Monday, July 25, 2011

Dear Family,
Hey everyone how’s it going? Julia Happy Birthday!!!!!! You are now 15, only one more year ‘til you can date and drive!!!!!! I’m glad to hear that Nick is going to be out in the field this week!!!!! It’s going to be an adventure that you are never going to forget!!!!! Spencer don’t spend all you money on food, cause that’s the one thing I regret doing is spending all my money on food!!!!! Landon keep enjoying your summer vacation, because you only have one month left. Mom I hope the exercising is going well. Dad, I know you told me to do this a really long time ago, but it kept slipping my mind, but I finally got letters off to Grandpa Smith and Sister Holt, hopefully they get them! Oh and about the C-funds, a bunch of it was used on those crazy 4 day divisions that I went on. The good thing is that Luis, the guy we were looking for, is going to be getting married and baptized in the next month and Elder Sirrine was telling me last night that they are a super awesome family and they are progressing in the gospel!!!
So the first half of this week was spent traveling to San Jose and then coming back to San Vito!!!! Now that I’m not district leader I have so much more time and I’m a lot less stressed!! My new companion, Elder Cabrera, is super awesome. He has lots of desire to help the branch and is also keeping me animated to work hard every day. One thing that we are going to be doing is going through the entire list of members to see who still lives here in San Vito and who has left. And all the less actives who will let us visit them, we are going to basically treat them as investigators and teach them from the beginning. 
Yesterday in church was super awesome, because we broke the attendance record. 24 people came to church and that is the most we have had in a few months, which is super awesome. Also 2 investigators, Gerardina and Adrian, came to church with us for the second time. Which is also really awesome and we are going to put a baptismal date with them for this coming month.
So basically not much else has happened. In my scripture study I just finished the Isaiah chapters in second Nephi, so I can start enjoying the Book of Mormon again hahaha! No, but I did get a book from the mission house that goes through and explains those chapters so that it’s easier to understand, because its hard, especially in Spanish, to understand them.
So I love you all and Nick I hope you have a safe flight to Taiwan. BTW what time zone is your mission in???????????? Love Elder Smith

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Return Date is Set!

I'm not trunky . . . I just like to count!
Dear Everybody,
So I think the biggest news for this week is that my plane tickets have now been bought! The office secretary called my on Monday and said that he was buying them right then. So its official that I will be coming home on the 22nd of November which is so awesome. That means I will have plenty of time to get released and enjoy Thanksgiving Day--I am so excited!!
This week, Elder Cope had changes and is now in Siquirres, which was part of my zone in Guapiles. My new companion is Elder Cabrera from El Salvador. He has 10 months in the mission and Elder Romney was his trainer so you know he is good! So right now we are just waiting for our bus and it will take about 6 hours to get back to San Vito. Also the other really awesome news is that I am no longer District Leader. Since I was out of my area a ton last change doing divisions, President thought it would be better if I could focus more on my Branch and so now Elder Sirrine is the DL and he is also training this sweet Elder from Mexico who is friends with Elder Gomez, my Mexican companion. This is an awesome change because now when I get home at night I just have to call Sirrine, plan, write in my journal, and then work out--BTW with P90X I’m starting to lose weight and get my muscle back, because I got to be good looking when I get home (ha ha).
Things in the Branch are Mas or Menos. With this change we are going to focus a ton on the menos activos. So I don’t have a lot of time to write but I may write some more tomorrow. Love you all and please stay safe. Oh and BTW I hit 20 months this Monday--pretty cool huh!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love Elder Smith

Monday, July 11, 2011

It's Been Another Crazy Week!

For the Beauty of the Earth!
Dear Family,
Ok so this week was freaking crazy and it was also really awesome. So Monday we had a really awesome party to celebrate the 4th of July. We bought 4 kilos of meat and made hambugers and I just have to say that they were the best hamburgers that I have had in the last 19 months and 3 weeks. We also watched the RM which is a really funny movie and I like it a lot because I am going to be an RM in like 4 months.  
So Tuesday is were the adventure began, because in District Meeting Elder Sirrine, Rosales and I had the impression that we needed to go to Puerto Jimenez and look for Luis again. Luis is an investigator they have, but he had to go to Puerto Jimenez for work and we felt we needed to find him and get him married and baptized. So once again with nothing but my scriptures and the clothes on my back, Elder Sirrine and I took went on divisions for 3 days. So Tuesday afternoon, we took a 4 hour bus ride in order to get to Puerto Jimenez and we got there about 6 :00 at night. We spent the night in the church building there, which is actually just a house, but luckily they have beds. We had to wake up super early in order to be at the truck stop at 5:30. The only way to get to the place where Luis works is in this truck or with someone else who has a car. Well Luis didn't show up at the truck stop and we didnt know if we should go to Carate anyway, because he could have gone there with a friend or work companion. Also we had knew that he could also probably be in the house of his mom. We both felt that we needed to go to the house of his mom in order to find him. Well the only address that we had was that his mom lived in Ciudad Negra, which is just outside of Puerto Jimenez. So when we finally got there, we just started asking everyone if they knew where Luis´ mother lived and the fist lady we asked told us that it in front of her house there was a coconut tree, which didn't help us at all because almost every house had a coconut tree in front of it. Well after asking a couple more people we found the house and when we went to knock the door we saw a guy just inside the house who looked like he was sleeping. Well it was Luis and he wasnt sleeping, but really drunk. Due to losing his job again and due to some problems with his wife and stepkids, Luis had gotten really depressed and had started to drink again. Well Elder Sirrine and I talked with him for awhile and after talking to him about making some changes in his life and after giving him a blessing, he decided that he wanted to go back home and fix things. 
So after taking a nap and after getting him ready we sent him on a bus back to Ciudad Neilly. While we were getting him ready, he asked us to put his boots on and as we were putting them on he looked at us and said, Ustedes son buenos (Translates to "you are really good guys"), and that just made both of us feel really good inside. We basically had to carry him to the bus stop and while we were waiting I looked at him and could just tell that he was not happy at all. My testimony of how the gospel brings us true happines and how alcohol, drugs and other vices don't bring us any true happiness at all was strengthened. After we sent Luis on the bus, we both felt really good about what we had done, because we are sure that if we wouldn't have found Luis and sent him back home, than we would never have found him, because he was drinking heavily and his brothers weren't a very good influence on him.
The next day we had to travel to Golfito to do a couple interviews for 2 Jovenes. One of them, Angelica, asked me if I would baptize her and I said yes. The next day, Friday, we had to travel to Perez Zeleon, which was another 4 hour bus ride, for zone conference which was really awesome. President and Sister Galvez, the APs and the ZLs all gave really good capacitations and also I got the package you sent me. Thank you so much for the pictures I have looked at them like 100 times!!!!! On Saturday, we had the baptism of Angelica and Stif. I baptized Angelica and the District President Castillo baptized Stif. It was a really good service, but we had to leave right after in order to catch our bus back to San Vito. So from Tuesday morning to Saturday night I was outside of my area, but had some really cool experiences. And yesterday for church only 3 people showed up--my companion, me, and a guy from Guam who is doing some work here in the Botanical Gardens. So we just had the sacrament and then we left. Due to vacations everyone is either at the beach or in San Jose so that is why no one came to church. So this week I calculated that I spent about 24 hours riding in buses and that is why I pulled out so much money, because we also had to buy food. So this week we are going to to temple and I want to buy some things for members and I am really excited.
WELL I love you all and I hope you all have a really good week!!!!!!!! Love Elder Anthony Smith

Monday, July 4, 2011

I Love America!

BBQing dogs on P-day!
Dear Family,
Hey, today is the 4th of July. Last year I didn’t do anything because it was a Sunday and my comp was from Honduras so he didn’t really care. But this year my comp is a gringo and I have cool people in my district so we are going to have an awesome party!!!!! We are going to have a BBQ, play some basketball, and watch the RM!!
So this week was pretty good. I have had to travel a lot because in the Zona Sur everything is really spaced out and so it takes time to travel and its kind of expensive. On Thursday I went to Rio Claro with Elder Rosales, one of the ZLs. We worked with the Sisters there, Hermana Nava and Carcamo. We had some really neat experiences with them. One thing we taught them was how to challenge people to be baptized in the contacts and we contacted some really cool families. The reason we want to challenge in the contact is because that is basically our purpose as missionaries, to invite others to come unto Christ and be baptized and so in order to do that we need to focus on the people and more importantly, on those families that are willing to accept Christ and be baptized. Right now the mission is really focused on doing all we can to complete our weekly baptism goals. Before we were just focused on the monthly goal, but what happened was that everyone just waited until the last week of each month and so we had to do a lot of running around that last week. Now if we focus on our weekly goals every week than we are going to have baptisms every week for the whole month!
Yesterday for Fast Sunday, we had 4 investigators at church, Maritza, Gerardina, Adrian and Ivan and two of his kids. It was a very interesting testimony meeting because only 4 people got up to share their testimonies—me, my comp, and two members. There was a lot of silence, but it was good. I shared my testimony about the prophet Joseph Smith because last Monday was the 167th anniversary of his martyrdom. 
I hope you all have an awesome week and I love you all so much!!!!! Have a fun 4th of July!!!!! Nick should have fun because he will be able to hear what happens at the Stadium of Fire program at the BYU stadium!!!!!!!  Love Elder Smith!!!!!!!!!!!