Monday, June 29, 2015

One Month - WHAT?

June 25, 2015
Hola familia!

Can we just say how absolutely crazy insane it is that I have been gone for one month!  Crazy in two ways. One it feels like I have already gained a lifetime of knowledge. And I have only been here one day. So it's confusing I know but that is how it feels...

Really quick. Can I just say how much your responses to my questions have helped me. I love being able to lean on you guys for support and so much good information. I want to actually make a binder with all my questions and your responses so I can have it when I get home.

Also reading over my letters I don't want you to think that I am super sad and depressed all the time. I write about some of the hard times because that's when I feel the most growth. Seriously it is like as soon as I start getting down its just so that God can show me just how high he can take me.

So I know Mom and Dad know this but for everyone else, The brother of Jared is my main man! I love his story so much and every time I learn about it I get something new from it. For example, during a devotional by Elder Bednar,  he pointed out how perhaps the brother of Jared didn't see the finger of the Lord on the first try. His faith
developed as each stone lit up on its own. I was thinking that the brother of Jared was trying to make light for others on their way across the sea. Aka serving. And when we are selflessly serving that's when we can see the hand of the Lord behind the scenes making it happen. This story is also amazing for personal revelation. However I
also apply it to missionary work.

This week at the park I was determined to "brother of Jared the park" meaning make a plan. Tell God exactly what I was going to do where I would be promise to talk to everyone and trust him to put someone in my path. Of course if I felt prompted by the spirit this plan could have changed at any time. I was so excited! I was gonna go out there
and be the very best missionary and change lives. Does anyone else see how foolish I was? How self centered was I? How many times in that sentence did I talk about myself. I realized I wanted to go out and have the best day for myself. Not for the glory of God. And how merciful is he? Even though I went out there with completely the wrong attitude, He still allowed me to talk to some amazing people and really have a great day.

We watched a devotional by Elder Bednar all about the character of Christ and how we need to turn out from ourselves just like Christ did at all times. If you look through the New Testament at every occasion where you or I would have turned in and thought of only ourselves. Christ turned outward and served. I want to turn out more. Think less of myself and focus only on others. When we lose ourselves we win, but only if we aren't trying to win. Yeah, tricky I know.

I finally know why I was meant to come to Spain at the time that I did. Most of you know that I almost made it into the advanced class and would have left yesterday for Spain rather than one month ago. When I got here it became apparent that I was at the level of Spanish most people leave at. ( writing that makes me seem so proud but I really have been so blessed by God to learn all I have!) I have been pondering about why the specific timing (of when I had to leave). I didn't have to look far to find out the reason why. My amazing district. These four elders and Hermana Brown have changed my life. All this week we have been having the most amazing spiritual talks. Teaching each other from the scriptures and sharing conference addresses. I really have learned more than I can say from them. My favorite thing we do here is read the Book of Mormon together. Each of us brings such a new perspective to the same verse. It is incredible. Elder Turner said something the other day that really stuck with me "come what may I am happy to be here" he then talked about how that was something he didn't want to forget. That being here was such a blessing for him. And even when it gets hard he chose to be here and so he will remain happy about it. I want to keep that same attitude.

This Sunday, Elder Cramer sang a beautiful song called, I Heard Him Come. I LOVED IT! Seriously I was thinking about how Christ when he suffered on the cross had to do it ultimately alone. Something. I cannot fathom. And yet through our hardest times Christ beckons us forward and says come and never leave me. He will be with us through it all because he went through it alone. Also the Spanish hymns are absolutely amazing. Each on takes on a new and beautiful meaning that I love so much.

 Dad I hope my card came and your dads day was awesome. Love you.

This week we watched the Joseph Smith movie. Completely new meaning as a missionary (as with most things) one line really stuck out to me. When Emma questioned Joseph about why the persecution was so intense,he simply said "perhaps I am meant to swim in deep waters". Now water deprived Hermana Smalley thought a lot about this. A vessel equipped to handle deep water must be strong -  think of an open water swimmer or a large boat. When we stay in shallow water we will never get anywhere. There are no destinations in shallow water. I think that our divine potential cannot be found by wading in the kiddy pool. The thing is our loving Father is not simply going to throw us into the deep end. He will train us for this great swim. Training hurts. Sometimes you want to die and think you can't finish. Sometimes we even hate the coach who is only trying to better us. However the coach
knows our abilities and will not give us something we cannot handle. However, swimming in open water is precarious even with the best training. Isn't it amazing that we have a lifeguard who walks on water? So sometimes when we feel as if we are drowning in trials or simply sinking under the weight of our own expectations, Think! Yes, in deep water the waves are bigger, but the destinations are greater.

This week we made a district promise. Elder Turner was talking to all of us and promised that if any of us ever fell away from the church he would hunt us down. Then Elder Trantham ( who is an mma fighter) said he would come too. Then Elder Merrill ( and this isn't quite so funny for you, but you don't know elder Merrill. But he really is the most obedient devoted missionary here) doesn't even look of from his scriptures and says, oh I'll come after you like a dragon. So we all promised to show up if one of us falls away. Even if it's just to keep Elder Merrill at bay.

Time for a reel of Hermana Smalley failing on land. We were playing soccer this week and Elder Lewis and I both went to kick the ball super hard and hit each other right in the ankle. The ball was right between the two of us, but neither of us went for it. We both just doubled over and shouted because it hurt so bad. My medial malleoulus
is currently invisible due to swelling:) Yesterday we were playing Volleyball and I was already for a nice bump and just got smacked in the face. So yay! I'm bad at sports on land.

This week during church I got to translate for Hermana Eyring and we also got some new sisters that are Spanish speaking so I have kinda been a permanent translator for them:) I really love it.

We got to go shopping today:) I bought the girls their birthday present, so know that's on the way:)

Time here seems to fly.  I cannot believe in two weeks I'll be leaving this place I love so much. I will always love Madrid.

Lastly I have been reading Jesus the Christ and wish I had more time to tell you how amazing it is. But I don't:/ it's beautiful and inspired.

I love you all so much and think of you often. Dad congrats on Ragnar that's so cool!! As I am teaching my investigators about the gospel they always ask how it has blessed my family specifically. I generally throw my hands up and say that there is no aspect of my life and my family that has not been blessed! Thank you so much for your amazing examples. I love you all:)

Con amor,
Hermana Smalley

PS... question of the week I forgot in family email : I would love to hear all of your different perspectives on Lehi's dream. Everyone keeps saying its so cool. I haven't studied it as much as I should so that's what I'll be doing this week.
Sent from my iPad

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