Sunday, March 20, 2016

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

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