Tuesday, September 30, 2014

29 September 2014

Lots of changes! Sisters Silva, Melo, and Hodnik, all former companons, all
went home this week ahh!!! craziness. My new companion is Sister Gurrieri,
from Argentina! We were in the MTC at the same time, and she is just
wonderful! I have never had a Hispanic companion yet so maybe I will
dust off my español :)
We had stake con ference yesterday and the ward boundaries changed. One
ward was split and divided into two wards, including ours, but now the name
of our ward is the name of the ward that split, Glória. So I changed areas
but not really. Now we split the ward with Elders. oh. And bothe the bishop
of our ward and the bishop of Glória moved to the other wrd (Ala 2) and the
new bishop has not yet been approved so we are now bishpless. Stake
leadership has been assigned to preside over our ward for the time being.
But this is definitely a first for me. It is strange and sad being

So I have a bunch of great stories and spiritual thoughts but this
computer stopped working and ate up all my time waiting to load stuff.
So, sorry for the dry letter but I love you all and I will write cool
stuff next week. I am alive.

1. New comp Sister Gurrieri! In front of the chapel

2. On a hill, squinting in the sun.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

22 September 2014

I have to be quick today because my companion (Síster Silva) is headed home so we have a LOT to do. Síster Melo´s mom and sister also came to pick her up so things are kinda crazy.

I will share the highlights of the week:

Karina got baptized!!! Woohoo!!! The pictures turned out kind of blurry, but if you don´t remember, she is Eliza´s daughter. It was another wonderful experience and another reminder of the joys and importance of families. Letícia shared her testimony again and it was so great to see her joy in seeing one more member of her Family join the church. Waltair and Eliza made a giant churrasco party for us afterward :) So many giant spears of meat. Wow.

This week Rio Grande do Sul commemorated semana Farroupilha, which is where they celebrate gaúcho stuff and a war that they lost.

Álvaro memorized the sacramental prayer and blessed the sacrament! He is so eager to continue his gospel learning and progression. He has already memorized the baptismal ordinance because he really wants to be able to baptize his son.

We also had a churrasco yesterday with Eva, Priscila, Camila, and Ravel Paim for lunch. Priscila made cheesecake. Basically I was in heaven! After lunch we shared a message:

Read Moses 1:39

Think of the difference between immortality and eternal life. They are both gifts, one that is automatic but the other we have to accept. It is available to all but depends on our desire and how we show that desire. What is left for you to do to receive the second gift?

Love you all!!!!

Sister Smith

1. Baptism
2. Baptism
3. Rock- beira de Rio Guaíba
4. Giant Chimarrão @ Parque Harmonía (Semana Farroupilha)

15 September 2014

My dear ones,
This was one of the best weeks ever! It was crazy because basically nothing went as planned. It all went better. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
So at the end of the week we were a little short of meeting our goals, but we were determined to do it. It was Sunday night (the last day of our week) and we needed two new investigators. We started knocking on doors and miracle! someone let us in! It was a nice old lady, Magdalena, who listened to a message but when we asked if we could mark a day to come back, she was like no, it was super crazy that you found me at home because I am never at home. It will be a miracle if you find me again. Good thing we believe in miracles. But anyway she didn´t really express interest so we were still in the search!
We visited Álvaro, who got baptized three weeks ago, and met his father-in-law! He was super cool- a little set in his ways (spent 10-15 minutes straight explaining his moral philosophy that he has developed his whole life) but agreed to listen and to read and pray. As we were leaving, we asked Álvaro if he had anyone he could present us to. He said yes! And brought us to meet his neighbor, Carlos, who readily accepted the message and our invitations to read and pray. He said he want´s to see a lot of changes in his life as a result of the gospel. Álvaro was great, explaining everything and bearing his testimony about how his life was changed. He even wrote down the steps of prayer so Carlos would be able to remember. So basically the Lord put people into our path. He´s amazing like that.

Highlight of the week- Eliza´s baptism! She is amazing!!!!! So this week she got struck with a terrible cold and unexpected pains and lots of crazy stuff- had to go to the hospital for exams, etc. Friday night she was worse than ever but said that she still wanted to go through with it. She had prayed and said that she received her answer, that she truly felt that this is what she wants and what God wants for her and her family. Saturday night, still with a crazy cold and even though the water was cold (the gas ran out at the chapel! ahh!!!) she came through and was baptized! Carina, her daughter (purple shirt in the photo) wants to get baptized too and even though she works most Sundays she has already committed to come every Sunday she has off and try to find another job that lets her get Sundays off. Eliza wore a new skirt that she bought to church on Sunday and it was great to see her and Waltair together at church!! I just love that family! 
Letícia, a member of the ward, is Eliza´s niece. She is the first member of her family to be baptized and she shared her testimony at the baptism and through tears expressed her happiness to see the first member of her family, other than herself, be baptized. It was a beautiful moment for everyone. Families! Ahh!!!
Other miracle of the week was Marco. I was on a division with Sister Seely and we talked to a couple in the street. We marked to go back, and yesterday we visited with Marco on his front patio. The Lord is truly preparing people. When we got there, he said that his work friend, Bispo Teixeira (from another stake) had already introduced him a while ago to a lot of stuff, given him a huge stack of Liahona´s and stuff. AND! That  he had already researched the church on mormon.org AND that he had already downloaded the Book of Mormon in PDF and liked what he had read so far. He said he is a big fan of the church but has never had the opportunity to receive missionaries before. We are the lucky firsts! He is super smart and already knows about a whole bunch of stuff. He knew about President Hinckley, and we were pleased to inform him that it´s now President Monson that came after him and basically, it was just a delight to teach him.

 Theme of the week, Alma 13:24 "For behold, angels are declaring it unto many at this time in our land; and this is for thepurpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word at the time of his coming in his glory."
I testify that that is true.
And not just here! The Lord and His angels work everywhere, preparing people to receive the restored gospel and to receive hope and light in their lives. It´s funny because, like with Carlos, it is usualy the last door, the last idea, the last hope, that comes through. It is usually after much rejection that comes reception. The Lord has prepared successes, but first we pass through tribulations and tests of our faith. But the gospel is true and we have everey reason to rejoice! Woohoo!!

Love you guys,

Sister Smith

Sunday, September 14, 2014

8 September 2014

Happy Brazilian Independence Day Yesterday!
No one celebrated. Not even a firework. The other sisters in our apartment remembered today and sang the Brazilian National Anthem during companionship study.
Yesterday we approached the house of Renato, who got baptized Saturday. His parents are members, but they wanted us to teach him before he got baptized. When we got near, he ran out to the front gate and yelled "Sisters! Sisters! Did you like my baptism yesterday!?" We said yes,  yes we did. And then he said "the water was so cold! I got goosebumps. But inside my heart I felt super warm."
Eliza came to church again! And this time Waltair came! I just love that family. Waltair talked to one of the members afterward and said that he felt so great at church and that he feels the same thing when we teach him at his house. Yay!
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to study the scriptures. I have been working on improving my study and mastery of the scriptures. Pres. Castro says that to master a scripture, you have to 
1. Know the reference
2. Know the content (principles, doctrines, memorization)
3. Be living the principles contained. 
Our mission has been making goals to master the scriptures in Preach my Gospel. It has really helped our lessons. When we teach with scriptures, we teach with power and authority and it adds spirituality to the lessons..
II Tim 3:16-17 says it all. 
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."
Study your scriptures, love you scriptures!!!

Sister Smith