Monday, January 30, 2017

It's a Mission Revolution!

Oh my GOODNESS this is has been one amazing week!!!

B____ was baptized!!!! :'D There's always SOMETHING that goes wrong just before a baptism- I guess it's Satan's last ditch effort to ruin things? It's always that someone forget a record, or the font didn't fill, or the water is ice cold, etc. This time.... none of that happened. Sister Archer and I were like, "Ok.... so... where's the last minute trial? Will this really be the one and only flawless baptism?!"


The ____ Ward is more like a branch- they struggle a lot. They hadn't seen a convert baptism in over 7 years, so no one knew what to do! Not even the Bishop! Or our Ward Mission Leader! THAT was terrifying. We explained super last minute how to conduct a convert baptism and helped the Bishop understand he was presiding over the ordinance... phew. By the grace of God everything went smoothly and without a hitch. That was one problem I've never run into before!!
I've learned so many things this week. They showed a worldwide Missionary Broadcast this week and they talked about how important it is for missionaries to understand the basics of the Doctrine of Christ. As they were talking about how faith and repentance and such all tie together, it hit me like a freight train- I DO understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ!! Living it is the harder part that takes a lifetime of practice, but I understand the basics! Mostly!! Haha it was so cool to see :D

My mission experience has all be one crazy revolution! Our mission split first, then we had a temple open house we got to help with, and now we'll be helping with the Idaho Falls Temple open house in April, and NOW even our daily schedule and reporting tools are all being changed!!!! Oh my GOODNESS so much is changing!!! But I love it. They're giving us missionaries so much more freedom, and helping us to really follow the counsel in D&C 58:26-28 which says: "26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward. 27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; 28 For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward."

**Here are more details in blue of the changes she sent me (her mom) in another email**:
We used to have 9 Key Indicators to report on- like how many "other" lessons we taught, how many "member present" lessons we taught, how many "less-active or recent convert"..... BUT NOW we only have 4. They reminded us that all the other indicators are still really important, but the most important ones they need us to focus on are the new investigators found, investigators who made it to sacrament meeting, investigators with a baptism date, and how many we baptized that week. 
So many missionaries were getting caught up in numbers (Sis. Clark included) or feeling pressured by numbers or losing focus on our Purpose because of numbers.... so the First Presidency changed it!!!!! There's so many new things, my mission has been a time of such a revolution!!!!!

They want us to choose our own schedules for our missions, like in Africa they wake up at 6 and are out proselyting by 7 I think, but they come in at 6 and do their studies at night. In Latin America they wake up at 7:30 and go in at 11,  For us, we'll have a Winter schedule and a Summer schedule. We're still waking up at 6:30 in the winter, but we'll be coming inside at 8:30pm. And our studies! Wow! It's so different! Instead of personal study at 8, and companionship study at 9, we only have a checklist of what to get done in the morning before 10, not a rigid schedule! So now we choose for ourselves if we study first or exercise first, etc :D They're taking away the guilt from missionaries if they're 4 minutes late to studies, but in the long run- does that matter to the Lord? Not really!! PLUS they want missionaries to take their study habits home with them.  Missionaries were going home and definitely not following the daily schedule they had to before, but then they wouldn't study either and then they'd flake out and drop out. NOW we'll have freedom to choose what we'll do when so it'll be 2nd nature to take it home and continue on with the good habits we're learning!!!
I'M SO EXCITED!!!!! And so is the First Presidency!!!!! They "applaud this new schedule enthusiastically". A lot of missionaries will be tempted to abuse this freedom, but I think this is a HUGE learning opportunity!!!!!!

I love being a missionary so much :D And I really LOVE Sister Archer! We have so much fun. I can't really put my joy into words, and I'm out of time, but just know that I know HE LIVES and He directs the Church today!!!

PS this is how Sister Archer prays. She's my inspiration.

Sister Clark

Monday, January 23, 2017

Snowmeggedon Continues

Well, now we're in our THIRD Idaho blizzard for this winter... In the pictures I took you can't tell just how much it's really coming down, but I attached a pic a friend sent me and took a silly selfie to express how I feel about all this snow.... Everyone's saying we haven't gotten this much snow on record since like 1857 or something..... this Texan is NOT AMUSED.

But we had a really cool week! This week we had interviews with our President, and I told him all of what I'd been thinking about faith and what he could help me with. I don't know how he did it, but he explained to me that I was kinda stuck in the mindset of if I'm doing all I possibly can, then the Lord will provide baptisms, and if it's not happening, it's because I need to be more obedient and believe more. I wasn't on the wrong track, but I needed to understand that the Lord will NOT force anyone to be baptized, and He can provide miracles and chances to invite others to take that step, but whether or not they do is totally up to them. My wonderful mother tried to point that out to me, but in my pride I kept thinking "nah, she doesn't see, I'll be even more obedient and more faithful and I'll find a lot of success." I'm not wrong, those things do bring success, but I'd forgotten what true success means in the first place! Success is in inviting others to come unto Christ, not just in seeing the results. How did I get that all mixed up?! I'm thankful to my mother and to President for helping me course-correct.

Missionary work is SO EASY when you understand it, like I'm coming to slowly.  Invitations= 100% success rate every single time. We just have to testify of things we know to be true as well- we don't have to "convince" anyone at all, we just invite the Spirit by talking about truth and let Him do the convincing and changing of hearts :) My stress levels are wayyyyy down now, knowing that I'm actually having perfectly successful days every single day even when we find nothing but slammed doors. Missionary work is awesome!!!

We teach B____, the cutest 9 year old in the universe obsessed with cotton candy, and she's going to be baptized this Saturday! I'm so proud of her and her mom- S_____ is my FAVORITE, she's adopted us as her younger sisters and I LOVE her so much. We'll go through the temple with her a year from now, and I cannot wait!!

Speaking of temples, it's official that we'll be able to help out with the Idaho Falls Temple open-house! We just have to be in the temple district to go over to help, so I really hope President keeps me in Blackfoot until April so I can go!

Another family we LOVE is the L____ family- they were inactive for a while but they're coming back now and preparing for the temple. Sister L____ had several brain surgeries, and they've been through so much together, but while we were teaching them the Plan of Salvation, the Spirit hit me like a brick. I realized while looking at them that we all knew each other in heaven before we came down to earth, and they were some of the people I promised I'd find and help. We all started to cry, especially Brother Lilya. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!!!!

Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, should watch Brad Wilcox's talk "His Grace is Sufficient". My mother showed it to me before I left for my mission, and it always stuck with me, but lately we've been sharing it with a lot of people and it keeps coming out in our lessons. Sister Archer and I love it so much, and it's important because so many people just don't understand Grace. Go watch it or listen to it on !

I know the Gospel has been restored, and I'm so honored and blessed to be a part of it. Even with all the fancy words in the world at my fingertips, I just can't say how much joy I have in my heart. I know God is real, and Christ cares. I know it, and I LOVE it :'D

Keep on keeping on, everyone! Stay strong!


Sister Clark

Monday, January 16, 2017

Recommitting to My Mission

This was another really good week! I LOVE Sister Archer- she's one of my best friends already. I can literally tell her anything, and we get along so well. We play hard and goof around but we also work really hard.

We had one of the best companionship studies I've ever had this week. We were talking about faith, and about how numbers and baptisms and goals and all of that really don't matter in the long run, but what matters is our personal conversion that we've gained from our missions. We talked about how we can ask Heavenly Father for miracles and how our faith/obedience play a part in that... and then we realized that more than us, a THOUSAND times more than us, Heavenly Father wants to see His children succeed. He wants His children to be baptized and have faith and to get back to Him so badly- it's why He exists, it's what He's working for constantly, to see us return home. If we have the same desire He does, how could we possibly fail at what He wants us to do?

Sister Archer and I have a righteous desire- we really REALLY want to help this area succeed. We want to see success and to help people. That's what Heavenly Father wants too! However many baptisms we see, however many lessons we teach, that's not what matters. But what matters is that we do God's will, and all He wants is to help us as we're trying to help Him. We CAN and we WILL see a ton of success in this area! Not for bragging rights, but because that's what we've been called to do, to help people come unto Christ! I want this, and I want to help and to see miracles because it brings me joy. We have the Lord of Hosts behind us- as we go out and do our very best, following every prompting and being diligent, I know we'll have the righteous desires of our hearts granted to us. I'm so excited!!

And then, right after this amazing hour of studying and talking with Sister Archer about how we'll do this, and how we'll help people and convert ourselves even more.... immediately we both felt tired. We both felt lazy. It was so hard to get up and go after lunch break. It was so easy to wish we were taking a nap, or counting the minutes to dinner, to dilly dally because we didn't really want to knock on a stranger's door... Satan is real. We feel like he understands our potential and he's working at us really hard to make us do anything except get out and talk to people.


We're already finding a lot of success, gaining the trust of our members, and we're finding JOY as we work. I've never felt so motivated and recommitted to my mission. I've never felt so much before that I really do know God personally, and that He loves me and is looking out for me. Sister Archer has such a solid testimony of Him and His love that when she talks about Him, it's so simple and so sweet and full of honest love, not just lip-service. All the time she says "I miss Heavenly Father. I miss Jesus. I can't wait to see Them again soon." It's so powerful, and it's a huge example to me!

I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY FOR CHRIST!!!!! When I wake up every morning and tell Heavenly Father that I'm going out today to knock doors and teach lessons and even exercise and study for Him, because I love Him and no other reason, then my day is AWESOME. I challenge you all to do the same!!!
The picture with the little girl is the granddaughter of the people we live with. She was so cute, and she did nightly planning with us! Aka, she colored while we planned!

I'm pretty good at making faces that make Sister Archer laugh. She just can't keep it in, she busts out laughing- I love this chick!

(Here are some pics some members of the church sent for Sis. Clark's birthday celebrations)
 Making her birthday wish

 Her birthday package from home with lots of miscellaneous things

 Family reunion shirt

Members from her last area drove up to take her out for a birthday dinner and delivered her package from home.
Another surprise birthday celebration from the members they currently live with!

Love you! Praying for you!

Sister Clark

Monday, January 9, 2017

Welcome to Snowmegeddon

GEEZ we've been dumped on with snow! We get stuck about 7 times a day (I'm not exaggerating, I counted), it's so hard to drive even on the plowed roads here!

I miss C_____ a lot, but I was able to say goodbye to a lot of people and say hello to a lot of new ones here :D B_____ has like 7 people who could be baptized within a month or so that we know of already that I'm so excited to work with! It is BEAUTIFUL out here, even with all this crazy snow.

(Sister Clark doesn't know this, but this wonderful family, who watched over her while she was sick for about 2 months, is surprising her tomorrow night for her birthday and taking her out to dinner and giving her our birthday package to her!)

 (Sister Clark didn't say who this lady is with her above...)

It was kinda crazy though, because transfers were delayed a whole day with all this snow. President called Sister Jarvis and I in to the office to help keep the new missionaries busy and give trainings and help them get motivated to work.... once the snow calmed down at least! Sister Jarvis and I adopted our newest sister addition to the mission for a day- Sister Ziegler is going to go far :) And she's going to my "birthplace" in I____ with Sister Jarvis' greenie, Sister John! They'll crush it!

So... I'm turning into an adult tomorrow..... I don't know what to do................. to be 20 and to lose the "oh I'm just a teenager" excuse will be brutal..... haha just kidding, but I'm excited to be with one of the coolest missionaries EVER for my B-Day! :D Sister Archer is way awesome. We keep pillow-talking until 12am, we're always so exhausted, but it's been fun. She's been through a lot in her life, but she's so strong. She's the perfect mix of hilarious spunk and diligence, in my opinion. Plus, the members we live with are super fun- they gave me a "Clark Bar", woot! I'm looking forward to an amazing year and an amazing time in Blackfoot!
Sister Clark and Sister Archer

Sister Clark

Monday, January 2, 2017

I'm headed to B_____!

Transfer calls came! To B_____ it is, the farthest north our mission gets...! It's gonna be real cold.
My new companion is going to be Sister Archer- I'm really excited to meet her! Transferring is a little stressful because I've only ever transferred once, and that was to "whitewash" into an area, so this is a new experience for me! Bring it on.

We had another MLC meeting this week, and they addressed some things I'd been wondering about faith. In the last MLC, they told us that we had a goal as a mission to baptize 103 people in the month of December, and even if the baptism dates we set then for that month didn't go through, if we had the faith, God could work miracles and help us do this.

Well... we didn't make it.

I was feeling kind of down on myself because throughout the whole month I would say "Ok, yeah Sister Jarvis and I can get 2 baptisms this month...! I think! No no no no, we totally can do this.... yeah......" So I believed, but I wasn't full of "faith". When we didn't reach our goal, I was wondering what I wasn't quite getting right with faith, and how I could get more of it. I felt a little guilty too, because I didn't always get to studies on time or out of the house on time, and I wasn't exactly working with all my heart some days...

Then in this MLC, they answered my questions! They told us that we didn't reach our goal because I wasn't the only one who wasn't sure if their faith was enough to see that miracle. They taught us that Faith=Obedience, and that leads to Joy. Faith and Obedience are basically the same word!! It HIT me like nothing else. Do I really do everything my Father asks me to do with all my heart? NOPE, not yet I don't. Am I even fully obedient now? Ha! Working on it, but I'm a pretty lazy person! I let things go when I probably could've tried harder,  or not done things I felt a little guilty about later. How many times do I have to hear this lesson before it clicks? Someday when I practice what I preach, I think it'll hit harder and stick :) I'm working on it! I hope that makes sense, what I'm trying to get across. Faith is increased by righteousness, aka obedience. But it helped me understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ better- faith unto repentance just means belief+obedience. And the first fruits of repentance is baptism, and then you're cleansed so you're worthy of the gift of the Holy Ghost, and then you continue on always trying to be better for the rest of your life....... Faith=Obedience.

I came to realize too, that when we understand who God is, it's easier to have faith in Him. The times I talked with God the most have been when I'm face-down on the bathroom mat, or mid-toss in a sleepless night. Those sleepless nights have given me chances to pray and hear Him speak back to me, and anyone who's ever served a mission knows you're only truly alone when you're in the bathroom, and sometimes I make that my "closet" to pray in. I'm excited to come to know Him a lot more.

K____ is doing awesome- I attached a picture of us with him below. He told us he's at peace with the concept of prophets, which was a difficult thing for his strict Christian background, and he feels like he's ready to be baptized in January. IT'S SO EXCITING!!! I hope I'll get to come back for his baptism!

Remember M____, the lady scared away because we offered a baptism date for a goal? WELL SHE'S BACK!!!!!!! She still wants the Gospel in her life, and we caught her JUST as she was getting home from work finally- God placed us in the right place at the right time through our plans to be there. It's so cool how this works! Megan wants to do this slowly, and she had a lot of unrealistic expectations of perfection on herself that stressed her out the first time, and we could help with that.

Man..... I'll really miss C_____. But I'll be back soon! Till then, keep on keeping on!

Happy New Year!!

PS, we had a New Year's Eve party at President's! We played games and ate waffles. I love that man, and Sister Hancock. And I got to hang out with Sister Bueno!! <3 Looking forward to 2017!


Sister Clark