Guest Testimonies

Friday, July 25, 2014

One Year Ago Today: Opening the Call

     Although Elder Smith's mission call arrived on Wednesday, July 24, 2014, he wanted to wait until his friends and family could join us to open his mission call so we set the big, white envelope on the mantel to wait.....
On July 25th, we packed his wonderful, supportive friends and family into our tiny, little house. It was standing room only- body to body! We were so grateful for everyone for their support & love of Spencer (& for their patience in such warm, crowded conditions!)
(sorry if you hate your candid shot...)

     With a flourish, Spencer opened the long-awaited call:

(sorry it's so wiggly... i was crying, cheering, laughing...)


Suddenly 9,950 miles felt a little bit closer!
And we we were totally interested in anything from South Africa!

We got excited about this temple.

 This tugged at our hearts.

 And we bought one of these!

     But most of all, it just felt right.  The spirit confirmed to our hearts & minds that Elder Spencer "Tony" Smith was meant to be in Johannesburg, South Africa.  He was meant to be in the care of Presidents Omer and Dunn.  He was meant to serve the beautiful people with whom he would come in contact in the various areas he would live and work.  He was meant to be taught and influenced by the companions he would be called to serve with.  Heavenly Father knows Spencer- his strengths and weaknesses- and placed him there that He might accomplish a mighty work, both in Johannesburg, and within Elder Smith!  We look back at the last year and feel the mighty power of God in providing a way and means to send this boy on his mission.   We feel the comfort of the Spirit speaking peace in our hearts when we miss each other.  We feel the power of protection as we pray for one another.  We see miraculous changes in our hearts as we become more of what He wants us to be. The blessings have poured forth beyond our expectation.  What a sacred privilege it is to be a missionary, and a missionary family.  We are so grateful for the experiences of this year of service and sacrifice & look forward to more as Spencer continues to fulfill his calling in the South Africa Johannesburg Mission! 


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Meet the new South Africa Johannesburg Mission President

     Elder Smith (and the rest of the South Africa Johannesburg Mission) received a new mission president on June 29, 2014.  A mission president and his wife are typically called to serve for 3 years.  They also leave their families, friends and careers behind and move to the "mission home" in the area in which they are called to serve.  President and Sister Omer have fulfilled their calling and have returned home to their family. 
Elder Smith with the Omers in November 2013
   We (Elder Smith's family) were privileged to attend the Sacrament meeting (homecoming) in their home ward when they each spoke about their time in South Africa.  We could tell that Elder Smith had been greatly blessed to have been guided, taught and served by this wonderful, loving, spiritual couple.  
     Now the mantle has been passed on to President Michael and Sister Linda Dunn.  
The Dunns (photo credit: Church News)
     We are confident that they will lead the SAJM in an inspired and spiritual direction and will care for and love our sons as their own for three years.
The Benoni Zone meets President and Sister Dunn (photo credit: Sis. Dunn)
(Elder Smith is 2nd from the left)
     Some highlights of their mission experience can be found on their blog, Dunns In Joburg.  Also, President Dunn is a survivor of the first recorded grizzly bear attack in Grand Teton National Park.  To read more about that adventure and how he recovered and became an Iroman, please use the links below.  
Grizzly Ironman Video (Kona Inspired)
Audio of Pres. Dunn's talk "Bears and Prayers" (His story starts at 8:06 but the first 8 minutes are pretty amazing too.)


Monday, July 21, 2014

Life Lessons from a Lax Bro: "The lessons that I have learned from all my coaches ... have benefited me in many ways here in the mission field"

             Well, we’ll skip the corny opening cause we got some straight dope to get to this week! Yo yo yo big news and big headliners! So transfers are Tuesday and alas, my time with my best friend has come to a close but it has been a great 3 months as companions! Yo it’s weird to look back on these 3 months and see how fast they’ve flown as compared to my first 3! But now it’s finished and time to move on to a new companion! ** We hit new records in our statistics this week to set Daveyton up to be the best area in the mission! And what would we do without friends to help us thru the dull and/or rough times. All this week has been full of crazy happenings and sadly one of them is that Elder Graham is getting transferred and that means that Typie (*AlphaSpeller) will be no longer! Haha! Shame no more intricate blog posts for now because I’ll have to go back to typing it in the email shop and there just ain’t time for that!
                But man eish, it’s crazy that Stilgoe’s and my time together is finished! It was a killer companionship and we had fun and worked hard and felt the spirit! No better way to do things! I learned a lot from him in ways that I haven’t learned before and it’s good; it helps me to grow in many more ways! We were able to work together to set turn this area around and set it up to be a baptizing area! And not just for the statistic of baptism but for legit convert baptisms! One of the crucial things that we are able to constantly learn is the need for the Spirit in this work. This companionship helped to reaffirm that within myself. I could go on but in the spirit of brevity, this was a great time to be the duo of Smith and Stilgoe! Now it’s time for him to move to his next area and for me to get my new companion! Elder Graham is leaving (as I already said) and so that means that Elder Kewuti will be staying and getting a new companion as well as myself. And I can’t wait to see who my new companion will be!
                It was a great week to finish our companionship on! We were able to achieve the standard of excellence by teaching 30+ quality lessons this week and 5 father-led families!!! This is the first time on mission that I’ve been able to teach 5 FLF in a week! Good things are happening! We also got 8 new investigators to add to our teaching pool so we will not have a dying area! It was definitely hard work for 3 months but it paid off along the way and has now been extremely rewarding! It makes everything worth it.
                So one of the nice things about being here, as I think I may have mentioned before, is being able to set goals to make yourself a better person and a better missionary. What’s even better is when you add a friend to the mix who sets the same goals and you can both help each other to get better! It’s been really cool to become friends with Elder Allen (Seattle) who is serving in Etwatwa just next door to Daveyton. Yo he’s a honey badger for sure! As we have both set goals to not talk crap on others and not sing music that isn’t consistent with our calling, we are able to check each other and help each other keep as close to 100% as possible! The nice part is that every other night when we go running with the missionaries in the complex, we follow up with how our day went as far as our goals were concerned! It’s too nice! Haha And we’ve found that we can distract ourselves from music by quoting a bunch of movies and as well as “East vs. West” by Key & Peele! haha Eish it’s too much a good time!
                These are the things that have been happening so far this week but, as my last time on “typie”, I want to share something that has impacted me this week. I know I shared a couple quotes by Coach Evans last week but sharing those made me reflect on my time as a Lax Bro pre-mish. 1st- I couldn’t be more grateful for the talent I was blessed with to be able to play at the level I did. It was that which put me in the position to appreciate #2. 2nd- the lessons that I have learned from all my coaches and all my experiences have benefited me in many ways here in the mission field. Things as simple as our team mottos: “No Excuses” and “First Time, Every Time” and sayings like “it is what it is” have turned from a lacrosse perspective to a real life perspective. Coach knew what he was doing when he gave us those mottos and ingrained them into our minds thru the use of pushups, planks, Mary-Katherines, etc when we gave an excuse or only played 50%. For that I am grateful because they come into mind here in South Africa. Believe it or not, when we graduate and finish high school lax, we still are able to come up with excuses! Haha they don’t just magically disappear! But when you are able to take a lesson learned and apply it to post lacrosse life, you get somewhere! There are many things in the work and in companionships that are prime opportunities for excuses. There are more than enough tasks to complete that could be done 50% or even 75% and called “good”. What we were able to learn however is that isn’t a very good show of sportsmanship or, as it’s called in the real-world: character. Because I’m a missionary and I love making parallels to the gospel, our Heavenly Father doesn’t like it when we give excuses either! He wants us to do his commandments the "First Time, Every Time!" And just like push-ups or what-what to correct our mistake, our God has given us the ability to repent. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we are able to fix our mistakes but it means "No Excuses" and we should really do it the First Time if we want it to matter. One of the things you realize as well is that whatever you go through, "it is what it is!" You can’t redo what happened in the past but you can learn from it and move forward! Because of these valuable lessons that I was able to learn in lacrosse and specifically from my coach, I feel a step ahead of the game as far as accountability goes and if I am able to continue learning to not give excuses and to do my best the first time, every time, I know that I, and all those who learn the same lessons, will be able to become the person that I, my family, my coach, and my Father in Heaven know I can be.
                 But that’s TTFN! Stay golden and Lax on!
         Elder David Spencer “Tony” Smith

(** Editor's Note: Elder Smith has been asked to serve as a trainer so his next companion will be a new missionary.  They will train together for 3 months. Missionaries refer to this as being a “father” and gaining a “son” because they have the opportunity to train, teach & serve the new missionary and help prepare them for the rest of their mission.)  

Monday, July 14, 2014

"I learned a valuable lesson this week, and it turns out we all have a choice!"

♪♫ It’s a beautiful day in the mission field, a beautiful day for a p-day. Would you be mine, could you be mine? I have always wanted to be a missionary just like this, I’ve always wanted to be in the mission field like this so, let’s make the most of this preparation day, since we’re emailing, we mind as well say, will you reply, will you reply, won’t you read my email. Won’t you read? Won’t you please? Please will you read my email? ♪♫  Takin' it back to Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood this week!
                But aanyway kids it’s been a fast week this week! That’s a good thing and a bad thing but, as the wise mkhulu (1) Coach Evans would say, “It is what it is.”  Nah but it was a great week! Last p-day we had a fun zone activity, I learned a valuable lesson this week, and it turns out we all have a choice! Stay tuned =D
                So last Monday, we had our zone activity and it was actually something different than braai and sports! Haha we went to East Rand Mall and did a photo scavenger hunt with our whole zone! It was too funny! We had to get pictures with stuff like an “Afrikaaner”, “a nice looking girl with an ugly guy” and “a white waiter” haha and a bunch of other stuff that is unique to mzansi (2) J haha it was a blast and so we got 3 points for a picture of the item and 5 points if a missionary was in the picture! The best part was that our group (Daveyton 1 and 2 and Etwatwa) won!! So we got bragging rights and a Cadbury dairy milk bar :) so that was a fun way to switch up the p-day routine!
                Then, in addition to being the zone scavenger champs, I was able to learn a valuable lesson over the course of the week. So on Thursday in weekly planning I set the goal to, as the white handbook says: “avoid all forms of worldly entertainment” by not singing worldly music. The thing is I forgot to write it down in my planner so I forgot about it. Then on Friday at district meeting, Elder Allen and I started singing “Die Young” by Ke$ha (yeah great choice right? Haha who knows where that came from but it did) and my companion reminded me of my goal. Well, I kinda had some pride and came up with an excuse that I had changed my goal. So that was Friday but then Saturday came. So we were going to a lesson and a car pulled up behind us bumping “I’m different” by 2Chainz and so I started rapping along. It’s not a very good song and definitely a “worldly form of entertainment” but I justified singing it. During the rap I got the impression I should stop because of the goal I had set on Thursday. I justified though and said it was too hard of a goal for me and that I could work on it later in my mission. Well, that was a mistake. So we went into this lesson and simply, I couldn’t teach. My questions weren’t inspired and just plain bad questions and my thoughts were just empty words. I struggled thru that lesson but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why! In a later lesson where we were teaching about the Holy Ghost, my comp said something that really hit me. I can’t remember word for word but it was too the effect that he was able to have the spirit with him always as a missionary. Not because of his badge but because he had learned what he needed to do to keep the spirit with him. This hit me really hard and right then and there I knew why the previous lesson was so hard: I didn’t have the spirit. So I decided then and there to work for my goal and sing music that is in line with my calling. Again, as the wise mkhulu Coach Evans would say: “No Excuses!” And I realized that the spirit can help us keep our goals as well as give us the motivation! So how’s that for a pride-swallowing valuable life lesson!? And it isn’t even finished! At church, in gospel principles class, we learned about agency and I learned something that caps off my life lesson. When we make good choices, it strengthens our agency and makes it easier to make more good choices!! Hence the motivation I received to keep my goal and not allow myself to tell myself it was too hard. On top of that, consider this: if good choices strengthen our agency, then what do bad choices do to our agency? And who influences those bad choices? Things to consider :) but until next time, it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood! And thanks coach! Cheers :)
Tha’s ‘bout it!
-Elder David Spencer “Tony” Smith

(1) Mkhulu is Xhosa for a wise & revered grandfather or elder.
(2) Mzansi is the Xhosa word meaning the country of South Africa.

Monday, July 7, 2014

"I am glad I was able to follow a prompting of the spirit to help to answer my companion’s prayer and our question!"

July 7, 2014
   I felt a disturbance in the force... it’s as though millions of voices screamed out for joy at how cool the Dunns are! Haha yo I miss Star Wars tooo much!! But it’s all good I’ll focus on that in due time :) This week has been pretty great and filled with so much room for activities! We met the Dunns, had a BBQ and a braii, had a great answer to prayers, and many cool moments!
                The first thing that we got to do this week was on Tuesday we got to go to the mission home and meet our new mission president and wife! I have heard a lot of great things about them from family (especially the Ryttings) and we all got to see it this week as we met them. We spent a couple hours as we got to know them and as we introduced our companions to them! It was a cool unique way to do introductions as we got to introduce our companions. I speak for myself and hopefully most of the mission as I say that I'm excited to see where they take this mission! I loved the respect they gave to the Omers and the vision that they have as they know they have been called here to progress the work even further! Haha the biggest thing that makes me laugh about “meet the Dunns” is that when we got there, Sis. Dunn just says with a huge smile “SPENCER!!” Haha and I laughed as I shook her hand and said how I haven’t heard that name in 7 months :P What a funny experience.
                Also this week... HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!!! To celebrate, we had a BBQ! Haha none of this “Braii” stuff cause on the fourth, it's American! Haha we all went to Benoni chapel (our district and Benoni dist.) and had a BBQ! We tossed a football and then, out of the normal 4th activities, we killed a chicken to cook! Haha welcome to Africa! We had some members tell us how to do it (okay, really it was the Benoni elders that did it but we were there and participated) and then we did it! We killed it, and cleaned it and, unfortunately had to go back to the flat before we could cook it but I’m sure the other guys enjoyed it after it was cooked! Haha that’s how ya celebrate the 4th in Africa! I missed fireworks tho.... #trunkytime haha eish but then on Saturday we got invited to another braii! (Yeah, this time it was a braii cause it wasn’t an American holiday) some members were celebrating their daughters 1 y/o birthday and they invited us! The nice part besides the food was the fact that we were able to meet with some less active members that we never had before met as well as get two discussions with some potential investigators! So we had a good time and got missionary work done as well so we were blessed!
                In addition to all this fun stuff that happened, we had a cool experience and answer to prayers! So full story: on Thursday night, we all 4 went to the Tsotetsie family for dinner. When we got there, there was a program on TV called “the bible vs. Joseph Smith” and at that specific time it was comparing the prophesy of Micah to the prophesy of Alma in Alma 7:10. They were saying that clearly Alma wasn’t inspired because he said that Christ would be born in Jerusalem instead of Bethlehem. They got all these archeologists and yada yada saying that they were right and blah blah... anyway, we asked them to turn it off because 1-it was distracting and we’re missionaries and 2-it wasn’t bringing anyone closer to Christ. So what they were saying on TV made sense to our ears but I knew inside that the Book of Mormon was true and that whatever they were saying was wrong; I just felt bad because I couldn’t respond adequately enough to this anti-Mormon stuff. Well anyway it came to Friday morning and in study, I was in King Benjamin but kept getting the feeling that I needed to search more into this Alma 7:10 thing. So I flipped in my [Book of Mormon Institute Study] manual to Alma 7:10 and surely enough there was an entry about it that explained it perfectly! The prophet Alma said the words “AT Jerusalem which is the LAND...” not “IN....the CITY”. The latter is what this program was implying with all their “wisdom” yet they couldn’t read the words right but when you look at it, of course if Alma had said “in the city of Jerusalem” he would have been wrong but he didn’t, he said “at the land” which is true! And in 1 &2 Kings and Luke 2:11 we also find that “the city of David” is referred to as both Bethlehem and Jerusalem in the bible. It just goes to show that in 2 Nephi 3:12, the Bible and the Book of Mormon really do come together to confound false doctrine!! The next cool thing is that when I shared this with Stilgoe, he said “ah it makes so much sense now!” and I found out later that day that when he started his study with a prayer, he asked for help to understand the false doctrine encounter of the previous night. I am glad I was able to follow a prompting of the spirit to help to answer my companion’s prayer and both our question! It just teaches us that we WILL get answers and we can help people get answers if all things are done by the spirit!
                So another cool event of the week happened at church. There was a man and his wife and their two kids who came that we didn’t recognize so we invited them into our gospel principles class. They enjoyed it and asked questions and participated in the lesson so we were anxious to get their details after sacrament meeting. So since it was fast Sunday, it was testimony meeting. This man got up and said that he was baptized in 2001 but in 2005 went inactive. Since yesterday he hadn’t been to church in 9 years! But the sweetest part is what he said in his testimony. He said that he knew the church was true because as he looked at his kids and as he felt the welcome of the ward, he knew he was back in the right place! What a cool experience! So we got his details and are planning on seeing their family and hopefully start teaching his wife who is a nonmember  :) the Lord works in many mysterious ways!
The last thing I want to share from this week actually happened Sunday night. There is a part of our area named Mayfield and it is far from the chapel and a poor area (all housing is free from the government) so people can’t really pay for the two taxis that it takes to get to the chapel. So the Lord has provided a way for his children to again become active in the church by authorizing a branch to be formed in Mayfield!!! It starts Aug. 1 and we already have a place to rent out for meetings! So we were visiting a sister who lost her husband in December and left here with no job and six small kids. Things have been rough for her (as you can very well imagine) but when she heard that the church was coming closer to her so she didn’t have to pay for taxis, she was happier than words can describe! We had been sharing a lesson with her from John 8 about how Christ is the Light and even warmth of our lives and compared it to the stove that her neighbour just gave her to heat her house. We discussed about different ways that we could make Christ more a “stove” to give us heat in our lives and church attendance was brought up. So as we talked about the new Mayfield branch, she said with tears in her eyes: “the stove in Mayfield is coming!” My friends and family back home, the stove in Mayfield, and wherever we live, is coming! Let us all make it a part of our lives and let its warmth warm us :)
Tha’s ‘bout it! Until next time :)
Elder David Spencer “Tony” Smith
PS Elder Latouche, congratulations my friend and brother :) I’m stoked for you Dude!!!!!!

"I realized then just how important gratitude like that really is!"

June 30, 2014
     Today is the Omer’s last day in Africa and the Dunn’s first day as the presiding mission “parents” over the South Africa Johannesburg Mission!!!  We welcome you President and Sister Dunn!
      It’s weird to think that President and Sister Omer fly home today and it brings many feelings over all of us. We will always remember the love that they had for all of us individually and collectively and we will miss them greatly! The cool thing is that now this mission and us missionaries have been prepared for and are now ready for the guidance of President Dunn. The Lord knows who he is placing where and knows that His work can be accomplished best as he gives us callings to His work. We made a district goal on top of our personal goals to sustain pres. Dunn in EVERYTHING that he does. This stuck out to me as I was reading in the Book of Mormon last night and read about Nephi. In 1 Nephi 3:6 we find that if we just obey and not complain, we shall be favoured (and blessed) of the Lord! So whatever guidance any of our leaders give to us, whether it be here in SA or back home or wherever, It IS from the Lord and if we don’t complain, it WILL bless our lives :)
                But this week has been a good week! Not too fast but not too slow! We were able to celebrate ½ Christmas on June 25th so now I wish everyone back home MERRY ½ CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!! We all need more Christmas cheer and to remember the real reason of the season! Hahaha I was a goofball and put in our Christmas hymns and Raffi CD in the car so the whole day we were driving around listening to Christmas music  :) We also got another replacement car to drive around in while our petrol card situation gets sorted out. We may have kinda misplaced it so we had to get a replacement card until a new petrol card is sorted out for us. It’s nice tho cause we get to drive around in the new Nissan Almeras that the mission just got! Posh, posh travelling life for me! ;) #namethatmovie
                Those are just a couple of the events that occurred that stuck out during the week but what I wanted to post about this week is something that I found very profound in my studies and in lessons. That is of the topic and principle of Gratitude. In 1 Nephi 2:6-7, we read that as Lehi took his family out of Jerusalem, they travelled about 12-14 days in the desert. Then, when they had pitched their tents, the first thing that it says they did was build “an altar of stones, and made an offering unto the Lord, and gave thanks unto the Lord our God.” As I read these two verses, it hit me. Their family had just been travelling 2 weeks in the harsh desert and finally set up camp for a bit and the first thing they DIDN’T do was take a nap haha yeah that’s what first came to my mind. I envisioned myself just travelling like that and after I had set up my bed, I fell down on it and took a nice snooze. I think for me (and possibly most people) the last thing I would have wanted to hear was my dad calling me to come and gather some heavy stones in the middle of nowhere and stack them up in the heat of the day in the desert. Am I the only one who feels that way? Haha I know there is room for improvement in all of us, especially myself. I realized then just how important gratitude like that really is! I know the Lord is happy whenever we give thanks but think of how much more happy he is when we are grateful immediately following a blessing!? Or, as Pres. Uchtdorf taught in Conference, when we are not only grateful FOR things but IN things. I have pondered on those things and realized how much gratitude is around me. Many of the people we get to visit with go day to day not knowing where the money for their next meal is going to come but they are sure thankful for the roof over their head and the clothes on their bodies. They go through ridiculous trials and still have a smile on their face when we are able to talk about the gospel! What an inspiration! I know that it all stems from their knowledge that God blesses us and that we should indeed be thankful! So I’ve started being more thankful! I realized that there are people who bless my life everyday and so I started writing a section in my journal called just that: “people who blessed my life today”. And it’s not much, but when I reflect on the day, I just smile and say thanks for all the people who made my day just a bit better :) it’s made me smile a lot more that’s for sure! I know that as we are all grateful to the Lord in and immediately after our experiences and trials, we will receive a deeper testimony of the principle of gratitude and we will be able to smile a lot more. :) That is what I experienced this week and wanted to share it with all of you guys back home  :)
                Oh and I’ve finally found time to start replying to many of your letters! Haha I know, I know, it’s about time ne? Well, they should be on their way very soon!
Love y’all!
-Elder David Spencer “Tony” Smith

"And that’s pretty much a basic day in a Daveyton missionary’s life!"

June 23, 2014
:) “...and now it’s time for silly songs with Larry. The part of the show where Larry comes out and sings a silly song...” (1)
Hahaha okay it’s not silly song time but it is time for this cool idea I had to type out a “day in life” thing. The part of the blog where elder smith comes out and types, a day in the life:) Daveyton Edition :)
630- Time to wake up! Sho it’s too cold and it makes it very shocking when we put our feet on the tile -____- but we endure eh? ;) So now it’s time to prepare for the day by preparing some cereal or eggs for breakfast, ironing our shirts, brushing the dust off of our kasi (2) shoes, and chilllin’ till studies start.
800- Time to start personal studies. Things such as journal writing, studying the standard works, PMG (3) and looking at the lessons that we teach that day so we can prepare lessons more personally for our investigators and members. Close with a prayer.
900- Start companionship study with a prayer and a hymn on the guitar. Then we read the white handbook (3 pages a day), recite a mission quote, and share what we studied with each other. I personally like this part the most! It’s cool to share what insights we had thru our studies and to be able to learn from our comp. So after we do that, we look at our day and make sure that we have a member to come with us and that we have backup plans for each of our lessons. This is an important part of the planning because maybe an appointment will ditch and you need to take the attitude that the Lord needs you to see someone or do something else. Backup plans allow you to not waste any of the time that we have out in the field. This usually takes up the rest of the hour so now it’s time to close with prayer :)
1000- Studies are over but the other guys still have the 12 week program for another hour so Stilgoe and I either prepare food, read Liahona (4), or just hang out and talk and prepare our stuff for the field.
1130- Leave the flat! Sho' we try to leave as close to 1130 as possible so we 1-are obedient and 2-have enough time to pick up our members and drop the Daveyton 2 guys off at their 1st appointment and make it to our first.
1200 till 2000- it’s time to proselyte :)  We try to have teaching appointments every hour so that we have time to teach a quality lesson and then have enough time to walk to our next. If we don’t have an appointment or if our plan AND backup plan fall thru, it usually means that we need to find someone. So we’ve found that tracting isn’t as effective here in D-ton as street contacting is. This makes it nice to just be able to talk to the people who are more or less available and we aren't disturbing them in their homes (they get really mad when we interrupt things sometimes so we try to avoid making people mad :P )
                So then I had a question posed to me in a letter this last week: “what are the actual discussions/lessons like?” and that’s a pretty fair question! So this is different for each companionship but each is generally the same. Here is how most of our lessons go: we spend maybe about 5 minutes talking just about life and stuff (we aren’t robots haha we’re still regular people and as we are able to build solid relationships of trust with people, they get more out of the lessons. So then we ask if we can turn off the distractions and start with prayer (pretty standard). Basic lesson structure is whatever the person needs haha so even if we plan one thing, they might need another lesson (Spirit is the key) so it’s important to be paying attention :) We follow up on their commitments that we left last time and see if they have any questions that we can help answer. Asking them questions helps get them involved in the lesson and is one of the best ways that we’ve found to teach a person, not a lesson! But then if they don’t really have any concerns we can progress with the lesson that we prepared. So as we teach the doctrine, we teach the principles that we find in PMG and usually, to teach for understanding, we only get thru 1 maybe 2 principles a lesson. Then we leave a commitment and close with a prayer. That’s a basic lesson but it’s a lot better in real life because you can feel the spirit when you’re with these people. When we can realize that everyone is a child of God and deserves as much of a chance for the gospel as we have had, you really are able to forget yourself and lose yourself in the work. No more are you thinking about you but your whole focus is on “how can I help this person come closer to the Savior” and that is where we find our missionary purpose. When we’re focused on our purpose, the spirit attends the lessons. When the spirit attends the lessons, people experience conversion in their own way and the promises and blessings that we talk about are able to be poured out upon our heads. One cool lesson that we had on Sunday was that we were able to place two of our investigators on date to be baptized! Bradley and Kudzi are two gents that stay in the same house as one of our members. A few weeks back, as we were leaving a member lesson, they came up to us before we even got to the gate and asked when we were going to come share with them! We made an appointment and began teaching them about the restoration. They accepted the invite to come to church and have been every week since. Their questions reflect a great understanding of the doctrine of the restoration of the gospel and they are keeping their commitments and even understanding what they read in the BoM (5)! It’s cool when people read the Book of Mormon but even better when they can understand what’s going on! And for two guys who haven’t had much religious background, they understand the wording and points from the BoM as well as a member! I think that truly shows that they are being led and guided by the spirit! So anyways, as we have been teaching them, they’ve had golden questions and when we invited them to pray to know and followed up with it yesterday, they said they KNEW the Book of Mormon was a true book of scripture and they knew the restoration really had happened because “the spirit helped (them) to know that it was true, that it felt right, and that they had found the truth. So Elder Stilgoe and I are trying to hold back our excitement to jump up and down as we ask what they feel is the next appropriate step for them and Bradley said: “I need to repent and be baptized!” and Kudzi said: “if I found the church with the right power and rights to baptize of course I would be baptized!” and from there, we were all just freakin’ happy as the Spirit was uplifting us :) and just like how in golf, you have that shot that keeps you coming back, its experiences like this on mission, that make you forget all the bummy experiences! It’s amazing!
                But that is how a normal pross (6) day goes! Sometimes we are lucky enough to get fed by members maybe 2x a week and that’s always nice, no lie! Members here are too legit and it’s always nice to feel welcomed into a home at the end of a day :) but then it comes time to get back to our car, drop off our member and pick up the other guys and drop off their member! Then, we say cheers to Daveyton for the day and head back so we can make it back to the flat on time.
2130- We need to be at the flat! And then we can get started on our daily planning. This is where we talk about how our day went, update the area book, get our stats, and plan the lesson outlines for the next day. Then, like always, close with a prayer :) now it’s usually close to 10 and we have to be in bed at half 10 so we usually have a good amount of time to exercise! Stilgoe and I like to swap off lifting weights and sprinting down in the car park so that’s what we usually do until it’s time for bed and it’s a nice workout to get us tired for bed and burn off the unused energy from the day!
2230- Bedtime!!! Best part of the night!!!!!!!!!!!! Haha we need all the sleep we can get!
                And that’s pretty much a basic day in a Daveyton missionary’s life! You get things like weekly planning, district meeting, PMG class, and other recurring meetings as well but that’s just an outline of our basic day :)
...this has been “a day in the life”. Tune in next time to see Elder Smith type: “everybody’s got a water buffalo! (rhino, lion, cheetah, and giraffe haha)” (1)
Tha's 'bout it!
Elder Spencer "Tony" Smith

Editor's Note: 
(1) See Veggie Tales: Silly Songs with Larry
(2) Kasi = Sputh African slang for ghetto
(3)The LDS Standard Works are the Holy Bible (Old and New Testaments), The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price.  PMG = Preach My Gospel- the missionary teaching handbook.
(4) The Liahona is an LDS magazine which provides spiritual messages for adults, youth and children, as well as Church news.  It is the international version of The Ensign, The New Era and The Friend, rolled into one. 
(5) BoM = Book of Mormon  
(6) Pross = proslyting