Our Family

Our Family

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel - Push Along

Tue, Jun 21, 2011
"Our week went really well, A lot of things happened really fast and we were able to see Joe and Paulette be baptized with two of the kids!  That was amazing, and I'm really sorry we didn't have time to go to our apartment so I can't send pictures.  The Daniels have investigated the Church for forever, and members of the ward even pitched in to but the three kids quads and Paulette and buy Joe the XLG print trio + bible, and I took a video of that on my camera.

Mon, Jun 27, 2011
This is the picture Elder Austin Smith wasn't able to send last week of the Daniel family's baptism.  The family had asked members of the ward to perform the baptism.
Wed, Jul 13, 2011
"It's a miracle to see what ward fellowship does to help our investigators progress towards baptism, it is VERY important."

Mon, Jul 18, 2011
We received this letter in the mail this afternoon and read it together during FHE.  Elder Austin Smith is so not about being in the spotlight.  He didn't even mention this in his weekly email. 
Instead this is part of what his letter said and in regards to his new 'greenie' companion -
"This week has been great!  We got twenty lessons, I don't know how.  My companion is very ambitious, we've been setting goals on how many Books of Mormon we're going to give away, and it's been going very well.  We're planning on going to a real estate office today to organize our area more, something I've been meaning to do for a while.  I guess we will see what happens - Elder Lopez sees opportunity in everything, it's really neat."

He also included,  "Caleb Daniels is getting baptized this Saturday."  (He is the son of the Daniel's family shown above that wasn't baptized last month at the same time as his dad, mom and other two siblings).

Monday, July 11, 2011

Doctrine & Covenants 133:37

Doctrine & Covenants 133:37 reads, "And this gospel shall be preached unto every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people."

On May 30, 2011 - Elder Riley Smith wrote us:
"I forgot to mention that the area presidency has also received permission to send elders into Kosovo.  Elders Klein and Norris will be opening the country for proselyting this Wednesday.  It's interesting how things have worked out.  I'll forward you the letter that President sent us.  They will be sending a new missionary to Kosovo once every transfer (because the Church isn't recognized in Kosovo, missionaries can only stay as tourists for 90 days in a 180 day period).  Love, Elder Riley Smith"

Date: Mon, Jul 11, 2011 at 3:59 AM
Subject: Re: Sunday, July 10, 2011

Good Morning!
Wow, it's a hot one.  Albania is just as hot and humid as Florida.  The other day it was supposedly 108.  The last two nights I've gone home and gotten in the shower because I feel disgusting.

This last week we had interviews with President Ford.  He really is a great guy and I'm positive that we'll see progress in our missionary efforts with his direction.  When he first came, he made a very true comment: "Each Mission President adds something."  It's really true.  He commented one some of the things that President Neil added to our mission culture.  It is obvious that he will also have an impact on that culture.

In interviews President told me that he would send me assistant with Elder Moyes if we weren't leaving at the same time.  He said he would do it anyway if he wasn't a new mission President.  He said that because he's a new mission President he needs the over lap between assistants so that they can help him more.  We had transfer calls on Friday.  I was interested to see where they'd send me. 

This will be my last Monday in Albania.  I'll be going to Kosovo.  I'll be the third missionary in Kosovo, and the first Branch President. It's a little intimidating.  I'm afraid of the language.  It's different that Albanian Albanian.  they have a different accent and use different words.  Elder Klein told me that it's not that bad.  I'm also afraid of being Branch President.  I'm not really sure what a Branch President does, but I imagine I've got a pretty good idea.  I got better at a couple of things while I was in the office.  One of those things is controlling and dealing with new situations.  

Last week was a good week.  I figured that I'd be leaving so we made visits to members and old investigators.  I took pictures of most of them.

Last Monday, there was a baptism.  It's the zone leaders responsibility to get everything ready for the baptism.  We weren't super happy about that, but in the end it worked out.  We had the Elders doing the baptism come spend some time watching the font (the heater doesn't work very well; it shuts off by itself sometimes).

President Apostolli is the second counselor in the district presidency.  He's a super awesome guy.  He's very good at handling teaching moments with tact so that people are willing to be taught.  He lives with his mother. She is 91 years old.  She's actually originally from Macedonia.  They're both amazing people.
We went out to the Lami family.  They're still awesome.  The dad just got a white shirt and tie.  He's so proud of himself.  I got to see the mom (Rajmonda) and son (Angelo) that just got baptized.  They weren't at Church this last Sunday, but she was busy. They're super poor and they don't have any source of income so she is taking a course to become a hair dresser.  They still have lots of faith.

On Sunday we went to see the Cara family with Elder and Sister Stacey.  The Cara's have to daughters (23 and 25) and we wanted the Stacey's to meet them.  The Stacey's are over the Center for Young Single Adults.  We had a really good lesson.  We invited them back to Church by telling them how much we need them.  They do everything that a member family should, except come to Church. They want to come back. And eventually they will.

So far this morning, we went and played frisbee and got haircuts.  We're going to go bowling as well.  Sorry, I didn't get the letters for Parker and Macey written, but they're coming.

This week during my personal study I've been reading the Book of Mormon.  I've also been reading "Marvelous Work and a Wonder".   At first the book didn't really do it for me, but over time some of the comments have really grown on me.  I've particularly liked this most recent part.  Legrand Richards talks about all the prophecies made in the scriptures and how many of those have been fulfilled.  It really is amazing to look at all those promises that the Lord has made and see them fulfilled in this, His Church.  The words in the scriptures really are the words of the prophets.  And those words will happen.  As those prophecies and words are fulfilled, their words really do stand as a witness for God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

With only three months left a lot of people start getting trunky.  I have thought about home quite a lot.  It's hard not to.  But, instead of becoming trunky in the last little bit, I've started feeling more like I did back in the MTC.  I feel more... energized to do missionary work.  And I have more hope of the possible outcomes of my efforts.  Don't worry too much about me.  I was built to work, and that's what I'll keep doing.  I don't know what I'd do with myself if I wasn't working.

Well, I have to go.  I love you all.  Have a great week.
Elder Riley Smith.