Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pioneer Cemetary - lot's of Whitmers

The Stevensons - visiting Richmond sites
Alexander Donipahn - Zion's Camp
Sister Spivey (GA) Sister Erikson (ID)

Happy Memorial Day! Okay this week was insanely awesome, hard, fun, and a rollercoaster. But overall we saw so many miracles, it was AMAZING.
Last Pday we did end up going to Richmond, Missouri which was super sweet. Got to go to the pioneer cemetery there (where the three witness monument is and Oliver Cowdery is buried). Also, we saw a monument to remember where the old jail house that Joseph Smith and many others stayed at and it quoted when Joseph rebuked the guards. Pretty cool to stand where that happened, especially because we quote it all the time in our history at the Liberty Jail.
Tuesday, Echo was able to come to the Jail and we had Sister Valenti (ward missionary) meet us as well. We got to teach Echo Lesson 3 (The Gospel of Jesus Christ) and she WANTS TO BE BAPTIZED!! She is going to be baptized on June 15th. So please keep her in your prayers :) she is sooo awesome and we were able to take a tour through the jail after the lesson and it was so powerful. Another miracle: Echo has had to work on Sundays and so we realized we might have to push her baptism back until she can attend several sacrament meetings, but we kept praying she would be able to come and miraculously she got work off!!! So she was able to come with her boyfriend and his family who is less active. It was so so awesome.
Wednesday was exchanges and I will share bits from that awesome day. To start off let's just get this out there, a bird crapped on me. So it's fine. hahaha oh man we were laughing SO HARD. I was with Sister Forbush by the way (she is incredible- from Idaho). We were just strolling down the street and somehow it landed it my hand.... k moving on. Cool story: We were almost about to head back to our shift at the jail, we had decided to knock one more door. But the mailman happened to be chillin at the side of the road and called to us. We say hey! and struck up a convo. He was very interested when we told him about the Book of Mormon and just bore testimony of the Restoration. Afterwards, he told us that he was stranded there and he went to show us that his battery was dead and when he went to turn the key to show us, it "magically turned on". He literally like jumped back and was like "WHAT THE! I swear it was dead!" He started freaking out and said "Sheesh what kind of power do you guys have with you?" Haha it was so funny. He told us that he knew we were supposed to meet that day which was awesome. I would have to agree, we were meant to cross paths with him.
While I was on exchanges with Sister Forbush, Sister Castellano was with Sister Lewis. And they were able to teach Angela!!!! Ahhhh it made me sooo happy. It is amazing because we met Angela like the beginning of the first transfer I was here and I just knew we were going to teach her someday, I have been praying for her ever since then. And she is finally ready!! She comes to church every week and she wants to be baptized so bad, she believes in everything and has a strong testimony. The only problem is that she is not officially adopted yet, so we are waiting on the adoption to go through so she can be baptized! Or else her birth mom has to "okay" it and she is anti which is a problem.. Bishop suggested a ward fast for Angela and her mom. If you could please keep her in your prayers. She is set for June 15th as well :)

On Thursday we had an AMAZING lesson with John, Adakcin, and Isaac. Holy smokes it was soo powerful. The Spirit was so strong! We taught the Plan of Salvation and it was the coolest thing, John was super engaged into the lesson which was a major step up from the last time we were there. It was crazy powerful to testify that he CAN see his wife again. John and Adakcin want to be baptized on June 22nd! It was the coolest thing when John asked if Isaac can be baptized too, because he wants that for him as well. We were able to testify that Isaac, who has autism, is already saved and will go to the celestial kingdom. We were all almost in tears when talking about the strong spirit that Isaac has. It was incredible teaching the "why" of the gospel.
Like I said, it was a week of miracles and we are so incredibly grateful. And there is much work ahead. This week is transfers and I am just a wee bit nervous, but I know wherever I am sent will be where the Lord needs me at this time. And no matter what happens, I have been so grateful for this time here at the Liberty Jail and in the Shoal Creek Ward. I love being a missionary!!
Special shout out to Sister Minall's sweeeet package all the way from England with yummy chocolates. Also, Lex your pic of you, Rebel, and I made my day! you me rebel bff's for life hahahaha. Madre and padre I always appreciate your emails AND letters, you are both soo so awesome so thank you so much. Pdays have been INSANE lately so I am sorry if I haven't written you back but this week I will.
The Church is true and this work is amazing. I love you guys.
Sister Smartty Pants

Monday, May 13, 2013

Elder & Sister Simper from New Mexico

Fun park!

Sister Castellano

Sis Ho Ching - Samoan and sooo cool!

For starters, it was SO GOOD to see you all and hear your voices. Thank goodness for Mom and for Skype and for Mother's day in honor of mom.
Last Tuesday we had an appointment with Adakcin. (John had to leave to take Isaac to school..) But it was soo good to get to know Adakcin better. She is the sweetest! She made us these beautiful necklaces, I will have to take a picture of them and send it next week. She is the one from Sudan and has been battling breast cancer. We read from the New Testament with her (John 3:16) while she read hers in her language Dinka and we read from ours. It's so cool to see how once again, no matter the language, the Spirit can still testify, even if you have no clue what they are saying at the time ha. She is pretty good at reading in English too, so we gave her a Book of Mormon in English and we read with her from it. She loved it! She also shared how much the Bible helped her through her chemo.. it was amazing to hear the power of her faith. They were all three supposed to come to church tomorrow but backed out the night before. Adakcin wasn't feeling well.. and we think that John didn't end up coming with Isaac because he was having a hard time with Mother's Day  (his wife died only a couple years ago). But I love these people so much and we are planning on seeing them tomorrow.
One evening last week we went to check up on this less active family who we have been thinking a lot about. The Millers. And when we arrived they let us in, we met the whole fam (some are recent converts). And the dad's girlfriend Echo was there. Supposedly they have been waiting for us to come teach her.. we just never got the memo from Bishop! Ha so we are going to start teaching Echo, we have an appointment with them tonight, they are going to feed us dinner and then we will teach her Lesson one, the Restoration. She is so sweet and we are really excited about it! Brother Milller is INSANE though. He is literally Will Ferrill, we were dying laughing.
A couple days ago was Elder Simper's bday (the apartment we skyped from) and all the sisters at the Liberty Jail hid and surprised him when he arrived to open up the jail. It was so much fun, I will send the video soon. Only problem is, he almost had a heart attack. He isn't the youngest of lads..
I got to talk to Lindsay on the phone a couple days ago! The one who is out of our area but I just love her so much. She is doing so well! And I actually met the elders who are teaching her, coincidentally yesterday, so we were able to talk about her and they encouraged me to keep calling her whenever I can at the jail.
Yesterday, we got to "sleep in" until 6:30!!!! Who even knew I would ever use those numbers and those words in the same sentence? Ward council was cancelled so we didn't have to be to church until about 8:30. Mother's Day was so good, hearing all the talks about moms and getting to think about how awesome you are mom. I am seriously the luckiest girl in the world. And of course my favorite part is always when the primary kids go up and sing to all the moms. Surprisingly it didn't make me homesick! But it was obvi the cutest thing I've ever seen. Not gonna lie, I was nervous for this day. And I was nervous to call home. But it was sooooo good to see you guys! I know it didn't make me homesick because I prayed that it wouldn't. And that's the power of having the COMFORTER as a companion. If only I have always been this in tune with the Spirit..
I am just starting Mormon in my reading. So I read a lot from 3 Nephi this past week. One thing I loved when I was studying it, was in 3 Ne 11:15 when the people go up ONE by ONE to Christ. It reminded me of a quote from the Atonement class I took in Saint George. "In the Garden, He did not see a mass of humanity, He saw a stream of individual faces. One by One." How powerful is that? To think that Our Savior knows us personally, by name, by face. Yeah he is the Savior of all mankind and He redeemed each of our brothers and sisters. But it wasn't all at once. He suffered for us each individually because he loves us that much. I am so so grateful for this testimony I have and for my personal relationship with my Savior. And I want everyone to have that.
Another quote I love that I read this past week "As we continue the work Joseph began, the challenge is not convincing others that Jesus is real, but that He is relevant. Developing a relationship with the Lord means spending time with Him." I can vow to that. I have never spent more time with Him than I have in these three months I've been out on my mission, and I have never been closer to Him. I love the gospel and my Savior so much.
I hope you all have a good week! Seriously though. And I am SO STOKED for my baby bro to turn in his mission papers this week!!! I am so proud of you Bug and I know it will bless you so much. I am still so new at this, but I already know this is the best decision I could have made.
The Church is true and I love you all,
Sister Smartt in Missouruh, over and out.
PS the battle of the hair ball is still in rage.
PSS I started driving again and oh how I have missed it! Except it is so different driving here, there are so many hills, it is sketchy and different.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Sis Thurston - my running buddy

At the Temple 5k with Jeremy Guthrie - pitcher for the Royals

Freezing at the Kansas City Temple 5k
Flowers and trees here are sooo pretty

In less than a week I will get to skype ya'll for Mother's Day, whoowhoo! What the crazy. So excited though! Oh and ps I am still in southern belle training so that's where the ya'll came from. Sister Spivey is training me well, she even fed us bisquits and gravy for breakfast the other day.
This past week was an interesting one. Let's start with one of the coolest things that happened though. So I was having kind of a rough morning, wishing we could go out and work but my comp has still been sick.. then we got to the Libery Jail and not gonna lie my spirits were pretty down. I was reading through the site guide that we study from and lo and behold, came across THEODORE TURLEY. (great great great gpa) I seriously got so excited and had to tell everyone. He was a member of the committee of Removal. Which consisted of seven men (Brigham Young and John Taylor being two of those) and they were in charge of helping the saints move to Illinois when they were driven from Missouri. He was also at the meeting in Far West on April 26th, 1839 which is also a way cool story. Wanna hear something even cooler? Finding this seriously turned my day around and got me so stoked to be here and then I get a package from my paps who just happened to have sent me the history of Theodore Turley that day. Like what? Could you be any more inspired dad?.. Reading about him and all of the church history here has been so so cool. He actually came to the Liberty Jail to visit Joseph Smith! This has changed the way I look at the history and I know this is one of the reasons I was called here. I feel so personally connected to the Libery Jail and all this history now. Tender mercy.
This weather here is insane! It had started warming up and Spring "was here". Tricked us for sure. It was bloody hot up in our loft attic room one day and then the next it was a blizzard outside. Insane! Time for some miracle stories. The elders weren't able to find a teamup so they gave us a new investigator! Her name is Nana and she is so so cool. She is from Egypt and her English is very good but come to find out, she reads better in Arabic so after teaching her the Restoration and finding this out, we ordered her an Arabic Book of Mormon. We went to our return appointment and she wasn't home which was a huge bummer.. On our way out of her apartment complex though, we met JOHN! He is sooo awesome! You wouldn't even believe it. So come to find out, he reads in Arabic also. His family moved from Sudan like ten years ago. And we just happened to have that Arabic Book of Mormon in our hands. Coincidence? I think not. We told him about the Book of Mormon and he read from the Arabic one a little and got so so excited. He translated some of it and it was incredible. But we gave him one in English (he likes English better now and his Arabic is a tad rusty). He took the Book of Mormon and put it to his heart and almost started crying he said "Thank you, thank you sooo much. I need this right now." He started telling us more about the trials he is going through and my heart probably broke in twelve pieces. His wife died a couple years ago, leaving him to raise his 5-year-old autistic son. His mom is battling breast cancer and she lives with him as well. He isn't able to work right now because he doesn't have anyone to watch his son.. John invited us in to their apartment to meet his mom, Adakcin (Uh-Da-Shin)- took me many a tries to figure that one out. Anyways, we prayed with them and set a return appointment for Tuesday (tomorrow). They said they wished they could come to church but they were leaving that day for a funeral in Iowa. My heart broke a little more. I love these people so much and they said they are so happy they met us. I know how much comfort and strength the gospel of our Savior can bring them, and I can't wait to share that with them.
From a letter written to Emma from Joseph Smith while in the Libery Jail: "Our circumstances are calculated to awaken our spirits to a sacred remembrance of everything and we think that yours are also, and that nothing therefore can separate us from the love of God." I want John and Adakcin and Isaac to feel of this love. So so bad.
We visited many less actives this past week and found some new investigators. Many laughing attacks this past week as well. Sister Erickson and I found the awkward fam photos section in Walmart on p day and about died laughing for a good half hour. It was fantastic. Also, Sister Castellano and I have been having a battle with the sisters below us (Sister Sibbett and Sister Thurston). They scared us soooo bad one night so we have been retaliating and it's been great fun. They put the nastiest hair ball in our study room which scared the crap out of us. So we of course connected it to a string and lowered it through their vent and dropped it as they walked in...muahah.
We also had a mission wide fast this past weekend. President Keyes asked us all to unite in a fast for this upcoming mission division. And he promised us that if we have the attitude of "Thy will be done" and "Come what may and love it" the Lord WILL bless us with MIRACLES. In our personal lives and in our areas. I love this work and I love this mission.
Oh PS we helped out at the Kansas City Temple Run. They had a 5k around the temple and it was soooooo much fun. And I've never been more cold in my life, it was like this brutal mist coming from the sky for the four hours we were out there. But so worth it! Oh and we met the Royals Pitcher. He was so awesome and he is LDS, told us all about his mission. (pic included)
I love you all. Happy early Mother's Day mom I love you soooo stinking much.
Sister Smartt
PSS the church is true in case you're wondering.