Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Sister Macey Lane Smith
84-590 Kepue Street
Makaha, HI 96792
Transferred!                                                                                               February 1, 2016
The west side! 
It is so so seriously different from Kaneohe. 
Lots of Micronesian friends and locals and homeless people. 
The best sunsets probably ever.
This place is dusty and full of potential! 
I have found parts of myself all over this town. 
Walking along the worn out 2-lane road (the only one in town) as the sun starts to go down, surrounded by kids in State housing as they fed us fruit snacks with salty brown fingers,
walking into the small chapel on Sunday and sitting among about 60 faith-filled people, 
singing hymns with my companion. 
Such a tangible magic.
It's like I am picking up the pieces as I go. Nothing is ever random. Ever.

Saying goodbye to Sister Carlsen was kind of a drag. We were the best of friends! And the Kaneohe 1st ward. Swoon! Those people are deep down good. Especially Bishop. He serves humbly and diligently. I will miss the Ko'olaus and the rain. 

Maybe that is why it is so easy to love Makaha, because they are quite completely different. Parts of Makaha look like Pocatello... or maybe Ogden. I still am trying to figure it out! 

Both of us are new in the ward and it is not always easy to find your bearings... but my gosh. It is SO fun! We are always learning and laughing and seeing new things. We live with 2 other sisters so it's like one big, strung out sleep over most of the time. We have driven all over this place trying to meet the important people in the ward (leadership, investigators, members, e v e r y one) and we got kind of dizzy by the end of the 2nd day. We had big boxes of food that some of the sisters in the zone had dropped off after service at the food bank. I think we go just about every week and we don't even really grocery shop because we get so much food! We are talking like 25 boxes of fruit snacks... 

Earlier that day, the sisters had driven us around trying to orient us. They told us about this patch of trees along the highway. It is known as "the bush" and pallets line a pathway back into the trees. The sisters told us it was a community of homeless people. The stretch of trees cover a pretty big area. 

After a few appointments had fallen through and at that awkard time right before dinner, I was feeling pretty ineffective! I mean, it just comes with starting fresh. We HAVE to stumble around for a few days because neither of us know the place or the people. I just didn't want the sun to go down on us without having done something... good. Something that helped another person. So we grabbed the boxes stacked up by our kitchen and headed for the bush. 

The side entrance is next to the boat harbor, a big space of dirt and litter before you get to the dock. We parked, prayed, and put the boxes on our shoulders. As we got to the entrance, we met two men smoking. We asked where we should go. The boys told us to take it to Aunty Twinkles just inside the bush. As we walked back behind the trees, I was really pretty curious. 

As we got through the walkway of pallets and tarps and sticks piled up, we heard the radio playing reggae music. There was a make shift porch in front of a big tent. On the porch was (who we later found out was) Aunty Twinkles. Her daughter had just finished dying her hair and she was putting an old bread bag on her head as she was singing along the the radio. 4 or 5 granddaughters danced and played with a volleyball. As soon as they saw us coming, they smiled. The girls each took a little food and then Aunty said "bless you. You go on and see if any one else needs." 

Walking down the dirt path, I have never seen so much need. Some people seemed to expect us as we approached they took the boxes with a nod, some said they were fine, others cried. I still can't shake the look on a young Tongan mother's face as she took a bag of candy for her boys. She told us we were the most beautiful girls she had ever seen and gave us flowers for our hair. 

It is hard to explain the tragedy and triumph of this place. A million broken hymns were gathered together from all different places and situations. Many women who ran from abusive relationships, people who had addictions that made them forfeit everything they had, one man a successful business man who said he had become so sick with society that he had done all he could to leave it. All around me, I saw Christ. He was there. With these people, loving them though many didn't know it. Never before had I had the opportunity to walk some of the path that He may have, but standing amid that place with all those who had been so broken down, I felt Him.And I felt a need for Him. As we found our way out, tears filled my eyes. I looked back to see the young mother, who waved as she counted out candy for her boys.   

So many have told us, as we have prepared to come, to be careful, to watch out, to keep our belongings close to us. We pray for safety and protection. But I so look forward to this season of giving like I never have before. These people are starving for it. They walk the streets looking. And we have the answer. We have the end all be all to heal them. For this I am grateful. My heart is full. I feel Him.  


Hello All,                                                                                                        January 22, 2016
I have a new companion; Sister Carlsen from Pocatello, Idaho!  We've been together for a few weeks and are just.... soul sisters.  She likes all the same stuff I do and we see things in the same light. Our intentions are the same. She is full of unabashed joy and these past few weeks have been like a romantic montage of missionary work. I mean, hard starting in a new area (we got moved from the 4th ward to the 1st ward) where there is so little to go off of. But I thank the Lord that I got a dream of a comp to go through it with!

Here at camp Kaneohe, we have had a week just full of life. All kinds of it. There is a really sweet couple who we are taking to the temple visitor's center this week! J____ is going to be baptized and it breaks my heart to know I won't be here for that but he is so ready. So prepared by the Lord! We set his date in February and he said " do we really have to wait that long?" When I see him and his girlfriend reading the Book of Mormon, I feel like we are doing something right. There is also a really sweet family we are teaching! They have 4 kids and all of them are so well behaved. They are another family where I feel like we just bumped into them at the right moment. The Lord has been preparing them. They just had a little keiki named E___. She is so tiny and fresh from heaven! Their daughter K____ is pretty much kid-Paige which makes my heart so full!  Also, Bishop Carlile is the tops! That man. He is so ROL. And we are getting more to the gamey side! Being a missionary gives you the chance to have a view of the ward like you might not get any other way. We get to see these people, work around them, hear their stories. It is a gift. Sometimes I spend sacrament writing down people's names and things I have noticed about them, things I love. Its pretty creepy actually. Pretty Holmes-esk. But I can't help but feel like they might fade and so I am trying to hang on! Ugh. This whole serving the Lord thing can break your heart ten ways from Saturday... but I love it more than I can say.

Here is a jumbled and slightly exaggerated list of the good, the bad and the hot mess of it all:
1. Gave a homeless girl our chinese leftovers and said a prayer with her.
2. Somehow managed NOT to kiss a cute tan toddler who jumped in my lap on Sunday.
3. I felt my Saviors love for me & those I met.
4. Was a reff for a wrestling match the elders had on the church lawn!  They are such BOYS!  haha, sure is fun :)
5. A Sweet Aunty in the ward gave me a coconut bracelet to "always remember Hawaii by".
6. Got a little misty on Sunday realizing I've been out 6 months already.  The time is going SO FAST.
7. Petted someones domesticated tortoise (and thought of PG:)
8. I finally learned how to eat rice with chop sticks and not look COMPLETELY caucasian (truly an answer to prayer)!
9. Stole coconuts from the graveyard...
10. Got cupcakes delivered from the district leaders on a long day.
11. Said 1,000 prayers for y'all.

All my Lovin'

                                                                                                                             December 2, 2015
Dear loving, tender, kind, gracious Friends and Family of mine,

Let me think where to begin.  Right now is the quiet time of language study.  I'm sitting on my mattress on the floor, white sheets all made, Hawaiian flag covering them. I'm criss cross-apple sauce in a dress I got for $4 at the Kailua Goodwill (where all the rich people live).  I think it's from Singapore?..(that's what the tag says).  It's long and cotton and EASY.  Like Sunday morning.  I only say that because that's the song that's coming in on the breeze from the construction worker's boom box across the street (bless that boom box!).  The usual sound of the bus stopping floats in too.  When the doors creek, the familiar voice says, "Aloha, welcome aboard the bus."  In a deep voice.  Birds are fighting over the papayas in the trees next to our window.  The pad is somewhat insane.  There is no easy way to keep everything in its place with 3 people and so little time to sort things out.  The wooden table we use as a counter is crowded with a microwave, a [sincerely loved / overused] rice cooker, a jumbo box of cereal from a member, a chocolate birthday cake that reads "ppy thday oria" and has 3 forks close by.  The banner you sent hangs above the cabinet (that we always bang our heads on).  It serves as a reminder to keep the peace and to do what we came here to do.
Our fridge, for the record, could have made it into a MLK Jr's speech, I'd say.  "I have a dream that one day the kim chee will sit next to the quinoa on the top shelf.  That lumpia and moonpies will reside in the crisper in harmony and that the seaweed soup will be served next to the shrimp & grits and none will discriminate."  Powerful stuff!  Sister Kim has brought the SPICE to our pad.  Koreans like their food HOT--like, drinking-tabasco-exit wound-make-your-nose-run spicy.  Our new favorite lunch special is bultakploogim meon, but we just call it spicy noodles.  The first time I ate it, I lost feeling in my lips for almost an hour!  It is a different kind of heat. ...drinking nail polish remover- kind of heat.  But tasty!  Eating here is always an Adventure!

The BEST Home cooked meal by the Yugawa's

I made shrimp & grits and it was a party and a half!  Somehow the Elders found out and before the grits were done, there were 4 Elders sitting on the steps outside our pad.  Of course, they can't come in. So we put 2 folding chairs on our porch (4x4ft).  It was gone! haha and they LOVED it.  Ever since, they keep popping up most days around noon.  We gave them some spicy noodles in an effort to scare them off, but to no avail.  Maybe we'll switch out the soy sauce for fish sauce.  That's enough to scare ANYONE away.  That stuff smells so gross...
The members are SO GREAT.  They think the VERY best of the missionaries and do any and every thing for us. Often their belief is entirely too optimistic. But they consider it an honor and a blessing to have us in their home. SO humble. We went hiking and Sister Kim felt sick, so we called Aunty early and asked if we could go over right then. Later Uncle Norman (her husband) finished the lunch with a spiritual thought and said that he had been laying in bed feeling sick next to Aunty when she got the call. When he found out that we were coming over, he turned to his wife and said "aren't we so blessed to have the servant's of the Lord in our home?" and got up! We don't deserve their devotion. He told us the story with tears in his eyes. I don't know what to do!

I am SO BLESSED!  God is GOOD & the church is true!

1. I met a woman from Athens last night!  She was wearing a UGA shirt and we had a great talk about Herschel Walker and manners!  
2. We tracted into a very nice Indian man named Vikram who invited us in and shared Tandoori with us...Swoon!
3. Brother Kanahele told me I was a yogurt covered raisin--white on the outside, brown on the inside.
4. We skype in a month!  No...23 days!  Forgive me if I ugly cry!

I Love you to the Sky!

                                                       Sometimes it's Fun to push Sister K's buttons

                                  Fab Jammies and our felt Christmas tree (Thanks Mama!)

Dear Friends and Fam,                                          November 9, 2015
Things in Hawaii are continuously crazy.  The only thing constant is inconsistency.  But it's a fun and dizzying dance we do between appointments, tracting and meetings.  Wednesday we went to Honolulu to pick up our new companion, Sister Kim.  I was channeling Grandpa O as we drove through Hon-west traffic with 2 goals;  1. to get to the Tabernacle on time  2. that my hair would look somewhat domesticated by the time I hugged Sister Warner (mish pres's wife). least we made it on time.
Y'all Sister Kim is Beautiful!  She is from South Korea, sweet, with thick dark hair and big eyes.  As we drove back to Kaneohe across the H3 and into the Ko'olaus (impromptu waterfalls after the rains) it was kind of strange being the one leading the "tour".  I was JUST coming through that tunnel and seeing these steep green mountains, I'm sure of it!
When we got to our pad, dropped Sis K's luggage, she looked around and said, "Hop Guyo!" which I've come to understand means something along the lines of "Heck Yeah"-haha.  Let the slumber party begin.  Our bedroom is too small to fit 3 beds in, so yesterday Sis Soriao and I drug all the mattresses into the living room and made our bedroom the study room.  Its cozy and a TOTAL estrogen fest most of the time.
Even though there is a language barrier, we have gotten each others jokes from day 1.  Our first language study was rough.  I wish y'all could have been there.  Sis S is taking the english proficiency test soon.  Today we pulled out the packet of practice questions and started at the beginning.  The first article was called "the Grunge Movement in America" and was a page and a half commentary on the switch from the glam rock scene of the 80's to the grunge groups of the 90's!  Haha!  I tried my best to keep it together as Sis S read aloud the differences in the "flashy and ostentatious wardrobes of hair metal groups such as White Snake, Poison and Bon Jovi" versus the "thought provoking lyrics combined with the distorted guitars of Mud Honey."  About this time Sister S asks me what snakes and rock music have to do with one another.  Sister K is scribbling down vocabulary words like "edgy" and "punk sound" in earnest.  And I am DEAD. haha!  This was too much!  Sadly, the other articles are more tame and discuss topics like airplane safety or a trip to Grandma's house.  But every now an then I slip Sister K a high five for using the word "Seattle based sound" when possible (by the way it's not really ever possible...which makes it HILARIOUS).
In the past few days, I've felt the importance of having a Sanctuary.  I imagine it like in the early part of "A Series of Unfortunate Events" when the kids make their little fort and set it aside as a place they feel safe.  I wouldn't say I feel in any kind of danger but after a very long day of work, it is important to have a place of true rest.  I think of how it feels to walk in to the door at home or to snuggle up under my THICK down comforter.  A place to recover and hide away for a moment.  I've learned how to open up my soul for a few moments to think and to commune with the Lord.  I'm rewiring myself to find that refuge not so much in a place or thing or experience, but in myself.  In the scriptures.  My safest and warmest place is in prayer.  I've made time to recover and learn and talk with Jesus Christ often.  And it can be whatever I need it to be.  But it's getting stronger all the time!  My favorite is at night, when I'm out of the shower and WORN OUT from the day.  I walk into the living room and jump onto my bed.  I have it figured out just right how to put my sheets over my head so my flash light can't be seen and read the scriptures.  I study them and ponder on them.  I talk with Heavenly Father about the day and what I need to work on.  I feel most truly at peace.

      "Although I have cast them afar off among the heathen, and though I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come."  Ezekiel 11:16

I think of you all often and send up a hundred tiny prayers for you.
I love you always!
xMLS (Kaneohe, HI, the living room, mattress #3)