Tuesday, October 12, 2010

october 12 - crazy weather and crazy piano playing


These are just some of the things I wanted to say in this weeks letter. I feel like I've gotten a little better of being able to write each week.... but I guess I'm not the one receiving it so not totally sure.

I thought of Dad on Saturday when walking to an appointment we rain into 7 Jehovah's Witnesses. They were also teaching Hispanics in the apartment complex. I guess you could say they're our "competition"? Hermana Mazariegos and I talked about it after though and that is totally not how we feel. They were very nice, courteous, even complemented me on my spanish (I've been getting that a lot lately ..... horray!!!) and it was only in the end that one of them asked what we teach, The Bible? We said yes, the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Luckily though, we parted with great big smiles! I thought of Dad with public relations. Hahaha With our nametags people literally run, "oh the mormons" quite interesting. I have found there are two ways to teach. One is with information - so you understand a religion and what we believe. Second is by the spirit - so you understand how God is and what He has instore for us. I think there are times where you have to teach the information first .... so their minds can accept some of these things, maybe clear up some miscommunications. Then they're open to learn by the spirit. Something I'm trying to learn. Maybe they're not open to learning by the spirit .... but how can we help them open up their heart and their mind?

Last Tuesday it rained just after we finished our 18 hole miniature golf game. It was lots of fun with lots of missionaries in our Zone. We're hoping to go hiking soon again. The summer heat is killer and nearly prevents hiking unless you want to die (I for sure, will dehydrate). My plan is to go hiking on Thanksgiving ... hopefully we find others to come with us! Anyway, the rain was horrible and at times it was hard to even see while driving! We were waiting with Sister Czappa and Hill for their car to return and decided to just go enjoy it. I was glad I had glasses on because it was pelting us and hurt! So much fun though to just get wet and love it! Fun jumping pictures! It was a great out-of-the-ordinary stress reliever! That night it started hailing (is that what it's called .... little balls of rain-ish? It was about 840pm and we were only 10 minutes away from our house. We couldn't even talk it was so loud while sitting in the car. All night when it wasn't pelting rain the sky lit up with lightning. Arizona sky is incredible! Sunsets are beautiful!

This months Liahona is on the temple and oh my goodness it is sooooooo good. Oh I love the temple. I love reading the scriptures and learning more about the temple. Even just the fact that this is something God has been doing .... always ..... having his servants (prophets) build temples. I can't wait to go to the temple every week again. Even just pictures of temples ... you can feel the power and the beauty of temples. Why are they so beautiful? Well, they're the House of the Lord. Heaven is right there. I can't wait to study the BoM again and focus on the temple - and also read Grandpa Clark's comments on the BoM. I remember him talking about it there. Yikes way too much to read ... the rest of my life!

Sunday we didn't have any investigators in church and our hearts were broken! Even the Hernandez family! They went to a baptism Saturday and we were sooooo afraid something had happened after! Yesterday, however, we went to their house and they had just had a really rough morning and at the last minute Mari just said, "No, we're not going to church." the kids were going crazy ..... BUT she did say that Saturday they all read the Book of Mormon together and wrote down comments from every single verse in the chapter so that they would undestand what is going on. They even made a binder so they can continue writing about each chapter and verse. Oh my goodness this family! We are so excited for their baptism in two weeks! Carlos, husband, knows a lot about the church but doesn't seem too interested to really learn with his heart. We will keep working with him! Oh yeah, Mari even wrote on her facebook about reading the BoM. HAHA Oh I just love the family!!!!!!!

The Valencia branch continues to be a wonderful help! Some things are trying to still be worked out from two branches merging, but things are progressing! Sunday and Monday we had 2 members each day. Monday we had families coming with us to teach other families! The leaders really work hard to find families and it's amazing how we actually DO find families! Oh the joy in seeing families learn of the love our Heavenly Father has, embracing it, and doing everything to keep that in their lives. AWESOME!

I haven't even made a food note here. I eat REALLY different here in the mission. Staple foods before were PB&J and apples. Now it always begins with a tortilla and avocado. I LOVE avocado. It goes on pretty much ... everything. And Salsa goes really well on a lot of food as well ..... including chicken. I didn't really like chicken before ... it was so bland and boring .... oh but I like it now with Salsa! I still love all breakfast food and I don't think that'll ever change. But the avocado and tortillas are a change for the better. YUM. I know how to make really REALLY good quesadillas now. Oh and yeah, no worries I'm not gaining any weight (that's a miracle), probably testimony to the 6am soccer. :)

Finally, another miracle of the week was that I played the piano for a baptism, Sociedad de Secorro, and SACRAMENT. Want to hear a little tender mercy? Hymns for sacrament are picked way in advance and usually the wife of the Branch President just shows up and plays whatever they have (she's the only one in the branch that plays). Well word got out I can KIND OF play, so now they ask if she's not available. She called to ask if I could play in Sacrament. I went to the piano and found 3 songs I could tell them I can play if the ones they have are not easy. I called the executive secretary .... and what are the chances .... 2 of the 3 songs I picked were what they had scheduled???? Sweeeeet! Playing in Sacrament wasn't as scary as I thought it would be but I think I can attest that to the fact that I practiced. "Jesus es mi Luz" we were singing for days on end. We had a referral named Jesus and when he didn't answer the door we're sing, "Jesus es mi luz ......" ahahahahahah It's true, God helps us when we prepare and ask for help. Wahoo! Hopefully my ability to play the piano after the mission will be better .... I really want to be able to be someone that can play the piano when someone is needed.

The work is moving forward! We met with our Branch President this week and we're going to start having a NDH (FHE) every week and every Tuesday the ward missionaries are going to go to members homes and talk to them about doing missionary work, investigators homes to excite them about the gospel, as well as find more families and bless their homes to have the desire to learn the truth. As missionaries, we will also be more involved in training the branch missionaries. We will see how it goes. I am studying ch 13 and learning. I love realizing (especially thinking about when i'm NOT a full-time missionary) that full-time missionaries are in the area helping the MEMBERS with their friends. We simply preach. The members find. The members friend. The Spirit teaches. This is how the Lord's work goes forward - when all are involved!

I love this work! I love the Lord, I love my companion, I love this area! Saturday we find out about transfers .... we don't really think Hermana Mazariegos is leaving .... but the mission always involves things we don't expect. Who knows! Whatever happens is the Lord's way!

I love you all! Thanks for the pictures, letters, love, prayers, jokes, stories, and being YOU! Good luck this week Kenz and Spencer on finding out about jobs/interviews and such! Congrats Lindsay and Luke!!!!!!!!!!! Love always, Hermana Clark

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

october 5 conference

Conference was incredible. If I had to put a picture to Conference it would be a large perfectly spherical (I don't think that's a word .... hopefully you get the point) metal ball. It was smooth, it was simple, the basics, the CORE. Pretty much everything talked about the things we teach about. Lots and lots about prophets. I loved the talk by Elder Oaks (maybe?) about two lines of communication. That is what people have issues with. "God is with me ... why do I need a prophet" Oh Conference was just wonderful. It just seemed so simple and pure. Bold and powerful. Though I still have some talks to finish from last conference, I can't wait to read these again! Watching conference now with families and such reminds me of how grateful I am to live in a time like this. How grateful I am we can watch them later, read them. It really provides a way that EVERYONE has access to these messages from a prophet from God. I just think of one day having kids and they will not have patience to watch conference .... but that's ok. I love conference, I always have, ever since Camey Hadlock shared her thoughts on it when I was in YW and I always wondered WHY she liked it so much! Wahoo!

There is an apartment complex we're in a lot named San Fernando. Nice apartemtns (in comparison to my other area .... the 2nd lowest rent in Mesa) and lots of people that speak spanish. We knocked on a door of a man we met one night as he came home from work. He was so excited to meet two missionaries that were girls, talking about la palabra de Dios. Unfortunately they weren't there for the appointment last week, but we found them this week and taught them! They are such a great family! One thing we worked this week in training was inviting the head of the household to offer the pray at the end, kneeling. An act of love of God. Most people resist, but oh how much love was in this home! This family, Carlos, Paty, Carla, Angela! In this area we do much better at finding/teaching/baptizing families! Oh what joy to see a family learning about God's ways! Last night we also finally taught a family about prayer and the power of the Book of Mormon. The mom might have been baptized when she was 8 in Mexico. Last night though they were so excited to say a family prayer every night and read the Book of Mormon! We left soooo excited for them!!! Oh man! The gospel is amazing to see how God knows each of His children and wants them to be happy. There's no getting around that!

We stoped to talk to a man yesterday and he started asking us, "when the Mormon church treats women as equals, that's when you can come talk to me." I was really confused how he, a man, could talk to me about how the church that I belong to, treats women wrong and unequally. His comment was, "look at the news" Oh my heart hurt. Where do we look for truth? I certainly hope it is not the news. I have a feeling he is confusing us the polygamist but possibly with the notion of women working in the home. Oh my heart hurt. I pray that people learn truths from God - the Holy Ghost; his servants, the prophets, those with authority to teach; and not from any other source. Yikes. The world has so much evil and yuck in it. No thank you. I think of one of the homes in my last area (granted ... pretty much every home is like this ... but one home especially). The home just felt like burdens were lifted. The Spirit was there. I don't know if it was becasue of what was said .... but that home is such a refuge and safe haven! That's how I always want my home .... even if it's a little apartment somewhere!

We are searching for a lot of menos activos right night and it is so sad to hear of their stories of things getting too hard. Our hearts just sink. Sin is disobedience and distances us from God. I want to be close to God!

We had Zone Development Meeting (while we're having interviews) and it is so great to hear missionaries testimonies and experiences of what worked. Ultimately it's the Spirit. You can never say, "this worked before so it'll work again" from your head. If you think of it by the Spirit, it'll work. Anything from the Spirit will work ... even if at first it doesn't seem so. Joy is a feeling of the spirit!

Better run to play miniature golf. Reminds me of a time I was on a date and something funny happened .... and it was really funny. I think you can guess the rest of the story :)

Love you all! So happy to hear things are going well! Mom and Dad, you're awesome! Mackenzie and Spencer .... I love your little family! I hope it's not too cold yet and December will come soon enough with news of schools! Abby you rock my world! Love you love you! Hermana Clark