Friday, January 29, 2016

January 27, 2016

So on Tuesday the ZLs called and informed us that I had changes and not Nave.  Which was extremely surprising because Nave already had 3 changes there and I only had 1. So we went around and said goodbye to my converts.  The problem is when you´ve only been in an area for one change you really don´t know people that well.  When we told people I had changes nobody believed us because I just got here.  It was a bit hard to say goodbye to familia Arias because they really love us and they fed us a ton.  I just hope they keep progressing so we can get the mom and grandma baptized now.  So on Wednesday in change meeting I found out that I was the new secretary of finances.  
The guy that did finances before me is Elder Beals.  He and Sister Beals are a senior couple that will be going home in 7 weeks.  They basically were full time in the office.  So I´m learning everything about the finances of a mission from him so when he goes next change I can take over completely.  Basically what I do is make sure all the missionaries have the money they need.  Also I have to pay a million other expenses that you´d probably imagine a mission would have.  But I still don´t completely understand everything I´ll be doing because I´ve only been here a week.  
Something interesting about being in the office is that I don't have a lunch cita anymore because it doesn't make sense with us being in the office.  So we get about 5$ everyday for lunch which we usually buy at somewhere like McDonalds, Subway, Pizza Hut, Burger King etc.  So I´ll be getting very very fat.  Here in Managua it almost seems like the US with the stores they have here and stuff.  Also there´s an imports store that sells Rootbeer!!!!  It´s truly amazing.  There's a store called Price Smart that's just like Costco that we´ll go to a lot.  They also have a food court just like Costco (but no polish dogs).
My companion is Elder Jungers.  He´s from southern California in a little town right by the Mexican border.  He has about a year on the mission.  He´s the general secretary and handles a ton of stuff as well.  I don´t know exactly everything he does either.  Our area is called San Judas II.  It´s in Estaca (stake) Universitaria.  The ward is San Judas.  It´s a pretty good ward.  Usually like 140 or 150 people come to church but the church building is pretty small.  You can probably find it on google maps or something.  This week we are going to baptize an 11 year old girl named Sonia who goes to church with her mom.  Her mom has some issues with some technical divorce paperwork to deal with or she would be getting baptized as well.  Also we´re going to baptize a woman named Monica if the lawyer can finish her divorce in time.  We´ll get her divorced, married, then baptized.  She´s really cool.  Her mom Maria is another amazing investigator.  She smokes and we´re helping her quit so she can get baptized.  She wants to get baptized sooo bad though!!  It´s so sad to see her almost enslaved by this addiction but she´s doing better and better.  Pray for her especially for strength to quit smoking.  Also pray for Monica and Sonia (and her mom Urania).  And we´re teaching a cool family called familia Robleto.  They´re really positive and cool.  Their baby is very sick though and couldn't come to church this week because of her.  Please pray for them and the baby especially.  
Usually we come to work in the office from about 9AM to about 3 or 4 PM and then go to the area to work.  We have a lot less time to work in the area than a normal missionary would so we have to work extra hard.  But it´s good.  We live with all 6 secretaries and the APs in our house.  It´s HUGE.  And it has a washer and dryer.  And AC in all the rooms.  And hot showers.  There are a lot of wonderful perks to being in the office but we really have to earn them.  I''ve woken up at like 3 AM 4 nights this past week to do things like taking the departing missionaries from this change to the airport and other things like that.  

So ya, it´s a very different experience here than I´m used to but I think I´ll enjoy it.  The work's the same, bringing people unto Christ but now I just have a slightly more administrative role for some of the day. I´m learning a ton here and everything is great.

Love you all!!!!!

Elder Smith

Thanks for the birthday package mom!!!!  It´s just like last year ;)

Cody and Elder Jungers

Monday, January 25, 2016

I Got Changed!

January 25, 2016

Well we were very surprised to hear that I had changes and not Nave.  I got sent to the office to be the mission financial secretary.  Our pdays are on Wednesday so I´ll write you then.  

Love you!  

Sorry you have to wait two more days.

Elder Smith

p.s. My companion's name is Elder Jungers

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Happy Birthday Dad!!!!!!!!!!!!

January 18, 2016

Well it was another great week.

  On Tuesday I did divisions with Elder Avila again for a while and it was cool.  Elder Avila is a cool guy.  On Wednesday for my birthday the whole mission had a giant party and went to the beach.  Well... we went to the beach to celebrate reaching the goal for last year but it was still my birthday.  I didn't want to be on the wrong end of the tradition of smashing eggs on peoples heads for their birthday so I didn't tell anyone and I swore Elder Nave to secrecy.  But President and Sister Russell knew so they wished me a happy birthday and a lot of people overheard them and found out.  But nobody had eggs to smash on my head so it was all good.

   So our zone took a bus to a beach called Playa Gigante which is really close to San Juan Del Sur and president and Sister Russell had rented a resort thing and we had a big American BBQ.  It was refreshing to have a real burger and hot dog and chips.  Then we changed into p-day clothes and went out to the beach to do activities like soccer, volleyball, ultimate.  but nobody took it very seriously.  It was just nice to be out on the beach.  Then we got back together and president gave us the goal for this year, 2,600 baptisms.  We`ve got a lot of work to do haha.  It kind of sucked having to put our missionary clothes back on to go home because we were so sandy but it worked out.

  Then the rest of the week was really just focused on the baptisms.  Erica and Dominga both got baptized without any sort of problem.  Also Efraìn is progressing well and should get baptized this week.  Hopefully his testigo family doesn't give us a problem.  In church we had Erica, Dominga, Erica`s mom, Efraìn, Jonathen, Luisa, Julio, Lucila, and Urania.  Please pray for all of them.  Jonathen is a friend of a member who we've been teaching, Luisa is family of a member and we've been teaching her and her sister.  Julio and Lucila are brother and sister and their mom is Urania.  Urania is the sister of a recent convert here. Really everyone we`re teaching is a reference from the members.  This ward is amazing and with the recent success here they`re starting to get pretty excited.

So this week please pray for everyone who came to church and especially for Efraìn.  We have changes this week.  I`ll probably stay but we`re not sure if Elder Nave will be staying.

  I had a great birthday and I`d like to thank everyone for their continued thoughts and prayers.  I love you all and I hope that you know that you`re in my prayers.  

Also everyone tell Dad happy birthday tomorrow!!

Love you!!

Elder Smith

Wow, that's a lot of baptisms!

Elder Smith and Elder Nave

Elder Nave, Erica and Dominga, Cody
(Not sure which girl is which)

Yummy BBQ to celebrate



Monday, January 11, 2016


January 11, 2016

Hello family!!

Well it wasn't that exciting of a week in the sense that there weren't earthquakes or big holidays or anything but it was still a really good week.

As always, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were normal days of work as normal.  We worked extra-hard with Henry, Anyel, and Carolina so they could get baptized (and so Carolina could get confirmed).  I honestly can´t even tell you how blessed we were with Anyel and Henry.  We couldn't teach Anyel very well because he already knows every thing.  He´s already asking us about the Urim and Thummim and stuff.  Henry just has so much support from his member girlfriend.  Henry and Anyel both showed up to church, lessons, and their baptisms on their own which is a miracle here.  We´re also teaching a kid named Efraín who went to church with a member family a couple weeks ago.  He´s like 9 or 10 but he´s like an adult in a kid´s body.  His parents are Jehovah´s Witnesses but they´re ok with us teaching him and him getting baptized on the 23rd.  But they could change their mind so we´re being careful there.  Jonathen is a guy that went to church last week that we've been teaching but he didn't go this week.  We´ll pass by tomorrow and see what´s up with him.

Anyway, on Friday we had Zone Meeting in Diriamba.  It was nice.  The zone has some big goals for this month so we´ll see if everyone can pull through.  
On Saturday we had the baptisms of Henry and Anyel and everything went smoothly there.  It did start about 40 minutes late but that´s on time in Nica time.  After his baptism we went over with Anyel and watched the Restoration video which was very cool and spiritual as always.  I think he showed it to his parents after we left too.  
Sunday morning was pretty crazy because we had to go by Carolina, Reina, and familia Arias.  We got Carolina and Reina but it took them a long time to get ready.  We showed up for family Arias and they sent us off with Alfredo, Victoria, Dominga, and Erica.  Dominga and Erica are going to get baptized  next week and Alfredo and Victoria got baptized last month.  Alfredo will be getting the priesthood next week.  In church we had 8 investigators: Alfredo, Dominga, Henry, Anyel, Carolina, Efraín, Reina, and a lady a member brought.  In sacrament meeting all the youth that just got back from a camp that´s like EFY bore their testimonies and then I had to talk (but I was planning on it)  I started at about 10 and spoke for about 8 minutes.  I just thanked them for all the help the members had given us with the baptisms we had this week (the ward here really helped us out a lot) and gave them some ideas of things they can do to be good member missionaries, i.e. hold a family home evening with us and a nonmember friend etc.  I thought about you during my talk mom and beamed out my support for you because I knew you´d be talking within an hour.  By what everyone said it sounds like you had a pretty dang good talk.  I was a lot less nervous for my talk this week which was  nice. 

So this week we have Dominga, Erica, and Reina preparing to get baptized.  They´re going to be needing a lot of prayers though.  Please also pray for Efraín and Jonathen.
This week will be crazy because on Wednesday we´re going to the beach as our award for reaching our goal in 2015, and we have to get Reina, Dominga, and Erica ready for their baptisms.  But I´m looking forward to it, it´ll be a great week.

I´m truly grateful for how many miracles and blessings we´re seeing every day.  I know that this is the Lord´s work.  He´s truly blessing us with this ward.  I could go on and on about how great this ward is.  They help us find new people to teach, they help us teach those people, and then they help those people stay active after their baptisms.  It´s so wonderful because that´s how missionary work should be.  D&C 38: 40 - 41 explains how every member is a missionary.  It´s so true. 

But anyway I hope everyone has a great week!  Know that you´re in my prayers always!


Elder Smith

Cody, Henry & Elder Nave

Cody, Elder Nave, Anyel and his parents

One pair of Cody's shoes are already worn out.  The left one is another elder's new one and the right one is Cody's.

Monday, January 4, 2016


January 4, 2016

guess the exciting part of the week was that on the morning of New Years Eve at like 5 AM there was a category 5.6 earthquake centered right here in Masatepe.  And the only person in all of Masatepe and the surrounding towns to sleep through it was...........  me.  Yep I was mad.  Right when it ended Elder Nave woke me up and was like dude, that was a sick earthquake.  Apparently it was going on for like 3 or 4 minutes and he didn't wake me up.  But there wasn't any damage or anything in Masatepe that I know of.  Apparently there are just a ton of earthquakes all the time in Nicaragua.

So ya it´s definitely been a good week.  We´ve been working hard teaching Anyel, Henry, and familia Arias.  Anyel is soooo amazing.  We never teach him anything.  He just already knows everything and is one step ahead of us.  Maybe we can get him this week when we teach him lesson 5 (priesthood, temples etc.).  Henry is really cool too but not quite as cool.  His girlfriend is giving him a lot of nudges to do his homework and everything but he does it willingly.  The nudges don´t hurt though. Family Arias is going well.  We already baptized Alfredo and Victoria and now we´re focusing on Dominga (age 13) and Erika (age 9).  We´re also focusing on Mera the mom and Leopoldina the Grandma but they aren't progressing quite as fast.  We also focused really hard on Carolina to get her confirmed this week.

  So some people have asked about what happens on New Years Eve in Nicaragua...  Basically it´s a lot like Christmas Eve.  Everyone gets super drunk and then at midnight they go absolutely crazy with fireworks.  The fireworks here are way more about noise than the fire.  At midnight it was soooo loud.  Also everyone eats rice and chicken in an orange sauce and gets together and most people do a piñata.  It´s quite a party.

This week familia Arias gave us some weird food.  I ate cow tongue earlier this week.  I thought it tasted a bit weird and figured it was some animal I don´t usually eat like goat or something but nope, she told me after that it was cow tongue.  It was ok but not that great.  Also yesterday they gave us pig head meat.  I have no idea what part of the head it was but I got lucky I think because I just got a solid chunk of meat.  Other people got like ears and other interesting stuff.  The head meat was also ok but not great.  Meat here just isn´t the same.  Not so trustworthy either.

We had a pretty dang good Sunday here.  We got 8 people to church.  But not Carolina.  She went on a surprise trip to Granada on Saturday night and didn't come home until after church.  If she doesn´t get confirmed this week she´ll have to get rebaptized.  In the morning we got Reina and sent her to church.  She is an investigator that goes to church a lot but has some obstacles in the way so she can´t get baptized for a bit.  We went to familia Areas and Erika and Dominga came (as well as Alfredo and Victoria).  So there were three investigators in church that we brought.  Anyel showed up on his own.  Henry showed up with his girlfriend. And the members just brought three other people that we´re going to teach this week.  Sorry I don´t really know them yet.

So on Saturday will be the baptisms of Anyel and Henry.  Please be sure to pray for Anyel, Henry, Carolina, Familia Arias, and Jonathan (went with member to church this week)


Elder Smith

For breakfast we made tajadas and maduro which is fried platano (plantain in english I think)  Tajadas are made with hard platano and maduro with soft platanos

Oreo with fried platano