Elder Colby Ross Smith

Elder Colby Ross Smith

Kiribati Has a Bright Future


This last week’s been pretty solid, though hectic. Transfers are still in action. Right now only one of the small Kiribati planes is working and the person we use for charters is out of town. Some have missed their flights and some have come back due to sicknesses, like Elder Stone- that guy is a champ! He basically had half of his foot taken off surgically in a 3rd world country after a severe infection that started from a small cut, and he’s still smiling and happy. So, yeah, we’re still playing catchup with all the last minute changes.

Meanwhile, we’re preparing for Elder Pearson’s arrival in October (Area Presidency), which will be followed by an intake of 15 Elders and Sisters and a new, desperately needed senior couple! I feel like were on the battle front, highly anticipating the arrival of huge recruits and supplies! Maybe we’ll get lucky and more copies of the Book of Mormon and planners will come too. Like I said last week, it’s a really exciting time!

Our work of spreading the gospel is progressing well. Despite the administrative chaos at times, we’re getting in a lot of lessons since we’ve still got a few of the Elders from the most recent intake to go on splits with. I think we taught 39 lessons last week, which is the most since being on Tarawa.

We’re looking forward to this Saturday when 8 souls will be baptized- all having passed their interviews with flying colors! There are more to come, too. It’s always amazing to witness how much more difficult temptations become for those who are close to baptism. Many shy away just before entrance through the gate- like Lakobwa, last week. We talked to him the other day- it was a good lesson. We waited for him to admit to his drinking binge rather tell than him that we knew. I just kept the conversation simple and asked how his reading and praying were. He had slipped a little lately, which caused him to leave the ‘’iron rod’’ for a moment. ‘’Decisions determine destiny’’. It’s the little things. But he’s doing better now and we’re still working with some other family members.

An example of how small and simple things bring to pass great things was experienced with Ruti’s family this past week. After a lesson, they asked us why they felt so happy and peaceful, and why there was never any contention in their home while we were there; but, just a few hours after we leave, things always go back to normal. We had been prompted to change our lesson that night and teach about the importance of family, love, forgiveness, and ‘’speaking with the tongue of angels.’’ Some of my favorite topics! It felt good to open up the scriptures and continue teaching by spirit, like I learned to do in Kuria and Nonouti. It always feels good when those opportunities arise. Of course, on this topic, the most basic solutions for the home are family prayer and scripture study. I’m really excited to see them all get baptized this week!
Missions are still the greatest thing and young man or women could ever do in their young life. It’s the most fulfilling, joyful, peaceful, and miracle working work in the world. I love it with all my heart. Even with our many different responsibilities now, I have peace knowing that all things are working according to a master plan, because it is His work. Even the ‘’peace of God, which passeth all understanding’’ (Phillipians 4:7)

Difficult and frustrating things, too, happen weekly in missionary work. One of the most frustrating is when people use their agency poorly, hahaha, just because you love them with all your heart and want them to choose what they believe and feel to be right. Those setbacks can be first viewed as negative, but, really, all situations can work out if you see them in the right light.

There is purpose in all things when you’re obedient and living by the direction of the Spirit. Failure never has to be viewed as digression. I know that very well.  I’ve failed so many times at so many things. I love this knowledge that I have.  For those follow Christ and His gospel and His commandments, there are always good things to come, no matter the how dark the storm. Despite the challenges and failings of us missionaries here, this work will continue, and Kiribati has a bright future.

For my quote of the week, remember, ‘’There is no progress, no achievement, without sacrifice.’’ –James Allen

Love you all! Till next week,

Elder Smith

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