I don't know if I've said this before .... but here in Arizona we're basically in Mexico. [I like saying Arizona with a really hispanic accent]. As of today at 2pm I will be going to my third area in Mesa. No worries, I am following all patterns and just moving east again to the next branch over! The Arboleda branch (where I just served for 7 months) and the Valencia branch used to be together but split about 2 years ago. The leadership know each other and we frequently hear about each other, so it should be fun! We once even saw the Branch President in Walgreens and he insisted on buying us each a half gallon of ice cream! My companion will be Hermana Mazariegos! She is from Guatemala!!! She's been out on her mission for 5 months. I went on exchanges with her about 2 months ago and she is just awesome! You would never know she is fairly new in the mission! She is a convert (I forget how many years) but joined with her brothers. Her parents have yet to join. She is smiley and a wonderful teacher. Oh I am excited. For being so sad to leave Hermana Nielsen, I am pretty excited to be with Hermana Mazariegos.
AND guess what .... spanish. She knows very little english. And we eat with our branch every single day. No more english dinners :) I am sooooo excited! I love Mexican food! And I will not be communicating in english very much. We'll probably be trading off using english and spanish so we can both work on our new language .... but wahoo! She's soooo sweet! I am excited! And the area is booming right now! This change will be hard .... but I am super excited for the challenge!!
Ok let's talk about this past week. The word ORDINANCE will never be the same for me. We attended church on Sunday and partook of the SACRAMENT. Elbia and Manuel were BAPTIZED on Saturday and I have never seen someone so eager to be baptized and soooo happy and elated to receive the GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST!! Manuel also received the AARONIC PRIESTHOOD and is currently reading up on what this exactly means. He avidly studies the "gospel principles" book. Before we started teaching him, he would be caught dead rather than reading a book. They have changed and are so eager to learn more and more and more. Yesterday we talked about the temple and the opportunity we have to give our ancestors the chance to have this peace they have found. They are so excited to go do baptisms and a member they met a few weeks ago (not even in the branch) is going to take them!!!! Oh I am sad I don't get to see them progress ... but it is ok. Oh I just love them! My life is forever changed because of what I witnessed in them, a change in countenance!
Last Tuesday we also went to the temple. We went in the afternoon which is really weird as missionaries ... usually it's morning activity. We also went on a week we would never go but went after many trips with others fell through (but it's ok ... 2 new people received their ENDOWMENTS this week from our branch!!!! One recent convert and one guy going on his mission to Guatemala) So we went around 2pm. We thought for our last time going together we would do sealing. Yeah? And as missionaries we can only be sealed as daughters to parents. We didn't really know how they did it at the Mesa temple but we went to the sealing office and asked if they were going to do some sealings soon but that we could only be daughters. They looked at us and said "Yes! We just received 45 daughters to seal to their parents! Go change!" As we walked out they said to each other (a couple), "The Lord knows what he's doing!" We were supposed to come in the afternoon last Tuesday! We were able to take part in many sealings, some even done in Spanish because they found out we were missionaries speaking spanish! The coolest thing though was that we were able to take part in a family of a mother, father, and two daughters being SEALED. Have you ever been a part of a deceased family being sealed? Really cool. They do it different than if it's just one child. So basicaly, Hermana Nielsen and I were even sealed as sisters ... proxy. Oh man! Definitely made for a sweeeeet last temple trip! Plus after, we were able to go to the Celestial room and enjoy the peace and beauty! I love the temple! I know part of the reason I came here to Mesa was because there is a temple so close :) Week of ordinances was such a sweet experience. The temple was so special! The baptism and confirmations though .... WOW. Many tears of joy were shed ... by all [even Hermana Nielsen - she never cries!]!!!!!
So yes, that was our week. We came home last night and had a fun little get together party with the Bryson's as well. Hermana Nielsen and Ghan (my trainer!!!!! H Nielsen is "killing" her this transfer!!!) will be moving next week to a new house. Bro Bryson also gave us blessings which was a special thing with their family! They are such a tremendous family! I will miss them so much! I will be living with the Crandall family now though. I am glad ... I don't like living in an apartment as a missionary! I like being with a family!
It feels like I am leaving home. The difference is I won't be coming back and so it is very sad. I bore my testimony on Sunday and was just overcome with the love I have felt from the people as well as the love I have for each of them. I just love them, each of them. I see the face of Christ in each of them seeing them serve their families, other ward members, neighbors, investigators. Coming back to visit ... this will be where we will go for church on Sunday :)
Leaving Hermana Nielsen. We discussed how we won't be with anyone for such a condensed time as we have been. 6 weeks and then 5 1/2 months of everywhere ... non spot contact. It has been wonderful! Oh my goodness. it isn't too hard to leave her though because BYU is in the future and ..... we'll do all that together! It is just weird to think of the mission without her though. Out of 10 months of being in the mission, 7 have been with her. Just .... strange. Weird. It happens though and it will be good! We are sisters ... pues Hermanas (Not Eldas as someone thought our names should be this week). We have seen incredible miracles, learned more about the Savior, laughed, and become best friends!
I love the gospel of Jesus Christ! I cannot believe I will have been a missionary for a year as of next week! I know there is more I need to learn before I take the reins on my life again though! I will trust in my God and do His work, by His power, in His way!
Love you all, Hermana Clark