Monday, March 28, 2016

Special Changes, Take Two

Happy Easter! 
A few days ago, President and Hermana Madsen came to check our house out to make sure it was clean and to get to know the location and other details about the house. They have been doing that with all of the houses and apartments in the mission. They let us know a couple hours before coming so we had time to clean up a few things but for the most part, our house is always pretty clean. I started talking about how I really liked the house that we're living in even though it's outside of the area.
President Madsen then put his arm around me and said, "Well, Elder Smith, you better enjoy it for a few more days because next week you'll be leaving in special changes to Nochixtlan as Zone Leader in the Sierra." President really likes surprising me because that´s the second time I've been changed in special changes...haha.
I leave tomorrow (Tuesday) for Nochixtlan. Its a small town in the sierra of Oaxaca about an hour and a half north of the city. I am really excited because everyone says its really beautiful up there and its a little bit colder. Its been super hot these past couple of weeks here in the city. At the same time, I'm sad to leave behind Yagul. I love this ward and the members here. We are also going to have a few baptisms coming up in these next two months here, so I'm going to be missing all of that.
The mission is a constant adventure and I am loving every minute of it. I cant believe that I have less than 10 months left. It's sad how fast the mission is flying by. I am definitely going to make these last few months count. Life is good, especially when General Conference is a week away :)
I hope you all have a great GC weekend,
Love, Elder Smith

Monday, March 21, 2016

Tender Mercies

This was a week of tender mercies from the Lord. Twice this week we were resting in the shade after all of our appointments falling through with no idea what to do. Both times the Lord sent new investigators to us. In the first incident a younger lady came walking up to us and greeted us. First of all, that only happens when it's a drunk guy asking for money. So I was surprised that someone approached us like that. She told us that her brother was looking for Mormon missionaries to visit him. I almost cried with joy. We visited him the next day and he is a golden investigator. His name is Javier and about a year ago he told us that he spoke with missionaries a couple times in Puerto Escondido but he traveled around for his work and lost contact with him. He's 29 years old and is a super good guy. He went to church yesterday too! I can honestly see him as a leader in the Church in a couple years. In the first lesson with him we put a baptismal date on the calendar for the 30th of April. 

The other incident was cool too. We were walking by a family and the father called us over. I didn't recognize them so I was a little confused. He explained that they just moved into the ward again after moving away for a few years and that his two daughters haven't been baptized yet. We are now preparing his daughters Joselina and Paulina for baptism. Those two incidences made it a good week for us.
Today we went to the ruins of Atzompa.
It was my second time going, but I got some more good pictures from the trip. Last night I ate some tacos and I woke up feeling sick with the usual bad taco symptoms. I won't ever learn because the tacos are so dang good here. This week is Semana Santa. That's what they call the week going into Easter. That means more drunks and families leaving for vacation. It'll be a tough week I'm sure, but Conference weekend coming up makes up for it :)
Have a great Spring Break! Love you.
-Elder Smith

Monday, March 14, 2016

Book of Mormon Conversion Story

This week I went to work in Etla for a day on divisions. The district leader has to go on divisions with all the areas in the district. I loved Etla. When you imagine Mexico, Etla is exactly what you imagine Mexico to be. Fields, animals everywhere, and flat with mountains in the distance. I took pictures of Elder Valenzuela hunting birds with a bamboo spear, and then fishing in the pond. 

I then spoke with a member about his conversion story, which is pretty cool. One day he found a few pages of the Book of Mormon, blowing around in the middle of some field. He chased after them and read them. One of the pages was the introduction. He read how Jesus Christ visited the Americas and immediately knew it was true. He started preaching to his friends and neighbors about what he read. He got in arguments with other Christians and Jehovah`s witnesses as he testified of the things that he read in these lost pages of some unknown book. For months he searched for the book that these pages belonged too and one day the missionaries came by and testified that Christ visited the Americas after his resurrection. Those Elders then gave him a complete copy of the Book of Mormon and he was baptized soon after. 

This past Saturday, my companion got permission to go to a baptism of one of his former investigators. It was a beautiful service and there were 10 of us Elders from all over the mission who got permission to go. We sang "When I Am Baptized" in Spanish and the Spirit was really strong. We then ate Pozole after the baptism, its one of my favorite Oaxacan foods. It`s an ancient meal that the Mayans ate regularly. 

Today for our P-day we played basketball and made hot wings and fries with the Elder`s from Etla. Earlier in the week it was super stormy with rain and high winds. But now there isn't a cloud in the sky and the Oaxacan sun is blazing. I am super burnt from playing in the sun today....should've put on sunscreen. There are some things that I'll never learn :)

Que Tengan una buena semana!
Con Amor,
Elder Smith

Monday, March 7, 2016


I had some cool experiences during some of our lessons this past week. We met with a new investigator this week named D. We started teaching a little bit about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the principles of the Gospel or the things we need to complete to have the opportunity to live with God again. D is like no other investigator I have ever taught. He was so amazed and awestruck my every little thing we said. I remember thinking to my self during the lesson, "Why doesn't everybody react like this when we teach them these precious truths??" I have been so used to teaching these marvelous things to people, and them brushing it off like its nothing. I have forgotten how truly amazing the gospel is until the lesson that we had with D. He had questions such as,  "So I need to follow all of the principles of the gospel in order to live with God after this life?" 
"Yes, exactly", we responded. Then he explained, " I'm not even halfway completed with the things that God wants me to do!" 

I couldn't help but just have a huge grin on my face the entire lesson because of how excited D was to learn more and to receive a Book of Mormon. He accepted the baptismal invitation without a second thought too. It truly was an awesome experience to see how someone so easily recognized the truth.

I uploaded some pictures of the pathway to get to a member's house in our ward. The car tires are the steps and it is super sketchy. I don´t know why they decided to live on the side of a cliff. I guess the rent is cheap. 

Thank you for your love and support! I hope you have a great week.

Elder Smith