Monday, December 19, 2011

Wesley's letter 12-19-11

Alright so this week was pretty sweet, and I’m gonna start by finishing that story about the family,

The reason they changed their minds in the beginning to not listen to us is because the mom was talking to friends and heard some pretty messed up Mormon rumors. I don’t know where they come from but the rumors here have gone rampant. I’ve heard more than I can count and the people here, being super gullible, believe almost all of them as if they came from legitimate sources. These rumors are probably the third biggest reason why people stop listening to the missionaries. The specific rumor the mom heard is that the first night of a marriage the Mormon pastor has rights to the bride... ya some of the people here are pretty lame in believing these rumors.

There are actually a lot more rumors and each is weirder than the last.

This week we were going to baptize the Hermana Verta, but she didn’t show up to her own baptism. It was pretty sad, but now she’s 100 percent committed to getting baptized next week.

Alright, so I got my hammock and it’s probably one of the more impressive things I’ve seen on my mission. It’s not exactly the way I wanted it, but that’s ok because now it has more of a Yucateco flare about it. It’s hard to see in the photo, but there’s a series of designs running up each color line and every design is unique. These hammocks really are works of art. I’m pretty sure I’m going to buy at least 3 more of them like this while I’m here.

To explain some of the photos in this album, the ones with the fires in them just testifies that people around here really use arsony to save a little bit of work...

So the fires in those pictures really all they are doing is mowing the lawn, and its just because its easier than taking a machete to it, which is the other way of mowing lawns.

The picture of the dead dog is pretty disgusting, but I thought I would send it because it’s something I see a lot of here. There’s a lot of stray dogs, so inherently there are a lot of stray dogs getting hit by cars and dying. The grossest part is that when something dies here, something causes their bodies to inflate, and eventually the pressure causes the body to pop. It’s pretty sickening and the worst part is that city workers, being Yucatecos, and knowing its better to work smart not hard, they know the best way to clean up this rigamortis mess is to throw the deceased pups from off the side of the road into the Monte, or the over growth/ forest (outa sight out of mind) so now pretty much every road that has over growth stinks of death.

I wish I could explain every photo but almost all of them have a detailed story behind them, I just simply don’t have enough time and I’ll put a more in depth explanation when you guys call me this Sunday at what I think is 3:00 San Diego time and 5:00 Merida time whoooooo. So if you’re really one of my friends you had better be at my house at that time because the next opportunity to talk to me won’t be until Mother’s Day.

But ya once again I’m all outa time talk to yall este domingo
Hasta Tsalma
El Esmit

Wesley's letter 12-12-11

Hola ¿Baax tal morros? It’s yo boi smitty les esta radiando de Kukulcan and here are my stories for this week:

I still haven’t gotten my hammock but the people that I spoke to about it told me it’ll be done by this Thursday and que esta bonita, entonces estoy medio animado the coolest part about it is that a hammock of this magnatude really would cost at least $120 + and it only cost me $60. Hammocks are rightfully expensive because they really do take dozens of man-hours to make. One can spend an entire week of just stitching one hammock, not to mention mine is double stitched, custom colors, with the Spanish pronunciation of my name stitched in it "ESMIT" I’m super syked.

So what’s been happening specifically this week is that 2 days ago I had my first baptism for like a month and a half. But good news, we have baptisms lined up every week for the next 8 weeks. That’s unless I change areas this Christmas. Coincidentally Christmas falls the same day as transfers and also 3 days after I hit my 6 month mark from home.

Its crazy I’ve almost been in Mexico for 4 months and I still feel like I’m on the struggle with Spanish. The only times I feel good about my Spanish is when I’m around the other kids from my generation (or the missionaries who’s showed up the same time as me) because at least I have developed an accent. I can’t properly describe to you how horribly atrocious sounding it is having an American speaking Spanish without an accent.

From now on I think I’m going to stop telling everyone about the baptisms and more about the stories because I’m not judging my mission by how many people get baptized, rather the lives that get genuinely influenced.

Like the other day we taught a family, who told us all the problems they had and how they wanted to change their lives. In that first lesson of teaching them we set a baptismal date. It was actually one of the better nights of my mission. However, the next day we went by to visit them and the mom ran inside and the dad told us that they didn’t want to see us again without a real explanation, so we left all bummed. After a week had passed we had almost completely forgotten about them. Then one day during companionship planning, we got the feeling we need to pass by and visit them again. When we got to the house the entire family was out in front. I was expecting the dad to get mad at us, but to my surprise they didn’t even say anything he just came up to the gate and led us inside the house. He told us that not a long earlier he and his wife were in a heavy discussion that maybe they should talk to us again, but they didn’t have our number or directions so they had no way of contacting us, then they went outside and within 2 minutes we arrived at their house again. It was a pretty sweet experience and also there’s more to tell but I’m outa time so I’ll tell ya next week, but until then…

Con amor
Elder smith

Monday, December 5, 2011

Elder Smith's Letter 12-5-11

Well I’m not gonna lie, I pretty much already opened everything in that package and it was awesome! You guys really are the best family, and tell everyone in the ward they’re awesome! That little chain thing with their writings on it was la onda!

Anyway this week a few other cool things happened, for one I have all the legit phone information so you all can talk to me on Christmas. I’m going to be in a members house at 5:00 pm Mérida time so I think that’s 3:00 in San Diego but you guysa can figure it out. I’ll be able to talk for 50 minutes so friends and family if you wanna talk to me be at my house at that time and lets face it, I really wanna talk to all of you.

Some more cool stories from my neck of the woods, are that I’ve been hearing a lot more Mayan legends and stuff. More of them are actually pretty funny. The most common is the legend of Los Alo´ox or little trolls that live out en El Monte or the jungle that come out at night to cast spells on people and steal stuff. Actually Los Alo óx are now more of a scientific fact around here than legend because almost half the people here are 100 percent convinced they exist, and they all have different stories of how at one point they saw Un Alo´ox. Or they blame their family’s bad luck on a family member who at one point wronged an Alo´ox.

Another funny myth is the legend of the ish´tabai. Its supposedly a beautiful witch that lures borachos (drunks) in to the woods and when the borachos are found they’re unconscious and without clothes. So if you see any unconscious naked drunks you know the ish´tabai has struck.

Seriously the people in my mission are soo superstitious, its pretty hilarious.

I’ve been having some pretty funny stories around here, I just don’t have enough time to write them all. For example the other day we were teaching a lesson with a family when the drunk dad came stumbling in tripping over is own lack of sobriety, and was yelling "yo la haré la oracion!" Then he took us by the hands, screamed bloody murder while saying a prayer and lifting our hands up, then brought our hands together and gave them a few kisses. Not gonna lie, stories like this are pretty common here and pretty funny.

I’ll tell you all more stories next time but I’m all out of time.

By the way I’m finally going to start baptizing again starting this week.

Any ideas about what this is?

That's my boy!

I have no idea what this is about.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Elder Smith's letter 11-28-11

So guess what? It’s your boi Elder Esmit. I actually have a lot less time to write this week than normal so I’ll just say bits and pieces of what happened. Well, I did receive both of those packages and wow the Christmas one is amazing. I’m pretty sure I got a better package than almost any other missionary! There’s a picture of me walking with it in this album. It was pretty funny having to walk that thing through 2 full buses and a few city blocks, I really am lucky to have such awesome parents. I really can’t promise that I’ll be able to wait until Christmas to open the presents.

Anyway this week has been pretty good, if every thing goes right we’ll baptize 5 people before this transfer is over. A few spiritual stories I’ve had this week are, for one, we found this one woman who told us that she would talk to us because the night before she had a dream that young men would come by and give her a black book. So naturally you can imagine what book we gave her. She’s very catholic and said that there’s no way she’ll change but still we gave her the invitation to read the Book of Mormon and we’ll see what happens. Also, this week in the middle of a conference with the Mission President, I got a pretty strong feeling that we needed to go and teach this one family. All their kids had already been baptized but the father needs to get divorced from his former wife before the parents can be. We went and taught them and way, one thing led to another and not only are the parents getting baptized this Christmas eve but we also set a date for them to be sealed as a family a year from now on Christmas eve or some day around there. It was a pretty sweet lesson.

Well, Verta didn’t get baptized but that’s ok, I hope she can be this week but we’ll see.

In other news I ordered my hammock on Thursday and I found out what would normally be a $140 hammock is only going to be $42 dollars because the man were buying it from is in prison, so making hammocks is just what they do for fun in prisons around here. Double person custom hammock with my name stitched in it. I’ll send you guys the photo when I get it.

The photo of that spider is kind of like the one that came running under the door that one time. Its hard to see because its blurry but ya, those are all baby spiders on its back.
I’ll end with a Mayan peace out.
Ek´i couva t´salma!

Wes happily carrying his Christmas package all the way to his house!


A spider with babies on it's back

Monday, November 21, 2011

Elder Smith's letter 11-21-11

¿Que transita valedores?
Sup its yo boi-Elder Smitty here and I thought I might just let you know that all is good here, I still haven’t gotten that package yet dad but that’s okay I’m sure it’ll be here next week. Letters and packages here are a weekly thing because all the letters get sent to the main mission office and we go there and collect it once every Monday, so technically it could show up tomorrow and I wouldn’t know about it for a week.

Anyway news here, this week we actually are planning to baptize someone, named Verta. She’s in her late 50s and about 12 years ago was going to get baptized but changed her mind, but now she’s all in and wants to, so I’m pretty happy about that. There’s another pair of sister investigators named Nuvia and Dalila with the typical single mothers story, which is sad, but any way we started teaching them and the sister Nuvia is now one of the better investigators we have because she’s been reading the Book of Mormon and studying and has told us various times that she’s been searching for an answer her whole life and that now she knows that this is it. The weird thing is, that we were going to baptize her but as it turns out we looked her up in the church data base, because some of her family members are members, and found that when she 8 she was baptized, so although I don’t get to put a baptism statistic in my journal, I know that us finding her made a bigger difference in her life than it did when she actually was baptized.

Also, we found a new family in Viciente Solis that we might baptize, the man when we showed up he told us he had a copy of the Book of Mormon and he wanted us to explain 3 Nephi 11 to him, so we happily did Now he told us he’s going to read the whole book before our next visit, so I’ve got my fingers crossed.

That’s about it for interesting investigators, we have more but the rest of them pretty much think we’re Catholic missionaries here to spread the palabra, haha.

Culture wise, well, I just decided the hammock is more comfy than the horrible bed I have, so now and for the rest of my mission I think I’m going to sleep in a hammock even when there are beds available. This week I’m taking out some money to buy a custom hammock with my name on it, and a sweet black yellow green color scheme. It's gonna be sweet! I’ll send you all a photo of it when its done. Its gonna be stitched by Dalila's Mayan father who lives in some pueblo somewhere haha.

Funny things I’ve seen here…for one, the other day we were riding in a trici taxi down the main street of town and we saw a police car stopped and a bunch of people standing in a circle. At first I thought it was a car crash but when we got closer I found out that some cops were rangling a freaking huge python, idk how big it was but there were like 4 cops struggling to put it in the back of their truck. It was probably about 15 feet but I can’t say for sure. The weird part is that I have no idea how it got there because we were fairly deep in town.

Another funny thing is that it turns out that arsony here is more of a domestic chore. The other day we were walking through a neighborhood when on the side yard space of two houses there was a huge fire about 7 feet tall running up the side of these houses. We yelled to one of the houses and a woman stuck half her face out the widow
"Hey you know there’s a big fire on the side of your house?" she just smiled about it and said "oh no se precupen es la basura" Ya people here are pretty funny. Anyway I don’t have any more time.
Smith out!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Elder Wesley Smith's Letter November 14, 2011

¿Que transa changotes? Sup is Elly Smith and not too much has been happenin here in Kukulcan, but good news I just finished my second transfer, but ya I’m still here in south east Merida, anyway don’t worry I feel like I’m eating a lot better now. This month I got $30 more in my account so we’ve been eatin like reys.

As for my Spanish, I’m at the point where, for a gringo with only 2 months in the country, I speak very well but as for completely fluent I don’t think so. What it really depends on is who you speak to...

Actually what makes the biggest difference when speaking to someone is their accent. Someone that speaks rapid and clearly I can understand just fine but as for the 3-toothed Elote [corn on the cob] salesman there is zero chance. Its pretty funny, the guys who sell elotes here. They all ride their bikes up and down the streets. Everyone has their own yell/chant to let you know that there’s some delicious corn comin your way, but I don’t think I’ve heard anyone of them actually say the word Elote, most are like ¡BA BEE!

One woman, the first time when I heard her, I thought it was a car horn. My favorite is this one woman who doesn’t even say anything, she just looks down and screams bloody murder.

I’ve heard several times now that the Yucatan is kind of like the “redneck south” of Mexico, and I totally believe it. This place has just too many funny things to tell. The accent here is pretty funny, if a word ends in an N they replace the sound with an M sound so Yucatan is now Yucatam, at least that’s how they pronounce it.

Lets see, I’m probably not going to baptize for a while because, well idk. We work pretty flippin hard but in the end we can never get anyone to the chapel, the phrase “Oh, estoy ocupado, Quiero ir pero no puedo, otro dia”. has really gotten sickening.

Anyway if nothing else we’ve reactivated a few families, which I am pretty happy about.

Well, I would write more but I’m all outa time, nos vemos,


Monday, November 7, 2011

Wesley's letter 11-7-11

Okay, I wanna make you all know I’m genuinely sorry about the letter I sent last week. It was way out of line. I was still pretty sick and for that I was pretty poorly nourished and idk its easy to get mad when things aren’t going you’re way. Just don’t think things are getting dire here, all that’s happened is I’ve lost a few pounds.

When you’re stuck in a room in an uncomfy bed with a 103 fever with chills con ganas de vomitar it’s pretty easy to loose enthusiasm. But now I’m healthy again I actually went to the McDonalds and the Wal-Mart in Merida today, it took 2 buses and about 20 minutes of walking but still worth it.

The sad thing is that all the things I loved in the Wal-Mart like chocolate and fine imported cereals like Corn Pops must have a tariff or something because I paid un ojo de la cara for them but still worth it. When I get home I’m going to buy so many nice things you have no idea.

Probably the hardest of all is that when I was laying in bed I thought a lot about everyone, family, and friends, and I really do wanna tell you I fricken love and miss you all probably an unhealthy amount. It’s probably not good to plan you’re grand arrival home a year and a half early but that’s what I did haha.

Oh ya if any one wants to look me up on Google earth my address is Calle 38a no.552a x 59y 61. Some of the many calonias of my area are Reparto Gragnjas, Granjas, Santa Isabel, Visientesolis, Nuevo Kulkucan, Mulchechen, Cecillo Chi, San Antonio Kaua, Cerrido de Mulchechen, and many more little ones my area is about the size of 4 normal areas. And we don’t have a car. There are actually only 2 cars in all the mission and one is the Mission President’s, and I think there are now only 2 areas with bikes.

As for people I’m teaching right now, most are pretty superstitious, one lady were teaching is so God fearing we couldn’t even get her to read the Bible, out of fear that she might tear it and thereby be cursed.

Our area has returned to its regular dry state where I’m pretty sure it won’t baptize for a long time, and I’m also pretty sure I’m gonna stay here for a pretty long time because the Mission President likes to keep the new guys in their first area for like 7 months, but we’ll see.

I wanna give a shout out to all the homies who have been writing me like Alec, Lexi, Dylan, Alena, and Brian.

Alena you asked me if I’m in the Kulkucan near the baseball stadium. It is the exact same Kulkucan as that baseball stadium whooooo.

I’m planning on writing you all soon but because of the humidity all the envelopes I bought sealed so I only had one so I can only send one and its going to Brian Moffat. Get ready for awesome letter madness! I sent it to your San Luis address so it’ll probably get there by St Patrick’s day, if at all. Don’t worry I’m planning on writing all of you soon. Sorry Alec I’m writing you next week I promise. It really is just hard to find time...and paper not ruined haha.

Any way I have more stories but I’m outa time so I’ll tell ya next week

Él Smit

Mom if you wanna send a box of chocolaty goodness I’d be more than happy to receive it. haha

Love you too much and miss everyone in the fam especially the rug rats... tell Dad I’m surfing every morning with him when I get back.

Monday, October 31, 2011

All right I’m just going to tell you from the get go right now I don’t care how hard you thought your mission was the area of Kulkucan would definitely beat it in terms of physical and mental strain. My body has never been in worse shape before. I’m pretty sure during my time here I’ve lost over 30 pounds, when before I was already very skinny. I really do walk like 16 miles everyday, which would be good exercise if I were well enough nourished to sustain walking like that.

One of the things I’ve noticed is that the missionaries who are teaching a lot and have success, are probably a lot fatter because they get to sit down and teach, but that’s why I’m so flippin skinny, every appointment we have always falls through, and I have to walk another half marathon to find the next. I don’t think our investigators realize how far we just walked to their house, for them to smooth talk their way out of having to talk to us. I kind of wish everyone here was just honest and would tell us in the beginning that they do not want to talk to us and not lie and say, ¨"Oh for sure come back tomorrow I really want to hear what you have to say"

Because of the hurricane that hit Cancun we had elders from there, stay at our house, and they told us our area should be like 3 areas.

I think I’m mostly just really bitter because this last week I got ridiculously sick with a fever of like 103 with the worst chills I’ve ever had. I had the choice between hammock, or broken spring bed, and when you’re uncomfortably sick they’re both pretty rough. Vomit and diarrhea all the time those last 3 days.
Elder Smith

Tell every one I really do love them.

Washing clothes!