Email 6/11/17

Hello everybody,
In 3 Nephi 13:31-34, Jesus Christ taught the following to the recently called twelve disciples:
“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
 
“For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
 
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.
 
“Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient is the day unto the evil thereof.”
 
Something which I’ve discovered about the mission is that it’s best lived día por día (day by day). I remember at the beginning of my mission, when I was about to leave the CCM in Madrid to go into the mission field, I was nervous about having to cook for myself. It seems so simple and easy to me now, but at that point in my life, I never had to take on that responsibility myself thanks to a loving mother and a meal plan in college. Thus, I was nervous about figuring out how to get it done. But, I remember reading this passage of scripture in the CCM, and feeling a confirmation in my heart that the Lord would help me figure things out. And so it happened that in my first area, we were often fed by members, and day by day, things just seemed to fall in place such that we never had to worry about food.
The principle of living día por día, taking “no thought for the morrow,” has been necessary for my survival in the mission. Being a missionary isn’t easy, and thinking about having two years or six months or however much time left on the mission can often make it seem like an impossible challenge. But, I’ve noticed that just keeping my mind centered on this specific day or even this specific moment has helped me better “seek . . . first the kingdom of God.” So, I’m thankful for the principle which the Savior teaches in this passage of scripture.
Anyways, here is what happened this week, día por día:
We had obtained permission from our mission president to go to Jerez for preparation day with Mike, our American investigator. We went to the mall there, shopped around for a while, ate lunch, and came back. It was fun. That night consisted of traveling to El Puerto de Santa Maria because we had to spend the night there in order to catch an early morning train up to Sevilla.
That’s where we had zone conference on Tuesday. There was a visiting area seventy from France there with his wife, Elder and Sister Bennasar. Also known as the guy from this “I’m a Mormon” video: https://www.mormon.org/matthieu. It was probably one of my favorite zone conferences. Elder Kassing and I had the privilege of participating by performing a musical number in the conference of “I Feel my Savior’s Love,” which was another custom arrangement. He sang and I played the piano. We were approached about doing some sort of musical number a week before, and were luckily able to get this arrangement worked out and ready in time. I wish there was a way to share it with all of you. Tuesday was a good day.
The next day, Wednesday, was a festivo in Spain, and our branch had planned an activity out in the forest! It involved food, sports, and being able to strengthen our relationships with the members. Some of our investigators wanted to come, but weren’t able too, but fortunately, there were a few less active members there that we were able to meet for the first time, so all in all, it went really well.
On Thursday mornings, we typically have weekly planning, and that was no different this week. But what was different was that there is now a new Chapter 8 in Preach My Gospel! We received it in the zone conference on Tuesday. The name of the chapter changed from, “How do I use time wisely?” to “How do I fulfill my missionary purpose?” and changes the process that we use to weekly/daily plan. I really like it. It focuses a lot on goal setting (for teaching investigators, finding new people to teach, ourselves, etc.) and setting plans to fulfill those goals. That evening, we played Fútbol as we normally do on Thursdays.
When we woke up on Friday, it was pouring rain. Really hard. We had planned to go out and visit a lot of members to finish extending them the Book of Mormon challenge that I’ve mentioned in my last emails. After visiting two members, having to go take shelter from a lightning storm, and wading through ankle-deep flooded streets, we wound up in the shop of Bibi, an investigator to dry off bit. We always teach her in her shop, and it’s sometimes difficult to do so because anytime a customer comes in, she has to pause the lesson and go help them, but since it was raining so hard, nobody was coming into her shop, and we had a really great lesson with her centered on the Doctrine of Christ. The big question she asked us right off the bat was, “Why was it necessary for Jesus Christ to suffer and die for our sins,” and we had an excellent discussion about Christ’s mediating role between us and God. She said she really was able to start understanding better the mission of Christ and the need to live by His gospel.
The Elders in El Puerto de Santa Maria have been working to set up a free carwash that we can do every Saturday to give some service and hopefully help them find some new investigators. Accordingly, we spent Saturday morning there helping them, and the only people that came were some members, but it was still great to give some service. That evening, we headed back to the house of María and Alba and Manolo and Álvaro, and had another lesson with them. They wanted us to review some of what we talked about the previous cita, about the restoration. During the lesson, although we hadn’t planned to do so, Elder Kassing and I both felt impressed to teach about baptism and invite them to be baptized. María and Alva both accepted the baptismal date for December 16th! Now we just need to help them get to church….
Sunday was another hectic day, but a good one. Alfonso came to church again, and even stood up in sacrament meeting and bore his testimony! We ended up teaching him a bunch of odds and ends during Sunday school and after church to get him ready for his baptismal interview which will happen tomorrow. There’s still a few things we need to cover before that, and we’ll for sure be on a tight schedule, but it seems like everything should work out OK. Vamos a ver. (We’ll see.) If all goes according to plan, he will be baptized on Sunday, November 19.
Well, that was more or less the week. I just took it dia por día, and everything turned out okay.
Love,
Élder Stark 🇪🇸

Photos

1: Preparation day with Mike
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2: El bosque (The forest)
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3: With the memebrs (members)
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4: Everyone
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5: Uno
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6: Waiting for the lightning to pass
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7: Dani’s painting of the Madrid temple
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8: Until next time
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