Sunday, March 8, 2015

2nd Month Busy and Rewarding

We have been very busy this month.  Some days have been very tiring, especially Sundays.  We think we had better pace ourselves a little for the rest of the mission.  We will finish the 8 MLS training sessions for senior missionaries in Salt Lake South Mission this month.  This will give a us a free morning we have not had.

We try to hit as many Ward Council meetings as we can each month.  Most Wards only hold the councils on the 1st and 3rd Sunday.  When possible we attend 2 on each of those Sundays. As we attend these council meetings we get to know the wards and and are usually given referrals.  With Jan and Feb over for this mission we have attended 6 of the Ward council meetings and have 2 to go. We then try to attend some of 2 ward Sunday meetings each week.  Usually we do one ward for all 3 hours and one ward Sacrament Meeting only. This is why Sunday is so very busy.  We have also  had 2 Sundays this month that we had teaching appointments in the evening and one Sunday  that we had a stake missionary  meeting on Sunday.  We spoke in 2 Sacrament meetings this month as well.   Needless to say, Sundays can be exhausting.

We have had some very good and spiritual experiences this month.  We mentioned Sister Kitches last blog.  Well she has now attended 4 weeks of church and it appears she is established as a fully active member.  What a wonderful and rewarding thing it is to see someone progress and so fast.  It is a great start to our mission.  We are still meeting with  more widows that the Bishops have assigned us to visit. We have seen some progress in another less active widow.  We pray that she will continue to move forward.

We have met and visited with, on several occasions, Kristi Bebo. She is a middle aged single sister. She is a less active member.  We were invited to go visit her by her home teacher.  She has been welcoming and eager to learn. This time in her life is full of struggles.  We met her just after her break up with a long time boy friend.   This break up and then our meeting her was not coincidence. The Lord knew that this was the best time to have her heart opened.   She works on Sundays, but has agreed to change her schedule, if possible, to have at least Sunday mornings open.  February's schedule is already set, but she did speak to them about changing it starting in March.  We will pray for that to take place.  Elder Smart has worked  on her family history.  She is happy with the things he has found.  We showed her the video called "Good Things to Come."  She has questions about prayer and we are scheduled to return next week. We pray that the spirit will be present as we teach and her heart will be touched.

We have had many opportunities this month to use our family  history experience to help and teach others.  One sort of active family, wanted help with their family history.  We spent one evening with them teaching family tree and some research techniques.  We taught a returning to activity couple also how to do their family tree and find temple names.  3rd Ward invited us to speak in their Relief Society activity meeting and teach family tree.  Our district leader asked us to talk at district meeting on how to use family history as a proselyting and retention tool.  Most rewarding of all of this teaching has been helping  newly baptized members to prepare family names for temple work.  Sister Kremer-Steel has obtained her limited use temple recommend and will soon be doing this work. The Stewart family is also getting their family names ready for their first temple experience.

One of our biggest challenges has been to visit with and try to teach and bring the spirit to a man that has had Church disciplinary action.  We feel that the Lord has sent us to him because it is time for his return and repentance.  He is fighting any change, but he has been kind to us and let us visit with him twice this month.  We feel that we do not want to give up on him, but he has let us know that he does not have any desire to change.  We pray his heart will change.

We are working with a couple in our home ward, the Prunty family.  I think that we are the first missionaries that they have allowed to visit with them.  It is family history that has gotten us in and is still keeping them with us.  Her father was adopted in Germany and the family wants very much to find his parents.  Elder Smart has asked his old friend that specializes in German research to help. She is working with her sister this weekend to get all the information together that they have to help him search.  In talking with  me on the phone today about the information, she asked, "When is Sacrament Meeting in our ward?"  I told her and she said she would see us there Sunday.  Wow, what a blessing.  We just pray that she will not change her mind.

We have met with so many other people this month -- part member families, some that have completely separated  themselves from the Church, and active members with struggles.  We love meeting so many wonderful people.

Mission transfers this month took one of the Elders from our stake.  Elder Outz is gone and Elder Werner is now training a greenie, Elder Rogers.  Elder Rogers was born in Russia and adopted by a family in Missouri when he was 7 years old.

Sister Smart had a good afternoon with a Sister's Activity this month.  It was for all the Sister's in our Zone.
Sisters in Draper Zone
We are sure happy we accepted the call to serve this mission.  It has been a truly rewarding experience.

This is Jesus Christ's Church!!!!

Elder and Sister Smart

Monday, February 23, 2015

1st month - Jan 25, 2015

We have had a busy ride this first month.  We meet every Tuesday morning for a 2 hour district meeting.  We meet every Wednesday morning for a two hour Senior MLS training. On Fridays we meet with our Stake Young Elders to correlate.  They come at lunch time to our home and we have lunch while we correlate.   We have monthly district meetings that last 4 to 6 hours.  Our last one was on New Years Eve.  It went until 9:00 p.m.  I guess that was to keep the young missionaries out of trouble.  Sister Smart had a 3 hour Sister's meeting last week as well.  We are still serving from 2 to 9 at the Riverton Family History Center.  Someone said we are called on a mission of meetings.

In addition to these regularly scheduled meetings, we scheduled a meeting with each of the Bishops in our 8 wards.  We introduced ourselves and gave them a copy of our job description, since MLS missionaries are a new thing in our stake.  We have also attended 3 Ward correlation meetings so far.  Each week we visit one of the wards, going all 3 hours and usually an extra sacrament meeting of another ward. Today we went to all 3 hours for 2 wards....6 hours of TB.

Some of the Bishops have shared names of people in their ward that he would like us to visit.  We have enjoyed visiting with some of them.  1st Ward has had a lot of recent widows and with our experience in loosing a spouse, he asked us to visit with some of them.

Sister Welch is a recently widowed member of the 1st Ward.  Elder Smart knew her from years ago when all of the wards in our stake were one ward. She was very sweet and we are working on finding some people to help her with some of her financial questions.  Since our visit, she has started paying her tithing and is working toward returning to the temple when her granddaughter gets married.

Sis Calton lost her husband a few months ago.He was the stake patriarch.  She is such a wonderful lady and it was pure joy for Sister Smart to get to know her and Elder Smart to renew acquaintances.
We helped her to understand about regular household things that her husband had always done, such as changing the furnace filters.

Sister Kitches is another widow that has been inactive for over 50 years.  She was very open to us probably because she felt we understood about loosing a spouse.  We loved getting to know her and the spirit helped us to recognize some of her needs. Since she had not been to church for such a long time, she was unsure as to where her deceased husband was and what would happen to their relationship after death.  We taught her the plan of salvation.  We also challenged her to attend church on Sunday.   She said she thought it was time to do so and was at church today.

Another family that we visited with is an inactive family in our home ward.  The Turners were active when he left on our mission to England, in fact, he was our home teacher.  We stopped by and had a good social visit with her, but he was not home.  We invited them to a family home evening that we were going to share pictures of our mission.  They did not show up.  Elder Smart sent a text to the Brother Turner about possibly getting together for lunch or dinner.  Brother Turner was favorable about this idea, but is out of the country for a couple of weeks.  We really would enjoy time with them and consider them good friends.

Elder Outz and Elder Werner

The young Elders gave us a referral of a recently activated family in the 7th Ward.  The Tanners are a young couple with a little baby girl.  They are interested in family history and we were able to spend an evening with them on their family history.  We had to skip this week due to computer problems with the familysearch tree program.  The technical support at familysearch has since solve the problem and we have an appointment with them tomorrow.  Our goal with them is to help them find family names to go to the temple and do baptisms for their own ancestors.

Elder Werner and Elder Outz had a baptism yesterday.  Sister Chris Steel was baptized.  She is married to an active member.  She had been attending church with him for a couple of years.  They recently moved into our stake.  The Elders found her, taught her and challenged her to baptism.  She is such a go getter and will do great in church activity and service.

We want all our family to know that we are happy to be serving this mission.  We love the Lord and are so blessed.  We have been given so much that we would be very ungrateful if we did not try to serve and help others.

Elder and Sister Smart

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Call

We had been home from our England Mission about 2 1/2 months with all kinds of family and travel plans in the making, when we were called into the stake president's office with President Willes.  He asked us to turn in our papers to serve as full time member leader support missionaries in the Salt Lake South Mission specifically for the Draper Stake.  We were really taken back by this, but Sister Smart was ready to accept immediately.  Elder Smart had some big reservations about it.  He felt there were so very many seniors in the stake that had not served missions and could easily take this call.  He felt that we had been back for such a short time and we had not had time to really see and do the things that we looked forward to when we returned from England.   A lot of thought and prayers were expressed.  We had tickets to "Meet The Mormons" that week.  After viewing this movie and seeing how much so many others had given of themselves, Elder Smart realized that he needed to accept this call.  After he had agreed to accept, Sister Smart started feeling a little more than overwhelmed by this and had some second thoughts. After all our rebellion, both of us agreed to accept this call and give our best to serve the Lord, for we know that we have been so blessed.

When our call came, we were taken back again.  The call gave us about 3 weeks before we were to enter the MTC on December 15th.  Wow, we were to be there the week before Christmas.  That meant we had to finish all Christmas plans prior to entering the MTC.  We felt that we were being tried.  Were we really willing to serve the Lord when and where he wanted us to?  We recommitted ourselves and went to the MTC as instructed.  The spirit told us  that we would not be sorry if we served this mission

This was our Welcome sign at our
 first meeting.

The entrance to the MTC
 This was our second time visiting the MTC as missionaries in 2 years.  We recognized some of the trainers as the same ones that were there a little less than 2 years ago.  They recognized us as well.  I wonder if that is good or bad?   We learned and shared with the group. We participated in lots of role playing and testimony sharing.  This week fired us up and we were ready to go full force as we returned home.

Seniors at MTC One Week Before Christmas! (look hard we're there)

There was a smaller than usual amount of senior missionaries there that week.

Our mission requires lots of meetings and more and more training and role playing practice.  These meetings started the first week day we were back home.  So the 3 days prior to Christmas was spent in meetings.

We do have a testimony that this call is from the Lord and we will find success in helping "hasten the work"  if we will humble ourselves and let the spirit direct us.  We are grateful that the Lord has trusted us with this calling.  We pray to be able to serve diligently as the Lord would have us do.

A picture we found in the MTC of a baptism.
Notice the men with spears.
Their job is to keep the alligators away.