Saturday, August 13, 2016

Jerez - the city of wind, wine and weird art!

July 18, 2016
My dearest family,

My oh my!  What a crazy week it has been over here in Spain! I'm not even sure where to start. But generally the best way is to just jump right in.

Monday was a crazy mess of running around Murcia looking for a belt and shoes for Elder Mitchell. None of which were found. But hey, we had a good time. That night we headed to Alcantarilla to teach B and V one last time. They took us out for ice cream. What good eggs! It was so sad to say goodbye, but it has been so good to see the progress B has made since we started teaching her. She has a love for the Lord and really wants to know the truth. We called her almost daily just to chat with her about what she read in the Book of Mormon that day. I know that Hermanas Brown and Gale will take really good care of her.

Tuesday morning we all played sports together again, it was one of our better mornings if I don't
say so myself. Elder Meredith kept a live commentary of all of our fails and we just enjoyed being together. Then we had district meeting. And just like that, after 5 transfers my last district meeting run by Elder Mitchell happened. It was really
really good. He had all of us sit in a circle and share our favorite scripture and why. Some amazing things were said. Elder Meredith shared Alma 17:2-4 and told us that next time he saw us he expected us to be better and stronger. I shared DC 127:2 and talked about the phrase, "perhaps I am meant to swim in deep waters" I'm pretty sure I have already gone on a rant about this one before but, hey in case you weren't paying attention last time...

This phrase has always stuck out to me. I think a lot about teaching swim lessons. All of my 3 year old kids love playing were they could touch. Where the water only covered their legs. But frankly I wasn't there to play with
them, I was there to teach them. So I would take them in my arms and we would slowly move towards deeper water, but what happens? They turn into little octopi! And freak out. They cling to you and cry and beg you to take them back. When a kid gets like that you can't teach them. My most common phrase during these moments was, " it's okay, I'm right here, I'm not gonna leave you, I've got you." I was simply trying to help them, I knew best. Let's flip the situation. Here we are in life playing away in the shallows. But we aren't here to play, we are here to learn and grow God knows we can't progress in the shallows. So he moves us to deeper waters. What happens next is our choice. Do we freak out and cry and become unteachable? Or do we relax and trust? Deep water is scary, it can be dangerous. But that's the only way we get stronger. The only places worth going are across those deep waters. Alright I'm done.

Back to district meeting. Elder Mitchell then had all of us go up to the board and write the name of
everyone we had taught that transfer on the board. It was so fun to go back and remember all of those people and what we had done with them. Then we all took a step back, and Elder Mitchell talked about how we had worked hard and that every person on that board wether we were still teaching them or not had been blessed by our efforts. After that we all walked and got Elder Mitchell's last Kebab. Sad day.

Then we met up with Roberto and went to our piso so the elders could dedicate it for us. After that I slept well for the first night in weeks. Priesthood power is real and I am so grateful for worthy holders of said power.

Then we went to O's house to say goodbye. Man that was also not fun. A has become such a special friend for me. We sat on the couch and talked together while Hermana Gale talked to Bishop. She told me to never forget to have courage. To face every day ready to fight to the finish. I promised I would, so here goes! Then we had a pretty funny conversation about marriage. Bishop pretty much told me I was going to have to convince some young man to marry me!  Then he told us how easy marriage is, A got a pretty good kick out of that and our parting words were "Hermana remember. Marriage isn't easy" what good eggs.

Then we met up with R and the elders and went to R's house for the last goodbye. Wow. That was really special. We all got a chance to say goodbye to everyone. Roberto dug into me a little bit and told me to forget about what others think about me and just work the best way I know how and be satisfied with that. Man, I love that kid. He has taught me so much and will be an incredible missionary. Barcelona, watch out!  You have no idea what's coming.

Wednesday morning we all woke up really early to play basketball one last time together. It was just sad actually. But we had a good time. I'll miss morning sports. Then it was last minute packing and off to the bus station. We walked there with the elders and then the moment came. I'm embarrassed to say it but I cried. I actually cried when I had to say goodbye to Elder Mitchell. Probably the most pathetic moment of my life, but hey.

Then it was my turn.  I hopped on the bus sat down next to an elder I didn't know and looked out the window and saw the whole district and R and M waving white handkerchiefs. I laughed, and then cried, and Elder Sant thought I was crazy. But we became friends.  On the bus ride we talked about the mission hunger games style. Pretty entertaining. Then we get to Granada. Who do I run into? Elder Mitchell. How embarrassing! But we had a nice chat and then I managed to keep it together saying goodbye. On the bus to Sevilla, Hermana Andersen and I talked about just about the world in general. Then I finally got to Jerez! I got there with 30 min to work so out we went contacting.

Hermana Whaley is pretty much perfection in a person. I love her so much and she wants to work so hard and we are both ready to see miracles here. Watch out Jerez!  I won't lie to you. I was very scared when I got the call to go to Jerez. I've had some pretty awful experiences in this city and really never wanted to serve here. Wow! How negative. But when I did get the call, I decided right then and there that I was gonna work so that no other Hermana would feel the way I did when I got that call. We are gonna give this city everything we have. And if we are worthy and its God's will we will see success. But if not... We keep going.

Anyway, Thursday morning we weekly planned and then I hopped on a train with Elder Rivero to Malaga! Woohoo!  Elder Rivero is one of my favorites and we had such a good time catching up and just talking. We made it to the mission office around 9. When I got there I think everything from that week just hit me and I was so tired. I curled up on the couch and just went to sleep. I woke up to Elder Frost walking in yelling "look alive!  You are too young to be tired!"  I obeyed the command and we went to go get Thai food. In a tender mercy my cute companion  Hermana Gale showed up at the mission office. We talked about everything in the world and I honestly really needed to be with her in that moment.

We spent the night at the Frost's home and my companion was cute Hermana George. Who looks just like Hermana Gallegos. She is just starting her mission and we had some fun chats about the adventure that is the mission. The next morning Hermana Brown came in and laid on my bed and we talked for a long long while. I love that woman. I'm so glad she is going to be in Murica. She will do wonders there. I just love that we can be completely honest to each other and no judgements. It was good. Then we took care of residency. Went to the
beach. Jk but almost. And then got on the train home. I got to talked to some Americans on the way home and we explored dos hermanas. When I got home we had another 30 min of work and yeah, bed.

Saturday morning we played soccer with the ZLs and ayudantes. That was a party! Then I had my first full day of work in a long while. It was GLORIOUS. I would go into more details but have you seen how long this email is?

Sunday I met the ward. They are awesome! I also got to meet up with some old friends like Elders Adcock and Pyle and Garcia. Basically we have a powerhouse district. Sunday night we were with the zone leaders in the chapel doing numbers and Elder Adcock and I started scheming. The thing is our zone is kind of known mission wide as being a hard zone where you don't baptize. And how could we with that kind of attitude? So we talked a lot about what we can do to help get the zone more excited. I've found that faith is developed in action. Want more faith? Get to work. Want to see more miracles? Get to work. So all that starts here with me and my companion.

 Last thing. This group of missionaries that just went home really took it out of me. It was a lot harder than I expected. Literally I was sitting in the mission office singing empty chairs at empty tables from Le Mis. It was rough. But during personal study I realized that all of those elders and hermanas were sitting on a plane. And I was still personal studying. Then I realized I will have to sit on that plane one day while my companion is doing personal study. One day I will have to stop. One day I won't be able to work any more and I will have to go home and the mission will continue without me. I guess my point is, I can't change that. But what I can change is what I do between then and now. I can just shrug it off, roll over and go home.  Or I can work for it until the last day. I can give it all and do my best until I have to stop. That morning I committed to be better - Give more and trust the Lord. I am so excited to see what the Lord has planned here in Jerez. I'm ready so let's get going.

CONGRATULATIONS you finished this beast of an email. I love you Hermana Brown;)  Love you all so much!

Hermana Smalley

God saw fit to surround me with incredible missionaries

July 11, 2016
My goodness dearest family!

Can it be that a whole transfer has passed again? I cannot believe it! Anyway let's try and give you guys a better weekly letter than I have written in a while. Lemme see...

Monday we all made hamburgers and ate watermelon and had a huge water fight. It was super fun. After that we went to see B in Alcantarilla. It was such a good lesson we got to teach her about the Book of Mormon. She loved it!

Tuesday morning we had an awesome opportunity to go to Cartagena to go and be with our Hermanas in their zone meetings. Hermana Gale and I got to give a taller about listening more about what God has to say about us than what we have to say about ourselves. We talked about how often our worst feelings and reactions come from thinking about what others are thinking too much and how we just need to focus on our relationship with the Savior and do our very best. It was an awesome meeting and I learned a lot.

That night as we were walking, we stopped to contact a man and in English just says, hey sisters! Turns out he was a member who hadn't been to church in years. We had an awesome conversation with him. And got his info so we are hoping to help him out.

That night we went to R's house again and ate outside with their cute family. R informed us that the elders had lost their phone. Again!  So we called it a couple of times and then a man called and we arranged a time to pick up the phone. So everything was good and happy except that the poor elders didn't know that!  Turns out they had an awful night and started a fast that they could find their phone because it was the second one they had lost. Next morning we head to play basketball for exercise but the elders didn't show. We needed their help that morning so we had to walk to their apartment. When we got there the elders came outside and proceeded to tell us all about what happened. The look on their faces when we explained that we found their phone was priceless. I think they almost cried.

Anyway. Murcia zone meeting went really well. I gave a taller about where we are going and how we

must choose now to stay close to the Savior. After we all went and ate pizza together.  That night we got to teach M again. He is so awesome! We taught him about the Book of Mormon. It was hard for him to  accept ,but as we explained and testified he slowly began to accept it ,and in the end promised to read it.

Thursday we got to do intercambios with Hermana Lopez and Hermana Hojholdt. It was so good. I was with Hermana Lopez she is a brand new missionary. We also had correlation. Elder Mitchell's very last one,

R made him a cake and we sang God be with you till we meet again. Then we had a ward soccer activity. Always a fun one here in Spain. The members all school us.

Friday was a blur of busses and teaching in the streets. Saturday morning we got transfer calls. En fin me voy. I leave for Jerez Wednesday -  crazy. Right?  I will probably finish my mission there. Crazy huh?

Sunday I gave a talk about God's love for us. And had to say goodbye to this wonderful ward. I also found out I was teaching gospel principles as the class started. D came from Alicante to say goodbye to me and Elder Mitchell. Then we ate with M and J. M was a mini-missionary with me at the beginning of my mission. She helped me a lot. It was so sad to say goodbye!

Then we had to go to see U with R.  It was fun to talk to him and just bare my testimony of the truth.

I will be honest, this week has been a little bit of a roller coaster emotionally for me. I don't think I have ever felt so personally attacked by the adversary in my life. But this week I have found immense comfort in the sure knowledge of Gods love for me. I know that it is constant, even when I mess up, even when I fail repeatedly. Somehow He still sees the best in me, He never gives up hope that I will pull through. He is my Father. I am not sure why I have been struggling so much, I have never liked being the person who needs help, but this transfer I have needed help. I want to thank you for the Angels that you have put around me. I have tried expressing to her, but I don't think I can ever explain enough just how much my dear Hermana Gale has helped me. She has been there not questioning, not judging, always loving, helping me for the past 6 weeks. It cannot have been easy for her, but she has been nothing but graceful and supportive. Elder Mitchell has been my district leader for 5 transfers now. Some of the hardest transfers of my mission. His quiet example of dedication, and constant support have meant more to me and my companions that he can know. Elder Andrus has also kept us laughing and he and Elder Mitchell have been ready to do what ever we need at the drop of a hat. Elder Meredith has also been with me for 5 transfers now. His sincerity and genuine concern has meant so much to me. He also has a love for this work that keeps all of us going. I know that the people we are with are inspired. I am so grateful that with trying to refine me, God saw fit to surround me by such incredible missionaries.

I know that the "trials" I am passing through are nothing in comparison to many other people. They cannot even s
cratch the surface of what my Savior went through. And yet, even though he suffered so much more, He still has love and compassion for me. I think of his hands. (1 Nephi 21:15-16). I am literally in the scars on his hands. And when I think of that, and all of its significance, everything else doesn't seem to matter much. I can go forward because I know He will never forsake me.

Anyway I am so glad to be here and learning so much! Anyway address of Elder Mitchell's church is 3271 west 2550 south West Haven, Utah. Don't believe anything he says about me.

Love you all so much!

Hermana Smalley

Happy America Day!!!

July 4, 2016
Dearest family,

Wow what an amazing day! I didn't realize how patriotic I am but can I just tell you. I LOVE AMERICA!!! I also love Spain, so that's about it:)

Let me tell you about the wonderful week we have had here in Spain. Summer has come on full force and let me tell you, It is hot! Everyone in Murcia heads off to the beach. So we have had to switch a lot of our investigators but hey, the work will go forth!

Monday night we met with M for the last time before she heads to the beach. Man she is incredible! When we got there we talked a lot about what she thought about church. She told us a lot about her life. Man... It brought me to tears to hear her tell us all that she has had to go through, but she has such faith. The people you meet on the mission really change you.

Then Tuesday morning we met up with the zone leaders from Cartagena to go to Malaga. First we went and visited with R and then the long drive began. It was awesome!  We sang and talked and had a grand old time. Then we got to the mission home and I got to see my dear Hermana Asay. We talked for the longest time and just had a grand old time.

This consejo was very special. Sister Reeves from the general relief society came and talked to us about who we would become. She talked about how if we do not make the conscious choice to stay near the Savior, it will not be enough. She talked about how we have to keep doing the small things. She talked about how Elder Holland and Elder Cook were mission companions and asked the question, "if you knew now that in 50 years your companion would be part of the 12, what would you do differently". That has really stuck with me. I bet those two were incredible missionaries and I don't want any of my companions to be surprised if I were to receive that kind of calling. I don't want them thinking, what is this crazy doing here? I want them thinking, man, she is crazy! But she works hard and loves the Lord!

Anyway food for thought. Consejo was awesome and I learned a lot. When we got back to our area we went and ate with R's family. To be perfectly honest, this week is just a blur. But Friday morning we played sports with the elders and Elder Mitchell and
Elder Andrus had their phone robbed. So we spent all morning trying to figure that out then we had district meeting. After we all went to an American restaurant.

That night we had another noche de Hogar - it actually went super well again but because of some stuff that happened, I ended up on the phone with the stake president. It all ended up working out. But man, I am

learning a lot of lessons about taking responsibility and being humble. And anyway, sorry that sounded really negative but it wasn't meant to be. Elder Mitchell gave a great taller that helped me a lot. He talked about how we aren't expected to be perfect. But we are expected to try. And repent. And try again. So that's about where we are.

Saturday we went to O's house. A gave us amazing food as usual but she also gave us a ton! Out of

the 4 missionaries I was the only one who finished. Yes I am proud in case you were wondering. Also, later that day, we got to teach R. He is awesome! He accepted a baptismal date and came to church. We are so excited for him!

That night the elders came with us to U to give him a blessing. It was awesome actually. Elder Andrus came to him and said. U, you just need to stop smoking. You are so close, just stop. And I literally rolled my eyes, and was about to tell him, you don't think we haven't tried that? And then U stopped and said, "Yeah, You know what I will."

My jaw dropped and we all just laughed it was so good. Thanks Elder Andrus!

I am sorry for the short email, but we are going to go do some American things 

love you all!

Hermana Smalley

We said we knew how to find God, and were here to help him

June 27, 2016
What a wonderful week that it has been! 

I have been putting together a profile for some of my Book of Mormon heroes. This week I was trying to figure out what kind of missionary Ether was. If we look at numerical success, converts baptized, or words written about him, he looks like one of the least successful missionaries in the history of ever. But if we are talking about courage, persistence, and determination to do the Lord's work, I'm not sure we can find a better example.

I learned that Ether was of Royal decent, and in any other circumstance should have been a king. But he spent his life in a cave. We know that he had many incredible prophecies and that he saw the days of Christ and Zion. And yet the people esteemed him as nothing and cast him out. (Ether 13: 3,13) in Ether 12 we learn that he literally preached all day never giving up, and that the Spirit was so strong with him he could not be stopped. He was commanded by God to go tell basically a War Lord that he needed to repent or he would watch his people die. That would be pretty scary. But he did it. Day after day he went out, received nothing but rejection, slept in a cave, watched more destruction and then did it again. Not to mention the kind of people he was called to preach too!   The verses describing them are some of the most blood chilling verses in the Book of Mormon. And yet he still went out, trying with all his might to save them. I hope to develop this kind of diligence and courage. I hope I can become the kind of missionary that Ether would be proud to have on his team.

Really quick, last thing I learned, I always thought it interesting that the people never stopped. They just kept killing each other. It says they would cry all night only to rise again the next morning and do the exact thing that caused their cries the next morning. It made me realize -  do I do that as a missionary? Get home at night discouraged and cry to Heavenly Father begging for forgiveness, only to go out the next day and do the exact same thing? Or am I learning to change my habits, looking to improve and do this work differently. I know I will never lose the need to repent, but I do crave that feeling of coming home, knowing I am straight with God, because I gave everything I had. I guess that's the goal of every day. And that's what I have to work for.

So that was my big spiritual thought for the week:)   Let's add in the details shall we ?

Monday night Hermana Gale and I were both dead tired and all of our plans failed. We didn't really know what to do with ourselves, but we promised Heavenly Father that we were going to talk to everyone! So we did and we found P! He is incredible. He was telling us that he has always believed in God but recently he has been feeling very far from him. But he doesn't know what to do or how to draw closer to Him. We testified that we knew how and were here to help him.

We had an awesome district meeting on Tuesday, then we all ate together and shared stories. We liked it. That night was another night of just contacting - all our plans failed, but we got really good at practicing new ways of finding people and just breaking out of the silence shell. I have found my best way is to just say, "10 seconds for the Lord"  - the idea is when you get scared to do something, but you know you should, you give the Lord 10 seconds and just do it and after it starts its easier to finish. It works for me:)

Wednesday we got to teach M. It was such a good lesson! This week we saw so many miracles teaching our investigators. But this lesson she told us she is looking for a place to join and she wants to feel at home. It was amazing to be able to share with her my first experience in church here in Spain. Where I was so confused and so lost, and yes, scared, and I walked into the church building and just felt at home. I knew it was where I belonged.

We finished the night with O and A. This was so embarrassing! A worked so hard and gave us so so much food. But I have been feeling a little sick my my stomach again and eating has been a little rough so I couldn't finish. Cute A saw me pushing my food around and busted up laughing. Despite my protests, she took my plate and made me a drink to calm my stomach. First time I haven't finished everything given to me.

Thursday after weekly planning we had intercambios. I learned so so much from Hermana Vigo and Hermana Martin. It was kinda a rough night. All of our citas failed again. But we were able to meet with D! And he brought his friend D! Last time we taught him we were very direct with our beliefs about the authority of our church. He told us he had been thinking about it and he felt really good about everything we had told him and he was so ready to learn more!

The next morning I worked with Hermana Martin. It was so fun!  We went to Alcantarilla and just worked hard all morning. My favorite part of intercambios is being back with my dear Hermana Gale. We laid in bed and just talked for a good long while. It was awesome!

Monica we got to teach on Friday night. She is just awesome and came to church with us on Sunday! Also R got his mission call so we all got to go over and be with him. I'm pretty sure he is the first ward mission leader to get his call. He is going to Barcelona in one month! Woah!

Anyway Saturday was an awesome day of running around visiting people and giving them some love! We loved it:)

Sunday we had some awesome lessons. My favorite was with J. He began the lesson telling us he would not pray because he didn't have faith. So we explained to him what faith really is. He then told us he wanted to pray but didn't think he could because he didn't believe in God. So we opened to Alma 22 and read the King's first prayer. It was so powerful. And you know what?  He prayed! Right then and there! It was awesome!

This p day we played soccer. It was a blast!

Love you all so much!
Hermana Smalley

We have infinite room for improvement

June 20, 2016
Dearest family,

Wow what a crazy week for the family!  Spencer went to college, well I guess that's pretty much it. But that's insane! He's so grown up. Best of luck buddy:)

Alright so this week, man what an adventure! Tuesday morning we had an awesome district meeting. We did the "hot seat" round five with Elder Mitchell. Some favorite questions, "if you could choose to live on the 
beach and never be able to get in, or live in the desert and never even see water" and "what is your favorite type of water?" Elders have some really deep questions.

Elder Mitchell gave a taller [workshop] about our personal progression and how we have infinite room for progression. I really had never thought of it in that way. No wonder it can be so discouraging sometimes! When we think of an eternal ability to improve, that's a lot of work to do hija. But we can also start by looking at just how far we have come.

And we can also make sure we are doing all that we are asked to do by the Lord to improve. When you think of room for infinite improvement and no guidelines. Well that's just scary!  But God in his infinite love for us has given us the guidelines. The commandments. When we obey we are just becoming what he needs us to become. Something so much greater than we can on our own. Man I love this plan God has. So let's not get discouraged! Perfection is a path not a destination. Heck maybe we only have taken one step, maybe we only have our pinky toe on that path, but that's something right? We are just that much closer to becoming something awesome.

After district meeting we went to the bus station and picked up Hermana Giraldo and Sabin to do intercambios. I won't lie, right when I became a SHE, I didn't like it. Not one bit. I felt like I couldn't focus on my purpose. I couldn't focus on my area or my investigators and I was a little put out by it. But I have come to love learning from the amazing sisters that I serve with. Each and every one of them brings a new flavor to this work, and they all work so hard and when I get the chance to help them, I find myself helping myself. Amazing how that works. I had the chance to talk to quite a few Hermanas this week about the struggles they are going through. They told me how they were feeling tired beyond belief and yet that the Lord was asking even more from them, and as much as they wanted to give it, they didn't know where they could find the energy to do that. At first I wanted to throw up my hands and say, "tell me about it sister, that's about where we all are!" Because they were my exact same feelings and frustrations that I have been trying so hard to figure out on my own and had come up dry. But I was amazed that as I listened to the spirit the very answers I had needed for so long came out of my own mouth. I can tell you they didn't come from me. I love helping these amazing sisters. Wow sorry I'm a little rambly today.

Anyway intercambios. That night I was with Hermana Giraldo. We started by going to a noche de Hogar with the elders. We have been teaching this incredible investigator who is definatly going to get baptized and was such a miracle. His name is K. We had only ever taught him in a park before but we found out he lives in the elders area. So off we went to pass him to the elders. It was fun to be able to teach with them and just see different teaching styles. Then we ran from there and hopped on a bus to alcantarilla to teach a cute less active family. It was so fun to teach them and feel the Spirit. As we talked to them about their conversion the spirit was so so strong. It was

incredible to see how much personal revelation can stick with people and bring the Spirit when remembered.

Wednesday morning we all went to play basketball and just had a blast. I got to work with Hermana Sabin. We got to teach M. She is awesome! When we got there she sat down and told us that she was told to listen to whatever we had to say. Because that morning she wanted to call us and tell us we couldn't come, but couldn't find our number. She felt super sick and she started praying and told God that if he wanted her to listen to us, that He had to make her better. And she felt better. We had an awesome lesson!

That night we got to eat with R again - I love that family! They take such good care of us. Friday everyone failed us! Even our bishop failed us. But we aren't mad, it was such a good day. We just went out and talked to everyone and taught on the streets. Anyway, that night, we had noche de Hogar. R and all of us have worked so hard to try

and redo them so that more people will come and so many people came! It was awesome. It was a little sad because I had a member pull me aside and yell at me for all the reasons it went wrong and whatnot. It was a good humbling moment for Hermana Smalley. But everyone else seemed to have a great time and it turned out super well. Just remember, You never know the work someone put into something - just always try to be supportive and loving to the people trying to do activities.

Saturday night we had three baptisms! None of them were our investigators but they were in our chapel so Elders Mitchell, Andrus and Hermana Gale and I were all there trying to work the behind the scenes. The elders were running around trying to get the program's printed and we had to get the paper work and all sorts of stuff to

make it run smoothly. We were all a little stressed but the other missionaries had an awesome baptism. So all worth it!  Then everyone left and we were left with the clean up. It was a good bonding moment.

Sunday was an awesome day. Got to take the sacrament and be a perfect missionary all over again:)

That night we got to teach J and J. Man J understands the Book of Mormon better than I do! Now we just need to help him have a little more faith. Then we went with the Bishop to U and he gave an amazing testimony.

I love Spain I love the mission!

Hermana Smalley

The miracle of the mission is that we can change every day

June 13, 2016
Dearest family,

Alright what a fantastic week here in Spain so let me tell you. We went to consejo and it was absolutely incredible! The preparation that we had to do was exactly what Hermana Smalley needed. We read about being truly good without guile, and beware of pride. Man they both were things that I needed to learn about.

Anywho, we actually got to consejo and ate some awesome food and then got down to it. I love the spirit in those meetings. Elder Quispe said something that really hit me, that each of us were in that room for a reason, and each of us had something to contribute. That we shouldn't feel shy about it. I realized that so often we are too timid with our thoughts and feelings in our callings. We specifically were called to be there, so what we feel should be heard, within reason of course. Later that night I sat and talked with Elder Jenkins (shout out to Elder Jenkins who is probably reading this from Hermana Brown”s iPad) and Elder Adcock and a bunch of friends from the mission. Consejo is something special!

Then the next morning president gave an incredible taller [workshop] about being worthy and about going back to the roots. He talked to those of us who feel like we have hit a wall, me, how going back to the root or Christ can help us find that drive. That often when we are reaching out too much, we are the "branches taking strength unto themselves" and we cannot keep that up on our own. Also Elder Alexander said something I love "the miracle of the mission is that we can change every day." What a blessing.

Also to explain the title, I found out that my favorite shoes, the ones I love and I have worn almost every day of my mission, are illegal! I can't wear them! Ugh! I felt so so so so dumb. Anyway, so I
switched shoes to some that hurt my feet and they are called my baptism shoes because now we know what has been stopping the baptisms!

Then we had intercambios that night. I was with Hermana Hansen, I got attacked by a puppy licking my feet - I was so tickled I was dying! We also fed a baby bird. Needless to say, I learned a lot about missionary work. The next morning with Hermana Clark was so much fun. I adore her. She taught me so much about just loving people.

We actually woke up early and played basketball with the other missionaries there in Malaga. So so much fun.

Then we got on the bus and drove the 7 hours back to Murica! Yay. When we got home we headed right to R’s house for dinner. I love that family so so much.

Thursday we had 2 eating citas. It was crazy! But we had one of the best lesson 1s that I have had my entire mission the Spirit was so strong and she kept saying this is what I have been looking for.

Friday we had zone meeting. It was awesome. We have a zone of 15 elders and the topic I spoke on was pornography. I have never been more scared to give a taller in my life. Just imagine one little
Hermana talking to all elders. But it turned out really well. I talked to them about what it meant to them that they held the priesthood. Then I told him what it meant to me. I talked to them about the day
when they would get married and have a wife that would depend on them for her access to the Priesthood and how they better never do anything to deprive her of the priesthood in her home. I talked about a lot of other stuff but that's the main point. After Elder Stevens came up to me and told me, " you made me realize my future wife is depending on me. I never want to sin again. "  So I think it turned out well.

Saturday was a crazy day of cleaning the church and running around with the elders for baptismal interviews but it was super fun. Then that night I couldn't sleep to well because I knew that Spencer was going through the temple. But I did have my own special experience half a world away I felt very close to all of you. Also that night I felt this new surge of energy to give everything I have and give all I
am to this work it was something amazing to think that as my little brother was covenanting to give all just as I felt a renewed devotion to give my all.
But as always seems to happen right as we feel a new devotion to work harder Satan comes and hits us hard. Sunday was a very hard day for me to be frank. I realized that for a while now I have been really down and tired but I pick myself up and say, "no worries I will be better tomorrow!" Or " I can fix it!"  But how many times did I say I in those phrases? Yesterday my sweet companion made me sit down and really talk. Then we taught the lessons we had planned then she pointed out
that we can not do everything on our own. We prayed as a companionship and then called Elders Mitchell and Andrus for a blessing. It was what I needed. I finally have realized that I cannot make it better. I alone will not be able to move on. But with the Lord slowly but surely tomorrow will be better than today.

Anyway with the blessing and a loving companion, everything turned out well. I love this work. I love this Gospel and I am so grateful for the Priesthood.

Also random fact. Mom. Elder Mitchell's homecoming will be in 5 weeks in Ogden. He's been my district leader for 5 transfers now so you both are more than welcome to go if you want. I'm sure he will have plenty of crazy stories to share.

Sorry for the short email. We had to help a member his morning so our p day got cut in half. Love you all!

Love Hermana Smalley