August 11, 2014


How are you! {theres no question mark on this keyboard, so i´ll just use the exclamation point for everything}

Things here are great. Im coming to know the Savior so much better.

Elder Beck and I are doing great. We have a very similar sense of humor, so it´s been great. We had a beautiful baptism last week of a young man named Vitor {veetor} His uncle showed up at church two weeks ago. He´s a recent convert from Minas Gerais, another Brasilian state that´s very far away. He came down to Sao Paulo to visit his family. He came up to us at church and asked us to visit his family. Vitor was a blessing from heaven. Now, after a very touching baptismal reunion, his mother is interested in learning more abou the Restored Gospel. 

I was listening to a talk the other day by David A. Bednar, called Things as they Really are. I was waiting til I get home to tell you, but Itd be better now. Elder Bednar talks about how satan doesn´t just try to make us misuse our bodies, but even more subtly, even perhaps more destructively, he temts us to underuse them, hiding our talents and numbing ourselves to things as they really are.

Satan also strives to entice the sons and daughters of God to minimize the importance of their physical bodies. This particular type of attack is most subtle and diabolical. I want to provide several examples of how the adversary can pacify and lull us away into a sense of carnal security (see 2 Nephi 28:21) and encourage us to put at risk the earthly learning experiences that caused us to shout for joy in the premortal existence (see Job 38:7).
Sadly, some young men and young women in the Church today ignore “things as they really are” and neglect eternal relationships for digital distractions, diversions, and detours that have no lasting value. My heart aches when a young couple—sealed together in the house of the Lord for time and for all eternity by the power of the holy priesthood—experiences marital difficulties because of the addicting effect of excessive video gaming or online socializing. A young man or woman may waste countless hours, postpone or forfeit vocational or academic achievement, and ultimately sacrifice cherished human relationships because of mind- and spirit-numbing video and online games. As the Lord declared, “Wherefore, I give unto them a commandment … : Thou shalt not idle away thy time, neither shalt thou bury thy talent that it may not be known” (D&C 60:13).

I´ve thought a lot recently, and I am determined not to let myself get into video games, or any other type of media ever again. I was absorbed in it at times before my mission, and I sincerely feel that it has the potential to hinder my eternal progression. My companion and I have great, gospel centered talks throughout our days. One day, after talking for a while, we decided together never to let ourselves get involved in video gaming ever again. I wont have much time to anyway, but I have made mental plans of how I will cease from being idle. I will occupy myself constantly with music, learning new instruments, playing sports, exercising, or having wholesome fun with friends. But I will need your help, as well as Dads, in this endeavor. It´s easy now, I can´t even look at video games. But, I know how satan will attack me after. There are people that can play in moderation, but I dont think Ill be able to do that. I already wasted much time, as well as much potential, on useless games. NEVER AGAIN!

I hope everything is well at home. I miss you guys, and I REALLY miss Grant. I already have my 2 day home planned out. I´m gonna spend the whole day with him. He can figure out and decide what we´ll do, but I´m pumped. But don´t worry, I´m not losing focus here. 

I´m so grateful that I was born where I was, to the parents that I have. I hope and pray that I´ll be able to be like you when I´m a father.

I bear my special witness that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. I know that prayer is powerful. I have learned that as we are constantly, throughout the day praying, counseling e thanking our Heavenly Father, WE WILL BE HAPPIER. The Lord doesn´t expect us to pray twice a day. He expects us to pray ALWAYS {D&C 10:5}. I love my Savior. He is my best friend. I know that there is a balm in Gilead, that He lives to wipe away our tears, and strengthen the feeble knees. I also know that He expects us to do likewise.

Love you Mom!

Élder Samuel Wayne Smith

August 4, 2014


The week here was great! We´re teaching a couple of really great families. Everything with Élder Beck is great. We´re working hard, and i´m feeling myself change every day. We´re working right now on helping the missionaries follow the spirit more throughout the day. And so far, we´ve been having so many great experiences. And the missionaries are too. So I couldn´t be happier.

Everything is back to normal now. Winter is ending, so it´s starting to heat up again. I hate the heat, but, when it´s cold, nobody is on the street. 

How are things back home? Sorry I haven´t been able to send pictures lately. Since I´m serving in a much mure rural area, it´s hard to find somewhere that lets you. 

I´ve been studying a lot lately from Preach My Gospel. I always have studied it, but now I´m focusing on it. It really is an incredible recourse for our personal growth, and I´m excited to see how I´ll be able to apply it after the mission too. 


Élder Smith

July 28, 2014


HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANT! I can´t believe it... when I left he was 8. Things pass so quickly it´s crazy!

question: if you leave a phone charger in the wall, does it waste energy even though it´s not charging anything??? 

  So, transfers came and went, and I recieved my new companion, Élder Beck from Salt Lake. We have the same time on the mission, and a lot of the same ideas. But the week was pretty rough. We didn´t find a whole lot of new investigators, and nobody went to church. That was pretty hard. We both feel like we´re doing everything we can to serve the Lord the way He wants us to, but the success stopped. But, we´re still happy and excited. The Zone isnt baptizing much either, but the missionaries seem happy. So, we just need to figure out how to help them baptize. 

   The week´ll be really busy. Lots of exchanges and meetings. And tomorrow we´re going to the TEMPLE! So I´m excited´

   But, I had a fantastic personal study today. President Dalton is pushing really hard on the importance of a Temple-centered vision, and Iknow that we can baptize many more of his children. I just haven´t figured out how yet. But the mission in Brasil has always had a retentin problem. Part is because the members are rearely involved. And part is because the missionaries are irresponsably baptizing people that aren´t ready. I was pondering with my companion how we can help our zone understand this principle. I was reading one of my favorite talks, "Walking in Circles" by Dieter F. Uchdorf. And I recieved a ton of revelation with my companion, it was great. He talks about how mankind needs visable landmarks, or we tend to walk in circles. I thought of Preach my Gospel. Much of the mission is forgetting it, or not even studying it. We need it to provide guidance for us. There are lots of other things we learned. It was EXACTLY what we needed to get started. But I´ve always gotten along great with my companions here. But i´ve never had such a strong relationship so quickly with a companion before. We´re both really happy and excited to serve togther. It´s gonna be great.

  Anyway, that´s my week. We´re excited to put in practice all of the new ideas we´re having. 

   Give G a HUGE happy bitrthday hug for me. I sent letters. Hope they get there soon.

Élder Smith

July 21, 2014

The week went by really fast. Because of meetings, exchanges, and more meetings, I only spent 1 day in the area. But it was a day full of miracles. Its been stressful training with all of the other responsabilities, but the love we feel from the Lord during trials is worth it. There truly must be opposition in all things. When we are tired and beaten, the Lord lets us go until we cant bare any more, then he reveals his arm in or lives. I love my mission. Im learning to not just feel gratitude when Im blessed, but to be a grateful person. President Uchdorf gave a great talk on that last conference. Now that Im on the downward slope, I feel like Im progressing so much more. I am so... very... tired. But, when I rest I just want to work. Its a funny thing. It´s been a little rough leading the zone while training. I have to focus on training my companion, while also having another 18 missionaries to take care of and frequent meetings. But I am happier right now than I´ve ever been.
Well, transfers is here AGAIN! Someone please make it stop. Its going way to fast. But training has made me laugh. Ive looked back into my journal and planners from the beginning of my mission, and I realize how long its really been. Im going to stay in Embu, and Elder Fernandes was transfered. So, Ill keep living in the same house as the Elder I finished training, with my new companion, and another new Elder. Change is good. Over half of the entire Zone is leaving. But, well get some `novo sangue` in the zone, so things will speed up. There are many missionaries here that have been here for a long time.
Anyway, things here are great, and life is good. I sent letters to everyone *for the first time in forever) last tuesday, so let´s see if they get there.
Elder Smith

July 14, 2014

July 7, 2014


I´m so happy to hear that all is well with the family!
I´m not able to send pictures from here infelizmente.

I´ll have to be a little brief, sorry. But I wrote to Dad a few things that happened this week. But I´m doing great. There is another set of Elders in the zone with a couple of problems, so President prayed, and the Lord told him what to do. My companion and I will split up for the next two weeks, and help these Elders. So I´ll finish the training of Elder Ferreira, wh will be my new companion, and Elder Fernandes will go with Elder A. Castro in Vista Alegre. We´ll stay the Zone Leaders, just in different areas. Wierd, eh? But, it´ll be fun to train. 

I´ll try to find a LAN house that will permit me to send photos. Because the camera broke, it´s a little harder to send them.

Thanks for all the prayers and the fasting. Give mae and G a big hug for me.

Com Amor,

Élder Smith


Thanks for sharing the experience. I did feel the spirit very strongly.

Before I start off the weekly report, I´d like to ask a favor.  Please pray for me to have the determination and desire to write daily in my journal. It´s been a LONG time since I´ve written in it. But, I´ll pray and try much harder.

My goodness, what an incredible week. So many provations, but so many miracles. The Zone is doing well, but it´s declining right now. The vision in the zone is dropping. The missionaries are setting lower and lower goals every week. And with the World Cup slowing the work down, we are in a rapid decline. We hope to bring everything back up to speed tomorrow with an energy-filled and spiritual Zone Meeting. I have never felt so exhausted in my life, mentally and spiritually. I´m praying for revelation and discernment for my missionaries, giving all that I have. No one ever said it would be easy, but it is so worth it.

Saturday, The Lord responded to my cries for help. We baptized a young man named Gábriel last week. He lives with his widowed mother and younger brother. His mom is great. She had already studied with the missionaries in the past, but never got baptized. She was extremely happy with the baptism of her son. Until Saturday, we had only spoken with her twice. But, she was home, so we were elated to speak with her. She felt the spirit, and opened up to us. She explained how hard her life is right now. There´s a group of neighborhood kids who for the second time while she was at work, broke into her home, stole some things, broke others, beat her kids and left. She then told us of the death of her husband. Seven years ago, 3 men entered into her home, and held the family hostage. For an entire week, they beat them, abused them and tortured them. At the end of the week, they brought the family together, and shot the husband in the head in front of his entire family.

We felt impressed to teach The Plan of Salvation, and teach about baptisms for the dead. As we explained, she began to cry. She stopped me mid-sentence, and said: "I want to be baptized, tomorrow. I cannot wait any longer. I read the Book of Mormon you left me. I know it´s true. I know my husband is waiting. I can´t wait until I get a break from work, I need to be baptized tomorrow"

She was baptised with her son on Sunday at 7 P.M.

June 30, 2014

The picture I sent I just recieved from one of my recent converts. The rest of the family isn´t in the picture, but they are the baptism that made my mission. I think you already have the photos of their baptisms. If not, sorry :(

But life is great! the EMBU zone was blessed with 27 baptisms this month, more than ever. I love my companion, we work well together. Every single missionary in the zone baptized this month, so everyone is incredibly happy and excited. 

PRESIDENT DALTON CHEGOU!!! We have mission leadership council tomorrow, so I´ll get to know him. He seems like a great man from the little I talked with him on the phone. It was so wierd the day the president changed. It feels like my dad left. Dad will know what I mean. But it´s strange.

I went to the doctor on tuesday. While I was sitting there in the waiting room for 2 hours, I realized how grateful I am for Dad. I´ve never really had to wait like that, he just always took care of me at home. And here in Embu, the buss passes we have don´t work, because it´s the only zone in the mission outside of the city of São Paulo. So, we spend a TON of money on transit. We do exchanges daily, have reunions, and have to reslove problems here and there, so the cash we spend on the bus adds up. In consequence, we didn´t have a lot of food this week. That´s when I realized how grateful I am for Mom. When I was at home, I never worried about the fridge being empty or going hungry, because the fridge was always full. I realized how much you did for me, small things that I never realized until now. 

   This week, as I continued my in-depth study of the Book of Mormon, I arrived in 2 Néfi 4. There´s a verse that hit me really hard, and made me think of my parents. It says the following : 

"But behold, my sons and my daughters, I cannot go down to my grave save I should leave a blessing upon you; for behold, I know that if ye are brought up in the way ye should go ye will not depart from it."

   You raised me "in the way I should go", and I did not depart from it. Much of who I am today is because you always stuck with me. My companion was raised without his father. He asked me one day about Dad. I told him about how Dad always taught me how to be a good man through example. I told him about the story of the stolen bycicle. Ask Dad if he remembers. My companion laughed, and told me how lucky I was to have a Christ-like father. He tells me how much he wants to meet Dad, and asks me to share stories about him almost every day. I also share stories about Mom, since his mom was always working, he never saw her very much. I tell him about how Mom was always laughiong about something. About how Mom never complained, and how she would firmly let me know when I was out of line, to help me back. As I told him about my family, I realized how blessed I am. 

   Yesterday evening, we were sharing stories of our younger siblings. I told how Grant is the best friend I have. I told him about how we used to go to movies, play soccer, hyave crazy nerf gun fights when Mom and Dad went out of town, and my eyes swelled up a bit. I miss our car rides together, I miss just talking with him. I´m not missing home, but I miss Grant. If you could put him in a box and send him over that´d be great.

But anyway, I´m great. I´m all better now, the doc put me on some heavy meds. The medicine here in Brasil is way strong. They don´t have all the same laws, so the medication knocks you out.

Love you, thanks for the letters, and all of the prayers!

Élder Smith

June 24, 2014


   Things are going great over here. We´re really happy. Right now, the Zone     I´m in (Embu) is generally known as the zone that baptizes little, because there´s a lot of jungle and much less people than the other zones. But we´re leading the mission in baptisms right now, having a ton of success. It´s such a great feeling when you see the arm of the Lord blessing the hard work and faith of missionaries you love so much. Our little zone of only 18 missionaries (one of the smallest in the mission) is working incredibly hard. My area is also going really well. Two weeks ago, we found a group of 4 young men, and invited them to church. We passed by on Sunday to take them to church, and they had invited 4 more. there was a whole bench just for our little army of kids. 3 of them will be baptized this Sunday, and we´re expecting around 30 people at this weeks sacrament meeting. 

   Unfortunately, I´m a little sick right now with the flu. So I´ll be resting today, and tomorrow back out to work. I hate it when I have to stay inside. I really do love this work, I love my area. So it stinks to have to stay home all day, but, I´ll be back out soon. My companion´s taking good care of me. I´ve been very blessed on my mission with good companions. I´ve learned a lot of patience, love, and humility. I hit 14 months today. The alarm went off, and it hit me. It´s scaring me to death to see the time fly by so quickly. I´m still nowhere close to being the man I want to be walking off the plane. But,I can sincerely say that I´ve changed so much. I know that this is the Savior´s true and only church. I know that I am doing his work. There´s a line in my Patriarchal blessing that says that as I serve as the savior did, the Christ-like attributes of love will be manifest in my daily walk. It says that through this love,I will be a friend and minister to my mission companions. I can see and feel this happening. I sincerely love those with whom I serve. I´d give my life for any one of these missionaries. I know that this time is limited, so I´m doing my best every day to take advantage of it. But what´s funny is that the harder you work, the faster the time goes by. 

   President Pinho ends his missionary service on Thursday of this week. Tomorrow we´ll have the last leadership council with him. It´s so sad to see him go, but President Dalton will be great. President Pinho took one of the lowest baptizing missions in Brazil, and turned it into the greatest. He´s like a father to me. But, we´ll still see him every once in a while. 



   But yeah, that´s my life right now. Só felicidade! 

Te amo!

Élder Smith

June 16, 2014


The World cup is crazy here. The streets are painted green, yellow and blue. The houses are also all painted. We´re not allowed to leave the house during the days that Brasil playe, which is once a week. It´s nuts during the games. The streets are completely silent, it looks like a ghost town. But when Brasil makes a goal, the whole city screams. Imagine being in the middle of New York, with every single citizen in their home yelling. Then multiply it by 50, and you have an idea. The Super Bowl doen´s even come close to being in the same league as the World Cup here. 

Well, I got transferred! I´m now in the zone Embu, which is the only remaining "interior" zone in the mission. Interior means  the outskirts. Theres a lot of jungle, trees, favela. But it´s also a normal city. But we´re gonna have to come by here when you come down. There´s a really old city here that every Saturday and Sunday opens up, and there´s a HUGE market on the streets. Hundreds of street vendors,  selling crazy cool things. It has that old rustic shop feel. It´s like what people do in the States, but real. It´s so cool. And the Zone is getting to new lvels too. The record in the Embu Zone for baptisms was 17 in a month. We still have 2 more Saturdays, and the Zone has helped 16 children of our Heavenly father enter that waters of batptism already. So things are going really well.

My new companion is also the bomb. His name is Élder Fernandes 
(Feh-nahn-jihs) . He´s an incredible missionary, and we have about the same time on the mission. So we work really well together. But yeah, life is good.

I´m not sure how much in the last sis months. But I´m really grateful. every preparation day I  want to write them, but there´s nev er time. I write a quick letter to yoiu, and then write my recent-converts for the rest of the time. But I´m pretty sure all of it gets here. I get a letter from Gma every 3 weeks just about. 

But, unfortunately my camera broke. I was on exchange, and my companion was showing the other elder how you can take photos under water. Probably something wasn´t closed, and it broke. So I´ll be without a camera. But I´ll take photos with my companions camera, and send them that way, no need to worry. 

Life is good, the sky is blue, and só batiza!

Com carinho.

Élder Smith                             

June 9, 2014

It´s alright, I´m not worried. But the package will be returned home to the mailing address. 

I´m excited for you guys. It´ll be fun.

I can´t believe Ave´s coming home. He left so little time before I did. 
It´s actually pretty cold here right now. When it´s summer there, it´s winter here, and vis versa. The climate flips south of the equator. So I´m freezing rather than burning! But, everythings great. I´m extremely sad to be leaving my companion, I recieved the transfer call this morning, so I´ll be off tomorrow morning to another Zone. But there´s an awesome phrase President Pinho says (and by the way, he´ll be leaving us on the 28th):  
"Saudades sim, remorso jamais!"
roughly translated, "Miss it? yes.Regrets? Never."

I am going to miss my area and my Zone like crazy. The missionaries here are family. You pray for them every night, seek revelation for them daily, and do all you can to help them have a happy and successful mission. And then you have to leave. It´s tough. But, I know that I left my area better then I found it. It was hard starting here. We whitewashed the area. There were no investigators, and the members weren´t to excited. But now, there are many investigators with dates set, and the members are super excited. It´s a great feeling. I did my best every day.

I´ll miss the baptism of an investigator we found last week. Sorry I´m so terrible about keeping you updated on things. Neusa, a 78-year-old lady, is maybe one of the most elect investigators I´ve ever seen. Usually, we don´t pay much attention to the old people. When we talk to them, it usually goes like this:
Me - Hello mam, I´m Elder Smith, this is my companion Elder Da Cruz. We´re         missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Lat...

Old lady - I´m a member of the "Missionary Evangelical Church of the Flaming                Crown Ministry of Bethlehem", thanks to the Lord. So before you                    waste your time, I will never visit your church, because Jesus is in                  all of them. There´s only 1 God, so it doesn´t matter what church                    you go to. The Church doesn´t save anyone..

Me - Ahh, alright then. Well mam we still would like to invite you to visit. We           testify that the very church that Christ estabelished is on the earth                 today. We also testify that you can know for yourself that this is true by         pray..

Old Lady - No, I won´t go. 

Me - Ok, Well, who do you know in the area that could use some peace and           comfort?

Old Lady - No, everyone already has their own religion. Bye, good afternoon

And last week, I said hi to an old lady, only to find out after that she was crazy. I said "Good Afternoon!", and she responded, screaming "GO TO HELL YOU FILTHY PIMP DRAGON!" And yes, she really did call me that. It was pretty funny.

But, for this reason we are a bit apprehensive in inviting older people. But Neusa is incredible. She loves the visits, and a few days ago we taught the word of wisdom. The only thing she had a problem with was coffee. But, she willingly compled to never drink it again. Later, she told us that the next morning, she went to drink a cup, but remembered that she couldn´t. She freaked out, and threw all of her coffee in the toilet. It´s been 5 days, and she has no more desire to drink it. The other day, she asked us if she could help clean the chapel and pay tithing. The faith of the Brasilian people is incredible. But, she´ll be baptised saturday. We have a few other investigators also to be baptized next week. But, I´m happy to have been able and permitted to play a part in their conversion. 

But yes, that is my week. 

Love you!

Elder Smith