Email 22/1/18

Hello everybody,
Here’s another one of your favorite weekly rundowns of yet another week of being a missionary.
Last Monday was a normal Sanlúcar preparation day, which involved playing Padle ball, buying expensive and very disappointing Mexican food (I have never once have had satisfactory Mexican food in Spain), and playing chess. That evening, we went over to Frank and Ana Belén’s house to make a plan with how they could try sharing the gospel with two of their friends who might be interested in it. We made them sign a “contract” saying they’d do it, hahaha (see below). We’re trying to take commitments to a whole new level. I’m not sure if I mentioned this about Frank before, but he actually served in the Spain Málaga Mission, and Sanlúcar de Barrameda was one of his areas. We’ve seen his name as a missionary on various registros in the area book and tonight we’re going to go visit someone that he taught years ago as a missionary here. He also speaks really good English–the Queen’s English, I might add!
We were given permission to watch the special announcement on Tuesday afternoon about the reorganized first presidency. It is such a blessing to live at a time when God still calls prophets, and I know that He has called President Nelson to be the prophet today. That evening, in our customary Tuesday night Noche de hogar, we were able to teach Yessenia and Ángel about following the prophet. It was perfect.
Wednesday was a long day. We had our Zone Conference in San Fernando. This entire conference was centered around the new technology that our mission just received, namely Facebook and smartphones. In addition to our individual tablets, each companionship now has an iPhone X. Okay, I wish. In reality, every companionship has a Samsung Galaxy A5, which is alright. The best thing about having the smartphone is that now, like the rest of the European world, we have WhatsApp! That makes it a lot easier to communicate with everyone. Anyway, the conference was mainly focused on what we can’t and shouldn’t do with technology, so we’re still kind of scratching our heads and trying to figure out exactly what we can and should do with Facebook as a proselyting tool. Luckily, we’re prohibited from seeing the News Feed on Facebook, so that takes away a big distraction. But still, it’s unclear exactly how Facebook is going to be useful in our day to day work.
We spent most of Thursday in the church because we did our weekly planning there in the morning. That’s when we really started getting into using WhatsApp. There are a ton of people that have phones that don’t work but can use WhatsApp, so we were able to make some good contacts. Frank and Ana Belén invited us over for lunch and they live right next to the chapel, so we were just back in the chapel that afternoon to do studies. Later that night, we had branch Noche de hogar, so yeah. It was really just a whole day spent in the chapel.
The most notable thing that happened on Friday was having a lesson with Mike and the Erwin family. Mike is our American investigator and the Erwins are one of the families from the American branch. This is the second time we’ve done this. It went well. We talked about having Peace in Christ.
In Doctrine and Covenants 19:23, we read the following words of the Savior:
“Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me.”
 
This passage of scripture describes what we must do if we want to feel the peace that comes from the Savior. This is peace, “not as the world giveth” (John 14:27), rather something more profound.
The first part to this pattern involves learning of the Savior. We learn of Him as we study His words, pray unto the father, serve others, amongst many other things. As we grow this faith in Him, it leads us to desire to walk with Him. In 1 John 2:6, we read: “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” In other words, those who associate themselves as being disciples of Christ need to do as he would do and say as he would say. After all, “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:20).
By choosing to have an active faith in the Savior and working to walk where He has, we find peace in Him. I love the new 2018 Youth Theme Music, and especially enjoy listening to the lead track, aptly titled “Peace in Christ.” The chorus of this song reminds us that:
He gives us hope
When hope is gone.
He gives us strength
When we can’t go on.
He gives us shelter
In the storms of life.
When there’s no peace on earth,
There is peace in Christ.
 
It’s a tremendously comforting message, and has already helped me through many difficult moments. I’d invite you all to listen to the song here: https://www.lds.org/youth/theme/2018?lang=eng&cid=YS-M-youththeme
Honestly the rest of the week was pretty non exciting and I don’t really have the ganas (desire) to keep writing this email. So I hope you have enjoyed what I have written.
Love,
Élder Stark 🇪🇸

Photos

1: These members are now contractually obliged to bake their friend cookies and give them a Book of Mormon.
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2: The district: Hermana Pinkney, Hermana Bočková, Hermana Moncayo, Hermana Walker, Elder Clark, Elder Stark.
Every companionship in this district is in training right now. It is a very young district; I am over a year older in the mission than the next oldest missionary in the district.
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3: Again
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4-5: Some fog
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6: Us with Mike and Brother Erwin
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7: Our new first presidency wall. We’re not sure what happened to our big picture of President Oaks, so we just cut a little one out of The Ensign.
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8: Until next time
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