Elder Colby Ross Smith

Elder Colby Ross Smith


Parent's log: 21 June, 2015. What a nice Father's Day gift it was to get this letter from Colby. He FINALLY received one of the many packages we sent and you can tell from is email that modern conveniences are mostly forgotten. The best news, however, is that our prayers about his health have been answered and some of the badly needed items we sent have arrived. We are very grateful.   

Dear family and friends, this has been somewhat of a recovery week since the last few were so busy and last week was a little over the top. I got a huge package on Wednesday!!!! It was sent recently- the one with the talks and a Dodger hat and tons of other stuff. It was really exciting!

Last week ended with a great Sunday, yesterday. We had full cabs arrive from both sides of our long atoll. So many people attended church. There were a few highlights of people who came that never had before!!! Including one of the old melchizedek priesthood holders we’ve been working with for 3 months! I spoke on an adaption of ‘’Lord, is it I?’’ and focused on judging others. Elder Morley spoke on the Tongue of Angels. There’s been a lot of those problems amongst the saints lately, so it was good. After church, the cabs were late to pick up, so we just sang and taught them new hymns. Then we had lunch and lessons with Etuati’s family. I felt far too blessed. I was a little emotional. I’ve been so long in deep waters that I’ve become comfortable in them. Suddenly…miracles happening: a few newcomers to church; my boils and flu and stomach sickness gone; I have wipes, a clean towel, a container for my soap, a bike pump, a pillow case???!!! Fasting and prayers are truly getting answered and people are almost to baptism..?? I don’t deserve these things. This isn’t my life, I thought many times. Then, as I worked out this morning while listening to talks sent on that new device… I began to feel strange. Surely this isn’t real. I began to feel uncomfortable with all the blessings. I feel too blessed. It’s so strange, I can’t really explain it. I’m very grateful for it- just don’t know how to really handle the abundance of comfortability and help received.

In other news, it looks like we will have a baptism this week. It’s a couple.-Teatauea and Taroaiti. When I first met them they both smoked and couldn’t get over tea and alcohol. The woman
smoked an equivalent of over 2 packs of cigarettes a day in America. Through fasting and prayer, and the spirit, they’ve both completely changed and are finally ready. We’re really excited! Miracles have taken place. They can’t read the book of Mormon, but the spirit from church and their testimony of prayer and fasting has gotten them to where they are.

Additionally, another couple will soon to be baptized- Koonono and Marena. Koonono was difficult. He has had so much fear about coming to church. We talked to him twice a week about it. For the first time ever, he came this past Sunday with his wife, who has come the last couple months, and they brought their 3 kids. They’re getting married today! They read together and pray together and testify of the “new feeling” in their relationship and home that the gospel has brought. They now hang “A Proclamation to The World” in their home. They’re one of the highlights of the work I’ve been blessed to be a part of here. There’s much more to say, of course. We have about 50 investigators. Some sad developments in the last week…..drinking, not wanting lessons anymore, avoiding or running away from lessons, etc. But things are really great and we feel very blessed!

Concerning land for us to construct a new meeting house, which I mentioned previously.....very long story: We were about to send our request to Tarawa for a piece of land that we felt good about, when a woman we know told us she wanted to give up her land. She’s a long time member. It was true providence and all according to the Lord’s plan. We prayed about it and switched the plans. It’s a million times better, if a bit smaller. Everyone loves it, except for the Sister that owns the land that we were going to use...after church yesterday she stood up and announced to all there that I was a liar and not a good person (which she quickly repented of) (their whole family is a little bit crazy) (I didn't think she was until yesterday) and it caused a huge debate and conflict and contention IN CHURCH. I had to settle things and talk with everyone and then we visited many member homes and helped them understand what was going on. It’s all good now.

So it’s been an interesting week or two. My boils and stomach were so bad two weeks ago that many people said I must have diabetes. (that’s what they think when people have a certain type of boil)  There’s just too much to do and no time to take a day off. But, we're great now and doing awesome!! We are happy and joyful and love the work and feel so blessed by the Lord!!! Honestly, I feel that I couldn't be more blessed. (:

Here's an email from Colby's companion, Elder David Morley. It gives some description about their living conditions:

Work is going great here right now. We work hard every day and need to go soon so that we can teach some lessons tonight. I'll just describe our house. We live in a 'stick house'. It is basically a platform with a thatched roof. No walls, just fresh air. We sleep on a woven mat with a mosquito net. We have a house that looks like a house also made of sticks to keep our stuff in a bathroom. The bathroom has a concrete toilet that we need to use a bucket to flush, but it's a pain to flush and the forest is closer... The other problem with the bathroom is that it is inhabited by a family of pigs. There is a mother and 3 babies that sleep next to the toilet because it is shady. We keep our soap and stuff in there for showering with a bucket of well water. For cooking we have a kerosene stove, it is a pain and difficult to make work, but I'm figuring it out. Most of the time we eat with people. We live the commandment that Jesus gave to his apostles. 'Take no thought of what ye shall eat.' We
just figure that people will feed us and it hasn't failed yet. We usually get 2 meals a day, but we actually don't know where or when food will come. It is really fun, and I'm still getting fat so it's a problem! Life is great. I love it here. Have a great week!
Elder Morley