Wednesday, April 29, 2015

In Portugal Safe & Sound!

Sister Courtney Smiths new companion in Portugal!
We don't have her name yet...
Update: Hi! They are actually letting me send an email home telling you that I am here!! I'm so excited my new companion seems really cute :) I hope you get the picture! Love you so much!

Monday, April 27, 2015

It's here! Leaving the MTC tomorrow!

Again, a picture worth a 1000 words! The MTC, how beautiful it was!
How proud I am of my beautiful girls :)
Last goodbye! 3:30 am

(Sister Courtney Smith)
Well my last week at the MTC is over!!! I honestly don't really know what to say for this week because it's gone so fast!! Main things that happened were: We got to be traffic hosts for the new missionaries which was way fun! Sister Landbeck got her reassignment to California, but wait for it...... her visa came in!! We are all going together!!!!! Its seriously such a blessing!! Same with Sister Makelle Smith getting her reassignment to Montana!!! Other than that it's just been a lot of studying Portuguese!
What I did want to talk about were the top three things that I've learned in my experience here in the MTC! 1. From day one I have been learning how to be more Christlike and deepen my conversion to Christ! Honestly my mission so far is exactly what I asked for when I was living in Provo on my own. I asked that I could know how to become more like my Savior because I knew I was missing something. Heavenly Father is helping me so much to learn!! 2. I've learned a lot about being patient and trusting God! Everyday it seems like there's something I'm struggling with, but every day when I ask for help God answers my prayers and I see His hand working in my life! 3. I've learned what it means to be a good companion! I'm not going to lie it is really hard to be with someone all day everyday especially someone you didn't get to pick! But I know it's helping me learn so much about my self and about how the Savior feels with me! I know Sister Landbeck was chosen for me to learn specific things while I'm here at the MTC and I will always be forever grateful to have her friendship in my life!! I was also blessed to have Makelle here with me, I think that is one thing I'm going to miss when I'm in Portugal, not having someone so close to me be so far away!
Well and that concludes my week and MTC experience!! The MTC has absolutely changed my life, and if I've already grown and learned so much here, I cannot wait to see whats in store in Portugal!!!!! Ciao!!!!!!!
Update: Sister Landbeck did get her visa! She is going now!
Silly Elders!

Portugal, here they come!
(Sister Makelle Smith)
Wow this week has been awesome! I am so ready to serve in Montana! We got to do a session in the temple as a district and that was way neat. I remember praying for peace about my reassignment, and I felt really good and calm after that. Then I got my reassignment to Billings, Montana and everything fit together! I love that the Lord is paying attention and supports me in the desires of my heart. He loves us so much, He may not give us everthing we want when we want it, but He will help us along the way and make everything better through the atonement.
We got to host the new misisonaries this week and that was so cool! I was able to reflect on how far I have come since I first arrived here and what I have learned!
Haha one of the days here we found a rat in our room! It was absolutely hilarious, and for a good hour we were running around and screaming in our room! Haha eventually we scared it out of our room.
I finished the Book of Mormon in less than six weeks, wow what an experience for me. After I had finished I prayed to Heavenly Father and I bore my testimony about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and I felt the spirit so strong! I know that this church is true with my whole heart and I know that Jesus is the Christ and our true Savior. I have gained a desire to learn this past week. To learn about everything that this earth has to offer. Knowledge is so important and so valuable, I have realized this here. I am so excited for what the future will hold here in this mission and after!
This past Sunday I was chosen one of two missionaries to give a talk in sacrament meeting. And of course the mission president, Pres. Burgess and his wife chose to sit in our meeting this Sunday! I gave my talk on the Atonement and how it has made me a better missionary. How the atonement is for comfort and strength and that through Jesus Christ we can be made whole again. Pres. Burgess said that because of Christ we can all feel of worth to the Father. As we draw nearer to Christ He will draw nearer to us! He said that it was nice to hear me speak and that they are blessed to have two Smith sisters as missionaries! They are so sweet!
Today was amazing! I had my exit interviews with my teachers, I love them so much! They have both helped me and built me up time and time again. My mission would have been so different without them. Truly their strength and testimonies have inspired me and I will never forget the influence they have had on my life. Irmo Workman left us with a prayer. The neatest thing happened in the prayer he prayed for us individually and for our needs. It was so special, it felt like my Dad was saying a prayer for me. He asked that because of my love and praise for the Savior I have, others would feel of His love as well. Also that because I am happy and excited about the gospel they will listen to me and be part of the joy of the gospel as well. So neat, He is one of my hero's for sure! He has given me such great advice! One is to always say more personal prayers in port. and I will not lose any of my language, so awesome!!
Well, this is it! Time for the "real" work to begin! First Montana, then Brazil! I have complete faith in the Lord and in His timing for me. I love my God and this gospel. I am so excited to be His instrument! Love you all, wish me luck!
Thank you for watching over our sons and daughters!
Called to Serve in Montana & Brazil!
Today they welcome new Sister Missionaries,
Oh I feel for those moms!
Irmo (Instructor) Workman
Perfect snap shot!
Thank you Irma Kimball!
Sister Smith loves you so much!
Thank you Irmo Workman!
You are one of Makelle's hero's!
Irma Kimball
A mouse in the room!
This is what it looks like at the end of the day!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

1 week left! Assignments came in! You won't believe it!

Together for 1 more week!
(Sister Makelle Smith)
My most favorite week! :) This week has been amazing, I have been so happy here! I love it and I love all the people in my life! I felt like the devotional this week was just for me! "Put on the alter of God all you have, and God will magnify your talents and gifts 100 fold. The atonement is not only for cleansing but for strengthening and comfort and for when we are discouraged. Fear and disappointment can be eliminated through the atonement." He read from John 14 MY favorite chapter in the New Testament. I literally felt like the Savior was speaking to me "Makelle, peace be unto your soul, I am here, I am with you". Wow it was so powerful. I felt so much peace that Christ is there to help us when we need Him and will truly succor us.
I have been learning a ton about how I can teach with discernment and with the spirit. I need to not just ask filler questions, but listen to the spirit so I can ask inspired questions. I taught a relief society lesson this last week and I got to see it in effect this week! We taught "Jo" his last lesson and he and his son committed for baptism with more time! :) Turns out Jo was my teachers investigator in Mozambique! Her name was Joanna and she and her family are strong members in the gospel today!
One day we were learning past and future tense subjunctive grammar, it was really hard so I asked a lot of questions. Elder Pacheco - Idk I just learned all this on the streets, you need to go to the streets! Me- I've never been to the streets! Sister Irizarry - The streets never taught me grammer! HAHA so many funny things, not enough time to write all the funny things my district says. But oh gosh I have never laughed so much in my entire life until I came here! We taught each other as companions and it was so cool. I want all of my lessons to be like that. Doctrine that specifically relates to the investigator and the lesson that is taught with love! I taught Sister Irizarry that the gift of tongues is not only for the language Portuguese, but for the words you should say to the investigator! She taught me that I don't only need to be patient with myself but that I need to have a bright hope for the future and that if I hope in Christ I will succeed! We WILL be comforted by the Lord Alma 17:10-11.
We practiced street contacting with Courtney's district, it was a lot harder than I thought it would be and these people are missionaries! Our district is smaller so I had to teach by myself, I did a pretty good job! I am starting to feel confident that I can do this! I prayed for patience and for the gift of tongues, it is crazy what the principle of asking and being obedient will do. The Lord is blessing me every day.
We got to skype a man from Sao Paulo named Darwin. We taught him a 30 min lesson, He was so sweet and laughed a lot! We could understand the jist of what he was saying and he could understand us! He speaks a little English, my comp said she has a cat, then he said he likes to shower with his cat. HAHA he was cute. He meant he likes to wash his cat. We talked about faith, the spirit was so strong when we all bore our testimonies of the Savior and talked about his conversion story. He gave us the best review. He said we we very happy, entertaining, prepared and excited to teach. He even said we had good language and the spirit was strong. Irma Kimball was impressed.
I know that my talents and my personality was meant for Brazil, I am called there for a reason. I cannot wait to be able to share my testimony with the people there!! In class we talked about the moment when people realize they are a son/daughter of God. I remember the moment when I was 14 and I felt God's love for me as His precious daughter. Once I knew how special I was my faith in His gospel grew so much. I can't wait to help His other children have this experience and help them to know they are all special and worth so much in the eye's of God.
On Sunday Sister Irizarry and Elder Pacheco were called up to give talks in sacrament meeting. Elder Merideth said that if this was a game of battleship we just missed the bombs. HAHA This means we will probably be giving a talk this Sunday since we will be leaving this week!
Monday was my favorite day! Outside of our classroom we saw a duck and all of her ducklings so cute! Also we were playing kickball on the field and there was a couple with a dog, so of course we go and see it! It was a mini maltipoo! Elder Merideth called it a rabbit/dog because it was so little! Turns out they bought him at the puppy barn! Hahaha If I can't go to puppy barn, the puppy barn comes to me:)
We taught our last lesson with Erika. Last time she said she wanted to be baptized but just wanted to be more prepared. We talked about the atonement of Jesus Christ, and how it can give her forgiveness, strength and comfort in her life. But she can only receive all of these things fully when she is baptized and confirmed with the Holy Ghost. She said that she wanted and needed these things in her life for her family. She committed to be baptized on the 10th of May! (Even though Erika is our teacher, it felt so real). She gave the closing prayer and I teared up. I felt a different kind of spirit. It was a moment of pure joy. She wanted to follow the Savior and be a part of His gospel! This is why I am here and I know that this is my purpose. I have never felt so good! I get reassigned tomorrow, and by next week I will be serving in a different state before I go to Brazil! Wherever I go I will follow the will of the Lord. I trust Him and I have faith He will lead me and take care of me. He has so far. Thank you for all of your support, Until next week! Amo voces!!<3

All Reassigned to the same place!
I can't believe where!
Update: (Just recieved Tuesday night)

We all received our reassignments!!! The elders opened theirs and then all of the sisters decided to open ours after dinner! We got in our classroom with all of the other districts in our zone! Courtney and her companion were there too! We sang the Hymn "I'll go where you want me to go". The spirit was so strong! Elder Meredith said our prayer in Portuguese. The Elders spilled that Sister Irizarry and I would be serving in the same place! I looked at the paper and it said:

Dear Sister Smith:
At this time, we have not received your visa to travel to your mission. You will be serving a temporary assignment in the Montana Billings mission until your visa arrives.
I was in complete shock. If you knew me you would know this is originally where I wanted to go! The Lord knows me so well and has blessed me so much. I am so grateful and feel so much peace that this is really where I am supposed to be. I love this gospel and I am so excited to share (in English) the joy that comes from following our Savior! Sister Irizarry is coming with me along with Elder Merideth, and Elder Pacheco! WOW we will all fly together and serve in Billings Montana, Then once we all receive our visas all four of us will be serving in Florianopolis, Brazil! So amazing, This is one of the happiest days of my life! Sister Parks and Sister Kirkendall both got reassigned to the Provo, Utah Mission. They were shocked, that is an understatment! But they are both super excited, they are from Texas and Nevada! We leave tuesday morning! :)

This pic says it all!
The beauty & power of God!
Hello everyone! This is Sister Makelle Smiths mom. I just have to tell a little about this! I'm still in a bit of shock right now. What a tender mercy moment for a mother! So a couple of weeks before Makelle is to leave on her mission to the Provo MTC she got an email from a girl who got her visa already to go to Brazil. They both got their calls at the same time. So Makelle was getting pretty excited and convinced that she was going to get her visa to go straight to the MTC in Brazil. But after talking to many people, everyone was saying that she will most likely go to the states first. I had to then sit her down and explain that she would NOT be going to the Brazil MTC most likely. She thought about it and started to cry. She had waited so long to go! We sat down and talked through it and it was hard for her to think she would not be going straight there. (Another tender mercy she didn't go straight there). At the end of our pow wow I asked her "Ok Makelle so where would you like to go in the US minus Hawaii?" She said Montana! I looked at her and said "what"? Yes I want to go to Billings Montana! Ok well Makelle your not going to go there nor have I ever heard of anyone going there. Most likely you will be going to California. Makelle, "no, not California!" Me, so whats in Montana and where in Montana? Makelle, I want to go to Billings Montana because there are mountains and ranches and flowers and open spaces. It looks so beautiful there! Me, well good luck with that. Most likely Cali, Texas or Florida. She then cried it out and realized that she wanted to go where the Lord wanted her! Well, fast forward to today :o ! Never would I have believed it if I didn't have that conversation with her before she left! Wow, she got what she wanted and so did the rest of her district, ha ha ha! You all have Makelle to thank for going to Billings Montana! The Lord really does listen and answers our prayers :)
4 going to Montana and 2 going to Provo Utah
Sister Smith and the kissing pose!
Friends Forever!
Cafe Rio! Who sent that to them?!

(Sister Courtney Smith)
Well this week was the last normal week! This week will fly by so fast! This week has had some awesome learning experiences for me! 
The first one was on last Wednesday, I was feeling a little sad because my mind wasn't focusing on Portuguese. I prayed during gym time for strength because i was really needing it, right after when I was dropping my package off at the mailbox we got our travel plans for Portugal!! Oh my goodness!!! I immediately felt so much love from my Heavenly Father! I'm flying from here to New York-Paris-Portugal!!!  I'm so stoked and feel so blessed to be able to go straight to my mission! The crazy part about the story is that our plans weren't supposed to come until Friday! They came on Wednesday right after I had prayed! Our Heavenly Father will bless us because he knows what we need, good or bad. 
 Another experience this week that helped me see this was when Sister Landbeck and I go to have our first TRC with a Brazilian women on skype!! Her name is Claudia and we taught a lesson on Patience! It went really well she loved our message! But right after I felt sad, because she was speaking so fast, she was speaking in Brazilian Portuguese, and she wasn't the most bubbly person out there! For some reason after I felt discouraged. That night Sister Jeppson was talking to us about Faith and how important it is in our Gospel! It hit me so hard right then and there how central the gospel is on the principle of Faith! We have to have Faith in all things! For me it's having Faith that God knows me and what I need in my life to become the person God wants me to be. He wouldn't have called me Portuguese speaking if He didn't know my capacities, my strengths, and my weaknesses! My faith in God grew exponentially that day and I will never forget it! I know my Father is watching out for me personally and wants the best for all his children. I couldn't believe how much my eyes were open and that night! I"m no longer afraid or scared, but have complete faith that God will guide me and help me everyday! 
I want to share a scripture its in 2 Nephi 28:30 "For behold thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts" As we choose to follow Him for our self and dedicate our lives to our Savior He will help us see and understand all we need in this life! We will be blessed more than we know if we only will choose to accept Him and His gospel into our lives! I'm so excited for my real investigators! I can already feel my love growing for them, I can't wait to bring them eternal happiness into their life even with broken Portuguese! Um mais Semana!!!! Love you all!

Flight plans to Portugal! 

Update: Sister Landbeck did not get her visa so she was reassigned in the states. We were not told where. Sister Courtney Smith will be the only sister going to Portugal this Tuesday.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Super Interesting Week & Patience....

Pretty Day :)
Always Happy!
Always Smiling!
(Sister Courtney Smith)
So this week has been super interesting! This is going to be more of a personal update rather than a mission one but here we go.
After Conference I've really been trying to apply some of the talks and answers to my questions in my life! Especially devoted discipleship = PEACE. I've known this for all of my life but I haven't really lived up to my baptismal covenants to the very very best I could. I have defiantly been learning this principle throughout my personal conversion to the Lord. It's been so interesting to see my self start to change. We first have to give up our big sins that are not allowing us to progress and become like the Savior. A lot of the times we don't realize they are big until we start to think: what is the one thing in my life that's holding me back from completely having the spirit in my life? Is there in specific one thing that I can work on? When I was able to let go of some of my self I've been able to see my self more and more committed to Christ. I've been feeling the spirit in my life again and I've had more peace. This week has been especially difficult for me. I have been facing my self like never before. I'm really trying to become more Christ like, I really have been praying in faith, studying the scriptures, and trying to be patient. It's been such a learning process but I know my Savior can heal my imperfections, I know I can be better and all I can do is be better each day. I know I am better because I'm putting forth effort (action).
Another thing I've been trying to focus on is feeling the spirit and hearing its promptings. I've been getting frustrated with my self because I feel like after every meeting with an investigator I know that there are things I should have done, and the teacher always points it out in the class. But everything I'm learning is amazing! The principles they teach help me see why I'm doing things and how what I'm teaching is not about me and what I want to teach, it's about The Savior and how He wants me to teach. I know this is an experience I will always remember for the rest of my life!
I was able to teach the relief society lesson with Sister Landbeck and it was awesome! We talked about spiritual gifts and how we are all able to gain every single one! The spirit was definitely there and I hope I can teach like I did, on my mission!
Also God blessed us on Sunday!!!! We were walking back from the temple and I saw a family trying to take a picture all together because there little girl was in a white dress. I asked if we could help take a picture because it looked difficult and they said: yes obrigado!! Sister Landbeck and I immediately looked at each other and we lit up!! This family is Portuguese!!! We started talking to them in Portuguese and about their life! They were from Brazil and were here so the Father could go to BYU and learn English!!! It was such a blessing to know the little Portuguese I do have I can and will be able to communicate on my mission!!! I also was able to see how important families are! I had so much love for their family and I can't wait to go teach families in Portugal!!!
I know this gospel is true, I feel it more and more every single day! 2 more weeks!!!!

Sister Smith Loves Flowers :)
The Famous Map Picture!
Rainy Day!
P-Day, Sweats :o !
(Sister Makelle Smith)
This week I learned a lot about patience. Patience with my district, my investigators, and most importantly myself.
We had a devotional and I really liked what she said God feels towards his children " I love these people, find them teach them, lift them up, and bring them into the gospel." I love this, I promised these people and God to do exactly this before I came to this earth, and now I have the opportunity to do this!
The speakers mom, talked to my district and said that our missions will be hard in different ways but we need to be obedient and give it our all. Heavenly Father knows our desires and he knows that I am trying my best here. I have been getting frustrated with myself this week because I feel like my mind can only remember and recognized so many words. My companion said that God doesn't call the qualified, he qualifies the called. I like this that sometimes I feel inadequate but that is ok because day by day God is making me into the missionary he needs out there. Sister Kendall said that if anyone in our district deserves blessings it would be sister Smith because of all the effort she puts into the language.
My district is so awesome and we all support each other. I really do love them and I feel like they are family now.
We had TRC again. We definitely felt the spirit, but I didn't say more than two sentences in each lesson. I couldn't understand or say a whole lot, when I am usually the one who talks the whole time. My teacher said don't let this experience hinder your faith in God's help. He said that God does all things for a reason and a purpose. He said to keep my chin up and to get back on the horse. He said I inspired him and that I was an example. My teacher is amazing!
I got a blessing from Elder Pacheco and it helped me to feel at peace. I was reminded to remember God's promises to me and to trust in him.
We taught "Jo" again, we only had 15 mins and we decided to talk about baptism. I bore my testimony at the end and I wanted him to have the desire to be baptized, after Sister Irizarry was suppose to bear her testimony or invite him to be baptized. But instead right after she looked at her watch and said well looks like it's time for you to go to work. Hahaha I just kept thinking WHY!!! haha we laughed pretty hard :)
Brother Cannon in our branch presidency said something really neat. He said that it's because of our trials and afflictions we will be able to have more feeling and conviction when we bear our testimonies to our investigators. I really liked this because I know I have a testimony and whether I can speak Portuguese or not the spirit can be there. My teacher said the determination of whether you are a good missionary is not based on your Portuguese. He said its based on your commitment and diligence in serving the Lord. I liked this because it reminds me of where my focus should be. I need to not trust in my own understanding but in the power of God. God is all powerful and if we keep the faith and keep pressing on He will deliver us.
Something my companion said was that God knew what trials and feelings I would have here. and he is the answer in helping me through it,  he knows what I need to be successful and I need to trust in him. My companion is the best she has truly helped my growth here. I hope we will serve together in the States and in Florianopolis. We get along so well I am sure we will be friends for forever! This mission is really hard, but through the Atonement of Christ anything is possible! Ate proximo vez, Amo voces! <3

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

1/2 way done with the MTC! & It really does get better!

Role playing with each other!
What a neat experience for them :)

(Sister Courtney Smith)
So this week was awesome! General conference in the MTC was seriously amazing! It almost felt like we were there! I don't know what I enjoyed more seeing conference or loving the spirit and rejoicing on Easter! This has been one of my favorite Easters ever! I'm sure this is the first Easter I've really understood my Savior and for who He is. I love my Savior and I'm so happy to be His close friend, sister, and representative! I don't think I've had this much faith, appreciation, and admiration for Him in my entire life! This year has been awesome for me and my journey, I am so proud to say I've chosen my Saviors path, I've chose to follow Him for the rest of my life in every thing. One question in Conference I wanted to be answered is how I could have/find more peace in my life. I loved two talks specifically because they perfectly answered my question. Elder Bednars talk said this one line: Devoted discipleship = PEACE. When I heard him say this I felt like Heavenly Father has slowly but surely trying to show me this principle. When our life's are 100% devoted to the gospel we find ultimate peace knowing where our hearts are and where we stand with God. Elder Gerald Casse said these things will help us in our life to stay devoted: Never tire of discovering/rediscovering new truths, hunger and thirst after the word of God(reading the scriptures, blessings, talks, handbooks), Anchor your faith in the principles of the gospel, seek and cherish the Holy Ghost. I know that these things are so simple and we can overlook them sometimes, but they are all God asks of us. He promises that our testimony will always be growing, and our heart will always be turned to the Savior. This week in the MTC was a little hard for me but I know I just need to keep pushing myself, and I have found more comfort because my testimony grows so fast here! I can say my purpose and the first vision in Portuguese! I only have three more weeks here. Half way done!!! Portugal here I come! Love you all!
Class fun! 
Easter snacks! 
Line up for a game "Wall Call"
Not sure how it's played.....

.....But Sister Smith just won!
(Sister Makelle Smith)
It really does get better!
Everyone here kept saying that it gets better. I thought they were all lying, but it really does! This week has been awesome and I am learning so much! I am feeling that joy that only the gospel brings! We sometimes see that our burdens are too much, but when we pray in faith God can change our perspective and make our burdens light. My branch President said "Its your mission, step up". I love this it is my decision to make my mission what I want it to be! Our reaction to our lives is completely up to us. We choose to be happy and positive. I also found that my president makes all of the LDS movies at walmart. Haha we own most of them! 
One day I was wanting to read one of my family letters early, and my teacher pulled me aside and talked with me. He said that if I stay obedient to the Lord no matter what happens in this life whether it be good or bad that He would help me through it because I am following Him. God would be able to give me the revelation I need because I was inviting the spirit to be with me. 
Elder Pacheco is now back into our district again! We gave our second lesson to "Jo", I was able to bear testimony of God's power/help that we can receive through revelation. I started to cry in my lesson, the spirit was definitely there! I know that this gospel is true and can help everyone no matter how big or how small your faith is. 
We got to role play with Court and Sister Landbeck, that was cool. Our Port. is very different but I could for sure understand what she was saying! Courtney is so genuine and has the spirit so strong, I love her example to me! I am so grateful I am here at the provo MTC. God truly knows what is best for us, even if it isn't what we want in the moment. I can see his hand in my life. 
We had our first TRC meeting with a girl named Hailey. She was serving in Brazil 7 months ago, and we were able to have a gospel discussion on faith and repentance. It was such a relief it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be! The spirit was strong when we were all testifying of our Savior and his love for us! It made me happy that she could understand and that she cared about what we were saying! 
My Easter package from my family was amazing and I loved it! Our zone even had an Easter egg hunt, that was pretty fun! This Easter conference was so amazing here at the MTC. We started singing "I Know that My Redeemer Lives" all together and it was so powerful. You could feel everyone's testimony in that room! I loved the line "Twas I, but Tis not I". I know that when we repent God will not mention our sins to us again, because we are changed people and we are on the right path again. I loved Elder Hollands talk. Wow I wish I could go in detail of what I thought, but it was such a testimony builder that Christ knows us and will literally not move and inch when we are trying to become better or overcome our sins and trials. I just imagined the love those two brothers had for each other once he pulled him up. Only Christ's atonement will lift us up when we aren't strong enough to do it alone. I have experienced that love that I have for the Savior when I have come up short, and that is why I am here on a mission. I want others to know there is a plan for us and that Christ can literally save them from sins and guilt. I love being here at the MTC because I can see the Lord molding me into the person he wants me to be. I am so grateful for everything I have gone through and for the trials he has given me. He knows us better than we think, He is pushing us into the direction we need to be in, we just need to trust Him and have faith in His love and gospel. 
We taught our second investigator Erica and it was our best lesson yet. We had the spirit as we bore our testimonies. We explained how the doctrine could help her! I know that our gospel relates to everyone and can help any soul. I am so grateful that I can bear my witness of Christ that he lives and that this gospel is true. 
Some new words we like to use a lot are Depende no contexto- depends on the context, desajeitado-awkard, fubeca-disobedient, and Bugiganga- Knick knack. I think my favorite word is tenis-sneakers. Haha I love learning this language it has built my testimony that God will help us even when we think we can't do something!! I love the relationship I have with my district and teachers, they are truly building me up and help me when I can't help myself! This week I have been full of gratitude and love for the Savior, and for the blessings God has given me!
Easter Sunday! Beautiful Sisters
Easter candy fun! 
Sister Smith's drawing
Sister Smith & Elder Meredith

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

2nd week! 2nd email!

They still have each other! So cool!
(Makelle figured out how to download)!
(Sister Makelle Smith)
Biggest lesson of the week- To have faith in Christ is to be confident in Him and His atonement. Act on your faith and let His atoning sacrifice work in your life. And He will give you the courage to act by the spirit. The MTC is so spiritual I learn so much everyday!
I love you all so much and think of you everyday. Enduring to the end does not just mean making it to the end, it means to be constantly growing your faith and then serving to the end. 
We taught our investigator a few more times this week and I spoke a lot, I was so surprised with how much I could say! Turns out our investigator Danielle is our 2nd teacher, haha so funny but i love her. Her name is Irma Kimball, she is a doll and says that we did very well and brought the spirit.
One day Sister Kirkendall had a dentist appt. so we were in a quad ship where four of us had to stay together all day! I love my district we all try to help each other learn the language and we laugh. One day we saw a duck outside and we thought that was pretty entertaining. We will sing random songs and laugh a ton! We found grand canyon ice cream and I did a victory lap out of joy! 
I have been feeling so much peace about the language, I am a slow learner. I have a plan to use flashcards and to speak the language and it's slowly coming! I learned that we shouldn't let our afflictions tear down our testimony. We must lean on it to make us stronger. I learned how to say "struggle bus" in port. Onibus de luta. Haha yeah I'm on that most days. 
We watched a movie about a boy named German who was so ready to receive the gospel from the missionaries. I felt the spirit so strong that there are people like him waiting in Brazil to hear about Christ and the gospel. I am so excited and cannot wait to get there to share my testimony. 
Elder Meredith and I have become close friends and have a secret handshake, it's nice to have elders around too! I rock at four square in gym time! My teacher Irmo workman told me in English that I know more than I think which gave me so much confidence! I know I need to stop being such a perfectionist and to just try my best with the language and that will be good enough for the Lord and for my investigators! I learned that In order for our seeds(testimonies) to grow first we must harrow up the ground. We need to struggle and to have hard times before we can change and feel gratitude. If any of you are having a hard time realize there is a time and a season for everything, and that you will be blessed and your testimony will grow if you keep the faith! 
I love my district and my teachers I am really starting to love the MTC. I am having a different perspective to try to serve those around me, and it helps me to have greater peace and joy. 
Sunday we fasted and went to a devotional. I learned that if we become disciples of Christ we will be able to feel comfort in times of sorrow! I can truly testify to this. I have tried to be obedient and God has helped me to feel good with my service. 
My companion asked Elder Meredith to give her a blessing and I was able to witness it. Wow how amazing is the priesthood. The power of God is so real and we have been given that gift from Him. The blessing reminded me of blessings my Dad would give me, the spirit was so strong in that room. I know this work is so important and I am so grateful to be apart of it. Also one day my companion was struggling and I prayed so hard, then that day an elder came up to her and said the lord is happy with you and you are doing good. What a miracle to witness that God answers prayers and He is so aware of each of our problems.
So yesterday we taught our teacher Irmo Workman as a new investigator. Wow haha that was scary! He didn't let us in the door and asked us so many questions and "How" about 6 times. My companion froze in fear and she speaks Spanish haha. We didn't know what to do so I felt a prompting to tell him God loves him and that if he prays the Holy Ghost would help direct his life. I bore my testimony about this church and shared the scripture D&C 6:20. We said he would feel God's love if he followed His commandments. We told him we didn't know all the answers but we could explain if we could come back tomorrow. He said yes, and that he would pray about our church! I felt the spirit so strong as I bore my testimony to Jo (Irmo Workman)! I realized that I can hold my own in Portuguese, it may not be perfect but he could understand. My teacher told me he was so proud of me and of my skills. Haha skills right, but he said if I keep working I will get better and better! He said don't be sad because you didn't get in the door, it's not about how you feel, but how Jo felt about the visit. I know that if we have the spirit with us it will testify to our investigators! I am so excited and grateful that I am a missionary for this Gospel. I love the Lord and He will help us no matter what, He knows us individually and He will not leave us alone in our time of need. Thanks again for all your support, it has helped me so much! eu sei que da igreja de Jesus Cristo dos santos dos ultimos dias es verdadeiro.
Sister Smith & Sister Irizarry

(Sister Courtney Smith)
So this week went by really really really fast! It flew by! I was able to sing in the choir for the devotional this past week! We sang a song called "Behold the Wounds in Jesus Hands". Look up the song and lyrics! Its a song from the perspective of a missionary to an investigator! Wow I can envision myself inviting people to see Him, hear His voice, come to know Him, and feel His love! I'm so excited for this Easter! I honestly think this will be the first Easter that I will  be so focused on Christ and what he did for us. A scripture I found in personal study is Alma 36:3 whosoever will put their trust in God shall be supported in their troubles and their affliction and shall be lifted up! I know the Savior is our brother but more importantly He is our Best Friend! He knows us so well, He can help us in the exact way we need it! He is our perfecter! He will take care of us, He will encourage, and comfort us any time we need it. He is not selfish like most of us can be He is constantly waiting eagerly to hear from us, He is waiting for our hearts to turn to Him, so He can heal us. He can mend and fix your broken heart, but He can only do this with as much as you give to him! Turn your entire heart to Him. Repent quickly so He can lift you up and sustain you! This is why we celebrate our Savior Jesus Christ. He was called, prepared, volunteered, and willing to sacrifice for you! Only because He loves you. I love my Savior and have quickly learned to doubt my doubts not my faith! 
I honestly was really nervous and unsure about being able to speak Portuguese. I knew that through the Lord all things are possible HE is a God of miracles!
I was able to give a couple lessons in Portuguese without a script!!! It was such a fulfilling moment to know that the Lord is blessing me because of my faith and determination! The spirit is sooo strong here! I'm learning so much about having an and being a companion! It can be difficult to always be with someone so different! But she is awesome and such an example to me! WE work really well together and that's all that matters! I have been feeling more of a desire to be in Portugal now that I can speak a little! I just want to testify to everyone that God has restored the gospel on the earth today. We can find ultimate happiness and peace in the knowledge and revelations God gives to us when we follow Him! I love being a missionary and having the blessing to be here and learn Portuguese! I will say this again: I can't wait to see my Peeps in Portugal! I can't wait to bring them the gospel! I'm so happy and I'm learning to love the MTC! Only four more weeks here!!! Ahhhhh! Love you guys!