Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas and Golfing in the Sand

HOHOHOla!! (I know, that was lame)

Well, just like that my first Christmas on the mission has come and gone! I guess I really only have one more to go, but I am so grateful for this time of year and all that it does the help people grow closer to Christ! Christmas is a very special day, even for missionaries! We woke up, studied and had breakfast. Then we went out to work and had a huge dinner and then called our folks. I guess that was a pretty special day for missionaries! I was so grateful to call home and talk to my family. I truly have a testimony that families are eternal and that God has given them to us for a very specific purpose. There is no better place to learn about Christ than in the family.

Christmas in Quartzsite is a very different day than anywhere else in the world. Instead of a family dinner, they all met up and had a big potluck and man, oh, man, did I eat!! I ate so much food for dinner I was so full, but hey what are New Years resolutions for? To lose weight.  A lot of the families here are just as lonely as we are because they are not with the rest of their families for the holiday season. After we talked to our folks we went to visit a family where the wife is a recent convert and the husband, who has been a member all his life, is just getting back into the church. They are just an awesome family! As we were leaving the wife was tearing up because she was so touched that we came to see her on Christmas. That really hit me. As a missionary and for the rest of my life, it’s really not about me or whether I have a good Christmas, but the best Christmas I can have is lifting the heart of someone else or giving a helping hand. That is obvious, but it is truly meaningful and life changing when you see it firsthand.

The rest of the week just flew by! On Friday we helped a single lady in our ward build beds for her daughters with a family friend. There are not a lot of young families in town and the ones that are here usually have a rough situation they are dealing with. It was great to help them even though it took a little longer then we were expecting and the house didn't exactly have the best living conditions. I don't think they have heard the primary song about cleaning up on Saturday to get ready for Sunday! But that's okay - I have heard that song a lot and it still didn't always motivate me!!

We are trying to do a lot of service here in town because that is how we are going to get our name out and find more people to teach. We serve a lot in the food bank which is good. They tell us they couldn't do it without us and we have recently been getting more ideas about how we can serve so hopefully those will start and help us find more. We have also started playing games for an hour on Saturday with the local kids and that has been great. They all need to get out more and do things and have some fun! Hopefully, we can continue to do good in the town.

The missionary work is slow here but things are progressing. Our main investigator is really close to being baptized but he is just sick a lot. We are working with him and he should be there soon! On Sunday we experienced a miracle. Earlier in the week we had talked to a family and they were talking about this lady they were helping and how she could use the gospel. We were going to meet her but hadn't had the chance to yet. On Sunday she had come to church and found us. She asked us when could we start meeting with her! That was just amazing and on top of that we talked to a guy whose wife is down here for surgery and she wants to get baptized too! The Lord is blessing us and hopefully we can work hard and have faith and we will be able to help this area out even more!

For P-day today, we went sand golfing. I got better by the end, but it was a little wierd. I took some pictures for you to enjoy. 

I hope you all have a great week and be safe on New Years!

Elder Clark
Breakfast! Elder Clark and Elder McMullin

Sand Golfing




Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas in the Sand

Hello everyone!

Well another week has come and gone. I am finally starting to learn the names of some of the people in the branch. I know at least two of the branch presidency, our branch mission leader and a couple of the other families! 

There were a few major highlights of this week. On Tuesday, we had a Zone Conference for Christmas. It was three hours away so most of our day was spent driving and driving. The meeting was good and our mission president even dressed up as Santa Claus! We all had a good time and took pictures. 

Another highlight of the week occurred on Saturday. We had our Nativity Open House at the church and it was super awesome! We had close to 70 nativities in the cultural hall and lots and lots of cookies. There was also music and a choir. We had made announcements on the radio and in the newspaper so there were a lot of people from the community who attended. We were able to talk to lots of people and I think it was good way for people to see the church in a different light and to see that we do believe in Christ.

I talked to one particular man who attended. He and his wife are Catholic, but haven’t gone to their church for a long time. He had mentioned that their church was super small so they weren’t sure if they wanted to go. I told him that his family was welcome here any day, if they wanted and if they just want to come to church, you can come to ours. I said that I know there are some differences, but at least you could worship. He really liked that and said that he didn’t know nonmembers could come to church. He was from Colorado and so we had a nice talk. He lives on the other side of Grand Mesa in Grand Junction. I believe it is in a small town. Before they left the open house he came back and said goodbye to me and talked to one of the men in our Presidency. I was able to get his info so hopefully we can keep in contact with him.

Being in Quartzsite for the last two weeks has been very interesting. The work here is as slow as the people and I don’t mean that in a rude way. It’s just things are a little bit slower here and we can do as much as we can, but old people are just set in their ways and it’s hard to find people that are interested in truly changing. But I have been able to study my scriptures and learn more about the gospel from my companion. We have had a lot of conversations about gospel things and he asks me a lot of questions that I can’t always answer so that is a good way to learn more!  

One thing that we discussed that really stood out to me is how God teaches us. Christ taught in parables for a very specific reason. When he talked to farmers the parables were about farming and so on. He used things that people understood to teach them gospel principles. The prophets have taught us doctrine in the way that they understand. Take Nephi for an example; we can assume that he was a metal worker because of the knowledge he had of metal. He knew the workmanship of Laban’s sword was fine and how to make more like it. He knew about the brass and gold plates. He melted ore and made tools. And he taught us all about holding to the IRON rod. I found that very interesting. Also, for those who watched Meet the Mormons, the Navy football coach had said that people may say that God doesn’t care about football. His response to that was that God cares about his family and this is how he provides for them. I really liked that. God cares about what we care about and he uses those things that we are good at to be able to understand the gospel more fully and relate it to our own personal lives. I am grateful for the experiences I have had that help me understand the gospel more and more.

I hope you all have a Merry, Merry Christmas and remember to spend a few quiet moments thinking about the Savior and what He did for us. Happy Holidays!

Elder Clark 


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Rocks and Rocks and More Rocks!

December 15, 2014

Well my life has definitely changed drastically recently. My new area Quartzsite is quite the place to be...if you are over 70. That’s the catch! There are only old people here, but they are all super nice. It’s a small town feel with lots of people living in it. Everyone is in RV or Trailer Parks and so that is different for sure. And you know you have been here too long when you start saying, "Oh wow that’s a nice trailer!” But honestly, there are some really nice ones and others, well, not so nice. And then there are some that are just down right creative and others that have like three or so put together! It’s always an adventure. 

The ward is awesome here. It fluctuates from 15 people in the summer to hundreds in the winter. Right now we probably have around 300 people - And they are all old!! We have no primary, young women’s or young men’s. It is just 15 old men passing the sacrament and we get to bless. Everyone is so friendly and I am sure we have to best members in the entire mission because they have all served missions and have been stake presidents and bishops and are all at the general authority level. They all love missionary work so it is really awesome. I get to teach a gospel principles class in Spanish every Sunday and that is really awesome. Basically, people who served their missions years ago in Spanish speaking countries come to my class and so it’s interesting. But it’s a great way to practice my Spanish speaking skills. This week our lesson was on agency and I took all of their agency away and gave them assigned seats. And so when I walked in and made them change seats they all complained that they were too old to stand up!! haha They were all saying it in a friendly manner, but they really did mean it! 

The missionary work here is slow. There are a lot of old people that are very set in their ways and the ones that you do get to teach are sometimes too sick to come to church. That can make things hard at times. We do a lot of service for people. i.e: setting up Christmas lights and moving things. We also do a lot of service in the community which is really good and I know they really appreciate the church. 

Quartzsite has a lot to offer when it comes to rocks and junk. All around town there are vendors who are selling just the most random stuff. Some people sell crafts, fossils, rocks and even rusted pieces of metal. It is just amazing the amount of stuff people have. And that is basically what people do day to day. Also, a lot of the old guys are prospectors and go out looking for gold. I guess they don’t find much, but it keeps them busy.

We live in a small trailer that is actually pretty sweet. We have been fighting off ants recently so that has been fun. We get tons of food from members. They are so nice. Man, I am going to get fat here! Hopefully, I can work out enough to burn it off!

I hope you all have a Merry, Merry Christmas and don’t worry about me - I have 100 new grandmas!

Elder Clark
Old Area Pictures: 
My New Bike!

Last pday in Warm Springs with the Zone and my District.


New Area Pictures:
The Casa!

Q Mountain! This is just a classic picture of Quartzsite.
Quartzsite at Night



Monday, December 8, 2014

From the Strip to the Sticks

Hello everyone,

Well the biggest news this week is that I am not going to be in Las Vegas anymore. For at least the next six weeks I will be in the tiny town of Quatrzsite, AZ. It’s about as far as you can go in our mission so tomorrow that will be a fun four hour drive!! Nap time! The bad news is that I will be speaking English. So I hopefully won’t forget all my Spanish but it is going to be super hard.

All I know about my new area so far is that a bunch of old people live there for the winter, our chapel doesn’t even have a primary room or a gym and that I will be living in a trailer park!!! So that is going to be awesome. Everyone says that it is a very different experience so hopefully I will have lots of good stories next week.

This week flew by so fast. We had talked about asking people to be baptized in our district meeting and my comp and I really tried asking everyone to be baptized. And the Lord truly blessed us for showing faith in Him. We now have six people that have a date for baptism. So that is awesome!!!!!! Three of them were referrals from English missionaries. It was awesome! They were referrals that came with a date; it was a huge miracle. It will be sad to leave the area now that we have so many people progressing but I know the other missionaries will do great.

The hardest part about being transferred is saying goodbye to all those that you have come to love. There are so many families here that we had to say goodbye to. It’s so sad. We truly met some of the most amazing people ever. I am grateful to have been here. Our members are all very loving and supportive and we had some great investigators. I can’t wait to come back one day and visit them. They all have houses for me to visit in other countries so it looks like I will be going to Mexico and Peru for sure after my mission!

 I know my new area will have its challenges and I am sad to leave the Spanish world behind but it is truly amazing how the Lord puts you in the area that you need to be and it’s hard when you have to leave it. We have one investigator that hasn’t attended church in forever and has lots of problems but he said because of us he is coming to church and he is trying to change and do what he needs to. He said he has never opened up before. And then with a new family we just met, they have a 17 year old son in which we get along so well and I am really sad to be leaving him. He even has a friend on a mission. It is just truly amazing all the people we get to meet and talk to each and every day.

There is nothing quite like the Spanish culture and I will truly miss their smiling faces, and all the jokes we shared. They are just a happy people and grateful for all they have and the gospel. Hopefully, soon enough, I will be back in Spanish. I pray all is well in WI and that the Packers are doing well otherwise there could be riots. Stay warm! Good bye Las Vegas and the strip, and hello cactus.

Elder Clark
With the Murray's
Saying good-bye to Sister Murray-my mama here in Vegas!




Monday, December 1, 2014

Pavo (Turkey)...Pork...and Tamales!

Hey everyone! 

I hope you all had a great week and lots of turkey and some good football.

Due to the wicked traditions of our fathers we were able to have our own turkey bowl as missionaries at six in the morning! It was super fun and brought back all the great memories of doing it in the ward. i.e. Running over Brother Allen on accident, I think. Kado tearing it up. Bro Ginos thinking he stills plays middle linebacker and is in his high school state championship game! Yep, great times and lots of sore old men! Here we just had grumpy sisters that didn’t want to play football but they were all good sports about it!

Thanksgiving is a day they tell us to talk to everyone and work super hard because everyone is at home. But let me tell you, no one that is a non-member even wants to see you that day.  Luckily, we had nice members that gave us a huge feast. We had our first dinner with the Retis family and they are from Peru. We had some amazing pork and turkey and tons and tons of other food. They are a great family. After that we went over to the Sanchez’s home for our second Thanksgiving dinner which consisted of chicken and tamales! Not the traditional, but still awesome! Well that wasn’t all, the next morning for breakfast the Retis family invited over to eat a black Friday family breakfast Peru style and let me tell you they know how to eat. I have never been so full in the morning in my entire life! I didn’t even need food the rest of the day! It was awesome. 

This week has been super awesome because we have found a lot more people to teach. We have three families now that will hopefully be progressing. One family came to church on Sunday. One way we got a family super excited was by doing a visual lesson. It was about faith and we did a faith rocket. I remember this one from my childhood. It is where you basically burn a tea bag in someone’s palm and right before it seems like it will burn them it floats up into the air. On exchanges one day my companion and another elder tried to do this with a family and they used the wrong tea bags on accident and it ended up burning the lady’s hands (she wasn’t hurt)!! hahaha So much for a good lesson on faith. So we made sure we got the right tea bags and we did this with visual aide lesson with one of the families. The kids were scared at first but once they finally did it everyone was super amazed and loved it.

It is really cool to see all that the church does over here. A stake in the Las Vegas West Mission is putting on a free nativity and so we can send over all our investigators to see that. The members here truly are excited about missionary work. It is inspiring to see all that they do and to have the church be so strong in an area of the world that is known for being very far from the gospel of Jesus Christ. I was reading in the Ensign for this month and I liked a story about how a five year old boy was looking for arrow heads with his dad. At the end of the day his dad asked him if he found any. The boy answered that he had not, but found a really cool rock shaped like a Christmas tree. The young boy hadn’t realized that he had actually been holding the thing he was looking for. We, at times, might not realize the promptings we receive from the spirit, but if we just take some time and listen for them then we will begin to realize who Jesus Christ is and what He can do for us. That is why this time of year is so exciting. It doesn’t really feel like Christmas without the zero degree weather and snow (sorry for all you over in Cali, but a real Christmas needs snow) but I know people’s hearts are turned to Christ and it is a great blessing to be a missionary during this time of year. 

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season!!

Elder Clark

Matching ties with Elder Sawyer (not planned).

Thanksgiving Dinner, 2014

Rugby in the mornings.

A Baptism and Ebola

November 24, 2014

Hey everyone!! 

I hope you are all excited for Black Friday!! Maybe our mission president will let us proselyte at 1:00 am. Think of all the people we could talk to.

This week has been basically a normal week for us!! Talking, talking, and more talking.

We had a super spiritual District meeting and that was awesome. We hit up IHop afterwards, so what could be a better day?

Friday night we had our branch Thanksgiving party and it was a sight to see! I had some of the best turkey of my life. It was smoked turkey and man oh man it was so delicious. There were tons of people there and it was great to talk to everyone and see how they were doing. The second it hit 8 o’clock the dance party started!! All the moms and kids had an epic dance party. The next day we found out it lasted until 11:00 p.m. It’s like a stake dance for everyone. And it’s all these classic Mexican songs to dance to! It’s something you would never see in an English ward and it was awesome!! But the sad part was my Abuela (grandma) from Guadalajara was going home. One family that is we have gotten really close to just had a wedding and the mom was here from Mexico and we got super close; but now she is going home. She told me that I will just have to go visit her in two years!

On Friday during our lunch break President Barack Obama was flying in at the airport right by our apartment and so we got to watch Air Force One fly in. His motor pool almost came on the street we were on, but they changed his route at the last second. It was pretty neat to see the plane. 

Saturday morning we had our first baptism. It was awesome. Unfortunately, not a lot of people came and some of the people who were supposed to give a talk and bring the refreshments didn’t come, but we still had a great time. He was very happy. An English member that had originally talked to him about the gospel came and he was so happy to see him. On Sunday he told us that he had forgotten how to smile and even forgotten he had teeth and that he hadn’t smiled like that in years. It’s so amazing how the gospel changes people’s lives. I was able to confirm him all in Spanish on Sunday. It went well I hope, even though I was a little sick.

Which leads into the part about Ebola! A lot of missionaries are getting sick and the Hermanas in our branch were sick all yesterday. So was I. After I rested for a while we went to some appointments and at one house the guy was talking to us about the Ebola outbreak in the states and how some turkeys may be infected and how it just starts out as a simple flu and stomach ache and then you die in a few weeks. It was funny because we thought we all got sick from eating some turkey at our ward party and we all had a flu thing. So hopefully we don’t all die!! 

This should be a fun week with Thanksgiving. Hopefully we will have lots of success and everyone will feel better. The Spanish is coming. I am understanding around 60-75% of everything, if not more with some people. Speaking is still hard but it gets better and better every day. I am so blessed to have such great people around to help me! It is awesome being in the Spanish culture. 

Happy Turkey Day!!

Elder Clark

Look at those teeth!

Air Force One

Logan and the flat tire.