Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 29, 2012

Hello Wonderful children of God!

This week has been a hard one, but we have learned a TON about faith.

Talk about the highs of highs and the lows of lows. Hollee, our investigator who told us she wants to be baptized, ran out on a lesson and told us that she would never see or speak to us again. It was pretty dramatic. We both just sat there and cried, because we knew that we had done all we could, but that we may never see her again. This story does have a happy ending however. She did end up coming to
church yesterday, and while she is still mad about question 4 of the baptismal interview questions, I think she will be okay. She still wants to be baptized. We just need to teach her some doctrine that she is missing that might help.

We haven't been able to be as up and about as usual, because my knee has been bothering me. I have been in contact with the area doctor, and we are trying to make it work. I'm going on crutches so that I don't overwork it. Those gosh darn hills :)

Oh, and I was told last night that because I am "injured" I won't be allowed to drive for much longer. This is a problem because we have to have a car in our area, and my companion does not have her license. Lots of crying last night. We get along so well. Honestly, we are almost exactly alike. We are kind of hoping we become a trio. Pray for us please!

Does anyone have any experiences with people using the verse in revelations about not adding scripture? I know that it only applies to the book of Revelations, and that the books of the New Testament aren't even in order chronologically, but this is a concern we run into every day. We found a great talk by Elder Holland about it. I was just wondering if anyone had further insight...

Random side note: Bugs are gross! Honestly, house centipedes and milipedes and spiders bigger than my fist... GROSS! I was on my way to bed, and just walking through the kitchen, I accidentally curled my toes around a milipede! It was gross! That's okay...I killed it. We have a pet spider. His name is Alejandro. He lives in the corner of the dining room, and he is a FAT daddy long legs! I have no clue how he is still alive, but I know he is. We have conversations. He invited a friend into the apartment last night, and I don't think I appreciate that...

So, I didn't get any questions this week from mom, so instead, I will answer Brad and Jacquelyn's questions!

What is your best memory so far?

Best Funny memory:
I would have to say either the little kid jumping out of the bushes (if you haven't read this story, ask mom) or when a Less-Acitve member, who totally speaks southern, pronounced phlegm as "Fleem" instead of flem. It was really kinda funny.

Best spiritual memory:
Either when Linnette was baptized and confirmed, or when we were doing 12 weeks, our greenie program, and my trainer guided me to understand our purpose and have a real testimony of it.

What is your favorite food you've tried?

Oh, the corn dogs from Trader Joe's! Seriously, life changing! Or the cookies from Whole Foods Market. We haven't had any true southern cooking since I've been here, but I found a boiled peanuts stand!
We'll see how long it takes to get there. :)

My most spiritual experience this week because I know you want to know!

So, I got a blessing when my knee started bothering me, and I was promised that my knees would work properly and that I would have the strength to do missionary work. Well, this has been so interesting to
watch. As long as I have faith, as we walk up to people's houses or to contacts, my knee and leg don't hurt AT ALL! Literally, the pain just disappears. Then after we talk to the person or walk away from the
house, the pain comes right back. It is the craziest thing. Oh, and if we are going the wrong way on a street and we don't realize it, my knee starts hurting until we turn around.

Anyway, so when we get home and start planning, all the pain that has been held back throughout the day kind of crashes down. It hurts. This happened the other day, and I still had a lot I needed to get done
before bed. So I said the closing prayer, and I was having trouble standing. I just looked up to the ceiling and said " What? If you want me to do something, just tell me please. I'll do it." I knew I was supposed to go lay down. So I tried to stand up and my klutzy self kept falling over. Then the pain suddenly disappeared,
and I just felt this voice say,"There you go. You have 7 minutes to get everything you want and get into bed". I rushed around the apartment grabbing my journal and letters, and as soon as I sat down at about 7 minutes, the pain came back. I was able to lay in bed and get the things done I needed to. It was amazing and I just knew that God knew exactly what I was going through.

God always know what we need. I know that if we will simply pray to him in the name of Christ, that our righteous desires will be fulfilled. I know that as we pray in Christ's name, our will be aligned with the Father's and we will better be able to serve Him and those around us. I know that the scriptures can lead us closer to God and that revelation and the Holy Ghost can help us stay close to Him. I know that President Monson is a prophet of God and that he leads us to becoming our best selves.

I love you all and wish you a great week!

Sister Candace M. Smith

October 22, 2012 Full Letter

Hello Everyone!

Liam is still adorable! I love it!

Okay, so good news or bad news first? Bad news? Good choice, since it isn't that bad. As you all probably know, Georgia has some very hilly country and we go out contacting and walking these hills quite a bit. Well, we were walking on Friday, and my knee started hurting really bad all of a sudden. Now, I knkow what you're thinking, but you are wrong. I have been doing EVERYTHING I could to take care of my knees. I don't even kneel when we kneel in paryer. I sit on the ground. It's annoying, but I do it because I don't want to put any extra strain on them. I told my companion the first time we were contacting about my knees and I have been very open about how they are feeling and have kept a very close eye on them. Unfortuanately, that was obviously not enough.

Anyway, I told Sister Wolfert about it and our mission doctor happens to be in Orthopedics, so I'll probably be meeting with him soon. So I want to have my brace just in case. I'm going to go buy a bag of frozen peas today also. I hate ice, but I hate being lame more :)

Oh, and the sister missing from the picture with the Wolferts went home. She tried to change her mind and they wouldn't let her. I might be a little mad about that, because it was a therapist who said no. Annoyed! but accepting...:(

Anyway, GOOD NEWS :)

Hollee, our YSA investigator, told us she wants to be baptized yesterday! So excititng! I've already witnessed two baptisms since I've been here. We have to wait til December, but I'm sooooooo excited for her! The amazing peace and Spirit that people feel at baptisms is amazing.

We picked up a new investigator yesterday too. Greg is engaged to Carolyn, who has been inactive since she was 13. She has wanted to come back to church since she met him though. He has been able to see the blessings of the Gift of the Holy Ghost leading her through the most difficult time of her life and he says he wants to be baptized. I don't think he realizes exactly what the church even believes except for God and Jesus, so we'll see how well that goes.

The elections are creating a lot of hype about mormons... We are loving it! It has given us so many opportunities, like yesterday at church. Gerry, a local Jew (there are sooooo many Jews here!) came to church to figure out exactly what Romney believes. I was talking to him, and he had already read all our standard works! This guy had great questions and I hope he comes back, even if it is only to find out all that we believe.

So, our goal this week is to share a piece of our testimonies with every single person that will listen to anything that we say. Even the people that speak another language. (I wish I knew Chinese and Portuguese!). I know that as we share our testimonies with others, that we bring the Spirit, which touches their hearts if they let it. That is what interests people. Having the Holy Ghost with us is essential, even when we are just at the grocery store and aren't able to talk to anyone. People can feel the influence of the Holy Ghost and they can see it. I have had several experiences already where people come up to me out of nowhere and ask about the church. It has been amazing to see.

I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior. I know that He wants me to be in Georgia and wants me to be myself and use my talents to share the Gospel, which is faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the end. I know that His Spirit is with me while we teach and that it leads us in how to touch the hearts of others. Baptism and Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost are some fo the best blessings I ever could have received in this life. They have opened the gate on the path to the Celestial Kingdom and I know that Christ is helping me as I help others to find the key to that gate. I know that Joseph Smith was called of God and that he fulfilled a great work while on this earth. I know the Book of Mormon to be the word of God and I know that it can uplift us at all times, no matter what we are going through. I know that God listens to our prayers and that He always answers them. I know that we receive our greatest strength in life by asking God for help and then going and doing. I know that God wants us to be extremely happy and that is why we have prophets and the church. The Plan of Salvation truly is the Plan of Happiness.

I love you all!

* Candace how many times did you get on the computer last week? Was it all at the same place? You said you only have 30 minutes to read email, write it and write to the President. That is not much time.

So, I got on the computer a couple times cause I had to get a visitors pass which only gives you 30 minutes, but then my companion gave me a little of her time. If you have a library card, you can have 2 HOURS!!! So I got more time.

We are doing email at our Apartment complex, which is the Azalea Springs complex in Marieta, Georgia. Look it up and you will feel better. It's a REALLY nice place.

I'm so excited for a package! Oh, don't forget the knee brace please :)

* Candace what city are you in? You told us the area, but that isn't on our map.

I live in Marieta, but the Paper Mill Ward covers parts of Marieta, Roswell, and some of the addresses even say Atlanta. The Singles ward covers a HUGE area. Seriously, people come from 40 miles away and that isn't completely uncommon. The best part? The single's ward building is in Sandy Springs, RIGHT BEHIND THE TEMPLE!!!! That's right, I get to see the temple on Sundays and Tuesdays (Institute). We aren't supposed to go on the grounds though. We just have special permission to be there because they wanted sisters, so we work with elders from the Georgia Atlanta Mission. They had a baptism this week :)

* Tell us about your most spiritual experience.

Hmmm, that would probably be with Tim. We were out contacting (like tracting, but you just talk to literally everyone that you see.) because our mission goal is 70 conatcts per week per companionship. That is hard, but our area has a lot of walkers, so it's okay. We were walking past a bus stop and saw a man sitting in the grass (which is like, true grass here. It's weird! and there are a TON of trees. It's really creepy at night. but I digress), so we talked to him. He lost his job that day and didn't know if he had enough money for the bus. He is from Kenya and was having a hard time counting his money. Anyway, the best part of the experience was he knew that the money wasn't his biggest priority. He knew that he had to trust in God and that he would be okay, he would just have a hard time in the meantime. Unfortunately, his phone had been disconnected and he was evicted, so we can't contact him, he has to contact us. I just loved being able to watch when the Spirit really touched him and let him have lucid moments. It was a powerful experience that really humbled us and helped us concentrate on each individual.

Love you all!

Sister Candace M. Smith

P.S. Did I mention that I replaced a Sister Smith when I came? Like brother like sister :)

** Note from Sara: Spencer and another Elder Smith in Peru traded places on the last transfer. That is why she said like brother like sister.**

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

October 15 2012 FROM GEORGIA!!!!!!

3 letters from Candace. I kept getting pieces of letters for a couple of hours from Candace. She would hurriedly write something, then an hour later she wrote and sent something this is all of them combined for you. That is why it is kind of way crazy sounding.

Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2012 13:04:29 -0400
Subject: October 15 2012 FROM GEORGIA!!!!!!

--Did you get to Georgia?  :)      Tell us about your flight and the people you talked to and what happened when you got there.

Hey Everyone!

Georgia decided to be very kind to me and is giving us BEAUTIFUL weather with barely any humidity. It's totally gorgeous here!

I am in the Paper Mill Ward. They are great and guess what?!?!?! I had my first baptism on Sunday! It was beautiful! Linnette was watching conference and made the decision to be baptized so it was really fast, but she was definitely prepared and ready. She has to wait for next week to be confirmed :(

I also get to go out of our mission at least once a week, because we are over the North Point Singles Ward. I guess they wanted sisters from our Mission for some reason. Anyway, we go over there for church and if there is any investigators, we teach at the church. It is getting interesting, but I love serving in a singles ward. Hey, so one of the sisters in the ward is Eugenie Hamstead. Hers sister is serving in Mesa. Is that the missionary you met? I am serving just under Alpharetta, and the singles come down to our ward, so I think it is.

BTW sorry if my letter is short and rushed today. I only have 30 minutes in all, and that includes writing President and reading all my emails :)

--Tell us all about your companion.

My Mommy is the best one out here :) I might be biased

I am being trained by Sister Worthington, who has only been out here 6 months! she is awesome though. We get along really well because neither one of us is really strong willed, but we both want to consecrate ourselves fully to the Lord (mission wide goal)

She is an Air Force Brat :) so she is from all over. We look ALOT alike. Someone at our ward thought we were sisters the other day :)

--Are the ASL missionaries in your mission also? or just at the MTC?

No ASL missionaries. Too bad, because one person from our district stayed behind because he has to learn ASL. He just found out he is going deaf.

--How is the Mission President and his wife.  They are your new mom & dad now for the next 16-1/2 months so be nice.:)

I love them! I got to see them on Sunday because the Portuguese branch (and their elders) were having a baptism at the same time on Sunday. Yummy Brazilian food!

Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2012 13:58:29 -0400

Subject: Funny story

I got a little more time on the computer, so I thought I'd tell you a funny story.

So, first of all, my companion doesn't drive, so I am our usual mode of transportation. Be very afraid! Anyway, we were leaving the house of Linnette, the lady who was just baptized, when we had to stop for a bus. We stayed back so the kids could easily get out of the way. When all but 3 kids were gone and the ones remaining were on the other side of the road, our conversation went a little like this:

Me: "Do you think it's safe?"
Sis. Worthington: "Yeah, probably"
Me: (as I look over at her) "As long as no kids jump *cue kid* out of the bushes"

Literally, as I said jump out of the bushes, this kid pops up out of them, waves at me and pops back down. I started laughing really hard, so my companion tried to look at what I was pointing at. He pops up again, waves, then pops back down. I swear, I still haven't stopped laughing. It was hilarious, and we had just got out of an amazing lesson, so we were a little punchy.

 I'm soooooooooo tired. Must nap......


Hey, I didn't get time to write earlier about a spiritual experience.

Well, yesterday was our baptism, and Linnette looked GLOWING! She was so ready. Before we got to church, my trainer asked that I try to seperate from the experience of knowing the woman and just feel what the Spirit was saying. So I did that. It was sooo cool! The Spirit basically said, "look at her absolute joy! This is why you are here. This is your purpose: To make people happy by inviting them and helping them to come unto Christ (see page 1 of Preach my Gospel for our AWESOME purpose)

Earlier this week, during comp study, I had been asking why missionaries tell investigators from the beginning sometimes that they are shooting for baptism. We had a super spiritual experience really gaining a testimony of our purpose as missionaries. then my trainer asked, "Does it seem hard or weird to tell investigators that you hope they are baptized?" Absolutely no way I could say no. It was amazing.

I'm done with the computer. Too much technology :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Last week in MTC

October 5, 2012

So, lots of news this week!

First, we got our travel plans. I leave for Georgia with 11 other missionaries on the 9th. Our plane leaves at 7:15 in the morning Utah time. I leave the MTC at 4am.

Second, I got a calling. I am the coordinating sister for our zone. It is interesting, and I am glad that there are only the 4 sisters in my district and the 3 sisters in the district next door (all ASL!!!!) It makes it alot easier.

So, because of General Conference, I don't get to go to the temple again. So we only will have gone once  :(

This week has been a little sad because of the Goodbyes. I absolutely love our teachers (which one of them is married to Elder Murray off the District 2!). We actually had 3 classroom teachers and 1 other Zone teacher, so here was lots of variety. I'm very excited to be leaving, but also very sad. I had some very good times here and I know that the mission field will be hard.

We have been learning all about the mission field today in In-Field Orientation. Getting to know people in 1 minute or less is probably the thing that I've had the hardest time with here at the MTC. I'm learning a ton from my companion and teachers though.

We finally actually learned what to do in companionship study last night. I have seriously not really know the entire time, so I finally asked a teacher when they went over my progress. Thank goodness I did!

I love you all!

The TRC has been my favorite part of the MTC. You get to go in and teach 3 different types of people: progressing investigators, referalls, and less actives. We went for the last time last night and it was fun. We knew that our progressing investigaor was a member, because the group before us saw here in the temple :) She is such a sweet lady. It was a pleasure to teach and learn with each of them.

-Did you get a chance to see Jerod or Chaz before they left the MTC? Who else have you seen that you know? What about the security guards that you delivered sandwiches to?
I did. I saw both of them. I even got to take a picture with Elder Destories, although by that time it felt weird to stand anywhere close to an Elder :) Elder Randall stopped by my classroom door one day. I totally didn't recognize him at first...again :)

-- Do you get all 5 sessions of General Conference there?
We get all the sessions of general conference and the women's broadcast. We watch the broadcast that was taped while the Elders are at Priesthood

-- What was your most spiritual experience this week?

I was having a hard time in my companionship this week. We just weren't getting along too well so we tried sorting it out a couple ways, including the branch president counseling with us. It was really interesting to see what happened when I tried my very hardest in my companionship, and the people that would randomly say something to me that told me the Lord knew I was trying my best. It was basically don't let it get you down, just keep going.

These keyboards are TERRRIBLE!

Monday, October 1, 2012

First Email from the MTC

Dear amazing people!

Thank you to all the people that wrote me! The letters were wonderful to get. We are given mail twice a day, so it's fun when I get a little stack each time :)

It's been awesome here! The first 3 days were pretty overwhelming, but after Sunday, you feel a ton better. We have another Sister Smith in our zone and so it is really interesting writing an email while people keep calling my name :)

So, in our zone, there are ASL missionaries!!!!!! I'm sooooo happy about this! I get to learn a little sign language without having to worry about learning it before I get thrown into a lesson.

The teachers here have split personality disorder AND NOONE WARNED ME!!!!!
-- Are the missionaries in your district going to Georgia?

All of them! I have 8 missionaries in my district in all, 4 elders, 4 sisters. They are awesome!

--. You said you are not allowed to write letters to non family members...does that just mean email? or regular letters?

I can't write email to non-family members. I can write them letters, but only on P-days

--. Have you had a chance to go to the temple yet?

Just went this morning! It was sooooo good! It took a really long time and then we had to go take my companion to get fixed :) She hurt her leg in foursquare, which is the most dangerous sport here at the MTC, seriously, no joke.

--.  What was your most spiritual Experience this week?

We got to teach an investigator this week who was told by her father that religion causes conflict (he was a holocaust victim, so who could blame him.) Barbara is a fun lady who really liked to get off subject in our last lesson, so I was prepared for that to happen again. When we got there, we were prepared to answer her question about where it says in the bible that God has a body (Deut 9:10, Exo 33:11, etc) Anyway, we were reading her these scriptures, and the lady that referred her had actually told her the exact same scriptures during the week. Then we told her about the BOM and the Holy Ghost. She already knew what the Holy Ghost felt like because when she visited this monument in England for the person who translated 80%of our Bible, she just felt at home. We tied it in, and she prayed for the end of the lesson. Awesome lady!

The teachers are also investigators during lessons and all that they do to show that they are investigators in take off their nametag. And of course they start us off teaching them the 2nd or 3rd day we were here.

Oh, our District Leader's name is also Elder Schmidt. Talk about not knowing when people are actually talking to you....)

My companion is from Las Vegas, which is cool. She has been teaching a lot longer than me, so I feel really behind.

I don't know what wonderful little Spencer was talking about, but I love most of the food here! You get some food that doesn't have much taste, but the ice cream bar twice a week is awesome.

I know I am probably making little to no sense. Sorry. I'm a little pressed for time. Please Dear Elder me all of your letters, except the questions at the end. I only have 30 minutes on the computer, and I want to use it actually taking the time to email you properly.

I was going to send you pictures this week, but they don't have a hook up for me here. I'll have to send them later. Much Apologies!

I need to get off. I love you all sooooooo much! I will write to you again next week!

Sister Candace Smith

P.S. Hey, I love packages! Especially chocolate, or gatorade, or things that make me smile or that my district can enjoy! 

She's in the MTC

I have had a few problems to work out with the blog. But here goes my first post.

So Candace went into the MTC on Sept 19.  Her MTC Companion is Sister Merback from Las Vegas. She loves being with her.  In her district there are 4 Elders and 4 Sisters. They are all going to the same mission, Georgia Atlanta North.

Just to let you know Candace is not allowed to write emails to anyone, but immediate family members. I will try and get the letters posted as soon as possible.

She sounds really excited and happy to be in the Mission field.