Monday, March 25, 2013

Our Sweet Missionary, Katelyn

On December 1st of last year, Katelyn met the most amazing man.  His name is Taylor DeHart.  He is from the Huntsville area.  He served a mission, for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He served in the Lansing, Michigan Mission.  They started dating each other.  Yes, they both felt something different, that they had never felt before.  They both fell in love with each other. 
Katelyn had already received her call, and she knew she still needed to go on her mission. 

Katelyn and Taylor

Since she has left she has felt this longing to come home and get married. 
In two weeks Katelyn will be returning from Chile to plan her life with Taylor.  We are excited to see our sweet daughter again!!!  She loves him with all her heart.  He feels the exact same way.  This is a part of her letter from 2 weeks ago. 

To change the direction of things a little bit, mom and dad I have prayed and prayed. All day everyday. With furfer intent to know the will of God.  I testify to you that I did need to have the experiences I did in the MTC, and to have met the people I met there. My companion taught me so extremely much.

These past few weeks here in Chile have been incredible. I have learned so much from the people here. They are so extremely loving. Families are so closely bonded. Sons have so much respect for their mothers, couples enjoy strong bonds with each other.  Everyone is so friendly, and would do and give anything for anyone. Even with nothing they are so happy. It´s the gospel that brings them this happiness! My time here has been incredible. My companion and her story have taught me so much! Her testimony has brought me closer to my Savior!

Seeing the change in our investigators and in those being baptized is incredible. Their faith is so strong! This is where I have needed to be to have met the people I have.
However, Every day I’m caught up in many thoughts and feelings, impressions to not so much focus on the language but to focus on the gospel.  

Me and my beautiful companion!! Just contacting away.....

This past week I’ve received revelation that my time here is over. That I need to come home.  Which sounds absolutely crazy I KNOW!!! Tomorrow Hermana Pereira agreed to fast with me about what I needed to do. But through constant prayer, this is the answer I have received. That I need and should come home and to continue my relationship with Taylor. 

Please do not let these words scare you or worry you. I´m safe, my companion is incredible and so incredibly patient with me (poor thing ha) I could not ask for a better one, the people are so welcoming and friendly, our mission president is incredible, the language has been difficult but I’ve been learning a lot every day.

I know that the time that I have had here has changed my whole outlook on life.
On the gospel. On my Savior. I have such a strong testimony of this gospel and know that it is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth! Without a doubt. This is God´s plan of happiness. I have felt so strongly the love of God for me but more strongly for the people here. Through them the Lord has taught me so many things. I’m so glad that I have been given this opportunity to serve for just a short time here. I know that the people I’ve meet and the stories I’ve heard were just for me. And through them I have come closer to my Savior and Redeemer.  It has been incredible experience and miracles happen every day when we place our faith in Christ. Now I must place my faith in Christ  to know things will work the way they need to. I know the Lord has a plan for me.

Our testimony gloves from Sister Oaks

What an experience, what incredible truths have been witnessed to me. Now the Lord has made clear to me a different path I need to take. Everyday that constant feeling comes to me. You need to go; your mission here is done. It´s hard because I want to be here, I want to be in the conversations, but for some reason the spirit keeps telling me. And as I try to pray the feelings away so I can focus, it´s the same.  Tomorrow we are fasting together to confirm that this is what the Lord wants of me. Because I will do whatever he commands. He sent me here to Chile, I know and have felt that it has been the right thing. I know I was meant to be here. But now I need to do something different. Mom and Dad I hope you can understand. I don´t want to confuse you or worry you. I don’t have a better way to describe it than this. After tomorrow I will talk to the mission president to see what needs to happen.   I´m so happy here and feel the spirit so strongly. But after much prayer... and let me tell you it´s been A LOT!  I feel this in my heart that this is what I need to do. Family I love you so much!

Know I’m safe and that I really am good....  this is just the next step. I don´t want to make anyone disappointed but I feel in my heart this. I hope you can understand. After talking with my mission president this week we will see what needs to happen! I will let you know next week for sure! Until then. I´ll be working hard here to continue to bring the gospel into the lives of others! I love you! Have an amazing week! My thoughts and prayers are with you always!! I know this is the gospel of Jesus Christ!! I love you so much! 
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct they paths. 

xoxoxoxoxoxo CON MUCH AMOR 
Hermana Katelyn Nicole Smith 

A beautiful day in Chile...

Katelyn’s letter from this week

First off I’d like to start off by saying I love you all with all of my heart and I’m so very grateful for everything you do more me constantly! I could not ask for a more incredible family!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU! Thank you so much for your prayers and your support for me! I really cannot tell you how blessed I feel to have the incredible support I do because most missionaries here do not have any support from family or friends! SO THANK YOU SO MUCH! I love you so much! I have been getting all kinds of emails from everyone I never have time to respond to all of them, but please tell everyone thank you so much for me! Ever word of encouragement is so meaningful! THANK YOU EVERYONE!!!!!!!! 
So yes, lots to have been thinking about this week! Dad thank you so much for email and mom thank you so much for your advice!!! It´s really helpful and I will remember to breath! ha! Of course everyday my mind is in all sorts of places, since I’m here on the mission I know that I cannot waste the Lord´s time so this week I’ve really tried to focus on concentrating on his children here in Chile! I have felt his love for them so strongly! I have a testimony that we are all spiritual brothers and sisters and God is indeed our eternal father!

I had an interview with President Anderson through the phone yesterday. It was good to hear a familiar voice in English!  He was so sweet and sincere as always.  I shared with him my thoughts and I’m sure he told you them as well! The counsel of my mission president was to wait it out and hang in there till cambios in two weeks! President Anderson counseled me to also wait it out and try to really experience the fruits of the mission. It really is such an incredible place. The Lord really is guiding his work here, and uses others to be His hands.

The most beautiful flower ever... They are everywhere!
With all taken into consideration and as I continue to pray and fast I still feel the need to come home still! I´m going to continue to work my hardest here for these next two weeks. Its been hard determining what to think and how to feel with all of this emotion these past couple weeks! But Hermana Pereira the other day quoted the scripture, "see that ye serve Him with all your heart might mind and strength." As I thought of this I want nothing more than to serve the Lord with EVERYTHING I´ve got... but as I thought I haven´t been able to give it all I have because my heart truly isn´t here.  It’s with someone else, Taylor. I don´t know how to better explain it. But that´s the best I can do at the moment! Taylor wrote me an incredible letter about his thoughts on all of it. I want to take everything into consideration! But I continue to feel the need to come home! Again I don´t know what the process is or what needs to be done but this next week we will see! I hope you can understand. I cannot thank you enough for you love and support!!!!! I LOVE YOU ALL SO INCREDIBLY MUCH! With so little time on the computers it´s hard to express and tell you everything! But I know this is what I need to do right now! 

This past week we have seen real progress in our investigators. Maria Jose has a date for baptism for the 31st she is praying about it to see if it´s right. We fasted for her yesterday and then last night went and taught her with the Elders. Wow, she is so close and after fasting for her all day I could just feel the Love Heavenly Father has for her so much! Their neighbor a lady that´s 88 years old tripped and fell yesterday and so during the lesson she came over and the elders gave her a blessing! It was such a beautiful experience to have Maria Jose see her father (convert of one year) and also the elders use their priesthood authority! It was such a beautiful experience! Here on the mission I have seen and heard so many incredible experiences with the Power of the priesthood! I testify that it is indeed the power of the Lord restored on this earth once more. As weird as it sounds I’m doing a lot of English classes here. Everyone wants to learn English! And there is not a better way to do it than with the gospel. Marisol and Monsurrat her daughter are learning a little bit. Yesterday I helped Monsuratt learn the Alphabet and as I did Hermana perirea talked to her mom Marisol. Some how the subject of fasting came up and H.Pereira was saying that as a church we fast 1 every month. How it´s such a great experience and how your spirits are uplifted when we fast with a purpose in mind. She expressed her want to fast because she said she needs a lot of help in her life. We told her that whenever she wanted to start to call us and we would fast with her. When we said this the spirit was so strong and she and her daughter just began balling. I love them so much! We are continuing to teach them and hopefully after the fast Marisol will want to come to church next Sunday! ha as we were leaving yesterday she hurry and ran to her closet and pulled out these two hats. ha she said I have a billion hats and I want you so have a hat of mine! ha they are so incredibly giving here! She also made us crapes! ha When you fast the Lord truly does reward you with countless blessings... temporally (we had I swear 700000 ounces (dinner) yesterday!) and spiritually (our incredible lesson with Maria Jose)! In the lesson with Maria Jose we talked about the Hold Ghost and how she was going to feel when she received her answer and then read with her in Moroni 10 3´5. I am praying so hard for her. She is so close and I know her whole family wants this for her as well!  Everything is good here! I have such a strong testimony of this church and know that it is the true church restored by the prophet Joseph Smith! I know families are eternal and I am so incredibly thankful for that knowledge!!!! I LOVE YOU ALL WITH ALL MY HEART! Con todo mi corazon! GRACIAS por su amor constantamente! Please have such a great week and pray as a family, as we counsel families to read the scriptures and pray together here we have noticed such a unity and strength that comes through doing this as a family! My prayers are with you! I am so grateful for you! And for everything you do for me!!!!!! 
Hermana Katelyn Smith 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Happy Birthday, Hermana Smith

WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT I WOULD EVER TURN 20!?!?!?!?! So crazy! Thank you so much for your birthday wishes and the package! HAPPY BIRHTDAY to Conner and Lauren this week!!!
Thank you so incredibly much for your constant love and support for me! I cannot thank you enough! Dad thank you for all the words of encouragement.

 My district:)

 This week we found about 10 new investigators.  I truly believe the Lord prepares the hearts of men to hear the message of the gospel.
 Many of our investigators are young girls. Monsuratt is about 12 years old, yesterday we taught her about the importance of baptism and she said she would follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized but not any time soon. We are working on her.  The less active Monica we found came to church on Sunday with us and had a great experience. The ward members are all so welcoming and loving! Again, seeing the conditions some of these people live in is SO INCREDIBLY humbling!

 Making yummy food!

A reference we received from the elders the other day we called. His name is Cihefredo and was just a street contact and in 5 min accepted the invitation to be baptized!!!! When we called him to ask when we can start teaching him he answered oh YES THE MISSIONARIES!!!! When is my baptism!!?!?!?!? WOW!!!! SUCH incredibly strong faith! The spirit of the Lord is definitely leading us to those who are ready! I have a testimony that this is his work!!

The Cutest Familia Ever, with the happiest baby,  la fairia

I´m learning many of the customs here. DAD, a lot of your habits are acquired from here I’m learning! hahaha pointing with their lips. There love for sausage, meat, and crackers... hahaha. I can only help but think of you. They feed us as missionaries SO MUCH FOOD!  but we do a lot of walking.

Making empanadas!!! Noche de hogar con la familia Medalla.  Marie Jose their daughter accepted the baptismal date for March 30th from the elders.

The Chilean people are so sweet. To greet you they kiss each other on the cheek. They LOVE to talk... you ask them one question and they will just go off.... ha the problem is following where they go!  The members of the ward call me tomato head because of my infamous bun head.

The sunsets here are beautiful! Every sunset I whip out my camera and my companion asks do you not have sunsets in the United States... ha clearly she doesn´t understand my love for them. hahaha. She is so great and so patient with me. She has taught me so incredibly much concerning people. That they are souls not numbers!!!

They are obsessed with toy story down here... all the kids have toy story dolls and toys. We do a lot of contacting in the plazas. It´s hard here because many of the people are visiting and on vacation. The houses are all gated in and so are all the apartments, we have to be buzzed in. This makes it difficult to tocar puertas... We yell through the gate HALOOOOOO! Really loud. My companion says I´m bad at it because my voice sounds like a 10 year old. ha. I’m working of the power part of it!

The stars here I have a question about... ha dad you said you would look up and they would be completely different... the other night I looked up and there was ORIN!!!! ha I was a little confused!?!?

Dogs are like box elder bugs here. THEY ARE EVERYWHERE! I now understand All of Cameron’s pictures!  The temperature here I don´t know what it is exactly. But in the morning it´s really cold and in the afternoon about 6ish it gets really hot. Ha but I swear I’m always cold! Our pention is small but quaint.

Yes, this is a real spider!! Yikes

This dog follows us around everywhere!! This is also what the gated homes look like!

I had a great birthday, and don´t feel 20 years old at all. My companion woke me up singing happy birthday in English. The people here all really try to experiment their English with me.  She put a candle in my cereal! For lunch we ate with Naomi and her daughter Javiera. They are the sweetest they made a huge lunch, with brownies and candles and Javiera gave me a necklace and earings from Chile. They were so thoughtful and definitely made my birthday!

Yesterday we had a conference with the Mission President and one other zone. There were about 30 of us and 6 of us Hermana companionships! I understood the gist of what was going on. Hearing everyone’s testimonies was so powerful and the spirit was definitely present! We did a lot of role playing and practices! A LOT! But I really need as much practice as I can get! The president and his wife are so powerful and have such strong testimonies! I am so grateful for their love and support!

I´m trying really hard to be here in body and spirit. I want to do the will of the Lord!  I’m Praying hard for the guidance of the spirit each day. Because without it, I know I can do nothing. I’m so very grateful for you as my family.  Thank you so much for your constant prayers and concern for me.  I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!! When in members homes my favorite thing along with bearing my testimony is showing pictures of my beautiful family. I know I am so blessed to have the family I do!

CONNER 16 years old.... WOWOWOWWW!!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRO!!! AND LAUREN ALSO HAPPY BIRHTDAY!!!!!!! You both should be getting cards soon. 
Don´t know when with this funky mail system but know there are cards coming for you! 

Mom and Dad thank you so much! Dad I hope you are feeling better concerning your health! I´m sorry you were sick! Mom continue being that light I know you are in so many peoples lives. So many people ask me do you miss your mom. And I want you to know that I miss you so incredibly much! You are my hero and my example. Thank you for everything!!!! 
Con mucho amor your daughter, 
Hermana SMITH 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

2nd Week in Chile

Happy Birthday to our beautiful missionary!! 
She turns 20 on St. Patricks day!  

All your letters this week were SO EXTREMEMLY good to receive! Thank you SO much for your love and support! I really do appreciate them so much! I feel like there are A LOT of questions to answer so I’ll try my best to answer everything! Dad, I don´t know the exact number of baptisms and or missionaries... all the numbers I’m not really sure of. So sorry! Ha our apartment is only Hermana Pereira and I. We walk about EVERYWHERE! The serros (hills) here are super intense. The members feed us SO MUCH FOOD! but with all the walking and hills it is somewhat balanced. I think from all these hills and stairs I now have the calves of a Samoan rugby player. ha

This is the view from my apartment!

  Buses, micros are our main transportation to get to central viña. I feel like we are going to die about every time we ride one. The other day we were riding to a member’s house for Almuerzo on the bus and I swear we were going to die. We were going 80 down this small street, dodging dogs, and old ladies. Hermana Pereira dropped her pamphlets, my nametag flew to the front of the bus, and both our skirts were all over the place. You can only imagine the scene. But we survived. 


The ward members here are incredible like I said earlier. It is has been an absolutely humbling experience going into some of the houses here. A hermana in the ward we had lunch with the other day, I swear it couldn´t even be called a house. It was as big as our mudroom. SO humbling, these people really do not have anything, but they do have the gospel and they make that the rock and foundation in their lives. Their testimonies are so incredibly powerful and have strengthened mine so much! I love them! Last week we were eating lunch in a members home and their 20 year old daughter wanted to know how I did my hair (sock bun). I taught her all about it and she came running up to me during church on Sunday with her sock bun! So funny!

We have 2 new investigators Marisol and her 12-year-old daughter Monsuratt. Monsuratt reminds me of Lauren Chaney, super young but looks and acts like she is 20! They were a referral from the Elders in Viña. We have been to their house twice and we invited them to come to a baptismal service on Friday! And they came! It was so incredible watching the service. After the 23-year-old sister was baptized the young women in the ward sang the baptismal primary song. I looked over at Marisol during the song and tears were flowing down her face. The spirit was so incredibly strong. Hermana Pereira was crying. I think the spirit truly witnessed to Marisol the importance of baptism because we have talked with them a little bit about it. This week we are teaching them about the restoration. They are such amazing women and I believe that the Lord has prepared them to hear this gospel. They were all laughing at me saying that all I do is smile even when they are saying something sad or bad that has happened...cause I don´t understand. haha oops. So I may not speak the language great but I can certainly smile!

Lots of bugs here. BIG SPIDERS. fleas. I think there is a bicho in my bed because I have bites all over! ha 
We eat a lot of fruit. 
For dessert sometimes we eat cough drops. ha interesting.

The Mission Home

There are so many people here in Reñaca. We are doing a lot of contacting. Since it is still summer many people are visiting which is hard finding actual people we can teach here in Reñaca. Like you said dad, many are visiting from Argentina. 
This past week I’ve read a ton of the Book of Mormon and my testimony of it is SO incredibly strong. I just finished reading about Christ in the Americas. My relationship with the Savior has grown so much through reading this true translated book. I can testify to you that our Savior lives. That he suffered for us. That he knows each and every one of us. That THIS is His gospel.:)  The Book of Mormon is full of answers. Here, I find them every day! I am so grateful for the spirit that we experience every day here on the mission. To reading scriptures, to bearing witness of this gospel, and to being lead to those needing to hear this gospel! 

Dad to answer your question we have 30 min to email here! haha mom every time I show a picture of my family they all say you look like Cameron Diaz! ha Lauren... this family in the ward here are convinced you served a mission here and are now living in Colombia.... hahaha quite hilarious! 
Family, I hope all is well. It is so good to hear from you. Thank you so much for your love and support I really do appreciate it!!!! I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!!!

xoxoxoxoxoxo CON MUCH AMOR 
Hermana Katelyn Nicole Smith 

The rest of her letter was of a personal nature.  We will share it in the weeks to come....