It's so neat that Ally will be able to have so many miracles every day starting this week. I can't wait for her to figure out her own flow of mission life. She will be the best Sister Smoot ever! Congratulations!!
This week we were still trying to revive this area. It used to be one of the most productive areas in the mission, but as I got here it was about to die off. We are still struggling getting more investigators and getting people to church but I've learned a lot about appreciating the small miracles every day. I know this mission experience is a lot different than others and there are some missionaries who go their whole missions without visual success, but there is always success in each special moment of the day. Believe it or not, there are still insecurities about teaching skills, language skills, learning how to completely follow the spirit and so much more that it seems impossible to be that perfect missionary... but then I remembered that I just need to keep swimming and make sure I am swimming up instead of in circles. The Lord gives us weaknesses so that we learn how to so fully trust in Him and do things His way. Plus I am able to learn more humility. Through our weaknesses, we also learn to have Faith that things will still work out if we do our best. If I have confidence and faith in the Lord, my weaknesses and insecurities don't matter. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, on the straight and narrow upward path towards our Father in Heaven.
Last week we met a young women who has a little girl. I thought at first she was 23 or 24, but she said she just barely had her 18th birthday. She is a single girl with a little baby who is 1 year old. She was completely Catholic, a little stubborn/moody at first and only wanted us to use the bible. So I opened up the bible and we read about prophets and the life of the Savior, I tried to just focus on the Love of God to dissipate the contention. I don't think she has actually ever read the bible, but reading it to her helped her feel the spirit and then as we read the Book of Mormon, she was able to recognize that same spirit. She said all her friends told her not to listen to us because we don't believe in Jesus Christ and we don't believe in the bible. She then said that she will now testify to anybody that we are actually good people who love the Savior and read the Bible. It was kind of intense to see such a turn around in her demeanor. She started out very on edge, but at the end of only a 20 minute lesson was touched to the point that she wanted to meet with us again! I know it had nothing to do with what we said, and had all to do with the spirit she felt as we read the pure and simple words from the Scriptures. At the end of the lesson, she asked if she could read in the book of Mormon on her own! This is the same sister who said she didn't want to learn anything but the bible 20 minutes earlier. We gave her a copy and scheduled a return appointment. I learned again how important it is to see people for their eternal potential. If I would have just judged her, as I was inclined to do, as someone who was not interested and didn't want to talk to us, I would have missed the fact that she is really just a girl who is lost and confused and scared in this world. She is searching for peace and guidance just like me, and is only the same age as my little sister. When we returned to our scheduled appointment, she wasn't there and we weren't able to contact her or find her until last night again. When we arrived, the neighbors told us that she wasn't home again, but we taught some little kids in the street so that we didn't waste our time going to that area. At the end of the lesson with the kids, she came out of her house with her book of Mormon and the Restoration Pamphlet! As we taught her the restoration, she kept telling the principals before us and had almost memorized the pamphlet. She had also read in the Book of Mormon. She still is not sure if it is true, but this Sister Leslie has a very pure intent and I know she will come to know too that this is true. I am excited for her and for her future and for her relationship with the savior. We all need comfort, we all need guidance, we all need the Love of the Savior, and how lucky am I that I get to teach another soul how to receive this. I really am the luckiest. I know that this Gospel gives us everything we need to be happy in this life. It's still hard and tiring, but we are still happy. How is this possible? We are so blessed, sometimes we don't even realize how scared and hopeless we would be without this message. I hope we never forget it! I love you so much, and the only advice I can give to Ally, is to remember that every soul is precious in the sight of God. Never judge anyone and give everyone a chance to hear it. Everyone you see or talk to needs this. Talk to EVERYONE and give them the chance to accept it. We can't force people, but we give them all the chance to be happy for eternity. I love you all so much and am so grateful that you taught me how to be happy and successful in the spirit. Love you ALL!
Love, Sister Smoot