Elder Jared Stark

Serving in the Spain Málaga Mission

Month: March 2017

“Sustained Peace and True Joy”

Spring

Spring

Email 27/3/17

Hello everybody,

The first week of the transfer has passed. Of course, neither my companion nor my area changed, so there was really nothing new to have to adjust to this week, which was nice.

Our progressing investigators, Miguel and Jessica, are still doing well. They came to church yesterday and even brought a friend with them, so that was great! We spent the week teaching them about all of the commandments, and those were really good lessons. The only thing that could potentially be a problem is Miguel quitting smoking, which he acknowledged would be hard for him to do, but not impossible. So we’ve been helping him and hoping and praying that he has the ability to quit smoking.

Here in Europe (or at least Spain), it seems like there’s some commandments that are easier to follow here than there are in the States and vice versa. For example, because all of the stores here are closed on Sunday’s, there’s a much smaller temptation to go shopping on the Sabbath here than there is in the US. But here, smoking is way more common than in the states, making it more likely for someone to struggle with that part of the Word of Wisdom.

On Friday, we had a rare opportunity to have a Zone meeting with just our Zone, rather than the typical tri-Zone conference. It was to introduce us to the church’s Easter Initiative and special video for this year. I really liked it, and the video will be released to the public by the end of the week.

Yesterday, our branch got a new member! Well, kind of. There’s a man named Sid from England who has a summer home within the boundaries of our branch, so he spends a few months here every year. He also doesn’t speak any Spanish (and all of our members who don’t speak any English still love him) so I had to translate all thee hours of church for him. That was fun, but definitely a bit taxing on the mind.

Spanish feels pretty comfortable, but that in no way means that I’m prone from mistakes. I was talking about my YSA, young single adult, ward during a lesson this week. In Spanish, that translates to un barrio de JAS, Jóvenes Adultos Solteros, except in this moment, I combined Adultos and Solteros and said “mi barrio de Jóvenes Adulterios,” which translates to “my ward of young adulterers.” Haha, didn’t take me long to correct that mistake.

As always, we spent a decent amount of our proselyting time this week contacting in the streets. There are some weeks where contacting goes great and you meet a ton of prepared people and get a lot of futures, and then there are weeks like this where 75% of the phone numbers you get are fake. (They say that for every fake phone number a missionary in Europe gets, another person is baptized in South America, haha.) The following council from President Nelson’s talk “Becoming True Millennials” was especially appealing to me some moments through the week. He said:

“You will have days when you will be thoroughly discouraged. So, pray for courage not to give up! You will need that strength because it will become less and less popular to be a Latter-day Saint. Sadly, some whom you thought were your friends will betray you. And some things will simply seem unfair. 

“However, I promise you that as you follow Jesus Christ, you will find sustained peace and true joy. As you keep your covenants with increasing precision, and as you defend the Church and kingdom of God on the earth today, the Lord will bless you with strength and wisdom to accomplish the impossible. “

There were definitely a few days during the week when I was feeling down and discouraged because of my duty as a missionary to defend the truth, but I took President Nelson’s and I prayed for courage not to give up, and that helped a lot. I love the straightforwardness of his advice there. The Lord requires us to do hard things, but he’s also there to lend a hand to help us accomplish them, and following his example will lead us to “sustained peace and true joy” even in the hardest of circumstances. I know that’s true.

I love you all, thanks for all of your support from afar. 

Élder Stark 🇪🇸

P.S. I was just published on @mormonfaces on Instagram, go check it out 😎

Photos

1-3: Mostly I just took pictures of clouds this week.

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4: Myself, Elder Cerna, Elder Pack, and Hermana Christensen at our Zone meeting.

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5: Until next time.

3:27F

Declaring His Doings

Email 20/3/17

Hello everybody,

Okay, a lot has happened since last week, I’m going to see if I can remember everything that has happened.

The hot water in our house is finally working again! A plumber came over and had to spend the better part of Monday and Tuesday night cleaning the pipes, replacing faucets and cleaning the hot water heater to fix whatever the problem was. I’ve never appreciated a hot shower more in my life.

We’ve taught Miguel and Jessica several times during the week, and they are still progressing! They’ve accepted an invitation to be baptized in three weeks, on April 8! Their testimonies of the truthfulness of the Restored Gospel have definitely been growing and it’s been such a testament to me of the wonderful power of change that the gospel has. However, we did just find out yesterday that Miguel’s new job might mean that he had to work on Sundays from now on; if it’s every Sunday or just every one in a while, we’re not sure yet, we still need to talk to him more about it, but we have faith that everything will work out in the end.

On Wednesday night, we were walking back from Miguel’s house and stopped to talk to this one homeless guy from Finland that’s a friend of ours; in fact, we had purchased him some bread and lunch meat that morning so he’d have something besides beer to eat. Anyways, he was watching the dog of another homeless guy, and suddenly, without warning, the dog leapt at me and bit my leg! He ripped a pretty big hole in one of my pairs of proselyting pants, but luckily, the only injury that I received was a little red mark, this size of a bug bite, on my leg. They say that you don’t become a real missionary until a dog attacks you, so I guess this could be considered as a significant milestone.

We also found a few new investigators this week from people that we’ve contacted the last few weeks. One of them is this 75 year old man named Pepe Luis who might be the nicest old man that I’ve met on my mission so far. He lives in Salobreña, and we went out there one evening to visit him, and had a good lesson about faith and The Restoration. Another one of our new investigators is named Lenut, he’s from Romania, and is going through a really hard time in his life right now, but seems very interested in the gospel, which is great, because the gospel helps us get through those hard times in life. 

I love these scriptures from 2 Nefi 22: “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation. Therefore, with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. And in that day shall ye say: Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.” I love being able to be a missionary and being able to declare the doings of Christ amongst the people here in Motril by preaching the message of his Restored gospel. There is nothing else I would be rather doing with my life right now. Elder Pack and I have seen a lot of miracles during our six weeks together, and we’re both super excited because we just got word that we’ll be spending another six weeks together here! It’s going to be great. 

I love you all, thanks for all of your support.

Élder Stark 🇪🇸

Photos 

1: Them mountains 🏔

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2: Thanks for fixing our water 

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3: RIP Pants 👖 

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4: Where’d my house go?

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5: Until next time

3:20E

Go Away Korihoh

Email 13/3/17

Hello everybody,

Well, there goes another week in Motril. It feels like a lot has happened since the last time I wrote. Here’s some of what went down this week:

As I said in my last letter, we went up to Granada and visited The Alhambra on P-Day. The Alhambra is a palace/fortress complex and is actually the most visited tourist site in Spain. It’s really impressive. I had already been there before, but this time was different because the bishop’s wife of the Granada Ward came with us and gave us a tour of it, so it was nice to be able to learn a little more about the historical significance of it.

The hot water in our house still isn’t working. The dueña (landlady) and her dad came down (they live in Granada) to inspect the problem on Wednesday. I still don’t think we’ve figured out exactly why we don’t have hot water, but they’re going to come back soon and replace some of our faucets to see if that’ll help anything. Even though I doubt that’s the problem. It’s definitely something to do with the pipes or the hot water heater. Hopefully we make some more headway with this soon, but at any rate, it’s been very frustrating trying to get this problem solved.

The weather has turned very pleasant this week, it feels like summer has started. We were out proselyting comfortably in short sleeved shirts this week. Although this week isn’t supposed to be quite as warm (it’s actually overcast and a bit rainy as I’m writing this), I’m remembered how blessed I am to serve in an area that doesn’t have winter haha.

We taught Miguel and Jessica a few times this week, and they came to church for the second time yesterday! They’ve been doing such a good job with keeping their commitments to read from the Book of Mormon and pray, it’s been great, and they’re progressing well. They’ve expressed their desire that they’re wanting to keep learning more and more about the restored gospel, and it’s been such a privilege being able to teach them and see their progress.

Notwithstanding how well things are going with our investigators, we still encountered a lot of opposition to our work this week. In the Book of Mormon, Alma Chapter 30 gives an account of a man named Korihor, who is referred to as an “Anti-Christ” because of his teachings which were contrary to those of The Lord and His prophets. This happened approximately in the year 74 B.C. The basis of his teachings was that there would not be a Christ, and that looking for Him is “a foolish and a vain hope.” (verses 12-13). He targeted first the prophecies handed down by holy prophets, or in other words, the scriptures, calling them “foolish traditions of your fathers.” (14). Next, he attempted to discredit the power of faith and a testimony, asserting that, “ye cannot know of things which ye do not see; therefore ye cannot know that there shall be a Christ” (15). He then attributed the feelings of hope and faith to “the effect of a frenzied mind” (16), and continued by asserting that we don’t need a Savior nor an Atonement because “every man prospered to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength” (17). He ended by saying that, “when a man was dead, that was the end thereof” (18), or in other words, it doesn’t matter what we do in this life because we’ll never have to face the consequences afterwards. 

All of those false assertions that Korihor made were all things that I heard people tell me during the week. Seriously, all of them! The Book of Mormon makes such a detailed account of the attacks on the church that Korihor and his contemporaries made for a reason, principally because the adversary is still using these same exact tricks today to lead the hearts of men away! The fundamentals in the adversary’s playbook haven’t changed too much over time. As President Benson said, “The Book of Mormon exposes the enemies of Christ. It confounds false doctrines and . . . fortifies the humble followers of Christ against the evil designs, strategies, and doctrines of the devil in our day. The type of apostates in the Book of Mormon are similar to the type we have today. God, with his infinite foreknowledge, so molded the Book of Mormon that we might see the error and know how to combat false educational, political, religious, and philosophical concepts of our time.” Studying the scriptures blesses us with the foresight necessary in order to avoid the ever-present attacks of the adversary in our lives.

I hope you all have a great week!

Love,

Élder Stark 🇪🇸

Photos

1: The Alhambra 

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2-3: Inside The Alhambra 

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4-5: Views of Granada from The Alhambra 

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6: Stole my picture 

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7: Vi una columna (de luz…)

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8: Elder Pack and I

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9: Elder Bird, Elder Pack, Elder Jones, Elder Köhler, Elder Morgan, Elder Stark

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10: Sunset from the bus 🌄

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11: We made paella as a district, and it turned out alright. Elder Köhler, Elder Bird, Hermana Gentry, Elder Stark, Elder Pack, Elder Morgan, Elder Jones, Hermana Woods

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12: Until next time

3:13L

Teach Him About the Restoration

Email 6/3/17

Hello everybody,

Another week has come and gone here in Motril. I’m on the bus to Granada writing my email today. We’re headed up there for P-Day to go to the Alhambra. I’ve already been there, about three months ago, but besides me and another missionary in our district, nobody else has been, so that’s why we’re going back. It should be a good day.

This week was special because we got to go to Granada to do our intercambios (exchanges) with Elder Köhler and Elder Bird. Intercambio miracles are real. We were able to find five new investigators for their area in less than 24 hours. God truly is preparing the minds and hearts of his children all over the world to receive the gospel. 

Twice this week, we taught Miguel and Jessica, the two people who unexpectedly showed up to church last week, and they were both great lessons where the spirit was really strong. One of my favorite things about the mission is being able to teach the message of the Restoration, especially to someone who hasn’t heard about it before. 

The appearance of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ to the boy Joseph Smith happened. It was a response to a very simple question – “Which is the true church?” – that would commence the restoration of the original church that Jesus Christ established on the earth again. We are so blessed to be living in this dispensation, and it’s always such a pleasure to be able to share this knowledge with somebody who had not heard it before. I love the words of President Monson in regards to this truth that we have been so blessed to have: “We are blessed to have the truth. We have a mandate to share the truth. Let us live the truth, that we might merit all that the Father has for us.” 

So yes, they’re already progressing well, keeping their commitments to read and pray and so on, and it’s been really exciting to teach them. Unfortunately they weren’t able to come to church yesterday due to something going on in the family, but things are still great with them.

Even though that’s been great, not everything has been going so well this week. It seems like this transfer, hard things keep happening to my companion and I, and this week the trend continued. We were playing basketball during our intercambio, and Elder Pack jumped for the ball and landed poorly, injuring his ankle. It hasn’t been too much of a problem, but it’s definitely been hard for him. 

Additionally, we haven’t had hot water in our house for the past 3 days. Saturday morning, we woke up to an usually cold and rainy day, and of course that was the day when it broke. We’re not even sure what the problem is – the cold water works fine, the hot water heater works fine, but for some reason, there is just no pressure for the hot water coming out of the taps. So, we called our dueña (landlady), and she basically said, “Oh, yeah, this happened before in that house. It’s a problem with the ayuntamiento (city government), so they have to fix it. There’s nothing I can do and nothing you can do.” She said she’d call them for us sometime during the week and let us know, so we don’t even know for how long we’re going to be without hot water. That’s made showering a bit complicated, what we have to do is boil water and then use that to bathe ourselves the best that we can. Not very fun.

Well, that’s about it. I love you all and hope you all have a great week.

Élder Stark 🇪🇸

Photos

1: Mochill 

3:6A

2: The District of Granada: Elder Pack, Elder Stark, Elder Bird, Elder Morgan, Elder Jones, Elder Köhler; Hermana Gentry, Hermana Woods

3:6B

3: This guy that Elder Bird and I met on our intercambio who wanted to take a picture with us. I was later informed by Elder Köhler that he was probably going to use the Book of Mormon we gave to him to roll joints since the thin paper is apparently perfect for that. Whoops. 😬

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4: Sunset in Granada

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5: The 39th birthday party for Amparito 🎂🎁🎈🎉

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6: Until next time

3:6F

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