Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Tears for BBQ

Dear Family, 

Good luck this week, with my cousins there and Dad gone :) I hope it all goes well. 

My week was good. I enjoy being companions with Elder Wiley. We get along pretty well. It was very weird going from Tudela to Wiley. They are like polar opposites. Sometimes I feel like being companions with Elder Wiley is like being companions with myself. We are pretty similar. Elder Wiley is 23, and will return to BYU in fall of 2015 as a senior, and I will be a sophomore. He played lacrosse at BYU and he´s just a really cool guy. He´s from Seattle, which is super cool. He´s really mature. Which is kind of difficult to find in a missionary these days. 

The Elche zone is doing better. I think with the change of companionships in our zone things will start improving. The companionship that didn´t ever leave their piso has started to work and their area has already seen major improvment. Hermana Flake (my favorite Hermana from the MTC) is here in Elche as well, and she is a machine and is working very well. I worry about only one companionship in my zone. But we are doing what we can. I am starting to like being zone leader for the first time. I feel like I have been living under my potential for a long time. I could have been doing so much more to help these missionaries. 

I really am doing well. I love the mission. I love the Spanish language. It´s a lot better than english. I love Spain. I love Elche. I love the missionaries that I am serving with. I really couldn´t ask for anything more right now. Oftentimes during my mission I have asked myself ¨WHAT AM I DOING WRONG??¨ Why are we not baptizing? Why is our only progressing investigator going to move away for work AGAIN!!!? This is LITERALLY the 4th time that this has happened to me in this city. BUT.....I am trying not to be frustrated. Or discouraged. Elder Wiley and I had a really good week this week, and I know that we will soon have other progressing investigators. I am realizing that it isn´t about what I am doing wrong. It´s not always that. Rather, the question is: have I been doing things the right way for long enough? It´s a patience thing. 

I do love it though. I am very excited for this transfer. Things are going very well. I am learning a lot. I would say it´s the best time of my mission. I think I am learning about how to really measure success in the mission. It´s not about baptisms or anything like that. It´s about how much I give and how hard I work. And how I obey. I think I am a really slow learner. Other people learn lessons a lot faster than I do, it seems like. Oh well though. I am trying. 

Brigham should get his call two weeks from this wednesday. But I am wrong more than I am right. So I wouldn´t trust myself too much ;) 

Mom- I think that just because we don´t talk a lot about food, you think that we don´t miss our mother´s kitchen. HA. Quite mistaken. The food here doesn´t compare WHATSOEVER to what I grew up with. Not in the slightest. Everyone in Spain thinks that ¨one eats very well in Spain¨ but it´s only because they have never left Spain. I REALLY miss your mexican food. And I really really really miss casseroles. I would love to eat black bean and pineapple enchilidas right now. I miss BBQ. Sometimes I get tears in my eyes when I think about BBQ. I really really really really miss cafe rio. I miss chiken niko. And pork chops o brien. Holy flount I would love to eat pork chops o brien right now. I also miss this other dish that I can´t remember the name of. I miss those delicious salads you used to make. I can kind of replicate it here, but it´s just super expensive. I don´t really miss a whole lot of desserts. Honestly I think my sweet tooth is going away. I haven´t had ice cream for so long. Dessert kind of sucks in Spain, and it honestly doesn´t bother me. Maybe I grew out of it ;D Who knows?? I miss normal food. Your food. That´s another reason why I don´t want to get married. I will try not to judge my wife´s cooking , but I know that in my heart I will be disappointed. Who couldn´t be disappointed?? No one can take my mother´s place. 

Wanna know something funny?? I have had about half of my companions (and even some missionaries who aren´t my companions) tell me that they think that I care too much about what my parents think. Specifically my mother. They think that parents should stay out of their kids affairs, especially about relationships.  I don´t really understand why. I guess we´re just a little bit different. So feel good about yourselves. Because I really do care about what you guys think. I try hard to please you. When it comes to important life decisions, your opinions mean VERY MUCH to me. And it´s evident to those who are around me, because comments are often made. 

Well today we are going to have a zone p day. We will eat cookies and play card games and talk about things unrelated to missionary work. 

But I really like the work. The ward is changing slowly. We are trying to align the keys of the stake president and the mission president. I love my life right now. Really- I am getting better at contacting in the streets. And we are seeing small miracles every day. 

I do love this work. I can´t imagine what my life would have been like without this experience that I am having. I am immensely grateful for it. Even though it´s difficult. It really isn´t a sacrifice when looked at from the right perspective. 

Well I must go. I love you all a ton. Brigham- it frustrates me so much to read about you doing the same stupid things that I did when I was your age. I wish I could give you some of the knowledge that I have obtained over the past year and a half. Just pull it out of my brain and put it into the pensieve and just shove your head into it. I feel like I will have this same sensation a lot as I parent my teenage children. So that´s something to look forward to. Not. Really though. I don´t think you´ll change your mind anytime soon. But soon you´ll give yourself realization. And you´ll probably regret your actions a bit. That´s ok though. That´s the only way that dumb people like us learn. 

I love you mom. And Dad. And brothers. You´re the best. 

elder sharp

Monday, May 12, 2014

Who Can Resist Coldplay?

Dear Family,
Well mother I feel like I didn´t emphasize enough the fact that yesterday was mother´s day. I hope it was an amazing day for you :) I really really miss you. The good thing is that yesterday was the last mother´s day that I will ever spend without my mother. I find a lot of comfort in that.
I felt very weird about our phone call. I feel like we just talked about random things and the time just FLEW by like nothing. I felt really sad afterwards. I LOVED getting to see my talented little brothers. I seriously can´t believe how much Clayton has changed. It seriously kept me up last night thinking about it. I cannot fathom how someone can change so much in so short a time. I am so proud of that guy. And of Quincey and Lincoln. They are just so wonderful. Brigham still hasn´t changed at all :) Haha. I love that kid. I have accepted the fact that I will NEVER be as good-looking as him, so he doesn´t have to keep telling me that ;) I hate the fact that I won´t see him in person for 27-28 months. It´s a very long time. Also I loved seeing Grammie and Grandpa and Grammy there. I have the greatest grandparents in the world. Honestly I just have the greatest family in the world. It seriously isn´t fair for everyone else. I am just so spoiled.
What worried me is that I didn´t even cry at all! I didn´t even feel emotional in the slightest. I just felt disoriented after I hung up and had to rush to that meeting with my drill sergeant new ward mission leader. I didn´t feel homesick at all after the call. It just made me happy knowing that you were all doing well, and that you´re all as beautiful as you were when I left you. Happy, Healthy, and doing well in the gospel. That´s about all that matters. But I feel like I should be missing you more than I am?? I don´t know. I honestly don´t feel jealous of Kyle at all. I would probably hate life if I knew I was going home in less than a month. I just have so much left to do. I guess that´s a good thing. But for the first year of my misson, I just missed my family so much that it hurt!! And I still miss you of course, but it´s different now. I don´t know. Maybe I am just finally focused on the work. I don´t know.
I just know that I don´t want to leave this place. It makes me sick to think that I have less than ten months left. It is going by way too fast. I look at Tudela and just feel pity for him. Poor guy. Hopefully I will want to go home in nine months. If not, we will have some serious issues.
Coldplay is playing on the radio right now in the internet cafe. Trying hard not to listen to it.......trying..sooo..hard
Well Tudela is leaving me. I hate it when this happens. I am going to miss this chilean swede so much. I have never had such an open relationship with a companion. We don´t hold anything back. And I love it. I love him. 
Anyway. Tudela is leaving me. Wiley is coming. He´s cool. I think we´ll get along. I am excited to be in charge again. I do so much better as a missionary when I am senior companion. I don´t know why. I just take the back seat when I am junior comp, and don´t contribute as much as I should. One of my many flaws.
Things are going well here in Elche. Really, we have found some amazing people lately. I don´t see them getting baptized very soon, but I think that they will be able to progress. One is a young spanish girl named P. She´s nineteen, and is one of the most intelligent people I have ever met. We contacted her on a bus. She is a pro swimmer too. She is also a scientist, and the girl that travels to other countries doing charity work, a red cross volunteer, studying to be a nurse, and has read the bible, torah, and koran. She´s a pretty incredible person. But I just don´t know how receptive she is to the Spirit :( But we are trying.
We rescued A yesterday!! She get a calling and everything! I am super happy about it. We are working with other families and people that are less active and lots are progressing really well. We have like 7 progressing less actives.
Good knews. Two people that I found are getting baptized in Almeria. YES. It makes me feel like I actually did SOMETHING there in Almeria.
B is doing well. Working every sunday. But as soon as june starts, she will start coming to church. I hope to baptize her before I leave. Only God will be able to pull off that miracle though. We have some other investigators that have potential. We are just trying to be patient.
I honestly feel nervous. I don´t know what I am doing as a zone leader. And I always feel like we should be doing more to help the zone. And now I have to train a new zone leader. My zone is currently not in good shape. I have two companionships that are struggling really really bad. One doesn´t even leave the piso to go out and work. Even harder is that he is older than me and an x zone leader. So it´s a tricky situation. I don´t know how to lift this zone up. But I have spent lots of time on my knees to find out how, and I know that I will continue to do so. But this is going to be the hardest time of my mission I think. I can use all of the prayers I can get.
Spiritually, I am doing phenomenal. Really. Best time of my mission. The week of consecration really helped me. I have tried to get better at every aspect of my mission. I wasn´t ever really disobedient or anything, but I didn´t always exercise. And I sometimes slept in for five-ten minutes. And I was basically always five minutes late to everything. I think I just decided that if it´s acceptable for my companion to do it, then it is not that bad. But I changed my mindset. And I have felt a lot closer to the spirit. I have had some INCREDIBLE spiritual witnesses lately. One happened as I was reading mom´s email today, and the other was ....yesterday. I just love feeling close to the spirit. And feeling close to the Savior. I feel happy. A little bit scared and discouraged, but happy. I am excited for these last ten months. It´s gonna be awesome.
This is probably the worst email I have ever written. It´s just that I wrote it really fast without really thinking before writing. Sorry. Well I love you. I wish I could skype with you every month. But I can´t.
I AM SOOOOO HAPPY ABOUT CLAYTON!!! Seriously. What an amazing blessing.
And I am super excited to hear where Brig goes. He needs to get out into the field :)
Well that´s all. I love you both so much. I miss a lot of things about home. But the thing that I miss the most are my parents. I have the best parents in the world. Thanks for all that you do for me. You are my heroes. And I really look to you as the best examples in my life.
Sorry for failing at communication. I know I have lots to improve on. But trust me, it´s kind of hard.
This church is true! I know it. My faith and testimony has grown so much over the course of my mission. And I am starting to see the WHYs about the gospel. Why we come to church, why we strive so much to live the gospel, why we take the sacrament, why we read the book of mormon, why we give up everything for two years. It´s really incredible.
I am thankful for the Savior. If I have learned anything on my mission, it has been a deeper comprehension of His sacrifice. It is becoming personal to me. I have learned that the moments in which we truly come to know the Savior are those in which we are struggling- those moments when we have doubts, trials, temptations, or when we just feel discouraged. It is in those moments that I kneel down and plead to God for help and strength from Him who is mighty to save. And I have felt that divine help. I know that it is available to all of us. Because without that help, we could not do it. God doesn´t give us anything that is too hard, too complex, or too much for us to bear. This statement is only true when we are relying upon the Savior. Without Him, life would be practically unbearable. How blessed are we that we don´t have to go through life without the enabling power of the atonement? I find a great deal of comfort in that knowledge.
I am way out of time. Ugh.  I love you all. So much!
elder sharp
PS- Derek Hansen is a stud