Hello everybody,

Now that the Christmas season is upon us, if you haven’t done so already, I would like to invite all of you to take two minutes of your time and watch the “#IluminaElMudno” or “#LighttheWorld” Christmas video that the church has released and participate in the activities to help us better follow the example of service that Jesus Christ has set for us. All of this can be found at http://Mormon.org.

Speaking of service, I had the rare opportunity this week to actually participate in some pre-planned service. During our intercambios with the District leader, Elder Egbert, in Granada this week, his companion, Elder Köhler, and I spent the morning helping to organize clothes that would be given to the poor and needy. Service opportunities can be quite difficult to find in this mission, so it was great blessing to be able to participate in one.

Speaking of the poor and needy, Elder Jarvis and I had a funny experience yesterday. We were walking to our branch president’s house to eat dinner after church, and a drunk, homeless man who was sitting on a corner begging for change called us over. He was from Britain, so we were speaking in English during this whole conversation. Of course, he asked us for money and we responded by telling him that as missionaries, we don’t have much money either, etc., so he said something to me along the lines of “Well, you can at least give me your socks then, I don’t have any,” to which I replied, “You could use some of this money you already have here to buy some socks,” and then he yelled, “I can’t do that, this is my beer money!” So at least he was being honest about where it was going. We invited him to our branch Christmas dinner, but he rejected it due to the fact of “being an atheist.” Although I don’t think there’s anything religious about fresh paella, it was still an amusing exchange.

Speaking of not having money, I have about 140 € worth of receipts to be reimbursed from the mission (for things like bus passes, train tickets, etc.) that appeared to have disappeared in the mail. That’s stressful. Additionally, we ran out of butane for our hot water heater this week and had to wait two days to get more. That was stressful. Elder Jarvis’s iPad broke and we had to go up and do our exchanges with the transfer about a week earlier than expected to he could give his iPad to the Zone leaders to take to the office to get fixed. It was stressful having to cancel all of our plans that night since it was really the only night this week that we actually had plans. Basically, just a lot of stressful things happened this week that reduced our efficiency and time we had to work in our area. So, we’re still putting most of our focus into finding activities like street contacting or knocking doors, and since this coming week should be more normal, I have faith that we’ll start seeing the fruit of our labors.

As Christ has said: “If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.” I know that as we follow His example and endure and work with faith, trusting in Him rather than ourselves, great things will happen. This promise isn’t only applicable in missionary work, but in any part of our lives from relationships with others, to work and school (good luck preparing for and taking finals, to my friends in college), and whatever other challenges we encounter. I hope all of you remember that.

Love,

Élder Stark

Photos

1-2: Auditioning for the new Book of Mormon videos.

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3: Elder Egbert and I kicking off the Christmas season with our festive sweaters during an exchange.

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4: One of many large Christmas trees that has been set up in Motril for the holidays.

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5: The Granada district (all of the other missionaries except for us serve in the city of Granada): Hermana Moore (who was previously in my district in Elche), Elder Boston, Elder Köhler, Elder Kröff, Hermana Twede; Elder Egbert; Elder Stark and Elder Jarvis

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6: We’re well-balanced missionaries.

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7: Until next time.

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