December 21, 2015
Hello wonderful family, and a very merry Christmas to all of you!
This week has been a tad bit crazy I honestly cannot believe all that happened in just a week! I am still so in love with this cute little city and this ward!
Tuesday we had our very first district meeting together. Here the district is split pretty weird. We are actually in the district with the people from Cadiz and we are just a 6 person district with another set of Hermanas. Definitely different but I like it. We had a great meeting about lessons zero which was perfect because we are trying to teach new people this week. The first couple moments you spend with these people are so important. So Hermana Peters and I was to perfect lesson zero so we can help everyone learn of the importance of what we do.
Tuesday night was actually kind of a rough night but funny. Here is how it went. We have really been focusing on finding people so we went through all the futures that we had and set up citas with as many people who would meet with us and then because our cute members were so excited to work with us we brought them along with us. Maybe not our best call.
We go to the first lesson and sit down with our cute member and the man starts off with, well I already know that your church is completely false and what you believe is just silly. And I was like, okay awesome. I'd love to know why you think that, but can we pray, hoping that I could bring the spirit and we could make some progress. Well I prayed and then he said, alright now I'll pray. And I kid you not, he started out asking that God would take the devil out of our hearts and we could see the error of our way ex. I honestly had to try so hard to keep it together and not laugh, but I did manage to keep a poker face. But the lesson just kept going downhill from there. And I honestly don't mind when people yell at just us, but when we have a member there it makes the whole thing a little different, but that's okay we left the cita on a good note and I don't think we will be going back for a while.
Anyway we went from that cita to another one with someone we had never met, same member. This one actually went really well and we set a baptismal date! It was awesome. We finished the night going with our ward mission leader to a member who has recently gone inactive. Well the cita.... Man. So many things happened, it just didn't turn out the way we hoped at all. Which was made worse because we had our ward mission leader there with us. But you know what, I'm sure reading this, it sounds super negative. But I honestly learned a lot about patience that night and really just loving people.
We ended up in a sprint back to Pizo so we wouldn't be late, and I mean sprint from across our area. It was awesome :) when we got there Hermana Brown and Hermana Stephens were there with pizza to help cheer us up. We had a sleepover because Wednesday morning Hermana Brown and I had to go to Fuegirola!
Alright so Wednesday morning we woke up at 4:35 and headed to the train station. Hermana Brown Elder Meredith and I. We rode trains all morning meeting people, trying not to get kicked off because my ticket wasn't valid, you know the normal. Then we made it to Malaga. I was literally shaking I was so excited to be back in the city I love so much! Only to be made better when we got off the train Elder Rivero and Hermana Rollins were there waiting! It was the happiest of reunions. Then we all headed to the mission office to pick up our DNIs. We now officially have documentation here in Spain! After we stayed in the mission office for just a little bit because President Anderson was on his way. We got to see him and the ayudantes as well.
President Anderson and I talked about our Smalley scripture. He loved it so much and thought it was just the cutest thing.
I don't know if I mentioned that Elder Johnson became an ayudante, so it was awesome to see them and just talk for a little bit. Then it was off again with a challenge to invite someone to baptism during a contact from Elder Johnson. Well it happened. Hermana Rollins and I went up to someone and she said she didn't even want to talk to us, but we talked to her anyway;) and we finished with a baptismal invite. She still wasn't interested but we had a great conversation. On the way home we set up some perfect contacting traps. Meaning we sat down in different spots and anyone who sat next to us got a contact. It was so fun to contact with Hermana Brown and Hermana Rollins. I love them so so much. They are such a strength to me. On the way home with Elder Meredith and Hermana Brown we had some awesome conversations about dedication to the work and obedience. We also got to teach a lesson together and contact a bunch of people on the way home. We made it back to San Fernando at 9:30 dead tired but super excited to work :)
Thursday morning we had weekly planning per usual. And Thursday night we had one of those nights as Elder Adcock called it. All of our citas failed and all of our backup plans weren't home or wouldn't let us in. And despite all of this it is just impossible to be discouraged here in San Fernando. We were happy and smiling trying to talk with everyone. Under the magical lights of Christmas that line the city and to the tune of our favorite Christmas songs, seriously this city is like straight out of a postcard. However funny story. By the end of the night we were beat. Apparently I didn't realize how beat, we were walking and I didn't see a dip in the road. Well… Slow motion fall to the ground by Hermana Smalley. My legs literally just gave out and I ended up flat on my back. We laughed pretty hard about that and were super happy that no one was there to see us ;)
Friday was just more citas and lots of time out on the streets looking for people. We had an amazing lesson with a less active member, her son hasn't been baptized and she has been slowly progressing back to being active :) but we were teaching a lesson with her son. And she bore such a sweet testimony to her son about baptism and we were able to set a date with him as well. And now they can work together. It was such a tender moment.
Saturday our ward had a huge Christmas dinner. So we invited the whole world of course. And it was awesome! There were so many investigators and less active members there. The ward provided the food for everyone and we got to set up citas with new investigators and then everyone got together to sing Christmas carols ex. We had to leave early because of bedtime blessings but it was so much fun :) the ward put together the cutest video for everyone i want to find it and send it to you so you can see just how wonderful they are!
Sunday was a little disappointing because our investigators didn't show up:/ but we will try harder next week:) during second hour two members came and got us and told us the bishop needed to talk to us. And our ward mission leader told us that we were in trouble. I honestly was terrified because I have been trying so hard to make a good impression! At the same time I was thinking. I have only been here a week! I can't have messed up that badly. Well we went into a room and all the adults were in there and bishop called us to the front and hands us s huge basket full of presents and thanks us for all we are doing. It was honestly the sweetest thing ever. They could never have known that both Hermana Peters and I haven't gotten our packages because of customs.
Sunday night we met with a less active member who has been really struggling with smoking. He has been getting so discouraged because he can't seem to stop. But when we went over he asked if he could share a scripture with us. He shared 2 Nephi 22:1,2:
1 And in that day thou shalt say: O Lord, I will praise thee; though thou wast angry with me thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me.
2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation.
It honestly was such a spiritual moment. To see how the scriptures had comforted him and helped him through. This gospel is so true and is here for everyone.
Working here with Hermana Peters has been such an adventure. We both just want to do everything right and be the perfect missionaries. Which of course is impossible. We have a companionship saying, "rookie mistake" because we honestly have PME and the white handbook and that is what we are going off of. We mess up all the time but keep trying. I honestly love it. Because neither of us know what everyone else is doing, so we just go with what feels right and what we have been told we need to do in those two resources.
We were both really struck by Christ introduction of himself to the Nephites. He basically said. "I did what I was supposed to do" aside from all the miracles and the wonder of the atonement. All he could have said. He just said that he did the will of the Father. I think the same is true for missionary work we get to do a lot of amazing things and see miracles daily. But I honestly hope that when I finish I can say the same. I did what I was called to do. Because when we Do what we should the blessings and miracles follow.
Wow sorry for this beast of an email!
Anyways we are all super excited for Christmas. We honestly have had a couple hard days here, and I'm sure more will come. But the Lord has blessed us so much! Tomorrow we head to Sevilla for a Christmas conference and I am so excited. I love you all and I also have the cutest nieces! Thank you so much for those videos!
Much love, Hermana Smalley