Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Email from 5/23/2011

Hola familia:

Way to go on everyone's performances! We joined the church choir this week and we'll be performing "come, ye children of the Lord" on Sunday. My companions and I have also decided that we need to have a special musical number prepared for baptisms, zone conferences, etc., so we'll probably work on that too.

Sorry about the horses. I vote against Lady, if that matters at all.

We've been working really hard and tracting up a storm.

We didn't get much success from tracting this week, but we did get a media referral for a book of mormon that we got to teach the other day. He's pretty cool and we had a good lesson with him. We'll be going back this week to teach him again.

I also had a good experience on Friday when I went on exchanges with the fairlawn elders (the other companionship in our ward) - we got to teach a member referral for the first time. It was really cool how she has been prepared and is searching right now. She was very excited to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, and she came to church yesterday and loved it. Her member friend, Sis. Shaw, got baptized about 3 years ago and is very excited about sharing the gospel.

Yes most of our time is spent in a pretty ghetto environment now. We have a car, but we mostly bike so as to conserve our limited miles. The two investigators we challenged last week haven't really progressed this week. We taught them once early in the week, but they stood us up on Saturday.

Elder Matthew Smith

Monday, May 16, 2011

Email from 5/16/11

Hi Family,

How's Akron?
Akron is pretty cool. It's an interesting change going from a wealthy suburban area back to the ghetto. Back in North Olmsted, nobody would talk to us, but if they did, they were usually pretty solid. Here everyone is willing to talk to us, but we don't get as far with them.
We've been wondering how you're liking your new area, companions, responsibilities, etc.
I love them.

How is the work going there?
It's a little slow right now when it comes to investigators. The only investigators we are teaching are a couple people we found street contacting in the last couple of days. We have a lot going on in the way of working with less-active members of the church, though, and the Elders have been seeing some good success lately of bringing people back.

Did you inherit any golden investigators?
No. We inherited zero investigators, but we've set a couple baptismal dates with new investigators in the past couple of days.

What are your companion's names and where are they from?
Elder Andrew Quarnberg - Harrisville UT
Elder Jordan Yukish - Gilbert AZ (mostly grew up in Washington state, though)

Elder Quarnberg - 2 older sisters
Elder Yukish - 5 Brothers, 2 Sisters. He is 2nd oldest.

Elder Quarnberg - No
Elder Yukish - Yes

Other important info?
Elder Quarnberg - very very intelligent, a little bit quiet, he's a very experienced missionary (been out 6 weeks less than me). He got transferred into this area with me this week.
Elder Yukish - Totally filled with love for this ward and this area. He's been serving in this area for 6 out of the 9 months he's been on his mission.

Bomdiggity's sounds like a great idea for a restaurant name. Wow.

Yesterday we had a stake or area or region conference. I'm not exactly sure what it was. We had an opening hymn and prayer, some stake business, and then most of the meeting was taken up by watching a live broadcast from Salt Lake City. They said it was being broadcast to 168 stakes and 1 district in the eastern United States. Bishop Edgely of the presiding bishopric, Sister Esplin of the Primary general presidency, Elder Ballard of the 12, and President Eyring spoke. It was really cool. Elder Ballard spoke all about missionary work and the need to share the gospel. President Eyring spoke about being 'wise optimists' and looking forward with an eye of faith to the fulfilment of seemingly impossible promises the Lord has made. One of the things from his remarks that really touched me was him sharing a vision he has that I've often pondered on myself. He said that the effects of Preach My Gospel on missionary work are only beginning to be seen, and that returned missionaries from the Preach My Gospel era will be the fulfilment of President Ezra Taft Benson's vision "Every Member a Missionary".

He also shared an experience he once had with a wise optimist, an experience with which I was able to relate pretty well. He was in a mission office one day talking to one of the assistants who was soon to be released. President Eyring asked where he was going, and, when the elder told him what area he was soon being transferred to, President Eyring asked how the work was going there. The elder replied, "It's the deadest area in the mission - until I get there!"

I'm glad you had so much fun at the pasta factory, Mom. I remember going to work there a couple years ago. I thought it was really cool. Maybe I should just ditch the whole college idea and work on an assembly line at a macaroni and cheese factory instead...

I'm glad Cody has perfect flip turns sometimes. That's some progress. It took me a while to figure out what you meant by "We went to a swim team party (DRAT)". What an unfortunate name for a swim team. I thought you meant (DARNIT) or something like that at first.

Yep, I saw the email about the physical. I'm thinking maybe I should just get one after I get home.

On that topic, have you submitted the WUE application to UAA? Have my transcripts definitely arrived from UVU? Am I definitely applied for both the AAS and BS degrees at UAA? Also, to what extent do you think I will need student loans? I need to either "accept", "partially accept", or "decline" the available student loans on the UAA UVLINK website.

Elder Matthew Smith

Monday, May 2, 2011

Email 5/2/11

Hello Family,

Well, I've been feeling a little sorry for myself because of how cold and rainy this april has been, but it sounds like yours has been even more mediocre. It was funny - yesterday as we were driving we passed a church with a marquee sign that simply stated the summation of everyone's feelings: "There better be a LOT of May flowers!"

The cruise sounds like a lot of fun. I'd be interested to hear how the game show worked - good thing mom didn't lose: that would have been a bummer!

The calculus bowl sounds like a pretty fun activity. Delaney must have loved it! Well done on scoring and preparing for the big test! When are the AP tests, by the way?

That's really cool to hear about Mekeli & Hunter! Thanks for the update.

We got a new companion Yesterday: Elder Tracy is going to replace me as an assistant. He came out the transfer after me and has been serving in the Lakewood area for the past two transfers. (Lakewood is the other ward that shares the building with N. Olmsted ward). The Lakewood elders live in the same apartment complex as we do, so it wasn't much of a move.

Our investigators are doing great! We anticipate setting a baptismal date with Bro. Schroth on Wednesday when we teach him next, and the two children from the part member family will almost certainly be baptized on July 3rd. They've already invited all the family and everything. The parents are pretty much fully active at this point, and were just set apart for new callings yesterday. They were all at church yesterday. Bro. Schroth was, too, of course.

I will be in the office and have opportunities to check email tomorrow and Thursday. I could potentially call on Tuesday or Friday at 6:00 since we don't have appointments yet, but a P-day would be best. Unfortunately, we don't have a P-day next week because of new arrivals and transfers and everything. Two weeks from today would probably work well, unless that's too far away. What do I need to ask or talk about with the counselor?

Elder Matthew Smith