Friday, February 28, 2014

Letter # 38 (Feb.16, 2014)

(I love her little nugget lessons of faith-Ashley teaches me so much in every letter- Kendra)
Sister Rotzel and her daughter

So many things happen, it's hard to know where to start. Our zone had a training with President Lopez this week so it was fun to learn better ways to teach. It was a training about how to teach lesson 4: Commandments.  It was a little bit intimidating since we were all asked to teach each other on the spot. President just called on us and said, "which commandment would you like to show us how to teach?" Sister Fotofili chose Sabbath Day and within 5 seconds we were teaching to 13 other missionaries. It's hard to feel the spirit the same as with our investigators because when you are teaching missionaries, you know they are judging the way you are teaching, the content, the way you look or act..... everything. But hopefully if we are all humble, it won't really matter and we can learn from each other.  The whole first row was a bunch of elders nearing the end of their missions who have all been zone leaders... I was kind of intimidated, but after the first few sentences I felt a really calming peace and I wasn't nervous and it felt very similar to teaching a family.  I just pictured one of our families in my mind, and everything else just flowed between me and Sister Fotofili. We just have to pray for each other and trust in the spirit. It's always refreshing to get to talk to other missionaries as well and get re-boosted.  In this mission, we are not allowed to have zone activities or activities in general with any other companionship. So we don't talk much with other missionaries. It's always fun to see some other Americans and talk to other people about the work in their wards and branches too. Plus, there are a couple of brand new missionaries still in the ultimate-stress phase. It was good to be able to talk to them and help them with the initial questions like, "What can I eat that won't kill me?" "When did your stomach stop hurting?" "What do I do when I have no idea what's going on?" "Is the time going fast for you yet?" Haha, it brought back some stressful memories, so I was glad I was able to talk to one of the sisters and help her know God still loves her and she is doing great! 

This week Sister Rufa Mae and her brother Romil were baptized! Their mother and younger sister are still preparing, but should be ready in a few more weeks. We wanted them to be baptized as a family, but their mother realized the importance of baptism and wanted them baptized as soon as possible.  Since they have been progressing a lot longer, they were able to be baptized on Saturday! They are so cute and ready for a life in the gospel.  Also, we didn't have as many investigators at church and I was feeling a little sad that there were only 9, but then I looked at the numbers again and realized that was still way higher than any of my other areas, and look at 9 new souls that can come closer to Christ. I have to remember not to be hard on myself and not get discouraged. I was reading a talk in the Liahona, and it said, "We set goals to show our faith, we follow up to count the miracles." Even though our goal would be to have an even higher number of investigators than last week, we were able to see 9 miracles at church. Obviously we need to keep being diligent and working harder, but I can't miss the miracles that are presenting themselves to me.  Count every one! :) 

One of my favorite investigators right now is Sister Rotzel.  She is pregnant and also has a 11 year daughter.  We found her about a month ago sitting outside her house with a large group of women. We stopped and shared a 5 min. lesson and asked for a return appointment.  We returned to the large group, but after a couple of lessons, we realized only Rotzel was actually reading. At first, she kept saying she was too busy to read and her life was too stressful to deal with religion. I shared a brief testimony that if our life is stressful, that is the time that we need the lord and his church to help lift us up.  I gave her Enos 1 to read, just hoping that she would actually read it. When we came back, she not only read the chapter, but also the surrounding chapters because she said she wanted to better understand it. She also said that she re-read it a couple of times. After that, everything just flowed and she started coming to church and accepting and keeping all of her commitments. She is so humble and sincere and really just wants to find truth and follow our Savior.  Even though her situation is really hard in her personal life, I can feel the love and concern that the savior has for her, and I just feel overly excited that she is finding her way back to the Savior.  Her baptism date is set for March 22.

I just want you all to know how much I love you and how much I know that this church is true. It is not only here to show us how to return to God with our families, but it is here to help us endure our burdens here in this life too. I want you to know that I have felt a real strength and happiness here on this mission that I know is only from the Savior. Sometimes in between appointments I feel tired and sometimes sad, but as soon as we are teaching and in the presence of other people, the Lord gives me the strength and happiness that I need to continue to help others. I know that the Lord is there when we need Him, but we also need those small moments of humility or sadness to recognize and appreciate the happiness. I love you all so much and hope that you can find those small nuggets of happiness in each day on earth! Palangga ko kamo!!
Love, Sister Smoot

Me in front of the carabou baths.

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