I’ve spent a lot of time this week realizing how hard a mission is. It’s hard when you have investigators that aren’t keeping commitments. It’s hard when you have investigators who want to be baptized but can’t because other members of their family are preventing it. It’s hard when you have recent converts who experience relapses and start smoking again. Its hard not to get discouraged and disappointed with yourself when you feel as though you’re not progressing quickly enough with the language or acquiring good enough teaching skills. It’s hard to miss the comfort of home. It’s hard to be out in the real world, struggling to talk to and understand people in Spanish all day, every day.

I’ve always been told that missions are hard, and from my first two weeks in the field, I can attest to the truthfulness of that. There’s been times this week where I’ve just wanted to give up completely despite the fact that I’m in a great area with a great companion. Even though I know that once I get through these first few months in the field, and I can stop being stressed out by everything that’s new, new sources of stress will arrive.

I’m starting to realize that one does not simply turn into a functional missionary when they’re set apart, or handed a black name tag, or when they teach their first lesson. It’s a process, and it’s a process that takes a tremendous amount of time. Learning how to teach the gospel in a simple manner, speak a new language, and bless the lives of others are really difficult skills to acquire.

It’s been a hard week. But I’m still pressing forward. This hymn has helped me this week:

“Press forward, Saints, with steadfast faith in Christ, With hope’s bright flame alight in heart and mind”

Some quotes from President Nelson’s talk “Becoming True Millennials” come to my mind as well: “The Lord will ask you to do many difficult things… He will enable you to accomplish the impossible…. Pray for the courage not to give up”

So yes, it was a difficult week, and I know there are many, many more difficult weeks to come, but through Christ, we can overcome all challenges that we are facing and will ever face in life. Always, for anyone. I testify of that truth to you all.

With Love,

Élder Stark

Fashion emergency from last week.

Fashion emergency from last week.

Me and Elder Pesce in our new suits. He told me to tell my mom, "Look, mom, I'm fashion now!"

Me and Elder Pesce in our new suits. He told me to tell my mom, “Look, mom, I’m fashion now!”

suit 2

 

sisters sisters 2

My district!  Elder Hammond, Elder Pesce, Hermana Prior (who arrived to the mission field at the same times as me), Hermana Butler, Hermana DeBoard, Hermana Moore, Elder Stark, Elder Brown, Elder Llavina, Elder Fumero

district

futball

On evenings during Wednesdays and Fridays, we teach English class, and then on Tuesdays and Thursday’s we play futbol. Very different activities, but both have the same purpose of helping people come unto Christ by getting them to know members of the church and the missionaries. This field is the Church’s, right next to our chapel.

This is one of our investigators, Paula. It was her birthday this past week, so we had a little celebration.

This is one of our investigators, Paula. It was her birthday this past week, so we had a little celebration.

birthday 2

An old picture that I just got of when I first received my assignment and my trainer at the mission home in Málaga

An old picture that I just got of when I first received my assignment and my trainer at the mission home in Málaga

The Book of Mormon in many different languages.

The Book of Mormon in many different languages.

This picture is with (former) Elder Fillmore, who served with Elder Pesce around a year ago. He stopped by to say hi. When I received my mission call, someone in my ward at BYU told me to look out for him, and it turns out that she's super good friends with his sister who was also visiting, so it's funny how small the world is.

This picture is with (former) Elder Fillmore, who served with Elder Pesce around a year ago. He stopped by to say hi. When I received my mission call, someone in my ward at BYU told me to look out for him, and it turns out that she’s super good friends with his sister who was also visiting, so it’s funny how small the world is.

elders

Until next time.

Until next time.