Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Sorry about your candy bar - I guess for future reference we know now that Penny likes milk chocolate w/ almonds, so on her B-day we can get her milk chocolate and dark for everyone else, right? What is the new mexican place called? Is it more along the lines of taco bell, cafe rio, gecko's, or la casita? Did you get/do anything else exciting for your birthday?

Thanks for doing your part in feeding the missionaries! Did they have any health concerns or allergies you had to be careful of when figuring out what to feed them? What did you eat? The sisters in the same ward as us have been in a triple-up for a week or so now after a sister in the neighboring ward went home sick - I guess she was allergic to just about everything. She said she would usually take her own meal to member dinners just to be safe and reduce the hassle for the members. It won't be a triple up anymore since transfers is wednesday. That's funny that they are triple-up training that new sister missionary - that doesn't happen very often here. What commitment did they leave you with their dinner thought?

That's pretty cool that our stake is putting out so many missionaries - are there any statistics available about how many missionaries our stake has out versus other stakes, etc?

Way to go following the spirit in your classes and "teach(ing) people, not lessons"! Isn't it cool how Heavenly Father knows the needs of His children and helps us meet them?

"How are your investigators progressing?"

They're doing alright, but progress is coming slower than we would prefer.

"Do you have any new ones?"

Not really - we've had a dearth of finding in our area for a couple weeks. We've decided it's time to fast again.

"How are the word of wisdom concerns coming?"

Sis. Jenkins has made some progress on smoking. We've also arranged to bring Bro. Brown to our next lesson with them - he is their hometeacher and has overcome similar concerns in his life as well, so should be able to help and encourage them really well.

"Who came to church?"

This week was stake conference - it was broadcast from the stake center in Westlake to our ward building here in Sandusky, but the quality of the A/V left a little to be desired - especially as compared to general conference. The meeting itself was really good, though. President and Sister Sorensen both spoke, as well as the stake presidency, of course. There was also a really good talk by a recent convert in the lakewood ward who got baptized last month. She told her conversion story about overcoming word of wisdom concerns and how much the gospel has changed her life and improved her relationship with her husband (recently returned less-active member). It was really inspirational and uplifting, and I was glad that Bro. and Sis. Jenkins were able to see it, since they're basically in the same boat the recent convert was in before her baptism. We also had a less-active member, Sis. Young, at church. We've been working on her for a while and it is really cool to see how the Book of Mormon has softened her heart as we've read it with her. She went from being totally closed to coming to church to finally coming out on Sunday. What's more, it turns out that she and Sis. Jenkins know eachother, so they hit it off really well.

"How is the unmarried couple doing?"

Alright - Esther is gaining a testimony and feels that the Book of Mormon is true (although she's yet to pray about it, which is not good.) We think we're getting in the door a little bit more with Robbie as well. He's big into MMA, so we talk about that with him and he has been wanting to get into the Jui-Jitsu side of it for a while, so we committed him to check out Bro. Snyder's gym by coming to Jiu-Jitsu class with us today. I definitely never thought that we would commit someone to come to a fight club with us as part of teaching the gospel. It's definitely inspired that Elder Fronk is serving in this area.

"How much time do you spend being missionaries versus being zone leaders?" What
are your responsibilities as a zone leader? How many districts or missionaries are you in
charge of? How big is the zone in area anyway? Do you have anything special that you have
to do because of transfers? I've told people that you drive a truck and they think it is
funny. Is it a 4-wheel drive?"

We get to be missionaries most of the time, but there's a bunch of stupid stuff we have to do like going to more meetings, arranging for other missionaries to get to transfers or other meetings (or to the airport to go home, as has been the case a couple times this transfer), training our DLs, about a million phone calls per day, going on exchanges with disobedient or discordant companionships, etc. Usually our proselyting time isn't affected too much, except that we usually try to go to two district meetings per week, and for a couple districts that means a drive all the way to cleveland and back. Exchanges also affect our proselyting time since we have to go meet them to exchange and meet them again to exchange back. Most weeks we'll only go on one exchange, but we had to do 3 last week. Our area suffered a little because of the lost time, as well as having an extra meeting to go to in Cleveland that killed a whole day. The Cleveland zone in area is everthing from Sandusky to Cleveland. It exactly aligns with the boundaries of the Cleveland stake (as is the case with all the stakes in the mission, with the exception of the Toledo stake which is divided into two zones because of how much area it covers). 22 missionaries in zone. Anyways, we started out with 23 missionaries in the zone, then one went home, then another, then a missionary got transferred from Kirtland to serve in a triple up, and we have 22 again. The zone is divided into 3 districts, plus the Assistants who aren't in a district. We don't have to do anything too special for transfers except give people a ride to and from transfer meeting and announce to everyone at transfer meeting where people are going to serve in our zone. Yes, the truck is a 4-wheel drive.

About transfers - Elder Fronk and I are both staying here in Sandusky.

No, I don't really need anything more than prayers.

You'll have to let me know what lake powell is like in October. Hopefully everybody has fun and stays warm. It should be a lot easier to sleep, at least.

Pretty cool story: Elder Robison (seems to have been serving near me for half of my mission or so - he's now a ZL in Findlay) and his companion were preparing a man for baptism, and had a member teaching with them. During the whole lesson the member felt like he recognized the investigator from somewhere, but couldn't place it. The next day, he had a flashback to ten years ago as he was going to general conference in SLC - the investigator had been one of the protesters outside the conference center and said some pretty offensive things to him. He remembered going inside and praying that the protester would have his heart softened and eventually be able to accept the gospel. At the next lesson the investigator said that yes, that was him. It took ten years and a lot of effort, but his prayer was answered, and he got to be part of the answer to his prayer. The protester/investigator was baptized last weekend. Sweet!

I love you! Thanks everyone for being great examples of gospel living and learning. Keep it up, choose the right, and focus on what's most important!


Elder Matthew Smith