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, 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