April 21, 2014

It´s nice hearing about the family every week. I´m not thinking about home really at all, i just like knowing everyone´s well.
Well, transfer is already drawing to a close... AGAIN! I´ll most likely stay with Elder Bertha for one more before he goes home. But I´m excited, he´s the best companion I´ve had so far.
Things are crazy busy here right now. But I love it. I´ve gotten into the missionary spirit. I hate when the watch hits 21h00 and we have to go home. I don´t want to slow down for P-day. I´m feeling so much happiness because of this work, it´s consuming me. I am literally so happy, I don´t pay any attention to anything that doesn´t have to do with my missionaries or baptism. I am so grateful that the Lord is blessing our work so much. Our Zone had a lot of people at sacrament meeting yesterday, everyone´s excited, and we´re starting to baptize. But even with all of this, I am learning each day that I am absolutely nothing. Every time I feel like I´m getting close to mastering a Christ-like attribute, a new perspective on the subject opens up to my mind, and I realize how far away I still am. Becoming like Christ is going to take a lifetime - and then some - of constant work and progression. But I don´t feel disheartened by this anymore, it makes me excited. I am so happy that I still have a year to learn to be the man I want to be walking off the plane. I´m so excited for my life that lies ahead of me, because I know that it´s going to be hard. I´ll have so many tests. I know that I´ll mess up a lot, but I know who to trust in. I know that as long as I obey the commandments, try hard to be better every day, and pay my tithing, I´ll be blessed. I have never been so happy in my life.
I found an awesome scripture today, that´s my new favorite, and my theme for the month of May :
Alma 27:18   "Now was not this aexceeding joy? Behold, this is joy which none receiveth save itbe the truly penitent and humble seeker of bhappiness."
I want to be this penitent and humble seeker of happiness. This scripture gave me a new view on the work. I´m doing things now with the goal of finding and feeling this happiness. I know that happiness comes from 2 things, diligent work and exact obedience. I want to be like penitent and humble Alma, who´s entire body became completely weak because of true, righteous happiness.
I´m gratful for the examples that  have in my life of good men who seek this happiness. I´m grateful that you and Mom raised me the way you did. I feel, and know, that I chose this road. And it´s leading me to a happy and righteous life.
Things are fantastic. I´m happy, healthy, and excited to grow.
Tell Mom and G I love them, and play with Katy for me.
com amor,

Elder Smith
I´m really happy. I sent a long letter to Dad´s email for you guys. But I just want to share a scripture I found that really changed my point of view about life.
Alma 27:18
Now was not this exceeding joy? Behold, this is joy which none receiveth save it be the trulypenitent and humble seeker of happiness.
I think that these are some of the sweetest words in the scriptures. This is to be a model of our lives. As members of the Lord´s church, we know what brings true happiness. A humble seeker is someone who keeps the commandments of God, optimistically, knowing that the greatest of God´s blessings is pure happines, and "charity towards God and all men".
I know that 66% of your babies are gone, but search for this happiness. I hope that you and Dad are finding tim to read the Book of Mormon together every day. That´s something I look forward to in my future family.
Elder Smith

Great Sunday. A couple members gave us boxes of chocolate. There´s a tradition in Brasil, on Easter (Páscoa), everyone eats fish. So we had a good lunch. It was a nice day.
Sorry, my time is up. Love you all so much. até semana que vem!
Elder Smith

April 14, 21014

OI mãe!
You´re headed off to Idaho! Crazy how quikly time flies. My companion is already on the BYU website setting up his classes for when he gets home, and I´m not too far behind him. It´s crazy to me how quickly time flies, but only when you don´t want it to.
I´m loving my new companion. He´s a very humble, experienced Elder who knows how to work in the ward. He´s pushing me to be better every day, and I´ve never felt like I´m progressing so quickly.
The members in our ward are fantastic. Right when we got here we started working like crazy serving the members, and we´ve gained their trust. They´re inviting us to teach their friends, inviting us to Family Home Evening (if you want to help the Elders out, just bring a friend over for Family Home Evening and invite them, it really is the best tool to integrate investigators). But we´re really happy here. We have a couple of investigators awesome to be baptized in the coming weeks. We´ve been only focusing on teaching families, and the Lord has blessed us.
In my personal studies this week, I´ve focused a lot on the mind. I´ve learned a little bit just how powerful the mind really is. Bruce R. McConkie said (rouphly translated) "The mind is the key that opens the windows of heaven". I have the book called "Evocando os Poderes dos Céus" (Drawing upon the Powers of Heaven) and I´ve learned so much. The Lord is so willing to grant us all of our sincere, just desires. When we don´t understand a lot of times is how to turn a simple want into a sincere desire.
Wants can very easily be mistaken for desires. Wants can be things very righteous, even the desires of God, but wants are fleeting thoughts that come and go. If I want something only when I remember to ask for it, it is not a real desire of our hearts. We need to learn how to train our minds, to turn these fleeting wants into firm desires.
And that´s the hardest thing I´ve ever tried to do in my life. Throughout the day, we let our minds wander on things that have no worth. We forget about the work the Lord wants us to do, and worry about the things of the world. Apostles have advised us to train our minds, so that when satan tries to distract us with meaningless thoughts, we can push them out. I´m realizing now how subtle satan really is. How frequently during the day I let my mind wander. But now, I´m catching myself much more quickly, and re-focusing on my work. It is completely mentally exhausting doing this all day, but I´m turning my wants into desires. When before, I´d see a cool car on the street and my mind would stray from how to help my investigators, I´m beginning to learn how to push these tempting thoughts out, and fill my whole heart with those I teach. In doing this, as Elder McConkie said, I´m unlocking the windows of heaven, and the Lord is absolutely blessing our work.
We prayed together one day, and decided that the Lord wanted us to find a family of 4, with the parents legally married (nearly impossible to find here), who would be open and excited fr baptism. We prayed frequently throughout the day, only letting our minds think about this family of 4, and after 3 days of this, we began to find a ton of families, legally married, who want to go to church. We are seeing a ton of miracles every day, and are recognizing them much more.
Tis has completely changed the definition of diligence for me. Before, diligence was talking with 50 people on the street, finding 6 new investigators, and teaching 15 lessons daily. Now, these things aren´t being diligent. They are blessings that come from constantly focusing my mind on the work of the Lord, or "constant mental force".
I know that the Lord lives, and that he wants to grant the righteous desires of our hearts. I also know that the key to these blessings is never letting satan distract us from our desires, and in doing so, the Lord will open up the windows of heaven, and let his blessing pour out in open abundance toward us. I have a strong testimony of the power of faith in our lives. Faith is only faith if it inspires us to act. Our faith is real faith when we serve. We desire to bring others to the Lords kingdom only when this desire never leaves our heart at any point of the day. "Faith, without works, is dead."
Love you all, I´m so happy to know that everyone is happy, and healthy. I´m greatful for all of the prayers, I really do feel them every day. I´m excited to talkt to you soon.
Com Amor e muito carinho,
Élder Smith

April 7, 2014

As a missionary that helps people overcome addictions, I think we need to have a discussion about cruises... hahahahaha
Conference was great! I only heard about 25% of it, but what I heard was great. The American Missionaries always watch in english, but English didn´t work very well because the internet at the chapel is horrible. So we watched a little in portuguese. It´s pretty annoying in other languages. The translators are very monotone and boring. I could tell that Elder Holland was yelling, but the translator sounded like the guys that are payed to stand in elevators and push buttons. So it lost a little of the excitement, but I still recieved a lot of personal revelation, so that was awesome.
I´m so excited to hear that you want to help someone! You´ve already converted 1, I promise you, that if you hadn´t taught me what you did, and been the example you were, I wouldn´t have made it here. But to start, read Preach My Gospel. Focus on chapters 3,4,5 and 6. That fear to talk with people goes away when we know inside and out what we want to share, and know with a surety that it will bless the lives of others. When we want an answer from our Heavenly Father, we must ask a specific question, and then act. Pray and ask God who you can share the gospel with, and then study Preach my Gospel to know what to share and how. As you do that, I promise you as a representative of God that He will answer, and give the courage you need. Also, you have the Elders. Ask them to teach you how to teach. The missionary work is designed to strengthen the members of the church. When President Monson gave the revelation that "Now is the time for members and missionaries to work together",this revelation is designed to strengthen the testimonies of the members of the church, more than it is to baptize people. The purpose of my mission is first to convert me, and then others.
Throughout this search to convert someone else, just know that the central purpose will be to more fully convert you. If there is one thing I have most powerfully learned on my mission, it is that we cannot convert others beyond our own conversion. I cannot invite others to do things if I do not do them. So the first step is to gain a personal testimony of what we teach, so that the spirit will flow through us as we invite others to live how we are living. The missionary work is the single most important thing on the face of the earth. It is the only means whereby mankind may be saved. When Christ was on the Earth, he did missionary work his entire life, until he died. Then, he set up the missionary work in heaven.
 That must have been tiring. But, I know you´ll do great. I also know that the Lord has prepared, and is preparing people for you right now. So just relax, pray, and study. It works, trust me.
But anywho, Tell mae I love her, and good luck. And tell Grant he´s a punk, but I love him too. The big training went great. I LOVE talking in front of large groups. Don´t know why, I just love to get really into it, and make everyone excited. It feels good. But it was a big success. The work in Brasil is changing. I´m  really excited.
Love you! hope all is well. Give katy a hug for me.
Elder Smith