Monday, October 20, 2014

The Only Thing that Can Save the World.

Dear Family, 

It´s been a really great week. One of the most consecrated weeks of my mission. I am very tired!! 

Nancy´s baptism was quite wonderful. Small and tranquilo. She´s seriously amazing. One of my favorite converts. She is rock solid. She got baptized two weeks after our first lesson with her, but she was totally ready. 

Right now we have a mini missionary with us. He´s been here for a week, and will be here for a week more. He is from Jerez, and so I knew him from a year ago. His name is Nefi, and he´s funny. It was really hard for me to understand him in the beginning because the accents from Jerez are AWFUL. I had forgotten. But after a week of being with him I have gotten the hang of it. Because we are a trio, they sent him to be with us so that we could do splits. It´s been really nice. We have been able to work as two companionships in one area. It´s kind of hard sometimes because we don´t have enough to keep two companionships busy, but we have been finding news and it´s going well. I have been with Nefi all week, which has been cool. I have always wanted to have a Spanish companion. My companions are basically best friends, so they just decided that Nefi and I would be together for two weeks. Which was fine with me :) 

Sometimes Nefi reminds me of Spencer´s old companion, the one that would never leave him alone. Nefi is hysterical, but the whole personal space thing just doesn´t register to him. We literally walk around the streets all day with his arm around my shoulders as he tells me jokes in his awful accent. He is super touchy. And he LOVES just sitting in the bathroom watching me as I brush my teeth. I don´t know what he finds so fascinating about it, but he just walks right in and stares at me. It´s funny :) 

He´s a good kid. I am glad that he got to experience a baptism on his mini mission. That´s a rare occurence here in Spain!

I don´t have much to say. Today we went to the 3rd largest cathedral in all of Spain, and then to a castle palace thing, and then to a 12 century arab bathhouse that has been converted into an italian restaurant. That awesome Texan couple took us. They spent tons of money on us and it makes me feel super bad. Apparently they are loaded though because they take the missionaries out all the time. They remind me so much of Grammie and Grandpa. The husband has a PHD in spanish culture and history so he gave us a personal tour of everything today. It´s been a good day. 

A few things that I wanted to mention- 

I have been reading Acts lately!! What an amazing book. It has been very beneficial to read about the primitive church of Jesus Christ. Peter was amazing first of all, and I am also amazed by how much that church back then resembles our church now. It´s obviously the same church, but it´s so exact. I have found many different scriptures about the gospel of Jesus Christ- it really was taught by the original apostles, and it was lost to the world until 1820ish. Such a simple doctrine was totally distorted and forgotten. They practiced the laying on of hands to receive the gift of the holy ghost, priesthood authority, organization, it´s all there. The exact blueprint of our church, as Callister says. 

We are reading the Book of Mormon as a mission. Again. I love it. I wish I had more time every morning for personal study. I am gonig to pay attention to a few things in specific this time. The atonement of Jesus Christ, as the BoM is the best book to teach us how to apply it into our lives, and how to learn to hear and recognize the voice of the Spirit. I think someone talked about that in conference....President Packer maybe?? 

I have felt really good this week. I feel like I am training a new missionary or something, being with Nefi. We get up every morning and work out super hard. We did it every day this week. Which is an accomplishment for me. Heavenly Father has been helping me a lot to get up, change, and get out the door to work out. If I get out and run or do cross fit with the ZLs, it really helps me through out the rest of the morning. So Nefi and I have had some really good mornings. And I have been much better about doing language study and area book. And I am just working a lot harder in general. Being with Nefi has motivated me a lot for some reason. He´s willing to do anything without complaining, so I am just taking advantage of it! I had him contact last night. I would do it, and then we would find someone else and I would say ¨your turn¨ and he always said ¨no, it´s yours, I did the last one¨ even though he had yet to speak to anyone in the street. When we would knock doors he would just sit there staring awkwardly at the person who just answered the door, and then turn to me and say ¨habla!¨ Hahaha. It was super embarrassing sometimes. Finally I made him do it last night, so we go up to this girl who was waiting at a bus stop, and Nefi goes up to her and just stops dead. She was this really really beautiful Venezuelan girl, and Nefi who is 19 just lost his breath. He LITERALLY stared at her with his jaw dropped for like 8 long awkward seconds, and she looked super afraid, and then finally just found his voice and looked at her, then looked at me, then looked at her, and pointed to me and said to her ¨my companion¨ and then just stopped talking completely and looked at the ground. I was DYING!!!!! I was trying SOOOO hard not to laugh. It was the most hysterical thing I had ever seen. The girl wasn´t amused though, she looked terrified. Apparently she was just here on vacation, and was only 17. I tried to salvage the contact, but there wasn´t much to save. She wasn´t super interested, but she said she would talk to the missionaries if she ever saw them in her country. 

I should mention just how blessed I am. I have been thinking a lot about my converts. And it just baffles me how wonderful they are. This week has been really special for me. As you saw in the photos, Jose and Sonia and their family were sealed in the temple on Thursday. I heard that day, and then Nefi pulled up a picture of it on his iPhone. I don´t think I have ever been so impacted by a picture. It was totally overwhelming. I just bawled. They have come so far. She was totally inactive, and none of her family members were members of the church. Her husband didn´t really want anything. And now he is a worthy, endowed melchizedek priesthood holder and they are sealed in the temple. I don´t know how to explain the joy that I feel. Their lives have changed so much in just one short year. Thanks to the gospel. The first time in white is great. Baptizing. Yay. But we do all of that to help people. It´s about changing their lives and getting them to the temple, so they can become eternal families. I have been immeasurably blessed when it comes to that. Pablo the 19 year old boy from Jerez is expecting his mission call this week. He is excited to serve a full time mission, and he will change so many lives. Victoriano received his endowment a few weeks ago. He too had his second day in white. Jose and Sonia and Ana and Alonso were just sealed, they are all solid. Maribel and Antonio from Jerez are still fully active with callings and are preparing to go to the temple as well. Andrea and Gabriela from Elche went to the temple last week as well. They did baptisms. Andrea is determined to serve a mission. Their whole family (all five of them that are members now) are preparing to get sealed in the temple. The parents came back from Belgium, and are now all together in Elche, totally active and happy. Nancy was baptized and confirmed yesterday and saturday, and is preparing to go to the temple in November. She is also determined to serve a mission. Her parents are totally active again, after like 15 years, and received callings yesterday. Her brother should be baptized soon if all goes well. Their goal is to be sealed in the temple. Carlota is doing well too :)  She has so much faith. Emilio and Rosario are semi active. I don´t know how Emilio the Bulgarian from Almeria is doing, and I know that Kevin from Elche only comes every other week. But all in all I am absolutely amazed by how much the Lord has poured out his blessings upon all of those incredible people. They inspire me, and I just can´t help but feel peace in my heart that they have made it to the temple. Looking at that photo of Jose and Sonia just makes everything worth it. THAT is why I am here. I am so thankful for the experiences that I have had so far in this country. I have been blessed way more than I deserve. People really do need to hear this message. It´s the ONLY thing that can save the world. 

And my little brother received his endowment :) Another amazing miracle. I am super proud of you Brigham. I had a similar reaction when I went through the temple. It gets better every time you go.

I hope you are all happy and healthy. I pray for you specifically every night mom. I hope that these migraines will leave soon. I hope that everyone helps you this weekend to relieve the stress. I would if I were there. Be safe. I love you all so much. 

Elder Sharp