Email 29/1/18

Hello everybody,
Last Monday, we went to the mall to take advantage of rebajas. To refresh your memories on what rebajas are, they are basically these big sales that go on in every store for about a month twice in the year, once in the summer and once in the winter. Elder Clark and I both got some new suits (see below). We also almost lost our smartphone after less that a week of having it. We mistaking left it at the bus stop outside of the mall when the bus came and we were scrambling to pick up our bags and get on. Then, we didn’t even realize that it was gone until we got back to the church some 45 minutes later. Realizing what we had just done, we got back on a bus to go back to the mall, and even though about two hours had passed, the phone was still sitting there at the bus stop, right where we left it. Even at the risk of making us seem like fumbling idiots (which, let’s be honest, we are haha), I still wanted to share that story because it really was a tender mercy that we got the phone back as smoothly as we did.
That evening, we visited our menos activo Antonio. As I had mentioned in my last email, we brought Frank with us. That was a special opportunity since Frank served part of his mission here in Sanlúcar and was one of the missionaries who taught Antonio. It was really cool to see them reunite after years of not having seen each other. Not to mention that last time they saw each other, Frank was a missionary like us and now he’s a dad with two kids, so quite a bit has happened in between haha. Afterwards, we had a bit of time left, so we were doing a bit of contacting in the center street. There weren’t many people out so late on a cold January night, and we were kind of trying to figure out what to do . What we felt impressed to do was walk off on one of the side streets and stand in the middle of it until something happened. We did accordingly, and before we knew it, the door in front of us opened, and we started talking to the lady that came out. Turns out she’s the older sister of Andrés, the guy who cuts our hair, and she was willing to give us a listen. She works a lot, but we’ve been talking to her all week on WhatsApp. We clearly saw the way that the Lord had guided us to her.
Before district meeting on Tuesday, there was a Facebook Live broadcast from President and Hermana Andersen for the entire mission. We’re actually not allowed to say what they shared with us, but it’s a change affecting our mission that will be officially announced by the church on Sunday. The only other thing of note that happened on Tuesday was our Noche de Hogar with Ángel and Maru and Yessenia. We taught them about tithing. They’re all doing good, but obviously they’re not going to be making it to their baptismal date for this Saturday. We’re hoping to get in there this week and set a firmer baptismal date with them.
Wednesday morning was super foggy. We decided to go out to La Colonia, which is this big campo area with a lot of houses interspersed between the fields. There were some Antiguos and menos activos we were trying to find out there, and we weren’t able to get in contact with any of them, but we did talk to one of their neighbors who was actually gifted a Book of Mormon by one of our members not too long ago. She didn’t have much time to talk that day, but was open to having us come back another day. Anyways, it was just a really surreal experience walking around in all of this fog with fields and animals all over the place.
A lot of Thursday involved going to Jerez for the zone council meeting, where all of the district leaders meet with the zone leaders and sister training leaders. That evening it was raining a lot, and we didn’t take umbrellas with us, so we got a bit soaked. That’s just part of the life of being a fumbling idiot. Ha. Haha.
Friday was a really good day because we gave a chapel tour to Bibi. She’s been investigating the church for a while now, and her biggest stumbling block is that she never can come to church because she leaves town and goes to visit her parents in this little Pueblo up in the mountains every weekend. The reason why this church tour was so good was because the spirit was really strong and I think it gave her a lot of ganas (desire) to make the effort to be there. Let’s hope so. Chapel tours are something we’re going to be trying with some of our investigators who struggle with coming to church.
Saturday was also decent since we were able to meet with Juan and Antonia. They are probably some of the nicest people I have ever met. I think I’ve mentioned them in my emails a few times. We were able to teach a lot about the Plan of Salvation and how opposition in life helps us grow into better people. Juan admitted to us thant he hadn’t read the Book of Mormon since our last visit and that he probably wouldn’t have a lot of time to do it in the near future since one of his daughters just had a baby and another one of his daughters is about to have a baby. Well, we were sharing scriptures from the Book of Mormon as part of our lesson, and he was really getting into it. Then he started telling us about his brother and gave us his address to pass by and introduce ourselves to him. “If you go meet my brother,” he said, “then I’ll get into reading the Book of Mormon.” Sounded like a pretty good deal to us!
Something I’ve neglected to mention in my emails is how our recent convert, Alfonso, is doing. Things have been going really tough for him, he’s been experiencing a lot of health problems and has been in and out of the hospital several times within the past month. He hadn’t come to church since his confirmation last transfer. Luckily, it seems like he’s doing a bit better and was even able to come to church yesterday. That made it a good Sunday. What also made it good was the fact that we had interviews with President Andersen yesterday too in Jerez. That made it a bit of a long day, but interviews with President Andersen really are the best.
Some scriptures I shared in a talk in church yesterday are from John 6:51-53. They say:
“I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
 
The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
 
Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.”
 
When we partake of the sacrament, obviously we are not literally eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Savior. What we are doing is turning our attention towards Christ as we remember his great and infinite atoning sacrifice. According to this scripture, when we do not participle regularly in the sacrament, we do not have life in us. Christ gives us life, and he gives us strength. That is one of many reasons why the sacrament is so important.
Love,
Élder Stark 🇪🇸

Photos

1: The bajas are real
IMG_5990
2: More fog
IMG_5995
3: Made a new friend
IMG_6007
4: Domino’s
IMG_6013
5: Until next time
20180123_135923