Tuesday, April 30, 2013

In Malaga!!

I had my fingers crossed that maybe my phone would ring today, with either Preston or maybe his mission president's wife letting me know that Preston arrived and where he would be serving.  Instead, we got this email this morning.  That's okay though.  At least we heard from him.  What would I say about Preston right now?  That's a hard one for me to answer as well.  The boy is passionate.  No debating that.  :)

I AM HERE!!! I LOVE him so much!! President Deere is fantastic. The PERFECT mission president for me. Oh I wish I could tell you just how happy I am!! We took a bullet train to Malaga this morning. I totally felt like Harry Potter in that train station. A bunch of odd looking kids with tons of luggage walking in a single file line boarding a train to begin the adventure of their life. Wow. It was cool. On the train ride I finally fell in love with Spain. I didn't really care for Madrid all that much, but it must have been because I wasn't in my actual mission yet. The countryside in my mission is gorgeous. The most beautiful landscaping I have ever seen besides the forests of Washington and Oregon. I flipping love it. The rolling hills covered with olive trees and random castles and fortresses everywhere...it is not deserty like everyone says it is. I love Spain!! And I LOVE Malaga!! We got here and there was such a different feeling. President and Hermana Deere were waiting for us along with all the mission staff and it was so amazing. So amazing. It literally feels different here. This is where I am meant to be. Oh my gosh I cannot tell you how much I love it here!!!!!!!! We got out of the train station and walked over to a capilla a few blocks away. Everybody else left their luggage in lockers in the train station, but I wasn't allowed to because the luggage scanner picked up the sword that was in my suitcase and they wouldn't let me store my stuff. That was ok though. Another Elder had the same problem. We just carried our stuff to the capilla. Anyway. We had an orientation and President Deere began interviewing everyone. They fed us pizza and we have just been waiting around. I just got out of my interview with him. He's so wonderful. Wow I'm blessed. The APs here are really awesome too. I really like one of them. He is really Christlike. Anyway, during the interview we just talked about my MTC experience and my family and whatnot. He asked me what my mother would tell him about me if she were there right then. That was a difficult question to answer.
There are 29 of us right now. And the four Provo kids should be arriving soon. 12 of the 29 are staying in the mission office/home for tonight and tomorrow because they have to travel far away and they need to get residency stuff done soon as well as it's a national holiday tomorrow so the transportation system is closed. So they can't leave here. 17 of the 29 (which is the group I'm in) will get our companions in a few hours and be on our way to our areas tonight. And then I will come back to mission headquarters next week to do my residency stuff. Anyway. I don't have a whole lot of time but I just wanted to let you know what was going on. Saying goodbye to the wonderful people I met at the MTC was hard. But I am so happy right now. I love this work and I am SOOO excited to do it. I could just cry tears of joy. Sorry for being so awful at writing. I will try!! I love you all. This is so amazing.
I love you
Elder Sharp

Monday, April 29, 2013

Day 43

Preston sent this to me this morning. I was able to email back and forth for a few minutes. He sounds so happy!!

Well I am here to tell you that I survived the MTC!! I leave tomorrow morning at 7am. I couldn´t be more excited. I can´t wait to meet my trainer and finally start serving. I am also incredibly excited to meet President Deere. Well I only have five minutes to do this but I just want to say that I am so incredibly grateful for the time I spent here. It was amazing and although difficult at times, so worth it. I have made amazing friends and I have been humbled beyond belief. There are so many fantastic missionaries here and I feel honored to serve with them. I know that there are lots of people that don´t take the gospel seriously. They don´t realize the importance of what we have. But I know why the Lord has chosen this generation to lead out in the hastening of his work. There are so many fantastic, righteous people that I have come to know. I am rubbing shoulders with some of the most elect children of God and I am so lucky to have this opportunity. I can´t wait to start serving. I am so blessed to be a missionary right now. I love you all and thank you for the support!!
Elder Sharp

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Week 6- Last Email From MTC (day 39)

I struggled again with sleep last night as I waited for his email to come in.  He leaves the MTC on Tuesday morning at 6:30 a.m. and he'll travel by train down to Malaga.  Then he will receive his assignment and he'll know where he's serving.  That means I may not hear from him until the following week, whenever his new P-day is.  I'm assuming it will be Monday, but I'm not sure.  I'll be honest, missing him is not getting easier.  Waiting for his letters to finally arrive every week is starting to get easier and the time is starting to feel like it's going a little faster.  But I still sob when I read his letters and I still physically hurt with a desire to see him and talk to him.  Mother's Day- only 17 days away!!  :) 
Hello my beautiful family!!
I have missed you so much. I literally ache for you. But I also ache to get out and preach the gospel of my Savior Jesus Christ. I leave on Tuesday morning at 6:30 am. It would be an understatement to say that I am excited. I have never been more ready for anything in my life. I am confident in my God and I know that He will in all ways direct my paths and my progression. I have learned lots at the MTC. I have never been so hard on myself in my entire life. Really. I have wasted time here. I have disobeyed rules. But I have learned lots. One thing is that repentance is constant. But it´s not repentance unless we actually make efforts to do better. There have been way too many nights where I chastise myself and plead for forgiveness from my Father because of how poorly I used His time that day. And then I find myself doing the exact same thing the next day. It´s ironic. And a huge problem. I wish that I could go back and do it again. I have learned lots and I have done good things. BUT I have not been the best that I could have been. I have wasted lots of hours that I could have been studying and preparing. I did not work as hard as I could have or should have. If my mission was now over and I was on the airplane home, I would hang my head and weep about what I didn´t accomplish. However, my mission is simply beginning. The greatest thing I learned here is what it feels like to fail. Did I fail completely? Absolutely not. Did I give my entire soul to God and sacrifice everything to do His work? No. I didn´t. Did I even come close? Nope. I could have given so much more. And that is failure. The thought of knowing that I could have given Him more is unbearable. I am not a psychopath or anything; I am definitely not too hard on myself- I just know that I can do so much better. I will not leave this country with regrets. I will not hang my head on that airplane home. I am leaving EVERYTHING here. Elder Holland said that missionaries should be CARRIED off the airplane home. An ambulance should meet us at the airport. This work is urgent. And it´s being hastened. I will not dwell on what I could have done better. That would be a waste of God´s time. Now is the time to go forward with faith, Trusting fully in the Lord, having learned from my mistakes.
I just got out of the temple. I shed a lot of tears in that Celestial Room. I have had the most beautiful experiences in the Madrid Spain Temple. The last three weeks have been miraculous for me. I did my last session in Spanish, and I went through the veil with little help. So different than the first time I went through veil in Spanish that first week. I decided to do a Spanish session the first and last weeks to test my progress. And I have progressed a great deal. But more important than that is the inspiration and love that I have received in La Casa Del Senor. I will always treasure Temple Square in Madrid. I have grown much closer to my Savior and a huge part of that resulted from my time in the temple. We are so blessed to have them in our lives in such abundance. Do you remember the song from Prince of Egypt? About the tapestry and its grand designs? The tapestry of His gospel and His church is woven so perfectly. Everything is connected. Sometimes we get glimpses of its grand design, and those are beautiful moments. It helps so much to see the big picture. The Plan of Salvation is divine. Obviously. I love the Gospel.
I had a lot of spiritual experiences this week. Even though it may have been my most unproductive week yet in regards to waste time, the Lord still saw fit to bless my life. One of the most prominent experiences was when I was in my afternoon classes with Hermana Delgado. She has gotten better lately at teaching. But sometimes she really frustrates us. And not just me. Our whole class. She decided to take our class outside yesterday in front of the temple. Just because she wanted to go outside. It wasted time and then we get out there and she had us do this role play activity that she always makes us do and it doesn´t help us at all. Our other teachers give her the less important lessons when they plan out the teaching week because they know that she doesn´t teach us very well. Anyway. We were all frustrated with her and I think she could tell. The first hour was spent outside doing a little role play game, and then we went inside and she was to act as our investigator. And Elder Webb and I happened to be first. I could tell that she really wasn´t in a good mood. She seemed upset. But we didn´t really think much about it. I had a hard heart. We walked to the room where we teach her and knocked on the door, she opened it and we walked in. She closed the door and looked at us. And then burst into tears. She went off in rapid Spanish about how overwhelmed she is and how hard this is for her (this is her first group of missionaries) and talked about how she feels really jealous about her ``boyfriend`` (he works at the MTC too and apparently isn´t very interested in her, it´s dramatic here) and all these different things about her life and she asked for a blessing. She begged for a blessing. She doesn´t speak English. Haha I don´t think Elder Webb understood one word she said. She was hysterical. But it felt like a spiritual slap upside the head. I am so selfish. Although she may not have been the best teacher, I have no idea what she is going through. I learned a valuable lesson. I proceeded to give her a blessing in Spanish, and it was terrifying. But the words just flowed. I felt the love that Heavenly Father has for her, and I now know that I can never judge people the way I have always done. I don´t know what they are going through. I do know that God loves everyone just as much as me, and I need to see them through His eyes and not my own. The Lord is so good to all of us. I have learned so much from Hermana Delgado. I have pondered her and what she has taught me. It is much more valuable than the Spanish language or teaching skills. Her faith is such an example. She taught me a lot about how to be more Christ like. You know, in the beginning Elder Malan told me that she was my teacher for a reason. He said that the teachers here are inspired and that I would one day now why Anna Delgado was assigned to the Wilford Woodruff district (my district). His words proved to be prophetic. I am grateful for my experiences here. I am so grateful for the CCM. I know I was sent here for a reason.
I have other experiences, but they are more personal so I will write them in my letters today. I am dedicating my P day to letter writing. I must tell all of you that I was never so happy in my whole mission than I was the past week. I LOVED LOVED LOVED the present from Laurie. Wow. So incredibly wonderful. The Hermanas here loved it too. It really is perfect. That was so nice of her. I also loved the letters from you guys. When I saw that letter I about died. If I could get one of those once or twice a month, I can make it through this no problem. I was sad that there wasn´t one from Spence in there. I have a lot to tell him. I cried a lot. Haha. Those letters are my prized possessions. It´s amazing how much things change when you leave home for two years. Talk about sorting out priorities. I loved Duane´s letter too. And Grammy´s and Grandpa´s letters. I am so blessed to have the family that I do.
To be more mundane, this week was good. We got new hermanas in our district from Provo about two weeks ago, and they distract me a ton in class. They have really similar interests and tastes to me, so we talk a lot. It´s actually not a good thing. But it is nice to have people that are like me. I felt so different from everyone here for the longest time. One of them has even read the Alliance!! You know I have never met anyone that knew what that book was. Anyway. They are a blessing and a curse. I was better staying on task when I didn´t really have the desire to talk to the people in my district. Still. Only a few days left of this. But I am working on staying focused here. I don´t think it´s good to just put off my problems until they don´t exist. I need to solve them myself.
What to say? My birthday here was great. It was another Hermana´s b-day in my district as well on the 19th, so that was cool. She is 22 now. They were so nice to me. They bought us all candy and stuff and wrote us notes. And they decorated our room and the new Hermanas had the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack playing when I walked in the room and everyone yelled “SURPRISE!!” when Elder Webb and I walked in. It was really sweet of them. I guess I had made a comment a while ago about how I didn´t expect this birthday to be that great, seeing as how I wasn´t with my family, but they made it special and that was their goal. Wonderful missionaries. I love them a lot.
Last P day I went to the mall and got a haircut. It was expensive. I talked to the guy cutting my hair about the gospel and lots of stuff. It was flipping hard to speak to him because he spoke really softly and there was a buzz in my ear the whole time from the clippers. And his Spanish was kind of weird. He´s from South America I think. But we managed to communicate somehow and I wrote my testimony in a BOM and gave it to him afterwards. Hopefully something comes from that! I ate at Burger King too. It´s not that good. But a much needed break from what we eat here. Oh and guess what………………I BROKE M Y SODA FAST. I ordered wrong at Burger King and they gave me a meal instead of just the burger. And they don´t have water anywhere here in Spain unless you buy a bottle. The only things they had were carbonated drinks. So I got fanta. And I drank some and the carbonation about killed me. I felt like I was swallowing fire. Afterwards I felt sick. And now the thought of soda is repulsive to me. So I won´t be doing that again. People were trying to convince me to buy soccer shoes at the store for like forty euros. I was close to doing it, but I didn´t. It would have been stupid. I am not good enough to buy shoes for it. But I am really loving soccer.
Well I have lots more to say but I need to get off. I will write more in letters today. I suppose this is my last long email in the MTC. Kind of sad. But really just awesome.
I love you all with every fiber of my soul!!
Elder Sharp

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Well let me just say that getting that package from you may have been one of the happiest moments of my life. Not kidding. Hearing from you guys is wonderful. Letters are seriously like Christmas. But that package was pure joy! It was absolutely perfect. I didn´t start crying until I picked up Quincey (or maybe Lincoln´s) airplane. I don´t know what it is exactly (maybe just the being away from home effect) but I just have the deepest love for my family. Leaving for college was different. I really missed my parents, but my heart didn´t ache for you like it does now. I miss every single one of you so much it hurts. I loved Brigham´s letter. And I just love hearing about how everyone is doing. I know that I am developing an even greater love for my family as I am out here. And I know why. It´s all about families right now. I am growing to appreciate mine even more because I have to understand that the love I am experiencing is what I need to help people here receive. It´s such an important work. I have some really selfish blinders on, and I am trying to remove them, but what truly matters at this point is loving my Lord enough to give everything I have to him. I don´t know why, but the Spirit has been with me so much recently. I am much more spiritually minded. Which is a blessing because I was worried for a while. I didn´t feel like I was a missionary!! But I also realize that I am still a human being. Although the Spirit will be with me out here, it doesn´t just happen automatically. And I honestly don´t know why it´s happening more. I am lacking when it comes to dedication. My district still gets distracted really easily. I am definitely growing though. Even though I don´t study as much as I should. I LOVE the temple. I have grown to appreciate it in such a special way. I had another amazing experience today. Heavenly Father is really blessing me right now. I hope you guys are noticing all of the blessings that He is giving you as well. I know he is blessing you.
So it is really hot here. Not really hot. But it´s getting hotter. There is no ac in this building so sometimes it´s hard to fall asleep. I really hope they have ac down south. I am so excited to find out where I am serving!! Hopefully it´s not somewhere too hot. But I know I will go wherever I am supposed to.
I don´t really know what to write when it comes to my week. It´s getting really montonous. And tell Brigham that I loved his letter. But it´s totally not my fault about the spelling. I am typing as fast as I can and it´s on a Spanish keyboard. So I think I do rather nicely. I miss them so much. I miss Clayton. Sharing a room with him even. I really wish I could be there for him right now. And I really wish I could have been there for Prom. My brothers looked so good. They are some seriously attractive boys. I hate thinking about how long it will be until I hug them again. And I am not even going to comment about how much I miss the little boys. They are getting so old. I don´t understand why Brigham wasn´t allowed to run. That´s really stupid. But I guess it just wasn´t meant to be. Not too sad. He would probably get sick of all the pointless stuff that they have to do anyway. Except for Hearts of Gold. That´s definitely not pointless.
Anyway. I went to the soccer stadium. It was pretty cool. I am starting to love soccer a lot. I had to pay 20 euros which was dumb. And i wouldn´t do it again or anything. But it was a cool experience. And then we went to dominoes. Which was really wonderful. And we also watched the last session of conference which was marvelous. I really loved Elder Holland´s talk of course. It was really personal for a lot of people I think. Lots of people are going through that right now. But my faith trial is slowly ending. I have such a deep love for the brethren. They are such motivators right now. Another motivator is the thought of all of the countless prayers that are said in our behalf. Almost every single prayer circle in the entire world specifically blesses missionaries. Not to mention the prayers of our family and friends. We are really important. This work is really important. Crucial. The most important thing I´ve ever done in terms of the human race. The entire Plan of Salvation is slowly beginning to take form in my mind. I am seeing much more clearly. I think about it all the time. My mission is like a little form of that. I´m here now and I need to do my best so that I can make my parents proud when I get home. I need to grow and become like Christ. And the crowning moment will be when I return home and look my parents in the eye and tell them that I served loyally with all my heart, and now I am home to stay. And I may not be able to talk to them a lot, but I know they are there. Cheering me on and happy when I do what´s right. Thinking about it like that makes all of this seem more applicable. More personal. I am ready to leave this place. I am ready to go out and find my brothers and sisters. I left my family for two years for the sole purpose of trying to help other families be together for eternity. It´s such a cute little saying but it´s true. Families are the center of everything. The most important aspect of this gospel is families. I am sacrificing a lot, but I am also gaining so much. The opportunity to represent Jesus Christ. I wear his name over my heart and that is a sacred privilege, but also an enormous responsibility. I have to forget myself. Turn outward instead of inward. And that is really difficult. But as I am on the Lord´s errand I know I am entitled to his blessings, and he will help me to become less selfish. I know it. I sometimes fear because it has been said that we cannot convert past our own conversion. And I know I am converted, but I still have so much more to understand and receive testimony of. I just hope that I am enough. I hope that He can use me as I am. The comforting thing is that as I labor in his vineyard, I will become more like Him. Only 23 months left. I can already tell that the time is going to FLY by. I am afraid I will look back and it will be gone. And I will have to take my badge off. Of course his name will never leave my heart, but I won´t be a set apart missionary anymore. That´s a sad thought. I need to make these last 23 months count.
The rest of this week was normal. The park is sometimes difficult. People don´t want to listen. And I don´t know what to say to get them to care. I can´t wait to be trained. I have learned lots here. I am grateful for the opportunity I had. Anyway. It´s hot. Well Sunday was really good. We had a devotional with President Sitterud and it was really inspiring. And we had a fireside with these people from Texas that were some of the first missionaries in Spain. They were interesting. The wife was some opera singer and she belted out like four songs in the chapel. I felt a little uncomfortable. Her husband played the piano for her. It was loud. But it was a good day. And then three days of class. We got two new sisters in our district from Provo. They are pretty cool I guess. I am sick of this patticake festival. The hermanas are great and I am happy to serve with them, but I am so sick of feeling like I´m at youth conference or something. It´s almost distracting to have hermanas and elders live with each other. Please don´t think I have anything against Hermanas. Just against the way that Elders and Hermanas act together sometimes. We all distract each other talking about dumb stuff and we are so quick to forget that this work is urgent. There is tons of time to have fun and we all make the most of it, but we waste so much valuable study time. Ugh. I´m as guilty as anyone. But I will be quite glad when I don´t live with girls anymore.
Elder Webb and I are doing good. His back has been hurting him lately. He doesn´t play soccer anymore. Elder Webb is the best soccer player in the MTC. I am actually getting lots better. I like it a lot. We´re having a zone on zone game on the last P day here. I can´t wait. I wish I had played soccer instead of baseball. It´s a much better sport. I miss baseball a lot though. But I am excited to play soccer more. Spencer was right all along!!!
I love you all. I have ZERO time to write. I am allowed to write during free time, but I´m just so busy all the time. I will try to be better. Be safe. Hold to the Rod. All of this is real. It´s not just something we like to tell ourselves to be happy in this life. It´s real. We used to live with God. And He is literally our FATHER!!! When we pass on, the most shocking thing for us will be the familiarity of His face. He loves us. I know it. I know that all of this is for a purpose. We don´t understand everything but that is how it´s supposed to be. This is the hardest dispensation to live in because it is the hardest time to believe. To have faith. And that is why we are the chosen generation. They tell us that and some people get sick of hearing it. But it´s not a joke. We have been assigned to live in this time period because we have faith. It is the hardest time ever to live on the earth. Because having faith has never been more difficult. The doctrine of the Plan of Salvation can change lives. When people understand their divine heritage and purpose, when their soul begins to burn because of the familiarity of this plan, that is when they are willing to change their life; to sacrifice everything to come unto Christ and preservar hasta el fin. I am so lucky to have a family like you. We have been truly blessed by the Lord, and we are doing the right thing. Missionary work is important. Member missionary work is crucial. Try to help your missionaries out. I love you all. Haz La Justo. DO the right. I like it better in Spanish.
Love, your missionary, Elder Sharp

Friday, April 12, 2013


I've had a few people request Preston's address.  I thought this was the best way to get it out there. 
(MTC Address)
Elder Preston Sharp
Spain, Málaga Mission
Spain Missionary Training Center
4a. Planta
Calle del Templo N° 2
Madrid 28030
(Misson Home) 
Elder Preston Sharp
Spain Málaga Mission
Av. Jesús Santos Rein N 2,3 D-E
Edif. Ofisol
29640 Málaga

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Week 4, Day 25

I was able to sleep, for the first time, last night before the email came through.  That is a good sign.  I'm not feeling like missing him is getting any easier at all, but at least sleep is getting easier.  :)  I am getting really excited at the thought of either talking to him or skyping with him in one month, on MOTHER'S DAY!!!  I can't wait.  It feels like he's been gone for so long!
Dear Family
Yes I can believe it. Only 19 days left. The light at the end of the tunnel is slowly coming into view. I’m glad you mailed me a letter mom. I was wondering why it seemed like everyone but my family had written me a letter!! Still haven’t gotten the package yet. Hopefully it comes today.
I have been doing well. This week was better than the others. Well today was really awesome. So Elder Webb and I are still doing great. Thank heavens. Life is so much better when you like your companion. The sister missionaries are still sister missionaries. I don’t really like being surrounded by girls all the time. Nothing against sister missionaries at all. They are wonderful. But I don’t like being around them. Some elders get distracted and it sort of feels like a big EFY or something. I will be glad when the MTC is over. Hermana Delgado is a little better. I’ve been trying to be more positive about that J Hermana Nielsen and I get along a lot better too now. One thing I’m getting good at is resolving problems that I have with people here. Which is a blessing. Heavenly Father is really helping me out right now. Hermana King is alright. We can talk now. I mean, we’re not close friends or anything but we’re cordial. She’s…alright. Haha.
I watched the Saturday morning session on Saturday night. And the next three sessions on Sunday. And I FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY get to watch Elder Holland tonight in the last session. I have never been more excited for anything in my life!! Except for my mission. I literally can’t wait. From what I’ve heard of the topic, it is perfect for me right now. Wow I can’t wait.
That’s cool about Anneli.  I saw her in conference. Singing. She’s definitely talented. I didn’t see Kylie. Even though I tried to look for her in the preshow thingy. Didn’t find her. I was SOO happy when I found out about Derek. What a wonderful blessing. I sometimes can’t believe how blessed all of us are. The Lord truly blesses his disciples.
Here’s my week:
The food here is getting difficult to handle. Honestly I don’t know what they put in it. I eat frosted flakes EVERY morning. Sometimes tortilla de patata when they make it. Of course out of all of the Spanish food I’ve eaten here in the MTC (it’s all been stuff that you’ve made mom) You make it WAY better than these cafeteria ladies do. Obviously. I can’t really compare my mom’s cooking to that of underpaid lunch ladies. But still. Makes me miss home. It’s doing something weird to all of us. I swear my stomach sounds like the lagoon in the pirates of the carribean ride at Disneyland. With all the groaning trees and croaking frogs. It’s like the volume to my digestive system has gone from mute to MAX. It’s honestly embarrassing. Except it’s not just me. Thankfully. Anyway. Countdown to April 30th.
This week has been pretty boring. I mean, we do the same thing every day. I went to the Prado museum a week ago for my excursion. Second biggest art museum in Europe. All of the other elders got bored. I could have spend all day in there. Classless people. I was loving that art. So much history in one building!! I really want to go to the Lourve (no idea if that’s right) now. So today I am doing Elder Webb a favor and going to the Real Madrid Stadium with him. I have no desire to waste fifteen euros on a stupid tour of a soccer stadium, but I love him. So I’m being nice. Haha. I could actually go with someone else if I wanted, but he wants me to go with him. I’m gonna be positive about it though!! I am actually starting to love soccer. I played it a few times this week and, even though I am awful at it, it’s really fun. So that’s good. I look like a fool when I play soccer. I would sprint towards the ball and prepare myself for a power kick as the ball is coming towards me and then I would hurl my foot with all my force and totally miss the ball. I will then proceed to fall on my butt. That happened like three times. But I still love soccer. Nothing wrong with being humbled!! J
So this week has been a really monotonous week. But I have been trying a lot harder than normal. I’m getting better at planning my study time and I am doing better with focusing. So that’s good. Thanks guys for all of your prayers. I can feel them. I am in an incredible mood right now and it has nothing to do with how this week went. As I’m writing about it, this week wasn’t that great. Haha. We got new investigators. Fake ones. That’s exciting. But teaching maestros posing as investigators is getting a little old. My Spanish is improving. Yay! I don’t really worry about it too much though. Some people beat themselves up about the language. I just beat myself up about other stuff. I’ve been feeling guilty today. Last night was “P-day eve” and I sinned. It was ten thirty and E. Easton and Smith were talking smack about something to Elder Ellsworth (all in good fun) and then I made a snide remark to them about how unintelligent they were being, and then (they had been threatening to come beat up elder ellsworth because he was antagonizing them, but it was all a joke) they decided to finally live up to their words and come and get me. So they climb down from their beds and walk towards mine and Elder Ellsworth is on the top bunk of my bottom bunk and he gets down and stands in front of my bed!! They were like “we’re going for sharp, not you” and Elder Ellsworth said “I know” And I was so happy!! What a bro. Even though everyone was joking and we are all incredibly close, he made me feel so happy! Too bad he’s getting married as soon as he gets home from his mission. Cause I would love to have him as a roommate. He’s going to Malaga. Anyway. I get up and then Elder Ellsworth and I start wrestling Elder Easton and Smith AFTER 10:30. It was really fun. It only lasted a minute until Frederich fake knocked on the door. But then we all had one on one competitions for a half hour so. I was so into it. It was a blast but I couldn’t fall asleep afterwards. My blood was racing all night and my mind was thinking all these stupid weird thoughts. All about fighting and competition and personal glory. Although grappling tap out isn’t a sin, it definitely didn’t bring me closer to Christ. So I learned a lot from that experience. Plus I disobeyed. Which is always bad.
So I am excited to watch Elder Holland tonight. Really excited. Conference was wonderful. I have a deep love and appreciation for our leaders.
Well I am going to go now. Over time again J I love all of you so much. I miss you. Mom I won’t be able to email back. Or respond to Dad’s email. But I will write letters today and mail them. I really love that Dad sent me a personal email like that. It really meant a lot to me. Dad I love you so much. I have the utmost respect for you. I will respond to it in a letter. No more time for emailing. I miss you both so much. And all of my brothers. I love you
Elder Sharp
PS. After April 23rd don’t send letters to this location. Send it to the mission home.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Week 3, Day 18

Wow!  Even here in Nevis, in the West Indies, I am up early and not sleeping awaiting his email.  I miss him insanely bad.  I'm still waiting for this to get easier, but...  He sounds well.  I'm shocked by the letter-writing rule.  Seriously?  I thought all missionaries could write letters during the week.  That's what everyone else seems to be doing...nephew, friend.  Even my dad said I should be getting letters from him soon because he has all week to write letters.  Very depressing.  But he sounds happy, very happy. His email made me laugh.  It's so...Preston.  :) 

Hi guys,
                BEST TIME OF THE ENTIRE WEEK!!!!!!!! I have missed you guys so much as well!! But the time is literally flying by here. It´s awesome. The faster this time goes by the better. The MTC is awful in a good way. So I will respond to your email in a letter mom. I already sent you guys one, but that was before I found out that I am only allowed to write and send letters on P-days. You know, I thought exact obedience was going to be so easy. I was like ´´bring on the rules!´´ but wow, I am having such a hard time with some of them. Especially the ones that I don´t agree with. But I still obey. Even though I really don´t want to sometimes.
                Get this though, so in our room at night all of us will stay up late and talk about different things. Parenting, girls, etc etc. Elder Webb doesn´t really participate a whole lot, but everyone else would. On Sunday Elder Webb and I decided that we need to obey more exactly, referring to actually being quiet after 10:30 and whatnot. So we have been obeying better than before, and we make all of the guys in our room do the same. And Elder Webb and I are getting closer!! It´s crazy, but as soon as we started to obey better, we started to get along better!! Who knew that, when you obey the Lord blesses you!! What an amazing revelation to have at (almost) 19 years old. Yeah. Well I am just grateful that Elder Webb and I are started to hit it off. I think I´ve relaxed more and he´s toned down a bit. Which is great.
                I like my district well enough. I really like this Elder Alhovuori. He´s finnish. We are pretty close. He´s the District Leader. It´s a little weird cause Elder Webb and I are technically higher than him because we´re zone leaders, but there isn´t an authority problem or anything. I love Elder Alhovuori. And Elder Webb. Really. It´s getting better. Elder Alhovuori´s companion is Elder Malan. He is ADHD to the max. I would probably kill him if he was my companion. Not really of course, but everyone knows that it´s a good thing he and I aren´t together. He is the biggest distraction in our district and he just loves making all these stupid comments and references. He is the nicest guy ever, but he has the attention span of a six year old. I love him. But he frustrates me like no other. Haha. And he has a hard time with the hermanas. He is always flirting with them, and it bothers people. So they come to me and ask me to discipline him but I don´t know what to do. So W, A, and I all talked to him and he flipped out. That was a dramatic day. But it´s all better now.  The hermanas in my district are cool. It´s a three some with a girl from Provo called Hermana Christian. She got here a week late. When she first got here she hated it because of how lax it is compared to Provo. But she quickly integrated into the Spanish lifestyle. Now she´s just as distracted as most of them. Sad honestly. Everyone says they cured the Provo out of her, but in my opinion they just infected her with the Madrid disease. The other is Hermana Flake. She turns 22 on April 19th. She is so sweet. Just the sweetest girl ever. I like her a lot, but she is so emotional. So fragile. She will just burst into tears and the teacher will have to take her out and console her. I feel bad. But hopefully her mission helps her out with that. And then Hermana Nielsen. I think she hates me. Or at least dislikes me. She thinks I´m too…grumpy grandpa?? At least that´s the phrase elder malan used. I usually get ticked if we get distracted and then I remind everyone of our district goals and what not and I have a reputation because of it. Hahaha. Not surprising that my reputation is what it is. I´m sure it´s a given to everyone. Well. I am trying to loosen up. To find the perfect balance between cheerful and friendly and mellow, and then still maintaining and attitude of discipline and a good work ethic. It´s difficult. I feel like I have no time for anything. The hours I spend here are precious and I get so angry at myself when I´m laying in my bed at night thinking about the time that I wasted that day. I just need to try harder.
One of the biggest problems is our afternoon teacher, Hermana Delgado. She doesn´t speak hardly any English, and she is the worst teacher ever. I like her as a person, and everyone else loves her to death. I just wish she was more mature. The problem is that we have a three hour block of classes in the afternoon, one class each hour. Delgado teaches all of them. We do fake investigators. The first hour is usually the investigator hour, where the teacher is supposed to act as an investigator having lessons with two of the three companionships, each for a half hour. Because Hermana Delgado just likes to gossip about her life forever with the hermanas, that first hour usually takes 2 hours and 45 minutes. It makes me want to punch a wall. But I was too afraid to go and complain about our teacher because everyone loves her so much. Thankfully Elder Alhovuori said something during the DL/President Sitterud meeting. And she´s been better. Kind of.
I am starting to get into the swing of things. Sometimes I worry that my Spanish isn´t improving, but my teachers say that it is. I just need to push myself. I slack off a ton. If I really put effort into it I could learn it much faster than I am. 
I am not going to gain weight here. The food isn´t bad. Although it´s making all of us kind of sick, it´s not fattening or anything. I´ve been sick on and off here. Kind of annoying. I work out every day instead of playing sports. I´m not much of a soccer player so I lift with Easton and some other elders. I love it. So sorry to disappoint you Dad, but you were totally wrong when it comes to me gaining weight!!
I will say more in my letters. I don´t have much time as you well know. I am really excited because today we are going to the Prado, which is the second biggest art museum in Europe!! And we are going to a sword store which is right next to it. Although it´s tempting to blow all of my money on a sword, I will try not to. I don´t know what I would do with a sword for two years. I really want a Cristus statue. But they cost a lot here. I PLACED FOUR BOOKS OF MORMON LAST SATURDAY!! AND GOT THREE REFERENCES!!! Greatest feeling ever. I wrote about it in my letter. Anyway. Elder Webb and I are getting closer, and we´re trying to be better. It´s amazing how much better things get once Elder Webb and I got closer. It changed a lot. We go through the Temple every Thursday. It´s so hard to stay awake. I´ve been so tired lately. I fall asleep every day in my morning classes. Well I don´t know what to say. I feel like I wanted to tell you more.
I will write!! Please know that although I love emails and want to get them from everyone, they don´t even compare to letters. Really. When mail comes all the missionaries stampede down the hall and push and shove until they get to the stack of mail. And not getting a letter is the worst. But getting a letter is the greatest feeling ever. Seriously. I don´t know what it is, but getting a letter brings such an indescribable joy. Packages are probably better. But that´s it. So write if you can! It means so much. Well I am out of time. I hope you sent my package here instead of to the mission home. Because if so I won´t get it until I get into the field. And I would probably cry. Not really. I only cry when I think about Quincey and Lincoln. I can´t believe they will be 9 and 10 when I get home. That is the hardest thing for me. Ugh. I tear up every time I think about it. Tell them I love them. And everyone else.
I will write!! Love you so much. Thanks for all of the support you give me!
All my love,
                               Elder Sharp