Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 28, 2016

Well, I'm glad to hear you had a great thanksgiving!  I think it's a good idea that you just told everyone that you'd eat at 2 instead of telling everyone at 1 and being an hour late.  Good planning.  

  Thanksgiving here was very eventful for Nicaragua.  We had a hurricane, an earthquake, and a tsunami.  Luckily the hurricane only hit a tiny part of southern Nicaragua (I didn't even get rained on), I didn't feel the earthquake (but almost everyone else did, they said it was pretty big), and the tsunami was tiny.  I thought a lot about the story Dad always told me about how one thanksgiving he went out and bought a turkey, and gave it to the lady he lived with and had her kill it and cook it for them.  I wanted to reenact it but instead the member we live with (wonderful lady btw) went out and bought a frozen turkey breast and cooked it for us and I just payed her back.  But it was really good.  We also had Nica mashed potatoes with good gravy, salad, corn, and coke.  It was really good.  A lot better than last year (we just ate nica pizza). 

   Umm on Saturday we had Nathan's baptism.  It was scary there for a while because he kind of disappeared on us for a couple hours.  His baptism was initially set for 2 but he ended up getting baptized at 6.  He was just at the hospital with his sick grandma.  Then everything went fine yesterday with the confirmation.  His friend even came to church with him!  It was cool because we taught Nathan in English the whole time because he basically grew up in the US and Elder Gonzales baptized him in English.  That's probably something he won't see again on his mission. 

   David and Stella went to church and David brought one of his other daughters, Tatiana, who loved church.  She's going to keep coming.  David and Stella are set to get married on Saturday, and baptized along with David Jr.  Now we're just frantically running around trying to get everything set up with the paperwork and lawyer and stuff for the wedding.  Angie also came to church and she's awesome as always, just beaming for her baptism on the tenth. 

   Mom, that pic you said you saw on FB was the Plan of Salvation I drew on the board during Gospel Principles.  It turned out really well.

   I asked Elder Gonzales what else happened this week other than what I already mentioned and he said, Walking.  
It's true we did do a lot of walking this week.  Especially on Saturday looking for Nathan.  Haha he'll get used to it :)
I guess that's it.  Good luck getting prepped for Christmas!  I caught a little bit of the Christmas spirit and we bought a two foot little tree and threw some lights on it.  And I hung up my stocking from last year on the wall and cut out some pictures from some Ensigns from December of past years.  And I drew a Christmas tree and hung the picture on the wall.  I'll take some pics next week probably.

Well, have a great week!  Love you!

Elder Smith

I was going to attach some pictures but it seems my SD card has a virus.  I'll keep messing with it and see what I can do.

Elder Gonzales and Elder Smith teaching the Plan of Salvation

Monday, November 21, 2016


November 21, 2016

Hi Family!!!

Well I didn't have changes this week but Elder Evans did.  So he left and I'm training Elder Gonzales who just got here from the Provo MTC.  He's from Monroe Washington.  He's a great guy and a hard worker!
So on Tuesday we went around with Elder Evans to say goodbye to some of the people he met here in Las Palmas.  On Wednesday morning we went to change meeting early and sent off Elder Evans and the new people from our zone got on the bus and went back (but I stayed at the chapel for the trainers and news meeting.  One of the new Elders in our zone unfortunately is another Elder Smith that got here about 3 months ago.  Elder Smiths just follow me around I swear.  The training meeting was awesome because Elder Diaz, Elder Aitken, and Elder Peterson (with me in Juigalpa) were also training.  So we had fun catching up a bit.  Then I got Elder Gonzales, we got a subway (that in past days I was the one buying as a secretary:) )  Then we got back to the area at about noon and got to work.

    Umm the highlight of the week was the baptism of Carlos.  He was very excited for it.  He's half paralyzed from getting shot in the head in the civil war here when he was twelve.  I baptized because I honestly didn'
t trust it with anyone else who might've been too chicken to use enough force to get him under.  I was actually in the font for like 5 minutes talking with the bishop toiling with the idea of sitting him in a chair for it or something, but we decided his knee would come up as we tilted the chair back.  Eventually we just did it normally and instructed him to bend down as much as he could.  When he was almost down he started flailing a bit and his knee was coming up so I just gave him one final shove and got him under.  I'm relieved it worked the first try because if not I'm not sure what would´ve happened.  

Hunberto's story isn't quite as happy for this week.  We passed by all week and just couldn't seem to find him.  His family always came out and gave different excuses about where he was and why he wasn't home.  It happened long enough it became clear he was just hiding from us.  Eventually on Thursday night we passed by with the bishop and they said he was home but he wouldn't come out.  Eventually his wife (not a member) came out and said he was so embarrassed and ashamed that he wouldn't come out.  Why was he embarrassed and ashamed?  Because he had told us clearly he wanted to get baptized on Saturday but changed his mind.  The really frustrating part was that we can't tell what went wrong or how we can help him because he just started hiding from us.  So we're giving him a bit of a break and hoping that with some time he'll talk to us so we can help him out.
Nathan disappeared as well and didn't come back until Saturday night.  Apparently he got a job.  He said he got this Saturday and Sunday off so he can get baptized.  We'll see.  He's a bit of a flaky guy but some prayers in his direction wouldn't hurt.
David, Stella, and David all went to church.  They decided very firmly that they'll get married and baptized on the 3rd of December and the bishop came over and they made plans for the wedding with stuff about the lawyer, food and arrangements etc.  We're going to eat Vigoron (just google it).  
[Vigorón is a traditional Nicaraguan dish. It consists of a cabbage salad known as curtido (chopped cabbage, tomatoes, onions, and chili pepper marinated in vinegar and salt), boiled yuca, and chicharrones (fried pork belly or fried pork rinds) wrapped in Banana leaf].  I don't really like it.  Also Angie came to church.  Also Carlos came and got confirmed.  Also a slightly drunk guy showed up but seemed to enjoy church greatly.
Today was a good p-day.  After studying we got our hair cut at a member's house that cuts it for free.  We also went to plaza inter and got some carne asada (thanks mom and dad I used my card.   I guess that's my thanksgiving meal).  Then we went back to Malecon (the place with the airplane) with the zone and hung out a bit.
Earlier in the week I got kind of sick with a runny nose and a really sore throat and a fever but I'm better now. 

Well, I hope you all have a great week and a great thanksgiving!! 

I'm thankful for all of the wonderful blessings I've received.  Firstly I'm thankful for a loving Savior that was willing to suffer for my sins to give me the opportunity to overcome death and sin and live with him again.  I'm thankful for a wonderful family that has given me everything I have and been by my side every step of my life and in every decision I've made.  I'm thankful for the opportunity I have to serve the people here in Nicaragua and share with them the gospel.


Elder Smith

PS One thing I'm really not very thankful for is rice.  

Cody and his new companion Elder Gonzales. 
Carlos' baptism

At Malecon

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Stupid dogs...

November 14, 2016

Hi family!

  I got bit by a dog for the second time this month!  But luckily it didn`t break skin, just punctured my pants a bit (see attached picture).  No biggie as long as they don't break the skin.  I'm trusting the readers of this email to not freak out or anything because it`s no big deal.  If anyone freaks out I won`t be able to talk about things like this publically.

   Anyway... We had an AWESOME week!  On Wednesday we had a multizone with Elder Alonso.  It was awesome and I loved it because he was super direct, yet spiritual.  The spirit was super strong and I walked out of there with some great things I can work on to be a better missionary.  Then on Friday we had a leadership council with him in President Brown's house and it was also very spiritual and I`m already seeing results from some of the things I'm doing differently.  It was a very different experience this time because I didn't have to do anything behind the scenes with food or anything and I could just enjoy myself the whole time.

   We unfortunately didn't really find very many new people to teach this week but we did make great progress with those we are already teaching.  Hunberto's fecha is drawing near and we talked to him about baptism on Monday and he had a lot of fear because he knows baptism is a big commitment and he's a little lazy.  So instead of just trying to convince him we left him with some chapters from the Book of Mormon on baptism and after he read them he said he was good and wanted to do it.  He went to church yesterday and if everything goes smoothly will get baptized on Saturday.  Also Carlos went to church again and is already interviewed for his baptism on Saturday.  We could possibly baptized Nathan on Saturday as well but I'm not sure because yesterday he went to his Grandma's and we haven't talked to him for a bit.  But as of last Saturday he was good.  Also David, Stella (nicname for Christiana), and David's son came to church and are very positive.  Angie came too and is really excited for her baptism in December.

    We have changes on Wednesday this week.  I'm pretty sure to stay here in Las Palmas.  Elder Evans is finishing his training so he's likely to have changes but who knows.  I could train someone else, stay with Elder Evans, or just be comps with another ZL.  Who knows.
    Ummm...  What else....?  Well for pday today we haven't done very much.  Nicaragua already has christmas trees and lights up because Christmas here starts after Halloween.  They don't celebrate thanksgiving here.  But a wonderful lady from the ward who used to live in the US is going to buy us turkey I think.  It'll be better than the Nica pizza I had last year in Juigalpa. 
   I can't really think of anything else that happened this week.  I think tomorrow I'll buy a Papa John's with Elder Evans to either send Elder Evans off with a bang or to celebrate being together another change.  Papa John's is what the angels eat in heaven.

Anyway, I love you!!  Have a great week and don't forget to say your prayers!  Pray for all of the investigators!

Love you! 
Elder Smith

Holes in the pants from the dog bite.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Happy Día de los Muertos!!

November 7, 2016

Hello Family! 

   As you could probably guess by the subject line, this week was the Day of the Dead here. And nobody that I saw really celebrated it.  People usually just go to the cemeteries and put flowers on the graves.
  It was a weird week because of our slight schedule change due to elections.  We left at 9 every morning and came back at 7 every night.  It made me realize how dependent and accustomed we are to the schedule and it really screwed with me to be off it. 
   It was a good week with the investigators though.  We got a reference for a family that we teach with some members that are their family.  They are cool and went to church.  His name is David and her name is Cristiana.  They went to church and seemed to like it.  Also Carlos came to church again and is doing awesome.  It's a bit of a struggle with him in church because he's half-paralized but the bishop came and took him in his truck.  His baptism on the 19th could be interesting.  We might have to sit him down but we'll figure it out.  Nathan had a little problem and wasn't able to get baptized this week but he has a new goal to get baptized on the 19th that we're fighting for.  Hunberto came to church again after two weeks of not going.  He´s still excited and wants to get baptized, but he has to leave some Sundays to take care of a disabled family member.  Also, there's a cute little girl named Angie that comes to church with her grandma.  Her parents aren't members and she turns 8 on December 9th.  She wants to get baptized and her parents are all for it so she's kind of a free baptism for us in December.  We're also teaching a guy named Edgar that has always heard a lot of crap about the Mormon's but he´s kind of friends with Nathan and saw us teaching him.  He invited us to come by and teach him later so we did and he's really positive.  During our first two lessons with Edgar I kind of felt prompted to back everything we said up with the Bible, which is something I´m always capable of doing but usually I don't share a verse from the Bible to back up every point I make.  Anyway this time I did and we counted later and in the first two lessons I shared 23 separate passages from the Bible with him.  He later expressed how that had really helped him accept us as Christians and not just a cult and the fact that I used the Bible so much to support everything.  Now we've explained the Book of Mormon and he understands it's role.  He wasn't able to go to church yesterday because of the elections here but I'm sure he'll go this week.  I thought that was a bit of a different kind of prompting but it sure worked.  We also talk to Nathan's uncle quite a bit because he hangs around where we teach Nathan.  The only problem is he's always drunk.  But we found him on Sunday morning about 80% sober and he just kind of showed up to church.  That was cool.  Hopefully he'll be blessed with some help to stop drinking.  All the alcoholism you see here is really sad.   It's probably one of the things that makes me most sad about a lot of the people here.  It ruins everyone's lives it touches.  Stupid Satan.
  Yesterday after church we had to come home for the elections and just sit around at home all day.  I got that long desired Sunday nap for once in my mission and it was AWESOME. Not as good as preaching though :)  I read a lot of the Old Testament study guide and learned some interesting stuff.  This morning we went and got our hair cut and ate new chili dorito cheese dogs from the gas station for lunch.  They were awesome. 
  This week we have a multizone with Elder Alonso who's here to do a mission tour on Wednesday.  Then on Friday we have a special leadership council with him at President's house.  I'm really glad I'm not in the office right now :)

Anyway have a great week!!!!

Elder Smith

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Happy Halloween!!

October 31, 2016

Hello family!!

   To respond to the 5 billion people that have asked, no, Nicaragua doesn't celebrate Halloween.  But they do have a day of the dead thing in November.  They don`t understand how we Americans celebrate it and they think we worship the devil and invite evil spirits that day.  It's kind of funny.

   So on Thursday we had a ward activity that we've been planning with the ward leaders for a long time.  It was a pretty big deal for us to try and get some references and stuff.  We had three rooms set up, because we answered the questions: Where did we come from?  Why are we here?  and Where are we going?.  So each question had a room with a teacher that was decorated according to the question.  Me and Elder Evans taught what is our purpose on the earth and decorated our room up real nice with the few available materials (picture attached).  But, only 13 people showed up.  A handful of recent converts and a couple less actives.  But between them they brought 3 people that weren't members to check it out.  Out of the three one of them ended up being cool, accepted a fecha easily, and went to church yesterday.  I don't want to call the activity a failure by any means because we have a cool new investigator (named Alejandro) but it would've been optimal if the members would have been valiant enough to show up and bring some friends to get to know some of the teachings of the church.  So, a little message to anyone that reads this email:  Please be valiant and invite your friends to experience the happiness that we feel here!  They can't  be converted until they start to experiment!!!

Also, Nathan went to church again and seems to be progressing well.  He could get baptized this Saturday but I'd say it`s more likely that it will happen on the 12th.  And we got a guy to church by the name of Carlos.  It was a bit of a struggle because he's half paralized but he loved church and he deserves the blessings of the gospel just as much as the next person.  I'm not worried because several people in the ward have vehicles and regularly make rounds to get handicapped people to church on Sunday mornings. 

   Due to Nicaraguan elections this Sunday we have to come to the house at 7 pm every night for the next couple of weeks but to make up for it we`ll leave two hours early every day and do the study at night that we missed.  On Sunday we'll have only one hour of church at 8 am and then we have to go back to the house the rest of the day.  I'm not sure what I'll do all day but I'll finally get that Sunday nap I've been dreaming about for the last year:) 

  Ummmm what else.... I'm not sure... 

Happy Halloween!!  If anyone doesn't want their candy just send it to me in a package or something and I won`t complain!!!

Love you!!

Elder Smith

p.s.  Tonight in honor of our Papa Murphy's tradition we`re going to order Papa  John's!! And I might splurge on some slightly overpriced American candy and drink a ton of rootbeer.

We had Carne Asada today and tajadas and gallo pinto

Cody gave no explanation, but I hope whatever he's washing isn't supposed to be white!

There is a pig and a cat on our property