Sunday, December 25, 2016

Testimony on Christmas Day!

Today we cleaned our apartment and ate lunch and slept. We will find out if there are transfers later tonight. Have a stellar week!

(Since we just talked yesterday, this one is short.)

Elder Evan Smith

Elder Smith bears his testimony of the Gospel.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Great Day at Church, Zone Pics

Our zone missionaries

This week we had the ward talent show. We as missionaries with the ward mission leader were slotted with a talent to perform. And with just one rehearsal we pulled off a pretty good skit. It was a great evening because we also were able to bring an investigating family to the show and they got to know various members and get to know the church building and everything. And afterward we ate fruitcake and hot chocolate, always a winning combination.

On Sunday we brought this same family to church with one other family together in the same minivan taxi. While a normal person may not think that so many people fit into a vehicle of smallish size, in Perรบ, everything goes! And it was an excellent Church experience! The primary put on the Christmas program which was perfect for the investigator's small children to also enjoy. It is such a smooth experience when the members jump in and introduce themselves and chat with the investigators because it is like a whole new world for them! I invite you guys to always look for and greet the new people at church!

I truly testify of the God's love and grace. As Elder J. Devn Cornish said in this past General Conference:
The God of heaven is not a heartless referee looking for any excuse to throw us out of the game. He is our perfectly loving Father, who yearns more than anything else to have all of His children come back home and live with Him as families forever. He truly gave His Only Begotten Son that we might not perish but have everlasting life! Please believe, and please take hope and comfort from, this eternal truth. Our Heavenly Father intends for us to make it! That is His work and His glory.
I know that our personal efforts to repent and really keep trying are what really count. I am so grateful for the Savior's Atonement.

I love you all a ton! ๐Ÿ˜€

Merry Christmas ๐ŸŽ…

Elder Evan Smith

P.S. Below are several more photos of our zone over the last few months.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Up the Hill Three Times, and Then...

This week has also been full of blessings. My companion and I enjoy looking for opportunities to serve every day. A couple of things that happened:

We went one morning after our studies to go to an older couple's house to see how to help them build a door from some leftover wood. Note, their house is wayyy up the huge hill in our area, so it wasn't a task to be tackled by the weary. Anyways, coming down the hill afterwards we met a man that recently moved to the area. He was friendly and we asked to accompany him to his house to share a message with his family, and he said sure. So we started climbing back up the hill to his house.

Coming down the hill again, thinking about lunch, we saw a younger couple struggling with their numerous groceries. We helped them and after a little conversation, asked to accompany them to their house to share a message with them, and they said sure. So we started climbing back up the hill to their house.

Another day, we were heading to an investigator family to set an appointment and I contacted a man carrying a big bag that had just gotten out of the taxi. I offered to help but he declined. I tried to converse with him but I realized that he had a hard time hearing. I asked him if we could share a message with him but he said he was going home to go to bed, a little odd, being that it was 3:00pm. I didn't think much of it but later that day, we were doing a way to find and like 3 or 4 dogs started running at us barking a lot. Once I was certain they weren't there to attack us we started moving along when the owner ran out from his house calling out to us. It was the same man from earlier that day, but with his hearing aid put in, saying he wanted to come to our church. He came to sacrament meeting on Sunday.

We had received a few referrals for a part in our area very far away, and we slotted a few hours of one day to go over there to contact the referrals and visit the less active members and old investigators. We contacted the referrals and tried to visit the other people we planned, but there wasn't much of a result. On our way back we helped a woman with her bags up the hill, taking a road I'm not sure we would've otherwise taken, and adjacent to her house we saw a family at home, who received us in the moment to teach the Restoration and accepted a baptismal date.

Life is full of miracles, and we need to have the faith to find them and also be willing to recognize the miracles in our lives.
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. Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth. (Mormon 9:19, 21)
I testify that the Lord has not ceased to be a God of miracles.

Have an awesome week!

Elder Evan Smith

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Power of Prayer

It has been an awesome week. We are working hard and seeing results, but I know we can still keep doing better. We had a lot of miracles this week. The Vasquez family (the MA parents and PF children) all week long have been excited and committed to come to church. Saturday night we stopped by and called in the evening to triple check. Until we showed up at the door Sunday morning with a member and their car to bring the whole family. They told us they had to take care of legal things that came up with their daughter late Saturday night and had to leave right away and wouldn't be home until the evening. We could all feel the sorrow, but we kept with our other plans.

It wasn't until after lunch that we received a text from the zone leaders that we could bring investigators to the devotional. We were so excited! The Vasquez's hadn't gotten home yet, so we went to every investigator's house that couldn't make it in the morning. The last stop was the Vasquez house. We got there right in time and with persuasion they got all the kids ready, and an empty taxi willing to take us directly to the stake center just happened to pass by their house (never happens) and we were still 20 minutes early to have a good seat and listen to the prelude music. The greatest spiritual experience ever!

I testify of the power of prayer. It is so important to have a personal relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ. Without a personal relationship with Him we cannot rejoice in His Atonement. I know I still have a ways to go, but I know that my Redeemer lives. He knows us and what we need, and how to give it to us better than we know how. I am receiving my testimony little by little, but I am grateful for the blessings I have received and what I have learned.

I love you all! Hope you have an awesome week of service!
Vamos a iluminar el mundo!!

Elder Evan Smith