Wednesday, April 8, 2015

So this was a crazy week. I think that I mentioned that we got permits to tract in Pinehurst for this week. Well, that's basically all that we did. Tracting is one of the most difficult things, but it is my favorite because:
- It shows Heavenly Father I am willing to do whatever it takes to talk to his children
- It's really a social event you get to hang out and walk around with your companion and talk between doors and what not
- It really builds good missionaries. Many people think that tracting is useless, but if nothing else I am much more confident in talking to people on the street and teaching people with the Spirit after I have spent a couple of hours tracting.

So anyways. I definitely busted my knuckle this week knocking on doors. Maybe I knock too hard. I should have taken a picture of that though. On Monday we took a short preparation day, and spent the rest of the time tracting. Tuesday I went on exchange with one of my really close friends who is in my district, and we spent 12 hours tracting. 9am to 9pm. 900 to 2100. We even packed lunch and dinner and walked everywhere and everything. We sat down 3 times the entire day. Once was for lunch, once when we got a ride to the next place, and once taking a phone call for a minute or two. Yeah we ate dinner while we walked haha. We wasted no time. You can bet we were super tired but it was definitely worth the experience and the amount of people we got to talk to! There were some really awesome people that day. The rest of the week we did more tracting and then watched conference! I loved conference. Probably my favorite talk was from President Uchtdorf on grace. The world really needed that. The church really needed that. So that members and nonmembers alike understand what we really believe. Anyways, conference out here is like a missionary's Christmas. I feel like I will never get to focus on it as much as I do on my mission. And get so much out of it. I loved the Easter video too! I hope you watched it over and over and shared it and everything.

I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!
Elder Clarky
So this week was a ton of traveling. On Tuesday we biked close to 30 miles, and probably 12 hours in the car over Thursday and Friday. A little over 500 miles in those two days and I drove all of it since I am the senior companion. Tuesday was kind of funny because I went on exchange with a younger missionary, who is still very fresh and naive haha. So his companion is even younger than him. He is right out of training and turned around to train again. Anyways the younger of the two has a real hard time biking, so you can bet that when I got there with the older of the two he wanted to bike and bike and bike. So therefore we did haha. Hence the 30 miles.

Another story! I know I haven't told you hardly anything about my companion except that I knew him before but I will send a picture today to everyone. He broke his arm before Christmas on a bike wreck, and had his final doctor's appointment on Thursday! Which was awesome, but it was in Wake Forest, his old area. Which is an hour and a half away. It also so happened that the missionaries we share our car with had a meeting that day so we drove them out and back. And oh boy did we turn that into an adventure! We drove through UNC campus (it was on the way) and then saw my old apartment out there so we could study with the elders that now live there. THEY REOPENED MY OLD AREA!!!! Well it got absorbed into another area anyways but it's still nice to know it's not dead! Then on the way to wake forest we had some time so we went through downtown Raleigh just to see the town again. The doctor's appointment was quick, so before we left we visited some of Elder Coons' old friends in Wake Forest, and who did we meet? One of the Voges' really good friends! I will send a picture. I guess it didn't really register that Spencer was getting married until they showed me a wedding announcement. Surprise! So we had lunch with them and took off. The way back we went through downtown Durham since I have never been there (kind of frightening actually) and drove through Duke campus again, mostly just to say we did. Back to Chapel Hill and on home! So that was pretty much all of Thursday.

Friday was a huge 6 hour meeting for all of the mission leadership. And of course that was back in Raleigh. But no we can't go straight to Raleigh that's way too easy. In order to carpool we drove first an hour to Fayetteville, then another to Sanford, then got to go to Raleigh haha. I drove all of that. But that was fun because I got to see both Apex and Fayetteville driving through there, which were my first two areas, and also spent the day with Elder James, my old companion from Apex that we got along probably the best of any of my companions thus far since we were pretty alike haha. :)

How is everything going for yall? Sorry I just rant off in all of my emails I just get so into these stories! It's my life don't ya know. Plus I love it! This week will be fun I will let you know more about it next week but it could be my last week in Pinehurst! Either that or I will be staying here til I die! Also we got permits to tract in Pinehurst, which is illegal without them and they are kinda a challenge to get but we got them! So we are going crazy this week with that.

I love you super much!!!! Tons and tons!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Elder Clarkyyyyyyy

So this week we started working out with a machine. (We have time allotted to workout every morning so yes it's okay mom haha) Well he's a man that's part machine. Well he's ex-special forces in the army and has studied a ton and come up with the best getting in shape and strong workouts that there are. So he's pretty strong despite being in his 60's and having had 4 neck surgeries and a few back surgeries including 2 fused lumbar... So anyways we did 2 of his favorites this week. Monday and Wednesday morning we did a 45 minute intense workout with 12 minutes straight of different types of pushups, 15 min of standing squats, etc. He taught us how to actually work abs because sit ups are actually leg workouts rather than abs. Friday morning we did a 2.5 mile hike around a local reservoir stopping every 50yd or so to do pushups. In total I did 720 pushups that morning. That was insane. So morning workouts have been really good lately.

Story time! So we were biking to an appointment, and I was thinking about how I want to become more like Christ. So I started singing "I'm trying to be like Jesus" out loud. About as soon as that happened I got cut off by a lady that definitely saw me coming so I slammed on my hand brakes and barely missed hitting her car. As I started going again my bike chain snapped. Just broke. So a man saw the whole thing and pulled over to help. We thanked him for his help and offered him a card, which resulted in being grilled for about 20 minutes on how we teach false doctrine etc. So we thanked him for his time and went on our way. We coasted on our bikes downhill and walked uphill so we could make it to our appointment, but we were late enough that it didn't work out. So needless to say, I learned a little more what it's like to be like Jesus. There wasn't a second of his life that was without opposition. But there were always little blessings along the way - like a man that wasn't at all interested in talking with us last week that we decided to stop by anyways, and he ended up fixing my chain and gave us water. Sure enough he used to own a bike shop. So that day was well spent.

That was the highlight and also took a lot longer to write including space so that will be all folks. Thanks for listening and we will catch you next time on Jeffy's Travels. Have a great Monday.

I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Glad to see you got my package. It's about time they got that thing to you it's been forever since Christmas! The mail carriers are slow these days ain't they. Not really, but sorry about that anyways. So yeah. This week.

You know I am learning a ton about mercy lately. I'll work it into my week. So Monday we got pizza for dinner. Tender Mercy! Especially because they thought they were going to have to cancel.

Tuesday was awesome. We had the car but decided to bike anyways for fun. Mostly because the Elders that we share the car with are complaining that they have to give it up every other week (they had one full time before and they really didn't need it) (but the assistants assigned us to switch off with them and let our Spanish missionaries, who cover 5 times the area we do, have a car full time instead of needing to bike every other week) (not sure if that all makes sense but whatever they were complaining). So we basically were saying "If you're going to whine about it, fine. Nobody gets the car." So we biked most of the week haha.

Wednesday we went to seminary and hung out with the kids there. They aren't liking it that much so we are trying to get them excited for it since they like us. So we will be going regularly now. Probably once a week. Then that day I went on exchange with a brand new green as they come missionary. He is struggling, and I learned a lot about mercy with him by feeling how the Lord feels when he is watching over him. He is going to be just fine though. I took him out tracting which I think was fun for him and he did great! Also that night we got taken to Tripp's for dinner, which is a really nice restaurant. I ate cajun chicken and shrimp which was super good. Tender mercy for sure.

Thursday we were out working all day and didn't get to dinner, but at our night appointment our investigator took us out for pizza. That was really kind and another major tender mercy/miracle. The Lord is watching out for us for sure.

Friday, we went on exchange with the assistants to the president. That was a lot of fun because the one I went with (to his area) was in the MTC with me. He was always the brown-noser type, which in the MTC bothered me, but since I have really come to love him and feel mercy for him. So needless to say we had a really good time together! They live at a member's house, who wasn't home that night, so we borrowed their guitar and piano and had a jam session in our down time before bed. I wish I could send the video but it's way too big of a file.

Saturday everything cancelled. But surprise we had pizza for lunch. And had a quick snack and slept for dinner because we were both super tired. That was pi day! 3-14-15 Stopped by our Bishop's house that night and he said "Hey just in time for pie!" and had to explain it was pi day to us so we had pie for pi day not sure how that works but that's okay pie is good with me.

Sunday was a lot of singing! Sang before church, during church and after church with our ward choir. I have gotten all the Elders in the ward to join with me :)

"But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." -- Matt 9:13
This struck me lately. It means that Christ prefers showing love and mercy to condemning people and making others look bad. Especially it's talking about how the law of Moses is really supposed to point you to having Christlike love, not towards condemning others. We need to be like that too. We need to show mercy! So that's my invitation for the week. Go and learn what it means to show mercy instead of sacrifice.

Love you! Sorry it's so long.

Elder Jeffy
Sorry that I haven't sent any pictures in a few weeks. I will send the song of the week today since we are making cd's. I left my camera case in the other Elders' car because we went on exchange this week.

This week we were really blessed with opportunities to serve and teach. It was awesome. We taught 12 lessons to investigators! And our service this week was complete demolition of a master bathroom on Friday and helping shovel mulch and build a treehouse on Saturday. It was a ton of fun. We also had a ward picnic at a park in Cary where I taught some youth and adults how to throw and kick a rugby ball. That was fun!

This week was definitely BBQ week haha we got fed BBQ chicken 3 days and burgers 3 days. It seems like the members all have a similar thought on what to feed us that week. Maybe they have secret themes that they set every week and just tell the relief society sisters about them.

I also got to talk in sacrament meeting yesterday! It wasn't too bad. I talked about lego's and rugby. And how small and simple things make great things happen. But my main focus was how prayer (a small thing) is the foundation for living the Gospel (faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, enduring to the end). It actually helped me a lot to understand prayer better. Prayer grows your faith, is an essential step of repentance, is part of baptism, brings the Spirit into your life, and helps you reflect and improve yourself so you can endure to the end. There now you have heard my whole talk.

Thanks for listening! See you next time.

Elder Clark the younger
So first of all, I am actually sending the Christmas package this week. No more delaying, no more saying I am not ready. I am actually going to do it. If I can find the post office that is. I am not sure where it is but I will get there somehow. Cross that river. Nothing's stopping me now.

Next of all, there have been kajillions of people asking me about Sadie and I am just not sure what to tell them. How is that pup anyway?

Now I am going to tell you three things (plus two other things) that you need to keep secret.

1. We did a lot of painting this week. So that was fun

2. We did a lot of construction this week. We were building a house for a member in our ward with Habitat for Humanity (a charity organization that works with the community to provide low cost homes for those in need). So that was fun

4. I love this place. We have so much good going on here. And I have the feeling that I probably will have another area actually... So that was fun

5. We got to throw and stack around 400 hay bales on Saturday (throw out of an 18-wheeler and stack in a huge neat pile) and went to Cracker Barrel as a reward. So that was fun

Anyways. Like I say, sorry my emails were getting boring a little bit ago... I have realized that my brain was pretty well crashing on preparation days. Which is a good thing I guess because that is what Mondays are for out here, but I definitely should have still wrote better notes over the last couple of months. Here's the good part:

Overall my attitude and perspective have risen significantly. I am learning Christ's mercy, and it is the most empowering thing I have experienced. I even get a little emotional lately about how strongly I feel His love for those I serve and serve with, and also for you my family, and as you know it is really not like me to get emotional. But I know that my heart is being changed. I have realized why we need Christ in our lives; we all do things that limit our potential. We by our own power can stop doing those things for a while, but that still doesn't change who we are inside. The purpose of Christ's suffering is to change our entire nature. To make us a new creature, one that can reach our original potential. And we can invite that through our faith and good works. I love that and appreciate the Atonement more every day.

I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Elder Jeffy Clarky

Thursday, March 5, 2015

I have a new companion this week! His name is Elder Coons from Spanish Fork, UT. I shared a car with him while we were in Chapel Hill so we were already pretty close. I can tell this is going to be a really good companionship because we are already ahead in that we know each other and both want to work hard. So that's good!

And that really reflected in how this week went too. We had probably the busiest week since being in Pinehurst. First, story time though. So it started snowing like crazy Tuesday, and we had to go up to Raleigh for transfer meeting (about 1.5 hours driving at normal speeds). Our member said he wouldn't drive us anymore so I had to drive us up. As a result, I spent all day driving. The roads weren't too bad some ice but I just didn't want to go fast. So I drove all day. No more please. In district meeting I got excited about the topic and went way too deep in the teaching. It went right over everyone's heads. Oops... I guess I had to make that mistake at least once though. It was still really fun for me :) We finally got called to do service in this ward! Woohoo! I have been missing a good old fashioned project. We got to help with 2 moves on Saturday and one today. That was fun. I love moving heavy things. But mostly I love helping people and we NEED opportunities to help out. So let the missionaries help you is my invitation for the day! Let them feel needed in the work of the ward. I love you family! You are my favorite. All of my experiences here really prove to me how incredible of a family I have and how lucky I am to have you. This is a tough world. But you stay strong and your strength gives me strength. Thank you for that. 

Elder Jeffy