"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, December 27, 2010

Branch activity and phone call highlights

Well hey there!!
It was so great talking to you guys! Too bad we couldn’t talk for a little bit longer, but it’s all good! I’m not really sure what to write since I just told you everything, but I will do my best I guess.

Well New Year's is coming up this week too right? I hope you all have a great New Years. Make sure do, ok? And tell me about all the family activities, BCS Bowl games, and the Vegas stuff.

I love all of you so much and I am ready to keep on truckin' in the work of the Lord out here in what we missionaries call The Land of the Kawachines, also known as The CHIK. Hopefully we find some success. We have been working super hard. We had 200 contacts this past week! But we really only have one possibility to be baptized, but he is never really home. So we shall see what happens. We have actually never really taught him! So keep praying that we might know where to go to be able to find the people that are willing to accept us and are willing to go to church.

I'm starting the Book of Mormon again, using the manual you sent me for Christmas. So it will most likely take me a while to finish it, but it will be just great! I am also trying to focus more on this language so maybe I can start teaching a little bit more. I can teach a tiny bit of the Restoration, but that’s about it. But I’m improving!

The division I had with Elder Norton was way fun! We didn’t eat lunch until 4 in the afternoon! We hiked way up to a place called Las Quebradas (the Brokens) and we found some pretty cool people up there but I don’t know if they will ever come to church. We are going back up there this Thursday so we will see how it goes!

Well I really don’t think I have noticed a change in me, really. I guess you will have to see what you think when I get home, because I feel the same. But being with only men for 2 years and being culturally sheltered and spiritually enlightened probably has changed me, but I haven’t really noticed any of it so far...

The following pictures are from the Branch Activity we had on Christmas Eve:

We had Chicken Caldo for our Christmas Eve dinner with VERY FRESH CHICKEN!
It's a Guatemalan custom to line the streets and floors with pine needles for Christmas.
Well that about wraps it all up for this week I think. Hopefully I have some more stories for you all! I love you and hope that you have a great week and a happy new year!!
Stay Strong
Keep the Faith
Love Elder Jordan Smith

Phone call highlights:
--He screamed like a little girl at the beginning of our conversation because a bat flew in his face!
--He carried on a full conversation in perfect Spanish with his Grandma Angie.
--He bore his testimony to us in Q'eqchi. It sounded amazingly hard, but really cool.
--He told Allison that he doesn't shower very often because the mornings are really cold and their shower is outside with freezing water!
--He said that carrying their laundry down for a mile isn't that bad, but bringing it back up is really hard. So he has learned to pack it up and carry it on his head like everyone else does there! I hope he'll send a picture of that soon!
--He had to talk to us outside to get better phone reception and he told us there was a Q'eqchi man staring at him very curiously as he watched Jordan speaking to us in English.
--He made a grilled cheese sandwich for his Christmas dinner :(
--There are about 20 different churches in his area. This makes it hard to find people that will listen to their message because they are either a Pastor in one of these churches or are related to one of them and feel obligated to support him. People also just go to the nearest church to where they live. The members of the Santo Domingo Branch are very few in numbers but are very faithful and travel a long way to get to church.
--He told us how hard the work is, how hard the hiking is physically, how little they have, but not in a complaining way....just stated matter of factly. He ended each of these sentences with "But it's all good!"
--He said that he probably doesn't want us to go pick him up when his mission is done. He said it would be so amazing to have the chance to have the plane ride home with his whole MTC/CCM group and get to walk down the airport escalator with them. (They are mostly all from Utah). He loves this group of elders so much. He said that we can go to Guatemala anytime (and he said he plans to go back often), but would love to have this last time all together with his best mission buddies!
--We asked him if he had any questions for us. He said, "Tell me what it's like over there in the U.S.? I hear you guys have carpet! I have heard that when you take a shower, you have hot water! I have heard that you can go to a store in a car and buy whatever you want and put it all in a thing called a refrigerator!" Poor kid!
--We ended our phone call by kneeling all together as a family and asking Jordan via speaker phone to offer our family prayer. He asked if he could do it in Spanish because he wasn't sure if he could remember how to do it in English. It was one of the most amazing prayers I (Mom) have ever heard! He talked to our Heavenly Father in such a way that is indescribable. Even those that couldn't understand his words were touched by the spirit that came over us as we knelt together. Then it was time for us to say goodbye. One by one we all broke down in tears as we said goodbye to our beloved missionary. What a wonderful Christmas gift to have that time to hear his voice and feel of his spirit. We'll talk again in 5 more months! Can't wait!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Zone Conference 2010

Elder Smith with a few mission buddies at the recent Coban/Polochic Christmas Zone Conference held Dec 16th.
(Above) Elder Jordan Smith with: Elder Griffin Schone, St. George Utah
Elder Jace Norton, Leawood Kansas
Elder Jared Fadel, Bountiful Utah (both went out into the field on the same day)
With Elder Aaron Howard, Bountiful Utah (Current companions and good friends!)
Hello There!
Ok, well for changes, we already know them....No one in the Zone of Polochic has a change! I don’t know if Santo Domingo will be open for very much longer, but I will be there for at least 2 changes more since I am with Elder Howard again and he will have 6 months in this area after this change. So I guess we will find out! All I know is that I lost 10 pounds this last change!!! So I'm ok with being up here if that keeps happening. Hopefully I can start understanding the language a little bit more; it’s really kicking my butt! I will get it some day though, whether sooner or later, it will come...

The Christmas conference was pretty sweet. The food we ate at the conference and the day before in Coban was AMAZING! It made me sick when we got back up to our area though because I guess the quick change to eating good food was a shock for my body or something. It didn’t last that long though.
Also, right after lunch at the conference Hermana Torres let us use a copy of O Holy Night that she had brought. So right then and there we started busting out a sick acapella group singing it. It was super legit!
And then during the conference our district (pictured above) sung Away in a Manger - trilingual style! In English, Spanish, and Q'eqchi! So that was fun. I had a good time in Coban. Oh and at the end of our P day there we bought some EGG NOG and we totally just drank all of it! It was delicious, if I say so myself!

That is super sweet about BYU. We are going to be so freaking good with all those freshman just ballin it up!! Whoo! Sucks about Collie though. Hopefully he will be back for an amazing season next year. He can probably get some crazy good medical stuff done to help him with those concussions for the next season. Hopefully...

My knee is doing really well actually. I have been really blessed. The Lord just takes the pain away so that I can stomp up these crazy mountains. I am very grateful for it.

I finished D&C for the second since being out here yesterday. Section 138 has a lot more amazing revelations than I had previously thought or known. Anyways, thought I would just let you know. I haven’t really opened any of my Christmas presents, besides the blue package. Believe it or not! So, I will tell you thanks in advance!!

So today for P day we played some ultimate frisbee. Just a few words on that: 1. I can’t catch a frisbee. 2. I am way out of shape. Ha yep that’s it. It was fun to do something fun like that for a change. But that is about all that has happened since last time. We didn’t have a Christmas program for church. We didn’t even sing any Christmas songs for the hymns! Sad! There is going to be an activity on the 24th though since everyone in Latin America celebrates things a day early. But that’s about it.

Well I wish I had more to tell you, but it's only been a few days since I emailed last. So I'm sorry this is short. But hey!!!!! We get to talk on Saturday! Crazy right!? Well I love you all and I wish you a Merry Christmas, a Chaab'il Ralankin and a Feliz Navidad!
Keep the Faith
Stay Strong
Love Elder Jordan Smith

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

River Crab Caldo


I honestly don’t know what is going down for Christmas because our phone doesn’t work. It’s pretty much just a shelf decoration right now. Good one about me buying a calling card here, Ha Ha! I'm in Polochic remember? We will talk on Christmas day pretty sure but most likely the night. I really don’t know, but we still have a little bit of time to figure it all out. I will let you know.

That is super sweet about everyone’s mission calls! Tell them all good luck!

Tell Jake this, “The mohawk is super legit!” Sorry to you Mom and Dad, but you have gotta be down with something so random and kind of stupid, but funny at the same time. Ha ha!

I really don’t know what we are doing for Christmas here yet. I don’t know if it would be a good idea to sing a song in English when people don’t even understand Spanish...but we shall see I guess...

What do the people do here for a living? Well, they farm and they make tortillas and they sell chips and gum, and fake ice cream (which is delicious when you can’t really remember what real ice cream tastes like!) Everyone lives in a house made out of sticks and bamboo and things of that nature!

We might go to Rio Dulce next change as a zone. That would be super sweet!

So right now I'm in Cobán! Its soooo nice here! It’s like the capital, but cleaner, less dangerous, and nicer. The weather is perfect too. Nice and cool. It’s super amazing!!! We are here because we have Christmas Conference tomorrow, which you probably already know about...But I am super excited for it! We are going to eat real food!!!! YES!!!!!!!! Now that is what I’m talking about!

So this last week we ate River Crab Caldo (River Crab Soup). However, the whole crab was in the soup so I broke that sucker open and I ate everything inside of it. EVERYTHING!! It was pretty good. The brain and eye sockets were just kind of fishy tasting and the rest was almost as good as regular crab. So it wasn’t too bad at all!!! I can just see Nicole gagging as she is reading this little story!

I wish I could tell you about investigators we have, but we really don’t have any, so keep on praying for us please!!!!

I am out of time or else I would write you all a little bit longer, but I love you and I hope you all have an amazing week and some good times before Christmas comes in a few short days when I can speak to you all in my Q'eqSpanglish!!
I love you all!
Stay Strong
Keep the Faith
Love, Elder Jordan Smith

Friday, December 10, 2010

New Pictures!

We received the above picture of Elder Smith's Polochic District from Elder Turek's mom. What a great group of Elders!
Top Row: Elders Larsen, Hexem, Smith, Lusty, Gonzalez, Norton. Bottom Row: Elders Turek and Howard.
We are so excited for his wonderful new group of energetic and wonderful friends and companions.

In addition, we received two discs full of new pictures from Elder Smith dating clear back from April through November. Check out "La Atlantida 2" for a whole new slideshow located on the right of the blog. Also there are 100 new photos in the already posted "Sayaxche" slideshow. Enjoy! Lots of pictures of other elders too!

Monday, December 6, 2010

We got our new beds!

Whats up Home Dogs!!??
Yeah, time has been flying by! Its crazy! This change is almost over and I can't speak a lick of Q'eqchi'!!! Well, that's a lie I guess. I can give my testimony and I can contact people, kind of. But I'm getting better! It's pretty hard stuff. But yes, the time is just running away!! I hit 10 months this week! It blows my mind! It feels like yesterday that I was in the MTC and CCM! Super crazy!
Yes, it is a huge blessing in our lives to have the gospel from our youth. It just amazed me that one of your little sunbeam kids in church knows how prophets worked in the Old Testament and in the Latter Days, yet adult members, or even pastors from other churches don't understand or refuse to understand that vital part of the Gospel. We are truly blessed to be able to have so much knowledge of the workings of our Father in Heaven!
All I can say about the language is this, it is REALLY HARD!!! Its really interesting though as well. We were all talking with Elder Larsen the other day and he said he was reading the bible and he saw a translation word in the footnotes from the Hebrew bible. I can't remember what the word was but he said that the Hebrew word is exactly the same as the Q'eqchi word. The same meaning and everything, only a slight pronunciation difference. It just gives me a further testimony of the Book of Mormon! That somehow native people in the Americas speak a language really similar to that of ancient Hebrew which was spoken on a different continent!
This language is really complicated and there aren't really any patterns that I can follow to be able to learn it like Spanish has. So it is really tough. But I will get it sooner or later, hopefully! I just have to keep studying super hard!
(Note from Mom: Just a few things I observed and loved about this picture: 1 - The face is such "typical Jordan." Cracks me up just looking at it. 2 - Wondering how he climbed up on this "stump." 3 - Zoom in to see the evidence of hard work all over his shoes! 4 - I think you can see the large white rectangle in the distance which is the church where he lives.)

So this past week not too much happened! We still haven't found too much success here. We are hoping and praying to find a good investigator soon. We have one pretty good investigator though, his name is Fransisco. He is 16 or 17 and his older brother is a member. We just have to teach him a little bit more to see what happens. He did go to church though! Which was super awesome! Our first investigator in church this whole change!!! So we will see how it goes with him. I think we will be able to baptize him. He is a super awesome kid.
We finally got our new beds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so happy. I sleep good now, well almost, but its sooooooo much better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We ate lunch at the amazing huge waterfall that I sent pictures of when we were working way up there one day. That was super legit!

We also were able to see the Christmas Devotional by the First presidency yesterday, IN ENGLISH! So that was super good. President Uchtdorf gave an amazing talk, like always, well so did President Eyring and President Monson, but his stood out to me. So we stayed the night over at Elder Turek and his comp's house because we watched it in their area.

Well I really wish I had super exciting news to tell you or some really cool stories, but nothing has really happened. We are just working hard trying to find the chosen ones. It is just really hard here. At least I have a super awesome comp, or I would probably be super depressed. But everything is going well and I am almost healthy, only a little cold, no biggie! I hope you all have a great week and I love you!
Stay Strong
Keep the Faith
Nekexinra [I love you (plural)]
Elder Jordan Smith

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sweet little voices

Well we always go down to La Tinta to email. It’s like 30 minutes in a truck down a mountain. We meet down here and have district meeting and then do all the P day things.I got my pink package and my scriptures today!!! Woo Hoo!!! Thanks!

This week we have had fun burning little moths and grasshoppers that think they can just fly/hop all up in our business! Ha!

I am so stoked to see Harry Potter when I get home. I’m glad that Nicole got to go with all you guys to see it! Sounds like a blast.

Ok, so here is my Thanksgiving for you. Studied until 11:00 and then we went up to an area called Actela, high up in the mountains. There we ate a can beans and some chips with some juice on the mountain side. Then we worked up there and walked all the way back down at night. And after we had arrived back at the church, we planned, and I ate top ramen (Laky) for dinner. It was Wonderful! Ha we wanted to kill every chicken, pig, turkey, or whatever creature we came across so that we could eat something....But no...It’s all good though. I guess that is just how it is when you live up in a jungle mountain!

Elder Larsen (Laj Kaxlan) is the man. He was in Santo Domingo for 9 months!!! So I hear his name a lot, but yeah I see him quite often. Today in fact. He is a way sweet missionary and just an all around cool guy!

So I wish I could tell you a whole bunch of amazing stories to you all this week, but not too much happened.

Last week we had a Family Home Evening with Rosalina, which was really neat. Afterwards she gave us a little thing of chicken! That’s a big sacrifice for these people. It’s hard enough to give us some beans and a tortilla. Because everything that we eat from these people is grown and harvested by them. They’re amazing! So while we were eating this chicken, I heard little voices in the other room of her small tin house. It was the few kids that live there singing primary songs! Elder Howard had given them a Primary Song Book in Kekchi and they were singing them. There is such a special spirit with that family.

This week, I was also able to finish Jesus the Christ. So that was super cool! That is about it for all of my fun news on this end! I wish I had more.

This week was really tiring though. These mountains are rough! I swear it’s like hauling on a stair master for like 8 hours straight! It's seriously like straight up or straight down a lot of the time! But it’s good! I will hopefully lose some of this gut I have here above my belt buckle.

Dad, dang that sucks so much about the BYU vs. Utah game! I am so sad. But it’s sweet that Heaps is the man! He is going to be so good when I get home! Well at least they were able to hit up a bowl game this year right? Hopefully they win that one and do better next season. If not, well they will be unstoppable when Heaps is a Senior!

I will be watching for that protein powder to get to me. But my diet isn’t too bad in protein, I eat so many beans!!! It's like 7 grams a can! But yeah I could use more of that good stuff!

Thanks for all you do for me Dad. You are definitely one my heroes. And thanks for all the help you give me every week while I am out here. It helps me keep on truckin' out here.

Well I hope you all have another fun week! I love you!

Stay Strong.
Keep the Faith.
Love Elder Jordan Smith

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Polochic Video

By: Leslie Smith
While researching information about the Polochic River Valley and the people that live there, I came across this video that was made a few years ago by an LDS missionary that was serving there. What a contrast from the way of life in the city. What a beautiful place and what happy children! No wonder Elder Smith is so happy amongst all the difficulties. It's a simple life, full of love and family and all the things that really matter the most. I will certainly not be complaining about anything(especially laundry), but counting my blessings so much more deeply this Thanksgiving Day. What a blessing to be a part of this wonderful experience. (After the video starts, Click on the 240p under the video and change it to 360p for a clearer picture)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Life in the Chik is fun, hard, and most of all, Life Changing!

Just a few reasons why the Chik is amazing. 1. The language is cool even though its hard 2. You are able to follow legends such as John Bringhurst, the first missionary ever to serve here, who actually wrote the language, and 3. You also get a chik name. There is a book of every chik name and missionary who has had them ever since the chik started. It's so cool to be able to continue the legacy. The experiences are once in a lifetime, and it’s amazingly beautiful! So those are just some of the reasons why everyone, including me, loves the chik. Also a quote by Elder Falabela, a member of the quorum of the seventy, ¨The best missionaries in the world are in the Polochik¨ It might not be exact, but its something like that. So that is really cool.

One thing really amazing happened yesterday. So this lady named Rosalina and 2 kids walked from their house to the church to be able to be their by 7 am to be able to go to the District Conference (stake conference) in Sacsuha. Super amazing!!! Elder Howard baptized them last month in his last area, but they moved and are now in our area in a place called Actela.

Yes we still have a wash lady/family. They are awesome. We have to walk about 1 mile up and down a mountain to give them our clothes!

I'm not taking my vitamin c things because we eat like 3 to 4 oranges or mandarins a day!

The language is really hard, nothing like English, nothing like Spanish. It will take at least 4 changes (6 months)for me to get it down a little bit, and I will still not really understand a lot so I will be lost for about the next 6 to 7 months. But I will get it someday! I don’t think I can even say the name of the language right yet. I’m getting it though. You will see what Q`eqchi` sounds like a tiny bit when I call you for Christmas. Well at least the name, because you have heard it already in conference talks, but anyways...

Elder Howard is sweet! We try and have fun in this crazy place. He is a really good teacher when it comes to helping me with Q`eqchi because he studies like an animal. So it’s really nice to be with him. And yes, we are re opening Santo Domingo. Thank goodness that Elder Howard was here before and knows the area. It would be completely disastrous if he didn't.

That’s great that you went to Elder Hansen’s homecoming, but funny that you commented on his smile. He was here in the Chik at one point too, and his chik name is "Smiley Man", but in Q`eqchi of course. Ha-ha!

I took out more money today because I am out of money, and my reimbursement just barely got sent, just an FYI.
So this week has been really rainy and muddy! Almost all 3 pairs of my shoes got completely soaked! We walk so high up in the mountains. We walk THROUGH clouds, when they are RAINING! So we get pretty wet from that. It’s really slippery from all the mud too, so hiking is pretty intense. I slipped and slid down like an 11 foot slope and didn’t even fall over, it was amazing!!! Another time I slipped and almost died but Elder Howard caught me luckily. It’s crazy up here! I am pretty sure I have already lost weight and only more will come off in the next while that I am here in the Chik, which is probably going to be about a year! But we will see. At least I won't be coming back a big chubbs right?

So it’s definitely rough up here, but it's good work and it will definitely make me a better person. It’s really unexplainable! One thing I'm hoping for is that we get the new beds we asked for soon. I can feel almost every single spring in my mattress. The places I can't feel them is because there aren't any! Ha ha! But since I am so exhausted, mentally and physically, I still fall asleep within like 6 minutes I swear!
But I really am excited to be up here in the Chik. It's going to be fun, hard, and most of all, Life Changing. I really don’t know how people can live here their whole lives though, it just blows my mind.

Well I really hope you guys have a wonderful week! I love you very much! Have a great Thanksgiving on Thursday without me. We will try and kill some animal and eat it or something because there is no Thanksgiving here in Guat, let alone in Polochik...

Stay Strong
Keep the Faith
Love Elder Jordan Smith

Monday, November 15, 2010

I GOT CHIK´ed!!!

Hello THERE!!!
Ok, so here are the stories about changes.....Elder Toolson is in Sayaxchè still and he is training a new elder. I got a change and they told me I was going to Coban. So I was superbly stoked for that!! I then got on the bus on Wednesday at 6 am to head over to the Coban house where the Zone Leaders are. I was able to see Turek and Fadel and Schone and lots of old buddies so it was really great!!! When I got there they told me what area I would be going to. My new area is called Santo Domingo and my new companion is Elder Howard! Crazy right!? (He says that because Elder Smith's Dad’s side of the family are Howard’s.) He is from Bountiful. You are all probably wondering where Santo Domingo is....Well....It’s in a little mountain place called POLOCHIK! I GOT CHIK´ed!!! Crazy right!! So hopefully I can learn this language!!! I really think I would have started my mission here if I didn’t have knee problems because President has always asked me in interviews how my knee was doing. When I told him I hadn’t really had any problems for a while now, he sent me to one of the most mountainous areas of the Chik. It’s so beautiful up here. I am sending some pics of my new area. The pictures don’t really do it justice, but it’s really amazing.

I have already had some not too tasty stuff. The Q`eqchi` are known for their not so yummy food. I want you to try something ok? Get some corn tortillas and some warm water and then burn the shiz out of those tortillas and crush them up in that water, let it sit for a bit, and then drink it! It’s really not that bad if you plug your nose. Ha ha! And supposedly this area is the 2nd hardest in the entire mission. So we’ll see how much success we find. We are working really hard and we found a pretty cool new family, so we shall see how it goes with them. So that’s the changes for you!!!

The ATM withdrawal was for my area. Maybe you could somehow replace that money as part of my Christmas, that would be nice, I don’t know. I had to buy a good flashlight and I have to buy some rubber mud boots soon and things like that. It’s pretty expensive. And I REALLY hope you got me more pants for Christmas because one pair of pants got practically destroyed in a day. I also had to pay for the travel which cost a lot and it will take a while to get reimbursed.
I sent my coat liner to grandma to take home. I had sent the outer part with elder Winn but he forgot it I guess, so that is pretty much gone-zo. But just have her take it home. If I ever get cold, I can just wear my suit coat. I won’t be cold for a while walking up and down these mountains. I will definitely be losing some weight from that!!

I don’t really know anything in Q´eqchi´ yet but here is my testimony that I pretty much just read during lessons:
Ninnaw naq laj José Smith a´an jun profeet li Dios.
(I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God)
Ninnaw naq laj Tomás S. Monson a´an jun li wiinq b`oq`bil xb`an li Dios.
(I know that Thomas S. Monson is a man called by God)
Ninnaw naq li qaChoxahil Yuwa` a`an nokoxra ut laa`o li ralal xk´ajol.
(I know that our Heavenly Father loves us and we are His children)
Ninnaw naq Lix Iglees Li Jesukristo Reheb´ Laj Santil Paab´anel Sa´ Roso´jikeb Li Kutan li iglees tz´aqal yaal sa´ xb´een li ruchich´och.
(I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the true church on the earth)
Ninnaw naq Lix Hu Laj Mormon a´an tz´aql yaal. Yaal ajwi´ Li Santil Hu.
(I know that the Book of Mormon is true and the Bible is true as well)
Ut Lix Hu Laj Mormon mas nikinixtenq´a sa´ lin yu´am.
(And the Book of Mormon helps me a lot in my life)
Ninye´ eere li waatin a´an xk´aba li Jesukristo. Amen.
(I say to you this, my word, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen)
Crazy right!!!!
Well I hope I can get all that down really quickly, I guess we will find out. I expect it to take me at least 2 to 3 more changes. Well I love you all and I hope you have a great week!!!
Stay Strong.
Keep the Faith.
Love Elder Smith
P.S. We live in the can see it if you zoom in really far in the very first picture. It's on the hill in front that you can see. The big white building....ha we were really high up when I took the picture.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


We got this photo from Elder Smith in our email this week. It looks like he is happier than ever and that smile really is stuck on his face now! Not sure how he did this....but we know that he really is grinning from ear to ear right now because we heard from someone in his first area that he was indeed transferred to Polochic! It's the place he has been wanting to go since day one and what he calls the Celestial Kingdom of the mission! Can't wait for details next week!

Monday, November 8, 2010

It would be the most joyous thing to be able to see them go to the temple!

Well Hello!!!
The baptism was amazing! It was done in the river and Lázaro was able to perform them again. I got the opportunity to confirm and give the Holy Ghost to Lety and Toolson was able to do the same with Rosa. Oh their names are Leticia Juarez Najarro and Rosa Maria Juarez Najarro. They are 17 and 11 years old respectively. It would be the most joyous thing to be able to see them go to the temple! It is really hard for people to go down to the Capital from here though. There just isn’t enough money to do it. But I really hope they can. It would be so amazing!!! It costs around 300 quetz a person to go down and Familia Juarez has 11 people in it!! So hopefully they will be able to do it one day.

Thank you so much for those short little spiritual stories from home. I can tell you put a lot of effort into trying to help me the best you can. I really appreciate it and it helped me a lot. Thanks mom.

Dad I love getting all the sports news! I need it or I think I would die out here! No it doesn’t make me feel “trunky.” It’s funny that you say trunky. Pres Torres says that word too. But us younger, hip missionaries say baggy. haha ;) I can’t believe Timpview lost to Springville though. That’s just crazy!

We will try to do those things the best we can to be able to strengthen this branch so that maybe one day it can become a ward. There are 200 families that are members according to the branch member list. So hopefully we can find a lot of them and reactivate them so that it can become really strong. We are already seeing some less actives come to church. It’s great because we need the branch to be stronger to get baptisms. I don’t feel comfortable baptizing anyone right now unless they have gone to church NUMEROUS times. I don’t want to baptize a future less active member ya know? So hopefully we can do it!

Oh, I finished the Old Testament this last week! I have now read all 4 of the books of scripture! I am now going to finish up Jesus the Christ and then start on D&C or the New Testament, I haven’t decided yet. But it’s going to be good.

So about the water problem. . .If you didn’t really understand why our water just stopped....In Guat-land, water comes every week and goes into a big tank that you have to use for that week. I guess it didn’t come or something. It did come back for a day on Thursday or something so I was able to take a quick little shower. Then we talked to our landlord about it and it is now fixed. So I was able to take a shower this morning!! YAY! It feels so nice to be semi clean again!

Oh we also killed another rat this week. I am sending a picture of a rat so you can get the picture of what runs around our house every night. (If interested in this nasty little picture, they have all been added to his slideshow entitled “Sayaxche” on the right side of this blog.)

This last Saturday we had a good little service activity that I felt was a great success. We even got the leaders to plan it!! The thing is that it is really hard for them to do it because in order to have a calling you have to pay your tithing. And not very many people do that so the leaders don’t really have the support necessary from the ward members to get things done. But they did it! And it was really nice. Some investigators came from Elder Godfrey's and Matus' area so that was really neat. We just cleaned up around the church and played games and stuff. It was sweet. The church improvements are fantastic as well.

We have a nice ceiling with good lighting and 4 ceiling fans, and a nice ceramic floor. We still don’t have a microphone but that should be coming since there is a microphone outlet in the wall now. The church is getting better, slowly, but its getting better!

Nothing too much has happened this week. Just doing the Lord’s work! It’s so crazy that this change is already over!! We’ll see what happens with changes I guess. We get those tonight right around 10:30. I really don’t know what’s going to happen! It’s kind of exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. Ha don’t really know why. We are always just itching to know where the next part of our lives are going to take place I guess.
I’m sorry that this email is really short but I hope it is sufficient for now! I love you all and hope you have an excellent next week. Thanks for everything!!!!
Stay Strong
Keep the Faith
Elder Jordan Smith

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Abel, our baptism from last change, passed the sacrament!

I am writing today by the way because we went to San Benito yesterday, and no one was willing to give us rides back to Sayaxche. That’s how we get around over here because we don’t have the money to take buses. So we got back really late last night like 7:00. We were not able to use internet because everything was closed. It took like 4 hours to get home!!!

So nothing too exciting happened this week. We had a good Halloween, just working, until we had our RAT ATTACK! We hadn’t had any rats all change. And then at 11:30 I woke up to go to the bathroom and I caught a rat eating our bread. About an hour later me and Elder Godfrey finally killed it. Within 20 minutes, another one. That one sadly got away. Then I was going back to sleep, and I heard another one! This one was really fat so it wasn’t as fast as the others. We killed that one rather quickly. And then like 5 minutes after that one. ANOTHER ONE!!!! But again it got away. That was pretty intense and fun. It's just fantastic. I also heard one last night too, but I was way too tired to get up and chase it around. So somehow we have got to fix our rat problem.

Ha it’s me of course!! Ha ha so awesome!! She didn’t match the headband though. That’s probably why she didn’t win the costume contest ;)
In response to a picture we sent him of Allison dressed up as Jordan (pre mission) for our ward Halloween party.

I'm glad that Ryder is growing up to be feisty!! They need a nutcase in the house so it's not so tranquilo! And with a sweet name like that you've got to get some fame for being awesome!

Yeah I have around 45 ties now or more. I don't know. But I bought ties at every change conference and I got 3 corte ties just barely too. Corte is the material that the kekchi ladies make their skirts out of. The corte ones were free. I will tell you about that mas adelante at a future date.

We have our baptism coming up this Thursday! The last 2 kids of the Fam. Juárez! Lázaro is going to perform the baptisms again, so sweet! And its so going down in the river this time! Its going to be super amazing!!

Oh another thing that happened to us this week. Our water, to take a shower with, is gone. It was just dripping out for some reason for a few days so I was able to wash my hair and that’s about it. But now its completely gone. So now I am walking around with a deodorant shower! Hopefully it comes back soon. We have just enough to come out of the sink to still be able to shave. But that’s about it! I hope I don’t sweat too much! Or I will be really smelly, really fast!

Church was a little better, no microphone yet, but we were informed that supposedly we are going to get air conditioning. So we shall see if that really happens. Abél, our baptism from last change, passed the sacrament. So that was really neat and special for me to see. Primary was ..... well.... yeah....No one felt like singing and they were really obnoxious....The kid's parents are members, we just didn’t know it. And active ones too, for the most part. So no getting investigators through them.

Speaking of investigators, we passed by for those 3 sisters, Hadassa, Maya, and Jessely every day this last week at different times; they must have gone out of town or something. That was a little disappointing. We have a couple other investigators that are progressing slowly, but nothing too promising quite yet. We did put a fecha with one of them though! So hopefully she continues to go to church and hopefully she actually understands what we tell her. That is a big problem here. Not too many people are educated so they don’t really know how to think deeply. So its rough teaching sometimes. But its getting better and we are trying to figure out how to teach them more effectively. It seems to be going a little better so far. But that is about it for investigators.

Maybe you could give me some advice to help animate a ward/branch to actually do something with their callings, and not be lazy, and help them understand the basics of how the church works, because every member besides the president is practically an investigator. So I would really enjoy some advice to help this branch improve. Because it is almost impossible to have someone be baptized in this environment...unless it's the kids of a member like we are having on Thursday. That would really help! We are having more activities, but its still rough....We don’t really know what else to do!

Well there really isn’t too much else that happened this week. I just cant believe that this change is almost over! The time has gone by really fast! So we shall see what happens for changes, we will get the call Monday night....

Well I love you all and I hope you have a great week! Thanks for all your prayers and support!
Stay Strong.
Keep the Faith.
Love Elder Jordan Smith

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween 2010

This is a picture taken by Sister Torres at last week's Zone Conference. So thankful for an amazing Mission President and his wife who work so hard to not only lead, guide, and inspire their missionaries, but also help them feel so loved! And also help us as parents by documenting so much of the mission for us to enjoy. I think Jordan's face may be stuck like it!

Monday, October 25, 2010

It’s really cool to see all these little kids coming to church

(Note from Mom: It doesn't look like Jordan is ever having any fun on his mission, poor guy! Ha Ha!)


My hand is doing good. Just peeling, but good.

Church went pretty well this past week. The primary kids were pretty out of hand,but hopefully it won’t be the same next week. But it’s really cool to see all these little kids coming to church. You would think that their parents bring them. Oh no! I don’t even know who their parents are! We will try and see if we can visit with some of the kids' parents because pretty much none of them have been baptized and they are all 8 or 9 years old. So we shall see if we can find some neat families to teach through that.

First off, my interview with President went really well. Elder Toolson went right before me and hyped me up to President and told him that I am studying Kekchi on my own. Then I went in and he asked if I had met a lot of Kekchi people in Sayaxché, and well, there are TONS of them that live here. So I went off on that for a little bit and told him that it would be really nice to be able to teach them and to be able to communicate with them. So we shall see where it goes from there. I'm pretty sure that one of us will have a change too. I am almost positive I will be a senior companion next change, unless I go to the Chik. So I guess we will find out what happens, right?

Zone conference went really well and I took a lot of good notes in my planner. But then my planner was lost in transit going back to our area, so that was pretty disappointing. I found a new one in the house though, so that’s good. I really enjoyed Zone Conference and we learned a lot to be able to work with the members and to be able to strengthen the weaknesses of our branch. We are getting a microphone/speaker system put in and fans installed that should be done by next week too! We are uber STOKED for that. But we still have a lot of work to do to get this place back into shape but we are working hard with President Ponce to be able to fix it all up. So the future is looking brighter for little Sayaxché.

Elder Toolson wrote: "The branch is growing but we need more priesthood holders so we can buy a chapel of our own and not this house/church we meet in. Things are progressing here and it's going good. We had some investigators come to church and 45 people showed up so that's a good sign. This past Saturday we held our own little activity at the place where we have Internet. We held a mini general conference for all the people that couldn't go the first time and like 21 people showed up! So it went a lot better then we thought. For some people, it was their first time seeing the prophet speak, ever! And they've been members for about 10 years. It was amazing to see the interest they had when they were watching it. A very good spiritual moment for me. I just hope they got as much out of it as I did. We only watched the morning session of the Saturday one, but that one was amazing! "

Toolson actually cut a lot of his friend’s hair before the mission and cuts his own hair too. So my hair looks pretty good! Ha I guess you will have to find out with the pictures I am sending... (I think he meant "buzzed" not "cut" hair. Good thing Jordan's hair has always grown so fast!)

Oh I actually do have a couple more Christmas requests if that is ok. I would like a pair of gray pants and a pair of black pants. My pants are really getting beat up. So it would be nice to have more. I would also really love new scriptures. My quad is getting really worn out especially along the binding since it's so big. So nice, sturdy scriptures would be amazing. It will also allow me to get nice single leather scripture covers up here. That would be just super amazing!!!! Oh and PEANUT BUTTER!!! Yummy. Oh and if grandma could send me up some more guat stamps that would be completely amazing!!!

I sent home my bank signature cards for the bank with Elder Winn. And I sent home my big black raincoat with him too. Hopefully that will all get there to you soon.

I sure hope we have a big mission wide Christmas activity. All I know is that if I am still up here in Petén, we will have our own activity but if I go somewhere else that would be fantastic to see Bronson again! Ha! I really love that kid!

Yes that ATM withdrawal was legit because I ran out of mission money and I needed it to buy food.

The 3 new sisters, Hadassa, Maya, and Jessely, are doing well. They were busy when we went by, but we scheduled an appt. with them for tonight. They seemed excited to have us come back. So they are still doing great. I really think that if we don’t get the chance to baptize them, someone else will. They are truly really special.

Well nothing else has really happened this week. We have been working really hard and having fun together.

I love you all and I hope you have a fantastic week!
Stay Strong
Keep the Faith
Elder Jordan Smith