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.)

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...

I love you.

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.

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:


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


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