Nov 14, 2016

 

 

Tired but happy

Well I’ll tell ya what, normally id consider this last week busy, but looking at the next two to come, last week was nothin. It was good though. The mission is unique in that its taught me that you can be purely exhausted, both mentally and physically, and still be happy. Im learning what joy in the gospel is. It is happiness despite the surrounding situations. Despite being tired, or sore, or sick; or all the above. It’s the feeling most of the world notices during the Christmas season but doesn’t realize they can have it ALL the time. THAT is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is so simple, yet so intriguing that we’ll never have a full Knowledge in this life.

We had another Zone Conference this week, this one for our own zone, the missionaries we most closely associate with. Everything went well and it was a great spiritual experience. That night we had dinner with a guy in the ward that’s an Army General! It was pretty cool, he’s on the Stake High Council too – a busy man I am sure. That night began our adventure of nearly a daily visit to the Hospital for Brother Jose. Jose is a member in the ward that we visit often, hes had on and off health issues and went back into the hospital last week. He was super lonely and depressed so we made sure to go visit every day so that we might be able to help lift his spirits. Luckily he is now out of the hospital, but still has pains the doctors say he’ll have to live with.

Mike and Randi are both doing really well. Mike got the Aaronic Priesthood on Sunday, which was super neat. I am really excited to see them progressing so well and having such a fire for the gospel. Jesse is an investigator that is supposed to get baptized the Saturday after thanksgiving, he is doing well and is pretty excited to get baptized.

Jimmy is in Arizona as of this last week. He is going to a blind school for VA because he is visually impaired. He will be gone for about a month. We are communicating with the missionaries there to make sure he stays taken care of. He did call and inform us that his mother (94 years old!) is in the hospital and he wanted us to give her a blessing. She is pretty much blind and is pretty hard of hearing (as to be expected in a 94 year old), but shes hilarious. The nurse walked in, he actually looked quite a bit like Eric I’m now realizing, and he was about his height too. She looked at him and said “Whoooooa, so tall!! That’s goooood” (keep in mind shes full Hispanic and has a thick accent). Later she looked at me and asked:

“Are you from New Mexico?”

“No, but my mom is!”

“Ohhhh what part?”

“Alamagordo.”

“Minnesota?”

“Yeah….”

She’s fun to try and communicate with. Haha

This week we had the opportunity to go on a “blitz” exchange with some Elders. A blitz is when we both go to their area for just a couple hours and go like tracting with them or something. Just to kinda help things get rolling. This next week is looking pretty crazy, as its transfer prep week. On top of that, the departing missionaries are going home this Saturday, because it would have normally been on Thanksgiving Day. So we’ll have some mini transfers this Thursday in prep for that. It shouldn’t be too much, but we do get to go to the temple with them Friday, followed by getting to go see the BYU Young Ambassadors that night! They’re coming to the Springs and President bought tickets for us and the departing missionaries to go see them. I’m excited for that!

Hope you all have a great week! Love ya

Elder Stark

Nov 7, 2016

Sickness like a thief in the night

So the sickness did some how prevail, but not until 3 am tuesday morning. I woke up feeling quite indescribably crummy, just in time for a Zone Conference all day tuesday. It was painful ill admit but there was quite a miracle. Come lunch time i was not feelin good at all – and we teach right after lunch. about 10 minutes before it was our time to teach, i said a prayer of “Heavenly Father, please let this be one of those cool stories where i feel totally better just while i am teaching.” and sure enough. the minute we stood up to start our portion, my voice came back, i stopped coughing and i felt like a full on live human for that hour that we taught. It was seriously a huge blessing from above. We’ve got some amazing missionaries and i love the opportunity I have to travel the mission and get to know so many of them. The Lord is the only one that can turn a huge squad of 18 to 22 year old kids into joyous gospel-sharing machines.

As far as the rest of the week goes, i was pretty sick for the meetings on tuesday and wednesday, but wednesday night and all day thursday i was on exchanges with Elder Boatman – who was actually friends with Jacob Evans at BYU-i! It was a way good time, and we had some totally awesome experiences as we talked to people at a busy park around here, it has a man made lake/reservoir thing that people fish a lot at. so this guy explained fly fishing to me and i explained the gospel to him. I thought it was a good trade… (:

Saturday we helped out Elders Quorum with cleaning the church and had a training conference call afterwards, both of those went well. Later that day we were asked to give a blessing to a member’f friend in the hospital. Evidently he had been shot in a carjacking.. crazy stuff… At that same hospital was the Elder that fell from a cliff this past monday. He is currently in rehabilitation as he has a few cracked ribs and a few of the little flaps that stick off the sides of the vertebra, all topped with a concussion and some bad scrapes. We went up and talked to him for a few minutes. All in all he is recovering very quickly and got away with relatively minor injuries for what his situation could have been. Its looking like he will need to go home to finish recovering fully.

Sunday was a special Stake Conference Broadcast for the north central americas area (or whatever the official name is). It was really cool and they had some awesome speakers, one of which was Devin G Durant (the one that gave the ponderizing talk awhile back). His talk was really great, and he even gave a shoutout to his nephew serving a mission in one of the missions in this area. It was pretty great. That night we had the Work of Salvation Fireside, which is for new and returning members to speak and share their stories. It was great to hear these fire filled members speak on how the gospel is changing their lives.

I cant believe its november already! But thank you for the support you send, i love you guys.

Elder Stark

Oct 31, 2016

Hey family! Its been a good week of travels and such. It was awesome to get to see some more of the San Luis Valley, as we were able to go down on Monday to try the sand dunes again – which was a much better experience this time around. That night we were with the Zone Leaders down there, and Tuesday was the Zone Conference for that Valley Zone. That was a great conference! The zone is almost entirely missionaries at 6 months or less. The groups that have been coming out this summer have been awesome and a lot of them are training new missionaries. It was great to see them all doing so well – they are some cool dudes for sure. That night the sister missionaries in the area hooked us up with a dinner – so ready to be Relief Society Presidents… We drove up to Pueblo after that and stayed with the Pueblo Zone Leaders in prep for their conference the next day – on the drive though, we came through at the rear end of some bad traffic. The office missionaries that had left a couple hours before us hit it bad ad were stuck for over an hour – and had to take a detour. When we got there we were only waiting for about 15 minutes as they only had one lane open. Because of that we got to see the wreckage and holy cow! It was nuts. There was a semi-truck off the side of the road and a full-size pickup truck being towed away. Evidently they had caught on fire after the collision because they were melted down bad. From what we heard there were no fatalities, which is awesome.

The Zone Conference the next day went well. We had a lot of good involvement from the missionaries there. That zone has a few friends that I hadn’t seen in awhile so it was pretty sweet to get to see them again. That night we went to try what’s called a “slopper burger”. Pueblo is known for its green chili so a few restaurants makes a “slopper” which is a massive burger slopped in green chili. So of course, I had to try it. We went after zone conference, then split into exchanges. Elder LaRose stayed in pueblo for the rest of the day until Thursday night and Elder Hagman and I came up to the Springs to be on Exchanges for Thursday.

Thursday was weird, because I woke up with a little sore throat that turned into body aches. All in all, Thursday was a bit sucky. I felt bad for Elder Hagman having to go on exchanges with a sick dude. We were able to hit all our appointments still but in between I was out like a light. At this point I’ve pretty much kicked it, but still have a little congestion.

Friday however was a busy – and very good – day. we had a really cool service project that was helping set up a room for this event. The event was to hand out food to refugees. so we set up tables and stations and such. After we had district meeting and then a meeting with our mission president. That night however was the coolest part. We set a baptismal date with jesse, one of our investigators! it was a really cool lesson because we had something totally different planned but the spirit prompted us to change it on the spot. It was totally awesome! Im super excited for him.

Coming week is looking busy but should be good!

Hope you all have a spook-tacular halloween!

Elder Stark

October 24, 2016

the church is true, the book is blue and moroni’s on the ball

Got a hectic week ahead with 2 of the farthest zone conferences in the mission. Because the first one is tomorrow and in Alamosa, we drove down to Alamosa today to have pday down here and try out the sand dunes again, looking like it should be less sandblasting this time – we are hopeful.

This past week we were able to go on exchanges with both our zone leaders and our district leader. I got to be with Elder Ward on Tuesday –  he’s great. Weve been good friends since I met him when I got to 15th ward. We had a good time together as I was in his area. That night we actually went on splits to visit people so I was with 2 priests (ironically they had both come to a pday of volleyball and remembered me), and we went and visited some people with one specific instance that was really cool. Elder Ward and the ward mission leader gave us a few names and addresses and I just pretended it was my area and they didn’t know any better! One man we visited hadn’t been in touch with any other members in awhile and had a hip replacement that day. He was excited that we stopped by and said that he knew that the Lord put us there. It was powerful as we were able to bear testimony of faith and hope and set up a time for him to receive a Priesthood Blessing the next day.

On Saturday we were on exchanges again, this time I was with Elder Ulibarri – He just got to the mission in August. He was a part of the first group I picked up from the airport. Hes awesome and we had a super good day! We went to the park in our area and met a bunch of super cool people and he was able to give away his first Book of Mormon. That was a cool experience for sure. We also got to meet with Jimmy Avila who was baptized a couple weeks after I got here. He is still doing very well. He is visually impaired and because of it will soon be going to Arizona for a 4 week program to help teach him some house hold skills to help with mobility and chores. His testimony is on fire and Its so awesome to get to see it. He is very excited to be able to go to the temple soon and take part in baptisms for the dead.

Mike and Randi are doing awesome too! They just received a calling as institute teachers and have no idea what to do! Good thing the Lord helps out in that realm. We met with them yesterday to begin the new member lessons for Mike. They also fed us food, so ya know that was great 🙂 They are also super excited to go to the temple, we already are making plans for Elder LaRose and I to come back for their sealing. I love the excitement and joy that the Temple brings into people’s lives. I’m grateful that we have the Priesthood restored to the earth so that we can be with our families forever.

I hope everyone’s week has been awesome and that this next week will be even better.

With love,

Elder Stark