Tuesday, February 23, 2010

February 23

Hermana Clark and Hermana Guzman at Hermano Soria's baptism


Wow where do I start with this week? There seemed to be a theme this week: THE PLAN OF SALVATION.

We had the baptism of Hno Soria this week. Oh what a joyful day that was! I just barely met the man, but wow he was ready for baptism! He has had 2 children pass away. One was only a year ago. Their house is filled with pictures of him and it seems everyone in the family misses him.  The Branch President spoke after Hno Soria had been baptized and said some very special words to him. There was no mistaking the spirit being in that room.  His decision to be baptized was long awaited and it seemed the heavens were shouting for joy! His family CAN be together forever and his children are not lost.  He is going to the temple this Friday to do the work for his two sons. Oh he is such a sweet man. His isn't always one to walk around smiling, but after his baptism they had some food and I have never seem him so happy!!!! It was such a privilege to see that day witnessed! After he was baptized and changing into dry clothes, we asked all the people there to write their thoughts on a notecard for us to put all together so he can remember this day. We gave it to him and he just wept.  Oh how merciful our Heavenly Father is, no matter how stubborn we are, when we make that decision to change, we are wrapped in our Savior's arms.  The invitation is always there for lasting peace and happiness! We just need to take that step of faith!

Speaking of, Juan, just this morning, accepted our invitation to be baptized! Wahoo!!!! Somewhere near March 12, depending on his work schedule! We are soooo excited!

Oh yeah, something else. I've been on the mission a little more than 5 months, but YESTERDAY was my one year until going home. Weird! So much will happen in this one year, however, I am so looking forward to the growth and knowledge that will come in this next year.  I pray I am able to be an instrument in the Lord's hands!

Sunday, I heard some pretty devastating news. Like, wow. In my first area, we knocked on a door of a member who was a single man, so we thought. We knocked and his wife (of 1 year) answered! She is from Brazil and served a mission about 30 years ago and talking to us her mission memories flooded back.  We had such a grand visit with her and asked her to help us with a recent convert who was having some hard times, who is also from Brazil.  Well, we went back to their house and ate dinner with she and her husband. They were .... not a couple you'd predict, but esta bien. I, actually, was kind of afraid of her husband. I shared a thought with them and he asked me if I really believed that. It was in a voice of wanting to believe but losing faith in it. We stopped by right before I left the area a few weeks ago and had a lovely visit with them.  He was in much better spirits and told us of his time as a stake missionary and the inexpressable joy he felt in that calling. She, as always, was a joy! We had a little lesson and said a prayer for their family.

The day before I left, we left a picture on their door, saying we love you.  Well, Sunday, I found out, the day we dropped that picture off was the day that this man had committed suicide.  His wife found him.  Hna Nielsen and Ladd (serving in my last area now) ran into her and she just sobbed talking to Hna Nielsen.  The man, previously, had been married to another woman in the stake we knew as well. Oh what grief! Oh how sad! Ayyyy! I could not stop thinking about this all night or the next morning until I said a prayer.  I plead for this man.  I realized that my prayer was going to our Heavenly Father.  In Alma 40:11 we read: "the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life." That is the power of prayer - we are talking to our Heavenly Father, who knows ALL of his children. He makes sure to take care of them when they need it.  It was such a relief to me to realize that it's not just a wait-until-Preparation-day to write a letter to a friend to make sure they are doing well .... we can pray to our Heavenly Father to ensure those we love are well taken care of. I don't know if I am making any sense, but WOW. The other thing I began to understand is that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is much more than I can comprehend. This life is not the end. Of the people I know that have made the decision to end their lives, all I can say is I doubt they understand the full meaning and purpose of this life. This plan that God has for us, it is just incredible. I wish I understood it more. I only know the simple basics. Of what I understand though, I will do my best to follow the example of Jesus Christ. [I don't know if I explained that well .... sorry]

Wow this week was hard work. Nevertheless, the work goes forward. We had other investigators who had bits of crisis' in their lives as well. Nevertheless Matthew 11:40-42.

I love this work! God is our loving Heavenly Father and always provides a way! I've been studying Mosiah 4-5 in preparation for Zone Conference this week. Wow - exactly what I needed to help me in the work.  I love it!

This is the Lord's work! Love you all. Thank you for your prayers, letters, and love.

Love always, Hermana Clark

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

February 16

Jump for joy if you love your mission...
oh and if you and your companion are wearing matching shirts from Goodwill!


Wahoo! Ok So I am in the Arboleda Branch in the Hermona Vista Stake (ish)?

The Branch is just incredible! The Sisters here have been Visitor Center sisters for a while, as in not always able to be in church and only have limited hours during the day to see investigators. The branch just ... wow .... the leaders do their callings and take it very seriously. They know about each investigator and work very hard and diligently to make sure every person feels welcome and loved.

Our investigators are INCREDIBLE. I am used to going to appointments and people not being there. As in, all appointments falling through. Here, the Sisters have done an incredible job of building trust. The investigators know and love the missionaries. Oh man. I am so excited for all of them! Though each and everyone has their own special needs and questions, God really does know how to take care of His children!

Last night we watched a movie with a girl named Evelyn. We've been teaching her mom and her mom's boyfriend. That's a whole different story, but Evelyn. Oh man I just love her! She is 13 and loves the gospel! She loves YW. Oh you just only want the best for her and don't want to see her suffer through things going on at home.

Juan and Dolores. They are both very intellectual. This week they both, individually opened up to us and told us the things they are struggling with. We are hoping to help them see the great peace the gospel of Jesus Christ offers.

We have a baptism this Friday for a long time investigator named Hno Soria! Most of his family are members and so he's been through missionary after missionary. Well, the day before I came, he called and said he wanted to get baptized this Friday! So, my first lesson with Hna Guzman was teaching Hno Soria the Restauracion. We are teaching everything again. He is so humble and so teachable, yet firm in his desires. Sunday I asked him what changed his mind, and he said he wants to be with his family forever. He's seen lots pass on before him and he wants to have that assurance. It is quite humbling to hear his testimony. It will be an incredible baptism on Friday because of his desire to make this covenant with our Heavenly Father, as well as the branch who has been anticipating it for years. Oh it will be wonderful!

Our area is about the same size as my last area, but we really only go to three places. A huggggge apartment complex called Orange Groves. All of our referrals are in there. Yesterday we literally we ONLY there.  We are meeting so many people who are either prepared, or getting prepared, whether they know it or not, to reap soooo many blessings from our Heavenly Father.

We live in a members home and that is quite different. I feel like I'm at the Butters house in Park City. We take up the basement, and the stairs go up to their kitchen/tv area. I kind of feel like we have this tunnel (open though ... no door between their kitchen/tv) to the outside world. I didn't know the Olympics were starting, but I am pretty sure we heard the opening ceremonies the other day. Too funny. We have our little room and then eat on a little table and study on the ping pong table. Our kitchen has a fridge and then a little sink and a toaster, blender, and portable stove ... thing. cooking is kind of out. Before the sisters would eat at the visitors center a lot ... so it's been a challenge to make/eat food that's somewhat healthy in our limited time.

Hna Guzman. Oh man she is a fireball and ready to work each day! There is a reason we are together in this area for this transfer. It will only be this transfer though because next transfer she will go back to working in the Visitors Center for the east pageant. By the way, that is HUGE out here. I am WAYYYY excited. Anyway, time is up.

I am studying solomente en espanol.  Muy interesante. I don't even get out my english stuff, unless I really don't know what a scripture or Preach My Gospel is talking about. I can generally get the gyst (how do you spell that?) of it.  It is exciting but there is still a long way to go. I still continue to leave appointments confused about what was said. Coming. poco por poco. I love the spanish language and the culture!

Nos vemos! Adios! It's 75 here this week and I'm getting burned. hahahaha Oh man. It's still the middle of February! This is God's work and it is incredible! Every day I realize how much God has given us to help us be happy, now and forever.

Love always, Hermana Clark

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

February 9


I have learned one thing on my mission: When you expect something to happen and you don't need to worry about it ... it doesn't. When you don't think something will happen and a miracle will occur if it does .... it does. I guess that comes with a lot of stuff not being in your control.

Transfers are today and I'm going to a new area and a new companion! 3rd companion in 3 transfers. Chances are we'll only be together for this transfer because of the Easter pageant coming up in April.

This week. Besides the total shock of being transferred ... in all honesty it wasn't unexpected because both Hna Nielsen and I had a feeling last week (sort of out of no way ... not possible) we could be transferred. Nevertheless, we went to work this week and saw a billllion miracles.

We had one afternoon, noon to 5pm, of all tracting. While planning we looked at a map and say a prayer we would go to places that we could find people that were ready to hear the gospel or people needed our help. First on our list happened to be one of the streets I tracted last transfer. First reaction was to not go because I've knocked all those doors and the street next to it. A prompting is a prompting though so we went. I think we only ended up knocking 4 or 5 doors. We began teaching a couple and they invited us back again with their 2 kids. We talked to an elderly couple who live in a BRIGHT pink house.  They are Methodist and are the sweetest people you've ever met. Last time they pretty clearly just blew us off. This time we saw them as they were taking groceries in. Their first question was "what are you selling?" We said nothing and just grabbed their groceries. Nice people. Not interested in the church but we were glad to help and get to know them a bit! An english member who just moved in on that street drove by and ran up to us pleading to go out with us.  She got home from her mission2 years ago, speaking spanish.  She came out with us two days later and it was one of the best member experiences I've had - we didn't go anywhere. We taught two of her neighbors! That's how member work is REALLY effective. She'll be around them!

Karina, the mother of Nahun and Heider, is never around and therefore we are not going to keep trying to run around. A family we work with a lot, however, just got a calling into hombres jovenes and so we have talked to him about talking to them and giving them a ride to church/mutual every week.

Dalia we taught this week. oh I just love that girl! She has a long way to go to fully embracing the gospel but she recognizes the good and will need some umph to continue on with it.

Ayyyy time goes too fast! I'm getting transferred. Said lots of goodbyes this week. I feel kind of sad saying goodbye in this area because I don't understand everything people are saying. I love them, but I feel like I could love them more if I understand everything they say. How frustrating. I need more patience with the language. Hna Guzman, however, is Mexican so .... I look forward to the next 6 weeks and improving language skills. Hna Nielsen and I certainly improved our language skills ... because we had to. Really good for us. It'll be wonderful though to have a native speaker.

Ay so much happened this week. We just had miracle after miracle after miracle after miracle. I wish my mind wasn't so scatterbrained right now. I have lots of pictures though!

I am sorry this letter this week is random. The past few days I just feel like I've been scrambling to catch up. I am excited for this area to continue growing! Sad to leave. So many mixed emotions. It comes down to the fact though, that President Bassett is inspired.

The work is amazing. I love the scriptures. I love my Savior. This week I read more about the Savior's example and his actions of love. I just feel like I learn a huge amount about life each day. What a blessing it is to serve. I still need to forget myself and go to work .... more. Life is on pause.  This is life right now and I truly do love it.  There have been moments on the mission that I just treasure. I know I could not have those experiences had I been worried about myself. Oh but I have sooooo much to learn here. Mesa is where it's at for me and this land will always be a beautiful place, not a desert.

Love you all. Thanks for your prayers and love.

Closing thought. We went to Claudia's Sunday night to say goodbye. I love her family! Claudia, Nayeli, Ashley, Juanito, y AB. We said a family prayer before we left and the prayer made me think of Elder Bednar's talk about the home this past conference. In the middle of the prayer we may or may have not heard noises of some bodily functions. Another child began to scream bloodly murder.  Their home has love in it and that is all that matters! I will miss Claudia and her kids!

Love always, Hermana Clark

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

February 2

picture from last week - Liza with her companion Hermana Nielsen...in the rain of course.


Already another week. Really? The sun came out this week and I was sweating .... in short sleeves. Oh boy do I NOT look forward to summer here :)

Let's talk about members first. We ate at a couples house this week named the Chappell's. Bro. Chappell grew up in Coalville and his dad employed a man named Leonard Clark. Sound familiar? The world is getting smaller. 

I cannot express how much thanks we have for members in this area (gringos and in our Liahona 4 ward)! So many examples of hard working people who fill their homes with love.  One family we ate with didn't know how many children they had living at home because one of their 3 adopted sons had run away a few days ago. AY! And yet they are so happy and look forward to each day!  Others we were with this week have kids that practice the piano at 530 so each child can get his fair share of practice time. It wasn't the parents saying you need to ... the kids want to! Just great families. All doing their best to be examples in school, at work. One bishop we talked to this week expressed his frustrations of his ward. Not the people in his ward, but how the ward is a static area. Mostly all homes and people tend to not see the need to change when they have a family, a job (hopefully ...), seem happy. It is painfull to see that people really do want more, but are afraid for what it will take to have that.

So .... back to our two miracles from last week. We showed for our first appointment with Dalia and she wasn't there. Lame .... but we went back a few days later and she came out and ... wasn't looking so pregnant .... because she'd had her baby and had come home right after we came for our appointment! The baby was a month early but she's healthy and happy and not crying too much! Dalia is doing well and she felt so bad she wasn't there for our appointment. We are really looking forward to talking to her more this week though!

Nahun and Heider (Heider's the younger brother) are kids and so we need to get permission to teach them.  Their mom is rarely home and their uncles/step dad are weary of us coming by. As for now, we're trying to get them to simply go to church and mutual every week. Nahun loved church and mutual (they played basketball ... not cleaning the church). We wanted to take him to the Visitor's Center to see the Joseph Smith movie ... but that's when his uncles kind of said what the heck is going on here ..... so ... we'll see what happens. Nahun wants to learn/go. We're praying for a change of heart in their home.

We got dropped by a wonderful couple this week who began their 'dropping us' with "we always feel the Holy Ghost when you come by.'  It wasn't completely unexpected but still pretty devastating. Honestly though, we're pretty confident they will find their way.  It may not be this month, the summer, or even this year .... but they will receive the blessings of the Restored gospel.  We will try to go see them in a few weeks.

Our work right now involves lots of visits to members to find out about their neighbors.  We called a random phone number yesterday that was in our phone and ended up teaching a lesson to them over the phone. We'll see what happens with them. Later I remembered we'd talked to them in a truck 2 months ago and just had their number. Maybe February their month?

Food. We make breakfast (cereal or toast or yogurt/granola) and lunch in our apartment. Lunches are always interesting. Hna Nielsen and I ALWAYS play around with different foods. It's never just mac and cheese. We make our own cheese sauce. Or we mix stuff. This week we fried zucchini and squash. YUM. At the beginning of the transfer we make snickerdoodles and added orange peal. Hahah so far nothing has turned out too bad! We've been lucky! Yesterday lunch was rice, eggs, and chicken in a tortilla with bbq sauce. We enjoy our creations! Dinners by the members are incredible and so far so good. Only one meal I didn't like and that MIGHT have been because I put too much hot sauce on it. Did you hear that? Hot sauce. The first bite I took ... my lips were burning. Oh and every single person on the planet should have an orange tree. They just should :)

Que mas? Espanol. Entendi mas en la iglesia esta semana pasada. It will come.

We had exchanges this week and it was fun to be with Hna Mancilla who is originally from Mexico but lived in Utah.  The only hard part is when I have no idea what they're saying ... so I can't really put in a word. Hahaha muy interesante y aprendiendo mas cada dia. This morning we were shopping and I was talking on the phone in Spanish and people were just staring at me. Not sure if it was because soy una gringa y hablando en espanol o porque la pronunciacion es muy malo. oh man I just open my mouth and say what I can. It is such a beautiful language! I just hope I will sound beautiful speaking it ....

Next week is transfers. I would say 99% sure we're staying together but you never know. One of the full-field spanish sisters was sent up to payson (where it's cold!) this week in an emergency transfer for a zebra companionship. Usually no one there really speaks spanish but she's with two english speaking companions. I guess you can never know, but President Bassett is, no doubt, always inspired as to where people are needed.

This week I really only studied one thing besides specific lessons for investigators. P93 of PMG "how investigators (or us....) should feel when we are converted?" as well as "how we should feel inorder to teach with converting power?"  I love the scriptures. They answer every question.  The Savior's example is most powerful.  John 9:1-3. There are sooooo many!

This work is hard and yet it is so worth it. We laugh being "sister missionaries" but it is a thrill to be on the Lord's time! We do the best we can and ask that the rest is made up by grace.  You know what .... it always is if we will give it all our heart, might, mind, and strength. Still trying to figure out quite how to do that, but it is coming. I love the Lord, I love this work. I love my companion and I love the people.

Thank you thank you for your updates, letters, pictures, love, and prayers! O how grateful I am to be in the service of God at this time and doing His work. What a precious time this is. I pray all is well in your homes, families, and friends. It has been hard to try and just forget about life before but I have seen how the Lord takes care of those we love when we put Him first (well ... at least try)!  He really is our loving Heavenly Father and wants us to be happy!

Happy February! Love, Hermana Clark

Posted by Picasa