Monday, August 29, 2011

Yes, I am green!

So this second week has gone by much faster than my first, and I feel more at ease now, but still ready to work super hard!
So Monday, when we went to dinner with a member family, they pulled like the biggest ever welcome joke on a greeny possible. It was ridicuouls, but I'll save it for the end of this post. However, I got to try Cucumber mixed with sugar in water. It was interesting. So far, I've had cocunut, pineapple, and cuucumber water. Hopefully, eventually have the chance to consume all the kinds of fruits and vegtebles in water.
Two Native speakers complimented my on my Spanish this week! Booyah! Not that I speak well, or understand them, becuase I still don't really know what they're saying, but they said I know a lot for how long I had been speaking and that I spoke very clearly. I don't know even if speaking clearly counts for anything, because Native speakers don't. Maybe I should mumble all the time, and that would help me understand understand them.
So, the Cumorah branch is awesome. When we start the meeting, I don't think even half the branch is there, but they make it at some point during the meeting. Hispanic people are way nice, and still make jokes about me being green. We've been asked to not share the names of people in our branch of our investigators through email for various reasons, so I will either resort to using ridiculous false names, just leave a blank space, or refer to people as "that one family and/or person we are teaching/is in our branch." I can tell you the name of our Branch mission leader, Elder Osmand. He is super awesome, one of those guys who is super funny and just talks about whatever whenever. He is really a great resource for us, and makes sure we have everythnig we need and that we are doing our best as missionaries.
Next random thought: Before I came here, our mission president, President Wolfert, told Elder Johnson that Elder Johnson should try to get at least 14 baptisms during his last two transfers. Since I'm with him these last two transfers, I get to be part of it. We made these calanders for all of our progressing investagators, planned when we wanted to teach them each week so they can be ready for their baptismal date that we will give them this week. The calanders were even color coated! Yeah, they're pretty awesome. It will be so cool to have 14 baptisms in my first 2 transfers!
 Ok, so, here is how dinner went at the one families house we mentioned earlier. We show up, knock on the door, and as we walk in, the wife wants us to touch a windchime hangining on the front door. We go in to the front room, where the curtains our closed, the lights are dimmed, and there is a picture of Christ with candles in front of it. I asked if was a shrine, and the other three elders were laughing and said they couldn't believe it. They were taking picutes of it, which made me believe them. They also told about how weird the mom was, how she's bi-polar. They also said weird things always happen when they come over, and that I had to be super nice and not mess anything up. When I said the prayer at dinner, they all started saying their own prayers, with random "amens" heard during the time of my prayer.  Throughout the whole evening, the mom would want here kids to do something, and none of them wanted to cooperate with her. I thought family needed counseling. The kids were yelling back at their mom in english, saying mean things, and she pretended not to understand english, and would ask us what they were saying, which was an awkward situation for us to be in. One of the daughters talked about how she hated he physcologist, and she never wanted to back, and then asked her dad if was still taking his pills becuase he was "seeing things." He said he didn't need them. So it was like this for about an hour, with the kids yelling and being rude to their mom, even the husband said she was to lazy to actually cook for us. I seriously thought this family needed counseling, and the other elders told me the Branch president had wanted us to "work with" this family becuase of these weird things they did. To end their joke, thay all put on green shirts, gathered around the table, and told me bien venidos, (welcome) and I still thought they were a weird family. Then they explained to me it was all a joke, and that Elder Johnson set this up with them the week before I came. Yeah, it was pulled off really well, and did make me feel more welcome.     
So there is some of my week gone bye.
Thanks to those that write me!
If you write me, there is a 30 day guarantee that i'll write you back in 30 days, or your money back. If I don't, I'll eventually get back to you anyway.
el campo de misional es super bien
until next week (I almsot half way done with my first transfer!)
Elder Clark

His MTC teacher Hermano Cunnigham.

Elder Uffins, one of the other Elders

 Elder Neri, he is a native spanish speaker

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Couple Pictures

A couple quick pictures that Elder Clark Sent us this week before his letter tomorrow.

Elder Clark with the Mission President and his wife

All the Arriving Missionaries

Monday, August 22, 2011

Myth Confirmed

Myth: it is impossible to understand Native speakers when you first get to the field.

Myth confirmed. Every missionary says it, and its true. I catch a few words at a time, but that's it. Don't worry, I'm not discouraged! Everybody says they all went through that. My trainer, Elder Johnson, actually got switched from English to Spanish speaking in the field, so he learned all his Spanish in the field, and he's good.

Elder Johnson has been out for 22 months, and is going to end his mission training me. I know, he got stuck with me, what a bummer. He's from Wyoming, likes to outdoor things, like hunting. He is an awesome missionary. He understands everything people say, and really cares for others.

So my first area is in Roswell City. I serve in the Cumorah Spanish Branch. Elder Johnson and I live with two other Spanish Elders who cover the same area we do. (our apartment is our entire district.) We have nice apartments, so don't worry. There are a lot of apartment complexes around here, so we have spent a good amount of time in them. The other companionship in the apartment uses the car, so we walk. The farthest I've walked is about 40 minutes, so its not too bad. When we got here, the weather was actually nice to me for a few days.

Our first day here (Tuesday), right after we got off the plane, we left the airport using public transit to give us an opportunity to practicing contacting in the real world. (when I say "we", I mean the three Spanish Speakers and the 11 english speakers that flew out) It was interesting, and I got rejected by an old lady. =) After we got off the train, one of the AP's, who came with us, took me over to a guy, said that he didn't speak much spanish, but I did, and then I got to explain about the Book of Mormon in Spanish. Well, I didn't scare him off, and he seemed interested, even asking where the closest church was. Yeah, that was a cool first experience. We drove the rest of the way to the Mission home, where President and Sister Wolfert met us. They fed us, and talked to us about the mission, and gave us encouraging words. We spent the night in the Mission home.

Wednesday at transfer meeting, I found out my companion was Elder Johnson. We didn't do a whole lot of work that day, but I found out Walmart is about a 20 minutes walk. Like I said, it wasn't too hot. That night, we had Peruvien food, which was delicious. The ward members pretty much feed us every night, and make sure we are fed. So far, I've really only Peruvien and Mexican food, but it has all been not too crazy and good. My fellow Elders assure me that I will get to eat weird things in the future. Yay!

So on the 2nd of September, our branch is having their annual event called the Day of Nations. Our Branch has people from at least 10 different countries, and there will be food from all of those countries! There's also going to be dances and other culture performances. We pretty much invite every one we see to it, because we wan't it to be an awesome missionary opportunity.

I haven't been able to meet any of the investigators Elder Johnson is working with because everybody is never home when you go to their house or is just busy.

Oh, something else exciting! Thursday, my first experience tracting! We were knocking doors for a couple of hours, and we had three people tell us they were interested, and another guy actually let us in and teach him right then and there. So maybe we haven't been able to contact them again due to fake phone numbers and their general lack of being present in their apartment after we've walked 35 minutes to meet with them, but Elder Johnson says people are rarely interested at all. We got 4 that said they were interested in a time span of 2 hours! Yeah!

The other Elders in our apartment had a baptismal service on Sunday. So people do get baptized here, there is hope!

Yeah, Georgia is beautiful and a little hot, but I missed the hottest part!

Don't worry about me out here. The Lord's got me in good hands.


Elder Clark

Jordan, BYU Roommate Elder Blake, Cousin Alec Judd

A view of the neighborhood. . .apparently there are lots of trees around everywhere

Elder Johnson, who apparently has normal moments too

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I'm looking at the arrows, and they're not doing anything!

Thanks to all those who have written me. I won't be able to respond to everybody, since I need to get some packing done, but I'll try my best.

So Last Thursday, I had a really high tempurature, went to the health clinic, who sent me off the MTC campus out into the world to a doctor.   I found out I was getting strep throat. On Friday I took two 3 hour naps, and felt a lot better on Saturday. My throat never even hurt that much so
that was awesome. That's definitely the fastest time I've recovered from being sick, which was an awesome blessing.

Saturday: My mind was enlightened and past subjunctive become clear in my head, I shouted for joy.

Fast Sundays are awesome, with a 2 hour mission conference, sacrament meeting, and then a fireside in the evennig. So much learning and instruction in one day, so awesome!

Monday: in class, Elder Spear and I had an awesome teaching experience, where we both felt the
Spirit, both Testified and worked togther to teach really well. It's moments like that here that
make me so excited to get to the mission field and teach the Gospel to the people in Georgia!!
Teaching by the Spirit is amazing!

Tuseday, we had another awesome lesson with our progressing investagator. Our teacher told us
beforehand that we would teach the lesson with our eyes closed as a learning experienece. We
started the lesson, and then the lesson didn't go how we planned  at all, and we ended up adressing a concern she had. Having our eyes closed really helped us understand the importance of listening to the investigator and the Spirit, and we did both of those. After the lesson, we felt like we had said what she needed to hear, and it was just another awesome experience.

I've really learned a lot here. There are so many important things missionaries do, focous on and think about to be able to listen to the Spirit, to teach by the Spirit, to help the investigators feel the Spirit. With all the practice we've had here, we're almost there! In the field, we're going to learn so fast.

So, as a recap of the MTC, I've managed to break to vacuum hoses (not my fault), vacuumed up a
white board marker (accident),learned a lot about myself, the Gospel of Jesus Christ and teaching others. I've had my testimony strengthened in so many ways, and am now ready for the mission field.

The next time you hear from me, I'll be in Georgia

Elder Clark


Excerpt from a letter home per Jordan's request

"I'm so excited to leave this place and get out into the field where I won't understand anything
anybody says!  It's going to be awesome.  The weeks here in the MTC have gone fast, but the time feels like forever.

The devotional on Tuesday was about faith.  The speaker explained that the precondition for faith is hearing the gospel and having a soft enough heart to receive it.  Then after this we act on hope and will eventually receive a witness that these things are true.  Since the witness comes after the actions, we can't act on the witness.  We can only act on our hope.  That is the trial of our faith.  I will draw a diagram of this process.
(diagram deciphered and re-created by Spencer)

That's it for now.  We're looking forward to hearing from him next week!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Insert Creative Title Here

This has been yet another interesting week at the MTC. On Saturday, we had a sub that was a native speaker, and Native speakers talk a lot faster and are harder to understand. He made us feel like we didn't know Spanish at all. He wasn't trying to, he was just so good at it, and his presence seemed to make us all start failing. District members were making mistakes they had never made before, it was like mass carnage of our pitiful attempts spread all over the classroom. Ok, it wasn't that bad, but we all felt like we had a so much longer way to go after his class. The great thing is he comes back on Saturday for another round of destruction.

On the bright side, Sunday's fireside was awesome. It was about God's love  and Charity. The speaker explained that since God's love is endless, we should have endless love too. We are commanded to have charity. Charity doesn't run out and get restocked over night. The more you give of it, the more you'll be able to give. Obviously, charity is super important to missionary work. If we don't love the people, we won't be good missionaries.

Monday was another day with a little bit of failure. We were teaching another sub for the first time. when we first knocked on the door, he asked me what message we had, and i wasn't totally ready to answer that, which was failure #1, so I said we wanted to talk about how Heavenly Father has a plan for us. So we went in, I was thinking we were going to teach about the plan of Salvation, which not usually the first lesson. I didn't know where to start, because he didn't know anything about the church, (it didn't help that he cut off all of his s's while speaking.) so elder Spear starts talking about the Great Apostasy, and how the all the Apostles were killed and the priesthood authority was taken from the earth. Elder Spear did this to lead me in to talking about the Restoration of the Gospel, but I didn't talk about that. For some reason, I wanted to talk about the Atonement of Christ, which is not what should come after talking about the Apostasy, because it doesn't make sense to transition into that. I did anyways. Elder Spear led right into the Restoration, and just threw in the Atonement out of who knows where. Yeah, that was failure # 2. Don't worry, I won't do that again.

Later that week, we made up for it though. We were teaching one of our progressing investigators about the Word of Wisdom. The lesson went so well, and we were asking her questions, and we committed her to live the Word of Wisdom, and it was just awesome! I felt so good to do that here, I can't wait to do that in the field.

Anyways, another update will come later this week, including my travel plans, which are probably the most exciting thing ever!

Hasta luego

Elder Clark

(Here is some from a handwritten letter we received this week)

To encourage you to have family prayer, and to complete my purpose of bringing people unto Christ, I'm going to share a scripture with you:  3 Nephi 18:21 "Pray in your families unto the father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed." There it is, in the Book of Mormon.  You have to do it now!  (a reminder is always good)

One of my teachers was gone for a few days and my other one is going to be in Mexico for 10 days, so we're getting some more practice in teaching new investigators.  We've been taught a lot here about finding out the investigators needs so we can teach them what will help them th most.  Of course, a lot of discerning their needs happens in the first lesson.

On Tuesday, Elder Judd (Cousin, now also left for the mission field) and I said our  last goodbye to Elder Blake. (College roommate)  He is going to the California Fresno mission, Spanish speaking.  He's going to be a fantastic missionary!

Tuesday's devotional was given by Dennis M. Simmons of the Seventy.  He talked a lot about how the Mission is also a time for sanctification of ourselves, or the beginning of a life long process of sanctification.  He also told us that studying was reading 12 times and wrestling it to the ground.  After the devotional, our district had and awesome testimony meeting.  It's always amazing to hear each other's testimonies.

My testimony and love for the Gospel have been increased and strengthened as I have been here.  I love "Preach My Gospel" (PMG).  Every sentence in PMG is Inspired.  It's so much more than a training manual.  It's for everybody.  I'm so grateful to be serving a mission right now.

Elder Clark