Monday, February 27, 2017

Pics from this week!

Brian's mission call opening :)


Santiago Zone in front of the Temple

The pool we baptized him in!

Surprise visit from Daguimar and fam! With the niño and nieto too!

Los Bitton who are from Idaho and know the whole Smedley Clan!! 
Theworld is so small!

A Phenomenal Week :)

Hola buenas¡¡¡¡

THIS WEEK WAS SO BOSS HOLY COW i never wanna come home! Just kidding,
it'll be good to come home but I'm really gonna miss it out here. I
swear each week gets better and better in Ferrol. It's got a real
special place in my heart that's for sure :) I'm just gonna get
straight to it this week, enough with the childs play!! Haha!! Oh but
before I forget, we played fútbol today and I nailed one of the
hermanas and one of the young women right in the face with the soccer
ball! I've still got aim haha just like with all those snowballs that
I've launched through neighbors moving car windows!! Just goes to show
that I'm athletically gifted 😜😇

Probably the best news of the week... ROBERT GOT BAPTIZED :):):) man
was it a glorious day. Of all the people I've seen baptized on my
mission, I think Robert has the craziest and coolest story. And that's
saying a lot because the others were insane too! Something that they
all have in common though is the sacrifices they had to make and the
change that the gospel has brought into their lives. Anyways, Robert
looked sooooo good dressed in all white. He was a little nervous and
said he had some butterflies in his stomach but when he came up out of
the water, they were all gone! He gave me the biggest wet hug and was
smiling sooo big. I wish you all coulda seen it. His cousin Reyes gave
a great talk about the Holy Ghost and explained Robert's story and how
he actually got to Spain and the process of the baptism. It's honestly
amazing and I have no doubt that God had his hand in the process of
Robert's conversion, every step of the way. He has blessed my life so
much and I am glad I'll have a friend in him until I die and even in
the next life! On Sunday he got confirmed and he gave us another big
hug and it was so great. I really do love Robert and am so happy for
his decision. Not only is it going to be a blessing for him, but for
his whole family!! This is just the beginning of his long process back
home to live with Heavenly Father :) as long as he keeps HOLD(ing)
FAST, he should be just fine :) ahhhh it was a grand weekend!!

The mission tour was so good too! Elder Soares is a machine! I love
Brazilians! He talked a lot about repentance, knowing our purpose, and
having a vision of where we want to be as individuals, a mission, and
with the work. We also had a smaller leadership council thingy with
him and he talked to us about being leaders and examples and how if we
don't follow the rules, other missionaries won't either. He pumped us
all up so much and me especially! It was a great couple of hours with
him and nice to receive some good old fashioned heaven sent revelation
:) not to mention that it was also fun to see old companions and
mission buddies and do some quality pillow talking! The temple was
sweet too :) I got a surprise visit from my favorite family in B3
which was sooooo yawesome!! However, we did have to take an 11 hour
red eye train ride back to Coruña which wasn't the funniest thing I've
ever done :( we were told we had beds but when we found our seats,
they were normal chairs. I think I got a grand total of 20 minutes of
sleep that night hahaha I hope I never have to do that again! But it
didn't ruin the experience of the mission tour of course, it just
added more memories :)

One of the young men in the branch got his mission call this week to
the Scotland/Ireland mission and his 2 older brothers are both coming
home from their missions in Utah and Texas in 2 weeks! There is no
better feeling than receiving your mission call or watching someone
else get theirs 😊 just thinking about how fast the time flies is

insane. It feels like yesterday that I was opening up that envelope in
front of my fireplace and being surrounded by all of my loved ones and
now I'm in the final months of this journey that has changed my life
so much! I am so grateful for the opportunity that I've had to serve
in the Spain Madrid Mission. It truly is the best mission in the world
in every aspect! I know for a fact that the Lord called me here not
only to find people to teach, but to learn about how I want the rest
of my life to be and most importantly, how to love everyone
unconditionally just as He does with us.

Well, things here are great :) Our Cuban family now has a baptismal
date for the 18th of March which is the last week of the transfer.
They're doing awesome and progressing really well! Ferrol is so I'm honestly loving every second! I hope you all have a
splendid week and I'll be back typing you all an email on my iPad
before you know it :) LOVE TO ALL😎

Con amor,
Elder Braids

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Pics from this week

Grandpa smith, Father jones, baby Peroni!!! 

Boo kiser :) missed that kid!!! 

Door knocking ft. Flower n Lowder

Priesthood POWER

Que pasa mi familia :') 

This week I realized that I have officially finished my hermana mission 😳 that means that I've been out for 18 months hahaha but HOLY COW 18 MONTHS?!?! where has the time gone?!?! Crazy stuff. We are currently in Madrid for our mission tour with Elder Ulysses Soares and it's gonna be so awesome :) all of the north is getting together with him tomorrow and we are gonna receive some real good instruction and have fun seeing old friends too! (Mainly elder kiser, elder jones, and my grandson) Wednesday we take the overnight train back to Ferrol :) should be fun trying to sleep on a train hahaha. But this week was insane. You're all gonna flip. 

Robert didn't get baptized this Sunday :( he actually has a really good story why. Thursday night, he started getting really bad stomach cramps and tried to sleep it off but by Friday morning he was feeling so lousy that his cousin called us to come over and give him a blessing. They took him to the hospital and told him that he would probably need to have an additional 12 inches taken off of his large intestine (keep in mind that he already had 14 inches taken out in the United States) and that would obviously put him at his 30th major surgery. With all the drugs that they were giving him and what not, he was not doing good. So yesterday, he decided he was done and left the hospital against medical recommendation haha. After all, it was just an infection and nothing too serious. He will probably have it operated on when he gets home or later this fall. Robert is such a beast. We saw him yesterday before we went to Coruña and he seemed to be doing mucho mejor. He looked so much better than when he did in his hospital bed. We had a good chat about life and why God gives us trials. Something I've learned from Robert is that attitude is todo. This guy has seriously passed through everything and then some and still he trusts God so much. Its inspiring :) the first day when we got to the hospital, he looked right at us and said "don't even think that this is keeping me from getting baptized!" Such a beast. So this Saturday, if everything goes smoothly, he will be baptized :) please keep him in your prayers and that everything works out according to God's will! 

Another cool story... so one of the hermanas investigators was really sick and she wanted a blessing too. So, we went over and gave her a blessing and i honestly remember nothing of what i said but when we finished the hermanas and the investigator were all crying cuz spirit :) I had no idea but the Hermanas had gone over like the week before and done a lesson about setting goals and after the blessing, the investigator asked the hermanas if they had told me about her personal goals and they said no. Apparently during the blessing I mentioned a bunch of her goals and how they were going to be accomplished :) I don't remember anything I said but it just strengthened my testimony even more about priesthood power and the role of the Holy Ghost :) it was an awesome experience! 

We found 3 new investigators this week and 2 of them came to church! It was a good feeling to see them walk into sacrament meeting and be greeted by all the members :) I honestly love Ferrol. The people here are so great and happy all the time! I would not mind ending my mission here haha. Our branch president and mission leader are super happy with all the work that we have been doing here. It's all finally paying off and people are excited about the missionary work :) 

We are headed to the temple tonight as part of p-day and we tried to go golfing at some sick driving range today too but it was under construction :/ We just mobbed around instead in Sol and partied :) Can I just say how awesome and weird it is to be back in Madrid for a little bit?! I really miss it down here!! It will always be home that's for sure :) Well, that's all I got for this week :) I love and miss you all. This is all I'll give you another update next week!!! CHAO FAM BAM :):):) 

Con amor,
Elder esmeeeef

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Que Pasta Mi Valentine?


Hola :) the week has been good. Just your typical beginning of transfer blues and changing companions and leading the area again. Nothing too special :) I'm happy! Elder Lowder is an awesome kid and we have been getting along great. He's still a young missionary so we will both be learning a lot from each other! I hope everyone is doing great wherever you are. This week is a bit short because I have no ganas to write. And there is mainly 1 thing I want to tell you all about! 😊

I'd like to focus this email on our friend Robert. He. Is. The. Best. I seriously have never taught anyone cooler in my whole life. I have wondered my whole mission where the people are that God has sent me to teach, and then Robert got in a plane and came right to me, straight from Tucson, Arizona :) that was definitely an answered prayer. I've known him now for 15 days and the changes that the gospel makes in a persons life are incredible. He is a completely changed man! He understands the atonement so well and really wants to change and become a better father, son, brother, and disciple of Christ. He has been shot, stabbed, run over by a car, he was born deaf in one ear, is missing all his toes on one foot, survived cancer, has a seizure disorder called Epilepsy (he had a seizure on Sunday at sacrament meeting), has had 29 major surgeries, and many more things. Robert is simply amazing. He is a fighter. He reminds me a lot of a long lost smith brother haha :) This week as we were teaching him about service, he got teary eyed and expressed gratitude to us for teaching him and making him a better person. I couldn't help but cry because I realized that during these 15 days, he has taught me more than I could have ever imagined or taught him for that matter! As he was reading in the Book of Mormon, Robert came across the verse in 1 Nephi 15 that says "And I said unto them that it was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would HOLD FAST unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction." Not only does the verse go along perfectly with his "hold fast" tattoo but it really struck him that he "would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower [him]". This week he has his baptismal interview and some extra prayers headed our way would be much appreciated :) He asked me to baptize him on Sunday and I honestly am so excited. It's funny how the Lord works, sending people all the way to the other side of the planet to find what they were looking for :) there will be much more to report on o week so stay tuned! 

The Cuban family is good, they didn't make it to church this week but they are still excited about the 25th of this month :) the mom was worried that the water would be cold in the baptismal font and that they would need to go buy all their own new white clothes haha. So cute! I'm very impressed with the progress they have made, especially with their testimonies and their reading in the Book of Mormon! Every time we go over, they always tell us about what they have been reading and they love it :) 

Next week we will be in Madrid for a few days having a mission tour and going to the temple 😍 my p day will be Tuesday! Just para que sepáis:) so hopefully we can figure out a way to get all the work done in Ferrol and baptismal interviews and stuff! It'll be a party that's for sure :) oh and my title explains this week perfectly. I think we ate some form of pasta like 82937283727462827482 times. I was ready to puke at any given second hahaha. 

Love you all, thanks for the love and support :) have a fantastic week! Oh and happy Valentine's Day tomorrow and HAPPY early BIRTHDAY S/O to Elizabeth Faye on Wednesday!! Stop growing up! You are making me feel old!! Love you sissy ️ 

Con amor,
Elder Smith

Well, this is the first week in my whole mission (I think) that I haven't had any new pictures! Sorry! Haha but next week I'll make up for it :) 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Pics from this week

Tower of Hercules, the oldest still functioning light house in the world :)

Delicious fruit cake from Robert and Reyes :)

Fútbol on Saturday

P day aquarium fun

Our menos activo and what he wore to the lesson hahaha

$20€ lol

Hola!! 😛

What a week! Things just keep getting better and better in Ferrol :) we had transfers and elder Simmons is out, headed down to Madrid :) my new companion is Elder Lowder from Idaho. I don't know him too well but he seems like a good kid! Also, thanks for the birthday wishes :) best family and friends award goes to you all! We spent the day in Coruña and went to a cool aquarium and hung out with the sea lions! Another solid year down and I'm excited for the future!! Without further delay, here is the update that you've all been waiting for :)

So the Cuban family is soooo prepared it's not even funny!! I forgot to mention last week that in gospel principles class, we learned about eternal families and we easily have

the greatest gospel principles teacher of all all time named Rosie. (She is the long lost Chilean twin of my mom, they are literally identical except for their nationalities and language) anyways, Rosie gave a bomb lesson and they were just eating it up thinking about being an eternal family! This week we taught them a couple of times and they are looking really good for the 25th of February still! The branch is doing a great job of welcoming them. The son came and played fútbol with us on Saturday morning and they went to a member-only noche de hogar yesterday :) Please keep them in your prayers!

Our other friend Robert is progressing like a machine! He's the guy from Arizona who is here for 8 weeks living with his cousin :) he now has a baptismal date for the 19th of February! We are doing all we can to help him prepare. He's had probably the most interesting and one of the hardest lives I have ever heard of. He has had 29 surgeries, cancer, got hit by a drunk driver while riding his motorcycle, and a seizure disorder. Even with all these things, he is still so positive! On his knuckles he has the phrase "hold fast" tattooed and it is a constant reminder to never let things get to you and to trust in God. On Saturday when we went to visit him, he was in the middle of a seizure and then we lifted him up onto the couch and after settling him all in, he started to have a second one. We were able to give him a priesthood blessing and he is feeling a lot better now. This guy is a warrior and one of the coolest people I've ever met. I really hope we can help him get baptized here and if not, he will for sure be baptized in Arizona. He has a strong testimony of the atonement and is willing to change his life, after all that is why he came here to Spain. It's crazy how God moves us around the earth and then puts us together here in Ferrol, Spain out of all places :) it's gonna be really fun getting home and going down to visit him in AZ! He's also a chef and made me Chicken Marcella yesterday for my b day plate. I have to say it was the best birthday meal I've had in Spain ;) although nothing compares to my mom’s food and good old Lorena's haha! Please pray for Robert this week and that things go well!

One of our menos activos called us this week and said he wanted to meet up which was weird because he has never expressed interest before. We taught him the plan of salvation and he was feeling really good about everything and told us that he hadn't been to church in 2 years but knew that he needed to start coming back. So we invited him and he came yesterday!! Hopefully he will keep coming. The greatest part of this story is that he came dressed in jeans, sandals, a floppy hat, and a denim vest without sleeves and no shirt. It was quite a sight hahaha! We always see him walking on the street and he is dressed in the most ridiculous outfits hahaha. It's soooo great. We had a really funny experience with him a couple of weeks ago and elder Simmons wrote it down and I will attach it below so you can all read it and get an idea of what we deal with and see here in Ferrol :)

"The longer I've been here, the more crazy people i meet. There are some really crazy people here in ferrol and i love it. I would like to share with you an experience I had this week with a man named Roberto. Roberto is a menos activo and a brother of a very strong member named Africa. Roberto really wants nothing to do with the church anymore but we always run into to him because we're teaching Africa's OTHER menos activo brother, José Carlos. But Roberto is a really funny man. Wednesday night we were returning to Piso when we see Roberto walking towards us on the sidewalk. We stop and say hi. Ferrol is very very cold at night right now and roberto was wearing nothing more than a thin sleeve less shirt on his northern hemisphere...and sunglasses at night. We asked him "aren't you cold?" He responded quickly "cold? What's that? What is 'cold'. "  Anways, after he said that, there were a few moments of silence of him just staring at us and shrugging his shoulders. Then he quickly reached into the back of his pants and pulled out a book of Mormon in Russian. Oh I forgot to mention, on top of all this he was blasting very gnarly American gangster rap on his phone. Anyways, he quickly told us that he’s been learning Russian and then quickly said bye. As he began walking away I noticed that he was wearing a pair of socks over top his flip flops. A good combination of a lot of absurd things that made for a very absurd moment but it gave me a good laugh." -elder Simmons

Other interesting things this week included...

·        Wehad 6 investigators at church yesterday :)

·        Elder jones is training which makes me a grandpa! (I feel old haha) Pretty crazy that elder Peña, me, elder jones, and elder jones' Greenie have all served in the same area :) the valladolid legacy continues!

·         We had wicked rain and wind storms this week and we were knocking doors (to try and stay out of the street and not be blown away) and some Colombian lady let us up and turns out she has met with the missionaries before and read the whole Book of Mormon! She asked us for another copy cuz she lost hers and she is coming to church this Sunday! It was a miracle. I really hope she gets baptized. Hardly anyone lets us up to talk to them in their doorway haha.

I'm very happy here hanging out and doing the Lord's work in Ferrol. I know He needs me and I know that He is putting people in my path who need to hear the gospel. I'm grateful for the experiences I'm having and I know they are shaping me to be the person that God wants me to be. We have a lot of crappy days, but the good ones outweigh the bad ones by a ton :) Thanks again for all the emails, letters, packages, and prayers sent my way. They don't go unnoticed! Have a FANTÁSTICO SEMANA :)

Con Amor,

Elder Smith