Thursday, August 26, 2010

Week 5

Today was a great week. The phrase, "today was a great day" has become the intro to my journal everyday, and is a phrase that i tell myself whenever i feel down. Though that sounds cheesey and is very far away from anything i would have ever thought of doing before, it actually does work, and everyday really is a great day when you think of all of the things and blessings that our heavenly father has given us.

This week was great and I have been able to really learn and grow a lot. This week in the TRC (teaching resource ceter, where we practice lessons to volunteers, usually byu students) our lesson consisted of teaching the second lesson = the plan of salvation, and also the word of wisdom. Me and Elder Thompson were able to practice it a lot of times before giving it, and we have gotten really good at teaching together. we play off of each other well and it makes for a great teaching experience. Idk if i've said this before but i love teaching about the atonement! Everytime i do i always feel the spirit and i can really feel it come to the lesson. In our lessons it is really cool when we are guided by the spirit and are able to give ideas and relate things to people in ways that i'd never even thought of before.

Also this week was the last week that i am going to teach in english. From here on out it is all spanish. We practiced teaching our first real spanish lesson a few days ago and it went pretty well. We only had like 20 min to prepare so we basically just had to wing it. We taught the first lesson to two other missionaries of a class that my teacher knew their teacher. they had been here for 3 weeks i think. They taught us a short lesson and then it was our turn. It was not the greatest lesson and it was kind of chopy and broken, but it was simple and i was able to convey my ideas relatively well and when i taught about the saviors atonement for us, i was able to really feel the words i was saying and i was able to speak smoothly and convey the message that i felt inside. I think i received a lot of help there. When we finished i wasnt too proud of what we had done, and i was very humbled by the experience and know i have a long way to go. The only comments the other missionaries had was first "good job you guys know a lot of spanish" (to them we probably did ha), then the last one they asked us a question and said "did you guys know that you just taught a 40 min lesson?" and neither me or elder thompson had thought it had been that long at all. it was really cool to know that we could teach for that long.

Another lesson that i taught was our whole district got together and taught a lesson to our teacher about how to feel the spirit. A scripture that i related along with a few others was matthew 14:18 and it says that the lord will never leave us comfortless. In a talk by elder bednar of the 12 apostles, he answered this same question with "quite worrying about it. if you are doing what you are supposed to, you will have the spirit with you. those thoughts you have and those feelings are from the spirit and you need to act on them and not sit around waiting for a massive spiritual experience to know whether or not it was the spirit." This was a really cool thing to hear. I have a lot of those thoughts and feelings and am never sure. I am a missionary and the lord will help me and give me guidance though my thoughts and feelings as i contuinue to study and strive to have his spirit with me.

Dad asked about my district. My district is amazing. We have 12 elders in it and 10 of us are going to villahermosa and 2 of them are going to bolivia. they were supposed to have left for the lima peru mtc two weeks ago but havent gotten visa's yet. There is no news about my visa either. i am guessing i'm going to end up going somewhere in the states for a few weeks after my 9 weeks are up and then go to mexico, but i'm not sure. I know whatever way it works out will be the best though. Also i dont know if ive gained weight, but it looks like i have. the food is,okay, i'm not the biggest fan, and i dont think its the most healthy stuff in the world. I'm looking stronger and stuff tho, so i dont think its had too many negative affects.

The last thing i want to write about in the last 7 min is that the gym opened up again yesterday for a devotional and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the 12 apostles came! It was an amazing talk. We didnt know it was him until like a min before it actually started, but my district had heard a correct rumor, but we had heard rumors like that every week, but this week it was true. He walked into the room while we were singing We'll Bring the world his truth and as soon as he walked in we all stood up and it was amazing to feel his presence in the room. It was amazing to hear him speak. We got to be pretty close to him. He speaks with so much power and emotion. at times he is yelling into the mic, but he still brings a strong spirit to the message. I dont have much tiome but i'll share the part that hit me that hardest. He posed the question of why a mission has to be so hard. why cant it be easy? then he said very powerfuly "It is not easy becase salvation is not cheap." he also said that we are trying to be like the savior. He was perfect and suffered all pains imaginable for all of us personally. and because of his love for us he provided a way for us to receieve eternal life and live with him again. If we are trying to be like him. in our lives we must also suffer. we must walk part of his path and we must shed some of his tears. To be his disciple we have to follow him. On my mission i need to "give all that i have for as long as i can give it" and i know the lord will help me in that. This same priciple aplies to all of us in our lives and explains why sometimes bad things happen to good people.

I love you all and i hope that you have a great week. Thank you so much for all of the love and support and the letters. It makes me very happy to read about how things are going in your life. I have a strong testimony of this gospel and i know that it is the gospel of jesus christ


elder smith

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Week 4- Aug 18, 2010

Hello everyone. so the computer didnt work the first one i tried to i had to exit out which took away 5 of my minutes so i only have 25 min for everything today so i'll go fast.

This was another great week in the MTC and today marks the one month point. It is crazy that it has already been a month. I have gotten into the routine of everything now and even the very long and busy schuduled days seem to go by quickly and the weeks also go by quickly. IT seems like i just wrote you. I honesly dont remember very many things taht happened this week. It all kind of blurs together so thats the reason i have my journal i guess. I write in it almost every day so i looked through that and picked out the things i want to say.

Over the week a lot of really amazing things happened, all of which i am very greatful for. The first cool thing that happened was Bro. Mcpherson shared his conversion story with us. Again, i'm pretty sure he's going to be the prophet someday. He was basically a golden investigator. His girlfriend invited him to church and gave him a bom for his 18th birthday. He didnt read it for a while but then he went to church with her and he felt something different. he said one of the big things that made him know this church was different was how his gf's family acted. He was with them one night when they had family prayer. He was amazed at the relationship they had with their heavenly father and how close they were as a family. The little girl who gave the prayer prayed for him and their family and it touched him. He began reading the bom and couldnt put it down. He said he didnt have any time to read except for very late at night and he said the spirit must have helped him stay awake all that time for the 2 weeks that he read it until he finished it. He was truly converted through the spirit and the book of mormon and through an example of a family. That is a good reminder for all of us to not be afraid to share what we know to be true and to always be an example. It also shows how powerful prayer is and specifically family prayer.

Class this week went well. We had mostly subs because our teachers were on vacation. We got a lot of different teachers and it was cool to see their teaching styles. I really do have some of the greatest teachers in the mtc, and all the teachers here are really amazing. The TRC this week, we had to speak in spanish so a person about their commitments and teach the second lesson. It went really well. We practiced teaching it like a million times before the TRC too so that helped. I am finding that the spirit can help me come up with new things to say. It is hard not to just do that same thing over and over again when teaching and to always strive to improve, but i try my best to always find new scriptures and insights taht i can use. I wish i could share them with you, but i just dont have time! only 13 min now....

I was chosen to be one of the missonaary talks this week. I had a feeling all week that it was going to be me, and sure enough when it was time for the talks president stephans gets up, looks over at me and says elder so and so and elder smith will give us our talks today. This was def not the talk I would have chosen to speak abouit and before i went up i wrote down a few more last minute scriptures, and basically had some nots and had to wing it. I had like 6 scriptrue references and i found that i came up with a lot to say. The topic was knowledge. I started out from my notes, and i really felt how the spirit put things in my mouth. I started connecting things that i had learned here in the mtc to scriptures and other points that i had made, none of which i had thought about previous to standing up there. My talk went well and i was able to bare my testimony on knowledge and obtaining knowledge for the building of christs church. this experience, though not too significant, strengthended my testimony of the ability of the spirt to help me say what the lord wants. I will need much more help in this with spanish and when teaching real lessons to real investigators.

This week i may have to play the piano in church and i am also working on a piece with two guys for a devotional in front of 2000 missionaries! we'll see how it goes.

A spiritual message that i'd like to share quickly is some of my thoughts based off of something that one of our subs taught us. He talked about the difficulties of a missionary and how we will face many trials. I would like to relate it to all of our lives. OUr purpose here is to come unto christ and to keep his commandments and do the things that he has asked us to do in order to receive eternal life. We can not do this on our own and that is why the atonement is so important. Though the atonement is not all that we have, God has given us the spirit of the lord to help us do what is right. The sub made the point that we are to give all that we have and that the lord will make up the difference through whatever means. The bro of Jared was asked to build barges and to go to the promised land. The best he could do was bring a pile of rocks to the lord. This is something average, something human, but the best he could do, and god took what the bro of jared had (these rocks) and turned them into something godly, and something amazing. This is what i am striving to be. I am something average. I am flawed and i need his help and that is what i am here to do. I am here to put all taht i have into teaching this gospel and then the lord will help me to be and do the thing taht he needs me to do. And you should all try to relate this to any part of your life that is aplicable.

Elder Smith

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Week 3- Aug 11, 2010

Hello everyone it has been another amazing week down here in Provo at the MTC. I want everyone to know how much that i love it here, and how amazing the spirit is here. I have so many opportunities to feel the spirit, and so many opportunities to grow mentally and spiritually, and physically too counting the food. Gernerally everything has been going very well. I have been practicing teaching a lot, mostly in english though, and i have been learning a lot of the lessons. The most benefitial thing to me riht now is that we are teaching Brother Mcpherson and he is a progressing investigator. I cant remember if this is in my last letter, but he is playing as himself as an 18 year old before he joined the church. We have now taught him 4 of the lessons, and have taught a lot about some of his questions. There is a lot of stuff that we have to teach him as a district, but it has been really great to learn how to deal with their conscerns and problems and be able to see them grow. Of course we are trying to get him to commit to work towards baptism which we finally did. We are teaching him pretty well, and we always strive to make it a spiritual growing experience. Bro. Mcpherson is an amazing teacher. He has been sharing passages from his mission journal and some other spiritual thoughts and i'm pretty confident in saying i think that he is going to be an apostle or the prophet someday! he knows so much about the gospel. He says he has a photographic memory and i dont doubt it. He makes word for word references to scriptures and general authroity quotes all of the time. and though he knows so much, he is probably the most humble guy i know. He's only been a member for 5 years and it is increadible how much he knows and how strong of a testimony he has. It really is increadible what this gospel can do.

On the line of teachers, we got a new one this week. Hermana Rivas left this week and is going to have her baby soon. It was sad to see her go because she was a really great teacher and we all loved her. on her last day we all got her a shirt from the bookstore (we had very limited options for presents) i chose out a tshirt that had "stripling Warriors" then a picture of these really ripped nephite guys, then the subtitle "mammas boys" I thought it was fitting because shes going to become a mom soon and it was just a funny shirt. OUr new teacher is Hermana Tate. She is 23 and goes to byu though she wont tell us too much or just hasnt told us much about herself yet. Shes the youngest of like 10 kids or something like that though. She is a great teacher and cares a lot about us and has a great testimony. Her lessons have been good so far and we will grow to love her i know. And as i'm writting i think i'm repeating last week. she has a theta accent, but its bothering us less and less and shes kind of switching a little though she says she doesnt want to lose it.

Spanish is coming along. I am relearning a lot of the tenses and trying to get it all down. I can teach a simple lessons, i can bare testimoy, i can pray, i can do some pretty good small talk, and i have now memorized the first vision and a few articles of faith.

For my message this week I want to share a little about music. Last night in a devotinal both the speakers talked about the importance of hymns. Hymns are a so special and truly are as it says in D&C 25:12 (google it), taht they are a prayer to god. I have not had much time to play piano, but we sing about 20 hymns everyday, and usually all of the verses. The fact that they have us take all that time here in the mtc to sing shows how important hymns are. I really have missed playing the piano and guitar and isinging my own songs, but i am happy for the opportunituy i have to sing the hymns. (also i dont know if i've said this yet, but were not allowed to listen to any music at all in the mtc, including church music and motab and everyting, dont know why but oh well). I have had some opportunities to play the piano and next week i think i'm going to be the pianist for our zone because the elder in my district that can play hymns well is leaving to peru mtc next week. Though i can play hymns and make them sound good, i'm not as good at playing whats on the page, so i'll have to practice a little bit so that i can play for people to sing too. Hymns and music is very important to me and to all of us. Wehn we sing hymns or any song we have to think about the words and raelly try to let your testimony out when you sing or think of the songs. Nothing brings the spirit more than a hymn. I find myself constantly with a hymn stuck in my head or humming one. I lay in bed at night and the music doesnt stop. It keeps my mind on what i'm here to do though and i love the spirit that music brings.

I'd also liek to share something from alma 36:1.30 (google it). iN these verses it says the word inasmuch. Inasmuch is a phrase taht in spanish is "al grado" which means to the grade. I can relate this to my work here. I have the ability to be blessed from my heavenly father more than i could possible imagine. As i strive to become the missionary he needs me to be. THis scripture tells me that inasmuch as i do what he says. i'll be bless. This can relate to anything that we do. Inasmuch/to the degree(Grade) i work on my spanish or the lessons, God will bless me with the ability to speak or learn them. This applies to anything and everything that we need help with from the Lord. If we try and work our hardest, we will be blessed.

A sotry taht is kind of funny taht i want to share is from last wednestday. after we went to the temple we came out into thunderstorms. It was pouring dwon rain and after waiting for a while we decided to go back then anyways. WE walked down the street and across the street to the mtc. As we went down the street we could tell taht lots of cars were staring and smiling at us. It was funny becasue we were soaking wet and teh rain got harder as soon as we started walking. Wehn we got back we were all soaked and our suits were way wet, except for elder thompson who for some reason brought a jacket. anyways dont worry mom my suit is fine.

I dont have much time left but i want to thank all of you for you letters and packaes. I appreciate everything you all send and it makes me really happy to hear from you and to know how you are all doing. Dear elders get to me fast, but letters are great to have!

I love you all and again i appreciate all taht you do. I cant say all atht i want in these, the thuirty minute thing is hard so sorry for the scatterbrained and the typos. I love you all and i am so thank ful for you in my life. I hope taht everything goies well for you this week and taht you can all feel the spirit as often as possible. Read the bom as much as you can and really search it for answers. k 30 seconds. i love you and miss you BYE !


Elder smith

Friday, August 6, 2010

Semana Dos- 8/4/10

Hello everyone.
I had an awesome week at the MTC again and had a lot of really great experiences. I wont be able to get them all out because one, its hard to remember everything,and two i dont have enough time to write too much, but i'll see what i can do. I appreciate all of the letters and packages that i got from everyone. It is always really nice to read and find out how you are all doing. It sounds like colton and austin had fun at their camps and that summer is continuing on without me. What merit badges did austin do? I am glad that you are all staying busy and having fun with the nice weather. It has been nice weather here as well, but i'm inside for 95% of the day other than walking to the cafeteria, or to walk to the soccer field.

You asked to explain my day a little better. I thought i explained it pretty well, but i cant remember so i'll do it again. It is different everyday, but i have the same things just at different times. I wake up at 615 620 everyday, then i either have personal study time in my class or gym until breakfast at 815. Then i usually go to class with one of my teachers. Sister Rivas is hawaiian and went on a mission to honduras and speaks really great spanish and english and some hawiian too. She is leaving at the end of this week though because she is going to be having a little baby boy. She took a little while to warm up to us, but she has been a ton of fun lately, but still wont speak any english to us. Our other teacher is Brother Mcpherson. We learned this week that he converted to the church when he was 18. He also served his mission in Honduras and he knows a ton about the gospel. Our new teacher that we are getting went on her mission to spain, meaning she speaks with a theta which is kind of annoying. that means she says hacer like hather. Hopefully we'll get used to it, and she'll try to change a little too. She has taught a few short lessons and seems really excited about teaching us and she has some good methods of teaching as well. I'm going to stop doing to time by time thing now becasue it changes. We usually have about 6 hours of class a day, and 4ish hours of MDT (missionary directed time or study time), one hour of gym, 2 hours of our meals, and then we have an hour or so devotional some nights. Those times arent exact but it gives you a rough estimate. We then are back in our rooms at 930 and i usually get ready for bed, write in my journal, and then am in bed a little before 1030. Though i'm in bed that early, i'm still trying to adjust and i just have a lot going through my head at night that its hard to fall asleep before like 1130, but hopefully i'll adjust cause i need the sleep!

This week was great and i'll share a few highlights. The main highlight would be that this was the first week taht we got to teach in the TRC. That is where we basically go and do role plays and teach people. We had to do 3 contacts in spanish and set up appointments to meet with them in spanish, then we started to teach the first lesson to the last person in spanish, then we had to ask if we could continue in english and then teach the lesson. The fist person we contacted was a native person from ecuador i think. She spoke english too, but her spanish was so fast and with her accent it was really hard to understand her. I didnt understand some of the things, and if my companion didnt either, we would have to aske her to say it agian. It was a nice eye opener that we need to really work hard on the language because that is what it is going to be like all the time in mexico in 2 to 3 months depending on visa stuff. I'm guessing its going to be more around 3, but maybe not. after the contacts we had a really great expericence with the lesson that we taught. We taught the first discussion and i had a lot of opportunities to give my testimony of many things. the best part of the lesson though i thought for me was when i got to bear my testimony about the atonement. The atonement is something that i am very greatful for. I am forever in debt to the savior for suffering for my sins. After i read isaiah 53:3-6 to the investigator i bore my testimony to him and the spirit was so strong in the room. Overal it was a great experience and i'm so excited to do it for real. Afterwords the investigator, who was really a byu student who had gone on a mission to mexico city told us that we did a great job and that he felt the spirit and enjoyed out lesson.

Class and studying has been great this week. i have been able to learn a lot from the scriptures and am learning to really look deep into them. There are so many little things that you dont pick up when you just read the book. I have been trying to read slowly and highlight things that stick out to me and write down my impressions that i get in the margines. IT has helped me to really focus and make the best use out of my time. Spanish wise things are gettting a litttle more fluid. We havent done much more in class, but i am trying to get all of the tenses down adn all of the conjugations of the verbs so taht i can start saying more.

I was able to see josh jones on sunday and a few other times. He seems to be doing great and enjoying the mtc. He is the DL and said he's kind of nervous about it, but i told him not to worry and that he'll do great. He and his companion came and did a door contact to my companion and I, it was good, but it was in english. He'll prob start getting into more spanish soon. I feel like my district is going a lot faster than most which is a good thing.

One funny thing i want to share from class is when a elder in my district asked the teacher if he could just say all the irregular verbs the way he wanted and not pronouns them correctly and the people wouldnt mind. Hermana Rivas responded by writting a scripture on the board. Judges 12:4-6. you should all look it up on google fast cause its really funny, but basically it talks about how a guy misspronouned a word and the people he talked to kiled him and a lot more people. It was funny in the situation that my teacher used it in, but was kind of scary for us., not that i think were going to be killed for mis pronouncing but just that its scary to have to only speak spanish.

Okay i have 5 minutes for my spiritual message so if i cut it short i'm sorry. Last night i was writing in my journal and it was quite and i could hear the second hand on my watch ticking. I had to stop writting and i thought about the significance of time. Time is a blessing that heavenly father has given us. As im on a mission, I'm on the Lords time. In perspective the two years that i will be here and the life that we have on this earth is not very much time at all, but is all too important in determining the rest of eternity. I had a realization that i needed to always use my time (the lords time now) the best that I can. If i waste time, i miss the chance to better myself and potentially i miss out on being able to help that one extra person that extra little bit. If ye are prepared ye shall not fear. I am going to really try to focus this week and the rest of my mission and to never waste the Lords time that i have.

Alright thats all i have time for. I have about a minute left. I just want to say how much I love and appreciate all of you. You are all such great examples to me in my life. Thank you for all of the letters and packages that you have all sent to me. It really does mean a lot to get those things and i really appreciate it. The MTC is so amazing and the spirit is so strong here. I love this gospel so much and i own everything to it. I hope taht you all can do something to try and better yourself this week, and i hope to hear from you soon. I love you all!


Elder Bradley Smith