Thursday, October 27, 2016

Christ is our spotter...

October 24, 2016
Dearest family,

I know it shouldn't surprise me anymore just how quickly the weeks fly by but, it seriously seems like it was yesterday that I was writing all of you! These weeks are just slipping through my fingers I don't quite believe it!

Anyway, so last Monday was probably the worst p-day ever! Sounds pretty negative, huh? But let me explain. We went to do our morning shopping per normal. And in one moment to another I didn't have my wallet anymore, so my DNI, my drivers license, temple recommend... everything was gone. We spent an hour looking for it just in case but it was gone. It was a shame, but hey, everything in there is replaceable, except my Spanish identification. So that's a bummer. But we headed to the centro to go bike riding at the boardwalk with the Elders. When we got there all the bikes we had reserved were gone... so we went to another place and we all got on our bikes. We then got lost, my companion crashed, and the peddle of my bike just fell off in the middle of the road cutting my foot. We all just kinda looked around and laughed. It was just too funny!  We kept asking what else could go wrong? We then headed out on the pier and had some fun getting close to the water and just relaxing. All in all, it was a pretty good day in spite of all of our little dramas. 

That night we got to meet with two new investigators who are awesome! And then we tried to go to the police station to report my wallet and ID and all that jazz, but the line was so long we ended up just sitting there and running home to make it on time. 

Tuesday we had district meeting and I gave a taller on setting goals. I resurrected an old one from Jerez. Comparing the process of setting goals to that of the bother of Jared making his plan. Then we ran off to eat with cute R. That night we got to pass by F and C. They are both doing so well and it warms my heart to see the progress they have made since their baptism. That night we got to go out looking for some old futures and got to teach a few of them. Then we went to go be with L.  We were so sad because G didn't come, but turns out it was a blessing, because L really just needed some love from us and so we were able to give her some. 

Wednesday we were just in the police station pretty much all day. Yeah... it was pretty fun. Not really at all, but I got to do lots of Book of Mormon reading! Then we taught English to some little kids so we sang lots of fun songs and the Elders laughed at us. 

Thursday we got to go eat with K and F again and they showed me all the pictures of Hermana Clark. Oh man, I love that lady! Then we got to teach a menos activo and he told us just how much he has been missing the Church and all he had found there. We got to teach him about growing our faith. Then we met with G and talked about baptism again. He told us he really wants to but his parents won't let him. But we got to meet with him again and he told us that he wanted to and he was going to talk with his parents today! So please pray for him and his parents. 

Friday morning a whole lot of putting off being sick caught up with me and we had to take it easy.  Then the Hermanas from Alicante came in to do intercambios. Oh my!  How I love Hermana Peters and Hermana Whaley! I got to be with Hermana Whaley that night and we got to teach A again. The whole time he just kept telling us that it seemed like he needed to read the Book of Mormon to know for himself. We were pretty happy he understood that. Then we went to a Relief Society activity. I loved being able to just talk to Hermana Whaley. She is so incredible! 

The next morning I got to be with Hermana Peters! She is also incredible. I feel like I cannot say more about her than I have already said. She is incredible and I wish I could be more like her. We got to teach S together about Alma 32, then off they went back to Alicante and we had correlation. 

Saturday night it was supposed to rain all night and hard. Me and my companion were pretty worried because we didn't have any citas or shoes suited for rain. But God takes care of his missionaries. He opened doors for us all night. We found a bunch of new investigators and we got to teach G again! He is so incredible and I hope that his parents will understand his desires to be baptized. The rain didn't start until the minute before we went inside. God took such good care of us. 

On Sunday we had some awesome meetings and Then we got to eat with the C's again. A personal favorite. They are such a wonderful family! 

I just wanted to finish sharing a thought, Dad mentioned something a while back that caught my eye. He talked about when he had extra time how he would "preach a sermon" or collect his thoughts on a certain topic and then organize them into a talk and give it to himself. So, I have taken up the habit. This week I have been thinking a lot about our Hermanas and the different refiner's fires that each of them are going through.  It has been so interesting to me that sometimes we get so focused on our trails that we forget the purpose behind them.  And well, like I do with most things, I compared it to my experience swimming. 

While I was swimming my coach would have us do weight room workouts 2 or 3 times a week. One of his favorite sets to assign was the lift and then instead of putting reps he would put "until failure."  I hated those sets because it means that you have to lift until you physically cannot lift anymore.  I remember one day I was bench pressing and I lifted until it hurt, I lifted until my arms were shaking and I racked the bar thinking I had done well. My coach walked up at me and yelled, "SMALLEY!  What are you doing?  Why did you stop?"  I told him because it hurt, and he responded, " I didn't say lift until it hurts, I said lift until you fail, lift until your arms give out and you need your spotter to lift the bar off of you. Start again."  So I did and I lifted until I failed. It hurt, and it was scary to find my very limit and need to rely on someone else.  I realized after that by finding my limit, I also found room for real growth.  I saw my weakness, but I also became stronger because I worked right until the end. 

Alright where am I going with this? Well just like I went to the weight room because my coach wanted strong swimmers, we are here on earth, and specifically here in the mission, because God needs strong children. He needs converted, tried and tested disciples. Often that kind of conditioning hurts.  It takes us to the limit.  And it is scary to see where our real limit is, which is often much farther than we are wanting to go in the beginning.  But when a weight or a trail doesn't go away after our prayers and after our pleading and after we have given what we think we have to give, well we haven't reached the point of failure.  God knows we have more to give, that there is room for real growth and He needs us to push until we get there. 

There is just one last part of this analogy that I want to share, and that is the position of the spotter. You can't do a set to failure unless you have a spotter -  a spotter in a better position than you to carry the weight and keep it from killing you when you fail.  Well in our weight room of life, we also have a spotter, Christ, our Savior. He is "mighty to save."  We know He can lift any weight, and carry any burden, and He is right there with us in every moment, hands right under that bar, ready to catch it. So why doesn't He just take it?  We know He can.  But He already proved that He could, didn't He?  The one that needs testing now is me.  If He curled the bar we are supposed to be benching, He would be an awful spotter, and we would never grow stronger.  But we don't need to doubt that the moment our limit has been reached, He will be there to stop the bar from falling.  He would never let our trails overcome us if we are trusting in Him. 

That was just what I have been thinking these past couple days. That when trials don't leave it's because we are stronger than we think and He will be there to help us in every moment. And even though refinement can hurt, it can be a joyous process because we are becoming who He needs. 

Sorry for being so brief on everything I just feel like the whole week flew by! 

Love you. 

Hermana Smalley

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