Monday, April 7, 2014

Letter # 45 (April 6, 2014)

This week was somewhat of an adjustment because I'm back in the city. The houses are bigger, the smells are stronger, the area has already been worked over, but I'm excited for the challenge. On my first day in the area last monday, we received a text from President Lopez that asked us why there hadn't been a baptism in the last 2 months. I can tell this area needs some help, I'm just hoping that I can give it all I've got, even if I don't see as many results as my last areas. My native companion Sister De Leon is a really hard worker. She's a nurse and 23 years old so she's very focused on her purpose. She's pretty new in the mission, she got here back in the beginning of December, but she has never had a baptism in any of her areas.  I hope she will see at least one while we are companions.  The way her last companions have proselyted is a lot different from the ways that I've learned. It's always hard adjusting to the unity of each companion as you combine things from past companionships, but our unity in teaching is great. From the very beginning we have been able to yield to each other and have good fluidity in lessons. We have just started setting plans to get the ward more involved and to find more investigators. The area hasn't had new investigators in a long time, so that is a huge focus right now (and always) to keep getting new investigators.  It's always fun to have a hard challenge, but with the Summer heat and the long hours out in the Sun, it's also really tiring.  Don't worry, I'm buying lots of gatorade and drinking lots of water.  We share a ward with our Zone Leaders, so I hope we will be able to combine efforts and help our ward get motivated with the work.  Right now there is not a lot of correlation.   It's neat to look back at each area that I've been in and to see everything that I've picked up from each situation.  There are always things you love and things that you don't love so much, but in the end you learn to love it all. I just pray so many times each day that I will be able to do my best everyday, because in the end... that is all the matters. Are we giving the Lord our best selves?

Saturday was a really good day. We got to watch the general womens meeting! Because of the time difference, we view all the general conferences one week after the live play. So next week we will got to watch the General Conference. We go to the stake center and watch each session on the projector with all the members.  The General Womens Meeting was just what I needed to stay motivated this week. It helped me deal with feelings of inadequacy and feelings of discouragement. Sometimes I can get too focused on myself and if I'm doing enough and if I'm good enough, but I really need to be focused on others. What do THEY need? How can i help THEM succeed? How can I help THEM feel loved? Once you focus on others, the discouragement lifts and there is just the love of Christ motivating you to keep going. I'm really lucky I'm back with a Filipina companion, because they are the best examples of Christlike service and kindness. 

One thing to share from this week is about an elderly couple. Brother and Sister Amante. They are not members, but there son was baptized back when he was a teenager and is now serving a mission in the Angeles Philippines mission as the only member of his family. The last sisters softened their hearts and they are now preparing for their baptism onMay 10.  They are the most humble people I have met.  The sincere sacrifices they are making and their broken hearts and contrite spirits and big examples to me. They are working to overcome and repent in order to become worthy of baptism, but I love being with them because of their sincere hearts. This whole week we have been teaching Fasting to everyone, because we realized that not even the members know how to fast or that it is a commandment.  So we were teaching it to everybody and it turned out to be just what the Amante couple was scheduled to learn.  On sunday, they came to church and payed a fast offering. They don't have a lot of money, and sometimes they don't even have enough money for food. But they saved all week so that they would be able to pay fast offerings, because they trust that the Lord will provide for them if they sacrifice. They fasted and payed fast offerings and I think my soul almost burst when she leaned over to me in Sacrament Meeting and asked me who she should give her money to. We helped her fill out the form and give it to Bishop. I don't think I will forget her quiet example of humble trust in the Lord!

I love my mission. I love these people. I love the challenges. I love the small blessings. I love the Holy Ghost. I love our Savior. I love that he has asked me to help in my small way! I love you family and I hope you can feel my prayers! Love you lots!
Sister Smoot

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