Monday, March 21, 2016

Feeling all your prayers & Year mark!

(Sister Makelle Smith)
This week I have been feeling all your prayers and help!!! I have seen God act in the lives of the people here! We received 2 references from the site of the church of two people asking for a Book or Mormon! Wow what a miracle we will be teaching them this week! Julio is one of them and had so many questions he seems so interested about our religion! We also got a reference from an investigator of a woman from Argentina but lived in the U.S. for 18 years, Erika!! She has already met the elders and visited the Maryland temple! She said she wasn't ready then to be baptized but would love to learn more about the church now!!
Seriously this week was so amazing, we tried talking with everyone trying to find everyone ready and willing to listen to us! Our companionship is so strong and we both have the desire to be obedient and teach this gospel of our savior! I gave a talk in sacrament about how we can be disciples of Christ by not making rumors or gossip about the people in the ward and investigators! I felt so strong that the spirit touched someones heart!! I cant wait for this week, i am truly loving being a missionary, I feel like I am at the peak of my mission! I just want it to keep getting better!! I still have 5 months to take advantage!! I love my mission!!
(Sister Courtney Smith)
Well this week has been a continuation of the roller coaster from last week!!!! It has just been more ups and downs!!! Well our main focus this week was Paulo and Shano for their baptisms. First it started with the downs...
Shana was acting really weird because she changed her hair and she was embarrassed and didn't want to talk to us! But then when we got on the bus one day she was there too so we were able to pass by later that night and really talk with her! She said that she was still wanting to be baptized but that she was sad because her dad didn't want her to be baptized. He lives in Angola and doesn't really know us and isn't religious so when she tried explaining he didn't understand! Well we decided to fast that his heart would be softened and she had an appointment to talk with our President Amorim. Turns out the next day she called very anxiously saying she already tried talking to her dad again and he got really upset and told her she couldn't be apart of our church at all :( Wow what a heartbreak it was for us!!! So much drama. She was very confused, but shes only 17 turning 18 in June so in a couple of months we can start talking to her again! Our hearts were just torn into pieces because we gave it everything so that she could be baptized!
So that's the down part, but the up hill part was that Paulo was baptized!!!!!!!! I can´t even explain the sensation seeing this man have a change of heart! He is actually the same age as you DAD! hahaha so it was interesting watching a father figure changing and opening himself up! He literally did a 180 degree switch. He all of the sudden wanted to learn and was looking to become more like the savior. We taught about the law of chastity and he immediately started being a better father and husband to Bia and Maria and they are even a happy couple now. We taught them the law of tithing and now they are more organized and have a chart to help them spend their money better and be self sufficient! The gospel of Jesus Christ literally changes people!!! Our last night before the baptism we watching the bible video of Jesus and it was amazing how much of the spirit was with us I felt it in my fingertips! His face literally changed and he wept. He said he felt so empty like he had never felt before, he said it was a sensation totally new, we testified that it was the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ working in his life and that repentance is real and cleans us so we don't feel the weight of our sins. He was crying for a good 5 minutes, we had never ever seen that side of him before! We knew he was ready for baptism!
The Baptismal service was one of the best that I've been to! We combined with the sisters in Porto and had a bunch of people there! Their couple was married before and they asked me if I could do her hair an make up it was a blast! It was amazing we sung a primary song with Bia and Maria and Paulo cried the entire time! We were so happy that this family can now be sealed in the temple and be a forever family :) :) :) When he received the gift of the Holy Ghost it was sensational my eyes filled with tears because of the happiness that comes from helping someone else enter into the path of God!!!
I can believe it sometimes what I´m actually doing here! Well as well this week we were practicing in a choir because this Sunday we had a big Easter activity!!! We song about 9 songs and they were so pretty! We sang some of my favorites that have been a big help to me on my mission! I was able to see some friends from the Gaia 2 ward and it made me sooooo happy :) It was an amazing week filled with the love of Christ I know that God is with us and has his timing, we have to trust in it 100% and we know it will all work out!!! It was an amazing way to hit my year mark! I don´t feel like I'm really that old on the mission but here I am! I´m so thankful for the past year and I can easily say it was the best year of my life :) I love you guys! Have an amazing week!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Their faith will be sufficient! & pics only

(Sister Courtney Smith)
Wow all I can say is that this week really was crazy!!!!! It has been a roller coaster of emotions!!!! Sister Nagliati and I are being put to the test!!! Our faith was tried this week but like I talked about faith last week, we have to prove our faith so that the miracles can happen! :) Well so what happened this week lets see... Sister Nagliati turned 20!!!! It was a bunch of fun! It´s funny because she is about 6 months behind me so it´s so weird for me how fast time goes so fast! I cant believe I'm 20 1/2! já!
Well we celebrated and made cake it was great!
We had to do another practice about the law of Chastity and it went well :) So we´ve really been working on helping our investigators prepare for baptism!!! Well Shana is doing well but she has been getting sick so we had our bishop give her a blessing and she said she felt a rush when they were blessing her :)
Paulo actually broke our hearts because he's been letting the adversary get a hold of him and he's having self confidence issues... well he said that he didn't think he could handle the responsibility, man we were so bummed!!!! But we let him know that he would be able to handle it and that this is what God wants for him! But we told him we respected his decision! Anyways we went back to talk with his wife alone the next day to help her faith and we all decided to do a group fast for him!!! So on Sunday we were all fasting :) In the morning we woke up to go find everybody and it was such a crazy day no one was coming with us!!!! We were so sad because we had 5 people marked to come with us! Well then Paulo came with his wife to the bus stop and ended up coming to church :) We were so happy!!! We caught the bus in time and everything! Well right when we were getting disappointed we received a text from Conceição saying that she could make it to the baptism after church! So we all hopped in a white van and went to the baptism of the Elders in Porto!!! Wow the spirit was so strong and we watched 3 people get baptised!!! Paulo was so happy he just kept saying wait I´m going to do that next week right??? :)))))))) We couldn't believe it!!!!!!!! He wants to still be baptized!!!! Conceição was so excited about the baptism because it was the first time she had ever gone to church so that already was a miracle for her! Then she practically jumped out of her seat so that she could see them go in the water :) Afterwords she said that she wanted to do that and feel like those people did!!!! :)))))))) We were so happy and felt God working with us soooooo much!!! I am telling you guys God is so powerful and knows exactly what each and every one of us need!!!! I am so honored to be a missionary witnessing all of the miracles happening every day :) We shared the story of Peter with Paulo, Shana, and Conceição and they all felt so much strength that they can trust the Savior and that their faith will be sufficient!!! I kind of felt like him this week because of the amount of stress, sickness, and heartbreak but Sister Nagliati and I decided to keep faith in these people and this area and we knew we´d see God´s hand in our life!!!! I wasn´t a bit surprised to find out we were right! I can´t wait for this weekend!!!!!! :) PS I hit my year mark this week!!!! AHHHHH!!!!!!

(Sister Makelle Smith) No Letter this Week :(

Friday, March 11, 2016

Traing Leader & Positive Perspective!

(Sister Courtney Smith)
Wow is all I can say for this week!!! I am absolutely loving the area and my new companion! She is so great!! This place has a bunch of potential! The ward has 14 members and they are all in their high 70s so it's kind of a challenge! :) but its going to go well!!! We are here to help them grow!
first off I will talk about sister Nagliati : She is from Brazil but her family is from Italy, we are pretty much soul sisters!!!! I am so blessed to have the chance to serve with her!! She is very powerful and full of passion so the people here pretty much stop to talk to her!!! We have the same interests and we are very similar! I can´t say enough good things about her! She's really teaching me so much!!!
So this week was pretty crazy because on Tuesday we got a call from one of the APs saying that I was needed in the Mission Council the next day!!!! I thought that's weird! But he said I was actually a Sister Training Leader! :) Wow what a surprise! I couldn't believe it haha no one told me! So I went the next day for the first time on the mission! It was super cool to be with all of the leaders. We talked a lot about where we are at as a mission and how we can improve! It was such a privilege to be apart of it!! I felt the spirit really strong, I think I was nervous because I didn't know if I was ready for a responsibility like that right now, but it was really cool because our President told us that he has a lot of trust and confidence that we will be great leaders! I just felt a wave of Peace come over me! The spirit let me know that I´d be just fine! I had so much love for OUR mission Portugal Porto! :)
The next day we had our zone meeting and as a responsibility of a Sister Training Leader you usually do a practice of how to teach or do an invite for an investigator! So I was assigned to do and invite to come to church :) I was nervous because it was my first time but I knew that the spirit would help us out! You have to go to the front of all the missionaries and show them how to do it, so you get a little scared because everyone is watching and judging. Well we got up there and the practice was going really well Sister Nagliati is such an amazing teacher we work really well together! Anyways I was able to bear testimony in the end how church has given me a lot of peace in my life and in the end the whole room was in tears! :) I couldn't believe how the spirit touched us in that moment! We usually give a rating out of 10 how the practice went and how we could improve, and everyone gave us a 10!!!! I never heard of that before! That's was the first time in my whole mission that I received that! It was such a confirmation that the spirit would be with us and that we are qualified :) The AP Elder Mcggie came up to us in the end and told us that it was the best practice he has seen in his whole mission! That made us feel so good because hes going home in a couple of weeks! It was one of the coolest experiences of my mission!!! I know God Trusts us a lot and expects a lot of us!!
So we are teaching a couple of people right now. The first person is named Paulo :) His wife and daughter have already been members for a little more than a year and he´s finally shown interest in learning more!!! We marked him for baptism on the 19th :) They really want an eternal family!
2nd is Shana :) She is from Angola and is 18 years old! She has such a testimony of Jesus Christ and really wants a new start in her life! She wants to be devoted to the Savior! We had previously asked her to be baptized and the choose a date and she said she would think about it and pray about it. It was so cool right after our zone meeting we went over to her house and we had a great lesson about the atonement, we sang her a hymn and in the end we asked her to choose a date and she said the 19th of march!!!! :) Wow it gave us chills when she said she felt very confident about that day! Then after she told us she wanted to sing to us and she sang a beautiful christian song :) Then she said a powerful prayer, the spirit was so strong!!!! I can´t explain how the spirit was in me that day, I felt a very warm feeling in my face it was amazing! We are super excited for her!!! It was the best day of my whole mission!!!! I couldn't believe how God was helping us so much :)
Third we are teaching a woman named Conceição, she is the mother of a member named Eduardo. Eduardo was recently reactivated a couple of months ago and just received the priesthood this Sunday!!!! She is a very humble woman with faith in God :) She is simple and feels really good when she reads the book of Mormon! She is marked for the 2nd of April :)
I can´t believe all of the success God is giving us in this area!!! It really is our job to help the continue in faith and make it to the day of the baptism, and after have them work towards a goal to the temple! :) Its crazy because I also was able to help out the bishops wife that is less active and I colored her hair! Missionaries haven't been able to go to their house for a while so it was a blessing to use my skills to bring the gospel back to her!!! :) it went really well and I know God uses our abilities to bless the lives of others!!! Our bishop is amazing and has a lot of fire to help this ward grow as well! Please pray for the ward in Foz!
Well this scripture really describes the week i´ve had! it´s in Either 12:6
"And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith".
I know that all of the miracles that happened really were because of the Faith that Sister Nagliati and I had in the Lord and his promises. I hope you had an amazing week of miracles too! love you all so much!
(Sister Makelle Smith)
Wow this week was great! I got sick, but the days that we worked we saw some miracles!! Really there were a lot of people who stopped us in the street asking us if we were Mormons and asking us to visit them, Like what?? Also we made some contacts and we had a few people let us in and teach them!! It was a miracle, haha the ward says that this is the hole of the mission, but we are sure working hard and trying to keep a positive perspective as we work!
We had stake conference and that was so fun because I got to see all the members from Imbituba!! I miss them so much and it helped me feel their love for me! I saw Irma Sonia and Rafael! Sonia is Filipes mom who was baptized last December. Rafael was less active for 6 years. She gave me a box of chocolates and Rafael thanked me for serving a mission. He said that it was because of my testimony about the Atonement and Repentance that it gave him the desire to come back. Wow he has changed so much and is studying the scriptures everyday and living the missionary schedule. He is now filling out his papers to serve a mission. He said I am grateful to Heavenly Father for sending you to our family!! Wow on the bus ride home I couldn't help but cry and thank God for sending me here to Florianopolis.
I am so grateful for this experience to help his children come to know the Gospel and the savior!! I love you all, and anyone who is thinking about serving a mission go for it, the Lord is waiting for you be an instrument in his hands!!! Have a great week!:)