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

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