Monday, July 20, 2015

Miracles in Alicante & my new name

July 20, 2015
Hello my beautiful family,

I need to start this letter by thanking all of you for your letters. I loved hearing about Grandma Smalley's funeral and all that happened there. You are all such a strength to me. I know that I am so blessed by God to have been given such an amazing family.

I am sure you could tell by my letter last week that I was just a little discouraged. But this week I learned that lesson Mom has been teaching us since we were small. Happiness is a choice. That simple statement has helped me so much this week. I really don't even know why I thought last week was so hard. But right now I have an amazing companion. An amazing area. Basically everything amazing! If I cannot choose to be happy now when can I be?  


Some of the view from a castle above Alicante
I also learned this week what an honor I have to be doing this work! Since the time of  Christ missionaries have been called. When I walk the paths of a missionary I have the honor of walking with people like Peter, Brigham young, and so many other worthy missionaries from my family and friends. Every scripture speaks to me like it was written just for me. How could I wish for this time to end. A time where I literally walk with Angels and am always directly involved in the work of salvation. I can't. I also had my, "there is no place else I'd rather be" moment. I really don't want to be anywhere else doing anything else. I think of the time where I will sing our mission song for the last time. The time I will need to remove my tag and it makes me sad. I am so glad I am just starting because that time is still a long ways off. 

So last week I told you guys like nothing! We had an international food activity with the ward that was so so much fun. There was food from literally everywhere and of course all the food from the states were desserts. We had some amazing dance party after (by we I mean all the missionaries watch;))

So we have mediodia here. Let me tell you before you think we are all lazy. This time is an hour and a half we get to eat lunch and do what we need but we don't get time for dinner later in the day. So yeah. Basically everything in Spain shuts down in the morning and afternoon. So the night is when we do most of our work. 

We have been eating with members all the time which is the best. We go to these teeny apartments high above the city with no ac and eat this amazing food with these super humble people. They share with us everything even though most of them don't have much to share. It gives me so much peace to see these amazing people. I love them and I want to learn Spanish better so we can communicate better!

I heard my first one direction song in the mall last week. It was a good moment. My companion thought I was crazy because I got so excited.

Here we do a noche de hogar with a family the Ramirez family. They always invite people and it is so much fun. I used the toothpaste analogy mom taught us ages ago about watching our words. We also do one for the ward every week. It is so much fun. The whole ward getting together to play games and be together. 
The Castle is that hill in the background

So every morning my comp and I run up these stairs to the castle that over looks Alicante. It is a workout. If I keep doing it I'll get my water polo legs back! It is a perfect way to start the day and every time we get to see a new part of the city. 


I extended my first baptismal invitation this week. And she said yes! Tania invited us into her house to teach us the lessons in English. She really wasn't interested in the church but her friend encouraged her to let us come. The spirit was so strong and she completely changed her mind about us. Too bad that she isn't in our area so we taught her once scheduled her baptism and then had to give her to the Elders. So sad, but this week we found 6 people to be baptized! So I got lots of practice with the invite. 

It was really great teaching Tania because the roles were completely reversed. Generally Hermana
Rocha needs to help me through the lesson. But I got to help her this time! Talking in English is such a privilege!

Here everyone has started calling Hermana PequentiA because Smalley is too hard for them. It's actually super cute and I love it. Also people here love brownies. It's such an American thing but they
have had so many missionaries from the states they insist we make them except they don't use cocoa here. I had to make brownies using nestle quick instead. So interesting.

For the past couple weeks there has been construction in our room because we live over a discoteca so the noise is quite loud. They were replacing the windows to help us sleep better. It is finally finished and I got to unpack!


Alright miracles: we found this family of Reme. She is a grandmother to basically a whole neighborhood. She adopted us too. Every time we go to teach her she has more people there waiting to listen to us. The first time we talked of Christ with her she began to cry saying she knew we could help her. So so amazing. After the lesson Hermana Rocha and I stopped and said a prayer of thanks for the amazing spirit in the lesson. We ended the prayer and felt prompted to talk to the next
person we saw. We did. And she began to cry uncontrollably saying this time of her life had been so hard and she knew we were called of God to help her return to him. HOW COOL!

We also had zone meeting this week which was so so cool. Someone shared the story in Luke 5 about Christ asking the apostles to cast their nets out deeper even though they hadn't had any success all day. Elder Reid related that to giving it our all all day to the last minute. No matter how many times we have failed to get a reference. Try again till the last minute and that is when miracles happen. It is
so true but even if the miracles don't come. I will still give my all.

Time is short. I love you all so so much!
Hermana Smalley

Arriving in Malaga "like hogwarts"

July 13, 2015 
Family!

First off let me just say how much your emails helped me this week. Leaving the ccm was much harder than I thought it would be. My district has made fun of me from the beginning because every single one of them cried bearing their testimony at some point except me. Believe it or not I really am not a crier. Well at the train station I cried like a baby. Well not really that bad, but saying goodbye to
these people that really have changed my life really hurt. And to arrive at the mission home and have so many emails from all of you, encouraging me really helped me a ton. Thank you so much from being such a strength to me.

To sum up the trip I'll use Elder Merrill's words, "it's like hogwarts" we went to this huge brick train station, and got on the trains, and got sorted when we got to the mission home:) 

Man, I really don't even know where to begin with this week, alright let's start off things that are different about Spain. First, light switches, different. Small things that you notice. Also milk. It makes me cry. There is no real milk to be found anywhere here. The food is all really different but not in a bad way at all. We have eaten with several members and yes I did in fact eat everything including fruit so you all should be proud of me. Pealla is pretty much the best stuff in the whole word. So rich I could eat it all day, and I do ;) so if you guys don't know this the USA is kinda full of sugar. Here things like cinnamon rolls brownies and root beer floats are so strange to people. 

I really love this place with the tight streets and small sidewalks it's just the cutest place in the whole word. Man I'm sorry I probably sound so dumb, English is really hard, mostly because I don't really speak it or hear it ever because Hermana Rocha doesn't speak it:)

Mom, thanks for buying me that water bottle, the water here in Alicante isn't safe to drink so it has saved me:) 

Funny story for the week, Hermana Rocha and I were walking and the sidewalks are Pretty small. Well Hermana Rocha brushed a car mirror and it just fell right off. I died laughing and we spent the next five minuets trying to put it back on. We were in fact successful.

Our area just absorbed a small pueblo called San Vicente. So Hermana Rocha and I have been riding the train there a couple days of the week and white washing the area. It was funny because it wasn't so different for me (being lost all day) because I'm lost in Alicante. But for Hermana Rocha it was so hard to not know where she was going. 

I now seriously regret my inability to understand directions. I didn't know how important that would be on the mission, it's kinda a big deal. But anyway San Vicente is beautiful and we found 15 futures and taught four people on the street. It was amazing! That morning I had been praying that I would be able to find someone to teach that would be open and receptive and we were walking and I felt prompted to move down a certain road. Well we met Julieta minutes later. She was so excited about our message and it was just amazing.

This week as expected was quite hard. I can't even explain why, but I have really been struggling in the morning to keep moving forward and not get discouraged. I have never felt before how much power can come from the scriptures. During scripture study I literally feel my spirits lifted and my resolve strengthened. There is power in the word of God. I am so glad every day I get to start the day reading these words of strength and comfort. Everything is different as a missionary. I literally feel as epic every verse was written just for me.

Oh so funny story. My ankles have swollen up like no ones business. Like I don't even know what to do but they are huge. Any ideas??


Okay so I'm gonna get real with you guys for a moment. My companion is amazing. But she only has 4 months left, my district is amazing, but they are all pretty old. It has been hard to hear them talk of home because that just seems so far away for me. At first I really struggled trusting Hermana Rocha. I don't know why, but I was so worried we were not doing everything we should and so worried that we weren't using our time wisely. But as I have gotten to know her more I have learned more of her love for the Lord and how hard she works. I trust her completely and am excited to get to know her more. It is a little difficult because of the language barrier. This is my question of the week: how can I know if I am doing all I can to be consecrated completely. Honestly I just feel really lost a whole lot of the time. What can I do?

Alright I realize now I probably sound so depressed. I really am not. We have the cutest ward and so many people to teach I feel as if we are drowning in appointments I am so blessed to be here with the
people I am with. I deeply miss my district but I carry two names on my chest that I need to live up to :) so off I go. 

Mediodia is the siesta time that no one is on the street so we do some more studying. It's pretty cool I love having the time during the middle of the day to fortify myself with the scriptures. We are out so
late at night and it isn't even wired here. The Spanish people love the night life. Little kids out until like 10. We eat dinner at 10 funny huh?

I'm sorry I know this hasn't been my best email, but know I love this work, I love you all and I'm leaving it all here in Alicante.

Much love Hermana Smalley

leaving the CCM tomorrow morning: invitation onto the water

July 6, 2013
Hello wonderful family,

I mentioned on the phone that I am leaving the CCM tomorrow morning! Crazy right? My time here has been so amazing, I feel as if I have learned so much and I am slowly learning to be the that missionary God needs me to be. I know I have much more to go, but I hope to learn by and through the Spirit. I only have 10 min because this email is mainly to let you know I am leaving and that I won't be able to talk to you until my next P-Day.

I wanted to say it was so nice to talk to all of you on Saturday. Before I was getting kinda down just wondering how everything was going at home, like seriously an emotional roller coaster. The park was the most amazing experience then I crashed and then I got to talk to all of you. Just hearing that you were all alright and doing well was exactly what I needed.

I am so excited to get to the field and get working. I know it will be hard, but anything that is worth it is hard. Yesterday our Elders gave all of us blessings, it was such a tender experience. I love my district so much, Hermana Brown is literally my sister, and these Elders have become my little brothers. It will be so hard to leave this little family here, but I was not called to the Spain CCM, I was called to Malaga. 

In Matthew 14 verse 28 it talks about Christ's invitation onto the water for Peter. I similarly asked Christ to invite me to come, and he did he said come to Spain.  I used a little faith to get here and have fallen in love with Madrid. Well the Savior is still saying come, but now to Malaga and I will keep using my faith to get me there. It might not get easier, but I will be stronger. Also Romans 8: 37 is my favorite scripture of the week! 

love you, 
Hermana Smalley

Monday, July 6, 2015

I GOT ACCEPTED INTO NURSING SCHOOL!

July 2, 2015
Hello to my beautiful family,

Mom I wanted to start by telling you how much I loved all of your thoughts on the Lehi's vision so true! Joel and Jen as well:) love it, love it!

It has been absolutely wonderful being at the MTC because all of these people keep sharing things with me. They come up to me and share scripture or something that really touched them and we have a discussion about it. It has been so cool to see that when I listen to others and try to learn from them how much more they want to share and how we can lift and edify each other.  

This week Elder Turner and I had some amazing conversations about grace based on a book he shared with me. I am not sure that it is something I fully understand yet.  But I know that everything we have and the plan we have been given was completely out of the grace or goodwill of God. He loved us before we could do anything to earn or deserve His love. Also something really cool is mercy isn't mercy if we deserve it. Just like grace isn't grace if we earn it. But that doesn't mean we don't have to try our very very best. Just like riding a Tandem bike. Both partners need to work as hard as possible even though one might be stronger than the other.

This past week we got to go back into the Madrid temple. So wonderful, I am afraid I got quite agitated wondering about some specific things in the session so I left the temple a little aggravated. It was like I could feel this anger surrounding my heart keeping me from understanding. When I left I took the time to pray and I immediately felt that anger leave and I received a beautiful answer from my Father in Heaven. What I learned from this:  Sometimes we get too caught up in understanding all the tiny details.  And when we start to get afraid in "seemingly deep" water    ( like a child learning to swim clings to a teacher when brought into deeper water) if we freak out and refuse to
listen, He cannot teach us. But we must remember He is our father. He loves us and only wants us to learn things to become better. If we trust Him and relax then our understanding and answers can come.

This week in the park I had one of the most amazing experiences in the world. I cannot remember if I mentioned my experience last week, but it was kinda sub par. Due to my own pride. This week I was defiantly humbled and completely relied on my Farther in Heaven to guide me. My goal was to push back my fear and talk to everyone I laid eyes on. I had a discussion with my teacher earlier where he talked about how it is Satan who tells is to wait for the next person and then the next. And that every missionary has fear, it is how we deal with it that matters. So I made those goals. 

Well when I arrived in the metro my goals were put to the test. I was a little hesitant about approaching a man on the metro and then Elder Merrill pointed at me forceful and pointed at the man. You don't know Elder Merrill, but that is not something you ignore. So fearing Elder Merrill would kill me, I dove in head first to the conversation. Turns out we got a reference from the man and it was an amazing conversation. That little push was all I needed. It was amazing to see the Lord help me over come my fear. He set me on fire. I literally talked to everyone I saw. We met this amazing man named Julian and talked to him for an hour. I could feel God's love and my own desire for him to know of the goodness of God as we spoke. We committed him to read specific parts of the Book of Mormon. I really cannot explain this amazing experience and do it justice. But what I learned is that if you give God an inch, an inch and say I will do what you need, He can take you a mile.

I need to rave about my companion for a moment. Hermana Brown is amazing. I have loved being her companion so so much. I fear I am a little spoiled because things have been so good. She lets me be crazy and doesn't even blink:)   We are able to teach powerfully together and have an amazing time. Basically the sisters that I came here with (Eyring, Deveroux, Rollins and Brown) are so wonderful and I will have these amazing relationships forever:) Sorry if that doesn't make sense. Let me demonstrate how amazing these sisters are. Every morning we start the day with a dance party just to you know get the blood pumping;) then spontaneously through the day if we start getting too tired we all just go and dance together.  Or the other day at lunch they had these amazing donuts that I loved so the sisters just kept bringing them to me:)  When I told them I got into nursing school they all jumped around with me :) I love these amazing powerful sisters that have made this my home away from home.

So major accomplishment for the week. Apparently I have begun sleep talking in Spanish. So ladies and gents I guess  I'm getting kinda official;)

So this heat wave has it Spain and it has been in the 40s all week (116ish)  [actually its 104] Man it is insane!  I really didn't know the world got this hot. Just kidding, kinda. Every time I walk outside its like a big hug:)

HEY SO I GOT INTO NURSING SCHOOL!!! I am so grateful to my Father in Heaven for that amazing blessing. He helped me work as hard as I needed to to get in. I really am so stoked!  When I found out I screamed it to the world because I was in a stair well, bad idea because some poor Russian sisters were trying to teach right above me.

This week in my district Elder Trantham and Merrill decided to make fun of my throwing abilities. ( all in good fun, this conversation was hilarious)  But basically, they said if I was trying to hit them they were completely safe. Well we were playing warrior ball for sports so I decided to prove them wrong, which in fact I did, but I also jammed
my finger  -  the finger that my ring is on and my knuckle started swelling so I couldn't get the ring off. One of my teachers was concerned so he went and got some lotion  and my whole district worked together to get my ring off my finger. Team effort, success!

This week for p-day I went thrift store shopping.  So yeah, in Spain! It was so much fun! I grabbed the craziest clothes and tried them on. We also got the best ice cream I have ever had in my life from this gelato shop. Man, I could have died happy right then!

I honestly cannot believe my time at the CCM is coming to an end. I don't want to leave these amazing people and this beautiful city. But I am ready to go apply what I have learned. I love you all so much and pray for you daily. Know that I am so happy. Every day here is full of spiritual goodness and laughter. God is so good to me. Even though I am far from perfect he blesses me so much more than I can describe.

I hope I made some sense this week;) and that all of you are doing well:)

Much love,
 Hermana Smalley

PS...I love you so so much. My question of the week for everyone that I forgot to write is I am leaving the MTC what advice would you give me??