Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Last Note from My Mission

Dearest Family,

Well, my time in Taiwan is drawing to a close and I don't like it one bit! Part of me would rather just zap back home with out all the good byes. Sigh, but thus is life right? I am very excited to see all of you again, but the whole transition part is not my favorite!!!! It will work out though and I can't wait to hug you all! Keep us in your prayers--I am going to finish strong with all of your support.

We are working hard to do what the Lord would have us do, and really praying with all our might for our investigator. Her family still hasn't given her permission to be baptized. But she did pass her baptismal interview this Sunday. The Elders already have a baptism planned for this Saturday and so if she gets permission this week, the ward would support her baptism on Saturday. So we are hoping for one last miracle here! But of course it is not the end to God's miracles. I read about that today in Mormon chapter 9. I really liked how Moroni explained that God is a God of miracles. We think miracles have ceased only due to our own unbelief and wickedness. I have seen miracles every day of my mission. I am sure that as I remain faithful and abounding in good works, I will continue to see miracles every day of my life. We just don't always get the miracles we really hoped for--but God will always give us what we really need.

I do know that I have been able to work hard every day, and that I am improving along the way. God loves me and as I remain His humble servant, I will be able to return to Him one day. I love the simplicity of mission life. I don't have to worry about anything but doing God's work. I know that I am doing something meaningful every day and my life is so full of joy. I am scared to go home (school, work, social life..what is that??), but I know that these great happy things don't have to end. They just take on a new form with the new stage of my life. I have been slightly emotional about that today, but it will all work out. I just need to rely on God and He will guide my life. I have faith in Him and on His Son Jesus Christ. I know Christ is my Redeemer--I know that as a missionary I still desperately need the power of His Atonement every day. I am so grateful for Him and that I have this special consecrated time in my life to wear His name boldly every day.

We found some really amazing people this week!!! Probably the most miraculous add we had this week was when we went on an errand for our bishop. He had the address of a less active, but knew she had already moved elsewhere--no phone number though. He wanted us to go to her old address and check it out--see if they neighbors knew where she had gone to. We weren't too excited to play detective (we ended up taking a camera and taking pictures of her mail to confirm her identity...it was kind of fun), but we decided it was important to do what the Bishop asked. So we went, and the apartment complex was a mess. The floor she had previously lived on was gutted out and we met a rather peculiar man squatting on the property. We were a little creeped out and about to give up, but decided to check out the second floor since it seemed inhabited. We knocked and it didn't seem like anyone was going to come out. But then a cute girl about our age opened the door and started talking to us. She didn't know anything about the less active member, so we decided to invite her to learn more about the message we brought. She added and we will be meeting with her tomorrow! So exciting!!! We would NEVER have tracted that house in a MILLION years--we know the Lord guided our bishop and guided us to her.

We are finding and doing our best to teach all of the many people who want us to meet with them. I find that we are so busy with lessons because we have soo many people who are willing to meet with us. On Sunday a less active I contacted on the road came to church--the first time since she moved here a year ago. Her life is not in a very happy place, but she had met our bishop at a baptismal service she attended with us and the yesterday went in to have an interview with him. She had such a glow about her and was sooo happy to be with her sisters again. It was so amazing! We actually had quite a few less actives show up at church this past Sunday--as well as some part member families. Also on Saturday we had the R.S. president peike for this family and the mom and two kids came to sacrament meeting!! We have been meeting with them for like four months and this is the first time they attended sacrament meeting. They attended primary once before, but didn't know anyone so felt kind of awkward. They plan on coming again next week.

I could go on and on about all the miracles we are seeing--God has been soo great to us. I know I fell short on some of my goals for this week, this move call, and this mission---but I know that my goals pushed me to do more than I could have ever imagined. I love the Lord; I love His work. I will work hard to always be the Lord's missionary.

Love you so much and see you soon :)

Sister Brooke Smith

P.S. For my last P-day our district had a potluck--Sister Thomas and I made the salad. After the huge lunch we played Jenga and had primary songs playing in the background. Yep, missionaries know how to throw a party :). The jenga blocks are HUGE cardboard pieces (kind of like the bricks we got for Christmas when I was little). It was really fun and we built it up over our heads! I will show you pictures soon!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Happy Father's Day-June 17, 2012

Dearest Family!!!!!!

We have worked hard this week and we did a lot better with our goals this week!! Still striving to finish strong---we have faith we can have a baptism this month--we have some really awesome people. They all just need miracles, so we are working hard to provide the faith required. The most promising investigator is a very sweet sister. She is 15 and her family initially opposed her baptism back in May. We went from not being able to visit to visiting almost weekly to weekly!!! We have been able to sit down with her whole family once, but with both parents three times! Our relationship with them have become so close--She comes to church every week with her classmate (she is a member referral!). We have also had peikes at all but one lesson! It has been a huge miracle. So we have faith we can receive permission this week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am going to work my hardest to do so. And then we are going to keep working with the whole family can be baptized as well. They are such a strong family---her mom LOVES the "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet the young women's leader gave her. She reads the scriptures with her mom and invites to them to pray with her daily! She has been a little bit nervous to ask her father, but is gaining more courage. I know she can do it! We invited her to re-ask her family this week so will call her today for an update. We have amazing investigators with some hard obstacles, but we have been working really hard to overcome them. And will continue to do so.

I feel recently my companion and I have been working to change the way we work to be more in line with what God would have us do. We have been working more with active members, searching out new people to rescue and working hard to find those prepared souls. Recently there has been a really cute group of girls attending the Beginners English class. They have stayed afterwards to meet with us three weeks in a row (so since their first time coming). We added four of them this past week and will meet with them again this Wednesday! It was such a miracle and they have such a great relationship with us (I switched into the Beginners class two weeks ago, so now I am their teacher too). Three have been/are Christian, but they are excited to learn about the Plan of Salvation and what we do at church.

We have also found an amazing family from English, a mom with two teen aged boys. The Elders are working with the boys and the mom has become our mom! She calls US up almost every day and just drops by to give us bananas and homemade jellies! She loves talking about the Gospel with us---but she feels that her Buddhism is good too. So we are working to show her how God is every one's God and that we are just here to give her the whole truth--the Plan of Salvation. There are a lot of exciting things going on here right now and I feel like I just need another move call!!! Please????? You all would probably kill me though--- all getting excited for my return. And I know by July 3rd I will be too.

As for our RCLA work, we keep working together with the ward and have been able to find some really great people to rescue. The ward is getting more and more involved with our efforts and I know it will make all the difference. We also received four member referrals this week....we usually get ZERO, so huge improvement. Also, on Sunday, three of our newer members brought family members to church! So even though we had only two investigators, we had FOUR family members brought to church! It was soo awesome. We were able to switch info and refer a few of them. It was great!

So pretty much life is amazing and I am realizing more and more how blessed I am. I can't wait to see what else the Lord has in store for us. In my personal study this morning I especially liked 3 Nephi 22 verses 7 to the end of the chapter. It mentions all the blessings God will give to His righteous servants and I felt very comforted. God has never forgotten us; his kindness will never depart from us. He is always there and ready to help. We just need to seek His will.

I love you all and am glad to hear things are going well over with the Smith Clan. Happy Father's Day and be good! No count-down chains!!!! So funny. Oh, and not that I think you all would try to, but they asked us to remind friends and family not to send packages with me only having less than a month left. :)

All my love,

Sister Brooke Smith

Reflection-June 10, 2012

Dearest Family!!!!

Glad to hear you all are all doing so well--sad about Mom's poor little finger!!! Hope you all are taking good care of her! As for the mission--we are loving it! Last week's numbers look really bad, and some of them really were, but I also feel they don't reflect all of the wonderful things we accomplished. Which is why I will keep doing my best to hit our goals, but also understand that not every good thing we do is shown in the numbers. I feel like we had done some great finding the week before, but some of those people were just not ready for the gospel yet. We were able to "re"-find a family though!!! Our sweet little sister (who is soo ready for xili--baptism) has parental fandui, and so we have been working with the whole family lately. Last Saturday we met with her parents (her sisters have only been home once...need to work on that!) and we had two peikes (members at the lesson)! One is her member friend (who is the Elder's RC) and another (who is a super solid member who has a similar background). Our lesson went soo well and at the end the father gave his first prayer! We invited them to church, and they said, "kankan" (we will see). Although they didn't make it to church the next morning, I feel we are a step closer. She shares scriptures with her mom and we recently re-invited her to ask her family to pray with her every night. We have a really good feeling about this family. They are so close with us now. The dad reminds me a lot of my own father--we get along really well. We feel soo at home with them all and they have told us we are always welcomed! We are really excited to keep working with them and giving them all goals!!!

RCs have been a little rough lately. With the rain they seem to go into hiding--whenever it rains here, almost no one comes to church!!! It has been raining a lot lately. But we have been more diligent about correlating with the wards. Also, we have recently been dialing through the ward rosters and setting up visits with less actives and active members. It has been soo awesome! We have found some AMAZING less actives that need saving that everyone had forgotten about! The R.S. president is going to come with us on some return visits too. Also, we have been able to meet with some active members and it makes Sundays so much more fun. We know more people and are able to more fully incorporate them in the work. Plus we are discovering a wealth of part member families that need to become eternal! One of the coolest experiences is that we prayed we would be able to find a less active to visit, and the first one Sister Thomas called agreed to meet that very day. When we came over, she was so warm and we found out in July she is going to be in America visiting the Sister who taught her! I will be home pretty close to the same time and so when her Sister Missionary is at work she can come find us! She and her husband were married before either of them passed their year-mark in the church, and thus weren't sealed before becoming less active. I really want to help her set a goal for a temple sealing! Pretty awesome!

This past week we had to go to Gaoxiong to give my "Reflection"...the last talk I will ever give to other missionaries! Weird!!! I was able to make it through with out crying--and I wrote it up, maybe I will send it next week. It was a hard thing to prepare for, definitely emotional, but it was good to reflect over my whole experience. I know God has guided me through every step of my mission and I love it so much. I know this is what God wants me to do--this is where He wants me to be. We see miracles daily here! Even though it gets hard sometimes, we just have to keep doing our best to endure well.

In the Gospel Study area, I have just been feasting on the Book of Mormon. I am going to finish it for the second time straight through before I end my mission! I am reading in 3rd Nephi and it is just so sad to see how at one point everyone can know the truth and then a few short years later almost all depart from it! I shared a few verses with a less active previous last night from Helaman 6. 13-14 just talk about the divide between the righteous and the wicked. I feel that is how our day is becoming. There are the very righteous and the very wicked. I am so impressed by those who are standing fast and will not depart from the Gospel. I want to be, and I will be one of those people as long as I live the patterns of the Gospel. God has prepared the way and I will obey. I love this Gospel!

I know miracles are still around the corner! I will work hard! I am so grateful for all of your support! My family is the best.

Oh, and Sister Thomas had a great birthday last week--will send pics next week! I was wearing my hippie pants...they look really awesome! I have a really cool jumping picture with them on.

Well, love you all soo much!

Sister Brooke Smith

P.S. Is the time on turbo mode????????????? Where is the SLOW button???

The Grace of God, June 3, 2012

Dearest Family,

Hello there!! This week has been pretty amazing! We have seen a lot of miracles--and I really do believe it came from striving to actually discern the needs of others, along with the grace of God. He is so merciful to us, His Children. I have really had that hit home this past week. While I was studying in Helaman I found so many gems!!! I really liked Helaman 3:27-30--it is kind of what started me thinking about the grace of God. He is so willing to help us--He has already prepared the way!!!! I just need to make sure I keep myself and those around me on that path. And that can only be done through charity--by really loving God and all of His children.

One of the huge miracles from this week is that we were able to hit our finding goal! It still isn't up to what it should be, but we usually don't even get close to hitting it! So we were really excited---especially since we found some AMAZING people. The Lord is blessing us with formers, part-member families (found through doing less active work for the the Bishopric), member referrals and from the street. It feels like we were really supported by our ward and it is such a blessing. We love our wards sooo much!!!!! The Tainan Second ward Elders did an amazing job with the ward activity we had this last week--we had a little skit and I was the investigator. I ignore them a billion times until my friend refers me--we were trying to encourage member involvement. It was hilarious and in the end they put a baptismal picture up on a power point...me in a baptismal suit...it was soo funny. I was still wearing my dress under my jumper and it was hilarious because when we were taking the picture our ward mission leader walked in...it must have been pretty funny to see Elders taking a picture of me in a baptismal jumper...lol. ANYWAYS, I see really good things coming from this. But no matter what we do, it always comes back to the grace of God. Last night He wrought mighty miracles for us! We were getting ready to visit one our less actives when our phone rang. A lady had a member friend from Yongkang that told her to call us if she was looking for more peace. So she did! And then we met up fifteen minutes later. She agreed to baptism and we all felt the Spirit so much in her first visit.

Then, as we were heading over to our original appointment, we passed by another Less Actives' work place. She hasn't been answering our calls, and didn't express much interest in meeting, but her really active sister has been working with us to find a way to bring her back. So when we drove past her work (which was because I took a different way for some "random" reason) we saw her outside and decided to say hi. Surprisingly she invited us in (it was after hours, so no one else was there) and we had pretty awesome visit! She was so sweet to us and because her sister had given the lesson in R.S. I had learned they didn't work in the morning anymore. So I asked if we could have lunch together (we are going to make the Chinese chicken salad--everyone just LOVES IT!)--and she said yes!!! Her sister will be there too--and the appointment is tomorrow!!!!!!! Huge miracle!

I just love being with Sister Thomas--she is exactly who I need right now. I am so proud of her righteous desires and know she will keep working miracles and doing her best to become the best missionary she can be. Today is her birthday and we are going to go to the beach as a zone to celebrate! Wooohoo. Since we will be playing Frisbee (we played last week too) we get to wear casual clothes...we are wearing our hippie pants!!! You will see pictures for sure.

I was also ALMOST a movie star....but then the it didn't receive approval---and I didn't really want to do it. But some Tainan movie people wanted me to do this short film for a competition...it was sooo weird! Anyway, I will have to tell you about that later. Time to get going!

Love you all sooooooooooo much,

---Sister Brooke Smith

God is not far from us

Dear Family,

This week has been a pretty great week. My companion and I were able to work hard and saw a lot of progress. The overall message from your e-mails on the passing of Cody was one of hope--a hope that can only come through faith in our Savior Jesus Christ. And that is why my companion and I are here---we are here to bring hope into the lives of all around us. A hope that they can be with their families forever, that their sins can be washed away, and that there can be meaning and purpose in our daily lives. I love this Gospel and the power of Divine Love it brings with it. Mom sent me the conference ensign and I really loved part of a talk about God's love for us---it said something like that God's love is the force pulling us back home to Him. When we love Him and feel His love for us--nothing else matters. We learn patience and obedience and all the other Christlike attributes we were sent here to learn. We know what our prize is. So I am grateful for trials for from trials we learn patience. During my study of patience I have learned so much and still need to continue to learn, but one of my favorite scriptures on patience is James 1:3&4. We all know James 1:5, but I've rarely read the preceding verses. I love how it says to let patience work its perfect work (or something along those lines) and that is how we can become perfected. I still need to work on that.

This week anl investigator committed to a new date--and the first step is keeping the Word of Wisdom. She and I made a deal---starting from Sunday we are going to go a week of her keeping the Word of Wisdom and of me not "fapiqi"-ing (losing my temper). I really want to lose the tendency I have to feel annoyance or even offence, and so we are working together to overcome our weaknesses. It is hard, but I have made it a promise to God too. I have set a goal and made plans--so I am convinced I can improve. It is kind of exciting! With goal making, of course we are turning our eyes to June to set goals and make plans to make a come back. May was a hard month after our miracles in April, but we can do it. We have so many wonderful people----there is just something missing for each of them. I plan on working harder, praying longer, and really teaching to their needs in order to invoke the powers of Heaven to help with our Quest. God is not far from us.

We have been having less actives coming back because of the ward's efforts lately!!!! So amazing! We are so grateful for all their hard work! I feel like we are getting closer and closer with our wards, and as we do so, we are having more success. Still need to do a lot, but especially as we have been focusing on member referrals we have found increased support from the wards. It is awesome.

God loves us, and we love Him! I am so grateful for each day I have here in this beautiful mission. I love being a missionary!!!!!!!!
Thank you for all you do!

We keep you in our prayers! Love you family!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

---Sister Brooke Smith

"Gao Rong"

Dearest Smith Clan

It has been a bit of a hard week for us here, but we are determined to make it better! Heavenly Father also really blessed us last week in so many ways. That is the thing about God--He will always reach out to us, just sometimes not in the way we expect Him too. Lately it seems like a lot of not so happy things are happening back home and it just makes me sooo grateful to be on a mission. I am so grateful to spend every day immersed in the doctrine of Christ--to know that death isn't an end, that sin can be overcome through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and that there is a purpose to this life. We are soo protected here as the Lord's missionaries. I never want that to go away. And I know that as I cleave to my covenants that protection will always be with me. God is in control. So I just need to continue to lose myself in the work and I will deal with the rest when the time comes. I just can't believe this is my last move call! Where did the time go???? I am excited to be able to come back to you all soon, but it will be hard leaving this beautiful island and name tag behind! So be nice to me when I come back ok? :P

Anyway, back to missionary work! This week we found no new investigators...and our other investigators keep failing to progress. Some are so very close, yet still held back by parental fandui (opposition). My companion and I have had special fasts, poured out our hearts in prayer, and studied for them, but they still have agency. I know that I can do better as well. We have been working on boldness and I feel like we have improved. The scarcity of investigators also forces us to be bolder--which is good! Our most promising investigator is a sweet sister. After she didn't come to church on Sunday (she was sick and it was raining...) we decided to do a quick drop by and ended up having a wonderful lesson. She was so awesome and as we committed her to live the Word of Wisdom (after teaching the Plan of Salvation) she said she was willing to keep this commandment so she could stay on the road of "Gao Rong" (Great Glory--the word for "Celestial" in Chinese). It was really cute and I know she will be baptized. We just have to help her become more committed to Sunday worship.

Something really awesome happened with our RCLAs this week!!! Our ward correlator was gone in the 1st ward, so a member of the Bishopric replaced him for Ward Correlation. After reporting our needs I asked if he could direct us to some less actives that needed visiting. He looked through our ward roster and gave me about seven names and their situations. It was so awesome! And we have been seeing miracles from that list! One lady only had an address and her house phone number had gone bad. We thought she probably had moved. Yet when we dropped by last Saturday afternoon, she was home! We are excited and she and her daughter have agreed to meet again. :)

Sister Thomas is done with TRAINING!!!! So weird to think this is her third move call....she is sooo lihai (fierce...as in skilled!) I forget she just came most days. She is an excellent missionary---she will work her hardest and therefore work MIRACLES for the rest of her mission. She has been such a support to me---and she is really too excited about "killing" me. We didn't end up moving so we are staying together for a third move call!! She will have been my longest companion (and tallest..haha) and this is my longest time spent in one area! Woohoo!!!!!! I always dreamed of "dying" in Tainan and now it's come true!!!!!

Gospel study is a precious time--I loved diving into the Book of Mormon even more this week. I have goals to finish reading the Book of Mormon for the second time (straight through) on the mission and I am getting close! I am reading the war chapters at the moment, but even in those we can find so many stories about key gospel principles. The Gospel just makes sense and helps give us courage to face the challenges of our day. Mom mentioned that the Old Testament is full of awesome inspiring stories as well--and it is true! I can't wait to have more time to study the scriptures...sounds funny as I use them 24/7 here, but we mainly stick to the Book of Mormon since people understand close to nothing about the Bible here. And we only get an hour to study in the mornings...I want more! Lol--that is a change huh?

Well, life is good on the whole and we are working hard. Kelsie Ainge (the one who is going to Hong Kong and is helping Grandma) sent me a letter last week! It was really fun hearing from her. I'll have to write her on her mission--I just never want to be disconnected from missionary life ever again! It is just the absolute best! Hope my little sisters are preparing 'cause you both should go--it is AMAZING.

Hope you all are doing good!!!

Love love love,

Sister Brooke Smith

Well, we will keep doing our best!!!

Dear Family!!!

This week has been pretty great!! We were able to make some really great plans for next week. Unfortunately we are still struggling to find and keep progressing investigators. Our week C, stopped answering our phone calls and didn't come to church...we talked to her extended family though and they will keep checking up on her. But we did have some cool experiences. One of our girls with Mother fandui gave her mom a Book Of Mormon for Mother's Day that she had marked up and written her testimony in. A step forward anyways. Another sister is getting more and more excited about baptism, but we still need to help her understand correct doctrine and keep commitments. She is really starting to have a strong desire though, so it will come.

As for RCLAs, we were really able to involve our recent converts in the missionary work this week. The Elder's recent convert went with us to an investigator's house and we made them dinner. It was great!! And a LA of ours came with us too. As they become more involved, they are able to feel the Spirit more and more.

Sister Thomas is doing great!!! She is getting better and better. However, her eye is still doing pretty poorly. We are going to make another trip to the doctor today. She should be clearing up soon.

As for goals, we were able to find 7 new adds this week, which was a major improvement!!!! And we were able to find 31 lessons even though a lot of plans were cancelled. So that was pretty awesome. We still need to work on getting member referrals though. We made some really cool pass along cards for our members though, so hopefully next week will be better.

Gospel study is such a precious time. This week I have been learning more and more about all the amazing missionaries in the Book of Mormon. I want to be just like them!!! I have been marking my BOM up specifically for missionary work, so it has really helped me identify things that I can work on.

Well, we will keep doing our best!!!

---Sister Brooke Smith

I searched for the promised blessing

Dearest Family!!!!!

This past week was pretty up and down--it seemed like all of our plans came undone, but then the Lord would step in and direct our paths to go where we really were supposed to be. We are very grateful for the Lord's guidance in doing this His work. One of the biggest miracles we saw this past week is that we were able to find a new investigator who is AMAZING. We called her off of an old contact card and then found out she related to a sister in our ward and had actually gone to church just last Sunday!!! I thought she was already a member--surprise! So she is looking really good for her goal and her extended family is starting to get excited about it too. Since our first lesson with her we have really focused on enduring conversion and it has set a really clear expectation for our visits. She is awesome!!! Other than her though, a lot of our investigators stopped progressing--we are still having a little difficulty finding. But our new district leader, Elder Liu, is great and has given us some great new contacting approaches to try. We will keep doing our best!

As for our RCLAs, we have been working to help them strengthen their relationships with other members. For FHE we took a Sister who just barely passed her year mark over to another new members house. They both have a lot of interest in family history and both haven't been to the temple yet, so we had a lesson on how family history can give us the motivation to work towards the temple. It worked well.

Something I learned this week during my studies is that I have to be actively seeking for all of the Christ-like attributes so much more than I already am! I really needed to learn patience this week and as it turns out that is the virtue of the month. What I learned is that in order for me to develop the patience I need to endure and not feel anxious, upset or frustrated, I need to focus on the end result--the promised blessing. As I was reading scriptures on patience from the topical guide I searched for the promised blessing--and found one in almost every verse. Thus I learned that when I start to feel impatient, I have forgotten what I am working towards/ waiting for. So I am going to work on that!

So a member in our ward said we could use her house to SKPE!!! I thing I will probably just type in Dad's cause his is for sure his work address...not sure if Mom would use hotmail or yahoo. So we will probably get on at around 8:15pm your time Sunday night--- so I will be using it around 10:15am Monday morning over here. That will be fun, huh? We will only have 40 minutes this time though--but meh, you will all see me soon enough right? I can't remember my skype stuff, so it will probably be on Sister Thomas' name or something.

Other highlights from this week--my companion had pinkeye! It was soo sad!! But our relief society pres. provided relief and took us to the eye doc. After getting meds, it cleared up really fast. She is a trooper. Also the R.S. pres. took us out to a really nice Italian place for lunch--so delicious. Us Sisters really do get it good. Something else pretty fun is that we attempted to teach on of our recent converts (she was baptized before I moved into the ward) in this area how to ride a bike! It was also pretty fun. She inherited a missionary bike and so has been wanting to learn. We had to break it down to learning how to get on and off her bike while maintaining balance...so she is still a ways from biking. But it was fun! Also, we played the commandment game with my recent convert from February-it is like spoons but instead of face cards they are cards with commandments on them. The loser has to explain the commandment the winner collected. It is great for reviewing commandments and for having fun! The game got a little intense when Sister Thomas stole the pen from her and she said, "But I touch it first!!!! You are robber!!!" in English...it was HILARIOUS. And then when I stole a pen from her she said, "I now know your true color!". It was awesome, I just love her!

Well, look forward to "seeing" you all next week! LOVE!!!!!!!!!!

--Sister Brooke Smith

Coming Home July 3rd

Dearest Family!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow, that is soooooooooo weird about the whole return date mix up!!!! I am definitely NOT coming home until July 3rd---as much as I love you all, you'll just have to wait! We ARE an eternal family, so it'll be ok :). I love you all so much. It was rather amusing to hear Kat describe their reaction. Sorry that Christmas really will have to wait until July :P.

As for this week--it was AMAZING. Our lovely sister was baptized and confirmed this weekend. She is so awesome and really has felt the power of the Atonement in her life. However, we still have three investigators who need to be baptized but just can't seem to overcome the family opposition. They are all ready to go and we have been trying our very best, but their time hasn't come yet. One of our biggest challenges is that we haven't been able to meet the opposing parents. We've fasted, prayed, role played, likened from the scriptures, and yet it still hasn't been enough. So we will keep praying and planning! I know there is more to this than we know---God's view is a lot larger than ours. So we will continue in faith.

For dear recent converts and less actives, one I have been working with since day one in this area, went to the temple and did baptisms for the dead yesterday! So awesome! Also a less active sister I have been working with since my first week here, brought her mother to our baptism! The baptismal service was so wonderful! We had lots of friends there, a part member family (two people), a recent convert, and two member referrals with their member friends! Our hearts were full. God is too good to us. He blesses us so abundantly every day! Sister Thomas and I also made cookies for the baptism. It was quite hilarious as we stayed up to 10:28 making the cookie batter and when the two minute warning went off we totally freaked out and went into super human mode. Lol--we made it to be pretty close to on time! And the cookies were a huge hit. It was so funny---probably just 'cause every one wanted us to feel loved. They went out of their way to make this huge deal over our cooking skills and how if we ever needed a job we could make cookies for them. It was so fun--and we ate it up, along with a few of the amazing cookies. Lol. I give all the credit to my companion--although the recipe did come from the Hobble Creek 8th ward cook book I was given. So credit goes to the HC 8th ward! Thanks!

As for my lovely companion Sister Thomas--she is so awesome. I love her so much. We have such a great time together. She just has righteous desires to become better and better. She is an amazing missionary. I am so grateful for her. I really do hope we stick together for three transfers...that would be sooooooooooooooooooo fun. We just go to bed soo happy every night and we are doing really well together. Our area is becoming better and better.

Gospel study is such a precious time. I love feasting on the Book of Mormon--I truly draw strength from its pages. I have also been pondering over my patriartical blessing this week. God has given us so many resources to guide our mortal journey back to His side. I am so grateful for a loving Father in Heaven who knows my needs and hears my prayers. He is the best!

I love all of you and can't wait to speak to you all---sounds like I will either get to call you on the 14th (your 13th) OR....I might be able to SKYPE! But we have to set it up with a member...so I'll confirm that next week. If we can skype, I'll need my password and stuff because I have totally forgotten it!

Oh, and the beach was LOVELY. It was the only day all week that didn't rain! We have been having HUGE rainstorms lately---it is the rainy season once more. I bought new rain shoes today....mine from last season have been pretty worn out. Thanks for all the support---my family is the best. And all my companions are so excited to meet you all. Hehehehe, I've told them only wonderful things of course :P.

Love you all so much!

--Sister Brooke Smith

I am fallin in love again! With the Book of Mormon of course:)

Dearest Family,

Another week of miracles for us here in East Tainan. We have a really solid week A (she is getting baptized on April 28th. She is a miracle referral from our dear 2nd ward Elders. Since meeting them on the road she has come to church every week and has just progressed beautifully. It was amazing to see how much hope she has in the cleansing power of the Atonement. We love her soo much and the ward is supporting her so well. Every Sunday night the singles have a family home evening. After church yesterday a few of the singles came up and invited her to the FHE. When we went, they had prepared an awesome lesson all about baptismal prep! It was sooo awesome!!!!! Everyone took turns sharing what they remembered most from their baptism, reviewing why we are baptized. It was awesome!!! Best members involvement ever.

This week we also found an amazing investigator from the second ward Elders. They are great! She is a member referral and has also been coming to church for the past three weeks. She was really shy of us missionaries at first, but last Sunday we set up a time we could make cookies together. At that meeting we were able to invite her to be baptized, and she has such a HUGE desire for that. She is 15 years old and since receiving a Book of Mormon a month ago has read into 2 Nephi and prays daily. She is awesome!!! However, after telling her family her plans, family opposition (fandui) hit. She was crying all day on Sunday at church because she was just crushed. We comforted her and said that God will prepare away as long as we are faithful. We had an awesome Sister help with the lesson who had a really horrible case of fandui. Her experiences seemed to really give our sweet sister hope. We will keep praying and the ward members have offered help. Her parents wouldn't let us come over, but we will try again. She is awesome! Fandui is killing us at the moment--three of our investigators could be baptized ANYTIME once they overcome the fandui. Sigh. Faith over fear!

As for our recent converts and less actives (RCLAs) we have just seen huge miracles with having our RCLAs becoming involved in the work with us. It helps all involved. We made cookies with another sister and she taught her first lesson in Relief Society this Sunday. It was soo good. Also, one of our RCs just finished some family history and had temple cards made up!!! It has really helped her develop a desire to enter the temple--and so she scheduled a time to receive a temple recommend! YAY! It is soo happy.

Sister Thomas is doing wonderfully, as always. She is just such a help to me--the perfect companion for me. Of course neither of us are perfect, but our strengths compliment each others weaknesses so nicely. It is also fun to see how we rub off onto each other---she is becoming more and more outgoing and courageous! I just love her so much. She has also started picking up some of my weird quirks...like making sound effects for EVERYTHING. It is fun :).

I am falling in love again!!!!!!!!! With the Book of Mormon of course :). Since starting to train, I have really focused my studies on the Book of Mormon. Every single time I read it, I receive inspiration for our investigators and answers to my prayers. It is an amazing second witness of Jesus Christ. I just want everyone to love it!!!! We are working hard to help our investigators gain a greater love for the Book of Mormon by starting off our lessons with a scripture share. Still working on it, but it is going well.

I love you all soo much! Thanks for the Easter Package--we LOVED it. So yummy. This year we fed the peeps to our friends and they actually LIKED IT! Last year people were spitting them out and complaining about them being too sweet, but maybe since the food in Tainan is sweeter (actually true!) they liked it more. It was so funny! Sun DX really loves them--I am totally sending him peeps every year :). So funny.

My comp. and I have been craving the cabbage ramen salad thing we make sometimes--can you send me the recipe? I think I can make it here. Thanks!

This week has been pretty fun---Liang Jm made us dinner on Saturday and then on Sunday Li Jm made us dinner. So awesome. The poor second ward Elders don't have it so good. Oh well! We fed them some of our left overs...hahaha. Sisters are just more fun! :) Just kidding--we have amazing Elders here in our mission--including Elder Ripley! We had zone conference this week, but since he is in the North I didn't get a chance to see him. But I did meet his MTC companion--they were zone leaders in the MTC. Cool cool. Also, I was able to see Sister Bray and Sister Rigby's reflections (their last talk before going home). It was such a tender time. Sister Rigby shared how her mission has been all about the small and simple things. Sister Bray gave a really touching talk on "Deep Waters". She mentioned briefly about her mother's death, and it was just so amazing to see the woman she has become. Trials really do refine us. She is amazing. She can't wait to meet you all.

Well, we are about to head out to the beach!!!! It is about an hour an a half away from here on bike--but it is going to be so worth it. I have to go at least once!

Love you all so much! So proud of you all!!!!!!!!

------Sister Brookie Smith


Dearest Family,


We had a great week--Conference, Easter, and a wonderful baptism!!! So exciting and definitely uplifted by the Spirit. I love this work and am so grateful to be a part of it.

We have some really great new investigators, both of whom really understand our purpose and have desires to know. One is sweet Sister--she reminded me of her baptismal goal yesterday at Conference--she wanted to know what time the baptismal service was at so she could write it in her planner!! She is progressing wonderfully. The only concern is that for the next three weeks she won't be able to come to church because of her buxi ban (cram school), so we will have to readjust her date since she has only been to church twice (every Sunday since contacted by the missionaries though!). The other is still striving to truly know God lives and loves her. But she is willing to learn and keep the commitments we give her, so I have faith she will soon gain her own testimony.

As for fellowshipping, one of our sister's is back again!! She came to all of conference. It was great to see her being an active member. I love her sooo much. We also saw another family came to a session of conference. The father gave a nice talk at his son's baptism and it was just a really great time. I love their family sooo much! I keep imagining them in the temple, becoming eternal. That is a huge goal for me.

Sister Thomas is my best friend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love her so much and am always surprised when she asks me for help because I forget she IS new. She is amazing and the people just love her. She is a great example to me of diligent study and patience. We find that we balance each other in great ways. We both are learning so much from each other. I love her soooooo much. She is progressing beautifully and we are going to be together for another movecall since training is now two. But for my last movecall...who knows!

As for gospel study---oh man, I just loved Conference sooooooooooooooooo much. I was able to ponder beforehand and come up with my own questions. Unsurprisingly one of the biggest answers I received is that I have the moral agency and gift of the Spirit to make my own, hopefully wise, decisions. Heavenly Father doesn't want me to just get all the answers by being just listening passively-He wants me to work out my own Salvation with the guidance of the Holy Ghost. So I'll keep working on it! President Packer's talk was amazing too--bet Mom was a little teary during that one...I was too :).

This morning before emailing we colored eggs for Easter!! I used the kit Mom sent me last year--it was so fun! Well, I'll have to attach pics to this one since they didn't send last week--so strange!!! Love you all tons!!

---Sister Brooke Smith

Heavenly Father really loves every one of us so much + Bowling and Pizza

Dearest Family!!

We have had a marvelous week!! With Sister Exchanges and language evaluations it seemed like there was never enough time in each day, but we tried to make the best use out of it that we could. We were really blessed to have so many people to plan for during weekly planning---our investigator pool is amazing!! I feel like there are so many souls on it that are very close to baptism. We are going to work so hard in April to be able to accomplish what the Lord wants us to do in order to help these souls come unto Him.
Our young boy is looking great for his baptism. We announced his baptismal service in both wards---so hopefully there will be a good turn out. His parents say they are probably moving back to a different ward in August or September. So things are looking really great with him and the Elders are focusing on helping strengthen the family too. Pretty exciting things! Also, this past Sunday we fasted for our two girls who both have family fandui. As soon as they have permission they can be baptized---any time! They have both passed interviews and are so ready. Both have an opportunity over the holiday to speak to their parents, so I have faith we will have our prayers answered soon. Heavenly Father loves them so much. Also, we have quite a few awesome new investigators that are starting to progress. It is so exciting!!!

We also had a miracle with one of our friends. She recently received a call. She seemed pretty excited about it at first, but when the day came around she wasn't at church. We talked to her on Saturday, so it seemed odd. We tried calling and she never answered---she had bujian-ed (disappeared) again!!! We included her in our fast and she wasn't at church again. We didn't know what to do--so we followed our plan and were going around the work when we found ourselves right by her house! It was so the Spirit's guidance!!! We knocked on her door and she was home. At first she acted bored by us and like the Church wasn't something she needed. But as we bore our testimonies to her, my companion and I felt the Spirit sooo strongly. She felt it too. At the end I asked her to pray, but she declined. I asked Sister Thomas to instead, but just that morning we'd studied in our companionship study revelation through prayer. We had practiced how to invite unwilling investigators to pray. She did what we practiced and after we bore our testimonies on prayer our friend gave a very humble kneeling prayer. I am so grateful for Sister Thomas! And then as we were leaving, a family in the ward was playing in the park by her house. They came over and started to guanxi her---we rode away to them all chatting together. It was such a blessing!!! Heavenly Father really loves every one of us so much.

As you can probably tell from the above story, Sister Thomas is doing sooo great!!!!!!!!! I love her sooo soo much. Everyday we come to appreciate each other more and more. She is just who I need at this time. And our investigators need her too. They all love her so much--and it is because she is radiating with the pure love of Christ. I love her so much!!!!

In the gospel study realm--I just love reading about covenants. This time around the Book of Mormon is really teaching me about what it means to make a covenant with God. I find such peace and security knowing that the Lord really is on my side--that as long as I keep my covenants, God will always keep His. It is also interesting to see the results of breaking covenants or being without covenants. It is always a sure way to have a miserable life! So I am grateful that the Lord has given His children such a loving gift of protection and guidance. He is the best!

Well we had an awesome zone activity today!! We went bowling (my high score was 111...yay!...sadly it was one of the highest out of like 20 missionaires) and then we went to Pizza hut for an all you can eat buffet. I am so full--but man, seeing the Elders eat was a little bit scary. They were beasts!! Lol. It was fun eating pizza that had corn and peas on it---or mayo and seafood. Interesting stuff here! I've attached a few pics.

Also, though we haven't had a baptism yet this transfer, three people I taught in different areas were baptized!!! SOO AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well, I know who a few of the trainers are--two Elders in my zone (one of whom is in my district) will be training---wouldn't that be cool if Caleb moved into my zone/district????

Well, all for now but I love you all tons and tons!

---Sister Brooke Smith

Facemasks and Miracles

Dearest Family,

We saw a lot of miracles this week and they just keep coming! We were able to meet with a boy who wants to be baptized. He has passed his interview and is ready to go, but we had those complications with the wards. So it looks like he will be baptized on April 7th!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So awesome!!! He has been taught by missionaries many times over the last few years, but now he is finally ready. So exciting. Such a miracle!!! Also, the investigator I added on my birthday, has come to church every week since we met! She is amazing and although she still has some obstacles to overcome, I know she will be able to be baptized soon. She calls herself my "twin sister"...not that we look anything alike but because we have a lot of the same mannerisms...hehe, she is soo cute. Last Sunday she gave my companion and I a huge poster of Jeremy Lin---he is like such a huge thing over here. It was hilarious. I have a lot of faith in her. Also, we had this great lesson with a young lady. We role played with her about how to talk to her dad in order to overcome fandui. It really helped her come up with some great things and we have faith she will be able to be baptized near the beginning of April as well. So the sun has come up and Heavenly Father is really blessing us.

As for less active work---we have been trying to involve more members in the work and it has been a lot of fun. Also the Relief Society and the young women had a combined dinner party night. We were able to stop by for just a little bit right before the Elder's baptisms, and there were sooo many of our friends there!!! It was so great! The women were doing such a great job of loving and involving them--it was AWESOME. In the more relaxed setting we were able to joke and get to know each other--I learned all their names and a little about them. Then on Sunday I was able to say hi to them by name it was just really fun. And the members were great at guanxi-ing (caring for? ) them.

Sister Thomas is doing so great---I love her so much. We just have so much fun working together. Last night we were able to have another miracle with one of our dear families. We were running on our back up plan and as we standing close to their door a lady from the street called to us. Turns out she is a former and wants to meet again! She stopped meeting with the missionaries after her brother went to the hospital and just lost contact while he was getting better. So we are outside our friend's house, talking to their neighbor, when the mother comes out and starts chatting with her. Eventually her daughters came outside too and then we all decided to move inside! They really clicked. It was soo awesome!! And Sister Thomas just brings such a light to the work. She is great at comforting, supporting, laughing with/at? ( :) ), and loving me. She is such a great missionary.

As for gospel study, I just love the Book of Mormon so much. I can find revelation within its pages for any situation---it really is the best source for lesson planning. I am reading King Benjamin's address again and I just love that we have prophets! There was a really good verse where he asked people to open their hearts and minds to his words---and that is exactly what we need to be doing for general conference. SO excited!!!!

Oh, and Sarah's poster looks soo good! So funny--we love superman soo much :P. Hope you all are doing great and thanks for all the love and support. Today we had a district activity...so less email time. But I have attached pics. And some of me and my comp using the face masks mom sent! So funny.

Love you all,

Sister Brooke Smith

HIS Missionaries

Dearest Family,

I learned a lot this week with my companion Sister Thomas. It was a week of trials for us, but as we leaned on the Lord and each other, we grew a lot. The work isn't going the way we expected it to be going. We are on on the fourth week of move call and as far as we can see, there is not going to be a baptism for us this month. But we cannot see all that God sees, so we still have hope. God is giving us trials to make us better. Maybe before we got by by doing a hi-hao (mediocre) job, but now He is demanding our all. So we are working hard to fix weakness after weakness. I do feel like I've become a much better missionary and I am having to rethink a lot of what I do as a missionary. Thus even though it was a hard week, I am very appreciative for Him and how He is shaping me and my companion into HIS missionaries.

One is having father troubles, another just isn't willing to listen to our message. However, the sister I contacted on my birthday has come to church both Sundays since and is awesome!!! As we continue to help her learn the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost will help her come up with her own solutions for some of her concerns. We are excited to see how she continues to progress.

The Book of Mormon has been what has really helped me through this week. That and prayer and the words of our living Prophets. I was especially comforted while I was reading in Jacob 5. God is here working right along side us. He is guiding our efforts. I feel the Spirit every day, touching my heart and telling me that this is God's work--this is His gospel. So I just need to take courage and a more worthy, obedient, and diligent missionary for my God. And we can do it! I know I can.

Thanks for being such a great family!!!
---Sister Brooke Smith

I had the best birthday EVER!!! 7 birthday cakes!

Dearest Family,

We have had a week of miracles over here! And I had the best birthday EVER!!! One of the biggest miracles is that one sister told us Saturday night she wanted to be baptized and was able to pass her baptismal interview that very night. However, we still don't have a specific date since her father is not that keen on her being baptized. She has really been strengthened by the sisters in the ward and is definitely working hard to resolve this concern. We will keep praying and expressing our faith--I know it is just a matter of when now, not if. Working with them has been a very sweet experience for me. It reminds me sooo much of Mom and Grandma Winnie!!! All the resemblances to my own family just make it so dear and tender to me. I know God is using me to help others have the same blessings I now have. So I have faith--God will allow this to all work out. He is behind this work. I read a great scripture on that the other day--2 Nephi 27:20--"I am able to do mine own work." Right now our investigators are facing trials we are ourselves cannot overcome, but God can. All we need to do is our part with faith. That is what I plan on doing.

For our retention work, we had some really rewarding experiences this week. One of the top ones was that our less active sisters came back after two weeks of not coming, and she went to the hospital with us to visit another sister. It was soo cool!!!! The ward also arranged for her to have her new member lessons now (since she never had them while still a new member!)--which will help the ward to actually know her. I am so excited!!! She is definitely on her way back to full activity in the church, we just have to be patient and supportive.

Sister Thomas is so amazing--I love being her companion. She is hilarious and so hard working. I am so grateful for the faith and high expectations she brings to this companionship. She really helped me have such an awesome birthday!!! She wrote me note telling me all the reasons she loves me and is grateful I am her "mom". It was so sweet and hilarious. We have so much fun together. She reminds me soooo much of Katie Lindsey. It is soo awesome! We just keep seeing miracles together! So fun.

So for my birthday---it really has been like a birthday week! I had those sweet emails from you all on Monday, and then my recent converts Phina and Huiying (along with Dongdong, Phina's bro) came and took me out to lunch! Pictures attached :)! I loved it!!!! They made me the cutest Asian card (like our Japanese friends do) and a cute journal. Then Tuesday the Relief Society Pres. took us out to a super nice lunch...there were like five courses! Which ended with a chocolate brownie sunday....the first of the birthday cakes (I ended up with a total of SEVEN if you count that). Wednesday was a special zone conference and Amy Wu (she has served as a short term missionary sooo many times--I've known her since my first move call) dropped by and gave me a birthday cake (the one you saw a pic of with Sister Rigby). And we were treated to Subway for zone conference. At English that night I was given a little dessert by Su JM (third). Then my actual birthday comes!!! First thing--as we are leaving the guard to our apartment gives me a birthday cake (fourth)!! He knew it was my birthday because of the increase in mail..that said happy birthday on it! Lol, plus I got a package from you all :). I love the stickers, and the watch and the ankle braces. Thank you so much.

Then we went over to a friend's house and helped her clean a bit. Tasha treated us to lunch, and on the way over there, I contacted this awesome lady. She has since met with us twice--she also attended church! How cool!! Then lunch was awesome--pizza hut and a few members came too. They had this huge birthday cake at the end and it was pretty good (fifth). Then that night we met with another friend and she gave me a cake (sixth...we ate it for breakfast three days in a row)!!! And then that night we had ward correlation and Huang Dixiong (our ward mission leader) gave me a boston cream cake (number 7) and sang to me. He is such a father figure to me here! He also really looks like John Denver...Asian style. Anyway, it was such a fun birthday--everyone knew because of facebook! So funny! We didn't even have to buy our own lunch until Friday! Wow!

Oh!!! And one of the coolest parts was that on my b-day we went an visited a recent convert at her school for special needs children. It is such a cool place! So we sang to them and helped them punch holes out of plastic things (they do menial jobs to keep busy and feel like they can contribute--they even get paid) and made treats during the break. It is such a cool center. A mother of one of the children started it so her son could have something meaningful to do and so he could have friends. There are about fifteen students and it is so awesome. I could really feel God's love for these His most special of children. They were such a blast to be with.

For my birthday, Pres. Bishop and Sister Bishop called and sang to me, two of my recent converts kept calling our chapel phone until I answered (they aren't supposed to contact me...naughty! I told them not to call anymore and that I would write them more letters...lol. It was cute though), the Elders sang (so...special...hahaha, it was sweet) and Sister Fitzpatrick received permission to call me too! She had an investigator to ask me for help on (their investigator would be here on Sundays, so we worked together a little). So it was pretty fun! Pres. Bishop also forwarded me an article about dad from KSL. So fun! Lol. Well, I love you all so much and am so grateful to be here in Taiwan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

More soon!

--Sister Brooke Smith
Cake from the guard

My new missionary, Sister Thomas, is so awesome!

Dear Family!!!

My new missionary, Sister Thomas, is so awesome! Her faith is so strong, and so we set some really high goals for this week and for this move call. I know that as we work together in faith we will be able to achieve more than we think we can. This week has definitely put my faith to the test though!! We have a baptismal goal of four for the move call...a number I was definitely a little afraid of. But we have so many prepared people. Soo many! However, they all also have seemingly complicated concerns. I know that if it is right for them to be baptized right now, they will be--Heavenly Father will prepare a way. We just need to do all the prep work so the miracle can occur. So we are working really hard to visit them/really follow up with them every day. This week has been a little discouraging as three of our most promising investigators did not make it to church. There are still some major obstacles to overcome, but the beauty of the Gospel is that God knows the whole iceberg and as we seek His Spirit we can know simple solutions to complicated problems. We are going to do our best and I know that through the power of God we can.

As for our RCLAs, we are still working on identifying who we want to all rescue and how to do it, but we are definitely working with the ward in that area. We had a great meeting with one of our Bishops this week and were able to identify a family they want to become more firmly rooted into the ward. It was also a great opportunity for us to ask the Bishop for member referrals--which he gave. Also, I had a cool experience where a ward member gave us a referral who lives nearby. We are really excited!

I just love Sister Thomas. She has really worked hard to be the best missionary she can be! I am continually impressed with her desire to listen to the counsel of our leaders and to do the invitations immediately. She is also reading her scriptures every chance she gets in the morning and night personal times. There is a desire to become an effective tool in the Lord's hands, and I know she already is. I still need to be doing a better job of helping her feel knowledgeable about all the things we have to do as missionaries, but it really is impossible to learn all at once. So we will keep doing our best! She is awesome and soo fun!! Really she is helping me more than I am helping her! I am so grateful for this chance to, in a way, restart my mission. As I have been learning, it has brought me back to when I first came and my vision for the mission. It has been an eye opener for me.

In my gospel study, I feel like I have really been focusing on our investigators during my personal study. I love how everyday I can find just what I need for them in the Book of Mormon. God is so good to us. He really is guiding my mission--I can't let Satan try and convince me otherwise! I love this work, and I love my Heavenly Father. I have really tried this week to make my prayers more meaningful as well. I have been trying to picture Him in my mind so I remember to whom I am actually speaking. I think it helps me feel more like it is an actual conversation. I know He really is my loving Father in Heaven. And He gave me such a wonderful family to help support me too. I am so grateful for you all!!!!!

Well, gotta go!!! We are going to go play with my recent converts---soo excited!!

---Sister Brooke Smith

Dearest Family---oh how I love you all!!

Dearest Family---oh how I love you all!!

This week was amazing! Our sweet sister had a wonderful baptism on Saturday and was confirmed on Sunday (this kind of intense earthquake struck right after she was confirmed! Scary, but nothing was broken in our apartment, just some shelves fell off and scattered paper everywhere). She bore a powerful testimony after her baptism, giving a lot of gratitude for the amazing influence her mother had on her life. I know she finds great comfort in the Plan of Salvation and knowing that we will all be resurrected into a perfect state.

As for other investigators, we have quite a few right on the cusp of becoming progressing investigators. Three have already been to church over three times and are close to finishing their lessons. Why the aren't already baptized? Family fandui (opposition), boyfriend fandui (which we already knew, but she had been asking a lot of questions about Joseph Smith and last week finally told us that she actually believes everything--the questions were all her boyfriend's), lack of daily prayer and scripture study (but she is improving!), no time to meet- we met with her last night and set the expectation that we would be meeting with her three times a week until she is ready to make the decision to be baptized or to not be. She totally will be...and soon now that we can meet with her!!!). There is so much potential--Sister Thomas and I are going to work hard to help them receive baptism this movecall!

So yes, my new missionary (we aren't supposed to use the word "trainee" anymore since they are already qualified missionaries) Sister Thomas is doing soo great!!! She is from Bountiful, Utah and is so cool. She was a Rotary Exchange student too!!!!!! Except she spent her Senior year in Japan!!! In Nagano. Anyway, her Japanese is really awesome and so we speak a little together...mine is horrible now! It is funny cause she says I speak Japanese with a Chinese accent...I guess that is a good thing though right? Lol.

She is an amazing Sister and I already love her soo much! She is still getting used to the new rules and way of living, but doing great. We are taking the time to practice and help her feel confident in doing this great work. Her Chinese is already so great too. And we have already seen miracles!!! One of the very first times she contacted separately at a light she was able to have the young sister pull over the side of the road (she is really good at that now!). The girl was soo interested and ended up going with us, right then, back to the church where we shared a first lesson. This was the first lesson we taught together to an investigator! Unfortunately the young sister lived outside of our area, but she is a super golden referral and more important--an answer to our prayers. Such a tender mercy from the Lord! It really helped my companion have confidence in her ability to find. And the miracles keep coming. She is amazing!

As for less active work, the sister we rescued last movecall, received a calling!!! We ran into her at the church the other day---leaving from Institute! She is doing everything she needs to do in order to become more fully converted unto the Lord. I am so happy about that! Such a huge change. So many blessings!!!!!

As for study---still getting used to the twelve week program (the program they have for new missionaries...they didn't have this while I was being trained--it is soo awesome!!!). I really like how it is set up and I am learning right along side Sister Thomas. It helps remind me of who I want to become as a missionary. I can see a lot of areas I can improve in. Sister Thomas is so great in planning for lessons--she knows how to ask inspired questions. We are learning a lot from each other and I am excited to keep working together and becoming more and more unified so we can teach by the Spirit.

I am loving everyday and trying to do my best. You all are constantly in my prayers--I love you all so much!!!!!!! Take care and be good :).

---Sister Brooke Smith

Another week of Miracles

Dearest Family!!!!!!!!!!!! This week has been another week of Miracles for us here in East Tainan. Working with Sister Fitzpatrick has been such a blessing--she is an amazing missionary that will do so much good wherever she goes. I love her soooo much!!!! However, our time together is coming to a swift end----I am TRAINING NEXT MOVECALL!!!!! Which means she leaves me this Friday (right before her second baptism :( :( ). But she is soo cute about it and really excited for me to train. She is the best. So I am excited to be able to welcome a new missionary into the field--Heavenly Father is really blessing us as she will have a baptism her first Saturday. We are excited! Heavenly Father is so good to us and has blessed us with many new investigators this week! Some from our own efforts but also a really awesome member referral! Our ward correlator set up a little get-together at his house and invited us over to meet a few of his relatives. It was awesome and I feel that giving us member referrals in that way--having us meet and chat with them first, is so much better!! He had us share a little about ourselves and why we were on missions. It was really awesome and helped them know what our purpose is. I know this is how missionary work should be--driven by the members. It was so awesome and we are so excited about our new investigator. As for less actives, we are trying to do more finding through them. One miracle story from this week was that after being fanged (stood up) on Saturday morning, we decided to stick to the back up plan and visit a family. The father is particularly opposed to our church (especially Elders) because a friend lived near some foreign men (he says they were Elders, but who knows) who apparently didn't make the best of choices. This particular Saturday he was home, and he let us visit with his wife and youngest daughter (who still needs to be baptized). We were excited to be able to get to know the daughter better, but then the biggest miracle happened!!! As we were getting ready to wrap up our lesson, the wife mentioned her husband had been to graduate school in Japan and spoke fluent Japanese. I asked if she could ask him to let me practice my Japanese on him. He immediately came downstairs and was so animated and happy! We started chattering in Japanese and although I have forgotten soo much, it was a great way to break the ice and start a positive guanxi (relationship) going. The whole atmosphere was warm and welcoming!! It was soo awesome!!!! He started asking us about our families and saying how impressed he was by us sister missionaries. Before we left, he participated in the closing prayer and even accompanied us, with his wife, out to our bikes to see us off! It was amazing---we had to pick our jaws off the ground as we rode away. Such a HUGE blessing! I am so grateful that the Lord allowed us to help him have a better opinion of this amazing Church. Also, one of the less actives we are rescuing received a calling this week. We had ten less actives at church this week!! A large part is a dear family that is starting to come back. So awesome!
One of our friend's who goes running with us, bought us McDonals for breakfast after our run! It was super fun...I had been craving pancakes :P. It was funny (I've included a pic). This week my studies have been especially special for me. Sister Fitzpatrick and I have such wonderful times sharing what we have learned together. It has been special times. I felt God's love for me and we have been praying to meet families. As we prayed with faith, God gave us blessings. Last week a member brought a cute little family to English--this Sunday she also brought them to church!! Sunday a lady called and asked if she could meet us at 6pm. We actually met with her and her two sisters! And the will be attending the baptism on Saturday---and are bringing their children! It is amazing! We are being so blessed. I know that God hears the prayers of the righteous. He is giving us prepared souls and we prepare ourselves for them. God really is Good. He loves us---we are His precious children---as are those we teach. I love being able to serve my God. I LOVE YOU FAMILY!!!! --Sister Brooke Smith



It was such an awesome week this week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Power week ended up being super fun and productive. I think one of the biggest reasons for our success is that Sister Fitzpatrick and I were working together in unity. We have fun everyday because we both love missionary work. And we love having success. One Sister is doing really great--they are having family scripture study and prayer every night now. We invited them to invite the father to join in as well. After the amazing Stake Conference we had, we went over and visited them. It turns out that we might have to readjust that goal. However it is our goal to baptize the whole family. And another sister totally passed her baptismal interview this past Saturday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So she will be baptized on Feb. 25th :) :).

As for other investigators...yes, still working on that part. But we are excited for this week's challenge of working with members everyday to find new investigators. I have faith that as we do our part Heavenly Father will bless us. Yesterday we had a great time (as well as productive time) visiting our Bishops and their families. One Bishop was still in meetings, but it was still really great to get to know his family better. She loves us--she was like, "Today is Power work with members day? Awesome, lets PARTY!!!!!" The word "party" was in English, and was accompanied by arm pumps into the air. It was adorable! I love her sooooo much! She was like, "Let me go find something for us to eat--you can't have power without food!" But since we'd just eaten we were able to dissuade her. She has two little babies, so cute!!!! So we had fun with them for a little bit and then went on our way. I want to have a family just likes hers one day! They are such a righteous family.

Also our less actives are becoming stronger and stronger!! The two we have been working with every week-- both came to Stake Conference---one was picked up by members. It was awesome. Also, during some dead time last week, I decided to call the less actives in the phone and invite them to Stake Conference. One Sister totally came!!! It was awesome--especially since the Bishop asked us about her during our Sunday visit. We are excited to work more with her family.

My gospel study this week has been focused on repentance and redemption. I feel the more I learn about the Plan of Salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the more strongly I believe it is true. As I was sharing my feelings about these two topics in companionship study, the Spirit really bore witness to me that this is why I am here. People need to know they can change. They need to know they can be born again--be pure again. I was really touched at Stake Conference when the choir sang. I looked into their faces and saw my recent converts (or how I imagine my recent converts will look like after several years as active members). It was a special moment for me. I know God lives and loves us all so much!!

So some fun things that happened with power week---one day (Power talk to everyone day) we knocked on 108 doors and talked to 98 people!!! We had a total of 39 lessons---16 of which were accompanied by members! We were rejected a lot--including rejection from this giant pig. Ok, let me explain a bit. So a little ways down the road from the church is this HUGE HOG! We call it the "pig in a blanket" since in the winter they just throw a blanket on top of it and you can't really tell what it is. So last week was the first time I saw it outside of the blanket (it is already starting to get super hot again...sigh). We were stopped at a red light, so I decided to play a game--spread the gospel to every creature. So I said, "If you like to eat, wag your tail". Immediately the tail started to move. Awesome right? Wag =yes. Now I was ready to ask the good questions. "Do you want to meet with us?"---tail wagged. "Do you want to come to church?"--tail wagged more intensely. Ok, I was ready for the big one, "Will you be baptized?"---and then the tail came to an absolute stand still!!!!!!!! It was hilarious--the timing was perfect. The light turned green and as I road of rejected, I called back, "I knew you were Buddhist!!! Its because their vegetarian, isn't it?!" Lol, at least my companion and I were laughing FOREVER. We have so much fun :).

Well, all for now, but much love! I am still happy---even if I do get rejected by pigs and every one else :). God loves me! And He loves you.

---Sister Brooke Smith

Another week of miracles here in Tainan!

Dearest Family, We've had another week of miracles here in Tainan! I love this area so much. And I love Sister Fitzpatrick so much! One of the biggest miracles of this week is our previous Bishop's referral accepted a baptismal goal for the 25th of February!! She is amazing and so prepared for baptism. So solid!! She also has a daughter who we are going to work very hard to have ready to be baptized at the same time. I fasted for them and pray every day!!! It has been really great since we have been working so hard to find investigators but haven't been finding too many. Another Sister had a wonderful lesson on Friday--the member who came with us knows her really well. However, since her family work keeps her from attending church, we are focusing on how to overcome that before giving her another baptismal goal. She is hoping to be able to have the family switch their day off from Mondays to Sundays. Her grand kids love us and all ask to go to church. Something else cool is that before she wasn't reading the Book of Mormon because she really is super busy, but after we had a talk about how much the Book of Mormon has helped our lives she committed to read. What also helped is that we clarified you can read the Book of Mormon anywhere! So now she says she'll read it everyday! I am glad she is seeing there is time for Christ in even the busiest of lives. As for the RCLAs, the blessings keep rolling in! We had an awesome lesson on Friday. She still believes everything, which is amazing! And....she came to church this week for all three hours as well! It was soo great! She had a family activity for Sunday and Monday, but when we ran into her on the road she let us know she was fasting! How cool is that? She is really coming back, but I want the ward to be more involved in the process. We are working with them. Studies have been great as usual. I feel that our planning is more inspired now that we divide up the investigators and study for them during personal study. We have also been working on a scripture chart for our recent convert. In order for her to get more out of the Book of Mormon we have been making this one week chart that has specific sections that go to specific questions. We hope it will help her learn how to study the Book of Mormon better. I have also been learning a lot about the power of Prayer. We had a pretty cool experience this past Wednesday with English. We've been struggling to have students come (mainly due to Chinese New Year) and so before class started we asked God specifically to bless us with many students that night. And it totally happened!!! We had seven new students come for a total of 29 students!!! We'd been having like 10! It was a great reminder that everything is important to God. He loves us so much! Well, all for now! Also, this week happens to be power week. Today is power cleaning....it is horrible! I love cleaning....but this place needed a lot of work! I have already worked hard to improve it since moving in--I have been excited for this day. But now that it is here...soo tired. I'll have to send pics next week. Well, LOVE YOU ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL! ---Sister Brooke Smith

Happy Chinese New Years Still!

Dear Family!!!

Hello there! Guonian was an interesting experience as a missionary. Eaten waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay toooooooooooooo much food and found some awesome people to teach! We were able to find a really awesome family through tracting and I feel like I've really gotten to know the members. That is one thing (of many) that I just absolutely love about this area--the members are our family and want to become more invested in the work. Sometimes they might forget, but with a little reminding they do just great! Another thing I absolutely love is my companion--Sister Fitzpatrick is amazing!!! She has such a desire to baptize and rescue. I know that through her faith she will accomplish many mighty miracles. Sometimes times get tough and a little discouraging, but that is just before the best blessings. We are working hard to help this area grow. I know that as we continue to be worthy, obedient, and diligent missionaries the Lord will richly bless us.

Some miracles that we saw this week in the investigator arena, is that we actually have a few investigators!!! We received a referral from the Elders, added her and met with her. She is a very humble woman who has prayed three times a day since we met with her! How awesome is that? \We hope to start teaching the whole family.

The Lord has really been blessing our recent converts and less actives. We were able to have most of our Guonian meals with less actives, recent converts, and part member families! It was so great!!! Also, we received promptings to visit several specific RC/LAs this week, and as a direct result of our visits we had three less actives at church this past Sunday. One of these sweet sisters came and at church the members were so sweet and supportive. She told me at church that she felt very loved and felt the truth of the doctrine being taught. Another sister received a priesthood blessing after church from our Elders Quorum President. He gave her words of healing and comfort. That night when I called her again, she said she had felt very touched by every one's love for her. It was so amazing!!! We have felt blessed to be able to start the rescuing process! Also, two less active families, who we haven't yet met with, came to church this Sunday!! One family said that they had seen us on the side of the road praying, and thought it was touching to see how hard working we are. I know that as we keep being diligent, others will see our example and be brought closer to Christ.

We felt very blessed to find two new investigators this week!!! In order to keep improving we will be following up on our hongbao (red envelopes) member referral forms (we received a member referral from one just last night!) and we are meeting with another member referral this week! I love that!!!

In the gospel study realm, my companion and I have worked very hard to more effectively use our time to plan for our investigators. We divide the lessons between us and use our personal study to receive inspiration for those specific individuals. It has been working really well! I am still trying to figure out how to keep a good balance of studying for my investigators an achieving some personal goals, but I think I am figuring it out.

I love you all sooooooooooooooooooo much!!! What miracles have you seen in your lives lately?

Well, all for now but more miracles later!

---Sister Brooke Smith

Happy Chinese New Years!

Dear Family, I am sooooooooooooo grateful to be in my new area!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sister Emily Jean Fitzpatrick is AMAZING!!! She is such a competent missionary and it is really a joy to serve with her. We laugh every day and do our best every day to help build the Kingdom. I am especially grateful for the support our wards give us. Our two ward correlators are great!!! We have been able to meet with both R.S. presidents as well. Their help has been invaluable to our planning this week. My awesome companion also has this HUGE list of part member families--we have visited or at least attempted to visit one part member family a day. It has been a great way to find meaningful lessons. We have also found tracting to be pretty awesome---we met a super great family on Sunday. They wanted us to stay and have dinner with them, but we already had an appointment for dinner at our recent convert's house. Man, Guo nian is pretty crazy with the dinner appointments. We've already had two two dinner nights!!! We didn't plan it that way either. Just as it happened we'd just eaten dinner and found out the next appointment was for dinner too. So funny!!! Lol, we have eaten pigs blood chunks, chicken feet, and thousand year old eggs. Something that is kind of fun is that Sister Fitzpatrick and I put together some hongbao's (red envelopes traditionally stuffed with money which are given out to children at this time) to give as a present at our dinner appointments. It is a little kit on how to give a meaningful member referral. We have a section of Elder Ballard's conference talk from April Conference (emphasising the importance of member involvement in missionary work), a sheet from our zone leaders giving the members three steps to a member referral (1 = pick some names to pray over; 2 = pick if they want us to give a material, eat dinner, meet at the church, etc; 3 = a date where we can follow up with them to see if they have set up with their friend yet.), and a blank contact slip. It has been pretty fun to give out to the members we have met this week. We have faith that through this activity the members will become more bold with missionary work and that we will find new people to teach. We are excited to see how it turns out! For gospel study, I had some awesome experiences with the Book of Mormon this week. Since I have been spending most of my time reading Jesus the Christ and the New Testament lately, I've sometimes forgotten to read my Book of Mormon daily. But this week I was like, no, I need to read the Book of Mormon--and I found answers for our investigators almost immediately! It was pretty awesome. It has been an awesome week. We have soo many funny stories together already...too tired to type them all up at the moment though....sooo tired because of all this food! Lol. Well, I love you all so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! --------Love Sister Smith -----Sister B. Smith

I hope to Tainan!!!

Dear Family,

This week we have been able to improve in a lot of areas, but always more to do! I found out today (a little early, so it might not actually be true...we will see) that I will probably be moving and Sister Lethco will be going Senior in this area. So I get to move again....I hope to Tainan!!! I have always wanted to serve there...hopefully! Keep me in your prayers. Moving is always a bit hard, so I am glad I get a little extra time to start packing. Since I have been here for three movecalls...that is a lot of stuff. Anyway, fun part of the Mission life.

This week we also had sister exchanges...a little earlier than normal. I took around a Sister from the North District (Beiqu) named Sister Hancock! She is Sister Devictoria's trainee (my old companion). It was sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much fun. Sister Hancock and I helped three potential investigators become real new investigators! It was so amazing! No one stood us up and we felt the spirit soo strongly. I had such a great time being with Sister Hancock! She is amazing---definitely a great addition to our mission family. So from that one day we received three new investigators! The adding trend kept up for the rest of the week too. Definitely a miracle since we hit quite the slump after our baptisms. Heavenly Father is definitely blessing us!!

In the recent convert/ less actives area, we had such great success working in unity with the ward. Our ward mission leader, wife and two children spent about five hours with us visiting less active members. It was soooo great!!!!!! We were able to travel soo quickly (since we were in a car) and really help out. First we had a great lesson with our new member that just switched wards. Afterwards they took us all out to lunch--she really felt the love. Then we helped clean a friend's house and visited some of the lonely elderly members. It was such a great day of service and love. We have also been able to meet with the relief society presidents and a Bishop to know the needs of our wards better. Since we met with them we were also invited to sit in in their bi-monthly correlation meetings! It will be so great!!!

On the study bit, I have been reviewing mission goals I have and re-adjusting to be able to accomplish them before the end of my mission. It is so bizarre to think I only have six months left....so strange. But I still have plenty of time left to do what the Lord wants me to do---and that is baptize and rescue! Will do! I am currently serving with three Elders who will be on the same plane ride home with me. Today we had a surprise birthday party for my companion---soo hard to do, but I was successful :)--and we all played frisbee and went out to a nice lunch. It was pretty funny being with those other three Elders and making jokes about how we only have four transfers left (four in Chinese is commonly associated with "death" since it sounds like the same word in Chinese) and how it means we are "dying" soon. I can't believe I have become an "old" missionary! What the heck?!

Anyway, due to the birthday celebrations, time is on the short-side, as usual. I don't think I'll be able to send personal emails at all actually. I am sorry!!!!! But I will write more next week...after I move!! It will be the Chinese New Year on the 22nd, so it is a little hard moving at this special time, but it'll be ok! It will be a great way for me to meet my new wards since we usually get treated out to dinner quite a bit. It is like our Christmas season basically.

Well, all for now, but I love you all and will be hailing from a new home base soon!! Woot!


Sister Brooke Smith

Happy New Year!

Dear Family, Happy New Year!!! We are so excited for the upcoming year of missionary work and are in the process of setting difficult, but achievable, goals. Goal setting has really helped our companionship work together with more unity! We were so grateful to be blessed with our Christmas baptisms last week and the happiness carried over into this month (and new year) with aconfirmation yesterday. She is so rock solid! After church she interviewed with the President for a temple recommend--she will be going on the 7th!! We are so excited. I know that as she keeps the temple as her goal, she will be blessed to have an eternal marriage within someday too, and she really will be my forever sister. I love her so much! In the recent convert section, it was, as you know, taken over by our dear Sister who is moving. She, as of Thursday, is in America and has been given the information to contact her bishop there. I hope she does. We were able to get her packed and ready to go--during which we were able to have a sister from the Singles Ward come over and help. She was set on not accepting help from anyone else, which was very disappointing. It would have been such a great way to fellowship her and I know the English branch was very willing to help. Unfortunately, she can use her free agency. We will keep her in our prayers and I included her in my fast. Goals wise--very very very sad about our RCs at church. We only had three this week--which is sad since it was finally starting to increase. Most were out of town for the New Year, but some said they just simply didn't want to come. It always hurts so much to hear that. But we are working with the ward to rescue them! I hope to report better news next week. Something we are happy with is that after our friend left the Lord blessed us to find six new people!!! We have so many new lessons set up for this week! A definite blessing. So we are excited to be on the rise again. Gospel study wise, I've started to read Jesus the Christ and it is so amazing. Reading that and the New Testament together has really helped strengthen my testimony of the Divinity of Christ. Add in the my Book of Mormon reading and well, there is no way my testimony could not be growing! I love the simplicity of the Gospel. We act in faith in accordance with God's will and we will be blessed. It is that simple! I am setting goals now to keep that pattern strong in my life so that especially after the mission I can continue to learn and grown. I love this Gospel and I love being His missionary! Love you family ---Sister B. Smith

Pet Cockroaches!

OK, so it is kind of hard to see the cockroach in that pic---but he is there!! ALWAYS THERE! I named him (well my comp and I did) because he is just always there.

Dear Family!!

Happy Birthday Daddy!

We are soo excited to have a white Christmas! The Lord has really heard our prayers and we will be having two baptisms this week (when on Christmas Eve and one on Christmas Day)!!! We've worked out all the details with the wards, baptismal interviews are good; we are ready to roll. It has been such a major blessing and I am so grateful that the Lord trusted us to help out with these two precious souls' journey back to him. Our 18 year old has received parental permission and it has really been such a huge testimony builder for her. Her member friend (who is also a new member, and is who referred her to us) will be coming from Xinzhu to speak at her baptism. It is so exciting! Our ward has been so influential in helping her progress. There is actually a member from our ward who lives in the dormitory as our investigator! She would go over and read scriptures with our investigator--which was such a big help. And our other investigator, who is nine years old...(I LOVE HIM!!!! He is my new adopted baby brother) is ready for baptism because of his mother's good example (she is a relatively new member) and the friendship of the ward. Without our members we wouldn't have success. I love this work! He reminds me soo much of how another friend of mine must have been when he was little and meeting with the missionaries. It has been a very sweet experience teaching him the Gospel for me. And we are getting very close to completing their family! Still have a dad to baptize...he will come soon :).
As for our less active work, we keep seeing miracles with one sister. It was soo cool!!! I was really touched to see the progress with her family. It was soo awesome!! I really felt the Spirit and know that God has such a love for this family. Earlier this week when we had visited her, she had a very emotional moment with her. So now she has a desire to strengthen her own testimony and bring her family back too! It is soo great!
In the gospel area, I have just loved reviewing the new conference Ensign (thanks for sending it family!!). I read part of Boyd K. Packer's address and I just love that poem, "Fast and Slow". I think I'll memorize it :). I have been working really hard to re-memorize the Book of Mormon scripture mastery's, and I am doing pretty good so far! It is fun and helpful.
As for cool Christmas stuff--we are having a huge Christmas celebration thing at the Mission Office and since we leave nearby we are singing in it! Woohoo! Also we have a mission Christmas meeting on the 23rd, should be exciting. We also have a little Christmas "shrine" (as my comp calls it) up in our study room...it is AWESOME! I love the nativity Sarah sent me. It is AWESOME. We love the advent calendars as well. The whole package was so amazing---thanks for being so sweet. Love the almond rocha. Sorry the package for you all is going to be a little on the late side...oh well! I wrapped all the presents up so it is fun. Oh, and Daddy's present is something I captured myself. It was part of my dinner. Hehehehe.....

Glad to hear you all are doing well! Hope you have a fun party for Daddy!

Love you all and talk to you soon!!!!
Thanks and Merry Christmas!
----Sister Brooke Smith