Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Short Letter!!! Lots of Good-by pictures from Vitoria

I got the call Saturday night that I would be heading to Valencia. I kind of called it, and I am super excited to be here.
They have asked me to help out the district in barrio 2.
It is looking super good down here. It is super hot, but I like it and hope I´ll get used to it soon.
To get here I was traveling from 6:30 in the morning to 8:00 at night, crossing the country. 
I will be working with Elder Jones. He is a boss!!!! (picture next week) I love him to death already!!! He reminds me so much of Elder Archibald. He´s a boss!
We are going to see tons of miracles!!! I love all of you and look forward to working here with Elder Jones and this district. 
Valencia fire!!!!
I love all of you and thank you for your prayers. I feel your support, love, and prayers. 

Élder Smiley
Elder Smiley & Bishop Maitane

Dave and Elder Jenkins, the other skinniest missionary in the mission

Elder Smiley & his "Nigerian Brothers"

Two "solid" sisters in the ward in Vitoria

Monday, October 20, 2014

Good week in Vitoria, Great Sunday for Dave in the Vitoria Ward!!

Kind of a casual week. Nothing too big but we did see some large miracles.
Elder Ganowsky and I are working well together and things are looking good. The big thing this week is capitalizing.
First of all yesterday in church, 103 people! Boom! Maria Del Carmen, the big one  that I have been trying for light years to help come back, finally came back. Super Spanish. Super old and super traditional. Someone who I believe I will be in 50 years. Wow I have worked hard for that one, Bishop really loves her and asked her to give the opening prayer and she began to cry and kind of ask for forgiveness in it. 
A family that said a month ago that they would never come back came to church and even brought a friend we had told them to bring. Boom! Just a great miracle!
A less active that acts like she is not there when we knock on her door came. I don´t get along with her very well but I´m trying.
The members are working hard. We have received many references and like I had said earlier, now we just have to capitalize on them. 
A great miracle was when we finally got a visit with an old investigator that was busy when I first got here but now has more time. We taught him the first lesson and explained what we would like to do and how we would like to do it. We testified of the Book of Mormon and of the truthfulness of our message. At the end of the lesson Elder Ganowsky invited him to be baptized and he almost didn´t hesitate in accepting it. What a great blessing to have seen it.
This preparation day we went to San Sebastian again, and it was a blast! We took lots of pictures and sure did enjoy ourselves! It was nice to act like Mark Cody and I, with these chumps. hahah
I love all of you and thank you for all you do for us! I thank you for your prayers and your help. I hope you all receive the help y´all need to continue and press on. Love all of you!

Élder Smiley

Sosmething about Dave and cannons!!

Did not even know there were Sisters in the area.  Now we have photographic evidence.

Two Zone Leaders and their two greenbeans.  Smiles is looking good isn't he?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Good news from Spain. "Bad Weeks" only last a week!!!

This week was incredibly better than the last. We quadrupled our lessons and found double the investigators. We are excited and are working our butt´s off! Elder Ganowsky at the end of one day was like ¨Wow we have walked and worked a lot.¨ I agreed with him and I was proud. I was proud that we had worked so hard. We had seen so many great miracles. 
I have 3 stories to tell that increased my faith and my enjoyment of the mission.
First, the funny one. We visited with the old Pablo, the one that almost was baptized but 2 days before his baptism backed out and dropped us. We were talking with him and he told us that the city had cut out his light. He had also told us that through all the trials that had come to him he said he wanted to kind of distance himself with God so Elder Ganowsky and his witty self opened up his Book of Mormon to 3 Nephi 11: 10-11, where it says that Jesus Christ is the light of the world. Pablo didn´t get the pun but I was biting my tongue. It was an incredible lesson in the end thanks to Elder Ganowsky.
The next thing is a great miracle. We had an investigator tell us that it would be ok if we would go and pass by to pick her up to go to church yesterday. So like we were told we passed by before church to go together. We pass by and no one answers the doorbell below. Then their friend that lives in a room in the same piso came by and opened the door from the street for us, then banged the door and dinged the door bell until someone came. The man that came told us that the person we came to pick up was going to another church today. I then invited him to come to our church. He kind of rolled his eyes with something like ¨Ok. Ok. I´m coming.¨ He changed and got ready in 5 minutes and we went to church. Turns out he knew some of the members and they were very good friends of his. 
The miracle this week was Sunday night.   We were walking and found a less active who I had tried a great amount to have contact with. We talked with her and she really still did not want to come back. Later that night we saw her three times more, every time we were rejected. After we asked her for her help to go and find investigators. In the past Maria Del Carmen would knock buildings alone to find investigators for the missionaries, She was relief society president, warm missionary and dedicated member. I had always wanted to help her return but she had been pretty stubborn.  She then told us she would teach us how to knock doors. We entered in every building she touched and even though we only got one visit out of all of it she said that she wanted to come with us to that visit. I was a very happy missionary after. I felt that we had used different ways to find and bring back people to Christ.
Thank you all of your prayers and your consideration of me! I love all of you and I hope that all have God´s support through out this week!

Élder Smiley

Here is last week's letter!!

Sometimes I feel like I am just negative in my emails and I feel sorry.
I am just reminded constantly that life is not easy and that the mission will not be harder than the rest of my life. That scares the crap out of me.
Probably the hardest week of my entire life this past week.
I don´t think I could have taken better than I did. I kind of took the bitter cup and kept working. I even thought very little came from our much work, but I was still able to tell my Father in heaven that I put my all into this past week.
I don´t want to dwell on that crap in the past so we are going to talk about the future. This week we have set a goal of teaching 16 lessons and finding 6 new investigators. That would change the game. That is what we need. 
My admiration goes to Elder Ganowsky who kept going the whole time. We contacted thousands and thousands of people and it didn´t matter the result of the contact he kept going forward. I had never seen a rock like this before. What a blessing to have such a strong and incredible companion. I have a lot to learn from him.
General conference was an incredible opportunity to listen to the Prophet and Apostles. I learned a lot and I plan on learning much more as I go back and study my notes and the Ensign. We are blessed to have a Prophet. 
We found an old spanish lady this past week from touching the door bell. She accepted the Book of Mormon and said she would like to read it but she said she would not join our religion. haha She did like us though. It was a blessing to have found an old spanish person willing to listen.
We almost reached our goal as a zone of 9 baptisms for 9 companionships. We baptized 7. Everyone was freaking out for Vitoria to see how close we were. With one more companionship in the zone we have now made the goal of 10 baptisms in October. I hope we can reach it!
If we could ask for your prayers with our goal of teaching 16 lessons and finding 6 new investigators that would be an extreme blessing. 
Thank you for your blessings and prayers. I love all of you and ask and pray that everything is fantastic. I love the mission even if it is a trial of my faith many times. Love you all!!!
Let´s go baptize the world!

Élder Smiley