I am loving Derby and the new family ward and YSA branch I am serving in! I love my new comp, Sister Hannah, and I love the Swope's (the members we live with). This transfer has definitely been a huuuge change though. Leaving Lake Shawnee, when it was on FIRE, and jumping into these two areas, and leaving behind the STL calling... we are definitely not as busy. It has been super weird but I am still happy and I just love being a missionary.
We were able to set up a dinner with some members and for Megan to join us. We had a yummy din, then we taught the Plan of Salvation, which was AWESOME. They are a great fellowship for her and she feels way comfortable at church and such. Our next step/goal is to get the entire family on board and interested! Megan is soo prepared though and I have already seen the gospel touch and change her life for the better. She already seems happier.
Marilyn is an investigator in the YSA branch. She is soo so great! She has been attending church regularly, as well as institute and FHE. We had a couple of incredible visits with her this week. One of which, was a very needed lesson on personal revelation and re-establishing expectations. She is finally investigating for herself and she has a sincere desire to know! Our second lesson was when Sahar (RC) came with me on splits and we had a powerful visit with Marilyn. She had acted on our invitation to read and pray and she has received many answers to her prayers! Her mind was blown at all of the connections she made between the BOM and the Bible and she was super excited. She hasn't committed to a baptismal date yet but she says she is seriously considering it and she said "You Mormons must be right after all...." :) hahah I LOVE Marilyn. And I especially love that we get to teach someone with my momma's name. What a bonus.
The less active work in the Ridgepoint ward is on fire right now! The missionaries have seen a toon of success with many families that are now returning to activity and it is amazing to be a part of that. We saw many LA families this past week and plan to continue to focus on them!
Missionary brain makes me forget what I have and have not emailed home about.. so my apologies! Let me tell you a little about the new comp. Sister Hannah is so great! She is from Hemet, CA and we have been having a ton of fun. She comes from a family of 5 siblings and they are all adopted. Sadly she was sick this past week (poor thing!!) so we were stuck inside Saturday and Sunday. She is feeling much better though. And not gonna lie, I got a tooon done while we were trapped indoors. I got to know Sister Swope's awesome sister who was visiting (and not a member) suuper well. Also, I had some great studies, organized the area books and ward rosters, made lots of calls, and grand finale- when she was feeling a little better we started to write a song for the KWM. It is just too great and I can't wait to share it when it's all done!
Saturday night was the General Women's broadcast which we were able to watch in the Swope's big theater downstairs. It was sooooo good, oh my goodness. Maybe I was just way too overwhelmed with gratitude to be a missionary and to know that the Church IS true. We are so blessed.
2 Nephi 1:15
"I have beheld His glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of His love."
The Lord loves you and so do I!!!
xoxoxoxo, Sister Smartt
PS these LA Vietnamese sisters are feeding us this week and are planning to feed us some super sketch food to help us get the "real missionary experience".... Stay tuned.
I am officially in Derby, KS just outside of Wichita with Sister Hannah. We are serving in the Ridgepoint Ward and also (found out last second) we cover the entire YSA stake.. the Rock Road Branch. Oh and they took away our car last minute soooo we have been biking our booties off this week haha. Hence, the "thelma's baaack!!" (Sis Murphy and I named our bikes Thelma and Velma). We live with members here. (The Swopes) she is the RS pres. And their house is super nice. Derby is a pretty nice area... like the
houses are suuuper new/nice. Our ward boundaries are pretty nuts and it is definitely not an ideal biking area. it is like a strip of land horizontal.
Leaving Topeka was again one of the hardest things I have done. Saying bye to everyone we were teaching there was seriously heart wrenching... especially because that area is on fire right now! BUT I do trust that the Lord has called me here. I don't fully understand it yet but I am giving Him my all to figure it out.
Tender mercies galore this past weekend. The Lord is truly spoiling us and helping me big time with this hard transfer. Our first day out working we talked to sooo many people! Mainly just street contacting and it was
awesome. On our way to check up on a potential investigator, we met Megan and Kadesha at the park. Megan is 13 and Kadesha is 19 and they are sisters. We got to know them a bit and testified to them of the restored gospel and how it has blessed us and our families. Kadesha had actually just gone to the meeting with Elder Bednar with a friend!!! SO prepared. We set an appointment for the following day and taught them the Restoration and invited them to be baptized. They are now preparing for April 12th! Also, we set up a church tour that very next day. Kadesha bailed but Megan came and guess what? Miracle of a teamup. We invited Rachel in the ward to come with because they are the same age and they ended up already being
besties!!! Soooo perfect. Megan came to church on Sunday and LOVED it. I am super excited to continue teaching them.
Church yesterday was great. Met lots of people and it is pretty awesome attending two sacrament meetings.. (we have to leave the ward during sunday school to get to the branch on time) Goal for the week: get to know the ward, make them LOVE us, and work with them as much as possible. Sister Hannah has been out for one transfer but she is a very powerful missionary and we are going to see sooo many miracles this transfer!
I am so grateful for the restored gospel and this time as a missionary to share it with everyone we possibly can. I know that our Father in Heaven truly knows me perfectly and I am soooooo beyond grateful for the guidance He gives me in my life. Especially recently. I know that He loves each of you more than you know. And I know that His church has been restored. Yesterday Elders Pack and Hamelwright taught in the branch for Sunday school.. and they compared Joseph in Egypt to Joseph Smith (specifically referencing the Liberty Jail) and man it made me miss that place so much. I know without a doubt that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that he truly was an instrument to restore the fullness of the gospel back to the Earth. It is almost too good to be true.
I am so glad to hear jen is doing well!!! miracles! And I will definitely keep Aunt Kristine in my prayers.
Wellp transfers are this Wednesday! I am getting shipped off to the Derby zone- Ridgepoint ward. Feeling pretty numb to this and it honestly hasn't hit me yet. President called me this morning to release me as a sister training leader. My first thoughts were of worry, that maybe I did something wrong. He thanked me for everything and said they are calling quite a few new STL's this transfer. I do know that I did my best. I have many weaknesses but I know that I have strived to apply the Atonement every day and that I have learned sooooo much these past 5 months. I have been called to finish the training of Sister Hannah.
I want to share some thoughts from this past week! First off, I was extremely distracted last pday and didn't share much from Elder Bednar's visit. That was such an incredible experience. He sent us three of his talks (Ask in Faith, Learning by Faith, and Converted Unto the Lord) and we all studied them leading up to his visit. When he arrived, we all sat in the chapel together and discussed what we learned from them. He treated us as agents, not objects, and was an INCREDIBLE teacher and instrument for the Lord to help everyone be involved. He then opened it up to questions. Yeah! We were chillin with Elder Bednar and we were able to ask any question we felt was appropriate. What an opportunity. The meeting was from 1-5 pm.
My FAVORITE favorite favorite quote from the day was this:
"If you FEAST upon the words of Christ, feast upon the Book of Mormon, EVERY day- you WILL NOT fall away."
The Spirit overcame me sooo strongly at that point and I know without a doubt that we neeeed the BOM in our lives every single day. It scares me to go back out in the real world (in 18 months) but I know that an apostle of the Lord has promised me that if I am feasting upon those words every day I will have the strength I need. I have been 100% converted to the Book of Mormon on my mission. I know without a doubt that it is true and that it has changed me. I have truly come to know my Savior more fully and I have been empowered as I read from it daily. It is so real. I LOVE giving this gift to others and it is my favorite gift to give. Quoting the Mormon Message with the black guy from England "I want this book to fill the world man!!!"
Crazy experience this past week! We were out with Katie, who is preparing for a mission, and we ended up knocking a few doors around an appointment we had. We knocked at this one door and they yelled at us to come in! We were super hesitant, knowing they didn't know who we were.... but took that as our invite hahah. So we headed on in and found an older lady and two men who were in suits holding their Catholic materials. The Spirit was very powerful in our visit and we were able to testify of the Restoration. We sat with them for a good hour and I KNOW they felt the Spirit. One of the men was softened by the end but the other ended up just going into a prayer (no warning) and he "cast out devils from us"..... Oh the life of a missionary! Also, we played tracto with the elders. Basically bingo but tracting. It pumped us up to get out and work. The first door we knocked on was a young mom and she is interested in our church, willing to meet!
Oh also..... maybe when we were out with Katie we also got the Sheriff called on us!!! Ooops.... can check that off of the mission bucket list ;) hahah
We have been beyond blessed in the Lake Shawnee ward. It has been incredible to feel trusted by the members and to have had them introduce us to their friends. We have seen sooooooooo many miracles recently. SO many new investigators and soo blessed. Maybe it breaks my heart to realize that I have to leave this area that I have grown to love with my whole heart! Karaissa and her kids, Megan and her kids, Michelle, Kiley, Scerbo's, all of the members here, the Broz.... I could go on and on. I know that the Lord sent me here and now He is sending me to Derby. There are more souls that I have been called to serve, now let's go find them!!!!!
I love you all so so much. I am so grateful for the miracles my family has seen recently and I know that Heavenly Father truly is involved in the details of our lives. He is ALWAYS there, watching over us.
Lots of love,
PS At the car wash these two dudes asked for my number.... super awk! I came back with a picture of Jesus and the address to the church building.... #lifeofamissionary hahahah
We saw soooo many miracles this week. And yeah our entire mission gathered together and met with Elder Bednar on Friday! It was awesome! He was hilarious and so powerful. I learned soso much and the Spirit was incredible there. Wouldn't trade that experience for anything.
We went to check up on a less active sister and after knocking on the door this group of people just let us right in and were super nice! They ended up not even being members but were all very willing to learn and are so prepared. Ashante was one of those and she came to church yesterday. We were able to teach her the Restoration during the 2nd hour of church with the elders and Bro. Scerbo. The spirit was sooo so strong! After inviting her to be baptized she thought for a minute and looked down at her jeans.... and said "like right now!?" Hahahha we explained that no she did not have to jump in the font right then and there but invited her for the 29th. She is praying about it and everything we taught her.
So much more happened this week and I just feel too blessed to be in this great area as an instrument for the Lord. His work is truly hastening and it is a great day to be a missionary!
I love you all!
Prayers and love go out to Jen today. I am so grateful for the strength of the gospel in our lives.
It was a busy busy week!!! The sister's conference went well. Sister Leuder's taught us hula which was a blast and reminded me of the good old days in Hawaii. Then we had some speakers/trainings about nutrition, health, depression, etc. After a yummy lunch we had our STL trainings on becoming women of Christ. I chose Hannah in 1 Samuel and the attributes were consecration and faith. Her example was incredible to me. The others chosen were Emma Smith, Esther, and the two thousand stripling warrior's moms. Bro Broz (who we live with) was kind enough to drive all of our sisters down in this beastly 15 passenger van we borrowed. It was soo so fun!
Also, we did exchanges twice this past week! Sister Hartung came here with me then Sister Payton came as well. We had good exchanges and I love our sisters a whole lot! Oh and MIRACLE. When I was with Sister Payton I felt like we should call Megan. She hadn't answered our calls in about a month and guess what? SHE ANSWERED! And we were able to set up an appointment for Saturday night. Guess who else was there!? Alysia and Serenity!!! Best surprise ever. So Megan and her kiddos are back in contact and ready to learn the gospel!
Karaissa is doing well. She sure does have a LOT on her plate right now.. but we still talk to her daily and are planning a time to fast with her for strength in overcoming smoking. And guess what!!! We met with Michelle and Kiley in THEIR home which is huge progress and they are now back on date for March 22nd to be baptized :) I can't remember if I explained previously but we found out their mom is a member!!! Miracle in finding a lost sheep.
Saturday was a loooooooong day of meetings. We drove to Wichita and 10-12 was a special MLC with Elder Martino, a member of the Seventy. Holy powerful!! I was so beyond pumped to be a better missionary and a better leader to our sisters. He shared some incredible insights. Then we were invited to stay for lunch with Wichita/Derby zones. It was the best reunion ever!!!! I got to see all of my ex comps that are still in the field. Sister Taylor, Sis Stewart, Sis Murphy!! All in the same room! And soo many missionaries that I just love. It was a joyous reunion. The meeting was awesome as well!! It was a 3 hour training with Elder Martino and we were so spiritually fed, it was ridiculous. He was an incredible teacher and the Spirit definitely led that training. Maybe I was just going to explode because I was so happy to be a missionary and to be spoiled like we are.
We have another BUSY busy week and have soo much to look forward to!! I love the Lake Shawnee ward. And I love my mission. This is truly the restored church of Jesus Christ.
Hope you all have a fabulous week and a special shoutout to ALISA!!! Happy birthday!
ps it is also Michelle's bday this week and her little bros and they both have claimed that the sisters have to be present for their special days. Makes us feel loved for sure!