Email 28/11/16

Hello everybody,

I hope that all of you, no matter where you are or what you’re doing, were able to have an enjoyable Thanksgiving, and spend time to appreciate all the things which we’ve been blessed with in our lives. Thanksgiving here in Motril was more or less the same as any other day, with the exception of the Thanksgiving dinner we had with our branch president. In reality, the only traditional Thanksgiving food that we ate was mashed potatoes, but it was still an enjoyable engagement.

Other than that, we spent a lot of time looking for people to teach, which was slightly difficult because it was raining almost all day, every day this week. During the four months that I was in my last area, Elche, it rained less than five times, so the rain is something I’m still learning how to work with as a missionary. Shoutout to my friends serving in places where the weather actually does things other than be sunny all of the time.

We knocked on a lot of doors this week, talked to a lot of people in the streets, and in return, received a lot of “No’s”. Almost exclusively “No’s.” So what can I do to avoid getting discouraged in the face of such widespread rejection? This was the question that I have been thinking of a lot during this transfer so far. 

Last week, during our district meeting, one of the other missionaries gave a taller (workshop) on humility. The opposite of humility is pride, of course, which we usually think of being something in the nature of lifting ourselves onto a pedestal and looking down on others. However, there exists another type of pride, more or less the opposite, a type of pride where we see the results of others’ efforts and look down on ourselves, feeling like we’re not measuring up. 

I realized that I was falling victim to that type of pride, thinking things such as, “there’s no way I’m going to be making difference in this branch that hasn’t had a convert baptism in three years,” or “why even bother knocking on this door since they’ll just say no anyways.” Something that I encountered this week was a quote more or less telling us that, “it is as easy to plan and expect [an area] to be great and productive and successful as it is to plan on it being challenging.”

So what it all comes down to is that humility and faith are directly intertwined. I have faith that there are still people in Motril waiting for the message of the restored Gospel, and it is a privilege to have the authority and calling to go out and find them. My six months (can you believe it!?) as a missionary has been an extremely humbling experience so far, and I’m extremely grateful that it’s keeping my pride in check and my faith intact. 

Love, 

Élder Stark 

Photos

1: An old church.

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2: Me standing in front of that very same old church.

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3: Our house…what you can’t see is the third story/balcony.

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4: Thanksgiving dinner with our branch president, President Izquierdo.

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5: The sun setting…you can just barely see the Mediterranean on the horizon. This was a 5 minute walk outside of the city where one can actually see more than just buildings.

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6: Old chimney in the middle of a field.

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7: Until next time.

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