Elder Jared Stark

Serving in the Spain Málaga Mission

“Sustained Peace and True Joy”

Spring

Spring

Email 27/3/17

Hello everybody,

The first week of the transfer has passed. Of course, neither my companion nor my area changed, so there was really nothing new to have to adjust to this week, which was nice.

Our progressing investigators, Miguel and Jessica, are still doing well. They came to church yesterday and even brought a friend with them, so that was great! We spent the week teaching them about all of the commandments, and those were really good lessons. The only thing that could potentially be a problem is Miguel quitting smoking, which he acknowledged would be hard for him to do, but not impossible. So we’ve been helping him and hoping and praying that he has the ability to quit smoking.

Here in Europe (or at least Spain), it seems like there’s some commandments that are easier to follow here than there are in the States and vice versa. For example, because all of the stores here are closed on Sunday’s, there’s a much smaller temptation to go shopping on the Sabbath here than there is in the US. But here, smoking is way more common than in the states, making it more likely for someone to struggle with that part of the Word of Wisdom.

On Friday, we had a rare opportunity to have a Zone meeting with just our Zone, rather than the typical tri-Zone conference. It was to introduce us to the church’s Easter Initiative and special video for this year. I really liked it, and the video will be released to the public by the end of the week.

Yesterday, our branch got a new member! Well, kind of. There’s a man named Sid from England who has a summer home within the boundaries of our branch, so he spends a few months here every year. He also doesn’t speak any Spanish (and all of our members who don’t speak any English still love him) so I had to translate all thee hours of church for him. That was fun, but definitely a bit taxing on the mind.

Spanish feels pretty comfortable, but that in no way means that I’m prone from mistakes. I was talking about my YSA, young single adult, ward during a lesson this week. In Spanish, that translates to un barrio de JAS, Jóvenes Adultos Solteros, except in this moment, I combined Adultos and Solteros and said “mi barrio de Jóvenes Adulterios,” which translates to “my ward of young adulterers.” Haha, didn’t take me long to correct that mistake.

As always, we spent a decent amount of our proselyting time this week contacting in the streets. There are some weeks where contacting goes great and you meet a ton of prepared people and get a lot of futures, and then there are weeks like this where 75% of the phone numbers you get are fake. (They say that for every fake phone number a missionary in Europe gets, another person is baptized in South America, haha.) The following council from President Nelson’s talk “Becoming True Millennials” was especially appealing to me some moments through the week. He said:

“You will have days when you will be thoroughly discouraged. So, pray for courage not to give up! You will need that strength because it will become less and less popular to be a Latter-day Saint. Sadly, some whom you thought were your friends will betray you. And some things will simply seem unfair. 

“However, I promise you that as you follow Jesus Christ, you will find sustained peace and true joy. As you keep your covenants with increasing precision, and as you defend the Church and kingdom of God on the earth today, the Lord will bless you with strength and wisdom to accomplish the impossible. “

There were definitely a few days during the week when I was feeling down and discouraged because of my duty as a missionary to defend the truth, but I took President Nelson’s and I prayed for courage not to give up, and that helped a lot. I love the straightforwardness of his advice there. The Lord requires us to do hard things, but he’s also there to lend a hand to help us accomplish them, and following his example will lead us to “sustained peace and true joy” even in the hardest of circumstances. I know that’s true.

I love you all, thanks for all of your support from afar. 

Élder Stark 🇪🇸

P.S. I was just published on @mormonfaces on Instagram, go check it out 😎

Photos

1-3: Mostly I just took pictures of clouds this week.

3:27B 3:27C 3:27D

4: Myself, Elder Cerna, Elder Pack, and Hermana Christensen at our Zone meeting.

3:27E

5: Until next time.

3:27F

Declaring His Doings

Email 20/3/17

Hello everybody,

Okay, a lot has happened since last week, I’m going to see if I can remember everything that has happened.

The hot water in our house is finally working again! A plumber came over and had to spend the better part of Monday and Tuesday night cleaning the pipes, replacing faucets and cleaning the hot water heater to fix whatever the problem was. I’ve never appreciated a hot shower more in my life.

We’ve taught Miguel and Jessica several times during the week, and they are still progressing! They’ve accepted an invitation to be baptized in three weeks, on April 8! Their testimonies of the truthfulness of the Restored Gospel have definitely been growing and it’s been such a testament to me of the wonderful power of change that the gospel has. However, we did just find out yesterday that Miguel’s new job might mean that he had to work on Sundays from now on; if it’s every Sunday or just every one in a while, we’re not sure yet, we still need to talk to him more about it, but we have faith that everything will work out in the end.

On Wednesday night, we were walking back from Miguel’s house and stopped to talk to this one homeless guy from Finland that’s a friend of ours; in fact, we had purchased him some bread and lunch meat that morning so he’d have something besides beer to eat. Anyways, he was watching the dog of another homeless guy, and suddenly, without warning, the dog leapt at me and bit my leg! He ripped a pretty big hole in one of my pairs of proselyting pants, but luckily, the only injury that I received was a little red mark, this size of a bug bite, on my leg. They say that you don’t become a real missionary until a dog attacks you, so I guess this could be considered as a significant milestone.

We also found a few new investigators this week from people that we’ve contacted the last few weeks. One of them is this 75 year old man named Pepe Luis who might be the nicest old man that I’ve met on my mission so far. He lives in Salobreña, and we went out there one evening to visit him, and had a good lesson about faith and The Restoration. Another one of our new investigators is named Lenut, he’s from Romania, and is going through a really hard time in his life right now, but seems very interested in the gospel, which is great, because the gospel helps us get through those hard times in life. 

I love these scriptures from 2 Nefi 22: “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation. Therefore, with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. And in that day shall ye say: Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.” I love being able to be a missionary and being able to declare the doings of Christ amongst the people here in Motril by preaching the message of his Restored gospel. There is nothing else I would be rather doing with my life right now. Elder Pack and I have seen a lot of miracles during our six weeks together, and we’re both super excited because we just got word that we’ll be spending another six weeks together here! It’s going to be great. 

I love you all, thanks for all of your support.

Élder Stark 🇪🇸

Photos 

1: Them mountains 🏔

3:20A

2: Thanks for fixing our water 

3:20B

3: RIP Pants 👖 

3:20C

4: Where’d my house go?

3:20D

5: Until next time

3:20E

Go Away Korihoh

Email 13/3/17

Hello everybody,

Well, there goes another week in Motril. It feels like a lot has happened since the last time I wrote. Here’s some of what went down this week:

As I said in my last letter, we went up to Granada and visited The Alhambra on P-Day. The Alhambra is a palace/fortress complex and is actually the most visited tourist site in Spain. It’s really impressive. I had already been there before, but this time was different because the bishop’s wife of the Granada Ward came with us and gave us a tour of it, so it was nice to be able to learn a little more about the historical significance of it.

The hot water in our house still isn’t working. The dueña (landlady) and her dad came down (they live in Granada) to inspect the problem on Wednesday. I still don’t think we’ve figured out exactly why we don’t have hot water, but they’re going to come back soon and replace some of our faucets to see if that’ll help anything. Even though I doubt that’s the problem. It’s definitely something to do with the pipes or the hot water heater. Hopefully we make some more headway with this soon, but at any rate, it’s been very frustrating trying to get this problem solved.

The weather has turned very pleasant this week, it feels like summer has started. We were out proselyting comfortably in short sleeved shirts this week. Although this week isn’t supposed to be quite as warm (it’s actually overcast and a bit rainy as I’m writing this), I’m remembered how blessed I am to serve in an area that doesn’t have winter haha.

We taught Miguel and Jessica a few times this week, and they came to church for the second time yesterday! They’ve been doing such a good job with keeping their commitments to read from the Book of Mormon and pray, it’s been great, and they’re progressing well. They’ve expressed their desire that they’re wanting to keep learning more and more about the restored gospel, and it’s been such a privilege being able to teach them and see their progress.

Notwithstanding how well things are going with our investigators, we still encountered a lot of opposition to our work this week. In the Book of Mormon, Alma Chapter 30 gives an account of a man named Korihor, who is referred to as an “Anti-Christ” because of his teachings which were contrary to those of The Lord and His prophets. This happened approximately in the year 74 B.C. The basis of his teachings was that there would not be a Christ, and that looking for Him is “a foolish and a vain hope.” (verses 12-13). He targeted first the prophecies handed down by holy prophets, or in other words, the scriptures, calling them “foolish traditions of your fathers.” (14). Next, he attempted to discredit the power of faith and a testimony, asserting that, “ye cannot know of things which ye do not see; therefore ye cannot know that there shall be a Christ” (15). He then attributed the feelings of hope and faith to “the effect of a frenzied mind” (16), and continued by asserting that we don’t need a Savior nor an Atonement because “every man prospered to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength” (17). He ended by saying that, “when a man was dead, that was the end thereof” (18), or in other words, it doesn’t matter what we do in this life because we’ll never have to face the consequences afterwards. 

All of those false assertions that Korihor made were all things that I heard people tell me during the week. Seriously, all of them! The Book of Mormon makes such a detailed account of the attacks on the church that Korihor and his contemporaries made for a reason, principally because the adversary is still using these same exact tricks today to lead the hearts of men away! The fundamentals in the adversary’s playbook haven’t changed too much over time. As President Benson said, “The Book of Mormon exposes the enemies of Christ. It confounds false doctrines and . . . fortifies the humble followers of Christ against the evil designs, strategies, and doctrines of the devil in our day. The type of apostates in the Book of Mormon are similar to the type we have today. God, with his infinite foreknowledge, so molded the Book of Mormon that we might see the error and know how to combat false educational, political, religious, and philosophical concepts of our time.” Studying the scriptures blesses us with the foresight necessary in order to avoid the ever-present attacks of the adversary in our lives.

I hope you all have a great week!

Love,

Élder Stark 🇪🇸

Photos

1: The Alhambra 

3:13A

2-3: Inside The Alhambra 

3:13B 3:13C

4-5: Views of Granada from The Alhambra 

3:13D 3:13E

6: Stole my picture 

3:13F

7: Vi una columna (de luz…)

3:13G

8: Elder Pack and I

3:13H

9: Elder Bird, Elder Pack, Elder Jones, Elder Köhler, Elder Morgan, Elder Stark

3:13I

10: Sunset from the bus 🌄

3:13J

11: We made paella as a district, and it turned out alright. Elder Köhler, Elder Bird, Hermana Gentry, Elder Stark, Elder Pack, Elder Morgan, Elder Jones, Hermana Woods

3:13K

12: Until next time

3:13L

Teach Him About the Restoration

Email 6/3/17

Hello everybody,

Another week has come and gone here in Motril. I’m on the bus to Granada writing my email today. We’re headed up there for P-Day to go to the Alhambra. I’ve already been there, about three months ago, but besides me and another missionary in our district, nobody else has been, so that’s why we’re going back. It should be a good day.

This week was special because we got to go to Granada to do our intercambios (exchanges) with Elder Köhler and Elder Bird. Intercambio miracles are real. We were able to find five new investigators for their area in less than 24 hours. God truly is preparing the minds and hearts of his children all over the world to receive the gospel. 

Twice this week, we taught Miguel and Jessica, the two people who unexpectedly showed up to church last week, and they were both great lessons where the spirit was really strong. One of my favorite things about the mission is being able to teach the message of the Restoration, especially to someone who hasn’t heard about it before. 

The appearance of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ to the boy Joseph Smith happened. It was a response to a very simple question – “Which is the true church?” – that would commence the restoration of the original church that Jesus Christ established on the earth again. We are so blessed to be living in this dispensation, and it’s always such a pleasure to be able to share this knowledge with somebody who had not heard it before. I love the words of President Monson in regards to this truth that we have been so blessed to have: “We are blessed to have the truth. We have a mandate to share the truth. Let us live the truth, that we might merit all that the Father has for us.” 

So yes, they’re already progressing well, keeping their commitments to read and pray and so on, and it’s been really exciting to teach them. Unfortunately they weren’t able to come to church yesterday due to something going on in the family, but things are still great with them.

Even though that’s been great, not everything has been going so well this week. It seems like this transfer, hard things keep happening to my companion and I, and this week the trend continued. We were playing basketball during our intercambio, and Elder Pack jumped for the ball and landed poorly, injuring his ankle. It hasn’t been too much of a problem, but it’s definitely been hard for him. 

Additionally, we haven’t had hot water in our house for the past 3 days. Saturday morning, we woke up to an usually cold and rainy day, and of course that was the day when it broke. We’re not even sure what the problem is – the cold water works fine, the hot water heater works fine, but for some reason, there is just no pressure for the hot water coming out of the taps. So, we called our dueña (landlady), and she basically said, “Oh, yeah, this happened before in that house. It’s a problem with the ayuntamiento (city government), so they have to fix it. There’s nothing I can do and nothing you can do.” She said she’d call them for us sometime during the week and let us know, so we don’t even know for how long we’re going to be without hot water. That’s made showering a bit complicated, what we have to do is boil water and then use that to bathe ourselves the best that we can. Not very fun.

Well, that’s about it. I love you all and hope you all have a great week.

Élder Stark 🇪🇸

Photos

1: Mochill 

3:6A

2: The District of Granada: Elder Pack, Elder Stark, Elder Bird, Elder Morgan, Elder Jones, Elder Köhler; Hermana Gentry, Hermana Woods

3:6B

3: This guy that Elder Bird and I met on our intercambio who wanted to take a picture with us. I was later informed by Elder Köhler that he was probably going to use the Book of Mormon we gave to him to roll joints since the thin paper is apparently perfect for that. Whoops. 😬

3:6C

4: Sunset in Granada

3:6D

5: The 39th birthday party for Amparito 🎂🎁🎈🎉

3:6E

6: Until next time

3:6F

Salobreña de Salobreña

Once in a lifetime opportunity to drink Castillo de Salobreña on the Castillo de Salobreña

Once in a lifetime opportunity to drink Castillo de Salobreña on the Castillo de Salobreña

Email 27/2/17

Hello everybody,

Another week has passed. Tomorrow will mark nine months in the mission. If I were an hermana, that would mean hitting my halfway point, but luckily I still have a little bit of time left before that happens.

In Spain, there’s a very popular juice beverage (or in other words, non-alcoholic wine), that a ton of missionaries like to drink called Castillo de Salobreña. Salobreña is part of our area, a little town about 10 minutes outside of Motril. Last p-day, Elder Pack and I took a bus over there in order to drink Castillo de Salobreña on the Castillo de Salobreña. That was a lot of fun, and I think we’re literally some of the only missionaries in Spain who can say they’ve done that haha. I’ve included a few pictures from the trip.

The work this week started off good and were looking upwards because we were having some good success finding a lot of interested futuros, and that was really exciting. But then, on Friday, I woke up, and out of the blue, was feeling extremely dizzy and nauseous and had to spend all of Friday and Saturday in bed, lying down. That kind of stalled our plans to meet with some of those futuros for a few days. It was pretty rough, I couldn’t even sit up without feeling super sick. I’m still not sure what caused it. I think that it was a problem with my inner ear, but thankfully, it has resolved itself and I’m back to feeling normal.

Yesterday, something great happened during church. It was my turn to teach gospel doctrine class, and right I was about to begin the lesson, our branch president beckoned Elder Pack and I out into the hallway. Standing there was this guy named Miguel Ángel, someone who came up to Elder Jarvis and I in the streets months ago, wanting to meet with us and learn about the church. I think I’ve mentioned him in one of my previous emails. He doesn’t have a phone and we were never able to catch him at home, so eventually we had to stop trying to meet with him. But he and his girlfriend decided that they wanted to come to church today to see what the meetings are like and so that we could start meeting with them to teach them! So, I had to ask the Branch president’s wife to teach my lesson for me at the last second so we could go and have a lesson with them. President Hänni, the stake president, happened to be visiting our branch this day, and actually helped us teach our lesson Miguel and his girlfriend, and we had a great little lesson with all of them focused on faith. We have another appointment set for Wednesday. I wasn’t expecting to be teaching a lesson that day to two new investigators with the stake president as our member present! But it went great. He even gave them his phone number and told us that he wants to call them and personally invite them to the upcoming stake conference. Definitely a miracle.

I love the Mormon Message “Earthly Father, Heavenly Father” (https://www.lds.org/video/mormon-messages/2013-01-002-earthly-father-heavenly-father?lang=eng). We used it in a couple of lessons this week. It makes me grateful to have such great parents on the earth as well as to have a loving Heavenly Father. There’s a line in it where the father says, referring to providing for his family, that says, “I do it all for them.” Everything that God does is out of love for our benefit. After all, “this is [His] work and [His] glory, to bring to pass [our] immortality and eternal life” (Moses 1:39). He knows us each perfectly, and knows exactly what what we need to experience in this life to learn and grow and better ourselves. “I work that they may grow.” Sometimes the hand of the Lord manifests itself in our lives by giving us trials, and at other times miracles, but they’re all given to us by Him for our benefit. This week I experienced both. I know He is real. I know He loves us, and because He loves us, He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, into the world in order to redeem us to allow us to return to Him. “He really wants us to come home.”

Os quiero. I love you all.

Élder Stark 🇪🇸

Photos

1: Chillin with my Castillos 

12:27B

2: Elder Pack and I preparing to drink our Castillo on the Castillo

12:27C

3: After drinking the Castillo

12:27D

4: Kebab selfie with the District: Myself, Elder Pack, Hermana Woods (being k-baptized!), Hermana Gentry, Elder Köhler, Elder Jones, Elder Morgan, and Elder Bird

12:27E

5: When it feels almost like America

12:27F

6: Until next time

12:27G

Talking About the Message

Email 20/2/17

Hello everybody, 

It has been a good week. A lot of time was spent in the streets trying to find new investigators. We had an interesting experience with a backpacker from the Czech Republic. We walked up to him, and introduced ourselves (in Spanish) as missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and then invited him to hear a message about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His response to our invitation was a question (in English): “Well, what would you be talking about if you weren’t talking about the message?” That kind of caught me off guard, so I just said in response, “Nothing I guess.” I then asked him how many languages he spoke (since our conversation was switching between English and Spanish) and he said, “the number of languages a man speaks is what the man is,” which doesn’t really make sense, haha, but I really liked that first question he asked us. It strengthened my conviction that the whole point of me being here in Spain and learning Spanish for two years is to share the message that, “through a modern prophet, God has restored knowledge about the plan of salvation, which is centered on Christ’s Atonement and fulfilled by living the first principles and ordinances of the gospel.” If I weren’t sharing that, I guess there would be nothing to talk about. I know that this is true and it is such a wonderful blessing to bring people to have their own testimony of this.

We spent a lot of the week working on finding, and well that will definitely be what we’ll keep doing this week as well. Thursday and Friday were fun days though. Thursday, we went to Málaga to have our interviews with President Andersen, got to go eat at Taco Bell, and then spent the night in the piso of the Zone leaders there, Elder Boston and Elder Dunham, which was really cool because they had both been Zone leaders for me at different points earlier in the mission. On Friday, we had our Zone Conference. It was focused on the second fundamental from The First 12 Weeks, “The Role of the Spirit in Conversion.” In preparation for this conference, I had been studying a lot about this topic and identified five things I can do every day in order to better have the presence of the spirit in my life which in turn helps those we teach feel the spirit confirming to them the truthfulness of the message. They are to study the word (D&C 11:21), be obediente (D&C 121:37), pray for the guidance of the spirit (D&C 42:14), follow the promptings of the spirit and act on them (D&C 33:8-10), and give thanks for the promptings that have been received (D&C 78:19). Having the guidance of the spirit (the “senior companion”) is so necessary in missionary work.

Everything is going great in Motril. I love our little branch. Yesterday, in church, we even had a few visitors from other parts of Spain. I was responsible for playing the piano in sacrament meeting, giving a 20 minute talk, and then two minutes before priesthood meeting started, I was asked to teach the lesson. That was fun haha, but I don’t think that the Sabbath doesn’t get any better than that, when you can spend the day teaching and serving other people.

Love,

Élder Stark 🇪🇸

Photos

1: This was a pretty guapa week for Motril. After a rainstorm, outside of Mercadona.

2:20A

2: Sunset in the center of town.

2:20B

3: Abandoned factory

2:20C

4: Church on the hill

2:20D

5: Fountain and palm

2:20F

6: Church dating back to the 1500’s

2:20G

7: Edge of town

2:20H

8: Ferris wheel in Málaga 

2:20I

9: A very tired Elder Pack and I; we match our ties.

2:20J

10: Until next time.

2:20K

Motril, Part III

Email 13/2/17

Hello everybody,

Wow, I feel like a ton of things have changed since the last time I wrote. Obviously the biggest change has been that I now have a new companion here in Motril. Elder Pack is from Lehi, Utah, loves BYU (just like me), and has been in the mission for two transfers less than me. Both him and my last companion were fairly close to me in terms of time on the mission, and I love serving with other missionaries who are close in time because you just learn so much from each other. It’s going to be a great transfer with him.

Other changes haven’t been so good. We’ve basically lost contact with some of the investigators I’ve spent the past 12 weeks teaching, so we’re in full on finding mode right now. We’ve spent a lot of time in the street contacting people and knocking doors in the last few day and that will likely continue for a while. But that’s okay! There are a ton of prepared people out there. In the words of my cousin who also served his mission in Spain, “you have to sift a lot of mud to find those nuggets of gold.” 

It’s been a pretty fast week. Monday and Tuesday were spent helping Elder Jarvis Pack and clean the house for him to be transferred to his new area. Wednesday I spent like 8 hours in the bus station in Granada waiting with the other missionaries in our district for our new companions to arrive. Something like 30 missionaries passed through that day, including some in my group whom I haven’t seen since the CCM, so that was really fun. And then the days after that until now were spent with Elder Pack adjusting to the area and getting to work! 

Oh, and I’ve still been sick this whole week, for the second week in a row. I lost my voice for a few days and have been coughing a ton, but I went to bed a little early last night to get some extra rest, and I’m feeling a lot better today, so I think I’m finally getting better.

Something cool that I was reminded of while doing my studying this week comes from an entry from the Book of Mormon Student Manual, referencing Alma 13:3: 

“The Prophet Joseph Smith (1805–44) taught that those who are ordained to a calling in mortality were foreordained to that calling in the pre-earth life: “Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before this world was. I suppose that I was ordained to this very office in that Grand Council”

I know that my call to preach the gospel in the Spain Málaga Mission was given to me by a prophet of God through revelation from Him, and that I was even pre-ordained to this calling even before I came to the earth. How great of a blessing is that! I know without a doubt that being here, in the mission, in Motril, doing the things that I am doing is exactly where and what I need to be doing with my life right now. Heavenly Father has a plan for me and for each one of his children. It isn’t always easy, but as long as we trust Him and do the things he wants us to do, we will always be happy. 

Love,

Élder Stark 🇪🇸

Photos

1: Don’t drink beer

2:13A

2: During our last district meeting before transfers: Elder Jarvis, Elder Kröff, Elder Köhler, Elder Stark, Elder Jones, Elder Egbert

2:13B

3: Elder Jarvis and I with Alberto, a member.

2:13C

4: An investigator, Rosa, with Myself and Elder Jarvis.

2:13d

5: City, Sky

12:13e

6: Alone in the Motril bus station 🙅🏻‍♂️😬😮

12:14f

7: Elder Pack 

2:12g

8: Until next time.

2:12h

Come Unto Christ

Email 6/2/17

Hello everybody,

Yesterday was an interesting Sunday. First, we had a few visitors show up to church which is always exciting. There was one American couple from Las Vegas who were in Spain visiting a friend living in the area who actually knew Elder Jarvis’ dad. I think that’s one of the first times that there have been American visitors in any one of my sacrament meetings during the mission. The other visitors were President and Hermana Andersen, our mission president and his wife! When we saw them walk into the chapel, we were nervous and though, “oh no, what’s happening?” But, it turns out they were deciding where they were going to go to church this week, realized that they’ve never been to Motril, and surprised us and all of the members here by coming. They stayed for all three hours (it was a bit stressful teaching gospel doctrine class with them there, haha) and even came to our customary lunch at the Branch President’s house afterwards.  

Something else that we did was we had a musical testimony meeting. Meaning that every member of the branch (and the visitors, too) chose their favorite hymn, bore their testimony about that hymn, and then we sang it. As the branch pianist, playing 12 hymns in one sacrament meeting was also a bit stressful, haha, but it was a really good meeting. I chose “Press Forward Saints” as my favorite hymn.

The upside to this is that this is transfer week and we found out the transfer calls a day before everyone else. 😏Elder Jarvis is leaving to go to the Sevilla area, and my next companion here in Motril will be an Elder Pack. The only thing I know about him is that he has two transfers less time than me on the mission, and I’m looking forwards to meeting and working with him.

Last week, I came down with a cold, and it took a harder hit on my than I was expecting, so I’m still recovering right now. Nevertheless, it was still a good week and we taught a lot of good lessons. Last week, I wrote about a person who we found while we were out knocking doors, and we showed up on Saturday to meet with her again as she told us to, and she was there, ready to listen, but we couldn’t enter the house because there wasn’t another man there. Great. So, we’ll be trying again next week, bringing someone else with us this time. 

We were reading in the Book of Mormon with our investigator Juan this week, and the final invitation we find in Moroni 10:32 to “come unto Christ” has been in my mind all week:

Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

Coming unto Christ is basically the end result of everything we do as His disciples, members of the church, and missionaries. We have the church, the scriptures, modern day prophets, temples, and everything else so that we may be led back to the presence of our Heavenly Father through Christ’s Atonement. It is all there for that one simple purpose. Coming unto Christ is the most important thing we need to learn how to do on this earth, and having these two years of my life dedicated to helping others come unto Him is the best.

Love,

Élder Stark 🇪🇸

P.S. Go to Instagram and follow @mormonfaces. I’ll be making an appearance there sometime within the near future.

1: Droopy Day

2:6A

2: Droopy Day II

2:6b

3: Because of the transfers, Elder Jarvis and I took pictures with some of the people we’ve been teaching. Here are our investigators Jennifer and Juan with their kids Zulema and Paco.

2:6c

4: Nora, Celia, Myself, and Elder Jarvis

2:6d

5: Myself and Elder Jarvis with Sebastian

2:6e

6: Strolin’ ’round gypsy-town

IMG_2377

7: Myself, Presidente Izquierdo, Nora, Hermana Andersen, President Andersen, Elder Jarvis

2:6f

8: Amparo, her daughter Amparito, Elder Jarvis and Myself

2:6g

9: Until next time

2:6h

Right Place, Right Time

Email 30/1/17

Hello everybody,

Well, my luck ran out. I woke up sick this morning. It doesn’t seem too bad, at least not when I think of the other missionaries in our district who had to stay in piso all of last week to recover from illnesses. Life goes on.

A big thing that happened this week was the Worldwide Missionary Broadcast. It was basically a continuation of the “Teach Repentance, Baptize Converts” training that was given a year ago. Something that was pointed out during the broadcast that I really liked was that the different parts of the Gospel of Jesus Christ — faith, repentance, baptism, reception of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end — aren’t separate from each other, but all together in one and interrelated in Christ. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So simple, so powerful. 

Of course, there were the other big changes that were announced during the meeting. The key indicator numbers that we report every week have been cut down from nine to four and the missionary schedule was changed for the first time in decades, I’d imagine. Our mission already had a modified schedule before the change taking into account the Mediodía practices in Spain, so our day to day schedule hasn’t changed too much here. Instead of the schedule being fixed in place, we now have the power to move things around if we so desire. For example, our lunchtime used to be at 2 PM everyday, but now we could move it to be at another hour, if we so desire. Because daily planning, which used to be done in the night after returning to piso, was changed to be in the morning, we can now go to bed around an hour earlier than before. I’m enjoying that change a lot, already I’ve noticed a difference coming from the increased time we have to sleep. Also, we get two more hours of P-Day. #Blessed

Other than that, it was a normal week of work in Motril. On Thursday, Elder Jarvis and I were out knocking doors, and we got to one door where the woman who answered surprised us by saying that she already knew who we were because she has a friend who is a member of the church here. Given the size of our branch, that was a surprise, and perhaps even the first time in my two transfers here that a random person we’ve talked to has actually known someone in the church. Her friend, a less active member, was actually someone we had been trying to meet with for a couple of weeks, and finally we had a lesson with her scheduled for that night. As we were telling her all of this, our phone rang, and it was her friend, the less active member, calling to confirm the lesson than evening! So we gave the phone to the woman and had her answer it, to the complete surprise of her friend! After the phone call, and as we were talking to this woman a bit more, she was telling us that she had actually met with the missionaries years ago while she was living in London and was open to having us come back, and so we scheduled a return appointment with her during the week.

That was one of those “right place, right time” moments that was just too perfect to have been coincidence. I know the Lord is watching over his missionaries and is helping us so much to find those who have been prepared to learn about the gospel. Obviously I don’t know what will end up happening with this woman, but I’m still so grateful for this experience of seeing the Lord’s hand manifested so plainly in our work.

Love,

Élder Stark 🇪🇸

Photos

1: I was trying to take a picture of the snow capped peaks of the Sierra Nevadas in the  distance and took a picture instead of this sign that says “El mundo necesita gente que ame lo que hace,” or, “The world needs people that love what they do.”

1:30a

2: Watching the Worldwide Missionary Broadcast in the Granada chapel

1:30b

3: Blessed to be Banana Bread 🙏🏼2️⃣🐝🍌🍞

1:30c

4: Churros and Chocolate 🌈

1:30d

5: Photo of President Monson for good measure

1:30e

6: Until next time

1:30f

Let Us All Press On

Email 23/1/17

Hello everybody, 

It’s been another good week. As mentioned in last week’s letter, we went back up to Granada on P-Day to go hit up the sales and buy some clothes. One of the best parts about going to Granada on P-Days is that there’s a Domino’s Pizza there, and here in Spain, they have a 6,95 € all you can eat pizza buffet. It’s the best. #BuffetLibre 

This week, the weather was significantly cooler, cloudier, and wetter than it normally is.  Nothing bad at all though, it was fine working outside with just a coat and sometimes just a sweater on. I’ve even heard reports of snow in many parts of this mission which is very rare to see in this part of Spain. I guess it actually snowed for like half an hour one morning here in Motril, but that was when we were inside doing weekly planning, so we didn’t notice. Darn.

Up until Friday, it was a pretty normally paced week in terms of the work: meeting with our investigators and less active members, knocking doors, and basically just trying to strengthen the people and the branch in Motril. Then, Élder Jarvis came down with a cold, and so we’ve been resting a bit more for the past few days while he recovers. In fact, I was talking to one of zone leaders the other day, and he told me that basically around half of the missionaries in the whole zone are sick right now. I suppose it could have something to do with the change of the weather. I’m perfectly fine as of this moment, but I’ve been mentally preparing myself for the last few days because I feel like it’ll be inevitable that I get sick too, so I guess we’ll see what ends up happening.

Some of you may have noticed that on the Gospel Library App, a new section for General Conference Music was added after the October General Conference. I love the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (it’s pretty cool that they were asked to sing at the recent presidential inauguration) and have downloaded every video of them singing from that session of General Conference on my iPad. The other day, I was listening to their rendition of “Let Us All Press On,” and the words of the chorus really struck me:

Fear not, though the enemy deride;

Courage, for the Lord is on our side.

We will heed not what the wicked may say,

But the Lord alone we will obey.

To me, this is saying that when we are obedient to God and doing the things He wants us to do and becoming the person who he wants us to be, no matter what those around us or the world thinks, that’s how we know we are being successful servants. 

The road won’t be easy, and our efforts may not always bear immediate or recognizable fruit, but obedience to God and to his laws is more important than anything else. When we put our trust in the Lord, we need not fear because we know he will bless us for doing that which he has asked. 

I’m looking forward to another week as a missionary. This week is going to be extra special because of the Worldwide Missionary Broadcast this Wednesday. Many of you who get my emails are serving missions right now as well. Even though we’re all in different places with different languages, cultures, and customs, our purpose is universally consistent and it’s so amazing that we can all participate in this event together.

Love,

Élder Stark 🇪🇸

Photos

1: Elder Krummenacher (my companion from the CCM) and I reunited after over six months apart. Also Elder Egbert. Elder Krummenacher was taking a bus that passed through Granada, so all in all, we only had about a minute in the bus station to so hi and take a picture.

1:23A

2: The Nevada Shopping center. It just opened a few months ago and I’ve heard missionaries say it’s the largest mall in the mission (or maybe even all of Spain?). This was the day I accidentally bought two suits #Rebajas

1:23B

3: Finally we had a district meeting with everyone present, so here’s our district picture of the transfer: Elder Jarvis, Elder Jones, Elder Stark, Elder Kröff, Elder Köhler, Elder Egbert; Hermana Moore and Hermana Gentry (I served with both of them in districts past #ElcheForever)

1:23C

4: Motril in the morning.

1:23D

5: Motril at night

1:23E

6: Motril black and white.

1:23F

7: “Hey look a horse.” “Where’s the Porsche?” “No, A HORSE.”

1:23G

8: Until next time.

1:23H

« Older posts

© 2017 Elder Jared Stark

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑