Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Week 23

 Christmas Miracles!

Week 23-Dec. 28, 2015

 Miracle #1
First of all, trying to contact my family on Christmas was an adventure to say the least! Haha I forgot to get their skype account number on P-day so I could talk to them.  So I had our member friend get on his fb and message, instagram, and email my family!  Finally when no one was answering for like 2 hours, I asked if we could call my family on the phone.  My member friend was working hard on the Internet trying to figure out how we make a call to the US without costing money.  Then after a couple tries of talking to this woman in English and Portuguese, trying both the home phone and moms and dads cellphone, the woman said "okay, thank you Jessica, bye".  I was like, what, your hanging up on me…..why?  I need to talk to my family.  Then all the sudden I hear my daddy´s voice say, Hello?? AWWW.. can I just tell you after not hearing your parents voice for 5 months it’s like coming HOME!!  I just started bawling!  After, I thought about our sweet Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ...imagine hearing their incredible voices again…WOW!  That will be even more awesome!  But anyway, it was the greatest thing first hearing their voices, then talking to them and seeing them in the flesh on the computer screen.  During the first 20 minutes Elder A. Santos had my camera and he was filming me talking to you all on the phone bawling and my first reaction seeing you on the computer.  I was super annoyed telling him to stop being the paparazzi because he had the camera in my face and was following me around. Haha, but then after I turned off the computer and I watched the videos, awww I was grateful he recorded it!  Now I have your voices to hear and the memory to watch!  So that was awesome!!

Miracle #2
Okay, so this week was full of miracles!!  Stephaney got BAPTIZED!!  After much fasting, prayers, and faith both on our and Maura's (her mom) part.  Maura was baptized a week before and she is so solid in the gospel.  Maura is AMAZING!  She is literally my mom, so sweet, outgoing, loving, and firm in the gospel.  Maura has been struggling financially and yet offers every single day to feed the missionaries.  Her husband has arthritis and he can't even walk.  She washes clothes all day, everyday, just so her family can get by.  She wants Stephaney to be happy so she works even more so that her daughter can have cute clothes and the phone that she wants.  When Maura is tired after a long day at work and comes home...guess what she does...she reads the Book of Mormon.  I love this woman!  I know without a doubt, in my heart and mind, that Heavenly Father has been preparing her to receive the gospel.  I feel sooooo extremely honored to have been one of the people to help bring it to her.  Maura wants to serve a mission, she loves to help others, she is an angel.  She is my angel mom in the mission.  I am so proud of her and I know she will stay strong in the gospel for the rest of her life.  When I found out I was being transferred, I didn’t want to tell her.  She knew transfers were coming and had she said she would cry real hard if one of us leaves.... not to mention that I would cry I tried to keep it from her but everyone kept talking about it.  I finally told her and I can’t tell you how emotional it’s been for her and I.  I promised her that before I leave my mission I will pass by her house and say one last goodbye.  Oh, and we already planned that her and Stephaney will come to Utah and be at my wedding in the Salt Lake Temple...hahaha(: I love them!

Miracle #3
It’s crazy to think when I left Rio Verde, I didn’t think I could love anyone more than the people I left there.  But I know that each family and person I meet that chooses to accept the gospel I have this special love for.  I can’t describe it, you have to serve a mission to know what I’m talking’s true love, true happiness, the pure love of Christ.

Miracle #4
Once again the mission is the best decision I’ve ever made.  Everyone I talk to asks, “Holy cow you talk so good for only being here 5 months."   I say, it’s the GIFT OF TONGUES PEOPLE!!  Read it in D&C and in Moroni’s so cool.

Miracle #5
I'll make a super long and complicated story short, just trust me when I say this is a miracle, I finally received the Christmas and Birthday boxes that my parents sent me!!!  

The gospel is true, our Savior lives and he loves each one of you!  Have a great week!! 

OH and a Happy New YEAR!!  
Half way to 40 here I come...ahhhh(;

-Sister Smithie poo

Stephaney´s baptism (: 
It was a special day indeed!!

My Christmas Eve was spent in the jungle while yours was in the snow hehehe(:

House of a member! She has the most beautiful plants, It made me think of my mommy!!!

Christmas Eve, I made no bake cookies!!

 Maura and Stephaney´s Christmas Tree!!(:  
The elders were laughing at my foot in this picture….(;

 Yummy food on Christmas Eve!

Dinner at Maura´s house...she is literally my mom in the mission, I love her so much!  Ever since we taught her and she got baptized she feeds us and just looooves the missionaries, I am going to miss her when I leave! this week!!

Some of my favorite members! They are so awesome!They always help the missionaries..they bought us ice cream on Christmas Eve!

 This puppy has my heart!
                       Our lobby on Christmas pretty!! 
  Christmas day lunch at a members house!

Christmas Day Food!

I Finally got my Christmas and Birthday package!  
Thanks Odelomar!

Week 22

Parties, Prophecies, and Peace!
Week 22---Dec.21, 2015

This week was one I will never forget for various reasons!
To start off, I had the craziest dream this week!!  I had a dream that I got sent home at 5 months into my mission.  The whole time I was so confused asking everyone why we were all going home (all my friends that came in the MTC with me were leaving too)!  When I get home, dad is sitting on the couch watching TV, with his arms folded behind his head. “Dad! I left my mission way too early!” He was like, “You had 5 months, you’re fine!!” I’m like “No, Dad, I need to learn more, there are more people that need to be baptized! I have to stay longer pleeeease buy me a ticket to go back to Brasil!”  I woke up panicking and super stressed out!!  When I realized it was just a dream and that I still have over a year left in my mission, I felt a lot better...hahaha(: I think I kind of like my mission ;)

Okay, lets get to the Mission Christmas Party.  It was off the CHAIN!!!  It was insane!!  I’m not kidding the decorations were awesome.  They went all out. Mom, you would have loved it!!  We ate at the most delicious Brazilian resturante, it was good(;  Then we had a talent show, oh man, those are always entertaining!

President Kuceki talked about so many incredible things and told stories and motivated us AHHHH!  He has got the perfect balance of being hilarious one minute and bringing the spirit the next, I love him.  Sister Kuceki shared a quote for the sisters, I don’t remember it word for word but it went something like this...Sisters don’t have to serve missions because they can’t get married, or because they have nothing better to do...blah blah.. sisters serve missions because the spirit confirmed to them that they should go.  The Lord is preparing the world for the second coming of our Savior.  The Lord is preparing his soldiers (mothers) to raise an army that is ready to receive the Savior at the second coming… Pres. Hinckley.  After Sister Kuceki read this, all the elders were cheering, it was awesome! 

The next day we had a zone conference and holy cow, it was a day I will never forget.  Pres. Kuceki showed us films of the Savior and I have never in my life felt the spirit so strong as I have here in the mission!  The spirit was radiating in the room!  I know my Savior loves people, he is my joy and happiness.  I feel honored to have been called to serve a mission and even more honored to have been called to serve in the Brazil Goiania mission.  Pres. Kuceki said that because we have chosen to give up a lot of things back home and sacrifice a year and a half preaching and teaching in the hot sun and rain, we will be eternally blessed in this life and for the rest of eternity.  He said "and for you sweet sisters, it's not a commandment, and yet you have chosen to serve the Lord."  (These are his exact words.)  "You will be blessed with handsome husbands, that are worthy, returned missionaries, who are strong in the gospel.  This mission is preparing you for when you and your spouse will serve as mission presidents"...AHHHH!!  He said so much I don’t have time to write it all!!  But holy cow!  It’s moments like these when the spirit confirms in my heart and mind that the decision I have made to serve a mission is the greatest decision I have ever made and what I learn and do in this year and a half will shape my life now and for the rest of eternity.  HOW AWESOME IS THAT!?  I love my mission so much!!!!(:  I have never been so happy, felt the spirit so strong, and loved people so much!  The mission is the happiest place on Earth!!!  It's the Lord´s work, how can it not be insanely WONDERFUL?!

Maura got Baptized!  I am so proud of her for choosing to be baptized even though her daughter Stephaney has chosen not to be baptized!  Maura was so happy after her baptism!  We are still fasting and praying for Stephaney.

So although this week was extremely wonderful I did have 2 rough days.  I want to share how I found peace and happiness through this week! So we had emergency changes this week and Sister Matos and I got put in a trio.  Now this happened in the Provo MTC and so I was like, “I have done this before, I will be fine.”  It wasn’t as easy the first 2 days.  Our new companian  is Brazilian and loves to talk with Sister Matos and I felt a little left out because it’s harder for me to communicate.  But the next day in personal study, I read in St. John when God washed his disciples feet and he said I am no greater than you and you are no greater than me, therefore, "I command you that ye love one another."  If the world hated you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.  One of the apostles of Jesus Christ betrayed him, his own friend that he loved.  Christ was crucified by his own people that he helped create.  I can not explain the sorrow I felt in this moment when I read pain of feeling left out and kind of pushed aside was nothing compared to what happened to our Savior. Whenever we go through hard times, feeling left out, not accepted, made fun of, whatever it is, just know that our Savior has already gone through it.  He has gone through more than we can ever imagine, and he knows what we are going though.  I love him.  I know he lives.  He loves you, Never Forget It.  

Feliz Natal!
-Sister Smith  
Pure joy from Maura´s smile #sinfree

Maura is baptized!!!  I love her she is incredible!!

Another reason I go to baptisms……. ..CAKE!

Elder Larvantina with his man purse! 
He is crazy!!

She is from Nebraska!!

Reading time with my "Carol frogie" 
(my favorite member Carol from Rio Verde gave this to me)

Fresh mango popcycles....sooo fresh so good (;

The Happy Trio!

I found my Mommy at the Christmas Party!!!(((:

The Mission Christmas Party! 
I entered the MTC with these peeps (:
Sister Matos, Sister Kuceki, & Sister Smith 

I love Sister Matos! She has taught me so much! Love, patience, she knows the scriptures so well she is amazing. I hope we stay together next 
transfer :(
The lion king attempt...hahah

Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 21

It´s Christmas Time Here in Brazil!!
Week 21-Dec.14, 2015

My Christmas stories this week:
Okay, so our awesome house was without water on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and SUNDAY!!  No flushing, no washing of hair, or dirty feet, nada, nothing, zip!  Let me just tell you for a missionary that is a little frustrating!  I don’t think I have ever been more grateful for running water in all my LIFE! GEESH!!  So during this awesome drought in our home, the assistants call us and told us that there will be 12 Sisters arriving at our house on Monday night for the Mission Christmas Party!  12 SISTERS AND ZERO RUNNING WATER!  I was like haha this is going to be fun!!(;   We called the secretary, and he said he had already called trying to get us water.  So we have been hoping, praying and waiting for water.  Then this morning, during our personal scripture study, I was in another room reading The Book of Mormon out loud in Portuguese when I could actually hear the water fill up the pipes in our house, I scream “SISTER AGUA”!!!!  We were literally jumping up and down because we were soooo happy.  I was as happy as a child on Christmas morning, WOOT WOOT!!!  I ran to the running water and splashed it on my face hehehe(: It felt wonderful!  So this was one Christmas present this week!!(:

My other Christmas story this week:
After we had our district meeting we got to stop by the office where all the mission stuff is, secretaries of the mission, and Pres. Kuceki´s office is.  Guess what I FINALLY received?!?  THE LIAHONA IN ENGLISH!!!  I have been waiting forever for the mission to receive some and I finally got the general conference talks to read over and over and over...because listening to conference once is NOT enough.  Our brains don’t remember every detail.  Anyway, I’ve been reading all the talks this week and HOLY FREAK! Please, dad, mom, Kylie, Aleece, Ryan, grandpas, & grandmas read my 2 favorite talks;
A summer with Great Aunt Rose by Pres. Uchtdorf and A Plea to My sisters by Russel M. Nelson! 

These talks have been my boost for this week! The first talk is about faith!  It teaches us how faith can transform our lives, every situation, & every feeling into hope, happiness, and joy! When I read this it reminded me of my favorite quote!  "If miracles have ceased, it is because faith has ceased."  I can’t remember who said this but it is so true, especially here on a mission.  Without faith or trust in Christ, we have nothing.  We can apply this to every time we question something in our lives..whatever the situation.  I realized that when we question something, when we are afraid, when we lack trust, when we are frustrated or when something doesn’t turn out the way we want.....we aren’t having faith.  We need to have faith & trust in our Father in Heaven even when things don’t turn out how we want.  I love the story of when Jesus was sleeping on the ship and his disciples were panicking in the storm and woke Christ up and said save us!!  He was like, oh what little faith you have...I am God!  Christ created the waters he knew there was a storm, he could snap his fingers and it would stop the storm in an instant.  Then, he did calm the storm and save them.  I also love the miracle of the woman who had a disease in her blood and she believed all she needed to do was touch Christ´s robes and she would be clean, and guess what, because of her exceedingly great faith she was healed! WOW!   With faith in Christ we hope for a better future, a better world, we live a happy life without fear.  What more could we want??  I loved the picture of the pioneer girl skipping!  That will be hung up in my house.(:

The other talk, Pres. Neilson gave and holy cow!!  If the talk doesn’t pump up us women, I don’t know what will!  We need to stand up, be a light to the world and the salt of the earth like in Matthew 5:13-16, we need to let our light shine.  People are attracted to it because it is the light of Christ!!  I love the ending of his talk when he says, I bless you to rise to your full stature, to fulfill the measure of your creation, as we walk arm in arm in this sacred work.  Together we will help prepare the world for the second coming of the Lord.  HOLY AWESOME!!!  Stand up, make a difference, share what you know to be true, have faith, and you will be happy forever!! 

-Sister Smith

Happy Birthday Sister Matos

Breakfast in Brazil!


Monday, December 7, 2015

Week 20

A Bitter but VERY SWEET Week
Week 20—Dec. 7, 2015

The sweet part of this week was that Alessandria was Baptized!!!  Can I get a WOOT WOOT!!!!(:  It was a very special baptism!  There weren’t very many people there, but that made it all the more spiritual and special!  Alessandria was so nervous and it was adorable! 

Yesterday was fast and testimony meeting and I asked Alessandria if she wanted to go up and bare her testimony with me.  She was like WHAT?  I’m not prepared?  I’m so nervous!  What would I say??  I told her, “you just say what you believe and talk about how special your baptism was.”  I said, “it doesn’t have to be long and you don’t have to say beautiful words.”  She was like ahhh next time!  Then Sister Matos said “this happens only one time per month!”  Then we said we are going to go up (it was only us three sitting on the bench and she would be alone)  She was like ...okay!   So we went up there and she was so cute!  She told me her heart is pounding so fast...I was like haha, relax!  When secretly my heart was pounding too, trying to think of the words I was going to say in Portuguese!  But it went so well!  I bore my testimony first and then sat down.  Then Alessandria got up there and bore hers...Holy cow people!  I can’t tell you how special it was to see this person you have taught the gospel, who has just been baptized, get up infront of everyone and bare their testimony!  My heart was seriously sooo happy I wanted to squeeze her so hard and tell her how proud I was of her....I did when she came and sat back down haha.  Then Sister Matos bore hers and it was beautiful!(:  It was a special Sunday.  Alessandria received the gift of the Holy Ghost and her blessing was amazing!  The 2nd councilor in the bishopric gave it and said that angels will be around her helping her and protecting her, it gave me so much peace to hear this because the area where she lives is dangerous with lots of iniquity.  Then it talked about reading the Book of Mormon and how important it is.  Aww, it was so awesome!!  We told her to write everything down that was said in her blessing.  I feel so blessed to have met Alessandria and gotten to teach her and see her baptized I don’t know what I’ll do when I leave!  Alessandria is my second baby sister..don’t worry Aleece, no one can replace you hehehe(: xoxox

Okay, so the bitter part of this week was that 2 of our other people with dates for baptism didn’t come to church...tears.  Remember Stephaney and her mom (Maura) that had a spiritual experience in church last week?  Yeah them!  Background information Stephaney didn’t want to stop drinking coffee when we taught her about the word of wisdom, she said she would rather die than stop...she is 15, a little dramatic, but I love her.  So we fasted for her yesterday...anyway they have to go to church 2 times before baptism and they have only come once.  So after church we went to their house and Stephaney was acting strange.  Stephaney usually likes to talk to us but was ignoring us and was on her phone and watching T.V. and wouldn’t turn it off for us to share a message with her.  So we had to go in another room and teach her mom.  Her mom said that Stephaney said she doesn’t want to get baptized anymore.  I can’t tell you how heartbroken I was…. I met this girl over a month ago and she was so excited about baptism and loved to talk to us and now she completely ignores us!  It’s sad to see Satan grab the hearts of people when they are so close to baptism, SO CLOSE! But that is what he does! 

But Maura said to keep praying for her and hopefully her heart will change.  I am so happy that even though Stephaney doesn’t want to get baptized, that doesn’t stop her mom from following the example of the Savior.  I love Maura, she has a testimony of our church and feels the spirit so strong when she went last week.  She is an elect investigator!  She is so sweet! 

Once again people, SALVATION NEVER WAS EASY!!  I have faith and trust that Heavenly Father knows what is best and if we continue with faith, obedience, and hard work everything will work out the way it is suppose to! (:

I am once again so happy and feel so blessed to be serving a mission.  Learning another language is hard, but I love it!  It’s a challenge I will have to keep working on my entire mission!  It humbles me, tests my faith, and helps me become closer to the spirit!

I love you all!  Thanks for all your support and prayers!  Keep reading the scriptures and praying and looking for opportunities to serve others, because when you do, you serve God. 

-Sister Smithie
 Alessandria's Baptism Day!


Having fun cleaning the font!!

 MY HOUSE!!!!!(((:
The front door to the lobby!!

The lobby where we live is decked out in NATAL!!!

Yeahhh be jealous! 
We use an elevator to get to our room (; 

This is the kitchen!  It is so nice!  This fruit that I'm holding is mama   It is so yummy!  I eat it every morning!  It helps your digestive system. (;

Where we study!

Mommy sent me and Sister Matos presents for the 12 days of Christmas!

Where I sleep and how I sleep every night (;

Got some nice living space!!

This is our air conditioning in Brasil! 
You guys, the fan actually works in this house!!(: Its not broken! #blessings

THis is where I have all of my clothes and I get dressed! 

This is my bathroom! 
Sister Matos has another bathroom! 
Love my towel! Thanks Aunt Shauna! xoxo

Me with my Christmas tree!
 Thank you mommy! I loooove it! 
I love my fam bam!

Gotta love a clean house on P-day!!

This is our view of the City! Isn´t beautiful?!

Just enjoying our lovely view(:

We swim in it on P-days (;  (not really)
The beautiful city of Goiania

 I don't take very many pictures like this because it's dangerous!  
So enjoy me in the streets of Goiania!! 
 Only on pdays my friends (: