Tuesday, April 25, 2017

April 24, 2017

Hello Fam!

  I'll just get right to it I guess...
   On Monday night after pday ended we went to a family home evening with the family we've been reactivating (familia Bello) and almost the whole ward showed up (that may be an overstatement but there were maybe like 15 members there).  It was really good.  We shared a message of the restoration and after we played a fun game that everyone could participate in.  Also in that family is Yoheyli, one of our most positive investigators (the one that fell asleep last week and didn't go to church).  

   On Tuesday I had to go into Managua to renew my ID.  It was good.  We stopped at Pricesmart on the way back and I ate WAY too much (ice cream, a tres leches, chicken wings, a chicken bake, pizza, and fries). After that it was hard to even walk.  

   On Wednesday we had a pretty normal day.  It was kind of boring because of ward council and mission correlation with Elgim, the ward mission leader.  

   On Thursday we went back to Managua to do divisions with the APs.  It was really hot in Managua.  It was kind of a crazy day because they had to run some errands in the truck and we got to go with them.  It was really nostalgic to drive through San Judas again.  I realized that San Judas has been the area on my mission that felt most like home to me.  I love that place.  I worked with Elder Kendrick (we go way back, from the times of Masatepe).  It was good.  

   On Friday we got back from Managua and had District Meeting.  It was good as always.  Sometimes when we get a lot of missionaries together in the chapel like that though I feel like a babysitter.  It's ok though.  Afterwards we visited a lot of our investigators and made sure everything was good for Michel's baptism.  About his name, the spelling Maycol was given to me by the missionaries that previously taught him.   I didn't find out until I was filling out his baptismal record that it's actually spelled Michel, pronounced Michael (sorry if anyone got confused).  

   On Saturday we visited investigators and stuff and had Michel's baptism.  A priest that he works with baptized him and it was a good service.  And there was water and we didn't have to call the fire department!  

    On Sunday all of Nicaragua was watching the clasico betweent Barza and Madrid.  Go Barza!  Michel got confirmed no problem.  Also, an 8 yr old kid, Moises came to church with a member family.  He's been church enough and has had all the teachings for a while and we technically couldn't have baptized him for a while but the ward wanted us to wait until there was a better solution for him to come to church regularly because his mom doesn't support him too much.  Now that he can come with the member family every week to church we plan on baptizing him this week.  All of the rest of our investigators didn't come to church for whatever reason.  Yoheyli disappeared to the market and didn't come (but her family did).
    On Thursday the senior couple will be inspecting the houses in our zone.  I have a LOT of cleaning to do :/

  Well, I hope you have a great week!  I love you!

Elder Smith

Michel is the one on the right.  My smile is good because I got another missionary to do the cheek thing behind the camera.

Today we played soccer and in honor of Barza's victory we all wore our Barza shirts.

Also I forgot to mention, on Wednesday morning we did a zone service project and helped some members start building their house and digging their out-house.  It was awesome. 


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Happy Easter!

April 17, 2017

Hello family!  Happy Easter!  Happy Bday Matt and happy anniversary Mom and Dad!
   This week was the semana santa (holy week) and it was pretty crazy.  There were a ton of catholic processions and they decorated the streets very elaborating.  There was also a lot of alcohol consumed.  The ward elders quorum had an activity on Friday morning where we all went to a baseball field and played.  It was awesome because everyone there knew how to play so we had a great time.  We could only stay for a little bit because we had to run over to district meeting after but we enjoyed it.  It started at 8:30 and apparently the guys stayed and played until like 2!  They were all sore in church yesterday.  Oscar went with his member father-in-law, and we had an inactive member come that we had visited in the week so I'd say it was a success.  Also a couple other people brought some non-member family.

   This week we worked a lot with Maycol and he is getting baptized this week.  He went to church and is doing awesome.  

We also worked a lot with Yoheyli and she was doing awesome all week until Sunday where somehow she was asleep for church at two o'clock and didn't go.  I guess Sunday naps exist in Nicaragua too.  But all of her reactivating family went (like 8 people in total).  On Saturday Yoheyli's family made us cheese soup which was ok.  I thought about poor dad who had to eat soup his whole mission.  It's hard to eat hot soup when it's 20 billion degrees outside.  And it made me really tired.  And then right after someone gave us food that we couldn't turn down.  And then that night after the member family fed us Mexican food where we had an appointment another family called us and told us to come over and gave us another dinner.  Which we couldn't exactly turn down.  I'm going to be so fat.

 We got our hands on a birth certificate and Brandon is only 8 so the ward will take care of his baptism.  

   We've got a busy week ahead of us... Tomorrow we have to go in to Managua to get our ID renewed, and we have to go in again on Thursday to do divisions with the APs.  Hopefully we can get home fairly early tomorrow so we can have some time to get out and work.  And we have house inspections coming up and we have A LOT of cleaning to do.  A LOT.  But it's ok.  

   Today for Pday we played soccer with some Elders from the zone.  It was ok.  I went to the artisan market to price out some stuff I'm going to buy for you guys.  

   For Easter I didn't really do anything spectacular but I did take a picture with a picture of Jesus in the street.  I'll send that.

   One thing I've enjoyed about Easter here is that the Easter bunny doesn't exist, I've spent a lot of time thinking about the true meaning of Easter, and the resurrection of the Savior.  I'm so grateful for Him and what His atoning sacrifice means for me, the opportunity I have to be clean of my sins and have the hope of a resurrection and Eternal life.  It is truly a blessing.   In Elders Quorum yesterday we talked about a story of a prominent leader of another religion who asked (at the time) Elder Hinckley why we don't have crosses on our temples if it's a symbol of Christianity.  The response was that all of us members of the church are the symbol.  The way we live should represent Christ and show our belief in Him.  

  I love you and hope you have a great week!  


Elder Smith

p.s.  We have seven member families assigned to feed us dinner one day of every week so every day we have dinner with someone.  A special food they have is fermented jocotes (fruit) in a sweet sauce.  I think it's gross.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

It's too hot

April 10, 2017

 It's getting to the hottest part of the year here and I'm starting to feel it.  Luckily Masaya is relatively cool but just relatively.  It's nice because the people are really generous and always see how sweaty we are and buy us soda.  The only problem with that is it's making my gut huge.  There are days when we're gifted 10 sodas.  But it's ok my shirts still fit me.
   On Tuesday we had multizones in Managua.  As always it was awesome.  We learned a lot about making commitments, listening to the spirit, goal-setting, and faith.  Me and Elder Guzman had to do a 35 minute workshop on commitments and verification with a couple groups of missionaries after President Brown talked and it went well.  Afterwards the bus stopped at McDonalds and I got a triple bacon.

   This week was good.  It was a bit frustrating because we spent a lot of time teaching all the new people we found last week and when Saturday and Sunday came around most of them already knew they weren't going to go to church.  And most of those that said they were going to go on Saturday had some sort of excuse when Sunday came around.  But Maycol (another possible way of spelling his name) came, and so did Yoheyli (pronounced johaylee).  Yoheyli was a reference from a member in another ward.  Yoheyli works for the member and all of her family is inactive.  So we visited the family at their very humble home on Saturday and on Sunday like six members from the family plus Yoheyli came to church.  It was the first time they've come in a LONG time.  

  The bishop told us about a kid in the ward that just turned nine (so we'd have to baptize him now instead of the ward) so we went to the house and the mom claimed he was 8 and not 9. But the records say he's 9.  So we went back and now the mom is double checking because she's not exactly sure how old the kid is.  So if it turns out he's nine we'll have a baptism pretty soon.  Maycol is doing well, he read a lot of the Book of Mormon and knows he wants to be baptized.  He's going to do it on the 29th of April.  

   Elder Guzman got a package from his mom with a lot of typical Honduranean foods including special flour to make baleadas.  They turned out awesome.  

   This morning we borrowed some baseball gloves from a member and played softball with the zone.  It was really fun but we destroyed the softball so I had to buy the guy a new one.  Unfortunately the softball also got thrown into the big poo canal that's on the side of the baseball field.  But we cleaned it off in the dirt. 

   Also I've had a bad cough this week.  I'm hoping it doesn't turn into bronchitis again.  


Elder Smith

Earthquake, consejo, and conference

April 3, 2017

Hello family,

  We had a really good week!  This week we found a ton of new investigators, got a ton of references, had leadership council in Managua, felt a big earthquake during leadership council, and of course, got to watch conference. 

   This was probably the busiest week with investigators I've had my whole mission!  We have our old investigators, some that we inherited from the sisters and a couple new families that we contacted this week.  So our agendas were full most of the days.  This week we had a very good lesson with Damaris (the investigator with cancer).  Damaris was having a particularly hard day. I could see the Lord's hand because it just so happened that I was doing an exchange with another Elder who's Dad recently passed away from cancer so he was able to comfort her greatly and then we gave her a blessing.  She ended up going to conference with her husband and loved it.  Also we're still working with Oscar and Margarita, and Otilia, and Micowl (or however you spell that guys name), and a guy named Johnny, and a lady who looks like a pregnant nica version of Katniss.  

   Leadership council was awesome.  We talked a lot about goals.  And the earthquake was cool.  It felt like someone was lifting up one side of the bench in the chapel a little and setting it down again.  

   For conference we got to listen to it in English in the AC so there's not much more I could ask for.  I loved all of the talks but a couple that stood out to me were President Nielson's about how to have the power of Christ and I loved how he said when talking about the atonement we shouldn't use catchphrases because what really matters is that it's what Jesus did.  It's not just it's own thing.  I also loved the talk that was addressed to investigators on Sunday afternoon and the one about the guy who's wife wouldn't marry him despite his job and good looks.  And I really liked Elder Bednar's in priesthood session, and all of the ones about the Holy Ghost and the family. 

   Today we went to the volcano again.  I had to go to show the new people in the zone how to ge there and stuff.  You could see the lava really well today. 

   Many people have asked what it's like having a latin comp now and if my spanish is getting better.  It's awesome having a latin comp.  He works really hard and can connect really well with the people because there's no language barrier at all (even the gringo with the best spanish in the mission has a language barrier).  My spanish has actually gotten a bit worse because I've got a cold and my voice cracks with almost every word I say.  It's super annoying and nobody can understand me right now.  My grammar is about the same right now because I only have a bit more than a week with him after all.

   Have a great week!

   I love you!

Elder Smith