Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Again, Do I Really Share This?

Dear loved ones, 

forgive me, I have about thirteen minutes left. So all grammar and spelling is about to fly out the window. Sorry :) 

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE PACKAGE!!! I really really loved it. I had Chaps record me opening it, so I will send that to you :) Thank you so much. I loved the tree. Even though it took me a while to realize what it was :) And I found c batteries super easily. So it was perfect. Loved loved LOVED the food you sent. I have literally been thinking and talking about all of that stuff for a long time because it is just home to me around this time of year. So thank you. You just do everything perfectly every time. I really really appreciate everything you do for me. 

Some things, my personal card didn´t work when I tried to withdraw money from it to buy some things. I only tried to take about 27 dollars out, so I don´t know what happened. If you could respond to this part of the email ASAP that would be good, because I am sending you guys some stuff and I need to know if I can use your credit card to send it if my personal card still isn´t working. I will check my email again in about 24 hours when I am at the capilla, so let me know. I am at nine euros right now for mission money because I am waiting on 110 euros of reimbursals. So I am broke until friday. 

Some interesting experiences

So I never shared this with you, but my first night here in almeria I was walking around with chapple just visiting some people to get to know the area. And for some reason I had the WORST diarrhea (can´t spell it) in the world!! I was walking around literally afraid that I was going to lose it all at any second for about three hours. It came in waves. I like felt it rise up in my body and the pressure built and I was like ¨oh no oh no oh no¨ and then at the last second the pressure released and I had about thirty seconds of peace until it came again and the thirty second build up began. My stomach was just churning. It was AWFUL!!! Especially cause it was my first day with Chapple and I didn´t know him at all. So basically his first impression with me was the constant moaning and complaining and he kept asking me if I just wanted to walk home but I wouldn´t. Finally time came around to go home and it was a good thing too because I knew that I didn´t have much time left before all heck broke loose in my pants. I was literally almost in tears by the time I was walking through our apartment complex door. But I made it in time. Thank the Lord. That was a small little miracle in and of itself!!
Don´t ask my why I shared that with you know. Cause I really don´t know. 

So I have really been missing movies. I really miss books and movies. A lot. Sometimes on Pdays I just go into bookstores and walk around. But I can´t read any of the books in there. But I just like tempting myself. Anyway. I was in a bookstore the other day and I saw a lady that looked EXACTLY like mom. I had a calendar in my hand and I looked up and about fainted. I literally ran and hid. My heart was pounding so fast, and I was just so confused. ¨Mom would never come to Almeria!!!¨ but even the clothing was spot on!! But then I peeked out and walked closer to this lady and realized it wasn´t you. But man my heart was pumping. Then I was super disappointed that it wasn´t you mom!! 

I was also in the home of some of our investigators waiting for one of them to get home and the older brother was watching SUPERMAN (the new one) illegally on the internet. It was in great quality, and it was even in ENGLISH!!! I was dying. Literally the temptation was overpowering. I have wanted to see that SO BADLY. And there it was. literally calling my name. Amy Adams, that really cool superman guy who was in count of monte cristo. WOW. So stinking hard. I admit I peaked once or twice. ¨YOU. ARE NOT. ALONE.¨ Oh man. I have a really long list of movies I want to watch in 15 months. But the first one is the new temple video. I made chaps tell me all about it. But he isn´t very descriptive. So I am excited. I miss the temple a lot. Our ward just did a temple trip on Friday. 

We had this choir concert in Granada on saturday. We spent the entire day there and then got back to Almeria around 12:30 in the morning. It was really cool. A band came and they were very talented. Especially the director. But our missionary choir kind of sucked. We sang english christmas carols. Then some of us sang Winter Wonderland in a small group. That turned out pretty good. And then this hermana sang Oh Holy Night as a solo. She was really good. Spencer could have done it way better, but she is very talented. I was missing Spencer a lot that night. And choir in general. I really really loved that. I am so glad that I did it. 

Things are going super well here. We are working hard and I really love Almeria. I just love the mission. I have been really happy lately. I really love President Deere. He is such an incredible man. Just being around him is spiritually edifying. He is just so happy and so righteous. You look at him and just think of innocence. He seems so innocent and yet he is a 50 year old man. He is a wonderful example for all of his missionaries, and he does a really good job of making them all feel loved individually. 

I am loving the work, and my personal study as well. Life is really good right now. 

Last night elder chapple asked me to give him a blessing of comfort, and i did. The first blessing I have given in english since the mtc. And I start off fine. ...¨By the authority of the Melchizidek priesthood which I hold, I lay my hands upon thy head and I give thee....a name and a blessing.¨ Yeah. I said that. I just paused in the blessing for a second and it dawned on me what I had said, and I then said ¨I mean..¨ but it was too late. Chapple just burst out laughing and then I did too. And it took about ten minutes for us to stop laughing and get to the point where we both could receive/give another blessing. It was really bad. But super funny. 

I have more stuff that I wanted to say, but I don´t have time. I am going to check my email in 24 hours at the church, so please let me know about that stuff! 

I love you all so much.

Thank you for everything! 


elder sharp

Monday, December 9, 2013

Chuggin' Along?

Dear loved ones, 

You sound really really busy. I wish there was something I could do to help, but even if I were at home I would be in Provo. So I suppose it doesn´t matter either way. Here is the best place for me :) We had a good week. Well it was a great week actually. I have been doing super well lately. 

In response to your questions: The hot water is quite limited. So I have been taking super fast showers. Like a minute and a half. It´s exciting :) I often find myself missing the summer that I spent in Jerez. Never thought I would say that. But it´s true. Just the human nature inside of me :) I always want what I don´t have!!! But I am enjoying the ¨cold¨ weather here that actually isn´t cold :) For me it is, but I know it´s nothing compared to what you all are experiencing!!! When it comes to skyping, I need to know soon. I am suggesting 6:00pm to 7:00pm, which is 10am for you and 9am for Spencer. Let me know if it works out. But Chapple and I have to do it at the same time and his family is apparently wanting to know when we´re going to do it asap. I think the Hermanas want to eat there because of the food. The love McFlurries. Haha. It´s hysterical. And McDonald´s is SOOO expensive in spain. The McFlurries are about 4 US dollars. Which is a lot for a poor missionary. We have gone to Granada a lot lately, and everytime we go to Granada we have to eat out at McDonald´s because that´s the only thing close to the bus station. So everyone is spending a ton of money on fast food, except for me. The last four times we have gone to granada I just pack a lunch the night before and warm it up in the stake center before we go to McDonalds. I hate spending money, especially on fast food. It´s super weird!! I have developed this loathing for spending money. It´s not permanent though. I haven´t received the package yet. I assume it will come tomorrow. Last friday was a holiday in Spain, and today as well, and mail doesn´t come on saturdays or sundays. So probably tomorrow. When it comes to the batteries, I am pretty sure that I will be able to find some. Here the chinos have everything. If not that´s ok though. 

I am quite surprised that the MTC President remembered me. Really surprised actually. He has gone through so many missionaries and it´s kind of hard to ¨stand out¨ in the MTC. Most everyone is just brand new and doesn´t know much. I did confide a lot of things to him in my weekly letters though, so maybe that is how he remembers me. That was really nice of Austin to write Spencer. I feel pathetic that I haven´t done it. I have three pages written to him, but I just do not have time for anything. I am definitely the worst letter writer ever. 

I CANNOT BELIEVE that Brigham is doing a musical. WOW. WOW. He totally followed in the footsteps of Spencer and I. That is so CRAZY. I am really proud of him.  I wish I could be there to see it. Brig will change so much here before long.  He´ll get on his mission, and then realize that he wasted a whole lot of time, he´ll regret it, and then he´ll do his best to fix it when he gets home. 

We have had a really good week. We went to Granada twice this week, and when we go there it we don´t get home until about 6 in the evening, and don´t get out working till 6:30, so we lose almost the entire day. But we still worked hard and had success. We have found a lot of new investigators, but just not a whole lot that are truly interested in the message. The only person that is for sure going to get baptized is F, and she can´t come to church yet because of work. So that is sad. J G is doing alright. Didn´t come to church yesterday because it was his birthday. I sent him a birthday text telling him that we appreciated him and he said ¨thanks, nice detail.¨ I really feel like he thinks there is this huge scheme we have to try and convert him or something. All we can do is fulfill our purpose and leave the rest to him. He has to put forth the effort. I feel like we are doing everything we can. We had seven investigators in church yesterday, but only one is actually a progressing investigator. I don´t count the others as progressing because I don´t see a whole bunch of desire there. But we´re working as hard as we can. I think a lot of our investigators just really like us as friends and do what we say so that we keep coming over. Which is a problem. Oh well. We keep chuggin along :) I am really loving the work though. I feel super good about who I am and where I am right now. 

I don´t know if I have ever mentioned anything about it, but Spain is SUPER international. I have met people from almost every country in the world. I have literally met at least someone from every south american country. There were tons of Columbians and Bolivians in Jerez, and here there are TONS of Argentines and Ecuadorians. And Peruvians. And every other south american country. I have met lots of Italians. Just the other day I had a two hour conversation with this 20 year old italian girl on the bus ride home from Granada. She talked my ear off, showing me EVERY picture on her camera. She was super interested in nature and trees and stuff and explained every single picture to me. She probably had over five hundred. I had to act interested for two hours. It was a long bus ride. It was super hard to understand her too because she was speaking a mix of spanish and italian, so that was even harder on my brain. Hahaha, and on that bus ride Chapple was lucky enough to sit next to this creepy Russian girl that ended up stroking his arm and laying her head on his shoulder and just trying to mess with him. She wasn´t a very good person, and the whole time talked about how handsome he was and how much she wished she could smoke on busses. She spoke spanish poorly, and Chapple couldn´t understand her at all. He sat right behind me and at some point I hear ¨Elder Sharp¨ whispered super loudly and I turn around and she is laying on his shoulder with her arms wrapped around him trying to fall asleep, and her male friend is sitting on the other side of the bus just laughing. Chapple looked like he was about to pass out. I almost burst out laughing when I saw the expression on his face. Like a deer about to get hit by a semi. I didn´t know what to do though, and this italian girl just kept on talking like nothing was happening, so Chapple just got up and started writing a letter with his whole body leaning forward off the seat so that she couldn´t lean on him. It was funny. But dangerous. European woman!! But we meet TONS of Romanians, Russians, Ukrainians, Bulgarians, Armenians, you name it. I have met people from almost every European county. Norwegians (that always brings a small pain in my heart...I miss her a lot), Fins, Brits, Swiss name it. And almost every african country as well. I even met an Egyptian guy one time. And a jewish person from Israel. So it´s always a party. Hearing a ton of different languages all the time. We contacted this african from senegal on the street the other day named M. We end up getting into his house last night and as we walked in he led us into the living room and it is filled with at least 10 HUGE african muslims. I was a little scared. Haha. But they were super friendly. They don´t listen to us though. They hear ¨Jesus Christ is the son of God¨ and then just start going off about Muhammed and stuff. They only believe in Christ as a prophet. They told us ALL about their religion. It´s super interesting. I feel like the eastern world is like a different planet. They can have up to four wives and it´s totally normal for the husband to physical keep the peace in his home. I could never live like that. The role of woman is just so diminished in that culture. It just feels wrong. Get this, one of the even told us that they think they love Jesus Christ more than the Christians do. That one stung. So we got out of there pretty fast. That last comment made me think a lot. Sometimes I feel like we do take Jesus Christ for granted. I definitely know that Christ is more important to good Christians than he is to Muslims,  but Christ is everything!! I often take it for granted that I have a Savior and that he truly did live on this earth and establish his church. And he really is the SON of God. I make sure to emphasize that in every prayer I say in front of Muslims. In the name of Jesus Christ, THY SON, amen. I don´t know where that religion fits in in God´s plan, but one day even they will confess that Christ is the Son of God. 

I feel very close to my Father in Heaven and I am LOVING the BoM as usual. It is so wonderful. I love being a member of the church. I am realizing that I will be devoting my whole life to this work, but it is exactly what I want. I believe in this work with all my heart, and I know it´s His work. We are so incredibly blessed to do it. 

You both have such busy lives. It´s incredible. I hope you are healthy and safe. I miss you a lot and I am very excited to see your faces. I have decided that I do want you to come and pick me up. Mostly because I just want to have time alone with my parents before I go back to the real world, and that is much more important to me than a glorious airport homecoming. There is a system for how it all works out when parents come and pick us up, and I am not a huge fan. But it´s what there is :) So buy tickets as early as possible so that we can save money!! 

Last thing, it is kind of cold here. And I often find myself wishing that I had a light jacket to put on. So I am making a request. I don´t know if this is the most lucrative solution, but clothing is expensive right now here. Will you send me the gray coat that Jamie gave me? The one that Brigham thinks is his? I actually can wear it proselyting and I would wear it almost every day. So I want it back. Let me know what you think :) 

I love you 

elder sharp

Monday, December 2, 2013

Ronald McDonald Thanksgiving

Dear Family, 

My Thanksgiving was alright :) Very low-key because no one in Spain celebrates Thanksgiving. The gravy packets got there that same day!! It was perfect :) Thank you so much mom!! The stuffing turned out. It was different than hers (grammy's) but it was good. I spent a ton of money on that dinner but I was glad I did it. Everything I made turned out really good. The green bean casserole was a tiny bit bland, but that´s ok. I will add more salt next time. The mushrooms turned out perfectly. Which really made me happy. Sometimes I impress myself. :) Elder Chapple was in charge of the potatoes (he thinks that being from Idaho automatically gives him the duty to make potatoes) but they didn´t turn out so hot. I had so much else to do that I just didn´t think about the potatoes but man I should have helped him. I did it a lot during college and mine always turn out great. Not all Idahoans can cook potatoes. But that´s ok. I ended up cooking the entire meal. Except for potatoes and rolls :) The Hermanas brought rolls and they were pretty good. Nothing like Williams family rolls, but they tasted good :) Elder Bird brought meat, and I cooked it in the church. He bought turkey breasts instead of chicken breasts, so I guess it was a little more Thanksgivingish. And then we roasted a small little chicken in the oven, that turned out good too. I bought corn and some lima bean looking things that weren´t lima beans, but it was good. I spent 30 euros (42 dollars) on the meal. It was a success. But I am excited to never have to do that again. Well maybe one more time. But after that NEVER again. I am NEVER going to live more than one hour away from my parents. What we learned from this experience is that Preston can hold his own in the kitchen, and that from now on his help should be requested in the cooking of the meal, instead in the cleaning up of it ;) 

That all took place on Tuesday. On Wednesday we dropped Elder Bastian off at the Bus Station and spent the day moving a little and then picking up the new elders. We couldn´t move in on Wednesday because the Hermanas still hadn´t moved out. So Wednesday we slept in our old piso with the other two elders, and then moved the next morning. I really like our new piso. The dryer doesn´t work very well, and is incredibly loud, and the water pressure is awful, and there is no hot water in my shower, but it is a super nice piso and feels really homey. I really have nothing to complain about when compared to living circumstances of other missionaries. 

When it comes to skype, I am totally fine spending the whole hour with everyone. I am glad that you guys are getting the extended skype package, because I really wanted to skype with Spencer. So I will be content with whatever happens, I just need you to tell me what time to be on. We have tons of people that keep inviting Elder Chapple and I over for Christmas, so we think we´re going to have to house hop. But the only thing that matters to me that day is seeing you, so let me know what time works best for all of you and Spencer. 

This week was an alright week. It was very busy and we didn´t teach as much as usual. But things worked out and it ended up being an ok week. The new elders here are...good. I like the younger one, elder Church. And the one who took Bastian´s place is Elder Lopez. Who is nice. The new DL is Elder Vosters who is Church´s comp. He only has 3 transfers left.

This week J G came to church. He is a great guy, but so incredibly difficult to teach. If my testimony of the BoM hadn´t been formalized so much, I don´t think I could do it. He isn´t rude or anything, but he just looks for the tiniest things to prove that it isn´t true. He is so suspicious yet he claims to be open and tells us that he is reading the BOM just like he reads the bible, with an open heart and a questioning mind. (it is so weird to translate things into english). But during church I was sitting next to him and he kept doing all these weird things like taking pictures of the priesthood circle they did to confirm a new member, and then writing down things to look up about things people said. He even wrote down the numbers that were on the sides of the front stand on his little note pad and asked me with a super suspiscious tone ¨what do these numbers mean!!?¨ and I was like ¨those are the numbers of the hymns we sang, bud. tranquilizate!¨ Some people are just so crazy these days. We had two other investigators in church yesterday too. But I don´t know how promising they are. We´ll see though :) It´s a 19 year old girl named M and her 24 year old ¨friend¨ named M. He has stars shaved in his hair and earings and even a tooth piercing. And a huge rat tail jedi braid thing.  I really can´t stand that whole jedi braid fad that is still going on. But he is a nice kid. I hope he will listen to us. I like him a lot. The gospel can touch the heart of anyone, no matter who they are or what they do. And looks don´t mean anything either. 

Thanksgiving day we moved and then helped the hermanas move. Then we went to McDonald´s for Thanksgiving. Yep. It was nice to be with Americans but yeah. Clark was like ¨let´s go get food right now!!¨ and then I was excited but of course the hermanas chose mcdonalds. They LOVE that place. I swear they eat two or three mcflurries a week. But it felt american, and that is what mattered :) We even went around the table (only four of us) and said what we were grateful for. It was nice. 

When it comes to your week, I am sorry.  I have been thinking a lot about parenting in relation with the way God parents us. We learn things about this from the parable of the prodigal son. I really want to read that book you were talking about a while ago, about satan´s war against agency.  

I am glad that you are going on the cruise. I totally understand your fears, and I think it is completely normal to feel the way that you do. But it´s something that you should face. Especially if you feel vulnerable because of it. At least you tried to put forth the effort. I think you will be glad you went. Especially because it is only two days long. Although I am surprised you´re going on a mexican cruise. Be safe!! 

Right now I am in the beginning of 3rd Nephi. I haven´t read very much this week. But I am still loving it. The Book of Mormon is incredible. I am excited to get back in the normal swing of things because this week was quite odd. Anyway. 

I love you all so much. Thank you for your support and encouragement. 

Only 23 more days!!!! 

love, elder sharp