Ran into Elder Dillan Shoefield at the MTC #Olyrepresent!
Miracle: We set a Baptism date already with one our investigators, Eduardo! He is SO awesome! His older sis and younger brother both got baptized about a month ago but he wasn't able to sit through the discussions due to work and in fact took their shifts for them and missed their baptisms so that they could go! Now the younger brother, Jesus, just recieved the Aaronic priesthood a week ago and just yesterday blessed the sacrement for the first time (in Spanish! For the win)! Anyway, it was my first lesson with him and we got to where we were talking about baptism and got to inviting him and that entire part of the lesson I kept thinking "He CAN'T grin any bigger than that! It's not possible!" but his grin just got bigger and bigger and when we invited him to be baptized and told him the date he was nearly bouncing in his seat! I just LOVED seeing the joy in his eyes as he committed to prepare for that special ordinance and covenant! Their family is awesome and I hope that more of them make time for the lessons in the future!
Miracle: New investigator! Things were falling through one day and we decided to see if one of the investigators on the list of people we knew in this trailer park was home. He's 18 and not living a great life but he believes in Jesus and has had the restoration lesson before. We went to his house and he was actually there and before we even had a prayer his friend who's in his 20's walks in and just sits in with us! He had just moved here recently from another area in Florida and is so humble and loves God and we found out he doesn't read but he has an iphone so, [Miracle] blessings of technology that God has given us today, we tell him how to get the Gospel Library app and listen to the scriptures! It was awesome!
Miracle: Another of our investigators is a young single mom (19 or 20?) who struggles to make time to read the scriptures. Recently she's been doing better as we send her reminder texts each night and she has help from one of our awesome members, Hermana Smith (but hispanic, despite the name) at whose house she spends a lot of her time. That's not the awesome part. The awesome part is we were just driving by on our way to another appointment when we happened to see her on Saturday unloading a car and she mentioned she didn't have work Sunday so she said she'd go to church! The next day she came and stayed all three hours (even with her adorable, energetic little 2 or 3 yr old daughter, haha)! It was even a great fast and testimony meeting (which is always a scary Sunday to bring investigators to because you don't know WHAT will come out at the pulpit) and the gospel Doctrine class was taught well and she participated and everything (which I guess is a little different when the whole room only has her, her daughter, Elder Black and I, the teacher, and two other hispanic sisters total, but it still was great to see her looking comfortable and feeling the spirit).
Juan-Pablo, a kid who has dubbed himself "El Diablito Chiquito", ("Little Devil Child"!) He works at one of the Spanish restaurants here that one of our Spanish members manages, so, waiting for our food and the lesson we had scheduled afterward, we taught he some about Jesus with some pictures for him to have. He's hilarious and came to church this last Sunday! My trainer, Elder Black, is the Elder talking to him about Christ and a bit of the Plan de Salvacion.
In essence, life is awesome! The language is coming with divine help and I rarely if ever get lost in conversations and even then pretty much only outside lessons (my gospel vocab is much better than my day-to-day life vocab). I love my companions, I love the people here that I get to serve, and I love the Lord and how generous He is to us and those with whom we interact!
Love you all So much!
Mom, happy birthday! Feliz cumpleaños!
All the best and thanks for all the prayers and love!
Elder Mathew Smith
P.S. Best Southern moment happened Friday! We were on our bikes at a trailer park stopping to text one of our investigators when a car pulls up and these 2 African-American ladies drive into the park, the one driving is on the phone and she stops the car. She shouts to us "Oh Mormons, come pray for me!" Before we do anything she says into her phone "I gotta go. Some Mormons...Elder Mormons are going to pray for me." She hangs up, puts out her cigarette, and says, "I need some prayzure [pronounced so that is rhymes with closure], pray for me." And she sticks her hand out the window and bows her head and her friend says "And me, and I'll just hold onto her." So then we all held her hand and pray that God will bless her and that she will seek his gospel and thank God for restoring his church and after the "Amens" she goes "Thank you so much, I needed some prayzure just now" then drives off as we're wishing her a good day.
Welcome to the South :D
First Ward Activity: Racing homemade cardboard boats!