Email 11/12/17

Hello everybody,
This was a pretty basic week. Besides a trip to Jerez on Friday morning for Consejo de la Zona, nothing too out of the ordinary happened. There were two festivos this week and it seems like people were just a tiny bit more flaky because of those. Nevertheless, we have helped move the work of the Lord forward a week more.
Our investigators Maru, Ángel and Yessenia are the ones we are probably seeing the most to progression with. We had a Noche de hogar with all three of them on Tuesday and all three where at church on Sunday. On Tuesday, we were talking about faith, and Maru made the comment that she wasn’t sure if she had seen the hand of God in her life before. So on Sunday, we were able to take advantage of gospel principles class to teach about recognizing the hand of God in our lives. The conclusion we came to is that this recognization usually comes looking backwards and recognizing all of the small and simple things that perhaps seen like coincides but really are parts of Heavenly Father’s divinely designed and personalized plan for each of his children. Yessenia is also going to be asking her mom this week for permission to be baptized (her mom is a less active member), so the hope is that her mom will consent to her being baptized.
We found a new investigator this week named José Antonio. He was this guy we contacted sometime last week who is really smart, but really really likes to talk haha. We met up with him on a bench in the center of town and were trying to teach him about the Restoration, but were having some issues keeping the lesson focused on, well, the lesson. We saw one of our members walk by and we flagged him over, and he joined us in the lesson which really helped it stay more focused. All in all, we got through the whole thing, and he committed to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, it was definitely work to get to that point to haha.
Besides that, everything was pretty normal. Alfonso has disappeared off the face of the earth since a few days ago, so he still hasn’t been confirmed. Surely we’ll be able to get ahold of him soon and help him with whatever has been preventing him from coming to church and being confirmed.
Yesterday in sacrament meeting, I was asked to give a talk, and was given tema libre. So, I choose to talk about faith and how that relates to believing that God and Christ have the power to do anything, but in the end, choosing to accept their will over ours. Elder Bernar explained in this way in an Ensign article titled “Accepting the Lord’s will and timing” (https://www.lds.org/ensign/2016/08/accepting-the-lords-will-and-timing?lang=eng):
“Righteousness and faith certainly are instrumental in moving mountains–if moving mountains accomplishes God’s purposes and is in accordance with His will. Righteousness and faith certainly are instrumental in healing the sick, deaf, and lame–if such healing accomplishes God’s purposes and is in accordance with His will. Thus, even if we have strong faith, many mountains will not be moved. And not all of the sick and infirm will be healed. If all opposition were curtailed, if all maladies were removed, then the primary purposes of the Father’s plan would be frustrated.”
President Uchtdorf summed up this principle with the following words: “No, the purpose of faith is not to change God’s will but to empower us to act on God’s will. Faith is trust–trust that God sees what we cannot and that He knows what we do not” (Two things that faith cannot do, Ensign March 2017). Developing this type of faith takes practice and patience. It is a principle I am still working on developing. When things don’t go as I wish they would, I have the tendency to think, “if only I had more faith, than this thing would have happened.” What I should be thinking instead is, “if only I had the faith to accept more easily what God is having happen.” Faith is all about accepting the Lord’s will and timing, and being empowered to act accordingly.
Love,
Élder Stark 🇪🇸

Photos

1: Just read the dang Book, okay?
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2: View from the top of the castle. We live somewhere down there.
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3-4: Visiting the castle
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5: Our district = Un equipo
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6: By the beach
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7: Underpass in Jerez
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8: Until next time
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