Monday, January 17, 2011

Mexico :)

Hello everybody. It has been another amazing week here in mexico and things are going great. Firstly you had some questions about what it is like here, and it is basically 100% different and i will try to explain everything. the town that i am in (La Venta) is pretty small, but to walk from one side of the area to the other would be probably about an hour. there is one main road that goes through most of the town and to different towns around it as well and then smaller streets and callejones (alley/side streets) that are smaller with houses on it as well. the area is set up in colonies. basically just groups of streets every so often. we live in el centro with is more or less in the middle of la venta and is where the market is. we live just barely outside from where all the shops and stuff are. there is one road with all of the shops and taxis and bike taxis (camionetas). the market is pretty cool. there are a bunch of clothes shops and then food and small little souvenier shops, that basically just have dollar store things. there isnt anything too cultural about the things that they sell here ha. the thing that is cool about mexico is that there are a lot of holidays. there was christmas, new years, and then another day called dia de los reyes (day of the kings) or january 6th. it basically is just another christmas except the three kings bring toys to the kids instead of santa claus. also they eat this bread the night before and it has little plastic babies inside of it. if you get one of them you have to do something nice or get something for the rest of the people. i think most people do it a little different depending on the house and i'm not too sure about it because we didnt get to celebrate it with anyone. everyone here says hello. everyone we walk by we say buenos días, buenos tardes, or buenos noches, depending on the time. and it is really funny sometimes because they are very specific about the time. if its 1201 and you say buenos días, they will look at you and say buenos tardes accenting the tardes, and then keep going haha. a thing that is kind of funny also here is that i think i've been served hot chocolate here more than in salt lake. its super hot out, even at night and i'll be sweating and then theyll bring in some hot chocolate and be like. ¿oh hace frío afuera no? and i say ITS HOT FOR ME. i'll force down the hot chocolate wiping away the sweat as i go haha. the food here is really good. we eat with the same 4 sisters every week and they just rotate days. usually it is something with chicken and tortillas. the food here isnt too spicy, but the chili here is really good. chili as in salsa. the weather has been better this week except for the first few days. it hasnt been as hot this week, but for three days it rained, and i think i liked the heat better. it rained and doesnt stop. i wore my rain jacket but it just runs off onto my pants and you get drenched. my shirt was dry though. also we have leaks in our apartment so when we got back my bed was a little wet and there wa a big puddle in our room. this caused some problems because then our room became super humid. i sent a letter to elise today and found that all of my envelopes are sealed shut. it was so humid in the room that all the glue got wet and then when it dried out, they all sealed shut. also i thought my backpack was waterproof, but on the bottom it wasnt and my bible got drenched. i've spent the last 4 days drying it out in front of a fan and its still wet. hopefully itll be alright though. hopefully that settles some questions about the place i'm at. if you have any more questions ask them and ill try to answer.

this last week was really good. the first few days with the rain were a little slow, but after that we picked things up and had some really hard working days. we are supposed to get 140 contacts each week, 20 per day. this week, because of the rain, we only had 5 contacts after thursday. friday we got 55 and saturday we got 50 and then we got some more on sunday as well. contacts are just when you talk to someone at their house or on the street and invite them to have us over to teach a lesson. we did a ton of walking these days and also a lot of teaching. we found a ton of new people to teach, and had some really good lessons. this week there were also hard things though. andres was supposed to get baptized but his dad still wants to talk to us before he is baptized and he isnt coming until next sunday now. also alvero almost changed his date to the 22nd of february because thats his birthday, luckily we were able to convince him to keep it to 22 of january. also we met a lot of anti-mormon people this week. last night we talked to a guy and he basically said the same thing over and over about how the book of mormon was an apostetic book and that to find christ we needed to throw it away. i dont mind when people dont accept the message, thats their agency, but when they act like they know what we believe and tell us what we believe it bothers me. i bore my testimony to him that i knew that the book of mormon was a book from god because i read it and i prayed about it and i received an answer the only way we can receive wisdom about spiritual things, from god is through the holy ghost. i told him, you cant tell me this book is not from god and you cant tell me that it is not true if you have not read it and have not prayed aoubt it . we left shortly after ha, but the spirt of contention is bad.

we had some amazing experiences being guided by the spirit and in finding people that are ready. we contacted a man one night who was visiting la venta. he invited us to his house. we went to his house, met his brother, found out that their mother was about to die. we said a prayer for her, and then we taught him the plan of salvation. he accepted a baptismal date for the 5th of february. It was an amazing spirit from the moment that we entered the house, and it caused me to think a lot seeing the woman on her death bed. it made me really appreciate the knowledge we have about where we came from, why we're here, and where we're going and that god has a plan to be together forever and to be happy.

I had a lot of other really great lessons and experiences but dont have any time to write them. we taught a lot of knew people and had a cool experience where we contacted the husband of a family and the wife at two different times within the same week, and then found out they were together when we showed up at the house. the husband was the only one there, but he was very interested and had some very strong morals and was excited to learn about and to read the book of mormon.

I have felt the lords hand in this work so often and am so grateful to be a missionary. i am having experiences here that i could not have anywhere else and couldnt have if i was not a missionary. the instant trust that people have for you and the confidence they have to tell you everything about their life in the first 10 seconds within meeting them is amazing. i am learning so much and am so grateful for these experiences and for the opportunity i have to serve the lord and see my testimony grow. I love my mission.

i love you all and miss you. thank you for your emails and for all of your love and support.


elder smith

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