Monday, February 20, 2012


Hello everyone. it was another great week here in mexico and i am learning a lot from these experiences. 

tuesday we had a lot of cool lessons. we were able to also have a meeting with president castañeda. it was valentines day. here it is called the day of friendship and love so there were a bunch of ppl outside and ppl selling pillows and stuffed animals and things like that. in the meeting with pres castañeda we met with one of the assistants and the stake presidency and talked about the missionary work in minatitlan. it went well and we talked a lot about having a ward plan for activation and baptisms. i also got my package from mom so that was fun. 

wednesday i did diviciones with another companionship that isnt doing so well. we had a good day and we put three ppl on date to be baptized. it was a good day and i learned a lot form the other missionary as well. 

on thursday we watched the movie the restoration about the first vision of joseph smith with an investigator named cezar. he is building a house and we have taught him a few times in the last few weeks. he is really shy and it is hard to get out what he feels. we finished watching the movie and i asked him what he thought. he just sat there and stared at the blank screen of the little dvd player we brought and said. ¨its true´´. i felt the spirit so strongly. i know he knows, but we just have to help him complete with going to church so that he can be baptized. it is interesting to see the differences in ppl. it made me sad that some leave the church, satan uses intelligence to try and decieve us sometimes. every case where ppl are fooled by men we can read about and avoid by reading the book of mormon. as we read in 2 nephi 9.28-29.28 O that cunning aplan of the evil one! O the bvainness, and the frailties, and thecfoolishness of men! When they are dlearned they think they are ewise, and they fhearken not unto the gcounsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their hwisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish. 29 But to be alearned is good if they bhearken unto the ccounsels of God.

as we seek revelation and guidance by the spirit in humility and faith, god always answers. i am able to see it everyday. everytime i see it my faith grows. i know god lives and answers us, but he waits for us to look for him before he shows us. 

saturday was the baptism for hno vicente. he was a miracle. we fasted and made a promise to god before finding him last week. we said we would contact 80 ppl in two days (talk to someone of the street and invite them to meet with us) and we also fasted. his wife talked to us on the street and asked us to go by. we found him and he had been reading the book of mormon the last 4 years since the missionaries had taught him. he is really special and has a ton of faith. it was hard preparing but the baptism went really well and we had support from the members and the spirit was there. 

sunday was an amazing day. vicente was confirmed a member of the church and also josue, who was baptized two weeks ago was given the priesthood (authority and power that god gives to man) and was ordained a deacon. josue's mom, lorena, will be baptized either this week or the following and is keeping a strong testimony and strengthening even though she is receiving lots of opposition.

i love the mission and am thankful for all of the blessings that i have. i am gratefull for each of you my family and friends and hope that all is well at home. tomorrow i complete 19 months and i dont even know what happened to the last month. it is cliche but time does fly by. i am going to work hard and hopefully be the means of helping many more people here come unto christ.


elder smith

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Hola familia, 

it was another great week here in minatitlan veracruz. i am learning a lot and seeing the lords hand in everything, both good and bad. it was a week that i was able to really focus on seeing things in another light and staying positive even in dificulties. it was easy to be positive when everything was going great but it was a good experience to feel the lord help me to be motivated and happy even when there were some trials and then see how he blessed us as we obeyed. 

this week we didnt have our baptism of the hna lorena, the mom of josue and erick who were baptized a week ago. it was sad. her husband who had said before how he was going to be baptized with her came back and said he didnt want her to either. we decided we were going to go and visit and see if he would talk to us. we fasted and prayed and that day went and walked to the house. when we got there we talked to josue a little and the dad walked out and i stuck out my hand to say hi and he didnt take it ha. he asked us to leave but wasnt super angry. he is a good guy and i could tell he wasnt accustomed to being mean ha, but he wouldnt listen when we tried to talk. we complimented him on his amazing family and then left. it wasnt the outcome we had fasted and prayed for, but i felt peaceful about it. as i prayed that night i could feel more what the plan is for this family. they will still make it, but they need a few more experiences before they can all be together in the gospel. everything happens in the lords time if we have faith. and lorena, josue and erick have plenty of faith and are progressing really well. 

we found a great family. a week ago we were walking and a car pulled out of the drive way. when they were all the way out about to close the door and drive away, a ball came rolling out of the house and at my feet. i picked up the ball, the lady got out of the car with her two kids inside and then i talked to her a little and she invited us to come back. she said that she and her husband needed help with their kids and their family. they have traveled around the world literally. inside the house they have pictures of france, africa, egypt, and lots of other places. we shared the family a proclamation to the world with them and they loved it. there was a strong spirit there. i know that the gospel unites the family and makes a family eternal, together even after death. that really is the whole purpose of the gospel.

there were transfers tuesday and half the zone left and we have new elders now. the transfers are always good and the missionaries are excited and working hard. hopefully we will have 11 baptisms this next week in the zone so that we are on track for the goal for the month. 

so there were some hard things this week but there were also miracles. one day on the street a lady said hi to us and asked us to come see her husband. turns out her husband has gone to church before and has been reading the book of mormon the last 4 years since the missionaries left. he has a date to be baptized this saturday and came to church yesterday. he is 71 and pretty old and thought the book of mormon was just another version of the bible, but we have been helping him to understand and he is excited for his baptism and is going to be a great new member of the church of jesus christ. 

while we were teaching a lesson outside a house this week an old man rode by on his bike and yelled, "dont let them fool you! dont listen!". it was sad, because he doenst even know what we teach. later on in the lesson i referenced to that man. the family we are teaching is a daughter and her three kids, the dad hasnt wanted to yet. the mom is named rosio and has tons of questions. i bore my testimony of how i know that this is the true church of jesus christ and how everything we teach is true. i know it through prayer. i asked god and he answered me through the holy ghost. i felt something in my heart and in every part of my body that is a joy and peace unlike any other that there is. i have asked more than a few times and everytime i ask, with faith and diligently seeking the answer i have received one. i told her that it doesnt matter what anyother person says, god answered me and i know its true. she is progressing really well, despite some questions and was affected by that testimony. hopefully in a few weeks her family will be able to be baptized. 

i love you all and miss you a ton. time here is flying by and its hard to think too much about what day or month it is, but im trying to enjoy every moment. have a great next week. 


elder smith

Thursday, February 9, 2012


hello everybody. it was another great week here in minatitlan, veracruz. we are working hard and learning a lot and able to help a lot of people this week progress. The biggest things that happened this week were that we had our stake conference, and also we had the zone leader counsel. some random things that happened this week. i heard the song bohemian rhapsody in a taxi one day, and saw a commercial for the movie hocus pocus the disney one about the witches and the candle and the talking cat ha. it brought back memories. there was some other stuff too but i dont write much down like that so i dont remember really well.

stake conference was awesome. we had a 70 come and talk to us and he did really great in bringing the sprit and exciting the members to work. there is a really big focus on missionary work here and on missionaries. sometimes i think at home we forget about that part of our calling as members of the church. he said the missionaries are the specialists in teaching, but we (members of the church) are the specialists in finding and telling our friends. it really is the truth. missionary work is thought of by many as tracting (knocking on doors, talking to people in streets) but to be honest that is the least effective use of a missionaries time. we are forced to do a lot of tracting though, because members dont give too many references. usually it is just because they are worried about what their friends will think or do, but it always turns out well. if you explain that you would like to share it with them because you love them and want them to have blessings, the worst thing anyone could say is no. but many will say yes, and many will be able to receive blessings if we all opened our mouths more about the gospel, that is the most important thing we have in this life. 

he shared a cool video of a group of young men in a ward. they started out with 1 youth that moved to the area, and ended with 26 active young men. all because they invited their friends and cousins and brothers. i would recommend watching it and sharing it. its very powerful. 

pres castañeda also came and gave some great talks. we did really well in our arrangment of be still my soul, or in spanish eres tu mi salvador. and overall it was great. about 4 weeks ago we put the goal for the assistence with the stake president of 700 people. we ended with 750 people in the stake which is really great! a lot better than normal. elder medina and i spent a whole day giving out invitations we made, and planned with member to go visit and intive. and it went well..

the zone leader counsel was really powerful. it was great because the mission did well as a whole. our focus is consistence right now. last month our focus was positivity. and now it is be positive and consistence. these are principles that are really important in life. i was reading an old letter i had that talked about being positive. of seeing the good in everything, even common things. a sink of dishes means god blessed you with food to eat. being positive is esential in life. i have developed a phrase that i said to a girl in my ward who was looking sad one day and i have used it a bit since when i said. "happiness is a decision. decide to be happy" life isnt as much what happens to us, but how we react to what happens. 

a cool experience is that this week josue and erick came to church with their mom who hopefully is baptized this week when her husband comes. i found out that josue saved money all week so that he could buy a white shirt, so that he could come to church in a white shirt and tie. it was way cool to hear. and the mom who isnt a member is really interested in paying tithing and living everything. 

the gospel is such a blessing in life. i know that this is the true church of jesus christ and that we have a living prophet today that is guided by christ directly. i love you all and miss you very much and hope that this next week goes amazingly. 


elder smith 


Hello everyone. it sounds like you had a great week. i sure did. we were able to witness a ton of miracles and i am super excited to keep working hard and see what else is in store here in minatitlan. 

all the kids that you see were in our zone. i taught them a week or so ago on exchanges and did the interveiws for them all. some of which were actually kinda hard. they have lots of hardships but it is amazing to see their energy and their spirit. we went all together to the baptism after the interview in the back of a semi truck. there were like 24 ppl in it haha. it was fun though. 

also there are some funny stuff kids have said this week. the bishops daughter who is like 8 said while we were eating to the boy we dont know. "this is elder smith and elder medina." the boy responded "ew! i tried that once but didnt like it." he thought she was saying what the food was. apparently elder smith and elder medina doesnt taste very good haha. also the bishops daughters are in the other ward that shares our building and are lots of fun. they are like 4 and 6 or something. inbetween classes i go and dance with them, which consists of spinning them around and around and around in circles haha. they are a lot of fun and always run up to me and say hi. there are lots of little kids like that, so its lots of fun.

this week was super great in the zone. we finished with 19 baptisms in the zone. that is the best the zone has done in a long time so we´re really excited. we are going to try and keep it up so that the mission can raise the bar and be better. 

josue es amazing really. he tells me everyday that we go over, how excited he is to go on the mission. he says stuff like. "oh i wish i was 15, becasue if i was 15 id only have to wait 3 more years to be a missionary, but thats good i have 5 years so that i can be an even more powerful missionary." also "elder valedo, sounds good huh?". he is super amazing. he said a prayer at the end of the baptism and everyone was super amazed at how much he knew and how spiritual it was. i told them that. he is really cool and super excited to keep learning and progressing. 

the day before the baptism we were on exchanges. i went and had the interviews with them and they all passed. at about 8 at night we got a call that said the pump wasnt working to drain the water in the font. so we went to try and fix that. when we got there it was already working, but we took the opportunity to trade back companions and went and visited the bishop to make sure everything was great for the baptism the next day. the bishop changed the time on us. so we ran around telling everyone a different time and stopped by with lorena josue and erick. arriving there lorena asked us to come in. we didnt have much time but we went in. she told us that her husband called her. he works far away for 2 months and comes back for just like 3 days and is gone again. lorena had told us that before he had told her that if she changed religions he would divorce her. he knew we were teaching her and hopefully everything would work out well. he called which she said he never does, just sends messages normally. he said " what did you all do?!". she said nothing but that the next day they would be baptized. he then went on to relate that he had had dreams all that week where he saw his familiy being baptized by "gringos" haha. he then expressed how he felt and that he felt happy different than before, and that he started to cry on the phone. she told us that that has never happened before. he told her to wait that that if she wanted to be baptized, that they would do it together. I was amazed and felt the spirit very powerfully as she related this experience. here is a man who before wanted a divorce if his wife changed. he felt the spirit, and god showed his path. i had been praying the last two weeks and fasted specifically that the lord would touch his heart and that he would feel the spirit. god answered our prayers.  the spirit has power to soften even the hardest of hearts. 

i love you all and miss you very much. hope all is well and that the picture come through. i go to villahermosa tomorrow for the zone leader conference so that shoud be fun. 

elder smith