Friday, October 25, 2013

25 October 2013

When Kieren emailed me today she said that next week she should have some pictures she can send along with her letter so that is something great to look forward to! She is still doing well and loves hearing from all of you. Thank you for taking the time to support my sister on your mission, I know she appreciates it and can feel the love. 

Dearest Family and Friends,
Sorry for the short letter, I have 5 minuses of email time left...
Only 4 days left in the CTM! Woohoo! We leave for the field on Terça-Feira (Tuesday) early in the morning. It has been wonderful here and every day just gets better and better.
My teacher, Irmã Jardim, accidentally slammed her hand in the door and had to get a geso (cast) so she will be out the rest of the week. We miss her and hope that you can pray for her this week.
My favorite new food of the week was cheese kabobs. They had this breaded cheese on a skewer between pieces of meat and it was great! I also got a recipe from one of the cooks for queijadinhos (little coconut-like muffin things) so I intend to make that in the field.
I was reading this week from the Book of Mormon in First Nephi chapters 10 and 11. It is cool how Nephi, when he is asked what he wants by the angel, always knows exactly what to ask for and knows the desires of his heart. God is willing to give us personal revelation and answer our questions, we just have to come to him. Sometimes we have to be specific in order to get specific answers. If we ask for blessings, we will be blessed, but if we ask for specific blessings we will be able to be blessed in specific and meaningful ways. (I especially liked 1 Ne 10:17)
I am so grateful to be a missionary and I am so glad to hear from all of you!
Sister Smith

Monday, October 21, 2013

18 Oct 2013 - The Police and Megamind

Kieren is doing fabulous in Brazil. The real question is how are we doing here in America without her? Terribly. I'm doing terribly I miss her so much this week. Everybody should email her at and remind her how great she is doing and fill her in on your lives. Email is really an underrated form of communication and so many of us just go through the motions of skimming her letters and then forgetting about it but don't do that this week. Really read it and then write her back because you can do that with email in less than five minutes. Also, Mom, she asked you to watch Megamind so everybody should also email my mom ( and ask her how she liked it. Now, without further ado, Kieren's letter:  

Dearest Family and Friends,
Last week I met a whole bunch of people from Rio Grande do Sul (the state where Porto Alegre is) and this week I met a Sister who is from Porto Alegre itself and I might end up serving in her home ward! That would be fun. They were all really nice and funny. We had atividade física at the same time so we were all volleyball buddies. They made fun of the way I served because I would always raise my right hand really stiffly before serving. But I served alright so it was all in good fun.
I gave a talk on Sunday in Português! It was exciting (read with a Megamind style inflection. If you haven´t seen Megamind (MOM) you should. I won´t get to see it for another year and a half). At church, they just announce the speakers at the beginning without telling you beforehand, but we all had talks prepared just in case. I spoke about God´s love for all of us and the enabling power of the atonement. I talked about how weak things can become strong (Ether 12:27) and how God will strengthen us through trials (D&C 122:7-9 I think- the one with Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail).
Also on Sunday, I was asked to translate from Português to English when Sister Mio shared her testimony. Usually they have a portuguese speaker who knows english do it but I was really grateful to have the chance! It went pretty well and I was able to understand everything she said. It´s amazing how with the Lord´s help we can learn a new language in so short a time! I definitely feel blessed for the language preparation I had.
I have been blessed to be able to use my musical talents here too. I think almost every week I have been able to play in Devotional or for a musical number for someone or something during the week. This Sunday, we are having an area authority come and I get to play the piano and Elder Muse (friend from back home and fellow musician from before) will conduct. I am super excited
Yesterday we went to the Policía Federal and got registered to officially and legally live in Brazil! Woohoo! It was cool because we saw some people there who had left the CTM a couple weeks ago and were registering in their new areas. Also yesterday Sister Cummings and I got new roommates! One of them is from Cabo Verde (I can´t remember her name right now...) and Sister Rocha is from Mina Gerais (in Brazil). They are our first native companions and it has been fun to speak with them and learn new things like the name for fan (ventilador).
The temple was excellent as always! The São Paulo Temple is so beautiful and really stands out from the city. The cities here are filled with super steep hills! It is so lovely to look out from a building and see the city. Our new room has a great view. Vou tirar um foto hoje. Also, we are going to the chocolate shop today right after email, for which I am quite excited!
One of our investigators, "Carol" (my instructor Irmã Jardim) finally accepted baptism! (Even though I don´t have real investigators, the people that the instructors play are real people that they taught on their missions and you start to really care about them and their progress. I can see her faith growing and it is so wonderful!) We had talked about it a few times but she finally decided she needed to take that step of faith and set a date. We had a really good lesson about faith and about how we can be examples. Her family came to church with her and her daughter, who previously did not really like the church, said she had a really good feeling and wanted to come back. Her husband is still struggling with some drinking problems and that makes Carol really sad, but she has so much faith. She said all she wishes is that her faith could be enough to change Vilmar, but we shared with her that everyone has agency and even though we cannot change anyone else, we can be an example for good and stand strong. As we come to Christ, those we love will see our joy and it will affect them. That is what Christ did all his life. He did not force anyone to come to Him, but He invited all to take his yoke upon them because when you walk with Christ, your burden truly is light and easy to bear. I have felt that here on my mission. Things could be really hard but I don´t feel stressed out or weighed down. I am having such a good time and I have been surprised with how well I have been able to adapt.
I love you all so much! Have a wonderful week and thank you for all your love and support.
Sister Smith

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

11 October 2013

Sorry for the delay in getting this email out - things have been crazy. But it sounds like Kieren has been doing well in Brazil! She enjoyed conference and I like her thoughts about the matter. Don't forget to write her this week! (

Oi querida familia e queridos amigos!
Este semana foi útimo! Conference was amazing as always. all of the Americans (and Australians) got put in a small little side room to watch in English. It was cool because the sister from Australia (Sister Cameron) is the niece of one of the music professors at BYU (Bro. Howard) who is also in the MoTAB. Small world.
On quarta-feira (Wednesday) we got to go street contacting in São Paulo. We took the ônibus down to Paulista Avenue (a business district) and got to proselyte. On the way up there (the bus ride was tipo 30-40 min) I talked to a guy named Anderson who worked at a law firm down town. He spoke a little English and was excited to practice it with me. He already had a Book of Mormon because he has LDS friends and I when I asked he said he would accept a visit from the missionaries!
When we got to the streets, Sister Cummings and I (Did I mention that I am no longer in a trio- the second week a new sister came to our district so now Sister Piper is with Sister Soressi) walked down Paulista and turned left after a few blocks. Outside a store window, we saw a young woman with a stroller and another girl. We decided to stop and talk to them. We found out that the girl´s name was Luaira and that her little baby was named Alessantro Kaique. Luaira´s younger sister was named Kevelin. They were really nice and very patient with our Português. It was pretty clear that they were going through a hard time. When we first came up to them, they thought we were going to give them money, but I said that we didn´t have money, but we did want to share a gift and a message with them. We gave them a Book of Mormon and talked a little bit about it. We shared the joy that can come into their lives as a result of reading, praying about, and living the concepts found in the Book of Mormon. It was a really cool experience for me because just minutes before we left for proselyting, I finished the last page of the Book of Mormon. I had been working on reading it for a couple of months now and was really excited to finish again. I definitely felt the spirit when I testified that I have read it and that I know it is true and that I know that it can bring peace and joy into their lives. They said they would be willing to accept the missionaries so we took down their phone number and address. They lived in Tiradentes, a city that is kind of far away, but we reassured them that we have missionaries everywhere! There is actually a pretty cool story in Brazilian history behind the name Tiradentes, but I don´t have time to go into that now. If you are curious, you can google it.
Another highlight of the day was on the bus ride home. I decided to go sit by a woman probably in her 50s. Her name is Branca and she lives really close to the CTM (Casa Verde) so we had a lot of time to chat. She owns her own art shop downtown and loves what she does. She lives with her two daughters who are 25 and 30 years old. She is a non-practicing Catholic and part Spiritist (Spiritismo). She loves Christmas and Easter and cooking and cinnamon and butterflies. It was amazing to me that I was able to understand basically everything she said and to speak back conversationally. I can see the hand of the lord in preparing me generally and specifically to be able to do the best that I can. For example, I had randomly learned the words canela (cinnamon) and borboleta (butterfly) in the last couple of weeks, and then she used them in conversation and I knew exactly what she was talking about! Anyway, I she has a Book of Mormon and I gave her a part to read. She told me her favorite Isaiah chapter for me to check out. She gave me her information and I passed it on to the missionaries in the area. I am so grateful that I was able to understand the people and hold good conversations. The tender mercies of the Lord truly are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mightly even unto the power of deliverance (1 Ne 1:20).
The people here are so nice! Everyone is super friendly even if they are in a hurry.
Well the time is fast approaching and I just want you all to know that I love you! Keep in touch and have a great week!
Sister Smith

Friday, October 4, 2013

4 October 2013 - Update (IN REAL TIME)

I would like everybody to know that this week (and every week here on out) I am on top of things and I am posting this email mere moments from when I received it. Hence, the update in real time. I would also like to take the opportunity to let you know that if you email Kieren at she is currently online and would also read it in real time! Which would be kind of neat, and also it would make her day. Here is her letter from the week, I think it exemplifies everything I love about her:

Dear family and loved ones,
What a lovely week here in São Paulo! It went by so quickly and now I have to write about it in less. We only have 45 minutes of email time (strictly monitored by teachers) so forgive the shortness of the letter or typos.
Português is amazing! I love speaking with the natives during refeicões and learning about the culture. They have the coolest doorstops here. There is a little latch on the back of the doors and a knob in the floor that the notch catches on. I don´t know if that makes sense, but it is so convenient for opening doors and keeping them open without woorying about moving around a doorstop. Also, most places don~t have rolls of toiled paper, they have something like an upside downh kleenex dispenser. It is super weird but kind of cool haha.
So today I went to my first official Churrascaria! Woohoo! It was called the Simpático Gaúcho which is roughly translated the nice cowboy. Porto Alegre is the capital of meat and gaúchos and all that jazz so I am super pumped! We ate all sorts of new meats like chicken heart, pumba (warthog), ox, and other things I am not sure of. It was great fun! Everywhere here always has arroz e feijões (rice and beans) and they always go together. Always. I don´t think I will ever be able to have an almoço o jantar (lunch or dinner) sem arroz e feijões when I get back.Dinners here always have at least two, usually three meats, arroz e feijões, lots of colorful fruits and vegetables, bread, more arroz e feijões, a sobremesa (dessert) and juices and guaraná and stuff. I actually got to have the real guaraná at the churrascaria. Good stuff. hopefully my instructor will send a picture of us at the restaurant because we are not allowed cameras outside the building but she is.
Today is obviously Pday, and I got to go on all sorts of other great adventures, like Sonja´s (a store where I got a jersey from a team from Porto Alegre) and the candy store where I got some delicious brazilian fruit candies. The temple, as always, was absolutely amazing and gorgeous.
I have learned so much from my district. They are such amazing people. All the elders are 18 but they are very mature for their age. Our district leader, Elder Thurgood, shared his experience about receiving his mission call. he was his high school´s quarterback and did track and choir and all sorts of stuff so basically everyone knew that when he got his call and he said he got to share the gospel with so many people that way. I think that is one cool thing about people being able to go when they are younger, that they can share it with people in high school and stuff. He reminds me of Gavin (sorry if I embarass you) because everyone looks up to him and he is funny and nice, but knows what is most important in life and knows when to be serious and be a great leader. He leads the district in unity and dignity.
Right now, we have two investigators, Samuel and Carol. They are so amazing! They both are so willing to try reading the scriptures and praying. Carol is struggling with problems at home, but she has such great desires to create a happy home and have the spirit always in her life. It reminds me of the scripture in Mosiah 2:41 about the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. I have felt the Spirit so strongly here and especially when I teach about the happiness that the gospel brings when we are obedient. I just want todo mundo to be happy! (That´s how they say everyone).
English is hard. Also, I can speak Português 50 times better than Spanish at this point even though I have studied Spanish since first grade and portuguese for such a short time. The gift of tongues is real.
I got to play for a special musical number with my friend, Elder Tello, who is an amazing singer from Argentina, I think. It was a wonderful experience and it has been so great to have so many opportunities to play the piano and share my talents here. So much fun!
Até mais!
Sister Smith

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

27 September 2013 - Food, Fun Times, and one Fabulous Girl

So basically my sister Kieren, who now goes by Sister Kieren Smith, is probably the cutest best missionary I've ever heard of. I guess this is how everybody feels when they hear from their family. Enjoy! And don't forget to write her at 

There are more colors on the buildings in Brazil than anywhere I know in the U.S.! The roofs are terra-cotta orange or straw and the buildings are pink, red, bright blue, green, and the most common of all, graffiti colored craziness.
More about the food. It is kind of a big deal here. So a typical breakfast consists of a milk-like thing with small bits of grain or oatmealish stuff and it really sweet and delicious. There are all sorts of fruits like papayas, bananas, marajuca (usually more in desserts), and this small pink fruit, green on the outside, that I can´t remember the name of. They also serve ham and cheese paninis every morning for breakfast along with various other options. Lots of juices and guaraná. I usually drink orange juice or water. I might talk about lunch (almoço), dinner (jantar) and lanche (pronounced lawnshee, its our late night snack) next time if I remember.
My companion, Sister Cummings, is from a family of 13 in Virginia. She is so nice and so fun to be around. She is also very tall so you can probably pick her out of the picture that got sent earlier. I can´t email pictures from the MTC, so the ones from the MTC presidency to mom and dad are the only ones that will come for a while.
I went to the São Paulo temple today! It was beautiful and the drive was amazing. We went right through the middle of São Paulo and saw all of the poorest places. Some people life under bridges in small wooden shacks. It seems like just a step up from being homeless. I thought I realized before how blessed I am but I am beginning to realize that I have no idea.
There are more Brazilians and South Americans than people from the U.S. here so it is really weird and fun to be a minority. Every meal, we try to sit with Brasileiros and practice conversation. Everyone says Smith like Esmeechee. The most common last names here are (de) Souza and (da) Silva. It is super fun and sister Cummings and I are both picking up on the language really quickly. It helps that we took Spanish before and that I studied some portuguese before. Really, we can talk to anyone here because they either speak English, Spanish, or Portuguese. Our district is amazing and the teachers were saying that we are one of the fastest progressing districts they have ever had. As missionaries, we are are entitled to the gift of tongues if we work hard, and I have definitely seen that coming into play here.
On Tuesday, we listened to a recast of a devotional by Elder Holland where he was talking to missionaries in the MTC. He said that every single missionary should have at least one convert, and it better be yourself. He was talking about how in order to bring people unto Christ, we have to be there ourselves. We cannot guide someone to a place we have never been. I also thought it was cool to think about how we are all God´s investigators. He is up there, hoping we keep our committments and keep progressing, just as we as missionaries pray for and sincerely hope our investigators read the Book of Mormon when they say they will and go to church and keep on the path toward happiness and eternal life. Also, it is nice to think that we ourselves count as a convert. The scripture in D&C 18:10,15-16 (I think, I dont have my D&C here) talks about how great our joy will be even if we bring one soul into the kingdom of God. That includes us! And our families with whom we have so much influence. I am so grateful for loving parents who brought me to Christ.
My red email light is flashing and telling me to leave, so I have to sign off for now, but much love to you all!!!