Sami singing the song she wrote

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Letter from Dec 20

We get to talk with SKYPE WITH VIDEO!!!!! They just told us!!!!

Everything is going really well this week. I am excited to talk to you guys on Saturday with SKYPE!!!! I don´t have much time to talk right now because I have to do so much to get ready for Christmas!!!!!! We are going to make cookies, cards, I need to make presents for the Hnas I live with, my hija, etc. Muchas cosas que hacer. Mamá, no voy a enviarte la carta que escribo a Presidente Humphrey porque no tenemos que hacerla este semana (a causo de entrevistas). I am so excited to SEE you for CHRISTMASSSSS!!!!!!!!!!! I don´t want to open my presents in front of you just in case I don´t like them. Haha. Just kidding. I actually just don´t think that I´ll be able to wait until 5pm since I already have my package. But if you want me to wait I can but only if you tell me before I leave internet today.

This past Sunday was really great. Angelo (a new convert) came back for the summer (we are sharing with his mom and his sister) so we are really excited to have his help with them. We had 3 investigators come to church for the first time Sunday. They are a cute family that is almost NEVER together. Daniel works outside of Constitución so he only comes back every 11 days for 4 days of rest, Diego is in the army so he is in Talca during the week but returns some weekends to Conti. Javier is the chiquitito de 8 años so he is just cool. There is also another daughter who is really awesome who is named Daniela but she is in Talca right now so she couldn´t come with the rest of her family. They are so awesome. I love all the people we are sharing with.

We also had the most creative contacts this past week. The first were a bunch of kids who hit Hna Melton and I with water balloons right on the butt. I went back to congratulate them but the guilty ones ran away so we talked to their family. The other one was a wrong number from Curico who was visiting his aunt in Conti so we asked if we could pass by and share something and turns out that she shared with missionaries when she was about 12 and her parents got baptized but none of her siblings did. She is really great and really needs the gospel so I´m really excited to share with her more. Well, I need to go no so I´ll talk to you on Saturday at 5pm on Skype with videoI don´t actually know how it works but Hno Rodrigo will help me figure it out. If any of the plans change I will let you know.



Hna Smith

Pictures from Dec 13

Here are some pictures from the baptism in the river that Sami mentions in her email (previous post)
On the way to the Baptism
 Sister Missionaries with Maria
Sami and Maria
And pictures of the ward Christmas Tree
A Birthday card for Jesus

Letter from Dec 13

This will be extremely short because Hna Melton and I are here in San Javier to say bye to Hna Leggettt before she leaves (next Monday is her last Pday). On Sunday one of the investigators I started teaching with Hna Enders got bapized! Maria from the campo. She got baptized in the river by her house and the baptism was really beautiful. She was so happy. I´m really glad I was able to be there to see it.

President Humphrey said we can use Skype for the phone call but I don´t know how to do that. I´m guessing that I would need a computer but I don´t know if anything would be open on Christmas day. Probably not. I can probably figure out where I can use one (we still don`t have a chapel right now) but I don`t know how to do skype so if you explain it to me I could do it. I think we could do it at 5pm my time. I´m not 100% sure because Christmas has been changed to our Pday. I´ll let you know next week.

Haven´t gotten any package yet but I have hope for this Thursday (interviews).

Love you all!

Monday, December 6, 2010

letter from Dec 6

Estoy bien. Tampoco puedo creer que ya estamos en diciembre. Navidad está acercándose tan rapidamente casi no sé que hacer. Empezé a hacer regalos hoy día pero aun con el tiempo que me queda, no creo que terminaré todos en tiempo. No voy a enviarles un paquete (por si acaso, si quería saberlo). Estoy pensando en estudiar algo con español después pero veamos que pase. No quiero perder que he aprendido porque es bastante. :) And..... English. Time is going by so fast.

Hermana Melton and I joined a gym across the street from our apartments! I need to lose 12 pounds before I come home. That is 1 pound a week. AHHHHHH!!!!! What the freak!!!! i DON´T HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO BE A MISSIONARY AND LOSE WEIGHT

I didn´t actually want to put that all in caps but I accidentally pushed something on the keyboard. Not as intense as I made it look. Sooo. Zone conference is this week and I am really excited. Excited to get my packages. Excited to see my hija. Excited to see other missionaries. Excited to be spiritually recharged. Apparently this very well may be my last conference (according to the new every 12 weeks system) which means I will be giving my going away testimony. WTF. I can´t bear my testimony about going awya. Or maybe it´s my last testimony because I´m not supposed to bear my testimony after this one. Missionary work will be so hard no. Just kidding. jajajaja (that is castellano for hahahaha) Weird though.

The family that Hermana Enders and I found came to church on Sunday! At least 4 out of 5. One of the daughters (who studies in Talca) was really tired so she stayed home. And our other investigator from the country who finally came to church a few 2 Sundays ago is getting baptized this coming Sunday. I´m not going to lie. It´s kind of hard for me to be in the same sector but have to leave all my investigators and see myself replaced by another Hermana (luckily I love Hermana Hardy´s guts, otherwise this probably wouldn´t work out well). I´ve noticed myself being pretty negative sometimes and I don´t like it so I am trying to be more positive and look at all the good things instead of noticing all of the bad. I´m not happy when I do that and then I bring other people down and then I feel bad for being such a downer and then it´s awkward at parties afterwards and...oh. Not relevant. Anyways, I saw my hija today when she came with Hermana Leggett to say goodbye to her converts before she goes. I love them both. They are so cute. Hermana Robertson and I are coming back to go backpacking in Chile. Love her. Already am planning it in my head...

So I am really excited to be working with Hermana Melton with all of our investigators and to be able to find new people to teach and work really hard until my time is out. I can´t believe that I have so little time left. Just have to make the most of it I guess. I love you guys tons and I am excited to work my but off for three months and then see you all. I talk about how awesome you are all the time. Mom, every day I find someone else who wants to meet you. We are going to be very busy here in Chile. :) Oh, and Hermana Hardy wants to know more of your story after your conversion. I told her all about your conversion but then I realized that I didn´t really know what happened after very well either.... Time will tell/you will tell me with time. :) Too many smiley faces. Bleh.



Tuesday, November 30, 2010

letter and pictures from Nov 28

(I sent Sami a list of 25 things that I am grateful for, so she decided to reciprocate)
A ver, intentaré a hacer una lista de las cosas por las cuales estoy agradecida.

1. My mother who is my # 1 fan
2. The informative articles Dad sends me every week without fail
3. The fact that my sister´s boyfriend´s name sounds like a dessert
4. Being in another country
5. Learning a new language and culture
6. A companion who puts up with me (most of the time)
7. A hija after the manner of my own heart
8. The chance to know amazing people who are so cool and so strong in their faith
9. The ability to create things
10. Listening to music or even just the waves of the ocean
11. Mondays because I get to hear from my family!
12. A fleece blanket to keep me warm always
13. The Gospel in my life
14. The privilege of teaching other people about the Gospel
15. Lifelong friends I´ve made in such a short time
16. My killer family which is the definition of legit
17. Cheap fruit in Chile
18. My baby sister who I´ve never met but who I hear so much about
19. My adorable nieces and nephews
20. Family Game Night
21. Christmas in Chile TWICE
22. The opportunity to get a good education
23. I was really hoping Thanksgiving was on the 23rd (I am thankful for Converse)
24. Technology so that far away isn´t that far after all
25. A healthy body and mind

Is it sad that that took me a lot longer than I thought it would? Yep. That´s sad. Mom, I´m really excited to hear your Spanish en la carne. We haven´t had any snow here. Actually I don´t think it ever snows here... The weather keeps warming up. Love it. I am trying to give away all my winter stuff to a good home. I don´t really have much left now. I figure it will be a lot easier for me to get the winter stuff I need when I get back than for other Hermanas to wait to get good stuff from their parents. My personal attempt at charity. Haha. Just kidding.

So I´ve gotten in to making crafts. So far I´ve made a couple of headbands and a little flower hair clip. I´m pretty in to it. With all my spare time, you know. That last part was a joke. So... I bet you want to know about cambios......
(this is where her email ended - luckily she sent a follow up)

 Here are cambios. I will just tell you for all of the Hermanas so you don´t have to worry about finding out about all your conocidos.

I am going with Hermana Melton to be in her sector with her investigators and am leaving the people I was teaching
Hermana Hardy is coming to be companions with Hermana Enders

San Javier (the same as it was)
Leggett y Robertson
McCombs y Jarrett (will become a trio when Hna Leggett leaves in 3 weeks)

Knapp (Training)
Cortes y Da Luz

San Carlos
Tzorin (Training)
Rockwood (Training in Trio) y Barretto

Santa Sabina (the same as it was)
Meikle y Whipple
Connley y Soderquist

I am sending some pictures too but I don´t have time to explain them all right now so have fun with that. You can guess what you think the story behind each picture is if you want... So I am really excited to work with Hna Melton and the investigators from the other sector, I actually know a lot of them already. I am also super excited for Hna Hardy to come here. She is awesome. She´s media hippy like I am. :)

We have a couple of really good investigators who have come to church and have a baptismal date so I am really excited that I can still be here to help out if Hermana Enders and Hermana Hardy need it with them. AND I will be able to be there for their baptism! And we found an amazing family that I already love and the other Hermanas are going to have such an awesome time teaching them. I feel really good about this cambio. Which also means that I am spending Christmas in Conti and dying here (dying means ending your mission - she is assuming that they won't move her for just one cambio - but one never knows). Oh Yeah. Well, eso es todo por ahora. Les amo muchísimo!

con cariño,
Hermana Smith

 Hermanas Smith and Enders
 Hermanas Smith and Melton

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Letter from Nov 22

Hola mi mamita. Te extraño muxo pero sé que nos veremos en un rato más
entonces peudo aguantar. :) No. La dura es que estoy muy feliz ahora
pero igual quisiera verte. ¡Feliz cumpleaños! Ojalá que te disfrutaste
lo más que pudieras. No sé si mi español es muy bueno (especialmente
en la forma de Tu pero igual hago el empeño).

Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday Mamita.
Happy Birthday to you.

I still haven´t gotten the packages yet but I am sure that I will
receive them soon. Sorry that I haven´t sent you anything by real mail
these days. I´m pretty short on money so I don´t really have any extra
to send things. Email and love are free!

Your Spanish is coming along really well. Estoy muy impresionada por
todo que ha aprendido.  I´ve been feeling crafty these days, as in I
would like to do crafts. I made some one day and then gave them away
as birthday presents. They were so cute! The headband that Tallia sent
me last year inspired me (I made things with little fabric flowers).

My Birthday Present To You (Carole) will be sent later after this email.

We had 5 people in church this Sunday. Carol, Victor, Carolina, and
two new investigators Constanza and Anaís. They are two cute little
girls that are cousins. Anaís´ mom was going to come too but she
didn't get up in time to get her other two young kids ready. Her name
is Neli and her husband passed away 2 years ago. We talked about
eternal families and her husband and I felt the Spirit strongly and
when we asked her she said that she felt something different that she
hadn't felt before when we talked about her husband. It was a really
cool experience. Carolina is still as awesome as ever. She stayed for
the investigator class and she really like it. We are going to see her
later today. We are actually going to share with her really soon so I
have to cut this short. I spent so much time trying to figure out how
to make your birthday present work and at the end it didn´t. Lame. But
I will try again next week. Por mientras sepa q t quiero muxo (sepa
que te quiero mucho)

Sorry this is lame-.........................
Hermana Smith

Thursday, November 18, 2010

letter from Nov 15

We don´t need to go south. I would rather spend more time with people. I am confident that I will come back to Chile some day and that I will be able to see all the cool southern stuff then. I would much rather spend quality time with the people that I taught and met here before I go. (discussing my trip to Chile to pick her up)
Sounds like you guys had a fun weekend. We found an amazing new investigator named Carolina. She is the daughter of a new convert named Domingo from January. She is so cute. She is 22 just like us and she came to church with us on Sunday. We have only shared with her twice but those two lessons were some of the most spiritual experiences that I have had in my whole mission. The presence of the Holy Ghost was so strong. I literally felt like He was guiding our words like in D&C 50:13-22. So cool. Hermana Enders and I kneeled down after we left the second lesson with Heavenly Father to thank Him for the amazing experience that we had. Carolina is so ready to have these blessings in her life. we will be working a ton with her to help her prepare her for baptism. She felt the Spirit too and wants to be baptized at the end of this month. Please pray for her, she is so amazing I know that Satan will be working hard against her. But God is way stronger. :)
We have some other amazing families that need to keep their commitments so they can feel the Holy Ghost more and progress spiritually. Doralisa and her daughters, Lorena and her family, and some other awesome people. I hope I don´t get moved because there is so much amazing work here but I also know that whatever happens that God is behind it. He knows where I need to be to finish my mission and I trust what He thinks.
I know that I still have a ton of time left but sometimes I think about how excited I am to see you, Mom. You really are the best thing that has ever happened to me. No offense to anyone else... Mom, you really are my #1 fan and that helps me a lot to know and feel that. Did I tell you that Oscar is excited to meet you and that he is already planning to give you a hug? Prepare yourself. :)
Well, loves for all.
Hermana Smith

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pictures of recent zone conferences in the Concepcion Mission

 Elder Zeballos and President Humphrey and their wives
 Talca Conference (with Sami)
 Concepcion Conference
Chillan Conference

Monday, November 8, 2010

letter from Nov 8

Señora Smith,
Gracias por su carta. Me encanta escuchar de su semana y las cosas que hizo con la familia. Ojalá que podamos hacer cosas divertidas cuando yo vuelva también. :) (Thank you for your letter. I love listening to your week and the things he did with the family. Hopefully we can do fun things when I come back too.) Your castellano seems pretty good to me. I´m excited to hear you speak it. Who knows, you might speak it better than me! (not a chance of that, but I am learning as much as I can & now always write a couple of sentences in Spanish in my letters to Sami)
We are having problems again getting investigators that come to church and progress. We have 3 families that we want to focus on so that we can help them progress.
Familia 1: Doralisa (mamá), Catherine y Daniela (hijas) They are a reference from the Bishop and a really awesome family. They were going to come to church yesterday but work came up at the last minute and they said that they weren´t able to come. We are going to work with them this week to try to get them to church this Sunday. I know that they will feel really good in church. They need a lot more peace in their life (the dad of the family passed away in a car crash about a year ago).
Familia 2: Lorena y Mauricio y sus hijos. Lorena was a reference from a member as well. She just recently had an operation so we tried to visit her in the hospital but we ended up visiting this tiny old lady who turns out was someone else. We couldn´t understand what she was saying but I guess she needed a visit that day more than Lorena. :) We passed by later by her house and shared about the Book of Mormon with Lorena, Mauricio, and one if their daughters. They said they were all going to read the chapters we left together that night or the next and we are going  back tomorrow to see how it went.
We are also sharing with Victor, another reference from a member. (I just realized right now how many references from a member we have received these days...) He works with some of the YSA on the chapel that is being fixed and he has already started reading the BoM. He is in Mosiah already and has come to church twice.
I am on Hna Fischbeck´s computer right now and she is kicking me off so I will try to write another email with more info after Hna Melton and I eat. I am in Conce. I wil explain..............
Hna Smith
(from a second email she sent me)
More info. I am here in Concepción with Hermana Melton so she can get some medical tests done. We got here last night and passed by for Oscar for a while. He made us pasta; it was tasty. One of his friends is Mormon (mish, who knew?) and his other friend kissed my hand when he shook it. Classy. I just reread part of my last email and it said ¨I´m ecited¨. I just want to establish the fact that that was a false statement. I am not now, nor ever have been ¨ecited¨. Para que sepan. (Just so you know) Any way, we are leaving Conce tomorrow morning after doing some blood tests. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Letter from Nov 1

Estoy bien. Estoy cansada pero feliz. Fuimos para ver un puente esta mañana y el paseo estuvo bueno. Tuvimos una investigadora en la iglesia ayer. Carol se llama. Sin la ¨e¨.  This week was good. I sure am learning a lot! You know what that means. And if you don´t, even better. We helped the other Hermanas with their baptism on Saturday. I did a musical number. I think I have done a special number at the majority of the baptisms that I have seen here in Chile. Good thing I love to sing. I just hope that no one gets sick of hearing me. I've been kind of distracted these days so I´m trying really hard to cut it out and get it back together again. We have some great people but we have decided to focus on just a few of them until we can help them accept the Gospel, then we can move on and help the rest. We decided to focus on Carol, Hector, and Doralisa, Catherin, and Daniela (a family of 3, they are really cute!). So we are going to focus on them and see if we can help them better that spreading ourselves too thin and not accomplishing much. I saw Hna Robertson at a Zone Conference! I love my hija. She really is the best. I´m glad that she is so close so that we can probably see each other a little more often. Thanks for the packages! I will let you know when I get them. Sorry the email is so short this week. I will be better next week, I hope. :) I´m glad you guys had such a happy Halloween. That´s the idea! Hope you keep enjoying yourselves until I get back. Then you can be lame with me while I rest. Then we will all jump up and have fun together again.

Hermana Smith

Hey Dad, what´s up? Just felt like writing a note to YOU and only you. I have been in Chile for so long. Did you realize that? Haha. Just kidding. But really, my mission has gone by really fast and I´m excited that I will see you guys next...year. Maybe not so fast. ha. Really though. This has been the best decision that I have ever made in my life. I feel like I´ve learned stuff that would have taken me years and years to learn without my mission. But don´t worry. Expect your same Sami, I´m still me! But now I speak Spanish and I have an even stronger testimony of God and Jesus Christ so nothing bad happened. Love you, Dad!!


Letter & pictures from Oct 25

Hey! I´m good. I made some recordings this week, I hope I have time to send them. I´m trying to figure out how to use that hard drive that you sent me in the MTC but every time I try to use it, it doesn't work for me. I just don´t have the magic touch. I think I am going to ask the computer guy to help me... I am computer challenged. I talked to him and he said that the the hard drive isn't working because it is either too old or it is damaged because it got dropped or hit or something (more likely) but now I am really sad because I wanted to see the pictures on it and it is so slow that I can´t even see the images. :( I ruin all technology. I will be trying to send things for you guys to look at / listen to.)

The written info will be short so I can send the recordings too. I met someone from the south of Chile so now we have a friend (niece of a member from Consti) who will let us stay with her if we want. Sweet. Hermana Enders and I have a lot of work to do together before that happens though.

We helped someone with diabetes get to the hospital because she had really high blood sugar (higher than 400!) I thought of you, Mom. So if that ever happens to you, God will send you someone to get you the hospital in time. :) Weird thing to share. Oh well.

love for now

Hermana Smith
(Sadly enough, Sami was unable to send the recordings - maybe next time)
 Cleaning the Apartment

 Zone Activities


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

carta del 18 de octubre

Estoy súper bien. Me alegra ver que está aprendiendo algo en su clase de castellano. Siga practicando, no más. Quiero que pueda comunicarse con mis investigadores y conversos. Eso sería genial. Si se puede!  Happy Anniversary!!! Sorry to everyone that I have missed your birthdays/important dates (especially Tallia, Jon, Alice Sage, Natalee, and all offended family members) hehe. Sorry. I will make it up to you one day. I wanted to send some stuff but I was having money issues so I thought it would be better to hold off and sending stuff and just bring cool stuff when I get home. Sorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry.

Thanksgiving wish: 1. StoveTop Stuffing mix. 2. Handwritten notes or pictures from my family. Cute! Everyone can write something that says the stuff they are grateful for and then you can give them to me. That would be cute. Count your many blessings.

Whatever garment stuff you got will probably be fine. I don´t think I need petite but I don´t really know.

Christmas wish: Any cute homemade-ish thing or note from you guys.

About the miners, everyone here talks about what a big miracle it was and there is a lot of talk about how everything fell really perfectly into place with the timing of getting them out, the number of miners there (33, the same age that Jesus Christ had when He died). It is really interesting that an entire country is so believing that the newspapers can talk about things like miracles instead of taking God completely out of the picture.

Thins week is Cambios and I am still here in Constitución with Hermana Enders which is really awesome because we have A LOT of work to do together still. I will give a good report on our investigators next week but we have a lot of great people who are reading in the Book of Mormon and coming to church so we are really happy. My hija is leaving Santa Sabina and going to San Javier! Cerquita. Hermana Knapp is going to Linares to be companions with Hermana Cortes. They are going to love each other. Hermana McCombs is leaving here and going to San Javier as well.

Yea for Tax Miracles! (I just finished filing my 2009 tax return & got an unexpected extra $1200 back - just enough to pay for my ticket to Chile!)
Talk to Hermana Fischbeck. She will guide you in everything. I was hoping to be called to be her assistant this Cambio but doesn´t look like it. yet, at least.

Ran out of time. (I´m helping Hermana Egbert with her college entry essays)

Hermana Smith

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

letter & pictures from Oct 11

Hola mi mamá. ¿Qué tal? Aqui hay algunas fotos para ustedes. Ojalá que las disfruten.

Getting right down to business...
I really like all the shoes but I think it would be best to just get the same ones I have if possible because I already know that they fit me and are super comfortable and last a long time.

I will respect all your traveling decisions but I just ask you to think about the whole car thing really well. Chile is nice but it´s not Europe and we´ll end up spending a lot of time in buses getting from one place to another. Another difference is that in Europe you and Jennie were seeing a lot of touristy places. We´ll see some of those but a lot of it will be people too that I want to visit so the public transportation might not go where we want it to. Maybe you should talk to Hermana Fishbeck and see what she thinks. She and Elder Fishbeck have done a lot of traveling so they would probably know better than me.

I don´t remember the immunizations. Hepatitus A & B. Typhoid. Tetanus. I´m not sure. There were required and optional ones too.

I think it is so cute that you are taking Spanish classes. It makes me really happy.

We had a zone activity today in Constitución and I literally ripped a whole in my pants. My purple pants from Forever 21 that have served my whole mission and before. I will try to sew up or patch up the whole but  might take this opportunity to buy cool Chilean genie pants if I can find some cheap enough. Just so you know, Mom, you are going to go crazy when you see all the sweaters here. I know that you will instantly love Chilean fashion. I love it.

Stake Conference was this past Sunday and it was amazing. None of our investigators were able to come because of the distance (we traveled to Talca) but the talks were so good and President Humphrey and Hermana Humphrey came to speak. All the talks were so interesting and I really was able to feel like I got a lot out of it. We are reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning with Abi ( one of our investigators) and we are already in 2 Nephi 4 and we started about 2 weeks ago. Love it. We are going to start over again when we read it together as a mission (we aren´t sure when that will start... but it sounds kind of like what we always did in 1st Ward in August but in 2 months instead of 1)

Sounds like you guys are having fun. Que se disfruten arto. Cariños.

Hermana Smith
Sami sent lots of pictures - but I don't know what lots of them are - so just enjoy.
 Somewhere in Constitución


 Some of the tsunami destruction still evident in Constitución
 Elder Jaar and Hermana Smith
(this one is for me since Elder Jaar is one of my favorite elders & he is coming home this cambio)

Monday, October 4, 2010

carta del 04 de octubre

Estoy muy bien! Gracias por preguntarme.Muchas gracias. Muy amable. I hope your Spanish keeps going well. (I am trying to learn some Spanish in anticipation of my trip to Chile to pick up Sami) I was even thinking that maybe you could switch lessons off with Jeanee (Spanish for computr stuff) I know that you were teaching her some escell stuff before the mission I´m sure that she would love an opportunity to keep her Spanish sharp.
I saw part of General Conference in Spanish (only the Saturday afternoon session) because for the other sessions we had investigators who came or who we were waiting for (if we watch it in English we have to go to a different room) and two of our investigators came to church for the first time! Ana (Abigail´s mom) and Cecilia boh came for the first time. We haven´t been able to find Hector this week but we think that he traveled to find some temporary work and that he will come back but we aren´t sure when. We now have  investigators that we are working with who have come to church which is a miracle because there were a few weeks when we didn´t have anyone coming. We aren´t having trouble finding people to teach but we are struggling to find people who really want to change their lives or a least struggling with being better teachers so that they can understand why they would want to change.
We had Interviews this week and they were really great. President and Hermana Humphrey are so awesome. Hermana Enders and I got to do practices teaching Hermana Humphrey and Elder Jaar (seperately, and I already said bye to him and gave him your facebook info) and I really felt like a light bulb was starting to click on in my head. Then later in the week when we were teaching in real situations, I remembered the practices and how I felt there, the way I explained things so that they just seemed clearer in my mind, and I was able to put some of thse things into practice. I still feel like I need so much help to be a better teacher. I don´t have a problem loving the people we teach but I don´t feel like I am very good at teaching them. I think I complicate things too much and at the end everyone ends up confused, but I am working on that. :) It´s all just a big fat process. The mission, life, everything. We just need to bite off pieces that are big enough to chew but small enough to swallow. Big enough to help us get something out of it, but small enough that we don´t choke and die in the process.
Other note. I was wondering if you guys could look up some back exercises for me. It´s been kind of bothering me lately and I wanted some stuff I could do to try to strengthen the muscles there so it doesn´t bother me really. Also, I may be lactose intolerant if Hermana Egbert is right (she´s lactose intolerant too) My stomach was bothering me and I started avoiding dairy products and I feel better. So...I´m not 100 sure but if you could manage it I would really appreciate some lactose intolerant pills in one of the packages you are sending. They are really expensive here (something ridiculous like 500 pesos each one) Also, please keep searching for the Bob Marley tie. I cannot rest until I´ve found one/you´ve found one. :) Also, I would love to have the guitar tab for one of the songs from the Best 2 Years that starts out like this, ¨I took a snapshot of my life but the exposure was all wrong¨ That should be enough to try to find it on the internet if someone has tabbed it (just look that up in google together with ¨guitar¨ tab or ¨chords¨. I don´t need anymore socks. It´s not very cold here now. My previa shoes are size 8M. I remember getting them smaller thatn the other ones because the sizes ran weird.
Traveling. We can take the bus but be warned that you might not like it. The Chileans are small and so are their buses but if you are willing to stick it out, I´m fine. We can probably find someone nice to let us store some luggage while we are traveling south so we don´t have to take it all with us because that would be a pain (trust me). I was thinking that if you wanted to get a car in Santiago and drive it down here that I could get someone (a convert or member) who speaks English and Spanish to meet you up there and help you drive down (so you don´t get lost and so nobody cheats you). I can think of a couple people who could probably do it and would be willing to. Chile is kind of like Europe but not really at all. Once you leave Santiago or Concepción it will be hard to find people that speak English well enough to communicate anything so make sure your Spanish is good. I know a car would be expensive but just keep in mind in seeing what would be more convenient and cheaper that in the city we would have to use colectivos or buses that aren´t always going to go where we want them to and usually go for about 350 to 400 pesos a pop (a little less than a dollar). Bus rides are long and not all buses have a bathroom (the really big ones have a bathroom for number 1 only). A bus ride from Concepción to Talca is about 4 hours and costs around 5,000 mil pesos and then another 1,500 pesos and 2 hours to Constitución in bus. Cars are a lot faster because w can stop when and where we want to and they go exactly where we want to go. Just figure that we would take at an absolute absolute minimum, 3 colectivos a day (my idea of a short walk is not the same anymore...) which would be probably anywhere from $6 - 10 USD a day in buses or colectivos, but with the possibility of more, depending where we are and what we want to do.
This letter is so long. Thank you for reading it. Thank you for always writing me. And thank you for being the best family ever on the face of the whole planet. Seriously. I love you guys. I can´t believe I just finished my last General Conference in Chile. Time flies and I don´t have much left. But I´m excited to work my butt off (literally, it´s huge and I could stand to shave off a few pounds) and then see you guys and just enjoy your legit awesomeness. And some crockpot stew. I am sending lots of love with this letter.
Enclosed: Lots of Love
Hermana Smith

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A week of Miracles

Sami had a great week with lots of missionary miracle moments! And she actually sent a nice newsy letter to tell me about it!
Hna Enders and I saw a ton of miracles this week! We had our zone conference on Wednesday in Talca so we came back charged from that and with a resolve to search out all the less active members on the ward list (our ward list is 39 pages long and only about 120 people attend church actively). So we wanted to clean up the list and find some inactive and less active members to teach to help strengthen the ward and hopefully gain some more of the Bishop´s confidence. The next day (Thursday) we picked some names and looked all morning, we found some new investigators (from houses were the members didn't live here anymore) and some inactive members who were willing to receive visits from us. We were feeling pretty good about it, we had an efficient morning and everything. Then in the evening, we had an appointment with our investigator Pedro Barrillas (a contact of our Zone Leaders when they were working with us in Constitución), and Pedro is always great at inviting his friends or neighbors to come it and share with us because he feels so good when we share (the Spirit) and he always tells us of blessings he sees after we are there (the hand of God). It´s pretty cool. So anyway, we are sharing with him, his son Pedro, and one of his friends named Pancho. Then he invites 2 more people to share with us. We were talking about the Book of Mormon and by the end of the lesson, all 5 of them wanted their own Book of Mormon.

One of the men there (they were all old men with the exception of 13 year old Pedro who made the cutest comments about how youth today are straying from the good path), is the husband of an inactive member. When he married his wife she was an active member of the church and he was very Catholic. He told her that he was the man of the house and that she couldn't go to this church anymore so she stopped. Then a few years ago he started questioning his testimony of the Catholic church and studying about the reformation. He was really interested in the Book of Mormon and asked if he could buy one and he invited us to his house this coming Thursday to share with his wife and all his family. So please pray that that goes well.

One of the other men is named Hector Fuentes. He also invited us to his house to share with him but before we left he asked us if we knew Jaime Fuentes (one of the YSA who has been a member for almost 2 years). We said that of course we knew him and asked if they were related (same last name and everything). He laughed and told us that he is his DAD!!! We didn't know that Jaime had a dad (he lives with his mom). Well he does, and we shared with his on Saturday night with Jaime there too. Not only did Hector invite a friend to share with us (her name is Francisca and she is another miracle)but he also told us that from that moment on he wasn't going to go anywhere without the Book of Mormon (we went over to give him his copy and explain more about the Restoration). It was really hard not to sit there with my mouth hanging open. We don´t usually hear that as missionaries. But this isn't even the end of the story. Hector and Francisca both came to church on Sunday and they LOVED IT! They absolutely loved it and want to follow he rest of their lives. That is what they told us. We are going to invite them both tonight to prepare to be baptized (we have an appointment with both of them, but in their separate homes). I am so excited. Seriously. So many miracles.

Even though we have seen a lot of miracles, we still need more. Gladys and Diego haven´t come to church for a few weeks. We haven´t been able to find Gladys (she is NEVER home) and whenever we talk to Diego he acts really strange so we still don´t know what is wrong. I´m really worried about them and it´s tough because I want to help them but it seems like what we are trying isn't working. I guess we need to trust more in Heavenly Father on this one and see what we can do differently to help them better.
We have interviews this Thursday so hopefully I will be able to be even more recharged afterward. Thanks for being great and loving me.

Hermana Smith

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Short letter - but lots of pictures!

Sami did not have much time to write this week (Monday was still part of the celebration for the 200th anniversary of Chile Independence).But she did send lots of pictures.

You will have to be satisfied with this photo essay for this week. The pictures took a long time and my companion is waiting for me now... This week was great but we didn't spend hardly any time in our sector working (hermanas activity didn't end until Tuesday, then we had a meeting in Talca Wednesday and 18 started Friday and hasn't ended yet) Hopefully we will be able to get back into the groove of things fast.

Photos up until now. The Hermanas activity, my adopted mother here in Chile (Hna Fishbeck / I´m her assistant...), when Oscar came (I still haven´t forgiven Hna Enders for not telling me that my bangs were parted down the midde but it´s good for a laugh anyway)
 Sami and Hna Fishbeck
Hna Fishbeck (the Mission secretary)
 Sami and Oscar (a convert from Concepcion) when he came to visit in Constitucion

We flew kites and everyone had to help me put mine together and fly it (I had never flown a square kite before...). It was sweet. There were two casualties and one close shave while I was flying it (I hit 2 people, it was so funny. I died laughing). Pictures from 18 de Septiembre.