Tuesday, September 1, 2009

August 31st Letter

Hello everyone!

I already wrote a letter, but I didn't get to send it until this morning, so even though I wrote the letter first and this email second, you will get this email first and the letter second. Weird. I am sorry if I totally repeat myself or don't make sense. Included in the letter is the SD card I have been using, so you can see the pictures I took of the MTC and the first week or so here. Isn't it awesome that just about everyone I know is leaving or has already left on their missions? I was sad to hear that Jason might be going home, but he said if he did go home they would leave the door open for him to come back so that is good.
Lucky Delaney, getting early morning seminary! Is Bishop Taylor going to be her teacher? That would be really cool if he was. I'll bet you are really excited to hear Cody practicing his percussion.

Yes, I got the package with the pants and SD card, thank you. They fit just fine. The other SD card is on the way in the mail.
Hahaha...Penny is very funny to watch when Dad comes home from a trip! What do you mean she isn't the smartest dog in the world? Everyone falls down the stairs now and then. What other dog is smarter than her? Certainly not Bo!

Good job on reading Jesus the Christ, it is super good. I just wish I had more free time in which to read it.

How come you guys start getting all the nice clay pigeon throwers and pellet guns and antelope hunts AFTER I leave? Next thing I know, Cody and Dad will probably be Caribou hunting in Alaska! Hahaha, obviously Mom wrote this letter.

Good luck antelope hunting, send me some jerky or steak or something. I would never have thought to wash meat with laundry soap, but whatever works, I guess. Good luck with baseball, Cody, I hope you win a game or two! What position will you be playing? 1st? Did you see the Rockies win that game where they were losing in the bottom of the 14th inning and they won it with a grand slam? (Our district was eating at a restaurant and it was showing on this HUGE TV right in front of me, I couldn't help but watch.) Have fun annoying the heck out of Mom and Dad with your percussion set.

I am doing OK for 'stuff' right now. I will need the liner of the coat pretty soon. I have plenty of ties, and if not I can always take some of Elder Marini's; he has about a bazillion ties and he would probably never notice. Also, is it possible to change the PIN number of the Mtn. America debit card to a different number if I mail the number I want it to be to you? I would rather it be the same as the PIN of my missionary debit card so don't get all mixed up.
Thank you for your work on getting my paycheck. You payed the tithing for the last few paychecks that I wrote down for you, right?

Yeah, I am getting a little better at speaking black. I guess it actually has an official name for the language: "Ebonics". Also, we finally got to teach some lessons! Yes, when we eat at a member's house we share a short spiritual thought. We switch off who does the thought, and if two companionships are there (Parma eats with us a lot) (Parma is our neighboring area; we usually refer to Elders Carter and Leake as "Parma", Elders Waterman and Brown as "Strongsville", and Sisters Frisch and Grimnes as "North Royalton". Thus we say, "We're meeting Parma for dinner", "North Royalton is calling us.", or "Strongsville will pick us up at the rapid station.") (Our district is made up of 6 elders and 2 sisters.)

Something strange about Cleveland (among many other things) is that just about everyone seems to have a stone goose. Have you ever seen that anywhere else? I guess it is just a Cleveland thing. When we are tracting or visiting people, we pass little stone goose statues everywhere. They are between 1 and 2 feet tall, grey, and they are usually dressed up in some humorous fashion. Even the mission office (which is in our area, which is nice) has two stone geese sitting inside of it. They are dressed in white shirts and have nametags: Elder Hendricks and Elder Bushnell (the APs).

Yesterday (Sunday) was the 5th Sunday so our ward had a combined priesthood and relief society thing in the chapel. It was about members participating in missionary work, and it was really good. In our ward, every family is supposed to develop a "family mission plan", which is like the ward mission plan, but tailored to each family. That is something we ask about when we go over to dinners. I think they are a really good idea. So the ward mission leader (who is a really cool, hard-working guy, by the way) talked about those for a while and had a couple share their family mission plan and how they came up with it, then President Sorensen spoke about members being necessary to missionary work and about following the Spirit and it was really good. Does our home ward have a ward mission plan? If we do, I have never heard of it, but here in Cleveland it is something they are always talking about. My letter that you haven't received yet says that you should check this email to find out about the two people who said they would come to sacrament, but neither of them showed unfortunately. At least this week we had some people who might come, last week we had nothing. We have some people we are teaching now, too, which is a big improvement over when I got here. If anyone would like to pray for people by name, you can pray for Moses, Mark, Tenika, and Jim (and Elder Marini and me, of course).

Oh Mom, I met that guy you met at the funeral. His name is Trevor Haines, I think. He walked up to me after sacrament and said "I know it's a long shot, but your grandpa wouldn't be Rex Wilson, would he?" I said, "no" and walked away. Just kidding. He said he talked to you at the funeral and so we are like third cousins four times removed or something. He said he might feed us, too, so good job on getting a meal for me.
You have fed the missionaries? Good for you. Was I there? Was it here in Utah or somewhere else? In Utah is there like a 6 month waiting list to sign up to feed the missionaries?

I finished the Book of Mormon again during Personal Study this morning. I don't have it with me right now, but I really liked a few verses in one of the last chapters of Moroni- probably 7, 8, 9, or 10, where it says that God is still a God of miracles and that angels still minister on the earth. Then it said that the calling of angels was to proclaim the gospel, warn the people, and prepare for His second coming. I thought, wow, that is kind of like what our calling is.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed letters, snacks, money, or prayers to my mission! I really appreciate it and I love you all.

Love, Elder Smith