Monday, April 29, 2013

The sun is shining and the birds are chirping. So basically spring is here and I 
love my life. Oh and I got to shake an apostle's hand so like life is peachy. 
On Saturday we had a special meeting with Elder Cook and it was amazing! There 
was also a member of the presiding bishopric, a member of the presidency of the 
Seventy, an area seventy, and President Keyes and their sweet wives. Before 
getting started, we got to line up and shake each of their hands and it was so 
so cool. Some of my favorites that I learned from it: Bishop Davies talked about 
not getting the DIMS. When you get Discouraged, you become Idle, leading to 
Murmuring, and followed by Sin. And side note, Elder Cook kept it so real, he 
had us all laughing so hard and it was just a great time. Not to mention the 
Spirit was incredible. But Elder Cook helped me so much, personally and gave me 
inspiration for our area and purpose as missionaries. First, he explained about 
how they created Preach My Gospel (he played a huge role in that) and about how 
they did studies for people that have been taught by missionaries in the past. 
He said that from the groups, there were two things that the people almost 
always remembered. The First Vision and the Plan of Salvation. And that we need 
to be constantly teaching these two things and going back to them in our 
teaching and lessons. Also, he talked a lot about the fact that we are called to 
strengthen the Lord's kingdom on the Earth wherever we are. And that might be 
strengthening the ward you are in. We might not have very many new and 
progressing investigators in our area and with the limited time that we have 
there, but we are constantly visiting less actives and there is A TON of work to 
be done withIN the Shoal Creek Ward. It made me feel so much better about that 
and our purpose in this area. He taught us to be unusually kind to the members, 
gain their trust and get work done. A quote I love that he talked about "If you 
have more faith, you'll have more success." It is so so true. It all comes back 
to our faith. Elder Cook left us with a powerful blessing and also told us that 
this decision we made to serve will bless our families and future families for 
eternity, not to mention the people we serve our here. It just really hit home 
to me that I am where I am supposed to be and I am able to be a part of this 
amazing work. 
This week one of the Sisters and I (Sis Thurston that lives in the house with 
us) have been running every morning. It has helped SO much. We have had so much 
energy and I just love it. Also, who even knew birds could really copy your 
singing? Like it was the craziest thing. We would whistle songs and they would 
mimick us perfectly, we were freaking out. 
My companion, Sister Castellano, is pretty amazing. She was sick the past week 
though which made it hard because we weren't able to go out a couple of the 
days. But she received a priesthood blessing and she is better now! The 
priesthood is the power of God on Earth and it is so real. We are so blessed to 
have this restored. 
On Friday we taught Shane and his adorable 8-year old son, Kaden. We taught them 
the Restoration and they committed to read from the Book of Mormon every day.. 
Going back to Elder Cook emphasizing the power in reciting the First Vision, the 
Spirit is SO strong at this point always and I looove it. It can testify to 
people that this event truly did happen. That our Heavenly Father and His Son 
did appear to Joseph Smith. The Spirit testifies to me every time. 
Yesterday we also got to see Elder and Carrol for the first time in a long time! 
It was sooo good to see them. I never knew I could love people so fast. They 
were so excited to see us! They are the sweetest and sent us home with cinnamon 
rolls ha. I pray for them every night.. They are really involved with a new 
church that she started working in the daycare at, but I know Elder has felt the 
Spirit when we taught him about the Restoration and I know he knows there is 
something more.. Cecillia and Babawalle and their CUTEST KIDS were home a couple 
doors down as well. We were able to read from the Book of Mormon with them. They 
didn't have long but they were stoked to see us and let us right in. We read in 
3 Nephi when Christ came to the people in the Americas and testified that that 
did happen. Cecillia is INSANELY busy.. she only sleeps like 2 hours every night 
and she works the night shift at Walmart and has like no extra time. She loves 
her kids so much and just works so hard for them. She told us she would love to 
read the Book of Mormon but just does not have time. I promised her that if she 
would make time for at least a verse or a chapter every day, that this book 
could change her life. I felt prompted to promise her this and that she could 
receive strength and energy from this book. I pray that she will exercise her 
faith in doing so and see the blessings for herself. 
Serving at the Liberty Jail this week was grand as always. I met some more 
amazing people that were traveling through and felt the Spirit in that sacred 
place. There are so many experiences I could share, but I will share this one 
that my companion had. She took this sweet lady through that had a very personal 
connection with the revelations that Joseph Smith received there. She has been 
battling cancer and she shared that D&C 121 has been her strength through this. 
She constantly reads those comforting words and receives strength through them. 
I can't remember if I have mentioned this before, but I promised myself after 
serving here, that I will read those sections whenver I am having a hard day or 
whenever I go through a really hard trial next.. I know they were received for 
us. And I know that Joseph Smith and all the early saints went through SOOO much 
for US. For the work of the Lord. And now we have the blessings from it, if only 
we don't take it for granted. 
One thing that caught my eye again as I was reading the history for the Liberty 
Jail was about a man named Edward Partridge. He was tarred and feathered when 
the mobs drove the saints out of Jackson County. He shares this about the 
experience "I was so filled with the Spirit and love of God, that I had no 
hatred towards my persecutors or anyone else." How powerful is that? I admire 
that so much and just think that if we are that in tune with the Spirit we will 
love everyone, even those that cause pain in our lives. That is one attribute of 
Christ that I know I need to work on. 
I hope you all have a great week and turn to the Lord throughout it all. The 
church is true and Jesus Christ lives. 
Sister Smartt 
PS. Happy late birthdays to my awesome cousins Michael and Megan. Also, shoutout 
to Bug, I'm glad the toro invite went well.  Also, a shout out to Alisa for her 
tournament in cali - sounded like a blast!!  I love you!

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