Sami singing the song she wrote

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Call 2009

We had a great Christmas Call to Sami today. We had her on speaker phone and had her sister Jennie, who is teaching English in France, on a video call on the computer. So the two girls could talk to us and to each other. Sami is loving her mission and rather than being homesick is enjoying the time that she has to spend in Chile. We are so proud of her and love her so much.

Following is a slide show of Sami in Chile accompanied by a recording she sent us of her and the other 3 hermanas who live with her singing a Christmas song in Spanish. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Letter from Dec 21


Hola y ¡feliz navidad!

Espero que su navidad sea super feliz. And... I was thinking about Kate this week and now she is getting married!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I asked her to wait for me and she said no. I don´t have a lot of time so we´ll get down to the important business.

I have the number that you should call to talk to me. I don´t have a card to call you but I will be in the hair salon of one of the members (land line). My time to talk is about 3:30pm - 5:00. It really should only be about an hour but we have to be done at 5pm so it would be better to call at 3:30. Hermana Grahn has the phone from 2pm - 3:30pm so I wouldn't try to call then. I´m excited to talk to you all!!!!

Christmas traditions here:

Most of the trees are a lot smaller here and they put ribbon around the tree like a corkscrew. I´ll send you pictures of our Christmas tree so you can see.

They open presents Dec. 24 right at midnight so pretty much the 25.

They eat pan de pascua  here. I think it´s kind of like fruitcake but it´s so good!

More to follow....

Guess what?

Karen, one of our investigators, is getting baptized on Christmas!!! This Friday. She is really awesome. She has come so far from where she was before. She had a lot of trouble believing in Jesus Christ but she got her answer. :) And know she wants to be baptized on Christmas. I´m really excited. I think it´s so cute.

And Enzo, husband of Alejandra (new convert), is getting baptized this Sunday. He gave up smoking 3 packs a day! He is super ready to get baptized. He is so excited every time we meet together to teach him.

I hope you guys have an awesome Christmas! I miss you all but I´m not homesick. Sorry. I´m too busy. Besides, I only have 2 Christmases here in Chile so I should enjoy them. And boy will I. :) It is a little weird to eat so much ice cream around Christmas. (it´s hot)

Our couch was so comfortable. For it I will mourn.

Tallia, Jon, and Alice Sage are so cute in the Nativity!!!

I haven´t sent your package yet so you won´t get it by Christmas but I will try to send it tomorrow.

Merry Christmas, All!!!!

Isaiah 9:6 (For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.)

love,
Hermana Smith

The tree in Sami's home

Hermanas Grahn and Smith decorated for Christmas








Pictures from Paint Ball outing Dec 14 2009


Hermanas Grahn and Smith

Top, L to R: E. Brett, E. Clark, E. Rawe, E. Barton, E. Stull, Hna. Torres, E. Miller, Hna. Smith. Front, L to R: E. Barker, E. Gallo, E. Bastow, E. Merrill, E. Castillo, Hna, Grahn, Hna. Meikle.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Letters from Dec 14

No se precupe, Mamá. Tengo mi chocolate en mi casetina para comer más cerca de navidad. I may have eaten all the other chocolate but my stocking of goodies remains untouched. I´ll probably get packages tomorrow or next Tuesday at our last district meeting before Christmas. Whoa. How did that happen? Anyways, we went paint balling today and it was legit. Camo and everything. Way fun.

And one of the members gave us a mini Christmas tree and decorations so we are going to decorate it today. Yay! For the Christmas call we are going to use a land line. We still don´t know when we are going to call but we have to be finished with everything before 5 pm our time with both of our calls. More info to follow hopefully.

If you have time could you email me grandma´s Christmas cookie recipe. I think you said you sent it in the package so I´ll probably get them about the same time but Hermana Grahn and I want to make some for our investigators.

Speaking of our investigators...

Alejandra was confirmed a member of the church yesterday! And Enzo hasn´t smoked for 6 days! He has a goal to be baptized the 27 of this month, right after Christmas. :)

We have a lot of people to teach and not enough time, it seems like. Also, we are trying to work more effectively with the members so if you or anyone else has any ideas about how we could use their help better or how we could help them invite their friends and family members learn more about the gospel they would be appreciated. A lot of people here are the only members in their family, like you, Mom :)

It´s kind of weird to have Christmas when it is so hot out. I´m excited to talk to some of you in less than 2 weeks!!! I miss snow and cold things (with Christmas) but just this and another Christmas and it will be cold again so I have to enjoy the warmth while I have it.

Not so long today, I would like to take a nap. And I am going to try to send your package today so you will get it BEFORE Christmas. Keep your fingers crossed...

But
I love you.
All.

love,
Hermana Smith


Here is another of Sami's emails to Jennie:

Hey Man,

I´m going to hook you up right now with a scripture I found on the bus that is sweet. I have the same problem as you sometimes. I worry a lot about things I probably shouldn't and I get stressed (especially with all this talk about what I should DO with my life/study. that practically killed me). Anyway, I felt like this scripture was written for me. It´s cool how that happens sometimes. Philippians 4:6-7. And be sure to read the footnote at the bottom. I hope it does something for you too. :)

You´re right about the Spirit. Really almost all the rules we have are to help us to always be worthy of the help of the Spirit. It´s so key. That´s the first thing we teach here a lot. About the Spirit and the guidance and happiness it brings to our lives. If we can help people understand why they want the Spirit they will want to do what it takes to get it and maintain it.

Have fun in Euro Disney! Que bacan. We went paintballing. That will probably be my Christmas present. It was a little expensive for here....

Thanks for sending me a package!!! I´m excited to open it.

I love your emails. Stay safe, Cadet.

love,
Hermana Smith

Letter from Sami to her sister Jennie (in France)

This is a letter that Sami sent to her sister Jennie. While I just usually post Sami's family letters, this one has such a beautiful testimony of her mission from her that I wanted to include it:

Jennie,

I am curious about this mission talk. And honestly I felt a strong drive to go because I wanted to distance myself as much as possible from certain people that made me sad one time. At least it started out that way. My mission is something that I think it will take my whole life to understand but something I am so grateful for. Sometimes I feel like I´ve already learned a lot so I can come home and put all my new good habits and ideas to use. :) But that´s not actually how it works. And I still have a lot to learn. I felt lost for years, remember? My mission is the first thing that I haven´t really felt lost about. Scared maybe, or tired, or happy, or whatever. But not actually lost. And I appreciate that feeling a lot because I know what it feels like to be listless and sad and do nothing but eat, watch movies, and play the guitar. And this is a lot better (although I did get better at the guitar really fast...) The blessings from being happy in the work are so many more than being lost in Provo/Kent/My Mind. Not that I´m saying that you should go or no. Obviously it is up to you 100%. I just know for me my mission has been an anchor that I was missing before and it has really helped me put my priorities in perspective. Which sometimes is hard because my priorities live in WA, CA, and France but the things I am learning here are worth it. Especially since I know A: I will see you all again in not too long and B: the Lord will bless my family (you guys) while I am here serving Him. In that I have confidence. And I think it´s better for you guys to have blessings now and me later. What a deal! :) Anyway, I´m glad you are out seeing the world. I really think it´s great that you have taken the initiative to go do something. To just get out there and do something. And I know you´ll figure it out. Especially with the help of prayer and the Holy Ghost. Man, that´s what I talk about all day. And because of that I really do know that you will receive the help you need. Heavenly Father always answers, in His way and time of course, but He answers. Sometimes I think it´s easier for me to recognize the little answers than the big ones. Like I´m scared that I´ll get what I want or something. But don´t stress or be scared. You just have to trust Heavenly Father, He´ll take care of you. Oh, and keep doing things! Sometimes people trust and wait, and then don´t DO anything. That is the story of my life here. Heavenly Father can´t tell us where to go if we aren´t moving. But you know all this, big sis. :) I love you and I hope you have a good week doing things

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pictures sent on Dec 6


Hermana Smith, Alejandra, Hermana Grahn

Sami opening her first package from home



Family,

I got your package. Thank you!!!!

And pretty much I already ate the majority of the chocolate. And the chocolate chips arrived in some sort of chocolate ball, like A chocolate chip. Or maybe chunk would be a better word. :) I am going to break it up and eat it. Yum. I am so excited about the music!!! Hermana Grahn and I are going to check it out today (did I tell you she is a piano performance major?) (Sami is a singer & I sent her some church & Christmas music in Spanish as well as some other pieces. Not only is Hermana Grahn an almost neighbor of ours - Seattle & Victoria BC - but they share a love of music) I appreciate you telling me about the wrapped stuff because I was too scared to open any of it but now when I get home I can have a party!!!! Oh, and all the stickers are great. I already used some of the Christmas ones and the Princess stickers will be great when I teach the law of chastity and all about modesty. :) Jk, the kids here are going to love me because they love stickers. It will be a love by association, nothing more. Yay for Christmas! I am still working on sending your package which I probably should do next Monday (we have a zone activity then...PAINTBALLING!!!!! AHHHHHH!!!! I am SO excited.) And I am saving the scone mix for Christmas morning because it is a Friday and that´s when we have our weekly planning session so we are in the house until Lunch. PERFECT.

I am curious and excited to get my other package because I have no idea what it is and I´m not going to pull a muscle in my brain thinking about it.

¡Happy Birthday Lynnsie y Alysa! (2 of her nieces - Lynnsie turned 16 Dec 6, Alysa turned 3 Dec 8)

And Alejandra got baptized this Sunday! (The first of her contacts who has been baptised since she got to Chile). Yay! It was a really cool experience and we are teaching her husband, Enzo. He told us yesterday about how he wanted to learn more because of the change he has seen in Alejandra. He even tried to tempt her with cigarettes and alcohol the day before her baptism which I DO NOT appreciate but she wouldn´t have any of it and he was really impressed with that. At least that´s what I think he said. There are still people that I have trouble understanding.... hehe... I´ll try to send pictures today if I have time. We are in Linares for an activity with the other Hermanas in this part of the mission (about 11 of us). All of the Hermanas outside of Concepcion minus the 4 that are in Constitucion because it is so far or something like that. We are going to eat tacos. I don´t know if you can understand how excited I am to eat a taco. The food here is delicious but none of it is a taco.

The news about Thom Carbajal is so exciting!!!!!! (The Carbajals are friends from church - Sister Carbajal was Sami's YW pres - she & her husband have been married for 17 1/2 years - and he just recently decided to take the missionary discussions & is being baptised on Dec 12 - the family is looking forward to going to the Temple next year.) It´s really nice to hear about families in the gospel. That´s really the best because the gospel is for the family, nobody wants to make it to the celestial kingdom by themselves. Which is good because they probably can´t. :) We try to find families to teach that can accept the gospel together. The gospel never is an easy change and it´s so much better to have people you love supporting you every step of the way.

We had interviews with Presidente Chavez Thursday. They were really great, he really has got to be one of the best mission presidents there is. Here is another tidbit that I´m not sure if I heard right. I almost hope not. Hermana Chavez told us that there are 400,000 less-active members in Chile. At least I think she said that. I would believe it because there are somewhere around 600 or 700 in San Carlos. It´s so sad to have so many people who felt it was true and then decided not to follow that feeling. We work a lot with less-active members here.

I don´t have a lot of time left so I´m not sure if I will send the pictures but I should send some next week if not today. I´ll talk with the other Hermanas about the Christmas call so we can figure that out and everthing. I love you all and I hope you are all happy and Christmasy and all. Don´t sweat it about the tree. We don´t have one up either. :) But I´m going to try to make one today if I have time.

Love you all!

Hermana Smith

Monday, November 30, 2009

Email from Nov 30, 2009

You write the longest emails I have ever read in my entire life. But I am glad because I want to know what is happening and no one else wants to tell me (except Jennie) (and Dad likes to send me book reports without an analysis which is actually just plaigarism) I CAN´T SPELL ANYMORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyway. The members feed us lunch Tuesday through Sunday. It is always delicious.The other Hermanas are from the USA. I really want lasagna so I would appreciate it if you didn't email me about really delicious food unless you plan on mailing some of it to me.

Everyone is having babies, except for me of course. In case you were worried about that. It´s weird that I've already been here for 2 months. Time is really slow but really fast at the same time.

I have good news! Alejandra is getting baptized this Saturday!!!! I talked a little about this in my email to Jennie so you can reference that if you like. I am really excited for her. She has changed a lot and is a lot happier now than when I first met her. Now her husband Enzo wants to get baptized too but we haven´t really taught him anything even though he has already come to church 3 times. Now we are going to meet every day so he can have the support he needs to quit smoking too. He has already started to smoke less, only 10 or so (he used to smoke 5 packs a day). They have a 9 year-old daughter named Paloma (Dove in English). She is super cute and super stubborn. :) We have been teaching her and some of her friends in the chapel. They are all so cute!

Leticia is another investigator who has quit smoking. She told us this week that since she started meeting with us and reading in the Book of Mormon she hasn't had the urge to smoke. It was really funny because she kept saying ¨Now I don´t smoke. And why don´t I smoke? I don´t know...¨ She used to smoke a lot too. A LOT of people here in Chile smoke. And they smoke A LOT.

Cristian is really awesome too. He just needs to come to church. He knows the Book of Mormon is true and that it is the word of God. He says he feels good when he reads and prays (the Spirit!). We have met a lot with his family and they are all really fun. They invited us over for New Year´s. Apparently New Year´s here is bigger than Christmas.

Rosa Sepulveda came to church for the first time yesterday and she loved it. She said she is going to bring her son Naslo with her next week. Hooray!

That´s it for my investigator report for now. I´ll share more next week. :)

I´M REALLY EXCITED ABOUT MY PACKAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I should get it this Thursday (Interviews with Presidente Chavez).

Zone Conference was really excellent. We talked a lot about the Atonement and the Sacrament and how when people don´t come it´s likely that they don´t really understand the connection between the two. The Sacrament is our opportunity to thank our Savior in the way He has asked of us. It was really great because Hermana Grahn and I are already doing a lot of the things they talked about in Zone Conference. We went in a train!!!!!

I miss Thanksgiving. And you guys. I´m going to stop now so I can send pictures. I probably forgot to say a lot of things.

love,
Hermana Smith

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sami's letter from Nov 23 2009

Querida Familia,

I haven´t really seen the other forms of ¨dear¨used, just ¨querida¨. But that doesn' mean they aren't right.

Sorry the pictures didn't work. I knew that and I sent you another email telling you that but somehow I sent it to myself and not you. Which isn't very helpful because I already knew that it didn't work. And also I lied because I am not going to send them this week because I can´t remember where I put my camera. But NEXT week....

And concerning your questions about structure: There are 2 districts in my zone. The waterfalls was a zone activity. People in my district: E. Bastow, E. Barker, E. Clark, and 1 new Elder. In the other district in my zone: Hermana Meikel, Hermana Torres, E. Rawe, E. Barton, E. Stowe, new Elder. Zone leaders: E. Merrill, E. Brett, and a new Elder who is not a zone leader but is their companion.

Thank you for giving me ¨the scoop¨.(there had been a question about whether or not MP3 players were allowed in the Chile Concepcion Mission - so I checked with the mission office and got the definitive answer that they are allowed - which is good since we sent Sami one for Christmas) I am excited to get a package! Chocolate is really expensive here. At least good chocolate. and I am all out.

Christmas is exciting! I am going to buy some things today to send in a package for Christmas. But I probably won´t send the package for a couple of weeks. And everything will be small and cheap. :)

We have our zone conference which means two things. Firstly, I will miss the most delicious lunch with Hermana Fresia. And secondly, I have been in Chile for almost 2 months! Weird. We are traveling to Zone Conference by train! Which is exciting because I have never really traveled by train before AND we live right next to the train station so I don´t have to go very far to get there.

3 of our investigators came to church this week which is a lot better than last week. We are teaching a lot of families which is awesome. When a whole family accepts the gospel they can support one another which is especially helpful with new converts because for some people it is a huge change.

Elder Jaar got transferred to Concepción so it will be a little harder for Mom to stalk me through his blog. :)

Mom, sounds like you had a fun birthday. I´m really glad you got my letter before! Just in time. Also I don´t remember if I wished you (Mom and Dad) a happy anniversary. Also I don´t remember how ti spell. Congratulations on being married for a really long time!

I hope people are patient with me writing letters. It takes me a while because I´ll usually write them one week and send them the next Monday.

Hermana Grahn gets back from her mission in March I think. She will probably get transferred this cambio because she only has 2 left.

Anyway, the work her is really great. I am really excited to work with so many families. I miss you guys a lot but you will still be there when I get back so that´s okay.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!! Remember me on one of my favorite holidays of the year. A holiday centered in thankfulness. And food.

About the Christmas call: I´m still not sure. We set a time on Christmas day and you call or something but I think I will buy a calling card and call you because it might be easier to connect that way.

Anyway, that´s it for this week. Next week will be more spiritually uplifting and also will have pictures.

Love you all!

Hermana Smith

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sami's email from Nov 16, 2009

I will do better this week and post her letter on time.
Here are some pictures for you to enjoy.(which she forgot to attach - maybe next week). Disfruten! We ate a pig leg for lunch and I´m pretty sure there was a bullet hole in it. Also, I am sad in a hammock (that is from today) Hoy día!

Yeah, apperently we can´t have mp3 players. Didn' know because I don´t have one. I hope that isn't what you sent.... Sorry if it is. (I checked with the mission home and they are allowed - apparently a 'Mormon missionary legend' (as in 'urban legends') is running wild in their mission. It is good, because that is one of the things we sent her for Christmas.

We are teaching a lot of people but they aren't coming to church. It is still a little frustrating but the church is still true. Bueno, the church will always be true.

I´m not really sure what you want to know about my house. It´s just a house that is normal and also in Chile. It isn't very cold now because summer is starting but I still sleep with 2 or 3 wool blankets, my fleece blanket (thanks, padres!) and sweats. Everything is normal here. I don´t spend a lot of time in the house because we are working all day. But it is really nice to have time to rest and study after lunch. :)

I am typing with an American keyboard on a Chilean computer so I might type things wrong...

I would not say no to a backgammon game. We don´t have time to play except p days but sometimes we have activities with other missionaries (group games) and sometimes we stay in our house and write letters (less people games).

I have sung in church but not by myself. I directed the primary for their song this past Sunday (it was the primary program in Sacrament meeting) and I couldn't sing because I was louder than all of them. Oh well. It was kind of funny lip syncing in Spanish to a song I don´t really know....

I would love to have some recipes but they don´t use measurements here like we do in the U.S. I've only seen people use spoons and mugs/cups to measure ingredients but if you send me recipes I should be able to figure it out. Mostly for desserts that are easy to make. Sabe que, we make brownies in the microwave and they actually taste really good. 15 minutes total. Only 5 minutes baking time. Rapido. And also I love cookies a lot. So I would not say no to Grandma´s cookie recipe.

I´m going to start gathering small things-presents for Christmas but i probably won´t send a package until much closer to Christmas. And apparently it is pretty expensive so it won´t be much.

Time goes by so fast. I've already been here 1 1/2 months! Hermana Grahn and I are together for another 6 weeks! I have inspiring things to tell you during the week but then I forget them when I sit in front of the computer.

My Spanish is better.

I still love you.

The church is still true.

love,
Hermana Smith

Shoutout to Jennifer Smith

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sami's letter from Nov 9

It has been a busy week, but I thought I should post last weeks letter before I get another one tomorrow:
Hola, Familia.

It is cold here so I already use long johns. I´m pretty sure I will be able to find all the things I need here easily when I need them. It will harder to find the money to buy them... but I won´t have to worry about that until around April probably.

This week was really great. We are finding a lot of people to teach and we have a lot of baptismal dates which is really exciting. It is really hard to get people to come to church on Sunday though. There is always something else that gets in the way which is frustrating because I know what a difference it makes in my life to attend church every Sunday and how I feel when I miss one or two or I don´t take the Sacrament. It´s like all of a sudden my week is a lot more difficult but it´s hard to help other people understand that without them experiencing it for themselves.

Thank you for sending me a package with things that could melt which I assume and hope are made of chocolate.

Mom, good job on signing up for a yoga class! It will probably help the fact that your body is full of pain. Which is always a good thing to try and fix. How is Jess doing with her yoga? Is she going to try to be an instructor too?

Hey, so I gave a talk for the first time in what has probably been years and it was in Spanish. Oh how my life has changed. For the better. Honestly though. If I had known what an amazing experience missions are I would have prepared myself a long time ago. Now all my studying is for other people and their needs (which also helps address my needs and strengthen me) but it makes me all the more excited to have time to study to learn doctrines more in depth. Also , serving a mission makes me want to learn science more because it is really so amazing how intricate everything in nature is. I want to understand things better now. Too bad that doesn't mean that science will like me... hehe.

Brian, I am excited that you have a motorcycle and I will want to ride it when I get back. So many people here have motor bikes (as in a normal bike, with a motor) like you traded your bike for that one time and I think Dad got mad. Anyway, people use them a lot here. At least in San Carlos. Craiglist Master.

Something new I learned. The exchange rate isn't exact which is common sense but for some reason it didn't occur to me. but 10000 pesos which is $20 US is really more the equivalent of $60 ish dollars in the US. Which is good for me, I guess.

Mike, I would love some small games (very small) that are easy and quick to play and don´t take a lot of time to learn. I miss our game nights.  You are the Game King.

See you in 15 months.

Mom, they are going to call you as a seminary teacher and you will have to get up soooooo early.

Also, I can´t go to any other websites besides this email and lds.org and mormon.org so if you send me links I´m not going to click on them unless they are for these websites. Sorry.

Be safe in the big storm that is coming from Alaska.

Jennie, be careful of the storm that will graze Ireland. It is most dangerous.

Dad, I love you.

Family,

I also love the rest of you. Thank you for writing me to keep me updated on your lives.

The work is awesome. I am trying to work harder. I hope I can make you all proud. I am so grateful that you are all in my family. We really have an amazing family and a closeness that not everyone has. Minus the fact that Jennie and I are actually on different continents... It´s nice to have good memories to remember about you all. It sounds like I am dead or you are dead. Anyway, I love you.

Love,
Hermana Smith



The following is correspondence between Sami and her sister Jennie who is teaching English in France.

JenJen

Sorry I´ve been such a terrible slacker in sending you emails. Sometimes it is so hard to get everything done! I´m sure you understand that though. My Spanish is better. People tell me it is better than when I got here but honestly I can´t really tell that much. It feels like I only learn a few new things every day but those little thigs add up after a while. Plus all the practice I get seeing as no one speaks English.

You would like it here I think. It´s a lot like your ideal European lifestyle. Everyone sleeps in really late, time doesn't really matter that much. Everything starts late, that wasn't too much of an adjustment for me (thanks, Family!). Sometimes it is a little frustrating because now I am operating on the Lord´s time, not just my own. But the people here really are awesome. The food is really basic and delicious. Pretty much we eat bread, meat, and potatoes. My ideal diet, I know.

On Wednesday I ate a plate of meat and pureed beans! Nada más. Tan rica. Seriously. It was so delicious. And they have a lot of pastries. There is a fair amount of German influence which is really interesting to see.

It isn't hard to be a missionary. I expected it to be really hard. Maybe I am doing something wrong. I love the opportunity to help people change their lives. It is so cool to see the difference the gospel can make. Here almost everyone in the ward is a convert so they are really willing to help out with missionary work and they always make such a difference in the work.

We have been finding a lot of less-active members lately, which isn't surprising seeing as there are probably somewhere around 800 members here but less than 100 are active. It´s really sad to hear their stories about why they left the church. It is human nature to be easily offended, I think. We always want to take what people say personally but that never turns out well. There is a lot of work here. Cambios are next week! I can´t believe how fast time has gone by. I hope I will still be with Hermana Grahn. It would be weird to finish my training with a different trainer but it´s happened before.

I really appreciate all the things we have at home more. That we have a temple so close and a really nice chapel to use. We have so much that other people don´t have. It just makes me appreciate those things more. And Chile is really really nice for South America, I think. Really nice. But I will eat a lot of peanut butter and graham crackers while I take a really long, hot shower when I get home. :)

LOVE,
Hermana Smith


-----parts of Original Message-----
Hermana  Smith,


Things are going well for me. Stake conference was last weekend and it was
really cool to go and see how it's done in French. The stake is huge and
conference was 3 hours away. Afterward everyone ate lunch in a cafeteria
(things that they had packed) everyone was sharing and visiting with friends
they hadn't seen in awhile. It felt like a family reunion. I felt a little
lost since I only know people from my ward and they were mostly busy with
visiting with people they don't see very awesome. Still, it was good to see
their happiness and feel the spirit that accompanies gatherings of members,
especially after hearing good talks. Plus, I understood most all of the
talks! I can tell that my French is getting much better.

How is Spanish coming along?  How are lessons for your investigators? I hope
things are going well. In the car to stake conference we were taking about
the members needing to travel 3 hours for stake conference and 7 hours for
the temple (I know it's even worse in other places). We then talked about
the quote from Joseph Smith about how no church that doesn't require
sacrifices can produce the faith necessary for exaltation. That might be
useful in Spanish. With some commandments it's easy to point out the
temporal and spiritual blessings. With others we just have to go on faith
and know that we will blessed for our obedience.

Can't think of what else to say.

I miss you and listen to Tiger Mountain Peasant song and feel happy and miss
you more.

Love,
Jennie

Monday, November 2, 2009

Letter of Nov 2, 2009

Finally we got a nice long email from Sam - no illness - no email eating computer - it was nice
Sorry about last week. Technology and I don´t get along very well... But I have a funny picture in my head of Mom trying to type with her fingers all bandaged. :) (I have trigger fingers from too much typing on computer) And Mom, I´m glad you can find a use for the weird things I say. I appreciate that you are continually trying to find the good in weird things that I say.

You found the earrings?!? Por fin! This is just like me giving you a mother´s day present early, right?

I would love some music in Spanish. I have a hymnal en español so that is not suo important but I would appreciate some other music in Spanish. That is sad about my music though....(it is packed away & we are not sure we can locate it easily) Oh well. I will just appreciate it more when I have it.

And with regards to chocolate: anything I can have except white chocolate which is not actually chocolate and is gross because it hurts my cavities. I love peanut butter. A small jar of peanut butter here is somewhere around $6 US. A little expensive... Here they eat manjar like we eat peanut butter. Manjar is basically sweetened condensed milk with some sort of flavor, I´m not sure exactly. It´s good but not the same as my beloved peanut butter. Oh, and chocolate chips! They don´t have them here at all that I can find. :(

Your idea of a voice recorder sounds fine to me. I still don´t understand how to use the hard drive thing you spent so long putting together but I think I might be able to figure it out next Monday with a little more time.. I would like to listen to music but it doesn't really matter if it is on a CD player or a mp3 player. Hermana Grahn has a CD player but I don´t know how long we will be companions.

I would have to learn a Chilean folk song before I could play it for you. I will try. It´s hard to find time on P-day to do everything. I can always get the stuff done that I need to but I don´t always have time for extras. But I have been listening to guitar playing here. It is more strumming a few basic chords with all the melody in the voice. I haven´t heard that much finger-picking.

We had a talent show in the ward and I sang a Beatles song because it was the only thing Hermana Grahn had that wasn't a hymn. It was so gross because I sang it like a man. Now no one will want to give references to Hermana Grahn and her man-companion.

My house is normal. It is not as cold now that summer is starting. Apparently it´s going to get really hot. More around 100 degrees F. Ouch.

Elder Jaar told me you commented on his blog.
(He was on Sami's famous waterfall trip & had pictures)

Tallia and Jon´s baby is really cute.

Sounds like you all had fun for Halloween. They celebrate it here but it is a little different. The kids ask for candy at houses and at the neighborhood stores too. And they go out by themselves really young, around Suzanne´s age (8) . But I also think they stop a lot younger here too. Maybe around 10 or so.

The rules for music is it has to be uplifting and not distracting. I think you can probably figure that out. I would like some classical (instrumental and choral, maybe vocal solo too). And also some MoTab. Christmas would be welcome as well. I trust your judgement in all things. Do whatever will be easiest and cheapest for you.

I want to tell you a little about our investigators.

Family of Segundo
Segundo was a reference from one of our other investigators and we still haven´t really taught him but we have been teaching his family. He has 6 kids and they are all more or less young (20s). Only one of them actively practices a religion (Evangelical). Here in San Carlos it seems like most people are either Catolico or Evangelico. They kind of remind me of our family. They are fun and loud and talk at the same time so I still have trouble understanding them some of the time. I´m excited to teach them about the Plan of Salvation. I think they will really appreciate the fact that we can live with our families forever through the plan Heavenly Father has prepared for us.

Alejandra
She is trying to give up smoking which is why she started coming to church in the first place. She wants to get baptized but I´m not sure if she understands the importance of the baptisimal covenant yet. It´s hard to help people understand when so many other churches don´t have lasting commitments like this. You can pick up and leave if you want to but in the Lord´s church you are making covenants with Him so they last a lot longer than pretty much everything else.

Umersinda and Marita
They are Catolicas but Marita (about 9 years old) has read in the Book of Mormon and prayed about it. She says she knows it is the word of God but she and Umersinda don´t want to change.

That is the hardest part. I feel the Spirit really strongly in the lessons so I know they felt it too. But then they don´t do anything about it. We are teaching a lot of people but none of them are progressing because they won´t come to church. I know if they came they would feel the Spirit there. We always need to demonstrate our faith before Heavenly Father will give us our answer. Maybe we should make sure they all understand that. In the MTC when Elder Holland came he said salvation never was free. And who would want it to be free? Jesus Christ sacrificed everything for us. We can´t understand the Atonement or expect to receive all the blessings of the Atonement without sacrificing something on our part.

Well, food for thought.

I love you and I will write again next week.
And I sent out some letters today so they should get there in 2 weeks ish.

Love,
Hermana Smith

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Oct 25 email and pictures

Once again we have a very short email from Sami. This time the computer deleted her email (or so she says) - and she only had time and inclination to type a very short summary. I fear that I am doomed to never receive the long chatting emails that I desire - but she did send a bunch of pictures - and since a picture speaks a thousand words, I guess she did ok.
Yeah, my email deleted itself. I hate computers. I don´t want to write it again. Sorry. Also I think Hermana Grahn probably would like to leave (the internet cafe).

Here is a summary:

I am alive
The food is good
There are no bathrooms in the mountains except the mountains I want chocolate and music (cds of classical choral and instrumental (womens chorus etc.) and various sheet music (o divine redeemer etc) Art
(a friend from college) should stop having swine flu. You are having fun as a family. This is good. PMG (Preach My Gospel) is also good. Halloween is exciting. I hate technology. I have your letters I will write you a real letter.
love,
Hermana Smith


(I had emailed her asking about her trip to the mountains last week & what she wanted for Christmas. I also told her about our family event carving pumpkins with her sister, Jennie, 'participating' via video call from Orleans, France, and that we would be using 'Preach My Gospel' as the basis for our 1st Sunday lessons in RS next year - thanks in large part to her great enthusiasm for it)

Hermana Smith and her companion Hermana Grahn in their apartment in San Carlos
Apartment in San Carlos
Sami and the 3 other hermanas that live with her in San Carlos
This picture was taken on the trip to the falls last P-day
Hermana Grahn keeping Sami company while Sami slept off her illness on a trail near the falls


 Tarbinas Falls

Hermana Grahn by the falls




Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Picture from Sami's P-day outing


I borrowed this picture from the blog of another missionary (Elder Salomon Jaar) in Sami's zone . He took pictures of the outing & this is the only one she is in because she was so sick. She is the 4th one down - with her eyes shut, looking miserable.  Hopefully she'll be able to visit the waterfall again sometime when she feels well enough to enjoy it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sami's letter of Oct 19

Sami sent a very short letter today. She went on an outing to the mountains with her zone, but she was sick the whole time. She did however, manage to find some blessings in her situation.

Hola Familia

My first 2 weeks have been really great. I have a good story about today, though. Remember how I always made jokes about Montezuma´s Revenge? Well it´s actually not that funny. My body does not like me right now. Or for the past 15 hours or so. We had a zone activity today going to a waterfall in the mountains. It was fun. Expecially when I threw up 3 times. I would feel better for a while and think it was fine but then a couple hours later I would have to throw up again. The first time I threw up honestly was really funny though. I was in Chillán in front of the chapel there. We were waiting for the Elders to arrive and I just started throwing up on the lawn. Right next to the sign ¨La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días¨. I think it was a really great PR opportunity for the church here in Chile, especially Chillán. :)

SO I´m just going to write one email today because I DO NOT feel good. But the church is still true so that´s good. My zone sang something in zone conference so technically I did sing. The other Hermanas have had 2 baptisms since I got here but we haven´t had any. The people we are teaching aren't ready, I think, to make such a big commitment with Heavenly Father. Which is fine with me. It is better that they don´t make it if they don´t understand the significance of the covenant of baptism. I am trying to be better at helping them understand the importance and the blessings that will come but it is still a little hard to communicate the way I want to. I am definitely not fluent in Spanish but I think I get a little better every day, which is good.

I´m glad I could be sick today though. There is always something we can learn from everything if we think about it. I have been wanting to understand my investigators more and their difficulty of making the decision to be baptized or not or come to church or not. It doesn't seem too terribly hard to me because I was raised in the church (thanks, Mom) so there will always be a part of me that doesn't understand them because my challenges and difficulties have been different.  But being sick was not fun. I wanted to enjoy myself. I wanted to not throw up and explore instead of sleeping on the dirt path for a few hours because I felt so tired. My spirit was willing but my body was weak. This life is about overcoming the natural man and giving our lives and our will over to our Heavenly Father, who knows what we need better than we do anyway. It´s hard to try to overcome the natural man and tiring too. I know. I hope I can learn more lessons, maybe a little less grossly. Anyway, I have to go rest it up in my bed.

Love,

Hermana Smith

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sami's first E-mail from Chile - Oct 12, 2009

We finally got our first emails from Chile - Sami is serving in a city called San Carlos - it is NE of Concepcion. Her district meetings are in Chillan (south of her) and her Zone meetings are in Talca (north of her). As you can tell from her email, she has already had the chance to teach investigators (or at least listen to her companion teach them since her Spanish is not up to par yet).

The first email is one she sent to me:
HOLA FAMILIA

Soy Hermana Smith. Escuchen a mis palabras, por favor. That was probably all wrong. No sé. Anyway...Chile is awesome. Super bien. I will be getting letters this Wednesday because of zone conference but besides that and interviews once a cambio (transfer) I´m not sure when I will get them. I think probably sometimes at our district meetings in Chillán but not every week.

I have about an hour for email. It is not a set rule but they don´t want you to spend all day at the computer. I use an internet café. I don´t think it is very expensive. My companion, Hermana Grahn, said that it is usually less than $1000 (pesos) for an hour.

Yeah, about that email with the picture.... I definitely did not remember your emai address which is why I put mine too. I was going to tell you my password today but since you are so proactive I don´t have to. :) I appreciate your enthusiasm and dedication.

El Presidente y Hermana Chavez are amazing! I am so excited to have them as my mission president people. The first thing Hermana Chavez told us when we got to Concepcion is that they don´t eat dogs in Chile. (Apparently this is a misconception many people have). By they way, I am not longer sure if some of the words I use actually exist so watch out for that. I am getting used to making intelligent guesses about Spanish words that may or may not exist and I think I am doing that with English too.

My companion is Hermana Grahn. She is from B.C.! (Victoria, maybe...) She has been in Chile a little over a year and I am so grateful she is my trainer. We only speak Spanish with each (except when I forget and start speaking English) Sometimes it is hard when we are with other Elders in our mission because some of them speak English to each other I think... But I probably am progressing fast. I can´t actually tell except  now the jumbling sounds more like words. I can understand probably about 75% of what people say but some people i can hardly understand because they talk so fast or slur their words so much. Hermana Grahn said that when she could understand all the members in the ward she could pretty much understand everyone else. I´m still working on understanding everyone in the ward...

There are 2 sets of sisters in San Carlos and we share the whole city and are assigned to the same ward (there is only one here). I think there are around 80 active members in the ward but I´m not sure. There are definitely a lot more less active people here. There are somewhere around 10ish people in my district and I don´t know about my zone but our conference on Wednesday is in Talca (1 1/2 hours north of San Carlos) so we will be gone almost the whole day for it. The Bishop of our ward wants us to have a special musical number in Sacrament meeting every week so I think I will be singing a lot here...(I am glad she will be able to touch people with her beautiful voice - hearing her sing in church is a spiritual experience.)

I think there are more questions in your email but I want to tell you about some of our investigators.

Michael y Mari - They are new converts from a few months ago, I think. They are awesome! We are going to their house tonight for Noche de Hogar (Family Home Evening) and to teach a lesson about Lehi´s dream and how we can share the gospel with the people we love

Javiera y Tania - They are cousins and I think they will both be baptized next week but we won´t know until today. Javiera wants to be baptized but she doesn´t feel like she is worthy so we are going to teach her more about the Atonement to help here understand it better. Tania is really excited to be baptized and we might start teaching her mom as well (Tania is only 11 or so)

Alejandra - She is a miracle! She wants to be baptized on the 25 of this month but she smokes (you have to give up addictions and bad habits before baptism, basically follow all the commandments for at least 2 weeks before you can be baptized). We taught here about the word of wisdom yesterday and she said she will keep it. I can tell she really loves the Book of Mormon. I know she can give up smoking because I can tell she wants to follow the example of Jesus Christ more.

There are more but I have been here for a long time so I will tell you next week. It sounds like you are having fun in WA and various other parts of the world. I will tell you more about Chile. Someday. The houses and buildings are cold so I pretty much wear one of Hermana Grahn´s coats all day (remember when I didn't bring my winter coat? That was a bad idea). But I am going to buy one soon, maybe today. Anyway, I love you all and I love talking about the gospel. One day I will be able to talk about it in Spanish!!!

And I sat next to Hermano Amado on the plane. I don´t know his first name. (Hermano Amado sat next to Sami on the flight from SLC to LAX last Monday. He is a member of the 1st quorum of the Seventies. He is from Guatemala and is over the missions in Chile. He was in town for conference - he gave a prayer at the Sat afternoon conference.)

love,
Hermana Smith

ps. Brian is definitely the rey de Craigslist. Mad props, my brother. (I told Sami about all of the cool things Brian has gotten free off of Craigslist recently)


The following email is one she sent to her dad:

Dad,

Go ahead and send Sheena and Sydney. no one would notice a differece (our dogs - those who know them and my husband know why he offered to send them). I don´t think I´ve ever seen this many dogs in my life. I am working a little outside of Chillán in a town called San Carlos. I´m not sure how many people live here. Maybe about 40,000 but that is definitely a guess. There are 2 companionships of sisters here and we share the whole city and live in the same house. I love it here! The people are super friendly. I can´t understand everyone all of the time but I can understand more than I thought I would, which isn't that much I guess. :) The weather here is like Washington except most people don´t have indoor heating besides a wood stove but my bed is so warm thanks to the fleece blanket you guys sent me! My companion has been here in San Carlos for a couple months so we already have people she and her previous companion were teaching. The members of the ward are so nice! They are helping me learn Spanish better. In Chile they like people with light colored hair. Even though my hair is red they call me ¨rubio¨ which means blond. I´m not sure if I spelled that right...

The food is really delicious too. So far I have eaten a lot of bread, rice, and chicken. They only have one large meal every day and then they eat small snacks like bread and drink tea later. This is called ¨once¨, like eleven. Again, I don´t know how to spell so that might be wrong. We aren't supposed to participate in once (a rule), I´m not sure of the exact reason, maybe because it is so late and we could be teaching lessons.

Thank you for the information about the life-threatening location of Chillán. :) (There have been several serious earthquakes in Chillan - one in 1939 destroyed the town - which has hopefully been rebuilt to better withstand future quakes.)  My companion (Hermana Grahn) said she hasn't felt any earthquakes...since she got to San Carlos ;) But I guess we´ll see. After all, only time will tell.

I will be stocking up on food today so I will keep your advice in mind. (He suggested some food storage for emergencies)

I will try to get someone to teach me some (Chilean) folk songs on the guitar some P-day. Probably not today but I want to learn some too! The only songs I know with guitar are in English so that doesn't help me very much here.

¡Pues, hasta lunes!

love,
Hermana Smith

ps. I think you would like Chile. Me encanta San Carlos.


This last email was to Sami's sister Jennie in Orleans, France.

¡Hola!

My P-day is Monday but today is apparently kind of like a mini-September 18(?) so a lot of the stores are closed. Which is sad because I need to buy boots for the rain. It was only bad one day but Apparently it rains on and off in the spring too. My flight was good minus the times when the old man next to me was poking me because I could not understand him. He was really nice but the flight was long...

I did get your package with the headbands. I love them except the little decorations fell off of 2 of them. I really am proud of your craftsmanship. So fine. :) Really though, I love them and wore them every day which is probably why they are broken now.

I appreciate your stickers. They mean a lot to me. Really. Sometimes I think cute stuff is gross but not when it is from you!!!!! And other people that I like. I can hear a band right now with drums. Maybe it is a parade with the police!!! I feel like I know this song because I have heard it before but I don´t know. It also sounds like they are playing 3 songs at once...

How is France? Are the gross men treating you well? DON´T LET THEM TREAT YOU TO ANYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!! This is my warning and word of wisdom for you. I am very wise so you should heed my counsel. Have you found more permanent housing yet? How are the schools you are working in? What´s the story, morning glory? Digame.

love,
Hermana Smith
 
 



Sunday, October 11, 2009

First Picture and Email from Chile

We finally received the email from the mission secretary in the Chile Concepcion mission with info about Sami & a scanned copy of a letter she had written. Turns out she had given them the wrong email address which is why we did not receive ours with everyone else.


President and Hermana Chavez with Sami
Sami's companion is Hermana Grahn and they are serving in or near Chillan, Chile. The mission secretary said he overheard Sami talking with her companion about setting up a choir in their ward and doing a musical number for an upcoming Zone conference.

Below is a transcript of her letter
Dear Family,
    I have arrived in Concepcion safely! President and Sister Chavez are so nice and friendly. Sister Chavez is so cute! I'm not sure where I will be yet except it is 1 1/2-(hrs-ish) north of here. I'm sure that really narrows it down. :)  Concepcion is so beautiful. It looks a lot like Washington. Very green. When we were flying from Santiago to Concepcion I could see the tops of the Andes Mountains from the window. Awesome! I hope you can read this, I lost my pen somewhere between here and LAX. I am so excited to get to work! By the way, I don't know Spanish very well. That's about to change. After I understand what people are saying. There are apparently a lot of stray dogs here. Good thing I love animals that could potentially bite me. :)  President Chavez told me they like the Elders better anyway. Well, the point is that I am alive and in one piece. Keep your fingers crossed. Watch Elder Holland's talk. I love you, legitimately.
    Love,   
      Hermana Smith

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sami called from Santiago

We finally got a call from Sami at 4:30am this morning (7:30 am Santiago time) from the Santiago airport.

We had known there were plane problems in SLC - but Sami said that they arrived at LAX 2 hours late and barely made the flight to Santiago. Since their original plane from SLC did not take off, they were moved to other planes - some of the missionaries in her original group were sent through Dallas instead of LAX.  Sami and her MTC companion, Hermana McDaniels, were the only two sisters going to Chile - but they did not fly together since they are going to different missions. Sami had 2 elders from her MTC district as companions. On the flight to LAX she started talking to the man sitting next to her and learned that he was a General Authority - a member of the Seventies in Chile who had come to SL for conference. On the flight to Santiago she sat by an elderly man who spoke no English - so that was an interesting experience for her.

We are now looking forward to her first email from the mission field on her P-day next Monday.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sami's last email (Oct 2) before she left for Chile!

This is Sami's email from Oct 2nd. We had hoped for a nice phone conversation with her today (Oct 5), but only got to talk for a few minutes. She hoped to talk more while in the LAX airport - but it was not to be - so now we will wait for email from Chile.  *** Sami's plane left SLC over an hour late - so they did not have enough time at LAX to make any calls. There are several very disappointed Missionary Moms (and Dads) today.


I got a letter from Alice Sage!!!! (Sami's best friends, Tallia & Jon Bryner had their baby daughter Alice on Sept 28) Cute!!! I am excited for pictures but unless I get them today or tomorrow I don't think I will get them here because I leave so early on Monday.

I think I will try to call Jennie at the Salt Lake airport. Probably around 8:30am-9am Mountain Time but I'm not sure how long it will take to get through security or if I need to do anything else. If I don't get to talk to her then I will probably try again at LAX around 11:30 am Pacific Time. Sorry for the confusion, Jen.

Mom and Dad, I will try to call from LAX probably anywhere from 11 am to 12:30 pm. It will depend on who I am with and how much time we have but I will definitely be calling from LAX. (Jennie got her call in France - but we did not get the expected LAX call)

Packing is pretty crazy with General Conference because our schedule is so weird now. Take good notes! I am thinking of questions I want answered so I can think about them during General Conference. I have a lot of questions about the Atonement for this one. My teacher Hermana Bott summed it up perfectly when she said, "I have a lot of questions but I have no doubts". That is how I feel. I know this church is truly led under the direction of Jesus Christ and that this message is so vitally crucial for everyone to hear. I have a lot of questions but they help me understand what I know better. I am so excited for General Conference!!!!! Way to go out with a bang. Haha.

I think I might just try to mail a package home because I don't have too much stuff to send home. If I don't think I will need something I can just give it to someone else unless it is so unique I will never be able to replace it. This sucks. I just talked around saying one word because I can't remember how to spell it in English and I don't want anyone to make fun of me.

I'm sorry to hear about Jack Hinckle (the grandfather of some friends who had moved from Kent to Idaho - they were back in town for his funeral) but I am glad you were able to see the Sotutus. I miss them. They are so cute.

The package is here but I haven't had time to pick it up yet. At least I think it is from you. At any rate, someone sent me a package and it is probably you but I have to go now. I love you. I will call you so I will not talk to you anymore now.

You are great.

Goodbye!!!!!!

LOVE,

Hermana Smith

I will be in Chile soon so do not write me here. I will not reply. By "here" I mean the MTC. Peace out.

Below are some FACEBOOK pictures of the new and improved Bryner family.

Tallia, Jon and Alice Sage Bryner


 First real outfit

Alice and her new best friend - the family dog
Some last pictures from the MTC

MTC Companions together one last time

Hermanas Smith and McDaniels as they leave the MTC

Some of the elders traveling to Chile with Sami

  Pinata from Sami's friends Tallia, Jon & Alice

What is left of the pinata

Letter from Sami - started Sep 18 - finish Sept 25.

This is a transcription of a letter Sami wrote us over 2 consecutive P-days .

Hola Familia!
Como fue su semana? Guess what? I just wrote you an email. Sweet. So Hna McDaniels and I have a progressing investigator in the TEC (Teaching Evaluation Center). His name is Diego. I'm not sure if he is 18 or 27. Hermana McDaniels thought he said 27 and I thought he said 18. Oh the joys of Spanish. I guess we’ll never know how old he is. I didn’t get to talk to Annie from the RC on Wednesday. I’m not sure if she got on to chat or forgot. I know I should (resuming this letter exactly 1 week later) finish what I start but time goes by so fast.  I still have more letters to write but oh well. New news about my progressing investigator you just read about. He is leaving! He got an internship so he can’t work at the MTC anymore because he doesn’t have time. Hna McDaniels and I are very sad. I really felt a connection. Like I was able to help him with his concerns and problems through the Book of Mormon. And now we can’t teach him anymore. I think the field is like that a lot. Either you get transferred or they get busy or just don’t want to hear about the gospel anymore. But you can’t avoid. You can’t help loving people when you share something so special and sacred to you with them. It is impossible. I am so excited for the field in a few weeks. It will probably be the hardest thing I have ever done, but I know if I put everything I have into the work it will bring me some of the greatest joy I will ever feel. It will bless and affect the rest of my life. I didn’t really understand missions until I got here. I still don’t fully understand the magnitude and sanctity of this calling, but I know it is something very important. And I know it is something I am supposed to do. I love it. It feels so right. It is softening my rough edges and making me better than I was. I care about people more. I want to learn more. I have more compassion towards other people. I still have a long way to go, but I feel like I am on the right path. It’s a long one, but it’s the right one. Look and study in ‘Preach My Gospel’ in chapter 4. Study the section about prayer of faith. I want to send you quotes from ‘Preach My Gospel’, but I don’t have it with me. There are some awesome quotes by President Hinckley and President Hunter about prayer. You should read Mosiah 27 as a family and discuss Alma the Younger’s experience and study more about his life after his conversion. I love you guys so much. Write to me about new things you are learning about anything. I want to know. Enjoy the pictures. I will try to be better at writing better letters.
Love,
Hermana Smith

Some more pictures from the MTC

Sami and her 2 companions before Hermana Schiffler left for Madrid



Some Serious Studying at the MTC


Samis primeros maestros Hermana Warr y Hermano Christensen - Sami's 1st teachers

 Containing the Spread of Disease at the MTC


Some of the Elders at the MTC

Elders Haws, Ricks, ??, Whiting, Jewkes & Call

Sami's email from Sept 25

I am a bit behind in posting to Sami's blog - so while I am waiting for a phone call I am afraid I might not get (her plane to Chile leaves in 35 minutes) I will update the blog.

Not a lot of time today so my email will be a little lame. And I type slower because my English is terrible now. I haven't gotten my flight plans yet. All the missionaries going to Santiago East (4 in my district) got their flight plans but all of going to Concepcion haven't gotten ours yet. I'm getting a little antsy. I want to go! But I still love it here. Prep time is running out. My Spanish definitely isn't up to par but that was to be expected. I sent some letters home today with pictures. I didn't know Jennie's address so I couldn't send her anything. Sad. But she told me about her sketchy men experiences. I don't know how I feel about it. I'm excited for the package(s)! I think I will have a lot of things I won't be able to take with me though. A lot.

I only have a little more than one week left here. It is so crazy but I'm gad I had this time to prep. I think Heavenly Father sent me Spanish speaking so I would have enough time to firm up my knowledge of gospel things to strengthen my own testimony a ton without leaving me here long enough to go crazy. It's been working great so far. I love the scriptures. They are so cool! I did not know that before. My bad. Have you been studying with Preach My Gospel? It is a great resource for everyone because it is designed to help the missionary so they can help the people. So genius.

Just kidding. i just got my flight plans! Delta flight 4701 SLC to LAX 9:51 am to 10:45am. Then Lan Chile S.A. LAX to SCL flight # 601 (Santiago) 1:20 pm to 5:25 am. Then Lan Chile S.A. SCL to CC (Concepcion) fight # 203 8:00 am to 9:05 am

I don't have time to tell you any more because I have to email Jennie and write a letter to Amy. Love you all!!! I am leaving!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

love,

Hermana Smith

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sami's email from Sept 18

Sami didn't have alot to say this week - though she promised she is working on a letter for me. She and her companion did get to do an endowment session for 2 of Sami's Great Great Grandmothers - and the elders in her Zone are working on doing the Initiatory and Endowment for a couple dozen of our ancestors (including my Dad) - since we have no priesthood holders in are family it was nice to have someone to do the work.  Sami's Madre.

All of the things in the list look good except I probably could do without #7 because a lot of people know about them so if I really want to keep my money in the event of a mugging I would need to be more creative. I have some ideas up my sleeve. I could use some more forever stamps but I might just buy them because by the time I get them I would practically be going to Chile where I would probably need international stamps to send it through the regular mail. I still don't understand the pouch service. If you could just keep about $150 in my checking account that would be awesome. And let me know if I run out of money. I shouldn't be using my card that much but it is nice to have it just in case. Oh! Mom, if you have any extra clinique black mascara you don't want I would love some of that because mine is running out. But definitely not necessary. It would just be nice. I might be sending you guys a lot of stuff. Depends on how much I can fit in my suitcases...

Thanks so much for the information on our ancestors. It was really cool to read that and then go to the temple for those people. I'm excited to have pictures of some of them too. :)  If I get them (3 men who need temple work we forgot to send) by next Friday I think I should be able to find people to get them done. The two female names are done and I will mail them back to you today. The male names have had all their initiatories done and next Friday they should have all their endowments done as well. Thanks. Mom!

I was sorry to hear about Hugh Morris (Sami's dad's cousin). It's really cool that he is going to be cremated and spread over the places he loved most.

I hope you had fun at the Puyallup fair! Fair scones. Elephant ears. BBQ. Yum!

Elder Holland came to speak for our Tuesday devotional! It was so cool. I will try to write more about it in the letter that I started last week that I have failed to send because I am terrible at writing letters to my family. The very people who love and cherish me the most.

Tallia and Jon sent me a package with a picture (ultrasound - Tallia & Jon Bryner are Sami's friends & her 'Provo parents' - their baby is due right after Sami leaves for Chile so she won't actually meet her until she returns) of my new sister and the most delicious cookies. They seemed to be a gift from God.

I leave in a little more than 2 weeks! so weird. I should have my flight plans next P-Day so i can give them to you. Sorry this email is so lame. But know always that you are in my heart, dear Family. I want you to know the feelings of my heart. Feelings of love. Feelings of gratitude. Feelings of other things I can't think of right now.

I am sick.

Estoy infermo.

An old lady in the temple noticed I was sick and gave me 2 unmarked pills!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sketchy. I might try them on my companion first. She is strong like a horse.

I play volleyball a lot in gym.

I love you all a lot! You too, Brian.

love,
Hermana Smith

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sami's email from Sept 11, 2009

I am not sure about my stamp situation. I am in the laundry room right now and I forgot all my stamps in my room but I think I am okay. Besides, I think all the rush is calming down with so many different letters. I am having a nice leisurely P-day today. Only 3 letters including another one to you! I might even have time to write in my journal which I probably haven't done for a couple of days. Not enough hours in the day, I tell you.

It's so crazy that Jennie is going to France so soon! Weird. Oh, and Jennie, an Elder in my zone wants your address so he can write you in France. (A little sketchy if you ask me. He is going to Tiajuana... :)

Guess what?!?!

I can speak Spanish!

Sort of. Working on it. I am working on HSI (Hable Su Idioma [Speak Your Language]). That basically means if you know how to say it in Spanish, do it. Don't say things in English without trying in Spanish first. It is really helpful. When I remember....

I ate some of the knock-off applets and cotlets. Muy delicioso! I neglected to share with my roommates with is probably why I am getting fat. Oh well. Just one of the many sacrifices for the Lord. Seriously though. I think I am getting fat. There is too much food here. And I love to eat it. But later I want to die. I don't understand. I think the food here is my trial, it tastes good but it does something to you. Something terrible. It...it changes you.

Let Shana know that if she wants to hang out with the cute guys at the MTC she can come on a mission too. I endorse that.

I know Shana will make fun of me after that. I love you too, Shana. Sticks and stones...

Hna McDaniels and I are NOT alone in our room. 3 other sisters. Better than when there where 6 sisters in the room but still. No megusta. I don't know if I spelled that right. My spelling isn't very good in either language right now...

You're right, Mom. I would rather get a few shorter letters in the week than just one big one. It is fun to get mail!

Oh yeah! Mom, could you write out your conversion story and mail it to me? I though it would be so cool to have that written down so i can read it. I really would love it if you did that.

Your trip to Copalis Beach sounds like it was really fun. I'm cool with you going without me because in a couple of weeks I will have so many "This one time in Chile..." stories I won't know what to do with them. Oh yeah, and I'm serving the Lord. Super cool and important. Mom, the story about you being a beached whale was my favorite thing I have ever read recently. I laughed. I cried. I read it to my companion. I laughed again. It touched me. Also, I am glad you are okay. I can just imagine Brian and Mike thinking you had fallen down and being so worried. I would have done the same. Don't fall down. I'm not cool with that.

Well, Family. I hope you have an awesome week. Keep it real. Be strong. Be cool and legit and all that.

Great things:

Hymn 120

2 Nephi 26:24-28

John 17:3

Great Love for:

My Family

Great Minds:

Think Alike

Love,

Hermana Smith

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Some of the Pictures Sami sent us

Hermana Samantha Smith in front of the Provo Temple

Hermanas McDaniels and Smith - companions in the MTC

First Sunday in the MTC
Hermanas Smith, McDaniels and Schiffler

Sami's District
Back row: Elders Johnson, Robinson, Chapman, Hardman, Nicohls, Page, and Maxfield
Front row: Hermanas Schiffler, Smith, and McDaniels

Some of the Sisters in Sami's Zone - Hermanas Schiffler, Smith, McDaniels, Stephens, Unga (2 sisters are missing from picture & Hermana Schiffler has since left to complete her training in the Madrid MTC)

Sami at the MTC Referal Center

The Flying Elder - Missionaries can't be series ALL the time