Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Wow. Tyler is old and wrinkly.

I really gots to thank yall again for the packagin last week. It done really brightened my week like a jar of lightning bugs in a black hole.

We had a tougher week. Elder S sprained his ankle and got kind of sick in the same week. Thus we didn't bike much and finally were forced to learn how to use the bus system on campus. That was a lot of fun. There are tons more people out here now that school has started. That also means that everyone is getting super busy haha. It reminds me how busy college is going to be. But yet it makes me really incredibly grateful for the work that we do have and also the support from the members here. They are so awesome. We have had a meal almost every day since I got here. So if a poor college ward can feed us every day I think any normal ward could fill up their missionaries' schedule. I am also really thinking a lot about how great this opportunity is to be a missionary. There isn't anything better. I don't think I would appreciate it any more if I were having a baptism every week or even every month. No matter what I am grateful because this is the best thing I have ever done with my life. I feel your love and support and prayers out here and it means the world. Keep up the good work. I love you, and the Lord loves you and appreciates you even more than I am even capable of understanding.

Elder Clark the younger
Behold, this week hath been delicious. Yea, insomuch that two families cometh to church yesterday. Thus saith Elder Clark the younger, "I have separated this week into three categories; and there shall be three categories of things that I shall speak about this week. Wherefore, not two, nor four, nor one category," saith the younger, "but three shall be the number of categories."

1. Southern food
We had a full chicken cooked with dumplings and lima beans this week. LIKE THE FULL CHICKEN. That was so good. We were taught how to cook it too, so I may even be able to do it again. We will see someday. I ate the insides of the chicken, except Elder S1 got the heart. I got the neck too. It was really good. Then on my birthday for lunch I fried up steaks and whipped up a couple potatoes, then cooked some onions and green beans in the steak grease. Good stuff. Also made 2 quarts of Kool Aid and drank almost the whole thing in a mason jar. Finally last night we got asked what we wanted for dinner. We decided on chicken n waffles. They were so good. Fried chicken, normal waffles, some syrup and what not... I ate enough to make a valley girl look like Jabba the hut.

2. Missionary success (the most important one)
We had a lot of success this week. A few new investigators, even a family that came to church!!!!!!!!!!! And then Elder Ss was doing so good. He led us out in contacting another group of ballers (playing basketball in the park again) but this time we played with them for a bit and then talked to them. One turned out to be a less active member we were trying to find! It was great. He and his family came to church Sunday. I really love being out here and inviting people to come unto Christ. I could be rejected 100% of the time and it would still be worth it because I would know I am giving it my all to make this world a better place and help people find happiness. That's what I say is success. But I am also very grateful that there are some people who are willing to learn and listen, and make a clear choice as to whether they are willing to follow through. I really think my mission won't end in 10 months because of how strongly I feel we need to share! This is endless happiness on the line, and immediate support to those who need it in a troubled world. This is sharing love and hope, and light to those who are walking in darkness. This is making bare God's arm in the eyes of all nations - that's what spreading the gospel is. The Church is his arm, and his strength on the earth. This is the best work to be engaged in, and the most rewarding and fruitful.

4. (three, sir) Birthday fun
I got my 2 packages on Monday and the third came my birthday morning! Thank you so much. I really appreciated and needed what you sent me. I opened presents in the morning before studies and made lunch for us, because after lunch we got sent to a beautiful new building out in Mebane (pronounced Mebbin) for the open house, and stayed there the rest of the day. We were door greeters and also had a station where we talked to everyone about what missionaries do and had some games and some things on display! So that is what I did for my birthday! It was tons of fun. I am glad we went. Some sisters in our district made me some brownies, and then we also got some fresh chocolate milk from the dairy farm on the way out to the new building. That chocolate milk is the best I have ever tasted. I bought two gallons (saturday) and it is halfway gone.

Yea, thus hath been my week. Thus is my love for thee, oh family.
Elder Clark the younger
I don't know what to say. Thanks for the birthday wish recordings and what not! Yall are the bestest. Quick report on this week, we had a really good one! I think the highlight is how well Elder S is doing. I have put him in a lot of growing situations with talking to and teaching people, and he has responded really well. I am so proud of my boy.

We found 2 new investigators this week! That is the most action we have had since I got here in chapel hill actually. It's been tough to have 'success' numbers wise, but I know we are successful by way of doing our best to invite others to come unto Christ. There is a lot of peace and comfort in that. Sometimes I feel like the old testament prophets that had a real rough time trying to teach the people. So since I just finished that it's nice to feel like I can relate to the scriptures like that.

I also made rice and beans this week, and then a member made some for us the next day. So that was funny. That kind of thing happens quite a bit actually. I have gotten much better at cooking too. I am excited to be able to cook for college. So I am taking the opportunity to learn now while I can.

Not much else to report! I am excited to be 20! Say goodbye to the Teenage JEFFY. It's too bad yall won't have ever seen me in person as a 19 year old. That will be okay though. There's no going back after 20 so we will see how this goes.

I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elder Clark the younger (not for long though :(  )
One of the most incredible families I have met left this week. They are amazing. There are 8 kids and the ninth is on his way. They are really humble yet really exciting and crazy. I being on the goofier side fit in well with the younger kids haha. Them moving was a lot of our week because they needed to prepare a lot of things and didn't have much help (the kids are all under 16 and were gone most of the week) so we tore out their fence and moved their piano and their giant dressers and boxes and everything. (I am loving the workouts from all the moves lately I run everywhere and lift extra things and carry everything I can to try to make it more difficult and draining since I have the energy) (I am staying in not too bad shape actually) (They also had a bench and some weights they were getting rid of so we have those in our apartment now. Time to get yoked!)

Our investigator at UNC hospital got to go home this week! We are really excited for him because he has been in the hospital quite a while not being able to leave, but now he gets to go back and is really close to/excited for baptism!

Elder  S is doing great! It reminds me a lot of when I was first on my mission. It's pretty tough to be out here in the beginning! But he is really doing well for how little time I have to explain everything that's going on and how everything works. So I am proud of my boy. He has a hilarious half smile that he gives that makes him look a ton like Rick Moranis (I think that's who I am thinking of) (the one from Strange Brew) I sent a picture of it last week I think. It makes me laugh like crazy though.

We got to teach the youth about journal writing at church yesterday! It went really well actually. And it made me really realize the importance of writing in journals. We started out listing everyone's favorite stories from the scriptures and then made up scenarios where the prophets never recorded those things (common excuses people use today for not writing things down like they got lazy, or they didn't feel like they had anything to write, or they didn't care, or they weren't consistent and forgot that story, etc) and all of a sudden where are the scriptures? There would be nothing left if the prophets didn't write down what the Lord commanded them. So we are all commanded to do the same. Keep a history (spiritual and temporal) written down about our lives for our posterity. Here's a really good scripture we read yesterday:
"For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written." -- 2 Nephi 29:11

So writing down the Lord's words personally to you is pretty important! It shows you care, helps you remember it, and is a good reference to look back on later in life or for your posterity. SO DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I <3 YOU

Elder Clark the younger
This week has been really eventful but also pretty long. On Tuesday was transfers, and I got a brand new missionary!!!!!!! His name is Elder S I will send a picture of us out to yall. He is from Provo, so the MTC wasn't too far from him. He has been really good out here because he has a great desire to serve. He is a bit shy but is doing really well for his first week. I remember I had no idea what I was doing for the first few months of the mission, so I know how he feels haha. I told him that he is going to learn tons of things, but above all to remember to "work hard, pray hard, and have fun" and he will be just fine. Especially because there is a lot expected of you when you first come on your mission, I figured that would be something comforting to hear. I feel like that is the basic essence of the Gospel, the way you push through. Just work hard, pray hard, and enjoy this time.

Wednesday I was very bold with our missionaries in the zone. Somehow I got put on the spot in a discussion with the entire zone and I told them very straight up how they needed to increase their desire. It was good for them. And probably for me too. I haven't ever done anything like that but it felt good because they needed it big time. But right after that, we were biking through town and got stopped, cornered and yelled at/cussed out for a few minutes because this poor misguided fellow thought we worshiped Moroni. I told him Moroni was a prophet that testified of Christ, and he about punched me, so we biked away. Poor Elder S his first day out gets the worst opposition I've seen yet on my mission. Also that day we got caught in the rain and soaked on our bikes. (Carolina rain is about as bad as Kansas rain - and about twice as bad as CA rain). I was loving that though. It's so much fun for me. I sang the whole time haha.

Thursday became a service day. We helped with 2 moves and did some gardening for an older couple that can't do much work for themselves. Those moves were crazy. I tried to really pick up the pace by running everywhere so there was a lot of energy there. Friday we got fed brazilian steaks, smoked chicken, and lobster, all in the same meal, by a member. It's not often we get spoiled that much but man that was incredible.

Saturday Elder S took the lead in some lessons and some contacts! Huge victory. It's been tough for him but he is doing awesome. I am excited to work with him. He has a huge secret though: he is really good at basketball. It's funny because he is real humble and quiet, never played sports competitively at all, but then he gets out on the court and goes wild. Doesn't miss a shot. Apparently he played a lot of church ball in Provo.

Anyways I realized something powerful yesterday, and that is this: I am out here on my mission because I was asked personally by Jesus Christ to serve him in North Carolina. And really there is no other reason. It's a very real thing and I love it!

Hope y'all's week is incredible.

Elder Clark the younger