Wednesday, July 27, 2016

July 27, 2016

Hello Family!!!

  We had a good week.  Saturday was probably the most interesting, out of the ordinary day.  We went at 9 to the church and had comp study with the priests we worked with that day.  I worked with Walter, who got baptized in December, and Manuel who got baptized about two years ago.  They're both 16.  It was a bit of a challenge with Manuel because he can't read or write but we got through it.  We spent the morning going door to door contacting and walking super fast to give Manuel and Walter a genuine experience and to make them sweat a bit, then at noon we went to the bishop's house with all the other priests and missionaries and had a pretty good meal.  Then we went back out and got everything ready for Luis's baptism.  We set up the chapel while Elder Petty and his comp went to get Luis.  Everything went fine in the baptism and Luis was super excited.  Also Brizza got baptized.  You probably don't remember her but she's Kirby and Monica's daughter who turned 8 this month.  Her baptism was with the ward and wasn't one of ours because her parents are members and she's 8 but I was still very happy to see her get baptized because she's really cool.  Then we contacted some more and at 6 the activity ended and the priests had a wrap-up meeting to close the two-day activity they had done and we left to keep working.  

   On Sunday Luis and Brizza got confirmed.  Aaron went to church but his mom lied and said she was sick and his little brother Melvin wouldn't go either.  Mel went (Veronica's husband) and Cristina went to.  We found out that Cristina's partner isn't divorced either so that will push her baptism back even farther.  Luckily she goes to church every week and her family that is baptized is a good support for her.  

   On Monday we passed by to talk to Luis and we also taught his mom.  She said she doesn't like the church because we're so insistent that she get married and not just live with her partner but she loves everything else about the church.  Eventually she randomly asked us what day the 22nd of August was and we're like, ummm a Monday.  She just said I'd like to get baptized that day if it's ok with you guys.  So we're like yep, that would be just fine.  But we have to work on getting her married and to church.  She's just made dumb excuses the last few weeks to not go to church so we'll see what happens.  Pray for her!!

  Oliver said he was going to do something for a new job Sunday morning so he couldn't go.  So we passed by later and he said he didn't even go because he slept in.  Come on!!  That made me really mad.  So we'll see with him.  Also WAMMY didn't go to church but they felt really bad and say they'll go this week for sure.  I sure hope so.  They are such a pain to teach haha.  They have an extremely small attention span.  We'll be looking very hard for new investigators this week.

   Something funnyish that happened... Manuel gave a talk this week and basically said,  "Working with Elder Smith was great, we got to go and do what real missionaries do and we walked a lot and it was hard.  And we got to fight with like two Testigos!"  Well, apparently Manuel doesn't really understand what it is to fight with people because I just talked to them, found out they weren't positive, shared a little about the restoration, bore my testimony and invited them to church.  I didn't even fight with them, accuse them, or pull out the bible on them.  So now the ward thinks I just go around picking fights with the other religions.  Whatever.  

Today we had interviews with President Brown and mine was really good.  He´s a very spiritual guy and I love him so much already.  He´s making it so we don´t have to come in to the office until 10 every day so we can have enough time to do legitimate studying every morning which I think will help me a lot.  

Remember how when President Chugg set me apart he blessed me to reach the parents and families through the children?  Ya that´s totally being completed.

Real quick answers to some questions from mom:  On Sundays after church we eat lunch with a member until like 2 then we go out and work as if it were any normal day.  Usually we find a member or convert to feed us dinner and give us coke.  In the office I get here at nine and usually just do crap on the computer and call people about housing stuff and deal with the problems that come in and stuff.  Then we go to McDonalds or Subway at 12 and come back and do the same thing until 3 then go work.  Usually I end up taking a trip to do something like go to the bank or pay light or water bills and stuff.

Well, have a great week everyone!!  In exactly 1 year I´ll be in the Atlanta airport waiting to board my flight to SLC. 


Elder Smith

Cody, Luis, Elder Petty
Cody, Brizza, Elder Petty

Zona Universitaria

Friday, July 22, 2016

July 20, 2016

Hello Family!!

   We were really blessed this week.

   So on Thursday I got up at like 2:30 in the morning to go to the airport with the departing missionaries to help them pay their extra bag fees and stuff.  That made me kind of tired I guess but after we were able to sleep for a bit.  The airport is always weird because it´s full of white people.  I heard some super deep southern accents and was trying to teach Elder Alcerro what a redneck is.  I don´t think he got it very well. 

   On Thursday and Friday after the office we found quite a few people.  We found four pretty cool people, three sons and their mom.  Lula is the mom and her sons are Jonathan (22), Aaron (16), and Melvin (8).  The mom already had a commitment for Sunday morning and couldn't come to church but we put fechas with all of them and committed the three sons to church.  On Sunday they lied and said that Jonathan was gone (we found out later he was hiding next door) but Aaron and Melvin came with us and LOVED church.  We also went and played soccer with Aaron today at the church.  It was funny because Aaron wore a shirt to church with a Giraffe by a tree with Marijuana leaves that said (in English) "smoke trees every day".  Luckily hardly anyone in the ward understood it but all of us missionaries.  The mom is going to go to church with us this week.  

   Also when we were teaching the girls that came to church last week (their names are Wendy, Alejandra, Marta, Mercedes, and Yovannah so from here on out I´ll refer to them as "WAMMY") we invited a friend of their brother, who was just hanging out to join us in the lesson and he accepted.  His name is Oliver and is 19.  He is quite the opposite as WAMMY because he´s very intelligent, well-mannered, and sociable.  He also went to church on Sunday and stayed all three hours and loved it as well.  He´s really cool.  Also three of WAMMY went.  I think it was Wendy, Alejandra, and Marta.  They were still super shy but not as bad as before.  I´m not sure what will happen with them, please pray that they´ll keep progressing and go to church again.  If nothing else, at least they led us to Oliver.  

Also Luis went to church and got interviewed for his baptism which is set for Saturday at 3.  Also Christina went to church like always.  We think the lawyer might finally finish her divorce this week and if so, she´ll get married and baptized too.  Also there´s a guy that lives in our area that has gone to Elder Hanson´s ward in Altagracia two times now and is apparently pretty positive.  We called him and have an appointment with him tomorrow.  Hopefully he´ll just beg us to baptize him on the 30th:)  But we´ll see.  

  Yesterday was a big holiday here and basically every Daniel Ortega lover in Nicaragua gets in a bus and rides down to Managua to hear Danny speak.  Literally every bus in Nicaragua just loads itself up with people and drives down to Managua.  We saw hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of busses just wreakin havoc on traffic.  This day is also an excuse for everyone to get super drunk.  So, for safety reasons, everyone in Managua had to stay in their house after 3pm so yesterday in the house was pretty boring but before we left I bought a bunch of mountain dews so I was ok.

   Today we went to the church and played soccer with Aaron and a bunch of other young men.  It was fun but I´m pretty bad at soccer.  I do have a bit more color now.  And I was reminded how pitifully out of shape I am and how hot Nicaragua is.  We had Papa John´s for lunch and their BBQ Chicken pizza is pretty good.  

   On Friday and Saturday the ward is doing something pretty cool.  On Friday the YM teachers will be doing a mini MTC for the priests and teaching them the basics of how to be a missionary and then on Saturday all six of us missionaries in San Judas will be going to the chapel at 8 and we´ll each have a Priest as a comp for the day.  At 8 we´ll study with them and then we´ll go and work all day with them.  Us and San Judas 1 baptisms on Saturday so 4 priests will already have a baptism.  I don´t think it really counts though but it´ll be cool for them to say.  

   Tomorrow I have an Accutane appointment so I´ll let you know next week how that goes.  I think I´ll probably get off of it in about a month.  

  Dad, I´m glad lake Powell was so fun and I hope you have fun in Idaho mom and Peyton and in Provo Delaney and Rich and in Vegas Taryn and Myles.  { We don't know if he wants Matt to have fun or what :) }

Love you!!

Elder Smith

Enchiladas at Kirby and Monica's

Thursday, July 14, 2016

July 13, 2016


Changes were pretty laid back and easy.  It helps that I know the routine with this much time in the office, and it also helps that the Browns are super laid back and humble and they don't really have expectations of anything yet because they don't really know how things are supposed to work.  The Browns actually remind me a lot of you and dad.  They´re just as laid back, loving, and nice and President is as meek and humble and loving as dad.  It´s awesome.   It´s been a great experience so far to see them and get to know them.

I really love the Browns.  At the dinner today it was supposed to start at five and at the Hilton the reservation was from 5-8 PM and we can´t go over without substantial extra charges.  And the bus got a flat tire that was bringing the missionaries to the dinner and it arrived 45 minutes late.  I waited in there with the Browns, the APs, and the Browns´ three youngest kids and they were calm and fine.  They didn´t get mad or stressed or anything, just waited patiently for the bus to arrive. The kids are also really fun, they have a lot of energy.  They were running around and got put in time out, each in a separate corner.  It's interesting to see American discipline of children, because it's not the same here.  So we got to plan, coordinate, and execute this dinner at the Hilton and when the missionaries arrive we just have to leave.  That´s one down side of being a secretary.  Making the cool stuff happen but not usually getting to participate and then later having to go and clean up after.  I didn´t get changes and I´m not training anyone else to be the finance secretary so I´m here at least another two changes.  This one, and then the next one I'll probably train someone to be finance secretary.  So I'll have spent about 9 months in the office by the time I leave and I'll already have 14 months.

Interesting thing that you probably won't like:  Today I found a bunch of bed bug colonies in my sheets.  Basically there are these tick things that come out during the night to suck my blood and then go hide during the day.  When you squish them a ton of blood explodes out of them.   Tonight I´ll change my sheets out and tomorrow I´ll spray some permethrin.  

Also, you might not be proud of me on this one either but...  Last week from Monday through Saturday I ate McDonalds five of the six days.  And I feel great!!  But the last two days I ate Subway to make up for it.  

We don´t really have any new investigators except for some teenage girls that came to church with us.  We´ll see if they´re positive or if they just wanted to go to church because I'm such a hunk ;)

We haven´t been getting as much proselyting time as we would like lately because of office stuff.  Answering your question about baptisms:  the mission leader leads the baptisms, usually missionaries talk on the Holy Ghost or baptism and direct the music and pray during the services and the mission leader asks a member to baptize.  I´ve only baptized once in San Judas and that was with Maria Del Carmen.  

Love You!!!

Elder Smith

PS Myles and all of the rest of you look pretty dang cute in those photos.  It was weird though, because I didn't see Bo in those photos either.  I'm starting to think he's dead or something.  :) Jk I know you sent pics of him last week or the week before.  Does Myles recognize you, dad, Delaney, Rich, and Peyton as special people that aren't strangers?  Poor guy isn't going to know me.  Do you show him pics of me?  Do you show pics of me to Bo?  Poor Little Bo.  He must still be so distraught without me.

Coco's baptism

Hanging (working) in the office

Lovely bed bug

Dinner set up at the Hilton for departing missionaries.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

July 6, 2016

Hello family!

  So the highlight of this week was the baptism of Hazel, Jasmin, Carmen, and Guadelupe.  It was a great service and everyone was really excited for their baptisms.  We also successfully supplied them all with their white clothes and everything fit and nobody got mad which is pretty rare for baptisms here.  So it was really good.  

   On Sunday everything went well with the confirmations too.  There was a small scare when Carmen and Guadelupe said they were going to go on their own at like 8:40 and we came by their house at about 8:50 to make sure they had left and they had.  So we arrive at church and they weren't there and we didn't see them on the way.  So we started freaking out wondering where they went.  So we got in a taxi and headed back to their house to make sure they didn't lie to us or anything about where they were and to interrogate the family a bit and when we got their the family and some drunks on the street confirmed that they had indeed left to go to church.  So I called Elder Aitken who was at the church and he said they weren't there.  So we went back to the church because there really wasn't anything we could do and when we were almost there Elder Aitken texted me and told me they showed up.  Apparently they just walk really slow and they took a different route than us so we missed them but it was very scary.  

    Hazel´s 8 yr old nephew Luis, who I think I talked about in my last email went to the baptism and to church with Hazel and Jasmin and he´s really excited about everything.  Unfortunately his mom didn't go.  We´ll see how he does.  We put a fecha with him for the 23rd of July.  

    Coco passed her interview for her baptism and is super super excited for it on Saturday.  I think it´s at 3 PM if I remember correctly.  I´m really happy for her.  

   Also Christina went to church again but we´re still waiting on her divorce for her baptism.  She´s gone over 10 times now.  

   Family Murillo (who got baptized in the beginning of June) went to church again (they haven´t missed a Sunday since their baptism).  They´re so cool.  But Elizabeth is going to leave to Costa Rica on Monday to work and she´s going to have to find her ward there.  I was able to do divisions with Elder Diaz in San Judas III where I was last change to visit them for the first time in about a month and it was really great to teach them again and see their progress.

   President Brown and his family are going around the mission and doing three total multizones so he can meet everyone and so they can meet him and the family and I´ve had to go to those this week.  On Tuesday I went to Granada, today we went to Jinotepe, and Friday we´ll have it here in Managua.  Also I've been having to deal with a lot of really stupid, rude landlords that are yelling at me and being really necio {foolish or idiot}.  It´s all part of the job I guess.  

   President Brown is really going to focus on helping establish the church in Nicaragua and focus on making it so we´re not just baptizing a crap load of people, but retaining a crap load of people as well.  All of it with the focus on getting a temple here in Nicaragua.  I´m really excited and ready to jump on board with his vision of the mission.  

   I´m glad you had fun at the party, the parade and everything.  Although nobody really gave me a report on the parade, if you made everyone honk, called out random cheerleaders we don´t know etc.  Did you go somewhere to watch the fireworks or come home on Monday night?

Love you!!

Elder Smith

Left to Right: Me, Carmen, Guadelupe, Jasmin, Hazel, Elder Petty