Monday, July 25, 2016


We went to the Guelaguetza today! It is one of the biggest cultural events in all of Mexico and it happens once a year here in Oaxaca. It takes place in this sweet dome structure in Oaxaca and its a show of traditional dances from Oaxaca. It was pretty cool.  My favorite dances were the Pineapple Flower dance and the feather dance. You might just have to look it up to figure out what I'm talking about haha. 

Elder Peterson and I have been dead tired from walking so much this past week. One day this week we had to walk about 4 miles to our food appointment. This young couple just moved out of their parents home, and chose to build their house in the middle of nowhere. So we had to walk there and back and we suffered a little bit. It was tougher on the way back. After eating with the members here you are so full afterwards that it is nearly impossible to move at all. I'm really surprised that I haven't gained weight on the mission. We also found a wild donkey. All the donkeys are usually hooked up to a rope or something. But this one was just roaming around. Elder Peterson was going to try riding it home, but it started to rain really hard and it ran away :( 

We had a really spiritual lesson with Karina this week. She is ready to get baptized, but she is scared to ask her dad for permission again. (Previously he said no when other missionaries were teaching her.) We watched the Joseph Smith restoration video. It had been a while since I had shed tears while testifying during a lesson, but I couldn't hold the tears back during that lesson. We testified and promised her that if she really believed all of this, and if she asked her Dad in faith, then he would give her permission to be baptized. Her goal for baptism is August 6th. It will truly be a miracle if it all works out. 

I know that Joseph Smith was called by God to restore the gospel. After feeling what I felt during that lesson, my testimony was reaffirmed once again of our message of the restored gospel. 

Have a fabulous and fun week! Catch some monster fish and eat a Stromboli for me at Mr.Pibs :) 

Les Amo,

Elder Smith

Monday, July 18, 2016

Another Week

Hey fam! Another week gone. Nothing very exciting happened this week. We had divisions with the Elders in Huajuapan. Its always fun to work in another area to see new things and meet new people. 

We contacted a lot and we didn't have very much success. This region of Oaxaca is called the Mixteca. Nochixtlan, Tlaxiaco, and Huajuapan are all part of the Mixteca. The Mixteca of Oaxaca is one of the poorest regions in the entire country. There are hundreds of little towns that don't have electricity and I honestly have no idea how they get money other than selling the crops that they grow. The Mixteca is rich in their catholic traditions. It's one of the hardest areas to preach in because their entire lifestyle and culture centers on catholic traditions. It's hard to be a missionary in these parts but I have learned to develop a lot of Christ-like attributes while I've been here. Mostly patience and love for the people here...

The night we were in Huajuapan, we bought 1 kilo of meat Al Pastor. Each of us paid 50 pesos and we each ate a quarter kilo of meat making our own tacos with it. It was the best 50 pesos that I've ever spent :) 

Today Elder Peterson and I went to the offices in Oaxaca to do some Visa Paperwork and afterwards we went to the center of Oaxaca to buy some cool tourist stuff. We got back to Nochixtlan and bought giant sandwiches (Tortas) to eat. It was a successful P-day in my books.

I hope you all keep having a fabulous summer! Enjoy the 90 degree weather :) Its nice and cool here in Nochixtlan.
Con Amor, Elder Smith

Monday, July 11, 2016


Hey family and loved ones! This week definitely had its ups and downs. This might be the most tired I have been after a week. Which is a good thing because that's how you know you worked hard! We spent everyday walking miles and miles in the hot sun. I got pretty burnt...I know I should use sunscreen more often...

We found a few new families this week that are letting us teach them! One of the families is made up of 7 little kids. The oldest is 14 and the youngest is 6. That is not a very wide age span for 7 kids...but I absolutely love these kids. At the first lesson with them I asked if I could take a picture with their pig. They said yes and suddenly each one of them ran to find an animal to bring into the picture.
So in the picture you can find about 3 puppies, a chicken and a pig. Hahaha they also all want to participate so bad during the lessons. When we ask them a question during the lesson they all shoot their arms up to give an answer. And even when we don't ask a question they always want to make a comment. But they're very polite so they don't say their answer or comment until we call on them. They are the cutest kids ever. 

Today we went to explore a cave that was nearby with the Elders in our district. The trail (if you can call it that) to get to the cave was actually some of the most intense hiking (more like rock climbing) that I've ever done in my life.
It was actually really dangerous but were protected so don't worry mom. :)(mom rolls eyes) It was a really fun experience. We heard that this cave was where the king would hide out in or something. I guess it was the king of the people that lived here hundreds of years ago. Some lamanite king is what I was imagining. We were told that there was gold there but we found nothing :(
What we did find was an old arrowhead that seems like it's made out of obsidian. That was the cool find of the day, as well as some broken pieces of old pottery. I felt like those guys on that digger show on the history channel. 

Keep having an awesome summer! Ill be with you guys for the next one. Love you all!

-Elder Smith

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th of July

Right now we are in Oaxaca. We got here this morning without too much trouble. Just as we entered the main highway, they put the blockades up. Our driver knew of a secret way to get onto the highway. We offroaded a little bit and got passed the blockade. Take that teachers! Haha things have been calm all week, just the blockades that we've been dealing with, but no violence. We have heard rumors that the army was going to come down soon to show their authority. If that happens it's going to get really ugly because the families and communities of the people who were killed a couple weeks ago are planning on fighting back and bringing weapons and firepower. The army hasn't shown up yet again. Who knows if the rumors are true that they're going to come. I've been hearing that they're calling it a Civil War. Hopefully things calm down a bit. The mission told us to buy food storage, so we have some food storage in the house to last us a couple weeks if necessary.

The transfers were interesting. All of the transfers were done by shuttle. The bus company isn't functioning right now for all the blockades happening in Oaxaca. My companion Elder Peterson got here from Huatulco without too many problems, and we were able to get to Nochixtlan on Monday night. There was a blockade at the bridge entering Nochixtlan, so we had to get off the shuttle with all of his suitcases and we walked through the blockade. I was kind of nervous, I'm not gonna lie. But no one did anything to us, a few times some people started cursing at us but we ignored them and kept walking by. We were relieved when we finally got to the house. This week we've talked to a few American reporters that are in Nochixtlan right now. I wouldn't feel safe as an American reporter in Mexico. I've heard some bad stories, the people doing bad things to foreign reporters here.  Elder Peterson is a great guy and a great missionary. He has about a year on the mission and he's from Utah, nearby Provo. His dad works at BYU in administration. He was the star quaterback in high school and took his team to state. He has a rocket arm. He's really tall too so I look short again. Dang it...hahaha. Today were in Oaxaca because were going to have a multi-zone activity. We're going to play some sports and eat burgers. What a great way to celebrate the 4th in Oaxaca! I'm sure Sister Madsen will take some awesome photos so stay tuned this week on the mission facebook page!

We have been able to work hard teaching people this week too. We have two baptismal dates now. One with Fernando, who's really prepared to accept the gospel. He just needs to start reading more of the Book of Mormon. We have another date for this month with Karina. She has everything accept for her parents permission. She's 14 years old and really wants to get baptized, but she's scared to ask her dad for permission. We promised her that she's not alone and that God will help soften the hearts of her parents. We fasted for her this past fast sunday so she could ask with faith for permission to be baptized. 

I forgot to mention the captions of the pictures that I'm uploading. One picture is of one of my favorite foods. Pig intestines. It's delicious I'm serious. The other one of the sheep, goats and the shepherd on his donkey in the middle of mainstreet Nochixtlan. "Traffic in Nochixtlan" hahaha

Have a great 4th of July! Love you all.
Elder Smith

Friday, July 1, 2016

Chaos of Oaxaca

Hey family! Its been a crazy week.

President Madsen told me that he was able to communicate with you all a little about the situation. Thursday night President called me and told me that he was going to drive me to Nochixtlan and have the zone conference with the zone. It was fun to get a VIP ride in the Honda Pilot :) So we were fine all the way until we got to the bridge to enter Nochixtlan. It was blocked off by these gang members that have been participating in the Chaos of Oaxaca. You can point them out for the handkerchiefs over their mouths that they always have. They're not teachers but they take advantage of the situation to steal and burn things. They told us that we could turn around and take another route through the mountains to enter Nochixtlan.

Sister Madsen took photos and videos of the off roading we did. It was a fun bonding time with the President and his wife :). I was chosen from all the missionaries to be their personal body guard that day. Haha. We finally got there a half an hour later and the road entering Nochixtlan. It was a scene from The Walking Dead. There are burnt out trucks, buses and semis all over the road. Its literally a maze that you have to swerve around to get by. A week has passed by and the mess is all still there.

Monday through Thursday I was in Oaxaca with Elder Perez in Yagul! It was fun to see everyone that I grew to love in that area. There was a baptism of a Angel who just turned 8 so we were able to go to his baptism. I ate more chicatanas too! The giant flying ant things. 

Now I'm in Oaxaca waiting for my new companion, Elder Peterson. He´s coming from Huatulco and he's supposed to get her around 5 o'clock. Hopefully we can get back to Nochixtlan because we've heard rumors that its going to get ugly again tomorrow. Who knows, but as long as we stay away from the dangerous parts we´ll be safe. 

The work continues amidst the chaos here in Oaxaca! Love you all. Have a great week!
-Elder Smith