Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Email from 2/22/10


Before I forget, my new address is:

Elder Matthew Smith
3309 S. Arlington Apt. 28
Toledo, OH 43614

Please send mail to that address until further notice.

I'm glad the baptisms were so good. I think it is way cooler to hear about baptisms when you are on your mission for some reason. (2 cousins got baptized Saturday - Lauren & Sadie)

Sorry you got bucked off, Cody. Lady really is a bad horse. We should probably sell her and get a horse that is more like Candy. Hey dad, what is a Tennessee Foxtrotter? A less active lady in this ward likes horses and hers is a foxtrotter. (Note: Cody just jumped off Lady when he got a little frightened at her behavior.)

The weather has been really nice here - sunny and warm with very few clouds. Until last night when it started snowing again. What a disappointment - I thought we were getting into spring already.

No, we did the shoveling on normal working days. We would just go tracting but instead of talking about the restoration, we would just ask if we could shovel their driveways. We were able to go back and teach a couple people from it, but nothing really came out of it.

Our district is awesome! It's me and Elder Ehlert (who is awesome, hardworking, positive, obedient, diligent, humble, etc) and Elder Farmer (from my MTC district) and his rock-on companion Elder Robison who are in our ward. Also in our district is the Toledo 2nd ward - Elder Talbot (our DL) who is really cool. His companion is Elder Allen, who used to be in my district in Cleveland. Also the ZLs, Elders Page and Hamilton are cool. Our ward is pretty much the same as in cleveland.

Unfortunately the work is still going pretty slow and we're not having much outward success but were working hard and loving it. I have to go like right now so I'll write you a letter and talk more.

Bro. and Sis. Smith from our ward are here in the family history center at the stake center and they say 'hi' (He must have emailed from the family history center at the stake center.)

Elder Matthew Smith

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Short E-mail and Letter to Diane's Family


Happy Valentines Day!

Sorry I have to be hurried today, but this library closes soon and I have to get off to let another elder email in his weekly report and write his family before it closes. I'm doing good and we've had a pretty good week. Nobody came to church, but we already have commitments from a couple people to come this coming Sunday. We're tracting a lot and we've found a couple people who seem to have potential. Happy baptism day to Lauren and Sadie.

Love, Elder Smith

Dear Diane, Randy & kids,

Well, that nice early spring we were enjoying in Cleveland is either over or doesn't stretch as far as Toledo. We just had a big snowstorm the other day, and are scheduled to get another 6" - 12" tomorrow. Yahoo.

You've probably read on the blog already that I have been transferred to a new area and companion. This area (Toledo - Southland) is pretty much a carbon copy of my last area - a small walking area in the heart of the city, a ward full of medical students, NO investigators from previous missionaries, etc.

So we had a pretty exciting experience at church yesterday. This lady came from New Jersey to get a heart procedure done at the hospital in our area. She was at church yesterday and of course she asked for a blessing. After Sacrament we were walking with her to a classroom so we could administer to her. We opened the class room door, walked in, and as she was coming in the doorway she passed out and collapsed on the floor. I guess she picked the right ward in which to collapse, because those doctor students flocked to her like fat kids to cake.

Yes, smoking is pretty nasty. I had hoped that it was only in Cleveland that everybody smoked, but it looks like it might just be everyone in Ohio, because everybody here in Toledo seems to smoke as well. Too bad.

---continued later that eventing---

Whew! I just got back from a couple hours of walking through the snow and shoveling driveways and my socks are soaked! We need a fireplace at our apartment!

Well, I hope everything is going well for you guys. As always, thanks so much for your support.

Elder Smith

Monday, February 8, 2010

He's in Toledo

Laurent Neu is in MOTAB!!!!!!!! Awesome! I know that guy!

Hello all,

Well, my new companion is Elder Ehlert. He is from Orem, Utah, and he likes shooting. He's pretty cool and he's a good teacher. I am already enjoying serving with him. We are serving in the Toledo 1st ward in the Toledo, Ohio stake. The Toledo 1st ward is a student ward with a whole lot of medical students. (where have I heard this before?) Our area is called "Southland". It is a really small biking area (sound familiar?) and it covers downtown Toledo and the West side of Toledo. (sound familiar again?) It is pretty much like West Cleveland except for there is no rapid and we don't get bus passes. (There's not much public transportation here, I guess.) Also, like when I arrived in Cleveland, we don't really have any solid investigators. (dejavu, anyone?) Not to worry, though: we've been fasting hard, praying hard, and working hard, so we'll find people soon. Elder Farmer from my MTC district is serving in this ward as well, and we get to see eachother like every day since the members usually feed both companionships together. That is pretty cool. We have a lot of really cool elders in our district.

I don't think we can go back to old areas to see baptisms.

Packing stuff up was'nt too hard. I sent a package home with a bunch of stuff, mostly letters, that I couldn't fit. I had accumulated a few things. Yes, my bike went with me.

It sounded like the super bowl had an exciting ending, considering all the shouting from the apartment above us.

I think I've said this before, but isn't it so cool how everybody is going on missions?

That's cool that the swim teams are doing good. Sorry about the roof. What is a stake womens' conference? (hmmm...I thought about it for a minute and I guess its probably a conference for women in the stake...kind of a self-explanatory name. How often do they hold them?

That's cool that Peyton's friend got baptized. Is this the same one you talked about Peyton inviting to activity days a few months ago? Were there many nonmembers at the baptism?

So what is this Kyle guy to whom Crystal is engaged like? What is his daughter like? When you say that Dad says she loved riding Lady are you implying that she didn't really love it and Dad was mistaken?

Sweet! You're finally getting your Book Cliffs elk tag? You've been waiting years for this! You must be so excited to practice shooting and stuff. No, I don't have any advice on sharpshooting, but you might consider asking Delaney.

Well, I'm glad Delaney is taking so many advanced classes. I hope she can keep up with them all. Does she get AP recess? Just remember, it is not necessary for a man to run faster than he is able. Sorry no one at your school is friendly, Delaney. Maybe you should have picked a better school to go to...

Thanks in advance for the package. Actually, now the mission wants you to send stuff to our apartment address, but it's okay to send them to the mission home as well. Unfortunately, I can't remember what zip code we are in, so I'll get that information to you next week.

Good job reading scriptures and going to the temple. Being a missionary sure gives some perspective on prayer and scripture reading, considering how hard we try to convince people to do them, and how devastated we are when they don't. They are missing out on so many blessings, and they don't even realize it.

NO, you most definitely did NOT tell me that Bro. Neu made MoTab! Thanks for telling me now, though. I can't wait for conference!

That's exciting that Cody's eagle project is getting underway.

What are you hoping dad gets you for V-day? He already reloaded 100 7mm shells. What more do you want?

I'm good, the food's good, it's all good.

Love, Elder Smith

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

They Found Mike!


Thanks everyone for the torrent of letters!!

Sorry your week was uneventful. It sounds like the kids got quite the deal with the Cafe Rio meal, though. $1 per minute = $60 per hour. Divided among 3 kids that makes $20 per hour. Not bad at all - they're regular tycoons.

I received Grandma's letter and package. Please tell her thanks for me, and that I enjoyed the cookies and candy. I'll write back as well - I'm getting smart and typing letters on P-day now, it's much faster than writing.

Wow, Delaney is applying for scholarships? That's pretty cool. To quote a man in our ward (talking about his wife) "She's so grown up!". I wish I thought about scholarships when I was a sophomore. I'm so excited for her to get her patriarchal blessing, too.

It's really cool to see recent converts and recently activated members in our ward doing the same things as people are doing back home - going to the temple, getting patriarchal blessings, reading the scriptures, etc. By the way, how are the family scripture study and prayers going? We've been teaching a less-active family and been trying SOOO HARD to get them to have family prayers because we know what a blessing it would be for them, but they struggle a lot. It makes me sad. I realize a lot more as a missionary how important the "small and simple things" are. Are you still going to the temple often?

OK-update on investigators - it's been a great week -

Tasha - is who I am most excited about. She doesn't smoke, which is a novel thing in this area. We committed her to be baptized on February 27th, and she not only accepted, but is really excited about it. She came to church on Sunday with her daughter and her niece. Plus, she has a friend who goes to the singles ward on the East Side who has been doing an amazing job of fellowshipping her. I think Tasha is what you call a "Golden Investigator" - She has kept every commitment we have given her to read the Book of Mormon, and has read more on the side. She came to church and she and her daughter loved it. She is excited to get baptized. She understands everything we teach, asks insightful questions, writes down questions for us between visits, and feels the Spirit. We basically couldn't ask for more. It's just too bad we can't get married on our missions. (just kidding)

Tim - hasn't smoked for 4 days straight now! We've been visiting or calling him briefly every day and that has helped a lot, I think. Even more helpful has been Brother Branch, who is great friends with Tim and really loves him and wants the best for him. Elder Pickett and his greenie will have to push his baptism date back, but as long as he keeps not smoking he will be able to get baptized soon.

Brenda - has said that she's seen a lot more answers to her prayers since she started reading the Book of Mormon and she feels like it's true when she prays about it! The next step for her is to quit smoking, but she doesn't feel like she can do it, so we've been talking about prayer and how the Lord can help us through our trials. I know that she can, and I know that God knows that she can - now we have to help her realize that she knows she can.

So guess what? We found Mike! Finally, the very week that I leave Cleveland, we found him! An appointment had fallen through so we decided to tract nearby. We prayed about where we should tract and felt prompted to move a couple streets over, so we did. We knocked on Mike's door and he was open to learning about the Book of Mormon. We set up a return appointment and he was there a couple days later as well (which doesn't happen that often). He said he will read the Book of Mormon and pray about it.

In summary, this area is on fire now, when it used to be dead. I am pretty sure that Elder Pickett and his companion will see baptisms this month, so I am really excited for them! He and I have seen amazing blessings these past few weeks and it has really been a testimony builder for me to see so many tender mercies poured out upon us. It is also interesting to take an introspective look at myself and realize how much I care for the people we are teaching - how excited I am when they progress and how disappointed I am when they don't do things that I know will bring them blessings.

Thanks for everyone who has been praying for me, Elder Pickett, and our investigators. Obviously it's working, so keep it up!

Unfortunately, I found out yesterday that I am being transferred and Elder Pickett is training a new missionary here. So I will miss the baptisms, but I am still excited to find out where and with whom I will be serving.

Yeah, I agree that these six months have gone by way fast.

Per your questions, I have not emailed any friends on missions - a review of the white handbook said we should only email immediate family. I did send snail mail letters to a few, though. Transfers are tomorrow. We are getting fed very well. There's nothing I really need or want that I don't already have. Actually yes there is - could you send more garments please? You know the kind I like.

Tell Fred & Louise thanks again for me as well, please.

I love you!
Elder Smith