Sunday, December 6, 2015

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

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