Peru Chiclayo Mission - March 2013-2015

Monday, September 29, 2014

Conversated? Is that a word? - I can't speak English anymore!

The lovely dusty streets of my new area
 My new companion, Elder Manly from South Carolina

 Living here is like what I picture it's like to live in the desert in Iraq

Elder Manly and I playing soccer at the church during P-day

Hello Folks! I miss you guys!!
So yes I did get transferred! I am in the zone of Dorado. My area is Artesanos 2. It isn't too far away from my last area. Only like 20 minutes away so we took a taxi. The ward here is great and a lot bigger. President Williams is putting 2 to 3 companionships in the strong wards because he wants to strengthen them even more. In this ward, about 160 members attend each week. And my other areas where I have been at were around 90 members. However, in this area there are around 500 members that are less active and so we are really wanting to help change that.

I am sorry to scare you guys haha but yes, this area is dangerous. We split the whole area with 2 other elders and we have the most dangerous part I guess and we live on a dangerous street. There are a lot of men in the streets at night drinking and smoking illegal drugs. So during the day, we are just trying to make friends with everyone so that they don't rob us.  We have talked with almost everyone on the street and so I don't think anything will happen to us. But I am happy to be here. I didn't really want to go here to end my mission because no one really wants to go to Dorado for all the dust and how dangerous it is. But it will make me even more happy to get home and be in a place so nice and safe haha. 

Man! This area is the dustiest area that I have had! It is insane! It's like we are in the desert in Iraq or something because it's windy and there are only like 2 concrete roads and the other roads are complete dirt. But the people here are amazing.

Funny story about my companion! Tuesday morning Elder Chavez and I went to the airport to help pick up the new missionaries with their bags and everything. Anyway there was this one Elder who is from South Carolina and right when he saw my last name he asked me, "Hey! Do you know Dagen Oviatt!?" I was like, "Yeah!" Then he told me that Dagen had served in his ward back home for like 6 months and Dagen told him to look out for me! So I was able to meet him! But the funny part is that he is my companion!!!! He is sooo tight and his name is Elder Manley! Sick last name right? We get along suuuuuper well and it is sooo fun to be training him! Small world though huh?! He makes fun of me though because I keep speaking stupid English. Sometimes I try to make words up in English that we don't really use. Like occupied or conversated.  It's hard for me sometimes to speak it. Right now we mainly just study and plan in English. I am helping him with the phrases, the slang, and the words though. The good thing is that he is a really happy person and so all the people love us. We get along great! He is a way good missionary even though he doesn't speak the language yet. I remember being in his shoes sooo perfectly. But I am trying to help him out as much as possible

We are opening this area up and we have no idea where to go really. The other part of the area has Elder Brunis from Ecuador and he just barely got out of the mission office since he worked there for like 7 months.  He was in my zone before though so I know him really well and he is training an American named Elder Prestwich from Colorado and he loves to play golf. So we are soo stoked to be in the same area. We don't live together though. Elder Manley and I live in a small room and there isn't even a door to the bathroom yet and so we just don't look around the corner when the other one is showering haha. But no, we make the best of it. But as I said, we are opening the other side of the area and we had to start from scratch!!! We contacted soooooo many people since there are no investigators. But we have met some good people. We met this 20 year old girl named Katy who told us that she attended church in Jaen a long time ago and wanted to get baptized but moved down here. So we are trying to help her. Please pray for us that we may able to keep contacting and finding people to teach because we are knocking doors like crazy. But now we have the ward directory and so we will start visiting the members and hopefully get some referrals.

You guys sound like you are doing amazing though. I am sorry if some of my writing doesn't make any sense. I can't wait to be there in Utah again. But I am really striving to work hard until the very last day. I would like to end my mission with Elder Manley. But I don't think we will get to be together for 4 changes.

I have learned so much on my mission and it's fun to pass all the tips to my hijo. In the mission, when someone starts training, the greenie is called the hijo and I am his padre. I love being where I am at and we meet amazing people every day.
I love you. He loves you.
Elder Smith

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

God never calls us to do anything that we can't do because he knows our strengths and weaknesses

With President and Sister Williams
 Que tal? Que hay? Que dicen?

Man what a fun week that you guys have had! I really miss the football atmosphere but I am happy to hear all of the great news and especially to hear that BYU is on a good winning streak! Go BYU!!! Soooo Legit!!!! I hope they keep kicking everyone's trash!

Sounds like Jordan got some sweet birthday presents! I really miss the amazing mountains of Utah and so that is cool that he gets to go to Park City and dinner and all the BYU and high school games.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MOM AND DAD (: Congrats on your 25th anniversary! I am so excited for you guys and I am so happy that all these 25 years you guys have been amazing parents and have had a strong marriage! Man you guys got married fast after Dad's mission! I am starting to write some goals down for my life for when I get back and I am excited to accomplish them. I am grateful for this mission and that I made the decision to be here. Because if not...I wouldn't have progressed and matured a little more.

Soooo happy that you guys were able to go on a double date with the Skousens! They're the best! I hope that you guys had a great time together. Thank you so much for having a strong marriage because that really helps us as your children to have that example! And Allison careful! Haha mom is right! All of the RMs you date are going to be looking for a future wife! My companion and I always get weirded out by that to think that when we get back, we won't really be going on dates just for fun. We have to find a future and eternal companion! Ah!!! 

Well......I have a change......
Friday night at 10 I received a call from the Assistants saying that I had to go to a meeting at 10 in the morning on Saturday. So many thoughts came to my mind, but I mainly thought in training. As I arrived to the meeting there were about 20 other missionaries there and President spoke to us. He said that every one of us is going to train and that he really trusts us. He said that he only picked some of the best missionaries in the mission because he feels that a trainer is the most important calling to have on the mission. So...I will be training and he told me that I will be training an American. I also will be opening a brand new area. So it will be a challenge. But I know that God never calls us to do anything that we can't do because he knows our strengths and weaknesses and so that comforts me.  Secret.....Well yesterday I called an Elder from the office and I asked him where I am going and he says that I am going to the zone Dorado. Dorado is the most dangerous zone in the mission and there aren't any sister missionaries in that zone for that reason. It will be an adventure that's for sure, but don't worry I'll be safe! 

Anyways to be honest...I am sad to leave Los Amautas. Like I have said before, I love the members here. Yesterday I went around saying goodbye  to everyone and I seriously almost cried with some of the families. It has been such an amazing experience and I am sooo grateful that I was able to be here. I hope that my next area I will be able to feel the same way. Even though I am sad to leave everyone, I am excited to train an American and I hope to be an example and the best companion. I just hope that we may able to get used to things fast since we aren't going to know anything about the area and we aren't going to know any member at all. But the Lord will always provide since he always has for me on my mission. I am excited to do this because it will help me to finish my mission strong. Most likely this will be my last area before I get home and so I hope to work my butt off and I hope to be a good trainer. I am a little nervous since I will be opening the area. But I am happy that the Lord and President Williams trust me to do this. I feel like I am ready!  I will be leaving tomorrow in the morning.

Man this past week we had to defend the truth many times. Some people wanted to "discuss things" with us and they were just soooo wrong about everything that they said. But I am sooo grateful for the mission and all the doctrine and scriptures that I have been able to learn and understand. But the most effective thing that I feel that I was able to do was bare my testimony. Because they totally trashed on the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith as everybody does. But I really bore a solid testimony that came from my heart. Also about the prophets that lead and guide us. They were crazy experiences and I will comment on them when I get back because they said so many things. But Elder Chavez and I were able to stay strong and we always left winning. I know it isn't good to Bible bash. But something important that I have learned is to defend the truth.
That is pretty much all that happened this week for us because we were busy running around doing stuff for the zone. 
I love you. He loves you.
Elder Smith

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I have grown to absolutely love everyone in this area.

 Elder Chavez and I with a really great newly active friend of ours

Gotta love these Peruvian dogs

A member in our ward is a singer in a mariachi band

This guy drives around selling fruit down the streets, yelling into a microphone:
 "Manzanas, Uvas, Platanos!"

In a neighboring town called Monsefu

Trying (unsuccessfully) to block all the flying dust from my eyes!

 Just hanging out saying HI to people in the streets of Jaen.


Hola mi familia (:

I am so happy to hear that everything is going well with school and work! How blessed we all are to have school and work. I sometimes miss studying and working! But I am happy that I have been able to learn more of how to organize my stuff and time so that I can do it a lot better when I get back!

I honestly don't know what I want to do for my career. As we all know that I started thinking of Law Enforcement. But I have been thinking also of doing banking. Over these past few months as a zone leader I have had to deal with the money of the zone and put it into a system every week of how much we spent and stuff like that. But yet again, I hate math. So right now my plan is to get back and worry more about that then. I hope to look into the careers more and go to the temple to see if it's the right choice.

Well I am sad to say that this week could be my last week here in Los Amautas. Last Pday in my report to President Williams I asked him if I could stay here another change until November because I love it soooo much. I have grown to absolutely love everyone in this area. The members, the converts, and the investigators. It's probably not the prettiest area like Jaen, since its all dirt. But I love it. I don't want to leave yet. The only thing is that if I stay, my companion will either stay here to finish his mission, but I don't think so because that would be way too much time in one area. Or he would stay and go to another area just for 1 change to finish his mission since he goes home in January. So I'm thinking I might have a change. President has explained that he is gonna probably drop some zone leaders to train or be district leaders because he wants good missionaries doing these things. So we will see what happens. So...yeah...but either way. I'll follow where the Lord wants me to go.

This past week Daniel didn't get baptized....As we went over to his house to pick him up for his baptismal interview he was really nervous and didn't want to do it yet. He has just heard all of his life that if he gets baptized, he will just fail and will go in active. He just got nervous. But he really wants to follow Christ and keep learning. We invited him to pray and see when he should get baptized. Pray for him that he may receive the comfort he needs.

Yesterday I was able to talk in Sacrament Meeting and also teach the Gospel Principles class with the investigators and less active members. Both times I talked about families. I have learned on my mission that it is so important to gain the trust of others so that they can say and explain what really is happening in their lives. If parents could learn to really gain that trust with their children, it would be so much easier for them to help them in their struggles and problems. As their kids, they need to respect and obey them. I also talked about temples and being an eternal family. That is my next goal as I get off my mission. To be married in the temple. I am so grateful for you guys and for always supporting me and for helping me to be on my mission. 

This past week we went on interchanges with some missionaries of the zone.  Yesterday I went with Elder Flores. He is from Mexico and sooo cool. We met an atheist and it was an interesting experience. We started teaching him for like 5 minutes and out of nowhere he just started bursting out laughing and explained he was an atheist. I was kind of shocked and didn't know what to say.  H said goodbye and told us to go away. But I gave him a contact card with the picture of Jesus Christ. I bore my testimony that HE LIVES!!! I also told him that I hope that he will one day get to know his Savior and we left. 

I love you all. He loves you.
Elder Smith

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Lord really is molding me because I can feel it and see it.

Les Extraño y Les Amo!!!
Well what I have been able to hear from all of you guys makes me soo happy because you all seem like you are doing well. I am so happy that you guys are receiving many blessings in your work and activities that you are doing. What a blast that you were able to go boating! Man I love you guys and I love our family. Really!
 There is a festival going on in our area! Fun fun!But we didn't go on the rides of course, haha!
These weeks are really flying! Changes are in 2 weeks and I really can't believe it. I really hope to stay here in Los Amautas for at least one more change because I'm loving it. I LOVE  the people here. I know all the streets names and I really am learning a lot. My companion and I are really striving to work hard since we are ending our missions soon. Elder Chavez ends his mission in January and then I'll be out the next change and so we are really freaking out because the time isn't slowing down. We are really blessed to be together though. I really have learned a lot from him and I love where I'm at right now. I really feel that the Lord is molding me because I see it inside myself. My companion and I were talking the other day saying that the longer we are out on our missions the better we know how to teach and contact, but we also start to really understand the gospel and how important it is to keep the commandments and we are just more joyful and happy. I love the mission. The other night I was laying in bed humbled because I was thinking how I would be if wouldn't have gone on a mission. This mission has changed me for the better. My testimony is soooooooo strong right now and I'm excited to apply the things that I have learned into my everyday life after my mission.

This past week we had a leadership council with the zls and the sister leaders and it was a great experience and we left really pumped to finish our mission strong. Changes are in 2 weeks and I hope that I can stay at least one more change and then my next area I would have 3 more changes and end my mission there. I hope it is like that, but I'll go where the Lord wants me to go. 

Anyway! Daniel is looking good for Friday since it's his baptism! This past week we taught him about fasting and he was able to do his 24 hour fast! He also paid his offering to the church and so he is really prepared and even though he is only 13, he is mature and is so excited to be baptized. He was really persistent and even though his Dad didn't really want him to get baptized, he kept striving, going to church, and doing all that was possible to prove that he wants to be baptized. 

I want to thank each one of you guys for supporting me to go on a mission. Yesterday a 20 year old boy came to church.  He is from a little town called Ferreñafe that is about 30 minutes from here.  He just came to visit one of his friends from our ward. He was baptized 2 years ago and no one in his family is a member. He explained that a year ago he told his family that he wanted to serve a mission. His mom and brother said that if he went on a mission, he would have to forget that he was even a part of their family. And that he would not return back with their acceptance in their home. That really hit him hard because he really wanted to serve. He started to fast and pray and he said that he found D y C 31 that promised him that the Lord would take care of his family. He now is gonna start his papers soon and leave in January. It really was a testimony builder for me.  I thank you guys for your love and support because a lot of missionaries don't have that.  It humbles me because I am soo blessed to be here and the Lord really is molding me because I can feel it and see it.

Dad, that is sooo tight that you were able to see one of your mission comps after 27 years!!! That is a long time!! That makes me sad though because I probably won't be able to see many of my comps. But I'll be able to see Elder Nielson, Elder Taylor, Elder White, Elder Rich, Elder Santos, and Elder Waite again...Well I hope so!!! So I'm blessed!

Yesterday we went on splits with the young men in our ward and I went to contact since we need to find families. It ended up being really hard though! We couldn't really get into any home. I knocked 36 doors and only 2 accepted us into their house. Many of them were Catholics or Jehovah witnesses and wouldn't even accept a card of Jesus Christ. I probably had like 25 doors slammed in my face so it was a humbling experience as well. But one of those two people that I talked to was an old lady probably 75 years old and she didn't accept anything I had to say to her either but at the end of talking to her, she asked me if I was REALLY sure that I was in the true church. That really has never happened to me in my mission. Her question was so serious and she looked me straight into my eyes. I was able to put a big smile on my face and with all the confidence in the world, I told her, yes!!! I know that I'm in the true church and that I'm doing the work of the lord and that I'm teaching the true gospel. I told her about prophets and the priesthood and she just stood there amazed and stunned I felt like.I gave her a pamphlet and left. It was so powerful and I felt the spirit testifying of the words that I had said. 

We are teaching this lady who has 3 little girls and lives right in front of us and sells Arroz con Leche everyday (which I absolutely love!)  We contacted her about 2 weeks ago and this past week as we went to teach her, she told us that she no longer lives with her boyfriend and that she wants a new life. So I am so happy that we are teaching her. 

Me and my comp were studying in Preach My Gospel this past week trying to find ideas, scriptures, tools, etc...on how to find families and how we can teach them better.  It said a lot of times how we just need to live the gospel to find the true joy in life and the life hereafter. That will be my goal when I get back from my mission. So now we are trying to explain the importance of temples and families and living the gospel to all the people that we are finding and teaching

So many experiences that I have had in just one week. I hope each one of you counts your blessings of being in this gospel. It's true happiness.
I love you.
He loves you
Elder Smith