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