Aug 22, 2016

Change is the only consistency in life

I have been transferred! I am now serving in the Fountain Stake again! I am in the 5th ward. The emergency transfer happened yesterday because our Mission President assigned a new Assistant to the President, and its me. lol For the week i will be in a trio, learning what to do until the actual transfer. I am with Elder Constantine and Elder LaRose. Elder LaRose and I will be the Assistants for the next 3 transfers. Elder LaRose came out with me and we served in the same district while i was in sand creek. He is awesome and im super excited to serve with him!! I look forward to the new fun with this assignment!

This week though has been really cool! We had Mission Tour, got to go to the temple with lizzy, as well as go to her patriarchal blessing! I also had two exchanges back to back on Tuesday and Wednesday. So its been busy. Good! But busy.

Starting at the beginning of the week, we got to go to Bass Pro Shop on Pday before we had singing practice. That’s always a good time, reminded me of our family cabelas trips we always took back home.

Tuesday I got to experience a day in the life of a ysa missionary. Its definitely super different from serving in family wards. Its super hard to find people and most of the members are either in schooling or work during the day. I was with an elder there and we had a really good experience, learned a lot from each other. He is a great teacher and I learned a lot about how to use the teaching skills taught in Preach My Gospel. We were able to connect well over shooting and hunting, he is a smalltown Idaho boy, a total cowboy.

Wednesday I got to be with Elder LaRose on exchanges! We always have a good time together so that was super fun. We had some really cool experiences from trying to find people that used to meet with the missionaries, to see if they would be interested in starting to meet with us again. We had two families that accepted us coming back and seemed pretty interested, so that was awesome!

Thursday was a lot of planning but also we got to visit with some elders that have been having a rough time together. We were able to help them come to a more mutual idea of what they wanted, as well as set some good goals for the companionship.

Friday was amazing. We went with Lizzy to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. She was able to be baptized in proxy for her sister. That was a beautiful experience to be able to be a part of. That afternoon we drove down to Pueblo, CO for a Mission Leadership Council, at which we were able to meet with, and be uplifted by, Elder Andersen of the Seventy, as well as elder Nattress of the Seventy. The Lord truly does answer prayers, yall. He spoke through these General Authorities to help me receive help, comfort and answers from my prayers throughout the week.

This experience continued into Saturday when we had our full mission tour that was all day spirituality. Lol it just helped my testimony of modern day revelation and that the Lord truly speaks through his servants on the earth. One of the coolest things that Elder Andersen taught us about, is the basic principles of faith, and the power that faith really holds. He said theres pretty much 3 things to faith: 1. It has to be centered in Christ and his Atonement. 2. We must conform our desires to His. 3. It must be accompanied with hard work. Faith without works is dead. That evening I received the phone called asking if I would be willing to serve as an Assistant to the President! So Sunday night I got transferred. Ill miss Monument because of its gorgeous, and the people are great but I know this is the Lord’s will, so I will trust in that.

I love you all so much and constantly think of you, your safety and your happiness. My new address for mail will be the mission office: 4090 Center Park Dr. Colorado Springs, CO 80916.

Wish you all the best!

 

Elder Stark

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Aug 15, 2016

weeks fly by me like rocks flew by samuel the lamanite

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another week has gone by without even blinking. i got the opportunity to attend the temple on thursday for pretty much all day. that was amazing in all aspects of the word. i was with beloved friends feeling a beloved presence of the spirit of the lord. i am so grateful for that opportunity to attend the temple. i now understand Malachi 4:5-6 a little bit better, and have felt the joy of bringing saving ordinances to the temple. in my last area i was able to do some family history, and for my jubilee i took 50 names for baptisms and between myself and the fellow missionaries, all of their baptisms and confirmations were completed. a truly neat experience to be a part of. after our trip to the temple, we had a testimony meeting with the group that went together. that was a huge, delicious, spiritual cherry to top off the day.  we all got the opportunity to bear testimony of how special the temple is, and the blessings received there.

 

this week we have gotten to meet with lizzy, who got baptized last week quite a few times. she is doing awesome and is so excited to go to the temple for baptisms as well as receive a patriarchal blessing. every time we get to be with her, its a spiritually uplifting experience for us all. she truly is amazing and is progressing well in the gospel. its amazing, elder johnson and i have been able to teach with a very noticeable power and unity. we gave a good tag team method going that members have constantly commented on that we shared exactly what they needed on that day, and did so with a power they havent seen much before. its been an awesome experience to be companions with him. weve had some powerful experiences that i dont feel should be shared at this time, but its been super neat. these are the mission moments that i will remember forever.

 

on saturday i got the opportunity to go on exchanges with elder tallman, who came out with me. he was serving here in monument before me and so he got to come visit the area and we had a blast. we did service at the usticks in the morning. thats where we used the skidsteer. they had some old couches that needed to be put in their trailer to go to the dump and elder tallman wanted so badly to learn how to use a skidsteer, so he used that to put the couches into the trailer. i thought id have him give me a little ride on the forks, which is what the picture was you got sent. they were also our dinner that evening and fed us some absolutely delicious and massive steak. it was a great day. lol brother ustick could not believe i finished the steak.

 

this coming saturday we have the opportunity to attend a “mission tour” at which Elder Andersen of the seventy will be. ive been asked to sing “come thou fount of every blessing” in a quartet and we have our second practice today. i look forward to the experience but not the nerves. lol its a simple yet beautiful arrangement. it also helps that its my favorite song. singing it brings back the memories of Kara singing it when i gave my farewell talk before i left. i can only pray that we will be able to sing it with the power and beauty that she did.

 

i appreciate the prayers and support and can feel their influence in my daily life. i am grateful beyond description for the gospel of jesus christ and the peace and comfort it brings to my life. i know that it can for others as well, which is why i am here. hope you all have a good week!

 

love,

elder stark

 

August 8, 2016

Beautiful Baptism

So Lizzy’s baptism did indeed happen on Saturday!!! such a great experience! She was sooo excited and nervous! it was great. Elder Johnson did the baptism and I was a witness with the elder that was serving here before me. Over all it was an absolutely amazing service. The spirit was strong and I don’t think a single soul there did not feel the power of the spirit. Her confirmation on Sunday was great as well. Our Ward Mission Leader voiced the blessing. It was a powerful weekend over all. I think the most exciting (because we did not expect it) was Lizzy getting up to bear her testimony in sacrament meeting. She does not like public speaking – she has told us on multiple occasions – but totally rocked it and bore an amazing and powerful testimony of why she came into the church. It was so neat. Over all I think it was the best Fast & Testimony Meeting I have ever been in.

Prior to the great weekend we had a very administratively busy week. We had an all day meeting Wednesday down in the springs. Followed by which we took our truck in to get the oil changed and have them check why the back right wheel has been squeaking and even wobbling a little bit (the second time its been taken in to figure that out since it started 2 months ago). They said they would have it done by closing that night, but didn’t. And after all the confusion between the shop, our vehicle coordinators and us. We ended up not getting it back until Friday midday. With a few unnecessary trips to the springs thrown in there. Oh and the problem persists even after replacing the supposed blown out shock. Then to top it off, someone backed into the side of the truck while it was parked. lol good times! Grateful we have a truck despite the issues that may arise!
This week though, I’ve been focusing on listening to and following the spirit. We had our monthly zone meeting on Friday and it was neat, as we were teaching our 45ish missionaries, to have the spirit take my comments elsewhere then where i had planned. It was a powerful meeting and i was able to receive yet another witness that this truly is THE true church on the earth today. I am so grateful for the knowledge of that, that the Lord has blessed me with. I love receiving the opportunity to share it with others and am grateful for those like Lizzy that are seeking the truth and have the faith to pursue it fully.
This Thursday I get to go to the temple for my year mark. It’ll be so exciting to be with the guys that i came from the MTC with. I look forward to the reunion with these great guys and the opportunity to enjoy the Temple and its amazing blessings. I hope the week goes well for you all! I love you all dearly!
Elder Stark

August 1, 2016

only one year left.

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The time has FLOWN by. I cant believe ive hit my one year mark. Helped me realize ive still got a lot of hings to imrpove on before my missions over.

Things are still goin great! Lizzy is beyond ecstatic about he baptism this week! She is seriously so solid and will make an amazing member! her faith is powerful and her zeal for the gospel is unbelievable. today we went and hike Mt Herman with lizzy and the APs. Such a cool hike! we had a great time and when lizzy met the other elders she said “im not a member yet but this saturday at 3 is my baptism! wana come?” hahahah it was great.
We also have a less active guy that is getting super close to being able to go to the temple, he really wants to do the work for his father and step father. such a pure heart and desire.
My companion and i are doing super well and get along great! we have a blast all day everyday and are really excited to help eachother become better missionaries. So grateful for my savior and the constant help he gives to me to always become a little bit better.
i love and miss you guys dearly
elder stark

July 25, 2016

Hello! week 1 in the Monument ward comes to a close. This area is absolutely gorgeous! totally the type of place i want to live in! the people are super cool here and totally nice. the ward is great. they have a super good missionary spirit about them. the elder that i replaced here was elder tallman, one of the guys that came out with me. the ward loved him and he totally helped get a lot of work going.

we have an amazing investigator by the name of lizzy. shes a young mom that is going through some rough times with her family. shes had little things about the church planted in her life and actually went to seminary for awhile in high school. she is a devout catholic and sincerely wants to please god. she received an answer to a prayer a little while ago that she needed to pursue the lds church, she reached out to her jiu jitsu teacher that is a member in our stake, and he got our number to her. she called a few days before i got here telling them she would like to join the church. they taught her once, and now ive taught her twice more. she is solid as could be and totally believes this is the true church on the earth that the lord wants her to join. its so neat to teach her because her faith is so unshakable. Im honored to be one of the missionaries that gets to teach her. She has a baptismal date for august 6th and is so excited for it!
we have a few other people we are working with that ive met and to keep it short and simple, the lord is beginning to trust the monument ward with those he has prepared to receive his gospel. its powerful and im glad to get to see it happen.
we do a lot of service here because it has a lot of rural areas. one of the weekly things we do is cleaning out horse stalls. haha so we get to shovel poop! we also help out at goodwill by stocking the shelves and stuff! so thats pretty neat, you know how much i love goodwill haha, its pretty great here. lots of good old dirt roads and all 😉 we live with members right at the base of the mountains. and one of these days are gonna go hike “mt. herman” its seriously super close to where we live. such a pretty view, i feel like im in heaven. haha
i hope everything is going well for you guys, i love you all!
elder stark

July 18, 2016

A Monument-al Change

So my days in the 15th ward of the East Stake, thought seemingly shortlived, have come to an end. I will be getting transferred into the Monument ward of the Colorado Springs North Stake. The zone i previously covered consisted of the East Stake alone, but now will consist of both the East and North Stakes. Not sure if you remember while i was in Fountain, when i was in a trio with an elder johnson (as well as my trainer elder hunter). But Elder Johnson is going to be my companion again. I hear 2 things about Monument: its gorgeous and they have some money. So i guess we’ll see how that goes! It’ll be exciting for sure.

As far as this last week has gone, Elder Schilling still had on and off stomach issues. so that still got in the way. But we did have this one super cool lesson. We often do our planning for the week at the library in a study room to stay better focused. We also bring the neighboring elders with us so they can do the same. Well this week there werent gonna be any rooms available until about 45 minutes after we had gotten there, so we decided to do some family history on the computers while we wait. Well one of the other Elders and I checked out laptops to do so and went to this little corner room they have with couches. There was a lady in there reading that looked at us and asked, are you mormons? we smiled and said, yes we are! we asked her some questions to see if she had any friends or knew any mormons, to no avail; she just knew the nametags. We asked if she would be interested in learning about the church and she just nodded. we shared a short version of the restoration (lesson 1) and offered a book of mormon and pamphlet to her. for the next hour she was sitting in front of us reading the pamphlet, taking notes in the margins and asking us questions. She really liked everything about it, and was open to the following the prophet. A super cool experience for sure. The funniest part was that the wifi had gone down right before we got the laptops, meaning we were just sitting there to answer questions with no distractions. Then the minute she left, the wifi came back on.
The Lord truly is at the helm of this ship of life were on. So grateful for it and his constant guidance and help. Love the gospel of Jesus Christ, and am grateful to know about it.
With love,
Elder Stark

July 11, 2016

stacks o’ (meat)ings

This week consisted of both a stack of meetings, as well as a stack of meat. Members always ask us what we like to eat – especially in this ward. My answer is always the same: “Meat.” If they want further clarification its usually: “Beef.” Evidently this ward has taken well to those statements. Steak on monday, Ribs on tuesday, Pork chops on wednesday. boo ya.

Oh and its not quite transfer week yet. That’ll be next week. But my comp will be going home.

Because of the fourth of july, we had our P-day on Tuesday. We kept it pretty low key and just hung out. nice to kinda relax for once.
Wednesday was an all day meeting but we had a couple of appointments that evening. so that went well. We spent the afternoon right after the meeting to begin our planing for zone training. We were coordinating with a set of Sisters that helped with the teaching. We let them plan the activity, because. Sisters=creative, Elders=not.
A majority of thursday was continuing planning, but we did have an appointment with a young man, Avery. He is being fostered by a sister in the ward. He is an awesome kid and actually has decided that he wants to be baptized! he talked about how reading the Book of Mormon made him feel good. it was really just super neat! There are some legal issues that will probably not let it happen right away, but we are going to atleast help him develop a testimony and knowledge for himself. He really enjoys church and is making a lot of friends.
Zone Training went pretty well. We talked about working with and engaging members in missionary work. We have realized 2 things. 1. Members are the KEY to missionary work and with their help it works out much better, and more souls are brought unto Christ. 2. The members in our stake dont really do much of any missionary work. So we thought it was a suiting topic to teach about. I think it went well and i can only hope and pray that the members here will step it up a bit and start to be more missionary minded.
This week i will find out if i get transferred next week! itd be pretty crazy if i do, but ya just never know.
loving the mission more and more each day. Miss you all dearly, but know I am here for a reason. Enjoy family time at bear lake this week and someone jump the wake for me!
love you all!
elder stark

July 5, 2016

#MURICA

IMG_4252.JPGI am so grateful for the country we have to live in. despite its imperfections, i know that this is the promised land. I am grateful for everything that the men and women have gone through before us so that we can have these freedoms. Yesterday we got to be a part of the 4th of July parade up in Monument (city just north of Springs). we had probably 50 missionaries there marching together. they had a float being towed, so some missionaries were sitting on that while others were handing out candy. and we were singing patriotic songs as well as some hymns. super fun and cool experience!

this week i found out that Don and Val dunford (the couple that got baptized in sand creek) have moved into a ward in the Colorado Springs Stake. The sister missionaries there gave me their email and said they are doing well! and getting ready to go do baptisms at the temple for the first time. that was super exciting to hear!
LuAnn, the sister that got baptized here, is also doing very well! we helped with her yard the other day. we were biking by and saw her getting her lawn mower out. we were like hey! well do that for ya! haha so we ran home and changed clothes and did some impromptu yard work for her. weve also had her 4th new member lesson now! Its really neat to see and hear her testimony as it grows.
This week we had exchanges with the APs (assistants to the president). So Elder Constantine and i were together. He is who preceded me in this area. So it was neat to be with him back in his old area! haha
We did service again for an older sister that we found tracting awhile back and she seems to be opening up to more discussion about the church. that is super exciting! she said that she actually has a book of mormon somewhere from a long time ago. she plans to look for it before we come over the next time.
this next week is gonna be hectic with an all day meeting wednesday, then teaching zone training friday. but the Lord always helps us get it all done. grateful for His help in everything i do.
Love you guys dearly!
Elder Stark