Tuesday, July 19, 2011


hello everyone! i hope that you all had a great last week. I sent a few more pictures from good byes to families in la venta. still havent taken any pictures here in villahermosa but i will soon probably.

this week was great. there were some elders who did some bad stuff here the transfer before so i have two elder in my district that are basicaly in an area with nothing. their area book and ours hardly has anything in it and my area doesnt have too many investigators. i had a lot of stuff in la venta and it will be a change here, but we´ll work hard and it will be going in no time. We have 4 missionaries in our one ward which is the only case in the whole mission i think. we had an asistece of 123 ppl this week but supposedly it was up in the 170´s so we'll try to reach that as well, activating and baptizing.

my old zone leader was in this area 2 transfers back so he told me about my companion and my area and i was kind of worried with what he said. especially with my companion. I havent ever had a problem with any of my companions though before and i seem to get along fine with anyone basically. things so far have been really good. he is named elder hernandez and is a good missionary. he teaches well. the only thing is he likes to spend time with members. we are contacting more ppl now though so we will be able to start going by contacts of investigators now instead of members. we are going to try to work a lot with members though. my house is nice and is an apartment. my whole area is basically apartements. im not in the city like downtown, but its definitely bigger. there is one street wih over 2000 appartments on it. its super long.

stories from this week. i traveled to villahermosa alone because there werent any tickets left on the other one. i got there basically the same time though. it wasnt too weird. i just read my scriptures. there werent too many ppl on the bus and they were all asleep too. i was in a threesome for two days because of the special changes that they took two missionaries out of the other area in my district so we had to wait for another elder to get there. my whole district are mexicans and in my whole zone there is just one other american but i think a new missionary got here a few days ago who is from the usa.

we found a few good families to teach and i am excited because of all of the ppl. there is also a city that is in our area that i think is kind of like la venta but no missionaries have ever gone there. there is one family that are members there but i want to go there really bad and try to open a casa de oracion there (house of prayer) which would be a branch. this week somthing sad happened. we were walking where there were all the apartments and we saw a ton of ppl and police. we got closer and saw a person covered by a tarp who had died when he fell off his motorcycle and hit his head. supposedly his sister was on there too but didnt even have a scratch. we found out that he was 17 but was drunk. the family was there and as we walked by the mom started screaming at someone on the phone. it was pretty sad and i felt bad for the rest of the day, but it was something that we used in a lesson the next day with a really good family we found.

all this week it has rained at night. luckily we have been in lessons at those times, but last night we got pretty soaked and i forgot my raincoat because i was going to go get it after church but we didnt have time. church went well and it was weird to have a lot of ppl there. i will probably try to play piano for it now because nobody there can play. i wish i would have learned all the hymns before ha. ill just practice a little though.

the coolest thing about this area is that when i got here thre was the family robles sanchez. they were basically the only investigators here. theres the mom and dad and then a 16 year old girl a 10 year old boy and 8 year old girl. they are amazing and we made huge progress with them this week! they hadnt come to church yet but we went by a few times and focused on them getting an answer and i felt like i was really able to connect with them. i taught the two littler kids as well and used lots of good examples and jokes to help them learn the principles. it was a great experience for me where i was able to focus on them and have the spirit direct and things went perfectly. they are all reading and praying and the parents said they got an answer that the book of mormon is true! the parents came to church this sunday and really liked it! the only problem is that the dad doesnt have a job and is selling vegetables on the street for a little bit. we are working with the stake to find him a job, and hopefully all will go well. we gave them a date to be baptized the 30th of july and hopefully they will be an eternal family!

the mission is amazing and i will learn a lot more here with this change, even though i miss la venta and the ppl a lot. I am going to work hard and be happy and share with everyone the message of salvation that i know is true. i hope you all have a great next week. i love you and miss you.


elder smith

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

7-11-11 Pictures Part 2

7-11-11 Pictures Part 1


Hello everyone. i had another great week here in la venta. i had a lot of really great experiences and it has been hard to have to say good bye to everyone after so much time here. i have really grown to love the ppl here and have had so many amazing experiences. it feels almost like im leaving home to go on my mission all over again. i added a lot of pictures of a few of the ppl i said good bye too. i got transferred to an area called tierra colorada, villahermosa. i am going to be a district leader there and will have a mexican companion named elder hernandez, but i dont think i know him. my whole district is going to be mexicans. i know one elder that is in my zone right now that im going to be with in my district and he´s really cool, so im really excited, but kind of nervous too. villahermosa is a big city and its really really hot there, it will be really different to the small town of la venta where i know almost everyone it feels like haha.

the one with a ton of ppl is a family that we found just one week ago that im really sad to leave. i told them a few days ago i was leaving and the mom started crying and then we went over last night and we had food and they bought a cake and everything. the kids are super fun and all love us haha and its pretty crazy when we´re over there, but they are sincere and willing to test out the book of mormon, but just really really good ppl.

the old lady is named nineva and is dying. she has failing kidneys and i have known her since i got here almost. i found her with elder tanner. it is sad that she hasnt fully accepted for her family and her health,but she knows the book of mormon is true and we explained the spirit world and stuff to her and i hope she gets the chance there because i dont think she has too much longer. she also made a dinner for us which i think was a big sacrifice for them but she is really amazing.

i went over to the hna cristal with the little girl janise who is about two now. i have seen her grow up from little baby to walking and talking and everything and they're really great. i had a lesson with cristal the other day and cried a little bit saying good bye. she is really amazing but has some problems with family, but i hope she´ll keep moving on. i talked a lot to her about how the decisions she makes affects hundreds and thousands of ppl through her daughter and her daughters daughters and so on, and she thanked me for everything at the end as well which really meant a lot to me.

i still have to say good bye to a lot of ppl tonight and will go to coatza tonight and leave for villahermosa tomorrow at 740 in the morning.

i had a lot of cool experiences this week finding and teaching and following the spirit. one of these experiences was that we went over to drop a really great family because they werent progressing. they thought any religion was good and werent dedicated enough to testing out what we were teaching them. I wanted it to be fast, but we got there and we went a different way than i ever would have thought. it ended up that we talked about the book of mormon and he talked about how he thought there were other ppl apart from Israel. i showed him a few scriptures and then read the title page about the jaridites coming from the tower of babel and he said "i think i received my answer about the book" i asked him how he felt and he said alegria which is really happy, and scalefrio, which is goosbumps/shivers. i told him i knew that was an answer. it was a powerful experience to see. unfortunately he cant get over his belief that any religion is okay and is not willing to make any sacrifices to progress and i dont know what will happen.

i had a really powerful experience this week teaching a noche do hogar (family night) that the branch does every tuesday and thursday. i was sharing the ensign message from pres uchdorf about making decisions and it was something i didnt prepare very well for. it was kinda dry but then i felt like i needed to do something powerful. there were ppl there that needed something. i changed the tone of the lesson and focused on the ppl and the spirit. and ended up with a very powerful lesson. many ppl after commented on the spirit that was there and i definitely felt it very powerfully. i focused on eternal families. and at the end i had everyone close their eyes as i painted a picture for them of returning to god and jesus christ and read matt. 25:21. it was very powerful and as i started to read i could barely get the words out. i felt a lot of love for the ppl there and hopefully that helped them to make the decision to change their lives and really obtain this grand blessing of the eternal life.

i also had a cool experience with a guy we met on the street. we talked a little to him but he was with some drunk friends. later that night he found us and started asking really weird questions like " do you believe in the power of god?" i was like yes the priesthood and all that god does...? but then i figued out why and it was something that reminded me of salt lake. he had probably read some website and just went with random anti mormon stuff. like the galatians 1:8 scriture and he asked very condescendingly why do you still have joseph smith if he was an adulterer. Elder watts would say i got mad like moroni again ha. but it was very powerful. i now know how to answer powerfully any of those type of questions and as it says in the scriptures i had the spirit and couldnt be confounded in my words. it was pretty cool and i focused everything on my testimony that i got from actually reading and praying about the book of mormon and used some very stong phrases but it got the point across and i felt the spirit. we saw him the next day and he stopped his car and with a smile shook our hands and everything and he said he´d opened up the book of mormon. i hope he will take it well and be humbled enough to read and to pray.

everything is going great here. I do love the mission and the ppl and am having amazing experiences. i love elder watts and it will be very hard to leave him here, but i know his new companion and he is good as well so im excited to leave la venta with a lot of great investigatos and lots of ppl that will shortly be baptized and to work hard in villahermosa. i love you all and miss you very much and hope this next week is amazing.


elder smith

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

7-4-11 Pictures- Part 2

7-4-11 Pictures- Part 1

pictures : helping carry water, in lessons where little girls take my camera and take picutes, devil frog in our house, plate that says unimprssive hah, zone activity today our zone and another zone

7-4-11 Happy Birthday America

Hello everyone. Things here in La venta are going really well. ill try to remember everything that happened in these days, the good and also some bad ha. this week went reallly well. at the zone activity we had today (have them once a transfer usually) while waiting in line for food all the "gringos" broke out in singing the star spangled banner and some of the mexican elders joked that they were going to call the migra (migrations) to come get us haha. its was funny though.

the zone activity today was fun. we got to play basketball and soccer and talk and see some friends in other areas. it'll be my last in this zone and i might go pretty far away next week so it was fun to see everyone.

i have like one minute to write cause i spent a lot of time doing the pictures but this week went really well. we taught a lot and had some really powerful lessons. also we had some cool experiences where we changed plans or did things differently and we ended up finding some really great investigators. the lord works through us when we are willing to follow the spirit.

the only bad thing about this week is that we put 6 ppl on date to be baptized this week or next and they were all good, but then only one of them showed up to church. church ends up being a pretty depressing things most weeks, but we keep working and looking for those that will come and be converted by the holy ghost.

the biggest thing that happened this week was last night. we got home and elder watts and i started talking. Because i'm training him, we get an extra hour to study sundays and other days when you dont usually get to. we started our study time and just started having a conversation trying to find out what we can do better. we talked about what we wanted out of our missionas and how we could be better. we ended up talking for about 2 hours until it was time to go to bed. we came up with a lot of really good things and there was a very powerful spirit and i feel like it was very much directed by god. we came to the conclusion after lots of great things that we need to start making all of the little sacrifices. we arent doing anything bad and we are obedient, but there are just little things that we are going to change to be even better. for example we are going to start personal study 30 min earlier so we can read the chapters that the mission reads everyday from the book of mormon and bible so that we have a full hour to study for investigators. we talked about how we need to have more love for the people, and how we need to always strive to follow the spirit in every situation and meditate more in lessons so that we can recieve that help we need to teach to help these ppl reach their goals. we talked about a lot of things and used a lot of examples, but it is something that will really help us to keep growing and getting better.

I am learning so many things that will help me for the rest of my life. principles and lessons that i know i couldnt learn anywhere else. i love my mission and the experiences that i am able to have here. hope you all have a great next week.


Elder Smith

Friday, July 1, 2011

6-27-11 Pictures


hello everyone. things here are going well and i am having a lot of great experiences. we had some good times but we also had some trials, especailly with sunday stuff,. sundays always turn into the most stressful time on a mission trying to go by for ppl and praying that investigators come so that they keep their baptismal dates. this week was a little harder. there were only 30 ppl this week, where as two weeks ago there was 60. It ended up going really well though. we had three investigatos that showed up and i was able to give my talk with them there. they let me prepare this time for my talk and i gave it on the book of mormon. i started off saying how all churches are basically the same, and asked the question, what is the difference in our church? i explained a bit of prieshood authority, organization, and ended up talking about the book of mormon. The majority of my talk was quoted from elder hollands talk from conference a few years ago called "security for the soul" it is definitely my favorite talk ever and is very powerful. i added my testimony and explained a little more, and it was very powerful for me and hopefully everyone there. we taught a lot of lessons this week which was good and we are finding a lot of really great new investigators. I feel that my teaching skills are getting better and better and i am starting to really be able to quote scriptures and use them in lessons and also really teach different lessons to each person. sometimes missionaries get into habits of teaching the lessons almost the same for everyone, which is something i saw a lot in salt lake and with my first two companions here. not that they werent great and taught really well, but is something that we always work on.

something sad that happened this week is the roberto started drinking again. the picture of the family i sent last week was maria who got baptized a few weeks ago and roberto who was going to be baptized next week, but now he will have to wait more. He got into a fight with his brother and then started drinking. we went over to try and get rid of what he had and help him stop but he kept going and ended up drinking more becasuse his same brother started inviting him to drink. idk if hes stopped yet. it is usually a few day ordeal. it is hard and the hna maria always gets really discouraged. though it is a story that almost every hermana has here, is that their husband was a drunk, eventually joined and now is a strong member and leader in the branch. hopefully that will be the case.

i had an interesting experience that happend one day after we ate. there is a situation here where a man needs the prophets permission to get baptized, but lately hasnt been completing with what he needs to to receive that permission. we walked out of eating and found half the family crying outside. We started talking and found out that they had been talking with this man and it was a sensitive moment. for probably the first time in my mission i was at a loss of words. i didnt know what to teach, where to go, what to say, nothing. it was strange and not a good feeling. I prayed super hard that i would be guided and just started talking.i was really scared, knowing what i said would probably determine what the family would do in this problem they were having. I learned a lot from this experience. as i spoke i felt guided by the spirit. i was able to find out what they needed. and find some words of peace to help resolve the confict and help them progress. it ended in them making promises to each other and to god.

families are so important in this eternal plan that god has for us. contention of any degree really has great consequences. i have seen the amazing affects that the gospel has on the lives of families that join the church and i have seen the bad affects of ppl that fall away and lose that joy of daily life that god offers us. nothing is more important than unity and peace in the home. reading and praying together, having family nights and helping one another is the way we can have that peace. there was a lot that happened this week that made me think and see the importance of families.


elder smith