Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Email from your loving child

Hello Family,

It sounds like Mom and Delaney had a pretty hectic couple of days!

We've got a fun couple days coming up too; last night was the part where Elder Hunt and I take a big breath and don't come up for air until Thursday. The new missionaries come in today and the old missionaries go home on Thursday and the whole time in between will be a whirlwind of shepherding people around between meetings, transfers, orientations, the kirtland temple and visitors' center, the mission home, and the airport. In addition to that we have a bunch of clerical stuff to be done in preparation for transfer meeting. We also need to collate the mission's statistics and send them out to SLC, the missionary leaders, and the local priesthood leaders to whom they pertain. I have no idea when we are going to finish everything that we're supposed to do, but I'm sure it will work out somehow.

Sorry I have not been diligent in telling stories about all the little 'tender mercies' of missionary work. I'll try to do better about that in the future. Interesting 'small thing' - Sister Lee (super cool recent convert) from the ward is our meal coordinator - she's in charge of the meal calendar and making sure that we are well fed. (And she is VERY good at that job!) When there are holes on the dinner calendar, she calls people and asks if they can feed us on those days. When we are trying to get into the home of a less-active or part-member family and are having trouble getting an appointment, we just call Sis. Lee - she has a 'hit-list' of people whose homes we want to get into, and she calls them first about feeding us. No sister can resist the motherly instinct when they hear about two poor, hungry young boys with nowhere to go for dinner! Alma 43:30: And he also knowing that it was the only desire of the Nephites to preserve their lands, and their liberty, and their church, therefore he thought it no sin that he should defend them by stratagem.... Alma 18:23: ...and thus he was caught with guile.

To my younger brother: Cody, what would your mother think of such nightmarish spelling and punctuation? Good luck swimming, though. Just work hard. End of writing to Cody.

Way to go Delaney on a 34 ACT! Why is the writing part not included?

Yes. In light of getting the physical, I probably will want to attend UAA.

Well, I have got to get going in about five minutes ago, so I will have to conclude. Sorry this is a pretty weaksauce email.

Elder Matthew Smith

Monday, March 28, 2011

Email from 3/21/11

Hello Family!
Yep, Esther and Yazmeyne's baptism was an amazing experience - it's always nice to see the fruits of your efforts and not just the buds!

Great! I'd love to hear from Chris. It's no problem for you to have given him my email.

Well done everyone on your musical, athletic, academic, and community service accomplishments!

It sounds like the backyard landscaping project was probably a lot of fun. Maybe I should just go into construction when I get home so I can drive some of those cool machines!

I got a 2nd class FAA physical last P-day. No problems - all good to go.

Too bad about the bear tags.

Our investigators are pretty much at 'status quo ante' from last week, except that Bro. Lewallen's baptism will be postponed. I'm doing really well, eating well, even gaining weight (believe it or not). North Olmsted is a great place to be a missionary right now!

Next week is transfers week, so emails might not come on monday, but maybe they will. Not sure yet, sorry.

Elder Matthew Smith

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy Spring‏

Hello Family!

Happy Spring - I love Spring (except for the part where we 'spring forward'). We keep on thinking that springtime is here to stay with 50 degree weather, but then it turns around and snows a few days later. We keep on saying "maybe this is the last time". Maybe this time it really is...

As it turns out, Esther and Yazmeyne were both baptized on Friday by Robbie and confirmed yesterday. Their baptismal service was great and they were all super surprised when I showed up! Perks of being an assistant...

No, Elder Fronk was transferred 4 weeks ago - Elder Talbot and his greenie Elder Marshall were the missionaries who sealed the deal with Robbie, Esther, and Yazmeyne.

I'm really excited that Chris came home. That is a really cool story about the man whose daughter was in the MTC with him, too. Is he living at home until the fall semester, or what is he doing? Can you get me his address?

Our area is doing well - Bro. Lewallen is set to be baptized on the 26th of March. He's been taught everything except a few of the commandments, he's felt the spirit and recognized spiritual growth and conversion, and is doing alltogether very well. We had to get special permission from Pres. Sorensen and the stake president to baptize him in our ward since he actually lives outside our boundaries, but it was approved because he is getting married to a member of the ward and will move in with her once they are married.

Bro. Schroth is also progressing. It's hard to imagine him not progressing considering that he's good friends with the stake president and his wife, the 1st couselor in the mission presidency and his wife, and most of the rest of the ward. He also knows President and Sister Sorensen pretty well, and of course, Sis. Schroth is an active and faithful member. He's got a lot of good examples around him of people who simply exude light. We have a lesson with him and the stake president today.

We've got another part-member family, the Tusbergs, whose 8 and 9 year old children will probably get baptized next month. It's great to go there and teach the children and have the (recently reactivated) parents joining in teaching the gospel to their children.

Thanks a lot for being such a supportive and encouraging family. I don't know where I'd be without great gospel examples like all of you in my life! I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ really does bless, lift, ennoble, and strengthen families and individuals. Truly there could be no more honorable title than to be called a Disciple of Jesus Christ.

Elder Matthew Smith

Monday, March 7, 2011

This week was much less crappy

Hello Family!

Sorry to not have given you all the crappy details about our flooding. Per your questions:

-No, I don't need you to send my anything. We both threw away all our shoes, but President & Sister Sorensen bought us new shoes and gave us old ones, so we're good there. I didn't lose anything else significant. Every single one of Elder Hunt's ties were ruined, but somebody sent an email out to the ward and he got a ton of ties from people yesterday at church.

-The flooding was caused by torrential rain and warm temperatures that melted the snow on the ground and overwhelmed rivers, streams, and sewage treatment plants alike.

-The town you were probably watching on the news that got heavily flooded is Findlay, Ohio. The elders down there have been doing a whole lot of service this week. Church was cancelled down there this week also. When I first came out on my mission I would often hear legends from the oldest missionaries of the "Findlay Flood" of 2007. I guess it was even worse then than it was this week and half of the mission was sent to Findlay to help with the relief effort and as a result the hearts of the whole city were softened towards the church. Findlay has pretty consistently led the mission in baptisms ever since.

-We are always at the office late on Sunday nights - we take the mission's numbers from the zone leaders and stuff and it takes a while. Since I have been an assistant it has gotten a lot better, though. In the past the assistants have pretty consistently been unable to get home and get to bed on Sunday nights until 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning. Several weeks after I was called as an assistant, we changed the way we do a couple things and now we usually get home at the comparatively early hour of 11:30 or 12:00ish.

Good job everybody on being great athletes, temple cleaners, connoisseurs of fine art, and archaeologists (finding the plates).

How long have the horses been at the equestrian center now? When are they coming back? Why didn't we do this magical drainage thing a couple years ago? That's nice of Steve Bott to do it for us. Is he a member?

I'm pretty excited about you getting the Haimen boy out to scouts and activities. Hopefully he will keep progressing and start coming to church soon. Have you seen the lds.org video about youth missionary work? You should check it out: https://lds.org/youth/video/inviting-all-to-come-unto-christ-sharing-the-gospel?lang=eng
Our investigator at church this week:

Bro. Schroth: has been married to an active and faithful member for about 35 years. Comes to church every week and if you didn't know better you'd think he was a member. His heart has been softened recently by some life experiences, and we are now actively teaching him. He has committed to baptism (this is tremendously significant - a lot of people have been waiting for this for a long time). It is a little bit intimidating to be teaching him becuase we really don't want to mess things up! The stake president and his wife are his fellowshippers and close friends, as well as members of the bishopric and mission presidency, and many members of the ward are friends with him. Of course, this is an opportunity that Sis. Schroth and half of the stake have been waiting for for a long time! We figure that nothing could possibly go wrong, though, becuase we've got 35 years of prayers and fasting to draw from.

Other baptisms coming up:

Harrison Tusberg: the 9 year old child of a recently reactivated family. He should be baptized shortly - probably in April - it's mostly just a matter of when the family can fly out to see him get baptized. His 8-yr old brother is also being baptized, but that is under the Bishop's keys.

Bro. Lewallen: The boyfriend (possibly soon to be fiancee?) of a member in our ward. He's been progressing and learning well, including keeping the commitment of the Word of Wisdom. He's got a baptismal date for the 26th of this month, but it's a little bit shaky.

Thanks for the weather forecast.

LoveYMNB, Elder Matthew Smith

And in a follow-up email:
Oh I forgot to tell you - Robbie (from Sandusky) got baptized Saturday and confirmed Yesterday! He and Esther got married last week. Yazmeyne's baptism is this Saturday and Esther's is hopefully soon (pending continued word of wisdom struggles). I called and talked to them and it was great!