Okay, so I have a ton of stuff to talk about in this letter and it is going to be sloppy i'm guessing ha. Firstly, I got transfered...Ya i was a little shocked too when I got the call last tuesday night. So for the past week I have been in West Jordan, Utah serving in the Oquirrh and Oquirrh point stakes and we have one spanish ward. From my last area Elder Thomas got transfered (english speaking area) and Elder Carr got transfered as well, and elder pence is staying in the area. I was a little sad. Our area was on fire and we have a lot of baptisms coming up. I missed one for two of our investigators on friday, but they had one here on saturday too, but i didnt know these people too well but it was still amazing. My new companions are Elder Mungia and Elder Brown. Elder Mungia is from Mexico originally but has lived in arizona for 4 years before his mission. He is a convert of just 3 years and goes home at the end of this transfer. He is a great example to me and is a great missionary. Elder Brown was in Elder Pence's Mtc district and so he has been in the field for 3 months. He is from Michigan and is also a great missionary and example to me. Things are a a little different with them. We wake up at 6 everyday and go run. You all know how much I love running...ha but its okay cause we only run for a shortish distance and then get to a park and then elder brown likes to run for a little longer then we go back. Elder mungia and I usually just sit on these benches and look at the stars and talk for a little bit. We also plan really well, and it has been good. We also do one thing every night that I like a lot and would challenge you to all try to do more. Everynight before we go to bed we share a scripture on faith and then give eachother a compliment of what we noticed that the other two companions did well that day. The first night we did it I thought it was a little bit weird, but I have grown to love it and appreciate it and it really helps strengthen our companionship. I would challenge all of you to just look at all of the people around you (friends and family especially) and give them compliments when you see them or even when you have to come up with them. They make you feel better and they make the other person feel better.
This area is a lot different than my last. My last area was small and all appartments. This area is relatively big and is 100% houses. There's one walmart and then just houses. There's literally not any other store except for like a subway and a chinese restaurant in the same parking lot as walmart. It's weird, but we find people to teach. We have 4 main investigators now. We have a lady named Lupita. She is about 30 and has a son who is almost 8. We have the Soltelos, a couple in their 50s. Jose who is 23 (had his bday yesterday), and then we have Luis who is about 80ish I'd guess. They are all great and I love them and love teaching them. We also go and try and find new investigators a lot. We have a lot of sheets of papers that are from 2005 that had a lot of the spanish people in the area so we have been going and knocking on those. A lot of them have different people, but also a lot of them are still spanish so it works out. Its hard to find people home though, even when we have appointments.
The first day I was here I had the opportunity to give my first blessing in spanish. It was to a little boy who was in his moms arms and crying because he didnt want one haha. It was a little hard to find the words to say, and to rmeember his name and the first part of how to start a blessing. Their names are 4 names long. (first, middle, last, mothers maiden name) and they say their names faster than they say everything else so it just sounds like a;ld;aljgahgk Lopez haha, but I'm getting better. The boy had fallen and had a bunch of bruises all over his face. It was cool to bless him and I knew that the words werent what would fix him anyway so I just tried to bring the spirit and it ended up going better than expected.
With the Soltelos, the sister is having trouble at work because of her boss who bothers her. She says that she just feels angry when shes around her. We have been trying to get her to pray and read and trust in the savior. I've had some very spiritual moments where I've given my testimony about how she can love everyone, and gave a few examples about times when I had trouble with it a little bit. I felt like it helped, but she is still being persistent and is trying to quite now and it is making teaching them harder. she doesnt listen too much and we just end up talking about this problem. We have spent a lot of time trying to plan for our next lesson that we have at 5 tonight. It is durning pday still technically but we wanted to see her soon. We have a really good lesson that we hope will help her, an I am really excited for it. If your read this before then, pray really hard for us and for her to feel the spirit.
Jose is my favorite person we're teaching right now (though I love all of our investigators). He is 23 and has a problem with forgiving himself. He has told us that in his past he lived a life that was really bad. He got married to a mormon girl who I think was inactive at the time, but now we are teaching both of them. He has had mormon friends and missionaries before but nothing. He cant forgive himself. It has been so cool to teach him and see him grow though. I also had the opportunity to give him a baptismal commitment. He said no, for the same reason, but then I asked him to make it a goal to be able to be baptized and that was a little softer for him. Last night was his birthday and my favorite time teaching him. We shared Alma 36 with him. It is when Alma is telling the story of his conversion. We prefaced the story a little bit by saying how alma was really really bad, like as bad as you can get, and then he turned into one of the greatest most powerful missionaries in the scriptures. He was excited and wanted to know how. We went through and read the first 21 verses with him, stopping every 2 or 3 to explain and had them explain what they meant.It made sense to him and i really am excited for him. At the end we gave him some presents. I gave him a picture of Jesus Christ that I had. I wrote something on the back to and I bore my testimony about it. I told him how AMAZING this gospel is for the exact reasons that we'd read about in alma. You can be the worst of the worst and then through christ can be made perfectly clean and free. That is why Christ is so important and central in this gospel. Without him, we are all condemned, but through his we are all saved and given the opportunity to experience more happieness than we can imagine. I also talked about eternal life and families. He has two little boys about 4 and 1 i'd say. I am so excited for him to fully change and be baptized!
Luis is a man whose family (daughters family) are recent converts of a year. We have taught him, and he really reads the scriptures and understands a lot. Lessons with him are great and this last time we met with him, I got to commit him to baptism and this time he said YES! It was way cool and I felt the spiit very strongly. He was unsure about the date that we gave him (oct 31), but he said he would pray and ask, and he meant it. He has really strong faith and I feel the spirit evertime I'm at his house.
Lupita is about 30 and has a 7 year old boy who turns 8 in 2 months. She has roughtly commited to being baptized when he turns 8 which is amazing, but we are working with her on a lot. This last week we had a fast with her that she would be able to talk to her boss and ask for sundays off so that she could come to church and also keep the sabbath day holy. Last night or two nights ago we also taught the word of wisdom. She brought up that she had smoked two cigarros in the last two days and we talked to her about that. She then told us the story that her son didnt like that she smoked and that he thew away her cigarettes. It was funny because right after that I had an impression to share a scripture we'd prepared for Jose but didnt use and then Elder Mungia talked to her and just said "Elder Smith has a scripture he'd like to share with you" and we both got the same prompting. I shared Helaman 15 about the lamanites burrying their weapons because they feared sin and because of their great faith in christ. We commited her to throw out her cigarettes and to also put in their place in her purse a picture of the Savior.
On sunday I also had the opporturnity to take part in the confirmations of Edith and Jasmin (the two that got baptized on saturday). It was a great experience. and I felt the spirit very strongly especially when the words were said "receive the holy ghost".
I love being here on my mission and I am so blessing in many many ways. I have a ton t say and so many amazing experiences but I will leave it there, you can all read my journal later ha. I love you all and miss you very much. Thank you for all of you who sent me letters. I always appreciate it and it brightens my day. Thank you for all of your love and support. Continue to read and pray and to build your testimonies and share the gospel and you will be able to have the same joy that I have here. Have a great next week.
Elder Bradley Smith