Sunday, May 8, 2016

Elder Holland's Visit

Well things have been really busy! Ranging from a visit from an apostle, to transfers, and a referral from an area seventy on the west side.

It was a crazy experience to have Elder Jeffery R. Holland come and visit our mission. We spent the days prior working with the APs from the West mission to prepare. It was pretty cool to meet them; they were cool guys. It's so interesting to see how different missions are run. The day of the conference with Elder Holland was pretty exciting. We had the chapel all set up and ready early, and then we locked all the doors to the church as we had people arriving as early as 11:00 a.m. The meeting started at 2:00 p.m., so we kept everyone outside and when it was time to get set up for the picture we had to funnel them in -- all 180 of them in the foyer and the hall! We told them to all be quiet and we had the office staff helping us keep them all under control. It got really hot in there but everything went great! We were all set up for the picture and then afterward we were able to shake hands with Elder Holland and the other authorities who were with him, which included President Lynn G Robbins, Elder Larkin, and later that night, Elder Stoddard.

That week we had pulled up the new AP, Elder Green, as Elder Thorne was going to be leaving the office and so Elder Green and I were able to sit in the very front row, and then Elder Thorne joined us after he finished conducting the meeting. That was a very neat experience for him. And it was great for us; we were right next to Elder Holland for two straight hours!

There was a lot that he said that was very powerful and impacting. He is just so good at bringing the scriptures to life. He teaches you new insights from scriptures that you have read a thousand times. The majority of what he spoke about was about getting down to the level our investigators are at. He used an example of Christ doing that in the New Testament and that was really neat. But there was a couple moments when he really threw down. He was standing right in front of me on the stand and he shouted to everyone and I mean shouted! He had a mic hooked up and everything. He said "You have no right to abuse the image of a missionary." He had been telling us how the members view us as perfect, and he made it clear that we had no right to change the opinion of the members. It was also very neat because in the beginning he said, “As I shook your hand, I interviewed every single one of you.” He continued to say that he is proud of the Las Vegas missions because they are full of the spirit. He also said that there are some that he could see were struggling, but that he knew they could do it! It was really neat to just see how much the spirit really spoke to him.

Later that night, after we got back from eating carne asada from our investigator Allyson's mom, we went to the YSA conference that Elder Holland was going to be at. It was at our normal chapel and so we got a few of our investigators there! That was another great meeting. He talked about happiness being a destination and that in this life we will not arrive at happiness but strive for it. That it is about the pursuit of happiness. In 2 Nephi, they lived after the manner of happiness. They weren't necessarily happy all the time but they were living in a manner that would bring them happiness. It was so funny because the he actually started his talk with a joke, and it was like the one dad likes to tell with the frog and the butterfly, but it had to do with an orchestra and everyone thought he was going to relate it into a talk but he simply just told a joke! So that was pretty funny. It was a great experience for our investigators to come and see him speak! One of them leaned over to my companion during the fireside and told him that she wanted to stop cussing, so that was a cool miracle!

We have seen just so many miracles! These last two weeks we have barely had any time to proselyte -basically only Saturday and Sunday and then a couple hours every night during the week. We have been putting in almost twenty hour days this last week! One day we had to get up at 4 am and then we weren’t able to go to bed until midnight or later with only an hour nap on a couch to get us by! But even with all these things, the Lord has just blessed us immensely. Last Sunday Elder Green and I set goals of how we wanted to grow our faith and we were praying and fasting for it. I was specifically praying for more people to be ready to be baptized as this ward would take care of them! Then in third hour of church, our bishop came and grabbed us and took us to his office to meet a guy named Michael, who wasn't a member. At that same time, another member grabbed me and told me his non member girlfriend was at church and that she wanted to meet with us. And so in third hour on Sunday we had two lessons! Michael had been invited by Elder Larkin, an area seventy on the west side of Vegas, to learn more about the gospel. When we met with Elder Larken, we learned that Michael had been having lessons at his house every week and then he had given him the instructions on how to find the chapel in his area and it was our chapel! The other day I called Elder Larkin to update him and he is going to join us for some lessons! That will be really neat. We will be setting Michael for baptism today at church.

Another awesome referral came from Dolan Springs, Arizona; another little town in our mission. It is a miracle that a YSA came from that little town. His name is Teddy and he is super awesome. He is a software engineer and so he is very technical about everything. We were having a lesson with him and he said that he just wasn't too sure yet about the Book of Mormon and Joseph smith. He had already read all of 1 Nephi and studied a lot. We asked him if he had specifically prayed about it and he said no, so that was our commitment to him. The next day he texted us and asked if he could do the audio version to study as he likes to walk a lot. That night at Institute he told us how he got an answer to his prayers. He had started the Book of Mormon over and this time prayed before and after he read. He said as he was walking he found a New Testament on the street, and that was funny to him because the Book of Mormon and the New Testament both testify of Christ. And then he said that a couple hours later when he was still listening to it, his sister, who was supposed to have a surgery, texted him and said that she didn't need it anymore! He felt like both of those incidents were answers to his prayers. It was an awesome miracle.

In these last three months that I will be a full time representative of the Lord, I am excited for all the people we can help come to Christ. Elder Holland said that as missionaries we are apostolic extensions of the Quorum of the Twelve. We carry Christ’s name on our chest, and I am proud to wear it. I know this gospel is true. It is undeniable that the Book of Mormon is the word of God! I have lots of goals of how I want to finish my mission and I know the Lord will bless me for it!

Elder Clark

Las Vegas Mission AP's and West Las Vegas Mission AP's

AP's - Las Vegas and Las Vegas West Mission

Missionaries waiting outside

Waiting inside for Elder Holland - Photo Time

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