It's so cold here!! I have officially turned into a Filipina because it has been raining every day (yes, only rain) for a week and I am freezing. Even at night I am wearing my sweat pants and sweat shirt and my blanket and I am still cold. I know I am just being a baby, don't worry, I'll get over it and the heat will come soon enough. I'm actually really grateful for the break, it's like a Christmas gift reminding me of home :)
Here in Cadiz is the place where the storm Yolanda hit the hardest in our mission. There are still a lot of homes that are destroyed and a lot of people living in schools and with relatives and there is still a lot of mourning and rebuilding and humility here. It's really neat to see all of the members working together to help each other and even help our investigators to get back up and going.
We are teaching two of the families that are living in a nearby school and they are some of the happiest investigators that we have. They are just grateful that their family members are alive and that they still have access to food and water. This new storm this week is not nearly as bad as Yolanda, but has caused some panic, since the memory of Yolanda is fresh. A few days before it started, a lot of families kept telling us that a new super typhoon would be coming, even larger than Yolanda. Even the teachers at school gave their exams early to prepare in case school was canceled. Everyone was panicked, but then I guess on the news they told everybody that is was just "low pressure" and it would blow over in a few days.
It has been kind of hard to proselyte in the rain because when it's cold, everyone just sleeps and stays inside. We were walking down the street and could hear the howling up in the sky from the storm and we were completely soaked. Our umbrellas were pretty much useless. We stopped to buy some bread at a nearby Tyungge because for some reason, cold weather makes me want to eat. We were talking to the old man behind the wall and he asked if we wanted to come inside while we ate since it was raining so bad (actually we were surpised his Tyungge was still open because all the others had been covered up). We went in and started talking about his family and getting to know him, then he said that he has met mormons before and left to go get her (a member lived close by). He basically just handed us a member-present investigator lesson! It was just a quick one since everyone was so cold, but I'm excited to go back and visit his family. They were very kind and being really wet makes people want to help us and listen to us. It really is a great proselyting technique. :)
I am doing great here in Cadiz. The area is so so large so I'm still trying to figure out where things are and who people are and the best/ most productive way to proselyte here. I took a picture of a section of my area. We are not in the City of Cadiz, we are in the sugar cane fields... so lots of mud, lots of animals, lots of walking/hiking, lots of puddles/lakes/wading through gutters, but lots of fun too! We are working really hard, but proselyting is so different here than in my other areas. I've always proselyted in really densely populated areas, but this one is more spread out. So we are teaching less often. I am still trying to discern the best way to be more effective. I know the Lord will help us know what to do. I really love my mission and I love each day as I keep learning new things. It is really different just living with your companion, but it's teaching me a lot of new things. More importantly, it's giving me a lot more time to feel the spirit and just be silent with my thoughts. I feel that it's a great place to be for personal and spiritual revelation.
I hope you all know how much I love you and how grateful I am for all of you. I'm excited for all the changes in our family. (Ally's mission papers are active and almost done! In June she will be 19) I'm excited for the girls to be able to experience life on the mission and all that comes with it (if that's what the Lord has in store for them). I love you all so much and I know I am one of the lucky ones to be able to be born into your family! Thank you for taking me!!
Love, Sister Smoot
**Unfortunately ashley keeps forgetting to send her poor mother any pictures. She decided to just send me some in the mail. I know she is truly immersed in doing the Lords work so I'm not too sad. ill add them to this blog as i get them. She got my package i sent in July!! new shoes and goodies. it took 7 months to get there. WOW. Thanks for all your love and prayers!