Tuesday, February 25, 2014

24 February 2014


This week we had interviews with Presidente Castro! It was super great to talk with him and receive insights on how to be a better missionary. Os Assistentes gave a great training on how to use the atonement better in missionary work and how to understand it better in our lives. They did a little exercise that I had heard about before, but was really amazing to see personally. They had a big box of delicious chocolates and asked who wanted one. Basically everyone raised their hand. Then they told us to pick a representative who we thought was really strong. The vote fell upon Elder Gull and he was chosen. He went to the front of the room and the assistants came up to my companion, S. Hodnik. They asked her if she wanted chocolate, and she said yes, so they said in order for her to get the chocolate, Elder Gull had to do 10 pushups. He did, and she got the bombom (type of chocolate). I was next. In order to get my chocolate, Elder Gull did 10 mor pushups. He was sweating a bit but doing fine. They went along the row and Elder Gull did 10 pushups for each sister and 5 for each elder. When he was about halway along, we could see that he was having a pretty hard time. He was super red, his arms were shaking, and sweat was dripping from his face. But he kept going. Soon it became Elder Érico´s turn to receive a chocolate. When the assistants asked him if he wanted one, he said no thanks, I don´t like chocolate. They said, okay, but keep it anyway Elder Gull, please do 5 pushups to pay for Elder Érico´s chocolate that he will not eat. Almost collapsing, Elder Gull slowly, painfully paid the price for Elder Érico, knowing full well that he would never eat the chocolate. Near the end, everyone was silently watching, or quietly encouraging Elder Gull to keep going, just a few more, don´t give up. 
They related this situation to the atonement. Christ payed the price for our sins. It is up to us to use what he has done for us. If we do not repent, we are not using the gift He already payed for. If we do not repent, we are allowing Him to suffer in vain. Christ truly loves each one of us and suffered for each of us individually so we do not have to feel that same excruciating pain. That is a cause for rejoicing! D&C 19:16-19 talks about how because Christ suffered, we don´t have to! It´s up to us to decide. 

Also, Presidente Casto gave us a new rule, that I think should not just apply to our mission here, but to all the people in the world! It is the following:

"È proibido ter desânimo, tenha fé e sorrie sempre" which means "It is prohibited to be discouraged. Have faith and always smile." Thats not a suggestion, but a command. When we allow ourselves to remain discouraged, we are forgetting that God has power to do everything. Literally everything. And we have the right and ability to ask for His help through prayer everyday! I just think that is so great. 

I hope everyone has a great week!


Sister Smith

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

17 February 2014

Hello Dearest Colleagues,

On the mission, even though every day we have the same schedule, no one day is the same as the next. There is always some sort of adventure or miracle or interesting occurence. 

One of the highlights of the week was when we visited Cristina, who recently started coming back to church. She is so sweet and has such love for the church, especially the pioneers and the church books and resources. Now she wants here whole family (husband, four children) to come to church with her. We have a Family Home Evening marked for this week with them! She is so energetic and treats everyone with such kindness. She made us cuca goiabada, which is bascally a coffee cake with goiabada (jelly made with goiaba) which was delicious and she said she considers us basically her little sisters and is so grateful for what we did for her, which we told her was really what Heavenly Father did for her. He was the one that prepared her heart and that put her in our path and seriously, she was so ready to come back to church. We are so lucky to know her. She is so excited to start serving and having more activities in the ward and such. She is truly a miracle in this area. 

Also the other day I had a fashion mishap. I left the house and was walking alongside my companion when suddenly I looked down and gasped. Instead of my adorable sister missionary shoes, I had on my addidas slides. Woops. It was too late to turn back so I did my visits with a navy blue skirt pencil skirt and black addidas slides. As they would say here, I was definitely not ´super fashion´ (but in a brazilian accent). I don´t have any complaints though because they are wonderfully comfortable.

Also, newsflash for the world- yesterday we had a time change! I don´t know if it is worldwide, but here the time went back an hour. There is that little trick with spring backward or forward or something and fall back but with the seasons all opposite here I am left even more confused. And in our little technology starved missionary world, we had no idea the time was going to change, and no one decided to tell us, so we showed up at the empty chapel at 8:00 with 3 energetic children! It was kind of surreal because we had no idea what was happening.I found it quite amusing. We live super close to the chapel, but it is against missionary rules to let people in our house, so we took the children to the front of the house, put out chairs, and told them to sit and behave while we made pancakes. Soon our neighbor Ana, who has been coming to church  with us, joined them. So we had four kids on our front patio-Felipe, a 12 year old with a big mouth, Vitória, his sister who is preparing to get baptized, Ana, our neighbor, and Micael, who recently got baptized but does not have family support. They are all super adorable. I brought out juice, but Vitória said she wanted water, and then Micael also decided he didn´t like the juice and wanted water. And then they were bored so I brought out uno, and then we brought out the pancakes and they ate but Vitória wasn´t hungry (until halfway through sacrament meeting). And then Micael dropped a pancake on his pants so he needed a rag to wipe off the butter. And then Felipe said he wished we would sit out there and converse with him. And then he decided he was bored and started heading off to church alone. But we got him to come back. It was super fun and exciting. Hats off to all parents who have to get children ready for church. But seriously these kids are amzing! With no support from their families, they know where they need to be on Sunday. Felipe got ordained to be a deacon a couple weeks back and he has been helping Vitória learn about the church. He has been going to a ward in the city with his aunt, but since he lives in our area, the bishop told him he should start coming here, so that´s why we came and helped him find the church the first week. I love to remember the scripture in 3 Nephi 17:11-25 where Jesus invites the children to come unto Him and blesses them one by one. There is a reason why we are asked to become like little children. It is because they are incredible examples of seeking to follow Jesus Christ with humility, no matter the sacrifice. They have so much energy to do what is right. 

Be like little children! This means also be happy and smile more!

Love you all,

Sister Smith

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

10 Feb 2014 - Pictures

Hello Dearest Family and Friends,

This week was packed with awesomeness!

So on tuesday I was teaching a little piano lesson at the chapel to Ketelen, a recent convert. She suggested that we invite Josie as well, another member, so we called but thought she probably wouldn´t come. Suddenly, out of nowhere a giant group of youth from our ward shows up. We asked them if there was an activity today or something, and they were like, oh we´re here for the music lessons!  Surprise. So if you know anyone who is interested, we are now offering free music lessons Tuesdays at 4:00pm. We are also beginning an english course on Thursday nights. There is a giant group of kids that we always come across on the street and they always call out "tia!" which is what they call old single ladies. Always flattering. Anyway, they are all interested in learning english and I think it will be a great community service and exciting adventure. 

Igor and Lucimara (his mom) finally came to church this week!!!! We have been praying for them and we went and visited them this week (they are the ones that live really far away) and it was such a lovely experience! Igor is one of the most polite young men I have ever met. He is absolutely adorable and every time we see him we can´t believe that we are so blessed to be able to teach him. When we explained about prayer to his mom, he helped explain the steps and was like "mom, it goes like this, first you address Father in Heaven...etc" I also taught him a few chords on the guitar and his mom said he hasn´t stopped playing since then! 

Lots of wildlife interaction this week, aside from the normal daily spider encounters. The other day we got back to the house and there were not one, but two giant frogs in front of the house! There is usually just one. My companion freaked out, but I scared them away without harming them so all is well. I also saw a salamander on the outer wall of our Ward Mission Leader´s house! It was adorable. I also came across the Bird of Paradise flower and thought of you papitos! Finally we saw two beija-flors (hummingbirds , literally means kissing flowers)  helping pollinate the plants and make the world go round.

One more amazing experience of the week: a while ago, a lady stopped us in the street. Her name is Cristina and she said she is a less active member and used to live in Rio, and also Brasilia. She loves the pioneers and reading church books. We decided to go visit her at home. We rang the doorbell and .....nothing. Then we rang again and clapped  (how you knock when there isn´t a door) and knocked on the garage door and knocked again and yelled her name and after several minutes, finally, someone came to the door.  We had tried to visit earlier but no one attended the door, but this time we didn´t give up! She was so sweet and welcoming. She has an 18-year old son with Down´s Syndrome and three other kids. She and her husband served us watermelon and we chatted and invited her to  come back to church. She said that she felt a strong pull inside of her when we invited her to come back and said that she would be there! We prayed and prayed this week that nothing would impede her from coming to church. For the first hour  of the meetings (Relief Society) she didn´t show up, but suddenly, right after class got out, she walked through the front door! She said that everything had gone wrong that morning, but she had made up her mind and wasn´t going to let anything stop her from getting to church! The members were really receptive and we were so happy seeing her talking and laughing with everyone like old friends. Heavenly Father really does answer prayers. He is watching out for each of us and will always find a way. 


Sister Smith

Pictures: Pday last week at the Feira dos Livros (book fair) put on by FURG, the local university. Also, picture with Nicielli, one of our amazing investigators! And picture with a sign saying that I went to the largest beach in the world (Cassino) which is a lie since we can´t go swimming, but I wento to the town next to the beach because it is part of my area. Basically the same thing. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

3 February 2014

Thanks for all your prayers and support for Kieren.  It is great to hear from her every week!


I hope you are all having a wonderful week and everyone is being nice to everyone. 

This week was super fantastic! On Wednesday morning, we went over to one of our investigator´s houses, Ana, and I made "American Pancakes" for breakfast. They turned out pretty delicious and we put doce de leite, sugar, and doce de goiaba on top. Good stuff :) She is trying to stop smoking so we made her a Word of Wisdom calendar to mark with a x all the days she doesn´t smoke yay!!!

Also, our neighbor, Ana Carolina, decided a couple of weeks ago that she wanted to start coming to church with us. She is 9 years old and really sweet. Our houses are basically 4 feet apart so when she is ready for church, she hops over the fence and knocks on the window. It is super adorable. Her family has basically no interest in the church at this point, but she still loves to go to church with us. 

The weather here is actually quite frightful. One day is super hot and then the next day there is basically a hurricane. Like yesterday. It was not really a hurricane, but there was really strong wind and a downpour of rain, and we were at Gabriela´s house (less active) when suddenly the power went out. We got a bunch of candles and finished talking and it became time for us to leave, so we set out and quickly realized that it would be a little more difficult to get home than we realized. All the streetlights were out and there were dark clouds covering the whole sky and the rain was so thick we could barely see anything. Nevertheless we went forth. It was cool when lightning would strike because we would see the path in front of us for a few seconds and then had to continue walking in the dark. It reminded me of the hymn, Lead Kindly Light. In life, we truly have to walk by faith and not by sight. Sometimes, Heavenly Father allows us to glimpse a larger, clearer vision, but most of the time, we can just see one step ahead. We finally did arrive home, soaking wet and grateful. But not cold because here even in the rain it is warm. The Lord truly watches out for His missionaries and ensures our safety when we obey. 

Oh! and pictures! A little bit late, from Christmas, but still cute. 

The first picture is with Jonathan and Priscila and the other two are Christmas churrasco at Irmã Carmen´s house :D


Sister Smith