March 11, 2013
Well hey family and friends!!! I am sooo incredibly happy right now.
Let me start with last Wednesday which seems like an eternity ago. We woke up at 4 a.m., got all packed up and loaded 31 missionaries onto the bus. Driving out of the MTC gates felt GREAT! HA. I couldn't stop singing Wide Open Spaces by Dixie Chicks. Don't judge me. Anyways, the MTC was amaaaazing and I loved the power of being with all those amazing spirits. But it feels good to be out in the real world again! So it was so good to talk to you on the phone at the airport mom, dad, and alisa! Seriously so good. We were on the tiniest sketchiest plane and it was pretty much packed with missionaries it was funny. We flew directly to Kansas City and my first impressions of this place was that it was so flat! And I never know which direction we are headed because there's no mountains... hahah and it's not humid yet at all which was a fantastic surprise!
We were greeted by President and Sister Keyes and they are AMAZING, oh my gosh I love them so much. Sister Keyes reminds me of you mom. Which is comforting. She is just so cute and motherly and ahhh it was so great to stay at their house. But k so straight from the airport we were able to go on a tour of the sites around here! Seriously this is the best mission ever we are so blessed! We got to see the Kansas City Temple, took some pics. Then we went to the Liberty Jail. The spirit was INCREDIBLE there. Oh my goodness it was so powerful. I think it especially meant a lot to me because I have theeee worst memory in the entire world and I totally remembered the jail from when I was 12. When we came here that summer I remember it being one of the strongest and most powerful times I've ever felt the Spirit and that was inside the jail. So it was great being back. After the presentation, president Keyes said in front of all the group "Hope you were paying attention Sister Smartt. That'll be you tomorrow night." I couldn't tell if he was kidding or not but yeah I was freaking out inside. The mission home is so nice!!! It was a tight squeeze with all the missionaries staying there but we made it work and it was a blast. They fed us real yummy food (heavenly coming from the MTC caf). We then had interviews with President Keyes that night to tell us where we are called.
You won't even believe it!!! I am serving in the Liberty Jail for my first transfer! I was sooooooo excited like seriously this is the best thing that's ever happened to me. Everyone keeps asking how I bribed president because sisters that were called to serve there on their mission calls sometimes don't even get the opportunity and it is such a privelege! Well we know that the Lord makes the decisions and I can't thank Him enough. So please thank Him as well! This is how it works. Monday is P day. Every day we have a shift at the jail and it changes daily. One day of the week is full prostelyting. And the days that we are at the jail we also go out tracting and teaching after or before our shift. We are always on the run. So we stay super busy!!
Thursday morning I met my companion, Sister Minall. SHE IS AMAZING!!!!!!!!!! Oh my gosh I am sooooo so so lucky. Like I am going to explode right now with excitement. I know this will prob be the best transfer of my entire mission and I am just going to soak it all in. Sister Minall is from Maryland (close to washington DC area though) She is the funniest person I've ever met, soo so spiritual and powerful, she is amazing with people and basically I just want to be her someday. She is half black, basically a pro boxer and she's gorgeous! We have a blast all day but we work so hard! Our area (Shoal Creek Ward) is actually 30 minutes from where we live because we live in a house that is right next to the Liberty Jail. And our area includes Gladstone and N KC. It is a huuuuuge area with tons of "members in the ward" but more than half are inactive. There is a ton of work to do! This is Sister Minall's last transfer and we aren't talking about that because I have no clue what I'm going to do without here I love her so much already!! But anyways, since we are both new to the area, we are opening it and there's tons of work to do! Basically we started out by getting ahold of the WML and talking with members of the ward. We don't have an area book to start with so we are starting out completely fresh.
I LOVE TALKING TO PEOPLE all day long. This is the best decision I've ever made. Just sharing what I know to be true and feeling so good and being able to feel the Spirit all day long. We have had a couple dinner appointments with members and on Friday on our way we went early and stopped in an apartment complex. We met some amazing people! We met this guy Donardto that was super interested and wanted us to come teach him and his family! Which was soo so cool because he was walking across the street from us and I had a feeling we should go talk to him. His appointment was yesterday thought and he actually wasn't home.. But we knew we were there for a reason! So we started knocking on doors. We met a man named Elder (from Guatemala and obvi he needs the gospel in his life and he is already an "elder" hahah we joked with him about that) then we met Virginia who is an older lady next door and she wants us to come back as well! This week we have an app. Also she sent us to her next door neighbor Tonya and we have an appointment with her this week as well! Everyone we have met here is sooo inteterested and I know there have been some that have been prepared it is amazing!!
Yesterday we went to church of course and the Shoal Creek ward is fantastic. We already know lots of the members and it is so fun meeting everyone!! Except k it is so different from any ward I've ever been to.......haha k first off when babies are screaming their heads off it is totally the norm to just let them do that and not leave the chapel.. while there are speakers.. so it's like not as reverent sometimes and I was shocked! Also funny side story, there was this man right in the middle of the chapel who zonked out as soon as the sacrament meeting started. And he was snoring SO LOUD (like combine mom's with grandpa's with like an army of a retirement home snorers) SOOO SO LOUD. All meeting. I was seriously laughing so hard inside and no one else was phased. So i'm assuming it happens weekly. At least he comes to church right?!' Oh my gosh another side note: this sweetest old old lady in our ward she fell in the baptismal font and broke her neck!!!! Keep Shirley in your prayers.
Reading that about grandpa broke my heart a little bit and know that I will pray for him constantly. I'm so grateful for him and that they were able to drop me off at the MTC. Our family is amazing and I love all of you so much! I pray for all of you every day.
I have never been more tired in my life but I have never been more happy. The gospel is so true and I am going to share the joy from it with as many people as I can. The Atonement is real and our Savior loves us so so much.
PS one thing: we have to memorize five bijillion things as new missionaires and you know how I said my brain was gonna explode at the MTC? Well yeah it's spiked a bit. But guess what? I can learn so much as a missionary! I know it's because I'm not doing it on my own. This is the Lord's work. So my first day working in the jail I felt a tad overwhelmed because I wasn't called to a vistor's center mission and I didn't stay that extra week in the MTC for it.. they do extra training there but yeah so I have a TON OF HISTORY to memorize and also we are supposed to memorize this huge paper and we have to memorize all of the lessons. I am just taking it a step at a time. And supposiveldy I'm good at hiding my emotions because everyon'es like oh my gosh you are sooo chill about all this and so relaxed! And you didn't even get taught all the history there. So we have this huge site guide to study for the Liberty Jail. I only read through the summary like once and didn't feel ready to give a tour yet. I got sneaked into giving a tour!!!!! And I remembered like everything it was insane!!! That never happens. History is my worst subject and I can never remember names or dates, etc. but I totally can here and it is soo so cool! So I have a lot to study/learn but I can do it.
I LOVE YOU ALL! The gospel is true!!