Thank you so much for the great pics and emails!! I loved it all!! Payt, I feel horrible for you!! It sounds horrible to do that traction thing!! I’m glad that you are handling it like a champ though!! I’m sure when I get home there will be no squirrels left in IF! haha I love the green cast and I’m sure the ladies do to! The Jeep looks soooooooo good!! hahaha I’m so jealous!! Those rims are so nice!! Hang in there and before you know it you’ll be healthy again and out doing cookies in the Jeep!! Don’t roll it!!
So this week was insane!! The birthday with Akon, Belatu and the Baronins was the best and I recorded videos on my camera that I’ll send home soon! It was an amazing night and such a blast!! Then the week got crazy!! We had Zone Leader Council where all the zone leaders come and have a meeting with President and the Assistants. I was pretty nervous because I am the youngest and one of the new zone leaders, but it went really well! I love President and Sister Paulson!! President loves to make fun of people and make them feel dumb, haha so you watch what you say!! Everyone talks about how the zone leaders get burned and made fun of in ZLC but I made the whole thing without getting it, until it was over and President started talking about his beloved BYU Cougars! I told him they will always let ya down and he got a little fired up! haha He’s so funny and it was a lot of fun!
Then we set a date with an amazing lady named Celia! She is so good and friends with one of the recent converts that Elder Willardson baptized! She is great and will be baptized in November!
The week was going well and then on Tuesday the madness started!! Elder Sybrowsky of the Seventy came for Zone Conference. Check out his picture in the Ensign and know that he is 10 times scarier then he looks!! He wanted a meeting with just the zone leaders, assistants and President Paulson before the Zone Conference!! We were told to report on what we thought the strengths and weaknesses of the mission were. We got in there and I knew it wasn’t gonna be good. He called out Elder Felix (one of the assistants) for conducting wrong, right there on the spot! Then he asked us questions and tore into us with how we should be baptizing a lot more then we are in this mission! He told us that right now in the mission 1 missionary baptizes on avg. 1.2 times a year. Then he asked us questions we didn’t know the answers too and made us feel dumb! haha He was relentless to all of us, President included!! Then it was time for zone conference!! We had prepared a little portion, but we changed it during the hymn, so that we talked about baptism! hahaha Because he talked about how we are here to baptize and our mission’s focus was in the wrong place. Elder Ewell and Elder Davidson changed their portion too! It was funny because we all said “baptism” a ton. After our portions he called us up for public humiliation!! He went over, again, what he had said in the leadership meeting before, then broke us up into zones and told us to figure out a goal for how many we will baptize. The whole time he is asking us hard questions and making us look stupid in front of everyone! haha One of the funny ones was he asked Elder Ewell a question and Elder Ewell didn’t know the answer so he answered it by asking a question, hahaha Elder Sybrowsky said, “What are you a Jew!? We are Mormons here! When we get asked a question, we answer it. We don’t answer with a question!” hahah I laughed pretty hard, but wanted to cry a little because I knew he’d come back over to take some more shots at me and Elder Leonard. He asked me in front of everyone what my purpose as a zone leader was and I gave what I thought was a pretty good answer with something about helping missionaries fulfill their missionary purpose, and he said, “No. stop beating around the bush! You are to help your zone baptize!! haha I should’ve guessed! By the end of the day, if anyone asked me anything I replied by saying, BAPTIZE!” haha It was super scary and super humbling, but I learned a ton!! The stuff he said was what I think a lot of the missionaries needed! I don’t know how I feel about the way he went about it, but what do I know, He’s the Seventy! And he was pretty funny!! It was neat too because I had a good little chat with him after. He’s a great man! But very bold!! And anyway not many people can say they have been called out and made fun of by a general authority, in front of half of the Canada Winnipeg Mission. Me and the other zone leaders can say we have had that privilege! It was funny too because we all came away with some fire! We are setting baptismal dates on people’s door steps now! It’s been frustrating because we have all of these meetings now!
Oh, also we had Stake Coordination a bit back where we accounted for all of the recent converts and ward mission leaders to President Paulson and Stake President Robison. President Robison is the Stake President for all of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. I was way nervous for that one too, but it went well! Oh and get this! President Robison’s son is serving in the Pocatello Idaho mission!! Look him up!! I think he’s in Blackfoot!! But it’s hard to keep our area going the way we want it with all of the busy work stuff and meetings!! It’s kinda crazy, but the area still is doing alright!! We are finding lots of great people and there are lots of good things happening!! I really love helping other missionaries too! We do a ton of exchanges and it’s neat to give advice and training and see missionaries apply it!!
I am loving everyday, but its ridiculous how fast it is going!! I feel like I haven’t had time to even think since I was in Selkirk, walking a couple minutes between doors! hahaha In this area I can jump from door to door! Things are so good and I’m learning a ton!! Thank you so much again for the great birthday stuff!! You are all amazing!! And yes, you can give my email to people you think I want to talk too, it’s allowed. Also, I will find our address for the apartment! We see the Assistants a ton though, so I get stuff fast, if you send it to the office.
Payton, keep your head up and get feeling better!! I love you a ton and I’m so proud of you!! I love you guys all a bunch and I’ll talk to you Monday, probably.
(: Love Elder Smith