Sunday, February 19, 2012
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.
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.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
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.
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.
Keep the Faith
Monday, February 6, 2012
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!
Keep the Faith.
Love Elder Jordan Smith
Saturday, February 4, 2012
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 parties....it'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
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!!
Keep the Faith.
Love Elder Jordan Smith
Monday, January 23, 2012
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
Elder Jordan Smith
Monday, January 16, 2012
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 aspirin....is 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!
Keep the Faith.
Love Elder Jordan Smith
Thursday, January 12, 2012
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."