Monday, October 9, 2017

Temple Trip!

President Stauffer and his wife with me at the temple

So this week I got to go to the temple! It was such an amazing experience. It was my first time going since I left the MTC, and honestly there's so much I've learned since that made the temple a whole different experience for me.

It was funny because the zone leaders didn't tell me when I was going to go, or if I would be able to at all (since we're in the zone farthest away from mission offices) so they literally called me with like 15 minutes notice to get on the bus to Lima. We left a little late so I think it made the joke on them a little because we got the the offices at like midnight and the mission secretaries were there just waiting for us.

This week we were working super hard to receive member referrals and contact them as fast as we could. We had a big ward referral activity a couple weeks ago that has given us a big head start but the task now is to go out and find out where the referrals live. But anyways on Thursday while we were walking around looking for an address we contacted a young couple, Jonathan and Diana, with their baby in the street, and they were really shy but they accepted us to come over after lunch.

We went over and taught them and it was a really smooth lesson. It was interesting because Jonathan had grown up believing that the sabbath day is Saturday, and when we taught about the Restoration and the need to pray to know if it's true, he just accepted it. I honestly don't know what we said that was so special to convince him, but I know it was the Spirit that persuaded him.

On Sunday, they came to church! It was so awesome having our Gospel Principles class so full of investigators. It is such a sweet joyful feeling because when we started working here a couple months ago we had between 0-1 investigators coming to church each week. Now we have at least 4-5 each week. I know this isn't my work, but I know that the Lord really wants His children to have the truth in their lives and that's when we come in to be instruments in His hands.

Yo sé que ésta es la Iglesia verdadera. Yo sé que Dios es un Dios de milagros y Él llama profetas en nuestros tiempos. Él mandó Su Hijo Jesucristo para sacrificar Su vida por nosotros voluntariamente. Jesús es nuestro Salvador y Redentor, y Él vive. Estoy tan agradecido por Él porque yo puedo levantarme cada día con confianza de que Dios me conoce, me ayuda, y me perdona mientras me esfuerzo por vivir el Evangelio. Yo sé que los convenios que hacemos con nuestro Padre Celestial son eternos. Amo tanto este Evangelio, pues es un evangelio de GOZO!!

I love you all so much!!! I hope you have a stellar week!

Until next time! 😎✌

Elder Evan Smith

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Longest Week

Well, let me just start off by saying that I think this was one of the longest weeks in my mission. But I learned a lot.

Perhaps it felt very long because I was hit with a lot of trials. I love the pride cycle for that reason. I have been trying to work as hard as I can and we've been having a lot of great results with my companion. I have also been striving to be more humble in my mission.

As each day passed last week, however, I felt my patience growing thinner and thinner, and my companion and I could feel ourselves becoming a little like Laman and Lemuel. It was on a then-gloomy wednesday night that we received some bad news over the phone that we were ready to throw in the towel when I remembered the Book of Mormon.

How many times do we read in the Book of Mormon that the people are blessed when they're righteous, then they become prideful and wicked, and the Lord chastises them, and then comes the critical point.

The people either repented of their sins and turned to the Lord or rebelled completely against the Lord and continued murmuring and making excuses.

I felt like we were at this point, and this analysis hit me so hard, I couldn't deny it was the Spirit. We talked it over as a companionship and we decided to pray and repent of our sins and hope for a miracle.

Mormon 9:19 "And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles."

Over the next days I cannot explain fully in words how things changed. In one aspect we were eased of the burdens which were put upon our shoulders, that even we could not feel them upon our backs, and in another aspect we were blessed with what we lacked in the first place to fulfill our purpose.

I do not believe in coincidences, and I know that this refining helped prepare me spiritually for the general conference we had. I am so grateful for the blessings we have from a loving Heavenly Father that knows perfectly what we need. I know that the prophet and apostles are called of God to give us His message and guide us in these difficult times. I testify that the Book of Mormon is true and really has power.

I love you all so much! I hope you all have an excellent week!!!

Elder Evan Smith

Monday, September 25, 2017

Spring in South America

So this week we supposedly started "spring" here in Perú. The funny thing is that I think it has been the COLDEST week of my whole mission haha. We've been fine, but I've just had to proselyte and sleep with many sweaters and jackets on. And I'm pretty sure that this weather isn't even that cold in general compared to Seattle. It's been around 18-22 degrees celsius here.

This week has been normal as far as proselyting goes. We had a work visit with the zone leaders that went pretty well. It was funny though because last week Daniel Bastian wrote in his letter that he did a work visit that took him to a different he went in an airplane and everything to work with the missionaries. And here in Barranca we just cross the street to do a work visit with the zone leaders hahaha.

My companion and I are teaching Fernando, who's a referral from a member called Joel. He's a man that's gone through some difficulties in his life but wants to turn things around now, and we've taught a couple lessons with Joel and his wife. I don't think I've been in a lesson where the members' testimonies have been so vital and therefore powerful as in these lessons. As we taught the word of wisdom, Joel and his wife each shared various experiences and testimonies on how they've overcome and been blessed by living the commandments, and it's so much stronger for Fernando when it comes from his friends. He is excited to keep on progressing and be baptized in October. This is a strong testimony to me that members are key in the conversion of the investigators!

Thanks for all your prayers! I'll keep on praying for all of you. Hope you have an excellent week!

Elder Evan Smith

Monday, September 18, 2017

Visit from Elder Oaks

This week was awesome! We had the visit from an Apostle...Elder Oaks! Some other general authorities came with him too. It was a really spiritually enriching meeting, as you might guess. I learned a lot about repentance, the Atonement and how to use the Book of Mormon. These really are principles to teach in the mission and to use for a lifetime. I testify that the general authorities are really called of God.

On Sunday, we went back to an old appointment we had last Monday, and we didn't find the person we were looking for, but we found and taught his brother Luis. He's a man that has his regular work routine, and spends the weekends with his family that live in Barranca, but he has felt like something is lacking in his life. We talked about the Restoration, and he was really interested in how to know which of all the churches is true. After focusing on the doctrine of Christ and inviting him to be baptized, he said, "You know I've been thinking about a lot of things in my life and what I need is religion. I really should get baptized." He already knows a few members that are his neighbors and is excited to go to church with them next week. This is yet another testimony for me that the Lord prepares people all around us to teach.

Love you all a million. Have a super excellent week!

Elder Evan Smith

Monday, September 11, 2017

Great Teaching Experience

This week we're all excited for the visit of Elder oaks to our mission! It's such an anxious experience having an apostle come to speak to us,

This last week has been great! Yesterday night was really special, apart from the lessons we had we had a great experience to finish off the day.

The last contact of the day was when we were on our way to the room. I saw a family coming our way on the other side of the road and we went without thinking twice. The dad turned out to be the guy who printed our photos off last p-day and was excited to see us again. His wife was really interested in having us visit them too. Literally seems like a golden family!!

have a great week! love you all!!!

Elder Evan Smith

Monday, September 4, 2017

Pascuala, a New Investigator

This week we were blessed with the visit of Elder Gonzales and his wife. He's a member of the Seventy. President and Sister Stauffer took the opportunity to share some things with us as well, and it turned out to be a really spiritually edifying meeting. We focused on the Doctrine of Christ, and how to teach it in such a way that we don't get "in the way" of the Spirit.

One experience we had was with a new investigator we found on Saturday morning. Pascuala was a woman we contacted on the street while she was talking to a member we already knew. When we went to visit her we were a little apprehensive because she'd told us how "catholic" she was. She's an older person as well and usually people of that age are harder to teach because of their traditions. However, as we taught Pascuala she was really open to us because her member friend has been a really good influence to her in the last few weeks. When we talked about repentance and baptism, at first she didn't think it was necessary to get baptized again, but when we used the scriptures and asked her questions to let her act for herself, she said "You know, I think it really would be necessary to get baptized again if what you're saying is true. How do I know for myself?" Our eyes got wide as we saw how the lesson turned around. The Spirit really is the senior companion, and when we get out of His way we are able to help the Lord's chosen find His gospel again.

Thanks for being so supportive to me! Love you all so much! Have a great week.

Elder Evan Smith

Monday, August 28, 2017

Teaching Cristian

This week flew by so fast. It was so full of great experiences. You might remember about the investigator, Cristian, that I explained how we found last week. Well, this week we had a really special experience with him. When we went back to teach him last week he came to the door telling us he doesn't like pressure and that this would be the last lesson if we really wanted to continue teaching. Of course we went right into the lesson with a lot of faith.

We started off reading the Book of Mormon with him because he still hadn't read it. We were going paragraph by paragraph in the introduction and explaining as we went when he stopped in the middle and said how much he liked the Book of Mormon. He hadn't realized the history of the book before and he was really interested in the fact that Jesus Christ visited the Americas.

Near the end of the lesson he actually said to us that he noted a real change in attitude in himself and he excused himself for being a little harsh at first. He said that in fact he wanted us to stop by every other day if possible. This was such a testimony builder for me that there REALLY IS power in the Book of Mormon. It is such a blessing to see the changes in other people as they come closer to Christ.

Another experience we had this week started before church yesterday. As we were getting to church a little late (picking up investigators and sadly coming empty handed), we said hi to a guy that looked new to me. He introduced himself as a member from another stake about 2 hours away. He came literally just to find the missionaries and take them to the house of his sister and her husband. He'd been looking for the missionaries on the streets with no luck the previous visits he made and so this time he looked online to find the church building and find us. This is such a rare experience for us so I was pleasantly surprised.

We went by in the evening to visit the family with this good brother present in the lesson. Right off the lesson went really well. We could feel their friendliness and we could tell they were receptive and ready to hear our message. It's interesting how you can just tell when people are more prepared than others. When we talked about the Book of Mormon the sister said that she'd read a little because her brother gave her a copy a few months ago. There's a part in the introduction that says when you receive a testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, you'll know that the Church is true, and she felt like that statement was true. She couldn't really explain why, but to her it was just logical.

Many people from different religions had been inviting them to go to their churches over the years because of the many trials they'd been facing, but they never went because of different reasons. When we invited them to come to church and when we invited them to get baptized, both the sister and her husband were nodding and saying that they really want to commit. They feel a great need to come closer to Christ.


I know that this Church is true! I know that the Savior lives and that God knows every single one of us and our needs. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.

Have a super duper week!

Elder Evan Smith