Monday, August 31, 2015

The flying missionary . . .

What a blessed week! Early on we could see that the blessings were going to come. Luis is a man of 32, who looks seriously like 22. He lives super close to our church, and moved here from Dallas TX.  

He shared with us this last week that he had two choices and he wasnt sure which to chose. He had to either go back to Dallas with his family by the end of August or stay here in Mexico for what was to presumably be a long time. 

He told us he truly felt like God brought him here for a mission or purpose and he didn't feel like he had completed it.  
He is a wonderful guy. His desires to serve and follow Jesus Christ are greater than that of most I have met. He has scriptures posted all over his walls, and the man is just so kind and patient and humble. He accepted baptism like I wish every investigator would haha. Without fear, and with the desire and action following the Saviors example. We were able to enjoy his baptism and later at the end of the week a session of stake conference. 

President Morale's and his wife came. Also an Area 70 member came who was super awesome and interactive! He did the adult and priesthood sessions walking around and gave people mics to answer questions. He was also super funny in the way he taught. I loved it.
Other than that, my companion got transfered, or will be tomorrow so I am super stressed because I don't even know the area yet, or the members very well. But challenges bring greater opportunities for greater learning. 

If things on the mission were easy I wouldn't be learning nor progressing, and there wouldn't be much of a point. So I suppose in a way I am grateful for those "mountains to climb" haha. 

Luis helped us finish the month of August with 5 converts in our area, 9 as a district, 17 as a zone, and 150 something as a mission(I believe). So I am super pumped to tell the truth. Things are going great, and now we have to do better...

Elder Smith

Monday, August 24, 2015

Baptizing Jorge Lopez

This week firstly the Lord blessed us with the opportunity of baptizing Jorge Lopez. His Mom was inactive practically and his father isn't a member (yet;)). But on his mom's side he has a grandpa that was a bishop and various aunts and cousins there to support him. It was a great experience. I learned how to figure out what impedes people from doing things when they won't tell you why. I had to try different methods because this kid in the past didn't want to get baptized and didn't want to when we first taught him either. But after searching i think his main fears were 

1: How long we hold you under water. And 
2: not knowing why we should follow Jesus Christ. 

I give serious credit to all who have refined their patience through working with children, because it is trying at times - haha.

Sunday we had a family of three come and love church. Also we had a less active family come for the second time in a row. The mom isn't a member.  Right now we are helping them get married so she can get baptized. Also there was a friend of the bishop's daughter (who knows english which is always fun to talk in english) and another brother who is from Dallas who is just such a golden investigator - he shines!

Of all the things that happen..the important things stick out to me most. The mission is the best decision a young adult can make. My wish is that everyone able does it. It isn't even a sacrifice for what we recieve in return of our efforts. For what little we do and accomplish, blessings are poured out abundently. The best part is the overcoming of one´s natural man and seeing desires more pure and that affects everything about one´s self.

Anyway that wraps it up! Love you all.  Enjoy the life God has given you!

Elder Smith

Monday, August 17, 2015

Eating better . . .

Not much to write this week. I spent a lot of time in other areas of the district this week. I enjoyed learning from other elders and also helping them out with their investigators. Wednesday we taught and had to help convince a grandmother of this teenage girl to support her in getting baptized.
I ate an entire pizza Wednesday night because elder Mullins insisted on buying us pizzas, nice guy haha. 
This new area we walk a lot more and I am having to get accustomed. The good thing is we don't use buses hardly and so now I have about double the money I had before. Eating better is really nice haha.
We have one sister here who just needs to get married to be able to get baptized. The hope is that they do it this week, but this family is quite poor and getting married is like 70 dollars(which is impossible for some families). But God always provides a way to keep his commandments, so lets have faith shall we? :D
The ward is interesting, that isn't near as many members that happily help us. 

Thats all for this week, hopefully more exciting next week!

Elder Smith

Monday, August 10, 2015

Letter from President Abelardo Morales Mendez to parents


Reynosa Tamaulipas México, 10 August  2015

Dear Smith Family:
I am pleased to communicate with you through this letter. I know the Lord is blessing your family through the service of your son as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
As president of the Reynosa Mexico Mission I am very happy and grateful for your son, Elder Smith. He has showed his devotion and love for the work until this point in the mission.
I felt inspired to call Elder Smith to a new assignment as District Leader. We know the Lord trusts him and has confidence in his willingness to do the Lord´s work.
Elder Smith needs to be an example with his new assignment and we will see his success as he leaves an impact on the lives of his investigators, companions, and in his own conversion.
I invite you to write him every week to encourage him to keep progressing and especially that he can develop more Christ like attributes.
I hope that everyone is well at home and that God will bless you to keep working in His work and being Disciples of Christ. I know that God blesses us when we are doing His service.


President Abelardo Morales Mendez

Transferred to Matamoros. Filling the font manually with buckets from a hose outside the church

Well it was hard to beat the last week in Reynosa, but the first week in Matamoros makes a good effort because my companion is GREAT just super helpful in lessons because he already is compatent and knows what to say to people. 

The house was just so disgusting when I got there. The fridge was a disgust, trash everywhere, dirt every where and I will save the description of the bathroom. So we spent a morning just cleaning and that made an improvement. Thursday we had a conference with the president and his wife. Then they took us out to eat at a chineese place which was super cool.

Abd then the weekend. I will be brief with details but basically we were teaching a family with the mom named Susana and her two kids. We helped her to be prepared baptized Saturday and she seemed ready to go. Friday we filled the font but Saturday when we got there 4 hours before the baptism service, the water wasn't there...

And font takes 6 hours(not an exageration) to fill.  So I was so super stressed. After praying and thinking a lot, I thought of filling the font manually with buckets from a hose outside the church, and we tried that and after seeing it was working we did it for four hours to fill it. 

Then we are on our way for the family and mom was sick and wanted to wait until next week. So we blessed her and promised blessing and testified and she finally joined us and we went and had a wonderful baptism service.
It's humid here, but not as humid as Houston haha i am well prepared for the heat.

It was such a great experience and I know the Lord did it, just glad I could be there to see it :)

Elder Smith

Monday, August 3, 2015

The greatest thing ever... (Before Transfer)

Well i will just start off by saying that the week was just full of normalness until Saturday. 
Then it turned into the greatest thing ever.
We will start off on Tuesday. So The Zaleta Garza family had a baptismal date for August 8 which is this Saturday. I was thinking about them, and  I just couldn't get over the fact that we had been teaching them so much and they were so ready to be baptized. Finally I talked with my companion, and he supported me in my effort to invite them the be baptized Sunday after the church services. 
We went to the appointment and invited and explained a few things and they accepted! So we started to get them ready for the baptism! We had to find clothes for all of them and then we had to get all the information filled out. Also to baptize minors it is required that we get a signature of consent from the parents, which sometimes takes convincing for them. But the Mom was good about it and we got it all prepared and everything. 

Then Saturday night we get a call with special transfers. And would't you know it, they change me to Matamoros  (a city a few hours away) for the following Tuesday (tomorrow)! So my first thought is 
``Thank goodness haha´´ because after this family we were a bit short on investigators, and I had pretty much tried everything with every member and colony in that area. Practically everyone was contacted. 

Then Sunday came and there are always nerves before the sacrament meeting starts. But I was even more anxious because i knew if they didn't come to that meeting they weren't going to be baptized until I was already gone. But the hand of the Lord was with us, and they got there. We took up a whole freaking bench with my comp and I, their family, and the sister and her two small children that come with us to some lessons.

So afterwards almost the whole ward stays and we have a terrific baptismal service (I got to baptize the little boy, and the second oldest daughter, who is the coolest haha) And then we broke the news that I was leaving and that was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. I said goodbye to all the people I knew at church and visited a few other families during the day. Right now i have to go say goodbye to the Zaleta family which is gonna be no fun haha.

But i am just amazed that the Lord allowed me to be here and witness this family make a covenant binding themselves with him. The mother's baptism is Saturday which i will miss, but in a year the plan is to go with them to the temple to be sealed for eternity. The whole thing was another miracle.
Dad of the Charles de la Cruz family also got baptized

Lots of memories and hard goodbyes, but I am excited to start over again. Here we go again :D

Elder Smith

Old MTC district at a conference

Family that made my companion lasagna
Bros in the house

The Zaleta Garze family

Elder Howard and I, locked out of the apartment
Quick little story. My comp and i were cleaning the baptisamal font saturday before the fast and i knew i needed to drink more water. So i called the other companionship in our area that were on their way to the church and asked elder howard to buy me a bottle of water at a gas station and i would pay him back. He gets to the church with a `"surprise". 
He says he was going to but boring water, but then there was a place where they sell ice cream and he spent my 10 pesos on ice cream for me instead. i wanted water.

Haha but the ice cream was delicious. And it made me laugh.
What is this?
Eating hamburgers...

Sister from my first ward 

Other short little story. Saturday we were eating with the Charles family (AWESOME hamburgers) and then we went to the backyard where they had two pet rabbits. Naturally, I wanted a picture to send home, and wow what a mistake. Within 20 minutes my eyes started to itch like no other. 
Then, my companions started to freak out looking at me and started to call the president's wife (our doctor) so I looked in a mirror of a truck in the road and wow it was gross. My right eye, or the white part at least became so inflammed that it was like starting to puff itself over the iris (or the colored part). So we go to the hospital and get it checked out and he gave me drops and medicine. I was very impressed with the process though, very fast and effective. At the end of the evening it was a-okay.
Just another interesting part of the week. But it was hardly anything. Coolest part was they measured my height and weight in kilos and centimeters and people are ALWAYS asking that information from me and now I can say it without guessing - haha.

Front page of the paper yesterday (says that Matamoros is getting ``active´´(violent haha), along those) but the papers always exaggerate haha i just thought it was a funny picture. Everything is fine down here

Matamoros Mexico (in red on map) Transfer

Pillow a convert made me