Monday, January 25, 2010


Akon's Family: Deng, Ien, Makeer, Nyandeng, Aluel, Grace and cousin Emanuel

Friends and Family!

Hey! You are all the best ever! I love and miss you all so much!! Tanner you are such a studdly!! What I would do for a day exchange with you! Thanks for the update! It’s unreal that he is coming home so soon! Mom, Dad and Payt you’re emails are the best!! Dad, if you start to look like Doug, that’s great and I am so glad you are all being so healthy, but don’t shave your whole body! haha That’s a little too much. Just kidding Uncle Doug, your the best! It takes a real man to shave like a girl! haha

Wow! All of your emails were so great!! You are the best! So this week was soooooo good and I have so much to say!! First off, Akon’s husband is letting the missionaries in Texas come over, but we are still waiting on his address! Hopefully it will come tonight! Last Monday was amazing! We had Family Home Evening at Bishop Baronin’s and they are the best! The lesson went great and the game was a blast!!! The family loved it!! It was so sad though because at the end we had to break the news that Elder Willardson was leaving. I wanted to cry and I was the lucky one that gets to stay!! Akon was so distraught. She wanted to call the President right then and there and chew him out. She said, "It just isn’t right, you two just go together!" It was so hard, then Elder Willardson promised he would come visit after his mission and then little Nyandeng, with her front teeth missing, said "You better keep your promith!!" We both had tears on the verge and as we were walking out the door Nyandeng said in her sooo cute little voice "Why aren’t you wearing your jackets!!?" Our hearts melted! They are so amazing and the thought of leaving them makes me sick!! We taught them yesterday and they spent a lot of the time seeing when I would have to leave and making me promise to come and visit. Nyandeng made me promise that I would bring Addison so she could meet her. So the whole family has to come in 2 years because I promised. Me and Elder Willardson gave them a picture of us with their family and it went up on the mantle in front of all of their other family pictures. They are amazing!! We have taught them everything but tithing! The Word of Wisdom went great, Akon said she felt horrible because she has had tea before, but she promised she would never do it again. Nyandeng raised her hand in the middle of the lesson and said she doesn’t even drink Pepsi. Oh I love them!

As for my new companion, he is a huge change!! He’s pretty soft spoken, and if I don’t stop teaching, he won’t teach. haha So I’m getting better at trying to teach less and turn it over! He teaches really well, but he is pretty slow pace. I like to go through stuff pretty fast and if they get it, move on! He is also still getting used to the pace of Agnes! He is great though!! He’s from Seattle and he’s a really nice kid!! I think we will do great!

It was crazy the other night though because we set a date with Megan Shumner, who is great and we took Emmanuel (the recent convert) with us to the appointment. It was a great appointment, but after it Emmanuel said he wanted to talk to me about some things! He said he is dating a non Christian girl and he said, "I’m doing everything I can to convert her, but it’s impossible!" He said she was getting frisky and wanted to "go to bed with him" and it was so hard for him! He got through that, but he told me he knows it will come up again. I just started teaching and really just talking to him. I shared some scriptures and the Spirit was so strong! It was such an amazing experience!! It’s amazing that a 40+ year old man would come to me for advise. It really hit me what an impact I can have on people, if I’m doing the right things! It’s just so amazing to me! I’m a punk 19 year old kid, but as an instrument of God I can actually help to change peoples lives! It was such an amazing night! After we stopped talking, he said he felt better and he’d keep doing the right things! It was then that I realized that my companion hadn’t said a word. I felt really bad and started to apologize and he said, “No, I didn’t understand a word that man said!” hahaha Emmanuel has such a thick accent, that it really is hard to understand him. But I’ve been around so many people like that, that it didn’t phase me at all. It is crazy!! My comp said that when I started talking about chastity, he was shocked! He said that he had no idea what was going on!

Then we went and taught Sacapo and he didn’t catch much there either! haha I love the broken English that I can understand better now and I love all of the cultures here! It is so amazing what I get to do and see with these amazing people!!

The other day the new missionaries came out and I got to go on an exchange with one of them! We taught Oben’s family and Pious translated. The lesson was amazing but the new missionary was too nervous to teach and I was too nervous to let him (I would make a horrible trainer!! haha) So I taught and Pious translated! It was such an amazing experience!!! The Spirit was so strong! When we left, the new missionary was going crazy about what a neat experience it was! I was cracking up because he is from Australia and in his accent, he was so excited saying the Spirit was so strong! It was great! Then he said something that was a shocker to me! I was telling him about that family and he said, “I hope I get the chance to have some experiences like that on my mission!” I was like, hold up, I’m the new missionary, I don’t have experiences yet!! haha But I do! I have already seen so many miracles and been so blessed!! I am so lucky!!

And that’s not all! This Sunday was amazing! The Waverly Ward record was broken this week with 20 investigators to church! There are 3 companionships in the ward and we got a combined 20 people to church and 13 of them were from Agnes!! It was great, but we had a lot that didn’t show! If everyone would have showed we would have had 20+ just from Agnes and that wasn’t counting Akon’s family! We have been soooooo blessed!!

Church went great but we are hoping next week will be even better!! The mission is doing great and President Paulson wants to up our goal to 60 as a mission!! So that should be good!!

So, after church was just as good as church! We had been invited to Plato’s birthday party so we hustled over there! Unfortunately, they missed church because they were preparing for the party! We walked in and there were easy 30+ Thai people all squished into this little room!! Instantly they cleared a path so we could go to the front by Plato! Then it started!! Let me first say, I want to speak Koren and I love these people’s culture! So it started with church songs that I knew but the were being sung in Koren haha, so I mumbled along!! Then they had the old knowledgeable Grandfather give like a speech for Plato! They would laugh at jokes and get serious at serious parts! He even shared Koren scriptures!! It was sooo neat, but I didn’t understand a thing!! Then the best part came!!! They had another song and prayer, they asked ME to bless the food!!! and then THE FOOD!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, WOW I wish you could have been there!! It just kept coming!! It’s no wonder they missed church! There was rice and goat meat and steak and a bunch of different meats ground together as and thick soupy hot sauce and funky egg soup and all kinds of crazy different soup and vegetables that I have never seen before in my life and eggplant and crazy sandwiches and pastas and chicken legs and chicken wings and a ton of other stuff. And no one in the room would eat before we started first!! I LOVE THESE PEOPLE!!! They are so amazing!!! But WOW, the food was soooooo amazing!! And so spicy! I wished so bad that I could some how mail it home!! I want Mom and Powwa to meet up and make a dinner. They could do work!!! It was amazing though and so fun! The love that these people have is amazing! We were all hot and sweaty and squished together sitting on the floor and it was amazing!! I have a picture of all of the food spread out on the floor, so you can see it. I love how their culture has so much love and friendship within there family and I love their spicy food!! I have never tasted anything so different that tasted so amazing!! It was the best!!

I love my mission!! Home life is starting to feel unreal now! It’s scary and weird! I love and miss you all so much but it feels like forever since I’ve seen you but just like yesterday at the same time!! Time is unreal out here!! It’s insane!! But things are going great! One of the things I do struggle with is staying humble!! When you see so much success it’s so easy to think that it is all because of me! Any pointers?? haha I know that that’s not how it is, but it’s so easy to get prideful! This is definitely one thing I am trying to get better at!! It’s funny to how I can have all these great things happen and I still have bad days. I have a lot of weaknesses!! It’s so exciting though because I know I can change!! I loved Tanner’s letter because it really is so true. . .I’m at a point where I need to reevaluate and do a lot of things a lot better and its exciting to see opportunities to grow!

Mom, Dad, Payton, Alex, and Addison, I love you all soooo much!! Please be safe and keep up the great work! You are all the best!!

Love Elder Smith