Elder Colby Ross Smith

Elder Colby Ross Smith

Transfer to Marshall Islands

IAKWE my family! 
Alright, where to begin? I’m writing this update report from a different country- the Marshall Islands! I was transferred here on Friday from Kiribati, to be Zone Leader with Elder Logalaca from Fiji. Super stoked to be here.

I feel pretty green again- different language and all. Elder Logalaca and the other missionaries in the zone have been helping me out a lot. I feel good- I've got them and a great deal of help from the Lord on my side. The only thing I don’t have is a lot of is TIME. The most I’ll have is just 3-4 months here in the Marshalls to give it everything I've got. That’s nothing. That’s a blink of an eye. Seriously, so much has got to happen in such a short amount of time with the work here in my zone and the country and within myself as I prepare to enter a new field (America) in just a few months.

I already love the people and the missionaries here, though I really miss Kiribati. I miss the people....all those people. I love them so much. I miss all the recent converts and investigators from Betio. A lot of Good stuff
happened there in my time with Elder Christensen, then Elder Tune (my Kiribati companion that was waiting for his Visa). I haven’t written an update in quite some time, but WOW! I wish I could tell it all in a short period of time.

After the baptism of Buren, Retia and Baenana (who just had her baby last week!), we had more. Manna is a 20 year old girl, practically disowned by her family for getting baptized....she’s awesome… and Siniva (from Tuvalu, moved to Kiribati last year after getting married to Tautii, an RM, who was going less active, and has had a huge amount of changes in her life. She went from hating the church to becoming a strong member again) were baptized on January 30th.
One of my favorite couples of all time, Bouneta and Kaakoa, got baptized on the 6th of February with their niece that lives with them. Together they have just one kid (5 years old) and are starting a family. Man, they have the coolest conversion story- some of my favorite investigators ever. So smart and good at English, always had loads of questions. So happy for them. So proud of them. They went through a lot of repentance and other changes to be baptized.
Lastly, Taeka’s family (he and his 3 kids, the wife being a loonnggg time less active member who came back) all were baptized on the 13th. That was a sweet baptism, and my last on Kiribati. They were a tough case to help get there....but so worth it- hard core Catholic to new found Latter Day Saints. They went through a whole deal of change to comply with the word of wisdom and overcame a great deal of mocking from everyone in their village (no one is Mormon there). Nei Kaata was also baptized that day. She’s also a 20 year old girl who changed a ton, especially regarding the word of wisdom. 
I loved our Gospel Principles class in Betio. It was the best. They’re all so close and have a big goal to go to the temple together a year from now. There are 7 couples currently in the class, well, it’s starting to go down due to recent converts getting callings...... That’s a GOOD problem though. So stoked about that. They gave me a shirt with all their faces on it and me in the middle, with a bunch of other departing gifts when I left Betio this week. hahaha the shirt is so funny- and the best!

My heart is full....I love them with all my heart. One of the best things to hear was Retia and Buren talking about a time when all them were together planning my departing gifts and they all talked about all the changes that they had been through, how they used to hate the church and mock the members of it, but now know it’s true with all their hearts and how they have been so blessed because of it.
17 solid baptisms in 3 solid months of the crowded and dirty and awesome town of Betio (: Ah man....I’m so happy. I’m so grateful for them, and for all the mighty miracles the Lord wrought in Betio, with all the recent converts, and investigators on their way, and all the members, men preparing to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood.  He has done so much. I love the Ward and the members. I'm so grateful for them and my two companions there and for everything they did. Nothing would have been done without them.
I'm also grateful to be here now. I LOVE KIRIBATI. And I'm now a lover of the MARSHALL ISLANDS.
Well, there’s a quick update. I'll add more details in the next email if you want to send me questions about either Kiribati or the Marshalls. Love you all. 
Till next time,

Bar lo eok!