Sami singing the song she wrote

Monday, August 30, 2010

Very short letter for August 30

One day I will tell you all the things that have happened these past 2 weeks but today is not that day. Sorry, this computer is slow and I don´t have much money. I am doing great. I still love my companion. We had training in Talca with the Assistants (part of the new program they are doing in the missions). It was amazing. I am so excited to apply all the stuff we learned. next week I will tell you more. I spent too much time trying to figure out how to send you recordings that I made but in the end I couldn't figure it out. Lame. Oh well. Next week. Sorry...... Love you all. Cambios. Don´t think I´m going anywhere.

You can thank your favorite Elder (Elder Jarr) on his blog for being a killer Assistant. He goes home next cambio and he helped us with all our 3 baptisms the past 2 weeks. Especially the 2 baptisms that the other Hnas had yesterday because he and Elder Wilde found a pool we could use (we still don´t have a font or a pool), organized it so the mission paid for the water and drove the pool up from Conce to Consti Friday night. You should take him and Elder Wilde out to to dinner when they get home. They would totally be in to that. (problem is they will be in Provo, I am in WA state - maybe after Sami gets back & we find a reason to go to Provo.)

Hna Smith

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Baptism the hard way

Hey, it´s been a crazy week. In the end only Gladis got baptized but we are going to keep working with the other two people to help them prepare for this Sunday. We had to go all the way to Talca because there still isn't a font here but in the end it really was perfect because Gladis is really concerned about her health and in Talca there is heated water (here it would just be a small wading type pool outside so the water won´t be too warm or too cold) But Gladis was so happy. It was really cute to see her all excited and nervous about her baptism. She was really happy after and I am really impressed that she was totally fine with traveling 2 hours to Talca and then 2 hours to come back just for her baptism. What a trooper.

We had a combined baptismal service with the Hermanas in San Javier because something isn´t working with their pool so I got to see Hna Leggett. Cute! I miss her and the Hnas in Santa Sabina. But it sounds like they are thinking about doing some kind of conference or activity with all the Hnas in September. That would be so amazing! It would be so cool to see everyone in the same place.

I feel like Heavenly Father is trying to help me learn how to follow the guidance of the Spirit. Sometimes it seems like learning the things that God wants us to is a long, slow, sometimes painful process. Usually it is just painful when we don´t listen or decide that we don´t want to listen to what he is trying to tell us. But all the things that we learn from Heavenly Father are definitely worth the effort we have to put in to it. And we learn according to that same effort. If we put in the work, He puts in the rest. If we don´t do anything or very little, that´s exactly what we´ll get out of it. Makes sense to me.

I found out that my mission goes until February 22 so if you want to come get me, which it sounds like you do, plan for that. I would actually love if you came down, so I could see you a little earlier, and because they are changing the way they send the missionaries home and it seems like it might be a little more difficult to say goodbye to all the people I would want to see before I left. And you do have a point in that I don´t know when I will have enough money to come back. Sad day.

Consti is warmer and less rainy than Conce. I´ve actually gone a few nights without my winter coat. I never would have done that in Conce. Jamás de los jamases. (Hna Cortés is helping me improve my Spanish...)

How fun that Jennie is back and that you are all hanging out and being cool. Lame, But okay because I am having a good time and learning so much useful junk. Ha. Not junk. Useful information, experiences, about myself, about other people, a little of everything. And I hope to be a more well-rounded person when I get back. When I say well-rounded I am referring to my manner of being, not my body, which actually is more rounded than when I started my mission a year ago. But what can ya do. I know. I started jogging to the beach in the mornings to have some wave therapy. And I want to start doing yoga. Speaking of that, could someone send me the Sun Salutations so I could do them in the morning with my jog? Sería genial.

I had songs to send but my recorder has a virus so the computer won´t let me get to them. I´ll see what I can do about that for next week.

I love the Gospel too. Seriously. Hna McCombs and I were talking about that yesterday on the way to Talca. It just makes me so happy because it all makes so much sense. Maybe that´s why I love it so much, it answers so many questions that we can have that in a way it brings a certain type of surety. We probably won´t be able to answer all of our questions with the understanding that we have right now of the Gospel but I have complete confidence that one day it will all come together for us. That we will be able to comprehend what God comprehends. That day is a little far off. hehe. But it´s still there. The Gospel rocks, man.

Well, I love you all. Think of me when you play Cheeky Monkey (the Chileans LOVE that game, honestly they do) and Settlers of Catan. We´ll have a big party when I get back and I will cook Chilean food to delight your hearts with American seasonings to delight your taste buds.

Hna Smith
Four Hermanas in the rain
Gladis who was baptised Sunday in the font in Talca
Gladis and family and friends (and the 2 hermanas)
The hermanas from San Javier and Constitucion
Hermanas Smith and Leggett

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sami's letter to President Humphrey, Aug 16, 2010

President Humphrey,

I love Constitution.  This past Sunday Diego was confirmed a member of the Church.  He already has many friends and acquaintances within the Church that will help him to remain steadfast on this path.  This coming Sunday, we have three more baptisms scheduled. Truly, I am seeing many miracles here. I'm still surprised how easily people open the door to let us in (I got used to Concepcion where it is a little harder to enter homes.).  Still there are many people that do not want to listen but upon applying this new program group and the simplified lessons approach, it is easier to find and to be focused on the people that are more prepared to listen and to accept the restored Gospel.  We are gathering together at the Polytechnic College here while the chapel is being repaired. We had our first Sunday here yesterday and it looks good. I expect good things of my time here in Consti. Although we do not have a chapel at the moment.  I do not feel that it will be more difficult to work here.

That is fine.
Sister Smith

Presidente Humphrey,

Me encanta Constitución. Este domingo pasado Diego se confirmó miembro de la Iglesia. Él ya tiene muchos amigos y amistades dentro de la Iglesia que le ayudarán a seguir firme en este camino. Este domingo que viene, tenemos tres más bautismos programados. De verdad, estoy viendo muchos milagros aqui. Todavía me soprende cuan facilmente la gente abre la puerta para dejarnos entrar (me acostumbré a Concepción donde es un poco más difícil a entrar en los hogares). Igual hay muchas personas que no quieren escuchar pero al aplicar esta nueva programa del grupe de enfoque y las lecciones simplificadas, es más fácil encontrar y enfocarse en las personas que están más preparadas para escuchar y aceptar el Evangelio restaurado.

Estamos reuniéndonos en el Colegio Politecnico aqui mientras se está reparado la capilla. Tuvimos el primer domingo ayi ayer y nos fue bien, entonces, espero cosas buenas de mi tiempo aqui en Consti al pesar que no tenemos una capilla por el momento. No siento que hará más difícil la obra aqui.

Que esté bien.

Hermana Smith

Aug 15 letter

How´s it going? Consti is awesome. We meet for the first time in our substitute-chapel for the next six months. It´s an old school right next to the river. Apparently when the tsunami came in through the river it filled the school with a couple of feet of mud and sand but they cleaned all that out already. And there we are. I gave a surprise talk yesterday (we were in charge of planning the talks this week) and the new converts that we asked to talk didn´t fill up very much time. It was kind of cool to see how far I´ve come. I remember when I was so relieved that I got out of giving a talk before I left for my mission, even though I was still so nervous to give my testimony in front of everyone. Yeah, the Lord really helps us do things we never thought were possible before. I gave a 10 minute talk in Spanish with about 5 minutes prep in front of 130 people. And it made sense. God can really work wonders with us if we let Him. So cool and legit.

Hahaha!!!! Someone here today told me that I will probably lose weight here in Consti because of all the hills. (The Chileans are VERY honest) I just looked at him with a lot of patience and charity (pure love) and said, "Actually I walked more in Conce so I´ll probably get fatter". I always like to have the last word.

My companion is so funny.

The guy that said I will probably lose weight just gave me some cake. Hahaha. I am going to miss Chile so much.

Diego (and I assume Oscar) got confirmed on Sunday!!!! Hooray! Diego came in a suit that he borrowed from his cousin. He looked so cute in his little suit. The sad part is we didn´t make it in time to see his confirmación because we were helping other investigators (Roxana and Charlott) get to church. So we missed the Sacrament (only the 2nd time in all of my mission that I remember). Yeah, but now that we are in the Colegio Polytecnico the room where we have Sacrament Meeting is all glass on one side so everyone can see and they just stare. Not just the little kids but everyone. Super awkward. Good motivation to always get to church early. I think they should install huge glass windows in every chapel.

Everyone here flies kites, but not just any kites. Homemade kites. I am going to try to make a kite today and see what happens.

We have a missionary table in the feria (street fair basically, like the farmer´s market) that we do about once a week. The last time we went I brought my guitar to play to see if it would encourage people to stop and read some of the signs we use with info about the doctrine and everything. It worked more or less. And then a guy tried to give me money and I was just waving my hands like, ¨no! I can´t take your money, man¨. I felt accepting money would be somewhere along the lines of Priestcraft. Awkward thing for a missionary to do. But good to know that in a different time and place if I played in the street someone might have compassion and give me a buck or two. If not for what I sang, to get me to stop. That´s worth something at least.

This Sunday 3 of our investigators are getting baptized! Gladis, a middle-aged woman who works for the city and has a son that is 11 years old. And also Roxana and Charlott, her 8 year old daughter. They are so cute! I am so excited! We have a pool to do the baptisms in but we need to figure out how to use warm water or Gladis said she won´t get baptized because of her health. So pray that we can figure something out please. :)

Well, I hope you are all great. I still haven´t found out which cambio I go home. I know that it´s totally kosher that you come to pick me up and we rtavel for a bit. I´m not sure how much travel is kosher, especially since I´ll still be a missionary till I get back to the states but I know at least 1 week is cool. Maybe more. I´ll try to figure that out so you can know soon. You can see how cool Chile is and meet all these people that I love so much!
I love everyone.
Hermana Smith / Sami

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Special Baptism

Oscar, one of Sami's investigators got baptized this Sunday. She was sad not to be there, but happy that he had finally made the choice to accept the Gospel. Luckily someone from her old sector sent her pictures of the baptism.
Hey Mom, sorry. It won´t be a long letter this week. (her zone went to the beach today) i talked to my Hija!!!  Hna Egbert needed a number from Santa Sabina so she let me call. Then I talked to her and she told me about how Oscar got baptized (and Marleni sent me photos too) and  I was so happy / sad that I wasn´t there that I cried and it was really awkward. I am SOOOOOO Happy but also sad.  

Diego got baptized here in Constitución. His baptism was so cute. He and his friend Daniel listen to Heavy Metal rock. Would you ever guess that by looking at them? Never. I did a musical number for his baptism with my guitar (I´m glad that I brought it, too) and while I was playing I was definitely thinking about how Oscar was getting baptized at the same time so I sang for both of them. It really breaks my heart a little that I wasn't there with him. But if I hadn't come here, maybe Diego wouldn't have gotten baptized too. Who knows. God works in a mysterious way.
I was lucky enough to be online when Sami was doing her email, so we sent some short emails back and forth. We discussed whether she would try & come home early to possibly try out for vocal performance or stay as long as possible. Also whether or not I would go down to pick her up and let her show me around Chile.Her last comments were:

We just have to decide 4 months before I leave because that is when they start to make the flight plans and everything. I would love to check stuff out with you, mom. I love Chile so much. I am going to be soooooooooooooo sad when I have to go home. No offense. 

Diego's baptism in Constitucion

At the Beach
I have not found out who the one in the brace is yet
The missionaries playing 'Cheeky Monkey' - 
a game that Sami's brother Mike sent her for Christmas

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sami's letter to President Humphrey, Aug 2, 2010

President Humphrey,

So far I love Constitution. I feel very at home here and the people are so good. This past week we found 10 new investigators, and some are even in the same family. I learned many things in Concepcion and I am so grateful to be able to implement changes for the things I learned better. I really like the new lessons in Preach My Gospel. I'm trying the best I can to use every opportunity. My new companion, Sister Cortes, is helping me focus to help investigators to have the same goal as we do to help them make sacred covenants with Heavenly Father. I know without a doubt that we shall see miracles together. Her testimony is very powerful and I can feel the spirit testifying with us in the lessons. I'm still working to feel led by the Spirit and really understand what that means.

This coming week is a year since I started my mission, or 10 months here in Chile. It is difficult to believe that much time has passed. And to think that it is possible that I will die (end her mission) here in the Constitution is the strangest. I remember you told me in interviews that these last six months of my mission will be the most productive of all others. Hopefully so. I will work to pass as well. I feel there are more people that the Lord wants me to help and that there is more progress than he wants me to make. So I have much time to do so. This must be done, no more.

I have a question so I can advise my parents. I'm not sure when my end date is for my mission. I will have been on it for one and a half years on February 5 but do not know when the transfers are.

Thank you very much for everything!

Sister Smith

Presidente Humphrey,

Hasta ahora me encanta Constitución. Siento muy en casa aqui y la gente es tan buena. Esta semana pasada encontramos a 10 nuevos investigadores, y algunos son una familia incluso. Aprendí muchas cosas en Concepción y estoy tan agradecida por poder cambiarme para aplicar las cosas que aprendí mejor. Me gusta muchísimo las nuevas lecciones de Predicad Mi Evangelio. Estoy tratando lo mejor que pueda de utilizarlas en cada oportunidad que tenga. Mi nueva compañera la Hermana Cortes me ayuda bastante a enfocarme enpoder ayudar a los investigadores a tener la misma meta que tenemos nosotros de ayudarles a hacer convenios sagrados con Padre Celestial. Sé sin ninguna duda que verémos milagros juntas. Su testimonio es muy poderoso y puedo sentir el Espíritu testificando con nosotras en las lecciones. Todavía estoy trabajando para sentirme guiada por el Espíritu y realmente entender que significa eso.

Esta semana que viene cumpliré un año en la misión, o sea, 10 meses aqui en Chile. Igual es difícil a creer que tanto tiempo ha pasado. Y al pensar en que es posible que voy a morir aqui en Constitución es lo más extraño. Yo recuerdo que me dijo usted en las úlitimas entrevistas, que esas últimos 6 meses de mi misión serán los más productivos de todos los demás. Ojala que sea así. Trabajaré para que pase así. Siento que hay más personas que el Señor quiere que yo ayude y que hay más progreso que Él quiere que tenga yo. Entonces me queda mucho tiempo para lograrlo. Hay que hacerlo, no más.

Tengo una consulta para que pueda advidar a mis papás. No estoy segura cuando cae mi fecha para salir de la misión. Cumplo un año y medio el 5 de Febrero pero no sé cuando caen los cambios.

Muchas gracias por todo!

Hermana Smith

First week in Constitucion

Hey Family!!! Here are some photos that I hope you will all be really in to.I would explain what each one is but honestly I´m not sure which ones I sent. There is one with me and Guillermo from Santa Sabina that I sent because I thought I looked really intellectual and he looked really gangsta but it turns out that there were little animals and hearts on his doorag so not so much after all. Then a bunch of me with various people before Hna Legget and I left for Talca. Love that girl. Also love my Hija and the Tía (Hna Rockwood). I really will miss them. Oh but guess what?!?!?? My hija gets to be companions with Hna Meikle/Miekle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry Hna, I just sat here for a couple minutes trying to figure out how to spell your name. Didn´t work. So you get both. They both look wrong/right for some reason.

You saw Matt Varelia! (a friend of Sami's from HS) Crazy. I miss that kid. And Berith (her voice teacher) too. I am definitely thinking about studying voice again when I get back. By the way, I´m not sure if I get back in January or the end of February because my date to finish is in the middle of the cambio but I´m going to ask President Humphrey today to find out which one it is. If I leave in Feb, I might be here in Consti for the one-year mark after the earthquake and tsunamis. Crazy.

I definitely miss the people from Santa Sabina, especially since I didn't get to say goodbye to all of them. I have a lot of letters to write... I made 2 bracelets this morning and then we went to the ferria and I bought carrots, 3 tomatoes, and an avocado for $1 USD!!! I love Chile. Seriously though. The people here are so funny.

We have a lot of great people here to teach. I am working on getting to know them so I can love them as much as all the people from Conce. But I've heard that the more time you have in the mission, the easier it becomes to really love the people. I am so excited to work here. We found 10 new investigators this past week!. We found a whole family that lives in the same apartment complex as us, just one building over. There names are Alejandra (Ale), Henri, Florenza (Flor), and Juliete, and Ale´s sister Sofia. We met them because Friday morning we went to go turn the power on (it short circuited or something) and while we were outside we heard Ale yell for help and then saw something burning in front of her door. Turns out that she had put some baby blankets to dry on he gas stove and while she was in the other room they caught on fire. That´s when she threw all the stuff outside and called for help. We went over about 20 minutes later to see if she was okay and that´s when we met her and her husband Henri. We went back on Saturday to share with them and they are awesome. Super nice. We had a good lesson about the Atonement and we started talking about baptism but we didn't have enough time to really do it justice and explain it well enough but we have an appointment to go back on Thursday. I´ll keep you updated on that.

My new companion is SO FUNNY. I love her. her name is Hna Cortes and she is from Panama. She is a tiny stick and looks like a model. She loves Shakira and  Toby Maguire (?) from Spiderman. Hna Grahn was her trainer too so we really are sisters. Hna Cortes was here in Constitución for the earthquake. She had just gotten to Chile 3 weeks before.

I kept the guitar.

It is in my will.

In the case of my timely death (ie when she leaves her mission) next year it will be left to my Hija.
Sami and Guillermo from Santa Sabina
The four hermanas from Santa Sabina
Sami and her Santa Sabina companion
Sami and Hermana Leggett from Santa Sabina
Hers is an excerpt from the email Hermana Leggett sent to her mom today:
So, yep Im now in the little town of San Javier!  The trip over was really good because I traveled with Hermana Smith, who is going to Constitucion (she can keep an eye out for my converts), and I got time to write a few notes to some people in Constitucion to send with her.  Hermana Smith played the guitar while we were waiting for the bus.  She makes me happy when she sings and plays the guitar. 
(I am glad that Sami has the opportunity to make people happy with her beautiful singing!)
 Sami and Hermana Knapp who was with her in San Carlos
Sami and her new companion, Hermana Cortes
Hermana Cortes along the shore in Constitucion.