Hey everybody another really good week here!
Like you said Dad, this cambio we have had a ton more blessings in finding people to teach etc. I'm honestly not sure if they will get baptized by the time Elder P., and to be honest by the time I leave, but I'm still so dang grateful for the blessings we've seen! I'm honestly just glad for the opportunity to teach people! My teaching is finally getting a lot better too. We still have a ton of days that are literally full on contacting and knocking doors all day, but some days where that doesn't happen very much. I really do love this sector and truth is I don't really want to leave yet! I'll probably have at least 7 more weeks here so maybe by then I'll be done with it hahahaha. It is a really beautiful time of year here in the spring.
So the biggest thing I've been thinking about this week is that the secret to being happy and getting the most out of your mission is consecrating everything you can to the work, and doing it with a smile. This week I've seen how far I've come with attitude and focusing, and honestly it was probably the best week of my mission so far. Attitude and work are the keys to a good mission! I try to smile and have fun every day in the street, and at first it was definitely not my strength, but I've seen how the Lord really does consecrate yoour efforts to improve yourself and takes you miles farther with it, and now I think my attitude and "animo" (excitement) is my biggest strength! More on that later. We've worked so hard but we are so dang happy this week.
Dad, one thing you mentioned in your letter last week was that you wished you worried about numbers less and people more. South American missions are super numbers focused, but I've been forced to learn that numbers shouldn't be our focus in my very first bit of time here. If my happiness and sense of success on the mission for me was numbers, it would be really difficult to be happy in my sector because its really hard to get good numbers! The truth is I'm glad I got a hard sector first because I learned that lesson first thing in my mission! The only good numbers we get is our 200 plus contacts every week hahahahaa and that's more of an indicator of how hard it is here more than anything hahahaha. I'm really glad for that though. My happiness and success as a missionary is really up to how much I put into my mission, how I obey, and what kind of attitude I choose to have. Of course I can't wait to help people change, and my purpose is to invite people to come unto Christ, but I really only have control over the 3 things I mentioned.
So some days here are like super super hot and then the next day it will rain like crazy. It's really weird. My strategy to be happier on hot days that I've discovered is to think of a beach boys song in your head to try and trick yourself into thinking your on summer vacation, even though your in a shirt and tie hahahaha. It's honestly crazy how much that has helped hahahahaha.
One cool thing this week that was really fun is that we did a huge exchange with the whole zone called a "gran intercambio", where all the companionships get scrambeled up for a day. I worked with Elder A. our zone leader and one of my best friends here and it was so awesome! He only has like one transfer left and is a crazy good missionary and teacher! He is like super tall and will probably go home to play football for byu when he gets home. I learned a ton from him about really listening to the investigator and discerning and teaching directly to their needs. It was honestly such a fun day and full of miracles. The really cool thing is that we placed a baptismal date with one of our newish investigators A. (formerly known as M. -- we don't know why his name changed -- people have a lot of names here hahhaahah). We are really looking forward to teaching him more. The only problem is that he works 15 days in the north in the mines and then has 15 days home, so he is kind of a long term goal guy. Still, it was the first baptismal date we had had in like a month! The best thing too is that that night we got a call from a sector across the city that said they taught and put a date with an investigator at one of their recent converts house and the investigator lives in our sector! Totally a crazy miracle! The only problem is that we haven't been able to get ahold of her yet but we probably will this week! Weirdest craziest freebie miracle ever! That day with Elder A. was so good though. So much animo.
As far as people we are teaching we are kind of slowing down with M. and P. They just haven't been doing their committments and after we had two super good and spiritual lessons this week, one with a member, they still didn't come to church. The coolest person we have right now is J.! We taught lesson one with her and shes the coolest! She listened and understood really well and was super open and liked a ton of it! She also told us she prays and feels the spirit all the time! When we talked about joseph smith she said she had never heard about that before but she would of course pray about it and tell us her answer tomorrow when we have a cita with her! That kind of stuff never happens -- what the heck!!!! She's my best hope of maybe getting a baptism here in this tiny little sector! AAAAAHHH so excited for her! Pray for her! She is the best. Wow I'm so excited for her.
One funny story is that me and Elder P.'s lunch fell one day and we only had a little bit of money because its the end of the month and needed something to eat. We went to a little negocio next to us and were desperately looking for something different we could cook. We stumbled upon these delicious looking frozen packaged burger patties, and it's important to know that hamburgers don't really exist here. They were 10 for 1000 pesos, which is like 10 for 2$!!!!!! We just lost it laughing when we saw it because it was so rediculously too good to be true! We bought them right there, 10 of course, and soon learned why they were so cheap. When we fried them up they like shrunk down to a third of their origional size hahahahahaha!! we had to make double doubles but it was still super fun. We lauged so hard!
I've been enjoying excersizing too! I was lazy with that at first but now I try to run like 3 times a week and do yoga and stretching days in between.
Hey Dad, so you should tell Philmont people that the best prep I had for my mission outside of actually helping the missionaries teach was Philmont. Nothing prepared me better.
People have been asking me about the food here and I'm going to answer honestly. It's OK, but still taking some getting used to. hahahhaha. The main flavor in the food here is salt. hahhahaha. We eat a lot of soup with like some noodles, potatoes, and a piece of meat. It's a little bit boring hahahaha. Also we eat a lot of lentils and porotos, which are like flavorless white beans they make into a mash. We order a lot of pizza in the middle of the week to give us animo. Empenadas are really good! So is bistec but that's just once in a blue moon because meat is so expensive. They don't drink water here, only soda. A lot of rice with meat.
All of your weeks sounded super crazy fun! Thank you so much for all your emails!
I dont know if your already thinking about Christmas packages but I had some ideas. Phase 10 the card game would be sweet. Also I was thinkng how fun it would be to have a melodica which is like this keyboard harmonica thing hahahaha It would just be a really fun toy. Taylor should know what it is. Stance socks are awesome as well as pretty much any food and candy of any type. I can think of more stuff if you want. I have no idea how much a melodica costs so I dunno.
Love you all! Cant wait to read your letters! Im doing great and i love it here!!!!
pics coming soon
Elder Trevor Smith
Elder Trevor Smith is a Mormon missionary in the Chile Concepcion Sur mission, the same mission where his dad served. Although this is Trevor's own mission, he grew up hearing about the beautiful land of Chile and the loving people that inhabit it. These are the letters from his experience there.