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