Monday, December 30, 2013

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!


December 30, 2013

christmas lights

What a great week, probably the best week of my mission so far. Sledding last Monday was so much fun and just started us out for a GREAT week. Christmas Eve we went to a home of a single sister in the Branch and she taught us how to make pizza! Boy, that was a mess but it was so delicious! Christmas was a lot of fun too. Skyping with ALL my wonderful family was of course the highlight, but all the dinners we had made me feel like I gained 100 pounds. Hey, I am not complaining! Christmas night we held basketball at the Church because that is literally all the teenagers favorite thing to do. We were not expecting too many to show up because of Christmas.  We ended up having around 50 kids running around playing ball and what not. It was CRAZY, crazy fun. The cool thing was that most of the teenagers there were not members. Such a great finding opportunity!

Thursday and Friday were so productive! Because everyone was home, we just went around visiting all the people we were working with and what great visits they were! I love the people of Ft. Apache! Saturday was such a great day too! In the morning my companion and I went to his old area to see an investigator and her daughter be baptized. What a sweet thing that was.  You could just see the love she had for this gospel and the love and support she had around her. It was a great service!

Mesa Temple
Saturday evening was fantastic! We took the youth to see the Mesa Temple lights! Yes, the Mesa Temple, the one that is about 3 1/2 hours away... We were able to get a bus... and a driver to take all 18 of us down to the valley! The bus ride was actually really fun with all the youth. We spent about an hour around the temple grounds, loaded up the bus, and headed home. It was so much fun. We got home pretty late. But, it was all worth it!

Sunday we were able to teach the combined youth 3rd hour class. It was probably one of the strongest times I can remember feeling the spirit. The lesson was about standing in holy places which was great because we were all at the temple the night before. The lesson turned into just recognizing the Holy Ghost and all that the Savior does for us. What a special thing to share with those feelings and our testimonies with the youth. I really hope they remember those feelings for a long time. I know that I will.


Our Saviors Birth
What a great week! I know it was all because the climax of the week was celebrating out dear Saviors birth. I am so grateful for everything he gives me and all the miracles he makes happen every day. I know he lives and loves each and every one of us. He will always make it possible for us to be happy.

http://www.lds.org/topics/christmas

Love you all!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Let it snow!

Dec 23, 2013

This was such a wonderful week! We found a lot of success and made a lot of progress. It has snowed a couple times too! Has not really stuck yet but hopefully it will soon!

Ft. Apache Elders wish you a Merry Christmas!
Our Christmas Program in Church went pretty well. I think I did alright at the piano. People seemed to really enjoy it though. What a great way to celebrate our Savior through music! I am excited, we are gonna go caroling tomorrow and Christmas! I like Christmas Carols! We had a nice potluck after church too! Lots and lots of food and lots and lots of people! It is so great to see this branch up and running again, and for all the activities to happen too! The work is progressing and the members here can feel it!

I was asked this week to baptize this ten year old girl named Kyra on Jan. 4. I am really excited for that. Her and her 2 older sisters are amazing to me. They all three are faithful in the church and strive to do what is right all the time while they have no parental support.  They live with their grandpa and are such example to me of enduring through everything. I am so grateful to be a part of their spiritual journey and to be able to take part in little Kyra’s baptism!


Cold Elders
 We went sledding too! Which was a lot of fun. It was very cold because, of course, missionaries don’t have snow gear, but it was great!

Merry Christmas
I hope you all have a very merry, merry Christmas, and never forget why we celebrate it!

All my love,

Elder Clark!

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Mighty Winds of Change

December 16, 2013
Snowflake Temple Trip
 MAN! There is no where I would rather be. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here in Whiteriver, Arizona. Each day is such an adventure and full of miracles. We had a lot of success this week. Most families that we are working with keep doing better and better. The highlight of this week was seeing this family I have been working with since I got here at Church yesterday! It was so sweet to see them walk in the door after not attending for over 30 years. It’s amazing how my happiness and frustrations all have to do with the decisions of others.

Yesterday was so sweet. There was just a great spirit about church yesterday. All of us missionaries felt it. This branch is transforming so quickly! We can just see the testimonies and the desires to do what is right grow stronger and stronger each in each and every one that attends. Especially the youth, it is amazing looking from the outside in, how hard it is to do good and how easy evil is to do, especially in high school. It’s amazing how important having a good group of friends is. So as missionaries, that is why we have tried so hard to build the relationship of the youth with each other. They seem to set the example for the rest of the branch! It’s pretty neat to watch people and an entire branch change so drastically right in front of you!

Earlier we had a sweet experience, after seminary, one of the young men came and talked to us and was telling us how hard his week had been and how frustrated he was with some things, one of which was that his I-pod was stolen. He asked for a blessing and we gave him one right there. The very next day, he told us after seminary that EVERY single thing that had gone wrong that week was fixed, resolved, and even his I-pod was returned to the front office! What a miracle and he completely deserved those blessings! He has such strong faith and he inspires me to do better! GOD IS GREAT!

 I am excited, but not excited for next Sunday. I am so excited because we are doing a Christmas program for Sacrament meeting and a lunch after church! Which will be great, but I am so nervous because I was asked to play all the Christmas songs for the program..... on the piano.... in front of everyone. I like to practice the piano on Sundays before anyone gets to church, but the branch president came early and heard me... there is only one brother who can play in the branch and he is going to out of town next week, so I was voluntold to do it. aahhhhhhhhhhh... I have never played in front of people and am so nervous... so please send your prayers this way!

Well I hope all is well with everyone! I love you all and I love Jesus!

Elder Clark

The following pictures are an Elder and Sister that come from the Centreville Stake. They are both serving in the same mission as Sam. Just another example of how it is a small world, spiritually speaking. 

Elder Walter and Elder Clark

Sister Evans, Elder Clark and Elder Walter

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hunting for the Lost Sheep

December 9, 2013

This week went by so quickly!  I can’t believe how time flies. We are halfway through the transfer already!

Life in Fort Apache is absolutely wonderful! This week, we spent a lot of time hunting down all the members of this branch…which was REALLY hard because the addresses we have are something like "yellow house, 3 doors down from traffic sign on George Street" and then we go there and George Street does not exist anymore!!  We do a lot of knocking on doors, praying it is the right people.  For the most part, after knocking on a few doors we find them! We have met and are trying to work with over 30 families in our companionship alone. It is a lot of work but so much fun. The people here are truly amazing.

Hike with the Youth
Seminary is going well, we had 14 show up on Wed but of course its goes down to 8 some days. I love teaching the youth here. They are so great and really just want to learn and live the gospel. I admire them so much!

The work here is truly full or miracles and I am so, so grateful to be part of it.

Cold, Cold, Cold!
Not so grateful for the freezing weather though... It is COLD and WINDY!

Love you all!

Elder Clark

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thankful for Life

Happy Thanksgiving!

This past week was really great! My new companion and I found a lot of success. We had to kind of start over because of the companionship switch and most of the people we were working with have come back and are pretty solid, or have no interest anymore. That led us to do a lot of finding this week. We actually tracked a TON, and it actually pretty successful. We got in a couple houses and shared some messages. It is amazing how much influence this church had on the community years ago. People constantly tell us all the things they did with the church, and half of them were not even members. It’s so sad to think that this branch has been struggling but it is amazing to see how fast it is growing! Especially with the youth. They are such solid, good kids. They inspire me to be better every day. 3 sisters go to church and seminary all by themselves because they know and have a testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel, even if their parents don’t. One of my favorites is a 17 year old, who was the only active young man before the missionaries showed up. We are helping him prepare for a mission! He plans on going this time next year! The miracles we see every day just solidify my testimony that God is real and truly mindful of every single person!

So Saturday morning was a struggle. All of us (except my companion) got really sick, starting at like 2 in the morning, 5 of us guys had to fight for our one bathroom. It got to the point where another Elder and I had to run to the church to use their facilities. It was quite the night and morning. We all got over it towards the end of the day but man, you've never seen 5 grown men turn into little cry babies.  If you had been here on Saturday morning you would have witnessed just that!  I am glad that is over with.

Elder Clark at Church
 Life on the reservation is always an adventure. We were able to go to the high school basketball game for a little bit too! The natives are the biggest fans of basketball I have ever seen. It was CRAZY how many people were there. I wish I had my camera with me at the time! They have a dome across from the high school and I think everyone in Whiteriver was there. The entire place was full of people, they ran out of seats. I think there were more than 2500 people sitting watching that game and more outside and in the parking lot. It was so much fun to see and talk with so many people! 

I love this gospel and the blessing that it is in my life! For the knowledge that I know and this amazing opportunity to share it with everyone I meet! I love you all!

Elder Clark

Friday, November 29, 2013

Bribe em with food!

November 27, 2013

New Ft. Apache Crew
This past week was really great and super eventful! Mostly because it was transfer week and we got 3 new elders! After driving four hours down and four hours back we are settled and ready to work again! There are still six of us, but I am training now... yeah... I wasn’t ever really trained! I got a crash course of it.  I am super excited for the opportunity though and SO glad I am staying on the reservation!  My companion is Elder Russell, he is about 6'5”. I am pretty sure I am the shortest one in our house now. The new elders are: Elder Blankenship (who is a monster at 6'8”), Elder States (who is about 6'6”) and then Elder Russell. Elder Vete and Lakatani are just taller than me. You gotta be large in stature to work on the res!



This past Sunday was the BEST! We had 165 members in sacrament meeting! We did have a thanksgiving meal after the 3 hour block which MIGHT have influenced a couple people to come but still! 165!!!! One member told us that she has been attending this branch for 25 years and it was the most full she has EVER seen it. The work is booming here! It is so great to see all these people coming back after years of being away. I also spoke in sacrament meeting that day, taught the youth class, and then taught my young men class. It was so much fun! The more I teach, the more I love it. I especially love teaching the youth. I am so grateful to be able to be part of this amazing time in the White Mountain Apache Tribe!
165 in Church!
  LOOK HOW MANY PEOPLE! pretty much all the empty seats are the children doing the primary program! Throughout the whole meeting we had to just keep setting up chairs! When missionaries first got here, they didn't even need to open the overflow doors!



Snowflake Arizona Temple
We got to go to the Snowflake temple with the branch to do baptisms cause they don’t have enough priesthood! It was such a great experience to actually do the baptisms! I loved it! And check out the sweet rainbow on the way there!!
Rainbow on the way to Snowflake

Life on the reservation is great and it is so cool to hear that I am following the footsteps of the Great Elder William Dew here. (William Dew is Sam’s uncle who served a mission about 40 years ago.  He was in Cibecue. They would hitch hike to Whiteriver to the District meetings.) Cibecue is in our zone, but not part of our area.

God is great! He truly blesses us so much and all he asks in return is for us to follow his teachings. I love and miss you all lots!


Elder Clark

Monday, November 18, 2013

Take me back to the days.... of Seminary!?

Beautiful  Arizona Moon

HELLO! What a great week! We had so much success and this branch is really growing strong! All they needed was a little push! Having 6 missionaries here is truly a blessing. Each day all 6 of us are jammed packed with lessons! My companion and I really try to focus on the less actives because we really think in order for this branch to reach its full potential, We need to start with the members and then reach out. It has been really successful so far. I am now the Aaronic Priesthood 3rd hour teacher. I love it.

Baloo, the protector of our house.
He was a gift. He was made with a chainsaw in about 20 minutes

Probably the most exciting news is that we prepared all last week and started this morning, Seminary!! And we are teaching it! We had 6 students show up this morning and they really enjoyed it and have been texting us all day about people they have invited to join! I think it will be a great thing for this community! We have to get up around 5:00 – 5:15 now because seminary starts at 6:00!! Just like home! We are so excited about it! We do a rotation that a different companionship teaches it each day!
The First Day of Seminary

 That is really all I have to update you on! This branch is continuing to grow in numbers and strength each week, it amazing the changes that are happening so quickly! I love you all and always keep the gospel close to your heart!


Elder Clark

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Chopping Wood and Serving the Lord!

November 12, 2013

Tell people I am sorry I could not respond this week, but I only had 30 minutes on email today. I will get to them next week, promise!

Sorry I am a day late! Because of Veterans Day, the library where we email was closed! It’s the only place on the res with computers... but this last week was such a great week! My companion and I really focused on being effective with our time and it really paid off! Each day was chalk full of appointments and we had a TON of our less active "investigators” come to church. We had just over 120 people there! It was great!
The Fort Apache Crew
 We had a ton of really great and spiritual experiences. I want to share one. So, Saturday we went to a former member of the Stake Presidency's house to see if we could get a couple referrals of some people who might want to listen to us. This man knows everyone on the reservation and everyone knows him. We knocked on his door and a 20 year old man opened the door. He turned out to be a less active member who wanted nothing to do with us. We still asked him if he knew anyone that would be interested, because that's what we came for!! He couldn't think of anyone, so I finally just asked him "who is the first person that pops into mind?" He said a man named John who lived down the street but that he wouldn't be interested at all. Did that discourage us?! nooooo, we went to Johns house. When we got there, he was an angry looking man, with a chain saw.... nope, still not discouraged. We went up to talk to him. His name was Jeff, he is Johns father. We talked with him for a bit and soon enough His wife and John were all outside on their porch talking with us. All three of them have already been baptized but haven't gone to church for many, many YEARS. Each told us real personal and spiritual stories they each had experienced within the last 2 weeks that made them want to be closer to God. Jeff had been praying every day for the last week straight because he has been struggling and has been asking God for help. His wife saw us at the grocery store last Monday and had been praying for us to stop by, and John has been going through a lot of health struggles and wants God in his life. The spirit was so strong and everyone was tearing up. They had to go out of town this weekend, but they said nothing is stopping them from going back to church. I am so excited to work with them and get them to go to the temple too! What miracles happen on the mission! People are truly out there, being prepared to receive or come back to the Gospel! You never know how you will find them either, but the Holy Ghost does, and if you are searching, he WILL lead you too them!
Elder Vete and Elder Clark
Elder Vete and I teach about 40 lessons a week! We teach mostly to less actives (members who no longer attend). That is what we have decided to focus on! I absolutely love it! We do a whole lot of service in the mornings.  Everyone here heats their houses with wood burning stoves, so we spend a lot of time chopping wood. I thought I would get out of that coming to Arizona...

So drinking is a huge problem here, since there is really nothing to do out here, everyone resorts to drinking. Every day there are drunks walking around, just walking. Not really going anywhere, just slowly walking, or sitting, or sleeping on the side of the road. It really looks and feels like zombies everywhere, walking aimlessly around. We call them walkers. Not a day goes by when we don't encounter them, and they get crazy. But hey, it makes it interesting! I love it! I love the mission, and I love this Gospel!!
Preaching to all the Apache People

Monday, November 4, 2013

Rescuers

November 4, 2013
All of these Elders live in a one bedroom trailer.
The one in the tan coat is Elder Clark's companion
Fort Apache is wonderful, and the work is thriving. It is not traditional missionary work though. It’s mainly focused on bringing people back to the church. About a fourth of the people here have been baptized and about 95% of those people don’t come to church. The 6 of us missionaries here really focus on rescuing those members. It’s amazing what a simple visit can do. Missionaries have been absent from this area for 5 years and you can really see the effect it had. All most of these people need is to remember why they joined in the first place. Many people remember missionaries here before and they absolutely love us. We eat an average of 2 or 3 dinners a day because the people always prepare dinner for us when we come over for our appointments. We actually go tracting a lot because it is a really effective way here. We knock on the doors and there is a good chance of them being members. That’s how we get most of our appointments. It is amazing to see the change in people after just 1 or 2 visits! There was one lady, no joke, probably about 100 years old, who opened a door we knocked on and she just started crying, and just kept telling us thank you, thank you for coming back. What a sweet moment that was. People really do need the gospel in their lives, and there are SO many today that had it and have lost it. But, that’s why we are here! To find all of his lost sheep! When missionaries first came here, there were only 30ish people attending Sacrament Meeting. Our goal for next week, only 2 months later, is 150 people!

Halloween was a lot of fun! The Natives go ALL out for it! Young and old, it’s an all-day thing. They start trick or treating in the morning! It was really fun to see all the costumes and people talk to us because they thought we were wearing missionary costumes! Another fun thing is the "first of the month" is the Natives favorite day, because that’s when they all get money from the government, so outside in "downtown" (which consists of a grocery store, the post office and the bank) all these vendors set up shop, most exciting day on the res! 

I love this work and I love this area. Everyday something new happens, whether that’s a drunk man sleeping on the side of the road (Happens pretty often) or wild horses running across the street or running out of gas in our trailer so there is no more hot water. Cold showers are wonderful in our 30 degree mornings.... The life of a missionary is great! Whether it is bringing people to Christ or bringing them back!
Elder Clark on the Reservation
Miracles happen every day. Make sure you look for them and notice them. Life becomes so much sweeter when you realize what a blessing every single day is. The living conditions of most of these people have really made me appreciate the things I have. What a wonderful life I have! I am so grateful for the opportunity to share my source of happiness with everyone I meet!

Much love to all of you!

    - Elder Clark!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

2 Months, 4 Transfers

Just a reminder: All mail goes to the Scottsdale Mission Home and the mission will forward it from there.

October 28, 2013

I am emailing from Whiteriver, AZ. It is a little reservation town about 4 hours away from Phoenix, in the mountains. Once again I have been sent up as an emergency transfer because an elder got hurt up here. I am even deeper into the reservation now, living in a one bedroom trailer, with 6 other Elders.... 3 of them are Tongan. Yes.... massive Tongans. What an adventure this will be.

I arrived yesterday and attended their Branch meeting. They opened this area 8 weeks ago, with 4 Elders. The Branch had about 25 members attending and 1200 on their role. Now, 8 weeks later, there are a little over 100 attending and it keeps growing! There is a lot of work to do up here, but once again it is totally different than in the valley. Of course I miss the valley, but I will serve wherever I am asked.

Elder Teh of the Seventy visits the mission.
Elder Clark is in the center of the back row.
Last Wednesday, we had a big meeting with Elder Teh, of the Seventy. He is from the Philippines and very excited to hear about my cousins serving their missions there! He is also going to be in the DC South mission in November, so look out for him! His meeting was so great! He is such a good teacher and really helped me know what I need to do to be a better missionary!

Here are some of the people that I have been working with.

This is one of my favorite investigators, He was watching BYU soccer on BYU TV, and then saw a Mormon movie, felt good(the spirit), wanted to know more so he showed up at church one week. He has dove into all the activities in both our ward and the singles ward! He is set for being baptized!


This is one of my favorite families! Next to me are members trying to reach the temple and the two farther away from me are their parents and they are set for being baptized in one month! They are Navajo and the kindest, most soft spoken people! Love them!


He is a less active member dating a non-member. She really wanted to go to church, so they called us up! She is the sweetest thing and we all really became close, she is set for being baptized too! She was moving though, so we had to hand them off to the sister missionaries!


He is my first investigator who we have been working with since I got here. She is a member and he is not, and they want to be married in the temple! So we have a marriage/baptism date for them so that for their year anniversary, they can be sealed!!


Love you all!
Elder Clark

Monday, October 21, 2013

Watch for Miracles

October 21, 2013

So this weekend was really great!  There are 4 of us now in our area and 6 in our apartment which makes for a lot of fun but also we are able to get so much work done. We have the Spanish speaking elders, Elder Andersen and Elder Carraway (He is BRAND NEW and from Mclean VA!) and Me and Elder Hawes. Me and Elder Hawes are on bikes and had an amazing weekend!

We decided we wanted to focus on recognizing all the miracles the Lord gives us each day, and boy does He give them. Just to name a few, we will start with Jesse. Jesse and his nephew (I think) were on the side of the trail trying to fix one of their bikes, so we stopped to see what we could do to help. They were so friendly and actually pretty excited because it turns out that they are both members, who moved here a month ago and just didn't know where or when church was. Of course, we gave them all the info and let’s hope they come Sunday!

Another great one is that we had the impression to go visit one of our investigators that's really struggling right now because she is facing possible jail time for something she did before we met her. We thought her hearing was on Saturday but turns out it is actually today! She opened the door crying because she was just so scared of what’s going to happen today. We had the sweetest talk about why God gives good people such trials and how Jesus Christ can lift you up from even the lowest of places. We then gave her a blessing, which after words she was just a completely different woman. She wasn't crying her eyes out and she was just feeling more prepared for today. She then gave the most sincere, sweetest prayer I have ever heard. Thanking and pleading with the Lord. The Spirit was SO strong.  I love being a missionary! Everyone pray that it all turns out ok for her!

Miracles happen every day, most are small and we don't even notice, but I promise as we really reflect and try to notice them, we will realize how wonderful the Lord is! We make a list every night, such small things really can make the biggest difference in your day!

I LOVE THE LORD AND THIS GOSPEL!


Elder Clark

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Dog Days Are Over

Reminder if you send a letter or anything else to Elder Samuel Clark please put his first name on it... There are 4 Elder Clarks in the Scottsdale mission.

October 16, 2013

(On Sunday Samuel's father was released from being the Bishop of the congregation back home.)
First off I cannot believe Dad got released! What a strange thought, of him not as the Bishop anymore. Thank you Dad for all the service and the example you are to me! Bishop Duersch, I know you will be an absolutely wonderful bishop! wow... and tell Brother Schilling that (Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy) is one of my favorite hymns because of that experience on High Adventure too! I think about it every single time I hear it! Holy cow what a change...

So, I bet your guessing why I am emailing TWO DAYS LATE!! Well... It was transfer week and we have P-day on Wednesdays so here I am. I was transferred back to my old area with my old companions and we picked up a brand new elder! So, there are now four of us in this area and 6 of us living in our apartment! It’s awesome, I love it here.
Sister Hogenson and Elder Clark
She is the niece (on the other side of the family) of Elder Clark's Aunt Michelle Christensen
The mountains were good, just slow work and really quiet... pretty cold too. We woke up Tuesday morning to head down to transfers and it was 25 degrees. crazy cold... Most of the things we did were service projects, we split wood countless times and moved lots and lots of stuff. The best part of that area was the reservation. We had a lot of work up there, 31 less active/part member families, so we would spend most our time up there walking around trying to find these families. The catch was, there are more dogs than people up there! THEY ARE EVERYWHERE! I wish my camera was working at the time because one day we had 5 dogs walking around us following us and then 4 dogs at different houses barking at us. I had to go buy a big knife in case of an encounter. The wild dogs where so kind and the chained up ones were the vicious ones... most rottweilers and German Shepards and a few pit bulls. There was one dog that was huge, we named Bear, and he loved us. He spent most of the time with us and we felt so much more safe because we had this giant dog that all the other dogs seemed scared of... Man I wish I had pictures.
Elder Clark, Ready to Strike
We got a lot of good work going and met a ton of people, so I hope it continues that way, that area needs help, the reservation feels like a whole different country... feels like just a step above a third world country... the natives do not have very much. The reservation was kind of a scary place at night too... we were driving down a road and there were 6 hooded people, walking in a straight line, covering the whole street, with various things in their hands like a golf club, or bat... needless to say, we did a quick u-turn and booked it outta there.  

I made a Navajo Battle Club with "Grandpa" though! He is a native and makes stuff like that for a living. Its pretty sweet, kind of big and heavy so I don’t know to get it home....
Elder Speirs, "Grandpa" and Elder Clark with their Navajo Battle Clubs
I am back in Scottsdale and there is so much work to be done!  The weather has cooled off to the 80s, which I am grateful for because I am now a biking missionary! Gonna get quads of steel!

Life is great in Arizona, still waiting on the visa and still working hard.


Love you all!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Not in Scottsdale Anymore

Yes, it is true. I am no longer in the great city of Scottsdale. Last Tuesday the mission president called me with some exciting news! No, I didn't get my visa. But I had to be emergency transferred to Pinetop, Arizona because an Elder up here got extremely sick. Where is Pinetop you ask? That is a very, very good question.  It is about 3 hours north east of Phoenix, in the middle of the mountains, in the middle of nowhere. It is extremely different, an entirely different world. I feel like I am camping. It is complete country here.  We have a truck to get us places because 50% of the roads are dirt roads, sometimes we have to drive 30 minutes from house to house. The work is different too, we do more service than anything. Saturday we spent the time in between conference chopping and stacking fire wood. Fire wood in AZ? Yupp..
Missionary Truck

There are actually trees up here!!!! I forgot to tell you this but our area has part of the Apache Reservation on it! The left side of this picture is the reservation! The natives are so nice, but their
dogs are not. There are tons of dogs that run wild on the reservation... some are super kind, but some are terribly mean beasts! They chase us....


It’s cold up here. The temperature gets in the 70s and 60's here but is dropping fast. It is actually beautiful weather right now so I can’t complain about that. I do miss talking to a 100 people a day. It’s impossible here because we are driving on country roads all day. The work is A LOT slower and we really have to rely on the members here to give us people to teach/do service for because we hardly meet anyone. It also doesn't help that this is a summer home destination for all the people to escape the heat from the valley, so now that summer is over, most of the houses (which are all cabins, some mansion cabins). My new companion is awesome, he has been out for 18 months and is a stud.

 There are some interesting people up here. Last night we had dinner with an older couple who are some of my favorite people I have met out here! His brother is literally Mr.Clean, like legit the man on all the the products, and he looks like it too, just super old. He is a big game hunter and has been all over the world to hunt. He had a trophy room but they are remodeling so everything wasn't there. But, he showed me pictures and he had an elephant  multiple bears, a lion, zebras and 100's of other animal. It was kind of disturbing but totally awesome at the same time. 

Another family has like 1 billion goats and gives us goat milk all the time, which is actually pretty good. This same family as 19 kids.... they adopted 15 Russian children! They are all grown up now but still, their family pictures are nuts.

Conference was amazing! Loved every single session, but I do have to agree with you mom, Elder Uchtdorf was my favorite, both on Saturday and Priesthood. I learned so much, and a lot of it is exactly what I needed to hear. This gospel is incredible!
Elder Dieter Uchtdorf, Apostle

I love this work and I love the Lord! Pray for me! I am living the mountain man life and it is getting cold! 

Love you all!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Is September Over Already?

September 30, 2013

 
Fun Shadow Shot.
Holy Cow. I cannot believe September is over already. Where does the time go! The weather here is even cooling down! Some mornings I need to wear long sleeves because it is kinda chilly, but then the sun comes out and it ends up being in the 90's which is actually nice... which is terrible to say.
I live in a Desert!

 No word on my VISA, still just waiting in the happy valley of Phoenix. I am not gonna lie, language study is a killer, it’s really hard to focus and learn new things on my own, but I do try! Eu acho esta fazendo bien. (I think I am doing well)

So this week was pretty good. We meet ALOT of interesting people. The person that stuck out the most was a man named Harmony, he was so strange. He said he was a Pagan witch medicine man of the modern day. Don't ask me what that means because after wasting half of an hour talking to him, I still don't understand his ways. But, it was a funny experience. We met with a ton of people this week and have lots of new investigators. It is amazing the differences in people we teach. We cover every type of person you can think of. We have a very successful, gospel scholarly woman interested and on the other side we have a woman who cannot read. It is so fun experiencing all of this. I love being able to talk with EVERYONE. It’s amazing how much I am learning about this Gospel and myself through focusing on others. It is amazing the love I have for these people, and the desire a lot of them have to change. We have talked to or are talking with a lot of people that have criminal records and what not. Most I cannot even imagine them in prison because they are so kind and receptive. It is amazing what people have to go through for the Lord to prepare them. I am so excited to see where all the new investigators end up! There is a lot of potential we found this week.

Elder Anderson and Me
 So Wednesday I received an amazing package, from some mystery person, filled with Omaha Steak products baby!!! Whoever sent it, thank you!! I looked everywhere for a name but there was not one. (This was sent from his sister Abby and her husband Gregg)We are planning on cooking em all today in celebration of the retirement of Elder Black's pants. You wonder what there is to celebrate about pants?? Well, Today marks the end of 6 months of Elder Black wearing those pants everyday... for 6 months… that is 182 days straight. They are disgusting but it is an incredible feat worth celebrating with bacon wrapped sirloins!!

So Sunday I was called up by the Bishop, in the combined 3rd hour of church in front of everyone but the primary children to bear my testimony on the Book of Mormon. I guess I could only hide from doing
stuff like that for so long,  but it was a good experience and I am just grateful it didn't have to be Portuguese.

I hope everything is well at home. Miss you all and love hearing about all of your adventures! This Gospel is so amazing, I am so grateful for the opportunity to devote 24 hours a day to it and sharing it with all those I meet. I have seen people’s life change because of it already, not materially but, emotionally and spiritually. The happiness this gospel brings is undeniable.  I want everyone I see to have and know what I have and know.

Amo voces! Ate tempo proxima! (Love you guys! Until next time!)


Elder Clark

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Another Glorious Week in Arizona!

It has been so great, a little frustrating at times though. There is so much to do here and so many people. It is starting to become so busy that there is not enough time in the day to do everything that needs/should have to be done! The work is unbelievably successful here and some days we go from one person’s house, to another, to another, to another... all day. The best part about that is I have not tracked once. We get so many referrals and people who just call us asking for help or to learn. It’s so awesome and keeps us super busy

Since Elder Andersen has to stay in the mission office each day too, sometimes we get “stuck” doing some work for Sister Sweeney (The Mission President’s wife) and are now dubbed "APW's" or Assistants to the President’s Wife. It is fun... most of the time. We just finished making a healthy cookbook for the mission. It is really hard to find recipes for missionaries that are 1. Healthy 2. At least look good and 3. We can pay for with our little missionary monthly allowance. BUT WE DID IT!
Elders From Our Zone

 This morning we moved into a 3 bedroom and 2 bathroom apartment! The Spanish speaking missionaries moved in with us but the apartment is WAY to big for 5 of us. It is going to be so so so much fun. The 5 of us all get along really well and I can already see the fun we are going to have. We put all 5 of our beds in one room. It is going to be epic. Quick example on how goofy the mission gets: On Sunday we got ready for church and headed off. When we got there, we were waiting for the Bishop outside his office and one of the members pointed down to Elder Andersen’s feet and asked "Is that a fashion statement?" We all proceed to look at his feet.. turns out he had 2 totally different shoes on... like on was a slip on loafer type, brown and the other was a black, laced up shoe. How he didn't notice is still a mystery. We had just enough time to go back home so he could switch them out before church started. It was too funny!
Sweet Fashion Statement
 Despite the goofiness, the work is going great. We had a baptism on Saturday, a 12 year old boy. It was way awesome. He is Apache and his grandma bore her testimony in Apache and it was so strong. She hasn't attended church in a looooong time before we started to teach her grandson but now she comes every week as well as his whole family, his single mom (who had him when she was 16) and his three little siblings. They are a great family.
Baptism of Max
Saturday was probably the most frustrating day of my mission so far, It started with Friday night when a big trip to the temple visitors center was cancelled 10 minutes before we were to leave. Then we had 6 lessons set up and only 1 actually happened and it was not a very good one at that. But it ended well with the baptism and the food after. I have fallen in love with fry bread. It is my favorite thing we have eaten here by far. Not very healthy... at all, but it is delicious.

So cool connection I learned this week. We were eating dinner at the Bishops home and I mentioned about what Dad does for a living and long story short, Adam McBride is his brother in law! How cool is that?? The bishop’s name is Bishop Young. I don't know if he has told Brother McBride yet but definitely tell him!

So everything is going great here, the weather has been crazy.. last Monday in got to 125 degrees. That was pretty killer but it is starting to cool off. Today is about 90 and this morning was SO beautiful. It was 70 and felt just like VA in the fall, it made me miss home a little bit. I really do miss the trees and the fall back east though. Fall in the desert is just not the same.... at all.

Big shout out to Mrs. Sheahan for the awesome package of delicious cookies! I need Wills contact info! I have seen ASU's stadium while driving on the highway all the time and think of him! 

A shout out to Maggie Mitchell for her awesome package of goodies, including a pair of sunglasses that saved me a trip to Walmart to by a pair because the sun that Arizona has is definitely a better, brighter sun than back home. 

Thank you everyone for the support and love! I love you all!


Love, Elder Clark

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

HIGH ON A MOUNTAIN TOP

Elder Clark Preaching to All!

What a great week. There is nothing like the life of a missionary. So many things occur in one week that just shift your whole perspective of everything... and I am still in the US! Like I said in my last email, my area is a super poor area, very few houses but a lot of very run-down apartment buildings. The people here are so humble and have some of the most incredible stories. We have met so many new people waiting for the gospel! The work had exploded here!

The first one is about Christina, we met her through a referral from the sister missionaries. She is the most humble woman. We showed up at her doorstep on Saturday and she was just sitting outside her apartment. We started talking and she was telling us about her past and how she was homeless and addicted to all sorts of things. She has a couple kids and they were all really young when she was homeless. She said she knew she needed to take care of these children but did not know how. She said she decided to turn to Jesus (Smart Move). She said what a blessing that has been for her. She said that after she was able to get the apartment she has, she somehow has been able to keep it for these last couple of years, and that food somehow gets to the table. The best part of it though is her testimony of faith. She said that none of this would've happened if she had just asked and waited for God to deliver her out of it all. She said faith is nothing if you are not willing to work for the blessings you want. Even though her circumstances are not ideal yet, she is so thankful for the blessings The Lord has given her for the ability to overcome ALL her addictions, keep her children, and provide for them. She said she wants to help other people all the time and she isn't even to that point. Her three children are so beautiful too. They are awesome. We have a lesson set up for this week! She is so solid and wanted the Book of Mormon real bad because she loves the Bible! It’s amazing how the Lord prepares people! What a miracle!

Celsa and Lance... They are my favorite. Celsa grew up in the church and Lance is not Member. They just moved here from the sticks in North Carolina about a month ago. She said she was driving in Mesa and passed the temple. Which obviously reminded her of the happiness the gospel brought her, and she had the overwhelming feeling that they needed to be married in the temple! So, here we are, teaching the lessons to Lance, helping him gain a testimony and preparing him to be baptized, which we committed him to baptism on Nov. 3! He has a strong testimony of God and that He has a plan for hi but Lance says he doesn't know what that quite is yet. We know what His plan is for you Lance... We know. We think we are going to have a wedding ceremony before the baptism too for them! How awesome is that!?

The last person I will tell you about is 19 year old Courtney, who we met yesterday at church. She was sitting at the bus stop and asked this member if she knew where the library was, turns out that member was going to the library after church! The sister told her that and Courtney asked "Can I come to church?" OF COURSE YOU CAN COURTNEY! We talked to her after Sunday School and she was just in tears. She told us what was talked about in church is exactly what she struggles with and exactly what she has been looking for. She is a senior in high school but lives on her own. She told us about all these different struggles she has gone through. She is so excited to learn more! God has a plan for each of us, the way He works things out is just amazing! This area is full of people like Cristina, Lance and Courtney and it seems like we meet them every day!

I never thought I could be this happy serving other people and thinking about them all the time. It is amazing how much I have learned about myself through all the people that I meet. I love it here, so much work to do! Some days it can be so frustrating though because of how unreliable some people are but we are constantly teaching people either on the street or in their home. Where ever we can!

We were able to go to the temple on Wednesday! That was a lot of fun! The Mesa temple is amazing! 

This morning my companions and I climbed to the top of this giant rock that's in the middle of the valley. We could see the entire valley when we got to the top! What a view that was! 
Elder Clark and his companions overlooking their area

Next week we are moving apartments to live with the Spanish elders! There is going to be 5 of us in one apartment! It is going to be so much fun! The Spanish elders are so goofy, there are going to be some great times in apartment 2003! 

So our mission president and his wife went to Texas for some training this weekend and there is a rumor
that it was training for the use of IPADS and Facebook for missionaries! Everyone is so pumped! Oh and Iphones too!! The church is so hip! 

So that's really all I got for the first week in the mission field! Life is good, God is great! I love and miss all of you! 

Don’t forget to write me!

Quote of the week: Try Jesus, if you are not satisfied, Satan will always take you back. - Bumper Sticker

Eu amo todos voces!
Elder Clark


Monday, September 9, 2013

Arizona is Great!

We were able to talk to Sam as he traveled to Scottsdale. He sounded good. He was excited to leave the MTC.  He found it odd to be with regular people again.  This is not surprising after he has spent 6+ weeks with only missionaries. 
Elder Clark, Safe and Sound in Arizona

September 9, 2013
Arizona is great! I finally got here!! I got assigned to two Elders so we are in a tripanionship in Scottsdale with Elder Anderson from  Utah and Elder Hawes from Kansas! Elder Anderson has terrible knees so he works in the mission office everyday so we are able to drop him off there and me and Elder Hawes are able to go proselyting! My area is the poorer area of Scottsdale but the people are amazing! They are all so humble, even the church building we meet in is super old and beat up. I love it here and I couldn't be happier! Man oh man there is so much to tell!
I will start with my flight! Holy Cow it was crazy. First off it was the emptiest flight I have ever been on, full size airplane, probably 25 people on it. The even crazier part was the Elder Neil L. Anderson was in the first class of the plane! Us missionaries figured we were pretty safe if an apostle was on the same flight. When we got off the plane in Phoenix, we were able to talk to him for about 5 minutes, which was super awesome. One thing that I never thought I would do is be distracted when an apostle is speaking to me face to face... but while we were talking to him, I see this HUGE woman walking behind him... who is the most famous and tallest woman you can think of? Ill give you a hint, she can dunk. Yes, I saw Brittany Griner in the airport and yes.. she is an absolute giant. I think her arms are taller than I am. That was so crazy...
Elder Neil L. Andersen:an Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 
Anyways, I met my companions and we headed to our area, when we there got ready and prepared for a baptismal service. That’s right, I had a baptism my very first day in the field. That’s gotta be a record or something... no big deal. His name is Rick and he just an awesome, humble, old man. On our way out of our apartment on our way to the baptism, there was a very old, not so humble man outside who started to cuss us and Jesus out… we tried to talk to him but he was set on just hating on us. He said some pretty terrible things and was just grumpy. His name was Claus and I hope we don't see him again.
Rick's Baptism
Elder Haws, Elder Clark, Richard, Brother Super and Elder Anderson
We are teaching ALOT of people, but there is one man that really sticks out. It is kind of an odd situation because he was a member all his life, he turned away from the church in high school, joined the military. Then witnessed a ton of terrible things and actually forgot most of his childhood because of Post Traumatic Stress. He is covered in army tattoos but is a really good guy. He really is striving to learn more although he doesn't understand the scriptures very well. Oh yeah, he lives in a Psych ward and so we have to teach him in the visitors area of it. That is pretty interesting but he is doing really well and is hoping to be released this week.
                So far it has rained more then it has been sunny here, It hasn't been too hot yet either! What a blessing that was for Sunday when we have to wear our suits!
                That’s really the main points I wanted to share, I am beyond excited to work in the area! Teaching and talking to people in English is so wonderful. I hope I get to stay here for a bit. My Portuguese might take a hit but it is totally worth it. I love this gospel and I love the happiness it brings me. I have been so happy just to be out here! It is wonderful! I love you all and hope everything is going well back home! Keep me updating with everything!
                oh yeah,,, I guess this is important....address to send me letters and fun things!
Scottsdale Mission Home
6265 North 82nd Street
Scottsdale, Arizona 85250-5608

The Picture is of the baptism! From left to right, Elder Hawes, ME!, Richard(Baptizee), Brother Super(Baptizer) and Elder Anderson
Amo voces!

 Elder Clark

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Final Week

Wow, what a week it has been. So I got my reassignment on Thursday night to Scottsdale, Arizona and I was supposed to leave the MTC yesterday morning. Some complications came up and I wasn't able to go yesterday and then the servers were down AS WELL as it being a holiday all day yesterday. So with all that lack of communication, I have been stuck in limbo, not knowing my fate. It was crazy watching everyone in my district leave to their various destinations. When I find out I will send an update ASAP, meanwhile, pray for me to be able to get out to the field!
Happy Elder Clark and his New Assignment
So the reassignment was definitely a highlight of this week, but just as great was our Tuesday night devotional with Elder Neil L. Anderson! He spoke to us about pushing through trials and how The Lord gives each of us specific trials so that we can grow and learn. It was so awesome. Once again it was broadcast to MTC's all around the world and it was the largest gathering of missionaries to meet and watch a devotional in church history. I love being a part of history, it is an amazing feeling knowing that The Lord is hastening his work and I am one of his soldiers! After the devotional, we had to stay for about 15 extra minutes because it was storming outside. Finally they told us the lighting had stopped and we could make our way back to the campus.... what they didn't tell us is that it was still pouring rain. As we ran back to campus, we became soaked from top to bottom. My suit smelled and was just drenched. It was so much fun though and it was just one of many experiences like that I expect to have in the next two years. 
 
Soaked Missionaries
For sacrament meeting on Sunday, my district sang "A Child's Prayer" in Portuguese for our departure musical number. I think I like the words in Portuguese better than the words in English. Sunday night was the last night my district was all together. We decided to give departure blessings Sunday night to everyone. The spirit was so strong as each missionary got a blessing, and it was amazing how different and personal each blessing was. The Lord truly puts words in the mouths of men giving blessings. I can only remember a few things I said in the blessings that I gave. Another Elder told me that a couple phrases are word for word exactly what he wanted to say if he was giving the blessing. After we finished the blessings, we all sang “The Spirit of God” together. It sounded so beautiful. The spirit was just overflowing from our room. What an incredible night. I love this gospel.


A Childs Prayer
Words and music by Janice Kapp Perry

1. Heavenly Father, are you really there?
And do you hear and answer ev'ry child's prayer?
Some say that heaven is far away,
But I feel it close around me as I pray.
Heavenly Father, I remember now
Something that Jesus told disciples long ago:
"Suffer the children to come to me."
Father, in prayer I'm coming now to thee.
2. Pray, he is there;

Speak, he is list'ning.
You are his child;
His love now surrounds you.
He hears your prayer;
He loves the children.
Of such is the kingdom, the kingdom of heav'n.


A Childs Prayer
Words and Music By Janice Kapp Perry
(In Portuguese)

1. Meu Pai Celeste, estás mesmo aí?
Ouves e atendes da criança a oração?
Alguém me disse que é longe o céu
Mas sinto-Te perto quando oro a Ti.
Meu Pai Celeste, relembrando estou
O que Jesus a Seus discípulos falou:
"Os pequeninos deixai vir a mim."
Pai, nesta prece eu me achego a Ti.
2. Sim, perto está.

Sim, Ele te ouve.
Pois é teu Pai e muito te ama.
Com terno amor, ama as crianças,
Pois delas é o reino, o reino do céu.


I saw Sister Moyes on Thursday too! During our 10 HOUR field orientation for departing missionaries! She is great and will make a great missionary! (She is Elder Clark's brother-in-law's sister)

Not much more has happened, just wrapped things up and now waiting to get out to the field to work! They did close the pillow room up and put up a sign saying "No Missionaries Pass This Point" which was a major bummer, but we did get our fun out of it so it was ok. 

Sorry it was so short this week mas Todo Bien! 
Amo Voces!  

Elder Clark