Monday, August 25, 2014

Figure out your purpose, and then strive to live on purpose.

DISCLAIMER: for those who don’t typically tune into the marvelous adventures of sista smith in the south, the following email is bits and pieces copied-and-pasted from her journal. She has this really spiffy typing gadget that allows her to type her journal during the week then plug it in and download it each week. So if the chronology is off, and it doesn't make total sense, that’s why:)

I don't even know where to start with this week.
#1 I can't believe how quickly it's gone is it already Monday again!?
#2 this key board is abnormally quiet.
#3 We were blessed with a "cold front" to come through Summerville, and instead of being in the 100's we're down to a brisk 90.
#4 I keep telling myself, I couldn't be happier but life goes on and continues to prove me wrong. I remember being at the beginning of my mission having a smile plastered across my face because I was just so stoked to be a missionary, serving the Lord 24/7. But now that a little time has passed, my joy has increased exponentially because I'm coming to understand this work even more, and understand my Savior and his gospel more and more. I love it, and I'm so grateful for this opportunity I've been given to discover what the Lord's definition of success is, compared to the world's definition of success.'s the week!!!

For FHE tonight we had Joan come to the Cicon’s. The Cicon’s are the sweetest, cutest family. We sang a little song, Olive, the 3yr old, said the cutest prayer thanking heavenly father for everyone. After she mumbled out in the name of jesus christ amen. Her brother pointed out that she had forgotten to bless the visitor. Immediately Olive bowed her head again and said “and thank you for Joan in the name of jesus christ amen!” it was so precious. For the lesson Sis Willis and I retold the Joseph smith story, and Cody (the 7yr old) acted it out. It was all so perfect, Joan loved being around their family (she’s often lonely since her husband passed about 4yrs ago, and her mother 2 months ago).

The Cicon’s are such amazing parents. I realized after our lesson another reason why my mission will bless me forever. My mission has given me the opportunity to work closely with so many amazing families and take from them what I want in my own family. On the other hand if I had just got married right out of college, I wouldn't have had anything to pattern my family off of except for what I’d seen in my own family. My upbringing was perfect, but it’s so helpful to see different parenting, because every child is so different.

Today was one of the greatest days on my mission, and definitely one of the greatest exchanges. It was so fun to be with Sis Baker. She was one of my dear friends in the MTC and I hadn’t been in her zone since my first 2 transfers.

It just so happened that for our exchange we planned to bike all afternoon, and whaddaya know the weather decided to peak at 106 degrees with obscenely high humidity. We loved it though, we smiled wide, and loved the breeze as we biked all around. We spent the first 2 hours checking on leads. When we biked to our next area to work in we stopped at the Bi-Lo grocery store to fill up our water bottles. We were sitting on a bench inside, drenched in sweat, red faced, joyfully looking at GPS again to find a certain road-a random man walked up, handed us 2 cold water bottles and said, “here I thought y’all might need these”. Then he vanished in a puff of smoke…did I mention he was also dressed in nephrite garb and had 2 friends with him. Ok not really, but we walked out the door before we could stop and talk with him, what a saint?!

We went knocking for the next little bit and came across a huge miracle in the form of a young mother seeking to draw closer to God. We started speaking with Kayla on her front porch, and Sis Dent was inspired to bring up how we help people recognize the spirit of God. Kayla was captivated and let us in, which was a huge relief because it was definitely over 100 degrees outside. We spoke about her upbringing in the catholic church and how just the other night she had been talking with her husband about getting back into church. Not only that, but one of her best friends is a Mormon had been trying the past few weeks to bring her to church. But wait there’s more, today had just so happened to be the one day she decided to take off, and send her 4 kids with her mother, so she could have a break. We shared the restoration with her, and when Sis Dent recited Joseph Smith’s first vision the spirit filled the room, and Kayla felt it. She told us she hadn’t felt this way in a long time. She said she had chillbumps all over. We pointed out that was the spirit. She said the only thing she could compare that feeling to was when she held her first daughter in her arms after she was born. As we invited her to be baptized as she found out the truth for herself, tears welled up in her eyes. She expressed some of the home problems she was dealing with, and we promised her that the gospel can change us as we apply Christ’s atonement. Walking out of that lesson Sis Dent and I just stood all amazed. It was one of the most spiritually powerful lessons I’ve had in a long time, but I know that we were entirely guided by the spirit. We put ourselves in a situation where we could be guided, most of the time I’m sure we didn’t even know we were being guided, but He was there.

About a week ago we were asking Kitt about his family, and if any of his other siblings lived nearby or if any of them were deaf. He gave us the address for his sister Pakeather. Out of his 7 siblings, only he and his sister are deaf. It was only a wee bit out of our area, so we got permission from our zone leaders to venture and communicate with a new potential deaf friend and we had an excellent find! Insteadof just meeting Pakeather, we got to meet 2 of kitt’s other siblings, and Pakeather’s 2 daughters. Both of Pakeather’s daughters (Princessa and Kim) are hearing, but speak sign. One’s in highschool and the other is 21. Sis Willis taught Pakeather and I spoke with her 2 daughters. They were really interested, not quite like “you have the restored gospel?!” interested, but they were super curious about what we believed in and why in the world 2 young girls would come out and do this. We left them all with Book of Mormons and set up to come back later in the week. I also found myself a man, he told us we could come back and marry him, and that he’d take care of us. He’s only about 50yrs older than me, smokes a little, and I can only understand about 65% of what he’s saying.

That's all folks:)

I hope, urge, encourage, and exhort you to figure out your purpose, and then strive to live on purpose. Take control of each opportunity during the day to learn and become more like the savior. When you pray, PRAY, take that time to talk with your father in Heaven. When your with people, BE with them, listen to, understand, not just to respond.
Our Heavenly Father has such great things for us to do, to help us become something great.

love y'all so much:)

remember to brush in circles

-sis smith

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sista Smith in Summerville, South Carolina

DISCLAIMER: for those who don’t typically tune into the marvelous adventures of sista smith in the south, the following email is bits and pieces copied-and-pasted from her journal. She has this really spiffy typing gadget that allows her to type her journal during the week then plug it in and download it each week. So if the chronology is off, and it doesn’t make total sense, that’s why:)

mmmk, I don't think I ever filled y'all in on my new companion Sis Willis. she's great! Sis Willis is 21, she's from Joplin, Missouri and was raised in the church. She's has such as strong testimony, loves everyone (and everyone loves her) and she's so enthusiastic. She's hilarious to be around and has an amazing singing voice. This is her last transfer before going home, but she's ready to put her shoulder to the wheel and finish strong. I'm bummed I don't get more than one transfer with her, but grateful for the chance I have to learn from her.

now onto the week!

Flashback!!! Something really cool happened at transfers. Sis Black, my daughter, was there and we were chatting a little bit. Then she asked me if I remembered who the Fenners were. I honestly had no clue, after giving me a little more information than just their names I remembered them. They were a less active couple that we had juuuust started teaching before I left Hartsville. He was so depressed and could barely move, let alone make any commitment to coming to church. She’d only met with us once, but wasn't too keen on coming back unless he did. They used to be super active, held high positions and went to the temple, but had chosen to be offended after they moved here. Welll, Sis Black informed me that they had gone back to the temple, were super active and were actually the ones who drove the elders to transfers!!! I know I didn't do much, but it was such a tender mercy to get a glimpse of something good that had come about from my efforts.

A few things have caused our miles to take a turn for the worse. #1 The sisters weren't able to find a ride to Columbia for transfers, #2 A few extra miles were needed before I came and #3 The exchanges we’ve done so far have been to the farthest away areas. We decided to start biking. We share 2 bikes with the other sisters in our apartment. Prior to me coming Sis Willis said they never really biked. One reason because they were in a 3 pack last transfer, and the transfer before that…they just didn’t. Anyways we were a little nervous about looking disgusting and sweaty at our appointments, but felt good about our decision. It ended up not being bad at all, Heavenly Father blessed us with overcast weather, and although it looked like we were about to get poured on, it only drizzled enough to cool us down. Even though I feel like I’m way out of shape, the biking part of it wasn’t too bad, it’s not much, but after adding it up we went about 20 miles. I LOVED being able to work, pedal and breath the fresh air. I loved the breeze and being able to see the city at a slower pace, I loved everything about it besides the fact that I sweated a wee bit more than normal. Even having to try and ride in a skirt wasn’t that bad, I only got caught in the gears once, learned my lesson and from then on tied my skirt to the side with a hair elastic. The biggest issue we faced that day was that we didn’t anticipate how dark it would be when we got out of our last lesson. Summerville 1st isn’t exactly SUPPOSED to be a biking area because there are a few big roads with minimal lighting and even less shoulder space to ride on. We had to make like frogger to even get to the correct side of the road, and when we pulled up on Old Orangeburg Rd. we knew it would be a very unwise decision to try and ride it. We prayed that miraculously some member that just HAPPENED to be driving a truck would see us and rescue us, but instead the spirit reminded us that the other sisters in our apt had a bike rack. We quickly called them to rescue us and they swiftly came to our aid. After that we decided we’d take the Prophet Jacob’s advice and be wise enough to not bike at night any longer.

We couldn't believe it, when we had our lesson with Kit and Alison today we asked Alison about her own baptism. Previously she had said she wanted baptism, but not yet. After the baptism she’d told us that she’d felt the spirit very strongly and that it had touched her heart. When we brought up baptism today, she started off telling us she was shy, and that she’ll eventually get to baptism, but as we continued on she became more and more confident about her baptism. She even wanted to do it this coming Saturday, but we had her move it to the 30th of Aug so we’d have time to prepare her. I’m so excited for her! And it’s really neat because Sadie (one of the interpreters from the north Charleston ward) told us that the deaf community is very tight knit, and because Kit is intelligent he’s very influential and will bring many to the gospel with him. After the lesson Kit gave us the address of his sister who lives nearby and is deaf, and also said he’s going to write Sis Glouser and send her to a deaf friend who lives in Spartanburg. I have a dream that one day the Charleston zone will have it’s own deaf branch, that would be too cool!

-Went on exchanges in Georgetown and James island. In James Island I got to see a ton of downtown Charleston, saw the beach for my first time and contacted up and down the pier for an hour or so.
-Sign language is coming along muuuuch better, but still wish I could say more. meh, it'll come:)

love y'all more than you know, annnd so so grateful for how each of you has touched and impacted my life.


Sister Smith:)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Photos Transfer from Anderson

Farewell dinner in Anderson--They are like family
Tess, Shayla, Jen, Sarah, Danielle, The Basarabs and Hebbs

At Columbia temple with Allen's they drove Sister Smith to her  new area and picked up Sister Hendrix new companion

Sister Willis and Sister Smith with Kitt newly baptized

I'm now in Summerville and started with a wonderful Baptism

Hey y’all, here I sit in my new area, aka SUMMERVILLE, at the library, with many other lovely sisters (one of which is my companion the amazing Sis Willis from Missouri) and some valiant elders (because you can’t just go around calling elders lovely). It’s out in the Charleston zone and is a much smaller area than my past two areas. It’s interesting, it’s not like it’s more populated than my past areas there are just more mormons in the area so the ward boundaries are smaller. It’s grand though. Hope you enjoy this weeks email. Be good nowJ

DISCLAIMER: for those who don’t typically tune into the marvelous adventures of sista smith in the south, the following email is bits and pieces copied-and-pasted from her journal. She has this really spiffy typing gadget that allows her to type her journal during the week then plug it in and download it each week. So if the chronology is off, and it doesn't make total sense, that’s whY:)

I'm just so tired of goodbyes! ever since I found out officially it's just been non-stop. Leaving Anderson feels almost as hard as leaving my family to leave on my mission. I've never been an emotional person, but I couldn't believe how many tears I had to choke back. those blasted emotions!

My final full day with sis Hendrix, was cut short because of all the trainer training she did. We left early that morning piled high in the Allen’s minivan. I was in the middle with baby Ariana, and Sis Hendrix was in the back with Rosemary. Rosemary was especially excited to be going, and only stopped chattering away when sis Hendrix took a brief nap. The Allens are so awesome. They set it up so that they’d stay in a hotel overnight and drive the other sisters back the next day after transfers. We even got permission from President Turner to go walk around the temple with them. It was Danielle’s first time, and Blake hadn’t been there since he’d done baptisms years ago. It was so sweet to finally be in the temple again. I miss it so much! But I know that the work I’m doing is where I really need to be, and that principle was evident as we sat in the front waiting room. Coolest little miracle. I’ve been cheering on Ariana the past forever, trying to get her to walk. She’d done one, maaaybe two steps before. But when we went to the temple, she took her first 3 steps in the waiting room!! We took some pictures, and kept psyching them up for when they’ll go through themselves! I’m so excited for them, they’ve changed so much and come so far. They keep telling us we’re the missionaries who’ve really got them going, but I know it wasn’t us, but years of many many people, not to mention the spirit and God having a big ol hand in it all.

Did I mention that I’ll be learning sign Language while I’m here?? Yup, all the sisters here have been learning sign language for an investigator (Kitt). Kitt’s actually getting baptized this Saturday, and I know my transfer is divine and all, but I feel soooo bad that I’m the one that’ll be here for it and not Sis Glauser or Grover who worked so hard with Kitt. But I know that this is all according to the Lord’s will, so I’m going to do everything I can to fulfill his purpose for sending me here at this time. I’m hoping that the 1 year I took waaaay back in high school will come back. I’m so excited though, a little nervous considering I only have one transfer to get down ASL, as opposed to the 2-4 transfers that other sisters have had to learn before getting a new companion.

Baptism Day! It was such an amazing baptism. There were so many ward members there to support him, despite the torrential afternoon rainstorm we experienced. It’s such a miracle that there are a few other people in the area that know sign language that are willing to help interpret. The Bryant smith and his wife both served ASL missions and live in the goosecreek ward (he’s stationed there for the navy right now. What a miracle!!). Ruth lives in Augusta and just took a bunch of classes through school, she’s amazing. There’s also Sadie Johnson from north Charleston. She took some classes in school and then had a calling in a deaf ward when she lived in Utah.

Anyways, we had Ruth and Bryant there to interpret. There were also about 30 members of the ward there to support Kitt. I couldn't have put it better myself when bro David Hatch said after the baptismal ordinance, “this is one of the times where I think it should be appropriate to clap”…haha, later thinking about it kit couldn’t of heard it anyways, so we could’ve just signed congrats instead.

Afterward Kitt shared his testimony and Ruth and Bryant interpreted. He had the most amazing testimony. He told about going to the Methodist church with his dad, but not being able to understand because he hadn’t gone to deaf school yet. After learning sign, he studied a lot and got involved with the Jehovah witnesses for 18 yrs. One day when he was at the Laundromat he found an LDS gospel principles book and started reading it. A few weeks later he was at walmart with some friends and saw the sister missionaries. Sis Paxman saw Kitt signing and ran over, purely because she wanted to meet a deaf person. Sis Paxman doesn’t know any ASL, but went for the contact anyways! Anywhoo after lots of lessons purely writing back and forth a few sisters learned a little ASL, and finally 9 months later he was here at his baptism. He said he now felt like a new man, with a new spirit. His old spirit is gone and we are all now his friends and his brothers and sisters. The spirit was so strong, and I’m so happy for him!

sorry this was a long one....
much much LOVE!!

sister smith

Monday, August 4, 2014

Love the signs of the South

P-day Fishin  I caught it myself, but let it go

God be with you till we meet again

Got a little ring-ring from President Turner friday night, Sis Hendrix is training!! ..which officially meant that I’m leaving. I wanted to cry…I’m going to miss Anderson and everything/everyone within it soooo much! But God knows best and has some grand stuff in store.

oh yeah, I also got my own ring from President turner the next morning. Turns out I’m going to be a sister training leader (sister training leaders are like the leadership for the female side of the mission. There are 2 STL's for each of the 6 zones in the mission. I'll be on the mission leadership council and will be going on exchanges with sisters at least once a week)…I’m quite nervous, but excited for some humbling and growth that’ll be coming my way...still feeling a little overwhelmed though:/

oh well, let's not dwell.I'm definitely coming back to Anderson one day, and then coming back AGAIN after Sis hendrix gets off her mission a year later.

I’ve been trying to pay closer attention to how my beloved southerners say certain words. I need to be able to do it myself, so that when I have southern accent withdrawals I can go into a quiet corner and talk to myself. I love it here!

Had an awesome lesson with Neil and Harriet. Interesting question of the night, “why aren’t any of your apostles jewish?”…I wasn’t quite sure why they needed to be. But it was all grand. We brought the senior Dial couple along. It was a perfect match. Neil and Harriet are like bro and sis dial before their baptisms. They got along a little tooo well, and ended up getting us in late for the night…it was a long lesson. But they seemed pretty intrigued by the plan of salvation. Everything we taught, they said they basically already believed, just had never seen it laid out like we did. Haha, you just can’t beat little laminated pictures depicting spirit prison, judgment and earth lifeJ

Did a joint lesson with the Jameson’s and Allens. A couple of my favorite families, and some of the best cooks as well. After we did another lesson with Blake’s parents about the plan of salvation. Wanda (Blake’s mom) is LOVING it! She’s already read through to 1 nephi 11 since she got her own BoM last night! She’s determined to beat Danielle, I think it’ll be great motivation to get them all racing towards eternal life!

It was super depressing saying goodbye to everyone. I feel like these people are all family. Cried during my testimony, can’t really remember the last time I cried, I’m not a crier! It was Jordan’s last Sunday in the ward before his mission, and Bro Stone is moving as well. Too many goodbyes, when we sang “God be with you ‘til we meet again”, my thoughts turned to not only the ward, but Sis Hendrix and I couldn’t make it through the entire song. *sigh*

Have a great week everyone...and if yer ever feeling down just remember there's a lil south carolinian missionary who loves you very much, and will make you some amazing comfort mac-n-cheese one day:)


Sister Smith