Email 21/11/16

Hello everybody,

Last week was a time of transition and change, which isn’t always easy. I had about a day and a half to pack my bags and say goodbye to the members and missionaries and investigators in Elche, and all of this I had to do sick. For those of you keeping count, that’s three times I’ve come down with a cold since September, and unlike the other two times, I didn’t really have time to rest last week, so I feel like that’s slowing down my recovery a bit.

On Wednesday, I took a seven hour bus ride, by myself (which was super weird being being alone for that long), to Granada, where I met up with Elder Jarvis and took another hour long bus ride to get to Motril. It turned out that two of the wheels on one of my suitcases had broken, and then while we were just kind of dragging the bag to our house, the carrying strap got ripped off too. Not fun.

But yeah, one of the cool things about being in Motril is that we live in this three story house. It has a garage, a fireplace, dishwasher, washer AND dryer, three bathrooms, three bedrooms, and all balconies too. So that’s really nice that we’re blessed with such comfortable living conditions (I’m especially grateful for the memory foam queen-sized mattress that I have after sleeping on a twin mattress on the floor for the last four months), but, as Elder Jarvis put it, the house just kind of compensates for the area that we’re in.

In Elche, we had two solid wards, good investigators, and a lot of good things to do as missionaries. Here, the branch consists of us, the branch president and his wife, and then like three other members who come on a regular basis (and then about 50 inactive members). So, during church, I was responsible for playing the piano in sacrament meeting (they told me I’m the first Elder who can play the piano that’s served here in over five years) and giving a talk, and next week I’ll have to do all of that and teach gospel doctrine class. We do have a really nice bajo that we meet in though, so that’s definitely a blessing.

As for the work here, there’s a couple investigators whom we’ve visited so far, so that’s good, but for the majority of time, we’ve been walking all over the place, trying to find less active members or new people to teach, but we haven’t been having much success. We’ve knocked on a lot of doors snd have talked to a lot of people in the last few days, but nobody has been interested in what we have to say.

They say that Motril is one of the hardest areas in the mission, and I believe that. The thing that has been helping me not to be discouraged, though, is gratitude. Instead of focusing on what went wrong, or what’s hard, I’ve found so far that focusing on being grateful for what I have definitely yields more happiness. As we read in Alma 37:37, “when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God.” By focusing my thoughts, prayers, and actions on recognizing the blessings that God has given me, it’s been much easier not to get down and discouraged because In reality, Heavenly Father has given us all so much even if it doesn’t always feel like it. So I hope that all of you will have a spirit of gratitude not only for this Thanksgiving week, but always.

Love,

Élder Stark

Photos

1: Last time being together with all of the Elche missionaries in the bus station. Elder Stark, Elder Goates, Elder Larsen, Elder Catmull, Elder Darrington, Hermana Giraldo, Hermana Prior, Hermana George, Hermana Gentry, Hermana Garcia, Hermana Gibson; Elder Llavina and Hermana Sanchez

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2: KFC with Hermana Prior, Elder Stark, Elder Darrington, Hermana Garcia, Hermana Giraldo, Hermana Gentry, Hermana Garcia, Elder Llavina, and Hermana George.

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3: Saying goodby to Fina, Paqui, and Jamie, some great members from Elche

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4: Hermana Giraldo, Hermana Prior, Hermana George, Elder Llavina, Elder Stark, Elder Darrington

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5: Hermana Prior and I have been around each other for our entire missions up to this point, including in the CCM, so it was kind of sad that we got transferred to different Zones.

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6: Roberto and I, a member in Elche, who made me those sandals we’re holding, right in front of my eyes, in only around an hour.

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7: Elder Jarvis and I just lounging around

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8: Until next time

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