July 3, 2017

Fewer firsts, lots of lasts

 

Hey guys! love you so much! so crazy that its all coming to an end. Said some goodbyes this week. weirds me out. its a different kind of good bye than the kind when you’re getting transferred. But i have loved my mission so much and I’m so grateful for all the experiences i have had and the great things i have learned. its been a ball of fun.

 

Today we hikes the west spanish peak, been on my list of goals to do since i got here. we’re about to go to pueblo so i can say bye to my buds. Ill have to tell you more stories in person at the end of this week!!!! so weird. but good. Great things to come.

 

The most important thing is what I have learned these last two years. First and Foremost, Jesus Christ lives. He is our savior, His love is perfect. Im so grateful for my relationship with him and the great things Ive experienced. He truly changes lives. As we come unto Him and learn of Him, our lives are changed. Things can still be hard in this life, but th blessing in the life to come is so much greater than any sacrifice in this life. Im excited to face the adventures to come with the Lord on my side. I thank you al for you love and support and look forward to seeing you!

 

I might be able to throw some pictures in the album later this week, if not ill show you in person!

 

The last signature:

 

Love you dearly!

Elder Stark

 

Advertisements

June 26, 2017

llamas and cows and mules oh my!

Hey fambam! This week we didn’t have much turn out with our attempts to teach people about the truth of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ… atleast not in the “normal” way. lol People weren’t home or weren’t interested, and all that such jazz. But! we did go camping with the scouts Thursday through Saturday, I wish I had pictures to send, but we were a little busy herding the cats, oops i meant scouts. lol but it was a fun campout. We went to the ranch of Brother Dennis Maroney, who is our first counselor in the Branch Presidency. He’s got a little spot with a fire pit and such to camp at. Super pretty area. Friday, though, it rained allllll day. And despite our best efforts to help the boys to be prepared, they were far from it. Good thing we had trash bags they could use as ponchos. lol classic learning experience.

So instead of hiking on friday as we had planned, Brother Maroney graciously invited us to use their poolhouse to stay out of the rain. The boys swam a little and did the swim test, then we played pool and ping pong all day pretty much – not your typical roughing it, but thats okay. haha they’ll get there thought. The member that owned the place has a bunch of llamas, a mule, and rents out to a guy to let his cows roam. So friday morning, i was the first one up, so i was just hanging out by the fire pit and watching all these cows and llamas like 20 feet away from me. they would just stare right at me, and id stare back. lol i was petting one of the dogs that he has too, and it was pretty funny cause there were a couple calves and they got about 8 feet from me, so i stood up to see what they would do, and the dog seemed to see that as a sign – he took off and ran the entire herd about 50 yards back. haha super cool dog.

but the best part of the trip, was that each of the three boys volunteered and wanted to say the prayers for the meals, atleast once each. We’ve said an opening and closing prayer at every weeks scout meeting, and its always been one of us leaders, but on the campout they started asking if they could try! it was awesome. They also starting asking me and elder hawks different questions from time to time about god and religion and stuff. Its an awesome experience even considering the fact that elder storey and i didn’t sleep at all friday night because a couple of the boys had gotten their sleeping bags wet and were cold and miserable, so we gave em ours and just kept the fire going all night and hung out. lol good time. made for a couple of exhausted “us” the next day though. lol

Wednesday night, we went over to the Taggart family’s for dinner on Wednesday night. They have a son in Washington on his mission right now. Super nice family. We also helped brother Taggart, after we ate, with some landscaping work for this place in la beta that is being converted into a senior care center. The lead of the project was there to show us what the big picture was that we were helping out with. Pretty cool stuff.

I think thats about all I’ve got for ya this week! hope you guys have an awesome week! love you much! see you soon!

Elder Stark

June 19, 2017

“Nurturing the Eternal Companionship of Marriage”

 

This week we went with the Storeys to a family in the branch. Super nice family. The Father was the Branch President here for a long time. We visited with them for awhile and he mentioned he’d be out of town this weekend and needed someone to teach the priesthood lesson. I volunteered and he thanked me. He later texted us and told me that it was on lesson 10 from the Gordon B Hinckley book: “Nurturing the Eternal Companionship of Marriage”. He followed that with an option to skip it and do the next lesson considering my lack of experience. However, the wise words of my Mission President echoed in my head that “the person preparing the lesson or talk gets the most out of it”. and i figured why not learn about the topic! lol on the plus side of things id have a very experienced audience on the topic that could bring up lots of discussion. lol it went really well.

 

This week was good, though! A big problem here is that most of the members that live in town are single old ladies. lol so we can’t really go in and visit with them. lol but this week we started making a more concerted effort to visit these sisters even if its just doorstep. One was interesting, in that its a sister thats well regarded as “active”, her husbands in a nursing home in trinidad, and isn’t doing great. We felt impressed to talk about prayer and go into missionary work. And well i simply asked “how has prayer effected your life?” and she bust out in tears. Things have been super tough for her and she’s turned away from prayer apparently. We were able to testify and invite her to read alma 7:11-13 to help her remember that the savior knows how she feels. Well we saw her a couple days later and she was an entirely different person. chipper as could be and super appreciative of us coming by!

 

We were able to meet with the sister that we found last week, Clara Rose. It went well and we brought a member from the branch with us. We also found someone new this week. She’s the mother of the young man, Ezra, that we were teaching for a bit! She has a lot of good questions and seems really interested!

 

Oh and I was reading the the book of mormon (its the bomb). Im at the war chapters in Alma. and in Alma 46 i saw something interesting. Alma 46:40 says ” And there were some who died with fevers, which at some seasons of the year were very frequent in the land—but not so much so with fevers, because of the excellent qualities of the many plants and roots which God had prepared to remove the cause of diseases, to which men were subject by the nature of the climate “. this totally made me think of young living essential oils. lol

 

oh and we got to go to springs on wednesday to switch out our truck because the silly engine light came on. which meant i got to see a recent convert, some mission buds, and drop off my newest random item obtained, a tow hitch clay pigeon launcher. lol fun to be had fam. fun to be had.

 

Love you guys, hope your week is amazing!

 

Elder Stark

June 12, 2017

Hiking and Hammocking

Hey guys! Today was pretty cool. We hiked out near westcliffe, up to a lake called lake of the clouds. It was a really cool hike and a beautiful lake. A couple of the elders with us were having a pretty hard time though, so it took a lot longer than we expected. Still totally worth it! But thats why we’re emailing so late today.

 

This week started pretty lame. i was still sick, and it turned out i came down with strep throat! Elder Hawks and I had a short discussion trying to remember if having your tonsils still in was related to getting strep throat. No solid conclusion except that everyone we talked to that i told i got strep said “do you have your tonsils out?” so i believe there is a connection. Maybe i should get those removed. Second encounter with strep this year… lol

 

The Mission Doctor hooked me up with some antibiotics so now I’m totally good! The rest of the week was pretty good ,and we were able to visit a fair amount of people.

 

This weekend was Stake Conference. That was super great. Saturday especially were really good meetings. They had announced it in our branch as a general priesthood session but upon arrival we found out ti was a priesthood leadership meeting. haha it was the lords doing i think though, because i got a lot out of it and it was super neat!

 

We also found a sister last night that is interested in meeting with us! we are hopeful to see how that goes, but it was pretty cool because we came around the corner to go try to visit her (missionaries taught her previously) and she was getting out of her car with her groceries and trying to fit them all on her walker. We were able to help her carry them to her apartment. We talked for a few minutes, and set up a time to come back this thursday! Super exciting.

 

Oh and we took the Scouts hiking on thursday. Pretty gun hike. Couple of them still getting used to hiking. haha

 

Hope you all have an amazing week! Love you!

 

Elder Stark

June 5, 2017

This week we had a Zone Conference on Thursday. Zone Conferences are great. I got to see a bunch of other missionaries, it was a big one this time so we had an extra zone there with us. It was good stuff. We learned about building our Foundation on Jesus Christ, not anything else. It was in reference to Helaman 5:12 – good scripture, check it out if you haven’t in awhile. We talked about the spiritual whirlwinds that will hit us or the people we teach. It was all really powerful. Topped off at the end with a testimony meeting that was absolutely great.

I guess it was too much good in the day that i couldn’t handle it because friday i woke up a bit sick. Sunday was the worst of it but a little still lingers today. Always a bummer getting sick on the mission. Even worse to be companions with someone sick though. Sorry Elder Hawks. lol
As for the rest of the week, we met with a lady – Sheri – that we found tracting back in february. We hadn’t been able to meet with her really because she was never home, but she has expressed more interest in meeting with us and learning about the church! Thats exciting. Hopefully we’ll be able to help her amidst the craziness of her life and schedule! lol
The weekend was pretty boring because i was sick, but still a good week! The Book of Mormon is so true, and it so purely testifies of the Savior. Im so grateful the Lord has blessed us with it and tis teachings. I encourage everyone to take up daily study of the Book of Mormon. It will bless your life in ways you cannot imagine!
I don’t really have any pictures this week, sorry! ill take more this coming week. lol
Elder Stark

 

May 30, 2017

Lawn mower fail, Surprise hail, Carcass of bear, Dorcas cares

DSCF6915.JPG

Hello everybody! We are emailing today because of yesterday being memorial day! hope you all bbq’d hot dogs and burgers. Or smoked meat of some sort maybe. lol so lets get into it:

 

Last tuesday, we were working on the lawn mower again, and boy oh boy it was not the best day. lol We were cleaning stuff up, got a new spark plug in and it was sparkin nice, I thought it was gonna be dandy!  Figured out the carburetor wasn’t working right and it wasn’t feeding gas in, long story short  we could keep it running by pouring gas directly into the carb but then it randomly screamed at us – similar to a screaming goat with a little extra metal screeching added in – and the engine seized. its done for. lol and I’m not gonna lie i was super mad. i knew what i should’ve done, in the moment i thought of it but didn’t step up and say it. live and learn i guess!

 

Saturday we had exchanges with our zone leaders. I had elder wight with me in the burg and we had a good time! We even went guitar tracting! he plays guitar too so we took mine and went around trying to sing A Child’s Prayer for people then teach em about the Book of Mormon and ask em to pray. Only one lady actually let us sing but she wasn’t interested. She did cry though.

 

Later in the day it started hailing like crazy out of now where. large marble sized hail. We were driving on a road that was completely white from hail lol it was nuts. So we chilled at the apartment with the window open and watched the rain, hail and lightning! lol just chilled there playing guitar and jammin. Then out of no where a sheriff walked straight into our apartment. No knock, nothing. just walked in. The door was around the corner from us so we couldn’t see at first but we heard the door. Elder Wight was immediately on the chair with a guitar in his hands like a bat and i went around to see who it was. he’d been given the wrong address i guess for someone calling in about a harassment, so he thought a deputy was already in there with us so he just walked on in. lol nice guy. brothers a less active member. life carried on and elder wight didn’t hit him with a guitar.

 

We went up to some property on the Spanish Peaks yesterday. Its owned by a lady in our branch thats more experienced in life, we’ll say. So she needed some help moving fallen trees off the road, and we will potentially take the scouts camping up there. Super pretty area. Sad because a fire went through a couple years ago and things won’t be back to the same for a loooong time. Anyway the Storeys drove us up there and we helped move and cut some stuff, then did a picnic. One of the roads we helped clear went up to this super cool area that over looks everything down from the mountain, and theres some huge boulders. The sister really wanted to find a beehive that she had seen and was hoping would have some honey i guess. instead we ended up finding a bear carcass! super cool. took claws from it. boo ya. after the property, we went to Bishops castle – I’ve sent pics from there before, nothin new really. But i saw a trailhead on the way in, so we went and hike a few miles after that.

 

The scriptures and the Lord have been great to me this week! Ive received new understandings and parallels of things in the scriptures and how the apply to me and to our day and age. The words of the scriptures may be old, but their meaning to us can always be so new! haven’t been to read as many pages because I’ve been spending so much time writing stuff in my study journal. It reminded me of an efy counselor i had that said to always hold a pen or pencil while reading the scriptures and have somewhere to write stuff down, because a pen is like an antenna to the spirit, its how we show the lord we’ll write down what he teaches us not just forget about it.

 

Love you guys! read the scriptures! lol

 

Elder Stark

 

amendment – “dorcas cares”

totally forgot to talk about dorcas. Its the place we do service once a month, helping unload a truck of food, so we did that tuesday before the lawn mower screamed at us. lol it was cool. they had huuuuge watermelons. like insane. lol probably 15 pounds each. and they gave us one. it was super delicious. ill put a picture with my wedge of it i ate with lunch in the google photos!

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

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