Friday, May 30, 2014

Rain and ducks-photos

Sister Smith does not let rain keep her from contacting

                 Sister Hendrix and Sister Smith so excited to meet a new family--- of ducks

Monday, May 26, 2014

Sister Smith at Isaksen's lake house-they are so good to the missionaries

Sister Hendrix and Sister Smith love Isaksen's cookies

happy, happy, happy

There's a big group of beautiful people celebrating memorial day outback (we're at the Isaksen's lake house again!) so I'm going to skip the clever introductions and just give y'all a quick copy and paste from my journal. enjoy!

Oh jolly roger! Alisha prayed! outloud! for the first time finally! We had another fab lesson with her and Sis Campbell about how the gospel blesses families. We talked a lot about the "For the Strength of Youth pamphlet" because Alisha has quite a few teenagers that’s she’s worried about. It was perfect to have Sis Campbell there since her son Ellis is 14 and everyday faces a school where all the girls want to date or “go with him”, and all the guys make fun of him for not doing so-but he sticks with his standards. Alisha was able to relate perfectly and told us she'd make at time for at least an hour of scripture study tonight:)

Sis Hendrix and I were a little worried about Mike the past little while, he hasn’t been to church the past 2 weeks for various excuses/reasons, he said he was coming to the fireside but never showed up, and every time we ask him about smoking he tells us it’s hard, but it’s coming along. He’s been resistant to set a specific date to quit, and still hasn’t listened to the talks or BofM on CD for a while. We just want the old Mike back. We went over why he wants to be baptized, and helped him to see the bigger picture. We shared with him scriptures about what the Savior went through, so we could have a chance at salvation. He asked a really great question, “why would he do it?” He understood why we needed it, and what it’s purpose was, but he wanted to know “why would he go through all of that for us? Especially for those rotten people out there doing all sorts of horrible things”. Instead of answering him, we invited him to ponder that question this week and look for the answer in his studies and through prayer.

He brought up how he wished he could’ve seen what he used to be like, like back in the premortal world. We then went into his divine potential. I shared the quote “if you could envision the type of person God intends for you to be, you would rise up and never be the same again”. I turned for a minute to speak with Mark (mike’s down-syndrome brother, he told me all about how he’s going to get his GED), and when I turned back to the conversation Mike was beaming and replied to Sis Hendrix, “wow-you really see all of that??” I asked for them to fill me in on the details, and Sis Hendrix said that she told Mike she could see him as a bishop one day. This lesson seemed like such a turning point, we were able to not just tell him about the future blessings, but give him a real vision of what God sees in him. We wrote a sticky note that said, “who does God want me to be?”. Near the end of the lesson we made a plan with him to finalize him quitting smoking (did I mention at this point Mike informed us he hadn’t smoked at all for the past 2 days!!!) and his first plan of action if he had a craving was to look at the sticky note. The old Mike’s back, and while I most likely won’t be around for his baptism, his progress, and the light in his eyes brings me greater joy than anything elseJ
Other news, Mike was interviewed for his baptism!

The ENTIRE Roten family came to church, and I just about bursted into tears of joy when I peeked in the door and saw them all.

We had dinner with the Tates again and were finally able to sit down with Bro Tate!

We’ve decided to invited all youth 12 and up to the MTC experience activity and a beehive after church came up and personally thanked us for letting her come now. They’re so excited!


love....sis smith...who else?

Monday, May 19, 2014

I Love the Book of Mormon

Sometimes you just feel so gluttonous on a mission. While part of that feeling may be from the week long birthday celebration we had for sis Hendrix and the heaps of food we've been fed. I feel more gluttonous about the many blessings the Lord has given me. This week I'm especially grateful for the Book of Mormon. I don't think we realize what we have. While I wish I could express via email how the little blue book can change your life, you really just have to read it for yourself. But something that's brought me greater joy is being able to read it with purpose. Not only a purpose to serve selfish little me, but I'm searching for answers in the BoM on how to bless, comfort and guide these amazing people I've been blessed to work with here in SC. yup, read it:)

Did I mention I love being a missionary?? here's a few shnippets from da week!

We received a referral via a couple weeks ago about a lady who isn’t a member that was moving soon and needed help. She was referred by her friend who IS a member, and the lady (Deborah) was moving a couple houses down from this friend. We took this as a great opportunity to show some Christ like love and serve her, hoping at the same time is would soften her heart to the missionaries in Georgia we’d hope she’d start listening to. We arranged for us to go with Laura Wareham and the elders would drive out with bro Addison. Over the phone Deborah assured us there were only a few big ticket items she needed help with loading into a U-Haul, and everything else she’d already driven over herself in her car. However I soon became a little concerned when she toured us around her home pointing out the boxes, dressers, table, chair, couches, loveseat, fridge and washer and dryer she needed us to pack into her partially filled uhaul truck. God is still a God of miracles and we were able to fit allllmost everything, but it definitely required us to exercise our faith and our Tetris mastery skills. I was a little nervous that the biggest males we’d have helping out were Elder Harris and Malcom, who are both smaller than I am. But it proved to help a lot, all of us banded together to lift, carry, and use every last inch of space in the moving truck. Elder Harris would spiderman it and crawl up and over and around the stacked furniture to guide the additional pieces back. I loved it! It was so much fun, and exciting to challenge ourselves not only physically, but also mentally, trying to solve various problems. Reminded me of the many times my Dad taught me the power of thinking through a situation before just acting, through careful planning and meticulous work we fit so much more than we ever thought we could. It truly was a miracle in my eyes.

We were finally able to make it back to Ren’s, she wasn't too interested the first time, and we thought we’d offended her, but persistence is our middle name. We rang and knocked a few times with now answer. As we were walking away we heard a shout, we flipped around and Ren was at her door shouting about not letting us go this time, and something about her bath (she was in a robe). We scurried back up to her porch and she just expressed to us how much she loved us and missed us. She was terrified that we’d gone home. A couple weeks ago we’d stopped by and left a note and she was so upset we hadn't left our number for her to call us at. She told us we HAD to take down her number so when we go home we could still call her up and if we were ever back in the area she offered her home for us to stay in! She said she had extra beds and bathrooms, and that we were basically like her daughters to her. This is coming from the woman whom we had one 90 min lesson with, and during that lesson she got on us when we told her that we probably couldn't volunteer at the animal shelter because our missionary work took priority. You just never know what impact you can have on someone, she’s a tough one but we can see her coming around.

While I’m hoping to perfect my southern accent while I’m here, I pray that I don’t pick up on the southern grammar as well. Real southerners just speak a different English…that’s a little less than correct. Like when we were asking Ladaisha if we could meet with her later today, we suggested 5, and she responded, “I don’t get home by 5”. Sis Addison told us that her brother was teaching and got a new student, on the role her name was spelled La-ah, and he asked her to to pronounce it. This little black girl responded, “it’s LaDASHa, the dash don’t be silent!” I might have to add that one to my list of future baby names I’ve discovered here, it’ll come right before sh’diamond and Jermonica.


-spent mother's day weekend at the Isaksen's lakehouse (with president's permission of course) and then toured Abbeville on p-day, Abbeville is where the civil war kinda started. SC was the first state to secede from the union, and they went alphabetically to have each county vote for secession, and Abbeville was first on the list. there's yer history lesson for the day. It's also where the war kinda ended because it's where they also signed to end the civil war and get back together with the union.

-Alisha acknowledged that once she gets her answer about the BofM she'll have to bring her family along with her, and she's started praying out loud finally!
-Mike committed to quit smoking this coming Wednesday!
-had pizza at member meals 4 times this week!

love y'all!

sister smith!!:)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sister Hendrix and Sister Smith "rocking" it in South Carolina.
They spent the day at the Isaksens lake side home and Skyped  family for Mother's day

Monday, May 12, 2014

Well then, today is a beautiful day! I'm enjoying this emailing session from the beautiful lakeside home of the Isaksens. We got special permission from President to spend Mother's day weekend here because they live so far away and they volunteered to tour us around Abbeville. Abbeville was the first place in South Carolina to vote to Secede from the Union and the first to vote to end the civil war as well.

Not sure how missionaries were ever able to coordinate things before they had telephones-Danielle Allen’s phone bill hadn’t been paid yet so we couldn't call her. We were supposed to have dinner with her tonight at 5 w/ Ladaisha as well, but Ladaisha couldn't do it until 6. We knew Danielle would be fine with it, but we needed some way to contact her about the time change, without using all the miles to drive down there ourselves. Solution?=The Jamesons! They’re amazing, an acted as our impromptu carrier pigeons, they live down the street from the Allens and told us they’d get in contact with them. When we showed up at 6 with Ladaisha we felt horrible about how it had all worked out. The Allen s were gone most of the day, and the Jameson’s weren’t able to get ahold of them until right before 5. But she’s super sweet about it. We had a good time at dinner, she made us a feast of breakfast for dinner and afterwards when we were able to sit down for a little lesson, Ladaisha said that as she’s been learning more about the church and getting involved she’s felt peace, yup that’s the spirit.

We dropped by Mike’s for our lesson, and as we pulled into Mike's home he was fuuuuming mad. His mom’s ex-boyfriend had pulled in a little before we got here and had hit their car, he (the ex) was now crazy drunk inside, and Mike’s mom wasn’t even around. We timidly stood by our car surveying the scene before we walked over, and we heard Mike use some very choice language I never would've imagined him using around us. The old me would've just taken the easy way out, and tell him we’d be back at a better time, but Sis Hendrix and I both felt that Mike needed to know we were there for him, during convenient or not so convenient times. We of course asked it there was anything we could do to help, confidently knowing there wasn’t much we could do. The whole time we awkwardly stood around, not knowing what to do, but knowing we shouldn't leave. We chatted with Daniel and Joe a little bit. A proud parent moment, was when the drunk boyfriend staggered outside asking for cigarettes and Mike informed him multiple times that he didn’t have any! Yes! Before we finally left, we were talking with Mike and he just admitted that this was just another obstacle, and that he could be patient.

We pulled off next to a park to discern how to best spend the rest of our night, we weren’t sure if Joanne and Destini would be home because they hadn’t answered our calls, and we were hesitant to drive all the way out there because we’re trying to conserve miles. We prayed, listened, and were still a little stuck. We made a few phone calls and after it all sis Hendrix felt like we should still go out there, I wasn’t feeling inclined in any direction, but there was a family in the park. We decided to go with Sis Hendrix's prompting, but not before we reached out to this family. Turned out we both were inspired, the mother was pretty interested, and super nice as we had a little lesson with her, annnnd when we went out to Destini’s she was home! We had a lesson sitting in the car reading 3 nephi 11. I noticed something written in the front of her BofM that said “this is more than just a book, it is a record from God”-I asked Sis Hendrix if she’d written that and she said it wasn’t her, so neat! Destini had already started marking things and as we’d read she point out verses she liked and then we’d talk about it.

welp, that's all folks!

have a blessed y'all so much!

sister smith:):)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Them berries were heavenly!

As we were walking in the library, a little sign informed us that it'd be closed this Friday in honor of "confederate memorial day"-who knew? I love this state!

Funny story that just happened. So I’m typing this right now (On my Alpha smart) and it’s actually Saturday may 3rd. I’m just merrily typing along trying to catch up in my journal and I’d made it to the end of Thursday. My fingers just flying along hit the clear file button. I was flying along typing so fast that before I had time to realize what I was doing I hit the “Y” key, telling this little typing device that “yes I want to clear the contents of this file”. ZAPPO-there goes all of my journaling for the past week…oh well. Back to the beginning.

It’s kind of funny because Monday when I was downloading some pictures to email to my friends and family a virus on the computer wiped out all of my pictures. Luckily my mother is great and has been downloading my pictures as I’ve gone along, but I hadn’t sent that SD card home in about a month, and I lost all of my pics over the past month. Oh well. Maybe I’ll just use this experience as a great analogy to the atonement. I’ll just apologize now to, my family, my posterity and my future self that I’m sorry you won’t get to hear very much about this week, just know that the church is true and this week was full of more blessings than I’ll ever deserve.

The priests in the ward decided to feed all of the missionaries for their young men’s activity. Naive me imagined that the goal of the activity was to nurture their cooking skills and serve the missionaries at the same time…not quite. This meal was the essence of men, manifest into something edible. Here’s what it consisted of: fried chicken from Zaxby’s, Little Ceaser’s pizza, chips and salsa, broccoli (one of the young men actually applied some cooking skills), cheesy potato chips and one of the leaders made lemon bars. It was great, I’m super grateful, and it was rather entertaining as well. Oh yeah, but Mike and Daniel showed up early to Book of Mormon class and we were still chowing down with everyone in the primary room. At first it was a wee bit awkward, but as soon as we got Mike involved with talking about basketball with them it loosened right up and it was a great time for Mike to feel comfortable with them all and get fellowshipped! Daniel ended up playing basketball with the young men instead of BOM class, but we had a great study with Mike (read 1 nephi 17 it ended up applying perfectly because nephi’s talking about the impossible task of building a boat, but had faith that if God commanded it, it could be done, such is the case with Mike and smoking) and got him a priesthood blessing afterward to help him with his smoking. Member of the night I was impressed with was Bro Dial, he popped in after helping with scouts to say hi to Mike. He ended up taking an hour out of his day to stay and study with us, he could’ve gone home and relaxed-but nope, he’s a consecrated servant of the Lord who shows his love through his actions. There’s no way in the world Bro Byron Dial would just express his love to you-unless he threw in some sarcasm, but he does so much for the ward and the Lord. Yeah poetry!

in other news

-we had a zone training meeting and Sis Hendrix and I gave a training on optimism! it was a good time, lot's of great analogies!

-mike's still progressing towards baptism and even though he has a limited reading level he told us he's started to try and sound out the different verses to himself

-miracle with Ebony, when we stopped by she wasn't home, we were prompted to make some phone calls so we lingered in her driveway for a few minutes, right as we were about to leave when we finished up Ebony pulled up and told us how sorry she was for not calling yet, and asked for the address of the church again.

-for p-day today Sis Hendrix and I went to the hardy berry farm and picked ourselves some strawberries! never tasted anything sweeter or juicier, I think there was a strawberry plant-of-life next to the tree-of-life in Lehi's dream, them berries were heavenly!

can't wait for mothers day, can't wait for all the miracles that await us as we serve the lord errrry-day!


Sister Smith:D