Monday, April 27, 2015

Miracles and Ward Parties

Hey everyone!

Well it’s been a crazy busy week. The pace has definitely changed from Quartzsite to Las Vegas - that’s for sure! I am always so tired and exhausted, but I am pushing through!

Not a whole lot of stories this week. But, lots of miracles.

On Tuesday I gave a district meeting which went well. I also went on exchanges with the zone leaders and I was able to work with one of them who happens to be one of my best friends here on the mission. So that was really cool. We had an awesome day!

One of the biggest miracles we saw was we when went to contact a referral we had received. When we arrived at the house a teenager answered the door. We asked for the referral and the guy didn’t even live there, but we brought up the gospel anyway and asked if he had a few minutes to talk to us. He invited us inside and while we were talking to him I saw his mom through the kitchen window out in the backyard. She was staring at us and so I waved to her and she hid! But then the kid brought in his mom and we started talking to her and teaching them and it was so amazing what happened. She talked about how she had waited 17 years for us to come by and when we had stopped by on Saturday, a few days before and left a card, it was the first contact she has had. She said she could feel she was ready for the gospel and that she was knew it was true and it was so, so awesome! She said she felt full of peace and joy; it was awesome! Sadly she didn’t come to church but we are still working with her so she’ll get there.

Another family we are teaching is super awesome also. They are from Cuba. A sad thing though,  we were teaching a mom, her son and daughter but her son just told us that he wasn’t interested. So that was really a bummer. He is a super cool and nice guy. I think he is just a little nervous to try something new, but the mom and the daughter are so awesome. The mom is super nice and she always says to us, “mi amor” (haha) which means “my love” but it’s like we’re her kids, in a way. She’s just awesome. Hopefully they are going to be baptized on May 30th. The mom was able to change her work schedule so she can go to church which will be awesome!!

The work is progressing. We are starting to get to know more people. Even though my comp had been here for 6 weeks, he didn’t know many people so we have been trying to get to know them. We met a super awesome recent convert family and they are way cool! The ward is great. I love being back in Spanish. We had a big party on Saturday as a fundraiser for the young women. That was fun. I even got to see some people from my last Spanish ward in Desert Bloom. Our ward loves to party so we are having another part for Mother’s Day!! 

But that’s about it this week.

Elder Clark

Monday, April 20, 2015

Back in Las Vegas

Hey everyone,
Sorry for my short email last week. I didn’t have a lot of time.

I have left Quartzsite as the area has been closed down and I am back in Las Vegas.

It was a good last week in Quartzsite! We were able to baptize a Spanish girl that we have been teaching for a while now. But she has been back and forth from Quartzsite and Mexico. So it was a miracle to be able to have her move back to Quartzsite so she could be baptized there.

It was sad to leave Quartzsite, but I am glad to back in Vegas. My last Sunday there, they had us speak at the end of sacrament meeting and one comment I said was that now my grandparents seem really young!  Everyone thought that was really funny and they wouldn’t stop bugging me about it!

During these last two weeks we have had a couple a life-saving experiences - So that has been pretty cool!

The first was from Quartzsite. I was on exchanges and we were in my area walking around an RV park. We saw all of this smoke billowing up and so we walked over there to check it out. There were two young kids and a pile of rubble from an old trailer was on fire! So we ran over there and talked to them and then started helping them put it out. It took us an hour to extinguish it completely. It wasn't too bad, but if we wouldn’t have showed up it could have been a lot worse and spread to a lot of trailers that were really close nearby. So that was a pretty crazy experience!

And then in my new area, we were knocking on a door of an 2nd floor apartment but they never answered. It was a super windy day and as we were waiting, I saw a kid walking down below us. I called out to him and he turned around a walked back to where we were and started talking to us and as we started talking a giant Cottonwood tree cracked and fell to the ground right where he was going to be walking!!!! So that was crazy. The kid was freaking out. So that was a really cool experience because I felt prompted to talk to him.

Being back in a Spanish area is going really well. I love it! The Lord  has really blessed me. I am able to understand and speak better than I thought I would be able to. I can speak enough Spanish to accomplish the Lord’s work; which is amazing! We have so many people in this area who are ready to hear the gospel! It’s so refreshing! Compared to Quartzsite when we talked to people and everyone said no - here it feels like everyone says yes! 

We were walking down a street when a van pulled over and two girls got out and started talking to us. Their family is from the Congo and they went to church once in Utah and they really wanted to know where the church was and when they could go. They were super nice and very ready to hear the gospel. We referred them to the English elders. It is a family of five or six, I think and they all want to come to church and get baptized so that was a crazy cool miracle! 

We also met another girl and we went back and met her mom and brother and they are from Cuba. They are all super ready to come to church and were very excited. The mom asked what time it started and we told her and she said she worked, but that she was going to talk to her boss to get it switched. It was amazing!

So, I am really excited to be here! Our ward is made up of a lot of people from El Salvador and many of our investigators are from Cuba.  Oh man, they are hard to understand but I am getting by!

Take care!

Elderito Clark

Rattle Snake Snack!              
Brother Murphy. He is so, so awesome!
Our neighbor Bob. He likes the sun!
The Duffins

Brother Atwood. He still fished and hunts at 80 something!!!
The Lawters and Margaret.
The Fullmers
The wicked dog daisy She hates all young people, especially missionaries!
The Broadheads
The Thomas'
The Cunninghams. Our park managers.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Bien Rapido!

Hey everyone!

I don't have much time as it has been a crazy day. I am back in Las Vegas. I have been transferred to a Spanish Ward! I am so excited about that. It's the Paraiso Ward in Paradise Stake, so it's twice the paradise. 

Hope you all have a great week! 
Note from Mom: Logan was made a District Leader with this transfer. Since he is back in Las Vegas, use the mission office address for any mail/package correspondence.
Stephanie at her baptism.

Saying goodbye to the Mitchells


Saying goodbye to Cal Tucker

Goodbye to the Duffins

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easter in the Desert

April 6, 2016
Happy Easter!

It has been a good week again! We always have good weeks! This week was a little hard for missionary work, but we had lots of meetings and General Conference and so it was a spiritual boost. 

So Monday night we had a really spiritual lesson with our investigator. We watched the movie 17 miracles and had a testimony meeting with some of the members who were with us and our investigator. She was crying and the spirit was very strong. She was going through some big trials in her life and it really showed her how God will help us in our trials. But so the sad part of the story was the next day, her grandma kicked her out of the lot and she had to leave. She has been having a lot of family troubles and I guess it hit its climax. We helped her load everything up and said goodbye. It was a pretty sad goodbye especially because there was no way we could refer her on because she wasn’t exactly sure where she was going to go. She was going to stay with a cousin for a short time. That was one of our last investigators to leave. 
On Thursday we had interviews with the mission president and that went really well. The funny story from that was the training our mission mom gave us. In our district meetings, my district leader assigned me to lead the music and so it has been sort of this joke with my district with my bad leading! So the Sister Training Leaders were dying laughing on Thursday as the training was on how to lead music and at one point Sister Snow said she was going to show us how to get off beat, and said, “I struggle getting off beat .” I retorted, “Oh, I can do that for you!” haha-it was a fun training. We had a really good training from President Snow. All the missions in the world were capped at 200 missionaries, but for five missions out of the world they gave an exception to have 220 missionaries and the Nevada Las Vegas mission was one of those. He talked about how proud he was of us and the members here and the work that the Lord needs done in our mission. He talked about 4th Nephi and how fast they converted everyone in the area and we talked about how fast pride tore down the happiest people in the world. He also announced that our mission will be going electronic and getting iPads in May so that will be exciting to see how the missionary work will change. 

Friday we also had zone meeting and then we had conference so there were a lot of things that went on! It was exciting to see how, in all the meetings, the Lord is hastening his work and that we get to be a part of this glorious time in history. And conference was really great! It is always wonderful to hear from all the apostles and prophets. I love the humor and happiness they have! I loved when Elder Uchtdorf got up and started speaking German! It just shows that we can be a happy people and still feel the spirit! 

We are leaving our area in one week! I am going back to Vegas, but not sure where yet. I will find out this weekend and hopefully it will be to a Spanish area! It will be good to get a new area, but I will always miss this area! Easter was a bit of a different day for me. It didn’t feel like a normal Easter, but I was able to really feel the spirit. At dinner we had a big group of people, ten or more, and had a yummy dinner! Mexican!! We had requested it, but don’t worry mom we still had Christmas ham. After the dinner we sang Lead Kindly Light and we shared a scripture from John 8:12 which talks about Christ being the light, and then we opened it up for people to share their testimonies and it was a very spiritual moment. Great testimonies were shared and I am grateful for the chance I have to be a missionary and have these spiritual experiences! 

I hope you all have a great week and that Easter brought to your remembrance the knowledge we have that Christ truly does live and that He speaks to us today!

Elder Clark 

Diana and the Buchanan's. Diana bought us these jumpsuits because everyone in Quartzsite has one. We were working hard this day helping dig holes.

P-Day hike in Palm Canyon

Talk in Sacrament Meeting

March 22, 2015 Quartzsite Talk:
(I didn't read word for word, but here are my notes.)

I would like to open my remarks with a quote from Elder Uchtdorf:

"I have searched for a story that would illustrate what I want to say.I looked for a story about farming. I looked for a story about animals.In honor of Elder Scott, I looked for a story about nuclear engineering,and in honor of President Monson, one about raising pigeons.

In the end, one story kept coming back to me—a story that has been imprinted on my memory for many, many years.It isn’t about farming, animals, nuclear engineering, or pigeons.
It is as you might have guessed—about aviation."

So as I have personally prepared for my own talk many things have crossed my mind, cheese from Wisconsin, Casinos in Vegas, The young folk of Quartzsite, maybe even a story on aviation in honor
of Elder Uchtdorf slipped in, but what I want to speak on this day is the most important event in all the history of the world, far greater than the comings and happenings in my simple life. Far more beautiful than the desert sunsets, or blooming cacti. Far more significant then the Quartzsite Chatter, or the latest news on the terrorist band ISIS.

I wish to speak about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the suffering and events that led to his infinite atonement and the intercession he made for us with the Father. I wish to speak about the hope and light we can find through him. I pray that we can learn more about the redeeming power of Christ. For He truly is mighty to save! And I would like to share a poem that really sets the tone for how amazing his grace is:

’Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But held it up with a smile:
“What am I bidden, good folks,” he cried,
“Who’ll start the bidding for me?”
“A dollar, a dollar”; then, “Two!” “Only two?
Two dollars, and who’ll make it three?
Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice;
Going for three—” But no,
From the room, far back, a gray-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loose strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
As a caroling angel sings.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said, “What am I bid for the old violin?”
And he held it up with the bow.
“A thousand dollars, and who’ll make it two?
Two thousand! And who’ll make it three?
Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice,
And going, and gone!” said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
“We do not quite understand
What changed its worth.” Swift came the reply:
“The touch of a master’s hand.”
And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd,
Much like the old violin.
A “mess of pottage,” a glass of wine,
A game—and he travels on.
He’s “going” once, and “going” twice,
He’s “going” and almost “gone.”
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that’s wrought
By the touch of the Master’s hand.

This poem has always deeply touched my heart. As I read this poem my heart is warmed with the knowledge that there is someone out there that loves me deeply. More than I can comprehend. It
brings me closer to my savior and leaves me with a desire to give it all to him. In his hands we are saved. He will shape us as the potter masterfully shapes clay. If we allow ourselves access to his atonement we can reach our true potential.

But how can we feel the touch of the masters hand in our own lives? How can we gain access to its redeeming power individually?

I hope today that as I speak the spirit will touch your hearts and mind and help you answer these questions. Which questions have led me to the conclusion that we can feel this power more abundantly in our own lives as we share this enabling message with others. But first we need
to 'seek' Christ's atonement, before we can declare it. We need to let it begin to grow inside us and then as we share this message it will never leave us. We will never forget his atoning sacrifice as
we bear testimony of him.

So to begin I would like to focus on a few parts of Christ’s life and atonement that have touched me in my own life. And then with a better understanding of this sacrifice we will discover the importance of sharing Christ's love with those around us.

Foreordained, Christ was chosen as our Savior, to come to earth and take upon himself the sins of the world. He has paid the price in full for all that we have done, are doing, and will do that is contrary to the will of the Father. He took upon himself all of our fear, grief, guilt, pain, sorrow, and sin. Through him we can find "rest". He has said that he is the "Light of the world" and that there is no way back to the father, but through him. There is hope even in the most blackest, darkest moments because of him.

In 1st Tim 2:6 Paul wrote with an understanding of the debt that has been paid saying: "[Christ] Who gave himself a ransom for all..."

He has ransomed for our lives, our salvation, our souls, with his every waking moment. In the song "How deep the father's love for us" the last stanza rings true in my heart. The words clearly depict the feelings I have toward my savior. It reads:

"Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom"

He suffered for each and every one of us. We cannot comprehend the power and extent of this ransom. Of this eternal payment. Jacob, a prophet of the Book of Mormon,  further explaining the suffering of Christ, said "it must needs be an infinite atonement" The definition of Infinite is "limitless or endless in space, extent, or size; impossible to measure or calculate"

Truly Christ's atonement is limitless in space, extent or size, and we cannot measure the fullness of such a sacrifice. We simply cannot comprehend it. Just as our brain doesn’t understand the vastness of the universe. But we know it’s real. And we know that Christ understands us perfectly. That he suffered for us. That he experienced the hardships of life, for everyone that has walked the earth and will walk it! I also believe that he knows each of our happiest and joyous moments just as well. He knows us better then we know ourselves.

And in order to become our Redeemer, in order to be our savior Christ had to be alone, had to  experience all rejection and loneliness that we have to experience in our own lives. He had to experience that, for each and every one of us.

Isaiah speaking of the Messiah Says: “I have trodden the wine press alone; and of the people there was none with me. … I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold me."

He had to do it alone, there was no other way. He had to show us that he could do it, and that even when we would fall short. His arms would be outstretched to catch us.

In this task of the highest demand, he was left to his own faith and will to obey the Father. And in the very place where he was to suffer for all our sins, he was left alone. In the Garden of Gethsemane he was utterly alone. With heaviness of heart, he prepared himself for what lay ahead, knowing that His three chosen leaders, apostles, and greatest disciples would be close by. With a simple plea to Peter, James, and John he spake and said "tarry ye here and watch."

As he walked just a little ways away, I imagine him with determination and gritted teeth, ready to face what he knew needed to be done. His expression calm and loving. With those he loved nearby in body and in heart. He could continue. And Falling on the ground he cried to the Father. "Take away this cup from me, nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt." And in these intense moments, he prayed more fervently and the pain grew to be excruciating. He was holding the weight of the world on his back. The suffering was so immense that he bled from every pore. Each drop for one of us.

And then returning to his beloved followers he encountered them sleeping. A moment that must have cut him deeply, even with the pain he was already suffering. In "Jesus the Christ" Elder James E. Talmage depicts this moment writing:

'Returning to them in an agony of soul Jesus found them sleeping; and addressing Peter, who so short a time before had loudly proclaimed his readiness to follow the Lord even to prison and death, Jesus exclaimed: “What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation”; but in tenderness added, “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” '

The lord had left a simple commandment to watch, but in the hour of his greatest turmoil those that professed to never forsake him did. They couldn’t even stay awake as their brother, savior, lord, redeemer, master was suffering infinitely. But the savior in one of the greatest displays of love recognized our weakness and said: “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 'Even then Christ was telling us that we couldn’t do it on our own. That we may desire to follow him with all our heart, mind, might, and strength, but our flesh is weak. That we cannot overcome the natural man without him.

I can't even imagine falling asleep at a moment like that. It seemed to me there could be no way they could have slept at that moment of greatest importance. But an experience in my own life brings this scene to a reality.

As a family we were traveling with some of my other relatives to an Airshow put on by the Blue Angles. The Elite force of Naval Aviators chosen to display the power of the United States Navy. I don’t recall all the details (Quartzsite is rubbing off on me) But I do remember the excitement and
anticipation I felt to watch them fly! Ever since I was a little kid I have been captivated by aviation, my head always glancing towards the heavens, waving as the pilots I wished to be, flew by. And my family sharing a similar passion, we wanted to make the air show no matter what the cost. We wouldn’t miss it for anything! Running out of time, we drove through the night to make the show the next morning. I remember as the show began the excitement that boiled up inside of me. How much I loved watching those beautifully painted Blue and Gold F-18 Hornets tear up the sky, imagining
the pilot saying: "ready smoke". It just couldn’t possibly get any better then this. But my flesh is weak and as the show continued sleep began to overtake me. I fell fast asleep on a camping chair with my head tilted back for the rest show!! I had missed it! The very thing that I had been so excited
for, that I had admired so much. It was over just like that, I had let myself down!

Okay! so I was tired and young and you may say "Elder Clark it was just an airshow! What’s the big deal" But if my parents would have asked me the night before the show if we just wanted to skip it and find a hotel. I would have defiantly shouted "No! Air show or bust!" I wanted to go so bad that
at that moment I would have given anything to go. But when my loyalty to the pilots was put to the test, I crumbled. In the moment of exhaustion my previous determination of the night before was gone. All thoughts of unwavering devotion were lost in the temptations of sleep. Now sleeping through an Air show is nothing like sleeping through Christ's suffering in Gethsemane, but it has given me a glimpse of how easy it is to lose our fervent desires to serve. And I can imagine Peter saying to Christ "Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended" and furthermore he said "Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee." Peter was willing
to die for his lord and savior! He professed his loyalty in the most fervent sense. But as the darkness of night came on, His determination faded. He too had fallen asleep, just like me, through the very thing, leaving the very person who only a short while before he was willing to die for. How do we not succumb to this same folly?

We have to let the testimony of Christ reverberate inside ourselves. Let his love change the very fibers of our nature. We need to be able to say with fervent conviction: "We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ". He needs to be at the very forefront of our minds. He needs to be important.

In the instance of my story of the airshow, my dad had driven through the night, and on hardly any sleep he had stayed awake. Where as in my case, I had sleep in the car the night before and I still fell asleep. My father had made the airshow important to him, more important then the nagging of his body telling him to sleep, he didn’t succumb to temptation. Even in the moment of his trial he didn't lose his conviction. He understood what the event meant to him and his family. He drove through the night, sacrificing sleep, for me. His passion for flying and enjoying time spent with his family motivated him to be strong. And me being young and tired didn’t understand this. 

And just like my father, we can in our own lives resist the urge to give up, to quit. We do this by sharing the light that has changed our lives. By experiencing the atonement of Christ together with those we love. Sharing the atonement will us give the strength we need to keep our determination to serve the lord. As we make the atonement of Jesus Christ the priority of our lives we will be able to share it with those around us with greater power and conviction.

Do we make the atonement this important in our lives? So important "That when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon [us]," do we remember who the "rock" is? Do we remember the very foundation that holds us up?

Or brothers and sisters are we sleeping through the atonement? Are we missing the very thing that will bring us the greatest joy in this life? Are we succumbing to exhaustion in the very moment we need to be putting our trust in the lord? In the very moment we need to show our unwavering faith and dedication, do we give in?

As we obey the words of Christ and see the blessings of obedience in the lives of those around us, then we will find the necessary strength to keep going. To go the extra mile. To walk the walk that our savior did for us. And just as Christ told his apostles to watch in Gethsemane. He has exhorted us to act in a similar manner. He asks us to watch over his sheep. To watch over our loved ones, our neighbors, our enemies, and those we don’t even know.

He exclaimed to Simon Peter, If ye love me then "Feed my Sheep" If ye understand my atonement then "feed my sheep" If ye feel my atonement then "feed my sheep"

President Howard W. Hunter said: “What does the Atonement have to do with missionary work? Any time we experience the blessings of the Atonement in our lives, we cannot help but have a concern for the welfare of others. … A great indicator of one’s personal conversion is the desire to share the gospel with others.”

The atonement is what drives us to share this message of the restoration to all the world. It is the reason why I am standing here before you in Quartzsite, AZ at 18! The atonement is everything. And we all are bearers of this great responsibility. To accept his atoning gift and share it with all mankind.

I recently loved hearing the talk by Elder Bednar "Come and See" that he gave in the Oct. 2014 Conference. His talk was addressed to those that were not members of the church. He shared a story about his young boys and an accident they had had. And how the older brother helped heal an injury on his little brothers arm with a copious amount of ointment and bandages. Once the little boy was all bandaged up, and taken care of he ran out the door to share with his friends the very thing that made him happy. the very thing he understood had healed his wounds. Elder Bednar says:

"Why did that little boy do what he did? Please note that he immediately and intuitively wanted to give to his friends the very thing that had helped him when he was hurt. That little boy did not have to be urged, challenged, prompted, or goaded to act. His desire to share was the natural consequence
of a most helpful and beneficial personal experience."

If the atonement truly heals us we will want to share it with all those around us.We will be full of Christ's love and we will be a light to the world.

In my own life I had an experience as a young boy that has shown me how when we are blessed, we share that feeling. My family had just gotten a new car, a Buick (an old person car)! I was so excited about this new car that I ran to my best friend’s house, who lived just a block away to tell him and his dad that we had just gotten a new car. And in between deep and excited breaths I exclaimed; We got a Buck!! A buck? they responded. Like your dad shot a deer? No, no, no I said. it’s a car and it’s called a Buck. And they said are you sure it’s not a Buick, and I said no it says buck! And so I took them back to my house to prove to them that we had gotten a buck but to my surprise it was a Buick!

In this little story I may have shared the wrong information with my friend But I was still so excited to share! And in my young little mind this was one of the greatest things that could have happened to me! a new car! I would have stood on rooftops, mountains, or trailers to show off our new car. That’s how deep and rich my excitement was. That is how joyous I felt.

Brothers and sisters do we have this excitement within us as we feel the touch of the masters hand? Are our minds turned to our savior and his atonement each and every day? Do we desire to share this
most wonderful of all gifts with those around us? Does it take all our power not to stand up in McDonalds, or Silly Als, or the Family Dollar and shout I know my redeemer lives! I know that his speaks to me today! and I know you will benefit from this gift also!

I hope this leaves you today with a better understanding and deeper testimony of what this infinite sacrifice truly is and what it means to us. As we go about our day to day activities, let us turn our thoughts to the savior let us ponder all that he has done for us. And be constantly giving thanks
and praise to him. Let us cry out to him wherever we may be. And as we feel his loving touch in our lives, let us share that with those around us. Let us not slumber as the lord is hastening his work. Let us stand firm in the day of tribulation and in the darkest moments of the night. And how blessed will our lives be if we take part of this great and marvelous latter-day work!

I can promise you that as you share what you know of the atonement and how it has blessed and changed your life you will feel and increase of our saviors love. I feel that love as a missionary each and everyday and I am forever grateful for that. As I look back on my short life and the short time I have been a missionary I see my savior at every turn in my life. He has made me who I am today, and I pray I can continue to progress to become who he wants me to be.

Isaiah knew the blessing we would receive as we share this gospel when he said: "how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings."

We can all share the gospel. It doesn’t matter how much we know now, but as we honestly search diligently every day to feelof this enabling power we will grow. We will want to share it with those around us. And we can do it in so many ways. We can all be personal representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ, In thought, word, and action. Let us "by small and simple means" bring topass great things.

Bear testimony...In the name of Jesus Christ amen.