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."
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!


"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..
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.
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.