Saturday, August 13, 2016

Where has this transfer gone

May 23, 2016
Dear family,

Like the title says I cannot believe that we are in the last week of this transfer! Where has the time gone? Just to start off I wanted to quickly share an experience that I had this last week. Recently I have been feeling a little lost, a little not like myself. I'm not really sure how to explain it. Like everything that has been important to me my whole mission was starting to slip, like I was leveling out a little bit. The closest thing I can compare it to is mid-swim season, right before December, where you just stop caring. Times don't matter, practice doesn't matter, nothing can motivate you. Obviously I can point out that in missionary work EVERYTHING matters and time is too short to go through that phase. Once I realized what was happening…I had my mid-mission crisis and didn't quite know what to do. 

So I got down on my knees. I poured out my heart to my Heavenly Father. Simple right? Funny how such a simple act can bring such a dramatic change. Just like President Hinckely, I promised to give my all, to focus even more and renew my devotion to this work. I also asked for the help I would need to do so. I then got off my knees and did an analysis of my work and then made 4 goals and plans for those goals to help me improve. It has been amazing how the Lord can take what we have, our simple offering of simply trying, and He enables us to make so much more of ourselves that we can on our own. Now please don't confuse my meaning… I still have SO much to improve and often I fall into the same traps. But that's all right, as long as I am giving my effort, the Lord can work with that. I am enough, and I know each of you are enough for the work the Lord has called you to do as long as you truly give him you. *drops mic

With that, I'm gonna tell you about another amazing week serving the Lord here in Spain. Last week, like I said, for p-day we went hiking. I walked away with the worst farmers tan! Then I made the mistake of wearing an even shorter sleeve shirt out to work that night. People contacted us just to tell us how sunburnt I was. But hey!  We use any excuse to talk to people. That night we ate with a member family from Brazil. They are the coolest people ever!  They have traveled the world
as a family and are the strongest members you have ever met. We are so lucky to have hem here in Murcia. They really are such a strength to the ward. We ended up getting there late for dinner. Around 9:15, cute L was telling us how weird it was to be eating so late. I then realized that it was weird to be eating so late! But hey, when the sun never goes down.. You forget.

The next morning we had District meeting. It was awesome. Elder Meredith started by talking about his favorite subject, miracles. He is a firm believer that every moment we have on this mission is a miracle, I agree. He talked about how it is a miracle when someone takes a card, when you get a lesson, when we get out of bed… Everything! He talked about how noticing the miracles invites even more. And how
it is our responsibility to work for them. Elder Mitchell then talked about how our goals can help us bring about miracles. Loved it! Then we all got together and made breakfast burritos for lunch.

Then we went out to teach some people! Ugh!  It was pretty funny – that night we had two lessons where we showed up, our member showed up, and the investigator did not. But hey, we keep telling ourselves we did everything we could do. We did have a great lesson with P.  We talked about the Book of Mormon and I got to testify to her of the truth of those words. It was so powerful because I realized at first I wasn't looking at her I was just looking at the book, but then I got
to raise my head and look her in the eyes and tell her that is book was written for her - That it would bless her life by drawing her closer to her Savior. Something that never gets old for me is the
light in people's eyes when they suddenly get it. It clicks and they understand. Man I love the mission!

The next morning we were fasting, zone goal fast once a week, and we headed out to Alcantaria to work. We started by teaching R also about the Book of Mormon and then headed out and worked with some menos activas that live there. It was fun to get to know them a little better. It's sad that I have been here a month now but with all the craziness, I'm still trying to get to know the  members. Then we went to an eating cita and treated ourselves to ice cream. I don't know if I have told you but the ice cream here is INCREDIBLE. Seriously. So good. I'm not sure I'll make it without it. There are Heladarias that make all the ice cream by hand and oh my! I'm making myself hungry!

That night was a little interesting. I should say that all transfer my companion and I have been a little sick. My

allergies have been killing me, BTW, apparently I have allergies... But my eyes have been
bugging me so bad I had to resort to wearing my glasses more. (Also I think the prescription might be a little old on them, what would be my options to getting some here? But not a big deal at all) But what is worse is my poor amazing, hard working companion! For the past month she has just been working super hard but she has been so sick, and Wednesday night it started killing her just a little. So we were
waiting at the chapel for E to go with us to a lesson and my companion looked so sick., I was wondering how on earth we were going to make the walk all the way across town to our lesson when E
walks in and says, “Hermanas! I brought my car! Where to?” MIRACLES HAPPEN! We got to go teach an awesome first lesson to D. D is Spanish, and he understood everything perfectly the first lesson. Well not perfectly or he would be baptized;) but he understood it all and told us he would need to confirm everything through prayer but that it sounded good. Yeah, that's rare. People almost never understand all of lesson one.

Then we headed to R’s house and ate with them. They are seriously like my second family - I love them all so much and they take such good care of us.

Thursday morning my companion died. I'm only slightly overstating that. Her body just rebelled, so we took it easy

that morning and tried to get her feeling better. Then that night we went out and got to teach two new incredible investigators. One of them is M, he is from Italy and he contacted us. That morning I braided Hermana Asay’s hair, and as we were walking down the street he yelled, “Hey! I like your braids!” So we went and taught him. After that I told Hermana Asay I was going to braid her hair every day!

Friday morning we did weekly planning and then we had intercambios with Hermana Gale and Hermana Holdjholt. I was with Hermana Holdjholt and we had such a good time. We got to teach an investigator about the Book of Mormon by reading the first chapter with them and talking about how they too need to pray with heart to know if it was true and that God will give them an answer. It was a little iffy getting to the house of the investigator because I didn't have the address, but MIRACLE!  We made it!  We got to teach a few lessons on the street and then we went to U with the bishop’s wife. It was super funny!  We were waiting for her at the bus stop and the bishop calls and asks, "Hermanas is my lovely wife with you?" We told him, “No” and he said, "Hermanas you lost my wife! What have you done!?"  Don't worry!  We found her and had an awesome lesson with U. He is so special and trying so
hard to be ready for his baptism.

So Saturday morning was an adventure. We almost didn't do intercambios because Hermana Asay was so sick. But we ended up doing it, and she just died Saturday morning. So Hermana Holdjholt and I ran to the chapel that morning and played soccer while the other two stayed in. Then before it was time to work, we called the elders for a blessing.

Favorite moment of this week:
Me, "Hermana Asay the elders want to give you a blessing at 11"
Hrm A, "NO! We are on intercambios tell them later!"
Sweet cute Danish Hermana Holdjholt, "Hermana Asay, I am learning from you.  Are you teaching me to reject the priesthood?"

Needless to say, we all busted up laughing because of that sass that came out of that cute Hermana! Then we went to the chapel so she could get a blessing. Then Hermana Gale and I went out and taught N.  And clever N told us how she had been feeling a lot of peace since we had been coming and we got to testify that that was the Spirit and how it would increase after baptism. I love being a missionary!  Hermana Gale and I then got to talk about the day we worked together in Malaga. She told me how I had her running all over the place and how she thought I was crazy at first, but as the night went on she saw that there was a method to my madness. I have heard that from so many people, I'm starting to wonder if I should be worried;)

Then everything changed. Hermana Asay finally called the mission nurse, who sent us to the doctor. So instead of sending the Hermanas alone to Cartagena we went with them! When we got there, Elder Holman, Elder Fife and elder Guisepe picked us up and drove us to "la manga."  So la manga is the big peninsula Where all the rich foreigners live. I'm not even kidding. It was like entering a whole new world with huge homes you only see in movies, I just can't even imagine being that wealthy! Anyway the purpose of our visit was to see S. He's a member from America, who is a doctor, who lives over there. So he ordered Hermana Asay about every drug in the world and then we headed home. It was a super long trip but really fun:)

Then we had a noche de Hogar with A. She invited so many friends! It was perfect!  Unfortunately, all of the members we invited failed us, so it was us, and a lot of investigators, but we aren't complaining. We shared a message about following the Savior and it was super fun even though both of us were media muerta.

Sunday we went to church for sacrament meeting, but at the end of the meeting my cute companion looked like death, so we ended up going home. More study time and lots of service opportunities. The Elders have been taking good care of us. This is the first time that my companion has been sick and I have been fine, not my favorite because I'm not sure quite what to do with myself, but I've been able to study a lot.

With that time I have been looking into some Catholic beliefs, because I live in a Catholic country and I like to be

able to level with people and understand where they are coming from. It has amazed me just how confused I get as I try to understand, especially their take on the Godhead. It has made me so grateful for modern prophets and for clear, simple doctrine that doesn't give me a headache. I hope that didn't come out snooty. Not how I meant it.

Today we took it easy. Aka, we went and I got my first haircut in Spain and then went and watched for 20 min as the rest of the zone played soccer. Elder Meredith took pity on me and we threw a football around for a little bit. But then we headed back to piso so my companion could rest. Also Mom, you should know, while I was getting my hair cut, "sitting on the dock of the bay" started playing and it made me smile;)

I love you all so much and I know I say it a lot but I love this work! I am so excited for Spencer! I cannot wait to be joined by someone so incredible on the front lines of this great work!

Hermana Smalley

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