Tuesday, December 29, 2009

December 29 - Christmas recap and picutres

Group of sisters

Hna Clark with Hna Ghan

Raking leaves

Fransisco's baptism


Hello family that I love and got to talk to on Friday! I am sorry I talked to much! I feel like I hardly heard what is going on with you besides the fact Costco was crazy at Christmas .... NYC is still in need of lawyers that are honest and speak Spanish ... Abby's dating BYU campus ... you know ... MACKENZIE'S HAVING ANOTHER BABY .... (i'm guessing it's going to be a boy!) .... It was so fun to hear your voices! It made the day a grand one!

Besides that we spent the morning at Sis. Houston's and ate delicious breakfast food and told stories, then relaxed! We saw lots of other missionaries at a member of the mission presidency's house for a brunch. We made plans for a dinner that night, which is a story to tell.

In Arizona there are BILLIONS of members. Missionaries are definitely WELL taken care of here. Well we were way excited for our Christmas morning, but to tell you the truth we didn't have plans for a Christmas dinner. We didn't really think anything of it until everyone the week of Christmas kept saying "I'm sure you have plans for Christmas" and we just kind of nod and say uhuh and wonder if anyone will really invite us over. For no reason did we feel we needed to fish for invitations. While contacting Bishops in our area (talk about that later), we were warmly welcomed by one, Bishop Shreeve, and they asked the question, "Do you have somehwere to go for Christmas." We did the usual nod and muttered something while walking out and stopped us and said "No really ... do you have somewhere to go ... because we'd love to have you." We burst out laughing after a few moments of silence admitting we didn't have any plans for the night of Christmas and gladly accepted the invitation. What I didn't mention was that when we drove up to their house we knew they'd be a fun family to talk to because they had a big sign saying WELCOME HOME ELDER SHREEVE. Their son was still in the mission home that night and was delayed from coming home until the 26th. They also have another son in the MTC right now ... they love missionaries! Anyway, so Christmas night we go and don't really know what to expect ... don't know them very well. Hna Ghan's mom had said something to the extent of "I hope people treat you well and give you as much love as we would on Christmas." That was definitely how we felt all of Christmas day, with Sis. Houston and with the Shreeves. We felt completely spoiled! By the end of the night we were driving home with a backseat full of food and treats and gifts! Anyway yeah, Christmas was a great day on the mission. We spent it with missionaries and members we love!

So today is transfers and I now have a new companion! Her name is Hna Nielson and she is from Michigan .... I wish I could tell you more ... but I only picked her up right before coming to the library! She's been out for 3 transfers and .... yeah! I'm excited! It'll be different but who doesn't like a little change?

Yesterday we saw the full extent and impact of Hna Ghan. She said goodbye to some conversos recentes and menos activos and we all just cried. She's been here for 6 months. She has been an angel for soooo many people here and it is daunting to think I'm the one they now know. Ay! Hna Ghan just has a way with so many people. Oh how I will miss her, as well as the ward!

This last week today we managed to contact all of the Bishops and the Stake President in the Mesa Central Stake. To meet them, tell them we are here, ask them how we can help, if they have any referrals. This will be SUCH a huge blessing eating in this stake from now on. I don't know if I already wrote about some of it but even just in the short while we've been eating in the stake we've received 3 referrals and we've eating Peruvian, Columbian, and tonight is Brazilian food! The Bishops though, have been an incredible wealth of knowledge and it is good to finally coordinate things with them. Most of them had no idea spanish speaking missionaries covered their area!

Man there is so much to write about this week!!! Fransisco got baptized! Wahoo! All of his neighbors (who we're teaching now ...) came as well as his brother and nephew. What a wonderful experience that was to see Fransisco take this step in his life! (picture attached)Now when we go to see Fransisco, we see his friend Carlow (who's real name is Raynaldo we found out this week ... don't ask) and his girlfriend Erin and their roommate Isadoro. All three of them are supposibly (is that a word?) moving but until then ... we are continuing to teach them. At this point it's like having a class. I think we've taught the specific message of the restoration 3 times for each one individually. They're enjoying it though and love asking questions and learning more!

Ok so I think that's all for this week. What an incredible last week with Hna Ghan! She was an amazing trainer! For an extra bonus last night her trainer (who was in AZ for her sisters wedding) came to see us, so I got to meet my grandma (lingo on the mission), Hna Lopez. She is a professional singer and so we listened to her music a lot so it was fun to hear/see her and put a face to this voice I always hear in the car!

New Years Eve (I think I told you this?) we're singing at the Christmas lights so I really excited for that! You would love the lights and the concerts every night!

Anyway, love you all. I am so appreciative of your letters and love and prayers! Missionary work certainly isn't easy but it is soooo rewarding! Wow how we see miracles in the Lord's work! I started the Book of Mormon again a week or two ago and how far have I gotten? Ohhhhh I think 6 verses. There is too much to cross reference and put together. This might take a while but I am loving it! The Book of Mormon really is truth! I love sharing the scripture Mormon 8:16 and how it will shine through the darkness! It is so true!!!! Love you love you! Now I'll send some pictures! Happy New Year!

Love always, Hermana Clark
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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

December 22 - Feliz Navidad!

these two boys are the sons of Fransisco (investigator ... baptism Saturday) and a recent convert, Armando, who is awesome! Their boys are hilarious and after this night they literally wouldn't let go because we had so much fun with them!!!

a small milk accident

The infamous 'trick' bike we've all heard so much about
not exactly your typical sister missionary bike


Today is our half Preparation Day so we can enjoy Christmas Day as well! My time today is shortened but I wanted to tell you about one thing.

Oh, but before that. We are going to a single mom's house for Christmas morning. By Christmas morning, I mean Christmas morning! We're going to her house around 6am! She has two really cute kids but they're going to be at their fathers house so we're bringing our presents, with the English sisters in the area, and all of us are having a Christmas morning together! Hna Ghan loves her and we've eaten at their house twice in the short month I've been here! And hopefully I'll have my voice back by Friday - as of right night I am just getting it back from losing it the past week (I guess I talk too much or something? Who would've thought .... as a missionary ....)

Anyway, we worked the Christmas lights again this week. Tonight is our last night working there. Everytime we have the opportunity to serve there, we talk about how people come and will be touched by the words we have to say. Specific people. We have been selected certain nights. It is all by inspiration. Anyway, most of the time that is referring to finding more people we can teach and who can enjoy the blessings of the gospel in their lives. This past Saturday though, for me, it had to do with a conversation with a man who was very familiar with the church.

He was walking by himself and I approached him and asked him if he'd been here before. He pointed to the temple and said he'd been sealed there 7 years ago to his wife. They now have 3 children. I asked him what blessings he's received in his life from having the opportunity to be sealed to his family. He began. He told me he'd be frank with me and that he had just been excommunicated from the church from his own actions and would probably be going through a divorce very shortly. He walked on the temple grounds and had to call his wife when he saw the temple again because of how sorry he was for all the grief he had and is causing her. His eyes told the pain that he was feeling in his life. They were piercing. He told me, as a missionary, to keep a journal. Remember the miracles, the feelings, the knowledge; review it often and prevent myself from letting Satan have any grasp on my thoughts, words, or actions. He continued to bear his soul to me of the grief and the consequences he had to deal with because he simply let in, little by little. After a few minutes of him expressing the pain and the complete mess he knew he'd made in his life, we spoke of the Atonement.

The Atonement being not simply something we think about on Sundays or near the holidays. But how it can be involved in our lives each and everyday. How it makes it possible for EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. to become clean. I testified to him that through the Atonement we have hope in a better tomorrow. Clean. Is that not what we all seek? To be clean and free from nagging worries and impatience and unclean things that clutter our lives? We spoke of the word hope and how for him, he has to ask the question everyday, "is there really hope for me?" I felt the love that God has for this man and it was unmistakable. I promised him he could be forgiven if he continues to repent and becomes worthy of the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ, once again. It is all in the timetable of the Lord though. It is not anywhere near easy and we must live with the consequences of our actions. We spoke of the first great commandment we are given to "love God with all our heart, might, mind, and strength" (or something like that). If we do that, we can be made clean through the power and grace of God.

Oh I do not know how to express these feelings I felt while speaking to this man except to say there is hope for each of us. No matter where we are in our relationship with God, there is hope for us through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Did I mention last week President Utchdorf's talk on Love from this last conference? Marvelous.

I loved hearing about caroling and all that! Fun fun fun! What a great time of the year this is! Thank you for your letters, pictures, love, and prayers. Fransisco is getting baptized this week and we are more excited than ever!

FELIZ NAVIDAD! Siempre, Hermana Clark

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

December 15 - pictures, funny bike story and christmas lights contacting

cleaning with Hermana Ghan

in her own words, "I dropped my camera and planner in the dumpster...need I say more?"
Nope, pretty sure the picture shows it all!

With Brittany Burby Barrett - they played lacrosse together at BYU


This week was incredible. We worked harder than ever and the Lord blessed us richly with the energy to keep going. We talked to literally every person we saw. That included stopping and talking to people we saw on the side of the road while driving. Sometimes that seems awkward but in reality it wasn't at all. People search for a message of hope and a sense of belonging. Knowing we are all children of God is something not everyone realizes.

Friday night and afternoon we rode bikes again. The nights here can get cold so we made sure to wear all of our warm clothes and clothes! I had a good laugh though when I pulled up to a red light next to a man on a really nice motorcycle. He didn't have a helmet, but had a hat and face mask with a skeleton on it. When I turned to him and saw his "face" I had to repeat in my head, "I am not afraid ... I am not afriad .... haha and somewhere within me I had the guts to turn to him and say, "my bike is almost as cool as yours." Hahahaha He responded very quickly, I think with a smile, saying "Almost." It made for a good laugh.

Ok now to the work. We ate dinner with a family this week named the Odoms. I must say, we eat dinner with the most incredible people. From young couples who just got married and are scraping by to families in mansions who have lots of stories of their kids and grandkids to single women who have 5 dogs and are more talented than anyone you've ever met before. Anyway, we LOVE the members here. In our ward and in our stake. Soooo we ate with this family and literally you walk in the door and love just hits you, HARD. Their Christmas decorations were up, my favorite ones: snowflakes. They had snowflakes hanging in all of their main rooms and they were beautiful! They had made them years ago and had continued adding to them every year until they had this many and not simply put them up every year now! We had a delicious dinner and talked about the mission field. Their son had just come back from his mission last week and the father teaches mission prep. We discussed one topic that we all decided was MUCHO IMPORTANTE in missionary work: LOVE. You must love the people. Granted, there are so many things to work on as a disciple of Christ, but as it says in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 "if ye have not charity, ye are nothing" (or something like that ....). It was so incredible to be with that family though and not only discuss the topic, but see that love in action. You could see how much they treasured their own family members, how much they loved their neighbor who had just moved who we had worked with a lot, how much their son loved his mission in Ghana, the list goes on. We are so blessed to get to know so many members here in Mesa and it certainly buoys us up and provides a support system for new members. Wow was I wrong in thinking as missionaries we would be uplifting the members; so many times it is their example and their experiences that provide tremendous examples of faith and miracles to us.

We worked the Christmas lights again and saw so many miracles. Ok I must make a comment. The first day I got here, we ate dinner with our new all the new missionaries and their companions. Elder Coffman, on of the APs, sat near Hna Ghan and I and we began talking about miracles. We left the conversation in a desire to notice the miracles everyday in missionary work. In our heads, we thought of simply meeting people who were ready to learn and live the gospel of Jesus Christ. O ye of little faith. Those these miracles certainly do happen, there are so many other miracles that happen everyday that when missed could make a day very bland. We began to notice these miracles everyday, such as someone being home when generally they are not, someone being receptive to learning more when before they hadn't been, knocking on someone's door that needed a friend, etc. The list could go on. We've noticed miracles all around us. The more we've noticed, we feel the more often they come.

Anyway, Christmas lights. I spoke with a couple who had found each other and couldn't be happier. He works for the airlines but has done a lot in the peace core and mission work in Africa. She works with the homeless and helping people get back on their feet. They were not members of the church but have great faith in the love that God has for all of his children and feel very fortunate to share what they have (time, talents, etc) with others. Though they have no interest in learning more about the gospel, I loved learning what instruments they've been in the hands of God. I ran into another woman who had just moved to Mesa from Michigan who was looking for a church to attend. I taught her about the First Vision and how because God loves us, He called a prophet to guide the church on this earth. She was intrigued and very believing in modern day revelation.

I must say, life is so different than it ever has been before. I am involved in something way beyond my capacity to understand, yet what I do understand I know is very beneficial to all of God's children.

I think I have said this before, but more than ever I am learning how we can be instruments in the hands of God. It is not us, it is the power of God. There are days you wonder if anyone knows you're there. Heck, yesterday, I talked .... haha by that I mean TRIED to talk to some people. Two people in a row completely ignored me. Didn't even look at me. My first thought was ... "am I invisible?" (The image of this on numerous movies flashed through my mind .... ) But then you run into someone whose eyes light up when you say something they desire in their life - more than anything. I am simply the messanger. It is humbling, yet overwhelming to recognize the great influence that God's love can have on others. One 17 year old completely changed his life. He was .... doing pretty much everything you could to get into trouble. He went to church one week, invited by his basketball coach, and felt this love that he wanted in his life, ALL THE TIME.

I don't know if you've noticed, but a lot of this week has been about love. Not sure why, but it has made a huge difference in the work. And one thing I have loved is it's not on focusing on loving the people, it's focusing on loving God (this is the first commandment, no?) and naturally we desire to be filled with His love to share that with others.

Ok that is the report for this week. Christmas is soon! The work in Mesa is moving forward, even if sometimes we wonder if it is.
Thank you for your letters and love! I am going to send some pictures now! I love you all and though I miss the first 21 years of my life, this is where the Lord needs me right now. It is a privilege to be serving.

Love, Hermana Clark

PS there is so much more I could write in here. Every night I come home and try to capture emotions/events that occured that day and it just is not possible.

Elder Walter F. Gonzalez came to our stake for stake conference and to begin his talk he called up the man who was his missionary. He confirmed him a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He didn't baptize one person, he baptized now thousands. And now Elder Gonzalez is in the Presidency of the 70. In the same theme of love ... President Utchdorf's talk in Conference and the scipture Isaiah 61:1. Ok bye . picture time
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December 8

Another week is Mesa! For living in Mesa, I would say it's actually getting pretty cold. Apparently the other day it was 40! Yay for cold weather! The past few days have actually been pretty cloudy (usually it's a perfect fall day with the sun shining) and it's been raining. One man we talked to called a soggy day so we've adopted that name too! Today is the first non-soggy day since maybe Friday!

First I'll start with Christmas lights. I think I mentioned it last week, but the Christmas lights are BEAUTIFUL here in Mesa. The Bishop yesterday told us it was the #1 place to go for Christmas decorations on a main TV station (we wouldn't know :) ) Anyway, we had the chance to go last Tuesday. We're way excited and all and meet with our zone and prepare and make goals. Then it hits me ... I have to talk to people and have real conversations in Spanish! And I won't have my companion next to me! I knew it would be that way but scary to think it was right then. So anyway, we're assigned a general area and just talk to people - in English and Spanish. Soooo I go and I get up the courage to start talking to a family. What do you know we start speaking in Spanish and they were not familiar with the church. I was able to share my testimony with them of the blessings and joy that had come into my life from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They expressed interest in learning more and accepted missionaries to come into their home.  I was able to talk to 5 more people (actually mostly families) who wanted to know more. One man literally asked where can I go to your church? I really like it here. Another man expressed interest in coming back to the church. He'd been a foster child in his teens and joined the church while living with an LDS family but in the last year was being drawn back to the church. I challenged him to go to church this week and go and talk to the Bishop. Anyway, that evening was wonderful. It was a joy to share my testimony with so many people who were not busy doing other things but were there to see the lights. 

Because of the lights and so many people going each night we receive many referrals of people who want to learn more. We received maybe 10 this week and then go talk to these people. This week's miracle was that we were able to contact these people. Most of their addresses and phone numbers were wrong, yet somehow we were able to meet/talk on the phone and set up appointments to meet them and teach them more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We've realized there are miracles in our lives each and everyday - there is no such thing as a coincidence.

Tuesdays are our preparation days.  Today we decided we wanted to do a little service project.  We lent our car to the Elders and took their bikes. We rode back our apartment and waited for them to go shopping. We waited ... and waited (we had our ways of knowing when they left) ... and finally .... we were able to go in their apartment and do some cleaning. We did our homework before and knew they had very ltitle cleaning supplies so our bike ride to their apartment included a bag of rags, cleaning stuff, a mop bucket, soap, and even a mop! Hahah it was quite a site seeing us on the bikes. Speaking of ... we had pictures but I forgot the cables. For next week then!

Que mas? WOW how did I forget. We had Zone Conference this week and were able to go to the Mesa Temple with President Bassett and his wife. One thing that really hit Hna Ghan and I was that it is Christmas everyday as a missionary because we give people hope in our Savior, Jesus Christ.  A lot was learned that day and it was great to be fed spiritually by President and Sister Bassett and the Holy Ghost. Oh what a grand day! After completing the session, Pre and Sis Bassett shook our hands as we came into the Celestial Room and I am pretty sure that is what heaven is going to be like. It was marvelous! What more could I say? The temple is majestic inside and is filled with so much history.

This week I've been reading the Book of Mormon, beginning with the Introduction.  I love the Book of Mormon. My love for it grows each and everyday. It is true! I am trying to read it and apply everything I read to either how I can better as well as how I can help others reach their full potential.

I love being a missionary! It is hard work. Oh man ... I am just forgetting so much today. PLUS. We didn't check mail for ... maybe a week ... and were surprised to find we had 3 packages!!!! I would imagine it was like seeing us as 5 year olds on Christmas morning, never having known what the traditions of Christmas and opening presents were. We were ... pretty excited .... to say the least. Our apartment now is decked out with snowflakes, calenders, tablecloths, a Christmas tree, and lights! Nevertheless, we are reminded of the reason we celebrate this holiday and turn to the Savior. HE LIVES! Like I said before, it's Christmas everyday as a missionary! Maybe not the opening presents everyday, but the "Christmas miracles" part that seem impossible yet occur when we have faith, pray, and are obedient to God's commandments. We're still counting on having a WHITE CHRISTMAS here in Mesa!

Anyway ... we need to run. If you wonder why I always address myself as "we" it is because Hna Ghan and I are a companionship. When something good happens to Hna Ghan, we celebrate. When I mess up and say a bad word in Spanish, we both laugh. We're in it together. Even when the chair broke one night this week, we burst out laughing. Tears strolling down MY face. Ok that differentiates us ... I cry more. Unless we're reading stories from the Ensign about Christmas miracles ... then we're both gonners. Balling.

As Grandma hoped for, "our digs are now decorated".  We are stoked for this holiday season! We continue to share the message of Jesus Christ with others. Love love love. Thank you for your prayers!

Love, Hermana Clark

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December 1 - Temple Lights are Up!

Hermana Ghan, Fransisco, Carlos, and Hermana Clark at the Mesa Temple

Hola todos! Mesa is officially lit up by the temple lights that started the day after Thanksgiving! We get to go there once or twice a week from 6pm-10pm and talk to people and answer any questions and such. We live so close to the temple we are also able to go with some of our investigators! We have two investigators, named Fransisco and Carlos. They are both very excited to get baptized on December 26.  Carlos this week stunned us in telling us he got off work on Sunday and was able to come to church! We've been teaching them for a month and a half and this was the first time he was able to come!  The lights are stunning. It reminds me when we would go to the Washington DC temple and see the lights. As a child I didn't understand why I absolutely loved them so much. Now I understand it's because it was the feeling of the spirit while walking on the temple grounds.

We have another investigator named Fransisco who is a miracle. He has been diagnosed with a debilitating disease and is in his mid20s/early 30s.  He does not know how many days he has left and recognizes something he wants in the gospel of Jesus Christ. He can only be in his wheel chair for about 4 hours a day.  We taught him a very brief lesson this week and invited him to church. He was able to stay for 2 hours (half his entire time each day).  We are very excited to teach him more and see his life (this one and the next one) be blessed forever by the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Oh, sorry about not saying where I am. I am serving IN MESA. My area is called the Liahona 4th East area. (We're in the Liahona 4th ward).  We cover a long skinny area mostly in the Mesa Central Stake. Most of our investigators/members are towards the very south of our area so we rarely go up north.  This week we did go to "our little town up north" that seems to be in the middle of nowhere, like its own little island. We knocked on some doors and very few people had any interest in hearing what we had to say. As a missionary, I definitely get to see the consequences (that word does not only mean bad) of God's gift of agency. It is one of the greatest gifts here on earth.

Most mornings we do our exercise in a cemetery and run around in circles. It is very interesting to be in a cemetery every morning right as the sun is coming up. Very humbling to realize how precious this life is and how important it is to tell those we love how much they mean to us. It's also nice to use the body that I have and get some exercise!

What else? Spanish ... is coming along. Working at the temple is fun becuase we are paired up with an English Sister so I talk to anyone who speaks Spanish!

Last night we made some study journals to help some recent converts write their feelings about what they read in the scriptures. It is fun to use whatever resources we have to help others in the ward.  The ward is great and very welcoming to a new Hermana who barely knows Spanish!

Que mas? We have many funny moments during the days. We were sitting with some former investigators in their home and had just eaten dinner with another family.  The food is delicious, though I do look forward to eating mexican food ... right now we're only with English speaking families. Anyway ... you never know how you're stomach is going to weather certain foods but what is put infront of us we eat (and love!) Anyway, we're sitting with this family and one of our stomachs rumbled. LOUD. The woman we were talking to started to get up from her seat and asked her husband "do you have something on the stove?" Oh man we laughed so hard after that! Hahaha It is so funny how the littlest things make us laugh and keep us entertained.

The work is hard and wonderful. I have been studying the conference talks and just loving them. We studied "Love and Law" by Elder Oaks last week and couldn't get enough of it. It applied to so many situations right now with investigators. Every night we go to bed exhausted. We are being given extra strength. It is a huge blessing.

Hna Ghan is such a great example to me! Oh ... Thanksgiving. We made sure to only have one dinner and it was plenty! Yummm! That morning we played ultimate and basketball and volleyball with lots of other missionaries. Fun to meet so many and play in the sun!

Last but not least I will tell you how we got here. Usually we drive, but the Elders were borrowing our car so we had their bikes. Hna Ghan's is ... a normal bike ... you know ... brakes, gears ... what not. The one I have is a trick bike. Pegs. And definitely no brakes. I'll take a picture for next week. Hilarious to ride, especially as a missionary.

Anyway, time is up. I love you all! I'm glad the family had a wonderful thanksgiving all together! Love love love! Thank you for your prayers and letters of encouragement!

Love always, Hermana Clark

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

November 24 Arrived in Arizona!

HOLA! Ok so yes I made it to Mesa and what a day that was! I've been here a week now and I'm not going to lie, I'm excited for the next year and a half! :) I met my companion, Hermana Ghan, and it rhymes with fan (don't worry I thought of that myself). She is from Ogden and has been out for a little under a year.  You know it is wonderful when we come out dressed for the day in pretty much the same clothes! Haha We are serving in a ward that comprises 3 stakes. We serve with 4 other Elders so we cover pretty much ... one stake. (FYI Spanish ward!) Sunday I had the privilege of introducing myself to the ward by giving a talk! I had fair warning though so I wrote my talk and had others correct it. Pretty nerve wracking for the first Sunday but it was fun! So far things go ok when contacting/meeting people but if they say anything back to me .... I kind of just smile and they get that I don't really understand. It definitely makes for fun times. Or phone calls! Oh those are fun! I have actually talked to people on the phone ... understand a word or two, and responded to what I think they're saying. This week has been a week of new! I live in Arizona. There are palm trees. The weather here is beautiful. Perfect time of year!

What else?! I know ... you don't know what it's like here. I'm not very good at painting a picture of what life is like here in words. Something I'll work on.

We drive. Oh, Mom, thank you for the Wendy's coupons! "It's just enough" Hna Ghan and I left the mission home and headed straight for ice cream or "oucream" as a little kid would say it! Yummmmm!

Hna Ghan has been in the ward for 6 months and had 2 baptisms on Saturday, but sadly they both moved to other areas.  We got to go to them and they were AMAZING. Such a thrill to meet people who decide to show their faith by getting baptized!

The work in our area is going well! We have many members who are very willing to help and refer us to people who might be interested in learning more about the gospel.

Our ward is HUGE!!!  Goes back into the gym for sacrament.
We have one investigator whose name is Fransisco.  He is so eager to learn about the gospel and it is always a thrill to teach him. We always plan what we're going to teach and ask him at the beginning what he knows about it. As it turns out, he pretty much teaches us what he knows and shares his testimony of it. He is getting baptized December 26. He wanted to get baptized January 2 because he is a new man for the new year. We all decided getting baptized for Christmas would be a good present for the the Savior.  I am really looking forward to that. A LOT. I sat next to him in Gospel Principles (Sunday School) on Sunday and he loves learning more and more.  People's lives really are changed when they put their whole heart into living the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Que mas? Arizona is so different than ... anywhere I've ever been. It feels like I'm in a different country. I don't know if I saw a two story house (besides apartments) for a few days. So many homes are one story. Oh yeah and our apartment. I've never had so much closet room in my life. Who knew I just needed to come on a mission? I guess it's also because I don't have all the other junk I seemed to accumulate in college.  The people here are wonderful.

President Bassett and his wife are fantastic! Haven't had too much time with them but I am so excited to be in this mission! Our goal is to have a WHITE CHRISTMAS. Yes that means a Christmas with baptisms. We are praying and working hard to see those miracles.

I love you all. Thank you for your support and prayers. The work is hard and there's a lot to learn.  One thing that is evident is that the Lord knows His people, and we are his agents. We are simply the messengers. It is a joy to share my testimony.

One person we said hi to responded with "NOOOOOT INTERESTED."  Yes, I am a missionary and wearing this plaque says something right away.

Happy to be here in Arizona! Love, Hermana Clark

Monday, November 16, 2009

MTC Update

As of tomorrow Hermana Clark will be leaving the MTC and she will have a new address.  When you want to wish her well, drop her a line, or give her some inspirational encouragement feel free to do so at... :

Hermana Clark
6265 N. 82nd St.
Scottsdale, AZ 85250

November 16

Email is super slow today. Wonderful last week in the MTC.

Yesterday I received a call from a woman wondering what our church believes on people with disabilities. I do not know the official statement on this but I shared with her my testimony that God has a plan for each of us and knows the physical limitations her brother has (autism) and the struggles she goes through to take care of him. She shared with me something very special. She has neighbors who are members and the missionaries were over when they went to their house to drop something off. Her brother was with her, and said to hey "they are here sent from God."  She asked how he knew this. He said, "Jesus told me."  In many ways I believe those who have mental disabilities are more aware with their spiritual eyes. It was a testimony to me that though we don't understand all that goes on here on earth, we have faith. We put our trust in God. As a missionary, I put my foot forward and share the gospel with everyone! Tomorrow is a big day! I feel like I've been preparing for this all my life!

This week I feel like I connected learning more about the gospel with learning Spanish. The purpose of learning Spanish is not to master the language. It is to be able to communicate the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ to more of God's children. Oh how excited I am to improve my Spanish and be able to do that much more effectively right now!

I do not think I've shared the funniest moment here while at the MTC. We were doing something with our companions in our classroom and one of the Elders was done with his waterbottle. He was looking at the floor and decided to chuck the bottle towards the garbage can with everything he had (he has a huge wing span!) Well, he forgot that Hermana Barlow was between he and the garbage can. This waterbottle hit her square in the forehead. Everyone in the class just stopped.  We didn't have any warning. It just WHACKED her. After a few seconds she laughed and turned to the Elder out of complete shock. hahahah It was quite funny. I will send pictures soon .... sorry!

I love the MTC and will miss it, but I am excited to go to Arizona tomorrow! Hopefully everything will fit in my suitcase!

The other day we discussed the Atonement and all shared scriptures that had significant meaning to us. Very special time to bond with these Elders. I love them! I have had the opportunity to see them grow in the short 2 months. I will leave you with the two scriptures that have particular significance to me and then I must go! John 14:6 because I learned it in primary and have loved it every since. Then 2 Nephi 2:8. Oh I love the scriptures!

I love you I love you I love you! Thank you for your letters and prayers! I pray all is well with each of you! Love, Hermana Clark

Monday, November 9, 2009

November 8

Lunes Lunes! This week was awesome and crazy and I loved it and .... wow I don't even know where to begin. Hopefully I'll make some sense!

First, on Tuesday we had a devotional (like always).  Elder Rasband came from the Presidency of the 70.  He is really good at speaking by the spirit. I have seen him at the MTC before and he was a direct answer to prayers then as well as this week.  I greatly enjoyed his talk as well as his wife's.  One story his wife told was when they were serving as mission presidents a number of years ago.  One of their Elders had ALWAYS wanted his shoes to be shined on the streets of New York. During his last week in the mission ... he finally heard a man yelling out ... "Shoe shine ... who wants a shoe shine."  So the Elder jumped at the opportunity. He asked "how much does it cost?" The man responded "as much as you're willing to pay."  Then the Elder saw him reach down and start polishing his shoes with a tattered shirt and shoe shine in a baby bottle. When the shirt became too worn to continue polishing, the man used the very shirt he was wearing. The Elder noticed his clothes were extremely tattered.  Then this Elder saw something else in this man who was trying to make a living with his shoe polish.  The Elder saw the Savior, Jesus Christ in him.  It is the Savior who says "Soul shine .... soul shine" but we must come up to him. He eventually will clean you, if you let him, with his bare hands.  He only charges what you can afford. I hope that story makes sense because I did not do it justice ... but I thought it was very powerful. That is the role of Jesus Christ in our lives, he can make us clean!

We watched some clips of a documentary entitled "6 Billions Others."  People were filmed all around the world and asked 40 questions. Real question ... about family, happiness, living conditions and such. We watched them mostly in Spanish but all sorts of language (translation provided!) to practice our listening skills.  It was quite powerful. This is definitely something I want to look at after my mission. It was so neat to hear women and men from countries I'd never even heard of. It seemed a common theme of family being important and without one there was a sense of loneliness.  It also reminded me that the gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone. I grew to love these people in a matter of minutes because they were willing to open up to us (well .. on the computer ...). I only hope I can learn about the people of Mesa like I did from the movies.  I loved it! One woman compared life to an egg! It was entertaining and REAL.

Every Sunday Morning we have the privilege of watching Music and the Spoken Word, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Sundays message was centered on Veteran's Day and wow it was powerful. I feel so grateful to be an American! So many have gone before us to ensure that we have these freedoms! I loved the songs they sung and was humbled to recognize the freedoms we have in this country. Horray for America!

Every Sunday, we are assigned a topic to prepare a talk on.  During church, they call up two missionaries and they go up their and give their talk ... in Spanish! Yesterdays topic was "Follow the Prophet," one of my favorites.  Well, I had the great opportunity to give my talk! It was really cool to share my testimony about this.  I loved preparing for the talk and being reminded, through the feelings of the Holy Ghost, how wonderful it is to have a living prophet on the earth! And be able to testify that President Thomas S. Monson is a prophet! Needless to say ... it was in Spanish and that certainly made it hard. It was definitely a boost for me though because I did it! I gave a talk in Spanish! I was grateful it was a topic I love too .... I was able to give the talk from my heart .... not just reading words from a paper.

Last thought ... time is almost out. Faith brings miracles. Ether 12:13-19.  Spanish, knowing the needs of people. Faith is where it's at and I love learning about it in the scriptures.

This work is the greatest work on the earth. The gospel is for everyone. There is a prophet on the earth who can help us overcome trials and invites us to come unto Christ!

Thank you thank you for your support! Last week here! Our district is having a blast! Love you all,

Hermana Clark

Monday, November 2, 2009

November 1

Hola! Woah it's already another Preparation Day! The weather in Provo is beautiful right now and I love it. Yesterday, talking to an Elder who is from Mesa, I heard I will be going when it is the best weather there! Boo ya - 2 weeks! This week we started learning the second lesson in espanol! (1st lesson is on the Restoration of the church to the Earth, 2nd lesson is the plan of salvation). I LOVE the 2nd lesson and being able to tell people there is a plan here on earth for each of us - we're not just here willy nilly. This week, however, I realized how much more there is to learn though.  Doesn't stop me from loving the language though! We have native friends from Peru, Mexico, and Paraguay and often I like to go in there and try to say as much espanol as possible (then they practice their english)! I am excited for Arizona though to really see what I can say. Haha needless to say I'm sure there will be many funny moments when I think I say something and turns out it was totally wrong. Actually I just look forward to actually being able to communicate in espanol. It will be a glorious day! Until then (and after) .... I'll continue working hard at the language!!

In our rooms here at the MTC we have 6 Hermanas in a room. After yesterdays Daylight Savings extra hour of sleep (wahooooo!), I woke up this morning 5am ready to start the day. Nice to find out I still had another 45 min to sleep! Around about 520 an alarm goes off. Usually, nothing lasts more than a few seconds ... well I guess someone was super tired. I'm half asleep at this point though and was very entertained by the noise. It was like a game "I wonder how long it'll go off ..... wow this is a long time!" Hna Barlow even said I was laughing. hahaha needless to say, I was quite amused. It turned out Hna Barlow hadn't put her alarm clock next to her bed so she didn't know it was hers. Anyways, it definitely put me in a great mood for the day! Much better than waking up to tones for the ambulance and running out the door!

This week Elder Perry came to speak at the devotional on Tuesday night (he is a 12 apostle ... he works with the Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson).  It was quite a thrill to see him! Interesting, however, because he based his remarks on a talk Elder Holland gave.  In fact, the same remarks we'd seen the Sunday before that talking teaching. The Elders in our district were blown away - some had never seen an apostle. It made me sooooo grateful for the many opportunities I've had to be in the presence and hear words or talk to an apostle of the Lord. They truly do have a special spirit with them and it is wonderful! Even hearing a similar message, he made me desire to study/ponder/know the scriptures more than ever. I am so grateful for that! I love love love the scriptures and am trying to use all my time wisely in order to learn from them in every way possible. The Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price!

This week was definitely different than other weeks but I'm not really sure why. One day was particularly different and though it was filled with its own challenges, many opportunities for service were also provided. Like I've talked about before, I love being able to serve the Lord and forget myself. Charity. charity charity charity. Yeah. Only reconfirmed what I've said before and it is wonderful.

Yesterday we had Mission Conference. It is when our MTC Presidency talks to us.  For me, a main topic was obedience and as missionaries we constantly get this message. EXACT OBEDIENCE. We don't wake up at 631 or go to bed at 1031. It is 630am and 1030pm.  I am finding many blessings from trying to live obediently as well as having a willing heart. I'll admit, it's not always easy to be willing to go everywhere you want to go with a companion, instead of really fast running somehwere and being back a few minutes later. It is for a reason though. Similar to the commandments of God, whether the 10 commandments or what our prophet commands of us.  We may not understand why but once we recognize it is from God, we follow. 

2 more weeks. I love the MTC but I know the next 16 months in Arizona will be incredible. Teaching about the gospel is becoming a passion. I look forward to all the challenges ahead!

Thank you for the letters of what is going on and the support! I love hearing about it all! God bless you all! I pray you are all finding joy in your daily endeavors.

Love always, Hermana Clark

Monday, October 26, 2009

October 26

Wahoo ... yes if anyone didn't know yesterday was my Dad's 50 Birthday! Congrats on not only being 50 but THE BEST DAD EVER!

This week we taught in Español! Wahoo! Definitely a success! And I cannot say that is because of what we know but because of the Holy Ghost bearing witness to what we are (or trying to) say. We only took simple notes into the lesson and ended up answering questions and explaining more than we ever had to our "investigators." We have had many more opportunities to teach and it is definitely coming along! Strange to know that we've taught people about the gospel of Jesus Christ in Spanish ... yesterday I literally had a WOW I CANNOT BELIEVE WE'VE DONE THAT moment. haha It is incredible how much we are given when we put faith in God. We definitely have a LONG ways to go and I pretty much know every other word I say is not said/conjugated/placed correctly. hahaha It is fun to see how much we CAN communicate though!

On Wednesday I had the privilege of seeing Ray Clinton (new missionary from my church in NJ)! If anyone has seen the movie XMen I like to think of it like we've living in the mansion they live in. They don't really have contact with others (we're definitely not secluded but ... moreso than if we had cell phones ... anyway ...)when new missionaries come on Wednesdays it's this huge WELCOME!! We're so glad you're here. We're all a huge family ... all 2000 of us. Anyway it was fun to say Ray ... I mean Elder Clinton! I saw him just an hour after he came to the MTC and was still with his host. When we put our name tags on you can sometimes guess where people are going because of how it says "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" aka mine is in Espanol. Well anyway his was in Japanese so these Elders who have been here 9 weeks started talking to him in Japanese and to their surprise he started talking back to them!! haha They definitely were not expecting that and were quite taken back. In anycase - Ray is already an incredible missionary! He seems to be wonderful every day that I see him!

This week was all teaching and espanol. We did get to see a great talk/lesson/training thing from Elder Holland yesterday on teaching. I learned so much from it and I hope I can work on implementing the points he made so I can be an effective teacher! I find teaching a delight! I've never found so much joy in it; it used to give me the creeps ... ok no just made me super nervous!

One thing I think I've begun to understand MUCH more this week is the phrase "charity never faileth." In the scriptures we know charity is the pure love of Christ. We also learn "if we have charity, we are nothing." Everything done here on earth, without love, serves no purpose. It does not fulfill anything to the point that it could. Brief thoughts but this week a light went on in my head.

Sometimes here I feel like I've known something for so long but I have so many AHA moments. Kind of like when I realized why "UHaul" was called U-haul (is that how you spell it ....)

Aver ...

My teacher, Hna Smith, served in Paraguay and was companions with a girl there who is now on a mission (before she would just be a missionary for a few weeks). I LOVE her. She is so much fun and great to talk to. She practices her english, I practice my spanish, and we share the great things that happen each day. Her name is Hna Arce. Her companion has given her some troubles so it is always great to be able to let her kick back and relax at night.

Something funny this week?? Hmmm lots was funny but most of the things we find to be funny are really not that funny. Sorry nothing this week. Don't worry we've definitely done LOTS of laughing.

I don't know what else to say this week but It's great here. Life couldn't be better! Arizona in 3 weeks! I get flight plans in a week and a half! Weird the MTC is almost over but it'll be grand to finally go to Arizona!!

THANK YOU FOR ALL THE SUPPORT! I love hearing about your lives and what you've been up to/thinking about. Thank you for your prayers and support! The gospel of Jesus Christ really is here on the earth today and will bring us happiness if we act in faith. I love it. And I love each of you.

Amor siempre,
Hermana Clark

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Monday, October 19, 2009

October 19

HELLO! I seriously forget what it's like to not be a missionary. It's been a month here and guess what ....I love it (what's new?)! I had a dream this week it was 2011 and I was done with my mission. I was SOOOO happy to wake up and find I was still in the MTC at the BEGINNING of my mission! People ask us how long we've been here and I guess we've hit our halfway mark??! Cool ... I guess. Though I look forward to Arizona, I am definitely enjoying all the studying/learning here!

This week blew every other week out of the water!

First, I will give you a schedule of a day here at the MTC.
6 - An exercise class for only Sister missionaries or running. An extra half hour to exercise and clear my mind! I love it!
630 - shower, dressed .... doesn't always happen in 30 min but it gets done somehow!
7 - breakfast
730 - personal study (from scriptures)
830 - companion study (practice teaching, bounce ideas off each other about doctrine, etc) 930 - language study - this is becoming every moment of our lives because most everything now is in complete spanish!!! Practice vocab, grammar, words, phrases ..... TEACHING LESSONS ...
1030 - MDT "Missionary Directed Time" We can sign up to practice teaching a lesson and get feedback, practice our spanish and contact people or what not. VERY beneficial. I am finding that more and more everyday.
1130 - lunch - there's always some sort of chicken burger. haha
1215 - class with Hermana Smith - from Idaho, served her mission in Paraguay, didn't want to go but going on a mission has changed her life. She's fantastic. She's great at saying this worked for me on my mission but the point is not for me to teach you how to do this ... it's to teach you how to learn so you can teach yourself.
3 - gym! I like to run for 20 min and then do some stairs (lacrosse!!!) or sit ups or pretend like I'm work out .... I always memorize things while doing this or I'd be completely bored! So far mi objetivo y el primero vision y una parte de "O Mi Padre". Me gusta!
430 - dinner ... who eats at 430pm?
515 - class with Hno Pino. He is from Venezuela and served his mission here in Provo, UT. Great teacher and so nice to have a native speaker to hear the accent and all. Same as Hna Smith - he's great at teaching us HOW to learn and lets us figure it out on our own. It is helping our district with accountability. If we don't take the time on our own ... we don't learn it! Oh and his dad is a 70!
815 - Then we prob have some more MDT time where we, as a district, like to read from the scriptures en espanol! Our accents are improving ... though of course we have a long way to go!
9 - plan for the next day. Though our schedule is pretty much set, we must PLAN what we will do during each of those segments of time (ie Personal study, comp study, MDT, language) 930 - residence hall. Chill out. talk with friends. take fun pictures. laugh. write in journal.
1030 - bed. lights out.

Throughout the week we have devotionals at night with all 2000 missionaries, we do service once a week (we like to dust all the pictures in the building we're in .... they line to hallways so it's fun to look at them all!). We also get to go to a place called the RC where people call in to get a free Book of Mormon or DVD on the family or such. Many people call because they're interested and are seeking more in life. It's fun to be able to talk to people and testify of Jesus Christ's gospel which is on the earth. Cool experiences in there!

Ok next. Two devotionals this week that were POWER. One was on the BOOK OF MORMON. The BoM should be the main tool in teaching, not PMG. Again, the BOM SHOULD BE YOUR MAIN SOURCE OF TEACHING THE GOSPEL. Talk was way forward that we need to do a better job at this. We also talked about promising people blessings. Not just anything but what God has said to his people in the scriptures. If you pray with faith -> He will answer your questions. He will comfort you. There are so many examples of this. I am simply the messenger. Not sure if that makes any sense but .... that is why I love being a missionary.

The other devotional was on teaching. The only pattern we should focus on ... or outline for lessons ... is to TEACH BY THE SPIRIT. We do not know the needs of the people but God does. Therefore, we must continually seek the Spirit and then go forward and not worry about it. God will put the words in our mouth. Along with that Hna Barlow and I learned a powerful lesson this week on meeting the needs of the people. We never teach a LESSON. We teach the GOSPEL. Huge difference. I love the quote that says something like "Do His work, His way, by His power" -> SO TRUE.

This past week we officially started teaching in Spanish! Wow it is scary and fun and hard! I love it though! At this point we're trying to apply what we've learned as of being a good teacher ... but it's hard to deviate from the outline we have when we don't know other words in spanish or even understand responses people give when we ask questions. It will come. I'm not worried about it. Definitely not easy but fun to see how much we actually CAN communicate!

This week we had new Zone Leaders called from our District. In a week we will be the oldest district (5 districts in a zone). We also got a new District leader. Hna Barlow is the Coordinating Sister (ie in charge of all sisters in our zone - there are 6 of us!) This week will be a transition week having so many leaders in our zone - we are the examples now! Weird but cool!

Hna Barlow and I have lots of fun speaking all the spanish we can come up with, talking in any accent (she is from Georgia so she has the southern one down pat!!!), helping the Elders keep a smile on their faces, and singing every moment we can - now in spanish!

The MTC was having problems with missionaries disagreeing on the music they were listening so we can't listen to music. Real bummer in the mornings. We just have decided to create our own though. I will really miss her when she goes to California!

Anyway, I have less than a minute left! I love you all! Thanks for the letters, pictures, and packages!!

Love always, Hermana Clark

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Hermana Clark and her companion Hermana Barlow

Hermana Clark's district at the Provo Temple
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Monday, October 12, 2009

October 12

Thank you thank you for all the letters and packages! My district is shocked and in dismay when I do not receive a letter. I know I am loved! I wish I could write to more of you - Preparation days do not factor in how many people you love and want to write to! I love you all!

I had pumpkin cookies, cream cheese (on a bagel), and pie this week! I love pumpkin! This season is one of my favorites because of the flavor!

I think today is the day Grandma and Grandpa start their mission in the temple again?! Wahoo! Things have been rolling here in the MTC. I actually got to go into the outside world this week and you know what .... all I wanted to do was get back to the MTC. I didn't miss it at all! (Doesn't mean I'm not excited to go to Arizona though!)

Sundays are definitely some of the greatest days here in the MTC. More importantly, Relief Society. A woman from the RS board came to talk to us, Martha Johnson. She related Sarah Hughes ice skating (2002 olympics) to us working hard as missionaries. It reminds me every week that we all have a purpose here (as a missionary, and in life) to better ourselves so that we can help those around us. Sacrament was awesome because an Elder gave a talk on obedience and diligence and I actually understood some of it! Wahoo!

Sunday was also cool because I got to say the prayer in Sacrament meeting. I've never had to and this was even cooler because it was in Spanish! If anyone remembers my prayers in spanish before ... they were ... pretty funny and very incomplete. Well they're only slightly better now! I did it with no notes and it was actually a prayer said with meaning ... not just saying all that I can think I know how to say in the language! It didn't help though, that the talk right before was on meaningful prayer - talk about pressure!

Speaking of spanish - we had an English fast on Saturday and .... let's just say there was A LOT of silence. Definitely realize how little you NEED to say in the day but how much you cannot communicate in spanish yet. Oh how far we all have to go! By the end of the day we were all going crazy. So crazy in fact I want to tell you a story about it.

We were going over the Word of Wisdom with our teaching and he started saying he likes relate it to eating a cookie. Imagine a giant, warm (your favorite kind) cookie. Just came out of the oven. Justttt perfect! Now you go to take a bite and all of a sudden you realize there is a little piece of poop in it. Would you still eat it? (SIIIIIICK) This is like breaking the Word of Wisdom, just once. It ruins the entire cookie - no matter how delicious it might have been! So we kind of laugh about it when he tells us. A few hours later (we're really slap-happy tired at this point) our other teacher wants us to group teach her about the Word of Wisdom. She came up with the question "But can't I just have one beer ... only for football games?" One Elders face lit up and goes into the cookie metaphor. We busted up laughing. Needless to say ... we won't use the anaglogy but next time you consider breaking the Word of Wisdom ... think of a cookie with a little piece of poop. Yum.

One of my favorite things this week was teaching in the TRC. We taught a man from Ecuador and another man who we taught last week (these are 2 men pretending to be investigators). Generally we go in there with a lesson outline but then try to answer their specific questions. This week we felt very il prepared. We'd only taught lesson 2 once before and hardly got through the first 3 principles (which doesn't even cover the Atonement - the real point of the lesson). In any case, we went in there with our hearts drawn out in prayer. We knew the Spirit had to be there. Well it was there and it gave us great confidence that when we rely on the Spirit, we really will have words put into our mouths. At the same time, we are working on being more prepared and love every opportunity to teach!

My favorite scripture I read this week was Alma 7:15: "Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin, which easily doth beset you, which doth bind you down to destruction, yea, come and go forth, and show unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him to keep his commandments, and witness it unto him this day by goinginto the waters of baptism." Also the new mormon message "choose ye this day." It's a good one.

I love the gospel. Yo sé que José Smith es un profeta. Yo sé que la iglesia es verdadero. Estamos felic si guarder los mandamientos! Jesucristo es nuestro Salvador! El Libro de Mormon es la palabra de Dios. En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen.

haha oh Spanish - I have so much to learn but I love it. I love you all.

Siempre amor, Hermana Clark

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

October 5

I woke up this morning around 530 and was alarmed to find my eyesglued shut and dried blood on my bottom lip. I forgot to take offmakeup yesterday and I guess I've been smiling a lot in my dreams (??)to make my chap lips bleed (from the dry weather). I am beginning tofeel what it means to be "tired" as a missionary. Nonetheless, I loveit here. Really, I do! So much happened this week I hope I can shareat least some!

We went to the RC this past week and had a truly remarkableexperience! Gustavo, a man from Brazil, started asking Hna Barlow andI questions about the church (through a chat). He told us his daughterhad recently joined and was now going to serve a mission in Paraguay.He and his wife don't know ANYTHING about the church and are very veryscared for the welfare of their daughter. We were able to share ourtestimonies of the blessing that come from serving a mission as wellas peace that comes when we put our faith in Jesus Christ. We wereable to give him the contact information for the closest branchpresident to talk about these things he's concerned with ... as wellas learn about this new faith his daughter absolutely loved. He wastouched that we were in the exact place his daughter would be in inDecember. By the end of the conversation, he said we were his angels.He is excited to learn of the gospel so much so he is thinking hemight want to join. Later that night in class, our teacher wastelling us of how many times she was simply the messenger and she didabsolutely nothing. Yet one more testimony to me that this is HISwork, not mine. Not Hna Barlows. I wish I could tell you the wholething ... it was amazing. We felt like real missionaries - able toshare the peace and joy we feel from our knowledge of the gosepl ofJesus Christ! We also committed to write his daughter, Marina, and are writing her a letter later today!

Hna Barlow and I are always finding new things to do! Recently we'vediscovered that you cannot hear us singing in the bathrooms! We veryoften will sing or hum a song and harmonize! This week it's been Comethou Fount! hahaha She is an awesome companion and we feel blessed tobe in a district with Elders that respect us!

Conference. WOAH. I have always loved conference. I will tell youthough, hearing Elder Brent H. Nielson challenge all the risinggeneration to prepare for missions was powerful. Just imagine hearingthis and saying ok, I will do it. Then I remember I am in the roomwith 2000 others who have taken on the same task. Now we all get to goout into the world and testify of the truth we've found, that everyoneelse can know for themselves. It was piercing. I also loved ElderHollands and how he said something to the effect of if you hold ontoChrist's words you cannot be decieved. Powerful testimony. The generalimpression I got from conference was LOVE, do the basics and you'll behappy. It's not that complicated. Things are going to not be peachykeen but you will make it through if you have faith in Jesus Christ,repent, and endure to the end.

Spanish ... is coming? I don't feel like I"ve been a missionary thepast 3 days because of conference. Hearing "Brothers and Sisters" issuper strange after hearing "Elders y Hermanas" for so long!

Exercise has been awesome here ... espeically with all the food theythrow at us. I've been running for at least 20 minutes a day and Ilove it! So far ... I haven't gained any weight. hahaha Keep yourfingers crossed! Even if I did ... if I keep running I'm not worried.I've been blessed!

I love it here! The church is true! Thanks for the letters!

Love love love!Hermana Clark

Monday, September 28, 2009

September 28

Whew! My first real week in the MTC! (Is it weird I want to say everything in the we form ... because I am always with a companera? I will try to say I ... but I can't guarantee. We do everything together!) I definitely do not feel like a "missionary" yet because technically I'm not even a greenie yet ....

The MTC continues to be an amazing place. We are teaching the first lesson everyday and it is so powerful to be able to testify to people that God knows and loves them. Joseph Smith really did see God, the Father, and Jesus Christ! How amazing this message is that the gospel is restored! Even if they are missionaries and already know it, the Spirit is able to confirm that each and everyday and it is truly amazing.

Yesterday we had Mission Conference and it was just a blow-away day. So much was learned. It only heaps on to the things I want to learn! I have definitely been reminded of my weaknesses, whether I have recognized them before or not, and I love being given the opportunity to try to improve those weaknesses. Right now I am working on planning. I am really not skilled in that area and it excites me to look forward to the day I am much more competent at that. For now, I am doing my best. And for the record, most of every time of your day is SCHEDULED for you, but that does not mean it is planned.

My district is quite enthusiastic. They all have their own personality traits but everyone is quite funny and it makes for a very enjoyable time. We do most things all together, and therefore when we are in a big crowd I feel like I'm following my brother or something. It is great! I love the elders and I love my companion! [Speaking of them, I have lots of pictures, but I will need to print them out and send them. The computers do not let me use my card reader here.] They bring a great spirit with them and I not only look forward to each day to learn more about the gospel, but also to get to know them more and enjoy our time together. Does that make sense - I love them!

I love being a missionary. It is still weird but yet I don't remember ... before. haha I can't even imagine what it will be like in March 2011! This is SUCH a huge blessing in my life - I can already tell it will effect the rest of my life. Serving a mission, speaking Spanish .... Oh life is wonderful. God has a plan for each of us.

Thank you for your letters of support! They have been in plenty and much appreciated! I love you all!!

Love always, Hermana Clark

Monday, September 21, 2009

September 21

Where to start on my first letter home? IT has only been what...5 days? When I think of you out there all I want to say is that I am sooo happy to be here! I used to worry about missionaries when they reported ... gosh not anymore! I love it here! Oh and what to hear the greatest news? I remember Mom say, "I hope you get a companion like Soeur Barlow (Mackenzie's MTC companion)." Well ... as it turns out ... my companion's name is Hermana Barlow! I love her! She is from Georgia and has been going to BYU for 5 years studying history! She has just a few credits left and we are surprised we never ran into each other before this! We are in a district with 8 other elders!

Man, I don't even know where to start. It is an honor to put on a name tag every single morning! When we're in class reading or writing somehting I catch myself looking at this strange black thing at my shirt and then am reminded that I am a missionary for La Iglesia de Jesuscristo de los Santos de lost Ultimos Dias. It's pretty awesome!

Spanish has already started and we learned how to pray the second day! We are learning a lot everyday and it has come to the point that I am writing in my hournal at night and I have to think really hard in order to not write ... apreder and agradecemos and ... words in Spanish. It is quite humorous. Hna Barlow has taken a few years of Espanol so she and I are trying to use all of it we know. When we learn a word in Espanol we try not to use it in English. As of now, I still say a lot in English. I guess more will come ... very soon!

What else? I love being here! When someone reminds me I am in Provo and I remember BYU I don't even miss it. What a blessing to feel at peace (paz) that I am in the right place!

I didn't know how it would be studying the gospel everyday for so long, but it is truly wonderful. If there was anything that I wish was different, it would be that we had MORE time to study! Every time personal or companion study ends I think of so many things I wanted to study of ponder or write. I guess learning espanol certianly helps in breaking up reading scriptures all day. Oh and on Saturday I officially wrote my first talk in Espanol. Most of it is straight from our "libro rojo" (book that will alawys be with my to learn how to speak Espanol) or PMG.

Hna Barlow and I have already had a few opportunities to teach and it is so exciting to testify of things that we know. To think we'll get to do it for people who do not know of the Restored gospel (Evangelio restaurado) is very VERY exciting. Everyday my testimony is strengthened that this IS the restored gospel and it is on the earth today! Joseph Smith saw God the Father, and Jesus Christ. We have revelation and can know for ourselves the truth. Jesus is the Christ! He lives! Through Him we are able to make it back to live with our Heavenly Father again! The Atonement is a miraculous thing and I am grateful to be given weaknesses so that I can utilize it so much in my life! I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Thanks for the many letters! I barely found time to read all the letters I received! Thank you for your prayers! I feel your support each and everyday!

Love, Hermana Clark