Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap day p-day

Well, life on the mission has been a little crazier being District leader again. There are 8 missionaries in my district, 2 of those companionship's being sister missionaries. It just gives me a few extra things to deal with on a daily basis, but it is really preparing me for future jobs and life after the mission. It's hard but I am really enjoying it. I am so thankful that my companion is a seasoned missionary too. He is the Senior Companion and I am the District leader, so it balances out a little bit the responsibilities. 
This week we did a lot of contacting. I don't know what was in the water this past week, but people seemed to be a little bit more rude than normal. I'm sure missionaries in Europe or other difficult missions would laugh at how little we are rejected or treated poorly in Oaxaca. The people here are so open and kind to us, but this week we actually had doors slammed in our face and people being straight up rude. It makes me sad knowing how much the Gospel would bless their lives and for them not even to let us share a little bit of our message. 
This week we put a baptismal date with Rosio and her daughter Maria! The 26th of March! They both are for sure going to get baptized. I hope that I am still here when it happens and I don't get changed. We were able to put a baptismal date with them because she doesn't live her boyfriend anymore. It is the best thing ever to see the gospel change people. It is a blessing to see how an indication from the spirit to start talking someone on the street can lead to their life changing and them getting baptized. I was waiting for the opportunity to finally baptize someone that I contacted. All my other baptisms were already investigators when I got into the area but with Rosio and Maria I can really see that I am making an impact as a servant of the Lord and that brings me so much joy. 
I love you all and I hope you have a fantastic first week of March. 
Con Amor,
Elder Smith

Monday, February 22, 2016

The End of February

February is already almost over! This year is going to be a blur. It's scary how fast it's going to go by. Well I now have a new companion. His name is Elder Arriola and he´s from Santa Ana, El Salvador. Abby is going to his home mission! Elder Arriola finishes his mission in about 4 months. He is a great missionary with a lot of experience. 

Today I was able to visit my first area! We just ate lunch with a family that is really close to me. Hermana Eva, her sister Vicky, and their kids. Hermana Vicky still isn't baptized, but few of her kids have gotten baptized. Vicky has stopped drinking coffee and she will soon be getting baptized, I'm sure. The change she has made since Elder Erikson and first met her is amazing. From cursing a lot and praying to the virgin Guadeloupe, she has changed dramatically. Thanks to the principles of the gospel and the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can truly change and prepare ourselves for when we will live with our Heavenly Father. It brings me a lot of joy seeing Vicky embrace the gospel, as well as her kids. 

I know that the atonement of Jesus Christ is real. I know it because I have felt the promise that he made in Mosiah 24:14 
Y también aliviaré las cargas que pongan sobre vuestros hombros, de manera que no podréis sentirlas sobre vuestras espaldas, mientras estéis en servidumbre; y esto haré yo para que me seáis testigos en lo futuro, y para que sepáis de seguro que yo, el Señor Dios, visito a mi pueblo en sus aflicciones.
If we come unto Christ, He will comfort us, and bear up our burdens for us. That is what I have learned of the power of the Atonement. The Mission has helped me realize that and learn how to really apply it to my life.

I love you all and thank you for your prayers and support!

Con Amor,
Elder Smith

Monday, February 15, 2016

Hoping For A Baptism

Transfers are today! Neither Elder Schupp or I changed areas. We're still in Yagul. What did change is that I am the District Leader here now. But other than that, nothing really changed. One of the areas in our district closed due to another large exodus of missionaries.

We are hoping for some baptisms in the next 6 weeks. It would be a miracle but I know it can happen. One investigator and her 20 year old daughter, are our progressing investigators. Something pretty crazy happened yesterday at church. So our investigator was living with her boyfriend. Last week, our investigator told her boyfriend to get out of her house and to not come back again. He is an alcoholic and a drug addict. He has anger problems too. I don't know why she got with him in the first place. 

So she told him to leave, and he said no. He didn't want to leave. Everything belongs to her too, the house and everything in it. She works and he doesn't. So we passed by on Sunday to take them to church. He was there and Elder Schupp and I both weren't feeling good about that. We got to church and sat with them during sacrament meeting. After sacrament meeting is when the incident happened. He wanted to go and bring her and the kids with him. She wanted to stay for all 3 hours. He got really angry and started yelling at our poor investigator. He took her phone and some of her stuff and threw her phone down at the street in front of the church, breaking it, and yelling how he was going to the house to break everything in it.

She then calmly went to the class with us, and luckily before all of that happened, the primary president took all of her kids and grand-kids to their classes. I know that she is going to get baptized in the coming weeks. We are going to set up a baptism date with her in the following lesson with her on Tuesday. She has so much faith to put aside everything that happened and staying all 3 hours at church. She deserves all of the blessings that she will get from being baptized and learning about the gospel. That is why I want her to get baptized so bad. She deserves a bright future.

I hope everyone is doing great at home. Thank you for all the prayers!

Con Amor,
Elder Smith

Monday, February 8, 2016

Doing great

Things have been going great in Yagul with Elder Schupp and I. The Ward here is really getting involved with the work. Yesterday, a group of members and us went out knocking doors. We got a lot of references and new investigators to teach with just an hour of knocking doors. Nothing much new has really happened. 

We did find a lost dog! I would say that that was a miracle because of how many dogs there are everywhere. About a month ago a member's dog ran away and we found it. I think it recognized us so it ran up to us. It's a small puppy so we picked it up and walked it to the member's house. The dog was nasty and covered with flees. Hermana Abigail was super happy when we returned her lost puppy. So that was the feel good story of the week.

We are having trouble getting our investigators to go to church. What else is new...haha. We passed by William's house because he said he wanted to go to church yesterday. He's a 16 year old kid who has been an investigator for a while now. He lives super far up in the middle of nowhere too. We came by yesterday morning and he told us he wouldn't be able to go, and he didn't give us a reason. It was a bummer. Rosio and Felipe have been halting their progress too. We met with Rosio last week when Felipe wasn't there. She said that Felipe doesn't want anything to do with church right now and he's starting to do drugs again and sometimes he is super violent with the kids and her. I don't know why she's living with him. What I am hoping is that they separate so we can baptize Rosio because she wants to learn more and be baptized.

I hope life continues to treat you all well in the States. Love you all and take care!

Con Amor,
Elder Smith

Monday, February 1, 2016

Half way

Well, I have officially made it to the halfway mark. A year from this coming Wednesday Dad left me at the gates of the airport as I started my two year journey as a full-time missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I can say this has been the best year of my life and the fastest one too. Kenny Chesney's song, Don't Blink, really applies here. I'm going to blink and be on that plane ride home. I'm getting to that point where I can see how nerve wrecking that is. I remember when Elder Erickson was about to go home and he was telling me how nervous he was. I didn't understand why he was nervous, but now I'm starting to see why. You just get so used to the missionary life and you learn to love being a missionary. 

Well this week, Elder Schupp got sick. He got the usual. Every American gets it a few times a year. The toilet becomes your only friend for a few days. Hahaha. So we didn't leave for a couple of days, but that left me the chance to read a lot. I started reading The Miracle of Forgiveness. I haven't finished it yet, but I am really enjoying it. It's really eye opening. Last Wednesday we also had our multi-zone conference and Elder Caseñeda of the Seventy came. Wow, you could tell he was a General Authority. Just the way he spoke, taught, and testified. It was awesome to meet him and learn from him. 

The one thing that I really took away from the conference that really impacted me personally was this...I need to stop trying to figure out if my thoughts or feelings are just my own, or revelation from the Spirit. There are too many times I think to myself, "That's just me, not the spirit." I realized that it doesn't matter, if I feel like I should talk to someone or do something, and it's something good, It doesn't matter if it comes from the spirit or not! JUST DO IT! 

Today for our P-day we went to a super cool, old garden with a couple members. This garden had a bunch of Oaxacan unique plants that you only find here in this region of the world. Most of them were types of cactus. Hahaha but it was super cool.

Thank you for all of your prayers and emails. I am so grateful for all help and support that I get from my friends and family, because that is not the case for a lot of missionaries around the world.

Con mucho amor,
Elder Smith