Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Week 16

Hello everyone! I hope that you all had a great week and that everything is going well. things are good here in Salt Lake City, though this week proved to have its own challenges as well. Last pday was an interesting activity. Elder Mungia wanted to go visit one of his old companions before he went home so we went to their area for part of pday. We met at this family fun center place that the missionaries get in free for. I thought it was like a zone activity with lots of missionaries, but it ended up being only 5 of us, including us three, and then 2 others showed up too. It was probably the most awkward I've felt as a missionary. It was us in our missionary clothes walking in, and then about 50 kids running around and then moms. It was basically like Bullwinkle's except it had a roller skate rink. We got there and the other 2 missionaries wanted to go on the inflatable bouncing thing. Elder brown was still kind of sick and writting letters so I decided I was just going to finish my letter to Elise haha. They went and did that and basically i sat there for a little bit. Then we ended up playing laser tag which was pretty fun. It was us 7 elders, every man for himself, so it was fun. then we went home, but yeah the whole experience was very awkward and I felt out of place.

This week we had something that was really hard for me. We went over to have a lesson with Jose on friday. We knocked on the door and then he answered and said he wanted to cancel for tonight. Then he stepped outside and told us he didnt want to have lessons anymore... This was a shock and then we had about a 30 minute conversation with him on the doorstep about it. We all talked a lot and shared how we felt about it. There was a lot said and a lot of really spiritual things said. I felt the spirit the whole time, but in the end he still didnt think he could do it. He wasnt ready to give up the worldly things and change. He really is so close to making it, but he cant see how far he's come, and he cant see how close he is. Hopefully he will change. I left him with a commitment to take his book of mormon, drive somewhere where he could be alone, pray, read, and pray again, and to pray with all of his heart and with an intention to act if he got an answer. He said he would do it, so we'll see. I have faith in him, that he'll make it. This is a really rough description of what happened, but it was truly something really hard for me. Jose was the one that i was the closest with, and I know the gospel with turn his life around and bless his family so much. His wife sandra just got her temple recommend the week before.. This was our last appointment for the night, and then we had a long walk home where I had to think about it. as soon as we turned the corner from their house though I started to cry. Its hard to see him so close and not make it. I was pretty down and didnt really talk for the rest of the night and most of the next morning, but the good thing about a mission is that your forced to be happy, or else your not going to make it. I talked to more people the next day, taught lessons, and kept living and being a missionary, and though I'm still sad for Jose, I am trying to help him, and trying to not let it happen to the rest of our investigators, but in all honesty, this next week might be hard too because we might have to drop some of them. We cant get anyone to commit, they all feel like their not ready and are turning into inturnigators.. I have faith that a miracle will happen. That we'll find someone that has been prepared and is ready.

I had some good experiences this week as well. Monday we had exchanges. I went out with Elder Neves who is a visa waiter going to veracruz. He is in an english area and we stayed in the spanish area, so i was the one who lead. It was a really great experience, though at the beginning of the day seemed pretty daunting. Elder brown did spanish and took all of the appointments, and elder mungia did english with another elder and did their appointments. This means that me and elder neves had to come up with something to do for the whole day, without any plans, and I dont really know that many people or the area that well. It was an adventure for sure, and to top it all of it was stormy and snowy all day too. This day was really great though. I had the opportunity to speak a ton of spanish and to make the conversations with everyone and the plans and i felt very guided by the spirit. I received a lot of help as well. My spanish is better than it was, but its still hard. this whole day, I understood everything just about (as in I only had to say Si, nodding my head, and smile without really knowing what they said a few times ha). I was also able to explain myself and what I needed to say in a understandable manner, and without stumbling over my words at all. Also at one point in the night, we'd gone by all the people that I had planned to go by and we started riding back one way. I then felt like we should turn around, so i said to elder neves that we were going to go this way. I had no idea where we were, but just felt like going the other way. We got down and ran into a dead end, and were about to go back when I looked at a car. I parked my bike knocked on the door, and nobody answered. I then walked down the driveway and looked over and saw that their neighbors had lots of cars out front. I knocked on the door and talked to a white guy who was a member and he gave us three referrals, one being the house I'd just knocked on. We came back later that night and knocked again. We have an appointment with the house that I knocked on first, and one wasnt home, and the other one was a kind of odd story, but included a lady who wasnt a member, taking her kids to the lds church a few weeks earlier. We didnt get an appointment with her, but we'll probably stop by them agian soon. This exchange I also stopped by Jose. He let us in and we talked for a while. he told me how terrible things were going. There were some problems possible with Sandras pregnancy, he still cant find a job and its getting worse, and sandra is mad at him for church and some other things. Basically he told me that its basically the hardest time in his life. I gave him some counsel on what I thought he should do, and talked to him for a while. I shared a scripture with him that I thought would help, and told him that he needed to put god first and that he needed the gospel in his life. I re-committed him to do the solitary book of mormon read and pray thing that I'd asked him to do before and i hope he'll do it. Some other cool things happened on the exchange too, and it is another witness that god will qualify us if we do what we're supposed to. We talked to someone who gave us a job for jose, and we taught and set up another appointment with a family that the dad usually doesnt let us in, and where they have some members of the family who arent members.

Also this week we started teaching a lady named Leslie and her dad Cesar. We had our first full lesson with them yesterday and it was amazing. Leslie just got out of jail a few months ago, but she is really nice and spiritual, and studied and learned about the church in jail. Her dad is also very receptive and nice and willing. He had already read the whole intro and testimonies and started nephi before we'd taught the lesson to him, just based off of our first contact. I'm excited about them and am excited about continuing to help our investigators old and new.

I am loving my mission here, even though there area some hard times. They make the good times that will come that much better. I am working hard, and trying to improve myself in every way I can, and it is amazing to be able to feel the spirit so much in my life. I love you all and hope that you are having a great week. I love to read your letters and hear about how you are all doing. I will talk to you in a week. Next week is transfers. I'll probably stay here, but ya never know. Elder mungia is going home and leaves us on monday to do some mission things for the last two days so it will be me and elder brown for a while. I'm excited for my opportunities to serve and to teach and I love it here. Thank you for all of your love and Support.


Elder Smith

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