Monday, November 28, 2016

More Miracles

Elder Maldonado and I in Las Villas de Ancón

This week has been awesome. A lot of miracles.

On Sunday during the 2nd hour, we were greeting the investigators that were in Gospel principles and we found out that there was a man who came for the first time that lived in our area! The son of the pensionista had invited him to come to church and he just came out of the blue! During the 3rd hour we taught him the Restoration and he now has a baptismal goal for Dec. 24!!!

This week we have been contacting like crazy, and it has been paying off. Yesterday we received a reference from a member to visit a sister that hasn't been coming to church. We thought she was already a member and maybe she would have references for us to teach also. Turns out that she's not a member. She had only been going to church for a long time and didn't get baptized for personal reasons, but we have an appointment with her for this week!

I have been studying a lot this week about the Plan of Salvation and the need for an Atonement dependant on our repentance. I really like this scripture in Alma 42:23-24
...mercy claimeth the penitent, and mercy cometh because of the atonement; and the atonement bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead; and the resurrection of the dead bringeth back men into the presence of God; and thus they are restored into his presence, to be judged according to their works, according to the law and justice.
For behold, justice exerciseth all his demands, and also mercy claimeth all which is her own; and thus, none but the truly penitent are saved.
I know that our Redeemer lives. I am so grateful for his Atonement. I know that it an infinite Atonement and that we can receive relief and forgiveness for our sins. I know that His Gospel is restored upon the earth today and that He directs His church through the prophet Thomas S. Monson.

I love you all a ton! Have a fantastic week!

Elder Evan Smith

Monday, November 21, 2016

New companion!

My new companion, Elder Maldonado

It's been a big week for me! We had transfers and I'm still in my same area but I have a new companion that I'm training. His name is Elder Maldonado and he's from Guatemala. And he's awesome. He is so excited to get to work every day and we work together really well. We have found a few new investigators this week and had many miracles. Things are going great!

We were using the ward directory to try to find less active families to reactivate and baptize the family members and friends that aren't members. We found a family that had been inactive for almost 10 years and not a single one of their children were on the records! It turned out that they didn't know where to find the church and had started going to another local church, but were so excited to see us. They are the Familia Vasquez. When they got home from church their younger kids were running around excitedly telling us that they want to go to church every day!

I have a testimony of the importance of being obedient. I know that if we are obedient to the Lord, the Prophet as well as our local priesthood leaders we will be blessed.
And he hath said that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land. (2 Nephi 1:20)
I hope you all have a great week! Love you tons

Elder Evan Smith

Monday, November 14, 2016

God gives us trials to help us progress

Last week, we met a guy by street contacting named Augusto. He's an older single man that is super friendly and liked talking about his life. When we introduced ourselves as missionaries and invited him to listen to the Restored Gospel, he said that he's open to listen without any commitments.

On Thursday we went to go teach him and he began to tell us a little more about how religion has influenced his life. His faith in God had diminished over the years as he experienced many trials and saw difficulties in his family, and concluded that if a God existed, He wouldn't let such things happen. I made the extra effort to pay attention to how he felt, and I felt prompted to testify about the existence of our Heavenly Father. I told him that He does exist, that he is one of His sons, and that he is loved very much. I explained that all things denote there is a God, and that there is opposition in all things, but that these things happen to let us spiritually progress. I could tell that Augusto felt the Spirit and he paid a lot of attention to how he could find out more of the truth.

We have been coordinating with the Bishop to help move along the work in this part of the ward, it being an annex of the city and far away from the church, to be able to start a family group and eventually a branch. It's really exciting to be super involved in the growth of the Church. It is helping me learn how much it really involves the members too. An elder that was ending his mission this weekend said in his talk in sacrament meeting that many times the converts say that the missionaries are like angels for the people, but that that doesn't have to end with the end of a full time mission. Every member can be an angel for someone, and we just have to put ourselves out there and be the Lord's instruments.

Testifico que esta Iglesia es la verdadera Iglesia de Jesucristo. Él vive y ha expiado por cada uno de nosotros. Estoy sumamente agradecido por el privilegio de servirle a Él de manera de tiempo completo. Les testifico de Su amor por ustedes.

Les amo a cada uno bastante!!

Elder Evan Smith

Monday, November 7, 2016

Zone Conference

Our mission zone. Guess what we do on P-days...

This week has been awesome! We had a zone conference last Friday and our zone leaders taught us an important principle that President is sharing with the whole mission that I like a lot.

It comes from Ether 2 when the brother of Jared has built the ships, but there is no light and no air for them to travel across the sea. The Lord reveals how they will have air but as to the light, and he says to the brother of Jared,
And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels? For behold, ye cannot have windows, for they will be dashed in pieces; neither shall ye take fire with you, for ye shall not go by the light of fire. (Ether 2:23)
Sometimes in our prayers we might ask for something to be resolved or receive help in some form, and in our prayers we might be asking to have windows or fire. However, the Lord said they wouldn't go with these things. He wanted the brother of Jared to come up with a solution that would be a test in itself of faith, patience, and diligence. We shouldn't pray and ask for the things that we want, but rather seek the will of the Lord and seek after those things.

I testify that as we humbly seek the Lord's will and the Lord's time, we will feel His love. Peace and comfort will come to our mind and heart. I testify that Heavenly Father knows each of us and really does want the best for us. His way is and always will be better than our way.

I love you all a ton! Hope you have an awesome week!

Elder Evan Smith

Here's where we meet for Church ( map),-77.164630,12&lang=eng&id=meetinghouse:5004146-01-01

You can also see our meetinghouse on Google Maps Streetview,-77.1606941,16.82z/data=!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x0:0x0!2zMTHCsDQ3JzE1LjIiUyA3N8KwMDknNTIuNyJX!3b1!8m2!3d-11.787562!4d-77.16463!3m4!1s0x0:0x43a487085f3a548c!8m2!3d-11.7933245!4d-77.1583477