Monday, June 29, 2015

No letter again! & Coolest expieriance!

(Sister Makelle Smith)
(Sister Courtney Smith)
Sooo this week was a little bit of a challenging week not going to lie! But I can say with all my heart that I have been striving to be exactly obedient. The Language is still coming slowly but I feel it getting better so that's nice! I know that God is helping me and giving me His spirit when I do what He says!
Well it was a very slow week! We finally had a lesson with an awesome guy named Zé! I started talking to him in the computer lab where we write, he was nice and let me use his converter! We had the first lesson with him and he really loved it! He has such a strong testimony in Jesus Christ. He just kept saying how important it is to know Him, be thankful for Him, and follow Him! So we asked him to be baptised with a suave invite and he said yes I will! We are going to teach him tomorrow! The Lord has prepared people here for us to teach that´s for sure!
Well it's been getting up into the high 90's here! It is crazy hot! I cut my companions hair! It was a lot of fun she now has a little fro :) We also had divisions this week and I was in Coimbra with Sister Stewart! She helped me a lot! She helped me focus on conjugations but more importantly how to show love for every person we see in the street! We had three lessons in under an hour! It was amazing! I´m pretty sure one of the coolest experiences happened with her! We walked past a little house it almost looked like a shack, well we said hello with big smiles and a woman said oh my family doesn't need your church we already have God in our lives. So we said that is great! We said could we sing a song about God with you? She just looked at us in the eyes and said wow you two have something different about you. You are so pretty and have a light about you! She then bore her testimony about how she knows God lives because she had once had a sickness but then she was able to be healed. We asked if we could pray and in the middle of the prayer we could just hear her crying. When the prayer was finished she was crying and said opa our Father is here with us I can feel Him! The spirit was so strong! Her Grandson came around the corner and just looked really sad. He said hello and said he was having a hard time in school. She started saying how it has been hard for him because they haven't found anyone to tutor him with English and they were scared he would fall behind in school. We lit up and told her we know English and can tutor him! She started bawling!!! She said that we had answered her prayers that morning! She said she had prayed to find someone to help him, and we were her answer to her prayer! She looked us in the eyes and said I know you are messengers of God with out a doubt! You are His representatives! Sister Stewart and I started crying because it was just so cool that people can feel the spirit that comes from the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I will never forget that moment! Well I hope to hear that things are going well with them next week!
We also went bowling today for district Pday! Well my thought for this week comes from a talk by Elder Bednar this last conference he said  "Godly fear dispels mortal fears. It even subdues the haunting concern that we never can be good enough spiritually and never will measure up to the Lord´s requirements and expectations. In truth we cannot be good enough or measure up relying solely upon our own capacity and performance. Our works and desires alone do not and cannot save us. After all we can do (2 Nephi 25,23) we are made whole only though the mercy and grace available through the Savior´s infinite and eternal atoning sacrifice." Wow when I read this part the spirit hit me so hard, This life is preparation to meet God, we cannot do it on our own. We have to trust in God and rely on our Savior that we can and will be perfected through Him! I know no matter what happens in this life that God will help us when we go to Him for help. He will comfort, lift, and love us no matter what :) I know where I can put my trust because it will extend into the eternities! Love you all!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Very Eventful & Picture Only

(Sister Courtney Smith)
Well this week has been very eventful I would say!! We started it off with a big multi zone meeting in Coimbra!! I love that city and I hope that I get to serve there one day! So this meeting was actually really special because it was President and Sister Fluckigers last meeting with us!! So we had to say goodbye and everything! They are some of the coolest people I have ever met! We even bought a huge flower arrangement for Sister Fluckiger and she was so happy she was crying! I got to meet my trainers "mom" and my "sister" haha so that was really fun because I´ve heard so many stories about them! I'm excited to meet the new president I think we might even have a big meeting! I also got to see two of the elders from the MTC! The next day Isaura got baptised!!! Seriously she makes me sooooo happy!! It was the most spiritual baptism I´ve ever been to! She just has so much faith she is glowing all the time! Ela está mesmo electivo! We bought her a cute infinity necklace because we always talk about how we are going to be friends forever in the celestial kingdom! She is just so happy! Carlos one of our members who baptised her joked and said he was going to keep her down in the water and she just started laughing and he said are you scared and she said no I have absolutely no fears I´m ready! Her face after she got baptised was pure amazement. After I was helping her change and she was just crying because the spirit was so strong!! It was her birthday too, so a lot of people brought cakes and food and we sang to her happy birthday! I don´t know a lot of people who would choose to get baptised and spend their birthday night with all of the members, she is one of God´s prepared children here in Portugal! She also got confirmed this Sunday as a member and received the Holy Ghost! We had a lesson with her about the plan of salvation and she was just so firm with her testimony, she was saying how she was so happy shes baptised and is following God´s plan for her! André also blessed the sacrament yesterday! It is so cool to see our recent converts participating and being involved in the ward!! Our other recent convert Antonio is doing so good as well! Some Sundays he has to work but he always makes it a point to come to sacrament meeting! He talks with all the members and is happy as well!Oh and there have been tons of parades!!! its so cool to be involved in their culture! Its pretty crazy to believe sometimes that all of this has happened already!! I feel so blessed to be here and teach people about something that´s so dear to my heart! It has been such a cool experience to strengthen my testimony as well! This morning I was reading in Ether about how The Book of Mormon will be translated in the latter days, and I thought to my self about my testimony of how this book was really translated through the power of God, not only the first vision, or the spirit I feel when I read but the actual act of translating, I took the advice of Moroni in Mormon 9:27  O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things so ever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before Him.

So I said a prayer and asked God that I could truly know that this event happened, and all of the sudden my heart just filled with happiness and went all the way up to my eyes and I started to cry. I knew that God answered my prayer through the Holy Ghost so that I could have a testimony. This is what we are inviting all people to do, read/study, ponder in your heart with real intent, and ask God. I´m so thankful for my own opportunity to act and follow our Savior, Doubting not and Believing in Him! I hope everyone is doing well!! Love you all!!

(Sister Makelle Smith)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Excited to stay in the North & Portuguese, a tiny bit better!

(Sister Courtney Smith)
Sooo this week went by so fast I don´t even know what to write about!! All I can say is that I'm actually really excited to stay in the North!! It's been such an amazing experience to show my faith and trust in God that He knows where I need to be!! Well this week has been full of tracting and street contacts!! The festivals are starting here for when they celebrate the saints and I´m super excited! There was one out in Mangauled and they had a churro stand so of course we got one!! They are really good here! 
We visited some cathedrals today and it was so weird!! They are huge but the moment you walk in you just get this dark errie feeling that just takes over! It was such a surreal moment to be in Europe touring cathedrals!!!! It´s crazy to think that I'm really here being a missionary sometimes! 
Well as far as Investigators Isaura is crazy in love with the gospel!! She is my joy right now!! It is so worth every second to help her find the happiness she has! She has her interview tonight and she will be baptised on Wednesday! I can´t believe how many people here are so ready for the gospel!! I love how when we put our faith in God and He will provide!! I was reading in Exodus about Moses and how he was actually not super confident in talking and speaking, but the Lord gives him Aaron and experiences to show him that He will never give up on him and He will always tell him what to say if he has faith!! That's how I feel with being a missionary! First we have to have faith that He will help us and show Him we will be obedient then He will help us and miracles will happen like having 3 baptisms in my first area!!! 
We also got a new sister. Sister Barrett! She is an absolute doll and I knew her from instagram before! We all just laugh so much at the house and together I'm loving it! Well this is a short email week Love you all sooo much!!

(Sister Makelle Smith)
Brazil!!! This week was so much better! Portuguese is starting to get a tiny bit easier! The people here speak so fast so it is hard to catch what they say but, I am starting to get the jist and can respond! We found 4 new investigators in the last 2 days the Lord loves unity and humility I am learning this. My mission is about constant purification and that is hard. But it is making me a better person. I am smiling more, and that is all I want is to be happy even through the hard times, and that takes faith. God is really trying to see what I believe and how I would react to hard situations good thing I didn't listen to the adversary and give up. God wants me to keep fighting because He is just waiting for me to reach out to Him and make myself better and then He will bless me. He can't bless me when I don´t believe he will! But my faith is starting to be strengthened!!
This past week I was companions with sister Irizarry! So much fun we made a lot of contacts and they didn't understand us too well but it was hilarious! Sister Huaman and I are working really hard and are finding some really cool people! It rained for the first time I've been here and it was so strong! We walk a lot but that is good because I get to work off the huge lunches we eat!
The members here are awesome and really support us! I have learned how to find where we are on the map and ask for directions! Awesome passo e passo, what a good principle! The mission was never going to be easy but I am learning that it is easier with a smile! Be happy because the time we have here is not worth being sad! The people here are so willing to help and talk with us this is an attribute I will take home with me! It is sooo gorgeous here and I can´t believe I am here, it really is unreal!
I am so grateful, I read the recent conference talk by Jeffrey R. Holland and it was a great reminder. The Savior never moves and inch He is always there and ready to lift us up when we are down, we just need to reach for him first. I can testify that this is true that God planned for us to have trials and hard times but our purpose is not to helplessly fall but to have faith and reach for the one who can lift us up when we can't lift ourselves! This is why I am here, because the Savior is just waiting for the people to have faith and he will bless them more then they can imagine. I am grateful for this mission and for personal revelation! Until next week!!

Monday, June 8, 2015

It's gorgeous here! & A very big Week!

New companion, Sister Huama
In Brazil

(Sister Makelle Smith)
My companion is awesome she is so sweet! She is from Peru and she is so nice! She really wants to help me and see me have success! Her name is Sister Huaman and she has been out for a year! So she will probably be my companion for the next 6 months! I depend on her so much! Wow,  I can't say or understand anything. Brazil is so awesome it's just how I pictured but so much prettier. It really is gorgeous here! Poor but it doesn´t feel too weird! We walk everywhere and we ride the bus most of the time. It's super different, I feel like the bus is like a roller coaster in the jungle it's actually pretty fun until you get motion sickness.
The food is awesome here pretty much like the restaurant Tucanos with less flavor. Yeah meat, salad with oil rice, pineapple guarana my favorite drink and potato salad. Not a lot of flavor here so that is interesting. It is so HOT here and it is winter! No rain where I am at. We are in the Campeche area and our ward is called Rio Travers. Wow our area is so big!
I love the ward they are so sweet, they love the missionaries. The women give each other kisses even to strangers. They smile a lot and are very animated when they talk.
I haven´t gotten sick yet, but I have been struggling a lot here. I literally can´t understand anything the people say it is so frustrating! They ask me like three times and I still can´t hear because they speak so fast! Then they laugh and talk with my companion. I don´t know how I am going to learn but eventually I will catch on. I want to understand so bad!
I live with Sister Irizarry and her companion Sister Esplin from Ecuador and it is so fun!I love living with them too! Today we cleaned the whole house. The elders before us again didn´t clean anything! There are soooooo many spiders it freaks me out! We sleep in bunk beds so I can´t use my tent, freaky! The wood that holds up my mattress falls like 3 times a night :( 
The mountains are so pretty and the beaches are too! We see at least one beach a day and it really is gorgeous here! Till next time, bye!

(Sister Courtney Smith)
Another Baptism!

Hospital trip for a wrist injury :(

Pancake night! I guess they are eating ok :)

This week was a very big week!! I feel like so much has happened!! Well We had another baptism with cute "A"!! He was honestly already so prepared!! We just had to teach him the lessons. In one of our last lessons before his interview after we were done talking he just looked at us and kind of chuckled and said I feel like I´ve already been a Mormon for years!! His baptism was so beautiful and happy. I love sitting next to them and see their smiles especially because they know that they are following the Savior in faith! On Sunday "A" and "A" both bore their testimonies in testimony meeting!! It was such a neat experience I had the biggest grin on my face and "I" was sitting next to me just smiling really big too! It's weird to think it's already been a transfer here in Portugal! Its gone by really fast! I won´t lie everyday is challenging, but in a way I know its going to be worth it! We got the transfer calls last night and everyone was all nervous to see who will be leaving! Well I´m staying in the North!! They have a tradition here that before transfer calls they go and buy these candies called kinder surprises. They are chocolate eggs with a surprise toy inside. Well I guess they tell you what your future transfer will be like! I got a little Santa ornament and it has a bell. So we decided that it means I'm going to be giving a lot of people happiness and share my testimony about the Savior a lot! I knew that I probably wouldn´t leave so I wasn´t too nervous for this transfer! But I was kind of hoping I would be called to the south because they speak easier Portuguese, is what I hear! It's been on my mind a lot this week why the Lord sometimes asks us to do hard things. Right now its to learn a completely different language. I was praying to have understanding why I needed to stay in the north, well I was talking to one of the sisters about our goal as our mission about baptisms and how if our President has a goal for us it´s because he has received revelation that it can be accomplished if we give our all. We only made half our goal last month. I told her that no matter how big or grand we think the goal is it´s possible because God wants it for us. Right after I told her this the spirit hit me so hard and I just started to cry because I know this is the exact thing with my mission call, God asked me to do this and it doesn't matter how big or grand it may be I will be able to accomplish my mission if I give my all! There's a scripture in D & C 11:12 We first have to seek to obtain his word and then our tongues will be loosed! Wow, when I read this last night I knew it's what I needed to hear! If we want to be able to help others we really need to know who needs the gospel as well as we can and it takes time, effort and a lot of focus. But when we rely on Him for help we will receive it in the very hour we need him! I know that this is true and this is my theme for this next month!! I'm so excited to have the fire back and I´m ready to work hard again! I know that Heavenly Father humbles us so we are able to more fully feel his love, and that sometimes in life we hit a low point only so we can ask God to raise us up higher than we were before!! I love his gospel and I love that I have the privilege of helping others feel the love that comes from it!! I hope you all have a good week!!

Made it to Brazil!

(Sister Makelle Smith)
Hi mom I got here safely! Wow it was such a long flight! Honestly I feel like I am in another world. I am just trying not to freak out. I promised I wouldn´t cry. I think I will love it here it is so pretty! In the plane the island looked like it was from a movie for real! It is so crazy that I am here! I meet my new companion in a few hours I will have my interview with the president they are so sweet! I love you so much and I can´t wait to hear from you next week! Bye

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Really starting to pick up!

1st Baptism with "A"
All Sister Smith said was "Hi" and now look!

New investigator I*** Baptism set for June 17th

(Sister Courtney Smith)
So this week has been really busy but sooooo much fun!! :) The most important thing that happend!! "A" got baptised!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yay!!!!! I´m still so happy!! It was so much fun! He invited so many of his friends too!! I know he will bring so many people into the church just because he´s so friendly. He was so proud and happy that he was making this decision for himself because he has a testimony of this church and in his response from God! I know he is and will have a long lasting conversion! He will be an amazing member! I was just smiling so much because I know this is his new start in life to become the person he was already trying to be! His heart is pure and ready to follow the Savior in all things! I feel so blessed to have been able to be apart of his personal conversion! I know we will always be friends for eternity and I will forever be grateful that I was humble enough to accept my answer from God to go on a mission so I could be here to talk to him! I'm so happy and surprised that I´m able to see the fruits of my labors so fast!
God has blessed me even in my hard times! Missions are amazing! "A" shook my hand after the baptism and said thank you today I will start to prepare I have a year! I got so excited because I knew that he was talking about a mission!!!!
Things are really starting to pick up! We have an investigator named Antonio! He is awesome he's in his 60's and has already had his conversion to Christ but one day he was walking in the road and prayed to hear the word of God the other sisters met him and he said he felt like they were his answer! He lives in our area so we started teaching him and we marked him for baptism this Saturday!!! He is so prepared its crazy! We taught him the word of wisdom and the law of Chastity and he said he´s already decided that they were bad things for him anyways already!!!
Not only him but we also have another investigator named "I"! She is an absolute doll!!! She is like my bestie! She is 20 and is actually "A's" friend! He taught the first lesson with us and all she kept saying was that she wants to know whats right so she can follow it! So we´ve had some awesome lessons with her!! She is so sensitive to the spirit and she loves the truth that we have a living prophet who talks to us today and she loves the truth of eternity and how its real!! She is marked for baptism on June 17 because it's her birthday and she wants it to be a special day!! We watched the video called "Because of Him" the Easter video and we were all in tears the spirit was so strong!!!! It was so cool how it was in Portuguese and I still felt the spirit strong as ever!!!
Also this week we had divisions which were super fun! I was on divisions with a sister training leader named Sister Larsen! Shes actually from American Fork and is friends with our cousin Chloe!!! She is literally the missionary I hope I´m like in a year!!! We had such a great day contacting, teaching and full of the spirit!!! It was easily my favorite day yet on the mission!! I just felt like that was the ultimate missionary day!! I learned so much from her on how to be a missionary, how to teach, how to contact, how to make plans for studies, and how to work hard! I will never forget  that day!!! I wish I could serve with her one day!
Well I have more stories but I'll save them for next week ;) Love you all so much!!! All I can say is that the Holy Ghost is real!! He abides with all of us that are living worthily and ask for his presence!! Through the Holy Ghost we are able to have the spirit of Jesus Christ in our hearts at all times! That is why sacrament is so important! I am so thankful for my opportunity the have such a special gift to guide, counsel me, and most importantly receive answers and person revelation from God! It is so important that we rely on its promptings!!!! I know this even more because that is the only way our investigators are receiving their answers for baptism!! At the end of the lesson with Antonio today he said wow I love how after every time I talk with you I feel Jesus in my heart I know he was here with us!!! We can all have this and I invite everyone to try and recognize the spirit more in your life!!! Have such a good week!!!!!!