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