Sunday, October 27, 2013

Three Miracles, Just Serve, all in Wyoming!

The cold weather makes it that much harder to go out and work. Luckily it has been sunny the past few days, and that helps a BUNCH!! I am used to being able to sleep in, watch a movie and drink some nice hot chocolate and sit by a nice smelling fire in bad weather. NOPE, not on a mission and guess what, that's OK, because you get to be a part of MIRACLES!!!! If you don't have much time, read the moral of the week, that's the key part to this letter this week :)  But if you don't read about my days you might not hear about the MIRACLES!

Tuesday: We had dinner with the Relief Society President and her husband, and guess where? The local high school for a fundraiser dinner. They bought our dinner, and it was so fun to be in a high school with lockers, and not a campus-style high school like the ones in California! It was fun to switch up the dinner routine :) We got to help someone move at night and then we shared a message with them, because that's what we love to do. Help people and invite them to do things that will bring them closer to our Savior Jesus Christ, and recognize His hand in their lives!

Wednesday: We got to go to Mutual and help out with the YOUNG WOMEN. I loved it! We got to role play with them inviting someone to church or giving them a Book of Mormon, it was cool! This week they are going to bring a friend and practice teaching them a gospel principle. Missionary work is starting to catch on fire in this ward!

Thursday: Awesome district meeting! I love district meetings and the insight that we can receive. I got to do the recitation on My Missionary Commission by Elder Bruce R. McConkie. It is a great thing to memorize (and we do for our mission). We got to visit one of our investigators again, with the Spanish speaking elders. It was so good to be in her home and to hear Spanish. Yes, I have missed Spanish! I understand it and loved just hearing it and knowing what was going on for the most part. It was such a busy day.  Then we taught two more of our investigators and had great lessons with both of them.

Friday: We got to do service for 4 hours, cleaning someone's house and it was really fun!

Saturday: Three Miracles in ONE day!!! We went to go pick up the sisters here on bike (they were headed to our Just Serve project, so might as well pick them up). On our way to their apartment, we got a call from a teen investigator who comes to church every week but who doesn’t take the missionary discussions due to her parent’s wishes.  I haven’t talked with her since July.  She called to tell us she has permission for us to teach her --- MIRACLE!

At our Just Serve project I saw a non-member that I helped move in months ago, and it was good to see her. She invited us over for dinner this week. Miracle number two!!

That night we went over to celebrate another investigator’s birthday. Well her mom had a present for her daughter to open last... what was it?  Cards: "Announcing A Baptism." THAT'S RIGHT!!!  She is getting baptized!   I started crying, and her mom was like, “This present was more for Sister Smith.”  Thank you!!! haha I loved it! I love the relationships I've been able to build here! I am seriously so excited!  Miracle three.

Sunday: We went to three Sacrament Meetings and it was cool! We got to teach in Primary sharing time for a bit which was super fun!  We were able to teach five lessons that day and that is a huge accomplishment for us.

Monday: P-day!! P-days are so relaxing. I carved a pumpkin; it was fun!

Moral of the week: Weather the storms of life. This can be taken literally. If you are going to a mission that gets cold, or really hot, and you just want to stay inside, I completely understand! I've been there. But when you work, miracles occur, and Heavenly Father lets you be a part of them, and it is the COOLEST THING EVER!! Weather the storms of life, emotionally, spiritually -- you can do this. Some great advice I received from someone very dear to me: "Stay true to who you are without letting other personalities affect you.  Somehow, try to see if you can figure out how to become the eye of the storm where all is peaceful as the hurricane rages around you.  It takes Christ being at the center with you, as you already know.  But when things got so crazy for me, I tried to visualize being that eye of the storm and depending more on Christ to see me through.  Because, in my heart I knew, that if I could pull that off, I'd feel better and so would everyone else.  Unfortunately I wasn't successful at that much of the time, but I was at least some of the time.  And every time I didn't let someone's personality get under my skin, life was so much better all the way around." Second piece of advice from someone I hold dear to my heart: "Missions can be tough at times and they can test and try you but I know that if you keep strong & always have the Spirit with you (sometimes that is hard when you're down or things aren't going your way...and that's when the importance of prayer comes into the picture), you will always come away with something learned or a stronger testimony of something or a closer relationship with your Heavenly Father or...whatever the case may be, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.  So cliche but it's true.  Listening.  Really listening for answers, comfort, love... Listen for answers to prayers.  Listen for an “I love you” from our Father.  You never know how answers will come, a song, a kind word, a scripture, a beautiful Wyoming sunset ;), a hug... but we have to truly listen.  The Savior is our strength and we need to trust Him with all our heart.  Is that an answer?  I think so."

There are so many different personalities on a mission. You talk to people from all walks of life and it is cool! I talk to people I don't EVER think I would talk to at home. There are so many trials that you might never think would happen. Like a loved one passing away, or someone rejecting the gospel (ok that one you might assume will happen) but there are many different aspects, like getting sick, etc. The pain we feel can be emotional, physical, or spiritual -- the key is that we rely on the Savior for strength. I am definitely still working on that, but through time, prayer, study, and faith it will come, I know it! 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Interviews! Meetings! A General Authority in Wyoming!

Week of meetings and interviews. I love meetings, but who knew as a missionary we would have lots of meetings?! I didn't!

On Thursday we had a Zone Meeting, and interviews with President Brown! This interview went so much better than my last one :) Then on Friday we got  to go to Fort Collins for a trainers meeting! All the trainers and greenies get to go to this meeting.  There is one for the first transfer you are being trained, and then the second transfer you are being trained! Well... I have been able to go to this meeting every transfer of my mission thus far. Since I have either been trained or training! haha It was a great meeting.  I drove the zone leaders’ truck (which holds 6 people) down to Coloardo. Yup, 6 sisters all crammed into a truck; it was awesome!

Beautiful Wyoming in the fall!! I love this town so much! It went form summer to winter to fall to winter!! It can't make up its mind on what season to be! haha But this is fall, and it's GORGEOUS!!!

Our lesson with P went really well. I will be so excited if she is able to be baptized!
Lesson with A was fun! I love teaching her and her family! They are active, and it is so nice to just go in and teach a spiritual uplifting message, that can help them out! After the lesson, Sister D, my companion and I went upstairs and sang some primary songs! Because of that we sang a musical number at A's baptism!

On Saturday I got to go on exchange with Sister H!! It was so fun, but we both were sick, so it wasn't as good as it could have been! We met with a former investigator who is willing to have us come back :) this sweet old lady was hugging her Book of Mormon and told us she knew it was TRUE!!  I love this elderly lady!

Saturday night was the Adult Session of Stake Conference! I LOVE the Adult session of stake conferences!! They are usually my favorites... if you can have a favorite session! Well, the Presiding Bishop, Bishop Stevenson was there, his wife, and President and Sister Brown. It was an AMAZING meeting! To be a few rows in front of a General Authority was so cool!! I loved it!! I got to hear one of my friends, H, speak too which was super awesome!!

Sunday morning we got to go to the Youth Session of Stake Conference! Yes, the YOUTH session! I got to hear from Bishop Stevenson AGAIN! And my mission president! It was a different perspective than the adult session.  Then we got to talk to people for a bit. Then we went to the General Session of Stake Conference. I sat by Sister L, and it was incredible! Sister L has changed my life so much!! I owe her so much, it's crazy! She has blessed my life, and I don't know where I would be without her! She makes sure that I am doing well, and sends us uplifting texts :) General Session went well. Afterward we got to witness our less-active D (not so less-active anymore) receive the Melchezidek Priesthood. THAT'S AWESOME!!!! Got to speak at A's baptism and it was really good. I love speaking at baptisms! Although this one was a bit harder because I was not feeling well at all! I prayed beforehand that I would just be able to make it through. This head cold has been so bad, but I made it and it went well! I received a priesthood blessing and I know the power of the priesthood is REAL! I feel so much better than I did. It is a result of prayers and the priesthood and faith! Then we got to go Grandma’s for Sunday night singing... well a recent convert T, told me his conversion story while we were there, SO COOL!! I love hearing conversion stories!!!!

On Monday we had a fun Pday, even though it SNOWED another 4 inches!! Well, I am glad I have boots now!! We were able to teach three lessons on a Pday, which is super awesome!!

Have an awesome week. Moral: keep working hard, even when you don't feel good. Pray, rely on prayer! I am trying more to do that! 2 Nephi 22:2. This scripture is a really powerful one to me right now! I am trying to rely on my Savior for strength! Let me know if you have any tips or ideas on how to do this :)

Sister Kelly Smith

I have been out for 5 months!!! Yes I am wearing blue tights.... they are fleece lined and SO WARM! Well, warmer than normal tights... and there is a pumpkin, because it is October, for Halloween! haha 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Snow and Bacon in Wyoming

Ok, so I think the rest of my emails should just always mention bacon in them, from now on! haha

My new companion and I got off to a busy first day together, teaching a lesson to a new investigator, having a great dinner with a family in our ward who had invited someone to dinner so we could teach again.  AWESOME!  I love member missionary work, it’s the best kind!  We also got to teach someone who has not been coming to church as much and that went well too.  I think back to my first few weeks in the field and boy, they were nothing like this past week we had! I am glad that she has this opportunity to just jump in!

On Thursday we learned that we switched district this transfer, so I am back in my first district when I got to Laramie, for my first two transfers! Well... we are the only set of sisters in this district.  That is a first for me to be the only set of sisters, but it's fun!

The thing I wish I had done more of before my mission: learn more hymns on the piano!!! I have played the piano so much on my mission! For district meetings, trainers meetings... yeah, if you know the piano and are going on a mission, learn more hymns --  it will help you out!

We had a lesson planned at the L’s house Thursday night… well my companion was in for a BIG SURPRISE!  The L's and I planned this Monday night -- Nerf attack with the L's boys.  And what was I going to do?  Just walk in their door?  For real,  they said I could!  So we pull up to the L's house and say a prayer (we try to always pray before lessons) and then I grab my bag from the backseat, and load my Nerf gun.  The look on Sister G's face was PRICELESS! I'm sure she thought I was crazy, I mean I do have my fun moments! haha  So I said, “Let's go!” Nerf gun loaded and ready and I walked in! The L boy's ATTACKED!!  Man they were so ready, and they were good!! It was so much fun!  Welcome to Wyoming Sister G, and welcome to being companions with Sister Smith! We have fun, and work!  And sometimes we blend the two together!

Thursday it finally felt like Fall!! Orange leaves, crisp windy air!  But Friday morning we woke up to 6 inches of SNOW!!  I am NOT joking!! 6 inches!! My life is kind of a joke sometimes... really!  It was only Fall for a day!! Well, guess who didn't have snow boots yet? Guess who has never driven in the snow before? Guess who loves the summer and is not ready for winter? Me!!   Guess what? Friday was a great day, even with snow! I drove in the snow for the first time in my life. My companion and I are still alive!  Went to a lesson at Sister H's, and Sister H found out I didn't have snow boots yet, so she gave me one of her extra pair! She told me, “You get blessed for helping missionaries out; I am just greedy for blessings!”  haha It was funny! But I'm so grateful!

Also on Thursday, we had a lesson with an investigator, and she said that prophets must be on the earth today, it just makes sense! WHAT?! OK, guess what you can watch in your home tomorrow and Sunday? General Conference and you can listen to the true and living prophet on the earth today!!   Later, I received a text from the eight year old who we have been teaching and is getting baptized; she wants me to speak at her baptism.  It melted my heart! I am excited too! I felt so loved!

Saturday: I was looking forward to this day for a long time! GENERAL CONFERENCE!! We went to the Stake Center to watch the first session, then to the L family’s for the second session!  Our investigator was there and so was the sister who just got baptized recently.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE General Conference! Wasn't Elder Bednar's talk amazing?!  I was getting things that weren't even related to tithing, but still blessings in our lives! I got so excited when I heard that Elder Holland would be speaking that session!! It felt so wonderful to just be in a home, with a family, watching General Conference! The way I am used to it! And love it!

On Sunday, two sisters in our zone made us cinnamon rolls!  The General Conference tradition of homemade cinnamon rolls for the Sunday morning session of Conference CONTINUED, on my MISSION!!!! It was wonderful!   We watched part of the second session at Grandma's house and that was so nice! I love Grandma and am so glad I got to meet this sweet elderly lady! Then we had a lesson with our eight year old student, I love that girl so much!   Her mom gave us cinnamon rolls too!! I guess a lot of people have that Conference tradition.

On Monday we had a good P-Day. We had dinner at our stake president's house, because it is a new transfer, and guess who shows up too? President Brown, our mission president!  Well, that was a surprise! And then once dinner ended we had to rush out to our lesson! I did get to chat briefly with President Brown on our way out of the house, but we needed to go teach a lesson, and he was definitely understanding of that!

Well today is Tuesday, and most of the snow has melted, and it is back to looking like Fall! It's about 60 degrees and I am wearing a short sleeved shirt! I think Wyoming is getting to me; it has already touched my heart forever!


Sister Kelly Smith

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Heartbreak in Wyoming

Super, super hard week emotionally, but all is in Heavenly Father's hands.  Being sick, and finding out about transfers was hard!

We have been really busy teaching and meeting with people this week, although Friday it seemed many people weren’t home when we stopped by.   But we went to a movie night that we invited our youth to. 17 Miracles is an amazing movie! Two of the youth that came brought non member friends! I think we will just plan our own youth movie night; The Testaments is pretty awesome!!  .

Our last district meeting of the transfer was on Thursday; it has been an awesome transfer with my district!

DREADED, DREADED Saturday, the day we find out about transfers. We went to a baptism in the morning, and I was talking to one of the other sisters. She said she knew that one sister got a call from one of the AP's saying she was training. OK, so I figured I wasn't training a new sister and neither would Hermana, We didn't get a call from the AP's.  This is good, we thought we would both be staying... or both be leaving :( Well we worked hard that day, got to watch the General Relief Society Broadcast. After the broadcast we went over to the L family for dinner, pizza with bacon on top! haha. Bacon is ALWAYS served when we are there! Sister L made us chocolate covered bacon! It is just a huge joke between us! Well it was about 8pm when we left their house, and we started to head to Grandma's house to hear where we would go for transfers.  The zone leaders send out a voice mail, but we still get together. Well, we saw that the voice mail was already out, so Hermana and I decided to listen to it in the car... I pulled over, still in the L's neighborhood. and SOMETHING UNEXPECTED HAPPENED!!!!  The zone leaders said who was leaving our zone... Hermana, WHAT?!!! Are you kidding me?! She was only here one transfer. Both of us burst into tears!!! I was so sad. Then they said who was coming to our zone: "We have a new sister coming to our zone, and Sister Smith will be training her." ARE YOU SERIOUS?! haha I love training, but seriously, Hermana was leaving me! We were crying so hard! So we decided to go back to the L's and tell them. When they opened the door and saw our faces Bishop L thought we were joking, nope! We just sat and cried with their family. They were so sad to see Hermana leave! I get to be here for at least 1/3 of my mission, and she was only here for 6 weeks! It was really hard to sympathize with her, because she was leaving her first area, and I have never left my first area! I am so sad.  I did some praying after I found out I would be training again, and had some great personal studies! My heart is broken, but life goes on! I loved serving with Hermana, and miss her tons! She is in a Spanish area now, with a Spanish speaking companion which is so good for her! I'm really glad she gets to use more Spanish! She taught me so much; it was such a fast 6 weeks with her!

I am so glad that I am still in the same ward! It is crazy to think that I will be here for 1/3 of my mission, 6 months!! THAT'S AWESOME!! There hasn't been a sister that has stayed longer than three transfers in this town in a long time! I would love to be able to stay here for 7.5 months or more, but as I was talking to one of the AP's, he said Pres. Brown doesn't want people to stay in areas longer than 6 months, so this is it for me in this ward. I am so sad! But it's my chance to WORK SUPER HARD and MAKE IT THE BEST TRANSFER EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On Monday, we went out to lunch with Bishop and Sister L. It was so nice to hang out with them. It was P-day and man I love that family SO, SO, SO MUCH!! We made them bacon cupcakes, part of our joke :) We delivered them that night, and BAM, NERF WAR WITH THEM!!! It was so fun and was a great last night with Hermana!

On Tuesday, I went down to Colorado to pick up my new greenie! So fun to see friends again, and sad to leave Hermana! Well, it's a new adventure and I'm excited! I wore the same fake fur coat from last time I trained, and when I came in, one of the other new missionaries was like “You two are made for each other!”  OK, that's good!  One of the AP's told me before I met Sister G, that she was funny! Alright, I'm ok with having a funny companion, I am definitely OK with that!! haha Let the fun times and training begin!

Moral: be prepared for anything in life. You are in Heavenly Father's hands! He will take care of you, even when it is hard! Trials are part of our eternal progression and salvation!

Love you all,                                   
Sister Kelly Smith