Sunday, April 27, 2014

21 April 2014

Happy Easter!!!

This week was very unique. Meaning uneventful, which on a mission is unique. Sister Kirk was super sick so almost every day either me or Sister Melo stayed with her and the other went on splits with Sister Foutz so could work in both areas. AKA not a lot happened this week but I had a LOT of study time, which is a good thing. Also this keyboard is almost impossible so sorry this is going to be a shorter email. 

This week Sister Foutz shared an inspiration thought that one of her friends who isservingin Spain shared with her. As he was taking the train to his first area, the train derailed and he had to be sent home, hospitalized to recover (he is now back serving in his original mission). I am sure this allowed him alot of thinking time.He talked about how he had been pondering the difference between faith and  hope because  a lot of times we don't fully understand the difference. He said that he perceived the following:

Faith is belief that leads to ACTION
Hope is belief that leads to ATTITUDE

I really liked his definition because it made those two related principles make more sense. I think sometimes weare really faithful,but forget to have hope, AKA realize that everything is going to be okay and thatwe should be happy because Christ lives,and he has promised to help us when our own is not enough. 


Sister Smith

Flat Stanley :) 

Lunch at the Cheiro Verde during transfers

14 April 2014

Dear Family,

It´s been another awesome week! 

Early in the week, we were going to visit Teresinha, a less active member, but caught her just as she was leaving her house to go to the doctor. She was pale and looked like she had a fever and looked super tired. We walked and talked with her for a bit before she caught the bus. I was really surprised when the next day, we saw her again at Cátia and Sergio´s, the member´s house we were going to for lunch. She works as kind of a nanny for them, helping around the house and sometimes cooking. She said she was still not feeling really well. Cátia told her to rest and I sat by her on the couch. We got talking and she said she wasn´t able to watch conference. I decided to read with her Elder Holland´s talk from last conference, about physical and emotional struggles. As we read and talked about parts of the talk, she said, "That is exactly how I feel." The doctor had told her that she needed to watch her stress levels and control her emotions because it was affecting her blook pressure and health. We were able to discuss how she can use both medical and spiritual help to become whole. She is so sweet and I just love Teresinha! 

We finally were able to teach Barbara and Helém (10 and 11 years old) who live on our street. They are so adorable and love the Book of Mormon. They read it together and pass along the scriptures we read with them to their friend Paola, who studies in the afternoon so isn´t always there for the lessons. Barbara is really spiritually in tune and she says she can pray and ask whatever she needs and God will answer and usually answers her in a dream. She says that she prayed about a different church that uses white chairs and God told her that the church with white chairs is not true. She said that He also answered when she asked about the Book of Mormon and said that all of it is true. Her and Helém came with us to church yesterday! It was fast and testimony meeting and Sister Melo went up with a girl from the ward, and we were all really surprised when  Barbara, who was sitting next to me, stood up and walked up to join them. After they gave their testimonies she spoke one of the sweetest testimonies I have ever heard. She said "I believe in the church and in the Book of Mormon and in Jesus Christ, in the name of Jesus Christ Amen"
When she said "I believe" It reminded me of Elder Holland´s talk from April 2013 where he tells of meeting a boy who also believes. He says "14-yearold boy recentlysaid to me little hesitantly, Brother Holland, can’t say yet that knowthe Church is true, but believe it is.” hugged that boy until his eyes bulged out. told him with all the fervor of my soul that belief is aprecious word, an evemore precious act, and he need never apologize for “only believing.” told him that Christ Himself said, “Be not afraid, onlybelieve,”12 a phrase which, by the way, carried younGordon B. Hinckleyinto the mission field.13 I told this bothat belief was always the first step toward conviction anthat the definitive articles of our collective faith forcefully reiterate the phrase We believe.”14 And told him how very proud was of him fothe honesty of his quest.

It made me also think about what I know and believe. There are some things in the gospel that I know, and others that I believe to be true, but I know that when we lead with faith, all of our doubts can be transformed into belief and then knowledge and we can have a strong conviction of truth. 

I testify that Jesus Christ is our Savior and through the atonement of Christ, we can become who we want to become and return to live happily in the presence of God, our loving Heavenly Father. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and the Book of Mormon is the word of God for us in these days. I bear witness that this is the Lord´s work and that He will support us and carry us in our hardest moments if we let Him. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 


Sister Smith

Pic 1: Me with Izabel waiting for the bus after General Conference :D 

Pic 2: Sharing the Book of Mormon with a famous guy´s bronze statue

Pic 3: With another famous guy in his museum. Looking back, I really should have written down their names. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

7 April 2014


News for this week:

We spent all of Tuesday in two different hospitals (just for an exam for Sister Melo don´t worry) and helped the elders out in their area and had General Conference, 

Wasn´t General Conference awesome?!?
I loved Elder Gary E. Stevenson´s talk and his analogy to the Olympics. I am not sure I exactly understood all the specific termonilogy in Portuguese, but this is what I got from it: In Alma 34:32 we learn that "this life is the time to prepare to meet God." We are all in some sort of phase of life. Perhaps it is being a student, being a missionary, being a parent, grandparent, preparing for the next life marker. Whatever it be, our time in this phase is too short to be wasted or simply survived. We must enjoy and use to the fullest the opportunities we have. For me, my mission is like the 4 minute qualifying run in the Olympics. For us all, this life is our preparatory run. Qualify. The good news is, it is not luck , it is choice. It is not chance, it is skill developed through constant diligence. Our time is so short, but we will qualify with certainty if we follow the path that we know well through gospel study.

After yesterday morning´s session, a group of us missionaries grabbed a bunch of pass-along cards and started distributing them to people outside the chapel at the traffic light. We gave them to people walking along the sidewalk, and we also went up to people´s cars and gave them through the windows while the light was red. Here, doing stuff like that is part of the culture, but for me it was super daunting at first. But as soon as we got going, it was hard to stop. It was actually really fun! I talked to this one lady in her car and started talking and she interrupted and said "I don´t have any money" and I was like, "No worries! What we are offering is free!" Her face immediately changed from glaring to a happy smile and she kissed the picture of Jesus and then drove away. People here really love Jesus. Another lady got really excited when I showed the picture of Jesus on the front and motioned me to go to the other side of the car for her to roll down the window. She said, "That´s my friend!" And I told her He was my friend too! It was a great moment for friendship. When you have a friend like Christ in common it makes things so much better. 

Boa Semana!

Sister Smith

Friday, April 4, 2014

31 March 2014

Hello Fantastic People,

This week began with a birthday celebration! Maria de Lurdes, a less active member who is blind, wanted us to be part of her birthday celebration at a fancy pizzaria. We accepted. It was really fun and she was so happy the whole time and introduced us to all her family and friends. Her son, Dante, was a great example of Christlike service. He got up and served her salad from the salad bar and made sure she had everything she needed, and when she opened her presents, he would describe what they were like, for example she got a nice purple hand towel with lace and he was decribing the colors and the details. It was a lovely evening. 

This week we also taught Giovane, an older man that we found batendo palma. He likes to talk. A LOT. But he is super receptive and when he prayed at the end of the lessons he thanked God for sending us to teach him and help him feel how he already like to feel. He is very in tune with the things of God and he is funny because he will always say, I have always thought...(some gospel concept).... and then he will be like "I know I´m a little crazy" and we will say "No! We believe that too!" He is super prepared and super great to teach, the challenge is getting a word in when we are there and also he works most sundays. But he is seriously so nice. We were going to our appointment with him one morning, and we saw him leaving his house and heading up the road. We called out and asked him if he forgot and would like to reschedule, and he said no and that he would be right back. I was thinking ´what could he need to do that can´t wait just a few minutes but whatever, not a big deal´

He came back and we started conversing, and then he got up and grabbed three glasses and pulled out of the fridge some pop that he had just bought and gave it to us to drink. Before we came, he did not have anything to serve us, so he had literally gone to the store and back just to have something to give us while we were there. I was touched. 

Side note- I have always thought smoking was super dumb and find the warning labels very interesting and at times entertaining. There was a giant stand of cigarettes in one of the stores we went to and on the side there was a giant poster that said (translated) SUFFERING! (Then showed a picture of a man in a hospital bed with a crying child by the side) The ministry of health warns that the use of cigarettes results in suffering, pain and death. It´s pretty clear yet people still use them, If you think about it, we have clear warnings from the prophets about everything that will cause us physical and spiritual suffering, such as pornography, substance abuse and simply refraining from doing what we need to like reading the scriptures and praying daily. It is up to us to heed the warnings or not, but we cannot say we have not been warned. 

Oh! Also yesterday (Sunday) was on of the awesomest Sundays I have had yet on my mission. The first hour was combined with training by the Bishop. He decided to speak on misisonary work. We were in full support. He showed the video of the branch that wanted to have a new building and decided to have the faith to find more people and invite them to join with them so they would be able to fill the new building. He talked about how we are receiving a new building (actually the old one being reformed-it has been under construction for a couple of years and is just about ready) and how it is our duty as a ward to fill it. He then invited us four ward missionaries (two companionships of sisters) to talk about Missionary April! We decided to try a program where for every day in April one family signs up to hold a Family Home evening and bring investigators. We bore our testimonies and the Spirit was definitely there testifying of the importance of members and missionaries working together. We were about to go sit down, thinking that hopefully some people would sign up after church, but Bishop Munhoz said "hold on, stay up here a little longer." He then talked directly to the ward members. He said that this tuesday was the first day of April. He then asked " who can hold a Family Home Evening this Tuesday?" There was silence for about 15 seconds and then a hand went up. I was suprised to see that it belonged to President Soller, the Stake President and one of the busiest people I know. But apparently not to busy to set an example of leadership and faith. Bishop then asked who could take Wednesday and another hand went up. Pretty soon people were calling out dates and we almost filled the entire month! We are super excited and know that we will see many blessings in this ward because of their willingness to work with the missionaries. 

Then! In a brief ward council meeting, Bishop started talking about the need for rescue and retention, and started talking about specific families about which he is concerned and what needs to be done to help these individuals. He had tears in his eyes as he discussed the needs of the people and I couldn´t help but think of him as a good shepherd, truly concerned about his sheep. 

It is so nice to receive the help of the ward and the members. It makes us as missionaries feel happier and less alone. I would encourage all of you to continue praying for and helping the missionaries. All of your efforts are appreciated!


Sister Smith

P.S. I am a little slow with photos. These are from last transfer back in Jardim do Sol with Sister Hodnick and with Ana.