Oct 12, 2015

stanleythe investigater
Stanley, the investigator

holy cow the weeks go by fast. this week went pretty well. nothing that particularly exciting. yesterday was really cool. we shared 5 lessons with active members. and our goal for the day was only 4. haha. i remembered dad’s recommendations of applying some bible stories. i think that’s a more interesting way especially for younger children especially. the only one i could really remember for some reason was about shadrach meshach and abed-nego. so i would ask the kids if they remembered the story. and have them kinda recap it. usually they just remembered the fiery furnace, and the guards dying, and that there were 4 of them in the fire even though they only through 3 in. so i would ask if they knew why they were thrown in. and share the scriptures that talk about how they responded to the king so boldly and courageously. then i would take it and apply it to standing up for what we know is right. talk about how we have to do that at school sometimes and such. then how even the adults have to do that. granted its not usually a life or death situation but we can take comfort in the fact that if we stand up for christ, we can stand with him (even in a fire!) haha. people seemed to have really enjoyed that.

last night while we were at brother a’s, i was talking to him about his favorite bible stories. and started to come up with a list. so those are new to my studies. but not just bible. some book o mormon stories and pearl of great price stories too. it seems like using stories and applying them to more than just a nice story is received well. i think the parents appreciate how it gets the little ones more involved especially. most of the time i lead out our little spiritual messages at members homes. elder h. iis pretty confident that i’ll stay and take over the area next transfer. he thinks i’ll even train a newby but i don’t expect that. as cool as it would be.

last friday we had “zone training”. this was my second zone training and the first was pretty cool i thought but i liked this one a lot more. this month they combined our zone (fountain zone) with the colorado springs zone. last month they combined the north and east zone. i guess it’s due to lower numbers than they used to have. we have less than 200 missionaries in the mission. and over half of them have been out less than 4 months. there’s a reason they describe our mission as “young” right now. haha but since they combined zones they took like one zone leader from each of the two, and as far as reporting key indicators and such goes. they treat it as two zones. one to each leader. but our training was together. this month’s training was all about the “culture of our mission” and they wanted an open and frank conversation about the way the mission is. they first shared the story about moroni’s standard of liberty. but then asked about the culture thing. this one guy was like it feels clique-y like high school. then there were some random beating around the bush comments. and finally one of the APs was like were too content with where we are. and the zone leader was like yeah i like that way to describe it. they finally got to their point that they mission was too disobedient. it wasn’t reprimanding, but it was talking about the need for obedience. and we have a new generation of missionaries coming in, so now is the time to change it. being disobedient is too acceptable and just the norm.

this whole time i was like wow. this is sweet. this is what we need to hear. i have seen soooo many missionaries that are disobedient. so i was like hey this is pretty cool. they were super honest about stuff and just real about it. it was refreshing. i really enjoyed it and thought it was really well done. there are always those who are disobedient, but it just can’t be the norm. they had a colorado flag on a pvc pole and they used the big C to write CCSM. then after we all had to sign it and pledge to do better. they gave the zone a goal of having a perfect morning and nighttime schedule. because that’s do-able and will help with everything in the middle. i think it’s a pretty cool idea and should help quite a bit.

saturday night we got to meet with andrew m, the less active that’s a car dealer. that went pretty well. he seemed a bit flustered and slightly angered by something but we didn’t push. just shared our message and invited him to church. he came! he has only stayed for sacrament when he comes but its a start. i think it’s because of the little kids he has. they’re a little squirmy usually.

we tried to go and visit sister o. 3 times this week (i would not give up!) to see how she was doing and see if she’d come to church. but she wasn’t ever there. which could’ve been why she offered to set up the appointment for this coming wednesday.. haha but we also tried to visit another less active family but they weren’t particularly looking to visit. haha that’s okay though.

oh and at zone training they announced a new policy about driving. that if both missionaries are allowed to drive they’re suppose to switch off everyday unless one doesn’t want to drive. so i get to actually drive!! haha its nice (but my comp is a little annoying in the passenger seat and doesn’t do as well when he’s not driving) the worst part is that most of the things i see in him that bug me, i’m pretty sure i do exactly the same. hahah patience is a virtue they say.

i got a letter from nana this week. that was awesome to hear from her. mom: i can see the relation between you two more than ever. haha i don’t know why but i was reading nanas letter thinking the whole time “holy cow this is my mother’s mother.” it just makes sense. haha

i think that’s all i have for the week. but i’m looking forward to our lesson with sister o. hopefully that goes well.

but thanks for everything. love you all!

elder stark

generousmembers
Generous members

Oct 5, 2015

so yes! we have a new investigator! a family in our ward gave us an address i believe two sundays ago now. it was a family they knew but i don’t think had ever talked to about religion much. she just said they were really nice and we should talk to them. then on tuesday we got a texted referral. meaning someone in our area requested like a bible or book of mormon or something from lds.org. so we went and took her the bible she wanted but she was not interested at all. so then we went to contact the referral from the members. my comp had me lead out. so i knocked and said hi we’re missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. the Farmer family recommended we stop by and see if you’d be interested in learning about our church. (as i was handing her a book of mormon with our passalong card in it) she was like yeah sure! she took the book and we set up to stop by the next day.

we couldn’t get in touch with any members to bring to the lesson. but we decided to just get to know her and see what she needs and share a spiritual thought. she had thumbed through the index already and noticed how amazing it was that it connected with the bible so much! something a lot of people have trouble with. she is very open to it because she’s had experiences with previous religions where the pastor would turn out to be deceiving the congregation for years. she said well i don’t feel like i could throw this religion away without really considering it and learning more. i was like haaaaleluuuuujah!! haha she’s so awesome. her husband didn’t seem very open and we haven’t met any of the kids but she was so eager to learn more.

on friday we finally got the chance to go see mike the firefighter. he was giving us a tour and about half way through, he got a call. so of course he had to go save the day, dang it. haha no I’m kidding but he said to try for saturday, but when we texted him saturday he was working calls all day and it didn’t work out. so we’re gonna try to go finish our tour and give him a passalong card, see if he’s interested in learning about the church. hopefully he will be. he’s a super nice guy.

so apparently a 17 year old got shot and killed by a police officer a week or two ago. we hadn’t heard anything about it until we got a text from a member that said that boy’s mom was a less active member and looking for missionaries. this is her 2nd son to die. apparently her older son committed suicide.. but she still has like a 10 year old daughter. hopefully she’ll be open to us when we go visit. maybe she’ll come back to church and her family will become interested too.

but the point is, the lord answers prayers and fasting. i fasted for help with finding investigators last sunday before conference. funny enough the ward here does not announce it as a fast sunday. so elder hunter and i were the only ones fasting. but hey that’s okay. it helped! it’s really awesome.

general conference was awesome! we watched it at member’s homes. saturday morning we were at the sefcik’s. that was nice. we got most of the way through it before the 2 little kids started playing around a bunch. they’re funny kids. but luckily weren’t too distracting. the afternoon session we were at brother arnold’s and about half way through the internet people knocked on the door. brother arnold was out on the porch with them talking for the last half of conference. but what we didn’t know til an hour or two later was that he only talked to them about his internet for like 5 minutes. but he was talking to them about the church the whole time! haha he was telling them his conversion story and all about the church. it was a young lady in her early 20s and a guy in his older 20s. he was telling them all about singles ward and everything! haha when we went to leave, they were still there but we didn’t know they were interested in the church or anything. so we said hi but as we got in the car brother arnold waved to us to come back over there. so we backed up over. he introduced us to her and we talked for a minute but she didn’t ask many questions because she felt we were in a hurry! grrr i wish we would’ve just gotten out of the car and talked to them. brother arnold gave them his phone number though and hopefully they’ll call. apparently she thought we were way cute too. haha

but then sunday we were at the paulson’s. good family. nice and easy to focus and listen but we all got a little distracted during the middle of the last session. im hoping to download conference onto my ipod though. we can download itunes and stuff on the computers because it just resets em when you sign off. so sometime I’ll try to do that i think. and yes! the ponderizing! that talk was one of my favorites. i want to ponderize so bad now. and its just an awesome word. i also remember from the priesthood session someone mentioning that joseph smith translated the book of mormon in 90 days. so i was like hey if he could do that in 90 days. i wanna read it in 90 days. so i think once i finish my current go-around of reading the book of mormon. I’m gonna try to read it in 90 days.

oh so elder j.  (the one thats been here) in our district has a membership card to sams club because the lady he baptized (her husband is getting baptized this saturday) put him on her account. that couple basically adopted him. they even call him son. and we’re apparently his cousins. haha so after our district meeting we went to sams for lunch and i bought a soft shell jacket there because i dont always need the long trench coat winter coat. its been chilly these last few days and the jacket has come in handy big time. i also looked at protein powder at sams. but i realized, i dont know anything about what to get. i know i need whey and i like vanilla. but ive only ever used that big bag from costco. and im seeing that protein is expensive. im missing that big bag… haha so i havent bought any and dont know what to look for. it would really stink to buy $20+ of protein and not like the taste… haha so thats a sad dilemma.

oh i found lunch meet without nitrites and nitrates! little more expensive. but sooo much better. hahaha i know im probably one of very few 18 year olds to be excited by that… oh well.

so i mentioned it last week i think but i need you to send me some more of my long sleeve shirts and some hangers. its actually cool enough to wear them daily now. someone said there is a chance of light snow this weekend but well see. haha apparently it doesnt usually stick too bad here.

loving colorado and the gospel more and more

much love

elder stark

Sept 29, 2015

   its insane how fast the first 2 months have gone. first off, i’m emailing today, tuesday, because yesterday we cut our pday short because a sister in our ward needed help moving. and we are pretty good at doing the heavy lifting.

this weeks been alright. one awesome thing was visiting with our less active, andrew m. he’s the one that works at a car dealership and is a single dad. he came to church two sundays ago but not this sunday sadly. we saw him thursday day time cause we were getting an oil change down the street from his dealership. so we walked up to say hi. he had actually texted us a couple days prior letting us know they had a camaro zl1 on the used lot he works at and we could test drive it. unfortunately it was sold right after they got it. but the point was to go see him while we were waiting for our car. we confirmed our appointment for that evening with him but didn’t want to take much time because he had a potential buyer. anyway we met with him that night and for the first while we talked about cars as usual. but after he wrangled the tiny (yet loud) children into their room to play, we shared our spiritual thought. one scripture we’ve been using a lot lately is alma 36:3. check it out.[And now, O my son Helaman, behold, thou art in thy youth, and therefore, I beseech of thee that thou wilt hear my words and learn of me; for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.] we share it and replace helaman with the person’s name. talk briefly about likening the scriptures unto ourselves then go into the main point of the scripture: that we need to put our trust in god and it will help us through our trials. i’ve developed a pretty good ability of not worrying about what to say. just saying whatever comes to mind. and purely rely on the spirit. we mentioned some of his troubles and how we can just do our best but then have to let God do the rest. it really affected him i think. he asked if he could give the closing prayer. and it was powerful. we could feel the love, and the spirit. it really helped him when he needed it most. it was so special.

oh so elder johnson was our third man for awhile and he picked up his companion on tuesday, another elder johnson. they were in our apartment for about two days. thursday afternoon through friday afternoon we had the mission office silverado. we were moving all their stuff and on friday got the stuff from the office that they needed. that took quite a bit of time which meant not much chance for lessons or contacting.

so we just got a new senior couple in the office that covers housing. elder and sister Allen. they are the ones that let us borrow the truck. we showed up friday thinking that we were just dropping it off and getting our car back. they had us meet them at the storage unit and had the couch and things that the elders needed in their new apartment. so we were like okay, and actually stayed to help them reorganize the unit a little bit. they are picking things up from a set of elders that were filling the spot for awhile. so it wasn’t very well done. the point was that sister allen totally reminded me of nana! she has the same sense of humor and is super sweet. about the same size too! haha but she was commenting on how gross so much of the stuff was that missionaries are turning in. like they had silverware from an apartment in a closed area and it hadn’t all been washed. her out loud comments sounded exactly the way nana would’ve handled it. haha then she gave us cookies. good cookies, but not as good as nanas for sure.

oh so another cool thing was friday, we were suppose to help brother h. with some service. i called him to confirm and he was saying he’d forgotten, let’s try for next week. he then went on to talk about how depressed he’d been, not wanting to go to church, etc. and i was like oh man that’s not good, maybe we can stop by tonight. and i could hear the sadness in his voice. he was talking about past elders and mentioned a taylor cox! so i was like hey! that’s my cousin! i was gonna ask you about him. he could not believe it. got super excited. and talked to me for like 15 or 20 minutes about it. i swear it made his day. haha but we went over that night and shared alma 36:3 with him. he also seemed to be pretty affected by it. super cool experience and hopefully we can help him through his depression.. he was messaging taylor on facebook. i need taylors email! so i can talk to him about fountain and all the good stuff. if you could send it to me that’d be sweet.

so overall we had a couple really good experiences and that was sweet. things are looking up. we got a referral from a family that we’re planning to go to tonight. then we got a text today that someone in our area wants a copy of the bible. so hopefully we can get to talk to her too.

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oh so brother s., the dentist, had us over for dinner on wednesday. after dinner he was like hey can you guys help me move my cars around. what a sly guy. we took his 2013 porsche 911 convertible on a nice ride. he had just gotten the windows tinted so we couldn’t put the top down. but it was still awesome! we each got a chance to drive it a little and boy that was cool. he told us we’d have to come over sunday to get a picture in it. we helped him move a piece of furniture into their house on saturday and asked if sometime he would be willing to take brother arnold for a ride. he’s the nicest guy ever but is single and like 60 yrs old. brother s. was like sure! so we went over on sunday to take a picture, and asked if he could do that. he was like can you guys? and tossed us the keys… so yeah we went and picked up brother arnold for a quick ride. pretty sure it made his week. we then stopped by the c. family, really cool people with a son that’s a senior, getting ready to serve a mission. we’re pretty close with them and they came out and couldn’t believe it. haha but they took a picture for us. pretty sweet stuff.

so yeah it’s crazy that we’ve had 3 apostles pass away since conference. but i’m so crazy looking forward to conference. were going to the s.’s for the saturday morning session, they said they’d make us breakfast. then brother arnold’s for at least one probably two of the other sessions. i can’t wait to hear from our prophet and apostles. it’ll be amazing and i’m looking forward to hearing them as a missionary.

so you are selling jules the saturn? sad, but for the best. since elder h. wants to do car restoration as at least a hobby, maybe even career, he’s gonna restore a cuda for me. hahhaaha its a nice dream at the least but hey if dentistry works out it could happen. so we talk about that quite a bit and the fun that could come there.

oh so since we didn’t use our car for almost two days, we had quite a few extra miles to use. so elder h. decided he wanted to go visit a couple from his first area, down south. the guy is a barber and just opened a shop in colorado city, which isn’t far from “bishops castle” so we went to bishops castle and met elder h. (our district leader that got ETd) and his new comp at bishops castle. that place is insane. look it up. like its really cool but totally crazy. then we went to the barber shop of his friend and hung there for a little. they bought us pizza and gave h. a haircut. cool guy. they were super nice.DSCF2214DSCF2229DSCF2215

then we came back and helped with the move, went quicker than expected. so since we had a little pday left we played some disc golf then got changed and went to dinner. nice older couple, the d’s. made tacos. supppper good. i think i had like 5 or 6. typical. haha but that was good.

oh so i need to have you send some more of my long sleeve dress shirts. and maybe a few hangers. i only have three right now cause i accidentally ruined one my leaving a pink sticky note in the pocket. haha oh well that’s okay.

oh and i’m super excited for nathan! that’s so awesome! i cant believe its finally happening. thats awesome.

but i love you guys and this gospel. it’s somethin special. things are looking up and i’m hopeful of it.

elder stark