Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Week 68

Happy Moments 
Week 68--Nov. 7, 2016

This week was a good one!  Our English class is going good!  We are trying to get more people there.  We need to do a handout or something, to remind and tell people about the class, but hey, there have been a few people there.  I gave the closing prayer in English and tried to bear my testimony at the class, it didn’t go to well.  Let´s just say, I’m glad I’ve got a week before my homecoming talk when I get home or I think I’d get up there and give my entire talk in Portuguese!! Hahaha! 

Okay, so we hit the rainy season here in Brazil and it´s been super rainy this week.  I love it because it’s not so crazy HOT!!  The heat where’s you out and when it rains its a lot cooler outside.  Sister A. Smith and I have gotten the hang of the wearing pants and we´re liken it!  PANTS RUUUULE!!  We just wear skirts on Sundays and if there is a big reunion with our mission.

Want to know the greatest thing about a mission?  When you get to see your converts progress in the gospel!  They are the greatest, happiest moments of all!!!  When you see your converts excited about learning more, when they are reading the Book of Mormon, and sitting next to you partaking of the sacrament on Sundays.  It’s priceless!

We all go to church for the same purpose, to renew our covenants that we made at baptism, to be washed clean of our sins and try to become better.  We go to church to feel the spirit and to learn or feel something that strengthens our testimony.   We also go to church to strengthen our testimony and to help strengthen others testimony as well.  There is just nothing better, I want to stay in Brazil forever just to watch these people progress in the gospel!  My friend that is serving in Rio Verde said that one of my converts is turning in his papers to serve a mission!!!  I got so excited I was jumping up and down!!!  The first time I met him he was drunk and now he´s cleaned up his life, let God change him and is preparing to serve a mission!!  It´s the greatest news in the world to hear that!!  Stephaney said she wants to serve a mission too!!(:  I remember what Elder Nelson said, what we want to see in our missionary work is your recent converts, serving missions, entering the temple and then seeing their posterity doing the same!  We want it to affect generations!  It´s starting and I’m seeing a little of it!!

I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ!!!!!!(:

Com MUITO Amor,
- Sister Smith

Jessica with her recent converts in Novo Mundo. One member said, "Oh Sister Smith, how many men have you baptized with those big blue eyes?"  I said, "only women here in Novo Mundo." (It's the spirit who converts people!)  I LOVE my converts!!!!

The market next to our house.  

We had hoof for dinner this week.
Brazilian Pizza is Better than American Pizza!

The rainy season has definitely started!

I kind of love açai people....

 Joana's daughters came to support their mom at her baptism.

 The elders call us "The Pant Crew."

 More Yummy Brazilian food!
 BBQ after the clean-up!
 Us with this cute member in her car, she is going to marry an american and wants me to be her bridesmade..she's moving to the U.S.A.!

 Yay!  Mom sent me an English Hymn Book!

Me doing the same pose I did in Hawaii, 
7 years ago! hahaha
(Actual picture from 7 years ago.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Week 67

Week 67—October 31, 2016

What a week people! Lets see...
-       Sister A. Smith and I have been running in the mornings...I forgot to tell you all!!  I will finish my mission running...literally. hehe  I always said, when I have 3 months left on my mission, I will start running/exercising to be a little more in shape. We run when we can! (;

- We started teaching ENGLISH!!!  We teach every Friday at 7, you are all invited if you want to come by the way! (:  I taught English in Caldas Novas and loved it, so I’m excited to do it here with the ward in Novo Mundo.  Everyone is super duper excited!  I think it will be a hit and we hope to get some investigators while we do it!

-       Mom, I got your package and I was sooooo EXCITED!!!  THANK YOU MOM!  I LOVED THE LETTER!!!  

- New rule!!!  WE WEAR PANTS NOW!  Starting tomorrow!  It´s the weirdest thing!  I don’t feel like a missionary, I feel like a normal person.  I don’t like it, but I don’t want to get the Zika virus or Dengue fever from the mosquitos.  The rainy season is starting here and the mosquitos are hungry for our pants will be a good idea!  Safety first!!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!  President Bührer wanted all of us to choose a house to clean on P-day so we all chose to clean our zone leaders house, and then we had a BBQ!  It was so fun!!  Every P-day has been really busy, but it’s been full of memories, so what could be better? (:

Okay, so I don’t know if you all remember Joana.  She is the lady who had the dream about the fruit of the tree of life before she even knew about chapter 8 in the Book of Mormon!  Yeah her!  Well, let me tell you her whole story.  Joana´s brother is a member and left a Liahona on her table one day after visiting.  She didn’t read it and just went to work.  She had never been interested in knowing anything about the church.  So one day she went to work (she´s a nurse) and she saw the elders there (one of the elders had health problems) Anyway, she had a feeling to talk to them and ask them about their church.  One of the elders taught her a little about the Book of Mormon and then wrote down her address and said, I’ll send the missionaries who live closest to your house. 

THAT WAS MY COMPANION AND ME!!  Sister Ramona and I taught her at the end of July and on the first day of teaching her we marked a baptism date.  Joana had a smoking problem and was also a Jehovah’s Witness, and had been for many years, so her knowledge of the Bible was big and her doubts about the Book of Mormon were big too!  Every time we set a baptism date, it fell through because she kept smoking.  Pretty soon we learned that her problem with smoking wasn’t getting better because her testimony wasn’t strong enough.  We worked on her testimony of the Book of Mormon and invited her to read, study, pray and write down questions she had about it.  Holy cow! did she ever have questions for me? Loads!  

I think my time with her tested my testimony of the Book of Mormon, but it also strengthened my testimony more than ever!  Joana had so many doubts about the Book of Mormon.  I would literally pour out my soul, bearing my testimony, and I would read scriptures to her that bear testimony of the truth of the Book Of Mormon.  We would invite her to pray and find out for herself if the Book of Mormon were true.  I would cry a lot just wishing and wanting her to know for herself that the Book of Mormon was true.  We prayed and fasted for her, and at times she wouldn’t answer our phone calls.  We would mark days to visit her and she wasn’t home (she lives 1 hour on foot from our house and 25 min by bus.)   At times, I questioned if she even wanted to be baptized anymore. Satan put so many thoughts in her head, and doubts, it was so sad.  Satan is so real, and so annoying!!!  I told her to stop listening and keep believing and having faith.  
I told her, “you won’t know every detail about the Book of Mormon in a day, a week, or a month.  The first thing you need to know is if it’s true and that will only come from reading a little bit and then praying and asking God if it’s true.”  At times I would pray and ask God why he sent me to teach her because she is so elect and needs a missionary that can explain things better to her, that can help her better than I can. 

But now, I pray and thank Heavenly Father for giving me the honor of teaching her and helping her gain a stronger testimony of the gospel.  I am on the 3rd companion that has helped me with teaching her, and I have stayed here and watched her grow and progress.  Two weeks ago I said, “okay Joana, what are you going to do?  You have stopped smoking, you are studying the Book of Mormon, you are progressing.   Are you going to take that next step of faith and get baptized this week?”  She´s like, this week? No.  I said, “then you choose the date of your baptism.” “I want you to choose it.”  She chose the 29th of October!!! 

Saturday she was baptized and yesterday confirmed a member of the church!!  You guys, I have never taught someone for so long, 3 months!!  I have learned to endure, to not give up on someone, to look at their progress day by day, to have patience and love. Literally, my heart has never been so happy.  She still has questions and needs to learn more, but we all do.  We all need to strengthen our testimonies, and now she has the Holy Ghost to guide and teach her more than I ever could!!  It was a neat baptism, she bore a sweet testimony at the end. I was crying the whole time. (;

I love you all!!

- Sister Smith

Joana's baptism!

My hair is so brittle and sun damaged
Cute bug

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Week 66

October 24, 2016--Week 66

I keep forgetting to tell you all, but the people here in Brazil think I look like the singer Adele..... I have never gotten that comment in all my life! hahaha!  She´s got a pretty face, so I’ll take it as a complement. (: I thought it was random and a bit humorous, so I had to share.

Other funny thing, this is the second companion that has told me that I talk and yell in my sleep.  Whenever I wake up I always say to my companion, Good Morning!  Did you sleep well?  Sister A. Smith said the other morning yeahhhh I slept good but I woke up to you yelling in your sleep and the last word I heard you yell was “Maria”....(background story) when we knock/clap at doors and no one comes, its like a joke so I just yell a name (which usually is Maria) in hopes that someone will come and tell us that Maria doesn’t live here, and then we can start talking to them.  Sister A. Smith thinks it’s so funny that I do this.  So one time she yelled “Maira” and this girl came to the door and her name was Maria!  It was a funny, awkward moment.  Maria is the most popular Brazilian name.  ANYWAY, I guess I don’t just yell “Maria” at people’s door, but I yell it in my sleep too! haha

Another hilarious moment that happened yesterday that I am just DYING to share. Yesterday was our zone meeting and my companion Sister A. Smith was asked to give the closing prayer.  Sister A. Smith talks a little quiet and she said a word during the prayer and the ending sounded like amen, and so one of the elders, yells AMEN!!! And everyone hears him say amen and half of us said amen and the other half were confused and looked up at Sister A. Smith.  She was still praying and opened her eyes a little and looked around like she was thinking “ummmm, I didn’t finish my prayer yet,” this is awkward.  So she continued praying and hurried and finished the prayer.  Then our entire zone busted out laughing, so hard they started CRYING!!!  It was sooo funny!!  Sister A. Smith laughed too (:

Not much happened this week, but that is just the way it goes sometimes.  We did find some less active members and taught them several lessons.  You gotta look at the everyday miracles people, there are tons of them!!  But I had the wonderful opportunity to talk in sacrament meeting and I’m at the point that I don’t get nervous until about 5 minutes before I speak! So, I already gave a talk/training session for my zone a month ago on charity so I didn’t have to write a talk. So, I got up there and was reading my talk and it wasn’t going very well, then I shared an experience about when the pictures on my camera got erased, and for the first time in my life, I reacted in the way the Savior would react, and then I just started sharing my feelings.  The spirit took over and I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I started talking about Christ and how during his whole life, people persecuted him and betrayed him, but he reacted withe love and patience.  I talked about how we can react to our challenges and be like him and try to become better. I shared the quote from Elder Holland: “we get credit for trying! God blesses those that have the desire, and try to keep the commandments!”  I literally felt like an instrument in the Lord’s hands when I was up there speaking.  It was super special, my Portuguese isn’t perfect, but God uses the imperfect, the weak and simple to do his work.  I’m so grateful I have the opportunity to be a part of it.  Then, after my talk, some people said it was an answer to their prayers.   It was a very special experience.  

The church is true and the book is so blue, and has exaltation written all over it!!!!

- Sister Smith

Monday, October 17, 2016

Week 65

October 17--Week 65

Transfers happened and SISTER A. SMITH AND SISTER J. SMITH ARE STAYING TOGETHER!!!!  YESSSSS!!!  HERE in Novo Mundo!  Thank you Heavenly Father, I love you!(:  Every week out here in the mission is a week full learning and trusting in the Lord.  

Okay, so last week Luciana didn’t get baptized because she didn’t stop drinking coffee.  After teaching and repeating why it was a commandment she still didn’t understand why a little coffee wasn’t okay.  I asked her if she loved God or coffee more, she said God.  We gave her a challenge to try and always remember her goal, and the big perspective of entering the temple and one day, the Celestial Kingdom!  We were praying for her and we decided to fast for her and our other investigator Joana this week. This fast I decided not to complain even one time about how hungry I am or how hot it is to show Heavenly Father I truly needed him, and a miracle.  You guys, Goiania is HOT!  Its super hot during the day, the night, and the entire year.  Its not easy to fast out here in the heat when you´re walking and talking.  When we closed our fast and then visited Luciana and asked her if she had drank coffee she said no...we were like YES!!!  Then we told her that the elders would be passing by to interview her.  She was super happy and excited. When we left we were jumping up and down with happiness!!  LUCIANA WAS BAPTIZED!!!  The miracles of fasting people!  
Then get this, the next day she had to receive the Holy Ghost at Sacrament Meeting and her alarm didn’t go off and the gate was locked in front of her house to knock on her door and wake her up.  So my companion and I were yelling and clapping to try to wake her up.  Finally, after 30 minutes and lots of prayers she woke up.  We were late for church and I said if you want to receive the Holy Ghost today, we have to run...because they do confirmations at the beginning of the meeting and sometimes, if you are late you have to wait until next Sunday.  So we were literally running the entire way to church to get there on time.  When we walked into church they are finishing the last line of the sacrament Hymn.  I look and there was Pres. and Sister Bührer smiling as we walked in!  We were late, but at least we made it in time for the sacrament.   So Luciana received the Holy Ghost and it was so special!  Lots of miracles and tender mercies this week!

I have been reflecting on this scripture this week, D&C 67: 3.  “Ye endeavored to believe that ye should receive the blessing which was offered unto you; but behold, verily I say unto you, there were fears in your hearts, and verily this is the reason that ye did not receive.

10.  And again, I say unto you that it is your privilege and a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that in as much as you strip yourselves of jealousies and fears and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual.

Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now, neither the ministering of angels; wherefore, continue in patience until ye are perfected.”

I have learned out here that when we pray and fast we are closer to God.  We feel his presence and can receive revelation and that miracles do and will happen. When we sacrifice things we like that may be keeping us from becoming better we are one step closer to becoming more like the Savior.  Like the scripture says, God isn’t with the natural man or carnal mind, he is above us, is thoughts, his plans, everything.  He knows what’s best, he knows what we need.  We just need to trust him and follow him and be an instrument in his hands.  He´ll do the rest and we´ll see his miracles and have an opportunity and honor to be apart of them. 

God lives.  This is his church.  I know it everyday more and more out here.

Te amo,
 Sister Smithie

 Luciana was baptized on Friday!!!! 

 Today's Lunch!
We ate pizza on Saturday...
I love brazil and their pizza!!! ((: 

Love this awesome graffiti wall! 
 The Mocking Jay 
Look at this cool tree...
We visited a park last was we´re going to go on a nature walk (cough..Kylie)
Neat bird...
Lovely Lake

 Look at this cool plant!

 Mom, I heard you are making lots of 
brooms for Halloween, 
I found a Brazilian one.. hehehe

Our cute zone picture

Love these Sisters

I love having a companion that likes taking lots of pictures. hehehehe, 
"Yesterday was a good, a very good day, yeahhhh, I love good days!"
....Aleece, where did I get that quote from?(: