Archive | February 2013

Just a notice

Hey so I’m here safe in Korea! It’s so fun! I’ll mail a letter home later, but this is just a quick email to let you guys know that I’m here.Love you!

Elder V. LeVan Smith

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Feb. 23 2013

Ok so this is probably going to be the last letter in a while. That’s because I leave in 2 days(!!!!!). And I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to write you when I get to Korea. So don’t freak out, I’ll be fine, and I’m almost positive they let us call you once we get into Korea just to let you know we got there safely, but once again, I’m not positive, I’m almost positive. Anyway, so I’m going to be calling you on the conference line at 11 am Mountain Home time. So what’s going to go down is this: I’m going to put in a quarter and call Mom’s cell number just to make sure that someone is there. I’m not entirely sure what the exact time I’ll be calling, but my plane lands in San Fran at 9:45 Pacific Time so I just rounded up to the hour assuming that it’ll take awhile to get off the plane. So, I expect to be on the conference line at 11am Mountain Home time.

I’m super excited to get to Korea! It’s been fun at the MTC and I’ve learned a TON, but I want to get out and do some real work. I’ve been sitting at the edge of my seat for a while now, and finally I can get up, do some work and have my mind blown and feel utterly over my head in everything. It feels sorta like a belly flop…so first, you’re at the top of the diving board getting ready for the blow, standing at the edge ready to jump. Then you finally jump off……..WHAM!! You hit the water and you had no idea that it was going to hurt that bad, but as you continue to swim the pain slowly goes away and you get to have fun. That’s sorta what I’m expecting it to feel like. Once I get into Korea, all I’ll see is a sea of black hair, it smells like garlic and kimchi and have NO IDEA what ANYONE is saying! Haha! But, I guess we’ll see…

Anyway, I’ll talk to ya’ll soon! I’ll keep you updated on everything I can.

Oh! So my branch President here at the MTC is Pres. Shin. He’s a native korean along with his wife. He’s so awesome! And guess what?? He’s going to be the new Daejeon Mission PRESIDENT!!! AND….there’s a new mission in KOREA!!! Korea Seoul South mission. Isn’t that awesome?! Anyway, talk to you soon.

Elder V. LeVan Smith

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Feb. 19 2013

Hello everybody! Guess what this week is?? That’s right, you got it! It’s my last week in the MTC!!! I leave this coming monday morning at 3am! This week we got our travel plans and we’ve been excited like no other for the past couple days. I’m getting really anxious and a little scared to tell you the truth. To just imagine that in less than a week I will be in a country that doesn’t speak my language and I’m going to have to try to communicate in broken Korean for a couple months. But I know that through the Lord’s help I can do all things. Alma 26:12 He will lead me and keep me from falling.

So this past week, a lot of things happened. This past sunday, I was released from the position of Zone Leader and 2 new zone leaders were appointed. They are really cool and fun Elders. Their names are Elders: Tolman and Gardner. I feel confident that they will keep the standard we, the older districts, set for them.
Also on Sunday, all of the older districts got together with the Koreans and practiced a traditional Korean song called: 아리랑 (pron. ahri rahng) It’s sounds very korean, but it is so awesome. So whenever a group of districts leave for Korea, they all sing this song together after Sacrament meeting. I’ll see if I can get a video or a picture for you. Oh yeah, sorry about no photos in a while, it’s really hard to send a bunch of photos over email, cause you can only send a couple. I’ll probably send my memory card to you and have you post them on Facebook or something. Anyway, so a sad story. I know nobody likes sad stories so I’ll try to make it not so sad to hear. So the week before last, an elder in our zone was sent home. It wasn’t anything about breaking the rules or anything like that. His name was Elder Smurthwaite, from Bountiful, UT. For weeks before he was sent home, he was dealing with a sickness that acted like a really bad case of Mono (Mononucleosis). But the doctors couldn’t figure it all out, because they did a bunch of tests for Mono and a bunch of blood tests and antibody tests and some other things too. But anyway, he was really suffering. He was extremely tired all the time and missed out a bunch on learning Korean. So the District presidency in the MTC decided that it would be best if he was sent home and tried to figure things out. He was really funny and a really awesome elder. Anyway, all the "Daejeon Brothers" dropped him off for his parents to come pick him up. It was really sad for all of us, but hopefully he’ll get better soon and be able to get back out soon.
Then another elder, Elder Bigler. He’s in my district and my residence room. He had a really bad concussion recently, like 2 years ago and just recently his symptoms have been coming back. He says that his brain has been bleeding, I don’t know what that exactly entails, but he’s been having nosebleeds pretty often. He’s had to talk to the district presidency a couple of times. He really wants to go to Korea. I feel bad for him because he might not be able to go…and that will be 2 elders we lost from the elders going to Daejeon. He’s been one of my supports here at the MTC and to see him leave would leave a hole in my heart. He has such a strong testimony and a wonderful spirit about him. Anyway, on a brighter note, I know when I’ll be able to call you guys!!
Here’s the rough itinerary:

This is my first flightLV Salt Lake City 6:17AM
AR L.A. 7:23 AM

Second Fight
LV L.A. 8:12AM
AR San Francisco 9:45AM

Final Flight
LV San Francisco 11:00AM
AR Seoul, Korea 4:15PM

So as you can see, I’ll only have about an hour to talk in the layover in San Fran. So I’ll probably be calling Mom’s(?) phone, I was thinking maybe the conference call line, but I can’t remember the number…or the pin. So, this saturday I’ll be able to email again. So figure out how everything is going to go down, then I’ll call that number at probably 10am or so, that will be California time by the way. So 11am Mountain Home time. Then I’m guessing I’ll be able to call when I get into Korea, just to reassure you that I got into Korea. But I’m not entirely sure about that. Anyway, I have some questions for Mom. When do I take the melatonin? What will help me adjust to the new time?
So my new address this coming tuesday is:

Korea Daejeon Mission
Daejeon P.O. Box 38
Chungcheong-bukdo 300-600
South Korea

So try to get hand-written letters in ASAP. Thank you for all your support and letters. Sorry if I didn’t respond, I just have a lot to do today. Not a lot of time to write letters. Okay, gotta go! I love you all!

Your Elder,

Elder V. LeVan Smith
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Feb. 12 2013

Well hee-there-high-there-ho-there! This week was a real doozy. We learned a lot of Korean and our progressing investigators are progressing. Each time we teach, it gets more and more exciting! You can see that they are starting to understand and feel the Spirit in their lives! I know that they are just our teachers playing the part of investigators, but I still feel that they are real people. Haha! Anyway, yesterday, we had a substitute, Bro. Routt. I don’t know if I told you about him, but he’s one of our favorite teachers. This is because we can relate to him. He tells things as they are and nothing is sugar-coated. He had a hard time learning Korean, he says that it wasn’t until his 3rd(?) maybe 6th(?) transfer that he started to understand the scriptures in Korean. So, he sat us down yesterday and he walked us through the scriptures. Explaining how everything is structured and helping us understand everything. It was awesome. I learned SO much! I could start to understand a little bit of the scriptures. And all we would have to look up were vocab words. Anyway, I feel that I’m not SYLing (speaking your language) very well. It’s hard because I’m sortof a perfectionist so everything has to be right before I say it. I guess I need to get over it. I understand everything and it all makes sense, but it’s just applying it and doing it that I struggle with.

So Dad, thank you for doing my taxes for me. I hate to put all that stress on you, so, is there anyway I can help with it? Maybe you could send me everything and I could fill out the form for you then just send it back to you? I don’t know, I just wish I could help you. I think it’s such a fantastic and wonderful thing that you and Mom get to serve in the Temple. It’s such a beautiful, spiritual place. Oh, thank you for sending the names by-the-way. We’ll try to get all of them done before we leave. Thank you for everything!

So this week Elder Hakes and I were officially off of notes and only went in our lessons with just the Book of Mormon and Bible. We just taught from the heart and to the needs of the investigator. It was AWESOME!! One story that our teacher told us, quoting Elder Jeffery R. Holland I think, he said, "There’s a man far away from the edge of a cliff and there’s another man at the edge beckoning the other man saying: Come to the edge. "No, I’m not going to the edge, are you crazy?!" "Come to the edge!" "No, I’m not going to the edge!" "COME TO THE EDGE." "NO, I’m not coming to the edge!" COME TO THE EDGE!!!" Finally the man grabs the man and forces him to the edge. Then the 2nd man says to the man, "Jump." "Are you nuts?! I’m not going to jump!" Jump! "No, I’m not going to jump!!" JUMP. "NO, I am NOT going to jump!" JUMP! Finally the man jumps and he soared…this is exactly what my companion and I were doing with our notes. "Give me your notes." "No, I need my notes!" etc. Once we lost our "precious" notes, we soared. Sometimes we just have to take that leap of faith, then we soar. Anyway, I love teaching. You see the progress of others and it’s exciting to see.

This past week Elder Leavitt(the other zone leader) and I had to introduce the New Koreans to the MTC. We instructed them how to do companionship inventory, which is just a time set aside each week when you and your companion talk about eachothers’ strengths and some things that could be hindering the companionship’s progress, if there’s anything that needs to be resolved, etc. So right before we did this, the Branch Presidency introduced themselves and had the Koreans introduce themselves and include a brief testimony and why they decided to come on a mission. All in Korean. That experience gave me a little taste of how it was going to be/feel like in a couple weeks. It was a little daunting/scary. I got a taste of what I was getting myself into. But it was SO exciting! To hear their testimonies was truly a very spiritual experience. Their testimonies are so solid, compared to some of the American missionaries I know. There’s an elder in our zone who really doesn’t know why he’s here serving a mission, which is a little sad to tell you the truth. As a result of that, he messes around and is really immature, but he’s getting better and is starting to realize really why he is here. Anyway, next week I am going to be released as zone leader. It was fun, but a little hard to carry that burden as well as deal with my companion, but I feel that it truly matured me and helped me gain some perspective on things. Sometimes we look at trials as something that we just need to get through, but we fail to realize that God has given us these trials so that we can grow in Him. We become better people, more Christ-like. Although it may be the hardest thing that we will ever face in this life, it will never match up with what the Saviour suffered through. If we endure these trials not with a perspective of dread or complaining, but with a perspective of hope and a knowing that this trial is for our benefit, we will be blessed seven-fold. The Lord knows what we’re going through, He is beside us the entire way. Turn to Him. He will help bear the burden, he won’t necessarily take the burden away, but He will help us figure out how to endure this trial. Anyway, I hope that makes sense.

Anyway, I love all of you! Keep being awesome people I know that you are!
Love you!


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Elder V. LeVan Smith

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Feb. 5 2013

So this week has gone by extremely fast! Everything is just speeding by. I think it’s because the 한국사람(Koreans) just got here. They came in yesterday in waves of 2 or 3 at a time. We have 15 Native Koreans now in our zone. They’re really funny! It was so fun yesterday, a couple of them were in our classroom and Elder Chow wanted to roleplay investigator with them. Sooner or later, all of the class was involved. It was so fun, all of it was in Korean! And I understood basically all of it! It was soooo cool! Korean is really a beautiful language, I’m glad I have the privilege to speak it and to teach with it to the Koreans. It is so fun to teach our progressing investigators whose names are: 김현식 and 배근신. They are our teachers playing the part of the investigators, but it’s still really awesome to teach them!

So my companion and I are getting along a lot better now. We’ve figured out eachother and have gotten used to eachother. It was so cool yesterday, he and I were teaching 김현식 and our teacher challenged us to use no notes. We were really hesitant at first but as we prepared, we started getting more and more confident in our teaching. So we go in there, still not really confident in ourselves and I’ll just have to say that that lesson was the best lesson that we have taught so far in the MTC. The Spirit was so strong and we were just talking to him and figuring out what his needs were and working it out with him, having him come closer to Christ on his own. It was awesome, and now we know that we can do any lesson with no notes!

So one of my previous teachers, Sister Wadsworth, has 2 sisters who sent in their mission papers on the same day. They just got their calls last week on the same day. So Sister Wadsworth served in Seoul and so one of the sisters wanted so bad to serve in Korea. So the other sister opened her call first, and guess where it was? Korea, Busan. So the one sister who really wanted to go to Korea felt a little jealous and said that she should’ve opened her call first, but anyway, she eventually opens her call and guess where?? KOREA, Daejeon!! So Sister Wadsworth just started freaking out when she heard where both of them were going! Haha! So I’m excited to see her sister in Daejeon, sister wadsworth was our favorite teacher. Anyway, I am so excited to go to Korea! It’s getting closer and closer by each passing moment and I can’t wait. Whenever I talk to the Koreans, I get more excited. Anyway, Oh! about the audition. So, you’re probably wondering how I got a hold of my arrangement of "Lord, I Would Follow Thee" huh? Well…I really wanted to do it and I knew I had it on my email in PDF form, so I got on to my email briefly just to print it off. I know it was against the rules, I’ll repent, but we got it copied onto good paper(it was so exciting to have it on actual music paper bytheway, I’ve never had one of my songs like, official.Haha!) Anyway, we got it copied and I gathered the finest singers in the zone and an amazing piano player, and we practiced it. Oh my goodness, these elders are amazing. They are perfect singers, and they memorized it in just 2 days and auditioned on the 2nd day! Let me tell you, my heart was full when we sang that song. It reminded me a lot of when we did it as brothers and father. To hear that song again was so touching, it was totally "my element" and I haven’t been in "my element" in forever it seems like. Anyway, we auditioned and it was a "Yes!". That means that they will schedule a performance for us for one of the devotionals! I’m pretty sure it was just like the one that Spencer performed in, but I could be wrong. Each devotional, the entire MTC and I’m pretty sure all the other MTCs, see it. Oh! Did you hear about the new MTC opening up? They just announced it. It’s going to be in Mexico city. They’re modifying the big, church-run high school that is there. Apparently it is going to be the 2nd biggest MTC. It’s going to relieve the Provo MTC of most of its Spanish speaking missionaries I think. Anyway, I thought that was cool. I haven’t really got a lot of letters from the brothers these past few weeks. I know you’re busy. You’re awesome though.
I tried to get some more pictures to you guys, but it’s hard because you can only send a couple at a time, at most 2 or 3. So sorry about no pictures. Oh well, I think I’m going to send home a memory card with all my pictures on it.
Anyway, I’ve got to go. Hope to hear from you soon!


Elder V. LeVan Smith
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P.S. Happy Birthday: Dad! Eric! Genevieve! And happy birthday to those coming up!!

NOTICE: This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message.