Tuesday, December 28, 2010

December 28

Surpringly enough, there was a big change for us about an hour or two after I hung up.  President Ellsworth called to say that Hermana Juarez is going to be in an english area and working in the visitor center for now. NOOOOOOOOOO! I'm not gonna lie I was way bummed. Though the last month has been pretty much, nothing short of insane, i felt kind of robbed having her taken away from us! My child! I felt like that woman in the bible that the lord asked to give up her son to serve in the temple (one day I'll learn bible stories ......) literally ... now she's serving in the temple. mi hija! Sister Everette, her new companion, was with her at BYU-I do (as she says it!) though and they were in the same ward and had a number of classes together .... so they're super excited to be together! just a little hard to hear the news, kill a totally chill Christmas, pack her up and send her off. She is serving in our stake though, actually part of our area ... so it's kind of funny. They're in our district. And for all we know ... she could come back in 2 weeks, but whatever the Lord has in store is ok with me. The past few days have been super sad. The Gordon's had lots of family for christmas too, and within 12 hours everyone left and suddenly it's just ... empty! Only Hna Mazariegos and I ... what do we do? Kind of funny to be back together again but it's fun! I just love her and I feel like the two of us alone work very differently than we did as a threesome.  We work differently now though from the things we learned from Hna Juarez! We're SO grateful for our time with her ... and I feel like I talk about her as if she died ..... but she's close! last night was her first night working in the visitor center and she totally blew all the sisters out of the water with how many referrals she got from people ..... figures - she works miracles! The whole mission will be blessed with her working everynight of christmas lights and not just a few! It's a good change because it came from the Lord, but I won't say it wasn't hard.

Christmas was fun, especially with our matching pajamas! Elephant gift exchange, breakfast with the Gordon's (waffles and strawberries .... YUM), lunch with the Larson's (STEAK and biscuits and gravy .... YUM!). TALKING TO YOU GUYS! That night we made Seviche (that's food) with Maria and Beto (investigators that are moving) and chocolate chip cookies.  Fun fun but sad they're moving this week to another area! I would say it was a good day but it felt so ..... lazy. I definitely enjoyed the caroling and Christmas spirit more than the actual day. Oh yeah and the night before we helped the Duartes, familia in the branch that live down the street .... make tomales. I did something with the masa and apparently worked wonders because it only took 10 minutes to mix until it would float when a little piece was put in water. Hna Duarte even gave me a big hug! Yeah, I felt pretty cool after that!

Yesterday, while directing a song practice, we received several desperate phone calls from our branch leaders, "Hnas .... this family .... they need to get baptized. It doesn't matter they're moving ... if they get married and baptized this week they can stay in the branch and move back soon." All I have to say is we have great leaders who love people and don't want to see them leave. The only problem here is that THEY are the ones that ultimately decide what they want to do.  We don't really think so, but we'll see!

Carlos came to church this week! It's been about 3 months since we've been asking him every week what we can do to help him come to church!!!!! Wahoo!!!! Each of us are seeing huge changes in him and we are soooo excited! He's putting his guard down, that we all have with new things, and is much more excited to have us come over and teach him!

We ate dinner with a family in the branch this week with 5 daughrters, a boy is on the way! While eating and waiting for the banana bread to come out of the oven, I felt impressed to talk about BoM story charades! hahaha it was fun to help them see the BoM isn't totally boring (the five girls are 10-20 yrs old) and talk about the importance of the stories after acting them out! Promptings from the spirit come in all forms!

Funny thought this week. We were given cookies from people this week. They look absolutely delicious but I think there's something wrong with the frosting and there's always a really bitter .... not great taste at the end. the beginning of the cookie is awesome but the after taste is terrible. Well I noticed it after the first cookie but refused to believe it because they looked SO RIDICULOUSLY DELICIOUS. Well I am sad to say, that after about 7 or 8 cookies, they are still not so good in the end. I thought it was so funny I kept eating them, kept hoping, "this one will be good." Made me think of Satan and how no matter what, no matter how good he makes something look .... you can't deny in the end it's bad! It just is! It'll never be good! Finally, I told my companions about it and they just laughed and asked me why I kept the temptation infront of me? Throw them out! What are companions for ..... helping you stay away from sin .... throwing out cookies .... all in the day of a missionary :)

Love you all! Glad the Christmas was wonderful - white christmas? Blizzard Christmas? And yes Spencer, you can be Elizabeth JUST THIS ONCE. :) Love you all! I felt loved receiving lots of cards from people for christmas!! Until next week! 2011??? YIKES!

con mucho amor, Hermana Clark

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

December 21

Another week in history! I LOVE being a missionary in the Christmas season.  I think it helps we live in Mormonville and are spreading christmas cheer .... but seriously ... it's the best! Pretty much every door we go to we sing! Most are people we know and then some .... are new found friends! Right now instead of asking members, "do you know anyone who we could teach" (ok that is not how you ask for a referral ....) we ask, "who could we go sing to?" and we've gotten some referrals from people! Horray!

The line "tenia miedo" is from Friday. As a missionary I've lived in 3 peoples basement now.  All of them I have worried about falling down the stairs as we are constantly running up and down them.  I was on the phone Friday with a member and hung up and swung around to bajar and completely slipped, sliding down the bottom 4 stairs. My first thought was, "well that didn't sound good" and then I realized after such a traumatic experience the only thing that hurt was my pinky finger that smacked the wall. No worries though, my two angel companions came in a heartbeat to hug me and help in whatever way possible. In that moment I knew I never had anything to worry about ..... I always have them to take care of me! They laughed when the first thing I said was, "tenia miedo" .... "i was scared" ..... the rest of that being .... "of falling down the stairs .... and it happened!" We all just laughed!

The only downside of christmas is the fact that no one has time for ANYTHING. That's ok though ... we'll sing at your door, wish you merry christmas, remind you to read the Book of Mormon to feel this peace everyday, and set up a time after christmas! That's life though!

We saw a family a few months ago that we knew we needed to go teach and this week that came to an end. Oh how sad to be dropped by someone. They're a young couple, Reyna and Manuel, with two little kids who are adorable. they don't really have a religious background except catholic by tradition. We had a few quick visits with them and were super excited after a great lesson last week answering questions they had ...... but went to the appointment and Reyna didn't even open the cage (pretty much all places here have these "cage" "storm" doors .... definitely NOT a fan. They scream get away from here) and just said, "look, my mom is Catholic and she got mad at me as to why I would be learning about Mormons if I'm not Mormon. So, don't both coming back." Oh it was sad. First experience for Hna Juarez with that as well and it really suprised her. todavia, we love God and others and this work will go forward. I love Alma 32:39.  la semilla will always be good. The BoM will always be a good seed. If you don't fertilize it though ... you don't give place to be good in you. you cannot have that joy if you don't nurture it.  But in the end .... it's good! No matter what! One day they will act on the Spirit they recognized and receive more blessings!

We had a branch activity on Friday where we ate elote (i don't know how to spell it .... corn with mayo and cheese .... for the record it's REALLY good!) and hot chocolate at Pioneer park across from the temple.  We had about 20 people there to eat and then go walk around the christmas lights at the temple. We had some investigators there but felt that they were in good hands and we could go try to contact some more of our referrals we haven't contacted yet.  We said goodbye to everyone and walked away, only to return about 5 min later with a family we met in the park and invited to eat! How fun it was to just meet people and say, "hey, I know you want some hot chocolate and elote. come eat some! we have plenty!" The branch was super welcoming and they accepted missionaries in their home - saying they had some living across the street from them but had no idea what they were! HA but yeah! We walked away knowing, without a question, that we are missionaries. No matter where we are, we are doing this work! It was so fun to be able to do that and invite them to join the branch!! It felt like one of those movie experiences ..... you always wish missionary work is like that!

We went to the temple on Thursday with half our mission! Before and after we sort of had zone conference ... in anycase learned from President and Sister Ellsworth. We have banished the idea of counting TTIs because it takes our focus away from our purpose of baptizing ... as we're just focusing on talking to people. Now our focus is on new investigators and bringing them to baptism.  It's a REALLY good change for the mission. I remember coming in the mission and being bewhildered as to why we were counting how many people we talked to each day - it's a measure of how big OUR effort is as missionaries .... not to the progression of the people we're teaching. anyway, it's good. Really nothing changes because we still talk with everyone!

We stopped and talked to a woman yesterday that testified to us that we were sent to talk to her. The reason WHY we were sent to talk to her apparently wasn't so important though because she didn't want to hear our message. Do those not go together?

We have wonderful families we're teaching right now! One family committed to be baptized but are praying about a date. They also decided, in front of us, to get married!!!! They are wonderful - the brother of the woman just got home from his mission a month ago. Sadly though, they are moving out of the branch and so at the very least we are praying to prepare them with this firm desire to be baptized!  We were there saturday at night though and it was a little depressing hearing about lost hopes with the law not passing. Ay what a sad thing that that law did not pass. You could feel the broken hearts in people in telling us it didn't pass. Ohhh!

Christmas is here! We will also be helping out in the calling center in the Visitor Center to call the referrals received from Christmas lights!!! Now I get to do them in Spanish - in the MTC I couldn't get past "hola, mi nombre es Elizabeth." hahahaha We're excited! I'm still conducting a small group for the song "What Child is This" for New Years Eve when all the missionaries sing for the last night of Christmas lights. Ohhhhh man I am soooo excited! it is a beautiful song, the missionaries are good singers, and that night will just be amazing!

This is the Lord's work! With three of us it's always a party, but it's also the chance to talk to more people, more ideas, and bless more people! FELIZ NAVIDAD! Jesucristo vive! I love you all!!!! Talk to you Saturday! Love always, Hermana Clark

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

December 14

First of all, I will say a few things.
First mom, yes that was kind of interesting reading grandma's letter, dad's letter, then yours. Thank you for explaining things to the daughter that is out of contact of all communcation and worldly ways of finding out anything! Glad you are healthy and we have wonderful tecnology and medicines in these days! I hope your blood sugars stay ok. Will this medicine be something your on forever?

Second, you all know I love the topic of dating and what not. Well right now I have the privilege of witnessing the drama but not being directly involved, just the trainer. An elder went home in november and was an excellent missionary - my zone leader and AP for the majority of my mission. Well, he left, but told people about a new missionary that was coming. He even told Hna Mazariegos and I because she is originally from Guatemala. What he didn't tell us was that they dated .... sort of. But he didn't seem to feel that needed to be hit with just about every other missionary in the mission. Now we're seeing all these missionaries and they all go up to her with a big smile and say, "it's so good to meet you" and some have the guts to say, "i heard about you" I got a call the first day from a missionary, "has she told you? has she told you how she's going to be elder young's wife?" OH MY GOODNESS. I thought I got away from all that drama as a missionary. Well, apparently not! Hna Juarez had the difficulty of having about 30 marriage proposals, one an hour before getting set apart. She, however, KNOW that she is on a mission to help people find the gospel. She has a vision of people she will find and anytime that vision gets cloudy she reminds herself of them. Anyway, this missionary though. Great missionary, awesome. Everyone goes up to tell her ,"he was a legend". plus, we're working at christmas lights and people see how much success she has - LOTS. Anyway, last night this missionary walked through the lights on a date with someone we all know in our branch.  I'm pretty sure I would've died if someone I had wanted to marry showed up at the lights on a date. She was a little in shock but was bold in saying, "you're distracting me".  yikes though. just when you think you're away from everything you know .... something comes and hits you where you're not ready.

THIS WEEK WAS JAM PACKED! Sunday was miracle of miracles when 4 complete families showed up to church - 15 people! More than half had never been! Elder LeSuer (I have no idea how to spell his name) of the area presidency was in the branch for two reasons: the show love from President Smith and the show love for our branch. He spoke to all the Priesthood and said a few things about politics in saying that he prays that our leaders will make better choices. his love was DEFINITELY felt though and it was a wonderful meeting! We had a big lunch after as well and all the investigators mingled well with the members.

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS ARE AMAZING! My two companions work miracles! We have a meeting before with other missionaries to prepare us and help us remember why we're here and what not. Every meeting I take a moment to plead for forgiveness and pray for the Spirit to touch these peoples hearts. WE. ARE. SEEING. MIRACLES. I would say the majority of missionaries are pretty content with a few people who are willing to receive missionaries in their home and a few referrals from members. The other night our companionship alone, talked to 26 people who were willing to invite missionaries into their home. and about 38 referrals from members. most of the referrals were Hna Juarez doing (those youth just whip out their phones!) but the three of us equally did our share of people inviting missioanries in their home. We have very limited time to talk to these people, seeing as they came to see the lights, not to talk to missionaries. We've been working on being bold and testifying and helping them recognize the spirit. Well, it works! It's so cool! So many times I feel like I see someone and we start talking and I say something so weird, yet it's by the spirit, so it's right. I don't know what they're going through, but God does. I'm here to help them feel God's love and guide them to feel it every single day. We come home exhausted at 1030 those nights, but oh GOZO! no hay otra manera a decirlo! I love being on temple grounds, I love helping people feel God's love, and I love testifying of the Savior and His Church, with living prophets on the earth today!

We went to lunch with Crandell's (who we used to live with) and it felt like we were going to eat with our family - kind of strange, "is that allowed?" Anyway we showed up and they received a few more days of mail ...... a lot of it! It felt like Christmas! I got your package mom, a big envelope filled with Christmas memories from the whole Clark family from Janae, my MTC teacher wrote, the Stake Presidency, Butters family, natalie Buttars. WOW! Kind of crazy to get them all in one day, but none the less, I certainly felt loved! Thanks to all who have sent me a letter and to those who will send me one. It is a joy to read about your lives and see that God is blessing each of His children! This Christmas season is WAY TOO FAST. Someone asked me if I was excited to talk to my family - yikes that's way too close.

Ok no time. Went to the dentist and got a filling. All free - our high counselor is a dentist! he had a cool dental assistant that is not mormon but not wants to go on a mission ... haha we'll go roller blading after the mission together!

We're all FINALLY recovering. We ate a dinner friday that we all just looked at the wanted to barf. 130 the next morning .... hna Juarez was throwing it up. YUCK.

I love you all! I am praying for you and your success in everything!!! Good luck with finals ABby!!!!!!!!!! love love love Mormon 8:16 Love always, Hermana Clark

still going strong

I got a new computer and for some reason the way to transfer text to the blog isn't the same...give me some time and I'll figure it out. In the meantime, here are some fun Christmas pictures to hold you over. Oh and yes, she's doing well.

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