Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Letter from July 27

Dear Family,

Hello everybody! I received your hump day pckage with excitement today and am pleased to report that it wasn't half bad. It looks like a lot of effort went into it - thanks very much to all who contributed. It means a lot.

Lo siento for an unacceptable short email on Monday. P-day got a little intense. We started out with a zone service project - we went shopping for supplies for the mission office, which was broken into last week. (ONLY in the Kirtland zone would you ever find missionaries going shopping, of all things, for a service project!) After that, the elders in the zone (all 8 of us) stuck around at the stake center to play some sports since none of us had been able to afford to use the miles to go to zone p-days recently. So we played dodgeball (in the pitch dark of the cultural hall - it was super fun!) and indoor soccer. The soccer game got pretty intense and we kept on going for 'just fifteen more minutes'. We all had a lot of pent-up energy from a month without any sports on p-days. After that we shopped and went to an early appointment who hadn't been able to meet with us any time except during p-day. Then we emailed briefly, and now here I am writing about it. Kind of a long spiel about p-day...oh well.

Last week was transfer week. Sorry I forgot to give you some heads up that transfers was coming up. Elder O'Donley and I are both staying here in Perry. (as are all the other elders in the zone-none of the elders were transferred. The guidelines from the brethren are that missionaries should be transferred as infrequently as possible.) As for the rest of my districe, Sister Carter and her greenie sister Hill both stayed in their area; Sister Golightly's two companions got transferred and she got a new greenie named Sis. Decker (which, coincidentally, was also the name of one of her companions last transfer.); and Sister Lee got a new greenie named Sister Maughn. So basically, half of my district is green. I guess going green is the popular thing to do these days anyways.

Well, we had a really awesome week this past week. A couple highlights:

-Two Saturdays ago we took Steven on a tur of the Kirtland sites between Bro. Andres' baptism and the Kirtland play. Siss. Golightly, Wirig, and Decker gave us a tour and it was a really powerful spiritual experience for everybody. This was emphasized last week as we asked Steven to give the closing prayer at the end of the first lesson we had with him after that tour. He prayed with a lot of faith, sincerity, and gratitude to Heavenly Father for allowing him to be where the prophet had been and see even more evidence that Joseph Smith really was a prophet. It was so cool to hear him pray like that. (He's had a lot of very heartfelt, uplifting prayers with us in the past as well.)

-Roleplaying is the key to revelation. One day last week we were preparing during our studies to teach the Elliots. As we roleplayed the lesson we had planned to teach them, it was flat and something just didn't feel right. So, we knelt down and sought further guidance about what to teach them. After our prayer we both felt the distinct impression that we needed to teach them the law of tithing. We had tried to teach them about tithing a couple weeks ago and it didn't go very well. Even though we had a member with us and invited the Spirit, they weren't willing to commit. But, we felt impressed to reteach the principle so we followed the prompting. We taught them again about tithing and this time they were ready. They had prayed about it and felt that it was the right thing to do. I am grateful that the Lord let us know exactly what they needed to hear that day and that we were in tune enough to recognize and follow that prompting.

So yeah, last week was inspiring. There's been a lot of miracles happening in our area and elsewhere. I've been having my district report every week on some of the miracles they've seen and that is very inspirational as well. It sounds like y'all have had a good week as well. There was lots of exciting news and I was glad to hear that no one ended up in the hospital from the family reunion this year. Funny story - our stake and the Cleveland stake had their pioneer trek last week. It was super hot and humid and the youth started, for lack of a better phrase, dropping like flies. They didn't walk the last day because the hospital told them that if one more person got sent in they were going to notify CPS and file charges against the church. I'm glad our trek was a little less realistic than theirs.

So we've been teaching members about member missionary work recently and the other day we roleplayed with a member couple how they could invite one of their friends to hear the gospel. It was a pretty cool experience. I'm sure you've been working diligently to find some referrals for the sister missionaries back home.

How has teh hometeaching been going? Have you tried teaching the PMG lessons yet? I can't think of anything that would better help Cody prepare for missionary service than following the smae process missionary companionships use to prepare to teach: planning, personal study, companion study, teaching, and companionship inventory. (Unfortunately, you don't really have the luxury of district meetings and zone conferences, which are also part of the process.) Prayerfully plan what lesson to teach, study it alone, study it together and discuss who will teach what part of the lesson and how you can tailor it to their needs, plan what commitment you will leave, teach the lesson, and evaluate what went well and what could have been done better. Sorry for that little bit of preaching there, but it's something about which I feel strongly.

Well, good job everybody on your great accomplishments of this week like mastering the Spanish language, captivating a congregation during a sacrament meeting talk, going back to school after summer vacation, or not getting sliced up at the family reunion.

LYMNB, Elder Matthew Smith