Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Fish That Got Away

Yep that’s right; the fish that got away....all of them. We asked president today and fishing is a no go, so I will be gladly sacrificing that for two years!! That mean Elliot, JD, and Bishop you have got to pick up the slack for me and Dad send me some pics of giant pike!  

That was the worst thing that happened this week! We had a truly amazing week and lots of crazy stuff mixed in as well.

Today it is 50 degrees so all of Las Vegas is freezing, haha, but I like it a lot!!  
One morning, we biked over to a lesson and I had my bike parked on the rocks (most all of the houses have rock lawns) and our investigator didn’t answer the door. All of the sudden we hear this really loud hissing noise…and you can all guess where this is going...I visibly watched all the air leak from my tire in a matter of seconds. When I took the tube out the valve had erupted and the air flew out!! It was so flat that we couldn’t even walk the bike home, so luckily my comp is smarter than me and instead of me carrying my bike all the way home (it really wasn’t that far) we attached the two bikes so that only one of my wheels was on the ground. We got some pretty awesome looks from people.

Then, later that night we took a member out with us and, oh man, it was an adventure! We were on our way to our appointment and we got stuck in traffic. We were able to see that a car was stopped in the middle of the road with the hazard lights on so we pulled over and went to help. I knocked on the window (it was a sports car with tinted windows) and this young college age girl was in the driver’s seat, but she couldn’t drive it because it was a stick shift and she didn’t know how to drive a stick. She was just married and the car was all decked out, so I think it was a gift. She was super embarrassed and almost instantly our member says, “Well the missionaries can’t drive it, but I can!!” He jumped in the car and took off. So we followed him all the way until he could drop her off. Man, it was crazy. And then at our lesson, (he knew the family really well) he was talking to someone in the kitchen and eating food!! Haha He didn’t get the point of a member present lesson. So that was crazy and I had to yell into the kitchen to have him bear his testimony! He’s a great guy, we were just laughing. Hopefully we can help him stay in our lessons a little more. 

One of our investigators is getting baptized this weekend and he is a super awesome guy! I am so happy for all the wonderful people that I get to meet on my mission. We have one family that we are reactivating and the mom is a non-member. They gave us so much food this week. They told us they were going to make us lunch every day! People are so nice and loving towards missionaries. We also helped a guy with his car the other day and just talked to him. There are just really good people in the world so hopefully we can continue to work with these people and share the gospel with them.

We had a very interesting lesson where one of the priests from our branch had a really good learning experience. We went to one of our lessons and this lady always comes to church and loves church and the people, but she says she is not ready to be baptized. We had a super good, spiritual lesson which I felt really good about. We weren’t super pushy, but just trying to help her understand and act upon her faith.  The priest bore his testimony and asked her a question, and it got really quiet for a bit and then she grabbed her Book of Mormon and all the pamphlets and said, “Here-I don’t want this. Take them.” We were all shocked. Well after that, we salvaged the lesson a little, but almost worse than that, I had accidentally dropped my keys during the prayer and so I didn’t pick them up right away and I ended up forgetting about them after she flipped. Once we left, the priest felt really bad and we were encouraging him, but then I remembered that my keys were in there. We ended up calling her, but she didn’t answer her phone. We called many times and knocked on the door a whole bunch and she never answered. Finally she came. She had been in the shower, but we were all freaking out not knowing what was going on.

We also had Zone training meeting this weekend and it was super awesome! We were edified in both spirit and with trainings. And then that night at stake conference they talked a lot about hastening the work and what members can do. It was super cool to see what the General Authority had said last week and how the stakes and the mission all implemented it right away. 

On Saturday I was on exchanges and we didn’t’ know what apartment number our dinner was at. Elder Smith and I prayed and tried to start narrowing down where it might be and we couldn’t find it. We finally were able to call her and get the apartment number. Turns out that we had walked right by it and almost knocked there so that was a little funny. 

Hope you all have a great week! 

Elder Clark

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A General Authority Visit, An Amazing Birthday Party & More!

Hey everyone!!!

I don’t have a lot of time to write, but I will try and write as much as I can in the next few minutes. 

This week has flown by, as usual! But it has been awesome.

So the highlight for the beginning of the week was obviously the General Authority coming to speak to our mission. He was super awesome! His name was Elder Foster. He took my middle name!! 

His wife gave a super cool talk that had to do a little with football. She told a story about how a team was down 41-0 at halftime and when they came out second half, the losing team started playing better and started scoring. The running back ran for a touchdown, and another player said to him, “Great job, but where were you during the first half?” The running back answered that he had forgot to lace up his shoes. She told us not to wait until the middle of our mission and be down 41-0 to lace up our shoes, but do it now and get to work. She was awesome and had some really cool stories.

Another big topic that they talked about was the power of exceedingly great faith and that with this faith many miracles have been wrought. Then Elder Foster went through Doctrine and Covenants 31 with us, verse by verse and we spent a lot of time talking about it. In verse 3, the one that I chose for my mission plaque, I made a comment about how sharing glad tidings of great joy reminded me of Christmas. I said that we are all so excited Christmas morning to wake up and open presents and there is a spirit in the air during the holiday season, and that we should wake up every morning with this spirit because we are sharing the good news with people. In another training, he talked about three columns with the headings: Missionaries, Members helping Missionaries, and Missionaries helping Members. He said that missionaries need skills and the Spirit and members need the same thing. Right now, he said, our mission is in the second column. The members help the missionaries in the work of the Lord. But how it should be is members calling missionaries and saying we have a family we are teaching could you help us. The members should be inviting the missionaries to do missionary work and if we did this the number of baptisms a month would be off the charts. That was a really cool exercise to think about. He also talked a lot about how family history and the temple can be used in our teaching. He also used an analogy that we can't start a fire with the big logs, but that we have to start with the small kindling and that involves bringing in less actives back into the fold.

A pretty cool story: My comp accidentally left his scriptures at an investigators home and he asked her to bring them to church for him. Well on Sunday the investigator texted us and said she couldn’t make it. Since he still needed his scriptures he asked her if she could just drop them off at the church. She did and then ended up staying for Sacrament Meeting and afterward was attacked by the Relief Society!! It was pretty awesome.

We also have another investigator that should be getting baptized in the next two weeks and he is doing super awesome! He brought his grandchildren to church on Sunday and they loved it!!

On Saturday we attended a birthday party for a girl in our branch. She just turned 7! It was the biggest birthday party I have ever been to, period! The entire branch came and she was seven! It was awesome. There was food for days and tons of people! At first they were blasting some pretty bad crazy music, but then they changed it to some nice Mexican songs. We had a huge feast for dinner and I just started talking to everyone. We were able to talk to a lot of nonmembers so it was really cool. And then they pulled out a giant piƱata and the kids went at it, but they don’t blindfold them, they just sing a song and once the song is over their turn is over. Well it was so heavy (full of candy) that the head just popped off and all the kids started rushing for the body and tore it to shreds! It was pretty gruesome, but awesome. We then put the head on our heads as missionaries!! Mom, I better get a party like that when I get home! ha

So one last story real quick! We went to this person’s house and started talking to them and they were from Cuba so it was hard for me to understand, but they just went off!!! They talked about how the Sabbath day was Saturday and how an Emperor Constantino had changed it from Saturday to Sunday and so they hated my companion because that’s his name. Then they said he was pathetic and they wanted to talk to our leader!! The whole time I just wanted to leave; it was bad!

Well my times up!! Have a great week!!
Elder Clark

Photos from the Birthday Party...

Monday, November 3, 2014

Things are Cool in the Desert

Hey everyone!!
This week was transfers and so that was crazy. We were at the mission office all morning on Tuesday waiting for one Elder’s companion to show up but it was still fun. The weather is finally starting to cool off here - it feels so nice outside.
On Tuesday night we had the Branch Trunk or Treat with another English ward for the candy part. I was able to try Mexican hot chocolate and it was super yummy and there was lots of pan dulce. It is super yummy sweet bread stuff. Sadly, they had no pan muerte, but it was awesome! I loved all the kids and talking to everyone in the English and Spanish wards.
Then on Friday we had our missionary Halloween party as we weren’t allowed outside. We watched some funny skits that each zone prepared. There were 6 zones there, so like over 100 missionaries! It was awesome. The theme of the skits was supposed to be about the worst member present lessons. I was in one and was the investigator which went well, but we only had one microphone so that made it hard! We had a ton of candy and desserts and watched 17 miracles. It is really cool to be with so many missionaries - truly inspiring and fun to see people.
We have one investigator who is doing really well. We have been praying and fasting for him to get a new job as he works crazy, crazy hours. He said, though, that he will take his last vacation day for the year to go to church. But he really needs a new job so that he can attend every week. He said something really cool to me on Thursday. I was on member splits and took a priest in our ward (who is actually only 6 days younger than me). We were able to teach a good lesson and at the end of the lesson our investigator said that even though I don’t speak Spanish well, he knows the things I say are true. He told us that he talked to some other missionaries a month ago or so that he saw on the street and they didn’t convince him and he was sad that they didn’t have the spirit with them. He went on and talked for a while about how he knew everything was true. It really showed to me that I am not the teacher, rather the spirit is. I am just the conduit for the light to flow into the investigator’s life. That experience made me want to be even better and have the power of the spirit with me more.
Saturday night was truly a miracle. We had some appointments fall through and we didn’t have anything else to do.  All our plans we had originally planned were ten miles away and the people we were to meet with weren’t there.  As we were thinking of where to go after dinner, I couldn’t think. My mind was just dead. I could barely even remember our area. It was a major brain fart! So we pulled over into a nearby church and said a prayer. Instantly, as I started praying, a name came to mind. As I was praying, I pushed it back. In my prayer I even asked "that we will be able to follow the promptings we receive" and their name popped back into my head. Still, I ignored it. I told my comp of another family we could go see and we headed out to see them. It was unsuccessful. My comp then said the name of the people that had popped into my head earlier and we headed out on bikes to their house. He said he had thought of them earlier too but pushed their name back also. Once we got there they were having dinner and they invited us in. We ate dinner with them (our second dinner, ha!). They had a lot of extended family over. The carne asada was so good but the Lord didn’t send us there for the food. The grandma of the family had just broken her toes and we were able to give her a blessing. They had one son who only speaks English and we talked to him and he is going back to the YSA ward. The mom who is not a member thanked us for getting him back to church as he has been going down the wrong path. And that’s not all. They had their aunt and uncle over who aren’t members and we gave a quick spiritual thought about the power of faith and we were asked to say a prayer. We asked the aunt what she needed us to pray for and she broke down and cried. We said a prayer and the spirit was so strong.  It was truly a miracle. The rest of the night all our potentials turned into return appointments.
I hope you all have a great week!!

Elder Clark

Branch Trunk or Treat

 Pan Dulce - yum!

District Meeting