Wednesday, December 27, 2017

But wait...

Idk if I used this joke last year or not, but I’m using it again if I did.
How did the wisemen present their gifts? We’ve got gold, frankincense, but wait! There’s myrrh! 

Anyways, hope y’all all had a good Christmas! 

This week seemed kinda long, but that’s probably just because pday is on Tuesday instead of Monday. But we were pretty busy and all over the place this week. We had 3 exchanges, and we had another sister join us for Christmas Lights Tuesday night because her companion was sick. So basically, Sister Clark and I had all kinds of different companions this week. 

From Monday night to Tuesday night before Christmas Lights, I was on exchanges. Then, we picked up the other sister whose companion was sick. Tuesday night at Christmas Lights was fun in a trio because we felt a little more obligated to talk to people on our own because it’s a little intimidating to have not only 2, but 3 sisters come up to you and start talking, so we just kinda divided and conquered (within the rules though). So we talked to lots of people, and the Visitors’ Center got 102 referrals that night! That was crazy to get that many referrals for a Tuesday night. 

Wednesday, I got to go into a Spanish area again. I think the hardest part for me with that is I can understand what the people are saying, but I just don’t know enough (and am not confident enough) to respond back or make comments. Most people are nice enough to help you though when they know you don’t know much or are learning Spanish. Also, we tipped a trailer up in the air on accident at dinner that night. Long story short, Sister Shumway and I were having dinner with a family, and so were the elders in the other part of the Spanish area. Because of something, we ended up eating part of our dinner outside on the back of a trailer. As we went to get off, 3 of us were all at the back, and it was just like a seesaw. Luckily, all the food had been taken off, so everything was okay.

Thursday, we went caroling as a district to some people from our different areas. It’s always fun and rewarding to see the people’s faces light up with joy as you begin to carol to them. We also had dinner with the Jensen family, where we got to decorate some cookies. And mine turned out pretty great considering my artistic skills. The daughter even wanted to copy one of mine. We also got to go to Christmas Lights again, and I was finally able to actually get a few referrals myself. 

Friday and Saturday were basically all finding. We did day exchanges on Saturday with some sisters because it’s impossible to do a 24 hour exchange with them with Christmas Lights. We had a great conversation with one guy on exchanges, and we offered him a copy of The Book of Mormon 3 times in the course of this conversation, but he turned it down all 3 times. Friday night, I also ate some spicy Thai food. It was great, but my companion and the member who took us out for dinner couldn’t handle the heat when they tried a little bit of my food. They all thought I took it like a champ (although my lips burned sooo bad from the spice level). 

Christmas Eve was great. It was weird only having sacrament meeting in all three wards, but it was nice because I felt like we didn’t have to rush off somewhere. One of our wards did a super beautiful and awesome musical program, which included four cellos being played. It was great! 
We were also fasting because our zone and district have been struggling with finding new investigators, so each companionship took a day to fast, and ours was Christmas Eve. I almost accidentally broke my fast early because we went to a member’s, and they offered us a treat, and it sounded and looked good, so I grabbed one without thinking. Luckily, Sister Clark said, “Don’t do it! Don’t eat it!” and I was able to remember that I was fasting, and I slipped the treat into my bag to eat later. Sometimes, Satan is sneaky though. That night, we went to the Hewitt’s for dinner, where we ate way too much Chinese food and had a great time. And we were also sent home with all the leftovers. We now have rice for days. But a miracle happened that night! We got a call from a member in another ward with a referral for us! It was an answer to our fasting and praying. And the referral even called us back this morning, and we are going over there tonight!

Christmas was also a little more relaxed. We woke up, opened our presents, got ready, studied, and then called home. After, we went to a part member family’s home for lunch (the Abelings—they had us over for Thanksgiving too). We tried to contact the referral we got, but no luck. We then went over to one of our bishops’ houses, where we mostly played some games with them, especially the youngest daughter. We had to eat dinner really fast though because we were supposed to be at the temple at 5:45/6ish to get ready for the concert, but dinner wasn’t ready until 5:30. I don’t think I have ever gotten to the temple so quickly as I did last night. I was really pushing tiwi (a box that monitors our driving and will only let us go up to 7 mph over the speed limit before a red light comes on and tells us to “check your speed”). I was on cruise control and there were a few times when the red light blinked on for a moment but tiwi didn’t say anything. We got there just on time. Then, we had the concert, which was fun, but it was a little crowded on the stands. After, we had hot chocolate with a family, and they had lots of ingredients to make all kinds of different flavored hot chocolate. To end the night, we came home, and the daughter of the member that we live with was over, and she has a German Shepherd. So that was a good way to end Christmas.

I do love the Christmas season though and being able to focus on our Savior. I know Jesus Christ loves us and performed the Atonement for us. I know He gives us light wherever we may be at, just like the symbol of His birth was light both where He was born as well in the Americas. He provides peace and joy in our lives.

I love y’all!
Sister Smith

Opening presents a member gave us last week

District pic

My decorated cookies

When you wear an orange skirt, and all you have is an orange jacket #trafficcone

Weekly dog pic part one

When Elder Smith’s screen freezes 😂

Christmas with Claire Cederstrom an her family

Dog pic part 2

Matching pj's thanks to my mom

Christmas morning exercise/showing of the presents received

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Why do Mexicans make tamales at Christmas?

So Maria told us this joke the other night (btw, she is Mexican). The answer is: so they can have something to unwrap

This week, not much happened within our area. We are continuing to find more people to teach since our investigator pool is pretty vacant. I have been studying Chapter 9 of Preach My Gospel on finding, and I realized that I could be much more effective during the first contact I have with most of the people I talk to. 

We got to help out at Christmas Lights a couple of times this week. We were able to have a few good conversations with some people there. We didn’t get any referrals (that is one of our roles when we are there), but hopefully we helped at least a few people feel the Spirit while there. I just always love being there because the lights are beautiful, but also to just be on temple grounds for a couple of hours is nice. It is exhausting though.

On Wednesday night, we went to mutual so we could talk to some of the young men about how to study and what to study to prepare for a lesson as a missionary. It was good. We started off by asking some questions, mostly about mission lingo. One of the questions was, “what does it mean to have a baby?” The answer is to be a trainer, but one of the young men responded with, “to be sent home early.” We all got a good laugh out of that one. After, we played chair soccer with them. Chair soccer is a lot more difficult in a skirt and with only socks on...

Thursday, we had zone conference. We got to do a nativity, and I was Mary. It was funny at one part though because they talked about how Mary was with a child, and elder named Elder Child, who was also up front at the time, waved his hand at that part. 

Yesterday at church, the fire alarm went off during sacrament meeting. I thought it was kinda ironic though because the person speaking was speaking about obedience and how the people should have just gotten on the ark, looked at the serpent, and how we just need to do the simple things. When the fire alarm went off, people kinda hesitated if they should leave or not. I wanted to go up to the person who was giving the talk and tell him to make the analogy that we just needed to leave the building. I was disappointed when we finally all went back inside and he gave the last little bit of his talk that he didn’t tie in the fire alarm. 
My companion made a good point though about how if we don’t treat the fire alarm as a real thing, even when things seem to be perfectly fine, we will never treat a fire alarm as a real thing. It made me think about following the promptings of the Spirit. If we don’t follow the first one, or don’t follow it because everything seems to be okay, then we never follow the Spirit and take the promptings seriously.

We also had the opportunity to speak in church in one of our wards. We were asked to speak on experiences that helped us know that the Savior and His Atonement are real. I love this topic, so I was excited to talk about it. No matter when, when Jesus Christ and His Atonement are talked about, I can always feel the Spirit.

Love y’all!
Have a merry Christmas! 🎄 
Sister Smith

Christmas Lights

Zone Conference nativity. I was Mary

Zone Pic

Went to lunch with these Sisters on Friday to discuss with them
 some of their struggles in their area

The fire truck at the church building

Found these this morning in the gym at the church. 
Whether they were blind, we know not

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

“Candy, candy corn, candy canes, and syrup”

On Saturday, I felt like Buddy the Elf because we had so much sugar, and one of the contributing factors to all that sugar was being served vanilla ice cream with maple syrup on top. It didn’t really taste bad, it was just too much.

Anyways, this week was pretty good. We did a lot of service. On Tuesday, we helped two older women in one of our wards put up Christmas decorations. Sister Burlew, who was one of the women we helped, even took us out to lunch before we put up her decorations, which was a miracle because we didn’t have much time between her and the other person we helped that day. It also saved us a handful of miles (which will probably be really important this month). It was fun to help put up the Christmas decorations because it helped it feel more like Christmas time. 

Tuesday night, we also got to go to the temple to do baptisms with Maria. It was great to be able to spend time in the temple. It was also great because this time I had family names, so I was able to do some baptisms as well. Maria seemed to really like being inside the temple. It just brings such a sense of peace and calmness. It was just refreshing.

We got to help with the Christmas Lights on Thursday and Friday night. Thursday night, we had a slightly interesting experience. We had a lady come up and start talking to us. Just small talk, nothing much. She then offered us cookies because, she “knows how hard it is to be away from home for Christmas and [she] wanted to give us something.” We took a cookie, and then not too long after she left, we had a host from Christmas Lights tell us that we may not want to eat the cookie because this same lady was passing out propaganda/anti material the other night. I then proceeded to keep the cookie in my pocket the rest of the night since there wasn’t a trash can near. Sister Clark still ate the cookie anyways. Don’t worry, she’s okay. 

Saturday was full steam ahead all day basically. We woke up, helped someone move, got ready, went to a baptism for a child in the ward since Larry and Maria were invited to go, and they invited us. As always, the Spirit at the baptism was super strong. Then, we helped an older couple decorate their tree. Then, we got home to finally do planning and studies only to realize that we were actually supposed to be at a lesson 15 minutes earlier. We rushed over there. Then, we did planning and personal study at the church (we didn’t even do comp study because there was like no time). We had a few good contacts in our area. Then, we had the Christmas Party for Mountain Vista Ward. The whole gym was full, and there were lots of non members there. It was great! 

Sunday, it was the usual church meetings. On Sunday night though, our stake had a Christmas Devotional where each ward choir sang a song, and there was one talk at the end. It was full of the Spirit. I just love music so much. We even sang with one of the ward choirs. It was fun and uplifting. 

I will add that it was really rewarding to do all of the service of helping with the Christmas decorations because the members appreciated it so much. Each one that we have helped has come up to us multiple times to tell us that they just love their decorations and stuff. It’s just good to know that you helped someone and they have been cheered up and blessed by it.

This morning, it was a lot of fun at zone sports. We started off by playing free for all dodgeball (and I even won a game). Then, we decided to play soccer free for all dodgeball where instead of throwing the ball at each other, you have to kick it. Let’s say there were multiple faces hit. But I won 2/3 games! 

Anyways, I love y’all! 
Sister Smith 

Weekly dog pic

Welcome to Mesa y'all

Christmas lights

Check out this car

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

“Mint” a lot to me

So Sister McGee, who was my roommate for a transfer, goes home tomorrow. When we were roommates, her and her companion would always eat the mints I had (I gave permission to them that they could have some). They ate so many that they started buying mints and refilling my bag. Today I left her a pack of mints and a card that says, “you sure mint a lot to me.” Hopefully it makes her laugh.

Anyways, this week was good. We didn’t have a whole lot going on. We did have MLC on Thursday, and on the way there, since it was the last day of the month, we were calculating our miles for the month to see if we could also make it to the temple that night to help with Christmas Lights (since our ride to Christmas Lights told us they were leaving earlier and we didn’t want to do that). After some quick, extensive evaluation and calculation, I may have suddenly, but safely cut across a few lanes to take an exit off of the highway to cut off a couple of miles. We pushed the limit, but we ended up with 8 miles to spare for the month. I have never had this close of a call with miles before, but it all worked out okay.

On Saturday, we got to go to the temple with Nadia since it was her first time to do baptisms for the dead. We didn’t do any baptisms since we didn’t have family names, but it was great to be in the temple. It was awesome to see Nadia do baptisms for her own ancestors, and the Spirit was so strong! 

Saturday night, as part of Skyline’s Ward Christmas Party, we went caroling at a care center, and it was a lot of fun, especially to see how much it meant to the residents at the place. They wanted us to stay longer and sing more, but we didn’t have the time. I wish we could have stayed longer though!

We also got transfer news, and nothing is changing for Sister Clark and I. 

The other day, I was studying 2 Nephi 4, and I feel like I connected with Nephi and what he was saying. In verses 17-19, he is all sad and down because he feels like he should be better than he is. I was thinking how this relates to me as a missionary. Sometimes, I feel like I should be so much better at things because I have been out for awhile, but then I remember how much I have grown and changed, and those things I feel like I should be better at are still a lot better than when I first became a missionary. Now, I am just more aware of my shortcomings and where I can improve, kinda like Nephi. But like Nephi in chapter 4, I know I can trust God. Verse 26 also stood out to me, “O then, if I have seen so great things... why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow,...and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?” We may not be the best and we may have afflictions, but we have seen great things from Heavenly Father in our lives, and because of that we can have happiness and not “linger in the valley of sorrow.”

I love all y’all! Have a great week! 
Sister Smith

Weekly dog pic

Me every morning

Temple trip for Nadia

Not so much zone sports pic

Bad Christmas Lights selfie

BBQ for lunch. Not going to lie, it wasn't as good as
Texas bbqand it was slightly disappointing

Monday, November 27, 2017

There’s always s’more room

We went to a member’s home to pick up something Wednesday night, and they had family over and they were making s’mores. I was stuffed from dinner, but I made the comment, “there’s always s’more room.” The member painfully laughed.
Another funny from this week was we went to Primary in one of the wards yesterday to help with sharing time, and the Primary President read D&C 84:62 and asked what missionaries need to take with them. She gave them a hint by saying it starts with a ‘t’. One kid’s answer was a tablet 😂 The primary president responded saying that some missionaries need a tablet. But the real answer was a testimony.
On the note of tablets, this week, Sister Clark and I got a smartphone! It was kinda weird at first and part of me still wants to pick up the old brick to send texts. But it’s great because we can finally see all the emojis people have been sending us, and we can be a part of group texts! It’s an exciting time haha
One of the biggest things this week was Thanksgiving. We helped at the registration table for the Mesa Turkey Trot in the morning and then did our regular studies. We then went to a part member family’s home for our first Thanksgiving dinner. We were expecting to help a lot more when it came to preparing the food than we actually did, so there was some down time while at that home between the time we got there and the time we actually ate. After we ate there, we were able to go over to an investigator’s home, where we just ate some dessert. But it was a miracle that we were able to meet with her because we haven’t been able to get into touch with her for awhile, and she finally texted us Wednesday night and invited us over for Thanksgiving. So that was a miracle! Then, we had another dinner at a member’s home, and they had friends who weren’t members over as well. It was really awesome because one of the friends started asking some questions about the church and boundaries and stuff (because I had said something about something being outside of my boundaries), and this led to a solid gospel conversation, and the members were engaged and asking questions and bearing testimony. We ended up giving the friend a copy of The Book of Mormon, and the member bore a simple but powerful testimony that, “that book changed my life.” (The members are converts). It was just really cool to see members bear testimony so naturally to their friends and be excited to answer questions. 
Also, on Thanksgiving, I studied scriptures about giving thanks, and it was a good reminder that we should always be giving thanks, and I love Alma 7:23 about how we need to give thanks for what we do receive. We may not receive everything that we ask for, but we need to recognize what our Heavenly Father blesses us with.
The other big thing that happened this week was that Maria was confirmed yesterday, so now it is official haha. It was also awesome because her husband wanted to leave after sacrament meeting (not awesome), so she took him home. But, instead of staying at home once dropping him off, she came back so she could go to the rest of church! Like, that shows how dedicated and strong she is. She really does want to do the right things.
Last night, we also had our first shift at Christmas Lights. It was fun, but I wish it was a little cooler so it would feel a little more like Christmas time. I’m excited to continue to be able to help out at Christmas Lights though and be able to talk with people. 

Hope y’all all had a good Thanksgiving!
Love y’all!
Sister Smith

 Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day

More Thanksgiving day

I put eyes on my iPad (they have both fallen off now 🙁)

Another pun (notice the toast left on the half wall)

In N Out for Sister Wade’s 2 year mark as a convert

Friday, November 24, 2017

Baptism of Waters or Waters of Baptism

So Maria was baptized yesterday! And her last name is Waters. So yeah,
there was someone who entered into the waters of baptism, and there
was a baptism of Waters.

Maria's baptism was good though. It was "fourth hour" for Skyline Ward
since her baptism happened right after church. She gave a good
testimony, and everything was just very simple. Her daughter even came
to the baptism as well. And Sister Clark and I sang "Beautiful
Savior." It wasn't my best performance ever, but Maria's daughter did
tell me that I had a really beautiful singing voice (which I would
have never imagined anyone ever telling me that in my life).

I did go on exchanges with Sister Harkleroad in her area this week. It
was kinda weird because it's right next to my old area, and she lives
with the Sisters that are now in my old area. It just brought back
some memories. It was kinda cool because I was able to look at all the
people the sisters in my old area are working with, and they are still
working with a lot of the same people I was working with, and quite a
few of them have progressed even more since I left. Sometimes, we get
to see the fruits of our efforts in our areas, and sometimes we don't,
but it is always nice to be able to see what has happened since
leaving an area.

I guess a miracle that happened this week was we were just visiting
some members trying to get to know about some of their neighbors who
are former investigators. We came to one member's home, and we set up
a time to get to know this family a little better. Turns out that the
wife's mom who is living with them is not a member. We talked some,
and they actually set up a return appointment with us so that we can
come back and share The Restoration video with her and talk about it.
It's always nice when members help out, but it also shows that we have
to get to know the members before anything happens often times.

Also, this past week, we had to clean our car seat because there were
some stains. We had a member's help us with it, and then we had to
drive home. Since the seat was still wet, my companion sat in the back
seat. It was the weirdest feeling driving without anyone in the
passenger seat since I haven't done it in over a year. It's almost
like I felt empty, even though she was still in the car.

We also had an interesting contact that could have turned out a lot
more interesting than it actually did. So we go and knock of this door
of a neighbor that a member told us to stop by. She answers the door.
She was super friendly and told us that it wasn't a good time because
she was entertaining some guests. We look behind her, and we see
sitting on her couch 2 nuns and a catholic priest. She ended up having
us come in so she could give us some water (which we actually said we
were fine at the door) and she introduced us as "their Mormon
friends." We just introduced ourselves, got the water, and left. It
was a little weird, but like I said us coming in could have turned out
a lot different than it did.

Anyways, something that really stood out to me as I was studying this
week was 1 Nephi 14:14- "And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the
power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the
church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were
scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with
righteousness and with the power of God in great glory." I love this
because there are a lot of things that go on in our lives and the
adversary is trying to tempt us and lead us away in so many ways, but
the Lord strengthens us and gives us power to overcome those things so
that we can build up His kingdom and return to live with Him. But, we
have to keep our covenants and be apart of that "covenant people" to
receive those blessings.

I love y'all!
Sister Smith

Awkward family district pic (including matching shirts courtesy of Sister Clark's mom)

Another pic from Nadia's baptism because it's a great pic and much
better than iPad quality

Looked up this word, and definition 2 stood out to me. #nerdlife #ChemE

Weekly dog pic

Empty seat...



Thursday, November 16, 2017

"Chunky dunk in the Jesus tank"

Those words spoken by Sister Nadia Carey in her testimony after she

was baptized 😂 She was talking about a story and how things could
have been different and how she could could have been doing other
things, but instead she "took a chunky dunk in the Jesus tank."
Another funny thing was that Sister Clark and I were called
"fish-onaries" by a little girl. Of course, I thought it was fitting
because we are fishers of men lol

Anyways, this week was good. NADIA WAS BAPTIZED on Saturday! Wahoo!
And her baptismal service was so good. We actually had to go to the
chapel for everything else besides the baptism because there were so
many people who came. And her testimony was super strong and powerful.
It was just super exciting and fantastic. Everything was just so good
and went pretty well.

We had a couple of exchanges this week. I stayed in my area for both.
Sister Clark and I almost felt like we did an exchange with ourselves
between the other 2 because we were gone for 24 hours, together 24
hours, and gone for 24 hours. I was exhausted by the end of the second
exchange though because it was basically a lot of finding since our
teaching pool is kinda winding down, and I was the one who had to lead
the area on exchanges and put in all the areas/names for finding. It
was a relief on Friday to not have to plan nearly as much because we
had weekly planning and a Christmas Lights meeting. On the exchange on
Thursday it was really awesome though because we got some referrals
from members that we went and visited. We went to some members to ask
about neighbors that are in our area book as formers, and by doing
that, they started talking about their other neighbors as well. So we
now have a new tactic and strategy that we are really going to try to
approach and use this week.

It was also crazy because Saturday night we got a referral from some
Gilbert elders about an investigator who moved into our area. We were
right around the corner from where that family moved in, so we stopped
by. Turns out that it was a family that is friends with Nadia's
family, and Nadia's daughter and this other family's daughter are
really good friends, so the daughter came to Nadia's baptism!

This week was also fun because Sister Talbot came back down for the
baptism. She actually came to see Larry and Maria while we were having
a lesson with them. She waited in her car for about 20 minutes because
she saw that we were there and didn't want to interrupt, but then
Larry went out front to do what he calls, "exercising his agency"
(smoking), and I guess he saw her and invited her in. It was kinda
weird because we continued the lesson, and Sister Talbot just taught
like normal. It's like she was companion again, but she wasn't. It was
fun though. We also both had dinner at Nadia's last night since her
and her family were doing an early Thanksgiving with the family that
was in town. She smoked the turkey, and it was soo good.

Also, it looks like Maria will be getting baptized on Sunday after
church. She has her baptismal interview tonight, so we are hoping
everything goes well!

Anyways, I love y'all! Have a great week!
Sister Smith

These are the texts I like to get from investigators (now recent convert)




Weekly dog pic

Post dinner pic

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Something fishy

I was on exchanges with Hermana Zundel in her area on Saturday, and I
was looking through a Spanish workbook from the MTC, I saw the word
for sin, which is el pecado. I thought it was close to the word for
fish, so I asked Hermana Zundel. The word for fish is el pescado. We
had a short discussion, and at the end I said, "it still seems a
little fishy to me."

Anyways, this week seemed a little long and out of order, but it was
great. Last Monday night, we got to carve pumpkins with the Jensen
family, and that was a blast. I always appreciate members who treat us
well and trust us (especially when there are knives involved lol).
Tuesday, we got to go to the temple for Halloween night. Nothing like
spending time with the dead on Halloween 😂 It was great though. I got
to participate in sealings to parents for the first time, which was a
fantastic experience. There definitely is power in eternal families.
Wednesday, we went over the final details for Nadia's baptism for this
Saturday. It seems like it will be great and lots of people will be
We had weekly planning on Thursday this week because we had zone
conference on Friday. Zone Conference was really good. We were able to
have a great discussion on having the Spirit more fully when we teach
and are talking with people. Ultimately, it comes down to that you
have to make it personal to them, personal to you, and really make it
meaningful. I also studied on the Spirit teaching people yesterday in
my personal study, and I came up with a good example of why the Spirit
is so necessary. I thought about how as missionaries, we often teach
people about what praying is and the correct way to pray. It's kinda
like the what and how of prayer. But, the Spirit is the one who
confirms to them really why they themselves need to pray. If they
don't feel the Spirit while we are praying with them or when they
pray, they won't continue to do it. I also was studying how to make my
personal prayers more meaningful, and I came up with 3 words based off
of a quote I read. They are: Meditate, Contemplate, Supplicate. In
other words, we really need to think about what we are going to say
and ask for before we pray. This also allows the Spirit to guide our
prays as well.
Friday night to Saturday night, we had exchanges. I went to a Spanish
area again. The Lord showed me a tender mercy though in one of our
lessons. We went to read The Book of Mormon with a family in the ward.
I know enough Spanish to be able to read decently, but I never feel
confident doing it. Well, in this lesson there was a kid who was
struggling a little bit to read in Spanish, so it didn't make me feel
quite so bad about my reading, and it gave me a little bit of a
confidence boost.
So that's basically my week in a nutshell. Hope y'all all are doing well!
Sister Smith

Pumpkin carving

I don't like the last three digits of the odometer reading for the
end of this day...

When somehow Siri will give you the score of the World Series on
your iPad when most things are blocked.

Weekly dog pic