Monday, September 30, 2013

Ripped off like a Bandaid

Hey guys,

So this week was really really awesome. Sounds like it was a fun one for you guys as well. All yesterday I was thinking about how Spencer was giving his farewell, and then how everyone was at our house eating wonderful food. Good times. Sad that I missed it. But it´s a good thing that I did. Love the photo of Spencer´s picture holding my picture. That was a super cool idea. Not too long before I will see a picture of a picture of Brigham holding both of ours :) And I am so jealous of the snow you guys have. Although it has been raining here the last few days. Which was heavenly for me. And the picture at Gardner Village is awesome as well. Clayton is dressing really well. Finally following in the footsteps of his older brothers ;) I really love our family.

My week was amazing like I said. I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity we had to baptize J and A on Friday. It was absolutely wonderful. An gave a talk in the baptism, and she did so well. She has such a strong testimony and I am just so proud of her. She is only 13 but she is so special. It´s amazing to me. She is doing this because she truly believes in it. She goes to seminary and reads and makes her family hold FHE and everything. Such a champ. And she talked about how we have changed her life. It makes me feel so good. And also S bore her testimony in the baptism, and she didn´t tear up until she started talking about her elders :) She said she considers us her sons, and J said the same thing in his testimony. They love us so much, and we love them so much. A bore a powerful testimony as well, and he is only nine. It was just fantastic. But the best part was P. P is a wonderful girl. She listens to us teach when she can, but she is often feeding the baby in a different room when we teach, so she isn´t always listening. But she has desires to learn. She is just more worldly than the rest of them. We are pretty good friends with her though. But spiritually I am not quite sure where she was at. She never wanted to pray in front of us, but they said that she read the BOM and participated in FHE. So when we planned J and A´s baptism, I begged her to say the closing prayer. She FINALLY agreed to do it, and I was super stoked about it. So after the baptism and the musical number (performed by the six missionaries in Jerez ;), and after the testimonies and final hymn, she got up there and started to pray. First time I ever heard her pray. And she just started sobbing during her prayer. She said one of the most beautiful prayers I have ever heard. She was literally talking to Heavenly Father. You could feel it. And she said so many incredible things. She talked about how grateful she is for the opportunity to live together as eternal families, and she prayed for Heavenly Father to help her family make it to the temple, and she talked about the scriptures and the blessing they are in our lives, to help us progress and become like Jesus Christ, and she thanked Heavenly Father for the spirit that we had all felt that night. And she was just sobbing the whole time she prayed. I was about to faint. I was SOO surprised. She could not stop crying after her prayer. I just looked across the aisle at her as she sat down and she looked back at me and just smiled, kind of embarrassed. I was dumbfounded. And really touched. There is so much more to people than we ever realize. We all need to try to see other people as Christ does. But wow. After the baptism I went up and just looked at her and she was like like ¨don´t give me that look¨. I think she was really embarrassed, but she shocked everyone. Such a miracle.

Yesterday Chavez confirmed J, Erickson confirmed A, I gave J the priesthood, and then I later confirmed W, M´s son who was baptized by A:) Pardo and I baptized M, and then the Hermanas came and taught A her husband, and I baptized him the same day as An got baptized, and then yesterday A baptized W, their son. That baptism happend last night. Such a sweet experience for me. We all used the priesthood a lot yesterday.

On Friday night, after the baptism, everyone was just hanging around at the church building and everything and all of my converts and favorite members were there. And it was raining pretty hard outside and I just realized how much I love Jerez. How much I care about all of these people. I could literally live here. I would never want to because of my family and my country, but I could be happy here. The people are wonderful. It means so much to me. I was standing in front of the building walking around in the rain just thinking about how we´re going to baptize P soon and about V and J
and S and Fam and M and A and fam and P (who was there as well) and then tons of members started to invite us over during the next few weeks because they all know I leave soon, and it was a really happy time. I truly love this place. And more than that, the people. We are splitting the area right now and everything and I thought to myself, ¨wow- I really don´t want to leave. I would love to stay here another six weeks. I am going to ask President to consider that.¨ I just want to leave my beloved Jerez in good hands. I want to make sure it gets split alright and I just want to be here. I love it so much.


I got a phone call from President this morning, and he told me that I am being emergency transferred to San Fernando, TOMORROW. Talk about a dagger to the heart!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously!!!

There was a situation with our zone leaders, and one of them had to be transferred. So I will take his place until the end of this transfer. Seriously, I am heartbroken. There will be lots of people that I won´t get to say goodbye too. And don´t worry about the package. I will see Erickson in about ten days at Zone conference, so he will give it to me then. But I am so sad. I had so many appts to say good bye to people, and I was going to bear my testimony in church the last sunday and everything. But I am being ripped off like a bandaid. It hurts. But I know that this is what president needs me to do. And I will obviously do whatever he asks. I do not ever want to be a burden to him, and if I can help him in any way I will. Even if it kind of stinks. So yeah. Tomorrow is my last day in Jerez. I am going to see the most important people today and tomorrow, and then it´s all in the hands of Erickson and Chavez. I will miss them a lot as well, especially Erickson. But this is the Lord´s will, so I will do it.

I am really enjoying my mission. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with how much I need to improve, but I know it all happens little by little. I have learned so much in Jerez. It will always be my Spanish home. I don´t know how good of a missionary I am. I don´t know if I am a good teacher. It´s hard to tell in Spanish. When it comes to teaching all of us progress much slower than people who don´t have to learn a language. But it´s coming along. I am fluent now. I have been for a while, but it just kind of dawned on me the other day. Super cool to speak another language. Heavenly Father has really blessed me with the gift of tongues. My testimony has grown so much as well. I have come to love my Savior in so many ways. I would write more, but I can´t. No time. I love you all so much :)

Have fun in Oregon. Enjoy your last week together as a family. I will write you next week. The last time before you have TWO missionaries out. Wow.

Don´t waste a second Spencer. Not one second.

Elder Sharp

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Very Large Toad


So I can work with your new system. I feel bad. I just don´t have money to print off the emails so I prefer to try and read as much as I can in the Locatorio. But really, the longer your emails are the better. I try to answer your questions but I admit I could do a better job :) It´s a really good idea to put the important important stuff in the first paragraph though. Alright. 

I don´t know if you were aware of how this works, but transfers fall every six weeks. Exactly. It never changes. We have 23 days until the next transfer. (OCT 16) So you could send the package whenever. It doesn´t take three weeks. But I am almost for sure leaving this transfer. If you are super concerned, you could always send it to the mission office. It will get to me usually in a month if sent to the mission office. I would just send it asap. It only takes like a week to get here. Planning on sending spencer´s card tomorrow. I am just trying to write a letter too, but my comps really hate watching me write letters in the piso on p days. I don´t know why but missionaries don´t really write a whole lot of letters anymore. Erickson hasn´t written one. Or received any. But he just does everything by email. 

Sounds like everything is going well. You sound super busy mom. Haha and honestly every flipping email I read something that Brigham is asking you to do. You spoil that kid like none other. Well you spoil all of us. But I feel like he asks you to do really huge favors for him more than Spence and I did. I thought he was grounded from Homecoming?? What happened?  Some new revelation from this interesting little parenting book you guys have read, I presume :) Brig is looking like a stud. That picture of him looks really good. I don´t think it looks much like me, but it´s definitely a fantastic foto!!! I love the fact that you´re putting on an eagle court of honor for them. I think it´s hilarious. I can imagine that neither of them really want one. I thought about my eagle court of honor today actually. Today I held a falcon and it made me think of when I held that eagle. Mom and Dad put SOO much work into my court of honor. I don´t think I ever thanked you guys enough. Remember how you made the homemade cookie ice cream sandwiches?? That was so awesome. And it was a ton of work. Not to mention the decorations and organzing everything. It was kind of expensive as well. You guys really spoil your children. It´s insane. We´re so dang lucky. At times I think of it and just miss home so much. Other times I think about the people that are eating one meal a day here because they don´t have money or a job. And then I just feel sad. There are lots of things I don´t understand about God´s plan, but I do know that we are where we are for a reason. I think a lot of it might have to do with what we did in the life before this, but we also all need to learn and progress in different ways. It´s interesting to think about. Anyway :) Thanks for that wonderful court of honor. It´s a really awesome memory :) 

I love seeing pictures of all of you. I miss you a lot. A lot. Clayton looks really tall in that 6 finger picture, but Im not fooled. I am sure he´s grown a lot, but he´s totally on tip toes in that one ;) Plus I have already accepted the fact that by the time all of us are back together again, they will all three be taller than me. Quincey and Lincoln no. Not yey anyway. I think Quince and me will be the shortest. That´s ok though. As long as we´re all taller than Dad. I laughed a lot at Lincoln´s dentist thing. Hahaha. That kid is growing up so much. 

Well the food sounds amazing. Super jealous. And you sound as busy as ever. I hope you all really enjoy this vacation. It sounds like it´ll be really awesome. Spencer´s lump on the neck scares me a little. I just want him out in the field. I really hope he gets out on schedule. Super excited for him to speak in church. That´s really really crazy to think about. I feel like I just barely left. 

Our week went well. I suppose. The baptism yesterday was SO great. P is so amazing. There were TONS of people there. That is definitely the biggest baptism I will ever attend in my mission. It´s just cause all of the members love P, because he is always with D and R (the members that are the aunt and uncle of his girlfriend) and also all of P´s family came. It was cool. I got to confirm him. Still nervous when I do that. But I don´t think that will ever go away. D baptized him. P bore his testimony and talked about how he came to know this church was true. He said things that newly baptized investigators don´t usually say. It was powerful. I REALLY felt the spirit as I watched him enter the waters of baptism :) It´s all true. And then P had some Books of Mormon that he had written his testimony in and put a photo of himself and he went and gave them to his close friends and family. He gave one to me too. I was just really touched. He is just a really amazing person. He chose this, which means changing EVERYTHING in his life. The only member in his family, even his girlfriend isn´t a member. He is now living the law of chastity and doing everything like a normal disciple of Christ. I just have so much respect for him. He was really happy yesterday. I love this guys. I don´t know if you know that or not, but I love this with all my heart. It´s hard. Sometimes it´s discouraging. Like now. But I wouldn´t give this up for anything. It´s difficult to explain. But I could do this forever. Good thing too, cause I will be doing it forever. Maybe not as a missionary, but missionary work is always going to be my responsibility as a member of God´s church. I seriously love this. Spencer I hope you´re excited :) It might be really hard at first, and it might even suck (doubt it though, if you will be in a car or a bike, not to mention the fact that your mission is tiny), but I promise you will come to love this work with every part of your soul. It´s just pure satisfaction. The best thing I have ever felt. Watching someone you have taught stand at the pulpit and tell everyone that they know and love that THIS is Christ´s church on the earth again, and it was restored by the prophet Joseph Smith. :) Indescribable. You´ll get to feel this really soon though. Don´t worry about not being ready. I don´t think you can be ready for this. Almost like being ready for life. I am sure that we did a lot of preparation before we came to this world, and some progressed more than others, but in the end, we are start out as new born babies. Kinda like the field. You´ll get the hang of it really fast. Especially in english :) Lucky son of a gun. 

Elder Chavez is a good missionary. He´s just a shy, smart, humble little peruvian. Kind of hilarious sometimes. He is just a sweet guy. Super nice. I like him a lot. He is really obedient and teaches well. I really like teaching with him.He is from my group. He has six months as well. It´s kind of weird being in a trio though.  And it´s also weird speaking Spanish in the piso. He doesn´t really speak English at all. So that is a little different. But it´s really good for Erickson and I, so we don´t waste time arguing about pointless things and so we get better at Spanish :) I seriously love Elder Erickson. We have very different opinions and sometimes he does things that really irritate me, but I think of him as a brother. That´s how we treat each other. Except Spencer and I get along way better than Erickson and I do. Just cause Spencer and I are more similar. But Erickson is hilarious. And he´s real. I definitely will cry when I say goodbye to him! Which is weird to think about. Haha.  Pardo is super great too. He is coming to Jerez tomorrow to do some residency stuff, so I will get to do intercambios with him. Kind of cool :) 

They called me today and told me that we need to split the area AGAIN. Two more elders will be here this next transfer. It´s exactly what happened to me. I will split the are and then leave it, just like my dad did. Sad. I don´t want to leave here. But I am also excited to work in a different place. I am worried because although we have baptisms, we have zero other investigators. Well we have four or five. But they aren´t progressing very well. So I am stressed. We have to find and we´re trying. But it´s hard. Sometimes I get a little discouraged, but I need to count my blessings. J and A are getting baptized on Friday, and P was baptized yesterday. Things are going really well here. I am really sad that I won´t be here to see P get baptized. I just hope that she does it. She is doing alright. We´re going to start focusing in on her more after J and A are baptized. 

I don´t know what to tell you. Well this week I laughed harder than I ever have in my entire life. I think it was a combination of stress and insanity, and it was just kind of funny. We were in this guys house, and he was super old. Kind of creepy. Very large man. Very round. He reminded me of a very large toad. He didn´t have much expression on his face, and his eyes were definitely bulging. And none of us could understand him. Not even Chavez. He just talked the whole time. He was an old investigator apparently. So we just sat there for a half hour and tried to talk. It was hard. So finally I just decided to end the lesson because it wasn´t going anywhere, and then we asked to close with a prayer. And we asked him to say it. So he said yes, he would. And we just sat there for two minutes straight, in silence. I looked up and he was just staring right at me with his huge eyes with absolutely no expression on his face. Then Chavez asked him to pray again, and he said si, and then did the same thing. I was just looking down at the ground, feeling the tension in the room. I could feel him just staring at us, and then I just BURSTED out laughing. I have seriously never laughed so hard in my life. I tried to hold it in but I couldn´t. After a while of that, Erickson just broke the silence and said, my companion elder sharp will say the prayer. So I kind of stopped laughing and tried to prayer but I honestly couldn´t keep myself from laughing. Elder chavez started laughing as well, as we are all folding our arms and bowing our heads with our eyes closed and everything, trying to pray, and I am literally laughing so hard that I am crying, so I decided to pretend like I was just randomly sobbing whilst trying to pray. And Chavez is just laughing super hard (but it´s all somewhat quiet, cause we were trying to hold it in). Erickson just sat there. He never laughed once. After like a minute of me trying to pray whilst laughing so hard I was crying, Erickson finally just said Ï´ll say it. And then offered a short little prayer with me and chavez still laughing. This old guy had literally never broken the silent stare. I don´t even know why I was laughing. It was just an awkward situation. Erickson said later that he was seriously concerned. He said ¨one of my comps was laughing, and the other one was fetching CRYING!¨ so he had to be the hero and get us out of there. We just got up and shook this guys hand and left. After we walked out ERickson was like ¨what the heck was that!!??¨ and I probably laughed for ten minutes straight. All three of us did. It´s honestly been years since I have laughed that hard. Seriously. Years. I was crying!! And I felt so stupid. It was humiliating. This old guy didn´t want anything to do with us anyway, but I really should not have acted that way. I am representing Jesus Christ. It was so unlike me too. I am usually pretty serious and calm. ESPECIALLY when we are in someone´s house like that. It was super bad. But I can´t even think about it without laughing. Erickson was so weirded out. 

Weird stuff. I was told that on the mission you would laugh harder than you ever have in your life, and also that you would cry harder than you ever have. So far I can check off the laughing part. And I think the crying will happen more towards the end of my mission. Although I shed my fair amount of tears right now. Well I love you all and I miss you. I hope you are all doing well. You´re in my prayers always. 


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

1/4 of the Journey

Hm..I don´t know where to begin!! Things are going well here in Jerez. J and A are doing well. J came to all three hours of church yesterday with S. P isn´t coming to church really, which is frustrating. She does have a brand new baby though. And doesn´t get much sleep. But it´s just unfortunate that she isn´t progressing. I am super close to A, our thirteen year old recent convert. She reminds me a lot of June. And I am super close to A too. P not so much. I just don´t talk to her a lot. But she´s super cool. And I love J and S. They are so incredible. P is also doing really well. He is a champ. He has read the entire Book of Mormon, and also the book Our Legacy. His baptism is on Sunday. I am really really glad that these people are getting baptized. It is hard to set a secure date here in Spain. The trick is to get people from the fecha (date) to the font. That´s what we´re working on as a mission. And luckily our investigators are rocks. They are going to be baptized. And it´s not because we are awesome. Just because God is. When it comes to other people...there are. But not a lot. That´s our problem. It´s so difficult to find someone in this country that actually wants to follow God´s will in their life. You would not believe how many people will tell us that they are catholic and I will be like ¨how wonderful, and now why are you catholic?¨ They usually have no response, so we follow with ¨do you believe that your church is true¨? And at this point half say no and half say yes. The ones that say yes we ask, how do you know, and they just say ¨well it´s what there is!! I have been born in this church, my parents and grandparents were catholic, and that´s what I am going to be!!¨And the ones that say no just don´t really care about whether it´s true or not. The majority of people here don´t care about religion.  The only way to get anywhere is to work through members. Or find miracles on the street like Victoriano :) It´s sad because out of the 8 investigators that we found, 1 of them is still an investigator. And she isn´t really progressing. Anyway. I love this work. It´s challenging, but we aren´t alone. God is on our side. And I think missions are just as much for the missionaries as they are for the people we find and teach. God needs his church to grow, and it grows by having strong new converts, but it grows more by having really strong missionaries (that have been strengthened by the mission) go home and get married and raise really really strong families. This stone cut without hands will fill the world. I really love being a part of this work. I really love these people. And it hurts me to watch them ruin their lives, or not do the things we ask them to because of laziness. I am so glad that I still have 18 months of this. I cannot tell you how deeply I love Jerez. It feels like home to me. The members and people that I have met here. It´s incredible. Victoriano is as strong as ever. He is my hero. He´ll go to the temple to do baptisms for all of his family members in November. Same with A, J, and S. And P will go in December. I am hoping that M and A will go too. And e and r. But I don´t know much about them because they aren´t in my area anymore. 

Interesting news. I received a phone call from President Deere this morning. We are going to be a trio here in the Rez until the next transfer. He is a Peruvian elder that has been visa waiting in peru for the past six months. He is from my group. He should get here tomorrow. I don´t know his name yet. Tomorrow we are going on splits with the zone leaders in San fernando. We´´ll see how that goes. :) Jerez is its own district now, and we will be a trio of elders and a trio of hermanas. Kinda cool. I am excited to learn more from this new elder. I need it. It will be really beneficial for Elder Erickson and I. 

For the first time in my mission, I feel the desire to come back. In the beginning I wanted Mom and Dad to come and pick me up so that we could go to London, but after a while I just wanted to go home like everyone else right away and have a huge airport homecoming. But now all I want is to come back and see these people. It will be hard for me to leave Jerez. So yeah mom and dad, whatever our finances will allow, but I would love to show you guys around all of my areas so you can meet my converts :) I truly love these people. Jerez just feels like my home. This piso, capilla, ward, everything. I have been here for a really long time. You know I really can´t believe how much my feelings have changed about all of this. I really do love my mission. 

It´s amazing how much I have changed. I often don´t feel as spiritual as I thought missionaries were supposed to feel, but when I look at my testimony, I am just so grateful for how much it´s grown. Six months of serving Jesus Christ has taught me a lot of things. I look back on my life and look forward to the life I have ahead and it makes me realize just how dependent on the Savior I am. He really is in everything. I love doing this. My testimony has grown immensely. And how could it not?? Watching a 19 year old boy who has been searching for the truth risk everything to be baptized into the church of Jesus Christ, only because he has read the book of mormon and he prayed to his Heavenly Father to know if it was true, and he was answered. It´s amazing to me. P has come to know for himself that this is the church of God. Victoriano, J, P, everyone. This gospel changes people. I then look at myself and see that it´s been changing me as well. I know it´s true. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know it through the only way anyone can know of spiritual truths. The Holy Ghost. I also have a testimony of the power of the Book of Mormon. And the prophets. All of the basic doctrines of this gospel have been formalized in my heart and my testimony. I don´t study deep doctrine a lot, but I do have a testimony of the simple things. As I go through each day, trying to rely on the Holy Ghost and trying to help people come unto Christ, I just feel joy. A tired, exhausted, joy. But I would never ever give this up for anything in the entire world. It makes me want to serve my God with every part of my soul for the rest of my life. I just want to do everything right. All of my callings, my role as son, brother and eventually husband and father. I just want to serve other people. And the only reason I have those desires is because of the work I am doing right now. I am trying to see things with eternal eyes, trying to stop worrying about worldly things. It´s amazing how blessed we are. I hear lots of things about the war that might start between Syria, Russia, and the US. Of course. There is no war that doesn´t directly involve the US. Sometimes I get worried. These times have been prophesied. Wars, rumors of wars, crisis, hunger, sickness, natural disasters, you name it. It´s all happening. But we´re gonna be ok. Heavenly Father loves us so much, and if we do His will, we will always be happy. 

I sometimes feel surreal when I think about how it´s been 6 months. It has gone by so quickly. I know my entire mission will be the same way, and it breaks my heart. I can´t believe how fast it goes. But I am trying to make the most of it. I still have a while :) I want you guys to know that I have a testimony of this work. I know we are representatives of Jesus Christ. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I know this message of happiness is the only thing that can save this fallen world. We carry a light as missionaries that other people need to have. Christ told his disciples that ¨ye are the light of the world¨. Christ is the source of all light, and we as his disciples bring that light to the world. And that light changes people. It causes them to remember who they are, and where they came from. The Plan of Salvation changes lives. I have had lots of doubts, but they are all gone. Every single one. I just realized that yesterday. I hadn´t thought about doubts since the MTC. God wouldn´t make it so easy. It doesnt matter if some things make sense and others don´t, we are meant to walk by faith in this life. There is a reason why the last days are supposed to be the hardest time to live. We may not have to walk as much as the Pioneers (although I walk a ton), but it´s a lot harder to have faith nowadays with the world as evil as it is. And I know with all my heart that Joseph Smith was God´s chosen servant to restore His church again to the earth. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and it came about the way that Joseph said it did. I love my Heavenly Father so much. He has given me everything I could ever want or need, and I will never be able to repay Him. I love this work. Everyone should serve a mission at some point in their life. There really is no replacement. I am so excited for Spencer to start. I love you guys so much. Thank you for supporting me while I am out here. I pray for you always and I hope you are doing your part in this work as well. Go to the temple often, and visit people that need your help!! I can´t believe I didn´t pay more attention to this before my mission. I hardly even knew who the less actives were. I had some home teaching families that weren´t even active, and I didn´t realize what an enormous opportunity Heavenly Father gave me. I´m going to visit everyone when I get home. I hope Bishop assigns me all of the less active families to home teach. I just love this. I can´t even tell you guys. You just have to try it!! Wow. Life is so wonderful. Anyway. Love you 

Elder Sharp

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Hello :) 

I am so happy right now!! I have some really uplifiting piano music going, and life just couldn´t get better. Seriously. Well...

We had the best week ever. Honestly I don´t know why Heavenly Father is blessing so much. So I left off last week when we were about to go try and set a baptismal date with P, who has been an investigator since my second week here. We always teach him with his girlfriend, who is the niece of a member family in our ward. It has been a little difficult because the members have been really trying to take things slow with him, and that´s not what missionaries are supposed to do. But we respected the wishes of the members, who know P way better than we do. Finally, last week at church, they asked us to go and try to set a fecha with him. We had never met with him alone before. So this was huge. And I was excited. The girlfriend, M, is simply not prepared and doesn´t have the desires like P did. Which is why the members were holding back so much. The aunt really wanted the niece, M, to be baptized. With time :) So we met with P in the capilla, and it was just the three of us. FOR THE FIRST TIME ever. And it went horribly. Seriously horribly. I sounded silly and Erickson had a bad spanish day as well. And the Spirit just wasn´t really there. P did not like the date. At all. He said he doesn´t want to feel pressured. He just said ¨No.¨ And so I just wanted to stick my head in the ground. But we sat there. And listened for a while. And then we asked him, "do you know this is true?¨ and he said yes. And then we said ¨do you know that heavenly father wants you to get baptized?¨ and he said yes. And then we said ¨Well P, it looks like you have some praying to do. We know you are afraid, and we know that you feel pressured, by us, by your friends, your family, etc. But none of that matters. What matters is what your heavenly father wants you to do.¨ So we had him promise that he would go home and pray and ask. And that was it. So about three days later we got a call from P and he asked if we could do another FHE in D and R´s house, which would have been the second one that week because we went straight from the capilla to their house that monday and had an FHE. I honestly didn´t think much of it, but we agreed to go and met him there at 9:30 on thursday. So we taught about ¨dare to stand alone¨ and used the mormon message to help us teach it. After we were done teaching we all went around the room and talked about our feelings about all of it, and P went last. And he just looked up at us (Missionaries, D and R, the aunt and uncle, and his gfriend) and said, ¨I have prayed about it. I am going to be baptized this month.¨ And we all just sat there. That is the first time that I have ever cried because of an investigator. But I totally did. R and D started crying, and M (who had already known) starting crying, and then I did. I was just so happy. I had prayed and prayed for Heavenly Father to give P an answer, and He did. P will be baptized on the 22nd. I was just overjoyed. P is the best young man I have ever met. I would never be that righteous were it not for the Church. He is an honest young man that only wants to do what is right. He has a few chapters left until finishes the entire book of mormon. And he is also going to serve a mission. I am so so happy for him. 


(I can't really include this story- as there are so many specific details.  But it was awesome.  He has a family he's been teaching and they were working with the young boy, who is 10 or 11.  They wanted his step-father to be baptized too, but they knew he was waiting and not quite ready.  In the process of one of their discussions, the boy finally said he'd get baptized when his dad did.  Long story short- the dad agreed right there that night for him and his son to be baptized this month.  His reasons that he had been holding back were super touching and he didn't want anyone to know.  But it was the most selfless and giving thing! Preston was really overwhelmed and just thinks the absolute world of this sweet family, and he is very excited for them.)   

Honestly I am so overjoyed for these people. I really don´t know why Heavenly Father is blessing us so much. I really do know that I am nothing though. We seriously do not do anything. Sometimes I feel like a bumbling idiot that walks around trying to get into people´s houses and teach something in Spanish and, miraculously, the Lord is blessing us with baptisms. I know it isn´t anything that we did. The Spirit is changing the hearts of these wonderful people that have received testimonies by their own efforts, not because of anything that we did. It is so incredible to watch the miracle of conversion take place in these people´s lives. 

I have so much to say, and so little time to say it. I really wish I had time to write all of the feelings of my heart. Apart from all of the wonderful people that are choosing to be baptized this month, I am just truly happy. FINALLY the 18 months that I have left is beginning to become a relief instead of a discouragment. 18 more months to grow, to meet more people, to share what I love with all my heart with the people that I love with all of my heart. I truly love this gospel. As I study and preach this good news, I become more and more convinced. I am so completely convinced of the perfection of God´s plan. This world was perfectly designed into a place where we could learn and progress and grow. As we love and serve others, we grow and progress so much faster than we would otherwise. And we are also happiest when we are not thinking of ourselves. Of that I am sure. This is hard, but I get to wake up every morning and worry about other people. For two years, I am totally focused on others. What a blessing that is. And I am just barely beginning to realize it. I know this is true. And anyone can know it. I have come to appreciate this in so many different ways. The Atonement and the Savior especially, as well as the Book of Mormon. 

I am about out of time. I started a letter for you today mom and I will try and answer all of your questions in that letter. I really wish I had more time to tell you everything. I am so excited to live life. I love the mission, and I am excited to have a family and teach my children everything I am learning. I will have to read that book you´re talking about for sure. Sounds awesome. Well I am out of time. I will answer your questions, I promise. I love you so much. Spencer should be so excited :) It really is the greatest thing I have ever done. And life only gets better from here :) How very blessed we are. You´re all always in my prayers. I love you

Elder Sharp

Monday, September 2, 2013

We're all champs


Really good week this week. We had our baptism on Saturday, and Sunday was a great day in Church. We had a ton of people there. 98. Which is super super good for us. And lots of people showed up that haven´t come in a while. Less actives and whatnot. And Today I went to Gibraltar which was awesome. Transfers are this week, and Hermana Chance is leaving. She is going to Fuengirola and Hermana Johns is going to be a SHE (basically just a leadership position for Hermanas, they go and splits with other hermanas and are just machines). SHEs always are in a pair of two, so this other SHE is coming to live in Jerez, and this pair of SHEs is also going to train a new hermana. Super cool. Elder Erickson and I will kick it here for another transfer, which is exactly what I wanted. I absolutely love Elder Erickson. We get along super well, even though we are so different. He is absolutely wonderful. And I am super glad Johns is staying here too, cause she´s awesome as well. We all have tons of fun. And work hard. Of course :)

I wasn´t in Jerez very much this week. I was in Malaga for about two days with Johns. There was this big leadership training and her and I went. That´s how I got to spend the night with Jordan Quinn. It was SOO great to see him. I love the fact that he is here too. So I think they will split my district. We will have like 14 people in it now, so I am pretty sure that they will just make Jerez its own district. We´ll see. Hooper is leaving. He goes home in December and will spend his last two transfers in Malaga training. I´ll miss him a ton. But things are going really well. The baptism was awesome. The Hermanas baptized A, the husband of the south american girl that Pardo and I baptized, M. He was our investigator, but when we split the area he became the hermana´s because he lives in their area. Maribel is doing super awesome. Same with Victoriano. But yeah, Antonio and Ana were baptized on Saturday. I was priviliged to baptize Antonio, and Elder Erickson baptized Ana. And then on Sunday I confirmed Ana and ended up giving two baby blessings. Which was a surprise. I was sitting there and all of the sudden they announced that there would be three baby blessings and two confirmations. I was only expecting one baby blessing. But we blessed Lola (Paola´s daugther) first and I did that, it was scary but it went well. And then Emilio and Rosario (my second and third converts) wanted their seven year old daughter blessed. And the daughter asked me to do that one as well. So that was a surprise. Fun stuff. I was really nervous about all of it, but it went ok. I didn´t bless or confirm as elegantly as the bishop or WML did that day, but I did my best and I felt the Spirit. A priesthood blessing is a priesthood blessing. It doesn´t matter how poorly we speak, the power is not in the words we say.

Quick insert about trivial matters..... If you haven´t sent my package yet, could you put pretzel m&ms in there??

I love you guys a ton. I can´t believe Spencer leaves so soon. Honestly time is FLYING by. Sometimes I feel like I am speeding down the freeway with the wind hurling at my face when it comes to time. This last transfer went by very quickly. I will hit 6 months in less than three weeks. And a week after Spencer leaves on his mission, I will hit 7 months. Super crazy. This transfer is going to be great though. Elder Erickson and I have set some high goals this transfer and we want to make it perfect. We are going to try our hardest.

About the package thing, always better that you don´t send it to the mission office. I guess for JQ it doesn´t matter a whole lot since he is so close to the mission office, but it gets here so much faster if you send it to my address. Could you put some pens in there too?? Decent ones? Everyone here spends a fortune on these super nice pens called parkers, but I don´t want to. But my papermates are about gone. So yeah.

SUPER SUPER SUPER jealous that you guys get to go to Warrenton. You honestly have no idea. I would love to go to Oregon. Honestly that is what I want to do when I get home. Just a short trip to Oregon and clam chowder. Erickson and I talk about oregon all the time. His family goes there too. They have some pretty cool traditions, but we both just love oregon. When they go to Oregon they go crabbing, which sounds really fun. You should look into that. You rent these baskets with bait in them attached to a long rope and huck them in the water off the dock, and then they sink and after a while they fill up with crabs and you can keep them, depending on the size. They always eat a ton of crab when they go. Sounds super cool. I want to do that with my family. You all better think of me when you eat those clam chowder bread bowls. Wow. It is so so not fair. I literally have been talking about Oregon at least once a day for the last 6 weeks, and now you guys are going. Oh well. Have fun :) Enjoy your last few weeks with my amazing brother. I am so proud of him. He is going to do so well. Only a few days in the MTC and then San Fernando is going to have one incredible missionary to work with. Guess what- Spencer is going to the San Fernando mission, and right now I am serving in the zone of San Fernando. That´s what my zone is called. Kind of ironic.

Well I am really happy for Spencer. I hope he´s excited. He needs to really enjoy these last few weeks, because in about 6 months he will not even remember what being a normal human being is like. Life changes so quickly. But it all goes by so fast. I don´t even know anymore. I feel like the P days are like every other day. Super weird. Today we went to Gibraltar and it was AWESOME. It is actually a British territory, so after we crossed customs it was like a whole different world. Even the weather was different!! It was super cloudy and windy, and I loved it. Felt like heaven. I guess it´s a good thing that I wasn´t sent to England on my mission. I am just fascinated by that country. And the accents seriously make me super jealous. I don´t know why they speak our language so much better than we do. Just walking around all the old shoppes today listening to tons of young, attractive women speak with a British accent was super hard. I was almost relieved to get out of there. Really distracting!! You guys would love Gibraltar though. Definitely up our alley. The rock was cool. We didn´t hike all the way up, just far enough to see the monkeys. It´s kind of funny. A huge rock with monkeys all over it. They were jumping on us and everything. And we had a bag with cans of soda in it and as we were walking down the mountain back to the city, a pack of monkeys attacked hermana johns who was carrying the bag and then she flipped and threw it at me, so then this huge monkey jumped on my arm and starting ripping into the bag so I, in my panic mode, decided that spinning around in circles would solve the problem. Really I don´t know why. But I just start spinning around hoping that the monkey would fall off, and it didn´t. It was flipping huge. Finally the bag ripped and all of our soda went rolling down the hill and the monkeys ran after it. So did we. We managed to save some of the cans, but the monkeys got some too. I was ticked. Fun day though. I am glad we went. I love British culture. I loved hearing people speak english again!! I would pass people and say hola or buenas because that´s what I am so used to. I am sure it´ll be like that when I return home as well.

So Things are going well. Tonight we have a really important appt with Pablo and Maria. We are going to set a baptismal date for the 28th of September. And Jose and Paola are doing well too.

I am happy. We are working hard and I am learning lots. I am really starting to care a lot about the people. This transfer will be awesome. Members feed us often enough. 2 or 3 times a week. But I am not a huge fan of eating with members. It is so hard to get out of their house with enough time to study and stuff during medio dia. I prefer being at home and cooking for myself. But we eat with members often enough.

Spencer sounds like a champ. He is so talented. I really miss him. I will record his video and send you my sd card probably next week. Don´t watch his video until the night he gets set apart though. Watch it with everyone there when they are all talking about how amazing Spencer is and how much they´ll miss him. Mine will fit in quite nicely. I hope Brigham is doing well. I am going to record a video for him too. I miss both of them so much. I hate thinking that I won´t see Brigham for 4 years. That is absolutely crazy. We have an awesome family and I love us so much. I hope you´re doing better Mom. You´re wonderful and I hope you never forget that. You mean the world to your children, even if we have a difficult time showing it. And I really admire Dad for his faith and example. He is such a champ. I hope I can be as good of a Father as he is.

Those movies sound awesome. I miss movies more than I thought I would. It´s harder with an american companion that loves movies so much. He is rubbing off on me. So is Johns. Don´t worry though mom. Spain is super safe. I am not worried in the slightest.

Anyway. That´s all folks. Life is good and I am excited for the next six weeks. Keep doing well. I love you all more than anything. Be happy!!!