Elder Jared Stark

Serving in the Spain Málaga Mission

Month: March 2018

I fear no man

Email 19/3/18

Hello everybody,

Well, well, well.

We live in a Piso in the centro of the city, in a building with about 10 apartments total. We are the only tenants which live here full time as the other pisos are either summer homes or up for sale. Normally it’s very nice because we basically have the entire building to ourselves most of the the time, but yesterday we ran into a major problem. There are two doors that you need to use in order to enter into the building, each having a separate key. There is one giant set of wooden doors that lead to the street, and at the end of a short corridor, a locked gate. As we were going back to Piso last night, our key broke off inside of the giant outside doors, and because nobody else lives here, there was no way for someone to just buzz us in. We were getting really stressed about it, but luckily for us, our across the street neighbor, Dani, is a great guy, and he showed us how to break into these types of doors using nothing but a credit card to get in. So we still need to get the lock fixed and the key copied, but we were almost in a pretty sticky situation yesterday.

Besides that, yesterday was an average Sunday. It was raining really hard in the morning, so a bunch of people didn’t come to church, as normal, but we helped out with a primary lesson about missionary work, so that was pretty fun.

It was also really rainy on Saturday evening and we decided to stick with our plan of passing by some menos Activos before the citas we had later in the evening, and we got absolutely drenched. We did find this one family who was sealed in the temple and everything, but left the church because of a fight they got in with some of the members. It’s frustrating that it seems like every menos activo that we’ve met stops going to church because of some stupid feud with another member of the branch! Aren’t forgiveness and charity supposed to be the basic facits of Christianity? It reminds me of the Lord’s chastisment to Joseph Smith after the loss of the 116 manuscript pages of the Book of Mormon, which is found in D&C 3:6-8 (emphasis added):

“And behold, how oft you have transgressed the commandments and the laws of God, and have gone on in the persuasions of men.

“For, behold, you should not have feared man more than God. Although men set at naught the counsels of God, and despise his words–

“Yet you should have been faithful; and he would have extended his arm and supported you against all the fiery darts of the adversary; and he would have been with you in every time of trouble.”

Anyways, that’s been a pretty annoying pattern we’ve seen several times as we’re trying to help out these less active members. If I sound frustrated, that’s only because I am. We’ll see what more can be done to help them.

On Friday, we had a decent cita with Mike. He’s doing pretty good. The only thing that was holding him back from coming to church this week was potentially being too hung over after a party on Saturday night, so I guess that’s what must of happened because he didn’t come.

We also had a cool finding moment, where we had about an hour in the morning between citas. We had planned to stop by this one antiguo investigator but as the morning went on, I stated to second guess that decision because it was kind of far and we didn’t have a ton of time. Well, something kept telling us to go there, so we did, and the guy wasn’t home. But, we contacted this lady outside of the building that was super nice and super interested in having us come back. One of her daughters was actually an investigator from a few years ago who stopped metting with the missionaries just because they lost contact, it seems. We’re headed back on Wednesday, and we will see what’s there.

There was a district leader training meeting on Thursday evening in Málaga. But due to technology, we were able to connect through the meeting through an app called Zoom. It’s a cool idea, but honestly wasn’t that good in practice because the audio was really bad so it was hard to understand anything, and it just felt weird to participate from the other side of a screen. So, I probably would have gotten more out of the meeting had I been there in person, but it was an interesting experiment at the very least.

Wednesday was a good day because we were able to go to the dog shelter with Guadalupe and work a bit cleaning out the dogs’ cages. There’s nothing like the unconditional love that lonely dogs can give haha. We also taught Bibi’s husband in English class and had a fun Noche de Hogar.

Tuesday was a pretty normal day. We had district meeting in the morning and our Noche de Hogar in the evening.

And then last Monday I can’t even remember, everything just fades together.

So, the moral of the story is the following: once you “have experienced a change of heart, and…have felt to sing the song of redeeming love” (Alma 5:26) and have “laid down the weapons of…rebellion”(Alma 23:13), do not become like the Nephites of old and “turn from…righteousness, like the dog to his vomit” (3 Nephi 7:8). Please.


Élder Stark 🇪🇸


1: Just a field and some clouds


2: The District eating lunch


3: Futuro misionera


4: Castle at night


5: Suited up, weapon in hand


6: People here are really Catholic and really into Fútbol


7: The future of missionary work?


8: In December 2016, I made a goal to sing every hymn in the Spanish hymn book at the beginning of companionship study. I finally finished on Saturday.


9: Until next time



Élder Stark 🇪🇸

Stake Conference

Email 12/3/18

Hello everybody,
This was a week of many meetings and much traveling. It went by fast, but at the same time, it feels like forever ago that I was writing my group email last Monday.
Speaking of last Monday, it was a decent preparation day. It was still raining all day (it rained pretty much every day this week, again), so we had some fun playing indoor Padle Ball. That night was our customary Noche de Hogar in Aurora’s house. We had fun teaching Ángel about our favorite topic, missionary work! Ha.
Tuesday morning was pretty busy, we went to Mike’s house and had a good lesson with him, and later, I helped Vanessa with her website some more. We had a really cool lesson that evening. A few weeks ago, I mentioned that we were trying to work a lot with less active members. One night, we stopped by this one Piso looking for one named Ana, but instead we met her sister, María. She told us to come back another day, and finally on Tuesday, our schedules coincided we went back. Not only was Maria that and ready to listen, but also Ana (the menos activa), her teenaged daughter (also named Ana), and the 84-year old mother of Ana and María. The member we brought with us was already acquainted with them, so that was an extra blessing. We taught them the restoration and they seemed sincerely interested and attentive the entire time we were teaching, so we’ll see if they’ll let us come back some other day.
Right after that cita, we had to get on a bus and go to Jerez to spend the night there since we had to catch an early morning train to Sevilla the next day. On Wednesday, we had our zone conference there. I realized that I was the oldest missionary in this entire tri-zone area. It was focused on the importance of The Book of Mormon and helping people make and keep commitments. Two of my favorite quotes from Preach My Gospel regarding these two subjects are:
“The Book of Mormon, combined with the Spirit, is your most powerful resource in conversion.”
“When you ask for commitments as part of your teaching, you are inviting the investigator to repent.”
Helping investigators and others make and keep commitments and understand the significance and gain a testimony of The Book of Mormon are some of the most important parts of our work. The introduction in the Book of Mormon states: “We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost.” I know that this promise is true for I have done it myself and have received my own witness of the truthfulness The Book of Mormon, independent of the testimony of anyone else. I have seen others do the same. The Book is true, and through the Holy Ghost, God can confirm the truth of it to anyone who sincerely reads it and faithfully asks God for this confirmation.
Anyways, so after coming back from Sevilla, exhausted, we had a Noche de Hogar with the family of Miguel Ángel and María José, some members. We talked about The Great Apostasy that occurred as a result of priesthood authority being taken from the earth resulting from the persecution and death of the Apostles that Jesus called. I’m grateful this Apostasy happened because it paved the way for the gospel to be restored again to the earth in its perfect form through the prophet Joseph Smith. It’s amazing how available the gospel and the priesthood power to perform saving ordinances is throughout the world. Even though there certainly are problems and calamities in the world, we are so blessed to live at a time when The Church of Jesus Christ is so well established on the earth.
On Thursday, we had our normal weekly planning session in the morning, and then all of our plans for the evening fell through, so we spent some time trying to find more menos activos and knocking some doors. It was raining, so there was nobody in the street, but also nobody at home either, so I wonder where everyone disappeared off to.
We had interviews with President Andersen on Friday, so we had to go to Puerto for that. Those are always so good. He told us that one of the Hermanas in our district is being transferred to Chiclana this week because the companion of one of the missionaries there never went to the MTC at the beginning of her mission, and now needs to do her three weeks there. That’s a pretty weird situation. The rest of the Hermanas are going to be in a trio for the rest of the transfer.
Saturday was a good day, although we basically only did two things. The first was having a cita with Bibi, which are turning more and more frustrating because it seems like we just keep going in circles with her. Poco a poco, as they say. Then, the second thing was going to San Fernando for the priesthood and adult sessions of Stake Conference! Elder Paul V. Johnson of the seventy, who is also the Europe Área President, as well as the Madrid temple president, and President Andersen were all there and all gave talks. It was really, really, really, good, probably some of my favorite meetings that I’ve ever been to on the mission. I won’t go into all of the details about what they shared, but my favorite message came from President Andersen. He told of an experience he had several years ago when Elder Neil L. Andersen, then just a Seventy, visited their stake in Idaho. He made the remark that it’s such a privilege that the Lord lets us handle his fine china, and the fact that we’re even let into the door of the chapel is amazing given how imperfect we all are. He also talked about how having callings and responsibilities in the church is such a blessing. While President Andersen was relating this experience, it just hit me how much of a blessing the mission has been. Some of you know this, and others don’t, but I’ve had to deal with persistent depression for the majority of my time as a missionary, and I honestly have considered my calling as a missionary as a burden way more than a blessing. But when I was listening to President Andersen speak, I felt like my heart was opened up, and I could see and feel all of the ways that I have been an instrument in the Lord’s hands to bless the lives of others, and all of the way He has blessed me and will continue to bless me in the future because I decided to serve a mission and have been blessed enough to be able to make it this far despite my weaknesses and problems. I am so grateful to the Lord for doing that.
I love you all, and I sincerely thank you for the support that you send from afar, and I’m thankful that you all will continue to be by my side for these two months that I have left to “serve him with all [my] heart, might, mind and strength” (D&C 4:2).
Élder Stark 🇪🇸


1: The ocean destroying the beach
2: El cuadro de compromiso. For a lack of other pictures during the week, I made this in personal study one day.
3-4: Peter = Joseph Smith
IMG_6331 IMG_6333
5: On the way to stake conference
6: After stake conference
7: Until next time

It rained

Email 5/3/18

Hello everybody,
This week was unusual because it rained pretty much all day, every day this week, with rain continuing today and through the majority of the coming week. In a place that’s known as “The Southern California of Europe” for how nice the weather usually is, a rainy week like this one always throws me off a bit. Notwithstanding my inadaptness to this weather, it was a good week.
Last Monday we were doing some more work trying to get in touch with menos activos, and we found this one guy named Manual, who is the brother of one of our active members. We had a good cita with him and read Moroni 6 together. Verse 4 is especially good because it talks about how we don’t forget about those who were baptized but have lost their way for whatever reason.
“And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith.”
After that, we went over to Mike’s house and taught him a little about temples since he had some questions about them from the church tour we have him the day before. It was a nice visit. It really made me miss going to the temple, though.
Tuesday was a productive day. It started off with our district meeting in Puerto that morning. The Manwarings, the senior couple assigned to military relations on the base, made us a nice, big American lunch. When we got back to Sanlúcar, we had a cita with Frank and Alfonso where we reviewed The Restoration. He’s doing OK, he still has a lot of health problems and it’s still hard to get him to church, but he’s doing better than he was a few months ago. Poco a poco.
We also got a call from Domingo (member) asking us to give a blessing to his granddaughter. So, we met up with Domingo and went to his daughter-in-law’s house. His four year old granddaughter has chronic bronchitis and it gets pretty bad in the winter. However, she thought that we were doctors there to give her a shot, so she ran away from us, crying inconsolobly. That made us feel like trash haha. After talking it over with Domingo and the mom, Cintia, we decided that we’d try coming back the next day in normal clothes to not freak Lola (the granddaughter) out.
We went the next day and even brought some freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, but kids are smart and Lola still didn’t let us get anywhere near her. So, we just started teaching Cintia instead! We talked about the part of the Bible when Jesus instructs the Apostles to let the children come to him, which led us to showing her the part in the Book of Mormon where Jesus blesses the children one by one, which led us to teaching a bit of the restoration. She wants us to come back again, so that was a super cool way to find a new investigator!
The rest of Wednesday was pretty slow as it was a very rainy day and a holiday (Andalucia Day).
On Thursday, we went to Jerez for the “Zone Council” meeting with the ZL’S, SHE’S, and the other district leaders from the zone. It was a really fun meeting, part of it included playing “Knockout” with church trivia, and I won twice, which I was really proud about. (Mental note for myself: “beware of pride, lest ye become as the Nephites of old” (D&C 38:39).) The big news from this meeting was that we are now known as the “Cádiz Zone” rather than being the “San Fernando Zone”, so the name coincides with all of us being missionaries in the Cádiz Stake of the Church. Then, we went to the Domino’s all you can eat pizza buffet, and life was good.
Friday all of our citas for the evening fell through during the morning, so we started working in the evening not sure what was going to happen, but it turned out really good. First we had a visit with Bibi that was supposed to be only 10 minutes but turned into 2 hours. Hahaha. We got her to commit to start reading and praying about the Book of Mormon every day again, so that was good. After her, we decided to pay Tomas a visit. His daughter, Raquel, is the one who left for her mission last week. We shared a few scriptures about how the Lord watches over his missionaries. Like these:
“And king Mosiah went and inquired of the Lord if he should let his sons go up among the Lamanites to preach the word.
“And the Lord said unto Mosiah: Let them go up, for many shall believe on their words, and they shall have eternal life; and I will deliver thy sons out of the hands of the Lamanites.
“And it came to pass that Mosiah granted that they might go and do according to their reques” (Mosiah 28:6-8).
“Therefore they did not fear Ammon, for they supposed that one of their men could slay him according to their pleasure, for they knew not that the Lord had promised Mosiah that he would deliver his sons out of their hands; neither did they know anything concerning the Lord…” (Alma 17:35).
“Now we see that Ammon could not be slain, for the Lord had said unto Mosiah, his father: I will spare him, and it shall be unto him according to thy faith—therefore, Mosiah trusted him unto the Lord” (Alma 19:23).
The Lord really does protect his missionaries. As many are aware, there were four missionaries and an investigator involved in a head-on colision with a semi-truck this week. Miraculously, nobody died, and it seems like they are all going to make a full recovery.
Nothing that interesting happened on Saturday. Oh wait, I take that back. We got a call out of the blue from a menos activo, Antonio, with whom we had contact way back when but eventually we lost contact with him. We were able to meet in the chapel and he expressed with us his desires to come back to the church. That was nice.
Sunday we had like 5 people (investigators and less-active members) who said they were coming to church flake out. ;( Oh well, we will try again. That’s what we do.
Élder Stark 🇪🇸


1: The weird things you start doing when you’ve been with the same comp for three transfers
2: Chapita
3: The District: Elder Clark, Elder Stark, Hermana Moncayo, Hermana Walker, Hermana Malcom, Hermana Pinkney
4: Another photo with the Manwarings, who give us American lunch every once in a while
5: Beach
6: Domino’s
7: Until next time

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