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


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!