Monday, April 9, 2018

Help for Chris and her "Missionary Mama" talk in the ward!!

Elder Cody Smiley:

Well this week was a little tough.    We have been working with a family who we thought was prepared for baptism this past Saturday.  We later figured out that they had a problem with the Word of Wisdom.  So, now we have to wait for changes to happen.  We will see when they can get baptized.  I also received a notice that I will be leaving Fresnos.  I will finish my mission in a different ward for one transfer. 

Mom sent Mark and I an email explaining that our ward’s missionary moms will be reporting on their missionaries.  She wants me to share some things that I’ve learned.  It has made me think about everything I have learned.  First of all I learned Spanish.  I never speak English until I am emailing my family on Mondays.  I have only had native companions for my entire mission and I struggle to find the correct English words to use to email.  But, somehow I’m managed to make it work.  As far as the spiritual side of a mission goes, I guess it all boils down to the love that dios y jesúcristo really has for us.  Once people figure out that everything else falls in place. Things for future missionaries to learn how to do:

1.    Go to Seminary and pay attention.
2.     Learn another language.
3.     Learn to cook.
4.     Learn to manage money.
5.     Learn how to get along with anyone and everyone.
6.     Learn how to work.

-Elder Smiley

Contacting in front of the town sign


Elder Mark Smiley:
Here are some things for your talk:

Things I have learned on the mission: humility.  The biggest thing in the way of a missionary´s success is the missionary himself.  If he sees himself being the person who is having all of the success, then he is not in the right, and he is not going to feel the joy that comes from missionary work. 

I used to think that to get people to be baptized was to teach in the most incredible way possible, and then they would understand it as something cool, and want to get baptized.  Then I went on interchanges with my zone leader Elder Mangum. Elder Mangum is incredible.  He doesn’t learn very well, so even though he has had quite a bit of time in the mission he doesn’t speak the best Spanish, nor is he good with social situations or the like, but he knows his weaknesses and he relies on the Lord, and because of that the heavens open when he teaches. We went to go teach this kid named Hector, and we were teaching about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I began teaching, trying to get him as captivated as possible with good stories, animated teaching and hand gestures, and cool scriptures. Elder Mangum taught simply. We continued teaching like that until he came to a question, and asked us about a certain aspect of repentance.  This is where elder Mangum´s spirituality comes in.  I immediately tried to open to a scripture and give him a doctrinal fact to answer his inquiry, but Elder Mangum beat me to it.  Instead of answering his question with a scripture and 5 minutes on nonstop talk which was honestly going to be my approach, he asked ¨Hector, why are you concerned about this?¨ Simple, but  because of that inspired question, Hector opened up to us about things that had happened in the past and we now are that much closer to him getting baptized.

Alma 26:12 - ¨yea, I know that I am nothing. ¨  I have often asked myself what has impeded me from knowing that I am nothing compared to God, and how i can humble myself further to be able to have the spirit with me as a companion more often in my life

Hope this is what you are looking for mom:)

To Dad-
Mom tells me you are 100% in on your calling (wearing a suit and everything) and that is awesome.  I am still trying to figure out how to give more of myself to this work and its admirable how hard you worked on your mission. 

The Spanish is gowing grate, and the english is awlso souper emasing!!!  How is that for exceling in the English language!!!!!

I really need a Spanish speaking comp though; unlike Cody I could go this whole mission with English speaking companions. The complete opposite! The Spanish is really fun though, and I am thanking my lucky stars I’m learning Spanish instead of Japanese or Russian.  I have worked really hard on developing an accent, and it is starting to pay off. The other 3 elders here are not super interested in developing an accent because they don’t want it when they get home but I have been told on more than one occasion that I sound a lot easier to understand to my investigators so that is a super nice thing to hear.

I am actually really starting to love the mission.  The more often i have the spirit with me the more in love with this work i am. It has taken me way too much time to realize that the spirit is everything in this work and to depend on the Lord is the only way you can serve a mission to its full potential.

Dad read a talk called The Ricciardi Letter.  It is incredible!  it reminds me of how missionaries probably talked about you and I think you would get a kick out of reading that and showing that to the young men back home. Also the Donaldson papers are really good but they are more for in-field elders.

The four amigos!!  About as tall as my comp, even though I am one step lower!!!

When it is time for a S'more, it is time for a Smore!!  Hot Mexican weather or not.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Love letter to his Momma

Elder Cody Smiley

Today we played 4 hours of futbol.   Mañana I am not going to want to work! Jajajajaja Joke.

This week was really good honestly!   Michelle is one of our investigadores and she has a wedding date!  So now we can baptize her!  The faith of that family is great! In the capilla (chapel) the dad of the famillia Carreón said to us that a lot of missionaries have visited him but we have been the missionaries who have really helped them somos nosotros (we are)! I love that familia so much!

Conference was a little different. I really like the changes!  We got to listen to all of the sessions of Conference in Spanish in the Chapel.  The changes are going to help a lot of the missionary work.  Way to go Presidente Nelson!

This week mi distrito decided to buy the jerseys de México and play like we were the team.  We arrived to the cancha (soccer field) and found other futbol players that were playing really good! We arrived to play fought hard to win. I love my district so much!

Elder Mark Smiley

Momma, Momma trust me I was celebrating your birthday too.  Your faithful son did not forget that blessed day... well, he remembered halfway through:):):):):):)

But happy birthday mom!  I love you so much and you have learned this from smiles, will see it with Cody, and can expect it from me, but we never did appreciate you before the mission and all 3 of us are definitely going to be doing better at being the sons that a mom of your caliber deserves.  Even though Christ is the ultimate example of patience I look at how I’ve dealt with things here, and how you dealt with us at home growing up, and in comparison, cant help but see you as a good second-placer.  The converts here that come from me, the ones in Aguascalientes from Cody, the ones in Spain from smiles, and the ones in China that are going to come from Danny are all converted because of who we are, and we wouldn´t be us mom if you hadn´t showed us the importance of being a good person and as Elder Oaks placed great emphasis on this week, doing the little things.  The lights are always turned off when I leave a room, and I have learned to ´touch it once´.  You and dad are a power team pre-ordained to bring the light to a lot of rowdy boys and one angelic daughter. I love you mom and will never appreciate you enough.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Missionary days in Mexico

Elder Cody Smiley
This week was slow because Elder Guerrero was sick.  We just visited our investigators and we are seeing a lot of progression. We just need Sergio to get divorced then get married and then he can be baptized.  We have met with him a lot.  He has met with a lot of missionaries over the years.  This week he told me that he has never made a connection to a missionary like he has with me.  That makes me feels good.  We have been teaching Michelle also.  She needs to do get divorced and married as well.

As we have taught Sergio and Michelle this week we asked them to prepare for General Conference.  We asked them to have a question in their hearts while they listen.  We asked them to pray to have that question answered during Conference.  I hope they can watch a lot of it.

For P day we played soccer and it was so hot. My feet felt like they were on fire! I only had 2 goals sadly but I did help my team a lot! Then we ate these things like a Wendy’s Frosty that was so good.  

I HAVE OFFICIALLY SEEN A WHITE TURKEY! This turkey was so cool! I saw it in the corner of my eye and I was just dumbfounded!  I wanted to hunt it!

One member always goes to the citas (appointments) with us. I love him so much!  Lehí he is my fav!! 

I also got to see Johnathan this week.  It was sad because he is not living the kind of life he can be proud of but good to see him in the same time.
Only white guy there....

Three Amigos

Here is our church building

Elder Mark Smiley
We had a super fun experience this week.  It started raining super hard while we were in ward council and all of a sudden we hear these crashing noises outside.  We look out and turns out it is a freaking rainstorm like nothing I have seen before.  So we put on our garbage bag ponchos and start on our way to the next appointments, realizing that the sewage had become overflowed and was pouring into the streets.  So we are literally walking through poop, and realize that we have a service opportunity here! So we go to the nearest store and buy all the black garbage bags they have and just start walking around handing them out to all the people.  It was incredible! We had already gotten rid of our own garbage bag ponchos, so we were soaked head to toe.  Imagine 4 white guys in some far away Mexican town handing out trash bags looking like its the time of their lives.  That’s us.

I’ve learned here how to appreciate having a worthy priesthood holder as a father.  It’s because so many teen pregnancies happen here.  It is rare to find a family together.  So many are broken up by drugs, alcohol, or grudges, and they all just accept that their lives have to suck now, which frustrates me to no end.

I love the mission life.  The people here are super prepared and looking for us as the Lord´s representatives.  We started this week with 3 investigators in total, and now we have 28!  And around 13 baptismal dates for April! Hopefully we can keep this kind of grind up and we are looking good for the branch of Izucar!

Some other noteworthy experiences: life threatened by English speaking pothead ¨I WILL SLIT YOUR THROAT AND THEN WHO WILL HELP YOU,¨ our catholic church exploration extravaganza, a woman thinking we were from another church, and then at the end of the first lesson realizing we weren’t and deciding she really didn’t want us to come back

Stay solid! Something I started doing this week was read ¨I have a work for thee¨ by Elder John C. Pingree jr.  It talks about how to find out and fulfill with what god has in mind for us specifically.  I loved the part that talked about our spiritual gifts.

me in the rainstorm

Pizza Day

We knock every door we find!!

Great Street Art

P-Day at some ruins

more & more ruins

Pancakes & bacon!  We're livin' now.

good close up of Mark's face
our "last minute" rain ponchos