Friday, March 20, 2015

Kieren's Last Post!!!! 11 March 2015

This week was amazing. 

Marcos, with whom we have been working, praying, and setting goals for quite a while now, finally was able to stop smoking in enough time to be baptized and confirmed last Saturday and Sunday. It was an amazing blessing and miracle to have at the end of my mission. 

We have also been working with a really special family that has 6 kids! This Sunday, one of our dear members went to their house to pick them up and the mom and one of her kids went to church for the first time! The daughter, who during the lessons said that she probably wouldn´t come, loved church so much that she told us she will for sure be coming back! 

One of the other members in our ward gave us a referall of their next door neighbor. After just a quick conversation with her at the gate, she said she would go to church, and she did! The members gave her and her little daughter a ride and sat with her. 

The members really make a difference. I love this ward. 

I think a scripture that really sums up my mission is Mosiah 5:2. I thank Heavenly Father so much for molding me into who I am now and showing me that I can become even more. 

We got to go to the temple yesterday which was one of the moments of greatest happiness that I have ever experienced in my life. 

My time is short here, but know I love being a missionary. I love my Savior and I am so grateful for everything he has done for me. 


Sister Smith

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Baptism Day!

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The beautiful Bride

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At the Wedding

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2 March 2015

5 years ago, two sisters knocked on the door of Fernanda and Eduardo. They accepted to hear a message and liked it. They went to church, learned about the gospel, but somehow things just didn´t fall into place and after the missionaries changed, the visits stopped and they stopped going to church. Three months ago, as we were looking through the Area Book, the name of this family stood out. We wrote it down and sent a couple of sisters to go knock on their door (everyone in the district was working in our area). They came back with an excited report "You HAVE to visit this family. They are really special." They truly are.

They accepted the gospel so willingly and have an amazing faith. We were finally able to help them see it through and get married and then baptized by the authority of God, starting their new journey as a family, united in the discipleship of Jesus Christ.  
I have really developed a great love for this family. Yesterday, when we visited them for the first time after baptism, we read parts of 2 Ne 31. Fernanda, who when we started barely knew how to read, was so proud to be able to be "reading without stops" and when we asked them what the next step is after baptism and confirmation, they responded "endure to the end" how? they stopped and thought. "keep going to church, learning, studying, pay tithing, and obey all the commandments." Yes! They are amazing. I hope to see them be sealed and become an eternal family!
2 Nephi 31:19-21
"And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save. Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen."

Love you!
Sister Smith

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

25 February 2015

Each moment becomes more and more precious as it goes by faster and faster.  We did an activity with all the sisters here in Pelótas so we had to split our email time, that´s why the letter is late....

This Sunday we had a funny experience. We have been working so hard to get a family to church and we have been praying and praying and we decided to fast this Saturday to help this family. We went to their house early Sunday morning and stood outside in the rain for 30 minutes and called and called and.....nothing. 

We were sad. We had done everything we could but they ended up not coming to church. However, the Lord had different plans for us. At church, Fernanda and Eduardo brought not only Andressa and Anderson, their two little kids, but also Gustavo and Allison, two other kids that had gotten back from their month long vacation with relatives during school break. It was amazing to see such an adorable family all sitting together and was the answer to our prayers. We want to see families joining the church, and this family is preparing to make that step. 

The Lord also worked another miracle in our ward. Ever since Julia´s baptism, the young women have been getting really excited about missionary work. They all went together (including Elizabeth!) to make visits to less active young women and resolve differences that have been between them for years. That takes a lot of courage. The result? A group of young women that had two sometimes three members has now almost quadrupled in size. There was hardly enough space in the young women´s room. Young women that had not been to church in years were there on Sunday, listening attently and preparing for the upcoming youth conference. 

One special miracle was Cristian´s framily. We visited them Saturday. He has not been to church in years, but has such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and the prophet Joseph Smith. He faces a lot of opposition but knows what he needs to do. We challenged him act on the precious gift of his testimony. His home teachers have never stopped visiting and the young women went and visited his daughter as well on Saturday. We challenged his 9 year old son to wake up early and jump on his dad until he comes to church. 

Sunday morning we arrive and as we enter the gates, we see a car pull up. Out steps Cristian and João (son). His daughter had already gotten a ride with the young women. We gave João a high five and asked if he jumped on his dad. He smiled and said " I didn´t even need to!" Cristian was met with hugs, smiles, and old friends nearly in tears. It was a beautiful moment to see the whole ward rejoicing in the return of the one. We all rejoiced knowin that the small efforts of everyone combined had brought to pass this wonderful event. 

Marcos also came to church again! He is working hard to stop smoking and is so willing to accept challenges and make changes. The Lord´s hand is at work here. 

In Helaman 14 we read about the reason we are here. We want everyon to know this good news. The joy that can come when we repent, when we accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and gain the hope of eternal life. 

 11 And ye shall hear my words, for, for this intent have I comeup upon the walls of this city, that ye might hear and know ofthe judgments of God which do await you because of youriniquities, and also that ye might know the conditions ofrepentance;

 12 And also that ye might know of the coming of Jesus Christ,the Son of God, the Father of heaven and of earth, the Creatorof all things from the beginning; and that ye might know of thesigns of his coming, to the intent that ye might believe on hisname.

 13 And if ye believe on his name ye will repent of all your sins,that thereby ye may have a remission of them through his merits.

I am so grateful to be a missionary. So grateful to have the chance to wear the name of the Savior Jesus Christ. 


Sister Smith

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

18 February 2015

What a wonderful week! 

The Lord blessed us with some great progress this week. 
Elizabeth is so awesome. She bought modest dress to use at the dance at Youth Conference was really excited to go. Her family is slowly warming up to the message of the Restored Gospel. 

Marcos also came to church! He is working hard to stop drinking and smoking and is keeping up with his goals!

Fernanda found her stroller, so instead of using the bike, she brought the kids to church in the stroller :) The ward is being so awesome in helping plan the wedding :) :)

Also, Happy Valentine´s Day! I found out that in Peru, Ecuador, the U.S., and most other countries in North, South and Central America (don´t know about the rest of the world) celebrate Valentine´s day. Except Brasil. They celebrate it June 12th. But it was still fun! I was on a division, and Sister Diaz from Peru said Happy Valentine´s day. That was about it for the celebration. 

Yesterday we went to a neighborhood called Passo do Salso, which is basically a giant endless sandy dirt road with some little sideroads with cute colorful houses. We talked to people along the way, including Claudette, a super sweet gypsy woman that we marked to visit next week. We had forgotten our water bottles and were really thirsty. I felt sand clinging to my teeth and a dry throat. We arrived at the less-active member´s house that we were going to visit, but they weren´t home. So we decided to contact the neighbors, invite them to church, and ask for much needed water. 

The first house we came to had a giant fence but it was open. We clapped and a man came out. Before we could even speak he said "Are you from a church?" Yes, we are missionaries of..... "I don´t want to hear it. The weeked is my only chance to rest and you people come by every weekend to bother us. Don´t you have laundry to do? Leave me alone and don´t bother my neighbors either." And then he turned and went into his house. Rejection is nothing new, but this was a little harsh. 

Part of me wanted to just be done, head back to the other neighborhood where we have nice investigators, do a bit of walking, but we are representatives of Jesus Christ. He wouldn´t desist after one setback. So we went to a nearby house with an open window. A really nice girl attended and called her dad. They were in the middle of a project but were super nice and accepted a return visit. They brought us a cold water and we drank. We thanked them and went on our way. 

Turning the corner, we saw Claudette, who we had talked to earlier. We stopped and talked to her and her husband and they gave us more water! As we talked, Claudette told us that she had been praying to find a religion to follow. And then we talked to her. And here we were again! The Lord truly puts the elect in our path when we continue working and never give up. 

John 4:14-15 "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw"

Love you!!

Sister Smith