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