Monday, June 27, 2016

Week 49!

I left Caldas Novas!
Week 49--June 27, 2016

This week was the biggest shocker of my entire mission!  HOLY COW!!  Okay, so I have been in Caldas Novas for 6th months and this is my 5th transfer here.  I knew I’d probably be leaving next transfer, but not in the middle of the transfer!  I got a call that we were having an emergency transfer and that I would be leaving the next day to Patos De Minas!!!  Patos isn’t in Goiania, it’s in Minas, another state in Brazil.   Our mission only covers a little bit of Minas!  I was in complete shock when they called!  I thought something must have happened for them to do this so last minute with President Kuceki leaving this week.  (I’m so sad.  I’m going to miss Pres. & Sister Kuceki  so much!)  After we got the call that I was being transferred the next day we ran to visit Rodrigues, Fabiana & Rafael´s family, and all the members I’ve grown so close to.  It was so sad, I can’t tell you how many tears were shed.  It was super hard for me. 

When I called Rodrigues and Selia and told them I’d be leaving the next day we started crying and asking why already?  Why?  We planned our last lunch at their house the next day, before I left!  The entire day I was extremely emotional!  Selia (Rodrigues´s wife) and I kept crying and hugging.  Like I’ve said, in every area it gets harder and harder to leave the people I meet.... especially after 6 months!!  Rodrigues and Selia have become my parents here in Caldas.  Every time we need a ride we just call them and they take us where we need to go.  They always make lunch for us and when we need something we always stop by their home and they are always willing to help.  Selia gave us dresses and they gave us money to buy snacks.  Ah, they are just he most amazing, selfless people.  I didn’t want to spend my last day anywhere else than in their home.  I feel like their home is my second home in Caldas.  I love them so much I am crying just thinking about them.  During our last hours together we talked about the first day we met.  Sister Kendell and I knocked (clapped) at their door.  We talked about the first time that Rodrigues read the Restoration Pamphlet and how he felt the spirit so strong that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.  Then when we taught him about the word of wisdom he said ok, if a prophet received revelation that we shouldn’t drink coffee, then I will stop drinking it.  He is so obedient and has a strong desire to follow Heavenly Father.  Then I bore my testimony and said how proud I am of Rodrigues and his decision to be baptized 3 months ago and how he is such a good example because he is always sharing the gospel and inviting others to church.  I told him to keep honoring his calling in the bishopric and to help this ramo (smaller than a ward) grow in Caldas Novas.  Rodrigues & Selia were crying the whole time and they both said that their lives changed the day we entered their home.  They said that I am like their daughter and they want to keep writing me and keep in touch and they want to send me gifts when I get married and stuff.  Rodrigues bore his testimony and said our last prayer together, and you guys, this man has the purest heart!  He has so much faith in our Father in Heaven.  He told me that the greatest gift that God has given him was to bring us into his home and teach him the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He said that he is a different man than he was before we taught him.  Selia said, “yep, he is always reading the Book of Mormon and before this he didn’t even like to read!”  Rodrigues is my pride and joy!  I haven’t had the opportunity to stay in an area long enough to watch someone I’ve taught and baptized, progress in the gospel, get the priesthood, bless the sacrament, and become a member of the bishopric.  I love this man and I am grateful everyday to Heavenly Father that he gave me the opportunity and honor to teach him and know him.  A piece of my heart will always be left in Caldas with Rodrigues and Selia.

Then I said goodbye to Rafael and Fabiana´s family.  That was super hard too, because we were all planning that I would be there for their wedding and baptism...but not any more.  Fabiana was crying and super sad.  Then she made me PIZZA!!!  We were planning on her teaching me how to make all her yummy recipes on our next few p-days….but not anymore.  It was super hard, I bore my testimony and Rafael said that we were angels that God sent to him in his time of need.  I love this family.  They said they would call the new mission president and ask if I could be there for their baptism in July!  I am praying I will!!

I am loving Patos, Sunday was great!  We already had a miracle and found this lady Saturday and she came to church on Sunday and I have faith she will get baptized next week!!!  WOOT WOOT!!!  I love you all!  Thank you for your prayers, they help me, and strengthen me everyday!!!  xoxoxoxo Have a good summer!!

-Sister Smith

This cute member sells bread in the street. 
 I just adore her!

 Our favorite place to buy pastels. 

Rodrigues and Selia with the bishop and his other councilor.

Me and the bishopric in Caldas Novas.

Me with Rafael and Fabiana's family that will be baptized in July!  

Fabiana made me pizza, it was better than the restaurants here!

Saying goodbye to Caroline, Patricia wasn't there, she was in the hospital because her husband fell at work and broke his chin and all his teeth came out...super sad! 

Saying goodbye to Gene! 

Saying goodbye to Lais! 

Rodrigues and Selia, I love them with all my heart, our last lunch together 

My new companion!!!! Woot woot!!  Sister Ketlin, she is from Brazil and in the same ward as our new MISSION PRESIDENT!!


Monday, June 20, 2016

Week 48!

Miracles & Families…..what could be better!
Week 48—June 20, 2016

I´ve got some miracles to share with you all!! (; 

So this week my companion and I were out of money. We didn’t have any money to buy lunch or anything on P-day!  Usually we go to a member’s home for lunch, except on P-days.  We didn’t have any money because we had used it all in Goiania renewing our Visa’s.  (Don’t worry mom, this is the first time we have had nothing to eat).  So my companion and I were praying that morning that a miracle would happen and that we´d get fed or find lunch.  So I haven’t been able to get my personal debit card to work since October.  Well, I thought I’d try it again and IT WORKED (20 years later) and then out came my money!!  Then my companion thought she didn’t have any money and she checked her account and strangely enough THERE WAS MONEY!!!  We probably looked like weirdo’s jumping up in the air hugging and screaming at teller, because we both had money!!  You guys, God loves his missionaries, he´ll never let us go hungry. (;

Another miracle happened when a member said she could drive us (last minute) to our lunch appointment in her car.   We get driving and she´s like ummm, we need gas, and I don’t have any money!  We were going to drive through the desert and we didn’t want to risk running out of gas!  So she put 12 dollars (Brazilian money) in and nothing happened, the gas light was still on and she said, we need like 50 dollars worth of gas or we are not going to make it.  My companion had 10 dollars and so we bought more gas with that and we were praying it would be enough.  You guys, the gas gage moved far above the half tank mark and we were all like WHAT???  MIRACLES FROM HEAVENLY FATHER!!!  Once again, he´ll never let us cross a desert without being prepared!!

Okay, this week I had to go to Goiania to renew my VISA!!!  It was Sister Mendez´s 21st birthday, and we spent it on a bus. WOOT WOOT!  It was fun, the whole time I wrote in my journal and caught up on all the things that have happened on my mission. Ahhh I was sitting there crying thinking about the past 11 months and how fast they have gone by and all the people I have met and things I have learned.  My companion was laughing at me while I was crying. haha (: We started talking about families and temples and I remembered the last full day at home before my mission, I was in the temple with my family.  I remember watching each one of my family members getting baptized for those that have passed away.  I remember crying and thinking about how much I was going to miss each one of them while I was gone.  I love my family.  I love them so much.  I think about them and pray for them everyday.  I am so grateful that because of our Savior Jesus Christ and the sacrifice that he gave, I can be with my family forever.  I don’t need to worry about something happening to them while I’m here in Brazil.  I don’t need to worry if I will ever see them again, because I know I will.  We are an eternal family.  I trust Heavenly Father, and his plan is so perfect.  He loves us just as much, if not more than we love our families and he too wants us to return and live with him again.  I am so grateful for this knowledge.  The gospel just gives me so much comfort, I don’t know what I’d do without it!  I´m so grateful for this opportunity to share what I know to be true and what I’m so passionate about with others here in Brazil.  THE GOSPEL IS TRUE, THE BOOK IS BLUE, AND GOD SURE LOVES YOU!!!

I love you family and everyone else reading this!!!
- Sister Smithie

I love this beautiful family!

Sister Mendez loved all the birthday decorations I put up! (I had kept them from my birthday!)  

Celebrating Sister Mendez's 21st birthday!

Sister LOVED the decorations and the blow horn thingy haha! 
This Parrot wouldn't get on my shoulder
Sister Mendez and I hit our 11 month mark on the same day!

Look what I got this week!!! Thank you grandma and my twinzy Schauerhamer!! xoxoxox

Rafaela lost her tooth!!

 Tan lines on our feet from being in the sun all day.
Trying to get warm in Goiania

Monday, June 13, 2016

Week 47!

Goodbye President & Sister Kuceki
Week 47—June 13, 2016

Okay, this week felt like a year because LOTS of things happened!  First of all, I got a new companion and she ROCKS!!  It was so cool because we met each other in the MTC in Sao Paulo and we were automatically best friends the first day, because we were both serving in the same mission.  She was there the same amount of time as me because she is Hispanic and from Mexico and was also learning Portuguese!!!  It’s awesome because we are already tight and best friends and have the same amount of time in the mission, and….we will hit our 1 year TOGETHER!!!  We laugh so much together and she is such a good missionary, its going to be a good transfer, let me tell you right now(:

So this week we had a reunion with the entire mission to say bye to President and Sister Kuceki!!  Sister Vital and I got to Goiania Monday night and we passed by Maura´s house (my Brazilian Mommy) she made yummy food for us!  Sister Matos and Sister Kendel were also at Maura’s house.  I WAS WITH ALL MY COMPANIONS!!!  It was so special to be in Maura´s house with Sister Matos, it brought so many memories back teaching her and all the memories making cookies in her kitchen!  I have pictures of us all.  I will send them next week!!  But then we spent the night in the apartment in Goiania with 36 other sisters....I slept on the hard tile floor, my collar bone was killing me and it was cold...yes Goiania is starting to be super freezing at night and I didn’t bring a blanket on the mission or warm pj´s...WHAT WAS I THINKING???!!!  It was an interesting night!  Then in the morning, I went with some other Sisters and Elders to get our Visa´s renewed and that took about 3 hours, and at 2pm we were starting the devotional and farewell for Pres. and Sister Kuceki!  So, while we were waiting there for our Visas, one of the assistants called me and asked me if I could bare my testimony at the devotional...I was like WHAT???  ME???  Yes, of course I will.(:  You don’t know how nervous I was!  I felt so honored that they chose me to share at their last meeting with all the missionaries...but I was nervous.  I was asking all the Sisters I know if they got asked to bare their testimony, and none of them had been asked.  I said about 200 prayers and practiced what I was going to say in my head about 20 times hahaha (family you know me.)  So, when we get there I notice the WHOLE mission is there, 140 missionaries, our President, and his family.  He said we have 5 missionaries that will share their testimonies.  Sister Terial the (Sister Training Leader) and Sister Smith and 3 other Elders (Zone Leaders).  You guys, I can’t tell you how nervous I was, but I prayed and asked Heavenly Father to help me and give me confidence and the gift of tongues.  I stood up there and it went so good!  Heavenly Father never lets you down, he is so good!!  It was a super big growing experience for me, and I felt so honored.  I shared in my testimony about how grateful I am for President and his wife and how I know that he receives revelation from God for every area we are put in, and every companion we have.  He sends us there because God told him to, and because God is preparing his elect children for us to teach and baptize.  Then I talked about how God knows each one of us better than we know ourselves.  He knows our potential and what we can do!  It is us who have doubts and fears about ourselves.  It went so well!  When Sister Kuceki shared her talk with the whole mission, she talked about me and the lesson I gave in Caldas Novas last Sunday!!!  People came up to me after and said “wow, your lesson must have been good.”  I was at a loss for words but said that experience was super special, because it really was! (:

AHHH, yesterday I was giving a talk in Sacrament Meeting and a lizard fell from the ceiling, and everyone was screaming, and I didn’t know what was happening...I thought it was a rat, so I panicked…….it was so funny!!

We´ve got more baptisms coming up!!(:  The people here are amazing and Heavenly Father is so good, I love him!!

Wellington’s baptism was so spiritual and special.  He had to get dunked twice because Rodrigues said the words wrong (; it was cute because it was his first time baptizing someone! 

It was a great week!  I love you guys!!  THE CHURCH IS TRUE!

-Sister Smithie

Cleaning the pool for Wellingtons baptism.

Lasagna for lunch and then more cleaning fun!

Eating the coconuts at the church soccer field.. was so fun and yummy!! 
I Love these cute members!!

Look who baptized Wellington!  Rodrigues was so honored and excited to baptize him! 
Wellington got dunked twice!!(:

 Wellington´s Baptism was AMAZING!!!!!((:

My new companion is Sister Mendez from Mexico!  We were already close friends from the Sao Paulo, Brazil MTC.

 A baptism isn't a baptism in Brazil without CAKE people!!