Sunday, September 20, 2015

There must be opposition in all things

Sept 14, 2015 
Hello to my amazing family,

Before you all look at the subject and think that I just had the worst week ever I want you all to know this week I have seen some of the most amazing miracles and had some of the most amazing experiences. I have truly experienced what it means to love this work and never want to leave this beautiful country. But as we all know there must needs be opposition in all things, so we have seen some pretty hard challenges as well. I think the best way to start would be to just start from the beginning.

Baby squid for dinner, yumbo!
This week I heard a song from EFY this year called "I can do all things". This has become our theme song thought the week. It has been such a good reminder that with our savior we can truly do all. He never calls us to do that which we cannot. He will be there every step of the way helping us keep doing.

Okay I want to tell you about C. She was a reference from the office that I have actually never met. But I called her once and we had an amazing talk about the Book of Mormon. To my disappointment I realized that she was in the aps area and we had to pass her. Well a couple days ago I got a call from sweet C. She told me she had read the whole Book of Mormon and knew it was true and wanted to know the next step she needed to take. WHAT!? Haha I almost dropped the phone. We talked for a while about how she wanted to come to church but the bus system doesn't run Sundays to her pueblo and there is really no way for her to make it. I told her about the power of prayer and we both committed to pray so she could find a way to church. We ended that conversation by saying that she didn't know how it would happen but she knows that God has the power to do all things. What faith! At this point I was a little confused. And started asking if the other missionaries had contacted her. She said they had, so I tired to politely ask why she was calling me if she had other missionaries. She then started talking about how the other elders had given her a second Book of Mormon and how they were just too young to teach her anything;) at this point I realized that the phone had disguised the fact that I am only 19. I was laughing a little in the inside at this point because she was talking to perhaps the most inexperienced missionary in the mission. But she talked about how I had listened to her and how much  that had meant to her. We then got to talk a little bit about how God chooses to use young "boys" to preach his gospel and though the elders might seem young they had been called by a prophet of God. And the only way she could know the next step she needed to take would be to call the elders. She promised me she would and we ended the call with a prayer. Well about an hour later we got a call from the aps telling us how C needed a way to church asking us if we had any ideas because our recent convert G was in the same situation. It was so sweet to receive that conformation that C really did want to know the truth. Enough to call these boys just as old as her sons to find it.

This week in district meeting I gave my first talk. Woho! It could have gone better but I didn't die so yeah:) I talked about extending invitations. I had been reading earlier about Aaron teaching the father of king Lamoni and how his great king had so much desire to know the truth and become clean. But unless Aaron had told him what to do he would have never taken the next step. (Alma 22 15-18 ish). Our district leader also wanted us to focus on extending baptismal invitations and he went around asking all of us if we had any ideas how we could. During times like this I like to just sit back and listen to other missionaries with mor experience, and a lot of really great ideas were given, and then elder dean decided to call on me. And he only thing I could think of what ".... Well you just invite them" the room went silent and then everyone just laughed. Because we had all gotten so caught up in doing something so special for a baptismal invite that we forgot the most important thing is to literally just extend the invitation.

This week Hermana Gallegos and I finally hit our rhythm teaching together, I know it took us long enough;) but we finally got in sync and the spirit has been so strong it has been a joy to be a part of it. 

This week one of our members got sick so we dropped by her house to drop off some bread. ( we
Hot Chocolate & Churros - yah!
weren't really sure what sick people need... 
And the little bakeries all around the city make buying bread really fun) when we got there hoping to bring some comfort and strength we were surprised to find ourselves strengthened and comforted by this sweet woman. She bore such a strong testimony of the work we were doing. She talked about how the missionaries had saved her soul and her daughters by teaching her of Christ. She encouraged us to never get dismayed because there were more people just like her out there waiting to find the truth. What a beautiful reminder to us both. This work is so much bigger than anyone of us. What we are here to do is change lives for the rest of eternity. No matter the cost a prize like that is worth paying for. I have been so grateful for our wonderful members and the love they shower on the missionaries. Because he church is so new in Spain almost everyone here is a convert and treats us as if we were he missionaries who found them.

Wednesday morning Hermana Gallegos and I split ways. She went to the hospital for some more tests and I went to fuengirola to do residency. I met up with Hermana brown my amazing companion from the ccm. It was amazing to just sit and talk with her. Be completely real with each other about the things we were learning and the experiences we were having. I walked away from our conversation with so much animo I really cannot express how much I adore that woman! In Fuengirola we got our residency process started and got to hang out a little bit with the office elders. They all got a kick out of the fact that I got in trouble at the Canadian boarder. Saying that I was probably the only person in the history of ever to have issues there. It was a fun morning.

Alright there's no easy way to say this so I'll just do my best. Hermana Gallegos was at the hospital to get an ultrasound on her neck. They found a tumor there. She has to wait until Wednesday to find out the next couple steps. They know hey are going to do a biopsy to find out if it is cancerous or not, but you can only imagine the amount of stress and fear she has been feeling these last couple days. Made worse because she hasn't had the chance to talk to her mother yet. Her family isn't a part of the church, so I guess when president tried to call them it didn't go over well. She has also been in contact from some members form Utah who really want her to come home. She is pretty sure she wants to go home and has been really frustrated that she needs to wait. I don't blame her. Please keep her in your prayers.

The Lord being as amazing as he is provided us with a beautiful miracle soon after Hermana Gallegos received this news. We went in to teach a new investigator and just as we were getting started to teach. She sat down with her sister in law and said, we want to be baptized. When can we be. Haha! You can imagine the look on our faces, and how our brains scrambled trying to figure out if we heard them right. Marlene had come to church the week before and had been so impressed by the spirit there she new she wanted to join the church. She had received the lessons in Italy but now really wanted to be a member. Marlene and Elisa were both so excited to study together and learn. It was probably the cutest thing I have ever seen. I want to echo Hermana Eyring , we are only instruments in the Lord's hands. They were so prepared and thankfully the lord allowed us to teach them.

Our bishop and his wife are both in the medical field. I cannot even express what a comfort that has been to my companion these past couple days. They have just told her all about the processes comforting her and buoying her spirits. They had us over to their house for a night of churros and chocolate to keep our spirits up. Again and again the amazing members here have been giving us strength and keeping us going. M invited us over to her amazing huge beach house for mediodia, and cute Gl who I called on accident just laughed and invited us over saying how she has been trying to get the missionaries over for months now. The Lord is so good to us.

You can only imagine how preoccupied poor Hermana Gallegos has been these past couple days, on top of not feeling well she has all the stress of knowing she needs to have surgery whirling around her. As you can imagine having a new missionary as a companion probably was super annoying! I was constantly trying to keep her going out the door onto the next person, and I'm pretty sure I almost broke her. Well I'm convinced what happened next was a tender mercy of the Lord. I got sick. I tried to keep going ask long as I could but then this little cold ran the well known track down to my lungs. 

Now before you freak out its only the third day that I've been sick so hopefully it will clear up soon. We took it easy Saturday and  Sunday only doing half days. It's been kind of scary feeling this sickness creep into my lungs and has actually brought back a ton of memories of  Mom saying "stay off your back"  and Dad saying "that cough sounds pretty dry". But in doing my best to take care of myself. So me and Hermana Gallegos are quite a pair this week. But there must needs be opposition in all things.

Being sick on the mission is interesting. Because it forces you to think about yourself. It's not something I am a fan of and it is hard not to get down on yourself for being a bad missionary. But I know the Lord knows our hearts and we are going to do all we can. Wow this email is getting long! Sorry! I just want to finish by some things I learned by reading Jesus the Christ and Elder Holland's talk from this last general conference. I'm trying to learn more about the nature of Christ. And I am finding this yes, he is perfectly merciful and loving. But he never allowed the least degree of sin to be permitted. He was unbending in that. He loved the people, but did not tolerate the sins. I find that really interesting and want to do my best to always be deserving of our Savior's love and quick to repent when I am in the wrong. How amazing that our older brother has thrown out his arms to catch us all when we fall and save us from our own sins.

I love this work, I love Spain and I love all of you.
Much love, Hermana Smalley

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