Thursday, January 28, 2016

26 January 2016 - Being next to the Ocean ...

Being Next to the ocean and not being able to go to the beach has never been so satisfying!

I've just had the best two weeks ever.  Sorry for no real letter last week, time just wasn't flying in my favor.

It's funny because we are both Alto (tall)

So I got sent away from Pueblitos. I was honestly a tid bit upset considering it was the first place I knew in Mexico but it was a good change. 
Biking in Enpalme 

The Enpalme group
Monday I went off early to pick up my new companion. He had just hopped off the airplane. His name is Elder Gonzalez and is from the state of Mexico. He lives 5 min away from the MTC there. It'd be like going to the Provo MTC and living across the street from BYU. Here is a pic of us rocking life in Empalme.
The view as we bike into meetings

 We are white washing the area here. In other words we have no clue where anything is and no idea who anyone is. It's a blast. we get lost a lot and talk to so many people. We've picked the teaching on several people the other Elders told us to visit. Luis Ochoa is a 28 year old that showed up to church about a month ago on invitation of a friend. He loves it all. He's a blast to teach as well very participant and lively. I'm hoping that he can be the first person my companion gets to baptize. Marisela and Naydeli are grandmother and grand daughter. They have been coming to church for quite a while now and Marisela is trying to get through a bad situation to be able to get baptized but we are expecting good news soon. Yajaira is a recent convert of now two weeks. Her two daughters are waiting for the the fathers permission to be baptized and should be gucci to go in less than a month. They are the sweetest ever. I'll try to remember pics next week. 

It's been such an amazing week. the work is progressing rapidly and the Lord is preparing people to have their lives change for the eternities every day. Im going to love evey moment here and just to make it better, it's gorgeous here. 
Coconut - the under loved and under used fruit

I love you all and hope you have the best week of your life!!
Keep being amazing and change the life of everyone you meet. Stay happy, stay lovely and perfect and I'll talk to you all soon!
Elder Smith
PS. coconut in an underdemitiated fruit. It's quite frankly delicious with lime juice, tajin (a special chile powder thing for fruit), chamoy (no clue how to describe it), and hot sauce.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

11 January 2016

I just love being here to start off. Things are incredible. Every moments brings something new and beautiful. This past week was honestly hard but also one of the best weeks ever. Nothing was that out of the ordinary but I just had a lot of doubts and such going on in my mind. This week was amazing because I was able to really see the application of a lesson I've been taught my entire life, more than anything from my father. That of hard work. Everyone comes across bad days and doubts and struggles and what not, it is the reaction that counts. The easy thing to do is nothing. The smart thing is to do something productive. I don't know how many times I've heard my dad tell me to get up and do something productive. It may be some of the best advice ever. So this week instead of just calling it quits like I honestly wanted to, I kept hearing that same vibe. Get up and do something productive. So that's what we did.  We got up and started doing things as productively as possible. In the end we decided as part of everything to put together a family home evening with the youth here. It turned out awesome. Ashley invited a friend, Daniela, and everyone enjoyed the vibes there. We gave Daniela a Book of Mormon and set a return appointment. We stop by two days later ad she had read several chapters and the pamphlet. We answer some questions and then leave another pamphlet of the plan of salvation. Sunday comes around and she goes with Ashley to church. In the second hour in gospel principles class we were talking about our celestial family and the pre existence. It was awesome because Daniela commented something like oh I remember reading about that in the pamphlet! She's honestly someone the Lord had prepared to receive the gospel. Every time I feel down I'm now requried to remember to get up and do something productive. The results come. The blessings come. More than anything you just feel good.
Sorry for the quick letter but I gotta go. I hope you all have the best week ever. I love you all. Go be amazing and i'll talk to you all soon!
Elder Smith

4 January 2016

This week was full of all the best. Food and powerful experiences. New years is like Christmas here. It's no good unless you eat too much food. So we ate too much food. I loved every moment. I love the new years season. Everyone is always excited to change and make the coming year the best year ever. What a great concept to apply. No excuse should be needed to change but when there is one, all the better. I have many new goals and plans and hope you all do too. Remember that all the best plans are those that are in line with the desires of our Father in Heaven. Consult him in your daily life and rely upon His Son Jesus Christ. There's no better way to ensure success and happiness.

On saturday we had an almost 9 hour meeting with president and the zone. We talked about many things that were very important. One of the tings that caught my attention was that of a change in studies. Before we read half an hour of the Book of Mormon and half an hour of Preach My Gospel. Now we will be reading half hour of Book of Mormon (stays the same) but then half an hour of whatever other book we desire. Bible, Doctrine and Covenents, Jesus The Christ, etc. then an hour of companion study dedicated to Preach My Gospel. It wasn't just the changes that called my attention. We discussed the importance of studies for a good hour. Our study time is one of the most important moments of every day. Whether on the mission or not. It's what provides the base to a testimony. It's what prepares you spiritually for the tasks of life. It's something I have come to love. We also talked about simplifying our teaching. We took the first three lessons and simplified them each into three central points.  Lesson one. 
1. God called a prophet once again whose name was Joseph Smith. Today we have a living prophet.
2. God restored his gospel in its fullness
3. God has given us more scripture, the Book of Mormon
lesson 2
1. God created a plan for us in the pre mortal existence
2. God send us here to be tried to see if we would act in accordance with his law
3. God will judge us according to what we do and recompense us with a reign of glory
lesson 3
1. we are not perfect and are all sinners that have fallen short of the perfection of God
2. God send His Son so save us, Christ payed for us
3. To be saved we must follow the teaching of Christ and act accordingly. have faith in Him. Repent. And be baptized.
as we began to apply the simplified teaching it has helped us drastically. I feel that we explain clearer and that the people understand better. 

Speaking of teaching, things with andrea are going great. We had a lovely scare with her this week. We stopped by and things got interesting. Her aunt and uncle are very Catholic. When they heard that Andrea was going to be baptized they started opposing super hard. Andrea and her mom are in a tough situation right now with work and housing and some other things and their aunt and uncle have really helped and they really don't want problems with them. They were told several things that weren't true about the church and about Christ's doctrine. It was a really tough situation. The whole time my companion and I were praying for guidance to have the right words. I'm so grateful for the power of prayer and that Heavenly Father always answers. We were able to talk and resolve the doubts and re explain an important principle. We invited her to really decide if she wanted to know the truth or not. If so then she needed to start reading the book of Mormon and pray concerning its validity. Receiving an answer concerning that topic provides a strong base to a testimony of everything we had taught. The next time we visited she had begun reading. Only a little but Andrea explained how she was beginning to receive an answer. I'm excited to keep seeing how things progress.

We have continued to work with the youth here and are seeing many results. They go on visits with us almost daily. They take us to friends and family. It's been really cool. There is so much work to do and I love every moment.

I love you all tons and hope you have the best week ever! Keep being the amazing people you are and I hope to hear from you soon!
Elder Smith

Saturday, January 2, 2016

27 December 2015 Christmas

What a wonderfu week! Obviously being hundreds of miles from home isn't easy. Nonetheless this birthday and Christmas were some of the best of my life. Inline image 1
I had a lovely surprise party the 22nd with several youth of the ward, less active members and non members. 
Inline image 2
which includes the tradicional "mordida".

The whole week was full of amazing moments. We got to teach tons of people about the joy of Christmas and the importance of Christ. We have been teaching someone named Andrea recently. Her mom is less active and asked us to start teaching her and her daughter. They both have been amazing to talk with. The other day Andrea told us out of the blue that she wanted to be baptized. This definitely caught us by surprise but in a good way. When we first met them her mom told us that we would have a hard case. Andrea in the past had rejected missionaries and didn't want anything to do with religion or anything of the sort. She had even thrown rocks at the elders in the past. Paradigm shift if I've ever seen one. 
This week we also had a great meeting with the entire mission. It was super cool to see everyone serving here in Sonora. 
Christmas day itself. We got to visit lots of great people of course and as Christmas here insists it was also full of great food. We ate stuffed shrimp wrapped in bacon, ham, green pozoli, barbacoa, tamales, the best beans ever, and we just kept eating. I'm concerned about weight gain at this point haha. 
Inline image 3
stuffed shrimp
Inline image 4
romeritos (mole like sauce with potatoe and whole shrimp and some grass like thingy)

Honestly I just loved the Christmas Spirit. That of love and family and joy and healing. The fact the Christ was born makes the celebration. I hope you all had the best Christmas ever and remembered what it's all about. Now go have the best New Years ever! I love you all and wish to write more but my time is out. 
Love you all forever!
Elder Smith