The blog has been pretty quiet for about 6 months now, but Elder Dallen Stark has been busy. In April he was transferred to LaFayette, Georgia, where he has been serving. He seems to like it there pretty well. It is the first time he has served in an area where there is a ward congregation instead of a branch. A few weeks ago they were able to baptize a teenage girl who has already had the chance to visit the temple. Dallen is doing well overall. here are some excerpts from his weekly emails, with some photos below:
Conference was fantastic this weekend. A trend I noticed was that concerning temple marriage and families. A topic that is kinda bitter sweet for missionaries. There wasn't one talk that really stood out more that the others they were all really good. I liked the "I can teach you how to dance but you have to hear the music." talk, and elder Oaks talk, and many others. Those just come to mind right now.
"Complaining is like rocking in a rocking chair. It passes time but doesn't get you anywhere."
- Pres. Gilbert
Some photos from Harlan:
Dallen ran into the Hales from our ward here in Utah. They were there to greet their granddaughter, just finishing her mission:
It was really odd seeing a familiar face at the transfer meeting. I looked over and I thought I recognized them and sure enough it was the Hales. It was Awesome, they took a few pictures and we chatted for a few minutes. What did you think of my loud paisly tie at the transfer meeting???? I think it is great. Their Granddaughter was going home and I didn't know her. We never crossed paths. But that's fine. Elder Tucker is going home, back to Utah. So, I'm back in the Chattanooga Stake. I went from the northern most apartment in the mission to the southern most apartment. I am living in La Fayette (la-fay'-it), Georgia. It is similar to Athens in landscape but a lot less people. But there are still a lot more people than there were in Harlan. We are in a small Ward. Around 100 people or so. So a lot more people than I'm used to but the ward is really great. We get fed and get teamups and the ward is extremely involved in the missionary work. It's great. My Companion's name is Elder Bateman. He's from Harriman Utah and he's only just barely finished being trained. 3 months out. He's great. We're gonna get work done.
BACK TO CHAT TOWN!!!
I'm in the Chat stake again. This time in La Fayette GA. It is a cool little town and it is a lot hotter than Kentucky. I am companions with Elder Bateman who has been out for 3 months and is great. Transfers were crazy because I saw someone from the Mapleton ward there. The Hales came because their granddaughter who was serving in the mission was going home. It was really cool. I am in a Ward for the first time on my mission. I've been in branches the rest of the time. It is a little odd. But I like it. It was hard to leave Harlan but I will get over it because I am needed here, otherwise I wouldn't be here. Well, That's the news this week and the goings on.
"He's got his nose so high in the air he could drown in a rainstorm."
- I don't know
This week was really good, We had investigators at church, people have baptismal dates, I split my eye open playing Basketball. Great! It sure was a trip getting Our investigators to church. They were all set to go, but Saturday night we find out that Will, the husband, had to work on Sunday so he wasn't able to go but Sarah, the wife, was still good to go and the ride was ready and everything. So we get home and at like 10:00 pm we get a call from Bro. Collins, their ride, saying that his wife ran the car into a ditch by their house and that is was stuck in the mud and they wouldn't be able to get it out until the next day. They obviously were not going to be able to pick up out investigators. We then start scrambling to find a ride for them but it is like 10:30 so it is too late to call anyone so we have to wait until morning. We were able to get out ward mission leader's wife to go get sarah and her 5 kids and everything went great. It was extremely stressful, but worth it. It has been a long time since I've seen an investigator at church. Fun stuff.
Now I'll tell you the story of the crazy baptist that we talked to. We knocked on his door and immediately he started telling us what we believed, that we're not christians because we don't believe that Jesus is the Father, that we are a cult, the works. Knowing that bashing isn't going to solve anything I sat there and took it, even though I could have crushed him with scripture and doctrine, I stopped myself. My companion, being out only a few months tried to explain that we were christian and not a cult and stuff. But this guy was determined and decided he wasn't going to listen to us no matter what we would have said, which my comp soon figured out. I interrupted him and explained that we respect everyone's beliefs and we would appreciate it if he would respect ours. He wouldn't even take that and wanted to keep arguing so we just said "have a good day" and left. It goes to show that even if we teach truth and have the spirit others need to humble themselves and let the spirit teach them. It is sad and at that moment kinda made me mad. We got over it pretty quickly and just laughed it off. Sometimes that's all you can do.
Well, I'll send a couple pics of my eye and stuff,
"He's so rich he buys a new boat when he gets the other one wet."
- Just some guy
Yesterday was Mother's day and I had a great time talking to my family. It is always a good experience. I also was able to give a talk in sacrament meeting the righteous women in our lives. It was a really cool experience that I really didn't know how it would go. It went really well and I learned quite a bit about the vast importance of women. I'll share a quote that I used in my talk from Elder Quentin L. Cook,
He said, "God placed within women divine qualities of strength, virtue, love, and willingness to sacrifice to raise furture generations of God's spirit children."
It is true, Women are truly endowed with these divine qualities.
This week has been strange. We weren't able to talk to a bunch of people but some strange things happened. We had Stake Conference this weekend Which was normal. We had a battle with some creepy shiny blue and black wasps. And some strange lady gave us $80 worth chocolates. Stake Conference was good, Lots of talks and training and we had an area 70 there. It was great too because I got to see and talk to a bunch of people from the Chatt Branch that were there. It was great to hear how they are all doing. About the shiny blue and black wasps, we go outside to get the mail and we find our mailbox infested with these creepy looking wasps that I've never seen before. This is what it looks like. It's Creepy, but we captured one to get a close Inspection, Nothing too crazy, It's just a different kind of wasp. And it probably would hurt if it stung you so we need to watch out
The chocolates is pretty self explanatory, Not much more to say. She gets these chocolate baskets from her rich boss and she gave us a couple. It is really good chocolate too. It was Awesome!
Well, That's what happened.
Something tells me I've used this one but I'm not sure.
"Butter me up and call be a biscuit."
- Elder Adamson
May-June various dates:
This week has been pretty good. we were able to teach a lesson at a members house after dinner to one of their friends and her son. They both seemed really open and it was probably one of the longest plan of salvation lessons that I have ever taught because they participated a lot. It was really good. I love when people actually communicate. It makes it a whole lot easier to help them.
This week was really good. We were able to find some new people to work with and were able to teach some of our investigators. We got a call on thursday evening from our ward mission leader that one of our investigators, a 14 yr old girl named Olivia, was being interviewed for girls camp and the bishop was very bold and basically just said "why don't you get baptized on the 20th?" so she is now getting baptized on the 20th. It was awesome and it took us completely off guard. We were also able to go up to Knoxville on wednesday, spend the night at the mission home and on thursday we got a bunch of training on the "Missionary Work in the Digital Age" thing with iPads and stuff. Elder Zwick of the 70 and Bro. Hemingway from the missionary department came and taught us and trained us. It was all about having a change of heart and training ourselves now to use technology righteously before we go back into the world where our lives will not be quite so consecrated. It was really good and I learned a lot. It is going to be a really good tool but our purpose is the same. To bring souls to Christ.
This week was great with the highlight being a baptism in the ward. The other Elders in the ward had a baptism. I was able to interview here and it was great to be able to participate in that. She was so excited. It is great to see people that are just ready for this. I am basically out of time on the computers so I will have to call it there. I will send two quotes next week to make up for the lack of one this week. Unless I forget which is likely... so yeah.
This week was actually pretty good. President Griffin came down to Georgia to visit and give us some pointers. It was really good. I always enjoy talking with him. He just makes you feel better no matter what. It's great. The assistants also came down to our district meeting on Friday and I had no idea they were coming until they showed up. I love surprises! But it was good. THey gave some good advice and they showed off the iPads that they got earlier in the week. So they are actually here. I've been hearing about them for a year and a half and they are finally here. It'll be an interesting adjustment and I hope it goes smoothly. It will be good. Other than that it was a normal week.\
"She's so tall if she fell down she'd be halfway home."
"He's one fry short of a Happy Meal."
This week was actually really crazy. We got iPads, the city shut our electricity and water off instead of our neighbor's who moved out, we got a new bishopric in our ward (the ward mission leader, so they'll have to find us a new one of those). Just some odd things. The iPads are pretty cool. We can't use facebook or anything like that, all we have is the gospel library and other teaching and study resources. I will probably never see the day where we get to use facebook, There are steps that happen. we are on step one right now, step two is the area book planner, and step 3 is the online proselyting like facebook and stuff. I'm not sure how long it will take though. Our electricity is back on because they sent someone out who knew how to do that but our water is still off because they are closed over the weekend except for emergencies. kinda dumb but whatever. We've been borrowing our neighbors water because they moved out and our landlady gave us a key. So that is good. It's a little annoying but we survive.
It was really cool to see the calling of the new bishopric. You could see the mantle lift from off the old bishop onto the new one. Bishop Evans (new) looked ready to take on the role and he had perfect confidence that this was what the Lord wanted and he stood there and addressed us with that confidence and power. It was one of the coolest things I've seen while I've been out here.
That summarizes this week pretty well. We have a baptism scheduled for next friday which is really exciting. I would appreciate prayers for that to go through without hiccup or problem. Thanks y'all for all the support. I Love all of you
This week was great! We had a baptism! We were able to see Olivia our investigator step into the waters of baptism and begin her journey on the path back to our heavenly home. It was a great experience.
There's a picture attached.
That is the Highlight of the week obviously.
We found out that my companion will be transferred this week and I will stay in the area to lead it off. We'll see how this goes. That is the extent of the experiences worthy of this email I think... or at least that I can remember...
"My finger was swollen as a dead possum."
- Ellis Forrester
This seems like a great place to pause. More updates to come! So proud of our missionary!!!