Monday, December 28, 2015

Whitney Rancheros

Hey everyone!

Hope that everyone had a great Christmas! My companion and I had a great one!
So we have been transferred into a new area. And there has been so many miracles we have seen since we have got here! It has been pretty hectic getting used to our new area and zone. But we have had a great time! The lord truly has been blessing us! I don't have much time to share many stories, but I wanted to share a thought I shared in Sunday at sacrament meeting. I didn't use it word for word but these were my thoughts.

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness." Genesis 1:1-4

The darkness proceeded the light. That is a principle that happens so much in our lives. Before great spiritual experiences challenges arise. I cannot tell you how many times the week before an investigator is to get baptized something comes up that tries to hinder them from that blessing. Darkness always proceeds the light, but light will always prevail.

I remember one day returning home and taking refuge in our home as a storm was brewing outside. As the storm got progressively worse we felt safe in the confines of our home. But soon enough the entire house went black, and our power went out. We had no light. But thankfully we were able to light candles and have an enjoyable evening in the candle light. We had enough light to see, and it was fun for that one night. But when our power returned I was grateful for the invention of the light bulb and the electricity we had.

And so today I wish to speak of the light we have inside ourselves. We all have been given the light of Christ. Giving us the ability to choose right and wrong, and to be influenced by the Holy Spirit. But once we are baptized we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost to have his spirit with us continually. However it is conditional on our obedience. That light which is in us can be however dim or however bright we allow it to be. Just as the candles still lit our path and gave us vision. It was limited. We had to take a candle with us everywhere. And blow it out when we weren't around for fear of burning our house down. But with our power back on. All it took was a flick of a light switch to have the whole house lit up.

Elder Uchtdorf said in last general conference "Why would anyone walk through life satisfied with the light from the candle of their own understanding when, by reaching out to our Heavenly Father, they could experience the bright sun of spiritual knowledge that would expand their minds with wisdom and fill their souls with joy?"

Let us not be limited to the norms or customs of society. Or the ideals of man, or our own rationalization, but rather let us experience greater light and hope through our savior Jesus Christ. Let our faith burn bright and steady as a light bulb and we will not be dismayed. The great part about celestial light is that the power never goes out, that power is our savior. And he is ever ready to welcome us and give us light. All we have to do is plug into that power. We plug into that power by the greatness of our faith.

Elder Neil l Anderson said, Faith emits a spiritual light, and that light is discernible. Faith in Jesus Christ is a gift from heaven that comes as we choose to believe and as we seek it and hold on to it. Your faith is either growing stronger or becoming weaker. Faith is a principle of power, important not only in this life but also in our progression beyond the veil. By the grace of Christ, we will one day be saved through faith on His name. The future of your faith is not by chance, but by choice.
If we do not have faith it is by our own choice.

Elder Uchtdorf once said, “If we make no effort to believe, we are like the man who unplugs a spotlight and then blames the spotlight for not giving any light. Are we blaming the wrong object for the lack of our faith or are we asking "Lord is it I?” If we look at how the light bulb was invented we can learn the tireless efforts we must have to keep our faith burning.

In the period from 1878 to 1880 Edison and his associates worked on at least three thousand different theories to develop an efficient incandescent lamp. By January 1879, at his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey, Edison had built his first high resistance, incandescent electric light. It worked by passing electricity through a thin platinum filament in the glass vacuum bulb, which delayed the filament from melting. Still, the lamp only burned for a few short hours. In order to improve the bulb, Edison needed all the persistence he had learned years before in his basement laboratory. He tested thousands and thousands of other materials to use for the filament. He even thought about using tungsten, which is the metal used for light bulb filaments now, but he couldn't work with it given the tools available at that time.

The electric light has caused me the greatest amount of study and has required the most elaborate experiments," he wrote. "I was never myself discouraged, or inclined to be hopeless of success. I cannot say the same for all my associates." Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration."

Edison decided to try a carbonized cotton thread filament. When voltage was applied to the completed bulb, it began to radiate a soft orange glow. Just about fifteen hours later, the filament finally burned out. Further experimentation produced filaments that could burn longer and longer with each test. By the end of 1880, he had produced a 16-watt bulb that could last for 1500 hours and he began to market his new invention.

Luckily we don't have to try and find 1000 different ways to grow our own light, but we can turn to the one that will never go out. As we exercise our own faith we can grow into a beacon of light to all others. Let us tirelessly search for that light. To study his words and pray unceasingly in his name. As we do this we will be like a light bulb that will never go out. It will not happen overnight, but as we chose light over and over again we will "grow brighter and brighter until the perfect day."

Let the lower lights be burning;
Send a gleam across the wave.
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman 
You may rescue, you may save.

Christmas 2015 Jammies
Elder Clark and Elder Valles
Zone White Elephant Gift Exchange
Christmas, 2015
It's Christmas!!
Eating Balut at a Filipino restaurant with Elder Valles

Monday, December 14, 2015

Vegas Bound Again

It is always so bittersweet leaving and getting transferred; especially this transfer for me. I have served in this zone for seven transfers of my mission, and I have loved all three of the areas I have served in. Lake Havasu, the one I am leaving now, has been so fun and I am really going to miss so many people here. I feel like I could just fit in with this ward and be perfectly happy! The only problem is that it’s way too hot here in the summer, but this time of year is great!

I feel like I was just leaving Quartzsite yesterday, but that has already been over 8 months ago and now I am again heading back to Las Vegas. My mission president knew I needed to spend a lot of time out of the valley as I can only handle so much of Vegas. So I am grateful for the year I have spent in this zone, and all the different areas and people I have met. I just want to say thank you to all those that made my time here so special. When I come back to visit my mission, I will definitely come to visit here as served half my mission here in Arizona! 

I was able to end my last weekend here with a baptism. It was awesome. The girl was deathly afraid of water and so that was a little interesting, but she was baptized! And their family has just grown so, so much! It’s been incredible! They have family prayer every night and watch a Mormon message or read the scriptures. It has been so cool to see the change the gospel brings into people’s lives.  It makes it hard to say goodbye to all these people you love; especially when you just want to stay and see them continue to grow. I will be missing a few more baptisms this coming week and so that will be sad, but the Lord has blessed these people so much and so I am excited for them.

I am going to a new zone to be a zone leader with someone who is currently serving as a district leader in my zone, so that was a cool surprise. We will be getting double transferred into the zone and a new area. They did a swap with the zone leaders and sister training leaders so I will actually be going to where the sisters have been serving. It will also be in an area I covered in my first area on my mission. My first recent converts live within the boundaries of my stake so I am so excited to see him and a lot of other people I knew from my first area. This time I won’t be in Spanish though, but I am still excited. I am going into the lowest producing zone of the mission right now and so this is definitely a challenge the president has given me. I hope I can be able to help it grow and improve. Once again, the Lord always humbles you. I have never served as a zone leader in Vegas and I feel much more confident here in this zone, and so I will be on my knees a lot asking for guidance and direction. 

This last week we had a zone conference. It was our Christmas conference. Our mission president talked a lot about the atonement and our Savior and that was really neat. We did a talent show and it was super funny. We were the MCs for it and they told us right before, but we still had a great time. It was fun to just see everyone do something. There was some talents shared, but mostly just comical things and skits. So it was a fun time to bond as a zone.

We also had a really fun youth activity that just finished up. We played Christmas themed minute to win it games and they earned points and then added those points to the points they had earned from doing missionary work. If they hit 250 they got to pie the missionaries in the face, and if they got 750 they got to pie all the youth leaders too. So in the minute to win it games I made sure they got enough points to pie the leaders! It was great!

I am excited for what the future holds and I am grateful for the time that I have had on my mission. I just hope and pray I continue to learn the things I need to learn and that I do what the Lord would have me do.

I hope you all have a great week and enjoy the holiday season.

Elder Clark

We got pied!

The beginning of Chubby Bunny. It all appears so innocent!

The End!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Driving, Driving, Driving

It was a great week this last week! We were very busy and had a lot going on, as usual.

We went to Vegas for a Zone Leader- STL meeting, had exchanges, and baptismal interviews we had to do, so that makes for lots of driving! But it’s always good seeing other missionaries, especially in our zone as it is really spread out. 

Things are going really well. It’s always a learning process trying to help the zone continue to improve, and trying to become a Christ-like leader. I know it is really shaping me to become the person my Heavenly Father wants me to become. 

We were able to have a baptism this last week and it was so cool to see the change they go through at their baptism. He was a 10 year old.

We had a cool miracle the other day. We went knocking on some doors in an apartment complex and we got rejected by at least 10 people. One guy was even yelling at us and trying to kick us off the property. Earlier that day I had been rejected a whole bunch, as well. At our last stop for the night, we went to see someone we had talked to a month or so ago. They let us in and we started teaching a family of 3, and two of their friends. 

The Lord has really blessed us with a lot of families to teach! 

In church on Sunday, we had a really cool lesson in Priest Quorum (sometimes we go to class with the Young Men). We were talking about spiritual gifts and how we can attain them and how our patriarchal blessing can help us understand which gifts we have. We can also work to gain more gifts. During this holiday season, I just think of all the wonderful gifts our Father in Heaven has given us. There are probably times when we don’t even notice them.  For example, one of the young men’s leaders was talking about how he is a judge and that he actually gets opportunities to share the gospel at work. He said he can’t say it in gospel terms, but the principles he is teaching is the same. He said that is a type of the gift of tongues, and so that was really neat. You never know the gifts you have.

Things are going really well! I love our area and our ward! These last couple weeks we have been having a youth challenge where the youth get certain points for doing missionary work and family history. It has been really, really fun to have them get all excited about it. This Wednesday we are finishing the activity, and depending on the number of points they receive, they get to pie us in the face along with the bishopric! It will be fun.

I hope you all have a great week,

Elder Clark
Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders

Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving and a Hike

Well this week was a great week! They always fly by so, so fast. 

I was able to go on exchanges with my MTC comp and that was really cool! I haven't served around him my whole mission, so it was really cool to see how much we have both grown in almost a year and a half. We had a great time catching up and doing missionary work. We even taught a lesson in Spanish! Man, that was way different then our first lesson in Spanish in Mexico. haha! 

Thanksgiving was great! We had a great dinner with a Polynesian family. They are just wonderful! We played the Glad Game. It's where you go around the table and say something you are grateful for. Just one word, and really fast. If you hesitate, you’re out. And if you repeat something, you’re out. So that was really fun! We talked about how what if you could only have the things you thanked God for the night before. It was a fun dinner. Afterwards, we visited a few of our investigators, and sadly two that were going to get baptized this weekend won't be able to. The boy can't get permission from his dad and the mom want get baptized without her son. It was heartbreaking for us and them. 

But the real fun didn't start until Friday morning. I was privileged to go down to the Havasupai Indian Reservation in the Grand Canyon. I went for an overnighter there and it was quite the trip. We stayed the night in Peach Springs where the elders on a different reservation live and then left early that morning for the trail head, or known as the hilltop. Because of the holiday season, there were already a lot of tourists there getting ready to hike down. It was a pretty brisk morning. It is about an 8 mile hike down to the village and we got down in just over two hours. The elders live in the church there, so we dropped off all our stuff and got some food in us and headed out. The view is breath taking! I loved being in that canyon. I didn't even think I was in my mission. I was called to the Nevada Las Vegas mission and where I was at was definitely not Vegas! I felt like I was in a foreign country. The main transportation was horse, mule, or foot. 

We had a very successful time down there! We found 8 new people interested in the gospel and set three of them for a baptismal date in January. We got to hike to the falls and gave a lesson to a part member family that sells fry bread to tourists down there. We even got free fry bread! It was so humbling to see how these people live. There is a lot of sadness and depression there. It's so wonderful we have a church there to help them. We had to clean out this guy’s cabinets and they were full of cockroaches and cockroach dust! It was pretty crazy! I am grateful for the chance that I had to serve there. I felt like Ammon when the Lord told him:

"11 And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls."

We then hiked out the next day and it even snowed on us! It was quite the hike out. We ended up hiking about 25 miles in two days! The last mile outside of the canyon was a 8000 foot elevation gain! It was brutal! It was even snowing on us! I was so, so excited I forgot how much I missed snow! 

Everything else this week was good! Our recent convert had to go to the hospital yesterday during Sacrament meeting; she was having bad chest pain. But luckily she is ok! 

Hope you all have a great week! 

Elder Clark 
Elder Clark by Little Navajo Falls
He said they don't wear the typical missionary clothing on the reservation. 

Little Navajo Falls

25 miles of this in 2 days!

The Tree of Life!

Logan looks so small!

The church building.

A few cockroaches....

It's Snowing!!!

Snow on the truck.

Monday, November 23, 2015


Well it was an awesome week! I don't have a lot of time, but I wanted to touch on a few things that happened this week.

We had a huge miracle to have one of our investigators get baptized last Saturday. It was great to see her change. I love her so much! She is 78 years old. I guess God sent me to Quartzsite last year so I could love elderly people. They are so awesome. I was honored to baptize her, and it was amazing to see the instant transformation she had. She came up a completely different person. She just lost her husband 2 months ago and has lost all four of her children. So she is very lonely, but she was just beaming! She even walked to church the next day as she was so excited for her confirmation and church. I am so grateful to have met her and to have seen the atonement work in her life.

Also this last Sunday was just a crazy hectic day! We covered two wards and it felt like we had everything going on. We had meeting we had to go to, and then the churches overlapped and we need to be in two places at once so we split up. And then we had to give a baptismal interview during church, and then worry about all of our investigators coming, announce an activity we are doing for Christmas in the zone, teach elders quorum and the other Ward asked us at the last second if we could teach their elders quorum - luckily we didn't. We also had a recent convert call us at the last second and needed a ride, and a youth fireside we had to put on that night. We had a lot of our plate. So all this was going on, and needless to say I was a bit overwhelmed and it was hard to feel the spirit. But I am so grateful for church. By the end of sacrament meeting I just felt this peace and this calm come over me. I am so grateful for the sacrament and the chance we have to start over fresh every week.

At this time of the year during thanksgiving there are so many things we can do; shopping, eating, watching football, and getting together with family. But, we can show our gratitude to our Father in Heaven. This last Friday we had interviews with the mission president and he brought up some great points. As always, he loves to get into the scriptures and so we were studying Mosiah 4 with him. Which in the past I have always thought about welfare, but he related it to missionary work. As we show our gratitude we realize that we have been given so much, not just temporally but spiritually, as well. In that chapter where it says to impart your substance to the poor, it can also mean us sharing the gospel to those that are poor in spirit. We are so rich to have this knowledge. Let us share it this holiday season! I love you all and hope you have a great Thanksgiving

Elder Clark

Lake Havasu - Sunrise

Hiking at SARA's Crack

Monday, November 16, 2015

1 Hour to Heal

Well this was a very exciting week! We had transfers, and Elder Anderson went up to Las Vegas in a Spanish area. I will miss him! He was a great companion and a great missionary. But it's so weird how you get used to all the dramatic changes like they are nothing! Ha

I got a new companion from Wyoming! He's a super cool guy! We were actually in the MTC together even though I didn't know him then. He served English for the first ten months of his mission, but just came from seven months in Spanish. And it's been really cool because this week we have found a couple Spanish families to teach!

Things in this zone are going great! We had a big meeting last Friday and we talked again about how every month we were going to set a barrier that we want to break as a zone! Just as Roger Bannister broke the four minute mile, our zone can break things that have never been done before and that will change the culture of our zone. Only 46 days after Bannister broke the four minute mile, someone beat his record! What was previously thought to be impossible, became the possible. Limits are only the preconceived notion of an unmotivated mind. Our zone is way different than the rest of the zones in Vegas, and so our goal is to change the culture of our zone.

We had a great week in terms of our area. We found some amazing families and saw lots of miracles! The Lord is really blessing us, and I know it will only continue as we remain humble and trust in Him. Just as in the Book of Mormon when they would prosper and forget God then they would fall.  Alma says, blessed are those that don't have to be compelled to be humble. I need to be more that way!

So on Sunday morning, speaking of being humble, the Lord humbled us. Two families that were supposed to come to church canceled-one was being evicted, and the other was in the hospital with sick kids. Then our other investigator, who is getting baptized this Saturday, and needed to come to church, was sick, as well.  That morning on our way to Ward council, we stopped by her house and talked to her. We gave her some hot lemon water and this juice stuff to help her feel better and told her to rest for an hour and we would be back to have her come to church. She said she would only go if she felt better. She is 78 years old, by the way! So it was an hour to get all healed up!! We prayed with her that she would be better and able to come to church. After we left, I was just praying so hard she would be better! The last three Sundays something came up to where she didn't come to church. One week she had gone to the other Ward, one week she was just gone, and now, illness. We practically see her every day of the week, and on Sunday something always goes wrong. Satan doesn't want her to get baptized. It really shows the principle of darkness always precedes the light. After Ward council we had a member follow us over to go see her. Man, my heart was pumping so hard. I was just trying to have exceedingly great faith and picture her saying yes, but I was so nervous! We knocked on the door and she said she felt a little better, but kind of cold! Well that was good enough for me! I was like, alright let's get you a jacket and a get you in the car to church! hahahahah She stayed for all three hours and got better throughout! She even proudly stood up in Relief Society and introduced herself and said she was getting baptized!

I know that the Lord will provide. There are so many blessings in store for us if we just have a little more faith, exercise a little more hope and belief in Him! As we do, our love will begin to grow and blossom and many miracles will come of our charity! I know my Savior lives and He loves me! This is my testimony.

Elder Clark

After the first lesson, they decided they didn't want the missionaries
to come back, so they left the Book of Mormon on the door in a bag.
That is one way to say they were done.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Broke the Barrier!

This week was awesome!! We saw so many miracles as a zone!

We had a big meeting with all the district leaders and talked about the barriers we had in our zone and how we were planning on overcoming them. We set a goal to find over 100 new investigators in a week as a zone! It was awesome - we broke it!!! We actually got 119! It was really cool to see everyone band together to complete a goal.

My companion is getting transferred, and I am getting a new zone leader! This will be my 7th transfer I have spent outside of Las Vegas! I am really excited for this upcoming transfer. We have a big vision to change the culture of our zone. In the past, the attitude was that missionaries who have been out of Vegas were the disobedient missionaries. So, we are going to change that and try to get people really hyped to come to our zone. It should be a great transfer! 

The weather has been getting a little cooler. It has even snowed in some of the mountains so that is pretty cool. We had a really neat miracle this week and it came at a great time. I had been thinking a lot about being led by the spirit. I haven’t, very often, had a voice speak to me; I just sort of do things. But, I had two experiences this last week where I know we were led by God to meet these people. The first experience happened when were twenty minutes early to dinner on night so we knocked doors in the surrounding area. We were just about to turn back and at the last second I saw a guy cleaning his car. We went over and he started talking to us. He told us that we couldn’t have come to a better person. His mom had just told him to go through his stuff and pick out the stuff he wanted before she died. He was also having really bad medical problems and said that he really needed God in his life. It was so amazing to see how the spirit led us there; even though we were just contacting like we always do, it would have been easy to have just gone to dinner or to have turned back and not talked to him. The Lord is in the details of our life and this man felt that.

Also, we met another lady a week or so ago. We had a sister who is preparing to go on a mission with us and we said a prayer that we would find who the Lord would have us find. The very first people we talked to were drinking and smoking, and they ended up being very receptive to our message. The girlfriend of one was a less active member, and had actually talked to the sister missionaries a lot. She found out in July that she had Leukemia, and she was so grateful to see us. She wants us to try and help her teenage children cope with this as the doctor told her that she may have only six months to live. It’s getting to be very hard for that family. I know God sent us to her. 

The Lord really does direct our lives. We just have to be aware, and give the glory to Him. I love serving a mission! I would recommend it to anyone. Stand strong in your faith and trust in the prophets. The lord will provide; we just have to have faith.

I love you all,

Elder Clark

At the Mission Leadership Council Meeting

Monday, November 2, 2015

Breaking Barriers

Once again the week is already over, and there is so much to tell and I don’t even know where to start.

There is a lot going on in our zone as well as our area! This last Saturday we got to go to the temple for a sealing for one of our recent converts. Sadly, though, because of some paperwork issue there were not able to do the sealing. Hopefully, in a month or so they will be able to. But it was still a great day to be in the temple, and we did a session since we were already there.  It was great to feel the peace that comes from the temple. It really just highlights the week-there is no doubt about it. Go to the temple - it’s worth it!

We also had a great week in proselyting. We have been finding lots of people to teach and we have been just trying to find those that are ready to accept the gospel now and not waste our time on those who might not be ready. As missionaries, we are just in our areas for such a short period of time that we must try to find the elect. We are also trying to shift our focus more to the members. We have a lot of missionary minded members and we really need to tap into the resource.

We had a crazy Sunday, yesterday. We had a ton of investigators not show up for various reasons, but one of them was an elderly lady. One of our members was really worried about her because she wasn’t at her house after church, and she normally doesn’t go anywhere. So the member called the cops to check up on her. We met the cops at her house and she wasn’t home. Later that night, we got a message from the sister that she was home safe. But also, the Relief Society President in the other ward called us to give us a referral and it was for that investigator. Apparently, she had showed up to church but couldn’t remember where to go and so she went to the other wards’ Relief Society instead of our Sacrament Meeting, so that was pretty crazy!

On Wednesday this last week, we had a meeting with all the District Leaders and the STLs. We gave a training on breaking barriers. We shared the stories of Roger Bannister and the 4 minute mile and of Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier. We talked about a barrier we had in our zone. We have never found, in recorded history, 100 new investigators in a week, as a zone. So now we are trying to break that barrier in our zone. It was a good training. It is hard to find ways to motivate people to raise their vision, but we have seen so much progress in our missionaries.

I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Clark

Las Vegas Temple
Saturday, October 31, 2015