Missionary life is wonderful!

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Sister Berry and Sister Smith

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Brooke’s always loved the little European churches, this picture makes me miss her a lot for some reason! LOL

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Bodensee is a lake on the Rhine at the northern foot of the Alps, Brooke loves the water so she’s really loving being in this beautiful place!

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Really wish Sister Smith had told me about this photo–more to come hopefully!

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We are going to get a lot of these water pictures–she’s our water girl and haven’t seen the ocean, pool or lake in several months,,she’s LOVING and appreciating it’s beauty daily!

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Sister Berry is great. We laugh a lot together and just have a great time teaching all of these Nigerians here. The Nigerians are so open and willing to hear our message. Everytime we come they say, ”I am ready to hear you people preach the Word of God!” and then we do exactly that.

This week we were looking for a less active and she had moved that Monday, so we just decided to talk to people at the place where she lives. We knocked on one door and the woman opened the door, was African, and said, ‘come in!’ we hadn’t really said anything yet, so we explained who we were and she was so excited that we had chosen to visit her. She called the entire corridor down to ”Hear the word of God” and we taught them the resotration. We visited them again that week and she and her daughter came to church! Actually, almost all of our investigators came to church, it was pretty cool.

It is great to have this front row seat to God’s miracles, I guess that’s what a mission is.

We also got to visit a less active woman who lives about 30 seconds away from Switzerland, we read with her and had a really great lesson with her. She wants to come to church but works at a hospital type place and really cant miss her work and when she does get Sundays off has no way to get there. Sometimes, I just wish there was a giant van that could take everyone to church who wanted to come. Alas, we will just try our best to find someone who can pick her up!

We also got to teach Nancy, who lives by the Bodensee. I have not seen water in … way too long! It was so gorgeous. It is a large body of water surrounded by hills and mountains! She is also great. We taught her and her fiance was there. He is evangelical, but really supports her learning our message. We also got to talk to him about the restoration and he was more than happy to read the Book of Mormon, so that was cool!

Basically, I am the luckiest missionary around. I get to work with so many cool people. One cool thing I noticed this week was how quickly people trust us missionaries. I mean we are here and even members just invite us in and treat us like family, not really like typical guests. We get to see the normalcy of it all and we get to then, really help families and get to love them better.

We are all here to just love and help one another. I know that is what God wants us to do, and that as we do so, we will be blessed and just plain happy. This is why attitude is so important, if we just choose to love our situation and the people around us, we can be happy no matter what. I see it all the time and I am so lucky that I get to try and change and be more like that!

One of the best parts of missionary work is seeing how much you change. Don’t fight the change, embrace it! It’s wonderful, it’s what life is all about. Changing, refining, bettering, evolving. It is so incredibly rewarding to look back and really see how far you have come and what lessons you have learned. Rough times are there for a reason, fight through and stand strong. Our GML told us just yesterday, If you hold tight onto Heavenly Father, He will not let you fall. Despite how crazy the world is or what hardships you face, you will not fall.

Well, I am excited for another great week!

Love,
Sister Smith

A week of Ends and Beginnings! Hello Singen!

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Sister Smith Arrived in Singen!

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Sister Smith LOVES the members of Munich 3!

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GREAT looking bunch of Missionaries!

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This week was the crazuest yet. As soon as our ward found out that there would be no sisters for a while, we got appointments everyday to the point where we did not need to buy groceries the entire week and actually emptied our entire fridge of food and gave it to the Elders! Munich 3 is the best!!

It was sad to say Aufwiedersehen to all the people there, but we will stay in touch and President says it will not be closed forever. So, I am holding my head high. The best part is knowing without a doubt, that I have given my 100 percent to the area. That leaves no room to doubt, only to have faith that the Lord will carry these people and the elders will do a phenominal job at carrying it on!

On Thursday, we cleaned our apartment a little more (It was SOOOO SOOO clean!) and then rushed to the bahnhoff (central train station) with all of our bags// the lives of two girls, so basically loads of stuff. IT took us so long to do that we had to sprint to the station and sister Pratt caught her train with Seconds to spare. The Lord really helped us to make it, especially on our own! I definitely learned my lesson on asking for help: just do it.

Sister Pratt still got to say goodbye and still made it, so onwards goes the work!

The rest of the day was travelling, talking to people and other missionaries, and settling in!

Singen is a great place. It lays of the Swiss border and the Boden Sea. It is a branch that has grown so much it is almost a ward. That is pretty cool!! We have a lot of people to teach, a lot of Afircans who are immegrating to Europe and live in a refugee home, and are hoping to bring them closer to christ!

People here are so nice and open. It feels like everyone I talk to wants to have a nice conversation. It is really great.

My new companion is Sister Berry, she comes from Alaska! She is the coolest person ever. Like all my companions!! She played basketball in high school and is really athletic!

We get to go to the temple once a transfer, which is a huge miracle because I had such a strong feeling in one lesson in munich to go to the temple and was just left thinking… okay, how will that happen, I am on a mission where we dont really dod that so often.. and now the prompting has been answered!

We have an amazing couple missionary team here, the Lees and they are from Washington state. They help us out a ton and even drive us to church! What a dream.

Miracle! Saturday, I talked to a lady waiting for the bus who comes from Romania, I know about one word in Romanian (thank you elder Vitel) and was able to have a great conversation with her. Her husband died two years ago and she didn\t know, but thought there was a life after death. I shared about the entire plan of salvation with her and she was very touched! She said, she really wasnt ready to hear a longer message, but loved what I had to share and that she would check out the website.

It is great to be a missionary, consoling and uplifting others!

Well, I am excited for a great week. Love you all!

Sister Smith

Happy New Year! 2015 in Germany!

Frohes neues Jahr!

Well, my friends, another week gone by at light speed!

I probably sound incredibly cheesy at this point, but I am just so stinking happy.
There are, OF COURSE, moments of sadness, insecurity, doubt, loneliness, feeling inadequite, ect. The thing is, I know how to deal with it. The Lord has given us these amazing tools to learn lessons from low points and have even higher high points because of the trials we go through.

A few quotes that help me (can’t quote it perfectly, but) from Brigham Young, every trial we have is designed for us, to better us and from the Joseph Smith move: sometimes the Lord brings you low so that He can lift you higher. Also, D&C 24:8

This week we met with a new investigator, his name is Stavros Nikolopolous, from Greece, and he wants to learn more because he believes he can be a better person as he comes closer to God. Sebastian is still a 17-year-old, but is battling through life like a champ and Natalie is doing really well and Sister Pratt is a rockstar missionary!

One of the coolest experiences of the week was yesterday, actually with our dear friend Ada. She was raised in Africa and then moved to USA and now lives in Deutschland. Her husband is a producer and she was a model, she is a cook and she is just amazing. She has a lot of health challenges.

We visited her because she wasn’t able to make it to church and we just wanted to make sure she was okay! We brought muffins (she was on a diet but ate them anyways.. also thanks mom for the mix!) and she LOVED them. Then we were able to talk to her family a little bit and share a spiritual thought with her. She really loved it and she just entirely lit up after we closed with a prayer. She embraced us and, excitedly, said we would HAVE to come back over soon.

That’s the point of it all, you know. You can just brighten one day and it’s like no one has ever rejected the message. It’s just this amazing time to study, practice, learn and grow. It is a time you get a front row seat to these miracles, one of them being the change in yourself. That’s the BEST part of missionary work. Charity- in German it’s called Nächstenliebe and it literally is next, like the person next you, love, put together. It is a true love of Christ that we can share with others.

The coolest thing about this whole thing is that what sounds like work is actually a giant blessing. What a good deal.

We had a great lesson this week with Sister McCormack, who is an older missionary in our ward– she’s super good and she and her husband will finish their missions at the same time as us– and in it I really learned that success as a missionary comes when we just give our hearts to the Lord and the work.

Maybe that’s why I’m so happy, because I know all I have to do is just work hard. I can do that.

Love,
Sister Smith

Christmas in Germany!

Sister Smith and Sister Pratt walking to their Chrismtas Eve Skype and Appointment.  They were excited to be in a more rural setting for the day.

Sister Smith and Sister Pratt walking to their Chrismtas Eve Skype and Appointment. They were excited to be in a more rural setting for the day.

First Germany Snow!  December 26th and it's snowing for first time this season.  This Cali girl is not used to this at all but loving it!

First Germany Snow! December 26th and it’s snowing for first time this season. This Cali girl is not used to this at all but loving it!

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Christmas morning stocking from home.

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Christmas Eve Celebration! Thank you to this very hospital family for taking such good care of our missionaries!

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This amazing family definitely spoiled the missionaries!

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The darling sister Pratt in the first snow of the season!

The darling sister Pratt in the first snow of the season!

Merry Christmas from the Munich 3 Sisters and Elders!

Merry Christmas from the Munich 3 Sisters and Elders!

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What a great time of year. Yes, we should always have the savior in our hearts and on our minds, but it is still great to see this spirit of cheer and love spread among the world. People are excited, busy, warm and thinking about why we even have Christmas in the first place.
Almost everyone says they love the time of year because they get to spend time with loved ones, family and dear friends.

One lady we met was so excited to be able to be with her family, she shared a perfume-like scent thing with us that smelled like Christmas. She said she’d met mormons before and that they were all great examples to her and that she wouldn’t like to meet with us right now, but had interest in looking at the website and seeing what we actually beleived.
We had another cool experience on Christmas Eve, on our way home from the wonderful family who invited us over. The lady was all alone and from Iraq. She was heading to her family after a long and exhausting holiday. We talked with her, gave her some much needed attention and love and before we knew it, we were carrolling with her to church and christmas hymns on a bahn. She sang along in her own language and said she’d love to come to our church and sing with us.

These experiences are special because we know that we were exactly where the savior needed us to be at the right time. We know that when we share our gospel with them, they can feel love and true joy. That is what the season is all about, anyways. That is what missionary work is all about! Eternity is a long time, and the love and joy that comes with Christ is so large that it can be made better when we share it with a friend!

Germans celebrate Christmas just a little differently, of course. On the 24th they have ”Heilige Abend” this is when the kids receive presents from the Christkind (Christ child). WE were invited to the Family Erdle and we had SO MUCH FUN. We all came together (after skyping!!) and just talked and joked and it was like home to me. Then we went on a walk with the boys while mom ”finished dinner” and we walked around rural Germany at night. We saw horses, climbed a tiny rock wall at a park and went on swings and had a blast on the walk. The elders were hilarious, of course. Elder Vitel spun so fast on the swing that he was still sick on the ride to the bahn (train station).

Then we came back and dinner was ready and the Christkind had come! We all opened presents (yeah, he brought stuff for all of us missionaries too HOW SWEET we got books of Munich in German and English, body wash and cookies). Then, we had dinner– it was delicious and ice cream–even better.

On Christmas day, we started out by meeting some JAEs or YSAs at the church and delivered chocolate and a message to the less active JAEs in the wards- one guy sister Pratt and I went by answered the door ”Are you from the church?” we said ”Yes!” He said ”Okay… I just got out of the tub.. can you give me a second to put some clothes on?” Fighting laughter I said ”yea, no problem!” He came out in a Chewbacca robe! He is so funny. We talked and invited him to the JAE activity that night. We left and then laughed so hard.

Then, we taught Natalie and read the Christmas story and freaked out over our awesome presents from home (HOBBIT MUSIC!!!)…

and then went to the Whittaker Family (with the Elders and the McCormacks) who is from Oregon and there was a family there called the Wutters from …. Kingwood, Texas. They knew exactly who my grandparents were. They just showed up at church last week and the Whittakers invited them over randomly, even though they didnt know them. We laughed about that and then ate some GREAT food. Turkey, ham and steak and cheesecake was there. Then, we carrolled to all the neighbors in the military compound there. It was a BLAST.

The next day THERE WAS SNOW ON THE GROUND. The 26th is still Christmas here, so we went to an older lady’s home with the Elders. On our way a frantic mother stopped us and asked us to help her find her child. So we met the Elders at the bahn station by the lady’s house after helping find the child (We just prayed and it worked 🙂 and they didn’t know where she lived. It took us 45 minutes to find it!
We finally got there and had a lovely time with the 83-year-old single sister. We were able to share with her a scripture about Christ and she really enjoyed the company. We sang some hymns and really felt the spirit of Christmas, friendship and love.

That night the four of us went to the Kopischke’s for Rocklette.. that is the name of a cheese and a swiss dish. BEST FOOD EVER.

You have a grill thing (a lot like Fondue) and then you can put a small shovel-looking thing under it with a mixture of vegetables and etc. and you put a slice of the cheese over it. Then it melts and you put it over a small cooked potatoe. So GOOD. You can also cook meat on the top of the grill (bacon with peppers and pinneaple with the cheese is delicious!)

the family is also the best ever. We just laughed and shared about the gospel. Brüder Kopiscke tried to sell his brother to us (as usual… but he is joking so it’s okay) 😀 and told us if we ever come back, we have a place to stay 🙂 They are the best. They really do all they can to help the missionaries and members and everyone feel welcome, happy and accepted.

so basically it was wonderful! I am so blessed. and spoiled.

I have just had a GREAT time this holiday season, it really is a testimant to me that the Lord is proud of me and he knows that I am working hard and how great the members here are. They really took care of us and helped us feel at home. It was the most fun ever.

The best part was being able to give back somehow, in the candy canes we gave to people we talked with and the little bits of hope we can spread through videos, scriptures and the love of Christ.

This week we’ve hit the ground running and set up appointments with a few new people. WE are excited to be able to be servants of the Lord!

This week will be the start of a new year. I cannot beleive how fast this time is going by. Really, time goes by much too fast, especially as a missionary. My best advice, or the best thing I’ve learned is to LOVE the time, the people and the situation you’ve got.. even if it seems impossible to love.

The savior is always there for you, just like He was for Peter when he started to sink into the waves. There will be waves, you will falter, but don’t let it get you down. As I try to live this principle, I find myself happy even when it’s freezing cold, or when we have fewer teaching appointments and I am able to keep going and improving.

Well, it was a great week! Transfer calls are in 2 weeks already. Will I stay or go? 🙂

I don’t know!

Love,
Sister Smith