Sunday, March 20, 2016

It was my most awkward fatal contact ever

March 14, 2016
Dearest family,

Can I just say how much I love you all and how dear each of you are to me. Just know that even if I don't have time to respond and share all my love that with each of your letters I laugh and cry and basically make a fool of myself. Elder Jenkins always used to say, "I love reading emails with Hermana Smalley is because it's like I have two families" so just know I annoy everyone but I love reading them ;)

As I said in the title this week seriously just flew by. I really have just come to adore this place and these people. I am so grateful to be here in San Fernando working with these incredible people. I know this transfer just started but the changes lurk on the horizon making me want to work as hard as I can here while I still can! It's been an interesting thing, how here I have worked so much with the members and seen so much desire from them that has made me want to give even more to this work, and yet we still haven't seen much success where as in other areas working on our own we did with not nearly as much effort. But I can tell you that I have learned more here than anywhere else. And here to see someone enter the waters of baptism would be the greatest thing imaginable, funny how when you work for something more it brings more value.

Random, let's get started.

Monday we got to meet with Y again. And she told us how much she has loved what she was reading in the Book of Mormon. It was incredible and we got to teach about the plan of salvation and we just felt the spirit super-duper strong. The more we teach her the more I am convinced that Heavenly Father wants that lady on his team. Because we were walking past her and I felt so strongly we needed to contact her we turned back. I already told you it was my most awkward fatal contact ever. But she let us in and the spirit has just been so strong every lesson. It has left me a little in awe.

Tuesday I missed my first train in Spain. Ugh I was so mad. I've never missed one before and then the train station went and changed the schedule we missed the train by two minutes thinking we were there 10 min early. Livid. All of my companions know that trains stress me out and I always freak out so we won't be late, then it happened. Had to happen sometime I guess.  So anyway we had to wait an hour and were an hour late to district meeting. Poor Elder Mitchell already had to end early because we had an eating cita. So basically we cut his time in half and did district meeting express. So random funny story. Because we missed the train the tickets we bought didn't work, but we double checked with a worker and he said it should be fine. Okay so we trusted. Well to get off the train in Cadiz there is a gate you have to put your ticket through for it to open. Well it rejected our ticket. And there was no one there to help. Next thing I know, Hermana Cole shimmied through the gap in the gate and started walking away. Not wanting to be left alone I did the same. Only to look back and see security cameras... If I come home next week you will know it was Hermana Coles fault. What a great trainer I know ;)

Tuesday night we sat down with our bishop and talked with him about all of our investigators and he was really excited about it, and also forbade us to go back to one of our investigators. If I have learned one thing on my mission it is that I don't like being told not to do something especially with my investigators. But Heavenly Father has helped me so much to be humble enough to accept and follow through on council. Here the members are pretty protective of the Hermanas. They don't want us going certain places for our safety, not realizing that we go there on a daily basis and it's fine. But hey, it's that whole pride thing that I'm kicking in the butt, not to think "yeah I'm a Hermana and I do what I want and go where I want. We can handle it!" But say instead," okay, you know this town better than we do and need all the help we can get"

Wednesday morning we met with our friend G. We taught him in a park just the standard lesson zero. But we met him Friday morning in the chapel with a member. Wow. It was incredible. He curious about us, and had found some anti-Mormon material and has a lot of questions about it. Well turns out, some members there doing family history and were more than happy to sit down and talk with him and us. Spanish people have a way of talking that can be kinda hard if you aren't used to it. Basically talking over people isn't rude at all, so whoever talks loudest and longest gets to talk. Well our members won. And he left "astonished" at all he had learned about our church. Members are so key. And they were so excited after the lesson!

Wednesday night we had classes de ingles. It was pretty good. We had an awesome turnout and just has a lot of fun teaching about food. Afterwards the JAS [young adults group] had planned a noche de Hogar for all of the investigators to come and the JAS leader Carlos had invited us of course. So we invited Ir and went with her. It was so so fun. We played jungle speed and Hermana Cole and I lost horribly. There was no mercy for us. But the one time Hermana Cole cleanly grabbed the totem she stood up and did a victory dance. It was pretty funny, I got into a fight twice for the totem and had to give in because ... you know, I’m a missionary.

Friday we had correlation with David and got to arrange some stuff for next week. It was pretty exciting! He has been asking us to work on including the members more in the work so it has become a companionship goal for us and it has been working, yay!

We got to teach Ir that night, which was so awesome. She comes in and starts dancing telling us that her mother’s cancer tests came back super low and that everything is coming together incredibly! We all did a happy dance and just cried a little bit. When I saw President Morales the next day he came straight over to us to ask about Ir and he started crying when we told him. He is an incredible man. Anyway we had a super spiritual lesson with Ir. Because we sat down and Hermana Cole and I both felt that we shouldn't teach the lesson we had planned. But that brings up the question: What do we teach? We said an opening prayer and just started talking about faith trying to listen for the spirit. Well what do you know, the spirit told us what she needed to hear and we had an incredible lesson.

Oh yeah. then I turned 20! Strange, to be honest I woke up and just felt strange. Because I didn't know what to do. The day everyone says is about you, and I was still waking up early ;) didn't quite fit. Don't worry, I got up early and did everything, and quickly snapped out of it and realized that the date didn't matter. This day was no more about me than any other day. What an amazing way to spend said day: serving others. Hermana Cole made me breakfast and then off we went. We taught J right off the bat. It was an interesting lesson ;) We then went over to T’s house to help her keep moving in and cleaning. Poor thing, she’s working all the time, her kids just got chicken pox, and she still isn't even moved into the house. Her husband who is less active was there and we got to have some really great conversation with him.

On Monday we bought food for a birthday meal, but V (RM, mom is our investigator) invited us over to eat on Saturday. So we ate a birthday meal on Friday. Well then we called on Friday to confirm it he asked if we could do it next week. And cute Hermana Cole hung up the phone and yelled, "no! No problem at all! You just ruined everything!" (She was a little stressed about the birthday thing ;)) also random funny story. At the beginning of the mission one of the most stressful things is talking to people on the phone. Because you don't speak that well and it's so hard to hear. So figuring Victor would be a safe phone call for Hermana Cole to keep practicing she made the call (a. Member b. Speaks perfect English if Things get crazy) well right at the end of the call Hermana Cole went to hang up thinking it was over. Only to realize he was still talking. So she quickly picked up the phone again not knowing what he had just said and said in the creepiest whisper, "Siempre" which means always. Turns out he had asked us if we needed him for anything. We had a good laugh about that. Hermana Cole was so so embarrassed. Oh the dumb things we say over the phone.

During media dia we ate a revised birthday meal and ate cake on the roof. Here cake is a little weird so we bought a pound cake. It worked out super well :) then that night we had the best birthday present ever stake conference! A. President Morales spoke B. President Anderson was there C. A member of the 70 spoke. So great!

One thing that really struck me during the conference was when the 70 asked all of the people who were baptized after the age of 8 to raise their hands. Ask I looked around I realized almost every hand was raised including those of fellow missionaries. My eyes were drawn to two of our JAS [young Adults] who both recently came home from their missions. To make this easier I'll just throw in some fake names Carl joined the church first and then brought Vince into the church. Both of them are the only converts in their families. Carl's parents told him he couldn't go in a mission until he finished college thinking that would stop him from going, but he finished at 24 and left, same story with Vince. When they came home from their missions their families had no idea of the sacrifices or the experience they had just gone through. Both of them are serving on the high council in the stake. And I was just struck by the strength of these two coming on a Saturday night to hear the word of God. As they were sitting there alone Vince put his arm around Carl, and not to be melodramatic but I realized that these two friends had helped each other through the hard transition it can be into the church being each other’s family. Just another example of how impacted I have been by the testimonies that surround me. I don't know if I could have done all of this without the complete support from my wonderful family. I was looking through the area book and actually found the teaching record for Carl's parents. It was touching to see the love they expressed for their son, but also a little heartbreaking to see that they just didn't understand why he had to go, or what he was really doing. Anyways sorry for the long story. I just sincerely hope you can come and meet these amazing people.

After conference we got to talk to President and Hermana Anderson for a while and arrange a ride to stake conference the next morning in Chiclana, which ride Hermana Brown promptly canceled. She told us we were coming to spend the night in Chiclana and that she had arranged a party for me that night and I was not allowed to miss it. President laughed and said that I'd better just do what Hermana Brown said. So off we went to Chiclana. When we got there, there was still 5 min left of the work night, so Hermana Cole and I bolted out the door and went to find people. Problem. We didn't know the area and there was no one on the road. So we basically climbed up a really steep road and then ran down it together. I love her.

We got back in Piso and after planning ate a birthday dinner and then had all 6 of us sleeping in the main room. It was a party. Then the next morning, off we went to stake conference. We got to a huge hotel and were asked if we could greet everyone coming in. So of course we said yes, but we became greeters turned bouncers until the choir was finished. Everyone thought that was pretty funny to see me and Hermana Cole trying to keep people from coming in. It was so fun to see everyone come in from all over. There is an American military base in our stake so it was a little weird to hear so many "good morning sisters" but it was fun.

The miracle! V comes in and he brought his mom! So we went and sat with them. R was so surprised to see that V was asked to give the opening prayer. I kept putting myself in her perspective seeing her son get up in front of this HUGE group of people and offering a beautiful prayer to the most high. Ugh, so cool. Turns out V was also sustained as a PHigh Priest and a member of the High Council. So it was pretty cool again to think what this must be like for her to see her son have words like "high priest" assigned to him and see a massive congregation of people sustain him. Having investigators in meetings brings whole new meeting to everything.

The most beautiful talks were given and I kept praying the whole time for R that she would feel the beautiful spirit that was there. Only to look over during the meeting and see her crying. It was incredible. After the conference V comes up with a huge grin on his face and says in English, "did you see my mom crying? She will never admit it, but she felt something. We can work with that" it was awesome! On the car ride home R talked about how beautiful President Morales' talk had been. We were pretty happy about it.

Then when we got home we were spiritually and emotionally drained. Ready to just relax for a bit during mediodia, then we get a call from C asking where we were. She had a birthday meal planned for us. So we went and ate with M & C and had an amazing time just talking and laughing. But I will say the way I was feeling it was nothing short of a miracle that we made it through that night.

I love the mission so so much. I don't know if you have had the chance to see the new Easter video called hallelujah but if you haven't. Watch it. When we first saw it Hermana Cole and I were practically screaming the way I used to for 1D we were so excited. In all seriousness. When I think of all that Christ did. All that we can become through him and all that his sacrifice means. All I can gasp out is a whispered hallelujah. And it seems like the most appropriate word for it all.

I love you all so much.

Hermana Smalley

I gave it my best Jersey accent

March 7, 2016
Dearest family,

Wow what a crazy wonderful week. First off I got the best birthday news ever on Saturday. I will be staying here in San Fernando with cute Hermana Cole for another transfer! Making San Fernando and Hermana Cole my longest area/ companion. I am so excited. When I thought of leaving this place I got really uneasy. I just knew my work here wasn't done.

Anyway let's get to it, shall we. Tuesday morning we had the Redds come to our piso to inspect it. They are a new senior couple in the mission to help make sure all the pisos are safe and livable. They came and talked to us about how our living space in essence should be a temple. I had never thought of it in that way. They asked us to do the best we could to clear out all the junk from the dueño and make it a place the spirit can rest. As they were looking through they came to a door that we never open. It’s the door to the "room of requirement" it is literally just full of stuff that isn't ours and the most random things. And I was like, “oh no, we are going to have to clean out this room and it will take all day!” Elder Redd opened the door laughed and then closed it, and told us not to worry about it. He also told us we needed to replace all the lightbulbs in the piso. Which ended up being about 30. And here lightbulbs are like 3 or 4 roes each. But we found them at a chino super cheap. But now we have more light!

Anyway that morning we went and taught C again. He is a man that has seen a lot of trails and is passing through some really rough things. And He really has been struggling with the Book of Mormon. He doesn't believe it to be the word of God, mostly because he hasn't read it, but Hermana Cole shared with him a story and he was like, “wow that's biblical, and beautiful.” It was honestly an amazing lesson. We taught him later in the week and got to testify to him of the atonement and repentance. It was one of those lessons that makes you glad to be a missionary. It was incredible to be a part of and feel the spirit so strong.

That night we got to teach M and his family again. We shared with them the gospel of Jesus Christ. I used a trick Hermana Rocha used to finish the lesson. Talking about how we need to endure to the end, and how if we do we can stay clean. The example is with a bowl of water. You sprinkle pepper over the surface and cover the tip of your finger with dish soap and the pepper spreads away from your finger in every direction. We likened that to them when they are in a world of sin. What living the gospel can do, keep sin from sticking to them. Hermana Cole and I may have used a similar example talking about us and all the people who were to be baptized ;) but No pasa nada.

Wednesday we got to eat with O & R again. Man how I love those two. We laughed and ate food. My favorite. And finished with talking about the gospel. Even better!

Wednesday night was pretty cool, President Morales invited us to come to the stake presidency meeting to talk with them about missionary work. So um. You know my love for that man, and for missionary work. So we were pretty excited. We went there and got to talk about some parts of the world broadcast for missionaries with them. Honestly the spirit was so strong in that meeting as we talked about how we can help the wards incorporate missionary work better. It will never stop amazing me how amazing the leaders are here in Spain, and how much of their time they put into their callings.

We also got to swing in and teach English classes, when I got there poor Elder Meredith was dying and we walked in and Angel yelled, "oh here she is! She talks English very good, talk like a British person now!" It was pretty funny. Elder Meredith was a little offended they didn't like his English. But apparently my accidental British accent is spreading!

Then we went and helped Tatiana move in a little bit more with her home. My. I thought moving into a dorm was stressful moving into a home is the crazies thing I have ever seen! Mind you, I was in California when we moved into the Utah home.

Thursday night was a miracle night we contacted a lady the day before who gave us her address and told us we could come later, and she was there! It was the right address and she let us in! I know it might seem silly, you might be thinking duh Hermana Smalley, that's how it's supposed to go right? Well not here for the past little while. And I need to explain that this contact was probably one of the worst contacts I've ever done. And yet the spirit touched her heart, or maybe she just felt super bad for me ;), jk all the spirit, and we were able to teach her!

Then we went by another investigator who has been sick, and we got to go in and see her and give her a little bit of comfort that she really needed in that moment. It has been a little hard to see her recently because she just lost a baby, and her husband, rightly so, has been super protective of her and didn't really want us bothering her. But that night we got in, and he saw how happy it made her to have us there and his heart was softened just a little.

Then Hermanas Brown and Briggs came because Hermana Cole and Briggs had to go to Malaga for residency. So. That means. HERMANA BROWN AND I WERE COMPANIONS AGAIN! Yeah pretty much a party. Friday morning they left super early with some instructions that I tried to give them, and they somehow made their way across the south of Spain by themselves, it was funny though because they were with another Elder and he kept trying to tell them what to do and Hermana Cole was like, no Hermana Smalley said this. Haha I was one proud companion ;)

Anyway Thursday night Hermana Brown and I stayed up, in bed with the lights off of course, talking about tontarias and it was pretty funny. Then we got up and did studies and headed off for zone meeting. It was a super great one. Hermana Rodriguez asked for our help explaining how we can never lose our faith and can never stop hoping that things will work on the mission. We have two choices. Get discouraged and say we already tried that, or try again but better. It was awesome! She shared some incredible experiences that really helped me. But she also called me a disobedient orange in front of the whole zone (nope not a typo) it was pretty funny.

I was also asked to share an example on charity from my life. I of course talked about mom. How even when she was in pain and going through a hard time herself she focused on what she could do to serve others. Isn't that true charity. Love in action. Looking out past ourselves. There's a saying I love that says "upon seeing the trials of others, to pity is only human, but to act to relieve the burden, that is god-like"

Then I went with Hermana Brown to Chiclana to work for a while. It was really good. I learned a lot from her about including the Lord in our plans. It was fun to go out and contact together again just like old times. We finished the night in San Fernando working :) loved it. Love her. When Elder Alexander saw us together he said, well there's a power companionship if I've ever seen one.

Saturday we had a pretty great correlation with Pablo and David about how we can help the young men share the gospel. We are trying to come up with an activity that will be memorable for them and push them to act. So help. Any scriptures? Activities? Examples you like? I'd love to hear them.

Alright brace yourselves because I want to tell you about one of the best Sunday's of my mission. It started with church. Amazing as always. We also had consejo and after that B invited us over to eat at her home with L, S, C, and V. So we were a group of RMs and missionaries. It was super fun to talk to V a little about his mission, he got home 2 weeks ago, and we are actually teaching his mom. So it was fun! S wanted V to try and guess where we were from and he told me to talk with my best accent so he could guess. So I gave it my best Jersey accent. And V broke out in perfect English saying, "I have absolutely no idea". Pretty funny. But then we started talking about crazy piso stories from missions and Hermana Cole and I had to keep quite because the piso we live in belongs to V. Anyway we had an awesome meal and got to commit all 5 of them to work with us in different ways. Now here is when the crazy starts.

We left and I had had a feeling earlier that we should pass by a member who hadn't been in church. So we did. When we got there she was running around frantically saying that she needed to take her little girl to the hospital and her little girl was on the couch just moaning. She has called her ex-husband to take her because she didn't have a car, (but her ex-husband hates the church and everything to do with it and it is just really hard for her to be with him) so we told her that V and C were around the corner and could give her daughter a blessing.

I thought, they aren't full-time missionaries, so no problem with the husband. But I forgot, they are both recent RMs, and in suits looks like missionaries without chapas. So when they got there, apparently her husband stopped them and asked what they were doing and got mad and left, so this member didn't have a ride to the hospital anymore. So they came up and gave Alicia a blessing and then went and got their car to take her. We went with her the first time because she didn't know C or V and waited with her in the ER for 10 min. When she went in to be seen we got on the phone with the Relief Society President so she could start making plans for the next day when the member had to work and didn't have anyone she could leave her daughter with. Next thing we know the doctors say that they have to go to Cadiz, and we didn't have a ride. So we called V again and he and C dropped everything to take her to Cadiz. We didn't go that time because we had stuff to do. But I will never forget how hopeless this member looked and then having V and C pull up in suits and a black car looking like her own personal body guards. It was amazing to see the ward come together. Once she was there people came to be with her so she wouldn't be alone, and other members brought her home that night. It was crazy, but amazing to see how the Lord allowed us to be there right in the perfect time. I was also so grateful to our ward who only gets really one day to relax who dropped everything to help out this member.

Anyway it doesn't stop there. We went by another member who hasn't been at church who has a friend we have been trying to teach. Member is there with sick baby and sick husband and friend. We sat and talked a while and just helped lift her spirit and then got to teach her friend. It was so incredible. A wonderful night!

I am so grateful to be a missionary and that I get this time to focus on serving the Lord and the people around me. It is truly amazing to wear this name tag and know that I am part of the most amazing work ever. But I realized something, I have a right to receive revelation for my investigators and to know what I need to do to help them, it's a part of my calling. When part of our baptismal covenant is to share the gospel, but maybe we just don't know how, well. I have no doubt that the spirit will tell you, if you ask. Why? Because it's part of your "calling" as a member. You have a right to receive that revelation. So pray about it!

Anyway love you all so much! 
Hermana Smalley

Monday, March 14, 2016

He must increase, but I must decrease

February 29, 2016
Hello beautiful family,
I hope this last week has been the best one yet. We had a pretty great one if I do say so myself. 

Just so you know last week Hermana Cole and I had a pretty great p day. We made brownie batter and watched the restoration twice. We greatly enjoyed ourselves actually. It was kinda fun to just relax in sweats for a while and just unwind. 

After we got to teach Ir in the chapel. We talked to her about Peter walking on water, pulling a little bit from the talks given by the Durrants in the ward a couple weeks ago. We talked to her about how she needs to "jump out of the boat" so that she can witness her miracle - or get her answer. We talked about actions of faith she could possibly take. Then she laughed and said, “Clever, clever Hermana Smalley because the biggest one would be for me to literally jump into the baptismal font. I laughed, and then got all serious and said." And?" I have to apologize in advance, this is the week Hermana Smalley got a little sassy. 

After we got to go eat with the patriarch and his cute family. Funny story, here in Spain, well Europe they are super big on scarves. I have a ton of scarves, but I just don't wear them every day, but any members that see us not wearing  scarves  give us some, and won't take no for an answer or take them back. So I'm developing quite the collection and learning to always wear one. 

Tuesday we had our first district meeting! Hermana Cole's very first one! It's funny that she had a zone meeting and conference before, but off we went to Cadiz and we had an awesome meeting, to get to know everyone one district we asked each other questions and of course the one that came to me was what is your most embarrassing moment. So in Spanish I had to share being locked outside my car without pants on. Fun. After district meeting we hopped on the train to Jerez! For intercambios. It was so fun to be with cute Hermana Garcia and Merrill. We ate cookie dough and worked really hard ;) I am so sad that Hermana Garcia will be leaving us this transfer. She has taught me so much about being genuine with people and just loving to listen. Hermana Merrill and I got to chat about old times and teach my first real lesson zero in a while. It was awesome! 

Wednesday night we got back to our area and got to teach some new people it was wonderful and we ended the night with M our ward missionary tell if us at one of her friends is ready to get baptized and it was basically just awesome! 

Thursday the heavens opened and poured down their fury on San Fernando. There was so much rain and wind I thought the earth was flooding again. It was the kind of storm the rips umbrellas from hands and knocks you over. Pretty cool if I do say so. Out we went. Not a person to be seen on the road. It was funny I was thinking, isn't it so neat that for the rest of my life on days like this I'll be able to stay inside, but for this day I get to go outside and have an adventure. So off we went to teach A and he was so impressed that we had come all the way in the rain to see him he listened to us and accepted our invitations. It was incredible. We are so excited to keep teaching him. On our way home we ran into victor an RM who got home last week from London. With all the rain he laughed and told us it reminded us of London. I realized it could have been much much worse. What if every day were like this. 

Friday we ate with David and his family. It was actually super fun, they started talking about movies and all that jazz. And decided that Americas have no taste in movies because we had no idea what movies they were talking about. We also passed by a member who is going to a different ward right now even though she lives in ours. So we are trying to help her feel more comfortable in the ward. She was so cute and just gave us the boost we needed to go out and keep working. We got to teach J with D which was perfect because their crazy dog who normally attacks us attacked D instead and we got to teach the lesson :) 

Saturday morning we got to help a family who is moving. And it reminded me a lot of when we were leaving New Jersey how the whole ward came to help out. Isn't it such a marvel what we are a part of? Is church besides being the kingdom of God on the earth is a huge family. It amazes me every day how lucky I am to know of it and be a part of it. 

Saturday night we taught M. Yes dad I read your letter to him. He loved it, he thought it was pretty cool you took the time to do that and made me promise to tell you that as long as I am in San Fernando he will be watching our backs and making sure nothing happens to us. And we are working on the second part of the invitation but he really is making progress very slow but definite progress. 

Sunday was honestly a magical day, we had a bunch of investigators come to church and we just felt so full of the spirit. Taking the sacrament is still such a wonder to me, I love every chance I get to take it and then feel like a "perfect" missionary at least in that moment;) then during relief society I was just hit with how wonderful it was that I am here with ease amazing women. As missionaries we are part of the ward but also a little bit on the outside looking in because everyone knows we aren't permanent. And I just am so grateful that I can be here and know see amazing women doing all they can to build Zion here in Spain. Yes I got emotional. 

To be honest this week was a blur, we saw a lot of miracles and a lot of big disappointments. We found news and got dropped by a lot of promising people. But it's all in the Lord’s plan, he knows what is best and what we need. I at least have learned so much in his area about myself I cannot believe it. 

The weeks seem to be slipping by faster than I can accept. This week I realized officially marks my 9 months mark in the mission. I cannot believe the wonderful opportunity that I have to serve the Lord. I cannot believe how patient and understanding he has been of my faults for the past 9 months. The fact that he continues to allow me to represent him is still such a miracle.

This week I was reviewing "becoming a preach my gospel missionary" and something really stood out to me. In John 3:30, John the Baptist talks to his followers about following Jesus rather than himself: 

“He must increase, but I must decrease”

This really hit me. I realized that in this work I must stop thinking of myself, in every word and action I need to be pointing others straight to Christ. That is the goal of every Latter Day Saint no? But how much more necessary in missionary work, as representatives of Him that we completely forget ourselves, and try to do all we can work all day, and hope that for all our efforts people's attention is only pointed to Christ.

A while ago I took the challenge from conference to ask "what lack I yet?" I had been a little discouraged when I felt I hadn't received an answer. But I know now that I must work on this. It surprises me that such a huge problem was staring me in the face and I didn't see it. I came on the mission for love of God. But I really want to give all I have for a similar love, for God and his children. I want to be able to do all I can, give all I have and then just as Christ said at the end of his mission, be able to say "I did what I was called to do, but only through the merits and mercy of Christ, glory be to the father"

I am so grateful for the lessons I am learning and the ways he sent father helps me improve. I have been so grateful for every experience I have had on the mission because I have changed so much from who I was before. I look back on the last 9 months with so much joy and gratitude and so much hope for the next 9 to come. 

Love you all so much!! 
Hermana Smalley