Monday, December 19, 2016

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

December 19, 2016

Hello Family!!

   The subject of the email is a lie.  It just rained all week.  Usually in December it never rains but I guess the weather changed things up this year.  Apparently it's destroying a lot of the winter crops here.  

   Ummm I'm trying to think of what happened this week and it's pretty usual.  We studied, and ate, and worked, and taught, and walked, and walked, and walked.  

   It definitely doesn't feel like we're super close to Christmas... I mean we have the tree and some decorations in the house but out on the streets it's not that Christmasy.  Every once in a while we come across a group of people singin​g to Maria and blowing up really loud fireworks.  Actually one evening there was just this random fireworks show that had real fireworks like we're used to in America.  And the show lasted like 10 minutes and had a grand finale and everything.  We never did figure out who lit them off because it came from a fairly poor neighborhood and we didn't see any big event over there.  

   Getting people to church this week was a definite struggle because it rained all morning yesterday.  When it rains the Nicas really struggle getting out of bed to do anything productive.  The attendance was way down for the normal members as well.  Next week will also be a struggle.  Christmas eve here is the bigger holiday so that night everyone will stay up until well past midnight partying and lighting off fireworks and burning stuff.  So for Sunday we'll see who actually shows up.  And then it'll be even worse the next week on New Years Day because church will start at 8 in the morning instead of 10.  Pray for us.  

   Grettel almost made it to church yesterday.  We had her up and dressed and we were walking with her to church but she had to drop something off at a member's house first.   Well when we got there she decided to just stay and cook with her all morning and wouldn't go to church.  That was sorely disappointing seeing as she was the only person that we even had a chance of taking to church yesterday.  We went back to her house last night and had a good lesson though so she's still pretty positive, just had a bit of a stumbling block.  

   We've been teaching this family, Roberto and Areceli, but they've been really hard to find lately.  The lessons we have are good but they're few and far between.  Also Ricardo left to work for 15 days in Matagalpa so he didn't go to church.

  Ummm, I finished Jesus the Christ again.  It was even better the second time.  Apart from reading the Book of Mormon I'm going back through the whole missionary library to read everything.  I'm almost done with Our Legacy.  

I made a Christmas parody:

   Walking through the rain, in a pair of worn out shoes, on the streets we go, getting rejected by Catholics  (sorry I couldn't think of anything that rhymes with shoes).  

Well, have a great week!!!

Talk to you on Sunday!!!!


Elder Smith

Answer to Merrill's question about fruits in Nicaragua:  Fruits here generally have their seasons but you can still find almost all types of fruits all year (just not necessarily as good as if they had been in season.) IE lemons and mangos are all year, but there are more mangos in around Feb and March. Right now Papaya is in season. In june/July Mammon is in season. Bananas and Platanos are all year. There's other fruits like granadilla, calala, pitaya, melocoton etc that have their seasons but I don't really know them.

Monday, December 12, 2016

La Purisima

December 11, 2016

Hello family, 

   We had a great week!  Again.  On Tuesday we had leadership council with President Brown.  All the ZLs, the Sister Training Leaders, and the DLs went at first for a training.  It was kind of a fiasco at first because they were doing construction in the first chapel we went to and so we had to go to another one and they were doing like a preschool graduation thing there.  But it worked out.  It was a great, and very spiritual meeting.  I learned a lot.  So the training went kind of long and then afterwards the DLs left and we had a leadership council with president which was also really good.  We didn't leave until like 6:30 though and it started at 9.   

    Then on Wednesday was the Purisima.  It's like catholic-nica Halloween.  A bunch of people put flashy lit-up Maria shrines all over the place and people walk around with feed sacks, sing a song to maria at the various shrines and the owners of the shrines give you food or candy or toys.  Some people just give out orange rice.  Needless to say it wasn't something that we participated in.  Everyone was throwing out fireworks in the streets.  Fireworks here aren't very pretty, they're just super loud.  The streets were just crowded and it was crazy.  Lots of non-catholics participate just to get a bunch of free stuff.  And then at midnight they lit off a ton of fireworks too.  That was kind of annoying.  

     On Saturday Angie got baptized.  She was so excited.  She was really ready too.  I think she's been reading more of the Book of Mormon than most of our adult investigators.  

   We've been teaching a new family that I actually found a while ago that went to the devotional last week.  Her name is Grettel and his name is Jose.  They kind of fight a lot and they're not married yet but we're seeing them get along a lot better now that they've been going to church.  Yesterday they LOVED church.  It was cool because I feel like several of the speakers were just speaking to them and saying what they needed to hear.  The ward also treated them very well.  

   We've been working with several other people we found in the last week that weren't able to go to church this week.  We found a family named Roberto and Areceli from old investigators in the area book.  They already know a lot about the church and they're excited to get going again.  They sure don't want a lot of pressure though.  They live in a kind of sketchy neighborhood and there was some gang activity around us yesterday when we went to visit them.  We yelled "Buenas!" (the equivalent of knocking on the door) and we could see people inside.  Out on the street behind us there were some boys playing basketball.  Then a car pulled up and other boys got out and the boys that were playing basketball just took off and they looked scared out of there minds.  Right when all of that happened Roberto yelled at us to get inside and he hurried us in and locked the door.  Then we just heard a lot of people running around and yelling and stuff.  The people were pretty worried.  But someone called the cops and it calmed down.  

   We're also teaching a new guy named Ricardo.  He's pretty cool.  Just pray for him to go to church this Sunday.

   That's about it though.  It's definitely starting to sink in that Christmas is just around the corner.  I'm really excited to talk to you guys!  

Have a great week!!

Elder Smith

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

New Computers and Christmas!!!

December 5, 2016

Hi family!!

  Well, the church got new computers where we write here in the family history center and they have windows 10 and they're fast and it's awesome!!

   This was a great week for many reasons.  One, last Tuesday my Christmas package came.  Thanks mom!  I put all of the presents nicely under our tree and it's just driving me crazy looking at it every day.

    Also, thank you Johnson family!  Many people (myself, my comp, and many nicas) have been blessed by the sweet contents of your amazing package.  You're the best!

   On Friday was the day of service for the church and the church's Christmas initiative so we went to a recent convert's house that has a pretty bad roof and with the bishop to see what we could do to fix it.  Some of the supporting wood beams that hold up the tin on top were rotted out and close to collapsing and they can't get up on the roof to fix the leaks for fear of it falling in.  So we went with the bishop to buy some new wood beams for them.  Right now they're going to go back to the middle of nowhere fields of Nicaragua to get some skinny teenager with some roofing experience to send up there to take the tin off so they can replace the beams and put the tin back on (with some new sheets of it to fix the leaks).  It's a bit of a work in progress but it should be really helpful for the family.
   Saturday was the big day with the wedding of David and Stela, and the baptism of David, Stela, and David Jr.  There were miraculously no big issues or anything that came up and everything went flawlessly!  After the wedding and baptism we had Vigorón (mom probably described it in the blog).  It was really good.  On Sunday the confirmations went perfectly.  Also, Carlos got a haircut and shaved and you could hardly recognize him.  He looked great!
   Last night we enjoyed the First Presidency Christmas devotional.  We watched it in our own chapel since it's the stake center.  We had AC and got to watch it in a separate room in English.  It was awesome.  Also the ward brought two families and a total of 6 people that aren't members to watch it and they all loved it!  

   So yep!  Great week. This week we look forward to Angie's baptism.  She's really excited for it.  So are we.  She's a cute little girl.  

Well have a great week!!  

Love you!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 28, 2016

Well, I'm glad to hear you had a great thanksgiving!  I think it's a good idea that you just told everyone that you'd eat at 2 instead of telling everyone at 1 and being an hour late.  Good planning.  

  Thanksgiving here was very eventful for Nicaragua.  We had a hurricane, an earthquake, and a tsunami.  Luckily the hurricane only hit a tiny part of southern Nicaragua (I didn't even get rained on), I didn't feel the earthquake (but almost everyone else did, they said it was pretty big), and the tsunami was tiny.  I thought a lot about the story Dad always told me about how one thanksgiving he went out and bought a turkey, and gave it to the lady he lived with and had her kill it and cook it for them.  I wanted to reenact it but instead the member we live with (wonderful lady btw) went out and bought a frozen turkey breast and cooked it for us and I just payed her back.  But it was really good.  We also had Nica mashed potatoes with good gravy, salad, corn, and coke.  It was really good.  A lot better than last year (we just ate nica pizza). 

   Umm on Saturday we had Nathan's baptism.  It was scary there for a while because he kind of disappeared on us for a couple hours.  His baptism was initially set for 2 but he ended up getting baptized at 6.  He was just at the hospital with his sick grandma.  Then everything went fine yesterday with the confirmation.  His friend even came to church with him!  It was cool because we taught Nathan in English the whole time because he basically grew up in the US and Elder Gonzales baptized him in English.  That's probably something he won't see again on his mission. 

   David and Stella went to church and David brought one of his other daughters, Tatiana, who loved church.  She's going to keep coming.  David and Stella are set to get married on Saturday, and baptized along with David Jr.  Now we're just frantically running around trying to get everything set up with the paperwork and lawyer and stuff for the wedding.  Angie also came to church and she's awesome as always, just beaming for her baptism on the tenth. 

   Mom, that pic you said you saw on FB was the Plan of Salvation I drew on the board during Gospel Principles.  It turned out really well.

   I asked Elder Gonzales what else happened this week other than what I already mentioned and he said, Walking.  
It's true we did do a lot of walking this week.  Especially on Saturday looking for Nathan.  Haha he'll get used to it :)
I guess that's it.  Good luck getting prepped for Christmas!  I caught a little bit of the Christmas spirit and we bought a two foot little tree and threw some lights on it.  And I hung up my stocking from last year on the wall and cut out some pictures from some Ensigns from December of past years.  And I drew a Christmas tree and hung the picture on the wall.  I'll take some pics next week probably.

Well, have a great week!  Love you!

Elder Smith

I was going to attach some pictures but it seems my SD card has a virus.  I'll keep messing with it and see what I can do.

Elder Gonzales and Elder Smith teaching the Plan of Salvation

Monday, November 21, 2016


November 21, 2016

Hi Family!!!

Well I didn't have changes this week but Elder Evans did.  So he left and I'm training Elder Gonzales who just got here from the Provo MTC.  He's from Monroe Washington.  He's a great guy and a hard worker!
So on Tuesday we went around with Elder Evans to say goodbye to some of the people he met here in Las Palmas.  On Wednesday morning we went to change meeting early and sent off Elder Evans and the new people from our zone got on the bus and went back (but I stayed at the chapel for the trainers and news meeting.  One of the new Elders in our zone unfortunately is another Elder Smith that got here about 3 months ago.  Elder Smiths just follow me around I swear.  The training meeting was awesome because Elder Diaz, Elder Aitken, and Elder Peterson (with me in Juigalpa) were also training.  So we had fun catching up a bit.  Then I got Elder Gonzales, we got a subway (that in past days I was the one buying as a secretary:) )  Then we got back to the area at about noon and got to work.

    Umm the highlight of the week was the baptism of Carlos.  He was very excited for it.  He's half paralyzed from getting shot in the head in the civil war here when he was twelve.  I baptized because I honestly didn'
t trust it with anyone else who might've been too chicken to use enough force to get him under.  I was actually in the font for like 5 minutes talking with the bishop toiling with the idea of sitting him in a chair for it or something, but we decided his knee would come up as we tilted the chair back.  Eventually we just did it normally and instructed him to bend down as much as he could.  When he was almost down he started flailing a bit and his knee was coming up so I just gave him one final shove and got him under.  I'm relieved it worked the first try because if not I'm not sure what would´ve happened.  

Hunberto's story isn't quite as happy for this week.  We passed by all week and just couldn't seem to find him.  His family always came out and gave different excuses about where he was and why he wasn't home.  It happened long enough it became clear he was just hiding from us.  Eventually on Thursday night we passed by with the bishop and they said he was home but he wouldn't come out.  Eventually his wife (not a member) came out and said he was so embarrassed and ashamed that he wouldn't come out.  Why was he embarrassed and ashamed?  Because he had told us clearly he wanted to get baptized on Saturday but changed his mind.  The really frustrating part was that we can't tell what went wrong or how we can help him because he just started hiding from us.  So we're giving him a bit of a break and hoping that with some time he'll talk to us so we can help him out.
Nathan disappeared as well and didn't come back until Saturday night.  Apparently he got a job.  He said he got this Saturday and Sunday off so he can get baptized.  We'll see.  He's a bit of a flaky guy but some prayers in his direction wouldn't hurt.
David, Stella, and David all went to church.  They decided very firmly that they'll get married and baptized on the 3rd of December and the bishop came over and they made plans for the wedding with stuff about the lawyer, food and arrangements etc.  We're going to eat Vigoron (just google it).  
[Vigorón is a traditional Nicaraguan dish. It consists of a cabbage salad known as curtido (chopped cabbage, tomatoes, onions, and chili pepper marinated in vinegar and salt), boiled yuca, and chicharrones (fried pork belly or fried pork rinds) wrapped in Banana leaf].  I don't really like it.  Also Angie came to church.  Also Carlos came and got confirmed.  Also a slightly drunk guy showed up but seemed to enjoy church greatly.
Today was a good p-day.  After studying we got our hair cut at a member's house that cuts it for free.  We also went to plaza inter and got some carne asada (thanks mom and dad I used my card.   I guess that's my thanksgiving meal).  Then we went back to Malecon (the place with the airplane) with the zone and hung out a bit.
Earlier in the week I got kind of sick with a runny nose and a really sore throat and a fever but I'm better now. 

Well, I hope you all have a great week and a great thanksgiving!! 

I'm thankful for all of the wonderful blessings I've received.  Firstly I'm thankful for a loving Savior that was willing to suffer for my sins to give me the opportunity to overcome death and sin and live with him again.  I'm thankful for a wonderful family that has given me everything I have and been by my side every step of my life and in every decision I've made.  I'm thankful for the opportunity I have to serve the people here in Nicaragua and share with them the gospel.


Elder Smith

PS One thing I'm really not very thankful for is rice.  

Cody and his new companion Elder Gonzales. 
Carlos' baptism

At Malecon

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Stupid dogs...

November 14, 2016

Hi family!

  I got bit by a dog for the second time this month!  But luckily it didn`t break skin, just punctured my pants a bit (see attached picture).  No biggie as long as they don't break the skin.  I'm trusting the readers of this email to not freak out or anything because it`s no big deal.  If anyone freaks out I won`t be able to talk about things like this publically.

   Anyway... We had an AWESOME week!  On Wednesday we had a multizone with Elder Alonso.  It was awesome and I loved it because he was super direct, yet spiritual.  The spirit was super strong and I walked out of there with some great things I can work on to be a better missionary.  Then on Friday we had a leadership council with him in President Brown's house and it was also very spiritual and I`m already seeing results from some of the things I'm doing differently.  It was a very different experience this time because I didn't have to do anything behind the scenes with food or anything and I could just enjoy myself the whole time.

   We unfortunately didn't really find very many new people to teach this week but we did make great progress with those we are already teaching.  Hunberto's fecha is drawing near and we talked to him about baptism on Monday and he had a lot of fear because he knows baptism is a big commitment and he's a little lazy.  So instead of just trying to convince him we left him with some chapters from the Book of Mormon on baptism and after he read them he said he was good and wanted to do it.  He went to church yesterday and if everything goes smoothly will get baptized on Saturday.  Also Carlos went to church again and is already interviewed for his baptism on Saturday.  We could possibly baptized Nathan on Saturday as well but I'm not sure because yesterday he went to his Grandma's and we haven't talked to him for a bit.  But as of last Saturday he was good.  Also David, Stella (nicname for Christiana), and David's son came to church and are very positive.  Angie came too and is really excited for her baptism in December.

    We have changes on Wednesday this week.  I'm pretty sure to stay here in Las Palmas.  Elder Evans is finishing his training so he's likely to have changes but who knows.  I could train someone else, stay with Elder Evans, or just be comps with another ZL.  Who knows.
    Ummm...  What else....?  Well for pday today we haven't done very much.  Nicaragua already has christmas trees and lights up because Christmas here starts after Halloween.  They don't celebrate thanksgiving here.  But a wonderful lady from the ward who used to live in the US is going to buy us turkey I think.  It'll be better than the Nica pizza I had last year in Juigalpa. 
   I can't really think of anything else that happened this week.  I think tomorrow I'll buy a Papa John's with Elder Evans to either send Elder Evans off with a bang or to celebrate being together another change.  Papa John's is what the angels eat in heaven.

Anyway, I love you!!  Have a great week and don't forget to say your prayers!  Pray for all of the investigators!

Love you! 
Elder Smith

Holes in the pants from the dog bite.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Happy Día de los Muertos!!

November 7, 2016

Hello Family! 

   As you could probably guess by the subject line, this week was the Day of the Dead here. And nobody that I saw really celebrated it.  People usually just go to the cemeteries and put flowers on the graves.
  It was a weird week because of our slight schedule change due to elections.  We left at 9 every morning and came back at 7 every night.  It made me realize how dependent and accustomed we are to the schedule and it really screwed with me to be off it. 
   It was a good week with the investigators though.  We got a reference for a family that we teach with some members that are their family.  They are cool and went to church.  His name is David and her name is Cristiana.  They went to church and seemed to like it.  Also Carlos came to church again and is doing awesome.  It's a bit of a struggle with him in church because he's half-paralized but the bishop came and took him in his truck.  His baptism on the 19th could be interesting.  We might have to sit him down but we'll figure it out.  Nathan had a little problem and wasn't able to get baptized this week but he has a new goal to get baptized on the 19th that we're fighting for.  Hunberto came to church again after two weeks of not going.  He´s still excited and wants to get baptized, but he has to leave some Sundays to take care of a disabled family member.  Also, there's a cute little girl named Angie that comes to church with her grandma.  Her parents aren't members and she turns 8 on December 9th.  She wants to get baptized and her parents are all for it so she's kind of a free baptism for us in December.  We're also teaching a guy named Edgar that has always heard a lot of crap about the Mormon's but he´s kind of friends with Nathan and saw us teaching him.  He invited us to come by and teach him later so we did and he's really positive.  During our first two lessons with Edgar I kind of felt prompted to back everything we said up with the Bible, which is something I´m always capable of doing but usually I don't share a verse from the Bible to back up every point I make.  Anyway this time I did and we counted later and in the first two lessons I shared 23 separate passages from the Bible with him.  He later expressed how that had really helped him accept us as Christians and not just a cult and the fact that I used the Bible so much to support everything.  Now we've explained the Book of Mormon and he understands it's role.  He wasn't able to go to church yesterday because of the elections here but I'm sure he'll go this week.  I thought that was a bit of a different kind of prompting but it sure worked.  We also talk to Nathan's uncle quite a bit because he hangs around where we teach Nathan.  The only problem is he's always drunk.  But we found him on Sunday morning about 80% sober and he just kind of showed up to church.  That was cool.  Hopefully he'll be blessed with some help to stop drinking.  All the alcoholism you see here is really sad.   It's probably one of the things that makes me most sad about a lot of the people here.  It ruins everyone's lives it touches.  Stupid Satan.
  Yesterday after church we had to come home for the elections and just sit around at home all day.  I got that long desired Sunday nap for once in my mission and it was AWESOME. Not as good as preaching though :)  I read a lot of the Old Testament study guide and learned some interesting stuff.  This morning we went and got our hair cut and ate new chili dorito cheese dogs from the gas station for lunch.  They were awesome. 
  This week we have a multizone with Elder Alonso who's here to do a mission tour on Wednesday.  Then on Friday we have a special leadership council with him at President's house.  I'm really glad I'm not in the office right now :)

Anyway have a great week!!!!

Elder Smith

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Happy Halloween!!

October 31, 2016

Hello family!!

   To respond to the 5 billion people that have asked, no, Nicaragua doesn't celebrate Halloween.  But they do have a day of the dead thing in November.  They don`t understand how we Americans celebrate it and they think we worship the devil and invite evil spirits that day.  It's kind of funny.

   So on Thursday we had a ward activity that we've been planning with the ward leaders for a long time.  It was a pretty big deal for us to try and get some references and stuff.  We had three rooms set up, because we answered the questions: Where did we come from?  Why are we here?  and Where are we going?.  So each question had a room with a teacher that was decorated according to the question.  Me and Elder Evans taught what is our purpose on the earth and decorated our room up real nice with the few available materials (picture attached).  But, only 13 people showed up.  A handful of recent converts and a couple less actives.  But between them they brought 3 people that weren't members to check it out.  Out of the three one of them ended up being cool, accepted a fecha easily, and went to church yesterday.  I don't want to call the activity a failure by any means because we have a cool new investigator (named Alejandro) but it would've been optimal if the members would have been valiant enough to show up and bring some friends to get to know some of the teachings of the church.  So, a little message to anyone that reads this email:  Please be valiant and invite your friends to experience the happiness that we feel here!  They can't  be converted until they start to experiment!!!

Also, Nathan went to church again and seems to be progressing well.  He could get baptized this Saturday but I'd say it`s more likely that it will happen on the 12th.  And we got a guy to church by the name of Carlos.  It was a bit of a struggle because he's half paralized but he loved church and he deserves the blessings of the gospel just as much as the next person.  I'm not worried because several people in the ward have vehicles and regularly make rounds to get handicapped people to church on Sunday mornings. 

   Due to Nicaraguan elections this Sunday we have to come to the house at 7 pm every night for the next couple of weeks but to make up for it we`ll leave two hours early every day and do the study at night that we missed.  On Sunday we'll have only one hour of church at 8 am and then we have to go back to the house the rest of the day.  I'm not sure what I'll do all day but I'll finally get that Sunday nap I've been dreaming about for the last year:) 

  Ummmm what else.... I'm not sure... 

Happy Halloween!!  If anyone doesn't want their candy just send it to me in a package or something and I won`t complain!!!

Love you!!

Elder Smith

p.s.  Tonight in honor of our Papa Murphy's tradition we`re going to order Papa  John's!! And I might splurge on some slightly overpriced American candy and drink a ton of rootbeer.

We had Carne Asada today and tajadas and gallo pinto

Cody gave no explanation, but I hope whatever he's washing isn't supposed to be white!

There is a pig and a cat on our property

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


October 24, 2016

Hey family!

  Well to explain the subject line, for pday today we went to a little park thing called Malecón.  It has a miniature replica of the "old Managua" which is basically just Managua before the earthquake destroyed everything in 1972.  And they have an old 737 there that you can go in and look around and stuff and that was really cool.  It made me kind of trunky though lol.  But I took pics!!!  

  We found a really cool new investigator this week named Nathan.  He's 28 and lived in North Carolina for like 5 years so we teach him in English and it's pretty weird but Elder Evans really likes it:)  He's really positive but on Sunday morning he got pneumonia which threw a bit of a wrench in things but he still came to church.  Unberto didn't...  I`m not sure what happened there, he just kind of disappeared at the end of the week.  Church was interesting because it was at 8 in the morning and our ward was combined with the neighboring ward and the power was out so there was no light.  But the backup generator kicked in and powered the mic and the AC which I guess are the essentials.  

   It's still a bit of a fight to find new investigators but we did a bit better this week, but Nathan was the only one that ended up going to church.  

  We did see a really cool miracle  yesterday!   We were teaching some really cool converts and they got up to go buy us a coke.  We politely explained how we prefer not to buy things on Sunday and explained the doctrine of the sabbath day in a little better detail to them.  In there defense this was the first time anyone has ever explained that we don`t buy on Sundays to them but they accepted it wholeheartedly and agreed completely so they didn't get us anything to drink.  Well... not ten minutes later this guy's grandson comes up with a two liter bottle of Pepsi and a bag full of cookies that his mom had him bring to this guy for no particular reason.  We decided that God was confirming that we are blessed for keeping his commandments and he`ll always provide for us.  It was cool and it was a cool miracle to point out to this family. 

  What else... umm... I bought more Rootbeer to make sure my awesome deal I found doesn't go out of stock and run out.  I'm pretty sure I`m getting it cheaper here than it sells in the US (less than 20 cents a can).  I'm going to get fat.  

That's about it I think... Sorry you didn't have any luck with the deer hunt family but good job braving the elements and chasing them around.

Love you!!

Elder Smith


They don`t celebrate Halloween here but some stores sell a bit of Halloween decoration stuff.  They have dia de los muertos on November 1.  

We've had a tone of rain the last month but here in November the rainy season ends and the dry season starts.  It'll cool down a bit and not rain at all for months.  That's the difference in seasons, half the year is rainy season and half is dry. 


Wednesday, October 19, 2016


October 17, 2016

Hello family
  Well you guessed it, we had interviews this week and they went really well!  I felt the spirit really strong and President answered some questions I had been having about some ZL stuff. 
   But we had a pretty ok week.  We're still struggling a bit to find new people but we´re finding some.  On Saturday I did divisions with Elder Turner in my area and he's a cool kid.  He's in his training.  We found a really positive lady and put a super easy fecha with her.  When we came back on Saturday to recommit her to church she was sitting outside and when she realized we were coming she scurried inside and hid even though we were twenty feet away from her when she left and we obviously saw her.  Then her family told us that she wasn't home.  It was.....  kind of irritating.  She didn't go to church.
  Guillermo, Guillermo Jr., and Katherine went to church but we had to sit down and have a talk with them because they actually live in the boundaries of another ward and we aren't allowed to baptize them outside their boundaries without weird special permission that´s almost impossible to get.  So they agreed to start going to the other church.  So now we won't be able to baptize them but their in the APs area so they got an awesome gift.  It doesn't honestly matter, as long as they get baptized.
  Also we have been teaching the dad of a recent convert named Unberto and he went to church this week and the ward really latched onto him and he had a great experience.  Literally every member of the ward shook his hand as they entered the sacrament meeting room.  And he left the church with a teachings of Howard W Hunter book and a Gospel Principles book.  Pray for him.  Since the other investigators will go to another ward now Unberto is basically all we have left.  But yesterday we found a cool guy that we taught in English that lived in North Carolina for a while.  He was awesome and asked us when church was and if he could come before we even invited him.  His name is Nathan and we're excited for him.  But ya... Please pray that we can come across a lot of new people to teach.  That would be appreciated.  

  What else happened...  Well I've been wanting to go out and get to know the zone a little better but I can't find a stinking bus card so I can't go on the buses and I finally found a store today that had them and they were out. 
Ummm mom don't worry the house is pretty nice and there aren't any weird dirty secrets that I'm not telling just to not scare you.  Everything's clean and nice and our shower is decent and we have a sink and we don't have all of the mesquito larvae.  I sleep on the top bunk of one of the beds and Elder Evans sleeps on the bottom bunk of the other because it's the best way to work with the fans and the limited outlets in the room.  The apartment is the bedroom, the study room, the kitchen (with fridges and sink and cupboards) and the bathroom (with a toilet, shower, sink, and mirror),  The rooms are all fairly small but it´s not that small.  With just two of us it´s really good.  There used to be four in the house because there used to be two zls and their comps in this area but it´s so small they took out the other zl and put him in the next door area.  That´s where Elder Bachez, the other ZL is.  There´s a parakeet outside and two cats. 

  Today the zone got together in the church and we made Baleadas, which is a Honduranian food which is like a burrito but without meat and with eggs.  Or better said, tortillas with beans, cheese, and scrambled eggs.
Well sorry, that´s all I can really remember from last week.  Sorry if I left out some vital piece of information!

Love you!!
Elder Smith


Some zl duties are...  Do divisions once a week, verify district meetings and once a month do zone meeting, take numbers and report them every other night.  Get macheted by the APs if anyone does anything stupid in your zone.  But we do get a little more money every month.  Oh and a highlight of today is that I found AW rootbeer at the store for only 5.75 cordobas a can.  Which is cheaper than water.  So I bought 40 cans.  Its around 20 cents a can.  I think the store just made a mistake with the price.  

Sorry I forgot my sd card converter so no pics today!  Sorry mom!!  

Monday, October 10, 2016

This is weird

October 10, 2016

Hello family!!  Happy birthday yesterday mom!

  Well...  a lot has changed haha.  I'm not in the office anymore obviously.  

  My new area is Las Palmas, which is just like two wards to the North of San Judas, still in Managua.  My new companion is Elder Evans.  I'm finishing his training.  He got to Nicaragua last change.  I'm a ZL now in Zona Managua so I'm  learning a lot about my responsiibilities and stuff very quickly.

  Elder Evans is from Fresno california and studied at Arizona State University for a year before coming out.  He's actually like a month older than me.  He's awesome!  I couldn't have asked for a better son.  His spanish is pretty dang good for the time he has on the mission and he works really hard to improve it, he doesn't have any fear or anything of teaching, he just goes for it and it's awesome.  We get along really well.

  The area is a bit of a tough one.  It's pretty hard to get people to let you into their houses and teach them but the members and ward here are awesome!  They love giving us references and helping us out.  Las Palmas is actually the first ward and chapel that was made here in Nicaragua.  The chapel is really big (it's been rebuilt already since the first one that was constructed) and has AC (hallelujia (sp?))  We have some investigators...  A bunch that sucked yesterday and wouldn't go to church and then a really cool guy named Guillermo and his two kids, Katerine (age 19) and Guillermo Jr (11) that comes to church on his own every Sunday.  Unfortunately we can't teach them during the week due to a home situation but they study the pamphlets we leave during the week and we also teach them in the church on Sundays.  The two kids have a fecha for the 22nd and the dad will be a bit later.  The ward meets at 10 and another ward meets in the same building at 8.  I'm happy we get to go at 10 and not 8:)  For how great the ward is it's pretty small, only 60 people were in church on Sunday.

   The house is really good for a normal missionary house.  It's just me and Elder Evans in there so it's a lot quieter than I'm used to.  The food isn't nearly as good haha.  I'm back to rice and beans and meat, and I'm remembering very quickly that I don't like rice anymore.  But I still like beans.  It's not a big deal that I don't have a hot shower anymore because now that there's no AC either a cold shower is very refreshing.  And it's really not even that cold.  We live on the same property as some pretty well off members.  We pay them to make our lunch and they usually just throw in breakfast most mornings as a treat.  I've also noticed that I'm way more hungry now that I'm actively working so much more every day instead of sitting in front of a computer or going everywhere in a taxi.  For dinner I'm pretty  much still on the same chips and coke routine I've enjoyed my whole mission.   You can't beat it.  

  Today for Pday the zone got together in a restaurant in my area and we had lunch.  I just got burgers, fries, onion rings, and ice cream.  The onion rings were the best part.  

  Tomorrow we have interviews with President Brown which I'm looking forward to.  President Brown is awesome.  

  I'm sure I left out some sort of vital information so make sure you just respond with some specific questions so I can fill you in.

Well, have a great week!

Love you!

Elder Smith

Elder Evans and Elder Smith

Typical Lunch

                                 This cat was watching us eat lunch

Zone eating lunch