Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Happy late birthday to Sienna!!! Can't believe she's already one.. mind blown.
Oh and congrats to my baby bro who's giving his farewell talk in less than a week!! Don't judge me when I am crying my eyes out next Sunday because I am just so proud. But really haha. Wish I was there, but I'm grateful we are able to be in the Lord's work together. El Salvador will be so blessed to have your service Bug, go get em!

So transfers were announced this morning through email.. but President Bell is hilarious and can't keep a secret so he actually told Sister Stewart and I on the phone a couple days ago. WE'RE BOTH STAYING!!! More miracles to be seen in the Little Apple.

K for starters, we are officially in a college town and school's back in session. Living across from a fraternity and so close to campus is pretty wild. Let's just say there are lots of our brothers and sisters around here that need the gospel. Oh and I got offered my first beer. Typical. Maybe we'll check back up when they're not under the influece.. ha

Yesterday, church was fantastic. I really do love this ward and area soo so much. I'm so grateful to have more time here! Felix and Serenity were able to come to church!! One of my favorite parts of church yesterday was yes Sister Pacada's talk about losing yourself in serving others, but also having a staring contest with Serenity and a funny face war. I love that girly so much! She reminds me soo much of Brynlee still and it freaks me out. Love my little twins ha. And yes Felix is still as amazing as ever. It has been so great preparing for his baptism THIS Saturday! We are beyond stoked for him. I know that Heavenly Father is so proud of the changes he has made in his life and has sooo many blessings waiting for him.

Miracle this week: There is noooo doubt in my mind that Sister Stewart and I were called here to Manhattan, KS specifically for Felix. It has been thee coolest thing to see the Lord's hands in this work and I know he led us to him. He was so prepared and now has the strongest testimony, it is amazing! He is already such a great missionary and shares the gospel with everyone around him. Oh and he is basically already a member, taking care of the missionaries and all. He signed up for dinner and cooked us the yummiest food. Also, HE prepared a lesson for us.. hahaha talk about golden!

Karen is also getting baptized this Saturday!!! She is the sweetest. She was able to come to church with us yesterday and is so committed. There are still some things the sisters hadn't taught her so we will be meeting with her almost every day this week. 

We went and checked up on the Self familia and they are still same-o same-o.. Natasha (The mom) really wants to find a new job that won't make her work on Sunday so that she will be able to attend church with us. We're praying for a miracle with that!

One experience this week really stood out to me. We met this lady named Jennifer and she was really nice but said she has problems with our church.. She is Baptist I believe and said "Well your church doesn't believe in being saved by grace. You believe you have to earn your way to heaven." It has been interesting as a missionary to have people tell YOU what you believe.. but anyways, it just broke my heart because that is such a common misunderstanding. One of my favorite talks in the whole world (His Grace Is Sufficient by Brad Wilcox) talks exactly about that. I don't have it with me to quote but basically he answers Jennifer's very question. No we are not "earning" our way to heaven. We are LEARNING our way to heaven and we are practicing for it. Jesus Christ sacrificed for us and made an investment in us. I learn more and more every day how much I need Jesus Christ in my life. I have a loooong ways to go and I am so grateful for my testimony of the Atonement to know that as long as I am trying my best, the Lord will do the rest. 

I am so grateful for my mission. It is helping me to learn more and more about the gospel and to become closer to my Savior. I hope to be a completely changed disciple of Christ after my mission. And speaking of.... time is flying way too fast!!! It's stressing me out haha. There is no way I've already been out six months.. aka I have only one year left but we aren't going to talk about that.

I love you all so much and am so grateful for the love and support. Ya'll are awesome. CPR (church, pray, read), live the gospel and talk to Heavenly Father constantly. There are people around you that need the gospel!!!

"Forget yourself and go to work" 

Sister Smartt
PS. Because so many of our friends are from Ecuador, I have been practicing mi espanol. 
"Hola. Yo soy una missionaria para la iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos dias" 
(don't judge the spelling. I'm just grateful I was called to preach the gospel in English)

PSS special shoutout: I am mostly grateful for more time in Manhattan to have another chance for FINGER PIE. Hahahahah love you Alysia, you are my favorite :)

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