Last Blog~

Liebe Freunde und Familie,

Vielen Dank! Than you for reading along as I served a mission.

First, I will write a few highlights from this week! We got to visit
one of my favorite families twice and help them out! We shared a
message about being polished and I gave hem some of my dads rocks and
they geared up and were really touched. I know the spirit was strong
and they felt the love of God! We also got to teach Our Syrian
investigator. He is giving up smoking and has made a ton of progress
already. The whole ward will fast for him in January! He wants to be
baptized right away and has never been able to stop smoking before,
but now determinedly says with God he knows he can and it is working!
We also had a great Christmas conference and watched the new video
from the church for Christmas, it’s amazing! It was great to see all
the missionaries and to feel of their strength in the gospel, but sad
to say goodbye and to know that was the last conference! Sunday was a
mixed bag, too. It was so good to see everyone but sad to bear
testimony saying goodbye and to know that was the last time with my
calling in the ward in which I was currently serving. I just love
being a missionary and I am so grateful for this precious time.
Today, we got to visit a lovely older woman who really loves to talk.
She told us about her life converting to this religion and how through
it, God has given her strength to overcome her past. Her past of World
War Two, Russian spies, her cheating husband, and being alone. It is
amazing what we can do with Christ! I am so grateful that I get to
help everyone with this wonderful gospel!

This has been the single most rewarding thin I have ever done in my
life. There were hard days, long days, but also short months and some
of he best experiences I have ever had. I cannot express how grateful
I am for the chance to serve God and to share the freeing, hopeful
truth with the people over here in this German speaking part of the
work with others. I love each person here, even those who definitely
do not love us missionaries 🙂

God really does know us. How else could I speak to exactly the right
person who needs exactly what I’ve chosen to say at that moment in
various cities across the Alpine region (in German! )? I have seen the
miracle of healing through Christ everyday on this mission. When we
have something good and open our mouths, God guides us to owe who need
our light and He guides us to others. He knows exactly where you are,
how you feel and who you really are. Despite all of this, He loves us
all unconditionally and offers us an equal and abundant amount of
chances to better ourselves, find hope, get rid of guilt and shame and
ultimately to return to Him. We are His children and he loves us and
wants all of us to make it back home. His plan is perfect and it is
personal. It’s for you, me, everyone.

Above all that I have learned, I know God knows me. He has changed me
and shaped me. He has allowed me to play part in miracles big and
small and to feel of His immense love.

In this part of the world we talk to a lot of people no hear a lot of
no, but I still know that my mission is a success. I know that
everyone I talked to needed what I could offer, as small as I might
be. I know that God sent me here for a reason and I know that leaving
the 99 and going after that one sheep is totally worth it. If you see
the change and the immense joy of the one sheep, you will know too.
There are so many people in this world who need this gentle, simple,
healing truth. This gospel is amazing because it is directly from God.
It is full! It heals me everyday and I look forward to making the most
out of what God gives me in the future. I know He will never stop
giving me challenges and helping me become what He know I can become.

Thank you again for reading! I know this gospel is true and that God
has called a prophet today. I know Jesus lives and guides us. I know
the gospel gives us true joy and that families are forever!

Love
Sister Smith

Schoenbrunn Christmas Markets and so much more….

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Beautiful Vienna!

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Sister Smith and Sister Baugh at the Christmas Markets

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I was able to go back to Graz and have an exchange with Sister Grossen!  

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Christmas Markets in SchoenbrunnIMG_0431

 

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my awesome Iraqi family, they loved the treats sent from USA!

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Carriage ride around Vienna at night

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Giant pork legs we later ate then also later brought for Thanksgiving for our District

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Plaques they have around Graz where Jews were taken out of their homes in WW2 and then became refugees…..Ironic

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Christmas markets in Schoenbrunn

Guten Morgen Liebe Sorgen!

Wow. Where has the time flown? I can’t believe this is the second to
last Monday of my mission. I am so thankful for this mission!

God has taught be to use my bravery, to truly love others, how to
share my testimony and the truths that can help bring us all back to
Him and so much more. I am thankful for every moment. The good
lessons, the harsh rejections, the sickness and the health. I’m am a
full for all of it and for he way God molds me and makes me His tool.
I’m excited to continue on in this path in America.

This week we had exchanges with the Graz sisters which meant a day in
my last area with my last golden! It was really fun and productive! We
visited the Arabic family who I love and we taught them more about the
Holy Ghost. You can see how the spirit has blessed their lives and
helped them come closer to God. It’s simply amazing. The next day
after studying, we went finding or in other words we hit the streets
and talked to people! The first woman I talked to was immediately
interested. She needed God in her life and felt the spirit that we
always carry with us. It was a testament to me that the spirit and God
guide this work and that authenticity of the message we share is found
as people we meet feel the spirit of God.

We were also able to meet with our investigator Kvetka from Slovakia.
She is so sweet! She always feels the spirit in our lessons and the
spirit just fills her with so much joy! She told us that she knows the
Book of Mormon is if God and prays and talks to God often now! She
really is closer to God and His love now. It’s amazing.

Our other main investigator is also just awesome. He was gone all week
taking care of a sick family member and we thought he would not come
on Sunday because he’d be getting back very late Saturday, but at 845
he walked through he doors and stayed for all three meetings, as did
Kvetka!

We are also finding a lot of new people every day. This week we had
the AWESOME opportunity to do service for a UN women’s bazaar. It was
a two day event. Here, stands from nearly every country in the world
brought their best foods, tradable goods such as scarves or trinkets
and ect, they danced in traditional dress, and raised money to help
refugee children. We helped set up and run the charity displays.
Afterwards, we got to try meat kabobs from Indonesia, meet pastries
from Kenya, banana balls from Malasia, chicken Curry from Napal,
Aripas from Venezuela, custard from Spain, Tres Leches from the
Dominican republic and got some African stuff! It was so cool.

The coolest part was the people we met on the way there. Both times
from the same station we always leave from which is very far from the
center, we met girls who would also work at the bazaar. One girl was
from Venezuela and lived here as a South American rep. She told us
about her beliefs and was fascinated as we testified of the truth of
Gods word and His prophets today. The second girl was going to dance
for Bulgaria and told us she needed his in her life! We are hoping to
meet with them both soon. It is so amazing to see how God guides us in
our every day lives to owe who need His love and guidance.

I know this work is true! I love it and am so blessed to be a part of
it and for every experience I have had here!

Love,
Sister Smith

Vienna 11/23

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A member in Vienna treats the missionaries to a very nice dinner at his Tennis Club every couple of months–yum!  I had Goose!

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Schönen guten Montag alle!

This week we got to teach our lovely investigator from Syria. He had a
dream that to,d him to be baptised. This is interesting because
although he himself has been Christian for a few years, it has been a
secret. He has permanent residence here as well, but he lives with
people of other religions who know his family at home.

If these people were to find out that he was Christian, this mans
family and possibly himself would be in major danger. Still, he wants
to learn and knows that Christ will help him through. This life is so
much more than earth, it is eternal. Still, we Do Not want him to be
harmed so we are helping him and being very, very careful.

He reads daily and loves The Book of Mormon because he noticed how it
helps him understand Christ and feel the spirit of God. It amazes me
how dedicated people are to do good things and at the same time how
many blessings God gives as we are diligent and obedient. He really
know us, helps us and loves us.

His determination and the comfort God and our message brings him gives
me strength to ask everyone who comes in my path if they would like to
come and see what we have to give. It’s amazing the miracles we see as
people hear about Christ, how the problems in the world today are
foretold in the scriptures and the hope that God can give us. The kind
that takes away fears from a shy girl like me and makes me into a
missionary who can talk to anyone about sow thing extremely close to
my heart. Faith is powerful. 🙂

I’m so thankful for all I have learned!

We also had an exchange with the other Vienna sisters. It was really
fun! Sister Eden and I were sitting on a bahn talking to a woman who
had no interest. She got up and got out of the bahn when the man next
to her leaned over and asked us what we were doing talking about
Christ. We brought out the Book of Mormon and testified of it and how
it can bring us closer to Christ. The next day, we met with him and he
felt the spirit in the book. You never know the good you do!

Apart from that, we got to visit a lot of lovely members and talk to
them about the gospel. They are awesome! I love being here and doing
this. This message changes lives, it is a balm for all who use it
wisely and it brings light into life, even when we think we already
have enough good or light there it makes us better. I love it!

Have a great week!
Sister Smith

Servus Von Wien! 11/16/2015

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Wien 3 ward had a beauty night and treated us sisters to make up, hair and nails!

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Facials at the Wien activity with Sister Baugh

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beautiful

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beautiful Vienna

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Spent the day with this crazy girl!

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Beautiful Vienna Christmas Markets

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Vienna

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Christmas Time!

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christmas Markets

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Vienna Christmas Market

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Vienna

Servus von Wien!

This week we had a zone conference here and we planned it. We talked
about talking to others and always looking for opportunities to share
the gospel. Sister B and I put out cups upside down with varied
amounts of candy inside. The cups represented people we talk to and
the candy how much you helped that person. You had to pick up a cup to
see what was inside and with it was a note how you found your candy.
For example you talked to them on the street or on a bus or at the
store lol it’s important to always look for opportunities to he,p your
fellow man and as a missionary to invite them to come closer to God!
🙂

Everyone seemed to have fun and learn a lot, and we had an exchange
after with the sisters in Wiener Neustadt. It was a very inspired
exchange!

We also had the chance to meet with our Syrian investigator again. He
is awesome! We taught him about the Book of Mormon more and Joseph
Smith. To him, it all makes sense and he feels God in the Book of
Mormon! He is always talking to people about how he knows Christ lives
and is excited to be baptised one day! He came to church and really
loved it, he says he feels a beautiful feeling. I know he does when he
is at church or reads because I have felt it too and it is life
changing. He also told us that he Never ever rides the subway except
the one day we met him on the subway. He noticed how that was designed
by God. He got on at the exact stop we did where he normally is
driving. Crazy! I love Gods plan.

Another investigator, Kvetka from Slovakia, has been just so happy and
joyful lately. She’s super busy but reads at least a chapter a day.
She told us she can’t stop because when she reads, she feels Gods
spirit and it makes her happy. She told us she knows this is Gods way.
Today we talked to her about the Plan of Salvation. She came in
looking exhausted and left glowing and so excited to hear about life
after death and thatGod really loves us and gives us many chances to
come to Him. Every thing we told her got her excited and just smiling
so wide. It was a beautiful thing to see. There is joy and hope in
Gods message!

Although Sister Baugh and I talk to everyone, we don’t always find all
the people in the world to teach. Sometimes, we help them in two
minutes understand who God is and invite them to pray or we answer a
pressing question or we invite them to read the Book of Mormon. We
always invite them to learn more from us, but many say no. Still, I
believe that God uses both of us at His tools to being souls back to
Him. The way we can do that is as we read His word, have faith,
repent, be baptised in his authority and follow Him our whole life. It
brings us joy now and later and it keeps us safe! I love being His
tool and am so thankful for all I have learned and continue to learn
here!

Love,
Sister Smith

Vienna! Still in Shock! 11/9/2015

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I got to go to Munich and see sister Berry!

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Beautiful Vienna!

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Beauty!

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Amazing!

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We went through the butterfly gardens in Vienna!

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Grüßt euch!

Vienna is a beautiful city which tons of people to speak with. Talking
to people and inviting them to hear our message, on the streets, on
the bahns and busses and at their doors even has been our main focus.
As a missionary, part of our job is to always talk to people and
connect with them, then invite them to come closer to Christ.
Sometimes that means just trying to pray or just to be happy, but
sometimes they really want to hear our message. We do this because we
know what spew have will bless them! God really places people on our
paths and we see miracles everyday.

We were able to meet with two people this week who wanted to hear our
lessons last week. One girl is from Slovenia, her name is Keta, is
super cool. She speaks great German and has felt the spirit of God so
strongly in her life, telling her what is true and what is good as
well as what is bad. She is developing a testimony as she tries
reading the scriptures especially the Book of Mormon and praying to
know if it’s true. She recognizes a warm, good feeling at church and
we can really see the light of Christ growing in her.

Another person is called Bash. He is from Syria and got here about a
year ago. He is amazing! He first learned about Christ 10 years ago
when a friend took him to church and gave him a Bible. He didn’t
really look at it for fear of being killed, but one night to keep warm
he started a fire in his fireplace. He accidentally fell asleep and
the fire ended up burning everything except his Bible. As he saw this
he felt something and decided to believe in Christ. Ten years later,
he talked to us! As we taught him, he was very moved. We asked him to
read sections from the Book of Mormon, but he couldn’t stop reading
once he started because he loves it so much! He wants to get baptised
in December, but we have to make double sure he won’t be harmed if he
really officially joins the church.

Other than that one awesome experience we had was with a man who
speaks Serbian. When I asked him if he liked to read he was not all
that interested, but he sister Baugh and I got to talking and he told
us he lost his faith because so many of his loved ones had passed
away. We shared with him our insights about what happens after this
life and a few scriptures that clear that up. He was deeply moved and
inspired to believe, he left with a book in hand but sis r want to
meet with us. We were still so excited to see him walk away with a
renewed belief in Christ and much happier outlook.

Today we got to see a butterfly museum. It was cool to walk inside and
all of the sudden the cool fall air stopped and it was a warm tropical
humid air. It was really cool and so pretty, like a piece of Hawaii.
We also ran around and saw lots of sights. A place where Hitler gave a
speech, the opera house, the biggest church here, and a bunch of other
stuff!

Serving in Vienna is the best! The Lord really does work miracles in
our lives as we live to receive and see the miracles He sends!

Have a great week!
Love, Sister Smith

Wien! 11/2/2015

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Beautiful Austria!

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Pday at Vienna Zoo!

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Sister Grossen and our 1 Euro McDonald’s ice cream!

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Vienna is so beautiful!

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Wien!  Wow!

I never expected to be here wi another experienced missionary my last
transfer, but it’s going to be great, I can already tell!
It was sad to say goodbye to people, but I know we’ll see each other again.

My first few days in Vienna have been amazing. We got here, settled
into our huge apartment which is right next to a castle and went
through the books. We called a lot of people and almost everyone
answered and we made out a few appointments.
Then we went to the streets and talked to people and ended up finding
quite a few people. One of them just got here from Albania but is
originally from Iran.

I walked up to him and explained who I was and he asked me to sit next
to him. I pulled out my copy of the Book of Mormon and began
explaining I through pictures, pausing for his responses and
questions. As we talked I was able to bear my testimony to him of the
truth and how I know this could really help him. He shed a few tears
and we both felt the spirit! It was amazing. He also explained that he
was almost a preacher in another church but felt that was wrong, and
continued his search, which led to us! He agreed to meet with us, but
will probably be taught by the elders in the English speaking ward. He
had just gotten to Vienna a few days before and we found him right
away. God really does know each of us and sets us up with
opportunities to get what’s best.

Sunday was also amazing. After walking into church, we were bombarded
with love. Everyone was overjoyed to get sisters. They gave us fruit
and cake and complements and invited us over and prayed for us and
drove us to eat and then home. It was amazing! So many miracles that
show me God doesn’t just throw you in a corner your last six weeks,
but He was speaking to me through these tender mercies. I am so
excited to see where things go from here and to keep serving the Lord!

I know this work is true and I love it!

All the best,
Sister Smith

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