Monday, March 21, 2011

Pictures :)


hello all. i dont have a ton of time again this week, but will try to write as much as i can. i sent a few pictures this week of my area. the tienda el mormon and a remake of a olmec head because there arent any real ones here in la venta, but other ppl dont know that so you can say its real. and a atardeser from the other day.

things here have gone really well, but i have also had a lot of opposition. Idk why it has been this way but the second half of last transfer and this transfer there have been a ton of problems with investigators and ppl cant get baptized ha. This week we were supposed to have two baptisms for yolanda and jesus who we have been woking a ton with. they were ready and had the interview. their dad was there but he left when we arrived and said that he was going to come back in a little. he never came back, the baptismal form didnt get signed and they didnt want to get baptized if their dad wasnt there anyways, so they fell off date. we also found a lot of new ppl, but they dont come to church so they fall. idk why ppl dont want to come to chruch. we run around crazy sunday morning trying to go to everyoen we need to and just about always everyone we pass by for cant come or isnt there or is asleep. it is a little frustrating but i'm working hard and trying to keep positive. elder sanchez and i are teaching a ton of lessons and finding a lot of new people. this week we taught 35 lessons and found 13 new investigators which is the most i{ve done in my whole mission. also today i completed 8 months as a missionary. a third of my mission is already over. i wish i had more spanish and more baptisms but i have had a lot of amazing experiences and grown and learned a lot and hopefully i'll be able to keep improving and being more successful as well.

this week i had a lot of interesting experiences. this week we started teaching these two girls. one of them is really good but really shy, the other one isnt too shy but hasnt ever really dont anything with religion. in our last lesson with her we were teaching something and in the middle of the lesson she said. you have really beautiful eyes. and your hair too. your kids will be very was a little awkward but i just said thanks and continued with the lesson. there are a lot of things like that that happen here. there arent too many white ppl here, and it is interesting also to see that just about all of their celebrities here are of lighter colored skin. it is sad that it is that way, but oh well.

also this week i we contacted a man named juan coba. i contacted him with elder tanner a long time ago but never found him in his house. we taught his brother but then never found him after the first lesson. they have a mom that is about to die and i thought she was going to die when i wetn over the first time,but she is still alive but not doing well at all. she has a ton of water in her body and it looks like she is pregnant, but it is jsut water floating around in her. we said another prayer for her, and then taught juan. he in the middle of the lesson stopped us and told us that he knew everything was true that we had said and that he knew that we really were messnagers of god sent to him. It was an amazing experience to here that and he had a date for april 2nd but wasnt at church this sunday so well have to meet with him and see what happened. also this week i had a great experience with a woman named nineva. she is old and has a problem with her blood that she needs diaysis a few times a week. she is getting weaker and weaker and was very sad this last lesson. i was very quiet in the beginneng of the lesson but then felt like i needed to talk and hlep her and i learned a lot in this situation. i was giving what i needed to say to help her. she is a devout 7th day adventist and has been struggling with that she received an answer that the book of mormon is true and making the decision to change and be baptized. I focused on helping her be happy. she cried for the first part of the lesson but i talked a lot about the power that she had. her body was weak but i told her that that wasnt important. we are here on earth to be tested and to die. our body is going to fail us one day, but for htis reason we need to prepare ourselves for eternity. i felt that she was weak and sad, and i told her to be happy. to live her life the best she could and not wory about her sickness. there isnt anything she can do to change it and she can be happy. the power she has to make decisions, to live to receive answers from god. She received her answer about the book of mormon wihich is a great story as well. i also talked about how she has already changed. She started out as an investigator that was almost a bible bash the first lesson, and she has grown so much in this short time. She has been taking baby steps towards baptism and baptism is the last step that she needs to take but it is a bigger step of faith. I knew that she would receive so many blessings for it but she still needs more help. she asked us to pray so that she could have the strength to make the decision that she knows is true. i know my story here is pretty broken, but it was an amazing experience and i felt like i recieved a lot of help from my heavenly father in this lesson.

i love you all and miss you very much and hope that you are all doing great. i am having a ton of amazing experiences here and am learning a lot. my spanish is a lot better but i still have a lot to learn. right now my spanish is pretty good, and speaking in english is really really bad. i have talked to a few ppl this week in english and i cant say anything and include lots of spanish words and ya, its not good. i sound like i cant speak english haha. but that is a good thing i think. all is well here and i will talk to you next week.


elder smith

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

La Vida en La Venta!

hello everyone.
this week was another great week here in mexico and i am learning a lot. I dont have a ton of time today because we went to coatza today to buy some things and got back late. I cant remember really much of what happened this past week. We taught a lot of lessons, the most that i have so far in my mission in one week, but we have had a lot of opposition in the past few weeks. In just about all of our investigators, there are a lot of family problems. some of the problems are very serious and we are in the middle of them. We are trying to teach the gospel and help them. It is very sad to see some of the things these people have to deal with, but amazing to see the faith that they have and the trust they have in our heavenly father that everything is going to be alright. I have had many opportunities to pray for my investigators and seek inspiration from my heavenly father and truly strive to be an instrument in his hands to help these people. One thing that preach my gospel teaches us is that an initial doubt or problem is only the tip of the ice berg and that the real problem often is very different and much more deep`and to find it we need to build trust with the investigator. This happened with one of our investigators this week. she hadnt come to church for a long time and never really had a good reason and we found a very serious problem. she also has a 2 year old baby with cancer. She has amazing faith and it is amazing to teach her and to learn from her. we are trying to keep baptizing and to have more people in church every week, but it is hard. we have found some new people that are really great, but there are already problems that they have brought up that will be challenges. the scripture 2 nephi 2:11 has a lot more meaning to me that there is opposition in all things. My companion and I have changed it to that there is opposition in every baptism ha. We are working hard and will receive the blessings of the baptisms soon. we should have two this coming week and a lot more coming up as well.

this saturday we got a call that said we had to go to coatza for church sunday. we didnt know why but it was a last notice stake conference. it turned out to be a conference for all of south mexico and was a transmission where a 70, a sister from the reliefs society presidency of mexico, elder ballard, and president monson spoke! it was really good, though i didnt get to hear hardly anything of president holland because of all of the noise and the kids by me. i was a little frustrated with that and the fact that the entire time just about everyone at one point or another got up and walked out to the bathroom or something. There wasnt a time in all of the conference when the door wasnt being opened. Regardless, I felt the spirit powerfully especially when listening to elder ballards testimony. he speaks spanish but still chose to have a translator for some reason.

Also today we went to coatzacoalcos to buy some things. It was way weird to walk into a walmart and to see all of the big city. I have been in this little town of la venta for a while and is all i know of mexico and to walk into walmart, I felt like i was back in salt lake. it was a really weird feeling. It is nice to be out of the USA world a little bit here, but also I miss some of the stuff. I ate mcdonalds, pizza and ice cream haha.
I dont have any more time but i am doing great. have a little bit of a cold this week but other than that good. i love you all and miss you very much.


elder smith

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Staying in the Same Area!

Hello everyone.

this week here in mexico went very well. I am learning a lot and having a lot of great experiences. nothing too crazy happened this week but it was good. tuesday we had a lesson with a girl named ana and her sister named elizebeth. The other week, i cant remember if i said or not, but a family that we are teaching had a funeral for their grandma. and in mexican (catholic) tradition, involves about 2 weeks worth of different things. we didnt get to teach this family very much, but one night when we went over to see how they were there were a ton of people ther. we asked if we could help and she said yes and then told us to sit down. I didnt think she wanted our help really and we sat there for a little while. i then started talking to this couple that was kind of close to me but kind of far away as well, but they were looking at me funny so i said hello. we started talking and i had a really good conversation with them. my companion was a little ways away (still in sight and sound but talking with other people) and helping make tamales. I talked with them for about 30 min. and tried having a conversation in english, but didnt go to well haha. they were impressed with my spanish though and it was a little better this night as well i think i got some help. at the end of the conversation i turned it into a gospel topic. they asked what i was doing here and i told them. i then talked about the blessings ive received and about the changes id seen in people. i then aksed them if we could ome by and talk to them another day and they talked about it privately for a few minutes while i talked to another person and they then said yes. the one guy really liked me i think and his reasoning for inviting us over was that i was a good guy (basically, he used a phrase though that means a little more). the lesson tuesday was with the girl and her sister because the boyfriend wasnt there and they both accepted dates for baptism. they had a problem and couldnt come to church, but i´m really excited about them and hope they will be able to make it and be faithful members.

also this week i had another training. it was for the new missionaries in mexico. the majority of the missionaries had 4 and a half months, apart of me and three other elders from my district that were there. I learned a lot. we practiced a lot with the president and with the ap´s. From one of the ap´s i learned some very important things. he talked about how lots of missionaries fall into the norms. teaching the same way everytime, he related it to a computer. Assess the type of person and then press play on whichever lesson it is and there you go. I wrote down a quote taht is siga al espĂ­ritu, no a los normas. follow the spirit and not the norms. also he taught me that we need to feel what the investigator is feeling. to help them we need to understand them. to understand them we need the spirit and need to really work hard. in the practices it was really hard to do, but i have been working a lot on trying to relate to the investigator and apply these things to my teaching, and i had a great experience with it this week.

We have been teaching an older lady named Nineva for about 2 months. she has been close to the point of that we would drop her, but has been progressing a lot. she has come to church two times already and i left her with areading assignment one day of 3 nephi 11 to 28 and she read it all in between one visit. she is a seventh day adventist and so she brings up at least once a lesson that the sabbath day is saturday. though she says this a lot, but was able to help her in this lesson and she made a ton of progress. I am trying to let the investigator teach themselves more. i try to ask a lot of questions (inspired by the spirit) and teach simply inbetween all while trying to feel how they feel. We were talking about the book of mormon and about baptism and about the 7th day and about just about everything with her and she had a lotof doubts and didnt seee the reason for another baptism or church or anything. I was able to really feel what she felt in this situation and understnad where she was coming from. after a few questions about her experience with the book or mormon, she told us that she knew it was true. after this and some other questions we started talking about baptism more seriously. she knows taht it is true, and at the end of the lesson she asked me to pray for her so that she could have the strength to change religions and be baptized. she wants to do it, but it is very hard for her to give up what she has felt so strongly aobut for so long. I know she´´ll be able to do it though!

Another funny story about her, is right before we left she grabbed my arm and asked how long we were in la venta for. i told her until we get transferred. we have transfers tomorrow, but luckily i´m staying. when i told her about transfers she got almost angry and said thats not fair that they change when you are here and get so close to the people and then have to just leave. I couldnt tell her, but i had a good probablitiy that i would get transferred. also my DL played a joke on me by telling me that i was transferred and waited like 2 hours to tell me that i wasnt. i was sad for a little while, but then got the call and was relieved, but still stressed about everything, and for that i am very grateful taht i have my guitar now haha.

i hope all is well with you. i am doing great here, and am working hard. my spanish is improving a lot, and i feel a lot more comfortable communicating with everyone here. I am receiveing a lot of help from my heavenly father and growing closer to him everyday. I love you and miss you.


elder smith