Monday, October 7, 2013

What a crazy week!! It was most definitely bittersweet. Started out with some frantic efforts in helping Sister Stewart pack and say many goodbyes to our friends here in Manhattan. I still can't believe we served together for 4 and a half months! I didn't realize how much I would miss her.

Transfers were INSANE. We had to wake up at midnight to get ready for the next day and drive to Junction City to be at the bus stop at 2 A.M... It was madness. Luckily we were not the only missionaries there at that drop-off because that was by far the sketchiest place I have ever been to. Not to mention, the Holy Ghost goes to bed at midnight and it wasn't until 3 A.M. that the bus left.. We had a grand time with all of the missionaries there. All of us were so delirious and not accustomed to being up at that hour. At the bus stop, we were greeted by this hilarious Indian man that rolled out of bed when we arrived. He printed the tickets and sat outside and talked about the gospel with us! It somehow felt disobedient to be teaching the gospel at that hour.. haha but it all felt like a dream. 

After our companions ditched us, Sister Call and I were on exchanges for the day!! I LOVE her so much. She is one of my dearest friends out here. After crashing at the JC sisters apartment at 4 A.M. and spending the day in JC and working out of area books, we picked up our new companions that evening. Sister Murphy (my new baby) is AMAZING. Holy smokes. She was born to be a missionary. I have already learned so much from her.

We are going to see MIRACLES this transfer. And we already are. First off, we got to listen to our LIVING prophet!!! How cool is that? Conference was amazing. I echo President Monson when he said he would write in his journal that it was one of the best sessions he has ever witnessed. It was sooo powerful. Basically every talk was written for me and I received some amazing insights for myself and this area and our precious friends we are teaching!

Some favorites:
When Elder Ballard talked about missionary work, it struck hard to me that I have never felt more loved than when helping others feel the love of God. -Alma 29:10 "when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me."

One of my favorite memories of my mission so far happened about a month ago, that I don't think I have shared yet. Sister Stewart and I went to visit our friend at the Oriental Market and she gave us these coconut popsicles. We were biking away and passed this lady who looked like she was having a really rough day. I was only able to say hi how are you doing!? She just kind of grumbled and went on her way.. As we were leaving I KNEW that we couldn't leave that sister of ours in that state. We biked in her direction and couldn't see where she went.. We just kept biking and praying that we would be able to find her. Miraculously she was at this house we were JUST visiting before we went to the market. She was sitting on the porch with the kids we had just met and she was hysterically bawling. I offered her my popsicle and asked her how we could help her feel better. She started crying even harder and finally came to us and allowed us to just give her a hug. We were hugging a complete stranger on the side of the road and comforting her and I knew that was what Christ wanted us to do at that time. She opened up to us that she had just witnessed a suicide. My heart literally ached for this woman and I wanted her to just allow the Savior to heal her heart. We weren't even able to teach a lesson but I know that we were meant to be there to comfort her in her time of need and she will always remember the Church that we told her we represented. I pray that she will be led to missionaries someday. And going along with Elder Ballard's lesson, I have never felt more loved before than when testifying to someone else that God lives and loves them.

I love love loved conference. I wouldn't say I have a favorite talk but it definitely answered prayers of mine and helped me to see a whole new light for some of our friends we are teaching. If you haven't watched conference, DO IT. I loved President Uchtdorf's talk and the question of WHY in the world would anyone dedicate as much time to a church as we do!? His perspective was humoring and so true. But because we know that it is the Lord's church, we know that it will all be worth it in the end :) "Our daily walk with Jesus Christ leads to peace in this life and eternal joy in the life to come."

This past week I studied "The Challenging and Testifying Missionary" and it is changing me and the missionary I want to be. Every day is a constant battle to be more bold and to rely more on the Lord. I loved this talk so much!! I loved how beautiful and bold it was written. We are to "use the lessons to confirm our testimonies and to give them greater assurance" and to be a "challenging and testifying missionary" rather than just a teaching one. The Spirit truly is the teacher and we need to do all that we can to invite everyone to come closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and to enter into covenants with them.

Thank you for all of the love and support. I am so blessed. I invite each of you to share the gospel today! Follow the invitation from our prophet to reach out to at least ONE. If everyone does this, millions will be blessed. And like stated in conference, that would be the greatest Christmas gift we could give our Savior. The Church is true and God loves you. He is always there.

I love you all!
Sister Smartt

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