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!


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