This week was even busier and more productive than last week. The difference in our missionary work now and the missionary work I was doing in the beginning of my mission is astronomical. (that's a long English word I haven't used in a while). This week we received even more progressing investigators, had a baptism and had 16 investigators at church!!! We are still working on teaching the Branch how to fellowship, so I felt kind of like a mom with 16 little kids shepherding them from room to room. It was kind of a hectic day, so in or coordination meeting, we taught them how to friendship and lead and teach of our investigators as friends. I'm feeling the spirit so much and I know I am so lucky to be in this branch at this time. We have weekly baptisms lined up until at least and we hope to keep finding and helping people enter into the waters of baptism for their salvation. It really is crazy how much success is found in this area in such a short time. When I got here there was only one progressing investigator... now there's so many that I can get overwhelmed sometimes. But the Lord has given us such amazing gifts in this area and trusts us to take care of them. I'm working on turning my doggy-paddle swim just trying to keep up, into a nice strong free-style stroke. In my previous areas, it was just a struggle to find teaching appointments, but in this area... we have too many. We have to prioritize who we visit and only 20 minutes with each person. By the end of the day I just want to pass out and sleep for five days, but the alarm goes off and we start again, even though I still feel like I was run over by a truck. When my body starts feeling weak and like I can't do it anymore, I really have to rely on the enabling power of the atonement to give me the strength that I need to do this work. Isn't amazing that we have access to not only the redeeming power of the atonement, but also the enabling power? I have really felt more strength than I know I had just on my own. I know I am so blessed to be able to have the spirit with me and learn to really rely on the Savior in this way.
Sometimes I feel really alone, even with the spirit so close to me. My companion is still struggling with the language and teaching and everything is so new because it's a new mission president and new mission rules and a new way of teaching and finding and a new language. She is doing great, but almost 99% of the responsibility is on my head. I am trying to learn better how to give her the responsibility, but I feel like I'm back in high school doing a "group" project... but it's just me. I have been praying and trying to figure out how to help her to help me without overwhelming her... I know I still have a lot of pride to get rid of. I fully acknowledge that this work is not my own and that we have only been receiving this success from the Savior, but it's a different kind to not trust your companion. It's a struggle and a weakness I've had for a long time that I'm trying to overcome. Not just for my own sanity, but for her well-being as well. I know she is so strong and working so hard. I love her so much. We are still just learning how to work together and fully bear one another's burdens.
This week we were teaching a part-member family and right behind the mother's head I saw a really ugly cat crawling through one of the big wooden cabinets through all the dishes. I couldn't stop looking at it until suddenly, I realized it wasn't a cat... it was a rat. They don't really scare me anymore, I just continue to be shocked by the size of them. Their house is one that is half outside/ half covered, so the rat quickly scurried away. But I just have to trust that if they ever feed us, I will not die from the sanitation. :)
I hope you know how much a really do love you and appreciate your emails. Even just from mom, dad, and ally. I know I'm lucky to get three awesome letters each week. Some people don't even get 1. Thank you for the sacrifice in your time and busy schedules to reach out to me over here on the other side of the world. I hope you know I love you!!!
Love, Sister Smoot