November 12, 2018


Twin Oaks Ward - Decatur


Elder Hayden Woodard

Season 3, episode 1 - The premiere of East Atlanta Santa

Oh how times can change, what a week it has been!

Sorry if this week's email is a little more lengthy, lots happened this week.

Last week I mentioned that I was leaving my area and going to a new one and getting a new companion.

Well things happened. I am in a new area, but now I have two companions, and one of them is str8 outta the MTC. Which means I HAVE A SON! That also means I'm training directly after being trained myself, which is terrifying. I'm definitely the least qualified of my group that came into the mission together to be training, let alone in my 3rd transfer, but he must have something to learn from me and me from him.

Elder Woodard, our senior companion, has been out almost a year and a half, and has been in the Twin oaks ward for about 4 months. He is a great missionary and really knows the area.

Elder Ashford is brand new, from Austin, Texas and is only here temporarily. He is waiting for his visa to the wonderful country of Madagascar actually. He'll be here for an unknown amount of time, but the assumption is at least a transfer.

So needless to say, things are different, and I havent even talked about the area yet.

The twin oaks ward resides a few miles East of downtown Atlanta. The Stilesboro ward was a good distance to the northwest, so this new locale is interesting. I wouldn't say it's the hood hood, but it is a good middle ground from where I just was which was plain ol suburbs.

A few things I have noticed 😂

The gym at our apartment complex always smells like weed. We think people sneak in there at night and party even though it's definitely "under surveillance."

The parking lot smells like pancakes and syrup or weed in the morning, never anything neutral. And in the evenings it smells like dinner or weed.

Even the apartment smells like weed and cigarettes sometimes and we definitely don't smoke

I think yall get the point, things are a little different here in East Atlanta but I truly truly love it. People actually talk to us here, people even want to talk to us and will come up to us first, which almost never happened in Stilesboro. We get to teach all the time, and although the progress of the people we teach is still pretty slow it is so much fun talking to so many people each day.

It is getting cold, and I am having a pretty good time learning how to train a new missionary and in the process adjust to not being trained. I literally can't believe I'm training, I think that is absolutely crazy of the Lord and President Clayton to call me out of all the other missionaries to do that but they must know something I don't.

It has also rained pretty hard almost every day since I got here, and I don't really mind but I think it's supposed to rain like 2 inches today which is wild.

I'll get into the week and will attempt to keep it short

Monday: Monday was a tough day. But we did have fun burning that couch. Pretty regular Pday and then got to say goodbye to a few of the families in the ward that really liked me for whatever reason. I'll miss them lots.

Tuesday: had a final district council at the church, packed, visited Laurie for the last time and she even got me a tie<3 it's a real good lookin one too. Got lunch, tracted, and then visited more of my my fav families in the afternoon. Had a wonderful dinner and then went to go get dessert at our ward mission leaders home and I feel like they were kind of my parents in this ward cause they fed us and talked with us so much. It was a tough goodbye but I'll see them again. We also got to go give a brother in the ward a priesthood blessing because he broke his arm, boy could I relate. Finished packing and went to bed

Wednesday: regular morning, went to go get a bike that was being brought to transfers and then at like 10:30 we left for transfers. This is where I learned where and with who. Made our way back to Lithonia(the name of the area we serve. Twin oaks is so big it has 7 missionaries in it. Two in Decatur, two in stone mountain and us 3 in Lithonia). Tried to visit Quanyavis and then we met Kingsley and his two brothers. Really cool family, we taught them about the plan of salvation.

Thursday was good. Weekly planned in the morning and then made some calls and then we went to follow up with some people. Went on a knocking spree at some apartments we were at and was talking to everyone and everyone seemed interested! It was wild. Found like 4 people that said we could come back or said they'd call us. They probably won't but it's still pretty exciting. Got to visit Quanyavis afterwards and we taught him about tithing. What an interesting man. We had dinner at the church and then hung out there at a blood drive until it was over so we could lock up the building.

Friday: regular morning workout and shower and studies. After lunch we went to the neighborhood next to our complex to follow up with Reggie, who wasn't home, but was getting a lay of the land on foot when we were approached by a man named JR. He was having a rough morning and said he really needed some God in his life and so we talked with him about what we share and he liked it so much that he decided that he was gonna come with us to go knocking! He was fearless, he'd knock and introduce us and see if the interest was there and when it was he'd turn it over to us. Such a unique experience. There's a lot more details but they are explicit and it would fill a whole page haha. Later that day, we came across a Hebrew Israelite in the park, and he put us on his Facebook live and just wanted to make baseless claims and start silly arguments. As you can imagine, we left that situation pretty frustrated. But it's all good. Pretty regular night after that.

Saturday: was going to walk to Church's chicken to do a comp study but it wasn't open yet, so we hit the publix instead. Came across some dudes putting the finishing touches on a music video. They had actually met elder Woodard before and we talked with them for a little bit. Cool guys. Later on we set out to reconnect and find a lot of people who had met with and talked with missionaries before but lost contact. Talked with Mychal, who had requested a free Book of Mormon online and we had a great discussion with him about the book and its content. We thought for a minute that he was another Hebrew Israelite so that would've Been a little hostile in his own home. We also talked with Clinton, a cool guy from Colombia. We gave him our overview and he seemed somewhat interested. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, good convos but nothing crazy.

Sunday: the ward here is much different. Smaller in numbers mostly because like 30% of the ward doesn't have reliable transportation on Sundays. But it was the primary program again and primary programs are so awesome. Quanyavis came to church and so did a lady named Adele, so that was really cool to have people show their interest by actually coming. Visited some more folks in the afternoon and they went pretty well. Some home and some not. But our lesson in the evening went very well. Dems is from Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo I believe, and has been meeting with the Elders for a while. We talked a lot about the plan of salvation, and he had so many questions and you could physically see the understanding grow as we taught and talked. All 3 of us got to talk and answer questions and it was such a good experience. Afterwards we had this African bread which was like a Navajo taco/funnel cake ball almost. A little less sweet but really really good. Came home and made a monster tray of nachos because our dinner had to cancel. Was exhausted so we went to bed early after doing weekly reports to the Zone Leaders.

And that brings us to today! Should be pretty normal, shopping and emails and probably some basketball. Not totally sure.

If any of yall want to send me a letter or a package my new address is

100 wood berry place
Apartment 1107
Decatur, GA 30034

I didnt do great with pictures this week so it will be an objective of mine this next week

I hope yall have a great week where ever you may be! I appreciate those of you that read these emails and support me and I hope I am making you proud! I look forward to hearing from yall soon!

Elder Smith


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