GUATEMALA CITY NORTH MISSION February 2010 - 2012 STAY STRONG AND KEEP THE FAITH ~ Elder Smith's Motto "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
Well speaking in English is still pretty hard so bear with
me. But I’m just going to start from the beginning I guess about how everything
went down on my mission. When I first went in, I started with a native
companion. I didn’t know Spanish and he didn’t know English so I didn’t really
know what was going on. He was used to being in an area where you don’t eat
very much. We didn’t really buy much food and I was hungry all the time. It was
really hard and I wanted to go home. I talked my mission president and he
helped me out and helped me to want to stay. It was a really hard time. I
couldn’t teach anybody like I wanted to. But I knew the Lord that the Lord had
something prepared, like he always does, for His missionaries and I knew that
He would take care of me and help me learn this language.
Once I started learning it and I went to a different area, I
started to feel comfortable with that language, Spanish. Of course when you get
comfortable, there always comes a trial. The Gospel comforts the afflicted and
afflicts the comfortable. So I got changed to an area where they speak a
different language. Where I went, there’s no MTC. Just your companion who knows
the language a little bit better and you have to look things up in the
dictionary. Going up there that first day on a dusty road, hopping on the back
of a big old cattle truck, people asking me what my name was every five seconds
and I didn’t know anything of what they were saying. The work was hard. It’s up
in the mountains, and you’re hiking about 70 miles a week, super tiring. Going
to sleep really early, because the people there fall asleep really early. One
of the things that I learned there was to be really grateful. The people there
live in conditions that we here can’t even imagine. If you’ve ever seen “The
Testament,” that’s how they live still. In wooden houses, still using rocks to
smash their corn. One thing with those people is that even though they don’t
have anything, those that have the Gospel are happy. It really makes you realize
that though this Gospel, you can live a happy life. It doesn’t matter what we
have or what we don’t have. As long as we’re willing to make the sacrifices and
trust in the Lord to able to do what we need to do.
Some people there that I taught were really amazing. One was
the family of Rosalina. It was really a miracle how we found them. My companion
that I had just opened this area with, had come from an area where he had
baptized these people but they had moved and he didn’t know where they were. We
were just walking up in the mountains one day, really really far away, about 2
½ hours from where we lived in the Church. We found these two little girls that
were part of that family. We found their house where they lived with their
grandmother which was just outside one of the pueblos called Actela. But they
made the sacrifice to go to church every week. They walked like an hour and
then an hour back. They were just little girls and an old lady. I don’t know
how they are now, but I know they’re going to be ok. That area was really hard.
No one accepted us. We were persecuted, rocks thrown at us, but they were
special. And I had a dream that that whole place was flooded. It was filled
with water all the way to the top of the mountains, except for their house.
They were the only ones left. I just know that through their sacrifices, they
will be safe. We just need to follow their example and do the same. Sacrifice
everything that we have to follow what the Lord needs us to be.
Those people are really special. They truly are Lamanites
and they still live like them. Through spending time with them I came to learn
many things especially to not take anything for granted. After that I went to a
different area out of the mountains. We were tracting and didn't really have
much success after contacting about 3 families. They would let us in, but
didn't really want to hear what we had to say. Then we found this young man. He
was about 22 or 23. He spoke Spanish which was weird because neither my companion
nor I were used to teaching in Spanish. We started teaching him about the
Restoration of the Gospel and after telling him about the First Vision we just
kind of paused and we asked him how he felt. And he said "Good." And
then we asked him if he would pray about it and he said, "No, because I
already know that it's true." He never missed a day of Church. He was
there every Sunday from then on. After he joined the church his family also got
baptized, his sister and his mom. The missionaries were still working with his
dad. He also made a huge sacrifice to travel far every week for church.
Then I started to get comfortable after a year of speaking
their language and getting comfortable with how the work was, I was less
tired...so then came my next trial. I got sick. But luckily before that, I know
it was received by revelation by my mission president, I got changed to an area
that was closer to medical facilities. But anyway, I got sick and the doctors
couldn't figure out what I had. It was hard. I didn't know what to do. I went
to numerous different doctors. I went to the mission doctor first and he told
me I had gastritis, but my stomach didn't hurt at all so I was confused.He sent me back to my area. But then I went
back to the capitol and saw other doctors and after two months they figured out
what I had.And when they did, they told
me to go home. I had been out 18 months. They asked me how much time I had out
there and how much time I had left.When
I told him I had 6 months left, he said that I definitely needed to go home
before then because I wouldn't be able to handle the pressure and the living
conditions anymore. So I didn't know what to do. He told me to go home and I
didn't know what to say. So I spent all my time praying and studying. I
couldn't sleep. I woke up one night at like midnight and went into the bathroom
to read my scriptures so that I could know what to do. And I found a verse in
the Doctrine and Covenants that almost doesn't have very much meaning, but to
me it did at that time. At the beginning of my mission I was scheduled to go
home on February 16th, and the scripture that I read was inspiration received
by Oliver Cowdrey on February 16th and I knew that that was the date that I was
supposed to go home. Not before. Not after. That was the time that the Lord had
called me to work and I would work until then no matter what happened to me. I
know that the scriptures can really give us every answer that we need during
every moment of trial. After that, I told them that I wasn't going to go home
so they got me some medicine and my mission president put me to work in the
mission office for a little while where I wouldn't have to work physically too
much and I got better. He sent me back out to an area speaking the same dialect
that I had been speaking before and I was able to find some great people .
I found a guy who was going to school in the area where I
was working. He lived with some members. We invited him to church and we began
teaching him about the Restoration and we challenged him to read the Book of
Mormon. When we ask people to read the Book of Mormon there, no one ever reads
it. Never. When we went back to visit him a few days later, he had read the
whole thing and had 3 pages worth of notes and questions and his book was more
highlighted than my own scriptures were. He also knew it was true from the very
first time. He was baptized right after I left that area.
Another person we found was a lady, her husband was a member
but not very active. He was always drunk in the streets. She didn't have a very
good house. They slept on the floor because they didn't have beds. On the dirt
with their five kids, on a blanket. But she also went to church. She had so
little. She didn't even have money for food sometimes. But she was always happy
when we saw her at church. After she was baptized, we saw her at church and
even though she couldn't really understand much because it was in Spanish and
she only spoke the dialect of Q'eqchi she was happier than I had ever seen her.
It was because of this Gospel.
It doesn't matter how hard our lives are. All you have to do
is trust in the Lord and everything will be alright.
Then I got transferred to another part of my mission to a
place that was hot, flat, and really small and everyone spoke Spanish. And I
was like, "Why am I here?" I can't teach these people because I'm not
used to speaking this language anymore. I can't contact because the area is so
small, I don't know how to work here. But there's always a purpose. We're all
in a place in our lives for a reason. I found some amazing people who will
hopefully got baptized this weekend or the next.This family lived in a tiny little room with
their 3 kids. We were trying to get them married. That's a really big problem
in Guatemala. No one is married. They just live together, have kids, and call
it good. The hard thing is that they don't have papers to get married. We were
trying to work with them to get their papers. We got the wife's and everything
was good and then we were trying to get the husband's. We found out that it was
going to be really hard. His brother stole his identity and got married with
his name. So he had to prove that he didn't exist and then he had to prove that
he existed again, it was really complicated. The lawyer we were working with
didn't think it was possible, but we knew it could be done. The man didn't have
any money to get this done. It was the last thing we needed to get it to go
through. They needed about $55 and so we raised that money for them and paid the
lawyer without them knowing it. But the lawyer said, "I don't know if I
can take this because I don't know if this is even going to work." He sent
the papers down to the Capitol about 10 hours away and it worked!
It's just amazing how the Lord blesses us when we are
faithful in doing what He wants us to do. This family has been going to church
for about 15 months and they will finally get to be baptized this weekend or
I know that the Lord always has a wise purpose for us. After
1 1/2 months in that area I go t sick again. It was my last change. I wanted to
work hard until the end but I couldn't. The very first day I was with my jr.
companion that I was training I had a little bit of a cough so President told
me to go to the doctor. So I went and I had pneumonia. Which was weird because
I was in the hottest place in the mission. I was in the hospital for two days.
When I left, I was able to only work a few hours a day and then I had to rest.
But everything happens for a reason. God has everything planned out. We just
have to trust him with all that He knows is right for us. Because through those
hardships we become transformed into the person that He wants us to be. In
Malachi 3:3 it says, "And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver:
and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that
they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness." This scripture
really impacted me especially when my mom sent me a story kind of about it.
"The Refiner's Touch" There was a group of women in a Bible study on
the book of Malachi. As they were studying chapter three they came across
verse three which says, "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of
silver." This verse puzzled the women and they wondered what this statement
meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find
out about the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their
next Bible study. That week the woman called up a silversmith and made an
appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason
for her interest in silver beyond her curiosity about the process of refining
silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire
and let it heat up. He explained that, in refining silver, one needed to hold
the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest so as to
burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a
hot spot - then she thought again about the verse, that He sits as a refiner
and purifier of silver. She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to
sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The
man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he
had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. For if
the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be
destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith,
"How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled
at her and answered, "Oh, that's the easy part -- when I see my image
reflected in it."
The Lord has us in that fire until he sees His image in us. We may not be
perfect or be finished in being refined but if we always trust in what the Lord
has in store for us, we will be alright.
2 Corinthians 1:3-7 "Blessed be God, even the Father of
our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who
comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which
are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth
by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation,
which is effectual i the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer:
or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our
hope of you is steadfast..." So not only does the Lord comfort us during
our times of trouble, but he expects us to do the same for others.
I want to thank everyone who helped and supported me with
prayers while I was out there. It really helped me a lot. Just try to always
make sure that your are trying to serve each other, help everyone that you can
and be excellent to each other.
I want to share one last scripture that my mission president
shared with us on our last night. Alma 26: 30 "And we have suffered all
manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of
saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we
could be the means of saving some." I didn't have much success on my
mission in some people's eyes, but I know I had the joy that this scriptures
talks about. My greatest convert was definitely ME. I know that the sciptures
are true. It doesn't matter how hard our life is, as long as we do what we are
supposed to do, He will always make up the rest and give us joy when it's all
I just want to finish by bearing my testimony, first in Spanish…Yo se que
por medio de obedecer los mandamientos realmente podemos saber la voluntad de
Dios para nosotros. Yo se que Tomas S. Monson es un profeta de Dios y que el
recibe revelacion y se que el realmente habla con Dios, cara a cara. Y tambien
se que hoy dia tenemos la palabra de Dios por medio de el.
I would also like to bare my
testimony in the other language I learned, called Q’eqchi’.Ninnaw naq li Jesukristo a’an li Ralal li
Yios. A’an kikam chiru li krus choq’ qe.Ut xb’aan lix mayej li kixb’aanu chaq, naru toosutq’iiq rik’in li Yos
chirix li yu’am ha’in. A’an aj Tojol Rix li Ruuchich’och’. A’an li Qas. Nannaw
naq laj Jose Smith kiril li ru li Yos ut xb’aan a’an li Iklees a’in
kik’ojob’aman chaq. Ninnaw naq Lix Iklees li Jesukristo reheb’ laj Santil
Paab’anel sa’ Roso’jikeb’ li Kutan a’an lix iklees li Jesukristo, ut maajun
chik natawman sa’ xb’een li ruuchich’och’. I leave these things with you sa’
xk’ab’a’ li Jesukristo, nuestro Salvador. Jo’kan taxaq. Amen.
Bishop Brent Estes: Jordan chose a scripture for his mission
plaque before he left on his mission. Looking back at it now, I think he was
rather inspired and prophetic as it describes his mission quiet accurately. Doctrine
and Covenants 121: 6-7 "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 they
foes."Just as this scripture is
engraved on this plaque, you can tell that Jordan's testimony is engraved on
his soul. I want to thank Jordan on behalf of the ward for the service he gave
to our brothers and sisters in Guatemala. We did pray for him and were mindful
of him. And we are thankful that he is back with us again. Thank you
All of us anxiously awaiting for the plane to arrive!
There they are! All our missionaries finally home!!!
Mom running with outstretched arms to get the first hug from her boy!!!!
Moms and Sons hugging for the first time in two years.
From left to right: Collette McPhee, Leslie Smith, Sheila Dixon
I LOVE THIS PICTURE!
Brothers reunited! Jake and Jordan
Allison was so very excited to welcome home her big brother. This hug was worth it!
Grandma and Grandpa couldn't be more proud or happy to see their beloved grandson again!
Elder Smith with about half of his little cousins whom he adores.
THEY MADE IT ALL THE WAY TO THE FINISH LINE TOGETHER!
President and Hermana Torres surprised all the missionaries by coming to the airport to welcome them home. It was such a treat for them. They all broke down when they saw their beloved mission president and mission mom.
Elders Jordan Smith, Evan Fast, Corbin McPhee, Travis Dixon,
Hermana Torres, President Torres, Matt Lusty, Jared Fadel, and Jared Winkel
He's really REAL and really home!
It's the best to be a complete family again!!
He came home proudly looking like a pure Polochic Missionary.
By: Leslie Smith (Mom)
Thank you for sharing in our excitement and welcoming our missionary back home! It was extra special to share this moment with so many other missionary families whom we have gotten to know over the past two years. You have all been such a blessing in our lives. Everyone said that welcoming home a missionary is better than you can ever imagine...well I imagined pretty awesome things, but the feelings that washed over me as I saw my boy for the first time in two years cannot be put into words. I have such a deep gratitude and love to my Heavenly Father for protecting him and guiding him and helping him complete this amazing two year journey. What a blessing it has been for Jordan and our entire family. More pictures will be posted here soon of him at home and of his mission report homecoming. I will also post Elder Smith's homecoming talk on here as soon as I transcribe it. If you would like to see a complete album of all the mission homecoming activities, please check my facebook photos as I will be updating them all there.
Welp, it looks like today is the last time I will be emailing home as a missionary....it really hadn’t hit me that I was going home until right now. So I have been able to sleep, but I probably won’t be able to sleep tonight. It is just weird. Yeah I still get lung pains every once in awhile, but it really isn’t that bad any more. I am about at 80% right now I’d say. And once I am home, I will either be 100% or worse. Depending on if the weather wants to kill me. If not, then the Lord will bless me and I will be just fine. Ha I will be fine for travel Mom, it’s not like I'm going to be walking home! Haha.
I won’t believe that Allison is grown up until I see it. Pretty sure it isn’t possible though. Jake, I can maybe comprehend it, maybe. But I will probably freak out for how big they are!
Well it is kind of a weird time to be coming home. Having a baptism so close and all. But really, I did all that the Lord had for me to do. He has it all planned out, and as long as we are willing to show forth some effort on our part, all will be done according to how He wants it to be done. And I know that Fam. Can Tun will be baptized in these next 2 weeks. All that is left is for them to go to the Muni (city hall, kind of) to take out his papers and then wait a week! Everything worked out miraculously! But I feel that I am ready, and that I am supposed to go home at this time. I knew ever since I started getting sick, I knew that the date the Lord gave me to work till would be the date I go home, and that everything else would happen according to His will....if that made any sense. But I know all is well, and that it is time...
Guatland is...I really don’t know how to fully describe what it means to me. It has always been part of my heritage, but now I feel that it is actually part of me. It is kind of like football. After working so hard and leaving sweat and blood out on the field, that field becomes linked to you in a very special way. Guatemala is not only a part of my ancestry but it’s also a part of my heart and I will love it forever. Even though I spent super hard times here, I loved it here and will carry the experiences I learned throughout the rest of my life.
Serving these people was hard. Not gonna lie. Before my mission I thought, Hmm, Guatemala, everyone wants to be baptized down there probably! However, it was definitely not the case. But the few chosen ones that I was able to teach really touched me and I will never forget them. Even those that didnt accept me and those who outright rejected me, I will always wish them the best and continually pray that they will find the truth one day. I love the people here and I have grown so much by seeing them live with so little, and yet be happy. I have truly learned what it is to be happy.
I have learned way too many things from my trials, I will talk about it more in my homecoming talk, but for now I will just say that I definitely learned how to trust in the Lord and that I don’t need anything in my life as long as I have Him by my side.
I just want to apply all the things that I learned out here to be able to continue to progress and really rely on the Lord, because I don’t think He is quite done molding me yet.
My last testimony as a missionary is simple. I know that Jesus is the Christ and the He lives. I know that Joseph Smith saw Him at the right hand of the Father on a spring morning of 1820. I know that the apostles and prophets of today still converse with our Lord and Savior to give counsel to all of us here on the earth. I know that God will lift us up in any moment of trial if we just remember Him, and put Him first. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only true church upon the face of the earth.
This mission experience has changed my life. There are no other words to describe it. I have gone through my wilderness as you said mom. And now it is time to continue on with what the Lord has planned out for me.
I am doing great mamacita. Still a little sick, and with lung pains, but doing great.
This week was a pretty lame week. Nothing has really progressed with the Fam. Can Tun. The lawyer hasn’t been at his office when they go by, and things have lengthed that we didnt think were going to lengthen. They will get baptized in upcoming months, but I don’t think it will happen when I am here. And we dropped Adolfo this week. He just isn’t progressing, and doesn’t really want to progress. He just wants to do things his own way instead of trying to accept the will of the Lord in his life. Maybe one he will be baptized, because he just knows too much to deny it, but we aren’t teaching him anymore. So that was kind of a bummer. And we FINALLY got some references, but we haven’t been able to find them ever. Soooo the work is just slowly rolling along.
That is super sick that I will be able to defer until the Fall at BYU. It will definitely help me get back into real life again and to be able to get a job and all that stuff. Yeah, I think I am gonna wanna live in Orem instead of Provo. It would be easier I think since there are a little bit more job opportunities there and what not. But we shall see in a couple weeks, then I will figure that all out...if you could keep your eyes out for me??
That's sweet that we can go to almost all the Homecomings for my group. It is going to be crazy, scrambling around to all those, but it will be super fun. And yeah, Tell Bronson’s mom that I will totally go to the airport to welcome home Elder Bronson in March!
Ha that sounds like a pretty fun first weekend home. I think on the way home from the airport I want to eat at somewhere American! Real Steak or even In N Out. I don’t really care that much. But I’d say Texas Roadhouse or In N Out. Either one. What foods do I want when I get home? Anything that isn’t oily. I don’t really want to eat anything that is made with oil or butter anymore. That is all I have eaten here. So anything just fresh and tasty..... (hmmmm, because In N Out is so fresh and their menu selections are not oily?)
Right when we walked outside the house this morning there was a newspaper with Eli Manning holding up the Super bowl Trophy with the score and everything. But I have no idea how it all went down, so I can’t wait to see it.
As long as Fam Can Tun gets baptized one day, I will be happy, cuz it is really coming down to the wire, but I know that they will be part of the church one day. They even have Family Home Evening and know their way around the Book of Mormon pretty well. They are practically members, they just haven’t gotten wet yet. But one day.
Oh freak, my cousins are little punks, and really hilarious. Hahaha its gonna be fun messin around with all those little kids when I get back...I can’t wait!
All is going well, slow but well. At least our branch mission leader left with us once this last week, for one hour. I think that is the first time my entire mission!!!!!! WHOO!!!!
Well super crazy that next week will be the last email that I will be sending home from Guatland. It still doesn’t seem like this is all coming to an end. Well I love you guys, have a great week. See ya in 10 days! Love you lots!
Stay Strong. Keep the Faith. Love Elder Jordan Smith
We would like to extend an invitation to all who have been following Elder Smith's blog (whether we know you or not) to come listen to him report on his mission at our Sacrament Meeting. It will be on Sunday, February 19th at 9:00am 2790 North Center Street in Lehi UT.
We are eagerly preparing for his return here at home. It's almost like getting ready to welcome a new baby into our house, but better!! Cleaning, organizing, washing, buying a few new things, planning parties....it's all going by really fast now and we can hardly stand it!
12 more days until I get to hug my son again after two very long years. I may never let go. We hope you'll join us as we celebrate his return from serving the people of Guatemala, our Heavenly Father, and our Savior Jesus Christ.
If you are new to this blog and have a missionary serving in Guatemala, please leave a comment with your email and I will contact you. I would love to get to know you, share stories, and let you know of an email group available for great advice and support for us missionary moms!