Sunday, August 20, 2017

August 20, 2017 - Ontario

From Dad:

Hi Josh,

Sorry we did not get a letter to you last week. If we were better thinkers aheaders, we would have scheduled or sent a letter before we left on the canoe trip. As it was, we were totally without access to the internet for 8 days in Quetico park.More details to come on that later in the letter.

This week I received a popup on my Facebook reminding me that it was 2 years ago that you opened your mission call. 


And now we're waiting for Sam's mission call! he went for his interview August 9th with the Stake President and was submitted that night. So the waiting begins!  It will be interesting to see whether or not you will overlap or miss each other. From other reports of mission calls, if he ends up going out of country, you will likely see each other before he goes. That would be a fun blessing.

Loved hearing about your "Miracles". Hope you have many more as you run the home stretch. Keep going strong and serve with all your might mind and strength. It will be worth it. We're excited for your opportunity to serve as a District leader. You'll be great.

This last couple of weeks has been a great adventure. After the Olsen reunion, Abby and Mia headed back west with Mark and his kids to stay with Grandma and Grandpa Smith and Taylie and Steve while we were away. Mom, I, Sam and Ben and Steph and Tyler packed up our packs and gear and headed out on a canoe trip with Grandma and Grandpa Bruce and a few others. 7 canoes in total!

We ended up going on the reverse route from what we did 3 years ago.The weather was fantastic and the fish delicious. 

The "Hitting the Wall" moment came for most of us when we ended up lost in one of the swampy areas between lakes. At one critical junction, we missed the right turn to the portage into Sturgeon Lake and instead went North into more swamp, little lakes and run down portages. By the time we realized we had missed the turn, we were 3 hours down the path. As we scratched our heads and figured out where we were, we had a defining moment where we had the realization that there was no way forward. Rather, we would have to turn around and retrace our steps back through the crazy wild forest and swamp areas we had just fought our way through. And I mean literally fought our way through as this was a round less taken by anyone. We were portaging through bush wacking vs. trails. We were pushing the canoes through swamp and beaver dams, often falling up to our chests in water and grass. It was a daunting prospect. It was inspiring to see and experience the resolve and determination of everyone as we hitched up our soggy pants and shoved our way back into the quagmire. Grandpa had to take a little walk before we started out again to "double check", but I believe he probably was going off to be by himself, maybe to kick a log or two in frustration, but I imagined he also said a prayer for help and safety. You have a faithful heritage in your Grandpa and Grandma Bruce!

After a few more hours of effort, we heard the joyous sound of Sam and Ben yelling back from a foraging mission down a side path they had found the portage out! And it was only 50 meters long! We finally emerged onto the welcome vista of Sturgeon lake as dusk descended and we had the unique experience of paddling in the dark to our campsite, the sandy peninsula where we spent Sunday 3 years ago if you remember.

Of course, we had many discussions based on Grandpa Bruce's oft repeated quote that "Life is like a canoe trip". I think we all, at some point or another reach a point in our lives where we look around and wonder how we could have gotten our selves into such a mess, so far off track.And we wonder if we can ever face the daunting task of retracing our steps back to the right path. But the joy that comes when we do and we feel the great joy that comes from being where we know we want to and should be is so wonderful. 
The best part of the whole trip for me was having your Mom there with me. She is the light of my life and I can't imagine my life without her. She has heard about canoe trips her whole life. Grandpa Bruce shared that when his boy's were growing up he wanted to find something to help turn them from boys into men, so he came up with the bi-annual canoe trips. It was only a few years ago that he wondered why he hadn't done it with his girls! So it was a highlight for him to to have a daughter and grand daughter on the trip.

Sunday we had a very spiritual camp meeting and I really enjoyed Tyler's favorite scripture he shared in Omni 1:26

26 And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved. 
He talked about how amazing it is to be able to offer our whole souls and encouraged us to consider if we are doing that for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Our journey home from Ontario took us 30 hours due to having to fix a trailer tire that we didn't have a tire iron for (had to drop the trailer and run into Medicine Hat) and had to get it repaired in Lethbridge. We met Mark there and Sam bought Marks old Hyundai Elantra for going back and forth to work with. We split up and Mom and Sam went to Ft. Mclead to pick up the girls and we met in Airdrie for lunch. The girls came running across the parking lot to greet me and gave me a big hug. It was nice to feel remembered and appreciated and I missed them Each one of you are so precious to me and Mom!

Hope you are finding joy as you persevere through your own swamps and challenges as you sprint to the end. Hope this doesn't make you too trunky :)

Love 
Dad.













From Josh:

Changes are all over the place this transfer, i don't know if I said in my last email but I am currently training a Visa waiter and I am co district leaders with my companion.




I feel like this is going to be a great transfer.

This week has been up and down honestly, I am feeling hyper sensitive because of my trainee , we have come in contact with a few people this week that have tried to topple our testimonies and I don't know how strong my trainee's testimony is, we are kind of preparing him for the next faze of his mission, he will be going to India at the end of this transfer and we are trying to do all we can to help him, but I guess it can't be helped when you have a huuuuge church that hates mormons just up the street. surprisingly we got bashed by a Catholic, as usual he was super nice and gave us water but once we got into the gospel he started bashing back and forth, everything from Tithes to evidence. Too many people base their faith off of evidence, they want proof of everything that God has to offer. God has commanded us to walk by faith and not by sight.
We met this one person, his name was Adrien, and he does not believe in anything, he claims to even be unsure about gravity, he let us in and gave us water (figures) and no one lets us in, so we figured he was a basher, as we spoke to him we definitely realized that he was trying to topple our faith with logic and philosophy, every time that we mentioned faith he would stop us and say, "you mean pretending" and to be honest after a while I even started doubting my feelings, so I told him that we had to go, he didn't seem to want us to leave so we said that we had an appointment to go to, we finally left and it turned out to have taken 35 minutes of our time. Someone once told me that "if someone is taking up your time when you could be sharing the gospel with someone who will listen then they are a servant of the devil" it was funny because that same guy who told us that was taking our time and wasn't really willing to listen to our opinions. 

Training life is a blast, everything we do is some new experience to Elder House (my trainee) 
and I have realized more and more how much of it has become old hat to me, and so being able to try to help our trainee to see the fun in all of it I have been able to learn to appreciate things that I had put to the side. So I get to experience everything anew again. 

District leader life is a fun time as well, I love getting to know more missionaries this way, I had to get used to being a regular missionary and being cut off from socializing with other missionaries to an extent but now I can develop relationships and help other missionaries, a lot of them are pretty new to the mission, so I am grateful that I can help with problems that I have faced and give advice and suggestions to how to deal with it better then I did, the key I think is being open and honest with everyone, the more open I am the more someone else will feel open to open up if that makes sense. 

anyway I love you all, I am grateful for the influence of everyone i have come in contact in my life, and I love the things I can take away.

All the food I have in the fridge is super cheap and not too healthy because I am living off a limited budget but I am getting by, the members here are super nice and feed us a lot. Elder House is fighting to stay awake all day (I remember those days) we just keep telling him that he will get used to it. we have 2 companionships in the district, one set of sisters and one set of Elders, so its going to be a fun transfer... I have to say I started the D&C challenge, which is to read one section of the Doctrine and Covenants starting at the end and reading to the beginning as sort of a count down. its a stupid tradition but I enjoy it because its helping me to keep track of my scripture reading so I will finish D&C for the second time before I come home. 

Love 
Josh








August 14, 2017 - A lot of changes...

From Josh:

This is the beginning of a new transfer and things are going to be crazy, I will be training with my current companion, a visa waiter, I am super excited and nervous, also the fact that I will be Co-district leader as well, I definitely will be needing the spirit in this. 

This week went by way too fast, I can hardly put my thoughts together as to what happened, we were able to see some pretty cool miracles, one of the people we picked up as an investigator me and Elder Bergeron both had talked to before and he was not too interested both times, but we knocked into him again and started talking and through the conversation we were able to pick him up as a new investigator. 
We have this thing called the Miracle Hotline that we send cool experiences in and this is what I put. 

Miracle! We were knocking doors, it was a street we knocked before and not many people talked to us. We knocked on a house that we remembered and it was the same person as before with the same response of, "Yea not interested." But we persisted. He said he does not go to church because all churches seem self-centered. We talked about how Christ had a church and he said,"Yea, I would join Christ’s church." Long story short, we taught him The Restoration, taught to his needs, and now he is on date. He stated, "I wasn't going to answer the door and I usually tell you to leave, but for some reason I listened. Maybe this is a sign that this is the direction I have been searching for."#preparedbeforeyouknow #lastdoor #donotendKOearly!

we were able to send another miracle in as well. 

Miracle! We were knocking doors and we were not finding much success but we continued faithfully. We were going to be late for an appointment but we felt we should knock one last door. A lady answered and we started teaching. She stopped us and told us to hold on while she took something off the stove. When she came back, her daughter came with her. We were able to teach them The Restoration. She told us that she wasn't going to answer the door but she felt like she should for some reason. She said that it was a sign that she needed to start being more religious in her life and we testified of this message. We will be going back to share more! #letthheholyspiritguide #justonemoredoor #followthespirit!

I have been so blessed to be here in this mission, there have been so any hard experiences that I have had to work through, the other day a member told us that a mission isn't just the best two years of your life, but it is the best two years for your life, and I have to agree, through my mission and through everyones mission I think, it is sort of a refining fire that burns off a lot of excess self and reveals a better me, I can feel that I have changes so much, and it is going to be sooooo weird getting home and seeing everyone and adapting back into regular life. wearing t-shirts is weird, socializing without talking about the gospel in a conversation is something I have forgotten how to do. I am just enjoying the time I have at this moment being able to preach the gospel and being a missionary. 

I have officially ran out of food and its lucky that I am shopping today because I looked in the fridge this morning and it was completely empty. luckily I had a few odds and ends to make breakfast. 

I love you all a ton, I am looking forward to this transfer, though there were a few days this week that I was surprised by trunkyness, I have had to shrug it off more and more, its almost unconscious, but all of a sudden I will start not being motivated at all then I will have to shake myself free of those feelings and move on. 

stay safe and keep growing in the gospel, magnify your roles in the ward and seek to understand the will of God over all things. 

love 

Josh


Another transfer with this guy!

Ben and Jerry's vermont original, (had to try it because of Elder Bergeron)

Bike life! got to cut down on miles in the car. 

August 7, 2017 - Lake of the Woods

From Mom:


Dear Josh,

I'm sitting in this little tent trailer trying to compose a letter to my missionary son. The tent trailer is parked at the old homestead in Bergland, Ontario. I can hear someone playing the accordion, the clink of a horseshoe game, laughter and the wind in the trees. There is something magical about returning to ones' roots; to realize that our genetics are from pretty resilient stuff.

Steph flew in a few days before we left and she submitted herself to the drive across Canada. 🇨🇦 It was a little cramped and required intense stretching at ever stop. Lol.


But now we are here, learning about our ancestors. I heard an inspiring story about your great-great-great Grandmother Kristina Olson. She was a midwife for the area and helped over 200 babies be born. She didn't lose a single one, which was remarkable for the time. The particular story I liked was one where she was called in the middle of a winter night by a feverish and desperate father. She bundled up in the -40 weather and arrived to a home that was devoid of food. She helped the mother give birth, then stayed to nurse the family. Somehow her husband, Peter John, showed up with 100 lbs of flour, which she made into bread. She didn't leave until they were fed and healed. She was known for her patient and sometimes miraculous healing. Kristina attributed all of her success to heavenly help. (She also smoked a pipe until she was 97, when she died. But I actually love that because it makes her human.)

What a legacy of service. 

I also learned that your great-great grandfather Godfrey had a sister who died when her youngest daughter, Lilian, was three. They took her in and raised her in the Gospel. Her descendants (my fourth cousins) who were at the Reunion made a point to say they would be forever grateful for that, otherwise they wouldn't have the Gospel in their lives at all. It was a service that expands (and continues to reach) four generations. 

We are planning to fish and spend the day at the lake. The nights are already turning cold. We are bundled in our sleeping bags and Steph wears a toque at night. On Wednesday we are leaving for the canoe trip. My first time. Wish me luck!

Benson and Cody are here. Cody will come with us on the canoe trip. Benson made a point to ask if you could say hi to him and to tell you that he misses you. 🙂


Here are some other pictures of the Reunion...


Playing a Swedish points game called Mölkke ... It's a cross between bowling and Koob. 


Slip and slide baseball


Mark and I were polka-ing. He was whipping me around so fast I had a hard time keeping my breath. So fun!

Also, just before we left for Ontario two things happened...

We got a kitten which Abby named Hawk because she insists on climbing up your body and perching on your shoulder.



And I did my yearly mountain summit hike. I got to the top of Bertha Peak in Waterton. It took us 12 hours when it should have taken us five or six because we lost the path. There is a Gospel analogy in there somewhere I'm sure. Stick to the path otherwise the journey is longer, harder and full of burrs that get stuck in your shoes! Ha!


Whenever I summit, I think of the scripture in Isaiah 58:13-14 about the Sabbath...

13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:
14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

I've often considered what riding "upon the high places of the earth" means. It's a promise for keeping the Sabbath Holy. When I am at the top of the mountains, I can see everything, everywhere 360°. So I think a promised blessing for keeping the Sabbath is perspective. And having a good perspective in life is something I need. 

Anyway, I love you so much, Josh.  And I'm extremely proud of you. I'm fully supportive of your choice to seek out an extension. Be accepting of whatever your mission president says. You're always in our prayers.

Love you forever,

Mom

From Josh - "Don't rush into things...":

This week I seem to keep learning not to rush into things, I have seen what happens when we rush into teaching when we rush to an appointment, when we rush district meeting, it all seems to go to one place, confusion, and misunderstanding. 
So the Mission is really caught up on what is called "Mission Math" it is a statistical report from Salt Lake telling us what happens in our mission on the numbers side, so when I first got into the mission we were getting 32 new investigators for every person baptized, and now we are getting 17 new investigators for every 1 baptism we have in the mission, the problem and the difference is people were so concerned about the numbers back then that they didn't care about who they taught as long as they could get a prayer, some doctrine, and a return appointment then they could "technically" be counted as a new investigator, so what missionaries changed is that they are really focusing on teaching people and not lessons. 
The other day, we taught this one girl the restoration and we said a prayer and everything, and set an appointment for the next day, as we walked away my companion and I did the high five for a new investigator but I was without hope, for while she was paying attention I knew that she wasn't into it, and would probably ditch on the next appointment not to mention we hadn't met her family, and so the next day we went by and met her mother and her mom told us that she wasn't interested and did not want to meet anymore, and I walked away not surprised because even thought we may have been able to count her as a new investigator it was meaningless and superficial. We have been called to find those who will receive us, if they aren't going to continue meeting with us after the first lesson then they didn't really want to receive us in the first place. 

We seemed to have been passively bashed all week this week, maybe it didn't help that we knocked a lot near a church known for anti mormon sermons, there was this guy who tried to convince us that the bible is all based off of evidence there is no such thing as faith, another told us that only Christ teachings were correct and all the prophets and apostles were just men, many people just spouted out the same lines I have heard throughout my mission, and I realized that a lot of these people are spoon fed these lines and a lot of the problem today is that people are just too comfortable to change, and what happens to people who are spiritually lazy, they will often spend more time trying to justify why they are comfortable and not willing to progress then the original work it would take to step out of their comfort zones. 
There will be times in your life that will extremely test your faith, and everything will seem bleak, but don't let your doubts overcome your faith, because in the end your life will be blessed by your decision to stay, 
when I lost my testimony in the beginning of my mission it is because of things I didn't know, and I let those things get blown out of proportion, and even now I don't know about some of those things that I struggled with, but recently something that I really stuggled with has recently been brought to an understanding, been brought to light, and I was blown away that it was so simple, and I am ever grateful that I chose to have faith rather then to give up. So don't give up if something you hear or something happens tries to knock you off your course, because somewhere down the road things will be revealed and if you are faithful you will be blown away by the great glory of God, if you are not then you will regret the lost time. 

I love you all, things are good, I ran out of most of my food this week, luckily I still have plenty of money to last through the month, I have been really trying to be more thrifty with my money, and it takes a lot of self control, (which I don't have much of) i have been learning to develop a little more of it little by little. 
I am down to 3 more pares of pants that don't have any holes in them the rest are trash, that included the 4 pairs that i bought 6 months ago now. they are gone, the ones I have left are my suit pants, my gray pants I brought out with me and one pair I bought for my other suit, my shirt are in great condition though the collars are started to ware, my shoes look like they have definitely been worn for two years. I have been listening to all the horror stories of returning home and I am a little anxious, I checked with my mission president and I can extend for three weeks, but that would mean a trio and president would rather not, so I will be coming home on time, I am kind of glad, after really considering it, I kind of felt selfish and wanted to be home for Christmas.
I recently got a super bad sore throat and couldn't yawn without feeling excruciating pain, and it hurt to eat solid food, I have been taking a lot of vitamin C and have taken Bucklies twice, didn't help too much but felt good once I got over the flavor. Any suggestions?

I love you so all so much, I don't know where I would be without my family and my friends, my leaders and most importantly the gospel. 

Stay safe. 

Josh








July 31, 2017

From Dad:

Hi Josh,

It's been a great week here in Smithville. 

Biggest of all for me was finishing the roof off! It was a big project and full of new experiences and challenges. I've really enjoyed working with Ben especially as he's been the one available. Something about working together that brings you closer.


I've been thinking a lot lately about the purpose of life.  I've been using the "5 Why's" method which essentially teaches that when you want to understand a problem or a concept at a root cause level, you continually ask successive "Why" questions until you get to the most root cause level of understanding. So for example:

Q: What is my purpose on earth? Why am I here?
A: To learn and grow

Q: Why do I want or need to learn and grow?
A: So I can progress and become more like my Heavenly Father

Q: Why is it important to progress and become like my Heavenly Father?
A: So I can live with him again and have what he has?

Q: What is the purpose of living with him again and being like him?
A: To be fulfilled and happy - Men are that they might have joy!

Etc.

Then having dug down into a problem/idea/concept, you can identify meaningful actions to address the root cause of something vs. just the outer leaves or symptoms of a problem. We can do the same thing with all aspects of our testimony! Why do I believe Joseph was a prophet? Why is the atonement important? Why do I need to get married? etc. etc.

We had a good YM discussion on this on Sunday as I taught all 3 quorums. It was kind of fun as one of the YM (Sam Bates) went on Mormon.org and started chatting with a representative and asked her what the Purpose of Life is. 

We had the missionaries over the other day for dinner and they shared with us some training on doing missionary work with Facebook! That was a novel concept! Have they talked about doing anything like that in your mission? Edmonton seems to be a progressive mission as they have iPads and are talking about having smart phones as well and using social media in their finding and in training members.

While they were here, we prayed, looked through their facebook friends list and right then and there encouraged us to send someone a message related to the gospel and start a conversation with a Facebook friend. So I did! I texted a friend/old co-worker who was an intern with us. He just got a job at NVDIA in California so I told him to keep an eye out for you :)

Steph flew in yesterday after being delayed overnight in Vancouver. She's cut her hair for the canoe trip and she actually looks alot like you boys with your haircuts! Really enjoyed catching up with her again.

Last night Mom went down to Waterton with Carly Bateman to go on her annual hike with her tribe (Sioban Westeropp, Jamelyn Stephan etc). It's a good therapy session to get together and sweat with good friends!

We are heading out to Ontario on Wednesday. Should be a good time and looking forward to doing a canoe trip with your Mom. 

Have a great week. "Sprint with the Spirit" to the end! 

Love Dad.


From Josh:

This week has flown by with so many things happening, yesterday we were able to have three of our investigators come to church, and in the third hour we have joint meeting and discussed why we all came to church, it is always a little nerve racking because a lot of the comments made by people were very candid, like, "Honestly its a struggle to come to church" or "I don't often stay for the three hours", but luckily everyone talked about  how much of a blessing it was. 

Last week I don't know if I added this but we boldly invited Brad Giles, (one of the less actives we were working with) to come to church, and after struggling he said he would come and he came, he hasn't been to church in 12 years and when he came he was super nervous, and it was a real struggle even when he sat down we was really struggling to feel good, but then the first hymn came on and he settled right in.
Yesterday he came for the second time and he has really been welcomed back into the ward with open arms and loves everything about it, he couldn't stop thanking us for inviting him, it really put in my mind the importance of not being afraid and not hesitating in following the spirit because we didn't do anything of ourselves, it was all the Lord, I read something the other day about submitting our will to God, and I have been really wondering how I can do that, to truly become instruments in the hands of God, it is so difficult I struggle pushing my thoughts and feelings to the side and letting the spirit lead, there are times when I catch brief glimpses of what it is like to let the spirit guide completely, I am way more confident when I am letting myself be led, I know what to say all the time and nothing seems daunting, I can talk to anyone, angry or nice and always say something that they need to hear, and at the end of the day I am overwhelmed by how much that I can't do, without the spirit I would be lost and nothing would get done, I get discouraged easily and overwhelmed, I struggle to speak to everybody and often let people pass me by. I am nothing without the Lord. 

I love being a missionary so much, I have been having so many great experiences and love the people here, the good and the mean. I love being around so many great missionaries and members and my time here is going way too fast, I almost never want it to end. I have thought about extending my mission but would also really love coming home before Christmas, It has been a subject of prayer and honest seeking, what would you think about me extending my mission? 

I love you all so much and I know that this all is true. Put your trust in the Lord and focus on your efforts to strengthen your testimony.

Love
Josh



 -exchange pick with Elder Aguilar in my district

 -Coupons! missionary money.

 -Evil spider trying to stop us from visiting people

 -weekly planning. 

July 24, 2017 - Working for Charity

From Joshua:

What a week it has been, some of the most memorable days was on Tuesday, we felt pretty good about the day and went out super excited to get to work, we had finished weekly planning and the first house we stopped by we noticed a man taking in his trash, we went up and greeted him and started a pleasant conversation which descended slowly until he was basically telling us we were dead wrong and us telling him that he was as well. So basically a bash, he told us that he had prayed about it and he knew that we were dead wrong. Which worried me a little until I asked if he had read anything in the Book of Mormon he told us he hadn't because he knew it was wrong. After going back and forth about the importance of reading he told us that it was only on faith that we were saved and that the Book of Mormon did not have any evidences to support it, his basic concept is that faith is only faith if there is known evidence to back it up, so unless you have a knowledge of physical things then its not faith... I got pretty fired up about it I have to admit, and straight up told him that he believed then that it is only by evidence that we were saved then (according to his view) it was all just going in circles with me getting more and more angry, until I just told him to read and we left with him laughing at us as we left. That put me in a bad mood, for most of the time till we started knocking on doors, after having little success we finally struck up a conversation about chickens with this lady, because she had a little coop in her front yard, and Elder Bergeron had a good knowledge about chickens. We eventually got to relate it to the gospel and it turns out that her daughter had died a year ago and her she had just barely left her super abusive husband and was wondering about why we faced all the challenges of life and where we went after we died, we were able to share a little bit of the plan of salvation and left her will a pamphlet because she didn't feel up to listening at that moment, we continued on and met a less active member who was super nice and gave us water and told us he thought we were awesome, which was great, the day was looking up and we had regained some of the enthusiasm that we had earlier in the day. We went and knocked on the less active members neighbor and he opened up and he seemed pretty nice, asked a lot of questions, and it ended up once again turning into a bash, he was trying to twist our words and catch us in a trap with all his question and eventually Elder Bergeron laughed a little in frustration and he took offense and promptly said goodbye and slammed the door, once again we were struggling to maintain a happy attitude, it was interesting to note that I remembered that guy from a year before when we accidentally knocked into Seco Canyon from Saugus and he hadn't changed at all, but I was a completely different person from before, because I had gotten out of my comfort zone and struggled a lot, but he was afraid to try something new, he had made the decision that the bible was enough and we would never need to stretch or grow, he was comfortable and wasn't about to let anyone change him. anyway we went away super frustrated and went to Shannon's house, we knocked and she came out, and we were able to share the first part of the plan of salvation when she prayed she said a super simple prayer, all she said was "Heavenly Father, I am trying..." and that really struck me as so relevant to us all, we are all trying. When she said those words the spirit came in and after when I asked what she felt she said the felt warm and comfortable.
We booked it from the appointment because we were late for our next appointment we were in such a hurry that we almost missed someone we had met earlier in the week walking on by, we had gotten her number down wrong and she really wanted to go to church, so we stopped and got the number down said hi to her little daughter and left for the next appointment, really stressing the importance of not rushing while there are those on the wayside perishing in unbelief. 

Sorry that was long an drawn out. 

It is interesting I have been here for nearly 3 months and we are still finding new things in the apartment, I found an April 2011 sunday afternoon session of general conference DVD in the book shelf and for fun watched it, each talk was super good and I would encourage all to go back and look at past conferences, one thing that stuck out to me the concept that was stated in the talk "what manner of men and woman aught ye to be" the speaker compared doing and being, and the concept of how everyone seems to have a 'to do' list but nobody seems to have a 'to be' list, why? To do's are events that take place, checklists that you can check off when done, but to be's are constant never ending, we can do good things but we should never stop being a good person. we can do fun things with each other, but we should never stop being loving parent's or siblings. An invitation to myself when I heard that talk was to make a to be list, of the man I wanted to become and to live up to my true potential. What is on your to be list? 

I love you all so much, I have a good supply of hand me down socks from my previous companion that are still in excellent shape, the freezer is packed with hot pockets and quick make meals, my companion only gets on my nerves some of the time, mostly because he is strong willed and can often push me out of decision making, so I am learning to respond appropriately, the ward members are all super nice, the people here only bash half the time... the closer we get to the grace baptist church the more it seems to happen. We have only run into Jehovah's Witness missionaries (aka Pioneers, their missionary work is called pioneering, so next time you see them be polite and ask them how their pioneering is going) just once or twice. I have only lost my temper twice... both were described previously. We have a few solid investigators who have their struggles but we are moving past them. I am struggling to keep my desk clean so I have to step up my game on that. I found a missionary advice book that has some really cool suggestions which i have been taking in. I have only gotten lost twice as the driver and I have only gotten one aggressive driving on the tiwi machine in the car... and that is because I was distracted and nearly ran a red light... I will be more attentive in the future. I have nearly broke my phone. almost fainted through lack of water and too much heat yesterday. 

I never want to stop being a missionary. I grow more and more in denial the closer I get to coming home, I am sure I will finally accept it when I am on the plane. 

Stay safe, and keep pressing forward, Its all true, the gospel is the way of happiness, and it is so important to maintain an eternal perspective, we met someone who had lost his faith in God because his sister died, he used to be a member but got disenchanted because of those bad things that happened. He didn't have an eternal perspective and he has lost it all, he is in open rebellion against God, he loves us but will not discuss religion at all. He doesn't believe in God and is not interested in learning if he is there. Maintain an eternal perspective, this life is only a blip in the eternities, remember that no matter how hard it gets that it won't last. 

Love

Josh








From Dad:

Hi Josh,

It's been a good week here on the acreage. We had lots of company and help this week. Grandma and Grandpa Smith came up Friday night and Auntie Wendy's son Greg came up with his friend Eric.

Ben and I were just finishing sheeting the garage roof on Friday when G&G pulled up and helped finish it. Saturday was beautiful and Grandpa and I worked on the roof all day with help from Auntie Wendy and her son Greg and his friend Eric later in the day to finish one side of the garage roof. It is a huge relief to get the roof done. 




Sam and Ben left early for Red deer to run in a Spartan race. Sam originally signed up with promises from friends to do it with him, but everyone cancelled. So Ben volunteered to do it with him. It was a bonding day for them doing something hard and fun. They even helped on the garage after though Sam was almost falling off the ladder with exhaustion. 

Ben and I have been doing P90x and it's amazing how having someone work together with you on a goal is so much more motivating. I've been pleasantly surprised at how much more energy I have when I exercise. 

Today we went and got a kitten. We are becoming a true acreage family. I'm trying to be very stern about it being an outside cat. We shall see. 

Mom and I are so pleased with each of our precious children. I think you all came to us with amazing potential and talents from the pre-existence. 

Have a great week. I'm afraid I may be too late!

Dad.