Monday, February 22, 2016

New Companion in Mi Perú

Well this week is cambios [transfers], and my companion is going up North. In our mission, there are 7 zones that are smaller that are just north of Lima, and 3 big zones that are North. I'm not sure who my new companion is, but we exchange tomorrow morning.

A couple of weeks ago a man started attending church and said he wanted to be baptized, but he left before we could figure out where he lived. So this last week we saw him again and found out he was meeting with the missionaries before but he moved to our area recently. He's basically ready for baptism, but he doesn't really understand why he should read the Book of Mormon, so that's our focus with him.

I'm getting way more used to the food here. At first it was hard to eat so much rice but now it's more normal. I actually like a lot of the different foods here. One of my favorites is called papa rellena, which is like a potato stuffed with vegetables and eggs, fried, and served with mayo on top and rice on the side.

This last week was one of the hottest weeks I've ever experienced. I heard it's like 32-34 degrees Celsius, but the thermic temperature is more like 37-38. It's also really humid. But I hear that it starts to go down in March.

I've been pondering a lot this week about the Holy Ghost. Sometimes I feel frustrated when I'm trying to do my part and the results aren't as good as they could be. At first I've been thinking, what am I doing wrong, but I think at the same time I need to be more patient.

Everything's going great down in Perú! It's great to read about what's going on with you guys. Love you all! Take care.

Elder Evan Smith

Monday, February 8, 2016

Zone Conference and Baptism!

This week we had our zone conference with our mission president, and after we had entrevistas (interviews). Apparently always before entrevistas, president talks with the district together for training. So we had a lot of good training that day with president. All in all, I recognize now that I need to improve my contacting and talking with everyone I see. This past weekend I've been contacting way more, and feeling more content with my ability to talk comfortably with people.

One experience I had with Elder Chavez was that we were passing through a neighborhood and we started talking to a group of men when one of them pulled us aside and asked us to stop by his house because he wants to change his life around for his family. We taught them lesson 1 and they came to church on Sunday! It was so great!

We are seeing a lot of really great improvement in the rama (branch) in the last few weeks. This past Sunday we had a really good attendance in Sacrament meeting, which is really good. Hna. (Sister) Virginia, who was baptized the first week in January, already has a calling as the Relief Society secretary and has been to the temple to do baptisms!!!

This last Saturday Hna. Ana was baptized! She is super nice and especially connects with the missionaries because her son just left for his mission in Argentina. I got to baptize her! It was a very spiritual experience for me. Our investigating family came too, so we are really excited to see the rama continue to grow.

Bautizamos Hermana Ana!

Este semana aprendí mucho que realmente, más de cualquier otra cosa, los fundamentos del Evangelio son lo más importante. A veces estamos perdido en todos los detalles y cositas que tiene importancia, pero al fin del día, la verdad que Jesucristo vino a la tierra dispuesto a dar su vida para nosotros, y lo hizo, y resucitó es tan poderoso para mi. También, que tenemos un libro de escritura tan perfecto, y que podemos orar para saber por nosotros mismos que es verdadera quiere decir que realmente tenemos un Padre Celestial amoroso, y el tiene un plan perfecto para nosotros. Estoy tan emocionado para hacer la obra acá en Perú, y les amo profundamente también. Gracias por todo su apoyo y amor! Hasta la próxima semana!

(Translation: This week, I learned a lot really, more than anything else, the basics of the Gospel are most important. Sometimes, we get lost in all the details and little things that matter, but at the end of the day, the fact that Jesus Christ came to Earth willing to give his life for us, and that he did that and rose from the tomb is so powerful to me. Also, we have a book of scriptures so perfect, and we can pray to know for ourselves that we really have a loving Heavenly Father, and He has a perfect plan for us. I'm so excited to do the Lord's work here in Peru, and I love them deeply too. Thanks for all your support and love! Until next week!)

Elder Evan Smith

Monday, February 1, 2016

Two Months in the Field

Today means I have 2 months in the field! It's crazy that time goes by so fast, but I still have a lot of time left.

This last saturday was super great for our district because we met our goal for our district for enero, 11, and the whole zone too, 25! This is super super good because in the past year the zone hasn't been super awesome, but just when I got here a lot of things changed. We're in a really good time now, we're seeing some really great success. I don't think it's just coincidence either.

We tried so hard to make the baptism happen with Arturo y Estefania last saturday, but they didn't pass their interviews, and they're a little frustrated about it, and directing that frustration at us. So we're going to try a different approach to teach them this week, but we're aren't going to leave them just quite yet. But we've been teaching a super great family, familia Vilca, that really likes the Church.

We've been trying really hard this past week to meet new people, and we contacted a lot but didn't teach very much. But Sunday night, I felt like we should go try teaching this one family that we might like 3 or 4 weeks ago but didn't have time or not everyone was home for us to teach. Turns out, a family of 7 brothers lives there, with all their wives and children for the older ones too. Not everyone was there still, but we taught 18 people! It was so crazy! All of us were crowded around in their small family room sweating bullets, but we taught a condensed lesson 1 and left a book of mormon. We're hoping things will work out with this family!

So I don't think I've explained a lot about my companion, but he's from Santiago, Chile and is 21 years old right now. But when he was like 15-18 years old, he started playing table tennis. He really like it and was really really good. Like he started playing for Chile in competitions to send people to the Olympics. He almost went, but decided to redirect his life to get ready for his mission so he started coaching people to earn money. Anyways, he hasn't played for a while but we played today for p-day with our whole district, and he is super good. He can spin the ball so that it comes at you normally but the moment it hits your paddle it spins off way out of control, or my favorite is when it hits your paddle and spins down like dead weight.

The influence of the Holy Ghost is so real. Sometimes I get a distinct feeling we should go visit someone, and maybe we don't even get to meet with them but we find someone in our path that is ready to hear us. That's why it's so important to plan and stick to your plans so the Lord can put people in our paths.

Love you guys!
Elder Evan Smith