A few months ago, Elder Wagner's family offered to get him four Yankees tickets for a game in May. At the time I was his companion, so he offered to give me two of the tickets. Of course I jumped on the opportunity! We got permission from President Morgan and got it set up, so today I'm headed down to the Bronx to go to my fourth Yankees game on the mission! I think I might just stay here forever. It seems like all I have to do is be a diligent missionary, and I'll continue to go to Yankees games! Before I came out on the mission, I had high hopes that I would have the opportunity to go to one game while I was here. By the time I come home I will have been to five! Pretty awesome. Anyway, this week was great! We have a new investigator named Brother Dan. He's super cool. The Portugese speaking elders tracted into his door a few weeks ago and handed him off to us. We had our second lesson with him on Friday, and we brought our ward mission leader along. Brother Dan also has a thirteen year old son (also named Dan), so our ward mission leader brought his eleven year old to fellowship a little bit! It was awesome. We visited with him again last night and talked a little bit about the Plan of Salvation. Little Dan's mom passed away a couple weeks ago. It's a tough time for them. I think that the message of the Plan of Salvation is very comforting right now. It's especially important for Little Dan to know that he will see his mom again. I love being a missionary. It's so amazing to see the happiness and relief that comes to people amongst life's challenges. Another highlight for me this week was that we had interviews with President Morgan on Sunday night. President and Sister Morgan go home in four weeks. So sadly, this was my last interview with him. I got pretty emotional. President Morgan has been an amazing support to me while I've been on my mission. He's been right by my side through several different challenges that I've been faced with. He and Sister Morgan both have done a lot to fill the hole that was left in my heart when I had to leave all of you behind. They are true friends, and I will always love them. In our interview I asked President Morgan a question. The same question I've been asking a lot of people recently. Over the last twenty one months I feel like I have come so much closer to God than I ever have before. I feel very close to the Spirit, and I feel like I can recognize its presence very easily in my every day life. So I asked President Morgan what I need to do when I get home to stay close. The things he told me helped me a lot and gave me confidence that I will be okay. Among several things that he said, I'll just highlight a one-liner that has been on my mind. "You can go home, but you can't go back". Powerful statement. I'm coming home to Utah in about two months. But I can't go back. I can't go back to the same bad habits that I had before. Not that I'll be a totally different person, I'll just be living on a higher plane than I was before. I'm confident and excited. Can't wait to see you all soon! Love you!!!!
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
It's so great to be back in Connecticut! It was awesome to drive back up last week. Everything was so great! I was in Newtown from the end of August to the beginning of February, so I mostly saw the area when the leaves were coming off the trees and snow covered everything. This area was beautiful then, but I think it's even more beautiful now, especially compared to the concrete and graffiti that I was surrounded by before. It was pretty surreal to drive back into the small town of Bethel, CT. I'm living in the same apartment that I did before. In fact I'm sleeping in the very same bed, studying at the very same desk (there's still a picture that I carved into the desk one day when I was bored), and using the very same closet. Being in this apartment and just going to different places (the library, the store, the chapel, etc) is flooding memories back into my mind. It's kind of an interesting thing, because it's very reminiscent and also very new all at the same time. I'm reflecting on a lot of experiences that I had back then and the kind of missionary that I was when I was new. I'm also adjusting to a new companion, a new ward, and new people to teach. Hard to describe. But I love it! The people here are great. We have this awesome focus on service right now, which I love! Just in the week that I've been here we've done some sort of service on five difference occasions. This service has ranged from being for investigators, less active members, and active members. We've done some yard work and some house chores. My favorite so far was on Saturday afternoon when we went and chopped wood with a member for a few hours. What has been really cool is that all of our service has provided great opportunities to share the gospel. We've seen miracles in some investigators who didn't have contact with the missionaries for several months, but as we offered service, we've been able to start working with them again. We have also received a few referrals from the members as a result of our efforts in service. It's been super cool! Great things can happen when you sit down and talk, but sometimes what people need more is just some physical help. It's what the Savior did when He was here. He wasn't always sitting down and teaching. He was out helping people and tending to their physical needs. As Elder Richan and I are the Lord's representatives in Danbury, it's great to feel like I'm doing what He would do. I love the mission more than ever. I've seen miracles. I've grown a lot. I'm closer to my Father in Heaven than I've ever been in my life, and I'm grateful that I have eleven more weeks to be fully engaged in this great work! I love you all. Hope you're doing well, and I'll be home faster than you can blink!
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Sister Smoot saw Elder Allred at the mission meeting this past Saturday. She gave him the promised "high five" from his Mama.
This email will probably be pretty short. Most of you know from Skype that I'm getting transferred again today. Going back to Connecticut! I'll most likely finish out my mission serving in the Danbury ward. Unexpected! I'm excited though. It will be cool to be back where it all started! It's sad to leave Manhattan. Only being there for six weeks was kind of tough. I was just starting to have a good handle on things and coming to love the ward so much. We don't always understand the Lord's plans. His ways are much higher than our ways! One other thing I wanted to mention this week. Saturday was so awesome! The whole mission had a special meeting with Elder Quentin L Cook! As he closed the meeting with his apostolic testimony, I was touched by the Spirit in a way like never before. There is absolutely no way that I can deny the truthfulness of what he said. That man is an apostle of the Lord. I haven't been more sure about anything in my entire life. What an awesome experience to be in his presence. I feel incredibly blessed to have had a kind of experience like that which not too many people get to have. Anyway, today is kind of crazy with transfers and everything. I'll send a better email next week. It was great to see you all on Skype. Next time we hear each other's voices it will be in person. Love you all!
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Yay! Lots of pictures for Sister Smith this week:)
We got some pretty exciting news this week! We went up to mission leadership council in Scarsdale on Friday, and President Morgan gave us some really awesome training to give to our zone. One of the biggest things that I got out of the meeting was when President Morgan was talking about missionaries that are approaching the end of their missions. The whole thing started when he got talking about how he will be going home in a couple of months. He got super emotional. Serving in a place for two years gets you pretty attached, but I'm sure that serving for three makes it even harder to leave. He said something specifically to older missionaries. Exact quote "Be exactly who the Lord wants you to be all the way to the end". I come home in three months. I definitely fall into the category of missionaries that President Morgan was talking to. I'm not sure what my calling will be next cycle. I don't know where I'll be serving a week from now. I could stay here or I could get transferred to another area. No matter where I am, what calling I have, who my companion is, or who I'm teaching, I need to be the person that the Lord needs me to be. All the way to the end. I fully intend on finishing strong and being exhausted when I step off of that plane. I'm grateful for that motivating reminder. Now for the exciting news that I was talking about. First is that on June 30rh we will have a meeting where we get to meet President and Sister Smith. It's going to be kind of weird for me, because by that point I will only have just under six weeks left. So I don't really know what it will be like to see President Smith at the pulpit instead of President Morgan. I'm excited though. I'm sure President Smith will be awesome! He's definitely got some big shoes to fill. This Saturday we will be having another all mission conference at the temple in Manhattan. With a special visitor, Elder Quentin L Cook of the quorum of the twelve apostles! Yup, pretty awesome. He's coming to New York and exclusively visiting our mission. Usually when church leaders tour they hit a few missions in the area. But Elder Cook is only visiting NYNYN. We're pretty lucky! We don't know what the training will be on yet, but I'm sure I will learn so much! Last big announcement.... I think some of you may have heard this already. But I'm like a kid on Christmas a thousand times over on this one. July 3rd the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will be performing at Yankee Stadium. They're going to open a Yankees-Rays game with five numbers, finishing with the National Anthem to start the game, and the whole mission is going to the game! Seriously... am I dreaming? I don't know if they are going to show the game on TV, but hopefully some of you can watch. I think that the camera crew will probably pan over the section of missionaries at least once during the game. That day will be pretty crazy, because I'll be about a month out from coming home. Exciting stuff coming up!!! I love the mission as much as ever, and we've had some great success with our investigators here. I also really love the ward that we're serving in. With transfers next week I'm a little on edge. I don't know why, but I think there might be a chance that I'll leave. Hopefully not, but like I said wherever I serve I'll just put it in the Lord's hands. I'm excited for what the next three months has in store. Plenty of miracles left to be had in the mission field for me! Hope you're all doing well! Can't wait to see you on Skype! Love you!!!