Thursday, April 28, 2016

Special experience & Showing a lot of Love!

(Sister Makelle Smith)
This week was one of the hardest yet, because I said goodbye to one of my absolute Best friends Sister Cabaña, I cried like a baby!! I love that girl so much, i hope she gets home alright and is happy!! I got my new companion Sister Dourado, she is from Purnambucu which is the nordeste! She is Brazilian and super cute!! I think it is gonna go well!! We are going to try and get Erika to go to church this week, she so close!!
My special experience this week was we made a contact with this old man and I gave him a little invite to go to church, he took it and kissed and looked up to the heavens with tears in his eyes, super special!! I almost cried. He lives super far away from church, so I don't think he will be able to go, but the moment meant a lot to me!! I am super excited for this week, and we will see what happens, please keep us in your prayers so we can find the elite!!! Love you guys!!

(Sister Courtney Smith)
So all in all this week has kind of been a restoration week. As far as all the drama from last week it all went away and we were able to fix the situation, we had to have some long talks but in the end it all worked out they understood what they did wrong and how as missionaries they need to respect our authority and that we represent the Savior! It was pretty interesting because last week I was listening to the Priesthood session and I heard a quote that Elder Uchtdorf Said: "The Savior won our souls with LOVE". That's what we tried doing a lot of this week! Showing a lot of love to everybody! It was the easiest way to help Eduardo get over his issues. It´s amazing how love really is one of the strongest forces that we have to help people! Especially the love from the Savior! He can heal us completely because of what he did out of love for us! We have been doing little acts of service too!
The picture of the braid is of a girl who is apart of the family of our investigator the whole apartment came down to come watch me braid her hair because none of them know how!!! It was really cool how I could use my skills to spread the gospel! We invited all of them to come to our mothers day activity!
Our investigator Catia is really sweet and really is progressing! She wants to talk with us more before coming to church but her daughter loves us because we read the Book of Mormon with the pictures with her! It's such a blast teaching kids! They had three little girls and Catia her sister and her mom all listening about Joseph Smith and how we have the Book of Mormon, in the end all the girls wanted to say a prayer! They are so cute!
Yesterday we were able to contact one of the references of our member brother Teixeira, they have been friends for a while and they even took a computer class and go to swimming classes together! They even have the last name! She was one of the people we sang to on Easter and she was the one who cried when we sang to her! Her name is Alice she is 70 years old and is apart of a little church. She reminds me a lot of Grandma Smith :) It was so fun to picture myself teaching my Grandma if she wasn't a member and how I would treat her. We went over to deliver a present from brother Teixeira and she let us in gave us tea with a little snack of biscuits with marmalade and cheese!! It was the cutest thing ever she talked about her family and showed us pictures for a whole hour! She then looked at us and said well I guess you have been here for a while I will hear your message :) We taught her the Plan of Salvation because one of her sweet daughter passed away about 10 years ago.. So we were able to help her know she will see her again! It was neat to share my testimony of my family and how I know God wants happiness for us so He made a way for us to see our loved ones, just like my Grandma who just passed away. It was a neat experience for me to be able to share what I feel and know as a real person. She enjoyed the message so much she wants us to go back and have lunch with her! Now it will be our turn to show her about our family :) We will be going back with the member who introduced us to her! I love the simple ways to share the gospel with our friends and really mean it :) I love Jesus and how he showed us the way to help and love others, I also love how he loves us too! I hope you guys have a great week! So close to mothers day!!! Can´t Wait!!!! ❤

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Pray for Erika!

(Sister Makelle Smith)
This week nothing too special happened. We have been staying home because sister Cabana has a fracture in her foot so she was to wear the robofoot, hahahaha I laughed so hard!! She looks like Frankenstein! Man I am mean sometimes! She will be leaving next week and I will be getting a new companion this next Sunday!! But I have been studying the Book of Mormon this week and I feel the spirit so strong, I know that it truly is sacred scripture and history of our ancestors. It truly does prophecy of Christ and helps us learn of His doctrine to lead us to the Celestial Kingdom!! Our investigator Erika is wanting to be baptized, please everyone pray for her so she can go to church that is the only thing that is lacking!!! She is so amazing I love her so much! I am loving the mission and the missionaries around me, they truly do turn into family out here! I love this gospel and I am so grateful for who the mission is turning me into!! I love you guys!!!

(Sister Courtney Smith) no letter or pics :(

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Humility is a virtue right? ;) & pics only

(Sister Courtney Smith)
Well this week has been very eventful but yet not eventful at all.... haha weird to say that but it´s true!!! So as a Sister Training Leader we had what we call a mission Council where all the leaders meet together and we talk about how we did the last transfer and how we want to do in the next one. We also talk about ideas of how to improve and how to help our specific areas. Well this transfers was really cool! One of my comps Sister Barratt was able to stay with us over night and it was a blast to see her again! It´s kind of weird because the further I go the older i feel on the mission!!! I for sure felt a lot of responsibility this week! It´s kind of weird adjusting and learning from it! Sometimes it´s not fun when people are looking to you or when you feel pressured to have to make decisions and voice your opinion. But hey it´s apart of life and I´m learning a lot! something about missions is that it teaches you a lot to prepare for life! For example as missionaries we practice our lessons so that when we teach it comes out the right way and it´s able to touch the person so that the spirit can testify to them what we are teaching is true. In all our meetings we always do practices in front of everybody so we kind of get nervous every time we have a meeting! luckily I didn´t have to in the first meeting, but then a couple days later we had a big meeting with two zones! We were the first meeting so it was a little more direct than the later ones, our President is really focusing on improving the way we teach! Something I´m learning about my self is that I don´t like the spot light and I don´t like people judging me "surprise surprise" as Dad would say ;) and in our big meeting our President called us up to do a practiced. He taught us a new technique to help find out what people are really struggling with so that we can teach to their needs. Well lets just say it was the worst practiced i´ve ever done in front of so many people!!! ayayayaya I felt so stupid because I just wasn't on my game! hahaha Sister Nagliati and I really learned some humility! But actually it was awesome because I learned how to use this new technique and you better believe I won´t mess up with it anymore! I will do it exactly the way our President taught us :))))) hahaha I´m learning how life goes sometimes your doing really great and other times we are learning and in situations that we don´t like! Something that became more of a reality this week is how important repentance is in our life!!! It was such an experience that taught me the necessity! Because we are not perfect and this life is all about progressing and becoming better :) Three stories from the week:

1. This week was fast and testimony week! I am so thankful for the opportunities we have to strengthen one another in our wards! It is so neat that we can help each other through our own experiences! Not a lot of religion allows this to happen. I know that sharing our testimony with others is essential for our progression. We are able to see where we are at and most of all the spirit is able to confirm to us in our heart what we believe is true :) I was able to bear testimony about the temple and the promise we made as a family so that we can be together forever! I was able to share about Grandma passing away but I shared how I was so thankful that God gives us peace and joy even in hard times, that's why its so important we have the restored gospel in our lives!

2. Church was kind of crazy. Our Bishop was trying to share about how we need to be more like the Savior and how we should gossip, lie, or judge unrighteous. Unfortunately the church is still pretty new here so some of our members took it the wrong way and people got offended. I had to go the front and calm people down and bear testimony of how the church is about repentance, being better, and loving one another. We can only get better :) hahah it was one of the moments in my mission where I felt like as a missionary I have authority that comes from God. Everyone ended up understanding and forgiving.

3. We are meeting with a cute family and we passed by and they have this little tiny hamster. The little girl Iara told us a story that he ran out the door and fell down a flight of stairs and passed out!!! hahaha but then her grandma Adelaide told us that he resurrected and came back to life!!!! :) we were all laughing for a good 10 minutes it was so cute! I love the kids here they just crack me up! It was the funniest thing I've heard in a while i guess you had to be there!

4. We taught the first lesson to a less active member and his new girlfriend who isn't a member and his daughters! We used brownies and candles to teach how the light of Christ was with all the prophets and with Jesus but after he died the light went away. Then we shared about Joseph Smith and how he brought back the light because of the First vision :) it was so cool we felt chills as the light came back :) I love the little confirmations we get as missionaries that help build our own testimony!

I hope you have an amazing week and remember that life is going to come at us in different ways but how we deal with it is what matters! my motto this week "Try a little Harder to be a Little better" Gordon B. Hinckley. Love you!!!

(Sister Makelle Smith) Pics only!

Friday, April 8, 2016

2 weeks of letters! We love you Grandma George!

(Sister Makelle Smith April 4th)
These past few weeks have just flown by!! #Ldsconf, loved conference I received so much peace and answers!!! I have seen some miracles here, this area has been the hole of the mission and the member never have helped, I have only seen their effort to help and serve the Lord! We are starting to see a lot of referrals and we are getting a lot more investigators! One of our investigators accepted a date for baptism, he started crying and said I know that God sent you to me, you two are chosen servants of God, Wow!! I felt so special and that I was sent here for a reason!! We really are seeing progress, I am loving my life as a missionary and a servant of the Lord. I know that Christ lives and that He sends us prophets and apostles to guide us today! I know that Thomas Spencer Monson is a prophet of God, He has helped me receive the answers I have been needing in my life! I Know that God loves us so much! Brazil pride, +1 temple for us in belem!!!

(Sister Courtney Smith April 4th)
Well I hope everybody had a great conference weekend!!! I can´t believe it will be my last conference on the mission!!! It was pretty weird to think about that! But Sister Nagliati and I really focused on inviting more people here in Foz to come and hear the Prophet speak to us! We made 750 invites to give out! I´ll send a pic! We spent so much time knocking on doors inviting everyone near the chapel to come and see, we spent a week straight on buses inviting all who came in and were sitting down!!! It´s really getting me out of my comfort zone! I´m not usually the type to go and talk to random strangers especially on a moving veichle! hahaha we were practicaly falling over talking to people but I know that the Lord sees our efforts and our desire to serve! We also invited every member to invite two families to come as well :) We were so excited to see the fruits of our labors! But as we know sometimes we don´t get everything we want and our Faith is tested! Well out of all of the 750 invites no new person or friend of our members showed up! We spent so many hours calling and confirming with so many people!  Hahaha Sister Nagliati and I just had to look at each other with a smile and say "It´s just not time yet". But we were able to assist the Saturday session of Conference and it was absolutely amazing!! I felt the spirit so strongly as I listened and pondered the words of our leaders in the church! I went with questions in my heart and I left with a feeling of peace and love from my Heavenly Father. I loved so many talks that were given, I know that we have a latter day Prophet Thomas S. Monson, 12 apostles, and the power of God here on the earth. I know that their guidance and words come from God through revelation and the Holy Spirit. I remember we tried watching it on a little computer in the basement of our church and at 10:30 at night we hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing Come thou Fount of every blessing, Wow I can´t explain such gratitude filled my heart knowing that I have been blessed so much to have the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. I´m so thankful for Loving Heavenly Parents who gave me my family here on earth. I am so thankful for my Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ. I know he lives and that he made it possible for me to find peace and joy in my life. I had tears of complete gratitude towards my God, I will never forget that night! This morning we were invited to be apart of a funeral here. A return missionary named Marco is good friends with Sister Nagliatis family and he dad passed away on Sunday. It was very tragic but they felt like it was his time to go. We sang that same song we sang for Grandma George. The funeral was held at a catholic church, it was very solemn and the family who are not members of our Church were very sad. We felt honored to sing a song and have the chance to share our testimonies with them that We know that Jesus Christ lives and that because of him our fears can be silenced and he will wipe away our tears :) I know this because I have felt his spirit in my life and his power help me in times of need. I am happy to know everything wrong and unfair in this life will be made right we just need to trust God and he will take care of it. One thought that I really loved from conference came from Dale G Renlund. He spoke about how we need to strive to draw closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I loved his talk and the way he explained how our perspective, the way we react, and who we are really depends on how close we are to these two people. I made a new goal for myself in these next 6 months to strive to become even closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus, I know that by doing this they will help me become the person I want to be and I will be able to find more happiness and peace. I love the gospel and
I´m so thankful that God has restored his church so that we can easily access the fullness of everything he has to give to his children! I love you all so much!!! Have an amazing week!

(Sister Courtney Smith March 28th)
Well I don´t have a bunch of time to write this week but I´ll explain a little bit of what happened this week! We pretty much were just planning for the baptism of Conceição! We really helped prepare her for the big day!!! :) She is really really sweet and she never was religious until we started teaching her. But she is saying prayers and reading the BOM with her Son Eduardo. He recently got reactivated and received the priesthood so he was able to preform the baptism!!! It was so special because one we started out the day being Easter! The sun came out and we all just had a fresh of breath air! We had a beautiful sacrament meeting and classes full of the spirit. It was really neat to concentrate on the Savior and really think about what he did for all of us. Then following church we had the baptism! It was neat because she actually knows some of the members ever since she was little so it was a perfect fit for her! She said she felt really light and a lot of peace! I found out today that she has had a problem with sleeping but yesterday after the baptism she felt so good she was able to go to sleep right away! We had a fun time with the members and we felt really proud of the decision she made! After church we went to go Easter caroling and we ended up singing for a reference of our member. She loved our song and after we said a prayer for her she was in tears! It was such a special moment that the spirit could really touch someone :)
Well fam Grandma George will be in more peace now, but I know that because of the resurrection and the atonement of Jesus Christ everything will be made right and just. We will see her again and we´ll be able to have complete happiness :)
I´m thankful for my mission and how it is teaching me to trust in the Lord and his will. I know he will strengthen us and give us his peace when we let him :) It was really neat because our Mission had a goal of 35 baptisms this month and we hit our goal! It was a miracle we have been praying everyday at 10:30 so we can reach our goal and through the help of God we did it! Sister Nagliati and I made a goal our second day here to have 2 baptisms and 3 people marked for baptism, I am so proud to say that God made our goal a reality. But I´m proud because It showed me that God exists and he is aware of us. We did practically nothing in comparison, it was the spirit of God and the scriptures, we were just there to help them learn :) I´m so happy to have been apart of these peoples journeys Paulo who was baptized last week was already commenting in class about baptism and is becoming such a great member already! His family made a goal to go the the temple next year! They had tears in their eyes as we talked to them about being together forever :) I love the gospel! I'm grateful for my chance to be here serving the Lord and helping our brothers and sisters find the truth! I'm thankful for the light that comes from Jesus Christ in my life and I know that death is not the end, it has no victory because Jesus overcame everything and he will help us overcome our everything too! (1 Cor 15:55 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? ) I love you guys soooo much!!!!!!!!

(Sister Makelle Smith March 28th) Pics Only