Friday, May 8, 2015

4 May 2015

Alright so the first thing I've got for you all is an old pic I just got of my district (5 weeks ago) please enjoy. We made a Title of Liberty (Alma 46:12-13; 19-21) 
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On the theme of pics I'll go ahead and send all I've got right now. 
For about 35 cents you can buy a delicious fun sized watermelon and its delicious and amazing and just cut in half and go in with a spoon. Watermelon is in season right now and I love it. 
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I have only one other pic but its one I really like. Las Hermanas Fletcher and Tapia have been teaching a person named Xóchitl (prounounced sew-chee-toll but you almost don't say the t and l so more like just sewchee). although her husband still doesn't feel ready for baptism, she felt ready and wanted to be baptized and I had the priveledge of being asked to perform the ordinance. It was an amazing moment that bumped my desires to work to a whole new level. 
Here is Xóchitl and the sister missionaries
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also, a friendly reminder. today is Star Wars day if you didn't know. "May the fourth be with you"

hmmm other interesting things from this week... we had a special conference this Wednesday. But i will talk more about that later. 
We stopped by a recent converts house and taught a quick lesson. It was cool and all but I felt the distinct impression that we needed to do something focused on the kids. The family has 4 kids the oldest being 9. So we set a return appointment and we prepared a lesson for them. I testify to you all now that that feeling was a very clear impression from the spirit. I say this because when we taught that lesson, it was one of the most effective and amazing lessons I've ever been able to participate in. We decided to share the story of when Nephi built the boat. While we told the story we had the kids draw a boat. then we explained about how sometimes its hard but it is always possible to do what the Lord asks. We had the each write 1 Nephi 3:7 inserting their own name on the paper. The first really cool thing about this lesson is that a neighbor of theirs was over to hang with the kids. Her name is Andrea and she has about 11 years of age. She loved the lesson and activity. Result one of following the promptings of the spirit. Second we talked about how Nephi went into the mount oft to pray and receive direction. We talked to the parents about the symbolism that holds with the temple and now they are preparing to enter the temple in 2 more months. We have them starting on family history work and basically it was awesome. That lesson was one of the most efficient and enjoyable lessons I've ever had. 

Another interesting part of the week was Wednesday night. We only had one appointment so we ended up contacting in the street and I don't know how to explain it but we got talking with person after person after person and it became easier and easier. I started feeling a joy I've never felt before while contacting (normally it's one of the least favorite parts of being here) and then we started talking with a man outside by his car. We went up and I just happily started talking to him and he was just as exited as I was to talk. It was awesome. He had never talked with missionaries before but he was one of the most friendly people I'd ever met and it was like talking to a bro. I feel that this was, in part, due to the joy my comp and I felt and the spirit we brought. I'm sure he's a happy person in general too but I feel like it increased dramatically because we began to love the work. Guys. love what your doing no matter what it is and you will find that it truly is a good time it becomes fun regardless.

People we are teaching
Fam. Valenzuela- they came to church again is the first good news here! The dad was out of town but the mom and the three kids came and said that they loved it! The members have really been helping us here. One of the kids is 13 years old and the young women find her every week and help here feel at home in the classes and then there's always someone there to explain to the mom where to go and be her friend and we basically don't do anything, its kinda awesome. We extended a baptism invitation but they don't feel ready still but they do see it as a possibility eventually so we will continue working with them

Alan-the last lesson with him was awesome. he never had a lot of interest and im pretty sure he was only there for his wife's sake but this last lesson he paid more attention, participated, and even had several questions for us (I say if you don't have questions, odds are you're not paying very close attention). It was awesome. He accepted the invitation to be baptized the 30th of May. so I'm super excited for him and we will be helping him a lot in gaining a personal testimony.

Honestly, these are the only people that are actually progressing in any way right now, but we are working hard and finding lots of people everyday and, well, its been an absolutely amazing week.

okay so we have arrived at the point of the special conference on Wednesday. IT WAS AMAZING. Elder Castañera from the 70 came and talked to us with president, his wife, and sister Castañera. it was a truly inspiring morning. Here are a few thoughts and notes.
la Hermana Hernandez spoke first- she taught about how we learn according to the desire we have, so first, we need to become truly converted to the Lord and his gospel and find the desire in ourselves and then teach the people how to find that desire themselves. Part of that is prayer. I loved the phrase that came to mind about "fervent prayer" "taking oneself away from the world and having a personal experience with God" Are we having a true communication with our heavenly father each time we pray?
next, Presidente Hernandez spoke-
He talked about several things but one thing that stood out was the question asked by Alma in Alma 5:26 can ye feel so now?. He asks that speaking of the personal conversion we each should have. How are we converted? though the testifying of the Holy Ghost. So this is a question not to be asked to only those with a fault in faith or lack of conversion but it is a question we need to ask ourselves every moment of every day. Can ye feel so now? In this moment, can you feel the gentle influence of the Spirit in your life? If not, something needs to change.
Hermana Catañera spoke-
The key from what she said is that we need to be humble and listen to the direction and guidance of our leaders (Hebrews13:17) That's key. They have the authority and ability to receive the direction and knowledge of how to lead and guide us on the path we need to be on.

F, Elder Castañera spoke-
He was inspiring to say the least. the first thing he talked about was the power of our calling as missionaries. that we are called of God by a living prophet and that as such we are the extended hands of God here on this earth to do his work. That is an incredibly inspirational and mildly terrifying thought. He spoke about how as missionaries we have more authority than the kings of earth or the most powerful of people because our calling comes not from man but is divine in nature, that we are called by God himself. Wow. Thats all. He then spoke about becoming a "full-purpose missionary" (Dad I thought a lot about giving "Full proof" right there) and how a full-purpose missionary is keen to obey with exactness and do all that is required without thought of himself. He made an incredibly important comment with vital application for full time missionaries and non full time missionaries alike. I'll translate it the best I can "If the missionaries could properly understand the atonement, there would not be a need for missionary rules" "si los misioneros entendieron bien la expiación, no habría necesidad de las reglas misionales" If we truly understand the atonement, obedience will become our desire. He spoke beautifully about the atonement and its importance. I cant even begin to describe the things he said. It was inspired and perfect. One other phrase I liked a lot it this "I like to repent because I like to feel the Lord put me on his shoulders like the lost sheep". May we all seek that feeling and return in full conversion and with full proof to the fold of God. Never forget the importance of the atonement and its ability to change the lives of each and every one of us. have the most amazing week all of you and remember that you are loved!
Elder Smith

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