Tuesday, November 24, 2015

24 November 2015 -A Crazy Wonderful Fun Week

This week was full of some of the most amazing experiences. 

Wednesday morning we visited the Martinez Family. They are a less active family that just moved here to Nogales. Sister Martinez has one of the strongest testimonies Iv'e ever seen and Brother Martinez is full of faith. Sadly, he doesn't have much of a testimony. We talked about strengthening your testimony and gaining a personal conviction. They also had several questions about the temple and vicarious ordenanzas. This was one of several moments this week where talking about eternal families helped people understand the gospel and prepare themselves for the next step forward. 

Later in the week we were talking with Sergio and his girlfirend. He's a less active that contacted us in the street one day. We stopped by and since he plays piano he taught me a thing or two while we taught them a thing or two about the gospel. While talking with his girlfriend the topic of eternal families came up. She opened up like never before, shes always been rather quiet but the topic of eternal families just rang home to her. We talked with them about the basics of the gospel and how that prepares you to have that eternal family. This moment was one where I could really feel the Spirit helping me know what to say, how to say it, and what to do. It was actually one of the best lessons I've had in a long time and whats more, Sergio and I are preparing a special musical number to play at church one of these days. 

Friday we had exchanges and I wasn't in my area. While I was away the Lopez family went with my companion and district leader to visit the Gonzalez. While there they talked about marriage and eternal families and it touched their hearts. Carlo is now actively preparing to be married and baptized to prepare for that goal of an eternal family. Honestly, the whole thing would have been incredibly difficult had the Lopez not been there. They testified and explained the blessing they've had and are helping and supporting the Gonzalez in their goals. Members are truly key in the work.

One more thing to add. A recipe. One of the easiest breakfasts ever and it's delicious.
Take about 9 corn tortillas and cut them in to rectangularish pieces. Not too big. Lightly fry them in oil with a bit of salt. Drain off the excess oil then crack in four eggs. Mix them about a bit but don't over scramble. Put on the lid until the egg is cooked then pour in tomato sauce. Sprinkle on cheese and once again put on the lid till the cheese is melted and gooey good. Serve it. Love it. Repeat.

Go out and have the best week of your life. Get better every day. That's kinda the point. We all keep making mistakes, just don't make the same ones over and over again! Make every day something special and have the best day every day. For thanksgiving really appreciate what you have and look for a way to share that with someone else. I miss you all tons, love you more, and wish you the best!
Elder Smith
 A really nice view of the city at night on our way home.
We decorated in honor of the Christmas Spirit.  

Carlos finally accepted a baptism date for the 26th of december which means he will need to get married before then. We will be having a blast working out the details but I'm stoked for the whole family. If the certificate turns out to be a problem we will find a way to get it through. 

The christmas vibe is here but not as strong as I'd like. We decorated the apartment and have been listening to Christmas music since ... really since I started the mission hahaha... but there are a few houses here and there with lights and good stuff like that. Lots of tamales and pozoli and menudo to come soon. I miss all the Christmas goodies like toffee and what not. I'd try to make it here but finding real butter is super super hard and it just wouldn't be the same. I settled for boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk to make a caramel like substance. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

16 November 2015 I am doing great!

Elder Smith sent a couple of replies to letters we sent, but didn't have time to send a real letter this week, so here is an edited version of the responses.  

Love to all who read and keep up with Elder Smith!

I'm doing absolutely great!!! I had the most amazing week! I wish I could tell you all about it but it's always hard to fit in everything haha. I apologize in advance because I doubt I will have time to write a full letter this week but the next will be fantastic! Los Gonzalez are doing great! Well sort of ... haha. Right now we are struggling with the law of chastity with them. They need to get married and I'm afraid that kinda put a bit of a trial in front of them but we will keep working with them. I just really keep praying for the ability to understand what it is the people we are teaching truly need. Honestly that's the hardest part. Spanish is second nature, the gospel is simple, the answers clear. I'ts finding the question that is so so hard. But that's what personal revelation is for am I right?
I'm so happy to hear that everyone is doing great. I miss you all tons! And keep being the great mother and member you are! 
Go have the best week of your life and I'll talk to you soon!
Elder Smith

Christ is such a perfect example in everything. It's truly interesting how he acted is such a wide variety of ways but when I think about it all I always think of this. Christ has a perfect perception of every situation (hit up Jesus the Christ if you ever need proof of that.. good stuff). I believe He acted in such a way as to create the greatest impact of good possible. That's why sometimes he invited people to see and share other times he asked witnesses to "tell no man". He knows what is best for each moment and we just need to try to be as in tune with the Spirit as He is so that we can understand as such too.

Thanks for the reminder about the patriarchal blessing. It's been a little while since I've last read it. It truly is an amazing thing. 
Also if you find a way to bottle up that toasty stove and send it my way please do haha. Nogales has a similar climate to Ohio so its quite brisk right now and should drop to about 25 degrees overnight tonight. Due to which I did buy a sweater and a couple other fall winter items with the debit card. 

Thanks for everything always. Love you tons and talk to you soon!
Elder Smith

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

11 November 2015 - Every Day Is Full Of Blessings: Remember That

What a fantastic week! We went full charged batteries on our area and it's been great. This week we weren't able to teach a ton but we contacted tons and already have a good half of this week filled with appointments. My companion and I have been making plans to try to contact more. One of these things is any time we get on a bus (which is almost daily) we contact every person on there. Basically one of us stands in front and talks to everyone there. Then we talk in person to everyone there. It's a little hard at first but every time gets easier haha. There's a word here "fierro" which means iron but in context is very motivational. Like here's an applied example. 

Hey its your turn to speak to the bus you ready? 
And then we get on the bus and it's great.

Early in the week every appointment we had fell through and the backup plan too and we were kinda at a loss of what to do we started walking and suddenly a kid calls out 
"Hey wanna join and play"
"What are you playing"
"Freeze tag"

So we play freeze tag for 20 min or so and talk to all the kids there and it was chill. They asked us to come back the next day so we did. We stopped by gathered the group taught a short lesson, set up appointments with all of their respective families and played freeze tag again. It was rather fantastic. I truly hope that this Tuesday we will be able to teach all of their families. 

The Gonzalez are doing great. We have been teaching them a lot and they are progressing a lot and blessings are just flowing from that home. One of their kids who had been inactive for many years has started listening to us when we come by and came to church last week. A friend of their son has been over a lot while we teach but has been a little distant you could say while we teach, but recently he has been paying more and more attention and even asks questions. I've loved being able to work with them.
This week was just full of amazing.

Here are the explanations for the pictures above

1. we bought una waflera for 50 pesos and its the best purchase ever. Other great functions include making quesadillas and toasting bread
2. Every hill comes with a view that makes you feel on top of the world
3. This place is just pretty
4. The Mercado family, just one of the coolest families here

I love you all and hope you have the best weeks of your lives. Never forget all the love that is sent your way. More than anything, never forget that we are children of God. Omnipotent, Omniscient, All-mightly, Loving, Caring, Perfect. we can be like Him. Never stop pressing forward in that goal. Till next week!
Elder Smith

Thursday, November 5, 2015

2 November 2015 - Best Week Ever Am I Right?

Best week ever am I right?!

This past week everyting has just worked out for us. First off as the "native" in this branch we've had surprisingly little trouble finding things. That's been a huge blessing. Then plans have just worked out. We plan every day what we will be doing the next. We always pray for guidance and ask that the plans we make can be what the Lord needs. This week especially we saw planning just work. People were there when we stopped by, as we walked the planned paths people found us and we found people to teach and help. The members this past week helped us out tons too! We went on splits three times and each time found someone to teach that was in need in that moment. 
The Gonzalez family made it to church again and are doing great! Tonight we will be having a family home evening with them and will be making tortillas. 
Sorry for the shortness of the letter but I don't have much time today. 
Go out there and do amazing things and have the most wonderful week. Make a special effort to become someone better.  Make special use of the Atonement this week. these past months I've been reading Jesus the Christ and the more I understand of His life and works, the closer I feel to Him. My invitation is that each of you take a few minutes each day and study something about the life of Christ. 
I love you all and talk to you soon!
Elder Smith

I got the package! It's perfect. I've been enjoying cereal with boxed milk that says "this product contains 73% milk" I'ts great haha but I miss good American milk. Transfers are the 6th of December and I really hope I don't get moved because fitting that lot in the suitcase wrapped and all will be a struggle but we'll see what happens