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
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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 ūüôā

April 17, 2017

Hey guys! This morning we went fishing with “Wild Will”. We meet with him about once a week, DSCF6773DSCF6769DSCF6761when we first met us he said “i attended a mormon church for 16 weeks once up in black forest with my neighbor that was a mormon!” is his raspy 60 year old smoker voice. “they kept trying to baptize me!” i quickly assured him that thats exactly what we wanted to do too. I don’t think he expected me to say that, cause he was a bit shocked. haha but i then clarified that we only want people to get baptized once they believe its true. He’s a nice guy, suffered a massive heart attack couple years ago. He smokes all the time. cigarettes and weed. lol he always apologizes to us about his language and smoking, but continues. I always remember what mom used to say when we were kids: “sorry means you won’t do it again!” lol But he lets us share bits and pieces of doctrines, but he loves telling stories and gets on tangents easily. I think he subconsciously recognizes the peace and joy we have, so he likes having us around, he just doesn’t realize he can have it too. We are working with him. But fishing today, i caught one! probably 12 or so inch rainbow. got him gutted and ready for supper tonight!

This last week has been good though! We did service on Tuesday helping people take the food to their cars again. This month, though i had a moment after putting someones food in their car and saying goodbye i just looked at the scene for a minute. I wouldn’t say it was sad, but i was glad these people were receiving help. I could see a line of people waiting to sign in to get their food, all of them pretty scraggly around the edges and most of them looking like they were not fully healthy. It was accompanied by a parking lot of old vehicles, most of which not well maintained and topped off with the sounds of two or three vehicles screeching as they try their best to get the engine to turn over, tallying once closer to never starting again.

On Saturday we had a cool experience tracting! we had some stuff fall through in ¬†the morning so we went tracting!¬†Looking at the map we picked Albert st and on our way to the part we were looking at we saw that theres another section of albert st detached from the rest with only like 5 doors on it. So we knocked those. No luck, just a couple scary dogs. But after the last house the dirt road kinda dog-legged and from what we could see there was nothing more. Elder hawks felt the need to get a better angle to be sure there wasn’t another house, but there was! So we walked up and a man was outside. We got talking, found out he’s new to town (and that we were lucky the neighbor’s dogs didn’t bite us, they were known to) and that his only issue with the Book of Mormon and Mormons was polygamy. We were able to clear that up, teach truth and set the return appointment for this tuesday. Super exciting.
Easter was great too! Church was good and for dinner we went to a counselor in our branch presidency’s house. They had a lot of their extended family, grandkids etc over. It was fun to see the big family¬†get together. Reminded me a lot¬†of our family activities and meals. We had a good time¬†there and enjoyed a great meal. I hope you guys had an awesome Easter!
Love you all
Elder Stark

April 3, 2107

DSCF6726DSCF6713DSCF6711DSCF6709happy 181st anniversary of Elijahs prophecy being fulfilled!

181 years ago today, the¬†prophecy of Elijah’s coming (found in Malachi 4:5) was fulfilled (found in Doctrine and Covenants 110:13-16). Woohoo!!

This week, though, we had a really cool miracle. It consisted of walking in the rain and a very simple act of service that has now led to a young man, aged 19, being very interested in the church. Two weeks ago we did a little “store contacting” if you will. We went around to the small shops in town and looked around for a minute before striking a conversation with the worker. We met this kid that runs a sports apparel store in town 5 days a week. He wasn’t able to talk long, but he expressed interest and said he wished he had sunday off so he could try out our church.

This week we set out to walk for the day, and almost immediately it started raining. We almost turned around to get the car but decided not to. As we came passed his store we saw that the display of blankets was still out and starting to get wet. We saw our friend come out to bring the blankets on display inside to keep them dry, so we ran over and helped. He was super appreciative and told us to come inside to dry out! A hail and thunderstorm came through so we just stayed in the store with him and were able to teach him the restoration! He was super interested and open and said he would read and pray. Sunday we stopped by to follow up and he had finished all of 3 nephi, said he’s gonna read it again to get more out of it, but that as he’s prayed he feels good about it all! He also said he was gonna ask his boss if he could start later on sundays so he can come to atleast part of church! That was the extent of time he had to talk to us, but were gonna go tomorrow and try to meet with his family too!
Walking in the rain pays off, the Lord works in mysterious ways!
 
We were planning on going Mountain biking today but ended up postponing fro a¬†combination of weather possibility and the other elders that were gonna go are getting sick. So instead we’re gonna play some basketball and such.¬†
 
General Conference was amazing! as usual. This Conference, i really felt the importance of reading from the Book of Mormon every single day, as well as how important it is to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost! I loved all the talks and got some good stuff the last couple days. I more look forward to listening to them again and reading them to get more out of them. How great is the technology we have that we can do that so easily! Its something special. I hope you all received guidance for yourself through the Holy Ghost! 
 
Love you guys!
 
Elder Stark

March 27, 2017

if the car aint got problems, its not working right.

So this week out heap of jeep was a little antsy. She’d be going along just fine then out of the blue it’d get all jerky in the acceleration – a problem its had since i got here – but it decided to flash a little lightning bolt of death on the dashboard this week. So we figured wed better get ‘er checked. So we called our car peeps and they said to take it to pueblo, so we did. They said they’d need it over night so our zone leaders gave us a ride back to the burg. Then we got back and sears called like “yo y’all gotta take ya jeep to the dealer, we can’t fix it” long story short, the zone leaders took it to the dealer for us and then took us to the springs on thursday to pick up a different car because the dealer can’t even get to it till today. So that stole a large portion of our week.

Quick weather note. Monday through Thursday the weather was spring or cool summer kinda weather. Warm to hot days, super sunny, either a breeze or crazy wind. Then out of no where we woke up friday morning with no power because of a huge snowfall and storm that came in the night (winter). Then saturday and sunday it all melted and super rainy and droggy (fall). I have come to the conclusion that in colorado seasons are not a period of time though the year, rather each season can be used to describe what type of weather you experience that day. For example this week consisted of 2 summers, 2 springs, a winter and 2 autumns.
As for the people of the burg, we dint see as many as we would have liked to, due to aforementioned ¬†reasons. But we were able to visit with a cool guy named Chuck. Chuck is the man. He’s living the bachelor life – he’s about 50(?) has a truck, his dogs, and life is good. He has seen missionaries like us before and they have helped him with his yard. We met him while out walking around knocking doors, and shared the Book of Mormon with him (this is about two weeks ago now) and he said he was busy at the moment but that we could come back. Well we finally got him at a good time this week and he invited us in to sit down with him. We were able to read 3 Nephi 11 with him and it was awesome. He talked about how he didn’t know how to read scripture language very well. He seemed interested, excitedly said he’d read the passage we gave him. The spirit was there. I think he felt it. I hope he will act on it.
The days continue to fly by. I live, I learn. I love being here, I love these people, I’m here to represent the Lord and share His great message with them. All I can do is pray that they will listen. Love you guys and appreciate your constant support.
Elder Stark

March 20, 2017

Scouts and such

Hey Family! This weeks been good! Kinda slow on the investigators and such this week. Had a hard time meeting with people. But we had a super cool service opportunity we got to help out with. Its through this company called Care+Share. They provide food for the needy all around the state at least. not sure how much beyond that they go. But once a month they have a semi truck of pallets of food come to the community center here in town. We take the job of bagging some of the food as quickly as possible, then those receiving food come walk down the line of pallets and receive bags of food. It accumulates pretty quick so they usually aren’t able to carry it all. Thats our second job. We help these people – often fairly senior-ish – carry their bags to their cars. Its like helping people load groceries for 2 hours straight. These people were very appreciative of the food and our help. It was a great opportunity and we enjoyed getting to meet more people from the community.

We spent the majority of Tuesday Afternoon in a little town south of us called Aguilar. Its a cool little town. No stop lights or gas stations, but we did some tracting there and met one lady that was really nice and took a book of mormon. She said she’s recently been considering switching to the Jehovahs Witness Church. With that big decision facing her she said now wasn’t the right time to meet with us, but we plan to visit her again at some point and see what she thought of the Book of Mormon at the least.
We spent most of Saturday in La Veta, another small town. We didn’t have much luck there, but we were able to talk to a member there and get some ideas for who to talk to on getting service projects going in La Veta. We hope to follow up with that this week and try to find out what we can do in the community.
There is one member we are working with to help him get ready to receive a patriarchal blessing. He has been coming back to church and getting more actively involved. A Patriarchal blessing is the next big step for him. We are excited because he is progressing well towards it and seems pretty excited about it.
Oh and I almost forgot: the reason for the subject line. We don’t have any young men in the branch here, so theres no scout troop. But the senior couple assigned in the branch with us (the Storeys) have headed the starting of a scout troop for the community. Still church sponsored, just no boys from the church in the troop. Because of such, Elder Storey is the Scoutmaster and Elder Hawks and I are the Assistant Scoutmasters! Tomorrow is our first meeting with the 2 scouts we have so far! More to come we hope! Im excited to get to help out in this way. Its definitely unique and most missionaries don’t get the opportunity. But I think itll be a lot of fun!
Always new things. Always. Im excited to be here. Grateful Heavenly Father answers prayers! Hope you all have a great week!
Elder Stark

March 13, 2017

 

Windy Walsenburg

Almost gone blown out of the burg this week from all the wind. It never seems to stop being windy here! lol Its been super nice weather, just crazy wind. we were in the 60s and 70s a lot of last week and it was pretty great, ill admit. The night still gets cold cold cold, but during the day its been super nice. We’ve been spending time out walking around a lot.

This week we spent a fair amount of time tracting and trying to find people to teach. We also stopped by a lot of people we have met in the previous weeks. Seems like no one was home this week, which is always a bummer. However, we did get to meet with a guy named Maurice that we found tracting last week. He is pretty old and a scientist. Kinda reminds me of Grandpa Hymas just a little older and less spiritual understanding! He has a very logical and analytical outlook on life and god and what not, but actually has a lot of correct beliefs that he has come to. He has a hard time accepting any book as scripture, but is willing to discuss things with us nonetheless. Great guy and fun to talk to.
So time to talk about La Veta. It is a small town (about ~800 people) about 15 miles west of us. Its a great little town and we try to go out there at least once a week. This week we went out there on Tuesday and met with a member, then did some tracting. We met this awesome lady. When we told her who we were and that we were sharing a message she immediately said “you wanna share it inside or out?” haha we were both taken back for a moment. Upon further discussion we found out that she always wanted to know more about mormons. We were able to share the Restoration with her and give her a Book of Mormon. We went back to La Veta on Friday to see her again and invite her to church, though we found out she was not able to attend. We heard about an even smaller town we cover called Cuchara. Its apparently like a summer getaway for a lot of people, but through winter about 75 people live there. We ended up driving out there to check it out. Its a beautiful place up in the mountains. We met a couple that helps run a little store up there. They were super nice and ¬†each took a book of mormon. They also told us about some sweet fishing spots up there and said we could come out on a pday and they’d take us fishing! Im super stoked for that.
Church was super good on Sunday, I got a lot out of it. The Priesthood lesson was from the Teachings of President Hinckley book and it was about optimism and happiness. Elder Hawks and i loved it. There was a section where it refers to President Hinckley suggesting to missionaries that they shake hands every morning and say “its gonna be a good day”. So we do that now. Boo ya. good times to come!
Love you all.
Elder Stark

March 6, 2017

DSCF6678

Hey Fam! As per usual, change is the only consistency! I have a new companion now. His name is Elder Hawks, from Ventura, CA. (side note: of the 18 young missionaries in our zone, 9 are from CA… reppin hard) Hes super funny and goofy. We have a good time.

This week was awesome though! We were able to meet with a couple people we had previously tracted into for a second time and we set a baptismal date for both! They agreed that if they knew the church was true by that day that they would be baptized. We are super excited! We also had some awesome miracles tracting and were able to find 6 new investigators! the goal as a mission is 2 per companionship per week. Had some super spiritual lessons as we talked about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. The feelings that come along with that assure me of their truthfulness on a daily basis. If you havent read Joseph Smith’s experience as he prayed in awhile, please do. It brings the Spirit in a special way.
Saturday was probably my neatest day in awhile. On Saturday we had exchanges with the Zone Leaders. That morning I woke up so tired. It didnt make any sense because I was in bed at 1030 and up at 630, but I felt like I woke up more tired than when i went to bed. We had a bunch of people to stop by and potentials to follow up with that morning, but they all fell through. I was bummed. I didnt wanna do anything!… but, we decided to tract. We tracted one street with a little success, then picked another after lunch with minimal success but were only able to do one side of that street before we had to go exchange back (we did midday friday to midday saturday). After we exchanged back it was still light out, but i was soooo exhausted i really didnt want to do anything. But I knew we had to just go for it, so we went and finished the street. We found 2 more investigators and a few potentials. The Lord truly is preparing his people to receive the gospel. And when we’re too tired to live, we have to rely on faith in the Savior and His Atonement. It works.
Over all its been a good week. Crazy and good. Love you guys and wish you the best!
Elder Stark