Monday, March 25, 2013

Hey!! Sister Smartt here, and all is well. First off thank you all so much for your love and support! It means the world to me.
As far as giving our real address dad, they recommend sending it all to the mission office (the address you have) because when we get transferred and stuff then it all works out because they always just forward us the mail. But I can give you my address next week, I don't have it with me. Okay so first of all, Heavenly Father wasn't too happy with my idea of winging my talk yesterday for church. So He ended up cancelling church all together. Just kidding, He made it snow which cancelled church. Yeah we had a SNOW DAY! Who even knew they cancel church for things like weather? Not this az girl.. But yeah according to Sister Smartt's weather report (since we don't see the news or formal reports) I'd say we got about 12 feet of snow. It was madness! Also sidenote: I just found out that snowflakes are real!! Like the pretty shapes. I literally always thought it was just clumps of slush falling from the sky. But those cute little snowflakes you cut out of paper? Yeah they exist in real life. What a great surprise. We were grounded to stay in our house so basically we studied all day and got into some super deep talks about the gospel, possibly wasting some time because we got into topics that our mortal minds can't comprehend at this point and yeah my mind is blown! I learn so much from Sister Minall, she is AMAZING. Also, being locked up in a house yes we still managed to laugh all day long. I am ready to pass off lesson three to the district leader which I'm pretty stoked about!
Thank you for all those addresses! Such a help. Also, I am praying for grandpa and also aunt kristine! Thank you for keeping me updated and I pray for you all every day. I LOVED the letters this past week. Especially Brynlee and Reese's drawings hahah I was dying! So stinking cute. And they remembered to add the missionary tag :)
I am just going to tell you about some things I remembered/learned this week. At the jail training that we have every thursday morning, this last one was so so good. We talked about angelic and divine help. I know without a doubt that I have angels round about me, throughout my life and especially now as a missionary. Or maybe I'm just more aware of them.. But I can promise you that they are always there! I feel so strongly sometimes that Uncle Dave is with me and it is such an amazing feeling and strength. Also, grandpa and grandma Turley. I know they are there! I can feel them at times. What an amazing thing! Hey mom or dad, do you know if we have any extra copies of Uncle Dave's copies of the Book of Mormon where he recorded his testimony? Grandma suggested that you send me one so I can give it to someone I meet out here that's really special to me. That would be way awesome! So funny story, at the training, I was called as "Referral Royalty" ha so basically at first I had no idea what that even meant. They asked me to do the training with all the sisters at the jail because they forgot I was called as a full pros sister and didn't get the training in the MTC. When I reminded them, they were like oh my gosh!! And gave me a crash course of the whole system the day before training and I just winged it. What we do, from referrals we get we can teach people over the phones and there's like a teaching center in the basement! It's actually way cool and I'm excited to be a part of it.
Remember HAYWIRE from Prison Break? The guy that was hysterical and while all the prisoners were off stealing money and killing people he went and stole a little girls bike, helmet and all, and then broke into Dairy Queen and was eating ice cream. Well okay with that, I totally met him!!! Hahahah spitting image at least and personality as well. We visited this part member and less active family and he let us in. We talked with the mom cause she just had surgery so she hasn't been to church in a long time. But her son (haywire) kept interrupting to tell us about his cats. And his sci fi addiction. It was the funniest thing I've ever witnessed and we love him! He is 40 years old but his mom kept yelling at him to go to his room, I was so incredibly confused. But his brother and sister in law, they aren't members and they want us to come teach them! We had an appointment yesterday but since we got snowed in, we are going back Saturday.
I think I mentioned Elder and Carrol in my last email but we are still visiting them. This past week Carrol was at work but we taught Elder about the Restoration. The Spirit was SO STRONG. After I recited the First Vision and we bore testimony, Sis Minall asked him "Elder do you believe Joseph Smith saw our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ?" I didn't quite know what to expect for what he'd say but his reaction was so great "Well OF COURSE. Who'd lie about that?" Elder is the sweetest man and we just love him so much! Then it was so fantastic he's like "I'm pretty sure the Big Man upstairs wouldn't be to happy if I denied it or told you it wasn't true" And we again just bore testimony. He is the one from Guatamela and his English is so so good but we found out he can't read in Englsih or Spanish, never has been able to. I want him sooo so badly to try reading the Book of Mormon or our pamphlets I just KNOW he could do it with the Spirit. I have been praying for him constantly. He was commited to coming to church and then it was such a bummer because of the madness of a storm that cancelled it!
Our friend Joe that we met, he never came to church the week before like he had promised and was so stoked for and we went to visit him. He told us that it had caused problems with him and his fiance (just like we predicted) because she is Catholic and has been wanting him to go with her but he won't because he has a problem wtih some of their beliefs. And I can imagine that it'd be frustrating because now he wants to come with us to church! So we are working with them. We finally got to meet his fiance Laura and she was SO nice! She used to really love the missionaries that used to come visit them, so hopefully we can progress to be able to actually teach them and soften her heart.
We meet lots of baptists out here like I've mentioned! Also, some Jehovah's Witnesses. It blows my mind to talk with them and hear their beliefs. It has strengthened my testimony so much because it confirms to me of the truth we have and the fullnesss! The only thing the JW's will talk about is "Well what's God's name?" They try and get you to say Jehovah but we know that is the Son. And I learned a lot from Sis Minall this week about the whole referrences in the Old Testament vs. New Testament and all the confusion there. Okay so crazy story! We go to visit Tonya and Virginia, who live right next to Elder and Carrol. When we get there, 4 police cars race up! And run into tonya's place..... sooo we haven't heard from her since..
Remember Shirley I told you about? The sweetest little old lady that broke her neck going to do baptisms at the temple for the first time? K my heart seriously breaks for her and I love her so much! But oh my goodness we volunteered to clean her house this past week and....... AHHHH k so correction 9 cats (not 8, NINE) Because she's 77 and of her condition she can't keep up with her house especially with all those cats. And she has no one that helps her. Come to find out she is a HOARDER as well. I'm not even kidding. I had to pray so hard to have a good attitude while cleaning there. I have never seen a worse situation. She doesn't use her kitchen, it's turned into her cat litter, literally they are just lined up. And throughout her tiny house there are just cats everyhwereeee and cat hair flying through the air, like I could not even breathe. (I can hear alisa calling me out on being dramatic) but honestly it was so much worse than what I'm even describing! There is just stuff everywhere you can't even walk and she won't throw anything away because she is a hoarder straight up! It is not a healthy place to be and I just want to help her so bad!! She has such faith though and I really admire her. I will try and take a picture of when she fell because you won't even believe how badly her face got bruised/disfigured. It is so sad.
Okay my last thoughts for today! We got into a discussion about grace. And I went back and studied the talk "His Grace Is Sufficient" by Brad Wilcox. AMAZING. Everyone read it pleaaase. Dad I remember studying it a little bit with you just before I left on the mish and I forgot how amazing it is! Here are some favorite quotes from it: "Heaven will not be heaven for those who have not chosen to be heavenly" We need to become more like our Savior before we will even have a desire to be in His presence. Sounds silly at first but when you really think about it, we will have the same personality and temptations after this life and it's not like we automatically will become celestial. It is a continuous progression and if we are humbled  to accept His grace and to strive to be more like Him, we are on the path. "It would probably be Jesus begging the unrepentant sinner, "Please, choose to stay. Please, use my Atonement- not just to be cleansed but to be changed so that you WANT to stay." Our Savior loves us soooooo so much and He has paid the price, we just need to accept His love and His grace. And as we apply His Atonement, we shouldn't just be cleansed but we should be changed. The enabling power of the Atonement is so so amazing and I know it is real as we put our trust and faith in Him.
I love this gospel with all my heart! I am learning so much out here and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I am dedicating this time completely to the Lord and I know that as we are exactly obedient, He will work miracles through His servants. I need to share this message with everyone/anyone I can and I know He can help me do that. I know He can lead us to those that He has been preparing. This is such an amazing work! And we are having a blast while we are at it. Who even knew a mission was so fun!
I love you all!
Sister Smartt

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