Monday, June 27, 2016

Tranfers!!! & Truly finding myself!

(Sister Courtney Smith)
That´s right this week we had transfers and it was great!!! It was really sad too. I felt that it was my time to leave Foz but I will always miss the people there. It was hard to say goodbye especially to some members that are so dear to me, lots of tears were shed. But I´m super grateful to be serving with my new comp Sister Sousa!!!
I´m in Porto 1 right now :) It has been the longest week because we walk like crazy! I don´t think I´ve ever walked so much in my whole mission! I´m excited I'll be getting in shape :) There are some cool people here too, a couple weeks ago I did a division here with Sister Sousa so I already feel like we know the area really well :) It´s a big area but the cities are very small and farm like, there´s always tractors driving in the road and randomly we will see goats in the street! It´s extremely different from my last area that's compared to be Beverly Hills so it´s a good switch up! I also got to see sister Nagliati one of my old comps and she is training! I'm so proud of her :) I also saw yesterday an old friend from my first area It was such a miracle! actually this week is full of little miracles I love seeing the Lords hand in my life!!! :) sorry I don´t have much time this week so you get pictures!!
(Sister Makelle Smith)
Hey everyone, this week was great again! Haha the last part of the mission really is the best part! We are getting tons of investigators and the members are really helping here and spreading the gospel to everyone they know! We are getting references like no other! We are having trouble fitting everyone in our schedules because everyone lives in different neighborhoods! But our investigator Patricia is so amazing and is progressing so much. She is going to get baptized probably the 9th of July! She is deaf and I am able to sign with her a little bit, she understands my finger spelling so awesome!:)
Also our other investigator Robert is 16 and came to church he said he felt so comfortable and felt a peace in his life! In young mens he even said to the teacher that he wants to serve a mission and marry his girlfriend in the temple!! So neat!!! he is on date in July as well!! One night we went to his house and he started crying and said he didn't know if God really loves him or if he will give him an answer. And I remember bearing a testimony full of love as if he was one of my own family members that God truly does love him and that he will do such great things in life!! Wow I remember crying and he felt the spirit so strong!! He is reading the BOM and he knows the church is true!!
Also we have Francielly who has been prepared for 20 years for us. She loves the church and wants to be baptized, she just wants her nephew who is serving a mission for another year to baptize her. We challenged her to pray about the date 23/7/16 to be baptized and she said that who would be the question of the week! She loves to have topics of her week to study about and pray about. She is the most perfect investigator! She has a little boy Arthur who is almost 1, cutest thing ever. I will get some pics with these people soon!!
Also Jefferson who is married to a member who wants to be sealed to his wife. He has just always been pressured to be baptized so he never did and asked God for himself, he felt like an (animal) but we taught him again and he accepted to pray for himself and go to church for him! He said that Sister Irizarry got lucky with me because he said I am Gente boa, which means a good person!! What a compliment! But man I love our investigators! Truly I am loving all of them so much, my heart has just grown here!! I feel like I am truly finding myself. I feel like I have found my personality and truly what I believe and what I want in life! I am eternally grateful for the Brasil Florianopolis mission and for the blessing God is pouring out on us!! Love all you guys!!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Revelations 3:4 & Baptismo!

(Sister Makelle Smith)
This week was a rollercoaster literally!!! haha we both got sick and I went to the hospital pretty sure I got food poisoning but it's all good. I am better now! haha it was a long week... but we tried working our best and talked with a lot of people! The hardest people we talk with are TJs haha they always acuse us of things that aren't true. Like Sister Irizarry wears a rock necklace and they think that it is voodo and black magic. haha Sister Irizarry-It's just a necklace!!! She said you guys are the ones with the blood contact with the hands right? We said no!! She said oh I think you guys just haven't gotten to that level yet! hahaha we laughed so hard! After that lesson we bore our testimonys to each other that the gospel is real and the church is true!
The whole week we really didn't find a whole lot or teach people with real interest, then Sunday came!! A member brought her cousin Clarissa to church. She is 12 and she said she wants to be baptized. She is so sweet and wants to follow the savior! Then we have an inv. her name is Patricia, she is so intelligent but she is deaf. Her husband is a member but he has been waiting to baptize her! This Sunday he said the opening prayer is sacrament meeting we about cried. This week we will mark her date for baptism!!!!:)
Also on sunday we had 3 lessons with a member present and 1 other lesson with 2 new investigators who accepted baptism!! We had our lesson with Juliana she found us last week on her bike. Her friend that is a member came with us to the lesson and we taught about the Book of Mormon. She said "wow you guys are all so different you have a peace, knowledge, and testimony so different. I want that for me and my family what is the formula?" She said She wants the answer from God and will be baptized when she knows it's true!!! She said we have a love for the gosple she has never seen in any other religion.
Bruno said that our lesson was sooo good and that we are good teachers. What a compliment because he is a return missionary! WOW the mission has miracles and God is just pouring them out on us right now!! We are both just so grateful and so happy. I am just loving Sister Irizarry as my comp!
Scripture of the week: Revelations 3:4 And they shall walk with me in white for they are worthy! Wow this scripture explains perfectly the purpose of missionary and temple work!! We are helping prepare people to be worthy of making covenants of salvation with God the eternal father and Jesus the Christ. Love all of you guys so much, I am so lucky to have the gospel in my life with my eternal family forever!!:)
(Sister Courtney Smith)
WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW! What a good week!!! It is really just slipping away from me how fast this last part of my mission is going! So this week we actually had to go to the hospital a couple of times to help out Sister Varuçale!
We really were preparing Manuel to be baptized! He is a very special person. It´s super interesting to find out that there are seriously people prepared to recieve the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is one of these persons! He was so ready to follow the savior!!! He had his interview with our President Amorim and he loved talking with him! He was super super excited to be baptized! He came ready with a suit and everything! He got a manicure so that he would be all clean :) hahaha he´s a sweetheart the only thing he asked is that there would be warm water, but because this life is full of opposition of course something had to happen! The baptismal fonte drained out a half hour before it started!!! No one knows why but the water was all gone!!!! We had to wait an hour and a half so we watched legacy hahaha but the bad part was that the water was still freezing cold!!!!!!! oh man he was so scared to go under the water that the first time he didn't bend his knees!! But the second try he was perfect!!! :) It was so special he bore his testimony afterwards on how he wants to be more like the Savior and how he sells his artwork for less money to help people pay for what they need. He also mentioned he can´t wait to pay tithing on the money he´s earning from his paintings! :) He is amazing. He said that he felt a lot of peace as he left the water like he was a new person :) On Sunday he said when he recieved the Holy Ghost he said that he felt his whole body tremble as brother Silva gave him a blessing :) I loved being able to be there in the special moments of his life! I´m so thankful for our friendship that we have he is a special son of God and will do great great things!
Our investigator Alexandre is also progressing a ton! We watched the restoration with him this week and it really touched him! He said that he feels like Joseph was called of God to be a prophet! It was so neat to bear testimony of him and how the church of Jesus Christ was restored to help us live happy lives the spirit was so strong I´m so honored to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost with me! He was also there at the baptism and he really liked it!!! He says he´s thinking about being baptized on his birthday in JULY!!! Wooohoooo!!! :)
This week I finished Jesus the Christ and I am so thankful I read it!!! Other than the standard scriptures it is the best book I have ever read!!!! I loved every second of it! It really opened up my eyes to Jesus and his gospel. It opened up my eyes to the reality of the Book of Mormon and the truth it has. It opened up my eyes to the infinite love my Savior has for me. As we were in the hospital one day I was reading about the atonement and the crucifiction, as I was flipping the pages in the Holy Bible reading the passages and following along I started bawling. I know Jesus suffered and died willingly for each and every one of us. I know personally that He lives and he was neccesary for my happiness. I know Heavenly Father has a perfect plan for us here and after this life. I´m thankful for the knowledge of the gospel in my life and I know the work that we are doing is to share the knowledge we have :) Knowledge is light and light is truth and truth is happiness. That´s why when we feel the spirit we feel happy and peaceful because it´s testifying of the truth. I would highly recommend reading the atonement  and the crusifiction scriptures together and study the similarites and differences.
I made 15 months on Saturday needless to say it´s been one great week! I love this time I have here! Love you all! Have a good week!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Reading Jesus the Christ & Loving every minute here!

(Sister Courtney Smith)
So this week once again flew by. I don´t have a lot of time this week and to be honest I don´t have too many words besides we had 3 people in our sacrament meeting and 5 people in total with our classes!!! It was such a sucess!!! :)
Manuel is progressing and is slowly but surley quiting smoking. :) He has such a heart of gold and has a true desire to follow Jesus Christ. His goal is this saturday!! We are crossing our fingers!!! We have faith in him :)
We are also teaching Emelia who has already been taught by old sisters she has a bunch of questions and loves to talk!!! hahaha but she is also a gem. She baught us braclets and it was the sweetest thing! She has potential.
As well a Man named Alexandre, we taught him the first lesson and afterwards he said to me soooo if I continue with church and I want to follow this religion I have the right to be baptized don´t I? :) We said enthusiasticaly YES you do!
I´m really focusing on preparing one of our members Eduardo a recently active member to help more in the missionary work! He loves teaching with us and is really progressing as a person! I´m super happy for him and you can tell he has changed a lot from the first time I met him!
We did a division with some sisters in Vila Real and it was a blast to get to know Sister Miller :) I got sick again this week because I ate pork and I got food poisoning. I don´t like throwing up on the mission. We had to go to the hospital for sister Varuçale again it´s pretty sad she seems to be pretty sick. We are going back next week so they can look inside her. Please pray for her that she will be ok!!! Anyways I love you guys a lot!
I´m in the last part of Jesus the Christ and this week I read about the atonement! It really touched me, I read the three versions we have in the gospels and I just started crying, I don´t have a doubt that Christ suffered for all of us and I feel inside me a burning peace that he knows me and loves me and wants me to be happy. He knows how to fix my problems and wipe my tears. I love Jesus. He is my Savior and redeemer. He voluntarily suffered so I could find peace. I know that His church is here to help us more fully access that peace. Im thankful for this knowledge I have in my life. Love you guys!
(Sister Makelle Smith)
This week was so incredibly awesome!!!!!!
Seriously I am loving every minute here in this area with Sister Irizarry!!
We are just having so much fun and working so so hard! Haha one of our investigators has a dog named chokito he hates me but I want him to like me so I try and pet him but he almost bites me every time, hahaha he is warming up to me!!
But we truly are starting to see the miricles!! We found a man Marcio who just moved here and he came to church!! We hope he will be baptized here and a few weeks! Also on Sunday we were sitting and resting for a minute and a woman came up to us on her bike and asked us if we were mormon! We said yes and she invited us to go to her house and teach her, like what?? God is truly sending us people to teach!!! We are so excited to keep working and we are truly getting better as missionaries. I feel like i am the best missionary I have been and I am so happy and proud to be here! I am so grateful that I can bear my testimony various times in a day about the restoration of the gospel and the Christ leads his churchtoday!! Wow the mission is going good!!
I have been learning a lot about the truth and the obvious fact the Joseph Smith truly saw God the eternal Father and Christ our Savior! It HAPPENED and we are blessed with the fullness of the gospel today!! Love you guys!!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Transfer to Sao Jose!

(Sister Makelle Smith )
This week I have been transfered to Sao Jose, Jardim das Acácias!! Sister Irizarry is my companion!! So awesome, we were companions in the MTC I love this girl!! We will probably end the misison together! I have only been here for one night so I will write more about the area next week! But something cool is that Sister Cabaña my old comp her grandparents live here in this area I have already met them, super cute! But it was sad to leave Içara, I really love the people and that area! I will really miss Erika, but I know one day she will get baptized!! I will miss Sister Dourado as well we ended up being really good friends, she is an amazing missionary, I learned so much with her!! But I am excited for this new adventure, with a new city to work in!! I just want to work so hard and really share my testimony!!
I know that this church is true and it is the part of the plan of God. I know that there is not a better path or a better church to be apart of, this TRULY is the church of Christ and we are bringing and need to bring this truth to the world! I know God loves us so very much and will always help us in our dificulties, HE does not FORGET about us. Everyone of us is so very special to Him. We all have the potential to become like Him and help others find the path back to eternal life! Love you guys so much!!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Turning into the best person God wants me to be! & Last Transfer !

(Sister Courtney Smith)
Wow has the week flown by!!! Every week just goes by faster and faster! Sometimes I don´t believe it´s already June! It´s kind of hitting me that I'm at the end of my mission but I´m going to enjoy my time here because before I know it it´s going to really be the end. Well to start off I finished the first part of the week with Sister Sousa. We taught her investigators and it was such a blessing to be a part of helping these people come unto Christ!!! Their area is very blessed with people ready for the gospel!! I loved doing contacts over there it felt super natural!!! :) hahaha we laughed so much almost every day something hilarious would happen!
Monday we met a man named eduardo and he loved talking to us and making us laugh with his jokes he said wait a second i´ll be back I want to show you my new earrings I bought today! He came back with two cherrys on each ear, he looked at us with a big smile and said don´t be jealous they are one of a kind hahahaha.
Tuesday we had Mission council which was awesome!! I really enjoyed it, we saw a different side of president that we are not used to seeing. He had an incredibly hard week and he kept crying as he shared experiences with his own family, misssionaries, and the mission. We don´t have any goals this month we are all just focusing on being 100% obediente!! It is the best goal I think we could make!
Man I can´t believe the miracles we saw this week because of the focus on being 100% obedient! President Amorim really inspired me to be the best "me" that I can be. I think that´s one of the best things I learned this week is that God knows me very personally and knows my capacities! I´m thankful for this knowledge! I read the story of the widow in Luke 21: 1-4. The savior says she casts in all the living that she hath. It really touched me in that when I´m giving God all that I have every day God notices and acknowledges it. After this week I know that it´s true. Even when we feel like we don´t have much to give, God knows when we are giving all that we can :) After the meeting we taught their investigators that are marked for baptism and they are a riot! They are one of the cutest couples ever ready to be baptized! They have a similar story to the one of President Hunter and his wife Claire the funniest thing is that Sister Sousa forgot the keys to the house and we had to stay outside until 12 pm!!!!!! It was super sad! The Elders in the office came to our rescue with keys and a sandwhich from Mcdonalds :)
On Wednesday we taught Manuela the cutie who is 85 years old!! I´m pretty sure she is one of my new favorite people because she literally thought I was Portuguese!!! hahahaha she was telling me about he pain and the doctors appointments and she said wow it´s so nice to be able to talk to two missionaries who already speak portuguese because you can understand exactly what I´m saying! hahaha I said well I´m actually American and she was so shocked!! hahaha she said are you sure??? :) Then half way through the lesson she mentioned again wow you speak so well I could have sworn you were from Portugal!!! hahahahah Granted she is 85 years old but I´m going to take it!!! She is such a sweetheart and reminds me a lot of Grandma George :)
On Thursday we had our Zone meeting and it went pretty well. We talked all about obedience! I made little cards for all of the sisters with their name and some our our goals for the month of june :) the scripture of the month is Alma 32: 27, 42-43. We are supposed to plant the seed of obedience in our hearts and put enough faith to expirement the promise that it will be the best month of our missions. We will reap our rewards with a fruit more white than white ;) We will baptise more than ever before!!! I trust in the promise of our president! To remind the sisters I gave them a white daisy! :) We also met a man named Ivo who is from a different religion and we asked if we could share a message and start with a prayer he said yes I can. We stood in silence for about five minutes and sister Sousa said ok? and he said thanks for coming over! hahaha we said we haven't shared the message yet! hahaha we ended up giving him a pamflet he laughed and explained in his church they all pray silently even when you are in a group... hahaha awkward silent prayer.
Sister Sousa also has a talent of immitating sounds!! She can sound like whatever missionary in the mission!!! She cracked me up all week!
On friday I returned back to Foz!! Man Is it good to be back!!! I missed my area so much! I couldn´t believe it! We taught Manuel the first part of the Plan of salvation :) He loved it! We also talked about the word of wisdom and how God wants him to be healthy! He totally accepted it! He is truley elect and ready to follow God and his commandments! we also met Alexandre a man who already knows the church and seems interested. we also taught two other lessons. On saturday we finished the second lesson with Manuel and he ate it up!!! He wants to go to the celestial kingdom and he really wants to go to the temple! He wants to help contribute to build the temple here in Portugal! :) He makes my heart full of joy! He is the sweetest person you´ll meet! He´s also an artist and makes things of wood and is an amazing painter! The picture of him and one of his pieces :) We keep seeing miracles everyday! Sunday Manuel and Alexandre came to church with us!!! :) God is truley blessing this area! I´m so thankful to be apart of this work! I know God is helping me turn into the person he wants me to be! It´s also getting really warm here!!! Yay summer days ahead!!! Love you guys!

(Sister Makelle Smith)
Hey! So today will be kinda crazy! I am being transfered to a different area, Sao Jose!
My new comp will be Sister Irizarry, super fun! I will miss Sister Dourado!

(Sister Makelle Smith)
This week we saw some miracles!! We had our interviews with our president! It was so great, because he gave us the goal of finding new investigators everyday before we even teach our pre-existing ones. That way we always have people to teach and we always hit our goals!
This week Erika went to church, so amazing, she brought her daughters as well and they loved it!! It was so special, and I felt so happy when I saw her show up! Thank you for all of your prayers for her, she is starting to realize the value in our church and in the temples.
This week we met a secret agent it was super interesting, he is also a Master at Kung Fu. Haha he didn't want visits or anything, but it is interesting all the people you meet out here!
I have really seen the Lords hand in my life and in the mission. He really is preparing people for us! Thursday of this week we didn't have too much time to make contacts but we only knocked the doors of 2 homes and they both let us in and teach a message! Wow if all houses could be like that! I am really enjoying the mission! We will find out about transfers this week, we will see if i leave the area for my last 2 transfers of the mission, time sure is flying by!! We studied 2 Nephi 31 with a recent convert of Sister Irizarry, Nei. He just got called to be the first counselor of the elders quorum. He got so nervous and said it was a huge trial. I was able to bear my testimony to him that he was called by the Lord because he is such an example and has a special spirit when he talks about his conversion. He has  only been a convert for 7 months, he gave a talk and did great!! He started crying and thanked us for our visits and helping him stay strong!! I love his family!!! Içara is going great, we are just waiting for a baptism now! Haha it is so funny that like at least 5 times a day people say oh you have beautiful eyes, those are eyes of God. It is funny but i think that they really can tell that the Gospel of Christ looks different! Love you all have a great week!!
(Sister Courtney Smith)
Well this week has been pretty strange to be honest. I´m really not sure what to write except the basics... So our tripla has really been improving!!! We are teaching a lot more effectively and we are finding a bunch of success!!! Man I love these girlies we just have a blast! Being in a tripla is a lot more fun the I thought it would be!!! Well Manuel from the last week has been improving like crazy!!! We had taught the first lesson to him this week and he was asking all the perfect questions and was soooo worried when we taught him about Prophets that there isn´t one today without the priesthood! hahaha we said to stay sad because we have good news ;) it was so perfect he understood so well that Jesus need to restore his church again through a prophet with the power of God :) We invited him to be baptized on June 11th and he accepted right away!!! He is so ready to find the truth!!! Sometimes God likes to test our faith, that day we had so many appointments and none of them worked until we taught him!!! It was such a testimony builder to me that when we put our faith in the Lord he will always do his part, ALWAYS :)
Some sad news is that a sister in our mission lost her father last week :( Out of nowhere passed away and she had to go back to the states to the funeral. She is probably one of the happiest missionary and person that I know! She has a light shining from her. she is staying so strong. Because i´m in a tripla they sent me to serve in her area with her comp. We have already been seeing some miracles! I just want to leave her area very well taken care of! We taught a woman named Maria and she is very very very elect and normal!!! I´ve met very few of these people here in Portugal! She in catholic not practicing and is so ready to accept the gospel! It was up until this point one of the best first lessons I´ve ever taught! She said she will be baptized when she knows the book is true, she wants to follow God and make him a bigger part of her life! It was such a perfect lesson. She asked us to share our testimonies and  our experiences no one does that! She just kept saying uau que lindo, wow so pretty to everything we said!! When we got to Joseph smith she just kept repeating que lindo que lindo :) Sister Sousa is an amazing comp with an amazing testimony and I´m just enjoying this week with her because by Friday i´ll be back in my area :) I am so thankful for the church of Jesus Christ. It helps me become more like my Savior and I feel so close to God :) a scripture that I studied this morning is in 3 Nephi Chapter13:33 My testimony is that I know of this scripture to be true especially after this last week. God blesses us when we look to serve, help, love, and show him :) Have a good week!
33: But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.