Monday, October 31, 2016

Don't let the bed bugs bite

Literally...So I heard this phrase a lot growing up, but this week it was a reality. We were on exchanges. I was still in my area, and Sister DeVuyst and I went finding and we were invited into an apartment. While we were teaching, we noticed that the couch we were sitting on had bed bugs and they were getting on to us... We are pretty sure that we got it all taken care of and that we didn't bring any of them into our apartment though. Fingers crossed!

Here's another joke. We were told this at Deseret Book today:
Why did the Mormon cross the road? To do work on the other side haha

But this week was an adventure! Exchanges for me was crazy. I was in charge of the area since I stayed. We had the run in with bed bugs, all but one of our appointments fell through, and the one that didn't was supposed to start at 8:15pm, but the investigator and the member who gives the investigator a ride forgot, so the lesson didn't start until 8:50pm, and so it had to be a short lesson so we could get home on time. 

On Wednesday, we had a hand off lesson. We had 2 investigators that we found in our YSA area who need to go to the family ward. Hand off lessons are always interesting. It went pretty well though. 

We also have a new investigator who we think has a lot of potential. He lost his wife about 2 1/2 months ago and he has a strong belief in God and Christ. We haven't taught him an official lesson, but we think it could be really good.

Oh, last Monday for FHE with our YSA ward, we got to help with some of the Christmas lights preparation. I helped string lights for bananas haha

With today being Halloween, we are doing 0 proselyting, which is very rare. Our mission is having an activity for most of missionaries in the mission. The only missionaries who aren't coming are the ones out in Globe and stuff since it is too far. 

This week I have been thinking a lot about how great the Plan of Salvation. This plan is so perfect and it is because our Heavenly Father loves us so much! He is so merciful. He gives us the ability to repent and become better. He does not punish us for making mistakes because we are human. I love this quote from Richard G. Scott's talk "Personal Strength Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ".  He said, "The joyful news for anyone who desires to be rid of the consequences of past poor choices is that the Lord sees weaknesses differently than He does rebellion. Whereas the Lord warns that unrepented rebellion will bring punishment, when the Lord speaks of weaknesses, it is always with mercy." We do have weaknesses, but that is what the Atonement is for. It strengthens us and allows us to overcome our weaknesses and become better each and every day.

-Sister Smith

The banana lights I helped with haha

My Halloween "costume". This watermelon outfit is the closest I can get to dressing up lol

Monday, October 24, 2016

I don't take offense. I don't even take a gate!

-As said by a member from our family ward when we were teaching her

Also, fun fact. I learned from another sister in our apartment that the cat's name around our apartment is not Marco, but rather it is Margo...

Anyways, this week was exhausting, but it was a solid week. We were able to find 7 new investigators this week! Although, we will have to pass 2 of them off to the family ward since we found them in our YSA area, and they need to go to a family ward. I'm sad we have to pass them off because they seem so ready to hear and accept the gospel, but as long as they hear it, it will be okay haha.

We also had one investigator, actually the one who walked out of the lesson last week, come to church for the first time in a while. His name is Ali, and since last week, he has started to progress more than he has the whole time we have been in the area. He is showing more of a desire to fully change so that he can be baptized. We are all so excited about this!

On Saturday, we had an opportunity to be apart of a service project where we helped clean up trash around the Salt River. For those of you who have been to Galveston, the river area kinda smelled like Galveston... A lot of the missionaries helped out though, and I think one of the other stakes was hosting it. So there were lots of people there. Things that were found by various people while picking up trash: 
-a couple sets of car keys
-a phone
-a set of bed sheets (found by me...)
Also, I think chapstick is a common thing to lose because I found about 10 things of it in a small area. 

This week, I was also pondering how our past experiences can help us keep our testimony when we are going through trials. I love Elder Rasband's talk from conference, "Lest Thou Forget." I would like to share two quotes from it.
"I encouraged them, as I encourage you now, to recall, especially in times of crisis, when you felt the Spirit and your testimony was strong; remember the spiritual foundations you have built."

" In the midst of life’s greatest storms, do not forget your divine heritage as a son or daughter of God or your eternal destiny to one day return to live with Him, which will surpass anything the world has to offer. Remember the tender and sweet words of Alma: “Behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?”
To all who feel the need to have their faith fortified, I plead with you, do not forget! Please do not forget." 

There are times when we have to rely on our past experiences to keep us moving forward. We can't forget those times when we felt the Spirit, those times when we knew our testimony was gained or strengthened. We will all face hard times, but we have to keep moving forward and never doubt those things we felt in the past. I know in my life that I have had to rely on past experiences and the testimony I had then to get through whatever I was going through. Never forget. 

With much love,
Sister Smith 

Shoutout to Sister Tracy for the gift bag

Shoutout to Stephanie for getting us Canes for dinner on Tuesday

That time we accidentally left the mission boundaries because the road is weird and we couldn't turn... So in this picture, you can see our mission and we aren't in it... oops 🙊 

Post service lunch with other missionaries (sorry the pic is so dark...) 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

"Marco" "Polo"

We moved into our new apartment this week and there is a cat that wanders around the area that has apparently been named Marco. One of our roommates was trying to call him over while standing at the door and was like, "MARCO!" I responded quietly, "Polo." Sister Leavitt thought it was funny. 

Anyways, this week was filled with its ups and downs. 

To start with the ups: We have 2 new investigators who are pretty awesome and solid. They actually come into the VC trying to find and learn more about God. They have been through a lot, but they really want to change. They are so ready to hear and accept the gospel. They said they would want to be baptized, but they will have to work hard in order to achieve that. But they are awesome. They even came to church for the first time and liked it! Skylar is still solid and working towards baptism on November 26. If everything goes the way it should, he should have no problem being ready by then. We also now live in our area, and that makes life easier. It's also nice because we can walk/jog around the the temple in the morning for our workout since we live across the street from it. If we don't do that, we go to pioneer park around the corner and workout there. 

Downs: We had an investigator walk out of a lesson last night... He has been struggling with Word of Wisdom issues and at the beginning of the lesson, we were indirectly talking about it and overcoming it. Then we hit it head on and I think he got overwhelmed or something and kinda stormed out of the member's home we were at... the spirit left pretty quickly when that happened. We also went finding and went to a potential investigators house, and as we were about to knock on the door, a neighbor told us no one lived there. We reacted and the neighbor asked if we were looking for Rick. We said yeah. He responded, "yeah, he died on Tuesday." We were shocked. That's something you don't expect to happen. 

Something that I really liked though from church yesterday is a talk our bishop gave in one of our wards. Trying to be brief, he basically made three points with some stories he told: 1. Babies cry. 2. Tires go flat. 3. Life is hard. He then talked about how there are some things we just cannot control. Some things just happen. We all have adversity in our lives, but the Atonement makes it possible to get through it and grow and progress. It's important to remember that we all will have hard times, but it is how we choose to go through them that matters. We also can't improve and grow without those hard times. 

Love y'all!
Sister Smith

This is Sister St. Gelais. She has the best fashion in the Udall Ward.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Having a Glad(ys) (K)night

So Gladys Knight had a fireside this week in Mesa, and it was sooo good! It was a little tiring because we were out late (with permission of course). But no words can describe just how great it was.
Other funny things: Read 1 Nephi 11:10 and then immediately 1 Nephi 11:15. A member showed this to us. Also, our investigator Skylar is overcoming a Word of Wisdom issue and he was talking about wanting just continued support and a member named Katie (love her to death) said, "I WILL SUPPORT THE CRAP OUT OF YOU!" It was really funny and Skylar's reaction was, "What did I get myself into?" and Katie said, "Mormon support." It may not be as funny for everyone reading this, but it was really funny in the moment. 

Also, I have now been out for 2 months and have made it through my first transfer! I will be staying in my area, but will be moving so that we will be closer/in our area.  

This past week was great though! To start, we now have 3 investigators with baptismal dates! And we are planning on setting 1-2 more on date this week. We also found 5 new investigators, so the work is going great right now! 

This past week, I was also really able to gain a love for those people I am teaching and in my area. During multiple lessons this week, we would be teaching and I would just feel a love for those that we were teaching. Also, we were able to witness some progress in some of our investigators who kind of stalled out for a little bit. Then Skylar, who is on date for baptism, could not stay for all of church, but he admitted to me that he felt bad for not being able to stay the whole time. That shows how he is changing and being converted. 

A neat experience we had this week was meeting with a member from one of our wards who is blind. When you first meet her, Sister Gray, you would have no idea that she is blind because she looks at you when you speak and when she speaks, she looks at you. Her eyes also move like she is looking at you and stuff. Then, when she goes to walk around or get something, you realize that she is blind because she does the hand moving around to try to find what she wants. But she has a strong testimony and loves doing missionary work. She is so sweet. Also, I realized how helpful Siri can be because while we were with her, she pulled out a phone. Then, she asked Siri for her messages and also what time it is. It really is amazing what technology can do and how helpful it can be. 

Something that I did struggle with a little bit this week was wondering if I really did have a strong testimony. I know a lot of missionaries go through this phase on their mission. I had prayed to know if I did have a strong testimony, and my prayer was answered. During Sunday School in my YSA ward, everyone was combined since it was ward conference, and the theme was kind of missionary work and rescuing and finding. They had 3 converts tell their conversion story. One of them talked about how when he was deciding if the church was true or not, he felt like he knew he was holding a green apple in his hand, but he was still praying to God and asking God to tell him that he was holding a green apple in his hand. This is what I felt like-- I know I have a strong testimony, but I wanted God to tell me. Often times, I feel like we struggle wondering if we know things are true or wondering if we have a testimony, when in reality, we already know and we have known. It is just Satan trying to put doubt in our head. I would invite any of you who are struggling with this to ask yourself, "Do I already know this? Do I need to have God tell me what I already know?"

I love all of you guys!
Sister Smith

Black cat that hangs around the apartment we will be moving into tomorrow

On the shuttle to go to the Gladys Knight fireside

Waiting in line. Skylar is the one in the black shirt. Laura (white cardigan) was our investigator but just moved. The other 2 people are Jessee and Katie

Monday, October 3, 2016

I don't have mushroom

So we went to organ stop pizza again with a different member, and we got some fried mushrooms. I tried one and they didn't taste too bad, they just were very spongy... But the member was trying to get us to eat more of them at the end of dinner, and I responded "Sorry, but I don't have mushroom left in my stomach." Lol

Anyways, this week was busy. We had lots of lessons and lots of finding and ended up finding 6 new investigators this week! Because of this, we should be pretty busy this week teaching. We have an awesome missionary opportunity coming up on Friday this week too! Gladys Knight is putting on a fireside with her choir that she directs and there is going to be music and Gladys night is going to bear her testimony and talk about how she knows the church is true. Before people leave, they can request a bag with a demo cd of her choir, a Book of Mormon, and a restoration DVD. As missionaries, we will then deliver these bags and try to set up return appointments to teach. So I'm excited for all of that!

I also had my first exchange this week, Wednesday into Thursday. It was weird being in a different area, especially one that has legit neighborhoods (because my area right now doesn't really have neighborhoods lol). But it was great and I was able to learn a lot and recognize more easily my strengths and talents. It was also great because I got to pet a lot of dogs, including some labs 😊 

General Conference this weekend was absolutely amazing! As missionaries, we loved how so many of the lessons we teach were addressed in a talk- The Restoration, Plan of Salvation, The Gospel of Jesus Christ, and even the Word of Wisdom. I feel like a lot of the talks really just got down to the basics of the gospel. We all need to focus more on the basics to strengthen our faith and our testimony and then add upon it.

Love all y'all! 
Sister Smith
I found a puppy! Haha
Photobomb: Sister Jensen

My District