Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Letter to Katie - Sept 3rd

Dear Katie,

Yes, I am adjusting just fine to Cleveland. It was actually a pretty smooth adjustment for me to get used to Cleveland. It reminds me a lot of Downtown Salt Lake City. Just dirtier. Also, the streets that run East-West never have numbers, just names. It has been tough for me to try to memorize where all the streets are in my area.

Yep, the last few weeks of doing no teaching and all finding are starting to pay off. We have a few people who might be interested enough to progress more. While we've been tracting I've noticed something: most people seem willing to talk to us once we say the word "Jesus", but not too many of them understand what we are talking about. They just nod their heads, smile and say "Amen!" and "I love Jesus!". So I have not yet had a door slammed in my face, but few people seem to comprehend anything more than "Jesus loves you".

It is indeed a blessing to have temples all around you. I am realizing that more and more now that I won't be able to go to the temple for 2 years. (I did get to go to the School of the Prophets in the N.K. Whitney store at the start of my mission and will be able to return there at the end of my mission. It is a temple where endowments have been given, revelation recieved, and where Jesus Christ has appeared.)

It sounds like everybody loved the dedication. Presidents Uchtdorf and Monson are a great combination, I love both of their talks. Unfortunately we were not able to watch the dedication; we had to be about our Father's business. Which is a good thing, of course.

Thank you for your prayers. Please keep them coming. Even though I have only been here a short time, the Lord has really started showing me my weaknesses.

Helaman 13 is a great chapter. (although you guys will probably be in 3 Nephi by the time you recieve this letter. 3 Nephi is my favorite book in the Book of Mormon.) It really illustrates that the more we have been given to know about the gospel, the more responsibility we have to live by its principles and share it with others. I'm not sure if it was Joseph Smith, but one of the latter-day prophets has said that riches and pride will be one of the greatest stumbling blocks for the saints in the last days. Sometimes I wonder if we who have been born into the church truly realize the importance and eternal magnitude of the gifts that we have been given. Are we like the man in Matt 13:45-46 who after finding a "Pearl of great price" (the gospel) gave all that he had to get it, or are we more like the man in Matt 19:21-22, who when asked to forsake the world and follow Christ, was not willing to pay the price?

Good job on your Scripture reading! 5:30 a.m. is really early, but keep it up! You are coming up on some really good parts. I especially like 3 Nephi 10 and 11. They really "bring it all together" for me.

Elder Smith