Elder Colby Ross Smith

Elder Colby Ross Smith

The New Arrok

Iakwe Woj- ro jeiu im jatu, kab mama im baba

Some changes are coming to our small band of 20 missionaries here in Majuro. There’s a new intake of several missionaries coming in a few weeks, and some transfers have to be made before they arrive. My companion, Elder Logalaca leaves for home next Sunday, which means I will have a new companion. Also, we are combining our two zones into one since its getting pretty top heavy with the APs back this week. Then, some sisters will move into our area and we’ll see what changes can be made for them.
That brings me to our main area, Arrok. The Ward is preparing to split in June (President Pearson of the Area Presidency will be here for that), which has expanded our geography and given us way more ground to find people.  I’m utilizing my tried and true methods of getting prospective Elders engaged in the split preparation. And, as always, more less-active members ALWAYS leads to more people to teach. Man… I wish we had this situation earlier. Last week we started several new investigators and helped many prospective elders to make commitments, getting them active again.

I’ve learned a lot from the last 6 weeks, though… I’m really grateful for this time I’ve had to struggle and feel almost powerless to change things as quickly as President Weir was hoping for (unless he foresaw this and knew the Lord wanted to teach me a lesson in humility, hahaha). Back in Kiribati, my companions and I saw so much success and, despite our many failures, I felt very comfortable and was probably getting somewhat lax. Not in the sense of working less, but things were almost getting easier than they probably should be. I actually prefer difficulty since it’s when you’re in the deepest waters that you have the greatest opportunity to draw unto the Lord.

But, yeah, I’m grateful for all that I have been taught by my Redeemer. It’s been more than I could ever repay. I love that part about service; I am blessed and taught so much more than I ever do for others. It’s such a strange thing. It’s so beautiful how it works. Any burdens I’ve had or felt have propelled me and taught me. I love the principle of uncomfortability. It’s a greater blessing than anything temporal I could ever receive.

So, yes, like I was saying, we have an increased opportunity to find and teach due to border extensions and it’s led to a week full of little miracles. I see them so clearly now that I’ve been given the experiences of being cut down, struggling to find people, and, of course, trying to learn a new language quickly.
One of our investigators is Moen. We have been working with him since I got here. He’s a great guy and has so much potential. He’s almost there- just working on the Word of Wisdom and coming to church diligently. He struggles with reading, so it’s difficult to progress with the Book of Mormon in between our visits. I think he will be good to go in just a few weeks!

The APs' return this week will help a lot. We’ve had to spread ourselves thin, working half our time in Long Island. I’ve also been teaching the Kiribati people there. I will miss them. Several of their baptismal dates are coming up soon. One of them, Tenson, is really doing well. He’s from Kuria, an “outie” where I served over a year ago. During our time teaching he’s had a lot of ups and downs drinking-wise. Just 2 weeks ago he was drunk a whole week straight… then we taught on the Word of Wisdom and felt horrible the next time we visited and found him drinking kava. It was a sad sight. His friends and family aren’t helping. His wife and kids are still in Kiribati, but will come as soon as they get their passports and money. He arrived here over 6 months ago. The thing I like about him is that, despite his many failures, he really does want change. There’s so much apathy here in Majuro. His small desire and hope is a great light. His and the rest of the Kiribati investigators baptismal dates have been postponed to May 7th, which will be good for Elder Openshaw since it will be the last Saturday of his mission. (Elder Openshaw is the missionary that lost his family to an airplane crash in Utah last year)

Another female investigator we love is Mary Ann, 20 years old. She’s such a light. She’s another Kiribati girl that mostly grew up here in Majuro. She speaks Kiribati and English best, so we do mix-up lessons. It’s been a rocky road due to growing opposition from her parents. (She only told us of their disapproval recently). She was caught sneaking out to church a couple times. A member girl has been her support and guide through it all. She is so smart and has soooooo many good questions. Her parents are Seventh Day Adventist, and she compares our answers to what she hears from them. With her permission, I’ll write more about her in the future, because there’s some crazy stuff. I’ve learned a lot from studying for and teaching her.

Anyways, things are still amazing, as always! I love being a missionary. And, despite my weaknesses as a leader, I love being a Zone Leader!

Have an eventful week! Fill it with hundreds of invitations to come unto Christ, even if it’s just a smile or a heartfelt expression of gratitude to someone. Fill the world with light! Love you all! Talk to you next time, Elder Smith