"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, June 28, 2010

So it shall go great!

Jordan with his second baptism, but the first person he got to physically baptize. This sweet 9 year old boy named Yefry. June 12, 2010.
Yes this whole change has gone by crazy fast I can’t even believe it! It’s probably because we worked so hard and had a lot of success! Knowing that there is only one more week of the change just blows my mind! I wonder what will happen? I hope we have success this week too, because it’s baggy week, or in other words, lazy week. Ha, but not with us!! So it shall go great! I would really love to go see a new area. But we will see this Saturday night if I get a call about having a change!!

Elder Bronson wrote home about being excited to go on splits with “his good friend Elder Smith.” How did that go? Ha it went really well. I knew a lot more Spanish than I thought I did. And it wasn’t too bad for the understanding part. Hooray!!
With permission from Elder Bronson’s mom, here is what he had to say about it: “Well divisions with Elder Smith were fantastic! Not to complain about my companion; but it was a totally different experience for many good reasons. Honestly it felt more like a sleep over with a best friend than missionary work but we pulled it off very well. Well as for the work with us two the difference was real and was big. Unlike when I am with my companion, I felt the spirit testify of our words and I felt it so strong it gave me a desire for the work I was incredibly disappointed when night came. I WANTED to contact I WANTED to teach instead of having to constantly remotivate myself after everything. Our time was cut short too because earlier that day we had interviews with the President that lasted forever, and the next morning was taken up by district meeting so our time was just that one night...and was completely INCREDIBLE I was very disappointed to have to work with my actual companion after that I was feeling a little down and didn’t talk nearly as much, his approach is so different it just doesn’t work for me.”

How crazy is the World Cup down there?
Its nuts. Especially on the weekends. People just say they are busy, but we can hear the buzz from the TV that it’s the World Cup that makes them busy. But it really isn’t too bad. Cuz other people realize that God is much more important. So they have turned it off and listened to us.

OK so a little about the investigators....
Familia Pacheco. Estuardo and Elena. They are so great. And MARRIED!!! Yippee!!! They are doing so great, they just need to come to church and then they can be baptized. 3 more weeks, starting on Sunday, if they come. Cross your fingers, and PRAY!

We contacted this lady named Cecilia Montenegro this week. She is fairly old, maybe 65. But she seemed like she wasn’t interested. We were about to move on but I felt I needed to push on with the contact. She then let us in! We taught her and her daughter and her daughter’s husband the Restoration. The spirit was so strong and we committed them to pray about Joseph Smith being a prophet of God. We stopped by yesterday to see if they had prayed. We only talked to Cecilia at the door and she said she felt some type of sensation in her chest. So SWEET! I love it when investigators have the faith and a sincere heart, and real intent to be able to receive answers to their prayers. We are going back today to teach them about the Book of Mormon.

We found a lawyer that can do marriages for cheap. So that will help us with a lot of our other investigators. So that’s pretty exciting! There should be quite a few baptisms coming out of this area soon!

We also taught this catholic family. When I say catholic, I mean CATHOLIC. It was really hard, and the wife and son were really defensive and competitive with their beliefs and things. But the man, at first he was really hard too. But I know the spirit touched that man’s heart. I hope one day that family will realize the truth that we brought them so that they might be able to have the complete truth instead of just part of it.

I can’t believe that Jake is driving, blows my mind away!!
I better get pictures from the 4th of July!!! Aaaah!!! The first one away from home. Crazy! (The 4th is Jordan’s most favorite holiday of the year by far!)
SARAH!!! WHEEE! Huge congrats to her!! One more cousin to add to the list!

We have felt so many blessings in our lives lately it’s just amazing! I’m so grateful for all of your prayers. I love you guys so much!! Thanks for everything you have done for me and are still doing for me.

Yo sé que a traves este Evangelio podemos recibir más bendiciones que jamás hemos visto en nuestras vidas y que hay un profeta vivo en la tierra hoy que habla con Dios y recibe revelaciones por todos de nosotros. Estoy agradecido por la oportunidad que tengo yo para ser un misionero del nuestro Señor Jesucristo, y que puedo llevar este mensaje a los corazones de las personas acá por medio del Espíritu Santo. Gracias por todas las cosas que me han hecho. Les amo.
Hope I didn’t make too many mistakes with my Spanish. Its harder to write than to say...
Stay Strong
Keep the Faith
Love Elder Jordan Smith

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A visit from Grandma

The following is an email that Jordan's Grandma Angie sent home from her visit to Guatemala and her subsequent visit to Jordan's ward last Sunday June 20, 2010. He had no idea she was down there and completely suprised when she showed up at church!

"Today we (Magda and I) went to Jordan's ward! As we were getting out of the taxi, getting his package from the trunk, he and his companion came from behind. I didn't see him at first but Magda did. He saw us and put his finger to his mouth to tell Magda not to say anything. He came up behind me and said, "GRANDMA!?" He was smiling he looked very good, very handsome, a little dark but he's just fine.  I asked him "Como estas?" and he said, "muy bien!" He was talking A LOT of Spanish and he hardly had any accent!  I took some pictures of him with the Other Elder Smith, then members started coming to Church. He was talking to them very nice, very polite, smiling all the time. When we got inside the chapel, he introduced me to a cute little viejita (old lady), and she said "usted es la abuelita de Smith!! yo lo quiero mucho, El es un amor" (You are the grandma of Elder Smith? O I love him so much! He is a love (or a dear--doesn't translate that well into english). I told her, "Por favor se lo recomiendo.../'  (Please, I leave him in your care) and then she said" no se preoucpe hermana, que si no se porta bien, yo le doy chicote" chicote means belt." (Don't worry Sister, if he does't behave, I will whip him with my belt!)  (Guatemalans are jokesters and a perfect fit for Jordan's personality!)

When I first saw Jordan I asked him "Como esta tu Espanol?" and he said: "Mejorando" (getting better.) I asked him if he needed anything, he said "No, I'm just fine." I gave him his package, because he lives very close from the chapel, besides he said there is no danger at all during the daytime........The chapel is in 14 avenida, and they live in 13 Avenida, and three blocks above.

Sister Cifuentes was there with her family and she told me that Jordan  and his new companion don't go to her house anymore like they used to and she misses him. I asked Jordan about it and he told me that President Torres told them that they are allowed to eat at the members houses only twice a MONTH!! Very sad, but rules are rules and they have to be obedient.

Elder Escamilla  (Jordan's trainer) was there and when they saw each other, se abrazaron bien fuerte. (They hugged each other tightly)

I couldn't sit next to him because he sat next to his Investigators during sacrament. Yesterday he got to baptize a little boy, so today he got the gift of the Holly Ghost. Jordan and his companion were asked to stand in the circle. Afterwards, the little boy sat next to Jordan and they talked and talked together the whole time!! Since they sat behind me and I could listen and man, Jordan is doing so good with the language. When we sang the hymns, he sang really loud with perfect Spanish!! I'm so proud of him.

Right after sacrament we went outside for a few minutes and took some more photos. He took some with his camera too and told a few of the members (or maybe they were investigators?) that he wanted them in the picture with him too.  He really has a love for the people and they feel the same love back for him!  During Sunday School, they sat behind me, and the teacher asked everyone to take turns to read the Scriptures. I was so surprised to hear how good Jordan can read Spanish!! Especially the scriptures because they are hard.

He was happy for his new umbrella, because he said that the first one broke, be bought another one and it broke too. He had one today at church but it was not his.. so he said, "Yeahh I have a new umbrella!!"

It was so much fun to be with him, for a few minutes, and to see that everyone loves him so much.

I told him that I wanted to invite them out to Lunch on his P day, but he said that they have an activity they have to attend to, then they have lunch, and then they use Internet, and besides it was against the rules. Oh well, I put in an envelope, his stamps plus some money for lunch.

So don't worry our missionary is doing excellent!!"

Monday, June 21, 2010

Baptism, packages and pancakes!

Yefry´s baptism went so great Saturday! I even got to baptize him!! My first one!! WHOOO! I don’t know about his family still. We are going to have to work really hard to get them to go to church.

Our investigators are doing great and we are finding so many more great people through the guidance of the Lord. We even had a couple invite us in to teach them this last Saturday!! And then they came to church! Turns out that the wife is a member and has been for 11 years but the husband doesn’t know. So I’m pretty sure we will end up baptizing him! He said he really liked church too.

Its so crazy how fast this change has gone. We have like 2 weeks left! I love it out here! It’s crazy to think that I have been out here over 4 months! I still have nearly 20 months to go though! I really can’t wait for all the experiences that I will have soon. Yes, Guatemala is good. It’s rained a lot lately which has cut down on the heat. So that has been great. I’m glad that there was another umbrella in that package cuz my 2nd one had just broken. There are a lot of storms and normal weeny umbrellas can’t take it.

There were a couple spiritual experiences that I had this week. One was when we were teaching José and Heidy. We were going to talk about the Commandments but I had a feeling during the prayer to talk about baptism. So we changed to baptism and it was perfect! José had so many questions, doubts, and just little thoughts about baptism. So it helped him so much. Ya José is back with Heidy. Bummer. But we will work really hard with them. They just came up with a lot of money so they are working on Heidy´s divorce and then their marriage.

The other great experience was when we dedicated a house of one of our investigators. They live in an apartment complex and they said that there were crazy ladies and people that did witchcraft and stuff like that. So we dedicated their house to protect it from all of that harm. The spirit was so strong!

Our other investigators are doing so great. Well, a lot of fechas (Baptismal dates) have dropped which is
disappointing, but we have found some great new people who are progressing really well. So I’m excited to see what happens with them. The future is looking really good.

Happy Fathers Day yesterday!!! Dad´s rule! I LOVE YOU DAD!!!!!

Dew sent me a letter.  He said he is doing great. And even though it’s hard, he is still pushing forward good and strong. Its awesome to see the change in his life. I am so so so happy for him.

(I told Jordan that I had visited with his CCM companion's mom at their home this week and that I was sure he would spend some time at their house someday.)
I for sure will be chillin with Elder Winkel so so much!

Thanks for all the packages!!! WHOOO! So stoked for all them. You guys rock! I love my hardback Book of Mormon the best, equal with the music. The music might be winning by a little tiny bit, but I really loved it all. Thanks! And thanks to grandma for bringing us delicious sweet bread! Ya grandma came to my church. HA! That rule breaker her...funny. I love her!! (More details about grandma’s visit in a following post because obviously Jordan didn’t  feel he needed to elaborate much ).

I actually haven’t had pizza in a while because it’s just a new rule we can’t go to Metro Norte anymore. It stinks but there is nothing we can really do about it. So I don’t get my pizza anymore. But today for our zone activity we made pancakes. LOTS OF THEM! Then we ate them. Ha! Great activity huh?

Well I love you all so much! Thanks for your amazing love and support!
Stay Strong
Keep the Faith
Elder Jordan Smith

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I really don't like stray dogs!

What a fun treat it is to open up the mailbox and see a letter from Guatemala! We got the following this week:

Hi Mom!
How have you been doing? Are you all going to go on a crazy summer trip without me? You're welcome for the photos. I should be able to send a CD full of them soon. Not sure when, but it will come hopefully before the end of this change which is the 4th of July, by the way. Crazy right?! I will send pictures of  the bathroom and kitchen too. They aren't that bad except for the shower clogged again with the poopy toilet water. We got it all fixed and cleaned out, but that's always an interesting experience!

Yes, that pizza was delicious! I have one every Monday and I still lose weight! It's a miracle!

There are storms here every day! I'm always wet.  I don't know if it's the food or the weather, or something, but I have had stomach gas for like a week now. It's not too fun. I hope it goes away soon.

I had a big huge dog, as big as Theo, that I swear wanted to kill me! It was barking at me and stuff and I was scared out of my mind! Almost peed a little bit I swear!! I really don't like stray dogs.

We finally got in to see the Larrazabel family, but we will see what happens because they aren't very good at keeping commitments and being there for appointments. So we will see.  We are still planing on Yefry's baptism on the 19th. We plan on trying to activate his family afterwards so that they can all continue on the path of righteousness. 

Tell all them ninja fools back home hi for me too!

Thanks for the packages!! Sweet tie and my new pens made my week!!! Ha ha!!! I love you all.
Keep the Faith
Stay Strong
-Elder Jordan Smith

Friday, June 18, 2010

Helping Hands

"With the aftermath of the Pacaya eruptions, and tropical storm Agatha, missionaries have found many opportunitites to help with the clean-up as well as bag supplies of basic necessities which were sent by the church to help victims who lost their homes or crops. The Church sent clothing emergency food, water and tools . None of the missionaries were affected by these events." Sister Torres (wife of mission president)
It's fun to see all the smiles on the faces of all the cute missionaries doing service. I love to see that Jordan has two of his favorite CCM buddies, Elder Winkel and Elder Bronson, still by his side. 

There was a great article in the Church News with more information, photos, and video of the relief efforts to help with the destruction of the volcano and tropical storm. It's so great to see the missionaries in action and all of the good that the church is doing down there. 

Relief efforts continue in Central America
Local leaders being lauded for their initiative, efforts
By Jason Swensen
Church News staff writer
Published: Saturday, June 12, 2010
Members left decimated by the recent flooding and mudslides in Guatemala and neighboring countries are finding relief thanks largely to the hard work and capacity of local priesthood and Relief Society leaders.
Photo courtesy Central America Area
Members and missionaries in Guatemala City, Guatemala, fill relief kits with food and other emergency provisions to deliver to victims of recent natural disasters in Central America. To view the full article, more photos and video clips of the projects in action, click here:
Jordan absolutely loves his District Leader, Elder Shawn Turek (middle elder in photos below). Can you tell that they may have a little bit of similar personalities?
Wow! Look at how brown Jordan is getting!!!
Here he is acting like his old self "Jordan," not "Elder Smith."
We miss his laugh and his crazy smile, but it's fun to see it isn't gone, just far away for now.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

This work is great and I love it!

Questions first:
I got your letter for Elder Allen this week in the mail. So did he just find your blog or something and write you to ask about the mission? When does he go out? I thought it was REALLY cool of you to take your time to give him some advice like an old seasoned missionary!
Ya that elder got his call to here and then googled the area and my blog came up. So he decided to write me. I’m not too experienced out here but it’s all good! I hope I could help him out a little bit.

So if your companion has a nickname, I’m assuming most missionaries have one. Have you been out long enough to have earned a nickname yet?
No I don’t have a nickname yet....I might get one soon though. Ha, nicknames aren’t really told to the elders that have them. So maybe I do. Ha who knows...?

What is your ward like? What things do you help with on Sundays at church?
It’s a really good ward. I don’t really know how to answer this sorry...But we kinda just bring people to church and things. Ha that’s our job

Tell us of some fun district/zone activities you have done lately?
We played capture the flag today..

Talk to us a little bit in Spanish.
Well I can’t just be commanded to talk in Spanish. Ha that’s kinda hard to do. Maybe write me in Spanish and I will respond, sound good?

Ok now for what I was going to write home this week....
The work is going really well! We have so many dates for baptism!!!
4-4-7! That means 4 families, 4 possible priesthood holders, and 7 people. I am really excited to see what happens with all of them.

Jared, the pastor’s son is really progressing well. In one of the lessons this week we talked to him about why he hasn’t prayed yet and things. Then we prayed with him during the lesson. Personal prayers on our knees. He said he hadn’t done that for years but it felt really good, he said. He is coming to church and is doing great. I hope he can get over the fear and know that this is the way that he needs to follow.

She has been doing so great until yesterday...
She had been progressing amazingly, but when we came to take her to church, she was all ready to go, and then José showed up. They talked for a sec and then Heidy said she would be at church in a few minutes. She never came. I really hope she didn’t make a wrong choice. We really need to work hard with her...

We found this great couple Estuardo and Elena. They are really young...22 and 17 respectively. Luckily they are married so we can baptize them. Their date is for the 10th of July. We have taught them twice, and they prayed like we challenged them too!!! They received an answer too! They are really wanting to learn more about this great gospel. I can’t wait to see what happens to them in the future. Who knows, a year from now they could be sealed in the Temple!!

There are many other people that we are working with too! Those are just some of the highlights. This work is great and I love it! We are finding so many great people out here!

I’m almost finished with the Bible...I will probably finish it up tomorrow during personal study...WHEE!

I’m understanding and speaking a lot more Spanish but it’s still a long ways away from being good enough, if that makes sense. But it’s getting there. So I like it.

The way pouch is being sent out now is really weird. I don’t know when I will get your letters, or more packages, or when I can send off my letters. So if it takes a while I’m sorry. Just know that I have written and I still love you.

I guess he doesn’t know that Father’s day is Sunday.
Dad, Well I don’t have time to read or respond to your letter right now. But know that I love you so much and Happy Father’s Day on Thursday!!! You are the best and I love you so much, thanks for everything you have taught me. You have helped me so much in my life and I am really grateful for it. I Love you.
Well thanks for everything! Until next week...
Stay strong
Keep the Faith
Elder Jordan Smith

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I'm definitely a white dude here!

The day after all the ash/sand fell from the sky, we bought a shovel and we went around with that and a broom contacting and helping people out. The weather has been really crazy. We even had a hail storm! It really is the last days. It’s crazy. It’s still raining a lot, but the days that aren’t raining, it’s really hot. It’s kind of like Utah weather, very bi polar. Not too much destruction happened in my area, only a few really small landslides. That’s about it.

That’s good to hear about Allison getting better. Ha you old folks. That’s crazy that no kids were home besides you 2 all week. Has that happened...ever?

Where is Elder Michael Smith from? Tell us about him?My comp is from Bountiful but he says he is from Texas cuz he was born there, and so he can kind of be different from all of us elders from Utah. My companion is so great by the way! I can't wait to change this area with him. Elder Winn said he told President about my rough start, so President gave me the best, hardest working, most obedient missionary in the mission I think. I'm so excited about him. His nickname is the Holy of Holies. Ha! He really is one of the best missionaries in the mission. I can't wait to work hard and baptize some folks! Anything else you want to know about him?

Have you gotten any of the packages I sent last month?Well I got those 1st 2 packages but I still haven’t gotten the ensign. It will come soon probably. Thank you so much!!

Do people guess that you are American or are you blending in with the locals? Tony would ask, “Are you a wettish yet?”
Ha! No, I’m definitely a white dude here. Maybe when I speak better Spanish people will think I’m ¨wettish¨ enough. Lol Oh Tony! Spanish is still hard. But its getting better I guess. So it’s ok. I will get it soon...hopefully. OH good luck on that talk on Father’s Day!!!

I loved how you said, “OH and we are eating food too. Ha it’s so great!” Are you learning to cook a few things on your own? Anything weird you’ve had to eat or drink lately? What are your favorites? Have you stopped losing weight?
Uh, we have cooked fajitas and pancakes and things like that. So nothing too gourmet but it's such an improvement from eating nothing. Lol! I’m not sure if I’ve stopped losing weight. I haven’t checked after that 10 pound loss I already told you about.

Do you know Elder Gage Williams or Elder Eric Hexem? I’m making all sorts of connections with missionary moms.
I don’t know either of them. If Elder Williams used to be in the office then I know of him and have talked to him before, but that’s about it. Ha sweet stuff mom. Lol you are nuts with that missionary mom thing. It’s kinda funny. Love you!

So nothing still with the Fam. Larrazabal family. We again have an appt. with them tomorrow. If they aren’t there again, we'll have to move on.

Jared came to church!!! He is making great progress. Slow but sure progress. It’s just different with each investigator. He is great.

Yefry isn’t going to be baptized until the 19th so his family can come. It’s still hard to get them to go to church though. So hopefully that improves.

Roberto Francisco and his family didn’t come to church on Sunday. So maybe in 2 Sundays...he works every other Sunday. But he loves the church and wants to follow it.

José and Heidy . . . Funny story about them. The problem had been that we couldn’t baptize them because Heidy isn’t divorced from her previous husband who she separated from 7 years ago. But then José got mad and moved out! For good. He moved back to Elder Winkel and Elder Bate´s area. And now that they are allowed to be baptized.....They are both going to be baptized on the 26th!!!! Whoopeee!!! Heidy is amazing and she came to church and everything. We are going to have FHE with her and her son with Fam. Cifuentes tonight at 6. Her son Daniel was baptized when he was 10 and only had a small desire to come back to church. We talked with him about everything and he got really excited to read the Book of Mormon. He is reading everyday and he had a dream where he had a missionary plaque on and a Book of Mormon in his hand. He wants to be a missionary!!!! Because when we talked to him we talked about missionary work too and showed him our plaques and put his last name, Velasquez, instead of ours. It’s so great to see him excited to go on a mission!!!! He is only 13 right now, but he is so great!

That’s about it for our investigators!!

This week was really hard at the beginning. We hardly had any lessons; no one would let us in. Then we started finding people. We were guided to find a few great families that we contacted in the street! And the best was yesterday. 2 of our appointments fell through, but our backup plans were to teach inactives. But there were non members with them! If those first planned appointments didn’t fall we wouldn’t have found 2 new investigators to teach! I’m so grateful for the Lord’s guidance in our lives. It has been really amazing!
I love you guys!!!!
Keep the Faith
Stay Strong
Elder Jordan Smith

PS I couldn’t send letters this week. We had zone conference yesterday, and P day today, so I couldn’t write letters. Next week I will send them though.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A rough week for Guatemala

by Leslie Smith:
A friend and missionary mom (Susan Turek) of an Elder in Jordan's district sent a link of photos that give a very graphic view of the destruction and hardships that have hit Guatemala this past week. This is a place where the hardships of poverty plague many of the people and then for all of this to happen as well. It's devastating! Pay attention the first photo and you will see that the massive sinkhole happened practically in the backyard of an LDS chapel (red roof). It's in the northern part of the city and not too far from where Jordan lives.

Click on the link below for many many more incredible, yet very heartbreaking, photos of the damage caused by the volcano and the storms.

To top all of this news in Guatemala, one of the elders in Jordan's mission was being escorted during a transfer by the Assistants (AP's, who are just young elders assigned to help the mission president with various duties in running the mission) when they were held up at gunpoint by three men. They stole the mission car, the AP's cell phones, and the luggage that contained all of this elder's mission clothing and supplies. EVERYTHING! They are all safe, thank goodness! Things can be replaced, and while their lives are what is most important, it's still a very devastating story, especially for all of us with missionaries.

I'm thankful for these opportunities that Jordan will have to serve and to see how very blessed we are. He seems happier than ever before even amidst the world falling apart all around him. He loves working hard. He loves making a difference in people's lives. He is seeing the personal rewards that come from living a life dedicated to the service of Jesus Christ. The missionaries are truly an Army of God! I know our Heavenly Father loves them all and protects them with his top ranked angels! I hope He's sending in reinforcements to Guatemala right now!

I pray that things will subside there for a while and that the people will be able to rebuild and receive comfort. Click here,7098,6433-1-3298-1,00.html to find out how to donate the the LDS Church's Humanitarian Fund. 100% of all funds go directly to helping people all over the world with food, clothing, medical supplies, and housing. Please pray for our missionaries and for all the people of Central America.