Elder Jared Stark

Serving in the Spain Málaga Mission

Month: May 2018

Did the journey seem long?

Hello everybody,
First of all, an announcement: I will be speaking about my missionary experience THIS SUNDAY, the 20th of May at 1:00 PM at the LDS meetinghouse located at the following address. Anyone who has been reading these emails for the last two years (or not) is welcome to attend!
Okay, so let’s see what exactly happened this week.
Monday was a really fun preparation day! Right now, is fair season in Spain, and Jerez has one of the biggest in Spain! Everyone dresses up in their flamenco clothes and goes to eat, drink, and be merry. There’s also a lot of amusement rides. We met up with the Jerez missionaries and basically just walked around and checked it out. We also played some games at the church. It’s nice to escape the Pueblo every so often. In the evening, we had a really good lesson with Mike. A lot of the family problems he had been dealing with have subsided and he’s way more focused when we teach him now.
After our district meeting on Tuesday, Elder Wood and Elder Harris came with us to Sanlúcar for Intercambios. It was a good time. Elder Wood and I went to the Noche de Hogar with Ángel and Yessenia and Aurora, and talked about patiently enduring to the end. I think I needed that message more than anyone else 😅On Wednesday morning, Elder Harris and I passed by Matilde to see how she was doing, and spent some time trying to find a reeference we got from another area, but to no avail.
Thursday I got really sick and ended up going to the hospital, which I was hoping would never happen on my mission, but everything turned out OK in the end.
On Friday, we went out to the Campo to visit Manuela. She’s always doing the same: bad. Later in the day, Elder Castillo Skyped into a lesson with his old investigator from Cáceres that speaks French, and we passed by some less active members.
About 2/3 of our plans on Saturday ended up falling through, so we did a lot of walking as we were passing by people.
On Sunday we had church and I got to talk with my family on Skype.
In case you haven’t realized, this is the end. I am so burnt out, but so grateful for these last two years that have burned me out!!! Even though the journey has been long, hard, and steep, I do not have any regret whatsoever of serving a mission. Paraphrasing a quote I saw recently, every day, I wanted to go home. But every day, I wished that I could never leave Spain and all the wonderful people I’ve met along the way. I guess that’s the way it has to be; one cannot know the sweet without knowing the bitter, and I know those two extremes very well thanks to this mission experience. Most of all, I am grateful for Jesus Christ, and for the personal relationship I have cultivated with Him as I have served Him. I want to share the way I feel about Him by sharing the words of this hymn that was penned by Joseph Fielding Smith:
Does the journey seem long,
The path rugged and steep?
Are there briars and thorns on the way?
Do sharp stones cut your feet
As you struggle to rise
To the heights thru the heat of the day?
 
Is your heart faint and sad,
Your soul weary within,
As you toil ’neath your burden of care?
Does the load heavy seem
You are forced now to lift?
Is there no one your burden to share?
 
Let your heart be not faint
Now the journey’s begun;
There is One who still beckons to you.
So look upward in joy
And take hold of his hand;
He will lead you to heights that are new–
 
A land holy and pure,
Where all trouble doth end,
And your life shall be free from all sin,
Where no tears shall be shed,
For no sorrows remain.
Take his hand and with him enter in.
 
Praise to the Lord.
 
Love,
Élder Stark 🇪🇸
 

Photos

1: Found him
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2-4: Fería
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5: Matilde
blue room
6: Spanish food
food
7: UNTIL NEVER HAHAHA
never

Ángel

Email 7/5/18

Hello everybody,

This week was a busy one. As normal, each individual day seemed to go on forever, but the week has finished in the twinkle of an eye.

Monday was a chill Sanlúcar preparation day. In the evening, we had a Noche de Hogar with Frank and Ana Belén. Frank gave a really good lesson about obedience to God. We were joking around with him that he was doing it just to Machacar us, haha, but that obviously wasn’t the case. After, we decided to stop by Javi and Loli and see how they’re doing. They are members of the branch who left in January for Pamplona to take care of some work related items, but are needing to stay there longer in order to keep receiving treaatment for some health problems there. So, they were just in town for this week only. We shared a short message with them and their grandchildren, who aren’t members.

Tuesday was a festivo, El Día de Los Trabajadores, which is the Spanish equivalent of Labor Day. We were scheduled to have interviews with President Andersen in San Fernando. It requires taking a bus and a train to get to San Fernando from Sanlúcar. Bus and train schedules are really limited on festivos. Thus, we had a small window of time to be able to be in San Fernando before we had to start heading back to Sanlúcar in order to keep our citas for the evening. President Andersen was also running a few hours behind on his interview schedule. So my interview just lasted five minutes and consisted of renewing my temple recommend hahaha. But it doesn’t matter, I will be having my exit interview with him next week. We did have to run to the train station to avoid missing our train. It was worth it though becsuse our citas ended up turning out well. One was our Noche de Hogar with Aurora. Ángel and Charo, a menos activa that we’ve started working with, were both there. We talked about temples and family history work and the spirit was super strong. After, Virginia, a member, invited us over for dinner to meet her non-member husband, Antonio, and that ended up being really good as well.

Most of our work Wednesday revolved around having a Noche de Hogar with the branch. In case you can’t tell, we really like Noches de Hogares. A lot of members were able to come, and even a few investigators! Mike came with his two kids (but had to leave a bit early to attend to a family thing) and Leticia was there too. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned who Leticia is before. She’s been coming to our English classes for the past month and was introduced to us by Nina, another member of English class. Anyways, Leticia has shown interest in learning more about our message, and this Noche de Hogar was really our first opportunity to teach her. We shared about the plan of salvation as our message, and she really liked it and do had some good questions.

Thursday consisted of a lot of planning. First we did our weekly planning session, and then later we met with Miguel Ángel, the branch mission leader, to have our correlación meeting and also to plan Ángeles baptism. So, this day involved a lot of planning, but it definitely payed off.

Friday was another whirlwind day as we went to Sevilla to have zone conference. They talked a lot about the baptismal goal and not wasting time on Facebook and stuff like that. In the mission, every missionary that’s going home at the end of the transfer gives their “dying testimony” during zone conference, and it was my turn to do that. It felt weird. I still feel like I have no idea what I’m doing out here haha. It was also cool to see and catch up with Elder Pack for the first time in a long time. Companions are really one of the best blessings of the mission. It sucks being around someone else 24/7 for an extended period of time, but you really grow to appreciate them and learn a lot from them. I am forever indebted to my wonderful mission companions, from Elder Krummenacher in the CCM to my trainer, Elder Pesce, and Elders Catmull, Jarvis, Pack, Moffat, Liza, Kassing, Clark, and Castillo.

“And ye shall go forth in the power of my Spirit, preaching my gospel, two by two, in my name, lifting up your voices as with the sound of a trump, declaring my word like unto angels of God” (D&C 42:6)

Saturday morning was very stressful, but also fantastic. It was Ángel’s baptism!! We got to the church three hours before it was supposed to start and the hot water heater wasn’t working. This was despite our branch mission leader successfully testing it the day prior and promising to us that it would work. Well, after some frantic phone calls, he came over to the chapel, and got it working within a matter of seconds. I guess he must have the magic touch. But, the font was filling up really slowly, and the baptism started 40 minutes late. Also, the Puerto Hermanas wanted to come and bring an investigator with them. But when telling them what the bus schedule was, I messed up and told them a completely wrong time. 😅 So after an hour of them waiting for a bus that was never going to come, I got a phone call from them, realized my mistake, and thankfully Dani was able to go pick them up. Murphy’s law especially applies to baptisms. So despite all of those bumps, it was great! I got to baptise Ángel, Nina and Leticia and Charo and a lot of members were there, all of us missionaries that were there threw together a last-minute musical number of “I’m trying to be like Jesus,” and Ángel got baptized!!! After the ordinance, while I was changing into dry clothes, I just felt so thankful for God’s hand in making this happen, and for the Atonement of Jesus Christ, which truly let’s us become freed from our sins.

“Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;

“For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.

“And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance.

“And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth!

“Wherefore, you are called to cry repentance unto this people.

“And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!

“And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!” (D&C 18:10-16)

I am grateful for the souls I’ve been able to see come unto Christ through faith, repentance, baptism, and the reception of the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Sunday was also a busy day. First and foremost, Ángel was confirmed as a member of the Church!! He was just beaming the whole time. Secondly, there was a couple visiting from Germany, and I was translating for them all three hours. Lastly, our branch broke the fast together, and so everyone stayed in the chapel for a big pot-luck meal after. After all that, I had to do my district leader responsibilities of rendering Cuentas, so it was a mentally tiring Sunday for sure. But super good too.

Another week is a wrap. One more to go…

Love,

Élder Stark 🇪🇸

Photos

1: Done with life

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2: The office bought us first class tickets on the train

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3: Post-baptism featuring Nina, Leticia, Vanessa, and Virginia

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4: Post-baptism district

missionaries

5: Pre-baptism Ángel 😁

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6: I went to relief society

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7: With our German friends

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8: Until next time

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