Monday, August 24, 2015

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

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