Sunday, July 23, 2017

July 17, 2017 - OYM

From Grandpa:

Elder Joshua - we just heard that some dear friends have been called to the San Fernando mission - Elder Parley and Sister Bonnie Smith - he was the Stake Clerk when I had the blessing of serving - hopefully you will get to meet them - if you do please express our joy in their call to serve. 

From Dad:

Hi Josh,

It's been a good week for me this week. Mostly I'm pleased with the progress we've been able to make on the garage. Sam ended up getting his wisdom teeth out this last week and hasn’t been feeling well besides (Good news is that Sam is now submitting his papers!). So without Sam to help me, I’ve had to call on Ben to step up and do some construction with me. I’ve been very pleased with him and he has stepped up and worked hard and well. Some of my greatest joy comes from seeing my family progress.

Since I last wrote, we went on YM camp. Ben went to the Millwoods Stake camp with the teachers, and the priests held a camp at the Day’s and did horseback riding, Archery, Canoeing/Kayaking and tubing on the river, along with a BBQ in Drayton valley with the Laurel. Overall a successful camp week. Ben really enjoyed his camp too, especially the testimony meeting. We had a long talk about testimonies when we got home.Looking back over the years, I think I have been to YM camp almost every year for the last 20 years, with only a couple of breaks in between. I’m excited for Mom to start getting youth callings with the YW!

I've been listening to an interesting audio book lately that Tyler recommended to me called "The 4 hour work week". It has caused me to think outside the box a little with regards to how I spend my time. One of the things he talks about that is also something Ben recently learned about in "Principle Centered Leadership" by Stephen Covey. It states that there is a difference between "Effectiveness" and "Efficiency". One can be very efficient  but not very effective. E.g. I can be a very efficient email manager by always keeping up to my email and organizing it into folders etc., but I may not be very effective because I spend all my time doing that instead of more important things. I might be more effective by batching up email management to once a day and doing other more important things when I would normally be constantly checking emails. It's caused me to consider how I can be more effective in my professional as well as personal life. I think that is what is talked about in the missionary guides when it talks about ways of finding and teaching. You might be a very efficient at tracting, but it is not necessarily the most effective way to find or teach people the gospel. Are there ways you can think out side the box in missionary work? Can you batch up your efforts by doing presentations to community groups or bigger groups of people? Can you visit less actives and ask for referrels? There are lots of ways to be creative in whatever we do I think.

AJ Ripley gave an interesting talk on Sunday reminding us of the circumstances surrounding the revelation on the Word of Wisdom. Much of his source came from this article on It caused me to think about the importance of our environment and our ability to receive revelation. Mom and I were talking about this. Mom made an interesting statement about how she feels very fulfilled in her role as mother and with our family, but individually, especially thinking about her Patriarchal blessing, she feels quite unfulfilled. Always be grateful for the sacrifice your Mom made so she could be home with you. You have a faithful mother who listens to a prophet's voice. She also indicated that moving to the acreage has made a big difference in helping her start on a path of individual fulfillment primarily due to loving the environment and the opportunities it provides. Look for ways to create an environment of the spirit for your companionship and for your investigators.

Keep strong and steady and sprint to the end! Best months of  your mission are in front of you!

Let us know of your investigators we can pray for.



From Josh:

OYM means Open Your Mouth, it is key to finding people who are prepared to learn the Gospel and it is something I have struggled with my whole mission until now. 
I set a goal to boldly walk up to people to shake their hand, and to share the gospel and I set another goal to not hesitate, and I have been really pushing myself because the last thing I feel is to walk up to a stranger especially when they don't look interested or if they notice me 50 feet away and the most awkward thing to do is greet them from that far away and then to walk up to them and shake their hand, at least I felt it was awkward before, the more I have been doing it the less I feel like its weird and the more it feels normal, I will often catch myself though making excuses for why I shouldn't talk to a person, but as part of my goal to not hesitate is to just jump right in so when those excuses come to my mind I know that that is the sign that I need to do it right now.

We had a cool miracle on Saturday, we had just started knocking doors and we knocked into this one lady who just waved us off and so we took that as a "go away" kind of signal so we left and went to knock the next door but then the lady came around the bushes and we went to talk to her, she simply said "are you christian?" and we responded that we were, "come with me" was her only reply so we followed, we could tell this woman was hispanic and so we didn't know what to expect, she went inside and told us to wait for a few moments and after a couple minutes a younger lady came out and said that her mom said we were there to see her. we started asking about her religious beliefs and she told us she was agnostic, that she believed more in the science aspect of things, I pulled a quote out from one of Bruce R McConkies talks (the 7 deadly heresies) "True science and true religion agree with each other" and she accepted it and we continued to teach her the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ we kept it simple and tried to answer the many questions she asked, and she accepted it all, she prayed right after for the first time in her entire life, and she said when was finished that she felt weird, and after further inquiry she said it was a good feeling kind of like she was light headed and peaceful, we read the fruits of the spirit from the pamphlet and we told her that what she felt was the spirit, we finished and invited her to church, and she came! after she told us that she thought it was pretty interesting, and that she had started reading the Book of Mormon to her mother and translated it into Spanish, but then looked up online the Book of mormon in that language so that she could read it properly. Her name is Shannon. we have been finding so many people who are so prepared for the Gospel.

This week there was a really cool video that President Henrie shared with us about a Book of Mormon social experiment, they took every page from The Book of Mormon and gave one page out to random people and told them to highlight everywhere that it referenced God and Jesus Christ and people from all walks of life tried it and each gained a testimony about that specific page, you should all try it! its a cool experiment, then share it with your friends. 

In Elders Quorum on sunday the teacher talked about time, and budgeting our time, he drew an equation on the chalk board. 

what does that represent, he said that that is how much time we have in the week. And I thought that was cool and it has really helped me to prioritize a little bit better, figuring out how much time I spend on everything, and i found out that with the missionary schedule, we have only about 51 hours a week that isn't planned for. That is nearly a third of the time that is originally set. And each one of those 51 hours is spent finding and teaching people. Its a good life. 

I know that this church is true, I love it because it helps us to live up to our divine potential, I can tell how much my testimony has grown because I am facing a lot of the same bashing techniques I have faced in the beginning of my mission and it doesn't faze me anymore, because I am built upon the rock of my redeemer... and not trying to bash on any other religion but each and every one I have seen or at least the people I talk to are limited, there is a stop, a "Comfort" where they all feel comfortable where they are at and reject the thought of further growth. they leave the greater light and knowledge that God would have them know and go back to that place that supplies them with the most comfort. We have been teaching the plan of salvation a ton this week and what gets me every time is that the Celestial Kingdom is the only one that offers further advancement. It is the place where we get to continue forging out of our comfort zones and learning more and more, in each one of the other kingdoms its a stop, where every one can be comfortable where they are at, and don't have to learn more. They will be stuck for eternity and they will be happy with that. 
That is not for us, we are part of a church that believes in ALL truth no matter if it comes from an atheist or a baptist, if it is true, then it is something we can accept. We are all to continually grow and progress no matter what, if we are not striving for a celestial life now then we will not be comfortable in a celestial glory. If you look at the quorum of the 12 and the prophet and his counselors nearly each one of them has a masters degree if not a doctorate in something or another. So continue to embrace the awkward, stride out of your comfort zone and it will grow to encompass you, then you need to continue to stride out of it until your are comfortable with everything, at least with continued learning. God wants us to grow. 

I love this church, I know the Book of Mormon is true, we have a prophet on the earth today and God is working among His children actively to bring them to His presence, and we are his instruments as members of this Church.



P.S. We have family in this ward, Brother John Fairbanks is my second cousin twice removed and has a book in his home with this page in it.

it is pretty cool to see Dad and grandma and grandpa's names in a book so far away from home.  

July 10, 2017 - Uncertaintly

From Mom:

Dear Son,

We heard back from the Leduc Arts Foundation that Ben received a $1000 scholarship to help pay for music lessons next year. I sat in the van marvelling at the tender mercies of the Lord. Ben certainly earned it but what a relief on our budget! Also, Dad's office is undergoing some big changes and many people were laid off. Luckily, Dad was NOT one of them and he also got a promotion, which includes a raise of a few more hundred dollars a month.

We were so worried that when we moved to the acreage, we would not be able to handle the added expenses, but we moved forward anyway and we have been truly blessed. My humility is increasing every day.

Think about this quote from Teryl Givens:

 "When dissonance and distress set in, we should trust in the Spirit to find the hidden God of scripture, the One who knows us by name, who weeps with us in our pain, and who has graven us in the palms of his hands."

So, I'm learning that when I worry, I just need to act in faith and it somehow triggers miracles to happen. We believe in a God who loves us and works silently for our benefit but the important thing for us is to move our feet. Example, we do not have any extra money for anything concerning the acreage. The garage is partially built but we have to finance the rest of it ourselves as the money the bank loaned us is completely used up. Well, we really could use a ride on lawn mower but I didn't know how to make it happen. I remembered that Steve said he inherited an old one but he didn't need it. I called him and he sold it to us for $250 (compared to $5000 for a new one). So, one step at a time, we are slowly getting to a place of comfortable country living.

Life is pretty awesome in that way and I know you are probably learning these lessons as well on your mission. We love hearing about your tender mercies and miracles that you see every now and then.

Is there anyone you would like for us to include in our prayers?
How is your garment and clothing situation? Do you need any more socks?
Did you receive your license yet?

We had a good week enjoying the summer.

Classic Fort Edmonton Park

The River

Garage Building

Life is keeping us busy. Dad and the boys returned from Scout Camp with sunburned faces and a few stories to tell, but happy. Abby is leaving today for her first Young Women Camp. I'm not sure what Mia is going to do without her! But we plan on meeting Steve and Taylie and their kids at the Calgary Zoo so hopefully that will give her something to think about. Sam gets his wisdom teeth out on Thursday. Wish him luck! Then his papers can go in.

And everything is humming along here. Life is really good.

Love you forever,
Mom 😊

From Josh: It is DEFINITELY summer

I barely survived this week of 115 degrees about 48 degrees in Canada, we knocked through it all and everyone we talked to would open the door and stare at us for 5 seconds before declaring that we were completely nuts. we would agree and get a good laugh out of them then explain the reason why we are out is such brutal heat, most of the time they would politely decline learning more but offer water, we must have gotten fifty waters yesterday and the few days before, but me and my new companion Elder Bergeron (who is from northern Vermont thirty minutes away from the Canadian border) were dying most of the day the heat just drains every ounce of energy you may have during the day. The importance of eating a big breakfast. 

To let worries rest, I have received my license and I am the designated driver at the moment, Tiwi support is a device that checks your driving, you can't drive too much over the speed limit, start or stop too fast, or anything so I am definitely revising my driving so that I am "Driving like a grandma" just like mom would tell me all the time ;) 

I have been having a heck of a time with Elder Bergeron, he is basically everything I am not, meaning we are almost complete opposites, he doesn't like to think about things but go and do to get it done, he loves physical exertion, his favorite pass time is working out, and every snack he likes is basically part of a diet, he makes maple syrup and is pretty confident. I love him a lot it is just taking a little to get used to his attitude and feelings towards things. 

Thanks for the pictures it helps me feel connected to all of you, I am super excited for everything going on in your lives and it feels weird that I will be part of it all in less then six months. Time goes way to fast, don't let a minute pass you by, learn when you aren't doing, and do when you have something to accomplish, set goals, make plans, steadily work so that you are improving take every positive experience and every chance to experience more. Make friends with everyone you can. My mission president gave me this counsel, "Embrace the awkward" and I have set a goal to walk up to everyone who we see on the street, even when it is hard, some people see us coming and get this annoyed look on their faces that I don't like, but either way we need to give every chance to everyone around us. It takes 11 touches of the Gospel in peoples lives to accept it, think of who you can touch this week to be one of those touches.

Something cool that happened this week is when we were knocking this lady opened up and looked dumbfounded at how we could be knocking in such heat, but we talked with her for a bit and started trying to teach, it was really awkward until her little daughter walked out. She is 6 and we started teaching the message of the restoration at her level, and it was cool because she was super engaged and so was her mother, we used terms that would keep a 6 year old fascinated, the cool thing about it was that it was that the mother needed too but you can't just teach someone older then you like they have a 6 year old understanding, it makes them feel stupid, but when we did it with her daughter they both felt the spirit and loved the message, after Brittany the six year old turned to her mother and asked when we would be coming back, and it was cool to see her willingness to learn and love the gospel. It really added to my understanding of how we need to become like a little child just like Jesus Christ counciled us to be. 

I love you all and all this work, stay faithful and loving, it is said that out of 60.000 missionaries, 20.000 of them will go less active. Don't let that happen to you, build your testimonies, grow in the gospel, love it enough to stay with it no matter what happens. 



115 weather

fun license plate

found a mini fridge

me and Elder Bergeron

updating plans.

July 3, 2017 - Canada Day

From Dad:

Hi Josh

Happy Canada 🇨🇦 Day!!

We enjoyed Mark and Shannon and they're crazy fun family for the weekend. Their kids have enough energy to run our house for the week end if we could harness it. 

A fun part of the week-end was running a 5k foam fest race. Basically a short tough mudder.  Mom, I, sam and Ben went with uncle Mark. It was actually a lot of fun aside from realizing how out of shape I am. 

We also had a fun trip to Sparwood to spend a day with uncle Dave and some of his kids way back in the mountains. Beautiful and fun time hiking, shooting guns, and sleeping in a communal lean to. 

Sam, Ben and I stayed in Cardston after we had a good visit with great Grandpa Smith and my parents. We went to a play/musical called "Sherlock" written by Denny Burton. The boys were in heaven watching it. We drove most of the night to get home in time for Canada day. 

I had a really good experience reading the 2009 talk by Elder Christoferson about covenants. 

A couple of parts that really struck me was this

"What is the source of such moral and spiritual power, and how do we obtain it? The source is God. Our access to that power is through our covenants with Him"

"In all the ordinances, especially those of the temple, we are endowed with power from on high. This “power of godliness” comes in the person and by the influence of the Holy Ghost. The gift of the Holy Ghost is part of the new and everlasting covenant. It is an essential part of our baptism, the baptism of the Spirit. It is the messenger of grace by which the blood of Christ is applied to take away our sins and sanctify us (see 2 Nephi 31:17). It is the gift by which Adam was “quickened in the inner man” (Moses 6:65). It was by the Holy Ghost that the ancient Apostles endured all that they endured and by their priesthood keys carried the gospel to the known world of their day."

Hope you can have that powerful spirit with you as you are fulfilling your covenants on your mission. 


From Josh: Coming up on a new transfer

So I have the news, I am staying in Seco Canyon for another transfer, I have a new companion... luckily it is someone I know, I am super excited for this next transfer and the things that will be able to see done here by the power of God. 

This week was pretty great, so many miracles that I get to be a part of, I went on exchanges with a spanish elder so I didn't expect to be of much use, but while we were walking by these people we decided to just talk to them, as it turns out they spoke pretty good english and we ended up teaching them about the restoration, there were kids there so we taught it super simply and ended up getting a return appointment, the spirit was super strong to the point where we were almost to tears. 
I left the exchange and got a text back from the other Elders, and they said they went back and found that there were twenty people in the home and they are planning to teach them all. 

We were able to go to the temple the other day, I love the temple it is such a beautiful place to be
the spirit is unrestrained, the message simple and pure, it is truly the Lords House, and this is truly the Lords Church. 

I have been considering a few words that Moroni shared he, talked about the liberty that binds us, it binds us to the responsibility to our families and to our country and our religion, being free has a price, and we must all work for it.

Tips for a mission.

Remember to be bold, the problem with too many missionaries is that they are afraid of ruffling peoples feathers, but we need to remember how important this message it and that we have the fullness of the Gospel and every one needs to know it! 

Pictures next week... I don't have a comparable computer with my SD card. 

but I love you all. 


p.s sorry that its short this week, we have a very limited time to write the monday before transfers. 

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. 



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. 😊


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.


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,


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.



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,


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.



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.