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.

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