Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January 20, 2014

Hey familia!

It has been another crazy week here in Mexico! But I am still just loving it, and enjoying being a missionary!

So this week, we have been working really hard with 3 investigators - Rosario and Lupita (The mom and daughter who are still planning on being baptized on the 1st) and a new investigator, Marina. We met her in the street my first week here, and she is a single mom with 3 little kids, and has a lot of difficulties in her life. But as we have taught her this last week about the Gospel, and the hope that comes with it, her whole countanence has changed, and she is becoming a completely different person. It is absolutely the BEST thing to see someone change right before your eyes. She has committed to be baptized on March 1st! (Woot, happy birthday to me!) But seriously, I just love everyone here, and this is the most amazing work in the world.

We have also been working with a few in-actives this week. Jonathon is a Recent Convert AND that´s been interesting! And also with Analousia who is so sweet and nice. And also the Palamares Family. They have two sons, and the mom and the sons have been coming to church again! They live right across the street from us, so we get to check up on them almost every day :) 

This week was really abnormal haha. On Wednesday, we had district meeting (like usual), but then we had Zone conference ALL DAY with President and Hermana Reeves! It was a great conference, and I really appreciated the instruction we received. President Reeves talked a lot about the Spirit, and its role in Missionary Work. He quoted Wilford Woodruff, who said that the gift of the Holy Ghost is the greatest gift man can receive in mortality, and I whole heartedly agree! There is no way that we would be able to find, help and teach people without the Holy Ghost. Then, on Friday, Hermana Muñoz and I had to go to Puebla for more paperwork for my visa. (Puebla is 2 hours away, so we were gone for a while). But I was able to see two of the elders who were in my district in the MTC, and they are doing great as well! Then Saturday was just loco! But it was also my favorite day, because Moises was baptized!!! YAY! It was really awesome seeing him take that next step in his eternal progresson. He is amazing, and he will be a great leader in the church. 

Sunday was also pretty crazy... news spread that I could play the piano and now (I think) I will be playing EVERY week in Sacrament Meeting and I think my companion signed me up to teach the children in the ward piano. (I say I think because most of the time, I really don´t know what people are saying, haha) So...yay! It´ll be interesting for sure. But, last night, we contacted a referal and the WHOLE FAMILY WANTS TO BE BAPTIZED. The parents and two daughters! They have a lot of things to work through beforehand, but we´re excited to start working with them and helping them reach their goal of being an eternal family. :)

The work is great. The church is true! I know that this is the Savior´s church on the Earth, and I know that He stands at the head, guiding and helping us. I know that He is my Savior, and I know that through Him, we can change and become the people that we want to be. I know that all things are possible through Him, through His strength and mercy. I love you all, family!!! You are in my prayers 24/7 and I hope all of you are happy and healthy! 2 months has gone by fast! Too fast, haha. But I´m looking forward to all the remaining time I have here :)

Love always, Hermana Smith

Monday, January 13, 2014

FAMILIA!!!!!!!!!!! I AM IN MEXICO!!! January 13, 2014

Ok, if you can´t tell, I´m pretty excited to be here! It has been one crazy psycho week, but oh my goodness, I just love it here SOOO much!

So Tuesday morning around 1 AM, we arrived in Puebla! We then went to my mission president´s and slept for a while haha. Then that morning, I had my first Mexican breakfast and we started the day! Just so y´all know, my mission president and his wife are incredible. They are very generous, sweet, and spiritual. Hermana Reeves doesn´t know Spanish, but she is trying hard! They have been mission presidents for a while...they actually go home in July :( But that´s ok. Anyway, we had an orientation meeting that morning and then we went to the stake center for assignments! Ahh! And that is when all the Spanish started, haha. But after I met my companion and we took the two hour bus ride to our area, I felt much better.

So my companion is AMAZING. She is from Peru, can say maybe 10 words in English, is SO sweet, has been a convert for about 3 years and knows WAY more about the Gospel than I do! She works SO hard, which I am so grateful for. I came here to work, and that is exactly what we are doing! Her name is Hermana Muñoz, just so you know :) And I love her dearly!

So Wednesday, I offically (really) started my mission! I am serving in Tehuacan right now, and will most likely be here for all of my training (about 3 months). It is very dusty here, lots of bugs, but the weather is PERFECT! All of the natives here though think that it is FREEZING, haha, so I´m a little worried for what summer will be like. I am the first American woman that most of the people here have ever seen. You probably think I´m joking, but I´m not. This definitely isn´t a tourist area of Mexico. Most of the members here call me Hermana Barbie, because I´m tall and white and they think I´m pretty haha. Yeah, I´m really tall here! Crazy right? So on Wednesday, we studied (we study for about 4 hours every day: personal, companion, training and language) and then started walking. We do a LOT of walking, but I like it. We also eat one big meal every day with a member. My first day, I had the weirdest thing that you can eat here, according to Elder Fryer (he is the other american in my district). But I ate chicherron...which is pig skin. Yup. I could really use Costa Vida again, haha. But other than that, the food here is really good. I have also eaten torro (bull), tacos (way different here than in America), hot dog soup (yup, you read that right) and mashed potatoes wrapped in ham. We eat a lot of rice and a lot of tortillas, and i like both of those :)

We have 3 investigators with baptisimal dates: Moises, Rosario and Guadalupe! Moises was supposed to get baptized this last Saturday, but he had a relapse with the word of wisdom, and so now, we´re aiming for this Saturday! He is 23 and loves the Book of Mormon. He is a very great person! Rosario and Guadalupe....ah, i just LOVE them! They are a mother and daughter, and they are the sweetest. On Wednesday, we visited them and they told us that they were reading the Book of Mormon and just loved it! We invited them to pray about it and about Joseph Smith. Then on Friday... we invited them to be baptized and they both said yes! The date for their baptisms is February 1, so please pray for them, and for Moises as well! 

We have many other investigators as well, and we also do a lot of work with the inactives here. Yumico is awesome, and she is trying really hard to keep her commitments and seek answers from Heavenly Father. Etson and Guadalupe (son and mom) are fantastic. Etson is 11 and he is so smart, and he loves reading the Book of Mormon. They won´t commit to baptism yet though because Guadalupe´s husband doesn´t want them too. That is kinda a big problem here - many of the mothers and kids want to be baptized, but the fathers don´t want them to. But I have a feeling that they will eventually be baptized :) Mayra is a single mom, and she desires to be a better mom for her son, and we are helping her to see how God, Christ and the scriptures can help her to be the person she wants to be. All in all, we aim to teach around 5-6 lessons a day. We also pick up 1-2 new investigators every day, just from talking to them as we are walking everywhere. The people here in Tehaucan are very receptive and desire to following Jesus Christ. It definitely helps in our work as missionaries!

The ward here is INCREDIBLE. I just love them all so much. We work a lot with the Bishop, and his wife comes with us to lessons a lot. The ward mission leader is very dedicated, as is the rest of the ward to their callings. We do a lot of ward activities that we bring less-actives and investigators to, and the people here are so nice. I totally feel at home. All of the hermanas here just take care of me! Funny story - yesterday, we were a tad late to Sacrament Meeting because we were picking up Rosario. When we walked in, everyone was looking at me, and then Elder Fryer ran up to me, and explained that the Bishop wanted me to give like a 5 minute talk! GAH. So I just went up there with my awful Spanish, shared a scripture and bore my testimony. Apparently it was ok, because everyone told me that I did way better my first time than Elder Fryer did his first week, haha! so success! Oh, another funny story! So we were helping an hermana in the ward make tacos for a ward activity (yeah, i made legit Mexican tacos this week!) and her daughter, Evelyn is the sweetest. She is 8, and tries so hard to make me feel welcome and and home all the time. We were helping with the tacos, and Evelyn found out that I never had a Barbie when I was a little girl. (Which i am grateful for, Mom!) But she went to her room, grabbed her only Barbie, and tried to give it to me! It was so thoughtful and sweet. ...The people here really have nothing. It is so different here...but the people are so charitible and giving. It has definitely made me a lot more grateful for what I have had in my life.

All in all, familia, I love it here. My spanish is coming rapidly and there is no where else I would rather be. Even though I´ve had to take freezing cold showers, I have bug bites all over my legs and I have to wash my clothes by hand...there really is no where else I would rather be, nothing else I would rather be doing than serving my Heavenly Father and His precious children.  :) Until next week, i hope all of you have a great week! i love you all so much!!!

love always, Hermana Smith

PS- EVERYONE asks me if i´m related to Jose Smith. Everyone. Thanks, dad :)

January 4, 2014

Happy New Year!

So this is going to be a crazy week! And the last email for a little while, because I'm not sure when my next p-day will be! So ENJOY IT! Haha! :)

This week was pretty intense! On Tuesday, we had our last Tuesday Devotional with Elder Ellis of the Seventy. He gave a fantastic talk about "voluntary repentance". What he meant by that was us choosing to become better people, and utilizing the Atonement in order to do so. It went along perfectly with my studies of grace! Speaking of that, I found a really great quote about grace from Brad Wilcox. "Grace is not the light at the end of the tunnel. It is the light that leads you through the tunnel." Grace really does cover everything, and helps us with everything. It may not help us to know what the end result will be, but it will help carry us through anything, whether it be trials or the process of becoming better. I just love it! The Atonement is so perfect, because Christ was perfect. I am so grateful for His selfless sacrifice, and for the opportunity I have every single day to be better. 

Wednesday was our last normal MTC day this week! Nothing totally awesome happened...except we played an AMAZING game of volleyball that day, for our last gym period! It was a good way to end the normality!

Thursday, we had in-field orientation all day. I actually really enjoyed it! We talked about how to make street contacts, ask for referrals, work with members, all that "other" fun stuff about missionary work! I was even able to debut my completely awesome acting skills for everyone! :P Hermana Linford and I were hijacked in the hall while the instructors were preparing to perform a play for us, a play about working with the members. They asked us to be part of the ward council, and I had the pleasure of being the RS President! Haha, and I had to be completely obnoxious! But, a lot of people laughed (hopefully with me, not at me!), so I guess it was ok! But the thing I learned most from in-field orientation is the importance of not lowering our expectations or our confidence. I feel a lot more ready for Mexico now than I did before Thursday, so it was good :) 

And yesterday, for the second time, we went to the airport to go to Vegas...and we made it this time :) No unexpected blizzards! All in all, nothing too exciting happened, we mostly just did a LOT of waiting around. But the Mexican consulate was fun, listening to all of the Spanish and trying to figure out what they were saying :) I still have so much to learn...haha. But the good news is that when we got home late last night, we found some more travel plans waiting for us! And now, I am not alone! Hermana Linford and Elders Werber and Thorne will be traveling with me :) Hermana Jones, however, is going to be flying into Mexico City by please pray for her on Monday as well! Hermana Bowers still doesn't have her visa...but she has been reassigned to serve in the Salt Lake City East mission until she receives it :) We're very excited for her, and we can't wait for her to join us down in Puebla!

I can't believe I only have one more full day in the USA! AHH! But I am so incredibly excited! I can't wait for this crazy adventure to begin! I love all of you SOOOOOO much! The church is true! And being a missionary has definitely been the best experience of my life thus far :)

Love ALWAYS, Hermana Smith

December 30, 2013


This week was a great one! So, on Tuesday night, we had a devotional with Elder Evans of the Seventy. He is on the missionary board with Elders Nelson and Bednar. He gave a wonderful talk! His wife did as well! He talked a lot about how important it is to lift people up, and to share the missionary spirit. Haha, it's kind of hard to explain, but it was just a really great talk. Then, that night, the Elders in our zone dropped off boxes of Christmas goodies to all of us sisters! We were so touched by their thoughtfulness! I am really so appreciative for my district, my zone, and the members of our branch presidency. They have really made this MTC experience incredible.

Then there was Christmas! We started out with a missionary talent show, which was really cool (and pretty hilarious). We had a Christmas lunch (which was like Thanksgiving) and then...ELDER BEDNAR CAME! It was AMAZING! We did a Q&A session, which is what he usually does, but every single question was so inspired, and helped me so much. One of my favorite answers was to the question, "Why do I feel so inadequate?" Elder Bednar replied by saying "You feel inadequate because you have some sense of what exactly you have been called to do. Every calling in the church will make you feel inadequate. I feel inadequate every day! But, when you feel inadequate, you can recognize your mortal limitations and then know exactly who you need to turn to for help." It made me feel better knowing that even an Apostle feels inadequate. He also talked a lot about the enabling power of the Atonement, and gave us an apostolic blessing, that "if we will sincerely seek to understand the strengthening power of the Atonement, then you will be able to fulfill your calling, in the land that you have been assigned to labor." So, I am making a very conscious effort to learn about and apply that aspect of the Atonement in my life. I have already seen its help in my life, but I definitely want to learn more. Grace is such an interesting topic, and I'm excited to learn more about it :) After the devotional, we listened to a jazz band, which was actually really cool! It reminded me a lot of high school :) And then we had dinner, and finished the day watching the MoTab Christmas Performance from last year with Alfie Boe. Love it! So great :) It was a fantastic day.

On went back to normal. However, we got our invitation to go back to the Mexican Consulate, and we are going there this Friday. I also received my travel plans...only 4 of us did though. And we are all split up. I am leaving Salt Lake next Monday at 12:30 PM. The rest of my district is leaving at 8:00 AM... and I get to travel by myself :( I'm a little worried... I go from Salt Lake to Dallas, then to Monterrey, Mexico. There, I will meet up with 2 other missionaries in my district, and then, we'll fly from Monterrey to Puebla. We're scheduled to arrive in Puebla at midnight. I'm excited to finally be going though! Just make sure and send some extra prayers my way next Monday! Heaven knows that I will be the one to get lost in a Mexican airport! (I'll be able to email again this Saturday, but then after that, you may not hear from me until the following Monday. But, I am allowed to call my family when I'm at the airport, so please send me an email with your phone number before Saturday if you want me to call you!)

Friday was pretty cool! For TRC this week, we Skyped with a man living in Mexico! He is a member, but we Skyped him and shared a message about receiving revelation during church. It was really cool...then discouraging...then cool again, because even though I didn't understand most of what he was saying, I understood A LOT more than I ever could have 6 weeks ago! My teacher, Hermana Larsen had to remind me of that, but I really am grateful to be learning Spanish. The people of Mexico are fantastic, and talking with the man made me just that much more excited to go! Thank you, modern technology, for allowing us to have that opportunity!

Yesterday...I gave my first Sacrament Meeting talk in Spanish! In my branch we all have to prepare a talk on a certain subject, then after the Sacrament, my branch president announces the 2 or 3 missionaries that will be speaking that day. It was kinda crazy...during the last part of the Sacrament, I just had a thought "I am going to give a talk today". I wasn't surprised at all when President Wilkins said my name! I think it went pretty well was only a 5 minute talk, so not that big of a deal. But I was glad to get it out of the way here, and not in Puebla, haha! Our district also sang for the musical number in church. It's kinda a tradition here, that the district leaving next gives a farewell musical number. We sang the "Sisters in Zion/We'll Bring the World His Truth" medley, and I played the flute! It was a great experience :) I love how much music we have here at the MTC. Music really does help to bring the Spirit into meetings, classes, etc. 

I can't believe that this is my last full week at the MTC! I am very grateful now for the extra time that I do have here. Heavenly Father DEFINITELY knows what He's doing! We also said goodbye to the district that came in the same day as us...they all left for their various destinations Sunday and this morning. I can't believe we're the next ones to go! Heavenly Father puts people into our lives for a reason, and I'm grateful for the wonderful people I have been able to meet here.

Have a fantastic week, everyone! I love all of you so much, and I am grateful for each of you! I will email again Saturday! 

Love, Hermana Smith