Wednesday, July 28, 2010

July 27 - jump for joy

they're still together!!

YES! we are still together!! This will be our 5th transfers together and I'm not sure I've heard of anyone in the mission being together this long ..... but we know there are many reasons. Some we've realized, some not yet. When people ask, we say we've been together since Christmas .... minus 6 weeks. Holy cow that's soooo long! End of fall semester to beginning of the next fall semester. Boooo yah (as our district leader, E. Pebley always says)! We were happy with that news!!

I am so glad to be in this area because there is so much to be done! Rosy and Rosa are still getting baptized September 4th (the weekend before I'll probably leave) but both we want to push up their dates and very likely it will happen. Norma needs to go to Mexico to talk to her Dad about something that happened a long time ago ... and then she has all desires to get baptized. We went to a girls camp skit the JC were putting on for their parents (to prep for the real one at camp) and it was sooooo awesome! I say this because Norma's daughter was in it. WOW. Hermana Nielsen and I were so impressed by the young women and their testimonies and willingness to share their talents and experiences. WOW. YW was certainly different in Michigan and NJ.

MEMBERS. We went by our WML this week to ask his wife if she could come out with us and we walk to where their condo is and their gate and front door are wide open with lights on ..... and it's completely empty. Kind of a scary picture ... with everything going on here right now with the law ... but then they came back. They lost their house this week because of something with the bank. They're moving down the street ... aka out of the branch :( We are SOOOO SAD to see them leave, but we realized that night that that of Heavenly Father's way of sending him to where they are now. They will be a huge blessing in the Valencia branch and to ALL of their neighbors. They're ... awesome.

We got a call this week that a member in our stake invited someone to go to church in spanish. So ... when is church? We got the information and all and then we asked how he met him. So anyone who's reading this .... MEMBER MISSIONARY .... right here. He said he was driving down the road and saw a man at the bus stop and felt impressed to stop. He gave him a ride to Target and invited him to church. Needless to say, church was filled with the Spirit and we are excited to teach Juan this week. I'm sure the story Juan has is years long of searching for something more in his life. This week will forever change his life, whether he accepts these things now or at another time. YAY for awesome member missionaries in Arizona!!!!!

A few weeks ago we had a district meeting with 2 districts together (and then a big pizza party with really good pizza .... I miss NY pizza but this was pretty good!) One Elder talked about TTI's: teach, testify, invite. Each day we are to talk to at least 20 people on the street and TTI them. In our area it is pretty much 100 of the same people, I'd say. Sometimes we meet new people, but it's a lot of the same ones ... so it's like we're becoming friends. Fun like that! Anyway, as missionaries, we are to preach the gospel to everyone. It doesn't matter who they are, what they are doing ... well ... there are some no gos ... but ... anyway. This talk this Elder gave was to motivate us to find more who are searching for the REstored gospel of Jesus Christ. He read a story about an Elder who found his friend, that he is confident he knew in the premortal life and promised to bring the gospel to. I went home and kind of asked myself .... is there someone here I need to find? I pondered for about a day ... knowing that some people do come on missions to find this one person that they need to teach, testify, and invite to be baptized and such .... and I came to the conclusion I don't really think anyone up to now has been someone of that category. It doesn't mean I haven't done the Lord's work, however.

That's a really short answer to that thought but I did realize something. Ryan McGeough. He IS someone that I specifically needed to help. A little different from missionary work in Arizona ... but the work in the temple is the same exact work as those who are living here in Arizona, or anywhere in the world for that matter. It was humbling to realize this. I remember sitting at his funeral when I was ... maybe 14 or 15 ... and thinking .... no one here knows about the Restored gospel. I am the only one who can help him. I kind of pushed it off for years. Well, I knew it had to be done this past summer. That became really evident one night as I tossed and turned trying to go to sleep and finally sat up and said out loud, "Fine, I'll ask her for permission," referring to his mom. I have great faith that he is now serving in the Spirit world. I hope to one day be able to see his family understand and comprehend this great work as well! Anyway, that was a really cool thing to realize this week. And we will continue to find those who are ready to accept the gospel and who we can help prepare to one day accept the Restored gospel of Jesus Christ!

The Law goes in place this week if nothing impedes. It is tough being a missionary here doing this work with this law being put in place, being pushed by a member of the church. We contacted a menos activo yesterday [who no one in the branch knows about] who told us they have no interest in being part of a church that is making this law. YIKES. I thought of Dad's talks on choosing to not be offended. Speaking of hard things, we ran into a man who told us "The Book of Mormon goes against what Jesus Christ teaches in the New Testament." I did not know what to say to him. Hermana Nielsen was pretty bold with him. We just testified to him. I do know though, if you're not open to the spirit, it will not testify to you.

Love you lots! I love your letters! I feel so blessed with so many letters ... from family, friends, missionaries! Until next week! Lots of love! Hermana Clark

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

July 20 - what makes a successful missionary

Yesterday was a good missionary day because it was one of everything. Appointments fell through, a new investigator we were really excited about dropped us, we finally dropped someone we've had a lot of faith in for month ..... and yet we still saw success.

We got billions of phone calls yesterday about lots of random things. One of them was saying that the spanish branch next to ours is having 12 baptisms on Saturday. Needless to say that is exciting, but I felt a little discouraged. They had 16 baptisms in March and Elder Oaks was at it. The Hermanas there have changed and all of them are amazing hermanas (they also just made the branch double it's size ... it's about 5 or 6 times larger in area than ours). Anyway, to put it frank, we were feeling a little down about the work in our area. I started asking the question, how do you know we're successful missionaries? Last week we were in a stake meeting and President Reed said, "A sister came back and no one she taught was baptized ... but it was a successfull mission" Well that brought comfort, but I also know that this mission IS baptizing people and it's not uncommon to baptize a lot. NOW baptizing is not everything, but it is evidence of your efforts. Hermana Nielsen and I talked about it throughout the day and just asked the question .... how do you know you're successful?

We went to a lesson with a woman who hasn't made it to church for the past 2 weeks. I have no idea how the lesson went ... but the Spirit was there. Hermana Nielsen and I taught very insinc. We both felt like words were put into our mouths. I fumbled on the Spanish but I knew what I needed to say. She was flipping through the Book of Mormon and I knew that we needed to talk about the story of the Bom through pictures. The Spirit is just .... right on. It wasn't us and I love that feeling. The lesson ended with her wanting us to come back soon. This is opposed to the last time we saw her and she said I'm busy everyday ... I don't have time. It was incredible.

Hermana Nielsen had the impression this is what PMG2 is going to be focusing on ... teaching by the spirit and get away from this Restoration lesson. We really have NO IDEA what is changing ... but we hear rumors from all the members about stuff. We're excited to find out ... whenever that comes! We got in the car after that and said "he will teach by the spirit, and he will touch the hearts of the people and HE WILL BE HAPPY." [the quote from last week]. We had no doubts in our minds last night that we are seeing success. We may not be seeing the fruits of our labors but we are confident that we are helping the work move forward. I think my faith is being tested. Faith is something I know blessing has talked a lot about. I need lots of faith. Well, it is being developed. Ether 12:6. It feels good looking back, but it hurts when everything seems to fall through the cracks and we're left with a day full of finding people who aren't there, don't want us, and everything else. What matters is that we're working hard and we have the Spirit.

Que mas? Saturday we went to a bi-stake activity of cleaning the gardens around the temple. Just happens to be the two stakes we serve in. Our investiagator didn't show up, but we ended up sweeping out the big shed. I felt like I was at BYU again doing early morning custodial. This time I was next to Hermana Nielsen though, not Natalie! I have some really gross looking blisters on my two thumbs from the experience. I don't have hard working hands anymore! It was fun to do some different kind of work though!

I love this work. This time is so crucial in my life. I know that while trying to serve and bring those we meet to Christ, I am coming closer than ever before to my Savior. I am being humbled so that I can learn of Him and be more like Him. Next week we find out about transfers and I am thinking I will be going somewhere else. I have been here for 5 months and I absolutely just LOVE this area ... despite not seeing lots of the fruit of our labors. I know this is the Lord's work! I know He lives! He is guiding His church on the earth through a living prophet, President Monson! We watched a movie this week and I have never felt so much motivation to read the Book of Mormon! Oh I love that book! I feel so inadequate in my knowledge, testimony, and seek the help of the Spirit to do this work. I know as I rely on Him, I will be strengthened and I will be able to be God's hands here in this area.

I love you! Thanks for your love and letters and prayers! I pray for you!

Love always, Hermana Clark

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

July 13 - Hungaria, lake powell and white legs

The Bryson's have a phone that rings ... and then a computer voice says who it is. We're in the basement so we can hear it but maybe not as clear. I've been living her for 5 months now and I've noticed ... for 5 months ... that they get a lot of calls from Hungaria. They don't seem to pick them up ... and they get one just about every single day. Well, first question of any intelligent person is, where the heck is hungaria ... because it isn't a real place. Yeah, well that's besides the point because for 5 months I was wondering who the Bryson's know in "Hungaria" and why they're never answering when they call. This week we heard it when we were studying and I said something like, ".... Hungaria! what's new!" And Hermana Nielsen turned to me and said very inquisitively ... I don't know how to write that .... "wow .... hermana .... I just realized something ... what if it's saying "out of the area". OH MY GOODNESS! This was a week ago and it doesn't matter where we are, what we're doing ... but I just lose it and laugh! Then a few days later Hermana Nielsen says ... Hungaria isn't a real place, is it? There's Hungry ... and Bulgaria ... but Hungaria????" Ok stupid moment of my life. And it took 5 months to correct. I hope you thought that was funny cause we're still laughing about it! HUNGARIA!

We had interviews this week with President Ellsworth! He is such a great man! I think of the quote on p 185 from Elder Holland about listening and applying what people are telling you about to the gospel. He is a very good listener. They are all about "heavenly questions" to ask. Not the usual ones you ask ... but the ones the person you are teaching needs so THEY can be taught by the spirit in thinking about their response. Oh they are so wonderful! [I feel wierd saying that ... and I feel like I'm neglecting that the Bassetts were wonderful too ... but they're different and it's exactly what the mission needs]. I had some time to sit down with Sister Ellsworth and just talk about life and her kids. Oh I love that lady! She's spunky and happy and listens to the Spirit.

Everyday when we walk outside I feel like we're at Lake Powell. I think that's why I don't mind the heat that much ... because it reminds me of lake powell and vacation. It ranges from 95 (which is perfect) to 113 (I think). It's not too bad ... some days we're absolutely soaked and it's just kind of funny and gross. Life goes on. Goodwill clothes continue to sustain us. They're pretty awesome. We just met a recent convert in the stake who's whole living room is from DI. Nothing in there cost more than 5 dollars. And you know what ... it looked pretty nice, really. I know I don't have much taste but it did NOT look like second hand stuff at all. Horray for cheap stuff!

The work! We've been memorizing a quote that President Ellsworth wants us to recite together as missionaries. I think I almost have it down. "I have often said one fo the greatest secrets of missionary work is work. If a missionary works, he will get the spirit. If he gets the spirit, he will teach by the spirit. If he teaches by the spirit, he will touch the hearts of the people and he will be happy. There will be no homesickness. No worrying about the families, for all time and talents and interests will be centered on the work of the ministry. Work, work, work - there is no satisfactory substitute, espcially in missionary work. -President Benson. Whenever we're outside trying to contact people or even members to talk to them about missionary work .... I like to say that quote. It helps me stay focused on forgetting about the fact that my clothes are sticking to me or that no one is opening their door or that people are not dressed modestly even if they're members. This is the Lord's work and it will not be stopped!

Oh yeah. Sister Ellsworth also talked to us sisters about clothing. APPARENTLY, long and mid-calf skirts are "out of style and hard to find" so the requirement has been changed to just covering the knee when you sit for sister missionaries. It is also up to the mission president and his wife if we need to wear nylons and we're off the hook for the summer! Wahoo! My personal opinion is that they look nice ... because my pasty white legs really do not need to beam bright ... ever .... but in this heat it is really nice to not have to wear them. :)

I love each of you. Mom, Dad, Abby, Kenz, Spencer, Madeleine, Henry and all of extended family! Oh and yes I am receiving email from grandma madelyn! I love emails and mail ... both are great! And I love hearing about all the missionaries! Been getting some from Becky that I just LOVE reading! Talk to you soon!! Love love! Hermana Clark

Sunday, July 11, 2010

july 6

4th of July


President Spence Ellsworth! Things are changing here in Mesa, Arizona .... and all over the world. This morning we had a meeting with our Zone about how we're kind of losing the whole transfer thing and we're making goals and things are going from the 1st to the last of the month. "transfer days" I guess are going to be the same, every 6 weeks, but all goals and what not are 1st-last day. Zone conference and interviews are quarterly. They're stressing Preach My Gospel more as well as exchanges. Well, maybe this is also having a new President. No se pero this is super exciting! I'm going on exchanges with Hermana Mazariegos tonight. She is from Guatemala and has been in the mission for a few weeks! Mas espanol! o and she is a full field spanish sister! Horray for more full-field spanish!!!!

This last Thursday we met President and Sister Ellsworth and two of their daughters. They are excited to be here and feel so honored to serve here! I don't know how to describe them but they are eager to work and serve us. It is very evident by their love and testimonies of the gospel! Here's some things on them. President loves ice cream. He was a farmer until 15 years ago when he got involved in life insurance .... aka so they can now be mission presidents. They met a BYU. Sister Ellsworth is from Seattle and said it was SUPER hard to get used to country life in Carey, ID! They have about 1000 people including the outskirts there ... so Mesa is a different life. This is the first time they've ever moved in their married lives! They have 7 kids and 6 grandkids! Their last one, Angela, is 16ish, will be a sophmore in high school. Amy is heading to BYU for her freshman year. Scott is a Utah State and served his mission .... where else .... MONGOLIA. Ellsworths even went to go visit Mongolia ... and we heard some stories of Mongolia. I felt like I was at home ... kind of weird to think of that as being familiar but it was cool to hear more of that land! And then ... I think ... 4 married kids. One just had a baby last month! Sister Ellsworth reminds me the Meg Ryan in You've got mail (I don't want to dim how awesome she is ... because I don't like comparing people to movie people ... because they're just characters) but she is cheery and happy and humble and .... we just love her!

We taught a family last night who was taught 5 years ago. The old Branch President stopped us (when he happened to buy us ice cream :) ) and asked us about them. He said he gave one of their children a blessing when they needed a kidney transplant. After the blessing ... he didn't need one. We focused on authority. We're excited to go back! His friend was even there that's living in another area. We gave our only Libro de Mormon last night to the father and his friend right away, looked at it and said ..... can i have one? We asked him why he'd want one ... and he said to learn more about Jesus Christ. Horray!

We set two dates this week with Rosa Maria ... who's actually just named Rosy .... and Rosa ... who actually is a Rosa Maria. So Rosy and Rosa tiene una fecha for the 4th of September. Both of them picked that date and they are excited for it! That is the last week of .... next transfer (I don't know if we're using that work still .... not sure ....) so we're praying I'm here through next transfer. We've been teaching Rosy since February. Armando, her "esposo" is in Mexico getting a divorce so they can get married. She this week told us her goal is to get married by the church .... aka in the temple. She is hoping that Armando gets baptized in September too. We're .... excited!!! They're awesome! We also had 2 other investigators at church. Yeah for church attendance! I've historically had a bad track record on helping people come to church so that was super exciting!

Yesterday we decided we wanted to go to an English Bishop to talk to him about our work (none of them know us ...) and he said his 2nd couselor's first language is spanish. They had an english fireside a few months ago and because they have so many people in their ward who also speak spanish ... they were thinking of having a spanish fireside. Cool! We're onboard! It was just so interesting to think of going to see him and him literally saying to us "wow, it's funny you stopped by. we've been talking about this for a while." Horray for all working together! This is the Lord's work and we need to be unified in it!

We had some time Sunday afternoon and so we knocked a few trailors of people we didn't know. I ... am not fond of dogs. Especially chijajas (how do you spell that?) Well, two were chained up, barking like crazy. I somehow had the guts to walk through them and knock on the door. No one answered after a few minutes so I started walking back. One of them started tugging on my skirt. HAHAHA We even talked about this a few months ago with Sister Bassett ... but I bolted. It was funny. I was freaked out but just laughed when I got into the street. hahahaha

Ok I love you all! Congrats Kenz and Spencer!!!!!!!!!! Can't wait to see pictures! You're all in my prayers! Keep up the good work and serving with all our heart, might, mind, and strength! Love always, Hermana Clark

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