Monday, September 30, 2013

Platinos Con Arroz

So, I caught a chicken this week. . .

We were walking down the street one night and we saw a chicken running out in the street with people chasing after it so I turned to Elder Campos and said, ``Elder, este es una oportunidad para servicio!´´(Elder, this is a chance for service!) So we helped catch the chicken. I was the one who actually caught it. =D 

I also had my first baptism this week! I would have attached the picture, but I forgot the cable to attach my camera, so I'll have to send it next week. His name is Kenneth, and he was the first person I got to teach out in the field. And I mean the very first.   First discussion, and everything. It was kind of difficult to remember the words for the baptism in Spanish, and especially hard to say the name right, (The names down here are unusual, they all have a first and middle name, but they have two last names. And they're all weird Spanish names too.) However, I got it right on the first try, and we confirmed him the next day.

So I had to give a talk in sacrament meeting yesterday, and I can tell you, it was NOT easy. especially because it had to be completely in Spanish.  However it went really well, and I was told by lots of people that my Spanish was very clear and easy to understand. So at least my Spanish is progressing. :P

The food here is different but good. There´s rice for about every meal, some type of meat, usually a potato of some sort, (interesting fact, there are over 3400 different kinds of potatoes in Perú alone (I was told this by one of my teachers at the CCM, and I trust him)) and sometimes a salad of some sort. I can tell that I'm going to gain weight while I´m down here. :(

All letters and packages need to be sent to the mission home. That's the very first address we ever had that came in my call packet.  One of the Hermanas in my district was telling me that there's a lady up in Salt Lake that will bring packages down here personally, and they'll get here in like a week, so you might want to look that up. 

Sounds like lots of awesome things are happening at home! I don´t have time to write about them all, but I really appreciate all the emails I've been getting!

Yo amo todos las personas a la casa, y quiero a expresar mi sentimientos. A veces las cosas no serán fácil, pero si nosotros perseverar, nosotros seremos bendito. Yo he visto las bendiciones de mi misión, y yo deseo ver las bendiciones en ustedes vidas también. El tiempo iremos rápido, entonces siempre recordamos a hacer todas ustedes podemos a servir, y ayudar. Yo amo ustedes muchos!

With love,
-Elder Dañel Jacob Smith

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Semana Dos

Howdy, Everyone!

Here's a little story for you. It's about our golden investigator Frank. We met him on Sunday, and gave him lessons every day until Wednesday, and he was leaving the next day, so he really wanted to be baptized,  that night, after four days. So we set everything up, and everything looked good for the baptism. Sadly however, I'm not sure exactly what it was, he wasn't able to get baptized, and we haven't had contact with him since. It's just super crazy porque he wanted to get baptized after four days! I've never met anyone who wanted to be a part of the church that much. I really hope he gets in touch with the missionaries wherever he is now.

Anyway, Elder Campos is from Chile, (it's kinda funny talking to people because the relationship between Perú and Chile is a  little iffy), but he's a fantastic missionary and a great trainer. Everyday I understand him more, so it's really helping my Spanish to have a native-speaking companion. 

Understand this about Lima, it's big! Really, really big. Literally one of the biggest cities in South America. It's actually made up of a ton of little cities, (kinda how all the cities in the Salt Lake Valley kind of mesh together) So I'm in Lima, But I'm not in ''Lima''. Kinda confusing. 

For our food, all of it is prepared by our pensionista, with the exception of meals at the houses of members.  We always have to lock the gate, so eventually I'm probably going to get a key. I haven't taken any pictures of the apartment yet, but I'll send some in my next email. The inside of the apartment is actually pretty nice. A lot nicer than some of the other missionaries apartments. :P

My clothes are great, we have a hermana that does our washing for us, so that's really nice. With my shoes, The ECCOs are holding out fantastically, but the other pair, the soles are starting to wear out pretty fast.
On P-days out in the field, it goes sort-of like this. It starts out like a normal day, except we clean the apartment. We head down to eat breakfast, then head off to write our weekly emails to our families and the mission president. Afterwards, we head out and eat lunch at a restaurant, usually chicken. 

Last week we got into out sport clothes, headed over to the church, and played some fútbol and voleibol. Oh, and we got to watch Bolt in Spanish with subtitles. We then eat dinner, then get back to work teaching and proselyting. It's pretty alright.

The language is hard, and at times I feel discouraged, but I've seen the miracles working in my life, especialmente el don de lenguas, (gift of tongues).

There are so many wonderful people here in Perú, and I'm blessed to be able to serve them.

Yo sé la obra es difícil, pero lo es la mejor obra en el Mundo. (I know that the work is difficult, but it is the best work in the world). Yo puedo siento el mano del Señor trabajando en mi vida, (I can feel the hand of the Lord working in my life) y yo lo siento cambiando mi en muchos cambios.  (and I feel it has changed me in many ways).  Mi testimonio de la iglesia mejoré y con todo es mejorando. (My testimony of the church is growing and with everything it is getting stronger). Yo tengo un firme testimonio y no puedo paro. (I have a firm testimony and it won't stop.)

That's all I have time to write today, but I love all of you so much! Never give up, even if your trials are great.

Hoorah! Hoorah for Israel!

-Elder Dañel Jacob Smith

Monday, September 16, 2013

First Week Out in the Field

Hello all,
First off, sorry I wasn't able to write last week.  It's been a pretty crazy two weeks. Here's what happened:

Our last morning in the MTC, we had all of our stuff packed and ready to go.  We took it out to the bus and drove off to a capilla (chapel) somewhere in town.  We had a meeting with the mission president, President Ardila. 

And, we got to meet our new companions (our trainers).  My companion's name is Elder Christopher Campos.  He is from Chile. 
After the meeting, we got a taxi and rode off to our apartment.  I live in a district or area of Lima that I think is called Santa Anita, and everything out here is dirt. These are some of the poorest people I´ve ever seen.  It does vary however, because I´ve been in both really nice houses as well as tiny shanty-houses. Nonetheless, everything is dirt. There´s always a layer of dirt on everything. 
To get to our apartment, you have to go through a big metal gate, and up a set of stairs to this little brick courtyard that's only about fifteen feet across, and there's a wooden door to our apartment. It's probably only about the size of a hotel room, and is split up into three different rooms. The bedroom, our study, and the bathroom.  Oh! and there's no door to the bathroom, only a curtain.

Anyway, that same night, we went to the chapel of our ward and I was set apart as a missionary for the San Fransisco Barrio (Ward). The next day, we went straight out to work.  It's difficult, lots of walking, and extremely hot.  And, the language is killing me slowly.  However, it's definitely rewarding. That same day we got a baptism commitment! And since I arrived here, we've gotten four more and we have baptisms lined up for the next four weeks.

Because we had all of this going on the first day I went out, I didn't get a P-day this last week, and I've been wearing thin a bit, but it's nothing I can't handle.

I had one of the most spiritual experiences last night, we were teaching a man named Frank Ching-Gonzales, who we met earlier that day. Everyone has stories of their "Golden Investigator´" and this is mine. He attended the church meeting earlier that day, and said to one of our friends in the ward that he wanted to be a part of this church. We set up an appointment for later that night, and when we had him say the prayer, the spirit was so strong, and it was such a fantastic experience. I may get more investigators like Hermano Frank, but this is as close to the best one as I could have down here.

Learning this language is definitely the hardest thing I've ever done. I know it takes time to learn a new language, and I probably won't be able to understand anything that's said to me for a couple months, but it's hard to concentrate when I can't understand, it's hard to teach when I can't talk, and overall, everything about this language is kicking my butt.

We had an... interesting experience the other day.  Me and Elder Campos were out tracting and we came to this one house, and understand this about the people of Perú, some are humble and receptive, some have never been part of a church and don't want to, and others are super-super-super-catholic. This man we met at this house was the latter. We were explaining some scripture about baptism to him, and he asked for my Bible.  I thought "uh oh... this isn't going to be good.." but I couldn't refuse him, and he thus proceeded to attack us with scripture that we agreed with, and we (when I say we, I mean mostly Elder Campos), tried to explain how we agreed with him, but he wouldn't let us get a word in.  It was ridiculous.

Anyway, I don't have anymore time to write, so I have to stop, but I'll tell you more next week. I love you all!!

-Elder Dañel Jacob Smith

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

One Week Left!

Hi all,
The fact that I have one week left in the MTC is really exciting for me because I really want to get out of here and get integrated into the Peruvian Culture! Luckily, because I'm in the Lima Este (East) mission, I only have to walk right next door to the chapel adjacent to the CCM, so that's pretty nice.
Sad to say, Eric was only here for two weeks, because he knew enough Spanish to be included in the Spanish speaking Latino group, so that's what happened with him. I've met a lot of new, and very interesting people during my stay here at the CCM, and hopefully they do become good friends outside the mission.
The reason why I sprinkle my emails with Spanish words is porque yo quiero a usar the language as soon as I can, entonces it kind of seeps into everything. 
Oh, and the Mug Brownies were microwaved. They were really chewy.
The temple in Lima is definitely an interesting one. It's shaped kind of like a giant tent, the six spires aren't really attached to the main building, and it's a kind of small temple, so everything inside is really compact. Other than that, It's not all that different. Oh! And when we go to the sessions, the audio is in Spanish, but the MTC missionaries get to wear headsets that translate it into English.  I heard about the new video. A couple missionaries got to see it before they came, and they said it was really good. I unfortunately haven't seen it yet, they're not playing it in this temple as of right now. I think it's because they still have to work on the Spnish translation, so I might get to see it later.
Oh, and if you're going to send any letters or whatnot, save them for a little while, because I'm going to get my new address to send them to, so hold off for a little longer.
I'm sorry, I didn't really get to take any more pictures today, pero I'll take a lot when I actually get out into the field. They have little Internet places down here where you go and pay like a sol(~30 cents) to get Internet for an hour, so I'll still be able to send them to you on p-days.
I'm glad that Nicole made it safely to Romania, and I think she'll find that it's nothing and everything she expected.  It was the same way when I got here in Peru.  She's gonna love it.  Hopefully she's got the language down enough.
Sorry I'm not able to write much about what's going on down here, but honestly, every day is the same, so it's hard to write new things. It'll be a lot easier when I actually get to leave the CCM and go out into the field.
OH! One more thing, one of the hermanas in my district here at the CCM, Hermana Cornu's boyfriend is brother to Brandon Mull, author of the Fablehaven and Beyonders Series', so that's pretty legitimate. She said she could introduce us after our respective missions, so I may just take up on that offer.  If I can remember.

I love you all, and I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas! or Easter! or... what day is it? Arbor day? Anyway, I'll write you all next week!
-Elder Dañel Jacob Smith