Sami singing the song she wrote

Monday, January 25, 2010

Letter from Jan 25, 2010

Once again, a short letter from Sami. But she did send us some recordings of her singing with the guitar she bought with her Christmas money, so I will post one of two of them when I have them editied.
I recorded things to share but the computer hates me. I sang with my guitar at a baptism yesterday. It was so awesome. I´m so glad you guys gave me a guitar for Christmas. The service was really special for me, I don´t know why but it was like Karen´s baptism, except I never taught the guy who was got baptized. Maybe it´s because he reminds me of home (he wears all black, every day) good old diversity. Everything here is going really well. 4 months in Chile tomorrow which means 6 months in my mission. Only 1 year left. Wow. Weird. It is all of a sudden really hot and I sweat more then I ever thought possible before. We came home one night to plan and I realized that the back of my hand was actually sweating. I´m sure you all wanted to know that. I played the games Mike sent me EXCEPT I CAN´T REMEMBER HOW TO SET UP BACKGAMMON!!!!!!!! And if you guys could email me some tab or something for more churchy songs that would be awesome. If you have time being retired that is. (Don´t hurt yourself researching pressure washers, Dad). I do not have the package of Tallia and Jon. Some day I would like to visit their exotic vacation destination. This is short. I am sorry. Goodbyeeeeeeeeeee.......

Hermana Smith

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Letter from Jan 18, 2010

Instead of her usual family email, Sami sent an email to Jennie & I in response to a rambling gospel discussion oriented one I had sent them.
Dearest Mother and Sister of Mine(s),

Have I told you lately that I love you? Have I told you just how much I care? Yeah, just imagine I am singing that song to you. I want to give you hugs but I am far away. So I will give you my words of wisdom. Don´t smoke, drink, do drugs, drink tea, or drink coffee. I want to share some of the things I´ve learned from the scriptures but I am so bad at remembering what scriptures I like and I don´t have my marked scriptures with me. But it is really interesting because I had a couple experiences this week with the things you (Mom) were talking about in your email.(I had been discussing why we could not remember our time before we came to earth in an email I sent Jennie & Sami) We have used the scripture in Alma 37 about the Liahona/words of Christ quite a bit this week. And I was talking with one of the members who is having a hard time and wanted to know why we can´t just remember our life before with Heavenly Father because everything would be that much easier. I heard/read one of the apostles say that he prays for trials. When I read that I thought ¨jeez, the leaders of our church are crazy¨. Now I understand a little better that Heavenly Father gives us tough times and trials of our faith to help us grow. It is impossible to become like Him without stretching us. I would like to quote Stephen Colbert when he said something completely different but I will change one word so it will magically apply. ¨Why not stretch ourselves[he actually said ¨the truth¨]? We stretch taffy and that only makes it more delicious¨. He was right! We are only made more delicious in the painful process of trying our faith and our belief. Remember, Jesus never actually said ¨I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it¨, but that is basically what is implied in the scriptures.

This is a poem from a talk by Boyd K. Packer:
There is great meaning in these word entitled “The Lesson.”

Yes, my fretting,
Frowning child,
I could cross
The room to you
More easily.
But I’ve already
Learned to walk,
So I make you
Come to me.

Let go now
You see?

Oh, remember
This simple lesson,
And when
In later years
You cry out
With tight fists
And tears
“Oh, help me,
Just listen
And you’ll hear
A silent voice:

“I would, child,
I would.
But it’s you,
Not I,
Who needs to try
(Carol Lynn Pearson, “The Lesson,” Beginnings, New York: Doubleday and Co., 1975, p. 18)
(This has been one of My favorite poems since long before Sami (or any of my children) was born.)

One’s life … cannot be both faith-filled and stress-free. …

“Therefore, how can you and I really expect to glide naively through life, as if to say, ‘Lord, give me experience, but not grief, not sorrow, not pain, not opposition, not betrayal, and certainly not to be forsaken. Keep from me, Lord, all those experiences which made Thee what Thou art! Then let me come and dwell with Thee and fully share Thy joy!’ …

“Real faith … is required to endure this necessary but painful developmental process.”

Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Lest Ye Be Wearied and Faint in Your Minds,” Ensign, May 1991, 88, 90.

I love this quote that I found in the January Liahona because I feel like it applies so much to every one of us. Sometimes we forget that life is HARD. It was never meant to be easy. I don´t want it to be easy because that means I´m not learning anything. We have the potential to become like God. Think about that for a few minutes. You, Mom, and you, Jennie, and me (Sami, in case you forgot). We all have the same chance to becaome like Heavenly Father, a perfect god who created us and this earth, other worlds and universes. Then let´s think about where each of us are at right now. Are we close to our end goal of becoming like God? The answer is no (Mosiah 4:11). But the good news is we have everything we need to get through any trial Heavenly Father gives us. And we now that He will never give us a trial without purpose. One of my favorite chapters is Hebrews 12 (maybe that´s because it uses one of the words from my retired vocabulary :) ). But seriously, read it. It really put some thigs in perspective for me. I wrote a really long email. I love you and I hope that you remember that this is our time to learn how to depend on Heavenly Father, not on other people, including ourselves. I love you!! So much!!!

Hermana Smith
aka Sami

Pictures from last transfers

Sami's apartment in San Carlos

A street in San Carlos

San Carlos

Saying goodbye - Hermana Grahn, Karen (recently baptised) & Hermana Smith before Hermana Grahn was transferred to another city

Hermana Grahn - ready to move on while Sami stays behind

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Letter from Jan 11, 2010

A really really short letter to us - but I will also include the letter she wrote her sister Jennie. And she did send lots of pictures. I will post the pictures later this week when I have time.

Family/Let´s Be Honest It´s Mom,

Love you all legitly. Playing for Sacrament meeting was fine. A little nerve-wracking. Mom, Thanks for sending me your conversion story! I printed it out to read later today. Heart! I don´t have a lot of time today because I am going to try to send pictures. And sleep. More information to come later!!!

Hermana Smith

And the letter to Jennie:
Dear Jennie.

I am trying to swim in the Spirit but sometimes it is only ankle deep. Don´t miss the fam too much. You are doing something awesome with your time and having so many experiences I´m sure you will never forget (so make sure you want to remember them :) ) I guess the only ¨words of wisdom¨I can give you is that I´m pretty sure I don´t have any. Haha. seriously though. We just have to try our best and be sincere. There isn't really much more you can do. If at the end of the day you can say you honestly tried your best to live the gospel you´re doing good. And use this time to learn to depend on Heavenly Father instead of Mom and Dad. Or yourself :) I still have trouble with that. Not the depending on Mom and Dad but the part where I try to do everything myself. And I know you have that problem too. Don´t try to deny it... Remember that Heavenly Father actually does want to help us. He didn't leave us here alone to try to figure everything out without His help. He wants us to get back there and He will do everything He can to help us. I love you, Man. Keep it real in Francia until I get back.

Hermana Smith

ps  Tell Toni and Jonathan I said hi and that I think I have a letter for them that I will send when I have money! 

Monday, January 4, 2010

Letter from Jan 4, 2010

Dear Family,

I am giving you a New Year´s hug (tradition here, in liu (?) of a New year´s kiss. My new companion is named Hermana Rodriguez and she is originally from Mexico but she has been living the US for the past 4 years. I was having a little bit of trouble transitioning at first because I had grown accustomed to the way Hermana Grahn worked but now it is all fine. She is awesome. Her Spanish is so beautiful. Probably because she has been speaking it her whole life. It´s funny though because she is helping with my Spanish and I am helping her with her English. :)

I would just like to share something I learned this week. I´m pretty sure that I have the most legitimately awesome mother in the entire world. I was reading those cranes (by the way, I still can´t figure out how to fold them up again...) and I've pretty much opened all of them because I couldn't stop myself. Lack of self-control on my part, I know. Really, mom, I don´t know if I can communicate how incredibly legit you are. Keep it rollin.

Zone conference is this Wednesday so I´ll let you know how it goes next Monday. And guess what. Remember how I always wanted to learn how to play the piano? Well I´m the only one in the ward that can read music since Hermana Grahn and Hermana Meikle left. Which means that I will be playing the hymns for Sacrament meeting from now on. Hehe. It´s going to be a little rough for a while. And I´m also directing the choir now so if you find any vocal exercises or anything on the internet that could help me I would definitely appreciate it. I´m going to practice piano in the chapel 3 times a week after lunch and pray. A lot.

Could you just tell Tallia, Jon and my sister Alice Sage how when I think about them it makes me happy because I love them? Thank you.

I´m pretty sure I´m good with thermal underwear but I would appreciate warm knee high socks I think. And a warm hat. I think I can figure out the other stuff. It would probably be easier for me to buy a warm coat here so you don´t have to pay for shipping.

Yeah, so I´m doing well. Lately I've been realizing how I´m not really that patient, compassionate, generous, or charitable. At least these characteristics come and go in waves... But we are all here to learn and improve and if I can´t recognize my faults, how am I supposed to make them strengths? There´s a scripture I really love in Galatians but apparently I don´t love it enough to remember the reference so good luck finding it. It´s about how as humans we are weak but in Christ and through His Atonement we are made strong. But I will admit that I´m grateful that I don´t recognize all my faults at once so I don´t flip out or something. The Lord never gives us more than we can handle, but He will gives us enough to make us sweat a little. If this life was always super easy no one would ever improve. I know that the hard times I´ve experienced in my life have made me stronger and more capable to face challenges here and more challenges I will face in the future.

There are 2 zones in Chillán.

I would love to be in The Most Magical Place on Earth with My Family.

Well. It sounds like you are all having a lot of fun in your respective places. Thanks for keeping it real, Fam.

Dad and Mom, you should go on a walk together.


Hermana Sami Smith

Friday, January 1, 2010

Letter from Dec 28

Sami is getting a new companion this week, so her letter was short. Sounds like there was a lot of movement within her zone at transfers this week.

Dear Family,

I don´t have a lot of time to write this week so here are some pictures. Hermana Grahn is getting transferred to Constitución and is leaving tomorrow so we have to go around and say goodbye to everyone here. My new companion is named Hermana Rodriguez and is coming tomorrow. I´m so excited to work with her!! 

I was able to learn a lot from Hermana Grahn and it was so fun to be able to have someone who could play the piano so well and who appreciates classical music like I do. Hermana Meikle also is leaving (for San Javier). So I don´t know who I will sing with now. Or who will play piano. And I have no idea what is going to happen with the musical number for Zone Conference because it was going to be all three of us but now we will be in three different places... I guess we´ll see what happens.

I sent some pictures of the baptisms this week. Karen (she is so awesome! She is 19 years old and is probably getting married in February!) and Enzo (a little older, 47, he sells gas in the street :) he and his wife Alejandra are so cute!)

Also there is a picture of the Élderes that brought us our Christmas packages. And probably more but I can´t remember...

I love you all and I hope you all have a happy New Year. Play me some Prince, Jeannie...

Hermana Smith

Élderes delivering Christmas packages to Hermanas on Christmas morning!

Sami's district - Dec 2009

Sami's zone - Dec 2009

Companions - soon to be parted
Hermanas Smith and Grahn

Karen - baptized Christmas day

Hermana Grahn, Karen, Hermana Smith
Dec 25, 2009

Hermana Smith, Enzo, ?, Hermana Grahn

Enzo and his wife Alejandra
She was baptized a few weeks ago, he was baptized Dec 27