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, July 21, 2015

Letter of Release

Release date:  July 09, 2015

Braden Curtis Smith, 

You are honorably released from your sacred calling as a full-time missionary. No greater service can be rendered than to labor faithfully for the Savior in the salvation of human souls. The gratitude of those who have benefited from your unselfish labors will always be a source of satisfaction and encouragement to you.

May the joy that has come from conscientiously performing your duties as a missionary abide with you and inspire you with a constant devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ, whom you have served.

Kendle Bowler
Mission President
Honduras Tegucigalpa Mission

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

This Is It

Hola Hola!

Well, this is it! I don't think I'm going to write much today, because I'm going to be seeing you very soon!

I'm glad you had a fun 4th of July! All the Elders in our zone went to a nice pizza place. But that's nothing on Journey! That's super cool, I'm sure it was a blast. I would have loved to see Journey!!

I love Honduras and all the people here. There are so many great things here! But I'm glad to be an American. God blessed us with the best country ever. I don't think I will ever take that for granted again.

It's been kind of a sad week. I can't believe that it is coming to an end. The time passes you by so fast. I am just glad I got this chance to serve as a missionary. I'm pretty sure this is the last time I am going to write as a missionary, so I just want to invite everyone to read the Book of Mormon, and pray about it asking God if it is true. It will be the best thing you ever do in your life.

-Elder Smith

Monday, June 29, 2015

All I Can Really Say Is Thank You

Hola Hola!

Well, this is it. My last full week as a missionary. I can't believe how fast these two years have flown by. It feels to me like only last week I was saying goodbye to my best friends and family the night before I left. I remember so vividly walking into the airport and meeting Elder Christiansen. We didn't know what we were in for! We didn't realize that we would grow to be such good friends while serving out here together.

I remember saying goodbye to my family without really realizing how important that moment was.

I remember getting to the CCM and meeting a bunch of guys that had so much faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that they were willing to leave everything behind for two whole years. I remember learning so much in that place. It is one of the best environments in the world to feel the spirit, grow, learn and prepare.

I remember getting to Honduras and meeting my trainer, Elder Glassett! One of my best friends! I remember the first long drive down to Choluteca, the pouring rain that drenched us within seconds of getting off the bus...I remember the heat, the mud, the incredibly humble and prepared people that accepted the gospel through two missionaries that had only about four months of experience between them! I remember my first leaders that made that zone so great and the example they gave me for the rest of my mission. Thank you guys!

I remember every single area since then, and my heart is still there in every one of them! I remember every mountain I climbed. Every meal I ate in the homes of people who couldn't afford to feed us. I remember every service project we did with all our hearts to help those people. I remember lessons where everyone left crying, and lessons ending with us getting thrown out of the house. I remember loving these people no matter what their answers were to our invitation.

I remember the five Sundays I had when I brought more than fifteen investigators to church and how happy I felt. I also remember all the Sundays when my companion and I sat there without a single one. 

I remember watching a family of menos activos walk through the door just before Sacrament Meeting for the first time in three years and feeling such a feeling of love from the Savior. I remember watching the whole ward walk over and welcome them back right after the closing prayer. I remember saying a prayer of thanksgiving with my companion, Elder Yac, in the back of the church.

I remember sharing my most spiritual experience with Hermana Xiomara and then listening to Elder Pearson do the same. I remember the spirit testifying so strongly and watching her son cry. I remember her telling us that it wasn't her time, and how badly that hurt. I remember begging and pleading with the Lord to have her call us and ask us to visit her again, because when we prayed to know what to do with her we felt we needed to wait for her to call us. I will always remember her and her family.

I have so many memories and the only thing I can really say is thank you. Thank you to my parents, my leaders who helped me get here, my coaches who were great examples, my companions, my leaders, my mission presidents. But most of all to God.

-Elder Smith

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

She Passed Her Test

Hola Hola! 

Well, it's been an interesting week, I think for you at home much more than for me here in the mission. Honestly, it was a pretty good week for us out here. The big day was Friday so we'll focus on that day. 

It started early with a last minute final check and clean of our apartment. Every time we have interviews with President we run the risk of him coming to inspect our house. Now we have another set of older missionaries here as well, the Oldroids. And Elder Oldroid's main responsibility is taking care of the missionary houses. And thus the shower pictures from a few weeks ago, haha.

After a little cleaning we went to the church and started the interviews. President always has us and the Assistants take turns teaching lessons while he is interviewing everyone. Elder Pearson and I had prepared a couple of really good lessons! We invited some members to come so we could have actual practices, we prepared videos, we had called people beforehand to ponder certain topics and then asked them to share about that topic. And we were successful in inviting the spirit to help us teach, which is the most important part. It went really well for us.

After President had finished with everyone besides us we had lunch and he shared a short message with us. He always has great insights. He shared stories about his mission, miracles that he saw and helped bring to pass, and ideas that we could use. He finished, we closed the meeting and everyone else left to work. Elder Pearson had his interview, leaving me for last. 

He started by telling me that my service has been accepted by the Lord, and that I had done a much better job than even I knew or felt I had done. He said that the Lord was very happy and proud of me for serving a mission. He asked me about the zone and how things were going in our area and companionship. Then he read the message Mom had sent to him and shared with me that Grandma Smith had passed away. It wasn't really a shock, but I wasn't expecting it either. He shared some very comforting words and counsel and gave me a big hug. The spirit was there comforting us both. 

After that Hermana Bowler took me aside and also offered some comfort and support. She is so great! She told me that If I needed anything that I could call her and talk. 

Through it all I was mostly just worried about Dad. I know this must be really hard for him. But she made it! She passed her test! God decided it was time to take her to paradise.  I am so proud of her, and of Grandpa. They have left us a great example of enduring to the end. I hope to follow their example. 

After that we went to work. There are still people to find and teach out here! I love my calling and I'm going to magnify it until they release me. 

I love you all and I'm praying for you.

-Elder Smith

Monday, June 15, 2015

Burning Down Babylon

Hola Hola! 

Wow, you guys had a really exciting week! Everyone going in different directions. That's the summer for ya. I'm glad you had such good experiences. Good luck Carter! You're going to be a great missionary. It will be good to see you after four years when you get back! But for three weeks the Smith cousins are going to be burning down Babylon!

Our week was pretty good, we spent it contacting all the people we met with the single adults. Last week we were all working at the same time, but this week we left with each of them individually to go meet the people they had contacted. It was pretty fun! They are almost all returned missionaries. This ward has so much potential. We just have to light the fire again and we are going to see miracles! 

The rainy season has officially started again down here in Honduras. It rains here every single day. I realized just how destroyed my shoes are this week, haha. I think I'm going to have wet feet till the end of my mission. But because of all the rain everything is turning so green and beautiful! This country really is amazing. I love it. 

Stefanie, I'm really glad you had a good time at Youth Conference! I remember loving those things. And I'm proud of you for being a good missionary. That's so important! And I'm sorry everyone keeps asking you about me! Haha, I don't even know who would be asking about me, I can't remember anybody anymore. But I'm glad I'm still loved! (: 

Dad, thanks for the advice. Don't worry, I'm going to be knocking on doors, talking to everyone I can up until the day they make me get on the plane. I have three more weeks of FULL TIME missionary service. A whole lot of good can happen in three weeks. I know why I'm here.

I love you guys! I hope you have a great week! 

-Elder Smith

Monday, June 8, 2015

There is Nothing That Can Stop the Work From Progressing

Hola Hola! 

This week was pretty uneventful. We worked really hard, but not a whole lot beside that. Let's see if I can't still write a good letter today. 

This week we had a lot of help from our ward. On Sunday we had an activity with the JAS which is the young single adults, where we went to contact in a part of our area. Almost every one of the single adults here are returned missionaries so it was really fun to be able to work with them and see their love for missionary work come back into their lives. It was a blast, and we found a couple of families that seem like they are honestly going to progress! God blesses people when they try to go above and beyond! 

There is an Hermana in our ward who got back from her mission this week. She is awesome! She has already given us like five references, she has asked to work with us in the area where she lives. She still has the fire in her! It's crazy what one person with a lot of faith can do! But it's even more incredible when a whole group of people come together, that's when you really see miracles! 

We had Consejo this week as well. Consejo is always great! It helps us to stay focused and to remember our huge responsibility. But it also helps us to stay down to earth and remember that it's all in God's hands. He is the one behind the plans. And there is nothing that can stop the work from progressing.  

Another thing we did this week was FINALLY clean our bathroom! Haha, I'm going to attach some photos of our shower! It was super dirty... its sad... viewer disgression is advised... 



Well, I think that's all from me today! I love you all and hope you will have a great week!

-Elder Smith

Monday, June 1, 2015

I Know In Whom I Have Trusted

Hola Hola!

First of all, Mom, my toe is fine! Haha, we went to the office on Tuesday, they gave me a shot, cut my toenail off and we were working again that night. It was no big deal at all. My toe does feel a whole lot better. But thanks for worrying about me!

I'm still with Elder Pearson, we didn't have changes. But there were quite a few changes in our zone. It should be a pretty good change, my last one. That's a crazy thought! I got an email from Elder Staten, he's finishing his mission and going home this week. I swear I was just at his farewell! But that's how the mission works. You start and before you even know it it's ending. Mom, I'm sure that's exactly how you felt this week saying goodbye to your little first graders. Dad, that must be how you felt this week with Grandma. But that's one of the great parts of life! Nefi talked about that right after Lehi passed away in 2 Nefi 4. Se en quien he confiado. I know in whom I have trusted. We just have to trust in the Lord and trust that better things are coming. 

Apart from that it was a pretty normal week! We worked hard. Saw some progress in some people that we weren't expecting to progress. Had one of the WORST lessons in my whole mission. We didn´t eat very much this week because last week was stake conference and the Relief Society didn't plan who we were going to eat with! Haha, that was interesting. But all in all a great week. 

Stefanie, I hope you will have a great summer! Working and dating and going to high school and all that stuff! Haha, you are so grown up! Kevin, atta boy! I'll see you at the airport! And tell my coach that poster is awesome! I love you all, have a great week!

~Elder Smith

Monday, May 25, 2015

A Lot of Work To Be Done

Hola Hola! 

First of all, Grandma Smith, I love you so much. I hope you know that I have felt your love and support so much while I have been out here on my mission. You have really helped me now and throughout my whole life. You have been a great example of a woman who loves the Lord and tries to follow Him. Thank you for that! I'm praying for you out here. 

This week we have changes coming up! I will be starting my last change! I can't believe how fast the time is flying by. The weeks seem like days sometimes. The good thing is that I shouldn't be getting changed, I'm pretty sure that I'll be here to finish my mission. And I'm super happy about that! I really like it here, and there is still a lot of work to be done. 

I'm super happy for Rachel getting her Patriarchal Blessing.  That must have been a great experience. I vividly remember the night I received my Patriarchal Blessing. Rachel, I hope it will be a light for you in your life! There are things in mine that I think about every single day. Stefanie, you should really start thinking about getting yours as well! 

Tomorrow I'm going to the clinic to get my ingrown toenail looked at... I couldn't take it anymore. Well, actually Elder Pearson was the one who called Hermana Bowler to set up the appointment because he knew I wouldn't do it. But it was the right decision, it was getting pretty bad! I'll let you know how it went! 

Well, I think that's all my news for today. I love you all! Have a great week! 

P.S. Happy Birthday, Michael! Save me a piece of pie! haha

My zone...

Sweet grafiti in our area...

Preaching repentance to the Pueblo...

Monday, May 18, 2015

Helping Others Come Closer to Christ

Hola Hola! 

This week was a busy one! We had divisions with the Assistants and with one of the areas in our zone. It felt like I spent just about as much time with other companeros as I did with Elder Pearson! But it's always fun to spend time with other missionaries and see their style of teaching. It changes so much! A whole lot more than you would think. But despite all the changes it is always centered on the Lord and helping others come closer to Christ. 

On Wednesday I went with Elder Osmond to his area. I found out that he will now be going home at the same time as me! So that was fun to talk and work with him, he is a really good missionary. Then we had one day together with Elder Pearson. And the next day I was with Elder Sosa in my area. He is from the Dominican Republic and only has about five months in the mission. It was fun to teach with him and get to know his life story a little more! 

We worked really hard this week, we had fifty baptism challenges this week! We decided that it was time to drop a lot of our investigators that were not progressing. It's hard to do that because we know that this might be the only chance they get...but we also have a big responsibility to the Lord and other people to give them their chance. That is really one of the hardest things we have to do as missionaries. 

This is the last week of the change, everyone is getting excited to see where they might go! I can't believe this will be my last one! But really nothing will change. That is the best part of the mission! (: 

Go Lehi!
Have a great week! 
~Elder Smith 

For p-day today we went to a big Catholic Church.

We also played soccer today!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Still A Lot of Time

Hola Hola! 

Well, not a lot to say today because we talked for awhile yesterday! But it was great to see and talk to you all. I can't believe that was our last call! That was the last big milestone of the mission for me. No more Christmases, no more birthdays, no more General Conferences. It's winding down! But there is still a lot of time to help some people find the gospel! (:

I love you all! Have a great week.

-Elder smith

Monday, May 4, 2015

A Day and Memory I Will Never Forget

Hola Hola!!

This week was great, we had a baptism! It was for an hermana named Irinia Núñez. I love her so much, she is sooo pilas! She wasn't going to be able to be baptized until the middle of June because of her work schedule and other conflicting problems. But God opened doors and she was able to get baptized! It was a beautiful service. The craziest thing is that we baptized her in Choluteca! Her family in Choluteca was also investigating the church, and they were going to get baptized in two weeks. But when everything worked out just perfectly they decided to get baptized this weekend so they could do it all together as a family. So we talked to President and he gave us permission to go down with Irinia to baptize her. We woke up early Friday morning, met up with Irinia, and headed to the bus station at about 7:30 a.m. The next four hours were spent on the familiar twisty windy road back to the south. When we got there we went and ate at Chorascos, the best restaurante in the whole freaking world! Or at least the south part of Honduras! And then we went to her baptism. She is amazing! After the baptism she bore her testimony, the spirit was so strong! 

We left right after the baptism and got back on the bus. As we were driving away it started to rain. Choluteca was saying one last goodbye to me and crying as I left for the last time ever. A day and a memory that I will never forget! God works miracles to bring to pass his righteous purposes. I was reading in DyC 35: I think verses 8 and 9. It says that Gods arm is still extended, and miracles follow those who believe in Christ. Today, just like in Old Testament times! We just have to believe and see.

And that was the highlight of my week! (:

I'm super glad you guys have a good birthday week planned. Happy birthday Stefanie! I got your letter this week. Thank you so much! You're the best! 

And on Mother's Day this Sunday I think I will get to call you in the evening, like around 5 o'clock Honduras time! Love you!

-Elder Smith

Monday, April 27, 2015

Zone Conference with Elder Ochoa

Hola Hola! 

This week was great! We had the opportunity to listen to Elder Ochoa. He came on Thursday for our zone conference. He spoke on how there are chosen people who have been prepared to receive the gospel, it is these people we need to be looking for. He told us that we need to do a better job of helping people understand and realize who it was that sent us to talk to them. It was exactly what I needed to hear! 

This week we have been focusing on our investigator Xiomara and her family--Alejandro, Nelly and Ashli. I love them so much. We gave them a promise last week that if they would read the Book of Mormon every day and come to church that they would be able to receive an answer to know if this is the only true church. They kept their part of the promise, they read every day. And they came to church! I really am hoping and expecting three baptisms very soon! Please pray for them this week.

We went to this sweet waterfall this week..but my camera is missing again..this is like my fourth camera of my mission. Jaja, so I don't have any pictures but it was amazing! I really like my zone.

WOW! It's crazy that you already have my flight information! If you wanted to share that with me I would like to know. I'm super proud that Stefanie is going to mission prep! And Mom, I'm happy you accepted my scripture challenge. Thank you for your insights! 
I feel like my emails are getting shorter and shorter! But know that I love you and that I am growing and becoming who the Lord needs me to be. I hope you are too!

Love your son, 

Elder Smith

Monday, April 20, 2015

Roller Coaster of Emotions

Hola Hola!

Well, I'm with a new companion. Elder Pearson from American Fork, Utah! He's a really good guy and we are going to work hard. It's crazy that he could very well be my last companion. Our zone had a bunch of changes too. There are now more Hermanas in our zone than Elders. It should be a good change! 

It is always exciting the morning of changes! We wake up and start the day as normal, pretending that it isn't killing us not knowing what is going to happen. Then at about eight o'clock the Assistants call to tell us the changes. We then call everyone in our zone to let them know. And the rest of the day is bittersweet. We go out and say goodbye to everyone, which is very sad, but there are always very nice things said, and usually a lot of food! The worst part is that night when we start packing. That's when it hits you the hardest. You might not ever see that place again. But you are also very excited to see your new area! It's a roller coaster of emotions. But it's very good because it gives you a great chance to progress.

Mom, thanks for all the news and updates. I can't believe that the school year is almost over for you guys! Life just keeps going, time just keeps sliding past. Mom, I'm glad you have so many fun activities planned for your first graders. And I'm glad Dad's track team is doing so well! I'm proud of Stefanie for being so pilas. Go Lehi soccer! And that is the craziest thing I've ever heard that Rylie and Josh have two kids! Congratulations to Nate Hancock, and Amanda McHenry too. She better not get married before I get home! And way to go Trevor and Haley for your graduations! 

This week we have Zone Conference. Elder Ochoa from the Quorum of the Seventy is coming to talk to us. We have a meeting with him on Thursday, and then a meeting for leaders of the mission on Friday. I'm very excited for that.

Well that's all from me this week. I love you all!  Keep reading and praying as a family.

-Elder Smith

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Spirit Was Felt

Hola Hola! 

Arches National Park looks awesome! I'm glad you guys had such a good time. I can't believe spring break is already past! And you guys can now say that you have been to the  place on your license plates!

This week was awesome for us, Consejo was great as always. We saw a bunch of progress in our investigators and we had a lot of them in church yesterday! I'll attach a picture we took.

Hermana Xiomara and all her kids came, as well as Consuelo and her WHOLE FAMILY, including the guy who took us to mass! We were super happy! It was the first time that the whole family had come to church together. It was also ward conference, so the bishop and the stake president both spoke. The spirit was felt! 

We also felt super guided to go to this guy's house in a part of our area where we had never really worked that much. His name is Freddy, We started teaching him and he said he didn't want to join any church because the faith of the people in churches isn't really faith. That no one who goes to church would be willing to die for what they believe in. We shared Doctrine & Covenants section 135 with him, the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. The spirit was very strong and I was able to tell him about the time our family stood in that very room. How I saw the holes in the wall where the bullets entered. How I have felt the spirit of Joseph Smith's testimony that he sealed with his blood. And how the church was restored! He said he would pray about it, so we´ll see what happens when we go back!

Well that was pretty much our week! On Wednesday we have changes. I will probably stay here in this area, but I might get a new companion! I'll let you know next Monday!

Love you all, 
-Elder Smith

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter and General Conference

Hola Hola!

Happy Easter and Conference to each and every one of you! I hope you had a great week full of the spirit and remembering the Savior and his sacrifice. General Conference probably helped you to do that. It was so great this year! I have grown such a love for Conference while out here on my mission. But did you notice that Elder Scott didn't speak? I wonder why? My favorite talks were given by President Eyring in the Priesthood session, Elder Bednar, and Elder Holland. Can't wait for the Liahona to get here next month! 

This week was pretty slow. Everyone went on vacation, even the public transportation people. We were unable to get to the half our area where we have most of our investigators. And most of the ones we have here close by were gone. So we had a week full of member visits! It was fun, but it was not a very productive week. 

That's really cool that Carter got his mission call!  Atta kid, Carter! My MTC companion is serving in San Antonio,Texas! It sucks that I won´t be able to see him before he leaves. But I am really proud of him!  

Its also pretty cool that you signed my National letter of Intent! Its official, I'm going to be playing college soccer! I'm pretty excited about that! Thanks for all your help.

This week coming up we have Consejo! I'm excited, it's always a great spiritual experience. I´ll keep you posted on that.

Well that's all from me today. I hope you all have a great week, and that you apply what we learned in Conference. Love you!

-Elder Smith

Monday, March 30, 2015

Easter Week, Samana Santa

Hola Hola! 

This week was the most Catholic week of my entire life! Jaja, but in spite of that it was pretty good. Easter week--Semana Santa--started down here, which means two things: #1) everyone goes out of town and #2) the Catholic church does a bunch of traditional things. There are big groups of people in the streets every night carrying crosses and singing and worshiping in their own unique way! Jaja, the 11th Article of Faith has never rung so true for me. 

On Wednesday we were walking down the street and this little old lady was walking the other way. We stopped her to talk to her about the church....or tried to! We didn't get two words in before she started talking about all the crazy dreams she has had where God told her that the Catholic church is the true church! In a world as confused as ours she is among the most lost of them all. But then before I knew what was happening she started doing the cross thing to me! Jaja, I was scared at first! I leaned away and wasn't going to let her do it! But she insisted... after that she turned around and walked away, leaving me stunned, and Elder Ruiz laughing his head off at the bewildered look on my face! 

Then on Friday we went to visit Xiomara and Consuelo. They both live in a part of our area that is about fifteen minutes away from our house by bus, so we always visit them on the same day. We had two great lessons, they both accepted the challenge to be baptized! Nothing is final still but it's a great first step! We were excited,to put it lightly! And then on the way out we saw Consuelo's husband, Miguel Angel. He is a great guy, but doesn't really have very much interest in the church. We invited him to church like we always do. And he proceeded to say no very politely like he always does, nothing new.

But then he said he would go to church with us if we went to Mass with him, thinking I'm sure, that we wouldn't be caught dead in a Catholic church! But we jumped on that opportunity! We told him that we would gladly go to church with him if he would come to church with us this week! He agreed but said we had to go with him first. So this morning we woke up early to go with him to mass before work! It was a very interesting experience! And best of all, HE'S GOING TO COME WITH US TO CHURCH!!! 

This week is sure to be full of more Catholic experiences! I'm very thankful to be a member of the true church of Jesus Christ. I hope you all have a great Easter week! Watch the video Gracias A Que El Vive. I don't know what it's called in English but they're great. Color some eggs and have a great Easter egg hunt for me too! 

I love you all! 

-Elder Smith

 This is a sweet soccer field in our area. These people have a true love of soccer!

There was a giant fire right by our house!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Keep the Lord in First Place in Your Life

Hola hola! 

This week went by really fast! I'm sittin' here in the cyber cafe and the only thing that I can think about are my investigators. This week we found some that are really positive. The mom's name is Xiomara, she is a single mom with three kids: Alejandro, Nelly, and Ashli. They are reading the Book of Mormon and praying every night. I have a whole lot of hope for them! 

Right below them lives our investigator Consuelo and her family. They have a really cool garden behind their house. After we taught them they took us back there to see everything they have planted. It was really cool, kind of like a jungle! 

Mom, that's super cool that you met Sister Porter! My time with Elder Porter was a ton of fun, we were a good team. But that's really how I feel about all of my companions that I have had. I have been really blessed! Elder Ruiz and I are super good friends too.

I got a package from you on Friday, I was very surprised! Thank you very much! I am going to start studying those scriptures you sent me tomorrow morning. I just got done reading the New Testament so it's perfect timing.

Well, that's really all I have today. Don't get discouraged, just keep the Lord in first place in your life and everything else will fall into place. I hope you all have a great week. Keep up the good work. I love you!

-Elder Smith

Monday, March 16, 2015

March Madness

Hola Hola! 

This week went by SOOOO FAST! Jaja, I don't know where the time goes here. Today on the bus coming back from playing soccer I was half daydreaming about being a superstar pro soccer player, half meditating on the mission. And while I was doing that I realized that I am so happy here. I can't explain it, but I'm just really happy! I remember reading in my mission call that "greater blessings and more happiness than you have ever experienced await you as you  serve His children".  And I think today I realized that it is true. 

We have a family of investigators, la familia Hernandez, and they are the best! The mom's name is Consuelo, she has been going to church for the past six months here. And finally this week she told us that she wants to be baptized! The rest of the family still isn't sure, so we are going to have to work with them, but Consuelo is the key! She and her husband have to get married though, that is their biggest challenge right now. 

To answer some of your questions about our area, we have a lady who washes for us, we don't have a lady to cook for us but that is because we eat every meal in the houses of the members! They take care of us so well here! Our apartment is pretty nice, but the water is SO COLD! Showering is a challenge here, jaja.

Stefanie, I'm super proud of you! You are going to be blessed! But more than that you are always going to remember that you decided to follow the counsel of the Lord! That is so much more valuable than going to a lousy high school dance. I love you!

This is the Last March Madness that I will ever miss in my life! Jaja, I hope you all enjoy it, because there are some people that can't watch it!  Count your blessings! (: 

I love you all! have a great week! 

-Elder Smith

Here are the kids from the school I told you about last week.  We went again this week too!

Pday fun!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Back in the Big City

Hola Hola! 

Well, I had to say goodbye to Zona Choluteca. I'm not going to lie, it was pretty hard. There are a lot of people down there in the heat that I love sooo much. I didn't even say goodbye to many of them because it was too sad. I think this was my hardest goodbye. Changes are the WORST part of the whole mission. Pero ni modo... 

I am back in Tegucigalpa, in Zona Valle De Ángeles! That's the Valley of Angels, and it lives up to it's name. It is sooo great here! The ward is super strong. The members are awesome and give us A TON OF FOOD! It's super safe here too, from what I have heard. My new companion is Elder Ruis. He's from Guatemala. He is awesome! We were already friends a little bit from before, and now I think he is going to be one of my favorite companions! He's been showing me the ropes, introducing me to the investigators and the members a little bit. And from what I've seen it is going to be a great place to finish my mission. Wow, I can't believe I just wrote that. Time is flying by!

This week we had a super cool experience. Saturday morning we were invited by one of our investigators to teach a bunch of kids in a service project. We went with two other companionships to a school that was having an open house sort of thing for kids to help keep them off the streets. We taught them about Jonah and the Whale! Haha, it was so much fun! I think they are going to start inviting us to come every week. I got a little taste of what you do every day, Mom! 

As for signing a letter of intent, Mom and Dad I am officially giving you permission to sign on my behalf! I have thought and prayed about it and I feel like that's what I need to do! Stefanie, I'm proud of you for keeping the commandments and not dating until you are sixteen, that's what I'm talking about! Dad, good luck with your track team! Rachel and George, I love you guys! And Mom, thank you for writing me every week! You haven't missed once and that means a lot! I love you. 

Well, that's all for this week! I'm at a computer that can't send pictures, so I'll try to see if i can switch to another one. But if not, I'll send some pictures next week.

Keep the Lord in first place in your life this week! I can't think of a single situation that would go better without His help. 

-Elder Smith 

Monday, March 2, 2015

He Was Just Waiting for Us to Find Him

Hola Hola! 

So good news, this week we had two more baptisms! Junior, The brother of Jensi and Marisol decided to get baptized after seeing his sisters get baptized the week before. And a young man named Ricardo was also baptized! His family are almost all members, but they had been inactive for awhile up until about three weeks ago when we went out with some members and  found them on splits! He was so ready. Just waiting for us to find him! 

This week is a little bittersweet. Changes are coming up this week and its almost a 100% guarantee that I will be changed. I have loved this area! It has helped me grow a whole lot! I will miss all these people who I have grown to know and love so much. But I'm also very excited for a new challenge, a new area, more people the Lord has in store for me to meet! 

This week we also had Consejo, always a good experience! This time it was super fun! It was Elder Stoddard's birthday so we had a little party in the basement of the AP's house, kinda like what we did for my birthday. It was a blast! 

And then the next day we had, as always, a very uplifting consejo with a lot of great advice on how to be better missionaries.

I love you all! Have a great week! (:

-Elder Smith

Monday, February 23, 2015

A Bunch of Miracles

Hola Hola! 

The highlight of this week was the baptism of Marisol and Jensi. Those two girls are the best! We have been trying to activate their parents for a while and now we had the privilege of seeing them be baptized. Their brother, Junior, also came to their baptism and to church. He now has a date to be baptized as well! I love this family! 

This week was a very good week for us. It was our Ward Conference. We had a bunch of activities all week to get people excited about coming to church. We had a talent show, an activity with all the youth and a giant visit where a bunch of members came and did divisiones with us. It was great to see the ward working together so hard as missionaries! At the end of the week our attendance went up by about fifty people! The church was the fullest I've ever seen it on a Sunday! Only our temple trip beats it!

We really saw a bunch of miracles this week. We had a new family move in from Lemon, my old area, and they had been going to church over there. They are just on the verge of being baptized too! Another thing, we have been invited to go and teach at an orphanage! The director is a member of the church and there are some kids there that want to listen to us. They are going to come to church, and because of their hard lives maybe their hearts have been prepared for the message we have to share.

It is getting SOOO HOT down here again! We are heading into the hottest part of the year right now. I get sunburnt every single day. You'd think my body would adapt already. But nope, I just sweat and burn and peel and do it again every day. But it is part of the sacrifice. Let's just say we do almost all of our planning, studying, phone calls, eating, sleeping, just about everything in this tiny room where there is a little air conditioning unit that keeps the temperature bearable. Jaja!

It sounds like things are going good back at home! Spring sports starting up! This is the best time of the year for sports!!! Keep me updated! 
Love you all! 

-Elder Smith

P.S. A family trip to the Sacred Grove would be fantastic! I would love that!

We got to go to this little pueblo called Yusguare. It's sweet there!

 Plus a giant watermelon we found!

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Lord's Vineyard

Hola Hola! 

This week was a pretty good one. We decided to be very direct with a bunch of our investigators. A lot of them were not really progressing and we had been spending a lot of time focusing on them. We let them know exactly why we are here, looking for people who are willing to change their lives and come unto Christ. We asked each of them if they were at a point in their lives where they were ready to do that. Some of them said no... that part was super sad. We grow to love these people out here so much, and when they decide not to accept our message it hurts. But we now have two baptisms scheduled for the end of this week. Jensi and Marisol are going to be baptized on Saturday. Please pray for them! As for Regina and Cati, they decided that now isn't their time. 

Apart from that we went on a super sweet adventure this week. It was Thursday and we had four or five appointments fall through in a row. So we decided to go check out this giant tree in our area that we had always seen from a distance. IT IS GIANT!!! The lowest branch is probably about twelve feet up, and the trunk is huge!  We decided that next p-day we are going to climb it with ropes, jaja! 

It was another really good week down here in the Lord's vineyard. I hope you all keep the Lord at the center of your lives. He loves you. I read D&C 6 this week and it really touched my heart, the last couple of verses in particular. Read it! 

I love you all! 

-Elder Smith

Monday, February 9, 2015

Here in Los Llanos

Hola hola!!! 

This week was a good one for us here in Los Llanos! We saw some key progress in a couple of investigators. A girl named Angie came to church. She is the sister of a young man in our church and we have a lot of hope for her. If you could add her to the prayer list it would be great! 

As for Cati, Merella, and Regina, the three of them didn't come to church this week... mostly because school has started again. The school year goes from February to November here in Honduras. So now everyone has the excuse that they have to go to school or they have to do homework... I went to high school. I know no one does homework! But whatever, jaja, we'll keep working on it!

We also had Consejo this week. that means another trip to Tegus...I'm getting really good at traveling. I think I make that four hour drive at least four times a month these days! But it was really good. We have some new goals as a mission that are going to help us all work together and achieve goals that we couldn't if we worked individually. I'm really excited to see where it takes us!

Stefanie, that's awesome!  Brother Gentile was a great seminary teacher! I really liked the way he taught! He always came to our soccer games and was always talking to me about the team! I hope you take advantage of seminary! Its such a great opportunity to feel the spirit every day! 

Dad, good luck to you and your team this week!  I'll be praying for you down here! 
I can't believe that Alonzo is already done with his mission, that went by so fast! Also congrats to Jacob for receiving his mission call. I love missions! They are really the very best part of being a member of the church! 

Well, I hope you all have a great week. Just make sure your life is centered on the gospel.

Love, Elder Smith

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Best Decision Anyone Can Make

Hola Hola!

I didn't even know who was in the Superbowl until yesterday! Jaja, but then the highlights were playing in KFC today. It looks like it was a great game! Last one I will ever miss again! 

It was a pretty good week. I went on divisions with Elder Hatch, the president's assistant. It was probably one of the most eye opening experiences of my mission. Elder Hatch was with me in Cuidad Nueva when I first got to the mission. He has been one of my best friends for my whole time down here, and he will be finishing his two years next month. I had some reflecting moments just thinking about how far we've come since then. The mission really is the best decision anyone can make for their life, it just is. I love it! 

I'm sorry it wasn't the best week for your team, Dad. But it sounds like next year should be a great one for you guys. Keep developing the mentality of winning. I really think winning is a habit. Get the JV team used to winning and you will just keep doing it! Stupid Tom Brady, for example, jaja!!

I have read Jesus the Christ, Mom! I read it with a dictionary right next to me because Talmage uses SOOO many giant words. But it is an amazing book! The way he brings the atonement to life is nothing less than inspired. Thank you for the spiritual thought! It is so true. I know that a lot of times I look for the very easiest way to do things. But sometimes that's not the way God wants it. Our Savior is the best example of that. 

We are really bringing this ward back to life! When I got here our church attendance was about 50 on average. Now it's over 100 almost every week! We should have a couple of  people getting baptized soon. Could you please include Kati, Regina and Merella in your prayers this week? They are really close to being baptized but just need a little extra push. You guys make a big difference when you pray!

Well, I love you all so very much. I hope you all have the best week of your entire lives!

Love, Elder Smith