Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Dec. 27 Christmas in Mendoza

Talking with Kylie this past Sunday was the best Christmas present we could get.  She is happy working hard with the members of her ward.  How grateful we are for those sweet families that treat Kylie like she is one of them.  What a sweet peacefulness it brought to know that on Christmas Day she was celebrating with her sweet companion and a family who took them into their home.

A few things that Kylie told us about celebrating Christmas this year.  She and her Peruvian companion tried to share traditions that they both brought from home.  First Christmas is more like the 4th of July there - partying till early hours, fireworks and late nights!  But on January 6 they celebrate " the day of the Kings?"  This is the day the wise men came to visit Jesus and this is more like our Christmas - family, presents and reverence.  So that tradition is what her companion brought to their small apartment.  She made Kylie a traditional chicken dish, while Kylie made chocolate pie. Kylie also brought the tradition of " christmas PJs" although they did not look like PJs for our season.

Their Christmas Eve Dinner

Christmas PJs Argentina style

Christmas Eve sparklers

A missionaries humble Christmas

It was better for us to send Kylie and her companion $ for Christmas instead of gifts - to expensive to mail.  They choose to take half the money and give all the members and investigators a card and small gift.  They took the remainder and divided it in half and secretly shopped for each other and wrapped it up and put it under their little tree.  And funny thing - we never asked what they gave each other so I don't know what was in the packages.  

On Christmas Day they spent it with the Sepulvadas - her Argentina family who were so cute on the Skype call.  They told us Kylie is crazy - think they have gotten to know her?  

LOVE OUR DAUGHTER!  Seeing her was our greatest gift this year.  Hard to believe she will be home this next year.  Can't believe I'm saying this but it seems like she just left yesterday.  

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Dec. 12: Baptisms and setbacks

YES  - We had a baptism.  We were teaching this kids mom for a long time! His mom, Natalia, was a member but went inactive for a long time but when she started coming to church again the church didn`t have her records. So, we get to teach her everything again and she gets to be baptized again! She`s not married to the man she`s living with and he doesn`t want anything to do with the church but he has respect for what we do. Natalia and her 2 smallest kids, Clara and Nacho, have been coming to church every week for about 3 months and the kids love it! Nacho turned 8 almost a month ago and said ¨Hermanas, I`m 8 now, when can I get baptized? ¨ ahhhh he`s so cute!!!!  The day of his baptism Hna Duran and I were at the church at 7am because it takes FOREVER to fill up the baptismal font because it`s super slow. But it all went downhill when the warm water wasn`t working. So, we had to fill up buckets of hot water from the kitchen one by one and dump it into the font. Then there wasn`t hot water at all and we resulted to boiling water and then dumping it in hahaha it was really all in vain cause poor little Nacho was dying when he got in the font and it was ice cold hahah I DON`T GET IT! Despite that he came out of the font with a smile ear to ear and happy as can be and didn`t complain once!!! His dad (the guy that doesn`t want anything to do with the church) came to the baptism and then to the confirmation on Sunday and stayed for the classes!!! And he said he liked it and was starting to schedule what day we could come by when he`ll be there :) ahhhh Nacho is the cutest little boy but the biggest example for his family!

Eliana, who was another one of our investigators that had a date to get baptized and came to the Capilla Abierta and everything dropped us this week. She`s been having complications with her boyfriend who is living with her and he doesn`t like that she`s been talking with us. She said for a little while while she sorts stuff out, she can`t listen anymore. ah NOOOOOO!!! literally broke my heart!
With 2 other of our investigators, Santiago and Mercedes (the 2 cute little kids) they were supposed to have their baptism this upcoming Saturday but their mom said that she doesn`t feel that their ready. :( noooooo and so we have to work with them a little more! 

My scripture thought this week is a talk from Pres Utchdorf from the women’s conference in October ¨Fourth Floor, Last Door¨ it`s one amazing talk and I invite you all to go read it this week!!! Here`s some quotes from the talk:

¨Sometimes it’s not easy to develop faith in spiritual things while living in a physical world. But it is worth the effort because the power of faith in our lives can be profound¨
Faith means that we trust not only in God`s wisdom but that we trust also in His love. It means trusting that God loves us perfectly, that everything He does - every blessing He gives and every blessing He, for a time, withholds - is for our eternal happiness¨
¨Just because we can`t hear something doesn't mean there is nothing to hear¨
¨Perhaps to increase faith, we need to listen differently¨

con mucho mucho amor 
Hermana Smoot

The small Relief Society of the Mendoza Ward

Nacho and Hermana Duran and I

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Nov. 21 : Half way done and the earth shook!

ya hands down the weirdest feeling. there`s a tradition with sister missionaries that once you hit 9 months you have to take a pregnant picture haha

To address the Argentina earthquakes. Yes we've been having a couple earthquakes lately. nothing to big and it`s not doing any damage just a little shaking. The biggest one was yesterday and we were walking in the street and all day it had been super cold and really windy. We heard the windows shake of the house we were walking by but didn`t really think it was anything. Then a guy ran outside and asked if we felt the earthquake and if we were okay. uh we were a little confused haha but we turned it into an opportunity to share the gospel ;) 
This past week we had another capilla abierta that went really well. :) But this week we`re getting ready for one in our chapel so it`s gonna be a really busy week. 
We also did some service this week painting the gates for one of our members! We made a huge stake for lunch because it was the day i hit 9 months! So much fun!!

We have this new investigator named Eliana and she`s awesome! her friend gave her a book of Mormon and just came home. She`s reading everything we assign for her and she says it all makes sense, it`s just hard to believe it. So we`re really trying to focus on the praying aspect.
This Christmas season the church has a program called ¨25 ways. 25 days¨ to help us spread the light of Christ to everyone for the 25 days leading up to Christmas! It`s one amazing program!!! I really hope you will all take this chance and us it! Everyday from the 1st of December to the 25th you have 1 thing of service to do everyday. please oh please do it!!!! I promise that it will make this Christmas more special!
sorry i didn`t write much this week. 
but i still love you all!
Hermana Smoot

Friday, November 18, 2016

November 14: Lots of Investigators

This week was so weird! We had a special training with our President of the mission about Christmas and the new video that will be coming our end of November! It is absolutely incredible! There´s a programs of ¨25 ways in 25 days¨ and it´s acts of service we get to do every day from the first of December to the 25 to help others feel more than just the light of Christmas, but the light of Christ. I WANT YOU ALL TO DO THIS PROGRAM!!! I promise it´ll bring a whole new ¨light¨ to your Christmas season :)
We had exchanges with our sister leaders which was way fun! I got to spend a whole day with Hna Rendon from Columbia. We started the mission together and it was so fun to see her again! She´s awesome! 

Saturday we had another Capilla Abierta and it was super successful! the members were helping out a ton and now we get to prepare for one in our chapel! So we´re working our butts off to visit a lot of the less actives and get invitations to everyone! 
The sister on the left is Hermana Gonzales who trained me - the sister on my right is who I am training now, Hermana Duran at our last Capilla Abierta

Yesterday was our wards Primary Program and I got the opportunity to accompany on the piano all the songs. I was so happy! 

We had 5 investigators come to church (which is huge) and our zone of 8 companion ships found 146 new investigators this week! I pretty sure we set a record in the mission! Lots and lots of work but it´s showing. We have 2 investigators that are brother and sister. 9 and 10 year old Santiago and Mercedes and they´re just the cutest things! They read their scriptures every night together and say their prayers and they came to church and he had on a cute little button up shirt and she had on a little skirt! ah it was adorable! 
We have another investigator Natalia and her attendance is so constant at church that her son was able to participate in the Primary Program this past Sunday! it was so cute and she was so proud of him. 

23 Therefore, blessed are they who will repent and hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; for these are they that shall be saved.
 24 And may God grant, in his great fullness, that men might be brought unto repentance and good works, that they might be restored unto grace for grace, according to their works.
 25 And I would that all men might be saved. But we read that in the great and last day there are some who shall be cast out, yea, who shall be cast off from the presence of the Lord;
 26 Yea, who shall be consigned to a state of endless misery, fulfilling the words which say: They that have done good shall have everlasting life; and they that have done evil shall have everlasting damnation. And thus it is. Amen.

i love you all so so much! 
con todo mi amor y mas
Hermana Smoot
Kylie in front of the "Hill of Glory" outside Mendoza

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Nov. 7: American Food Finally

 We found this restaurant that is owned by 2 guys from southern California and they sell food just like the states! They even have WING WEDNESDAY!!!!! WHAT????? We went as a whole zone (half of which are gringos) and went and had all you can eat wings! I guess you could say we were a pretty happy group of missionaries haha :)
Friday I was so so soooo sick! I literally didn´t leave my bed all day and I was throwing up for 24 hours. It was miserable. Saturday was a little better and we went to some appointments but we didn't knock doors or anything. Only left the apartment when we had to. But now I´m all fine!  

¨Mi hijita¨ is ¨my daughter¨ in Spanish! There´s this thing in the mission that when you train, the missionary you train is your ¨daughter¨. Because the mission is like a mini life. Pero si, i´m training!!! and it is so much fun!!! My hijita is from Peru and is a ball of fun! She is so ready to learn and is so excited! I love it! After every lesson, or talking to someone in the street she asks what she can do better and is always asking questions! Her name is Hna. Duran. I´m super excited to be working with her! Right now we don´t have much to do but knocking doors because we don´t have many investigators but it´s makes good time to get to know her :) haha 

In our ward I will be accompanying the primary program! We had a practise this week and it was so cute! ah i love little kids! and their cute little singing voices are just precious :) During the practise we were listening to one of the kids give his little part talk thing and one of the older boys sitting next to me hit himself in the face with a book!!! I was a little taken back and started laughing and asked him what he was doing and he said ¨What? I´m tired.¨haha and all the leaders just started laughing! oh my kids are so funny!

This week we passed by a less active that i had never met. When we got there she was the happiest person on the planet to see missionaries! literally! I have never even seen an active member that happy and that willing to let us into her house! She told us to sit down and she ran into the kitchen and brought me a glass of milk and Oreos and said ¨I lived in the states and i know you gringos love oreos and milk¨ ah I about died! then she introduced us to her 2 little kids and said She wanted them to be baptized. They already say their prayers (in the right way) morning and night and know basically about the gospel. I about fell out of my chair when this happened!
Our new investigator - (not really)

I got pooped on by a bird last Monday. ya kinda put a downer on my day haha
We had our stake conference and the 2nd counselor is in our ward and was sharing a personal experience about his 2 sons. The older son asked his little brother if he was going to go on a mission. The younger one said yes. Then the older asked again ¨Are you going because you want to?¨ and the younger one who´s 11 years old said ¨I´m going because i don´t want to be a rat¨ hahahaha 

or actually quote from conference haha
¨Don´t concentrate on the things that aren´t important¨ -Elder Bassett of the 7

Yo se que Cristo vive

le quiero muchisimo
Hermama Smoot

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Oct. 24: A Stolen Phone's ripple affect

I`m still teaching piano lessons every week and it`s so much fun! It`s really helping us get to know the youth and the members in the ward! And it`s a fun way to use my talent :)
On Tuesday after a meeting we had with other missionaries we had TACO TUESDAY!! Some elders found this restaurant in our area that is owned and created by these 2 buddies from southern California and they came down to Argentina for an adventure! So they opened up this restaurant and they have wings, tacos and real burgers! It`s awesome and delicious! Hermana Brown and I are going again today :D haha 
This past Saturday we had another Capilla Abierta and this one was sooooo successful!!! We were giving tours non stop the whole night and even went 45 mins past the time we had planned for! The members were working like crazy (that`s a dream come true) and we were all so tired at the end, but it`s that good missionary tired, so it`s okay :)
Yesterday we received the transfer calls and I`m staying in Mendoza!!! wahooooooooo but even better I`M TRAINING!! ahhhhh that means I`m receiving someone who is brand new in the mission and I get to teach them everything I know haha I`m so nervous! It`s a huge responsibility but I`m super excited about it and I know the Lord will help me!

We`ve had a lot of people that haven`t been progressing lately so we`ve have to drop a ton of people! So this week our big focus was trying to find new people to teach. We came up with a survey and went walking around the busiest part of the city at the busiest hour and just talked to people. We asked them a couple of questions just to break the ice like ¨how many friends do you have on facebook?¨ or ¨what mode of transportation do you take most?¨ just different stuff to get them talking. Then we would ask 2 questions that we could really relate to the gospel like ¨what`s something that has helped you or your family get through hard times?¨ or ¨if you had 24hrs to live what would you do?¨ or even ¨have you heard of the Mormons? and if yes, what?¨ It was super fun to talk and get to know the people and then ask if they wanted to listen to a short message! and the people responded really well! 
Our recent convert Azul (that was baptized just about a week ago), was confirmed yesterday and it was so special! She is an amazing addition to the ward and is a pillar of light for her family! She`s already sharing the plan of salvation with her friends! people she`s 12!!!! 12!!!!!! 

So basically this is how yesterday went down. We went to church and we`re super excited to see everyone because it was possibly our last Sunday in this ward! We had the confirmation of Carina and Azul which was really special! Carina is the mom of Saulo, and Saulo is the dad of Azul. They attended sacrament meeting and Sunday school and everything was awesome, happy, and it was turning out to be a good Sunday. That`s when the chaos started .... Saulo walked into the young women's room, stole a cell phone that was sitting on the chair and walked out of the building and said he had to leave. The young women came chasing after us and said that he had stolen the phone. (and Saulo has a record of stealing so we didn`t doubt it for one second) So we ran out the door and found him and asked him 3 or 4 times if he had the phone and he said no and left. Then everyone found out and it became this huge deal and we had 2 wards involved and the stake president! They called the police that wouldn`t do anything and we called Saulo and asked him to come back to the church and he wouldn`t but Carina and Azul came back. Azul pulled us aside and told us that yes her dad did have it and was going to sell it for drugs and that her grandma (Carina) and her dad were lying. The stake president then went to their house to get the phone and talk with Saulo and he still denied that he had it. The worst part about it all is that the young women that got her phone stolen is the only member in her family and her parents are mad at her they tell her she can`t go to church or mutual. So ya. that was my Sunday. How was yours? haha

¨When you look to the book, you look to the Lord¨ -Elder Stevenson
I LOVE THIS QUOTE from conference!!! because it`s 100% true! Really when we look and read and apply anything from the Book of Mormon it`s what the Lord wants because it`s the Lords teachings. Read the Book. Pray about the Book. Apply the Book.  ( ya put that on a book mark haha) 

with lots and lots of love!
Hermana Smoot :)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Oct. 17: Running from the Police

First order of business ... HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDY!!!!!!!!!! Yesterday my dad turned 47!!! 3 years away from 50 ... (he`s basically half dead) I hope you had the best birthday ever dad! All of Argentina wishes you a ¡¡FELIZ CUMPLE ANO!! (proof shown in pictures)

LIFE this week was absolutely crazy! We had the worst numbers we`ve ever had in 2 transfers but we had 2 huge service projects, our exchanges with our Sister Training Leaders, preparation and perform a ¨Capilla Abierta¨ ah it was just nuts! It was still a good week though :) One of our service projects is helping our recent convert Carina paint this extra apartment she has because she wants to rent it out. So we spent almost all morning scraping off the old paint, plastering the 
holes and dents, and sandpapering the whole thing. And we get to continue tonight :) Cheap labor is a beautiful thing. 
Our exchanges were so much fun! I got to go with Hna. Teves. She`s from Argentina and is a convert of 5 years! She is so strong and such an example. I love her! After we had a sleepover because they were gonna come to the Capilla Abierta with us. Ya that was so much fun! 

Our INVESTIGATORS have really suffered this week because we haven`t much time to go proselyting or teach and when we would have time our lessons would fall through or they weren`t there. But we did get to have another lesson with the Winkau family and they are rock stars! I love our lessons with them because we`re able to laugh and have fun but also concentrate and feel the spirit. Talk about a golden lesson. They`re all progressing and saying their prayers as a family! I love even more that you can see the dynamic of the family changing as they`ve started reading and praying together! They just gotta come to church .... 

Something FUNNY that happened this week was while I was with Hna Teves in our exchange. We were walking through the streets between appointments and got a text from the assistants of the president (who are also missionaries) and it said something like ¨Some missionaries close to your area have been accused of robbing, so if the police stop and talk to you, don`t be alarmed, but be calm and tell them the truth¨ About 10 mins later me and Hna Teves called the assistants panting like we were running and told them that the police pulled up behind us and turned on their lights and sirens and we started running. (that is not true!!!!!) and the elders were so worried hahahahahaha when we told them it was a joke one of them just started laughing and the other was a little mad. Hna Teves and I laughed about it all weekend!!! 

Herman Brown and our and our sister trainer leaders.

St John 13:1-16, 34-35
This is the story of Jesus Christ washing the feet of his disciples. In verse 8 it says 

"Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me."

Do we allow the Lord to clean our feet? to Cleanse us and wash us clean? He cleans us through the atonement! We let him help us when we apply the atonement! when we repent and become better through what we`ve learned! 
After Christ had washed everyone's feet he sits down with them and says -

"Know ye what I have done to you?
 15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
 34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
Are we applying this commandment? How? When we really turn ourselves to the Lord and love everyone! We become more like him. Christ washed the feet of Judas, the man who sold him for the price of a slave, and he still loved him. We have the power within us to decided to love or to hate. How are we going to choose to use our agency? I promise is you try to love your neighbor, your family, the people at school or at work or in the street more, you will be blessed with the love of Christ. You will be showered with blessings that your Father in Heaven is waiting to give to you!
I love you all so so so much!!!
con mucho amor
Hermana Smoot

The Sepulveda's.  They are like our 2nd parents here and I love them!! 
This is a lot owned by the church (future temple lot).  It was so inspiring to see it.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Oct 10: Bringing souls to Christ! ( sometimes by crazy singing)

Bringing people unto Christ is the best feeling :)
We baptized Carina and Azul (grandma and granddaughter) and they we´re so happy! Originally we we´re going to baptize Saulo (the son of Carina but the dad of Azul), but after he passed his baptismal interview he had a little freak out
and went and bought $3000 worth of drugs and didn´t show up the the baptism ....... so maybe it´s best he didn´t get baptized ha ha. We had one of the young men baptize the granddaughter Azul (who's 13 years old) and it was so funny! They had to baptize her 3 times! The first time her foot popped up out of the water, and then she just dunked herself without saying the ordnance and then they finally did it right! It was so funny. We were all kinda giggling, but afterward she came back into the bathroom and started crying. She said she couldn´t even describe how she felt! And then when Carina came back she just said,¨I feel like crying, but I´m not sad." Carina´s father was a member of the church and just about a month and a half ago he was killed in the street by a gang. The last conversation she had with him was  about the church and how he wanted to go to church with the whole family. And Yesterday she fulfilled her father's desire and became a member of the church! She was so happy!!

Imagine 2 gringas running around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to organize a baptism - ya- that was my week. ha ha It was crazy!

We had some amazing experiences this week. First we´re teaching a part member family right now. The mom is a member but she has 4 kids (3 are of baptism age) that aren´t members. The oldest is Tamera and she´s 16. When we first met them she told us how she always loved to be in the dark and watch horror movies and just loved all things dark. With time she told us she hadn´t watched a scary movie in a week, and her mom said that was really weird, and that she was spending much more time with the family. We asked her how her reading and praying was going and she´s gotten through the first 3 books of the Book of Mormon and prays every night and has gotten her answer that it´s true. But she´s very timid about it. We were teaching the Plan of Salvation and it really hit her. 3 years ago her dad passed away and it really affected her. As we talked about the resurrection she just began to cry, but cry uncontrollably. We had her say the closing pray and it was the most beautiful prayer I´ve ever heard! 

Our other experience was with a little 11 year old named Lautaro (who reminds me exactly! of Lockwood!! His laugh and everything ) His mom Yamile is a less active. When we went to go teach them we played a little soccer in their front yard for a little bit and then went inside for the lesson. As I finished offering the opening prayer Lautaro had tears in his eyes. We asked him why he was crying and he said that he had seen a big white thing that he couldn´t describe on the other end of the table. We then asked him if he had prayed and gotten his answer if the church was true, he then just closed his eyes and was silent for a little bit. When he opened his eyes there were tears running down his cheeks and he said, yes, I know this church is true. 

How amazing is that?? God really does choose his children that are ready for the gospel and puts them in our path. What a privilege!

Every time you prepare for a baptism you have to go clean the baptismal font to make sure it´s all pretty and clean. So when Hna Brown and I went and we´re cleaning we brought my speaker and were singing to church music as we cleaned. And we didin´t think anyone was in the church so we were singing bien alto. Not to loud, but loud enough you could hear it in the hallways. Give it like 20 mins and some of our youth walk in videotaping us hahahaha and they were with some of their non-member friends!! ha ha But they said we looked like were a fun time and  they want to have an activity with us with their non-member friends. Like a giant Family home evening. ahaha I guess being weird works ;)   These girls that we are with in this picture are all girls that are preparing to go on missions or have a mission call in hand!

This is just and underground supermarket that we went to this week!  Kind of different !

D&C 45:28-29
And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fullness of my gospel. But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men

How sad is it when the light of God is right in front of their face and they deny it anyway. That is the power of Satan. Always look and recognize the power and hand of God in your life. If you do this, you´ll never fall away. 

les queiro mucho :)
Hermana Smoot