Here are a few recent letters from Sister Smith:
Hey sweet family!
So…today was sad to say the least. My best friend and trainer from the mission, Sister Américo completed her mission today. We started off the morning leaving her the mission office and saying goodbye. She’s a marvelous person and has been an example for my life. Her story of conversion is amazing. I’ve never seen anyone sacrifice so much for the Lord. To me, she’s an example of consecration. She is also the Sister that will be studying in the US and perhaps pass a few months with us at home if everything’s still on board with that?
This week was great! Lunes (a super elect Haitian that we found) visited the church and his wife, Belha, had their first baby this week! They’re truly amazing. We also passed with our recent convert, Eulsio, and he told us that he’s invited his whole family to come to church and now they’re showing real interest – that’s a golden investigator! He’s super dedicated to serving the Lord and I’m sure that his family will follow his great example in no time! Sadly, we’ve had a few days of “recuperation” this week because my companion tore some muscle in her foot. We’re still not completely sure what happened but it’s very common for the Sisters in this mission to have tendonitis – but we’re hoping it’s not that.
Also, I don’t know if you all remember the family – Alex and Gizelle that I said we were teaching last month? Well, after the Holiday’s, we finally managed to visit them again. They were in church this Sunday and Gizelle cried in all the meetings. I didn’t have much opportunity to ask exactly why, but I’m hoping it was because of the Spirit. She wants so much to have an eternal family and in all the classes people mentioned something about the plan that Heavenly Father has for families. We’re going to pass with them again this week and see what we can do about helping them finally get married!
I’m out of time, but I’d like to bear my testimony that I know there doesn’t exist a joy sweeter, than helping someone come to know the truth of the gospel. The Lord keeps his promise when he told us that our greatest joy will be in helping others receive the Restored gospel. It’s amazing to see how the Spirit touches lives and changes people. I know that my Redeemer lives and I hope to serve him in every moment I have. I’m not the perfect servant, but I serve the best I can and am seeking to be better every day. He has blessed me so much in my life and in my mission. How grateful I am that he called me to serve him here in the Brasil Curitiba mission. It was and is the perfect calling for me.
Love you all,
Christmas in Brazil – Trust in the Lord – a Tender Mercy
Hello my dear family,
Things here in Jardim Mercúrio are just splendid. The Lord blessed me with an amazing companion and we’re finding a lot of great FAMILIES to teach here!
This week I learned a valuable lesson to trust the Lord. This week was super busy because on top of having Natal, we had a super special family that accepted to go to church and also Eusio and Gabi accepted to be baptized! Sadly when Domingo arrived, our ward mission leader and the bishop weren’t at church – the two people that generally help us out. We had to race around going to different members houses to find the clothes for the baptism and resolve everything that was needed. After starting 1 hour later than planned, we managed to have everything in place. But after all the confusion, I was so stressed out that I couldn’t even feel the sweet Spirit that was present there. Of all my concerns, I was sad because I promised Eusio that I would make a cake for his baptism and in the rush of everything, I forgot to bring one (a completely irrelevant and un-important concern, but it was stressing me out none-the-less.) Well as the meeting started I began to feel a little bit better but still felt bad. I should have planned things better – but then we had a tender mercy! A member of the ward that I hardly know, decided to stay and watch the baptism that day. As the meeting ended, the brother directing the meeting announced that afterwards there would be a little treat in the assembly hall. I looked at him and started to say, “no, I forgot” but then the brother that I hardly know, tapped me on the shoulder and said – “no, I brought one” WHAT? Turns out that his Mom woke up early that day and decided that it’s the last Sunday of the year – so why not give a cake to the missionaries? And sent her son to give it to us. This never happens! For me, it was a tender mercy of the Lord who knows my weaknesses and concerns. It was proof that our Heavenly Father knows our needs and is worried about our happiness. That after we do all we can do – he really does do the rest 🙂 I don’t think that sweet sister has any idea that the Lord inspired her to wake up and make a cake for a stressed out missionary that was needing a little bit extra help that day – it taught me a great lesson that I need to trust in the Lord more and that he loves me! He looks after us and for this reason, we can always have peace. We don’t need to ever be worried, because our Heavenly Father has a plan and truly does take care of us. If the Lord cared enough about my concerns to help me out in a matter so simple and insignificant, how much more will he help us with the greater things?
Anyway, as much as I’d love to say more, my times up. But love you all tons! Keep being the amazing people you are and…
Feliz ano novo!!!!!!! (happy new year)
Sister Shelby Smith
The Lord Works in Mysterious Ways
Hello again lovely family!
P-Day is back to normal so I’m not really sure if I have a whole lot more to say since Wednesday – we had a lot of success the end of this week! A lot of our investigators are really feeling the Spirit and starting to understand better. We met again with Josemara and spoke about the Book of Mormon. I love teaching her – she really is golden! When we asked her at the end of the lesson how she was feeling she paused for a moment and then said with tears in her eyes that when we taught her the first visit, she felt different when we shared the first vision. When I asked her how she felt afterwards she turned to Angela and said “when she speaks it’s different.” Well, in the moment I thought it was just because of my accent but when we asked her after the second lesson she said that the reason she said that was because in that moment she felt a feeling of peace that she hasn’t felt in years and has been seeking for a long time. WOW. We testified to her that it was the spirit and that she has the opportunity now to feel it more in her life. It’s amazing what the Spirit does in the lives of people. I feel so privileged to be an instrument in the Lord’s hands to give them a knowledge of the truth.
I also had the thrilling experience of knocking doors in an intense tropical storm. Yesterday, we left one of the houses we were visiting and within the matter minutes the sky was black and it started to rain – really rain. It looked like buckets of water were being poured on the houses and we happened to be walking on a road that has absolutely no where to take cover – so we kept walking because – we’re missionaries. Then it started to hail with ice the size of golf balls and the branches from the palm trees started to fall down everywhere. It was pretty epic, but I would have loved it more if the hail didn’t feel like paint balls hitting my legs. The funny thing here is that every time we knock doors in the rain people open the windows and yell out “Sorry, but it’s raining!” – Oh really? But, the storm really was a blessing because a really great family stopped their car in the middle of the road and yelled for us to climb in. When we got to their house they told us about how they are going through a really hard time in their family. They’ve now marked with us to visit with them this week. The funny thing is, once we entered the house it stopped raining. It seems that we happened to be in the right place at just the right time because they’re family is pretty well off and generally, people like them don’t let us in to teach. We’re really excited and hope all goes well this week!
Love you all, stay strong! Good luck with the move!
Love, Sister Smith
So, crazy week this week! We didn’t have a baptism, but the whole world decided to come to church! We saw real miracles occur. Funny thing, out here Sundayis the most stressful day by far. Sunday’s the day we find out who will actually come to church, who will hold up with the promises they’ve made, and (if someone’s being baptized) have to resolve the random obstacles that pop up. In short, every Sunday’s a surprise!
In all honesty, the past 2 weeks have been pretty hard. A lot of our appointments have fallen through and people just weren’t answering their doors – but after the trials come the blessings. As a result of our appointments not working out, we found a lot of new golden people. We ended up having 31 investigators at churchthis Sunday and because right now the chapel here in Piriquara is being reformed, we had to hire a bus to drive them all to the chapel in a different city (because many of them don’t own cars). What a blessing! It was difficult to try and meet all of their needs during church – the bishop and various presidencies were all running around trying to figure out what to do with everyone, but it was so happy! Generally, one of the hardest things to do is to actually get people to go to church. It’s amazing how once they’re there, people really do feel the Spirit and want to learn more. Afterwards, people have a lot more interest because they sense a difference. So right now we have a lot of hope for the future! Now Sister Américo and I have started to figure out how to work here and are comfortable in this area, we think this is going to become a permanent thing, so we’re currently talking to president about getting a bus or van to help us out in future weeks. Basically, our plan is to baptize all of Piriquara and maybe some of the towns around it so….if you hear about a random city missing in Brazil it’s probably because Piriquara’s been translated.
I LOVE working here! It is serious work, by the end of Sunday I feel like I’ve died, but I’m so sublimely happy at the same time. It’s really not normal. Cool story – we were teaching a family this week where the dad is a less active, but the mom is really firm in another church. The real reason they invited us over is because they are really concerned about their son who has visited the other church they’re frequenting but doesn’t go because it “doesn’t feel right” to him. Well we decided to teach the whole family about the restoration. It’s strange here – some people we run into I can speak really well with, they understand everything I say, and we have normal conversations, but others, it’s like it’s my second week here all over again and they’re more interested in the fact that I’m not from around here than the words I’m saying – well as we started teaching this family, it felt more like the later of the two. I felt like they really weren’t understanding me when I spoke and everything I said they’d make a comment about my accent, or ask me a question about the US, so my companion had to teach most of the lesson alone or when I did speak, repeat what I said to them again after. When we got to the first vision I really didn’t want to share it – it’s the most important part and I felt like it would be a lot better if my companion shared it with them, so they could actually understand – but Sister Américo stopped talking and handed me the picture – so I began to share the Joseph Smith story. There was a crazy change though! They were all silent and after I shared the first vision the son had tears in his eyes. The mom (who had been staring me down during the lesson) then said “I recognize her face!” (pointing at me). She said that she had seen me in a dream knocking on her door and asked to talk to her son. She then said that she would make sure he goes to church with us on Sunday.
Anyway, something I’ve been working on this week has been improving my personal prayers. It’s really easy to forget that when we’re praying, we really are speaking to our heavenly father. So….have a conversation with him!
I love you all, don’t have time to say more – keep up the good work! I’m praying for you
Love Sister Smith
Sister Smith is serving from the Summit View Ward.