"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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How I love the power of the spirit testifying of the truth

Ok, my stories, then your questions...haha!
Ok well first off, there have been rats in our house for awhile and on Monday we finally caught one. It was ginormous!!! But it was really funny because the night before we put a little note out for it. Looks like that temptation was enough! Killed the rat! Let that be a lesson to us all....Ha Ha!

My companion is really sweet. He has a scholarship for basketball at UVU. His Spanish is just as good as mine. Which isn’t that good. So that’s a little bit rough. But we are teaching just fine! At least we think so. Ha! I hope the people can understand us.

(Who is that little brown boy next to Elder Toolson? Oh ya! That's Jordan! Didn't think it was him until I zoomed in. Hardly recognized him and I'm his mom! Funny!)

The 3 people we have with fechas(baptism dates) with are doing great. Baptism is at 5 in the river. The rest of their family was baptized about a month ago. So that’s pretty cool to be able to complete that family! (So does that mean he baptized 3 people at 5? Hmmm? We'll have to wait till next week to get that cleared up.)

Next, we got 2 more fechas!!! WHOOHOO!!! They are kids too, both around 12 years old. Hopefully that goes through because they have to be interviewed by President. But their fecha is for the 11th of Sept.

That's so sweet about the Ukraine temple and all the references. That's the biggest problem here in the mission is that we don't receive very many referrals. But we are all working hard to get more because that's where the golden investigators are. I sure hope I can find a golden family soon like you were able to Dad... Because here in Peten, it's only a little bit better than the capital city. People wise I mean. Only a few are willing to change from their old traditions and most of the ones that do, only speak Kekchi. So hopefully we will find someone really sweet soon. We are teaching a really cool couple, Albal and Belarmino. They love everything and keep all their commitments. They just aren't married like every other couple here. They have only been together for a short time because Belarmino's wife died and Albal has never been married. They have been talking about getting married but they say that they need more time. What do you think we can do to be able to help them get married so that they can be baptized?

Next, I had my first real bible bash session with this old guy. It was rather pointless, but I enjoyed it. The scriptures he told me to look up in the bible supported what I was telling him. He was saying that Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon and a lot more stuff that wasn’t true. I then shared the strongest testimony I have ever bore in my entire life. After that he just got really quiet and had nothing else to say. How I love the power of the spirit testifying of the truth that Joseph Smith was called to be a prophet of God and that the Book of Mormon was written by ancient prophets that lived on the American Continent and received revelation from God. It just amazed me how much power the Spirit has when we speak the words that God wants us to say.

I saw a big ol tarantula run across the street the other night. I got a pretty good picture of it too. I am trying to send it. But the pictures aren’t loading very fast, so hopefully you will see it. But that was really cool...

Elder Drach's quote about the heat this week, "It's hotter than the armpit of Satan!!!" Ha! Oh how true that statement is....

This week was also known as sick week. Everyone got sick this week except for me thank goodness. First was McPhee on Friday. He was out until Sunday night. Then Drach on Saturday, who was out until this morning. Then Toolson who was out for only Sunday. Luckily I didn’t catch what they had. Only McPhee and I went to church on Sunday, and only to sacrament meeting because we had to give talks! My talk didn’t go too badly either!! I spoke about the atonement and how we need to do our part to be able to receive the blessings and mercy that Christ has for us through that great and eternal sacrifice He made for us all.

Oh and Saturday, I totally held a monkey in my hands. That was probably the coolest thing ever!!!

Ok now for your questions....
Did you get all your birthday packages plus the others (black shoes, watch) that I sent with Elder Swenson? And your umbrella that grandma left for you?
Yes I got it all! THANKS!

Did you open any of your sealed birthday presents yet?
I'm not sure, you might have to pray about that one. Hahahahha!!!

Did you get your little photo album of church pictures that I made for you? Is it what you wanted and has it helped you in your lessons?
Yes thank you so much!

Yes we have someone that does our laundry still.

The mission doesn’t have cooks, that’s a rule. We cook for ourselves ... But Drach is a real good cook so that helps a lot too. I have only eaten with members once. We ate chicken and rice. It tasted a lot like the stuff grandma makes so that was really good. But some members told us that they are going to make turtle for us some time. I really want to eat alligator! Sometimes people catch them out of the river and stuff. It’s really cool. I have only seen pictures of it though.

My bed isn’t too bad at all really. I can feel the springs in my back, but it’s not too bad that I still can’t sleep comfortably. As long as my fan is working good so I don’t fry while I’m trying to sleep.

We didn’t get your email till almost 8pm last Monday. Did it just take the scenic route to get here or did it take you till then to get to an internet café?
It takes us that long to email usually cuz we go see other elders and stuff and the traveling takes a lot of time. So that’s about what time we email here I guess.

Do they have fast food places there?
Not in our area. But there is Pizza Hut and Burger King in San Benito. It’s like 2 hours away. It's where the Zone Leaders are. We go there sometimes.

What activities have you done with your district/zone?
We really haven’t done any activities. We can only have 1 zone activity a change too. Lame huh? But we should be going to Tikal this change so I am pretty stoked about that for sure!

There are fans in the church to help cool it, there just aren’t any microphones. We are going to talk to the branch president here about that soon though.

I cant believe that BYU might go Independant. That would be so sick!!!!! Screw the Mountain west now that Utah isn't in it anymore. There would be like no point. And that way we might even be able to get some BCS bids. We shall see I guess. 2 QB system huh? Yeah, I dont think that will last too long. They will eventually choose Nelson about halfway through the season...But that's what I think. Then Heaps will redshirt next year, Nelson will finish out his senior year, then Heaps will start. I think it's kinda funny that they play Washington their first game cuz that was Heap's 2nd choice to play at. Hopefully the Cougs will rock it this year! Keep me updated on that ok?

Dad, thank you so much for that story about the old lady on your mission. It really did help a lot for the investigators I had lost. Like Heidy, 2 changes of teaching her and she decided to just keep being a Jehovah's Witness. It was really hard for me, but that story really did help. Thanks.
Give Jake an extra good luck for me for his golf tournament tomorrow. I sure hope they make it to state this year. That would be sweet.

I will send the picture I have with the monkey next week but there should be 3 pictures attached to this.
I love you all so very much.
Thanks Mom for always being a good example to me and helping me in times of trials and everthing!
Stay Strong
Keep the Faith
Love Elder Jordan Smith

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Comforting photos

By Leslie Smith:
I've been doing a little research on Jordan's new area of Sayaxche. I can't wait to get some real photos from him. Here are a few photos I found on line that make a mom sleep much better at night knowing this is where her son is living.......

The photo of the spider above is from photos taken by his companion that his mom put up on facebook. SWEET!

Somehow I pictured riding on the back of a truck a little different than this. This must be during rush hour.

In Jordan's words, I think this is what he was describing when he said, "This place is straight up awesome!"

This really is beautiful, though.


This is what makes it all worth it.

It is through our faith and our testimony of this church and the earthly and eternal blessings that our sons and daughters are bringing to these wonderful people, our brothers and sisters, that keep us all going. The sacrifices are small compared to the rewards. We have been given much in this life and we are thankful for a son who is giving so much back to say thank you to our Heavenly Father.

(199 days out serving today, but who's counting.)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monkeys, Pigs, Parrots, Lizards, and Spiders the size of a CD - Awesome!

Where in Guatemala is Elder Jordan Smith.......?????
Ok first travel....Took a really boring 10 hour bus ride and we got to the ZL´s house in San Benito at midnight. The Zone Leaders are Elder Bruneel and Elder Pierce. Then we slept on really crappy cots for like 5 hours and then we left to Sayaxche which took another 3 hours. So that made me a little bit tired!!
We live in a house with another companionship. And guess who??....ELDER MCPHEE (my Provo MTC comp) and his comp Elder Drach!! Its so sweet. Drach has 16 months in the mission. My companion is Elder Toolson! He is freaking sweet. It is so fun up here, especially with 4 gringos in the house. Toolson has one more change than me in the mission (7 months) so the spanish battle out here is a little tough. But I think it will help us out a lot. It's going to be really fun this change. I will probably be with him 2 changes at least because he was here only one change before me. He is from Gilbert, AZ by the way. He is tall and I think he is gonna play basketball at UVU. Sweet huh!

I am doing so great.

Peten is probably the hottest place on the face of the planet. You know how Jessica always whines about her Arizona heat? Tell her to come here. It is probably between 100 to 115 degrees every day with 100% humidity. It is psychotic!! I sweat so much. Other elders have compared it to the surface of the sun!!! It's that super hot. There are a lot of mosquitos too! So thats always fun. There are a lot of mosquitos because there is a huge river that is in our area. It's really beautiful here though. I love it! So green and just straight up awesome!!

We have cold showers, but boy does it feel fantastic after being out in the sun for so long. The shower is just a pipe in the wall that water just kinda falls out of. But its not too bad at all! It's great!!

We probably walk like 10 miles a day too. All of the houses are really spread out. So get ready for me to lose some more weight up here. To get to district meeting, its like 45 minutes away. It's funny though... In the Capital we always used buses. Here there are Microbuses. They are like vans that drive back and forth. But they are way expensive. So when we cross the river on a ferry to go to District Meeting we always hitch a ride there and back from some guy with a truck. So we are in the backs of trucks a lot here. Its rather fun. Today Elder McPhee got hit in the face by a big ol grasshopper. It was hilarious!!

So, the things I have seen so far in this area....
A HOWLER MONKEY...a WILD ONE!!! It was sweet. Those things are soooo loud its sweet!!
There are more pigs walking in the street than dogs.
The roads aren't paved, they are practically just rock streets. My feet hurt quite a bit at the end of the day. I love it though.
I have held a parrot on my hand.
I have seen a sweet little monkey tied to a tree swinging around.
I have seen a spider the size of a CD.
Our house is kind of like a barn. I will try and describe it. The roof does not connect to the walls. And there are giant open windows on both ends of the house. Or in other words, whatever wants to come in our house can. It's pretty crazy!!
There are always lizards in the house too. The first time Elder Drach saw one he said. "There is a lizard on my wall. Are they poisonous? If not, I'm gonna fry it up and eat it!!!!" Ha! It's really fun here!!

I really don't know too much about our investigators yet, but we did put 3 fechas (baptismal dates) yesterday with some kids of a recently baptized family! So that is pretty sweet. We do have 2 investigator families that, well, they pretty much only speak Kekchi. That could pose a problem because Toolson's last comp could speak it. But we can barely speak Spanish. In one family, the husband can speak Spanish, but the other family the wife can speak less Spanish than I can. So we will see what happens with those two families.

Oh I don't know if this is a scripture, but I have heard it a lot lately and I really like it so I will share it with you. It is, "If God is with you, who is against you? " I think that is a really cool statement and it has helped me quite a bit here out in the field, like looking in the past and stuff.

The church building here is more like a house and it's really hot. There are no microphones so it's really hard to hear. I have been told that this area has lost investigators because the church service is boring. It wasn't too bad this last Sunday, but it could use a lot of improvements. Hopefully we can help out with that.

Oh a really cool thing about the area is that we get to baptize in the river. So I sure hope I get a baptism soon because that would be a sweet experience!!!

I used my new card today, yes I got it. But I don't know how I can send those signature cards back. You are going to have to talk to the bank about that one. We don't really ever get pouch up here and I dont feel comfortable at all sending that in the mail.

Grandma's reaction was really funny about that Dear John from my car. Ha ha! Sweet that Jake has Miss Newby for English. She rules.

Well I think that's all for this week. I love you all so very much!!
Stay strong.
Keep the faith.
Love, Elder Jordan Smith

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Uh Oh! A "Dear John"

"My dearest Jordan,
I have put off writing you this letter for a few months because I couldn’t bring myself to do it. But I figured it would be best if you heard it straight from me instead of as news down the road from someone else.

I mean after 3 1/2 years of belonging to each other, we have developed quite a bond. We have been through so much together. Many cuts and bumps and scrapes along the way. Our relationship has even suffered some neglect and abuse from time to time but I know that you always loved me. I always cherished being there for you first thing in the morning and being the last of your friends to say goodnight. The best times we shared were when it was just you and me conquering the world when we left home for a semester at BYU! Great times!

I regret to tell you that the time has come for me to say goodbye. I have been spending time with someone else a lot lately and it’s only fair to all of us to let you go. It hurts me (as I’m sure it does you) to tell you that the “other” person is none other than your brother Jake. He reminds me of you and he’s taking very good care of me. We are both truly happy together. I hope you will find it in your heart to forgive me and be happy for me. I know that when you return you will be able to replace me with another much more deserving of you! I wish you all the best and know that you will continue to work hard in the best mission in the world!"
With all my love,
Your '98 Toyota Camry

Monday, August 16, 2010

This week was rough

Hello Everyone!

Well....This week was a tough one...
No baptisms.
José no longer wants to continue learning about the gospel and isn’t getting baptized.
Fam. Molina....yeah, we lost them too.
Heidy....Yep, her too.
Jared is the only investigator we have left. And he found a job, so he is working quite a lot and we hardly ever find him at his house.
This week was rough.

Elder Barrios has definitely been my favorite comp so far out here on the mission. He is fantastic. I don’t really know how to explain it, but he is fun. We are pretty unified. I wouldn’t mind being here for another change with him but I do want to leave Atlantida. It's getting really rough here and I want to see more of Guatemala...Maybe POLOCHIK, now that would be sick. I won't know if I have a change until tonight or tomorrow night, so I guess we shall see right? I hope I get a change....

Oh I finally got your letters that were sent forever ago. THANKS!!!Yeah I got both packages, the purple one with those letters this past week! It made me happy. That Dear John from my Camry was the best ever!! Ah I laughed for so long.

If any of you have ideas to find new people to teach I would really appreciate them. We aren’t getting any good references from the members, no one is opening their doors, and we now lost all of our possibilities. I am about at crying point. I don’t know what happened. But all of our hard work just fell through the floor...

Heidy...She said she just doesn’t have a testimony of Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon so she can’t continue. It was so sad to hear that from someone I have taught for 2 changes now.

José said that he just didn’t feel right if he got baptized again because he was baptized in a different church a long time ago. We tried explaining the importance of priesthood and everything but it didn’t have any effect. We lost him.

Fam. first we had no idea why. Then later we finally were able to talk to them and they said they don’t like the idea that the temple is not open for the whole public. We tried explaining the best we could. But they said they were going to search for a different church.

I don’t know what happened in the minds of all of our investigators, but it’s very sad.

Well I’m in Alma 18 or so in my reading. After I finish the Book of Mormon again I am going to read the Old Testament.

Something funny...We were chopping down some long grass and stuff with machetes on Saturday when we got contacted by Jehovah’s Witnesses. It was funny to me.

Today was fun. As our last P-day as a district we had a water balloon fight and then went to Pizza Hut. It was sweet. The Pizza Hut is like a sit down restaurant!!! It was ridiculous with crazy good service. It was amazing. Today so far has been a good day. But what a rough week.

There really is nothing we can do but keep moving forward and knocking on all the doors that remain. We have knocked on soooo many doors. Hopefully we find some new investigators soon!!!

Well I love you all!!!!
Stay Strong
Keep the Faith
Elder Jordan Smith

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

If they only understood

6 MONTHS!!!! WHOOO!!! Crazy, I know. And we were able to go to the temple today too. It was super sweet for sure...

Awesome about Eythan's mission call. What crazy language is he going to speak? Romanian, Russian, or what?

Well change conference has changed from next Monday, to next Wednesday. So I won’t find out if I have a change until Monday night. So we shall see what happens. I think I am going to be here one more change with Elder Barrios and then I will head on out of here. But you never know! We shall see.

We had zone conference this last week too. It went pretty well! I can understand things now too, so that is just fantastic!! And we had interviews yesterday. Everything went well!

OK Now for the news on this side for the week.....
WE HAD no baptisms on Saturday. . .
We found out that since Javier and Carmen are kids, and their parents aren’t getting baptized, they have to go to church 7 times before they can be baptized. So their new fecha is for the 28th...
José didn’t get baptized either because we found out that he smoked the Monday before the interview on Thursday. But it’s not an addiction....he just smokes once in a while. Like when you buy a candy bar, you do it whenever, not all the time. That’s him and smoking. But he is getting baptized this Saturday...CROSS YOUR FINGERS, and probably pray a little bit...that always helps.

Javier and Carmen are doing really well however and there is a new law here in Guat. about divorces which could really help out their parents. Then they can be baptized too!!! The law is that you only need the consent of one of the spouses to do the divorce. And even though the Dad’s wife doesn’t want to do it....he still can. And he can get married the next day too! It is looking really great for their future. I also bought a triple for Javier, they are like 13Q...less than 2 I bought him one...he had always asked for one, so that will be really fun when I give it to him tonight. Oh we also got their family a bible. They didn’t really like their bible because....well its really badly translated...But ya, they are all just great like always.

Jared...we haven’t really taught him that much lately because he found a job and is working all the time. But he is doing well too.

José and Heidy....
Complicated this week.
José left again for like 3 days...we thought for good. and we almost put a fecha with Heidy again. But then José was randomly back when we were there to teach Heidy. So they are still together. The divorce law for them is a little more complicated. If Heidy were to take advantage of it and do the divorce with her consent only she would have to wait a year before she could get married again. Which is a little sexist, but nothing we can really do about it. Other than that...all is well with them.

This last week has been really rough. We hardly had any lessons. On Friday we contacted almost all day because all of our appointments fell. And no one let us in to teach them either. We finally got in a house at 7 at night, our last hour of work, with Heidy. This work is really tough sometimes. But we don’t really get discouraged because that’s just how it is sometimes. All we can do is press on and hope that someone will listen to us. That’s the problem, people just don’t understand how important our message really is. They have their religion and don’t feel like changing. I pray that one day, for everyone, it will just click. Ya know? And they will all get baptized. I think everyone would right now if they only understood.

Well I love you all!! Have fun this week!
Stay Strong.
Keep the Faith.
Elder Jordan Smith

Monday, August 9, 2010

In the mean time

Today we didn't receive our very much anticipated email from Elder Smith. He must have had a special Zone activity. Hopefully the wait will be worth it and we'll get a great letter tomorrow! In the mean time, please allow me to post a few pictures that I found this morning from his Mission President's blog. It sure made us all smile to see our handsome elder happy and healthy and being himself during last week's Zone Conference. We are so lucky and blessed by the efforts of Sister Torres in taking and posting photos of all the missionaries every month or so. It makes these lonely Mondays much more bearable.

Here President Torres is handing out candy bars to all the upcoming birthday boys! A fun mission tradition! Click on any of the photos to enlarge and view closer.

And if you are really lucky, you have a great friend that can turn that first photo into this!! Thanks so much Shelley!

Love it!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Elders Smith and Winn - together at last!

By Leslie Smith:
This photo is of Elder Smith with his awesome Zone Leader, Elder Jack Winn from Texas. Elder Winn will be done with his mission at the end of September. I've asked Jordan for a picture with him for several weeks. His mom asked Jack for the same picture and a few minutes later, there it was! I'm glad one of our sons obeyed.

Aren't they handsome?

Elder Winn's mom and I have become really good friends through the Missionary Mom group. There is nothing like having someone else to talk to that REALLY understands what it's like to have a missionary.

And not just a missionary, but a missionary in Guatemala.

And not just a missionary, but a missionary in Guatemala, serving in Zone 18!!

Jordan has been blessed so much by Elder Winn's leadership. I too have been blessed from learning from his awesome mom. Love her to pieces!! She has brought many smiles and bouts of laughter to my day. I'll be forever grateful to them both and cherish this photo forever. In a few weeks, we'll be able to take one of US to send to our sons. Can't wait!!

In my detective like scrutiny of every photo I see of my son, I am mostly happy to see that he is smiling, he got a good haircut (some have been a little scary), his teeth look good, he isn't too thin (yet), his one suit is holding up well, but I get a kick out of all the ties that he is always wearing. They are rarely any of the ones I sent out with him (including this one). In this photo he is wearing a backpack, which is also not an original item from home. I think it has an MTV logo on it. What the? He hasn't used his debit card since first arriving in Guatemala, other than for pizza, so he must have some great bartering skills!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I probably needed stitches but it was too late

First off, we didn’t have Javier’s or Carmen’s baptism this week. Javier drank coffee the day before his interview. But we rescheduled it and they will be baptized this coming Saturday along with José! So it’s all good!!! Maria (Javier and Carmen’s mom) said that they ran out of coffee and she isn’t going to buy any more. We suggested that they can buy MorCaf. Its like postum, and pretty good actually. But that was a little set back for the baptism, but Javier and Carmen are still really excited and the members are really helping a lot with them so it should be great! Even little Carmen bore her testimony in Sacrament meeting!!! It was so great!! I felt so happy when I saw her stand up and walk to the front to testify about this wonderful church. I could see one of the counselors of the bishopric from where I was sitting and his expression was pure amazement. It was truly a very special experience to have an investigator, future member, bear their testimony.

José Pocon is still on for this Saturday if you didn’t catch that before. He also has been invited to many single adult activities by the members. So it’s going really well with him.

I finished the Book of Mormon for the 2nd time this past Wednesday! I started again too and I just finished with the Isaiah chapters in 2nd Nephi. How are you all doing on your reading? I sure hope really good!

For Jared, we did set a date.....for his marriage. I sure hope he gets baptized after that too. We shall see!!!

José left from Heidy's house again. I called him and he said he probably won't come back this time. At least not for a long time. Her divorce got a lot more difficult because Heidy’s husband said that she had to pay a debt that he acquired after their separation of about 5,000 Quetz. The divorce is going to take 3 to 6 months. So if José doesn’t come back maybe they can both get baptized, but they both have to be committed. We shall see. Hopefully they both can be baptized and then enjoy the endless blessings the Lord will have for them if they stay faithful to their decision. We shall see.

How is your head? Did you need stitches? Of course, when I think of injuries, I have to ask, how is your knee?
I probably needed stitches, but it was too late. It has to be done within an hour of the accident, but that didn’t really work out. So I just clean it everyday with hydrogen peroxide. And I only had a headache for maybe 3 days. So that’s doing good. My knee hadn’t hurt at all for maybe a month until Saturday. But it still wasn’t too bad. So it’s doing really well because of all your prayers. Thank you so much.

Yesterday was fast Sunday so Dad and Jake both wore their matching ties. Have you been wearing yours that I sent you to match them too? I love picturing the three of you thinking of each other as your put your same tie on each fast Sunday.
Yes I wore that tie yesterday....haha.

I have those church history pictures that you asked for your birthday. Do you want me to have them bound or at least hole punched and held together with a ring or two? Or is it better to have them separate?
Ya I guess you could do that with the pictures. But I want it to fit inside my scripture covers. So I doubt they will if you do that. And they will also get all bent if I stick them in my bag like that. So it would be better to just have them separate. Will you get some that Simon Dewey painted if you haven’t already? Those are my favorite.

Well that’s all for this week. I love you all and thanks for all your love and support.
Quedese Fuerte (Stay Strong)
Guarde la Fé (Keep the Faith)
Elder Jordan Smith