Monday, January 25, 2016

#Tendermercies & #Lastminutemiricales!

(Sister Makelle Smith)
It was another great week!! We have been working so hard to find new investigators here!! The struggle has been real, but we are trying to endure the end! We have found a few this week that already know members of the branch!! so that was nice! We taught Joel and Ian and they are really progressing! We taught them the word or wisdom because that are literally addicted to coffee! They drink 3-4 cups a day!! We taught them and Ian sat there and started at the picture of Joseph smith. He said I never knew that coffee was bad for me, I always thought it was good, so I have been drinking it. We went back in 2 days. And Ian said ever since you two taught me that coffee was bad I stopped drinking coffee and started drinking juice! Joel made goals to stop drinking coffee from Monday. Wow it was such a miracle, the atonement is working in their lives!! They have so much faith and really want to follow the Lord!! We made skits from the Book or Mormon with the other sisters and it was hilarious! I am learning how to make food here and it is really exciting!! Sister R. Ribeiro and I get along great, we are super similar!! We try to joke and stay positive in the street!!
We have become addicted to an ice cream store here that sells ovalmaltine ice cream, basically the best version of Nesquick here in Brazil!!
We had a missionary conference with all of the missionaries around the world! So special, Elder Bendnar, Elder Oaks, and Elder Anderson all spoke and gave us encouragement to keep working hard, follow the spirit, and love the people!! They had a video about missionaries teaching the people the gospel of Christ accompanied with the music, I will go where you want me to go. I cried so much haha but it is because this work is so amazing, and we truly are calling people to repentance and join the true church of our savior, Jesus Christ!!
I am so grateful for the gospel and for my time to be serving here!! have a great week!!
(Sister Courtney Smith)
Ok so this week was great!!!!! Heavenly Father really knows how to help us out when we need it :) The first thing that happened this week that was really cool was that we got to watch a conference that the first presidency put on for all of the missionaries!!! It was such a special feeling to know that I'm playing a part in helping the work of God continue forward!! They pretty much explained how we really need to focus on calling people to repentance and baptising people who are converted! It was really great! They talked and bore testimony that they know God loves us and that Jesus Christ lives and how we too are special testimonies that He lives and his gospel is restored! It felt such a power leaving that conference!
Well we taught Fatíma about living Prophets and it went really well we read about how we need to be a light to the world and shine with the love of Christ!! :) It was really great!! We finally are getting to know why shes taking so long to decide about baptism! She isn't using her faith in a way that makes a change in her life! She believes in God and in Jesus Christ but she doesn't do anything about it! We really challenged her to say meaningful prayers, read the scriptures everyday, and attended  all classes on Sunday! She came to all of them on Sunday so it was great to see her progressing spiritually as an individual :) Well the biggest miracles we saw this week were with two special families! We met a family from Brazil and a family from Angola!!!! We really were praying to find people who have interest in our message!!! We taught a mini lesson to the family from Angola and they absolutely loved it!! and we invited them to come to the sisters baptism and they came! They have a grandmother Teresa, the mother Mariana, and three sons Aderito, Carlos and Jamol :) They are the cutest family I have ever seen!! They loved the baptism because they said that's the way baptisms should be!!! :) hahaha they also came to all three classes at church! We also have an appointment with the father this week :) they took home Books of Mormon, bibles, and coloring books with the temple! They loved it :) Wow it was such a blessing to have a whole family in church learning about the gospel and feeling the spirit :) We were on cloud nine! We also taught the first lesson to a mother from Brazil with three daughters they are looking for a church here in Portugal and she loves how our church really supports families and their happiness! We are so excited to help the  people here if they are from Portugal or not they are still children of God looking for the truth :) haha I have so much to say but not a lot of time! I also have been studying the bible a lot lately and its been so interesting to really understand the doctrine of Jesus Christ and in Acts with the apostles! But the coolest thing was that I received an answer that I needed to really read in the Book of Mormon more, I thought well I already have read it how many times I should probably be studying the bible, but the spirit was very clear when it said I will feel more peace in my life if I will just study more in the book of Mormon. Well I for sure followed that guidance and I can testify that I have felt the spirit more abundant in my day to day because of dedicated a little more time in my studies to the book of Mormon :) I challenge you guys to do the same! Put aside 10 more minutes than usual and let the spirit enter more into your life :) I know it's true and holds truths that we need to hear every single day! Alma 38:9

Monday, January 18, 2016

1 Nephi 3:7

(Sister Makelle Smith)
This week we had leadership counsel of the mission! It was cool to go to the island! We stayed in Rio Travers so cool, I got to see my old investigators and Stephanie and Joao!!! They both will be serving missions in the next few years, what a miracle! Joel Franscine and Ian are progressing. Franscine left with Bryon and Ude for vacation and she is starting to stop progressing. Joel and Ian are progressing and reading the Book of Mormon! They didn't go to church this week but we will talk with them more this week of what happened. We could really use prayers for their family!! They are on date for baptism for the 6 of February!!
When I was at church a young woman gave a talk on our challenges in life. And she used the oh so famous 1 Nephi 3:7 For I know that the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. This area is starting to be hard to find people to teach and progress, but I know that the Lord wanted me and Sister Ribero to be here in this time of our missions, so I know He will help us here. We just need to stay excited and positive!! Have a great week!
(Sister Courtney Smith)
Well I can say without a doubt this week has been the most stressful week of my entire mission! I think it all just hit me, the responsibility of training, teaching, and hitting our goals. It was really strange, it was almost like a wave as it just hit me and it only got heavier as we received rejection after rejection after rejection. I don´t think I´ve received so much in a matter of days. I was really praying for guidance and help and it was amazing how God answered my prayers in so many ways!! I felt as if I was asking God to help my faith because it was strong enough to keep fighting until we hit our goals. I can say GOD IS GOOD :) He gave me so much peace as He filled my mind with the scripture in 1 nephi 3:7. It helped me keeping going until we hit our goals! :) In my personal study I was studying about how I could obtain more patience and perseverance because I was lacking in both areas, and God lead me too a scripture as I was reading the story of the sons of Mosiah in Alma 26:27
"Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success".
I can´t express the amount of peace that filled me heart as I read this scripture, it was as if God was talking directly at me. It gave me the strength I needed to open my heart look at what I needed to change and to move forward. Later that day we knocked an apartment building and met 2 families and 3 single people who said we could come back this week and share a message. I can´t tell you guys how much I know God loves us and is aware of what we are going through. I wants us to trust in his timing and submit our will to his. I know if we do we will see this `success` in our lives, if it's new investigators or peace or maybe a new attitude like I found this week!
Well training is going well. We only speak Portuguese because she doesn't speak hardly any English but she is learning now ;) It's super great to remember all of the ways to be a great missionary! :) Sister Gouveia is really patient and is a great trainee!!
Random story of the week we SAVED a mans life!!! Hahahaha it was like one of the moments that you hear about!!! We were visiting a street that multiple people said we could come back and after talking with a woman we started walking up the street until we heard a scream `Ajuda me` or help me!!!!! She was screaming like someone was going to die! I booked it up the hill with an adrenaline rush and there was an older couple with the wife trying to lift the car because her husband was smashed and couldn´t breathe. Well literally Sister Gouveia and I with the help of the old lady lifted the car off the ground so the guy could breath and crawl out!!!! He had to get his knee checked out at the hospital but no one else came out until after he was getting out! Thank goodness we were in the right place at the right time! :) hHaha yeah we felt pretty cool :) Well I hope you all have a great week :)

Monday, January 11, 2016

She got a daughter too! & I know it is true!

(Sister Courtney Smith)
Wow OK so I really don't have much time to write this week but I will be fast! Well I spent Monday and Tuesday in a Tripla with the other sisters because Sister Wood went home!!
Tuesday we got the call of transfers saying that Sister Barratt was going to Madeira and that I was going to be training!!!!! Wow you can imagine my excitement but also my shock! I honestly felt like i'd still have longer in the mission until i'd be a trainer but I know the Lord trusts me with the calling and wants me to be a leader! It was great I went up to Porto and pick up my daughter Sister Gouveia!!! She is from BRAZIL!!!!!! She is pretty much perfect so I'm not really training her but I know that we are going to have success together her in Gaia 2! We literally have been working so hard!! We have 100% obedient as our goal and we are talking with lots of people! Shes kind of shy so I've been helping her get our of her shell and speaking up more because she has such a strong testimony! Shes only been a member for 2 years, and she has such a light and understanding of the gospel!! I love training it's really been a lot of fun!! We already taught a family and have at least 5 lessons marked for next week with families! :) Haha D&C 4:5
(Sister Makelle Smith)
Our week was so hard, but in the end the rainbow really showed through!! We were making so many contacts and knocking so many doors, but nothing was working, no one was interested. So many people just see us as another church that is a name not the true church of Christ!! Everyone here they don't want a church with a name or title, they just have the church in their hearts. Sometimes that phrase bugs me haha because we know that the name of the true church is named after the Savior Jesus Christ.
Wow sister R is just amazing, she has a perspective of the mission that helps me to be better everyday! She really is challenging me to be more upfront with the people and really say the things necessary for them to progress!!
At the end of the week our golden family came to church!! Joel Francine and Bryon!! They are loving the church and especially the Book of Mormon. They LOVE the BOM really they read every night and always say how much it has helped them understand the bible and the gospel!! They are so amazing and really want to follow the savior. I have such high hopes for them that they will be baptized soon!!
God truly is blessing us for all of our hard work!!! When they were in sacrament meeting I couldn't help but smile, wow that is the happiness of the gospel right there seeing families together learning about Christ!! I want my family to always have the gospel. I am so so so grateful I was born into the gospel and have had the blessings my whole life! I will never be able to say how much love I truly do have for this church. I know it is true, nothing will change that!! I love you guys so much, thank you for always staying faithful in the gospel!! Until next week!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

I got a daughter this week & Personal Responsability!

(Sister Makelle Smith)
This past few weeks have been so great!! We had Christmas and that was awesome and the new year! We couldn't leave our house but we watched fireworks. The market Zeza did some fireworks so we watched from our window. So awesome, the Lord gave us some fun!! We made some yummy food and it was a good night!!
Our investigators Francine, Udi, Bryon and Joel are really progressing. Joel is a father of 6 and they have so much interest in the gospel. They really like the Book or Mormon, they are so so special! We put them on date for baptism this week!! They want to come to church!! Franscine is 17 and she wants to follow Christ so much! She knows she wants to get baptized asap she is just waiting for an answer from God about the BOM and Joseph Smith. They are a Golden Family!!
I got a daughter this week. Her name is Sister R. Ribeiro. She is from Natal, Brazil!! Yay Brazilian! She is so cute and happy. We are always laughing at something! I love her so much, she always keeps things positive and she really has a desire to be obedient! I think this transfer is going to be great!! We have been making a lot of visits with members this week, they really have been catching onto the missionary spirit!! This branch really is progressing and has the goal to be a ward by the end of the year!! I love this area, and I cant wait to see what happens this transfer!!
I have been learning a lot about the importance about he Book or Mormon. I know that truly as we read the BOM with the bible we have the fullness of the gospel. I asked myself when I got to Montana, "do I know the bible is true"? I know the Book of Mormon is true because I have read it and prayed about it. But I truly can say now that I know the Bible is true AS it is translated correctly. The bible contains the words of our savior Jesus Christ!! I love you!!
(Sister Courtney Smith)
Well this week has absolutely flown by! I can't even believe it!! Well I can't remember that well so I'm just going to start by finishing up last week! The Christmas conference was great! We played a little game and the rest was like a regular conference. The main thing I loved about it is that he talked a lot about personal responsibility! I thought it was super interesting because of the new year with our goals we usually have great goals but somehow along the way we give up or we don't get where we like to. Well if we would take personal responsibility our chances of improving after we fail go straight up because we know what we need to do differently to be able to not make the same mistakes again :) It was neat! I hope we can all take that into account as we try to reach our goals this up coming year :)
Well our beloved Sister Wood has officially gone home! We had a funeral and she had a will and gave us some of her old things it was pretty funny!!
This week was pretty much full of member meals because everyone wanted to say goodbye because they heard that three of the four of us will be leaving!!! So you get to see a lot of my cute members here in Gaia!
Tomás also had a birthday party! We decorated his wall :) He loved it! He turned 8 so he can now be baptised :) We went over and we helped out with his party and her whole family came over again!! haha They all were telling us how much Fatima talks about us and how great we are! They all said they would like to come visit our church in a couple weeks! Baby steps!! And it was cool because we started a fast with Fatima and we all fasted that she could get a n answer about Joseph Smith and the Church and that she could find a new job so that she could pay tithing! She has so much faith it's amazing! Then on Sunday they both went to the sisters baptism and Tomas said he wanted to be baptised!hahaha Fatima just laughed and we felt the spirit sooooo strong!!
We've been working hard and knocking on so many doors! It's crazy because we talk with so many people and not a lot of people want to talk with us but then there is the one person who does and we have an amazing lesson filled with the spirit! God is aware of us and wants us to succeed! When we are obedient to his commandments and laws, that is when he can bless us :) And everything he asks of us is only to help us be happy :) I love the gospel!!
Sorry I've been kind of frazzled today! We will be receiving transfer calls tonight and it's been a little crazy here! Anyways I love you all and I hope you had a great new years! PS I read the talk "A summer with great aunt Rose" and I pretty much cried the whole time!! It has so may golden nuggets!! One of the lines is that Rose is talking with Eva and she said that our eternity is full of "nows" :) We choose if we want to be happy forever with how we make up our "nows" :) God wants us to be happy Revelation 21:3–4. I love life :) Have an amazing week!