"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