Monday, September 28, 2015

La Mina

This was an awesome week! This week we had divisions with the Zone leaders. I got to go and work in the Zone leader's area for a day. I like their area a lot, I had a special experience with Elder Dominguez (my zone leader). Their area is in Bahias de Huatulco. It's an area really close to a lot of beaches and it's where a lot of the fancy hotels are in Huatulco. It's fun because you find a lot of tourists there from the US and Canada. 

We had an awesome experience with this one lady from Cicily, Italy. The Elders had visited her once before, and we found her in an ice cream shop. We started talking to her and she pretty much told us that she's not religious and the only reason she's talking with us is to learn more about the Mormon's. She also said my Spanish was really good, so that made me happy :). She started asking a bunch of questions like, why do young men leave everything at home to preach for two years? Do you really follow all these rules? She even told us it was a waste of 2 years of our youth. We explained everything and shared that we really want to do this and that it is the best thing that we could be doing at this time in our lives. 
The special part was when she asked us about our beliefs of what happens after death. Elder Dominguez and I taught and testified of God's plan for us and we were able to have an answer for every one of her difficult questions. The Spirit guided us and she was able to see the spirit within us. She ended by saying, "You know what, I'm going to visit your church one Sunday, because I like your charisma and the answers that you gave me." She said something along the lines of that in Spanish.
That was a special experience for me, because what she noticed in us, to realize that she should visit the church, was the Spirit. It wasn't us or even our answers to her question's that she liked. But it was the Spirit that she felt. After we left that lesson, Elder Dominguez and I just looked at each other with the biggest grins, feeling like we were on top of the world. The joy that we felt was indescribable. 

Today, we had an awesome Zone activity! We went to Puerto Angél to a beach called la mina. We brought a bunch of coconuts and cracked them open to drink on the beach. We played volleyball and looked longingly at the water, wanting so bad to just put our feet in the water. Missionary struggles...haha but seriously it was an awesome activity in a gorgeous setting. 
 Next week is General Conference!!! I'm super excited.
Love you all and have a great Gen. Conf weekend!
-Elder Smith

Monday, September 21, 2015

21 Septiembre 2015

This week I experienced my first 15 de Septiembre (Mexican Independence Day) in Mexico! It wasn´t very crazy here in Santa María until it got late. What they do is have a parade and at midnight they all yell ¡Viva México! a bunch of times. We saw a little bit of the parade that went through the town. The coolest part were the men and women riding on horseback, wearing sombroros and traditional clothing. There were about 100 of them going down main street at once. It was cool but the 4th of July is a lot better ;). 

This week we also had a Zone Conference in Pochutla. They just changed the zone to make it all of the Coast. It used to be two different zones but now we are one big zone. Pochutla is about an hour away from Santa María and the road to get there in incredibly windy. The taxi was cruising super fast so I got really dizzy. But the views were incredible. It was weird to see the greenie gringos who don´t know much Spanish. It´s hard to believe that I´m almost considered a veteran already. It was also fun to see missionaries at the conference that I hadn´t seen in months. 

The other day, I had a funny food experience. We sat down to eat after church yesterday. We eat with Hermana Nicole and Hermano Alberto every other Sunday. They placed two plates full of rice, grilled onions, and this dark looking meat. I didn't have any idea what kind of meat it was, but half the time I don't know what I´m eating here anyways so I didn't worry about it. I took a tortilla, and made a taco with the rice, onions, meat and salsa. (That's how you eat almost everything here). It was really good! I could have sworn that what I was eating was some sort of steak. My companion looked at me and asked if I wanted his. I asked him why and he responded that he doesn´t like liver. THIS IS LIVER? Was my first thought. Yep, cow liver and onions. I thought it was delicious so I ate my companion´s portion too. 

We are preparing to have a baptism on the 10th of October. The last weekend of my companion´s mission. We have been working a lot with other investigators and we have 3 other baptism dates, but they aren´t as solid as Fransisco´s baptism date. It can be frustrating at times, but I just finished reading Alma 26, and it helped me feel a lot better about the work. Alma 26:27 made a huge impression on me. It says: 

Y cuando nuestros corazones se hallaban desanimados, y estábamos a punto de regresar , he aquí, el Señor nos consoló, y nos dijo: Id entre vuestros hermanos los lamanitas, y sufrid con paciencia vuestras aflicciones, y os daré el éxito.

I know that this is the Lord´s work and if we trust in Him, and are perfectly obedient, he will give us success. 

I love you all! ¡Que tenga una buena semana!

-Elder Smith

Monday, September 14, 2015

Mexico City Temple/Mexican Independence day

This week we had the special opportunity to watch the Re-dedication ceremony of the Mexico City Temple! President Eyring and Elder Holland went to the ceremony. We got to watch it for our Sunday services yesterday. They had translators for them, and they both gave amazing talks. On Saturday night we were able to watch the Cultural Pageant of the temple re-dedication. It was amazing with stories played out of the Book of Mormon, the Restoration, and stories of the history of the Church in Mexico. They played out the story of the convert who came from Spain and translated the Book of Mormon into Spanish, and also the first two missionaries in Mexico who were shot and killed in a Mexican Jail for not denying their faith. It was an awesome performance with traditional Mexican dances that represent the different parts and cultures of Mexico. 

Tomorrow is Mexican Independence day! An investigator took some pictures of me with the Mexican flag and they were teaching me the Mexican Anthem.
Tomorrow, I feel like I´ll be yelled at in the street more than usual, but it will be a fun day :). I think they're going to have us return to our houses earlier for the parties in the streets that are going to be happening. I´m excited because it will make for an interesting day. I´m not sure how crazy little Santa María will get but we´ll see. 

It´s fun to be an American with green eyes and blonde hair in Mexico. A lot of people want to come up and talk to me about the United States, Obama, or Donald Trump. Hahaha seriously, EVERYBODY talks about Donald Trump here. About something he said about Mexicans, idk but I got tired of hearing about him. The people here absolutely hate him, its kinda funny.
All of the females tell me I have beautiful eyes and kids tell me they want to eat my head because my blonde hair look like the hairs on a corn on the cob. They eat corn on the cob (elote) a lot here. SO yeah, those are the things that I hear from the Mexican people every day.  hahaha. 

I hope everyone has a great week! Love you!
Con Amor,
Elder Smith

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

I can't believe it's already September!!'

This week as been a really good one, even though our Baptism date for Remedios for the 12th fell through. It was a bummer but she isn't ready yet and that's what she told us. I wasn't too surprised because she hasn't been reading the Book of Mormon or her pamphlets. Fransisco on the other hand, is progressing really well towards his baptismal date for the 3rd of October. He´s a 12 year old kid with less active parents, but he is going to church by himself without his parents and he really wants to learn and be a member. He´s a really great kid. 

We had one really special experience with one of our older investigators. We have been teaching Martha and her son, Juan Manuel, since we got to Santa María. Santa María is a small town, so everybody knows everybody. Also, a lot of people have nicknames here that they go by. Juan Manuel, the son of Martha, had been one of the town's alcoholics for years. He went by the nickname, El Diablo (The Devil). But he hasn't drunk for 2 months and we are helping him a lot. He´s gone to church a couple times. I don´t know why his town nickname is El Diablo...he doesn't have his two front teeth and he has a scary grin, so maybe it has to do with that. Well anyways, Martha is really interested in the church and last week we gave her a blessing because she was having a lot of pain when she was moving around. We just met with her again the other day and she told us that she was in so much pain before the blessing, but she woke up the morning after and all the pain was gone.

It was something really special for me to witness. My testimony grew a lot after hearing that and I know that Priesthood really has power. The power of God is here on the earth and we have a great responsibility to carry out his work as instruments in his hands. Priesthood blessings are real, and if we have enough faith, God can heal us. 

Also, this passed Saturday I gave my first English class in the Casa de Oracion! About 20 people showed up and the majority were investigators! It went really awesome. First, I had everybody present themselves in English. I had them say their name, how old they were, and what they liked to do. It was a bit advanced for them but I helped them out a lot. I then taught them numbers 1-100 and we played a game having to do with numbers. It was fun and a lot of people are really interested in free English classes so I imagine even more attendance this next Saturday. 

I uploading one photo this week. It´s of Elder Tello and I in our new traditional Oaxacan shirts. Yeah, we bought more last week...its hard to resist buying one every time I walk into the store :) 

Love you and I hope everyone has a great start of the school year!
¡Cuídense mucho y que tengan una semana maravillosa! 

Con Amor,
Elder Smith