Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Arrival of Sister Smith

August 30, 2016
Dear Brother and Sister Smith,  

What a joy it was for us to welcome Sister Makenzie Smith to the Arizona Mesa Mission.   She will be a great addition to the mission and we feel honored to serve together with her.

Attached is a photograph of your missionary that was taken just hours after her arrival.  Following a brief “Welcome Meeting”, we enjoyed a nice lunch and some orientation to Arizona Mesa Mission procedures.  I personally interviewed Sister Smith and sought inspiration in order to best match her with her first companion.

The first several weeks in the mission field can be very challenging.  Adjusting to missionary life requires that each missionary learn to manage new and difficult physical, emotional, social, intellectual, and spiritual demands.  Each missionary must learn important principles and skills for managing stress.  We will help Sister Smith make this transition as smoothly as possible.  Your help and support is also needed and appreciated. 

The frequency and content of your emails and letters to your missionary will assist in this adjustment.  We encourage you to email or write once a week.  It is not wise to include information that will cause homesickness or excessive worry about life at home.  Please focus on subjects that are uplifting, supportive, and encouraging.  Always inspire her to have faith, to be obedient and to serve with unselfishness and consecration.  The quality and quantity of your communications will have a dramatic effect on your missionary either as a blessing or a detriment to her service.

Thank you for your prayers and support in her behalf.  May the Lord bless you and your family for your sacrifice and for her faithful service. 


Lonny E. Townsend

President, Arizona Mesa Mission

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Fwd: trying to find the juan more pics

My district decided that one day you will see me on the missionary dress and grooming standards website with all my outfits haha

Trying to find the Juan

So I think i am going to make it a thing where every week my subject/title is going to be a pun from the week. So this one refers to yesterday when we were practicing teaching, and the "investigators" were going to be a guy named Juan, and a list of different investigators is found in one of our booklets and the teacher thought the description of this guy was on a certain page, but that was the wrong page so she told us to see if we could find him, which i responded with "Try to find the Juan." The teacher and some other missionaries thought it was funny.

I got my travel schedule, and I leave the MTC next Tuesday, Aug 30. I have to be at the travel office at 3:50am and then my flight it at like 8:30am. So only one more week here!

Anyways, this past week was pretty great. I'm still growing and learning everyday. Last Tuesday night, we had a devotional given by Bonnie L. Oscarson about being a missionary and how often times on our missions and in life, we have trials and it may seem like we are being held back and not allowed to grow. This was related to a story someone else shared about a bush being cut back and looking like it had a tear formed from sap, but the gardener knew what he was doing and knew it was for the bushes good. The same is true in our life. Heavenly Father knows what he wants us to be, and so sometimes we may feel like we are getting 'cut back' but it's only for our own good. Also, my comp and I along with the other sisters in my district were singing in the choir and apparently, we were on the screen twice. So I'm practically famous haha

Throughout this past week, we have done a lot of teaching to prepare us for when we go out into the mission field. It's really good experience and it really helps me learn how to follow the Spirit when teaching and that it's okay to only teach part of what you planned or even change course when you get to the lesson as long as the investigator's faith grows. The saying and principle of "Teach people, not lessons" is harder to do than to say, but this is why we have the MTC to train and practice. People often say that the first time you teach a lesson by the Spirit, you just know after you finish the lesson. You walk away and just think, "we just taught by the Spirit." My companion and I experienced that for the first time this past week, and it is an amazing feeling and experience. 
Something else I have learned this past week is how to simplify lessons. Sometimes when we teach, we want to go deep down into details when in reality simplicity is better. It can cause less confusion and allow the investigator to better understand what we are teaching, but it can also spark specific questions that the investigator may have. Sometimes when we teach all the details, and investigator may not even know what question to ask or they just don't know what they aren't understanding. 

Sunday is always a good change in pace here at the MTC. It's just a little more relaxed. The devotional we had on Sunday was given by the Nashville Tribute Band. It was pretty good. Basically, they played some different songs and talked about some of them. Being in the choir, we sang 3 songs with them, and then they also had all the sisters sing another one with them, and then there was one song they had everyone sing along. The songs invited the Spirit. After, I watched 2 new visitor center videos that have only been seen at 2 of the visitor centers and then at the MTC. They were about the Book of Mormon and the restoration of the Priesthood. They were really good!

This past week, I have done a lot of studying about the Atonement and repentance. Part of this studying was just on my own, a lot in class, some in preparation for teaching investigators, and then also some because my comp and I had to teach in relief society. The Atonement and repentance are so real and so amazing. Repentance is only possible through the Atonement, and these two things put together provide so many blessings. We are allowed to forget the pain and sorrow from the past and experience joy and happiness when we accept Jesus Christ and His Atonement. We don't have to suffer for all of our mistakes because Jesus Christ has done that; He paid for our sins. An analogy I made in a lesson is if you were in a court of law and you had broken a law and bail was set at a certain price, Jesus Christ will pay the bail amount so you don't have to go to jail and suffer. You, as the criminal though, must accept that from Christ. He is ready for us to accept what He has provided us through the Atonement, but we have to make the choice. I have seen how the Atonement and repentance have worked in my life, and it is indescribable. It brings me comfort, peace, joy and happiness, and also strength to get through whatever is happening. A lot of the times, we think we have to have perfection, but in reality we just have to have progression and continually repent and allow the Atonement to work in our lives. 

Also, there is a new sister in my branch who came in this week whose name is also Sister Smith and we have been called dopplegangers or cousins because we kinda look alike and one day even wore somewhat matching outfits haha. And I learned that for me, playing volleyball at the gym is hard because a lot of the people playing don't really know how to play and I'm just too competitive lol

Anyways, I love y'all! 

Sister Smith

Sister Busath and I

District :)

Sister Bjazevich and I 

Throwback to freshman year when we would steal m&ms from the cannon center

Hermana Eraso and I  (friend from freshman year)

Sister Smith and I with our comps because our comps matched too lol

Sister Smith and I haha

Sisters in my zone

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Itn a hairy situation....

So the reason my subject is that is because my hair brush broke the other day haha... Luckily I can still use it because the handle just broke off from the actual brush part, but I'll probably just get a new one once I get to AZ.

To start, I was finally able to get here on Thursday. My flight went well and we even landed a little early. After, I went to Brick Oven with some friends and relatives before heading off to the MTC. I got my name tag and everything, and then I had to wait for my companion to come get me from the front desk since she was at lunch. Waiting there for that short time was kinda hard, but as soon as my companion, Sister Drasbek (pronounced 'drawsbeck') came and got me, things were a lot better. We put my stuff in my room and then jumped right into class. Class was good and I met my teacher Sister Prawitt. She's pretty cool. I did occasionally feel behind or out of the loop when people would talk about things or something, but I think I'm completely caught up now haha. After some studying and dinner, we met with our MTC branch presidency and just got to know them a little bit. Then, it was finally time for bed. It was crazy that I was able to make it through the whole day having been up since 3:15am, but I'm sure the Lord helped me out.

Friday started out at the gym. First time going to a gym for a while haha. After this and getting ready, we had personal or companion study for 3 hours. It was good, but did seem kinda long. There's a funny picture of my comp and I during this time that another sister in my district took, and hopefully I will be able to get that from her soon. I do love the fact that we have so much time to study on our own because we can really focus on what we want or need to focus on and we don't have to find time since it's scheduled for us.  After lunch, we had more class time and my comp and I taught our first lesson together. It's definitely a learning process, that's for sure. Really, the best part of Friday was our night class with Brother Christensen (I think that's how you spell it...). We really just talked about the Doctrine of Christ and why it is so important and how our purpose as missionaries aligns with that. The spirit was so strong in that classroom. Ultimately as missionaries, we invite other to come unto to Christ so that they can live the doctrine of Christ. 

Saturday, the first thing that really is somewhat exciting from my day is when I went to the gym and I played knock out with people. My basketball skills are not what they used to be, but they are still pretty good. A lot of the people I was playing with were like, "Hermana, you are good!" (Hermana because they are going spanish-speaking). And they were always afraid when I was behind them haha. After this, there was companion study and something that was just reinforced in my life is that we will always be blessed and helped through whatever we are doing if we are doing those things God had commanded us to do. In class that day, the best part was studying the Book of Mormon together. There is so much to learn when you really take your time and discuss things with others. That night before bed, my comp and the other two sisters in our district just sat and talked and laughed for almost an hour. It was a nice change in pace and reminder that we can still have fun. 

Sunday was really good just because our schedule is a little different than most days. Our sacrament meeting was soooo good. One of the counselors in my branch presidency gave an awesome talk about the Book of Mormon and having a testimony of it and why it is important. The story he told brought such a strong spirit and I don't think I have ever seen so many people tear up in a sacrament meeting before, especially young men haha.  Church at the MTC is different since we don't really have Sunday school and there is a gap between meetings, so a little later I had relief society. It was weird because there were a total of 9 of us in the room, but 3/9 were the teaching... Later, after lunch and stuff, we went on a temple walk. I got some pictures of my comp and I as well as one with my district. I may not be able to send them today and if I don't, I will make sure to send them next week. Later that night, we had a devotional. But before the devotional, we were singing a few songs while waiting. Let me tell you, missionaries are still kids at heart. One of the songs we sang was Book of Mormon Stories, and we did the hand actions and all. Also, that song sounds pretty cool on the organ. The other song we sang was Carry On, and I have never heard so many people hit the high note at the end as I did that night. After the devotional, they have "movies", which is really just a devotional re-run. The one I saw was sooooo amazing though. It was all about the character of Christ, and how we should all try to obtain a character like Christ. In other words, we need to put off the natural man, we can't demand and want things now and our way. We can't get mad, no matter what the circumstance is. It was just so good.

Monday, was just the same old schedule basically. But this time, personal and comapanion study had a little more purpose because my comp and I were planning 3 different lessons for "investigators". Teaching lessons, like I said before, is a learning process. Really, not much else exciting happened.

Today, so far I have just gone to the temple, which is always good.

Just some other random things:
-my room only has four girls in it instead of six, so I was able to steal another pillow so I now have 2 to use haha
-our door shakes and makes a really annoying noise for some reason. My comp and I both woke up around 5:20ish a couple nights in a row from it, but we think we found a solution for it
-I'm pretty sure I know more people working at the MTC than I know missionaries at the MTC. So far I have run into 4 different people I know working at the MTC and 1 person I know that is a missionary

ALSO, USE DEAR ELDER WHILE I AM IN THE MTC, unless you want to send a package. DearElder.com will probably be easier for you and I can get your letter that same day or next day depending what time you send it. The info you need shoudl already be posted

Anyways, I love you all. 

Sister Smith

*pics will probably be sent later today. if not, next week
Sisters from my district- Sister Drasbek, Busath and Bjazevich

My District

My companion- Sister Drasbeck (She's 6'1". No she didn't play basketball or volleyball)

Temple Missionary Selfie

Another of my comp and I

Thursday, August 11, 2016

I made it, finally!

Hey, just want to let you know that I have arrived safely at the MTC (but you probably know that already from all the pics that were sent haha). Only 24 hours late. 
But yeah, my flight was good and landed a little early actually. Then, we made our way to Brick Oven and then the MTC.
Btw, I think I am actually going to be at the MTC for 3 weeks and not 2.
Anyways, love y'all!

Sister Smith

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Email Address:

MTC Mailing Address:
Sister Makenzie Kae Smith
2005 N 900 E Unit 223
Provo UT 84602