Saturday, October 29, 2016

October 25, 2016 -Last Week of the Transfer....Time Flies

So this week just flew by and I don't even know why!  Before I knew
it, it was Sunday!  Thursday and Friday I went on exchanges with the
zone leaders again.  They are so great! I was with Elder Jheng and he
is a stud!  I can tell he truly loves the people and he works hard.  I
am having fun out here.  Missionary work is so great when you truly
put yourself into the work and love what you are doing.  This week
Elder Lee and I just had a great time contacting and knocking.  You
just have to have fun with missionary work and be super positive!  If
you make a mission a job, it will be the longest 2 years.  Elder Lee
and I just have a lot of fun we laugh and have a lot of jokes going
now.  I'm going to miss him, he goes home next week!  I've learned so
much!  We also had Stake Conference which was so great.  I don't know
if it's because I'm a missionary now or what, but it was the most
spiritual and loving Stake Conference I have ever been to!  Just some
really great stories of the people here.  The people here in New York
have gone through some really hard things, and their faith and
testimonies are so strong!  You just feel their love for the gospel
whenever you meet a member.  I love it!

And happy birthday to my mom this week!!!!! πŸŽ‚πŸŽ‚

This week went by fast and we actually had a birthday party for Sister
Fitt!!  Super awesome!  I love my district so much!  They are so nice
and we have a lot of fun!  Sorry for the short email, just had a good
smooth week with nothing really crazy!

Life is hard and will throw things at us, but just remember you can
control you attitude.  You can choose whether to be frustrated or to
take it, work with it, and turn it into something better.  I have
learned that you just have to trust God.  He truly is our loving
Heavenly Father and wants to help us!  He is there for us, always!  I
love you all!!
-Elder Smith

Monday, October 17, 2016

Oct 17, 2016 Greatest Experience Yet

The greatest experience yet...
I had a wonderful week!  The best on the mission so far.  Thank you to everyone who sent me words of encouragement throughout the week!  Since I have an IPad I can read emails throughout the week and the emails really helped me this week, so thank you.

So first of all I love service.  We have service at the Queens Botanical Gardens.  We usually mulch things, plant flowers all the gardening stuff.  I just love it, because as you are serving you are also having fun and bonding with the whole zone and the workers.  I love talking to them and seeing where they were from and their life.

Wednesday I had a faith changing experience from someone who wasn't even from our church.  His name is Joseph.  We met him on the street and he agreed to a lesson.  During our lesson he told us about his story and how he came to know God.  He ran into some trouble in his early years and was facing some things, (I don't want to go into detail because this is his story).  Through this hard time he could feel his faith growing by the minute stronger and stronger.  He said from that moment on he put his life in God's hands.  This man has the faith and love of God that is genuine and real.  

He works with the youth at his church.  He is very involved with his church, but the thing that I love is that he is open he wants to learn more even though he is involved in his own church.  He was in awe when we taught him about prophets here on earth today.  He said, "here!?! Today!?" "the thing is you don't know him right?  He wouldn't reveal himself to us right?"  We said we actually do know him and his name is Thomas S. Monson.  He sat there in total awe for a time.  The power of our message is true, it is unique, revelation is unique, The Book of Mormon is unique and special, we have living Prophets on earth today, and people need to know that! I asked him to be baptized and he said, "If God tells me, and if this true, and God really wants me to, then I will do it."  This man inspired me, his trust in God is powerful.  He has obligations in his own church, but he trusts God to direct him anywhere.  He really touched me.

Now for the big thing.  I got to shake Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's hand!  We had a mission wide conference and Elder Holland came to speak to us.  It is a rare occasion for an apostle to come and speak to a mission.  Over my companions mission he didn't see one apostle so this was special.

He came in, we took a picture with him, and then we all got to shake his hand.  He later says that he wants to shake the missionaries hands because it is his chance to have a short 10 second personal interview with each one of us.  He says he wants to look into our eyes and see our soul and the goodness of our hearts.  

Having an apostle there that close and then to talk to a audience of only 200 people was powerful.  Later on he had a mic and came down with us and did a Book of Mormon study with us about the importance of 1 Nephi 1 and how it is exactly like Joseph Smith's story.  

"Lehi is a prophet, he prays, he has a vision where he sees Christ and Angels, there is a book, he gives praise, there is destruction, he is rejected, and people want to kill him.  That itself is a testimony of all prophets.  The most important chapter for investigators is chapter 1.  Isn't it interesting that the Book of Mormon starts out this way? Already with a testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith?  Thousands of years before he was even born."

So I will tell you some things he told us, and when I put exclamation marks that is Elder Holland doing his Elder Holland thing where he is very powerful and almost yelling the things that he knows and has a strong desire about.

"I love you for coming out here and being big people, we need big people, and we need your help."
"But this is not about you... This is about a young boy who saw God the Father and his son."

Elder Holland feels very strongly about his mission, what it did for him, and how it changed his life forever. He told us this:  it is what hit me the hardest during the meeting.

"Missionaries always say in the mission field 'oh when I go back to real life and do this and this.'" " I care about you for the rest of your life!" "Listen!!! This is Real Life with a capital R and a capital L! This is as close to Real Life that you will get! If you go back and become what you were before! Then Shame on You!! And Shame on Me!!  I want to see You! A Captain Moroni standing in conviction, testifying, and teaching that this (mission) meant something to you!!"

"The Book of Mormon is revelation about revelation.  We don't have a message if people don't believe in revelation. God speaks to man! This Book is the greatest missionary tool.  There is wonder, a Majesty, and Spirit in that Book."

Sorry for the long email, but I was just so touched this week.  And honestly had so many answers from God given to me.  Thank you all for everything you do for me!  I love you all!  Have a great week!!
-Elder Smith

This is a pic of another missionary that Elder Lee trained, his name is Elder Smith kind of funny he got to train 2 Smith's.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Oct 10, 2016

Wow... New York...  New York is great and this mission is a lot different than I thought it was going to be!  The missionaries here called Flushing (where I am serving) China.  After 2 weeks I second that.  Everyone on the street is Chinese haha it's crazy.  I thought I could tell people apart, but when I say μ•ˆλ…•ν•˜μ„Έμš” (hello ;) ). They just look at me and say "Chinese" it's so funny.

Korean speaking is hard here in New York.  A lot of Koreans are hard hearted and are stuck with their own church and beliefs.  Just searching for the one who is open and ready to listen.  It is hard work,  but I have a positive attitude.  The key is having fun with missionary work.  I learned to not make it a job, to make New York my home, and to make the members and the people my family.  We have found a lot of people but we always have to hand them over to the other missionaries because they are not Korean.  In our zone we have Korean, Spanish, English, and Chinese.  If we find someone, we have to send them over to the other missionaries.

It is good though, we do a lot of knocking and street contacting.  I actually like knocking, I think it's fun, wondering who will be on the other side of that door haha.  So far the mission is good, but it is very hard.  I have gotten discouraged many times now, but I always remember that God is there, that he will help me.

I have had great days and horrible days.  Happy days and sad days.
Being in the field and in New York is a whole different experience from the MTC.  The MTC was fun and you just followed the schedule and did whatever.  Here it's real life, real people, and you aren't surrounded by missionaries everyday.  I don't get to study Korean like in the MTC.  So I have to find ways to speak it a lot.

It's a good thing I have a native companion who is better at both Korean and English πŸ˜‚.  For anyone who doesn't know, my trainer is Elder Lee.  He is from Washington state.  He was born in Korea lived there for 10 years, so he is super good.  He does the translations for the Korean people during stake conference, and sometimes for English speaking people who come to our sacraments.  He is super good and I am learning a lot of how to speak normally, and not the super honorific form that we learned in the MTC.

Also my district is so good at Korean and can help me a lot.  The other trainer is from Korea also so he helps a lot.  The sisters are in a trio and they are very good at Korean.  There is a half Korean, Sister Fitt who was just like me coming into the mission not knowing a ton of Korean but hearing it around the house.

Heard the ward boundaries got all crazy!! That is too bad, but I know things happen for a reason.  I know our ward got moved into 3 different wards.  That's really hard.  I love all of you and thank you so much for all you do for me.  I know the Lord is protecting you all.
This week I have drawn so much closer to my God.  He is there, and truly loves all of us.  These last two weeks have been so hard for me, but it is only there to make me stronger I love you all!!!!
μ‚¬λž‘ν•΄μš”! - 슀미슀 μž₯둜
- Elder Smith

Monday, October 3, 2016

Oct 3, 2016- NEW YORK!

Well I made it!!! You all got the picture.  I can't believe I am
actually in New York.  I have a long journey ahead of me.  My first
week was hard, I got really homesick but General Conference was really
good.  It helped me a lot to recognize my purpose and to realize that
everything will be ok.  I hope you all watched and that you are all
ok!  I love you all so so very much.  Everything is real now, real
people, real investigators, real rejections, and real Korean.  Ahh
Korean is so hard... We honestly should have started studying Korean
as kids, like 8 years old.  So Ryten and Raimee get studying just
because knowing another language is so good for you.  Well we met a
lot of people and my Korean is not good at all... I got to study hard!
 Wow New York, I still can't believe it.  I am in Flushing New York if
you all want to know.  There is actually no Korean town.  The whole
city of flushing just has mixed Chinese and Korean buildings in it.
So everywhere you will see Korean buildings and shops.  Korean
missionary work is hard there aren't many baptisms here so it's hard
already.  The Koreans are very hard hearted here.  Before we really
say anything to them on the street they just say "I already go to
church or I'm busy". It's really funny because they don't even listen.
It is also hard to just find Koreans, there are a lot of them, but
there are so many Chinese.  You can be 99% sure they are Korean and
then they are Chinese.  Sunday's usually everyone on the streets are
Korean, because they all go to some sort of church.

My companion is Elder Lee he is from Washington, but he is perfect in
Korean.  He is a native and lived in Korea for 10 years.  He is full
Korean.  He is super nice and fun!  New York is crazy, can't wait to
see what happens.  The other trainer is from Korea.  So technically I
a, surrounded by a ton of native Koreans so I hope the language comes

Love, Renee