Firstly, My pday is being changed to wednesdays now. and i will have district meeting and get mail on thursdays so that will be different as well just so you all know.
Hello everyone! the last week here has been so great and I am loving it here in good old Salt Lake City South mission. Right now i'm still in Taylorsville. Dad you asked about where i'm living and my companions. I thought I did that in my last email but i cant remember. There is Elder Carr and Elder Pence who are assigned to this mission who have been out one year and 4 months. Elder carr is from Arkansas and Elder Pence is from Iowa. They are both great missionaries. I switch off which on of them I am with each day, and then sometimes I also go out with the other Elder in our Companionship, Elder Thomas. He is a visa waiter like me waiting to go to the Tuxla Gutierez mission in mexico. That is the mission right below me. We live with a member but dont really see him to much. It is a Spanish guy and his wife. We live in their basement but it is very nice because it has its own entry, kitchen, bathroom, livingroomish thing, and two bedrooms. It is not the best place in the world, but is perfectly great for missionaries and we arent there too much anyways. We live a few miles outside of our area so we have to bike in about 15 minutes each day, but a few times this week we've had to walk it which takes a long time. Elder Pence and Elder Carr had their own bikes and then there are just two others at the house from missionaries who left, then one torn apart bike that we use for parts and then one bike with everything but pedals. Tuesday night the bike that I ride got stolen. We are now locking all of the bikes up. It was odd that they stole mine though because though it was the most shiny, it was also the wost bike, but it was probably the easiest to grab or something idk. So anyways later today I am going to try to switch the pedals from our parts bike to the bike that needs pedals and use that hopefully. Also side not to dad. Good job on your golfing. We went golfing last pday and just did 9 holes. I started doing pretty well though and got 4 pars. I got pars on the first two holes then just scattered. It was fun though, even though it was really hot. October first it hit 90 degrees which tied the record for hottest day in october, and now since conference is over we have to wear suites everyday. Today its been pretty cloudy and stormy so it isnt bad, but it might get worse later this week and be way hot.
This week was so great and we are getting a lot of work done, and we also had general conference, which has an interesting story of its own. The first experience I want to talk about is with one of our investigators named Angeles. One night me and Elder Carr were over at her house teaching her and her daughter Diana. WE decided to read Alma 32 with her this visit and talk about faith. We did so and most of the lesson was done by Elder Carr because Brittany, Angeles' 3 year old girl was trying to play with me the whole time. It was fine, but i just couldnt really pay attention at all. Then at one point in the lesson I felt the atmosphere change, and it became much more serious. Angeles had a date for baptism for Oct 9 (now the 15th or 16th) and she needed to move out of her boyfriend and father of her childrens house. She doesnt have a job or much money right now and she explained how she didnt know if she could do it. At this moment I then realized that i had understood everything that had happened in the 20-30 min conversation that had occurred up to this point. This was a first for me and this is all while being heavily distracted by a little girl. I felt like I needed to say something even though I didnt know what would come out or if I could explain what needed to be explained. I began to speak and related her problem with the scriptures that we had read at the beginning of the lesson about faith. I talked about how we have to have faith to get through trials and always rely on our savior jesus christ. I told her that i knew that it was hard, and i didnt know how she felt, but that christ did, and knows that she could do it, and i knew that she could do it. I told her how much faith I saw in her and what a great example she was to me. I then talked about how it took faith and how it was a hard thing to come out on a mission. It is a lot of time, money, energy, I had to leave my family and my friends and the people that i loved to come out to work for two years. It was hard, but i have already received so many blessing that make up for everything. Teaching this lesson was one of those blessings. I felt the spirit work through me and I felt it so strongly. When I was finished I looked up and she had tears in her eyes. She understood everything that I had said, and she then said that she had faith and she needed to exercise that faith by moving, and she knew that she could do it and that the lord would help her. This last night, after many struggles of trying to find her a place to live that worked, she told us that she is going to move in with her friend tomorrow and that she would be ready to be baptized with her daughter and two other of our investigators (Celia and Alejandro) on the 15th. She also explained to us that when she was sad, she would used to go smoke a cigarro, but that the night before she made a promise to never do it again. It is so amazing to see her growth and I am so excited for her.
I've had the opportunity to start to teach a family and to give them baptismal dates. it started out with a broken lesson to a girl named Neeli (19) who has a little girl. Then the next time we showed up, her mother (angelica) was there and was very excited about us. then the next time we showed up the dad (jesus) and neeli's boyfriend (Abram) were there. We taught them all up to the 2nd lesson and gave them all a date to be baptized on october 30th. It was so great. I am not sure so much about Abram though but Angelica is way great and explained the scripture assignment that we gave her in great detail without even refreshing at all. I am excited to keep teaching them. We have an appointment with them later tonight.
On Friday night we had the baptism of the Depaz family. It was amazing! I played the piano for the hymns, and there were three of them who got baptized. Maria, one of the daughters decided she didnt want to so we'll keep working with her. It was such a cool experience. When they went down into the water and came back up they all looked so happy, and the whole time i felt the spirit so strong and just had the biggest smile on my face ever! I had the opportunity to teach them a few times, but I didnt really have anything to do with their getting baptized so I am excited for some of the people that I have worked with more to get baptized as well. I love it!
Conference was crazy. Saturday we went over to a members and watched it and he made us good food and told us cool stories from his mission and NSA work. Then sunday morning was when I was assigned to go. I got a ride to the trax station and there were no other missionaries there. So i got on with some members (an old couple from Sweden) and rode with them. I got to the conference center and still no other missionaries. so i took this couple with me to the willcall to get a ticket and they told me that my mission president should have my ticket. So i then went through a series of frantic calls. I couldnt go back home by myself, I didnt have a ticket to get in, and i didnt have any other missionaries around me. I called my companions, then the Zone leaders, then another Elder, then the Zoneleaders again, then the Assistant to the President. I found out that my district leader had told me the wrong day to go and that I was supposed to go saturday morning not sunday. I was a little mad at him because this was a very stressful situation. I eventually got in contact with the group from my mission going to conference and met up with them about an hour after gettting to the conference center (they were really late), then they had an extra ticket luckily for me to get it, but since they were late, we had to sit at the very top. I havent had the best luck with trying to get into conference. When I went with Elise last April, we tried to go, but accidentally waited in the wrong line and then ended up not getting in even though we had tickets. At the end of conference I was walking out and then Claire and Michael Jeanfreau walk right up the stairs next to me. it was cool to see them and talk to them for a bit and it seems like they are doing great. For some reason it wasnt quite as awkward as with chelsea and sierra. It might have been because I am now back in the real world, or that michael was a guy and there and there werent a thousand other missionaries around me judging me haha. Anyways it is always fun to see people you know. Conference was amazing and i really learned a lot. I wont share too much, just one quote that I really liked. It was in Elder Scotts talk and was "We become who we want to become, by consistently being who we want to become each day" This is something that I try to be as a missionary. I want to be the missionary that the lord needs me to be, and so I pray to try and know what that is and try to be the best I can be and grow as much as possible each day.
It is so great here in the mission, and I am able to learn so much. I am getting a lot of help from the Lord and am starting to understand more and more and be able to explain myself better in Spanish each day. I am excited to continue to serve and to see the changes that the gospel brings about in peoples lives. I love you all and miss you, and hope that you all have an excellent week and are accomplish everything that you set out to do.
Elder Bradley Smith