, whether it is building a garage, or building a relationship with an investigator, or building a talent etc. Going on a mission is a great place both to build your self and more importantly and key to building yourself anyways, is building others or helping them build a testimony of the Gospel. Building a garage has a lot of preliminary steps and even now with the walls up, there is still lots to do to make it solid, weatherproof, safe and finally useful. Similarly, someone building their testimony of the Gospel and the church has lots of preliminary steps, which you are very much involved with, but then it requires more time, effort and building to make that testimony solid, fiery dart proof, safe and ultimately useful in the Kingdom as temple covenants are made to serve and build others.

It looks like we will finally be getting our driveway in this week. The machinery started to arrive and the bull dozer promptly got stuck digging our dugout, but it means they are here and it’s going to happen. No more getting stuck in the yard!

Wednesday night was a fun night for Same and Ben. Teachers Q did archery and Ben remembered some of his old skills from shooting at the bail in the back yard in Leduc. He was hitting bull’s eyes like crazy!



Sam and the Priests went on splits with the missionaries and really enjoyed it. They went tracting, but for Sam that is new and novel whereas after a while in the mission field it may not be so much. This week Sam is working on a job for Bro. Ripley doing cement work. I think he’s been able to check another profession off his list of things he’d rather not do for a living 😊


A few seed questions for you next email:

Is there an investigator we can pray for that your working with towards baptism? If appropriate, share names and descriptions.

How often do you have zone conferences? Which general authorities have visited your mission?

Tell us about your companion. How many in his family? Where is he from? What do you admire about him? What good advice does he have for you as he closes out his mission?

How often do you have member meals in your new ward? What do you do to pro-actively inspire the ward missionaries to share the gospel?

Did they do anything for the Dad’s in your ward today? (E.g. we got root beer and “Dad’s Cookies” in Devon today)

We sure love you Josh. We finally got your license in the mail and will be sending that off for real this week. Hope you have a fantastic week and remember that we pray for you daily.

Love,

Dad.

From Mom:
Dear Josh,

Dad and I both feel pretty bad we missed sending an email last week. It's not that we forgot, it's that we procrastinated until it was too late. I think there might be a Gospel principle in there somewhere. 🤔

Anyway ... to make up for it, you get TWO emails this week. Lol! And lots of pictures.




Abby and I went on a date this week and shopped at Farmer's Markets, which are just starting up again. Here, Abby is teasing Coco with a fidget spinner she bought. I don't get the fidget spinner craze. These trends come and go, I guess.



Dad, of course, is pretty excited about the garage. From the left: Ron Patrick, Dad, Kevin Daniels, Paul McKenney, Sam, and George Pomerleau. All the walls are up and we just keep moving forward. When the weather is nice, we work hard. 

Here are the before and after pictures of the parging...




Sam built the pink styrofoam forms and Auntie Wendy put on the cement.




Kloe Daniels, Abby and Mia helped me weed while the men did the garage. 




The weeds are choking our little seedlings and we spend time every day trying to get ahead of our garden. I had to laugh at Mia with her toque. Apparently, she was a little chilly but it also protects her head from the mosquitoes. 

And on the one hot day, we went down to the lake ...




.... but a muskrat swam right up to the girls with no fear. They screamed loudly and refuse to go in the water now. 😂 Hm. We'll have to remedy that. 

We absolutely love living out here. Just love. The animals and wildlife are so fun! The girls have rabbits now. Dad and the boys built a hutch that is located under the treehouse and they're pretty cute. We'll probably get some kittens in the near future to help us keep the mouse population down, too. Then, yesterday we saw a newborn fawn wander into our back field and lay down. It was still there a few hours later. 




Life is pretty amazing. I'm so very grateful to your Dad, who loves the Lord and who is such a steady influence for all of us. I love my kids (including you), who are growing before my eyes into good looking, capable, hardworking adults. I see the beauty of the earth and know that God created this beautiful environment that we may learn. With all the uncertainty and questions we have in our day, I'm still really glad to be alive during this time and especially glad of the knowledge of a Savior. 




I love kneeling in prayer knowing there is a listener and I love how the Lord leads and guides us as we strive to ever improve and be better. 

I love you, my boy. Keep going. Keep striving. Keep learning. Keep serving. It matters.

Love you forever,

Mom



From Josh - Wow!:

From all the pictures I see from home it is amazing to me how grown up everyone is and how much has changed, its going to be interesting coming off the plane and being in a whole new world. 

I just want to say how wonderful this church is, the other day we got invited in to this man's home and he gave us water and told us he truly respected us for what we did as missionaries, but then said something that really caused some righteous indignation in my heart. He said "I am sorry but I have to say from the bottom of my heart, and I don't wish to make offence, but Joseph Smith was not called of God, he was not a true prophet, he may have thought he was but he was a false prophet." my companion seemed to take it in stride and said that it was something we got a lot... but the spirit pushed within me and I knew that I could not be passive, I told him that he didn't know what he was talking about that I knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet that he truly was called by God and had restored the church of Jesus Christ on the earth once more, and the evidence of that is the Book of Mormon, I told him that I knew that the Book of Mormon was truly scripture and that if he would read it he would know from God that it was true, that Joseph Smith was given the power of God to translate it... The spirit was really strong and the man was quiet for a little bit in which we invited him to read the Book of Mormon for himself and politely excused ourselves. 
I can't stress enough how important it is that we bear testimony, we cannot convince others by earthly knowledge that our message is true. and if we don't have a testimony and don't have the spirit then we will not be able to convince anyone of this truth because it has to come from God.

The other day we were asked by someone what our proudest moment on our mission has been. And I thought and I thought, and there hasn't been an achievement on my mission that I am proud of myself, because most every moment that I could be proud over has not come of me but of the Lord, by his Holy Spirit. but as I thought about it the thing that I am most grateful for is what I have learned and how humble the Lord has seen fit to make me. 

All in all it was a good week. We are currently teaching the Soucy family and will be having a dinner with them on wednesday, we are trying to lead them to baptism and will hopefully be setting a date for July 15 but we will see, Don the husband has a smoking problem that he has to deal with and he works so much that we hardly are able to meet with him. 

Zone Conferences happen every transfer or two, and occasionally we get a general authority, so far I have met Elder Ardurn and Elder Zebeillos I don't know if that is how you spell their names but I have also met Elder Baxter and the second counselor in the young womans general presidency because they visited Tarzana when I was there. 

My companion, Elder Long:


He is from Texas, the oldest of 4 kids, he is super into Star Wars, Marvel superheroes, and is a nerd over deep doctrine in the Gospel so we have many conversations. He has told me many times that it isn't about the numbers, it is about the effect you have on people. 

We have been recently trying to get into as many homes as possible to inspire many of the members to feel excited about missionary opportunities, because every member in this church is a missionary, we can all do our part. 

I love you all and hope all is well in your lives.

Love, 

Josh

Me with my Zone leader Elder Hale 

We Got roses from this one lady during Knock out

Me roasting Hot dogs over a gas stove, (I miss camping a little)

Our favourite study spot.