Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas in Valencia, palm trees instead of snow!!

You could say that Christmas eve and Christmas was spent with the members eating their food because all we did was eat and eat and eat. That didn´t turn out well because I ended up puking from the 26th  to the 29th. It was miserable.
4 days in piso drives an Elder crazy!!!!!
I couldn´t even make it to church or to the locutorio to write y´all. What a pain. Whatever Cody ate I must have as well. ha
Just a calm, normal, nothing happened, Elder Smiley didn´t move from his bed week.
I don´t know what else to say other than this week we are going to go hard and find, find, find.
I hope that everything works out! Have a great New Years Eve party!
I would especially like to express my love for all the support that those who are not from my family give me especially Jim Dunn. Thank you for all y´all have done for me and the impact that you had on me before the mission that will last all the way through my mission. What a blessing y´all have been in my life. I love all of you!
Keep us in your prayers!

Élder Smiley

What a combination, Pizza, Pomegranate Juice, Pringles, and Tabasco!!  Only a 20 year old stomach!!

That is a Christmas haul!!  Sleigh tipped over in their apartment!

Missionaries and donuts, that is a great combination!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas week in Valencia

Santa got here on Monday!!!!
What a blessing. We are definitely going to enjoy this one.
I love the pictures of the Tie Crew. That sure did bring peace to my heart.
Good job on the Christmas card as well. The cruiser is looking mighty fine Paps.
We sure are excited to make all the cookies and brownies and cake mixes that y´all sent us.
We are just excited in all ways!
Thank you!
This Christmas week is going to be much different than the last. This Christmas we have plans to visit all the members and sing for them. We sure are excited to not just go contacting. That will be a lot nicer.
This past week was pretty rough. It was good timing on the Christmas stuff because everyone just fell off the face of the planet. We lost contact with Noris and Mayra. The Cuban family dropped us. Everyone we had found told us they weren´t interested. Just a rough week to go into this great week this week.
This week everything is going to be incredible! We have lots of visits already set and lots of presents to unwrap and give away. It will be great to spread Christmas cheer to all those in Spain.
We are, as Charles Barckley would say, going hard in the paint this week. I´m fired up!
I ask mostly that you pray for Noris. We don´t know what happened and I am nervous about her.
I learned this week how to enjoy the mission though. I learned that we just have to go as hard as we can and that´s when we feel like we have done all we were supposed to.
That´s all I want when I finish my mission. That feeling or assurance that I did all that I was supposed to have done.
Merry Christmas to all!!!!
Love y´all!!!

Élder Smiley

Santa got here!!!!

The Fightin' Four

Monday, December 15, 2014

Valencia is being nice to Smiles

What a week of ups and downs. I got my new companion. He is a boss. I love him. He is pretty much a tall Elder Jones. Including all the dry humor. Good stuff.
I´ll start with the bad news, Orlirio and his family, that was supposed to be baptized this week, said that they would need money from the church. That is hard to work with, especially when the leaders don´t want to have to be constantly working with welfare. I hope they can be baptized for the right reasons.
Now all the good news, Noris, she is my favorite. This week I will try hard to get a picture of her to y´all. She works so much. she works sometimes 12 hours a day and is almost impossible to visit her. What a hassle. She came to church yesterday even though she was sick. She makes me so happy! We gave her a blessing and it was incredible! The spirit was so strong in that room. Noris and her Sister Vilma are from Ecuador and it is tough to be away from the family during this time. I told them that we would be their family this Christmas and you could just see the warmth in their faces when we said that. 
Huge miracle Sunday night, as we were walking home we walked past an apartment complex. I turned to Elder Smith. ¨Let´s do something bold¨ I knocked on the glass door to get the man’s attention who was waiting to catch the elevator. I signaled him to open the door for us. After a bit of a stutter he came and opened the door for us. We started to talk and he showed much interest in our message so we shared our message with him and he liked it a lot. After the closing prayer and on our way out he said ¨I didn´t want to open the door but the Holy Ghost told me that I should open the door.¨ That was such a wonderful miracle.
I am excited to talk with y´all! I am even more excited for the Christmas spirit that we are going to carry to our friends and the members in the next 2 weeks. What a great time of the year!
Please pray for our friends and that everything will be ok with them.
I love you all!!
May god bless you!
There was a talk by L. Tom Perry called finding lasting peace...... last conference.
It reminded me of you two and what you did for me as my parents.

Élder Smiley
Streets of Valencia

Elder Perkis, the other "skinny" misssionary

Chinatown African Christmas...what a blend of cultures here!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Survived the transfer, still in Valencia!

What a week. I thought it was going well last week until this week came...... and it got great!!!! Also some sad things. Elder Jones got the call and he is on his way to Las Arenas (a small town next to Bilbao). We will miss him but that branch needs his help. Elder Ward is coming down here to be the new zone leader. We are super excited to have him here. My new companion will be Elder Smith (yes I have been telling the whole world that he is a descendant of Joseph Smith hahahah).
A couple miracles:
1. I received a call from our boy Elder Lower in the other part of Valencia saying that a Cuban family had contacted him and wanted to know more about the church. We passed by, we taught, we invited and he accepted it all. He is now progressing towards the 20th of December. There are 3 of them but they have even more family and friends that we are going to have them invite. What a blessing.
2. Mayra. Yes it has been a long time. She saw us as we were teaching a lesson on a bench and she waited to talk to us. She apologized for the absence and the distance she had put but that she wanted to change. she then put her own baptismal date for the 20th as well.
3. Noris came to church on Sunday after having zero contact with her during the whole week (again). President Pace spoke during the stake conference we had and invited all to be baptized and she sat there thinking. WE will have a visit this week to put a set fecha. 
4. An old lady with a german shepherd (that was probably bigger than coach, more than 90 pounds) went berzerk and went to attack a man and his dog. The lady with the dog couldn´t hold him back with the leash, in fact she was being dragged by the dog until Elder Jones grabbed the leash and tugged, then all of a sudden the dog turned on him and bit him. It was so cool. I hope he gets a scar.
5. ¨He is the gift¨ I saw that Andi already had that up but it is a huge push for missionary work during the month of December and it should be our (members and missionaries) number 1 form of work. The prophets have told us this is what we will do and we have already brought tears to people’s eyes. It´s been a blessing.
Blessings and Miracles! A lot different than a Christmas in Menorca.   Elder Alder and I have been joking about that one. 
If you could please pray for our friends especially that they can receive their answers. 
I love all of you and hope that you all receive the Christmas spirit and can feel the love of Christ as we share his love with the world!

Élder Smiley

1.  Is it still warm?  It was 58 degrees here yesterday.
            1. Yes, warmer than St. George.
2.  What are your plans on Christmas?
            2. Not sure. I will talk to the members and by next week you´ll know. We will probably go to the house of a certain member, then eat, and visits to members and non members, Hopefully more peaceful than last year.
3.  What is your mode of transportation in Valencia?  
            3. All metro. Incredible!
4.  Do you speak English when you are in the apartment and Spanish when you leave?
            4. Yes
5.  Are there universities in Valencia?
            5.Yes, very big as well. Lots of foreign exchange students
6.  Are there restaurants in Valencia affordable?
            6. Couldn´t tell you, we haven´t gone to anything other than Mcdonalds or cheap restaurants on the streets.
7.  How big is your zone?  How many miles wide is it?
            7. 30 missionaries. 6 wards. Farthest travels 1 hour by train. Incredible!!!