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