Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Mailing Address:
Sister Macey Smith
45-345 Mealele St.
Kaneohe, HI 96744

People actually say that here. It's not cheesy when they say it either! This week has been a roller coaster and I'm grateful for it!
We spoke in church yesterday (Sister Soriao and I) and it was great to sit up on the stand and see all the people! We get fed a lot.... a ton. They weren't kidding about the whole "they call it the 40 pound mission" thing. There may be a whole lot more of me to love when I get back... So... be kind hahaha.
We have a few really promising investigators right now and are continuing to get to know every one here! I am trying to get the hang of teaching by the Spirit and Sister Soriao is patiently and wisely guiding me always. She is incredible and I will be eternally grateful for her example to me.
At the beginning of the week, we got a lot of rejection. It seemed like no one was interested. You know it's funny to see the look some people get in their eyes when they open the door to us! And it was weighing on my heart. It made me sad to see so many people shrug off the single most important thing in my life. I was praying for compassion and guidance as I tried to navigate how to react to the passivity we had seen. Then I thought of what Rob Christensen said in sacrament at the YSA Branch right before I left. 
He talked about the amazing pictures that had just come from a satellite on Pluto, I think. He said that like Pluto, we need to be patient and humble and just keep doing what we know we should. Sometimes the world will stop and acknowledge your steadfastness, your vast beauty and other times they will debate your credibility or your value. But just keep going. Because no matter what they recognize or hypothesize, you ARE what you know you are.
How powerful is that message?! I am focusing on what I know I am and what I know I want to become. I love the people here and am turning my heart to them as I teach and testify. This work is the most worthwhile thing I can do and it is my prayer that I can be true to myself throughout these 18 months, that I can solidify who I am, and build upon it. God is so good.
I love you all and can't wait to hear from you!
Love, Sister Smith

August 17, 2015

An excerpt from a letter MLS wrote to our family.  Hope it brings smiles to you as it did us:

I woke up this morning in the Mission Presidents house w/ 3 other sisters from the M.T.C.   We slept in "the GA room", because it's where all the General Authorities stay when they come to visit.  APARENTLY Russel M. Nelson is kind of a beach bum...just try to get that mental picture!  President Warner is a great man.  He and his wife have it together.  Strong eyebrows, soft hearts.  It was a lot like vacation staying there.
When I first got off the plane I was weak in the knees!  The palm trees!  Everything is so green.  The people are so beautiful.  Mama you were right about the smell, heaven!  P. Warner gave us kukui nuts to wear around our necks and we headed to Tantalis.  Its a lookout point where you can see all of Honolulu.
This place is unREAL.  Flowers grow everywhere.  So exotic.  I swung from a banyan tree!
My companions name is Sister Soriao (pronounced "Sorry-O") and she is from the Phillipines! Or as she says "Pilli-pines."  She is humble and...just Solid.  She grew up near Manilla, is one of ten kids and the only member in her family.  She is 23 and - if we're being optimistic - reaches my name tag.  Though she be but little, she's FIERCE.  It's the first day, but she's orchestrated this hot mess beautifully.  With the coordination of a plate spinner.  Maybe a cup stacker.
All of us MTC friends hugged or shook hands and parted ways.  Which was weird b/c they were all I knew!  We met up with some sisters who knew how to get to Kane'ohe (Khan-knee-oh-hey) We drove 25 minutes to get here.  The mountains are covered by clouds.  I kind of hope the Celestial Kingdom has at least a corner that looks like Kane'ohe...if it has corners!

We live above a member, Auntie K, and when we came up the the pad, she was in here + in a tizzy!  and rightfully so.  The place was T.R.A.S.H.E.D.  We're talking Christmas tree in the kitchen, laundry in the bathroom sink, random papers everywhere.  TOE UP.  And Auntie K was ticked.   Frankly, I was overwhelmed.  I had no idea what I was coming into.  But, I looked Auntie in the eye, apologized, shook her hand, and got to work just like the other sisters.  We all worked for awhile until the general crap was out of the pad.  By then we were hungry so we went to McDonald's. 
As we walked in, a sister paid for our lunch b/c she recognized us.  She gave us all Aloha kisses before she left.  Lunch was Good!  It was food, so it was good!  All we have in the apartment is soy sauce and 2 pop tarts so free lunch was a tender mercy 4 sure!  After lunch the other sisters left.
They call it "white wash" when you start an area with 2 new missionaries.  The only info we could find was the old ward mission leader.  We called him and went right over.  Our place doesn't have AC or fans, so I was rockin' a frizzy, Farrah Fawcett Fro kind of situation.  Brother Kanahele said I was greener than Uncle Someone likes his bananas ;) (Apparently he's Tongan + digs plantains). 
Next we headed to the only house Sister S remembered from doing splits here long ago.  We pulled up to a little blue and brick house with an open carport and laundry hanging on the line (10 t-shirts, a bra and some big tighty whities, haha).  We said a prayer and went in.  Grandpa (all seniors are "grandpa, grandma, auntie, uncle") opened the door and invited us in.  Their home was ornamented with trinkets and tchotchkes on every surface.  A sweet layer of thimbles, salt and pepper shakers and state spoons layering everything.  Grandpa pauses his game of online poker and invites us to sit.  He goes to get his wife and as I felt the shag carpet under my feet and the air, so heavy around me, I thought, "this is what I'm here for.  These people.  And I'm supposed to be RIGHT HERE."
Then, in walks Grandma from the back room.  No kidding, she reached my belly button.  Okay, maybe 2 more inches.  She is a Japanese woman, 80 years old, with penciled in eyebrows and she sort of sauntered in with her arms all the way up in the air.  To Sister S she says, "Sister!  Aloha.  I thought we'd never see you!"  And she sounds a LOT like the grandma from Mulan, no lie.  She comes in for a hug (presumably gets grand canyon'd by my chest;) and gives me an aloha kiss!  a loud one, right in my ear! and says, "oh sister! So tall and fair.  I remember when rear end was that round and my hair was that long.  Of course, I feel fortunate to be alive at 80, but I did have a nice bum!" ...y'all I am NOT making this up!  I died laughing!
She invited us to sit down at her kitchen table where Grandpa was setting up the drinks.  Square Micky Mouse glasses from the 60's, a block of ice the size of a bar of soap and pink straws.  He pulls out my chair and returns to his, where he cracks open a can of Arizona strawberry kiwi lemonade.  Grandma gets a fancy bowl she stacks Chips Ahoy cookies in and we all sit down.  Grandpa, when he can fit a word in, tells us of his baptism in April.  He goes to church every sunday along with Grandma who was baptized at 8.  Their kids are not members, but Grandma says she'll let them decide.  Just as her parents were Buddhist, she is LDS.  They will find their way.  She point to a small shrine with a statue of Buddha and says its to honor her heritage.  The lady is a Spark Plug!  She repeats things about every 5 minutes, so its lucky she's so funny!  She has jade and copper bangles up both arms, a light pink button up on.  They have lots of records and she tells us how she used to be a dancer at a hotel in Honolulu.  We vow to sit close to her on Sunday and we leave with a sleeve of Chips Ahoy and FULL HEARTS.
After picking up cleaning supplies, and heading back to our pad, I felt a lot of peace.  A lot more than I think I should have.  I just felt seeringly confident that this was, so strangely, but so clearly, MY place.  
We cleaned until time for dinner with the Kanacale's, where the women ate separate from the men.  Uncle played ukulele while we finished and did the dishes.  He is the assistant ward mission leader and really pointed us in a good direction.  We shared a message and headed home where the zone leaders had dropped off a fan (PRAISE!).  We live on a corner by both the school bus and city bus stop.   With the windows open its kind of loud.  The houses are close and our neighbors like reggae;)  I laid in bed thinking about the day.  It was so great.  The work we have to do is MIGHTY and I know we could, by no other means, bring it about.

Today we knocked doors.  Along with personal study, companion study, weekly planning and language study for sister S and sort of me too?  "Basa ang Anklat ne Mormon!" (read the Book of Mormon, y'all) and ukulele!  Im learning "Abide with me" and it's kinda coming along.  Sister S has the most entrancing voice.  It's kind of other worldly.  She also replaces most words that start with f's with p's [see also: pish, pocus, Heavenly Pather] and she is Perfect!  Oh and lunch of rice and canned fish?! and clementines.  (seasoned sprinkles optional;)  We tracked for about 4 hours.  One guy answered the door with a doobie in his hand.  Another lady, Auntie Claire, said she believed every single thing the Mormons believed.  We asked her why she hadn't been baptized.  She said she was Buddhist and they accept ALL truth.  And she has a gambling problem she can't kick! Haha!  We then went and visited a Marshallese family.  The mom and 4 of her sons have been baptized. They live in the back of a shared house with their 14 kids!  About 1/2 of their adult children have at lease one child of their own and all live there.   We walked through an alley of houses to get there.  There were 2 HUGE Sandlot dogs behind a sketchy chain link fence--kind of scary.  The dad, Season, was outside working on a boat motor.  As soon as the little kids saw us, they crowded around the door.  6 tan faces with big brown eyes;) We shook Seasons hand and then all the kids (the oldest was 4)stuck out their tiny, sticky hands to shake.  The smallest Lei's hand was the size of a tic tac container.  I almost died right there!  The oldest, CheChe, pulled on my skirt and asked, "sista, are com from de mane lan?!"  Be still my SOUL!  Lei has straight across bangs and never stops staring at us.  We have an appointment with them Monday.
We met the Bishop tonight.  Sister Kanahele asked if we had any dinner appointments this week.  She organized dinners for us until Sunday.  Before we left she found my thank you note, yelled "IOWE!" and ran to the door to give me the tightest hug EVA!  She's an absolute Angel!  Anyway, the Bishop is a doctor, a urologist and male reproductive...  He's very Richard O. Lloyd.  The least Hawaiian Hawaiian I've come across, I think.  Very quiet, very reserved, very tired, but quite helpful.  And somehow he cried during our dinner message! Shout out to the Holy Spirit! Or maybe he was so un-enthused he began to weep...either way, the work is sweet!
I miss you all a ton!  I say little prayers for you all day long! 

All of my Love,

Philippians 4:12

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Hey Y'all
I have been in Hawaii for a week. Can you believe it?! I woke up IN Hawaii this morning. And I am going to KEEP doing it for a while.
I have been assigned to serve in the Kaneohe 1st Ward! It is on Oahu. It is the rainier side (which makes it the cooler side! and the frizzier side...) and my companion's name is Sister Sorao! She is from the Phillipines and companions don't come any sweeter or any spicier! She may only come up to my elbow but she is a spark plug for sure! And she cooks the BEST food. So I am destined to come back as big as a barn!
Okay. The flight TO Honolulu seemed eternal. WAS eternal. Flying over the city was so worth the ride though. For a while you can't really distinguish the land from the sea. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, you see the light blue beach and palm trees, big houses, small houses, a LOT of houses. It is all so green! I remember asking the missionaries in GA what the biggest adjustment was and they would always say "all the trees. It's so green here!" and I remember thinking that was weird. I also remember thinking that I CAME from a green place. Then I got here. Y'all there are flowers EVERYWHERE. Palm trees and bushes. Big fat leaves. It all just comes up without permission from anyone and it's so beautiful that no one has the heart to cut it down.
We stayed with the mission president in his home. It was a DREAM. Made some really good friends. Then I opened my "Christmas Letter" and found out I would be in Kaneohe! So happy!
I met Sister Soriao the next morning. She can't drive so she handed me the keys which I thought would be scary, but the fastest speed limit on the island is 45 and if you need to switch lanes, you just throw a shaka out the window and people let you over. Seriously!
We live above a member, Auntie Kao, and when we got here the apartment had been trashed by some previous missionaries. So we spent a while cleaning it all up. There isn't any air conditioning but with windows all around and the breeze, it's not so bad. Sister Soriao is teaching me how to play Ukulele.
We invited someone to church yesterday and they CAME! There are a lot of less actives here in Kaneohe. The ward was the first in this area so there are LOTS of Kapunas and they don't hesitate to sign up to feed us. The days here seem long. I was thinking about it, laying in bed the other night, everything around us feels so temporary. Especially here. our car ,our home, people move in and out all the time, we don't have many earthly possessions. But I KNOW the work that we do is eternal. The people we meet are people we can never forget. God is so good. To me. To others. I am grateful for this time to focus in on the one thing that will last forever. And that is my relationship with my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. My strength in communicating with the Spirit growing. This is all I need. All anyone needs! I am so blessed to be here!
So after the long days of knocking on doors and getting no answers, after walking and talking and working, I get to come home and open all the windows, hear Sister Soriao play hymns on the Ukulele, I feel the wind and I feel God's love. Really feel it. And as I hear everything going on around me, the warm and thick air, the neighbor kids playing, see the sun going down, I know that this is my place. That I am working the hardest I can. There is NO better feeling. I fall into bed with the sweetest peace and I rest in knowing that He hears me.
I love you all!
Sister Smith

Monday, August 10, 2015

Hey Y'all!

This week has FLOWN by and it's a good thing because I am SO ready for the island. Well on one hand, I can't believe how soon I will be there and then on the other I think "are you really going to turn me loose on multiple islands?!" Hahaha so I guess it comes with time. 

I don't have much time, but I do have a lot of (sub-par) pictures! And a quick story. We were teaching a lesson and had it planned out. As soon as we began teaching, we felt like we should go another way. Our investigator asked us how we had come to know, personally, that the church was true. I bore testimony first. Then my companion talked about some serious hard times that she had fallen on. Things I honestly never thought she had. As she was finishing her testimony, I found myself in tears. She had choked up too. And then, our investigator looked up with tears in his eyes. He thanked us. We prayed together and left. The Spirit was so strong. I am so thankful for my companion and our preparation. Most of all that we heeded the prompting to listen to the Spirit. 

These are trying times and I am so glad for this opportunity to forge the foundation of who I am, drawing from the scriptures and relying on the Lord. God is love. 

I love you and I am praying for you!


Sister Smith

P.S. The next time I write you, I'll be in HAWAII!

The Mission Home address is:
1500 S. Beretania Street, Suite 416
Honolulu, HI 96826

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


Oh my goodness, the church is true! This week has been INSANE. Where do I start...

Okay so Monday and Tuesday were great! I got to go to the temple with Grandpa and Grandma in Ogden! It was a beautiful day and I thought back to the time we went to the open house a year ago. To ponder on where I am now and where I could be the next time I get to go is really moving. The Lord has a plan just for me! I know that. Then spending time with Papa and Grandma was special, it always is. Papa told me a lot of stories about times when the Spirit taught him or helped him to help someone else. It's so good to hear that from Papa. Todd and Becky are the bomb...duh. Then GO TIME.
      So we came to Provo, Papa and Grandma did the honors of dropping me off and it was sweet to see Grandma get a little misty. I was so sad to hear about her poor health this week. Pray for her. Then my escort lead me through a series of rooms, hallways, and stairs. I entered the MTC alongside 600 other missionaries last Wednesday! They really had a system down. It's all kind of a blur, except when they put that name tag me. I swear, I could have done anything (sort of a "supermodel documentary hour" kinda thing?). I know it shouldn't be such a... I guess crowning (?) moment... I was already set apart AS a missionary before then. But there is something about having the churches name next to mine all the time, everywhere that was so exciting. Sometimes I just look down and am like "oh HEY. That's me. Sister Smith." I can see Paige shivering now! haha but then my escort (who is going to the Philippines and learning Tagalog) helped me drop off my luggage in my room. She took me to my classroom. This is where I have spent probably 2/3rds of my time here. So my district has ten elders in it, 5 going to Sydney Australia North and 5 going to Hawaii. So my COMPANION, Sister Orme, is a rock star and will sadly be parting ways with me in the next week. She is from Logan and just finished a year a Utah State. She is everything that I am not and our companionship is such a testament that the Lord knows what we need. She is on time and smart and serving and everything that you might dream about and we really do compliment each other. 
     Okay so this week, I have had a LOT of pineapple and veggie wraps. Everything(good) that everyone says about the MTC is true. You are hit with some kind of flow of the Spirit that is equivalent to a fire hose, I think. Sleep is low, mornings are early, testimonies are REAL. Someone did the math and every half day here is worth a month on your mission. And that is for Elders! So I have been trying to seriously soak it in. We got to hear a devotional from Sheri Dew (total spiritual crush. And no one can rock a power suit like Sheri... amiright?) about engaging in "the wrestle" with the Lord. She talked about how we have to sacrifice comfort for knowledge sometimes, and that if we engage in that wrestle for truth/revelation/guidance, God will show us the way. Then we watched a video of the devotional by David A. Bednar called "The Character of Christ" which was SERIOUSLY life changing. They only show it in the MTC, which is such a bummer. But it is humbling and inspiring at the same time. The character of Christ is to turn outward in service when the natural man would turn inward in selfishness. Exactly what my whiny soul needed to hear after a long week of firsts. 
     Here we teach a lot of "investigators." After 3 days of being here we taught Ivan, who is our teacher. But our teacher acting as someone that HE taught on his mission.... Is this making sense? It's still a little hazy for me. Anyway, the first lesson we taught him was an honest to goodness HOT MESS. I really felt the need to drown him in facts and I just talked a lot.... I walked out of there so discouraged. I kept wondering during the lessons of that afternoon "what could I do to make him believe?" or "what could I tell him to show him how important this is?" or "how can I get him to feel how I FEEL?" and then I realized that IIIIII had ONLY thought about myself. I hadn't even asked him about his feelings or beliefs. I thought about what had made the change for me. Easy. The Spirit. The Spirit testifying to me. The feelings that I had felt while praying, reading, seeking, heeding the answers I received. How could I think that it could happen any other way or by any other source? How could I rob him of the truth that he too could feel, in finding Jesus Christ? It reminds me of something Bednar said in his devotional: " If you don't think that you can do this on your own, you're right!" Dang. My pride took a serious and VERY necessary blow. I'm not on a mission because I have all the answers. I am here to invite others to come unto Christ.
     So the next lesson we taught, we really focused on praying together and just talking simply about faith. Most of all, letting the Spirit teach Ivan. And loving him. It is ABSURD how much you grow to love the people you teach. Especially when they are made up.... I can't quite explain it! But the lesson was so much better. Exponentially. As we sat there, asking Ivan questions, reading a few verses, and talking about the nature of God, the Spirit was so strong. And as I testified of the truthfulness of our message, I got choked up because I knew that it was true. And I knew that what we were saying was really making sense to Ivan. That he would pray about what we had said. And he did. He is making great progress and I can take NO credit. I feel humbled and inspired. And also like this is just the beginning. 
This time next week I will be in Hawaii! I am SO HEARTBROKEN that we got scheduled to do our laundry at a time when all the good computers were taken. I can't upload any of the MANY pictures I have taken (pinky promise I've taken a lot ma!). I fly out Monday, but will get the chance to write another e-mail on Saturday and you BEST BELIEVE I'll be throwing elbows to get a good computer and send pictures.

I love you all so much! God loves you and He is watching over you with tender love and mercy. I am crying like a baby at this computer!!! But I am SO grateful that we are an eternal family. The church is so true. GOD IS SO GOOD!

Mahalo Nui Loa,