"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

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Moving, leaves, and pouring rain!

Hey there!
Yeah I can’t wait for this change. We are moving everything off the mountain tomorrow morning. We hired a truck to help us take it all down in the morning. We won't know where we are going or who our comps are until Wednesday at around 10:30a.m. So we shall see what happens with that.

Turek is going to the cap...That is really the only change we know. So I won’t be with him. But I hope that Tanner and I stay together and that we go to Sacsuha 2 where Fast is and we can get some good work done! It would be really fun as well.

I don’t know where Fast is going to college. It depends on where his future wife wants to go to school. But rooming with him would be ideal! If not, I wouldn’t mind living with Jake. That would be fun too! He could go to UVU, but who knows where he is going to get his golf scholarship from. So I guess we shall see about all that. Plus it’s still a fairly long ways away!

We didn't celebrate Easter. We totally forgot about it too so I forgive you Mom for forgetting it over there. I didn't even know it was Easter yesterday until Turek told me today. But you just kind of lose track of time and things like that out here I guess. The people don’t really do anything here for Easter. We asked everyone in every visit we did this week and they just said that they are resting. Semana Santa is really nothing up here. It’s just the week before they start clearing their fields and planting their corn.

To answer your question: ...... When we are at the church we use toilet paper. It is the only bathroom up in our whole area. So when we are out working, it's up in some bushes with some leaves. You gotta do what you gotta do I guess right?

For P days lately we have just been hanging out and we have played 2 hand touch football! Its super fun!!! It’s the only sport we can play here so we play it as long as we can usually. I love it!

A story kind of like yours, Dad, happened with me too in Sayaxchè. A lady got baptized that me and Toolson first found after I got transferred. Her name was Esperanza. It wasn’t quite as big of a change that you experienced with Daniel. That is truly amazing. I can’t wait to be able to find an investigator who wants to change his/her life to have the truth in their lives. It’s truly amazing how the Lord prepares people for us to find.

Thank you Dad for your example and for always helping me out in the rough times out here. You are my hero and a person I want to grow up to be like. I am grateful beyond expression to have you as a father.

Something that I do or see that I don’t at home?. . . EVERYTHING! There is not one thing like home here. We ride up the mountain hanging on the back of a pickup truck. The other day there were 29 people in the bed of the pickup we were on. And there are many other crazy things I see that should probably not be mentioned on email. But don’t worry. None of those ones are endangering to me.

On Saturday we were coming down from Actela (about an hour and a half walk). It started pouring!!! And I mean POURING!! I have never been in or seen a rain storm like that one. We got SOAKED! I had my big rubber boots on so that my feet wouldn’t get wet because it has been raining all week. But by the time I got back to the church the boots were filled with water just above my ankles, it was crazy! And then the church roof was leaking!! And the entrance and the sacrament hall were filled with water!! It was like ankle deep! So we got out garbage cans and stuff to be able to catch the water and then we had to clean it all up for the next day. It was super crazy!! But that is about all that happened besides saying goodbye to people. It was hard to say goodbye to 2 of the member families but I'm sure I will see them again at a conference or something.

Have a great week everyone! LOVE YOU GUYS!!!
Keep the Faith
Stay Strong
Love Elder Jordan Smith

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hard times are coming. But I love Polochic and wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

MA SA SA' LEE CH'OOL? How are you all doing?? First off, yeah I have lost weight! I weigh about 170 to 175 right about now. I hope to keep going down and getting these little chubs off! But it’s because we really can’t eat that great and we are hiking around 50 miles a week. So my legs are getting stronger and the weight is going down.

Yes I am surrounded by the best missionaries! It is definitely the funnest district I have ever been in. It is so much fun. I am blessed to be around these great men.
Polochic is changing a lot. The mission is putting more strength in the stronger areas so that we will be able to protect it and help it grow even more. Then we might be able to go back to the weaker places. It’s really smart I think and it is 100% scripture based on how Moroni did it during times of war. Hard times are coming. I don’t know what yet, but we can all feel it. It’s going to be really interesting to see all that's going to go down here in the not too distant future.

I don’t really know what will happen with Santo Domingo without missionaries, but a possibility is that the branch will simply die. The branch president is running his own church up there no matter how much we try to help. I honestly don’t know what will happen.

The time that I have spent in this area has taught me how to just simply appreciate life and everything that I have. And also to work hard. We trudge up mountains to find people not home or people that reject us. It’s hard. Not gonna lie. But I know that each missionary has their part in this mission and where they serve. Whether we have success in our missions it really doesn’t matter as long as we do our part and work hard. That is all the Lord wants of us. To just go out there and do work. If we give it our all, I know that He will reward us for it. He is rewarding us everyday with just the life lessons we learn here. The mission turns you into the husband and man you are meant to be. I will never be able to pay my Heavenly Father back for giving me an opportunity such as this.

I love Polochic. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I know that each missionary here was chosen specifically to serve these people by the Lord. I honestly think that a lot of missionaries couldn’t do it. I don’t mean that disrespectfully, but not many go through what we do here. No one has to learn a new language and then gets thrown into a place to learn yet another one without any training in it whatsoever. It’s hard. All of us missionaries here have either dreamt or felt impressions of the need to serve in this place before coming here. We are preaching the gospel to these people just like all other missionaries do, but it’s just a different world here. There is nothing else quite like this place. I wouldn’t trade my place to be anywhere else. Just surviving here in Polochic. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Shout out to my little bro: Hey Jake, yeah man the mish has changed me more than you think. Not really so much of how I act or anything, but just how I see life. I would not have it any other way. I could have stayed home and gone on with my normal life, but that could have led to problems because of my disobedience of not serving. I know without a doubt that a mission turns you into the husband you should be. It is the only option. It is really hard. I have not seen hardly any success in my mission. In this area I get mocked and persecuted on a daily basis, getting rejection after rejection with people not even caring enough to listen to the message that can change their lives forever for the better. It’s really hard. But I wouldn’t trade this opportunity to be out here for anything! I love you bro and I hope you have a great week!

I can’t wait to call you guys soon; it’s going to be great! Well I love you all and I will talk to you all soon!!
Keep the Faith
Stay Strong
Love, Elder Jordan Smith

Raising the voice of warning

(Sorry this is last week's letter and pictures. We were out of town and I didn't get to it until now. So today will be a two-fer! Our email for this week should be here in a couple hours!----Leslie)HEY THERE!! I really have been blessed with good companions and the best districts!! It’s been amazing! Elder Tanner is not sick anymore, so no more worries about that! I am 99% sure that I will be here in the Chik for the rest of my mission. And I definitely don’t ever want to leave it, unless it is the last change of my mission and I go back to Atlántida.

There is seminary every single day in the church’s sacrament hall, so we have to move our mattresses back, but it hasn’t been too bad at night, just that one week that was just unbearable heat. And we got a fan now too because we just had Zone Conference in Senahu, and they brought it up for us. So that is going to be fantastic for the next week and a half.....They are most likely going to close Santo Domingo. They are closing tons of areas here in the Chik and Senahú. Its going to be crazy to see what all happens this next change. It would be nice if Elder Tanner and I could stay together though. They are opening areas in some of the bigger areas that already have missionaries, so it could so happen. But if not, it was a great time with him.

Things are going ok though. No one has really accepted us and our fecha fell. We kind of put another one but they have to get married, and there won’t be missionaries for it either. But I am not gonna lie, the lack of success really had gotten to me and I really didn’t know what to do. But President Torres really helped me out. He told us what our job was now in the area, and that is exactly what we are going to do. Raise the voice of warning. We are going to work really hard these last days of the change and do what we can to tell people the truth and try and get the members to step up. So I guess we will see how it all goes!

If you want to know how a conversation goes in Q’eqchi' if you pass someone on the street, it goes 1 of 2 ways. First: “How are you? What is your name? Where are you going? How are you? It’s hot. How are you? What’s your name? It’s dusty.” And then they sit and watch you forever and then they say, "See ya!" That is what happens when we are sitting waiting for a truck to take us up to part of our area. We do contact them but that is all they say. Or there is this one: “HEY MORMON! WHATS YOUR NAME? WHATS YOUR NAME? WHATS YOUR NAME? MORMON!!! MORMON!!! MORMON!!!” And then something is usually thrown in our direction. That is pretty much how life is. It’s rough. But there is nothing we can really do about it but just keep pushing on and going about the work of the Lord.

Well I don’t really know what else to write. But we had a good Zone Conference and interviews up in beautiful Senahú. And that is about all that has happened! I love you all and I hope you have a great week!
Keep the Faith
Stay Strong!!
Love Elder Jordan Smith

Monday, April 4, 2011

Recognizing the whisperings of the Spirit of Revelation

HEY THERE!! Well nothing too much happened this week. Elder Tanner has been super sick this week so that was rough for him. He is still kinda sick but he is improving little by little so hopefully he will be good for next week. Well what I really enjoyed in conference were Pres. Monson's talk in Priesthood about Temples and also Elder Bednar's talk about the Spirit of Revelation. That talk really helped me to be able to recognize the small whisperings of the Spirit and to try to listen to them better that I might be able to help this area progress or to at least find a few people that could be baptized one day.

The only small story is that it has been really really hot lately. Even at night. So its been rough trying to go to sleep. So the other night, we moved our mattresses into the Sacrament Hall and we opened all the windows and turned on all the fans! It felt so much better! It was just fantastic!

We did have one investigator come to the conference. But we will have to work hard with him because he really doesn't understand very many things. So we are going to try to get members to help in teaching him further. We shall see what happens! The branch got a truck to take us all to the conference and about 20 people came. That's only like 10 less than those that come to church so it was a pretty good turnout!

There are a lot of kids that go to school here. They are all learning Spanish, so Q'eqchi' is definitely a dying language but the kids learn Q'eqchi' in schools too. But 99% of them are not confident in their Spanish so they only speak Q'eqchi'. At least that is how it is up here in Santo Domingo. Everyone here only farms. They farm to sell and to support themselves. And they do it all by manual labor. There really aren't any regular jobs. You either farm, or you are a pastor, or a teacher. That is pretty much it! The pastors and teachers are the only people that talk to us in Spanish.

Well I wish I had a little bit more to write about but nothing too much happened this week. Hopefully I will have some fantastic stories to tell next week. I love you all and have a great week.
Keep the Faith
Stay Strong
Love Elder Jordan Smith

Friday, April 1, 2011

A picture is worth 1000 words....

These two pictures, however, are worth more like 5,000 words! Thanks to Elder Howard's mom for sharing them! Elders Smith, Howard, and Fast....being their genuine selves! These pictures were taken during their P Day activity a few weeks ago to Rio Dulce. The scenery looks spectacular! What a beautiful country!!!