Tuesday, July 30, 2013

There was a sadness in the air this week as we lost one of our comrades to a visa waiter. just kidding. my district leader did get a companion though so its just me and elder b chuggin along. we have a great time together.

wow. santa cruz, a win, and kyle doing great back home? sounds like a great weekend to me. ill say. no you wont. ok.

as far as stories go, i have found that when you teach the restoration, there is always a distraction. and sometimes that distraction is 3 little kids, a lawnmower, a dog, a cat, two bunnies urinating on the teachees lap, and a tv in the background. wow. so we didnt have a car this last week, and it was crazy at times because it isnt safe to get into Spring Lake on bikes (we live in anderson creek but all our investigators are in spring lake so kinda confusing but yeah). so we needed many rides into town. in fact, we got 15 different rides from ward members this week. you never realize how helpful they are until you are dependent on them to talk to anyone.

it was elder b birthday on tuesday! so he is exactly 13 months older than me. we got fed very well that day by some of his favorite members. we have befriended an older couple that is on a mission out here, and they take us everywhere and take good care of us. they bailed us out the other day when it started pouring, like almost kansas bad. i was pretty impressed and wet.

i also made rice and beans this week! it turned out really well i think, and my companion liked it a lot too. speaking of food, we had a real taste of southern hospitality this week with some of the meals we had. like last night we had southern ribs and baked potatoes (i had ranch on it) and some other stuff, but we left with about twice as much food as we ate. they were real nice.

as far as teaching, we are working with a great family that just needs to quit smoking before they can get baptized. they have a powerful spirit though, and are so strong and kind and lovely. we keep running into this man who is 6'6ish and looks like a pro basketball player. he is my favorite investigator, but he is so hard to get a hold of because he doesnt have a phone or a car and he is always out helping somebody or talking to somebody. just a great man who will become an amazing member if we can ever sit down for a lesson with him. i will update yall about him next week. Saturday was an incredible day. we were in the right place at the right time all day. only 1 of 4 lessons that were planned actually worked out, but between lessons we caught a member that had just moved in and was lost and helped him out, and at the same time a lady walked up and said "hey how do i become mormon?!" and all of this because a drunk man who said he was a cia agent whistled for his dog, otherwise we would have missed it all. stuff like that happened all day and it was so incredible and humbling.

i love missionary work. there is nothing i would rather be doing with my time. i am growing so much and so ready to get out there and teach again! i love you so so much and i hope everythings going great like it seems to be!

elder clark

Monday, July 22, 2013

I'm so sorry i didn't call! i was going to make one but i forgot to get a calling card, and then i was going to borrow one but all of the phones near the plane got taken before i was even there. plus we got on the lane at 7ish so it would ave been like a 5am call or earlier. i am very glad to hear about everyone's lives though. i am so proud of austin tautu and eirik and please tell them i love them! also i don't have much time to email since we have to drive all the way across town to get computers so if anyone asks it would be much easier to contact me through letters and i would probably write back faster as well.

okey dokey well right now i have two trainers and they are both really neat kids. one of them is just like tyler so its a good time. he is elder L. he is like tyler except that he is the most organized person i have ever met. he loves his templates, and as one for everything i think even one for making other templates. i wonder if he is just like tyler except overcorrected on the organization?!?! i dont know thats my new speculaion. the other one is like a mild version of me. elder b. he is the second of 5 boys like i am and hes musical and athletic and just a nice neat kid. the difference is he is an incredible ballroom dancer. we are going to get along great. my apartment isnt all that bad! although i do sleep on couch pillows for a mattress right now haha. and i kill about 3 bugs/cockroaches a day. i live off of macaroni and ramen so far, and the members dont feed us all that much. its a pretty small ward compared to ours so i dont blame them. probably 100 people at church yesterday. we have been teaching lots of amazing people since being out here, but my favorite were the ones i met my very first day. one is a man who was inactive for 9 years, and we really connected. i spoke so boldly to him and prayed so hard for him that he said my vocal prayer for him may have changed his life. he cried and he NEVER cries. he didn't come to church yesterday but he committed to coming to church. the other one called the elders asking to get baptized. he is such a neat man, and i really have a good friendship with him already. they are both in the other area though. i guess i should explain. we cover two areas, that are in one ward. there are supposed to be two sets of elders and one set of sisters, but there are only three elders and 2 sisters. so us tree cover two areas, spring lake and fayetteville, until tomorrow when elder langford gets a new companion. our area surrounds fort bragg, and there are a lot of military guys out here. i am in the fayetteville 1st ward, spring lake area.

so when the assistants bring elder l's new companion tomorrow, they are bringing me a free bike that an old missionary donated!!!! i get to keep it so i'm pumped. free bikes are always good. we haven't had anything interesting for food yet except today we got hibachi grill and i ate a boiled octopus whole. that was interesting to say the least. i have lost 10 pounds since leaving so i think i'm on track haha. take bets on that yall. it is really interesting to cover two cities. its hard. we drive so much and its a pretty good commute since we have to go all the way around fort bragg. the areas I'm in are both really neat areas, and they are pretty diverse, like i would compare them to south sac. anyways. there are 160ish missionaries in my mission, which covers roughly a third of north carolina now that the boundaries changed again. i am right in the middle of the state but towards the south. Fayetteville stake is my zone. maybe yall can look it up.

spiritually, the first week has been amazing. i have already learned some meaningful lessons in planning, obedience, love, and others. love is the most important. if i can see these children of Heavenly Father as He does, there is no way i can go wrong. that is how i try to view each person i talk to. if i love them, and i love my Father in Heaven, then i am doing everything in my power to benefit them and bring them closer to Christ. it is interesting that almost everyone we talk to is interested in how to come closer to our Savior. they have a strong foundation in Him, because most everyone has always gone to church. we just help them understand that they can come even closer to Him through the restored gospel! i already know i am here because my spirit, the one that controls elder clark, connects to certain people. the man who has been inactive for nine years is one of those people. it makes me wonder if i knew these people in the preexistence and they showed me their call to earth and i showed them mine, and they said "come find me, ill recognize you when i meet you again". thats how it felt with mario anyways. it has been a great experience so far, and i cant wait for the rest of it. i love you all so so so so so much. have a lovely week!!!!!

I think I have mastered the language!!!

elder clark

Friday, July 12, 2013

I just wanted to email everyone and say HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD! i would have wrote that in my letter i sent but i wasnt thinking that far ahead.

i have had such an incredible week i just want to tell the world about it. i have seriously grown so much and become so much different and stronger. i dont think you guys would even recognize me. but thats not important. i am leaving on monday at 330am so the next time i write home i will be out in the field! go raleigh! my companions still nice and awesome and musical and we get along just fine. Him and like 10 other people i know are going to raleigh on our same flight so thats gonna be awesome and goofy and fun if those are the right words. its amazing how powerful the spirit is here. its a whole different experience than i have ever felt before. i have actually had some experiences that are so powerful and amazing i dont think i could even write them. also, you wouldnt believe how much heidi is here helping me. she comes and hangs out with me all the time and keeps my spirits up when it gets hard. in fact she has had such an impact that me and a lot of my roommates have started purple tie thursdays and say they are going to do it their whole missions. i definitely am.

anyways, the work has been hard but great. we have had a lot of practice teaching each other, our teachers, and some people (mostly nonmembers) who act like investigators for us. some of them and i think ours are actually real investigators now!
stories. so we taught a lesson to one guy who had some mormon friends and he wanted to come closer to God. we tried to teach him prayer and the plan of salvation the first time, but that didnt hit him. the second time, we planned on teaching him more in depth on the gospel, when i felt like we should teach the restoration. that day we committed him to baptism! it was so powerful, even knowing this guy was one of the teachers.

then this other guy. he was an atheist that hated organized religion and i dont think he was acting at all. im almost sure he was just a volunteer from the street. but he talked a lot about his beliefs and would get anywhere with us the first lesson. the second one, he told us at the beginning that he thought about what we said and prayed to see if anyone was really out there and he felt something. then he talked about these dreams he used to have where he would get shot up in a whirlwind and thrown across the galaxy until he approached what seemed like the center of all energy and creation in the universe, when a gentle hand pushed him back down to earth. i asked what the power was trying to tell him, and he said that he knew that he was out there and had the truth, but that this man wasnt quite ready for it yet. so he kept on talking about his experiences with this and others, and about his religion background. he said he thought a lot of religions were hypocritical and didnt follow what they taught or didnt help people and were selfish churches and what not. so we asked if he thought Jesus had a church on the earth when he lived, and he came around and agreed that he would have. then i asked him what it would mean to him if that church was completely restored today, and the spirit was so strong that my hands shook as i talked. he said that he would want to learn more! if we had more time i would have talked about the restoration and probably asked him to be baptized but he had to get ready for work so we had to take off. we left him with a book of mormon to read some things and got him to commit to church on sunday! its just too bad we are getting transferred across the country because i would have loved to have taught him more.

its amazing what you can find out about a person if you learn to love them as Father does. it doesnt matter their situation, if they have said or done something to offend you, or anything of the sort, it just matters that you dont judge them and you look at their potential. i am ready to serve in North Carolina and so happy to have this opportunity. i love you all so much!

Elder Clark

ps i saw teri pyne today and she gave me doughnuts!!! also the mcguires have sent me brownies and cinnamon rolls and i love them so much. so does all of my district and everyone else too haha
pps dad could you tell me some stories about joe please? i would love to know some stuff about him.
ppps i love you
pppps i have seen jake a couple times now and it has been really exciting to see him and jeriann and jamie all over the mtc
ppppps dad. did you teach or baptize anyone with the last name goes? i met a missionary named elder goes from brazil and his dad was a convert around your time in campinas!
pppppps i always pick fake fights with this 6'4" 260 pound hammer/discus/javelin thrower from byu and he is awesome and hilarious and we scare the crud out of people. thats all

Monday, July 8, 2013

Hi everyone!

I don't think I could be like Ty and write 10 pages every week but I'll see what I can do. I am loving it here. At first I didn't really know what to think because so much was thrown at me right away but I am coming along. You would not believe how much I have grown and learned just in the past three days. I think I will do just fine in Japan.
I may be kidding but North Carolina is actually sounding pretty nice right now. I am in a district with about 8 other Elders and Sisters going to the same mission and the other half is going to Mesa Arizona, where it has been over 115 for the last week or so. Yeah glad I'm not going there. Anyways like I said i am learning so much and embarking on an incredible journey that i think will carry into the rest of my life. not only have i been learning about the gospel, but i have learned a lot about me as a person. and yes, i am having lots of fun as well. i took it upon myself to nickname all six elders staying in my room, the likes of which i will not disclose at this time. but i will tell you about my companion. his name is elder larkin and he is a very nice and patient kid. he is from st george (but he doesnt know the Days) and just got out of high school. by the way about 80% of the elders here right now could not be here without the age change, and there were over 900 elders that entered the mtc the same day as me! Kind of makes me feel insignificant that as much as i stand out back home for serving a mission i am at the same level as thousands and thousands of others. i just think that is humbling to know how much the lord's work is progressing and it really puts into perspective the incredible power of the gospel. I feel so blessed to be a missionary right now, to be able to see the work erupt like it is. there are missionaries here going anywhere you could possibly think of and even places that we dont even know exist! The work is literally flooding the earth. I like to imagine it as the baptism by fire of the earth. Since it was baptized by water back in Noah's day, this is the baptism of fire or the spirit that the scriptures talk about. A sister in my district going to my mission found a scripture in alma about everyone being able to receive the gospel in their own nation and tongue. that was really powerful to me, because that is why we still need powerful missionaries in places like North Carolina.

Anyways, Im pretty short on time, but i will try to write home this week! By the way i love the food and i have lost 5 pounds already from working out and such so im on my way haha. the district calls me elder cracker cuz i always steal crackers and what not from the cafeteria to eat during class.

Thats all. I love you guys so much and i want you to know my testimony and faith are powerful and unshaken
Elder Clark