October 17

Well another hectic week has gone by. And this one was particularly crazy. It was transfer week so we started on Monday by picking up the new missionaries from the airport and taking them to dinner. They had orientation meetings afterwards and we got their luggage moved around to where it needed to be for the night.

Tuesday was Transfer day itself. Overall it went really smoothly, we didn’t have too many hiccups occur other than a couple missionaries having too much stuff and not fitting in the car. That night we had dinner with the departing missionaries and snuck away for an appointment with Mike. That went well and he was excited for his upcoming baptism, but we received a phone call from a set of elders that live in our same apartment complex. They informed us that they had just been carjacked. At gunpoint. Hahaha so we had to cut our appointment short to go help out with that. Luckily they got ahold of our Mission President finally and he took care of it, but they were still a little rattled, understandably. That was followed up by a set of elders that just got put into a biking area and had a flat tire with no ride to the store to get another tube. So we went and picked them up to take them to Walmart.

Wednesday we took the departing missionaries to the temple. That was of course, AWESOME. Nothing crazy happened that night really. We were with the departing missionaries and Sister Rehm (our mission president’s wife) at the mission home. We were hanging out talking about the different personality types and colors. Sister Rehm is all about that kind of stuff. So she had us all taking the tests that tell you what color or personality type you are.

Thursday we took the departing missionaries to the airport and had to get everything ready for the baptism scheduled for Saturday. I don’t know if I ever mentioned this before, but the Fort Collins Temple Dedication was yesterday, and they broadcasted it to all of Colorado. So our goal was to get Mike baptized and confirmed on Saturday so that he could attend that, and it happened! It was so awesome! His baptism was small and simple as it was pulled together last minute. He wanted Elder LaRose to baptize him and me to Confirm him. It was a super neat experience. So Saturday was totally epic! All to prepare us for Sunday which was awesome as well! I had never gotten to see a temple dedication until now, but it was super neat and im so glad I got to see it, especially with mike and his wife!

I hope you all have the best of weeks and remember that I love you greatly!

Elder Stark

ps new pics should be up!

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Oct 10, 2016

The best bad decision we ever made.

First off, sandboarding was cool! it was an epic experience filled with a small amount of actual boarding and a large amount of sandblasted pain. As it turns out the day we decided to go happened to be insanely windy. A rental lady even warned us and said we probably should not go. Just looked it up, looks like we had some 40+ mph winds with 50+ mph gusts. It made for sandblasted bare skin and we wore shorts and shortsleeves. Despite the times hunkering down trying to cover our skin and getting sand in our eyes, it as all in all epic and worth for that reason. Elder LaRose had his gopro to video and take pictures of the adventure. Elder LaRose and I have deemed this our best bad decision we’ve ever made.

This last week has been pretty busy. We did an exchange with the zone leaders over Alamosa after sandboarding, but had to leave at around 5 am the next day to make it to the springs for a meeting about transfers. Wednesday we had our leadership council with all the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders. Following that we did an exchange for the rest of the day with those same Zone Leaders from Alamosa because we try to do more of an exchange than just a couple hours on night (ideally we do 24 hours). Thursday was a temple trip with missionaries at their halfway mark, and Friday through Sunday was finalizing transfer decisions and typing up the document to send to all the missionaries, so that they know where to be and when to make the transfers happen. All of this basically adds up to an Elder Stark still finding sand in his hair and computer-screen-strained, sleep-deprived, bloodshot eyes but a heart filled with the spirit 🙂 No better place than a mission.
As for our investigators, things are great! Mike and Randi are a part-member couple. Although they were out of town this week they are still doing very well. We are hoping to see them for a little bit tommorrow. Mike is scheduled to be baptized this saturday, but with the trip out of town and temple dedication this sunday, we may be pushing it back a little. We shall see!
Jimmy, who got baptized a few weeks ago, is doing awesome! He is actually visually impaired and is barely able to see anything. So in order to “read” material, he has to have his computer read it to him. He can read a word if its zoomed in all the way and thats almost the only thing on his 30 inch tv he uses as a monitor. This week we were able to set him up with his LDS.org account and show him how to access the scriptures online and have LDS.org read them to him. He was so excited and has such a great attitude about wanting to learn more! He always says, “Now look, I’m a newbie I know. And I’m blind, but there is so much to learn here!” Its really cool to see his excitement. At church today a young man was sustained to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood before leaving on his mission. I leaned over and told him that the kid is going on his mission and that is why he’s being sustained. Jimmy just blurted out, “wow!” Right in the middle of sacrament meeting. He then said “oh! whoops” in a much softer voice. It was pretty great. I just laughed and told him it was no problem.
The beginning of this week is looking to be epicly busy well seeing as its transfer week. It only ever works out because of the miracles of the Lord. That is for sure. I love the opportunity I have to be here on earth. A child of God, constantly learning and growing and seeing his hand in my life. I hope and pray that each of you can learn to recognize the hand of the lord in your life. Pray for eyes to see it and strength to follow his counsel. He wants to bless us, sometimes we just have to ask.
With immense amounts of love,
Elder Stark

October 3, 2016

Hello from “The Valley”

This morning my companion and I made the drive down to Alamosa, a sub 10k population town. It is in the San Luis Valley, the very southern part of our mission. We are gonna go to some sand dunes to go sledding and sandboarding for pday today, with some mission buds that are serving down here. Hopefully I’ll have some good pictures next week for ya.

Last week was good. We went on exchanges with the Pueblo Zone Leaders. I went to Pueblo for the day with Elder Hagman, who came out with me. It was fun to be with him for the day. We had opportunity to bike a bit, which is always fun, but also had some super cool experiences teaching. The first one was a first lesson with a man they had previously found tracting. This man is mid 20s and has a 2 year old son, raising him as a single father. The kid was insane. He was running around, in and out of the room, pulling on our hands to come with him, then taking his dad away. We just could not get more than a word or two out at a time. After this epic battle between teaching the Plan of Salvation and a treacherous two year old had gone on for about 15 minutes, with the two year old definitely winning, I decided something must happen. The child grabbed my thumb trying to pull me away, yet again, and i figured I would give it a try. So I stood up, went to the other side of the room with him and played with duplos. It meant my companion was completely teaching on his own, but it worked! My companion taught the entire Plan of Salvation and set a baptismal date with him, all while i was playing with children’s toys. It was probably the most unique lesson ive been a part of.
General Conference this last weekend, was totally awesome, as expected. For Saturday’s sessions we went to the house of a part member family with the other missionaries in our district. Its was a good time for sure, they made pesto pasta with chicken for lunch. The nonmember is the husband and hes been showing some interest lately. He does workouts with us on Saturday mornings at the church. Its way fun, but her works us pretty hard.
In between the Afternoon Session and the Priesthood Session, we heard about the tradition called “Prophets and Brats” where a bunch of people bring grills and meat to the church parking lot and have like a tailgate party pretty much eatin meat and hanging out before the session started. So we totally showed up. There was a guys there cooking moose burgers and i got one! Oh my they were good, and huge! I fell in love with the tradition and now want to have a bbq between afternoon and priesthood every year.
Im so grateful for Prophets and Apostles of the Lord who are able to share with us the messages that the Lord needs us to hear. I got a reassurance from the spirit of the lord that those who spoke to us truly spoke for God here on the earth. How powerful that is to know. I look forward to rereading the talks given, because i felt like I was trying to drink from a fire hose the last couple days…  I love you all and because of that I encourage you to head to LDS.org to check out some of the amazing talks given this past weekend.
Elder Stark

September 26, 2016

Holiness to the Lord, The House of the Lord

 

Well this week has, as usual, gone by very quickly. Notably first, we went to the temple on Thursday with a group of missionaries hitting their halfway mark. That was, of course, totally awesome. I was able to perform work for quite a few of our deceased ancestors which was super neat. I love the feeling that comes with the Temple.

 

Other than the temple we were able to visit a lot of people, which was great! Mike is doing awesome, he’s fully on track to get baptized in October, and loves the church! We consistently are amazed by the Spirit of the Lord and the power that it has within people’s hearts. We have especially noticed that power this week, through all of our lessons. Every time we walked out of a lesson, Elder LaRose and I could not believe the feelings from that lesson. Having the spirit really allows us to be bold with the people we are teaching, and we continue to see the joy that comes from the Gospel entering people’s lives. I really do not have words to describe the feelings that come with bearing testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. I love this opportunity I have to be hear doing this. It dawned on Elder LaRose and I that we have only about 10 months left and we had a moment of oh crap, we still have so much more to become, thats not long enough.

 

It’s a good thing the Lord has a plan for each of us, and prepares a way for us to do what we need to. I came across 1 Nephi 9:6 this week that reads, “But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children on men; for behold he hath all power into the fulfilling of all his works. And thus it is. Amen.”

 

The Lord has a plan in all things and prepares a way to accomplish such plans for us. He is building His kingdom and we are here to assist in any way possible to help accomplish His work: to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

 

I think, in order to do this for others, we must first do it for ourselves and get ourselves rollin on the right path. Then we can share our experiences with others and help them realize the joy. Something I’ve come to realize recently is how counterintuitive life can be. We all have full plates as is. Between work, hobbies, family and everything else life brings along, we are naturally very busy people in this day and age. There are always gonna be more things to do and we will always be busy, so how could we possibly add the things the Lord supposedly wants us to do like take time from the day to pray, read scriptures, attend church on Sundays but also be actively involved in activities and such throughout the week? How could He possibly? I remember the time I have spent with my family putting together puzzles. The typical method for building a puzzle of any complexity is to start with the border, the edges. The only thing that makes them different is having a straight edge on one side (or two sides for the special corner pieces). Without the border first being done, the rest would not fall into place very well. However, with the structure given by the border, the rest seems to end up working out and before you know it the puzzle is complete and you see a beautiful picture.

I think those straight edge pieces, that give structure and act as guides, are the things the Lord asks us to do; like reading our scriptures, praying, going to church, holding family home evening etc. Once we do those things, the rest of our crazy lives will fall into place in such a way that seemed impossible from the start. We so often see those border pieces as the pieces that turn a 400 piece puzzle into a 500 piece, as opposed to the 100 pieces that make the other 400 pieces worth something. It is counterintuitive that adding 100 pieces actually makes it easier, but that’s only because we don’t look at them as the guidance that they bring for the following 400.

 

I hope the thoughts of my scrambled brain have made atleast a little sense. If nothing else, know I love you all, the Lord loves you all, and if you do what he asks of you he will make the rest workout how it needs to.

 

Elder Stark