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

No comments:

Post a Comment