Wednesday, August 31, 2016


August 31, 2016

Hello family!!

  Well, it's been a good week. We´ve been working our butts off to try and find people to teach because we weren´t left with a whole lot of investigators and we were pretty blessed this week.  We were able to find a family last Friday that was really positive and another couple investigators and then Sunday came around and all of our new people didn´t come to church.  Basically they all say, ya we realize that these are things that we need to do and stuff but we have to wait until there is less adversity and satan stops attacking us and God calls us.  So we explain that God works through his servants, and that God literally sent us knocking at their door.  Also that Satan is never going to stop attacking them, so if that´s what they´re waiting for they´ll be waiting for a long time.  But I honestly think these people understand these points, they just use them as a cover because they´re too ashamed to admit that they´re just lazy and don´t want to follow God or make any sacrifices in their lives.  We also found a really positive family after church on Sunday and they love the message of the restoration and are reading from the Book of Mormon and are really open minded about everything.  I already see a problem with them coming to church because the dad usually works on Sundays and the mom is really shy.  Please pray that they can go to church because this family is so cool!  His name is Mario and her name is Berta.  

  I´m very happy to be with Elder Smith (despite sharing a last name).  We´re both really excited and helping each other to work really hard.  It´s awesome.  President Brown called me in on Monday and told me that he´s been thinking and praying and that he'd have me start training Elder Smith to be the new finance secretary.  Elder Smith has already helped me with a lot of the stuff I do in the two changes he already has in the office so he knows a lot about all of this already.  So this means that, unless God changes his mind and has more plans for me here in the office, I should be out of here next change.  

  I forgot to mention a couple investigators that this area did have before I got here that we've been working with.  First off we have Alexander.  He´s the partner of a less active member.  We've basically reactivated her since we started teaching Alexander and they've both been coming to church.  They're not married but they're both completely willing to do it.  We´re also helping Alexander stop smoking.  He did it once before but fell after a few months but I'm confident that he'll be able to do it again, and this time permanently.  Please pray that he can stop smoking.  

   We also have a guy named Victor.  He's cool and was doing great, going to church every week, but his partner has started saying some crap.  We were teaching him law of chastity the other day and she just came in and started trying to fight with us about baptism.  She´s never been present in a lesson but she thinks we´re just trying to baptize him without helping him change or repent or anything, which obviously isn't what we do.  So she was very misinformed and had some very interesting views on baptism because she doesn't understand repentance.  She thinks, why get baptized if after we´ll just sin and be condemned?  So we explained that with repentance and renewing the baptismal covenants we can avoid said condemnation and still complete with baptism which is a commandment and necessary for salvation (see John 3:5, Acts 2:38 etc).  It was frustrating and hard not to get mad at a woman who's heart is so closed that she´s actually making it harder for her loved ones to repent and come unto Christ.  So we´ll see what we can do with Victor but because of the partner it's not looking very good.

   Yesterday we helped with 7 week training getting donuts and food and today we have consejo so we had to go give them their donuts and later we have to go get them their subway.  So in-between we´ll be writing which is why this email is pretty early.  Everything's going great!

Sorry about the graveyard shift Matt:(  That's not much fun.  Sorry about school Delaney, Peyton, and Rich:(  That's not much fun either.  Have fun at Vegas Mom and Dad (and Taryn and Matt and Myles too I guess).  That should be fun.  

   Thanks to those who haven´t forgotten me and still send me those letters.  It really means a lot.  Thank you especially to Grandma and Louise for sending a letter every week.  That's perseverance.  

Love you!!!

Elder Smith

PS It rained really hard for a long time on Monday so I took a rain selfie

Thursday, August 25, 2016


August 25, 2016

Hello family!

   Well, it´s been an exciting week for sure.  Everything went awesome for Zeneida's baptism and she was really happy.  We didn't have much of a turn out from the ward but a couple members came at least.  Nobody from the bishopric showed up and neither did the mission leader so we got to conduct the baptism and everything.  Her member daughter, Candy, is also doing a lot better and they were hoping she wouldn't have to enter into surgery again.  

   Then the only other really notable thing that´s happened this week would be changes.  On Monday a huge group of gringos (19 in total, 17 Elders) came from the MTC in the US.  The house was pretty crazy with 17 Elders and it was kind of a challenge finding room for everyone to sleep but we made it work with 6 bunk beds and mattresses jammed wherever they would fit.  The house didn´t smell very good though.  

   On Tuesday they had their training at President Brown´s house and I ran around getting them their lunch and dinner and I had to do my financial presentation as well.  That night was another round of crazy at the house as well.

    On Wednesday we had changes.  The mission made a change so now we don´t have a meeting in the chapel where people´s changes are announced by President.  Now all the buses just show up at the chapel with all the zones and the missionaries with changes already know to which zone they´ll be going so they get out and switch to the bus to the new zone and they´re off.  It makes it a bit tricky for me because I have to pay all the buses and get all the zones the reimbursements they need all in that very short amount of time.  After the changes the trainers and new missionaries had a training and I had to get lunch for them.  There were a TON of them.  Basically every ZL trained and half the DLs.  I got them lunch from subway and they were late on the order which could've been really bad but it ended up ok.  Then later in the day they had the departing dinner so I had to go pick up the meat and we had to prepare, serve, and clean up the food.  But at least they had a dishwasher!

   I kind of had changes. I´m still in San Judas and in the office but I moved from San Judas II to San Judas III and my new comp is Elder Smith.  Yep, Elder Smith.  We're both Elder Smith.  Don't worry, most people will think it´s pretty funny.  But trust me, it´s not.  It´s going to end up being very annoying fielding all of the stupid jokes people make and explaining to people why we´re both called Elder Smith. 

  Elder Smith is from Denver and has about a month and a half less than me on the mission.  He likes the outdoors but doesn't hunt.  He´s the retention and key indicators secretary. 

Well, have a good week!!  Sorry school started, that´s no fun:(

Elder Smith

Cody, Zeneida, Elder Petty

 Garrobo (big lizard) we caught

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

August 17, 2016

Hello family!

  So this week was pretty good.  Very interesting.  Because Elder Petty hurt his knee he had to sit out for a week so I worked with various different people this week.  On Tuesday and Wednesday I worked with Norman, the priest I talked about last week.  Then I worked with Elder Hanson on Thursday and it was great to work with him again.  On Friday and Saturday I worked with Norman and the bishop´s nephew named Octavio.  Octavio was pretty cool and I didn't feel like I was dragging him around.  On Sunday we couldn't find anyone from the ward the could or was willing to work with me all day so I ended up working with the bishop all day which actually turned out pretty cool.  He was appalled when he asked what I was going to eat for dinner and I said nothing and explained to him that after six we aren't allowed to eat dinner.  He got baptized after he was married so he never served a mission and doesn't really understand those types of rules.  So when we finished we went back to his house and he gave me some juice and a donut.  Don´t worry mom and blog readers, I do eat dinner.  Just after I get home at night usually.
     Elder Petty went to the doctor yesterday and got cleared to work again, he just has to take it easy and not wear his backpack.  So guess who gets to carry two sets of scriptures in his backpack now:)

     This week we saw a lot of really positive changes in Aaron and he got baptized on Saturday.  He's turning into a really cool convert.  He's been going to seminary, he asked me for those colored sticker things to mark pages on your scriptures and a marking pencil (which I happily bought for him).  Now we´re looking for a white shirt and some pants for him.  

  We passed by last week every day for Zeneida and she just wasn't home.  Her daughter had a serious medical problem and they went in and did a surgery that turned out really bad.  So we found her on Monday and gave her a blessing.  We also found them yesterday and got Zeneida interviewed for her baptism this week.  During the interview Zeneidass sick daughter, Candy, and her sister wanted to sing some hymns they learned when the missionaries taught them.  They are the ones that got baptized ten years ago and haven´t been active for a long time.  So we sang the songs they remembered and a few more (How Great Thou Art, I Know That My Redeemer Lives, Lead Thou Me On, etc.) while Zeneida was being interviewed and it was really spiritual.  I really think it helped Candy and she looked a lot happier when we left.  Please pray for her.  

   In case anyone was wondering, I decided to have a paisley tie week so this past week I've worn a different paisley tie every day.  Tomorrow is the last day.  I have a lot of paisleys:)

   The saddest part of the week was Sunday night and Monday.  On Monday Elder Hanson and Elder Nave went home.  They were probably the two most influential comps I've had up to this point as Elder Hanson was my trainer and Elder Nave was my comp right out of my training.  Also Elder Hanson has been my ZL for all but two changes of my mission.  That was sad but I was able to go to the airport with them early Monday morning and see them off.  Also I think Kyle went home this week.  (Kyle is Cody's friend from High School)

   It sounds like you all had a great time with Matt, Taryn, and Myles over.  I'm jealous you got to go boating and kind of disappointed you only got out once this year.  I promise you we'll get out more than once next summer though:)


Elder Smith

p.s.  The ward and sometimes stake has about 4 trips to the temple every year and they charter a bus and get hostels.  It costs about 50 bucks each plus food. 

Cody, Aaron, Elder Petty

Cody, Aaron, Elder Petty

Aaron's front yard

Elder Hanson, Elder Nave, and Cody at the airport as they go home

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

August 10, 2016

Hello family,

  We had a good week.  Good job mom on getting the package here just in time and for the awesome stuff in it.  The ties and pics were awesome and the candy and food wasn't half-bad.  I loved it.  We also celebrated by burning shirts and buying a papa John´s pizza.  And Dr. Pepper.  And Doritos.  And chips and queso.  It turned out pretty dang fun.  We also found a small tarantula and fried it with our bug spray and lighter flame thrower.  

   For those that read the blog:  Don't worry about my parasites.  The meds kicked in and within a day they were gone completely and the symptoms was just a bit of diarrhea.  I can now proudly say that I´m parasite free.

   Today is the last day of Managua's Santo Domingo celebration and a lot of Managua is closed for it.  They just parade the saint through the streets while everyone gets drunk.  I literally counted over 100 alcohol vendors getting ready on one section of street. 

  Zeneida is really cool.  She went to church on Sunday and is very excited for her baptism on the 20th.  Also we had a really guy show up to church on Sunday named Carlos.  A few months ago the missionaries just invited him to church and on Sunday morning he woke up and, "something woke up inside of him" and he knew he had to go to church to see what it was like.  The only problem is that in priesthood a couple members started talking about some stuff that is definitely not church doctrine and I think might of left a bit of a bad impression.  Fortunately when all was said and done he said he had a good experience in church and wants to come back this week.  Aaron was out of town and couldn't come and Oliver had to work so they didn't go.  Aaron did pass his baptismal interview and is ready to be baptized but he´s still not 100% sure he wants to.  So we´ll do everything we can to help him be ready for this Saturday.  Please pray for him!!  Also Mercedes, who is ready for baptism but can´t get permission, didn't get permission from either of her parents.  Please continue praying that they can soften their hearts and let her get baptized.  If not, we´ll have to wait until she turns 18 in December and no longer needs parental permission.  We struggled finding new people this week.  

  We've been teaching Rosa and Coco about the temple and they're really excited to go but they're concerned they won´t be able to save enough money in one year for them to take the trip out to Honduras.  We broke down how much they´d have to save every week to save up enough money to be ready in one year and then we had a really spiritual experience.  The spirit told me to promise them that if they remained faithful in the church and always paid their tithing that they'd be able to save sufficient money in the one year to go to the temple together in Honduras.  It was one of the first times in my life I felt like the spirit was actually talking through me and that I wasn't the one actually talking.  It´s a feeling I´d like to have a lot more.  It was a big testimony builder for me that us missionaries are here more than anything to be a means by which the spirit can teach people.  

Elder Petty has a hurt knee and will be out for about  a week resting it so he can't work in the area. I'll probably be working mostly with priests this week while Elder Petty stays at a member´s house.  Yesterday I worked a bit with the mission leader and then with a 16 yr old priest named Norman. He´s pretty cool and I think I´ll be working with him for several days.  Hopefully this will help him want to serve a mission later because right now I don´t think he´s too excited for it.  Please pray for Elder Petty that his knee can get better so he can get back out and work.

We finally have a senior couple that´s coming in the end of October.  If the guy is going to be financial sec like Elder Beals was then I´ll probably have to be in the office until he comes and still have to train him for 6 weeks.  I had kind of thought I´d be getting out of here in the beginning of October.  It´s obviously still undecided but that would be very difficult if I was in the office for 11 months of my mission.  The current record for a single missionary in the last 3 years is 8.5 months which I´m already on track to beat.

Love you!!

Have a great week!

Elder Smith

Celebrating hump day with a pizza party.
Little tarantula
Boys love fire!  And bug spray. Combined!
Big lizard iguana thing that Elder Hernandez caught 

Thursday, August 4, 2016


August 3, 2016

Hello Family!

  Thank you for your great emails and updates.  It sounds like you're all keeping plenty busy up there.  
   So definitely not the highlight of the week was having some awful diarrhea, having to take a poop test, and finding out that I have two parasites.  They're called Blastocystis nominis, and endolimax nana.  So the nurse had me buy 6 pills that I took for three days and they seem to have cured me.  

  We had a pretty uneventful week though...  Zeneyda (Luis's mom) went to church along with her other daughter that's a member and hasn't gone to church for 12 years.  Also, Aaron went to church.  His fecha is for the 13th and he's pretty excited.  We're still teaching his mom but there are some problems with his dad not letting his mom listen to us or go to church with us and stuff.  We're trying to have the young men make church more interesting for him because he always gets super bored.  Also Mercedes went (AKA Reubenia, the two names are used interchangeably) and truly wants to get baptized and is ready but  lacks permission from her mom.  She's still 17 and we can't baptize her without parental permission until she turns 18 (in December) so we're having her talk to her mom and keep trying to get permission.  Pray for her.  And Oliver went for the 2nd time and really liked it.  He's the 19 year old positive one I mentioned the other week that we found while teaching WAMMY.  He started school again and got a job so it's been hard to find him and teach him.  Christina also went like always but she won't get baptized any time soon because her partner isn't divorced and hasn't even started the process.
 I don't really know what else to say...  There was a big holiday on Sunday and Monday for Santo Domingo.  They just had big parties and everyone got super drunk.  Basically here they just find any reason to get drunk and it's really sad.  

Oh well.  

Have a great week everyone!!


Elder Smith

Lunch at a Chinese restaurant

Chinese food in Nicaragua isn't that great.

Making cookie dough