“What A Week” / Nov 23, 2015

this week has been awesome. so many things to be grateful for!

first off. elder Nash of the seventy came for our mission tour! he is awesome. he spoke to half the mission wednesday then the other half thursday. so we drove an hour south to pueblo to hear from him thursday. such an awesome experience to hear from him. (he said hes from washington area. do we have nash family in washington? lol i was feeling like we did.) but not only did we hear from him thursday, but also on saturday and sunday for the fountain stake stake conference. saturday was an adult session. then there was a recent convert mtg before the general session on sunday. so awesome. he is so insightful and says hes feeling a big change in the mission. im pretty excited.
he talked a lot about being bold, both to us and the adult session. his definition of being bold is confident, clear and in all love. its so awesome to hear some of his stories of being bold. but i would invite you guys to be bold with whoever you work with. less actives etc. the spirit will testify for you. he said something so profound to me that i wrote it down and am gonna put it on my wall. “the spirit does the heavy lifting. we just have to move our feet” – elder nash 2k15. haha such a cool experience to hear so much from him.
then the most exciting new probably is yesterday. so background. when we went tracting like a week and a couple days ago, the first house we knocked said we could come back later, she was going to work. she said sunday was best. so thats potential investigator #1.
now #2: we ,ade a list of poeple that were former investigators – the most recent being like 2013, partially because there arent many in the area usually, but also partially because the past missionaries never updated the area book. so we go trying to find people and one, the name was written pretty sloppily so i kinda hesitantly tried to ask for the name when a guy asnswered, but he said its a rental so he has no idea if someone by that name used to live there. so i was like hey can we teach you about the mormon church? and he was like come on the weekend.
so for both of these two we stopped by yesterday and for the first one ( a teenager i belive), she sent her mom out. then the other one we talked to the same guy, tim. so we went through the first lesson on the porch. gave each of them a book of mormon with the invitation to read moronis promise and pray about it and they said they would and that we could come back next weekend!! such an awesome blessing. i truly believe the lord is blessing us for our work efforts. i am hopeful for them and want them to fin the happiness i have found.
thats the most exciting stuff for sure. but the rest of this week has been good too. we had 5 of our 7 dinners drop food off though. which was a bummer because it means we have to be back at the apartment and it just takes more time, plus we dont get to meet with the members and share a message with them. but thats okay. it was all really good food.
yesterday we decided to call every lessa ctive name on the roster and try to set up apt.s. we had little success. i think one accepted, but lots of no answers, wrong numbers (sent those to bishop), and one guy straight up said “i dont let missionaries in my home” i was like oh thats too bad. have a good day. haha almost everyone around here is sooo nice about declining us though. haha. we got our first door slammed on our face this week tracting. we were a little excited because we always here about those misisonary experiences and now wed had one! haha we was like the 3rd or 4th person with a sign that said no religious views next to no soliciting. but im pretty sure no one remembers that they have it because they never care. haha but he opened the door, something fell from the crack in the door. i picked it up and gave it to him and he said “read the sign!” and slammed the door. hahaha oh it was funny
then that same street, we came across a guy, asked if he knows any mormons, and he was like i used to be one! he chatted with us for awhile and was like wait how did you find me? cause apparently hes had his records removed. super nice. said the church is grerat but that he wont be back any time soon. hes divorced and his ex and the kids lived in utah i believe. his sons serving a misson in like argentina or something. haha so weird. but my comp gave me a hard time cause he was like “yeah im not a member any more.” and without thinking i was like “why not!?” with my arms up. hahaha it was so funny. but great.
my comp usually worked out at night, meaning he was up a litte late and slept in a bit. but we were talking with a missionary that he came out with (total rockstar all in or nothin kinda kid) and he was talking about the importance of obedience. so Elder villaneda was like guess im gettin up on time and workin out with you. today was the first day of it. but it worked! haha he just needs me to nudge him in when i get up. its really awesome. im looking forward to that now. i think hes willing to make the change.
i think ive covered it all! but things are good. and i love it still!
elder stark
ps for thanksgiving were actually going to the churchills from fountain because the family in our ward could no longer have us and sister churchill told me she wanted me to be there for thanksgiving if i didnt have a dinner! haha so thatll be awesome.

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November 16, 2015

wow the holidays really are coming quick. it’s sad not getting to see the hallmark movies honestly. i love them. i would always talk to brother arnold about them. speaking of brother arnold! i got to see him this week. so friday was his dinner for the missionaries and he had 18 missionaries over! it was insane. but our zone leaders went and they took elder villaneda (hes from salinas, right outside of monterey btw) and i down with them. brother arnold offered to drive us back up so we could stay longer though. so elder hunter took us over to the churchills for a little so i could say hi to them! it was awesome to see them again too.

 

as for this week we went tracting again still with not much. there was a lady that i think was being too nice to say no so she said we could come back and share a little bit. but ya never know! so that could be really cool. that was actually the first house we knocked. haha but we havent made it over there again yet.

 

we also got two referrals. at zone training on friday, sister smith – who came out with me – came up and said she knew of a family in our ward that was interested and just moved in. we got the information saturday and are hoping to make it by tonight. then there was a lady a few weeks ago that apparently called the church building (before i got here) and asked for missionaries. elder villaneda’s trainer took the info.  so we got the info again from our ward mission leader (who just got released sunday) on saturday morning and should be able to contact it today or tomorrow. thats pretty cool because they both sound pretty promising. apparently this ward has not had a baptism in over a year and they havent really had much of any work that goes on. its just a really small geographical area and the people are pretty content. but we try anyway!!! haha

 

oh on saturday we did service at this place called “care and share” and they get all sorts of food, pack it up and send it to food banks around the area. its where the food bank we worked at in fountain got their food from. but when we got there, the group that was suppose to do the meats wasnt there so we got to do it. haha it was sorting through pallets of frozen meat that stores donate, throwing away the bad stuff and putting the rest in boxes to be sent around. it was a chilling experience in the 40 degree refrigerator but fun for sure. we had gloves which was nice but we had quite the system. the other 3 guys were throwing meat either into the trash box or onto the table and i was loading up the boxes. we got through a tooon of meat. each box we filled had 25 to thirty pounds of meat. and we probably did over 200 boxes of it. in like 2 hours time too. it was fun.

 

so we had our actual cleaning checks this week. and that was pretty good. its a new couple and it was their first time (this is the lady that reminds me of nana) and she has almost the same standards. haha we got docked for 3 things. all of which were from previous missionaries but thats okay. this shows my cleaning knowledge: i thought the shower floor was stained dirty. apparently there was some mildew and mold… sorry mom dont cringe. haha but they gave us some cleaner for it and that wiped it away pretty good. haha but then some missionaries had taped pictures to the wall, which is apparently a no no. haha

 

i got the package saturday! that was pretty sweet. the snacks are awesome! and the hot cocoa hits the spot. haha thank you. so the bottoms seem like theyll work ppretty well. i think the larges will work best for with slacks, a little looser and more comfortable, but the mediums are nice for sports or stuff where ill be moving more. i think theyll both work nicely. good thing i got the package though cause were going to the store today and i woulda spent like 50 on under armour. haha i do need to get a balaclava and some glasses though. thats for sure. i think a headlamp too because the light on the bike is nice but doesnt quite cut it and it doesnt move where i look.

 

weve had more chances to get to teach members which is awesome. the members here are super cool and really nice. but president clarified this week that we can go to less actives homes or any people we know after dark without an appointment. we just need to be careful about talking to people on the street and not go tracting kinda thing. but the less actives are really pretty nice about saying no. haha but they do still say no. atleast the ones weve gone to.

 

our ward mission leader records a list of all the visits we have. members, investigators, less actives, etc. so ive been keeping track every day of who we went to and what kinda visit it was. so that was pretty nice to be able to pull out and go through everyone we visited. he was really proud of us cause he can see were working hard. its a bummer that he got a new calling cause hes a really good guy and super funny. but hes still filling in for a couple weeks til they call someone new. so itll be interesting getting a new mission leader.

 

it snowed on wednesday! but just like an inche and melted before we even left the house. but that was still cool to see. theres suppose to be a storm this week. so that will be fun. looking forward to figuring that out. exciting to hear about preparing for nates wedding thats so crazy! i still cant believe its happening.

 

love you guys lots.

 

elder stark

 

found an awesome scripture in 3 nephi 5:13: “Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.” just kinda described what im doing here ya know? haha

 

Nov 9, 2015

so biking is fun for sure. i like it a lot. except for hills. they are killer, my legs are far from what they were during volleyball. thats for sure. but i think they will get stronger pretty quick for sure.

my new companion is elder villaneda. an awesome guy. he wants to get work done! as long as i keep him on task he is willing to go go go. and he knows the area pretty well. we have to carry a mini map around though still. but it’s awesome. we didn’t have a whole lot set up for this last week but we were trying to set as much up as possible. since it gets dark so early, we can’t really go to peoples houses if they don’t know us when its dark. so we’re working on getting appointments set up for night time and go around during the day as much as possible.

it is definitely getting colder and that is not the best on a bike but it’s not terrible. once i started wearing a scarf over my face, i kept feeling in it. that was a good idea. it’s kinda hard with a scarf because of the lint and it coming loose. so i want to get a ski mask type thing. my comp just wears a bandana. its pretty funny. but i think a lower ski mask type thing would work well. as far as long johns i think the bottoms would be what i’d use most. i don’t know if i’ll get a chance to go to the store today though. we do all our activities with another set of elders from our district because they have a car.

so our district is elder larose and his trainee, elder hawkins, then me and elder villaneda. and our zone leaders come to our meetings in our district. but elder larose, the district leader, came out with me. he was in a different zone in the mtc so i didn’t really know him til we got here. but he’s awesome and we have like the youngest district ever. haha it’s super cool though. we have a lot of fun together.

we’ve had dinners every night this week and met a lot of really cool people. we’ve had some active member lessons and those have been really cool and we’ve set up some appointments with less actives and a possible investigator from a part member family. so stay tuned for that! haha oh and the stake president lives in our ward. so he fed us yesterday. he’s really cool and his family super nice. he said he would have us over on a pday to play ping pong sometime. that’ll be sweet.

apparently this ward is infamous for not getting baptisms i think because it’s so small geographically. but i believe that there is potential for sure!

funny story was that on wednesday our housing coordinators told us they were coming for apartment checks on thursday. so we were like okay! cleaned everything really well, did our weekly planning, and sat around waiting. and waiting. and waiting. we texted them, and then finally had to leave cause we had dinner. so when we get to dinner they texted us saying they didn’t have us down til next thursday! haha so we were like ohhh that explains it.. haha but i guess there was just miscommunication. so hopefully they don’t take too long this thursday! haha

oh man the wind was so bad one day. we were on a street called akers. and it’s always like yes we get to take akers home. cause its just a massive hill with very few cars. but the wind was so strong that it was slowing us down on this hill. i never thought it could take so much energy to ride a bike down hill. that was a little trippy.

oh so since we had nothing planned on the first day i was here i was like hey. let’s go tracting. so we did for like 2 hours. we had one lady that didn’t speak english. one guy that was super into weed. and the rest were catholic. most people in this area are pretty content it sounds like. so we’ll need to get creative! haha

i think that’s pretty much it for the week! love you all and wish you the best this week!

elder stark

Nov 2, 2015

the churchills famous brother arnold benoits

you might remember me mentioning last week that i did not receive a call to be a trainer. well we heard on tuesday that they were expecting up to 3 more new elders that were visa waiters. so tuesday night i receive a call from president asking me to train a visa waiter! i was like hey cool. so from that we could infer that i was staying and getting a new missionary. went to the “train the trainer” meeting on thursday. come saturday, elder hunter is most the way packed and we have dinners scheduled all week with his favorite families to say goodbye. then saturday night we get the call from zone leaders and they tell me that i am getting transferred. so now im flush training as they call it. meaning im going to an area ive never been and training a new missionary. very rare to happen. especially for someone only 3 months out. then sunday morning i get a call from president and he shared with me my “good and bad news”. the visa waiters got their visas. but there was a missionary half way through training in a biking area and his trainer cant bike or cant handle the cold biking or something. i didnt quite understand the reasoning. but i am finishing off the 2nd transfer of training for a missionary in a biking area. only one area qualified for those prerequisites so i figured out pretty quick that i was going to sand creek.

sand creek ward is the north part of the fountain stake. (fountain ward is the south part of the stake) so im staying pretty close which is nice. but im gonna be biking. so i guess ill get in shape quick or else. hahaha but my new companion will be one elder villaneda. i didnt know him by name but ive played basketball with him a couple times on pdays now. so i actually kinda know him. so itll be exciting and cool but not easy im sure. especially as winter comes.

the weather has been cooler but still not terrrible. it generally warms up by the middle of the day. today it was like in the 80s… kinda crazy. but i hear its suppose to be a particularly rough winter. on a bike. woohoo.

but thats the excitement for the week really. it was an edge of the seat situation all week. but i get to train! sort of. haha i will have a step son. so all day today he called me step dad at basketball. we played basketball for 2 hours straight this morning. and its a lot of fun but i have got a lot of improvement necessary. i have no idea what im really doing and i miss like every shot. but i can jump and take the ball out of the air. thats pretty fun.

we met with sister o. twice last week, wednesday and saturday. and she even came to church sunday! she seems to be progressing but i wont really be here to see how it all goes. im hopeful for her though and look forward to coming down for the baptism. she seemed to enjoy church but could only stay for the first 2 hours of it. it was even a testimony meeting. amazingly a bunch of little kids kept going up. that was cool. but no one said anything freaky. which is good. we were a little worried for a minute.

this week was pretty cool over all though. we did splits on tuesday. with evan c. – a priest – and brother c. – new in the ward, called as assistant ward mission leader. i went with brother c. and i took him to people on a list we had gotten from ward council. people we had records of but didnt know anything about… less actives who hadnt been contacted in awhile. and we just went looking for people. introducing ourselves trying to figure it all out. not a whole lot of success but a cool experience nonetheless. elder hunter took evan to a lesson with a family in the ward.

thursday was the train the trainers and that was really cool. makes me even more excited to train a new missionary at some point in my mission. there are 5 people from my group that came from the mtc together that were at the train the trainers meeting. 3 of them are training and 2 of us were called for visa waiters but no longer because they got their visas. we also got our haircut. that was nice. there is a paul mitchell school in colorado springs and the owner is a member so missionaries get free cuts. its pretty cool. good thing too cause my hair was getting looong.

thats pretty cool that you posted that picture. haha its a funny one for sure. we had dinner with that family on sunday and they made fajitas. chicken fajitas. werent quiiite as good as the carne asada ones we make. but still really good. theyre a really nice family.

saturday was the lovely halloween. that was a busy day. we woke up at 6 because a sister in our ward needed a blessig and was leaving at 645. so we were up, dressed and there at 630. i gave the blessing and i think it helps to be tired cause you dont really think you just open your mouth and let the spirit speak. that was pretty cool. we played volleyball at the church building at like 11 but from 10 to 11 we had my last conference call for misisonaries in training. we taught on the talk good better best. it was pretty cool. i like that talk a lot. but after volleyball we went to help a family from the ward load up their moving truck. toooon of stuff. they had a lot of people too. but they were packing it so tight it was insane. we had our lesson with sister o.: very cool. and then went to dinner at the v’s. a very nice family in the ward with a lot of little children. they were very accommodating to our lesson having to push dinner back. we then went to the c’s for the rest of the night. we put on their masks and were hanging out on the roof to mess with the trick or treaters. good time. we were sorta limited on what we could do that night.

as for the golf pants. i do like them still. they have been nice and comfy and i think they will prove themselves more when im biking everyday. i like the way normal slacks keep a crease a little more and i think they look better. but these look plenty nice and have been pretty comfy. i think getting some silk long johns would be good. considering i wont be in a car i believe they will come nicely in handy. mostly the bottoms for sure. i really miss choir ive discovered more and more. haha its so fun to make such cool music as we did and it doesnt just happen after that very much. mother youve cursed me with noticing music. first off, half the time, this ward picks hymns no one knows. but even worse both the organists are not very good. haha i notice one of them one holds dotted halfs for about 2 beats, and isnt the most consistent with tempo. the other just makes mistakes all the time. haha its kinda funny but it makes it harder to sing…

as far as snacks,i like protein bars and granola bars. some of the z bars were really good. and the peanut bars are really good. the beef sticks are a great protein treat of course. but i dont know beyond that. just not candy. i have no self control with candy. haha id rather snack on healthier snacks all the time than candy.

next week there should be some more new stuff as the next transfer gets going. but i think thats all for this week.

love you all so much

elder stark

Oct 26, 2015 – 3 Months!

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this week will conclude my “training” and next wednesday i will probably be getting a new companion but ill know if i am on like saturday and if so who it is on monday. so that’s some up and coming excitement.

elder hunter still wasn’t feeling well for the first bit of the week. and he slept in pretty much the whole week. so the mornings were just me. but i have been working out everyday. i like that 20 minute workout you sent, dad. it’s easy when my brains all foggy and not thinking well. haha but i can’t quite do it for the full 20 minutes yet. but one day.

so there is a sister in the ward, sister a. not sure if i mentioned her. but she had 3 kids. 2 boys then a girl. her oldest boy who was late teens at the time committed suicide a year or two ago. then just this year like a month ago, her other son (also in late teens at this point) got shot by the cops. he was breaking into his own house and trying to steal stuff or something – i’m not really sure. but she had to call the cops on her own son and they ended up shooting him. i believe there is still investigation going on, but i’m pretty sure it was justified. still a hard time though of course. she’s a member but has been less active for a long time, but her husband and like 10 year old daughter are confirmed catholics. they started coming to our church again when this happened and sister a had us over for dinner last week. thats where we learned a little bit but they never mentioned either of their sons. nice family but a bit different. but nice nonetheless. the problem is that she believes that she can go to any church and god is happy. which is true, all churches are great, but she doesn’t seem to understand the whole fullness of the gospel kinda thing… although, it sounds like they’re picking our church for 3 sundays of the month and going to the catholic church on just the first sunday of the month. so that’s good.

oh and we had our lesson with sister o! it was on wednesday. there’s a guy in our ward that got back from his mission this year, we call him buddy. but he came to the lesson with us. i like him and he contributed really well. it was nice. i don’t think we even got halfway through the lesson because she has so many questions, which is good, it just means we teach slower. she has a couple of things that worry her a bit. but she’s open to learn it all before shutting it away, which is great! i think itll come down to explaining things deeply and well, and then whether or not she’ll sincerely pray about it. and i think she will. i’m hopeful and excited.

oh i got to teach the lesson for district meeting on friday. that was pretty cool! it was on the topic of “interesting lessons” and believe me i thought the same thing you are. really? me? for that? uhhh okay. haha elder hunter thinks that because of our nerf gun object lesson that i thought of in the car on the way to the lesson, that i should be good at making lessons interesting. i thought it went pretty well. the other missionaries in my district were pretty complimentary.. so that was cool.

that night was our trunk or treat. elder hunter and i decided to match clothes and switch nametags. that’s about the extent of what we are allowed to do. haha but it was fun. there was a guy that was there. we didn’t know who he was but i think he’s a less active. or maybe active, just a different ward.. i don’t know. he knew all about the church though. he works for a prison somewhere in colorado and wore his uniform as his costume. so he was arresting people for fun. he was showing me all this different situations and what he would do. so i got arrested like 3 times in one night i think.

they had a chili cookoff. there were a couple chilis that were pretty good i’d say. there were quite a few people there too. that was cool. but since it was raining they just passed out candy from the classrooms. so elder hunter and i offered to pass out candy for a couple that has 3 young kids. we passed out candy while they took their kids around. that was pretty fun. good night though

so since elder hunter thinks he’ll be leaving next week we went around yesterday to all his favorite members and set up dinners with them for his last week here. that’ll be cool because i like all the same members he does! haha but there’s been quite an ordeal around him thinking he’s leaving. it’d be pretty funny if he ended up staying. but it’s unlikely because he’s been for about 6 months now.

that’s so cool that deer valley is fighting for respect! haha elder hunter says i’m pretty much black because of the way i talk sometimes… haha its kinda funny. i think it’s just a bay area thing ya know? but hopefully things will look up for DV cause there is a lot of good that goes down too.

dad thats awesome you got to go fishing. when i get back we’ll get you back into hunting! haha fishing is a good time though. i think i’m gonna like it more when i get back. i couldn’t stand it when i was younger because of all the patience. it got hard to be patient… hahahah

oh so you guys are going to utah for thanksgiving right? elder hunter said if you spend any time in layton you should go to dinner with his parents. haha that would be pretty sweet. he’s really counting on being best buds after the mission. it would be pretty cool though for sure. and i will definitely send a picture with brother arnold. he wanted to take one with us on sunday but we forgot. so we will this sunday hopefully.

nate and ashley are looking good together and his beard is outstanding. haha pretty excited to hear how that all goes. mom you should be getting my letter today or shortly after. and i gave you an idea for how to have me join the wedding. haha you could talk to elder hunters mom about it if it’s something you want to do. hahah i just thought it was clever.

but i love you all dearly!

elder stark