Monday, October 24, 2011

Tara’s First Area!


Junco is a town just outside of Sobral, Brazil. This is where Tara will be serving for her first area! It is about a six hour bus ride from the mission headquarters in Teresina.


Wikipedia says that the population of Sobral is 182,431. It also has this information about the city:

“Sobral is the second largest municipality of Ceará, after Fortaleza. Its economy is based on agriculture, services and some manufacturing industries. The city has two public universities (Universidade Federal do Ceará, with a medical school) and the Universidade Estadual do Vale do Acaraú, and also counts with two other private colleges, Faculdade Luciano Feijão and Inta - a theological institute. The city is also the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sobral. The city became internationally known when it was the place where the first astronomical observation of a solar eclipse on May 29, 1919 by a team of British scientists led by Sir Arthur Eddington was offered as the first proof of Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity[citation needed], which had been published in 1916. A ‘Museum of the Eclipse’ celebrates this event in the town. There is a monument at the museum marking the location of this solar eclipse.”

Brazil. it is hot here.

Dear Family,

yes, my mother dear, I did arrive safely in Teresina. The 12 hour flight to São Paulo was long, but there were over 30 missionaries on the flight. It was very fun to see all of my friends from the MTC and hear about reassignments. When we got to the airport, there was someone from the church there to help us out with passports and all that jazz. I don´t know why, but we did not go through customs, and everything went through quickly and smoothly.

Presidente and Sister Dias picked me up from the airport and took me to lunch, this was probably about 4pm. then they dropped me off at a hotel across town where i could rest and shower for a few hours. It was incredibly strange to be all by myself for the first time in four months. in a foreign country where everyone speaks REALLY fast! I was not thrilled, but it was very nice to take a nap. The assistants picked me up from the hotel for dinner and we ate with the Dias family. Luckily one of the assistants was American, and Sister Dias said that I looked tired and that he needed to translate for me. I wish that was the case everyday. People in Teresina speak really fast.

The second day, I was supposed to meet a set of elders in the hotel lobby at 7 am. They were two and a half hours late, and i just waited, and waited, and waited some more. I was all alone in a hotel across town, where I couldn't go anywhere or speak to pretty much anyone. I was thankful to see them, and they both are Brazilian, so they should be thankful that I can’t berate them in Portuguese yet! We went all over the city in taxis that day to get my passport and visa authorized and to get me a temporary id. it took the better part of the day, and then the sisters in Teresina came to the mission office to pick me up where i have been staying since Friday night.

I will be serving in Junco, a town just outside of Sobral. It is a six hour bus ride from Teresina, and my companion (who is Brazilian but I cannot remember her name right now) will arrive tomorrow morning for us to ride together. I have heard that it is just as hot, but that the place i will be staying is nice.

So, for the past three days, I have been with Sister Fisher and Sister Aguiar. Sister Aguiar speaks so fast my head spins, but she is kind. Sister Fisher actually served her reassignment in Montana as well, and she has been an asset to help me along for the first few days. She just served in Junco and said that has been her favorite area. here in Teresina, we walk everywhere. Everyday, we walk between 45 minutes to an hour to get to an appointment. So each appointment takes three hours. one to walk there, one to teach and one to walk back or somewhere else. I hopefully will learn to endure the heat better:)

I don´t have many details yet about where I will serve my first area, but I am sure that the email next week will be chalk full of details.

for now, pray for my success, I miss you all a ton!


Sister Smith

Thursday, October 13, 2011


So I sent this email on Monday, but I didn't know that wouldn't send because I attached too many pictures. Well here is the original email. Except this isn't all true anymore! I was going to stay in Townsend, but my visa has come instead! I leave next Wednesday from Billings at 6:00 am. It is a very bittersweet time because I have grown to love and adore my companion and my area very much. I am borderline freaking out because I just don't know enough Portuguese! Anyways, I suppose I get to call my mother and dad next week in the airport, and President Gardner said that they will be sent my flight itinerary.
I am really going to Brazil! I have made it to the next step! I just can't believe it.
I love you all, pray for me as I pack:)

Dearest Family,
I got my transfer information, I am not transferred:) I am staying in Townsend with Sister Van for her last transfer. She goes home at the end of this six weeks, and she is getting excited to go home. We are at totally opposite ends of the spectrum, which actually gives us both good perspective. She doesn't want to go home, and I am homesick. Or She is totally jazzed to see her family and I can't imagine leaving before I am ready. The balance is good and things are great. I am sometimes jealous, but I have so much left to learn and I have yet to get to the next adventure. I have too much to do! At the end of this transfer, I will have a year left. Hopefully, I can spend that year in Brazil, huh? Keep praying for my visa, and warmer weather in Montana. there isn't snow here just yet, but it has been in the 40's and 50's.

We went to church in White Sulpher Springs yesterday. The branch had about 14 members there. The town has about 400 people,and we are only there every other weekend, so it makes it tough to find investigators that can stick it out with infrequent visits. The Lord understands our restrictions, and I hope and pray that we can find some more work there. We tracted into a Woman who said that she was Catholic, great! we thought. Any religion is great! We told her to have a nice day and offered her a pass along card that has a picture of the Savior. She told us no thank you because she knows that He wasn't white. You do not hear that one everyday in rural Montana. The seminary teacher in Townsend says that she has trouble with racial comments about terrorists all the time while they are studying the old testament, good thing the descendants of Ishmael are not here with us I guess.

The ward in Townsend seems to be doing well. The Ward Mission leader is bound and determined to gather the lost sheep. He has asked every auxiliary to focus on five less active members of the ward, and work on just a few at a time. Every leader in the ward is starting to get involved in member missionary work. That is something to be totally jazzed about! Brother Mitchell is tireless, even though he is 78 years old. He has been hospitalized twice in the last two weeks with heart problems and he has atrial fibrillation? I hope that he doesn't get discouraged now that he is having to take it easy. Bless is heart, literally! but now that he has involved others, the work will still continue to move forward.

This week I had stroganoff with raisin bran on the top. We thought that they were corn flakes, but nope there were raisins in my noodles. That tops any captain crunch berries, huh? We have had some real winners for dinners lately, including a twice baked potato where the horseradish had been accidentally tripled.

Sister Ricks is also staying in Helena, so we are still in the same district, which is a blessing because we can still practice Portuguese. I am getting nervous about my language skills slipping. I practice an hour a day, and I know that the Lord understands that I can't control my visa, so He will make up the difference. Nevertheless, I am pretty darn worried about how on earth I am going to meet my mission president in Teresina who doesn't speak English. The gift of tongues and lots of faith I suppose. I know that it will all work out in the end, but this waiting thing is harder than I initially thought it was going to be.

We have been having a good time this week sharing general conference messages with everyone. President Uchtdorf's forget me not talk sure has been a hit. That man sure knows how to give a classic, doesn't he? I am so thankful for prophets and apostles who say things so eloquently that can touch the hearts of many. It is so important to forget not that the Lord forgets not us. I needed to remember that for sure this week as I got all worried about my visa. It has never been in my hands, since the minute I decided to file mission papers, this has never been in my hands. How could I ever think that I was forgotten? I sure wasn't.

I love you all lots and lots, and I miss you!
Have a great week,
Love Sister Smith

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Conference feast

Dear Family,

I just loved General Conference! It was so wonderful. I so appreciated the talks about missionary work and about covenants. I have been studying in Alma lately and reading about the sons of Mosiah, Zeezrom and many others who were deeply converted to the gospel. In every instance, those who were truly converted, or wanted to stay converted, made covenants with the Lord. That is how we show our love for Heavenly Father. We make covenants. They are so powerful. I loved the talk by Sister Dalton to fathers. I cried through the whole thing because I felt like she was describing my dad in her talk. So thanks dad, I am so glad that I grew up with a father who loves my mother with everything he has and a father who has always honored his covenants.
I had no idea that Elder Hales was so sick, but I thought his talk was particularly sweet talking about waiting on the Lord. I learned a lot from that talk and I can't wait to reread that one.
One last thing - A SECOND PROVO TEMPLE! And a Wyoming temple. No that isn't in my mission, but it is right close to the Zollinger's. I am very excited for those two open houses. That will be wonderful! Aren't temples a miracle? I am so excited for that Provo temple, I have had stake conferences in that tabernacle, and it will hold a lot of meaning for many Provoites. How incredible. I bet everyone at home is all abuzz about it.

On to some business - This has been the warmest September in Montana on record, I am pretty sure. I hope that they know that if I stay here for October it will be more of the same. I am pretty convinced that the Lord is reminding me that He is mindful of where I am with what I packed. President Monson mentioned that a ton didn't he? The Lord is always mindful of us.
Transfers are this next week, I will find out on Friday where I go or stay. I just have no idea, but I will tell you this, I am pretty excited to not be a greenie. Everyone is all predicting about transfers, and I just want to tell them that not having your visa, that feeling is always near. I never know where I will be next week. I am a planner type so this is a good experience for me to wait on the Lord, like Elder Hales beautifully reminded us.

The ward in Townsend is great! I love it here. There was a little girl named Sophie who was baptized this week. I told her that I was going to send a picture to my family of my first baptism. Even though she is eight, it was still just as awesome to see someone make a covenant and beam with cleanliness. Sophie was just beautiful.

This last week, we knocked on a door and an elderly gentleman answered saying that his wife was in the shower and to wait outside for a few minutes and he would let us in. We waited, and waited. I noticed a bird flying above us in circles. It was a vulture. Before we realized that the Old Man wasn't going to come back, there were 8 vultures circling overhead. Is that a sign? We haven't been back yet.

We haven't gotten any new investigators this week, but I am optimistic. We do a lot of good, and we invite many to come unto Christ, I am full of hope that our efforts aren't in vain. We tract, but we haven't had anyone say yes since I've been here. We just need to make the word available, it isn't our job to make anyone accept it.

Well, I know my news is sparse, but things are going well. I love you all, and I missed you during general conference. I hope that it was a great time anyways, I was thinking about you!
Sister Smith