Monday, January 26, 2015

To Vegas and Back!

Hey everyone!!

This week has been a crazy one. I left with my old comp on Tuesday morning and we made the nice little four hour drive up to Vegas. I dropped him off because he was getting transferred and I was able to work with the Elders from my last area and use the Spanish that I haven't completely forgotten yet. I received my new companion and he is a brand new missionary from Hawaii. I picked him up at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday and the rest of the day we worked in my old area. The only bad part was that he doesn't speak Spanish, but luckily some of the people we saw spoke English. It was great to be in my old area and see families and investigators that had really meant a lot to me.

There was one family that I had been working with and when I left the mother and the son were preparing for baptism but the dad was still putting it off. When I was there this week all three had baptismal dates! That was so exciting. I was so, so happy! Also a big highlight of the time in Vegas was seeing my recent convert. I hadn't heard from him since I had been transferred. Since I was in his area, I went to tried to see him but he wasn't home. We had a meeting for new missionaries on Thursday and right at the close of that the elders from my last ward brought him to see me. It was so awesome. I was so thankful! I gave him a big hug and got to talk to him for a few minutes. It was great to see how his life has changed. He is even doing missionary work. He is still active and brings his grandchildren to church and has received so many blessings. I was so happy to see him. It really makes sense now when I read, "How great will be your joy when you bring but just one soul unto me." It truly brings that happiest joy in your life.

So my new companion had procured a bike from the mission home. When we needed to drive back to our area we put it on the rack, but we weren't able to lock it because the lock that came with it had no key. On the way home we stopped for dinner and then two hours later we stopped at a gas station to get a drink. I got out of the car and started walking into the store and then I noticed the bike rack was empty! I yell to my comp…”wait, where is your bike?” So I am sure somebody in Vegas stole it because I don’t think it fell off during the ride. That was a pretty funny experience. We were laughing about that one for a while.

We only had a few days to work in the area but we really saw lots of success and I really believe a lot of good things are going to start happening here. It is really exciting. We started tracting more; it’s not something that we do as a mission. The mission puts more of a focus on street contacting, but we walk around and knock on trailer doors and talk to people outside and it really works for us. That is where all the people are - inside their homes just watching TV or sleeping and so we have to go to them. I am excited for what the future holds and I hope I can be a good example to my new companion and train him well. We have a baptism this Saturday so that will be a great experience for him!

Hope you all have a great week!
Elder Clark

Monday, January 19, 2015

Feeding the 725!!!!!

Hey Everyone!

I hope this email catches you in the weather I am having -- 60-70s is not a bad winter for me. I am complaining at times though how it is just too hot. The summer is probably going to kill me.

Well I better explain the title before everyone thinks the missionaries are starting to feed people. That would be bad-especially with my budget and skills...I can cook a mean bowl of cereal though!

So the story goes…at 8 o’clock on Sunday morning the chapel was already filling up and by 9:05 a.m. when the meeting started we had the chapel, overflow, cultural hall, relief society room, the foyers, and part of the halls all filled with people for Sacrament Meeting!! The final count was...725!! That is the most I have ever had in my life and they were mostly all old people! But there was actually a few young people. We had 16 older men pass the sacrament, but the worst part was we only had one loaf of bread and so it was stretched pretty thin but it worked out just fine. The thought did cross my mind though of Christ feeding the five thousand and it is truly amazing that when we think about it, that through Christ we never have to hunger or thirst again. There will always been enough bread and water for our spirits. He will give us rest if we just follow Him and do what He asks. He doesn’t say it will be easy but that we will have rest. I like to think of it in a way of running sprints at football practice. We still have to run the sprints and if we run our hardest and give it all we got, we get a rest, but not just any rest, a rest that will completely and utterly fill us with strength enough to do it again and give it our best shot again and that’s how it goes. And even more amazing is that while we are "sprinting", Christ is giving us even more strength and one day when the "football practice" is all over we really truly will have eternal rest and progression.

This week, other than that, has been pretty dull. The big shows have come into town and that is why there are so many people here. But that only will last for a week or so more, I think. There is a huge tent with tons of vendors and vendors all over the place. It’s just a hectic mess over on that part of town. But it has been an adventure over here. There is work to be done and things are picking up. Slowly but surely we are making a small difference. The biggest news of the week is that this is the end of transfers and my companion is going back up to Las Vegas and I am training a new missionary. The poor guy has no idea what’s in store for him down here! He is in for a treat, that’s for sure.

On Monday we went out prospecting for gold and well, we found nothing. There were some guys from our RV Park that wanted to take us out. We may go out again sometime and maybe find some gold; that would be cool. It reminded me of the Mormon Battalion and those that left California during the gold rush to see their families on the plains and join back into the church they loved. They said they could have made a fortune out there, but they had a duty to do and that was more important. It reminds me of when Christ said where our treasure is, there will our hearts be also. And it just shows that gold and money and material things are nice, but they are not eternal and they don’t bring true happiness, but our families and our gospel do and that is what is most important. So I have definitely learned that as I have found looking for gold is a waste of time, although still fun!

I hope you all have a good week. I will be back up in Vegas for the next few days and that will be fun! It will be good to be in my old area for a little bit, but I am sure I will have lots to talk about with my new companion!

Elder Clark

Monday, January 12, 2015

Bucking Bales...Bible Bashing


I am just super happy! Doing the Lord’s work can be very hard at times and it’s not always a walk in an RV park (oh wait, maybe for us it is) but I am forever grateful for the opportunity I have to serve. The end of the transfer is drawing near and I just can’t believe how fast time really does fly.

This has probably been one of our best weeks in Quartzsite! The big shows are coming to town and lots of people are here. Unfortunately, most are only staying for 10 days, but we get to talk to lots of people and hopefully plant some nice seeds. When members from out of town see us they are so surprised there are full time missionaries in Quartzsite!

We finally got our main investigator to get a solid date for his baptism. His brother in law is coming down to baptize him and so he was able to get a hold of him and so hopefully in the next two weeks I will have my first baptism in Quartzsite. He has been an investigator for years and has just had a hard time deciding to get baptized and he says he doesn’t know why, but know he’s ready! He said he can’t wait another month. Some members live just up the street from him and they have a great time together. They really look after him. I just love the people and the members here and the way they look out for people-it is just truly amazing! And I am finally remembering some people’s names!

Another one of our main investigators is doing well; she’s sort of a ditz but we love her. She moved to another RV park so we helped her with that and taught her for the 100th time how to use her phone. I think she is finally getting the hang of it. But it was really amazing one thing that she said at Sunday dinner. She said she had gone to this revival thing at another church and that while she was there she just felt sadness and emptiness. But when she is with us and at church or with other members she said that she just feels something very different. It was great to testify to her what that was and I really believe she will be baptized and accept the gospel whole heartedly!

This week we also got to do a lot of service - even with a higher amount of lessons taught, we still were able to dedicate time to service. It was great! At the food bank a big truck from Phoenix came in and Carol (the head lady there) was so happy. We were able to help unload the truck and it filled up the whole warehouse. We also helped a lady load up a ton of bales of straw that they used to build a dumpster. The bales were all molding, but I liked being a farm boy for the time that we helped. The older guys there just kept saying how they used to be paid a cent a bale! haha And they probably had to walk uphill both ways to school!

I was also asked to give a training in one of our meetings on Tuesday. Studying for it was such a great thing for me. I really learned a lot as I prepared for it. One thing that I talked about was the power and authority of our calling. As missionaries we all have the authority because we have been set apart by priesthood authority, but the power depends on us. It depends on our diligence to follow our Savior and obey His commandments and the mission rules. And it just really struck me how much we can truly do when we have the power of our calling. I am really striving to have that spirit with me. I read in a talk this morning that an apostle said that he thinks the authority of the priesthood is outrunning the power of the priesthood. So basically we need to wake up and be better!! Everyone! But the talk was from a few years ago so maybe we don’t need to worry about that…but I am guessing it’s still probably true.

And a last little spiritual experience that I had was at a dinner appointment when I shared a quick spiritual message. I read a few verses from Doctrine & Covenants 121 about Joseph Smith when he was in Liberty Jail. I felt the spirit touch my heart and whisper to me that mine afflictions are but just a small moment and that all will be well as I endure them well as I read:

7 My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;

8 And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.

9 Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands.

Joseph suffered so much for this world and I am doing my little portion. I know I will be blessed for it. So to all that may be in a time of need or that are struggling, read these versus again and imagine Christ saying them to you with open arms and let his enabling power, his atonement, heal you.
I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Clark





Monday, January 5, 2015

SNOW!!! Except for me!

I hope you all had a safe New Year and didn’t get too crazy. Here for the New Year we got SNOW!!!!!!!!! Unfortunately, I was on exchanges in the only town that didn’t get any snow so that was a big, big bummer! But we had a great week. Time is flying by so fast. I have already been in Quartzsite for a month.
To start the week off I went on exchanges with our district leader in the town next to us (Blythe). It was good to go to a different area and try to learn some things that could really help the area I am currently in. I was there for a day and a half and it was pretty funny because the elders over there stay with a single member. This member has a ton, and I mean a TON of cats in his house and yard! Crazy! It was great to get to know my DL more. He is a super hard worker and so that was good.

On Thursday morning we went out to the desert with one of our part-member families. The father is really sensitive about the gospel; well that’s what his wife has told us. Anytime we try and talk to him about it she tells us not to. So we try and respect that even though it’s frustrating. But they took us out to this place called skull rock and that was super fun! They are a great family. Everyone out here treats us like grandkids! It’s really fun! But don’t worry-I never forget my real Grandmas! Or my Grandmas in Cross Plains and Stoughton!! I love you all!

Friday we got to go to the temple and that was amazing. It is about a 3 ½ hour drive one way so it makes for a long day of driving, but luckily we went with our Ward Mission Leader. He is a super awesome guy and it was great going up with him and enjoying the blessings we get from the temple. We had a fun day and even got to stop at a Mongolian grill and have some dinner.

A funny story: At times in Quartzsite we have to be creative on how we get people out of their houses and how we talk to them. So just by accident one day I found a new method. We were going by to see some members to get to know them and ask them if they would go out with us sometime. It was dark, like around 7 in the evening, and my comp had to go back to the car to get something and so I was unlocking it with the remote. But instead of just pressing the unlock button once, I just kept pressing the button so the car would beep. I was just doing it to mess with him. The members weren’t home so we got in our car and started driving away. We noticed that the lady who lived next door came out on her porch and started talking to us while we were in the car. She thought it sounded like the neighbors were coming a going a lot because their car horn kept going off and she came out to see what was going on! haha! We talked for a bit and we were able to get her name and she said we could come back! It was hilarious; so now I always give our car a few extra the dismay of my comp at times-ha!

This week has really flown by. The Lord is still blessing us with even more people to teach-slowly but surely. Another woman came to church this Sunday whom we have never seen before. Our members are awesome just bringing people in. So I am excited to work with these people and they have lots of potential. I hope we can just find some more and keep the work of the Lord progressing. Have a Happy New Year! I am excited to start my first and only full year as a missionary! It’s going to be awesome!
Elder Clark
The Las Vegas Temple
Skull Rock

Sister Thomas and the Jeeps at Skull Rock