Friday, August 28, 2015

Another Week Down

August 28, 2015

Wow it seems like it's been forever since last pday.  We decided that Pday actually stands for party day.  So ya the highlight of the week was definitely hosting for the new missionaries.  I saw the sister videoing and asked if I could take a pic for them because I only thought she was taking pictures but she was videoing everything so I just stood back patiently as they said their last goodbyes.  It did get slightly frustrating on Wednesday when new missionaries kept giving me their first names, like what am I even going to do with a first name?  The sister (who's last name I have long since forgotten) was going to Argentina I think but since I'm of the opposite gender I was only allowed to take her as far as check-in and I went back to the curb to look for Calvin again.  So I was out there at 1:45 when calvin was supposed to get there but I never saw him.  After not seeing him yesterday either I asked the front desk and they said he's coming in next week.  So I can stop looking for him this week.  The good news is that I'll be hosting next week too so will you ask Calvin's mom what car she's going to be driving for me?  I'm actually the only elder in the district that enjoys hosting.  Everyone else just moans and groans about it because it makes us miss gym time.  They'll probably get over it eventually though.  They just send a letter in the mail to the district leader saying we've been assigned to host again.  On Wednesday I hosted for 3 elders and 1 sister I think.  They try to make elders host elders and sisters host sisters but sometimes we're pretty short on sisters which is why I was hosting the Hermana in the video.  Obviously it was a miracle that there weren't enough sisters on Wednesday so you could see my beautiful name and hear my beautiful voice.  I'm actually really self conscious now because I was probably a really awkward host and now the whole world knows... Oh well I'll get over it.

So this week was basically the same as every other week, we taught Jonathan, Rafaela, and Jorge some more.  Everyone's progressing and all but Jorge are coming to church on Sunday.  Jorge wants to be baptized but he's scared that it'll make his kids hate him so we'll talk about faith some more on Monday with him.  Hopefully these investigators are progressing because we're actually somewhat decent at teaching and not just because they're required to for our MTC experience.  Either way I'm learning a lot from them and things are going well.

As far as the learning of Spanish is concerned... This week has been the best so far because we're moving past things that I'm already pretty good at from high school and I'm starting to stretch myself a little more.  We did Direct and Indirect object pronouns this week and it was super helpful.  I love it when Hermano Rockwood teaches us about lets say commands and then immediately after when we're teaching him as Jonathan I use one.  

So our district pulled a really funny prank on our teachers (pay close attention Peyton).  Elder Beckey is missing a tooth similar to Peyton's and a fake one is in a retainer that he can pop out.  So we had Elder Raban get his metal umbrella stick and smack him on the name tag really hard when the teacher was looking away.  Elder Raban was like, "Elder Beckey! did that hit your mouth??!!!!" and he's groaning in pain hunched over and when he looked up his tooth was gone.  We were all in on it so everyone starts freaking out that his tooth came out and the reaction of the teachers was priceless.  Hmo Rockwood laughed first then got mad at them and said to go to the clinic immediately.  Then Elder Raban started trying to put the tooth back in (because Elder Beckey put his retainer back in) and Elder Beckey wiggled his tooth up and down by putting his tongue on the retainer in the back of  his mouth and Hmo Rockwood freaked out again.  Then we told him it was a joke and we laughed for like ten minutes.  When we did it to Hma Folsom she freaked out, almost went into shock and just stood there stunned for like a minute then she started looking for the tooth on hands and knees.  She was so freaked out we told her pretty quickly and laughed for another ten minutes.  So ya, maybe not the best things we could be doing with our time here but it was a good way to add color to a long day.  Also I guarantee it was much funnier if you were there, I was having a tough time describing it.  

The strain of these long days in seats is obviously taking a toll on the district.  I feel  like I'm handling it fairly well but some of the other elders are really breaking down and going kind of crazy.  They just tend to lose their focus much easier these days.  

I'm glad to hear the garden and animals are doing well.  It's going to be a long two years for poor Bo.  I'm glad you had fun at the lake although you had bad water.  Rich, I'll give you credit for getting up on the wakeboard so consider it official.  I'm excited that you've been blessed with the opportunity  to get a new dryer since I'm on a mission.  Lucky lucky.  Congrats on the tazer matt...  Good luck on your race tomorrow Peyton, I'll be beaming my support.  I'm sorry... I can't really think of much else to say...

Love you all, 

Elder Smith

Friday, August 21, 2015

August 21, 2015

August 21, 2015

Hello family and those that read my emails,

I'm emailing earlier today because our district got smart and we woke up at 6 to do our laundry.  We put the loads in the washer then changed to get ready for the temple then went back and put it in the dryer.  While it's in the dryer we go to breakfast and then we take the clothes back to the room and go to the temple.  We don't have much time to get to the temple so I just lay out my clothes on my bed to avoid major wrinkles (but Ill probably have to iron today anyway).  Today we did Initiatories because Elder Raban got a bunch of family names and next week we'll do a session for them.  It was really cool to do Initiatories again and remember what is said.  Since we have so much extra time from doing laundry early I'm also emailing early and you can probably expect that for the rest of my MTC stay.

Thank you family and Katie for pulling through with the candy:)  You did a marvelous job and I'll be set for several weeks probably.  Seriously thank you.  It made my week.  Also thank you to everyone who sends letters.

So my week....  Was very interesting.

On Sunday the devotional was the Nashville Tribute Band and it was as spiritual as anything in the MTC thus far.  Seriously I love (and miss) music so much.  I'd recommend looking up the Nashville Tribute band.  I really like the songs from the restoration and missionary albums.  One of the missionary songs even made me cry (sorry I forget which one, something about an airplane maybe idk).  The real craziness was on Tuesday.  Elder Echo Hawk of the 70 spoke (I'm pretty sure he spoke in conference recently) but after his wife spoke, when he was coming up he stopped and invited his wife to join him at the pulpit.  He said he had an impression to talk a little bit about eternal marriage.  He said the day he was married in the temple was the best day of his life (and the mission was the best 2 years...).  It turns out one of the sisters in my district had been thinking of going home to marry her RM boyfriend but didn't have support from her family.  She decided to go home but was kind of second guessing herself.  What Elder Echo Hawk said confirmed to her that she was making the right decision and I imagine it saved her from second guessing herself.  So ya, if the spirit tells you to do something do it.  Just do it.  So now there's only two of us left going to Nicaragua Managua South (Me and Elder Diaz).

Our two new investigators are Rafaela and Jhonatan (sp?) Who are actually Hermana Folsom and Hermano Rockwood.  They're really good at taking on the character of the investigator though.  They're tough.  Rafaela is 62 and works all the time and has a bunch of grown kids living with her and leaching off of her and she divorced her husband and they have a terrible relationship.  At least she's mostly willing to keep commitments.  We've basically only gotten to know her and told her that through Jesus Christ she can be happy.

Jonathan is a 21 yr old illegal immigrant from mexico who is lazy and basically does nothing everyday and let us in only to please his mom who's a member.  He looks half asleep to start but you can tell when the spirit is there because he sits up and leans forward.  It's a pretty effective way to gauge how the lesson is going actually.  We've only taught him once but he's exercising faith by reading the BoM.

Hermano Rockwood (haha dad hermano Piedramadera) has been really influential to me thus far.  He teaches us some good Spanish but he really has taught me that Spanish is merely a tool to help our investigators feel the spirit.  I think in 1 Corinthians 2 or somewhere Paul talks about that.  Haha that's really vague but whatever.  Paul was like, Im just going to go around and all that matters is that Jesus is the Christ and was crucified for us
We taught our TRC (ask delaney if you don't understand TRC) investigator, Jorge, 2 more times.  He doesn't like praying because, "it's weird and I'm angry at God for taking my son".  He did say he'd pray more though.  Yesterday he had just been to a friend's son's funeral and it reminded him of his son who died of cancer so he was really emotional.  We saw that and switched our lesson plan on the spot and talked about the atonement and plan of salvation some more.  He really wants to know how he can apply the atonement to himself so we were like "Seguira el ejemplo de Jesucristo y ser bautizado!!!!!!!!!! but he wouldn't because he has to talk to his wife and pray more.  We need to do a better job of helping him realize that our message is for everyone, including his wife.

Now I'll attempt to answer some questions I've received.

I feel great about my Spanish at this point.  I can basically figure out a way to say whatever I need to (though sometimes it's pretty crude).  I don't have to plan out everything I want to say anymore.  I actually think way more about what I need to say during lessons than how I need to say it in Spanish.  Hermana Folsom went to Spain on her mission and talks really fast with a thick accent and I understand her fairly well too.

The biggest surprise during my first two weeks is probably how we are doing something every second of every day.  There's always just barely enough time to get from place to place but that's about it.  Elder Roberts is struggling with having enough time to get ready to go everyday so we've been late to some meals and such but I'm trying to help him.

I've only seen a couple new recruits that I knew this week but most of the kids I knew on the first day are still here.  I might be a host, it depends on if Elder Raban submits the request for our district anytime soon.  Hopefully. 

For church we meet in the big building by the gym in a largish room with our zone.  The Sacrament is just on a folding table.  After Sacrament meeting we have lunch then have priesthood right after lunch.  No sunday school.  After priesthood we go for the temple walk.  I took a ton of pics of the temple walk last week.  In my room it's usually fairly noisy.  Everyone eats a lot of mine and Elder Day's food.  I need to do a better job of hiding it.  Katie, everyone LOVED your cookies.  Mom, the brownies were great but I didn't tell anyone else about them because I was selfish.  Did you make the brownies the same day?  Because I could've sworn they were still warm...  Everyone talks very openly about their home lives and such.  We know about Elder Beckey's GF because he has an album of a ton of their pictures and he showed us.  

It doesn't sound like the visa is a big worry because I'll just be there as a tourist before they get the visa.  I haven't heard anything from the lady at the church though, just Pres. Russel.

Sorry about the dryer mom.  I'm excited to see a pic of Delaney's antelope.  Hang in there with mountain biking peyton.  Good luck for school to start, let me know how that goes.  Sorry about getting pepper sprayed Matt, that sucks.

Well, Thanks for the goodies, love, letters, prayers and support.

Love, Elder Smith

Friday, August 14, 2015

one down, 103 to go‏

August 14, 2015

Despite the subject line I really do like it here although it seems like days go on forever.... At the same time it seemed like the week flew by.  Weird.  This week I taught 7 lessons.  Yes 7.  We taught Miriam 5 times, committed her to baptism and to keep the WoW and to read the BoM and pray.  Yesterday was our last lesson with her and since she's our teacher apparently tonight she's coming in to teach us about how we did.  But I thing we did ok.  Our other investigator is Jorge.  His son died 6 years ago and he's pretty sad and bitter towards God.  He wants to receive peace and happiness for him and his wife.  Another nice thing is he tells us how to say the words we don't know in Spanish.  Actually he talks quite a bit in English, which is a relief.  The first day we pretty much just got to know him and testified that God loves him and we can teach him about how he can be with his son again.  Yesterday we taught him about the atonement and how to pray.  He was very glad to hear that through Christ his pain can be taken away.  So ya.  Lots of Spanish.  I understand most of what I hear in Spanish and can usually figure out how to say about what I want.  This week we learned about simple concepts: ser, estar, tener que etc. so it was more of a review for me and I've had the opportunity to help teach a lot of the kids in the class that are struggling.  I probably do about 85-90% of the teaching because Elder Roberts is still struggling with the Spanish quite a bit though he's miles ahead of where he was a week ago.  

   Basically a day consists of waking up and attempting to eat breakfast (I don't usually feel very good in the mornings...) then 3 ish hours of class where we might do personal, comp study or we might have a lesson with Miriam.  Then lunch (usually a burger of some sort and fries) then gym time.  For gym time our district plays 4 square outside because the inside gym is still closed because the did finishing on the wood.  We're 4 square bosses.  Seriously gym time is awesome.  After that we shower up (thanks for the robe mom) and go back to class where we either have a lesson from Hermano Rockwood (served in San Diego Spanish speaking 3 years ago) or just individual study time.  Then dinner (which is usually pretty good but starting to get repetitive).  Then more class.  If we're not being taught during class we do personal study for an hour, comp study for an hour, then lang study for an hour.  The Devotional on Tuesday was pretty good.  It was by C Scott Grow (probably spelled wrong). So ya..
    My favorite and least favorite part of the CCM is teaching.  It's super stressful preparing and knowing that if I don't know how to say something I won't have someone there to help me (with the exception of Jorge) but the spirit is always so strong.  I love the spirit here.  Like Hermano Rockwood said, " We're only kind of here to learn to teach in Spanish.  mostly we're here to learn how to teach with the spirit."  

I'm so glad AJ liked the stuff, I had a very strong feeling he would.  Its crazy thinking of Peyton terrorizing the roads on her own.  I'm definitely going to miss hunting (so enjoy it dad) but what I miss most right now (other than my family of course ;)) is definitely Taylor swift.  Man I miss her.  In class we translated You Belong With Me into horrible gringo Spanish.  Hopefully I'll get you a pic.  Hermano Rockwood came in and corrected it and basically everything was wrong but it was fun (When I say we translated it I mean Elder Day and I).   I really love the branch presidency and my zone, they're all so supportive and loving.  But really I can't wait to get out into Nicaragua.  That's really why I'm here, to serve the Lord and the people of Nicaragua.  Well that's all I can really think to say.  Feel free to dearelder me if you have questions and I'll try to respond with a letter.  Seriously, write me letters and send me lots of candy, it makes my day whenever I get something in the mail.  Also, congrats Matt and Taryn on having a boy.  Sorry you blew your streak dad.  Myles sounds like a great name.  I was worried you were going to name him Marshawn or something.  Jk.  But really Marshawn would be pretty cool.

Alright, Love you, write me lots of letters.  Sorry if I don't respond very well.  Geez that sounds selfish of me.  Oh well.  Bye
Love, Cody

Or should I say Elder Smith?  I'm actually not sure...

                                                             Elder Roberts and Elder Smith

Friday, August 7, 2015

I'm Still Alive!

August 7, 2015

Hello Familia

Everything here is still bueno.  Yesterday we had more classes and learned how to pray and testify en Espanol.  Last night we met our branch presidency and I got to give the opening prayer.  I started in Spanish but after 3 words I forgot how to say grateful so I switched to English.  It went something along the lines of... Nuestro Padre Celestial, estamos........ umm.... grateful for the gospel. So that was kind of embarrassing but it was a blessing because I made sure from then on I would remember agradecidos (though I'm not sure how to spell it :/)  I really like the branch president, President Carpenter.   I had a really good interview with him.
Today was pday so we did a session in the temple this morning and that was really cool.  There's a ton of missionaries in the Provo temple!!!  Then we lifted some weights and ate lunch.  It's only been two days so that's really about all we did.  Tonight we'll teach our first investigator, Miriam.  I have a feeling that I'll do most of the talking since Elder Roberts didn't do as much Spanish in high school as me.  Basically it'll probably be us trying to let the spirit get to her by trying to show love, and pray, and testify simply with our limited vocabulary.

Speaking of Elder Roberts, Elder Roberts is from Lehi.  He played ultimate with Lehi.  Dad, he doesn't hunt but he's into archery.  He says he hasn't shot a live deer but he's shot 3d targets.  Better than nothing I guess...  I really like the elders in my room.  In the room there's me, Elder Roberts, Elder Diez, Elder Whetton (previously part of the trio the first day who played ultimate for Lone Peak C), Elder Day, and Elder Becky.  I particularly like Elder Day and Becky.  Elder Day is from New Hampshire and Elder Becky is from the Ogdenish area (a town I've never heard of).
MTC life is busy busy busy.  We always have somewhere to be and something to do.  Today has been nice since we have a little more time on pdays.  After this We'll go and do laundry so that might be an adventure:)  At least it'll be easier than Nicaragua.  I saw Mitch yesterday and it was nice talking to him.  He seems to be really good.  Also Linden (sp?) Whittaker (sp?) is on our floor in the dorms.
These past few days have strengthened my testimony in almost every aspect.  I've really come to appreciate prayer since I've had to learn how to pray in Spanish.  I don't know many words but those simple prayers I offer always bring the spirit and I know Heavenly Father understands even if what I say is in Spanglish or doesn't really make sense.

Love you all,

Elder Smith

Thursday, August 6, 2015

I'm Alive

I'm alive!!

August 5, 2015

Hey Family,

I don't have much time but everything is good.  My pday is Friday so I'll probably email in the early afternoonish. 

I started in a trio but they moved one of my companions and now it's just me and Elder Roberts.  He's from Lehi and played ultimate.  He seems to be really good.  I love it here!  It's so cool to be with so many people that are just like me that are here for the same reasons.  I've seen a ton of people I know.  Peyton, I saw Mccay (sp?) Christenson (sp?).  I've seen Corbin Hales, Kendal Mcdougal, McKell's friend's boyfriend, the student body president, and a bunch of other kids from Bingham and South Hills.

We went to class and they spoke Spanish at us for about an hour before orientation stuff and I'm proud to say I understood most of it.  Apparently it's really nice of the zone leaders to let us email right now... 

Joseph Diez is the guy that stole my other companion that was in the trio.  We have two other room mates that are going to mexico and I really like them.

Love you guys, I love the mission.  There are like two other people going to Nicaragua besides me and Elder Diaz. Sorry the email is so disjointed, there's literally no time.

   Elder Smith