Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Week 13

Hello everyone, it has been another amazing week here in the Salt Lake City South mission and in West Jordan at the moment. I love it here and have had many amazing experiences.

This week has been really great. The area that I am in right now is kind of in its growing stage whereas my last area was at its peaking stage, so it was a little hard to adjust and I wish we could have a little more success, but I cant complain and am thankful for the investigators that we have. They are great though they all have they're issues, they have great faith and I really learn a lot from them and am spiritually edified in all of our lessons. I love being a missionary and I am so blessed to be able to be here. I have been able to really learn a lot from my companions and my spanish gets better everyday. I am able to contribute a lot in the lessons and I think that they understand most of what I say, and I understand most of what they say, so though it is frustrating sometimes to not know everything, I am grateful for the help I have received from the Lord in learning this language and for what I can understand. It gives me a different perspective of all of the people who come to america and try to learn english (which is much harder than spanish).

Okay so I want to try and outline some of the major things that happened this week. it will be hard to get everything, but i'll do my best. The first experience I want to talk about is with one of our investigators named Jose. This week we have been teaching him the commandments and it has posed a challenge. He has smoked and smokes about 6-10 cigarettes a day. when he told us he said 5 or 6 but then said he could smoke a whole pack a day so we rounded to that haha. We also gave him the sabbath day holy lesson this week as well. these things are tough for him. He grew up and got caught up in some bad stuff. We are trying to help him to see how far he has come, and how close he is. He is trying to quit right now, but he gave us a month. He said if he couldnt make significant progress in a month, then he wasnt going to try. I promised that he could, but that he needed to trust in the savior. Just like with Lupitas problem (she hasnt smoked still btw!!) we gave him a picture of Jesus to keep with him at all times. I told him that I had no idea how hard it was, but that christ did, and that if he put his trust in him, that he would be able to do it. It wouldnt be easy, but it would be possible. He has been doing well, and when he is with his family he hardly ever smokes. We are calling him everyday (something I learned in the MTC to do) to keep him positive and remembering our message and the savior.

One of the days this week I went on splits with one of the English elders in our same area. We are the spanish elders for two stakes and then there is a companionship of english elders in each stake. I went out and for basically the whole day we just talked to members. I didnt really like that very much, but I figured he needed to do it and so i went with it. We got to talk to a few non members just as we were walking around, but I did most of the talking. After dinner though we had an appointment finally and it was an amazing experience. It was in a members house and we taught an investigator and her boyfriend. The boyfriend was a member who had gone on a mission and grew up in the church but then a few years ago decided the only reason he was a member was because he'd grown up a member so he stopped going. I got to teach in english and it was so easy! not that teaching is easy, but i was just able to understand everything and explain everything and answer all of their concerns. It gave me a good reminder of where I need to be in spanish. The lesson was really good. At the very end of the lesson, the woman had a lot of doubts and was bringing up all of these weird things and I felt prompted to share my favorite scripture mosiah 14:3-6. I told her i had something to say and then read the scriptrure which talks about christs suffering for us. I then bore my testimony that i knew that chirst suffered for all of us personally. That the gospel is really something very simple. The gospel is that we are here on this earth to get a body and to follow jesus christs example and return to our heavenly father and live with them and our families forever. It is only through Christ that this is possible. Its really very very simple, but its not easy. I explained how the only thing she had to do was to read the book of mormon and pray if it was true. And she would receive and answer if she asked with real intent and all of her heart. During this testimony and commitment I felt the spirit very strongly and for the first time in the missionfield I let some tears go in a lesson. It was an amazing spiritual experience and I hope that they both read and prayed aand especially that the man who was a member regained part of his testimony. I'll have to ask the other elders later.

K this is long i'm sorry but i also had a cool experience saturday night. There was a ward party called Dia de Hispanas. It was a day celebrating all of the different countries people in the ward were from. There was lots of food and then a talent show with lots of music and dances. I will send a video but i got to be in one of the dances (we got permission dont worry haha) We did the dance of the viejos (old men). We had masks and canes and sombreros, and it was really funny. the whole place laughed a ton and it went really well.

I also had another really great lesson last night with the Soltelos. It is a couple in their50's. We werent sure what to teach them and me and elder brown had decided to kind of chastise them for not reading or taking it very seriously and reading mormon 9 with them. before we went in elder mungia said he wanted to take it soft and just read the beginning of the book of mormon with them. We consented, but before we went in I expressed that I wanted to know what their testimony was about the book and about our lessons and the church. We went in and talked, had a prayer, and then elder mungia said, "elder smith has some questions for you" I kind of got a smile on my face and was a then asked the questions I felt needed to be asked. She LOVES to talk so in summary and after asking a series of questions we found out that they believed the book of mormon was the word of god. They didnt have any doubts, werent afraid, but werent ready to be baptized. She wouldnt tell us a doubt or reason why. and she kept saying she knew it was true because she felt the same way with the book of mormon than when she read the bible (the spirit!) but we couldnt find out why not and she was a little mad that we were asking and said she would tell us when she was ready so you dont need to ask. We were about to end the lesson and I had been feeling very impressed to share somehting with them. Elder mungia was setting up the next appointment, and then I spoke up again and said I had something to say. I then bore my testimony to them. I told them how much I loved and cared about them. I told them that I knew that the book of mormon was true. I had read and prayed and i received and answer. I knew that god loved them, and that he wanted them to be baptized. I told them for the first time that i was supposed to be in mexico, but for some reason, I am in salt lake city utah. I know i'm here for a reason, and this testimony might be it. I asked them to pray sincerely to ask heavenly father if baptism is what they needed to do, and promised that they would receive an answer and so many countles blessings if they were baptized and showed their faith. I also felt the spirit very strongly in this situation, and i cried here as well. This though, unlike the other one, was all in spanish. I was blessed with what to say, and am confident that those promises I made to them were from God. They felt the spirit, and I even saw the very stoic Hermano Soltelo wipe some tears from his eyes.

I love my mission and am so thankful for the experiences I have been able to have here. I am blessed everyday to see the hard of the Lord in everything, and it is truly inspiring to be here. I have been able to learn so much and hope that I can live up to the expectations that my heavenly father has for me.
I love you all and hope you have an excellent next week.


Elder Smith

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