Let us travel back in time to last Monday, when I was sitting on this same couch, also writing my weekly email. I had no idea what I would be expecting to happen during another week in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Oh wait, I have been here for 33 weeks, so I knew exactly what was going to happen, and for those who have read these emails the whole time I’ve been here, you too will not be surprised by anything I write here. Or maybe you will. It was a decent week.
We were invited on Monday to a Noche de hogar with Frank and Ana Belén and their perfect family. It was a good reminder of the importance of Noche de Hogar and how it brings families together. A family that does Noche de Hogar together stays together. On the other hand, a family that spends the day apart from each other and drinks all of the time in his little kiosk doesn’t have that promise. I’m talking, of course, about Fernando, who is an investigator that we visited later Monday night. We’ve been having some good lessons with him about obedience this week and how God’s commandments are for our protection, buttering him up to learn about the Word of Wisdom. He definitely needs some help. Now what’s left to see if he’ll take what we and the Savior both have to offer him.
Tuesday was another day, of course, and like almost every other Tuesday for the last two years, we had district meeting. If you look at the first picture, you can see just how productive it was. The theme of the meeting was taken from the seventh chapter of the Book of Jacob in The Book of Mormon, verses nine through eleven.
“And I said unto him: Deniest thou the Christ who shall come? And he said: If there should be a Christ, I would not deny him; but I know that there is no Christ, neither has been, nor ever will be.
“And I said unto him: Believest thou the scriptures? And he said, Yea.
“And I said unto him: Then ye do not understand them; for they truly testify of Christ. Behold, I say unto you that none of the prophets have written, nor prophesied, save they have spoken concerning this Christ.”
Simply reading the scriptures as pure text won’t lead us to understanding. What will is prayerfully meditating and applying them in our daily lives. That’s a hard skill to be learned, so as a district, we’re going to be focusing on teaching our investigators better that they may do that. That way, we can have the “…peace and the love of God…among [us as we] search the scriptures, and hearken no more to the words of…wicked men.” (Jacob 7:23)
Well, besides that smash hit of a district meeting, we also had Intercambios here in Sanlúcar. This is the first time that there has been other Elders in my district that I’m the district leader of here, so this was the first time we did Intercambios in Sanlúcar. Elder Darrington and Elder Burnard came. Elder Darrington and I were both trained in Elche at the same time and have been around each other for most of our missions, so we are good friends! We had a really spiritual cita with Tomas, one of the members who is going through a bit of a hard time right now. But wow, the spirit was so strong during that cita, and it was a really uplifting experience for everyone. I wish you all could have been there to feel it.
Wednesday was the day to finish up the intercambio. Elder Burnard visited Fernando for a few minutes and read Mosiah 2 with him and talked about how we can’t lie to God. Still buttering him up for our eventual Word of Wisdom lesson jeje.
So, Ana Belén had been talking us up about this one guy she knows from work named José and kept telling us that he really wanted to come to church or come to some church activities or something. We planned a Noche de hogar con la rama for Wednesday night mostly motivated by him. Not only did José come, but Olga, his girlfriend, did too, and we just got two new investigators thanks to some solid member missionary work!
Thursday is kind of a blur. It was just more teaching repentance and baptizing converts, probably. That’s what we’re out here to do.
Friday was also a pretty uneventful day because I woke up sick and rested all morning. In the evening I was feeling much better, which let us do our weekly planning session and have a Mike de Hogar. Same old, same old.
Saturday was a crazy day. Matilde is a member. She is La madre de toda España. She is about 70 years old, and is the only member in her immediate family. As a gesture of goodwill, she invited us to her grandson’s first communion on Saturday. She had also invited some less active members we were trying to make contact with, so that seemed pretty good: go sit in a Catholic Church for an hour, go eat lunch somewhere else, and subtly do some missionary work in between. The service in the church was at 11, and then lunch wasn’t served until 1:30. Which means they just started an hours-long binge fest of eating plate after plate after plate. Suddenly, it was 5:30, we had to go, and the main dish wasn’t even served yet haha. And then the menos Activos we were trying to get in touch with didn’t even come. It was an adventure, but I was happy to get out of the Spanish party environment when we did. We had good lessons with Sara (another menos activa) and Ángel, and all was well.
Yesterday was the most typical Sunday I’ve ever had in Sanlúcar, so I won’t even bother to detail things. I was asked to give a 20 minute talk right before the sacrament meeting started, but even that is typical of the Sanlúcar branch, so you probably already knew that happened even before I mentioned it.
See you next week.
Élder Stark ??
P.S. Only Sanlúcar kids will get the subject of this email.
1: Power board in District Meeting
2: Intercambios with Elder Darrington and Elder Burnard
3: Looking at the pine tree
6: After the comunion
7: The “Cero-Cero” club
8: Old French guys r dumb
9: With my best friend Paula
10: Until next time