Monday, August 18, 2014

Note from Katelyn's dad: Katelyn will arrive home on Thursday (21st) at 12:05pm on United 
flight #5486 (terminal 2).  Her homecoming report will be this Sunday (24th) at 12pm.  The 
address of the chapel is 1520 S. Catalina St, Gilbert, AZ - cross streets are 
Gilbert and Ray.  She would love to see you!!  Feel free to come welcome Katelyn 
home then or at our home 149 E. Gail Dr! 
Subject: My Heart's In The Heartland Foreverrr

Is this real life?........
This past week has been another incredible week here in Kansas. Yesterday was one of the best Sundays I have had on my mission! Almost everyone came to church!!!! The Thompson's came FINALLY.. hahaha love you Crystal! Dirk came! (This suuper awesome guy from Germany. His father-in-law recently joined the church in Chicago and we miraculously met them awhile back) Gerard came and..GET THIS.. brought a friend!! He's a missionary already. Naomi came with her kids and nonmember husband. The Randalls were there. The sacrament meeting was seriously the best ever! All of the talks were spot on and perrrfect for our investigators. And President Rawson (stake pres) spoke! It was a dream service. I couldn't be happier for all those that were there :)
Let's get down to the miracles already. Yesterday, after church, Gerard called and left like probably the nicest voice mail ever. He was literally sobbing and just thanked me over and over again. He explained how in these past two weeks his life has already changed. He KNOWS and I KNOW that God led us to him. He told me that he has never felt this joy in his life before and He is FILLED. He also told us of miracles that have been happening in his life "ever since we gave him 'that book'". The power of the Book of Mormon is real my friends! It really is. I have seen it time and time again on my mission. And in my own life. This book has changed me and it can change anyone who reads it with a sincere heart! I know this to be true. Meeting Gerard about a week and a half ago was a miracle that I will never EVER forget. I feel so strongly that the Lord sent me here to Kansas to bring him the gospel. He just keeps telling me over and over again that I was an angel sent to him and that I look exactly like his sister who he hasn't seen in almost 20 years. He said because of that, he felt it was a sign from God. Miracles happen today, according to our faith. I believe this with all of my heart! God is the same yesterday, today, and forever and this is how He has always worked. I know that I am merely an instrument for our Lord but he is a miracle worker!!!! It is so beyond true.
These past 18 months have changed me. I had noooo clue what I was set out to do when the Lord sent me out here. But after many, many trials of my faith, I have seen the hand of the Lord in His work. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If you want to be happy, LIVE IT. We are here on Earth to prepare to live with our Father in Heaven again. And with our Savior. My testimony of my Savior has grown soo much. He is my best friend. Words do not describe the power that I have felt as I have turned to Him. He truly has strengthened me beyond my own abilities. He has comforted me, filled me with love, and has literally changed me every day. Helping others to feel of His love is thee best thing in the world. He truly is "THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD." I know that the church of Jesus Christ has been restored. There is not a doubt in my mind that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. He was called to be an instrument for the Lord to restore the gospel. Again, the BOM IS true. I could never deny it. I know that President Monson is the prophet of God on the Earth today. He truly does receive revelation from God for the world. Because The Lord guided him, the age for missionaries changed which changed my life! It was an answer to prayers for me and soooo many others. He truly is inspired.
Leaving the mission field might just be the hardest thing I will ever do. Awhile back President Rawson said something that hit me sooo hard.. slash killed me a lil bit. Literally. It was my last zone conference and when he found out that some of us were leaving soon.. He just cried. He broke down and cried! All he could say is "I'm sorry.. I really am. Going home is the closest to death that you will experience in this life." BUT I know I can do it with the help of my Savior. "I believe in Christ so come what may." Right? I don't know what the Lord has in store for me next.. but I do know that I can continue to be an instrument for Him the rest of my life. My discipleship is settled. I love my Heavenly Father with all of my heart and I am willing to do whatever He asks. I know that my name tag, with my Savior's name, is painted on my heart forever. I have considered super gluing it to my favorite shirt..... and I might bawl my eyes out when they make me take it off. BUT full time missionary or not, we can always have one painted on our hearts.
"There are times when we have to step into the darkness in faith, confident that God will place solid ground beneath our feet once we do."
- quote from Pres. Uchtdorf that I have been reading almost daily. This describes my feelings to a tee.
I love you all so so much. I am sooo humbled and grateful for all of the love and support you have given me.
With love,
Sister Smartt
ps.. reality has hit. I will see you in 18 months... or a couple of days....Miracles to be seen in KS until then. LOVE YOU. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Miracles on the daily my friends.... The Lord is incredible.
Saturday was a roller-coaster. It started out great/ended great! We attended The Bourm girl's baptisms.. LOVE them. And Taylor, Trace, and Debra were able to attend and witness their first baptism :) Hopefully it got them pumped for theirs coming up! But anyways.. the rest of the day, allll of our solid appointments kept falling through! It was hard not to get discouraged but we kept trekking on.. I remember feeling so lost and didn't know where to go next because our backups and backups to backups fell through. Which happens some days :) When we are needed elsewhere.. So we turned to the ward roster and a less active stood out to me. It was just a subtle prompting but we took it and left.
Here's where "Cornelius" (Gerard) comes into the picture! We were walking around these apartment buildings to find where the less active lived and this guy, who was sitting in his truck, starts calling after us. He asked who we were looking for and what we were doing. He was a very kind man and we got talking to him. He explained to us that he was literally just praying and knew he needed to go to a church again but he felt lost on which one.. He had been feeling very empty lately and "wanted to fill that hole in his soul". The Spirit was soo strong in our encounter with Gerard and he is SO beyond prepared by the Lord. We shared a Book of Mormon with him and he was so excited! He said he had always felt like something was missing from all of the churches he attended and he felt that this was the answer. Say whaaaa?! We just kept looking at each other in awe. Yes, Gerard, the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored! And through it, we find the fullness of God's plan and teachings. After talking to him for a bit, he shared that he believed we were his angels and he could literally see "light around us". This was thee biggest boost, especially after being so discouraged/lost. The gospel DOES give us light and others WILL notice. He told us that he would come to church the next morning.. and guess what? HE DID! We had some members pick him up and he loved church. Everyone welcomed him with open arms. I LOVE being an instrument for our Father in Heaven. I know that the Holy Ghost can guide us to those that are truly prepared and ready for the gospel. I know that without the gospel we WILL have a hole in our soul, like Gerard has noticed. The gospel is amazing and fills those holes, whether we acknowledge it or not.
Friday night our appointments kept falling through as well... but we found out why. We got a text and a voice mail from the zone leaders inviting everyone to meet at this gas station immediately. One of the elders was missing. Elder Macarthur (macdaddy) is one of the sweetest spirits I have met. He has some special needs but we all LOVE him!! Hearing that he was missing literally ripped all of our hearts out. We raced across town to a gas station in Mulvane. President Bell, the AP's, and most of our zone gathered and after praying like crazy, we all set out to find him.. Sister Gurr and I were assigned to this specific neighborhood and walked for miles and miles. It was hard not to cry, hoping and praying that he was okay! He had been lost for several hours, without water and it was a HOT/HUMID/KS day near many open fields, a train track, a bijillion trees/hiding places and not much else.. We reported back to the gas station at 9 with no luck.... Salt Lake asked for all missionaries to go home and to have the police take over. It's times like these where we have nothing else to rely on but the Lord. For strength and for guidance. But luckily we KNOW He is always there. No matter how dark the day seems, light from the Lord will ALWAYS overcome it. I know this is true.
None of us were planning on sleeping that night.. until we received a text late at night, that he was found. Prayers work :)
One last miracle find from yesterday:
A few days prior we had given this kid, Ian, a BOM so we went to check up on him. The dad came to the door and said "You must be here for my wife!" We were slightly confused and said "Uhhh well kinda! Our message is for everybody. :)" He explained that his wife has been talking a lot about the Mormons with her friend.... We were like okay whaaat! The Lord is amazing. Soo anyways, they let us in and we met Jennifer. The past couple of weeks she has been talking with her friend a ton about the church! Her friend gave her a BOM, Restoration pamphlet, and Jennifer has already been praying about it. Holy prepared right? She also has received two priesthood blessings the past couple of weeks and believes the church is true. She also has felt like the other churches she attended in the past were missing something and she believes God has helped her to find this. AMEN sista! LOVE her already and am soooo happy to begin teaching her.
I love being a missionary with all of my heart! It truly is the work of the Lord and He leads and guides us every single day. I love all of you and I hope you have a fantastic week!
Sister Smartt
ps Chris couldn't come to church yesterday because of work :( buuut he still knows the church is true! And he will be getting baptized on the 23rd. We had some amazing lessons with them this past week. SOOOO prepared it's not even funny! He was already choosing to live all of the commandments so he could be baptized. Also, we are still working with the Thompson's a toon! Their kids will be baptized on the 30th :)

Monday, August 4, 2014

This past week has probably been one of the best weeks on my mission! We have seen soooooo 
many miracles/tender mercies from the Lord, it's not even funny. 
 
We received a referral from our bishop to contact this less active who wants to come back. We met Sylvia and her mom Michelle, who is also a less active who wants to come back! Then we 
met Sylvia's husband, Chris, who is not a member and wants to be baptized! They told us all 
of this within the first five minutes.. Sister Gurr and I just kind of looked at each other 
like is this real life? Hahah a missionary's dream. Anyways we started the lessons that nightand are meeting with them about 3 times a week! Chris will be getting baptized on either the 16th or the 23rd. Sooo happy for them. I just kept telling them over and over again how happyI am that they are doing this as a family and are a strength for each other. Another 
prayer answered: we have been praying like crazy to bring families into the church!! :) We 
found them a ride and they were there on Sunday. Chris is honestly sooo prepared and he trulydoes want to turn his life over to Jesus Christ. There ARE people out there that are preparedand willing to act on the gospel. Let's just find them so the Lord can bless/ help them. 
 
The Thompson's are doing great. We have been meeting with them every couple of days and they are eating the lessons up! Riley and Lily will be baptized on the 23rd as well. Their 
nonmember aunt committed to come to church as well. MIRACLE. Daleena is a single mother of 5 that we have been teaching and she is finally progressing. She wants to be baptized on the 
23rd also:) 
 
A huge reason why this week was so great was because we literally had members out with us allthe time! Multiple team-ups per day and it was AWESOME. We have been soooo blessed. 
 
I have gained a huge testimony of fasting. I have made it a goal to fast every Sunday and 
words don't describe the strength I have received. I know that its power is real. 
 
I wanted to share a part of a poem that I love: 
"All those who journey, soon or late, 
Must pass within the garden's gate; 
Must kneel alone in darkness there, 
And battle with some fierce despair. 
God pity those who cannot say, 
"Not mine but thine," who only pray, 
"Let this cup pass," and cannot see 
The purpose in Gethsemane." 
 
We are all asked to go through things we think we can't handle. But I know without a doubt 
that the Lord is shaping/refining us and we can get through ANYTHING with His help. Again, 
"I believe in Christ, so come what may." 
 
LOVE you all. Have a fantastic week. xoxoxoox 
Sister Smartt 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Finally got a pic with Mater!  Love Sis Sorenson!!!
E. Jones and Sis Brusch. We dominated
 this pepper challenge at our district
 lunch. My mouth is stillll on fire...hahaha
Saying bye to sis Huff...LOVE her!

Sis Blood, Murphy and Hannah...brutal goodbyes!

Victoria and Theresa with Sis Hannah


Sis Gurr!!  So happy to serve with her!!


Subject: It pays to be a ginger ;)

What a great new transfer and week! It was splendid. Minus many sad goodbyes (Sister Hannah, and everyone that I saw at the transfer devotional....)
Sister Gurr is amazing! She's from Pleasant Grove, Utah. She knew of Sam and Hilary Norton so that's a cool connection. She's been out for about a year and is a great missionary! Sticking to my word of this being a huuge tender mercy that she's the grand finale comp. We get along too great and she is probably the sweetest, quietest comp I have had. LOVE her.
We are finding the elect! Last night we met with Dustin and Terri for the first time. They are a young couple and engaged to be married next May. We taught the Restoration out on their lawn.. near their table they were painting. Minus the paint fumes that were making us dizzy, the lesson was soooo incredible! The Spirit was definitely leading our discussion and they are soooo prepared. They committed to be baptized and THEY prayed at the end for God to help them to know that what we taught them is true and for help to reach their goal of August 16th for their baptism. We will be teaching the Law of Chastity shortly so they can get murried first and it will be great!
Right next door to Dustin and Terri is the Lund's. They are a less active family that the ward has been trying to reach out to recently. Sister Hannah and I didn't have much luck soo we haven't been working with them too much. But on Saturday we called to see if we could stop by. They agreed (surprisingly) and we had a great visit! When we invited them to church Sister Lund said "Yeah we will come! Only because you have red hair." Wait what? hahhahaha we were sooo confused. But hey they actually did come! We found them a ride and the ward was soo shocked that they finally came. Sister Lund just kept talking about how she came because of my red hair.. everyone was dying laughing. Now we will be working on a spiritual conversion for them....haha
We are still teaching Cherri and Jeff. We brought Sister Miller over to Cherri's with us and had another great lesson. Out of all the many lessons we had this week I mention this one because I will always and forever remember the Spirit in her home as we have been sharing the Plan of Salvation with her. There were many tears shed as we testified of our Father's plan for her and for her deceased son. I know that our Heavenly Father has revealed this plan for us to find comfort and direction throughout our lives. We are soo blessed!
The Thompson's are a less active, part-member family that we have been working with for quite awhile! They recently asked us to start teaching their 8 and 9 year olds so they can get baptized and so we can help the fam get back to church :) We are stoked to help them. Also, the aunt is living with them and she's a nonmember so we are definitely finding through The Rescue!! (huge focus of the mission lately)
Maggie, Daleena and her five kids, Cherri, Taylor, Trace, and others all committed to come to church but bailed! BUT we had a miracle with less actives at church. The Lund's, Randall's, Sister Ellis, Victoria, and last but NOT least, Sister Sorenson came!! She even went to Relief Society (for the first time in 6 years). I was sooooo happy I wanted to cry! She had us over for lunch after church and cried as she said it was all because of me that she's back. I know I haven't done anything but I seriously love that woman so much and am so happy for her! Oh and she is planning to kidnap me this month sooo if I go missing......hahah
I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY. Holy cow. We witness soo many miracles. There are many days that definitely test my faith and I have never relied more on the Lord than now.. but I wouldn't trade this time for anything. The restored gospel is true! Share it!!!
Love,
Sister Smartt

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sue visiting at a dinner appt - outside doing her Tarzan call!
Funniest thing ever...hahaha

Lorraine, Love her...

Seal Team Six District

Sis Murphy and Sis Hannah-2 of my daughters;)

Natalie from the YSA branch. Love her!
She's going to BYUI too!

Last Zone Conference! :(

Subject: KS in KS

Last transfer revealed.......
I will be staying here in Derby in the Ridgepoint Ward and Rock Road branch.. and Sister Gurr will be joining me!! I honestly couldn't be happier. She is such a sweet sister that I have served around quite a bit throughout my mission. I can't wait to get out and kill it with her this next month!!!!
We have been verrry blessed this past week. Here are some favorites:
On Saturday I prayed and prayed like crazy, then fasted that Taylor, Trace, and their mom Deborah could come to church!! And guess what? They came! They had to rush out after sacrament meeting so she could get to work.. but the members were so great in welcoming them and inviting them to the next classes :)
We are teaching the coolest family ever!! So we met the mom, Katherine, first and she accepted a BOM and said we could come back. When we did, she was asleep but we were able to meet with her husband, Ezekiel. He is AWESOME. Originally from Kenya, he's 7th Day Adventist.. But is very open and they are such a cute little young family! They are some of the kindest people I have met and the parents want the best for their cute kids.. soooo let's pray and hope that they join the Lord's church! As we were driving away from that appointment, Sister Hannah and I just kept saying over and over again how much the Lord NEEDS them in His church. I can't wait for the day.
We are also teaching this couple, Cherie and Ron. We taught Cherie the Plan of Salvation on Thursday. It was a beautiful evening, we were sitting on her porch swings and the Spirit was THICK. It was the most amazing thing to testify to her that she CAN see her son again, who passed away when he was 22.... I LOVE the gospel and sharing this joy and knowledge with others.
I am so grateful for all of our Heavenly Father's children that we are teaching here. I love this area and I love being a missionary! I know that there are soooo many miracles awaiting this next transfer. I feel blessed to be apart of this great work. And I know everyone can experience miracles every single day.. we just need to open our eyes and hearts and allow the Lord to work through us.
I love you all! I have a testimony that this is the Lord's church. He has a plan for each of us and He LOVES us. 
"Pure Christlike love flowing from righteousness can change the world."
Sister Smartt

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Gold old Kansas!!!! I love this place!!

Good old Kansas!!!! Love it!!!

Apartment ties

Granny dresses from Lorraine our 85 yr old investigator!
hahaha - we love them!

July 14, 2014
We had a great week of hard work, I blinked again, and here we are. Stop the clock!
Let's see.. updates from the week:
We got to mow Kaili and Marshall's lawn for them :) Tender mercy when investigators let you serve them. It's the best. They were sick this past week but we have an appointment with their family, FINALLY, tomorrow night. They are such a cute little family from Hawaii (I extra love them;) )
We are still teaching Ashley and have had awesome team ups for her. They always relate so well and it's been great having their testimonies there. They're always so inspired! We are hoping/praying she will be at church next week! Taylor and Trace weren't able to come to church yesterday either.. so we will have to push their baptism back to August 2nd. I loove them though.
Members spoil us. I think every day, except for yesterday, we had at least one teamup out with us. We found many new investigators again this week and are really praying/striving to find families. We have seen so many tender mercies as we have relied on the Lord to lead us to families. I KNOW that there are prepared families out there that the Lord needs and wants in His church. This truly is His kingdom on earth and we are so blessed to be a part of it.

Grand finale.. last night we were teaching Lorraine. She's 85 and a new investigator we found this week. She is the SWEETEST lady ever and very open to hearing our message. She might be a hoarder and have a roach infestation....... but I love her nonetheless. Literally there were roaches crawling around us the entire lesson but all I could think of was the love I have for this sister. She agreed to be baptized when she comes to find out for herself that this is Christ's church and His authority is in it.
I love being a missionary!!!
"Regardless of what the future holds, there stands the Redeemer of the world, certain and sure."
"I believe in Christ, so come what may!" :)
Love you all! Have a great week!
Sister Smartt
Twins at Zone Conf!

Kansas road kill...

Happy 4th of July!!!

Happy 4th!!!

Zone sisters celebrate 4th!

July 7, 2014
AHHH I can't wait to meet Boston!!! This was the best surprise ever. I have been praying so hard that everything would go well and I'm so glad he's happy and healthy. Our family is so blessed.
I can't even remember what we did this past week.... all I remember is that we worked HARD, saw many tender mercies/miracles, and endured through some dark days. Also, zone conference is coming up and they have asked us to read The Challenging and Testifying Missionary. It's been a while since I had read it so it's been super motivating and has inspired me to progress each day as a disciple of Christ.
My favorite lesson of the week was on Saturday. We went with some members to pick up Taylor and Trace for a church tour :) We had an awesome church tour which ended in front of the baptismal font. Taylor and Trace are 15 and 11.. brother and sister and very shy. It was a trial to get them to open up throughout the lesson but the spirit was suuper strong. They committed to be baptized on July 26th! Their mom is very supportive and will listen in on lessons but "isn't interested right now".. Pray for her!
Another highlight of the week was alll of the members that went out with us! We had 9 member present lessons and tons of teamups- it was such a blessing. We are striving to find the Amulek for each investigator right now. OH and when Emily came out with us..... we encountered some llama dogs! It was hilarious/scary/we almost died. They spat on us just like llamas and then attacked. We were trying to contact a referral from the elders but weren't successful. We will be back soon to visit those vicious llama dogs. Nothing can stop the work..... hahahha
Like I said at the beginning, there were a couple really dark days this week. I prayed and prayed and prayed harder. Then one of the mornings I decided to study all about peace for my personal study. I looked up peace in the topical guide and studied all of the scriptures. Despite our circumstances, or the darkness of others around us, we can be filled with light and peace as we turn to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for this light that is always there for us, without fail. We are sooooooo blessed. This world really is dark and scary and we have been called to share our light with others to make it brighter each day. I love being a missionary and I love this gospel.

With love,
Sister Smartt 
KS in KS :)
PS Happy birthday to Jen!!!! I love you soo so much and am so grateful to have an amazing example like you as my sis. Have such a great day!! Also, happy bday to the KWM. I love this mission with all of my heart and I can't even believe it's been a year since the mission split.... we have seen some major miracles/progress in the KWM. I love it!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Happy bday to mom and a happy 4th!!
I remember talking to friends that have served missions and almost all of them told me that the beginning stages and ending stages of missions are the hardest. I can now testify of that to be true! I'm pretty sure it is Satan working his hardest to tear us down. So it's up to us to not let him :) This past week has been a roller coaster.... Monday night we had dinner with Kelly from the branch and the elders. Afterwards, Elder Pack suggested that we drop off the cookies he made to Marilynn. Genius idea right?! We all miss her mucho. So off we went, hoping and praying that she'd be home. She didn't answer so Sis H leaned down to leave her the cookies and then we had a heart attack when the door crept open haha.. On the bright side Marilynn WAS home and we got to see her :) On the down side, she was a completely different person. She talked to us outside for a bit, then finally let us in. We got to catch up and find out how she's really feeling about things. The entire time we were in there I was fighting tears because I kept flashing back to how happy she was before! Again, that glow is gone... My heart literally aches every time I picture her and the light that is missing that WAS there. On the way home, Sister Hannah and I both just cried and cried. I can only imagine how Heavenly Father is feeling as He is always watching over her and seeing the joy that she's missing out on. It's a good thing He is God because no one else could endure that kind of heartache over and over again for allll of His children..
We are teaching this girl named Ashley, who is YSA age! Yay investigators for the branch!! She is awesome and her family used to meet with missionaries for years but she's just now interested for herself. We will get to see her on Tuesday. Another highlight from the week was meeting Danaiah. She has been a member a couple of years and has had some rough experiences with the wards that she was in. We are soo excited because she is willing to give church another shot. Also, she has a suuper strong testimony- has never doubted it.. just got offended. But she will make a GREAT member missionary!
Sooo I was sick for three days which was super lame! I think I made myself more sick because I was stressing about the fact that I don't have time for those shenanigans.... All is well though. Sister Sorenson (Doc) is a gem and took great care of me. I seriously loove that woman so much!!!! She is like one of my favorite people. She was at church again on Sunday. And the other week she had an a-ha moment. She was like "Woahh.. I need to be at your temple wedding someday... I need to start preparing to be temple worthy so I can be there for you!" I reassured her that she has like 10 years to prepare for that but I am so glad she is motivated to change her life!
I love being a missionary and I love this gospel with all of my heart!
"Our lives are God's gift to us. What we choose to do with them are our gifts to Him."
Love,
Sister Smartt
ps happy birthday to mom!!!!!! I love you soo sosoo much and aspire to be more like you each day. Best momma out there. Have the best day and happy 4th of July! 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Poly Elders made me spam - it was delicious!

Sis Sorenson took us for pedicures - best
day ever!

Creepy glow balloons!  From Sis H's mom for her bday!

I love this family! The Couleys and Sorensons!

Sis Sorenson - celebrating Sis Hannah's bday!

FIREFLIES!

"There is no witness until after the trial of our faith". AMEN. We have seen this soo powerfully recently. Last last week we worked SO incredibly hard and not gonna lie, it was kind of frustrating that we didn't find any new solid investigators with alllll of the people we talked to.. BUT we don't have time to be discouraged in life. All I could do was pray and remember the past experiences on my mission and pray to be filled with faith and press forward. And pray some more. So basically after that whole week of praying and working so hard we were soooo beyond blessed this week! We continued to pray in faith and act and let me just tell you- miracles galore! It was an amazing week to be in the service of the Lord. We found seven new investigators and sooo many prepared people. Let me just share a few favorites :)
On Saturday we went to check on an unknown less active, who wasn't home.. soo we ended up tracting their circle. And BAM we met Robert! He stumbled out of their trailer, half asleep... He told us right off the bat that there was no hope in talking with him and that he does not believe in God and never will. We ended up talking for like 45 minutes on his porch, testified of soo many gospel truths that were particularly meaningful to him, and he was in tears by the end. It was the best feeling in the world! The Spirit truly worked through Sister Hannah and I and he went from being "atheist" to committing to read the BOM and pray. He also committed to be baptized when he receives his answer. Talk about softening of the heart. He's not so atheist anymore!
Another favorite was meeting Maggie last night. We were heading into the Brownell's trailor (a less active couple we visit) but we saw this lady outside gardening. We had actually met her son previously and taught him so it was perfect to finally catch her home! She was suuuper nice and asked us to teach her what we believe. She continued to garden and we taught and testified of the Restoration. She said "Wow well it must be true! That just makes sense..." It does just make sense doesn't it? God is the same yesterday, today, and forever and he LOVES us! Also, Maggie taught us to catch fireflies! It was the coolest thing!! Sister H and I were freaking out.
We also attended institute this past week hoping Marilynn would be there.... we were majorly disappointed.. BUT I learned something cool. Kind of an a-ha moment. So we read in Moses 4 and something really stood out to me. When Satan deceived Eve, he hid ONE lie with many truths. How often does he do this with us? He sugarcoats sin and we are deceived with one lie and many truths.
Another random thought from my studies was in 1 Peter 4:8 and it talks about having "fervent charity". Being filled with this PURE love for the Lord, others, and ourselves- prevents us from sin. How cool is that! Being filled with charity does not just make us happy and make others happy but it protects us. I know that this is true! I have been working sooo hard at developing charity within myself and it is the most amazing feeling in the world! I know that it is helping me in all aspects of my life and mission. Pray to be filled with this love and then act in a way that the Lord can develop it inside of you. I promise you it will work.
Speaking of love..... I love all of you! Like seriously. God be with you til we meet again :)
Sister Smartt

ps we are having a zone car wash/water fight today.. I.love.pdays.
pps Cheri came to church!!!!! So did Sis Sorenson, the Randalls, the Hoods, Victoria S.. so blessed

Monday, June 16, 2014

Our new room! KS flag of course!

Sis Hannah and I in our new room.

Happy late bday to Mitch! Hope it was great and I hope you all had a great Father's day :) especially you pops!!
 
I honestly don't even know what happened this past week. We worked suuper hard and talked to probably like 5 bijillion people and it was great... but then I blinked and here we are. Also, we moved into our new apartment in Wichita. We miss the Swope's but it's been good and we are settled.
 
A favorite story from this week was when we were working in Oaklawn. It was a beatiful afternoon and lots of people were out soo we taught a bunch. As we walked up to this lady in front of her house, MIRACLE. She was sitting, facing her house, and looked like she was reading or something. As we got closer she kind of jumped up and just stared at us. She's like "Well that's crazy! I have never been this stunned in my life. I literally just finished praying and then ya'll were there." After witnessing this she still wouldn't set up a return appointment which was soo frustrating but she said we can come back anytime. This truly is the Lord's work.
 
Remember Lorraine? She has been going through a LOT and texted us the other day. I was sooo beyond happy to hear from her and we are going to get the ward together to help her move this Saturday. The missionaries better take care of her in her next area.. I love that woman!!!
 
I know without a doubt that there are people waiting for us, that the Lord has prepared, and I know that the Lord will lead us to them as we continute to be diligent for Him. I love being a missionary!
 
"While justification is represented by clean hands, sanctification is represented by a pure heart that has been given to God." -Brad Wilcox
Give everything you have to Him! He LOVES us. Sooo much. And He can make so much more out of us and our lives than we can.
 
Love,
Sister Smartt
 
ps Sister Sorenson continues to SPOIL us. She is taking us to get pedicures today and buying us dinner..... LOVE HER.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Sis Miller, Hannah, Runia - Exchanges

I love the skies here!!!

Derby Zone Sister Missionaries!!!

Sis Schow - going to miss her sooo much!!!

It's Seriously June and a new transfer???

Sister Hannah and I are both staying here in Derby! Third transfers a charm! ;) Baptisms and miracles to be seen.
Sooo this past week was pretty rough, not gonna lie. Aside from 4 sick days trapped indoors.... Marilynn was anti'd hard core. Basically she's been ignoring us and the branch this past week and it has been sooo hard! Please please please pray for her. She needs it! Also, Baylei (who Jerry lives with) isn't interested anymore.. soo we will have to hand him off to the elders soon. All this means is that there are more brothers and sisters of ours that the Lord has prepared for us! And we have a brand new week to find them :)
One of the days that Sis H was sick, I got to go out with a member from the branch- Morgan. She is a returned missionary and totally spoiled us with using her miles like crazy. We saw many tender mercies! Our appointment with Ashley bailed.. BUT she answered her phone and felt soo bad that she forgot and we have plans to contact her soon. Then we caught Marilynn just before she left to work.. so we got to see her briefly! Then we had an awesome lesson with Jerry and Baylei. It was really cool because they were way across town and I didn't want to make Morgan drive all the way out there.. but I had a prompting we needed to see them so we went. Jerry was having a very rough day and we were able to cheer him up with the Spirit and watched "Mountains to Climb" (awesome Mormon Message). Lastly, we tried Jessica, who sis h and I had tried a bijillion times and she was never home. She was a referral from the zone leaders a while back. Anyways, she was miraculously home! And still sooo interested! We are having a church tour/lesson with her tonight and are going to help her re-set a baptismal date :)
With loads of study time this past week, I learned a LOT. Holy cow. A favorite from my studies was when I came across a talk by Elder Holland- "The Call to be Christlike". It seemed familiar at first and then I got to the end and realized I was at that talk! It was when he came to Dixie when I was there!! Sooo cool. I have read that talk probably four times this week and it is so inspiring. I love how he talks about Zion and how it used to be a place that the Saints would settle to establish "Zion". Time and time again the righteous would travel to Zion. Today we are in the FINAL dispensation and are called to establish Zion right here, right now. It is not so much of where we live, but HOW. Loooved how his talk ended:

"When He comes, I so want to be caught living the gospel. I want to be surprised right in the act of spreading the faith and doing something good. I want the Savior to say to me: “Jeffrey, I recognize you not by your title but by your life, the way you are trying to live and the standards you are trying to defend. I see the integrity of your heart. I know you have tried to make things better first and foremost by being better yourself and then by declaring my word and defending my gospel to others in the most compassionate way you could.”'
I love you all! Have a great week!
And dad, have the best Father's day ever!!!!! I love you and am sooo so grateful for your example, love, and support. I have the best dad in the world.
Sister Smartt

Monday, June 2, 2014

Bro Nebeker's bunny slippers!

Nice diet food.....


Sis Dunlap bought us Kansas flags!!!!
Kansas is beautiful!!!!!

Master Swope - 7th degree black belt taught us some
self defense tricks!

Happy birthdays to Elsie and Devin this week!! Hope you all party hardy and enjoy being another year older. Also, welcome home to Mikaela! Love you and wish you the best.
Updates for this week:
JERRY! Is awesome. He came to the YSA branch yesterday and looved it. The branch seriously welcomed him so well. They gave him rides, invited him to the pool party tonight, and just helped him to fit right in. Also, during gospel principles we talked a lot about the Great Apostasy and the Restoration. He is soooo prepared. Literally this is what he said.. "I was always confused when studying the Bible.. I mean God was so loud back then so where's He been!??" No doubt he will be baptized shortly.
Marilynn is still doing well :) She loved the church history tour/ysa conference. Her favorite part was Adam-ondi-ahman which I wanted to explode as she talked about it. Sooo happy for her and it made me want to go back like asap. I looove Marilynn and am so happy for her in taking these steps in her life! Baptism is still set for June 28th. She could use all the prayers.
Our teaching pool is still growing like crazy and we have been SO so blessed. Random side note- We met this lady named Kay. She was mowing her lawn so we offered to help.. as most people do, she declined the offer but we got talking. She is Pentecostal and we agreed to attend her church with her if she came to ours. Sooo stoked for that! Except I'm a tad nervous.. the first thing she told us about their service was that the men do somersaults over the pews?.... Stay tuned.
Okay last but not least, Sister Sorenson is like one of my favorite people ever!! We dropped in the other night and we had some suuper good/deep convos with her. After she kidnapped us again and bought us ice cream from Braum's, she told us that she is changing her life around and it's all because we started visiting her. She said that she now feels guilt in her life for how she's been living and she wants to change. So she has been! She literally said that "If nothing else, you girls came to this area for me." I love being a missionary. Hearing that made my week. I am so grateful to be an instrument for our Father in Heaven to help others to feel of His love.
Alma 26:3
"For our brothers and sisters, the Kansans, were in darkness, yea, even in the darkest abyss, but behold, how many of them are brought to behold the marvelous light of God! And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work."
Love you all!!! 
Sister Smartt
ps this past weekend/this upcoming week is Riverfest in downtown Wichita. All the local missionaries have been attending this huge festival/party and it's been awesome proselyting out there. Sooo many adventures. 
pss. Bro Swope (who we live with) is a 7th degree black belt in Taekwando?.... He showed us some self defense last night and it was awesome.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Skyping home on Mother's Day!

Self Explanatory!

Beanies made for us by Sis Sorenson!



LOVE the Swope's!!! Going to miss living
 with them!!

Derby Zone Olympics - best Pday ever! Looove
 these people!!!

I'm a day late for emailing but still kickin! And loving the mish life.
For starters, we met this 13 year old girl Baylei this past week. She accepted a BOM and agreed to meet with us on Sunday. When we went to our appointment we got to meet with her, her mom, and their friend Jerry. It was so great! Especially because they are all stoked to read the BOM and they looove reading. Like seriously. Jerry said he would have it read by the next time we see him.
Yesterday was probably in my top favorite pdays ever! Since it was Memorial Day (no emailing) we had 2 extra hours for our pday adventures. Sooo the zone decided to have a zone Olympics. Basically we all just grouped together as districts and played sports all day/jammed out to Gladys Knight but it was sooo much fun! I love being a missionary.
Also, yesterday the Ridgepoint Ward had a BBQ. Guess who came? Jerry! Who we had met only the day before. Oh and he walked over an hour to get there... so basically he is super interested and the ward welcomed him warmly. He has read over 100 pages of the BOM already..
The YSA branch was suuuper small on Sunday because they had a YSA conference in Missouruh. Basically a super awesome church tour and they all stayed at a hotel all weekend. Marilyn went with!!!!!! SOO sooo cool and I am so excited to talk to her about it! Reminiscing on my Liberty Jail days- there is no way she won't get baptized after feeling of the Spirit that's there. I could not be happier for her :)
Sister Sorenson, who we visit quite often came to church again!! I seriously love her so much. And I totally forgot about the funniest day ever when she kidnapped us. We were leaving her house, planning on walking home, and she made us get in her car because it was raining.. so we did and on the way home she swerved into a gas station to get a treat for us. As we are walking around in there she decided that she wanted Freddy's for dinner and that we were going with her hahah. We already had a dinner appointment and after telling her that, she decided to call and cancel for us so we could go with her... hahaha sooo awkward being in the middle of that! But needless to say we laughed soo hard and had a great evening with her. LOVE that woman. Also, she keeps making us these beanies and scarves.. she's the best.
Our teaching pool is growing like crazy right now and we have been beyond blessed! I love this area!
Here's a favorite thought from this past week:
D&C 50:24 "That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day."
"Knowledge of the Atonement is light. Realizing its continuous power in our lives is more light that grows brighter and brighter until the perfect day."
I am so beyond grateful for my Savior and Redeemer and the light and strength I receive each day. I know each one of us are entitled to this daily boost. It's real!
Love,
Sister Smartt

Monday, May 19, 2014

This weekend was so great and I am seriously soo overwhelmed with gratitude to be a missionary.  I have to start out with my favorite miracle of the week!!! I was with sister Miller on Saturday and we went out to Rosehill to check up on some less actives and potential investigators. It felt soooo good to be out and about talking to everyone. Sadly no one was home that we had planned for.. but we kept trekking on and I was having one of those internal faith battles, evaluating my faith and if I TRULY believe there is someone there for us to find. Whenever I have these "evaluations" it helps me to cleanse myself of any fear or doubt and to pray constantly for strength/guidance. Anyways, we continued on and met some awesome people! We met this guy that was suuper nice and way prepared. He was from Utah and his aunt is a member. And the grand miracle.....
We met Lorraine!!! She is definitely on my list of favorite miracles. We were walking down the street and we saw this lady who looked super frustrated and worn out.. she did not look like she wanted to talk to anybody! But we knew we needed to talk to everyone, so we did. We introduced ourselves and asked how her day was going. She just stopped in her path and stared at us. We asked if we could help her (they looked like they were moving out of the house). She was speechless and then opened up about how grateful she would be if we could find her some help. She was given 3 days to move all of her stuff out and she didn't have much help at all... Needless to say, she was OVERWHELMED! We called the elders and they were able to come help out as well. But as we talked to her on the sidewalk and got to know her story/trials that she is facing, she just cried and cried. I cried with her and my heart literally broke for her! I offered her a hug and she just cried on my shoulder. We let her know how much God LOVES her and that He DOES have a plan for her. She said that she knew God had sent us and she knows she needs to get back to church. She explained that she had never found the right church.. sooo we explained that God sent us to help her with that :) We had a great afternoon doing service with them and she kept talking about how excited she is to come to church with us. MIRACLE!!!!!! She is super prepared and even has a friend that's a member of the Church. I was on a missionary high for the rest of the weekend.
Another favorite from this week was Marilyn!! We finally were able to have a lesson with her and when we did I was soo so happy to see her "glow". The restored gospel of Jesus Christ has truly changed her and her life. She says she has never been so happy and I literally wanted to explode when I saw, with my own eyes, this new glow in her life. That's what the gospel offers us, is TRUE, lasting, and pure joy. I know that this is true because I can feel it every day and I can see it in others who did not have this light in their lives before. We are sooooo blessed. Also, Marilyn's parents (nonmembers) came to church with her!! That was huuuge miracle in her life. She is preparing to be baptized mid June :)
We have been extremely blessed recently and have been meeting many people that are so prepared! I love being a missionary. And I looove Derby.
Hope you all have a great week!
Sister Smartt
ps today I get to cut my hair for the first time in a year!! yayy tender mercy ha! 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Sahar - recent convert of less than 1 year - got her mission
call to LA, CA english speaking!!! So happy!!!!

Sis mamma Dunlap!!! We skyped from her home.

BE WEIRD

I can't even put into words how great it was to "see" you all yesterday. That was one of the best feelings in the world!!! I loooove our fam and to all "be together", it was such a strength. And luckily it wasn't a distraction at all- just motivated me to work my tooshie off these next 18 months.
This past week has been a roller-coaster and a half. But I still have felt of the Lord's tender mercies and personal strength He gives me each day. Literally. The power that comes from Him is sooo so real. I can promise each of you that!
A favorite from the week happened yesterday in gospel principles (in the YSA branch). We had a lesson on covenants and specifically the baptismal covenant. The Spirit was definitely there, thick, and at the end of the lesson Marilyn (our awesome investigator!!) bore testimony. She shared with all of us her first experience in attending church. She said that she immediately thought we were all weird. (Referring to members of the church in general) She said that we all talk differently, act differently, and are just WEIRD. She said that she didn't quite know what to do with this weirdness but that she is now at a point in her life where she wants to be weird with us! She bore testimony that she knew we had something she did not and that she wants that in her life. She shared how touched she continually is to see the love and service that members give to everyone around them. This was a testimony to me that there are always people watching! The people that we are and the examples of our lives will impact soooo many people, more than we are aware of. We ARE kinda weird as members of the church- only because we are different than the world. We have the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and are members of HIS church. I think that that entitles us to be a little weird. I invite each of you to embrace being different and allow yourself to stand out. Be a light for others and boldly share this good news and light/strength that is available to everyone!
We found a couple new investigators this week through part member families, which was awesome and I will keep you posted on their progress :) I LOVE being a missionary. I truly desire with all of my heart to fulfill my purpose here in Kansas. I know that there are more people the Lord has prepared for us to teach here.
Another favorite experience this week was with Bonnie. (Bon bon, who I just adore and love!!) We showed up to invite her to church for Mother's Day and give her some cookies. She looked really shook up/scared. She explained to us that there was this really scary man that hid in her apartment and the police just took him away. (she is the one that lives at that suuper sketchy motel....) My heart literally broke for her! She just kept shaking and was on the verge of tears. It hurt to see one of our sisters living like that. We asked what we could do to help her and all she asked for was a hug. I gave her a hug and we asked if we could come in and pray with her. We weren't there for long but I can testify that the Spirit filled her room and there was such a feeling of comfort and serenity. This is the scripture I felt to share with her:
"Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause, and send down justice upon those who seek your destruction. O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love; for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever."
I am so grateful for the light, comfort, and strength that Christ can give us each day.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of the love and support. I love you guys!

Sister Smartt

Monday, May 5, 2014

Sis Hannah and Sahar
Sis's Dunlap and Dunbar took us out to lunch
 last pday to this place.  It is sooo cool!!!

Being ridiculous at Dist lunch
E. Hamelwright & E. Pack - served around
them for quite awhile

Early morning sports!



Mowing the Swope's lawn! Finding all kind of new hobbies!