Monday, December 28, 2009

MTC: Week #6

Hello!!! Sorry but this is going to be a short email. The computer that I am on is being retarded. Also I am helping to clean the temple this afternoon so I have a lot of stuff I have to do right now. First, Happy 20th Anniversary Mom and Dad!!! Hopefully you see this today. I am also going to be sending some letters home today or tomorrow and they will have a lot more detail about what went on during Christmas. I don't have enough time to email it so maybe you can forward it to everyone. So this week has gone by really fast. I only have 3 more weeks left in this place. Hurray!!!
Hopefully in the next week or so I will get my travel plans so I can tell you for sure when I leave. I'll share a little bit about what happened on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. On Chirstmas Eve, we had a fireside at night and Sister Elizabeth Smart played a song on the harp. It was very good. Also an Elder (name?) played a song on the bagpipes. I think it's called Highland Cathedral. It's a way good song! After that I had a slumber party with my district. We put all our mattresses into a room and partied. Haha it was fun!!!!
Christmas morning I opened my presents. Thank you for all the goodies. Then we went to a morning devotional and Elder L. Tom Perry spoke about the life of Christ. It was very good. We had a really big Christmas lunch of turkey, potatoes, veggies, and stuffing. Boy was it good! In the afternoon, we went to the Christmas talent show. In my letter to you I have more detail on all the talents shared. In the evening, we ate sack dinners and then went to another fireside. Greg Olsen, who is an artist and had painted a lot of pictures of Christ came and spoke to us. It was really cool and he told some stories behind the pictures he has painted. It was a really cool Chistmas!!!! I really wish I could have spent it with you all but oh well--I only have one more Christmas left on my mission. I love you all and stay safe!!!! Love Elder Anthony Smith

P.S. Write more letters, even if it is only one sentence!
P.P.S I want to share one more thing. Since coming to the MTC I haven't really eaten all that much during meals. I eat a lot but not as much as I did at home. Well yesterday I broke down and had 5 serving of Chicken Cordon Blu with rice and veggies. Haha my district went wild after I ate it all. I also had a bowl of ice cream and cake. So now I'm only going to eat salad for the rest of my stay here.

More About MTC Christmas Day

Last night there was a big Christmas Eve Devotional with lots of musical numbers. One Elder played the bagpipe and like I mentioned before Sister Smart played on son on the harp. it was really good. A chorus of Elders sang "Still, Still, Still" and "Oh Come All Ye Faithful". They weren't that good, but oh well. Then a Sister sang "O Holy Night". It was probably the highest I've ever heard anyone sing. She had kind of an opera voice. We also sant the Twelve Days of Christmas MTC style. It goes like this: "On the first day of Christmas the MTC gave me, a rock solid testimony". The rest of the days were two haircuts free, three new companions, four chocolate milks, five hours of gym, 6:30 wake-up, seven lukewarm showers, eight hours of rest, nine outbound calls, ten more commandments, eleven loads of laundry, twelve hours of class.
After the devotional, I went back to my room. As a district we had a secret santa. I had Elder Bever so I got him a Parker stainless steel pen and a case for his Spanish hymnbook. Elder Lafrance had me. He gave me cough drops, those strips you pu on the bridge of your nose so you snore less (Ha Ha). He also gave me a telescoping zebra pen. Pens were a hot item to give, especially the zebra pens. After that we brought our mattresses into one of the rooms and had a big slumber party. It was lots of fun and spending Christmas Even with my district made it easier to be away from home. In the five weeks I've been here, I've come to love every single Elder in my district and I can't wait to hang out with them when I get home because most of them are going to schools in Utah after we get back.
So I woke up Christmas Day and opened my presents. Thank you for the stocking and goodies. Then I went to breakfast with my district and to a morning devotional with Elder L. Tom Perry. He talked to us about the birth of Christ--it was very good. We then went to lunch and then off to another afternoon devotional where lots of missionaries shared different talents. My favorite was of an Elder playing his own arrangement on the piano of "We Three Kings". After the talent show, I went back to my room, ate a sack dinner and then went to another fireside with Greg Olsen, the LDS artist. he shared some stories behind his paintings of the Savior. It was a pretty good Christmas. Hopefully everyone at home had a good Christmas. I love you all!

Monday, December 21, 2009

MTC: Week #5

Standing in front of Provo Temple (l to r): Elder Holbrook, Elder Brazington, Elder Johnson, Elder Romney, Elder Sangster, Elder Lafrance, Elder Bever, Elder Whittier, Elder Smith (me), and Elder Duncan (my comp.)

Another week has come and gone and suprisingly it went by really fast--also I'm more than half way done with my stay in the MTC. Hurray!!! 5 weeks down only 99 more to go.

So I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that there are only a couple days till Christmas!! The bad news is that two people from my zone went home this week. The first was an Elder who
I guess had some personal issues that he didn't resolve before he came out here. Then the next day, a Sister from the same district left for home. That district has lost a total of three missionaries in the past four weeks. Another Sister Missonary went home to marry her boyfriend. So ya, it was kinda a rough week for that district.

I'd like to tell you more about the Elders in my district:

ELDER SMITH and ELDER DUNCAN: I'm amazing and Elder Duncan is amazing. First he is related to Cove Reber of Saosin and he is also an All-American water polo player and is an amazing swimmer. He is from Vista California.

ELDER HOLBROOK AND LAFRANCE: Elder Holbrook was the district leader and is now the zone leader along with Elder Lafrance. Elder Holbrook is 23 and went to BYU before coming out here. He is studying to be a dentist and also loves dance( ballet and modern) He is from Spokan Washigton. Elder Lafrance is a way good story teller and is super funny. He is from Pennsylvania and just graduated high school this year.

ELDER WHITTIER AND BEVER: Elder Whittier is 21 and is from Morgan Utah. He loves to ski. Elder Bever is from Oregon and went to BYU last year. He took Spanish in high school so he is way good at speaking the language.

ELDER SANGSTER AND ROMNEY: Elder Sangster is from Montana and went to state in tennis doubles this past year. Elder Romney is from Mesa, Arizona and played basketball and baseball in high school this past and was all-state in baseball. And yes, he is related to Mitt Romney.

ELDER JOHNSON AND BRAZINGTON: Elder Johnson is from Kanab, UT and played football and baseball in high school. His baseball team took state this past year. Elder Brazington played football all through high school. He is pretty shy but is still cool.

Thank you for all the packages and letters. Write more. I LOVE YOU ALL and stay safe and have a Merry Christmas! Love Elder Smith

Monday, December 14, 2009

MTC: Week #4

This week has gone by really, really FAST! I'm still learning lots of Spanish and I've been doing lots of conjugation and stuff like that. On Tuesday a member of the Seventy came and spoke to us. His name is Elder Costa and it was a very awesome devotional. He shared his conversion story--it was really amazing. On Wednesday, Elder Duncan and I "practice" taught a guy the second lesson. It’s about the Plan of Salvation and the Atonement. We did a really good job and at one point in the lesson, Elder Duncan almost started crying. On Sunday, the BYU Men's Choir sang Christmas songs for us. It was really awesome and I liked it cause in the MTC they don't let you listen to music. I have to either sing it myself, listen to music in my head, or when I get on the computer to use the language program, then I get on the website and listen to music. After the Men's choir sang we got to watch the Joseph Smith movie again. It is really awesome and I've cried every time that I’ve watch it here.
Mom, you asked me to tell you stuff that I learned at church and share it to you like we do on Sundays at the dinner table. Well, this week I've learned a lot about Jesus Christ. I finished reading Jesus the Christ and it is an amazing book, I think I'm going to read it again. Also last Sunday we watched The Testament movie and I like how it is all about the Resurrected Christ’s visit to the people of the Book of Mormon. I've been teaching about the Plan of Salvation and the Atonement this week--the second lesson from Preach My Gospel is about the Atonement and I'm looking forward to teaching it to people. I wish I could talk more about what I've learned but I only have 4 minutes left to email. So I love you all and I'm thankful for all the letters and packages you have sent me. I love to read what everyone has been doing at home. Also before I forget I can’t call home on Christmas so I'll just write letters. Love Elder Anthony Smith

Monday, December 7, 2009

MTC: Week #3

This week has gone by really fast! It seems like I just wrote you a couple days ago. This week has been really good. I memorized the First Vision in Spanish and I have been reading from Jesus The Christ and am almost finished with it.

I want to answer the questions you asked me. My roomates names are Eric Christensen from Midland, Texas and Ammon Johnston from Provo, Utah. They are going to Sacramento California.

During gym time I have been running a lot and lifting a little bit. I play lots of basketball and 4-square. And every night I do pushups and situps.

Sacrament meetings are good. We are assigned a topic each week and have to write a 3-5 minute talk. For the first 4 weeks it can be in English but after that it has to be in Spanish. The Branch President then randomly picks 2 people to speak each Sunday. I haven't been chosen yet.

When I got to the MTC, I received Spanish editions of the Book of Mormon and Bible, Preach My Gospel, a dictionary, a book that has phrases and vocab for each section of Preach My Gospel. I bought a book that has 300 verbs and has them conjucated in all the different forms, and I bought a Spanish hymn book since we have to sing all the songs in Spanish for class and sacrament meeting. Cheryl C. Lant the General Primary President came and spoke to us. It was a really good devotional.

On Wednesday during class when we were practicing Spanish, one of the Elders in my district named Elder Johnson said, "I feel like a snail, tied to a rock, trying to climb up a wall." It was really funny. My distict has a hard time keeping our laughter in during really innapropriate times. Laughing has been hard to control even during prayers when the wrong Spanish word is used or while listening to others teach a lesson--we couldn't help it when the some sisters were practicing giving a lesson in Spanish to our teacher. We just all like to laugh a lot.

On Thursday while waiting in line for food I talked to an Elder Conder who is going to Germany and I found out that he is related to the Yardleys. So that was cool. On Saturday a guy who used to work at Baileys named Stephen delivered some cookies to an Elder in my district who is friends with him.

On Sunday I watched the First Precidency Christmas Message and saw Brother Russon from our stake singing in the Tabernacle Choir. It was really good and I liked the songs that were sung. Thank you for the sweater vest and for the Christmas decor. I've been decorating my room all day. Please send my ab roller wheel and that black jump rope in one of the drawers in the laundry room. WRITE MORE PLEASE! I WANT TO HEAR WHAT EVERYONE DOES EVERYDAY! Please! I Love you all and please stay safe.

Monday, November 30, 2009

MTC: Week #2

I can't belive I've been in the MTC for almost two whole weeks. I only have 102 weeks left--Hurray!!! So time here in the MTC is messed up. It feels like I've been here for months but at the same time it all feels like a quick blur! So this week has been pretty awesome! On Tuesday Elder Oaks came and spoke to us and that was pretty cool. Unfortunatly there wasn't any room in the gym so we had to go to a different building and watch the devotional on a projector.

On Wednesday I went to the TRC building which is where my companion and I got to teach the first lesson to someone who pretended to be an investigator. It went really well and I had a lot of fun! Thusday was Thanksgiving and I really wanted to be there with all of you but oh well, I'll only be gone for one more Thanksgiving. In the morning Elder Holland came and spoke to us and answered questions that missionaries had submitted. It was really awesome. When I'm done here in the MTC I'll send home my "Devotional" journal and you can look at it.

After Elder Holland spoke, we had Thanksgiving Dinner for lunch. It was pretty good but probably not as good as what the rest of you had. Then we put together first aids kits which the church will send out when people need them. I think there was a total of 8,000 kits made. Later that night there was a talent show and missionaries had the chance to say what their grateful for and bear their testimony.

On Friday my district and I went to the Referral Center where I called potential investigators to confirm if they had recieved materials they had ordered from the church and ask if they had any questions. Only two people answered my calls and they hung up on me and I got anwering machines on the rest of them. So I got a little bit of a cold on Saturday and I felt like ill all day long but it's pretty much gone now.

On Sunday for lunch they had chicken cordon bleu and it was amazing! I had three servings cause it was so amazing! Sunday night a leader from the missionary department talked to us and after that we watched the new Joseph Smith movie. It was very good! So this week was a pretty good week.

The Spanish is coming along pretty good but it's going to get better. I love you all and you better all stay safe! Hope I get lots more letters cause I think I've gotten the most letters and packages out of my District! Haha! Well again I love you all.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

MTC: Week #1

Hello Everyone,

I must type fast cause I have 25 minutes left to do this. Mom I will answer all of your questions in this letter. First my companion's name is Elder Travis Duncan. He is from San Diego California and he is going to Costa Rica also. He is pretty cool! I have 10 Elders in my district and no Sisters. Elder Holbrook, he is the district leader,Elder Lafrance, Elder Sangster, Elder Romney, Elder Whitier, Elder Bever, Elder Johnson, and Elder Brazington.

Elder Holbrook, Lafance and Bever are going to El Salvador and the rest of us are going to Costa Rica. My teachers are awesome. They are Hermano Ames and Hermana Shiley. Hermano Ames served in Carlsbad California and knows Chris Mortenson.
The food is good. I definately over hyped it. Surprisingly I don't eat that much. I don't go back for seconds. I still drink a lot of milk. Haha! Here is my average daily schedule:

6:30 Wake up
7:00 Personal Study
8:15 Breakfast
8:45 Companion Study and Class Instruction
1:00 Lunch
1:45 Class Instruction
6:00 Dinner
6:45 Gym
8:05 Class Instruction
9:00 Daily Planning
9:30 Get Ready for bed
10:30 Lights out

My P-Day is Monday and we go to the temple around 9:00. Today I did an endowment session and it was awesome!

The First 2 days of the MTC were horrible. Being in a new enviornment, being with someone new all day, being in class all day, and missing all of you really made it hard. But from the third day on it has been a lot easier and....FUN!!!

I will get my vaccinations when they send me a notice. I dont know when that will be though.

On the first day here the MTC presidents spoke to us. And then Sunday Night Stephen B. Allen who is the mamaging director of the Missionary Dept. spoke to us. It was a good fireside and then after we got to watch Legacy. I was excited when I learned we got to watch movies on sunday night. Haha!

I love you all and please stay safe!

Elder Smith

Thursday, November 19, 2009

MTC--Here I Come!

November 17th at 9:30 p.m., Anthony was set apart by President Mike Strong as a missionary. The next day, November 18th, Dad gave Anthony a father's blessing and we sang the Barney song, "I Love You, You Love Me, We're a Happy Family...". We drove to Provo and took some family photos as the Provo Temple and then went to Grandpa and Grandma Kohkonen's home to visit with family for a couple of hours. At 1:10 p.m., everyone said a final "good-bye" to Anthony and then we drove him to the MTC. Tons of missionaries were outside waiting for new arrivals. We were told to find number 24 along the curb--found it and there was an Elder waiting for Anthony. We hopped out, got his luggage all out of the van, gave hugs, and he was off to begin the best two years!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bye Bye Lacrosse Buddies

Trevor Rix, Chad Clay, Riley Brown, Austin Parker, Anthony Smith, Braden Bednar, Alex Watanawekin

Farewell on November 15, 2009

Anthony's mission farewell was November 15th. Sacrament Meeting went as follows:
  • Welcome: Bishop Tim Bangerter
  • Presiding: President Shane Smoot
  • Opening Hymn: Redeemer of Israel (Nick played the organ today--COOL!)
  • Sacrament Hymn: Jesus, Once of Humble Birth
  • Youth Speakers: Lisha Mortensen and Bradon Bangerter
  • Musical Number: "I Know that My Redeemer Lives" -- Marilyn Anderson played a violin solo accompanied by Tamara Kirkham
  • Farewell Speech: Anthony Smith
  • Closing Hymn: Hark All Ye Nations
Family Gathering at our home; Visitors included: Grandpa & Grandma Kohkonen, Aunt Pauliina's Family, Aunt Lani's Family, Grandpa Smith, Uncle Rob's Family, Aunt Coleen's Family, Uncle Bruce, Anthony's Lacrosse Buddies and School Friends, Ward Members, the Bishop's Family, and Family Friends--the Seljaas and Rosemann Families. Great-Grandma Kohkonen and Aunt Carol & Uncle Craig were unable to attend due to sickness.

Family History Moment: During the sacrament meeting today, Grandpa and Grandma Kohkonen recognized Sister Anderson when she began to play the violin solo, "I Know that My Redeemer Lives.". Sister Anderson's husband was the mission president in Finland several years ago when Great-Grandpa and Grandma Kohkonen were serving a labor mission in Finland. In Great-Grandma's history, she records that after one of the chapels in Finland had been constructed, they held a special dedication meeting and Sister Anderson played a violin solo, "I Know that My Redeemer Lives"! Larry and Kim were unaware of this connection. Larry asked Sister Anderson to perform during a sacrament meeting and it fortunately worked out that she was available on this day. What an awesome memory for Anthony and family!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mission President Welcome

Dear Elder Smith,

Welcome! We are happy to hear that you were called to serve with us here in the Costa Rica San Jose Mission and feel lucky to have the chance to serve with you. We are grateful for your efforts to keep yourself worthy and for your willingness to join with us in this beautiful work. We are anxiously awaiting your arrival, so that we can meet you and begin your mission service. Our missionaries are young, happy, and successful because they strive to be humble, obedient, lose themselves in blessing the lives of their investigators, and because they constantly try to be diligent and apply what our Savior taught us in their own lives. If you put your faith into practice by hard and sincere work, I can promise you that you will see miracles and find and discover joy and satisfaction that you have never yet experienced. In this way the Lord will bless your life and the lives of many other people that he has and is preparing to listen and receives the message of the Restoration of His gospel in these latter days. When you arrive here in Costa Rica, after your service in the MTC, we will have the opportunity to give you more specific instructions concerning the records, finances, correspondences, immigration points and resolve any other questions or concerns that you might have, so that nothing will interrupt or interfere as you begin your time as a servant and instrument in the hands of our Lord.


Sam M. Galvez
Mission President

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Receiving the Call

Dated August 25, 2009, Anthony received the following letter from the President and Prophet of the LDS Church, Thomas S. Monson:

Dear Elder Smith,

You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Costa Rica San Jose Mission. It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 24 months. You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, November 18, 2009. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Spanish language. Your assignment may be modified according to the needs of the mission president.

You have been recommended as one worthy to represent the Lord as a minister of the restored gospel. You will be an official representative of the Church. As such, you will be expected to maintin the highest standards of conduct and appearance by keeping the commandments, living mission rules, and following the counsel of your mission president. As you devote your time and attention to serving the Lord, leaving behind all other personal affairs, the Lord will bless you with increased knowledge and testimony of the Restoration and of the truths of the gospel of Jesus Chris.

Your purpose will be to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentence, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and eduring to the end. As you serve with all your heart, might, and strength, the Lord will lead you to those who are prepared to be baptized. The Lord will reward you for the goodness of your life. Greater blessings and more happiness than you have yet experienced await you as you humbly and prayerfully serve the Lord in this labor of love among His children. We place in you our confidence and pray that the Lord will help you become an effective missionary. You will be set apart as a missionary by your stake president. Please send your written acceptance promptly, endorsed by your bishop.


Thomas S. Monson