Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Email Siete - Arkansas, here I come!

October 4, 2016

Well folks this will be my last email from Prison!  Excuse me, I meant MTC, sorry for the typo... Like I've said, I love it here and I wouldn't trade it for anything, but I am convinced I'm losing my mind from sitting in class for 12 hours a day.  I GOT MY FLIGHT PLANS FRIDAY! LET’SSSS GOOOOOOOOO! I will fly out to Atlanta (no surprise there) then Little Rock, Tuesday morning. My flight is at 7:20, but I will have to report to the travel office at 3:30 am, so that will be a joy! 

Honestly I'm super nervous going into the field. Here in Mormonville, Provo, Utah, everyone shares the same beliefs as me, the crime rate is preferable, everything is handy dandy, and then….BOOM!  Welcome to the real world Elder Smalley!  In a week, I will begin the hardest experience of my life, so hopefully I can just hold out till I get my footing a little bit. Pray for me folks😂🙏. 

Shoutout to Dad for sending me sports updates!  It stinks that BYU has lost three close ones, I don't know what happened this weekend.  Also Alabama is number one...of course...😒. I'm still convinced BYU lost to Utah because some elders were being disobedient and watching the game on ESPN.  Chumps.  Also folks, can I get on my soapbox for a minute, WHY DOES BEING OBEDIENT HAVE TO BE SO HARD FOR SOME PEOPLE?  I haven't been perfectly obedient here, but I sure am trying (the no dancing gets me every time). There's an elder in our district and everyday I have to yell at him for not getting up at 6:30.  Elder Ibarra has a video of me LITERALLY DRAGGING HIM OUT OF BED! (I can send that later because it's hilarious). His definition of getting up is different than mine, and the Lord's. The white handbook says arise at 6:30!  Arise implies getting out of bed dude! 

Time to talk about the real highlight of the week: General Conference of course. WOW. Basically during the entire first session Saturday morning I was crying. It was pretty funny, I was sitting next to these sister missionaries I had just met and talked to before the session started and then I was bawling the whole time.  I didn't have any tissues and my nose runs really bad when I cry, so it was not pretty!  Kind of embarrassing, but good thing I'm a missionary now and don't care what girls think anymore😋. 

What really got me was Elder Hales's talk. "We come to know Him by loving and serving each other...His perfect love inspires us to help one another."  That was a direct answer to a prayer and a question I had written down.  Lately I have been praying for charity because it's really bothered me how self-centered I can be sometimes.  When Elder Hales used the phrase "perfect love", I immediately thought of my mom.  Like Elder Holland has said, the love of a mother is the most Christ-like love in this world.  That is especially true for my momma. We have been taught here that when we focus on the needs of others instead of ourselves, that is when we will find the most success.  Well lemme tell ya, if that's the case, my momma is as good a missionary as any prophet in the scriptures because for my entire life, and the lives my siblings, Momma Smalls has sacrificed herself for us.  She has given of her time and her effort for our welfare and benefit.  And she has done so while dealing with incredible pain almost constantly. I've been so blessed to receive the best of the best for a mom.  I know she has quite the mansion prepared for her in Heaven for all the wonderful things she has done and will continue to do. Dad you're alright too.

So in conclusion, I have been blessed with two examples of perfect love. The Savior and my momma. So if I want to have more charity, I can follow both of their examples, because they are one in the same. 

There were so many awesome parts about general conference. Too much to talk about in one email, or any number of emails. I hope y'all paid attention to Elder Bednar's talk, because that was right on the money, very similar to Character of Christ. I hope this conference was everything for you that it was for me, so many life changing messages in two days.  We are so blessed to receive revelation from the brethren twice a year. 

Also I finished the Book of Mormon Sunday for the 5th time, and I found out it's true...AGAIN!
Pretty neat stuff. Also we met Elder Reis from the District one, he's a teacher here now!


SUNDAY NIGHT VOCAL POINT CAME AND DID A DEVOTIONAL!!!!! THAT WAS SO SWEET AND BASICALLY A DREAM COME TRUE!  They sang a song called "I'll never be the same" and I started to tear up because I know that I will never be the same because of my mission, my priorities, my desires, my goals have done a 180, but don't worry folks, I'm changing in the best kind of way. I still get super frustrated at myself with how much of a bumski I can be some times, but I believe I can say I'm headed in the right direction!

To any who has sent me a letter and has not heard back from me, I AM TRULY SORRY AND I WILL TRY TO SEND ONE TODAY IF I CAN. For those of you who actually read these, thank you. I'm sure there are more stories I could tell but I can't remember any of them so hopefully this'll do! Also I've given up on making my emails grammatically perfect. It's just too much effort.

So next time I email it will be almost two weeks from now and after what will probably be the hardest week of my life up until now!  How exciting!  Can't wait!  Hard is how you grow, and I definitely need a lot of growth!  I'm forever grateful for my time here, and I know that in less than five weeks Iv'e changed forever, and I have a lot more that needs to change! 
I love y'all, chose the right, and REPENT!  Talk to y'all in two weeks.

Elder Smalley

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