Monday, February 24, 2014

Okay so this is like the first time in a long time that I don't have much to say! It was a pretty good week though.

We found a few new investigators through part member families which is super exciting! And we worked a ton with less actives. Karaissa has been out of town allll week which was sad. But she got home last night and it was the best surprise ever!! We have a couple awesome appointments this evening and some tomorrow with members.

This week will be great fun. We have the sister's conference on Wednesday in Manhattan. It will be with all of our sisters in our zone combined with the Flint Hills zone. We are stooooked and will report next week!

Yesterday was ward conference and the theme was "pressing forward" which was really powerful. We talked a ton about feasting upon the words of Christ also. I am soooo grateful for the strength and the power I have received from the scriptures to help others. I know without a doubt that they are the word of God. 

"A testimony is spiritual knowledge of truth obtained by the power of the Holy Ghost. Continuing conversion is constant devotion to the revealed truth we have received- with a heart that is willing and for righteous reasons. Knowing that the gospel is true is the essence of a testimony. Consistently being true to the gospel is the essence of conversion. We should know the gospel is true and be true to the gospel."

I have been thinking a TON about testimony vs. conversion (Elder Bednar's talk "Converted Unto the Lord"). I would have considered myself "converted" before my mission but looking back at how much I have grown and how my testimony/conversion has grown it is insane. I now desire with all of my heart to be an instrument for my Father in Heaven and to be converted to Him always. I love this gospel!

I love you all and am so grateful for each of you!

Sister Smartt

PS the zone spoiled me for my bday and sang happy birthday to me probably 1200 times this past week. Also, the zone leaders bought me a Duck Dynasty cake to try and sobotage the diet... sneaksters.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Too much snow!!

Sad goodbye to Sis Call!!

Service - shoveling snow!

Yummy valentines meatloaf from Karaissa

Birthday box!!

THANK YOU THANK YOU soooo much for all of the birthday wishes and love. Maybe I almost want to cry because I just feel too blessed to have all of you in my life. Also, HAPPY BDAY to Reesey girl and Chantey!!! I love you so much! And congrats to Camille and Kyle on the new baby boy! Gahhhh I am so excited to have another new nephew to come home too :) in 18 months.

I can't believe I have been on this earth for like 21 years now. Stop the madness. I'm just an old fart now.

Okay so I am going to explode with gratitude this morning. This past week definitely had its ups and downs. We had an awesome MLC in Wichita on Tuesday. I am slowly but surely feeling more confident in that crowd. But it is super cool to work alongside President and the leadership of the mission and help shape the culture of the KWM. On Wednesday we did a lot of service and then had to plan our training for Thursday. It was a zone training combined with a specialized training with the AP's and Pres. I can truly feel the Lord helping me to stretch and grow especially as we have had to completely rely on the Spirit to discern what this zone needs.

This past week I was starting to get extremely discouraged because of the short amount of time we have to WORK in our area. It is hard to have such low numbers especially when we are the "examples" for the sisters. Before Sister Call left she said something that really touched me. She said "You have such strong faith and that is why you always see so many miracles." I have been pondering a lot about faith lately and how I need to strengthen mine so we CAN see more miracles here in Topeka. I need to replace all of my doubts/discouragements with faith.

On Friday/Saturday we did exchanges with the sisters in Lawrence. I got to go there with Sister Mortensen and we had such a great exchange! I have truly been trying my hardest to prepare for exchanges now and make it as meaningful as possible. The sisters up there have been very discouraged because they were both just thrown into the area and are having a hard time finding people to teach. On the exchange we talked a ton about faith and I know it helped the both of us. I can look back on my mission and all of the miracles I have seen and remember that "faith truly does precede miracles". After our exchange, we went out to lunch to a Chinese restaurant. Okay just remember this. My fortune told me that "yellow would bring luck tomorrow".

Fast forward to Sunday. After church we had an appointment bail on us so we got to tract! Yeah maybe I do actually really love to tract and get super excited when we finally get to, even though it is not the most effective use of our time hahah... But anyways we took my fortune cookie to heart and started tracting around some yellow houses! Door after door was slammed and it was a rough afternoon. I was starting to feel discouraged because we finally had time to work and weren't having success. I just kept praying and KNEW that we were going to find new investigators. I asked Sis M if she believed that we were going to find our 2 new investigators right there. She said maybe. We talked about it a little bit and I prayed and prayed and asked for strength to stay positive and enthusiastic. 

We continued to trek on and gave this cute old gramps a BOM. More doors slammed. And then there was this one lady who was pretty short and shut the door. We tried a couple more doors and then we hear this car pull up beside us. It was Jennie, the lady who we had seen a little while back who had sent us away after being super short. She looked like she had been crying and said she needed to say sorry for being rude. She had two cups of hot chocolate for us and it was seriously the biggest tender mercy. I was so touched by her humility and kindness and was about to cry I was so happy. But that wasn't even all! Then she went on to say that we could come back and teach them and that she had some questions. She drove off and I was seriously jumping for joy!!! So beyond grateful. We said a prayer of gratitude right there in the street then headed back to her house. Luckily the hot chocolate was super delicious and not poisoned. We got back to her house and met Ron (boyfriend) and Sol (3 year old son). We taught the Restoration with the pamphlets very simply and powerfully and the Spirit was incredible. They are so prepared and committed to read and pray about the BOM and our message. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY. And I love seeing miracles. Oh also, her house had yellow on it ;) 

I challenge each of you to set a specific goal with the Lord and I promise you that He WILL help you when your will is aligned with His. There are people all around us that are being prepared for the restored gospel and it is up to US to find them and share this message with them!!

I love you all. Thanks again for all of the love and support today, it means so much!

Sister Smartt

PS after MLC, we started this competition with the zone leaders to see who could lose the most weight by the end of this transfer. Sis M and I are going to win!!!!!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Happy almost Valentine's day!!! Sister Macovichuk and I were planning to make really funny vday postcards but it didn't happen.... just know that our plans were awesome.

This past week was madness. We had a snow day on Tuesday. 13 inches!!!! 13 INCHES! It was crazy. And then the next day was transfers and I got to drive us to the greyhound bus stop to help out. Slipping and sliding on the non-plowed roads. It was actually super fun. So we show up at the bus stop and of course the busses aren't even running anymore, due to the storm.. Soooo while we were waiting I got to play in the snow. Then all of us missionaries ended up at Walmart to stay warm until they decided what to do with everyone haha.

Tender mercy of the week!!!!! I got to drive Sister Call to Wichita!! So basically it was a party, road tripping on her last day in the field. Sis Call, Sis Barlocker and I had the best drive ever. And basically just talked about life. It was so refreshing and I just felt soo so blessed to have friends out here that help boost me and help me to reach my full potential. Seriously so grateful for these sisters. And maybe after we dropped Sister Call off, it started to hit me and was the saddest thing of my life! I kept joking with her that I won't know how to be a missionary without her. Literally we have served around each other my entire mission up until now. I learned soooooo much from her, it's not even funny. Now it's just mourning her loss in the KWM, but grateful that I know we will be friends for life. Well eternity. Literally.

After getting back to Topeka pretty late, the Emporia sisters ended up staying with us last minute. After they took off in the morning they realized they left one of their suitcases.. sooo Thursday ended up being another driving day! To Emporia and back :) hahah so basically I have mastered driving in the snow and I think the Lord is preparing me to live in Utah again or something.

Yesterday was hilarious. We woke Karaissa and her kids up again for church. But with cinnamon rolls this time. The things we do to get people to church hahahah! She was so discouraged and was about to bail on church when we were on the phone with her, but I kind of cut her off and just said goood morning!!!! We are on our way with cinnamon rolls. She laughed and was like "All right you little rascals, see you soon." So we made it to church and she ended up loving it, of course. She thanked us afterwards and said that she can feel Satan working so hard on her and she is so grateful that we keep motivating her. Also, it has been so so cool because we have felt prompted to call her at certain times and it happens to be a certain time that she was tempted to smoke. And she thanks us a bijillion times a day for all of the calls and love/support. She WILL overcome these addictions and I know the Atonement is real to heal each of us.

Angela also came to church yesterday which was soo awesome!!! And then they had us teach relief society. That was an interesting lesson. So Saturday I started feeling sick and literally zonked out when trying to read through the lesson. I never even had a chance to read through the whole lesson before we taught hhaha... I was sick during sacrament meeting but I just kept praying that if Heavenly Father still needed me to teach that He would help me. So I turned it over to Him and the lesson actually turned out great! We were sooo blessed.

I love being a missionary so so much. I know that we are so blessed to have the restored gospel and I just invite each of you to do your very best to reach out this week and share this peace and love. I can't believe how fast time is flying. MAKE.IT.STOP.

Lots of love,
Sister Smartt

Monday, February 3, 2014

At the Killman's again - always seem to have dead animals!

Topeka Zone at the MO Temple

Sis Barlocker & Sis Call - at the Temple

Shiloh, Jojo, Hezekiah!!!

Karaissa & her kids at church!!

They sent out the new transfer roster this morn and it was a huge relief! Sister Macovichuk and I are both staying in the Lake Shawnee ward! Super happy about that.

This past Tuesday we went to the Kansas City Temple as a zone. President and Sister Bell, the AP's, and the Topeka zone were all able to go and it was amaaaaazing. We all loaded up in a big bus in Topeka and took off. The happiness and peace I was able to witness that day was undescribable. I love the temple soo so much and it encouraged me so much as a missionary. I truly want everyone to experience that joy and peace. 

We may or may not have ran out of miles this past week..... which resulted in finding a lot of member rides and a LOT of walking. We worked in "Little Mexico" a ton which is basically the ghettttto of our area. It was so fun. And it made us feel like hard core missionaries because we seriously worked so hard and it felt great!! Also, we may have taught this lady who was WASTED, which was a first for me..... Our adventures there were interesting and I will definitely leave it at that, for mom's sake :) But overall it was a huge wakeup call and it made me very humbled. I want soooo badly for all of our brothers and sisters to have the joys of the gospel. And it is more than frustrating seeing their circumstances and them not desiring to change.

Karaissa and her fam are doing amazing! They have made real friends in the ward and it has been so great. I can't remember if I have mentioned this before, but Karaissa is going to school full time (online) and raising her 3 kids alone. She is superwoman basically. But the Lord has helped her SOSO much and she has been getting A's in her classes and has trusted in the promise that if she puts the Lord first, He will help her with the rest. She reads from the Book of Mormon every day and prays constantly. She has also said she can literally "feel the prayers" and has been doing so much better with smoking! Yesterday she told us to call her to wake her up for church. There was no reply sooo we decided to just go to their house and wake them up :) We ended up pounding on her bedroom window and it was hilarious. They let us right in and we helped them get ready for church. They LOVED church again. Relief society was extra good and was all about service and the love the sisters have for each other. They had everyone get up and share times when they have received service from each other and how it blessed them. Karaissa ended up going up and bearing her testimony!!! She totally made me cry because she just shared how much she has been touched by our service and how she feels like we are her family. My heart was sooooo full and I was again reminded of why I am on a mission. The changes that have happened in Karaissa are 100% enough of a reason to be out here.

I looooove the people of Kansas so much! I can't even describe it.
And I love you all.

Sister Smartt

ps pleaase pray for Megan (still haven't been able to get ahold of her) and Karaissa!