Saturday, August 15, 2009

August 3rd 2009

It's the beginning of a new week and this transfer is already halfway over! I will have my first baptism in a week from today and I'm definitely looking forward to it. I'll send pictures of that in 2 weeks from today. We've been pretty consistent in finding new investigators—we've found at LEAST 2 new investigators each week since this transfer started. It's good to see some real progress. In the MTC we were taught to ALWAYS leave our areas stronger than we found them, and I feel like I've been doing that. It's fulfilling to see my hard work pay off. But still, I know there's a lot more I can do.

We have quite a few investigators right now, and some with a lot of potential for progress. We're also working with some less active members and are really seeing them change their hearts. Dad wrote me a letter a while ago that said there was nothing better on his mission than to see someone he was teaching get that spark in their eyes—to know they've gained a testimony. It's true. However, there's nothing more disappointing than to see someone not do anything about it. They know it's true but they don't care enough to take the next step—whether that's getting baptized or just going to church. But my mission president told me to NEVER let someone else's agency affect my happiness on my mission. So I'm going to try to do that.

Today for our P-day we hiked “Kuliouou Ridge.” (Pronounced koo-lee-oh-oh). It was a REAL hike. I haven't been on a real hike since this time last year when I took my geology field studies class. It was HARD but sooo nice! It felt so good to get real exercise. This trail was MUCH prettier than Diamond Head. It was extremely green and when we got to the top of the mountain we were in the clouds. I've included pictures so I hope you enjoy them :)

One thing that's been amazing as a missionary is to feel the influence of the Spirit constantly and to see its effects in people's lives so much. I think it was Elder Oaks that said we shouldn't talk about extraordinary spiritual experience too often in order to keep them sacred and recognize that such experiences are not common. We mostly feel the influence of the Holy Ghost in small ways. But as a missionary we are immersed in the gospel and everything about it, so we see these things more often. People trust us and are more willing to share such personal experiences with us. It's amazing. I know that miracles really do happen. Things that we thought only existed in the scriptures continue to manifest themselves today. I can't believe how many people don't believe in God or don't care enough to learn more about Him. This gospel is TRUE and it's not enough to just believe. We can feel the influence of it in our lives because we were smart enough to follow Christ's example and be baptized by one holding the Priesthood authority of God. “We know that it is by grace we are saved AFTER ALL WE CAN DO” (2 Nephi 25:23) I love all of you so much and don't ever want to see you straying from the path.

Well, time is up but I love you and miss you all.

Love, Sister Smith

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