Monday, April 26, 2010

I Think This Is The Longest Letter So Far!

Hello everyone!
Hi I hope you all had a great week. That's awesome news to hear where everyone is getting called to serve -- tell Travis congrats!
Tuesday we went on splits with the assistants to the President. Elder Richerdson came to San Rafael with Elder Boon,one of our zone leaders, plus Elder Lee (my district leader) and his comp, Elder Amador. We went on spits for a few hours and I went with Elder Boon and Elder Amador and we just contacted for a couple hours because the citas we had fell through. Afterwards Elder Richerdson, Elder Lee, Elder Benitez (my comp.), and I went to a cita we had with Adrian and Cynthia. Cynthia is still having doubts about getting baptized, she is Catholic and I think her mother has been trying to convice her to not join the church. So we talked about the importance of prayer and praying to know that chruch is true. At the beginning of the lesson I had the strongest impression to bear testimony of Joseph Smith, and so when it was my turn I asked Adrian and Cynthia if they remembered the first time that we taught them. We taught them about the Restoration of the Gospel and about Joseph Smith and I asked them if they believed that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. They both said they did and then I testified that basically if Joseph Smith wasn't a prophet than the book they were holding in their hands,The Book of Mormon is not true and The Church of Jesus Christ isn't true and we as missionaries are just wasting 2 years in Costa Rica. But if Joseph Smith was a prophet than the Book of Mormon is the Word of God and The Church of Jesus Christ is the only true church on the earth. Then I re-commited them to pray to know if Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. It was pretty awesome and I almost started crying as I was speaking.
Thursday was an interesting day. While we were doing our comp. study Elder Lee called and talked to Elder Benitez about interviews with the President for Friday. After he finished talking to Elder Lee, Elder Benitez thought it would be funny to play a little joke. He told me that Elder Lee had said that something had happened in my family and they were going to call me in the night to confirm what happened. Well when he said this I started to freak out. I honestly thought that someone had died in our family and for some reason I thought that person was Nick (sorry but he is the only one who is accident prone) and for the rest of the morning I could not concentrate at all, I was freaking out big time. I honestly thought about calling home. So for the rest of the morning I was freaking out and then we went to lunch at our Branch President's house. I was super depressed and super worried and its probably the worst I've ever felt in my whole entire life. So after I finish eating, I excused myself and went into the bathroom. While I was in the bathroom, I felt awful and so I decided to say a little pray to help me calm down. I prayed to know that my family was okay, especially Nick, and after I prayed, a feeling of peace instantly settled over me and I knew that everthing was okay back at home. The rest of the day I was able to focus and I had another interesting experience.
In the afternoon we had a lesson with a contact and after the lesson we only had one hour before our cita with Adrian and Cynthia. So we had two options, knock doors for an hour or go to another cita that we had with Olga and her two daughters--we had taught them the first lesson last week. The thing was Olga lives like 20 minutes away from Adrian on the mountain. So we would only have about 10 minutes to teach a lesson. I decided that we should pray to know what to do. So right there in the street I prayed and asked Heavenly Father how we should spend our free time--knocking doors or go visit Olga's family. After I prayed I knew that we should visit Olga. So we went all the way to her house and had a really good lesson about the Book of Mormon. They are Evangelican and had lots of questions about the gospel. We showed them scriptures in the Bible and had a really good lesson. Also one of her daughters, Pamela who is 13, wrote me a love note and gave me her phone number. Haha! I translated it into English so I could tell you guys what it said, but I forgot it so you will have to wait till next week. Haha! It was very funny! When we got back to the house I found out that Elder Benitez was joking earlier--boy was I relieved but not thrilled about his choice of a joke.
Well, on Friday we had interviews with President Galvez, but this time, President and Sister Galvez came to our houses to do the interviews. My interview went very well and President Galvez is awesome. He and his wife really care about us and are always making sure that our health is good and that we have everything we need. Also President commented on how my Spanish is very good. So we also had to move our cita with Adrian and Cynthia from Thursday to Friday because of our lesson with Olga. We taught them the Word of Wisdom and it was a good lesson. Adrian is ready to be baptized. He needs to do is stop drinking coffee and come to church. He doesn't have to big of a problem with coffee--he drinks 1 cup a day in the afternoon. Suprisingly, Cynthia said she will try to stop drinking too. This is interesting because she says she still doesn't want to get baptized but she is commiting to do all the things we are asking them to do. Also, she reads the Bood of Mormon more than Adrian does. So I'm fairly confident that there are some issues with her mother and that is why she is hesitant to got baptized.
So yah, other than that not much else happened this week. We just worked hard all day knocking doors and spreading the message. Now that my Spanish is getting better I don't mind knocking doors too much but it's really not an effective way to get investigators. It's much more effective to work with the members! So I hope you all have a safe, fun week! I love you all and please stay safe!!!! (Especially Nick) Love, Elder Anthony Smith

Monday, April 19, 2010

Preaching in the Rain

Hello Everyone!
So it’s official, I have been 5 months in the mission! That’s not a lot but it’s a lot better than having 1 month in the mission. Time flies by so fast, just 5 short months ago the only Spanish I knew was hola and uno, dos, tres! Now I can say a lot more—Hurray! Really, the Spanish is getting better and I can understand pretty much what everyone says. I just need to keep memorizing words so I can master the language. So I am out of the twenties and into the teens. My next goal is to make it to 12!!
This week has been pretty good. It rained almost everyday and I’m so grateful to Elder Zavala for giving his umbrella to me before he went home. Not that I need it because if it rains hard enough even with an umbrella my whole body gets soaked. It’s a good thing I love the rain and it’s awesome ‘cause when it rains then it’s not hot.
This week we set a baptismal date for Adrian, Cynthia, and Valedia Rodrieguz. They are an awesome, humble family that we have been teaching. We set the date for the 15 of May. Adrian is totally ready to be baptized. He just has problems with his work and he hasn’t been able to come to church. Cynthia is really awesome but is still working to know whether or not the Book of Mormon is true. She loves reading it and loves the principles—she just needs to keep praying to know that it is true.
We are teaching another really awesome family of six that I’ve told you about—Adrul and Jansie (parents) Adrul Jr., ?daughter (don’t remember her name), Gregory, and Kenneth. They are really awesome and the oldest son Adrian who is 15 years old (Spencer’s age) loves the Book of Mormon. He reads more than what we assign him. It has been challenging setting up appointments with them because the Dad and son work every day. Here in San Rafael everybody works, and I mean everyone.
On Saturday we knocked doors for 4 straight hours and hardly anyone was home. It makes for long hours, but I’m cool with knocking doors all day because the Spanish is getting better. So yah, I don’t know what else to write—not very much different happened this week. We just spent lots of time knocking doors and trying to spread the message.
It’s cool though, I’m not even worried about my comp anymore. I finally bought some weights so whenever I get frustrated I just work out. I will try to write more detailed letters from now on—I just need to keep some notes of what happened cause when you do the same thing every day, it all blends together.
If you could take some pictures of the house outside and inside, that would be cool. Members are always asking me what my house looks like, especially the kids. It’s so fun to talkiong with the little kids in Spanish. They think that in America all we do is eat fast food and every day is a party. Ha Ha!
I hope you all have a fantastic week! Nick—sorry to hear about the soccer problems; Spencer—good job on scoring goals. Keep practicing so that when I get home you’re better than me (that should be easy to do—all you need to do is get in shape so you can run up and down the field more than 3 times without needing a rest); Julia—I hope that I can see you when you come to Costa Rica; Landon—you only have to make it a month and a half before summer vacation. Yah, I love summer vacation and I will look forward to a vacation in 19 months. HaHa! Mom and Dad—Thanks for everything! I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!! Elder Anthony Kent Kohkonen Smith

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sick for a Day

We rent a room out of this home
Dear Everyone
Hello guess who had changes today. Not Me! Thank you for all your letters and your love. To answer some of your questions about stuff. First, yes I can print letters and stuff. Every week I print off your letters and I am making a scapbook. I figure it will be easier if I do it one week at a time rather than wait until the end and do it all. Also I've downloaded all of my favorite talks from confrence but thank you for sending the talk by Elder Holland--
it's my favorite. So this week has been pretty good. Oh and thanks for the photos. I will spend the next couple of weeks downloading them so I can put them on my MP3 player. On Monday night, our dueƱa fed us sardines and I got sick. We live in a house with a lady and rent the upstairs room and I have a big bed. She cooks breakfast and dinner and I will eat pretty much everything, like last night I ate cow stomach and it wasn't as bad as everyone said it was going to be. It's like eating a thick piece of fat. Anyhow, so around 2:00 in the morning on Tuesday I woke up and went to the bathroom sick. I pretty much spent the rest of the night in the bathroom and for the rest of the day I just slept. So I don't know whether to call it the best day of the mission or the worst. But everything is good now and I am 7 pounds closer to my weight loss goal.

So this week was spent just like any other week, knocking doors and trying to find new investigators. We are working with two amazing familes that I've mentioned. Adrian and Cynthia are supper cool and super humble and have accepted everything we have taught them. This week we are going to invite them to be baptized. The only challenge right now is that they need to come to church with us. Adrian has had to work the past several Sundays and Cynthia doesn’t want to go unless the whole family goes. The other family we are working with is Adrul and Jansie. They have 4 kids and are a super awesome family. Jansie really wants the gospel in her family and especially for her 15 year old son. So we are working with theses two amazing families and since I got at least 6 more weeks here we will see what happens.

So I'd like to share a spiritual experience will you all. Monday morning of last week I woke up with some thoughts in my head that I didn’t want to have. These thoughts remained with me for most of the morning and I couldn’t get rid of them. Then we went to Heredia for lunch. (Heredia is the capital of San Rafael). We were on the bus and these thoughts were driving me crazy. Then I remembered that if you have bad thoughts, you can sing a hymn to get rid of them. Instantley the song, "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" popped into my head and instantly the thoughts left and didn’t come back. I kept this song in my head for the rest of the day. So yah, this week has been pretty good and I'm excited to work this week. I love you all.
Love Elder Smith
P.S. Super awesome to here about Brian Naylor's mission call. Tell him good luck for me.

Monday, April 5, 2010

General Conference Weekend!

Dear Everyone!! First I want to say I LOVE GERERAL CONFERENCE!!!!! It was way awesome and at the end I was like, "Wait I want more". It's the first time in my life that I've actually wanted to sit and watch conference all day long. All the sessions were amazing and Elder Holland did it again and delivered an amazing talk and he chopped some head too (that's a phrase we use in the mission). Also we brought one of our investigators, Adrian, to the Saturday afternoon session. He is really awesome. We are teaching him and his wife and they are progressing along nicely. Also we are teaching another really awesome family. Adrul and Jansie and their 4 kids. They are really really awesome and one of their kids looks like Opie from The Andy Griffeth Show.
So this week was Semana Santa or Holy Week in English and so the whole Catholic religion went crazy with all their parades and stuff. I saw a little news clip that talked about what other countries are doing for Semana Santa. There were these parades and guys were walking down the street whipping themselves. I remember watching the Divinci Code with that one guy who was whipping himself. I thought that was just Hollywood going over the top again--I didn't think that people actually did that kind of stuff. (Can you say Apostasy)
So this weekend was really awesome. On Friday, we went to a country club with my zone and another zone and we played soccer and basketball all day. It was tons of fun and I got really sunburnt. Then on Saturday and Sunday, I watched and loved general conference. I am actually downloading my favorite talks right now so I can listen to them over and over and over again. I can't believe we have to wait another six months to have conference again.
Honestly, I've found that missionary work is not that hard. Its easy to get up in the morning and do studying and then share the gospel all day. Sometimes I get tired but it's never too bad. I'm not even worried about the language anymore 'cause I'm learning more and more everyday and I can understand a whole lot better.
I don't really have a lot to write about for this week because it was Holy Week and all the people were vacationing. Its like spring break for them. So hopefully lots of good stuff will happen this week. I love you all and hope that you have and awesome week! Love Elder Smith

Friday, April 2, 2010