"My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes." D&C 121:7-8

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Homecoming Talk

Ma Sa Sa' lee ch'ool!

Well speaking in English is still pretty hard so bear with me. But I’m just going to start from the beginning I guess about how everything went down on my mission. When I first went in, I started with a native companion. I didn’t know Spanish and he didn’t know English so I didn’t really know what was going on. He was used to being in an area where you don’t eat very much. We didn’t really buy much food and I was hungry all the time. It was really hard and I wanted to go home. I talked my mission president and he helped me out and helped me to want to stay. It was a really hard time. I couldn’t teach anybody like I wanted to. But I knew the Lord that the Lord had something prepared, like he always does, for His missionaries and I knew that He would take care of me and help me learn this language.

Once I started learning it and I went to a different area, I started to feel comfortable with that language, Spanish. Of course when you get comfortable, there always comes a trial. The Gospel comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable. So I got changed to an area where they speak a different language. Where I went, there’s no MTC. Just your companion who knows the language a little bit better and you have to look things up in the dictionary. Going up there that first day on a dusty road, hopping on the back of a big old cattle truck, people asking me what my name was every five seconds and I didn’t know anything of what they were saying. The work was hard. It’s up in the mountains, and you’re hiking about 70 miles a week, super tiring. Going to sleep really early, because the people there fall asleep really early. One of the things that I learned there was to be really grateful. The people there live in conditions that we here can’t even imagine. If you’ve ever seen “The Testament,” that’s how they live still. In wooden houses, still using rocks to smash their corn. One thing with those people is that even though they don’t have anything, those that have the Gospel are happy. It really makes you realize that though this Gospel, you can live a happy life. It doesn’t matter what we have or what we don’t have. As long as we’re willing to make the sacrifices and trust in the Lord to able to do what we need to do.

Some people there that I taught were really amazing. One was the family of Rosalina. It was really a miracle how we found them. My companion that I had just opened this area with, had come from an area where he had baptized these people but they had moved and he didn’t know where they were. We were just walking up in the mountains one day, really really far away, about 2 ½ hours from where we lived in the Church. We found these two little girls that were part of that family. We found their house where they lived with their grandmother which was just outside one of the pueblos called Actela. But they made the sacrifice to go to church every week. They walked like an hour and then an hour back. They were just little girls and an old lady. I don’t know how they are now, but I know they’re going to be ok. That area was really hard. No one accepted us. We were persecuted, rocks thrown at us, but they were special. And I had a dream that that whole place was flooded. It was filled with water all the way to the top of the mountains, except for their house. They were the only ones left. I just know that through their sacrifices, they will be safe. We just need to follow their example and do the same. Sacrifice everything that we have to follow what the Lord needs us to be.

Those people are really special. They truly are Lamanites and they still live like them. Through spending time with them I came to learn many things especially to not take anything for granted. After that I went to a different area out of the mountains. We were tracting and didn't really have much success after contacting about 3 families. They would let us in, but didn't really want to hear what we had to say. Then we found this young man. He was about 22 or 23. He spoke Spanish which was weird because neither my companion nor I were used to teaching in Spanish. We started teaching him about the Restoration of the Gospel and after telling him about the First Vision we just kind of paused and we asked him how he felt. And he said "Good." And then we asked him if he would pray about it and he said, "No, because I already know that it's true." He never missed a day of Church. He was there every Sunday from then on. After he joined the church his family also got baptized, his sister and his mom. The missionaries were still working with his dad. He also made a huge sacrifice to travel far every week for church.

Then I started to get comfortable after a year of speaking their language and getting comfortable with how the work was, I was less then came my next trial. I got sick. But luckily before that, I know it was received by revelation by my mission president, I got changed to an area that was closer to medical facilities. But anyway, I got sick and the doctors couldn't figure out what I had. It was hard. I didn't know what to do. I went to numerous different doctors. I went to the mission doctor first and he told me I had gastritis, but my stomach didn't hurt at all so I was confused.  He sent me back to my area. But then I went back to the capitol and saw other doctors and after two months they figured out what I had.  And when they did, they told me to go home. I had been out 18 months. They asked me how much time I had out there and how much time I had left.  When I told him I had 6 months left, he said that I definitely needed to go home before then because I wouldn't be able to handle the pressure and the living conditions anymore. So I didn't know what to do. He told me to go home and I didn't know what to say. So I spent all my time praying and studying. I couldn't sleep. I woke up one night at like midnight and went into the bathroom to read my scriptures so that I could know what to do. And I found a verse in the Doctrine and Covenants that almost doesn't have very much meaning, but to me it did at that time. At the beginning of my mission I was scheduled to go home on February 16th, and the scripture that I read was inspiration received by Oliver Cowdrey on February 16th and I knew that that was the date that I was supposed to go home. Not before. Not after. That was the time that the Lord had called me to work and I would work until then no matter what happened to me. I know that the scriptures can really give us every answer that we need during every moment of trial. After that, I told them that I wasn't going to go home so they got me some medicine and my mission president put me to work in the mission office for a little while where I wouldn't have to work physically too much and I got better. He sent me back out to an area speaking the same dialect that I had been speaking before and I was able to find some great people .

I found a guy who was going to school in the area where I was working. He lived with some members. We invited him to church and we began teaching him about the Restoration and we challenged him to read the Book of Mormon. When we ask people to read the Book of Mormon there, no one ever reads it. Never. When we went back to visit him a few days later, he had read the whole thing and had 3 pages worth of notes and questions and his book was more highlighted than my own scriptures were. He also knew it was true from the very first time. He was baptized right after I left that area.

Another person we found was a lady, her husband was a member but not very active. He was always drunk in the streets. She didn't have a very good house. They slept on the floor because they didn't have beds. On the dirt with their five kids, on a blanket. But she also went to church. She had so little. She didn't even have money for food sometimes. But she was always happy when we saw her at church. After she was baptized, we saw her at church and even though she couldn't really understand much because it was in Spanish and she only spoke the dialect of Q'eqchi she was happier than I had ever seen her. It was because of this Gospel.

It doesn't matter how hard our lives are. All you have to do is trust in the Lord and everything will be alright.

Then I got transferred to another part of my mission to a place that was hot, flat, and really small and everyone spoke Spanish. And I was like, "Why am I here?" I can't teach these people because I'm not used to speaking this language anymore. I can't contact because the area is so small, I don't know how to work here. But there's always a purpose. We're all in a place in our lives for a reason. I found some amazing people who will hopefully got baptized this weekend or the next.  This family lived in a tiny little room with their 3 kids. We were trying to get them married. That's a really big problem in Guatemala. No one is married. They just live together, have kids, and call it good. The hard thing is that they don't have papers to get married. We were trying to work with them to get their papers. We got the wife's and everything was good and then we were trying to get the husband's. We found out that it was going to be really hard. His brother stole his identity and got married with his name. So he had to prove that he didn't exist and then he had to prove that he existed again, it was really complicated. The lawyer we were working with didn't think it was possible, but we knew it could be done. The man didn't have any money to get this done. It was the last thing we needed to get it to go through. They needed about $55 and so we raised that money for them and paid the lawyer without them knowing it. But the lawyer said, "I don't know if I can take this because I don't know if this is even going to work." He sent the papers down to the Capitol about 10 hours away and it worked!

It's just amazing how the Lord blesses us when we are faithful in doing what He wants us to do. This family has been going to church for about 15 months and they will finally get to be baptized this weekend or the next.

I know that the Lord always has a wise purpose for us. After 1 1/2 months in that area I go t sick again. It was my last change. I wanted to work hard until the end but I couldn't. The very first day I was with my jr. companion that I was training I had a little bit of a cough so President told me to go to the doctor. So I went and I had pneumonia. Which was weird because I was in the hottest place in the mission. I was in the hospital for two days. When I left, I was able to only work a few hours a day and then I had to rest. But everything happens for a reason. God has everything planned out. We just have to trust him with all that He knows is right for us. Because through those hardships we become transformed into the person that He wants us to be. In Malachi 3:3 it says, "And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness." This scripture really impacted me especially when my mom sent me a story kind of about it. "The Refiner's Touch" There was a group of women in a Bible study on the book of Malachi.  As they were studying chapter three they came across verse three which says, "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." This verse puzzled the women and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out about the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible study. That week the woman called up a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest in silver beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that, in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest so as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot - then she thought again about the verse, that He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver. She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. For if the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?"  He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's the easy part -- when I see my image reflected in it."

The Lord has us in that fire until he sees His image in us. We may not be perfect or be finished in being refined but if we always trust in what the Lord has in store for us, we will be alright.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual i the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope of you is steadfast..." So not only does the Lord comfort us during our times of trouble, but he expects us to do the same for others.

I want to thank everyone who helped and supported me with prayers while I was out there. It really helped me a lot. Just try to always make sure that your are trying to serve each other, help everyone that you can and be excellent to each other.

I want to share one last scripture that my mission president shared with us on our last night. Alma 26: 30 "And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some." I didn't have much success on my mission in some people's eyes, but I know I had the joy that this scriptures talks about. My greatest convert was definitely ME. I know that the sciptures are true. It doesn't matter how hard our life is, as long as we do what we are supposed to do, He will always make up the rest and give us joy when it's all over.

I just want to finish by bearing my testimony, first in Spanish…Yo se que por medio de obedecer los mandamientos realmente podemos saber la voluntad de Dios para nosotros. Yo se que Tomas S. Monson es un profeta de Dios y que el recibe revelacion y se que el realmente habla con Dios, cara a cara. Y tambien se que hoy dia tenemos la palabra de Dios por medio de el.

 I would also like to bare my testimony in the other language I learned, called Q’eqchi’.  Ninnaw naq li Jesukristo a’an li Ralal li Yios. A’an kikam chiru li krus choq’ qe.  Ut xb’aan lix mayej li kixb’aanu chaq, naru toosutq’iiq rik’in li Yos chirix li yu’am ha’in. A’an aj Tojol Rix li Ruuchich’och’. A’an li Qas. Nannaw naq laj Jose Smith kiril li ru li Yos ut xb’aan a’an li Iklees a’in kik’ojob’aman chaq. Ninnaw naq Lix Iklees li Jesukristo reheb’ laj Santil Paab’anel sa’ Roso’jikeb’ li Kutan a’an lix iklees li Jesukristo, ut maajun chik natawman sa’ xb’een li ruuchich’och’.
 I leave these things with you sa’ xk’ab’a’ li Jesukristo, nuestro Salvador. Jo’kan taxaq. Amen.

Bishop Brent Estes: Jordan chose a scripture for his mission plaque before he left on his mission. Looking back at it now, I think he was rather inspired and prophetic as it describes his mission quiet accurately. Doctrine and Covenants 121: 6-7 "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all they foes."  Just as this scripture is engraved on this plaque, you can tell that Jordan's testimony is engraved on his soul. I want to thank Jordan on behalf of the ward for the service he gave to our brothers and sisters in Guatemala. We did pray for him and were mindful of him. And we are thankful that he is back with us again. Thank you Jordan. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Airport Reunion Pictures - 2/16/12

All of us anxiously awaiting for the plane to arrive!

There they are! All our missionaries finally home!!!
Mom running with outstretched arms to get the first hug from her boy!!!!
Moms and Sons hugging for the first time in two years.
From left to right: Collette McPhee, Leslie Smith, Sheila Dixon

Brothers reunited! Jake and Jordan
Allison was so very excited to welcome home her big brother. This hug was worth it!
Grandma and Grandpa couldn't be more proud or happy to see their beloved grandson again!

Elder Smith with about half of his little cousins whom he adores.


President and Hermana Torres surprised all the missionaries by coming to the airport to welcome them home. It was such a treat for them. They all broke down when they saw their beloved mission president and mission mom. 
Elders Jordan Smith, Evan Fast, Corbin McPhee, Travis Dixon,
Hermana Torres, President Torres, Matt Lusty, Jared Fadel, and Jared Winkel

He's really REAL and really home!
It's the best to be a complete family again!!

 He came home proudly looking like a pure Polochic Missionary.
 I'm Back!

By: Leslie Smith (Mom)
 Thank you for sharing in our excitement and welcoming our missionary back home! It was extra special to share this moment with so many other missionary families whom we have gotten to know over the past two years. You have all been such a blessing in our lives. Everyone said that welcoming home a missionary is better than you can ever imagine...well I imagined pretty awesome things, but the feelings that washed over me as I saw my boy for the first time in two years cannot be put into words. I have such a deep gratitude and love to my Heavenly Father for protecting him and guiding him and helping him complete this amazing two year journey. What a blessing it has been for Jordan and our entire family. More pictures will be posted here soon of him at home and of his mission report homecoming.  I will also post Elder Smith's homecoming talk on here as soon as I transcribe it. If you would like to see a complete album of all the mission homecoming activities, please check my facebook photos as I will be updating them all there.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Guatemala is not only a part of my ancestry but it’s also a part of my heart and I will love it forever.

Welp, it looks like today is the last time I will be emailing home as a really hadn’t hit me that I was going home until right now. So I have been able to sleep, but I probably won’t be able to sleep tonight. It is just weird. Yeah I still get lung pains every once in awhile, but it really isn’t that bad any more. I am about at 80% right now I’d say. And once I am home, I will either be 100% or worse. Depending on if the weather wants to kill me. If not, then the Lord will bless me and I will be just fine. Ha I will be fine for travel Mom, it’s not like I'm going to be walking home! Haha.

I won’t believe that Allison is grown up until I see it. Pretty sure it isn’t possible though. Jake, I can maybe comprehend it, maybe. But I will probably freak out for how big they are!

Well it is kind of a weird time to be coming home. Having a baptism so close and all. But really, I did all that the Lord had for me to do. He has it all planned out, and as long as we are willing to show forth some effort on our part, all will be done according to how He wants it to be done. And I know that Fam. Can Tun will be baptized in these next 2 weeks. All that is left is for them to go to the Muni (city hall, kind of) to take out his papers and then wait a week! Everything worked out miraculously! But I feel that I am ready, and that I am supposed to go home at this time. I knew ever since I started getting sick, I knew that the date the Lord gave me to work till would be the date I go home, and that everything else would happen according to His will....if that made any sense. But I know all is well, and that it is time...

Guatland is...I really don’t know how to fully describe what it means to me. It has always been part of my heritage, but now I feel that it is actually part of me. It is kind of like football. After working so hard and leaving sweat and blood out on the field, that field becomes linked to you in a very special way. Guatemala is not only a part of my ancestry but it’s also a part of my heart and I will love it forever. Even though I spent super hard times here, I loved it here and will carry the experiences I learned throughout the rest of my life.

Serving these people was hard. Not gonna lie. Before my mission I thought, Hmm, Guatemala, everyone wants to be baptized down there probably! However, it was definitely not the case. But the few chosen ones that I was able to teach really touched me and I will never forget them. Even those that didnt accept me and those who outright rejected me, I will always wish them the best and continually pray that they will find the truth one day. I love the people here and I have grown so much by seeing them live with so little, and yet be happy. I have truly learned what it is to be happy.

I have learned way too many things from my trials, I will talk about it more in my homecoming talk, but for now I will just say that I definitely learned how to trust in the Lord and that I don’t need anything in my life as long as I have Him by my side.

I just want to apply all the things that I learned out here to be able to continue to progress and really rely on the Lord, because I don’t think He is quite done molding me yet.

My last testimony as a missionary is simple. I know that Jesus is the Christ and the He lives. I know that Joseph Smith saw Him at the right hand of the Father on a spring morning of 1820. I know that the apostles and prophets of today still converse with our Lord and Savior to give counsel to all of us here on the earth. I know that God will lift us up in any moment of trial if we just remember Him, and put Him first. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only true church upon the face of the earth.

This mission experience has changed my life. There are no other words to describe it. I have gone through my wilderness as you said mom. And now it is time to continue on with what the Lord has planned out for me.

I love you all. See you in a couple days.
Stay Strong
Keep the Faith
Love, Elder Jordan Smith.....

Monday, February 6, 2012

All is going well, slow but well

I am doing great mamacita. Still a little sick, and with lung pains, but doing great.

This week was a pretty lame week. Nothing has really progressed with the Fam. Can Tun. The lawyer hasn’t been at his office when they go by, and things have lengthed that we didnt think were going to lengthen. They will get baptized in upcoming months, but I don’t think it will happen when I am here. And we dropped Adolfo this week. He just isn’t progressing, and doesn’t really want to progress. He just wants to do things his own way instead of trying to accept the will of the Lord in his life. Maybe one he will be baptized, because he just knows too much to deny it, but we aren’t teaching him anymore. So that was kind of a bummer. And we FINALLY got some references, but we haven’t been able to find them ever. Soooo the work is just slowly rolling along.

That is super sick that I will be able to defer until the Fall at BYU. It will definitely help me get back into real life again and to be able to get a job and all that stuff. Yeah, I think I am gonna wanna live in Orem instead of Provo. It would be easier I think since there are a little bit more job opportunities there and what not. But we shall see in a couple weeks, then I will figure that all out...if you could keep your eyes out for me??

That's sweet that we can go to almost all the Homecomings for my group. It is going to be crazy, scrambling around to all those, but it will be super fun. And yeah, Tell Bronson’s mom that I will totally go to the airport to welcome home Elder Bronson in March!

Ha that sounds like a pretty fun first weekend home. I think on the way home from the airport I want to eat at somewhere American! Real Steak or even In N Out. I don’t really care that much. But I’d say Texas Roadhouse or In N Out. Either one. What foods do I want when I get home? Anything that isn’t oily. I don’t really want to eat anything that is made with oil or butter anymore. That is all I have eaten here. So anything just fresh and tasty..... (hmmmm, because In N Out is so fresh and their menu selections are not oily?)

Right when we walked outside the house this morning there was a newspaper with Eli Manning holding up the Super bowl Trophy with the score and everything. But I have no idea how it all went down, so I can’t wait to see it.

As long as Fam Can Tun gets baptized one day, I will be happy, cuz it is really coming down to the wire, but I know that they will be part of the church one day. They even have Family Home Evening and know their way around the Book of Mormon pretty well. They are practically members, they just haven’t gotten wet yet. But one day.

Oh freak, my cousins are little punks, and really hilarious. Hahaha its gonna be fun messin around with all those little kids when I get back...I can’t wait!

All is going well, slow but well. At least our branch mission leader left with us once this last week, for one hour. I think that is the first time my entire mission!!!!!! WHOO!!!!

Well super crazy that next week will be the last email that I will be sending home from Guatland. It still doesn’t seem like this is all coming to an end. Well I love you guys, have a great week. See ya in 10 days! Love you lots!

Stay Strong.
Keep the Faith.
Love Elder Jordan Smith

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Homecoming Information

We would like to extend an invitation to all who have been following Elder Smith's blog (whether we know you or not) to come listen to him report on his mission at our Sacrament Meeting. It will be on Sunday, February 19th at 9:00am 2790 North Center Street in Lehi UT.

We are eagerly preparing for his return here at home. It's almost like getting ready to welcome a new baby into our house, but better!! Cleaning, organizing, washing, buying a few new things, planning's all going by really fast now and we can hardly stand it!

12 more days until I get to hug my son again after two very long years. I may never let go. We hope you'll join us as we celebrate his return from serving the people of Guatemala, our Heavenly Father, and our Savior Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Lord works with each one of us and molds us into the person we should be

Sup poopy pants! Haha
It has been going pretty good this week. My health is improving, I think. Not quite 100% yet, but I am getting there....I just hope that the cold at home doesn’t do me in when I get there. I’m done with all my prescriptions for now. I am just left with some nasal spray that I will be spraying up my nostrils for a month after I am home!

Well I am pretty sure the authorization went through for Fam. Can Tun. We called the lawyer, with our borrowed phone that we no longer have and he told us that Ernesto just needed to go in and sign something and than after, it is just the wait. So hopefully it all works out in time. I really don’t know how long it is going to take after being signed, but it better be this week. If not.....the next. But be praying extra hard. We have already seen the miracle that God gave us with that paper working out well from the Capital, so we shall see how all that goes these next few days...

Adolfo has kind of retrogressed a little this week. We had zone conference this week and since we didnt think that taking a few extra aspirins every now and then was against the Word of Wisdom, we asked President and we were right. So we then told that to Adolfo and that plus other things he got mad because we insisted him to be baptized. He had told us that that was the only thing that stopped him from being baptized. So why not get baptized right? But then he came up with a bunch of random things that really aren't that important....But we think there could be something wrong with him, like mentally. He is 52 and lives alone, and randomly lies, thinking that those lies are truth, it's weird. But we are still trying to help him the best we can. But it is hard sometimes because he says he doesn’t like it when we invite him to do something and he accepts and then doesn’t do it, that we get sad, and push him harder to do it. We told him that that is our job, but he doesn’t understand. He still has a fecha, but if he doesn’t start showing some initiative we might be forced to drop him. We will see what happens this next week.

That blows my mind that both of those little wieners are going to the same date dance. Allison isn’t even supposed to like boys yet!! Neither Jake nor Allison were even dating when I left. Super WEIRD!!! That will take a little bit to get used too.

Ha it is crazy that you guys know and have all those guys from my mission over at the house so much.

Hmm I will have to think about rooming in that house for Fall with Caleb and Tanner. I will let them know when I get home I think, so that I can talk around with more guys from the mish, and work it all out. Not too sure what I wanna do yet. But it sounds like it would be fun, especially with that many people living in the same house.

Well, let’s see…. Our house is really small, but I like it. It is just a small room with a weird wooden divider in the middle. I have pictures, but it will just be easier to show you when I get home. And we had the worst beds ever!!!! It took hours for us to fall asleep on those stupid things! But we just got new beds on Friday and they are freakin heaven!!! I fall asleep so fast!! It is so great!! And it is not THAT hot. It’s hot, but it isn’t as hot as how it was last time I was in Petén. The coldest it gets is like 80 degrees and goes up to like 90 in the day time. So it's not that bad.

My mission has flown by for sure for me. It really doesn’t feel that my time is almost up here in Guatland. But I am ready. I have worked hard, and will continue to work as hard as my health allows until the end, but it is time for me to move on with the other things in my life and keep on the line of eternal progression ya know?

The mission truly has changed my life. I have noticed how I was in the past and am grateful to the Lord for allowing me to change some things that were bad and keep the things that were good. I pray to be able to always be able to keep improving and being able to apply the many things that I have learned out here.

Yeah, Jake is a great kid, and he is definitely a better kid than I was before the mission. So I know that he will be a great missionary. The Lord has a plan for each one of us, even if it is all in different ways. He works with each one of us and molds us into the person we should be.

Well it is nuts that my time here is wrapping up, but it's not over till it's over right?! I will see you soon! Well keep praying that our baptisms work out!!! Have a great week! See you guys soon!!
Stay Strong.
Keep the Faith.
Love Elder Jordan Smith

Monday, January 23, 2012

It would be soooo amazing to finish off my mission with 5 baptisms!

Yeah we have been able to work a little more this week. It has been good. Sometimes, I felt crappy, but it wasn’t too bad! And we got some super good news for Fam. Can Tun. The papers came back from the cap and it came out in favor of Ernesto (the dad)!!! Now we are just waiting, for another week, for that paper to get authorized, which shouldn’t bring about any problems....and then they can get married!!! We put their fecha again for the 4th, the week before Adolfo's baptism!! It would be soooo amazing to finish off my mission with 5 baptisms!!

Yeah, that is fine if we sing that song at the house instead of at my homecoming, it will be a little weird, but it’s all good. Oh and when I get home, I am definitely going to be listening to lots of Spanish music, so prepare!!!

Well for BYU Summer term classes, I honestly don’t know....I really just kinda wanna work and save up a little bit before I head to college. Just get settled down a little bit, and figure out what I wanna do and what not. I think I just wanna start in the Fall. If that isn’t possible, then I want to test out of a bunch of Spanish classes and then just take an English class. Can you find out for me?

As far as the Super Bowl goes, I will probably end up finding out anyways, especially when I head back to the states, everyone will be jabbering about it in the airport and what not, so I guess you can tell me how the game ends up. And the 9ers aren’t in it, which really bummed me out, so it’s not super important to me.....Elder Davis however, is a giants fan, he will be happy haha.

That’s good that you guys are really ''feelin it'' in primary. It must be rough sometimes, but you gotta magnify that calling, no matter what it is right? We are always called to be in places for a reason, even if that reason is so small we don’t even notice it

Yeah it is starting to feel really surreal that I am coming home. It’s weird. But good. But at least we are seeing success even though we can’t work like normal.

Well there isn’t too much news this week on this end. But our baptisms are looking more seguros and we are trying to work as much as possible. My last 2 weeks, or at least my last week we will be able to work as hard as usual.
I love you all and hope you have a great week!!
Keep the Faith
Stay Strong
Elder Jordan Smith

Monday, January 16, 2012

Thanks for all the support back home and all the prayers

I am doing alright! I am feeling a little better than I have been lately. I think I should be good to go in about 2 more weeks.....hopefully.....because we are only really able to work about 3 hours a day. Thanks for all the support back home and all the prayers. I am really feeling the effect of them and the greatness of our Father in Heaven for always having a listening ear.

Things are going great with Elder Asdel! It’s great having him as a companion! Its funny, he talks like Ocho. We get along really well.

We finally got the money to be able to pay the lawyer for Familia Can Tun. So we are going to call him tonight to be able to set up a little meeting with him and pay him. After that it takes about 10 days for that paper to come. So hopefully in 2 more weeks they will be able to be baptized.

And we made great progress with Adolfo as well!! He finally told us what really held him back from being baptized. He said he didn’t feel worthy. We didn’t get out of him why at first but the next visit we read Alma's Conversion in Alma ch. 36 and we talked about repentance. He opened up and told us he is addicted to that even possible?? Ha I don’t know, it really isn’t a big deal, and he said that sometimes he takes more than he is supposed to when he needs it. But like it’s not that strong of an addiction (if you can call it that) at all. But to help him feel better about being baptized we set some goals with him, including a fecha!!! He accepted to be baptized on Feb. 11th! My last Saturday here in the mission! I really hope all works out and that he feels ready to be baptized for that date!

Those are really the only updates for this week....oh and that Elder Asdel almost lit the house on fire hahaha. That’s funny that you all played Phase 10, we played that this last Monday! In Polochik we played that lots too with Fast. Ha Mom! Funny story about how Dad owned Fast after they all went upstairs to kill the ''bad guys''!! Haha!

WHOA those are sweet sports updates! That is nuts that the Packers lost, and at home too!! That is freakin cool about the 49ers though. That would be soo sweet if they won the super bowl. On my last Monday, you can’t tell me the results of the super bowl, I just wanna watch it without knowing the result once I get home....ok? Just let me know the teams, when it gets down to the end...And the Jazz would lose to the Lakers, especially when my comp is from LA haha.

Thanks for always praying for me and helping me out! And of course for the updates! Well I hope you guys have a great week! I love you all!

Stay Strong.
Keep the Faith.
Love Elder Jordan Smith

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mission Wide Christmas Service Projects 2011

This is a little bit out of order, but I had to include this on Jordan's mission blog because this is so much what a mission is all about.....losing oneself in the service of others, enriching the lives of those less fortunate with the gospel and with necessities, and most importantly remembering the Savior's life and example. This past Christmas, The Guatemala City North Missionaries were able to be a part of 4 different and significant service projects. The following is an account of them in Sister Watt's words. We thank her for organizing this and for documenting it through words and pictures so that we could all feel a part of it thousands of miles away.

The 3 Assistants to the President
Christmas 2011 Review
Dear Family and Friends,
I am going to take the opportunity today to let you all know what Christmas service projects we were able to do because of all of the things that were given to us by you. THANK YOU ALL for everything you did. Every service was wonderful, not only for the people who received the help but also for the missionaries. Thank you for being patient with me in getting this letter back to you. Ed and I were only home 8 days in the month of December and most of those days were spent getting things organized for the service projects. This week we have spent gathering new missionaries from the MTC here in Guatemala – (they are WONDERFUL!) and saying good bye to 19 of our missionaries who have completed their missions – a PAINFUL experience for me! I would like to have every missionary stay here with us until we go home, welcoming all of the new ones that we can get. But I think that I would rather ask President Monson for extensions for our missionaries than ask their Mothers. I would not like to ask President Monson though so you can guess how much I would NOT like to ask the Mothers! Anyway, it is busy – as always – here in the Mission and I do appreciate your patience.

Before I get into the specifics of the service projects, let me tell you that we had 76 missionaries who did not receive any gift from home this year. However, we were able to put together something for each one of them. Each of them received A LOT of candy, granola bars, etc., razor, toothbrush and toothpaste, socks, jerky, a tie for the Elders and a little hair thing for the Hermanas. They were all thrilled! I know that some of the parents of our missionaries also sent an extra package for the companion of their son or daughter. Thank you for thinking of them. It is difficult to not have anything when your companion does. We have one Elder who has NEVER received a gift before for ANY reason so thank you for making this possible for all of them.

Our goal this year for the service projects was to do something that would help the missionaries connect with the people and the communities that they live in. We wanted to find some service activities that would allow them the opportunity to work with “people” not “dirt.” (Although we also think that “dirt” service projects are important too!) Heavenly Father truly directed us to find a service project for each area. Each project was different, but I really cannot choose one that I felt was more significant than another. The rule for each of the projects was to forget about themselves and bless someone else. Every missionary did this.

Our first project was in San Jeronimo in the Baja Verapaz Valley at an orphanage with 93 children. The children range in age from 1 year old to 18. We started together by singing Christmas songs, with Elder Nelson accompanying us on the little piano keyboard. We sang most of the songs in Spanish and then sang a few (At the suggestion of one of our Latino Elders) in English. We then played the game Fruit Basket with the missionaries and the children. It did not take long for the smiling and the squealing to begin! After the group activity we broke into smaller groups so that the missionaries could get to know the children on a more personal basis because they were responsible to choose the gifts for the children they were interacting with. The bags with the little cars, the teddy bears, stuffed rabbits and other stuffed animals, the action figures and army guys, the yoyos, the bugs and dinosaurs, the dolls, the journals and jacks, balls, EVERYTHING were just so much appreciated and loved! We had asked the people at the orphanage what the children needed or what we might do to help them and they told us that all of the children needed socks. We put together bags that had socks, a toothbrush; a Christmas pencil, (thanks Misty!), fruit snacks and candy in them and then the missionaries choose something that the child they had gotten to know would like. We were able to buy some beautiful pictures of the Savior from the Distribution Center and so each child received one of those too. We gave everyone their gifts, sang a song and then left. One little guy said that he had NEVER had his own toothbrush. I can still see the happy little faces of the children, young and old, but they did not outshine the happy faces of our missionaries. They were magnificent!

Our second project was in Chulac in the Polochic Valley. The Polochic does not have an orphanage or a retirement home, but they have significantly other needs. This is the area where the people still cook on open pit fires. Many of the people that live here have burns and infections from cuts and more serious wounds. The very first time Ed and I traveled to meet our missionaries in July, a young woman stopped us and told us the she was expecting a baby, but that she was sick and could not get the medicine. The medicine was not in the Polochic Valley. In November we saw a little 4 year old downs syndrome girl with a serious burn on her neck. All that the family had to treat it with was raw egg. If the medicine can be found in the Polochic it is VERY expensive for the people there. We found out that it is also very expensive here in the Capitol. We thought that the best service project for the missionaries in the Polochic to participate in was to help put together simple first aid kits. We found that the Church had some supplies of donated medical things that we needed that was just sitting in an unfinished building in Senahu so we were able to get some of those supplies. With other money that was donated by several of you we were able to buy supplies to make 55 big first aid kits (2 per missionary) for the missionaries to take to the Branch Presidents or other responsible leader in the Branch, 220 (8 per missionary) medium kits for the missionaries to give to people that they were aware of that might need the kits and then 100 (4 per missionary) small kits with band aides, etc. The big kits contained soap, gauze, several different kinds and sizes of band aides, tape, Antibiotic cream for infection, burn cream, anti-fungal cream, Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, a thermometer, plastic gloves, and ace wraps. We also put a 5 x 7 picture of the Savior in each kit. The missionaries were given instructions about the supplies that they were giving to others so that they could explain and help where needed. I just got a picture this week of a family that Hermana Westenskow gave her first aid kit to. It was a little family of a Mother, Father and four little children. Thank you to all who donated toward this project, I think it will bless the lives of families living in the Polochic.

The third project that we were able to participate in was with all of the Elders and Hermanas in the Capitol. We had about 100 missionaries participate in this activity. We took the items that you gave us and every missionary thought of a family, a member, or investigator that did not have anything for Christmas or that needed something a little more. They each wrote their testimony and message on a card and then chose items specifically for the people they were thinking of. It was so fun to watch them carefully select the item(s) that they thought would be just right for someone else. We had a picture of the Savior, candy, etc. for them to add to the bags and then that night, December 23rd, (Joseph Smith’s birthday); they each delivered their gift to their chosen person or family. I have heard back from several of the missionaries and besides the phone call from home, this was their favorite part of the Christmas season this year. Our missionaries serve and pray and work with the people who live here and so the gift that they were able to give was not only given with your love but with theirs as well. Thank you.

The fourth project was a service project in San Benito, Petén. (This is Elder Smith's current area of assignment.) We had this activity on December 27th because of all of the meetings, Christmas Conferences and trainings held in December. We could not get to all of the places before Christmas. However, the missionaries were good sports about this and I thought that it just helped the season last a little bit longer. In Petén we were able to go to a Rest Home that houses about 90 people, around 70 men and 20 women. It is run completely by volunteers so you can guess that they need a little help. When asked what they might need, they told us that they needed food – just basic food. We were able to buy eggs, flour, beans, rice and powdered milk for them. When we got to the Home the missionaries helped us put together bags with socks, Chap Stick, razors, some smaller pictures of the Savior and some candy in each one. The missionaries then made sure that each person got a bag. The best part though was the time we each were able to spend with the residents there. They were wonderful. Some of our Q’eqchi speaking missionaries found a couple of people who spoke Q’eqchi and spent some time with them. We even met a couple who had just gotten married and they were both in their 90s. Before we left, we lined up in the hallway every other one facing opposite of each other so that we could see each person as we sang some Christmas hymns to them. It was wonderful and the Spirit was so strong. After we finished singing all of the little residents clapped. Our 4 Q’eqchi speaking Elders sang a Christmas song to our two new Q’eqchi friends. I loved seeing each missionary spending one on one time with each resident and I will never forget the sight of one of our missionaries holding the hand and talking to an older man who was in a wheelchair and was unable to move or speak. Thank you for helping to make this possible.

With all of these activities and all of the effort and money that each of you went to, I keep thinking about the part of the baptismal covenant which tells us that part of the covenant is to “bear one another’s burdens.” This you truly did this Christmas season. Not only did you help the people of Guatemala and our missionaries but you helped ALL of us be a little less homesick as we found ourselves lost in the gift of thinking about someone else. Thank you.

Well, this is long enough – SORRY!! I cannot express enough thanks for all that you have done in English or Spanish! Thank you, each one, for your kindness and generosity and once again, to those of you who are parents of our missionaries, Ed and I LOVE THEM DEARLY!!! We will forever be blessed because we have been privileged to know and serve with them. We hope that you have a wonderful, blessed New Year!
Love you, Hermana Watts

For more pictures, please click on the slideshow on the right sidebar titled "Christmas Service Projects 2011."