Monday, June 29, 2015

Esperanza was baptized Saturday

Tomorrow we say goodbye to a lot of great elders. I for sure am gonna miss them a lot. It feels so weird.  It is like they are leaving me behind. All i know is that it is not gonna be fun tomorrow haha.

On to happier things..Esperanza..was baptized Saturday. Super super great service.  She was emotional and happy and everything. Then Sunday we had ward conference. It was strange.  All the families of the stake leaders came to our ward..and like dominated the congregation it was barely our ward haha. 
And Ivan came (kid of 14 that has come to church like 6 times now but cant get baptized) and a couple that are still "iffy" about progressing spiritually (if only i knew why..) and a friend of the mission leader (who could actually progress if he wasn't always so BUSY).

I have no idea if we are getting changed after this week..but I doubt it. I hardly ever see changes haha.

Baptism with Elder Howard from Colorado(left) and Elder Harvey(right) who leaves tomorrow

Sometimes...we walk a bit on the mission.

First pair of shoes(September 17th 2015---June 11th 2015) R.I.P.

Awkward smile selfie:

 So that dish deserves an explanation..we were SUPER hungry but had no money or food and we were trying to find a way to eat the other night. We tried calling members but it was like 10 it wasnt possible. Suddenly elder harvey remembers the last elders in the apartment left bags of pasta and we are like ¨we have water and a stove and butter¨ so lets get a cookin. Anyway i start thinking why just normal pasta? We have salt, i have a can of chicken..and the biggest blessing of all..concentrated tomato cubes!! Why did i have those you might ask? Well HEB is doing this thing right now where they give you like a free random item with your purchase if you buy enough. But its like a food item that is an ingredient for a recipe. So like 3 weeks ago i get these flavor cubes. And we make the pasta and i start to mix in these cubes..but i think ¨hey it needs more flavor it isnt red enough¨ so i throw in like 4 more cubes. So i get ready to eat take the picture excited and everything. 

Then i take a bite.  Elder Harvey pre-bite pic:
It was the most overdosed article of food i have ever consumed in my life. Those cubes had to be just straight salt and ALSO i added salt to the disaster before i tried it. So to give you an idea of my hunger..i actually ate like half before i just couldnt take it anymore and threw it out. So sad and so funny at the same time. Looked delicious though...right?

Anyway i would totally not mind another peanut butter package. Or clif bars. You guys are the best!!

Elder Smith

Monday, June 22, 2015

It is a blessing to be able to know some of the happiest most positive poeple in some of the most humble situations.

The week started off promising. And then ended alright. We sere supposed to baptize this little girl Celeste Friday before the ward activity, but her mom had to take her to a different city for some reason so the baptism fell through. Then we planned it for Sunday before church.  And that's when the problem happens.

First, the story of the little girl. Her dad is a drunk and drugged guy, like always. Her older three brothers and sister are anything but good examples. Her mom is pretty non-influencial so we start teaching her with her neighbors, who are recent converts and SUPER good because this girl spends a ton of time with this family. A lot of times she eats there..because well, its not always there at her house. Anyway she is always super excited to go to church and the family takes her every week right now.

Basically, our President tells me Saturday night that if one of her parents doesn't come to church she can't get baptized. Which just confuses me so much because the girl has the desire. The thing is he doesn't want us baptizing people in a house where progressing spiritually is almost impossible, espicially for kids. I get it. So what we have to do is get the mom to come to the baptismal service in order to do it. So here we go with that.

Other than that we had another couple come to church that are super super great.  I will know more about them this coming Monday.

We had some activities at a house with that recent convert family. Activities included..a game organizing pens in different shapes (sounds lame but it is cool, just impossible to describe), seeing who could throw a lime the highest in the air, baseball with a metal pole and rocks, and a paper airplane contest from the roof, popsicles and pizza. Gotta love Mexico!:)

It is a blessing to be able to know some of the happiest most positive poeple in some of the most humble situations. It helps my humility for sure, too!

Love you all and hope all is great!

Elder Smith

Monday, June 15, 2015

The work . . .

Well i am super tight on time comp needed a haircut and won't let me give him one in the house because he thinks i will take revenge on him for how he cut the back of my hair haha.

It was a really good week. We had 4 investigators come to church. Ivan who is this 14 year old who came even after we dropped him as an investigate because of his lack of family support but the guy came without so much as a reminder call so he might enter in water soon *fingers crossed*

Another girl came that we found this week that should get baptized with her brother this saturday(thats the plan) and then the son from a big family we are teaching came as well. The son was the one I was most doubtful about going. The mom was the key and was too sick to go apparently. And all her 5 other kids weren't gonna go if she didn't. This sunday I really expect them all to go. 

Gotta go eat now..sorry for the lack of pictures..there just isn't anything to really take a picture of;/

Love to all!

Elder Smith

Monday, June 8, 2015

Summer in Paradise

Well the days finally have gotten and stayed hot. I carry a rag around to wipe my face from the never-ending sweat of the walking and being outside. But sometimes it is kinda breezy and those days are heavenly.

Thursday we found like the greatest opportunity ever in a family of 7 people that listened and accepted a baptismal date. The set back was that Saturday we had an appointment lined up with the President's wife (Sister Morales)....and the family calls and says they have to cancel the appointment and do it Tuesday...which ruled out them going to church Sunday.  BUT the Lord has a plan for our area, and if it is better that we meet Tuesday, I will not be complaining. I am confident 100% that if this family doesn't turn out that we will have baptisms in June regardless. We are working well.
My shoes passed away this week. I forgot pictures but i wore those things into the ground they served me very well. Thanks to mom i have another pair almost the same. Also I learned how to use moleskin this week.

There are these popsicle things here called "bolys" which are like otter pops...but made with better fruit flavors, milk, and are bigger. Anyway they are the BOMB and we bought some to keep in the freezer.

Food from the street is such a temptation. Tacos and burgers - they look so great when we are so hungry but 1) It is dangerous to eat it and 2) We have no money to be buying food that isn't from a grocery store haha. I still just buy fruit and cold cereal. Milk and cereal are like 3 to 4 bucks each here so it's lame but i love it.

In the house, as three Americans and one Hondurian, we sing patriotic songs before companionship study. The neighbors hear our national pride because... well, we sing loud and proud. Long live the RED WHITE and BLUE!!!!

Elder Smith

Monday, June 1, 2015

Part of a miracle . . .

Without a doubt..this week was one of, if not the best week of the mission. 

A lot of things happened but only one of them is really important. That is the story of Antonia Trevino...

So my companion and I about 4-5 weeks ago decide we have to make some changes to improve our work. One of the things we did was improve our planning for the day. We decided to ask God for the guidance to help us plan a day where we could find people who are prepared.  So 3 weeks ago we found like 4 eldery people playing bingo..and a younger woman who kind of chuckled when she saw us. We told them we would come back later.

Like 3 days later we go and meet this elderly lady and the younger woman (her caretaker). We talk and then share a message and invite them to church. The caretaker is like ´´I do not want to pray, or go to church or do that kind of stuff...but if she (Antonia) wants to we go can.´´ And wouldnt you know it..Antonia wants to go!

Now before i continue i want to share how Antonia is. She is EIGHTY FOUR and while she doesn't hear nor see well..she understands things. She also is in a wheel chair. Anyway, she is the sweetest old lady.

Okay, so we get her a ride and pass by at 8:30 in the morning and she comes to church!

Also, allow me to mention that this transfer has been hard because I haven't known the area.  Plus, I am still developing as a missionary and my companion just got here and doesn't really know how to do many things.  AND we haven't baptized all transfer so I have been fervently praying and fasting for the chance to have a baptism in the last transfer. I have also been reading a lot about faith and how to receive blessings.  So our zone made this covenant with specific things we would do and the goal/blessing was 12 baptisms for May. Before this last week we had 9..saturday we had 2, so that made 11...and 1 short. I start to think..this lady can get baptized if she comes to church this sunday 31 May and it will count for May.  We can baptize and confirm her after she comes to church. We talk to her and lo and behold..she says, "Yes, i want to get baptized."

And that's when problems arrive. She (who can barely talk) tells like everyone she talks to that she is getting baptized so I am psyched thinking everything is gonna pay off. But then we go like the Thursday before the baptism and her 2 daughters are there. We start to talk about baptism and the daughters get mad and are like...yeah you guys can't baptize her...she says yes to all invatations and she is already baptized. Now... we could've given up but the Lord gave us strength to speak.  I pointed out that this wasn't their decision, that she was a grown woman and could do what she wanted. Then they try to explain to me that she isn't sane.  I told them to ask her if she wanted to get baptized and they did and Antonia in her weak voice said, "Yes, i want to do it though it will be difficult."  Boom.. .would that deter the daughters? NO. So I tell them that those are her words and that SHE is going to get baptized if she wants. The daughters have to leave..and so do we, a bit discouraged. 

I come back the next day with a zone leader to do the interview. Luckily we are alone with Antonia and her caretaker...and she passes the interview. We tell her she can come with us to the church and get baptized. She says she doesn't feel well and also that she needs to ask permission from her catholic daughters. 

We ask if we can come by tomorrow to go to church together and then do the ordinace after the services. She says yes, that will work.  I know this won't happen if the daughters are there. So i call Antonia Saturday to verify that we are coming..and the daugher answers and tells me that Anotonia doesn't want to and can't. I tell her she told us something different and that we will pass by going to church and if she doesn't want to come, that's okay.

So we go in the morning, and the caretaker tells me that they can't go to church because the daughter is going to take her to Texas to shop. I ask to talk to Antonia (daughters aren't in the house, another blessing). So I enter the house and explain pretty much the same thing..that she can go to church and go to texas in the afternoon and that it's her choice. She says it would be better to wait for her daughter to come home first. I try one more time to explain that it's her agency...and out of nowhere she just drops all worries and says, "You know what, let's go." Her caretaker asks, "Are you sure?"  And I am thinking, "Yes, she is sure, and she said it, so let's go!"

So we quickly (20 minutes which is fast for her) get into the car and go to church. But then after sacrament meeting, she tells the depressing news that she has to go home for medicine.  So I ask..could we do the ordinance right now during church.  Antonia says yes. WHOOHOO. We talk to the bishop who talks to a counselor, who tells us we can't have an ordinace during church. So we ask Antonia if she could come back at 12 when church ends to do it. She says she can't. So we take her home, and I am feeling defeated a bit. 

We get back to church and at about 11:30 i feel the need to call her just to check if she can't come back. But before i can ask, her caretaker tells me that out of nowhere, Anotonia wants to come back. I ask if it's for baptism and she says, "Yes".  So we race to get white clothes and rides and prayers are in my heart that the daughter isn't there. Because they drained our font and we have no water now. It is hours to fill up BUT in another ward close they were going to have a baptism at 1:00 after their church. We call and ask if we can join them, and they say yes. So we go to pick up Anonia at her house and yesssss she is there. We take her to the other church and she is such a trooper. We have to put a chair sideways in the font to baptize her  And the water is freezing!  She is super old and she gets it..first time. My companion confirmed her afterwards.  I had never seen Anontia happier after the baptism...or myself.

I can't explain every detail although I have tried. The moral of the story is that we were blessed to be part of a miracle. It was nothing less than that. Her desire, with all the opposition...and the timing, and the 12 baptisms for the zone goal achieved was all the hand of the Lord. And my faith was exponentially increased.

Love the mission. I love God. I love you all.

Elder Smith