Simplify, Intensify, Testify

Email 19/9/16

Hello everybody,

On Tuesday, I had my first Zone Conference in Murcia. A zone conference consists of approximately half of the the 200 missionaries in the mission. They occur every other transfer cycle. Elder W. Craig Zwick, a General Authority Seventy of the church is touring all three of the missions in Spain, I believe, so we were privileged to be able to receive instruction and guidance from him.

One of his main focuses was encouraging us to “simplify, intensify, and testify” as we teach. He charged us to use “less words with more strength” because doing so is more conducive to inviting in the Spirit, a necessity for conversion. I still, not surprisingly, don’t have the linguistic abilities to express all of my thoughts and ideas in Spanish. But, that’s starting to feel like more of a blessing than a curse as I’m essentially forced to use simple language when I teach. In many ways, teaching about the gospel in Spanish is easier than doing so in English because teaching simply and plainly is the only way I know how to right now.

Speaking of teaching and the spirit, I actually had an assignment to give a 15 minute talk about missionary work during church yesterday! I decided to speak about the role of the spirit in conversion. Preparing and giving this talk has been a good way to reflect on these past 10 weeks in the field and consider how much the Lord has blessed me to help me learn and grown in such a short period of time.

We also had many opportunities for giving service this week. In one instance, we were helping a family move, and we were in the middle of moving boxes from their piso to their van in the street, when somewhat abruptly, we left what we were doing, got in the car, and drove out to the airport and started watching airplanes land and depart. It turns out that somehow the member knew that a new Boeing 787 was taking off and wanted to see it. I was a bit confused for a minute on why we kind of just dropped everything and left to go watch airplanes, but I guess that’s a good reason haha.

In another instance, we were helping a part-member family assemble some furniture from IKEA. That was so fun. Last week, I quoted President Monson saying that the Spirit can overcome the barriers of language, but I now know that the illustrations in IKEA instruction manuals have that same ability too. Okay, that’s a joke. But I still really enjoy making IKEA furniture.

Even with all of that stuff going on this week, we still taught several really good lessons to some of our different investigators and even had some come to church this week. One of them we had just taught the first lesson to the day before, so I was almost surprised she showed up on Sunday morning. It was so good to see that happen though.

This week was a hard and tiring week, but the good kind of hard and tiring. I know that this is truly the Lord’s work, and it is such a good feeling being able to be an agent in his hands. I never saw myself running around the streets of Spain, finding and teaching and talking in Spanish, but it’s such a blessing to have the opportunity to be doing this work here for two years of my life. By the way, next week my P-day will be on Tuesday instead of Monday.


Élder Stark ??


1: “Elder Stark and Elder Jarvis”


2: Elder Pesce and I


3: Approximately half of the Spain Málaga Mission during our Zone Conference this past week in Murcia. Seated in front is Elder Zwick and his wife and also President and Hermana Andersen.


4: Just in case I couldn’t be found in the last picture. Being tall ain’t easy sometimes.


5: Until next time


Video: Airplane landing right above our heads (not a 787, sorry)