Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Here they’ll tell you to go “fry an asparagus” rather than “go jump in a lake”

January 25, 2016
Dear family,
I feel like I always start my letters this way, but what a week. I think it's something so amazing about the mission that every week can be so different while I'm doing much of the same things. That might sound contradictory, but we live a schedule that has us doing the same things every day. But funny how the hour of personal study can be so different one from another, and it's not hard to imagine how the time out working changes every day. I feel like the mission is seriously just the most perfect environment to learn and change, we are asked to do hard things, but also given all the tools we need to do them. Everything we do is centered on Christ and his atonement that gives us hope to change. In centering our lives on that how could we not change.

I was talking to a member the other day who asked me how much time I had been here. I went for my normal answer of about 6 months. Then it hit me that I have been out 8 months. I literally almost cried. How is it the time can pass so quickly?

Anyway :) on Tuesday we had district meeting again, surprise ;) I gave a talk about inspired questions. I was super happy because it was one I needed to study. So I spent some time studying the kind of questions Christ asked and how we could emulate him. I loved how in almost every question he asked, it caused the person to reflect inward and give an answer as a commitment to him and themselves. We hopped on an early train back from Cadiz and went to eat with Susanna and her cute family. It was so much fun! They gave us the every flavored beans from Harry Potter. I lucked out and got lemon. But Hermana Peters got dirt. So that's fun ;) we also talked about Spanish phrases verse English phrases. Like how here they’ll tell you to go “fry an asparagus” rather than to “go jump in a lake”.

After that Hermana Peters and I started a companionship fast for our area. We were both pretty scared, because we both love food and we both get pretty cranky without it. But we knew our area needed our faith so we went for it! And we saw so many miracles. First off, F our investigator who lives really far away hasn't been responding so we decided to go out on a limb and go see him. He was there and ended up being able to teach him! Miracle. Wednesday morning was when it got a little harder for us.

We both were pretty tired but went out to give it our all. Around 1 we were both ready to crash because all our plans had fallen through. But we told ourselves that being grumpy about fasting is just as bad as not fasting at all. We had chosen to fast and we were grateful for the opportunity to show our diligence in the work. While we were walking we ran right into M, our #1 investigator who we ended up dropping last week because she just a wasn't progressing. We had been fasting to know what to do for her and how we could help her. And we ran right into her! We went in and got to teach her. It was awesome.

 afternoon we went to teach English class then hopped on a train to Cadiz for a worldwide conference of missionaries. Yeah. Pretty much general conference for missionaries. It was so cool. I loved thinking of cute Paige in Finland watching at 7 pm and cute Megan watching in Hawaii at 7 am and just everyone in between. They tried to get as many missionaries watching at the same time as possible. When we sang the opening hymn I kept thinking there is no way the whole world wasn't hearing our song. It was awesome! Anyway. They had one main theme: teach repentance and baptize converts. And they centered all of the talks on that. I learned just how important it is for me to be a fine tuned instrument for Heavenly Father to use to help his children. So Hermana Peters and I really worked on doing better companionship studies and following the spirit. I honestly feel like the things I learned in that conference changed my mission completely.

Thursday afternoon we got to teach Is. We have been trying really hard to teach her daughter J, who is our investigator, but we decided to really try and teach her. She told us that she has been reading the book with her daughter and always feels the spirit. And we were like what book? And she said. The only book. The one you gave us. They had been reading together even when we had t been able to teach them. We set a baptismal date with Isabel and it was wonderful!

Saturday the Elders had a baptism. So we got to bring U and Ja. It was super funny because everyone there kept asking Ja when he was finally going to get baptized. It was pretty funny. The investigator of the elders is incredible. He likes church so much that he comes to both blocks and is just so excited about the gospel.

Sunday was an amazing day. Church was a little sad because none of our investigators came. Again. But it's okay we will just try harder next week to get them exited. Anyway after church Mayka our ward missionary invited us over for lunch. She invited her cute neighbor on the spot so we could teach them. She also gave us Aroz con leche. So I was a happy camper. Then we went to go teach a new investigator. We were super excited but when we looked up her address it turns out she lives in the Elder’s area. But we had set the cita so we went running into their area to the farthest corner and some how didn't get lost (yes my map reading skills have improved) and we taught R. It was awesome she is 13 but super mature and she told us she loved One Direction. Okay both statements are true even if the order seemed a little weird. Anyway Hermana Peters and I kinda freaked and we became instant friends. We got to teach an awesome first lesson and we are pretty sad to have to pass her to the Elders but it's okay.

Anyway Sunday night, okay we had worked all week to plan this awesome family home evening for M and I. Because the both of them are just not progressing because their next step would be baptism. They know they need to but are just waiting for some kind of sign. Anyway so we set up an fhe in Sergio and Laura's home and got a lot of the young adults to come. Then right before it was supposed to start, M and I cancelled on us. We were so sad and embarrassed. We were still outside but didn't want to go in to tell the 6 RMs (returned missionaries) in there that we didn't have any investigators to come. But what happened was probably the most interesting thing of my mission. We decided to take advantage of the opportunity.

You need to understand. The leadership here in San Fernando is all really young. We had a member of the bishopric a member of the high council, our ward mission leader and some other teachers there. All in their early 20s and all RMs. So we went in and decided to make it a night about missionary work. We explained what we were seeing in our area and asked for things that worked in their missions that might help us. They gave us some great advice, and then we asked them how we could help them help us. We had an awesome discussion about what each of them could do for the work here and had them each make their own personal mission plan. We closed with an amazing quote by Parley P Pratt, one of my heroes:

When he was called on a mission to serve in Chile, after serving already for 25 years. 25 years! His response was: (this won't be perfect because I don't have it with me but pretty close) “not my will but God’s be done”. If I can spend my days proclaiming the restored gospel I will consider it an honor and a privilege. I think that it matters but very little if I earn the honor or the dishonor of man or even where I die, if only I can fight the good fight, and give my all I have all of eternity to enjoy myself.

We talked to them about how the mission really never ends and how we need them now more than ever to help this work go forth. We all left super charged and it honestly was such an amazing experience. We also left with 6 references so now we know exactly how to start the week. I don't know that anything like that has ever happened before but it was a super good experience for me to explain to the leaders of our ward what we were trying to do and have them give us their insights.

Never underestimate what the Lord has done to prepare the people surrounding you. I know that we always hear about missionary work, but seriously. We cannot do this work without the members. I have been trying as hard as I know how these last few weeks, and it just doesn't work. Help your missionaries, invite your neighbor over, it doesn't need to be weird, it won't ruin a relationship and it just could change their lives. Sister Peters’ best friend just got baptized two days ago. It was such a joy for her and her family. It made me wish I had done better when I was at home. But there is still time! :)

Anyway. I have just fallen completely in love with this area and this ward. Transfers continue to strike fear in my heart because I don't want anything to change. But I know it will all work out just how it is meant to.

This transfer has been such a learning experience for me. It has helped me learn to trust in Gods timing. And also trust more in his love for me. We have been struggling to see the fruits of our labors here, and as hard as that has been for me, I know it has been harder on my companion. Wondering if we are doing something wrong to prevent us from receiving revelation for our investigators, wondering if we aren't working hard enough to find more people. And Satan is still throwing those thoughts around in our heads, but we have been keeping them from sinking into our hearts. Because we know God’s love is real and that he will help us do all we need to, as long as we work and trust in him. We have learned to accept God’s timing with the progress of his children and just be ready and willing to do all that he asked just like the savior was. It has been amazing to see just how easy it can be to stay happy even when it's all going wrong, if you can just keep it in perspective and think, " man, Heavenly Father trusts me a whole lot to send a trial like this, and if I get through it well, I am going to be so much better."

I know that this gospel is true, I know that it blesses the lives of all who will listen. Sometimes when we walk down the streets and no one will listen or people make fun of us it is easy to lose heart and get sad. But Hermana Peters told me once that these people don't even know how lucky they are to have representatives of Christ walking down the streets. Not to make us prideful of course but rather to help us remember that our talking to someone is probably the most important thing that will happen to them all day, they might not know it, but we do. So we should never shy away from it!

Love you all,
Hermana Smalley

No comments:

Post a Comment