Monday, May 30, 2016

Venessa and her mom María Antonia were baptized and I have to say for various reasons it was my favorite baptismal service thus far in the mission.


Stake President with his daughters :D

Oh, how to begin? The week was just crazy. We worked hard with some investigators. We found Nancy, and oh boy, did she have some things we had to work out! She is progressing, though. With the 2 girls we are teaching they still need more support from their parents, who we haven't been able to teach. If the parents don't progress, it is hard to help the children :/
Gifts from the Stake presidents wife for the musical number

We had the best experience ever with Venessa, the best friend of Janeth that we started teaching a few weeks ago. She has just been great to teach. i think she is the first investigator that takes notes in the lesson pamphlets, to remember better. 
baptism of Venessa and Maria(her mother)
She also started attending seminary while we were preparing her for baptism. Even before her baptism. Her family is progressing, too. They are great people. I hadn't been in a lesson where the family was all attentive to the message and the Spirit was strongly present. This past Sunday Venessa and her mom María Antonia were baptized and I have to say for various reasons it was my favorite baptismal service thus far in the mission. Janeth bore a powerful testimony for being just 1 month in the Church. The Spirit was strong as we sang The Spirit of God and I couldn't help but smile through it all. It was truly an unforgettable experience.
 Juarez families

We taught Frida, janeth and Venessa this week quite a bit. They are progressing excellently. I can only imagine how much good they are going to do in their futures in the Church and the world. 
With the bishops family and another convert family
All of this made the news I received Saturday night quite difficult. I have been transferred to Rio Bravo Condesa. And I am excited to go and learn more and work hard. But I can't express how much I have loved this ward in Juarez. From the Bishop who has just been our best friend through all of my time here, to the stake president's family (our mamá galleta for those who have served in Mexico), to the converts, to the families I have come to know and love. If I had to live in Reynosa, I would find a house in Juarez :D
As we enter into summer, I am happy with and content with the work we have done in Juarez. When I come back in August to say goodbye for good, the ward will be divided which will be wonderful to see as well.

Thanks for all the prayers. I love you and I love what we are doing! 

Elder Smith 
Ward Juarez

Tallest Elder in the mission with Elder Barrios...the shortest Elder in the mission

Monday, May 23, 2016

What we as missionares struggle the most accomplishing is finding new people to teach.

This week was a busy one.

What we as missionares struggle the most accomplishing is finding new people to teach. That is why we are always asking references haha finding has got to be the most tricky and difficult part in the mission i feel like. it requires effeciency and diligence. But this week we had some great experiences finding.
 btw we bapized Fridas sister! To say that "we" baptized is inaccurate though. it was so awesome. So the bishop interviewed Frida and called her to be a ward missionary and in this ward the bishop is actually awesome. So Frida in a meeting found out that the ward has a trimester goal for baptisms that is 20. the first thing she asks is ´´Did i count for that goal?´´ and i was like ohhhh no she is gonna think we only saw her as a number but i responded, "yes" and she was like ´´Awesome!´´ 
So she talks with her sister that has not wanted to go the church much less be baptized and she starts to talk to her about baptism and such and she did it like a Book of Mormon prophet, haha, she explained to her sister that she was already living the commandments and why not get baptized. And her sister understood and decided that yes she wanted to hahaha.  Frida told us later that she was like oh! well than i will get baptized. So she got baptized yesterday and it was awesome! The condition was that Elder Smith(the other elder Smith came from his area to baptize her mainly because he had taught the family like almost 2 years ago and they really liked him) so it was a great experience for everyone. We ate together afterwards and had hilarious conversations with them.
Also if you remember Janet the young woman convert she invited us to teach her best friend and her family who are about as cool as she is and they came to church. And the investigator signed up for EFY. Working with the new converts works.  A lot of times they share the Gospel more than the older members who have years of stagnant activity in the church.   So the investigators name is Venessa an she wants to get in the water too. Her family is progressing but not as fast..but they will get there.
Nancy..was ready for baptism and the night before she got super sick and had to go to the hospital and was there for a time. We couldn't contact. Her phone wasn't working or on i don't know, but this week we will go again with her because she is one of the most humble, obedient people i have met in Mexico.  She reminded me SO much of someone i had taught before in my mission..and recently i realized that she is almost exactly like Marlene..a convert from my frst ward. They act and talk the same. 
con lopezito i love this guy ;D
Mercedes keeps attending church! And she was our food appointment Friday and made us these big chiles filled with meat and cheese..super authentic and delicious! Right now we are trying to get these converts to the temple. And what is the major barrier? That's ugh i wish i was made of money i could temporally solve our problems with progression.
Also in the baptismal service my companion and i sang a rendition of Rock of Ages that he LOVES and listens to every single day haha. If anyone has seen face to face with Elder Holland it was like the Rock of Ages that the two guys sing. It turned out pretty well i was surprised the members liked it..and i could tell in wasn't insincere either it turned out great.

Love to all!
Elder Smith

Monday, May 16, 2016

I love you all so very much, and I hope you appreciate always our mothers. They are God´s gift to His children!

THIS week there is a bit more to discuss. The first things we did in the week were visit other areas as usual. We were expecting more convert baptisms in this week, but for the fault of not-so-great verification we will be baptizing in this week instead. But church was great! We have been teaching a sister named Nancy, who is 33 but looks like 23. She told us that sometimes when people know how old she is they call her with the word Señora which implicates that she is, well, older than she would like to be haha. But she is super great! She was introduced to the church when she went to a self sufficiency fair (thank you self sufficiency office :DD) and when we found her she was super excited to receive the lessons. She has been progressing brilliantly. One of her sisters died a year ago, so it was special to be able to share with her the Plan of Salvation and see the rising hope in her personage as we together read scriptures about the after life and even more about the resurrection. When she goes to the Temple, it is going to be really special for her to do that Temple work. Miraculously she lives close to the church, in a neighborhood where we almost never work because it just isn't productive. But it has been a wonderful experience thus far. She came to church and we are putting together a lesson with a recent covert, Frida, to bring it all home and get Nancy in the water. She already wants to be baptized though so the Lord is showering His blessings.
The other family that attended church was the The family of Teresa. Her kids are our focus. They are good young women. The mom can't progress much because she isn't legally married, but she wants her kids in church and the kids love it. And they all can go to church so we will see where that goes this week.
I got to talk to my beloved parents this week! It made me excited that the next call will literally be face to face haha. I love you all so very much, and I hope you appreciate always our mothers. They are God´s gift to His children!

Elder Smith 

Monday, May 9, 2016

There is a popsicle type thing made here in Reynosa called a bollo.

There is a popsicle type thing made here in Reynosa called a bollo. i LOVE bollos haha they make them with fruit or yogurt and they are frozen..and i cant get enough of them right. So Mercedes, our recent convert, who always makes us food when we go..prepared everything to teach us how to make bollos. they were fun and super easy. and now we have them in our own freezer :D

Hmmm well to start off i will just say that i dont want this letter to be too long because tomorrow i will be talking with the family. So my apologies for briefness. 

This week there were transfers and there are quite a few new faces in the zone. but like 3 of them are going home this month or the following so we are just trying to energize and keep everything and everyone alive.

As of late..we are finding new people to teach..but we are also doing other things like visit other areas and go to meetings and we are seeing that what we need is to take advantage of the time we have working..which isnt all that much. 

Mercedes also is now on the food list! We eat with her every other friday! It is great because we get to see and visit her and do the retention more effectively now. We were excited for that. Frida and Mercedes are going to to be interviewed tuesday for temple stay tuned for that..and i also realized that my recommend expires next month. Which is aright because i wanted to see and chat with President Morales before he leaves

We talked about raising the bar in a leadership meeting last week. We were taught that to reach and accomplish things we must set high goals and challenge ourselves with what may appear difficult or even impossible. We raised everything to be able to break into the 200s this month..and so far we are doing alright. We still have much to do the mission.

Thanks for all your prayers and support! Adios!

Elder Smith

Monday, May 2, 2016

MAY is here and this is the last complete month for President Morales!!

Hmmm where to begin. We spent this week basically looking for new families to teach. We did find some great people, but Sunday came and we had a change of pace. All the converts started to come back. Okay really just Martha. She had a few weeks of not attending church because of work, which is often our main problem here. I would say it is even worse than the problem that no one bothers to get married before starting a family. The work schedules are brutal here. There is work in Reynosa..but the pay is terrible and so the people work like 10 to 12 hours a day 6 days a week or sometimes 7. And a LOT of times the day off is like a tuesday. And it is almost impossible to change the schedules unless the person reeeeally wants to. So Martha finally got it together and came to church. This week we are going to try to work a miracle with her daughter Rosi, who wanted to get baptized but worked on Sundays. Now that her mom is back to attending we hope to help her family start to change as well.

Sunday night we ate dinner with Frida´s family. We also taught the Plan of Salvation and it was a great night. They made tacos, which were awesome and then homemade cake which is rare in Mexico. ALSO I used their oven to make blueberry muffins and other bran muffins that i had, and we enjoyed them as well. Frida is on fire. In the dinner she was talking about the Area Plan for Mexico and her goals with commandments and such.  And ever since her baptism she has been talking about how excited she is and how much she wants to serve a mission. She wants to work with the missionaries this week actually. Also, she wants to learn to play the piano so my companion and i will have the oportunity to give piano lessons for the first time in my mission.  Yes!! My companion is a musical machine.  He plays violin and I have heard him. He plays super good, and he loves the orchestra and likes piano, and singing and virtually everything with music. So he gets me excited for music and such.

We had an awesome Saturday.  The missionaries in the ward baptized two familes of 5 people in total! 

Hmm... what else?  MAY is here and this is the last complete month for President Morales!! He has done such an incredible job in his mission.  I feel so greatly blessed to be here with him.  I don't want him to go. This mission is brand new.  He opened it and it is currently the most successful mission in all of Mexico, according to the number of converts entering the Church. So in May the goal is 200 converts.  The closest we have ever gotten is 174 so we are going all out this month.  for the President!!!!


Elder Smith