Where do I even BEGIN? The moment I got here it was a blur of overly happy people shouting welcome and moving my bags to my room, and then BOOM I was already sitting in class with my new district learning about how to teach. It's so exciting :)
My companion is Sister Jarvis, and she's so fantastic!!! She reminds me a lot of Sammy Bond; just the greatest and nicest person and so sweet to everyone. We're getting a lot better at teaching together as a team, it's the coolest thing when we're practicing teaching and we pass off who's going to say what when to each other flawlessly. I'm so blessed with such a great companion! We still have a lot to learn, but already we're doing pretty great.
My favorite teacher here is Sister Wrubell, she is the sweetest and cutest and funniest RM (Returned Missionary) I've ever met. She's getting married this April too, she's just the happiest person! When she pretends to be Ashley or even if she's just being herself and letting us practice teaching on her, she's so good at helping us focus our message every time on Christ. I'm getting better at leading all our conversations back to Christ and how much he loves us, because that's my calling isn't it? I'm a missionary so I can testify of Christ and introduce as many people as I can to him!!
We watched a talk by Elder Bednar, it is the most fantastic talk I have EVER heard. It changed my life, and I'm not exaggerating. He talked about how the character of Christ is all about being unselfish and "turning out", when the natural man would "turn in". When we are going through something tough, we turn in and say "wo is me, look at all this hard stuff I'm going through, everyone feel sorry for me." That's just the natural reaction we have. But Christ, even when he just barely got done suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane to the point of bleeding from every pore, when his friends couldn't stay awake with him one hour and when one of them even betrayed him with a kiss, Christ was so concerned about others that when a guard's ear was cut off, he healed the ear without a single thought about himself. He is the PERFECT example of turning outwards when everyone turns inwards. Because I was reminded of that with this talk, I'm trying to focus on others and even just writing little notes for all my roommates like He would do, instead of thinking about all my own issues. I'm so happy when I do that!
I already have two investigators! Certain people work at the MTC and help new missionaries learn how to teach by pretending to be street contacts like it'll be in the "real world", but we never know if they're members pretending or if they're actually people interesting in investigating the church. Kind of scary, but I've learned so much from them! Josh is an awesome newlywed with a strong Christian background, his dad was even a Lutherin pastor, but when we teach him about the Restoration of the church Sis. Jarvis and I felt the spirit so strong and we worked so great together as a team... I love that guy! He really is the coolest, but I have my suspicions he's a member pretending ;)
The other one is Jonathan, and I'm nearly certain that he is not a member of the church. He's been working with Broadway for 10 years (wow!), and he writes and he teaches and he's traveled the world and he cares a lot about helping people find their meaning in life and find meaning to his own... he's so inspiring and open minded. Sis. Jarvis and I just talked and laughed with him the whole time when we met him, we just never felt prompted to open the book and say "ok now here's a lesson..." In the end, we were able to both share why we want to serve missions with him, and he said that he was grateful that we were able to show him that Mormons are human too. He opened up and said that actually, he doesn't like Mormons, but he's learning more about us so he can get over feeling prejudiced about us. He mentioned even getting beat up by "Mormons" in the past, so he really has had bad experiences. We were so grateful we listened to the Spirit and didn't try to barf a lesson at him! Now though, we know much more about him so we can pray about his needs and we have more mutual trust, so we can answer his questions about us much better. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about love, I am so sad that there were people out there who didn't know Christ much to have been so cruel to him. Jonathan is incredible though, and I really want to help him not just join the church to join the church, but I really want to see him happy! I pray for them both every night, and I get so excited to tell them about how much God loves them, because I KNOW that God loves me.
Sorry this was kind of a big email, but it's been a big first week! So much has happened, and I think I learned more than I have in this week than I have in my whole life. I love my Savior!! The more I learn the more I want to be like him..... I love sharing this love :) Life is just so grand when you're on the Lord's mission!!
I'll write to you guys next week!
(Letter for Dad):
Thanks Daddy!! :') The MTC is crazy amazing, it looks like some church buildings accidentally got on steroids and multiplied like crazy... this place is huge! The moment you wake up you're on your knees praying and then you're getting ready in under 30min and then you're out the door to teach and preach and learn :) Super busy, but absolutely amazing! I get to bed by 10:30, although sometimes it's hard for us all to get to sleep on time because there's so much to read and write before we hit the hay, but we always wake up at 6:30. Surprisingly, I'm not having trouble with it! Actually, even if I get to bed late, I'm the one that usually helps everyone else get up XD
I went to the temple today with my district and I thought of you, and of course I cried in the celestial room because I just want to get everyone I know in there, and I want to see everyone I care about in there all dressed in white.... Fantastic day :D
Love you Daddy!!!
<3 Sister Clark
(Letter to Mom):
I did get the Dear Elders (*the free letter service on dearelder.com)!!! I was SO HAPPY!!! I don't have a ton of time left, I've been furiously typing haha and yet I STILL haven't even gotten a tenth of what's happened all this week down! But could you send me another towel and at least 5 more washcloths?? Oh and also some Q-tips? Spaced that one! Ooooh and also my thermos!
You'll need to send it to the mission home though, I'll be there this Tuesday!!!AHHH!!! Please keep the letters coming, they make MY WHOLE DAY!!! They don't make me homesick, they just remind me of how much I love you all and how much I want others to be with their families for all eternity. I went to the temple today so I'm really feeling that strongly right now as well!
Thank Aunt Robin for "Where's Mom Now That I Need Her", I'm so happy!!!!!!!!!! I will use it for certain, and right now I keep it out and lying on top of my journal just so I can look at it and be happy :') I can't remember all the questions, but I hope I answered them all!
PS I am taking pics but I forgot to bring it down, I was focused on getting laundry done! Next time I write, which may or may not be next week I don't know, but next time I'll attach all the pictures I'm taking! :)
I LOVE YOU!!!!
<3 Sister Clark