Tuesday, November 15, 2016


November 14, 2016
Howdy folks! 
This week was pretty darn great. 

Here are some stories I forgot to include but are still pretty awesome: A few weeks ago, there was one night when I was pretty frustrated because we hadn't taught anyone and in my personal prayer I poured my heart out to Heavenly Father and asked him to give me peace and help me in any way. As I said that in my prayer, our cell phone started ringing literally right next to me on the window sill. It was Elder Hooker, my district leader, who is an absolutely awesome guy. We talked for nearly half an hour and I just told him everything that I was worried and stressed about and he said everything that was exactly what I needed to hear. Don't tell me God doesn't answer prayers. 

Monday night we had an awesome lesson with J. We asked him what he hoped would happen from meeting from us and he said he wants to stop drinking and follow God. Before he let us in the doorstep we told him we just what to share a quick message with him. An hour and a half later: "¡Ustedes me dijeron un ratito!" (You guys told me it would just be a little bit!) J is super funny haha. We taught about keeping the Sabbath day holy. 

Then Thursday we met with him again and he hadn't kept his reading commitment to read the first chapter of first Nephi so we read that with him and his wife L. We recommitted them both to another baptismal date that will also fall through because they didn't come to church yesterday. But we're working on it. We are really making sure they stay accountable to our commitment to read. We are really focusing on helping our investigators keep their commitments to read The Book of Mormon because of District meeting Tuesday. 

It makes sense haha. If people aren't reading, they can't receive a witness that it's true. Or that Joseph Smith translated it by the power of God. Or that the priesthood was restored through Joseph Smith. Or that everything thing we teach and believe in is true. It truly is the keystone of our religion. If the Book of Mormon were not true, our entire religion would be false. Because The Book of Mormon is true, our entire religion is true. A knowledge of the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon proves that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is guided and directed by Christ himself. 

This is why following Moroni's promise is criticality important. You can't know if a cake is delicious unless you take a bite. We invite everyone to simply take a bite. Just read and pray and ask God if it's true. It's really quite simple. Yet so many people are just too darn stubborn to try it out. Come on peeps! It's not that hard! 

Another excuse I'm getting is that a lot of people here in the South believe the church doesn't matter as long as you believe in God you are saved. You say you believe in the Bible folks, so why don't you live according to what it teaches? I'm done ranting about this because I've said enough already.😑 Wednesday I got a package from Elder Stallings. What a champ. Seriously made my week. Love that kid. For real though. God bless him. 

We have started teaching a few English investigators as well this week. Wednesday night we taught M. She started crying because she is going through a lot of rough stuff right now. She told us in tears "my whole life I've surrounded myself with bad people. I'm tired of bad people in my life. I need good people in my life, so y'all are welcome over anytime." 

Thursday night the impact Elders arrived at our apartment, and stayed with us till Sunday night. Basically the job of the impact Elders is to go and visit companionships and help them fix their problems. Which is nice because we could use some help. Friday we started by cleaning our apartment all day. HALLELUJAH. Not gonna lie, our apartment was getting pretty gross. They went to Walmart and bought a whole bunch of cleaning supplies and we went crazy on our apartment. We cleaned that place like we were expecting the Prophet or something. It's pretty nice to finally have someplace clean to call home. After that we had a companionship inventory, we all stated what we were struggling with. Elder Harper, one of the impact Elders (who is from Riverton, first name is Joey if anyone knows him) told how when he came out, he was planning on going home after 2 weeks in the field just to say he served a mission. But then he was like, maybe I should figure out if this is true. When he did get an answer that the Church is true, he was like: "crap, now I have to stay on my mission..." now he's one of the most powerful Elders in the whole mission 😂

Saturday Elder Sotomarino, Elder Ortiz, and I went finding. We found three new investigators (new investigator means you have taught a lesson and set a return appointment), including a couple named H & D. They are golden. Elder Ortiz sees this super buff guy working on his Dodge truck that has "Chevy Killer" spray painted on the back. We get talking to him and he tells us he has been looking for a church! Heck yeah that's what I like to hear! His girlfriend comes outside and we start teaching them both. Awesome lesson, they are so prepared! They said they want to know if this church is Christ’s church or not.

And they came for the first two hours of church yesterday😱🙏. OUR FIRST INVESTIGATORS TO CHURCH. IT FINALLY HAPPENED!!!!! Also crazy story while we were finding Saturday: WE SAW A CAT JUMP HALFWAY UP A TREE AND GRAB A SQUIRREL IN ITS MOUTH MID JUMP AND LAND ON ITS FEET. It was so intense you have no idea. Nature is so savage. The cat ran away and left the squirrel as we walked towards it. The pour squirrel was still alive but half its body was paralyzed so it was just sliding around helplessly. it was really sad 😭. 

So that was tragic. But the rest of my week was pretty good so I'll take it. Church is true. The Book is blue. Read it you goons. Talk to y'all soon. 

Con amor, Elder Smalley
Enviado desde mi iPad

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Email Doce - More rusty than Dad's jump shot

November 7, 2016
Hey folks!

To start off, I will say that this was statistically our least productive week yet, but that's okay. We only taught 5 lessons total. But also this week was bike week, and WE ACTUALLY HAD BIKES ... kind of.

We found an old piece of junk bike behind our apartment a few weeks ago that some missionary had left behind, and decided to bring it Brother M's house. Brother M is an interesting fella. Before he shaved about a week ago he resembled a Viking. It was weird to see him after he shaved, he looks totally different. Imagine a big guy who talks like Forrest Gump, and you have a surprisingly accurate description of Brother M.

But what else is interesting: he is a bike guru. This guy knows bikes. You would never suspect it from meeting him, but he is an expert in all things bikes. You never know what hidden talents some folks have, that I have learned here.

The nice thing is his house is a minute walk from our apartment. So we took the bike over, and Brother M made this thing rideable, which is impressive. Steel frame, steel wheels, probably weighs over 50 pounds, brakes are more rusty than Dad's jump shot, but it rides!

So we had bikes! The trouble is, said bike of Elder Sotomarino had tires and tubes from the 1800s, so it got a flat tire. So we got said ancient tube patched for the second time. Brother M pointed out if said tube failed again, we would need a new one. Well, guess what happened Friday night: said tube failed again. Therefore, we had no means of transportation, other than our feet. Hence bike week became walk/beg for rides from members week.

Rewind back to Tuesday: we had District meeting again. Elder Hooker is an awesome District Leader. He is always pointing us back to Preach My Gospel and how we can use it effectively. My goal is to become a Preach My Gospel missionary. My advice to anyone preparing to serve a mission: READ PMG EVERYDAY. My advice to anyone not preparing to serve a mission: READ PMG EVERYDAY. This is counsel I didn't take seriously, so children please hearken to my words, because I seriously regret not thoroughly studying PMG before the mish.

Tuesday night we had a member lesson with our investigator H, who is from Honduras. He has a lot of doubts. He is very skeptical of our message because the Bible doesn't talk about Joseph Smith or Book of Mormon prophets. Or so he thinks, because there are several prophecies in the Bible of Joseph Smith, the restoration, and the Book of Mormon! His issue was that it doesn't mention any of that explicitly or by name. But as y’all know, we seek not to “prove” these things merely by logic, or “by the understanding of man”, but through confirmation from the Spirit of God!

Yes, there is a ton of evidence that the Book of Mormon is a true and accurate record, but I don't really care about that. Anyone can find a way to argue against such things. The real question is: Is it the word of God? To know this, GO TO THE SOURCE. GOD IS THE SOURCE OF ALL KNOWLEDGE. If you seek to prove or disprove these things merely by logic, you will not come to a knowledge of the truth of God and His works.

You come to a knowledge of these truths by doing as The Book of Mormon, and Christ himself direct: ask the source of all knowledge. Read the Book of Mormon and pray to God to know if it is true. It is a simple formula, yet many people don't get it. I know this works because I've done it. This knowledge can't be taken from me. God told me it is, and God doesn't lie. Mic drop

Also I would like to take a moment to appreciate Hermana B, who is a member in the branch. I love this woman. She was just called as a Ward missionary and has a strong testimony, and she cooks AMAZING MEXICAN FOOD. She told me I eat like a Mexican. Maybe its because I can eat jalapeños without crying now haha. They don't seem that spicy any more, so I guess I'm finally building an immunity to spicy food, and I actually enjoy it now! The mission works miracles folks.

Anyways Hermana B is awesome. We call her youngest son diablito (little devil). He's probably 4. He screams and cries and hits his mom every time he doesn't get his way, and his parents just kind of take it. Mom and Dad, thank you for not taking any of my crap when I was little.

Carne Asada Activity with the Branch
Friday President came to Russellville to do interviews. I got a chance to talk to Sister Wakolo for a bit while I was waiting for my turn with President. She's super funny and her faith is incredible. I love President and Sister Wakolo. Words can't do them justice. Personal favorite highlight from interview with Prez: "are there any sister missionaries likely to unlock the heart of Elder Smalley?" Me: Likely? Lol nah Sir, gave the only key to my momma. President: "Good Elder", as he laughs.

Well folks I love it here. I love being a missionary. I'm so grateful to be here, and for the knowledge I have. I'm happy here.

Our goal as a mission is to baptize monthly. When we first got here, it looked like we were going to get a baptism my first week. That fell through. Our baptisms for this past weekend fell through. We may not get a baptism in November either. Maybe not December. Whatever happens, as long as I'm committed to the work, it's okay. Everything will be alright.

In a couple days I'll hit my one month mark in the field. It's been a good month. It's not about the numbers, it's about going out and acting through the Spirit constantly. That's who I want to be. That's what the Lord wants of me.

I love y'all, have a great week.

Ps nobody can pronounce my name in the Spanish Branch so they all call me Elder Smiley. It fits!

Enviado desde mi iPad

Email Once - Room for Improvement

October 31, 2016
Howdy folks,

This week was challenging and fun. To be honest it doesn't feel like I've made much progress from last week. We weren't able to teach very much this week. In fact I remember at least three days this week where we didn't teach a single lesson. It's hard to feel like you've done your part at the end of the day when you haven't taught others what you actually believe in and know to be true during the course of the whole day.

One thing from McKay's letter that really hit me was that the Lord didn't call me here to plant seeds. He has already planted seeds in the heart of His elect. He called me here to harvest. It hasn't felt like I've been doing too much harvesting,  so I need to change something I'm doing wrong. The people who are prepared are here in Russellville, I'm just not finding them.

The Spanish zone leaders came to Russellville on Friday, and Friday night we went on finding splits just knocking doors. Having them visit was really good. We were able to get twice the amount of work done and find a bunch of potential investigators. Then they stayed the night with us. It was fun to just hang out with those Elders, they're pretty cool. Saturday morning, I got to meet one on one with one of our zone
leaders Elder Spencer. It was good, he just asked me everything I was worrying about and I went ahead and spoke everything on my mind and gave him an earful. It was therapeutic to have someone just sit and listen for a bit as selfish as that sounds. He was super cool about it, gave me some awesome advice, then the others got back from teaching a lesson and he and his companion Elder Jorgenson gave us some more advice. They pointed out to us a bunch of things we could improve on, and reminded us of things we were forgetting to do.

For whatever reason it feels like no matter how hard I try or how excited I am, I'm not giving my
best, so I always feel guilty. I guess that's because we suck at planning and it just feels like we're wasting time. Anyways so that's my shpeel about the challenging part, here's the good part:

Saturday was more productive than we have been in a while, we did a bunch of contacting, and taught three lessons: one with a less active, one with a member present, and the third lesson was with a man from El Salvador. At first it seemed like he wanted to Bible bash because he was super intense. But we used the Bible to build up what we were teaching about the restoration. In the middle of the lesson he stops and says "your church’s and my churches beliefs are very similar." He told us his church also believes in modern revelation and has their own prophets. He then brought up the scripture in Ephesians that talks about false prophets and I'm sure he was about to call our prophet a false prophet but just then Elder Anaya cut him off and said "I love that scripture! Especially the part that says by their fruits ye shall know them! This book right here is a fruit of the prophet Joseph Smith!" We then bore our testimony that if he read it he would know it was a good fruit. Good stuff, and a clutch move by Elder Anaya.

Anyways I had more stories but I'm out of time!