(** editor's note: sometimes Elder Smith doesn't even have enough time to write much but we lucked out this week with two letters! enjoy his testimony! if you need a copy of the Book of Mormon to take his challenge, click here.) So I want to share my testimony of the Book of Mormon. This amazing book of scripture is the key to knowing whether or not what I do here on a mission is true. If there are any doubts about ANY aspect of this church, they all hinge upon the Book of Mormon. Think about this, if I bring you a cake, how will you know if it’s good or not? You have to take a bite! Then you must taste and think about that taste, is it good? The Book of Mormon is the same way! Instead of biting, we read. Instead of tasting, we ponder! Then we appeal to the Source of all truth, our Heavenly Father. He will tell us if what we feel is true or not. Then, once you know if it’s true, and it is!, your question will be answered:) Being here on a mission, I have found that, like Nephi, I have come to delight in the study of scriptures! Now, after 2 months, I look forward to reading and studying! The stories and things learned are so cool and even humorous at times! Like Laman and Lemuel?? Eish, what idiots! haha but seriously, this Book is amazing and I’ve seen the power of its conversion here in SA. That’s no story nor is it an exaggeration. I’ve seen people change their way of living because of the same things I described and are described in the introduction. I encourage all of my friends and family back home to read the Introduction to the Book of Mormon and pray about it. I promise, if you really want and need to know of its truth, and are willing to ACT when you get an answer, you will have the truth made known to you! I love it here and love all that I am able to learn!!! :) And I love all of you! Tha’s ‘bout it! Love, Elder Smith:)
Well howzit guys!? This week can best be described as a roller coaster!! Some great highs and some extremely low lows! haha so I’ll start with the good news first:) I finally got my Christmas package!!!! All I have to say is that I love Christmas in the end of February!!!! haha really though, it was just what I needed! It gave me the perfect boost in my mood:) I got it from the ZL (Zone Leader) at Zone meeting on Friday along with another package and took it home but we had an appointment so I couldn’t open it till Friday night. But when I opened it and saw all the amazing presents and stuff, I couldn’t stop smiling and laughing!! And yes my family, I did put on Raffi's Christmas Album and listened to the whole CD as I went thru the package:) Elder Matos didn’t even mind either! In fact, he thanks you for his stocking!! We’ve had too much fun eating the candy and stuff as we study haha. I love those ties from Grandpa Richards and decided I’m going to wear one of his ties every Sunday! I loved the testimonies and wonderful Christmas cards from the ward, seminary, and the family:) I think most especially I loved the photo album. I had to show and explain about every person and situation in the photos to my comp and I’m sure he was just as excited as I was... (PSYCH!! haha I still showed him though and he had no choice;) ) I want to say a big thank you to all those who contributed to that present:) it was the boost I needed to get me ready for what would happen Saturday... Yep, Saturday is the low of all lows so far, but since I’m serving in Jozi I guess it had to happen sooner than later. Elder Matos and I were walking and taking pictures from this hill near where we were tracting. (The pictures of the valley and the panoramic photo is the infamous hill). All of the sudden, this guy walked by and we said hi and moved on without walking... well this guy wasn’t too nice because he robbed Elder Matos and I... he took our phone, my watch and my camera.... luckily he was nice enough to give me my memory card with my pictures, our SIM card and he gave us our car keys back after we told him we were pastors... haha pretty crazy ne? Oh well! So I apologize there will be a lack of pictures until I get a new camera -____- at least we're safe and still have our car right!? It was at that moment that I was too grateful for the Lord's watchful care over his servants and I just hope and pray and would ask that you back home will pray for our safety. Please also pray for this man who robbed us. How sad is it that he was in a situation where he thought the only escape to buy food was to steal... I hope he will find the missionaries one day in a little different setting than he found us. That was our week though! haha We have 5 people on baptism date and we're set for 3 solid baptisms in march!!! Elder Matos and I are too excited!! Oh here is another funny story from a couple weeks ago. Dad, I’m sorry but this one mostly fall upon us haha. So we were tracting right? And we went into this one guy’s house, Prophet Enoch (I know right?). Now Prophet Enoch has 299 churches! And he is writing a book! I think he has gotta be true!..... haha The thing is, we introduced the Book Of Mormon but his daughter had to translate for us (they are from DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo) so he only speaks a little English and my little French just wasn’t cutting it). The language barrier got so frustrating though that he said to me" your father speaks French, why don’t you speak French!? Your father should have taught you and now since he didn’t and you can’t preach the Word effectively you and your family are doomed"........well..... hahahahaha sorry family! But I guess when you’re doomed by a prophet of 299 churches, it’s gotta be legit.... hahaha ohhhhh Johannesburg :P I love and pray for you all! Please keep us in your prayers:) Tha’s ‘bout it! Love, Elder David Spencer "Tony" Smith
Welcome to South Africa! A few stories about the realities of mission life in Joburg :)
Headline: Haircut Time!
Story: Elder Matos cut my hair!!!! haha He did a great job too!! I thought I would have to go with buzzed head for 2 years but nope! I can rock a regular, almost-Spencer haircut for my mission:) cheers!
Headline: Pap is of the Devil
Story: Well, if anyone says they love pap? They’re probably African. If anybody not from Africa says it, they’re probably lying haha Eish, that stuff is soooo heavy and its making me gag every time we eat at a members haha I’m complaining about food, yes its true. but I’m 99% sure you would too if you had to eat 1 kg a week of this stuff -______- haha
Headline: South Africa: Where the world is your toilet!
Story: hahaha for real, yup, you read it right! Here in SA, if you have to go, don’t worry, just drop your pants and pee on the sidewalk! Never mind that people are watching and might see..... eish. And if you have a bucket! You can go #2 on the sidewalk too! Oh the things you see.... even when you don’t want to see them haha.
Headline: How to Eat Rotten Mangoes/ Achar
Story: I had a new food experience! Achar.....yuck hahah its rotten mangos with a TON of spices and it’s just nasty!! The taste stayed in my mouth for like 4 hours -_____- but the people here love it! They eat it with bread, kota, or just plain with a spoon. Nasty! Other than that though its all sharp here in Jozi:) Now for an update on the mish. We've been teaching this lady, Ruth Mayimbi, with her husband Alpha (who is an returned missionary) and she is on track to be baptized, but its soo cool to see his love for his wife when he translates into French! (I’m understanding more and more French everyday btw, cool huh!?) Last night, he was talking about the temple with her and he was literally giddy with excitement! Tha’s ‘bout it! Love, Elder Smith:) P.S. We have 4 people on baptism date now!! Yes!!
Dear Family & Friends, I want to express the feelings in my heart at this moment. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Gospel is true. At the present moment I have been overcome with the Spirit in the feelings of love and eternal appreciation. The Lord puts people in all of our lives so that we may learn and grow according to the Plan of Happiness. Whether these people are our family or friends or whether it is someone in a far continent who has been called to touch lives but whose life is in turn being touched it matters not. What matters is this Gospel! This Good News! No matter our relationship here on earth, we are all God's children. Being out here on my mission, I have tried to imagine the love my parents have for each of us 4 children and I simply cannot comprehend that love! Then I imagine that love multiplied by a trillion and we get (*understand/comprehend) less than 0.0001% of our Heavenly Father's love for all of His children here on earth. We have been so blessed in this life! Being on mission we only get R1350 (*approx. $135 USD) a month to live on. That can only be used wisely for basic living. I know why they do that. Maybe it's because it's possible or probably because more missionaries can be sent out with a suitable amount but I think it goes beyond that! When we have very little, we become humbled in such a way that cannot be achieved when we are back at home and have so much! And when we are humbled, we can be taught; taught in so many aspects it's hard to digest. So why do I bring up this point? Certainly not to make us feel bad or guilty about what we have but to encourage us to be grateful for the good and bad things that happen! If we can take that perspective I can promise the Lord will teach us. Of that I testify! If we can give effort to think "How can I learn from this stinky situation" and then pray with real intent (real intent= you will act, you intend to) for a way to grow through the trial, the enabling power of the atonement will get us through it! I don't want to sound preachy, not at all, but I felt inspired to share that :) These feelings of the Spirit are very real :) Always I will try to have them with me! I love you all very much! Love, Elder David Spencer Smith
sorry i dont have a ton of time this time but i have to share my experiences from this past week:) i finally can be at home now! i have a guitar and lacrosse sticks!!!! the story of how i got my sticks is a good one tho so i hope your ready to hear it:) so the office tell you thru sms (*text) if you have a package. so i got an sms and immediately i couldnt wait for the ZLs (*Zone Leaders) to bring it! the thign was i had to wait 2 days because we werent home when they were in jozi so they gave it to joburg 1 and we didnt see them until friday night. so friday night we go over there and i see the box on the counter! now i had a pretty good idea what it was from the size and weight described to me by the APs but this box was heavey! (the APs said it was light). the box had my name on it and it was from amazon.com but it was heavy! so i opened it up and there was charcoal, word of wisdom pamphlets, ensigns, a Gauteng province license plate, dish soap and mints in my box. i was so confused and to be honest, mad! haha even more mad when i saw the packing slip that said "stx fiddlesticks". i wanted my lax stuff!! haha they were just like "oh thats so wierd!" and "how did yourmom send you as GP license plate from utah!?" yeah, like i bought that for a second. so then they finally brought out the gold and i was happy:) hahaha ohhh to be pranked! just wait till i can get them back :) i shall ponder these things:) we also ran into a situation that was new this week! haha so you know how unless your in colorado that mary J (*marijuana) is illegal in the states?? well, not here in SA! haha we went in to teach this guy about the restoration and he was super drunk :/ then in the middle of the lesson, he pulls out his weed and starts rolling up! while we're there! haha we both looked at each other and ended the lesson. we didnt really want to leave a lesson smelling like we just smoked a freshly rolled joint.... oh johannesburg :p other than that this week was fairly normal! appointments fell through and we tracted but the 2 best parts of the work are as follows: 1- we had an investigator come to church!! yes!! hopefully if all goes well she can be baptized into the true church at the end of this month:) and 2- we had a family home evening with this powerful family, the Tsekasa family, and a family from our ward! we bore our testimonies on plan of salvation and what they mean to us and then the Kistons brought a fun game for us all to play! hopefully teh tsekasas will all be baptized:) its looking that way so please keep them in your prayers!! tha's 'bout it:) elder Smith *editor's note- the editor-in-chief is dealing with a thumb injury this week which makes typing difficult so this week's (& last week's late) letter hasn't been edited for spelling, grammar, coherency ;) etc. enjoy the speed typing of elder smith!
-"lawn care in the fall": so you know how in the U.S. when the leaves fall you rake them up and put them in the trash or the greenwaste? well here in johannesburg, you rake them too! but not into a bag or anything. into the road! then, you pour gas on them and light a match:) thats how its done! then, ya just go back inside hahah welcome to SA! -we hit a big concentration of Muslims here in Bez valley while tracting. the rule is, we cant talk to them because it endangers us and them. so, we thought of a good way anyway to intoduce our message (we wont really break the rules but its fun to joke) i thought that we can knock and instead of saying "hi we're missionaries from the church yada yada restored gospel yada yada" that when a muslim answers the door, we say "hi, would you like to learn more about the prophet muhammed?? *lets us in* just kidding! we're Mormons!!" hahaha we crack oursleves up ;) -tomorrow ill have been out for 2 months!!!!!!! whoa!!!!!! only 22 more to go hahaha;) -big sean and kendrick lamar are coming to concert here in joburg. elder matos and i decided we'll buy tickets and go if its on our p-day! haha if not, we'll just switch our p-day! (haha we wish right??) -oh! we also saw lil wayne here in bez valley.. or his
twin.. but im sticking with tha carter himself :) cheers! -thanks to those of you who sent mail!! im busy writing responses when i have time! keep em coming because mail is treated like gold here among missionaries!! family and friends back home, i love you and appreciate your prayers on our behalf and my behalf:) i pray for you everyday!! uthando! tha's 'bout it! elder smith:)