Wednesday, January 28, 2015

29 January 2015

So Elder Smith must have had a really busy week.  Here are the responses to the e-mails he received from our family, and he must not have had time to write an update in general.  We are so happy to know he is doing well though.

Those bridges are awesome and the ideas behind them and all that good stuff. thanks!

In response to Dan's letter to him:

Posted: 25 Jan 2015 05:18 PM PST
I was speaking in Springboro this week.  I had the topic of missionary work (which is awesome) and had written the missionaries form that ward.  It was really great as I shared 5 principles that all of us can use to be better in our lives, and with each I used a story or principle as taught by the letters I got form the Springboro missionaries (and you Gavin, I used some of your letters too!)
Well, as I listened to the other talks, they both focused on the atonement and while they were speaking, I had a flood of thoughts that opened my understanding more about the atonement.  Now you will see its a decent analogy, but for me it went deeper.  You know how when you REALLY learn by the spirit and it is spirit speaking to spirit?!
So here are my thoughts, as I hastily wrote them down trying to capture what i had been taught.

The master carpenter goes around building bridges. Amazing bridges. In fact many would post these on Instagram, or pin them to their wall they are so epic.

​ Whether it spans a small creek, or even just a dip in the terrain of a beautiful garden, or up to a vast canyon. In fact he completes a feat of engineering impossible to man's understanding. And this bridge makes the road seamless. It as if the canyon is not even there. Except for the unimaginable vistas that we view with awe as we travel along. All the time forgetting that we are crossing that deep canyon that before we thought uncrossable. And I the Lord remember them no more. I love to build and create things. I remember the exacting details of what I did, and always can look back with personal pride in what the finished work accomplished. After such masterful craftsmanship, and such a level of work we cannot comprehend, it is a wonder that He remembers that no more.In fact we can burn the bridge but by His amazing craftsmanship it is built again before we realize what is done. We look back and see the bridge we burned, but under the cover of flames he is rebuilding. Just like trick Candles that cannot go out. We cannot destroy what he is able to build. In fact His bridge is straight and narrow. How much easier can it be!In fact he builds the bridge in our life before we even know the canyon is there.  When we get to the canyon we can choose to cross the bridge or take the long and difficult path down the canyon.  Struggling along the way, slipping and falling, and in general making it much harder than it needs to be. But, even if we do choose to go down the canyon and we later get stuck, He is the rescue crew, always at the ready, with tools to extract us from even the most precarious settings. Even a hovering helicopter with rescue basket if needed. And he brings us back up to the bridge that was always there, always ready for us. And look at the view!  It is glorious. And the sunrise is better than ever. And yet the only thing that changed is our position, our view, our outlook. He, His bridge, and His creations didn't change.

As i talked with Mom about what I had learned, she thought of these two poems that I immediately likened to this concept.  The first referenced in a talk by Pres. Monson, and the 2nd we learned about from John Bytheway.

Will Allen Dromgoole “The Bridge Builder.”            
An old man, going a lone highway,            
Came at the evening, cold and gray,            
To a chasm, vast and deep and wide,            
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.            
The old man crossed in the twilight dim;            
The sullen stream had no fears for him;            
But he turned when safe on the other side            
And built a bridge to span the tide.                    

“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,            
“You are wasting strength with building here;            
Your journey will end with the ending day;            
You never again must pass this way;            
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide--            
Why build you the bridge at the eventide?”            
The builder lifted his old gray head:            
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,                      
“There followeth after me today            
A youth whose feet must pass this way.            
This chasm that has been naught to me            
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.            
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;            
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him.”

Joseph Malins
'Twas a dangerous cliff, as they freely confessed,
Though to walk near its crest was so pleasant;
But over its terrible edge there had slipped
A duke, and full many a peasant.
The people said something would have to be done,
But their projects did not at all tally.
Some said "Put a fence 'round the edge of the cliff,"
Some, "An ambulance down in the valley."
The lament of the crowd was profound and was loud,
As their tears overflowed with their pity;
But the cry for the ambulance carried the day
As it spread through the neighboring city.
A collection was made, to accumulate aid,
And the dwellers in highway and alley
Gave dollars and cents--not to furnish a fence--
But an ambulance down in the valley.
"For the cliff is all right if you're careful," they said;
"And, if folks ever slip and are dropping,
It isn't the slipping that hurts them so much
As the shock down below--when they're stopping."
So for years (we have heard), as these mishaps occurred
Quick forth would the rescuers sally,
To pick up the victims who fell from the cliff,
With the ambulance down in the valley.
Said one, in a plea, "It's a marvel to me
That you'd give so much greater attention
To repairing results than to curing the cause;
You had much better aim at prevention.
For the mischief, of course, should be stopped at its source;
Come, neighbors and friends, let us rally.
It is far better sense to rely on a fence
Than an ambulance down in the valley."
"He is wrong in his head," the majority said,
"He would end all our earnest endeavor.
He's a man who would shirk this responsible work,
But we will support it forever.
Aren't we picking up all, jut as fast as they fall,
And giving them care liberally?
A superfluous fence is of no consequence
If the ambulance works in the valley."
But a sensible few, who are practical too,
Will not bear with such nonsense much longer;
They believe that prevention is better than cure,
And their party will soon be much stronger.
Encourage them then, with your purse, voice and pen,
And while other philanthropists dally,
They will scorn all pretense and put up a stout fence
On the cliff that hangs over the valley.
Better guide well the young, than reclaim them when old,
For the voice of true wisdom is calling,
"To rescue the fallen is good, but 'tis best
To prevent other people from falling."
Better close up the source of temptation and crime
Than deliver from dungeon or galley
Better put a strong fence 'round the top of the cliff
Than an ambulance down in the valley.
So that is a lot to read this week so I won't go on much more.  Just contemplate where you stand.  This is a glorious life.  Its wonderful to be here with you.  So enjoy the vista as you cross any bridges in your life.  
Love you forever, Dad
3 John 1:4

I love spicy a lot and its just awesome here. I will truly miss the candies and glorious goodness here in two years.

In response to Ty's thank you to the wonderful Christmas Present Gavin sent him of a really cool leather belt and some spicy candy.

Chicken pot pie sounds delicious right now. Just saying.
Horchata recipe looks great, look up a tortillas de harina recipe and see if you can find anything that seems awesome, I eventually plan to learn to make them and will let you know when I do. also Pozoli is amazing, it a soup, or tacos de carne asada.
All I've gotten from you all is the one package, but hopefully other stuff will show up eventually. I love Grandpa's shirt and I hope you have fun visiting, painting, teaching, etc. Say hi to all for me!
Elder Smith

That was in response to my (his Mom's) letter to him.  For interest sake, Grandpa's shirt is a mimic of Hard Rock Cafe - except it says Hard Work Cafe then in small letters, All Work No Play.

Gavin has been sharing some fun recipes with me and we are going to try to make them next week.
We have sent him several letters and packages and he finally received the Christmas package which is the first thing we sent, so hopefully he will receive others soon.

We are so grateful and happy for his service and it is such a blessing to our family right now.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

19 Enero 2015

Not too much happened this week but someone pretended to talk in tongues to us, who was also very drunk. I had a benderilla (corndog) from a Street vendor that was the best corndog I've every eaten in my life, everything is still awesome of course, and I found a family with the surname Smith. not something you find in mexico much.
Also this week I was asked to sing "be still my soul" for the other missionaries in this área. look up the song cause its awesome and although I didn't sing it that awesome and several people didn't understand the words, it was awesome. BYU vocal point does a great rendition of it. #sharegoodness in Mexico!
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im pretty sure the rule here is if its not spicy, its not food. this is oranges with chile

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an absolutely gorgeous sunset the other day

One thing I'm learning more and more while I'm here is that when you have the opportunity to do something good, do it. l know it seems really obvious but often times we miss opportunities to make someone's day, or lighten a load of another just because we don't look for these opportunities. I'm as much guilty of missing these as the next but the times I've been able to just put everything aside and look for how someone else could benefit more than myself, I've come accross some of the best moments of my life. so I have two things for y'all to do this week. one, make someones life extra awesome.  Two, do something ridiculous and send me a picture of it and I'll return the favor. Have an awesome week, in fact have the best week you've ever had in your life.

Two things. one can you send some talks by Elder Holland that are just extra awesome, especially the one where he talks a bout the Book of Mormon, and any others you so desire but he's just one of my favorite speakers.
Two you should make horchata for the fam because its delicious and pretty easy I think. I'm sure all recipes has a plethora of recipes for it.
oh and can you send a pic of the motorcycle?
Have an awesome week and i love you all tons!

Happy birthday! I hope it was the best ever and that you made hundreds of memories. i hope the dance was awesome, from what I hear and pics etc. it seems so. I hope you always remember to be the most awesomest person ever. For your birthday, cause I can't be there to do it for you, go to Taco Bell, climb a tree, and have Ty play you a special song on the recorder.
Fun fact, I got to share the 3john1:4 scripture the other day and it worked really nicely, its a treasure no doubt.
Love you tons and talk to you soon!
Elder Smith

Monday, January 19, 2015

12 Enero 2015

Okay. Mole. is amazing. period. its like a sauce with meat and chocolate and its spicy and just amazing. I tried that this week. and then a naranja real which looks like an orange more or less but tastes like a cross between a lemon and an orange. you put salt on it and its actually pretty delicious. I played a lot of soccer this week, mostly in the street, we walk by and well it just kinda happens but its super rad. My soccer game is, well, gringo and weak but its getting better.  We were talking with a little kid and he said "imagino que Dios es algo como el Hulk" i don't know but I found that mildly humorous and couldn't help laughing a bit. (I imagine God being something like the hulk). Also for anyone here that can understand a bit of Spanish I've got a joke for you.
El maestro: Juan! Como se dice nariz en ingles?
Juan: uh uh uh .. no sê..
El maestro: perfecto!
jajajajajaja (this is where you laugh because its funny)
oh and this one.
porqué se metió un tamarindo al cárcel?
Por su pulpa!
(laugh here)

i finally found a computer that lets me upload pics so here we go.
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we found a hulk
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and adorable kittens
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and a plant store where i bought aeria and orion
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aeria and orion
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árbol de naranjas de real

Do me a favor this week and have the best week you've every had ever in your entire life (ten good reasons you should do exactly that) 1. because life's good 2. you deserve it 3. might as well 4. seriously, life's awesome 5. you can climb a tree just about whenever you want 6. I love you 7. God loves you 8. I can't think of a single good reason to be more sad than happy 9. "men are that they might have joy" 2ne 2:25 10. cause I told you to.
do awesome things all of you and then tell me all about them, love you all till next week!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Feliz año nuevo

A very happy new year to you all! I hope everything is awesome cause well, life should be exactly that. I got told I look like I have 28 years of age and asked how many kids do I have. That caught me a bit by surprise. I started off the New year with a funeral, most would say that's a pretty depressing start but it was actually really cool. At the funeral several people spoke, relatives in general, and what was really awesome is how happy they were. I mean they missed her and all but more than that they knew that that wasn't the end. They knew that eventually one day, they would see her again and be able to live eternally with her as family. The next day I went on exchanges with the area next to mine. So elder Cly and I worked together for a day, which was difficult to say the least considering I barely know how to get around the area but hey it was fun nonetheless. Also the full moon right now is stinking gorgeous. It rises up yellow over a hill and is just huge and I think I want to be an astronaut. Correction I definitely want to. But ya not to much happened this week to account but life's good here everything is awesome I climbed a tree today and the food game remains fierce so basically i'm living the dream. I hope all is well with you all and that you do something ridiculous and exciting and adventurous as soon as possible and well, live life to the fullest alright? Alright.

As far as stories go, I don't have too much but on the note of positivity and such, we are teaching a family with Carla y Jorge (parents) and they have four kids, the oldest 17 and the youngest 4ish whenever we head over there is just a lot of fun to be honest. They are very spritely and have a lot to say. We teach the lessons and all but also have a good relationship with them as we play and talk and all. Carla mentioned the other day that when we come and after we leave, she feels a joy and peace that she hadn't felt in years. And well I think we all know what that is but it originates often from the positive vibes we get to spread around.
 And seriously the living room looks amazing, my comp wants it jaja.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Feliz tiempos y vidas y todo eso

Alrighty so crazy week more or less. 
Tuesday I bought some plants because well, I passed a plant shop and couldn't restrain myself. The computer i'm using right now wont upload pics so ill send those another time. But the tree is named Aeria and is a bugambilia and the flower is named Orion and I feel bad but don't remember what type it is but it stays closed until its touched by the morning sun then it spreads open and is the most gorgeous golden yellow flower. looks kinda like a daisy mixed with a sunflower with a hint of dandelion. 
A shout out to my parents for getting married on Dec. 19, a very happy anniversary and I hope i'm doing you proud!
So we were walking down the street and pass this house where outside is probably the most beautiful husky I've ever seen. So we tap a rock at the gate and ask. Is that your husky?.... yes.... Can we look at him? ... sure... Thanks. So ya we played with the husky for a while talked with them a bit then went on our merry way. 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY shoutout to one of the most amazing sisters anyone could ever ask for, Kieren. Keep being awesome and doing awesome things!
So on the 22nd, my b'day, we started it out like any other preparation day. We went to the meetinghouse and had our zone and district meetings then we celebrated a bit. First we did a gift exchange. I got Hermana Blackmore who wanted a necklace so i bought a box of fruit loops and strung them up. And got an actual necklace too. I'm funny guys i promise. I got a bamboo plant from Elder Cly which is probably one of the best things ever so that's awesome. I named him Rogelio. To celebrate my birthday and Christmas, I bought and filled a piñata. I filled it with the normal, peanuts, candy, fruit and then my companion threw in some other treasures like spaghetti, toilet paper, an old shirt... ya. But it was super fun. Then Mexican pizza (pizza topped with ham, jalepeños, chorizo, other goodness) and we left. About this point I noticed that I had broken out in a pretty much full body rash. I had been waking up with wicked headaches and such the past few days as well so we decide ehhh best that we go to the clinic eh? So we do that. Turns out I have Dengue. But don't worry its not too bad. But beyond that I thoroughly enjoyed everything, and hey whats foreign travel without a little illness am I right? 
So in Christmas season here is tamale season. So many tamales I love it, they're so so so good. Everywhere we go the people are like hey wanna try a tamale and I'm like no its okay, I am very full cause well I've been eating tamales all day, and the people say no no they're super good, so I say alright i'll try one and they bring out three and i'm gonna get fat guys. Another popular dish around this time is pozoli. It's a soup with basically a pig in it and its super good. Another is menudo which is another soup with a base ingredient of cow stomach, it's delicious. Also on the forever glorious topic of food, I ate cow intestine tacos the other day that were honestly some of the most delicious ones I've ever eaten before. I have yet to try the cheek, tongue, eyes, and brain but plan to eventually. 
Christmas day I skyped home which was super rad. And then that night my companion and I whipped out our hammocks and chilled there for a while. 
Yesterday I went back to the clinic and am officially healthy.
I'm looking forward to a super fun new year and I hope that all of you do something to make this year extraordinary. Were talking with a super cool guy that basically is making a full 180 with his life. He used to live a pretty rough life but now he's making goals and plans to become a better person. He's been filled with sadness and guilt for a long time and its absolutely amazing to see those things slowly start to leave, that I could have a small part in making his life awesome by bringing him closer to the things that matter most. Orion (the flower I bought) only opens and shows its beauty in the sunlight. Lets all do ourselves a favor and be like that, seek out the light and goodness around you so you can spread your petals so to speak and be the awesomest person ever. I love you all and wish you nothing but the best!