Monday, August 18, 2014

Note from Katelyn's dad: Katelyn will arrive home on Thursday (21st) at 12:05pm on United 
flight #5486 (terminal 2).  Her homecoming report will be this Sunday (24th) at 12pm.  The 
address of the chapel is 1520 S. Catalina St, Gilbert, AZ - cross streets are 
Gilbert and Ray.  She would love to see you!!  Feel free to come welcome Katelyn 
home then or at our home 149 E. Gail Dr! 
Subject: My Heart's In The Heartland Foreverrr

Is this real life?........
This past week has been another incredible week here in Kansas. Yesterday was one of the best Sundays I have had on my mission! Almost everyone came to church!!!! The Thompson's came FINALLY.. hahaha love you Crystal! Dirk came! (This suuper awesome guy from Germany. His father-in-law recently joined the church in Chicago and we miraculously met them awhile back) Gerard came and..GET THIS.. brought a friend!! He's a missionary already. Naomi came with her kids and nonmember husband. The Randalls were there. The sacrament meeting was seriously the best ever! All of the talks were spot on and perrrfect for our investigators. And President Rawson (stake pres) spoke! It was a dream service. I couldn't be happier for all those that were there :)
Let's get down to the miracles already. Yesterday, after church, Gerard called and left like probably the nicest voice mail ever. He was literally sobbing and just thanked me over and over again. He explained how in these past two weeks his life has already changed. He KNOWS and I KNOW that God led us to him. He told me that he has never felt this joy in his life before and He is FILLED. He also told us of miracles that have been happening in his life "ever since we gave him 'that book'". The power of the Book of Mormon is real my friends! It really is. I have seen it time and time again on my mission. And in my own life. This book has changed me and it can change anyone who reads it with a sincere heart! I know this to be true. Meeting Gerard about a week and a half ago was a miracle that I will never EVER forget. I feel so strongly that the Lord sent me here to Kansas to bring him the gospel. He just keeps telling me over and over again that I was an angel sent to him and that I look exactly like his sister who he hasn't seen in almost 20 years. He said because of that, he felt it was a sign from God. Miracles happen today, according to our faith. I believe this with all of my heart! God is the same yesterday, today, and forever and this is how He has always worked. I know that I am merely an instrument for our Lord but he is a miracle worker!!!! It is so beyond true.
These past 18 months have changed me. I had noooo clue what I was set out to do when the Lord sent me out here. But after many, many trials of my faith, I have seen the hand of the Lord in His work. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If you want to be happy, LIVE IT. We are here on Earth to prepare to live with our Father in Heaven again. And with our Savior. My testimony of my Savior has grown soo much. He is my best friend. Words do not describe the power that I have felt as I have turned to Him. He truly has strengthened me beyond my own abilities. He has comforted me, filled me with love, and has literally changed me every day. Helping others to feel of His love is thee best thing in the world. He truly is "THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD." I know that the church of Jesus Christ has been restored. There is not a doubt in my mind that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. He was called to be an instrument for the Lord to restore the gospel. Again, the BOM IS true. I could never deny it. I know that President Monson is the prophet of God on the Earth today. He truly does receive revelation from God for the world. Because The Lord guided him, the age for missionaries changed which changed my life! It was an answer to prayers for me and soooo many others. He truly is inspired.
Leaving the mission field might just be the hardest thing I will ever do. Awhile back President Rawson said something that hit me sooo hard.. slash killed me a lil bit. Literally. It was my last zone conference and when he found out that some of us were leaving soon.. He just cried. He broke down and cried! All he could say is "I'm sorry.. I really am. Going home is the closest to death that you will experience in this life." BUT I know I can do it with the help of my Savior. "I believe in Christ so come what may." Right? I don't know what the Lord has in store for me next.. but I do know that I can continue to be an instrument for Him the rest of my life. My discipleship is settled. I love my Heavenly Father with all of my heart and I am willing to do whatever He asks. I know that my name tag, with my Savior's name, is painted on my heart forever. I have considered super gluing it to my favorite shirt..... and I might bawl my eyes out when they make me take it off. BUT full time missionary or not, we can always have one painted on our hearts.
"There are times when we have to step into the darkness in faith, confident that God will place solid ground beneath our feet once we do."
- quote from Pres. Uchtdorf that I have been reading almost daily. This describes my feelings to a tee.
I love you all so so much. I am sooo humbled and grateful for all of the love and support you have given me.
With love,
Sister Smartt
ps.. reality has hit. I will see you in 18 months... or a couple of days....Miracles to be seen in KS until then. LOVE YOU. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Miracles on the daily my friends.... The Lord is incredible.
Saturday was a roller-coaster. It started out great/ended great! We attended The Bourm girl's baptisms.. LOVE them. And Taylor, Trace, and Debra were able to attend and witness their first baptism :) Hopefully it got them pumped for theirs coming up! But anyways.. the rest of the day, allll of our solid appointments kept falling through! It was hard not to get discouraged but we kept trekking on.. I remember feeling so lost and didn't know where to go next because our backups and backups to backups fell through. Which happens some days :) When we are needed elsewhere.. So we turned to the ward roster and a less active stood out to me. It was just a subtle prompting but we took it and left.
Here's where "Cornelius" (Gerard) comes into the picture! We were walking around these apartment buildings to find where the less active lived and this guy, who was sitting in his truck, starts calling after us. He asked who we were looking for and what we were doing. He was a very kind man and we got talking to him. He explained to us that he was literally just praying and knew he needed to go to a church again but he felt lost on which one.. He had been feeling very empty lately and "wanted to fill that hole in his soul". The Spirit was soo strong in our encounter with Gerard and he is SO beyond prepared by the Lord. We shared a Book of Mormon with him and he was so excited! He said he had always felt like something was missing from all of the churches he attended and he felt that this was the answer. Say whaaaa?! We just kept looking at each other in awe. Yes, Gerard, the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored! And through it, we find the fullness of God's plan and teachings. After talking to him for a bit, he shared that he believed we were his angels and he could literally see "light around us". This was thee biggest boost, especially after being so discouraged/lost. The gospel DOES give us light and others WILL notice. He told us that he would come to church the next morning.. and guess what? HE DID! We had some members pick him up and he loved church. Everyone welcomed him with open arms. I LOVE being an instrument for our Father in Heaven. I know that the Holy Ghost can guide us to those that are truly prepared and ready for the gospel. I know that without the gospel we WILL have a hole in our soul, like Gerard has noticed. The gospel is amazing and fills those holes, whether we acknowledge it or not.
Friday night our appointments kept falling through as well... but we found out why. We got a text and a voice mail from the zone leaders inviting everyone to meet at this gas station immediately. One of the elders was missing. Elder Macarthur (macdaddy) is one of the sweetest spirits I have met. He has some special needs but we all LOVE him!! Hearing that he was missing literally ripped all of our hearts out. We raced across town to a gas station in Mulvane. President Bell, the AP's, and most of our zone gathered and after praying like crazy, we all set out to find him.. Sister Gurr and I were assigned to this specific neighborhood and walked for miles and miles. It was hard not to cry, hoping and praying that he was okay! He had been lost for several hours, without water and it was a HOT/HUMID/KS day near many open fields, a train track, a bijillion trees/hiding places and not much else.. We reported back to the gas station at 9 with no luck.... Salt Lake asked for all missionaries to go home and to have the police take over. It's times like these where we have nothing else to rely on but the Lord. For strength and for guidance. But luckily we KNOW He is always there. No matter how dark the day seems, light from the Lord will ALWAYS overcome it. I know this is true.
None of us were planning on sleeping that night.. until we received a text late at night, that he was found. Prayers work :)
One last miracle find from yesterday:
A few days prior we had given this kid, Ian, a BOM so we went to check up on him. The dad came to the door and said "You must be here for my wife!" We were slightly confused and said "Uhhh well kinda! Our message is for everybody. :)" He explained that his wife has been talking a lot about the Mormons with her friend.... We were like okay whaaat! The Lord is amazing. Soo anyways, they let us in and we met Jennifer. The past couple of weeks she has been talking with her friend a ton about the church! Her friend gave her a BOM, Restoration pamphlet, and Jennifer has already been praying about it. Holy prepared right? She also has received two priesthood blessings the past couple of weeks and believes the church is true. She also has felt like the other churches she attended in the past were missing something and she believes God has helped her to find this. AMEN sista! LOVE her already and am soooo happy to begin teaching her.
I love being a missionary with all of my heart! It truly is the work of the Lord and He leads and guides us every single day. I love all of you and I hope you have a fantastic week!
Sister Smartt
ps Chris couldn't come to church yesterday because of work :( buuut he still knows the church is true! And he will be getting baptized on the 23rd. We had some amazing lessons with them this past week. SOOOO prepared it's not even funny! He was already choosing to live all of the commandments so he could be baptized. Also, we are still working with the Thompson's a toon! Their kids will be baptized on the 30th :)

Monday, August 4, 2014

This past week has probably been one of the best weeks on my mission! We have seen soooooo 
many miracles/tender mercies from the Lord, it's not even funny. 
We received a referral from our bishop to contact this less active who wants to come back. We met Sylvia and her mom Michelle, who is also a less active who wants to come back! Then we 
met Sylvia's husband, Chris, who is not a member and wants to be baptized! They told us all 
of this within the first five minutes.. Sister Gurr and I just kind of looked at each other 
like is this real life? Hahah a missionary's dream. Anyways we started the lessons that nightand are meeting with them about 3 times a week! Chris will be getting baptized on either the 16th or the 23rd. Sooo happy for them. I just kept telling them over and over again how happyI am that they are doing this as a family and are a strength for each other. Another 
prayer answered: we have been praying like crazy to bring families into the church!! :) We 
found them a ride and they were there on Sunday. Chris is honestly sooo prepared and he trulydoes want to turn his life over to Jesus Christ. There ARE people out there that are preparedand willing to act on the gospel. Let's just find them so the Lord can bless/ help them. 
The Thompson's are doing great. We have been meeting with them every couple of days and they are eating the lessons up! Riley and Lily will be baptized on the 23rd as well. Their 
nonmember aunt committed to come to church as well. MIRACLE. Daleena is a single mother of 5 that we have been teaching and she is finally progressing. She wants to be baptized on the 
23rd also:) 
A huge reason why this week was so great was because we literally had members out with us allthe time! Multiple team-ups per day and it was AWESOME. We have been soooo blessed. 
I have gained a huge testimony of fasting. I have made it a goal to fast every Sunday and 
words don't describe the strength I have received. I know that its power is real. 
I wanted to share a part of a poem that I love: 
"All those who journey, soon or late, 
Must pass within the garden's gate; 
Must kneel alone in darkness there, 
And battle with some fierce despair. 
God pity those who cannot say, 
"Not mine but thine," who only pray, 
"Let this cup pass," and cannot see 
The purpose in Gethsemane." 
We are all asked to go through things we think we can't handle. But I know without a doubt 
that the Lord is shaping/refining us and we can get through ANYTHING with His help. Again, 
"I believe in Christ, so come what may." 
LOVE you all. Have a fantastic week. xoxoxoox 
Sister Smartt 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Finally got a pic with Mater!  Love Sis Sorenson!!!
E. Jones and Sis Brusch. We dominated
 this pepper challenge at our district
 lunch. My mouth is stillll on fire...hahaha
Saying bye to sis Huff...LOVE her!

Sis Blood, Murphy and Hannah...brutal goodbyes!

Victoria and Theresa with Sis Hannah

Sis Gurr!!  So happy to serve with her!!

Subject: It pays to be a ginger ;)

What a great new transfer and week! It was splendid. Minus many sad goodbyes (Sister Hannah, and everyone that I saw at the transfer devotional....)
Sister Gurr is amazing! She's from Pleasant Grove, Utah. She knew of Sam and Hilary Norton so that's a cool connection. She's been out for about a year and is a great missionary! Sticking to my word of this being a huuge tender mercy that she's the grand finale comp. We get along too great and she is probably the sweetest, quietest comp I have had. LOVE her.
We are finding the elect! Last night we met with Dustin and Terri for the first time. They are a young couple and engaged to be married next May. We taught the Restoration out on their lawn.. near their table they were painting. Minus the paint fumes that were making us dizzy, the lesson was soooo incredible! The Spirit was definitely leading our discussion and they are soooo prepared. They committed to be baptized and THEY prayed at the end for God to help them to know that what we taught them is true and for help to reach their goal of August 16th for their baptism. We will be teaching the Law of Chastity shortly so they can get murried first and it will be great!
Right next door to Dustin and Terri is the Lund's. They are a less active family that the ward has been trying to reach out to recently. Sister Hannah and I didn't have much luck soo we haven't been working with them too much. But on Saturday we called to see if we could stop by. They agreed (surprisingly) and we had a great visit! When we invited them to church Sister Lund said "Yeah we will come! Only because you have red hair." Wait what? hahhahaha we were sooo confused. But hey they actually did come! We found them a ride and the ward was soo shocked that they finally came. Sister Lund just kept talking about how she came because of my red hair.. everyone was dying laughing. Now we will be working on a spiritual conversion for them....haha
We are still teaching Cherri and Jeff. We brought Sister Miller over to Cherri's with us and had another great lesson. Out of all the many lessons we had this week I mention this one because I will always and forever remember the Spirit in her home as we have been sharing the Plan of Salvation with her. There were many tears shed as we testified of our Father's plan for her and for her deceased son. I know that our Heavenly Father has revealed this plan for us to find comfort and direction throughout our lives. We are soo blessed!
The Thompson's are a less active, part-member family that we have been working with for quite awhile! They recently asked us to start teaching their 8 and 9 year olds so they can get baptized and so we can help the fam get back to church :) We are stoked to help them. Also, the aunt is living with them and she's a nonmember so we are definitely finding through The Rescue!! (huge focus of the mission lately)
Maggie, Daleena and her five kids, Cherri, Taylor, Trace, and others all committed to come to church but bailed! BUT we had a miracle with less actives at church. The Lund's, Randall's, Sister Ellis, Victoria, and last but NOT least, Sister Sorenson came!! She even went to Relief Society (for the first time in 6 years). I was sooooo happy I wanted to cry! She had us over for lunch after church and cried as she said it was all because of me that she's back. I know I haven't done anything but I seriously love that woman so much and am so happy for her! Oh and she is planning to kidnap me this month sooo if I go missing......hahah
I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY. Holy cow. We witness soo many miracles. There are many days that definitely test my faith and I have never relied more on the Lord than now.. but I wouldn't trade this time for anything. The restored gospel is true! Share it!!!
Sister Smartt

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sue visiting at a dinner appt - outside doing her Tarzan call!
Funniest thing ever...hahaha

Lorraine, Love her...

Seal Team Six District

Sis Murphy and Sis Hannah-2 of my daughters;)

Natalie from the YSA branch. Love her!
She's going to BYUI too!

Last Zone Conference! :(