Leaving Graz, headed to Vienna!

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Sister Smith got to go on exchanges with Sister Pratt,,,she LOVES sister Pratt and had a great time , She even rode a bike and lived to tell about it! LOL

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The adorable sister Pratt and Sister Smith

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FAll in Graz

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The Hirschmann family, cutest little curly haired girls, sister smith loves them!

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Hirschmann famiy

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beautiful Graz

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Sister Smith is going to really miss Sister Grossen,,,her child! She has loved training her!

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darling sisters in the beautiful hills of Graz!

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Servous!

Since last week, a lot has happened! We received transfer calls this week and I will be spending my last 6 weeks in Vienna with Sister Baugh. She is in her 9th transfer on her mission and I am in my last. We are both finishing training goldens right now and will be whitewashing the Vienna 3rd ward.

There are 5 wards in Vienna and there used to be only one set of sisters, but we will be replacing elders in this ward and will be the only missionaries in it! We will also be serving as sister training leaders. It will be crazy, trying to learn transportation and the ward in just six weeks, but fun and I’m sure that the Lord has much in store for me.

It will be sad to leave gorgeous Graz and the fabulous sister Grossen, but that is life and after having moved a few times on my mission, I know that everything has it’s season and that true friendships never really end!

This past week, we were able to meet with our family who come from Iraq a few times. We went to their home on Tuesday and taught them then helped them with German. However, as we were there, we learned that it would be their son’s 8th birthday on Thursday. So we rushed the next two days to put together a cake and surprised him with it on Thursday.

He asked to relight the candles three times so he could blow them out and then was so anxious to eat his piece of the cake, that he was trying to lick the knife as his dad served him his piece. So sweet!

They are also making a lot of progress as children of God! 🙂 WE visited them again on Saturday and we had a talk about baptism, because they had questions about it. We explained that it was important because when it is done correctly and with the proper authority, baptism cleanses you from all sin and prepares you to live with God again. It is a two way promise between us and God.

We promise to follow Him and His commandments for our whole lives. Seems like a hefty promise, but the blessings much outweigh the simple promise we make. The blessings are a life free of guilt and shame, immense joy, the gift of the holy ghost (which helps us know things and guides us daily) and a chance to live with God again.

As we explained this, we also had to explain that it would be dangerous for them to make such a promise and become Christians officially if they ever returned to Iraq. Therefore, they must obtain a permanent residence before being baptized. They expressed a sincere and strong desire to be baptised but were also willing to be patient and wait until it was totally safe for them. They are so amazing!

We had a few other appointments, but one of my favorite was with members on Sunday. The Sanders Family invited us over for dinner with the elders and a single adult in the ward named Mao. They fed us amazing food and took us to this GORGEOUS lookout point. It was like living the sound of music.

Although the food was good and the view was gorgeous, still the best part was being in good company. Their company and the company of the spirit. As we strive to grasp the simplicity of those good moments where we are just close to great people who we love, life becomes even more beautiful. As I have gone throughout my mission, I have really realized that the spirit helps us see the beauty in others and that the beauty of other people can really brighten our lives.

As we serve our neighbors and give of ourselves, it is our lives which become enriched. Isn’t God so clever for designing us this way? The more we serve Him, the happier we are. It’s a beautiful thing.

Some of these things that brighten our lives are miracles!

Actually, just as I was emailing, a miracle happened. Sister Grossen and I heard a knock on the door, so we went to the door and here stood a man who asked, “Is this the Mormon church?” We responded saying yes, so he proceeded to ask us if he could know anything about it. We said yes and asked for one moment to grab some materials from the church to share with him.

We ran inside, remembered that we did not have Books of Mormon in our bags, then searched the church. We quickly discovered that the library didn’t have any, so we checked the YSA room that is normally ALWAYS locked, but the door was wide open and many copies of das Buch Mormon were in the shelf. So we taught him about the Book and gave him a short overview introduction to the church.

He told us that he had a dream that he needed to learn about the Mormons. The thought couldn’t leave his mind all week, despite him not being religious normally at all, he decided he needed to follow this sign. We made out an appointment with Klaus on Wednesday and he left very excited to learn more! Thank goodness for knowing the message and for spiritual promptings!

So, this week I have learned to face trials with the biggest smile we can muster, even if that means just keeping it together, to find the beauty in everything and that as we find this beauty and strive to serve others, our lives are illuminated with the love of God and his wondrous blessings! Life is beautiful!

Have a great week!

Bis bald in Wien!

Love,

Sister Smith

Liebe Kinder Gottes

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Sister Grossen and Sister Smith with Elder Wise and Elder Spencer a beautiful PDay hike to overlook Graz!

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Overlooking Beautiful Graz, Austria

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Elder Wise

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Liebe Kinder Gottes,

As we visited our family from Iraq this week, we were impressed by and reminded of the strength of a prophet’s voice. They weren’t able to attend conference last week, so we went over on Tuesday intending to talk about prophets a little bit, explain what conference was and show them a small piece of Thomas S Monson’s talk from last year in their language and then watch The Restoration, a DVD about how our church was restored to the earth, also in their own language. We started the talk from last year, which was about temples, and immediately the whole family was extremely excited. They rushed closer to see the screen and were asking us all about the prophet.

We ended up watching the whole talk at their request. The spirit brought in such a strong feeling that we were all a little silenced, but then the parents began excitedly talking about it and asking questions. They really do feel and know that he is a prophet. It was a confirmation of our testimonies that Thomas S Monson is really a man called and prepared by God to speak to the hearts of all people.

We were also able to meet together with the Elders and a member from Graz as the member invited is friend to be uplifted by the gospel. He gave us the heads up that she needed to hear of God’s plan for us and about Jesus Christ and His role in our lives. We talked about The Plan of Happiness, or Salvation, and a lot about the atonement and watched as this woman who was very sad and worn was filled with the healing power of the gospel.

One of the themes I noticed in my notes from General Conference was that nothing is ever over until we choose, use our agency, to let go. Because Christ sacrificed for our sins and our trials and our burdens, there is really ALWAYS a chance for us. There is nothing He cannot overcome. Therefore, we can instead to choose to grab just a little tighter and be lifted above what we thought was for us possible.

So, if we just grab his hand that is reaching out to us, we can rise above the seemingly insurmountable waves that might surround us and, like Peter, walk on water. He can even lift us when we’ve only got one tiny hair out of the water. Yes, it will be a process, but it is a healing process. There is, in fact, a balm in Gilead. I was able to witness it as this friend of the member of our congregation was filled with light and happiness and the weight she was carrying began to lift. It is really a beautiful part of God’s love and His path. I am so lucky to be here and to witness such things.

I also noted how important it is that we help our loved ones feel of this love and get to know God and what He has to offer for us. I am truly thankful to parents who raised me with a knowledge of such things. This knowledge, or in other words, my testimony has become my most prized possession and will get me through any trial I might face!

On the other side of things, we missionaries are often sent as a clean up crew to broken souls. This means we see many broken souls, families and communities as we serve our neighbors. One of our investigators is a young girl from a broken home. She lives part time with her mother and her step father and part time with her father. As we visited, it became clear that despite the number of years she has lived, her experienced have made her strong. There was a lot of yelling, crashing around and chaos in her home, but she made the room a positive place and got her little brothers involved in our little lesson.

We were able to play Simon Says with her and talk about prophets. After which she sweetly and simply bore her testimony about doing the right things and helped her tiny brother pray. It is up to us to be lights in the darkness. No matter where we are now, we can become such a light. It is always this idea of allowing God to make us into something better that opens the doors to something so much better.

I was also struck by how much I felt she deserved a loving, uplifting family circumstance. She was working so hard to lift her family but is just flat out too small to change the entire situation. She strives on and refuses to let her circumstances bring her down, but I really did feel that she, as does every precious child, deserves a loving, uplifting family and environment in which she can grow. I see loads of people deprived of such a home in many ways, especially as the refugees cross our borders and flee from hostile wars.

As missionaries, we strive to help families foster such positive and loving relationships and settings. The gospel really does wonders with this. It fixes and restores that which was broken on every level. I really strive to one day have a whole family, and although I’m sure it will be imperfect, to try our best to make the home a loving and uplifting place to grow.

I know that God’s plan for everyone is perfect and he forgets no one. I know that despite horrible things, He loves us and will ensure that we get the best He can possibly give us. Sometimes He has to wait to give us these blessings until we return with Him, but I know they will come! I love being on a mission and I love helping people. I know that the power of good deeds, regardless of their size is great!

Have a great week!

Sister Smith

Travels to Stuggart and General Conference

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WE made Elder Seewa bread for his birthday!

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I made this!!!!!

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Sister Grossen and sister Smith

Guten Tag!

This week was full of travels and conferences. This might sound like a
lot of busywork and hassle, but we really learned, saw and felt great
things throughout the week.

We were able to see our lovely friends from Iraq on Tuesday night, eat
Arabic food with them ( actually very good), and teach them about how
prophets are called, how we have this church on the earth today and
where it came from. We have pamphlets in Arabic to help us as well as
google translate when members can’t show up. The family is doing
really well and is always eager to learn more about this church. Their
progression in spiritual things has strengthened my testimony of the
importance of e marriage of personal testimony and active church
attendance.

One question we hear a lot out here as missionaries is why church? Why
is worshipping God in my own not enough? I find that Elder
Christofferson’s (a modern-day apostle) talk from the Sunday afternoon
session of General conference explains that really well.

First and foremost, we believe in having a personal testimony of God,
our Heavenly Father, and His son, Jesus Christ. However, we also
believe that God is at the helm of this church and hat His guidance
allows us to find the path back to him, strengthen our personal
testimonies and receive more Heavenly guidance than otherwise
possible.

I have seen the absolute truth if his in my own life! No one is
perfect, therefore the members and even leaders of The Church of Jesus
Christ of latter-Day Saints are not perfect, but God is and He leads
and guides us all home on the vessel that is this church.

Sister G and I gained much strength and wisdom this week as we heard
from our mission and church leaders. On Wednesday, we woke up super
early and not so bright to catch a 4 hour train over to Salzburg. In
Salzburg, we saw a ton of our good missionary friends and, more
importantly, were taught by our mission president and His wife. They
talked a lot about obedience and how hard it is but at the same time
how it enlightens us, frees us and helps us get home safely. This is
such a deep truth found in life. As we do good but hard things the
rewards are deeper and more beautiful than we imagined, even if hey
are not immediate .

That night, we ended up overnighting with the sisters there in
Salzburg. They live just across the German border. With all the
refugee issues as these people make their way from below up into
Germany, this was really interesting. We saw firsthand all the
refugees in their tents and we were checked for passports and
identification. There was no danger nor were there problems, but as we
carefully and politely handles ourselves in such a situation, we
noticed how happy the refugees seemed to be, despite circumstances and
how unified we all were as we exchanged looks with these people. It
really is an interesting time to live in this part of the world!

Later that weekend we got back, helped a member move into his new
apartment and got ourselves to the church for General Conference, a
broadcast of the prophets apostles and other leaders in our church
from the headquarters to all the world. They speak about varied
topics, none of which are assigned and are lead by God as they share
eternal truths that help us as we watch this better ourselves and our
lives.

In Austria, we watch some of it live as it is morning in the U.S., it
is evening here! This adds a feeling of unity to the meeting. One of
the best things about it, though, is that the members really make it a
unified thing by all showing up at the church, socializing before and
after, and just sharing in the joy of one another’s company. It really
does help us feel the spirit as we gather in unity almost as a family
to be uplifted by the words of Christ given to us by His chosen
leaders.

The more we reach out to one another in kindness, the more we learn
and feel Gods love, the more we help one another progress toward
eternal life and, better still, life with our eternal families! I love
this gospel and know the Church if Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
has a true and living Prophet, Apostles and leaders.

Have a fabulous week!

Love,
Sister Smith

Sept., 28, 2015 Graz

Wochentliche Bericht von Europa!
Hallo zusammen,

This week consisted of a lot of rest and recovery, but good news: I
got antibiotics! That means I was able to do more work and am feeling
worlds better!

Through all of this, the support of our ward here in Graz has been
incredible. Nothing pulls people together like a sister in need :).
Members helped us find a doctor to go to, offered to drive us places
and give us food, called us to talk and check up on us, offered their
kind words and were overall very willing to help and loving. I am so
grateful for these people!

Our investigators are also doing well! This family from Iraq is
amazing, in case you couldn’t tell last week in that email. They were
at church again this week and the children sang with the primary!
Everyone was coming up to the kids and congratulating them for a job
well done. The song was in German and the only language they speak is
Arabic! They tried so hard to sing along and were so adorable up their
trying their best to sing! They are so well behaved yet fun and
loving.

After church, the family was invited by a member family for dinner.
They invited us to dinner this week for their “famous” pizza ( it’s
really good and they always make it for us lol) and a lesson. They are
always asking if they can do more, learn more. It’s almost hard to
keep up with them! They asked all about my bronchitis and said they
really missed us this week! How lovely is that? 🙂

Another highlight was when we got to set up, make food for and clean
up for the institute seminary kick off party on Saturday. Youth from
the whole stake showed up we helped feed them breakfast and lunch and
then cleaned up. It felt so good to be super busy the whole time doing
things. It really helped me realize that as we lose ourselves in
service and in God’s work, we are blessed with more joy than we
probably deserve. In addition to the joy we got from serving, the
sisters let us take almost all the leftover food which really helped
us out! In addition to spiritual blessings, God blesses us physically
very often in addition to spiritually. He loves us and He knows
exactly what we need! 🙂

So life is good, weather is cool and fall is on the rise out here in
Austria! It’s a great life!

LG,
Sister Smith

September 21, 2015 Graz

Grüezi!

Zuerst wollte ich etwas kleines auf Deutsch schreiben: Hallo! Diese Woche war sehr gut! Ich bin ein bisschien Krank mit Bronchitis, aber wir haben trotzdem eine gute Woche gehabt! Der Mission ist das beste Ding was ich je gemacht habe! Danke zu alle denen die hier wohnen. Sie haben bestimmt ein Teil von meine Mission besser gemacht! Ich liebe diese Volk und diese Länder! 🙂 Diese Woche wir haben viele Wunder, sowie immer, gesehen. Ich weiß, dass diese Kirche das Fulle des Evangeluims hat und dass als wir an Gott vertrauen, er wird uns helfen. Alles ist mit Gott möglich! 🙂
LG
Sister Smith

Back to English!

This week I was still sick and we stayed in a lot, but I was able to recover quite a bit because of that so it was okay. Plus we cleaned up a lot of things and got to work on planning and preparation. It was cool to see how the Lord prepared us to learn things about being better missionaries! On Monday, I was able to go to the ER and they took my blood and gave me an EKG and monitored my lungs a little bit. They said there was nothing majorly wrong, thank goodness and I was able to get some medicine and start feeling better!

This work that we as missionaries do is so important. Joseph Smith, a prophet of our church, has said that it is the most important work we do. We missionaries are called and set apart to do it, but we cannot do it without the support of those who are members of the church! When we are able to work with the members, miracles happen. All of the people who I met and who later chose to follow Christ and be baptized and those who have really changed their lives, I met through members.

I am so blessed to work with some of the coolest, nicest, most dedicated people in the world. Their help has made all the difference with this family we are working with from Iraq.

This week, we were really only able to chat with the family shortly. On Sunday, the trains in the city were completely down. Church starts at 9 A.M. so we thought for sure with that no one would be able to make it. We even had to ask for help from someone with a car to get there. We called the family and told them what was happening. The mother was sick, she is pregnant, and she and the kids would have to stay home anyways, but the father said he would be there. We had no idea how he would make it, but we had faith in him anyways!

Sure enough, we got to church at 840 to see him sitting on a pew reverently chatting with a member family in his broken English slash German. He was super early, the members in the congregation made him feel very welcome and he came despite all the obstacles. It was amazing.

In the next hour of church, we were talking about the spirit and reading from the book of Mormon. He answered with amazing answers and even knew exactly who Mormon, Moroni and Nephi were. He has read a ton since we met him. It was amazing to see.

After church, we found out the best part. He had come the long journey to church on his 9-year-old daughter’s pink kid’s bicycle. That is dedication.

This really humbled me. Someone who is completely new to Christianity, whose family is home sick, who has every viable excuse not to come to church recognizes that he needs what he feels there, that he needed the spiritual nourishment found at church and that he just wanted to follow and learn about Jesus Christ so much that he would travel over 30 minutes on a tiny bright pink bicycle to do so. I want to be more like him!

I hope that I can show this dedication to be a follower of Christ not just as a full time missionary but as I continue to share the joy of this gospel my entire life. I know that Christ is able to help us do all things and that as we trust in Him and our Father in Heaven and follow them, all is possible!

I am so blessed to have amazing friends and family! Thanks for all you do!

Love,

Sister Smith

Sept, 14, 2015 Graz, Austria

Sept. 14, 2015

Dear Everyone!

So this week I had bronchitis and stayed in a lot. We did get to visit
our little family, they were doing so well. Everyone is always asking
about them, we went over the kids were so excited to pray before we
ate and to read together. It was so cool to see their light grow and
see them gain joy so quickly from the light of the gospel.

They came to church this week and our member friend gave the kids
little toys and the kids sang along and came running up to us and
hugged us after primary was over. Melt my heart for sure! I love
seeing this gospel help people and especially see how it blesses
families! Families founded on Christ experience more joy and have he
ability to get through much more than they might without this.

I learned this week that no matter how much you might want something
to be fixed Gods timing is different than ours. As we follow Him, He
will heal us from the inside out. It requires our own hard work, but
with Him all is possible! He teaches us so much in our trials and
prepares us to be reunited with Him as an eternal family again one
day. I know He watches out for us and I can see that every day in this
work, even if I am just able to make one person smile or have my own
personal revelation. When we lean on God, He makes us so much more
than we bought we could be, even if that happens in a way we never
wanted or thought of.

I love this gospel!

Sorry this is so short, but I am sick! More next week!

Liebe Grüße,
Sister Smith.

SEPT.