Monday, January 30, 2017

Elder Cook visits Lima

Hello family,

This week Elder Cook visited the Lima West and Lima North mission in the institute center in Lima. First off, wow is the institute center really beautiful. Anyways, Elder Cook focused on a few core ideas, that when we teach the Restoration, we need to put special attention on testifying about Joseph Smith and the First Vision. I felt the Spirit confirm that this is important; we may be able to teach really well many things and say a lot of words, but really the most powerful thing may be our testimony, what comes from our hearts, and the Spirit will testify to the people we teach that this is true.

Another really important point Elder Cook shared was that it is so important that we know that the Apostles DO receive revelation when it is needed, and the revelation they receive really comes from the Lord. He bore a very special and direct testimony that really got to my heart. I know that the Apostles are special witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ and that it is SO important that we follow them.

In the Worldwide Missionary Broadcast, they talked about a lot of really important things apart from the schedule changes. One of the highlights I really liked was that Elder Bednar shared that the Doctrine of Christ aren't different, separate steps, but that they are interconnected, and that we should understand and teach them in this way.

I love you guys so much! I testify that the Lord knows us, and knows what's best for us. He always is there for us, in good times and bad times. I know that when we strive to be steadfast in the good and bad times that the Lord will bless us a lot.

Have an awesome week!!!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Two Miracles

Dear Family!

This week our district had a couple of miracles. Even though they didn't exactly happen in my area, I was grateful for the opportunity to participate in them.

There's a young woman that was baptized a couple months ago that has a really strong testimony and has been trying hard in these months to help her aunt, uncle, and cousins come to church and get baptized. Her cousin has come to church for about 3 months but wasn't able to be baptized because his parents didn't want to yet. Recently, Elder Anderson shared with the mission presidents in the world some information regarding how young converts have maintained faithful over a long period of time and been key for the conversion of their families. Our mission president approved this cousin that is a young man to be baptized and it was a really great experience to participate in this saving ordinance.

When I was in Paramonga, in my first week there (April 2016) I contacted a man that I passed the reference to the other elders in Paramonga and the family got baptized. One of their nieces was staying with them at the time and received the lessons and attended church various times but wasn't baptized because she didn't live there. Well last week I bumped into her going to church Sunday morning, and she said she was back in her apartment in Ancón. I passed the reference to the elders there but they couldn't find her. She came to church by herself yesterday and the elders were able to teach her and she has a baptismal goal for February.

I know that the work is in the Lord's hands, and we can be His tools if we maintain ourselves worthy, diligent, and if we seek and follow His divine guidance.


Elder Evan Smith

Monday, January 16, 2017

Leadership Training Meeting

Well it's been a great week. We had a leadership training meeting and I had a work visit with the zone leaders, so I didn't get to work full time in my area, but we are doing the best we can. I know that when we do everything in our power in a cheerful manner, that the Lord blesses us with miracles. We can be calm that we have done our part and let the Lord work in His way.

I know that the Gospel is true. I know that the Savior Jesus Christ atoned for our sins and that they can truly be 100% washed away if we repent and apply the Atonement. I know that the Plan of Salvation brings us a lot of Joy.

Denis was baptized

Our investigator Denis got baptized this weekend! We were teaching him with Elder Maldonado, but he went on vacation out of Lima for more than a month. Anyways he came back looking for us so he could get baptized. Awesome!

A view of Ancón (but not quite my area)

Our district at "el mirador" (the lookout)

Today we went for a ride in the "anconetas", a cool tricycle style vehicle that takes you for a ride along the beach of Ancón.

In the "anconetas" along the beach

We also ate real hamburgers and we bought ice cream cones from a legit ice cream shop we found (super rare here). We also visited the city museum and played volleyball.

Monday, January 9, 2017

An Unexpected Miracle

Elder Crosby and I

So this week we had a cool spiritual experience.

It was Thursday afternoon and it had been a pretty slow week. A lot of our appointments were falling through. We didn't have any minutes on our cell phone so we started looking for a payphone nearby. It was weird because the 2 nearby spots that always have a payphone had been taken out. So we started for the plaza. I started to contact someone but they didn't want to hear from us. All of a sudden, like a group of 10 people leave a nearby house and start coming our way to get a taxi. I started talking with a young man from the group of people and I asked him his name, and he said to me, in perfect english, "Dude do you want to speak in English, I'm from Preston, Idaho." I was blown away. This never happens!

After talking for a little while he introduced me to his mom. I asked them if they had seen missionaries before, and she said "of course! We're members! My son is serving a mission in Mexico." She introduced us to their family members that were getting into the taxi, who live in, guess where, Mi Perú! My first area! She said the majority of her family are members, except her sister's family that lives here in my current area. She led us to their house and we taught the whole family together. It was awesome.

I know that the Lord lives and nothing is impossible for Him. Even when it may seem like there isn't anything more to do, He is preparing someone that will listen to us. We just need to listen to the Spirit and act.

I love you all a ton! Have a great week

Elder Evan Smith

Monday, January 2, 2017

New Year, Transfers, New Companion

It's been a great week. The holidays were a little crazy as usual, but the work is going well.

This week I'm focusing on my goals for the year also. As I think about 2016, it's been a really satisfying year for me. I have been able to accomplish a lot for my own personal progress, but also help others.

So Elder Maldonado had transfers last week...I was training him but after just one transfer he has been called to be President's personal secretary. That's my boy! My new companion is Elder Crosby, but he's not a gringo. He's from Arequipa, Perú.

In other news, our district was divided, and now I'm the district leader of the new, smaller Distrito Miramar! I was a little surprised. To top it off, my first day as district leader I had baptismal interviews. It was a nice experience. But we've been working hard all week long and we've found 3 new families.

One of the families we found is a widow and her 3 children. It's a little sad because her husband died less than 2 weeks ago of cancer. We taught about the plan of salvation, and I bore my testimony about this plan. It was special because I talked about Grandpa and Grandma Prestwich, that even though I never knew Grandpa here and Grandma passed away a few years ago, I will be able to see them again because families can be eternal. They were happy to hear about how they could be with their loved one again.

I testify that Jesus Christ lives and that He has restored His gospel and authority today. I know that Pres. Thomas S. Monson is the living prophet that leads and guides us and has the authority to direct the entire church.

Feliz año nuevo!

Elder Evan Smith