Thursday, October 14, 2010



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

Monday, October 11, 2010


Hey, sounds like a lame week!! First off, thank you so much for all of the stuff for my birthday! You are all amazing! Mom, I loved it all and I look good in the Grizz stuff!! Grandma and Gpa, thank you so much for the tie and toffee and everything! You are so great! Papa and Grammy, thanks a ton for the great card and the American money! I love and miss you guys a ton!!

So I’ve been thinking a lot about what I could say to cheer Payt up...... I figured I’d give you the update of my week and then do my best with some advice!

The week started out rough with 16 appointments falling through, in the first 3 days! It was so ridiculous! I felt like ALL the investigators here aren’t too solid! And we spend so much time doing Zone Leader busy work. It definitely was a little frustrating!! I was pretty upset and kinda mad about the whole situation. . .But we just took it with a smile and figured it was what was supposed to happen because we HAD been working our tails off. We just kept tracting and working hard. So, the end of the week rolls around and Elder Willardson, Randal, Schulte, Eyres, Yorgoson, and a couple others were all going home. We somehow found an investigator that wanted to go hear them speak at their ‘farewell’ testimony meeting. It was an amazing night!! Akon was there, Belatu was there, and the Spirit was so strong as they bore their testimonies! Conference came and it was another great 2 days! I learned and grew so much!! And out of nowhere, a couple of investigators we had found that week showed up for conference! Then, we got a call Saturday night that there was a man that wanted to go to priesthood, who is in our area. He showed up and he loved it! We invited him the next day and he came for both sessions! He was just soaking everything in!! After the session, he set a baptismal date with us, right there in the chapel! That night we met with him and we felt that we should go through the baptismal interview questions. And he said he will live everything! After our lesson we had him say the prayer and he broke down crying. He said a beautiful prayer and we are meeting with him four times a week until his date on Nov. 7th, and it might get moved up! His name is Keri and he is great!

Also at conference, Chris and Karl, and a ton of the Selkirk members came to the same chapel we where in!! It was so great to see them and it was such a great week!! Also at the Priesthood Session I spotted Devin Munk in the choir, with a ton of other missionaries! haha It honestly turned into an amazing week!!

Tonight I got permission to say good bye to Belatu and Akon since I got rushed out and Sister Baronins, Akon, and Belatu have a big birthday party/family home evening planned for me tonight! Because Mom told them it was my birthday. I love my mission so much!! I’ve learned that life is so full of ups and downs, but if we let the downs get us down then our faith slacks, and our effectiveness, success, and happiness decrease! It’s funny because no matter what we do, we will always have downs! But if handled in the right way we will get through them, learn from them, and enjoy the happiness that comes after, in the up, that much more!

Payton, I know that you are feeling horrible right now! It’s the worst!! But the great thing about it is, there will be an up, soon enough!! Payton, I love you and look up to you so much! You are such a champ and a star athlete!! I know that you will handle this situation like a pro! But I figured I’d give you some advice on some things that I wished I would have done when I was down and out!! First off, learn from it! haha It’s a great time to learn patience and how to really be tough! hahahaha That one’s kind of a joke because I know how frustrated you are with the whole thing, but love everyday!! Don’t be upset and turn away girls that want to come and comfort you! As a matter of fact, when ever they call, say that you really think a Jamba Juice or a hamburger would really help with the healing process! Also, enjoy the time off school! Milk it for all it’s worth with the teachers!! Don’t text while on pain killers! Eat as many of Mom’s cookies as you can!! Also, don’t let Berg tell you that you can play with one arm and then try to finish out the season! hahaha Payt I feel so bad because I know how frustrated you feel! I know that it is so upsetting and I know how miserable you feel! Actually, to be honest, I don’t because your injury sounds a lot worst... But I can imagine! But don’t get down! Keep your head up and love everyday! It’s funny because I look back and football was everything to me but I look at things today and I have such a different perspective!! Football is so great! I loved it and I learned so much from it, but the last year of my life has meant more to me than any football game or football season!

Today I talked to a brand new missionary in our zone that is super homesick and he really wants to go home and it made me think a ton!! It was hard to know what to say to him because I wanted to say so much!! It really helped me to realize what a great blessing a mission is!! I have been so blessed and had so many life changing experiences! I love the people here and my mission so much!!! And it’s funny because I don’t know if I would have gotten this much out of my mission so far if it wasn’t for the trials that I went through when I was home! When I messed up my shoulder, it helped me to switch my focus to preparing for a mission and life! Now I’m not saying you wouldn’t have been ready for a mission if you hadn’t messed up your arm, but I know that we all face so many trials in our life and if we react to them negatively, they can really slow down our progression. But as we humble ourselves and come unto Christ, and live the gospel through our trials, it truly can bless us and help in our progression. Trials are so great because they really are opportunities for growth!!

Payton, I love you so much and I’m so grateful for you example to me!! Love everyday! Stay positive! Milk your situation as long as you can, haha and learn and grow from it!! Buddy I love you so much and I’m so excited for what is to come in your life!! Don’t get down though!!

Love you all! Love Elder smith!