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!
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.


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!

This past week was super great here in Derby. There is always so much that happened and I can never recall all of the miracles/tender mercies that we experience. But I will do my best to share a couple of them!
Yesterday by far was the best surprise miracle ever! So after attending the Ridgepoint ward and hearing an incredible testimony meeting, we raced over to the YSA branch. I love that it is a small group. Everyone is super close and it reminds me of like EFY or even missionary testimony meetings since we are all the same age and such. Anyways, guess who bore their testimony!?!!? MARILYN. Holy cow it was the best thing ever. She got up there and bore such a powerful testimony that she believes this church is true and that the BOM is true. She said that the Holy Spirit told her to get up there and tell everyone that. Maybe she made me want to cry I was so happy for her!! As a missionary I feel like we are the "parents" of those we teach and when they progress it is like the best feeling in the world! Marilyn is back in business and truly wants to be baptized. She rushed to talk to President Beeson after sacrament meeting and told him that she is ready and wants to be baptized. Miracle!
We are really striving to get more members out with us. And not just the typical sisters that always do.. but everyone! We are ALL involved in this great work and we ALL have strengths to contribute. So on Thursday we had a sister from the YSA branch come out with us. She is suuuper quiet/doesn't like talking to strangers. But I just adore her and was determined to make it a great experience for her. We talked to soo many people that day and were able to hand out 3 copies of the Book of Mormon! She said it was super awkward/hard at times but that she loved it. And a huge focus that day was literally talking to everyone. Thinking back to the beginning of my mission and how far I have come in turning my fears over to the Lord, I am amazed. The Atonement is so real and the gospel is here to change us. I know that its power is SO so real.
We are still working with a ton of less actives and many are still progressing! It is incredible to be a part of their journey back into activity. Also, we had a ward party on Friday. It was a blaaast!! There were some nonmembers there which was great. It was a carnival theme and they had one booth to pie the bishop in the face. I totally volunteered to get pied as well but no one would! Wooses.
So when Sis H was sick again this week, I studied a tooooon in the New Testament. As well as a bunch of talks about the Atonement. I love the gospel! And I just want to be a missionary forever. But here is a favorite from my studies:

"“Grace shall be as your day”—what an interesting phrase. We have all sung it hundreds of times, but have we stopped to consider what it means? “Grace shall be as your day”: grace shall be like a day. As dark as night may become, we can always count on the sun coming up. As dark as our trials, sins, and mistakes may appear, we can always have confidence in the grace of Jesus Christ. Do we earn a sunrise? No. Do we have to be worthy of a chance to begin again? No. We just have to accept these blessings and take advantage of them. As sure as each brand-new day, grace—the enabling power of Jesus Christ—is constant. Faithful pioneers knew they were not alone. The task ahead of them was never as great as the power behind them."
-from "His Grace is Sufficient" by Brad Wilcox (a favorite for sure!)
I love you all. But seriously I do. And I pray for you by name each day. I can feel how much our Father in Heaven loves you too!
Sister Smartt
ps see you next week!!!!! And happy Mother's day to madre!