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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.)