Monday, September 28, 2015

September 28, 2015

Hello everyone!

Crazy that its been another week. crazy.

You're all welcome for the wonderful email I sent last week, I figured a lot of detail would be good.  Thank you for all the emails, it's definitely weird not getting letters every day like the mtc but its ok because now I'm doing real work.  But please forgive me if any emails in the future aren't as good as last weeks.  just know that Im trying.


This week was good.  President Russell had a meeting with the ZLs and our mission goal for baptisms this year is now 2300 and we only have like 1700ish so far so we've got a lot of work to do.  Our area goal for baptisms this month is 7, our zone goal is 46.  luckily our area has two sets of missionaries: me, hanson, vasquez, naopoto.  Both of our baptisms fell this week, Daryl (i spelled her name wrong last week) drank coffee and Daisy had some problems as well but both look like they'll be baptized in october still but not this week because of conference.  So keep praying for them.  An hombre named Miguel Angel came to church last week and we started teaching him this week.  he said he couldn't come to church this week but then he showed up anyway.  So now he already has the three times at church that he needs to be baptized so hes likely to be baptized the 17th.  Elders Naupoto and Vasquez also have some strong investigators but i don't really know them.  We also have an investogator named Yessenia and she's pretty good, she came to church which is a big step but she's living with someone and isn't married.   We haven't been able to meet her partner yet so her future will depend greatly on how it goes teaching the law of chastity...

These Nicaraguenses are typically very friendly and nice but they're also liars.  Luckily it's fairly easy to tell when they're lying.  They're biggest flaw is that they say yes to everything.  This explains how we can get like three or four (some days like 6) fetchas (baptismal dates) with people every day and only end up with like four people at church.  We go around on sundays to everyone who said they'd go to church and their families open the door and say they aren't home even though we can hear them.  But oh well, it is what it is.  It's important that you're very direct and bold with the people.  If you're not direct the people will never do anything.  We do a lot of persuading (especially on sundays).

The spanish is definitely tough.  I'm definitely getting better every day but it's still pretty rough.  I just need to remember that it's not just going to come in two weeks.  Most people say it takes 3 to 6 months to get it so I just need to be patient and keep working hard.  I'm better at understanding spanish during lessons because of my missionary vocabulary but on the street when there's less context it's harder.  I did manage to get my hair cut today the way I wanted, and they only cut one mole.

It rained every other day this week pretty much (still every day that I wear my less sturdy shoes) but the streak might end today knock on wood because im wearing those shoes and theres no clouds.  Man today was hot...  it's always hot here but Im getting a little more used to it.  oh well

Good job with the mountain biking Peyton, it sounds like you're getting very brave.  Hopefully you'll get some sort of scar from your crash (you're welcome now people are going to start calling asking if you're ok).  Good luck hunting dad, it seems like cheating to not use a bow in Red Cloud...  but that's ok I guess you didn't use a bow for the fanny pack bull.  

Love you all

Love Elder Smith

ill try to answer some questions

im staying healthy, this week hasnt been very bad on the bowels, but i definitely can't trust a fart at this point.  spanish is frustrating.  We just have a faucet thing and an oven and stove and fridge but we never cook anything we just eat cereal and junk food for breakfast and sometimes dinner.  We live in a little house, ill send some pics.   The clothes were nice and smelled good and were white and ironed but my garments smelled kind of weird so im not sure what she did.  We pay her like 300 cordobas a month which is like 12 bucks.  We pay our lunch cita 1200 a month.  We get 4600 cords (cordobas) a month.  honestly the lady that does our clothes is pretty rich and has the only washing machine ive seen.  not many people have a machine.  we have a little church building, you could see it if you went onto interactive maps on the lds website.  i dont have a great pic of it.  people wear street clothes to church a lot, some dresses.  guys usually have a white shirt and jeans.  The branch president never wears slacks.  Definitely different than utah haha.  thanks for loving bo.  We can watch sessions of conf on sat if we bring investigators.  i don't know if any will come.  it honestly depends if we can convince them to show up to bring them because commitments mean nothing to these people.  Thanks for all your details you always send, if i don't respond to them please forgive me but don't stop sending them.  I always know the scores of the byu and utah games about as they happen because missionaries ask people to look it  up on their phones and then the word spreads like wildfire since every companionship has a phone.  Its just like byu to show some promise just to choke and start sucking again.  I'm guessing utah did so well against oregon because they probably didn't let clay touch the ball.  Good job on candy crush mom, just remember that the level im on is the level of death and in like two months i couldn't pass it.  best of luck though, im cheering for you.  We're surrounded by mountains but they're kind of far away.  Not like in utah for sure.and they're not very tall.  a lot of days theres a ton of thunder up in the mountains but never reaches us.  im never really in the main part of juigalpa, just in the neighborhoods but id say that some places seem relatively prosperous but a lot of places definitely arent'.  They're very very poor here but generally people are happy with what they have.  When it rains they stay dry and they usually have a bed/cot to sleep on.
mom, i thought about your birthday last week but Elder Hanson told me it takes like three weeks for mail to get home so i didn't send anything because it wouldve gotten there after your bday anyway.  and i don't even know where or how to send mail.  So im very sorry but ill send you a special email next week.  Happy early Birthday!!!

Elder Smith and Elder Hanson

Kkitchen sink?  Outside?


Eating smoothies today.  left to right: Naupoto, me, vasquez, hanson, seui matagi, brito

Monday, September 21, 2015

i'm alive and these keyboards are weird!

September 21, 2015

hello everyone!

  i made it here safely and i dont have a ton of time to write and this keyboard is weird so in the interest of time im not going to use very good punctuation so forgive me.

  So the plane landed at like 8 last monday and at the airport president and sister Russell and the APs met us.  We talked for a couple minutes then the APs took me and elder diaz to their house that they share with all the office missionaries and we got to bed at like 11 monday night.  Then on tuesday we went by taxi to the mission home and trained all day with president and sister russell and the APs about rules and expectations and contacting and such.  Im in a very good mission because a lot is expected of us.  We are expected to get 24 quality contacts every day per companionship, teach 7 lessons per day, 4 of them member present, and every week bring 6 people at church per companionship.  On tuesday for lunch we had authentic Nicaraguan food.  I looooovvvvveeee Gallopinto, and all the meats ive tried so far.  Gallopinto is the big staple here, rice and beans mixed together thats a reddish color.  Ive had queso frito a couple times and i dont love it but its ok.  its just fried squeaky cheeze but its got a weird flavor.  its not just like the cheddar cheeze at home.  and there were fried bananas and stuff.  tuesday night i went out with elders henriquez (probably spelled wrong) and Rodriguez and we placed 5 baptismal dates.  We call them fetchas.  What our mission does is when were introducing ourselves to someone we talk about who we are and ask them an inspired question then tell them how our message can help them and ask them that when they come to know our message is true and when god answers their prayers if theyd rather get baptized in four or five weeks (ie oct 10 or oct 17).  Its not a yes or no question, its a yes or yes question and it works pretty well.  oh before we went out on tuesday they gave us pizza that tasted pretty dang american surprisingly.
    then tuesday night we slept in the same place and wednesday morning we had change meeting and I got my trainer.  My trainer is Elder Hanson.  Hes from sandy and went to Brighton but Ive already forgiven him for that.  hes been here for just over a year and i love the guy.  hes super patient with me and my lack of spanish ability.  he gives me plenty of chances to stretch my spanish and grow but hes always there when I get stuck or cant understand someone.  He has a blog so if you go to that mission website with all of the blogs youll probably find it.  He doesnt hunt but he does flyfish, hes going to byu after his mission, hes the oldest out of like 6 or 7 kids.  so on wednesday we got our  comps and then they gave us burger king and sent us to our areas.  My area is Juigalpa, its like two hours by bus from Managua.  Its kind of out in the Boonies and there are a ton of hicks out here.  managua is actually a legitish city and has a burger king, mcdonalds, pizza hut and some three story buildings.  But juigalpa just has a bunch of street food and pulperias.  

The work here is good i think, as i dont have anything to compare it to.  We brought over 6 people to church placed a crap ton of fetchas and met our goals for the week.  This saturday Daril is going to be baptized.  Shes 14 and her family is less active.  hopefully she doesnt drink coffee.  pray for her.  Theres a chance that Daisy will be bapized, her husband was baptized a couple weeks ago but she hates her mother in law and that might keep her from being baptized this week but anyway pray for her too.  We contacted a lady a couple days ago named jesenia and shed been to church four times in the past because her sisters a convert.  she went to church yesterday with us and brought her son.  hopefully her appointment wont fall through tommorrow because shes looking pretty hopeful.  
   i know youre dying to know about the culture and heat and rain and such so ill try to explain what ive gathered so far.  to tell the weather you just look at yourself.  if youre hot and wet and your shoes are dusty and dirty its sunny.  if youre hot and wet and your shoes are muddy its raining.  if youre hot and wet and youre not wearing shoes you just took a shower.  if youre not wet youve been laying in bed for two hours with the fan blowing on you.  the sweat here is constant.  its so ridiculously hot and humid all the time i cant explain it.  it rains about every other day.  usually when it rains theres about ten or twenty minutes of downpour then its over.  So far every time ive worn my less sturdy shoes its rained so i must have done something to offend the rain gods.  We have a lunch cita (appt) every day.  The lady that cooks for us is named hma Fatima and i love her cooking.  For lunch we have a plate with rice, beans, some sort of meat that I always love, and a couple tortillas.  Its very mild food but I love it.  one plate doesnt sound like much but this food is super filling.  and yes, thats coming from me.  For breakfast Ive been eating a lot of the crap i brought from the mtc like chips and jerky and such that other elders that didnt have room in their bags gave me.  for dinner we go to a pulperia and buy something like chips or wafers or something.  lunch is definitely the big meal of the day.  During the day i drink a lot of coke because the coke here uses real sugar and its really good and the people here are addicted to soda so its pretty cheap and refreshing.  
    The people here are really nice, humble, and friendly.  They live like I imagine americans lived about two hundred years ago except everyone has a phone and a tv and a motorcycle.  The houses are usually like half the size of our back garage with concrete walls.  The floors are usually concrete or dirt but occasionally tile depending on how much money people have.  our house has four rooms.  a bedroom where the four of us sleep, me elders hanson, napauto, and vasquez.  Elder hanson and napauto are the zls for this zone.  the shower is cold but thats actually a good thing.  i wouldnt have it hot anyway.  and its not like biting cold because its so hot here that the water is never really cold.  the toilet is pretty normal and works fine, theres just one tap thing that acts as the sink.  we have to use a bowl to scoop water out of the big basin the tap fills and the water has a bunch of mosquito larvae in  it that float and wiggle around.  Needless to say i use the filter there.  i use the filter as much as possible but not when someone offers juice or something.  i havent felt sick yet but as of yesterday I started getting the runs a bit. everyone says thats inevitable so thats ok i guess and i dont feel sick at all.  on saturday we had to take two more passport photos to take to managua today for immigration stuff.  it ticks me off because i dont think they even did anything with the ones we already sent to salt lake.  it also kind of ruined pday today to take that long bus ride to managua and back because we only just got back and pday is almost over already.  elder vasquez and naupoto took mine and elder hansons clothes to the lady that does our laundry.  She actually has a washing machine apparently.  at least in managua we were able to eat at the pizza hut and we got a stuffed crust pep and it tasted like it would at home.
    So spanish... its coming. These people are super hard to understand because they talk really fast and drop all of their ss.  When i do understand i usually know what i can say to them but my pronunciation is awful.  simply awful.  Someone thought im from russia and someone else thought i was from china.  i had to bear my testimony at church yesterday and i was pretty nervous.  i dont think people understood me very well but oh well.  if you see the sister from new guinea tell her that i feel for her.  its tough when people dont understand you.  the people are nice and dont tell you when they dont understand you they j ust kind of wrikle their noses like we would do when we smell something gross.  i wish they would just tell me when they dont understand me.  i dont need their politeness, i need to be able to communicate effectively.  oh well, i know the spanish and pronunciation will come, i just need to be patient.  i hope this email pleases you, i tried to vomit as much info as possible.  sorry for all the typos and such.  since this is a spanish computer it has a red underline on all of my words so i cant just tell when i miss spell something.  oh well im pretty sure youll get over it.  

   Good looking antelope delaney, congrats!!  is it bigger than dads?  peyton, you looked pretty at the dance, good luck in moab.  i already knew about the college football games because word spreads fast around here.  good luck with the potatoe fundraiser.  mom i have no idea how mail works, sorry.

love elder smith

Elder Smith and Elder Hanson in Boaco for district meeting

Pizza Hut in Managua

Friday, September 11, 2015

Last Week Here

September 11, 2015

Crazy! time really flies!!  I can't believe I only have like two days left here.  Sorry for the late email today.  
Thanks for rushing to meet all of my requests family, you've done a commendable job.  I especially enjoyed the ties.  When I requested them I imagined greatness but what came blew me away.  That paisley tie belongs in an art gallery.  Sorry about the backpack... I found out like two days ago and obviously I had no way of letting you know on time, too bad there isn't reverse dearelder.
I'm glad the cabin was fun!! I'm glad you saw some good animals.  It's too bad I couldn't be up bow hunting but oh well, this is more important.  It's not like I can hit the broad side of a barn anyway.

Good luck mountain biking tomorrow peyton!!  I'll be looking up towards corner canyon and thinking of you.  
So what did I do this week?  Good question

HMO Rockwood was gone last weekend so we had a sub, Hermano Galvez de Leon.  He's from Guatemala, and looks pretty similar to Brandon De Leon so I asked and he's related to the De Leons somehow.  I really liked him.  Because of that we didn't teach Jonathan in the last week but we will today for the last time.  We're done teaching Rafaela now.  Last week we taught her Word of Wisdom and law of chastity.  Hma Folsom told me that when Rafaela informed us that she's an ugly old lady and won't have any problems with the law of chastity I blushed.  I thought I was rolling along fairly smoothly and unawkwardly about law of chastity but maybe not :/  Elder Roberts didn't blush because he had no idea what she was saying, but it may have been for the best, but probably not.  Elder Robert's Spanish is definitely improving.  Mine is too.  We did some of the harder tenses this week like subjunctive.  I understand it but I can't really use it when I'm talking.  I talked with a sister from Mexico City today (serving in temple square) and had sort of a conversation with her going at full speed Spanish.  I do sound very gringo.  I hope I'm not judged when I call on Monday.  Speaking of which, I expect to call somewhere around the 5-6 o'clock range but honestly I have no idea what time we'll actually leave the MTC or how long it'll take to get there.  I would guess we'll leave the MTC at like 4 am on Monday.
Yesterday we had something called in-field orientation.  It was basically a full day of seminar type classes where they did cheesy analogies but they taught some decently ok stuff.  I had heard most of it but some was new.  They talked about planning, contacting, and working with the ward.  I liked the stuff about contacting the most because we haven't done any sort of practice with that so far.  Working with members was also really important.  The other day for lunch we had personal pizzas and they were really good.  Today for lunch I had a hamburger and it was also really good.  I never thought I'd say it but I might actually miss MTC food.
The pictures were probably my favorite part of the package...   Seriously I loved them.  and don't worry about not leaving spaces, you done good.  

Well, I don't have much else to say.... I have a feeling I'll have a whole lot to say next pday which will probably be next monday.  Wow that's a long time.  Hopefully my shirts don't get too wrinkly and smelly before then.  

Love, Elder Smith

Friday, September 4, 2015

September 4, 2015

Hola Familia!!!

It's seemed like a quick but good week here at the CCM.  I hosted on Wednesday and as I was walking back from hosting someone I see an suv and Calvin´s family crying and waving and such.  So I look around and there´s Calvin so I stole him from the elder that would be hosting for him and I took him from there.   So, I didn´t get to see his family really but I still hosted for him and that was really fun.  I think he´ll appreciate more why I wanted to see him so bad in 4 or 5 weeks when he hasn't seen anyone he knows for weeks.  But ya, he seems really good.

Another highlight of the week was devotional on Tuesday where elder oaks came and spoke.  There was nothing too crazy because he just quoted PMG the whole time but that's what he's supposed to do and it was good.  He talked about teach lessons not people, the importance of the Plan of salvation, and teaching with the spirit.  Even better than the devotional on Tuesday night was the lesson we had from Hermano Rockwood on Wednesday night.  He definitely understands how to teach with the spirit and he really helped all of us to realize that we're preparing for people that need us.  Some of the people we come across may seem hopeless or completely lost but God knows everyone perfectly and if we teach through the holy ghost we can help anyone to repent and come unto Christ.  He told us the story of the real Jonathan that he taught on his mission and how some horrible things had happened to him and he hated God.  He looked like a genuinely scary individual that could never find happiness but once he became converted to Jesus Christ he changed completely in every aspect of his life (including his appearance).  It's tough for me to realize that in just 10 days I'll be teaching real people that have been prepared for me and I just hope I've done, and will keep doing everything I can do to have the holy ghost and teach with power.
Investigators... Rafaela is being baptized in 3 weeks, she's felt the holy ghost and wants baptism so that was really cool.  Jonathan felt the spirit in our last lesson and it went well but we only taught him once since I emailed last so not much news on him.  Jorge, our TRC investigator was great on Monday and said he wanted to be baptized but he still wanted to talk to his family first so we were ready to seal the deal yesterday at TRC but we found out he quit.  They wouldn't tell us why Jorge quit working for the MTC but I guess that just means we drove him off or something.

I'm glad to see that Utah and Bingham won!  Sounds like the Utah game was pretty exciting, though probably not as exciting as the T Swift concert.....  The shuttle driver told me that Utah seemed to be doing pretty bad but the pic 6 kind of sealed the deal.  
Good luck with antelope hunting next week, just don't shoot one bigger than dad's or it will have to go in my room.  Good job on your race last Saturday Peyton, when's Corner Canyon?  Congrats on the new dryer mom, sorry about the hole in the wall.  I anxiously await the package next week, Wednesdayish would be great.  Also, Diane sent an amazing package this week so I'm definitely set for a long time with food stuffs.
Have fun at the cabin this weekend, I wish I could be there.... But I'm at the right place.  Also have fun at the hot springs Delaney.

Love, Elder Smith