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

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