Monday, September 29, 2014

It's Getting Cooler in Vegas (in the 80's)

Hey everyone,

Well another week has flown by and it has been truly amazing. There have been some hard times, but overall there have been many miracles. The start of the week was a little slow. On Tuesday I was on exchanges and that went well and I got to know some other elders. Wednesday we had interviews with the president. That took up most of our day! 

The biggest news this week for us was that we get 500 less miles on our car each month then we thought we had. So we got our bikes out and biked a ton this week!! Our area is huge and we have dinner appointments out of our area, but still in our branch. There has been lots of sweating, but it has been truly a miracle to be riding bikes more. We talk to so many more people and that is awesome! My mission president told me that my companion is one of the best street contactors ever and that I should really try to learn from him. It’s true, and I am getting way better. This week we contacted 136 people about receiving a blessing through a prayer in their home or a giving them a picture of Christ.

Our area is pretty close to the strip and one time while driving our GPS took us to the Airport for some reason, which is out of our area and very close to the strip. Once we realized where we were we started freaking out and turned around immediately. It was super intense to see the buildings get bigger and bigger! And if you are ever biking on Las Vegas Blvd., avoid looking in the boxes that you think hold newspaper because I am 100% sure that there are not newspapers in there!

Friday was a bit of a crazy day. Since our miles are less than we thought, we spent over a half hour calling members to try to get a ride to our appointment that night since it was ten miles away. We finally got someone and we were going to meet them at the church later that day. When we arrived at the church we called the member just to let him know where he could meet us but he couldn't find us. It turns out he isn’t in our branch anymore and he lives over a half hour away-Oh no! We had 20 minutes before our lesson started and so we started calling anyone we could think of. We only had our bikes and our house was over 4 miles away so it would take us a while to bike back. I was pretty frustrated! As we were making calls, we heard a crazy loud noise and tires screeching. We ran over and there was a pretty good accident that happened right by the church. We ran over there and my comp called 911. We were trying to help the people. One guy was super mad and yelling at the girl that hit him. There happened to be other members there also. After the cops showed up, we left and the member who was helping us with the accident said he would give us a ride back to our apartment. That was a huge blessing! We wouldn’t have met him without the accident occurring. (Not that that was a good thing, but hey, tender mercies, right?) We then got in our car and hurried to our appointment.  We ended up being 40 minutes late and when we arrived our investigator, J wasn’t there. His daughter was and she is in her late 20s or 30s, maybe. We ending up teaching her on the porch and just as we were finishing the lesson J and his wife showed up and welcomed us inside. We taught all three of them and they all committed to be baptized. It was amazing to see how all of the events of the day led us to be able to meet with all three of them. If we would have been on time they probably wouldn’t have been there and we would have missed this great opportunity. The Lord truly knows what He is doing.

We met some really amazing people this week and it’s crazy to see how the Lord prepares people to hear our message. The members our wonderful! They are super nice and this week we got in better contact with them and will have more coming out with us! They feed us a ton of food! Our small little branch takes care of 7 missionaries. It is just truly amazing! 

At church I bore my testimony in Spanish and talked about the importance of faith. I related this to fishing, of course, in broken Spanish and then shared a passage of scriptures in Hebrews 11:33-38. It talks about how because of faith all these amazing things happened and people were given great strength. In Nephi, it talks about the faith Nephi had in getting the plates. It said that he went with the spirit not knowing beforehand what he would do, but nevertheless he went forth! Faith is needed to do the Lords will. We don’t always know what we are supposed to do or we might not have received an answer yet, but if we act and show faith and go forth we will receive strength in all we do! 

I hope all is great back home and I pray for you all every day. I get to go to the temple on Friday and I am so excited!

I love you all!

Elder Clark

I wish I knew the story behind this picture, but nevertheless, I LOVE the smile!  

We asked the other elders in our branch for a ride and we biked part way and met up with them. All the cars have bike racks for two bikes but we had to load up four bikes. It was quite interesting and funny!

This car was trying to copy us!

 A beautiful Vegas sunset

Elder Clark's companion, Elder Constantino

Monday, September 22, 2014

Welcome to the Desert!

I am back!!! I am in America once again!

This has been a pretty crazy, interesting, exhausting week for me! I got my new companion and his name is Elder Constantino. He is from Oregon, but originally from Mexico. He speaks English and Spanish both really well so that is a huge blessing. We try to talk in Spanish to help me out. It’s very hard understanding people when they speak 100 MPH. He is a nice guy and has only been in Las Vegas for 3 months. We aren’t that similar, but we get along good and just try to help each other out. It was a double transfer so that has been the biggest issue this last week. We both have to learn the new area.
Our area is Desert Bloom 1 which is in Las Vegas. The mission office is in our area. Our little branch is called Desert Bloom. The branch attendance is maybe 50 so it’s pretty small. All the members are awesome and we have meals with them all the time. They want to help with missionary work!
So the day we left Mexico, I had the privilege of paying over 1000 pesos for my luggage. I guess they were too heavy, even though I had checked them before.  There was another Hermana that this happened to as well and while we finished paying the flight attendant was trying to rush us because the plane was going to leave.  She told us to "Corre, Corre, Rapido, Run like a champion" and took off! It was so funny. We started laughing and then started sprinting through the airport! It was quite the experience and I’m glad I got to pay $80 for all of the books I received in the CCM!
This week after we finished all the newby missionary meetings we had to do we were able to finally get to work. Thursday night was awesome! We went to visit a lady that has meet with missionaries for years and we had just recently contacted her again. We were lucky to have a member with us, Hermana R, she was perfect!  The lady’s husband was there but he is not as interested, but L knows all of it is true and believes in everything, but told us that whenever the missionaries ask her to be baptized she gets super nervous. I don’t think her husband wants her to change religions. But, they are the nicest people ever and I really think we can work with her. The member we had with us shared her experience that her husband wasn’t a member of the church either and that it was still amazing to be baptized. She told her just to do it! They became good friends so we will see what happens there!!

It is pretty funny when Latinos feed you! They love feeding us and they give us tons of food. But they don’t take no for an answer on seconds. So when they keep pestering you to eat more, you finally say okay a little more, and then they give you a huge plate full-haha!  They’re great. We had dinner on Saturday at this couples home that was baptized in Feb. I think they are from Bolivia and they are so awesome!! I ate a habanero pepper there, and I ate the whole thing in one bite and I almost died!!  It gave me the hiccups and it was super funny - we were all laughing!
So this last story still just has me baffled. (Miracles do happen).
Last night we were contacting referrals we had received from members and missionaries. It was getting late and we hadn’t had much success with the referrals so far, and so we said a prayer in the car really quick and then went to the door of J. He answered and said we could come in. We started talking and he told us he had seen temples before and that his daughter just got baptized, but that was about all he knew. So I testified to him about temples and then we taught him the whole lesson of the restoration. During the entire lesson he just kept saying “que bueno” and “me gusta”. He loved all of it. We gave him a Book of Mormon and he said he would read and pray about it, go to church and be baptized. He gave the closing prayer and thanked God for the joy we brought into his life! I was so shocked that he accepted our message so easily. My Comp said that my face lit up with a huge smile when he said he would be baptized! The Lord truly does prepare people for us to teach. The people are ready - all we have to do is reach out to them and share what we know!
Hasta Luego!
Elder Clark
 Last dinner in the CCM

This was our basketball buddy. He was a football player and wasn't the best basketball player but he would make some amazing threes, so we called him Lebron James. His name is elder Boyer. He is awesome and we got along great!

Elder Clark with President and Sister Snow

This is our apartment in Las Vegas. It is actually one of the biggest apartments in the mission. It has two bathrooms and two bedrooms, so I have my own closet and bathroom. It has a big living room and a decent kitchen.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

El Fin


Well this is it! My last week in the CCM is over and I am leaving for Las Vegas tomorrow morning!

It's a very weird feeling to be leaving Mexico. This is all I have known as a missionary and I have gotten comfortable here, but I know my experience here is nothing like the real mission field. It feels like I have been gone forever, but it has only been six short weeks! It has flown by and I know the rest of my mission will too. I just hope it slows down enough for me to learn Spanish, because the people sure don´t slow down!! 

I have met some of the most amazing people here! All the people in my district, but also tons of people from all around the world and US!! It is truly inspiring to be with so many amazing people and with so many missionaries. Some of the Elders I was really close to left early this morning. We all hope to reconnect one day after our missions. They are all really great guys. 

I will miss the guys in my district, but I am really curious to know if any of us will ever be comps or in the same district again. We will just have to see. 

My time here has been amazing! I will forever love Mexico and the people that I have met here. The people here are just truly amazing people!! I am so excited to be teaching them in Las Vegas! The CCM has its hard points, but overall I learned a lot of Spanish and made a lot of good friends. I can´t even imagine what Las Vegas is going to be like. I can't wait! 

So the highlight of this week was Mexican Independence Day! It was yesterday and it was so  awesome. That night they had a special show for us and we watched some awesome Mexican dances. One of the best dances was with this little boy and girl. The boy had a little bandanna that he would throw in the air and when it hit the ground he would crawl on all fours like a dog and bite it and hold it in his mouth. Then he would chase the girl on all fours and roll around all over the place. It was hilarious!! 

After they danced, we sang the National Anthem and our MTC president was waving a Mexican flag and fireworks were shot off indoors! It was fun, but it got super crazy when we got out! The whole city was awake and lots of people were shooting off fireworks and there was lots of loud music. It was pretty hard to sleep and we all had a great time watching the craziness happen over the walls!

This week has been pretty easy. Our classes were less intense and we had to do a lot to get ready for our flight. I am excited to get out of the walls and fly out of Mexico!! its always an adventure driving through the streets! 

I have really enjoyed my study of the Book of Mormon this week and have gained a lot from it. All the people leaving this week had the opportunity to bear our testimonies and I bore mine about the Book of Mormon. It is a very powerful book and has truly changed my life forever. I am so grateful for all that we have in this church and I am grateful for God's love for me and His patience with me. I love this gospel and I am so blessed to be a missionary at this time when the Lord is hastening His work! I know because of this I have a lot of work to do, but it's an exciting work! I hope all is well you, everyone.

Elder Clark

Lots of pictures to follow as Logan found a 
camera cord this past week. (Yes, he already had lost his!)



District Photos

Last Sunday in the CCM

Caught in a major rain storm.

  Some good friends we met here.

My Boys!

After a super crazy workout. I'm beat. It was at 5:00 a.m.
Some of our buddies.

This is Fernando. He is an awesome janitor here.

A beautiful Mexico morning.

Over the wall!
Mexican dancers performing at the Independence Day show.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Last Week in Mexico

Que transita por tus venas!!! (What’s running through your veins? Just another way I learned to say hi.)
As always, I never know where to start. So much happens every single week it is hard to remember it all, but this has been a great week as they always are!! It is crazy getting down to the last few days here and I am so ready to get to the field, but I am working harder this week than ever before. I know I need this time here and I want to make the best of it.

We had some really good friends leave this week. A district that was super cool which was in our zone left at the beginning of this week. They had one Elder in their district who had an amazing singing voice. He was the Elder that sang the first day I was here. He has a full ride to BYU for singing so we will miss his voice a lot! Also, a good friend of my comp and me was Elder Motts. We played basketball with him a lot!! He is like 6´10 or something and was another awesome guy who we had to say goodbye to. In a week we will say goodbye to all the other awesome people we have met here.

Last Friday or Saturday, now I can’t remember, we taught Brian. Brian is an Elder in our district and we have to teach each other every day. We take on the name of a friend or someone that we know to be an investigator and it helps us learn what it is like to be in their shoes. So we taught him about the restoration, I believe, and it was a good lesson. But afterwards he asked if he could talk to us. During the previous lesson with him he had had a lot of questions so we spent the time answering those and many of them were about la palabra de sabaduria (Word of Wisdom). So when he wanted to talk to us we were like, “okay”. He told us that in our last lesson you weren’t just teaching “Brian”, but you were teaching me. He said in the past he has had his struggles, and that it was the first time ever in his life he truly understood why he needed to obey the word of wisdom. He has been living it, but it has just been hard for him. He said that even though it was in Spanish it was crystal clear to him!! That hit us so hard. You never know when you can truly bless the life of someone else. The Lord was truly in that lesson. It was an amazing testimony builder.

Our teacher also asked us to tutor two Elders in Spanish because they are struggling. That was a shock because I definitely do not feel qualified to teach anyone Spanish, but it has been going well. I think it was for me also, because I have learned a lot as I have been teaching!

Sunday, as always, was a day full of the Spirit. The Spirit was so strong in our testimony meeting. Before one of our devotionals, an Hermana sang the hymn, Abide With Me Tis Eventide in Spanish with an amazing piano accompaniment. Her voice was just so clear and perfect for it. I truly felt the Spirit so strong. It was the most amazing hymn I have ever heard!! I love how much music can bring the Spirit into our lives.

The other day my companion found a perfect scripture for me during personal study. He said it is perfect for soldiers. It is in Alma 60:36 it reads:  36 Behold, I am Moroni, your chief captain. I seek not for power, but to pull it down. I seek not for honor of the world, but for the glory of my God, and the freedom and welfare of my country. And thus I close mine epistle. 

I love that!! I serve my God now and will one day serve my country to bring freedom to people in temporal and spiritual things and for the glory of my God.

By far the highlight of this week was last night, Tuesday night. We had a devotional and it was a talk given by Elder Holland a year ago at the Provo MTC. It was seriously another one of the best talks I have ever heard. He once again really hit the point home that we have to convert ourselves before we can convert others. The missionary should be fully converted and then he will have the power of God. It is unacceptable, and shouldn’t happen, for a return missionary to fall away. For someone who taught gospel truths to others should not do what they taught. A quote he had that I really liked was (and he said it in a joking way at first, but he truly and really meant it) "I command you to come home with at least one convert, and that better be YOU!!"  His words were so powerful when he said it and right afterward he was super emotional and bore testimony about how his 24 months in the field changed the next 50 years of his life. His next 50 years had everything to do with his mission. It was so powerful to hear his testimony. 

Another part of his talk I really liked was when he was talking about the conversion of Alma the younger in Mosiah 27. When the angel visited Alma and the sons of Mosiah he spoke "as it were with a voice of thunder, which caused the earth to shake upon which they stood; and that lead to the conversion of Alma and the sons.”

And then Elder Holland related missionaries to that. He talked about teaching with power and authority and with the spirit and he said that he had a theory:

"People can have earthquakes exactly where they stand, and you can cause that!"

I love that. It shows what power we can have as missionaries if we are obedient and have the Spirit with us. 

One last quick story, so after that talk we went back to our classrooms and had a discussion as a district and some Hermanas joined us because their district had already left. Two of the Hermanas had amazing stories. One was a convert to the church at age 15 and she told us the story of the hardships she had. Her whole family is anti-Mormon and atheist. She talked about how she was alone and couldn't get to church and just wanted to feel that she was loved by someone. She told us the time she was truly converted was when she was reading the Book of Mormon to disprove it and when she reached the promise in Moroni she decided, “what the heck, I will pray to see if it was true” and as she prayed she was overcome by the Spirit and knew that this church was true and that the gospel of Jesus Christ was true without a shadow of a doubt. The other Hermana was inactive her whole life and basically not a member. She said she had had many struggles, but when she was at BYU Hawaii she was surfing one morning and her dad had called her and they talked and he told her she needed to get her life in order and break up with her boyfriend and serve the Lord. Then at the bookstore there at BYU Hawaii she was looking at a Preach my Gospel and a return missionary came up to her and said “that’s a good book.” And then he told her to serve a mission. Their testimonies were just amazing and neither of them have support from their families while they are on their missions. It was a very spiritual day.
Well that’s all from Mexico!! I should be able to write next week on Tuesday before I leave! I hope all is well!!

Elder Clark

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Week 4 from the CCM

Que lo que mi hermano,

That’s how people from the Dominican Republic say “what’s up?”!  We just got two new roomies and one is from the Dominican and he’s a baseball player.  I think he is pretty good! He wants to play ball in the states. It is pretty hard to understand him, though.

This is the end of week 4 and I only have two weeks left here! It is going to go by so fast. I will miss Mexico a lot, but I am anxious to get to Vegas and start the work there!

This week has been one of the most amazing so far! I feel in just one week I have changed more as a person then I ever before! My teacher told us something really cool-

He said in one of our first lessons we were truly teaching by the spirit and he could tell we had been preparing really hard for it and he said that when I bore my testimony it was perfect Spanish and there was not one mistake. It was all from the heart. When my comp bore his testimony the spirit was so strong and his was flawless also. It just shows that the Lord will give us the gifts of the spirit when we put the time and effort into them.

Another cool thing our teacher shared this week was in Alma 29. It is Alma talking about his desires and testimony. The part that struck me the most were the last three verses 15-17. Alma has so much joy for the success of his brethren, Ammon and the sons of Mosiah that he says, "my soul is carried away, even to the separation of it from my body". What kind of joy that must be?!! He desires the very best for his brethren. That really made me think about how often I care about the successes of others and to be honest, I felt that I didn’t really; especially with my comp and my district. I had a more competitive spirit that I had to be the best, but that is not Christ’s way. I began really to try and be happy for the successes of those around me. When my comp knows something I don’t know, that can help us and now I am joyful because we are one. He has learned a lot of Spanish in so little time. It really just changed my whole perspective on life!!

Then Sunday hit and as always, it is one of the best days of the week!! One elder in our district gave a talk and he is fluent in American Sign Language and so when he didn’t know what to say in Spanish he was using his arms and hands to express what he wanted to say. We were all dying. He had his hands totally spread out - it was hilarious!

We listened to a talk by Elder Scott about prayer and the power it can have in our lives. It was just awesome. He talked about how, at times, God withholds an answer from us for a time so that we can grow. I loved that. He said that most times we will not receive the answer on our knees but when we are acting and acting in faith.

Our lesson on Monday morning was one of the best that we have given so far. We had a new investigator and his name was Antony (no H). He didn’t really believe in God, but a friend told him to talk to us. So we just talked to him and got to know him a little more and then taught him about the Book of Mormon. The spirit was so strong as I was bearing testimony about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. My comp said something really good also. He taught that we knew he didn’t believe in God now but as he works with us his knowledge would grow. It was just a great lesson!

A couple cool stories to close:
September 15th is Mexican Independence Day so all the decorations are going up and we have been practicing the National Anthem for Mexico. It is so fast and we are so bad at it. It is probably a disgrace to Mexicans to hear us try to sing it-haha!!  So the celebration will be happening just a couple of days before we leave and it is going to be a party all day! It is going to be awesome and the city around us is going to be going nuts - I can’t wait!!

Saturday night we lost power in the CCM and our apartment complex erupted in total chaos! It was insane. My comp and I were spraying people with water through the screen of our window and people were freaking out - it was hilarious!!! We got in a water fight with the missionaries who live next door. It turned out to be some good bonding time.

On Sunday night we made a commitment to "Speak our Language". That is what they call the program to only speak Spanish. We have tried to do a lot of things before, but we never followed through and so we decided to write a Constitution and hold ourselves accountable.


       We the Elders of XVI-E, do solemnly swear by the pain of sore pectoralis majors, blood, sweat, and tears, that we shall not utter the language of the Motherland of England lest it be deemed worthy by the unanimous consent of Her blessed district.

Article I- The English language is only appropriate within the confine of the comedor or amidst the                    
               perspiratory rigor of gym time.

Article II- The district seeth fit to allow communication in familiar tongues, unrestrained, after the                        
               deemed hour of nine and thirty minutes in the PM.

Article III- We swear to bear each other burdens and support our fellow district members regardless                   
                of the throes of iniquity we find ourselves enthralled therein.

Article IV- concerning punishments:
                         i. 20 push-ups inflicted per English outbreak
Let our r´s roll, let our mouths be open, that we shaint shurk in silence, but unite as the regal comrades of XVI-E. That this declaration may reach the ears of many within and outside of the great walls of the CCM, and that this day we bind our tongues together in one voice, one language, and one message.

That is it for now. Remember our Savior loves each and every one of us. We need to follow Him in all we do and the blessings will be so great we won’t even have room enough to receive them. 

I love you all,
Elder Clark

A few pictures he sent this week are below. 
Logan said all these pictures were taken with those from last week, but he wasn't able to get them all sent.