May 23, 2016

Fisherman 1 day-wk Fisher of Men 6 days-wk
fisherman one day a week, fisher of men 6 days a week

Geocaching w- Elder Hagman

so the fishing trip was a bit of a bust, but still a good time for sure! we were out at the reservoir for about 2 hours. we saw lots of rainbows jumpin out and about, but they didnt bite for us. we are probably gonna try again later into summer. hopefully get some catfish! those are yummy. elder ward and i had our nice fishing outfits rocking for it. so ill have to put the picture on the google drive! haha

this week was good, nothing super amazing, but good still. we taught some good lessons, but still had a couple cancellations as usually tends to happen! saturday and sunday was stake conference. and they had a youth choir singing in it for the sunday session. they had us invite our whole zone to sing in it. a decent amount did, we practice three times on saturday mornings. so on saturday morning we were there. then in the afternoon, we went back to the church for priesthood leadership, then again for the adult session. it was really good! our mission president and his wife spoke at the adult session. they showed a segment from training videos we watch to help with the member missionary work. the stake is really pushing it right now. its pretty awesome! looking forward to seeing big things happen.
since sunday was stake conference, we had church from 10 to 12 instead of 1 to 4. so we got to go out and do a lot of missionary work on the best day to do it! it was cool to get to go tracting and have so many people home! we didnt have much successes, we followed up with a lot of people we had talked to that said we could come back. we had like 4 out of 5 tell us they werent interested, but that can actually be good, because now we know, and can look for more people and not keep trying to get a hold of these people. haha always a silver lining right? its the lord’s work, its definitely gonna work out. no doubt about it.
so we had exchanges twice this week. the first one was with the black forest elders. black forest is like a suburb of springs(sort of) part of the ward is a suburban area just outside the springs (that has most of the members), but most of the geography of it is in an actual forest. its a really neat place and i was there for the day with elder hagman, hes from central california and he actually came out with me. hes an awesome guy and we had a lot of fun. we had some good tracting, a few lessons with members and biked like crazy! they live 15 miles away from the suburban area, and thats where they do most of their missionary work. since they dont have very many miles, elder hagman wanted to bike as much as possible. we drove part way, then biked the rest of the day. 20 miles with insane winds in our face! it was super fun and way pretty! but boy was i tired and that was just one way.. we got a ride back to the car cause we didnt have time to bike it.
the other one was a bit east of the springs called falcon, its just flat plains. that was a good time. i got to go to their district meeting and see how that went. thats the district my trainer and elder hagman are in.
this coming week we have zone conference, and ill be conducting… haha hopefully i dont mess up! itll be cool though, theyre always a very spiritually uplifting meeting.
love you guys and hope everything goes well!
Elder Stark

May 16, 2016 20 minute talks?

a couple weeks ago, a member of the bishopric texted us and asked if we would each pick a preach my gospel chapter that would help the ward’s missionary efforts, then prepare a 15 to 20 minute talk on it for sacrament meeting! well that said sacrament meeting was yesterday… and we forgot… so i ended up just singing all of my favorite missionary hymns over the pulpit. just kidding. i would never do that. we remembered alright, and my companion prefers to type out everything hes gonna say. so we spent about 6 hours at the library last week solely preparing our talks.

i thought they both went really well, and we both spoke for right about 20 minutes. it was crazy, i never thought id be able to speak for that long. haha mid-talk, i actually had to cut out like 5+ minutes of material too, because i didnt want to go too long. a “stark” contrast to my first speaking assignment in sacrament… pardon the pun.
today, a group of us are going fishing at a resovoir nearby, should be some fun! hopefully we catch something, im looking for cheap meals 😉 haha
oh and we are singing in a stake youth choir for stake conference this next weekend. evidently they didnt have enough youth, so they asked the missionaries in the stake to join. its been pretty cool, but boy i miss your choir directing mom! haha
as for our teaching efforts this week, we were busy doing alot of other stuff that unfortunately did not allow us to get very much done. we still had some good lessons with people and were able to begin teaching a not so active family in the ward. theyre super nice and were teaching the 11 year old son specifically to learn about the priesthood before he becomes a deacon.
we also had exchanged with the APs this week. so wednesday we were both in their area. it was fun to get to be in the most productive area in the mission! we had some crazy cool successes with tracting out one particular apartment complex. oh and it was hailing like crazy! glad i had my jacket.. haha
its amazing how the gospel can be so simply understood but has immeasurable depth. any aspect of it can be highlighted for whatever situation. it truly can affect everyone who is willing to listen to it. there is no way there could be such order and such simplicity of happiness in a world this chaotic if it werent designed by He who knows all. so grateful for the knowledge i have of the gospel. grateful to you guys being such amazing examples for me and helping me learn so much.
love you all!
elder stark

Fishy Family – May 9, 2016

i hope to see pictures of our fish in their respective beds! haha, thats pretty awesome. i hope you liked the gift mom! it was great to see all of your great faces yesterday! miss each of you and enjoyed getting to chat. glad to hear that everyone is doing well!

Mother’s day gifts- one pillow sea creature for each kid. (There is a history of fish pillow practical jokes )
things are good here still! haha i know i just told you that last night, but still no problems have arisen since. lol we had exchanges on tuesday and on saturday, same companionship, we just switched who we were with. tuesday was crazy! we ended up teaching 18 lessons between the two companionships! that was really cool. especially because as my companion and i were preparing for our zone training that was on friday, we felt we needed to talk about how as we have faith miracles can occur. we proved it! haha we got 2 new investigators and a few others with potential to become an investigator. we also met a lady on wednesday night. she had us over for dinner, nonmember family except for her daughter that is at college who got baptized a couple years ago. she sent us to visit her mom and her mom is super nice and even interested in taking the lessons. some beautiful miracles.
it was neat studying for our zone training because i found stories in the bible that are miracles physically (ie healings and things) but then in 3 nephi 19:35 christ says, “so great faith have i never seen among all the jews; wherefore i could not show unto them so great miracles, because of their unbelief.” i soon realized that the greatest miracles of all, the ones that couldnt occur among all the jews, was the miracle of a softened heart. take a look at verse 33 “…their hearts were open…”. what could be more miraculous than a softened heart that leads to exaltation and eternal happiness. i know the lord provides miracles to the faithful. he says that angels are declaring it unto many (alma 13:24) you can be those angels that answers people’s prayers and declare it unto many. 
grateful to be a part of the Lords work. to help people change their lives and come unto Christ. so that his atonement does not go to waste. 
love you all, love the gospel. 
elder stark

May 2, 2016

IMG_20160508_211716heyo fam bam! this week has been good for some reason. not the best for others. we were all pumped because we had enough appointments scheduled that we could fill a most of our time and wed be teaching almost all the people we are working with. then like half of them cancelled last minute and our motivation to find other things to do in the moment was slack-a-lackin. and the weather was way bad. got a lot of snow and such and it was just cooold. haha so over all we didnt get to teach as much as we were hoping. but the good part was actually great: our investigator, LuAnn got baptized! that was super exciting.

i just got here for the tail end of things but its been reallly cool nonetheless. so, shes around 70 years old, divorced, lives alone. her daughter and her family all got baptized about three years ago now. her daughter was concerned about her mother trying to shovel her snow. she called the bishops wife in january and asked who she could possibly hire in the ward to shovel her mothers driveway. the bishops wife said hey the misisonaries will do it for free! and so they sent over the missionaries at the time to shovel her driveway. she let them share a message, and sure enough one thing lead to another and 4 months later she entered the waters of baptism.
the daughter that is a member drove up from arizona with her family for the baptism. they have two teenagers that sing. the son played a super cool accompaniment on the guitar while they sang a duet of come thou fount of every blessing. as im sure you remember kara singing that at my farewell, so it holds a special place in my heart. our mission president and his wife came for the baptism as well, and they very much enjoyed the musical number. to the point that our mission president invited them to come and perform it at a fireside the mission put on sunday evening. its called the “work of salvation fireside” its where recent converts and recently returning members get a chance to speak about their experiences in coming into (or back into) the church. its a super neat fireside and it was cool that they got to perform again and their grandma was even there to see it.
so this coming week we have what is called “MLC”. it stands for missionary leadership council. basically its all of the zone leaders, and sister training leaders, and the APs, as well as president. we talk about any issues in the mission and decide what needs to be taught on friday at zone training. looking forward to the new opportunities.
oh so i sent your number, mom, to sister Del’Pontonie, who is feeding us on sunday and we will be skyping from there. it sounds like theyre more familiar with google hangouts. but she should be contacting you guys soon. if she hasnt already…
hope everythings going well with the “new” ward. still weird to think about there being no H2… love and miss you all!
elder stark

April 25, 2016

so this week is the transfer week. it feels weird since i just got transferred like two weeks ago. but because of that, neither myself, nor my companion will be getting transferred this week. weve got a few changes in our zone. two guys that were in our district are becoming zone leaders in other places. so thats pretty cool. ive become good friends with one of em, he came out right after i did.

this past week though was pretty sucky for the first few days. i got super sick – kinda like that time we were in utah for christmas and right before we left for home i got a really bad croaky cough and everything. we the terrible congestion and all. thats what this was. but luckily id prety much kicked it by thursday with the help of a priesthood blessing, relentless mother-like efforts from sister lindley who we live with, and some antibiotics prescribed by the mission doctor.
we were still able to visit quite a few people at the end of the week, we ended up teaching about 13 lessons still. we helped a member with some fence work. we had to replace two posts, and we ended up being able to dig around it and pulling up the entire chunk of concrete due to the previous snow. that was pretty crazy. by comparison the fence work ive done here has been nothing compared to digging in the fun dirt back home. that stuff was nuts! the member was pretty grateful im sure because he  didnt know much about what we were doing, so i took lead on the project, did the cementing and all. haha it was interesting being in your place on the job, dad.
we have an investigator. a sweet lady named LuAnn. She is supposed to be baptized this saturday! so we are excited for her and hope everything goes well on that boat. she is still finishing up quitting her green tea, thats pproving pretty hard for her.
theres a family in the ward that has a son that hasnt been coming to church really lately. his girlfriend is not a member and we went over to visit with the family, and both the son and his girlfriend sat in on the message. it was pretty neat and were hoping that we can have something come of it.
we had another less active sister dating a nonmember guy that was okay with meeting with us. unfortunately he was having quite a bad migraine, so when we went to teach him, he just was laying down in the other room in pain and listened to us. it was a kinda a weird lesson i have to admit, but it will hopefully turn into a good opportunity to teach this man about the gospel.
oh we also had a less active guy that we were asked to visit and see if he would take the lessons. he was very nice, actually from concord or walnut creek, i cant recall which. but he loves it out there. hes middle aged and single and i think has just gotten kinda lazy about coming to church, but he accepted the invitation for us to go through the lessons. so that was really neat! were excited to begin working with him.
im super glad i get to be out here on a mission. its a great place to be and a great work to be a part of. i hope your week goes well, i love you guys!
elder stark