Monday, April 25, 2016

Lots of Rain and Travel

This last week was a tough one here in Nochixtlan. It rained everyday (which I enjoyed a lot) but it made it a little bit harder to work and a lot of our appointments fell through. We were traveling a lot to smaller towns that are in our area as well. When we travel to small towns or villages outside of Nochixtlan, we ride in trucks that have benches and a tarp covering the top of the back of the pickup. We took some pictures as we were riding the other day. 

We also spent time preparing for zone conference. The zone conference went super well and we took a zone picture afterwards. I'm pretty sure were the smallest zone when it comes to amount of missionaries, but one of the biggest geographically. We are excited because the zone is going to have a lot of baptisms in May. We are still preparing Eloy to be baptized on May 7th and we also have a couple more golden investigators that we are planning baptismal dates. 

It's been pretty stressful lately but I am learning a lot of new things with my new calling. I can't wait to be able to talk with the family in a couple weeks! 

Qué esten bien! Les amo mucho.

Con amor, Elder Smith

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


We have a baptism coming up in a few weeks! Our investigator's name is Eloy and he is 94 years old. He is really funny and we have to yell during our lessons with him so that he can hear. What is amazing is his eyesight. He doesn't use glasses and he can read and see perfectly well. He lives in a little town about 20 minutes outside of Nochixtlan called Etlatongo

We have been working hard, trying to find new investigators. We have been receiving referencias from members and contacting a lot to find more investigators. We are teaching a friend of a member that has suffered all of her life. She's 50 years old and she has been angry with God because of everything she has gone through. It was a little difficult for me to figure out what to say. I haven't suffered a day in my life, what was I going to say to her to help her?? I tried to follow the spirit and I testified that she can find peace and joy through the restored gospel. I testified that our Heavenly Father loves us and puts trials in our path because he loves us. It's still hard for me to help people that are in situations that I have never experienced, but I have learned to better rely on the spirit.

Yesterday we went to Oaxaca with a member to eat wings. I felt that I was at home for a moment, eating wings with my friends. I love the Oaxacan food but sometimes i miss American food, and especially Mom´s cooking :)

Have a fabulous week! Les amo!

-Elder Smith

Monday, April 11, 2016

Gusano De Maguey

I ate a fat worm this week. It was about the length and width of my pinky finger and it was cooked inside of a tamale. In Spanish its called gusano de maguey. I didn't take a picture of it but you can search it on google :) It tasted weird but it wasn't too bad. It was the crunchy head that made me cringe just a little. I still prefer my tamales with chicken.

We traveled a lot this past week too. We had to go to Huajuapan to do a baptismal interview. It's about an hour and a half drive with constant sharp twists and turns. My companion and I were dying on the way back from motion sickness. Luckily we got back without any problems. We then traveled to Oaxaca City the next day for a Leadership meeting in the home of President and Sister Madsen. It was a great meeting and we ate sloppy joes afterward. I was so happy to eat a sloppy joe after 14 months without a good ol´american sloppy joe. It needed pickles but I wasn't going to complain ;).

We are working hard in our area even though our other responsibilities are taking away a lot of time to work in Nochixtlán. We have 2 awesome investigators, but they aren't married to their "husbands". What's even worse is that one of them hasn't divorced her ex-husband, and the guy she is living with now isn't divorced from his ex either...I swear every time we find someone who is actually interested, they have problems with marriage. We are going to keep working with them, and if they really have faith they will do what is necessary to be able to get baptized. 

We are also teaching a 14 year old young woman. She said the missionaries before talked to her dad so she would be able to listen to the missionaries. She said that her Dad doesn't like our religion and her Mom is catholic. They told her that she would have to wait until she was 18 to make a decision for herself. This past Sunday we prayed and fasted so that her father's heart to be softened. Yesterday, we went to teach her and towards the end of the lesson, her parents entered the room and we started talking to them. We really got along well with her parents, telling jokes, laughing, and talking about what we do and where we're from and all of that kind of stuff. They offered us food and we ate a little bit with them. As we left their house she said that we are accepted by her family. We were so happy to be able to have a good experience with her dad, and later in the week we are going to pass by and talk with them about the church some more. Prayer and fasting works! 

We bought fresh milk straight out of the cows utter and made hot chocolate with it. It was delicious but we might have not boiled the milk well enough because my companion and I were feeling some bad effects from it the next morning..

Love you all! ¡Qué tengan una buena semana! Les amo mucho.
-Elder Smith

Monday, April 4, 2016

First week in Nochixtlan

What a week! It's been crazy but amazing. So last Tuesday I got to Nochixtlán and I immediately fell in love with the place. It has a really cool small farm town vibe to it. We live right next to a big Catholic church with big church bells that ring through the town every hour. Sometimes they play interesting hymns through loud speakers for everyone to hear. It's kind of cool because it makes me feel like I'm in a missionary movie or something with a soundtrack going on in the background. Right outside of the big church is a beautiful central park where people hang out with vendors everywhere trying to sell stuff. Not to far from the park is the outdoor market. It's your typical Mexican market place where they sell everything from fresh meat hanging on racks to fresh fruit and vegetables just brought in from local farms. Taco and burger places are everywhere too. Oaxacans adopted our burger and pizza fascination.

Just outside of the city area of Nochixtlan all you find are fields, farms and more fields. I love the Mexican countryside and most of our area is exactly that, with few people and houses dotting the outside of town.  
My companion is Elder Godoy. He's from Guatemala. He was my district leader when I first got to Yagul so I was super excited when I heard he was going to be my companion. We're good buds so it's going to be a fun time here. I have now had a Guatemalan, Columbian, Honduran, Salvadoran and 2 Mexican companions, as well as 2 Americans. Companions from 6 different countries, I think that's pretty cool. Elder Godoy has about 19 months on the mission. He has 3 brothers and 1 sister. He is the second youngest in the family. Everyone is his family are members except his dad. 

Both my companion and I are the two zone leaders of the Nochixtlan zone. There are very few missionaries in our zone, but it's big geographically. We do a lot of traveling as zone leaders here. In our zone, we have missionaries in towns called Tlaxiaco, Huajuapan, Tenango, and us in Nochixtlan. Tlaxiaco and Huajuapan are about a two hour shuttle ride from Nochixtlan. We also have to travel to Oaxaca weekly to pick up and drop stuff off from the offices. So its a good amount of traveling that we have to do.

They give us 600 pesos every 15th of every month for the traveling expenses and we can also be reimbursed by sending tickets and receipts to the secretaries. Our area has a lot of little towns up to 30 minutes away that we travel to also.
Some of my new responsibilities are to train district leaders, do divisions with each district leader and attend a district meeting of each district each month. The good thing is that their are only 2 districts in the zone, so it's pretty chill. We also report every night with the district leaders and a few times a week with the assistants to the president. The assistant trained us in a little meeting by just reading over our responsibilities. So far I really enjoy being a zone leader! It's fun to get to know more areas of Oaxaca by traveling a lot. 
Conference was awesome as usual. Elder Buck and I were the only english speakers so we had the secretary office all to ourselves to watch conference. We bought some snacks and drinks and had a good ol´time watching conference. I loved the talks of President Monson. Even though they were short, they were direct and powerful. I loved his message of how to choose the harder right over the easier wrong. The story he told in the Priesthood session of the stranded men in sea helped me understand the power of the priesthood and that I need to magnify my priesthood power by having more faith and being more obedient. It's not that we are necessarily doing bad things, but we are not doing what we should to magnify the priesthood that we have. I can't wait for the next Liahona magazine to study each talk that was given, because there were so many good ones.
Thank you for your love and support! I am really starting to dread the day when I won't be a full time missionary in Oaxaca anymore. I love it so much. I hope everything continues to go well at home, I pray for each of you individually every time I pray.
-Elder Smith