Saturday, June 6, 2015

seriously this is like Christmas!

June 4, 2015
Hello querida familia,

I really didn't think I was going to be this excited to write you guys, but seriously this is like Christmas!

Let me start of by saying I AM SO SORRY ABOUT THAT EMAIL [she typo'ed mom's email address on her 1st email from Spain]. My goodness I felt so bad when I got mom's email. But let's face it, that totally something I would do.

Also we have our iPads now and we are allowed to check email every day after five. So if you want to just send me a small one line sentence I will get it that day and will love it! I just cannot respond until Friday. So please whenever you guys have time:)

Also mom can you put my email and the ccm address online I told some people I would then forgot. Thank you so much for washing my dress and your email was the best thing in the world. Yeah, 1Direction. I laughed so hard at that story.

So first thing the Spain CCM is very different than the Provo one. There are only 23 of us here. Total. But it makes it so fun. We have an awesome mix of people from Russia and Europe and all over. It makes communicating slightly harder but always fun. There is a HUGE Russian Elder here who I always end up guarding during sports and we have never really spoken. But I think we are friends;)

I am in the Amulek district with 4 Elders and my companion Hermana Brown. I love my district. We are the ones who spoke a little more Spanish than the others. Hermana Brown is wonderful. We have a snack stash that we keep all sorts of food in for when we get hungry... Cuz you know it happens.

The food here is very different but really good all the time. First time I had eggs of French fries but you know. It's pretty tasty.

So every day we play an hour of sports and Hermana Brown and I switch between soccer and volleyball. McKay should be proud to know all his lessons did pay off ;) Soccer is another story! They are AMAZING here. Little kids come play with us all the time and show us up A TON. But I am really good at getting in the way and playing defense. Also I have a talent for kicking people in the shins. It's like a club to have a bruise from Hermana Smalley on your shin. But I did score yesterday!!!!! Yeah! Besides that, every time I block the ball with my hands everyone just yells water polo and laughs at me ;)

So I don't know about the Provo CCM but here we teach our teachers the lessons as progressing investigators. And we started that our second day here. It is so cool how the Spirit makes my broken Spanish come to life. I realized how blessed I am to have taken so much Spanish because the rest of my district is really struggling. I am too. I still sound like I am five, but I understand and can respond which has been amazing.

Hermana Rollins and I contacting in the park
Also here every Saturday we leave the CCM to go to the park. It is this beautiful place here always full of people and we go out and contact. Now that sounds like all fun and games but let me tell you it was terrifying! Generally you get put with a companion who has done it before but because my Spanish is good, they put me with another brand new sister and we went out with our copies of the Book of Mormon and started talking. And it went so well. We also gave out some pamphlets and copies of the Book of Mormon. I sat down with this amazing lady from Ecuador and we talked about Christ. And I could feel God's love for this good woman. She promised me she would read and took the missionaries phone number but wouldn't let us have her info. Anyway that happened and it was scary. But before we left Elder Merrill told me something that really helped. He said that Hermana Smalley might be scared, but Jesus Christ is not, and that's who I represent so go out with no fear. So I did and it went so well.

McKay should also know we had a devotional from Elder Holland where he called us all as "a" postles. And he was an "Apostle" but we both are witnesses for Christ. Which is exactly what McKay told me before I left.

I gave a talk on Sunday and it was the first time I spoke with a translator. This is how it went. I spoke in Spanish. Then someone translated it to English (which is funny because the person translating speaks Italian and he had to ask me sometimes how to say things in English) then his wounds are translated by other people into Russian, Portuguese and French. Kinda cool. Church here is great because the prayer is in Russian, let's say, and then the sacrament is blessing Portuguese. It's interesting singing because so many languages are being sung that no one is really sure of the lyrics;) I sang the completely wrong verse to a song and no one even noticed.

Dad mentioned how beautiful the Madrid temple is. I don't think I can properly express how amazing it is. It is the most beautiful place I have ever been inside. I love it. We literally are right next door to it. We live on temple grounds and get to be taught right by it. How cool!! There is a picture in the celestial room of Christ clothed in red at the second coming and I absolutely adore it.

As fun as it has been here, it also has been hard. It is so strange that I cannot express why it has been hard, but I have been brought to tears because I have been so discouraged with the language and with myself. A mission has a way of letting you see all your flaws with clarity and makes you question a testimony that you have had for your whole life. I want to share an experience with you.

I was writing my mission president letter and I started thinking. Why am I here? I looked out the window and saw a country I didn't know and a people I can't speak to and who don't understand the importance of what I am doing here. Why am I trying so hard. This task seems too impossible. Who am I to think some 19 year old Hermana can teach in a foreign language?

Then I had the thought. Didn't a fourteen year old boy change the world? Didn't 12 fisherman work miracles and change the dominant religion of the time? Didn't the young Christ sit in the temple and teach the priests. Christ would have needed to learn the same way I do, from his Father by the Spirit. So no matter how insignificant I feel, I won't underestimate what God can do through me. That's all;)

I know this church must be true because they told us 40% of converts know the church is true by just seeing the missionaries. When asked what they talked about they always said I have no idea. The missionaries couldn't speak our language and made no sense, but I could feel their words. I could see in them the God they believed in. Cool huh?

Question of the week: we talked yesterday about how the Book of Mormon is the most important thing for people to gain a testimony of. I struggled a little with this because isn't God most important? Maybe you guys could help me understand more why? And if it is so important to their testimony how can I introduce it with power? I would love to hear what you guys think.

Know I love you all so much and can't wait to hear from you. I am going to make you all proud;)

Much love, 
Hermana Smalley

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