Saturday, September 3, 2016

Consecration is a pathway not a destination

August 8, 2016
Dearest family,

This week has been incredible so you are going to need to bear with me a little because I'm probably going to be writing a long one this week. Brace yourself Hermana Brown! ;)

Well like I said last week, this week was consejo!  Monday we spent all day getting to the mission home, getting stranded in Sevilla, eating. But when I got there, I got to see my beloved Hermana Peters! Oh my gosh -  we both almost cried!  It was so good to see her! All in all, I had 5 lovely companions at consejo and it was so good to see each and every one of them. Consejo that Night was incredible. Each of us got to get up and share our experience with our week of consecration. It was so good to hear what each missionary had gone through and learned and see how we could apply it to our own work.

Where to begin... I think the easiest place is realizing just like every other principle of the gospel, consecration is a pathway not a destination. There is ALWAYS more we can do. I found that for me the law of sacrifice has always been easy; or giving up something initially, knowing God will bless us. But the law of consecration goes past that, it is giving of ourselves consistently out of pure love for our Father and His Son. It is that consistency that I hope to gain. I know that being consecrated will bless not just me, but everything in my life and I am excited to see the blessings the Lord has waiting for us. But as always, if He does not see fit to let us see the fruits of our labors, onward.  We will still give all we have.  At the end of the week the biggest thing I took away was gratitude that I had another week.  That that didn't need to be my last week in the mission, it wasn't my last chance, and this week will also be a week of consecration.  So when I look back at the end of my mission, I will see that the weeks of consecration added up to months of consecration, and to a mission of consecration, and I hope in the end, a life of consecration.

That night Hermana Asay jumped up onto my bed and we chatted just like always. I can't wait to see that lady at BYU!  She goes home this transfer and her homecoming should be in Highland, but that's all the info I have on it.

Tuesday morning, more awesome consejo from President. He talked about all of the oil in the world and how only a portion of that is olive oil. And only a portion of that is extra virgin. Pretty pure stuff. But think of the tiny amount that ever ends up being consecrated. He talked about how we can make ourselves part of that. I realized that one small vial of consecrated oil is good for so many blessings, and that as it is used, the oil is spent. It runs out. But the oil doesn't care. It just does what it was consecrated to do. I want to do that, and not care that by working my energy is spent, but keep giving because that's what I have been called to do.

We took tons of fun pictures and Elder Guispe came up and handed me a huge Spanish dessert. Man he is awesome. Then we headed to the mission office and a bunch of us went to the fish spa. It's is place where little fish come eat your feet. It tickled so bad but it was super funny!  Bucket list check.  On the way out we went to Vialia to get some food and Elder Holman freezes, and tells me to look at the TV.  I look up and see an Olympic water polo game.  It was last years game between the US and Spain.  It was like pure torture!  But we managed to look away and focus on mission like things. Then we went home talking with the people from Sevilla arguing if BYU or USU was better. Claro. Not even a debate!

Wednesday we got to meet with J again! He is awesome!  We explained the Book of Mormon a little bit better and he seems stoked to read it. The rest of the night didn't really go as planned but that's normal;)  We kept our heads up and kept moving forward.

Thursday we weekly planned and then met up with the zone leaders to plan zone meeting. More on that later, but then all of us went out to eat at good burger place and Elder Adcock got serenaded by a drunk man. It was so funny. That night was spent looking for those elect. This week as a goal we told ourselves that we were going to be accountable every night to our district leader about what we did each day. It was so good to keep us working hard and Elder Pyle kept giving us encouragement.

Then the big day came... ZONE MEETING!  Man all 4 of us were so stoked for zone meeting because we planned it and tried to make it super spiritual.  So Friday morning we all headed to San Fernando. I got to start the meeting with a taller (lesson) about the difference between obedience and consecration. It was one of those times were I had so much to say!  I hope it all made sense. But right in the middle of my taller, the door opens and President Andersen and Hermana Andersen walk in, completely by surprise. It was a total deer in the headlights moment!  I forgot everything of everything I wanted to say.  After I pulled myself together a bit, I managed to finish.

But super quick, I used the story of Peter walking on water to make the point about obedience and consecration. I started by asking what was hard about the mission.  And then asking how were were supposed to find joy here with all the hardship.  Then I talked about the only way being living the law of obedience and the law of consecration together.  I talked about how all of us jumped out of the boat, so to speak, when we came on the mission. All of us lived the law of obedience and left everything.  But maybe when we got here it was harder than we thought and we got distracted from the Savior and just like Peter, began to sink.  What do we learn from that?  Well that the law of sacrifice or initial obedience will not be enough!  If we want to experience the miracle of the mission life and enjoy it, we must be consecrated -  Following the Savior, focused only on Him.  That doesn't mean we won't get wet!  But the other option is drowning.  So when we see our focus slipping, and feel as if we start sinking, we need to reach out to the Savior and give our all to Him again.  I hope that makes sense :)

Then Elder Rivero gave a talk about opposition in all things and Hermana Whaley talked about mastering the missionary schedule.  Then Elder Adcock and I gave a taller (lesson) about finding.  It actually when super well. And then Elder Adcock finished it off with a taller about consecration. He talked about how a consecrated action is an action with direction or purpose.  So an explosion is not consecrated, but how a car engine can consecrate an explosion.  He talked about how our success here is like a car.  And we are the gas and the systems of the mission are the Pistons. Gasoline is a pretty refined substance right?  But inside the piston it must be compressed even more so that it can become consecrated and move the car forward.  Man, I probably explained that so badly!  But it was so good and the whole zone was stoked.  President told us after how he felt he needed to be in our zone meeting really strongly, and he had been worried it was because our zone needed some correction. But he came and was so impressed by everything that he saw from all of the missionaries. It was nice to hear.

That night we did intercambios (exchanges) with Hermana Clark and Hermana Stephens. I was with Hermana Clark that night and had the opportunity to sit down and do a PPI - something new we talked about in consejo. It was honestly one of the best experiences of my mission!  It wasn't anything too long just a couple minutes on a bench where I sat down and I got to ask her how she was doing.  She explained to me that she often feels lost and unsure how to measure how she is doing.  It was such a good experience to remember exactly how I felt at the beginning and help her and give her some animo. The best part was at the end when I asked her if she felt she was a successful missionary and with tears in her eyes she told me she didn't know.  I pulled up PME (Preach My Gospel in Spanish) and read through the points like a quiz.  She answered yes to all of them.  I told her that was what the Lord had said was a successful missionary so any thoughts of failure were coming from Satan.  We hugged and then got back to work. And we saw so many miracles from it.  Like M who called and asked if we could meet!

Alright Saturday morning we played soccer.  It was a party!   And then I got to work for just an hour with Hermana Stephens. We went to a recent convert. Who told us that she's been having some doubts recently. When we got there she received us so nicely that I knew something had happened. She told us that She ended up going to her old Catholic priest to talk to him talk to him about her doubts.  He told her that she had to stop coming to church and reject the missionaries and if we didn't stop coming that she had to call the police. She was so astounded by what he said that she told us she knew that she had found the right church when she joined our church because there was no way she was going to call the police on her ninas the missionaries.!  It was cute and we were happy that she had finally opened up and told us what was happening. 

Sunday was one of the best fast and testimony meetings I have ever been a part of.  All they youth got up and bore their testimonies about it EFY.  They all talked about the changing experience they had had and bore powerful testimonies of the Atonement and prayer.  After all of the youth had spoken, an old man worked his way up from the back using a cane to make it all the way up to the pulpit.  You could tell that it was difficult because he so old. But when he began to speak he bore one of the most powerful testimonies I have heard. He encouraged all of the youth to remember what they had felt that week and to never leave the church. It was like the Spirit was palpable and I was so happy that M was sitting next to me. 

Wow it has been an adventure filled week and I am so grateful to be here in Spain learning so much! Love you all! 

Hermana Smalley 

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