Tuesday, September 1, 2015

I love having someone who just laughs with me when things get hard

Hola querida familia mía

This week has been a serious roller coaster of good and hard and better. There is a quote by Alex Boye that Hermana Gallegos shared with me, I'll modify it a little but here it is:

"The mission is like a roller coaster, but a roller coaster on an elevator going up."

And it is so true! You defiantly have your ups and downs on the mission, but even the downs are teaching you to be stronger and better and taking you higher!

Alright that being said let me tell you about this crazy week of mine.  Last Monday we all came to the chapel as a zone and played volleyball.  It was really fun to just unwind and have a good time together. The zone leaders made us homemade pizza and we just had a blast. Then we went and made more pizza with an investigator named Annie! (Every time we go visit her, the song Annie by Safety Suit comes into my head, THERE WAS A GIRL NAMED ANNIE!)   So yeah, Shannon should get that one... And mom it's on my iPod) Annie is absolutely wonderful and I cannot wait to help her gain a stronger testimony.

After a morning soccer game
Tuesday morning I played goalie for the first time in real Spanish street soccer. And I loved it! I get to use my hands!  Seriously playing soccer is so hard because my hands just want to move one way, and my feet can't move the other way... But put me in cage and I feel right at home! :)  The JAS (YSA) come play with us for our thirty min in the mornings and it gets pretty crazy but it is always a good way to wake up. I also had my first district meeting. Hermana Gallegos and I are the only sisters and then we have zone leader Johnson and Tirana and then district leader Dean and Elder Puelles.  All in all we are a pretty solid bunch. I got to meet another one of our investigators
named E. She has been investigating  the church for at least a year now. She has been dropped by a lot of missionaries, but Hermana Gallegos and I both felt we needed to teach her. She really doesn't understand why the missionaries do what we do. She understands how hard missionary work is and said she wouldn't let her children go.  Hermana Gallegos and I got to bear testimony of this work and told her there was only one way she could understand - We got her to commit to prayer, honest and sincere prayer. It was seriously such a cool lesson
and we will see what happens.

We also found an investigator at the park who had been taught in the past but because of language barriers the missionaries moved on. Well she was so excited to find us and asked that we come to her house and teach her so we will be doing that  on Wednesday.  Sometimes at night Hermana Gallegos and I just go a little crazy because we are just so tired.  She is seriously just like a sister to me.  I love having someone who just laughs with me when things get hard or I do something silly. We are super excited for when we can meet up after the mission
because we will both be living in Provo:)

This week we had an awesome activity and we spent a lot of time planning and getting everything ready but here is what happened. Our Bishop made invitations that looked like airplane tickets.  Seriously!  They were so similar the people we invited got confused and were asking us why we were trying to send them to Japan!  But we invited 
everyone to come and play games and watch a movie with us.  So the night came and we had 8 different games. Hermana Gallegos and I were in charge of making a family tree.  We had everyone write a name of a family member on a leaf with a memory of them and put it on a tree. It was fun to see what people remembered and treasured about their family. Then we had everyone go into the cultural hall like it was an airplane. And our bishop dressed up as a pilot and everything! It was awesome!  Some JAS dressed up as flight attendants and served drinks ect. then the plane crashed!  And we all dressed up as Angels and explained the kingdoms of glory. People loved it! It was really fun to be with the members and see our investigators come and make friends

So, before this week Hermana Smalley had never been stung by a bee. It was an experience I was hoping to avoid. But alas no. We were walking home and I was shuffling my feel a little because I was tired.  And a
bee flew into my sandal!  Now bees, I'd assume, don't like being in shoes, and it stung me right in the arch of my foot!  But how lucky it stung me there rather than the ball or the heel, because then it would have hurt so much more to walk. So at least one life experience is down! :)

This week I met G. She is our investigator with a fetcha (date).  And she is amazing! She calls us her little girls and is just such a rock! We don't get to teach too often because she lives in a pueblo (city) where the bus system doesn't run so a member gives us a ride once a week.  But this week, she was in Malaga, so we got to teach her twice and she was at the activity!  She has such a strong testimony of Heavenly Father! I cannot wait for her to be able to make her first covenant with her Father in Heaven!

We had a miracle with G this week.  We were sitting down to teach her and a friend of hers walks in. And cute G said M, these are my daughters the missionaries, come listen.  And M said she knew about the Mormons in Argentina but had lost contact with them and she was so excited to hear a message from the Mormon missionaries!  Well we talked to her and set a baptismal date!  Alright, that might not seem so miraculous to some people, but it really is!  Hermana Gallegos and I did a lot of walking this week, a whole lot!  Talking with as many
people as we could and we found no one.  Not one person who wanted to hear us.  Then to have someone just walk into a lesson prepared to be baptized - What a testimony to how great this work is!  What a testimony
that the Lord is so mindful of his children and knows what they need!  I'm so happy to be a part of it!

This week I have learned a lot about patience.  I have learned that sometimes we get so caught up in looking at the flaws of others we forget that each of us are painfully aware of our own flaws.  And we don't need others to point them out.  So why do we feel the need to point out others flaws, in the name of helping them be better.  Each one
of us is a beloved child of God.  He is working with each of us individually to become better, so let's let Him do that work with us rather than trying to butt in and do the work for others, because I promise it won't let work. I hope that made sense.  Because it was seriously such an eye opener this week to me that if I can just hold my tongue and love people, Heavenly Father can help them the best He can.

I have mentioned before that we walked a lot this week. And we did. This week we had the lowest numbers I've had in my mission. We spent a lot of time out in the streets getting rejected. Every night I felt like it was all I could do to roll into bed and I fell asleep on my knees for the first time.  I won't lie, it has been hard.  And what's
harder is that some times I feel like a bad missionary because I don't love waking around all day.  I struggle to keep my spirits up. This week I really wanted to say, "Alright that's it!  Mental health day!"  But then I realized, isn't that why we grow so much on our missions?  Because we can't take mental health days.  We keep pushing forward even when we don't want too.  We put on a smile and keep moving forward.  Doesn't that build character? Doesn't that make stronger people?  I sure think it does!  It also provides an opportunity every day to choose to see the good, to choose to be happy and grateful for this opportunity. I know that this mission is custom designed for Hermana Smalley.  To make her better and to make her what Heavenly Father needs in a mother and a sister in Zion.  So bring it on:)  I'm ready to learn.

I shared this with Dad already, but this week in the scriptures I found a scripture that I really like in Doctrine and Covenants 62:3.  Look it up if you have time. I have learned a lot on my mission that I am not the missionary I want to be all the time.  I fail.  I mess up.  And Heavenly Father only has imperfect humans to work with here.  How sad:/ And yet, He promises in this scripture that despite all my imperfections and short comings, if I hear testimony of Him, my sins and failings will be forgiven.  What an amazing promise!  I will continue to do my best every day to become a better missionary.  But I will fail, and He continually invites me to keep trying and be better.  How
merciful is our God!  The second part I love is that of the Angels rejoicing over our testimonies!  I'm sure you can imagine why two sunburned sweaty hermanas loved this scripture!  Even though no one wanted to hear us, even though we were rejected, every time we bore testimony, Angels were rejoicing with us!  This scripture rang so true with me this week and brought a lot of peace to my soul.

Last thing is Alma 5:44.  Here Alma is talking about his calling.  And I realized that it is also my calling. What an honor to join with the amazing missionaries of old!  I want to live in a way worthy of their names and those of my family.  So know that this Hermana is going to keep working and sweating every day until I finish!

Much love,
Hermana Smalley

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