Monday, July 27, 2015

Iguana Hunting in Santa Maria

Happy cabin week! Someone eat a calzone for me at Mr.Pibbs :)

I absolutely love it here in Santa María, Huatulco! It is so fun. I kind have gotten used to sweating all the time. Well actually last night it rained for about 20 minutes so it felt super nice with a little bit of cool air. I'm comfortable at night with my hammock, I would die sleeping in a bed here because it would just get too hot in the middle of the night. What I love most about the área is the small community of members. A lot of the members hang out every night where one member sells esquite and elote. (Corn with mayo, lime, queso, and chile seasoning) By the way esquite is one of my favorite things to eat here in Oaxaca, it sounds gross but its AMAZING. So yeah every night we stop by and talk with a bunch of members at the hangout spot.

Here, there's a House of Prayer (Casa de Oración) that we meet at for our church services. I took some pictures of the house of prayer. I think there were about 40 members who attended church yesterday, and they filled up the chapel area. The missionaries, the branch president as well as our mission leader pretty much keep the branch from collapsing. The branch is filled with members who are all recent converts so as missionaries we work with the members a lot.

Our members may be few here, but our proselyting area is HUGE. We have little villages going all the way down to the beach that are part of our area. We haven´t started exploring those yet because we have been focusing our work here in Santa María in order to get to know the members. Also, the little villages are dangerous to be roaming around when it gets dark, so we have to be near our house after 7 o'clock for safety reasons.

There´s a lot of cool wildlife here. Beautiful butterflies with vibrant colors, Iguanas and tropical birds.
I took some fun pictures with my parrot friend Lorenzo. :) Haha and the Iguanas that roam free here are huge! The ones I took pictures of are the medium sized ones. I have a funny story to tell about an Iguana. We were at a recent convert´s house helping them shuck corn when we saw a dog sprinting until he stopped suddenly at the giant tree. We figured out it was an Iguana that he was chasing, and in seconds the iguana was 30 feet up this tree.
The father of the family, (who isn't a member yet) asked us if we were hungry for some Iguana. I haven´t tried iguana yet so I was excited to eat some roasted Iguana that day. Agustín took his slingshot and started firing rocks at the Iguana, which was all the way at the top of the tree at this point. (I took pictures). After about 20 minutes of no success, one of the kids started to climb the tree with a 10 foot pole in hand to knock the Iguana down. He knocked the Iguana down and it fell about 40 feet and hit the ground running into the jungle. We didn't eat Iguana that day :( hahaha it sure was funny though.

We were going to visit the beach today but it took us forever to wash our clothes as well as clean the house, because it was kind dirty. Also, we had to clear out a bunch of tall grass in front of our house. Bugs and flies were living in the grass and we don´t want our house to become infested. Next week hopefully. Or maybe we´ll go to one of the villages in our area that is right next to the beach this week.

I'm scared to carry my camera around because of the chance of getting jumped..but I like taking pictures of the cool things I see. I hope you all have a great week in Paradise!
Love you all!

Con Amor,
Elder Smith

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Area #2 Santa María, Huatulco

Wow, its been a crazy couple of days. Well my companion and I a few days ago received the news that our area (Violetas 2) was going to close. When we heard that we knew for certain that both of us were going to get changed. As last week wound down we said our goodbyes to all the families and wonderful people I met while serving in Violetas for 4 1/2 months. It was tougher than I thought it was going to be. Tears were shed. I grew so close to so many people and just like that I am in a different place with different people, needing to learn everything all over again. But that is how the mission works I have learned. 

Nervously, we waited Sunday night to hear from our district leader what the changes were going to be. We received the call and they said Elder Smith will be going to Santa María, Huatulco!
The beach fronts of Huatulco, Mexico are some of the most beautiful in the world. I don´t know what I did to receive the punishment to be sent to the coast. Hahaha it is absolutely gorgeous here, and HOT. Hot and humid, I haven´t stopped sweating since I got here. My area is Santa María. It´s a small, poor village about a 30 minute bus ride away from the famous Huatulco beach fronts. Santa María is literally a jungle village. Yeah, I´m living in a jungle. 

I haven´t been able to get any pictures of Huatulco yet, but I took some pictures on the bus ride down.
It was about a 10 hour bus ride, but it went by super fast. They had tvs on the bus and we watched a bunch of movies, but they were all crappy movies, I was waiting for Jurassic World or Avengers 2 to show haha. The route to get to the coast from the city is crazy! We went through, up and over the mountains. At some points I looked down from my window and I couldn't see road or railing, just a 300 foot drop off. It was sketchy, with sharp twists and turns around the mountain ridge.

We finally got to Huatulco last night and the Zone leaders took us to our house. Oh and I forgot to mention, my new companion came with me from the city. The two elders that were here before us both left at the same time. My new companion is Elder Tello, from Cancun, Mexico. He´s used to living by beautiful beaches..haha. As soon as we got to our new house I hung up my hammock and that's where I slept last night. It was amazing because I could but the fan right under me so I didn't die of heat exhaustion in the middle of the night haha. Right now isn't the hot months of the year. In the mornings, it's actually pretty nice temperature wise. But the humidity and heat kicks in about 9 in the morning and the house is a furnace again.

Well that's my update so far, we are learning the area and the members all of today so we can get to work finding and teaching investigators!

Love you all and I hope you have a great week!

-Elder Smith

Monday, July 13, 2015


I love the pictures! Hahaha wow I never changed my pose or boring lol. That's the first thing I thought when I saw the temple in the pictures. It´s gorgeous. 

That grey suit and frost blue tie combo on Josh is sweet! I want a grey suit, I might buy a new suit at the end of my mission here because they are dirt cheap here. 

I can´t really think of much that happened this week. Its been a tough couple weeks with our investigators and we only had 20 lessons this week. Everyone has been busy and not really wanting anything to do with the missionaries. It can be disheartening at times but I had an experience with a long time investigator that Elder Erikson and I started teaching, Vicky. Vicky wants me to baptize her, but she still doesn't feel ready. I told her in the last lesson with her that it´s very likely that I will get transferred in about a week. So I told her that we will have her baptism this Saturday at 6:00, half jokingly, but I wanted to see what she would say. After she thought about it for a little bit she agreed! Elder Torres and I were ecstatic but after we finished the lesson, she changed her mind and said she wasn't ready yet. We were so close! Ughh and if I get changed, I won't be able to see her get baptized, and she has really been my focus these last 4 months. But that's the missionary life, you always leave behind investigators. 

Also, this week was super rainy and cloudy and COLD! I used the rain jacket almost everyday this past week because I was sick of being wet and cold. The rain jacket worked perfect. I don't know what the actual temperature was but I was freezing. It was probably something like 65 degrees hahaha.  The members here say rainy season here in the city is July-October. I might not be able to email next Monday because of traveling or whatever might happen for transfers. Just a heads up. 

Sounds like the family is going to have a fun rest of July. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little jealous. One thing that I have learned here on the mission is that I have the best family in the world. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

¡Feliz Día de Independencia!

Happy 4th of July weekend! ¡Feliz Día de Independencia!

On Saturday the only really American thing I did to celebrate was eat Domino´s Pizza. I was tempted to hang an American Flag out the window of our house but then I thought again and realized that´s an easy way to put myself in danger here in Mexico haha. I heard that when it´s Mexico´s Independence day, it gets crazy with parties in the street all day and night long. I think it´s someday in September.

Also this week, we went to the Temple again. I have had the opportunity to go to the Temple here in Oaxaca 4 times now. It is really a blessing being here in the city close to a temple. When I am sent to the Istmo or the coast I won´t have that blessing so I am enjoying it while I have it. Every time I have gone to the temple here, I have gone with the purpose of receiving peace and comfort. I worry a lot about being a good missionary that can really make a difference in these people´s lives and sometimes I doubt myself or feel inadequate. But after a temple session I really feel at peace and feel that I am doing my best and that´s all I can do. 

We are finding a lot of new investigators and we have 11 baptismal dates. These baptismal dates aren´t certain but we are working hard with our investigators to try and prepare themselves for their baptismal dates. Three of our investigators are for sure getting baptized on there dates. 2 kids who have less active parents, and a girlfriend of a less active member. The sad thing is that we are planning for there baptisms after the next changes, and there is a good chance that I will be changing areas in a couple weeks. But maybe not, we´ll see! The problem with most of our investigators is attending church! In order to baptize an investogator they need to have gone to church atleast 5 times. Here everybody works on Sunday. It´s our biggest trial right now, getting our investgators to go to church! It´s frustrating, but as long as we do our part, thats all we can do. 

I hope you all had a great 4th of July and Have fun at the Family reunion and wedding!

I forgot to talk about P-day today! 

Today, we had a multi-zone soccer tournament. Each zone had two teams of 7. I uploading some pictures with my Germany jersey that I bought the other week for 50 pesos. (more or less $3) It was a steal. Now I have a Mexico Jersey and a Germany jersey. Ill be adding to my collection the next 18 months becuase they are so cheap here. Anyways the first two games I played as an attackman. I didn´t score any goals but I was able to contribute with some assists :) We had some really good players on our team, like my District leader, Elder Perlaza, who is in one of the photos I uploaded. SO we won the first two games pretty easily. We made it to the championshop game and I was chosen as the goalie. We won and I played a shutout, nobody scored on us and I made some nice saves so I´m proud of myself :) haha shows that I can play futbol with latinos!

Love you all,
-Elder Smith