The only thing that wasnt slow was the wind

Emailing today because of MLK day on Monday – libraries closed, and Zone Conference yesterday.

So this week was pretty slow, except for the wind. The winds were so crazy that they made us park our cars on Monday. There were Semi Trucks on their side all up and down the Highway and we had an Elder that didnt hold on tight enough to his door and it got wrapped around his car like bacon wrapped filet mignon. I hear we had 100+ mph gusts.

Wednesday we had a meeting, Thursday was a temple trip for missionaries at their halfway mark. The open days were tuesday, friday, and saturday afternoon. WE were able to visit quite a few recent converts that we hadnt been able to see in awhile, but spent a majority of the time getting ready for this round of Zone Conferences that started yesterday. We had to decide what topic we wanted to teach on, research it, and prepare our lesson and activities for it.
Weve got two families we are teaching right now that are doing pretty well. Both Less Active families. One we just got started with on Sunday, they decided they want to rekindle their relationship with god. We always encourage that.
The other Family we have been teaching for a couple weeks now, and the Mom has been coming to church, but the Husband and son wouldnt. This sunday the whole fam came though! It was awesome to see them there!
I hope all is well there. I love you guys dearly!
Elder Stark

Vannapped

Raining in Antioch? That’s interesting, I’d forgotten it does that there… Here, we had some snow this week, but in Colorado Springs there’s an endless cycle: big snowstorm hits (Wednesday night through Thursday). Then its cold and groggy for a maybe 1 day (Thursday day). Then usually within 24 to 36 hours of the snowfall, its sunny and comfortable (Friday). Then all the snow is completely melted (Saturday). And today its throwing in a curve ball, where it’s a little groggy, but suuuper windy.

 

Notable things this week: transfers were successful! Everyone was safe, on time and no one got lost in the mountains, which is always nice. We have 3 new missionaries that came this week. They are awesome! We got to pick them up on Monday and get them all situated and ready to go on Tuesday. We only had 3 sisters departing and no Elders, so we took them to the temple on Wednesday, which was awesome, of course! There is undoubtedly something special about the temple (it’s called the feeling of the Holy Ghost). But you can feel it the second you even see the temple. I’m so grateful to get to go as often as we do. Thursday morning, we woke up to a few inches of snow. Two of the sister’s flights were delayed, and they suddenly had many hours added to their travels. That concluded the excitement of transfers, and allowed Elder Lloyd to finally unpack! Oh and I forgot to mention that last Monday I came down with a cough/cold and I’m just about over it today. So Thursday was, clean up, unpack, and recuperate.

 

So here’s the story of Friday. For transfers we switched to another van for a couple days, along with that we switched over our parking sticker, naturally. Didn’t remember that we should switch it back when we switched back vans, until we walked outside Friday morning and Elder Lloyd was clicking the unlock button and there was no van there to be unlocked! Elliot (our one-antlered van) was gone. He was lost out there in the cold all alone and we weren’t even there to help him. He was stolen in a totally legal and our fault kinda way (via towtruck). There was this moment of silence as we just walked away and started walking down the street. Eventually we called some other elders to come pick us up. They came and got us, we continued through district meeting and lunch with the Hammonds – our Senior Couple of missionaries in our district. Elder Hammond in all his wisdom recommended we pray that we don’t have to pay. Got the phone number and called to get the price for our van’s release. $209 she said. My eyes just saw Nana and Grandpas Christmas money grow a pair of wings and fly far away. So, we drudgingly went to the tow yard and walked in, like a 6-year-old going to the dentist. There were like 5 people behind the counter, which made it that much more intimidating. 1 of which immediately asked what ward we were from (the seed of hope then planted in my brain). Then the receptionist lady asked which car was ours. The dude that was evidently a member, looked over to the reception lady and said “release it for no charge” (the seed of hope immediately blossomed into an entire forest of hope and faith trees). I’ll tell ya what. God does hear and answer prayers and sometimes it’s exactly what we wanted! turns out the member that let us off owns the company! He just so happened to be in that location on that day at that moment. It was nothing short of a miracle! I also learned to never forget about a parking sticker. Lol

 

Saturday and Sunday were both good though, didn’t see a lot of measurable successes, but it felt good to be out trying to help some of those people we’d been working with. Saturday, we decided to bike. An odd choice, some might say, considering the roads are melted and fine, but there is still snow and ice on a lot of the sidewalks. But we say, biking is fun, so we did it. Ward Council and Church were both awesome on Sunday and I know there is going to be a lot of greatness as far as missionary work goes, in the ward this year. Which also in turn means that everything else in the ward will go better as well.

 

I am so grateful to be here, serving the Lord. It’s a great thing to be a part of and it’s the most rewarding thing I have ever done. I feel changes in myself (for the better) and I come to understand myself a little more each day (and you all know that’s a miracle). Look for the miracles in your life, they are there. As you notice them, more will come. Always try to strengthen your faith. The temple is an amazing place to do it. I love you guys, be safe and know I’m praying for you.

 

With love,

Elder Stark

 

Jan 2, 2017

 

New Year Transfer Cheer

Happy New Years! I hope everyone had a safe time partying hard with that Martinellis! A very kind Elder in our District bought each companionship a bottle of Martinellis Sparkling Apple Cider to celebrate New Years. Since this coming week is transfers, we were up last night working on the travel document for the missionaries. So we decided to take a break at midnight to check out the fireworks! We went up on the roof of our apartment building (dont worry mom, totally easy and safe) to get a good view of Pikes Peak, where they set of a big fireworks show. It was pretty epic.

Oh and on Monday last week we got a phone call that some sisters out in Calhan (about 40 minutes east out on the plains) had lost their keys. So we got to road trip it out to the plains to take them their spare key. Of course we made a party of it and ate toffee and spiced nuts all the way (thanks for those mom!) And to celebrate the trio that night we went to “crave burger” the craziest most amazing burger place ever. we had a burger with 2 grilled cheeses as the buns, and the burger was smothered in green chili. Its the coolest place.
The rest of the week was totally epic too! Being in a trio with Elder Lloyd and Elder LaRose has been sooo much fun, since we are all buds and we came out to the mission together. So this last Thursday we all hit our 17 month mark. Since it was so unique that 3 of us got to be together for it, we celebrated the right way: all day. We started with an all you can eat french toast breakfast at a place called Kneaders. I tell ya what. I have never seen french toast so thick in my life. We then had Lunch at Burger King where we each ate 30 chicken nuggets. Then to top it all off we went to chilis for dinner and had all you can eat soup and salad.
My favorite part of the week was probably a lesson we had with a sister we had been teaching before. Long story short – her husband (a member) has fallen into previous habits and its not good for him to be around her and her newly born baby. We have been able to reconnect with her and begin teaching her again. As we talked and caught up, she was sharing some spiritual experiences she’s been having through the whole thing, and she’s really grown a lot stronger from it all. It was a very powerful lesson and I am grateful for the Lord who will not give up on any of us, and will give us endless opportunities to grow and be strengthened.
Pretty busy today with transfer week this week, hope all is well there! Love you all!
Elder Stark

Dec 26, 2016

Hi there! It was awesome getting to see and talk to you guys yesterday! I hope your Christmas was merry and bright. Ours was really good! We had some awesome homemade chicago pizza for dinner! We played some fun games and took a nice walk through the town to see the beautiful stars. It was super awesome. I love it out in the mountains.

This week was awesome though. I mentioned the 3 exchanges in a row on the call. But we really saw some amazing miracles on those exchanges. Such as teaching a lot and finding a bunch of new investigators through the infamous tracting. Then some really cool lessons with members returning to church. I know the Lords hand is heavily involved in this work and im honored to get to be involved in it myself.
It is so crazy that the year of 2016 is coming to an end. Glad Ive gotten to spend this whole year in Colorado serving the Lord. I hope you all have some good ideas for new years resolutions!
Merry Christmas again!
Elder Stark

Dec 19, 2016

 

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Elliot

this is our van Elliot (in reference to the single antlered deer in the movie open season) found the antler in a parking lot!

Cold Weather, Small World

Well, MERRY CHRISTMAS!! Im excited to talk to you guys on Sunday! As for the plans on that, I think it’ll be easier to use Google Hangouts (Adam knows more on it than I do). I think itll be easier to do groups with, and I don’t have skype on my laptop. Itll be fun though! I hope the plans for Christmas Eve are holding properly to tradition; with a Secret Santa and clam chowder dinner (with sparkling cider and bread bowls) and maybe even a movie in theatres? There’s no better Christmas memories than the Secret Santa stories told on Christmas Eve night.

We have a baptism today for Michael, so we are at the church filling up the font right now. Its really exciting to see Michael get baptized because his wife just got baptized a couple months ago and they are excited to be sealed together for all time and eternity!

 

This last week has been good, but has flown by! I got to go on exchanges with Elder Lloyd, who came out with Elder LaRose and me. It was way fun and we had a great time. We tracted out a Condo Complex and were sharing the Christmas Initiative with people. Many people were very open to check out the video, and I’m excited to see who has done so and may be interested in learning more about the church.

 

We had the last Christmas Zone Conference this week and to really top it off and finish with a bang, we were able to find some reindeer antlers and a red nose, so I could be Rudolph for Santa Claus. No one knew it was coming and it was super funny. I’ll have to send some pictures of santa riding on my back when I get them from the missionary’s camera that took them.

 

That night we facilitated a transfer for 6 missionaries we had going home. The transfer doesn’t end until January 3rd but these Elders/Sisters ended a couple of weeks early so they could spend Christmas with their families. We had dinner with them all on Thursday night and took them to the airport on Friday morning.

 

Saturday was exchanges with an area in Northern Springs. It was NUTS! We visited two families that were related to families in Sand Creek. That was cool, but not the coolest. Saturday was crazy cold. Like -5 degrees in the middle of the day and super snowy. Elder Blatter was who I was with. He is from Clayton and played volleyball there, so I actually played against him! Lol that was fun to be on exchanges with him, but we were driving down the road and he saw a member shoveling his driveway, he said he never really got to see this member because he is super busy, but he had discovered that this member grew up with his dad back in clayton. We helped him shovel his driveway and talked for a few minutes, it only took about 2 minutes of talking about Antioch to realized that this brother Blake(?) Evans is Brooke Evans’ older brother! And that he came to watch Jacob (an inadvertently me) play in Nor Cal Championships our senior year! It was such a small world moment!

 

Sunday Night our District went caroling and had some super cool moments there too! The 2nd door we knocked on let us sing then immediately invited us in for apple cider to warm us up. They were a super nice couple and we got talking with them about religion and such and taught them the basics of the Restoration as well as about the Book of Mormon. They seemed genuinely interested and said theyd check out the book! It was so cool to see the Spirit work in these peoples’ lives. It was a great experience meeting them and we look forward to going back. I hope your finally week of PreChristmas cheer is awesome! Love you all. Don’t forget the real meaning of Christmas!

 

Elder Stark

 

Dec 12, 2016

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Another busy week of meetings, but we had some  great stuff happen still. We had two Christmas Zone Conferences, for which Elder LaRose dresses up as Santa Claus. This week I actually had an elf hat so I was his helper for handing out the gift our Mission President has. Its been pretty funny seeing him be Santa Claus all the time.

We had interviews with our Mission President on Thursday, and while i was in my interview, we were looking over our area book and he mentioned that we didnt have anyone we were currently teaching that had a baptismal date, and that that was odd for our area. So we went straight from there to an appointment with Anthony, and set a baptismal date! lol Then on saturday we set another one with a guy named Michael. The sisters in our ward had been teaching them but they decided to pass him off to us. He read a scripture in the Book of Mormon that he felt was the Lord telling him to get baptized or else. So he said he wants to get baptized on december 19th at noon. A monday. At noon. We’ll take it… lol Excited for him. Hes an awesome guy.
I hope the Christmas Season continues to brighten for each of you. Love you all, and encourage you to #LIGHTtheWORLD if you havent seen the Christmas video on Mormon.org, do it. lol Stay safe and share Christ’s Love.
Elder Stark