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

Monday, February 16, 2015

9 February 2015

My dear ones, 

Sorry about not writing last week- Pday was a National Holiday for some saint of some sort and all the internet cafès were closed. And the rest of the week we just didn´t have a spare minute! Which is a good thing. Man, it´s awesome being a missionary. 

So, if you remember Julia´s baptism, she brought a friend, Elizabeth. Now Elizabeth has been coming to church and want´s to get baptized too! But she wants her dad, Jorge, to get to know the church too (he said he would next week!) and hopefully he will accompany her and they can be an even happier family! So on Wednesday we taught her with Julia in the chapel- and apparently I left my wallet there, but didn´t realize it. It was only the next night that I saw that it was missing. I looked EVERYWHERE but didn´t find it. I talked to a lady in the ward and it wasn´t at her house. So I prayed. And I remembered the chapel! Yesterday I picked it up at church. I cannot count the number of times I have lost something and God has helped me remember exactly where I left it. He is very patient. 

We also had a fun experience with ties. So it was Irmão Aldo´s birthday and we had lunch with them, so we bought a tie for him (In the picture, it is the one I am using). He really liked it. We left and made our visits, and later in the day, we stopped by another member´s house to pick up Sister Narváez´s backpack that she left there. Who did we see at the window? Irmão Aldo. He was asking the other Irmão how to tie the tie because he never learned, being a recent convert to the church. Unfortunately, the other Irmão also did not know how. They have all their ties pre tied, and just loosen them to take them off and then tighten them to go to church the next week. No one knew how. Dad, this will make you proud- I remembered wayy back inmy childhood, I don´t even remember when, when Dad and Gav and Ty taught us how to tie ties. I could only remember the single windsor (I think?) but we formed a circle and I taught everyone how to tie a tie. I was happy to have that skill come to my remembrance. 

This week has been truly filled with miracles. But as in Ether 12:6, the witness comes only after the trial of our faith. For example, after going to a return appointment where the investigator returned the Book of Mormon and refused to hear more because of what a pastor said to her, we did not let that get us down, we went to see if any of the neighbors would hear our message! We ended up finding some great new investigators on that street and some very special families with great potential. I know that the Lord accompanies us in this work. He participates not only in our moments of triumph, but also during our trials. He lifts us up and helps us move forward when we exercise our faith in Him and let Him help us. I know that Christ is our Savior and that he walked the hardest path so that it would be possible for us to come to Him, walk with Him, and help others come along the way.


Sister Smith 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

28 January 2015 - Kieren gets burned in an explosion....

So... It´s been a pretty eventful week and I will try to share it all with you..

Everything is going well with Fernanda and Eduardo´s wedding plans. Will keep you updated. We had three companionship exchanges this week which was fun. Lots of new investigators and good lessons. 

This week we opened the chapel and talked to people on the streets, inviting them to come in and see what it is like inside. It was a smashing success! Lots of people came to our chapel tour and we got to teach about the sacrament by the sacrament table and baptism by the baptismal font and lots of the people were willing to receive the lessons! Unfortunately, the chapel is not in our area so the majority of the people we will not visit, but it was still an amazing experience and we are definitely going to do it again!

So there are some people that say don´t tell your family any of the hard things that happen, but i think you guys can handle it and I wan´t to keep you informed, so get ready for an adventure...on Saturday morming after we had gone running I went to make pão de queijo for breakfast, and our oven went out and when I went to relight it (mistake) it exploded and I got burned pretty bad. (Side note: I AM FINE! Don´t freak out). We called a member and they came super fast and took me to the hospital´s pronto socorro where I was attended within 1 minute, which was good because it was hurting pretty bad. My only second degree burns were on the hand so the rest of me is fine. (Face just a little burned, eylashes just singed, arm hair burnt to a stubble (literally haha) and they gave me pain meds so it didn´t even hurt after that). It´s funny to say but this has been one of the best things that has happened to me on my mission. I will send pics later, maybe after I get home beause it is kind of ugly. 

But anyway I have seen such amazing examples of service and felt the love of the Savior so close to me this week that I don´t even know where to start. 

First, my companion was there the whole time (obviousy) but more than just being there, she is so ready to offer help when needed. She even washed my hair in the sink yesterday since I can´t do that.

Then there´s Irmã Juliana and Irmão Rudnei. They were the ones that ran us to the hospital and then after that basically everywhere we needed to go (the farmacy, to lunch and back, stake conference, etc)

Then there´s Irmã Rosângela, who is a nurse. She helps people all day long and I can tell it is super tiring, but she insists on coming to my apartment twice a day to change the gauze and curative cream on my hands and make sure it is healing well. Today she came during her lunch break and had to walk miles to get there and miles to get back to work. She is amazing. P.S. She says I am curing great :)

Then there´s Irmã Sandra, who is with me today. Sister Kirk is finishing her mission so she had to go to Porto Alegre today. I was originally going to go with her, but I have to take it easy today, so we arranged for her to come stay with me. She has already cleaned our whole house to get ready for my new companion (Sister Narvaez- hispanic not sure which country yet), made lunch, and did companionship and personal study with me. She is excited to be a missionary for a Pday :)

Then of course, there is President and Sister Castro. Since God knew this was going to happen, he already sent President and Sister Castro here to Pelótas for Stake Conference, so they were super close by already when it happened (even though they live in Porto Alegre 4 hours away). They came on Saturday afternoon to our house, bringing sacks of groceries with some of my favorite delicious things- peach nectar, frosted flakes, bananas) and then they sat and talked with us. Presidente Castro gave me a beautiful blessing and I am feeling so great already! They had to rearrange their whole schedule to be with me, but they did it, which made me feel so loved and taken care of. 

There are countless other examples, like our district leader giving us a box of chocolate, all the Irmãs concern at church and calling, and really just feeling encircled with love. It´s been hard not being able to do everything I normally do- like I have to ask someone to put my hair in a ponytail everytime I want my hair out of my face, and simple things like asking to put the cap on the toothpaste. But I have been blessed with amazing friends. 

One of the first things I asked the doctors at the ER was how long before I would be able to play piano. You will all be pleased to know that I still played in Stake Conference- just with an arrangement I made on the spot for left hand only. It wasn´t too bad :) I also sang a duet with Sister Kirk so that was fun.

Also, one of the investigators we had planned to visit was at the hospital too because she had cut her foot! So, good that we got to see her, bad that she cut her foot :(

There is another lady in our ward who has a salon and offered to cut all the burnt crisps out of my hair and hydrate it. :) Oficially the best ward ever!!!

Also I am getting super good at writing with my left hand :)  

So many blessing this week!!! It´s been amazing. 


Sister Smith

Monday, January 19, 2015

12 and 19 of January 2015

January 12, 2015

This week I had a first- I got to be a witness in marking a wedding:) Here the weddings have to be planned with the Cartório way in advance, so we went with Eduardo and Fernanda to start the process for theirs. I brought all my documents and they let me be a witness! Now at the end of February they can be married! It has seriously been amazing seeing this process. Five years ago, Fernanda and Eduardo started investigating with sisters. When it switched to Elders, the process stopped and they went 5 years without coming to church. Now, they are back in the groove and enthusiastic and we saw the Lord guiding this process. For example, we had to get their birth certificates from the cartório where they were registered, which could be one of many in Pelótas, but the first one we tried, was right! And the other birth certificate was in a distant city, but we called the elders there, they picked it up, and they happened to be in the city the very day that we needed to mark the wedding. Thanks Elders!

Eduardo and Fernanda were so cute when they came to church yesterday. We passed by their house to see if they needed anything and we walked with them to church. They have two little kids (three but one is traveling) and their stroller is with another friend, so they put one on the back of a bike and the other in a little basked seat in the front and walked alongside the bike to get to church. 

So Friday was exciting. We were just about to start a service project helping to build a house, but suddenly I stepped on a board with a rusty nail sticking up and got blood all over my heart sock that mom gave me and all over my converse. But lest anyone be worried, Irmã Michele took me straight to "Pronto Socorro" and they gave me a tetanus shot and sent me on my merry way. The nail didn´t go in too deep and I was able to get right back to work the next day with only a slight limp! 

And it was good that we were able to make visits on Saturday because it was one of the best days ever! We taught a man named Marcos for the first time and he said he would come to church. And guess what? He came to church! I gave Gospel Principles class and we were talking about how we, as children of God, have divine attributes, and we shared a bit about how we have some attributes of our parents. I showed my family photo (everyone is always very impressed with dad´s height) and Marcos happened to have a photo of his dad in his wallet. He said "I get my mustache from my dad..." His dad has one of the biggest caterpillar mustaches I have ever seen. The funny part is, Marcos...doesn´t have a mustache. But anyway it was a good lesson. 

It was cool because Marcos always sits with some friends on a street that we always walk down and I have to admit I never would have guesed that he would come to church, but we always made a point to be friendly and say hi to everyone in the group. I think we talked to some of them a few months agod but no one showed real interest. But the other day, we were walking by and said hi and then one lady said "hey! What church are you from? I want to hear your message." So we marked a day and taught them (saturday). What a great lesson. I learned that if we are friendly and exude the light of Christ, people will notice and have a desire to learn more. Also, never judge beforehand because ALL children of God have immense potential. 

We seriously saw so many miracles this week. It has been a week of many answered prayers and I am very grateful. D&C 78:18-19!!

Love you guys!

Sister Smith


Shoutout to the most wonderful little sister in the world! Happy Birthday (17th) Lysie!!!!!!!!!! Love you.

Julia got baptized! It was wonderful! She brought her friend and her mom and they both came to church the next day for the confirmation! Woohoo!!!

This week we taught her the life after death part of the Plan of Salvation and we talked about the judgment. When I asked her how she felt about the judgment day, she stopped and thought, and then said something that I think we all should strive to be able to say at all points in our life. She looked up and with a little smile said, "If I keep going with what I am doing now, I don´t think I have any reason to be worried."

Marcos also came to church again! After church on Sunday, he even came and joined the chimarrão group in front of Irmã Lu´s house, which is a big deal- integration with the members!

It was a super crazy week with three companionship exchanges, including traveling to Camaquã but it was fun! 

We had lots of miracles, lots of new people to teach. We also had a zone meeting with training by the assistants about how to broaden our vision. How sometimes when we have super high goals and hopes, others think that we are crazy, but it is not the first time that that has happened. They talked about Nephi´s example, how Laman and Lemuel called him crazy for following the counsel of their father. They tell him, "thou art like unto our father, led away by the foolishimaginations of his heart..." (1 Nephi 17:20) which is meant to be an insult, but can really be taken as a compliment. Nephi is like his father, both heeding the counsel of the Lord, no matter how others might view it. But how great it would be if we could be told the same thing, that we are like our Father in Heaven and that we have the same vision as he does- to "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of men" (Moses 1:39) Not just some people, not just half of mankind, or a couple thousand, but all of us. He wants to save all of us and our vision should be the same.

I am so grateful for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and all that he has done for us. I know that He lives and that he leads and guides this church today.  

Thanks for all your love and prayers!

Sister Smith 

Monday, January 5, 2015

5 Janeiro 2015

Happy 2015!!!!!!

So an experience that mom shared with me reminded me of our interesting FHE this week. So we had this great FHE planned with one of our investigator families. We were going to watch the Restoration DVD and have cookies and everything. It was going to be at Irmã Lú´s house and when we arrive at the investigator´s house they are all ready to go! However, they say that Lú had just called them and said that her daughter in law was going to have her baby. So we are like ´don´t worry! We will find another house! Just hold on 10 minutes.' So we leave and run toward our Ward Mission Leader´s house (another story of WML to the rescue. They are just so great). He is home! He said we can do the FHE there! The cookies are already made so there really is no turning back. So we run back to the family´s house and share the good news. However, in those 10 minutes the mom decided to make bread. So she has to finish kneading it. But that is quick. We thought they would be all ready to go after that but no, we have to bring in the laundry from the clotheslines! Then she takes a shower! Then he takes a shower! Then all the kids take showers! Pretty soon everyone is smelling great and ready to go. But then we have to find the keys. And gather the children. And put snacks in the bag, complete with mini waterbottles of juice for each child. (I´m not sure what they were expecting from the FHE, but they were prepared for even the most rigorous wilderness survival FHE. It would make a boy scout proud). And then we set off! It turned out to be a great experience and we had to leave early because of the time, but we knew we could trust our WML to finish off. 

My comp was a little sick this week so I read a lot! But everyone is all better now. 

Spiritual Thought for the week: Mosiah 5:12- what does it mean to have Christ´s name written on our hearts? How can we do that?

Love you guys!

Sister Smith

Pictures (from the cell again so I can´t guarantee quality sorry friends)

Sharing the gospel with every creature

Maria Nilza from the Ward Party. Are all our investigators/members that short or am I just that tall? Answer: yes. 

Me with a swan boat! Don´t worry we can´t actually ride them. I just thought it was elegant. 

Christmas tree in the city

Birthday party! Sorry its blurry

New friends (family of members) that are visiting from Rio

Sunday, January 4, 2015

29 Dez 2014

Merry Christmas! Full of Miracles. Like we got the Skype to work after Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C fell through! 

Also it was amazing to see how the member were even more willing than usual to help us out (and they already do a lot!). We had many referalls and many lessons with them. 

We went Caroling with Jorge and he took us to a bunch of his neighbors´ houses and we sang silent night to all of them. I think I might almost have it memorized. 

This week another wonderful Christmas present- Fernanda came to church! After we called her Sunday morning, she walked all the way to our street and then we walked together to church, which is like a half-hour walk! She and her family are so dear and special. We are helping them to plan their wedding woohoo! In the closing prayer the other day, Eduardo, the husband, prayed that they would be finally able to "realize their dream of matrimony." The lesson in Gospel Principles was about temples and it was perfect! I drew a bunch of happy families and temples on the board and I think she got pretty excited. We have been praying to be able to help more people get to church, and Fernanda and her sacrifice were and answer to our prayers

Pres Castro gave some council about how prayer, fasting, patience, and courage will help us to be happy and fulfill our potential. Courage is something that I think we overlook sometimes, but we need it in missionary work, and in standing strong in what we know, which is basically missionary work. Remember Esther´s story- what an example of courage. By living what she knew and standing up for her beliefs, she was both a missionary and a means to saving her people. 

Love you guys!

Sister Smith