Monday, January 6, 2014

Wow. This area is crazy. Like crazy good.


Elder Jeffrey Clark
North Carolina Raleigh Mission
3220 Broadstone Way
Apex, NC 27502

My new companion is Elder W, from Spanish Fork, Utah. He wants to study math and become a professor, and he denied scholarships to Harvard and Yale to come out here, and instead deferred a scholarship to Utah State. He has been out about 3 months, and I am his "follow up trainer" (his second companion basically). Poor man, just hardly has been out on his mission and already has to teach me about his area. We get along really well though, and he has even more of a logical mind than me.

Now for the area. I didn't find out until President announced in the chapel with all of the missionaries where I was going. Then when he called my name he said "Sister Clark" so I completely forgot where he said I was going because I was laughing too hard. So because of that I got sent to New Zealand and never came back. Oh and I also saw J (Sister J) at transfer meeting and got to talk to her a little bit. Anyways, I finally found out where I was going and said goodbye to my good friends, and headed out to Apex. It is a really nice area. On the way in town the sign said "Welcome to Apex: the #9 best place to live in the country, and the #1 place to live in North Carolina" according to some magazine of some sort. So yeah it is pretty nice.

When we got to the apartment (when I get my camera back I will have to take you on a video tour of it) I found out that it is the nicest missionary apartment in the entire mission. And no joke, it is. I didn't know that humans even lived in apartments this nice. It has a dishwasher and a giant spa tub and a washer and dryer... it looks brand new. It has that new apartment smell. And no cockroaches or anything. It is quite the change from Spring Lake.

Then, to add even more, as soon as I had my things set down, we had to walk about a mile and a half to the church, so that is really close! When we got near the church building, I realized something that still blows my mind... It was the one right next to the temple. I serve in the only temple ward in the mission! Every single day we get to see the sacred house of the Lord, and the mighty angel Moroni standing on top. It is about 100 yards from me as we speak, because we use the computers in the church.

You think that is all? Haha nope. I drive a 2013 Chevy Cruze (and I actually get to drive now because I am the senior companion) that is the ONLY royal blue car in the mission. Spoil me more and I would be a lump of potatoes.

The ward here is huge (numbers wise), and will probably be split soon (like they have been saying with the Rocklin 1st ward for years). It reminds me a lot of my home ward. They do incredible missionary work. I think we have gotten 4 or 5 referrals from members just this week! They bring friends to church a lot and have people over for family home evenings and send missionaries to all of their friends that would possibly listen. That is the hard part though. It is such a nice area that people are pretty comfortable with everything so they don't understand why they need it. Yet. The Bishopric and Stake Presidency are really involved in the work, and they are working on some things requested by Elder Ballard (I think) in a letter he sent them. It is amazing how the hastening is hitting. They all just got invited to read the Book of Mormon in five months, memorize all of the Book of Mormon scripture mastery's, and share 5 copies of the Book of Mormon (1 a month) in sacrament meeting yesterday. All by May 31. Pretty crazy, but I think you could do it.

Finally, I know long letter, but finally, we have a baptism on Saturday! It is someone who has really prepared herself for this message, and her daughter. They are incredible, and have just eaten up the lessons. They are so ready. She actually referred herself on because she was finding out things about the church that she liked. It is an amazing story! More on them next week!

Anyways, yes I am spoiled and really loving it here. But I still can't help but feel for the people in rougher places like Spring Lake. I am still really humbled by my experiences and by my mission. I love it.

Love you all!
Elder Jeffy Clark

P.S. It is cold here like Kansas - 25 tomorrow and wind chill because of humidity. I love it :)
Last week we went out to play guitar on monday with one of our less actives who used to be good friends with Jimi Hendricks (or so he says... it seems possible though he has done a lot of things in his life). He used to have about 50 really really nice guitars but now he is down to just a few because he has sold most of them. So we played some of the ones he has left. It was way too loud. I still can't hear anything. We also got our car muddy because he lives way out in the Boonies, and a few people commented. It looks like we went mudding haha. Luckily our car is already the color of shiny sparkly mud.

We got a third bed this week, meaning I am probably going to stay in this area for a total of 9 months (3 more) so that I can train somebody who is waiting for his visa. That will be a good experience. If that does happen though, it will be kind of crazy because I have already been here a long time. Maybe he will speak some weird language that I can learn too! Then we will also be back in a tripanionship (3 people - it's kind of intimidating to walk to someone's door like that).

Lately I have realized that I have changed so much that it scares me. I know it is good, but I could possibly be changing too fast for myself. Like I am running faster than I have strength. I think that I have done that all of my life, and that is why I got overuse injuries in high school... weird... But I am just trying to be consistent and loving and grow!!!

That is something that is really important - making sure that you aren't killing yourself over every little thing. Mosiah 4:27 talks about that, and how all things should be done in wisdom and order. So do that! Don't do things out of order because that's not following the instructions. Then you put the car together wrong and it turns into a robot and eats your village. So that's why you have to be careful.

Here is my district (minus the blonde she got transferred a couple weeks ago). We have too much fun. We are like cousins or something.

Thank you for the videos and letters and everything! You are the best immediate family that I have ever had!!!!!!!!!! Even better than last time I had 4 brothers.

My companion is pretty goofy. We have a lot of fun. We sing way too loud though (my poor neighbors). This week has put into perspective the work, because thats what it really is! Work! Facebook has been doing very well (no baptisms from it yet but still working!) and we are working with some really great families. We even had 5 people that came to Church yesterday! It was incredible. I have never seen so many nonmembers at church. And because of that they are all progressing really well. That is the ticket - having them go to church so they can "come and see," like the Savior taught, and having them experience the truth of the message for themselves.

We will not gain a testimony of something that we do not act on. It could be a feeling, a desire, a curiosity, anything. But we will never know if we don't do our part. If we knew the outcome and results before we chose, then it would take away from our agency!! That wouldn't be fair.

I am coming to understand more what it really means to keep the commandments. Like you probably hear all the time, it is a change of heart more than anything else. Salvation is not cheap, and it does not come by the word or the law alone. That is something a lot of people struggle with understanding, and that is why people generally don't understand that there is more than just the Bible. If all were close to God and knew Christ, then they wouldn't have to be told that the Kingdom is on the Earth! It would stick out like a sore thumb.

Anyways, just some thoughts I have had lately. How is the 'family mission' going? Is there a family mission plan that yall follow?!?!?!\

I love you all so much and hope you have a wonderful week.

Elder Clark the younger