Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The best of Christmases

December 28, 2015 
Dearest family,
Wow it has just been the craziest of weeks. Yet again I cannot believe that a whole week has gone by.

Tuesday we had a special zone conference in Sevilla. We we all woke up early and traveled there. And at the train station in Sevilla I was greeted by the happiest of reunions. I met up with my old district in Malaga. Hermana Esplin and I just laughed and gave each other the biggest hug you ever did see Elder Jenkins and Elder Adcock filled me in on all the funny things Obispo Padilla had done and Elder Tenorio filled me in on all the fun things Elder Adcock and Jenkins had done. I was seriously just like a family reunion. Then we all headed to the stake center and got to talk to more long lost friends. President got there with the Ayudantes and there were even more hellos. I was just a pretty happy camper. Then we had a talent show. Um Hermana Esplin started by singing something and it was incredible. Elder Jenkins and Adcock also sang. Seriously it was just super funny and full of laugher. It ended with a handstand contest that president ended up joining in :)

Then we all walked to a nearby super market and did a flash mob and sang Christmas carols. It was actually super fun then we all went back to the chapel for the actual conference. We are saying goodbye to some amazing missionaries this transfer and they all got up to bear their testimonies. Elder Durrant is going home and he said something that really impacted me, he said that there is no such thing as someone who was born to be a missionary. There is no one who is just naturally good at it. Some people just have more confidence. Not in themselves but in the lord than others. That really struck me because I have found myself talking about some of the best missionaries I have ever met, like Elder Merrill Elder Johnson and Hermana Eyring, as just born to be missionaries. But when Elder Durrant said that it made me realize we all have the potential to be amazing missionaries, but some of us just don't have the confidence in the lord to put everything out there. I want to be that way :)

President also spoke on a subject that really touched me. He talked to us about how just for this Christmas season we should lay aside all our self-doubt. All of our criticism and just allow ourselves to feel the love God has for each of us. It has been a problem in our mission, this perfectionism. Where we all just feel too weak to do everything right. Or just at we can never measure up. And president got up and just shared his deep love and respect for each of us and pleaded with us to accept the gift that we offer to others for ourselves. Let ourselves feel his abiding love for each of us and allow it to make us better. It was honestly something that I really needed.

Cute Hermana Anderson was in the states this week for her son’s wedding and she brought us all back Spain Malaga mission temple recommend holders they are amazing! After the conference we all are food and loved it;)
Then all of the missionaries going to Cadiz had about 4 hours before our train left. I asked the zone leaders in Sevilla what we could do to help them out in their area, they told us to just enjoy ourselves and see Sevilla. And Hermana Peters and I decided that wasn't the best use of time;) so we did in fact enjoy ourselves and went to some super touristy spots ... To contact;) we went to a place called plaza de España. I told you guys on the call it is where they filmed star wars it honestly took my breath away. So beautiful. We also met some people from the states which was awesome!

One long train ride home, and night of sleep later it was Wednesday :)

We literally did so much work on Wednesday just because it was one of our only full days of work and we wanted to make the most of the week. We finished the night with our cute investigator iris. She is so ready to be baptized but is just still holding out for a sure answer. We are working with her and she has been having amazing experiences with prayer. So sorry that wasn't too informative. But Wednesday was cool!

Turns out Christmas Eve no one really wants to meet with the missionaries ;) but we went out and worked the morning anyway ;) then we went home and did weekly planning. And that finished our plans! Weird. So we made sugar cookies and hand cut them into fun Christmas shapes :) then we met up with the Elders at the chapel and watched joy to the world. It was so Christmassy! We just all felt the spirit so strong. Then we spent Christmas Eve with some amazing members. I know I already told mom and dad this story, but Christmas Eve we had to be in bed at 11. So we ended up leaving the members home late. It was 10:50. We were 15 minutes from home. But we HAD to get home on time. So we ran home and made it to Pizo in 5 min. Yeah impressive ;) we ripped open our Christmas PJs and were in bed panting at 11 on the dot. Christmas miracle.

Christmas morning president let us sleep in an extra hour :) yay they we woke up and opened presents and made French toast and frosted sugar cookies! We then headed to Cadiz and hung out with the other missionaries there. We did a white elephant and all sorts of fun Christmas things. Then I got to call all of you! I'm sorry it was crazy but it was so good to see you all! I'm sorry we could t do it all together but it was really nice to talk to you individually :)

Saturday was haha well a rough day ;) a lot of things didn't go according to plan, but we endured to the end and worked ever minuet of the day :) let’s just put it this way. We had 10 lessons planned and taught 3 and one of the three was not planned ;) but we were doing a random door contact and right before the door opens I look over and see Hermana Peters shove huge thing of chocolate into her mouth. I died laughing and when the guy came we were both bright red and Hermana Peters had a mouth full of chocolate. This is why I love her.

Sunday was wonderful as usual. We talked with Maria and she wants to follow through with her date for this Saturday. Which means first investigator baptism here in the new chapel! We are super excited. But we might need to move it back a week just for logistics :)

We taught our cute U after church. Hermana Peters asked her what it meant to her that we had prophets today. She was so funny and said “what do crokketas (super yummy food here) have to do with anything?” I never realized that profetas and croketas do sound similar :)

We finished the night with a noche de Hogar with the jas. It was a super good time :) I love this ward!
I love you all so much. I am forever grateful for this time I have in my mission. I am learning so much as a serve my savior. I am not perfect at all. But every day I try to give my all :)

Enjoy the rest of the year!

Hermana Smalley

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