Thursday, December 31, 2015

Y se llamará su nombre .... Admirable

December 21, 2015
Hello wonderful family, and a very merry Christmas to all of you!
This week has been a tad bit crazy I honestly cannot believe all that happened in just a week! I am still so in love with this cute little city and this ward!

Tuesday we had our very first district meeting together. Here the district is split pretty weird. We are actually in the district with the people from Cadiz and we are just a 6 person district with another set of Hermanas. Definitely different but I like it. We had a great meeting about lessons zero which was perfect because we are trying to teach new people this week. The first couple moments you spend with these people are so important. So Hermana Peters and I was to perfect lesson zero so we can help everyone learn of the importance of what we do.
Tuesday night was actually kind of a rough night but funny. Here is how it went. We have really been focusing on finding people so we went through all the futures that we had and set up citas with as many people who would meet with us and then because our cute members were so excited to work with us we brought them along with us. Maybe not our best call.

We go to the first lesson and sit down with our cute member and the man starts off with, well I already know that your church is completely false and what you believe is just silly. And I was like, okay awesome. I'd love to know why you think that, but can we pray, hoping that I could bring the spirit and we could make some progress. Well I prayed and then he said, alright now I'll pray. And I kid you not, he started out asking that God would take the devil out of our hearts and we could see the error of our way ex. I honestly had to try so hard to keep it together and not laugh, but I did manage to keep a poker face. But the lesson just kept going downhill from there. And I honestly don't mind when people yell at just us, but when we have a member there it makes the whole thing a little different, but that's okay we left the cita on a good note and I don't think we will be going back for a while.

Anyway we went from that cita to another one with someone we had never met, same member. This one actually went really well and we set a baptismal date! It was awesome. We finished the night going with our ward mission leader to a member who has recently gone inactive. Well the cita.... Man. So many things happened, it just didn't turn out the way we hoped at all. Which was made worse because we had our ward mission leader there with us. But you know what, I'm sure reading this, it sounds super negative. But I honestly learned a lot about patience that night and really just loving people.

We ended up in a sprint back to Pizo so we wouldn't be late, and I mean sprint from across our area. It was awesome :) when we got there Hermana Brown and Hermana Stephens were there with pizza to help cheer us up. We had a sleepover because Wednesday morning Hermana Brown and I had to go to Fuegirola!

Alright so Wednesday morning we woke up at 4:35 and headed to the train station. Hermana Brown Elder Meredith and I. We rode trains all morning meeting people, trying not to get kicked off because my ticket wasn't valid, you know the normal. Then we made it to Malaga. I was literally shaking I was so excited to be back in the city I love so much! Only to be made better when we got off the train Elder Rivero and Hermana Rollins were there waiting! It was the happiest of reunions. Then we all headed to the mission office to pick up our DNIs. We now officially have documentation here in Spain! After we stayed in the mission office for just a little bit because President Anderson was on his way. We got to see him and the ayudantes as well.

President Anderson and I talked about our Smalley scripture. He loved it so much and thought it was just the cutest thing.

I don't know if I mentioned that Elder Johnson became an ayudante, so it was awesome to see them and just talk for a little bit. Then it was off again with a challenge to invite someone to baptism during a contact from Elder Johnson. Well it happened. Hermana Rollins and I went up to someone and she said she didn't even want to talk to us, but we talked to her anyway;) and we finished with a baptismal invite. She still wasn't interested but we had a great conversation. On the way home we set up some perfect contacting traps. Meaning we sat down in different spots and anyone who sat next to us got a contact. It was so fun to contact with Hermana Brown and Hermana Rollins. I love them so so much. They are such a strength to me. On the way home with Elder Meredith and Hermana Brown we had some awesome conversations about dedication to the work and obedience. We also got to teach a lesson together and contact a bunch of people on the way home. We made it back to San Fernando at 9:30 dead tired but super excited to work :)

Thursday morning we had weekly planning per usual. And Thursday night we had one of those nights as Elder Adcock called it. All of our citas failed and all of our backup plans weren't home or wouldn't let us in. And despite all of this it is just impossible to be discouraged here in San Fernando. We were happy and smiling trying to talk with everyone. Under the magical lights of Christmas that line the city and to the tune of our favorite Christmas songs, seriously this city is like straight out of a postcard. However funny story. By the end of the night we were beat. Apparently I didn't realize how beat, we were walking and I didn't see a dip in the road. Well… Slow motion fall to the ground by Hermana Smalley. My legs literally just gave out and I ended up flat on my back. We laughed pretty hard about that and were super happy that no one was there to see us ;)

Friday was just more citas and lots of time out on the streets looking for people. We had an amazing lesson with a less active member, her son hasn't been baptized and she has been slowly progressing back to being active :) but we were teaching a lesson with her son. And she bore such a sweet testimony to her son about baptism and we were able to set a date with him as well. And now they can work together. It was such a tender moment.
Saturday our ward had a huge Christmas dinner. So we invited the whole world of course. And it was awesome! There were so many investigators and less active members there. The ward provided the food for everyone and we got to set up citas with new investigators and then everyone got together to sing Christmas carols ex. We had to leave early because of bedtime blessings but it was so much fun :) the ward put together the cutest video for everyone i want to find it and send it to you so you can see just how wonderful they are!

Sunday was a little disappointing because our investigators didn't show up:/ but we will try harder next week:) during second hour two members came and got us and told us the bishop needed to talk to us. And our ward mission leader told us that we were in trouble. I honestly was terrified because I have been trying so hard to make a good impression! At the same time I was thinking. I have only been here a week! I can't have messed up that badly. Well we went into a room and all the adults were in there and bishop called us to the front and hands us s huge basket full of presents and thanks us for all we are doing. It was honestly the sweetest thing ever. They could never have known that both Hermana Peters and I haven't gotten our packages because of customs.

Sunday night we met with a less active member who has been really struggling with smoking. He has been getting so discouraged because he can't seem to stop. But when we went over he asked if he could share a scripture with us. He shared 2 Nephi 22:1,2:

 1 And in that day thou shalt say: O Lord, I will praise thee; though thou wast angry with me thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me.
2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation.

It honestly was such a spiritual moment. To see how the scriptures had comforted him and helped him through. This gospel is so true and is here for everyone.

Working here with Hermana Peters has been such an adventure. We both just want to do everything right and be the perfect missionaries. Which of course is impossible. We have a companionship saying, "rookie mistake" because we honestly have PME and the white handbook and that is what we are going off of. We mess up all the time but keep trying. I honestly love it. Because neither of us know what everyone else is doing, so we just go with what feels right and what we have been told we need to do in those two resources.

We were both really struck by Christ introduction of himself to the Nephites. He basically said. "I did what I was supposed to do" aside from all the miracles and the wonder of the atonement. All he could have said. He just said that he did the will of the Father. I think the same is true for missionary work we get to do a lot of amazing things and see miracles daily. But I honestly hope that when I finish I can say the same. I did what I was called to do. Because when we Do what we should the blessings and miracles follow.

Wow sorry for this beast of an email!

Anyways we are all super excited for Christmas. We honestly have had a couple hard days here, and I'm sure more will come. But the Lord has blessed us so much! Tomorrow we head to Sevilla for a Christmas conference and I am so excited. I love you all and I also have the cutest nieces! Thank you so much for those videos!

Much love, Hermana Smalley

Saturday, December 26, 2015

I will never be sorry because I got to know them

December 14, 2015
 Hello family,

Wow looking back on this week I cannot believe all the things that have happened! So much so, I better just get started. I'm so sorry I don't have more pictures they just are on my camera and for now I cannot get them off. But I have some!

Anyway Monday night we went over to N’s house to eat beautiful food and say goodbye. We got there and Hermana Esplin played Christmas music while we sang and with the lights in the house and all it was one of the most lovely moments ever. Until we heard a knock on the door and it was Elder Hanson and Elder Adcock. Awkward. Because we were in their area ;) but hey members are free game so they couldn't come in and got a glass of water and were sent on their way. I love Nubia so much she is such an amazing example to me and I will miss her so much!

Tuesday we had our last morning soccer. I was so excited and then we showed up and guess what. There was no ball. Turns out if I'm leaving the district can't play soccer ;) so we played pig pong that morning not really the best but we ran so... Tuesday morning I had to say goodbye to Marlene. O my gosh. It was the worst. We went over and she made
arroz con leche because she knows how much I love it. It was the best I have ever had. She told us her life story. And I was struck again by just how lucky I was to be with her and to help her find the gospel. She talked about how she felt so lost and dark and how she has found so much joy through the gospel. All I can say is I am so grateful for the chance I have had to know her and work with her. She was my one rock when I didn't have a companion and I just really can't express what I feel for her.

Then we headed to district meeting my last one. It was super sad saying goodbye but hey it's all good we will see each other next week for zone conference. That night we went and ate with G and M. I feel like you will get tired of me saying it was so hard to say goodbye but I am so grateful for the time we had together. Same story for A. I had to go and say goodbye to them. Oh my. Let's just say Tuesday was rough for me. But I will never be sorry because I got to know them.

Wednesday morning we woke up early to get the train station. Well we had a couple issues getting there. We missed busses ex. So we ended up taking a taxi to get there with the Elders. They were super nice and woke up to come with me even though they didn't need to go later. I said goodbye and then struggled with my suitcases on an adventure through Spain on the train all alone. My first time traveling alone. It went well though I made it to San Fernando.

Alright. Let me just tell you that San Fernando is beautiful and I am in love. There are Christmas lights all the way up through the streets and they play Christmas music through the streets and it is basically impossible to be sad here. My area is huge! Which is different coming from teeny Malaga. But that's okay I love it. There is so much potential and I love it.

Also Hermana Peters is one of the best missionaries I have ever met. She has so many ganas to do this work well and give her whole heart to these people. I adore her and cannot wait to get to work and just see our little area go. She is actually from South Jordan and I am finishing the last little bit of her training.

When I got to San Fernando I ended up working in a trio with Hermana Browns new companion. Oh yeah. HERMANA BROWN LIVES THE NEXT TOWN OVER FROM ME. Yeah it's awesome!

I got to meet our cute investigator M who literally is so prepared to be baptized and I just love. We just need to help her talk to her parents about baptism. She wants to get baptized with her mother so we are going to work really hard to make that happen :) they invited us over to help make decorations for their tree and we shared a message about Samuel’s prophecies of the birth of Christ. Mom they all say you look like a Spanish woman :) it was such a fun time to be with this cute family.

This week we spent a lot of time working with members because Hermana Peters and I want to work really hard. So of course we want the ward on board. And honestly I have never quite seen anything like this ward. Everyone is so willing to help. They offer their homes, their time. Whatever we may need to help this work go forward. When we met with consejo they told us the same. I am so excited and hope that I can become the missionary these people really deserve. They are so ready to do their part so we just need to do ours :) there is an old Spanish man here that reminds me so much of grandpa. He is pretty much super awesome.

This Sunday we got to watch the Christmas devotional. It was absolutely amazing. I loved it so much. And to top it off right after they dedicated the building here in San Fernando as a stake center. Pause. The chapel here in San Fernando is bigger than any I have ever seen. It is white and honestly looks just like a temple. It is brand new and the members are so proud of it. It was such a fight to get it they just love it. I have never been in a dedication like that before the prayer was absolutely amazing.

During the prayer I was struck by the thought, that this is really the only time in my life where I can focus everything I am and have to becoming more like the savior. All day I should be trying to find those people who choose to be elect to teach them of someone who loved them so deeply as to give their life and the perfect example. Accordingly don't I need to be willing to give my life and at least to try to be a perfect example to teach of such a sacrifice? This is my chance to feel as close to the savior as I have yet done in my life. I had to ask myself, am I using it? Am I really taking advantage of this time where all our cares are set aside and I am allowed to improve myself by completely forgetting myself? I have to say no. I get focused on me too often. Focus on being tired, focused on being hungry, focused on numbers, whatever it may be. I want to commit myself yet again to be better, I know my amazing companion will help me and that together we can see miracles here. Wrought maybe not in numbers but certainly in ourselves. I hope I can become the kind of missionary these people deserve.

We have the faith, God has the power. Now it's time to put our heads down and work and watch Gods work roll forth.

I love you all so much. I love Spain and by the way happy almost Christmas.

Hermana Smalley

If this is the cost of loving these people I'll gladly pay it

December 7, 2015  
Dearest family, 
Alright I'll start with the big news. I'm leaving Malaga. (Pause to cry some more about it) I will be headed to San Fernando on Wednesday to be companions with Hermana Peters. I am actually so excited for this new adventure. But saying all these goodbyes has been killing me. Especially the recent converts because they always say, oh that's fine when will you come back? And you have to try and explain that you might never come back. Ugh it's the worst. But if this is the cost of loving these people I'd gladly pay it again and again. I am so grateful for the amazing time that I have had here in Malaga. I have learned so much and grown so much with this ward. It was funny I was at the church working on a baptismal program when he zone leaders came to get the info on transfers. They found out right as we did. I am the only one in the whole zone leaving our little family but it's okay new friends :)

Wow this week has just been such a blur of awesome. This week our main focus has been on F and D getting them both ready for their baptism this Sunday. So we taught lots of lessons to them and honestly I have just been hit again and again with how blessed I am to have them in my life. Wednesday night we basically robbed Elder Adcock and Hansen to do baptismal interviews. After Elder Adcock finished we asked him how the interview went and he said it basically changed my life. The Lord has been so good to us just putting amazing people in our path. When talking to F about repentance he told us that he was just sorry he hadn't found the church sooner in his life. F has seen a lot of heart ache in his life but teaching him about forever families and temple work has been one of the sweetest experiences of my mission.

Thursday we had a special zone conference with Elder Liemer from the 70. It was really amazing. Elder Ward (current assistant to the president) gave an amazing talk about what kind of shepherds we should be. Comparing Lamoni’s servants to Ammon. And since he is leaving on Wednesday he bore sweet testimony about how precious every moment of missionary work really is. It reminded me how every moment is a gift that we should hold on to and use to the best of our ability. Also Elder Martín conducted the meeting but in English and it was so funny he would get frustrated and talk super-fast in Spanish and then slowly work it out in English. It was awesome! As always they fed us amazing paella and we got to sit with Elder Liemer and talk to him. He really just gave me so much “animo” to keep working hard! I got to see a lot of friends from different areas in my mission and it was honestly just what I needed :)

Friday we just had a lot of lessons it was wonderful. We got to meet with D and finish teaching her the last lesson. But at his point we lost all contact with F and M and you could say we were freaking out. But we tried to just keep going with faith. Friday we also got to teach a wonderful lesson to J. He is a joven [Young Adult] who honestly I can see as a missionary. He is going to college here in Malaga and we invited him to be baptized and he said, “Well yeah but where is the church”? In all of our excitement we forgot to tell him those small details.

Saturday was the normal baptism craziness just getting the program and everything going. The
ayudantes had a baptism in our chapel so we got to invite our investigators and go. It was so much fun even though the Elders sent us running to our Pizo to find clothes for her.

Sunday was just a whole lot of goodbyes. I love these people so much they have taken such good care of me. When I was without a companion they all just took me in. But really I am excited for a new adventure.

I ate with bishop for the last time. And I made sure to eat as much food as I possibly could :) then baptism crazy began. Turns out the zone leaders also were baptizing someone so we had three people and it was just our luck that the
young woman's in excellence was right before so the whole ward just stayed behind to support our cute investigators. The baptism went perfectly. All of the people bore such sweet testimonies. M and F were so content and cute together and M gave her first prayer and it was perfect. It is hard to describe the feeling you get when you give some part of your heart so dear to people and you see them take it and make it part of their own.

Hermana Esplin and I sang for the last time together and it was wonderful. She has been so amazing for me. We have had a fun time learning and growing together.

Lately I have been feeling a little down, just never knowing if I am doing enough and then realizing that focusing in that too much just means I am being too self-centered. During numbers Elder Adcock told me to read a talk:
not withstanding my weakness. By Elder Maxwell. It is amazing and I would encourage all of you to read it all!

This is going to be my last district meeting here in Malaga so I am supposed to give my 5 points to a successful mission in district meeting and I thought I would share what I have come up with.

First off we know that success is a gift from God (
Alma 26) we cannot earn it. We can only be worthy of it and trust that God will bless us for our efforts. With that in mind I want to share 5 things we can do to be worthy of this gift.

1. Understand what trials really are. (
Romans 5:2-3 and D&C 58 2-3). If a farmer has two horses and one is very weak and sick and one is strong, knowing what work needs to be done he will give more of the burden to the stronger horse. So when trials or hard times come we should be happy knowing that God is giving us the chance to become stronger and trusts us with more so the work continues forth. We need to trust that The Lord of the harvest knows us and our capacity. And we know that through trials we gain experience which leads us to hope.

2. Obey with a whole heart. I have been drawn to a parable that you find in
Ezekiel 47 where Ezekiel sees a river coming from the temple. An angel comes and tells him to walk a while then cross the river. Upon doing so he crosses ankle deep. Imagine you are in a desert and how wonderful that would feel on your feet. But God never intended Ezekiel to only have an ankle deep experience. The angel beckons him forward again to cross the river. The water at this point was knee deep. I am sure it was amazing and yet onward and onward beckons the angel until the river was too deep. How beautiful when we see what these waters to swim in represent. How appropriate this image - for the love God has for us. The joy that can be found in this work. But it only comes to the point we are willing to follow and obey. If we stop at some point and say we will go no further there stops our joy as well. Onward!

3. Work with all of my might. I think this is something we learn from the parables of the
hidden treasure and of the pearl of great price. No matter who we are, the price is the same: Our all. It’s the same for this work. But it requires our all to receive the prize (or joy). It doesn't matter who we are. All that is required is our all.

4. Faith. I could go on about this but I love the story in
Matthew 14 about Peter walking on water. After all we can do faith is trusting that he will do the rest. We need to just jump out of the boat and trust him.

5. Most important is our love for God. Love him, know and understand the love he has for his children, and understand that as much as we want to succeed God wants us to succeed even more. He will do all he can because these are his children the work of his hands.

Anyway I hope that made sense I love you all so much :)

Hermana Smalley

Sunday, December 6, 2015

He didn't ask for a single thing, I almost started crying right there.

November 30, 2015
Dearest family,

This week has been so jam packed with awesome I hope I can give you the smallest part of the joy and craziness that is a mission :)

Monday night we went out and finally got in contact with some jovenes [young people] we had contacted on the street. I don't know what it is but something about teaching guys my age just freaks me out. But we faced that fear. I realized it actually didn't matter at all who they were. I am a missionary here to spread a beautiful message. Nothing else matters. I learned this week that as long as I fight to have the spirit, the spirit will give me the courage I need to push forward and do everything I need to as a missionary. It can change my awkward words into something so much more.

Tuesday morning we had district meeting per usual. At the end of the meeting all the missionaries decided we wanted to do thanksgiving, so we threw it all together. We managed to make assignments and have everything accounted for. So the next couple days, every morning medio dia [ie. noon] and night in our spare time, we were cooking food! Anyway the rest of that story will come later. Tuesday night we got to teach M and her daughter A with a wonderful member named N. It was such a great lesson. Having members with us is such a blessing they seriously make all of the difference.

Then we stopped by F and M. Oh my! I don't think I can properly describe the miracles that have followed. We taught F lesson 1 and really focusing on authority because last time we talked with him he told us, “I already have been baptized, I don't need to be again”. At the end of the lesson we invited him to be baptized and he said, "Hermanas, I have been talking with M and I know my other baptism wasn't the same. I really would like to be baptized." WHAT?!! He is incredible! So we set a date with him and then we asked if we could close with a prayer, I think I will just list the amazing things that followed: 1. He volunteered to pray because he wanted to make sure he knew how to do it right. 2. He thanked God for us by name (here in Spain I am lucky if anyone remembers my name because it is so different, some of the members we work with daily don't know it. And we only taught him one lesson!) 3. He thanked God for the chance to follow his commandments and be baptized the right way. 4. He remembered his date and thanked God he could be baptized on that day. 5. He didn't ask for a single thing! 6. After the prayer he looked at us and said, “I don't know if that was alright but I tried”.

I literally almost started crying right there. The man is so prepared. We came back the next morning and taught the plan of salvation and he said, "Hermanas I know this is God’s plan, I feel like you just gave me something really big, and now I need to ponder it." He is just amazing!

We then went to N’s house for a lesson and an English class where we labeled all the things in her kitchen in English. I laughed remembering when I did that to our kitchen at home but mom wasn't quite as happy as N.

After we met with H and G. Our cute couple who were scheduled to be baptized this week. We did our best to prep them for their baptismal interview and get them excited. More information on this to follow. That night we found out that our bishop was in the hospital because he had suffered a heart attack :/ he was stable and things were looking good for him but it was still quite a scare for the whole ward. After noche de hogar [family home evening] we found out that Brian, our ward mission leader, had asked president if he could have all of us over that night to celebrate thanksgiving. President gave him the go ahead so we had a Brazilian thanksgiving feast that night. It was really fun to be with that cute family and not to mention the food was absolutely amazing!!

Then the day came. Thanksgiving. Normally we play fútbol in the mornings but I was having none of that. So the Elders brought a football and we played some awkward no contact football. It was actually super super fun. We all felt very American. Including Elder Tenorio. Also that morning I may have gotten stuck on a fence but no biggy I'm fine :) then we had a mad dash to make stuffing and potatoes before studies started. And we did an awesome weekly planning. We also made a paella pan full of stuffing that morning before studies.

Okay so there are 20 missionaries here in Malaga. And about 14 of them were planning on coming to the chapel during mediodia to feast. We were all supposed to get there right at 2. Well our district of 6 was there and it was actually super fun bringing in all the food setting up tables and such. Elder Adcock brought sandwich turkey meat and we didn't stop making fun of him for it. But I did a hibachi fry so I can't laugh too hard. Anyway an hour later the rest of the missionaries show up. And we finally got to eat! To the chorus of Elder Jenkins yelling “eat till it hurts!!” Oh and we did. Apparently everyone that night had trouble staying awake during lessons.

Anyway we started intercambios right after said feast. And I was with Hermana Estes. I love her and was so excited to work with her! We ran quite painfully from the chapel to a baptismal interview with H and G. It went well. Elder Adcock pointed out some things that we should review beforehand. It was an eye opener to me because they had been the ones saying it was too soon, and then they finally agreed to be baptized, so we just assumed they were ready, but there is a difference between willing and ready. Thankfully Elder Adcock’s concerns were minor. Then we got to go teach D. I learned so much from Hermana Estes about being direct and we just had a blast teaching together. Then an awkward run to the chapel to save the zone leaders from the uprising our english students gave when we were late and they tried to teach. Apparently they did not want Elder Jenkins for a teacher. We got there and it all worked out :)

Friday morning. Amazing. Love Hermana Estes. Then we were switching back and M calls us to remind us we are supposed to eat with her that day! Sprinting to her house to eat her lovely food with Hermana Esplin :)

Friday and Saturday are kind of a blur just trying to get everything ready for the baptism. Saturday G told us H got a bad feeling about being baptized and no longer wanted to do it. She still wanted to. Hermana Esplin and I desperately tried to get in touch with H but he avoided us completely. We had to just focus on keeping G happy, and getting her all ready.

Sunday rolls around and I'm in church. Brian comes up to me and surprise attacks me with a talk in sacrament meeting. No big deal until president comes to our sacrament meeting! I sat down and during the opening hymn remembered that I was supposed to speak. Here is what I ended up saying: I talked about the 2000 stripling warriors and in Alma 56 how it talks about how they had never fought before but they thought more on the liberty of their parents than their own lives.

I related that to how many of us have never spoken Spanish or tried to be missionaries before but we need to think more on the liberty of our brothers and sisters than our own fear. We have been called not to war but to save. I also loved how they responded to the call of Helaman:
“44 Therefore what say ye, my sons, will ye go against them to battle?
“45 And now I say unto you, my beloved brother Moroni, that never had I seen so great courage, nay, not amongst all the Nephites.
Then in verse 46: “Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth”

I want to be able to respond to my father in heavens call in a similar manner.

We were eating at bishop’s house when Hermana Esplin remembered that we forgot to fill the font! The font takes 2 hours to fill and we had one hour before president was supposed to come. Desperate call to the zone leaders, and we had all four of us there throwing pots of water into the font. It was a tender moment of team work. Then we remembered we were missionaries and the 6 of us knelt down and prayed. And the font filled in time! So count the small miracles. The whole thing went so well. We sang for G and she cried because she loved it so much :) The bishop played on the organ for us which is always a little interesting but it worked out :) I am so happy for the chance I have to be here in Malaga. These people are so special and God has been so good to me.

I love you all so much,
Hermana Smalley

What do I need to do to get that?

November 23, 2015

Hello family!

I have loved hearing from you all week :) mom I know that song from several car rides full of sisters and a mother who loves country ;) I love grandma’s China. thank you so much for getting it for me!

This last week has honestly been one of my favorite weeks on my mission. I honestly cannot say quite why. Nothing much has changed except me. I have come to love this work. I really enjoy every moment I can be out working. It's not really something I can describe or accurately explain, but I love it.

This week we saw so many miracles with the investigators we are working with. We have been teaching H and G. And as much as they understand everything and seem to love what we teach, they just haven't been willing to commit to baptism. We worked with A lot this week. But they finally came to church. And we went and taught a lesson and G turned to us and told us about how much she relates to Joseph Smith. She had been to so many churches and searched for so long to try and find the truth. When she came to the church she found the peace she had been looking for. They agreed to be baptized next week and I cannot wait! Talk about probably the best lesson I have ever been a part of.

Doing this work is just such a blessing. I'm so sorry if I'm coming off sounding silly, but when you work so hard with these people to try and help them understand and then they take a small step of faith and come to sacrament meeting and see a confirmation and then they ask you what was that they just did? And you get to bear simple testimony of the gift of the Holy Ghost and have them look you in their eyes and say I want that. What do I need to do to get that? It just kinda blows your mind a little bit how great God is.

This Sunday was the primary program. And yes it is just as cute in Spanish as it is in English. So my favorite Sunday of the year. We started off sacrament meeting with four of our investigators there and Hermana Esplin and I were stoked! We started singing the spirit of God and I was just feeling said spirit so strong. Then I looked up and Y walked into church with her family. My jaw dropped and I may have started crying a little. I know embarrassing. But it was just so beautiful to see her come because it has been such a fight to teach her and try to help her come to church. It was so beautiful because her two kids had part in the program. Probably my favorite part of the whole thing was sitting in a room full of recent converts and watch their faces as their children got up are bore their testimonies of Christ.

Y's son C is a little ball of energy. He was on a rampage up on the stand - classic primary program, and made me laugh so hard! But when his part came he got up there so proudly and said his line "¡sigo al profeta!" So loudly. Bishop had way too much fun playing the organ during the songs. All in all it was a perfect Sunday and I loved every minute of it.

Also just so you are aware I am so sorry for the lack of pictures. We have been asked to only use our iPads for missionary purposes so we haven't been taking pictures hardly at all. And so I literally have none to share with you. I'll try to be better. But all we have been doing in p-day is playing soccer so not much to take pictures of ;) today there were some Spanish kids our age on the field so we invited them to play. I think we all overestimated our playing abilities. They smoked us. I think it's just in their blood to be amazing at soccer.

Also just cuz I know mom is probably worried. As far as events in Europe. Everything here in Spain is going well :) things are normal and mission is great so no need to worry about little old us.

This week we had another chance to teach T. It is funny because he is very well versed in the Bible and has been very impressed with my scripture knowledge. Before you think I've lost all humility it's only because he loves Paul. And I love Paul. So I've studied him ;) other than at I'm lost. But the process has been trying to work with T to love the Book of Mormon. He doesn't even know how much he sounds like a member of the church when he talks. He thinks he is so alone in his beliefs and it is my favorite to tell him we believe much of the same things at he believes.

Other wonderful news! M came back from Italy! It happened on a night where all of our plans had failed us and we were starting to hit up the back up plans then all the sudden out of nowhere we get a phone call from M. And she says she is home and we go over and visit her right then. She introduced us to her cute husband who we are now teaching. I love at woman so much. I was just so happy to see her I think I might have scared her a little bit ;)

Last night we were out contacting and Hermana Esplin and I were again struck with just how much trust the Lord has in us.  We contacted a man on the street who literally had just lost everything and was really just feeling very desperate. We taught him a lesson and got to bear testimony of the reality of the atonement and God’s love for us. Seeing the hope build back up into his eyes made my heart swell. (I never realized just how awesome that phrase was until I used it!) We left him with a Book of Mormon and he gave us his info. So I'd say things are really about to change for this man :)

Just to finish up I wanted to share with you what I have been studying this wonderful month of November. I have been focusing on charity. Charity is something I have not really understood. Okay I mean I understood it. I had always heard it's the pure love of Christ. But I guess I never knew how to apply it. Or what a strength it really is. Charity is truly loving as Christ would - always expecting the best from people. Even if they have let you down or done less than you hoped they would. Just like our Savior always loves us. Even when we let him down and do less than he hopes. Charity is the opposite of judgement. It is understanding we can never understand everything someone is going through enough to judge them. And loving them for what they are, including their weaknesses, just as we hope to be loved.

But I have learned also that charity is even more than this. Charity is extending that same love to ourselves. Charity is accepting our weaknesses. And feeling God’s love for us, even when we feel we don't deserve it. How could we expect to give something to others, if we can't even give it to ourselves?

Also the phrase “charity never faileth” [1 Corinthians 13:8; Moroni 7:46] never really made sense to me before Hermana Esplin and I talked about it. We talked about motivation. I am a food motivated person. So when food is on the line. I can make myself do just about anything. But when I am full that motivation fails. But when charity is our motivation that motivation will literally never fail us. We will always want to do better and give more. Because hate will always hurt us and bitterness always destroy, but charity will never fail us!

I want to apply this so much better in my life but it is a process because I have learned that perfection is not a state. It is a path we all have to walk but every step takes us closer to our Father in Heaven!

You are all the best! 
Hermana Smalley

Every day is a chance to improve

November 16, 2015

For P-day [preparation day] today, we all got together (the 2 zones here in Malaga) and went bowling! Para que sepa yes, I am still awful! I'm pretty sure I scored the lowest there but hey it was fine! Elder Johnson and I ended up playing horse. Some bowling balls may have been kicked and 360 spun down the ally. And a certain Hermana's foot might hurt a little ;) but it was defiantly fun. However on the way home the bus that was going to take us back to our area was super late. That put the Malaga 4 district in a bit of a bind, because P-day ends at 6:30, and we were in street clothes. So, I want you all to picture 6 missionaries on a bus having finished contacting some people coming together only to look at the watch and see the clock strike 6:30. And all of our heads just drop.

Then Elder Johnson turns to us and he says jokingly serious "I hope we all feel super united right now, because we know there are only two things that unite missionaries: disobedience and exact obedience." (Heads drop a little lower.) Then Elder Adcock gave us a little pep talk and when that bus stopped you had 6 missionaries sprinting to Pizo (our apartment) to change and get out to work.

Reading over that I see how depressing that sounds. It really was a funny situation we were all pretty sad but laughing because there was no way we could have fixed it. But it is so true that obedience really is the key. Our district has worked so hard to be exactly obedient and we really have seen the blessings. We all had the privilege of helping people we love get baptized this transfer. All of you future missionaries, don't you ever let anyone tell you obedience is less than important. It becomes so easy to justify and change rules to suit you if you let it. Just don't!

That night we got to teach our cute Anny about the temple. We talked to her about the possibility of her own eternal family and she is super excited to work with us to get her husband coming to church. Teaching Anny is always one of my favorite things because she is just so fantastic and her cute family just melts my heart. I think it would be one of the biggest honors of my life to be able to be there the day they get sealed.

Tuesday morning we had our last district meeting. I had the part where I read from the mission handbook, I made everyone read over P-day rules and we all just busted up laughing, but then promised to never be late from P-day again. Hermana Esplin and I are going to always have emergency skirts on hand just in case we can get back to Pizo ;) other than that, Elder Johnson and Elder Adcock gave awesome talks about how we can be successful missionaries. I really will miss this district a lot. We learned a lot together. Elder Johnson is headed to Alicante (jealous) and Elder Pyle will be headed to Malaga 3.

On Wednesday I said goodbye to Hermana Rocha. That's right ladies and gents. She is home. That was a hard thing. I love that woman so much. She taught me so much and was so incredibly patient with me in the beginning of my mission I cannot even express accurately the impact she had on me. I really hope to live up to everything that she taught me.
After that it was my job to guide the new missionaries back to our area in time for consejo (council). Which any time Hermana Smalley is guiding is an adventure but we did in fact make it! The first consejo with bishop and new missionaries is always super funny watching their reactions. Bishop is awesome but he talks super quickly and changes subjects real fast. So it makes for some lost missionaries if they aren't used to it.

This week we got to teach a bunch of new people. We started teaching Tito who is super religious and has had experience with the missionaries before but wasn't interested. We had an awesome first lesson with him and I am super excited to see how it progresses.

Also things I have learned in Spain: oranges are a winter fruit. And Malaga is covered in orange trees so it's like nature is decorating all the trees for Christmas! There are also oranges all over the streets and little kids, and a certain Hermana use them like soccer balls. I also have this huge fear of falling oranges hitting me on the head.

Friday was probably the coolest day ever. We just taught all day! Seriously Heavenly Father was so good to us and just put people in our path all day that were ready to hear from us. Like I said last week, God is good.

On Saturday Brian gave Hermana Esplin a ukulele. I have not stopped hearing it since then. But she is also teaching me to play :) so Spencer we will play when I get home.

It has been an awesome week and I am super exited to be here in Malaga for the next 4 weeks. I have a whole lot I still want to learn and every day is a chance to improve. This week I read a talk by President Utchdorf that Elder Johnson gave me. It's called “Fear not, I am with thee”. It was amazing! There were a number of things that stuck out to me. Basically the talk was about being bold and not fearing anyone. In the talk he shares the story of two Elders one who had a really strong drive and another who didn't quite have that drive. One of my favorite parts was when this Elder asked his struggling companion," who are you Elder?" And then, smiling, pulled out 3 Nephi 5:13:

Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.

After that he said, Elder you are a disciple of Jesus Christ! You fear no man!

That has become my motto this week. For me, when we teach young men our age I always feel a little uncomfortable. But every time I have just looked at Hermana Esplin and said, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ! I fear no man! And then ring the doorbell.

Another favorite part of the talk is when the Elders were talking, and the one Elder suggested that maybe they take it easy. The other said, “Elder, I fear no man and that includes you. I will baptize with or without you. I prefer with you, but you get to choose."

How often is it that the people we are most afraid of are the closest to us? We are afraid to offend them or do something wrong. However the difference between boldness and overbearance is found in love. If people can feel your love, you can't be too bold!

Anyway the whole talk is incredible to read if you can :) I love you all so much and I cannot believe it has almost been 6 months since I came here to Spain. What!? Time flies. And we all have the same amount of it and it's what we do with it that counts!

You are the best!

Hermana Smalley

God is good. En memoria de El, que me amó

November 9, 2015
Dearest Family, 

Just thought I'd start today of with a shout out from Elder Johnson. Now you know how we begin practically every day here in Malaga :)

Wow, honestly thinking back on this week it is hard to remember all that happened. Hermana Esplin and I worked super hard, but it was just one of those weeks with a lot of working and not seeing much success. But I think coming out of a week like that I can look back proud knowing that I didn't pull out. I kept giving my all and doing my best. It reminds me of something Hermana Rocha would always say, "We will never see the full fruits of the work we do here, until we reach the heavens." This week we were just building up heavenly stores ;)

This week we were supposed to have zone meeting on Friday morning so we did all of our planning accordingly. Well wouldn't you know, come Tuesday afternoon we get a text from the zone leaders telling us we were going to have said meeting Thursday morning and change weekly planning to Friday morning. That would have been fine except that we have an amazing investigator, Jamie, who literally can never meet with us except Friday morning.

Well, thought Hermanas Smalley and Esplin, No pasa nada (no big deal). We will just plan another day. And then we looked in our plans to see when we might have a 3 hour block to plan. The answer was none. We had none. And then we got 2 consecutive phone calls canceling all citas we had planned for Tuesday night. So we decided to aprovechar. We went home and planned Tuesday night. (Shout out for weekly planning. So important. If you don't do it you are just planning to fail). Well right after we finished planning we got a call from the zone leaders telling us the reason they moved zone meeting was to help us with our weekly planning, so make sure not to do it before Friday..... We both felt a little sheepish. But hey we were just trying to be effective ;)

Wednesday night we were in charge of the spiritual thought for noche de hogar (family home evening)*. We decided to talk about the title of liberty. This is something Hermana Esplin has had in her heart a lot recently. Because just like the Nephites of old we are fighting a battle every day. The age old battle between good and evil. Every day we need to be united within ourselves if we expect to take on the world. So we read the story with all the people and then asked them to make their own. The Elders brought some old shirts from their Pizo and we had a fun time making them. It was awesome to see the different things people put down to help inspire them to keep fighting the good fight. As I have pondered this, I have thought a lot about what it is that makes me want to continue fighting. My amazing family, my rights, my friends? I wanted to share with all of you what I actually ended up putting down,

En memoria de El, que me amó

In memory of him, who loved me

Now I know this isn't the most eloquent thing. I'm not even sure if my Spanish grammar is correct here. And as much as I was inspired by all the wonderful things people shared I realized that when it really came down to it, my motivating source or at least what I want to be my only driving force is the memory of the Savior. I know that I can't put it in past tense (his love for me), but I was referring specifically to the atonement. He loved me enough to die for me. And in his time in the garden, I don't pretend to know how it all worked, but there might have been a moment that he endured all he did just for me. What he did for me. The love he showed. Will always be enough for me to keep going. Those days when my feet kill, when I think I can't keep going. When I might even have the audacity to look up and ask my father and brother why? Why is this so hard? Do I have to do this? I hear a small voice whisper. Erinn, can you just do this for me? And I can't help but cry inside, for you. I would do anything because for me, you did everything. This will be enough for me, always.

Thursday morning we had zone meeting! Yay. In preparation we were told to read John 17 when Christ gave an accounting to the father for the work he did. I was struck by his manner of prayer. And realized how much I want to pray to the father and tell him. Of the people he gave me I lost none of them. And I used all the time he gave me well.

On Friday we had the craziest day. We ran from cita (appointment) to cite. We literally collapsed at the end of it. But we got to learn how to make bread from a Brazilian woman :) it was super fun!

We had stake conference in Granada this Sunday. I was struck by how amazing it was to be gathered with so many saints here in Spain. A convert got up and bore her testimony. I was sitting there thinking of the people I have taught and praying that in six years’ time I could see each of them up there.

We had some fun times on the bus because we were on a bus with all missionaries. We told some funny stories about our families. Everyone loved the fact that mom made us practice behaving in sacrament meeting after church :)

We have been teaching a group of men from Africa. And it is always super fun, but this week they asked us why we couldn't talk to our families more. Ali told us it's because he thinks the church wants us to be tough. He turned to us and said, Hermana Smalley do you think you are tough? In that moment I realized I was standing there in a pink sweater with a bow in my hair. Haha, I just squeaked out a “yes” and we all laughed about it.

Anyway, I am so sorry this email is in the shorter side. I just want you to know how much I love this work. I am learning and growing so much. I am struck quite often by the love from God that I feel always. Yesterday was a harder night for us because we were dead tired from traveling all day, but we finished the night singing pretty loudly a song from Nashville tribute band:

God is good. God is good. We came SOOOO much farther than we thought we could. Keep walking now“  ;)

So if you ever get down, just picture two cute little Hermanas dead tired, singing that song awfully through the dark streets of Spain on the way home. Because it so true. God is good.

Love you all so much. Your letters made me so so happy. I want you to know I read all of them and laugh like crazy and drive everyone nuts reading the things you say

All much love,
 Hermana Smalley