Tuesday, January 5, 2010

November 2nd 2009

Dear Family,

How are you all doing? How was your Halloween? We had fun, but it was nothing compared to Halloween in Utah. We were told to stop proselyting at 5pm (probably so people wouldn't call Church Headquarters and complain about the Mormon missionary trick-or-treaters) so we went home and relaxed for a little while, then we went to look at trick or treaters. It was so fun to see Sister Orgil, who's from Mongolia, get excited when she saw all the costumes. We went to a neighborhood that was supposed to be packed with kids asking for candy, but we drove up there and there weren't many people and only 1 in every 4 houses were giving out candy. The next day a ward member asked, “Did you get a chance to go to Kalama Valley? It was crazy! There were so many kids!!” If only they knew what REAL trick or treating was like. My companion still enjoyed it though. We also carved pumpkins and went to 2 Halloween parties/get-togethers at ward members' homes. It was fun, but not as fun as dressing up and having it smell and look like Halloween outside. But next Halloween I'll be able to have the FULL experience again!

The missionary work in this area is slowing progressing again. I got into a habit where I was teaching lots of lessons, but that's all. Just teaching a lesson. Reciting stories, interesting facts, etc. Then I was reminded that nothing happens in missionary work without the Spirit to touch the hearts of those we teach. I was so busy relying on myself, that I forgot that I can't convert anyone—only the Spirit can. So the last 2 weeks I tried my hardest to rely on the Spirit. It made such an overwhelming difference. I could see and feel people change in our lessons. They acknowledged that they felt something different. I don't know if they'll act on it, but I know they felt it.

My scripture study has been especially good lately and it just makes me so excited to teach the gospel! As we teach lessons, we're supposed to extend commitment invitations. The commitment can be anything from reading the scriptures, to obeying a certain commandment, to getting baptized. We always promise blessings when we extend a commitment, because it gives people a reason to act and when they receive the blessing their faith is strengthened. A few weeks ago when Elder Johnson of the Seventy spoke to us he said we shouldn't just promise blessings from ourselves, but we should promise blessings from the scriptures. We should search the scriptures and find God's promised blessings, then share those with others and bear testimony of how we've felt such blessings. So I've been going through the different lessons and commitments and searching the scriptures for promised blessings. I love STUDYING the scriptures like that—with a purpose and goal. I always find something and my love for the scriptures continues to grow. The scriptures really do contain the word of God, and by truly hearing His word and trying to understand and apply it, His Spirit starts to overflow into my mind. It's a good feeling.

Well, it's time for me to go, but of course I love you and miss you all. Please keep writing!

Love,

Sister Smith

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