Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May 25

Yesterday we woke up to go running and got cold! What a nice surprise! And I took a hot shower for the first time in weeks (usually it's nice to just cool off!) What are the temps ... around 70-80. Sunday night it cooled off and I had to put on a sweater and it was so weird! I look forward to being cold again, but I have a feeling my blood has been thinning out and it'll be 10x easier than before!

We had an incredible Sunday here in Arizona because the Gila (pronounced heel-a) Valley temple was dedicated and all of Arizona worthy members were able to watch.  What a power in the work that goes on in the temple! OH MAN! It is a beautiful temple and we are excited to have 2 more built here in Arizona in the next few years (I really have no idea what's happening with Phoenix and Gilbert ... no members have really known too much as of late ... if anything has changed). 

Right now we are still fasting and praying for our 200 baptisms in the mission. We have set the date for Claudia and Evelin for June 5th. It will take a miracle for them to move and get baptized, but we are praying for the faith to see it happen, and doing all we can to prepare them and find a place for them to live!

I love you all! This is the work of the Lord! Keep his commandments and he'll bless us! Thanks for your love, prayers, letters, and service! Love alwyas, Hermana Clark

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May 19

Sorry I did not write yesterday or tell you we were going to write today! We had Zone Conference yesterday! Yay for awesome leaders in the mission!!!

First, a funny thing. On Sunday we had 2 return missionaries speak in sacrament meeting (we seem to have that a lot here in the stake).  It was also the last Sunday before the Cano family will move to Texas to start Medical School.  They have a little boy, Miguel, who is 1 or 2.  Hno Cano is a ward missionary and their family was willing to do anything we asked them. Pick up investigators, noche de hogar, come with us to lessons .... they were just awesome! Such a help! They were invited by the Branch President to share their testimonies before they leave and as they walked up (after these two RMs had spoken) their little boy is really really excited! Hna Cano goes up first and tells us exactly WHY he's so excited. He thinks one of them is Joseph Smith and the other was a prophet! He was so excited and was so happy to shake their hands! HAHAHA it was so cute! Man, you don't question the teachings in their home! He's being taught the gospel!

Anyway, also, last week we celebrated Hna Nielsen's birthday and I can't believe I forgot to write about it! She had heard from others that birthdays on the mission are a hit or miss. Well I DID NOT want it to be a miss! We woke up and I made a scavenger hunt for her of little things through the apartment.  It was funny coming up with them "you put this on everything ... therefore we don't have any left" aka Nutella! hahahah The fun was definitely in finding all the hiding places, not the prize, of a giant hershey kiss that has been sitting in our room for a few months. We even video taped it! It took about 20 minutes to do! Hahaha We'll have fun looking at it after! Ashley and Claudia, recent converts, surprised her with a little cake and a balloon and we all sang! We were in a lesson and something came up about birthdays so we told them it was her birthday ... so they burst out in singing happy birthday! One thing about Hna Nielsen is she's not much of a cake person ... more of a pie person! So in my mind the only thing that seemed to be missing was a pie. Well ... we just happened to be eating across the street from the Stake Presidents house and his wife was walking by when we were going in for dinner. She was very friendly and we told her today was a great day because it was Hna Nielsen's birthday. She was really excited and then said .... I have something for you! President Ostler made two pies for mother's day .... and we have this pie ... that does not belong in our house! So later that night they dropped off some really delicious homemade pie (I forget what kind ... but it was gooooood) and a little extra stuff for her birthday! The Bryson's had a bag of sourpatch kids! We got phone calls from the Asistants and other Sisters we love with different birthday songs!  She got letters from friends, family, and the Bassett's! I am pretty sure this birthday was NOT a miss .... but it was a HIT! To top the night off, we even contacted a family we'd been trying to contact for a few months AND taught them. We challenged them to pray to know that we were representatives of Jesus Christ. We asked them how they would know or recognize the answer to their prayer. The mother tried to describe how she received an answer to her prayer. She didn't know how to describe it though.  We taught them about the Holy Ghost and how it testifies of truth. Anyway, it was so cool! Horray for people recognizing answers to prayers and recognizing the Holy Ghost! HAPPY BIRTHDAY HERMANA NIELSEN!

Ok so this week. We had Zone Conference yesterday and we talked about how weekly planning coordinates with daily planning and with personal and companion study.  PLANNING is something I have always struggled with. How to plan effectively. You'd think it'd be easy with 13 steps as a missionary, but I still struggle! Well yesterday was quite brilliant!  There were excellent trainings, insights, the Spirit was there teaching! What ties it all in are THE PEOPLE! We plan for the people because we love the people. One Elder going home bore his testimony of charity and he certainly is one that exemplifies that.  It is cool to see so many different missionaries and see how we're all doing the same work, and we're doing it with the Lord's help, while using our talents and gifts to bless others lives.

We studied (I think I mentioned this before) Mormon 9:27, Mormoni 7, and BD Miracles.  I also looked a lot at Ether 12. FAITH -> MIRACLES. Ether 12:12 without faith, God cannot perform his miracles.  Miracles are not not ordinary, they are manifestations of God's power, and part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Miracles are a product of great faith. I know right now my faith is a bit lacking. I love this area we're in but it seems we've run low on investigators. We've taught our investigators, we've contaced formers, even those who missionaries just talked to before and didn't even teach. We have faith there are more out there though. We will keep working hard, praying and "working out our own salvation with fear before God" (something like that).  Work in Philipians 2:12-13 is good works. We cannot be saved without serving others, being Christlike. Anyway, I love those chapters. I loved being reminded to focus on THE PEOPLE yesterday. That makes planning, studying .... so focused and worthwhile. I love studying. i love the scriptures.

Yesterday we got the Ensign and today we got the Liahona!!! GOLD! Love it! I love the work! Thank you for your prayers and support! I love each of you! Keep working hard, serving, and giving your heart!

Love always, Hermana Clark

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

May 11

Wow it was so great to talk to you on Sunday! We ate dinner with the Bryson's and some of their kids right before and then we went downstairs to get ready to talk and I just did a little jump up and down, burst of excitement/nervous! Ay! I cannot believe I was nervous to talk to you! How fun it was though! What can I say .... I LOVE EACH OF YOU!

We had a really big CincodeMayo party with the branch. Great people, great food, great spirit. I laughed because there was loud music the whole time (sometimes not spanish but stuff Hna Nielsen and I would listen to....) yet we were talking to branch members or ward members. At one point, I remember one song coming on and having a flashback of how much I loved this song, and then just tuning it out. We were talking to a man about the beauty and majesty and eternal consequences of the temple! The mirrors where you see you and your spouse forever can also mean your ancestors from before and your posterity after. Interesting to literally be in the world, but not be of it. We are God's children.

We saw miracles this week. I have such a stronger testimony of praying for increased faith and looking for God's hand in our lives. D&C 59:21. Keep the commandments and remember God.  This is how we don't offend Him! Hna Nielsen has such a gift for recognizing miracles and sometimes I want to disregard them.  I have learned however, that I am denying them when I do not give credit to God.

We are continuing to pray for 200 baptisms this transfer as a mission. I know I need more faith to talk to EVERYONE (not let anyone pass by) and to teach with power! It is exciting! I love being a missionary! It is a joy to share this message with people.  I love feeling the Spirit and helping others recognize it. I love the gospel!

Thank you for everything. Keep up all the hard work in NJ and Ohio! I love you and I pray for you and your success! Love always, Hermana Clark

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May 4

This was quite a sad week for us. In one night, we had 2 families tell us we don't want you coming by and a menos activo ..... drop us as well.  The Sanchez family is moving. Now. .... has moved. We went by Thursday and they moved Sunday. AY. We walked away somewhat with our heads hung low but in reality we knew we did all we could in this time with them. It's not quite their time ... but it is close! The menos activo is a really nice guy named Hector. His little cousin has been coming out everytime we come by to tell us he's sleeping/at work/just left. This past week we happened to see him walk in his house. She came out (she's 9) and told us he wasn't there. We told her to go in there and tell him that we know he's there and we just want to talk to him (it was said really nicely).  After 3 times of her going in and out, she came out and said ok, he told me to lie to you. Muy triste que children have to be the ones who are taught to lie and the ones caught in the middle. This little girl is a doll though and everytime we pass by (which is at least every other day) she runs up to us and gives us each a (or a couple) big hugs! So .... sad that people made a decision rechazar las ensenanzas de Jesucristo. 2 Nefi 2:27-28. Liberty or captivity -> it's your choice. I just pray we are deliving the message in a pleasing way to the Lord!

Right now we're really focusing on our teaching skills so that people are able to understand what we are trying to help them do.  When you understand the gospel, you want to live it. When you understand the doctrine, you want to follow the principles. Ether 12:6 -> sometimes much live before you are given that testimony though.

Random funny note. I think I mentioned before a woman who came up to me my first week here saying she lived behind Rosa and Sal's for a long time (how small is this world???)  WELL it turns out, not only did she also live in Brooklyn before, but her name is ROSA and she was the Rosa in Rosa and Sal's! She and her husband got a divorce and so that's when it just changed to Rosa. She sold it about 6 years ago though.  Too funny though???? How many times did we walk in there? She joined the church just a year ago and has found some dear friends in the Relief Society and loves to study the scriptures and learn more! She is from Venezuela! I just thought that was funny though! Her son and daughter would work out in front a lot!

Oh yeah .... new transfer this week and for once I'm staying! Same companion, same district leader, same zone leaders! WAHOO! Hna Nielsen and I were quite relieved! Sad that we lost some of our most promising investigators but we know there are others out there! Just yesterday we started off the week and it seemed we had miracle after miracle of being in the right place at the right time! Miracles are real, we just have to have faith and look for them!

The last two transfers our baptisms have been way down. Though we don't just focus on baptisms, that is our purpose here as missionaries to "invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end" The gate, described so many times by Christ, is baptism. It is narrow and strait. 2 Nefi 31. Anyway, they've been down the last two transfers and this transfer our goal is to have 200 baptisms. It will be a miracle to get close to there, but like I said, with great faith and hard work (to show our diligence in desiring, not saying we do anything really to do the miracle) they do happen! So yeah! Plus it's the last transfer with President Bassett! Quite ... weird!

Ok last but not least, last night. We went to go visit Juan Ferrer, recent convert. Saturday we went to take pictures of he and his kids (he has none! que lastima!) and he could barely walk. He was given a blessing and Sunday came to church with his kids.  He looks miserable though, he's in so much pain.  Well, last night he told us he has some health problems and he really doesn't know how much longer he is going to live. His greatest desire is to be able to see all of his kids (here, Mexico, Italy, and Spain).  It felt like I was sitting down with dad and he was telling me he was going to die soon. Oh my goodness! He said it with soooo much faith though. Earlier this week he was very upset about everything. His exwife is moving to Oregon and ... oh it's just a mess.  He was so content though. He has great faith, through the pain (physical and broken heart).  Oh I just pray for this man! We are also going to work with him so that he can do baptisms for his two sons who have passed away. Oh the plan that our Heavenly Father! It is so grand and covers ALL!! The Atonement is far reaching and infinite!

The Atonement is what we've been studying to know how to help one family we are teaching progress. They don't seem to quite be getting the bigger picture and it makes us sad.  Are we not teaching it effectively?  Do they understand the significance? It is their doubts and fears holding them back? What is sad is they are not applying it and receiving those blessings from their obeidence to laws and commandments.  The gospel principles class and relief society were RIGHT IN LINE this week with what they need and would've helped them .... had they been there. Not making a decision is infact making a decision. Oh how much sadness there is in the world! How much could be avoided if we heed to God's commandments and put aside our fears and seek to serve and love Him!

There was one thing I wanted to say and I don't remember ..... hmm I will send some pictures!

Oh, the law. We kept trying to contact a referral this week and we always talked to the son. Well, this boy, for some reason reminded me soooo much of Adam Carmack (mostly the Mexican accent) and kind of freaked me out ... but certainly everytime we went it was like talking to a little 14 year old Adam carmack. Anyway, last night we saw them cleaning out their truck and they're going back to Mexico because of the new law and what part are they going to .... Verracruz! I just laughed. Anyway, I laughed! Funny NJ moments with Rosa Merchan and the little Mexican Adam!

I love you all! Thank you for your prayers, letters, prayers, love, prayers, and being you! Prayers really are heard and answered! Spanish is coming! Talk to you Sunday!!!! Love always, Hermana Clark