Sunday, September 15, 2013

Week #16 (Sept.8, 2013)

Dear Family,
This week was great. We are really working really effectively together and working really hard. Both of us are being obedient (yay!) and really finding and teaching a lot of new investigators. It’s weird to think that a change is coming as my training ends on Tuesday.  We still don’t know what will happen for sure, but a change is coming.  We always have a lot of investigators who say they are coming to church and then never show up, but this week they actually seemed really committed and determined to come. We were expecting somewhere around 8 investigators to come to church…. But only one came.  It’s so heart-wrenching when the people choose not to bless their lives.  But the one investigator who did come to church is very special to us.  Brother Jofrim (28 years old) is a cancer survivor and so kind and happy to everyone.  Everyone who lives around him knows who he is just because he has the type of personality that loves everybody and everybody loves him.  We are really excited for him because he takes everything so seriously. He is really reading the Book of Mormon and asks tons of questions and really wants to do what God wants for him.   We are excited for him to receive so many blessings from the Lord for his dedication.  Since we had stake conference last week, yesterday was fast and testimony meeting.  We were sitting next to Brother Christian (our recently baptized member who is 10 years old) and asked him if he wanted to bear his testimony.  He was a little nervous, but he has born his testimony to us a lot and is a very mature 10 year old.  Brother Jofrim was on the other side of him and heard us talking and asked us what it meant to “bear your testimony.” We explained and Jofrim said to Christian, “I’ll do it with you.” It was so cute, both of them went up to the front and Jofrim went first. He still doesn’t know if our church is true and this was only his second week at church, but he shared a testimony solely centered on Jesus Christ and His love. The pure honesty that came from his testimony touched all of the hearts in the room.  The humility of this ward is astounding anyway, but to have someone bear testimony like that was a huge spiritual filling and a sacrament meeting I won’t forget in a long time. Then, when brother Christian bore his testimony, he started tearing up as he felt the spirit too.  I know that even though we don’t have as many baptisms yet as the other wards in our mission, we are really changing lives wherever we are.   These wonderful souls we are able to teach are strengthening their roots as they become fully converted to the gospel. I ‘m excited to continue to help them be able to be taught by the spirit. (Hopefully I’m not the one to get transferred, but I know that’s a selfish wish because the Lord will give us what we need.) 
Also, another spiritual experience this week happened.  We have been looking for a referral for a couple weeks now, but we haven’t been able to find them until Thursday night. When we got there, it was a neat little family – just a husband, wife, and a little toddler. They instantly recognized us as “Mormons” and invited us in.  When we started talking to them, they told us they were taught by elders over two years ago, but the missionaries just stopped coming. (probably a transfer)  They continued to read the Book of Mormon anyway and have read it every night together since then.  I was seriously shocked. They don’t know a lot about the gospel and were only taught three times, but their testimony of the Book of Mormon is stronger than a lot of the active members I know today.  I am excited to continue teaching them and help them find all the answers to their questions and really help them fill what they have continued to search for. I never fully understood the phrase, “the Lord is preparing His people.” I thought I understood it, but the literal presentation of prepared people continues to surprise me and humble me. I am so grateful for this opportunity to become strengthened as I help others receive strength that I know this gospel brings. I love all of you and your letters. I know that a lot of faith building experiences are coming as I will be humbled again and again and learn to rely more fully on the Lord.  I know it will be hard, but I’m grateful for the opportunity to grow. I have already learned so much about myself, patience, love, true sacrifice, humility…. And so much more that I probably don’t even realize yet. But I can’t believe how lucky I am to continue to be refined by the Lord. I love you and will never be able to repay you for helping me have this opportunity to serve Heavenly Father’s Kingdom.

Palangga Ko kamo!!
Sister Smoot

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