Monday, July 26, 2010

Working Hard

Dear Everyone,
This week has gone by so fast. It seams that just yesterday I was writing you. I hope you all had an awesome week and I hope Julia had a Happy Birthday. Last Friday was the birthday of Lindsey Sanchez, the daughter of the branch president who you all met. She turned 8 years old and was also baptized that same day. We went to the baptism and it was really cool.
So this week we put 3 baptismal dates on the calendar. The first one is a 9 year old girl named Trixie. She is the daughter of some less active parents, Sergio and Maryi. Sergio wants to start coming back to chruch and even came last week but Maryi doesn't quite want to come back yet. She had some problems with some members and the missionaries in the last ward they were in. They are way cool though and Sergio is really funny.
The other 2 baptisms are for an 11 and 8 year old brother and sister. They also come from a less active family but they only have a mother, Ivania. She also wants to start coming back to church. She has been having a lot of fincancial problems and they barely have enough food to eat so my companion and I have helped them a little bit, buying rice and beans. Oh the names of the 2 kids are Andrez and Stephani.
We have been working with these 2 familes for the past week and other than that not much has happened. Oh yeah, we started teaching a lady, Ana, and her son who were taught by the missionaries who were here 3 years ago. Ana has a testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, but she along with practically every other Tico, believe that "All churches are good and more than one could possibly have the authority of God." This is a common belief among the people here. Another common belief is that "It doesn't matter what church you go to, what matters is what you have in your heart." This is where we have to teach the restoration really good and teach that really only one church has the authority of God and that really only one church is the church of Jesus Christ. Well I love you and hope that you all have an excellent week! I Love you all so much!!!!! Love Elder Smith

Monday, July 19, 2010

Protected from Cross Fire!

Dear Family and Friends,
Hello everyone I hope you all had a good week. Julia I hope you have a Happy Birthday on Thursday--enjoy your ice cream cake. Spencer who is gone now, I hope he has fun on the Jamboree. I can't believe it has been 5 years since I went on the jamboree.
Okay so this week has been really crazy! First, I now have 8 months in the mission, Yay!! Time sure does fly when your having fun and I had a lot of fun this week. Okay so last Monday for P-day we went paintballing. It was the funnest P-day I've had in the mission. We got permission from President so we didn't break any rules, if you were wondering. So my whole district went and there are 10 missionaries and so we played two teams of 5. Well it was a super fun activity and we are going to do it again next month.
Well Tuesday night was really crazy. Okay, first of all this month, the mission cut out about $30 from my companion and me. This month we have also started working in the outer parts of the area because we basically have knocked every door in the center. So this means that we have had to use a lot more buses and taxis. So I have run out of money this month and I only have enough for buses and taxis. So Tuesday night after we finished a lesson I decided to go to the ATM that is just around the corner from our house. Well, I pulled out some money and we were just about to turn around the corner and we heard something that sounded like a gunshot. Well I've heard this sound a lot, but it's usually a car or a motercycle backfiring . . . but I always say, "Sounds like someone got shot!" So we turn back around the corner to head home and there are two guys running down the street and one of them starts shooting at the other guy right in front of our house. Elder Vallejo and I stay back around the corner and wait for the shooting to stop. Well luckily nobody died and when we walked back to our house the cops were arresting the guy with the gun. So just think, if I wouldn't have run out of money, I wouldn't have had to go to the ATM and if I hadn't gone to the ATM, we would have been right in front of our house when the shooting started and someone (AKA my companion and me) could have gotten hurt. So it just goes to show that the Lord works in mysterious ways to keep people safe.
We are also having lots of success in the area. We aren't going to baptize anyone this month, but next month we should have at least 5. We are working with a lot of less active families that have children who aren't baptized. We are working on reactivating those families so thier children can be baptized. Also we are finding lots of old investigators that the missionaries who were here 3 years ago were teaching. We found one lady named Anasicilia. The missionaries were teaching her and even put a baptisimal date with her and her son, but then the area got closed. So now we are teaching her again and we will probably put another baptismal date this week or the next. Also we are teaching 2 young girls who are friends of a member here. They come from families with lots of problems and they themselves have problems with drugs and other things and they are only 15 years old.
So thank you for the package and the suit, Yay it fits me. Also thanks for the journals, I'm going to put a picture of the baptisms in the journals too so I will probably give them to the members this week or the next. I love you all sooo much and I hope you all have a wonderfull week! Love, Elder Smith

Monday, July 12, 2010

World Cup Mania!

Dear Family
Hey I hope you all had a very good week, I did. Nick, it sounds like you are earning lots of money from Baileys. Spencer, I hope you have a ton of fun on Jamboree. One piece of advice, don't spend your money on food--spend it on souvenirs and other cool stuff. Julia, I have probably watched more soccer this month than I have my entire life. Here in Costa Rica and the rest of the world, everyone is obsessed with soccer and so for the past month, it's been soccer or as they call it here, footbal (but we all know that real football is a ton better--ha ha). So while we ate lunch yesterday, we watched the World Cup final and Spain won. I was hoping that Netherland would win and actually my favorite teams were Argentina and Germany. So now I am at least a fan of watching soccer. Landon, keep having fun with your summer vacation because its almost half way over. Mom and Dad, I have some questions that I want to ask you about your missions.
  • How long did it take you before you could speak and understand the language?
  • Did you ever train?
  • Were all you companions japanese and how many comps did you have?
  • How many areas did you have?
  • Dad, were you ever a district leader of zone leader?
  • What did you do on P-days?
These are just some things that Ive been wondering about now that I know how a mission works. Also, that's cool that you got to speak with my branch president, President Sanchez.. He is super cool and thanks for the stuff that you are sending.
This week has been really good. We have had to start knocking a lot of doors again because we didn't have a whole lot of investigators. We have started teaching one new family and they are super cool. When we first contacted them, we asked them if they had any questions or any doubts in the past and they did. They told us that for a long time they have been searching for the answer to the question, "What happens after this life?", and that they had not yetfound an answer that sounds right. So we had a super awesome lesson about the Plan of Salvation with scriptures from the Bible and Book of Mormon. It was a super good lesson and they are a way awesome family. Vamos a ver que pasa con ellos esta semana. Haha have fun translating that. Also we are working with a less active family that has a nine year old daughter and the dad wants to baptize her. Also the dad of this family, Sergio, helped move equipment and stuff for Aerosmith when they came to Costa Rica this year. He was able to watch the concert from backstage and got some guitar picks that they used during the concert. Sergio had about 5 picks and he gave me one because I said that I like Aerosmith (not right now though, I love the Mormon Tabernacle) and like playing the guitar. So yeah, that was pretty cool.
So time is flying by so fast, I can't believe in a week I will be completing 8 months in the mission. In one month it will have been a year since I got my wisdom teeth out, nick broke his leg and I recieved my mission call. Honestly, it feels like all that stuff happened a couple months ago. I've got to keep working hard because this won't last forever. So I hope you all have an amazing week and Spencer--stay safe on the Jamboree--it will be a ton of fun!!!!  Love Elder Smith

Monday, July 5, 2010

Lovin' My Area

Dear Everyone!
Wow I can't believe the 4th of July has already come and gone. Here in Costa Rica nobody celebrates the 4th of July so nothing happened. A few missionaries forgot that the 4th of July is even a Holiday. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, Julia I'm glad that you liked Eclipse, I'm still waiting to see New Moon Haha. Nick, I'm glad that you are enjoying working at Baileys, that was my favorite job and it's real fun to go on office moves. So a bunch of my friends are finally starting their missions. I'm so glad that I left as soon as possible because look, I have 7 months in the mission!
So guess who had changes today, not me. Hurray!!! I love my area, it's so cool. It's cold here, in fact I actually have to use a blanket or else I get a runny nose and a sore thoat. Also I'm very close to Heredia, which is basically like Salt Lake City and its about the same distance and it has restaurants and malls and all kinds of cool little stores. Also there is a store here called Price Smart which is the Latino version of Costo. It is exactly the same as Costo and even has the same brands. My companion and I bought membership cards and now we buy all our food there. I bought a 10 pound bag of pancakes, a bunch of meat for sandwiches (including bacon), and top ramen. Oh yeah it rocks and I don't have to eat rice and beans every meal.
So we spent this week going out to parts of our area that are a little bit farther away and we have been knocking doors. Not too much luck but we are working hard. Other than that not much else has happened this week.
So this week the branch president from my area is going to be in Utah and I think he is going to be very close to Centerville. I'm going to give his wife our number and address so that if you want to send anything he can bring it back to Costa Rica. Also his wife is going to give me his number and then tomorrow I can send you a quick email so that you can call him. He speaks English. I was thinking that if you wanted to you could send my other suit because it would be nice to have two--dry cleaning is insanely expensive (15 bucks).
So yeah, I'm super excited that I have another 6 weeks to work in San Rafael and I hope you all have an awesome week. Love Elder Smith