Graz, October 12









Liebe Kinder Gottes,

As we visited our family from Iraq this week, we were impressed by and reminded of the strength of a prophet’s voice. They weren’t able to attend conference last week, so we went over on Tuesday intending to talk about prophets a little bit, explain what conference was and show them a small piece of Thomas S Monson’s talk from last year in their language and then watch The Restoration, a DVD about how our church was restored to the earth, also in their own language. We started the talk from last year, which was about temples, and immediately the whole family was extremely excited. They rushed closer to see the screen and were asking us all about the prophet.

We ended up watching the whole talk at their request. The spirit brought in such a strong feeling that we were all a little silenced, but then the parents began excitedly talking about it and asking questions. They really do feel and know that he is a prophet. It was a confirmation of our testimonies that Thomas S Monson is really a man called and prepared by God to speak to the hearts of all people.

We were also able to meet together with the Elders and a member from Graz as the member invited is friend to be uplifted by the gospel. He gave us the heads up that she needed to hear of God’s plan for us and about Jesus Christ and His role in our lives. We talked about The Plan of Happiness, or Salvation, and a lot about the atonement and watched as this woman who was very sad and worn was filled with the healing power of the gospel.

One of the themes I noticed in my notes from General Conference was that nothing is ever over until we choose, use our agency, to let go. Because Christ sacrificed for our sins and our trials and our burdens, there is really ALWAYS a chance for us. There is nothing He cannot overcome. Therefore, we can instead to choose to grab just a little tighter and be lifted above what we thought was for us possible.

So, if we just grab his hand that is reaching out to us, we can rise above the seemingly insurmountable waves that might surround us and, like Peter, walk on water. He can even lift us when we’ve only got one tiny hair out of the water. Yes, it will be a process, but it is a healing process. There is, in fact, a balm in Gilead. I was able to witness it as this friend of the member of our congregation was filled with light and happiness and the weight she was carrying began to lift. It is really a beautiful part of God’s love and His path. I am so lucky to be here and to witness such things.

I also noted how important it is that we help our loved ones feel of this love and get to know God and what He has to offer for us. I am truly thankful to parents who raised me with a knowledge of such things. This knowledge, or in other words, my testimony has become my most prized possession and will get me through any trial I might face!

On the other side of things, we missionaries are often sent as a clean up crew to broken souls. This means we see many broken souls, families and communities as we serve our neighbors. One of our investigators is a young girl from a broken home. She lives part time with her mother and her step father and part time with her father. As we visited, it became clear that despite the number of years she has lived, her experienced have made her strong. There was a lot of yelling, crashing around and chaos in her home, but she made the room a positive place and got her little brothers involved in our little lesson.

We were able to play Simon Says with her and talk about prophets. After which she sweetly and simply bore her testimony about doing the right things and helped her tiny brother pray. It is up to us to be lights in the darkness. No matter where we are now, we can become such a light. It is always this idea of allowing God to make us into something better that opens the doors to something so much better.

I was also struck by how much I felt she deserved a loving, uplifting family circumstance. She was working so hard to lift her family but is just flat out too small to change the entire situation. She strives on and refuses to let her circumstances bring her down, but I really did feel that she, as does every precious child, deserves a loving, uplifting family and environment in which she can grow. I see loads of people deprived of such a home in many ways, especially as the refugees cross our borders and flee from hostile wars.

As missionaries, we strive to help families foster such positive and loving relationships and settings. The gospel really does wonders with this. It fixes and restores that which was broken on every level. I really strive to one day have a whole family, and although I’m sure it will be imperfect, to try our best to make the home a loving and uplifting place to grow.

I know that God’s plan for everyone is perfect and he forgets no one. I know that despite horrible things, He loves us and will ensure that we get the best He can possibly give us. Sometimes He has to wait to give us these blessings until we return with Him, but I know they will come! I love being on a mission and I love helping people. I know that the power of good deeds, regardless of their size is great!

Have a great week!

Sister Smith


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