Thursday, November 10, 2016

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

November 7, 2016

Dearest family,

Well it's true! Spain took a turn for cold and I'm finally believing that it is November. The orange trees that line the streets of Malaga are full of oranges and the streets smell like citrus. It's like the whole city is decorating itself for the season. The lights have gone up and the little roasted chestnut stands have also popped up everywhere. It truly is a magical time to be in Malaga. 

It has been another wonderful week here in Spain and the transfer madness has begun. I don't remember how
save the rest for another day. So come this year I was pretty nervous about what Halloween would bring. Turns out it was an awesome day! I told you we ended Pday early so we could have a meeting with President. We had a 4 hour meeting talking about just about everything and we were about to head back to Malaga when Hermana Andersen asked us if we wanted some chillie. Of course. So our cute little family sat down and ate chillie together. Then President Andersen brought out American candy in honor of the holiday. Then we drove into Fuengirola and President dropped us off at the office so we could take care of some business. Well, as we rang the office door we all switched our chapas and held up our book of mormons and yelled "trick or treat!" The office staff got a kick out of it and we had to run to catch the train back to Malaga. 

Tuesday we had district meeting. I knew Elder Bussell had a taller about weekly planning and I won't lie to you, I was less than enthusiastic. Like I have said before, Weekly planning, not my favorite. But he gave an amazing taller that made me repent and helped me get a little excited for planning Thursday morning. After we went with the other
district to a Thai restaurant. It was super good. And we all had a great time. I didn't realize it at the time but that was my last district meeting. Pretty sad but I've had an awesome run. After that we met with G. We asked him if he had talked with his parents yet. He started looking at the ground and asked if we would be willing to go with him to ask. We assumed that meant he hadn't asked, so we set the cita. Then slowly he started to smile and while still looking at the ground he said. "I think she is going to say yes!"  He then told us he had talked a little bit with his mom and he got what he called a 50% yes. We freaked out and wanted to hug him - but we didn't, don't worry, we didn't!  Then while we were teaching another lesson the Hermanas from Sevilla arrived to do intercambios (exchanges) . I was finally able to be companions with Hermana Hauber. Oh my goodness!  I love her to death. We went and got to teach M and Hermana Hauber taught lesson one in a way that I had never seen before. I loved it. Then we ran back and did a lesson with L and G. Barcelona was playing that night and normally that means G doesn't come. But he came! We taught about tithing using chocolate and it was super fun. Good night. 

Wednesday we got to eat paella for the second time. Yay! Then the moment came. We went walking to G's house. That 15 min walk was the longest walk of my life!! When we got there he was outside waiting for us and we went in together. We talked it through with his mom and SHE SAID YES!!! We wanted to yell scream cry, you know, the whole thing. But in the end we just said a very heartfelt prayer of gratitude. We scheduled his baptism for the 14th. Tender mercy. I hope it all works out. You know with these things, I'm never calm until they are under the water. Then we had an an awesome noche de Hogar and G and P both came! We got to teach P after about the plan of salvation. He is awesome. The mission is awesome. 

I survived weekly planning! It was actually a super good one. Then we headed out to C and F. Carla's husband never comes home to eat when he know the missionaries are there because he isn't a member. But this week she didn't tell him we were coming! So we sat there super scared waiting to surprise attack him. It was super funny, but it went so well. We had another pallea and talked about water polo - you know some of my favorites. 

We shared Exodus 4:2 with them. This was right after Moses received the command to free the slaves in Egypt. Pretty daunting task. He had asked God how on earth he was going to get the people to follow him and when God asked him what he had in his hands he responded simply " a rod."  I imagine he said it just a little discouraged thinking," now what on earth am I going to do with this rod?"  And how often do we have the same feelings?  When we are called to do something we look at the sum of our talents and resources and are discouraged because all we see is a useless rod.  But we encouraged them to remember all that God did with that rod. Miracles! Now think of all he can do with a willing heart and your talents. Incredible, eh? 

That night we got to meet with A again and we taught him the word of wisdom. It was awesome! When we finished his first and only question was, " so this is a requirement to go to the celestial kingdom?"  Allí vamos casi! (Here we go!)  It was adorable really. We also taught S about the 2000 stripling warriors.  I'm being told I love scripture stories a little too much while teaching, but hey, God gives us the why in the commandments and the how in the story, right? He also gave us polverones and since Hermana Portas doesn't like them, I'll be bringing them home for all of you. I love them. 

Friday normal wonderful missionary day not much to report. Saturday, we started stake conference!  It was awesome!  G came and I mostly just loved seeing so many saints together in one chapel. It always brings a special spirit. After stake conference, President wanted to talk for a few minuets. We had an hour long meeting which ended in Hermanas Smalley and Portas running through the streets of Malaga, after the hour, trying to get home. All in a day! 

Just so you at home can come to love President Andersen as much as we do, here's a highlight from the meeting: President told us about one of his friends who gets up every morning and looks in the mirror and yells, " I'M SO EXCITED!  I just can't take it!  I can't wait for tomorrow because I just keep getting better looking every day!"  And yes he did demonstrate it. It had us all dying of laughter. 

Sunday morning we got up and met President and Hermana Andersen at the church and drove to Granada for the rest of stake conference. It was incredible!  Seriously, seeing this huge chapel full of saints from all over made me all emotional.  Hermana Portas and I were asked to translate the meeting. .... so you remember how I told you this massive stake center was full! Yeah. We had to translate! 😅 it was actually a mission dream of mine but I didn't think it would be on such a huge scale. It is hard! Listening and talking at the same time. I just had to picture that the only person listening was Hermana Andersen and it went okay.  But because we were translating, we got to sit up on the stand and it was powerful to be able to see everyone. After the meeting I was trying to avoid everyone who looked like they spoke English because I was so embarrassed.  But Hermana Frost came up to me and hugged me and thanked me for doing such a good job. So I think it went well. 

Also highlight of stake conference. I got to see Brielle! Or Hermana Twede as she is known here in Spain! It was
funny because Hermana Matsu is here as well and she played for Utah county. Yeah, they hate us. But no biggie - we are all on the same team now!  We had an awesome talk about water polo. Then we drove home with President. Oh man, it was so fun!  We were driving just chatting away and then president gasps.  Hermana Andersen asked him what he forgot. He looked at us and said, " I forgot to drop you off!"  We realized that we had passed Malaga 20 min ago and we're almost to the mission home. Fun stuff. That night we did numbers and got to teach a new person. 

Today we left early to go get the "man talk" from Elder Frost. Man, it was good. He reminded me that when I get home the first person I'm gonna meet is me. And suddenly 1.5 year old Hermana Smalley is gonna come face to face with 19 year old Erinn Smalley.  And Hermana Smalley is gonna need to fight that Goliath. I just hope that I can apply what I have learned and not just come back the same as I was. Believe it or not, I have made loads of changes that I think are for the better! So please be patient with me. 

Consejo is tonight so that should be fun. 
Love you all so much! 

Hermana Smalley. 

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