May 22, 2017

This week we got some addresses of people in the community that need help maintaining their yard and keeping it up to code, so that we could help them to do so. The only problem was that we need a lawn mower to do so. The Code Enforcement officer said that the missionaries had a lawn mower last summer but he doesn’t know where they got it. A couple days later we had dinner with the Jones, a less active couple in the branch, and we were talking about it and they said the missionaries left it at their place last summer! lol so we went over to do some service there and took a look at the mower. It’d been stored upside down lol so it isn’t running yet, i checked  most of it out and  from what i can tell its just not getting a spark. We’re gonna pick up a new spark plug today and hope that we can get it going!

Got me trying to remember back to 9th grade auto tech class, taking apart, cleaning, and putting back together a lawn mower engine. haha also back to me and dad trying to always figure out what went wrong with the old mower. These are things I didn’t expect to need to remember on my mission, but the Lord prepares us for his plan.
Sunday was different. We had a lot of people out of town, and we don’t even have a lot of people to start with! lol we had a total of 9 people at church. 2 of which were our high councilman and his wife who were there to speak. The 2nd Counselor in the Branch Presidency was the only one there, so he presided and conducted, and made an interesting comment after the passing of the sacrament. Something to the effect of, “though we may be small in numbers the spirit is still here as we pass the sacrament and take part in that ordinance”. And so true it was. It was a special sacrament meeting, few in members, full in conversion.
We also had our Sacrament Meeting at the Veterans assisted living home. The Storeys are amongst those who were out of town so we ran it. It went really well. A lady there, not a member came and really enjoyed herself. Super nice little lady. Confined to a wheelchair with parkinsons, but so sweet. She knew Mormons and has seen the “really nice church building” in Albuquerque haha – we call it the temple. It was neat that she wanted to join us and we hope she’ll continue to come.
Days roll by and it blows my mind how fast the day comes that I’ll get to see you guys. Hope your week goes well! love you guys
Elder Stark
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May 15, 2017

Long time no chat

Hey! It was super awesome getting to skype you guys yesterday! I hope everyone had a good Mother’s Day! First off, i did forget to mention something in the call. Theres a sister in the branch, her husband is the first counselor in the branch presidency. She made me swear to tell you guys on the call “thank you for letting your son come serve here” so i figure shed somehow know and probably slap me on the wrist if i didn’t tell you. I also totally forgot to introduce you to my companion. But he was looking forward to saying hi and meeting you guys. So he says hi too. lol

As for anything that happened this week that i didn’t talk much about yesterday, I gave a talk in sacrament! lol last sunday our branch president asked us to speak in sacrament because they didn’t have anyone lined up yet. So naturally, we are the go to. lol It went well though! people were very complimentary to both Elder Hawks and me.
We spent a few hours with Elder Storey trying to figure out a big mess of tents. lol there were poles and tents all over the place in the scout shed, with no order or reason to any of it. We were spending forever opening them all up and trying to match everything together. Took a long time but we finally figured em out and got rid of some of the trashed stuff and organized the miscellaneous stuff! lol
It really was a tender mercy (in multiple ways) that they campout out happened how it did. It started when we had 4 more boys show up for scouts on tuesday that all wanted to join the troop. That weekend right before I had been praying really hard that we would be able to get some more boys out and boom just like that 4 more showed up. Granted one of them was too young, but still! now we have 6 boys total and things can really get going! But beyond that, it rained a ton all week, so both the original plan for campsite and the backup were way too muddy to to get too. But there is state park just outside of town and we were able to camp there. To top it off i got to sleep in my hammock for the first time. It was good. I liked it. lol
Oh yeah! this last tuesday we had our monthly service project in which we carry food give outs to people’s  cars. That morning i could tell it was s bit overcast but didn’t think much of it, so i just wore a sweater – ya know that sweater weather life – but as i should’ve known it started pouring just as we got there. lol So we pretty much got drenched head to toe as we carried this food around. But the spirit kept our souls warm so we were good. It was pretty fun actually.
Ill put some pictures in the album. But Heavenly Father does hear and answer every child’s prayer. I love you guys!
Elder Stark

May 8, 2017

hiking with an ax, tires that go flat

This week was way cool! Wednesday, Elder Storey took us up to the trail in Cuchara that we were planning to hike Saturday with the scout troop, we went to kinda scout it out and clear some of the trees because we knew the boys wouldn’t be able to do it all. So we carried a couple saws in and i packed in our ax. haha it was pretty legit. Cut up some pretty big trees and had a real good time!

Saturday was the day for the hike, we had two of the scouts with us and we packed the gear in again. the boys had a blast hiking and one of them said, “this hike is fun! and we’re even helping the people that will come later by clearing the trail!” it was cool. We had to cut it a little short and didn’t finish the whole trail because Elder Hawks and I had to get to Pueblo by 1 so we could catch a ride to go to the temple with Michael and Marly!
Michael and Marly are from 5th ward, my most recent area to here. They were going to the temple to do baptisms for their first time. So they picked us up in Pueblo and took us to springs where Elder LaRose was and picked him up while our companions went on exchanges. When we got to springs we found out their tire had a leak! lol and they were already running late. haha we picked up the 2 sisters that had taught them too, and just kept driving on the leaky tire. it started getting pretty bad though so we had to go to les schwab to get it patched and it was just crazy. Marly was stressing big time cause the baptistry at the temple closes at 5. we were supposed to get there at 3 and at this point it was 430 and we were at les schwab 20 minutes away still waiting on the tire. The workers were so kind as to stay late so that we could do a few baptisms and it truly was a great experience in the temple. I am so grateful to the temple workers willing to stay an extra hour for us. Satan does not want us in the temple. The Lord does, and He always prevails.
We had a check up on Elder Hawk’s finger so far so good. find out for sure on if it needs any extra work this Thursday.
This week is transfer week! and elder Hawks and i are both staying! super exciting. We have a grand ole party together. Ill probably stay here till i come home now. crazy to think about how soon that is!
For mothers day next week, I think ill be able to get on Skype at like 630 or 7 here, so 530 or 6 california time. will that work okay?
Hope you guys are all doing well. Love you dearly pics will be in the album soon.
Elder Stark

April 10, 2017

Hey guys! This week was pretty good! Scouts went well! We had another kid show up that seems interested in joining the troop. we now have 3! boo ya. They had a lot of fun on tuesday though, we learned some knots and played some games! good time.

We got to meet with Ezra, who we met at the store in town, and we set a baptismal date with him! it was super exciting. He has been feeling the spirit as hes prayed about the Book of Mormon and wants to act on it! He is currently working with his boss to try and find a way he can atleast make it to the first bit of church.
Elder Hawks and I are havin fun all the time. Its a blast for sure! We got a call from a lady that used to be investigating the church, and she needed some help with a huge branch that fell off a tree in her backyard. it was hanging over the neighbors fence. we got a ton of snow this week too, so we had to delay going over to help til it melted a bit. But we were able to get the branch cut back quite a few feet. It was probably 1.5 to 2 feet in diameter at the trunk where it attached and that had split and fallen onto some smaller trees about 20 feet away from the trunk that were holding its weight. We were only able to cut back to those smaller trees before we had to go, but apparently another friend came and finished the job for her later.
We had interviews with our Mission President that day. Those were great, always so uplifting and encouraging.
Friday we had Zone training, and friday to saturday we were on exchanges with the Zone Leaders. I was with Elder Morgan, and he and I had a lot of fun. We were in his area and we found s couple new investigators and had some cool lessons. Hes a super funny guy and is gonna be going to byu and wants to be a dentist. He started his mission about a year after me so he’ll get there fall 2018.
Today we drove up to Springs to get our truck! boo ya. And we got permission to hang out with missionaries here for the day. So im back to my mission roots in the Springs! lol Were gonna go on a little hike with Elder LaRose and his district. should be fun.
Hope you guys have a great week! Love you!
Elder Stark

April 24, 2017

So this week was pretty eventful. Tuesday we had scouts and broke a window! Wednesday we did service at a local museum and ended up rescuing 5 kittens. Saturday we had a service project with the Branch for Earth Day, then we helped the Storeys with cutting some dead branches off their tree, followed by the art show at the said museum. Then Sunday we sang I Feel My Savior’s Love in sacrament meeting!

For the window, we were playing a game called palm boxing. Basically you stand facing each other and you can only hit palm to palm. The goal is to get the other person to lose balance and take a step. Well he took a step and then another and another and tried to use another scout to get balance, but that scout fell into the wall and his elbow went right through the window! Amazingly enough, he didn’t get a scratch!
Then we were helping this local nonprofit museum to put their planter boxes out now that the weathers getting nicer, and they asked us to move their mini fridge out back in the alley so the ice build up could melt off. In the process the lady at the museum found 5 little kittens someone abandoned in the alley. She was freaking out so we gathered them up and took em inside. She called someone and miraculously found someone that wanted them all, so we walked down the street each holding a kitten and delivered them to the gentlman that wanted them. They were pretty dang adorable. The museum was getting ready for their special show on saturday for Earth Day, so we went to that a bit. Its mostly local artists. Some pretty cool stuff. Some really random stuff. lol Also on Saturday was our Branch’s Earth Day service project. We cleaned up the church building property – which included picking up glass from the window incident.
Sunday was awesome, it was Branch Conference, so there were a bunch of Stake Leaders there. More than doubled our attendance! lol But Elder Hawks and I Sang I Feel My Saviors Love in sacrament for the musical number. Good time.
But over all the entire day of church was just awesome. I felt the spirit so much throughout. It was peaceful and loving. I know our Father in Heaven loves each of His children and wants us all to try to help them come closer to him. They specifically talked about doing so with temple work and missionary work. After church we took the sacrament to a Veterans home for a couple senior vets that live there. That was a great experience to meet them. One guy is named Paul Sterk. He’s hilarious and kept saying they spelt my name wrong, its supposed to be an e. hahaha he’s a funny guy!
Hope you guys have an awesome week! Love you
Elder Stark

May 1, 2017

Ill start with Sunday this time. So, we got to church and the branch president rushed over to us telling us the organist wasn’t gonna be there and asked me to fill in for her! i was a little nervous, but trusted that things would go okay. Didn’t think the Lord would let the music be bad in a sacrament meeting! Sure enough it went great! Didn’t get a single note wrong. It really was a tender mercy. The rest of Sunday was good too. We have started taking the sacrament out to a veterans home just out of town. Really is a neat experience.

As for the rest of the week prior, to sum it up: Elder Hawks broke his finger on p-day playing dodgeball, but didn’t find out for 2 days, one of those two days consisted of helping unload a semi truck of food for a food bank (10 to 20 lb boxes of misc food, 50 lb bags of carrots, 50 lb bags of potatoes, 50 lb bags of onions and huge bags of cabbage). We had zone conf the next day, where the mission doc got him set up for an X-ray, then another trip to pueblo the next day to have the specialist check out his finger. Shouldn’t need surgery or anything, hes just got a splint and it should heal on its own. Well find that out for sure this thursday at the followup apt.

As for the people we’re teaching, We haven’t been able to meet with or get in touch with Ezra, don’t really know whats going on. Shawn is doing pretty good, we had a really good lesson with him this week and he said he’d pray about the book of mormon. We’re praying that he will recognize the Holy Ghost testifying of its truthfulness.
On Saturday it snowed alll day! lol ew got like a foot of snow! Our Branch president up in Rye got about 30 to 35 inches! It was crazy, then on Sunday as the snow melted – which it almost always does the next day here – it started leaking through our roof! lol we put bucket underneath and told our landlord, so he went up and shoveled the roof. he said he plans to redo the whole roof this summer once its stopped snowing for the year. Hopefully soon!
I hope you guys have an awesome week, i love you and miss you all!
Elder Stark
Oh and i forgot to mention that the organ plays itself! i just had to pick the song and hit the start button… lol 🙂