Thursday, July 23, 2015

23 July 2015

So this has been one of the most amazing weeks ever. Like get a comfy seat y'all cause I'm about to get started. 
So to start it all off,i  got to have interviews with the new mission president here and that was just a great time. Before it was my turn I was waiting in the offices and chilling when I noticed La Hermana Robbinson sitting by herself trying to learn Spanish. I realized that no one in the room spoke English except me at the time so I decided to go talk to her. Perhaps I killed her study time, haha, but I had a really nice conversation with her. She's amazing just saying. She reminds me a lot of my own mom. She has a son serving in Japan right now who as chance would have it, entered the MTC the exact same day that I did, so there's a very slim chance that i saw her drop off her son or saw her son there. I like to think that that happened so I can claim that I knew them first of all the mission haha. We were talking and she was telling me how crazy everything is in life. Learning Spanish, home things, all that but then we talked about one of my favorite scriptures from the sermon on the mount. 

25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

I love the message there and its so applicable to life. We are full of stresses and struggles. We have more than we can handle on our plate every day. We have no clue what tomorrow will bring but He knows. If we just stop worrying and put our faith and trust in the hand of the Lord. it's all okay. Tomorrow will come and we will love it because God has prepared us and we trust Him. He will clothe us, feed us, love us, teach us, and care for us in every way. Worry is for those who don't understand the plan of God. For those who aren't ready to see Him. so if you're worrying do what you need to to be the clean and ready person God needs you to be, then stop worrying and just love life for all its beauty.
After talking with Sister Robbinson for a bit she was needed by the assistants and after talking another five minutes President called me to the interview. President is amazing. one of the most loving people I've ever met in my life. He taught me about the importance of love. How we truly need to follow the commandment to love first God and then everyone else. When we truly love everyone, things work out better, we are happier, and well, life's just good.

Then saturday I got to baptize. It was so so nice. the joy you feel when you help someone enter the waters of baptism cannot be aptly described. But it's amazing. 

From left to right. Elder Hernandez, Hermano Héctor, me, Juan
in front. Some kid who wanted to join the pic and Luis

It was so awesome. Luis´ Mom invited tons of family and what not so we had to hold the talks and hymns in the chapel. In the service as well us missionaries sang "Hark All Ye Nations" and I got to solo the first verse so that was fun too.

The baptisms were awesome I really enjoyed it. I got to baptize Juan and his mom was able to come, even though she didn't want him to get baptized it was good that she could be there. It had a certain tinge of a catholic style baptism haha because the mom of Luis put up a whole refreshment table for afterwards with pepihuates and cupcakes and such things. So you all know pepihuates are deliciusly amazing. They're japanese peanuts (peanuts covered in a flour based shell) in a cup with diced cucumber on top. You pour on some tomato/clam juice some chamoy and hot sauce. Add in some chile dusted tamarind and wahlah. good stufff. But the whole thing looked straight up like a wedding reception haha. It was awesome and everyone had a great time.

We're working hard to keep the work moving here.
Benjamín is amazing to talk to. He is just open to giving it a shot. We are teaching him with his whole family. He's the only non member though and its really a good experience for all.
Consuelo and her kids are great as well, unforturnately she got sick and we couldn't see her much last week but this week should be awesome. They all are reading and praying and basically being awesome in all ways shapes and forms.

also found a super cool dog this week

We are now allowed to knock on doors and tract. (before it was pure street contacting and references) so we are trying to learn how to do that so its kinda fun. so far no one has slammed the door so that's good haha. (although it has happened several times before while looking for references etc) any good ideas are welcome haha

Also in the baptism, another awesome thing. IT RAINED AGAIN. I was changing in the bathroom just afterwards and thunder cracked so loud and so fierce. It shook the whole building. IT WAS AMAZING. It was the best thing that could've happened. I love rain so much and thunderstorms even more even though it only lasted an hourish I felt like someone was pleased with my efforts. It was a really really good day.

also selfie with Bishop Muñoz

I found a great backpak today as well. 10/10 would reccommend for the mission haha

Inline image 5
Oh and then Sunday in the third hour Presidente Montes was giving the lesson in Elders Quorum and said something i feel like parents would like haha. 
He talked about the gratitude he felt for his parents and the help they gave him in being obedient. He told us of a time when he told his mom he was sick of all the rules and told here to basically "stop choking me!". His mom responded. "If you were falling off a cliff, I don't think you would care how tightly i was holding you. I just don't want you to fall." Sometimes we feel like the commandments or the rules or whatever are too strict, that we just can't, myself included obviously, but there's someone that just doesn't want us to fall and He´s stretching out and grabbing us tight so we don't fall. The rules are for our good. It's something really hard to learn and even harder to apply but the blessings of obedience out weigh any momentary happiness you may feel with eternal joy. As Presidente Monte´s Dad told him as he was deciding between a full ride scholarship and the mission. "Is what your choosing helping you prepare for an eternal family?" Keep being amazing all of you. keep being happy. Don't worry and just have faith. Life's good and even better when we are obedient and choose the right. It's been an awesome time here in Mexico and I hope it's been the same to you all. Have the best week of your life and I'll talk to you all soon!
Love forever,
Elder Smith

Monday, July 13, 2015

13 July 2015

so this week has been an absolute blast! On the spot I honestly can't think of any good stories but as I write I'm sure something will come to mind.

I discovered this week that cowboy is not for me, fun fact.

I'ts been a great week of teaching. Phenomenal to be honest.
Juan and Luis both passed their baptism interviews and are set for this Saturday. It should be an amazing day.
That family Josué told us about (Consuelo and her four kids) is amazing. we taught them last week and they loved it all and want to give it all a chance.
The dad of Josué is not a member but la hermana Yolanda (his wife) is and asked if he wanted to hear the missionaries. He's listened in the past but never really had interest. But this time was different. as we talked with him Sunday evening. He explained some things to us other things and basically long story short he really wants to change. He wants to go to church read pray and perhaps be baptized. I'm excited to keep teaching him. 
Then the other day we were walking up the street and a guy calls out to us so were like bueno, vamos a ver que quiere usually when people do that they're super drunk or in some such state but this time it was a very pleasant difference. His name is Luis we ended up teaching him on the spot a bit about the Book of mormon and he seems very interested in everything and wants to come to church one of these days so we will see how things go there.
Oh and this Sunday the new mission president visited the ward I'm working in which was a pleasant surprise. and then it turned out that no one wanted to teach the Gospel Principles class, long story short I was privleged to teach. I'd never taught the class before but it turned out nicely in the end. Good thing I had no pressure considering President decided to sit in on the class haha.

Things are going fantastic here. Truly they are. It's amazing what the Lord does in his timing. When I first heard that I was going to Balderrama ward I cant lie, I was a little dissappointed. It was a five minute drive from my last area and according to everyone it was full of old people (that part is true but old people are great anyways) and nobody ever baptizes there. I got here and got to work anyways. It hasn't always been easy but its been great nonetheless. and slowly but surely everything started moving forward. The Lord decided it was time for the work to progress in Balderrama. This past week the other missionaries in the ward were able to baptize a family, we are looking at two baptisms this week and many more to come and the Lord puts more and more of his prepared children in our path. It's a daunting responsibility to be in charge of teaching and leading His children the best I can but we are putting out trust in the Lord and are anxiously waiting for the results.
I love you all and hope you have the best week of your life and I'll hear from you soon!!!
Love forever,
Elder Smith

Thursday, July 9, 2015

6 July 2015

Daniel Smith

Jul 6 (3 days ago)
to me
Let me just say, this has been one of the best weeks of my life. Everyday was a treasure. So I'll just jump right into the goodness. Monday night last week. So almost every Monday we have a family home evening with la Hermana Montaño and her husband and daughter. Her husband is not a member and has very little interest but sits in on the lessons and come to church every once in a while (now 4 weeks in a row). We stopped by and he had a friend over and we all just started talking and chatting and what not. The friend of Hermano Montaño and the Mermano himself started asking questions that would be seen as going on the attacking side of things. It was the coolest thing that happened. Instead of getting defensive, or impatient, etc. and before we even had a chance to respond. La Hermana started talking, better said, teaching. She testified simply and clearly of the simple truths of the gospel and bore with power and authority her testimony of the truth, backed up by her daughter, Zulé. I honestly don't remember what the topic was or what the original questions were but I won't soon forget the spirit we felt. The strength and power they had, even though they are some of the more gentle and shy seeming people I've known, I was truly shocked by how easily and clearly they spoke of the truth. El Hermano doesn't have any desire whatsoever to be baptized or anything like that but with influence and faith like that, a miracle won't be late in coming. 

Tuesday we went to visit a member family that lives in our area. We didn't know they lived there so we had never visited them before but we found out and headed over asap. We stopped by and taught a short lesson to the mom and her kids, that although short, we were able to feel the spirit strongly. Using that initial influence, we asked if they knew anyone that would be able to benefit from the message we offer. The mom said "Not right now I don't really know anyone..." and the suddenly her son Josué jumped in was was like "I do!" he said he had a couple friends that had been going to church activities with him for a while and that they really liked it. He invited us to go with him the next day to bring them to mutual and while over there he would present us to their mom and all. So we went. It was amazing. She right away told us that she would be very interested to hear us. We set up an appointment for that Saturday. We of course invited josue to join us and he happily accepted. We helped him prepare a portion of the lesson and it was awesome. Unfortunately the Saturday appointment ended up getting cancelled but we should be stopping by this week. You never know who's ready to listen. Josue honestly thought that their mom (consuelo) wasn't going to accept us but quite the opposite occurred. 
This past Wednesday we had the great chance to meet the new mission president and his wife. President Hernandez and his wife were wonderfu and amazing and I'm very grateful for everything they did for us. Now the keys have been handed over to Presidente Robbinson and his wife. They. Are. Phenomenal. From the first moment I could feel the love and spirit they emminated. On a micro and macro level. They made sure to greet every missionary personally and talk with them for a minute or two. His wife doesn't speak a lick of Spanish but she is awesome even if I haven't heard much from her. When president spoke to us at the meeting we had, he was amazing. Leaving that room I felt infinitely more motivated and prepared to work. He really knows what he's doing. I really liked what he explained briefly about our duty as participants in a meeting. 1. We need to prepare ourselves before hand. He explained that the leader should always give an assignment in preparation for the meeting. A talk or scripture study or what not. And that is was our job to study, pray, and well, prepare for the meeting. 2. Once there (and often times before and after) we need to "interact to edify" we need to participate so that we and others can be edified. We need to learn, and the way to do that is to participate. 3. At the end. there needs to be invitations to act. The leader should always leave an invitation but probably more important we ourselves need to listen carefully to the impressions we receive to be able to know what we ourselves need to do. 
The other thing I really liked that he talked about was conversion. He invited us to look for how we can more fully convert or reconvert ourselves to the gospel. That's a very important point and principle we should all apply. 
These points are awesome because they apply to every meeting we may have in life, even the boring ones, even the work ones. We can apply these things to make every interaction with someone else something special in the which we can learn something.

Other interesting things from the week include adorable puppies (someting every week should include)
And a pictoral guide of what it's like to study the Isaiah chapters in 2nd Nephi in a different language other than your native one. Book of Mormon on one side with the Bible on the other to compare side by side with the English version above and a mild headache as well.

Juan is awesome. this past week he was able to come to church with his mom again and is was super cool to see them there. Juan is so ready and willing to apply everything we teach. From fasting to tithing to keeping the Sabbath day holy to scripture study. It's amazing. Do keep him in your thoughts/prayers though please. He's working really hard but struggling a bit with not smoking.

Luis is also fantastic. He's been learning really well and just about all set to be baptized the 18th. 
That's about it for this week. Love you all and do have the best week of your life!. Keep up the awesome and I'll talk with you all soon!
Elder Smith

Hey so a couple things right off really quick.
I was reminicsing the good ´ol times with Fourth of July and thought of eating carmel popcorn while watching fireworks and long story short, if you could send me the recipe for the soft carmel popcorn, I'd love it. (not the microwave version)

You all are awesome love you tons. a full email to come shortly

Saturday, July 4, 2015

1 July 2015

So I doubt you remember but last week I mentioned that it hadn't rained in over two months. Well guess what? Last Wednesday, 0Thursday, and Saturday it rained. Like it was amazing. Around 6pm the wind would pick up and start blowing and you could smell the rain coming in then it would downpour for 45 min or so and flood everything and then it was gone. But I loved it so much. 

I was really happy for rain. That's all ha ha.
Also on an unconnected note, I've ranted and raged about how amazing the hot dogs here are and now I have a gift to you all. The key to a good dogo is the bread. I got the recipe. Good luck, but give it a shot. If it turns out let me know. Don't forget to wrap the weiners in bacon and put all the good stuff on top. Whole cooked pinto beans, tomato, cooked onion, chorizo, cucumber, guacamole, cheese, nacho cheese, and more cheese, and to top it off a really good salsa verde.
Here's the recipe
1.5 kilos of bakers flour
200 grams of sugar
5 grams of salt
10 grams of dry yeast
950ml of water

let it rest for 1.5 hours
cook for 8 minutes at 225 degrees celcius. 

Good luck, I've never seen a recipe like this but if it turns out let me know!

So Luis is progressing so well. It's amazing. He came to church this last week even though he felt super sick. Side note. It was super cool because we were able to give him a blessing and by the end of the third hour he was feeling just fine. Like he came to church and could barely stand and was super red and by the end he was more or less his jolly self. Super cool. Then I was so proud of him. After the meetings we were talking with him and his parents, as they were leaving Luis said "I don't want to eat tacos today because were not supposed to buy things on Sunday" just the other day we taught about the Ten Commandments in specific keeping the Sabbath day holy. Before they always went and bought street tacos but it was awesome to see Luis put forward the example and say no. 

Juan is also awesome. he didnt come to church this week but he is still taking everything great and is making plans to make it this next week.

These are they who are progressing but weve also been talking to Aaron who is interesting at times. He's awesome but hard to teach sometimes. He has lots of doubts but its been so helpful to just listen and then teach with the spirit. We stopped by last week and he basically tried to tear down the Book of Mormon more or less and when we had left he promised to read it and to come to church (regrettably he didn't make it) but we were able to explain thing clearly and in such a way that he understood instead of feeling attacked like I was afraid it was going to come off it was cool. Then we were talking with Berta. She is super cool but super busy so its hard sometimes but she has true interest in learning about it all.

I'm having a really good time here just saying. Sometimes the days aren't easy but man, it doesn't even matter cause life is just awesome. keep being awesome all of you and let me know how you're doing!!
Love you all!
Elder Smith