Email 20/11/17

Hello everybody,
This was a stressful week, but a rewarding one, too. Here’s the day-by-day breakdown of what happened:
On Monday, the four missionaries from El Puerto de Santa Maria came to Sanlúcar for preparation day. It was really fun; we played paddle ball and ate Chinese food. Really, it was just a normal Sanlúcar p-day, just with more missionaries. That evening, we went to Antonio Bernal’s house, who’s a menos activo. He had invited a friend, Domingo, to come over to meet with us which was cool. Except he seemed more intentent on proving us wrong than anything, but he was a really nice guy. We’re going to meet the with him again this week.
We had district meeting on Tuesday in Puerto. After arriving back in Sanlúcar, we met with Alfonso and taught him all of Lesson 5. That took a while, but it was a good lesson. We also figured out that our chapel didn’t have any baptismal clothes in it, which is pretty unusual. Additionally, Alfonso is a bigger guy, and finding big white pants in Southern Spain isn’t very easy. Over the next few days, we called up all of the other missionaries in our zone, and nobody had anything. It was pretty stressful trying to figure out where we were going to get the pants, but luckily a member in Jerez was able to lend some to us, so all was well.
I had to go to Chiclana on Wednesday for a medical cita. It took 2.5 hours to get there between the two busses and train we had to catch, and the cita only took 10 minutes. On our way back, we took advantage of the mall being next to the train station in San Fernando and bought The Good Burger. That evening, we had a cita with Antonio. He is a menos activo that we just established contact with who was baptized about 20 years ago and has been inactive most of that time, but he really wants to come back and feel more of the peace that he felt when he was living the gospel. We’re really excited to start working with him. That evening, we also went over to Mike’s house for a bit and had a lesson about repentance with him.
Thursday mostly revolved around a branch Noche de hogar that we had planned. It was about the Book of Mormon, and we did an activity where we gave everyone a peace of paper and a pencil, and told them to write down all of the things in their life that were most important and precious to them. Basically the things they’d want their descendents to know what mattered to them. We then had them hand their papers to us, and we tore them up and threw them on the floor and made the example that that’s basically what we do when we don’t appreciate the scriptures. Un poco fuerte. (A bit strong.) They were written by ancient prophets about the things that mattered the most to them specifically for us. As the prophet Mormón said to us, “Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing” (Mormón 8:35). We then showed clips from the talks from the last General Conference which were about reading the Book of Mormon everyday. I think it went really well.
Something we discovered on Thursday was that the hot water in the chapel wasn’t working, which is a pretty big problem when you’re trying to have a baptism in a few days. Fortunately, one of our members was able to figure out the problem and fix it, but haha, that was a lot of stress.
On Friday morning, we had to go to Puerto because we were still stressing out about where we were going to get pants, and the missionaries in Puerto had some pants that sounded promising, so we went and got them. Later in the evening, we had a little bit of time between citas, so we sat down and started making some calls to some future investigators. There was this guy, Alejandro, who we contacted in the bus station a month ago, and up until Friday, he had never answered our calls. He ended up living really close to where we were calling, so we were able to meet up and have a 15 minute mini-lesson and set something up for next week. He told us he’s made a lot of bad choices in this life and is interested in knowing how to repent and improve his life. Luckily for him, that’s the heart of what we share, The Gospel of Jesus Christ.
On Saturday, we were able to meet with Alba and María for the first time in two weeks. We brought Raquel with us. She is the only (active) YSA (Young Single Adult) in the branch. It was really cool because two of Alba’s sisters, Sarai and Ana were there, and we ended up teaching them, too. So far it’s been difficult to get any of them to come to church, but we’ll keep inviting.
Sunday was a very good day. Elder Kassing and I were in with the Primary children again, helping them out with their rehearsals for the Primary Sacrament Meeting Program. Aurora’s granddaughter, Yissenia, had called us the day before and told us she wanted to come to Primary again which was super cool because she’s only 10, not a member, and her mom is less active. She happily stayed for all three hours of church. After church we had a lunch with Alfonso and the Hermanas from Puerto while we were getting things ready for the baptism. AND THEN ALFONSO WAS BAPTIZED!! It was a really good service, and Alfonso gave a really good testimony about baptism after the ordinance was preformed. I’m so happy for him. Also, Mike and his family came to the baptism!! We had invited him on Wednesday, not really sure if he would actually come, but he did!! They had to come late and leave early, but they were there for the most important part. Then, right after the baptism, I attended the first mission call opening I’ve been to since I was at BYU. It was for Raquel, the aforementioned YSA. She got called to the Córdoba Argentina mission, speaking Spanish (claro), entering the Argentine CCM in February. She’s going to be a great missionary. And then, after all of that, we went to Aurora’s house to give her the sacrament as we do every Sunday. Yissenia was there too (she had also been at the baptism/mission call opening), and was like, “I want to be a sister missionary too one day!” and Aurora said to her, “Well, you know what you have to do to do that: listen to the missionaries and be baptized,” and so now we’re going to start formally teaching her and getting her ready for that important step.
Well, it was a really good week, albeit a really stressful one too. We definitely felt the opposition against Alfonso’s decision to be baptized, but everything worked out. That’s because “the works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught…it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men” (D&C 3:1, 3). I’m happy to be on the Lord’s side and on His errand.
Love,
Élder Stark 🇪🇸

Photos

1: District P-day
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2: Chichlana vibes
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3: The Good Burger
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4: The playa (beach)
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5: Atlantic Ocean
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6: Future missionary
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7: Alfonso’s baptism
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8: Raquel’s mission call
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9: Until next time
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