Letter 10/31/2011 (1st week in Mexico)

Hola Familia!

Wow i dont even know where to start... This place is like nothing i have ever experienced before... To describe it in one word... Ghetto.

Elder Tucker and I arrived last monday in Guadalajara Airport, which of course everyone there was speaking spanish and they had to get a translator for us because we were so bad. Finally we got through everything and met the mission president and his wife and the AP´s who all of which are just amazing people!

Anyways let me go ahead and describe mexico. EVERYTHING is concrete and ghetto. In fact right now i´m basically writing a letter from someone´s garage that has like 10 computers set up and charges you by the hour like 5 pesos or somethin which is like 40 cents. Hahaha so mexico has no lines in the rode and the police basically do nothing so theres no laws and everyone drives as fast as they want and at anytime there could be 2 lanes or 6 when you count people driving along the dirt along side the rode. The police and ambulances drive around with their lights on and no one pulls over. Hahaha and speaking about the police, they drive around in like Ram 3500´s with a bench in the back for another 3 police officers to sit and a roll cage. And they always are caring around rifles and wearing bullet proof vests. Sometimes they have ski masks on too so no one knows who they are. But anyways they all carry around 552 Commandos and Micro Gallils... Big guns to say the least....

Every house is crazy. You basically have a living room where you´re lucky to have a chair that isn´t falling apart, (which most of the time we sit on buckets or just stand for an hour or so) and then every house has just no roof! So theres always bugs everywhere. Our house always has cockroaches in it and its crazy. But Also like everyone feels obligated to talk to you its great!

Along the street theres everyone´s house is basically a store or a restaurant too. To give you an idea, i got some of the best tacos i´ve ever had in my life, (no clue what they were made out of), 5 of them for like the equivalent of a 1.50!

Another crazy thing that i cant get over is the amount of noise hear! Since theres basically no laws, everyone has subs in their cars and they´re blasting them, every house may not have furniture but they have an awesome sterio system, police are always driving around with their sirens on, a Company called ZETA GAS is always blasting their advertisements, people who want to sell something attached speakers to their car and just drive around blasting it, and there´s ALWAYS like 150 dogs on roofs just barking at you while you´re walking down the street! I still cant get over that fact, DOGS ON ROOFS!!!

Mexico is pretty nice right now... After walking all day it gets pretty hot, but all around its pretty nice.... At nights it gets cool but i only sleep with one sheet and its perfect. I always wake up with bug bites which drive me crazy but its all good.

The people here are extremely friendly but the cholo´s. Everyone whenever we are knocking on doors and say we are missionaries, they feel obligated to talk to us and at least listen or else they´ll be punished in their lifes. Also.... EVERYONE is catholic. Theres pictures of who knows how many saints and signs that in english basically say ¨this home is catholic¨on everyone house. Most have never been to church so they dont even know what they believe.

Also before i forget, my companion right now is Elder Buenvecino which translated mean´s good neighbor. He´s a good guy and in 2 months he´ll be going home to Vera Cruz, and you can tell hes a little tired, but he´´s still a hard working missionary.

I´ll tell you more about Mexico later, but let me tell you about my investigators right now.

The first one is Francisco. He´s an amazing guy that has 3 awesome nino´s and is just extremely friendly. Everything has been going good with him, and we basically visit him every day for the past week, (when you find an investigator here, since jobs are normal, its basically work when you find work, you visit them every day), we challenged him to baptism. He lacks faith, and then just last tuesday, his son was diagnosed with Lukemia... Breaks my heart, his older son which is 7 or 8 just got it and he doesnt know what to do. Tonight we are going to give him a blessing and talk to fransico about trusting in the lord. Its really tough to see him in this kind of pain right now, but he´s being strong and i pray for his son every night...

The Second, (we have close to 15, but i´ll only talk about 3), is Juan Manuel, (everyone has 2 first names here). I love this guy so much. He´s 85 years old, and studied to be a catholic priest for 6 years, and then another 4 to be a teacher of spanish and has been teaching spanish for 60 some odd years. He told us from the first time (which was friday), that he knew everything about the catholics was false. When i talk about chosen and prepared, this guy is so prepared. Last night we introduced the book of mormon and i read out of 2 nephi 31 where it talked about christ and he just was in shock. Then i pulled out a book of mormon for him and he just cried and was so happy he could have his own. I can only understand about half of what he says, but the spirit was so strong, we didnt need words to understand eachother. This week he wants to come to church, (which consists of about 40 people), and since we dont have a pianist he wants to play for all of us our hymns.

The Third is Alejandro Ricon. Wow this guy is so nice! He basically didn´t want to listen to the missionaries too much, but last week a lot of things changed and now ás of yesterday after church, he asked if he could be baptized. So tomorrow night we have our first baptism. He has a strong testimony and has completely changed his life and is amazing to see.

I wish I could describe all of them and eventually i will, but those three really continually inspire me by their humble circumstances and how the gospel is changing their lives. This gospel and our message really does change everything for them and theres nothing i want more than for each day to see them come closer.

Anyways, i hope everything is going good back home. My pdays are mondays and i´ll write you when i can. I love you all and just know you´re always in my prayers.

Con Amor,

Elder Smitheram

P.S. people here have no clue what to think of me. People ask me for my eyes and little kids dont respond to any questions i ask, they just stare and ask me if my blue eyes are real, its great hahaha.

P.S.S. Because dia de los muertos is mañana and everyone is excited for this 2 day event everyone is wearing around their costumes, which to be really honest, are straight up evil looking. Oh and pan de los muertos is amazing!

P.S.S.S. We eat every day at 230 at its funny because we get fed everyday but pday by members and i literally have no idea what it is until afterwards. So far apparently i´ve eaten pig skin soup, pig fat tacos (no meat), toungue, mexican candy with is just carmalized chili powder, heart of somethin and a lot of who knows what.


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February 23, 2013

<br>February 23, 2013

Elder Smitheram and his companion and one of their more recent baptisms.


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