Feb 22, 2017

The Burg Boys

So my companion and I have deemed ourselves “The Burg Boys”. Theres a high possibility of cool shirts to come lol. The week has been good though! The Branch is super small! On Sunday we had 19 people in attendance. 2 were us, of course, 2 are members of a Ward in the Stake that are assigned to the branch to fill leadership callings. and 4 were there assigned by the stake to provide the sacrament talks. Its a different atmosphere to say the least.

 

The people here have a signature wave, The Walsenburg Wave, to be exact. It is adaptable and able to be used either when driving a car or not. The Car version consists of your left hand casually placed on top of the steering wheel and when you see another person, you simply lift your index and middle finger to make somewhat of a relaxed peace sign. If you are not in the car, but missionaries are coming up to the porch you are sitting at, you simple lift the hand about chest height with the palm facing outward and swipe your hand in a direction away from you. The said missionaries then know that you are too busy to receive Salvation at the moment, but intend to come back after theyve tried everyone else again. Its really quite consoling. But in reality the people truly are super nice. Most of them have spoken with Missionaries before, and are just fine where they are in life, but nonetheless the Lord prepares people.

 

We were able to find 4 New Investigators last week that we are working on seeing again this week. Hopeful that they will have desire to progress and grow closer to Christ. There are a few people the Missionaries were already working with when i got here. We’ll see if any of them start to show desire to progress, because that has been tough to get them to keep commitments.

 

We cover to smaller towns as well as the Burg, and a whole lot of Boonies. La Veta is about 15 miles West, and Aguilar is about 18 miles South. Aguilar, we found out, does not even have a gas station. Let alone a street light. lol We were driving out into the boonies past Aguilar, so that Elder Sanford could show me where a certain member that only lives here in summer lives, and about 15 miles past town we realized we had less than a quarter tank of gas and we still had a ways to go! We made the wise decision to turn around immediately, and found out when we got back to town that they don’t even have a gas station, so back to the Burg we headed! We were fortunate that the gas light didnt come on until we exited the freeway and we made it just fine, but we definitely learned the lesson on that one.

 

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go on Exchanges with the other Elders in my District, THey cover a branch centered in Raton, New Mexico. But they live in a town about 25 miles north of it called Trinidad. I was with Elder Kunz. We had a pretty good day and I got to see Raton! First time in New Mexico! lol The 2 coolest things about it was the pretty drive, followed closely by the fact that they have a Chevron Gas Station. Colorado doesn’t have Chevrons, atleast that I’ve seen, so it was super trippy to see one again.

 

Over all things are going well, adjusting to the different culture. Theres some beautiful mountains not far from us called the “Spanish Peaks”. I want to hike them. Relying on the Lord and hoping to see His miracles. Hope your guys’ week goes well!

 

Love,

Elder Stark

 

ps for Packages, send them to

230 E 7th St

Walsenburg, CO 81089

 

letters can go to the other address from last week.

February 13, 2017

99.4% decrease

Well, transfers this week, and I am going to Walsenburg! Walsenburg is a town of about 3000 people. Thats a 99.4% decrease in population from Colorado Springs, where I have pretty much been for my whole mission. Super crazy, but its gonna be so much fun. I am finally getting the small town experience I’ve dreamed of my whole life! I guess we’ll see how it really is. There is a small Branch based out of Walsenburg. There is so much potential though for it to grow. I am seriously so excited. I’ll be turning it over to the Lord to see what He has in store for the people.

This last week was sad to say goodbye to those I’ve met and become such good friends with over the last 6 months. Though its hard to say goodbye, I know these friendships aren’t ending here. Last Monday we went down to Bishop’s Castle in Rye, Colorado. We picked up Elder LaRose and his companion to go down there. It was fun to see him again. Bishop’s Castle is this hand built Castle that this dude, Mr. Bishop, has been working on for yeeeears. I went there while I was in my first area. But it was cool to see it again. Fun to explore around and be with the buds, for sure.
Throughout the week we had meetings in preparation for transfers. Always fun to be working with the Office Missionaries, as well as our Mission President and his Wife. Its gonna be weird not doing that anymore. We had our last Zone Conference of this go around. Went well with our trio. Elder Pexton jumped right in and did a great job joining in on the teaching. Thursday we had the opportunity to go to the temple for a group at their halfway mark. Totally awesome of course. This weekend was filled with the transfer preparation documents.
But very notable, and exciting, was this Sunday. Michael Sheehan had met with Bishop in preparation of receiving the Aaronic Priesthood, and he was able to be ordained on Sunday. He actually asked me to perform the ordination, which was super cool! My first experience doing that. Excited to see him continue to grow.
In reading Doctrine and Covenants Section 10 this week, I had an interesting thought. The Lord is talking to Joseph Smith about satan’s cunning plan to destroy the work. I often feel like I need to be clever enough to handle satan’s cunning. but vs 43 spoke to me as it says that Gods wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil. It just  made so much more sense that we dont need to combat hand to hand with the devil. Trust the Lord, keep His commandments, and you do not need to stoop to his level. The Lord’s ways are higher than our ways.
Love you guys!
Elder Stark
ps new address:
533 West 7th Street Apt. 2
Walsenburg CO 81089

February 6, 2017

Healthy and Meetings

Crazy times a comin. We now have a 3rd Elder with us for a transition period, so I will be getting transferred on Feb 14th. Don’t know where I will go yet, but we shall see! This week was pretty packed. Zone Conference on Tuesday, MLC on Wednesday going immediately to exchanges til thursday. Zone Training on Friday and a meeting with our Mission President, then Friday night to Saturday night was Exchanges again. However, I am fully Healthy! Which is sooo nice.

One of the coolest experiences this week was with Elder Boatman (from sacramento area – good friends with Jacob Evans at BYUi). We were in his area and were tracting an apartment complex.  We only had about an hour to tract, and about 4 doors before we finished the apartment building we were tracting, a man opened. At first he was asking if we were selling anything, but then invited us in out of the cold. He asked all of the right questions. He’s looking for a church that lets kids decide if they get baptized or not, that has no paid clergy, doesnt take political stances, and basically asked us every question a missionary would want to hear! When i invited him to be baptized when he found out these things were true, he immediately said, “you read my mind, god is definitely talking to you” It was a super cool experience and we were able to get a return appointment! The Lord is preparing people. No doubt about it.
 
This week I decided I am going to read the Doctrine and Covenants all the way through. Ive only read the first 3 sections since friday when I decided to do it, but its already been great. There is so much good stuff in the Doctrine and Covenants. I know Joseph Smith was truly inspired from God. Im beyond grateful for the Restored Gospel.
 
Hope everyone has a great week! Love you guys.
 
Elder Stark

January 30, 2017

Confirmations – better late than never

Well we’ve had a pretty exciting week! Michael Sheehan – who got baptized on December 19th, just got confirmed yesterday! That was super cool, especially with such a long time coming. I had the opportunity to perform the confirmation, which was indeed an honor.

As for the rest of the week, we were traveling from monday morning to thursday evening. Then Friday Elder Lloyd wasnt feeling too hot, and Saturday he woke up dead. lol He seemed to have snagged what i was getting over. All the while i seemed to have snagged Strep Throat. So that was lame. lol
However, our travels were enjoyable! We had 2 Zone Conferences, Tuesday and Thursday. Wednesday was a Worldwide Missionary Broadcast. That was super cool because they had some awesome training for the first 1.5 hours or so, followed by a couple announcements. The biggest announcement being that our missionary schedule has been modified! It is now much less rigid and leaves a lot more fluidity for our agency. I like it a lot. Also Pday is now 2 hours longer, so thats sweet. Beyond that they changed the “key indicators” reports. Basically we dont report nearly as many numbers at the end of the week.
We were able to meet with one family Sunday night, and they are progressing really well. They have come to church 2 weeks in a row now and are talking about wanting to be sealed! Its so exciting to see people take the steps they need to here on earth, so that they have the chance to return to our Father in Heaven. There is only one path to get there and the Lord has so graciously spelled it out for us.
Love you guys so much and pray for you always! I appreciate your constant prayers as well!
Elder Stark

January 23, 2017

DIA and Ice Fishing

Not much time today. We went ice fishing for Pday today! We are down in Alamosa for a Zone Conference tomorrow. Freezing cold because I forgot my boots, but thats okay, still totally enjoyable. We caught a total of 2 fish.

This last week consisted of me coughing a lot, with no other symptoms and not coughing anything up. Just straight coughing, pointlessly. Elder Lloyd than got a bit sick, so that slowed us down quite a bit. We had to cancel exchanges and some appointments because we didnt want to get young kids sick.
Saturday, we had an elder that was returning home for some health problems, and he had to fly out of Denver International Airport, rather than the usual Colorado Springs Airport. So we got to road trip up to Denver! it was pretty sweet, the Denver Airport is massive compared to Springs. It was cool to see it though. (btw thats the parking charge on my card, dad. it wouldnt accept our mission cards for some reason)
Church was great! The entire Puzzo family (one of the less active families we are working with) came! it was great to see them come! We had a great lesson that afternoon with on of our investigators thats part of a part member family. The Lord is working in His Vineyard!
Love you guys,
Elder Stark