Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Well Then... Your Hands are Cold

Dear loved ones, 

My hands are cold. I say that for multiple reasons. 1) I have been thinking a lot about Pride and Prejudice lately. I really love that story. And I can´t wait to see the movie again. 2) My hands are seriously freezing cold right now, and it is causing me to type rather slowly (ha...Darcy writes ¨uncommonly fast¨ and I type ¨rather slowly¨). All of the internet cafes here are tiny little holes in the wall and they become super hot in the summer and freezing cold in the winter. But I don´t complain about the weather. I am enjoying this while it lasts, because I know exactly what the summer will bring. 

This week has been good. Numbers wise not so much. But I have worked really hard this week, and I feel good about it. I am not a huge fan of taking caña (cane..basically like punishment. It´s a spanglish phrase we use often) from the ZLs every Sunday, but I do the best I can :) This week was just hard for us. We keep having tons of investigators drop us. A the 10 year old Dominican still hasn´t progressed. We have tried everything. He has received multiple answers from God that all of this is true and that he should be baptized, and he loves church and being with the members. He reads the BoM and prays, but he refuses to be baptized. Why? Because he likes coffee and knows that he will like alcohol when he is 18 years old. In 8 years. Yeah. It´s frustrating. So we dropped him. It was hard for me because I am really close to this kid. But he often isn´t home when we have appts and we have spent too much time on someone who refuses to progress. Kind of sad. But that´s life right now. When it comes to progressing investigators, I have zero. One investigator that I think may get baptized within the next month. F. But she still hasn´t come to church because of work. I am praying that she can this week. She is very difficult to meet with, but she really does have a testimony. So we will see. I have been working with her for about three months now. But it´s hard to meet with her. Her work should end this week though. I really hope she comes to church. 

And that´s about it. So many people drop us. We have found some investigators this week, but I don´t know how it will go. Basically all of my money is on F. It´s hard for me because all the ZLs care about are baptisms and high numbers. I know they are important, but I have had lots of personal triumphs this week and the numbers don´t really show that. I have finally begun to stop people in the streets and contact them. It´s such a huge part of missionary work to talk with everyone, and I just have a really hard time with that. But last night we got 10 futures just from knocking doors and stopping people in the streets. So basically that is a success for me. Plus we have had a ton of personal issues in this companionship that we are working through. I am working hard though. Unfortunately we taught only 10 lessons, which is my personal worst. We did lose two entire days in Malaga for that meeting, but the ZLs didn´t really care. I had my hardest day on the mission this week!!! It was just a really discouraging day. And if I am not super pumped and motivated, my companion loses all hope. This has week has been really hard for him. 

In the mission, companions almost always discuss the past mistakes they have made. I don´t know why. But it just happens. And I just ask over and over what my companions think that their parents could have done to help them, to prevent what happened from happening. And from what I have learned, almost all of it is a result of the parents failing to teach their children from the beginning. Obviously agency is a  huge part, but it is surprising to me just how many families do not read together, have FHE, or even pray together. It shocks me to hear my companions tell me that the gospel wasn´t a huge priority in their homes. Like I said, almost all of my companions have said that to me. I just can´t imagine it. The gospel was everything in our lives. I really really took my home for granted. All of those ¨family talks¨ after church and the late night conversations about what really matters in life. It WAS good for something. You were always just...talking to us. I often wonder where a lot of my time went during high school. And I forget just how much time we spent talking as a family about the important things. Time most definitely well spent. I really think all of that saved us. Haha. I remember my mother LITERALLY sobbing after I kissed a girl for the first time. I remember sitting on your bed with you just so frustrated. You wouldn´t even look at me. And Dad was there and I don´t think he really knew what to do. So he sent me out and I was just bothered. I didn´t understand why you cared so much. Kissing isn´t bad. The high standards that you had for us really frustrated me sometimes. But it was so totally worth it. Kissing isn´t a sin, but it definitely creates the opportunity to sin. Elders (sisters have usually already figured out this stuff) get out on their missions and it just hits them like a semi truck: ¨Wow...my parents wereactually right...the prophets actually know what they are talking about...the rules areactually there to help us. I REALLY should have listened to them.¨ My brothers are far from perfect, and I am even further, but we made it RELATIVELY unscathed. Thank the Lord. And my parents. And Herriman, Utah. 

About coming home two weeks early. Yeah I don´t think there is anything I can do about it. I was just reading a Holland talk in which he pleads to all of the missionaries not to serve ANYTHING but a 24 month mission. Not 23 or 19 or anything besides 24. And he of course gives the same counsel to the hermanas about a full 18 month mission. So yeah. There´s that, but God understands. The most important thing is that He accepts my service and my sacrifice. Basically I am just going to stay until Pres. Deere asks me to leave. Which is most likely going to beMarch 4th 2015. Thankfully there is no need to even think about that right now. I´ve still got time :) 

The professor said that she would accept me into her class when I return home, but no she never said where her daughter would be serving. I don´t think she puts her papers in until this summer. But I can´t really remember. 

Yes parenting parenting. I think about that a lot. Not because I am trying to live in the future or anything. But I do enjoy thinking about the kind of parent that I wish to become and I keep a notebook of parenting ideas and guidance that I have received over the past ten months. Really it is all stuff that could be found in the liahonas and conference talks. And the scriptures. It´s so amazing that all we need to do is follow the prophets, old and current, and everything will be just fine. 

My father has changed so very much. Honestly it´s incredible to me. I cannot wait to see him and talk to him. The change is so unbelievably drastic. I don´t know if it was his calling or what, but I am really grateful for the person that he is. Just really...wise and spiritually minded. Not that he wasn´t before, but much much more so now. I have a great deal of respect for him, and that amount of respect increases every week. But I love my Dad for who he is no matter what. I just hope he hasn´t changed too much. I hope he still makes lame jokes and I hope he still thinks that he is ridiculously funny. I hope he still has days where he never says anything serious at all, and where he just messes with you for no apparent reason. Because I miss that so so so so so much. The goofy guy who jokes around all the time, but who also parents like a drill sergeant and maintains order and makes us work and tries to teach us. And I can´t wait to be around him again. 

I laughed when I read that you guys are now wasting time watching Psyche. HAHAha. Seriously that´s hysterical. I like that show, but I know that I can never ever start watching tv series or netflix or anything besides two hour movies, otherwise I will get hooked and then waste tons of time. And yes I don´t think it needs to be mentioned that you are quite pathetic for feeling like those characters are your friends ;) 

Tell Brigham to use his brain. I am super proud of him for making chamber, but he really needs to be careful with this girl. I don´t really know what to say. He´ll understand when he´s older. 

Clayton. ? The things Dad said in his email about your conversation with Clayton about what he really wants in life sounds EXACTLY like a lot of the lessons I am having here. It´s amazing how lost some people are. If I have learned ANYTHING in my mission, it´s this: (well...first that Jesus Christ is my Redeemer but SECOND) WICKEDNESS NEVER WAS HAPPINESS!!!!!!!! Alma was a smart dude. He really gave his sons the right counsel. Fun isn´t happiness. Doing whatever you want is NOT happiness. Keeping the commandments is happiness.  Much better to learn the lesson as a 14 year old kid, instead of figuring it out when the consequences are much much worse. 

I love you so much. I love you so much Dad. And all of my brothers. Spencer I hope your mission is going well. I think about you every day. Take care family

Love elder sharp

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

New companions and BYU Spanish

Dear Loved Ones, 

We are doing quite well here in Almería. I really like Elder B. He is from a little place I like to call AVONDALE ARIZONA!!! I know that is right where we lived. Right next to Glendale. He lives in Maricopa county. But he was born in South Jordan Utah. Kinda funny. We basically just switched places. He is only 8 days younger than me, but graduated in 2013. He is...different from what I expected. We dropped Chapple off at the train station on Wednesday morning and I spent the whole day with Bird and Lopez until B got there at 6. We go to the station and pick him up and make the long walk back to our piso with all of his luggage. First person I´ve met that has more luggage than I do. Anyway, the whole time he is talking about all of his amazing athletic feats and high school experiences, and I quickly realized he is very different from me. Hahaha. He literally told me on the way home, ¨hey just so you know I am super jack and sometimes I really don´t like getting up out of bed and I have a hard time having desires to work¨ and all of this stuff. He said ¨they told me back in my old area that you were gonna straighten me all out and that I wouldn´t be jack after being with you, but I am just saying it´s hard for me sometimes.¨ I was thinking to myself ¨Oh you have got to be kidding me.¨ Let´s just say I didn´t get the greatest first impression of him. We get back to the piso and he is really not shy at all. Telling me all about his fiancé and how he has kissed 29 girls but his girlfriend thinks that he stopped at #27 which is her, but that he kissed two others before he and his girlfriend TECHNICALLY started dating. I was super confused. I did not know what to think of this kid. And then he started  talking about how gorgeous he thinks his face is and I was really actually amused by all of it. He is...very self confident and kind of arrogant, but he does it in a very funny way. It doesn´t even bother me. He is super loving and has no problems talking to anyone or making friends with anyone. I already know him better than I knew Chap (although I was SERIOUSLY missing Chap that first day or two, I honestly have never missed a companion like I missed elder chapple). But B and I are already really close. He is super nice, super willing to share and although sometimes I have to get on his case for stuff, he is trying really hard to be obedient and when he has the desire to work, he is a machine. He has the potential to be a great missionary. I am super excited to serve with him and help him learn to LOVE the mission!!   

Life is going good here. It´s hard and we are continually finding investigators that drop us soon after, but we are doing our best. I am trying to be as upbeat as possible. 

Really loving being a missionary. I can´t believe Nico is home. Time really does fly by. I am glad that I still have a good amount of time left. I am not even halfway yet. I also don´t think I want to go home early. The transfer falls two weeks before I actually left on my mission. So it would be 23 months and 2 and a half weeks. But still. I would feel a little bad knowing that I didn´t serve for a full two years. I know missionaries go home a little early for school and stuff all the time but...I dunno. I think I would be fine waiting until the next transfer which would be April 15th, but I also want to get home and get a job asap. So I am not sure what I will do. Good thing I still have a few months before I have to make any decisions. :) 

So I found this lady in our ward that I thought was a less active. Turns out she just lives in a different city for six months of the year. Her daughter served a mission and now lives in Utah. She married an american and she is a professor at BYU. She teaches the return missionary spanish class that is always full and is super hard to get into. And I got to talk to her on the phone!!! She told me to sign up for her class when I got back and that she would let me in even if it is full!!! She said that since I am in Almería taking care of her mother she would help me out :) Super cool!! We walked in to this lady´s house and I saw these photos of three kids, a 19 year old girl, 12 year old girl, and 8 year old boy. I saw these pictures and I was like, those are totally active members. You could just see the light in their faces. Plus they looked way different than Spaniards. Happier. And then I saw that those pictures were american school pictures that we have to take every year. And the kids were actually smiling!! But we didn´t think this old lady was active at all. Turns out she is. Her family is super strong in the gospel and they live in Payson Utah!! Her oldest grandaughter goes to BYU and is taking her mom´s RM spanish class, even though she doesn´t leave on her mission until this summer. She just speaks spanish fluently. We actually skyped them for a little bit because the grandma just randomly skyped them while we were sitting in her house. It was kinda cool. I am just glad that I am getting into that class!! 

Hearing about Clayton makes me super happy. I miss him a lot. I miss all of you. Every single one of my companions so far has come from a home where the gospel wasn´t really taught. Except for Lish. They all had good families that went to church, but the gospel just wasn´t a big priority. It is one thing to go to church every week and be a member of the church and all that, but living the gospel is something completely different. Was our family perfect? No definitely not. But I literally am overwhelmed when I think about the home that I was raised in. I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO grateful for the assurance and steadfastness of your testimonies. It all depends on the parents. We didn´t pray together as a family EVERY night, or have FHE every single monday, but you helped us to understand just how important this gospel is in our lives. And you did a pretty dang good job with fhe and family prayer. I am so glad that I know my parents are strong faithful members of the church with testimonies that burn. I am so grateful for your testimonies and for the protection that you gave to me growing up. I honestly don´t think I would be here right now had I been raised in Arizona. Thanks for getting me the heck out of that fiery furnace. Herriman is a special place and I will always consider it my home. Really my high school experience was SOOO different than what other people had. I am just so lucky. And I am going to be the best parent I can possibly be. I read about the lives of the prophets and apostles and the things that they did to help their children learn and live the gospel, and I am so so determined to teach them the things that I know. And I am going to start from a very young age. Elder Bednar would get up in the night when his newborn son was crying and hold him over his shoulder and read to him from the Doctrine and Covenants about the oath and covenant of the priesthood!!! He said that surely the newborn baby´s spirit felt the truth of it. And he would be driving with his son in the car and pretend to be an investigator and have his son practice being a missionary. That is the kind of father I am going to be. I want to teach my children to act as learners and learn for themselves at a young age that this is all true. I want them to learn how to live the gospel so that I can avoid all of the problems that come in teenage years. I know it´ll be hard and they will make mistakes and so will I, but I am just so so excited to be a parent. What an amazing responsibility. 

Well I have to go. 

Package, could I please have some sort of small speaker device that works with an mp3 player? Mine broke. And yes I can get cd´s and listen to them or download them onto my mp3. Don´t need gel. I have 2 full bottles. Toothpaste would be good though. Other than that, I don´t know. I love food. You´re the best. 

Thank you so much for everything. I love you

elder sharp

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Almeria to Stay

Dear Family, 

I hope things are going well back at home :) It sounds like the holidays were awesome for all of you. I am glad that my package arrived safely!!! I was dying when I saw the photos of those masks. Hahaha. I really wish I could have been there. But I only have to do that one more time. This time next year I will be about to begin my last transfer. SO WEIRD. I have less than 14 months left. I don´t really feel suffocated anymore when I think about the time. Just a tad worried. It´s going by so quickly. I feel like I simply blinked and now all of the sudden Chapple is leaving me. We have been together for three months!! And they have passed by flying.

 I am going to be staying here in Almería as anticipated, and Chapple is going to Badajoz (a city up by Portugal). My new companion will arrive tomorrow and his name is B. He is young. Only has 2 transfers in the mission, so he just barely finished his training. I will be honest, I did not want a comp that can´t speak Spanish. I was hoping for a native, or at least someone closer to my age. One because my Spanish isn´t improving very much, and two because I am a little tired. I was on splits with the ZL this week and he was talking to me about how it is so much easier when you have a companion that pushes you to work as well. Apparently when the two missionaries can hold their own, they each take one side of the street and just ¨toque¨ or knock every single door, by themselves. The work is much more exciting that way. They animate each other and set goals together, teach together, and the burden is shared. But new missionaries (generally) don´t know very much and are super dependent on the trainer, or senior comp. I basically followed my trainer around for two transfers. I tried to help but I will be honest in saying that I didn´t do a whole lot. (when you can´t speak it is VERY difficult to do anything. I really really believe that people underestimate the difficulty that newer missionaries have when they can´t even speak to anyone. Imagine trying to learn how to be a missionary and teach and contact and do everything...in a completely different language. It´s hard.) And then all of the sudden I was in charge of everything. So I had to grow up fast. And ever since then I have been the older comp. Which is great. I know it´s what the Lord has asked of me. But sometimes I get discouraged too. Chapple is wonderful and I really have loved being with him.  So I guess I just didn´t want to be the one doing 95 percent of the teaching and conversation making and all of that. Again. But Pres calls and then tells me that my new comp is really new and has had a really rough start and that I need to really love him and help him out. :D Hahaha. Not exactly what I had wanted to hear. But I do find solace in the fact that this is the Lord´s will for me. Which means that for some reason, God needs me to learn to love and care for those who are really having a hard time and are suffering. Clearly I will spend a good portion of my life doing that. So this is just practice. I am going to love Elder B with all of my heart and do the best I can to help him be happy, have success, and learn to love the mission. 

Almería is just the same as well. I know that I haven´t really talked about names a whole lot. But you see, I just don´t have much to write. We find people, but we teach them once or twice and then they either stop answering our calls or tell us not to come by anymore. It has happened a lot this week. It´s hard here. I honestly don´t know why. Several years ago Almería was the city in Europe with the most baptisms in one year. And now it´s just...dead. All eight of us are basically without solid investigators. I don´t know what has happened here. But I don´t want to leave without baptizing. So we will find someone. I know that I have more responsibilities than just baptizing, but we will do what we can. The goal is to split the ward next year. So B and I will be visiting and strengthening less actives and recent converts, as well as trying to find people that will progress. All the while trying to help Burbs (already have my nickname for him) as much as I can. It´s gonna be a fun 6-12 weeks :) 

You all sound incredibly well. Which makes me happy :) I do love hearing about your lives and everything that is going on with you. I am all for Brigham leaving as soon as possible, but I do understand that there are consequences on both sides. To me it sounds like an issue between Brigham and the Lord. He should wrestle with that one on his knees. 8 months of 1200 dollars a month is insane. Here hardly any of the missionaries in this ward are being supported by their families. Well...probably half are. But the rest are totally supported by the church. And President Deere told us that the 400 dollars doesn´t even come close to paying for us Spanish missionaries. The church spends about 1000 dollars a month on all of us. It makes me want to work harder. I am on the Lord´s time AND money, as well as my parents´. So I would tell Brigham to pray about it, keeping in mind that the call COULD be a while later than the availability date. 

Also...Abby is so awesome. Seriously that girl is bold. I would NEVER have done what she did. Brigham´s reaction was hilarious. I don´t know what I would have done were I in his situation. I really really like this girl. She is Erin Ws daugther??  Brigham needs to use his brain with this girl. Keep things light and safe. Brigham has probably already thought about all of this but he will leave on his mission and she will have two whole years of high school!! She´s a miamaid!! She will date other guys, go to Prom with other guys, probably kiss other guys, etc. etc. All whilst in the little safe bubble of high school. Next to being out on a mission, high school is definitely the best place to have a girl waiting for you. Cause nothing that happens in high school really matters. So he just needs to do this right. Hopefully he can swoop in after the mission and snatch her up again. But who knows? All of my district saw her answering him, and one of them that is about to go home was dead set on marrying her :) Hahaha. He was a little sad to find out she isn't quite 16 yet!!  

I LOVE that Randy is getting baptized. That makes me super happy. That is such a big deal. Way to go Brittany. Now we just need some of our young single adults here in Almería to step up and follow her example. I am glad that our ward is going to have more missionaries. When I come home there will be so many out. 

I don´t have a whole lot to say. When it comes to the package, don´t write ELDER on it ANYWHERE. When I went to the post office last time to claim the package this very frustrating lady that works there would not give it to me because in Spain my legal name is Preston Tyler Sharp. Not Elder. It was kind of a hassle. I really didn´t think she was going to give it to me. She literally just had it in her hands, right in front of me across the counter. I was totally about to lean over the counter, grab it from her, and run. But then I saw the huge security guard at the door and thought twice. So I asked to speak to the manager who came out and I explained that elder is a title, like mister or something, just in the church. And so we had to go to his computer and he looked up the definition of elder in spanish. (elder isn´t a spanish word. I don´t know why we still use the title as missionaries. It should be ancianos, similar to what it is in italian) But once they realized that it means anciano, they finally gave it to me. I was getting a little balistic. So just write Preston Tyler Sharp. And also, could I please have more socks? Any kind will do. You don´t need to by expensive socks from missionary stores, just regular church socks from walmart or something. I have somehow lost some of my black socks and I occasionally find myself proselyting with tan ankle socks when the laundry hasn´t been done for while. I can´t think of anything else I would want or need. I guess that is the good thing about having so much luggage. I don´t find myself needing hardly anything, because I brought all of it ;) 

I am happy :) A little tired. And all of the members keep telling me that I seem weighed down and burdened. But I am working on it. I wouldn´t trade this for anything. I am so grateful for a Father that knows exactly what I need, and gives it to me. These experiences are all for my own benefit, and I am trying to be as grateful as I possibly can :) 

I love you both so very much and I appreciate you 
elder sharp #1

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Argentine Christmas...:)

My dear loved ones, 

How are you!!?? I hope that Christmas was wonderful and that you didn´t get too distracted by all of the presents and whatnot. I had the opportunity to spend Christmas without those things, and it was a special experience. I really really love my Savior. Sometimes I feel as though I don´t know him as I well as I would like to, but little by little I am coming to know and understand Him. 

I LOVED being able to skype with you. The two iPad thing wasn´t ideal, but at least I was able to see his face and hear his voice. We´ll get that all worked out next time. And in a year we will have to do a four way skype call. You know I am pretty sure that hardly EVER happens in the field. You may be some of the only parents that will have three missionaries out at the same time. God is totally going to bless you for that. 

You all look great. Brigham´s hair is kind of..big, but I am sure he´ll cut it soon :) Grammie and Grandpa still look as young as ever. But I will admit it does really frighten me that my grandfather is turning 70 in a few months. Especially because he is doing it without me! I cannot believe it. I am just glad that I will be there to see my father turn 40. That is going to be a really weird day. But I am thankful that I was able to see all of you and talk to you. Clayton has changed a ton. But the little ones are still the same. Just a bit older. Quincey plays super well. SUPER well. I really hope that he keeps going. It was the fastest ¨hour¨ of my life. I am just so happy that next year I will hang up knowing that the end is nigh. I know I will be sad to leave, and leaving will be hard for me, but I will be SOOO excited to run into my parents´ arms. 

This week was super great. On Tuesday morning (christmas eve) all 8 of us missionaries went to the church and had a christmas eve american breakfast. It was good. We made french toast, pancakes, crepes, bacon, sausage, eggs and hashbrowns, and all of it. The Hermanas made homemade buttermilk syrup that actually turned out really quite well. And then we played basketball and soccer outside (the church´s parking lot has some hoops and goals) and just hung out doing nothing. (the mission doesn´t proselyte on christmas eve or christmas day). Then we went home and changed and watched part of best two years, and then went to J´s house. J is our Ward Mission Leader, and is from Argentina. He was in the bishopric when I first arrived here in Almeria, but was switched a while later. He and his wife, M, are the best. I really love J. He works SOO hard and is probably my favorite person in Spain that I have met so far. He invited us and the Hermanas over to his house for Christmas eve (or Noche Buena) and it was SOOO awesome. The closest thing to home I could have had. We walked in and it was all decorated really well for Christmas time, and the table was laid out very elegant and classy and I just immediately felt at home. J is probably in his fifties, and his son and daughter in law that live in Madrid were there as well. Just the eight of us. J has a daughter on a mission in Barcelona, so he has a soft spot for missionaries. The food was DELICIOUS. Part spanish and part argentine (no idea if that is the correct word or not). It was some of the best food I have had in Spain so far. We drank wine without alcohol which is pretty good, and they had cheesecake and fruit for dessert. Super classy. The food was tons of different meats, stuffed with nuts and fruit, and lots of salads and rice and bread and vegetables. It was cool. Very cool. Afterwards we waited up until midnight to ¨toast¨ and welcome in the Christmas day, which is a spanish speaking tradition I think. We toasted with non alcoholic champagne, which tastes like sparkling cider. So It was definitely a nostalgic experience for me. They have lots of traditions and I am so grateful to have been able to spend it with them. 

On Wednesday we basically did nothing. We sat inside all day and then went to a members house at medio dia to eat with them. At 7 we skyped. I really did not think I would cry. But apparently this is a reocurring thing. Did you know there is a spiritual gift called ´the gift to be able to weep´ ?? I think our whole family has been blessed with that spiritual gift. But towards the end there it was really hard for me. Everyone in the internet cafe was giving me weird looks, cause I was sobbing. I hung up and tried so hard to stop crying. I managed to hold myself together long enough to pay and walk out, but I walked out of there and then just broke down. Last time in May I walked out of that cafe with my head held high ready to get to work, but this time was a lot different. I just started sobbing. First time Chaps had ever seen me cry. I just remember not wanting him to see me cry, but I couldn´t help it. I just kept trying to say ¨this is so hard¨, but I couldn´t get the words out cause I was crying so hard. Hahaha. It was hard for me. We were standing there and I was just sobbing and then Chapple put his arm around me and we started walking. Then I remembered that his dog had been very sick and was about to die and so I asked him if he had got to see her one last time, and he shook his head. She had passed away the night before. So he kind of started crying too. We looked really pathetic I think. I was feeling incredibly sorry for myself. This whole leaving the family for two years thing has not been easy for me. But I had an interesting experience that night. 

We watched 17 miracles after we got home, and my perspective was changed a little bit. I watched the whole thing, feeling the powerful spirit that pioneer stories bring. But when it got to the climax of the movie- the part where the song ´Savior, Redeemer´ is playing and it shows the deaths of so many characters and really conveys the unimaginable depths of their sacrifices, I began to feel very selfish. Just hours earlier I had been mourning over the tiny sacrifice that I am making, when in reality my sacrifice is nothing. My family is happy, safe, and healthy. They have every comfort they could possibly want, and every freedom they need. As do I. We are both blessed immensely. True sacrifice is in the account of a wife, that literally had to watch her husband dig a hole in the frozen ground, a hole that would be the final resting place of the dead child she held in her arms, while the tears on her face froze to her cheeks. Standing in a blizzard, literally starving to death, worried for the lives of her other children and whether or not any of them will make it to Zion alive. Always walking, pulling a handcart, across the american continent. I once made a reference comparing the amount of my walking to that of the pioneers, but I will NEVER say anything like that again. So many people went through that, all the while telling themselves that ¨it will all be worth it in the end¨. The fires of their testimonies drove them forward, always in the hope that Zion was continually getting closer and closer. They understood the importance of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and they were willing to sacrifice EVERYTHING for it. It really puts things into perspective for me. I have NO idea what true sacrifice is, and I am so lucky that God has simply asked me for two years away from my family. 2 years in which I would bring the message of that gospel to the people of Spain that will listen to us. I have zero reasons to feel sorry for myself. An innumerable amount of people have testified of the truthfulness and eternal importance of this gospel message, and an equally innumerable amount of them have sealed their testimonies with their very lives. It saddens me to think about just how much I take the message I bear for granted. It is the most important message EVER carried, and I need to deliver it to as many peole as will possible listen to me. The word ´sacrifice´ is very broad, and often denoted to situations which, really, aren´t deserving of the title. 

I have recommitted myself to this work. I love it and it means everything to me. But sometimes I forget that. 

I am about out of time. I was gonna write about the depressing situation of Spanish youth, but time is not my friend today. Basically we had a ten year old kid tell us that he felt an answer from God about the BoM, and that he knows that God wants him to be baptized. But he won´t do it because he wants to be able to drink alcohol when he turns 18 in EIGHT years. I haven´t talked much about his, but the young people here really really make me sad. Sometimes I feel like Moroni surrounded by a world of awful wickedness. I have met too many 13-15 year old girls that have already been stained by the world. A TON of young girls here from 13-15 years old have boyfriends that are 24, 25 and even 26. It´s so so so illegal. But it happens ALL THE TIME. I just spoke with a 14 year old girl that lives with her 24 year old boyfriend. And we are teaching this fifteen year old romanian girl that has a 26 year old boyfriend. It makes me sick and my spirit literally feels sad sometimes. Eleven year old boys have ran away from home and spent the night in a park with their fifteen year old girlfriend. It´s just normal here. Some teenage boys told us that sex is more of a sport than anything else. So yeah. That´s just really disheartening. Europe is not doing too well right now. 

On a much happier note, I finished the Book of Mormon this week and, once again, was blessed with a reconfirmation of it´s divinity and truthfulness. I KNOW that Book is the word of God. Every time I testify of it I feel the Spirit confirming my testimony. I know it more than I have ever known anything. I love the Book of Mormon more than words can tell. It was SO written for our time and day. 

I also have thought a lot about my relationship with my Savior. I have been really blessed when it comes to the simplicity of my trials. I haven´t relied on Him as much as I should. But as I said earlier, I am working on it. When we don´t feel as close to the Savior as we wish, it is nobody´s fault but ours. I was thinking about the movie Charly the other day. I hate that movie. But it teaches some good principles. At one point the main character says (after his wife had gotten cancer) ¨I had to ask myself: Did I know Him well enough to trust Him with her?¨ I remember that statement a lot because when the crap hits the fan in life and we don´t know where to turn, that is when we need to start having faith in the gospel answers that we carry with us all the time. That´s when it all really counts. I just want to be able to know Him well enough to trust Him when I start to have trials in life. 

Well I love you more than anything


elder sharp