Monday, October 26, 2015

What a week

Oct. 26, 2015

Hello Family!
    You might have thought I had a crazy week or something based on the subject line of the email but I was saying that for the family at home!  Good job mountain biking Peyton!! It sounds like you had a really good season!  I hope you had fun at St. George too with Matt and Taryn!  But wow, dad in the Bishopric.... Crazy!!  I honestly can´t think of anyone else more suited for the calling!!  One thing I´ve learned here on my mission is that two of the most important characteristics of a good leader are humility and love, and dad is the most humble and loving man I know.  When I get home and dad´s on the stand and I´m in the congregation I wonder what he´ll do to tell me to add up the hymns... I´m sure he´ll think of something creative.  I also wonder how he´ll check my answer...  I guess Peyton can tell me how that works next week.  
   This week we had two baptisms.  I´ll talk about them later but I thought I´d let you know now so you didn´t have to wonder the whole email.  Last email I told you about a bunch of positive people we found and such, well basically they all fell.  Everyone started hiding from us and lying to us.  One lady promised like ten times she´d come to church then we went to her house and she said she couldn´t leave her house unattended but her brother was there and so we asked him when he would be leaving and he said not for a few hours and that he could watch the house while she went to church.  So we eliminated all her excuses and she still wouldn´t go and we reminded her that she promised god that she would go and that she´d be lying and sinning by not going and she didn´t care.  And she´s the one that actually was reading the Book of Mormon.  Que triste...  Que triste.  Oh well.
   On Tuesday we had to go on a last second trip to Boaco for Hanson to do an interview for the sisters there.  So by the time we got back at like 6pm we didn´t have a ton of time to work so we didn´t even come close to completing with norms.  Wednesday was a good day, we put like five fetchas and worked really hard.  Clearly the fetchas weren´t too good because we couldn´t get any of them to church.  Thursday was a hard day.  Nobody would listen to us or let us in or anything (Delaney´s probably not amused).  We worked hard all day but barely completed with our norms, it was just rough.  Also on Thursday I think it was Daysi fell.  She told us she was happy attending her old church (which she told us she never goes to) and a bunch of other crap so she´s gone.  We´ll keep trying with her but it´s not looking very hopeful.  Friday we had zone meeting.  Your mission vocabulary word for the day is machete, it means to get mad at someone or call them out or tell them they suck.  Machete can be as little as telling someone they shouldn´t have dropped a paper on the floor to as big as telling them they´re an awful missionary that should go home.  So when I use the word machete in my emails don´t assume it means we got yelled at or in horrible trouble or anything.  But anyway our zone isn´t doing too hot and the rest of October and November were pretty dismal based on the people the rest of the zone is teaching so we got machete´d (no idea how to spell it, pronounced like macheteed) because we promised the lord 26 baptisms and only ended up with 18 in October (next Saturday will count for November).
  On Saturday we had the multi mission.  We woke up at 230 AM and went to Managua in a rented bus with the zone.  We got there at like 630 and the meeting started at 9 so we sat around for a long time.  Our mission is very competitive so the aps told us to be there so early to beat the north mission, which we did.  The authorities that spoke were:  Elder snow, church historian, Elder Alonso, and Elder Turley.  Only Elder Alonso spoke in Spanish, which I understood completely, but it was nice that the other two spoke English.  All the latinos had to wear headsets for translation.  I´m amazed they had so many headsets.  I learned a lot about the importance of having a vision of our areas and how much the church is growing here in central America.  And a lot more that I won´t bore you guys with.  It was a bit frustrating to have this multimission on a Saturday with baptisms.  So we left the stake center in Managua at like 1, after the mission took a picture together, we went to Mc Donalds again and I just got some chicken nuggets to hopefully not wreck my bowels too bad.  We got back at like 5ish I think and got to work getting Miguel baptized.  We called him at like 5:20 and he wasnt at his house but said he´d be home at like 6 so we went to another investigator who wasn´t home and came back and just waited for him.  Well 6 came and went with no sign of him and we couldn´t call him because the service was being stupid and we were worried he had his phone turned off to run from us.  Anyway, he finally showed up at like 6:30 and said he had to run some papers somewhere for his sister so we went with him.  On the way we asked him if he knew what today was.  He said, Saturday.  We said yep, you´re getting baptized today remember?  He said oh ya, ok but first we have to run these papers over.  So we paid for a taxi, took the papers and went to the church.  We had a little baptismal service with us four missionaries, and a recent convert named Mario (that baptized him) and Mario´s wife.  It was cool because he actually wanted to do it and smiled when Elder Hanson talked about how this is a decision to follow Jesus Christ.  He had school Sunday morning when he was supposed to be confirmed but he told us he´d miss school to come.  So on Sunday morning we went to his house and he  wasn´t there.  So we called him and he said he was going to school.  So we high tailed it over to his school to wait for him to make sure he didn´t go in.  After we waited for a long time he didn´t show up so we called him and he told us he was actually on the opposite side of town but that he´d be at the church at 8:45 and we didn´t have to come get him.  Well we would've come and got him anyway but he didn´t tell us exactly where he was so we wouldn´t have been able to find him anyway.  And his phone started being stupid again and we couldn´t contact him after that.  Rule #1 of this mission is that if you want an investigator to come to church you have to bring him, or they won´t show up.  But we were helpless.  Anyway 9 oclock came and he still hadn´t showed up, so me and Elder Hanson hit our knees and prayed that he would come.  Five minutes later he showed up.  Just in time for his confirmation.  That´s the miracle of the week.  We also baptized an investigator that Naopoto and Vasquez taught named Luis Oporta, he´s a cool 80 year old.  So ya I guess I get to count Luis as a baptism even though I didn´t teach him and Naopoto and Vasquez get to count Miguel even though they didn´t teach him.   But it doesn´t matter, we´re here to bring souls to Christ, not for a stupid number.
   The food´s still good, I´m still healthy.  I´m not sick at all, feel great.  The spanish is coming along.  I basically understand everything in Spanish in a gospel setting now, but I struggle with non-gospel conversations.  My comprehension is growing way faster than my speaking ability at this point.  Transfers are this week.  We expect everyone in our area to stay except Vasquez.  It´s typical for you to stay in your first area two changes to complete your training so I should stay but like mom said, ya never know.  
   Today we haven´t really done anything noteworthy or exciting.  Im glad the super-hurricane missed us, it was a pretty dry week this week.  The rumor is that Nicaragua was the hottest country in all the americas this week.  As it´s getting darker earlier at home just remember that it gets dark here at like 5:30 every day.  But that´s a good thing because it cools down a bit.
   Oh I saw a dying cat yesterday.  That was sad.  One thing that I know I´ll enjoy when I get home is all the nice looking, fat dogs and cats.  They´re very mangy and emaciated here.  Keep loving penny and Bo for me.

Love Elder Smith

Miguel's Baptism

Luis Oporta before his baptism

Zone Meeting at the church

Scorpion at Daryl's house

Scorpion after Hanson stabbed it with a fork

Monday, October 19, 2015

October 19, 2015


well...  its somehow been another week.  Time flies.  Or maybe it doesn´t.  I have no idea.  I think it´s kind of impossible to say if it´s been a good or a bad week because lots of good things happen and lots of bad things happen.  I don´t know.
It was nice this week because we didn´t really do any traveling that I can think of.  We went to Santo Tomas but that´s pretty close and didn´t really take too long.  But we were actually able to do a lot of work in the area which is nice.  We had been praying really hard for new people to teach because we really only had Miguel, Daryl and Daysi and Daryl is baptized now so only like two progressing investigators.  But we found some cool people this week and taught more lessons than just lessons that come from contacts that let us in.  We found a cool lady named Bianca who was really interested and actually read some of the pamphlet we committed her to read which is a miracle in itself.  We found a lady named Sandra and her niece and I think she realized she´s definitely missing something in her life and that there´s no way the catholic church can be true (hopefully that doesn´t offend anyone reading this).  But she marks every scripture we share with her and asks really good questions. We didn´t see her the end of the week (including Sunday) because her son is in the hospital with Dengue (sp?).  We found a young married couple who´s child died in the womb who are really cool.  The lady used to be a catholic leader of some sort, no idea what, but she´s well versed in religious concepts.  She takes notes during our lessons and really wanted to read the Book of Mormon.  So those are some of the cool people we found this week.  Like Elder Hanson Says though, An investigator is only positive when the hands are on their head confirming them.  Really we work all week finding cool people and Sunday is the day of reckoning.  They all commit to go to church but there´s always 4 or 5 excuses they use to try to get out of it.  These Nicas are such liars man.  Such liars.  We passed by Bianca before church yesterday and she has two houses that are kind of close to each other (her parents and one she babysits).  Her mom lied to us and said she was at the other house so we marched over to the other house and she wasn´t there.  So we went back to the first house and found her.  She promised us she´d get ready for church so we came back in like half an hour but she hadn´t gotten ready at all.  She started listing off every excuse she could think of, all of which I've already heard a million times in just five weeks here in NIC, but in the end she refused to go.  But she said she´d go to church in the afternoon so we came back and nope, she was hiding and wouldn´t come out.  She was so positive.  But now she´s dropped.  Anyone can say they´ll do something to change their lives, but only the really cool people actually pull through with it.  Sandra was at the hospital with her son so she couldn´t go, the other cool family had a commitment that ends this week and I actually don´t think it´s a lie so we´ll see if they go this week. 
Daysi didn´t get baptized because she drank coffee, but she recommitted to obey the word of wisdom and the goal is this Saturday now.  Pray for her.  Her husband Cristian got baptized just before I got here and he has a lot of pressure from his anti-Mormon friends so he keeps googling anti-Mormon crap but we answer everything.  This week he came to church with us but not Daysi.  Cristian told everyone in elders Quorum that Elder Naopoto told him that we drink the blood of Joseph Smith, which caused many problems.  He just wants to wreak havoc.  But Daysi says she wants to be baptized.  We pushed Miguel´s date back a week because he´s never home and doesn´t have very much teaching.  He did commit to stop drinking coffee this week but we´ll see because we haven't been able to find him since because he studies and works.  I guess I just need to have the faith that he wont drink it.  
We also have a guy named Adolfo for this Saturday.  He came to church with his sister and nephew and he is pretty positive but has a lot of doubts about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon but he won´t just read the homework we give him.  Pray for him too.
So the good of the week is that we found some cool people and worked really hard, the bad news is that everyone fell for baptism and not very many people made it to church.  So ya, that was the week.  This week we have a multi mission conference thing with the north mission so that will be interesting.  I think just an area authority will be coming though.  Also we´ll probably have to go to Boaco too.  
I´m pretty healthy still, I had a bit of a sore throat when I woke up for a couple mornings but that was it, it went away quickly.  I´ve been taking a lot of Pepto Bismol which is a miracle drug, probably more important than penicillin. 
Spanish is coming.  I´m learning a ton of new vocab every day but my pronunciation is the challenge.  I could say something grammatically perfect (which still doesn't happen but..) but they still wouldn´t understand me because I talk like a Utahn.  oh well.  I understand more.  I still miss a lot of important stuff but I pick up more too.  I understood really well in church yesterday.  I even made an intelligent comment in priesthood that at least one person understood.
I´m glad that all the football teams won.  What´s Utah doing to be so good this year?  Who do they still need to play?  Does Byu just have patsy games the rest of the year?
Sounds like hunting was pretty typical, just throw Peyton in her spot and let her drop a nice buck that walks out perfectly conveniently haha.  But good job Peyton, really, it´s not your fault that you´re so lucky.  Good job Delaney and dad for being troopers out there in the rain.  It rained a lot here this week.  Luckily it rains really hard for like an hour and that´s usually about it.  Usually we´re not out in it too much.  
I´ll send another email with some answers to questions and such.  Love you all!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elder Smith

The coke is in a bottle and if you want to stay there and drink it you can just drink it out of the bottle and give the bottle back to them, if you want to leave they put it in a bag in front of you and tie it off.  You just bite off a corner and squeeze it out.  You could try that at home if you really want, but it´s not that exciting.  My favorite drink here is juice called Yupi.  It´s really good, it´s packaged into bags, also water comes in either bags or bottles but bags are cheap and bottles are expensive.  It´s all filtered from bags, don´t worry.  We don´t really get invited over for meals but a lot of the time if we show up to recent converts houses to teach a lesson they just feed us.  Most people's jobs seem to be selling stuff.  people walk the streets selling remotes house to house, there are little shops everywhere.  There are a lot of taxistas, construction workers.  The ward is like a normal ward but the members don´t help us and there´s a president of auxilliary organizations but no counselors or members.  The primary program is actually this week, and primary is probably the most normal thing they have haha.  Baptisms are a prayer, an opening hymn, a missionary gives a brief thought about baptism, the baptism, closing prayer. It´s planned about two minutes before the program.  I had to give a testimony about baptism this week at the sisters´ baptism.  I don´t think anyone understood me though.  Ward members don´t really come.  just the mission leader, who´s actually very cool and helpful.   pet Bo!!!

Nicaraguan money

This is Cody's dresser

The mosquito net is up

Picture of the picture taken at the zone conference earlier this month.
The Mission President's wife gave Cody a suit jacket to wear so he wouldn't stand out.
(Cody is in the middle behind the sister in the light blue shirt.)

Monday, October 12, 2015

What a week!

October 12, 2015

phew what a week.  what a crazy week.

On Tuesday we went to multizones in Managua which consisted of waking up at 2 am and taking a private bus with the whole Juigalpa zone to Managua.  Two other zones came with us (Sandino and Granada).  In total there were maybe like 60ish missionaries there.  So in the morning the zones took a picture with President Russell then President and Sister Russell spoke to us (we were in a stake center in Managua).  It was really good and helped me realize a couple things I can do better.  That actually took until lunch time and they ordered food for us from some place and we had chicken, rolls, rice, veggies, soda, etc.  After that we had like 4 hours of capacitaciones (training).  Each set of zone leaders and one other companionship of unfortunate nonzone leaders had to teach a one hour class about various subjects (i.e. teach people not lessons, retention, finding etc.).  The rest of us were split into four groups and switched classes each hour.  Then we had more training from President Russell and the nurse.  President Russell told us about the mission goal of 2300 Baptisms and also went over the goals for each month for each of us three zones.  This month our zone needs 27 baptisms and we got 12 this Saturday which is good because we couldn't baptize conference weekend.  Anyway they said that a ton of missionaries are coming down with Chikungunya (most likely spelled wrong) and got mad at everyone for sucking at preventing mosquito bites (don´t worry mom I use a lot of bug spray but I´ll need more).  So they gave us permethryn (super lethal bug poison to put in spray bottles to spray everywhere to prevent mosquitos, bed bugs, ticks, etc.)  I used it this week and it works pretty well and I sprayed it on my mattress and sheets so it´s unlikely that I'll be getting bed bugs for the next four to six weeks.  They also gave us mosquito nets.  I intend to hang mine up so I can sleep outside of the sheets (I sleep under a sheet right now to prevent mosquito bites) but the ceiling in the house is super tall so i need to buy  a rope to hang it up.  They also gave us mail!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I got letters from Diane, Kerry & Morgan, and Grandma Wilson.  Thanks everyone that sent something!!  They looked like they were sent about when I left the MTC so you can do the math about how long they take to arrive.  I asked Sister Russell how often pouch letters arrive and she´d never heard of pouch.  She and President assured me that nothing like a pouch exists in this mission so I don´t know what they do with your letters mom when you send them to Salt Lake haha.  But ya I'm never going to get pouch mail so don't bother sending it.  Just use USPS.  Sorry if any of you wasted money.  In the end it ended at like 7 pm.  We took our bus back to Juigalpa but first we stopped at the McDonalds in Managua.  It was super good.  super good.  I thoroughly enjoyed it but it was pretty expensive.  Then we went back and got home at like 10 pm. 
   Wednesday and Thursday were pretty normal.  We study until lunch at noon then after lunch we go out and work.  Work consists of teaching lessons with investigators and converts and less actives and finding.  We typically just go door to door when we´re finding (aka contacting).  You don´t knock on doors here, you just stand outside and yell ¡Buenas! and someone will come.  Then you just get to know them, ask some inspired questions, gain their trust and find their needs, show them how the gospel will bless their lives, get them to let you in, then put a fetcha.  Honestly we put a ton of fetchas but the real positive investigators are the ones that come to church.  That's how you know they're good.  Most of the time we´ll come back for the second visit with investigators with fetcha and they´ll just lie to our face and say they're leaving or busy or whatnot.  
   On mom´s bday on Friday (sorry mom I did know your bday was on Friday, but when I was emailing last Monday I tried to figure out which day of the week would be the ninth but obviously I´ve lost a lot of brain cells here) we had district meeting and it was mine and Elder Hanson's turn to go to Boaco and do district meeting with the sisters there.  After district meeting we just followed two of the sisters around to see how they contacted and taught and stuff.  During one of the lessons they were teaching when we were waiting for the lady i noticed her son was watching baseball.  I also noticed that it was the Rangers and Blue Jays playing.  Then I realized I´d seen the Rangers play before.  Then I realized my favorite player got traded to the blue jays right before I left.  Then I realized someone from the Blue Jays was batting.  Then I realized it was Tulo.  Then I realized it was tied with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning.  So I got to watch Tulo´s at bat with the chance to walk off, but unfortunately he flied out (and not surprisingly was super mad).  But that was crazy.  When we left the lesson it was still tied in the 14th inning.  So please tell me who won that game on mom´s bday.  Then Saturday was Daryl´s baptism.  She was fairly excited until she got to the church and remembered she´s terrified of the water.  It took a lot of work to get her into that font but eventually it happened.  Elder Hanson did the baptisms (two others got baptized from other areas).  
  Then Sunday.  Sunday is the craziest day of the week by far.  We leave at 7 am to start gathering people for church at 9.  Nobody ever, ever, ever wants to go even though they´re already committed so you just fight people for two hours to get them to church.  In the morning we got Adolfo (who also went to conf last week) and his nephew Danny but it took them forever to get ready.  When we got them Daryl was already getting confirmed (the other companionship made sure she made it because apparently a ton of people don´t make it to church after they´re baptized to get confirmed).  She was super excited to get confirmed because it doesn´t involve water lol.  Testimony meeting was good, lots of people bore nice, fairly short testimonies and there weren´t very many pauses so it was very good.  I don't think it´s as nerve racking to bear your testimony here because only like sixty people are at church.  Then after church ends at 12 we have branch counsel and then we go to lunch on a non fast Sunday.  Yesterday we just went back out to get more people to 2 o'clock church.  No one would go to church with us in the afternoon.  No one.  It was super frustrating.  Me and Elder Hanson were super disappointed, discouraged, and frustrated.  As we were walking dejectedly back to go to church without anyone we looked up and there, walking down the street nowhere near his house, was Miguel.  We threw him in a taxi and were off to church with an investigator.  It was definitely a miracle and an answered prayer. Miguel is super cool but he studies and works a lot so this week we went by every day we were here and he was never home.  I think he´s definitely ready to be baptized this week but he really doesn´t have very much teaching yet even though he makes it to church almost every week.  So ya hopefully we get him baptized this week.  Pray for him.  Also pray for Daisy.  She told us on Wednesday that everything is still tuanes (cool) for her baptism on the 17th but her recent convert husband Christian decided he doesn´t believe in the church anymore because he´s been listening to his friends anti-mormon crap.  So he´s been poisoning her with his garbage.  So pray for her and Christian that they´ll keep their hearts open.  Then after church ends at 5 the zls have to report numbers then we go right back out to work.
   Today was the craziest pday yet because Elder Hanson got sick.  The nurse thinks it´s kidney stones.  This morning after he woke up his lower back hurt like crazy and he started throwing up a ton.  Then the puke and the pain would subside for a while and then come back.  At one point they told us we´d need to come to Managua to the hospital but then they just said to go to the ghetto hospital here in Juigalpa and get a shot to stop the pain and then to go get some medication at a pharmacy for the nausea.  So to the hospital we went.  Family, you should hope that you never have to be inside a ghetto Nicaraguan hospital.  Trust me, you´ll die of the hospital before you die of your illness.  It´s disgusting.  Just go to a clinic in the US and enjoy how wonderfully sanitary and clean it is.  Seriously.  But Elder Hanson just had to get a shot in his butt.  No big deal.  We´ll have to see if he gets a disease from the needle now lol.  Then we spent like two hours looking for a strange medicine that no one here has ever heard of.  We went to like ten farmacias but no one has ever heard of it.  Then we came here.  So ya pretty exciting.
    I´m glad that all of our teams won.  Good job Bingham, Utah.  I hesitate to say good job BYU because they barely beat a crap team but oh well what the heck.  Good job BYU.  I was actually told yesterday that Utah lost to Cal so that was a nice surprise.  Good job at your race peyton!!  Good luck next week at your race!  Good job dancing Delaney!  Good job having a birthday and eating out a lot mom!!  Good job looking up Nicaraguan geography dad!!  The river is definitely beautiful, well the river is brown and ugly but the trees around it were very lush and green and beautiful.  I haven´t seen any monkeys and the iguanas I've seen were in Managua.  Apparently it´s very rare to see iguanas here.

If you were wondering what kind of american music I hear here, I saw Pentatonix with that dancing violin chick do radioactive on a TV at our lunch cita, I also saw blank space and the very beginning of break free.  They play a ton of Nicki Minaj here which sucks.  Worldy music is clearly not very conducive to the spirit.

Is peyton feeling better?  The water in the new house was the same as the old house but at the multizona they gave us bleach and we put some in the water and it killed the larvae.  Just a few drops did the trick.  The larvae just live in the pool thing under the faucet.  We just use the water straight out of the faucet which hopefully doesn't have larvae but I always put it in my filter bottle anyway so it´s safe.

Well thanks for the emails, prayers, love, and support.  I definitely need it!!

Love Elder Smith

Answers to some questions you asked:

So I do knock doors except we don´t knock.  Really though contacting is rarely positive.  The people that typically progress and get baptized here are referrals and family of members.  For example Miguel is the boyfriend of a member and Daryl's parents are members.  We never use bus stations and/or contact buses.  That´s inefficient contacting that doesn´t achieve anything but numbers.  We always teach people in their houses.  Usually on plastic lawn chairs because that´s all people have.  Some people have these cool wooden rocking chairs with string stuff woven to make the seat.  The Spanish is coming for sure.  It´s getting way better in lessons and stuff because I do it all the time and it´s generally the same stuff we say in lessons.  So ya the missionary vocab is coming but on the street I don´t know how to say anything.  There´s always a different word than the one I learned in Spanish class or the MTC.  I understand almost everything if I have context or I've been listening long enough to know what´s going on but if someone initiates a conversation with me I rarely understand what´s happening.  But ya progress is being made for sure.  There was some sort of holiday when we were in Bluefields and people dressed up like fat old ladies and danced around and there was some horrible music and drums and stuff.  Some people put dead frogs on strings and waved them around.  Also like the first day I got here, maybe Sept. 15 was Independence day here.  I think they celebrate Halloween to some small degree.  I've heard Christmas isn´t as big of a deal here but it exists.  Sorry I didn´t really take pics this week.  just the baptism pic which Ill attach.  Shes not smiling because this is right before her baptism and she´s scared out of her mind of the water. 

We really just have rain everyday but I never get too wet cuz I always have my umbrella and a lot of the time it starts raining right when we get into a building.  For example it's raining right now but I haven't been out in the rain today and it rained during church the other day.  I did get wet in Boaco cuz it rained for a long time really hard so the water was coming from every direction it seemed like.  Just watch the rain scene from ForestGump and it explains it really well.  But it's not really too bad, it doesn't usually rain for very long.   There hasn't been a noticeable difference in weather or sunset or anything.  Elder Hanson told me that it always gets dark at the same time here all year (like at 5:30or 6) which is nice because we work until 9 and it cools down a bit when it gets dark.  I don't really need anything but bug spray.  They have stuff like colgate toothbrushes and toothpaste and good deodorant and stuff.  They have a ton of American products.  Plus I still have two good toothbrushes.  They also have candy like Hershies and Snickers and M&Ms,  it's just all melted.  I haven't bought any though.  I don't miss it yet.  But ya don't waste package space on toothbrushes.  I think they cost like 40 or 50 bucks to send.  I've only used like half a bottle of bug spray and I have a whole unused one still so I'll be good still.  I just want to feel like I have enough that I can use plenty and don't have to use less than I need for fear of running out.  I sweat a lot but not in the house if I keep a fan on me.  The majority of my sweat is from about 1 to 5 in the afternoon.  Every day though my collar is completely soaked and the knot of my ties get soaked.  I'm actually getting kind of used to the heat.  It's nowhere near as bad as that first day when I walked out of the airport lol.  At McDonalds I got a double Big Mac, fries, and a drink and it cost like two hundred cords which is like 8 bucks.  So  probably about the price of America more or less but in Nicaragua if something was as expensive as it is in America it's super super expensive.  Almost everything here is cheaper.  The drink I've started drinking a lot of is a juice called yupi.  it costs only like 3 cords (15 cents) and it's super good.  All the drinks here are in bags.  The little pulperias (little store things in houses) keep stuff like coke bottles to get the refund so they just put the coke in a sandwich type bag that they tie.  Then you just bite off a corner of the bag and drink it.  Also I don't buy water bottles, I buy little bolsitas de agua (little bags of water) for like two cords.  I hope that answers some of your questions.

Daryl's Baptism

Monday, October 5, 2015

2 Months Down!!!

October 5, 2015

Hello Family!!! This week was very busy.  On Tuesday we woke up at 330 in the morning to go to Bluefields.  We took about a 3 or 4 hour bus ride (i slept the whole way) to El Rama.  From El Rama there aren´t any roads to Bluefields so we took a panga (ghetto little boat thing) down this cool river with trees and stuff on the sides it was pretty cool you should definitely google it and look at some pictures.  The panga ride was almost two hours and it hurt my butt immensely  but then we got there.  Bluefields is a town on the Carribbean and was really cool but it stunk of fish and raw sewage and it was even hotter than here in juigalpa.  So now I can say Ive been on the Carribbean but i wouldn´t really reccommend that part of the Carribean as a tourist destination because it´s brown with peoples waste that they dump in the rivers.  So on Tuesday and Wednesday night we stayed with the 4 elders in Bluefields in their mansion it seemed like.  I just brought my carry on bag with some clothes and my sheets and it worked out pretty well.  On Tuesday I worked with Elders Bradbeer and Rushton and basically was told to just follow them around and tell Elder Hanson what they did.  Haha perks of being trained by a ZL.  Then the next day I worked with Elders Page and Peñalba doing the same thing.  Almost everyone in Bluefields speaks English and Spanish so it was weird but they all have heavy heavy Carribean accents.  it´s like listening to the fire fly in princess and the frog but like ten times worse.  it was actually pretty cool.  But it was weird talking in English so we just stuck with Spanish mostly.  Then on Thursday morning we came back and did the whole loooong trip again.  We got back at like three in the afternoon on Thursday.

While we were gone they found a better house in our area so what did we do?  We packed up our stuff and moved on Thursday afternoon.  We put all our crap outside the house and took a taxi and payed this guy with a big truck like the equivalent of twenty bucks and moved our stuff to our new mansion.  Seriously it´s huge.  We hadn´t told the lady we rented the other house from we were moving until after we moved so Hanson and Vasquez went and tracked her down and told her they were moving while me and Naupoto hauled everything up the steps into our new house which was immensely tiring.  So our mansion is on a hill thing so we have to climb some stairs to get up and its closer to the center of our area so that's super nice.  it also has tile everywhere which is so much better than a plain concrete floor.  the only problem is we don´t have any sort of furniture or dressers or anything because what we used at the old house belonged to the house.  So we have our beds, suitcases, study tables and chairs, a fridge, and a ton of pamphlets in the house.  it kind of sucks living out of a suitcase but its worth it for the nice house.  supposedly they´ll bring us some dressers or something but who knows.  Theoretically it could take so long ill be transferred before they arrive.  
So because of all of this we didn´t work at all in our area Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday and thus couldn't commit people to conference.  haha perks of being comps with a zone leader.  Then we had district meeting on Friday and went to work trying to get people to conference.  I was able to go to every session of conference because we´re automatically allowed to go to priesthood session and Sunday morning and we brought people to the others.  Saturday morning we brought Miguel, Saturday afternoon we had Daryl.  We also had Daryl Sunday afternoon.  Conference was frustrating because it was so hard to understand.  if i really concentrated I could basically understand but if my thoughts ever wandered I wouldn´t understand anything.  It was hard to not be able to hear the actual voices of the speakers also.  For example I saw President Monson hunching over and stuff but there was no way of knowing he was like whispering.  I really only knew that Elder Holland was talking about moms, but I didn´t really know what he was saying.  But what he was saying must have been really good because he was crying.  My favorite talk was probably elder Anderson´s about faith.  Probably because I understood a lot of what he said.  It´s important here in Nicaragua to have faith in people that they´ll keep their commitments because they never do.  If I just automatically assume they won´t keep commitments where´s my faith?  That´s basically what I got out of it, that I need to have more faith in these people.
  Well mom, happy birthday this Saturday!!!  I'm always thinking of you but on Saturday I´ll be thinking of you extra.  You really don´t realize just how wonderful mothers are until you´re in a different country than them.  I´m so grateful for everything you´ve always done for me and for all the love you give me here on my mission.  There are so many little things you did for me that I never realized until you weren´t here.  But honestly mom you´re the best and I have no idea where I´d be without you.  I´m sorry the mail sucks and that I couldn´t send you any sort of card or anything.   I´ve already been thinking about things that I can bring home for you guys though.  The problem is everything here is just a cheap knock off of stuff you find in america.  But I´ll be able to find plenty to bring you guys.  trust me.  But  its still a bit early to think about these kinds of things haha.  

So that was basically all this week.  Miguel is awesome and seems pretty good for the 17th.  Daryl passed her interview for the 10th but she´s kind of scared so pray for her.  Hopefully everything goes well with her this week.  Daisy is hard sometimes but she says she´ll be baptized on the 17th so pray for her as well.

I'm seeing my Spanish get better more and more.  Sometimes I can´t see my progress day by day but every week it´s easy to see improvements.  For example on the bus the guy selling vitamins got on and I understood almost everything he was saying and the first day I came I didn´t catch anything the vitamin guy on the bus said.  Yesterday we were in a lesson with a catholic lady and her kids and halfway through the AP called for our numbers so Elder Hanson excused himself to report numbers in the corner so i just continued and put a fetcha with all three of them.  The family isn´t very hopeful by any means but I was still able to function and put those fetchas.  It was very shaky Spanish and I only kind of understood what this catholic lady was saying to me but I got through it.  

Also I forgot to tell you the first week that the first night in Nicaragua when we stayed in Managua in the Assistant's house there was a tarantula outside that was only like two or three inches.  Then the next day at change meeting at the stake center there was a tarantula in the overflow under some chairs.  Then my first night in Juigalpa at this members house there was a scorpian right over my head the whole time.  We only noticed it after we got up to leave.  It was about four or five inches with its tail stinger thing extended.  Maybe a bit longer.  We got a shovel and killed it for the lady but they didn´t seem very disturbed by it.   But since that third day i haven´t seen any scorps or tarantulas.  I saw more tarantulas in my first two days than elder Hanson his whole mission so far haha.  Ya there´s a lot of ants and mosquitos here.  The mosquitos are way smaller than at home and harder to catch when they´re eating you.  I have a bunch of red bumps on my back but I´m not sure if it´s bacne, mosquito bites, or bed bugs.  I'm thinkin its just bacne though because it only itches every once in a while.

congrats on the elk Doug, yep it´s about the same size as the elk I missed with my bow.  Im glad you got some excitement dad but sorry you didn´t get one.  I'm guessing mom was glad you passed on the raghorn lol.  How´s school going Peyton, Delaney, and Matt?  Let me know.  Happy birthday mom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love, Elder Smith

I´ll try to answer some questions and say some stuff.

The first day the mission president told me that you need to make sure to send all of your packages you send via USPS.  Anything else won't get here.  He said Jesus pictures and crosses and stuff are a good idea too but probably doesn´t matter.  Whenever you send me a package whether it be Christmas or whatever make sure you include a couple bottles of bug spray like what I brought that you push down with the orange cap thing on top.  40 percent deet is what we need.  They only sell five percent deet here and its useless.  Im trying to make the two bottles I have right now last.  But ya just anytime you send me a package throw some bug spray in.  Nobody bothered telling me about the BYU game this week so thanks for the update.  Tell Peyton good job with mountain biking. When´s the Eagle Mountain race?   I'll send pics of the new house but your not going to like the shower still and there's still larvae in the water unfortunately but I never use that water so whatever.  It sucks not having a shower curtain because when I'm using the toilet I have to make sure my pants don´t hit the wet ground. 

 I didn´t know what ponderizing scriptures was because that word probably doesn´t translate too well to Spanish lol.  I really love the food here.  rice and beans and meat all the time is wonderful.  trust me I'm never barefoot.  Except in bed.  There's a lot of lizards.  in one room in a less active members house I counted six lizards on the walls and ceilings.  They´re all small.  I've seen two iguanas but they were on a wall in Managua the second day.  My favorite food here is probably tacos.  They´re fried and crispy and have beef on the inside.  I also like enchiladas but they´re different here.  It´s just rice in a tortilla that´s all fried.  it´s kind of shaped like a calzone.  The four things I really don't like here are avena (drink with oats) pino lio (no idea how its spelled, but it sounds like that)  a drink with like water, corn, and chocolate.  I don't like Queso frito because the cheese is weird and really salty, and i don´t like the creme here.  It´s just like weird nasty sour creme they like to put on tacos.  You should google the drinks. 

There are a lot of multi-generation houses with a ton of people living in a tiny space.  There's a ton of kids here because I don´t think they have very good birth control.  The kids here are not very well behaved and parenting is very weak to put it mildly.  But every once in a while kids are nice and not brats haha.  Just not the kids in the church.  During conference there were just kids running around the pulpit screaming right under the screen showing conference.  Before people get baptized they often have to get married so you just find a lawyer and pay him like 500 cords (cordobas) (like twenty bucks) and he´ll marry people right before their baptism.  The mission reimburses you for marriages. I'm very happy to be working with Elder Hanson.  I feel healthy, everything's good.

Trip to Bluefields on a panga


in Bluefields, L to R Bradbeer, Hanson, me, Rushton, Page, Peñalba

Moving out

The new "mansion"  (It's the orange house in the middle)

Bathroom ("So much nicer than the old house" - yeah right!)
"Don't worry mom, I'm never without shoes except when I'm in bed."

"Kitchen" sink

Elder Smith

We got this off a tree, opened it with a machete and then cracked it open.  I love coconuts here.