Saturday, August 22, 2015

Week Five!

Week 5: Friends, Fireworks, and…Children?

Another great week in the MTC!! I can´t believe I have been out for over a month? Where does time go? I will be leaving the MTC on Tuesday and going into the mission field! AHHH!!! I’m nervous, excited, and just about every emotion there is! I love the MTC here, it will be sad to leave. Thank you so much for all your emails and prayers. It means a lot! I think about you all everyday and I’m glad you are all doing well!! 

This week was super awesome! Every week in the MTC is full of spiritual and funny experiences.  I have to tell you a special story. One of my roommates from Brazil is super cute and fun and literally always happy. One night she came into the room really sad and down.  I knew something was wrong. I didn’t know if I should just let her be because I knew she was sad or if I should try to figure out what was wrong. I knew I couldn’t talk Portuguese very well but I had this overwhelming love for her in that moment, I had to talk to her. I asked her how her day was and she said it was fine.  I asked her if she was sad and she said no, but said something else that I didn’t understand. I got my dictionary out and she found the word in Portuguese.  She showed me the word “phobia” and I said, “of what?” And she said, “here!” I knew that she was tired and didn’t like to be stuck in the MTC for so long, she was getting really down about it.  I asked her when her P-day was and she said tomorrow.  I told her how she´ll get to walk around and see the temple and how it really helps to get new scenery.  She hugged me and said thank you. I told her that I loved her and that I care about her.  Then she pulled away and looked at me with her big brown eyes and started crying and said I love you too! We both hugged again.  Writing this story doesn’t do it justice, it really was so special and touching. I know the spirit was there and even though I could barely talk to her, we were on the exact same page and language didn’t even matter.  I love the Brazilian people; they are so kind, loving, giving, and fun people.  That night she gave my companion and me some presents—her favorite lotions and creams.  We said “No, we can’t take these, they’re yours aren’t they?”  She said, “No, remember me, keep them.”  I was so blown away how she didn’t even hesitate to give us her stuff.  So I went looking in my suitcase and gave her some of my things too.  It was so awesome. The Brazilians are such incredible people.

I have a funny experience that happened with my companion when we were teaching our fake investigator Carol (she is really our teacher). Afterwards, the whole day I practiced the line, “can we close with a prayer on our knees?”  The word knees in Portuguese is joelhos.  I literally practiced the whole day for this lesson.  So my line came at the end of the lesson and I said, “can we pray on our children?” And I didn´t even know what I said, but my teacher busted out laughing and my companion looks at me and says “joelhos!!!” It was hilarious! My teacher was laughing so hard and then told my other teacher about it and she said something to me the next day! It was hilarious! 

A spiritual moment was when my companion and I sang to our investigator Come follow me in Portuguese.  The spirit was so strong and our teacher started crying after we were done.  Then my companion started crying and then when I bore my testimony on music and the spirit I started crying too.  It was cool because usually I am so worried about the language the whole time I have to remember feel the spirit, help them feel the spirit. And even though my Portuguese wasn’t perfect, the spirit was so strong.  It was so cool. That was a night I will never forget.

This one night around midnight there were super loud sounds.  It was so scary!  It sounded like we were being bombed! It went on for like 10 minutes and woke everyone up.  Our Brazilian roommates were like, “they are fireworks!”  The next day everyone was so tired because of the fireworks that went off the night before. It was funny because so many sisters were so scared and praying that we would be safe.  They were scared we were in a war or something! hahaha!! 

It was an eventful week!! Love you all! Tchau tchau!! xoxoxo

-Sister Smith

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Week Four!

Week 4: I Love the People in Brasil!!!

Wow, what a busy, crazy awesome week!!! Can I just say, being a missionary is the best decision I have ever made. I love it here!! This week was a busy one so hold on tight!! 
On Sunday we watched one of the testament movies of when Christ was killed and then came to the earth after he was resurrected and blessed the people. I was crying through the entire movie! I am so grateful for our savior Jesus Christ. I know without a doubt he is real and that he suffered for our sins and died on the cross for each one of us.  He gave his life knowing not everyone would accept this gift.  He is my hero, he is love, he is everything good in this world.  I love him!! I know that he performed miracles, healed the sick, made the blind see, suffered the pains, sins, and sorrows of the world and I know that he can help me learn Portuguese and guide me on my mission.  I know he loves us more than anything and I love him. I feel so honored to have the opportunity to wear his name around for a year and a half.
Tuesday nights we always have devotionals and we got to watch Elder Nelson who is now the President of the Quorum of the 12 apostles talked to the missionaries at Provo. I’m so bummed I missed seeing him by like 5 days!! Oh well, Brasil is better (; His talk was INCREDIBLE!! I was taking notes the entire time! He talked about how when our parents send us on a mission how they are nervous, pray for us, help us prepare and have faith that we will have success.  Then when we come home, there is a big party, hugs and kisses from everyone and it is the happiest day.  Then he related that to when Heavenly Father sends us on a journey to mortality.  He helps us prepare, he guides, blesses, and hopes that we will make the right decisions. Then when we return to heaven after our successful earthly mission, IMAGINE THAT HOMECOMING!!!!! He talked about how important it is for us to teach the people in our missions and have their kids and grandkids become converted to the gospel.  He said, “you missionaries will affect generations to come.”  Nelson said that if you convert anyone on your mission, it should be you. It was a fantastic talk.
On Thursday we went proselyting!!! We took this crazy bus into the city where you can shop and all sorts of stuff.  We each had 3 Books of Mormon and had to go give them out.  I wasn’t nervous until our teacher said, “okay go on, meet back here in 30 minutes.”  Sister Oldroyed and I were like, “Okay...who should we talk to?”  There were tons of people walking, shopping, singing, selling stuff. It was like this big shopping gallery with cobblestone roads, it was beautiful! So many different types of people!  Then our teacher came over and said, “Ask that guy!”
My companion talked to him first and then after that, we were on fire! Only one lady turned us down and we gave our books out in 20 minutes, we were the first ones done!!  The Elders were having a hard time, it was sad. Our teacher said, “people listen to the sisters more because first of all we´re ladies and second we are more attractive.” (hahaha) It was so cool to get to do that! After we placed them, we wanted to keep going!
So I didn´t have time to tell how on our P-days we get to go to the temple. Today we went to the Campinus temple; it was two hours away, so it was a long drive.  It was so beautiful and I love getting to go to the temple. I just love temples.
Last Wednesday, we went to Sao Paulo temple and it was GORGEOUS!! I am so excited to get to send pictures of it after the MTC!!! The missionaries from South America crack me up. They came up to me asking if they could get a picture with me in front of the temple!  I love the people here. They make me feel so good! The sisters from South America are obsessed with my eyes and like to touch my face and get pictures with me. They are so cute!! 
I got to tell you this! So this black missionary from here sat by me at breakfast one day and talked to me in his broken English.  He asked me if I had a boyfriend and I was like, “No,” and he was so shocked.  All the other elders were laughing at him like, “Dude, we are on a mission!”
Then my friends Elder Banz and Elder King said, “Sister, we have to tell you something! This elder that sat by you at breakfast is our roommate. He walked into their room last night and said I am in love with Sister Smith.”  ...hahaha! Then today, the elders said they told him my first and middle name and he was acting like one of the elders was me. He said, “Jessica Jayne you are so beautiful, words can´t describe you. When you smile, I just can´t handle it!” I was laughing so hard. It’s so hilarious!! I think he´s super good looking, but we´re on a mission. ;)
Okay, funny story. So I got this dress from Downeast that my best friend Ali gave me a discount on!  So one day I wore it and it snagged on this sisters bag and it made a little hole. It wasn’t that noticeable so I decided I´d wear it yesterday! It was lunchtime and I was talking to some elders.  Suddenly, my friends Sister Childs and Sister Wilkins told me, “Sister, there is another hole in the back of your dress.” There was a gigantic whole on my bum and you could totally see my underwear! So embarrassing, but so funny!! That would happen to me!! I will never wear that dress again!!
Anyway, the church is true. Being a missionary is the greatest thing ever. The language is hard, but I´m just taking it day by day. I miss you all like crazy! Thank your for all your prayers, love, and support! Tchau!!!
-Sister Smith


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Week Three!

Week 3:  I Love Brasil!!!!

Ok, sooo I thought I liked the Provo MTC...nahhh, Brasil is where it´s at!!  HOLY COW!!!!!!  The flight here was torture because I didn´t sleep for two hours!!!  Although, there is a bright side to this tragic long flight I experienced.  I sat next to this guy from Sao Paulo and we talked FOREVER!!!!  He was so nice and he asked me all about missionary work and why we wear dresses all the time and why we can´t go visit cool places while we´re here.  He asked about all the classic myths about being a Mormon like, “don’t you marry more than one person?  Isn´t your church so strict and you all hate people that don´t follow your values?”  I was trying not to laugh and I explained to him what we believe and helped him understand our church better.  He asked about the Book of Mormon and how long of a book it was and so I took it out and bore my testimony.  It was so special, I have never had an experience like this, but the spirit was sooo strong I started to cry and I know he felt it too.  After he said, “wow you´re really changing how I feel about Mormons, I like you!”  I said, “We´re just normal people!”
   He asked about why we can´t drink and about the law of chastity.  I told him how we try to stay away from addictive substances so it doesn´t take over your life and become all you care about, and how it´s unhealthy.  Then he asked me about my opinion on gay marriage.   I told him that in our church we believe marriage should be between a man and a woman so we can have children and families and that is the way God has set it up.  Then I explained how just because someone has chosen that lifestyle doesn´t mean we don´t like them.  We still love them and accept them, but we´re not going to live that way because that´s not what we believe.  He was like wow, that´s awesome.  Then he told me he was gay and I was like oh okay!  Well, that doesn´t change what I think about you, you are a super nice and friendly guy and I enjoy talking to you! He was like well, thank you!  I like talking to you too!!  He was so awesome, I loved that guy!  He helped me fill out some paperwork and helped me with my bags!
So we arrived in the airport at like 7 am and there was a group of us missionaries that stuck together when we were getting our bags.  Then someone couldn´t find one of their bags....oh wait that was ME!!  One of my bags was missing and we found out it was on another plane and I would get it later that day!  So then, we meet a lady with a sign like in the movies saying LDS missionaries come over here! So we all sat down and she said wait here!  We waited in the airport for 2 HOURS!!!!!  We didn´t know what was going on because no one there spoke English to us.  But it was okay because these Elders, my companion Sister Oldroyd and I had been traveling with them since we left Provo MTC.  They kept us very entertained with all there funny stories.  Elder King and Elder Banz, they both went to BYU and King is from Ohio and Banz is from Salt Lake.  They are so nice and so funny and we had a blast talking together for 2 hours!   We finally got to leave the airport and got put on a bus and drove to the MTC!!  When we got there, there were these bodyguards in front of the MTC in like suits and they opened the doors!  IT WAS SICK!!! Then when we got out the Brasil MTC President and his wife were waiting for us up the ramp saying, “Welcome!  We are so happy you are here!”  They gave us hugs, shook our hands, and gave us yummy Brazilian food.  I really liked them. (; Then we took showers and once we were clean, they gave us an orientation.  President and his wife are some AMAZING people!  They were Mission Presidents in Brasil, served missions here, they were called and ordained my President Monson!  Oh and you know the booklet that every missionary gets when they get their call??   Yeah, the elder baptizing the tan guy on the cover is their son!  That´s a guy he baptized in Brasil!  SO STINKING COOL!!!!! Then we took pictures with President and his wife, did you all get that picture??  They emailed it to you!!!(:
Okay, so the Brasil MTC is a whole lot smaller than Provo MTC, maybe a little over 200 missionaries!  Americans are the minority so at devotionals we have to wear a headset and listen to someone translating the talks to English!  Haha it´s cool!!  Okay so everyone before hand told me Brasil food was amazing, but you don´t understand why until you try it.  BRASIL FOOD IS UNREAL, IT IS HEAVEN FOR EVERY MEAL!!!!  I kid you not, I feel like I am eating out at a restaurant for every meal.  I LOVE THE FOOD HERE!!!!!!!(:  And I thought Provo food was good!!  Their rice and beans are to die for, their chicken, bread, and fruit and drinks!!! Ahhhhh, why can´t America cook like this??? Come on!  Brasil needs to give us a few pointers!!!  Everything is just so fresh and so good here!!!  I wish you all could try it!
Living in this MTC is A LOT nicer then how I pictured it! They have water you can drink here and its warm or cold, whatever you want!  This place is so much nicer then Provo!  I feel like I´m living in a hotel in the tropics or something!  Sao Paulo is kind of like San Fran with all the buildings close together and crowded and crazy motorcycles cutting between traffic.  There are lots of cool plants and trees.  Plus, their caterpillars are HUGE!!!  I wanted to pick them up but people said I better be safe and not!  They have this cute little running track and they make you run around it 5 times, I run 10, just so I can stuff myself with more food hahaha(;  We have gym time everyday and it is so fun!  We play volleyball with the sisters and elders from all over South America, its a blast.  We have the cutest sisters living in our room and they both are from Brasil. They are THE NICEST MOST LOVING ADORABLE Sisters EVER!!!  They don´t speak English so sometimes its hard to understand them, but they are so patient with us and they teach us how to say things, its great!!
So my district consists of 12 missionaries, half sisters and half elders!!! And those funny elders are in my district, I don´t think I have every laughed so hard in my entire life.  And 5 of those elders are going to my mission!!!  I´m so happy!!! Okay, I love you all!! It’s hard!!  But I’m so happy!!  Sorry no spiritual stuff because I am in a new place again!!!  Love you!!

Sister Smith

Week Two!

Week 2: Bye Provo Hello Brasil!

Hello EVERYONE!!!!!! I love this gospel with all my heart!! Being a missionary is seriously THE COOLEST THING I'VE EVER DONE!! It takes loads of hard work and dedication, but the spirit is so strong here and everything we do is so motivational! I love how we read and study the Book of Mormon everyday! It is seriously the greatest!(: 
Thank you bunches for all the emails, packages, and letters, it DOES NOT make me home sick it makes me so happy!! I love to hear from you all and see how you are all doing!! Okay so some fun and cool stuff about the Provo MTC, the MTC presidency all have been mission presidents in Brazil and served there....guys Brazil is just awesome, okay? Haha, I sang in the missionary choir for the devotional Tuesday night and holy cow, I can't tell you how incredible that is to hear over 2,000 missionaries sing songs. It is unreal. We sang praise to the man as a choir and I know that Joseph Smith heard us singing that song Tuesday night. I feel so honored to be a missionary and have this opportunity.  Everyone here loves you and is going through the exact same thing as you so it helps a lot! The whole organization of this MTC is absolutely jaw dropping!   The church rocks! They know how to get things done, how to make food for 2,000 people, how to hire the most incredible teachers, how to teach us a language in 6 weeks, man it just blows my mind! Obviously Heavenly Father is behind all of this, otherwise it would be a mess and we wouldn’t be able to accomplish all that we do at the MTC!!  I am sooooo sad to leave the MTC!  I keep thinking, “NOOOOOO, this place is like my home! When I leave I will probably cry!” Haha, but of course I trust Heavenly Father knows what is best for me and holy cow...I AM LEAVING THE COUNTRY PEOPLE!!!!! Insane! Woweeeee!! 
Time to get spiritual now.  I have learned a lot about representing Jesus Christ while being here and how important it is to have the right mind set.  I mentioned in my last email about Elder Bednar's talk called "Character of Christ." He talked about how being converted unto Christ is thinking about him everyday all the time.  I loved this, because there are so many distractions in the world and I think it can be so easy to forget about Christ.  There are so many things to distract us, like busy schedules and technology stuff. I have learned that thinking of Christ everyday all day, makes you feel closer to him.  It makes me want to be more like him.  It makes me more cautious of what I say, do, or think. Bednar also talked about how our natural man wants to turn inward and be selfish and say, “I want this!! Gimme that! What about me?!!” Christ would never do that, he would think of you and I before he thought of himself.  It doesn't matter what we want, it's the natural man that wants! We are here on this earth today to learn how to put off that natural man and turn outward like Christ would.  W must learn to have love and charity toward others. Bednar also talked about how whenever we see the word repent, to think turn.  Turn yourself back to Christ and repent of your sins and become more like him.  I absolutely LOVED this talk, it changed my life and I will work my whole mission turning outward rather than inward.  I know that this mission isn't mine, it is the Lord’s. I am on the Lord’s time while being on a mission, this is his work, not mine.  What an honor it is to have this experience!  
I love this quote, " If you go looking for yourself, you will never find it, but if you lose yourself in the service of others, that's when you find yourself."
We had another devotional that I loved from this amazing lady that served 4 missions.  She said that a mission is a gift that keeps on giving!  She said that for eternity we will be bound to the people we have served.  Never forget that when we are stressed, scared, or sad, if we could only see that there are chariots of fire and angels all around us protecting us and helping us.  
Everyone, remember that God placed us on this earth to succeed. No one was foreordained to fail.  I love that!!
My companions and I have been teaching an investigator and it has been so challenging, but we are progressing and we asked him if he wanted to get baptized and he said he'll pray about it! But now I'm leaving to the Brasil MTC tomorrow so I won't get to finish with him.  I'm so sad, but I'm excited to have new investigators in Brasil!! 
I love this gospel with all my heart. The Book of Mormon can help with any question, thought or sad feeling you have.  It brings happiness and hope into your life. Read Moroni 10, it's amazing! Thank you for all the love, support and prayers. It means the world to me!! 

tchau tchau!!! 
Love, Sister Smith

Week One!

Sister Jessica Smith enters the Provo MTC on July 15th, 2015!

Week 1:  I Love you Family & Friends!

Oi Familia, friends, ward members and anyone else reading this!!  Sorry this is going to be a long one, I got to tell you all the awesome stuff that's happened and that I do everyday! Meu nome e sister smiche!! Haha that's how they say it in Portuguese!(: I can't believe I have been in the Provo MTC for almost a week now!! I am doing so good and loving it here! (((:
Okay so, saying bye to you all was soooo hard for me! I was so nervous, excited, and I felt like I was walking in to the unknown. I saw sister Liljenquist at the curb, and that kind of calmed my nerves.  It was so good to see her and give her a hug.  I still have the picture in my head of waving one last time to my amazing family and then turning around and walking and starting this new adventure.  I immediately had to pull myself together and put a smile on because they sent me into a room with a bunch of missionaries to get my badge, key, and other important stuff.  My cute host, that picked me up is in my zone and is also going to Brazil.  Everyone in the MTC is so NICE!!! Holy cow, my first day, everyone was like welcome to the MTC sister! What mission are you going on? Where are you from? Hello!! How are you? Everyone has a smile on their face and is so loving! The spirit is so strong here, I love it!
So as soon as I got there, I put my bags in my room and my host took me to meet my district.  I was late to class because I took twenty years saying good bye to my family was worth it! I walk into class with a teacher smiling and talking in portuguese, two elders, and two sisters...I was going to be in a trio! Woot woot!!!(: So our zone are all Portuguese speakers.  Some are going to Portugal and the rest are VISA waiters for Brazil.  The deal is when you get your VISA, you get sent to the MTC.  We checked where my VISA was today and I have all of the four dots filled, so I could be leaving Provo MTC in like a week or two...I don't know how I feel about that, because today I got a new companion and she is SO FUN, FUNNY, and I LOVE HER!! Her name is sister Stowell and and she from Murry Utah and she knows David Archuleta, so it's whatever.  So she was already in my zone, but everyone in her district got their VISA's and she didn't, so now she is my new companion as of today!(; I'm super stoked! She's been here for 3 weeks and the day I met her we became friends and now WE ARE COMPANIONS!!! Such a tender mercy! My 2 other companions, sister Habel(from portland) and sister Oldroyd(from orem) are together which is awesome because they are good friends and are awesome missionaries and have taught me a lot and helped me with the language too.  We all still live together so thats fun!!! I still have class with my old companions and my companion will be in a different class, but other then that, we will be together!!(: Being a VISA waiter can be a little complicated and things can always be changing.  I like it, because you only grow when you aren't comfortable (;
Okay so after I met my district the first day, we went to a welcoming meeting with all the new missionaries that came that day and we met the MTC Presidency and they talked about missionary work! Then, we all sang called to was SO INCREDIBLE!  The spirit was radiating in that room I kid you not! I felt like the army of heleman! I was like sitting there like, oh my word, I'm in the MTC, oh my word, I'm ON my mission, oh my word, I'm here for a year and a half!! I was kind of in shock for the first couple days, but it's gotten a lot better haha.  Okay so my first couple days were like workshops and they weren't that intense, we were just getting settled in and meeting our branch presidency, they are great by the way! They all have either served in Brazil or were mission presidents there! (:
Okay people have been asking about what I do all day so here it is;
6:30 get up and get ready, 7:00 be in class to plan your day with companions, 7:45 breakfast (ps. the food is decent, they usually have a lot of options, I usually stick to salads.  They have BYU ice cream on Wed. and Sundays...GRAM CANYON, is my fav. I always get that) then 8:15 we do personal study with companions, 9:30-12:30 our teacher comes in and teaches us Portuguese and about the gospel and PMG( preach my gospel) Oh and Holy cow, we have like not even kidding 10 different books that we use, everyday for translating, verbs, conjugating, dictionary, it's a lot to carry around and keep organized.  My teacher is sister Carr.  She is 21, married, went on a mission to Brazil, from Georgia, and was a cheerleader.  She is the cutest person ever, I LOVE HER! SHE IS THE GREATEST! So during those hours she coaches us and then helps us personally with the language...which helps me a lot. 12:30 is lunch, 1:15 me and the two other sisters meet with our investigator(fake investigator that will become our teacher later).  We try to teach him in about the gospel in is extremely difficult because we barely know the language, but it is good because challenges us.  Yesterday we met with him for the 3rd time and I was trying to explain something in Portuguese and I was really struggling and I was like uuuuumm, and busted out laughing and said sisters...take it over! Haha, sometimes you just got to laugh and not be hard on yourself. So then from 1:45-4:15 we study and plan our lesson for the next day with our investigator.  Then 4:15-5:15 we have gym time! I love it because I can go run either outside or in the gym and just think about other stuff besides Portuguese haha.  Me and sister Habel like to run a couple miles together and do sit ups.  Not going to lie, I feel like I am losing weight here and working out more here then at home! Then after, we have dinner at 5:45, the 6:30-9:30 is personal study, companionship study, and language study! It's so great! then 9:30 you get ready for bed and lights out at 10:30!!! (:
Okay so that's my usual day! I am running low on time, but I LOVE MY DISTRICT and ZONE everyone is like so nice and friendly.  My elders in my district are like my brothers, haha I love them, we all have lots of fun together! We go to the MTC choir and holy, the spirit is incredible.  The MTC is truly amazing, they really do love their missionaries and want them their testimonies to grow and for us to feel the spirit.  We have had some insanely good devotionals and watched some amazing talks.  EVERYONE watch Elder Bednar's Character of Christ talk or read it!! It is amazing!!  It talks about missionaries and how we are on the Lords time.  Bednar says how christ always turns outward while we turn inward and how we need to care about others more.  Listening to that video of him talking really changed my life and made me want to be a better missionary and to love everyone unconditionally and to not think of myself but think of others! My time is up! I will write more inspiring stuff I learn next week!!

Love you! 
Love sister Smith