Monday, April 8, 2013

Hope you all enjoyed conference! We didn't get to see any full sessions, but of what I did see, I loved. And I know without a doubt those men and women are called of God. The first session we were serving at the Liberty Jail and members kept coming in! It was madness.. So I missed the first hour to take a tour. No worries though, we will get to read them soon enough. I just wanted to start off by saying how much I still love Sis Minall! I can not even believe she's leaving me in a week. Such is life. But anyways, funny story. So she is obedient right? The only rule she's broken is when she answered our phone in her sleep hahahah. Someone was calling to confirm an appointment for the morning and she answered it at like 11:45 pm but had no idea. It all came back to her the next morning and we were dying laughing.
I started the Book of Mormon again in the MTC. I'm only in Mosiah but I was reading the other day about King Benjamin's big address to his people and it was right before conference, which I felt was suiting. All the people gathered as families to hear him speak to them. And he was so so humble as their leader, something I loved and it totally matches the leadership of the church today. I know we should take advantage of conference and definitely heed to what the prophets counsel us, because they most definitely receive that counsel from the Lord and for our day. We are so blessed to have modern-day prophets! Meeting people that don't have that, my testimony has been strengthened greatly of how important prophets are. I love how Mikaela described her experience of reading the Book of Mormon now and how she can "see the stories" and understand them so much better as a missionary. I completely agree! I know that if we are in tune with the Spirit we will be able to be taught throught the Holy Ghost and learn so much more. Whether that be through the scriptures or school, that is one of the roles of the Holy Ghost, to teach us.
One day this past week we went to visit this 99 year old lady who is less active. We thought maybe it was a typo that she was nearing a century old, so we decided to go see how she's doing. To start the visit off, there was nooo parking so we were forced to park in the Jehovah Witnesses parking lot across the street.... hahaha then we got to her house and knocked and knocked and no answer.. It didn't look like anyone was home but I decided to knock one more time and as I did so, I sort of leaned in to peak into the window on the door.... A FACE POPPED UP and literally gave me a heart attack. This 99 year old, wide-eyed face popped up inches from my face and I like stumbled back onto the porch.. hahaha oh my crap it was the funniest thing. But anyways, she let us in and to our surprise she will be 100 next February! Crazy talk. She was in GREAT shape, like no joke. We are going to make sure some brethren help her out in repairing some things in her house and we are going to try to get her to church soon.
Our friend Shane we have met with a couple times.. he promised that he'd come to conference but that didn't happen so it was a bummer. But we are praying for him and have an appointment Wednesday! We have met so many amazing people here but it's just the progressing part that is difficult. Most people are so willing to listen and talk to us. Don't get me wrong, we have had our fair share of doors slammed in our faces, but most people here are willing to talk and think that it is an amazing thing that we go around telling people about Jesus Christ. It is just hard to convey that we have a message to give them even MORE than their faith that already exists. There are some though that teach people that we are evil, and we have come across people that have been taught to hate us. One sister that we serve with, started teaching this lady that actually holds meetings in her house about Mormons and how we are evil and don't believe in Jesus Christ.. Interesting where people get that idea ha. But they asked her why she tells people that? She said because you guys don't believe in Jesus. And the sisters explained that we most definitely do.. There really is so much opposition against the church, just as there has been ever since it was organized in 1830. It makes me laugh because people bring up all the time that some say "Don't read the book, that's how they get ya!" This one lady we talked to said she was told to never read our book or else "she'd believe".... Because that's our challenge is to find out for yourself from God :)
April 6th was a fantastic day! It was general conference, the anniversary of Christ's birth, the organization of the church, the day that Joseph Smith and the prisoners escaped after being in Liberty Jail for 4 miserable months, and it was my month mark of being out in the field! Basically a great great day. I loved when Elder Cook quoted from D&C 121. I know that these experiences that happened here at the Liberty Jail will always be very near to my heart. "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes. Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands." Such beautiful advice and counsel from the Lord. One thing that I liked realizing this past week, is the significance of the name of the LIBERTY Jail. Joseph Smith was able to turn to our Savior as he was here and that's when we was truly "free" and had liberty.
Last night we taught this family from Nigeria. Cecillia has not been well.. we just found out her father passed away and she wasn't able to go home for the funeral, which they are a huge deal in their culture and last for weeks! It just broke my heart for her. So she wasn't in the lesson last night, but her husband Babawalle and their three adorable kids were. The dad has such strong faith in Christ and he says he is willing to listen to us because we teach about Jesus Christ. Even though if "he would have known we were 'Mormons' before he wouldn't have." He also thought we were not believers in Christ.. Before he knew us that is. We taught them the first lesson and it went well! We have a return appointment for next Sunday :)
The members here are AWESOME and so helpful! They love missionaries. And were so stoked to have sisters again, for the first time in a long time. We are going to keep focusing on finding new investigators, as well as helping/strengthening less actives and recent converts. Because there are LOTS. And we are going to get more members to come out with us to help the work.
When people are not receptive here, I try to remember a quote from Joseph Smith as they were wrongfully accused, and treated terribly. In the Joseph Smith movie when he rebukes the guards, that is in Richmond, where there was a hearing before they were taken to the Liberty Jail. He wrote home to his wife "We are in good spirits and rejoice that we are counted worthy to be persecuted for Christ's sake." How powerful is that! And I know that when we are persecuted as missionaries, we should feel priveleged that we are "worthy enough to be persecuted for our Lord and our Savior." Goes along with 3 Ne 12:10
I love being a missionary and being a part of this amazing work. We truly are a part of Christ's church and we are so blessed to have the fullness of the gospel! I love it so much. Family, I miss you guys so much and love you more than you know. I don't know why I was placed in such an amazing family with the best parents but I sure am grateful. You are all amazing!
Love you so much,
Sister Smartt
PS the ONLY good thing about having a companion that is going home is that all the senior couples are fighting over taking us out to lunch and stuff. Spoiling us to no end. Which is where we are off to after emailing :)

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