Monday, February 28, 2011

Crazy Day: Zone Council

Giving directions how to focus the camera :)

Dear Family!!!
Hey sorry it's so late (6:30 p.m. when he sent this email)  and I have like no time to write you guys, but today has been super busy!!!! And I mean super busy!!!!!! So it is the end of the month and that means that we had to do all the numbers for the zone last night. We had to get all the totals for this month, all the goals for next month and then we had to give it all to the AP´s. It took forever! and we went to bed at like 1:00 in the morning! Then we had to wake up at 4:30 so that we could be to the bus station by 5:30 so we could go to San Jose for Zone Council!!!! The worst part was I left my umbrella in the house of a member Sunday night and it was raining super hard this morning and so I got soaking wet and they had the AC on full blast in the bus and so I was freezing!!! 
Well this month our zone didn't meet our goal so in the Zone Council we had to explain to President why we didn't meet the goal and what we are going to do better this next month so that we can meet the goals that the missionaries have set. 
Some cool news, in April, Elder Richard Hinckley, son of President Hinckley, will be coming to Costa Rica and we´ll probably have a Zone Conference with him!!!
Congrats Spencer on making the Varsity Team! I have completly forgotten everything about lacrosse and I'm not even sure I could craddle a stick right now!! I remember I was super nervous when I make Varsity as a sophmore because the coach kept saying that the roster wasn't final and that people could get moved up or down. Just do your best and it will all be fine!!!! 
Nick, hey HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!! I hope you get lots of hugs and kisses from the ladies, Hay que aprovechar este tiempo con las guilas!!! Haha!!!!
Hope You all Have an AWESOME WEEK and hopefully I will have more time to write next week sorry!!! I´ll try to take more photos too!!!!!!
Love, Elder Smith

Monday, February 21, 2011

I Saw the Ocean

Elder Malen, Paola, and Elder Alvare
Preparing for the Baptismal Services

Elder Alvare baptizes Paola 

Elder Smith (me) and Elder Malen
Hey Everyone,
So I don't have much time to write, but this week has been super busy! Elder Lopez and I have been doing divisions with the zone making sure that everyone who can get baptized this month, gets baptized so we can meet our goal as a zone. So I spent part of the weekend in Limon and finally after 15 months in the mission I saw the ocean!!! Also I saw some members of our stake in Centerville! It was super crazy, because I was inside sewing a hole in my pants and a couple of elders were outside and then one of them told me to come outside and I see these Gringos who look really familiar and they asked me what stake I was from in Centerville. I said the Centerville North in the Chase Lane ward and they are from the Willow Wood ward. The only problem is I don't remember their names, but they took some pictures with us and maybe they will call you. One of them is on the Stake High Council and knows Dad! So That was cool!!! Then on Saturday, I saw my first baptism that took place in a river. The Elders in Puerto Viejo don't have a church building and so they have to use the river and I conducted the baptismal interview for the young woman that got baptized! So this week has been pretty cool!!!
Today we had a fun P-day too!!! There is a member in Siquirres whose husband owns this pineapple farm and they live in a jungle part of the area and so they showed us around and we also got to see this really cool river and I took some pictures so I will upload them right now so you can see what this part of Costa Rica looks like!!!!
So yeah, that's basically what happened this past week and I hope you all have a great week!!
Love Elder Smith

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Bro!

Making Calls
Hi All,
This week has been good and has passed by super fast. Last Wedenesday, the zone had a capacitation with President and Hermana Galvez. They explained about some new things the mission is trying to implement to find more and better investigators. One example is that we are now challenging people to be baptized when we contact them. At first it was a little ackward but it is a really effective way to find the golden investigators and to find those who are ready to hear the gospel. On Friday and Saturday I was in Cariari doing divistions with Elder Bernuy and Elder Gutierrez and my companion went to Puerto Limon. We went to conduct baptism invertiews in both areas. It's kinda funny because Elder Bernuy was my district leader when I was in Heredia and now I am his zone leader, but he is super cool and is almost done with his mission. It's kind of sad because all my friends in the mission are now either gone or about to leave and there are a whole bunch of new missionaries who I don't know so I'm going to have to get to know the newer missionaries.
In Cariari I did the interview for a man, Kendall, who was able to get married and then baptized. The interview was really good and he actually answered most of the questions without any help which was really cool. I also got to stay for the wedding and the baptism. He married a lady who is a member of the church and has 9 kids. The wedding was really long because the lawyer talked forever and ever, but Kendall's baptism was really cool and all the people who came for the wedding ended up staying for the baptism and several of them aren't members. I will post pictures of both events.
I really like my new area! It is hot and sunny (unless it rains) and I'm staring to get a tan again. Also the peolple are really awesome members and investigators. We are teaching a lady named Alejandra who is going to get baptized in March after she gets married to her boyfriend who we have reactivated. She is ready to get baptized. . . she just has to get married. We are going to work hard for the next two weeks finding new investigators who we hope will prepare to be baptized in the months of March and April.
Going to the temple today was really awesome and I saw some members from my passed areas so that was cool!!! Mom if you send a package soon could you please send some sunblock, its super expensive here, but not too high spf. Also could you send some double stuffed oreos, original please, my companion loves oreos and has never tried the double stuff . . . also those p90x vids would be supper awesome!!! Love you all and I hope Spencer had an awesome birthday!!! Have fun driving and dating!!!!
Love Elder Smith

Monday, February 7, 2011

ZL Work

Beautiful Pococi -- this is our church building
My new companion Elder Lopez
Dear Family,
Hey I hope everyone had a good week, sounds like it was really cold in Utah this week . . .  well here in PococĂ­ it is a different story. The weather here is very unpredictable. For example in the morning it will rain and then it is very hot around mid afternoon and when the sun goes down it is fresco . . . I always have to make sure that I have my umbrella or I could get wet. Oh and I'm sorry I forgot to mention that my new companion is Elder Lopez. He was actually my Zone Leader in La Sabana with Elder Sangster so I know him really well and he is cool and we get along really well. Um well so far being a ZL isn't too hard, I just have to make a lot of phone calls and Sundays are long because we wake up a 5 am and we have to do numbers for the week and so that takes a long time, but last night I got to bed at 11:45 and so that wasn't too bad.
Last Thursday we had Zone Council so we had to go back to San Jose, another 2 hour ride through the mountains. There is a huge difference in climate between where I am and San Jose. San Jose is cold and dry and Pococi is hot and humid. Zone Council was fun and I didn't really have to do anything because I only had a day being ZL. It's cool because Elder Sangster, Romney, Whittier and I are ZLs and Elder Johnson and Duncan are DLs and so my MTC group is doing pretty good here in the mission and pretty soon we could all be ZLs.
This coming week we have a Zone meeting with President Galvez and that should be fun and then I will probably be doing divisions for the rest of the week, getting to know some investigators and I will probably do a couple baptism interviews.
Next week we are going to the temple!!! YAY!!!! Every zone goes about once every 3 months and so I got lucky and get to go twice in one month. So next week I will write home on Wednesday and not Monday.
Mom, about the questions you gave me about what Nick should take. The shoes I took on my mission are ecos brand--DO NOT TAKE THIS BRAND OF SHOE  . . . especially if you are going to be doing a lot of walking. You will see what my shoes look like when I get home. Don't worry I have another pair so I will be good, but take Dr. Martin or Dr. Sholes, I don't remember what they are called. My luggage has held up pretty good, still no rips or tears. Make sure Nick that your clothes fit you!!!! Remember how I went into the MTC a litttle chunky and I gained a lot of weight in the MTC. Well that all fell off when I got here and so my clothes are a little baggy and so make sure your clothes fit. Don't think Nick will have too much of a problem because he is a stick. Do Not Take A shoulder bag!!!! Take a regular backpack! My back hurt with a shoulder bag and I didn't like it at all. I use a backpack now and it is so much better. So take a nice backpack!!!! Also make sure you have plenty of socks and garments!! Well I hope you all have a great week and I will write you again next Wednesday!!!!
Love Elder Smith

Saying Good-bye to Pavas/Bri Bri

Yup -- I still do it in the mission (and this isn't even my gallon)

I will miss Elder Norr

Last baptism in this area was Isabel (left of me) and Marcela (on my right) -- tiny people aren't they.

Sister Maday and son Daniel -- saying good-bye to the coolest member
Wendy, Arturo, Mia, and me

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Changes and now a Zone Leader

Elder Gomez, Isabel, and Elder Smith (me!)
Monday, January 31, 2011:

Dear Family,
Well I received a call this morning from the ZL´s and I have changes. This is probably the only thing that I don't like about the mission because I love the people here in Pavas and I am going to miss Elder Gomez. So Saturday, we baptized Isabel and it was super awesome!!! She is such an amazing lady and even though it took her a little bit longer to make the decision to get baptized she is really awesome and has a strong testimony of the gospel. Well, I have packed everything up and I am going to spend today and tomorrow saying good-bye to everyone. I will write you more on Wednesday when I am in my new area with my new companion. I sure hope I get a Gringo or another Mexican!!!!!! Love Elder Smith

Then, on Wednesday, February 2, 2011:

Dear Family,
Hey so I am in my new area now which is Pococi. I am also the new Zone Leader here in the Zona Atlantica. Finally I am outside of the city and into the country. I am about two hours outside of San Jose and so I took a two hour bus ride through the mountains and it was beautiful and green. I am about two hours away from the ocean and so we are going to go there for a P-day maybe. Finally after 14 months I am outside of the city and into the tropical parts of Costa Rica. It is very humid here and I am sweating as we speak . . . also it is going to rain a lot and so I am glad that I still have my umbrella. Well I am excited to be Zone Leader and tomorrow we have to go back to San Jose for Zone Council and that should be fun. Well I don't have too much time to write, but I love you all and I will hopefully have some cool pictures to put up soon. Love Elder Smith

Temple Trip! Me and Jairo Hernandez he is the Secratary of State for Costa Rica!