Monday, October 31, 2011

My Favorite Time of Year

Celebrating my birthday -- I ate a whole pizza!

Dear Family,
Hey I'm glad to hear that you are all doing well and that you had fun eating cake on my birthday. Oh and mom thanks for the picture of you and dad making out, that really helps me stay focused on my missionary purpose. Julia, now that volleyball is over you have a full year to train and get ready for the next year. Sorry that your coaches weren't the best. You need to play a sport that has no school funding, like lacrosse, so the coaches just play the people who are actually good. Anyway the highlight of this week was turning 21 YAY!!!!! The night before my birthday I couldn't sleep at all which is weird cause I never have trouble falling asleep. Well I decided to listen to that tape you guys sent me where you all talked and I listened to it like 4 times in a row. Haha I miss you all a ton and am so excited to see you all in 3 weeks.
For Diego and Mayela and their kids threw a little birthday party for me. We ate dinner and they had a cake! It was super awesome of them to do that. On Wednesday it's Mayela's birthday and so we are going to buy her flowers or something. Also Happy Birthday Grandpa Kohkonen!!!!! I know it's coming up soon on like the 6th or close by that!!!! So right now I don't have a lot of time to write you guys cause I have to go to the zone council/leadership training meeting that's going to be today and tomorrow. Yay, it's going to be my last one and I'm excited But afterwards I'm going to write you again with more stuff that happened this week and I'm going to upload more pictures. I took a ton more bowling pictures and I have pictures of my birthday. Love you all, Elder Smith

Monday, October 24, 2011

I'm Almost 21

Thought I'd take photos with cool cars for Landon!

Dear Family,
Hey so this letter is going to be super super super short, cause I have to go do two baptismal interviews right now and than meet with my ward mission leader. So this week was really good! On Sunday I saw sunshine for the first time in like 3 weeks. It lasted for about 15 minutes. It has been raining here everysingle day and I'm kinda getting sick of it. But hey in 4 weeks I wont have to deal with rain anymore, just snow! 
On Saturday we had a super awesome ward activity. It was a cultural activity and there was food from a bunch of different contries, like Mexico, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Also members sang songs and danced. Also there is a Mariachi group from our ward and they performed some songs. The investigators that came loved it!!! 
Also this week Luis Diego´s Grandmother died and so to cheer them up I made cookies and then we showed them some Mormon Messages. One that talked about hope by President Uchdorf, one by Pres. Monson called What matters most and another one by the Prophet where he shared a story of visiting a lady whose son died in the military and he shared his testimony with her of how he knew that she would see her son again. They loved it!!!!! Also I helped them set up Skype on their computer so they could talk to family that live in Nicaragua. So ya this week was good. 
So today for P-day we had a super fun activity we went bowling. I did pretty good and I took a ton of pictures. Afterwards we went to Price Smart and ate pizza and I basically ate a whole pizza myself. So I think that I'm going to count Bowling and Pizza as my birthday present!
I'm doing really good and just trying to finish the mission strong. This week I'm going to be doing divisions with Elder Johnson and that's going to be really fun. So I hope you are all doing well and I hope you all have a good week. Love Elder Anthony Smith,

Monday, October 17, 2011

Keepin' Busy

I can still pound it!

Dear Family and Friends,
Wow thanks for all the letters this week. It took me about 30 minutes just to read them all. Thank you Aunt Paulina, and Caroline, and Grandma for the letters. I’m also really excited to see everything this coming Holiday Season. Speaking of holidays, Mom in one of your letters you asked about Halloween. Well here in Costa Rica there are a lot of super suspicious people and so basically Halloween is considered to be a holiday celebrating Satan . . . which is totally different from how we view it at home . . . Halloween was one of my favorites growing up. 
Anyway I hope you all had a lovely week. I’m glad to hear that you are all keeping busy. The best way that I’ve learned to not get lazy is to just stay busy, busy, busy. Landon, I’m glad to hear that your playing Jr. Jazz and I know that your not the most aggressive kid out there, but just keep practicing and you’ll get better. Start watching more basketball (I don’t know when basketball season starts, but watch it.) Julia don’t worry that your coach got mad at you for going for the ball, at least you’re trying hard and that’s all that counts.
I think that the Christlike attribute that I have developed the best in my mission had been patience, because there have been some times where I have wanted to get after people. Especially when I was a zone leader and missionaries didn’t want to do anything but be lazy and not try to help the zone out. But in those moments, I would calm myself down listening to Stormlight by Precious Waters and thinking of an effective solution that didn’t include losing my cool. Dad, keep up the great work and thank you so much for the sacrifices you have made for our family and even though I didn’t always make it easy, I’m very grateful for all that you have and keep doing for us. Mom I think that I need to thank you the most, cause you are basically the only person who has written me every single week for the last two years and I love you letters, mostly cause they are very detailed and tell me what is going on back at home and with the family. Thank you very much, oh and thanks for that picture, cause it was very funny. BTW lax training begins soon and I can’t wait.
So yesterday was a very good Dia de reposo. In church there were a lot of foreigners in attendance and actually I got to translate the whole sacrament meeting for an older gentleman. Translating is a very mind-boggling experience because you have to pay close attention to what is being said, process and translate it in your brain and then say it out loud all as it is happening. So when you screw up, you just have to keep going on, kind of like you just keep going on if you screw up playing the piano during sacrament meeting. It was a fun experience though. One of the people who talked was an foreigner who is on the High Council and he gave a great talk. He talked a little of how we can gain more faith through constant Scripture study and prayer. FYI it is a lot easier to translate from Spanish to English when a foreigner is speaking. Also President and Sister Canga who are part of the temple presidency came to our ward and bore their testimonies because they are going to be finishing up their temple service here. They are really amazing people and actually after church we ate lunch with them. Every Sunday we eat lunch with the Familia Fernandez and they are temple workers and so they also invited Pres. and Sister Canga to eat also and so it was fun to chat with them for a while. They are from Argentina.
So this next week is going to be really fun, because I’m going to be going to La Campiña to do a few baptismal interviews and then Elder Jessop, one of my ZLs, is going to be coming to my area to do divisions with me. Divisions always make the week go by faster and they are always full of awesome, spiritual experiences. BTW last week they changed up my district. Before it consisted of ten Elders, which wa the biggest district in the mission and just a little bit smaller than one of the zones that we have here. But now it is my companion and me and the elders from La Campiña, who are Elder Stevens and his hijo Elder Cuellar. Well I love you all y espero que tengan una linda semana!!!!!!
¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡Les Quiero Mucho!!!!!!! Love Elder Anthony Smith

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Can't Believe I Only Have A Few Weeks!

My Best Friend in the Mission, Elder Sirrine's last week!
Dear Family and Friends,
Words cannot begin to describe what it feels like to come to the end of a mission. Basically it’s like this, I want to come home, but at the same time I don’t. I mostly don’t wanna come home because of all the amazing experiences that I’ve had and all the amazing people that I’ve met in these last two years. Honestly its going to be a lot harder to say good-bye to the mission than it was for me to say goodbye to you all at the MTC (BTW that was a pretty trunky movie you had on a certain wall mom, probably shouldn’t be watching that kinda stuff--haha). But at the same time I’m ready to come home and be a normal person again. I’m super excited that I got into BYU and mom I’ll send you Elder Sirrine’s address so you can contact him. BTW he goes home tomorrow and I’m going to miss him a ton. He has been like one of my best friends for basically my whole mission. Oh and ya I’m definitely am not going to be dorm-ing on campus with a bunch of pre-mission freshman, so please look into the off-campus apartments. In the spring semester, I’m going to room with Elder Montierth—he gets home in March so I just need to find somewhere to live for the winter semester (maybe grandpa and grandma’s house hahahaha.)
So yes you can officially start to get trunky now and prepare for my arrival. I sent you my flight plans and it looks like I’ll be getting into Salt Lake around 7:00 pm, so I don’t know if that would give us time to get me released that night. Oh and Spencer you might as well move out of my room now. Oh and I hope nobody has messed with the boxes that I left because I know what’s in them!!!
So we had changes meeting today and I am going to end the mission in Tirrases and with Elder Pastrana. He is super chill, a little too chill, and he is also very loud and sometimes can be a little . . .  but hey it’s only 6 more weeks and then my next companion will be a hot wife (haha).
We are working with about 3 families still and so hopefully I can get at least one more baptism before I leave. What I’ve seen from my mission is that during the first year I baptized a bunch of people. The second year I think the Lord wanted to see how I would work even if I didn’t get to directly see the fruits of that work, because after I left Pococi and San Vito, we were teaching a bunch of people who eventually got baptized a few weeks or months after I left. Also with being a DL and a ZL, I have worked with a ton more people and so even though I haven’t personally baptized as many people as I did my first year, I feel as if I have work effectively and well.
So this is a short note cause I ain’t got too much time but I love you and I can’t wait to see you in 6 weeks or 41 days or 1000 hours – Ha ha! Oh and a girl (I mean a sister) that I went to Viewmont with just started the mission today. I didn’t really know her that well because she graduated a year before me, but she did have a couple of classes with me so that’s cool! WELL, LOVE YOU ALL!!! Elder Smith
P.S. Sorry Nick if this letter makes you think too much about home--just keep working and soon enough your time will come!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Last Drive to Share the Gospel

Family and Others who will be reading these letters for the next 7 weeks,
Wow this week was pretty awesome with General Conference. We truly heard some amazing talks by inspired and wonderful leaders of the church. And I was pretty sad when it was over because it’s my last conference as a missionary. This conference was actually pretty crazy because on Saturday morning they weren’t able to get the conference in English, so we went to President Galvez’s house and I got to watch the morning and afternoon sessions on a huge flat screen while sitting on a really comfy sofa so that was pretty nice. Also since we were at President’s house, we got to eat there too instead of going to KFC and Hermana Galvez always has the best food. For the Priesthood session we watched it in Spanish, but it was still pretty good and right now I am putting it on my Ipod in English so I will listen to it again tonight.
After the Priesthood session President took all us missionaries out for ice cream at Pops so that was awesome too. For the Sunday sessions they finally got it working in English at the church so that was amazing. Also there are two girls from Bountiful that are here in Costa Rica for a few months with some humanitarian thing so they were there too and actually they are the first non missionaries that I have seen from Utah in almost two years so that got me thinking about home. So all in all it was an awesome conference and I loved basically every talk and even though it got me excited for home, it gave me a super huge AMINO BOOST TO FINISH THE MISSION STRONG!!!!
Also last week we had an awesome Zone Conference with President and the AP’s. We talked a lot about how to make better plans and execute on the plans that we make and that was the subject of one of the conference talks (don’t remember who, but is was good). As a zone we are going to have a competition this month. We all brought ties and we wrote what personal goals we have for the month of October. Then we tied our ties to a ¨Title of Liberty¨ and so every time we contact a family or put a baptismal goal or baptize someone, we get to put a hole in our tie and whichever companionship has the most holes at the end of the month wins and gets a free dinner from the ZLs and President. So that will be a fun competition.
We are teaching 3 families right now. We are still working hard with Diego, Mayela and their family. We just need about 3 more weeks for all the divorce papers to finish and then they can get married and baptized. Also we are teaching a family, Juancarlos and Mireza. They are super cool, but they need to get married and Juancarlos is a little reluctant, but last lesson we left the family proclamation and committed them to read it together and pray to know if they need to be married. Also we are teaching the boyfriend of a recent convert, Marlen. His name is Carlos and they really want to get married and we are going to put a baptismal goal with him this week.
It was kind of sad this week though because a couple weeks before conference, I always like to share the story of King Benjamin talking to his people from his tower, because it’s kind of like the first General Conference ever. I basically teach this lesson to everyone--members, recent converts, less actives and investigators in order to get them excited for conference and this will be the last time that I can teach it. Actually, the last people we taught it to were Diego, Mayla and their family and for me it was a little sad, but oh well.
So I am doing really well and oh, I forgot to tell you that with the money that I have pulled out in the last little while, it has gone to help members get new scriptures, Liahona subscriptions, hymn books (because there aren’t any ward supply and so everyone basically has to bring their own) and stuff like that. There are a couple members that work in the temple and when they go, I ask them to get stuff for converts, and less actives so hopefully that is okay.
Well I hope you all have an awesome week and I can’t wait to write you again!!!!
Love, Elder Smith