Monday, September 26, 2016

First week in Ixtepec

So the first week in Ixtepec was an interesting one. The first few days I was suffering bad headaches from the climate and altitude change I assume. I'm over it now and I feel a lot better. It has almost been a year since I was on the coast so I'm getting used to the hot and humid weather again. I'm always sweating and my skin just feels moist and gross all the time. I'm back to showering twice a day again like I did in Huatulco.

Ixtepec is known for the railroad that goes right through town that bring goods from Central America. We live right next to the tracks and it's cool to hear the train going by at night. It also carries illegal immigrants that hop on the train from Guatemala or Honduras. There are border patrol guys that roam around trying to get the illegals. I haven't seen any immigrants get busted yet but companion says he has. Here in the Istmus of Oaxaca, especially in Juchitan and Ixtepec, there are a lot of cross dressing gay guys. They're called Muxes and they always talk to us, (especially us white Americans). Ixtepec and Juchitan are literally the modern Sodom and Gumorrah.

The work here is awesome even with all the evil that surrounds us! There's a couple that is getting ready to get baptized. Their names are Rosa and Edilberto. They are going to get married hopefully this week so that they can get baptized. It's always a huge problem that all the couples start living together without getting married, but they have gotten almost everything ready to get married this upcoming week, and then baptized! They live in a town halfway between Ixtepec and Juchitan that's called Ixtaltepec. 

I also want to mention that I love the food here. All of the sisters in the ward cook so good and I feel so blessed not to be eating rice, beans and tortillas every meal. They say that hers in Ixtepec they eat a lot of Iguana but I haven't been able to try it yet. Hopefully I will get to soon. I love trying weird foods. I ate a chicken heart the other day. It wasn't bad but I didn't really like it haha.

First time I've been able to get pickles in Oaxaca!

Love you all and I hope you have a fabulous conference weekend!
-Elder Smith

Monday, September 19, 2016

New Area: Ixtepec

I just got to my new area after a total of about 8 hours traveling. My new area is Ixtepec. I forgot what it was like to be in the humidity. It hit me like a brick wall getting off the bus, but I strangely feel at home. My new companion is Elder Villegas from Guatemala. I've known him for about 2 hours and we've it off really good. I don't know if i just get along with everybody or God is blessing me with awesome companions. Maybe a little bit of both. 

It was sad leaving Nochixtlan. 6 months of blood, sweat and tears is hard to leave behind. I tried to get pictures with all of the members and investigators that I came to love so dearly.

And when I say blood I mean it because I got bit by a full grown German shepherd last week. We were walking down the street minding our own business when suddenly this huge dog came up behind a truck running full blast at me. It didn't let out a single bark and before I could say Perro! it clenched on to my foot. Luckily he went for my foot because my shoe protected me. It was still able to get a tooth into my skin on the higher part of my foot. Its bruised up pretty bad but it could have been a lot worst. It held on to me for a few seconds but then let go because its owner saw what was happening and yelled from a distance. First time getting bit by a dog. And it was a German shepherd so I feel pretty cool. 

I am really excited about working here in Ixtepec. The culture in this region of Oaxaca is really cool and I've heard the food is incredible. A lot of fried foods. I can't wait to get working because the people are really loving here and supposedly they always let you in their doors. It's also famous for witchcraft and just weird things that happen in the streets. So it should be fun. 

Love you all! Happy Birthday, Mom! I hope Dad spoils you a bit ;)
-Elder Smith

Monday, September 12, 2016


We've been working with investigators to progress towards their baptism but it looks like I'll be transferred before they get baptized. It's sad to be in an area for so long and not to see some of these people that I've visited various times a week reach the goal of baptism. It's not a sure thing, but President hinted to me in my interview with him that I was going to get changed on the 19th of this month. So it looks like I only have a week left in Nochixtlan. It's a bitter sweet feeling. I have grown to love this town and the people in it but I'm excited to see new things and new faces. 

Today we went to a place with beautiful waterfalls. The village is called Apoala and its a gorgeous little village surrounded by caves, rivers and waterfalls. We went cave exploring a little and took pictures in front of the biggest of the waterfalls. I swear I'm going to come back one day because you can swim in the water hole where the waterfall falls and the water is crystal clear. 

This past week we also did divisions with the Assistants in Oaxaca and it was fun because I got to be with an old companion for the day, Elder Peterson! We traveled a lot this past week and it looks like this week will be the same. I'm kind of sick of traveling so I hope for my transfer coming up I get released as Zone leader. I would love to train a greenie but we'll see what happens! It's not what I want it's what the Lord wants. I've gained a strong testimony that it is revelation from God. The calling we receive, to the companions we have and the areas we get put in on the mission. I have learned so much from every experience.

Love you all a ton!
CuĂ­dense mucho,
Elder Smith

Monday, September 5, 2016

Zone Conference

Hey yall! This last week flew by super fast. On Friday it was the Zone Conference and Interviews with President Madsen. The Conference lasted for about 6 hours but it never seems that long because the conferences with President and Sister Madsen are the best. President also told us during the conference that one of the Apostles is coming in December to visit Oaxaca. He doesn't know which apostle but what a great way that will be to end my mission. I'm so pumped for December, the best month of the year!

We watched some talks from the New Mission Presidents Conference that they have every year. All 12 apostles are present every year for that conference and its really a special event. They discussed how the missionaries can teach repentence more effectively. We watched those talks and discussed as a zone how we can help our investigators to understand and apply repentance in their lives. Here in Oaxaca, it can be a challenge because the people here are uneducated and we really have to teach as if we were teaching a little kid. (The little kids seem to always understand more than the parents here). I have an image book that I haven't used enough that I'm going to start bringing to every lesson. Looking at pictures always helps the learning process. 

At the end of the conference, Hermana Madsen had ham and cheese bagel sandwhiches ready to eat. I love when Hermana Madsen makes American food :) 

This weekend its been raining non-stop. I'm enjoying it a lot because the sun has been burning my skin a lot lately. But with all the rain, the dirt roads have been unbelievably muddy.
Check out the pictures I took of the road and my companions shoes hahaha.
Another picture is the huge bowl of chapulines (grasshoppers) on the dinner table. A oaxacan meal isnt complete without it, YUM. 

Have a great start of the school year! Love you guys a ton.
Con Amor,
Elder Smith