Peru Chiclayo Mission - March 2013-2015

Monday, January 26, 2015

I'm about to have my 3rd "son."

Mis Queridos Amados!
First off thank you Mom for that wonderful email. Geez make me cry why don't you? Haha no but seriously I love you so much and I'm so thankful for your guidance and example. I have been so blessed to have you and Dad as my parents and thank you for sharing that with us. I really hope that we all can follow her advice and be that much more loving and supportive. 

But you are right. We are so blessed to live where we live and to have the family that we have. To be honest I have always thought what you have thought. . .  Why did I get so blessed? Why did Heavenly Father send me to Utah to live with the most perfect family for me? Now it's clear, just like you said, because He knew that I wouldn't take advantage of the blessings. Honestly before my mission, I took way too many things for granted it's not even funny. But I'm excited to get back and be more grateful for things such as carpet, air conditioning, grass, clear air, a car, just sooo many things. 

Anyways time to get down to the sad news..... Elder Manley has a change and he leaves tomorrow. We are both quite sad about it. Never have I been this sad about a change before but I'm really going to miss him. Last night we stayed awake until 1 in the morning because we couldn't sleep because just the thought of not having him around sucks! It sounds girly, I know I know, but we have become the best of friends.  It'll be exciting to hear how is doing once I am home and we will for sure see each other again. We have had 3 changes together and the time went by sooo dang fast. We are mainly sad because it won't be the same when we are in the house of our pencionista because we always play with the 9, 6, and 5 year old that live there. I'm pretty sure I'm going to cry when it's my turn to say goodbye to them. But  anyway, we are trying to stay positive and I know that Elder Manley will do amazing things in his mission

Also....I'm going to train again!!!! Every time someone trains, they have a ¨kid¨. So it will be my 3rd son on the mission. I'm excited about it and I'm happy that the Lord trusts in me to be able to do it again. I'm not sure if it's going to be a latino or a gringo but I hope it's a latino so that I can get my Spanish up again. Plus I know that since I'm training again, it will help me to keep working hard until my time is up.

Today is the first day of my last change and its definitely bitter sweet. But I'm excited for the new experiences that are about to come. I know that I still have things to do and just like you said Mom, I don't want to sit back and say that I did my part because I still have to work!

Thank you for those scriptures. I have really been feeling a lot better about everything. I continued to read in Alma. And I think it's in Alma 17 where Alma and Amulek suffer a lot of afflictions but the Lord comforts them. I know that the Lord is proud of what I'm doing. I'm excited to keep working hard until the end. Thanks for your support. I have really tried to keep finding people to teach. Now that I'm training again, I'll be able to keep working hard and I know that I will leave the area well off. I just need to keep on being diligent and obedient

Gilberto's ex-wife plans on coming to Peru probably in March. So I'm happy that things are moving along with him. He is reading in the Book of Mormon and he is so far into it. He understands everything. At the end of the lesson this past week we asked him if he needed anything and he said that he just needs to get baptized! His daughter Lorena is now doing her Personal Progress and she is also very far into it. It makes me happy.

Also good news! Do you remember Annie from my last area? The little girl that got baptized by her older brother, Gerardo? Well I called Elder Chavez the other day and he said that their Dad is now going to get baptized in February! I'm so stoked! Gerardo is now on a mission in Arequipa Peru and we are writing each other weekly. But it makes me happy that they will be an eternal family soon!

Even though Elder Manley has to leave, there are still good news (: We just got to look at the good in all things. Like even though it's hot here and very dusty, I'm learning so much and at least we haven't gotten robbed yet haha!

I'm also getting impatient about the Travel Plans. I went to the office the other week and I asked them about it but they said that the guy that works for the church travel dept.hasn't bought them yet. The mission office doesn't buy the tickets. I guess that it's someone else in the states or something that buys them. But I know, I'm getting annoyed by that.

This past week I had the 2nd to last interview with President Williams and he told me some great things. He first thanked me for helping out the mission so much and for working hard where I'm at. He gave me great counsel; he told me that once I get back I have to know that my life is about me and Heavenly Father. Throughout my life I've kind of based my life off of my friends and examples and I've listened to them more. But I need to focus on what Heavenly Father wants me to do. That will help me in my studies and also to choose an eternal companion. I also need to pay attention to the spirit and follow what He wants me to do so that I may have a successful life in the gospel. But I don't need to worry about that right now.

I'm ready to work!

I love you all. He loves you
Elder Smith
Ps. My memory card got a virus. So no photos. Sorry

Monday, January 19, 2015

I have never done anything so rewarding in my whole life

I'm so happy to hear that you guys went to the Temple together and were able to do sealings for our ancestors. That is something that I'm looking forward to doing because I bet the spirit feels just that much sweeter when you actually do it for your family members. 

This week is the last week of the change and its crazy how fast this past change has gone. It seems like just last week that Elder Manley and I were praying that we wouldn't have a change just yet and now we are already back at it again. My guess is that Elder Manley gets changed and I stay here for my last change in the mission. Its freaking insane to be able to say that. I feel that I should only have 14 months or so but I'm on that final stretch. I have many goals that I want to do before I get home that will help me keep wanting to work hard. So please pray that I may give it my all in the last change that I have being a servant of the Lord. I have never done anything so rewarding in my whole life. This whole experience hasn't been fun and it probably hasn't been the funnest thing that I've done in my life. But all of it has been worth it, all of the ups and downs. I have learned so much and I know that spiritually, I have been incredibly blessed.

So this past week has been hard for me. Cynthia didn't come to church with her family since it was her daughter's birthday. But they plan on coming to church next week so that they can be rescued. But during these past couple of weeks I have been wondering why there hasn't been much success here in my area. It seems that we have been working hard and we are trying to do what's right, but nothing is going through. Giberto still hasn't gotten a hold of his ex wife. Angels and Noeli can't move out of their house, Elayne moved, and there are just so many people that we teach, but they don't progress. So we find ourselves contacting a lot and there aren't that many people that want to listen.

So Thursday morning I was studying and before I started with a prayer as always asking Heavenly Father to help me feel strengthened. Then I continued reading the Book of Mormon in Alma. As I read a few chapters, I arrived to Alma 8 where it talks about Alma and his mission experience. It talks about when he went to Melek and he was able to baptize many people throughout the land. Then after he taught and baptized there, he left to the city of Ammonihah which was the northern part and as he got there he was rejected. He was even spit upon and casted out many times. It says that Alma was weighed down with sorrow and it that very moment an angel came to him to comfort him and to tell him to rejoice. Verse 15 has the answer that I received.  "Blessed art thou, Alma; therefore, lift up thy head and rejoice, for thou hast great cause to rejoice; for thou hast been faithful in keeping the commandments of God from the time which thou receivedst thy first message from him. Behold, I am he that delivered it unto you."

I know that it's been hard. But I will try to continue to be diligent and obedient so that I may receive blessings.

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers.
I love you. He loves you
Elder Smith

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Faith=Believe, Trust, and Act

Hey err body!

Happy Late Birthday to Grandpa Howard and Taya!! I hope it was a good one!! I cant wait to be there for family meeting and wrestle with all the little kids! Bring on the craziness!!

We had a cool experience with Giberto last week. We taught him about how friends make a huge difference on how strong we are in the church. At the end of the lesson he explained that before he would always go to the corner and drink with his friends. But now that he knows and understands the Word of Wisdom, he has been able to tell his friends that he doesnt drink anymore and they respected that. Now he doesn't even hangout with them. I wish that you guys could meet him and see just how strong he his in the gospel.  I'm not sure ill be able to see him get baptized. But we shall see what happens and continue in faith.

We are soon going to rescue a family of 3. Really there are 4 members in their family but the Dad doesn't come to church. He mainly works on Sundays and its hard to find him. They just need to come to church one more time and they will be rescued! So we are excited about that. 

Its hard that we haven't baptized in such a long time, but we are happy that we are working well with the Less Actives in our ward.

I feel that my mission has really helped me see what I need to be as a spouse. Here in Peru there are a lot of families that are faithful in the church but they barely come with their Dads. I'm not sure why that is. I think that men are just sometimes too stubborn and they think that they don't need God in their lives.

Something that I learned about faith recently is that it isn't about just believing or acting.
There are 3 things to faith that we need to keep in mind.
1. To Believe
2. To Trust
3. To Act
For example with Peter, while Christ was walking on the water, Peter saw and believed that it was him and believed that he could do it, so he acted. However while he was going along the path he started lacking in his trust and that is when he fell more and more in the water until Christ grabbed and said, oh man of little faith.

Also just like Laman and Lemuel. They even forgot that they had seen an Angel and Nephi and to remind them over and over what they had experienced and seen. Laman and Lemuel were always on and off with things.

But I think that some of the main things that helps to stay strong in the Gospel are Tithing, family prayer, fulfillment in a calling, and remembering spiritual experiences. If one doesn't have spiritual experiences, that person tends to slip away slowly.

I haven't received anything about the Travel Plans yet. They called me this past week asking for your email and Dads email to send you something. But I'm not sure when they are going to! Just keep a heads up!
I love you all. He loves you.
Elder Smith

Monday, January 5, 2015

Hold onto the Iron Rod and never let go

Hola ! Well we didn't have to wait too long for Pday again since it was on Thursday of last week. But I still have things to say!
 There is a pig somewhere inside our building!!

Angels and Noeli aren't going to be baptized on the 17th of January anymore because it fell through. Everything was almost ready to go though...we found them a room, they agreed on it and were all ready to go. As they went and talked to their landlord to let him know that they were going to move, he said that they couldn't because they signed a year contract and the contract ends in July...
But its sooo lame because he even told them a few months ago to move because his daughter is coming to live from Spain and now all of a sudden he says no. So Elder Manley and I are pretty upset as well. It's just annoying because we are working so hard to help people reach their goal of baptism but as the scriptures say in 2 Nephi 2, there is opposition in everything. I'm trying to have patience with everybody in this area but sometimes it's hard because we have passed so much time without a baptism. But we are still going to be diligent and we will still press forward. It's just hard.

Angels and Noeli are pretty disappointed. We asked them if Noeli's boyfriend could leave instead of them and they said that they have been trying to tell him but he just refuses and stays there. Yesterday we went over and we taught them 1 Nephi 8 where it talks about the Tree of Life and even though we could be in the dark with a lot of trials and temptations, we always need to hold onto the Iron Rod and never let go. We related that to them and invited them to never stop listening to the lessons and attending church and we promised them that one day they will be able to get baptized, even if it's in July. 

The good news of this past week is that we found a new family to teach and they attended church yesterday. It's a family of 4. Enrique and Leanor are the parents with their 2 kids Luis who is 12 and a 3 year old kid. We started teaching them last Thursday or so and the Dad walked in and sat down to listen and so we immediately changed the lesson to families and how we should live the Gospel as a family. Enrique thanked us for coming to his home and yesterday they came to church. We just need to see if they are married now. But either way we are excited to start teaching them.

We started to attend church at 8 am and so that's always hard for people to come to church especially investigators but that new family came and also Giberto and Lorena. But other investigators said that they stayed asleep. As a missionary I don't really care since I have to wake up at 6 30 everyday but if I was home and we had to attend at 8, I would probably die. 
Anyway thanks everybody for your love and support. Mom I'm really glad that you could eat lunch with all those friends of yours. I know that they are really close to your heart. As you said, it's so important that we all fulfill our callings. God needs us to help others and he counts on us. That is why he called us in each of the callings we have.
I love you. He loves you.
Elder Smith

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 is going to be a big year for me!

2015 is Here!!!

It was so great to talk to you guys on Christmas and see all of your faces. You all seemed so happy and it sounds like you all got amazing presents!!! Dad!!! I'm dang jealous of your present and I am totally stoked for you!! Just don't die okay?? Haha way to go Mom on surprising him!! Also way to go on Allison's present. You really know how to make presents special. I bet that took forever to find all the clothes that looked similar off Pinterest. I love you guys.

I'm getting ready to send you guys a bunch of videos from last night. I'm sorry that they are a lot but they are all dang legit and hilarious!! Yesterday we could only stay out until 8 o clock so we ate dinner around 7. We ate turkey, potatoes, hot chocolate, Inka Kola, and Paneton. It was pretty nice and we ate all together with the little kids around the table. It was a lot of fun. Then at midnight it was just nuts!!! Soooo many fireworks and People here make these straw dolls that are gigantic and they all burn them. Last night it looked like the end of the world because everything was burning and alarms going off and fireworks blasting. It was pretty sick!!!  But  Elder Manley and I had a lot of fun talking about our goals for 2015. 
 Firework Fail #1 (Don't worry nobody got hurt)
Firework Fail #2
Finally! Happy New Year!!

2014 for me has been pretty stressful and I worked pretty hard I feel like. I had 4 areas. Jaen, Jose Olaya, Los Amautas, and Los Artesanos. All of which treated me really well. None of them were easy, in all of them I had trials, but from everyone I learned something new. I feel that in 2014 I really learned a lot! I grew spiritually and I was able to learn the language better and the Gospel a lot better. I am eternally grateful.

2015 is going to be a big year for me!  Ending my mission, finding a job, starting school again, and looking for an eternal companion. It's going to be a lot of fun, but a lot of hard work. But I'm excited for it because I know that Heavenly Father has been preparing me and I feel that I can take on the real world now. I have many goals that I want to accomplish so here it goes!!

This past week we were able to set up 2 baptismal dates. One for Noeli and the other for her daughter Angeles. In our building where we are living in, there was a family that moved out and so a nice room was available and we told them about it and they are most likely going to move in next week!!! We set up a date for the 17th of January and so we are praying that all will go according to plan. They really know that they are in the truth and Noeli told us that her goal is to go up during testimony meeting and bare her testimony of the truth that she has been able to learn. Please pray for them.

Elayne moved and is now living with her Mom in the area of Los Amautas. So I plan on sending the referral to Elder Chavez. However, she comes every weekend and so we might still teach her. We will see what happens. But we also started to teach her grandmother. She is a sweetheart.

That is pretty much for this week. I'm pretty sure that I could keep writing you guys about a bunch of stuff. But we will also be able to write each other on Monday which is like 4 days away!!

Have a good New Years Day. I love you all. He loves you
Elder Smith