Thursday, November 3, 2016

The most bittersweet Baptism

October 31, 2016

Dearest family,

Um what happened to last week? Seriously time just keeps flying by whether I like it or not. So I'm just trying to enjoy the ride, you know? Also just an FYI apology I am typing this on a computer that has spanish spell check... so my normal horrid spelling, aun peor.

Last Monday we got to go to be with Obispo Padilla again! We kinda just crashed at his house and talked about life and all the mysterious things that one normally talks about with Obispo Padilla. We also enjoyed M's wonderful food and just got to relax which was honestly so needed. We actually felt ready to take on the week at the end of 

After we finished P-day we went to F´s house and we read with him about Enos and talked about the importance of prayer. It is always so amazing to me all the problems that this one little practice can solve. If we can really develop a relationship with God through prayer He will be able to pick us up and comfort us in the worst times, and amplify our joy in the best of times. We also got to teach my good friend A. We taught him all about the plan God made just for him, well everyone else too, but He loved it. He said it all made perfect sense. We also asked him if he had read the Book of Mormon, and he told us that he had almost finished the first part. We thought he was talking about the first chapter of Nephi, but in fact, he was talking about the first book of Nephi and he loved it.

That night we ran into a cute joven from mexico name Y, and it made me think a lot of Joel. We are going to teach her later in the week, but I am pretty excited about it. Also this week our zone leaders did a huge emphasis on finding futures, Hermana Portas and I have honestly been running around so much that our contacting has been suffering a little. But we decided that we were going to improve, so we set some goals and basically were trying to contact the whole world this week and it was so FUN. We had so many funny experiences and met so many wonderful children of God. I have been amazed at just how good most people are and have developed such a love for my brothers and sisters (and for those of you who knew me before the mission, you know that I really struggled with that before the mission) and besides that one guy who stole my wallet, I have been so surprised with the genuine goodness of the people that surround us. I feel like the news would have us think that the whole world is falling apart and that humans are the worst, but in reality there are good people everywhere just doing the best they can in a crazy world. And even that guy whole took my wallet, I love him. I'm sure he really needed those bus passes. Also, our passion for contacting might have come from our small fear of our new zone leader, Elder Maldonado. Just kidding!  He is literally awesome, so motivated and wants the whole zone to give everything, he has been a zone leader for 4 weeks now and I have been nothing but impressed by what he has done - well impressed, and yes, a little scared, hence lots of contacting!

Tuesday it was more of talking to the whole world, and we also had a wonderful district meeting, I was so embarrassed because the whole time I was coughing up a storm, but we laughed about it later. That night we got to meet with a less active member. He talked to us about how since his baptism he has fallen back into a lot of old habits that he knows are wrong, but he doesn't feel like he has the strength to stop.  And because of those habits, he feels like he cannot come back to church. I have been so surprised at how effectively Satan has used that lie to keep so many people from coming to church. We all have our failings, we all have our problems that we are working on, and in reality not one of us is worthy of all the blessings we receive upon coming to church.  How merciful that God didn't leave it up to us! He told us to come, and gain strength from Him to overcome our problems. I have been amazed at how quickly things go downhill when we forget to do the simple things, read, pray, and come to church. How on earth could we hope to overcome our stronger trials if we aren't doing the small things? That night we got to teach G about fasting with L - it was awesome.

Wednesday we were in meetings all day. Yay. We talked with President about the consejo that is coming up. We were talking about a couple different things we could address with all the leaders and who would present each topic.  We had been talking about 5 different topics and we had a great discussion going, and then President stopped and said, "Perfect!  Hermana Smalley, why don´t you talk about that."  We all kinda stopped and looked at each other and asked, "Well which one?" and President said, "All of them!" 😨 So we will see how that goes. That night we got home with 15 min left of the night. So we contacted. We were walking through a part of an area that all the homeless people sleep, so we try to keep our heads down and avoid it at night. As we were walking we were surprised to see a well dressed man sitting on a bench, he looked like an extranjero and thinking that he might not know that danger of the area he was in, we went to go chat with him. He addressed us in English and we had an awesome chat with him.  Turns out he did know exactly where he was, he had been robbed that week!  I could sympathize.  He also had just lost his job and was now out on the streets until his next job began this week. We had an awesome lesson, just goes to show, you never know who you will find.

Thursday we had weekly planning, any time I feel like I am going to break because I am so sad that the mission is ending, I remember that I won't have to weekly plan and it sometimes makes me feel better.  I have no idea why, I just started detesting weekly planning so much... but I would do it for another year, everyday, if it meant I could stay.  Enough sad talk. We weekly planned, then got on a bus and went to eat with C and F, nothing too much to report there except that F told me he will be spending Christmas in New Jersey, and I about died!  The holidays in Manhattan, oh my!  So lucky.

We got back a little late because the bus takes so long, but when we got back we had intercambios with Hermana
Brown and Hermana Pastrana from Murcia. It was awesome to be with those two!  We went to teach A again and taught him Lesson three and got to talk about baptism, so much fun. Then we walked all the way out to C's and got to teach her.  Right at first, things just weren't quite right, and I felt strange about jumping right into the lesson, so we just talked a little bit about the Savior and tried to just give her some love. After a while she started laughing and the lesson ended up going well. I am just so grateful for the Spirit, so that we don't have to try to teach these people alone, but we had the Spirit whispering over our shoulder what each of them needs. Hermana Brown and I also got to talk a lot. I love that lady and I am so impressed by her strength in all that she is overcoming and working through. She constantly reminds me of my many blessings.

Friday morning I was with the lovely Hermana Pastrana. I have heard so much about her I was so excited to finally work with her. She is also from Mexico and I honestly was left in awe by how awesome she is! The way she talks to people and teaches is so natural and fun, she got me excited to head what message we were going to share with the people even though I already knew. We got to teach S about the temple and help him get all excited about going. If it didn't work too well for him, it sure worked for me!  I miss the temple so much! 

That night we met with F again and he told us all about his white shirt and tie he was going to wear to church. It was so tender. Then we got to go teach J (G´s sister) and got to talk to her mom a lot which was so good - we are finally forming a relationship with them. Then we got to teach a new friend, P. I don´t think I have ever taught someone so catholic before. But he loved church and loved what we had to say about the Restoration. We are working on helping him understand it a little bit better. 

Saturday morning we had the bitter sweet baptism. R and S are two friends of the elders that we have all worked really hard to help. Hermana Portas and I have been teaching them in English, and the FHE that we do and all the missionaries here love them so much!  They are a cute young couple from Boliva and their son L, who is 7, is adorable. Anyway, we went all out on their baptism. I let S wear my white dress and we just tried to make it as special as possible. It was the most beautiful baptism I have ever been a part of!  They both bore the most wonderful testimonies that I have ever heard. R actually made me cry, because starting to read the Book of Mormon was a bit of a struggle for him, and Hermana Portas and I really worked with him on that. He got up and talked about how he had always believed in God but struggled to believe in the God the Catholic church teaches of, or even the God of the Old Testament - a  God who only punishes if we don't follow him. With tears in his eyes he held up the Book of Mormon and told of the God that Jesus teaches of in the Book of Mormon and the New
Testament. He told us how he had found the God he worships in this church and that he knew that the Book of Mormon was true. I literally cried because I remembered Mom sharing her testimony, with almost those exact same words before my mission. S´s testimony was equally beautiful as she talked about how alone they were when they first moved from Bolivia and how Elder Quispe talked to them and showed them a new family. Now you might be asking, Hermana Smalley, that just sounds like a sweet baptism where does the bitter come from?  Les muestro. Because of a family emergency right after their baptism they were confirmed and then they had to move. They just moved to a little town outside of Barcelona. So their baptism was the last time I got to see them. Yes I cried like a little girl. It was so sad to have to say goodbye to such incredible people. As we sang the closing hymn I was conducting, I looked up and saw Rodrigo showing little L how to read the music and sing the hymn and it got me again. I know that this little family is going to do incredible things.

That night we also got to meet with G, who still hasn't been able to talk to his parents, but he told us that if it were up to him, he would get baptized tomorrow. So we are going to talk with his parents with him and see how it goes. 

Sunday I got a whole lot of animo to go home and help Grandma Erb with family history work. So just get ready people! I can´t wait to help as much as possible to help our family get all the blessings of the Gospel! Then we went and ate with E, which is always so fun, and we ate giant shrimp - you know shrimp with the head and legs still on. A personal favorite... Then back to the church, as we put numbers in our phones started ringing like crazy. Turns out with the new area book, it messed up how we put in our numbers, so we were calling around the mission trying to get it all worked out, and Hermana Portas and I ended up putting the numbers for every area in one by one. When we finished, it turns out our 2 hour project didn't save... more phone calls and well, just a big headache!  But it all got worked out. 

Today to celebrate my 3rd to last Pday, we have a meeting with President. yay.

Love you all so much, this work is incredible and I will allways be so greatful that God lets me be a part of it.

Hermana Smalley

No comments:

Post a Comment