Monday, November 25, 2013

Leaf jumping at the Topeka Zoo!!

Elders Garnett and Pack (ex-zone leaders) with Sis Call and I

K State stadium!!!!

Poor Sis Payton:(  Fun times but FREEZING in the ice storm!

Sis Payton and I were both comps with Sis Stewart
- just had to!

I feel like the worst auntie ever... but happy late birthday to CADEN!!! I love you Cade and hope you had the best birthday ever. I can't wait to talk to you in about a month! And a shout out to KYLE! Happy birthday!!! Hopefully they make you a sweet turkey cake again.

This past week has been madness! We literally only had two days in our area... the rest were filled with meetings, service, exchanges, and sickness. Tuesday we did service at the zoo. I LOVE that we get to do that in this zone too. It was a blast raking leaves and then we maybe jumped into a giant pile and it was so much fun. Can totally check that of the bucket list! Then our ward had us serve at a blood drive in another church so that was interesting. I kept flashing back to when I donated and passed out and like had a seizure.. good times.

All of Wednesday we were in Manhappenin'!!!! I feel a little guilty about it, but driving into Manhattan just felt like home. Sister Call and I were freaking out.. probably a little too excited. That night we had a conference call with Sister Bell and all of the sister leaders, which was way good. Thursday we had a specialized training with the AP's and President Bell and it was sooo good. Elder Neeley and Elder Deleon are awesome elders and gave some awesome trainings. Also, they LOVE roleplays. I have decided that I am going to make myself love them and it has started to work hah. After the training, I went with Sister Payton to the Lawrence University Ward (KU is KState's rival sooo that was a struggle)... but we had a blast/adventure. That evening we froze though.. We walked to a bus stop only to wait an hour and a half in the crazy ICE storm (who even knew those existed?) and found out the bus was not coming..... Poor Sister Payton didn't have tights or gloves on and my gloves didn't fit her and it was so sad because we were just frozen! We were laughing the whole time though. And ended up calling a member to come pick us up for our next appointments. Later their member told us the weather said it felt like 8 degrees outside. Sadly, we both ended up getting sick! I just got the flu but Sister Payton has hand mouth and foot disease! Soooo many people are getting sick out here. This weather is way too cold for my liking. But I.Can.Do.It.... 

It has been hard not being able to work in our area as much as we would like.. but I know that our calling is from the Lord and so we can trust in that. And I love that we get to exchange and learn from so many sisters! We have been able to get to know some more of the members and have had some AMAZING lessons with them and they are so stoked to be member missionaries. 

Luckily since I am just overcoming the flu I have an excuse to take limited portions for our THREE thanksgiving meals.... yeah wish us luck ;) hahah but I am so grateful for this holiday to remember what we are thankful for! I am especially grateful for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, my family, my companion, my mission. The Church is true!!!

With all my love and thanks,

Sister Smartt (Small, sparkles, nibbles choose your pick)

PS yesterday since we were stuck inside all day we watched tons of church movies (Legacy, Mountain of the Lord, John Tanner story- soo good!!!)

"Consecration is the only surrender which is also a victory"

Monday, November 18, 2013

Apryl - biggest sweetheart!! Made me this quilt just before
going to the bus-stop.

Mihoko Skabelund!! Convert from Japan - Love her!!

Waiting at the bus stop in Junction City....sketch!!

Topeka Zone and Pres & Sis Bell with Stk Pres. Averett

Love these sisters!  Sis Price (far left) is from Gilbert.

Yummy cookies Sis Broz made us!!!

Sisters Small

Okay so let's just say that leaving the Little Apple (Manhappenin') was quite the struggle but I know the Lord was helping me. I made so many eternal friends there and I am sooooo grateful for all that I learned those 6 months I was blessed to serve there. Transfers on Wednesday were insane. The mission has changed transportation to using the Greyhound buses to give us more opportunities to share the gospel. And anyone that knows me knows that I love public transportation so I was stoked about this. There have been some way cool stories from that but there has also been some mad happenings where missionaries have been stranded, kicked off of buses, etc. Long story short, we arrived at the bus stop and waited for a couple hours longer than anticipated.. After awhile, our zone leaders got a call from President Bell telling them that they might not have anybody ride the bus because of how many mix-ups and problems it has caused. As they were trying to make a decision the bus starts to pull up... aka they had to make a decision in 30 seconds because those buses don't wait for anybody ha. They were like okay just kidding everyone get to the bus.. we all grabbed our stuff and ran towards it only to find out they didn't even have room for us and our stuff... (even though we had pre-purchased tickets?) Sister Call and I were put into some senior missionaries car (the Peterson's) and they shipped us out to Topeka.

We love Lake Shawnee! Sister Call and I feel like princesses every morning. We live in some member's home, the Broz. (Yeah sweetest name ever) They SPOIL US. It is soooo surreal being in a HOME and I just love it so much. We live in the basement apartment which is super nice. Also, it is sooo beyond peaceful out here because we live like out in the middle of the country. Sister Broz is not active and the Bishop and bro Broz were both so thrilled she agreed to let us live there. They treat us like their kids and we love them already.

Luckily we had that zone training Friday so we were able to become acquainted with the zone and such. We love them! It was super hard leaving Manhattan, for both Sister Call and I, because the Manhattan zone are all besties basically. But we loved it here right away. The training went well! They also had the coolest role plays ever! They planned ahead to have real investigators, members, and less actives meet us at the church and we just rotated and taught them all lessons. It was awesome. 

We have been getting organized and planning a tooon, plus the meetings so we haven't had much time to work sadly. But we have met some members and they have all been awesome! Our ward mission leader (Bro Scerbo) is from New Jersey. Him and his wife are HILARIOUS. They work/talk at 100 miles per hour and it is so awesome. They are stoked to get work done! Also, side note, the ward is sooo excited to have sisters so that is a huge bonus! This weekend was stake conference, which again was focused on missionary work and we were blessed to sing our mission song on the stand again and the talks were all incredible. It was so fun being with President and Sister Bell and all the missionaries in this area all weekend!

I started out with not the best attitude about being called as a sister training leader (STL) but after meeting the 10 sisters we are over, I just looooved them immediately. I know that this is what Heavenly Father would have me be doing at this point in my mission and I know He will help me. It is pretty different because we go on exchanges at least once a week, have tons of meetings, and are on the phone a LOT. Sisters call us all the time with problems and it is going to be a great learning experience in serving them.

To end, I LOVE MY COMP! We have soooooo much fun all day long and we feel so blessed. Literally every day we ask ourselves if this is real life. It is too good to be true. President and Sister Bell were dying laughing when they saw us! They told us to wipe our smiles off of our faces and that we are living a dream haha. Only kidding of course.

I love you all so much! A huge focus lately has been Elder Ballard's challenge, that was issued as a challenge again this weekend, to reach out to at least ONE person before Christmas. So will you all just do that!? (say yes) I KNOW the Lord will help you. And it truly will be the best Christmas present we could give our Savior. 

You are in my prayers,

Sister Smartt 
aka Sisters Small (everyone now combines Sister Smartt and Sister Call because we are the same person)

PS Pres and Sis Bell are soooo funny every time they speak. Favorite quote this time: Sister Bell gets up for the adult session and starts off by announcing that "The mission age has changed to 16 years old because they already know everything and their moms won't cry at the farewells." True story. Sorry mom. :)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Loove these Sisters!

Sis Call (new comp) and Sis Thompson

Sis Murphy and I sharing the B of M!!

Manhattan 1st Ward Missionaries and the amazing Pacadas!

Samoan Elders!!

Varsity Donuts - yummiest donuts on Pday!

November 12, 2013

Holy crap I can't believe how much has happened this past week.. it has been a tornado. For real.

We had the most amazing zone conference with Elder Marcus B. Nash, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. INCREDIBLE!! It was much needed and I felt/learned so much. He was an amazing teacher and truly allowed the Spirit to speak through him to teach all of us and to answer many questions and concerns we had. I think my favorite thing I learned from him was the definition of bold. I am sure I have heard this before but it was truly an answer to my prayers when he shared this. 

BOLD: Speak with clarity and confidence and LOVE. 

I had like thee biggest a-ha moment and it was such a comfort and strength for me to learn this by the Spirit. As a missionary, I have had the goal to become a bold servant of the Lord. I have felt discouraged time and time again when I start to compare myself to others and then I am humbled and remember I have other strengths and talents that the Lord has blessed me with. But this definition of bold I can do!!!! I can so do that! The Lord has told me many times that the quiet demeanor and manor of my Spirit will touch the hearts of others... so I was always confused on how to be bold. A servant of the Lord (Elder Nash) taught me so much and helped me so much to progress as a missionary and taught me that I truly can be bold.

Last weekend we had a movie night for investigators and members. We watched the Joseph Smith Movie and had yummy refreshments. It turned out so good!! We were able to see many people that we have been working with and it was such a blessing to us and them! The Self's were able to come and are so ready to set a baptismal date. 

Tomorrow I am getting transferred to Topeka. Lake Shawnee to be exact! Sister Call and I are opening an area for Sister Training Leaders, over 12 sisters. Let's just say that I have soooo many mixed emotions!! I freaked out when I found out we would be companions. (She has been one of my best friends on the mish so far. She was in Independence when I was at the Liberty Jail then we both got transferred to Manhattan and have been serving around each other for the past 6 months!!) I feel like we must have been besties in the pre-Earth life as well. I am so stoked to be companions with her and learn more from her! I was not expecting this call, because I thought I would get to finish training my baby sis Murphy!! I do know that the Lord has been preparing me though and I have most likely just been in denial.. ha

These past couple days have been a roller-coaster. Too many goodbyes for my liking. And to people and an area that I LOVE with my whole heart!!! I have felt so beyond inadequate to be a Sister Training Leader. Everyone is so kind and encouraging and telling me what a great job I will do but really I just want to be a normal missionary hah. I have been studying the enabling power of the Atonement a ton and I KNOW that the only way I can overcome many of my fears (like training 40 missionaries this Friday) will be with the strength of the Lord. Sunday evening we were with the zone leaders and they ended up giving many missionaries priesthood blessings for this upcoming transfer. It was the first blessing I have received since I have been out and it was MUCH NEEDED. I am so grateful for worthy men that hold the power of God on the Earth and bless the lives of others. I was also told in it that there are specific souls waiting for ME to find them!!! I can't wait to be led to these brothers and sisters of ours!!!

I know I have shared this scripture like a bijillion times but it is so different when you actually have to apply it :)
2 Timothy 1:7
"For God hath not given us the Spirit of fear, but of POWER and of love and of a sound mind."

I love you all so much! I am sooooo beyond thankful for so much love and support.
Also, Jen and Sarah, you are in my prayers. I love you guys.

Sister Smartt

P.S. R.I.P. the Little Apple... I can't wait to come back and visit this place and all of the people that I have grown to love soooo much these past 6 months

Monday, November 4, 2013

Love these Manhattan colors!!

Love these fall colors!!

Add caption

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the best dad in the world!!!! I love you so much and am so blessed to be your daughter. Party hardy for me. Everyone spoil him extra for me.

Holy crap the Little Apple is BEAUTIFUL right now!!!! Sister Murphy and I freak out all day long. The trees are literally tie-dye. And there are some hot pink ones, it is unreal.

Okay so this week we were very blessed and I have a couple favorite stories to share. Let's begin with Brianna. One of the evenings we were in an area that we aren't able to get up to very often so we were excited to be there and check up on some people. We were "trollin" (no I didn't forget an s- comp joke...) down the street and first of all there was a huge herd of WILD TURKEYS! It was hilarious and we loved every minute of trying to catch those things. But more importantly, there was this girl heading towards us, walking her dog. As soon as I saw her I just knew we were there for her. We approached her and started a casual convo (complimented her cute puppy and such) and quickly transitioned into her religious background and we were able to teach about the great apostasy and the Restoration. She was almost in tears and said "THIS is what I have been waiting for".. "This just makes so much sense"..."I have always thought there was something more than the Bible". She gladly accepted a BOM and committed to read and pray. We were beyond happy and were about to set a return appointment.. She almost burst into tears and explained that her husband wouldn't be okay with that but she is really interested and wants to learn more... We were praying and trying to discern how to best go about the situation when her husband Stewart shows up and drags her away. I will never forget the look in her eyes as she was leaving and just thanking us SO much for bringing this into her life. We have been praying for Briana since and have no way of getting ahold of her but know that she WILL accept the restored gospel one day. The Lord is preparing our brothers and sisters for His message.

Another huge experience this past week involved Sister Crump. (CUTEST old less active lady that Sister Stewart and I used to visit often). We have been trying hard to get in touch with her and started getting really nervous because her phone would just ring and ring.. She is 93 by the way. I had been really worried for quite awhile and so we asked our ward mission leader to check into it and he told us that he just got an email regarding her and it made it sound like she had passed. I was heartbroken!! I love that woman! It was really, really testing my faith about the Plan of Salvation. We found out a couple days later that she hadn't passed but had fallen and was stranded for 2 days with no help.. We were able to visit her in the assisted living that she was taken to and the Spirit was so incredibly strong as we visited her. I feel VERY strongly that we are called to help prepare her for specific missionaries in the spirit world. She has never been active but her husband passed along time ago and was very active. I can feel him rooting for her!

We had an awesome lesson with Wendy, one of our Ecuadorian friends. She loves the message we share and she referred missionaries to visit her family back in Ecuador. We were able to show her the temple where she is from and she LOVED it and wants to prepare for that. She shows an incredible faith in our Savior. We are also still teaching Jessica, who is not a member but her husband that is deployed is a member. She is super willing to meet and was planning on coming to church until she got called into work :( We also saw some miracles in Ogden (a little town about 15 minutes away that we can't go to very often) and were led to some very prepared people. We met a male version of Apryl! His name was Forrest and he was SO ENTHUSIASTIC about life. He loved what we shared and the elders are going to start teaching him. It made me miss Apryl a ton but she still calls and updates us all the time. She always cries and says how much she misses her babies!! We are also teaching these two older girls, Jessica and Raven. They claim to be "earth based" and were AMAZED after learning the Plan of Salvation. Both of them had so many a-ha moments and it fit perfectly with their beliefs just had more to add and was so clear.

"Pres. David O. Mckay once said something like this: "The greatest battles you will ever fight will be within the silent chambers of your heart." That is the battleground between what you want and what the Lord wants. If you surrender, if the Lord wins, you win also. If you win, if your will prevails, you and the Lord both lose. The only way to win is to lose. Lose yourself in the Lord's work, and you will win beyond your wildest imaginations, for "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." (1 Cor. 2:9)" 

I know that we can not even comprehend all that the Lord has in store for us if we just align our will with His. I love this gospel with all of my heart! I am so grateful to be a missionary at this incredible and exciting time. 

Love you all,

Sister Smartt