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

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