Wednesday, October 21, 2015

See yall in a week!

October 19,2015
Hey there family!

so on Monday we visited Cristina and her family. She talked about how happy she was and how good she felt. We invited her family to get baptized again. Delia said that she still wasn't ready and then turned to look at her other daughter Karla. Karla doesn't say very much and is kinda shy. Delia said that she didn't think Karla wanted to either but Karla just looks up and said "ya me quierobautizar" WHAT! We were all a little bit surprised. She said that she felt that it was something she should do. For the first time, she agreed to pray in front of us! What an amazing experience!

Tuesday nothing really happened. Wednesday GRACIELA GOT MARRIED!!! Thursday we did both interviews and I almost killed Elder Huie because I got lost in sauzal at night and I had no idea where we were and then I realized that we were in a cemetery. oops! Friday was the baptism and everything went well. A really great service! We stayed the night in the zone leaders house.

Saturday, oh my goodness, we woke up at 4 to get ready. At 6 the bus was supposed to pass by the stake center. It finally got there at 7. Then the driver took us to the wrong part of Tijuana. Literally everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. We finally showed up. We walked in literally seconds before Elder Holland walked in. 

Speaking of, ELDER HOLLAND IS AMAZING! It was amazing! He is seriously the funniest person! He came down off the pulpit and said "I'm gonna talk down here so I can be with you...and scare the living daylights out of you!" as he grasped the face and neck of a sister in the front row. haha! 

He started talking about how much he loved his mission and how much he always talked about it. Then, in his voice of thunder that only Elder Holland has, shouted "I want you to talk about your mission for the rest of your life"! he went on saying that he goes absolutely ballistic when he hears of returned missionaries that go inactive. He said that on a mission  there are lots of variables that affect how many converts we have, but we need to come home with at least one: ourselves. It was unreal. I actually got to hear his voice! My prayers were answered perfectly with what he said. I loved every single minute! 

On the way back to Ensenada, Elder Hesterman and I talked about all the good times we had in the MTC and things that exist in the US that we had forgotten about, like dishwashers and chick-fil-a.

I cannot even believe that this is the last email. It makes me sad to think that such an amzing part of my life (the greatest part of my life) is shortly going to be over. I truely love this work! it has been a great blessing!

see yall in a week!

mucho amor, Elder Smalley!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

What would have happened if I had just given up?

Oct 12, 2015 
Hello Family!

It sure has been a fantastic week!

First off, Cristina got baptized! I cannot eve tell you how amazing she is. She is going to do great things! Her Mom and sister have been super supportive, but I am not really sure what else they need to join Cristina! Everyone keeps telling us that they are both ready as well. So we are going to keep working on that.

The baptism was going to be at 7 on Saturday, but these darn rehearsals for the temple celebration are
getting in the way! The youth are practicing 10 hours a week. We barely had time to even visit them! I was getting worried that Cristina wasn’t going to be baptized not because she wasn’t ready, but because we couldn’t find a time! We finally decided it would be Saturday at 4:30 right before the rehearsal in the Valle Dorado building, which is on the other side of the city. (I don’t know if I've mentioned it, but we don’t have a font in our building because it's just a casa de oracion.) Well, the font leaked, and when we got there the font was less than half way full and the water was freezing cold. But everything turned out alright in the end because all the youth from the stake were there to support her!

This week has really just been such a blessing. It has been incredible how the spirit has guided us to where we needed to be. I also had a really trying experience. I got sick again. I was up all night and when morning came, I didn’t have ganas to do anything! I was so tired and my whole body felt weak. My mind was begging me to go back to bed. I really really really wanted to just lay down and do nothing but I felt so strongly that I should not. All through studies, I was SOO tired. Then the greatest miracle happened, we left the house and it was like nothing had ever happened. I still felt weak, but I had just enough strength to keep working! It was incredible. At the end of the day, I thought about what would have happened if I had just given up.

Don’t worry mom, this time it was my fault for getting sick. i really need to check the expiration dates before I eat things... haha! Well I think that is all I can remember for right now. Hope you have a great week! Oh, guess what! This Saturday, ELDER HOLLAND is coming to Tijuana! We are going to have a special conference with him!

Love you all! Elder Smalley

I really tried to change that, and not complain

Oct 5, 2015
Hello Familia!

This had to have been the fastest week of my life! So many just amazing things have happened. Where to even start.

So we have the greatest investigators ever, but one of them is Graciela. She has wanted to get baptized for so long and it looks like she is finally going to be able to get married this week! I wish I could tell you just how many small miracles we have seen on the way! Also This week Cristina is getting baptized. She is Delia's daughter. We were a little worried about her because she still seemed a little unsure.
Well zone leaders asked us to participate in a fast of all the missionaries in Ensenada for our investigators. But here's the thing, I really have not been able to see the blessings of fasting because I will do it, but I just complain about how hungry I am the whole time. Well this week I really tried to change that, and not complain. What a drastic difference! I felt the spirit so strongly during those 24 hours! But the fast was during a ward activity and there was LOTS of food haha. At the activity, we talked with Cristina and she said she had come to know for herself that the Book of Mormon was true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that she really wanted to get baptized!!
When we went to visit them yesterday her mom started explaining that she wanted to get baptized in the last church they went to and she wouldn't let her. My heart sunk. But then she said that if she wanted to get baptized, she would allow it! I know that Cristina's example will bless that whole family! They LOVED conference, and Cristina and her Sister Karla go to seminary every morning!

Friday was my last zone conference. It was super spiritual. The two other Elders that were there from my generation were Elder Hesterman and Elder Cerhde. It was super special because us three were in the same zone conference when we first arrived and shared our testimonies and now we are going to finish together!

Oh my goodness conference was amazing! i wrote a very specific question down before conference started, and it was just like every single person got up and gave their talk just to answer Elder Smalley's question specifically! The spirit was just so strong! I am so grateful for their inspired words! I just felt so much peace and i felt the calm assurance that Heavenly Father has given we everything I need to keep moving forward! I just really love this! I love this sweet work!

Well I hope you all have an amazing week! Take care! Love you all!

Elder Smalley!

p.s. Mom I was amused with your story about cold showers [while the hot water heater was being replace]. Haha, I don't think you would appreciate living in Mexico.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

She felt the same peace in the temple

Sept 28, 2015
Hello there Familia!

This week sure has been magnificent. This work just brings so much joy! Last week I remember talking about how my personal testimony of the Book of Mormon has grown, but this week, I got to see the power of the Book of Mormon in other people's lives. It's amazing how that works, isn't it? 

We are still working with Delia. She is hesitant to commit to being baptized, but her 16 year old
daughter has committed to a date and we really excited for her. She has been getting up every day to go to seminary and the whole family is actively participating in the church activities and programs. Well Delia has really started to read the Book of Mormon diligently and it shows! She is more receptive and more excited to learn every time. 

We had another interesting experience with the Book of Mormon with Amparo. I'm not sure if I've told you guys about her yet, but we found her in a really amazing way and everything was going really well until she visited another church and decided to go there. We decided to read the Book of Mormon with her. I was hoping it would testify to her of the restoration. We read Alma 36. After we finished she said that no passage of scripture had ever impacted her as much as that. It was a really spiritual experience. It didn't exactly end up how we wanted to, but it was just one more testimony for me of the power of the Book of Mormon. It brought the spirit so strongly, but I guess it is still up to each one of us and our agency.

Oh yeah one more: we were teaching the familia Mar, just an amazing family in the ward. We asked them about what they were learning in the Book of Mormon and the both responded so profoundly, but i loved Hermano Mar's response. he said that as he was reading 1 Nefi again, he realized just how "justified" Laman and Lemuel were in their murmuring! They had to go through a lot, and they had to try again and again when it hadn't worked the first time. That's when i realized that i am not that different from them. A pretty humbling thought!

So this weekend Kimberly went to the temple in Hermosillo! she was asked to share her testimony in sacrament meeting and she said that she felt the same peace in the temple that she felt when she was
baptized! it was perfect because of all the investigators that were there! 

Speaking of the temple, we have invitations that we are supposed to give out for the open house. I have really enjoyed it. People get really interested when we invite them and then we tell them it's in
Tijuana and they either burst out laughing or just look at us strange. Kinda a far trip but I like inviting everyone. It definately sparks their interest!

We had interviews this week. Pretty good!

well I love you all so much,
Elder Smalley

The Lord put people in our path

September 21, 2015
Hello Family!

wow this week has just been great, real great and I am so sorry I don't remember what I have done all week! I just feel like my testimony has been strengthened so much, in so many areas! First of all the Book of Mormon. I just cannot deny that that is an inspired book and Heavenly Father has given it to us to help us endure in these last days. The teachings are just priceless and exactly what we need!

Well Elder Hernandez [new companion] is really great. He is really good at talking to people and just a really good missionary for how much time he has! We have been able to meet some awesome people. And as always, i am just amazed at how the Lord put people in our path! Saturday night we met Miguel looking for another investigators and he came to church the next day! It was his first day living in Ensenada and he is just super cool! We have seen a lot of miracles and progress in all of our
investigators it has just been really great!

I really do love this work! I love the gospel! I heard a suggestion that before we take the sacrament we should review the baptismal interview questions to make sure we are ready to renew our covenants and question 3 struck me a lot. How amazing is it that we have an accurate understand of what true repentance is. It is not just a feeling it is an action. It made me think: have I really done everything I can to restitute my actions? hmm Sometimes I look at repentance as this hard and unfavorable process, but it really isnt that way at all! It is a joyful process! In fact, it is what brings us REAL joy!

well I really apologize that this is short again! Just know that I love you all so much!

Elder Smalley

Saturday, September 19, 2015


Sept 14, 2015
Hello Familia!

The title of this was how I reacted Saturday 
night when I got the call with the transfers. It wasn't the transfers, just the fact that they had crawled up on me. I am officially on my last transfer. Unreal. I think I just expected the mission to last forever. This is not even funny anymore.

Well Elder Argueta left to Mexicali and I am here with Elder Hernandez from Veracruz. He has 4 months in the mission and is officially my last companion, which reminds me. SISTER CAMPBELL THIS IS THE FINAL COUNT!  17 transfers, 5 areas, and 9 companions. 

Last monday the zone leaders took us to a place here in Ensenada where they make the glass windows for the temples. There are currently working on the Paris temple, and let me tell you, they are going ALL OUT! pretty cool!

Well I am just so happy! The Mexico City temple was rededicated yesterday and the session was so spiritual! I have missed the temple so much! I loved it! also the celebration was so good! It was really
amazing because Delia and her daughters came and it was centered perfectly on faith and the Book of Mormon!

Okay so in the bus station Elder Cerde saw me and said that I look really skinny! What? Okay, its the whole Ensenada thing. My stomach has been holding up like a tank my whole mission, but recently I have been getting sick a lot. It is really teaching me to give everything I have.

I wish I could tell you more, but I just dont have time today! LOVE YOU ALL!!!!

Elder Smalley!

Monday, September 7, 2015

"You still work with lots of animo"

Hello there family!

I would like to start of with a quote of the week. A new bishop was  just barely called and I was talking to him while waiting to get my special recommend for the temple dedication. I told him that I was going home next month and he said something like "really? I would have never guessed that you are about to finish your mission. I wouldn't give you more than a year" I was kinda hurt and offended until he explained further. "because you still work with lots of animo" umm I think that was a compliment, but I'm not sure haha. [animo = valor, courage, zest]

This week sure has been such a blessing. We talked as a district about how we need to change because of Elder Pipers visit. Here's the thing, in the last year we have baptized enough to have 2 new stakes, yet the attendance every week is barely increasing. We really need to make sure that we are not just getting people to the waters of baptism, but really teaching in a way that these sons and daughters of God will be converted! We have really tried to adapt our teaching method, to really let the spirit be the teacher and not to impose our will on them when we invite commitments. It really has worked really well! One thing that Elder Piper said that really impacted me is that we should only speak when the spirit AUTHORIZES us to speak. haha i am learning to do a lot less of the talking.

I have also learned a pretty profound lesson this week. This whole transfer, I have been trying to help my companion the best I can. Every morning, we had been studying a part of chapter 10 of PMG andpracticing and re-practicing and I was just not seeing improvement. I was starting to really wonder what else I could do to help him out.

Well this week i was able to realize that before going to chapter 10, we need to go back and spend a little bit more time on chapter 3. So I learned a profound lesson this week - to not be so stuck on doing things "my way"! I had a similar experience a few weeks ago. As missionaries we use the  formal "usted" form instead of speaking in the familiar "tu" form. Well he was always speaking in tu and i kept reminding him to speak in usted but he just kept speaking in tu all the time.
I finally found out that he never even learned that conjugation! So there I was getting frustrated over something I didn't need to be. Now that i understand the real problem and am able to help, we are seeing some real progress :)

Kimberly got baptized! What a great service! I love this ward! they are so supportive! Also a Hermana bought me a new pair of shoes. She noticed how worn out my mr. mac ones are that dad and I bought 3 years ago. they are the only ones that have held up, but i was starting to get worried. haha a nice thought. They are size 11.5 though haha so they are huge, but very needed! love you all! have a great week!

Elder Smalley