Sunday, July 27, 2014

Farewell Talk

July 27, 2014
Here is Logan's farewell talk! A week and a half and he's on his way.

Hola Como Estas. Yep and that’s about all I know!
I will be sharing the gospel to the lovely people of Las Vegas, Nevada  in Spanish. It was a very exciting time opening that letter and reading the lines that held my home for the next two years. And the months following didn’t get any less exciting. Looking back in my life it is so incredible to see where I have come. There was a time that a mission wasn’t in my future,   that doing what god wanted me to do wasn’t my priority. It wasn’t even on the list. I made my fair share of mistakes. But there is one thing I will never regret. Not giving up!
               To all those that are young and struggling through life or wondering whether to serve a mission there is a few things that have helped me through my teenage years. Sometimes I felt that high school was so overwhelming. That everyone around me didn’t care about my values and they mocked them at every chance they could get. I was alone. I was the only Mormon in my graduating class. I felt lost at sea with no life preserver. But what I didn’t realize was that I wasn’t alone, that there was a life preserver just waiting for me to reach out. My savior Jesus Christ was and is my life preserver and all I had to do was swim a little ways towards him to be saved. It is not easy but it can be done.

In Ether chapter 2 The lord is talking to the Brother of Jared as he prepares to cross the oceans to America. In vs 25 it reads:

25 And behold, I prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come. Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?

The lord expects us to make a plan. What are we going to do to survive the evil of this world. To me high school seems to be a time where the waves of the sea and the winds and the floods are stronger than ever. In this day and age we that are young are faced with many challenges that we may feel that we aren’t ready to face. But the lord will prepare us. We cannot cross this great deep without his help.

So turn to him and find peace and suffrage from your enemies, whatever they may be. The atonement of Jesus Christ is real and truly does work. It is the only way we can return home to our father above. And through the grace of Jesus Christ we can be saved. I have felt this in my life. I know that it is true and that we can truly be forgiven. So never lose hope.
At times I have wondered how can I survive in the midst of all that happens around me. But I love this quote from an unknown author that gives a great perspective.
All the water in the world,
However hard it tried,
Could never sink the smallest ship
Unless it [gets] inside.
And all the evil in the world,
The blackest kind of sin,
Can never hurt you the least bit
Unless you let it in.
I love the imagery. You could be a small ship in the middle of the vast, expansive ocean and you wouldn’t sink unless the water came in.
That is how we need to live our lives ‘tight like unto a dish’, as it says in ether.  We need to be strong and courageous in our lives and resist all the temptation that comes into our lives. No matter how big they are or how hard they seem to be if we are spiritually sealed shut the evil cannot sink us.

A few things that have helped me prepare for my mission and remaining tight like unto a dish have  been reading daily out of the Book of Mormon. The truths that are in that book are so sacred to me. There have been many times that I have just turned to a random scripture and it was exactly what I needed to hear. Read, study, ponder, and pray about the things written in the book of Mormon. And find out for yourself if it is true. We must do as moroni says in chapter ten of that book. Ask god if these things are not true and if we ask with a sincere heart the truth will be manifested unto us by the holy ghost.

Other things that have helped me prepare for my mission have been reading and studying preach my gospel, going out with the missionaries, and going to the temple.
Once I received my mission call I could feel satan working even harder to tempt me. Satan tempts those that he knows are strong and that will ruin his schemes. That is why he focuses so much on the youth. We are young and easily distracted and persuaded, but we are strong! So when he knew I was going to serve a mission and share the gospel he really worked on me. But my father in heaven never forgot me. A struggle I had was that I was called to a states mission. I had always wanted to go somewhere foreign and crazy and exotic. And I guess Vegas fits that description. But I still wanted to be somewhere else in the world. So when I was called to vegas it was exciting and I would be learning Spanish, but part of me was sad and I knew satan was using it to work on me. But then all these events starting happening that testified to me that the people in Las vegas needed me and I was called there for a purpose.

When people heard where I was going they said it was a perfect fit, and when I talked to missionaries or members that knew people that had served in vegas they all said they loved it. I had a sister missionary in Nauvoo tell me the youth is awesome there. That really hit home for me as the missionaries in our ward have always been my good friends and a great influence on me to get ready for my mission. I know that part of the reason I am going to vegas is so that I
work with the youth.

Then an event happened in the temple. I went awhile ago to Chicago to do baptisms. When we entered the baptismal room there was three temple workers sitting behind us and all speaking in Spanish. I started tearing up. I don’t know why but to here Spanish in the temple just felt right. And then those same workers were to do my confirmations and they heard I was going to a Spanish speaking mission and so they confirmed me in Spanish. And the love my heavenly father has for me didn’t stop there. Then my father was able to baptize me in Spanish and I just felt so much love for those that speak Spanish and those people in vegas. The temple workers were all so excited for me. I knew that I was needed in vegas.

Heavenly father shows his love to all of us in times of our lives. I love the hymn brightly beams our fathers mercy. The first verse goes as such.
Brightly Beams our fathers mercy
From His lighthouse evermore,
But to us He gives the keeping
Of the lights along the shore.
Let the lower lights be burning!
Send a gleam across the wave!
Some poor  fainting, struggling seaman
You may rescue, you may save.
I love this song and the story that goes behind it touches me deeply.
Philip Paul Bliss was directing the singing for a series of services being conducted by the well-known preacher Dwight L. Moody. As he closed his message, Moody told the story of a captain who was attempting to bring his boat to the Cleveland harbor one very dark and stormy night.
      The waves rolled like mountains, Moody said, and not a star was to be seen IN THE CLOUDED sky. He pictured the boat rocking on the violent waves as the captain peered through the darkness for the sight of a signal light by means of which to guide his vessel to safety. When he finally spotted a single light from the light-house, he turned to the pilot and asked:
      “Are you sure this is Cleveland harbor?”
      “Quite sure, sir,” the pilot replied.
      “Then where are the lower lights?” the captain continued.
      “Gone out, sir,” the other man answered.
      “Can you make the harbor?” the captain asked anxiously.
      “We must, or perish, sir,” the pilot replied.
      But despite his strong heart and brave hand, in the darkness he missed the channel. With a resounding crash the boat piled up on the rocks and then settled slowly to a watery grave.
      As the congregation listened intently, Moody concluded with this admonition to the Christians:
      “Brethren, the Master will take care of the great light-house; let us keep the lower lights burning.”
About the hymn Micheal L. Moody said,
“It’s one of the great metaphors in the hymnbook, I believe, “We are the lower lights, we are the ones who have to go out and rescue.”
I know as a missionary I will be peoples lower light and that they will depend on me reaching out to them and sharing the gospel to be saved. That I am the only person that some of these people may have in their whole life that can bring them this truth. That the spirit can touch their lives and they can feel the love of our savior. I have to keep the lower lights burning and the master will take care of the rest. We can all be keepers of the light and never let it burn out. We must keep our testimony bright and share it to all those we come in contact with.
Another one of my many struggles these last few months has been feeling qualified to be a missionary. I am just a normal high schooler that played sports and did stupid things and most definitely added gray hairs to his parents. But that is the great thing the lord doesn’t call those that are great. He has always called those that have just been ordinary or normal to do his most important work. Peter and john were just simple fisherman and they were called as his great apostles. I spent the last two weekends in Nauvoo and my testimony of joseph smith grew tenfold. He was a simple farm boy and he was called of god to restore his church. There is no way a farm boy could have translated the book of Mormon or ran a church for years. But through the lord weak things are made strong and I know that is true. I have been called to serve and though I may struggle and feel that I am not special the lord will put words into my mouth in another tongue and help me to reach to those people in Las Vegas that need me.
I would like to end with one last scripture. Doctrine and covenants 84:85
Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.
I know that the lord will prepare me to be a great missionary and he already has. I know he will help me through out my life and that jesus Christ will get me across this great deep and that I can keep the lights burning for those out there in  vegas. And that in my hour of need where the Spanish words may not come to me they will be placed in my mouth just so that those I teach can hear the words of Christ and be taught by the spirit.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Nauvoo Temple - July 19, 2014

Logan received his endowment in the Nauvoo Temple. It has always been a special temple to our family. We were at the Temple Dedication in 2002 and have been back to visit many times. In 2011, Logan was able to attend a Youth Conference that traveled from Ft. Collins to Nauvoo and performed baptisms in the temple. That was a special memory for him, so it was very fitting that we travel to Navuoo for the endowment. Also, the Chicago Temple was closed for the month that he needed to attend.

Grandma and Grandpa Clark, Uncle Matt, Aunt Laura, cousins - Ashley, Thomas and Justin Zweifel all flew together from Denver to St. Louis and did a little site seeing on the way to Nauvoo where we met them on Friday night after Aunt Susan flew from Denver to Madison and drove to Nauvoo with us.

Funny story - Logan forgot to pack his white shirt for the temple. The next best thing was Uncle Matt's AWESOME plaid shirt. It went so well with the suit and tie. Logan's motto that morning was Go Big or Go Home! Thanks Uncle Matt for saving the day!

Logan with Mom & Dad

Logan with Grandma & Grandpa Clark

The whole gang!
Matt & Laura Zweifel, Susan Vickers,
Richard & Nancy Clark, Alan & Jennifer Clark, Logan Clark

Saying good-bye to Grandma Clark after our tour at Carthage Jail.

The infamous twosome!
Justin Zweifel & Logan