Send letters to this address. Use a global stamp.

Send letters to this address. Use a global stamp.

Peru Trujillo North Mission
Teodoro Valcarcel 512
Urb. Primavera
La Libertad

Monday, December 7, 2015

Apple Barrell

Mis Queridos!
I actually feel pretty good about this weeks title. It comes from a metaphor my parents would always tell us when my dad got deployed. Our lives are like a barrell full of apples, and when dad leaves it tips over all the apples, and we spend the next 6 months picking them all up. Then when he comes back, the barrell gets tipped over again, and we spend the next 6 months picking them all up. Cambios on the mission are kind of like that. 
Actually, to be completely honest it hasnt been that hard at all. Our Trio got dispersed the day after it was created, as one of the Elders got moved unexpectedly. So now it is just me and Elder Drescher. I LOVE Elder Dresher. He is a hard working, capable, and consecrated missionary, and I am so incredibly excited to work with him. We have had a wonderful and interesting week, where we had to figure out all the fun dynamics of daily missionary life all over again. Like who prays when, who has to take care of the keys and the phone, and how to mix our teaching styles so we can teach and testify in unity. We are working on expanding the teaching pool right now. 
The hermana missionaries in our ward had a baptism this week, so we invited our investigator Manolo to it, along with his two sisters, one of whom is mas o menos activo (More or less active) and one of whom is "Religion isnt for me. Im free. Im going to live my own life" menos activo. We took some time after the baptism to talk to the three of them together. As we asked about the feelings they had had that night, Monica said "I felt nothing. It was just an action." ....
"Hermana, why do you think I felt something special and wonderful this night and you didn't?"
"Well it is because you believe. I dont believe. I dont like religion."
"Well Hermana, do you want to believe?"
"Nope. I want to be free and live my own life."
"Thank you. Hermano Manolo, how did you feel tonight?"
"Elderes, I used to have a lot of doubts. But I saw the faces of those three that were baptized, and I saw true happiness. I used to wonder if God existed. Now I know he does. And I know that everyone in the world needs to be baptized."
The Spirit speaks to each of us. It tries and tries. I hope you can see the requisites it takes to be able to hear it. 
We are still working with Manolo. He is set firmly on a wonderful path right now. 
I love the Spirit of the Lord. I love the Lord. I love being his missionary. I know that the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ has power to change anyone, if we are willing to let it.
I love you all!
Love, Elder Smith

Elder Seth Smith

Monday, November 23, 2015

Baptisms are Great

Nov. 23, 2015
Mis Queridos!
Mom asked me to write about what a normal day looks like, which should be fun. 
Wake Up! 6:25, or 5:30, if we are playing soccer as a zone, which we do three times a week. I found a little booklet of workouts that are mostly bodyweight in our room, which was apparently created by a missionary so ripped ... sorry ... large in stature that he has passed into missionary legend. Upon starting these workouts I am beginning to see why.
7.15 shower. Peruvian showers are great. There is a switch next to the shower that turns the hot water on. However, after the switch is flipped, you cannot touch the shower head or anything else that is metal, or you will experience a rather unpleasant shock. I think that these showers are the reason peruvians are so short ... natural selection. 
7:30 ...ish. Breakfast! We have a pensionista that cooks all three meals for us. She is the bestest, most loving person ever, and cooks like a dream. We recently showed her a from scratch pancake recipe, for which I do rejoice continually. For some reason, they still dont go puffy, but they are still good. We eat them with margarine and jam. 
8:00 ...ish. Back in our room for one hour of personal study. (Right now I am going through the BoM in english and marking every reference to Christ or God. It is amazing, and recommended by PMG.) Then 2 hours of Comp study (normally one hour, but because I am still in my training it is 2) Then one hour of Language study. Then we have an hour of proselyting time.
1:00 Almuerzo. Lunch is pretty variable, except the rice. Why change a good thing? So far, I have had duck, goat, and liver, so nothing super exotic yet. Its the fruits that are exciting. You should look up granadilla on google. And they eat french fries here! Lots and lots! Lunch goes to 2:30, so if we eat fast, we get about 20 minutes of break or nap... generally nap.
2:30 Salir y empezar proselitismo! We have citas that we have set up from the last days, which are the main ones we go to. We also coordinate going out with members. There is a lot more member accompanying here, which is a wonderful blessing. We just walk everywhere, since our area is pretty small. The streets are dusty and full of dogs, most of which are pretty relaxed. You get to know the annoying dogs pretty well. There is a lot of beer and a lot of street vending. Ive been testing peruvian chocolates. Sublimes are the winners so far. Milk chocolate and peanuts. I bought a box of them and promised myself when I finished it that I wouldnt buy any more. I finished the last one 3 days ago. :( 
We have a couple people we have been visiting pretty regularly. We try to ask for referencias at every possible opportunity, because that is the surest way to find new people that will progress. 
Sometime before 9 we have dinner, which is generally pretty small, because lunch is the big meal here. Then we go out and start proselyting again. We use a lot of lists: Lists of people who went to the temple open house, lists of part member families, lists of antiguo investigadores. 
9:00 Planificacion. We try to have at least 3 names for every hour block so that we always have somewhere to go.
10:30 Bedtime. 
I love this schedule. Each day varies a bit, and the proselyting is obviously the biggest part, and very changeable. 
Ok so this week specifically:

Our week focused a lot around the Charla Fogonera - practicing and inviting and preparing. In fact, I think we invited so much to the charla that we didnt put enough emphasis on inviting to church, and so our assistencia suffered a little bit. The Charla was wonderful, but I cant help but compare it to how incredibly well the charla in La Esperanza went. 
We took our investigator Inma to the temple this week, with her three daughters. The moment we walked in the gate, everyone felt a very powerful spirit. So the temple did its job, but I guess we didnt do ours well enough. Inma still feels like getting married civily is something she is getting forced into in order to be baptized. She says she is willing to do it, and still wants to get baptized, but she didnt come to church for a full month now, and we suspect she has picked up smoking again. This family is escogido - I know they are - but we feel like we are slowly losing her. I feel like there are deeper reasons for her alejando, but I dont know how to help her recognize, admit, and repent of them.
On the bright side, we have another investigator - Orlando - who is getting very close to baptism. He is 100% escogido. He is incredible and prepared and loves the morals and principles he has learned. The only thing we are worried about is that he has a hard time staying all 3 hours of church. He technically still hasnt stayed a full church session, and with his baptism this week, that makes us nervous. 
We also had a interesting experience with a reference we got from the office that led us to a baptist seminary in our area. We ended up seated across from 5 soon to be baptist preachers trying to finish lesson one amidst a bombardment of questions and contradictory scriptures. It was pretty terrifying. We have a cita for tommorrow and we want to focus on prayer as the way we find truth, not interpretations of the bible. We were thinking about reading JS History with them. 
There is work to be done in Vista Alegre. I feel very responsible and very inadequate for the care of this area. Thank goodness Elder Terry is here. His organization and experience is keeping us above water. 

Missionary work is just wonderful!!! I think I will stay here forever. :D
I love you all!
Elder Smith
Hurrah for Israel!
The Church is Tru...Jillo!