Monday, July 17, 2017

An Amazing Discussion

My new flag for Peru's Independence Day (Jul 28)

On Sunday we had a really good spiritual experience. A recently moved-in member that's a returned missionary said he'd accompany us after church to our appointments. I was anxious to teach with the member because he told us it'd been a long time since he'd taught with the missionaries. I was confident we would be able to teach a lesson together but still I was a little anxious. We contacted, looked for our appointments, and finally entered a house of new investigators.

It went amazing. We got to know the investigators and their needs, asked inspired questions, the member (who used to be super catholic) gave a perfect testimony for the super catholic investigators, etc. They accepted us to come back and they're going to come to church next week, and they accepted a baptismal invitation. I felt really good. I realize that this really is the Lord's work. I can't even imagine how else we'd have found these people, entered their house and shared a message of the Restoration, unless this were the Lord's work. This is the kind of experience I never want to forget.

I know that when we dedicate ourselves to do the Lord's will we'll really receive blessings that the Lord wants us to have. I testify that the Lord loves and knows us and wants to bless us all the time.

Love you all! have a great week!!

Elder Evan Smith

my companion and I eating my favorite lunch
with some members (AJI DE GALLINA!!!👌)

Monday, July 10, 2017

Strange Coincidence

Lasagna with a member family!

This week we had a very fun experience. Yesterday after church we were looking for an investigator's house, and we stopped by a park to get our bearings, when a woman called out to us, "Elders!" It turned out that she had just moved in and wanted us to visit them some time during the week. She said she'd moved from the US, and I asked her which state. She said Washington. Since a lot of Peruvians confuse Washington with Washington DC, I asked if she meant Washington DC. She said, "no, I'm from a little-known place called Seattle". I started freaking out a little. I said I'm from Seattle too, from the Everett stake. She's from our stake! Her family attends the Spanish branch presided by Brother Waite! I asked her what their last name was and she said the Gameros. I thought for a sec and asked if she had any grandchildren my age. She said her grandson had served a mission in Uruguay and recently got married and had a kid, and his name is JOSE JAIME. She showed me pictures on her phone of their family. They all look great! It was such a nice coincidence! Her name is Julia Mejia.

Sister Mejia just moved from the Everett Washington Stake
and attended the Chennault Beach Spanish branch

Anyways, on the more spiritual side, a week and a half ago during our interviews with president, he challenged us to coordinate a lunch appointment with our investigators with a member family so that their church attendance commitment would be stronger. We were trying like crazy to do this with no success. Saturday afternoon, a sister in the ward called us out of the blue asking us to eat lunch with them after church with a friend that she had invited to church. Talk about a miracle!! They actually didn't make it to church but we had a really nice lunch appointment with their friends and were able to have a spiritual experience.

I know that the Church is true and that when we strive to follow our leaders, even when things might not look so promising, the Lord always comes out for us. Thanks for all your love and support. Love you all!! have a great week!

Elder Evan Smith

Our zone

Our district

Monday, July 3, 2017

A Meaningful Member Visit

It's weird how holidays like the 4th of July kind of comes out of nowhere, or at least it seems like it to me. I know it's because it's not important at all to the Peruvians, but I guess just because it's always been a big deal my whole life I feel a little weird, haha. Today I'm doing a work visit with another American elder, so I think we're going to celebrate with hamburgers tonight.

This week has been really good. On Wednesday we had a district meeting. I don't know if I told you I'm the district leader, but the last couple of weeks the district meetings have come out a lot better than before. I've been focusing a lot more on our lesson practices. Our practices are just between us missionaries trading off and improving certain principles at a time. Now it's set up so that we have at least 45 minutes of straight practices. At the end of it all, the missionaries are coming out of the district meetings more excited to work in their areas, so I think it's working. I feel really good having done something unique that was able to bless the lives of others, making them happier and able to go out and bless even more people. I don't feel pride, but just a lot of joy.

Last Thursday we had an interesting experience. We had an appointment with a active-member family. The family is a single woman living with her youth-aged nephews, and they don't have leadership callings in the ward, so they have gone a little under the radar for me in my 5 months in the ward. There are a couple less actives in their family, so that's how we got to know their house and set the appointment. It was interesting that when we taught them they said that we were the first missionaries to visit them in over 5 years! I couldn't believe it! Our area isn't THAT big, and they live in about the middle, but they'd gone by a long time without many visits. They were so happy to have us there with them. We got to know them better and shared a message from the Book of Mormon. We're going to have a stake activity this week, so we invited them to invite their friends and family to go and they were really willing.

This isn't the first time this has happened on my mission, and not in this area either. Something I've learned from these experiences is that there really are people out there that need and want help and will accept us but sometimes they can't make the initiative themselves. For whatever reason, I know that if we are doing everything we can to magnify our callings and reach out to others, members, friends, and strangers alike, we'll find that these people need what we have, and the Lord will bless us to be instruments in His hands.

On Friday we had interviews with President. It was special because before the interviews he did a training meeting with the whole zone which helped me see how I can be more aligned with the revelation in the mission in my area and also help the other missionaries do the same. In my interview I was able to resolve a couple of questions I had and I left feeling really positive and uplifted. Honestly I love my mission president. He helps me out a lot and I really feel his love for us. President and Sister Stauffer remind me a lot of Mom and Dad in that way.

I know that the Gospel is true. I know that life keeps on going and sometimes our trials and difficulties seem like they're not going anywhere, but as I've focused less on myself and more on serving others, and more on how to live the first principles of the gospel, I've felt a lot of relief and hope. I know that the Holy Ghost testifies of truth and guides us in all we do. I'm so grateful for the things (Mom & Dad) taught me my whole life to be able to be worthy and follow the Lord.

Elder Evan Smith