Saturday, February 6, 2016

It meant the world, to have her finally open up

Feb 1, 2016
Dearest family,

Well I guess I better just start with the big news. After an 8 week transfer the whole mission has just kinda been holding its breath for what it coming next. And for good reason. Every single companionship on this side of the mission is changing. I'm not sure about Alicante but it has been crazy! So yeah I guess that gives it away. I don't get to keep cute Hermana Peters anymore. She is headed off to a Pueblo to be with someone in their last transfer. As sad as I am to see her go I know she will do amazing things!

Oh yeah so that leaves me here. I'm training. For real this time because Hermana Peters doesn't really count ;) but yeah I'll be headed back to Malaga tomorrow to pick up my new companion. No idea who it will be and I'm pretty scared. But I also know the Lord qualifies those that he calls. It's funny how the Lord works isn't it? When I was in Malaga I felt like I had a really good grasp on missionary work. I knew my area, I knew the people, I knew the ward. And when I was there I thought about training there and I was confident that I could do it. But now that I am here in an area that I don't know as well and a place I am not as comfortable the Lord asks me to train. Amazing how he pushes us and always asks us to stand a little taller and go beyond what we think we can do.

All that aside I really am excited, with new missionaries comes miracles. And I know she will be able to teach me so much and that we will learn and grow together and really help San Fernando flourish.

Alright big news out of the way. Let's see what happened this week for me and Hermana Peters! On Monday we got to meet with our cute ward missionary Mayka, and practice teaching a lesson 1 together. She shared her testimony about praying for the first time about Joseph Smith. It brought tears to my eyes it was so beautiful. This week I want to ask her permission to tell you all her incredible story!

Tuesday was kinda insane but we loved it! We left for
Cadiz during the morning hours for district meeting. We learned a lot together about how to help our friends come to church and how to work with the members. It was honestly really good. It was funny, I was talking to the district about how I was scared I might be training because I know how much my trainers taught me and I didn't know if I could do that for another missionary. And Elder Mitchell told me to not worry, training a new missionary is the best time to really learn to be the best missionary you can. And how I have the potential to really become an incredible missionary during the next 12 weeks. As I have thought about that more these past couple days it has helped me realize what a privilege I have  :) Also he made Hermana Peters and I brownies because we made our goal of 20 contacts a day. What a smart district leader motivation through food.

Anyway so after district meeting we hopped on the train - not back to San Fernando, but to
Jerez de la Frontera. The mission has changed how we are doing intercambios. Now both companions go to the leaders area. It was sad because we missed a whole day of work in our own area. But we learned a lot!

When we got there Hermana Rowlley and Garcia made us the most wonderful food, and we all talked in British accents and laughed a lot. They thought Hermana Peters and I were basically a match made in heaven. We agreed. Anyway then it was time to head out to work. I went with Hermana Rowlley to the outskirts of their area.  They have the biggest area I have ever seen! It is huge. And the bus system there doesn't run well so hey walk everywhere. It took us an hour to get there. I mean we were contacting everyone, but still. Crazy. That night it was kinda a Rough night. We blew through the plans. And basically contacted for 6 hours. But I learned so much about how to make better contacts and better use the resources available. But that night we taught an amazing lesson to one of their investigators with the bishop’s wife, that made all the rest completely worth it! But after the lesson we waited with the bishop’s wife for him to come pick her up. We were about 5 min from home and had about 20 min until we had to be inside. So we figured we were safe. Then the bishop pulls up and says Hermanas. I need you to come with me. Turns out he needed us to help him find a member’s home. And he expected us to come in and teach a lesson with him and then he would take us home. We quickly explained at we had 10 min to be home and couldn't come in. At this time we were about 20 min away from piso. So we made a dead sprint back to piso. But we were on time, so worth it. We got there completely dead and Hermana Peters and Garcia were waiting with the heater on, music and orange juice. It was a pretty funny contrast between the two nights we had. But we had a big sleep over and it was so much fun but the party ended exactly at 11 - don't you worry.

The next morning we woke up and did some of our favorite p 90x moves to this amazing music Hermana Rowlley has. Don't mind this slight product placement. But Nashville tribute band came out with a CD that is called “Redeemer”. That is songs all from the perspective of other people all throughout Christ’s life. It is amazing. Mom, you must look it up. My favorite is called “Apostles”. But the second favorite is “When He Comes Again”. So yeah :)

Anyway, I spent the morning working with Hermana Garcia in the same far away area. We contacted a lot as well. I really learned a lot about listening. We contacted this one lady who told us right alway she didn't want to change but she also really REALLY liked to talk. I tend to get a little frustrated with people like that and just try to get away ASAP. But Hermana Garcia listened intently and then bore her testimony. Listened and bore testimony - for a good long while. After that the lady completely changed. She started listening and admitting that maybe she needed more. It was incredible to watch. I really want to apply it and become more patient with others. Intercambios were so fun I really love them because it is such an opportunity to learn and be better.

Anyway it was a little colder than I anticipated in Jerez. So I actually got sick while I was there, and then the most random thing happened. My voice just completely left me. I couldn't contact on the street because I had no voice! In lessons poor Hermana Peters had to teach because every time I tried the words didn't come out! It was actually really saddening but it allowed me to practice some of the counsel we got in the world-wide broadcast. About listening for the spirit when you aren't talking and praying for your companion. We also have had some pretty funny moments with my voice, including singing in the morning (fatal), experiments with random mixes of lemon honey and milk, and Elder Johnson accusing me of lying because it sounded like I was sleeping. But this voice of thunder better get ready to proclaim the gospel pretty soon! Anyway even though I got sick Hermana Peters and I didn't want to miss any more work days in our area so we just kept working. And got to meet a lot of new people.

We taught M's mom Friday morning. And she asked us if M had been baptized! We laughed and told her no, but she should talk to her daughter about how she feels about the church. We taught her mother about the plan of salvation and it was actually an awesome lesson.

Saturday night we got to teach M herself, the lesson didn't go how we had hoped it would, but it completely changed Sunday night when we went to the chapel so the Elders could give her a blessing of health. After the blessing the spirit was so strong and Elder Kroff told her that he felt very strongly the Lord and a big purpose waiting for her. And I asked probably the boldest question of my mission. I turned to her and said, "M, you know this is true, why haven't you been baptized yet?" And she finally was honest with us. She told us the real situation, and we helped her make plans to talk with her parents and we are really hopeful that this will help her. It was such a spiritual moment and it meant the world, to have her finally open up.

We also had correlation with David where he told me all his horror stories of training. So that was helpful. Really excited to bring a new Hermana here and watch this area grow.

Anyway sorry for the length yet again. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for this new opportunity. I feel as if he is really helping me not lose my energy or drive in the work by asking me to train. Because even though I am tired there is no way I'm going to teach another missionary anything - but the best way I know how to do this work. What a blessing because as I teach I will find an even better way :) Love you all!

Hermana Smalley

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