Thursday, May 26, 2016

Elder Bednar! & Super cold!

(Sister Courtney Smith)
Well there's actually not much to say about this week besides the fact it´s been amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! To start out we had a district party and all the missionaries are really fun :) I´ve really enjoyed our district here! We received more missionaries so it's huge! Then on Thursday we had a special meeting with Elder Bednar in the morning just with the missionaries!!! Wow it was incredible! They asked me to lead the music so I got to sit up close and be almost next to the pulpit!!! What a blessing! When he walked in the room and huge motion of peace just came in the room!!!! I know he is an apostle of God!!!! It was super interesting because he actually didn't give us a huge talk but rather talked with us and we shared what we learned from his talks he gave us to read. He is an amazing teacher and really answered a lot of my questions I´ve had on the mission!!! I´m so thankful for the chance to be able to shake hands with and listen to him for 3 hours :) It was amazing, once in a lifetime chance!!! God really is blessing us here! We also had a meeting with him with our members later that night and one of our street contacts came!!! He said he really liked it and he said he would come to church! He did!!!! His name is Manuel carvalho and he is around 66 years old :) He is super elect and is ready to be baptized! He wants to have the priesthood and become like the Savior! He paints and he gave all of us three huge copies of his paintings for free and they are beautiful! I will take a picture of them and send them next week he even signed them for us!!! Man it´s been a special week :) I don´t have much time but I know that God blesses us when we do our part and try our best! I´m so thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows us and what we need, he knows when we need challenges and when we need blessings :) Love you guys!
(Sister Makelle Smith)
Hey family, this week was super cold!!! haha so weird that it gets cold here in Brasil!
We got sick for part of the week, but we are better now! We having been finding new people to teach and we are inviting everyone we teach to be baptized in the first visit!! We really are seeing if they are elect or not this way, that way we don't lose time teaching people who really won't progress!! But our investigator Erika has been reading the book of mormon and she says she knows its the word of God, She said she will come to church this week! I am so excited for her!! I am loving the mission, pray for us that we can find new gators this week!!
Scripture of the week- Alma 7:15 This is our purpose as missionaries and representatives of the Lord, invite all people to come unto Christ by inviting them to put aside all of their sins and show God that they will follow Him and His gospel here on the earth. I feel so much pride that I get to be apart of this work!! Love you all!

Great week! & TRIPLA!

(Sister Makelle Smith)
Ok sorry I don't have too much time but this week was great! We made tons of contacts trying to find new investigators. We found a woman named Rosie. She is so sweet! She recognized that our church is the only one with the priesthood authority of God and we told the first vision and she started balling. She said she new that this church was true and she said she prayed for people to show her the right church! haha she truly is crazy elite!! She went to church and wants to be baptized. So cute to watch her cry as she took the sacrament, she really felt that this is the true church of Christ!! Wow super awesome, we need some more investigators like that!!!
We got a new missionary leader in our ward and he is just rocking it, he wants to help the work and help the ward here grow!! Things are going well here Sister Dourado and I are doing great. Until next week!!
(Sister Courtney Smith)
Welllllllll the best way to describe this week is Bagunça!: which means confusion or kind of nuts. :) haha Soooo we had transfers here and I was actually expecting my comp Sister Nagliati to leave but I was super anxious to find out who would be coming to Foz with me!!! Well I was told I´d be staying in a TRIPLA! hahahahaha I never would have guessed I´d serve in a tripla! It´s actually super rare! So my two comps are Sister Varuçale who is from Moçambique and Sister Peixe who is from Brazil :) Wow Sister Varuçale just has the biggest heart and the funniest way of talking! She literally makes me laugh all the time just by the way she says things! Shes got some African sass and it just livens our lessons up! Sister Peixe is the sweetest missionary you will meet! She is hilarious too! Which you actually don´t expect from her! Man I already know I'm going to love these sisters a bunch! It´s actually so funny because we are from such different backgrounds that it makes our lessons super powerful! People can really see how the Church of Jesus Christ is for everybody from all cultures :) I have loved hearing their stories and their testimonies they have already been making me a better missionary and leader! They both are converts to the church, sister Varuçale was from a very evangelical church and sister Peixe was a Jehovas witness. Their conversion stories are incredible and they both have so much fire and desire to share the gospel with everybody!!!! :) I know that this transfer is going to be a good one!
Well as far as the work goes it´s kind of slow but we are meeting and marking a lot of appointments so we can start teaching new people! So I´m excited for this next week! And... Elder Bednar is coming... HE´S COMING TO TALK ESPECIALLY TO THE MISSIONARIES!!!!!!!!  I´m so excited I can hardly wait!!!! I will be able to shake his hand and listen to his words! I always wanted to see an apostle on my mission!!!!
This week was really great for me, a lot of prayers were answered. I had been feeling a little bit anxious and stressed this week because I had to travel 5 hours away to go help sister Varuçale shut down her area and then 5 hours back then we had to pick up sister Peixe the next day so I had been feeling super exhausted. Well Sunday comes around and I was really looking for some peace and some comfort. Well One of our members has actually insulted me and on Sunday he made a comment behind my back but I caught him saying it and I called him out letting him know I knew what he said and he just played it off like it was all a big joke. Well it was kind of the last straw of the week and I just felt like crying. During the sacrament I felt such an overwhelming peace and a phrase came into my head clear as clear can be. "He knows how you feel". I know that My Savior Jesus Christ knows me and my struggles. I know He gives me strength to bear them and to be better. I am forever grateful for the overwhelming peace I felt as I took the bread and water, remembering of HIM and what He did for me. I know that without Him I wouldn´t have hope and I wouldn´t be able to accomplish what I´m doing know and in the future. He is the only way we can become like God and progress in our lives :) I´m so happy I get to be on a mission and bear testimony of HIM and his Gospel! Love you all and have a good week!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Don't want to leave & Act like a woman who is Holy!

(Sister Makelle Smith)
So this week was awesome because we got to do skype with the Family!! Haha I can not believe that that was the last skype before I come home! I think about coming home and I don't want to leave haha!!
This week we found a family who the mom already visited the church and we gave the first lesson, they both accepted to be baptized if they receive an answer super cool!!!
I have just felt a love from the people here in this city! Really these members are so awesome and try to always help us!! We ate at subway this week which was pretty cool.
I have been reading in the Book of Mormon and a scripture that I read and liked was 1 Nephi 6:4. That Nephi talks about the desire he has for all men to be converted to the gospel of Christ and have eternal life!! I felt the same way as a missionary that I truly do as well want all men here in my area to come unto Christ and be baptized into the true church of Christ!!
We had zone training and talked about when Peter left the boat to walk on water. He had to leave his comfort zone to do that and to walk in faith. We were challenged to get out of our comfort zones to show our faith to the Lord. We made a goal this week to invite everyone in our lessons to be baptized and show our faith to the Lord that this truly is his work!! I challenge you guys as well to leave your comfort zone this week and do something different to be apart of missionary work! I love you guys so much!!
(Sister Courtney Smith)
Well this week was a great one!!! But to be 100% honest it feels like it´s only been a day since last Pday! haha We finally are getting in a groove with our new investigators so that´s good and we are finally making some progress!
First we did a division! I found out which sisters are in my area the last week of the transfer, it was pretty sad that they didn't get it to us faster! But as sister training leaders we decided that we wanted to do a division the last week! Haha it was kind of out of the blue but it was amazing! We did a division with Sister Pennock and Sister Peixe :) They are some killer missionaries and they are doing so well in their area! The nice part is that they both came to our area so we were able to get a lot of things done! She got to meet some of my favs!!! We gave Matilde her name tag so her and Iara were so happy to be sisters like us :) I learned how to show more love to the people here and it really changed they way I view my own area! Such a blessing!
One of the investigators of the Elders in our district finally got baptized! She is adorable and from Angola! Her name is Helena :)
Mothers day was great! It was so fun to meet sister Nagliati´s family and to talk to you guys! It was fun that Makelle was able to be there too! We also ate with an investigator Alice and her family! She gave us all sorts of meat including: blood sausages, ribs, back, pig ear and toe. Yes she made us try every single one of them! Well this is the only time I'm letting myself eat food like this!!!!
Today we visited a place called Sr. do Matosinhos :) It´s a very old cathedral and this week they are having their celebration with a fair! It was really pretty! They knitted around the trees it was way cute!!
I think the biggest thing I learned this week was they way I am and act with people really show a lot of my intentions. I´m usually a bit shy and more reserved but I realized little things make a difference and help you connect with people a lot easier and faster! I´m so thankful for that knowledge and how it will help me be a better missionary for these last four months! I'm really focusing on acting more like the Savior would. (gentleness, kindness, and meekness).
As well my knew goal for this next transfer is I want to become a "Mulher Santa" a holy or righteous woman. In relief society we read a talk by Elder Nelsons wife and how she taught how all women need to strive to be more holy! Wow did it hit me strong! It´s my new life moto :) Think, desire, and act like a woman who is Holy.
Well Sister Nagliati is probably going to be leaving tomorrow!!!! Man am I so sad to let her go!!! These last two transfers have been incredible and I just want to finish my mission with her :( Foz will not be the same without her! I´ll let you know what happens next week!
Love you guys!!! Beijinhos 😘

Monday, May 2, 2016

"We do not dout our mothers knew it" & Working our butts off!

(Sister Courtney Smith)
So this week was actually really great! So I actually have no time to write an email because of the email I wrote for mom so I will just do a big list of bullet points of what happened this week ok? :)
*We starting teaching a beautiful FAMILY! Yes that´s right a mom, dad and the cutest three kids you have ever seen. I about died when we started teaching them! We taught about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and they have been loving it! We also found out the kids love chocolate chip cookies ;)
*Catia is progressing! She is still nervous to come to church but we passed by her house and taught her almost every day last week! She believes in saints so we taught her a lesson teaching her that we shouldn't adore statues or idols. We made little paper dolls that looks like us and we made them ask them to give them something... hahaha they asked for strawberries and chocolate... but of course the paper dolls couldn't give anything because they aren't real! So then they asked us personally and we gave them strawberry flavored chocolate!!! haha it was fun she understood right away!
*We had a huge Mothers Day activity! We combined with a bunch of districts and many families came to celebrate Mothers day with us!!! Wow I loved it so much! Our stake president and his family spoke and sang about Mothers! It was very special and made me miss you Mom!!!! We spent a good 4 hours making all of the decorations!!! hahaha i chose to make tulips because its moms favorite flower! :) I was able to sing a song with my district about the army of Helaman. I love the lyrics because it talks about how they were born a good parents who love the lord. It was neat because I read that story in my studies this week and it fit so perfectly with Mothers Day!
* We went to the Zoo!!!! It was such a blast! We got to see a bunch of animals and spend some time in the sun! Well spent Pday!
*Elder Bednar is going to visit us in a couple of weeks!!!! I will be able to shake his hand!!!!! What a blessing right???
Anyways I hope you had an amazing week and a good mothers day this week!!

Alma 56:47Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
 48 And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.
(Sister Makelle Smith)
This was another great week! Sister Dourado and I are just working our butts off! We have been finding a ton of new investigators to teach and that has been awesome!! I have been reading in Moroni 7:37 and he says "It is by faith that miracles are wrought, it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men". I know and testify that this is true. When we have faith miracles can and will happen we just need to trust in the Lord and our Savior. I know that this church was restored by Joseph Smith with my whole heart!
Here it has gotten so cold, literally I am not used to it! Because we walk in our home and there isn't a heater, so it stays cold, so weird! We will hopefully be getting a heater soon! I have been able to wear my scarves and drink hot chocolate finally!! I have been feeling a lot more at home!! I have missed the cold!! But so far things have been going great and me and Sister Dourado are super good friends! She is so awesome and is helping me even more with my Portuguese!! Until next week!