It’s weird that I’m writing this at 8:30 AM but all of you are probably asleep right now. I still quite haven’t gotten used to that. Luckily, I had basically no jet lag, so I was really able to hit the ground running.

Life is busy here in the CCM. Super busy. I thought I was busy at BYU, but even between classes and homework, I’d still have an hour or two to myself everyday. That is not the case here, but I love it.

There’s probably around 60 missionaries here in the Madrid CCM right now. I’d say about 2/3 of them are native English speakers learning Spanish and going to Spain missions. Out of all of the Spanish speaking missionaries, there are only 6 of us elders! We all sleep in the same bedroom together, and they’re all great. Half of us are going to Málaga and the other half are staying in Madrid. Like I said, in my district, it’s only me and my companion and then 8 hermanas! The rest of the missionaries are native speakers of French or Portuguese
(coming from places like France, Portugal, Brazil, and Tahiti) and are going to be serving in either French or Portugal. There’s also a district of elders learning Russian that are all native English speakers. It’s amazing how much diversity the CCM has and is great to see that the Church has strength all around the world.

So the CCM is on the fourth, fifth, and sixth floors of a building next to the Madrid temple. All of the classrooms are on the fourth floor, bedrooms on the fifth, and the comedor is on the sixth floor. There is a distribution center on the first floor and a mini hotel for people visiting the temple on the second and third floors. Speaking of the temple, we were able to do a session in it last Thursday, the morning after I arrived! Although now it’s closed for the next two weeks for cleaning. It’s such a beautiful temple and visible from basically any window here. There is also a stake center here, and because everything is connected by underground tunnels, I actually haven’t been outside since Sunday which is kind of crazy.

Speaking of outside, on Saturday, we went to the park to proselyte. It’s a huge park, 3x bigger than Central Park, I’ve heard. I honestly don’t know the name of it haha. Only three days into the MTC and only three days learning Spanish, they already had us hitting the streets
and talking to people about the gospel. I’m not going to lie, it was super hard. A lot of rejection and I could understand basically nothing that the people were saying. My companion for the day was Elder Tehahe, who is from Tahiti and speaks no Spanish and very little English. Even with the language barrier between us, we were still able to go out and place a Book of Mormon and share with some people about the church. It was hard, but I loved it and can’t wait to go back again this Saturday.

So my companion is Elder Krummenacher. He is from Arizona, and graduated from high school two days before entering the CCM! He is a really great guy, we get along well. We actually tricked all of the elders in our room into thinking that both of our first names are
Eugene. People weren’t lying when they said that he MTC was the most immature place in the world. I won’t even get into everything that’s gone on, but somehow we still manage to get our work done haha.

So I would send some more pictures rather than this one, but they gave us iPads for the sole purpose of emailing on p-days and there’s no way to get the photos off of my camera. Not to mention that I’m pretty sure that I forgot to bring the charging cable anyway, so I’m hoping
that if I’m conservative with my use, the battery will last me through the six weeks here and then I can figure out how to get a new cable in the field. Not that I’ve done anything super interesting so far anyway. We finally get to go out of the MTC this afternoon and go on
an excursion so maybe I’ll have some cool pictures after today.

I’m almost out of time, so let me just end by saying that I know that this is the place that I need to be right now. I know that this church is true and that God lives. I have seen his hand in my life too many times in this past week alone to not believe that. Learning Spanish is a difficult thing to do, but thankfully I don’t have to do it alone.

I hope you all have fantastic weeks.

Love,

Elder Stark

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