Called to Serve in the Honduras, Tegucigalpa mission. July 2013-July 2015

Called to Serve in the Honduras, Tegucigalpa mission.  July 2013-July 2015
"I love my mission! I am so grateful to be here!." ~Elder Smith

Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year

Hola Hola!

This is weird.... I feel like I just talked to you guys or something... haha oh yeah, that's right, I did! (: 

Christmas in the mission rocks! Talking to my family was honestly so refreshing! It was a little weird at first! I was like, "Whoa, they really do exist!" But that went away after about three seconds and I was just really grateful for the chance to talk to my family! haha You all looked so good and sounded really good too! What a great present for Christmas!

It sounds like you guys have been having a really busy week, and a really busy Christmas break! I remember the good old days with all of our entire family at Grandma's house for Christmas! I miss those days! I'm glad those traditions didn't die with me going on a mission. haha I was a little worried that all you would be able to talk about was how much you missed me! (; But I guess that you guys were able to break through the depression and enjoy your time together!

So I got a package today! That box you sent with the family from Utah found its way to me clear down here in Honduras!  The son had served in a couple of areas down here in Choluteca, he and his parents were visiting for Christmas and were here today. So we took a picture together with the package that they carried all the way to Honduras just for me! haha

The day after Christmas I saw the craziest car crash ever! Elder Arteaga and I were walking, about to cross this street, when a truck and a taxi hit each other. They just kinda scraped each other, and it wasn't too bad at first. But the truck over-corrected trying to regain control and ended up rolling like three times right there in front of us! It was like an action movie! So we ran over to the truck thinking for sure this guy was dead. But he was just fine! A little shaken up obviously, bumps and bruises, but no broken bones or anything! It probably didn't seem like it to him, but I think it was a miracle! That guy should be dead, but he is still alive and with his family today! 

Well I love you all! I hope you have a great new year and that we can all work together to make it the best year this world has ever seen!!

Love Elder Smith

Monday, December 23, 2013

Feliz Navidad!

Hola Hola!!!

Feliz Navidad! I can't believe that it's already Christmas! There are a couple of big milestones you hit while you're serving a mission, and apparently your first Christmas is one of them! So tomorrow is Christmas here in Honduras. People celebrate Christmas on the 24th, haha, so today is kinda like Christmas Eve! And then the next day is real Christmas and I get to talk with my family!!!! I'm pretty excited for that! The bishop is letting us use the church's wifi, and we are borrowing a couple of computers from some members too! It's going to be great! I can't wait to hear from all of you!

Sounds like things are going really well for all of you!  Congratulations Stef on your new calling!!! Work hard and try to magnify your calling! And Dad with the Lehi basketball team haha that's sweet! Keep up the good work! Mom with your chime choir! That was always the best sounding musical piece of any program! And that's awesome that you guys got to see Margaret and her family! Tell them I say hi when you see them, ok!

This week is a little weird! A lot of the members are out of town, visiting family and stuff. But pretty much everyone else has invited us over to eat tamales and tarretas which are kinda like french toast! Oh my gosh everything is so rico!!! haha Christmas down here is something different though. IT IS SO HOT!!!  It just keeps getting hotter and hotter every day, there have been some winds that have been helping a little, but its insane!

Anyway, I just want to remind you all that there is a deeper meaning to this time of year than just the presents and the trees and the snow and the candy. I think it is kind of amazing that the whole world pretty much has come together in creating the best holiday in the world, in memory of the birth of our Savior! At times the true meaning gets lost, but that's really what it is! People are more open to the spirit right now, and everyone is just happier! I love it! Try to find an opportunity to share the gospel with someone through this door that is automatically opened by this time of year! (: 

Love you a lot! Talk to you soon!! (:

-Elder Smith

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The More the Storm, the More the Strength

Hola, Hola! 

What a week! I'm going to start with a story. So we are teaching this really old guy named Bonifasio! I mean OLD!! He's 88 and just crazy! He can never remember what we have taught him the day before or anything. But he likes to talk to us. On Friday we went over there, and we went over the First Vision with him. We got to the part where we show the picture of Joseph Smith while he was praying, with Christ and Heavenly Father appearing to him. So my comp said, "So, Joseph Smith decided to ask God which of the churches was true. And this is a picture of his experience (pointing to God and Jesus).  Bonifasio, who do you think these people are?"  He thought about it and looked at us, then said with a face completely serious, "I'm pretty sure that they are the Jehovah´s Witnesses."  haha It was so funny! We both could not stop laughing! It was hilarious! Here we are, two Mormon missionaries, teaching about the first vision, and this guy thinks that it was the Jehovah´s Witnesses who appeared to Joseph Smith when he prayed! Haha it was great!

Also this week we had our Christmas party! We drove up to Tegus this Thursday and had a little program with all the final testimonies of all the elders that are going home this change! The spirit was very strong! Then we had a little dinner, and sang some songs. President gave us all a little gift with a cool little fold out card with all of the faces of all the missionaries in the mission right now. And then we got to play soccer! It was great!

Besides that it was really a non-eventful week. We worked hard and tried to follow the spirit. But anyway, I'm going to get back to my story about Bonifasio.

So, it was super funny! Probably one of the funniest moments of my mission. But then when we went back to his house on Saturday he was super mad at us. This old guy who could never remember what we had talked about the day before, couldn't tell who we were, or even which church we represented, but he remembered that we had laughed at his answer. He told us to leave and that he didn't respect us. We spent probably 30 minutes begging for forgiveness from this old man, but in the end he told us to leave. This has been hurting me! I have been thinking about this a lot. Was it a sin for me to laugh at that comment? Because I couldn't have held it in. I have been repenting of it every day in my prayers, but it doesn't feel like it is going away. I don't know if it was a sin or if it was just an unfortunate thing that happened.

Later that day we were with our ZLs because they live down the street. Elder Elgreen could tell that I was upset and shared a poem with me. It's called Good Timbers. This is a part of it: 

Good timber does not grow with ease,
The stronger the wind, the stronger the trees,
The further the sky, the greater the length, 
The more the storm, the more the strength.

By sun and cold and rain and snow
In trees and and men good timbers grow
Where thickest lie the forest growth,
We find the partiarchs of both

And they hold counsel with the stars
Whose broken branches show the scars
Of many winds and of much strife,
This is the common law of life.

 I don't know if this is just a wind that I'm supposed to get through, but this poem is very true. I'm going to use this experience to grow! I think that is part of the purpose of going on a mission, to make mistakes and grow from them! I would like some advice on what to do, or some feedback. What do you guys think?

Anyway, I hope you all have a great week! I love you all!

Love, Elder Smith

Monday, December 9, 2013

I Have Had My Eyes Opened!

Hola, Hola!

Oh my gosh, missions are so much harder when you have to make all the decisions every day! I am so grateful for Elder Glassett and everything that he did for me! I didn't realize how hard it is. I have had my eyes opened! But I think I'm adjusting to it pretty well.

We have been working super hard! We have knocked on a lot of doors in the past week! Most people here in Honduras don't like turning away people who are preaching the Palabra de Dios (word of God). So we get into most houses. And we are starting to have some success! We met this guy named Jose. He's about 17 and he is super concerned with things of God. He got in a car crash a little while back and has problems with his leg and hip now, so we shared with him the Plan of Salvacion and how he can have a perfect body again after this life.  He seemed to like that! He's ready to receive the gospel!

My Spanish has also gotten like 20 times better in just these short few days that I have spent with Elder Arteaga! He has been helping me a ton! Plus, I have felt help from heaven. There have been times when I can remember some little rule, or I will remember what I read in El Libro de Mormon, and times when I can speak really well! It is really cool. I think that this change is the time that I need to grow the most so far out of all my time in the mish! But that also means that it is going to be really hard! I have a quote on the back of my agenda that says, "Self Is created, not found." And that is what I have been working on for the past couple of weeks. 

Anyway this week I went on divisions with Elder Clawson. He is from Arizona and he is a stud! We had to go secure a paper for a wedding (because they can't do that over the internet here in Honduras so we have to go and physically pick up all of our papers...) But it was in this little village like three hours by bus into the mountains called Concepción de Maria. The bus ride sucked! But when we finally got there it was such a cool little pueblo!!

After that we drove back and went to this little place called Monte Carlo to do some interviews for baptisms. This little pueblo had NO light, NO running water, their houses were made out of sticks, mud, and cardboard. But they were so happy! I was so overwhelmed by how happy they were with how little they had! I will never forget that little place. 

Anyway, sounds like everything is going well!! Dad's team is winning! GO LEHI! Stefanie is a champ running the whole school play! That sucks that Real Salt Lake lost, but they had a great season.

I was able to watch the First Presidency Christmas devotional! And the whole time I was listening to the words that the prophet and apostles were saying I was thinking about how my family was watching the same thing at the same moment that I was! (: I was glad I was able to enjoy that with you even though we are far away. We watched it in a member's house and she cooked us a really nice meal and it was just a really good evening! When Elder Nelson talked about the Savior I felt the spirit so strongly! I love this time of year! 

Anyway, I love you so much! Hope you all have a great week! 

Love, Elder Smith

Monday, December 2, 2013

Big Week and a New Companion

Hola Hola!

It's been a pretty big week for me...changes were this last week... I'm no longer with Elder Glassett, I'm Comp Mayor (I don´t know how to say that in English...) I'm with a Latin, and I AM TRAINING!!!!! Oh my gosh!!!! 

My new companion's name is Elder Arteaga, he is from Ecuador.

He's a really cool guy! Super nice, a little interesting, but overall we are going to get along very well I think! But he speaks absolutely no English! Well, except the words racoon, monkey, I am beautiful, and a few others that he has asked me about. But we can only communicate in Spanish! My Spanish has already gotten a lot better I feel like! I still make a lot of mistakes but the gift of tongues is freaking real!

It's strange being in charge of what we do now. I used to just kinda wait for Elder Glassett to tell us where we were going, but now I have to make plans and remember people's names a whole lot better, and decide where we are going to contact, and who we are going to ask to help us and stuff like that! It's definitely weird! but also a very good learning experience and I'm glad I am getting it early in my mission! It will help me a lot.

The night we heard about changes we had a little family night at the house of our cocinera (cook lady) and they all expressed their love for the four of us who had been there, Elders Glassett, Pau'u, Moran and me and they all said that we are family and if we ever visit, we would be welcome there and it was honestly such a spiritual moment. The kid Ricardo broke down and said how we had been really good examples for him and how he wants to serve a mission now and it was very, very spiritual! I felt so much love from these people! It was amazing! I will never forget that night.

Thursday didn't even feel like Thanksgiving at all to me!!! I actually kind of forgot that it was Thanksgiving because so much was going on! Change day, going up to Tegucigalpa, getting a new comp, about a million things happened, I didn't have time to think about it! But it sounds like you guys had a great little family get together! I miss all my little cousins! You guys rock! But just think, I only have one more thanksgiving away from you guys! (;

Well, I love you guys a lot! I hope you all have a good week! Pretty soon we will get to talk on the phone! (: I´m excited for Christmas for that reason!!! 

Love Elder Smith!

P.S. I got a Christmas package! We now have a little arbolito (tree) sitting in our living room!!! haha We have a bunch of Christmas spirit in our house! 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I Made It Through The Elections!!

Hola Hola!!

First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY RACHEL!!! YOU ARE SO OLD!!! haha I hope it was a great one! 

 I made it through the elections!!! After three long days locked up in my house, about a million push ups, endless reading hours, one huge card tower, all of my laundry cleaned, a billion throws against the wall with my bouncy ball, a ton of food, like five naps, and a whole lot of being really bored I'm finally free again!!! And honestly things were super tranquilo down here in the south anyway... stupid elections wasting the Lord's time. But I guess a little descansito (resting) wasn't really that bad. I'm very excited to get to work though, that is for sure.

In other news, I'm going to miss Thanksgiving so much!!!! I didn't realize how much I loved that holiday until now! I think the plan is to go to KFC down here so we can at least be eating some kind of bird. But even though it won't be the same feast, I'm still using this time to be extra grateful for the things that I have, and I encourage everyone else to do the same, and be a little more expressive of your thanks in your prayers to our Heavenly Father!

I hit my four-month mark on Sunday! This is crazy, it feels like I just barely left for the MTC, and I'm already done with one sixth of my mish... it makes me realize that we have such a great responsibility to fulfill, and such a short time to do it.

"You gotta GO NOW!" I remember Dad yelling that to me in the middle of cross country races. It was crazy how I could be in the middle of the biggest crowd of parents and coaches, and everyone would be yelling their own advice to their own runners. But I could always pick out Dad's voice. And it would always help me push a little bit harder, and run a little faster. I think that is what the Lord is doing to all of us now. We live in a world with a lot of crazy stuff going on, but if we listen to the right voices we will be able to find that strength to push a little harder. 

I'm glad you are all doing OK, and I hope you all have a great week! I'll be thinking of you guys in St. George this Thursday!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Love, Elder Smith

P.S. haha I'm totally getting facial hair!!!! Check it out! This is after five days! I was locked up so no rules were broken...

(Mom, I leave full discretion to you over whether you should put this up or not cause I'm kinda in my garments...)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Election Week

WE GOT TO PLAY SOCCER TODAY!!!!! IT WAS GLORIOUS!!! IT HAD BEEN LIKE 3 MONTHS SINCE I HAD PLAYED SOCCER! Do you know how hard that has been for me?? And holy crap, my touch needs some work! haha 

Soccer had been banned from our mission because some Elder broke his foot, but after a whole lot of missionaries asked and prayed for it to be brought back, President Hernandez finally cracked! Plus, the kid who broke his foot is back in the mission and is now my zone leader so he's obviously doing alright... anyway, he was the one who told us that it is back! haha

We also received some info on what's going to happen this week. So, as I'm sure you don't know, this week is elections for Honduras, which means that there is a whole lot of excitement going on. President had a conference with the Area Presidency who said that the Mission Department is pretty worried about us. So we aren't allowed to leave our houses at all on Saturday through Monday. So I won't be able to write until at least Tuesday next week! And we have to buy at least five days' worth of food and water just in case things get really crazy! We also went over our mission evacuation plan just in case we have to get 200 missionaries out of the country as fast as possible...... it is apparently kind of a big deal...but don't worry mom...I'll probably be fine (; haha

Anyway sounds like things are moving right along back at home! I can't believe that basketball season is already starting up! And so many people are getting their mission calls! That's awesome. I'm glad Stefanie is doing so well.  But I can still tumble better than her. haha Sounds like everything is going great! I love you all.

Love Elder Smith 

Monday, November 11, 2013

My Favorite Day of My Mission So Far!

Hola Hola!

I got to go to the temple this week!!!! It was amazing! It is so beautiful! I love the temple!

Ok here's the story!  So about a year ago, my companion, Elder Glassett, baptized a family.  You have to wait for a year to do your endowments after you have been baptized. So we are home on Tuesday I think, just chillin, when we get a call, and its Carlos and he's super excited and he invites us to come to his endowment and sealing!! So then on Thursday we drove up to Tegus and we get to do an endowment, (plus the new video was there and it is AMAZING!!!) and then right after we got done we went straight to the sealing room and we were able to watch that as well! It was by far my favorite day of my mission so far! Days like that make all the hard things of the mission seem very small. Even though they weren't people who I had found and taught or baptized, I still felt so much love for them and with them as they made their family an eternal one. It was just a beautiful thing to watch their kids come in and kneel across the alter. I loved it! 

The other days of this week were good as well... just kind of uneventful. Sunday was this girl's birthday from our district so we wrote her a rap and sang it to her today! haha It was awesome! It is not letting me send the video, but I will find a way!!! 

I had a dream about my sister Rachel the other day, so I decided to write her a letter, then I thought I should probably write letters to all of my family.  So you guys can expect a letter in like 3 months probably. haha  But just know they are coming!

Well I love you all a lot! It sounds like everything is going well. I hope you all know that the church is true!! Cause it is!  And if you want to know more about the gospel go talk to the missionaries! Those guys know a whole lot of stuff about this stuff! Honestly, I wish I would have been more open and sharing about the gospel while I was still in high school, and before my mission! So I encourage each of you to share it more! Cause it is true, and people might not accept it right now, but when you get to heaven they are all going to be like, "You were so right!!! I'm so sorry for not listening to you! Thank you so much for trying to help me out!" And you will realize that it was worth it! 

-Elder Smith

Monday, November 4, 2013

You Learn a Lot of Really Cool Stuff on Missions!

Hola, Hola!!

Como esta todo en los Estados Unidos??? Espero que todo este bien! (How is everything in the United States?  I hope that it is all good!) Haha I'm working on the subjunctive! (verb form) It's coming along! 

Anyway, happy Halloween everyone!!! I hope it was really fun for everybody. Halloween here is called La Dia De Las Brujas, which means the day of the witches and it is not really a good day...people stay inside and don't go out that day because they think dark spirits are going to get them or something. We actually weren't allowed to work that night at all. It was a nice little break.  

One good thing about Halloween this year was I got a package from my mom!!! I am so grateful for this package!!! haha The gold fish are actually already all gone in this picture... but I figured they still deserved a place in the box!!! 

I also got a couple of letters!! So if you have sent me a letter and I haven't written back, it's not because I hate you or because I'm not going to, it's just that I hadn't gotten them until last Jueves. (Thursday)

I am glad our tradition of carving pumpkins is still going strong! It looks like it was fun! I missed burger beef stew!!! But we don't eat too bad out here. We made homemade McGriddles this morning! Oh my gosh, they were delicious! 

I'm actually becoming a pretty good cook! You learn a lot of really cool stuff on missions! Like how to cook, how to do laundry by hand, how to pretend like you know what's going on, cosas así! (things like that!) haha Who would have thought?

My comp is our district leader. So this week we had to go to the Hermana's area to do the baptismal interview for some of their investigators. We decided to walk cause it "wasn't that far".  Then like 7 miles later we finally got to Yusguare! 

When we got there we went to the cita (appointment) with them and they taught a lesson. I was so impressed with the way they taught! The spirit was so strong and they were very united. It was amazing! It is no wonder that the age for sister missionaries was lowered, because sister missionaries rock!!! I was very impressed. So for any of you girls out there reading my letters home, because I know there are thousands of you...(haha that was a joke!!!  My confidence is at an all time high! And it has never even really been low!  It might be because of three months of walking around Honduras with every single girl staring at us just because we're gringo talking. Mom, feel free to take that part out if you want!)...if you feel like you need to serve a mission, I really encourage you to do that! It is incredible the difference you can make.

I love and miss you all!!! I hope you have a great November! 

-Elder Smith

Monday, October 28, 2013

Zone Conference

Hola, Hola!

This week we had Zone Conference! It was a pretty dang good experience! 

Elder Ochoa, A member of the 2nd Quorum of the Seventy came and talked to us. He is an amazing man. He had us all come up one by one and shake his hand. While he was shaking my hand and looking into my eyes I felt like he knew everything about me! He has the gift of discernment for sure! But it was such a good experience. He talked to us about our animo (or excitement level...kind of), and how at times the way that the devil works against us isn't just getting us to sin, but also in the way we feel. It made me think about Elder Holland's talk at conference.  Maybe it's a little bit of a bigger deal than we realize. If you are ever feeling down in the dumps turn to the scriptures. I read 2nd Nephi:4 the other day and it talks about how Nephi was feeling a little down. But he found a good way to overcome it. Go read it and find out what he did.

Elder Ochoa let us have a little question and answer session with him after he was done talking. Someone stood up and said, "I know that everyone has their free agency, and they are allowed to choose for themselves if they want to accept the gospel or not, but I also know that I have a lot of responsibility to the Lord to be the best teacher I can be. How can I tell if I did all I can, but they just used their free agency and decided not to accept. Or if I did something wrong or didn't teach it the right way?"  Elder Ochoa responded, "In this life, you will never know."

What a terrible answer! But it is one that has been making me think about it. What do you guys think?

I can't believe its already Halloween! They don't have Halloween here.... It sucks! Stefanie, you better go trick-or-treating for me this week! haha I'm sad that I am missing our jack-o-lantern tradition with Bryan and Katie! That is always so much fun! Carve a good pumpkin for me, Dad! 

I love and miss you all! 

Love, Elder Smith

Monday, October 21, 2013

Rainy Season in Honduras

Hola, Hola!
     I am going to hit three months this week! Holy cow! This is going fast! I finished my first change in the field on Miercoles! (Wednesday)  They say the first change is the hardest, so its all a slide down hill from here! (Ok, no one says that but maybe I can trick myself into believing it!) There are a bunch of cool new elders in our zone, and I got to eat Little Caesars while I was in Tegus! Changes rock! The only bad thing about completing a change is that some of my friends are gone now... Elders Uasila'a, De León, and Mendosa, and Hermana Mejea all left our zone, which was sad! But Elder Mendosa is the new AP, and Hermana Mejea is the hermana AP.  So my zone rocked!

     I also went on my first divisions this week!!! I went with Elder Clawson in Tapaire, which is this little pueblo in the middle of the mountains! But the people there rock! I felt like I was just another member of their village, they were so nice. While I was there the Obispo (bishop) invited an organization to come and give out some uniforms to the kids there. It was awesome! They were so happy, and the spirit was so strong! But then the Obispo said, "Now you all better come to church, or we won't give you any more free stuff!" UGH.....There is so much freaking apostasy in Honduras!!! It sucks! But besides that divisions were pretty fun! Its good to learn other styles of missionary life!

     Yesterday Elder Glassett and I got SOAKED! We were at a member's house, and it was raining.  Also, The Parent Trap movie was on because the kids were watching it! Not really important but I thought I should add that in, I love that movie! But then it sounded like the rain was letting up so we left. But before we had gone like 30 feet it turned into a freaking torrent of rain!!! But we had to get to home so we just kept going! Then this truck drove past and stopped for us to get in so we jumped in the back and he started going. I was stoked about it, because we were so wet that it had gone past the point of being stupid and was just awesome! But my comp was not happy! haha This was our conversation:

Me- This is awesome!!!

Comp- This is freaking stupid.

Me- I love Honduras!!!

Comp- Only 8 more months.

Me- This is so cool!

Comp- Why are you doing this to me God??

haha It was so funny! When we got home and jumped out of the truck we landed in like a foot of water! But I only get two rainy seasons here in Honduras so I might as well enjoy them right?

     Anyway, it was a pretty good week! I hope Dad's ankle is doing ok, i will pray for him. Keep me updated about that one. I love you all and hope everything is going well! 

Love, Elder Smith

Monday, October 14, 2013

You Get Blessings For Going to Church!

Hola Hola!!

     How is it already fall break?? School used to take longer when I was doing it, I swear.  But it sounds like you guys are getting into the holiday season! They don't celebrate Halloween here! Or Thanksgiving either, obviously... so really the "holiday season" is just Christmas. You guys will have to go trick-or-treating for me! And eat a lot of turkey for me too!

      I have been to five baptisms here so far, and one wedding, and they have all been for two or three people! My zone is really great! Elder Glassett and I have been working hard, and have been really close with a few different families and people. But we haven't been able to get anyone baptized just yet. But that's OK, people have their agency and this is all part of God's plan! I'm not going to base the success of my misión on how many baptisms I am able to play a part in, I'm going to base my success on how hard I work. That is my gift to the Lord during my time here.

     So I have a funny story about my journal. Elder Glassett and I usually go to the other elders' house every night to just hang out after we get done working, so I brought my journal over to write in it.  But this particular night there were other elders there as well because they had a baptism early the next morning and they lived like an hour away so they decided to spend the night. So I left my journal there, and Elder Hatch (who is actually cousins with this kid I know, Jeff, who played soccer for USA Club and who ran cross country for Murray. I really like the kid!) accidentally took it with him to the church. So I searched all over my house for it, and all over the other house for it. I asked Elder Hatch, and he said he remembered leaving it at the church, but he wasn't sure.  So we went to the church but we couldn't find it. I thought I had lost it again... I was so frustrated! But then the next week at church I found it completely by chance in a drawer in the kitchen! haha This just shows that you get blessings for going to church! So go to church people! And bring a friend, too!

      This morning we woke up and went on a hike about 5 minutes away from Nicaragua!  It was amazing! I'll attach some pictures! 

     I am very grateful for the opportunity I have to be here in Honduras, serving these people, and my Lord and Savior Jesús Christ! I finished the Book of Mormon this week, and I would like to add to what my cousin, Elder Kindred, said in his testimony this week. I know that this book is true! I know that by living and applying the things we learn from that book, we will be blessed! I know it is true because I have received an answer from the Holy Ghost to my prayer when I asked my Heavenly Father if it was true! I invite all of you to do the same. Read it! Pray about it! Then read it again! 

Love, Elder Smith

The words behind us mean "unforgetable memories", and it is a famous spot among missionaries here in the south.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Thoughts are Powerful

Hola, Hola!

     What a blessing it is to have prophets who speak to us! I do remember the moment vividly when President Monson changed the misión age! What a great moment with my mom! (In response to this question from Mom..."Do you remember one year ago watching the Saturday morning session with me?" What a year it has been!) 

     Saturday morning session we went to the church, and sat with some of our investigators. It was very spiritual, but it was also kind of hard to understand. Apostles use big words! haha Then for the next session we didn't have any investigators so we jalón-ed (hitchhiked) to the church in Por Venir which is about ten minutes away and we watched it in the "Gringo Room"! It was fantastic! There is so much power in the actual voices of the apostles and of the prophet! The interperators do their best, and they do a great job, but they can't replace that same power and authority.  My notes from the sessions from the Gringo Room are significantly better than the ones I took from the sessions in Spanish.  Mom, will you please send me a copy of the conference Ensign in my Christmas package?

     Stefanie! you went to Imagine Dragons?!? That is awesome! I do remember telling you that!  

     (In response to this excerpt from an email from Stefanie..."This week out of the blue I was asked by a friend if I wanted to go to the Imagine Dragons concert with her.  I was really excited and kind of amazed because just earlier that week I was telling Mom and Dad how badly I wanted to go.  When this happened it reminded me of you, because you once told me, 'Good things happen to me because I expect them to.'  Haha, dorrrk!  I don't know if you even remember telling me that, but I thought it was really cool and it kind of changed my perspective on things.  Sooo, I've been trying to have the same outlook on things as you.") 

     And good things are still happening to me just because I expect them to! I'm glad I could pass that on to you. It works with other things too. If you expect to get good grades, it will work out that way. If you expect to go on a misión, one day you wake up and you are in Honduras! haha Thoughts are powerful!  Make sure you are telling them where to go. (: I love you, kid!  Oh, and write me your own email!

     I can't believe that Grandma and Grandpa are home from their mission already! How did that happen? It feels like they left last week. haah Maybe that is how it will be for me too.  But it sounds like a lot of fun.  I missed eating Navajo tacos this week, and going to dinner and priesthood sesh with Dad.  But it sounds like you guys had a great week! 

     Thank you for your prayers, they are felt and I really appreciate them! You guys are the best!

Love Elder Smith!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Prayer Works! It Really Does!

Hola, Hola!!! 

     First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM AND DAD!!! You guys are the best, eat some cake for me! And buy yourselves something nice and say it was from me, ok? haha

      Can you believe that I hit my two month mark this week? I couldn't even believe it! This has been the fastest two months of my life! But at the same time it feels like I have been doing this forever! I don't remember a time when I didn't wake up at 6:30 and then study for four hours... wow, I hope it slows down a little bit! 

     Did you know that prayer works??? Cause it really does! This week Elder Glassett decided that I was ready to go on splits with these two kids who leave on their missions in like a week. I was going all Nephi on it and saying, "If he thinks I'm ready then I am ready! The Lord will provide a way!"  So 7:00 rolls around, and he goes to teach a noche de Hogar, (family home evening) and I go to teach the first lesson to this lady who lives in Tegus but came down to visit her sister for a month. So me and Richard, the kid I was on splits with, get to her house and start teaching. I was expecting him to talk a lot because he is fluent in Spanish, but the kid doesn't say a word!!! Oh my gosh, I was trying so hard, and I was getting my point across but it was a struggle. I just remember praying, and asking for help in any way! Then out of nowhere, Elder Pau'u and Elder De Leon from the other area show up. They just knock on the door and walk in like angels sent straight from heaven.  And with their help we were able to get through the rest of the lesson and commit Brenda (the lady from Tegus) to be baptized! 
     After the lesson I asked Elder Pau'u, ¨Why on earth did you guys show up to her house at 7:30 on a Wednesday?¨ He told me that Brenda's sister was fixing his pants that had a hole in them. Maybe that was his reason to be there, but I know that the real reason they came was because Heavenly Father was answering my prayers.

     Can you guys please pray for Oliver, Junior, Luis, and Alexandro?  Ask that their father's heart might be softened so they can be baptized. They definitely need a little help from some prayers! 

     Oh!!! One More thing, we had a garra (war)  with these two kids this week!!! it was awesome! Whenever someone has a birthday in this country people crack eggs on their heads. Haha, so we went crazy on the son and daughter of the lady who cooks for us every day with flour, eggs, water, and mud! Because it was Kelly's, (the daughter) birthday, but Ricardo, (the son,) wanted to be on her side!!! It was awesome! haha

     The Church is true! I have seen the spirit influence people who were in the middle of a breakdown and comfort them to the point of being happier than they have ever been, and I have seen the spirit take people from being just fine, to crying so hard because of how strongly it testifies to them! I know that this church is true. 

Love, Elder Smith

Monday, September 23, 2013

I Wouldn't Trade This Opportunity For Anything

Hola Hola!! 

     Mom... I miss you so much!!! Sometimes I think about times when we would just sit and laugh about stupid stuff! I loved that! I hope you are having a great year teaching school! You are so great at what you do! And I know you love it.  I will never get a job that I do not love because I have seen you and Dad and how much you enjoy the work you do. You two have taught me how to enjoy life, thank you for that! Just know that your son has realized exactly how much he loves you and how much he appreciates his mother because for the first time in his life she isn't right there with him every step of the way. You are the best,  Mom!  

     Dad, there is so much you have done for me.  You have been the best example to me in the whole world.  An example of patience, of how to be a man, how to be a husband, of how to be a father, how to be a worthy priesthood holder. I know that I will never be able to repay you, but I will try my best to be as good of an example of those things for my future family, like the way Grandpa Smith was for you! You have made it a family tradition. I love you Dad. 

     Rachel, I miss my big sister so much! I hope married life is treating you soo well! I bet we are going through a similar experience of having to adjust to living with a companion ALL THE TIME WITH NO BREAKS EVER! It's kinda hard isn't it... but its OK! I have learned a whole lot about myself through this.  And I'm sure you have too.  Sometimes the best thing to do is just serve them.  There is a missionary saying, ¨It's hard to hate someone while you are shining their shoes."  It's very true. You are such a strong person that I'm sure this isn't too hard for you, but just know I'm praying for you! 

     Stefanie, my kid sister! How on earth are you starting 9th grade? That blows my mind! I am so excited for you though! You are going to have a bunch of great experiences! High school is a whole lot of fun! Pick a good group of friends, that is very important. And get involved with something if you aren't already. It makes the time go faster, and it's more fun. The most important thing that I want you to do though is make sure that you have a really strong relationship with your Father in Heaven! When you pray I want you to think of yourself as kneeling at the feet of God. Picture yourself right there with Him. Every once in a while pray out loud, it might feel weird, but it helps me keep my mind focused, my thoughts can't wander as much, and it is easier for me to feel the responses that DO ALWAYS COME!!! They come in one of three ways:  a thought, a feeling, or nothing. And when we don't receive an answer it is God trusting us to make the right decisión by ourselves! I love you and hope you are happy! 

     Everyone else... I miss you guys too!  

     Michael Campbell, you are the best friend I have ever had! I hope everything is going well!  WRITE ME A FREAKING E-MAIL, YOU PUNK! I miss you man. 

     My whole quorum and all my YM leaders back home, I miss you guys!  Caleb, you are the biggest stud I have ever met!  

     Joe, and Aaron, you guys are the best! If you haven't decided yet about serving a misión, just do it! It seems crazy... actually It IS crazy! but it is amazing at the same time!

     My soccer team, I miss you guys so much, I miss playing every day. But you are all great guys and i know you are going to go far in life. Dan and Jerry, thank you for teaching me so much about soccer and about life.  

     My cross country team, you have no idea how bad I want to be training right now! I miss it like crazy! Sometimes I think about those times that I stood on that starting line and compare it to where I am at right now. It's crazy but it gives me strength. Work hard at practice, It will help you later in life!   

     Coach Rowe, I miss you! I loved every practice, and every race I had with you. You were a great friend, and an even better coach. I will always remember the way I felt my sophomore year when we were goofing off and you called us on it! I wanted so bad to prove to you and to myself that I was going to work as hard as I could. Thank you for that!

     The rest of my family, on both sides. You guys are honestly the best!!! I think about all of our family reunions and how much fun they were! I hope the next one is good even though I'm sure you will all just sit around and cry about how much you guys miss me! You guys have always made me feel the love of family and how great it can be. I am excited for eternity with you guys!  

     Holly, I miss you! The dogs in this country SUCK!!! They always try to bite you, and they all stink and are ugly.  But you are a good dog.  

     Girls... I forgot what girls are... I'm a missionary.... 

     Even though I miss you all a ton, I wouldn't trade this opportunity I have to serve my Lord for anything! Have a good week! Read your scriptures. Talk to people about the gospel. Be happy. See you in 22 months--tomorrow is my 2 month mark!

I love you all,
-Elder Smith

Monday, September 16, 2013

I Know It With All Of My Heart!

¡Hola Hola! 

    Wow, that's crazy that my baby sister is starting high school, and my big sister is married! I remember when we all used to fight over who got the remote and where we were sitting on the couch...when did we all get so old? But it sounds like you guys are keeping busy!! That's crazy that Grandma and Grandpa get home so soon. It feels like they just left! Maybe it will feel that way for me in about two years too.

So this week started with me getting dehydrated...haha I was just working so hard and worrying about my investigators so much that I forgot to drink Tuesday was really hard! But I just pounded like 8 bags (oh yeah, the water here comes from bags, its really weird) and bounced right back! Wednesday we went to this lady's house and we had these things called "baliatas," or something like that. They are SOOO good! As soon as I ate them I remembered Kevin telling me something about them right after I got my call. So Kevin, you were right man! They are delicious!

The next day Elder Martines got his visa! So we got on a bus at 11:00, after district meeting, and headed up to Tegucigalpa to drop him off.  Four hours on a bus, half an hour on a taxi, another four hours on a bus, another half hour in another taxi. and we were finally home! It was a long day! Plus I spent like 500 lemps (the money here is called Lempira) on traveling! which really only translates to like 25 dollars, but when I only get 1800 a month it pretty much sucked! haha but at least Elder Martines is in Mexico now! I hope he does great things there!

So we are teaching these two kids, Romon and Wendy, and their abuela, Rosa. Romon is fifteen, and Wendy is fourteen and Rosa is probably fifty or so.  Anyway, they are the nicest, best people ever!!! Every time I look at Romon, I see a kid walking around in about three years with a name tag on his shirt! Anyway, yesterday we asked Wendy to pray to know if the church is true, with us right there in their humble one-room house. She said she would, but that she wanted to do it silently.  So we said OK as long as she would say Amen out loud so we could know when she was finished. After about three minutes she said amen, and just started crying! It was amazing how strong the spirit was! She knows the church is true and is going to be baptized the 28th of this month! So if I was going to ask you to pray for anyone, it would be for Wendy to stay faithful, Romon to receive an answer to his prayers, and Rosa to let her heart be softened!

I know this church is true! I know it with all of my heart! If any of you have any questions about that, I invite you to read 3 Nephi:11, and then ask God in prayer whether or not this church is true. Christ promises that if you will believe in Him, God will visit you with an answer to your question through the power of the Holy Ghost! It happens, it changes lives, this church is true!

Thank you for all of your love and support and prayers! They are felt and they are appreciated!

Love, Elder Smith

This is me in the jungle, and my district!

Monday, September 9, 2013

I am In Honduras!

!Hola Hola!

This week has been CRAZY!!! I am in Honduras!!! Can you believe that??? Its finally here. Let me tell you how it all went down.

So I left the CCM exactly one week ago today. I woke up at 3:00 a.m. and said goodbye to Elder Anderson. (He is at home now! I wouldn't be able to handle that!) Then I left at around 5:00 a.m. We drove to the Mexico City airport and waited for about three hours, which was alright because there were like a million missionaries around me.  And we just talked and stuff, a couple of times we tried to talk to people, but no one was too interested. Then we flew to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. It was about a two hour fight, not bad at all! I really like flying. We had like a four hour layover there. So we were all just sitting in a circle, not talking in English, just joking around, it was great. But then they told us that our plane was going to be about an hour late, so we waited and then it was going to be another hour late...more waiting.. by this time it was like 6:00 p.m. And we are still just talking to ourselves, although there were people all around us. So they gave us two options at this point, either wait till 10:00 p.m. and take the flight to Tegus then, or they could bus us to a hotel, we could stay there for the night, and then take a flight the next afternoon. We decided to do the 10 o'clock thing, but I had a feeling that we weren't going to be going anywhere unless we started talking to people, so I asked all the other missionaries if they wanted to pray to know what we should do. As soon as we got done praying we all felt like we needed to be talking to the people who were there with us. I think by the end of the night we had passed out four copies of the Book of Mormon, and six or seven pass along card things! It was awesome! One lady in particular, her name was Leslie, I think she might actually let this change her!

We ended up being bussed to a hotel, pretty much the nicest hotel I have ever stayed in! Three DELICIOUS meals! The best beds and showers I have ever used! AWWW it was paradise! I wrote in my journal, "This is God saying thanks for serving a mission!" and that is really how I feel. But I also wrote, "When times get hard try to remember this night." Haha and oh my gosh, that is so true, but I'll get to that in a second.

So we finally get to Tegucigalpa, and we stay the first night in the mission home with the mission president. It was pretty cool! We had good food and it was fun to be there with all the other missionaries who were getting there! Everyone was excited. I remember our first drive through the city! People drive wherever they want, and do whatever they want, it's crazy! But it was beautiful to see the city. The next morning we went to the stake center and had our change, I met my new companion, Elder Glasset! He's a stud, he's like 6'4" haha (like I said, I just get along with tall people) and he speaks Spanish like a native. He has about 15 months. He knows what he is doing, I swear every Latino person I meet thinks he's the funniest person in the world!!! (I just can never understand what he's saying so I can't say for myself... haha) But anyway we found out where we were going to be serving, in, it's in the south! Like four hours south of Tegucigalpa! AND ITS HOT HERE! So we took a four hour bus ride through the whole south part of the country. It was pretty amazing, it is so green here! But we arrived at like 7:00 in the middle of a giant rain storm, and had to walk about a mile to our house, so by the time we got there all my stuff was way wet! But that's normal haha. Our house is nice, our shower is cold, and our sink doesn't work very well.  So we wash all our plates and clothes in the pila, which is like a stone basin in the back of the house. haha it's pretty ghetto, but it's cool. But nothing like the hotel was the first night!

Our area is called Ciudad Nueva. Which means New City, but it's not a city at all, I live in the Jungle! It's awesome! It rains here more in one week than it does in the states in a whole year. My feet are pretty much always wet. But the first couple days we have just been kinda meeting the members, getting to know the area, teaching a few lessons here and there. We are in a trio right now with Elder Martinez, he is actually going to be serving in Mexico, but is just waiting on his visa, but he was here before us so he is showing us the ropes. Its been good! 

Our first Sunday was crazy. The bishop called us up during sacrament meeting and asked us to share our testimonies... haha the other missionaries made me go first so I got up there and tried my best. When I sat down they said that they understood everything that I was trying to say and that It was really good compared to some of the train wrecks they have seen...that made me feel better. Haha

I honestly love it here! It is hot. And wet. And the language is weird. But the food is good, we have this lady who makes us lunch every day! She's the best! Beans and rice with some kind of meat every day, but it's dang good! And the people are nice! They all love me! Especially the niños! I'm not going to say it's not hard. IT IS HARD!! Probably the hardest thing I have ever done. But not hard in a bad way.

I love you all so much! I hope everything is good back in the States. APPRECIATE EVERYTHING YOU HAVE BECAUSE THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE A LOT LESS THAN YOU!!!

Love, Elder Smith

P.S. This country completely shut down when Honduras played Mexico in the World Cup qualifier.  Haha, it was awesome! We camped out at a member's house and watched it because we couldn't have done anything else!

(This is the mission president and his wife, President Carlos and Sister Ana Hernandez from El Salvador, and companion, Elder Glassett.)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Leaving the CCM

Hey Mama,

 I was given special permission to write to you guys right now! So here's the game plan. I'm leaving the CCM tomorrow at 7:00 a.m.  My flight leaves at like 11:00 so I'm probably just going to be sitting in the airport, converting people for like 4 hours. My flight goes to San Pedro first, where I have another 4 hour layover... so I'm just going to be converting more people I guess. And then at 4:00 I fly to Tegucigalpa. And then I guess I'll just be converting people for like 2 years.

 I can't believe how fast my time here has gone! It honestly feels like I got here about 2 days ago. But at the same time, I'm so ready to get out there and start helping people. That is why I am here. 

 Anyway, I hope all is well with you guys at home! I don't know when I'll get to write to you again, so don't be glued to the computer all day Wednesday. But know that I'm thinking about you a lot and that I love you so much!!! Have a good Labor Day tomorrow.

Elder Smith

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Gift of Tongues is True!

¡Hola, Hola! 
     Guess what, remember that time that Elder Anderson was being a big wimp about his ankle? Well it turns out he actually broke his foot!!! He has an interview with Presidente Pratt, (the CCM president) to see if he has to go home for a couple weeks before he heads to his mission.  But I mean he has been playing soccer with us, and running around for 3 weeks...? 

     This has been a week full of good and bad things. I'll finish the bad, because I already kinda started it up there. ^^^^ I lost my scriptures!!! I had my study journal, my patriarchal blessing and my favorite highlighter in there too! Every day I go to the lost and found and ask "¿mis escripturas otra ves?" which is Spanish for, "My scriptures one more time?" But the lady always tells me "no." which is Spanish for "no." But I still have faith that they will turn up! 

    Ok, that's all the bad stuff. Here's some of the good. We got a new district, and one of our jobs as zone leaders is to welcome the new districts, and have an interview with their district leader. So we go in there and Elder Caldwell is sitting there! How crazy is that! I have known that kid since 1st grade, and now we are in the same zone on our missions!!! I love it. We have also made some really good Latino friends! We sit by them every day at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and we play soccer with them every day too! I love those guys. We went to the temple with them today, which is my other good news! We got to go to the temple again. The temple is always a good experience. 

     We had to say goodbye to all of our Casa Dos roommates this week. I didn't put that in the good or bad news section, because it's kinda both. It's sad because I might not ever see them again, but it's good because I know they are all going to be such great missionaries! But we also got a bunch of new guys who seem pretty cool. But they don't speak any Spanish at all!!! haha I bet that's exactly how we were 5 weeks ago. Which is great to see how much progress we have made. El don del lenguas es verdad! 

     Well I don't have a whole lot of time today, but I love you all! Next time you get a letter from me it will be from Honduras!!! 
Elder Smith

These are some of the kids we play soccer with every day!

These are our friends, and a picture of the Mexico flag at the temple!