Friday, January 31, 2014

hippo at the zoo

Yes - I really touched a live hippo!

Beautiful Kansas sunset!

Robo for the squirrel tail - fun times!

Leadership training

Yes that's a very large dead beaver!

Monday, January 27, 2014
We pet a HIPPO at the zoo. And fed it lettuce. It was awesome!

Exchanges were good with Sister Speed here in Lake Shawnee. But I was definitely inspired/motivated to do better with exchanges after MLC this week. Brother Gonzalez and Brother Jackman from the missionary department came to our mission and on Thursday met with all of the zone leaders, STL's, and some district leaders. They gave very inspired trainings and we did some roleplays and practiced teaching a lot. It was very refreshing and much needed. We were asked to use the pamphlets basically always and we studied in 1 Nephi together when the angel is "showing" Nephi and teaching him. We talked about the importance of visuals and "showing" when we teach to help our investigators truly be invested in the lesson and progress. It is amazing to step back and realize how simple and easy missionary work can be if we just let it. We are here to invite others to come unto Christ and we simply need to testify and invite. 

President Bell compared the parable of the talents to us leaders being entrusted with missionaries. I was truly inspired to have a greater impact on our sisters and to help them reach their full potential. Also, another big change that might be implemented this next transfer is splitting up all of the STL's. President and the AP's met with all of us and shared that they feel we need to split all of us up to each be with struggling sisters or to train new missionaries. I feel like it is super inspired and will allow us to make that much more of a difference. But pray that I won't be transferred because I seriously love Lake Shawnee! And feel so strongly that I am specifically here for certain people. And Sister M is totally okay with that haha, she says she wouldn't mind being transferred. So let's hope it's the Lord's will as well :)

Yesterday Angela came to church!! With her two friends that are now living with her. (Nicki and Daniel) That was awesome! All of our other investigators sadly bailed again but we did have some less actives come, that we had invited. Karaissa and her kids are going through a ROUGH time. But we have still been in frequent contact with them and Sister Jackson has been an amazing friend to them. 

Last night Bro. Scerbo organized a missionary fireside and it was a blast. We did roleplays with the youth and some adults and watched some missionary clips. Also, the missionaries bore their testimonies. It was super great and we can't wait for another! 

"True Christianity is love in action. There's no better way to manifest love for God than to show an unselfish love for your fellow men. This is the spirit of missionary work." 

I LOVE MY MISSION!!!! And I love all of you!

Sister Smartt

PS I had this realization that I am in Kansas when we witnessed this huge dead beaver at some member's home. Seriously though, it was HUGE.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sister Judy (Investigation Day) a day I
will neverrrr forget

Sis Macovichuk's year mark - burning
this filthy pink tie

Subject: Sister Agent Smartt

Sister Macovichuk and I were detectives this past week. Can't go into details but that's the reason behind the name. And also the reason we didn't have much time to work this past week:(

Aside from all of that madness, we did have a great week! We did two exchanges. One of which, Sister Cramer came here to Lake Shawnee with me and it was a blast. She is hilarious and we got along great. And SHE KNEW WHAT ASEA WAS!!!! That was a first in my book. 

The second exchange, I went to Lawrence with Sister Judy. I love her too!!!! She is amazing!! We became super close and had an eventful day.... Also, we volunteered at the Salvation Army with all the Lawrence missionaries and fed the homeless. Dennis, this hilarious homeless man, kept calling me his "baby girl" and may or may not have tried to kiss me multiple times. But did not succeed, luckily. It was a humbling experience serving our brothers and sisters that are in the situations they were, to not have homes. It broke my heart but it felt good to try and brighten their day.

We had some awesome lessons with Karaissa and her familia this week. We found an awesome friend for her in the ward (sister Jackson) who came with us. Best surprise ever for a missionary- Sis Jackson ended up staying after we left and they got to know each other super well. Michelle and Kiley are doing well also and I still looooove teaching them!

We got to see Megan and her kids with Sister Davis!!! I LOVE THEM. And Sis Davis is thee perfect fellowship for her. We are working towards March 8th for their baptisms. We know they are so ready so we are trying to help them push it up.

Sadly everyone bailed on church yesterday.... We had rides all set up and it was going to be just dandy. But literally Sunday morning everyone bailed, one by one. It was rough.. but that's the rollercoaster of the mish. And next week we have faith in everyone to come! It is super sad seeing how hard Satan works to keep us from church and from doing the things that will ultimately help us. And as a bystander, it is hard watching and knowing what they are missing out on!!

Sister Ramsey had us help teach her Sunday school lesson for some of the youth. It was all about the Spirit and its role in teaching us. It was crazy slash cool looking back on how far I have come since being their age (14/15). Looking back, I truly didn't understand the importance of the Spirit. I can't even pinpoint when life changed for me but I just think of 2 Nephi 28:30 (line upon line, precept upon precept). "For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round." I challenged them to NOT GIVE UP. Studying the scriptures can be boring at that age.. But I know that if we don't give up and diligently seek, the mysteries of God truly can be unfolded to us. And it is incredible. President Bell challenged me to start saying 20 minute prayers and to listen for 10 minutes of that. It is changing my life! And I love talking to my Father, I really truly do.

Today and tomorrow we will be doing exchanges with the Wakarusa sisters. Thursday will be a special MLC in Wichita with someone from the missionary department. Then next week will be the TOPEKA ZONE TEMPLE TRIP!!! :)

I love you all!!! Jenn and madre, you are in my prayers. Well extra prayers.

Lots of love,
Sister agent Smartt

Monday, January 13, 2014

NERF WAR on Pday!!

An ARMY of cockroaches from a tree we chopped down
at a zoo service project!!!

Zone Conference!

Amelia's baptism!!!

It's warming up in Kansas, probably not for long but we will take any heat we can get! Haha and the fact that I am now considering 45 degrees "heat" blows my mind... 

This past week was full of miracles. I am too excited to save the best for last so let's start with Friday. We planned a ward movie night and ended up inviting all the missionaries in Topeka so it was an awesome turn out. Michelle, Kiley, and Shiloh were able to come!!! We watched Seventeen Miracles which is a super powerful movie about the trek to Salt Lake. Oh and leading up to the movie night, Sister Macovichuk and I had a special fast for Megan and that we would be able to hear from her. It had almost been two weeks and we were sooooo incredibly worried. During the movie SHE TEXTED US!!! Many people were crying throughout the movie because it was so heartbreaking slash sad but I didn't cry until Megan texted us. I was seriously going to explode I was so happy. Oh and that was the eighteenth miracle. I know the power of fasting is real.

Her and her family are going through a super rough time.. the dad is in the hospital right now and they are going through a looooooot. So please keep them in your prayers. We were able to go have a lesson with them on Sunday and it was very powerful. The Spirit was super strong, comforting them. Tonight we are also planning to go over there with Bishop and some other brethren to give her a blessing of strength and comfort.

Karaissa and her kids Shiloh, Hezekiah (Hez), Joseph (Jojo) came to church yesterday!!!! As well as Michelle!! It was awesome. They had such a great time and loooved it. Karaissa was able to meet with Bishop afterwards which was awesome. She is sooo prepared and wants to be baptized. She is very committed and will set a baptismal date soon. Just needs to overcome those darn cigarettes. But she can do it!! And she has such strong faith that she will. Bro. Scerbo and the elders came with us last night and she received a priesthood blessing.

Angela (less active RC) who we have been meeting with, finally came to church tomorrow as well! Some members were super helpful and we were able to find a ride for her. She also was able to meet with Bishop, which was way awesome. 

Literally the hardest part about being a missionary is witnessing all of the trials that so many of our brothers and sisters are going through. It breaks my heart over and over again. And then my heart feels a little better when I witness them applying the gospel of Jesus Christ to heal them. But man we are so BLESSED. I am so grateful for how blessed I have been all of my life to lead me to this point to serve my Heavenly Father and Savior for 18. More months ;)

I love you guys a lot! You are in my prayers always. 

Sister Smartt

PS Amelia's baptism went well on Saturday :) We are excited to now teach them the new member lessons and help to prepare their fam for the temple!!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Cutest ornament from the Scerbos!

Lake Shawnee District - Wendy's after District Mtng!!

Emma & Elijah (Megan's kids) - I miss them!!!

Sketchiest experience ever!!!

Wrong Way!!!

Cutest puppies at the Davis house!

This morning, we woke up to this text from our ward mission leader (Bro. Scerbo):
"-9 with windchill of -28"

HOLY CRAP it's freezing!!! Hahahaha I have to keep asking myself if this is real life. But it totally is. And it's a fun change/I have never been so cold in my life.

We had MLC this past week in Wichita which was super great. I finally got to ride the Greyhound!!!! I was so stoked. No miracle stories on there but I am just happy I finallyyy got the experience. I feel like a real missionary now. Okay so I had a huge realization from MLC and recent experiences. About half of our missionaries are brand spankin new.... which puts a ton of pressure on anyone that has been out semi long.. It hit me super hard about the importance of our examples/trainings. I know I need to give my entire self to the work and to the Lord. It brought me back to 6 months ago when we were called to help open this great mission, the KWM. The culture of this mission is truly being shaped right now and there is a lot on our plate to do our very best and serve in a manner the Lord would.

Monday, January 6, 2014
Happy 6 Months to the KWM!

We haven't been able to get ahold of Megan and her fam this past week and it is like the saddest thing of my life....... gahhh. It has been so incredibly hard worrying about her! We pray for her constantly and have done all that we can to reach her. Pleaaaase pray for Megan! 

Karaissa is back on the radar and doing so incredibly well!!! We had the most powerful visit with her on Saturday. There was a pretty crazy blizzard so we were warned they might ground us from the cars soon but we just KNEW we needed to go see Karaissa. So we went and the Spirit was sooo powerful. She started out just bawling and sharing how she knew she needed to finally be baptized (she first encounter with missionaries was like 18 years ago!) She shared some extremely hard trials she has been through and how she knows that when she receives the gift of the Holy Ghost, it will truly be her CONSTANT companion and she neeeds that. We were all bawling and I felt so so happy to be a missionary, helping Karaissa to feel of our Savior's love. She has made a game plan to help her overcome her smoking addictions and we are SO EXCITED for her.

Zone training went very well this week! I am so grateful for all the elders and sisters I serve with. This week we will have zone conference on Thursday with President Bell and the AP's. Also, Amelia's baptism is Saturday! 

I love you guys!

Sister Smartt

PS I almost forgot the creepiest encounter of my life. Okay so Saturday we had planned to check up on this former investigator (Marvella). It was in the middle of NO.WHERE. Like seriously the houses out there are all abandoned. We get to her property and there are "Keep out" signs everywhere.. along with "GO AWAY".. But obvi her eternal salvation is more important. So we drive up her loooooooongest dirt road driveway. All along the way we are passing some sketch stuff. (more signs saying that no one is welcome, a tent at the side of the road which looked like someone lived in). We reach the end and there is a sign that says "Trust me nothing inside's worth dying for". Grand finale. We were stuck because it was a narrow road with no place to turn around.. So we finally made it to the house and we were both flippin out. Sister M was like "Wellp we made it this far we might as well meet her!" We said a prayer and immediately felt calmer so we got out of the car to go knock at the door. This beastly dog is released and runs toward us. Who even knew I was scared of dogs? I screamed like a little baby and jumped back in the car hahahah. Sis M was dying laughing and got the dog settled down so I mustered up the courage to try again.... We get to the house and it was the most eery feeling ever. Marvella answered and just kept mumbling nonsense.. She got out a "I told you" and we knew we needed to leave..after attempting to portray our purpose to her. So we did. End of the story/almost end of Sister Smartt's life.
Christmas Eve with the Scerbo family and Elders

Christmas Eve dinner with the Siefferts - fun time!

cutest missionary tree ornaments from the Scerbos!!

Christmas Eve with the Scerbo family!! (He's our Ward
Mission Leader)  LOVE this fam!!! 

Monday, December 30, 2013
Happy 2014!!!

Talking to you all was seriously the best Christmas present ever!! And surprisingly didn't even make me homesick one bit. An hour was way too short though.. It was such a strength and so exciting to hear your voices and get to "see you"!

Christmas Eve (Noche Blanca) we were able to attend 2 baptismal services and it was awesome. Sadly, Amelia's family called like an hour before hers and cancelled, due to a car accident. Satan is UNREAL. But she will be baptized on January 11th now :) 

Being away from home was the best because I totally cheated with the Christmas packages and opened them early muahahaha. Cause I could. But we spent most of Christmas day with the Bradfields, who are an awesome family that joined the church not too long ago. They spoiled us! And that evening we went caroling with a bunch of the missionaries in our zone. It was a blast!! Caravan of our KWM gang. The Spirit of Christ was incredibly strong and I felt soooooooo blessed being a missionary this time of year.

We also met Angela Chance this past week. She was baptized about a year ago and her story is insane. Since joining the church she has lost her son, battled cancer, and lost her leg. As well as many other trials. Our visit with her was extremely powerful. The elders didn't want us in that part of town by ourselves so they were actually our "body guards" waiting outside ha. We invited Angela to receive a priesthood blessing and she gladly accepted. The elders gave her a powerful blessing and again the Spirit was THICK. I love Angela so much and am excited to be a part of her journey back into activity.

Sunday morning we went over to help Megan and her kids get ready for church! Best surprise EVER- they had found the BYU channel and were watching that as they got ready. Love them. They did the Christmas program for sacrament meeting (since last week was cancelled due to the weather) and they loved it. Hardest part was not being able to help Megan with her 2 year old (Devon) as she was screaming throughout and not allowing Megan to enjoy the Spirit. They weren't able to stay for the 3 hours but Emma (8 year old) was devastated and wanted soooo badly to stay! We were able to find her a ride and she loved primary! I just love them so much.

I love my mission. And I love all of you! And mom, just because I keep saying how much I am obsessed with my mission and never want to come home, doesn't mean I don't miss you like crazy. I do!

Cheers to a new year,
Sister Smartt

PS a couple weeks ago some elders strapped a squirrel tail to our car. The squirrel tail battles have begun.
Christmas Card 2013 - Sis Call

Topeka Zoo service project

The bradfields! had us over for Thanksgiving
AND Christmas:)))

New Comp - Sis Macovichuk!

December 23, 2013
White Christmas!!!!

Snow on the ground and it is sooooo pretty here, I love it!! I love driving 
2 mph like a gma, slipping and sliding on the ice. I am getting pro though 
because my new companion doesn't have driving privileges so they put all 
the pressure on the az girl. My new companion is Sister Macovichuk! (yeah 
her name has been a struuuggle for me....) She is from California, 
originally from Canada. She is super sweet and extremely quiet. We get 
along great though and it will be an awesome transfer of miracles! 
Yesterday church was cancelled, due to this madness of weather. All the 
missionaries in this area were grounded.... it was crazy. Slash SAD because 
we had tons of investigators that WERE coming yesterday.. some of them were 
almost ready to go when they found out :( 
Megan is doing so good and we LOVE HER!!! Coolest lessons with her family 
this past week. We were finally able to meet her 3 kids (Emma, Elijah, and 
Devon) and they are adorable. Her oldest, Emma, is 8 and wants to be 
baptized with her momma! We watched the Restoration DVD with them and 
beforehand invited them to really pay attention to how they feel and talked 
about the Spirit's role in teaching and comforting us. It was the COOLEST 
THING. After the movie, Emma was almost in tears and just stared at us. She 
said "I just have the happy feeling in my heart and it goes all the way to 
my stomach and back. I know I am feeling it." She was so giggly and happy 
and couldn't stop smiling. Megan was so happy as well. She says that she 
has prayed about everything we have talked about and she HAS received her 
answer of "peace and calming". Watching them feel the Spirit and recognize 
it seriously makes everything about a mission worth it. My heart was going 
to explode for them. I love being a missionary!!!! And I am so excited for 
Megan and Emma to be baptized on January 11th! 
Amelia will be baptized tomorrow :) Their family is way excited! We saw 
them almost every day this week and were able to finish the lessons just in 
the nick of time. She is a sweet girl and it is awesome to see the growth 
in their fam. The temple is their next goal! Oh and happy Noche Blanca!! 
Literally I can't believe Christmas is this week. Holy crap where has the 
year gone!? And I get to talk to you all/ "see you" in 2 days!! gahhhh. 
Christmas evening we are going to spend with Karaissa and her fam as well 
as Michelle and Kylie! We are going to reenact the Nativity with them and 
have a grand time. 
I love being a missionary, I love Christmas, and I love my Savior Jesus 
Remember to SERVE and LOVE and to help others be happy through the restored 
gospel of Jesus Christ. 
With lots of love, 
Sister Smartt 
"May we ever strive to be close to our Heavenly Father. To do so, we must 
pray to Him AND listen to Him every day. We truly need Him every hour, 
whether they be hours of sunshine or of rain. May His promise every be our 
watchword: 'I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.'" 
-President Monson