Monday, October 9, 2017

Temple Trip!

President Stauffer and his wife with me at the temple

So this week I got to go to the temple! It was such an amazing experience. It was my first time going since I left the MTC, and honestly there's so much I've learned since that made the temple a whole different experience for me.

It was funny because the zone leaders didn't tell me when I was going to go, or if I would be able to at all (since we're in the zone farthest away from mission offices) so they literally called me with like 15 minutes notice to get on the bus to Lima. We left a little late so I think it made the joke on them a little because we got the the offices at like midnight and the mission secretaries were there just waiting for us.

This week we were working super hard to receive member referrals and contact them as fast as we could. We had a big ward referral activity a couple weeks ago that has given us a big head start but the task now is to go out and find out where the referrals live. But anyways on Thursday while we were walking around looking for an address we contacted a young couple, Jonathan and Diana, with their baby in the street, and they were really shy but they accepted us to come over after lunch.

We went over and taught them and it was a really smooth lesson. It was interesting because Jonathan had grown up believing that the sabbath day is Saturday, and when we taught about the Restoration and the need to pray to know if it's true, he just accepted it. I honestly don't know what we said that was so special to convince him, but I know it was the Spirit that persuaded him.

On Sunday, they came to church! It was so awesome having our Gospel Principles class so full of investigators. It is such a sweet joyful feeling because when we started working here a couple months ago we had between 0-1 investigators coming to church each week. Now we have at least 4-5 each week. I know this isn't my work, but I know that the Lord really wants His children to have the truth in their lives and that's when we come in to be instruments in His hands.

Yo sé que ésta es la Iglesia verdadera. Yo sé que Dios es un Dios de milagros y Él llama profetas en nuestros tiempos. Él mandó Su Hijo Jesucristo para sacrificar Su vida por nosotros voluntariamente. Jesús es nuestro Salvador y Redentor, y Él vive. Estoy tan agradecido por Él porque yo puedo levantarme cada día con confianza de que Dios me conoce, me ayuda, y me perdona mientras me esfuerzo por vivir el Evangelio. Yo sé que los convenios que hacemos con nuestro Padre Celestial son eternos. Amo tanto este Evangelio, pues es un evangelio de GOZO!!

I love you all so much!!! I hope you have a stellar week!

Until next time! 😎✌

Elder Evan Smith

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Longest Week

Well, let me just start off by saying that I think this was one of the longest weeks in my mission. But I learned a lot.

Perhaps it felt very long because I was hit with a lot of trials. I love the pride cycle for that reason. I have been trying to work as hard as I can and we've been having a lot of great results with my companion. I have also been striving to be more humble in my mission.

As each day passed last week, however, I felt my patience growing thinner and thinner, and my companion and I could feel ourselves becoming a little like Laman and Lemuel. It was on a then-gloomy wednesday night that we received some bad news over the phone that we were ready to throw in the towel when I remembered the Book of Mormon.

How many times do we read in the Book of Mormon that the people are blessed when they're righteous, then they become prideful and wicked, and the Lord chastises them, and then comes the critical point.

The people either repented of their sins and turned to the Lord or rebelled completely against the Lord and continued murmuring and making excuses.

I felt like we were at this point, and this analysis hit me so hard, I couldn't deny it was the Spirit. We talked it over as a companionship and we decided to pray and repent of our sins and hope for a miracle.

Mormon 9:19 "And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles."

Over the next days I cannot explain fully in words how things changed. In one aspect we were eased of the burdens which were put upon our shoulders, that even we could not feel them upon our backs, and in another aspect we were blessed with what we lacked in the first place to fulfill our purpose.

I do not believe in coincidences, and I know that this refining helped prepare me spiritually for the general conference we had. I am so grateful for the blessings we have from a loving Heavenly Father that knows perfectly what we need. I know that the prophet and apostles are called of God to give us His message and guide us in these difficult times. I testify that the Book of Mormon is true and really has power.

I love you all so much! I hope you all have an excellent week!!!

Elder Evan Smith

Monday, September 25, 2017

Spring in South America

So this week we supposedly started "spring" here in Perú. The funny thing is that I think it has been the COLDEST week of my whole mission haha. We've been fine, but I've just had to proselyte and sleep with many sweaters and jackets on. And I'm pretty sure that this weather isn't even that cold in general compared to Seattle. It's been around 18-22 degrees celsius here.

This week has been normal as far as proselyting goes. We had a work visit with the zone leaders that went pretty well. It was funny though because last week Daniel Bastian wrote in his letter that he did a work visit that took him to a different he went in an airplane and everything to work with the missionaries. And here in Barranca we just cross the street to do a work visit with the zone leaders hahaha.

My companion and I are teaching Fernando, who's a referral from a member called Joel. He's a man that's gone through some difficulties in his life but wants to turn things around now, and we've taught a couple lessons with Joel and his wife. I don't think I've been in a lesson where the members' testimonies have been so vital and therefore powerful as in these lessons. As we taught the word of wisdom, Joel and his wife each shared various experiences and testimonies on how they've overcome and been blessed by living the commandments, and it's so much stronger for Fernando when it comes from his friends. He is excited to keep on progressing and be baptized in October. This is a strong testimony to me that members are key in the conversion of the investigators!

Thanks for all your prayers! I'll keep on praying for all of you. Hope you have an excellent week!

Elder Evan Smith

Monday, September 18, 2017

Visit from Elder Oaks

This week was awesome! We had the visit from an Apostle...Elder Oaks! Some other general authorities came with him too. It was a really spiritually enriching meeting, as you might guess. I learned a lot about repentance, the Atonement and how to use the Book of Mormon. These really are principles to teach in the mission and to use for a lifetime. I testify that the general authorities are really called of God.

On Sunday, we went back to an old appointment we had last Monday, and we didn't find the person we were looking for, but we found and taught his brother Luis. He's a man that has his regular work routine, and spends the weekends with his family that live in Barranca, but he has felt like something is lacking in his life. We talked about the Restoration, and he was really interested in how to know which of all the churches is true. After focusing on the doctrine of Christ and inviting him to be baptized, he said, "You know I've been thinking about a lot of things in my life and what I need is religion. I really should get baptized." He already knows a few members that are his neighbors and is excited to go to church with them next week. This is yet another testimony for me that the Lord prepares people all around us to teach.

Love you all a million. Have a super excellent week!

Elder Evan Smith

Monday, September 11, 2017

Great Teaching Experience

This week we're all excited for the visit of Elder oaks to our mission! It's such an anxious experience having an apostle come to speak to us,

This last week has been great! Yesterday night was really special, apart from the lessons we had we had a great experience to finish off the day.

The last contact of the day was when we were on our way to the room. I saw a family coming our way on the other side of the road and we went without thinking twice. The dad turned out to be the guy who printed our photos off last p-day and was excited to see us again. His wife was really interested in having us visit them too. Literally seems like a golden family!!

have a great week! love you all!!!

Elder Evan Smith

Monday, September 4, 2017

Pascuala, a New Investigator

This week we were blessed with the visit of Elder Gonzales and his wife. He's a member of the Seventy. President and Sister Stauffer took the opportunity to share some things with us as well, and it turned out to be a really spiritually edifying meeting. We focused on the Doctrine of Christ, and how to teach it in such a way that we don't get "in the way" of the Spirit.

One experience we had was with a new investigator we found on Saturday morning. Pascuala was a woman we contacted on the street while she was talking to a member we already knew. When we went to visit her we were a little apprehensive because she'd told us how "catholic" she was. She's an older person as well and usually people of that age are harder to teach because of their traditions. However, as we taught Pascuala she was really open to us because her member friend has been a really good influence to her in the last few weeks. When we talked about repentance and baptism, at first she didn't think it was necessary to get baptized again, but when we used the scriptures and asked her questions to let her act for herself, she said "You know, I think it really would be necessary to get baptized again if what you're saying is true. How do I know for myself?" Our eyes got wide as we saw how the lesson turned around. The Spirit really is the senior companion, and when we get out of His way we are able to help the Lord's chosen find His gospel again.

Thanks for being so supportive to me! Love you all so much! Have a great week.

Elder Evan Smith

Monday, August 28, 2017

Teaching Cristian

This week flew by so fast. It was so full of great experiences. You might remember about the investigator, Cristian, that I explained how we found last week. Well, this week we had a really special experience with him. When we went back to teach him last week he came to the door telling us he doesn't like pressure and that this would be the last lesson if we really wanted to continue teaching. Of course we went right into the lesson with a lot of faith.

We started off reading the Book of Mormon with him because he still hadn't read it. We were going paragraph by paragraph in the introduction and explaining as we went when he stopped in the middle and said how much he liked the Book of Mormon. He hadn't realized the history of the book before and he was really interested in the fact that Jesus Christ visited the Americas.

Near the end of the lesson he actually said to us that he noted a real change in attitude in himself and he excused himself for being a little harsh at first. He said that in fact he wanted us to stop by every other day if possible. This was such a testimony builder for me that there REALLY IS power in the Book of Mormon. It is such a blessing to see the changes in other people as they come closer to Christ.

Another experience we had this week started before church yesterday. As we were getting to church a little late (picking up investigators and sadly coming empty handed), we said hi to a guy that looked new to me. He introduced himself as a member from another stake about 2 hours away. He came literally just to find the missionaries and take them to the house of his sister and her husband. He'd been looking for the missionaries on the streets with no luck the previous visits he made and so this time he looked online to find the church building and find us. This is such a rare experience for us so I was pleasantly surprised.

We went by in the evening to visit the family with this good brother present in the lesson. Right off the lesson went really well. We could feel their friendliness and we could tell they were receptive and ready to hear our message. It's interesting how you can just tell when people are more prepared than others. When we talked about the Book of Mormon the sister said that she'd read a little because her brother gave her a copy a few months ago. There's a part in the introduction that says when you receive a testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, you'll know that the Church is true, and she felt like that statement was true. She couldn't really explain why, but to her it was just logical.

Many people from different religions had been inviting them to go to their churches over the years because of the many trials they'd been facing, but they never went because of different reasons. When we invited them to come to church and when we invited them to get baptized, both the sister and her husband were nodding and saying that they really want to commit. They feel a great need to come closer to Christ.


I know that this Church is true! I know that the Savior lives and that God knows every single one of us and our needs. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.

Have a super duper week!

Elder Evan Smith

Monday, August 21, 2017

Interviews with Mission President

So today we had interviews with President. This involved a "zone inventory" in the morning, in which President trained us on a few principles, then we had our interviews, then a companionship training with the assistants about our area book and things like that. It was really great! We've got a lot a new things to apply in our areas to work more integrated with the ward members and find new people to teach. One of the biggest takeaways from today is that our mission president really is dedicated to us and to the work. We feel lots of love from him and his wife.

This week was also full of great experiences as well. It was a little difficult of a weekend for the work, and we were both exhausted and wondering what more we could do to find someone to teach. Sunday night at 7:30 we found ourselves sitting on a curb going over our agendas. My companion said he didn't know what to do, and I was trying to encourage him, but inside I also asked myself if I really knew what I was doing. I decided to let our stresses off to one side for a moment. We only had a little more than an hour to proselyte, and there weren't any appointments. I thought we should visit a certain less active member that the ward council asked us to visit. We said a prayer to confirm what we were to do and afterwards I just felt like we needed to move our feet.

Our plan to visit the less active didn't work out. We felt prompted to visit someone we had an appointment with earlier in the day but the appointment fell through. Once we got there and knocked on the door of the building, the guy who lives closest to the main door answered as usual. It was kind of like an apartment building, but private, like there's a front door you have to go through to get upstairs to the other apartments. The person we were looking for wasn't home yet but we contacted the man who answered the door. He said he was busy working on his thesis, but after a minute he said he needed a break anyways, so he let us in to hear us out.

He said he'd heard from the missionaries over 5 years ago but he felt like they were rushing him so he stopped investigating. It was interesting his case because he said he didn't want to get baptized and go back to his old habits, so he figured he was better off not getting baptized. I simply asked him that wouldn't he be worse off knowing that what he's doing is wrong and not following God? He said "you know, you've got a point." He was really attentive the whole lesson and said he really wanted to investigate for himself and receive an answer. Honestly the Spirit was really strong and we could tell that this guy was being prepared by the Lord.

What I've learned from this experience is that the Lord is at the helm, and we have to be willing to submit ourselves to Him. Perhaps I have a little more experience in the mission, but when I get to a point that I think I know what I'm doing and I can do it by myself, that's where pride comes right in. I am humbled to be a representative of Jesus Christ as a full-time missionary. I know that as baptized members of His Church we have also covenanted to take upon His name at all times and in all places. True missionaries don't just wear a nametag on their shirt, they wear it on their heart.

I love you guys so much! Hope you all have an excellent week!

Elder Evan Smith

Monday, August 14, 2017

Birthday Party!

Hello family!

This week has been spectacular! On my birthday we had the peruvian ritual birthday party in the evening which involves singing happy birthday in both english and spanish, and the infamous "mordidita". Well, at least it wasn't as bad as last year but I still ended up with cake all over my face haha. I love this ward so much. Even though I only have a couple of weeks here they're very caring towards the missionaries.

There's a member in our ward who is a newspaper editor, and years ago ran for mayor, and basically knows everyone in the entire Barranca province. He's a super active member also. He's been ward mission leader like 3 times I think. But we all take turns in the zone going out to proselyte with him and he talks to everyone he knows by name (which is practically everyone haha) and a lot of them are really accepting to us. We've already found a few new investigators thanks to this good member. It's such a help for the work to have a member connection with the investigators because they feel more natural and open to express their opinions. I hope you guys have chances to go out with the missionaries or teach lessons with them soon because it is such a great experience and such a help!

Yesterday there was a big broadcast for all the stakes in Perú and Bolivia in which a few area authorities and general authorities participated. I don't have much time to explain it all but it was an awesome broadcast and afterwards we had a big baptismal service with the whole zone!

Thanks for all your letters and all your love. Sending it right back at you!


Elder Evan Smith

Monday, July 17, 2017

An Amazing Discussion

My new flag for Peru's Independence Day (Jul 28)

On Sunday we had a really good spiritual experience. A recently moved-in member that's a returned missionary said he'd accompany us after church to our appointments. I was anxious to teach with the member because he told us it'd been a long time since he'd taught with the missionaries. I was confident we would be able to teach a lesson together but still I was a little anxious. We contacted, looked for our appointments, and finally entered a house of new investigators.

It went amazing. We got to know the investigators and their needs, asked inspired questions, the member (who used to be super catholic) gave a perfect testimony for the super catholic investigators, etc. They accepted us to come back and they're going to come to church next week, and they accepted a baptismal invitation. I felt really good. I realize that this really is the Lord's work. I can't even imagine how else we'd have found these people, entered their house and shared a message of the Restoration, unless this were the Lord's work. This is the kind of experience I never want to forget.

I know that when we dedicate ourselves to do the Lord's will we'll really receive blessings that the Lord wants us to have. I testify that the Lord loves and knows us and wants to bless us all the time.

Love you all! have a great week!!

Elder Evan Smith

my companion and I eating my favorite lunch
with some members (AJI DE GALLINA!!!👌)

Monday, July 10, 2017

Strange Coincidence

Lasagna with a member family!

This week we had a very fun experience. Yesterday after church we were looking for an investigator's house, and we stopped by a park to get our bearings, when a woman called out to us, "Elders!" It turned out that she had just moved in and wanted us to visit them some time during the week. She said she'd moved from the US, and I asked her which state. She said Washington. Since a lot of Peruvians confuse Washington with Washington DC, I asked if she meant Washington DC. She said, "no, I'm from a little-known place called Seattle". I started freaking out a little. I said I'm from Seattle too, from the Everett stake. She's from our stake! Her family attends the Spanish branch presided by Brother Waite! I asked her what their last name was and she said the Gameros. I thought for a sec and asked if she had any grandchildren my age. She said her grandson had served a mission in Uruguay and recently got married and had a kid, and his name is JOSE JAIME. She showed me pictures on her phone of their family. They all look great! It was such a nice coincidence! Her name is Julia Mejia.

Sister Mejia just moved from the Everett Washington Stake
and attended the Chennault Beach Spanish branch

Anyways, on the more spiritual side, a week and a half ago during our interviews with president, he challenged us to coordinate a lunch appointment with our investigators with a member family so that their church attendance commitment would be stronger. We were trying like crazy to do this with no success. Saturday afternoon, a sister in the ward called us out of the blue asking us to eat lunch with them after church with a friend that she had invited to church. Talk about a miracle!! They actually didn't make it to church but we had a really nice lunch appointment with their friends and were able to have a spiritual experience.

I know that the Church is true and that when we strive to follow our leaders, even when things might not look so promising, the Lord always comes out for us. Thanks for all your love and support. Love you all!! have a great week!

Elder Evan Smith

Our zone

Our district

Monday, July 3, 2017

A Meaningful Member Visit

It's weird how holidays like the 4th of July kind of comes out of nowhere, or at least it seems like it to me. I know it's because it's not important at all to the Peruvians, but I guess just because it's always been a big deal my whole life I feel a little weird, haha. Today I'm doing a work visit with another American elder, so I think we're going to celebrate with hamburgers tonight.

This week has been really good. On Wednesday we had a district meeting. I don't know if I told you I'm the district leader, but the last couple of weeks the district meetings have come out a lot better than before. I've been focusing a lot more on our lesson practices. Our practices are just between us missionaries trading off and improving certain principles at a time. Now it's set up so that we have at least 45 minutes of straight practices. At the end of it all, the missionaries are coming out of the district meetings more excited to work in their areas, so I think it's working. I feel really good having done something unique that was able to bless the lives of others, making them happier and able to go out and bless even more people. I don't feel pride, but just a lot of joy.

Last Thursday we had an interesting experience. We had an appointment with a active-member family. The family is a single woman living with her youth-aged nephews, and they don't have leadership callings in the ward, so they have gone a little under the radar for me in my 5 months in the ward. There are a couple less actives in their family, so that's how we got to know their house and set the appointment. It was interesting that when we taught them they said that we were the first missionaries to visit them in over 5 years! I couldn't believe it! Our area isn't THAT big, and they live in about the middle, but they'd gone by a long time without many visits. They were so happy to have us there with them. We got to know them better and shared a message from the Book of Mormon. We're going to have a stake activity this week, so we invited them to invite their friends and family to go and they were really willing.

This isn't the first time this has happened on my mission, and not in this area either. Something I've learned from these experiences is that there really are people out there that need and want help and will accept us but sometimes they can't make the initiative themselves. For whatever reason, I know that if we are doing everything we can to magnify our callings and reach out to others, members, friends, and strangers alike, we'll find that these people need what we have, and the Lord will bless us to be instruments in His hands.

On Friday we had interviews with President. It was special because before the interviews he did a training meeting with the whole zone which helped me see how I can be more aligned with the revelation in the mission in my area and also help the other missionaries do the same. In my interview I was able to resolve a couple of questions I had and I left feeling really positive and uplifted. Honestly I love my mission president. He helps me out a lot and I really feel his love for us. President and Sister Stauffer remind me a lot of Mom and Dad in that way.

I know that the Gospel is true. I know that life keeps on going and sometimes our trials and difficulties seem like they're not going anywhere, but as I've focused less on myself and more on serving others, and more on how to live the first principles of the gospel, I've felt a lot of relief and hope. I know that the Holy Ghost testifies of truth and guides us in all we do. I'm so grateful for the things (Mom & Dad) taught me my whole life to be able to be worthy and follow the Lord.

Elder Evan Smith

Monday, June 26, 2017

Two Lessons about the Spirit

This week was full of tender mercies. My favorite was last Saturday before lunch. Just to set the scene a little, we were going to have a baptism but in the morning the investigator called to cancel. We went and did everything we could but it didn't happen. My companion and I felt a little down, but we had an appointment with a couple of potential investigators, so we went over there. I had contacted the woman months ago with my old companion Elder Romero. The appointment had fallen through back then, and one day when we were passing by there with Elder Diaz, the moment when we contacted her came back to my mind and we knocked on the door and set an appointment. They turned out to be really impressed with the Church. They have a member-friend that they've always seen their good example and had always wanted to know a little more about the Church. It was a really great lesson.

I learned 2 things from this experience: that the Spirit often works in subtle ways. It's something that I "knew" before but it's really powerful when you actually live it. The other is the importance of being a witness of Christ always, everywhere. You never know who's watching you, but the Lord really can use all of us as tools to help His other children come back to the fold.
"By small and simple things are great things brought to pass." Alma 37:6 
I know that this Church is true and that the Lord Jesus Christ lives. I love this gospel! I love being a missionary! I know that if we read the Book of Mormon every day we'll be more spiritually protected. I know that the Pres. Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God.

I love you all so much! Have a great week!

Elder Evan Smith

Monday, June 19, 2017

Happy Fathers Day

Happy Father's Day Dad!!! Hope it was a great day. I heard there was a Star Wars themed party. I liked all the pictures you guys sent! You all look happy. It's been a good week for me as well.

This week we had a mission leadership training meeting that was really awesome. Our Mission President has been focusing a lot in these last two weeks on referrals. There's an internet system that we receive referrals that our mission hasn't used very much before that he taught us about and we have been contacting the referrals like crazy. We found a person that has been waiting for the missionaries to come by for over a year. I felt so...impressed. I knew it was a miracle.

I feel like I have progressed a lot during my mission. Not just more mature or experienced, but my own testimony has grown a ton. I have never really understood before the immense importance of daily prayer and scripture study. I also understand more than ever the blessings of the temple and the importance of attending regularly. It's something we don't get to do so much as missionaries, but I think now I understand a little more how some members feel when the closest temple is hours and hours away and hardly can attend.

Thanks Dad for everything you've taught me and the example you always set for me. Love you tons!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Transfers...New Companion!

My last day with Elder Vidal

This week I had some powerful spiritual experiences. On Wednesday, Elder Christenson (Presidency of the Seventy) and Elder Godoy (President of the Area) came to visit our mission. They shared very good talks. One of my favorite points from what Elder Christenson said is how our daily scripture study can have effect in our lives. I understood that while many times we may feel that our study time is filled with goals to read x number of pages of the book of mormon or from preach my gospel, we need to remember that the fundamental principle of personal study is to connect ourselves with heaven and receive divine revelation, and this requires preparation. I hadn't thought of the importance of this before, but I now understand more the need to prepare for my studies.

This week Elder Vidal had transfers. It was sad to see him go, but he's an awesome missionary. My new companion is Elder Diaz! He's from Huaraz, Peru. On Thursday we had some crazy spiritual experiences back to back. We had like 3 appointments that we were going to that I was so certain we would teach, but every single one fell through. We exhausted our plan B's and plan C's, and even our plan d's. I felt a little confused, but a member family popped into my head. We knocked on their door but they weren't home. Then I remembered that their next door neighbors are less actives. The 20 year old son was home watching the Peru soccer game, but oddly he let us in and turned off the game to let us teach ( 😮  I thought this guy was crazy, nobody does that here...). We taught a short but powerful lesson. It was cool because he said he'd gone to church a lot as a kid and went to seminary and everything. He ran to pull out his book of mormon that had a book cover and everything was marked. Elder Diaz said something that inspired me as well.
He asked, "Did you have it planned out today that the elders were going to come by to visit you?"
"Well, the Lord did. That's why we're here, because the Lord needs you."

It was awesome. But that's not the end of it. Leaving that lesson, we were going to contact as we made our way to our next plans, and I recognized a family that we'd contacted months ago, that I thought were members less active. Turned out to be that the dad isn't a member yet and he was really excited to let us come back another day. While we were talking to them, a man came up to us and asked where the church was because he's a returned missionary from another part of peru but had just moved to the area. And, his family aren't members either. So we jotted all that information down. Walking another couple blocks there was a young woman in her 20s walking into her apartment that exclaimed from across the street, "Hey are you elders from the Huandoy ward?!" She turned out to be a less active member as well that had moved away years ago but had just moved back last week and also has family members that aren't members.

In short, I truly testify to you guys that the Lord really DOES put prepared people in our path. Sometimes they'll come to us, other times we'll be guided to them. But if we open our mouths we'll find the ones that the Lord is preparing to hear His gospel.

I love the mission so much!

Love you all a ton as well. Have a great week! :D

Elder Smith

The Huaman family, our pensionista (They're the best!)

Two future missionaries in the ward

Monday, June 5, 2017

Being Led to New Investigators

Elder Vidal and I after soccer
Last week we got a referral that we went to look for when our plans had fallen through. Turned out to be a "house" that was just brick walls with no door, and nothing inside. There was a little store a couple houses down with a man sitting down by himself at a table. It was strange because it was a cold night but he was in just a short sleeved shirt. I told myself that there has to be a reason why we're here so we went and talked to him. He was a really nice man who was receptive but was going to travel in a couple days. But he told us that his cousin had recently been operated on and had his leg amputated and would do well to hear our message, and he lived across the street. We went to find his cousin, but not only did we find him, but also his mom, his brother and his sister. They are the Chavarri family. It was a really spiritual lesson. They told us that they'd always wanted to know how they can find the "correct church" among all the different kinds of churches there are in the world. They especially were interested in knowing how the Book of Mormon compares with the Bible and what they can learn from it.

This week we also had another cool experience with a new investigator we found. His name is Enzo. He's a young adult that's studying engineering in the university, and we found him one day walking to our pensionista and he started talking to me in English. It was really fun because he loves practicing and well there aren't many english speakers here. When we taught him he was interested in knowing the difference between catholics and us, and we started explainin the restoration. When we taught about the principle of baptism, it was like it clicked with him that you have to repent before you get baptized, and that's why little children don't need baptism.

During the second lesson with Enzo, we were reading a little with him from the Book of Mormon, and we began to talk about the difficulties there are in the world but how we can overcome them. I said that despite all the challenges we might have, our Heavenly Father is perfect and has a plan for all of us. He asked me then how a perfect Father could create us as imperfect people, and my companion and I got wide eyes and started teaching about the creation, the fall and the atonement. Enzo's questions are honestly so good and it makes us also really reflect on these simple truths. I really felt my testimony strengthen as I taught these lessons. I know that when we strive to have the Spirit with us, it won't just be the investigator that is edified, but all of us will be edified by the Spirit, like D&C 50 says.

I love you all so much, and I hope you have a stellar week!!

Elder Evan Smith

Monday, May 29, 2017

Listening to a prompting

Pork. chicken, and guinea pig ready for the cooking barrel!

Last week we made "chancho al cilindro". It's like a homemade oven out of a metal barrel with coals at the bottom. We cooked pork, guinea pig and chicken inside and had a super good lunch afterwards 😋.

Today we ate lunch together as a district
and made brownie banana splits

Back to last Monday, we were visiting our recent convert and her family, and as we were walking out of their house, my companion and I felt we needed to contact everyone we could. It was interesting because there wasn't anyone in the streets. We were on our way to a member's house that we'd had an appointment for.

A man and a woman walking together were approaching us and we contacted them. It turned out that they were on their way home from the pharmacy picking up some medication because his wife had been going through a difficult illness. He said he was a little surprised that we'd stopped him because he was very preoccupied but he felt like what we had to share with him would really help him. They let us into their house that very moment!

It was a really spiritual lesson. My companion and I were able to teach so fluidly and the Spirit was so strong in their home. This was a testimony builder for me that we really do need to follow the spiritual promptings we receive. I honestly felt so happy having been the instrument to let the Lord help these people in a moment of need.

A spiritual thought from what I was studying this week from general conference:
"We live in a time of great trouble and wickedness. What will protect us from the sin and evil so prevalent in the world today? I maintain that a strong testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of His gospel will help see us through to safety...
"I implore each of us to prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day. As we do so, we will be in a position to hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear, and to receive heaven’s help in our lives."
-Pres. Thomas S. Monson
I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that it is the word of God. I have learned that as we study and ponder its teachings on a daily basis, We can really be provided with divine help to overcome temptation and doubt. I know that prophets are called of God and we will always be blessed by following their counsel.

I love you all so much!!!