Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Worst Night of My Life

Dear Family, 


It´s been a crazy week. I am pretty sure yesterday was the worst day of my life. I think God must be punishing me for being more excited about costco than about missionary work. Something like that. 

I REALLY love Sevilla. It´s enormous. There are 16 missionaries in this city, and just my area alone is bigger than the entire city of Jerez, and Almeria, and Elche. I could spend an hour and a half walking and I might get from one end to the other. My areas in elche and almeria were tiny so I am not used to walking this much. The elders here are in a bad habit of wasting time traveling. The chapel is about an hour away, on bus. So for example, we had correlation meeting on saturday. We left our piso at five and didn´t get back to our area until about 8:30. How ridiculous is that?? I found out this morning that there is a faster way, but the elders here before weren´t really concerned too much with saving time. But still, either way we have to waste a lot of time traveling. There´s not really much we can do. I am trying to convince the office to let us move. We don´t even live in our own area. We have to walk a half hour every day just to get to our own area. Plus our piso is super old and gross, and the church is paying WAY too much for this piso. So we are just waiting on the go ahead to look for a new piso. 

Sevilla is hot. But it´s SOOO different than Elche. I really didn´t realize just how humid Elche was until I got here. Everyone here is practically dying because of the heat, and I feel great. Seriously. It´s weird to hear others complain about the heat, cause that´s usually my job. It´s just like Arizona. Just a dry, baking heat. After elche, I can take anything. So that is definitely a little tender mercy. 

So why was yesterday the worst day of my life? Well on Friday I started feeling a little sick. It felt like strep was coming on. I woke up on Saturday and it felt like there was a golf ball in my throat, but after a few hours, motrin, and some spice of life I was feeling ok to work. Then I come home on Saturday and my head starts killing me. So I go to bed and have the WORST night of my life. It was like I had a bloody nose for 8 hours, but it wasn´t blood that was coming out. I felt awful. I go to church on Sunday morning and by that time I was just dying. My nose had stopped running, but I could barely speak because my throat hurt so much and my eyes were huge and puffy and red and swollen and literally did not stop leaking water. So everyone thought I had been up crying all night. Until they heard me speak and realized that I was deathly ill. Church was just the worst. I had to try and put a smiling face on and greet all of the members for the first time and then they ask me to get up and introduce myself during sacrament meeting, so I had to do that. Elder Love told me that I looked like I had just snorted some cocaine. I was sneezing and crying and I sounded like a 70 year old smoker. For some reason I decided to fast yesterday as well, so on top of everything else, I was literally starving. And then I find out that after church, we have ward council meeting. So I was at church for about four hours. And then we waited in the hot sun for our bus, and embarked our hour long bus ride to get home. And we got home around 3:30-4:00. We ate, and I was just getting worse. I just started to cough up a storm and my head started pounding and my nose turned into niagra falls and then I got this weird sinus pressure on the bridge of my nose and to top it all off, I broke out with a fever. The whole hot chills type thing. Yeah. It was a fun day. I don´t think I have ever been that sick in my entire life. I just laid in bed all day unable to sleep just miserable. It was the first time in my mission that I have ever not been able to work. I called the mission nurse that night and she suggested that I go to the ER, but Spanish Emergency Rooms are the biggest joke on the planet, so I told her it wasn´t necessary. I took some nyquil last night with a ton of ibruprofen and was able to sleep through the night alright. I feel ok now. My throat still hurts and I have a cough. And I still feel like I have a fever because of the hot chills that I get, but I am on dayquil so it´s manageable. The nurse is going to get me a doctor´s appointment. So yeah. It´s been fun. I am sure I made a wonderful impression on the members here :P 

And I lost my wallet. On Wednesday. I know that was divine punishment for the whole costco thing. I literally can´t do anything because I am broke. I lost everything. My social security card wasn´t in there. I don´t even have my social security card here with me in Spain. But everything else is gone. It´s actually really quite sad. I don´t think there is any worse feeling than that pit in your stomach once you realize that you´re on a train to Sevilla and your wallet is back on a bus in Malaga. I am usually SUPER paranoid about losing stuff. I think Kylie rubbed off on me because I feel like I am constantly checking to make sure I have everything. But this last transfer was just insane because my bus got there in Malaga and I had 15 minutes to get from the bus station to the train station to catch my train, and I was trying to make it. But I have WAY too much stuff and I couldn´t carry all of my luggage by myself. I was doing it alright, but then my largest suitcase just fell apart. A wheel fell off and after that, all hope was lost. So I missed my train. I had to wait there in Malaga for a few hours. And somehow in those three hours I never realized that I didn´t have my wallet. Everyone else was buying food at Burger King but I decided to be frugal and eat the food that my two best friends gave me. Dumb decision. If I had tried to eat BK, I would have realized that I didn´t have any money and I could have tried to run back to the bus station. 

The only positive thing about that fateful day was that I was reunited with Hermanas Rawle and Reed!!!!! WOOO!! Hermana Reed was with me on the bus to Malaga. She was with me in Elche and she left at the same time. She dies in one transfer and she will spend her last transfer in Malaga in the same district as Hermana Rawle. They are best friends. They served three transfers together in Elche. And now they are together again. So not fair. I was feeling rather bitter about it for a while. A lot of zone leaders ¨went down¨ this transfer (went back to being normal missionaries?) and one of them is going to THAT SAME DISTRICT. I could EASILY have just switched this guy places and served with my two best friends. Ugh. That´s ok though. God must want me here in Sevilla. Hermanas Rawle and Reed are the best. They´re going to be there at the airport when we get home. Rawle is from Utah, goes to BYU, and Reed is from CA and goes to BYU Idaho. 

I am glad to be in Sevilla though. Proctor is a good guy. Super tranquilo. Just very relaxed and go with the flow. Sometimes I feel like I am companions with a turtle. I try to haul it in the streets to make our travel time go faster, but he is just content as can be to walk at his own pace super far behind me. So I just have to go his pace. I like him a lot. But we have different styles of working. We get along really well though. He´s super funny. He reminds me a little bit of Tean, just by his sense of humor and personality. Just a super super calm, relaxed version of Teano. He´s my first companion from Utah. He´s from Kearns. 

Other than that, it´s just normal. The work is alright. I am super super motivated to change this area. We have three baptismal fechas right now. It´s a family of HondureƱas. They´re pretty cool. We´ll see what happens. I am a little worried because I feel like they don´t understand very well. We´re going to try our best though. They don´t have hardly any investigators here. We spend a lot of time with members and recent converts. Which is important. But we just waste a lot of time. I don´t want to make Proctor change the way he´s been doing things though. He´s only six weeks younger than me. So it´s kind of a difficult position. But we´re just doing to do the best we can for these next five weeks. And then Proctor will leave and I get to TRAIN. YAY!!! I am not a zone leader anymore. Which really is fine. I have wanted to train again ever since my second transfer in Elche, and President told me that after six weeks here I´ll be training, along with a ton of other ex zone leaders. So I am pretty excited about that. I am a District Leader right now. My zone leaders are Rasmussen and Love. They are like six months younger than me. But that´s alright. Everyone should have a chance to be ZL, and I really love both of them. I am not going to be the type of missionary that, after having been a leader, doesn´t respect his leaders in the mission just because they are younger than him. I think that´s the stupidest thing in the world. And yet it happens a lot here. 

I did a lot of self reflection as I laid in bed yesterday and coughed my lungs out. I really want to end my mission well. I feel like I focus too much on myself. I feel like my motivation for working is too much about self recognition than it is about helping other people. I feel like almost every missionary has that problem. It´s hard not to. But I am going to strive to find my motivation from a sincere desire to bless the lives of others. Lately I am constantly thinking about turning outward instead of inward. Being deathly ill at the chapel and yet, instead of wallowing in pain and self pity, trying to focus on other people and their needs and feelings. IT´S HARD. I feel like I have such a long ways to go. I don´t know if I have changed too much as a person out here. I hope so. But I think you´re totally right mom. It´s a constant effort. It´s enduring to the very end. It´s not something that just magically happens because of a mission. Sure it helps, but it takes more than a lifetime to acheive all of that. One decision at a time, one day at a time. 

I still haven´t been to costco yet. I can´t go in until I have a card. And I can´t buy a card until I have money. But there are no rules about it. President Deere drives three hours to go grocery shopping in costco, so he would definitely not have any problems with us doing it. The goal is to go next monday. I literally dream about kirkland. We had zone meeting this week and there is a senior couple in our zone. They brought kirkland ice cream and those costco brownie bite things for after zone meeting. I don´t think words could explain the way that I felt. It has been over 17 months since I have tried ice cream like that. They simply don´t have it here. The ice cream here is super thin and weird. It´s not gross or anything. It tastes good. But there is no comparison. NO FLIPPING COMPARISON. The thick, rich, vanilla bean costco ice cream was such a beautifully american experience that I have needed for so long. I chopped up my brownie things and mixed it into my ice cream cold stone style. Yeah. It was pure bliss. I can´t wait to go. 

I have to use my companion´s money for everything. So that´s kind of awkward. He eats like crap. I have eaten really badly for the past three months. But all I do here is eat spaghetti. Meat, CANNED mushrooms, processed tomato sauce, and noodles. Every day. The members don´t invite the missionaries over to eat here. Which is odd. I hardly ever ate at home in Elche. I am getting chubby. Just in my gut and face. My jawline is hard to see. It´s sad. But it´s time for 6 months to sexy. So I am ready to start. Proctor loves running, so as soon as my body lets me we´re going to go running in the mornings. And as soon as I have money I am going to buy healthy food. That of course doesn´t mean that I won´t enjoy costco to the utmost, because I will. I think that if I ate more fruits and vegetables, and exercised, I would be totally fine. 


I can´t believe I am finally coming around on my last six months. I obviously still have about 7 left, but still. It´s so crazy to me. I am the oldest one in my district now. It´s a weird feeling. 

As for travel plans, we can do whatever we want. President Deere is relaxed about pretty much everything. I really wanted to go to the harry potter castle in london, so I am glad that you are all on board as well. I just want to visit Sevilla, Jerez, Almeria, and Elche (and one area more), and then go to Madrid. We don´t have to. But it would be cool to see the temple there and visit the city. And yes Paris would be a must. And London. But you´re all in charge, really. Just so you know, I made a friend from Cork, Ireland. Her name is Peg Wynn, and she invited me to her house in Ireland to eat lamb and potatoes after my mission. She says it´s absolutely beautiful. So if you´re interested in visiting Ireland, I have already got some connections ;) 

Yeah it kills me that my brothers don´t appreciate it either. I talked about this for a while with Hermana Reed on the bus. It´s super important to me that my kids have a love for Harry Potter. I decided that we´re going to read it every night as a family. One chapter from the BoM, one from Harry Potter. Ya gotta start ´em out young. I think it also means that I need to add another quality on my future wife list. ¨abiding love for the gospel....and for harry potter.¨ Just kidding. Kind of. 

I loved reading about your week. I love your long emails mom. And dad´s was pretty long this week as well. I miss you guys a ton. Sorry for causing you more problems. Seriously, it bothers me so much that I lost my wallet. I will be extra careful from now on. I think it´s hysterical about Lincoln and his boat obsession. So great. 

And yes mother, you have been talking to us about all of that from the beginning. It´s something that is on my mind a lot, and I would thank you and Dad for giving us lots and lots of council and advice for when it comes to that decision. I feel like we are all much more prepared than the normal person to make decisions like that. Because you guys started us out young. I know what I want, and what is important, and what is dangerous. So you do deserve a pat on the back. 

Well I have typed for a while now. Thanks for your support. You´re the best. I love you a ton. Let´s hope that I get better soon so that I can start working!!! I am really excited for this transfer. And to start working out and eating better. And to find new people to teach. It´s going to be great! 

love, preston

Monday, August 4, 2014

Can I Get an I Love Kirkland?

Dear Family, 


I am SOOOO TIRED!!!! And a little sad. I am leaving Elche. My humid, hot, desert paradise of palm trees. I have really loved my time here. And my next destination is.....


SEVILLA!!!!!!! Or, in other words, hell. It´s one of the hottest cities in Europe, and the hottest city in Spain. And the two hottest months of the year are August and September. I lucked out, didn´t I?? The good thing is that it´s SUPPOSEDLY not humid there. They say that it´s a dry heat. So that will be nice. Basically just spending two months as a missionary in Arizona. So that´s cool. My companion is called Elder Proctor. He is only a transfer younger than me. I don´t know him very well. Nobody knows him very well, actually. Apparently the area I am going to is suffering a lot. They literally taught three investigator lessons last week. So it sounds like we´ll be starting from zero. YAY!! No really though, I am excited. It will be a growing experience. 

Sevilla is the third largest city in Spain I think. Madrid is the biggest, and it has three stakes. Barcelona is second, and it has 2 stakes. Malaga is TINY compared to Sevilla, and it has five wards in it. Sevilla, although it´s enormous, has only two wards. So my area will be HUGE. Sevilla went through a time of apostasy, so it´s nowhere near as big as it should be. For some reason they don´t baptize a lot there. Every once in a while of course. But it should be better. The mission headquarters used to be there, but they moved it to Malaga. I am excited. It is my first time being in a large city. I am actually kind of nervous. Jerez, Almeria, and Elche are all rather small cities. Sevilla is probably much bigger than all of them put together. But it´ll be cool. Lots of culture there. Alright....time for the reason for which I am most excited to go to Sevilla.....





IN SEVILLA, AS OF TWO MONTHS AGO, THERE IS A..............







COSTCOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES!!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! COSTCO COSTCO COSTCO COSTCO!!!!!!! 

It is THE ONLY COSTCO in all of Europe!!! Except for England of course. I honestly start tearing up when I think about it. There is just so much nostalgia and emotion that wells up inside of me when I think about Costco and how I will be there just ONE WEEK from today. I honestly do not deserve all of the blessings that my Father in Heaven gives me. He´s the best. For those of you that might be saying that it´s different than the American stores, you´re mistaken. According to President and Hermana Deere, all of the senior couples, and all of the missionaries serving in Sevilla, it is almost EXACTLY the same as an american costco. YEP. Can I get an I LOVE KIRKLAND!!!!!!!anyone??? KIRKLAND everything. The other day when I went to the mission home I ate KIRKLAND brand salsa and KIRKLAND brand chocolate coverd almonds and KIRKLAND brand peanut butter pretzels..........AND KIRKLAND BRAND CHOCOLATE FREAKING MUFFINS!!! YESSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!! I am so incredibly lucky. Hermana Deere drives like three hours just to go to Costco. So yeah. You might say that I am somewhat looking forward to it. 


But, in order to make all of my wildest dreams come true, I am going to need a costco card...I can apply for one here. I mean, I will only be in Sevilla for 4 months. I will go to my last area on December 12. But still. The only way they let you in is if you go with someone who has a card. I don´t know if any missionaries have cards or not, but I was wondering if you could send me one....or would it be easier if I just applied for one here? They work internationally btw. Just let me know what you think. Best part- my son happens to be in Sevilla right now as well. Elder Erickson. And he happens to be in a car assigned area. So he´s going to do his daddy a favor and take me to costco. 

UNLIMITED SKIPPY PEANUT BUTTER!!!!!
EVERYTHING AMERICAN!!! I AM FREEEEEEEEEEE!!!! 

Alright. Anything else exciting happen this week? Well my hermanas are dying. The first one to die is Hermana Nielsen, the girl who was there at the airport when I was balling my eyes out saying goodbye to all of you. She goes home on Wednesday (she´s going home a transfer early for school and her brother´s wedding). And then in two weeks, practically all of my other hermanas go home to get to school. And in six weeks, all of them will offically be dead. In four weeks, I start my six month countdown. The greatest part of your mission from what I hear. I don´t know how it can get any better than this, but apparently it does. It´s weird to think that we started together and that they are all dying. Hey, just barely realized this- today officially makes seven months left. SO WEIRD. 

Your week sounds about as luxurious as ever during the summer time. I swear, those kids SERIOUSLY don´t understand how good they have it. I laughed my head off when I read about Quincey and Lincoln fighting over who gets to put their head on your lap during sacrament meeting. They both better start getting used to the reality that, once I return home, I am putting myself into that rotation as well ;)  

It´s been a good week. It flew by. The weeks always do with concilio. On Saturday we went to Felix´s house to have a good bye barbaque. It was cool. I will try and send photos. The stake president was there. He´s like my hero. He´s so awesome. The youngest stake president in all of europe. He´s only 33. I admire him a lot. He is probably the most driven and organized person I hae ever met. I don´t know how he does it all. He has SOOO many responsibilities and he juggles all of it. I am sure that man has divine help constantly. He has to do all of the house work because his wife has really bad pregnancies and was bed ridden for nine months (she just had the baby recently and is now getting back on her feet), and so he cooked, cleaned, took care of all of the children, worked a full time job, studied, and fulfilled all of his many responsibilities as stake president. He´s INCREDIBLE. I consider myself very blessed for being able to get close to him. He lives in our ward and I see him a lot, plus he is super close to Felix. His wife Cynthia is awesome too. Spaniards can just be so awesome sometimes. 

Well I am about out of time. Andrea looked SOOOO mormon yesterday at church!!! Usually everyone here wears dresses that push the modesty line a ton. SIDENOTE I have put my foot in my mouth so many times when it comes to some comments that slip out of me about modesty in the church in spain. (the stake president and his wife agree with me though, that´s what counts) But anyway, so everyone wears short skirt dresses and stuff, but yesterday Andrea came in a dress that was just perfectly modest and elegant and I was just so proud of her. She´s so awesome. Gabriela her cousin came back from Belgium so she has been here too. It´s been really cool. We´re still working on convincing Nayeli´s parents to let her get baptized. I wish I could have been here to see it. That´s ok though. 

I am really excited to start over in Sevilla. It will be perfect for me. I know that it´s just what I need. 

Well I need to go. We are having our last zone pday, because pretty much every companionship is being changed. So we´re going ICE SKATING and then to a 50s american diner. We´ll see how american it really is. Anyway. I love you all

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Headed to the Heat?

How are all of you guys? 

Sounds like you had a ton of fun in AZ. At least you have AC!!! Here they don´t really use it. I am a little worried because August is the hottest month of the year here and President is hinting that I am going to be sent to a really hot area in a week. Which scares me. But I will be fine. I am SOOO excited to get through my last summer in this country. 

Logan looks great. Kyle too. It´s crazy that he´s home just there with all of you. Super exciting about Janis and Kevin having a baby. That family is changing so fast. 

I wish I could have spent time with you and the Williams. I miss them a ton. I miss everyone of course. 

Well I don´t have a whole lot of time. I want to watch a conference talk today. 

We had a good week. It was long. Probably because we only taught 13 lessons. We were really just enfocused on making sure the baptism went through. It did!!!! I really loved it. Saturday we had three baptisms. C,  K, and D. I´ll send you a picture of D.  The Hermanas of the other ward taught her,  but all of the missionaries are super close to her. She´s the coolest. Her dad baptized her. It was the most spiritual baptism I have ever been to. I had to sing at her baptism. Scared the tar out of me. I don´t know how on earth I was ever able to sing in public because I get so nervous when I do it now. I guess it´s so much time without practice. But I did alright. It would be really nice to have Spencer´s voice!!! Never having to worry about messing up, just so flawless and natural. He´s a lucky man. 

Dad. In response to your email, yes and no. One thing I have noticed on my mission is that a missionary- investigator relationship is very interesting. Sometimes it can be too formal, and sometimes too informal. I would say that A is one of my best friends. But I feel like a problem that I have is that I am too casual with people. I am not formal enough when I teach, and I think it affects the spirituality of my lessons. I think I am TOO much of a friend to my investigators. But not to all of them. For example, we have basically no connection whatsoever with K, the Ecuadorian boy. We try and try.  The mom and sister are both members, but they don´t ever even come out and talk to us. They can´t even look us in the eye. The sister is 14!!! Can you believe that?? K is a sweet boy, with a really good heart, and he is much better than his family when it comes to socializing with people, but it´s so hard for us to find any connections with him. We always just go to his house, make lame, awkward conversation, and then teach and leave. It´s ok though. I think there is a good balance. But A and her family are some of my best friends. D, although she isn´t our convert, is also a really good friend of ours. It´s been forever since I have seen my people in Jerez, but they also are some of my best friends. Being a missionary and baptizing people is different than growing up with one of your best friends and then baptizing them. But I am sure both are very rewarding. 

Anyway. I am exhausted with this area. I feel like I have been here forever. Wiley is my favorite companion, and I love him to death, and I love Elche to death, but I am so ready to leave. SOOO ready. I am ready to learn a different area and meet new people. I will miss this place a ton. And I might even cry as I leave, but another six weeks here would be so difficult. But I know I am leaving. Apparently going to Sevilla or Cordoba to burn for two months. Divine Punishment. Ha. 

I love you all. Thanks for your support. 

The church is still true. I finished the book of mormon again. That book is still true as well. I love it so much 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Not so short. :)

Dear Family, 

This will likely be very short. Sorry.      Or NOT so short

I am doing pretty well :) It´s been a crazy week. Our mission is doing really well right now. We have 40 fechas as a mission for this weekend. I am just hoping and praying that they go through. 

I am glad that you enjoyed scout camp so much. And I am proud of Brigham for going on the longer hike!!! And for realizing how awesome boating is. I may have mentioned something before, but going boating is on my top ten priorities list after the mission. So...hopefully we can work something out with the whole bear lake thing Dad. And mom, the stairs look FANTASTIC. Seriously. You are such a champ for being so productive. I seriously admire you a ton. Really. I have realized on my mission that all I want is to marry someone EXACTLY like my mother. I hope you had a wonderful birthday, even though it may have started off really bad. I miss you a ton and was thinking about you all day on Saturday. I sang happy birthday to you multiple times! 

God answers prayers. I was relieved to hear that Grammy´s surgery went well. 

I have a few really cool experiences to share. 

Andrea. Is. A. MAQUINA!!!!!!!!!!!  Seriously she´s the greatest. Right now she is at EFY which makes me so happy. I spent a lot of time trying to convince her to go and trying to get the ward to make an exception. Thankfully the bishop here LOVES the youth and he pulled some strings for us, as the sign up deadline passed like two months ago. So she´s going to have a great week. The cool thing happened yesterday. I had her phone and was looking for something when I stumbled upon a conversation that she had with her 12 year old cousin Paula who lives in Madrid. 

Paula asked her ¨why doesn´t my baptism count?¨ and Andrea went on to explain, through a conversation of like 50 messages back and forth, ALL about the restoration and the apostasy and the authority and Christ´s church and Joseph Smith. It was PERFECT. She explained it better and more simply and clearly than we do. Not even kidding. Her 12 year old cousin understood it perfectly. As missionaries they teach us how to deliver the message and what to do and she just did everything. I don´t even know how. I don´t remember everything she said anymore, but I made her take screenshots of it and she´s going to email it to me. She talked about the name of the church, and how ours is the only one that bears the name of Christ. And the best part was at the end when she invited her cousin to be baptized. Her cousin said ¨but how can you know?¨ and then Andrea committed her to pray and ask God if all of the things that Andrea told her are true or not. And her cousin said she would do it, and then told Andrea that  ¨I have been crying for five minutes now and I just don´t know why. I feel something weird..¨ and then Andrea, like the perfect missionary that she is, said ¨oh that feeling that you have is just the holy ghost testifying to you that the things I have said are true. you need to pray and ask god about it.¨  I ABOUT DIED. I looked at her just dumbfounded with my jaw dropped and she realized that I had her phone and got mad at me. I just cannot believe it. SHE EVEN IDENTIFIED THE SPIRIT. OVER A TEXT MESSAGE. Seriously amazing. She is a miracle. She hasn´t even been a member for a month yet. 

Elder Wiley and I just want to give her the world. Seriously. Her teeth aren´t super bad or anything, but she feels self conscious. So we want to buy her braces, pay for her to come to the US and study at BYU, send her on a mission, find her an amazing husband, everything. She´s so great. I know the gospel will open tons of doors for her. It´s a weird feeling. I have NEVER felt so close to a convert. I think this is what it feels like to have a little sister. Wiley and I are just like her protective older brothers that want to give her everything. She´s just so great. 

Other thing...

TUDELA CAME BACK TO ELCHE YESTERDAY!!! It was so great. Seeing him in church was awesome. He even got to here me speak in church yesterday. Haha. But yeah. Hearing him talk about how he feels really inspired me to finish my mission strong. I asked him how it was being released and he just looked at me and started tearing up. I have NEVER seen this kid cry before. But as he told me about how it was with him and his stake president, he was crying just talking about it. Apparently he just walked in, sat down, looked at his stake president, and started bawling uncontrolably. I wouldn´t have believed him if he hadn´t been crying while telling it. I didn´t think Tudela expressed emotions like that. Seriously. But he says that although being home is cool and all, he really really misses the mission. He feels like he no longer has a purpose in life. As he was crying in front of his stake president, the SP asked him ¨do you feel satisfied with the service you have given? ¨  and then Tudela just responded through his tears with a ¨Yes. Yes I do.¨ and as I watched him say that to me something just hit me really hard. All I really want is to be able to say the same thing when President Jones asks me that question. That is all that matters. I want to feel in my heart that God has accepted my sacrifice. And I am going to do everything I can over the next 8 months to make it happen. I also got to meet his parents and speak with his mom. Hearing his mom talking about how it was for her, and how proud she was of him, and how different he is, and seeing the video of tudela arriving at the airport and hugging his mom and dad...it was awesome. It didn´t make me trunky at all. Just more motivated to work harder so that I can feel good at the end of the line. I want to hug my parents knowing that I have left EVERYTHING in the field. The only way I will ever be happy with myself is if I give my very best these last 8 months. I will be honest, I haven´t been very focused here in Elche. But that is going to change. I have promised myself and the Lord that I will hit the tape with nothing left. 

Other cool thing...

We watched the joseph smith movie last night. The full one. I haven´t really sat down and watched the whole thing since the MTC. In the MTC, every single missionary was just bawling and sobbing and then there was me just sitting there with my arms folded looking sad and confused. 

But a lot can change in 16 months. I don´t usually get super affected by the films and videos of the church. I feel the spirit in a lot of them. But the mormon messages don´t make me cry or anything. But yesterday we were at a FHE (with some other missionaries and their 19 year old inv that will get baptized on saturday...I have to sing at her baptism :(  ) and they put that on and I just felt so different. I realized just how much my testimony of the prophet joseph smith has grown. I have felt good about him for the last year or so. I know he´s not perfect, but the doubts that I used to have are totally gone and have been for a while. But as I watched that movie, and it got to the part where he kneels to pray and satan attacks him and then God comes with Jesus in the pillar of light..I felt like I was on fire. It was so simple, we were just watching a flipping movie, but it was such a powerful experience for me. I just felt like I was literally vibrating spiritually and all of the sudden I was just bombarded with the same thought over and over ¨this is true¨ this is true this is true it´s all true¨ and then I just started to cry silently. I didn´t need a confirmation of that or anything. I wasn´t searching for it. I felt super good about the restoration. But for some reason it just really impacted me. Tears were just dripping from my face and everyone was looking at me and I was super embarrassed. I have watched accounts of the first vision like a thousand times on my mission. We always watch the 20 minute video with our investigators. The other missionaries probably thought to themselves ¨what the heck is this kid´s deal...he´s seen this like a hundred times¨. 

But I really felt a confirmation of the first vision last night during that movie. I freaking love Joseph Smith. I realize that he wasn´t perfect, but I know, I KNOW, despite all of the doubts that I have had, that he was a prophet of God. The Holy Ghost really can and does speak to our spirit. I can say that, through His Holy Spirit, God has testified to me of the truthfulness of Joseph´s account of the First Vision. I know it´s true. And I am SOOOO grateful for that knowledge. Because I have not always had it. And you are totally right mom. If we don´t continue to search for the Spirit´s guidance and read and study and pray, we will lose that knowledge. The gospel is simple, but not easy. 

Well I am out of time. I love you all a ton. Thanks for all you do. I leave Elche on August 6th. I don´t know where I am going. But I just want to be a missionary without leadership responsibility because all I want to do is train again. Luckily, the transfer after this one, lots of new missionaries are coming. Like thirty. So I am hoping that I go to a normal area for a transfer, learn the area, and then get to train after those six weeks. Fingers crossed. And I still have five transfers left. So I will most likely have two more areas after Elche. Crazy huh?? And we are still working on getting the missionaries to find our family in Belgium. For some reason the Belgium mission just is super slow to contact references. 

love you all!!

elder sharp

P.S. Have fun in hell, Dad ;) Hahaha I still laugh whenever he refers to AZ as hell. He truly means it 

P.S.S Thank you for your testimonies. I am so blessed to have such faithful and righteous parents. SO many people don´t have them. I love you guys more than anything

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Last week's letter

What a miracle!!! I don´t have much time this week, but we had the coolest experience ever. 


We had absolutely no hopes in baptizing Andrea´s family. They left on Sunday morning to Belgium. It was Wednesday and we were teaching Maria the mom of Andrea and Gabriela who is her cousin. We knew they were leaving in literally four days. We showed up to the house with absolutely no idea what we were going to teach. We walk in and sit down and just start talking for a while. We had planned on talking about the holy ghost I think with Andrea. But for some reason during the middle of the lesson, we both felt a super strong impression to start talking about the requirements for baptism. It was a very clear impression. It was weird because I honestly never even dreamed or hoped that they would get baptized before they left. We didn´t even try to push them. But we felt like we should invite them to be baptized on Saturday morning, the day before the left to Belgium. So we went over DC 20:37 and talked about how the Nephites in 3rd Nephi didn´t wait one second to be baptized after Christ left for the first time...and we felt the spirit a ton in that lesson. We invited them, and they said no way... So I was a little disanimated. So we just invited them to pray and ask god that night if he wanted them to be baptized on saturday (which was three days away) and they said they would. So we leave and go back the next day (thursday) and somehow elder wiley ended up teaching gabriela in the corner and I was teaching maria with the rest of Andrea´s family. I couldnt´hear wiley at all. I had no idea what he was talking to her about. But I taught Maria and asked her about her prayer and she said that she felt God´s answer, but that she was afraid. So we went over the baptismal interview questions, and I honestly don´t even know what I said to her. But all of the sudden Maria just called out to Gabriela (who was with Wiley) across the room ¨Gabby, I am getting baptized this saturday!!" and then gabriela turned around and said ¨me too!!!¨ 

I about fell out of my chair. It was incredible. I was a little scared to baptize them that soon. But I knew and felt that it was what God wanted. So we did the interviews the next day on Friday, and they were baptized on Saturday morning and confirmed right afterwards ( we got special permission) and then they left the next day to Belgium. 

It was great. Seriously one of the coolest miracles I have seen on my mission. I am very worried about them though. We have already contacted their bishop in Belgium, and there are latinos there that will take care of them. The mother of Gabby and the sister of Maria didn´t get baptized because it was too soon for her. So the missionaries in Belgium will get that reference soon and will take care of them. And I will email them every week and make sure that they are ok. But I really don´t like not being with my recent converts after the baptism. I don´t care how many people I baptize, but I do care that they stay active and close to the gospel. So far all 13 are good in the church. But I am worried about the two in Belgium. Anyway. I really love this family. They are so amazing and It was REALLY hard for me to say goodbye to them. 

I know that God will take care of them for me. And I am not going to forget about them. 


Well I love you all. This is seriously the greatest time of my mission. Elche is the best

Not a Real Letter :)

I am way too tired to write out a long email talking about my week. 

Nothing too exciting has happened. It´s been a slow week work wise. But I think it was a week of personal victories for me. 

You two are so classy. I LOVED the photos of your anniversary trip. Seriously amazing. Let´s just go to washington and oregon together instead of europe. Haha. No but seriously you guys have class. SUPER cool vacation. I am really jealous. The doogers thing really was just salt on the wound. Seeing photos of that place makes it difficult for me to appreciate the natural beauty of Spain. It´s beautiful in its own way, but I am more drawn to deep green forests and stuff like that. I love rain and cold weather and clouds. Not hot sun with sandy beaches. But Spain is still super pretty. 

Anyway. Irish restaurant looks sweet. 

I am exhausted right now. I didn´t really sleep on the bus. We took it last night at 4 am and got here to malagaat 11 am. So I haven´t slept a whole lot. 

that´s ok though. 

Any questions for me? I am not going to write out a huge email. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Rooster

Dear Family, 

Hello!!!!!! ! ! ! ! How are you? Kyle is home. WOW. That´s crazy. I really wish I could see a picture or something. Well that´s it I guess. Next is Kayla right? And then Hunter. And then me. Weird. 

I am STAYING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!! Yes. I really wanted to stay. Six more weeks in Elche. That´ll be four transfers. Which means I will have spent more time in Elche than in any other area. 

Andrea got baptized!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :) It was the greatest baptismal service I have ever been to. I seriously loved it. Andrea is so special. I love her to death. I love her family too. She has tons of family here in Elche. Her mom and aunt and cousin are amazing. They all want to be baptized. But the problem is that they are moving to Belgium in a week. Andrea isn´t, she will be living with other members of her family here in Elche. But still. It´s really sad for me. But I keep reminding myself. It doesn´t matter WHO baptizes anyone. Thanks to God for guiding us to Andrea, her entire family will be baptized and receive the gospel within the next two years. No doubt about it. She will bring her entire family. And there are tons of them. We´ve met at least 10, and she has a lot of others here. It´s so wonderful. So althought it may not be me who is there to witness it all, that doesn´t matter. What matters is that these people have the chance to accept the gospel. I feel like Andrea will be the cause of SO many souls finding the gospel. 

I suppose I would rather just have the money. I can buy a cheap suit from HM or something. And then have that one when I get back. It will be nice to have at least one american suit that isn´t trashed. That poor black suit has seen it´s days. Guess what though? Still fits me. It was tight from the beginning. So were my baptism pants. I hadn´t put those bad boys on since September. I used them last night and they fit better than they did 8 months ago. Which is a relief. 

I don´t have a lot of time today. But I hope you are well. SOOOOO happy about Clayton. Seriously. That is the greatest news ever. I am glad that he felt the spirit. Feeling the spirit and crying are very different, but often we mix that up. Good thing Clayton has no tear ducts. He would never mistake crying for feeling the spirit. EFY is awesome. 

Hermana R has a crazy obsession with studying. In her free time she studies Heavenly Mother and stuff like that. She is...well...she really likes knowing things, and she struggles a little with the way that some things are. I admire her so much. She doesn´t want the priesthood or anything, she just wants to understand. But anyway. People send her all these crazy talks and stuff. I read a twenty page BYU study on Heavenly Mother. It´s fascinating. You should look it up. But yeah. Hermana Rawle is leaving. Which is sad. But that´s ok. I just really love the people that I have met here. 

Well what else do I say?? I got an awful haircut. AWFUL. I keep trying to ask members to do it so that I can save money but I decided that it´s just not going to work out. Three people worked on my hair, and the end result is at least not a hack job. But it´s a gross european haircut that makes me look like a rooster. That´s ok though. It grows fast. 

I am trying to convince Spencer to go to UVU. And then live with me in Provo. Fingers crossed. 

Well that´s about it. I love you all a lot. I miss you. Want to know something scary? After this transfer flies by, I will only have five left. My time is seriously ticking. It´s...scary. 

Love, elder sharp