Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Forgive the short email?

WOW my hands are freezing!! I can´t even type! I am literally typing like a toddler! Our regular internet cafe wasn´t open so we came to this icebox to email. So please forgive the shortness of this email. 

I AM JUST DOING SO WELL!!! And it sounds like you lot are as well. I have to say that dad´s ¨practicing spanish¨ comment got me to laugh out loud. Hahaha. Oh man how I miss my father´s humor!!!!! I can´t wait to be around that again :) 

Where to begin? Well Elder Salcedo is just a ray of sunshine. I like him a lot!! He´s lived his whole life in Barcelona, but he was born in Peru. He is super funny and we get along really well. He is SOOO different from Elder Weenig. Polar opposites. It´s been very interesting to make this transition. Weenig was always on top of obedience. We knew what we had to do and we did it and we motivated each other. Elder Salcedo is kind of new and...well he loves to sleep :) I have never had to literally attack my companion in order to get him out of bed!! But once Salcedo gets going and starts working he´s unstoppable. Really smart guy with a sharp tongue who knows how to get along with people. He is a good teacher as well. He´s a great  guy, but much to my eternal dismay, he doesn´t like running. So I was really worried for a while. But I convince him to get up fifteen minutes early and to come outside in the cold weather and watch me run in circles. On T, Th, and Sat. He´s super good at dieting though. So he´s been helping me out a lot with that. He had a personal nutritionist and everything back at home. 

I am really grateful to have gotten him as my last companion. I love that I will end my mission speaking spanish all the time! 

We had interviews with President yesterday, and we had to change our Pday to Tuesday. That´s why I am emailing so late. It was good. President gave me some good advice about how to make the most of the time that I have left. 

This week has been interesting. I have really loved training. I just love being a missionary. I really do mean that. I don´t say that just so that people think I like what I am doing. Last night I talked with some elders in my district and they were sharing a miracle with me that they had experienced and I just felt so much love for this work. There are some moments in which I truly wish I had another transfer left after this one. I feel like I have so much left to do still. I know that I have worked hard and been blessed with lot of miracles. I have really tried hard. And while I have regrets and know that I could have worked harder, I really appreciate the time that I have been given. I just don´t feel ready to leave it all. Which is good. Because I still have a good chunk of my mission ahead of me. Six weeks is a long time!!!! But it´s really amazing how odd I feel. I thought it would be harder than it is. I mean, I am exhausted. But I still feel like I have lots of ganas and motivation to go out and work. 

We have found lots of good investigators this week. We found a FAMILY on Sunday night. It was a miracle. We were leaving this building the other day and this girl was coming up the stairs. We talked to her and she told us to come back later. We have been trying for a while, and we finally got in with her mom. Turns out it is a family of 4. The parents have a good marriage and everything. The crazy thing is that the father was the most interested. Usually the men don´t really care that much. But this guy was amazing. He´s a truck driver and his hardly ever home. Maybe two days in every 15. But he´s awesome. We gave a good restoration lesson and the spirit was very strong. I was super happy that Elder Salcedo got to experience that, because that doesn´t really happen often here. We had been teaching Luis, our 14 year old investigator that should be baptized soon. So we took him with us to teach this family (they are neighbors). It was super super funny. Luis is the most frustrating 14 year old ever, but one can´t help but love him. He actually did super well in the lesson. Hahaha. I wish you could have been there. Lesson to investigator with INVESTIGATOR present. 

Trini is still going strong. She would be baptized tomorrow. Just waiting until something changes with her work situation so that she could go to church. Ugh. But I am really glad to have taught her. 

We ¨picked up¨ (that´s american missionary slang) this Colombian girl called Natalia. She looks totally african, but she´s from Colombia. She´s crazy. Super evangelical. She described this dream she had of the kingdom of God and it was one of the most entertaining things I have ever heard. Apparently the fish in the celestial kingdom (yes there are fish there) have RUBIES instead of eyes, and all of the rocks are pearls. We´ll see how she progresses. 

We´re still teaching Domingo. He´s this Spanish guy. He is progressing slowly. 

Leanne and Hannah. Well. I don´t really know. We taught them again but I didn´t really feel it. Leanne hadn´t read or anything. They had stuff happen in their family and they were very closed to God that day. We haven´t seen them since. But we taught a super good lesson. We talked about sin and why it´s important to repent. They don´t agree with us at all about sin. These words were spoken: ¨lust makes me happy, why would God not want that for us?¨ I was so stunned. These girls are awesome and I really do desire their salvation, but wow they never cease to amaze me. They about died when I pulled out the bible scripture from the sermon on the mount about ¨he who looks upon a woman to lust after her, adultery in his heart, etc.¨. In the beginning it was them kind of arguing with us, but after a while they stopped. We testified a lot of Jesus Christ and his Atonement, and the spirit came. And the coolest part is that we actually invited them to repent....literally..we said these words. ¨We invite you to repent of your sins¨. That´s not something that we do very often and we should probably do it more. But it´s always weird to literally tell people that they need to repent of their sins. It was right though. I KNOW they felt the spirit. It was so strong. Just quiet and powerful. One of them was getting really emotional about it. BUT after that we tried to set a return cita but they told us that this weekend they would be too drunk to meet with us. SO yeah. I keep praying for them though. Christ suffered for all of us. We all sin in our own different ways. We all need the atonement just as much as the next guy. It´s not like some people need it more than others. I know that they can repent and be forgiven. That´s the message of our gospel. A man can change his stars, no matter what he did in the past. 

I need to end. I really love the brotherhood I feel as a missionary. I was in Malaga picking up my ¨son¨ and I got to see so many missionaries that I love. It was so inspiring and reenergizing. I just love Elder Love, who is an old comp of mine. Seeing him always makes me happy. I get so surprised by how much I love being around people sometimes. The best part was that when I went down to Malaga on Tuesday, Elder Bastian was on the same bus because he came down a day early to die. So I got to spend another 8 hours with him. That´s one of the best parts of the mission. The bonds that we create with each other as we serve the Lord are powerful. I don´t know how to explain it. Laboring together in the same part of His vineyard to save these souls. Cleaning up each other´s puke. You just can´t do stuff like this as a normal person!! 

I love this so much. I am not ready to end and I won´t be until it´s happening. Time is my best friend right now. 

I love you all 

Elder Sharp

Friday, January 23, 2015

Recent Baptism

Isn't he looking so handsome?!?  I guess I'm biased.  

Final Transfer

For his final 6 weeks Elder Sharp will be training Elder Salcedo in Alicante!!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Pablo is going to England

Dear Family, 

Hey :) I miss and love each of you so much. I feel so much appreciation for all of you right now. I hope you have had a good week. 

I am glad that our new ward isn´t as bad as you thought it would be ;) I don´t know what is up with the little boys though!! (Clayton looks taller than me in those I guess I shouldn´t be referring to him as little). Why won´t they talk with people?? That´s very strange to me. Don´t worry though. I won´t be shy. I am not like that anymore. Want to know something funny?? I have listened to my companions and missionaries in my zones and districts, and when they describe me, they use the words ¨super outgoing and extroverted¨. HA!! Isn´t that hilarious? Elder Weenig feels like I am so social that my presence hinders him from developing friendships with some of the people with whom we work....isn´t that insane? I always tell are so mistaken. My mother would NEVER describe me that way. I don´t feel like I particulary enjoy meeting new people and putting myself out there but I definitely do it often. One kind of has to as a missionary. So anyway, I will destroy the shy Sharp boy image that they are creating. 

I am very excited to work in this new ward. I have thought about it and I came to the conclusion that it won´t even feel like going home for me!! It will feel like being transferred to a new area!! I will be in a ward in which I know almost nobody and I will have to get up and introduce myself and all that.....ok maybe a little different but I find it humorous that I will get up and address a ward that doesn´t know me. Quite similar to life in the mission. 

I am feeling very happy and positive today. Weenig has rubbed off on me I suppose, because I feel much more optimistic and positive now as I have been with him for so long. I really love him. We are different and sometimes we disagree on things, but I have never had such an open, honest relationship with a companion. And...he´s going to leave me soon. Which is sad but he is ready to spread his wings and experience something new. 

President called last night and told me that I will be training to end my mission. Last transfer starts in a weird. But the time is going by just like it should. I can´t complain. Not too fast and not too slow. So my last companion will be fresh out of the MTC!!! I am really excited. I think it will help me to work even harder during my last transfer. I am going to try so hard. I want this missionary to have amazing habits and to learn from the beginning how to work effectively. I feel like he will be my last gift to this mission, so I want to train a champion. I am going to give everything I have. We´re going 100 percent. I am very excited. 

GUESS WHAT!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHH!!! I received the greatest news this week. Just GLORIOUS. It´s up there with seeing a picture of a family that you found, taught, and baptized standing in white in front of the temple...

PABLO GOT HIS MISSION CALL!!! England, Burmingham. He reports on April 16th :D :D I cannot tell you how joyful it feels to know that he is going. I am so proud of him. I honestly don´t know why I am so lucky to have gotten to know some of these amazing people. Anyway. He reports in April, so you will meet him Mom Dad and Clayton :) :) Pablo is the blonde, Spanish young man from Jerez. Ah.....I am so happy. I rejoice in their successes and achievments. The missionary-convert relationship is very special. This gospel is incredible. Just a month after I finish my mission, someone that I taught and with whom I shared the gospel is going to start his own mission. What an incredible opportunity that people have to change. He was a normal Spanish kid with little hope in his life and not much interest in God. He has always been special and amazing, but the gospel has helped him so much. He will touch the hearts of many people. I Overwhelmed with joy. 

Nancy got a calling today. Primary Presidency :) She sent me a sweet email today about how happy she is for the gospel in her life. She says she is finally starting to realize what a treasure she has received in her life. She thanked us for being so persistent with her. She was leading a very....worldly life and she dropped EVERYTHING and changed in two weeks. And is now seeing tons of blessings because of her application of the gospel in her life. It really does change lives. 

My mission has been perfect. Perfect for me. I have been given everything that I needed to become converted to the gospel. All of my experiences and triumphs and hardships have just been....perfect for me. I couldn´t have asked for anything better. I obviously haven´t been a perfect missionary, and there are things that I regret, but I am very positive about my experience here in Spain. It is one of the most sacred things that I have. I will always treasure it. I also feel very positive about the future and the direction in which I am headed. I have really come to love the gospel and the joy that I feel as I live it. 

Well I don´t have an immense amount of time left. 

My least favorite thing about the mission has been decided: having to pretend to like people´s dogs. I am just done with that. Have I written about that before? I don´t know. But I am ready to be done with that aspect of it :) Everyone and their dog owns a dog here in Spain....haha..that was kind of a pun. Anyway, it´s true. And they lick me, my hands, my clothes, and get hair all over me and I honestly cannot wait until I can bid farewell to all of these Spanish dogs. I will not miss them :P 

Something that actually is difficult about the mission. Heartache. Thursday was a really hard day for us. Weenig was very sad and discouraged. We got a text from our Philipinos saying that they don´t want us to come by their house anymore. They don´t want to change religions. We got failed by two futures with lots of potential. And our golden number one investigator, a Dominican named Luis, hadn´t answered his phone in 4 days and just wasn´t calling us back. It was very discouraging. Our area crumbles so easily. And it just explodes so easily as well. Thursday was a crumbling day. Nobody wanted anything. And it was hard. I spent the whole day trying to tell Elder Weenig that everything was fine and that it wasn´t because we are doing something wrong, that it just happens sometimes in the mission. But after we got home and planned I just walked into my bedroom and started praying before even getting ready for bed. I was there a long time. I remember just feeling so much.....heartache for the people that didn´t want anything. Literal, physical pain. All we do is worry about other people in the mission. And when they don´t want anything, it hurts. I get sick sometimes. I get attached to people really easily, and it really really hurts when they reject us and decide that the gospel isn´t for them, even when I KNOW that they have felt the spirit. Sometimes I just don´t understand. As I was praying for Luis, I remember feeling TOTALLY overwhelmed with worry, stress, and pain. Our area is doing alright now, but that day it seemed like we had nothing. And I didn´t know what to do. In that moment of overwhelming pressure, I kind of just took a step back and laughed. How awesome that I have become capable to feel that for another person! Before the mission, I didn´t care much about anybody besides myself and the people that loved me. And now I am literally aching for the welfare of others. What a miracle. I hate it. I hate that other people can make our lives so hard. But we do choose to be affected by it. Honestly it´s impossible not to be frustrated when that happens. But I also love it. I love caring so much about others. Perhaps the argument could be made that it´s selfish because we only worry about them for our own wellbeing, because without them our lives are hard. However, I don´t think so. I think most of us missionaries genuinely feel for and care about the people we teach. Anyway. I realized that everything was fine. God sent peace to my soul, and it was all fine. Even if everyone left us, we would find more people. But I never cease to be amazed by the amount of physical pain that one can feel in his heart. I never felt that before the mission, but it´s real. 

We ended up finding Luis again. He should be baptized soon. He is very accepting and wants the gospel in his life. Everyone else from the ¨thursday tragedy ¨ still don´t want anything. But that´s ok. We will keep finding. 

We have a baptism this Saturday. Her name is Teki. She´s a 10 year old Uruguayan girl. She is a funny situation. Her parents are members so it hasn´t been a very authentic missionary experience. But she is very sincere and bore a powerful testimony last week in church. I am excited for her. 

I am very happy!!! We are going to punch this next transfer in the face. My new comp and I are going to work so hard. And I am very hopeful for the future. 

We met these two girls from Finland and Wales the other day. They were speaking english, so we asked them we they were from and we started talking and they were looking for the police station so we helped them out. They are here just to live. It´s weird. 17 and 19 and they just randomly decided to come live in Spain. They are looking for work right now and have their own piso and everything. Anyway, we asked them what they thought about God and they said that they didn´t really think much about him. Ha. Anyway. We gave them our number just in case they needed help again finding the police, and we pointed them in the right direction and sent them on their way. The funny thing is that this morning we got a text from them. Hahaha. They told us that they ¨really enjoyed meeting us¨ and they invited us to go and get a coffee with them sometime soon. Weenig and I thought it was hysterical. They really didn´t seem like the type of girls that would be interested in hearing more about the gospel. And we made it very clear that we were missionaries. We suspect that their intentions aren´t very spiritual :P But we´re going to invite them to learn about the gospel of course. You really never know who God has prepared!!

We played tennis today for P-day. Again. I am not a huge fan but Elder Weenig loves it. I am slowly getting better though :P 

That´s all folks. We are happy and healthy. I am so proud of all of you and I miss you a ton!! I pray for you all every day. I feel your prayers. Thanks for all of your support. 

All my love, 

Elder Sharp