Wednesday, December 28, 2011

12-26-11

hey it was fun to talk yesterday. i dont have a whole lot of time today. but i hope you all had a wonderful christmas. This last week went really well for me. we had a lot of success and a lot of cool expereinces. we were able to have two baptisms. one for a hermano named heriberto and another named jesus. heriberto is really great and loves to come to church and is really excited to get healed so he can come out and work with us and have a church calling. he had a stroke a while ago and half his body is partially paralyzed. he had always accepted baptism but thought it was always too soon. we told him to pray and ask god and he always said he felt peaceful and good, but that he wasnt sure. then before last sunday we invited him to pray and then look for his answer during church. a few days after church we went to his house he went and got his book of mormon and told us to open it up to the first page. there he had written "ill be baptized the 22nd of december" and he was. it went super great and i got to confirm him a member and give him the gift of the holy ghost which was a first for me. jesus also got baptized and confirmed on christmas day. he is really old and has an infection in his foot. i helped him get changed and we took off his socks and skin was just falling off. it was really sad. i almost cried. he is a great man though and strong with all of the things that have happend to him in his life. he was an orphan at 12 years old and had to fend for himself from then on. it is amazing that god guides us to find all of these people that are prepared and really need this gospel.

i am staying here and am being the senior zone leader now so ill have to do a bit more. i didnt actually know there was a difference until now inbetween the two zone leaders so i learn a little more each day ha. im excited for the zone and the new missionaries that are coming. i know some of them. my comp is elder medina and i dont know him yet but hes mexican so that is good that ill keep working on my spanish. 

well i love you all and miss you very much. hope your holiday season goes great.

love 

elder smith

picutres: ward missionaries with jesus, baptism de jesus, heriberto baptism, ward mission team hymn at christmas activity, bishop santa, went to do a wedding a while ago and there was this kids dance thing. 








Wednesday, December 21, 2011

12-19-11

Hello everyone, 
hope that it was another great week and that all is well. this was a week of change and lots of trials and some really cool stuff too.

on wednesday i went on divisions with one of our district leaders and it went really well. he played baseball at a small college and it was fun to talk to him about sports and stuff, and we got a lot of work done as well. we found two new people to teach who accepted dates to be baptized. we also found an awesome family of 6. we got to the house and the little girls were outside. like 5 and 6. i started talking to them and then they got their mom. we talked a little and i started playing with one of the little girls and then she came around and went out the huge door they have in their fence. she then went back in and whispered to her mom, "ask them if they want atole" (atole is like a hot drink of flour and chocolate, its good ha). the mom then asked us and we went in and entering the house i saw a guitar. her husband plays. we sat down and she went and got her 16 year old daughter. she had her phone there and her background on her phone was a painting of john lenin. well the lesson was basically really great from then on haha. they are all really big beatles fans also. we sang a few christmas hymns, i played the guitar and a little boy even played silent night with me on his recorder flute ha. at the end i was tempted to play a beatles song, but i figured that probably wouldnt be the most appropriate thing to do to serenade a 16 yr old girl so i didnt do it ha. but it was a ton of fun. i am super excited for that family to keep progressing. i wont get to see them too much cause they arent in my area, but i have a really good feeling about thm. that girl even dated a guy in my ward before so they know a little about the church and everything. 

friday was a really hard day. thursday in the night my companion left to go make a movie for an activity with another elder. i was kinda mad from the start cause i think its a waste of time, and he was just there to "help", but basically just wanted to hang out with the elder who was doing it. i had to go out on divisions with a member from another ward and then my companion spent the next whole day working on the video. we missed appointments and one member who was going to help us got really mad because she´d reoganized her whole day to be there for a lesson and we didnt have credit on our phone to cfall her and we got there late and it wasnt good. i felt terrible. i gave her a note and some of my christmas candy to her as a present cause i felt real bad so hopefully that helps. It was worse though because friday i went to say hi and sing a hymn with one of my investigators named Olga who has been really sick. we went by and there was a man outside sweeping the sidewalk and i asked if we could go see her and he told me that she had died three hours before. That was really hard for me. we had gone and visited her like 5 times a week for the 3 weeks that ive been here. she was always in really bad shape but when we would sing her hymns she would always feel better and smile and thank us a ton. i started crying and had to go to a bench on the side of the road for about 15 minutes. though it was really hard, i learned a lot. the spirit taught me a lot of things about the plan of salvation. we went back and saw her and im pretty sure it is the first dead body i have seen. there really is nothing there without the spirit. When i was on the bench i said a prayer. i asked god to help her to have the gospel continued preached to her in the spirit world. she was about to get baptized here, and hopefully she will be able to fully accept it there. 

algo un poco mas feliz is that we had our zone activity today and we started by organizing our program for tomorrows mission conference. we have to do a presentation on the birth of christ. so i came up with the idea to have hymns in the background while ppl read the scriptures about it and then we would sing two hymns. away in a manger and joy to the world. we did the joy to the wolrd at the end and i did it like a jack johnson version with a little bit of a beat to it. it was a lot of fun. hopefully president will think its fun and not get mad, but i liek it hah. after all of the gringo misioneries got together and we sang a hole bunch of christmas songs and i played the guitar. i just figured out the chords, most the songs are the same chords. we even did the 12 days on christmas and had to stop and tink of what some of the days were, but it was a lot of fun and they were all belting out the christmas songs with my jack johnsonish guitar beat and it was fun. we also played basketball and soccer. 

this next week we should be able to have two baptisms for guys named jesus and heriberto. they are really great and progressing. they are old too though. they both walk with a cane or crutch. one walked an hour to get to church this week though and got there an hour early ha. theyre super excited and its way fun to teach them.

i love you all and miss you a ton and hope you have a great christmas. love you and miss you.

love
elder smith

ps. picture of the zone after a choir thing we did in all the wards called te hallarĂ© mi quierido amigo or "i will find you my dear friend" about how before we came to earth we promised our dear friends that we would find them and share the gospel with them. we did a monologue and then sang the song. it went really well and lots of ppl here are converts, basically everyone is ha, and so there were lots of ppl crying. i didnt like wearing the christmas hat too much though, i thought it took away from the spirit, but it was fun for pictures after ha. love you all. bye



Saturday, December 17, 2011

12-12-11

Pictures: my comp, birthdays of missionaries in zone, in fiestita, spider teranchala that was above my bed this morning when i woke up, elder who i live with who ate cake with milk for breakfast ha. 


Hello everyone. well another week has come and gone here in mexico and i have had a ton of amazing experiences. I dont have any time today so itll be highlights sorta. 

Well a ton happened. We found an older guy named Jesus. He is really great and will be baptized in a few weeks. we also did divisions with the assistants. i went with my old zone leader elder mozo who was also in my area before and so we went to some old investigators and helped a lot of them. one in particular is named victor. he suffers from vertigo where he cant stand or walk or anything without falling down. he accepted baptism in the first lesson where we gave him a blessing to be healed. he was really healed and it was a miracle. his family didnt let him come to church, but next week he will and he should be baptized the following week. 

theres a lady named olga who is basically about to die. she has diabetes and needs dialasis but doesnt want to do it and has really lost everything. it is really sad, but we feel she is only still alive so she can get baptized. we were going to do the baptism yesterday but she was really sick and couldn't leave. hopefully this next week she will be able to.

also i found out the zone i am in is the worst numbers wise in the mission. president and the assistants are really worried about it. i was very shocked that they are already expecting me to basically take over everything in the zone and change everything about it. it is hard but im doing my best and hopefully ill be able to help the missionaries here and my companion as well. i have been able to learn a lot from him so far though and he is a really good missionary. 

we did a special music program sunday called "i will find you my dear friend" " te hallarè mi querido amigo" it is a song and we did a cool musical number and presentation about the mission work in the stake. i am geting to know all the leaders and the stake president well and everyone is excited to help us and to work. 

sunday after our presentation a member invited the whole zone to her house and made a whole cake for each companionship. thus we have eaten a lot of cake in the last few days. we also sang the birthday song to all the missionaries that had birthdays in december. 

this morning i woke up and saw that spider terranchala thing above my head on the wall. i freaked out a little but i killed it with my shoe and it like exploded. we took a video of it and it was pretty cool. close encounter with nature haha.

i have had a ton of amazing experiences and i feel bad i cant explain them or say all of them but i am very excited to continue to learn and to grow and love to see the lords hand in this work. i hope you all have an amazing next week. i love you all and miss you.

love 

elder smith







Tuesday, December 6, 2011

12-5-11

me and yuri and norma, me and elder peine, me and our neighbors who always said goodnight to us in english, some of the other zone leaders,  me and my misioneritos, airplane to get to their areas ha

Hello everyone. i hope that you all had a really great week and that everything is going great there. 

this week was a week full of changes. on tuesday we had our district meeting and after we finished i went ot the mission office to check for mail and to fill out some reference cards. while there the new assistent, elder plummer (from my mtc district and a good friend), told me to go with him into another room. i thought he was going to show me something funny or something, but instead he said the president told him to tell me that im being transfered. this was at like 12 and i had to be back at the offices at 6 to be able to leave with all my stuff. its about an hour to and from my area so i didnt have much time. i went back and packed in an hour, then i went and ate and said goodbye to a few ppl but not many. it was really sad to not be able to say goodbye to too many people. I was able to say goodbye to yuridia and norma which was the most important. they both cried when i left which made everything really hard. everyone commented on my facial expression that i was really down. 

at six i got to the offices and left my stuff and then went into the stake center and walked into a meeting of all the zone leaders. Nobody really told me but walking in i realized that i also got called to be a zone leader. that was a bit of a surprise ha. We had a conference that day and the next and it was super great and there was a strong spirit there. We then left to go to our areas. I got two packages but couldnt bring them with me becaue i didnt have room. My new area is called Insurgentes. it is a colonia in the city of Minatitlan, state of Veracruz. It is a small area and the zone has 14 missionaries. My companion is really great and has been a zone leader for a year of his mission and has 2 transferes left before he goes home. He is from The city of mexico and is about 5 ft tall maybe. it is funny to walk around with him, but he is a really great missionary and has a strong testimony and i am going to learn a lot from him.

this week we had a ton of great experiences. We had an activity in the stake called, "a day in the mission". it was a primary activity. I went out with 4 primary kids and an elder from my zone and we went contacting ppl, singing hymns and sharing short messages. It was a ton of fun really and i liked being with the kids a lot, but it was also a lot of work. i was tired and reminded of my old sumer job of coaching sports camps for skyhawks and pride of the lake haha. It was fun to see them give out copies of the book of mormon and share their testimonies and sing. 

i am now the new ward pianist. i didnt do it in my last ward but here everyone compliments me a ton. i dont think there has ever been one here. i played at the activity and there were litterally like 20 little kids all around the piano and trying to talk to me ahah. the same thing happened at church on suday, and then i was asked to help the young women with a choir, and became the ward chior director person also. I am thankful for my talent to play piano, and hopefully ill be able to develop it a lot more in this ward. 

the ward is great and i am already really great friends with a lot of the members. mostly throught their kids and then knowing their parents. piano and everything helped out a lot as well with helping ppl to like me, but they are all really kind and all want to help us which is amazing!

some funny things. i forgot to return the keys to the church in villahermosa before i left. I used to always joke how when i traveled id forget just one thing. i was sure i didtn this time, til i saw them in my bag in my new area. oops. The other is a little girl had a doll that spoke english. only thing was it was made in china and the voice was a chinese lady trying to speak english. I couldnt help but laugh and pushed the button on the dolls toe about a hundred times haha. i also heard come together by the beatles today in a taxi which brought back memories and made me miss music. harmonica is going well and i can figure basically anything out on it now without it being too choppy.  the ward wants me to give piano and guitar lessons. we´ll see what happens. 

i love this gospel and i love being a missionary. being a zone leader adds a lot of responsibility but is a great opportunity to serve and to learn. I love you all and miss you very much and hope that everything is going great for you all. 

love,

elder smith










Wednesday, November 30, 2011

11-28-11

hola familia. i hope that everyone had a great thanksgiving and is getting back into the rhythm of everything again. everything here is going well. 

i had sorta an embarrasing moment this week that was funny. we were with the zone leaders because they did a baptismal interview for one of our investigators. we were walking to our house for some papers and as we were walking i thought i saw one of my converts named paola. but i wasnt sure it was her. she was walking away from us sorta so i yelled out to her "HNA! HNA PAOLA" and she turned around and i waved and she waved back, but then my companion leaned over and said. "elder thats not paola..." it was pretty embarrassing. she was sorta confused. and i just chased  down some random 20ish aged girl and yelled at her and waved at her as a missionary. haha. everybody had a good laugh at me though ha. 

valedia is a 17 year old girl who is really great. we have taught her about 3 weeks. her parents dont want too much but she has done great. she has read, prayed, come to church, takes notes on what she reads, and received an answer the day after she accepted a date to be baptized where she felt the spirit and started crying. the day before her baptism her dad decided to suddenly not give his permission though he had said the whole time that he would. we had a good lesson with him but it didnt go too far in helping him say yes. we'll see what happens. 

another 15 year old girl wants to be baptized and is a friend of a member, but cant for the same reason. also a really good investigator couldnt come to church because the night before her husband got arrested and she had to go to the jail far away. 
 
yuri and norma got robbed this week. someone broke into their house and stole stuff and her wallet with all her credit cards and identity and everything. we walked past their house and found her outside on the phone right after it happened in tears and just said, "they robbed us". i helped her cancel her credit cards and then we had a lesson where i explained some things about challenges and about what matters most and also i gave her a blessing of comfort and counsel. it was hard on them though and theyve been scared to be in their house. the next day we went back and she was a lot better. she took it all well and chose to stay strong in her faith and increase her faith. i was worried it would be something that would make it hard for her to keep in the church. we did like 2 hours of service helping them clean the whole house and after i felt really good and so did they. they are really amazing and i love them and know they will always be strong and will be leaders in the church. 

other news. we had a thanksgiving dinner with the millan family which was really nice. they made "turkey" thought it looked and tasted like ham ha. it as really good. i did our tradition and asked everyone to go around and say what they were thankful for. i made a video too. it was really cool. 

one day we went out on this road i'd never been on into this like farm area and taught this random guy and then got a ride back in the back of somebodies truck we just flagged down sorta. they were going to the hospital and dropped us off in pomoca. 

sunday i got to speak in sacrament meeting. for a lot of reasons i felt like i should speak on why life is so hard ha. or in other words, why there is an opposition in all things. a lot of people commented that it was really powerful and that they felt the spriit. yuridia (recent convert from before) said that while i was talking she looked up and saw like a white light all around me. she said it didnt go away the whole time. that was pretty cool. it has been amazing to see the hand of the lord, even in times of lots of trial. it was definitely not an easy week, but i think i learned a lot. i think a scripture that i would use that would fit what i learned this week would be philipians 4:11 where pablo says that he has learned to be happy whatever his situation. god gives us the experiences we need in this life. we need to be willing to suffer and sacrifice when needed to be able to learn what we need to to return to his presence one day. 

i love you all and miss you

elder smith

pictures : thanksgiving with the millan. some pictures with a christmas tree in the house of a member and a recent convert. idk if is better or worse than the others. 





Tuesday, November 22, 2011

11-21-11









































pictures. me in front of the chapel in tierra colorada (where we go to church each week), us with a two week old baby of a less active/one recent convert couple that we saw and blessed their house and they are going to bless the baby in december, and a puppy of a member who tried to eat me.

Hello everyone, well another week has come and gone and this week was really good. today i completed 16 months as a missionary. it is really weird to think about. in some ways i feel like i have experience. and in others i feel like im still really new. the mission definitely keeps you humble thats for sure. i am grateful for my opportunity to learn so much and to be able to work with so many amazing people and to serve the lord. i am grateful for my mission, my ward, the people here, my investigators and recent converts, my companion, and all of you at home, both friends and family. It is going to be thanksgiving, but they dont celebrate that here so itll probably be chicken and tortillas for me haha. we eat chicken almost everyday. a lot of missionaries complain, but im pretty used to chicken all the time ha, and i like it so thats good ha. and its way better than the other missions in guatamala and stuff where its pure rice and beans.
well this weeek we worked a lot. now that elder peine is done being "trained" (first two transfers) we dont have to study an extra hour and a half everyday and get to leave the house earlier. so that makes it a lot easier to get more work done. before it was really hard and we were always late, now we are on time and completing our goals. we contacted 200 people this week again. the mission goal is only 140 so that is really good for us and we are waiting for the blessings. the last time we did it we got a lot. hopefully every week we will be able to do it and start teaching more and more lessons. we are teaching about 30 lessons a week. a little less usually. we find 10 or more new investigators each week, and have just a few in church, but this week we had a girl named valedia who will hopefuly get baptized this thursday. she is super great and faithful and diligent. she is 17. we are teaching her and her parents, but her parents arent as interested. she on the other hand, reads the book of mormon everyday and takes notes, and prays and comes to church and even went to a young womens activity which most of the members dont even go to which is sad but true. we gave her a date to be baptized this week and she received an answer that the book of mormon is true the same day after we left. we went by and she told us that she read and prayed like we'd asked her and that she started crying. she was confused by why she cried and what we felt and as we explained it she understood that it was the spirit of god, and testifying of the truth. after church sunday we showed her the baptismal font and she seems good for the baptism this week or possibly next if not this.
funny note that i forgot. last week elder peine and i were interveiwed by 4 college studentes studying english in english. they needed to have an interview with a native speaker for their class. they showed up to the church one night and it was funny. elder peine took a video. theyd been studying and were in their 5th semester and were surprised how our spanish was so good in just 11 months and 3 months here in mexico. (gift of tongues :) )
other funny things. we taught a jewish person. i had never met a jewish person here, but it was a jewish person who believed in christ and everything which i hadnt heard of either. it was interesting. he'd also read the whole book of mormon. he said he wasnt too interested in going on but he'd come to church. he didnt come but maybe another day. also a little girl (the one from the picture last week with the plan of salvation book) when we walked into the house gave me a kiss on the cheek. i didnt tell president but i think its okay if i have a 5 year old girlfriend here haha.
two cool spiritual experiences. tuesday was district meeting. i wasnt too sure what i was going to give as my class, but i knew my topic. the purpose of missionary work. As i started i asked each person why they were here on the mission. it is a little more interesting to hear sister missionaries. i have been trying to help them because they havent been working very hard still. I shared a few experiences, and about the hardships i had the last few weeks, and bore my testimony that i know why i am here and that i am guided by god and that all of the blessings i receive heavily outweigh any hardships. it was something really hard for me to express and i cried a little. when i looked up, everyone else in the room was also in tears. it was a powerful moment for me as a district leader to see that i was able to receive revalation for what they needed to hear and what i needed to hear myself say. I know that this work is directed by god through his spirit.
another experience is that we met a woman named greselda. she has been in our area two weeks and we found her a few days ago. she has a little baby and separated from her boyfriend a few weeks ago. in our lesson i felt inspiried to talk about prayer. i asked her if she had prayed for help. she said yes and said she felt the sprit. a peace and warmth. for the last three days shed been praying for guidance and direction and on the third day we showed up at her door. it was just a random door we knocked on the way down the stairs. I know that god directs us and is always with us. He is conscious of our problems and our trials and is always ready to help us, if we are willing to ask. prayer is real. but prayer is not prayer unless we have the faith to know that we are really talking with god. i have been so blessed to be here in my mission. i hope you all have a great next week. i love you and miss you all and am grateful for each one of you.
love
elder smith

Saturday, November 19, 2011

11-14-11































































































Pictures:
1. zone activity
2. familia mejia and millan saying goodbye to a member who went on the mission
3. house fail : forgot the stairs and or balcony
4. little girl of a investigator we teach
5. lots of dogs sleeping in the street. cant see but there are like 10
6. at temple
7. temple
8. temple with elder peine
9. yuridias birthday. 23
(not in right order with pictures now)


Hello everyone.
well another week has come and gone and it went pretty well, but some tough stuff. some issues with a recent convert and the two girls taht were going to be baptized cant for permission issues and also dont really want to. there are some tough things that happen, but there are also some really good things. i am trying to work hard and to get everything done that we can.
well i didnt get transfered. i wasnt sure what was going to happen, but im staying here one more transfer. I told a lot of ppl i was probably going to go. since i thought it was possible, i played a song on piano in church. i made an arrangment of "come thou fount of every blessing", it turned out really good and lots of ppl complimented me and said that it brought a powerful spirit to the meeting.
we had another very successful week bringing less actives. ive decided thats definitely the mission ill do when im old. i think its a lot of fun to see ppl come back. the guy i talked about last week came and you should have seen his wife. they walked in and he came in his white shirt and everything and we went over and hugged him and shook his wifes hand and she just had a huge smile on her face. she'd gone alone to church for years and years, and now he says he's back to stay! also we brought a family of 4 that has been inactive a few years. and have activated a lot more. Its been way amazing to see how the lord guides us to find them and helps us to know what we need to do to help them. we contacted a man on the street last week and went over sunday and found out that they are members. they have 10 year old twins that aren't baptized. we had a good lesson with the parents and the mom cried. I am super excited for them.
also i had a cool experience with yuridia and norma. it was yuridias birthday so we went and ate with her and bought her a picture frame and gave here that with a picture of her baptism and also i gave her some of my american candy. the next day we were talking and she mentioned how a member came and visited her (something i am very very very grateful for) and they talked a lot about temples and sealing families, and it really impacted yuridia in the faith she has. i then told her about how when she said that she'd broken up with her boyfriend a week or so ago, i was happy because i knew god is preparing something way better and that she will be able to go to the temple. she said a few days before she broke up with him she prayed to god to know if he was who she should be with and got that answer and said she felt the same way that god answered her and that he is preparing someone for her. They are amazing investigators and are going to be strong members forever.
i love you and miss you all
elder smith

Monday, November 7, 2011

11-7-11

hello everyone. this was another great week here in villahermosa.

i forgot to say this last week, but there were emergency transfers again and now there are two sister missionaries in my district. it is a lot different to have sisters in my district. there have been a few problems. they are both really new in the mission and one is from ecuador and the other from peru. the sister from peru is really homesick. she had to wait three months like me before getting here but in the mission in peru where they have their mamasitas who cook for them three tiems a day and do their laundry and cleaning. its a lot harder for her here. she wanted to go home and she stayed but they hardly did anything this last week. so im trying to help them with that.

there was a few weird things that happened this week. one of which comes in my subject. we were walking and a drunk guy that speaks english started talking to us. and it was interesting, but we wrote down his addresss to visit another time and as we walked away he said "see you this weekend homie", probably one of the last things i expected to hear in mexico. also one day after finishing a lesson that was pretty good we asked them if they had any questions. the lady then turned to us and said "have you ever prayed to know what color god´s blood is?" i somewhat confused said no. and asked her why i would want/need to know what color gods blood was. she didnt answer that but said that she thought it was red, but prayed and found out it wasnt. i explained what we thought about the matter, that blood represents mortality, therefor we dont have blood when we are resurrected, but we just have glorified bodies of flesh and bone, and that god has a perfect body, and doesnt have blood. she didnt answer that but just told us to pray. it was and interesting conversation.

we had a ton of really cool lessons this week. we were able to really be guided by the spirit in finding people to teach. i heard many times this week. "its really weird that you guys showed up right now cause i was just...(whatever the thing was)" we visited many people by the direction of god this week, and it is always a mazing to see his hand in this work. i dont have much time but i just want to share a quick experience from yesterday. we went to eat after church and we wre at a house of an hermana who is active but her husband isnt. they are both endowed and sealed in the temple but he hasnt gone in years. we ate with them and then shared a message before we left. i shared the scripture in efesios that talks about how we need to always look forward and not back and that we need to look forward to the great prize that we can receive through christ. i shared a message about that and then talked pretty straight to the guy. i then used an example that i had heard. that a dad took his family to disneyland. they lived far away but they drove and it took a day or two to get there. when they got to the gate where you enter in and it has the big sign that says "disneyland" and the giant parking lot. he drove like he was going to enter but instead did a u turn. the whole family, especially the kids started screaming that he´d missed the turn, that it was the other way to disneyland, after driving a ways im sure some were in tears. after he´d gone a ways he pulled over, turned around and said, "thats what it will be like if we dont all make it to the celestial kingdom (heaven) together."

im not sure if he took his family back home or if they wnet back to disneyland, but i think ill probably do that someday. anyways they were all laughing a little and liked it a lot, but then i talked very seriously to them about why we are here in life. we live, breath, walk, eat, sleep, and do everything we do, for the sole purpose of gaining experience so that we can Return to live with our father in heaven again. as i spoke i felt the spirit powerfully and the hermana there was crying. by the end of the lesson the hermano who hadnt gone promised that he would go back to church. then invited us to come back next week for a fish dinner haha. It was a really powerful experince. and i know that it was guided by god. they have everything, but sometimes the ppl that dont go just needa little push, or sometimes a harder shove, to get back where they need to be. thats why home and visiting teaching is so importatn. its one of the most important callings in the church, and more important than any to magnify.

love

elder smith

Friday, November 4, 2011

10-31-11

Hola todos,

I hope that you have had a great week. To answer some question things that you had. This will be a short letter but a lot of cool stuff happened. The short things, I found a waterproof sidewalk outside the mission office. I signed my visa again so I’m legal in mexico until the end of my mission. I got to see a few guys from my MTC district which was really cool. They are all doing great as well. We contacted a mom and her kid and her kid was named melquesidec! We haven’t seen them yet and it wasn’t the greatest contact but we have to go for his name ha. Also there is no such thing as Halloween here. Everyone knows its Halloween and likes to remind me about it, but here iss the day of the dead. Dia de los muertos.

There is a lady named delfina that we activated that has been finding a lot of great investigadores for us and she loves to talk. It is always hard to leave cause she’ll talk to herself for like an hour if you let her. One day she had a shirt on that said “little miss chatterbox”. She didn’t know what it meant and I thought it was really funny. Everyone here wears clothes with English but don’t know what it means. We told her and it was pretty funny ha.

We had a cool experience where we showed up at the door of an investigator and they told us they had a death in the family that day. We were able to share the plan of salvation with them and it was a really great experience. i am very grateful for the atonement and for temples. We had our class in church this week on the importance of temples. And that’s the whole plan of god. We live to get a body and be tested, we have to be worthy to enter the temple, we seal our families so we’re together forever, and then we stay worthy and keep helping other people have their families to be together forever until we die.

I had a really amazing experience Sunday. Norma, Yuridia, and Natividad were all confirmed in church. I started crying when yuridia and norma were confirmed. That night we went to their house and watched the testiments. In talking after, yuridia shared her testimony. It was probably one of the most powerful experiences of my mission to hear her. She said how a week before we had found her she had spent an entire night praying to god for help. She is 22 and caring 100% for her 11 year old sister. Working and studying at the same time. She said she felt alone, sad, confused and helpless. She didn’t sleep that night and literally prayed the whole night long. I wont tell everything, but she felt a peace and calmness that the lord would help her. A week later she heard muffled voices outside and came down to see what was going on. She was resting and had a strong prompting to come down. She opened the door and there we were talking to a man working on her house. She felt like she should invite us back. And two weeks later she was baptized and a week later confirmed. She said that two weeks ago she thought it was a coincidence that we’d come, but now she sees that it wasn’t. she said “I asked for you to come”. She then looked me in the eyes and promised me that she would never fall away and that she knows that this is the true church of jesus Christ. I felt the spirit so powerfully and was in tears with her the whole time she spoke.

I am so very grateful for my mission and for my opportunity to serve the lord. I know that the work that I am doing is the most important thing I could possibly do with my time, and that I am being guided by the holy ghost to complete the will of god. I know that god lives and loves us and has very special plans for yuridia and norma and all of us.

I hope you have a great next week. I love you all and miss you very much.

Love

elder smith

Monday, October 24, 2011

10/24/11


pictures are of baptism. the three girls were our baptisms and the guy with a tie is a member going to his mission in spain on my birthday jan 4th and he baptized his cousin who is the other guy in the picture, we played soccer last munday in the rain and it was a lot of fun. the americaans vs the mexicans and we won 15 to 5, and then this is the highway to nacajuca that is all flooded even with the sand bags down. it was almost all sunny this week though. 





Hola hermanos y hermanas y familia.

this week was a very good week and was full of miracles and very special moments. I am very happy to be able to be here in my area and to be an instrument in the hands of the lord to complete his work. Starting from last sunday when we had the lesson with yuridia and norma where at the start they said they were catholic and then changed and accepted a date to be baptized this week. we went with them a lot this week. When we taught the commandments i was a little scared theyd have a problem. they accepted everything perfectly and there was a great spirit there. they got an answer from god and nothing was going to change that. even the day after when one of the friends of yuridia put coffee up to her face and tempted her to have some, she said no! we also went with them one day and watched the joseph smith movie. it was a really powerful lesson where i bore my testimony and where we talked a lot about their progress and the change that has happened in their lives. yuri said something that was really great that she was so thankful for us talking to her. We were talking to a worker outside her house when i decided to talk to her so she wouldnt think we were just waisting the workers time. we set up an appointment, they came to church, they accepted a baptismal date and were prepared 100% by god for this change. she said it was a change she knew she was prepared for and needed but she just didnt know that she needed it until it happened. She is super strong and im excited to have her come to lessons with us to help less actives and investigators. the baptismal service was really great. I got to baptize yuridia and elder peine baptized Norma (sister of yuridia 11 years old) and Natividad (16 and works in house of a member). The elders in our district baptized a man who is the cousin of a member getting ready for his mission. We decided to do the service after church because it is always so hard to get ppl there saturday. the room was super full. we couldnt even sit down and there wre more ppl waiting outside! i played the guitar and sang Te necesito si. which is I need thee every hour. it went really well and i felt the spirit. the baptisms went pretty well, but the elders who filled the faunt didnt put enough water in. only up to the middle of my thigh and so we had to do a few over again, but it was good all in all. I was super happy the whole day and over and over i keep saying how exicted i am for them all. I am so grateful for the hand of the lord in this work and know that it is by him and through him, that ppl are converted. 

something really cool about sunday as well is that Judith was confirmed. it took a few weeks but finally she is confirmed a member. the miracle of that is that we saw her saturday and she said everything was good for church. i felt like i should call her sunday but she didnt answer so i sent her a message and called her again, and then when we were about to leave i said well we'll just go check her house. we invited her to come with us to church in a car and she said it was perfect because she was going to go in a taxi but realized she didnt have any money. she was already dressed and everything and her kids as well and we all went together. 

Natividad´s baptism was also a miracle that we werent planning on. when we were in a lesson she opened up and said why she didnt get baptized before. it was because someone had called her and told her she shouldnt. she wanted to but then in the end didnt for that. she said she still wanted to and felt good about everything. nati is very very very veeeeeeeeeeery shy. i think especially around two white guys. so she doesnt talk a whole lot unless we really get it out of her but her prayers are always amazing and she says everything she needs to. in one prayer she gave as she finished she began to cry. that was the first real emotion ive seen from her and she said she'd never felt that when praying before. she felt the spirit super powerfully and then next time we came we gave her a date for this sunday. God is answering our prayers and the prayers of our investigators. 

this sunday we also found a family of 5. we contacted the guy and he made a big fuss that the last time other missionaries talked to him they never came by, so i basically went by so he wouldnt think bad of us but wasnt expecting anything. we were able to put him and his family on date to be baptized in three weeks . i hope they will keep that date. 

we also found a less active hermana named delphina that i think is like 50 but she has a lot of neighbor friends and now is super excited about sharing the gospel and church. she hadnt gone in a really really long time, but now is going to be super strong. she has so far invited 4 of her neighbors and two came this week to church and said they liked it a lot. they are two girls that are 14 and 18. the hermana delphina goes and like hangs out with them at movies and to eat and stuff which is really funny but very much her personality. her husband is away a lot for work and i think she likes having friends. we will probably be able to have Maria and Elidia the two girls to be baptized in these coming weeks. Almost all our investigators that are progressing now are girls. but we have had a lot of guys too but they have fallen off, and we have a few really great families too. one family that is great but hasn't come to church yet so we'll see. they invited us to dinner last night though and are really great ppl. 

there have been a bunch of other really great things, i need to start keeping a list so i remember and can write fast. today i took elder peine to buy a guitar. he bought a pretty nice one and so now we can play together. i was interested because someone in utah gave me a little toy harmonica with ten notes, in finding a good harmonica and so today i bought one that has 20 holes and a button that shifts everything a half step. im going to try and learn a little bit. it looks pretty cool, but note sure ill get to use it too much here. 

well i love you all and miss you very much. everything here is awesome and i'm really learning a lot and having some great experiences. have a great next week. 
 
love

elder smith

Monday, October 17, 2011

10/17/11

Hello everyone.  Thank you for all your letters and your support.  this week was really great. i had a ton of amazing experiences and some trials as always. the longer i have here the more the scripture in 2 nephi 2:11 has become really true. there is always opposition, but thats what makes the good things so great. this week there were some funny things that happened. one is that i saw a volkswagon beetle with butterfly doors. i thought it was funny when the guy climbed out hah. also this happened last week but i forgot to say it. every night when we come home there are a ton of kids playing soccer and stuff in the street. they always looked and there was an occasional "good morning, no good night" shouted out ha, but one night we stopped and talked to one of the kids. within 10 seconds 25 little kids from ages of 5 to 17 were gathered around asking questions and talking to us. needless to say we are the "cool kids on the block now" and they always say good night when we go by and ask us to play soccer with them. a similar thing happneed when we went to nacajuca this week. we were waiting for a combi (taxi van) and as we waited the high school got out and all the students were waiting too. one of the girls stopped and talked to us because her cousin was a recent convert in our ward. similar to the little kids, when they saw one person start to talk within 10 seconds we were surrounded by about 40 teenage students, mostly girls all asking questions and taking pictures. i used it as an opportunity to talk so i explained who we were, why we were there, and asked them "do you all believe in jesucristo?", they all responded in unison YES! then i asked and do you say your prayers? a few less. then i invited them all to come to church and they all know where it is and said theyd come. we moved away shortly after that and they all followed us around til we left hah.

this week we had an amazing experience with two sisters named yuridia and norma. norma is 24 and her sister is 11 and they live alone apart from their parents. theyve had some rough stuff happen, but are living happily together now. We found them last sunday and taught them a few times. we taught the restoration and the spirit was really stong in the lesson. they almost didnt come to church but i invited them again the night before and then they decided to come. it was the primary conference and was really good. all the songs and speaking parts were really well organized and it was well done. we had 180 ppl in sacrament including 5 investigators we brought, and 3 less actives that are solid now! anyways so we went and talked to yuri and norma after church and we sat down and she said she needed to tell us something. she said that she liked everything and it was great and she wanted to keep learning but wanted us to know that no matter what she was going to stay catholic for personal reasons and her family. while she said this i ddint feel worried or anything. i just listened and when she finished i started, with a mentality of that she just doesnt understand everything thats happened yet. it was an amazing experience where we were able to rely on the spirit and have it guide us. she mentioned that she felt the spirit during the hymns in church, and when she read and prayed about the book of mormon. i explained something that i hadent thought about to her before about the staight and narrow. that we are walking but on either side of us there are millions of voices shouting in our ears telling us to follow them, that its easier, faster, happier, and where everyone else is. its almost imposible to hear but there is another voice. its soft and its quiet, but its the voice of the lord and its telling us to take one more step forward. if we dont listen we will be swept away into forbiden paths. we have to focus all of our energy to hear the voice of the lord and follow it. i felt the spirit very powerfully and know that it was from god for her in that moment. it was a lot better in spanish and in the moment too hha. In the end my comp shared a scripture and she was crying. we gave her and her sister a date to be baptized for this next sunday after the services in church. i know that god guides us and im so thankful for his spirit in this work. when we really listen and strive to follow, god will guide us in each step we take. 

there were a ton of other really amazing things that happened this week where we were guided by the spirit to those that god has prepared. one man who is a nonmember but his family are members says that he has had 9 years of missionaries and at least 40 differnent missionaries have come but he's never felt like he should be baptized. we met with him sunday for the first time formally because before i thought he was a member. we answered his questions and sometimes it is just time for ppl. in church that day i taught a class on eternal marriage (i know im highly qualified to teach that haha) but he was there and last week the lesson was on eternal families or something like that. i talked about the plan of salvation and the role of families in gods plan. it is amazing that as a family we truly can be together for all of eternity, if we follow gods plan exactly. anyways sometimes its just someones time to accept, but i told him he needs to be sealed with his family, he as the head of his household and family needs to baptized his daughter in two weeks who just turned eight, and to do that he needs to be baptized first. i invited him to be baptized this next thursday and he accepted. he still needs to decide but i feel that he will be baptized. it was an amazing experience to see how the lord will complete with his work. 

i love the mission and these amazing experiences, especially with the families. we dont have to do too much in life except be obedient and listen for what god tells us to do. if we are obedient and trying our best always to complete with our purpose, god will guide us. i hope you all have a great next week. i love you all and miss you very much. 

love 

elder smith

picture: i havent been too good at pictures these weeks but i am using the white board hha.