Saturday, October 1, 2016

FOR THE LAST TIME

Mother! Happy Birthday.  I love you so much and cannot wait to see you.  Thankyou for writing me all along.  I seriously love you and dad with all my heart.  Hope your day was amazing! 
For the last time,
Elder Smith

Saturday, September 24, 2016

GOLFING IN THE AMAZON JUNGLE



Just tunning up my game to take down big daddy miyahara when i get home.  Im pretty sure this is the only golf course in the whole amazon jungle.  and as you can see it is a 5 star course







THE SAME FLIPPIN SAM



 Not sure how it really works but ya the video is of me and my best friend elder marriott


video


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

REALLY REALLY BUT REALLY

mom are you seated? maybe it would be good to drink a hot chocolate or something before continuing... seriously go drink a hot coco.

well the other day we were doing the transfers with president Li, we had already picked the new assistant and done almost all of the transfers, and then all of the sudden president shouted "wait your going to stay until november right?"... It was as if he had seen a ghost when it dawned on him.  i told him no and that we had already spoken about this but he got really really but really worried. (thats how us latinos speak).  it was super strange and he is now doing all he can to have me stay. i told him if he felt that strongly about it he could go ahead.  as you know the flight has already been bought (you have the itinerary) but hes calling salt lake tomoro to see what he can do.  So ya i dont know how its going to turn out im really confused, but put things on pause for now.  However it goes i will make the best of it.  Im sorry for the inconvenience.  Hope the hot coco was good.  Love you mom
Elder Smith


its been nuts but yes i am coming home in october.  tomoro i will write about the week but before that could you send me a bunch of pics of before the mission.  like as a child, sports, high school, and the fam.  that would be rad.
love you

Monday, September 12, 2016

MAKE EVERY ONE COUNT - CONSECRATED PERFORMANCE

Last friday night a huge storm came to Iquitos.  I havnt read official reports but the people we teach have told me it got up to 80 mph winds(now that i think about it probably kmh).  Anyways roofs went flying.  Not all of them but a good amount.  So we went out in the morning with our pata de cabra(not sure what that is in english but its a tool used to pull out nails.  like the back side of a hammer but bigger) and hammers.  First we went to the Del Castillo family´s house to take apart the roof that fell and get all the branches of the trees that broke off the part that hadnt fallen.  As we did, i noticed a man watching us and i felt like i should talk to him.  But i looked at the top of his house and his roof looked fine so i just kept working.  At the end he was still there so i went to talk with him.  His eyes watered a little when i ask if we could help him in any way.  His house was very narrow but really long.  i had only seen the front part. The back had flown up but was still barely attached by a few nails.  Me and one of my comps, Elder Huari, got up on the roof and pulled it down into place.  (Just to understand it a little more, roofs here are made of metal sheets called calamina that are nailed into a wooden structure below.)  anyways after bending it back into place we needed to nail it down.  But no body had nails.  So we found all the old ones we could.  Lets just say we needed to make every one count.  It sounds a little rediculous but right before i would hammer in a nail i would ask the Lord to "consecrate my performance"  Usually i mess up and bend all the nails, but this time the Lord just made it happen.  i didnt mess up a single one.  We literally had the perfect amount of nails to get the job done.  Not one to spare, but it all worked out. It may sound crazy but i know the Lord helped us out.  After we got down we went to another house.  This one didnt take much discerning to see if the guy needed help because his roof was literally caved in.  We took it apart and built a little structure in the back so him and his daughter could sleep that night.  It was such a pleasure to serve all day.  Last night we went back to the houses of some of the people we helped.  They received us gladly and have now heard the glorious message of the Restoration.  It was an amazing weekend.  Also we had stake conference here and an area seventy, Elder Espinoza, came to preside.  He talked about the culture in the church and the culture of the world.  Now matter how bad the culture in the world gets, the culture in the church does not change.  I really liked that.  Hope all is well at home
un abrazo
Elder Smith

FAMILY NIGHT - AN ANSWER TO PRAYER

heres a foto (i took it) with pdte Li and Hna in the house of the family i wrote you about.  It was a huge blessing to do a family night with them and pdte li.  it really was an answer to prayer and it encouraged this family a ton.  Now we are teaching them with their sister in law who is not a member but is very interested now in the church(they gave us the reference).  The work is amazing. My comp didnt get the picture that i was in off of sister lis camera so this one is all i have for now.  But there are more to see all in due time.  Mom i love you

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

EFECTO GALLETA CHOCOCHIP - DELICIOUS IN ANY LANGUAGE

This last week we were in Pucallpa.  I got the opportunity to work with Elder Jimenez (one of my old companions) in his new area.  He just become a zone leader this last transfer and he has become an excellent teacher and missionary.  It was really special to see his growth in this last year.  While we were in Pucallpa we also trained all of the leaders.  I was to train about verifying commitments and was sitting meditating before the training trying to think of a good way to start off and an old memory came to my head.  Im not sure if it was road show or stake youth conference but in one testimony meeting with all of the youth a women from our ward, not sure what her name was i think she moved (she had redish hair and was a crazy good singer, like profesional i think)  Anyways she mentioned how after a big activity in the church, like stake conference or road show, we all are on a "spiritual high."  She compared it to pulling a tray of cookies out of the oven:  Right when you pull them out they are hot and soft and super delicious but with time the cookies turn into hocky pucks.  She called it the "chocolate chip cookie effect"  So i spoke about the "efecto galleta chocochip" It was a funny little way to start and it was cool because everyone who trained after me related their training to that little analogy as well.  Yesterday  Elder Lezano, an area seventy here in Peru, came and trained all of the members of ward council here in iquitos.  He talked about how to govern, direct, and control the church. (thats translation from spanish, not sure if thats what the scripture says in english) but it was super cool.  The church is so perfectly organized.  All of the authorities who come to answer questions of the members and leaders here have such a sound understanding of the doctrine and organization of the church.  They take these BIG questions that the members have and make it seem as if a child could have figured out the answer.  This coming week should be really good.  We are not traveling so we will be focused here in our area.  We are currently teaching a really cool new family: Liderson and Maria.  and also another guy: marvin whos the security guy here in the office.  Bueno, twas a good week and there are more to come, hope all is well back home
Elder Smith

Saturday, August 20, 2016

ELDER BEAS - A NEW COMPANION

Bam theres two!  The truth is that i lent my camera for the last few months to another missionary who doesnt have one and wanted to take pictures.  But he is going to return it on monday.  Anyways everything is fully documented of the last few months because hermana Li takes her tablet everywhere and takes SO MANY PICTURES. i will get them from her and we will all see them together one day.  For now these are two pics of Elder Beas, Me, Presidente Li, and Elder Yauney.  Elder Yauney goes home on monday and Elder Beas is my new comp.  Hes from Lima and is super rad.  Hes going to help me out a lot.   Elder beas finishes his mission in December. 
Elder Smith



Wednesday, August 10, 2016

THE GARDENER

This week was Leadership Council.  It was fun.  We trained about how the Lord chastens and rebukes the ones he loves.  Elder Christofferson gives a really good talk about it when he tells the Hugh B. Brown story about the gardener.  Anyways the training went really well.  Also this week we are working on the changes with President Li.  Its been pretty nuts. and really time consuming.  But transfers are a very spiritual experience.  Its been super uplifting.  President Li already chose my new companion but i wont be with him for like another 2 weeks.  Its kind of weird knowing. Sorry thats all ive got for now. Until next week.
un abrazo
Elder Smith

Monday, July 25, 2016

SO THERE YOU HAVE IT

well i sat down with president li again.  I told him a few reasons maybe why i shouldnt extend.  He looked me in the eye and said "in all seriousness i need you stay. i need your support"  So there you have it.  ill be home at the end of november.  Love you guys

mom sorry just a quick thing.  it looks like my request to extend my mission got denied by salt lake. 

THE NELSONS...A BIG IMPACT

This week went well.  We are in Moyobamba right now.  We were in Tarapoto friday and saturday.  Sunday today and tomoro we are here in moyobamba  and wednesday well be headed back to iquitos.  But our two days in tarapoto were super awesome.  In the mission we have a pair of adult missionaries.  They are the Nelsons from salt lake city utah.  This is their 3rd mission in the last 6 years.  They served one mission in the north of lima in 2010.  then in 2013 they opened up the branch in Nauta.  and this last year and a half they have served in Tarapoto.  They help a ton with family history and getting to the temple.  The people here seriously love them.  its funny because elder nelson hasnt learned spanish very well at all but sister nelson is just the bomb.  she speaks super well and everyone goes to her for help.  it was cool about a year a ago while i was serving in nueva cajamarca i asked elder nelson why he chose three times to serve in peru if he doesnt know spanish.  he told me "sister nelson is happy when she speaks spanish.  and if sister nelson is happy, im happy"  that one stuck with me.  i thought that was super cool.  Anyways in their farewell elder nelson in his broken spanish and with tears in his eyes spoke about how he was a temple worker in the salt lake temple.  He said that everyone always comes up to him and says that its the "best" calling in the church.  but when they do he corrects them and says "no es el segundo mejor. el numero uno es misionero" I was really impacted by that as well.  This next weekend, for there last sunday here in peru there going to go back to nauta.  As i said before they opened up that branch 4 or five years ago.  elder nelson was the first branch president and he had misionaries as his councilors.  But its grown so fast in the last few years that theyre opening up a building out there in Nauta.  A big awesome legit chapel.  Theyre going for its dedication and man are the people of Nauta going to be stoked to see them.  Well i guess i wrote a lot about the nelsons but this week they had a big impact on me.  They are a great example of dedicated service in the Lords vinyard.  Hope all is well back home
un abrazo
Elder Smith

Monday, July 18, 2016

HELPING HANDS JERSEYS ARE EXCITING

This week we were in Pucallpa.  We trained, met with the stake president, and did some visits with the missionaries.  The visits went really well.  I got to visit one of my old areas and see some people progressing more and more in the gospel.  The meeting with the stake presidency went very well.  The stake president is super young and animated.  He was really excited to start doing more activities with the missionaries.  We gave him the idea to get the mormon helping hands jersey things and start looking for service projects to do as a stake with the support of the missionaries.  He was really excited about the idea.  The training also went really well.  I talked about how to put off the natural man or overcome the natural man.  I really like a quote from Richard G Scott that says "we become what we want to be, by consistently being what we want to be become, every day"  I talked about how we shouldnt feel hopeless or defeated if we have sinful desires.  Because its natural.  It is our tendency as "fallen men" to sin. Therefore it requires daily conscious decisions to overcome the "natural man" tendencies that we may have.  Theres a little bit more to it but ya thats kind of the jist of it.  Hopefully it makes a little bit of sense.  Anyways, things keep moving on.  Its really fun getting to know President Li more and more.  He is a spiritual giant.  Im excited to keep learning from him.
Elder Smith   

Sister Li takes fotos wherever we go.  I will get them off her tablet soon.  I still havnt gotten the opportunity to sit down with president Li alone.  But its looking like it might be too late to even solicite an extension of my mission.  Well see tho.  This week ill have the exact date.  This week i got a package from Hermana Jackie (From Pucallpa) the one who was like my nurse for the first 3 months of my mission.  She wrote me such a sweet letter and sent some chocolates and stuff.  I was so stoked.  She was like my mom while i was in Pucallpa. A little tender mercy that i needed from the Lord.  I love you mom

Sunday, July 10, 2016

CUT UP TREES

So this week was consejo de lideres.  It was awesome.  we trained about getting the job done.  I found this talk called the principle of work by Elder Stanley and i loved it.  it talks about a guy who went and did service after a hurricane in florida.  he says "all i did was cut up trees that were blown down by a hurricane"  Then the guy giving the talk says "brethren cutting trees is more important than thinking about cutting trees or planning to cut trees"  I love that thought so much.  The kind of guy that Elder Stanley describes in the talk is the guy who just knows how to get it done.  People who know how to work hard.  It made me think of Kolton Osborn.  Such a good example of work.  Also this week weve been going with president Li to meet with the stake presidents and talk about the work.  Its been very special to be around such spiritual monsters.  Seriously, there are some studly men down here in the jungle of Peru.  We talked about how to aline the keys of the stake president with the keys of the mission president.  One thing that President Li has changed in our mission already is that we can now go to ward missionary activities.  Before we couldnt.  We were very focused on proselyting with all the time we had, which i loved.  But president Li, coming from Lima, has great new ideas about how to work better with the members.  I think theres going to be a big boom again in the mission work down here soon.  Were all really excited.  this next week were headed to Pucallpa for the first time with President Li.  Should be awesome.  Hope all is well
Elder Smith

Saturday, July 2, 2016

ADIOS A PRESIDENTE GOMEZ Y HOLA A PRESIDENTE LI

So this last tuesday president Gomez headed for Mexico and President Li came to preside the mission.  All is going very well.  President Li and his wife are converts.  They were already married before they were baptized so niether of them has much mission experience.  Zones, districts, daily or weekly planning, agendas, pday. there all things theyve never really heard of.  One of them was actually quite funny yesterday i told them they were going to have their first pday today.  But they understood "pide" which comes from the word pedir which means to ask.  So she thought i was saying their first ask or something like that. i dont know it didnt make much sense but it was funny.  But the cool thing is that they are both super humble and at the same time just ready to go.  President Li is so cool.  These next few weeks and months are going to be really special alongside him.  well thats the big news everything else is going well as well.  The work rolls on.  I love it
Elder Smith

Monday, June 20, 2016

RAISING OUR VISION

Right now im writing from Pucallpa.  Our plane leaves at 1.  This week has been awesome though.  Ive gotten to work with a bunch of missionaries here in pucallpa.  We trained a few times this week.  I loved one of the trainings that President Gomez gave about raising our vision.  He talked about living the letter of the law but more importantly the spirit of the law.  It reminded me of some words that matt sent me that i will never forget; we worship a LIVING CHRIST.  We preach the gospel by the spirit as it says in D and C 50.  Back in Iquitos the family we are working with signed all the papers for their wedding so that marriage will be happening next week on the 22.  Bummer is that we are going to be in Tarapoto.  But its cool because well be there for their baptism.   The work is being hastened.  we need to keep up.  Hope all is well
Elder Smith

STUFFED ANIMALS TO ORPHANAGES

hey mom i wanted to foward you this just for the pictures.  This was a family that came down to iquitos to do their sons eagle project.  It was rad. the kid was only 13.  We passed out a TON of stuffed animals to all the orphanages in iquitos.




BIG CHANGE OF HEART

So these last two weeks have been pretty full.  We had leadership council and transfers last week.  It was really stinkin busy.  This week has been awesome as we are starting the last gira(spin) of all the mission doing the last zone conferences of President and Hermana Gomez.  Weve already trained all of Iquitos.  Next week well be in Pucallpa and the following well be in Tarapoto and Moyobamba.  And then President and Hermana Li get here the week after.  Its gonna be nuts.  The cool thing is that weve been in Iquitos these last two weeks and weve been able to go out proselyting every night.  Romer and Olivia are going to get married on the 22.  Romer is a changed man.  We had to be really bold teaching repentance.  But he did it.  and the Lord changed him.  It is amazing.  Also Mauricio is doing super well.  he has also had a big change of heart.  He has learned to love the book of mormon.  Hes finishing up Mosiah right now.  Hes going to be baptized on the 25th of June.  Things are going well.  Hope all is well back home too.
Elder Smith

Saturday, May 28, 2016

A TALE OF TWO CITIES, NO, JUST ONE CITY...PUCALLPA

So this week we went to Pucallpa.  I got to go to my old house in Pucallpa.  It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.  Some really good memories of that house and that area.  I went out to work with Elder Alvarez during the week because his companion was really sick and had to come to Iquitos to get to a better clinic. anyways it was really cool to get to know Elder Alvarez.  Hes very young.  he only got to the mission about 3 months ago.  He told me about his experience trying to get out on his mission.  The week before his reporting date his dad got super sick and no one could take care of him.  Elder Alvarez was going to stay home but then at the last minute one of his aunts said that she would take care of him until he got better.  He was so grateful for his Aunt. This last week Elder Alvarez got the news that his dad had finally recovered.  he had tuburculosis i think.  Elder Alvarez was super stoked.  It helped me realize that all the missionaries have stories.  That theres always something behind whats going on with the missionaries.  Its hard but the Lord is teaching me and giving the opportunity to see the missionaries as He does.  I really love the opportunity that the Lord has given me here in my mission.  Hopefully ill be able to take full advantage of it and grow and learn what He wants me to learn.  Hope all is well back home.
un abrazo
Elder Smith

Saturday, May 21, 2016

SHE NAMED HER LITTLE BOY "SMITH"

These last two weeks have been loaded.  Weve been in Moyobamba, Rioja, NUEVA CAJAMARCA, Tarapoto and Yurimaguas.  in nueva cajamarca i got to see my pensionista.  She was pregnant with twins while I was there, but now they are born and already are like 5 months old.  Ones a boy and ones a girl.  And guess what she named the boy: SMITH! haha she was super stoked to tell me.  anyways weve been traveling to train all the leaders in the mission and inspect everyones houses.  Right now i am writing from a city called Nauta.  its like 2 hours from Iquitos in car. The work is progressing so fast here.  Today we`re going to go out with the two companionships that live here. its going to be rad.  As for the work in our area its been a little dificult but things are going super well.  The Lord just makes up for what we cant do.  Its amazing.  A guy named Carlos called us the other day and we totally thought it was a drunk guy but my comp decided to turn around and talk to him.  He had met missionaries about 10 years ago and wanted to join the church but the missiories traveled or something so they lost contact.  But he is super stoked and loves the book of mormon.  well see how things go with him in church tomoro.  Romer and Olivia are the bomb.  Olivia just found out she has a malignant tumor in her uterus.  Romer is worried but shes just an absolute rock.  The ward is also helping a ton to get hermana olivia healthy and help the family get married and baptized.  We are praying alot for her.  All will work out.  We are also teaching a young adult named Mauricio.  Hes one of few here in iquitos who doubts the existence of God.  Hes very inteligent and is studying in college.  He tries to explain all things scientifically.  Its pretty cool but we finally got to his doubt last night.  He was a little flustered and blurted out.  "if God exists why doesnt he just come down here and show everybody"  He says he really does desire to believe but just cant bring himself to do it.  Then he said if God were to come he would run straight to us and get baptized right away.  Haha were really excited to teach Mauricio about the Plan of Salvation.  Wulp im out of time.  Peru is the best.  The church is true.
Much love 
Elder Smith

Sunday, May 1, 2016

A PROFOUND IMPACT

ok so things are going well.  about three weeks ago i got transfered from punchana and now im back in the heart of iquitos.  My ward is the ward Castañas... it borders the 28 de Julio ward that i was in about a year ago.  its been really cool to see a bunch of people. i saw Victor, a convert from 28 de julio ward, today in the mornng.  he was wearing the byu hat i gave him and he has now baptized 4 other people into the church with him.  he is a stud!  So ya my new companions name is elder Yauney.  he broke the streak because hes another gringo.  But he lives real close by back home.  Hes from Fullerton and went to Troy highschool.  Hes a monster.  An absolute rock in the gospel.  we live with 2 other missionaries.  Elder Higbee from arizona and elder Varner from las vegas.  We have a washing machine in our house so we have to do our own laundry.  its really hard... also we cook our own breakfast.  also hard... i will be acepting anysort of breakfast foods in packages from here on out. (thats a joke)  But ya life is good.  We are teaching a family whose kids were all baptized about a year ago by their mothers consent but the dad doesnt want anything.  Everyone told us theres no use but we went i found him one day sitting outside.  All we did was answer his questions about the book of mormon and read moronis promise.  he commited to read and pray.  we came back another day and told us he had a dream and knew the book of mormon is true.  I think ive written about this question i have before but it always astounds me how the Lord answers some people so quickly and others take time and a whole lot more effort.  Now this answer does not mean Romer has got it and can now just stop searching and be baptized and all is well.  But it has had a profound impact on him and has boosted his desire to read and obtain a real testimony by the power of the Holy Ghost.  It will be a joy to work more with him.  i wanted to leave a little thought about the training i gave this last week.  I talked about the word RECONOCER- recognize.  i showed a youtube video called "the awareness test" which says at the end "its easy to miss what you are not looking for"  We read a few scriptures in Proverbs 3:5-6,  Alma 26:12, and 1 cor 3:6-7.  i tried to explain the difference between recognize and acknowledge to the missionaries which was difficult considering that both words mean reconocer in spanish.  But we talked about acknowledging the Lords hand in every day of our work.  I commited the missionaries to take time to reflect and write in their journals every night.  As we do so the spirit will REMIND us of the ways he helped or touched our labor that day.  As i reflect each night i recognize things that i didnt recognize during the day and i feel my faith and gratitud grow for the Lords unceasing help in this glorious work.  I love this work and love Him who makes it all possible.
con mucho amor
Elder Smith

Sunday, April 24, 2016

HOW FOOLISH IT IS TO TRUST IN OUR OWN SKILL

ok mom sorry i dont have my camera right now but i will send fotos soon.

I wanted to tell about a work visit i did this week. (i went to someone elses area to see how there work is going)  One of the Elders i worked with was Elder Belone.  Elder Belone is a native american.  he lives on the reservation that owns the 4 corners. (Utah,New mexico, arizona and colorado) i think...  Anyways he speaks navajo and english and is doing his best to learn spanish. I dont know if there is anything mentally off with him but he is very slow; in whichever of the 3 languages he speaks.  But he is the happiest missionary i have ever seen.  We had the opportunity to teach a few lessons together and he was great.  Even though he couldnt always communicate exactly what he wanted to say he was confident in what he did.  The members we visited have a deep love for him as well.  It was very special to see the effect he had on them.  In one lesson is particular he did the best he could to tell the story of Joseph Smith as a boy and then cited the first vision to perfection.  The spirit lit up the faces of those we were teaching and there testimonies were strengthened.  Because of my visit with Elder Belone i understand a whole lot more how foolish it is to trust in our own skill and experience.  The Lords is capable of anything and magnifies our callings beyond belief when we our obedient and put forth our effort.  I love this work and know it is of God.  
Elder Smith

Sunday, April 17, 2016

I WASN'T THERE FOR THE WEEDS

sorry for writing early mom but ya ill get your letter next week.  Anyways things are going very well.  This week we were in Tarapoto.  I went out with one of the zone leaders in Tarapoto; his names elder Thackeray.  I had met him once before here in iquitos but i never really knew him.  When i got to work with him i discovered what a consecrated missionary really is.  The spirit is with him at all times.  Just being around him made me perfect myself.  His untiring desire to be exactly obedient shows his love for the Lord.  He has a very deep comprehension of the atonement of Jesus Christ.  And i believe that is his drive to do so much good in his area and for his zone.  I dont know what else to say but clearly this had a big impression on me because it is what im writting home about.  Its made me ponder about my receint studies and i think i have lacked a focus on the saviors atonement and have worried a little too much about all the different appendages of the atonement.  Anyways i will be studying the atonemnent much more.
I wanted to write about a talk i studied called Waiting upon the Lord by Henry B. Eyring while he was in the presiding bishopric.  He tells a story when his father, also named henry, asigned himself to weed an onion patch on the ward welfare farm.  His father at the time was almost 80 and had cancer in his bones.  After a short while of work the pain became so great in his legs and in his hips that he could not kneel down or bend over.  So he laid down on his stomach and dragged himself by his elbows along a row of onions pulling out all of the weeds. (president eyring was not there at the time but said he was told this story by all who were present)  they said he laughed, smiled and talked happily with those who weeded beside him.  When Henry got home he told his son (president eyring) that they had weeded the patch all day and then while they were all close by resting after the long day of work a man came up and said "O no you guys didnt weed that onion patch.  We sprayed it two days ago and it was all going to die anyway"  When Henry told his son that he said he erupted, roaring in laughter like it was the funniest thing that had ever happened.  President eyring, knowing how dificult the work must have been for his father did not laugh and asked "dad how could you take this as a joke? how can you take this so pleasantly?"  Henry then taight his son a lesson that i believe none of us should ever forget. he said "hal, i wasnt there for the weeds"  Sometimes we too find ourselves in the onion patches of life and sometimes what we do doesnt seem like there is a big result or benefit for anyone, this truth that president eyrings father taught should always be in mind.  We didnt come for the weeds.  we are here for the Lord.  Maybe we will wait upon him for a short or long while but the reward for waiting upon the Lord is far greater than any benefit or recognition we receive in this life.  This talk made me think of a thought aunt kimmey shared with me a year ago.  She taught me when we are in the service of our fellow man, we are ONLY in the service of our God.  I love the Lord.  Serve for Him!
Elder Smith

Friday, April 15, 2016

SMIILE

This week i did a few things suggested in the last general conference.  First i came to the Lord in seach of help asking "what do i lack?" and you know what i received...  Smile smith!! weird huh... i then found a scripture in 3 nef 19:25 and have ponderized it.  Yes Christ did smile.  Im not perfect but i have been smiling a lot more.  It has made me happier and people are much more accepting.  The spirit is so simple, honest and direct.  im grateful for this small experience with the spirit and excited to find out what more i lack.  I love the Living Christ
Elder Smith

Monday, April 11, 2016

ANYONE WHO ASKS

So this week weve been working really hard with a couple named Teddy and Maria.  They super goofy but the wife is very sincere.  They read very diligently the pamphlet of the restoration and understood the priesthood super well.  Weve prayed with them a few times asking the Lord together to know if the message of the restoration is true but they havnt felt a solid answer.  They now have the Book of Mormon and we will see how they reading went tonite.  Its very encouraging to find people who desire to receive an answer from God and not from a book or pastor.  And even more encouraging knowing the we have the truth and that God will answer.  I know the Book of Mormon is true and that moronis promise is as valid as ever.  ANYONE who asks sincerily, with faith, and desiring to act accordingly will receive an answer.
Elder smith

Monday, April 4, 2016

LOST KEYS

Mom sorry i have no time to write.  I loved conference and hope you
did too.  Im sure the whole family was thinking about you when elder
Stevenson spoke about priesthood keys and how he lost his car keys on
the ski slope.  i still remember kneeling down to pray to find the car
keys at least once a week while we were in elementry school.  haha i
love you so much
Elder smith

Monday, March 21, 2016

GOD LOVES HIS CHILDREN

Me and my companion talk to everybody.  Before i was always trying to be super efficient in working with members to find people and i know that it is where we can find people prepared to be baptized but im having a lot more fun sharing the gospel with Everyone.  We still focus on working with members to find but we also talk to every family we see in the street and we teach them right away.  The day flys by super fast when your always teaching and its a little hard to keep record of everybody, but hey i feel alot happier.  This week we found Deyvid and Jaenz.  2 brothers who are both in their 20s who came to church this sunday.  We found them and taught with a return missionary from the YSA and the next day he took them to an activity with the YSA.  It was super awesome.  We also found a family, Jon and Brenda.  We just knocked the door and it was completly dark.  Brenda opened the door and let us in right away.  Jon was laying in the bed right next to the door with the mosquito net over him and his voice sounded super week.  We taught about faith and asked him sit up in his bed and kneel down.  He did so and we taught him how to offer up a plea to our Father in Heaven.  He did so as well and then layed back down.  Jons fine now.  They said he had Dengue but he is recovered.  We saw the hand of the Lord comfort this man.  it was very special. God loves His children.  I know this is His work.
Elder Smith

Monday, March 14, 2016

ROBERT KENNEDY REWORDED, BUT STILL INSPIRING

The streak is alive! My new companion is elder plaza.  Hes from Ecuador.  The very city of Quito dadio. (Kent served his mission in Quito)  Hes an awesome guy.  Hes very direct with me and is helping me in a lot of things that i need to make better.  This week we had consejo de lideres and we talked about how to increase the faith of the missionarys.  i spoke about how as we experiment on the word, the word grows (we receive more light/knowledge) and naturally the faith grows along with it.  In the mission we are now more focused in teaching our missionaries the doctrine of the restored gospel and helping them in their personal and companionship studies.  We talked also about the famous quote (not sure who said it) ¨we need not worry so much about how, when, and why.  Instead ask the question; why not?¨  It was really rejuvinating this last consejo.  Everyones a little bit more excited to just trust in the Lord and work.  This change is gonna be a good one!  Cuidense todos
Elder Smith

Monday, March 7, 2016

FLOATING BRIDGES

Everyone always talks about Puentes flotantes, floating bridges, and i always thought i had walked on those while i was in belen.  But i was wrong. those bridges were stable and firm in the ground.  Floating bridges are actually what they seem. Literally just a planck floating on a log that rises and falls as the water rises and falls.  It feels like your walking in a tiny canoe.  Its so sick.  Its really funny because me and muñoz, being the telly tubbies that we are, cant walk within 20 feet of eachother or the bridges sink under.  haha weve soaked our feet a bunch but havent fallen in yet. 
 As i have mentioned my area, Bellavista, is a flooding area.  And the water is rising.  we got rocked this last week in a lesson out in the boondies when it started to rain and everything flooded and we had to walk out in water up to our shins. (the pics from that day)

LEAP YEAR LEAP OF FAITH

 mom happy leapyear
Yesterday we had stake conference.  It was great.  Elder Lozano and Elder Uceda came and spoke and were fantastic.  Elder Lozano spoke about the atonement and then elder uceda about the sabbath day.  It was so perfect the sequence that they used teaching us the doctrine of the sabbath day and then how to obey the commandment.  Elder Uceda shared only one scripture, Ezq 20:12, but disected it all the way down to the hebrew.  He said the first words "and i gave them my days of rest" (thats direct translation from spanish... i dont know how it reads in english) in hebrew means "Natan Shabath" Shabath meaning sabath day and natan meaning to give.  He told us how natan can also mean to deliver, to gift, to entrust, or encharge.  Helping us understand that the sabath is a gift.  It has been entrusted unto to us and is for our benefit.  He then showed us the word "oth" meaning señal in spanish and sign in english.  But said that the hebrew word oth also means reminder or distinctive mark.  Making the sabbath a distinguishing mark of the saints.  Or of a true believer.  I truly believe you can see the conversion of a person in the way the way that they keep the sabbath day holy.  He then told us the word santifico, in spanish, means cadash, in hebrew, and sanctify in english (im guessing).  He said cadash means to clean, sanctify or to purify.  Helping us comprehend why the atonement is the doctrine behind the sabbath day.  It is a commandment with a promise.  That he willl sanctify, clean and purify us as we do His will on the Sabbath day.  He also said cadash means to prepare.  also giving us the meaning that the sabbath day prepares us for what is to come.  It prepares us to come before the Lord.   Im sure theres a bunch of spelling errors in the hebrew words i wrote and i have no idea how the scripture reads in english but maybe this could help with a good study about the sabbath.
About the work.  Me and elder Muñoz had an awesome experience with a partial member family this week.  Theyve been taught by just about every pair of missionaries that have come through Bellavista (my area) and wilium, the husband has never accepted the gospel.  Weve been teaching them for about 4 weeks and we decided all we would do is go to his house and read the book of mormon and answer ALL the questions that he has.  At first he didnt open up much but at about the two week mark we started finding all his doubts and questions.  He said he had never been taught like how we taught him, that he always felt pressured with everything that the missionaries would say.  instead of talking we just listened.  Talking is not teaching! Finally He said he took his book of mormon to work and in a down time started to read 1 nefi 15.  He said it hit him like a rock, that he was just like laman and lemuel.  He couldnt understand and learn only because his heart was hard.  He said he felt as he kept reading  that his heart opened up and literally said the words "my understanding was enlightend"  O my goodness! we went right to alma 32 and read with him and he was stoked.  It was so rad.  He came to church and will get baptized soon.  The Book of Mormon is the KEY! Its True. I know it.
Elder Smith

Monday, February 22, 2016

WORKING IN UNITY

This week i want to talk about all of my experiencies.  As of right now im sitting here writing like a ticking time bomb.  The last two days i took something called Padrax and this morning i drank magnesium milk with orange juice and a bunch of warm water.  uhhh como se dice Goodbye parasites!!! i hope. well see if i
explode soon.
Anyways this week Maria got baptized and her neighbor Aaron, who gave us the reference and was there with us teaching the whole time baptized her. 


There was a lot of help from the ward and were super stoked to be working in unity with them.

  hope all is well back home 
cuidense todos
Elder smith

Monday, February 8, 2016

SO SPECIAL THEY DESERVE GIANT PARAGRAPHS

This week was an awesome one.  In church EVERYONE showed up.  It was
so awesome to see all  the people that we work with in church.  Even some
brought new friends who are interested in the gospel.  Pablo, from the
family that was receintly baptized blessed the sacrament.  He was very
nervous but did great.  His wife was also in church and their kids are
adapting more and more to the church.  One of our recent converts,
Rider, received the melquesidic priesthood as well.  He accompanied us
at the beginning of the week to go visit Pablo y Kati and we found out
that he had had the same experience as Kati. My goodness 2 of his kids
had passed away as well and for that he was separated from his wife.
He bore such pure testimony of the healing power of the atonement.
Hes only been a convert for 4 months but we study hard core with him
even in Preach my Gospel cuz hes an ex evangelico pastor.  Hes so rad
and is even now working things out with his wife and has asked us to
go visit her this week.  We are super excited about the people in our
area.  Ill write about others next week because theyre all so special
and deserve giant paragraphs to be written about them!  Hope all is
well as home
Always
Elder Smith

Monday, February 1, 2016

FUTBOL



CHANGE IS HARD. VERY VERY HARD. BUT HE DID IT.

A week ago we baptized the zambrano soria family(there in the pics) Pablo, Kati, and Pablito.


We had our bishop and our recient convert elders quorum president to baptize them.  
Pablo and Kati have had some big problems in the past.  She really doubts that the type of change that Pablo has had is possible.  He was a marine and an absolutly awful guy.  Their 1 yearold kid passed away about 2 months ago and that was when we found him.  He was drunk and she was torn apart.  We set up a time to talk with them and taught them the plan of salvation.   They dont quite comprehend it perfectly but they have felt a huge change in their lives.  I cant even describe the miracle the took place inside of Pablo.  Hes not the Pablo that he was 2 months ago.  His repentence was hard.  Very very hard.  But he did it.  The Spirit acted inside him and changed his very nature.  He still has awful friends that mess with him and try to get him to fall again but he just loves telling us the stories about how he escapes sketchy situations.  Weve gone out to prosylite with him two times and both times old marine friends have passed on motos and screamed at us and him.  He just laughs and shakes his head.  Pablo is so amazing.  He was molded by the Lord because of his humility.  It is very sad that they were compelled to be humbled and couldnt humle themselves before but i know the Lord has a plan.  We are working so this family can be eternal. I pray all will go well and that we can all humble ourselves to be changed by the Lord.  For this purpose He came to this earth.
Elder Smith

Thursday, January 21, 2016

STOP TALKING AND START DOING

So me and my companion learned something really cool. - ¨Talking is not teaching¨ i believe its a quote from Elder Bednar but elder uceda is the one who repeated it to us.  You can take this quote in many different ways.  but what me and my companion have decided to do is stop talking so much and just start doing things with those that we teach.  Instead of talking a bunch about our great message and then asking them to pray latter about it, we kneel down and pray with them.  We let them express to the Lord their concerns and then we kneel in silence with them and they feel what the Lord desires.  Instead of explaining all about the book of mormon to people, we just sit down and read with them in the book of mormon.  we disect it together.  Its so cool because we are learning too the whole time.  My companion and i are coming to understand what it means to be edified with those we teach and not just try to bring them to where we are as it talks in D and C 50.  Its always interesting to talk about what they feel after they pray. Some dont feel much.  Others feel peace.  And some have real testimony building experiences.  Teaching is so much better than talking!  Cuidense todos
Elder Smith