Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Church Is Fun!

Beautiful Ft. Apache
January 27, 2013

This was a great week, as it always is in Ft. Apache. The weather was beautiful as well! 60's all week, they say its unusual weather and we should be trodding in a lot of snow but hey, perfect missionary work weather! We had another great showing at church again! 3 weeks in a row with over 170 people there! I love seeing the progress! It’s crazy to think my first Sunday here there were about 60 people in the congregation! I love being able to see the fruits of our labors so quickly! All that most people needed was an invitation to come back and here they are!

I love teaching the young men, I learn so much when I do too, Sunday we talked about the priesthood and its sacred responsibilities and it was so fun to see the young men really understand the power and the responsibility they hold. It gave me a reminder of my responsibilities as a missionary and how important my role is but more importantly how important my role is as a priesthood holder.

Flour War
This Saturday was a pretty good one! In the morning we had a baptism for a 15 year old girl who was brought into the church by her member friends about 2 months ago and decided this gospel is something she needs in her life, although no one in her family are members. Right after her sweet baptism, we all changed, met the youth outside and hosted a Flour War. That was a lot of fun and the youth really seemed to enjoy it! They invited a lot of their friends. This was such a great way to let people know that church IS fun! I love being able to be so involved with all the activities the church does but I am even more excited for the branch's potential.

This Sunday we sustained some newly returned members to different callings because the amount of people attending is getting too much for just the called members we have, the primary (class for children) class  has tripled and the youth classroom is about ready to burst when we get all of them in there! How exciting it is to have more people than the building can really handle. PROGRESS!

We actually have an investigator! We found him at "The restaurant" (yes, that's its name cause it’s the only one here). We have taught him two lessons and he is set for baptism! He is so solid and has been super prepared! He read one of our pamphlets a while ago in the hospital. It was about the plan of salvation, so he already knew all of that. I can’t wait to see him progress and become a member of the church!

More Beautiful Ft. Apache
All the missionaries sang a Tongan hymn this Sunday in sacrament meeting and it was so spiritual. The chapel is usual pretty noisy with kids who aren't used to church. As we were singing and when we finished, it was pretty silent. Even though no one understood the words (including myself), the spirit was so strong! I love feeling the spirit and I love this gospel!

Elder Clark

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Continued Progress

January 20, 2014

This has been yet another great week. It seemed WAY to short but then when I look back on it, the things that happened seemed like a year ago. Time works in mysterious ways on the mission!

This week we had a lot of visits. We taught a lot of lessons and found a lot of success... one thought we had last week with all those members showing up was that it could have been a one-time thing, so we worked really hard to have the success again! And we did! This week we had 174 people (at church)! A lot of the people that came last week weren’t actually there this week. A lot that were in church this week weren’t here last week. Which makes us really excited because once we get ALL of the people coming regularly; we will have more people than can fit in this little branch building!

Branch Temple Day
The most tender part of this week was Saturday. Elder Blankenship and I were able to join the branch in going to the temple. A couple weeks ago, I told you about a man and his wife that came back to church after 30 years ago. They (Brother and Sister Cheney) were able to attend with us and actually do the work for their deceased teenage son. I don’t think I have ever been happier than 1. To see these people I have grown to love be inside the temple for the first time and 2. Watch Brother Cheney do the work for his son and see the love that he has for his son and this gospel. I am so grateful I was able to witness that moment and be a part of it. The Lord has blessed me in SO many ways and I am so grateful that I am where I am. Brazil will come. But, boy do I love Whiteriver.

The Lord has special things in store for each and every one of us and I know that if we patiently wait and work for his blessings, he will, in his time, pour them upon us. I love this Gospel, I love the Lord and I cannot begin to express my thanks to him for the experience that I am having!

I love you all and miss you all lots!

 Elder Clark

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Lord Never Ceases To Amaze

From Samuel's Mom: All the missionaries from the Scottsdale Arizona Mission gathered together last Saturday.  They were scheduled to have a meeting with Elder Jeffery R Holland, an Apostle.  However, he was not able to attend. They held a mission conference instead. In the photo below Elder Clark is in the back on the right as you look at the picture.

The Entire Scottsdale Arizona Mission 

From Elder Clark:Elder Holland was not able to make it on Saturday.  But we still had our meeting and the different Mission Presidents and their wives spoke to us, as well as Elder Wright, an area seventy. Even though Elder Holland wasn’t able to make it, it was probably one of my favorite meetings of my mission so far. I came into it really wanting to know how to help certain people I was working with and I got so many answers on how I can help them! What a blessing! It was a lot of fun to be in the valley and be with EVERY missionary in our mission. I was not able to find Sister Kimberly Clark (Samuel’s cousin who is serving in a neighboring mission) though; I think she was going to be in the meeting after ours. I searched hard!

 Another great blessing this week was church. We were really worried about not being here on Saturday because it seems like if Saturdays are productive, good days, the next day, church attendance and the meetings are good. But the Lord kept working even though we were not here. We had 170 people in Church this week. The most in YEARS! What a great day, and it motivated all of us missionaries to continue to work as hard as we can because the people here are ready! 200 is our goal for the end of this transfer, and with that 200 get more priesthood holders and temple recommends! The work is exploding here and it is great to have 8 of us in this small reservation town! Such great things are happening here!

Ft Apache Crew - Eight Missionaries Strong
I forgot to mention this in my last letter, but I played the piano again... but this time it was for a funeral which was much more intimidating but it turned out to be a nice service, including the music.

I love this work and the church is true. I see evidence of it every single day.

Elder Clark

Friday, January 10, 2014

A New Year, Same Gospel

Kyra and the Ft. Apache Elders
HAPPY NEW YEAR! I know I am pretty late but the year is still young! What a great week (and a couple days) it has been! I love being a missionary! So many great opportunities and adventures happen every single day! Good news is that all the Ft. Apache Elders are sticking together for another 6 weeks! We added the sisters (sisters are women who are serving missions) yesterday!  This area needs some sisters and we are all excited for the contribution they will be to this branch (a branch is a small congregation)! 

New Year's Eve Party
New Years was a lot of fun.  We went to a few parties and we able to make our "grand appearances" and I was able to be the grill master at one! Sometimes service IS really fun! We had a bonfire with a family and just had such a great time! New Year’s Day we went all the way to Snowflake for a activity for the morning! Lots of basketball playing! The best part was probably being able to watch some movies though! We watched "It’s a wonderful life" a super old (and approved) movie. Now all we elders talk about is the stud "George bailey".  If you haven’t seen that movie, it is a must see. So good! So old but, SO good.  
An interesting tradition the reservation has is that at midnight they all shoot their LOADED guns into the air... we were certain that we would be woken up by war sounds outside, maybe even bullets flying through our walls but none of us actually heard anything. So, I guess that was good...

Kyra and Elder Clark at Kyra's Baptism

Saturday was a really great day! I had the wonderful opportunity to baptized little Kyra. She is 10 years old but crazy smart and crazy funny. The service was great and it was great to see the support of all her family members there. Her and her sisters are incredibly strong girls and are such an example of true faith to me. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be able to be a part of their journeys. They will all grow up to be amazing women.  I know it.

 I love this gospel so much and I know is true with all my heart. A man that we have been working with, since I got here, bore his testimony to me and my companion yesterday. He has become active in the church again. He and his wife are preparing to go to the temple together! After over 30 years of being away! What a marvelous experience it was to hear his testimony and to feel the spirit inside of his home. He is truly a great man and a great leader in this community. I know soon he will make a great leader in this church too! The feeling at that moment was as great of a feeling as I had baptizing little Kyra on Saturday. Bringing someone back into the fold is just as great as bringing in new members. I know that to be true and I know it is the ability of EVERY member to do so. That is what home teaching is for. It’s a necessity.

This gospel is the greatest thing in my life. I am so grateful for it and all it does for me. I am grateful for my family, my happiness, my mission and my Savior. I know he lives and is my older brother who wants nothing more than to see me again and I will do all I can to not only make it back to him, but bring as many people as I possibly can with me. Love you all!

Elder Clark