Peru Chiclayo Mission - March 2013-2015

Monday, March 31, 2014

Speaking English is hard to do now!

I met Bugsy from Bedtime Stories.

I forgot to burn a tie at 6 months so I went "back in time" to recreate that moment!
Keeping the tradition by burning a shirt at one year! 3-27-14
Hey Everybody!
I can't believe that school is going to end soon for Allison. I can't even imagine taking AP calculus, or however you spell it haha. I keep thinking to myself that when I get back to college, I might be totally dead because I don't remember a whole lot about math or anything. But I am positive that Heavenly Father will bless me witht that. Good luck everyone on your studies for the end of the year! You can do it!!! I am happy that I don't have to worry too much about studying for finals right now!

Mom congratulations on your new calling! I remember when you got released from the Young Women many years ago and you cried because you loved that calling sooo much! You are going to do such an AMAZING job with that calling. My testimony has grown sooo much during this past year about callings in the church. It is so crucial that we strive to fulfill every calling that the Lord gives us so that we can complete our convenio that we made at baptism, I don't know remember the word in English for "convenio" so I'm sorry, Mom help me out haha. (Covenant) But here in Peru there are a lot of people that take their calling as if they were nothing. I know that you will strive so hard to do an amazing job. And you are exactly right, Heavenly Father will bless you sooo much!

Right now my area has improved soooo much!!!!! We have found a few people to teach, not a lot, but I will take this blessing. We received a referral from the institute building here because that is where we meet for District Meeting and a guy gave us a referral of a girl named Laura Sandoval. She is 23 years old. She has been attending a different ward around here and she realized that there was a closer ward that she could attend and so they contacted us. This past Friday we went over to get to know her and oh my gosh she is sooo prepared! She goes to an institute class of the Book of Mormon and she is so interested in the Church. The missionaries never visited her where she used to attend church and so the lessons are new for her but she keeps every commitment that we leave her and she attends church with a smile on her face. We are looking forward to put a baptismal date with her this week for probably the 19 of April!! It will be sooo exciting since there hasn't been a baptism here for now 6 months. But Elder Supayabe and I are working really hard!

My Area is actually a pretty nice area. There are a lot of rich apartments here unlike in Jaen and the food is a little bit better and the pencionista cooks better as well. She makes tacos and lasagna and stuff. However there are a lot of dirt roads and dirt fields where dirt flies up in the air as I have told you guys. It gets so bad that you have to hide yourself before the dust cloud eats you all up!!! It's pretty funny though because Elder Supayabe sometimes hides behind me and screams as it goes flying past us. There are some poor areas as well, extremely poor areas like Jaen and in those areas it is pretty dangerous. I haven't gotten robbed here but I have seen 3 robberies happen while I have been here in those parts. We try to avoid them but it is kind of impossible. But we are protected. My area is actually Chiclayo, an outskirt of the main roads here in Chiclayo with tons of taxis and everything.

Things have gotten better here and I am excited to be here and I am excited that things are progressing! Things are going great with my companion. I really had to learn how to love him though. But we haven't had a problem this past week. I think that Heavenly Father...well...I know that He helped me out a whole lot because I really prayed for the gift of loving others. Now I get along with a lot more people and I have been able to understand my companion a lot more this past week. We work really hard and we both have desires to increase this work here in this area.

I can't believe that conference is already here! Just 6 months ago I was in Jaen about to watch and BAM! I am here! After this conference I just have 1 more in the mission. Time is going by really fast. I have learned a whole bunch and my testimony is SUPER strong about the church. I can't even describe it. Dad, remember how when we were companions for home teaching and I never really wanted to go. Man I look back at that and I just want to punch myself in the face a million times for being such a punk. I am so excited as well to get back and continue growing my testimony in the church and to continue working hard in the church. I can't wait to hear the prophet and the apostles and the leaders of the church give us our spiritual strength that we need. I can't wait to hear what I  need to hear right now. I hope we all can go with a sincere and open heart. 

I hit a year this past week...its nuts. It went by way fast. I am excited to work even harder. I want to go all out this next year.
I love you all. He loves you.
Elder Smith

Monday, March 24, 2014

One year down! Half way done!

Half Way!
Pretty long week for me! But at least like you said, I will hit a year this week! It is kind of crazy for me to think that. But yeah, same here, it has gone by slow but fast at the same time! Well this Thursday I am going to be with my zone leader from Mexico on splits for my 1 year mark. But not planning on doing anything too special. I'm going to just burn a shirt for tradition. I never burned a tie for my 6 month mark so I am going to do that as well! 

That is so sweet that you guys ate at Se Llama Peru. That is where Logan and I ate like a month before I left and I ate that same plate that you ate mom. It is called Lomo Soltado and it is probably my favorite dish here. But is served with WAY more rice! Also yeah I remember Elder Monton! He is way cool and it is crazy to think I met him like 5 months ago when Elder Nelson came. He ended his mission in December. I didn't know him that well but he seemed really cool. So crazy that you ran into all those Chiclayo RM's at the restaurant.

My new companion is named Elder Supayabe. He has 9 months on his mission and he is from Santa Cruz, Bolivia. He first served in Bolivia as he waited for his visa and you know who he met? Brandon Sehestedt! He was his District Leader! Crazy right? Haha I was like, "Hey did you ever meet an Elder Sehestedt?" And he was like, "YES! He was my District Leader!" We pretty much decided that it was him since there aren't many people with the same last name as that. Well anyway he served in Boliva for around 4 months and then got his visa to Venezuela because that was the mission he was called to. But as you guys may know...they took out all the missionaries in Venezuela because it got way too dangerous. He told me that he got robbed like every other day and sometimes at gunpoint. The Elders that had 18 months or more just got sent home and the Elders with less time got sent to different missions. Here in our mission, we received 8 of them. He is pretty cool though.

Things here, well there is still a lot of work to get done. Yesterday was a crazy day. We talked to the Dad of Samantha. Earlier in the week we were talking with Samantha and she told us that if her dad supported her in this decision, then she would get baptized. She is 20 years old, and doesn't need permission, but she wants her dads support. So yesterday we found him and started talking to him about the decision and desire that Samantha wants to take. Elder Supayabe doesn't really talk at all so it was a little difficult because when we need to talk to parents, it is good if the 2 missionaries are talking 1 at a time baring testimony and things. So I pretty much talked to him by myself and well...he basically said that it is her decision, but the Dad wants her to be more prepared. We still haven't talked to Samantha yet to explain to her what happened. But we really hope that she will get baptized this week, if not the next.

Yesterday at night we also found the Dad of Angel. He is the boy that I said that has attended church for like 6 months straight and has always wanted to get baptized but the missionaries never really got to their house to talk with the dad. Yesterday for the 1st time since I have been here, we found him! First we knocked on the door and on the door there is this little window that gets opened and so one of Angels sisters who is like 25 opened the little window and she told us that the Dad was busy and couldn't talk (like everybody here in Chiclayo) and she told us to come back a different day. But I had a thought come to my mind that told me that I needed to get in that house now because it is way too hard to find the Dad. So I tried to talk with her saying that we really needed to talk to him but she said, no a different day. However I saw the Dad in the house and he was eating so I just decided to talk to him haha. I was like hey sir we are the missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and we need to talk to you about your son. He finally said yes and we got in. As I said before, Elder Supayabe doesn't really talk so it was just the Dad and I talking. I explained to him that his son wants to follow Jesus Christ and be baptized in His church. That he has been attending church for 6 months straight and he is very prepared to get baptized. I then asked him why it is important for us to get baptized and he didn't even know so I explained to him that it is necessary to get back to our Heavenly Father. Finally we asked him if he would support his son so he could get baptized. He told us it is not up to me, it is up to his mother and she gets here in April. We tried to explain to him that we just needed one signature, not two but he didn't really care. So in April we will go back and try to talk with the Mom. It was kind of a bummer, but at least we talked to his parents. I hope that that story made sense haha if it didn't, well I am sorry, I will explain it when we talk in person in like a year because there is more to the story haha.

Man here in Chiclayo it is sooooo dusty it is insane and it is pretty windy and so there are little dust clouds that come right at you and you have to cover yourself fast or you eat dirt and you get it in your eyes. I got the contact solution last week and so that has helped me haha so thank you so much for that!

We have worked really well this past week and have received pretty good referrals. It is just going to take a lot of work for all of it to get to a baptism. But really we are working really well and so I am pleased.

I am happy that you had a good birthday mother! I wish I could have been there for it but thank you for the pictures and I hope everything that you ate was delicious. If it doesn't taste good, just be grateful you don't eat a mountain of rice everyday (;

Allison congrats on your dance competition! That sounds sooo legit! Way to be for ranking so high in the nation! That's what's up!

Well I took pretty cool pictures but you guys are going to have to forgive me because I forgot my card to hook it up to the computer. But maybe I will do it later, I am not sure.
I love you. He loves you
Elder Smith

Monday, March 17, 2014

Pizza hut, an earthquake, and kissing a cockroach~

This week was a little hard for me because I didn't really have time to work that much. Willy has been really busy because he is taking a few college classes also searching for work before his mission and so he couldn't really come out with me and help me this past week. The young men in the ward started school this past week because summer break here is the opposite. It starts in December and it goes until March so they there wasn't really anyone to come out with me to work.  I have had to be with the Zone Leaders for some days.

However, the work that I was able to do went really well. We had a lesson with Samantha more about baptism and I would have to say that she is really excited about everything and that she really wants to get baptized! The only problem probably would be that she has a lot of friends that love to party and so we are trying to help her to feel comfortable in the ward so that she will be able to make good choices when she is baptized. We invited her to baptism for the 29th of March and she accepted! She only said that she is a little nervous and scared because her dad doesn't really want her to change her religion. He wants her to stay in the Catholic Church with him but we explained to her that it was completely up to her and that no one on the face of the earth could tell her that she can't follow Jesus Christ and be baptized.
 our KFC party with Samantha, Gustavo, and Rosalia
This past Friday, we had a meeting from 9 to 3 in the afternoon with all of the leaders of the mission and it was soooo amazing!! We pretty much learned EVERY subject that is needed to be learned in that one meeting. We ate lunch there and they ordered Pizza Hut!!! Ah!! American Pizza...the bomb (: I saw Elder White, he is a Zone Leader. I also saw Elder Winward and he is District Leader and also Elder Quiroz as District Leader! So it was really nice to see them! I haven't seen them for like 7 months because I have been in Jaen and they have been in Cajamarca. But we were talking of how crazy it is that we are already going to complete 1 year in the mission and we all have grown sooo much and have learned a lot as well!

In the leadership meeting I was able to talk to President about my area and my mini missionary. He told me that they got me different missionary companion that will probably be with me tomorrow until the end of the change since Willy can't really come out with me and he is always busy. I don't know who he is yet. President just told me that he is from a different stake and is 18 years old. He also told me that he knows that there hasn't been a baptism for a long time in my area and that there isn't much success but he told me that he trusts me and he knows that I will do my best to try to increase the work a little bit while I am here. So that helped me to fill a little bit more confident in myself.

Yesterday we were able to have another lesson with Jesus Diez and it was sooo awesome. He attended church yesterday.  He came with his family.  His daughter, that just barely got back from her mission, teaches the class with all the investigators there. Anyways as you know we invited him to pray for his own desire to know everything was true. Yesterday in the lesson I asked him if he had received his answer and if he has been praying with his own intent. He told me that yes he had been praying by his own intent but he didn't receive an answer. I kind of felt something that told me that it wasn't quite true. So then I asked, "Were you able to feel anything in church?" He told me, "You know what? I did feel something when I gave the closing prayer in the class with my daughter."  He said that he couldn't describe what he felt but it was a calm feeling. So that whole lesson we were helping him understand that it was an answer from God and now he is more excited about things! I honestly love teaching this perfect gospel every day. Why is it perfect? Because it is the same exact doctrine that Jesus Christ taught while he was on the earth. To be honest, anyone can ask us whatever question they want and we can respond to them with our powerful testimony of what we know is true.

Mom, I wanted to write you a letter for you birthday and I still will, I just haven't had much time to really do anything because this past week has been absolutely crazy. Anyway, Happy Birthday this coming Saturday! You are such a special daughter of God and I know that he is soooo proud of you because of all the amazing things you have done for our family and for all the things that you have sacrificed. I am so happy to hear that you just love going to the temple and that you go often. I promise that you will receive many guidance there in the house of the Lord. To be honest I really miss the Temple..but I am excited to go in there again with you to do a session.

What are some of your plans that you are going to do? I hope that you will get to do something special since it is Saturday! I don't really have anything to give you guys since I am here in Peru and I feel really bad because I normally send stuff for your guys' birthdays. But Mom, take 20 bucks out of my bank account and put it in your account and go have some fun this Saturday with you and Dad in my name (; I know it isn't much but I want you to enjoy your birthday okay? Or at least buy you something legit (:
Isn't weird to think that for your next birthday I will be home? You only have 1 birthday away from me haha that is nuts. I miss you a whole bunch but I am grateful for this time that the Lord has set apart for me to work in this grand work

Anyway I don't have too much more to say. But sometimes I end with something funny or crazy thing that happened to me and this week I have 2 things that happened!

Tuesday night I was laying in bed and it was extremely hot!  When it is hot I can't really sleep so I got up to go get my hair wet under the sink so I could cool off.!  I didn't turn on the lights and I didn't have my contacts in so I was kind of blind. As I got to the sink I put my head down and right before I got my head under the water I opened my eyes a little more and I hit this weird thing with my chin and I heard it move.   I wasn't sure what it was and so I squinted my eyes to look at it better and sure enough it was a freaking cockroach!!!!! I freaked out and almost screamed at the top of my lungs and I killed it with my sandal hahaha. Ya ya ya make fun of me all you want but hey cockroaches are disgusting!! As I returned to the room, Willy was pretty much asleep and I was like "Willy! I almost just kissed a  cockroach!" He busted out laughing. Man it was nuts!

The other story is that this past Saturday night we were in another meeting with all the District Leaders of our Zone and the Zone Leaders. Out of nowhere everything started to move a little bit and I started to move as well even though I was seated in my chair. The lights started to move and I started to get a little dizzy! Haha it was an earthquake! I think that it was my first earthquake that I have felt in my life. But this one lasted like 20 seconds. Everyone was like, "When is it going to stop?!"  I was like, "I am getting dizzy"! It was crazy! Man the stuff that happens on the mission!

Oh President called me this morning and he told me that my new companion is coming tomorrow! Not a mini missionary, but a real missionary.  I think that there were some missionaries that got their visas as well and they are coming tomorrow and so I might be training! We shall see. I am excited to finally be able to work again!
I love you all. He loves you.
Elder Smith

Monday, March 10, 2014

All has been better than I thought

What up everybody,
Wow, what a week it has been. I would say that every morning and night I would just pray that He would help me out this week with everything that was going to happen. He has helped me out so much during this past week and I really feel blessed and it has strengthened my testimony even more to know that he truly is with me guiding me.
Last Monday was so much fun for PDay. There are these investigators named Gustavo and Samantha. They are siblings and they are both in their 20s. They are so nice to us and we are such good friends. They came with us shopping last Monday and we went out to eat lunch and then at night we had a lesson with them. Today as well when Pday ends we are going to go over because they said that they are going to buy KFC for us!! Booo ya!!! American Food!!! We are pretty close to a big mall here in Chiclayo where that is available. So I am so stoked. We are going to eat KFC and then we are going to watch the Joseph Smith movie in their house. Chiclayo is really different than Jaen, really sandy and dusty, but some parts are really nice...well...for being in Peru, it is pretty nice haha. But the thing with Samantha is that when I met her last week, she told me that she would never get baptized in this Church because she hates the rules.  Well, she didn't even really know about the church. But I was kind of bummed to hear that.  I prayed that the Lord would touch her heart. That also kind of got me all pumped up and I thought to myself, ¨Well Elder Smith, you teach and testify the truth, just say what the spirit says, and all will work out. Also, you have taught people like this and you know what to do.¨ So following that I have really tried to listen to the spirit so that I could help her. Just this past Saturday, as we were in the lesson, we were teaching the Plan of Salvation. And suddenly Samantha stopped me and said, "Elder Smith!!" I said, "What?" She said, "I am going to get baptized in this church!" Right away a huge smile came on my face and I asked her? "A ver, por que se quiere bautizar en esta iglesia?" (So tell me why do you want to be baptized in this church?) And she said, "Because there are things that I have never heard before. I feel that what you are saying is the truth and this church just makes sense and same with the Book of Mormon. It just makes sense"! Man I was so happy to hear that, to really know that the spirit works through me. Yesterday her and her mom attended church (: This week I am looking forward to putting a baptismal date with her. She is so right, this church and everything just makes sense. That is one of the reasons that it is true, it just makes sense and helps us know about a lot of things because we are guided by the Holy Ghost and the priesthood and other leaders.

My new companion/mini missionary is William(Willy). He is 21 actually and he will get his mission call soon. But he is really cool and testifies great! Right now I am just trying to teach him all that he needs to know about the mission.

This ward that I am in, the members are so wonderful. However it was kind of overwhelming at times.  Because I am the only missionary right now in the ward, I kind of felt like I was being attacked yesterday after church with all these problems and all at once all of these things were just coming at me. Right after sacrament meeting so many members came up to me and were like, "Elder I need a blessing", or "Elder come over tomorrow", or "Elder help me with this" or "help me with that." Haha after I just laughed and said to Willy, "Man! Am I the only one that can fix things in this ward?" Hahaha no, but it was funny. I love these members and a lot of the youth helps us and come to appointments with us. And even today we got like 10 phone calls from so many people and I had to answer each one of them because they were probably all for me. But all is well, I am learning a lot.

Right now I am a lot closer to the office. Only like 15 minutes away. So if there is mail for me, I should get it every week in District Meeting.  I saw the picture  of our new upcoming mission president and right now he is living in Wyoming or something like that. I am kind of sad that President Risso is leaving.  He has helped me in sooo many aspects and he is sooo wise and sooo faithful it is insane. But yet again I am excited to have my 4th Mission President in my mission, haha crazy right?

As of right now, I am doing pretty well. The area is pretty big, we walk a lot, and I don't know the streets that well. But Willy is a genius and is helping me out with that. I just hope things continue to go well and that I will be able to find new investigators because there aren't that many. But for what there is, it is time to convert them to the true church. 

Sorry this email is so long, but I will just end with a spiritual lesson that I had yesterday. There is this man named Jesus Diez. His whole family are members and his daughter just came back from her mission in Ecuador like a month ago. Well we invited him to pray about what we have been teaching and yesterday we went back to teach him and to see if he had prayed and he told us yes but that he hasn't received any answer and he explained to us that he wants a vision or a dream and said if Joseph Smith received a vision why couldn't he? We explained to him that God works in his own ways and we have to do His will, not our will if we want to receive an answer. I then asked him, why he wanted to receive an answer and why was he praying to know. What he told me was that he prayed because we invited him to. I explained to him that that was wrong and that he has to pray because he should be worried about his salvation and that because he should want to live with his family forever and that he wants to be a part of this true church. We invited him to pray, but to do it for his wants, not only because we told him to. So we are going to pray that he gets his answer. He has a lot of different beliefs that are sometimes hard to even believing. But luckily his family are members, so they will help us. It will take time for this man. But I have no doubt that God will answer him. He just needs to be humbled because he is hard to receive information and most of the time doesn't accept it. If we want to receive an answer, we need to do it with a humbled heart and ready to listen to the spirit. If we do things just because people tell us to, Heavenly Father probably won't respond to us.

Bueno, por alguna razon, me gustaria escribir un poco en español. Yo oro por ustedes cada dia. Ustedes son bien importantes para mi. Estoy muy agradecido que todos de nosotros somos miembros de La Iglesia por que vi ayer a una familia que falta alguien en su familia que no es miembro de La Iglesia. Pero nosotros somos miembros y realmente se que Dios nos ha bendecido bastante por eso, solo miren y piensen en todas las cosas que tenemos y el amor que tenemos por nuestros mismos y todas las bendiciones que recibimos diariamente. No puedo pensar en mi vida sin ustedes. A pensar que me falta un año en mi mision es totalmente loco, pero prometi a Dios que iba a trabajar hasta el fin si o si, y eso es mi intencion. Aunque el trabajo ahora sea dificil, estoy listo y dispuesto a poner todos de mis esfuerzos en este trabajo. Se que esta Iglesia cambia vidas y lo he visto en mi mision y eso me ha ayudado bastante. Gracias por todo lo que han hecho ustedes por mi y gracias por orar por mi. Yo siento sus oraciones y me da fortaleza. Nunca duden que no estamos en la verdad. Como Elder Uchtdorf dijo, Duden sus dudas, antes que duden su fe. 
I love you. He loves you 
Elder Smith