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

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy New Year

Hola hola!!!

Happy New Year everyone! It was super good to talk to you on Christmas! Which was like three days ago! Haha, I feel like we caught up that day, so I'm not going to bore you with a long letter! The good thing was that we had a baptism in between then and now! Franklin got baptized! He is the best! 

Another thing that happened since then was that Zach Glassett came to see me today! It was really cool to meet his family and be able to talk to him again for little bit. He also delivered to me a birthday package from my family! I'm super happy about that! 

I love you all a whole lot! Have a good New Year's Eve. Be safe. Make some resolutions! 

-Elder Smith

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!!!!

Hola Hola!!!

Merry Christmas!!!! 

I am so happy to be in the service of God at this time of year! I miss you all at home a ton, but I have probably never had a better Christmas season. I think for maybe the first time, or at least stronger than ever, I understand what people mean by "The Spirit of Christmas". I have shared the 2nd chapter of Lucas with anyone who will listen, and with it my testimony of the importance of the life of that little baby who was born. It's been special. 

Apart from that spiritual stuff it has been a great week! I had to travel to Tegus twice this week! One to take care of my legal papers again. When I got my new ID I realized how fat I have gotten in the mission! DANG, jaja I need to stop eating tortillas! There is this thing that missionaries do called "the Sexy Six" which is when they work out super hard and stop eating so much for the last six months of their missions to get home looking good! Jaja, I'm on my last month of eating as much as I want and doing lazy exercises in the morning! Then things are going to get serious! 

The second trip to Tegucigalpa was for the Christmas party. It was so good! 

We started it off singing musical numbers that each zone had prepared. We sang Noche De Luz. It was super good. Nothing brings the spirit like music. There is an Hermana Steele in our mission who sings so incredibly! She sings like an angel! Then President Bowler shared a really great message. The spirit was so strong. Lunch came next, honey ham! OHH! It was so rico! And then we played sports. There was a ping pong table, I kicked everyone's butts! Except Elder Riveras, he beat me once... and then I played soccer for like three hours. I'm super sore! 

Tonight we are going to do a Secret Santa with the zone. It should be great! And then tomorrow I get to talk to you guys!!! I'm super excited! I love Christmas time more than anything.

Well, see you tomorrow! 

~Elder Smith

Monday, December 15, 2014

A New Companion

Hola Hola!

It was a pretty good week, full of goodbyes, hellos and a lot of waiting around. We had changes this week, that's always a lot of fun. President is still doing his giant power point presentation. It's always exciting when you know someone's face is going to pop up there with yours. But it was really sad knowing I wouldn't be with Elder Yac anymore.

Monday and Tuesday were spent with Elder Yac saying goodbye to all the people in our area. It was super sad but at the same time super good! He was testifying with all his heart because he knew it was his last time as a missionary. So we touched a lot of hearts in our last little bit together!

We have some new people progressing, I'm excited to see how it goes. The most pilas one is Franklin, please pray for him! 

On Wednesday I received my new companion, his name is Elder Porter. He's from Arizona, and I heard that his aunt works with you, Mom! Jaja, it's a small world! I was super happy when I found out! He was already one of my good friends in the mission, so it's going to be a lot of fun. 

Then came the worst part...he had dengue all week! So after changes we had to stay in the city for three days...nobody told me about that. I spent three days in the same clothes, jaja! But it was alright because we got to stay in the Assistant's home. Everyone who stays there gets to eat for free! Best week of food ever!

So we got back to our area on Saturday and got to work...a little. Hermana Bowler wants us to take it easy until Elder Porter gets completely better. But we're going to do really good together! I'm super excited! 

My zone didn't change that much, just Elder Yac. But he was a pretty big part of it. I'm really going to miss him a whole lot. 

I'm glad you are all doing so good! I'm still not sure about our plans for Skype on Christmas, but I'll figure it all out this week and let you know! 

Merry Christmas, I love you all! 

-Elder Smith

Monday, December 8, 2014

Mi Querido Companero

Hola Hola! 

This week was pretty... SAD!! It was my last week with Elder Yac, mi querido compañero! He has actually been really good at keeping it out of his head, we have worked super hard. But this week the gravity of it kind of hit him, he's going home. But we still managed to have a pretty good week. Let me tell you about it. 

The very best part of my week was an activity we had in our ward to help la obra misional! It was called "La Fiesta del Albedrío" which means "The Party of Agency". The first hour of this activity we just played games and stuff, there were spiritual games, and just fun games. Every time you played a spiritual game you won a white ticket. But in order to play a worldly game you had to sell your white tickets for 5 colorful tickets. It was a lot of fun! Everyone had a blast. But then, the second hour we had a spiritual part to it. We had everyone line up, and one by one we asked them how many white tickets they had. If they had five or more they were accepted in the celestial kingdom, a bright room with plenty of space. If they had 2-4 white tickets they went to the terrestial; a smaller room with just a little light. And if they had 1 or 0 tickets they went to the telestial--a tiny pitch black room. There were lessons given in each room and everyone really learned and felt firsthand the importance of our choices here in this life. It was awesome!

Another cool thing that happened this week was we had Consejo de Lideres. Consejo is always good! But this time something happened that I will remember forever. Ok, to understand this story you have to know that President Bowler is a little like Dad at times. He is super good at focusing in on one thing! So we were all in Consejo sharing what we thought and I had an idea, so I shared it. My idea was good and valid, but President had already thought about this topic a lot and had decided to go in another direction. So he said, ¨NO!¨ pretty sharply. It was shocking to everyone! It didn't bother me, I have pretty thick skin, but if it had been someone else it could have cut them pretty deep. But the cool part came the next morning. President Bowler called me and apologized. He said he had not been able to sleep because he was thinking about how harshly he had rejected my idea. He showed a lot of humility. I respect him a lot. 

And then yesterday was the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. It was so good! I watched it in the home of the family that I saw sealed when I was working with Elder Glassett. It was great! 

Besides that, we went to the beach today. That was pretty dang cool! Honduras is the best! I love it here. You are all invited to come join me any time, jaja! The beach is about an hour drive from where we live here in Choluteca, so we rented a little bus and spent the morning in paradise!

Well that was pretty much my week! I will get a new companion this week, so I'll let you know next week! Please keep praying for Marisol and Jensi, they need it! And I need it.

I love you all! 

-Elder Smith

 Elder Yac baptized a girl from the hermana's area.  It was pretty great!

Monday, December 1, 2014

I Almost Forgot About Thanksgiving

Hola Hola!

Happy Thanksgiving! 

I almost forgot about it! It was late in the evening when I remembered, so I bought some fried chicken from this lady that sells it in the street, I had to eat some kind of bird! And I made strawberry jello. Jaja, that was my Thanksgiving dinner. But I did take a moment to think about all the things that I am grateful for, I had a nice little moment with my Padre Celestial. 

Way to go Dad! That's a pretty fast half-marathon! And the story about Landon is super funny! Jaja, we might end up being teamates, who knows?? 

I'm super proud of Caleb Rodabough!!! Atta Boy! You're going to love Mexico! And you're going to be the best missionary ever! It's good to have you in the ranks! 

This week was a pretty good one. We spent the whole thing in a trio with Elder Flores. There are good things and bad things about being in a trio. It's good because it is a BLAST!!! There is just another dynamic, a third opinion, another voice. It's really a good situation! It's also good because we did divisiones with the youth in the ward almost every day! So two of us were always together, and the other one was always with one of the kids from the ward getting stuff done and helping them get excited for their missions! It's bad because the flow of teaching is thrown way off! Showering in the morning is all messed up, sometimes in lessons all three of us want to talk, and sometimes no one knows who should talk... it's just because we haven't had as much practice, but it has been a little rough!

Today, finally, Elder Flores got his companion. His name is Elder Grey. He is pretty new too, but he seems like a super cool guy. I'm super excited for him and  Elder Flores! They are going to be a really good companionship!

The best part about this week coming up is that we finally have a baptism here! Her name is Cindi, she is awesome! I would love it if you would say a couple of prayers for her this week. And then next week we have three more baptisms planned, Jensi, Marisol, and Eliam! If you would pray for them too it would mean a lot to me! 

I can not believe it is already December. This year has gone by so fast! This time last year I was training Elder Arteaga! So much has happened in the last twelve months, I can't even believe it! But I love it too.

Well, that's really all for this week. I hope you all have the best week of your life this week! Jaja, thank you for all the prayers and love you send our way. It is felt! Just remember to keep the Lord in the center of your lives this week and it will be a good one! 

-Elder Smith

Monday, November 24, 2014


Hola Hola!

First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BIG SISTER RACHEL! You are getting so old, jaja.  I hope you had a really good day and that this will be the best year of your life! If you will make Christ the center of it there is no way it won't be.

Second, CONGRATULATIONS TO MY LITTLE COUSINS, AVA AND ALLIE, FOR GETTING BAPTIZED! I can't believe you are both already 8. But I'm super proud of you for living the gospel of Jesus Christ and being baptized! 

Also congrats to Daniel Madsen for getting his mission call. Good luck out there Daniel! You are going to be great!

Wow. That is really good news about the soccer scholarship offer to Western Wyoming! That would be super fun to play with Landon again! I would love that. But I haven't prayed or fasted about it, or even really thought about it at all. I would like to take some time to do that... these are big decisions! Let's just hold our horses for a little while and see what happens!

This week was hard. Elder Yac got sick. Really sick. Monday after writing we went back to the house and he fell asleep. He didn't leave his bed again until Friday! Dengue is EVERYWHERE down here right now! I hate mosquitoes. But its OK, the rainy season is now over. So they should all start to die soon. But entonces, I had a really boring week. I was able to go work with some of the youth of the ward a few times, but we lost a lot of progress we had made the week before. It's frustrating to be a missionary stuck in the house.

Besides that my zone is falling apart a little bit. Hermana Randall went home. It was really hard to say goodbye to her. She's a great missionary. Then they took her companion Hermana Zavala to another zone to be in a trio because we don't have anyone to be her companion down here. And last week Elder Moore went to the office to be the new secretary. His old companion Elder Flores is with us now, and we are also in a trio. Super cool guy! But we started as a zone of 16 and we are now down to 13... all three of those things were out of my control, but still we're not doing so hot right now. But this week we are finally back on track and we are going to have the best week ever! 

This week I studied a lot about the quality of virtue. It is one of the attributes of Christ. But I didn't really know how to define it, so I studied it for a couple days. I learned a couple of things that I really liked. Virtue is something that has to do with our thoughts. What we think about when we don't have anything to think about is a good judge of our virtue. It's not just about not thinking bad things, it's consciously choosing to think righteous thoughts. There are a bunch of promises given to those who are virtuous, but my favorite is that we will have confidence in the presence of God! So I've been working on having virtuous thoughts this week. If you guys have some insights on virtue I would love to hear them! 

Oh, also Elder Yac and I had to give a workshop sorta thing for zone conference this week! That was pretty cool. I'll probably remember that for the rest of my life. 

Anyway, that's all for this week! I hope you all remember the covenants that you have made with your Heavenly Father, including priesthood covenants. They are real. They bring blessings and peace. Think about them more and you will realize, or maybe re-realize how important they are.

Love, Elder Smith! 

Monday, November 17, 2014

It's Hot Down Here

Hola Hola! 

It's hot down here. SOOOO HOT! Jaja, I hear you all talk about the cold and snow and it seems like a fairy tale. Walking outside and feeling cold? What is that??? That doesn't really exist. And it's just going to get hotter down here too. Please enjoy the cold. You don't realize what you have! 

Elder Yac and I worked pretty hard this week! We knocked on so many doors. Talked with so many people, visited so many less active people! It was a good week. But with the good always comes the bad. Everyone in my zone is super sick! They all have dengue. Three compañerismos aren't even allowed to leave the house right now. And the worst part of it all is that Elder Yac woke up with some of the symptoms that always come before dengue...I'm worried. 

The worst part of this week though happened last night... Elder Moore, one of my best friends down here in the mission, and the only person in the mission who I had met before the mission, got changed... he is no longer in my ward or zone. He is now the new secretary to the president. Dang it! Jaja, I mean its going to be super good for him! He's going to learn a whole lot and grow into a better person... but I'm going to miss him like crazy.

We had a couple people come to church this week! Will you please pray for Rupert this week? He loved church and said he was going to come back next week. But the best part is that he is actually married to his wife! They are clearly some of the chosen children of God! :)

Well, that's really all for this week, not a lot of news! I'm glad you had a good experience with the family home evening I suggested last week! I have grown to really love the hymns in my time out here, so I wanted to share that a little bit with my family! I'm glad you liked it!

I hope you have a good week! You're all in my prayers! 

-Elder Smith

Monday, November 10, 2014

My Spanish is Better Than My English

Hola Hola!

Hi! I can't believe it's Monday again already, that was super fast!  The time is flying by. Also, my Spanish is better than my English right now. Ok, that's probably not true, but my Spanish flows better. When I speak in English I have to think hard so I don't form my sentences in the Spanish way. But what can you expect when in the last year I have only had an English speaking comp for six weeks?

We had Consejo De Lideres again! The first week of every month we have this consejo. So we travel up Tuesday night, stay the night with some elders up there and then the next day we have a great meeting. I really love going to these consejos! It is such a great opportunity to listen to and learn from President Bowler and the Asistentes! We are really changing la obra misional. And it's going to help so much!  I'll spare you the details, but when I get home I'm going to be the best missionary member ever because I'm learning how important it really is! Just wait, you'll see. Oh, also President gave us SKYPE back!!!! I'll see you on Christmas!!!

Elder Yac and I had kind of a hard Sunday. We had like 20 investigators who all said they were going to go to church with us, so we were super happy Saturday night. Sunday morning rolled around, and we woke up early like normal to go pick them all up. One by one they all told us no. "We're busy." "I'm sick."  "Something came up." The same old excuses you hear a million times as a missionary. It was a long, lonely walk to the chapel. We sat in the back row by ourselves for the first time in a while. Just crushed.

Just before the sacrament one of the inactive families we had been working with for awhile walked in the chapel for the first time in three years. There was a change in the atmosphere of the room, I was so happy I wanted to cry! It was such a tender mercy from the Lord! After the meeting almost all the members went to welcome them! To tell them how good it was to see them! 

We gave the lesson in Sunday School on the worth of souls. With the Ramirez family as our key example, it was one of the most spiritual Sundays of my life. I will never forget it.

I'm glad your primary program went so well, Mom!!! That makes me so happy! I can tell you love your calling and I know the Lord is happy with you for all your hard work! 

And WAY to GO LEHI!!! Dang, I loved going to the Lehi volleyball games! Probably one of my favorite parts of high school! Too bad they didn't win.  But good season! 

I'm feeling much better! Nothing to get in my way this week. Look out Gentile world, Elders Yac and Smith are coming straight at ya this week! Jaja.

Well, I hope you have a great week.  I encourage you to read the introduction of the Hymn book for Family Home Evening and then sing some of your favorite songs and look up some of the scriptures that go with each song. You'll have a great experience! 

I love you all, especially you, my family, And especially you, my future wife! Maybe someday you'll read this and laugh at me! Jaja, I pray for all of you every night! 

Anyway, talk to you next week! 

-Elder Smith

Monday, November 3, 2014

Changes: I'm a Fan!

Hola Hola!

Happy Halloween!!!

Halloween doesn't even really exist down here... nothing happens.

This week consisted of changes! So that's always fun! I had a new experience of receiving the changes first this time! It was fun to call everyone and let them know if they had changes! I look forward to being able to do that again! 

Changes are done differently now. So President and the APs spend about a week working hard with the spirit, trying to get all the changes down! They call new ZLs, look at the new group of missionaries coming in, look at the list of elders leaving, look at how long everyone has been in their respective areas, and just try to receive revelation for the mission and for the people who live here. That part hasn't changed, still very inspiration lead. The part that has changed is that President now doesn't tell anyone where they are going or who their new companion will be. It's crazy! 

So the day before changes the assistants call us and let us know which elders in our zone have changes. We tell them, and they pack their bags and say their goodbyes. Then the next day we all go to the stake center where President lives and all the elders that have changes are in the chapel. Nobody knows where they are going, or who they are going to be with, The tension is thick enough to cut with a knife, it's awesome! Jaja, then President makes us sit through a 30 minute presentation, listening to announcements, the testimonies of the elders that are going home, ect. Meanwhile everyone is dying with the anticipation of who their next comp is going to be!! It's kinda like torture! Jaja.

Then one by one president goes through a power point presentation. One face shows up, then the area, then the other face!!!! It's so exciting, it's so much fun!! People become Zone Leaders without even knowing they were going to! People are assigned to areas they have always wanted to go! It's really just so exciting! It helps the whole mission have a lot more animo. I'm a fan!

My new zone is awesome! Today for p-day we made a slip and slide. So that was pretty fun. I'm super sunburned... like normal! But it was a good time! I'm still not feeling super good... I've had diarrhea for like a week and a half... in the worst kinda way... jaja but its all part of the Honduras dengue experience! Thanks for your prayers! You guys rock! 

I got two letters from Grandma Smith this week!!! I love you so much Grandma! Thank you for always writing me! And sorry for being so bad at writing back! 

Also I wanna give a shout out to Elder Moore's girlfriend. Jaja, he told me you read my blog and that you got mad at him because my letters are more descriptive than his! But don't get mad at him, he's the best! Jaja.

Well that's all from me this week! Good luck with your primary program, Mom! I'll be praying for you! 

Love you all!

-Elder Smith

Monday, October 27, 2014

One of the Most Memorable Weeks of My Mission

Hola Hola! 

This week has been pretty stressful! Full of a lot of miracles, a lot of good and a lot of bad, and overall one of the most memorable weeks of my mission. It started off with me scrambling to get everything ready for the temple trip to Tegus! From contracting buses to getting food ready for three hundred people. It was crazy! 

We did another baleadas sell, and with a lot of help from our ward we got all the money we needed to contract the buses. We contracted five buses! I had two thoughts in my mind: "What if we don't even fill two?" Or "What if way more people come than fit in the five buses?" I was stressing a little! But everything was coming together so nicely that I knew God was helping us out a whole lot! 

So we moved forward with faith and finished up with our actividades that we needed to do. We did a last minute garage sell that ended up being awesome!!! Jaja, it was a whole lot of fun! And we got all the money finalized! Everything was looking good. But then I got sick... I think it is just the flu, but for the past three or four nights in a row I have woke up with a fever of over 100 degrees. But when you are a zone leader with a huge zone activity coming up there is no time to be sick. Jaja, we kept sacrificing to give those people the opportunity to visit the temple. 

The morning of the activity we woke up at 5:00 in the morning to verify everything and to make sure that our investigators came. And we got to the church early. When we got there, there were already a few people waiting to enter the church.  So we entered and waited for all the people. Within thirty minutes the church was packed!!! I have never seen it so full! There were more than 300 people ready and waiting to go to the temple! Just seeing that room full of people was an answer to many prayers! It was amazing.

So we gave a few instructions and left for the temple! Four hours up, two hours there, four hourss back, with a fever of 102 degrees all day... it was a LONG day! But when President Bowler gave his talk the spirit in that room was so strong! It was all worth it. Every activity, every baleada, every prayer, every second on that bus. It was really a huge miracle that everything worked out so well, because there were a million things that could have gone wrong. God was helping us! 

The next day was Sunday, and I slept almost the whole day. Today I woke up feeling super sick, so i just laid in bed all day today too. Please say a prayer for me to get better, Mom! Your prayers are pretty powerful.

Overall it was a pretty good week! I would never want to relive it again. But I learned a lot, and saw the hand of the Lord bless us a whole lot.  I will be thankful for that for the rest of my life.

I believe the temple is the house of the Lord. It should be our goal to be there as often as possible. I invite you to rededicate yourself to temple attendance! 

I love you all so much! Have a great Halloween! Eat some burger beef stew for me! Jaja.

-Elder Smith

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sickness Has Swept Our Zone

Hola Hola!

I'm going to be brief today because I had to write three college application essays for my mom... jaja. So I don't have a lot of time today. But here we go anyway!

This week has been pretty awesome! It has been full of actividades to earn money for our temple trip to Tegus on Saturday. I appreciate all of your prayers on our behalf! We have sold baleadas, tamales, we had a movie night, we had a fiesta night, a futbol night, and just a ton of support from our ward. It has been great! I really love the place I'm at right now. LOS LLANOS IS THE BEST!

Sickness has swept our zone. We have an Elder Mendez In our house on bed rest with this sickness that is like dengue, but like a million times worse! He has to go to Tegus on Tuesday to get some tests done. Hermana Randall is already in Tegus because she's also sick with the same thing. There are just way too many mosquitoes in this country! 

It rains a lot... my camera broke again... it got really wet... sorry Mom!

This Sunday we missed the sacrament because we had to take care of Elder Mendez. But we got special permission to have a Sacrament Meeting in our house. It was awesome! One of the most spiritual I have ever had! 

That's all for today. I love you all! Have a great week!

-Elder Smith

Monday, October 13, 2014

Giant Temple Trip

Hola Hola!

This week flew by! I feel like I was just sitting here like a couple of hours ago and here I am again writing to you guys!

This week was full of interesting things. It started off with Elder Woods, a missionary from my zone, going home. He is probably one of the best guys I have ever met! He finished a month after his return date because he extended! So he stayed with us in our house the last two days before he went home, because his area was about two hours away. It was sad, but happy at the same time, to see such a great missionary go home! It was good to see what the end result of a misión looks like when the missionary has worked hard. But it was sad to see one of our best go home. I will always be thankful for Elder Woods and his example.

Apart from that, we spent a lot of time coordinating with the stake for a giant temple trip with all our investigators that we want to have at the end of this month! We talked to the other zone leaders from our stake and organized a couple of activities to try to raise money to pay for the buses.  And then once everything was in progress we took our ideas and our work to the stake presidency and asked for their help. They were actually kind of impressed and told us that they would be willing to help us out and that they want to make it a big stake project! We are hoping on bringing at least 500 people to the temple! But here is the cool part... we are going to do it on Saturday the 25th of October, and there are about 30-40 people between the two zones with baptism dates for that Saturday! So we are going to have a giant group baptism in the stake center of the temple!!!! It is going to be so cool! But we really are going to need some help for everything to get pulled together in time! A couple of extra prayers for us would go a long way.

Apart from those two things my week was pretty normal. We ate a ton of food! I don´t know why, but everybody from our ward decided to invite us to eat this week! It was awesome.

Stefanie, I'm proud of you for running cross country this year! That is probably the best thing you could have done! Mom I'm glad you are having so much success with your teaching career! And Dad, good luck at state!

I love you all so much. Thank you for the influence you all have had--and continue to have on me!

-Elder Smith

Monday, October 6, 2014

How Great Was Conference!!

Hola Hola!

First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!! I hope it was a good one even though BYU got killed... jaja.

Wow! How great was Conference!!! I felt the spirit so strongly during pretty much the whole thing! I have to say though, President Eyring's talk on Sunday morning was the one that really touched my heart. He began by saying he hoped we would all feel the love of God through his words, and I really did. I was trying so hard to fight back the tears so everyone wouldn't know what a big baby I am. But I ended up having to leave for a second... AND IT WAS THE FIRST TALK OF THE DAY! Jaja, I am now the guy who didn't even make it fifteen minutes into Conference without having to leave.  Way to go Smith... way to go. 

I have been reflecting on some of the messages that were given, and I think one of the most recurring themes that I heard was that we need to care for the poor.  The poor in heart and spirit, as well as finances. I think that's a really interesting thought. Another theme was following the prophet. And a whole lot more. It was just so good! For missionaries General Conference is like the Super Bowl, March Madness, the Olympics, and the World Cup all rolled up into one! It's really one of the best weekends ever! I am  spiritually recharged and ready to go.

Apart from that it was a CRAZY week! It started with Consejo De Lideres. On Tuesday we had to drive up to Tegus, stay overnight and then have Consejo with Presidente Bowler. It was such a great, edifying experience! There were so many great ideas passed around about how we are going to make the mission a whole lot better. I can't wait to see the fruits of these changes! Presidente told us that he wasn't thinking about doubling the success of the mission, but rather quintupling it! (5X more!) That's what I call vision! 

We got back from that and my comp got super sick... he was throwing up and was bedridden for two days. But the work rolled on! We did something called "Attack of the Area", which is when all the elders of the zone show up to one area for a couple of hours and try to find all the people they can that might be interested in listening to the gospel. It went really well and the elders from that area have been taking advantage of all the contacts we found! It also really unified our zone!

Then GENERAL CONFERENCE!  Need I say more?

 Today is the birthday of an Hermana in our zone so we had a party for her this morning! We made pancakes and smoothies, had a water fight, and threw eggs at her head! It was awesome! 

I hope that you all are applying something that you learned this weekend and that you are trying to improve and get better at something. God expects it. Conference isn't for nothin' you know! Pues. I love you all! I hope you all have a great week! Stef, I'll be praying for you at region, run hard! Dad, good luck to your team too! 

-Elder Smith

Monday, September 29, 2014

One of the Best Weeks of My Mission

Hola Hola! 

First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!! I love you so much!!! You are the best mom in the whole world! I am so happy that I will never have to go another one of your birthdays in my life without talking to you, even if it's just by phone, and telling you how much I love you! I hope it was a good one! 

This week was an interesting one for sure! It started just like any other week. Elder Yac and I got to work! That guy is an animal! We make a good team. We have been finding a ton of new investigators and have been being super direct and upfront with everyone about how important our message is. And people have been responding pretty well to it. I am hoping (Moroni 8:40-48 hope!) that we are going to have quite a few baptisms in October. Please pray for Alejandro and Dilcia. Alejandro is eight years old and Dilcia is his nanny, she takes care of him and his little siblings while his mom is at work. Alejandro's parents are members, just inactive, so we are trying to get the whole family back.

Then on Wednesday we had interviews with Presidente Bowler as a zone. He is an amazing man! He came down with the assistants to give us some instruction and the interviews. My interview with him was pretty quick and painless, but at the end he gave me a blessing that was super powerful. It was exactly what I needed to hear! It is always a great experience when we get to talk to president.

On Friday we got a call from some Elders in our zone, who live in the middle of NOWHERE! An area called Agua Caliente. That is about an hour and a half away from Choluteca, in the middle of the mountains. They said Elder De Leon hurt his knee pretty bad and that he was going to have to come get it checked out. So I went into the jungle in his place. It was awesome! I love that little place. I was there for three days. There is no cell phone service. Only like half the houses have electricity. No running water. Nothing! But it was awesome. 

The best part was after church on Sunday we went to give a blessing to a guy named Juan, who wasn't a member. He said that he had heard of the Elders and how they can heal people by the power of God. He had been really sick for a while. But he lived about an hour walk from the little village. So we went. When we got there it was getting dark, so they lit their oil lanterns that they use for light and we shared a short little message about the priesthood, the power of God given to men. And then we asked him if he had faith to be healed. He looked up at us with almost childlike esperanza and said, "Si." We then gave one of the most powerful blessings that I have ever been a part of. Juan is out working in his field today. 

This was probably one of the best weeks of my mission. I am so happy all the time! I am covered in mosquito bites, my feet are sore, and I'm sunburnt out of my mind. But I am just happy! 

I love you all, I hope you prepare yourselves spiritually for general conference this week! It is going to be great. I can't wait! Be good this week, keep working hard at what you are doing, but remember what is most important.

-Elder Smith

Monday, September 22, 2014

Zone Leader

Hola Hola!

That's awesome that you guys got to go to the temple rededication! I'm sure that was a great spiritual experience. I remember doing the Hosanna Shout a couple of times, it always brings the spirit so strongly! And I love what you shared about the differences between the world and the temple. It is so true. This world is full of many destructive, chaotic things, but the temple is such a clean, reverent place! I love it!

This week I had changes!!! I am now back in Choluteca. I really wasn't expecting to have changes because I had just gotten to La Travisia, and I was training...but here I am! I am also now a zone leader! My companion is Elder Yac. He was my ZL when I was back in Uyuca. A really good guy and I am already learning a lot from him.

It was actually really, really hard for me when they told me I had changes. I was not expecting to leave any time soon. And even though I had only been there one change I had already found a lot of people who I loved. I had caught hold of a vision of what I hoped for those people and that area. It broke my heart when they told me I was leaving...but I'm sure the Lord knows what He is doing. So I'll just keep serving, keep working hard.

Being a zone leader is HARD! Everyone has a ton of problems all the time, and now I am in charge of fixing them all! For example, There used to be four hermanas in our zone, but now there are just two, so we had to go and terminate the contract of the other hermanas.  And when we went to tell the landlady that we would no longer be needing that house she got SOOO MAD!!! She started calling us liars, she said that they had done a ton of damage to the house... just a ton of stuff that I would have never had to deal with if I hadn't been the zone leader. But maybe that is what I need to learn now, how to deal with angry people... I'm sure this experience will help me out somewhere down the road!

Well that's all for today! It has been a crazy week! But I'm super excited to be down here in the South again! Love you all! 

-Elder Smith

 My zone!

It rains a lot in Cholu!

A cool bird at our cocinera's house.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Zone Conference with President Duncan

Hola Hola!!

This week was amazing! We had the opportunity to have Zone Conference with President Duncan. He is a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, and the president of the area of Central America. It was incredible! There were two or three times when he paused, looked up as if he were speaking with someone unseen, and then continued. I am certain that he was being guided by the spirit. And what he shared with us was so powerful. He first congratulated us on the work we have done, because as a mission we are among the top three baptizing missions in the area for the last two years! So we were all feeling pretty good at that point. But then he proceeded to destroy us on all the things we weren't doing so well. He gave us many obvious ideas of how to improve, and many things that we could clearly get better at. He pointed out a ton of things that we have been doing wrong…so many things that we all felt like it was our first day in the mission again! But he did it in such a motivating way that we all left there fired up and ready to change and follow every single one of his suggestions. I loved it!

As a result of following his counsel, Elder Batista and I have been lead to a couple of people who are really searching for the truth. This one lady said, "I don't really want to change churches, are you sure you want to keep visiting me?" and we responded, "Of course! You are important to us, and to your Heavenly Father! We're not here just to change your church, we're here to help you get back to live with Him!" or something along those lines. And she just broke down crying!  She actually asked us to hug her...and we did... jaja, I feel like we had an exception on the no-hugging rule in that moment! But the spirit was so strong, and it was a direct result of following the counsel of President Duncan.

But it sounds like you guys had your own experience with special witnesses of Jesus Christ this week. That's really cool that you were able to listen to Elder Scott and Elder Nelson at Regional Conference. Those promises they gave you are powerful.

I have a challenge for everyone reading this right now. In about two weeks we have General Conference. We are going to receive so much counsel from God through his prophets! I invite every one of you to prepare yourself. It is going to be great! And we are going to hear the guidelines that are going to help us get back to heaven, intended for us specifically. It's a pretty big deal!

Stefanie, I remember running in the BYU Invitational my sophomore year too!!! It's a great memory to have!  I remember it because it was the first time I took first place for Lehi! (: I'm super happy that you are having the experience of running XC!

Other than that, the change ends this week. I don't think I'll have changes because we both just got here, but we will have some changes in our zone and ward. Elder Nielson who lives three doors down from us is finishing his mission. He's become a pretty good friend of mine and it will be weird without him. Hermana Osorio, from my district is finishing her mission too. She will be missed here in the mission. Great missionaries! It's weird to see your friends go home, But that's just life. I'm excited for this next change! I think its going to be my best of my mission so far! (:

Well, that's all my news for this week! I love you all!

~Elder Smith

A giant cross in a cemetary in my area with Elder Nielson.

Here's one with all of us.  Me, Elder Batista, Elder Galindo from San Pedro, and Elder Nielson.

Me and Elder Pau'u.  Jaja, it's kinda a tradition now!

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Refining Fire

Hola Hola!

First and foremost, congrats to my cousin Mark, or should I say, Elder Kindred!! Atta boy! I'm super proud of him for starting the mission! Our family is awesome. I can't wait for the next like 20 years to be hearing about all the missionary experiences of all my cousins. If both sides of our family all just moved to the same place in the middle of nowhere we could probably start our own ward! Jaja, good job Mark!

This week we decided to go to the other part of our area. So we work in the mountains. We have two WHOLE MOUNTAINS as our area. One is called La Mololoa, it sounds kinda Hawaiian! And the other is Agua Blanca. We had been working almost exclusively in La Mololoa before this week, because there are strong members there and it's not as hard to get there. But this week we decided to check out the other side of the canyon! So we have only been visiting our positive investigators in the Mololoa, and contacting todo el mundo in Agua Blanca! It has been kind of amazing. We found a lady whose brother is named Elder Smith!! Those are his first and second names! Not a member of the church. And her other brother's name is Hyrum. That just proves to me that angels really are preparing the hearts of the people to receive this message! (Alma 13:24) And for the very first time in my mission, we knocked on a door and a girl came out and I really felt like I knew her from before. I know that wasn't the first time I had talked to her.

We also had quite a few investigators in church! Remember Franklin and Jahaida, who I asked you to pray for? They came! They are so great! We have a ton of faith in them! Please keep praying for them!

This week was also Consejo de Lideres! It was a great experience to go and listen to Presidente, the Assistants, and to watch and see how the mission is changing! The best part was that every single one of the Elders that I came with was there! We took an awesome picture of us all together. 

The mission is like a refining fire. You get tried every day. Plunged into the flaming coals. Heated up to the point of melting, and then pulled out and plunged into freezing cold water. But the Lord is the one shaping us, changing us, picking out our imperfections, smoothing over our weaknesses, destroying our pride, strengthening our faith,  forming a masterpiece. It hurts, but I can feel his love for me in every moment. I can't wait to see the end result.

-Elder Smith

Monday, September 1, 2014

Rough Week

Hola Hola!

Wow. It was a rough week! Our zone passed through some trials this week, that's for sure. But we are all still alive at least.

I went on divisions this week with one of the elders in my zone, Elder Fasabi. And it was a really good day of work with him. We felt the spirit a lot and had a super good noche de hogar at the end, so we went to bed happy! But then at like five o'clock in the morning we got a call from my comp from my house saying that our whole house was flooded! Remember when I told you we didn't have water a couple months ago? Yeah, that happens regularly in my new house. So what had happened is my comp or the other elder turned on the water to check if there was any, and there wasn't. But then he forgot to shut it off, and then in the morning the water truck came and filled up our tank. So the water ran all morning til my comp woke up. So we took a taxi back to my house at like 5:30 a.m. and when we got there there was still like three inches of water in the house! We spent like an hour bailing water out of our house.

Then this Saturday we all went as a zone to eat baleadas. SOOO GOOD! But we think the meat they used must have been bad, because about half of the zone is sick! Elder Batista was throwing up, had diarrhea, and just is not feeling good! Jaja, he has had a pretty rough week! Poor kid!

Then on Sunday the elders that live three doors down from us got robbed! Stole their scriptures, their wallets, their phone, pretty much everything! One of the elders is about to go home in like two weeks and he had gone his whole mission without being robbed, so he was pretty upset about his record being broken.
But we have decided this week was one of two things...

1) God is punishing us for breaking all the rules...  or
2) We are just passing through some hard trials before we have the most successful week in the history of missionaries!!

I hope it's number two because I work really hard to be obedient.  I am not complaining, it has been a very memorable week. I have loved every second of it! And I am willing to go through whatever God wants to put me through. I just hope next week is a little better for Elder Batista! Jaja, I don't know if he will survive another week like this one!

Congrats to Trevor and Megan on their marriage! And atta girl, Stefanie, I love the Grass Relays!  I hope you all have a great Labor Day with the family all there! Say hi to Nancy, Linda and Grandma Smith for me!

I love you all!  Have Family Home Evening tonight!!

-Elder Smith