Wednesday, April 20, 2016


April 20, 2016

Well it´s been a very busy week.  Very busy.  Cambios suck.  On Monday I had to get all the food and crap for the new missionary training which includes breakfast, dinner, lunch, snacks, drinks.  I had to do my financial presentation for the training during lunch and I had to do all of it while coordinating divisions with other missionaries because my companion was out with chicken pox and was unable to contribute.  So that was fun.  Then on Tuesday was actual changes which was horrible for many of the same reasons.  My comp has been in the house since Saturday and we had to bring in a "mini-missionary" (a member preparing to serve a mission that acts as a missionary for about a week at a time when you need them).  So yesterday I had to give a crap load of reimbursements, coordinate lunch for the new missionaries and their trainers, and lunch for the departing missionaries.  I also had to figure out how to set up the translators for the new gringo missionaries and some wireless microphones, but my stage crew experience really helped with that.  On Monday night we were in the office until 2:30 in the morning doing things preparatory for changes like getting everything ready for the new houses that would be needed for new areas, updating phone lists and president´s board etc.  So changes finished on Tuesday and it was actually really rewarding to look back at changes and realize just how much we had done to help out and make them a success.  And then we went out and worked.  Oh and I had changes too.  But it wasn't a big deal because I just moved from San Judas II to San Judas III which is next door to my old area.  It´s just way smaller and scarier than my old area.  But it´s had a lot of success in the past so I´m excited.  Elder Jungers got a new companion, Elder Petty, for him to train as the new General Secretary.  I got put with Elder Aitken, who is the materials secretary.  He only has one change more than me.  He got  put in the office last change so I already know him fairly well.  He´s from St George.  Elder Petty, Aitken, and Jungers were all together in San Rafael a few changes ago so it´ll be a pretty crazy house with all of their shenanagans haha.  It´ll be fun :)

   Maria Del Carmen got baptized on Friday.  The baptism was at a time where there weren't really any members home to be able to baptize her so I got to do it.  I was worried that I would kill her if I shoved her too hard under the water but she was fine.  We couldn't find a key for the chapel either because the guy we use was in the hospital so we were searching around for a key and before we picked up Maria and we showed up to the chapel like half an hour early to see if anyone was by chance already inside but no one was inside and it was locked.  But Maria was outside.  She showed up to her baptism an hour early and just patiently waited outside in the shade.  Right after the baptism we went to the hospital for Elder Jungers who we already thought had chicken pox and we went to the same doctor I've been going to for my Bronchitis.  She confirmed that it was chicken pox.  So he had to wait in the house from that point on.  She also listened to my lungs while we were there and said they sounded good.  I only cough now if I forget to take my medicine (which doesn't happen often).  

   On Sunday since my comp was out of the picture and couldn't go to church I went out in the morning with Elder Hironaka (an AP) to bring people to church.  Maria Del Carmen was ready an hour early for her confirmation and we sent her off, Rosa was ready and we got her off without a problem.  We went to Fabricio and his sister and the two kids who I had committed the night before with Elder Hughes and Fabricio and his sister had left and only one of the kids was home.  So we decided we´d take what we could get and we got the kid, Justin, to go and took him to the house of the other kid to get him to go but the other one didn't want to go even though us, his friend, and his mom were encouraging him very strongly to go.  Then we went to Maria who went last week with a member and she was already in a dress so we had high hopes but she refused to go because her super catholic mom was back in town and got mad at her for listening to us.  She kind of just dropped us right there.  It ended up being kind of a tough Sunday and week because the preparation stuff for changes and the baptism greatly limited the time we had to work in the area.  But we interviewed Rosa on Sunday and we´re planning on baptizing her on Saturday.  But now it will be Elder Jungers and Petty that baptize her.  It doesn't matter who gets credit though, as long as she gets baptized.  

    For Pday today after we studied we slept and slept after only two hours of sleep the night before.  Then we went to Masaya to the huge market there and I bought some cool Barcelona Jersey´s and he bought a new backpack.  Then we went to Mirador Catarina where we looked out over the laguna de apoyo, the lake with the bluest water in Nicaragua (which is'´t really saying anything because most lakes here have pretty brown and nasty water).  It was really cool but everything there was super expensive because it´s a pretty touristy place.   Out on the other side of the lagoon we could see Granada and past it lake Nicaragua.  I´ve still never been to Granada but I´d like to sometime.  I´m sure I´ll get the chance sometime in my mission.

   I don´t really know much about the investigators in my new area yet.  I know that it´s not been too successful this last month but we´re going to work really hard to turn that around.  I´m excited to be with Elder Aitken because he´s a hard worker and both of us are still fairly young on the mission and enthusiastic and wanting to work hard.  It´s different because up until now I've been with much older, more experienced missionaries so I´m excited for the change.

   Mom, I can definitely relate to your frustrations and stress with getting crap together for the wedding haha.  Good job running dad, it sounds like you´re going to do great in the marathon that´s coming up.  Which marathon is it?  Utah Valley?  

   Good luck with the final wedding preparation this week.  Hopefully you get my letters that I sent this week.  

Love you!!

Elder Smith
Cody and Elder Aitken in Masaya in horse buggy thing

Cody, Maria del Carmen, Elder Jungers
Laguna de Apoyo

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

April 13, 2016

Hello family!

  Sounds like you´re staying nice and busy.  I am too don´t worry.  We´re in it together.

  So on Sunday Fabricio came to church, no problem but his sister and the two kids didn' so that was too bad.  Fabricio is a cool guy that is really good about reading what we leave him and doing his homework etc. but has a lot of doubts about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith but he´s good because he´s open to have his doubts resolved and not super closed minded.  His fecha is for the 23rd but we´ll see because he drinks a lot of coffee.

   Rosa also went to church again this week.  She's just a really sweet and sincere oldish lady.  We taught her Word of Wisdom this week and she really understood it and realized she needs to stop drinking coffee.  But she's pretty addicted, which is pretty sad.  Coffee just holds this country with an iron fist that reeks of coffee.  She´s been really, sincerely trying to stop drinking it and then she gets horrible head aches and such but she's making progress.  Pray for her please.  Almost as President Uchtdorf said in conference, if man can rebuild a church that got bombed to ashes, god can definitely help Rosa stop drinking coffee.  I think that´s basically what he said, or at least what I heard...

   We have a new investigator (a reference!  Woohoo!!) named Maria who we teach at a member's house.  The member, Carlos, is super dope and brought her to church, answers her doubts etc.  That's really how missionary work should be.  So Maria went to church this week but she´s pretty catholic so we´ll see.

  Last and definitely not least, Maria Del Carmen.  Her fecha is for this Saturday.  She went to church and liked it.  She previously had only gone to church in Altagracia for stake conference and then for General Conference so this was her first time in San Judas and her first time in normal church meetings.  We brought the ZLs over yesterday to interview her and when one asked what baptism was (before the interview had started and we were just talking) she just said, it's how we become clean of our sins and how we become a Mormon.  Nice.  I really liked that answer.  So she's good for this week.  It´s amazing to see how blessed she's been since she started coming to church and listening to us, and I know she´ll be even more blessed after she gets baptized.

  We were contacting the other day and we found an old lady with her granddaughter and we sat down with them and started teaching them.  The grandma showed us a bunch of catholic stuff on the wall and started telling us about how she had gone into a coma and had a big surgery and they cut out a big chunk of her head (I forgot to mention the huge hole in her head) and how God saved her to live longer and how it was a big miracle.  This lady just talked and talked and wouldn't let us get a word in.  But then she started just bashing on other religions, including Catholicism, which we though was weird considering the fact that she said she´s catholic.  So we taught her a bit and put a fecha which she accepted fairly easily.  Then she´s like, my kids aren't baptized either.  So we invited the granddaughter to prepare to be baptized as well and she accepted.  And that was fine and great but then another granddaughter that we hadn't seen yet walked by and the Grandma is like, hey Maria, you´re going to church with us and you´re getting baptized with your sister with the Mormons!  The granddaughter was like, ummm  maybe I'll have to listen to them first.  And the grandma accepted that answer.  I don´t know why I told you that story.  It was just kind of funny to me.  She started out being this catholic lady we didn't think would be very positive and she ended up choosing for her grand kids that they´d get baptized.  So I guess we´ll see if they come to church.

  I guess it´s been a pretty typical week.  We have changes next week so I´ll be spending a lot of time dealing with those.  I have a lot of food to order and stuff like that but it shouldn't be as bad as last time because I know a little better what I´m doing.  

   Today we went shopping at a grocery store called La Colonia after I got my hair cut and sent some letters.  I found some pretty cool stuff at the store that I haven't seen at the store for a VERY LONG TIME.  There was Tostitos queso and Salsa and cheddar cheese and pepperoni (the same brand we buy at home).  So I got stuff to make cheese and crackers and I got tortilla chips and queso and Salsa.  I'm very excited!  And I found Kit Kats.  So here´s a picture of the Kit Kats.  

   Well, I hope you all have a great week!  Good luck with the AP test Peyton, oh and good job at tour.  Good luck with finals Delaney and Rich.  Keep beating up those criminals Matt.  Don't run yourself to death Dad but good job.  Good job getting those wedding invitations out Mom and Delaney!


Elder Smith

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

8 Months

April 6, 2016

Hello Family!!

  It sounds like you had a pretty good week.  Mom and Dad, sorry about the Bo incident.... It sounds like he does deserve to sleep outside for a little while... But not too long!!  and not in the rain!  Speaking of rain, it rained for the first time of the year this week.  Luckily it was only one morning, but the rainy season is coming and I´m not too excited for it.  It actually seemed to cool down just a little bit this week.  But maybe not idk.

   So the highlight of the week was obviously conference!  What I heard I greatly enjoyed and I'm excited to go back and study what I wasn't able to hear.  So on Saturday morning we didn't have any investigators that could go so we couldn't either.  Saturday afternoon we got Maria Del Carmen to go and she really liked it.  Now she´s been to church twice and we´re hoping that she can get baptized the 16th.  But because we didn't bring four investigators on Saturday afternoon I couldn't stay and watch conference which was sad.  For priesthood session we went with Stanley (the 83 year old guy that got baptized in January before I got here) and Kirby.  Stanley was kind of out of it but Kirby thoroughly enjoyed it!  It´s been really amazing to see the change in him and his family since we met him and he got baptized.  On Sunday morning we had four investigators come (we could've stayed anyway because it was a freebie session) but it was nice to feel like I had "earned" getting to stay at that session.  It was wonderful to hear the prophet speak and I was especially excited for dad when he announced the Quito temple.  I was sitting on the edge of my seat hoping that they´d finally announce one here in Nicaragua but it looks like we´ll have to wait at least another 6 months.  The four that came on Sunday morning were Javier and Celeste Robleto, a new lady named Rosa that we contacted last week, and Kirby´s mom, Nancy.  Rosa is just a little shy old lady that hardly ever says anything but when she does say something it amazes you because she really is listening.  On Sunday afternoon we brought four people as well and so we were able to stay and watch that session.  We brought Fabricio, who I explained last week, his sister Areceli (sp?), His nephew Justin (12 yrs old) and Justin´s friend Osmar (maybe Omar, not sure).  They really liked it though Fabricio definitely stayed more focused than his sister or the kids.  

   So it was great.  We have lots of new people that went to conference that are now progressing investigators.  Please pray that they can stay positive and go to church this week as well.  Conference in Spanish isn´t too hard to understand for me if I´m really focused.  So as long as I was really putting in the effort to listen and understand I got everything.  I even got Elder Uchtdorf´s joke in spanish in Priesthood session!!  I´m just excited to go back and listen to Saturday.  Also I don´t think I understood Elder Holland´s talk too well, I´ll probably look that one up as well.  

   This coming week is actually pretty normal, there´s nothing big or exciting going on in the mission at the moment like multizones or changes.  But changes are starting to creep up on me (they´re on the 20th) and the next week will start getting a bit crazy.  I've had a tiny bit of a cough for a bit but it's starting to go away which is nice.  

   Sounds like Prom was fun Peyton!  You looked really beautiful!  Good job with doing wedding crap Delaney and Rich.  Good luck with finals! Sounds like the concert was fun mom and dad.  Good job beating up all the thugs Matt.  Nice. 

   Well sorry this is kind of a short email.  It´s been a pretty normal and uneventful week.  

Love you,

 Elder Smith