Monday, June 23, 2014

This week has been really eventful! I got moved from Apex out to Chapel Hill 2nd ward. We have a really small area, but we cover the outer boundaries of 3 cities: Chapel Hill, Durham, and Carrboro. Most of UNC sports fields are in our area, and also the hospitals. The classrooms are right across the road of our boundary, but we have to go through main campus to get to the rest. So now, I am in a college town. Most of the people in the ward and around the area are college students or work in and around campus.

My new companion is Elder M, from south London. It is really fun to have a slight culture change from the typical Utah missionaries haha. So we are a pretty unique companionship as far as where we are from. Elder M is a rugby player too! We have a lot of fun together. I will try to send a picture of us.

Like I said, eventful week! Here are some of the highlights:

Monday I said bye to everyone and packed. We got a giant turtle from the thrift shop and I gave it to the Hs, our recent converts, because they told me I look like a turtle when I sing. Just a little something to remember me by haha.

Tuesday I came out to Chapel Hill and started to get settled!

Wednesday was super hot. It got up to 101 degrees and the humidity was really high because it rained in between sunshine... That normally wouldn't have been too bad but we had to bike 17 miles that day. Wow. Let's just say I got a little bit wet. Mostly from the rain. Just kidding it was all sweat. That was crazy. We got to see all of campus though, and I sang the whole bike ride through there. I have been trying to have more fun with our contacts, so I would say things like "Hey want to trade bikes?" and stuff like that.

Thursday we had dinner with a crazy awesome family with 8 kids. I got challenged to a push up competition by a 9 year old. She did 60 push ups without stopping! It was crazy. I matched her, but still I was really impressed.

Friday and Saturday mornings were spent clearing out about 300 square feet of thick NC jungle out of somebody's backyard. It was really intense because NC trees are THICK! There are so many little bushes and plants and trees and brush you wouldn't believe it! And we must have discovered 25 new species of bugs too. BUT we got poison ivy. It's still killing me!!!!!!!

The work here is about to take off! We are starting off from ground zero. We had no investigators when I got here. But we found 2 this week and are going to really get things going. I am excited! Here we go!

I love you so much!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for writing me.

Elder Clark the younger

Monday, June 9, 2014

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

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

This has been a crazy last few weeks. We are really busy and I am getting kind of lost in the work. I can hardly remember what it was like to be back home anymore haha. I think that yall might need to prepare me to go back out into the world when I get home. Like start making some classes on how to be a real person or something that I can take when I get there? I don't know.

We taught a ton this week! We had 11 lessons with investigators and 6 with recent converts and less active members of the church. It was fun! I think that we are finally figuring out how to use our time wisely haha. It's a tough thing to do because we are always going and a going and a going, so sometimes you just get going and get lost in what you are doing. And sometimes you are having way too much fun and forget what you were trying to do. That happens a lot here because Elder James and I get along really well. We could be talking pretty seriously with an investigator and all of a sudden all of us just be laughing like crazy. I think that if you watched a movie of our life as companions you might have a heart attack from laughing so much. I would encourage you to not have heart attacks though.

One day last week we had a lesson in Mandarin Chinese. It was crazy. We had a member with us that spoke Mandarin, and we just let them talk. It was awesome to hear. We got the Spirit of what they were saying at least! It was incredible because I could tell when he was talking about the First Visitation to Joseph Smith and his story! Pretty powerful.

All of my memories are starting to blend together. It is kind of funny because Elder James is having the same problem. We just sit around during lunch or before bed and tell all of the same stories and laugh because we have already heard them 4 or 5 times. Maybe I am just getting old.

But you know what? Everything is only getting better. Perspective: UP! Righteousness: UP! Plundering: UP! (what?) Joy: UP! Love: UP! 2nd Coming: coming UP! Gospel: SPREADING. I love the happiness that comes from living the doctrine of Christ and becoming more like Him. I can tell you that the most sure thing in my life is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It is secure when the world around is unstable and it is loving when the whole earth wants to hate. What could be better than sharing that with people?

Elder Clark the younger

PS There aint nothin better than a bunch of fireflies and a couple biscuit-lovin raccoon-hunters with bed bugs in their briches hollerin at a whole messa peach cream pie lovers. That's what I love about Sundays.

PPS Speaking of bed bugs I found one today in our apartment and made a whole mess of things cleaning and spraying all over and taking our couch outside. They are scary as all get out let me tell ya DADGUM THEM THINGS! Bugs aren't fun.

PPPS Yesterday we didn't email because we got an emergency referral in the morning that we biked over to see how much help he needed and we were there for about 3 hours or so listening to his whole life story. Man it was tough to hear. He is really struggling but he knew who to call that's for sure. Let me tell ya I feel like a superhero when people who aren't even members of the Church recognize us as servants of the Lord.
You are the bestest. Some experiences from this week!!!!!

On Monday night, we had tons of places to go. We ended up biking about 10 miles or more that night... It was pretty crazy. And warm. Luckily we have the car this week! We have interviews with President tomorrow, so I will probably find out what is happening for transfers in two weeks! I think I will be going because I have been here a good while and am starting to figure it out. I also am having WAY TOO MUCH FUN with Elder J. I don't know if I said this already but he is a lot like Brad Beeston. Definitely more shy than Brad but the personalities and everything are very similar. So we just have a blast. We have a lot of things that we both say for no good reason except it's funny. Like inside jokes. But then we explain them to people so they can have fun too. Don't worry.

Tuesday we biked a ton too. That was closer to 20 miles. It doesn't seem like that much when you think I did 100 in one day, but man oh man. You try biking in a white shirt and tie, and LONG PANTS and dress shoes, and holding a bag, on a 3 year old mountain bike that really needs repair or something haha. It gets pretty crazy. That day we were way out in the boonies, and a man walked out of his house with a handgun out. So, we told him who we were and what we were doing and he said, "Oh yall are for Jesus? I'm wit you. I'm baptist." He wasn't interested but he didn't shoot us so that's nice.

Wednesday, I gave out an Arabic copy of the Book of Mormon to one of the workers at Panda Express (we were there for lunch and started talking to him). It's not every day you get to give out one of those! It just so happened that we had one at the apartment. I'm not exactly sure why we even had it really.

Friday was Elder James' birthday. It was a lot of fun! We got taken to a Chinese buffet for lunch (you would have thought it was my birthday!) and did a lot of service that day. We helped tighten every screw in the church building as an Elder's Quorum activity. The running joke in Elder's Quorum was trying to figure out a name for the activity. We'll leave that subject alone.

Overall we taught a bunch of lessons this week! 6 with a member and 5 other lessons! It was pretty awesome. And we found 3 new investigators. Not in our car though they were on the street and in their houses and what not.

If you work hard at what the Lord has commanded, he will bless you, but most likely it won't be in ways that you would expect.

Elder Clark the younger
Good to see you and talk to you yesterday! I think that I would much rather just hang out and have fun like we do than what it sounds like other missionaries do (where they just sit around and cry and say how much they miss each other and what not). We are just a happy family with good perspective I guess. Or maybe you just don't miss me haha. That's probably not it I think you all would miss me if I was a turtle. I still miss our box turtle we had in Kansas. That was fun.

So as you done sawed I really ain't been changin much. My bike's doin alright. We also done moved a couple people this week. There was one with a 1100 lb safe. It took like 7 or 8 of us but we managed to get it into the moving truck and safely back out again. It was pretty crazy. Elder James and I are like the best moving crew though. Just let us at em!

We are still teaching a lot of people, some that are progressing and some not, but we were finally able to set a baptismal date with one of them! Another is going to get to that point right quick after our lesson tonight.

Yesterday, a young man from the ward gave his mission farewell talk. It made me feel like I really was not prepared for my mission haha. There are some great missionaries coming out to the field! Give them some work to do because they don't know what they are doing they just know how to teach people pretty well! Well that's me anyways.

Thanks for everything that yall do. I really appreciate the boost I get from talking to ya yesterday. It really helps motivate me and reminds me that life is pretty simple and pretty amazing. We have it pretty dang good! And it will be even better if we really put something into it and really get something out of it.

I love you so much!
Elder Clark the younger