Monday, September 29, 2014

Love MLC

Haha, I honestly have no idea on how to start this email. So I guess I'll just jump into the meat of things:D ...speaking of meat, I just remembered we still have frozen gator in our fridge we need to cook up. What better general conference snack eh?

MLC (mission leadership council) was great! We had a big open discussion about what needed to change in order for us to reach our goal of 720 baptisms in a year, as opposed to the average 600 baptisms a year. Tons of stuff was thrown out, everything from more PMG, to personal conversion. I was stumped on what the answer was because there are a million diff areas that we CAN improve in, but what does God want us to focus on. Pres shared that he’d spoken with members of the proselyting dept in SLC, and they said the #1 determining factor to increase baptisms in an area is effective planning. If missionaries plan, they will baptize more. ESPECIALLY when they ask these 2 questions. Who are we teaching? What do I need to do tomorrow/next week, to help them progress?

President also shared about faith being a principle of power. I loved how he broke it down into 5 steps we can take to increase our faith

#1 Determines our desires, what do we want, is it a righteous desire
#2 Prayer, it’s not just a onetime thing. But converse with the Lord about it, debate with him about it, talk with him about it all the time
#3 Labor, get to work and do all you can
#4 Believe that he’ll help you, and accept whatever the Lord sees fit to bestow
#5 Trial: there will always be a trial of your faith. If you endure, then you know you have faith.

Best fast Sunday of my entire life! Right after the bishop bore his testimony 4 kids stood up and walked to the podium. One by one they turned to kitt, and shared their testimonies in ASL. It was so touching, Sadie (our interpreter) was crying, most of the congregation told us afterward that they were bawling. The kids shared perfect, sincere, simple testimonies: of God’s love, prophets, the atonement and eternal families. When each one finished their testimony, instead of the typical “amen” hand motion, Kitt and Alison raised their hands in the air and did an applause in sign language. Kitt was so excited! It was so beautiful and the spirit was so strong. Kitt also got to prepare the sacrament for his first time. This ward is doing so much for Kitt, Bro Barker (our Ward Mission Leader) said that most of PEC this morning was focused on meeting Kitt’s needs. They’re pretty set on moving our ASL class to Sunday’s during Sunday school, instead of Wednesdaynights so that more members can come.

The women’s broadcast was tonight! A week ago we’d met Doris and she’d expressed interest in going with us. We hadn’t had contact since then and I was worried she’d entirely forgot, or lost interest altogether. When we showed up at 7 to drive over with her…she wasn’t home…but 3 min later she pulled up and said she was juuust about ready to go. We did a little church tour before, and she was in awe at how beautiful our building was. She said growing up she’d been told to always avoid 2 people. The Joehovah’s witnesses and the Mormons. She was really curious when she met us last week, and thought she’d finally find out for herself. She really enjoyed the broadcast, and said she felt at peace.

Another pleasant surprise at the women’s broadcast was when we were walking down the hall and out pops sister Lincoln from the RS room! We’d casually invited her Tuesday, but didn’t do much else. Sis Blonquist invited her, and even stopped by to pick up Sis Lincoln and Isabella! Isabella said she LOVED the broadcast and sis Lincoln enjoyed it as well. THEN the next day, the whole Lincoln family came to church! Sis Burbank and I are so stoked about this family. I’m excited for our lesson Tuesday. The women’s broadcast was all about temples and covenants, so I think is only suiting to talk about eternal families.

Love y'all, can't wait for conference!!!


Sister Smith!!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Honorary high priest group this isn't blasphemy

I realized the other day that I haven’t been to Relief Society since I’ve come to the Summerville ward, and it’s very likely that I’ll continue as an active member of the high priests group. I've always been so curious about what they do in there. Haha, and it's all because we’re needed to interpret for Kitt. The ward is working really hard to find a long term solution though, they realize having missionaries relearn sign language every time transfers occur isn’t the greatest option.

This Sunday marked the first time I translated for all of Sunday school and priesthood. Luckily Sadie was able to be there for Sacrament meeting, but after that I took over. Heavenly Father blessed me a lot, and I wasn’t too stressed out. Kitt could sense it though, deaf people have a knack for sensing emotion and he told me to stop being so nervous, he joked and said when I’m nervous my sign isn’t as good. I love sign so much! Granted I’ve only ever learned to count in any other language, I still am biased that sign language is one of the better ones because of how expressive it is. I love how visual it can be. For example I didn’t know the sign for boy scouts, not sure if there is one, but to help Kitt I acted out what a scout was. I created a little mental image of a scout with a sash, merit badges, neckerchief and doing the scout solute. I know I’m nowhere near where Sis Willis was, and it’s hard not having her to turn to to ask questions. I believe that not only is Heavenly Father helping me with the gift of tongues (hands), but he’s definitely helping Kitt with the interpretation of tongues so that he can understand me and my broken sign language.

Sis Willis’ last day was a good one, and I’m so glad. It was packed full of appointments, and she even got to invite 2 more people to be baptized. Becky was reluctant at first because she said she wasn’t sure where she was going to be in the next few weeks, she might be moving, or staying, she doesn’t know. I can’t remember what I said, but the spirit guided me as I explained how simply preparing for baptism is what Christ wants, and that when the time comes everything else will fall into place. The spirit is was more clear and eloquent, but y’all get the idea.

other quick news of what's been hip-happening:)

-I killed my first companion...yup, the amazing Sis Willis is now home in Missouri
-because of what I just mentioned, I got to hone in my tetris skills as we used ever last pound and air pocket of Sis Willis' luggage. Haha, her carry on weighed about as much as she did. Instead of having her practice lifting it over her head, we had her practice her most pitiful "help me" face.

-my new companion is Sis Burbank from Logan, Utah. she's a powerhouse of a missionary, played soccer in high school! came out the transfer after me, and is awesome...I'm so stoked for the future we have together:) (haha, that sentence sounds so precious:)

love y'all,
"go forth with faith to tell the world the gospel is restored!"
still loving,

Sister Smith

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Photo of MLC

Sister Linday Smith and the MLC Mission Leader Committee.  These are the Elders and Sisters that look over the zones of the South Carolina Columbia Mission  and President and Sister Turner

Never trade what you want MOST for what you want NOW

Another week!...gone!
Well, despite how quickly time flies by, I love being able to recongize the growth and change that the atonement enables me to do. No matter what point in your life or mission you're at, you can always change. Sis Willis and I talked a bit about that considering she's DYING in a few days (for those of you not familiar with the missionary lingo, it means she's going home this thursday).
Well, can I tell you about this past miraculous week already?...mmk, here's a couple excerpts from the 'ol journal!

On exchanges Sis Wheelock and I tore it up. Their car is out of commission so we got to bike all day! Lucky us-- it was the rainiest day all week. Biking around sopping wet in a skirt with a helmet, I felt about as classy as canned cheese on wonder bread. BUT- I loved it! Suprisingly, despite how much time we spent biking from appt to appt we had a really awesome day full of appts and contacts. A few favorites were Liz: sweet 72yr old black lady who, after teaching about the Holy Ghost and baptism, told us how much she wanted what we had. She said, “before y’all came around, I went to church my whole life just going and clapping, never really learning stuff, but y’all are really teaching me”. Another awesome lesson, was a miracle contact we were guided to thanks to an appt that fell through. Kris and Paul were right outside Tamika’s and just so happened to have time to talk. Kris had been to a mormon church before and liked it, Paul was an ex catholic, really knowledgeable and was super interested in learning more! Also, I just wanted to give a shout-out, thanks to all the drivers who were aware of two soggy sisters biking home one dark and stormy night. I have a lot of respect for those elders, and jealousy! There’s just something invigorating about coming home exhausted and dirty when you’ve been doing the Lord’s workJ

We had our first ASL class tonight, and it was a much bigger success than we ever anticipated. Sis Petersen, had texted us earlier in the day asking if we were still doing it. Sis Willis and I figured she’d be the only one there, but we were ok with that. Turns out we had sis Peterson, Elena Andrews, annnd 4 others, and the elders joined us because no one showed up for Book of Mormon class. The class went great! We went over the basics of the alphabet, some greetings and how to introduce yourself. It was so fun to teach everyone, and they were all so excited about learning it. They had lots of questions and kept asking about the smallest little details of the signs. We’d never been that detail oriented until they pointed out the slightest inconsistency between Sis Willis’ and I’s signs. I’m super excited if this is how the class will continue from here on out, it’ll be interesting next week when Sis Willis isn’t there, and it’s up to me to lead the class. Or, miracles could strike and I’ll get a companion who’s secretly fluent in ASL. Fingers crossed!:)

The adult session of stake conference was awesome. We had a couple members of the 70's come because the stake presidency was being changed. It was Elder Alan Meredith, and Larry Y. Wilson. The old presidency had been in their positions for 10yrs! A few things that were touched on…

-A story when Elder Meredith was with L. Tom Perry. Elder Perry was speaking with his waitress and said, (in his booming Elder Perry voice, “we need more people like you in the church, you’ve got SPUNK! We need more spunk in the church”

-It’s no longer enough to JUST be an example, we must OPEN OUR MOUTHS

-You can’t just believe something because it SOUNDS wonderful, to believe it, it has to be true.

-A ward’s barometer on how they’re doing is how the members sing the songs of the restoration. We need to be singing as if we just stepped out of the sacred grove. Elder Wilson then praised the saints of the Charleston zone for their zealous singing. (It really was an amazing thing to hear)

-“Make sure you never trade what you want MOST for what you want NOW!-elder Meredith

-“More important than anything else (in regards to the new stake president’s wonderful characteristics) HE HAS BEEN CALLED OF GOD.


challenge of the day...WILL YOU, implement the word "y'all" into your vocabulary at some point today?

I promise that if you do, you'll feel that sweet sweet southern joy start to bubble up inside of you:)

-Sister Smith

Monday, September 8, 2014

How the work is Hastening very fast in South Carolina

Well 'til next week's adventures come to pass, here are a few shnippets from from this week! love y'all!!

Lesson with the Lincoln family-Over the past week they’d been studying on the priesthood. I think Bro Lincoln (he’s the only member in the family) may be overloading it a little bit. He said they studied a little bit into the differences between the Melchizedek priesthood and the Leviticus priesthood. We took it back a few notches and tried to help them understand what the priesthood is, using the classic ice cream truck analogy. We asked them how they were feeling about it all, Sis Lincoln said she’d been praying and some days she’s all for it, but then other days she feels like she needs to put the brakes on. They said they’d continue to pray about it. Miracles happen, for the 3rd week in a row Bro Lincoln said he didn’t have work so they’d be able to come to church. We think that secretly he’s asking for work off, and then telling us it’s all just a big coincidence.

Today marked the first time I got to attend MLC, which stands for Mission Leadership Council. It consists of the 12 zone leaders, the 12 sister training leaders, the AP’s and president and sister Turner. We got up around 5:30 to make it to Irmo by 9am. The meeting didn’t start until 10 but we needed time to practice our musical number with Sis Glauser and Lester who we recruited to sing with us...that's right Sis Smith actually consented to being a part of a musical joke.

MLC was great President Turner came out with our new mission vision
1.720 baptisms this year, starting in August

2. Every missionary plays a part in every baptism

3. Unity felt among the entire mission!
Also at MLC I got to talk with Sis Lexi Glauser a bunch. Turns out she went to SUU. We were in the same student government organization. She was also in my YSA ward (I didn't know her because she went home every weekend), and she had also been in my house down in cedar city multiple times to study with roommates. small world eh?!?

I don’t believe Heavenly Father made Sis Stanley get sick, so that she and Sis Stout couldn’t go on exchanges with the Goosecreek sisters, but I think it was divine guidance that we now get to go with them. We weren't planning to before, but viola, Heavenly Father had a different idea. Sis Manning joined me in Summerville and we had a great day. She went out biking and was such a champ. She was so excited and optimistic. Our first appt with Becky was awesome. Becky’s pretty familiar with the church, and likes what she’s learned so far. Becky then gave this amazing analogy about how Christ’s church is like a lump of dough. When he died different people took that lump of dough and added/took away things to turn it into pizza crust, pie dough, dinner rolls etc. But none of them were the original dough, and no matter how many times you change the rolls or pizza crust you can’t turn it back into that original lump of dough. The lump of dough has to be rebuilt ingredient by ingredient. We were like, exactly, that’s what Joseph Smith did when he restored the church! And she was like, “yeah, Joseph didn’t do anything that God didn’t tell him to do”. I was dumbfounded at her faith, but the spirit prompted me to ask, “Becky, do you believe that?”. She paused and said she wasn’t sure yet. We invited her to pray about it and Sis Manning committed her to being baptized as she received her answer.

gotta run, love y'all!!!
stay busy with the work of the Lord!

Sister Smith

Monday, September 1, 2014

Learning the gift of tongues with my hands

We had another lesson with Kitt’s deaf sister Pakeather, she goes by Keatha (Kee-tha), and isn’t a fan of her name. She told us that the nurse was the one who named her, rough time. Anyways, the lesson was awesome, Kitt was able to come and made it a fantastic member present lesson! It humbled us in our signing abilities, we thought we were becoming somewhat proficient, but watching Kitt and Keatha sign together, we realized we get the “dumbed down” version from kitt. We did the restoration with her. I absolutely LOVED watching kitt sign about Joseph Smith and the first vision, he’s so expressive and fun to watch. It’s unlike any story telling I’ve ever experiences. I’m coming to believe how sign language can be much more effective than the English language because of how expressive you can be. Long eloquent words are nice, but there’s something better about how Kitt signs the first vision, watching him act out Joseph Smith being blinded by the pillar of light, and being in utter amazement at seeing God and His son, and being told NONE of the churches are true. The spirit testified, and Ketha enjoyed and believed, but wants more time to study. This time the deaf had the advantage, Kitt’s oldest brother Bernard also decided to join us sitting in a chair near the dining table we were seated at. Just a refresher Bernard is the one who proposed marriage to Sis Willis and I, and tried to debate with me about the similarities between Spartacus and Christ. Anyways, Bernard was badly injured when he served in the military, and now Kitt refers to him as crazy Bernard. The ENTIRE lesson, Bernard was sitting there talking to himself. At first Sis Willis and I thought he was interpreting to himself what we were talking about, but soon realized he had no clue what we were saying. For 45min he just sat there talking to himself, Sis Willis and I were a little distracted, and Kitt joked that it didn’t bother him or Ketha at all. He babbled all sorts of stuff, one time yelling out, “the nina, the pinto and the santa maria!”. He’s so funny, Kim (ketha’s hearing daughter) turned to us and said he does this all of the time.

Today’s lesson with Evan (our little 8yr old friend) included walking various transformer action figures through the plan of salvation. He even found an ambulance transformer for Christ and made Optimus prime Heavenly Father. It was definitely one of my favorite plan of salvation analogies. Next we made it to the Duren’s in time for pizza, Sis Willis was praying it would be pizza. We ended the night with a lesson with the Lincoln family. This family is amazing, they do family scripture study and read 2 chapters this week in preparation for our lesson. The 11yr old, Isabella even shared with us the notes she had taken about Alma ch 32. They’re reserved about baptism still, but said they would if they found out the truth, and promised us they’d pray about it as they read from the scriptures this week.

Tried my hand at interpreting today in church. Heh heh, see what I did there;) But anyways, Sis Willis did sacrament meeting, but had to leave for the bathroom during Sunday school so I started interpreting for Kitt. I believe in the gift of tongues. I still struggled, was slow, and missed a lot of words, buuut I felt confident, and my finger-spelling was flawless-it was so awesome! As soon as Sis Willis came back she took back over, I asked her if it’d be okay if we tag-teamed it in the final hour and she was all for it. She’s so willing to step aside and do whatever it takes to help me learn, what a saintJ It was the fifth Sunday so it was all combined. It wasn't the easiest lesson to interpret, seeing as it was all about self reliance. Kitt is either a great actor, or a genius. We tried our best to explain about the bishop’s storehouse, and emergency preparedness. It felt so so so good, I’m feeling better about my ASL, but I know it’s not even close to where it needs to be. Kitt told us we need to practice more, or get a real interpreter. The deaf community can be rather blunt, and not tactful at all. Kitt’s pretty kind and understand, Alison, not so much, but I’m getting used to it.

well that's all, time to scoot. hope y'all make like laborers in the vineyard and make the most of this lovely labor day.

love y'all!

sister smith