Monday, January 25, 2016

Pics from this week

 My sweet new graffiti ride... I'm pretty sure I've found all the
cool graffiti there is in Valladolid so I'm always happy when I find
the new stuff!

Quality Darth Vader and something else in León :)

Nichole and Michael's cousin named Emiline, this was right before
she hit me in the face and I got a bloody nose haha. It was quite
painful but I laughed.

Last Week b4 Transfers:))

Hellooooo :)

Well I made it!! It's the last week of the longest transfer known to
man. It's been long but super good too, I have enjoyed every single
second and am super excited to see what kind of changes are headed my
way this next week!! This week was good, here's how it went!

So first off, we have decided to wait on Claudia's baptism. We have
fasted and prayed like crazy and this is what we feel is best for her
at this time. I'm not going to lie, it was a hard pill for me to
swallow. I was all for the baptism and didn't want to wait any longer,
but sometimes we have to look at the situation from all angles. I'm
confident that she will be baptized someday, hopefully I'm here to see
it but if not, it will still be a special day for her regardless of
when it is. I have come to realize that the Lord really has his hand
in all things and this is his work. If he gave us the prompting to
wait for some reason, then that's what we should do. Claudia is
prepared and has a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and all the
basic principles of the gospel, so for now we are going to focus on
helping her strengthen that!!

Wednesday we went to León to watch the World Wide Missionary
Conference which was AMAZING!! First off I love going to León so that
was good, and second, I learned sooooo much! Elder Anderson taught us
that when we don't know what to say, speak of the Savior. Always have
his name on your lips and be ready to testify! This is something that
I can improve, after all his name is on my chest every moment of every
day! Elder Bednar said something that I loved... "You can bring it
unto the heart, but you can't jam it into the heart." A lot of the
time, I feel like trying to jam my message into the hearts of the
people I'm teaching, but that's not how it works. I can control my
part as a missionary and do my job which is to bring it unto the
hearts of the people, but ultimately it's up to them to accept it. The
last point I wanted to share is that we need to be bold, confident,
and extend our commitments with love! And never forget to promise
blessings. It was a spiritual missionary feast and I learned sooo
much. It was almost like a missionary General Conference!! Anyways, it
was a good day :)

Thursday was weekly planning which was good and then after... WE
CLEANED! Holy cow I was sweating my guts out haha it felt sooo good to
CLEAN!! Before my mission I considered myself a clean person, but now
I don't know what I would call myself haha... I'm a clean maniac! I
was at a point of puking once or twice while I was cleaning the
bathroom. I don't want to give details because I'll throw up writing
this email but let's just say I feel much better about the cleanliness
of our Piso now. Elder Peña cleans a little bit, but the majority of
it is me. But the miracle is that he helped me a ton on Thursday!!
Haha I was a happy missionary living in a clean Piso so that was a
good feeling. I have a testimony that when we are clean, we are more
in-tune with the spirit, because I could feel a difference immediately
after. I'm already praying that my next companion is a clean freak
like me now haha!! :)

Saturday we had one of the most fun English classes I can remember in
my time here. I found out that one of our "students", Alfredo, lived
in Wyoming for a few years so he was familiar with the states and that
explains why his English was so good! We talked about Wyoming and
Cowboys and horses and Yellowstone and everything about the western
United States for like an hour and a half and it was so much fun to
connect with him! At the end of every English class, we always share a
thought and this time I shared one of my favorite scriptures in D&C
6:36. It says "Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not."
After I shared this scripture, Alfredo got teary-eyed and told me how
beautiful he thought it was! He's such a good guy and I'm so glad that
I've gotten to know him and enjoy a few hours every week speaking
English. I'm hoping that by sharing all these scriptures with him and
being a genuine friend, maybe one day his heart will be open to hear
the gospel!! He's such a good guy. Haha I love Alfredo!!

Sunday was another good Sabbath day as usual. Church is completely
different now on my mission than it was before! I've come to love
being with all the members for 3 hours and getting to know them
better. It's hard here because everyone lives in pueblos that are like
an hour out of town so to get around and visit them costs a lot of
money and takes up entire days. So Sunday's are the best when we all
get together :) As the 4 Elders here, we have made a Branch Mission
Plan that we have thought about, prayed about, and fasted about a lot.
It contains goals about baptisms, less-actives, recent-converts, and
involving the members. The whole idea of the plan is to help the
members realize that missionaries come and go, but they, the members,
are the ones that will be here and can have the most impact. We
presented it to President Yubero, Hermano Julio who is our ward
mission leader, and the presidents of every organization in the
branch. They were all super happy and excited to hear about the plan,
so that's a good sign :) This work is incredible and I'm so happy to
be apart of it!

This was a good week :) I continue to learn more and more every single
day and am so grateful to be a missionary here in Valladolid. We will
see what happens with transfers, but no matter what, I'll work with it
because the Lord knows what I need. Thank you all for your love and
support. I am so blessed to have the best family and friends in the
whole world!! I pray for you all every day :) have a wonderful week!

Con Amor,

Elder Smith

Monday, January 18, 2016

Pics from this week

The Tamayo's got a new puppy named
Canela and it was super cute

A member just got back from visiting California and brought me an
In and Out drink cup and I was sooooo happy :)

Elder Peña and I at The Tamayo's house with their dogs Canela and
Pitooka (pronounced Pee-Too-Kah haha)

Michael and Elder Peña switched suit coats and Michael pulled a
"Fat guy in a little coat" scene from Tommy Boy!! Except Michael is
super strong but I was dying of laughter haha.

5 Months WOO HOO!!


It feels a little weird to be emailing again... But here we go!
Another week down and it's been good. It wasn't too eventful but there
is some stuff I wanted to tell you guys about. Here we go :)

So Claudia is all ready for her baptism! She has officially been
taught everything and she has her interviews lined up for this week.
We are waiting for these to be finished and then her date is set for
the 28th of January! We are super stoked for her and it's something
that she is really excited for. I still remember the first night that
we met her, I could just tell that something was different, and now
look!! Oh and she still calls me José Smith haha. I know that the Lord
prepares his people and that since we followed the promptings of the
Holy Ghost, we were able to find another one of his children to help
get on the path to eternal life!! WOO HOO :) the Lord's team is the
coolest one I've ever been apart of.

We have set goals as a Mission and as the Northern part of Spain to
focus more in the less actives and recent converts. The goals aren't
numbers for baptisms, they are numbers of families who will be
reactivated and how many people can have a temple recommend. I love
these goals let me tell you!! Something that I didn't understand in
the beginning of my mission was why didn't we contact all the day long
to find new investigators, but now that I've got a little experience,
there's so much more work here to be done than just baptizing. I love
passing by the less actives and recent converts here because they
already know about the gospel and all we have to do as missionaries is
remind them of the covenants they made and how important they really
are. With this being said, Mabel asked us if we could bring her the
sacrament this week and that was a huge step for her. We finally
struck a cord in her heart and she realized what she was missing out
on by not coming to church!! And, she gave us the rest of her
cigarettes again this week and told us that she is for sure done with
the smoking. Once again... WOO HOO :)

On Friday, President Pack came into town to do some interviews with us
and it was awesome as usual. I swear that guy knows me better than I
know myself haha. Anyways, it was just the perfect amount of calming
me down and firing me up at the same time. He told me some pretty cool
stuff, and one thing I wanted to share was that when we are doing all
that we can, the Lord is aware and is obligated to help us. This is
something that has been on my mind a lot, we can all do better but
when we are giving it all we have, the Lord isn't going to leave us
hanging. This was so comforting to me this week!! And we have
transfers in 2 weeks... I can't believe it. Where is my time going?!
Oh and today I completed 20% of my mission... WOO HOO :)

We bought a basketball this week and was one of the smartest things we
have ever done as a companionship. Elder Peña wants to learn how to
play basketball so bad and so now we wake up in the mornings and run
to la capilla and play in the gym!! Just a quick S/O to Nate Grant for
teaching me all my basketball skills... They're coming in handy here
in Valladolid! On the way back to our Piso one morning, I heard the
strangest "ringtone" in the world, like an insanely loud cat meowing
over and over again. But I couldn't figure out whose phone it was, but
as we got closer to a tree, there was this little tiny kitty stuck way
up high just meowing it's head off and it was so sad because it
couldn't get down!! I felt soooo sad that I couldn't help it!! I
honestly thought about doing the thing in "The Incredibles" when Mr.
Incredible rips the tree out of the ground and shakes the tree until
the cat falls out and then slams it back the other way and stops the
robber! I would have been Incredible Elder Smith and everyone would
have flocked to me and thanked me and it would have been awesome.
Hahaha!! My fantasies are what keep me going here when I get bored...

On Sunday night when we were headed to a lesson, one guy stopped us
and started to ask us the normal questions that everyone asks. He said
that he had his own church too and that he wanted to share it with us.
Haha he said he wanted to give us "an experience that we weren't going
to forget" which was a little creepy. Here I was thinking that this
guy actually wanted to talk about the gospel, but when he finished
talking I just said "yeah yeah that sounds good!" Then Elder Peña
looked at me and said "no, no I think we're okay, right Elder Smith?"
And so I just told the guy "oh I'm sorry, we are fine but thanks." He
was a little offended and then just walked away. Then Elder Peña told
me what he offered us, and turns out it was cocaine!! And me being the
little white kid I am who doesn't understand 100% still just said "Oh
yeah! Sure!" Hahaha it was a good learning experience. Thank goodness
for a native companion and now I know better than to accept an
invitation to try a little "la cocaína"!

Okay now for the spiritual thought... This week when I was listening
to some of my LDS music, one song stuck out to me because of the
lyrics. It says "it's not about you". How profound are these 4 words!!
Yeah I'm here serving my mission, but it's not about me. I'm here to
get lost in the service of other people and forget myself. I am going
to try harder this week to get lost in the service of other people
because when I do, I'm so much happier! I'm glad to be here and thanks
for all your support!! I love you all more than you know :)

Con Amor,

Elder Smith

Monday, January 11, 2016

Flan Suck

Pics from this week

Día de Reyes con Hermana Fernández :)

My newest P-Day purchase hahaha I couldn't resist!

We celebrated Elder Fletcher's B-Day 
at an all you can eat Chinese restaurant hahaha!

Spain BABY!!

Hi Everyone!! :)

Wow! Time is flying here in Valladolid!! In just 3 short weeks, we
have transfers and I have absolutely no idea what's going to happen.
I'm a little sad to be honest because I love my companion and
Valladolid is like one of the greatest places on the Earth!! I really
have come to love the mission and just thinking about leaving my first
area makes me sad. It's gonna be even more sad in 19 months when I
leave Spain completely! Anyways, here's my summary!!

Tuesday was Día de Reyes which is like more popular than Christmas
here, so there was absolutely nobody in the street until night time!
There were so many people, I actually wondered if we were in the right
area haha. Everyone poured out of their houses and into the street to
watch the parades and stuff. It was crazy cool to see! We ate with
Hermana María José and the other Elders too. Of course since she
cooked, we had amazing traditional Spanish food. She's literally the
coolest lady and loves to help us missionaries out. I could try to
explain to you the reason for this "Day of Kings" but I'd just confuse
you guys and myself too. All I know is that it's a PARTY and I like to
PARTY :) oh another funny story... I bought a drink that looked like a
Martinelli's Sparkling Cider that said specifically on the sign NO
ALCOHOL... but when I popped it open, the smell of alcohol filled the
room. So I poured 10 Euros worth of "non-alcoholic" drink down the
toilet. Hahaha it was actually funny but kind of a waste.

This week, we visited a lot with Claudia and Mabel. They're both doing
alright. Mabel is struggling with some things and we are working with
her a lot, maintaining daily contact definitely helps. She walked us
outside one day after our lesson and then pulled out her cigarettes.
It was like an arrow to the heart because we just barely finished
talking about that. We made a commitment with her that out of the 14
she had in the box, she had to give us 7 and she could have the other
7. She handed me 7 of the cigarettes which surprised me a lot but she
did it! It made me not as sad because she was willing to give up half.
She knows it's wrong, but she feels like she needs to do it because
it's the only way to calm her down. After, I turned and booked it to
find the closest trash can so nobody would see a missionary with
cigarettes in his hand haha! Claudia is doing good too. 
 We had to change her baptismal date to later this month because 
of her situation, so keep your fingers crossed for that!! Every time 
we invite her to do something, she always does it which is so awesome. 
Her prayers make me laugh too because they're usually on 
average about 10 minutes long. She prays for things like penguins, 
the legs of all the homeless people, and that the Holy Ghost can 
sleep with her in her bed. It's really sweet and she means well, she 
just prays for weird stuff. Oh and she will pray for Elder Peña, but when 
it comes time to pray for me, she just calls me José Smith. 
So that's awesome :)

We visited la Familia Brozovich this week in Urueña, the coolest
pueblo in Spain! They love the missionaries. They had so much food for
us hahaha it was incredible. I'm not fat not but I'm definitely a bit
thicker than when I left haha! After we went on a tour of Urueña which
took about 15 minutes to go around the whole thing. It's super tiny
and ancient! The architecture here in Spain is the coolest in the
world. I attached a picture of us 4 missionaries so you all can kinda
see what it's like! Also this week the weather was rain, rain, and
more rain every day. It's not good weather for contacting, but we
still have fun and get more chances to teach which is awesome! Friday
night we had a lesson with Nicole Ramierez's mom, Sandra. She brought
a friend because she thought that her friend might enjoy the message
too! YES! Anyways, we taught the Plan of Salvation and when we asked
Nicole to share her testimony, all 3 of the ladies were in tears! They
all felt the spirit sooooo strongly and it was awesome! Her mom has
told us that she doesn't really want to change, but with little
testimony builders like this, I don't know how someone couldn't
change! Poco a poco :)

Yesterday I had the chance to speak in Sacrament Meeting. Haha it was
a little scary but good. I talked about the importance of missionary
work and got lots of compliments after! I love the branch here and
like I said earlier, it's going to be a hard goodbye. I've made so
many life long friends and I'm so grateful for these people! Later
that night, we had a Noche de Hogar and I taught everyone how to play
THE NAME GAME! It was so much fun, and to do it in Spanish was really
cool! I'm not sure if you all know what this game is, but for those of
you who do, it gets intense fast! And even more intense with the
Spanish people  we had abuelitas getting fired up and it was
hilarious! I could not stop laughing hahaha! I almost won with the
name "Barbie", but our ward mission leader ended up taking the cake
with some person that I'd never heard of before. Super awesome Noche
de Hogar and now everyone wants to have another one to play the game
again :)

I'm so thankful to be here in Spain. I'm experiencing so many things
that I wouldn't experience in any other way. It's so much fun, so
frustrating, and literally every other emotion too. This week, I
really felt the role of the Holy Ghost in our lessons and it made me
appreciate this sacred gift that we as members of the church have. I
love being a missionary! Thanks for all your love and support, I have
the best family and friends in the whole world!! Have a wonderful week

Con Amor,

Elder Brady Smith

Monday, January 4, 2016

Pics from this week

 This was the only day it didn't rain this week
 so I had to take a picture haha!

Elder Peña, Luis, and me :)

Haha here's what we did for New Years!
It was a good time :)


Wassssup Fam :)

Hello from rainy Valladolid! Just wanna start off by saying FELIZ AÑO
:) I hope everyone was safe and reflected back on the wonderful 2015
and all the blessings that we received. I'm so excited for 2016... A
whole year dedicated only to serving the Lord and doing missionary
work. What an awesome opportunity it is to be a missionary! I love
waking up every morning and putting on my chapa :) Before I get
started with my weekly review... Here are a few of the things I wanted
to say about 2015...

2015!! Wow!! It was probably the hardest and best year of my life so
far. So many events happened that I am grateful for and helped me get
to where I am right now in Spain. I turned 18 (adulthood baby)! I
received my mission call to the Spain Madrid Mission in March and that
was one of the most special moments of all my life :) I was on a
killer high school baseball team that was very successful and made
lifelong friends that were teammates and coaches. I graduated high
school (which still is a little weird to think about) and Woods Cross
will always have a special place in my heart! Then off to family
vacations, going through the temple, lots of goodbyes to my other
missionary friends, and finally... MISSION TIME :) August 17th was a
very emotional day and full of tears (you all know I'm a cry baby) but
I'm so glad I got on that plane because I have learned more in these 4
1/2 months than I could've ever imagined. Now that I think of it, 2015
was a year of tears; happy and sad, scared and excited, and lots of
endings but tons of beginnings :) Finishing off 2015 in Valladolid was
fun and it's going to be a good month of January here too!

This week was nothing really special, we continued to meet with
Claudia every day and she is officially ready for baptism! Now all we
have to do is wait for her date and there are couple other things we
are trying to figure out with her. But overall, she's so excited and
gets emotional in almost every lesson because the spirit is so strong!
It's been cool to teach someone who is so open and receptive to the
gospel... I wish there were more people here like that haha!! Anyways,
I will keep you all updated on her progress :)

Wednesday was a day full of service. We had district meeting as usual
and then after we went to help Mabel move. She switched her Piso and
her new one is like 5 minutes away so it wasn't too bad. After Mabel,
we went to President Yubero's house and helped them move too! They
bought a house about 40 minutes outside of Valladolid and they had a
ton of stuff. I woke up on Thursday soooooo sore! But their new house
is a lot bigger, has a huge yard, and a swimming pool :) they're very
excited to be out of a Piso and it felt good to take a break from
teaching and serve.

I couldn't help but remember New Year's Eve last year... I had my
wisdom teeth removed and I went to some party with my family in SLC
and all I wanted to do was die! And then after my dad and I flew to
California to enjoy a little college football!! I was in so much pain
hahaha. Needless to say this year was a little bit less painful but I
did still miss the fam. Elder Peña had a good idea to meet up with
Luís and give him a blessing to start off the year well. Really we
just wanted to make sure he wasn't already out partying with his
friends but when we called him he was just at home relaxing and said
he didn't have any plans. After we blessed him, he offered to give us
both blessings and it was incredible! He blessed me to know that God
will always watch over me and that I will be able to help more people
get to the temple. Super cool! It was his second priesthood blessing
ever in his life, the first was last week to Stefan! After the
blessing last week, Stefan was crying and stood up and kissed Luís on
the cheek haha. I'm so proud of Luís and all the progress he has made,
he is getting ready to go to the temple this month and receive his
endowments!! I gave him a tie for his Christmas present and I attached
a picture at the end... We're matching :)

When the clock finally hit 12:00 and it was officially the new year,
people opened up their windows and yelled and screamed like crazy!
There were people throwing beer cans out windows and into the street,
lighting off firecrackers in their piso's, and it was complete
madness! A lot different than Utah! We couldn't sleep with all the
commotion so we set up chairs on our balcony and enjoyed the crazy
Spanish people for a bit. The fireworks here are really loud but I'll
have to say my favorite part was the beer cans haha. The people here
are nuts! Anyways it was a new year I'll never forget :)

Sorry it's another long email! I'm grateful for these experiences I'm
having and wouldn't trade them for anything in the world. I know
Heavenly Father loves every one of us more than we can comprehend. His
plan is perfect and all he wants is for his children to be happy and
return to live with him someday. I hope and pray that we can all make
that one of our New Year's Resolutions, to live worthily and get on
the path to eternal life with Heavenly Father :) thanks for being
awesome and reading this far. Have a wonderful week everybody!! I love
you all <3

Con Amor,

Elder Smith