Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New Companion!

hello everyone. another week has come and gone and this week really was amazing. I have been greatly blessed to be here and things have been great. My new companion is named elder jared sanchez and is from puebla mexico. he has only been out 5 months in the mission and i have only been out a little over 6 months. it is fun because we're both excited to work hard and also because i get to lead a lot more and speak a lot more in the lessons. i have all of the relationships with the investigators and everything so i do most of the planning and phone stuff and everything. its a good experience for me and i'm learning a lot. I felt like i received a ton of help this week from my heavenly father with this language and also in having success. we put 10 people on date this week to be baptized and taught a lot of lessons and found some new people as well. most of the people that we put on date were people that i found last week with elder tanner. i am a little worried about some of the people whether they really have the desire that they should, but i am going to work hard with them and try to make sure that they are ready. we had a lot of success this week though and the president called me today to tell me to keep it up and keep working hard and that he expects a lot out of us here this transfer. that was way cool, and i am going to work really hard in order to acheive everything that we can. my spanish is getting a lot better, and i felt a lot more comfortable in lessons and everything. it is still hard to understand everything, but i'm pretty good in lessons because were talking about the gospel and my gospel vocab is really good. my grammar is getting better and bettter every day, but it definitely takes a lot of patience and i'm trying to work on that.

there were a few things this week that were funny that i wanted to share. the first one was that I stick out a lot more now that i'm the only white person in la venta. its really weird to be the minority and i get a lot of comments/looks and stuff like that. also lots of people try to talk to me in english. it's usually really bad and just like "how are you" and then they all laugh... ya haha. some other funny things are that my comp saw my drivers license picture and didnt believe it was me with all of my hair and said i looked like i was from a movie, and now he calls me elder brad pitt haha. another funny thing was that a mom threated her kid to make her behave with a chili. like if the kid kept being bad she was going to have to eat a chili haha. i also saw a house that was flooded and needed a boat to get into and also in a hoiuse that we eat at there is a mark on the wall about 4 ft up from a flood that they had a few years ago. the wet season is going to be interesting... also during one of our contacts while i was talking saying "we're missionaries and representatives of jesus christ and want to share a message with you" she was taking pictures of us, and it was weird ha. there were a few other things but i dont have much time.

today we went to the area of the other elders in our district and played soccer on the beach. it was really fun and way cool to finally see the beach. the water was really warm and there were a bunch of spear fishermen out too. i really wanted to go swimming, but i resisted the temptation and made it back here. and i found a whole sand dollar.

this week there were a lot of really cool experiences but the one i'd like to share this week is one that i had with alvaro. he missed his baptism the other week but i have met with him a few times since then. he is having a lot of pressure from his family. I taught him a whole lesson basically by myslef. we went in and started talking about why he hadnt recieved his answer about the book of mormon yet. i talked to him for a long time about this and also the amazing part is that i was given all of the help i needed so that i could understand him. usually icould count on one hand how many words i could understand in a lesson and this time, with a little work, i understood just about everything and was able to help him. i felt the spirit very powerfully in this lesson. it started out when i told him how much he ment to me, and then after he had told me that he wanted his baptism later and later, i shared with him how i felt about it. i said that he meant so much to me and i felt like he wasnt recognizing the temptations from satan. he had already received his answer about all of these things and was forgetting. i shared with him that he needed to have the strength to make the decision and that he would be able to recieve everything that he needed. i felt as though he was going to push the day more and more until he would say one day that he wasnt going to be baptized. i shared my testimony about how he really needed to pray and make the decision and that i knew he could have an answer because he has so much faith. he has seen miracles. i then shared with him my experience with obtaining my testimony about the book of mormon. his wife and also one of his daughters who is really against us was in the room. i shared with him, that i had received numerous witnesses that the book of mormon was true. especially on my mission, but one time in particual about a year ago at school is when i say i really got my strong testimony that the book is true and joseph smith is a prophet. i was reading and praying everyday for a long time for an answer, and then one day when i was alone in my room reading the scriptures, i read one verse, and the spirit hit me so powerfully. i knew at that moment that joseph smith did not write this book. that this is a book writen by prophets and are the words of god for each one of us. and because i know the book of mormon is true i know that htis is the only church of jesus christ with all of the priesthood pwer and authority of christ to perform the ordinances of salvation. when i shared this with alvaro i flet the spirit so powerfully and started to cry a little bit. i know that he flet the spirit and he told me with a very sincere voice that he was going to read and pray. i hope with all of my heart that he can receive that answer and know that the book of mormon is a book of god as i do.

It was an amazing experience and i felt the lord working through me to say what needed to be said. I have been so blessed and i love my mission here. it is hard, and everyday i feel like my body is going to break down, but i'm given all of the energy that i need to make it everyday and i have gained a stronger and stronger testimony everyday that this is the lord's work and that as i stay obedient i can be his instrument to bringing many souls unto him, regardless of the language or situation or person.

i love you all and miss you very much. i'm grateful for each one of you in my life and hope that you all are doing great. i'll talk to you again in another week.


elder smith

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