Monday, June 27, 2016

TRANSFER and new companion... Elder Johnson from my home town blocks from my house. President Morales finishes.

President and Sister Morales...
the first time i have seen a picture with prez smiling showing teeth in a photo.
 i think he is happy to be taking a rest hahaha
This week...let us begin with Monday. We, in Rio Bravo, have some pretty great Mondays. All the 24 missionaries get together at like a public park place where there is a much much bigger cement court to play soccer on. And it is so much fun because you actually can like run more than 10 yards before having to stop. Also we enjoyed writing emails in a new cyber-place which was much faster. And Elder Wyatt bought pizza for everyone at night time. 
Picture taken at the american table...wait one guy there is Canadian :-)
This week we were preparing some people for baptism. And we had a visit from the President Wednesday. He basically talked to us about what Rio Bravo needs and such. He also counseled us to do everything correctly, to not take any shortcuts. After that, Thursday night, we got the call for the transfers. Now I did not want to transfer out because we had prepared the baptisms for after the church services Sunday. And I knew that if I got transferred that would mean missing the baptisms. 
With Elder Wyatt and Funk (the goodbye)

So super nervous I pick up the phone...and they tell me that.... I... would... be.... transferred... to... the... Roma hahahahaha.  The Goma means like far away. So I was like...did I get transferred or what? Because what he told me translates to a joke basically. 
With elder Hernandez who i trained and
was with for 4 months last year.
The guy looks way different with his new glasses 
Annnnnd they laugh and tell me no but really you have a transfer., and I was like whaaaaat i have 3 weeks in Condesa whhhhy? And they tell me that I would be changed to the Rio Bravo Zone, the only other zone here in Rio Bravo, and literally like where we live is 10 minutes walking from the house of the other zone. 
Elder Funez and Hernandez
Two past companions and both from honduras.
We call honduranan people here catrachos,
it is like gringo for americans. So i call them my catrachos
AND they told me that I was going to be in a trio with Elder Johnson who is basically my neighbor in Lehi or American fork who knows but he lives behind the Costco and also i was to be with Elder Matheny, from my MTC district. After hearing that, and realizing that I wouldn't miss the baptisms AND hearing that I would be with thiose two guys, I was suuuuper pumped. Like i think this is the only transfer I have been 100% excited for. Matheny and Johnson are like some of my best friends on the mission these past few days have been a blast. 
Elder moreno..good friend in the mission that goes home tomorrow
Friday to have the goodbye get together for the president we all went to Reynosa, everybody which was crazy to see people i hadn't seen for months. 
Elder Lopez an old comapnion that is one of my fav comps
Plus I got to say goodbye to some missionaries going home soon. Pres. Morales talked to us first and that was great.  
Elder Tilton the famous MTC companion haha
And then we went to this pizza place which is like a super sized Cici's hut. We were like 180 people in total.  It.was.packed hahaha. It was so cool.  I had never seen a line that long and I am positive that the restaurant hadn't seen anything like it either. It was great to be able to be with all the missionaries. I have gotten really close with many of them.
My new comps Elder Johnson and Elder Matheney!
Sunday we head on over to Condesa and I had the privilenge of doing a couple of ordinances. 
with a family from Condesa
We all three had to be in the water for Esmeralda, the sister in the wheelchair. 
The Medez family
I can't remember what her disease is called but she is such a sweet spirit. Her disability is mainly physical, because she understood all the lessons and had a true desire to do the right thing and also to be baptized. It took three of us to baptize her.  
Baptism of Norma and the Mendez family.
That is why Elder Forteleza is in white as well.  He helped us out to baptize her. The Mendez family consists of Sister Mendez (mom), Esmeralda (daughter) and Joanna (granddaughter).  They are so much fun to teach they always listen so well and Sister Mendez makes the funniest jokes.  She is hilarious. 
Elder Funez got fuzzed out for the fault of the camera man :/
Norma is the other sister.  She knows so much; it is quite impressive. She will progress rapidly, I believe.
Post baptismal selfies with
Elder Wyatt and Elder Forteleza(my replacement)
So Elder Johnson goes home in like a week but we will enjoy him while we have him. He is just with us until his time arrives. My new area, I do not know, and the three of us are opening this area so we are lost always haha but working hard. 
President Morales finished this Thursday, it is going to be interesting without him. I wonder how the new president is going to meet us. We will find out soon i suppose. 

Our new house is great! We are 8 in the house so we are a bit crowded but I like living with a lot rather than with only my comp. it is more fun that way.  

My (un)offical return date issssssss drumroll the 19th of August!! But...always a but right..the other Elder Smith is going to the U of U and he has like a freshman orientation that day so the president is trying to send us home the 17th of August. We will know soon :D Love you all!

Elder Smith

Monday, June 20, 2016

So we went to work and found a lot of great new investigators.

Okay. Well this week there is good news and bad news. The bad news is I did not take a single photo this week :/

The good news is that a lot of great things happened to write about! 

So we started off the work week and the truth is I was sick of going to the same neighborhoods because this area is a little smaller and there aren't a lot of new neighborhoods, so it is just hard to find people. Fortunatetly for us, Elder Funk, an elder in our branch was previously in the other branch that borders our northern division, and he remembered about a little section where they couldn't go when he was in the other branch.  What happens is that our division was thought to be a railroad track, but there is a section above the railroad tracks that is our area.  So we go and AW YEAH it was a colony that has like a year of existence and they are houses which are small and close by each other and in easier words - a missionary's tracting dream! So we went to work and found a lot of great new investigators. The challenge was getting them to church because the colony isn't all that close to the church building. But we were blessed as missionaries this week in that all of the 3 companionships had a family each in the church services. We had the Mendez family. Which consists of 55-ish year old sister, her daughter, and her 16 year old granddaughter. The husband didn't attend, but we are going to teach them together tomorrow to continue with their progress. Also, in that same colony the other elders are teaching a 23 year old girl named Norma who has been a miracle. We, Elder Wyatt and I, have been in a couple of lessons with her and know her well, too. So it has been special to see it all. She lives alone away from her family and was considering basically abandoning some goals that she had and leaving Rio Bravo. Her world was falling apart, and the missionaries arrived. And they began to teach and she was progressing. Then one morning they go to her house, and she is leaving the house to buy bus tickets to leave town. The whole thing has been crazy but to summarize, she has had some signs that she needs to get to know the Church. So she was consoled and brought to a ward activity and such and also she received a blessing, and she had dreams and such that her deceased father needed her to stay and go to church.  So she decided to stay and give church a try.  It has also been amazing to trust so much in the Spirit that we can basically be assured that if an investigator goes to church, that they will have a great experience. That goes for basically everyone - everyone I have seen and taught anyway. Moving on, Norma goes to church and decides to stay and wants to get baptized ASAP.  AND this morning she got a job that she needed desperately to be able to keep living and such. So seeing her faith has been a testimony builder for sure. The mission has so many experiences to witness. A friend wrote me that the mission has been like 10 years of maturity wrapped in to 2 years. Not sure if I feel like 30 yet haha but there is some truth in the statement.

Also, Elder Wyatt my companion is like getting married the month he gets back, to his high school girlfriend in October when he returns right. But this girl makes some fine cookies and sends him packages out the wazoo haha. So we devised a plan to get even MORE cookies hehehe. One of their favorite songs to sing together is A Whole New World so I printed it out and we recorded a version of that to send to her asking for cookies nonchalantly at the end hahaha. BTW -  Elder Wyatt can sing really well! 

So that was the week. Shout out to my Superdad for turning one year younger this last week! Love to all.

Elder Smith

Monday, June 13, 2016

General Conference...My favorite moment was getting to see the President´s counselor, President Gomez

Well i wish i could write more about this week..but time is short :/
I will share how AWESOME the district conference was though. My favorite moment was getting to see the President´s counselor, President Gomez who was our neighbor in my first area.  I hadn't seen him nor his wife in a long time and President Gomez asked me if I was eating well, because, I think, of the slight weight loss. His talks were sooo powerful though. He talked about sanctifying ourselves in the adult session. That session of conference is always my favorite because the speakers talk about things a bit more mature right. In the general session Pres Gomez shared a 1st hand description of the trials that the pioneer trekkers had in arriving to Utah. And how Brigham Young cancelled the General Conference to go get them. President told the congregation that it didn't matter if we pray every day, and read the scriptures every day, and attend church every week...if we weren't bringing people to the pioneers went to bring those fatigued saints to Utah. Basically it was a call to bring new families to the church and the in-actives. And it is true..Joesph Smith said after everything the missionary work was the most important. And I couldn't be more in agreement. It was a great last conference for President Morales too..he is the presiding authority of the District..and we are gonna miss him and his wife :(
I met a guy that lives in houston and serves in the peanut butter factory!
Anyways that was this week for the most part. Next week is going to be much more eventful I promise!

Elder Smith 
This says that 9 out of 8 fruits and vegetables from these guys has an excellent flavor

Monday, June 6, 2016

TRANSFER - Well I am in Condesa Rio Bravo now. Rosi commits to baptism.

Well I am in Condesa Rio Bravo now. A quick recap for the week...
Cake that Vennessa and her family and Janeth made for us :D
First the Mission Mexico Reynosa finished the month of May with 253 convert baptisms!!  Which was so great that during the leadership meeting the Area presidency called us to congratulate! 
new district
So everyone is super excited and now the goal is 300, which we are hoping to accomplish before August. It has been amazing to see how much the mission has changed from since when I got here, when the mission baptized anywhere from 60 to 90 a month, then 100 to 120 and so on. 
This represents great progress and good goal setting to raise the bar, because once 100 is accomplished, no one saw it as impossible and it became expected instead of a distant dream. i am convinced that what I have seen in this mission can be applied in the life outside of the mission to make someone very successful.

Also, we videochatted with the new mission president. The change is going to be interesting, but he and his wife are super excited, so that is good.

Anyway, so the house I live in is two stories, and it is like one big house divided into two.  My companion Elder Wyatt and I live alone on one side.  Four other missionaries live on the other side. Elder Funez, who is an old companion of mine, Elder Funk, Elder Aguirre and Elder Rivero are the four. It is a fun group, I won't lie. The house is my first with a microwave!  And a bench press!!  Not that I am going to put either of those to very good use..haha!

There is a working gas stove and a gas tank that is ginormous. Upstairs we have another mini split, air conditioning YAYAH, and the bathroom has excellent water pressure. So, I really can't complain there haha. It is nice.

We played soccer today on a big court and that was super fun to run around. It felt good :D and in Rio Bravo I feel like everything is a little more relaxed, a little layed back. It isn't really a big "city".  Fun fact: the Rio Grande is called the Rio Bravo in Mexico, and we aren't even as close to the border as Reynosa is.

The attendance in church was a whopping 75 people. But there are some cool members. the Branch (that's right we are in a district) President is cool and his wife is even cooler. 

There wasn't a pianist sooo I took my spot on the bench. And apparently no member in Rio Bravo here knows how to play because they asked me to play in the district conference for next week (like stake conference).
The good news was that when Rosi (daughter of Martha, a convert from February) got news of my changes in Juarez she came to the church at night to say good bye and we talked and at the end she decided to get baptized this Saturday. 
Sadly, I couldn't be there in person but Elder Rodriguez sent me the photo :D
service project
Well, that was the week. I can't think of anything else. It is June and the sun isn't letting us forget either haha :D 

Thanks to all,

Elder Smith