Monday, June 27, 2016


This was another busy week! Every week is busy over here. It has been fun getting back into Spanish and trying to get as fluent as I possibly can. I am trying to speak slowly so that I have good pronunciation. But you all know how hard it is for me to speak slow! T

This week has also been a bit frustrating. I am getting totally immersed in the Spanish culture. We invite lots of people to get baptized and to come to church and then they never follow through. We even had this church tour set up with this lady and we called her because she was late and she answered and said I am on my way! And then she never came. Haha. And so the hardest thing is to find those who are really interested! The ways that I have done it in the past don't work in this area and so, as always, I am growing and learning every day!

But my Spanish is getting better and better every day! In our ward we have a lot of YSA aged people that are RMs or converts to the gospel. And so that is still super fun to have young people. They help us out a lot and really understand the gospel and help out our investigators a lot. One of our most solid investigators was this YSA member friend. She is so solid. She is actively going to another Christian church with her family. But she knows the gospel is true and so she is just building up the courage to tell her pastor and parents and get Sunday's off at work.

The other day my comp had a lesson with her, we were on splits, and she said she had this prompting to tell her mom and then she didn't. So they had a great lesson and we are really excited for her!  Also we have this other investigator who is getting baptized this weekend and she called yesterday before church saying she was sick and she needed to come to church and so  we talked to her and then she came to church but she brought her 6 year old son. Ha and so after sacrament she was trying to take him to primary but he ran out of the church into the parking lot and then started telling his mom all this stuff. And then she tried to have him get in the car and leave and he wouldn't. Ha he was just being a piece! Haha my comp and I were just like this kid! Haha I call him paco now. But he was a brat and so they had to leave. 

But overall things are going great! I am just living my mission to its fullest! 

Elder Clark

Monday, June 20, 2016

Life in the Chafa

Hello everyone!

Well this week has been a really good one! I was transferred up to North Las Vegas! It's a super fun area. The most ghetto one I have served in my whole mission. We live with a member of the church, and in his backyard he has two shacks. And so we live in one and other elders live in the other. The members name is Brother Loveland. And so we call him love man and his house the love shack. He is famous throughout the whole mission.
He cooks us breakfast every Saturday and he always tries to give us ice cream. 

The area we cover has lots of small four-plexes we call them. It's just like an apartment with four apartments.  Like everyone we talk to lives in those. And we may as well be some of the only white people around! It's mostly Hispanic and black! So its fun -  lots of people to speak Spanish to. The transition was really good! We had a lot of success and are hopefully going to see people enter the waters of baptism. Our ward is awesome. Especially our ward mission. We have a lot of RMs and YSA as our ward missionaries and ward mission leader and so they are all super awesome! That is really cool. Still sort of feel like I am serving in a YSA ward. But the Spanish is coming back to me.

It's awesome because my comp speaks really well and has a really good accent and so I am learning a lot from him on how to say things. I have already come far. And I made a list with a lot of sayings on them so I can practice them! Como este comida es para choparse los dedos. Jaja The zone is really cool! We are all in the same stake and so we get to see each other more often and get to do stuff as a zone on p-day. So that's really cool! I love being a missionary and have really enjoyed my time serving in all aspects. It is nice to finish my mission with a little less responsibility but I still have enough to keep me busy.

So a couple funny stories! I was saying a prayer in Spanish in our shack the other day over our dinner as our member just dropped off Subway for us. And I said in Spanish  "thanks for the food....there it is haha" hay esta! Hahahaha my comp thought it was the funniest thing ever. Then this other member fed us dinner yesterday and he called us a half hour before dinner and said his car broke down and that he needed a ride, and so we went and picked him up and he was like I need to go to the store to buy food for dinner haha! He was a recent convert and so he really didn't understand not shopping on the Sabbath day...but Hispanics in general don't. Haha and so we dropped him off and waited in the car and as we were waiting we were joking about what if we saw the bishop or someone come to get food for Father's Day. And like five minutes later we saw this couple from church walk up to the store and we died laughing haha! Gotta love the commandments!

Elder Clark

The Shack

Lunch with Elder Thorne's Parents

Monday, June 13, 2016

Last Week in the Rob Squad

Well, unexpectedly, I am getting transferred for my last transfer! I thought I was going to stay in the office until I went home, but God's plans were otherwise. My time in the office, and especially my time in the Robindale YSA Ward, have been great and I have learned so much from these last three transfers. I have loved this ward! Never have I felt so apart of a ward. I honestly felt like it was my home ward. I was invested in the members and the work and everything just fell into place as we were able to be instruments in the Lord's hands to bring many unto Christ. I have met so many people and have seen many changed by the atonement of Christ in this area. From member madness with the members doing missionary work, to converts who are truly converted to the Lord and His church. I look back and am without words at all the blessings God has poured out upon us. I am truly grateful for the hand God has had in my life and throughout my mission.

I am very sad to leave this area and for all the wonderful people that I have met. But it will be exciting to come back for some more baptisms and on exchanges to see all these people I have come to love so much. And then to keep in contact with them throughout the rest of my life. I think spending my last six weeks in Spanish will be good as that is what the Lord called me to speak. I am excited to dedicate myself to the language and plan to only study and speak Spanish as much as I possibly can. I am excited to apply all that I learned in the office with those in my zone and to have much more of an one on one impact with the missionaries. To be more of a minister and not so much as an administrator. 

I really don’t know what to say, but that I love being a missionary and that I have enjoyed seeing so many people’s lives change these last 4 months. It is a miracle that with all the other things we do on a day to day basis for the mission that we even have time to proselyte. But the Lord has put so many people in our path; just random street contacts and referrals that have just turned out to be people that really wanted and needed the gospel.

We had a fireside this weekend and it was a member from one of my last wards speaking to all the YSA in the region. He was part of swat and a convert to the gospel and just gave an incredible talk. But one part that stuck out to me the most was when he kept bringing up "real intent". He told of when he was reading and praying to find out if the Book of Mormon was true and wasn’t getting any answers that a friend told him to go see a bishop and ask him. And so he found the nearest bishop and since he didn’t have transportation he figured out how long it would take him to walk there. He walked hours to speak to a man he had never met before because he wanted to know if this was true. After receiving advice, he met back up with the missionaries who had first taught him. And to do so he had to hitch hike 3 hours to find them. Then later, as a member, he wanted to get his patriarchal blessing and he had to make a five hour drive to get there. He talked about how those were moments of real intent. That he would do anything to know and receive the truth.

As I pondered this, I thought of how often we talk about having real intent to find out if the church is true, but how often do we have real intent in our day to day lives and in exercising faith in god and in receiving answers to our questions? That we pray a lot as missionaries to find people to teach but do we work at every cost to find them? Will we do whatever it takes to fulfill the prayers we have offered up to god? So it was a very good fireside and I have enjoyed all the many activities we have been able to take our investigators to that have helped them on their own path.

Being in the office was never easy, but I learned a lot about looking ahead and being strategic and how to influence people in a very hands off way and through asking inspired questions. I learned a lot about not just jumping into things but really looking at things in depth. The Lord has truly blessed me with so many opportunities to grow on my mission and he never lets me get comfortable. 

I am excited to serve until the end and I know I will apply the things I have learned here to the rest of my life. That’s the real test; to take these things and apply them the rest of our lives.

Elder Clark

Sunday, June 5, 2016

On the Road from Ithaca to Jesus Christ

Sorry it has taken me so long to write again, but things have been amazing over here and we are seeing the Lord's hand in all we do.

I will try and cover the two weeks of material best I can. And I can't believe how fast this transfer has gone by! With all the things we do day to day it just flies by. We went on two exchanges this last week and had meeting with President Snow and had to prepare a training for a meeting we have this upcoming week, as well as take care of some emergency transfers. So we are staying very, very busy and all the while trying to set the example in our area. I have learned a lot about how to take on a lot and not get stressed, but to just focus on the task at hand. President Snow is very good at thinking things through and trying to get the whole picture. It has been a great experience learning more about leadership, and it is very humbling to learn from mistakes.

A cool experience we had a couple weeks ago was with a family ward in our stake who was wanting their young men to go out with the elders in the area and so we took out two young men but one happened to not even be a member. One of his friends had just invited him that night. And it was so cool to see how this nonmember was brave and talked to more people on the street about the Book of Mormon then the member we had with us. It must have been a wake-up call for that member. As we were walking and talking to people, we would teach the nonmember. He said he really enjoyed the experience, and he didn't really know if God existed but that this was a positive experience. At one door a lady opened up and said in a harsh tone "I am an atheist" and then the nonmember chimed back "Me Too!" Haha He said he would be a good mediator for the people we talked to! The missionaries took down his info and so hopefully he will accept the gospel and go be an awesome missionary.

We have recently started teaching this really cool guy! His mom is from Madagascar! Which is pretty unique. When we first met him it was a referral from a family ward missionaries for his younger brother, but we ran into him instead. And when I talked to him the first time he said he was agnostic and not that interested. But we were able to give him a Book of Mormon and he said we could come back and from them on it was game over. He is so solid and loves everything we share. He had a job on Sunday and so we started helping him look for a new job. We took him to a job fair and he got some good leads, but later that week he texted us and said he had called his supervisor and just told him that he wasn't going to be able to work on Sundays. And then he also got a new job, so the Lord blessed him. We also took him to the temple yesterday morning and that was very neat. He is getting baptized at the end of the month.

Last night we had two amazing baptisms. One was Michael; he was the one who was being taught by an area seventy. We actually had a lesson with Elder Larkin, the area seventy, and his wife with Michael this past week. That was really neat. Elder Larkin knew the scriptures very well. Michael is awesome. He has a Christian background and knew the Bible very well. He just grew so much as he studied the Book of Mormon. His baptism was awesome. He had a lot of people from the west side of Vegas drive over for his baptism. Elder Larkin was able to baptize him and it was just a great service!

And then right after that service we had Teddy's baptism. Teddy is just an awesome guy. He is very logical and he had asked me some very interesting questions which he wanted to learn about and get answers to in my talk I was to give about baptism. He has always been intrigued his whole life with the physical state of Israel and so he wanted to know how his baptism would help him gather physically and spiritually the house of Israel. It's not many people who have that in depth understanding at their baptism. But the best part and most spiritual part of the whole service was at the very end when he bore his testimony about his conversion process. I will take a few moments to recount what he said because it was so very powerful and it was the most emotion I have ever seen him show, and his testimony was solely based on his free will to follow Christ. The spirit overwhelmed me and the entire room as he spoke.

This is his story:
I was raised a Catholic and went to church every Sunday and went to a Catholic school, but none of it was my choice and so at the age 17 I began to fall away from my belief in a God and make choices that were not correct. I eventually went to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. I didn't know then how close I was to where the church began. The liberal atmosphere at that school taught me much and my intelligence grew as I studied. But all the while I continued to make sub optimal decisions and I did not have true agency and control over my thoughts and actions and lusts. Eventually, I moved too Dolan Springs Arizona and started working in the medical marijuana industry. I felt my actions were justified as I was helping others receive medicine. But as I watched more and more bad people come through and to not even use it for its correct purposes I decided to leave and I made my way back up to New York. Eventually, I decided to travel Israel. I have always been interested in the physical state of Israel and didn't learn much about the spiritual until now. But as I was there I tried to cross the border into Israel and I was denied as I had no real time period or purpose. That was a wake-up call for me. And so eventually I made my way back to Dolan Springs and the first week I was there the missionaries came to my door. Just earlier that week I had written a paper on faith for school, so I was open to listening to them. But I found a job and then moved the Vegas where I met the missionaries here and continued to grow and get back to my Father in Heaven. This time though, it was my choice. I used my agency to pray and read and come to church. One lesson, the elders told me I needed to pray every single day and to read as well. So I committed to read and start the Book of Mormon over. As I was walking to the bus stop listening to the first chapter of Nephi and praying about if the book was true I saw a New Testament laying on the ground. I thought that was ironic and then a few hours later my sister who was going to need surgery and my family had no health insurance texted me and said that she didn't need any surgery. I have made my choice to follow Christ this day. I know the Book of Mormon to be true, it has filled me. But I still always had doubts and a questions I was considering was how I could combine my liberal knowledge I had gained at the university with the things I have learned in this institution. This past week I was reading about the founder of Cornell University and in the 1800s he had traveled to Russia and spoke with a very renowned philosopher, [can’t remember name], and the philosopher asked the founder what he thought of Mormonism, and the Founder responded saying many negative things and how they were polygamist. Then the philosopher responded saying " I am saddened to hear of someone of your stature to feel such a way, because Mormonism has the purest religion and if the members of its church abide by the principles beings taught there it will go forth and fill the earth. If it makes it past three or four generations it will never fall as other nations have before but it will fill the earth." That was the last thing I needed to know In order to continue this path I have chosen to take. I know Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God and that this is the Lord’s church.

That is a rough paraphrasing of what he said, but I wanted to share because it was one of the most powerful moments in my mission. I will have Teddy write up his conversion story for me. I know God prepares people.

Elder Clark

Only 119 degrees on June 5th!

Teddy's Baptism

Michael's Baptism

Ross's Baptism