Saturday, September 3, 2016

OK, so there's been a few complaints...

August 29,2016
Dearest family,

Alright alright, so there has been some complaints as to my explanation of what happened this transfer and why I am back in Malaga.  So I'm gonna try to explain a little bit better. President Andersen felt a few transfers ago that the Hermanas needed leaders like the assistants to help the sister training leaders. So he created an assignment called a Sister training leader trainer.  This last transfer he called me and asked if I would be willing to fill that role. He told me that the Lord had made it very clear that for the work to go forth as it should I was needed back in Malaga. Of course I said yes, you don't say no to President, but I'm pretty nervous. Lemme explain what we do: everything the ayudantes do. That about sums it up. I am so grateful for this assignment but I'm also pretty scared. It's a lot to do, and often I just don't feel like I can possibly complete everything or be the missionary that these other missionaries deserve, but I trust the Lord. It will all work out and He makes up the difference. Alright phew, I'm sorry I just feel awkward and a half trying to explain all that. Can we get on with what happened this week? 
We shall...

Monday was an adventure. We got out of the chapel just a little late so we had to sprint home so we could get started working on time. I can't remember if I told you that elder Garcia kinda killed my ankle during morning soccer so walking was a chore but hey, we made it! 10 min to spare! Showers were taken and we made it out on time. We went to J and M's to do our last noche de Hogar. They are so sweet! I really am so sad I had such little time with these incredible people. Then we went over to V's house with Mary. He made us mussels and meatballs. Haha!  I love eating with him because he always makes gourmet food. I actually liked the mussels once I got past what they were. They tasted like a sea breeze.

Tuesday we had what we called our apostate district meeting. Our district leader was gone because he was training and so was the entire Cadiz district. So we went to San Fernando to do district meeting with Hermana Spangler and Bailey. When we got there I walked into the chapel and Carlos was sitting there with P and S and Obispo. I literally died! I was so glad to see all of them! Then we had the best district meeting ever! Elder Adcock the San Fernando Hermanas and I gave tallers. I talked about how we cannot be content with what we did last transfers how we need to keep looking forward because that is the direction that the Gospel goes! Faith is pointed forward. I talked about how one of the biggest mistakes we make as missionaries is saying "oh in time" or little by little. But we know our purpose, we know our time is precious and not our own, and we know the Lord is hastening His work. So what does that tell us? We need to expect big miracles, today! And still of course be okay if they don't come. But we need to stop pushing it off saying we will have success next week, because I'm running out of those. Anyway then we all went to Taco Bell which is the new rave on that side of Spain.

Tuesday afternoon I had to go say goodbye go F. It was so sad because I just got to know her! She is so sweet, and then we said goodbye to  ML and she gave me my favorite horchata. Then we met up with the elders to go to an eating cita with our Chinese investigators! It was so fun! H cooked everything and it was so so good. But I made the mistake of sitting next to Elder Garcia and he had me laughing so so hard I couldn't eat.  During the meal J looks at me and said, "Smalley, you laugh too much and eat too little", which of course just added to it all. Then H turns of the TV and starts watching the voice of China. We all looked at each other and didn't know quite how to politely ask him to turn it off so we said, "Hey do you want to hear the voice of America?" And we made Elder Garcia pull out his guitar and sing, Elder Adcock did as well and it was so fun!

Wednesday was super interesting because I didn't leave in the morning so I got to say goodbye to M and M and then Hermana Whaley, Hermana Lamb and I went to our piso for mediodia and looked at pictures from the transfer eating pasta and pesto. It was a pretty tender moment. I'm gonna miss Hermana Whaley so much! She is just one of the most genuine loving people I have ever met. Man, saying goodbye is the worst. Then the elders came to help me take my bags to the train station. That was also a hard goodbye. I have had some of my favorite people all together in one district. Spoiled. The elders helped me get all my bags on the train and then had to jump off as the doors closed. I got to travel with a member for about a half hour but then I was alone. That was pretty daunting. 3 bags, switching trains alone, with a bum ankle!  Good thing I'm pretty pro at it by now. I swear every time I get transferred I sprain my ankle! A cute British couple took pity on me and helped me out.

When I got to Malaga I met my amazing new comp. Hermana Clark. I'm pretty sure she is the pretty, more graceful, and better version of me. Then we got in the car with the ayudantes and headed to the church. Elder Bussell told me I better get used to not sleeping because the days of 8 hours were over. We went to noche de hogar and I got to meet the ward. It was pretty fun because I already knew most of them from last year. Also welcome to the oldest district in the whole mission! 3 of us go home this transfer ,and 2 the next, and poor Elder Paepke hasn't hit a year yet!

Then weekly planning Thursday morning. We spent the first  hour trying to make everything fit into one transfer. Intercambios, district leader training, trainers training, consejo zone meeting, zone conference and ... You know, Missionary work!;)  We managed to plan it all out and have a great planning session and then we got a call from the elders. We go down stairs and they changed all our plans and gave us muffins. It's gonna be an exciting ride this transfer!

That night we taught F, he is doing so well. Just from the time that I taught him a week ago he has changed. He is so ready for his baptism and I'm excited to help him get all the way ready.

Then we went to go teach a future. We contacted her a couple days ago, she told us that when we contacted her she had the money in hand and was trying to buy drugs but because of us, she didn't. She knows that God is helping her and wants to know about who we are. It was an awesome lesson but we needed to pass her to the zone leaders in Malaga 4. So we set up a lesson to do that and she failed. So Elder Lowrey had a 30 minute conversation with a drunk man about beards so he would leave us alone long enough to reschedule the lesson. It was so funny!

Then we taught A English. She is so so cute!  I love her already. I also love how simple and clear everything is in the restored Gospel. It all just makes sense and we don't need to grasp at straws or hypothesize. It's all right there.

Friday was an awesome day just getting to know the area and some members! The Lord taught us some pretty awesome lessons on patience when we ended up out on the streets during the time we have to eat lunch, but we laughed it off and decided to love it! Happiness is a choice right? I seem to remember someone saying that ;) that night we taught some less active people and a cute new family! So much excitement!

Then we got to meet with a recent convert, S. We taught him the plan of salvation.  It was during that lesson it hit me - The magnitude of what we teach. The glory and goodness of the plan of God, and the real prize we are all fighting for... An eternity without pain and sickness with God and our loved ones in a place He prepared for us! When we have that perspective, all the adversary's attempts to distract us would be laughable, but they are too effective for that to be he case. But it was an incredible moment for me and Hermana Clark. We both teared up walking away realizing that our time is so short to do this wondrous work all day. Man it breaks my heart.

Saturday morning we got to teach C. She contacted us on Friday asking why we weren't teaching her. She is from Nigeria and accepted a baptismal date. She is so cute! I love teaching her!

Also on the way to church Sunday morning this car starts honking at us like crazy. This man flips a u turn and pulls up next to us in the middle of the street and asks what the book we were holding was and where he could get one. We happily explained and gave him one. This morning the same thing happened with a different man as we were buying food. Milagros!

I love the mission and my new comp and area. So excited for the next part of the adventure.

Hermana Smalley

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