Monday, June 30, 2014

I Love being in the South!!!!!

I absolutely LOVE being in the south. We were checking out at Walmart and an old lady in a black sun hat waltzes over and starts talking with the cashier. Here’s how it went down…

Cashier: “oh, praise the Lord, how’re you doing?
Lady: “oh, just getting some exercise carting around Walmart”
Cashier: “mmm, that’s what I need, some exercise”
Lady: “naw guurl you lookin’ goooood”
Cashier: “ aw thanks, you’re looking good too”
Lady: “you did real good at church yesterday, real good”
Cashier: “all the glory goes to God, praise the Lord”
And then they went their separate ways, you can’t find that anywhere but the south. This place is special. Even Utah with all it’s Mormons, could learn a thing or two from these Christians out here.

It's kind of ridiculously wonderful how every time we try to show our love and gratitude to our Heavenly Father and Savior by being obedient, or sacrificing something, he pays us ten-fold with blessings!
A mission for example, the devil/world would have us think it's a huge sacrifice, but truly is the greatest investment I've made for my life thus far. All y'all should seeeeriously consider serving a mission, annd then serving another one. Elder Holland once said that we need 2 or 3 good missions our of our members.

onto the the week!!!

A few weeks ago we brought up to sis tate about how we wished we could come to girls camp. She loved that idea and said she’d take care of it, a few days later she formally invited us to come for bishop’s night. We got president’s permission and this evening we drove out there with the Helms. Driving into the campground brought on a flood of old memories; matching shirts, braided hair, crafts, clotheslines with cups clipped on, and lots of good food. It was beautiful, no matter what side of the country you’re on, girls camp is the same. They fed us Hawaiian haystacks and then we did a presentation on repentance, and how our decisions now-whether they are good or bad-will determine our destiny. I think it went really well, not that those emotions equal the spirit, but there were a few tears shed, which is always a good sign. The best part was singing come thou fount with them and then we had them close their eyes as we painted a scene of them in the pre-mortal life. It was their time to come to earth, and the Savior pulled them aside to tell them how proud he was of them, and how special they were to be chosen to come to earth at this time. Then most importantly we told them that they promised Christ they would do whatever it took to make it back, they he needn’t worry because nothing was going to stop them. We then had them open their eyes, and we proceeded to share with them that repentance is a beautiful thing, not something to be avoided to afraid of. We were told by some leaders how some of the girls are struggling with self-esteem, eating habits, alcohol and immorality. I was praying the whole time that something the spirit said would help them have that desire to change. Living or NOT living the gospel will have the BIGGEST impact on their lives. I love them all so much, and don’t want to see anything bad ever happen to them. After us, sis and bro helm spoke and then we got a little time to see their campsite. They even let us use the luxurious bathroom facilities.

It was such an off day today, one of those days where everything is falling through, or everyone’s cancelling. But what’s awesome about those days, is that I can have faith that God is directing us to something special. We knocked into Jackie. She let us right in and we had a great lesson with her, she gladly took a Book of Mormon. She told us that she’d seen the LDS commercial many times and that she’d always been tempted to order one (I prefer to use the word prompted over tempted, but whatevs). We told her, “well Jackie, Heavenly Father knew that, and he wanted you to have it hand delivered by us”.

We went over the plan of salvation with Melanie, and it was beyond great. What she wants more than anything is to be sealed with her husband and when we told her how that could happen within a month of her baptism she lit right up. She told us how she’d tried other churches before, but her current church pastor hadn’t been by since her kidney had been removed, but she was touched that we’d been by multiple times. All teary-eyed she told us she’d been praying and studying. Pointing to her book of Mormon she said she felt that that was where God wanted her to be, and it was where she needed to be.

The world is just a bit too small, it really messes with me sometimes. We’re teaching tiffany and *knock knock* (not a joke, in waltzes our favorite less-active/part-member family Noah and Sabrina). Turns out their buds with Tiffany’s mother and were coming over for dinner. Awesome, our lesson just turned into a member present.

Also, wednesday night a pipe burst somewhere in Anderson and ALL of anderson city was put on a boil alert. Meaning that no water was to be consumed until it was boiled for at least a minute. When we made it home our water had already been shut off. We managed without showering, and had some bottled water, we even used the water from our dehumidifier to manually refill the toilet. The biggest problem we faced was that once we were out in our area, none of our typical gas stations or fast food places had toilets we could use either. Luckily we were able to come in contact with sis busby who had her water piped through a different source, and still had running water.

...update...about a day later Anderson was taken off of the boil alert, but the water coming out of the tap is still a lovely shade of brown.

love y'all!
Sister Smith

Monday, June 23, 2014

No transfer and saying goodbye to Mission President and excited for the new one

Satan knows you....and he knows me, and has been working at my weaknesses big time this week. The world cup is in full force and is everywhere...ok not really because the southerners have yet to fully embrace the beautiful game. But we were taken out to eat twice by members this week, and at each restaurant the game is being played. But missionary work is waaaay better than soccer, yuup I said it, and I liked it. (haha, there was a less active I used to work with who had a tendency to cuss. Everytime she would I'd give her "the look", to which she'd glare at me and defiantly say "that's right, I said it, and I liked it!!")

Here's a shnippet from the week:)
oh yeah annnnnnd....I'M STAYING IN ANDERSON FOR ANOTHER 6 WEEKS! I've been here for 4 transfers already, so we were all anticipating that I'd be packing my bags, but transfer calls proved otherwise. Sis Hendrix and I are stoked!

Ren is always a little miracle for us. We stopped by, no one was home. How is it that this always happens even though she’s retired and says she just sits at home all day. We wandered a ways down the road to a less active family. The only ones home to greet us at the Ford residence were their goats and Chihuahuas. However, Heavenly Father stalled us just long enough so that when we were at Ren’s home she pulled up behind us and jolted us with a honk. She let us come in and share the restoration again. I think the spirit’s been softening someone’s heart, she was super open to what we said and said she’d start reading from the BoM and try to come to church.

I feel like so many of my stories have to do with food, but that’s what South Carolina is. Eating is an activity. You drive up and down the main street of Anderson and they don’t really have anything else except restaurants, there’s one little theatre, an old bowling alley out of town, but the rest of it is every popular restaurant franchise you could ever want. Anyways, for lunch we met Shayla and her less active friend Gabe at the mall. There we experienced the funniest 2 little Asian restaurants. One was Japanese the other was Chinese. They were right next to each other, and if they caught you glancing at their menu they’d start shouting at you in thick accents to come have a free sample. If you went to one for the sample the other would start shouting at you to come try theirs. They would then go back and forth thrusting food stabbed on toothpicks at you. It was a good time, in the end though I just got Mexican because I felt too guilty deciding between the 2. It was good to talk with Gabe, he knows what’s true he’s just having a hard time taking that first step back.

We had a good time before Sis Campbell showed up for our lesson with Alisha.  We were following up on what Alisha had read and watched and her some James comes into the kitchen to make himself some pancakes. Alisha’s back is to the kitchen, suddenly we hear a “THWACK-THWACK-THWACK-THWACK-THWACK” I looked over and James had opened a cupboard door that was just long enough that the ceiling fan hit it when it was open. He stood there looking at it for a second, then finally shut it. Alisha however didn’t even turn around, but a “what now?” look came on her face. We all busted up laughing and took a minute to regain our composure.

Zone conference! This was the last time meeting with President and Sister Holm before they’d be heading home and Pres. and Sis Turner would be taking the reins of SCCM. I'm going to miss the Holms sooo much, but I'm excited for what Pres and Sis Turner will bring to SCCM. It is such a relief to be able to trust that Heavenly Father knows best, and He knows how to best reach the missionaries and people of the South Carolina Columbia Mission.

Later that night we had a lesson with Melanie. She’s a referral from the elders. She was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer and before her surgery to remove the kidney her mother (who’s a member in Florida) arranged for the elders to give her a blessing. She lives in our area, so they passed her off to us, and I’m so glad! Her mom was actually still there visiting, and was a bit on the talkative side. So Sis Hendrix and I divided and conquered. She spoke with the mom, and I taught the first lesson to Melanie. After sharing the first vision she said it was as if she felt like there were  hands upon her, and could feel a light tingle. By the end she readily accepted the invitation be baptized. She’s the sweetest lady, her husband’s gone at work, but she said she was bringing him along with her. She’s really just so prepared and ready for this. Her experience has helped her realign her priorities and brought her close to God, there was a very special spirit there and we could tell she was very sensitive to it as well. It was beautiful, annnnd we were counting the miracles when we realized all of the extra miles we have for the month which will allow us to make lots of contact with her even though she lives out in Belton.

what else???

I love this work!

The car wash just ate my $10

The high is only supposed to be 93 degrees this week!

we get to go to girls camp this wednesday to talk to the YW

love y'all

Sister Smith

Monday, June 2, 2014

Best South Carolina Tatoos

Today's email will start out with a brief highlight reel of the best tattoo's witnessed here in South Carolina, the following are in no particular order and all have a special place in my heart;)
1. we had a lesson last week with randy and his daughter Tristan, suuuuper nice, and we're going back this tuesday. Right in the middle of discussing the restoration I finally figured out what was on his forearm. It was the Duck Commander brand! very impressive
2. james gordan is man with a passion for mickey and shows it by his lawn ornaments, jewelery and tattoo of the little cartoon mouse himself.
3. Brother Braddock is a less active back in hartsville who explained very excitedly about the large tattoo of moroni he was planning to sport on his left bicep.

and for this week....
At Adriana’s her mom, sis owens made homemade Horchata…I thought I’d been translated, it was SO GOOD! I’d had horchata before, and it wasn’t like this at all. Sweeter than the drink was the lesson we had. We met out on their pool patio, and went over the first half of the plan of salvation, all by the light of bug-b-gone candles, a lovely atmosphere. She just took it all in, and kept asking all of these awesome questions trying to understand the atonement more. At the end we were all on such a spiritual high, we asked her if she wanted to know if this was true and thus know if this was the church God wanted her to be in. She said she did, she explained how when she first started going to New Springs (huge non-denominational church here) she really felt the spirit, and felt like her prayers were heard. But recently it’s been different, and she’s been relunctant to pray because sometimes she feels weird, like she’s just saying words. We promised her God would answer her, and she’d be able to recognize it, but it would take effort on her part. She committed to studying and praying to find out for herself, and if she received that answer she agreed to be baptized June 14th!

We were FINALLY able to go to the legendary smoking pig today! Cory and Tara cancelled on us, which was a bummer, but a good back-up was lunch with the pig on our way to the No More Strangers fireside. The Smokin Pig takes the blue ribbon as my favorite true southern restaurant so far: the rolls were heavenly, along with the chopped smoked chicken, banana pudding and sweet potato crunch I got. Good thing we don’t live near the smoking pig, that place is dangerously good.

We faced the adversary at it’s worse with this fireside, a few days ago we had everything all set for 10 people te be coming with us to the fireside (normally I count myself as very blessed if we can get one person to attend), but one by one they started being taken out. First the Robbins broke the news to us yesterday that they’d no longer be able to attend because of work, although they’d told us a week ago it wouldn’t be a problem, which is why we bent over backward and licked our elbows to find a babysitter for their 3 kids. Now we were down to 5 people, alisha called us this morning and said her boss had gotten sick and she had to work. We got that call during studies and I felt like throwing my desk out the window. And then there were 5, ladaisha called us a couple hours before (we panicked as soon as we saw her number calling) and turns out sis allen forgot and wasn’t coming anymore, take away her and her kids and we were down to one, just Ladaisha. But it’s never, JUST Ladaisha, Ladaisha’s great and I was so grateful she could come. I found it to be a special tender mercy and miracle because she told us today that she was moving to Greenwood for the summer tomorrow! We couldn’t believe it, and were minorly upset with her for not telling us earlier. She seemed to like it, I enjoyed hearing president’s simple testimony for one of the last times. They head home June 26th! Plus I was informed last minute that they picked me to share my testimony, so I was grateful for that opportunity as well.

Saturday ladaisha texted us and said, SHE WASN"T MOVING! ....yet, she was going to look for a job, and she still had some absences to make up for with summer school and she'd figure it out in about a week. But we've still got her!

When we showed up at mikes, it was no surprise to see the whole crew out front. It always makes me a little nervous because some of them, namely the drunk boyfriend Ray, can be a distraction. But a few moments after we arrived, Ray, his mom and Daniel all left. Which left us, mike, mark and joe. For the first time joe actually decided to sit in on a lesson! Joe has a set of beliefs, and had tried going to many different churches, but had never felt right in any of them. He had all sorts of questions like, “why did God break his own commandment?”, “Since God is our father, like most fathers, doesn’t he want us to be better than he is?”, “why did God create male and female with such strong attractions then tell them they have to wait to be married, knowing full well that people would break that commandment”, “are there any ruins of neephola (we assume he meant nephi) and his people here?” and more questions than that. As you can tell our lesson covered everything from the law of chastity, to the plan of salvation and the story of the Book of Mormon. But it was good, he committed to coming to church, and confessed that he wasn’t sure what he’d look like all dressed up. We told him he’d look real sharp. I felt a little bad for mike, he was kinda left back in the dust. Joe is really intelligent, and Mike is really smart just not as educated and struggles being able to explain how he feels in words. This is beautiful though, this gospel is designed for families, and having mike and joe support each other would be such a huge blessing.

mmmmm, it's been a wonderful week!

love y'all!

sis smith