Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Elder Smith and Wadsworth with their new friend outside the Missionary Training Center

Elder Smith and friends having some fun in the Missionary Training Center

Elder Wesley Smith and buddies in front of the Provo Temple

Wesley's 10th Letter (8-23-11)

Bievendidos de Merida! It’s crazy, right now I’m writing this letter in some lady’s make shift internet cafe and it’s pouring out side!

So, here’s the story, I landed in Merida at 7 last night. We slept in the mission home in hammocks, which was almost ok but the ac was on full blast and I was right under it so I froze my butt off last night.

It was pretty crazy, the Mission President said that there won’t be any points were we sleep on beds because its just too hot!

So, now I have my own hammock. It’s pretty humid.

Here are the facts; I’m in the area Kukulkan just on the outskirts of Merida. It’s a nice mix of urban and jungle.

My new companion is Elder Bautista from Hidalgo, Mexico and he’s pretty sweet. He sure makes me feel like a gringo. Just today I think I only spoke 2 words of English. I think I’ll be pretty much fluent by the end of this transfer.

Good news I guess, this is the highest baptizing area in the mission, so I’m pretty excited for that!

My mission president’s full name is Netzahualcoyotl Vesalles Salinas. He’s pretty cool. He hasn’t spoken one word in English but I can under stand about every thing he says.

The transfer meeting we had was bitter sweet because I got to meet my new companion, but had to say goodbye to the old one.

Elder Wadsworth is going to be serving in Chitzanitza. I’m not sure how to spell it but he’s there all right. I miss him and his ability to speak English.

I’ve always heard the first transfer is the hardest so I’m not too worried.

Because I can’t email friends please only send me "dear elders" or letters and I’ll send you one back.

Next time I write letters I’m going to send all my photos too. I would have today but I still need to unpack stuff.

I don’t have much more time so I’m going to cut it. I really do miss all of you SSSSSOOOOOO MUCH!

Elder Smith

Friday, August 19, 2011

Wesley's 9th letter (8-19-2011)

This week's email is going to be a little shorter than most because today I have infield orientation and tomorrow is my p-day. I’m not sure if the computers are set up so that I can write tomorrow, so I’m just going to write a small news letter today and hopefully I can write tomorrow too.

So anyway, thanks for all the awesome letters you’ve all been sending me. Dad, although I didn’t know all of the vocab I understood probably 95% of that letter so thanks for that.

If any of you haven’t heard I’m shoving off to the Yucatan on Monday for 22 months, estoy TAN ANIMADO.

As fun as the MTC is I sort of hope I don’t have to do it again in my life. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth it, I definitely learned more in these last 2 months than I have in any other classroom. 

" There’s no growth in the comfort zone and there’s no comfort in the growth zone,” quote of the week

So, I guess I’m going to give my final phone call on this Monday at 8ish Utah time because I don’t think I’ll be able to call from Mexico City, so if you really want to hear from me it’s either then or wait till Christmas. But I understand if you don’t because that’s pretty early. 

Hopefully when I get to Mexico I’ll be able to start uploading photos so you can see just how awesome living in the jungle is.

Some things that happened this week were that I got to greet some of the new missionaries as they came in, and take their bags to their room. Over all it was pretty sad watching all the last good byes from the new missionaries to their friends and family for 2 years. As I would take their bags I’d reassure them it’ll be ok.

Anyone reading this, I beg of you to not be jerks to the LDS missionaries. They all left on missions only because they love the people and God and are genuinely concerned for every person they meet.

I promise it is the biggest sacrifice of their lives, giving up every worldly thing they have ever known, for people who may hate them for it.

So, do me a favor, Even if you don’t want to listen to them, tell them you respect their decision. But, I promise their message is worth listening to. If anything, even if you don’t act on it, you will just learn more about Mormons.

I’m out of time now but you might get a letter from me tomorrow; but if not, I’ll be in Mexico next time you hear from me. So until next time...

Smith out

Friday, August 12, 2011

Elder Wesley Smith's Letter # 8-August 12, 2011

Como estan! Voy a escribirles sobre mi semana y que ha pasado...

Entonces this week has been probably one of my favorites so far, for one, thanks Mom and Dad for those donuts and Brummers if you’re reading this, super thanks for the pie it was soo good. You're way too nice to me. Tell jean Paul and Grace I say congratulations!

Also, this week I found out I got my $250 ticket taken off so whooo that’s like 50 more cali burritos I can afford when I get home! Another cool thing is I got to go to the Mexican consulate this week, for my visa, all the way to Salt Lake and that was a pretty awesome bus ride. And even better than that is that I got MY TRAVEL PLANS!!!!!!

So here’s how its going to happen on Monday, August 22, I wake up at 6 to take a shuttle to the Salt Lake airport and then my flight leaves at 9:55 and we arrive at Mexico City at 3:00 and my next flight for Merida leaves at 5:05 and I arrive in Merida at around 6:50 so whoop whoop I get to have a lay over in Mexico City for 2 hours so mom and dad you really should send me a go phone with international minutes so I can call you during that time, or at least have dad send me what he thinks is the best idea for me to call you guys because he’s pretty good at the whole traveling thing.

So, if any of my friends or family who are reading this if you want to talk to me one last time for possibly 2 years you should go to my house at what ever time 3 in Mexico City is in San Diego’s time and we can have one last sayonara!

I promise I’ll be happy to hear from you, so all of those of you who have written me thank you, and those of you who haven’t I’m disappointed, nah you're still alright but I do wanna hear from you guys more. *Cough* Brian, Nigel, Garrett, Karch, and etc. haha but seriously.

I heard Karch and Tucker got their mission calls. Tell them I am super proud of them. I didn’t hear where exactly in Brazil Tucker’s going and I still don’t know if Karch is Spanish or English in Fort Lauderdale, because if its Spanish there are quite about 4 other elders on my floor that are going Fort Lauderdale Spanish speaking.

The sacrifice you guys are making is 100 percent selfless but I can tell you right now, as hard and discouraging as it can be, it is worth it and it has already changed my perspective on life in general for the better. As it stands I’m still only in the MTC, but I promise the people in our missions are worth it ,and we are called to our specific missions for a purpose, I’ve heard plenty of cool mission call stories so, I’m going to share one I heard from one of the many devotionals. I heard this from a Mission President’s wife, when they were serving in Colombia.

There was a young man who was waiting on his mission call, but it didn’t matter, he knew he was going to Japan because he was already fluent in Japanese and that was where his father went. However to his surprise when his call came it said Colombia, Bogota Spanish-speaking mission. He knew that that could not be right so he resubmitted his form to the First Presidency; they reviewed it and decided that he definitely needed to serve in the Bogotá Mission. He was extremely disappointed but he still went with it. While in Bogotá he was horrible at Spanish and wasn’t getting a single baptism, he was still 100 percent sure his mission call was wrong. One day about 22 months into his mission he still hadn’t gotten a single baptism and was extremely discouraged. While at a train station an old Japanese man walked up to him and in Japanese asked him if he knew about this book and handed him a book of Mormon. And in Japanese he started telling him how he was a missionary, the old Japanese man invited this young missionary back to his home that evening. When they show up to this old man’s home they found about 65 Japanese family members and friends of this old Japanese man, all sitting and waiting to hear this missionary’s message. All of who couldn’t speak Spanish. The young missionary found that this man had received his book of Mormon from a missionary in Japan. He showed the missionary the testimony written inside of the book. To find out to his astonishment that it was his father who had given the old man that particular book of Mormon over 30 years ago. And ever since then, the old man had moved to Colombia, and has been teaching his family about what he had read. But he had no idea where to find the missionaries until, the day he saw this one missionary who coincidentally knew Japanese. The old man and his family were all eventually baptized.

Ever since I’ve been here I’ve heard probably about 30 stories that have the same underlying theme, that mission calls are not just for the convenience of where missionaries are needed, but are calls by inspiration on where the people need that particular missionary. And if you don’t get a single baptism or if you get 100 just know the most important convert you get is yourself. I’ve already concluded that if I don’t get a single baptism, my mission would still be the greatest blessing in my life so far, because the knowledge I’ve already gained from it is really truly priceless. And as long as some one is slightly closer to Christ’s example that’s all that’s truly important to me.

Well, that’s about all I gotta say about that,

I love and miss you all more than all of the Elder Smith’s in the MTC,


Ps I can’t really think of any you can send me but thanks any way, one more thing, tell Dad to ask if any of the other Smiths were in the MTC, because I swear I recognized someone here from that family reunion in Zion’s canyon and this person also coincidentally had the last name Smith. Sooo bye

Monday, August 8, 2011

Wesley's 7th letter (8-5-2011)

Hey this is the 7th letter whooooo, I wouldn’t know unless looking at the date because the days just kind blur together here.

So, good news: I feel I understand all of the conjugations (in terms of understanding where they go and how they work) for Spanish now and although I’m still a little slow at responding and putting sentences together, I feel I can understand everything the teachers say. From here it’s all just getting used to grammar and vocab. So, I’m pretty much fluent, until I get to Mexico and get creamed! But watch they’re probably going to send me Mayan speaking so these last 2 months won't mean anything haha.

So they have Google maps on the church website. I can look at it here and its crazy because probably 85% of all the villages and towns in the Yucatan have Mayan names instead of Spanish, so I really do think the probability of me at least learning some Mayan is pretty high.

One other quick thought is that: just before the 2012 thing my companion is legitimately concerned about there being riots in the streets and chaos. My theory on that though is that people may get scared of the world ending and if they do they’re gonna want to give religion a second thought, so we're gonna get a lot of baptisms, but kind of for the wrong reason. Another theory is that, Mayans don’t really think the world is going to end and it just turns out there wasn’t enough room on the circle for more dates than 2012. Oh, actually the final theory is that I solve an ancient puzzle at some Mayan temple in the jungle and save the world! But, when I go to tell people about it they will be blissfully unaware that anything happened. I’ll be ostracized and live the rest of my days as a hermit. So just a heads up if the you’re still alive on December 21, 2012, you know who to thank. 

Hey, if any of my friends on facebook are reading this, I really would love to hear from you, I think you’d be surprised just how difficult it is to leave all your friends, family, and worldly things behind for 2 years. So even if its just a news letter saying what’s happening in your life I promise will read it and I promise it’ll make me super happy, even if I don’t have time to write you back I promise I do read and appreciate every letter I get no matter who it's from. 

I only have 2 1/2 more weeks in the MTC until I’m thrown into a foreign country for 22 months, and I couldn’t be happier. So my newsletters should be getting real good in about 3 weeks, so be sure to be reading them.

I still haven’t gotten my visa but I should be getting it next week and I can’t wait for the drive to Salt Lake and to see the world again.

I think I’m going to end every news letter with a cool quote of some kind. I forgot who wrote this but...
"Mind is the Master--power that molds and makes, and Man is Mind, and ever more he takes the Tool of Thought, and shaping what he wills, brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills--He thinks in secret it comes to pass; environment is but his looking glass”

I know dates sups profound breh
. Wow, its incredible how much you miss worldly things when you can't have them haha.

I miss and love all of you more than all of the letters in my Aztecan mission presidents name (Netzuacoyotl Salinas) there’s one for ya mom haha!

Your Mayan missionary, Eldere Esmit

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Elder Wesley Smith's letter 6 (July 29, 2011)

Que tal! voy a escribir todas, las cosas que me pasaron esta semana. Entonces, this week was sad because all of our friends from the district left on Monday so gym isn’t half as full as it used to be, and now the dorms are way more reverent...lame.

As of next week were going to be the most experienced district in our dorms. But this Wednesday we should be getting 2 new districts in our dorms and that should be fun to hastle the freshmen, its kind of funny thinking that we will be the most experienced district here at the MTC because we’re kind of like 8th graders thinkin we're the crème of the crop, the top dogs, but in only 2 weeks or so are we going go to high school and learn how “nobody” and inexperienced we are.

In terms of other things that have happened here at the MTC, there have been a few funny developments. Its seems every day we come up with some new game to mildly amuse ourselves, each one stupider than the last. One of our more recently developed games is called vent ball, where its similar to basketball but instead we use a ball a little smaller than a tennis ball and the goal is to throw it in to a vent just above the door in one of my district member’s rooms while people are defending you. Its actually pretty difficult to score and I think were gonna stop playing because its pretty dangerous.

One gross thing, is that there was a kid in the district next to ours who forgot about a banana in his room for about a month and a half, so by the time he found it again the banana had liquefied in its peel, so much that as you turn the banana you can see the bottom fill up and the top empty out thin enough one could use a straw if one wanted to. It was pretty disgusting to say the least, but anyway this kid said if he can make 50 dollars off of it he’d eat it or more or less drink it. With every person on the floor pitching in he made it pretty easy. So I have it on film of this elder drinking a liquefied banana smoothie, it kind of reminded me of a gogurt but less thick, I’m amazed he didn’t throw up because I almost did. 

You know the phrase “you don’t know something good till its gone”, I think that goes for about all worldly things to me, I miss all my family, friends, toys, TV, the beach, etc. But the people of Mexico are worth it. That in no way means I’m unhappy here because I’ve never been able to find so many truths and learn so much about religion.

When I read scriptures now they really have, each one of them, infinite depth. I never realized it until I was here. When I was younger I would often be upset to think that someone could base their life on what a book says, but what I didn’t realize is that it takes a humble mind with open doors, to allow the spirit of truth to shed its light upon you. The scriptures are written in such a way that a child can understand the stories, yet it takes a wise man with intent to understand the meaning. Even Jesus taught in parables and I feel it is the same for most of the scriptural stories, most should be understood with metaphorical significance more than actual literal interpretation, not to say they didn’t happen, but to say more that they have been written for our learning, because the scriptures are more for our personal growth and spiritual maturity than to tell us the literal genesis of earth.

There is my rant of the month if I had more time I promise this would have been 4 times as long haha. I love you all so much but I’m outta time. 

Ps every one write me more letters!