Monday, May 25, 2015


Thank you for all your emails. You really are the best family in the world. Seriously. I love Monday emails.... they make the week start out so nicely. :) It's been a rough transfer and nothing has gone the way I would have planned, but I'm learning quite a bit that Heavenly Father has a different plan than I have. His plan is a lot better than my plan and He knows what I need to learn. Sometimes we have to go through hard things to learn, but in the end I'm grateful for all the hard things because without them I would come home the same person that I was at the beginning of my mission.... and that would be just awful. :) Nobody wants that. I remember before my mission I would hear people talking about how much I would change, but I really didn't think that I would change that much. I'm sure glad I'm here on the mission learning and growing because the more I learn I realize that I have a lot more to learn. Funny how that works.

So this week our investigator João got baptized. I don't think I have ever prayed and worked so hard for any one person in my life. I also don't think I've ever been so frustrated with one person in my whole life either. We found João on May 7 and we contacted him in the street. We thought he was the typical young adult and wouldn't show up for our appointment the next day, but instead he showed up early! He accepted the invitation to be baptized in the first lesson but he wouldn't commit to a date. He lives with his sister so the next day we had a lesson at their apartment. His older sister Elisa is was visiting from France and she sat in for our lesson (we're gonna get her address and send it as a reference for the missionaries in France.... she is so cool). When we started talking about baptism again she wanted us to explain it to her. After we talked about baptism to her she asked João if this is what he wanted to do. He said yes but that he didn't want to pick a date. Then his sister Elisa told him, "If Jesus is calling you, then you need to answer and be baptized." It was so cool. Right there he picked Saturday, May 23 to be baptized. After that we tried to meet with him every day before his baptism to teach him the lessons and make sure he understood what it would mean to be baptized. As we taught him we realized that he his a hoodligan. (Last transfer Sister Mills and I would talk about the gangs and normally we called them "hooligans" or "hoodlums" but one day she accidentally combined the two and said "hoodligans".... and now we have my new favorite word) so we were a little bit concerned, but the Spirit was really strong in all of our lessons when he paid attention. Other times he didn't pay attention and Sister McCall would get really mad at him, but I just thought of when I taught fifth grade with Miss Smith my senior year of high school. Treating him like a nine year old worked pretty well... he seemed to pay a lot more attention when we were super, SUPER patient with him. :) As we taught the lessons I could see a change starting to happen in him, but I started to get really worried when he wouldn't fulfill his commitments or show up to our appointments. A couple of times we had to go to his house and find him because he didn't show up for our appointments. The whole process was so cool though because I learned a lot about how the Spirit can change people. For his baptism, Sister McCall and I went to get things ready Saturday morning. The font was super gross so I got in there and scrubbed it all clean, but then everything we had planned for the baptism started to fall apart. The bishop texted us an hour before to tell us that he couldn't be there, but then as we were getting ready to start the baptism no one from the bishopbric showed up.... so we had to wait for an hour for our District Leader to come from Costa to preside over the baptism. A recent convert Helder performed the baptism, but João was so tall that they had a hard time doing the baptism. After six attempts they finally got it and he was baptized!!! :D there was a huge change in João after his baptism. It was so cool. Saturday night we were out working and we discovered that João had spent almost two days talking to everyone and inviting everyone he knew to his baptism. Nobody showed up, but we had a lot of people come up to us Saturday night telling us that João had talked to them about us and his baptism. The sad part is that he was supposed to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost on Sunday.... but he didn't show up. We ran to his house to get him, but his family told us that he wasn't home and they didn't know where he was, and that night we went back and they still didn't know where he was.... so we had a really great baptism.... but we lost our investigator and nobody knows where he is. I cried a ton when we got back to the church, but then I felt a lot of peace. Heavenly Father knows what He has planned for João and I'm pretty sure we'll find him again. He can't get away that easily. :)

That is a really long story. I didn't realize how long it was until I just looked at it. I don't know how much of it makes sense but I hope you enjoy it! :) Do you remember Ana from Viseu that I'm always talking about? I saw her again yesterday. There's this guy that we call Creepy Carlos (he says he was baptized when he was a kid... I'm not sure if I believe him)  but anyway, Creepy Carlos likes to follow us around on his bike and we don't really like that. Yesterday he started to follow us and to avoid him we ran to the church to hide for just a few minutes. When we went into the church Ana was sitting there right inside the doors! She had been in our chapel for a meeting, but we had no idea that we were going to run into each other! I about died of happiness when I saw her. She made my whole day and week and life just so much happier!

I'm learning a lot about how Heavenly Father works. He really does make everything work out in the best way even if we don't always understand it. When we're in the middle of things we can't really see how things will work out, but then later on we're able to look back and see how it all worked out perfectly. This week we had interviews with President and Sister Fluckiger. I sure do love them. I'm going to be really sad when they leave. They really are special.

My brain is kind of just running in circles today.... I hope this email is coherent and understandable... if not, sorry. I tried my best. :) Thank you for all the help and all the prayers! I love you all!

Sister Smith

P.S. The pictures are from João's baptism.... now we just need to find him again. :)

Monday, May 18, 2015

I found mountains and plants!!!

Every day feels like eternity and every week feels like a month, but
then as I look back it's weird to think that it's only been one week
since we skyped and that we're only in the third week of the transfer.

There's not much going on. We contacted a young man from Cabo Verde on
the road one day and then a few days later we started having lessons
with him. He accepted the invitation to be baptized but he wouldn't
accept a date. His sister is visiting from France and she sat in on
our next lesson. When he wouldn't agree to a baptismal date his sister
told him, "If Jesus is calling you then you need to answer and be
baptized." He told us right after that he wanted to be baptized this
Saturday. We were super excited, but as we've started teaching the
lessons we're not entirely sure. He's keeping his commitments and he's
feeling the Spirit, but we think he likes us and that makes us really
uncomfortable. We talked with President Fluckiger about it and our
District Leader and they both said that there are some red flags that
we need to pay attention to. It's a little confusing and we're not
entirely sure what to do. We don't feel really good about baptizing
him just because of the way he acts around us, but at the same time
the Spirit is so strong in our lessons and he's actually gaining a
testimony.... I don't know. We'll see what happens.

It's been really hot here lately. The heat combined with the humidity
is very interesting for me. Sometimes it's so hot that it's a little
hard to sleep at night and my clothes are always sticking to me. It's
a little different from Idaho. I'll probably dry out when I go home.

Today we went to Sintra. We got permission from President Fluckiger to
go all the way up to Sintra as a district and he gave us permission to
leave our studies early so that we would have time to get there. We
took a train to Sete Rios in Lisboa and then we switched trains to go
to Amadora and then we switched trains again to go up to Sintra. I
love Sintra. I haven't seen mountains in so long and it was so nice to
see the mountains. There's the option of hiking up the mountain to the
sites or taking a bus and because we still need to work we took the
bus up the mountain (but someday I want to go back and do the hike...
there were so may cools things along the way). Once we got up to the
top we went and saw the Palace of Pena. There were palaces and castles
to go see but we just went and saw one. It was so cool. With the
weather today we were literally up in the clouds. It was so cold! And
there were forests all around.... it was really nice. I think that
it's the prettiest part of Portugal. It was FULL of tourists though! I
don't think I have ever heard so many languages at one time and there
were Americans all over the place. We wear missionary clothes on
p-days too so we got all kinds of looks. There were a couple of LDS
people that we ran into but the funniest part was when we were leaving
the palace we heard a lady say, "Aagh, the Mormons are here!"

It's kind of weird because on P-days we generally talk to more people
because people come up and tell us "Hey, we've seen people like you in
______ (insert name of any European country). What are you doing
here?" That happens to the elders all the time, but not for us. We
still talk to more people than the elders, but the elders get stopped
so much by people anytime we go touristing in really big touristy
places. In our own areas people generally think we're proselyting for
a different religion (Interesting note: here in Portugal the Jehovah's
Witnesses are called Testemunhos de Jeova... so everyone calls them
TJ's). It makes life a little more interesting when they decide to
bible bash us.... normally we just leave. When the Spirit is gone, we
shouldn't stay so we avoid lots of awkward situations by just leaving.

The work is a little hard right now. Nothing is happening and
sometimes I don't feel like I'm making a difference, but I got a
blessing and I was promised that I was making a difference and that I
needed to keep doing the little things every day. It's always nice to
know that you're making a difference and you're not wasting your time.
Sometimes I forget that Heavenly Father's plan is different from mine,
but then sometimes I worry that because of my weakenesses I'm throwing
a bunch of kinks into His plan... usually I have to think for a little
bit and change my perspective on the situation. I'm not perfect, but
I'm grateful that even with all my imperfections I have the chance to
serve a mission. Heavenly Father knew I needed to serve a mission
because there were lessons I needed to learn that I wouldn't have
learned any other way. I'm grateful for everything I have learned and
that I still have one more year to keep learning.

The Church is true. It really is, and I'm so grateful that we have the
Book of Mormon. It's not just any other book. It really is revelation
that Heavenly Father has given for us right now. The more I've read it
here on the mission I've gained a testimony that the Book of Mormon
really was written for us and the things we're going through in our
lives today. I just love the scriptures. And I love you all too.
You're all really special.

Little Sister Smith

P.S. The first picture is me with Carlos e Maria João Santos. They
adopt all the missionaries because both of their kids live in the
United States. Their daughter lives in Henderson but their son is
getting married in July, so Carlos is leaving this week to help and
Maria João is leaving in July. I'm gonna miss them.

The second picture is in part of the palace.... so cool. It's so cool
that it almost doesn't seem real. It was cool to see, but I'm sure
glad I wasn't a fancy person living back then.... not the life for me.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Technology sure is nice... :)

Oh Família... that was such a nice skype session last night. I was so excited to see you all and it was so nice to laugh and joke with you all. I about died of happiness when I saw Sister Hirschi. I have been on cloud nine ever since skype last night. Seriously, it was awesome to talk to you all.

I'm sorry, but I don't have a ton of time today. Ssiter McCall needed a calm p-day so we went out to the coast and sat by the docks all day. I love the ocean. I don't know what I'm going to do when I come home to Idaho... oh well. Clarissa, I'm glad you liked my tan line. I intend to keep this watch alive for my whole mission so that at the very end we can see how much I changed color. :)

I really don't have a ton of time today... sorry. I'll write a better email next week and I'll include some better pictures.

I love you all!

Little Sister Smith

P.S. The pictures are from when we were knocking on doors in a 12 story apartment building this week... we were a little high up, and the ferry that goes from Cacilhas to Lisboa. I like it when we take the ferry to Lisboa on P-day.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Time is a weird thing...

It feels like it's been months instead of one week, but it's been one
of the best weeks of my mission. Sister McCall and I just work and
work and work. It's so nice to just go out and work hard all day every
day, and at the end of the day to just fall into bed knowing that you
did everything you were supposed to do. I love Sister McCall. She's
nothing like me, but somehow we clicked right in the beginning and we
work really well together. We both just want to work hard and find
people who are ready to hear the gospel. Our personalities are very
different but we have the same goals and we're not afraid of doing
what's been asked of us. It will be a really easy transfer
companionship-wise, but we're determined to baptize this transfer so
we're working so hard every day. (Random note for Mom: She knows
Richard and Juneve's family. They used to be in the same ward in
Kentucky. I was telling a story and I mentioned the name "Stolworthy"
and she started listing the Stolworthy's that she knows... so yeah...
Sister McCall knows my relatives).

Missionaries are not very good at keeping records... our two area
books are scary. They're just really messy so Sister McCall and I
started going through the area books to start trying to clean them up.
Turns out Heavenly Father had a lot of old investigators waiting for
us. We have found quite a few people this week who we're going to
start teaching. We've discovered that lots of the phone numbers don't
work anymore or they don't live at the addresses that are written on
the registros so we have a big funeral pile of old registros, but we
also have lots of references to pass on to the missionaries in other
areas. Last night we knocked on a door to see if an old investigator
lived there, but it turns out that now she lives in Angola and her
brother-in-law is living in her apartment. We started talking to him
and he was really open to what we had to say. We asked him if we could
come back another day to talk some more about how the church of Jesus
Christ was restored to the earth and right away he said, "Yeah you can
come back tomorrow." We gave him a pamphlet about the Restoration and
invited him to read it and pray about it. We also talked to an old
lady in the street who was not very nice. She was telling us lots of
stuff that she "knew" about the "Mormon church" but it was really
weird stuff like "I know you have pastors on tv that you show every
week in church ... etc.... etc...". she wasn't really listening to
anything that we said, but then we asked her if we could say a prayer
with her. She agreed as long as we only gave thanks for things instead
of asking for blessings. After the prayer she was a lot calmer and a
lot nicer. We gave her a pamphlet about the Plan of Salvation and
invited her to read it, and then we marked an appointment to meet at
her house and talk some more with her. About an hour later, we were
walking in the same area and we saw her sitting on a bench reading the
pamphlet. Miracle! Sometimes you never know who's ready to hear the
gospel and you just have to open your mouth and talk to everyone....
no really... EVERYONE.

Today we wanted to go to Cristo Rei but the weather turned and it's
raining sideways because of the wind. So we're just going to buy
groceries and stay in our apartment today. Sister McCall and I started
a "40 Day Fast" so for 40 days we're not speaking any English except
for on Mother's Day. I bet I will be learning a lot more Portuguese a
lot quicker now. May 3 was Mother's Day here in Portugal, but nothing
really big happened. Our ward mission leader got married this week so
we didn't have any meetings with him. They got married and then went
up to Spain to be sealed in the temple.

There's really not much else going on here. We're just working hard
and trying to find people to baptize. I have my first cavity, so
Sister McCall and I have to go to the dentist at some point but first
we have to find a dentist.... and if we're lucky we'll find one who
uses novocaine on his patients. Yeah... not much else. Not the best
email this week, but I promise it really was a great week. We had lots
of little miracles and lots of blessings all week long. I'm learning a
lot about not giving up and just continuing to work even when we're
not seeing the results right away.

The Church is true and I love you all! I'm excited to skype on
Mother's Day next week!

Sister Smith

P.S. The picture is me and Sister McCall.