Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My Testimony

Hello!

How are things going for everyone? Things out here are good. The past week went by SO FAST! It's crazy!

One of the blessings of living in Hawaii is that they have a lot of GOOD fruit! There is a mango tree on the grounds of our church, so Sister Ieremia and I definitely picked up all the mangos that fell off the tree. They were delicious. Even better are the papayas. YUM!! Our landlord also has a banana tree and has given us some bunches of bananas. It's great. This last week our ward members have been feeding us lots of "mainland" type foods. It's been SO NICE. Hawaiian food isn't very word of wisdom friendly. Instead of eating whole grains, lots of fruits and veggies, and limited meat....well, they eat meat, meat, meat, meat, rice, rice, soy sauce, and dessert. Last Monday we had enchiladas though. They weren't nearly as good as Mom's, but they made me feel a little closer to home.

Missionary work in Hawaii Kai is moving along, just very SLOWLY. We have a investigator, who I think will be baptized eventually. She just needs more time to understand everything and exercise her faith. It could take a LONG time, probably longer than I'll stay in this area, but hopefully it'll happen before I return to Utah! She's a strong lady and I've truly developed great love for her.

Other than that, we have a few other people we're teaching, but I'm not sure how things will work out. They flake out on appointments a lot and I'm just impatient. I need to have more faith though. These people are all children of God and will greatly benefit from the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I need to keep an eye single to the glory of God if I want to see success. We also have quite a few members in our ward with potential referrals who have already inquired about the church. None of them will let them meet with us though because they're "not ready" to have the lessons yet. I don't understand that part. They haven't even asked if they want to meet with missionaries! For all they know, their friends could want to but don't think they're allowed to or are afraid to ask or don't even know that meeting with missionaries is the first step to become a member of this church. The worst that can happen is they say no!

Still, our ward members are pretty great. There are a few families in particular that really look out for us as missionaries and are kind of like our families away from home.

But I never realized how easy it is to introduce friends to the gospel. So many of my friends that aren't members have been writing me during my mission and its so cool to be able to talk to them about this stuff. One of them is actually reading the Book of Mormon right now and said he'd love to have missionaries come visit him. He just moved back to Florida and said that he wanted to go look at the Orlando Temple, just to see it from the outside. There are so many friends that I never talked to about the gospel because I didn't want it to change our friendship by them thinking I wanted to convert them or something. But now I realize that all you have to do is make sure they know you're willing to teach them more if they're interested, and make sure they know how much you love the church and want it to help their lives. In preach my gospel, it states that our purpose as missionaries is to "INVITE others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end." It all comes down to extending the invitation.

One other thing that's really stood out to me during these first 3 months of my mission is how true the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints really is. I used to always believe the church is true or say that I knew, but now i KNOW. I've never studied the scriptures before the way I do now. I absolutely LOVE studying the scriptures now. Both the Bible and the Book of Mormon together. They're so complete. Each day I learn and understand a little bit more. It's so exciting. This really is the same church that Christ established during His ministry and abiding by His teachings will really bring us HAPPINESS and we WILL live with God again after this life.

Something cool, and a little overwhelming, I learned this last week was about interpreting prophecies and revelations. Particularly Isaiah and Revelations in the Bible. Sometimes we try to read things too literally and other times not literally enough. We need to place ourselves in their shoes and compare their revelations to world we live in today and everything is so clear. In Revelations chapter 9, it talks about a crazy looking locust that will come in the last days and there will be a 5 month war and it will be the "first woe" after the "seventh seal" has been opened. I was talking to a ward member who is in the Air Force who was talking about the connection between this 5 month war and Desert Storm/Gulf War one. Maybe this crazy looking locust (read the chapter--it's short) is a helicopter and maybe the "first woe" already passed in 1992. The scriptures are so hardcore!!

Haha, anyway, my time is up but I hope to hear from all of you soon. Keep emailing, send letters if you can. I will ALWAYS write back!

Love,
Sister Smith

LOST in this ward

Diamond Head Trail Head

Diamond Head

Cool Choco Lines

Our pet Cockroach

Visitor Center Sisters

Some of our investigators from my first area

Zoo Trip

Sister Teremia (my new companion)


Hi All!

Sorry I didn't email last week, it was a crazy P-day and we didn't have access to a computer all day. We went to the zoo though! And today we went on a hike with our zone at the Diamond Head crater. It was really nice. I have some pictures to send, but I don't have my camera with me right now so hopefully I'll get the chance to send them later today.

Things are going really well over here. We're teaching quite a few people, some with a lot of commitment and desire to do what's right. We also have a lot of recent converts that we meet with often who really contribute to missionary work. There are a lot of people in our ward, as well as some investigators who work in the film industry. It's cool to hear them talk about behind the scenes stuff. A lot of them work on "Lost" and there are some actors that live in the area too, but we don't know where. We could've knocked on their doors already!

My headaches have decreased drastically, so that's been nice. There's a pharmacy really close by that takes our insurance too, so I can get my migraine medicine there when I need a refill. I've been getting healthier too. I run every morning and I find that walking up hills all day isn't as hard as it used to be. I also have a super cool zig zag tanline on my feet from my sandals. I'll have to send a picture, haha it's soo bad.

The work isn't as busy here as in other areas, but we still have quite a few people to teach and are always keeping busy. It's been good and time goes by very quickly. This transfer is already halfway over!! My companion and I still get along really well, so that's nice.

Anyway, I can't think of much else to say right now that won't take up all of my emailing time, but please write back and tell me what's going on in your lives! I love you all and miss you. I hope you made sure that Dad and Papa have the best father's day ever!!

love,
Bridget

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Transfer to Proselyting

Today makes day #5 of being a full-pros missionary! I am serving in an area called "Hawaii Kai". It's one of the nicer suburbs in Honolulu. Keep sending mail to the mission office. It is forwarded to my apartment and I get it pretty quickly. Whenever I am transferred, the mail will always get to my newest address so we don't have to worry about lost letters!

Being full-proselyting is very very very different from serving in the visitors' center, but I definitely enjoy it. My companion is Sister Ieremia and she is from a tiny cluster of islands in the Pacific called "Kiribati" (When pronounced correctly it sounds like "kitty-bus"). She's so funny and has the cutest accent. She's been serving her mission for a year and a week now and was at the Visitors' Center for about 8 months before doing full-proselyting. I love having her as my companion. We are the only sisters serving in our zone, so we don't have to worry about all the drama and gossip that comes from 16 girls living in one place! She's also a hard worker who teaches me a lot.

Every night we come home completely EXHAUSTED, but in a good way! We have some great people we're teaching and some amazing ward members, but we still have a lot more people to find! We spend a lot more time trying to find people than in Laie, and it can be rough sometimes, but the Lord will help us find the right people when we do our part.

There are 2 things I'm sad about from leaving Laie. First is leaving behind the people we were teaching. They are the best and I hope the sisters who are with them now will take good care of them. I also miss having the senior couples around all the time. They were the BEST! But Hawaii Kai has its advantages. It's nice that we have more than 1 grocery store close by and we have a pharmacy and a lot of restaurants! Plus we're close enough to downtown Honolulu that we get to see the Mission President pretty often.

One thing that I've learned so far is that as missionaries, we really don't do much. This probably sounds weird...haha, but it's true. All the people we teach, all the people we find, and all the people that get baptized and are true gems--they ALL come from the LORD. We're just the messengers running around trying to follow promptings from the spirit, trying to be obedient, and trying to teach what Heavenly Father wants us to teach. When we work hard and are obedient, people fall into our laps. Those who get baptized are READY for it--they were prepared to learn this stuff before we got there. Every bit of success we have comes from the Lord and it's very humbling. But we still do our part. Heavenly Father can't help us if we don't listen to what he tells us and if we don't follow the commandments and mission rules. I'm seeing that every rule we are given is for a reason and that I'm so much happier when I'm willingly obedient and work hard.

NEAT!!

Anyway, time is about up so I better go. But please keep writing and giving support. I love hearing from people. Please keep me in your prayers--you are all in mine.

Love,
Bridget