January 19, 2016

so lets see. this week. been a good week i would say! monday night the assistants came over to our apartment and went through the details of being a district leader, and answered any questions i had. then tuesday we had our interviews with president. it was neat to meet with president and get to chat a bit. he was talking a little more about how hes using our group of new guys to reshape the mission. we did some stop bys to people we’re working with. tuesdays seems to be the hardest days to fill. haha

wednesday we had 3 appointments with less active members. i was all ready to be bold like were suppose to be, and ask them straight up if theyd be willing to work towards a temple recommend, becuase that seems to be the hardest thing for me. i asked at the first appointment and it went really well. we were walking that day and on our way to our next appointment it, they cancelled. so we went to a nearby member and shared a message with them and visited with them for a bit. then while we were there our third appointment with a less active cancelled. so here i was all ready and they all had to cancel. haha of course.
 thursday we had our cleaning checks at like 3 pm. so we cleaned up nice, and waited for them to come check. that night we had a lesson with an 7 year old in the ward, that is soon turning 8. theyre a really nice family and its fun to go visit and teach them.
friday was eventful, in a good, and a not so good, way. the not so good, was a funeral for a 3 month old baby. the baby of a lessactive mother, and nonmember father. they held the funreal at our church building and our bishop asked us to attend. they had us usher the people out as they took the casket out. they told us last second and didnt give details as to how. so that was interesting to figure out, but a good experience id say. we help clean up the building a little and went to the cemetery for the burial and graves dedication. the coolest part was our bishops closing remarks, and the way he powerfully testified of the plan of salvation. it was very spiritual.  that night we had an appointment with kailan riding. the 15 year old thats dad is less active. we set a baptismal date for him! we prayed about it through the week and decided that we were going to go for january 30th. he was pretty excited to set that day. there are some details that still need to be figured out but the lord will help us im confident.
so i dont remember if i told you guys about a guy we met last week, his name is don. an excommunicated member that has decided he wants to get baptized again. hes old, and has some medical issues but is super cool. he has a genuine desire to recommit his life to the lord. this sunday he met with the bishop and took the first step so that now we can teach him. and hopefully his nonmember wife as well. im looking forward to this neat experience.
this coming week we have a video broadcast to all missionaries. looking forward to hearing it tomorrow. its supposed to be historic, so looking forward to it.
hope everyone is doing well! love and miss you all.
elder stark

January 11, 2016

Story time!

so there once was an elder of the Lord; elder kyler larose. he met one elder jared stark on the plane from salt lake city to colorado springs. at 3 months out, he and elder stark starting serving in the same districts and became very good buddies. elder larose was training and a district leader. probably the first time that had happened for someone so new. they spent lots of time together and people often confused them for each other. all of the sudden, at five and a half months out, one friday evening on january 8th, 2016. elder larose received a phone call from president rehm. we were crowded around watching his reactions trying to guess what was gonna happen. it all made sense when he said, “elder buxton will be an AP? okay, so a Zone leader opening.. okay” and you could see the fear/excitement on his face. elder larose would be becoming a zone leader just two days later. hoy cow. the four “bros” thought they had 2 more weeks together. not 2 more days.

 

so yeah thats what went down on friday. elder larose found out that this sunday hed be getting sent up to castle rock as a zone leader and that elder hawkins would cover both their ward and another klnown as palmer park, with the companion of an elder going home today. so crazy. but saturday we were realizing that left us without a district leader. so elder hawkins texted president asking who the district leader was going to be. a mintue later, i received a phone call from president asking me to be a district leader! haha so theres the most exciting part of the week. one of us goes zone leader, the other goes district leader. pretty crazy. crazy grateful that the lord qualifies those he calls.

 

as far as the work goes we went back to a lady that we met before the holidays, tracting. she said after the holidays would be better. so we went back this week and met an she invited us in. we taught the restoration and gave her a book of mormon. she seems interested, or at the least willing to give it a go! her name is gurdrun. a german name. she married her husband in germany while he was stationed there. she moved back here with him. very nice lady. he passed away a few years ago now, and im excited to help let the plan of salvation bring her some peace on that topic.

 

we were not able to meet with either kailan or jordan, and im getting a little discouraged with lisbeth – who we can never get in contact with. its easy to think that she just wasnt that interested in the first place. but i know that the lord can provide a way and that he is preparing people. so we will press forward with faith, hoping for the best.

 

this friday we had a zone training. those meetings are just so cool. i never cease to be impressed by the spirit and help with encouraging us to do better. i really enjoy them. that night we got to go to brother arnolds for dinner. that was neat. 3rd ward took us. it was their first time coming to his place. always cool to see him. and he even invited the cook family from fountain. it was neat to see them again! i enjoyed that.

 

elder tu’ifua is still awesome. just a great guy and we have so much fun together. hes such a goof, yet such a good teacher and hard worker. i just love it.

 

thats so crazy to be hearing that andrew is about to enter the mtc! thats so exciting for him. i remember that time. almost 6 months ago now. i cant believe how fast the time is flying by. gotta enjoy every minute of it while i can. no time to waste!

 

i think thats about all ive got for ya this week! hope its been good and goes well!

 

ofa atu

elder stark

Cheer for a New Year! Jan 4, 2016

i dont really know why but the new year has been more exciting on the mission then it was before..  this is what they call, my “mission year” because ill be on my mission for the entire year. i wondered if you guys will finally make your hawaii trip youve always wanted this year. haha 3 kids married off and one on a mish.

 

as far as staying warm im good now. haha so my our bishop bought some snow gloves for elder tuifua and a face mask. it hasnt snowed this week really excpet a little one day that all melted off within a couple hours. but its been cold enough to want snow gloves instead of just my bike gloves. but id been letting elder tuifua use my snow gloves til he got some. this week was pretty slow. new years eve and new years day we are only allowed to go to appointments. no stop bys or cold contacting. so we didnt have much of anything to do those days. new years eve a new sister in the ward with young kids took us to this place called huhot. super cool restaurant. kinda like a buffet style shirasoni almost. its cool.

 

new years day we had a district meeting and since neither us or third ward had any appointments we were just kinda hangin out for most of the day time. we played some touch rugby in the gym right after. slacks rolled up, ties off and barefoot. haha sooo fun but totally crazy. so strategic. its super hard actually. especially 2 on 2.

 

saturday we helped a sister in our ward move into 3rd ward. the four of us went to help and when we got there she was waiting for a ward member with his pickup/ apparently there had been some confusion. we were just hangin out in her little court thing throwin around the rugby ball for awhile. she ended up having a small couch, a medium couch and like 2 other random things that werent very big. haha once the truck got there we loaded it up in 5 minutes and it took 10 to unload only because she moved into a third story apartment. haha

 

as far as for the work, it was pretty slow this week, with the holidays and all. we met with michael. a crazy old guy thats been investigating for a looong time. love him to death though. such a nice guy and has the most random, crazy stories. its hard because he loves to talk and before i got here i think the missionaries all just went over as a social thing and would throw in a spiritual message once in awhile and call it a lesson. which by definition counts a lesson but they never tried to really teach him. so we taught a bit of the plan of salvation this time. he went to school to be a seminary teacher and considers himself a theologian. we were talking about pre earth life and adam and eve when he was like i hope you know that i know this stuff. and in my mind i was kinda like “oh just wait til the after death part…” we have a few ideas for trying to help him realize the lord wants him to do more. he feels the spirit and has brought it up a couple times. i try to help him understand that that is a testament of truth and that he needs to recognize the need to act on it. i think i talked a bit about him on skype. he came to church when ryan call spoke. he “felt the love there” so we are looking forward to helping him understand that while on earth there are saving ordinances we need.

 

as for donna, we havent met with her this week, but she came to church! that was cool, even though when she pulled up in her car she was smoking. lol. a work in progress. we are going to go by this week with her and work on christ a little bit more. i felt the need to watch the video “finding faith in christ” yesterday morning during our comp study and just kept getting the idea that this is what donna needed to see. so im thinking that well take that over and watch it with her. i had never seen it, but the lord definitely leads us to answers. i have been trying to ask for help in knowing what to do with her.

 

as for our other investigators. we still cant catch lisbeth when shes home, jordan canceled cause of work and were still trying to reschedule with him. phil and alicia are the same story. then kailan is still out of town but comes home this week. excited for him definitely.

 

last night was a fireside, called the work of salvation fireside. its where recent converts and recently reactivated members speakand share their stories. then an open testimony meeting. very cool to hear some of the people’s stories.

 

love you guys very much and am grateful for you all, i hope you find a way to improve your lives this year. remember that everything temporal is connected to our spiritual side somehow. findthe connections and see the blessings. make sure your goal is SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) and come closer to christ in one way or another.

 

ofa atu,

elder stark

Dec 28, 2015

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its so crazy how time flies. i know i say that a lot but really though. im goin on 5 months this week! thats so crazy. as much as i miss the family and home i couldnt picture being there. it just wouldnt be right. christmas was great! the calls are awesome! and after i got off skype we played this super fun game called bounce off! i was the reigning champion i believe. haha so much fun. is that the game you guys saw at target? with the ping pong balls. we played some of that and elder tuifua got to jump on skype at like 4 so we delayed eating and just played some games etc. while he talked. then we had some super good ribs for dinner. then sister call got out a nerf gun and started shooting us. so brother call went and grabbed their presents for us. and told us to open them. sure enough, more nerf guns! haha (we hadnt brought ours over to their house sadly) so we were all just shooting eachother like crazy and throwing the fake snowballs. an epic battle for sure.

as for the rest of the week, it was pretty chill. haha tuesday we tracted for a few hours. needed to fill some time. had some good conversations with people, but no one was very open. after the first 9 or 10 house of talking to people, elder tu’ifua took over and knocked every door. he wanted the practice. i was like okay… haha so he talked to everyone. hes getting better for sure. he doesnt want to be shy anymore so he practices. its awesome. hes such a good worker its just cool to see.
that night, though, we went to a less active family in the ward, the selders. a family had us over for dinner and asked if we had visited them, since we hadnt we asked them to take us over with them and introduce us to them. they picked us up from dinner and took us over there. it was awesome. its a la wife, nonmember husband, an 8 year old (not baptized) and twin 3 year olds. the family gave them a gen conf talk and some chocolates, and we set up a time to come by. she asked us to leave her with a prayer. i can tell she knows the gospel will help her life improve and help with some of the family problems theyve had. so i look forward to helping them come closer to christ and grow tighter as a family unit. hopeful for them
that night we exchanged elder tu’ifua for elder larose. so elder larose and i got to be companions for a day. that was a good time considering (like i said on skype) we are the same person. haha we also had ryan call come be a missionary with us for the day. which was really cool. we went and did some service for donna, then did an awesome job teaching the gospel of jesus christ to the pattys, an older couple in our ward. we had an appointment after that feel through so ryan got picked up and we biked up to help a member move. elders tu’ifua and hawkins came and helped with the move for a bit. we biked around the corner to our dinner. her name is sister pace. but she has her friend sister hamilton come with her son matthew because of the single sister rule. haha but sister hamilton is from sacrmento (shes black) and her friend from sacramento was here to visit( nonmember, black also) haha. and her friend was a straight ratchet. i was laughing so hard because she reminded me of deer valley. she was super nice but just had that loudness and attitude. you know what i mean. we communicated very well and i had her laughin pretty good for sure.
meanwhile this whole time we were eating dinner with them, out two boys (hawkins and tu’ifua) were driving around, lost, and kept calling us. they went north instead of south and were lost for a super long time. so funny. until we realized they used all of their miles for the month and that they were walking the rest of the month. haha so we have to be super conservative on miles now. but funny for sure.
for christmas eve we had a late district meeting and nothin much else scheduled. the fillmores fed us dinner. super cool family – theyve got two little boys, and feed us filipino food. so good. they fed us when tu’ifua first got here, christmas eve and theyre feeding us new years day too! haha i think they like having us over.
saturday was described as one of those days that yoiu go outside and your brain says, “no. this is too cold. like the kind of cold that will kill you. straight up” it was sooooo windy and so cold. cut right through everything. at first we tried to bike, but it was literally too windy. so we just walked it. that was the day that both of our appointments with investigators didnt happen. luckily in the area were the jimenez family. so awesome. super nice. weve been going through the lessons with them as practice. they gave us some hot cocoa and a place to thaw out. elder villaneda and i helped him load up a bunch of exercise equipment one morning from a friend of his out in falcon. so saturday since we had time, after they fed us some amazing mexican soup, and tostadas, we helped him put together the workout equipment. its super nice stuff and he said if it worked out we could totally come use it! so we might try to figure out a way to do that. haha
Sunday was good because i mean it was sunday! haha we had dinner with bishop and a coordination meeting but that was about it. bishops family is super cool. and bishop loves elder tu’ifua and wa quizzing his english for stuff. they are gonna buy him some winter gloves from costco today. hes been using my snow gloves. ive just been using my biking gloves. i sorta lost one of the black head glvoes you sent from costco. i love them. i just accidentally lost one. haha but i still might try to buy nicer snow gloves. theyll work for now at the least though. elder hawkins has a super cool windbreaker. and i was thinking about trying to find one because that with just a layer or two underneath is perfect for biking except on the worst of worst days.
i think thats all i got for ya! hope your new years is great. remind nana of our good times dancing around the kitchen on new years, and tell all the family i love and miss them!
elder stark
ofa atu!