Guest Testimonies

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"This post goes out to my lax bros back home."

This post goes out to my lax bros back home. I finally found someone who knows my sport!! And he is my new zone leader!! haha Elder Tew played attack for Bingham’s varsity team in 2011 and remembers me playing against him! haha Funny thing is that he remembers having to actually set up an offense when I came into the game after their plan was, and I quote him, "all we had to do was score 3 easy goals on Talyn and we knew he would lose it" hahaha I love Talyn and everything he taught me about goalie but I had to laugh when Elder Tew said that! But it’s been great to talk lax with him and to just actually have someone who loves it as much as I! Guaranteed we will talk about it today when we go play rugby with the zone :)
Oh and for my pal Joe Otta-Otta, I met Elder Jensen from WJ!

"her smile as she came out of the water was priceless"

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Well, I have about this much time [_________] 
and this much to say [_______________________________________] 
hahah so I’ll try to get as much of these last two weeks in that I can! To start off my friends and fam, how is the Zulu phrase for the doors going?? Are ready for another session of SA language class? This week we'll be learning a little Xhosa :) (Grandpa Homer, you're really going to enjoy this one) so let’s learn how to say "I’m brushing my teeth" like a Xhosa from Eastern Cape would say it in his native tongue. "ukuxhukuxha" hahahahahaha and yes, i did spell it right. Now for pronunciation, remember in Xhosa, the "xh" is a click sound :) haha tell me how it goes!
It’s a ton of fun learning all of these different cultures and especially the languages that allow us to communicate with people:) and speaking; we will have to learn a lot more Zulu since our area has switched. Oh wait, let me start at the beginning.
Transfers were this last Tuesday and sadly, Elder Matos had finished training me and it was time for me to spread my wings and lead the area with a new companion. My new companion is Elder Jake Raymond from Gold Coast, Australia! Ha-ha I scored an Aussie as a comp and he is a cool dude! He is half Maori and half Aussie and 100% legit haha we will have a good time as companions! And even better is that he knows how to drive stick shift! Haha I won’t have to be thrown in the deep end of the pool to learn how to drive! But that’s not all from transfers. You may remember my first transfer here the Joburg 1 elders were Perez and Stapely. Well, last transfer Stapley got transferred to Bedfordview and now Matos is his new companion over there in cheeseboy city! (Rich rich rich scotani part of town). So that’s a pretty cool coincidence! As for us, we aren’t Joburg 3 anymore :( the Joburg 2 elders both left (Kavindja finished his mission and Rawlings went to Zim) so we now have to white-wash the most dangerous area in the mission. -______- I’ll need your prayers back home! We don’t know where we're going and we're both white so it’ll be super sketchy. At least we get to keep the investigators from Joburg 3 that we put on baptism date so we can still finish teaching them and baptize them :)
Speaking of baptisms! Jeanethe Matovheke was baptized yesterday and I got to baptize her! It was an amazing experience to be part of the first saving ordinance we make here on earth. She was super prepared for the gospel and her smile as she came out of the water was priceless and words cannot describe her (or my) happiness!!! What a cool part of mission:) the even cooler part is that her husband came to church to support her and we are now teaching him and he is excited to come to church! He said "you better believe I’m coming next week!" ahhh mission is great:)
.......sometimes. Sometimes, it can really suck! Like when you get a package from your family and only 1/3 of the contents are there.... yeah. I got my church magazines and usb charger and Grandpa Richard's funeral program but everything else was missing. The packaging was ripped open and the bag that contained all my stuff had a note from the USPS that apologized that their "high-speed mail sorting machines" sometimes destroy stuff...... cool. Needless to say that really sucked!
But that’s a little about my last couple weeks here in Jozi! I pray for and love all of you back home:) keep looking for ways to be a little better each day! My challenge for each of you is to start each day with a smile on your face; even if it’s super fake and forced, I can guarantee if you make an effort, the day won’t be a bad:)
Love ya'll!
Sharp-sharp,


Elder David Spencer Tony Smith

Monday, March 17, 2014

"To my wonderful home ward"

**because elder smith didn't have time to write for the blog this week, i would like to share a letter that he wrote to the members of his home ward at the end of last year.**

Tuesday, 31 December 2013
Johannesburg, South Africa

To my wonderful home ward,
I hope all is well back in Utah and that you all had a wonderful holiday season!  Because of the atmosphere during this season here in downtown Johannesburg, we cannot leave our flat but I count my blessings because it allows me time to reflect on the importance of this restored Gospel.  I'm lucky to have this time because I wanted to write and address all of my friends and neighbors in the Copper Hills 7th ward.  As we go into a new year, we all get to look back on 2013 with all the fun memories and learning experiences we had, as well as look forward to 2014 with goals and further growth in mind.  I have only been serving a little over a month and have a ways to go but with all I've learned in that short time, I'm excited to grow further in this amazing Gospel.  Here in South Africa, People, lifestyle and culture are nothing like what we are familiar with back home, but the Gospel is!  Whether we're 30 from church headquarters or 9,094 miles, it makes no difference and is a testament to the divinity and truth that our Church is founded upon.  
Being here has opened my eyes in many ways and I wish to share the experiences and things that I am working on now and plan on applying when I get home!  As you can guess, here in Joburg, there aren't chapels every half milke and not everyone knows about the church; in fact, members are few and far between. With that in mind however, I'm inspired daily by what I see and just have to share! 
The first thing I want to share is how people can magnify their callings despite their situation or the calling itself.  One brother has the assignment of placing hymn books before sacrament meeting.  He walks 10 km and get there 1 hour before the meeting starts so that they can be neat and organized for sacrament meeting that day.  We saw him one morning as we came out of a meeting and he just looked ecstatic to be there doing what he was doing!  Something as seemingly simple as laying out hymn books yet this brother was happy to serve and to do his part! I want to follow his example when I get back of joyfully serving whenever I am called.  The diligence I've seen is amazing and encouraging.  To walk into a single room house with a tin roof and to see a copy of "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" taped on the wall beside a pass along card with a picture of the Savior just shows how much this Church and the Gospel means to these wonderful people!  It makes me want to strive not to take it for granted anymore!
Brothers and sisters, my friends, I want to bear my testimony to you that I know beyond the slightest doubt that this is the Restored Gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ on the earth today!  The Church is true!  The Book of Mormon along with the words of our Prophets can be the guiding light and driving force for all of God's children if we only do our best to have faith, repent, be baptized or take the sacrament, live with the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and never, EVER give up!  Because of the Atonement we can live with our Heavenly Father again one day and also with our families.  I know that families are ordained of God and as we strive to come closer to God, we will grow closer to our families.  I know that through prayer, we can receive guidance, comfort and personal revelation and that God is just waiting for us to ask!  We can't receive until we ask and the door can't be opened until we knock but the love our Father has for us will never fail and He and His Son will always be there for us; that is the truth.
I love you brothers and sisters and you are in my prayers.  I would invite you to continue being the best you can be and do not ever give up!
Much love,
Elder David Spencer Smith

"today we're going to learn about the planner" a short video by elder smith

elder smith takes a few minutes to teach us all about the missionary planner.  
(in case you were wondering about that...)

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in some ways he hasn't changed a bit! :)

Monday, March 10, 2014

"I soaked it all up like I would goalie skills at a lacrosse camp! That’s how excited I was for Zone Conference!"

Bonjour, howzit, kunjani, whaddup!?
Hey guys back home! How’s life!? Here in SA it’s still as crazy and wonderful as ever! Elder Matos and I have the coolest experiences, both spiritual and regular, daily! We eat some crazy food at least once a week, meet some cool and weird people, and grow as companions and servants of the Lord!
I guess the most prominent experience we've been going through is the 10 days of consecutive rain haha. Being from Utah, I think the longest time I’ve experienced rain was one whole day, not 10 :P needless to say, we've really found out what about us and our stuff is waterproof haha shoes? For the 1st half of the proselyting day yes. Raincoat? Yes. Umbrella? When I can fit all of me under it, yes haha. Boot of our car? Nope! Looks like we have several waterlogged copies of the book of Mormon to prove that one :P but its all good! It’s a new experience and even tracting in the rain produces more results haha I think it because people feel bad for us so they actually listen to what we have to say. that and the rumor goes around that the more you tract in the rain, the more beautiful your wife is:) so we spend a lot of time in the rain ;) hahaha But yeah, we also have tried more crazy foods! Some better than others but new nonetheless. We’ve had muhodu (cow intestines), sardines, semp beans, and green mangos with salt and chili powder. The first two were fo' sho' nasty and the last two were freakin' amazing!
Are you ready for the Zulu phrase of the week? Here goes: valumnyango = close the door, vulumnyango = open the door. I expect perfect pronunciation next time I see you:)
So another crazy bit about SA, words like the H-word, D-word and the A-word are acceptable here! Yes, even in church and by members! Haha It kinda takes me a second to catch my breath after hearing them AT church but I guess it’s normal for them haha! Welcome to SA!!
We near the 23rd and the 30th where Elder Matos and I have baptisms! It’s cool because both of these sisters, Sandra and Jeanethe, were people that WE found and that WE started teaching. We literally get to see the fruits of our labors:) and they’re very sweet!
We had zone conference this weekend and I loved it!! I soaked it all up like I would goalie skills at a lacrosse camp! That’s how excited I was for ZC! We learned how to internalize our purpose as missionaries (to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel thru faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost and enduring to the end) so that we can be Christ-like missionaries and not just do missionary things. We have also been issued a challenge at zone conference to read the BOM in 86 days starting yesterday! If any of you would like to join the SAJM, its 6 pages a day:) keep me posted on your insights if/as you decide to read with us:) **
I hope all is well back home and I want to thank Tangee (my lax momma) for her package of CH Lax gear and schedule so I can cheer on from afar! I love you guys!!
Tha’s ‘bout it!
Elder Smith signing off :)
(**Editor's Note: Elder Smith has invited us all to take the SAJM (South Africa Johannesburg Mission) Book of Mormon Challenge to read the Book of Mormon in 86 days (starting March 9th).  If you would like to know why the Book of Mormon is so important, why Mormons call it the "cornerstone of our religion,"  click here to learn more.  On this page, you can read about the BOM, watch a short video clip, ask questions via instant messaging and order your free copy.  As Elder Smith said, "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!"  Anyone who would like to share insights, feelings, thoughts and questions can send them to spencer.smith@ihomer.net)