Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The End- Totally Selfless Service

Dear Family, 

This week was really good. It went by super fast. Nothing super exciting has happened but we are hanging in there. 

What to say..... Well I am not as tired as I used to be!! So that´s good. I feel pretty good right now. 

L is doing well. That kid is the most frustrating human being in the world. I love him to death but wow!!! He´s a hassle!! Keeping him quiet in church is practically impossible. We FINALLY got to talk his father and YAY he can get baptized!!!! We just need to plan for a day in which the family could be there. L is a great kid. He has a lot of issues when it comes to respecting his parents and being responsible. I think a lot of it has to do with the way he is treated in his home. His two little siblings are treated like royalty while he is always being harped on and criticized. It´s really sad. He´s a super smart kid and has lots of potential but I feel like his parents are going about things the wrong way. But it´s hard for them because they both work a ton and don´t have time to spend with him. But still. It´s never good to talk about one´s children that way in public. There is a fine line between constructive and destructive criticism. I really know that the gospel will help him though. I think he´s already starting to change. 

We were trying to get Angel and Domi and their family to church. They didn´t end up coming. Which is sad. Haha. I really love church as a missionary. It´s always either totally glorious or completely heartbreaking. More often than not it´s heartbreaking. We stress and worry and invite and call and do everything we can to get people to come to church and then very few actually show up. I love being in sacrament meeting and turning my head EVERY single time the doors open with hope in my heart only to have it crushed when it´s not the people we were hoping for. Ah. Working with people is hard. But I love it. I really do. I love caring so much about whether or not other people come to church. Before the mission it truly never even crossed my mind. And now it´s our entire life. There is SO much work to do. We really do need more missionaries in the field. 

We are working with lots of less actives and it´s so great to see them come to church. And so sad when they don´t. But we keep going!! We can´t give up on anyone. 

But I really do love church as a missionary. Church has become something totally different for me. I get so much out of it, way more than I ever have. I hope that this doesn´t change after I get home. I know that it won´t. We were sitting down and Sacrament Meeting was about to start when the first counselor came up to me and asked me to give a talk....within the next 10 minutes. So that was fun :) I felt kind of bad though. I didn´t act bothered or anything but I kind of sighed and smiled at him in a flustered sort of way and said ¨of course¨. I could have been better about the way I responded. The poor counselor. He honestly is such a champ. Spanish. His wife isn´t a member and wants nothing. The Bishop is sick all the time and doesn´t come to church very often. Every other Sunday maybe. And there isn´t another counseler. It´s a bishopric of 2. So this counselor, whilst juggling his whole family life with a wife that doesn´t like him spending lots of time at church, has to do everything. And after he asked me to speak he said ¨I am sorry I just don´t have anyone. All three people that were supposed to speak today decided not to show up.¨  So I felt bad for not having responded with lots of enthusiasm. Some leaders in our ward just work so hard. There are SO many sisters that are divorced. Or that have husbands who don´t want anything to do with the church. And they work so hard. The Primary president is a good example. She has four kids and drags them all to church every sunday. She is divorced and is the only source of income for her home. She works until late at night and yet still strives to magnify her calling. She also doesn´t have any active counselors. Her counselors come MAYBE once a month. It´s so sad. I admire her so much. And there are lots of other amazing examples of women in our ward. The priesthood just needs to step it up. Men need to step it up. There are so many amazing, valiant, self sacrificing sisters that should be supported by their husbands but we are too lazy and selfish to do our part. I will NEVER be that guy. My heart goes out to those sisters. More than half of the Relief Society is that way. Honestly...if it weren´t for them our ward would fall apart. 

So I gave my talk. He let me choose the subject and I talked about the importance of studying the BoM every day. I think it went well. I love the Book of Mormon and I am convinced that the members would find all of the answers to their problems if they would just strive to study every single day. But so few do. I worry about it. I think I worry a lot. Haha. Just kidding. Perhaps worry isn´t the correct word. I think about it a lot. I ponder about it a lot. Every day I am more and more convinced of the importance of daily gospel study. It is KEY. We cannot have spiritual power if we don´t study. My number one goal and priority when I get home is to find and make time to study every day. I know that´s it´s easy to say that now because I haven´t gone home yet, and that it´s SO hard once our lives go back to normal...but I am determined. I think that God is telling me that I need to make that the biggest priority for myself, because I always find myself thinking about it. 

Other than that...we are working like normal. The work I am doing now is totally selfless as Kylie put it. I like that a lot. I won´t be hear to see a lot of the fruits of my labors, but that doesn´t mean I shouldn´t work as hard. And I am trying so hard to keep striving to do my best and give my all. 

In our mission we give ¨dying testimonies¨ which are basically the last testimony of a missionary that is about to finish his mission. Usually they are given in big mission conferences, but we don´t have one of those until March 15th, so I gave mine in a normal zone meeting on Friday. I was the only one, because I am the only one from my group in my zone. It was weird. I have spent the last 2 years listening to dying testimonies and then I was just up there giving my own. It was so fast. SO fast. And yet I don´t feel like I am dying. I don´t feel anything!! It just felt like I was up there giving a talk like always in a zone meeting. I didn´t cry or anything. I just feel normal. It still hasn´t sunken in yet. Hopefully it doesn´t until I am in the mission home that last night. 

But yeah. I have had my last zone meeting. Wow I cannot believe that I have a little over three weeks left. This is so weird. 

Well I hope you are all doing well. I am certainly doing fantastic. I am going through an amazing time of my mission right now. I love Elder Salcedo and I love our area. It´s one of my most difficult areas, but I really do enjoy it. I love working with the ward and I love helping these people that need Christ so badly and don´t even realize it. I just love my mission. And I wouldn´t trade it for anything in this world. 

I love you all!!! 

Elder Sharp

And HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO LINCOLN!!!!!!! On Sunday :) 

You´re 9 flipping years old!!! That is really really really not cool. I have got to get home SOON!!! 

I love you Linc :) See you soon!!!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Obedience Walk

OH man I am tired. 

This week it just hit me like a semi truck. I feel like my blood has become super thick or something and I literally cannot move as fast as I normally can. 

It was a good week. One of the hardest I´ve ever had. I don´t know what happened but everyone and their dogS failed us this week. Really frustrating. Walking around for hours on end knocking on doors that never open and looking for people that don´t live in the directions that we were given and contacting grumpy Spaniards can only be fun for so long!!! Hahaha. Oh man. Usually we are luckier and God lets us into houses but on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday we had only like three or four lessons in total. Saturday night we had every set appt fail us at 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 o´clock. SO that was a very long ¨obedience walk¨. It was lovely. But we did the best we could. I am trying to be super positive for my kid. But he doesn´t get down or anything. He says that he loves the mission. I think he is enjoying it. 

But we were blessed to find some really great new investigators. Six I think. Three of them were that family that I told you about. AMAZING. We are going to try to visit them tonight. We went back a few days later and the dad wasn´t supposed to be there but he was. We walked in and he had read a TON, and he had highlighted and marked and everything. He had questions about the authority and he understood and it was just perfect. I wanted to cry. Sometimes I look at him and just ask ¨are you for real??¨ Like he´s going to start cracking up at any second and be like ¨JUST KIDDING I´M REALLY A JEHOVAH´S WITNESS, GOT YA!!¨ He´s so great. He would be baptized in three weeks if it weren´t for the fact that he works as a truck driver and is NEVER home. Every ten days he is home for 1 or 2. So that´s hard. 

It seems like that happens to me always now. We have about 8-9 people that will be baptized in the next 2-5 months that could all be baptized in two weeks if it weren´t for ridiculous reasons like work schedules and the catholic church. We have this awesome lady that we started teaching this week called Germania. She wants to be baptized and so does her daughter. The problem is that she promised her exhusband and his family that the little girl would do the first comunion (catholic ordinance) and the father has already bought plane tickets and everything. She can´t be baptized because in the comunion she has to declare her faith in the catholic church as her daughter takes the first comunion, and she can´t back out of it. It´s super confusing and I don´t understand it. She wants me to baptize her before I leave. But it´s a tricky situation. So we are just praying. Then there is Trini that was ready to be baptized a month ago but still hasn´t even been to church because of work. And then there is Luis who will be baptized as soon as we get his parents´ permission. And then there is another family who finally got around to geting a marriage date set, but it can´t happen until august because it´s almost impossible to get married in Spain. So yeah. We are just here. Waiting. And I will probably leave and not see any of it. That´s ok though. All that matters is that we work and help them and love them and do the best we can right? It does hurt a little to think that I will miss so many baptisms. But I feel very fulfilled and content with what I have done here. And i will keep doing the best I can- 

Last night everyone failed us as well. And we heard a lot of rude rejections. For about ten seconds I got a little frustrated with Him. Like, ¨why can you not make this any easier?¨ But instantly I realized that He probably felt just as sad as I did about all of His hard hearted children that claim not to even believe in Him. Though it would be nice if every prepared person had a bright golden star about their head that only missionaries could see. We could walk down the street, spot a star, and go run and pounce on that prepared person and baptize them. Life would be so much easier....but life isn´t about being easy ;) We all need to grow and I understand that. 

Anyway. Last night. REAlly hard. We walked a lot but ended up finding a new family to teach right at the end of the night. From Guinea Ecuatorial. They seem to be really awesome. Ana and her kids and sister. Hopefully they progress. It was really nice of Him to help us out like that. Cause I was going on reserve fuel at that point but FINALLY someone let us in. Thank the Lord. 

I just feel tired. I pray and plead for more energy. This week was insanely hard for me. Even people that we contact in the streets comment on it. This one guy said ¨You guys are idiots, I would never join a church that would brainwash me and make me work like slaves for them while the leaders lived like kings.¨ He pointed to me and said ¨look at those bags under your eyes, you looked like you haven´t slept in weeks!!! look what they are doing to you!! Wake up!!¨ I started laughing out loud when he said that. Hahaha. oh man. It was super funny to me for some reason. But he´s right- I really do have some dark vampire-like eyes. It´s gross. I don´t have energy to work out in the mornings. I do it, but not like I used to. I just feel drained in every way. 

I am sure that it was just a bad week. I know this week will be better. I just need to pray a ton and keep going!! I really have been strengthened by grace. I have felt it. That´s how I keep going!

Anyway. Clayton is a stud for getting the part of willy wonka. what a hero. I miss that guy. I hope you are all well. Thanks for your messages. Dad and Mom. I really appreciate that. Obedience is key. The source of Christ´s power was His obedience to the Father. It´s the same for us in a big way. 

I love you all. A lot. 

Elder Sharp

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Forgive the short email?

WOW my hands are freezing!! I can´t even type! I am literally typing like a toddler! Our regular internet cafe wasn´t open so we came to this icebox to email. So please forgive the shortness of this email. 

I AM JUST DOING SO WELL!!! And it sounds like you lot are as well. I have to say that dad´s ¨practicing spanish¨ comment got me to laugh out loud. Hahaha. Oh man how I miss my father´s humor!!!!! I can´t wait to be around that again :) 

Where to begin? Well Elder Salcedo is just a ray of sunshine. I like him a lot!! He´s lived his whole life in Barcelona, but he was born in Peru. He is super funny and we get along really well. He is SOOO different from Elder Weenig. Polar opposites. It´s been very interesting to make this transition. Weenig was always on top of obedience. We knew what we had to do and we did it and we motivated each other. Elder Salcedo is kind of new and...well he loves to sleep :) I have never had to literally attack my companion in order to get him out of bed!! But once Salcedo gets going and starts working he´s unstoppable. Really smart guy with a sharp tongue who knows how to get along with people. He is a good teacher as well. He´s a great  guy, but much to my eternal dismay, he doesn´t like running. So I was really worried for a while. But I convince him to get up fifteen minutes early and to come outside in the cold weather and watch me run in circles. On T, Th, and Sat. He´s super good at dieting though. So he´s been helping me out a lot with that. He had a personal nutritionist and everything back at home. 

I am really grateful to have gotten him as my last companion. I love that I will end my mission speaking spanish all the time! 

We had interviews with President yesterday, and we had to change our Pday to Tuesday. That´s why I am emailing so late. It was good. President gave me some good advice about how to make the most of the time that I have left. 

This week has been interesting. I have really loved training. I just love being a missionary. I really do mean that. I don´t say that just so that people think I like what I am doing. Last night I talked with some elders in my district and they were sharing a miracle with me that they had experienced and I just felt so much love for this work. There are some moments in which I truly wish I had another transfer left after this one. I feel like I have so much left to do still. I know that I have worked hard and been blessed with lot of miracles. I have really tried hard. And while I have regrets and know that I could have worked harder, I really appreciate the time that I have been given. I just don´t feel ready to leave it all. Which is good. Because I still have a good chunk of my mission ahead of me. Six weeks is a long time!!!! But it´s really amazing how odd I feel. I thought it would be harder than it is. I mean, I am exhausted. But I still feel like I have lots of ganas and motivation to go out and work. 

We have found lots of good investigators this week. We found a FAMILY on Sunday night. It was a miracle. We were leaving this building the other day and this girl was coming up the stairs. We talked to her and she told us to come back later. We have been trying for a while, and we finally got in with her mom. Turns out it is a family of 4. The parents have a good marriage and everything. The crazy thing is that the father was the most interested. Usually the men don´t really care that much. But this guy was amazing. He´s a truck driver and his hardly ever home. Maybe two days in every 15. But he´s awesome. We gave a good restoration lesson and the spirit was very strong. I was super happy that Elder Salcedo got to experience that, because that doesn´t really happen often here. We had been teaching Luis, our 14 year old investigator that should be baptized soon. So we took him with us to teach this family (they are neighbors). It was super super funny. Luis is the most frustrating 14 year old ever, but one can´t help but love him. He actually did super well in the lesson. Hahaha. I wish you could have been there. Lesson to investigator with INVESTIGATOR present. 

Trini is still going strong. She would be baptized tomorrow. Just waiting until something changes with her work situation so that she could go to church. Ugh. But I am really glad to have taught her. 

We ¨picked up¨ (that´s american missionary slang) this Colombian girl called Natalia. She looks totally african, but she´s from Colombia. She´s crazy. Super evangelical. She described this dream she had of the kingdom of God and it was one of the most entertaining things I have ever heard. Apparently the fish in the celestial kingdom (yes there are fish there) have RUBIES instead of eyes, and all of the rocks are pearls. We´ll see how she progresses. 

We´re still teaching Domingo. He´s this Spanish guy. He is progressing slowly. 

Leanne and Hannah. Well. I don´t really know. We taught them again but I didn´t really feel it. Leanne hadn´t read or anything. They had stuff happen in their family and they were very closed to God that day. We haven´t seen them since. But we taught a super good lesson. We talked about sin and why it´s important to repent. They don´t agree with us at all about sin. These words were spoken: ¨lust makes me happy, why would God not want that for us?¨ I was so stunned. These girls are awesome and I really do desire their salvation, but wow they never cease to amaze me. They about died when I pulled out the bible scripture from the sermon on the mount about ¨he who looks upon a woman to lust after her, adultery in his heart, etc.¨. In the beginning it was them kind of arguing with us, but after a while they stopped. We testified a lot of Jesus Christ and his Atonement, and the spirit came. And the coolest part is that we actually invited them to repent....literally..we said these words. ¨We invite you to repent of your sins¨. That´s not something that we do very often and we should probably do it more. But it´s always weird to literally tell people that they need to repent of their sins. It was right though. I KNOW they felt the spirit. It was so strong. Just quiet and powerful. One of them was getting really emotional about it. BUT after that we tried to set a return cita but they told us that this weekend they would be too drunk to meet with us. SO yeah. I keep praying for them though. Christ suffered for all of us. We all sin in our own different ways. We all need the atonement just as much as the next guy. It´s not like some people need it more than others. I know that they can repent and be forgiven. That´s the message of our gospel. A man can change his stars, no matter what he did in the past. 

I need to end. I really love the brotherhood I feel as a missionary. I was in Malaga picking up my ¨son¨ and I got to see so many missionaries that I love. It was so inspiring and reenergizing. I just love Elder Love, who is an old comp of mine. Seeing him always makes me happy. I get so surprised by how much I love being around people sometimes. The best part was that when I went down to Malaga on Tuesday, Elder Bastian was on the same bus because he came down a day early to die. So I got to spend another 8 hours with him. That´s one of the best parts of the mission. The bonds that we create with each other as we serve the Lord are powerful. I don´t know how to explain it. Laboring together in the same part of His vineyard to save these souls. Cleaning up each other´s puke. You just can´t do stuff like this as a normal person!! 

I love this so much. I am not ready to end and I won´t be until it´s happening. Time is my best friend right now. 

I love you all 

Elder Sharp

Friday, January 23, 2015

Recent Baptism

Isn't he looking so handsome?!?  I guess I'm biased.  

Final Transfer

For his final 6 weeks Elder Sharp will be training Elder Salcedo in Alicante!!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Pablo is going to England

Dear Family, 

Hey :) I miss and love each of you so much. I feel so much appreciation for all of you right now. I hope you have had a good week. 

I am glad that our new ward isn´t as bad as you thought it would be ;) I don´t know what is up with the little boys though!! (Clayton looks taller than me in those photos....so I guess I shouldn´t be referring to him as little). Why won´t they talk with people?? That´s very strange to me. Don´t worry though. I won´t be shy. I am not like that anymore. Want to know something funny?? I have listened to my companions and missionaries in my zones and districts, and when they describe me, they use the words ¨super outgoing and extroverted¨. HA!! Isn´t that hilarious? Elder Weenig feels like I am so social that my presence hinders him from developing friendships with some of the people with whom we work....isn´t that insane? I always tell them...you are so mistaken. My mother would NEVER describe me that way. I don´t feel like I particulary enjoy meeting new people and putting myself out there but I definitely do it often. One kind of has to as a missionary. So anyway, I will destroy the shy Sharp boy image that they are creating. 

I am very excited to work in this new ward. I have thought about it and I came to the conclusion that it won´t even feel like going home for me!! It will feel like being transferred to a new area!! I will be in a ward in which I know almost nobody and I will have to get up and introduce myself and all that.....ok maybe a little different but I find it humorous that I will get up and address a ward that doesn´t know me. Quite similar to life in the mission. 

I am feeling very happy and positive today. Weenig has rubbed off on me I suppose, because I feel much more optimistic and positive now as I have been with him for so long. I really love him. We are different and sometimes we disagree on things, but I have never had such an open, honest relationship with a companion. And...he´s going to leave me soon. Which is sad but he is ready to spread his wings and experience something new. 

President called last night and told me that I will be training to end my mission. Last transfer starts in a week....so weird. But the time is going by just like it should. I can´t complain. Not too fast and not too slow. So my last companion will be fresh out of the MTC!!! I am really excited. I think it will help me to work even harder during my last transfer. I am going to try so hard. I want this missionary to have amazing habits and to learn from the beginning how to work effectively. I feel like he will be my last gift to this mission, so I want to train a champion. I am going to give everything I have. We´re going 100 percent. I am very excited. 

GUESS WHAT!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHH!!! I received the greatest news this week. Just GLORIOUS. It´s up there with seeing a picture of a family that you found, taught, and baptized standing in white in front of the temple...

PABLO GOT HIS MISSION CALL!!! England, Burmingham. He reports on April 16th :D :D I cannot tell you how joyful it feels to know that he is going. I am so proud of him. I honestly don´t know why I am so lucky to have gotten to know some of these amazing people. Anyway. He reports in April, so you will meet him Mom Dad and Clayton :) :) Pablo is the blonde, Spanish young man from Jerez. Ah.....I am so happy. I rejoice in their successes and achievments. The missionary-convert relationship is very special. This gospel is incredible. Just a month after I finish my mission, someone that I taught and with whom I shared the gospel is going to start his own mission. What an incredible opportunity that people have to change. He was a normal Spanish kid with little hope in his life and not much interest in God. He has always been special and amazing, but the gospel has helped him so much. He will touch the hearts of many people. I just....wow. Overwhelmed with joy. 

Nancy got a calling today. Primary Presidency :) She sent me a sweet email today about how happy she is for the gospel in her life. She says she is finally starting to realize what a treasure she has received in her life. She thanked us for being so persistent with her. She was leading a very....worldly life and she dropped EVERYTHING and changed in two weeks. And is now seeing tons of blessings because of her application of the gospel in her life. It really does change lives. 

My mission has been perfect. Perfect for me. I have been given everything that I needed to become converted to the gospel. All of my experiences and triumphs and hardships have just been....perfect for me. I couldn´t have asked for anything better. I obviously haven´t been a perfect missionary, and there are things that I regret, but I am very positive about my experience here in Spain. It is one of the most sacred things that I have. I will always treasure it. I also feel very positive about the future and the direction in which I am headed. I have really come to love the gospel and the joy that I feel as I live it. 

Well I don´t have an immense amount of time left. 

My least favorite thing about the mission has been decided: having to pretend to like people´s dogs. I am just done with that. Have I written about that before? I don´t know. But I am ready to be done with that aspect of it :) Everyone and their dog owns a dog here in Spain....haha..that was kind of a pun. Anyway, it´s true. And they lick me, my hands, my clothes, and get hair all over me and I honestly cannot wait until I can bid farewell to all of these Spanish dogs. I will not miss them :P 

Something that actually is difficult about the mission. Heartache. Thursday was a really hard day for us. Weenig was very sad and discouraged. We got a text from our Philipinos saying that they don´t want us to come by their house anymore. They don´t want to change religions. We got failed by two futures with lots of potential. And our golden number one investigator, a Dominican named Luis, hadn´t answered his phone in 4 days and just wasn´t calling us back. It was very discouraging. Our area crumbles so easily. And it just explodes so easily as well. Thursday was a crumbling day. Nobody wanted anything. And it was hard. I spent the whole day trying to tell Elder Weenig that everything was fine and that it wasn´t because we are doing something wrong, that it just happens sometimes in the mission. But after we got home and planned I just walked into my bedroom and started praying before even getting ready for bed. I was there a long time. I remember just feeling so much.....heartache for the people that didn´t want anything. Literal, physical pain. All we do is worry about other people in the mission. And when they don´t want anything, it hurts. I get sick sometimes. I get attached to people really easily, and it really really hurts when they reject us and decide that the gospel isn´t for them, even when I KNOW that they have felt the spirit. Sometimes I just don´t understand. As I was praying for Luis, I remember feeling TOTALLY overwhelmed with worry, stress, and pain. Our area is doing alright now, but that day it seemed like we had nothing. And I didn´t know what to do. In that moment of overwhelming pressure, I kind of just took a step back and laughed. How awesome that I have become capable to feel that for another person! Before the mission, I didn´t care much about anybody besides myself and the people that loved me. And now I am literally aching for the welfare of others. What a miracle. I hate it. I hate that other people can make our lives so hard. But we do choose to be affected by it. Honestly it´s impossible not to be frustrated when that happens. But I also love it. I love caring so much about others. Perhaps the argument could be made that it´s selfish because we only worry about them for our own wellbeing, because without them our lives are hard. However, I don´t think so. I think most of us missionaries genuinely feel for and care about the people we teach. Anyway. I realized that everything was fine. God sent peace to my soul, and it was all fine. Even if everyone left us, we would find more people. But I never cease to be amazed by the amount of physical pain that one can feel in his heart. I never felt that before the mission, but it´s real. 

We ended up finding Luis again. He should be baptized soon. He is very accepting and wants the gospel in his life. Everyone else from the ¨thursday tragedy ¨ still don´t want anything. But that´s ok. We will keep finding. 

We have a baptism this Saturday. Her name is Teki. She´s a 10 year old Uruguayan girl. She is a funny situation. Her parents are members so it hasn´t been a very authentic missionary experience. But she is very sincere and bore a powerful testimony last week in church. I am excited for her. 

I am very happy!!! We are going to punch this next transfer in the face. My new comp and I are going to work so hard. And I am very hopeful for the future. 

We met these two girls from Finland and Wales the other day. They were speaking english, so we asked them we they were from and we started talking and they were looking for the police station so we helped them out. They are here just to live. It´s weird. 17 and 19 and they just randomly decided to come live in Spain. They are looking for work right now and have their own piso and everything. Anyway, we asked them what they thought about God and they said that they didn´t really think much about him. Ha. Anyway. We gave them our number just in case they needed help again finding the police, and we pointed them in the right direction and sent them on their way. The funny thing is that this morning we got a text from them. Hahaha. They told us that they ¨really enjoyed meeting us¨ and they invited us to go and get a coffee with them sometime soon. Weenig and I thought it was hysterical. They really didn´t seem like the type of girls that would be interested in hearing more about the gospel. And we made it very clear that we were missionaries. We suspect that their intentions aren´t very spiritual :P But we´re going to invite them to learn about the gospel of course. You really never know who God has prepared!!

We played tennis today for P-day. Again. I am not a huge fan but Elder Weenig loves it. I am slowly getting better though :P 

That´s all folks. We are happy and healthy. I am so proud of all of you and I miss you a ton!! I pray for you all every day. I feel your prayers. Thanks for all of your support. 

All my love, 

Elder Sharp

Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Birthday to Ben

Dear family,

All is well. I am glad that Dad had a good birthday. Although birthdays just aren´t as fun when you get older. And they are even less fun in the mission. It´s ok though. Some religions don´t even celebrate birthdays! 

THANK YOU for the package!!! We are having a zone dinner tomorrow for Thanksgiving. But I am not bringing my special thanksgiving food. There will be too many people. Plus it´s not even Thanksgiving. So Weenig and I might invite the other elders over on Thursday and we have everything bought to do the real thanksgiving feast there. I am going to make turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffed mushrooms, gravy, stuffing, green bean casserole...the works. I am excited!! It cost a pretty penny but it´s definitely worth it. The ensign was my favorite part :) 

Things are going well. We had a really good week. I was very happy. We set four baptismal dates. We found some pretty awesome investigators. A 20 year old boy called Henry, who is really prepared. He´s from Ecuador. We have this Bulgarian investigator called Rosa that is going to be baptized on the 20th of December. She´s progressing very well. Jaime and Diana are doing well. Slowly progressing. It´s hard to meet with them but they are SO nice and I know that they need to hear this message right now. 

So there is a Sister in my ward that is going to leave for Brazil on December 2nd. She is in Brigham´s same group, but she is Brazilian and doesn´t need to learn the language, so she enters a little less than two weeks before the field entry date. So she is totally going to see BRIGHAM!!! Her name is Sister Barbosa and she is super awesome. She speaks english so she´ll be able to talk to Brigham. I was super excited to hear that. 

So I don´t have a whole lot to say. I really have missed my family this week. It doesn´t ever go away. I cannot wait to see Spencer again. And I feel like I won´t see Brigham for years. Which is totally true :( It makes me sad. Sigh. I didn´t anticipate this whole ¨let´s all serve missions at the same time¨ thing being so stinking difficult on me. But it really is. I can only imagine how it is for my parents. 

Church is always a joy. Yesterday we had to sit in primary the whole time because Elder Weenig is apparently the only mormon pianist in all of Alicante. Haha. It´s ridiculous. Even the other ward calls us and tries to get us to go to their choir practices every week. I am not the biggest fan of being the pianist´s companion because we waste lots of time. But at least we are serving the members. Well. My companion is :) I sing in their choirs though so I think that counts for something. Anyway. The primary in Spain is just special. It´s basically nursery with larger children. Those poor poor primary teachers. I have so much respect for them. 

I was thinking about my testimony during church. I feel like before the mission I had never ever really sat down and contemplated my own testimony. It´s certainly changed a lot in the last 20 months. The little sapling has grown into a pretty sturdy, young little tree. I have ways to go. But I do enjoy having testimonies of so many different aspects of the gospel. All of the principles. The commandments. I have the biggest testimony of obedience. I truly understand the commandments and the reasons for which we have them. I love living them and I am so grateful for the clarity that I feel. The mission has been the biggest blessing in that regard. The life of someone who lives the gospel is SOOOOOO different than the lives of those who don´t. I am ridiculously blessed. I really have learned how to rely upon the atonement of the Savior and apply it into my life. And I really do know that this church is His. I feel it everytime I think about it. It has become so clear in the mission field. 

Sometimes I ask myself why I was born into such incredible circumstances. The best time of the world, into the best family ever, into the greatest country ever, with the gospel....I really just don´t understand it. Herriman is such a special place. It´s different than the rest of Utah. I honestly couldn´t have asked for a better situation in life. My life is perfect and it scares me. I have everything that I could ever want. Weenig and I talk about it a lot. He said something that impacted me a bit. Where much is given, much is required. My blessing says that exact same thing. And it´s true. We are expected to live much different lives than the rest of the world. I really do want to give back all that I can. He has given me so much. I don´t have time to write about all of the things that I am grateful for, but if you really want to know I´ll let you read my journal come March. God has given me EVERYTHING. 

I was reading the ensign that you sent me. Thanks by the way. I love it. I especially love Elder Eyring´s talk about receiving revelation. I feel like I relate to him very well on certain things. One of them being our relationship with our mother. In his talk he recalls coming home at night and quietly walking past his parent´s bedroom, and then hearing his mother call ¨Hal, come in for a moment¨ Hahaha. Oh I know how that feels. He then walked in and sat on their bed for two hours or so, and then perhaps his father sent them out to the family room because he was tired and needed to sleep for work the next day. So he and his mother went out into the family room and talked for another two hours. It probably ended with a very very long hug, maybe some tears. Elder Eyring mentions that his mother sought revelation to help her son who may or may not have been struggling. And, just from reading his talk, one infers that her inspired counsel made a lasting impact upon his life. So profound that those counsels have stayed with him until this day. Even though his mother passed away over 40 years ago. 

I love reading that. I have been blessed with a similar mother who seeks revelation to help her struggling sons. And an equally incredible father. The counsel that was given to me has also stayed with me throughout my short life, and it will be something that I remember forever. I am eternally grateful for that. For the effort that you two put forth to help me SEE clearly. That was always a common theme. The things that are truly important in this life, and the things that are not. Seeing clearly and taking off the teenage blinders that cause us to put so much emphasis on things that really don´t matter. The importance of striving to develop a testimony at a young age. I wish I had listened more. I think the message that most sunk through was ¨don´t have a girlfriend before your mission¨. hahaha. But now the Spirit bring things back to me and I say to myself ...wow. I wish I had listened to them. I wish I had tried harder to understand the gospel and listen to the spirit. I wish I hadn´t wasted so much time on things that weren´t really that important. How I RELISH those memories. Those long, late nights. Those nights have made a profound impact on my life. I am so grateful for two parents that have invested so much in me. I really hope to make that investment worth it. 

I have been thinking about my mission. I can´t believe I have this much time here. Hermana Herrera asks me all the time ¨What would you say if you had to sum up your mission in a few words?¨ or ¨What have you enjoyed most about your mission¨? I hate those questions. I hate having to look back over my mission and see that it´s coming to an end. I randomly broke down crying in the streets the other night. We were walking and I was thinking about how much of a miracle the mission even is. It shouldn´t work. Young adults should not be willing to give up 2 years of their life to go and talk to people about their religion. It´s so weird. And they certainly should not be able to convince people to change their entire life and join a church and then do the same thing. It really doesn´t make sense how the missionary program even functions properly. But it does. And it´s successful. I am so thankful for this time that I have been given. I am especially grateful for the 3 and a half months that I have left. It´s going to be a wonderful time and we are going to make the most of it. I have had the greatest experience out here. I would reccommend this to everyone. And I do. It has changed me completely. I have gained so much more than I have given. 

Anyway. I love you all. 

Happy birthday to ben