Sunday, October 25, 2015

Never think that your testimony isn't enough

October 19, 2013
Hello family, 

This week I learned over again just how good God is to me! I have the most beautiful area, an amazingly crazy companion and the best district. Our investigators are one of a kind and all day every day I get to wear Christ's name next to my heart. Sometimes I can't help but be blown away by the fact at Heavenly Father lets little old me teach his children something so wonderful.

That being said here comes the week! Monday night we just ran around like crazy trying to make it to all of our
citas. We got to teach some of our amazing members. This week we stopped by Gladys a members who just started a new job making her schedule insane! I felt prompted to leave a note with her family. We ran into her on the street later and she told me just how much that note meant to her and how she carries it around with her. Isn't it wonderful Heavenly Father allows us to be his hands to lift those around us?

This week Hermana Esplin and I had to give a talk on obedience. I got super excited. I love talking about obedience because it is really something so simple. You choose to be or you don't. Black and white. The morning of district meeting I was reading Jacob 5 and verses 71 to 74 really stuck out to me. How those who were called to labor were asked to give everything and when they did the lord of the vineyard worked alongside them! What an honor. But beyond that they were blessed because they were obedient to all of the commandments of the lord of the vineyard they had the chance to not only work with him but see all of the bad rooted out of the area and replaced with the good. How incredible. I was also struck with verse 75. I pictured in my final interview on my mission. After president Anderson walks out of the room having the savior walk in. And what I might hope to hear on that day. I hope it's something along these lines: 

75 And it came to pass that when the Lord of the vineyard saw that his fruit was good, and that his vineyard was no more corrupt, he called up his servants, and said unto them: Behold, for this last time have we nourished my vineyard; and thou beholdest that I have done according to my will; and I have preserved the natural fruit, that it is good, even like as it was in the beginning. And blessed art thou; for because ye have been diligent in laboring with me in my vineyard, and have kept my commandments, and have brought unto me again the natural fruit, that my vineyard is no more corrupted, and the bad is cast away, behold ye shall have joy with me because of the fruit of my vineyard.


I know that God has something incredible in store for each one of us. And that the path to becoming and receiving that is through obedience. We choose whether or not we will become when we choose every day to do the small things.

After district meeting we only had 45 min and it's a 15 min walk to and from our area. But Hermana Esplin and I decided to go and make the most of it. We went to the home of an investigator and there was a cute family there. They were new in Spain and had already met some members who had given them a Book of Mormon. We literally just walked in on a perfect situation God had set up. I am so glad that we came to the party that he set up. How amazing that Heavenly Father allows us to take part in this work!

Tuesday night was not quite as fun, almost all of our citas failed us. And one of our investigators with a fetcha really quite rudely dropped us. You might say I was kind of down. For the first time I really related with Alma when he says, oh that I were an angel. I had always thought oh that's super cool that he loved talking enough that he wanted to do it just louder. But for the first time I imagined him whispering that phrase. Maybe even in discouragement. Oh that I were an angel, oh that I could shake people and help them understand the importance of this message, oh that I could grab their attention and help them see the purpose of this life, and yet I can't. I started to feel this kind of helpless discouragement. But then I remembered the second part of what he said. How this wish was a sin. Because I should trust that God has given me the tools I need to succeed and I have all I need to find the people ready to hear this message.

Wednesday morning we taught C! She is probably the cutest lady. She had a member exchange student come and stay with her a couple years back and she was so struck by the difference in him that she listened to the missionaries. But it wasn't her time yet. She wasn't willing to accept the message. Well she recently reached out to us because she just couldn't shake the fact that Jordan had something different about him. I am so excited to work with her!

We also got to eat with cute M, she always makes the most wonderful food and is basically the most wonderful person. Wednesday night we had consejo [council meeting] and noche de hogar. Per usual. We played mafia for noche de hogar. I was "the person" and somehow everyone figured out it was me. Normally they nominate 2 or 3 people to kill off, no, it was unanimously decided that it was me.

This week we brought Al with us to teach Ae. We knew this lesson was going to be important so we prepared a lot just trying to get her really excited and committed to her baptism. But for all our preparation our words just weren't working. We finally turned to Al and asked her to share her baptismal story. It was perfect. She hit it right on the head. And Ae committed to her date and just passed her interview yesterday! :) I love the members here. Never think that your testimony isn't enough. Sometimes it's just what is needed.

Friday morning was probably the craziest morning ever! We went to teach J but ended up talking with her mother because J was busy. Her mother is blind, Hermana Smalley may have dozed off during her first lesson. But shhhhh, it won't happen again. Next we ran to V our Bulgarian investigator to try to set up a Skype with the Elders in Bulgaria for this Sunday. Well we were there and ended up teaching V a lesson and a Pakistani woman English. We went running from that cita to Y and watched the restoration video with her and helped guide her to scriptures to answer her question! During all of this I got attacked by ice cream and flies. Quite the morning.

Friday afternoon we got to teach Charles (insert British accent). He is wonderful and super interested so I can't wait to keep teaching him! We ended up having to teach him in the door because there wasn't another woman in the house but he took it like a champ!

Saturday morning the Elders had a baptism. We stayed behind to clean up afterwards, here's your funny story for the week. Elder Adcock during the baptism got a huge migraine and was just really hurting so Elder Johnson and Elder Tenorio went to go give him a blessing and take him home. Before they left Elder Johnson gave me the master key to the chapel so we could clean. Well turns out the key he gave us was actually to their Pizo. They got there with Elder Adcock covering his eyes so that the light wouldn't bother him and Elder Johnson realized what had happened and had to say, "please don't hate me, I don't have the key, Hermana Smalley does" Elder Adcock  said "why on earth did you give the Hermanas our keys!?" They ended up sitting outside until the other Elders got there. When Elder Johnson came back to the chapel I asked him, Elder this key doesn't open anything here what is it? And he just said really loud "I don't want to talk about it". So always double check what keys you are giving away :)

Friday night we got to teach our sweet M about the temple. She is so excited to go and do the work for her family! Walking there was an adventure because of the rain. My shoes don't work in the rain so I was falling like every other step. But we made it! We also made it to Mar and taught her a wonderful lesson about the importance of reading the Book of Mormon. And we had a great time teaching Al and her family about the things we need to do to fortify ourselves against sin. We used the example from conference in April about the soda cans :)

Sunday was insane! But wonderful! We had correlation planned for 1:30 and a lesson with G at 1 as well as An's baptismal interview. Somehow it all worked out. We managed to do it all and go with the Elders to give a blessing to C. We ate with bishop and then off to work again!

Sorry if that was just a really awkward summary of all that has been happening, but I am eternally grateful for this amazing chance I have to be working here. I know that I am far from perfect but God still lets me experience the joy of this work. I just want to serve God with my whole soul. I don't want to hold anything back from him. I want to give him all I am so he can make me more than I ever was.

Just know there are many prayers headed your way from Spain. I cannot believe Joel is coming home so soon! And I can't believe Spencer is leaving so soon! What amazing things God is doing for the Smalley family! What an amazing time to be alive.

Sorry if I seem a little enthused. I had two bowels of chocolate cereal this morning. Love you all so much!

Hermana Smalley

Sunday, October 18, 2015

So I do my best to keep up and we all grow

Oct 12, 2015
Hello to my beautiful family,

Alright first note. We are no longer allowed to use iMessage. Just because it isn't filtered by the church. And honestly it's probably better to just remove the temptation than try and set rules. But I've loved being able to talk to you all through iMessage just now we gotta keep it on email :)

This week was insane! I can't even believe how fast time is slipping away. I feel like I am trying to throw my hands down to stop myself from moving so quickly, but all I have to hold onto is sand so it just keeps slipping away! I have come to love this little country and have fallen head-over-heels for Malaga. I get really scared that I will have to leave this beautiful city and these amazing people.

So this week for some reason right around 10:15 our whole district seems to run into each other because we are all walking home. So we have been having mini district meetings in the streets. It actually has been super fun. I love walking up on the Elders making a contact or other things like that. Also this week we started up soccer in the mornings again. It has been so much fun. All the JAS [young adults] are in school now so it's just our district. Which means we play 3 on 4. But it is seriously so fun. I am slowly getting better believe it or not. But I defiantly provide lots of laughs to start our morning off.

Tuesday morning was wonderful. We were walking away from a failed cita [appointment] and I felt really strongly that we should pass by a struggling member. Well we did, turns out she wasn't home. But a different woman was there and she let us in and we got to teach her a quick lesson zero and give her a Book of Mormon and set a return cita. How amazing that Heavenly Father literally guides us to the people we need to teach. I found that happen so much this week. Like one night we were walking home. And we would have gotten to Pizo [our apartment] maybe 1 min early. We were walking towards a bench and I saw a lady sitting there. And I thought, it's okay we will just keep going, but the spirit told me otherwise and I remembered a talk from Elder Reid in Alicante. Where he encouraged us to cast (our nets) out into the deep, ie. contact that one last person. So I thought. Alright one more. Turns out she had received the missionaries before and had just returned from Brazil. We got her information and I literally cannot wait to start teaching her. Every day I am here is another testimony that this is not my work. Heavenly Father does all of it, we just have the opportunity to take part if we are listening and willing.

Tuesday afternoon we got to eat with bishop and his family. It was awesome they love Hermana Esplin. It's pretty great because they know how much I love to eat, so they give me food and then talk to Hermana Esplin about opera and things. Occasionally they throw in a "Hermana Smalley how's water polo?" And the time is spent wonderfully. I love this family so so much. They adopted me into their family. Bishop made a comment to me yesterday that really made me happy, especially in light of how stressful M's baptism was. He said "Hermana I believe you and the elders make me a better bishop, I can't fail you, and you won't relax and take it easy, it is always forward with you! So I do my best to keep up and we all grow."

Wednesday we had an amazing consejo de barrio [ward council]. I love how hard all the members here work to help out with missionary work. We also had noche de hogar [family home evening] we were in charge of the game. I love being in charge of the game. We played a game of popping balloons. Every one ties a balloon to their ankle and you try to pop the others while keeping your intact. Before the game started Elder Adcock came up to me and said that he hated the sound of popping balloons. I laughed, but he looked like he might cry. Well guess who won the game. Elder Adcock.

Recently we have been teaching mas. Mas is from Ghana and is really incredible. He has so much trust in us. He always says he knows we are sent from God but has a lot of questions. He says "right now I'm 55 percent with the Mormon church" but I've still got a ways to go. We are running into an issue with baptism because he just does not see why he needs to get into water to follow Christ. He tells us every time he showers every day. I just feel so much love for him and love seeing understanding come into his eyes.

Thursday morning all of us did planning in the chapel because president came around to do interviews. It was defiantly interesting trying to plan, but we all ended up just shutting ourselves in classrooms and getting down to work. I love the chance I get to talk to president. We mostly talked about my desire to do better; work more effectively. I made the mistake of saying I wanted to be a good missionary. He told me he never wanted to hear me say that again. Because I am a good missionary. I will only just get better. He encouraged me to remember that consecration is a step by step process and that God rejoices in my progress. I decided to start setting daily goals. Two or three goals of something I could do before I return to Pizo to help me be better and feel like I am improving.

This week we got to eat with cute N and her son J. They are the best! I was able to just relax and be completely myself. Which means awkward and laughing ;) Hermana Esplin and I sang for them. This is something I'm trying to be better at. Hermana Esplin has an amazing voice, me so so. I don't like singing for people but she is helping me be willing to share that talent more.

We also got to teach A this week. She came to church and can officially be baptized on her fetcha. She says she still isn't one hundred percent on being baptized because she still doesn't feel the same as the Bible with the Book of Mormon. But step by step we are working with her. She is seriously the cutest person I just want you to meet her!

Friday morning we had zone meeting. It was really awesome! We talked about how we should extend baptismal dates as an invitation from Heavenly Father himself and how we should help them understand it is our love for them driving us, and not any gain for ourselves. We also talked about the blessings of obedience and having clean pizos!

We found another person this week. His name is E. He is really looking for a clean slate and was so impressed when we talked to him about receiving a remission of sins. I love being able to testify to people that Christ is real. No matter what they have done or where they have been he is real and can help them overcome it all. The atonement leaves no scars.

Saturday morning for correlation, the Elders and Brian begged me to make brownies. I tried but they didn't quite turn out right. So next week we will try again!

This week over and over I have just been so humbled by the honor I have to be doing this work. Being here with these amazing people, I want to become the kind of missionary that they deserve. Every day just a little better so that the Lord can work through me better. I cannot even express how much I love this work and these people.One last quick thought for you -

I was reading in Hebrews 11 a little while back and verse 13 hit me really hard thinking about the character of Christ.3:

13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

I would encourage you to read the whole chapter because it is amazing! But before this verse it was talking about examples of faith in the Old Testament. Then in this verse it is talking about Christ. His coming, and His redemption for our sins. How strong of a testimony of the character of Christ! That people were willing to come to this earth and risk eternal damnation if Christ couldn't fulfill his promises. And yet they came with such faith that he would eventually come.

I can't seem to find the right word, but what manner of man is this that His brothers and sisters trusted Him enough to come to this earth before He even came and redeemed them. I can't even fathom what he truly must be like to inspire this kind of confidence.

Know how much I love all of you. I pray for you often and hope all is well  
Much love Hermana Smalley


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Hermana Smalley where Is Your faith?

Sept 28, 2015 
Family!
Oh my goodness every week I feel like I say I have had a crazy week and every week just gets a little crazier!

Last week for p day we just played soccer at the chapel all day with most of the missionaries from Malaga which was actually super fun! But turns out that night the elders couldn't find someone to be my companion so I stayed with the she's. Elder Johnson told me that it would be like working with batman and superman and I would be like Alfred. At first I was offended. And then I had the amazing opportunity to watch these two amazing sisters work together. While we were out contacting I defiantly had my Alfred moment where I felt like I needed to pull out a notebook and start taking notes on how they were doing their missionary work. We also went nocking doors. And I honestly love doing with them. They make everything so fun. 

Tuesday morning I was with Alison again and we got to go to district meeting. It was amazing! I am pretty sure Elder Dean set the whole thing up just to help me. Because it was all about how to have animo and turn to the savior to overcome discouragement. It was just what I needed. That night I went out with Sarah from barrio uno. We went to work teaching people and contacting references. I'm not going to lie I love being in charge of my little part of Malaga. It feels so good to just focus on others and what they need!

Wednesday morning I had the craziest morning of my mission. I had two citas set to go, and then I got a call from the mission home that they wanted to do a Pizo check at 12. That threw a loop in my plans but I tried to shuffle things to make it work. Well then Hermana Perez told me she needed me at the train station at 1:30. I was sitting there thinking there is no way on this earth I can do all of this. Then I just heard this little voice, "Hermana Smalley where Is Your faith?" So I decided to do everything I could to make everything happen. And you know what, somehow we got everything one! Wednesday night I was with two hermanas from my ward.

I'm sorry this email is so scattered. Today I'm not on my own schedule I'm kinda being tossed around between companions ;) the elders call it Hermana Smalley's daycare. But I'm trying to write what I can. Speaking of daycare! Someone officially finished their training!!! Woohoo!

Thursday I got to go to district meeting with the hermanas. It was awesome! Their district has the ayudantes in it so it was really interesting to see how it all worked out. It was honestly an awesome week. I mean two district meetings? Come on, who doesn't want that. Thursday night Hermana Rollins came in to do her residency! I got to take her to my area and work with her. Oh my goodness how I love that sweet Hermana. I learned so much from her and we just had a party that night in Pizo. Of course a party that ended promptly at 11:30.

I seriously am at a loss as to what to tell you about this week. It was just so crazy. I think the biggest thing that I learned is how wonderful the members are here. They seriously have just taken me under their wings. Going out and teaching with them has been such a privilege. I love hearing their testimonies and seeing my instigators respond to them.

I am so sorry for another awful email. I just really have zero time. Hermana Gallegos said that things are going pretty good for her and the doctors, but being home has been such a struggle for her. Keep her in your prayers.

I just need to brag about my amazing companion

Sept 21, 2015
Hola querido familia,

Wow his week has probably been he craziest week of my life. I should start by saying Hermana Gallegos went home. She left Friday morning and is safely back with her family in Colorado. I miss her like crazy and was so sad to see her go, but it was what needed to happen for her sake and her families sake.

I just need to brag about my amazing companion for a little bit. Even though she was dead tired every day because of her health she still got up everyday and tried to do her best to get out the door and work. She was so sad to leave because she has such a profound love for this work and the people here. But when it came down to it the doctors of the mission and her family wanted her home.

So Monday the decision was made and we started packing her bags getting everything ready for her to go. Tuesday we had some confusion as to where she would be going home Wednesday I honestly cannot remember at all Thursday we did everything we could to get her all ready. She had her final interview with president and I spent some time with Hermana Anderson. Then we went to the airport Friday, and dropped her off. I won't lie I cried again.... Haha just imagine little Hermana Smalley crying with President and Hermana Anderson on either side ;) kinda an awkward picture for you.

So there you have it a brief overview of my week:) Thursday was an awesome day. Our bishop took
us out in the morning to go see some parts of Malaga she hadn't had the chance to see. Then we went to my very first zone conference. It was so cool. We split up elders and sisters and had our own separate meetings. Hermana Anderson invited 6 sisters to share their conversion stories and I was struck with how amazing these sisters are and the privilege I have to be among them learning alongside each of them.

Hermana Anderson shared a story about how there had been wildfires in Yellowstone for a long time burning and how a man was walking through the burned trees and saw a dead bird. In his frustration he kicked the carcas. And out from the wings of the mother bird came three baby birds still alive. She then related that to 3 nephi 10 and how Christ offers to shelter us. What hit me the most is how just as the mother bird could have saved itself by flying away above the smoke she didn't and gave her life to protect the babies. Just as Christ could have saved himself but chose not to. Choosing to save each and every one of us instead.

President Anderson gave us each a photo. Its the one mom always says looked like me and Spencer. Where Christ is on a rock with a child in his arm reaching down to help another out of the water. He asked us each to picture where we were in the photo. He then directed us to Doctrine and Covenants 35: 
13 Wherefore, I call upon the weak things of the world, those who are
unlearned and despised, to thresh the nations by the power of my
Spirit;

14 And their arm shall be my arm, and I will be their shield and their
buckler; and I will gird up their loins, and they shall fight manfully
for me; and their enemies shall be under their feet; and I will let
fall the sword in their behalf, and by the fire of mine indignation
will I preserve them.

He pointed out how here it says we are his arms that allow him to reach out in love to save his children. He then had us turn to a scripture that talks of how Christ's arms are extended to us all the
day long. That means that we need to work all the day long, not stop when we are tired. Not slack off. Because if we are the lords arms to others we need to do the very best we can to help them because that is what he would do if he were here.

These past couple days I have been in limbo. I won't get a new companion until next Wednesday so right now I am living with Hermana Giler and Hermana Perez. They are two of the sweetest missionaries in the world. Love being with them! During the day I go out with members from the ward to work in my area:) I'm so happy I still have the chance to work in my area and the members are the cutest!

These past couple days I worked with Alison and Angeles. Hey both want to serve missions and it was so fun to show them what it's like and then we finished the day back at their homes teaching. My favorite part was looking in the eyes of their parents. Because both families are converts of about 4 years. Watching them see their children teaching the gospel was such a blessing.

Seriously these last couple days my district and my ward have really pulled together to help me keep working. This work is so real and I am learning and growing so so much. I have loved working in my area. It's like my own little garden, I get to go in and pull some weeds and water the plants and watch it grow under my care and know that Heavenly Father is helping me leave and grow so much! It will never cease to amaze me that when I'm tired or sad all I need to do is work. And then all the sudden I'm on top of the world.

My zone leaders and she's have really just been amazing I can't even express how grateful I am! I had such an embarrassing experience though Elder Johnson called me right after we dropped Hermana Gallegos off at the airport.  And asked me how I was doing. Well the tears were still close to the surface haha I started choking up and he was so surprised," Hermana Smalley are you crying?" Haha I was like we need to end this conversation but one good thing has come of it. All the Elders in my district have just turned into my older brothers and have been so good to me getting companions and such for me.

I'm so sorry for the kinda lame email today but I love you all so much!

Hermana Smalley