Monday, November 16, 2015

November 16, 2015

Hello family!!!  It´s so crazy that it´s already been another week!

So last Monday I told you all about how I was in a trio now with me, Elder Hanson, and Elder Merrill.  Well a couple hours later we got word that another missionary was already en-route to be Elder Merrill´s comp.  So our new companion is Elder Medrano from Corpus Christi Texas.  He has just over a year in the mission.  I´m already enjoying having him in the house as he´s super funny.

On Tuesday we taught a really cool guy that read the restoration pamphlet like 4 times (People don´t usually even read two pages) and so we brought him a libro de mormón and then he disappeared this weekend and we couldn´t even find him to take him to church.  Satan is really working hard on this mission.  Really working hard.  
This week we went by Adolfo and Danny and we got signed permission from Jessenia to baptize Danny and he´s excited to do it this Saturday.  Adolfo also says he´ll be baptized this Saturday and he came to church yesterday.  Lots of things can happen in a week though so pray for Adolfo and Danny.  Danny has come to church a bunch but he doesnt really have much teaching so while we were there an eskimo man (guy that pushes a cart with ice cream in it) came by so we bought Danny an ice cream that he ate while we taught him the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He actually knew quite a bit about baptism and confirmation (he´s like 9 years old).  So hopefully we can get them baptized and get Jessenia to understand a little more about how proper authority is necessary for baptism.  
On Friday Hanson went to Boaco for District meeting with Medrano and I was here working in the area with Elder Merrill.  I really loved the opportunity because Elder Merrill is a really good teacher and I learned a lot from him.  We had been having a really disappointing day with appointments falling through and lots of people being very unreceptive (Delaney and Matt must hate reading my emails...) but then we were walking to talk to an investigator when Merrill got a call from a guy he contacted a couple days before.  We found out that this guy (Javier) was actually just a 3 minute walk from where we were so we went and talked to him.  We had the most spiritual lesson of my mission up to this point.  It was mostly him talking about how addiction has hurt his life and how much he wants to change.  He said he heard a preacher bashing Mormons on the radio in the morning but the preacher never said why Mormons are so evil.  So he was curious and wanted to know so what did he do?  He called in to the radio show.  But he didn´t get through.  Still, he´s very interested and curious.  

 Saturday was a very hard day.  We found lots and lots and lots of very unpositive people.  You really have to teach these Nicas like children sometimes.  You can ask questions such as, How do you think a better relationship with Jesus Christ could bless your family? and they´ll answer with crap like, Read the scriptures. They just repeat a few things they hear all the time from their pastors but they have no idea what they really believe or why.  And they´re just not really willing to take any steps to change and come closer to Christ or acknowledge that they really aren´t doing much in regards to their salvation.  I´ve learned a huge lesson on humility here in Nicaragua.  The people we find that are prepared and actually willing to change are the humble ones.  And contrary to what a lot of people assume, Nicaragua is not really full of humble people.  I´m glad that I have this opportunity to try and help these people because there are a lot of people here that really need the blessings of the gospel.  
On Sunday we had a lot of added pressure to bring people to church because President and Sister Russell were there for branch conference.  So we passed by a lot of people we had committed to go to church the day before and not a single person came with us.  Every Saturday we pass by everyone that said they´d go to church during the week and recommit them and review the commandment to keep the Sabbath day holy and the blessings they receive as they keep this commandment and we make sure everything is good for them to go to church the next day.  Then Sunday comes around and everyone just starts lying to us and making up stupid excuses we´ve already heard a million times.  So we walked into church with President and Sister Russell sitting up on the stand with nobody...  Sad.  I had to talk also.  I was assigned to talk on the restoration so I basically just taught lesson one to the branch and it went ok.  I wasn't even that nervous but when I got there my voice was super shaky and everyone said I looked super nervous.  Whatever.  I think people basically understood what I was saying.  Elder Merrill, Sister Garfield, and President Russell also spoke so I only had to speak for like 7 minutes so it really wasn´t that bad.  So after church, branch counsel, and our usual Sunday lunch of Nacatamales ( I hope you´ve googled nacatamales by now because they look super gross but they taste super good).  Then we went back out to bring people to the afternoon branch in the church.  Between me, Hanson, Medrano, and Merrill we brought three in the afternoon (one of them was Adolfo).  One lady was an old lady that just sat in the back during a lesson with her family this week and didn´t say anything.  When we passed by to bring the rest of the family to church her family made a bunch of dumb excuses (even though they promised us that morning that they´d come) and wouldn´t come but she just quietly got ready and came.  So we brought a total of 6 people to church on Sunday (because 3 came with their less active family).  
Today we had a normal morning, then went and got a burger at a dinky little restaurant called Burger Hot.  It was all right.  Pretty big but the meat here isn´t quite like the ground beef at home.  
To answer a few questions: This week I got a letter from Diane, and four from Grandma Wilson and that was it.  So thanks Diane and thank grandma for me too please.  My shoes are already starting to wear out.  Part of the sole on my heel is already worn down below the pattern.  So at some point on the mission I´ll need you to send me some new shoes or I´ll have to buy some here but not for a while. 

Hopefully you appreciate the detail today.  Last week the email wasn´t very good so sorry.  

Love you all!!  Thanks for all the prayers and support!!!

Love Elder Smith

Misc. information:  The most exciting thing that happened this week was that I saw an enormous spider.  We ventured out into woods a little bit and I looked up and like five feet in front of me at eye level there´s this enormous yellow and black spider.  Probably about the size of my hand if not bigger.  I took a pic but the camera wouldn't focus on it.  It was freaky.  Sorry the pic doesn´t do it justice at all.  I destroyed its web with a stick and we ran for our lives.

I get letters and stuff and people are saying things about feeling bad for me because of my "living conditions" and "stomach sicknesses" and stuff.  I don´t want people to feel bad for me or anything because things here are really good.   Please understand that I live very comfortably and that I´m healthy (having diarrhea every once in a while doesn't make me sick).  I don´t want people feeling bad for me when I don´t feel bad for myself if that makes sense.  They take good care of us here.  

Me and Elder Merrill at the ward mission leader's house on Friday

lunch: rice, beans, meat patty, tortilla, juice

Like the only open space I've seen in Juigalpa (this is in my area)

Butterfly we saw in the church

Huge spider in a tree


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