Sunday, December 6, 2015

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

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