Archive | March 2013

Mar. 25 2013

Ok, so this letter is going to be VERY short. Sorry. Just really busy today! So, this past week I went on my first split with a different missionary for a night! It was with an elder in 군산 (Goonsan) His name is Elder Ward. He’s was way cool! He helped me get some ideas for a bunch of stuff and how to be a better missionary and be more effective. I learned alot! Anyway, then we found bunch of other people interested in the gospel, but we’ll see if they’ll follow up. My area, 정읍 is apparently one of the hardest areas in the mission right now. I don’t really believe it though. It seems like it’s pretty easy. Yeah, basically no one keeps appointments, but that’s just Korea. Anyway, just like always, most of our appointments except the family, fell through. It seems like these weeks are all the same and no progress, but I guess it just feels like that because of the short transfer. This transfer was only 4weeks because of the shortening of the MTC stay. So today we got transfer calls. And guess what?? Nothing really, haha! But my companion is now the District leader!! Yay! I get to go on a LOT of splits now!! Anyway, gotta go. Love you all! I’ll work hard for all of you!! Miracles are happening everyday! It is abolutely wonderful to do missionary work, even if it is hard to do at times. But you keep pushing forward with a positive attitude and you’ll make it out well.
Okay, Bye!

Elder V. LeVan Smith

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Mar. 18

안녕하세요!

How is everybody? It’s so nice to hear from you all! And a big announcement that we were just told, missionaries can email anyone they want now! Isn’t that cool, but we still only have an hour to email. They want us to focus on missionary work and not to get distracted. I can get distracted pretty easily, but it’ll be fun to hear from everyone else a little easier though. Anyway, this week has been awesome. Every week as a missionary is awesome! Even though this is only my 3rd week of actual missionary work, it’s so cool to see how the gospel can change and affect lives.
So this week has been sorta like all the other weeks. Appointments have dropped and plans had to be changed. But that’s usual sorta, because one thing about Koreans is, they’re REALLY busy. All the time. High schoolers live at their high school and they only go home about 1 every 2 weeks or something like that. It’s really stressful for them and all the investigators that we had that were high schoolers, we can’t really meet with them anymore because they’re sooo busy. Anyway, I’ll tell you a quick story that happened yesterday. So do you remember the family we found door knocking? Well yesterday we finally met their mom! We taught them english and showed the “Restoration” video. This family just melts my heart. They are so kind and thoughtful. They listen so intently and so lovingly. Yesterday, we were in the middle of making dinner at 5 when the family called and reminded us that the appointment with them was at 5! We thought it was at 8!! So we dropped everything and ran out the door. We get outside and it’s raining. (So cool!!) We hop on our bikes and book it to their house.(which is all the way across town by the way) Usually it takes us about 15 mins to get across town. But this time, it only took us 5 mins or so to get there!! We were really going fast! My legs still hurt, but anyway. We get there and we are basically drenched. We go inside and we’re apologizing and trying to gain their confidence back. The mom is so sweet and hands us a towel to dry ourselves off and offers us something to eat. We do so and they invite us to sit down. We teach them english and they are so good! You can see that the parents really want success for their children. As we show the movie and hand them a Book of Mormon, the Mom is listening very intently. They don’t go to church and they’re not Buddhist. Which is like gold to a missionary in Korea! Anyway, we leave and they try to offer us a ride to our appartment and we decline because we have bikes. They seemed a little disappointed with that but we said goodbye anyway. As we leave, the mom gives us this bread to eat, really good expensive bread. We didn’t want to carry it with us, so we ate it right before we hopped on our bikes. As we’re about to take off, the dad runs out of the building and tells us to jump in the car. We sorta decline, but seeing that it was REALLY raining, we accept. He took us to the church. He is so kind and loving and I can just imagine them being so happy with the gospel someday. It just warms my heart. Anyway, I have to go. I’ll tell more stories next time. I Love you all!!

Elder V. LeVan Smith
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Mar. 11 2013

Hello everybody!

It’s so wonderful to hear from you! It sounds like everyone is doing great! I’m so excited for all of you! I have a couple questions, did Bethany have the baby yet? What’s her name? and Who’s Alice?? So, my P-day is Monday. So it would be Sunday at night probably around 8 Mountain time when I send my letters. Anyway, it sounds like your week has been as amazing as my week! There’s just a bunch of stuff going on, but it seems like I’m catching on pretty well.

This week has been a week of miracles!! I’m not kidding, there has been a miracle everyday! I’m pretty sure that God sends His
missionaries miracles everyday of their missions. I just think that some missionaries don’t see them sometimes. Anyway, I’ll tell the amazing stories now…

Okay, so this past week, by looking at all the stats you would think that this area has not been progressing. BUT, its all the preparation that’s the most important. When we re-did the roof, I always think about preparation. It was the hardest, dirtiest, but most crucial part of the job. It was what laid the perfect foundation and let everything fall into place with simplicity and perfection. This is exactly what we’ve been doing this past week. Although we haven’t taught a single lesson with a member this week, we have had AMAZING miracles happen in order for this next week to be the best week ever!

I’ll start off with the first miracle.
So in Korea, whenever missionaries go door-knocking(가가호호), we go to an apartment building and start from the top and go down, stopping at each door on the floor. Usually, the two missionaries would split up and one would do one side and the other missionary do the other. So whenever you knock at a Korean’s door, they don’t answer the door. Like, they don’t open it, they just yell through the door. Usually they yell something like this, “누구세요?” (Who is it?) then the old guys or ladies say “되었” literally, “It became”. It’s weird, but anyway, you almost never get into a house. Ever.
So, my companion was challenging me to door as many doors as I can and he would come in and save the day if need be. Anyway, I knocked at this one door and I was struggling through Korean to get my message out to the guy behind the door. I said that we were missionaries and that we had a message, he was sounding uninterested but then my companion said something about teaching english. He then opened the door, asked a few questions, then invited us to come in. We were a little taken back at first, but eventually tripped over ourselves to get into the door. He asked us a bunch of questions that I obviously didn’t understand, but my companion told him about the 30-30 program we do.(30min english, 30min gospel message) He said that he was interested and he took our number. About 30min after, as we were door-knocking the rest of the apartment, he called and said that he wanted to have us meet him and his family 2 times a week, every week! He has 2 little kids that totally remind me of Aurora and Connor. They act the same and everything! We taught them this past thursday, but canceled on Sunday because the daughter and son were going on a field trip or something for their school. Anyway, the next miracle. This one absolutely does not make sense to me. But I realized after it happened that, we can’t explain miracles. God gives them to us not as a reward or because we wanted them, but He gives them as a tender gift and also to help us fulfill His purposes and because we exercised our faith in Him.

So this past saturday we had a big day with lots of appointments. We were going to go to a bunch of less-actives houses; teach 2 lessons with members and a bunch of other stuff. Throughout the day, every single one of our lessons fell through. But we still had one left. We struggled throughout the day to fill in the spots. We had backup plans, but those fell through as well. Everything we thought of that we could do, fell through, or we weren’t able to do. So, we were left to proselyte(전도) for hours upon hours. We walked up and down the downtown many times and we didn’t really find anyone that was interested. Then we got a call. It was our last appointment. He said he couldn’t meet…so after the call, my companion looked at me and we just sighed and sat on one of the benches in the middle of downtown. We sat and didn’t say anything to eachother for a minute or two. Then Elder Rice said after a while, “Why don’t we pray?” So we prayed. We prayed to know where we were supposed to go, what we were supposed to do, anything really. As we finished praying, we looked at eachother and we asked if we got any inspiration, nothing. Then a man came up to us, as if he came from nowhere, and asked if we were missionaries. We said yes, then he continued to say that he was going to go to America in a year, wants to know english, knew that we taught english and that he wants to go to our church!! We stood there dumbfounded and I’m sure we looked pretty lost to say the least! We were almost at a loss of words. We exchanged phone numbers and said that he wanted to meet with us the next day!! He said goodbye and walked off. We just stood there. Smiling. The fire of missionary work roared in our hearts from that moment on. We almost jumped for joy and I said a prayer in my heart, thanking God for this miracle. God never leaves us alone. He always is mindful of us. He knows our thoughts and our pains. And He will always answer your prayer. In however way He decides to answer, He WILL answer your prayer. It must always be in faith though, knowing He will answer you. I love missionary work! Like I said before, I’ve seen miracle everyday so far, and I know I will continue to see one every day for the rest of my mission, even the rest of my life. However big or small it may be. I thought of Alma 26:27 and Moroni 7:26-29 after this happened. I’ll let you read it, it changed my perspective and comforted me and lifted me up even higher when I read it.

Anyway, I love you all. Look for the miracles in your life everyday. They happen, I promise. Be safe and you’re all in my prayers! I love you!

Your missionary,
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Elder V. LeVan Smith

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Mar. 4 2013

Wow…..this past week has been the craziest, most fun, exciting, most spiritual experience so far in my life!! SOO much has happened and I don’t know if I’ll even have time to write it all! Ok, so I’ll start at the beginning…

So first, we had to wake up at 2 am in the morning in order to catch our flight and check out of the MTC. We get there at the airport at around 4 or so, and go check in our bags and go through security. We got there just in time because if we would’ve gotten there only 5 min later, we would’ve been at the back of a HUGE line! It would’ve taken at least an hour to get through that line! Anyway, then we go to our gate. But the Seoul missionaries are still in line and their plane is about to take off!! So we see them running trying to have them hold the plane for a few mins so all of them can get on! Anyway, it all worked out, but it was a really close call. The other gates learned and delayed their planes for a couple mins. So we board the plane, and this plane was the smallest plane I’ve been on so far. Seriously, I had to duck quite a bit in order to walk in this plane. It was cramped and I had to be on this plane for a couple hours, but I kept telling myself that it was just preparing me for the even more cramped plane I would be riding on for 12 hours. Haha! Anway, my seat is all the way at the back of the plane. (The church tries to position the seats so that the missionaries can talk to a lot of people.) So I sit next to this lovely old lady. I start talking to her and introduce myself. I explain about me and why I’m all dressed up and how I’m a missionary and stuff like that. She was very nice to talk to. She said that all her family lives in Utah and I assumed that a lot of them were mormon. But she said she wasn’t, but that when her sister died, the
Missionaries were very helpful to her and she liked how they dressed up all the time and looked handsome. haha! Anyway, throughout the time on the plane we talked about a lot of stuff. Like family history, her family, where she was going, what I was doing, where I was going, etc etc. i found out that she fell a year ago and that it has been hard for her to walk ever since. So she has to either have a walker or a wheelchair in order to get around. She just got back from her sister’s funeral, I gave her my condolences and shared a message about the plan of salvation and how she can see her sister again. She liked that, and we continued our conversation. As we landed and got situated at the docking station, I gave her a pass-along card and shared a quick message. She listened very nicely and intently and we said our farewells. As I was leaving, I forgot that I hadn’t asked her name. So I quickly returned and she said it was, “Nettie”. I’ll always remember her. She was very nice. I don’t know if she’ll ever learn more or become a member of the church, but I was glad that I could’ve made someone’s day better.

So then we transfered over to the plane going to San Francisco. It was a relatively short plane ride, (I slept most of the way)haha! Then we arrived finally in San Fran. We found our departing area, then we went to look for phones right off the bat. We found some and then I called you! Yay! But after the phone call, it was my companion’s idea to go get a quick bite to eat. Bad idea….as I got off the phone and quickly grabbed my meal, our names were being announced over the intercom. We started freaking out and booked it to our gate. We get there and the ladies at the counter are screaming at us to get our luggage and get our passports out! We were in turbo mode now! Haha! So we grab our luggage and get our passports out and hand them everything that they need, and finally go through the gate, barely getting on in time! HAHA!! It was scary but hilarious at the same time! Anyway, we get situated in our seats and I sat next to one of the other sister missionaries. Our flight went well, it was WAY long though. The branch president said we could watch the movies if they were appropriate, but I didn’t really want to. Although, I did watch a little bit of Wreck it Ralph. Anyway, I wasn’t able to talk to anyone really cause I was the aisle seat and people kept on walking up and down, also the people were korean. I guess I should’ve. Anwyay, as we arrived and landed, i looked out the window the get the first glance of Korea. it was almost surreal. It looked sorta like just outside of Seattle on a rainy day. That’s the best I could describe it. Trees and overcast. As we get off and get through security and our passports passed off and scanned, we get through the exit gates, and we see our Mission Pres. and his wife. Pres. Furniss and Sis Furniss and the Assistants to the Pres. We introduce our selves and right off the bat, as we’re waiting for our bus, they have us do a 전도(prosylyeting(pron. Jun doh)) activity. I go off with another elder and try to find someone that isn’t walking. They said to talk to people sitting down. So we go up to this one guy and as we go up to him, he stands up and walks away. Awww, darn it. So we try to find someone else, we were’nt very confident in ourselves. So we go back to the President and tell him about it and his response is: “Get used to it” Wow thanks president for those encouraging words, JK. But he was totally right. He explained himself of course, how not everyone is willing to listen. So, we “gird up our loins” and go out again. Only this time, we didn’t even talk to anyone….our bus arrives, so we just follow our Pres. with our heads a little low. I would have to admit it was a little discouraging and just to think that I would have to do this for 2 years was a little heart-breaking. But, nevertheless, i pressed on, promising myself that next time, I would not fail.

I sleep on the bus, and we get into 대전. It was wacky. I said to myself, “I’m not in Kansas anymore…” Seriously, it smelled weird. There was creepy guys yelling at us on the street. Cars were zipping by like crazy. Anyway, I’ll move on, but it was awesome and weird at the same time, if that makes any sense…anyway, we went to the mission home and sleep in the mission office for the night. The next morning was the weirdest. So, in Korea, most people go to the public bathhouses. Something either rare or non-existent in the US. We get there and they APs said to strip down and meet them in the room with all the baths in it. It was hilarious, there was naked guys
everywhere, and there’s just a naked guy laying face down on the floor in the corner of the room. I still have no idea what he was doing. Anyway, this was paradise for baths. There were 3 huge hot tubs. Showers, comfortable showers(which are awesome bytheway) and 3 steam rooms. Hottest to coolest. So, I start off with just a shower. Then the APs tell us to try out the hot tubs. It was so relaxing and you just wanted to stay there forever! Anyway, then they dared us to go into the ice cold pool that is there as well. So, as spunky young men would obviously do, we go over there and dive in. I swear, everything just froze and I’m pretty sure my lungs froze for a moment. Haha!! They also had us try out the 1000mph jet stream screaming from the ceiling. What you did is, just stand over it and have all your skin just be ripped off from off your body. Jk, but still, it was pretty powerful. But it was nice. You see, Koreans hate dead skin. They also take care of their skin, ALOT. Another thing that they do is at the end of their stay at the bathhouse, they rub themselves all over with salt. Then they wash it off, then they repeat that process a couple times. By doing this, it opens and cleans out the pores in the skin. and makes your skin shiny and clean. You feel like your whole body has botox or something. Just really tight and clean. Anyway, after we go into the ultra hot steam room where you feel that you’re breathing in nothing but water, we did the comfortable showers. What you do is you sit down on these seats and you have this long scrub thing. The best way I can describe it is, it’s sorta like that net fabric, toole or something like that…anyway, you scrub it with soap and you wash and scrub everywhere on your body. After we were done, i thought to myself, This is the cleanest I have ever been in my entire
life…anyway, we had training and at the end of the day, they had us do another 전도 activity. This time, we approached a guy(this is with an office elder this time, by the way)and we talk to him about the Book of Mormon. He seems interested and invites us into his house. Which is rare bythe way. and we tell him about the Book of Mormon!!! It was way cool. Anyway the next day, I met my trainer. His name is Elder Rice. He’s funny and awesome. He just had his year mark. Anyway, then, we go to our area, 정읍(pron. jung eup) it reminds me alot of Boise. Its a smaller town. It’s south of 전주 which is south of 대전. I love it here. I’ll have to catch up on my other stories next time, but I love you!!

Your 선교사,
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Elder V. LeVan Smith

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.