Thursday, May 26, 2016

Ups and Downs

May 25, 2016

Hello Family!

Well it´s been a week of ups and downs.  

 Silvio wanted to get interviewed and baptized Thursday morning so he had an interview with Elder Jungers in the church and he even brought his towel and a change of underwear but unfortunately he didn´t pass his interview, and so he wasn´t baptized.  And he got offended because of it and dropped us.  It was possibly the saddest day of my mission so far.   

  Then on Sunday we were very very very blessed.  We got out to the area at 7 AM to start bringing people to church and we sweat our butt´s off and probably walked like 500 miles but something weird happened;  people actually went!

  Familia Murillo went again, I´ll include a pic we took at church.  (Sorry - no picture of the family was included with the email.)  They even got white shirts to look like us haha.  And Kenia went.  And the mom and daughter from a family we found last Sunday went, their names are Dania and Noelia.  The dad wasn't able to go but is going this week and the mom and daughter really liked church and the dad will go this week.  They also brought their two year old son and he was very crazy during church.  I'm surprised they liked it so much because most of the time was spent wrestling the kid.  Also Oneida´s sister-in-law went and her son.  Their names are Anyelka and Kerwell (pronounced Kirway).  And a lady went that we had found the day before named Grisselda.  She didn't like church though and dropped us on Monday.  And on Saturday we invited a member to bring a friend to church so she did.  This member went.  The friend LOVED church.  We went back that evening to teach her and found out that she had actually been baptized 12 years ago.  Haha the member brought her member friend to church.  But the member didn't even know that her friend was a member.  But the lady that went to church has four kids so we started teaching them all together and they love the lessons.  It´ll be good for the lady too because she went inactive not long after her baptism 12 years ago.

  So things are going well here.  We´re staying really busy teaching all of these people that have been going to church.  Next week we have changes so that will be crazy and busy.  But it´s ok.  I won´t be leaving the office and I sure hope I´ll stay in the area because June is looking to be a great month for us. 

Love you all!

Elder Smith

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

May 18, 2016

Hello family,

 We had a good week.  

  Silvio got his answer and is going to get baptized.  The only question is when.  He started working as a substitute security guard and basically doesn´t have any time off and only finds out his schedule the day before so we can´t really plan beforehand.  And even if we could  baptize him on like Friday or Saturday there´s no guarantee that he would have work off on Sunday to get confirmed.  And apparently this type of industry treats the employees like crap and if they can´t get any time off even if they find a replacement or ask for it off way in advance.  So we´re at a good place with him but not all the way there.  He got his answer when he read the Book of Mormon with us after a long day of security guard training when he was pretty down.  He said it was the first time the Book of Mormon has "filled his soul" like the Bible does.  After that we knelt down and prayed.  And prayed.  And prayed.  In the end we prayed 9 times, all of us taking turns for three rounds.  I´m not exactly sure why, but it just felt right to all of us.  And after he said that he had just forgotten all of his worries while we were praying.  I guess there´s no commandment giving a limit on how much you can pray.  We´re told to pray always.  This stuff really works people.  But please pray your hearts out for him that he can get the time off work he needs to get baptized and confirmed.
  Another highlight of the week was the Familia Murillo.  The dad, Marlon, the mom Elizabeth, and a son named Aaron all went to church.  The other baptist daughter is the one that thought that Joseph Smith was black.  They went to church and it was a bit of a sacrifice for Marlon to miss work but it was awesome that he had to faith to skip it and keep the Sabbath Day holy.  Then we found out the next day that while he was on church on Sunday his work burned down.  So maybe he would have been harmed or something if he had worked and he was blessed for going to church?  could be.  Who knows.  I´m not going to try to guess why God does some of the things he does but I trust that it´s for our good (see 2 Nephi 26:24).  But now please pray that Marlon can find another job.  But they are an amazingly positive and cool family and it´s honestly a pleasure to be able to teach them.  The son, Aaron just loved primary too and Marlon loved Priesthood, and Elizabeth loved Relief Society.  Elizabeth said it was the first church that´s actually felt right, like they were at home.  She also said Marlon didn´t want to leave after it was over.

   We´re working with Kenia still, and Oneida and her son Freddy.  Kenia kind of flaked out on Sunday, leaving to visit her mom the night before and not coming back until after church, but she´s still pretty positive and wants to go this week.  Oneida had to work but please pray that she won´t have to this week.  After church on Sunday we just went out contacting, trying to find new people and we were able to find a lot of people.  We put fechas in four different households, including one pretty positive family.  We´ll see if they continue being positive and if they go to church.  

    Things are going pretty good over here, it´s been pretty tranquilo here in the office and I haven´t had any really stressful stuff going on.

Happy Birthday Alyssa!
Happy Birthday tomorrow Delaney!


Elder Smith

We found the Nicaraguan Scouts...

Thursday, May 12, 2016

May 11, 2016

Hello Family!!

  Talking on Sunday was great!  It´s always sad it has to end but hey, Christmas is almost upon us right?   

  So I don´t really remember everything I told you when we talked on Sunday so I´ll just start from the beginning and I imagine I´ll be forgiven if I repeat something.

   At church on Sunday we brought 6 people.  It was great because four of them were completely new people that we had contacted last week.  It´s always great to get someone for the first time and not have them just lie to you and make up ridiculous excuses.  The only problem with that is it means that only two people that we were already teaching went, Silvio and Lillibell (we learned last week her name is Lillibell and not Lissabeth.  That´s what happens when latinos give their kids american names, they can´t pronounce them).  Lillibell has now gone three times to church in a row but not without a bit of encouragement and pushing and prodding.  But we´re working with her and her partner.  She lacks a lot on the part of keeping certain commandments but please pray for her so she can be worthy to get baptized.  Silvio came and it was his birthday.  He wasn´t going to come but we got him to go and then go to his birthday party in Masaya after church.  He really does want an answer to his prayers and he has a lot of faith.  Pleas pray for him that he can receive his answer this week.  He´s to the point where as soon as he receives his answer he wants to get baptized so if it comes before Saturday, we´ll have a baptism on Saturday.  So please pray also that he´ll be able to recognize the answer when it does come also.

   One person that came to church was Daniela, the daughter of the really cool family we found (the one that thought Joseph Smith was black).  She went even though she´s a really big baptist expecting that her mom was going to show up and meet us but something happened and she couldn´t come which was very disappointing but Daniela enjoyed church.  Also a lady named Kenia came and brought her niece.  Kenia is really cool and sincere.  Next week I think she´s going to bring her 2 year old and 5 year old so it could be a bit of a jungle in there but it´s ok.  The sad thing is that the niece she brought on Sunday lives pretty far away and already left.  She was just here visiting.  The other new person is a lady named Oneida.  She is cool and was a bit of a miracle.  We were calling her in the morning and she had left the house to run an errand.  And when someone tells you that in Nicaragua it´s usually a stupid excuse and they stay out for a long time to not have to go to church.  But she said she´d call us at 8:55 when she got home, so we figured she´d probably never call and we were a bit sad.  So we rented a taxi in the morning that was just going bang bang bang from the church to an investigators house back to the church to drop them off to another investigator etc.  So at 8:55 I get a call from her and she said she was just walking out of her house to go to church so we just said stay right there and we´ll be there in two minutes in a taxi.  It was such an awesome, atypical thing for a nica to do.  

   Something sad that happened yesterday:  We passed a group of like 4 12 year old kids as we were leaving the area at night and they just walked past.  And then like 10 seconds later I felt a sharp pain on my elbow where a rock the size of my fist hit me.  The stupid punks were throwing rocks at us!  They missed on the rest of their throws but it really just made me sad that that´s the way these kids end up after being on the streets so early in life.  It´s just super sad.  It took a lot of restraint to just walk away and not say anything.  

   For Pday today we didn´t really do anything.  We ran some errands.  Ate at McDonalds (I had a mcdouble with a junior mcpollo in the middle of the two patty´s.  in combo with an ice cream sundae.  I´m eating like a king out here.  Then I took a nap.  It was much needed.

Well I love you!  Have fun in these times without weddings coming up or anything where you can relax a bit!


Elder Smith

Cody's closet
Backyard of Cody's house - where the 6 office elders and the 2 APs live

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Rainy season is starting‏

May 4, 2016

Hello Family,

  I´m glad everything went great at the wedding!  Congrats Delaney and Rich!  Barely having space from the extra ice cream doesn´t sound like too bad of a problem to have.  Now the question is, will I be next or will Peyton be?  Dun dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.

   We had a good week.  Kind of.  Sunday really sucked.  It reminded me of my Juigalpa days.  Everyone just lied to our faces to get out of going to church and it really bugged me.  Please don´t lie everyone that reads this.  God made it one of the ten commandments for a reason.  Same with the Sabbath day.  Just saying.

   But the two people that did go to church are Lisabeth and Silvio.  Silvio is cool in the sense that he completes with his commitments but not quite so cool in some of the weird religious philosophies he has from misinterpreted and understood biblical passages.  He has the requirements to be baptized but not the will right now.  We passed with the ZLs yesterday (Hanson and Merrill) to see if we could talk him into it but he wasn´t ready and hasn´t received the answer he´s looking for.  But at least he´s going to church, reading, and praying.  He just needs to do that with the intention of changing and becoming better and not just for curiosity and I know his answer will come.  

   Lisabeth is the partner of a golf caddy named Ricardo (in one of the 4 golf courses in Nicaragua). Ricardo is actually way more positive than Lisabeth but he works and can´t go to church.  Lisabeth just does nothing all day so she goes to church but doesn´t understand quite as much as Ricardo.  We´ll teach them the Law of Chastity this week and try and get them married.  Other than that the investigators we´d been working with started sucking pretty bad.  José, who went to church the previous week said he´ll go this week and he´s a guy that completes with his word.  

  On Sunday after church we were pretty frustrated and just got to work contacting to find some new people to make up for the disappointment at church.  We contacted and contacted and just couldn´t find anyone positive or put any fechas.  But then, the 46th, and 47th people we contacted ended up being super cool.  They are a family that invited us in and sat us down and the lady just started off saying, I just want to know why there are so many churches and how I can find the right one.  So me and Elder Aitken just looked at each other and smiled and taught the restoration and put a fecha with them.  The lesson was complicated slightly by the presence of the lady´s super evangelica daughter who doesn´t like us at all.  She will often drop in stuff during a lesson to try and cause stupid doubts (ie I heard you worship Joseph Smith... etc) and it´s cool because the mom just defends us (ie "They just explained that he´s a prophet, so obviously he´s not a God to them and they don´t worship him.)  So we´re really excited for this couple.   Also a funny thing, the daughter was surprised when she saw a pic of Joseph Smith because she thought he was black because Will Smith is black.  

  This morning our zone had interviews with President Russell and that was a good experience.  Then we did some errands for office stuff, then we ate lunch then we just went to the house and crashed for a long time.  It felt so good.  And I washed my clothes.  

   And it started raining this week.  It´s just raining a bit about every day but it´s coming.  I´m going to use the water proofing spray I brought on my backpack and scripture cases and stuff again.  

   I thought you might like to see a picture of a weird looking huge spider we found on the floor.  It´s a lot bigger than the pic makes it look.  Also, in dad´s honor, a pic of the pub mix I bought at PriceSmart.  Also a pic of a garbage river thing in my area where we were contacting on .

Have a great week!  Can´t wait to skype on Sunday!!  

Elder Smith

April 27, 2016

Hello Family,

  Sounds like you´ve been about as busy as a family can expect to be the week before the wedding.  But it sounds like everything is about ready so that´s good.  Hopefully everything turns out perfect for the big day tomorrow!  Congrats Delaney and Rich!  Know that my thoughts and love will be there with you at the wedding even though I can´t!

   It´s been a tough, and good week.  We´re working hard in our area to find some positive people for May.  We worked our butts off last week to find, teach, and commit a ton of people to church so we could meet the norm of 7 in church on Sunday.  On Sunday morning bringing people to church we got off to a bad start as a really positive family we had started teaching just dropped us right there because they were too lazy to go to church.  Then the next 4 people we committed wouldn´t go either.  But then a guy we had met the day before named Jose Vivas went to get to know the church and he was really cool and is turning out pretty positive.  Also a lady whose son got baptized last year went and took another son who isn´t baptized yet either.  Also Silvio went on his own.  He´s really cool.  Also we got a lady we had met two days earlier to go.  Her Grandma is a member and so is her aunt.  It took a lot of convincing to get her and she´s not too positive.  So we made it to church with only five people, which is good but we were a bit let down because of our massive effort to make the norm only to fall short two people.  But when we got there a guy came on his own that lives in our area and a member brought  his friend that lives in our area so we ended up with 7!  It´s a big testimony builder to know that the Lord asks that we give him everything, and when we fall short, as we always do, he makes up the rest, but only after all we can do.
  So Silvio is probably the smartest, and possibly the most sincere investigator I´ve ever had.  He wants to receive an answer about Joseph Smith so bad that he´s doing a two-day fast today and tomorrow to help him receive an answer.  On Sunday there were a couple talks on fasting in church and he said that and tithing are things he really likes about the church because we actually follow what the bible teaches and don´t just try to please the members to get more people to church.  Please pray for him that he can receive an answer to his prayers, or better yet, understand the answer he is bound to receive.

   We´ve had several training meetings this week that I´ve had to get food and stuff for but it´s been fairly easy.  Today was the worst.  We´ve had to do a lot of errands and stuff and we basically lost most of our pday which is a bummer but oh well, the thing about pday is it comes every week so it´s ok.

   Well have fun at the wedding, congrats Delaney and Rich.  

Love You!!!

Elder Smith