Monday, June 10, 2013

First off, a huge shout out to my little bro who just got called to the El Salvador San Salvador East Mission!!! Ahhh I could not be happier for you Bug. I can't even wait for you to join me out in the mission field, it is the most amazing experience ever. And another shoutout to Mitch, happy birthday!!

This past week flew by and it was a good one for sure. It was an amazing feeling last night to realize we exceeded all of our goals we had set and that it was a week of hard work. Arriving in this area, we were told that there hasn't been much success lately and that it was a "dead area" but we didn't let that get to us. And we have already seen so many miracles! I know for a fact Heavenly Father is helping us out. (I think He is especially blessing us since we are both new to the work hahah)..

Let me tell you about Shawn!! We saw her THREE times this past week, it was awesome. She is so sincere about learning and truly desires to know, which is amazing! One of our appointments was to help her clean and move. But when we arrived in our service clothes, she instead wanted to ask questions and read from the scriptures and hey we were a-okay with that. It has been sooo cool because the questions she has had have been some hard ones. But we will end up in some scriptures that end up directly answering her questions, not intentionally. No doubt the Spirit has been our guide in helping her. We read from John 10:16 about the "other sheep" who Christ refers to and then we know in 3 Nephi that the Nephites were those other sheep. Her translation was that that scripture referred to the Gentiles and she brought that up. But reading in 3 Nephi it says directly in verse 22 that they will suppose it is the Gentiles. She had an AHA moment right then and was kind of freaking out. It was pretty awesome. She has had experiences like that reading from the Book of Mormon and the Bible together and will say "wow ladies, you just threw this bomb at me! I am going to have to do my homework." I know she is praying and reading and I KNOW she is receiving her answers. But Satan is working extra hard on her. It is extremely hard for her right now because she has been told that all she needs is the Bible and now she describes it as having this thrown at her and she is overwhelmed. We are trying to help her understand that Heavenly Father has soo much more in store for her and that we are not taking away from her faith, but adding TO. So please keep Shawn in your prayers! Oh and since we ended up just having a lesson that day, we went back on Saturday to help clean and it was quite the project, I battled like 10 spiders.

Speaking of battles, the squirrels here are insane. They attack us on our bikes and jump out from behind trees. It is madness. (Reminds me of Elf when Buddy goes to hug the squirrel and it pounces).. But anyways, riding bikes has been an adventure. I probably thought I was going to die by the second day. First off, member how beautiful these green hills were I talked about!? Yeah, I take it back. These hills are BRUTAL. But like it has still been fun and it feels good to be outside all day and talk to as many people as possible. People here probably judge me because I tied towels to the bike seat to cushion it, cause these boy bikes are like not that comfy on the tooshie. Oh and my leg is one giant bug bite so I will be purchasing some bug spray today :)

We are teaching this family of 4. There is a 15 year old daughter and an 11 year old son. (Amissa and Cazaiah) and they are awesome! They previously met with missionaries but just moved into the area. We met the mom, Natasha, and she is hysterical I was like peeing my pants with laughter. She had to work on Sunday so couldn't come to church, and the kids went to the gmas last minute so they weren't able to come but we will meet with them this week! Keep the Self family in your prayers, they are very interested.

Last night we met with Felix. He is a single dad raising his cutest daughter Serenity. She is 6 and reminds me of my Brynlee Bear. She is a little sass machine and is so stinking funny. We watched the Restoration DVD with them and the Spirit was very strong. We asked Felix to pray about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and he said "I have been praying. There's no doubt in my mind that Joseph Smith was a prophet." He is reading from the Book of Mormon and is progressing but it hasn't clicked yet that if Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, then the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is our Savior's Church, with the fullness of the gospel. But he is amazing and I love visiting them. He has a very strong Spirit. We have an appointment with them next Sunday (Father's Day) and are super stoked about it!

On Thursday night we got a call from our ward mission leader, telling us about an appointment that had been set up awhile ago for the next day. A less active brother in the ward had invited the missionaries to be at a dinner with his friends that aren't members. So we figured things out so that we could go! It was interesting.. it was in a trailer park in an area that we were told we should probably avoid.. and the friends weren't expecting us so it was possibly the most awkward situation I have ever been placed in but it ended up working out. We got them to realize we are normal people and they ended up taking a Restoration pamphlet at the end and are willing to have us come visit! Oh and they had a buttload of cats that were attacking the pizza so it was interesting eating a few hair balls....

Another cool experience we had was when we went to go meet a potential we felt like we should go see, and ended up meeting Joyce. She is a very sweet older lady who is deaf. We were able to communicate back and forth through the minimal sign language we know and through writing back and forth on a notebook. She is Baptist but was willing to have us come back and took a pamphlet from us.

Yesterday at church was ward conference so the stake leaders spoke/taught, Basically all on families and how important it is to teach children and help them to gain their own testimonies. It was pretty awesome. Our stake pres is a pretty awesome guy! He was a great teacher and was very engaged in what he was saying and helped everyone to feel involved. It got me thinking about our Savior and how He is the perfect teacher. Reading in the New Testament has taught me so much about how our Savior teaches through parables. He is our perfect example in every aspect of our journies and has set the way.

This is an awesome area and I am so thankful for Sister Stewart who wants to work hard but have fun. I love being a missionary!!

Hope you all have a fabulous week and I hope to hear from you soon.
Love you guys,

Sister Smartt

PS. "Regarding one's testimony, remember, that which one willingly shares he keeps, while that which he selfishly keeps he loses.. Teach and testify. There is no better combination."
(Great advice from our prophet! For missionaries and for all who have a testimony to share. There are sooooooo many people out there that don't have that peace and knowledge.)

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