Wednesday, December 23, 2009

E-mail from 12/22/09

Merry Christmas everyone!!

So we have a shortened P-day today so we can email and then Christmas will be a P-day too. Important things first: I will probably be calling sometime around 7:00pm or so, Cleveland time, depending on how long Elder Wayment stays on the phone with his family. If I am correct, that would be 5:00pm Utah time. Yes, of course I am excited to talk to you guys.

We found transfer information yesterday. Elder Pickett and I are both going to stay here in Cleveland. We will also be getting a new companion, Elder Wayment, in a triple-up for two weeks until he goes home. He is going home a couple weeks early to go to school. Elder Bready, one of the spaniards in our district, is being transferred, and we will find out who Elder Baxter's new companion is tomorrow.

Good job Peyton, Delaney and Cody on your musical, dancing, and scientific talent and prowess. I'm sure you did great. I would have loved to hear Praise to the Man on violin. We just had the "praise to the man" lesson in priesthood also and it was really good. Our ward was pretty sparse Sunday as well - most of the students have gone home for the holidays now that their finals or mid-terms (depending on what year of school they are in) are over.

Hannah's wedding sounds like it was really nice. I don't think I've ever been in the Oquirrh Temple while it was dedicated. It seems to me like sending a son (or daughter) on a mission would be tougher since you can't call except for twice per year, but I don't know either. You'll have to tell me when you find out.

So at Cody's concert was it a whole orchestra and he played drums, or is he on a drumline or did percussion do something by itself or what? I don't think I fully understand what he does other than bang on drums loudly.

Thanks for getting me Eric's email. I asked about his mission because if I know the mission I can find out his mailing address. Thanks also for Nate's mission. Is there more than one mission in the Czech Republic? I think Jordan is in the Utica, NY mission, right? How about Jacob VanWagoner? I can't believe he's on a mission! I can't believe I'm on a mission! I take that back-yes I can. Even though I've only been out for 5 months it already seems like all I've ever known. I wonder what it will feel like when I've been out for another year?

I'm not sure where we will be calling from, but we will be eating brunch at the Lights (same place we had Thanksgiving dinner) and we have been invited to the mission home as well. We will probably stop by the Youngs sometime as well.

I got to go on exchanges with Elder Baxter (Spaniard) this past week. That was pretty fun to be able to talk and teach in Spanish. I could understand every single word HE said (he's a gringo), but the rest of the investigators we talked to varied from very clear and easy to understand to very slurred and low and hard to comprehend.

Good luck with your talk on Sunday, Dad. I would love to be able to hear all the talks given by the missionary dads-I know I've heard those types of talks before, but I definitely have a new perspective now. It's kind of like the talks given about the need to prepare for a mission-you pay a lot more attention to them after you arrive in the mission field and realize that everyone else knows the scriptures like the back of their hand and you have got some catching up to do. I think I was pretty well prepared, but I definitely could have done better.

You mentioned that I should have enough faith to move a mountain. If it was the Lord's will, I'm sure I could, but that's because mountains don't have agency. However inconvenient it may be, people DO have agency. Half of me wants to wish that I could just faith away people's Word of Wisdom challenges - and certainly faith and prayers of their own and on their behalf can help them along the way - but they have to use their agency as well, and I am sure it is still very hard.

I sent home the SD card in a letter; you should be getting it soon (or maybe I sent it last week and you already got it, I can't remember). I think I received all the packages you mentioned and some letters as well. Please say thank you to all my cousins for the letters and pictures they wrote. That was really nice and brightened up my day a ton. Thanks. The same goes to the cub scouts, their card was very thoughtful.

It hasn't snowed that much, actually. I think we've only got an inch or less on the ground right now. The weather has been pretty mild all week.

We got to go caroling to some active and less active members of the ward last night. That was pretty fun. A member with a huge van took us, the Parma elders (neither of them are being transferred, by the way), and some ward members. That was a lot of fun and very Christmas-y.

We have a new investigator, Brenda, who is pretty cool. She had been taught by the elders in the neighboring Lakewood ward and moved into our area. I guess she has come to church before also. Unfortunately, like every single one of our other investigators, I think she smokes. Tim and Barbara and Destiny are all good. Tim had surgery for a hernia the other day and is still pretty knocked out with pain pills so we haven't had too much contact with him this week but we still visit and will start really teaching again probably this week or next week. If you would, please remember him in your prayers that he will be able to recover, and Destiny and Brenda that they will be able to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon's veracity through the manifestations of the Holy Ghost.

Well, I'll talk to you on Friday!

Elder Smith