This week was the best week of my entire mission! This is not an exaggeration. I was companions with sister Jenna Smoot from Wednesday - Thursday. What a tender mercy from the Lord. I was not the one to assign the exchange, because I knew that I would be biased and, of course, put us together. But since Sister J. Smoot is training a Filipina, Sister Madronio felt it would be better if she was paired with her so that she could help her with the Language.. etc. So Sister Smoot and Sister Smoot invaded our area here in Paglaum (The city of HOPE), and we shared a message about Families. But really.
|Cousins Sister Smoot and Sister Smoot|
We took all our pictures on Sister J Smoot's camera, so just steal them from her.
First of all, Sister J Smoot is one of the best sister missionaries here in the world because she literally has the love of Christ with her at all times. She is so loving to everyone, and I am so glad I got to work with her. Even though we haven't really seen each other throughout the mission, our Ilonggo is the same. We have the same accent when we talk. It must be a Smoot thing! I really loved out companionship study and we both joked that we will have to keep having companionship study even when we get home. We really had a day just filled, overflowing with the spirit.
Sister Jenna Smoot also helped us find a couple of miracles in our area. The area were we were working was kind of a dead area - progressing. But I really just felt like it might have potential, and had only been there once before. When we walked into the little area, we just started talking to everyone in our path, singing for them, talking about families, praying with them, and setting up return appointments. The first couple were not interested, but enjoyed the singing. As we started going farther into the area, I saw a really really old lady (over 80 years old) sitting on a bench. I just said hi, not thinking we would teach her, because sometimes old people don't understand us. But Sister J Smoot has a lot more faith than me, and started talking to her. This Sister, Sister Primitiva, grabbed Sister Smoot's arm and started pulling her down the trail. I giggled a little and followed them as we walked to the house of Primitiva. She walked REALLY slow, but as they were walking they were talking about life. I trailed behind and saw another lady stare at us strangely than start laughing at us. Sometimes it hurts when other people laugh at us, but instead of getting upset, I just talked to her, and she started following too. so there was this awkward trail of people following this little old lady on this really twisty and muddy trail. But as we were walking, I was able to talk to the second Lady, Sister Celiz, about her family, and she asked if she could sit and listen with us.
As we entered Sister Primitiva's home, we shared about FAMILIES, but also about the gospel and how it blesses us. I'm not sure Primitiva understood what we were saying, but it didn't matter, because Sister Celiz was listening with her whole soul. She started crying half-way through and couldn't stop. She was literally led by the spirit to follow us down the trail in into the lesson and asked how the gospel could bless her own family. while I was saying the closing prayer, I kept thinking about how we didn't extend baptism to her and it wouldn't leave my mind. But I was thinking, "oh man, it's too late because we are saying the closing prayer." After I closed the prayer, Sister J Smoot just looked up at sister Celiz and extended the baptismal invitation... and she accepted! We bore our testimonies and closed again with a really neat hymn.
It's really fun to sing with someone who is not tone deaf, let along jenna who is amazing at singing. It really invited the spirit and it was tangible and sweet. After the lesson we were talking and laughed about the fact that that was the first time we had both extended baptism after the lesson. Isn't that the coolest thing about the spirit? It will tell us what we need to do in the moment that we need it. I am so grateful for the miracle that Sister Smoot brought to our area. Upon returning to their home last night, we met the whole family and they all committed to baptism too.
This work is truly amazing and just full of miracles every day. I love you all so much! This letter seems to be more jumpy than others... sorry. Just know that I love being a missionary, and it was even more fun doing it with a good friend, and family member, my cousin Jenna!.
I think Jenna and I are connected for life and will forever be the crazy cousins in the corner at family parties speaking our weird code language perhaps while playing with rats and lizards in the dirt. Haha. I love you all so much and I can't believe Ally is a missionary now. I love you too Sister! I hope you all see the miracles each day, because there are so many!
Love, Sister Ashley Smoot
Ashley has 3 1/2 months left and gets home in November. (96 days left)