This week was a little more stressful than last week as the Lord continues to expect me to learn then apply what I learned. The first week of training was a great motivator, and this week was more of a humbling one. We had the lowest "key indicators" of my entire mission. Those are the numbers associated with missionary work. So for example: the number of baptisms, the number of lessons taught to investigators with a member present..... and so forth. Basically, I was really disappointed in myself. I know the Lord doesn't expect me to be perfect, and I really am putting all my effort and strength into every day, but it's a little discouraging to have such low numbers and it's a very lonely feeling to feel all of the responsibility. Low numbers are always a motivation to do better and hopefully we can only go up from here, but sometimes I feel we are getting all of this information poured on us in trainings and meetings about all these things we need to do better and all these things we need to start doing and all these little details that have to be completely perfect or else are considered "unrepentant missionaries"... (we had a really intense zone conference last week). I think as a girl, I just need to hear that I'm doing a good job every once in a while, but that is such a selfish, human need. So I just decided to take what I learned and write everything down that I'm doing wrong or that I need to improve. Then I decided to take 5 things each week to implement. (Because to be completely honest, I still don't really know how to do the basics and right now our ward doesn't even have a relief society presidency or visiting teaching... there's other work that I feel we need to focus on before we spend a lot of energy on the details of a fireside or basketball camp.) The development of wards is so relative though, because we do have an amazing support from bishop and our ward mission leader and we are working together one step at a time to continue growing this area. Whenever I selfishly feel that things aren't how they should be, I remember from the other side of Heaven when Elder Groberg goes to a random Island without a full time mission companion to a place without a real functioning ward without an MTC for guidance or district meetings or any other communication to the outside world or leadership.... I feel a lot better about my situation. Haha, we are just taking one day at a time and the Lord is helping me to stay calm and smile even when I am tempted to cry. I really have never felt such a constant positive attitude in myself. As you probably remember, I could be a little moody sometimes, :) but I think maybe the greatest blessing I've received from this mission is the constant positivity and hope that I feel. Even when I'm tempted to feel discouraged, the Holy Ghost helps me to feel confident and hopeful for the future. It definitely requires action on my part to feel happy, but I could not do it alone, so I am forever grateful for the constant presence and support from the Holy Ghost.
It's been rather difficult to train, especially since I feel like I still need a trainer to know what I'm supposed to be doing sometimes. But I'm trying to continue to have confidence in myself. I'm feeling a lot more love for Sister Manosig who had to deal with my endless questions and just me in general... and I've had some insight into how I will probably feel as a new mother and realizing all Mom had to go through with me. :) It's a little different with Sister Bahm since we are both from Utah and have more of a similar background, but I don't always know how to help her because she is going through different things than I went through. I'm grateful that I've learned a little bit more about following the spirit to know what to say to investigators, because it definitely applies to companions as well. I'm just trying to offer as much support and love as I can, while mostly just listening to her and the spirit.
There are a lot of things that I'm managing between the ward members, ward leaders, investigators, less-actives, recent-converts, less-active-recent-convers, teaching all of the lessons, planning for most of the lessons, planning who to visit and where to go, teaching someone else how to teach and plan while figuring out how to do it myself, teaching someone a language I have barely been able to grasp onto, keeping up on my own progression of teaching skills and christlike attributes, starting to implement all of the trainings from president (facebook, basketball camps, church tours, member-exchanges, mission preparation classes for youth, teaching english at the chapel, planning firesides and ward activities, working with all the members, visiting all the active members in the ward once a week), doing all the reporting... I know I'm forgetting something, but I feel like I'm always forgetting something. Haha, basically I'm taking one day at a time and sometimes even one hour at a time, but I know step by step everything will get done. Just keep smiling because even in the midst of all my un organization and chaos, we always have time to talk to someone standing on the street or say a prayer with someone who is crying, or visit a member whose mother just passed away (last wednesday) and those small sacred moments make up for all the rest. Even though my numbers are down right now, I was able to make someone else smile and I think I'm okay with that. I am following the spirit more than I ever have in my life, so for me, I'm doing my job. There was a quote from Elder Eyring about how whenever he feels he deserves a rest from a church calling, he remembers the savior and His calling. He never got a rest as he was suffering for all of us, so my small inkling of a token right now I am more than willing to pay. I really have felt all of your prayers and support. I'm not just saying that, I rely on that. I know I would not be this healthy and this happy without all of your prayers because It's just not possible. You are all such amazing family members and I'm lucky to be sent to you. Keep working every day to live closer to the spirit, because I know for a fact that's how we become happy, and that is the whole purpose of this life and the next... to feel the same happiness that our Savior is able to feel. So keep preparing for that happiness and keep searching for that happiness. Because it's there. I love you and hope you are all feeling happy and peaceful. I'm grateful for you letters.
Love, Sister Smoot