Monday, August 24, 2015

I made it to Malaga! THIS CITY IS SO BEAUTIFUL!

August 24, 2015
Hello family!

This week sure was interesting, I moved! But before we go there let's jump back to Monday.

In Alicante it was a lot a lot of goodbyes. Man it was so hard!  The first one, and one of the hardest, was to my dear B. I have been praying so much for her that she can continue on in the church eventhough I won't be there to teach her any more. I cannot wait for that moment she can go to the temple! She made me promise never to forget her. I, of course, could never do that. When we parted she said the most beautiful prayer I have ever heard. It was so sweet and simple asking that we could always remember our time together and be kept safe. This work is so real!

We then had our last noche de hogar with the R family. Hermana Rocha and I put a lot of thought into the last message we wanted to share together. We decided to share the message that we are never truly alone. My favorite story from the Old Testament is in 2 kings 6:15-17. We never need to feel scared or alone because there are always more with us than there are with those against us. One thing that has struck me very powerfully since leaving is that when Christ suffered on the cross, He did so completely alone. In those moments of greatest anguish, our older brother suffered completely alone. But out of that suffering we never EVER need to suffer through anything alone. He can be with us every step of the way. It makes me think of something president Lovell shared something in the CCM that I have been thinking a lot about - How Christ didn't need to suffer for our afflictions. In what part of the plan was that necessary? The two problems were physical death and our own unworthiness, and to compensate for that, would be trial enough. But our perfect older brother volunteered to suffer also for our trials, so that when we are crying alone in our bed because of our trials in this life, He can be there to comfort us. How beautiful is the atonement and how perfect the man who preformed it.

Tuesday was a little interesting because we picked up Hermana Herrera and Hermana Swenson and they were with us all day because of transfers. We had our last district meeting together where we all bore our testimonies. Hermana Herrera was headed home. She is home now. But this was her last day, and she bore such a powerful testimony of being a representative of Jesus Christ. She asked us if we really understood what that meant, and if we were really doing all we could to live up to it and love it. That is something I am not going to forget. What an
honor it is to be wearing His name and I'm going to love every minute of it! We taught the C family for the last time and Ch made cade rio meat and it was so great! They got s kick out of me trying to tell water polo stories in Spanish:)   Really today was just a day of lasts -  last noche de hogar, last classes de ingles. It was sad to say goodbye but I got to leave everyone with the most precious gift I have, and that is my testimony.

Wednesday, I said goodbye to everyone at the train station and headed with Hermana Herrera to Malaga! It was an 8 hour bus ride but it was nice to just relax and sleep a little bit. We stopped in Granada for a quick break and Hermana Herrera and I made the mistake of trying to get Burger King. Fast food here is crazy expensive and not really fast. So we had to make a mad dash back to the bus, but no worries, we made it! I loved getting to meet some new people! I met an elder from Scotland and Finland and just loved getting to have a bunch of
missionaries on one bus!

Then the moment came, I made it to Malaga! THIS CITY IS SO BEAUTIFUL! Don't get me wrong Alicante is too, but I am already in love with Malaga. I also met Hermana Gallegos. Heavenly Father is being so good to me! SHE IS INCREDIBLE!  I absolutely adore her! She was baptized four years ago and is from Pueblo, Colorado. She said McKay should know where that's at... It was really funny because one of the first things we talked about was food, and she talked about how her last companion only liked milk, meat and hated fruit, and how that was hard for her :(
In my head I was thinking "Oh man, that's me!  But I am a new person!  I have been eating fruit every morning and loving it!  Hermana Gallegos is making me healthy!

After we met up at the train station I went to my first consejo de barrio and met the Bishop and everyone:)  It was the perfect way to start!  Then we went out working, contacting, and found some awesome people I cannot wait to teach!

Thursday, our first full day together,  began by singing the circle of life to wake up a little more, which was perfect because we laughed ourselves out of bed!  In Malaga every other day all the missionaries get together and play soccer for exercise in the morning. It was perfect! I'm still bad at it, but improving;)  Then we had weekly
planning and I realized just how much work we have to do here!  But both of us are here to work! We want to turn this area around and really give our all!  Afterwards we ordered Chinese food because it's a tradition for the first weekly planning.

Teaching was pretty interesting, right now we are going through our area book visiting everyone in there so we really know where we are at! So much work -  but we are going to get it done:)

Studying with Hermana Gallegos is one of my favorite things in the whole world. We both just try really hard to apply what we are learning. We have made a system to help us plan our lessons better, then review our lessons before we teach, then evaluate after we teach. It really has allowed us to include the Spirit and make every lesson

Hermana Gallegos and I love cooking together!  We always cook breakfast and lunch together. Also in Spanish there is a verb for having an afternoon snack -  how cool is that!? It is such a fun time for us to just relax and be a little crazy at the same time. During language study we have started doing 15 min of conjugation crunches when we feel a little sleepy. Basically, we conjugate verbs together while we do crunches;)

This week we had a miracle, one morning while planning we both felt so strongly that we needed to speak today about the remission of sins. How we can retain it through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Well, we were teaching A's the lesson we had planned and he stopped and asked us if we had talked to his friend. We said no, of course not this was our first time even meeting Andrés. He then started to cry and said that we had brought an answer to many prayers. He had been studying the scriptures for weeks searching or an answer, and the Spirit allowed us
to show him the answer. HOW COOL!

This week we have also started to workout during medio dia and we have been doing some MMA videos -  it is hilarious to get into it screaming and punching!  We love working out together and just having a good time.  Saturday, after studies, we were on our way out the door and Hermana Gallegos starts laughing and I was so confused!  I was thinking. "I'm ready to go what's wrong?"  She turns to me and says, "Hermana, do you want to put on some shoes?"  We died laughing, then tried to leave again. This time, Hermana Gallegos had forgotten her iPad!  We made it almost out of the building, then it was my turn to laugh because Hermana Gallegos didn't have her chapa!  I am so glad to have a companion who can laugh when we mess up and work together to be better.

I also got my first chino chuches this week. In Spain these little chinos are everywhere and inside they have a wall of candies for like 10 c a piece so we go in and choose the ones we want:)

This week Hermana Gallegos and I have talked a lot about being the best missionaries we can be. We both have a desire to serve the Lord to the best of our abilities, even when it is hard. But part of that includes being patient with ourselves. I am so grateful that this Gospel is one of change!  I am so far from the woman I want to be, but
everyday I can repent and be better.  Every week I get to renew my covenant to follow the Savior and work harder to be more like Him.

Sunday, Hermana Gallegos and I gave our talks.  I shared the story about the lost boy (from her first talk as a missionary).  And my zone leader came up afterwords and told me I made him drop his pen because I used the subjunctive. It was pretty funny.

This mission is such a blessing. I am learning so much, and I am going to use every moment to become better and love this work!

I love you all so much. I really do not have the words to describe it.
Know there are prayers coming your way from Spain!

My time in Alicante was so short

August 17, 2015
"I've been transferred!"

This week I think I'll start with the being news and work my way from there because... Well yeah I'm here and you guys can't do anything about it;)

So this was the last week of my first transfer in the field. Isn't that incredible!? Seriously looking back on it I know it was a long time, but now that it is over it seems like nothing! I only have ten more. Like what no. I have so much to learn still. Any who, back to the main point, we received news about transfers. Let me start by saying that we have been planning this entire transfer like Hermana Rocha was leaving. She has been teaching me the area saying goodbye to people except when the news came, guess who is leaving? Me! I am going to be serving in Malaga 4. I have so many mixed feelings about this, I cannot even begin to express them all. I feel like I had so little time with
the people here. I was just starting to win their hearts in my own awkward way, and now I need to leave? And yet I feel this strange pull for Malaga - I am so excited to go where president Anderson was inspired to send me.

So let me tell you what I learned from this experience. Every moment is precious. I can't wait around expecting for more time, more time to make friends, more time to teach, more time to find. I have the time I have been given now and I need to use it the very best that I can. My time in Alicante was so short. I am proud of the work I did here, but it is hard to not wish for more time. However in that short time I learned so so much. I really think this area was assigned to me for my own personal growth and development. Hermana Rocha has taught me so much and I will forever be grateful for my first companion that she loves the Lord more than anything and has a work ethic this is I
The last ride before transfers

I want to challenge each of you to remember that every moment we have is precious. Don't wait for next week to improve relationships or yourself, because not to be a downer but we don't know what will happen next week.

I also found in the scriptures something that has helped me a lot moving forward in this transfer.  Matthew 14 - the story of Peter walking on water. I feel as if there are so many parallels we can draw from it, but the one I have been thinking a lot about has to do with the transfer. Peter in verse 22 (I think) asks if it really is Christ, if he can come out onto the water with him. And Christ says come. Haven't I similarly asked Christ when I submitted my mission papers if I could come out onto the water? I've experienced some what it's like to work with Him and feel His joy at the conversion of others. And He said come, Hermana Smalley, come with me to Spain. But the thing about the word come is it is a continuing word. It never stops. Firs,t I went to Madrid and loved it. But He asked me to come again to Alicante. And now again He is asking me to come to Malaga. I, like Peter, took those first few steps of faith out on the water by accepting my call.  And yes, like Peter, I felt fear when I realized the work of salvation is not easy. But Christ was by my side and immediately lifted me up. I want to try to be true to the faith I showed in the beginning and keep coming - Use the faith I have and not falter. I hope that made sense.

Alright, the second big news can come with the progression of the week because it is quite a story. On Monday we went to meet with B to talk more about tithing. The first thing she said when
we walked in was that she was not going to be baptized. Paying tithing wasn't something she could do and she didn't want to go to church anymore. I seriously was crushed, ready to cry and we had been there like 2 minutes! This is why I was so grateful I have an amazing companion. She calmly asked B if we could pray and then talk some more - GENIUS! This kicked me into gear and I started fervently praying that we could have the Spirit to help her. Well guess what?  It worked! We talked and re-explained tithing, and what it really means. The Spirit conveyed to us that she had misunderstood the principle of tithing and we were able to explain it in a way that made sense to her. The Spirit is so real in this work! We bore testimony to her of the atonement and how the gospel has blessed our lives. At the end she accepted her baptismal date again (which was as for Friday) and said a beautiful prayer telling God she would pay tithing once she had a job. WHAT? It was a one hundred percent turn around. And there is no way Hermana Smalley did any of that on her own. The Spirit is the real teacher here.

After we had noche de hogar with the R family. We asked them to write their dying words to their family. Then we took them and threw them around like they were nothing.  We compared this to the words of the prophets in the Book of Mormon. What a gift we have, these amazing men chose to leave their final testimony for you and I. And yet we don't read it?! They try to convey to us that which was of the most importance to them. That which they learned thought their experience and we don't study it?  Man, it hit me pretty hard when I realized that if I write the things of my heart for you all back home, my dying testimony, and you cast it aside as if it were nothing, that would
crush me!  But that's what we do to people like Nephi and Alma. Read the Book of Mormon! It is a gift given to us "by the grace of God" as a second testimony of Christ so we can better learn of and follow him.

Tuesday we had district meeting -  WooHoo!  And it was Hermana Smith's birthday. So we had the sisters take her away for a while while we set up ice cream sundaes and a party for her. Well the sisters took her away for an hour when we only needed 10 min;) so we spent a lot of time hungrily staring a food. But it was really fun having everyone together playing Uno and celebrating.

Hermana Rocha and I however, forgot we had an eating appointment at 3. Yikes!  So after we had eaten tons of sweets, we headed over to the C's home for lunch. Well I don't know if you know, but when you eat only sugar you feel super sick -  that's a real thing!  And Hermana Rocha and I were dying. We ate, and I was so so so full!  I have a reputation here for eating a lot ( and it's getting me in trouble!  I'm gonna echo Joel when I say I'm getting fat!) and the members noticed I wasn't eating my normal portion, and I felt so bad!  She thought it was because I didn't like it! So I tried my best to eat what I could. But after that I wanted to die I was so full.

We had an amazing lesson about temples with J (our miracle contact from last week!)  We talked about eternal families. She was so excited to learn about the temple. My heart is breaking a little knowing I won't be here to see her baptism.

At English classes I was surprised to find Hermana Rollins! It was so so much fun to see her and talk about our different areas and everything. She is absolutely amazing and such an example to me.  Noche de hogar was hilarious!  We played such a fun game called "he ido a Madrid" which involves a lot, of jumping and repeating we all looked like fools;)

We had a few morning this weeks where we were on the streets all day because all our appointments fell through. I don't know if you remember the song," nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess I'll go eat worms"  Well it's in Spanish too!  So Hermana Rocha and I sing that when that happens;)

Also I love horchata so so much. That's all!

We had an awesome experience with our investigator J. A member, D invited all of us to his house for a noche de hogar. We taught about the gospel of Jesus Christ and D's testimony was amazing! It was so key having him there bearing testimony of what we were teaching.

Thursday we spent medio dia with B. We made some food and after I started getting so tired and dozing off. Well, as this was happening B's cat went crazy and pounced on my face! It was the strangest thing and defiantly got me awake!

That night there were parades through the street that started at 10.  It was funny because we were walking home to go to bed and everyone else was just waking up:)

Friday, the day of her baptism came. We had everything planned and ready to go. Well we called to confirm with B. And she said no, she wasn't going to be baptized. At this point I wanted to throw my hands up and scream, again! I started thinking of all the work we had to undo. As Hermana Rocha was talking with her, my spirits continued to sink. Well then I remembered I work with God!  And I started to pray. I asked that if it was His will and B was prepared, she would be baptized.  Well it worked!  Turns out it was another misunderstanding and once it was explained she was one hundred percent ready to go:)  The baptism was beautiful. We sang and I got to bear my testimony. There is nothing quite like it - watching someone begin a life of service to God.  I realized this week I had been expecting my investigators to have testimonies like mine, before their baptism.  Then I remembered what I knew when I was baptized - That is that God loves me and Christ was my brother. Step by step this knowledge was added on and developed.

Saturday, we found out about transfers so Hermana Rocha and I spent medio dia going to our favorite places to eat and visit to say goodbye.  We walked passed the most beautiful ice cream place I have ever seen in my life, so we decided we had to buy some;)

That night we had an activity where we watched Meet the Mormons. I hadn't seen it before. What a beautiful movie! It really portrays all that the gospel can do in our lives.  I was really hit by how much the gospel and blessed each person individually. What a blessing I have to bring this good news to others, help them change their lives and have the same joy. I want to be with an investigator when their child opens their mission call. How beautiful.

Sunday was hard saying goodbye to so many amazing people. But we ate with several families. The R family fed us bandejas and we all rode the going away horse. After we went to an appointment with a new investigator which was amazing! They were all so open and interested:)  Hermana Rocha will teach them well.

After we went and made arrepas with G. I really cannot express the love I feel for his woman. She is such a strength. Her example in sharing and living the gospel is an example to all. She has had a hard life, and yet she allowed that to increase her grace rather than destroy it.

Sorry if this email was a little scattered but know I had an amazing week!  Let me know if I should include pictures in these emails. I only put them on I cloud, but I don't know if that is working for everyone.

Much love,
Hermana Smalley

embarrassing experiences with fruit

August 10, 2015 
Querido familia miyo,

Wow!  I cannot believe that another week has flown by. It is the strangest thing. Our days seem to last for weeks, but the weeks have been passing like days. This past week has been absolutely amazing!  We had our struggles, but this really is the work of the Lord.

Monday we went and taught M. He is seriously my Spanish grandpa. He just turned 87 and is as cute as can be. We invited him to be baptized and he accepted which is crazy because normally old people in Spain don't even want to listen to us. It is sometimes a struggle to teach him because he is so old. But with the Spirit, anything is possible. 

Funny story, we were teaching one of our investigators about the 10 commandments - here's the thing,  Hermana Rocha has this special hand sign thing to teach it. So she starts teaching the first commandment, and leads on for me to teach the second one. But here's the thing, I don't know it!  So I just sat there and said, "Well the truth is, we are all learning together here."  So Hermana Rocha taught the second commandment and she kept trying to include me, not realizing, I literally didn't know them! So that's what the video on iCloud is all about:) 

We taught a noche de hogar (family home evening) on missionary work this week. It was so amazing!  I shared Mom's experience with the missionaries and all the things that came because of her conversion. The members were really touched and are super excited to help us befriend our investigators.

This week we had a ton of embarrassing experiences with fruit.  First off, let me say that since I have been in the mission field, I have eaten everything put in front of me.  All of it!  Including a paella
made with baby octopi in it. (It was so sad, they were so, so small!) but we were at an eating cita (appointment) and the members know how much Hermana Rocha loves watermelon, so they gave us a ton of watermelon and the daughter must have seen my face and asked me if I liked watermelon. With as much enthusiasm as I could muster, I said I LOVE it!  Hermana Rocha rolled her eyes and reminded me not to bare false witness, but since I don't know the 10 commandments, it's fine;) 

Then a different night we were eating with members and they brought out a dessert which is basically a huge bowl of mixed fruit.  I was like, 'Alright. I can do this.'  So I started to eat it. And Hermana Rocha didn't realize at first it was fruit.  Then mid-bite she starts dying of laughter. And everyone at the table stops and just looks at her.  She is just dying of laughter and says, "Hermana es fruta!" And I was like, "I know." begging her with my eyes not to say anything, but she did.  She told everyone there that I don't like fruit.  They all laughed and I was so embarrassed! Then the dad of the house said," Please Hermana, end your suffering!" (because I tried to play it off and kept eating the fruit) Then he got me an ice cream. 

Also I tried guacamole for the first time because F couldn't believe I had never had it!  She made me try it that moment.  I also tried some gazpacho which is basically blended salsa to drink.  So that was fun;)  I'm learning all about food over here in Spain;)

This week we had the amazing opportunity to teach J.  Literally every moment with this woman has been a miracle!  We contacted her on the street.  It was during our last moments of the day right after a prayer of gratitude for a lesson taught with the Spirit. When we ended the prayer, we both knew we had to talk to the next person we saw.  So we did.  J was walking with her daughter and stopped to listen and began sobbing.  She apologized, and said that she was emotional because she knew we were sent from God to guide her back to Him. So for the next month we went to her home almost every day (she lives right on the beach which is obviously the edge of our area but really far from everyone) and she wasn't there ever. We were quite discouraged. And had been praying every day to find Jusamin. Well one day we ended up in a different part of our area for one reason or another, (honestly we have no clue how we ended up there or why we were there at that time),
and we found J!  Let me repeat. We were walking on the street and found her!  We set up an appointment and taught the first lesson.  It was the most powerful lesson I have had the opportunity to be a part of.  She accepted a baptismal date without batting an eye. Amazing how the Lord prepares people for this work.

"you dream and deserve
what we make it possible"
Funny story with that lesson, Hermana Rocha started reciting the first vision and it was so powerful and I started feeling wet.  I look over and J's daughter had unscrewed the cap on my hand sanitizer and it had spilled everywhere!  But not wanting to ruin the Spirit, I casually tried to clean it up with my skirt;)

We also had one of the most powerful zone meetings yet. It really got me thinking about what I have done this past month in the field.  Have I honestly given it my all?  What am I holding back from my God?  Can I honestly say I am satisfied with the work I have done? Yes, I am happy with the work I have done.  But I really am going to focus on giving my all every day. Because why am I here if I am just waiting for a year and a half to pass?  When I finish here, will I look back and wish for my time back?  Or truly know I gave it my all.  I want to know I did my best. 

I challenge all of you to look at where you are now, and not wait for Friday or this activity or even one hour to be happy.  Choose to be happy in this moment. With who you are and who you are becoming.  This week we said good bye to M,our mini-missionary.  She is going to serve in Lexi Rich's mission.  So I hope they can know each other because they are both so amazing!  She shared something with me that was very powerful.  She shared the story of her father who is a convert leaving on his mission.  His parents refused to support him and were so angry at him for leaving they dropped him off on the curb at the airport and left him there, a brand new missionary terrified and alone!  I realized right then and there how lucky I am to have all of you so ready and willing to support me. I love you all and cannot thank my Heavenly Father enough for each and everyone of you.

One night Hermana Rocha and I had extra food from a ward activity and we went looking for some homeless people to give it to. Wouldn't you know, there were none to be found!  The one time we had food to give! But we ran into a man and his daughter for the third time.  So we stopped and talked with them and gave them the food. The dad thanked us because he needed food for his daughter and didn't have time to make any. The Lord works in wonderful ways sometimes:)

This week we really have tried to include our investigators more with the ward. Well we decided to pray individually for each one of our investigators to know who could help us. After every prayer a name or a face came to both of us. It was seriously one of the most miraculous experiences of my life!  It has been amazing to see how those members have worked with us to really further the work here.  Revelation is real.

I attended my first baptism this week! One of my English students got baptized!  She showed up at the church on her own and asked to be taught the gospel! How amazing. I love her so much and am so happy to see her make this change. I'm sorry if my words seem superficial, but know this, I mean it with all my heart when I say there is nothing quite like watching someone who was so prepared to receive the gospel be baptized.

This week at church one of our investigators came to church.  J is amazing and loved it!  Our members were so perfect and invited her to their homes and sat with her.  It was so cool to see how our lessons and prayers worked together to make church for J awesome. Not going to lie, we were expecting 8 investigators and only 2 came. It was a little disheartening. We also had a lesson where the Spirit was there so strong and the investigator just refused to feel it. I couldn't get it out of my mind how amazing this woman was, and yet she just refuses to believe. Both Hermana Rocha and I were pretty down.  And then we decided, this is silly!  The miracles we have seen and the
work we are doing is very real.  We are the luckiest hermanas in the world!  We
worked together to get more prepared.

Last night our mission President called us. We were both terrified because we thought that one of us was leaving, but he just wanted to ask if he could put something I wrote in the mission letter.  it was a little embarrassing, but he didn't put my name so not that bad;)

This week I learned something amazing in Matt 14. I love this whole story but starting in verse 22. The apostles had been struggling all night against a storm and made no progress. Then when Christ came they were afraid.  How often are we being beat down or feel like we are going no where, does help come and we fear it, rather than embrace it?  It doesn't matter the kind of help, maybe a friend reaching out or an opportunity to serve, but we reject it in fear.  But we don't need to
fear!  Because we know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  He knows best and loves us and knows exactly how to help!  Also interesting that He came only after the fourth watch. The latest one. How often do we need to endure a little while our trials, just to build our spiritual muscles. Then Christ comes and relieves us. I hope I explained that okay...


Question of the week: what are some tips you have for when I'm feeling a little sleepy during study time?

Love you all so much!
Hermana Smalley

Yankees vs. Red Soxs ... in Spain!

August 3, 2015 
I love you all so much and another hello from Spain!

After I wrote you last week my companion and I went out looking for one of our investigators that we haven't been able to find. And I want to tell you about how important it is this we follow the spirit. 

As we were walking we passed this woman on the street with a bunch of luggage.  I felt so strongly we needed to talk to her.  And I was like, No, why would she want to talk to us?  She is busy and blah blah.  I got over myself and talked to her.  Her husband appeared out of nowhere and in English asked if we could please help them find their hotel.  They were a cute family from Holland who were completely lost and on the opposite side of the city from where they needed to be. We were able to help them find their way and get settled and talk about the church with them.  They were so funny, "So you walk the streets all day, is that why you know your way around?"  We explained more of what we do as missionaries.  I'm so glad Heavenly Father gave me the chance to help them and that their first experience with the church was a good one.

Tuesday we spent all day at the chapel!  It was actually the coolest day!  We had district meeting where we practiced contacting. Hermana Herrera said something I loved, " When all your appointments fall through and nothing seems to go right, contact, and you will feel the power you have a a missionary"  I love her attitude and I can testify that it works! There is something so powerful about testifying of Christ to people on the streets. I love that we don't look for types of people, we just talk to everyone!

We did some practices that were so funny! Elder Baker mixed up a fake child for a dog and we all died laughing!  Elder Baker taught us about how our words will have impact on those we haven't met yet.  Maybe they will remember our words during a hard time in their lives or maybe our children will teach someone with the words we taught them. But our words will be remembered.  So I want to make sure they are worth remembering.

After that President and Sister Anderson came.  I cannot even explain how much I love them!  I seriously feel like they are my parents while I am gone. I forgot that they also have left their country and their family. And it is special because we get to go through this change together:)  We had interviews and President Anderson said that he doesn't think he has seen a change come over someone as much as he has seen with me in the past 3 weeks. He said it was in a good way too;) which makes me so happy because I am trying so hard to change and be better.  My president is amazing!  And Hermana Anderson is the sweetest woman!  She sat in on English classes that night and we had the funniest time introducing ourselves and talking about adjectives. I love teaching English to the people here!  They are so excited to learn and we laugh at my Spanish when I mess up trying to teach;)  Siempre apredemos juntos (Always we learn together!)  I know that my mission president and his wife have been called of God to take care of this mission and I'm so excited to work with him and the Lord to bless these people.

Mom and Grandpa should like this. Every day I see at least one person sporting Yankees gear all over the place. It makes me smile because you don't see anything from Boston!;)
We are preparing someone for baptism this week and we were teaching the plan of salvation. We talked about temples and the work done there and she turned to me and said, "So I can bring my parents names to the temple?  And the Spirit just rushed into the room and we said "yes" and talked about missionary work in the spirit world and I was thinking that maybe even now as I am working with their daughter, my grandparents are working with her parents.

This week we went to Saint Vincent to teach an investigator and there was a mix up in time and she was not there. We didn't have time to wait so we were a little down.  As we were headed back to the train we ran right into our investigator! It was a miracle and we sat down and taught her a quick lesson:)

So this week I have been working on likening the scriptures to my life and I learned two really cool things! I have always been super harsh on Laman and Lemuel. When they left Jerusalem they were such whiners!  Like why couldn't they see God was taking them to the promised land?  Why couldn't they see the bigger picture?  The works of God sre so much grander than what they could see. Well, I had a humbling moment.  I can think of someone else who was asked to leave their home and serve God, who grumbled about how Spain is different than the USA, who couldn't see the bigger picture and the bigger plans that God has for us.  That would be me;)  But now I have realized that God sent me to this amazing country! His plans are so much bigger than what I can see!  What a blessing I have!  I would challenge each of you to remember that.  When you are in any circumstance and start to grumble, remember how annoying Laman and Lemuel are and try not to be them;)

The second thing is a scripture we have all read like ten billion times - Alma 32:28.  I tried to apply it to myself better and with the Spirit's help, I learned a lot! Let me show you, it might seem silly but it

changed my whole perspective:

28 "Now, we will compare the MISSION unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a MISSION may be planted in your heart, ( meaning we move aside all things that might be cluttering our heart, friends family and really put our whole selves here and in this work) behold, if it be a true MISSION, or a good MISSION,( obviously all missions are good so this applies to our own personal dedication if we are doing good work and being true to our call) if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, (you don't try to do it your own way, and listen to the Spirit) behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves--It must needs be that this is a good MISSION or that the WORK  is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.

This is how we can love our mission! (Or what ever situation we may find ourselves:) I got to sit down and talk with my Bishop this week. He is amazing man (and thank you so much for all of your advice)  We are going to work together to make Alicante 2 thrive!

Spencer I want to hear all about Palmyra because I remember that was one of the best experiences I have had! 

Family I love you all so much. The work is so good here in Alicante. I am meeting so many wonderful people and seeing miracles everyday. I have gained a new perspective on activities at the Church.  I honestly regret a lot not being more involved. Every program of the Church has a purpose. I am so exited to change when I go home and be super involved.
Much love, 
Hermana Smalley

PS if there is something you want me to tell you more about let me know. I'm kinda just shooting out in the dark with these emails;)

Never have I felt so much fear in my life!

July 27, 2015 

I have officially been gone two months. That is so strange. These two months have been so full. I can only look up and smile because I have been so blessed. I am learning so much. And slowly learning how to kill the natural man inside of me. Sometimes he goes kicking and screaming, but you better believe that he is going!

Let me see, on Monday we went swimming! Not really, but here in Spain there are little parks with fountains for people to run through because it is seriously so hot all the time. So me and my companion went running through that in skirts and all :)  After that we went and taught a Family Home Evening to the R family. But in reality, three families were there. We talked of the importance of the sacrament. This is something I have such a testimony of!  What a blessing that we get to commit every week to better follow the Savior. We get to change and have the Spirit better me to stay on track and make me stronger.

On Tuesday we had a district reunion. It was so good. I had to share a thought from the missionary Manuel. I talked about the honor we have to serve and how we need to live up to it by obeying with exactness. I got some amazing help from my district leader. He shared some of the promises we get as missionaries and how we can live well to deserve them.  After that, I had my very first kebab. I can't really explain them but they are really good! Then we had intercambios (exchanges)! I went with Hermana Merrill to her area - this was so fun! We walked a ton! And I had my first door slam to the face. So yeah, I was kinda at a low by the end of the day. But it was so cool to learn from Hermana Merrill. We went to noche de hogar (family home evening) and I was surprised to find I needed to bear my testimony to the ward about missionary work. No one laughed so I think my Spanish was alright.

Wednesday we had some amazing lessons with a recent convert about the blessings of the temple. It is something I feel so strongly about because I can't go now. These people have to travel 6 hours to go to the temple, but it is so worth it. All of you are 5 min from the temple - Don't you dare overlook that blessing! We then went and taught a less active member and she was so excited to have us come and her little kids put on a sword fight for us. It was so cute. After that I headed back to my own area.

I was so excited to see Hermana Rocha and I got to meet our mini-missionary M.  She is amazing and has such a love for the work!  She was such an example to me! We ate with the R family again. Their food is still so good!  Everytime we eat there I am so excited because they feed us so well. (My excitement for food probably will never change!) Then we went off to Saint Vincent and it started raining! We danced because it was such a relief from the heat. We then taught G about the importance of modern prophets. She is amazing!  I'm so excited for her to know for herself of the goodness of the church. Then we ate with J, a new member.  He sat us down and we ate plates of fruit for dessert. You better believe I ate all of it ;)  That night we were way behind so we ended up sprinting for 15 min to get to Pizo on time.  Obedience is important, but man I've never before had sweat really drip off my face as it did in that moment ;)  It is so hot!  Our poor mini-missionary had no idea what she was getting into ;)

Thursday we did weekly planning and Hermana Rocha informed me we were going to go on splits (separately go to teaching appointments with members). Never have I felt so much fear in my life! I was panicking. She wanted me to go out with someone else in a city I didn't know, and find these citas we had planned!? Crazy! Then I remembered that fear and faith can't exist together. So I did my best to have faith. I spit with D, a 19 year old  member who is awesome! We gave an awesome lesson on the restoration. Heavenly Father blessed us to have the Spirit and find the cita and return to Daniella's house all on time.

How merciful is our God. He can take this little Hermana who struggles to speak Spanish and has no sense of direction, and guide her through the streets and allow her to have the Spirit so she could talk. Amazing!

Also, we were teaching out on the street and during our lesson, someone came out on the street and started yelling up to someone in the building.  We look up and see this huge mattress hanging out of the window and you better believe they just dropped it right out of the Simpson's building!  So funny, and right as we were trying to teach of the Savior and of his mortal ministry!

Friday morning we had a long morning of failed appointments and walking. But we met Js a recent convert who has been having some really rough health problems.  I know that if our other appointments hadn't failed we wouldn't have been able meet him.  And he really needed to feel the Spirit in that moment.  We bore testimony to him of the power of the atonement and he came to church for the first time in a while this Sunday!  During the afternoon we walked through the most beautiful part of our area - right by the beach.  Man I wish I could package up this beautiful place and send it to you.  But I can't.. Know that it's amazing! That night we had an appointment with A.  She is so special.  Teaching her is such a blessing!  She loves the Lord, but really struggles with fear of leaving the house.  We talked of courage and she agreed to leave and walk around the block with us!

Saturday M left. It was really sad to see her go, but I know she is going to be an amazing missionary. We met with one of our investigator families and shared horchata and brownies. We got to teach another less active member in the park. It was so cool to see the flame of belief spark again in his eyes.  I love this work!

Saturday night I hit a new low. I lost our list of people we wanted to contact.  All of them.  Gone.  I sat and cried and cried. My companion simply looked at me and said, “Hermanita (little sister, instead of Sister Smalley),  the Lord has provided a backup plan”, and pointed to our area book. There we found all the information that had been lost.  We needed to work hard to sort them into quadrants, but we were able to do that :)

And then came Sunday!  Oh how I love Sunday's on the mission!  I love our little ward!  I sincerely love each of these people, and we had an investigator come to church with us. The joy of introducing her to everyone was amazing. I taught young women's without my companion (she stayed with our investigator) there was some laughter because of my Spanish, but we talked about the importance of taking the Lord’s name upon us and not shaming Him.  Each of these girls is so strong! They are trying to be examples when they feel so alone.  I learned so much from them.  Also they had me conducting in sacrament meeting. Like seriously,  I can't conduct music at all, but they all think I can here... It was an experience!  Afterwards, a member told me that he liked that I conducted hymns like rock and roll ;)  We had an amazing talk with our ZL (zone leader) that night.  We have a crazy goal of 25 baptisms this month. We are all working so hard, but this week has been hard for our zone. Appointments are falling through for everyone.  But we talked about how after the trial of our faith, we will see the miracles.  I have a firm testimony of this.  If we can endure well 3 hard days, a miracle day will come.  Even if it doesn't, I'm going to endure it well.

Today we hiked to a castle. Cool huh?:)  Not much to day besides seeing the ocean  - that hurts because I can't swim ;)

Family how I love you all :)  This opportunity I have is so great,  I want to live up to it. I know I can with the Lord's help.

Question of the week: I hope this isn't silly, but we are always told to invite people to be baptized right of the bat.  I was reading over the commitments of baptism and it isn't something to be entered into lightly.  So my question is, Why do we do it so quickly?  And how can I help those we invite better understand that covenant?  I have complete faith in Preach My Gospel so I know it's what we should do, I'm just wondering why.

So much love you can't imagine,
Hermana Smalley