Monday, May 25, 2015

Get the Disease!

Well it’s been a really good week and time has just really flown by. We were on exchanges again most of the week to finish out the transfer, but that was really good. I enjoyed getting to know the other Elders a lot better. It is so crazy how another transfer has gone by. I feel like I just left Quartzsite! Even more than that, I feel like I just left the MTC. 

In missionary work things are hard. I haven’t been in my area a whole lot recently and when I am in the area we have been having a lot of challenges, but I am very excited for this new transfer to find ways to be successful and get more of the ward on board. 

The highlight of the week was definitely when Elder Clarke (yes with an "e") came and spoke to our mission. He is from the seventy and was a real entertaining speaker. It was our iPad conference in preparation to receive the iPads in the coming weeks. Surprising, they didn’t really focus too much on the iPads. They talked about them, but they focused more on who we need to be as missionaries and members of the church. It is super cool to see the trust the church is going to give us missionaries to appropriately use the technology they will give us. It really is going to be up to us in following the rules they have put in place for us. This will prepare us for the rest of our lives to have the self-discipline we need and not to have our electronic devices be our masters. I left my book of notes back home, but he shared some really good insights with us. It was a very open discussion format and he basically just spoke to the whole mission for four hours. But it was crazy how fast the time flew. The focus was our purpose; which is to invite others to come unto Christ and that we are the only ones that can do this. We are the only people in the entire world, all 80,000 of us, that are set apart to teach the gospel to all creatures. We are not iPad missionaries but we are Disciples of Christ. These things will help further our work, but we can’t have them hinder the work we are already doing. He also said that this is the time for us to change and become who our Father wants us to be. Never again will we have the same opportunity to change as drastically. He also said that the things we do will change the eternities. It is not only our lives we will affect, but our kids, and their kids. So we all felt very uplifted at the end of his message. He told us to "get the disease" and we all really liked that!

And so taking his advice last night, I was with an elder who is going home this week to end his mission. Yesterday was his last full Sunday to proselyte and we had arrived back to the apartment at 8:00 p.m. so he could grab something. I could kind of tell he was done for the night and just wanted to lie around. So I ran around the apartment and grabbed all the Book of Mormons I could find (only 8) and was like, “come on man, let’s go! Put your tie back on. We are going to go hand out all these Book of Mormons tonight and we are not going to come back until we do!” I was being super energetic and he was laughing and complaining and was like, “man, I am gonna kill you!” But, we said a prayer and I took off out the door and was walking super-fast and telling him "apurate!" -hurry up! Haha He isn’t a Spanish speaking elder, but oh well.  So I started running and just talking to everyone we saw and trying to give them a Book of Mormon. I started knocking on doors, doing anything I could to show this elder that the Lord would provide someone if we worked hard and I was doing it all in a fun spirit. He was basically laughing the whole time. 

We talked to a good number of people and handed out a couple Book of Mormons and it was around 8:30 and we had to meet up with some other missionaries. And so I told him if he gave out one more we could go back. Right then a car was driving towards us and then started to flip a u turn in front of us. I said to him just watch, that the car was going to stop and that we were going to be able to talk to them and he was like no way man and sure enough they stopped. It was a less active woman and so we talked to her a bit and got her info and then the elder tried leaving the Book of Mormon on the car and I grabbed it and gave it back to him and so we took off again in search of more people. Finally, right outside their apartment we met a guy and he had Mormon friends and had already read some of the Book of Mormon before. We had a really good spiritual lesson on the street and gave him the Book of Mormon.

Well, the story doesn’t stop there. When we got back to the apartment the missionaries we were waiting for still weren't there and so we sat on this ledge outside and waited for them and a good number of people walked by and we talked to them. But a couple of girls had walked by us and they were locked out of their apartment. Ten minutes later, I walked over to them and asked to borrow their phone to call the other elders and it died as I was calling. And so these two ladies started talking to us and oh man was it interesting, haha. They told us that if we ever have any parties to just invite them over. We proceeded to tell them that we are Mormon missionaries and we don’t party. We just share a message about Christ and his love. And so we started talking to them and gave them each a Book of Mormon. I read Helaman 5:12 to them also, but then this one girl was really trying to flirt with us and was just going crazy so we just booked it out of there. You have got to be careful in Vegas, I guess!

I hope you all have a great week and that all goes well! Love you all!
Elderrrrrr Clarrrrrrrk (I was rolling my Rs)

Vacation?...Oh Wait, Just Exchanges!

May 18, 2015
Hey everyone! It has been a pretty exciting week-that is for sure!

So I have really only been with my actual companion two days this whole week. Our mission president was out of town this last week for an iPad conference as we are getting iPads at the end of this month and so he didn't want the elders in my district to stay together while he was gone out of town so we have been on exchanges this entire week. We had a little break in the middle when the Zone leaders did exchanges with them.

It was actually really good, hard for the area and the work, but I was able to talk to them and learn a lot from them. I have learned so much in this past week I don't even know what to say! Every day is just a new learning experience. I was able to spend a lot of time just helping them out and talking to them. The hard part is they both go home very soon and so I don't think that helps the situation at all.

I don't know why a lot of people want leadership positions. I am definitely one to blame when I came out, but really it is just added stress and responsibility. It can be very rewarding at times, a lot of the times and I like getting to know other missionaries better. You just learn so much as you serve others and sacrifice what you want to do. No wonder Jesus Christ was so smart, He was learning so much and the spirit was his constant teacher! I have really been trying to learn what makes a good leader and how to follow Christ’s footsteps in the way He led. One thing that I have talked about with my zone leaders is administering and ministering, and the difference between the two. Administering and getting things done is an important part but if it is the only part then the leader is missing half of the puzzle. Ministering is doing things out of love and for the right reason. Like really trying to help those in your stewardship because you love them and giving up all your time effort and talents for them. It is empowering those you serve and not just being the one shouting orders, but helping others grow. I am really not good at this; I like to micromanage things too much! But, I am learning little by little!

This week we had a district meeting and my comp gave a good training that everyone enjoyed! And then I had made caramel apples and onions for a little training I was doing. It was so stressful, they are so, so hard to make. Mom, I don't know how you do it! haha I was like where is my mom when I really need her?! But, I related the apples and onions to investigators and how we are to search for those that are willing to hear and accept our message. We can’t waste the Lord’s time on people who are not ready quite yet. Preach my gospel talks about how no effort is wasted and that we can plant seeds, but the fruit may not come in the short time that we are in an area. So that went well.

This week was pretty rough pertaining to our investigators. We had one guy who was 16 that just dropped us straight up and he was super awesome! I was so sad! I texted him Saturday night and he just said he didn't want to get baptized anymore and that he didn't want to go to church and he didn't want us to come over and see him anymore. And this guy had read almost all of the Book of Mormon in a couple weeks and said he would be honored to be baptized so I have no idea what happened. I am still pretty bummed about that. And then another family that we were teaching is moving, so that was also sad.

But we had a great referral so the work goes on!

Hope you all have a great week

Elder Clark

Monday, May 11, 2015

El Dia De Las Madres

As you all know, I was able to Skype my family last night and that was great! It was so awesome-all the questions my mom had prepared to ask me! haha She even took some ideas off the internet! But, as always, it’s great to talk to them and the time just flies by! 

Well this week was really good and really busy!! As always we are teaching a ton of people! Not everyone is really committed and nobody goes to church. But, hey, we are doing all we can! This week was very, very busy! We had a district meeting on Tuesday and then I was on exchanges with the zone leaders on Thursday and then the day after I was on exchanges with the elders in my district. So I felt like I wasn’t even in my area all week. But the exchanges were good and I really learned a lot! My zone leader is a recent convert to the church and has an amazing testimony and amazing story, so it was great to talk to him and see what I can do better. 

Then the weekend only got crazier and I won’t really go into details, but I had to take care of some disobedience issues in my district with one of the zone leaders. We ended up being out quite late on Sunday night because of it!! We had a nice long meeting with the APs and had to figure out a lot of stuff and have a lot of conversations that you don’t ever want to have. Pretty much most my district was being disobedient. That was really a bummer for me. I didn’t blame myself but it was not a fun night to tell all of them how disappointed I was. I guess I know how parents feel when their kids don’t do the right things. When we got back from the mission office to my apartment around 12:30 at night I realized we didn’t have the keys because me and my real comp had split up and he had them. So I climbed the balcony hoping I could get in but the sliding glass door was locked! The zone leader and I thought we were going to have to sleep in the car. Luckily though, we were able to get a hold of some of the other elders and crashed at their place! We didn’t get to bed until like 1:30-2:00 a.m. and then we had to get up at 5:30 a.m. to take some people to an interview with president. I am learning a lot about what it means to be a leader. And it’s really hard as you do all you can for people and they still don’t change. But that is why a mission is so, so great. It’s been hard as it distracts me from my area and focusing on my investigators. But hopefully I will be able to find the right balance.

I am not sure what other stories we had for this week! My mind is blown. None of our investigators who have a date for baptism are coming to church and that is so frustrating. So we will be working on finding a way to get them the church

Hope you all had a great Mother’s Day! Love you all!

Elder Clark 

With Rodolfo, a RM who served his mission in Argentina. He works with the Elders all the time and helps them with their Spanish.
With member, Luis. Working hard! (Pics taken while sitting in a parking lot.)


May 4, 2015
Well sorry to say, it is finally starting to get hot here in Vegas. The days I have been dreading all my mission are here - the scorching hot months in Vegas. It is going to be awesome! I think this week it was only 100 so that’s not too bad! I loaded up on some Powerade so I am ready for when its 120! I mean so far it’s only been 150 degrees warmer then Wisconsin in the winter.

But this week was good. I am getting to know the area and the people well. I am also learning my role in my new assignment. So things are running very smooth. I am just so shocked at how many people the Lord has prepared for us. There is a quote in our apartment that talks about going above and beyond. How missionaries are meant to work hard, that we have been called to do so much, and the Lord will provide - the investigators will come in flocks! And truly the Lord is blessing us right now with that. So many people ready for the gospel! It is quite the shift from what I was used to in Quartzsite.

Being on a mission is very interesting. There is so much you learn. I have had many ups and many downs while on my mission. In football they used to say that a football was just like life with ups and downs and trials and adversity at every step. That is exactly how a mission is too! Satan tries to put people into our path to distract us and throw us off our game. He puts thoughts in your head, makes you want to be lazy or just sleep! Man, that’s the hardest one! We are always so tired. But the miracle of it all is that you can do it and it is totally worth it. 

Not every area is easy and not every day is fun, but that’s what makes life, life! Being a missionary is truly the best way to prepare for life. Our mission president has a vision for the entire mission - to be Preach My Gospel missionaries for life. He says this is like our Missionary Training Center for life! I really like that. 

This week has been really good! Lots of the miracles just like always! But gotta go! Love ya all!

Elder Clark