Monday, January 27, 2014

Week #33

Well remember that one time I went on my mission to Ohio and it never stopped snowing? Worst winter in 20 years. So glad I'm here to experience it. If there's anything I've learned this week it's 1. blessings eventually come after you feel like you've just been totally abandoned and 2. careful what you pray for. It was a crazy week so this is a really long letter.
We had dinner with Jackie this week and we brought Tiffany. They get along great! I'm super excited. Jackie's just basically the best person ever, who wouldn't get along with her? So now we've created a friendship so Tiffany won't feel completely alone in the church. She talked to her fiance about the law of chastity.... all he said was "now I have to suffer?" so it seems like he's going to support her. I think we can get him. Now they just have to get married or get separate apartments before she can get baptized. Oy.
Well Thursday morning I had to get fingerprinted and I just looked like a criminal afterwards with all the black ink on my hands, it's fine. ha ha. Then we did some tracting. It was freezing!!! We met this awesome lady, Brenda who after we walked away and were almost to the next house opened her door and told us to come back! She let us warm up in her house and said she just had a feeling that she was supposed to let us in and that maybe it was a message from God. Well okay! She's baptist and really really loves her church but we told her about the Book of Mormon and she wants to read it! She was really excited and she wants us to teach her grandson. Man I needed Brenda this week. She was just so nice. Remember Brian and Angie who had a CFO that was Mormon? They own a dry cleaning business and they cleaned my coat for free! We meet the best people.
We had exchanges in Springfield and I got to be with Sister Jensen most of the time! I really love her. And we got a new STL (sister training leader) Sister Buhler and she is just so cute and so happy and really fun. I love exchanges, you just learn so much.
Saturday was probably the busiest day of my life. We had to race back to Huber for an appointment and then we had to cut that appointment short to get to another one with Melinda and we taught her husband James! He reminds me a lot of Brett. He's super nice and at the end he was like "so what do you think, would I fit in?" Of course, James, the gospel is for everyone! So then we had to book it to the church for the baptism. The elders baptized a family of 6! It was really cool and President and Sister Nilsen came. Now here's where the whole be careful what you pray for comes in. Of course President counseled us to pray for snow so we can shovel driveways, we also prayed really hard that Melinda and James would be able to come to church....
So the elders prayed for snow. We only had sacrament meeting and the rest of church was cancelled. Planning backups again for church! It's the best! The family of 6 were unable to make it for their confirmations and so the bishopric was trying to stall in case the Sowers could come and so this is how church went: the choir sang right after the opening hymn and then 2 of our speakers spoke and then we had the sacrament and then we had the final speaker. Church was just messed up yesterday. And we had 5 people locked in for church and because of the weather and bad road conditions nobody could make it. Except Melinda and James! We were so excited they came and they brought Hazel! 
BUT we have a miracle from shoveling snow. That's all we did Sunday after church and we met an awesome part member family that is wanting to come back to church. We have dinner with them tonight and they have 3 kids. They've basically been inactive for the past 20 years but they are the nicest people. Sister Loder and I want to reactivate a family and baptize a family. And we have been blessed to meet a lot of great families so far this transfer. Goals are so important!
Much better week this week. I'm just really sick of the cold and the snow. It's 5 degrees today and I'm pretty sure in the negatives with the wind chill. No frost bite yet. And I haven't gotten a cold! I love Ohio!
Well I love you lots mom and Sister Miller showed me some pictures of the goats. They're really cute!
Sister Clark

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Week #32

Hi mom
I'm excited the Seahawks are in the Superbowl! The only problem is that they're going against Denver and Sister Loder is a die hard Peyton Manning fan and she hates the Seahawks with a passion. She's a huge football fan and she was like I might not talk to you that day. Sweet. So although I love the Seahawks can you just pray that Denver wins so I don't have to deal with a moody companion? Thanks. I haven't had time to go get fingerprints. It's so annoying. And everything was closed yesterday of course since it was the holiday which is why I'm emailing today. With all this paperwork it makes me really want to get to Brazil because I feel like there's actually hope! But there's just so much paperwork. And I'm so sick of the cold. It's snowing again today. I'm pretty sure I never want to see snow again in my life. This last week was really hard. I was a little homesick.
The airforce museum was really cool. They had a lot of war history stuff and just a ton of planes. I probably could have spent days there. We had dinner with a part member family Monday night. The ones from Washington and we did service for her later this week. They are the nicest people so we're just trying to build a good relationship with them and then hopefully we can start digging a little deeper and talk to them about the gospel. We had a great lesson with Tiffany on the word of wisdom and law of chastity. She lives with her fiance so that's going to be a bump in the road to baptism. She has no problem with the word of wisdom and knows she should be living the law of chastity she just doesn't know how to go about talking to her fiance about it. He's out of town for the next 3 weeks so technically she's living the law of chastity for 3 weeks! haha. We had dinner with our new investigators Brian and Angie. Their CFO was Mormon and gave them a Book of Mormon a long time ago and they asked us a lot of questions and we ended up teaching the restoration and they were thinking about it a lot and were like "that makes sense". They told us they're adopting us haha they are the nicest people. Then we had a great lesson with Melinda on the plan of salvation and she's setting up an appointment this week with us and her husband because he'll have the weekend off and she said they're all going to come to church! She came this past Sunday and really enjoyed it. The talks were way good! And then she told us that just before she was going to talk to her husband about the plan of salvation he said what if there's a heaven for really really good people and then if you were just an okay person you go to an okay heaven and so on and she was just like are you serious? That's kind of what the missionaries told me... and he was like oh no does that mean I'm Mormon? I'm really excited to meet him. He just doesn't want to give up his beer and coffee. But we're gonna get him.
Other than our great lessons it was a really slow week. Nobody was home. Or they were and they just didn't answer. I was getting pretty frustrated because it was really cold and snowing and we weren't having any success and I just didn't feel like a missionary. And we met a ton of less active people who just want nothing to do with the church. I'm hoping this week will be better. We've already gotten 3 media referrals and we met a super awesome less active family last night that we're going to reactivate! That's one of our goals for this transfer.  
Well I love you a lot and thanks for your prayers. Some extra ones would be appreciated :)
Sister Clark

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Week #31

Hello mom!
On Saturday it was 50 degrees! I didn't even have to wear a coat! Today it's pretty warm too. A whopping 45 :) We're going to the airforce museum today as a district. I'm super excited!
 We had a lesson with Melinda and we told her about the temple and eternal families and she was like I'm writing that down! She also said she finally noticed the sign in DC for the temple that says "LDS Temple" with an arrow. If that's not a sign that this is all true I don't know what is! We asked her if she'd be baptized when she comes to that knowledge and she said yes! We're teaching her and her husband the plan of salvation next week. So just everyone pray really hard that he'll have an open heart! I really want to baptize a family. We have several that we're working with! We had a freak snow storm Thursday night. So random. Ohio has the weirdest weather. Also Tiffany's getting baptized! We set a date for February 8th. She's really nervous and doesn't think she'll be ready but I know we can get her prepared by then. She's so awesome she cries in all of our lessons and we had her pray right then and there if she should get baptized and she just started crying and said the best prayer ever! And then she said it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off her shoulders. We took her to a relief society activity later that night and the members were awesome! Nickel auctions are fun! I got some earrings and a necklace for $1.50. Originally it was $25! And the best part is that the nickel auction was at Mariola's and we're having dinner with her and Joel sometime this week!
Saturday we did service for the Dowlers again. We cleaned their living room/office space and just started throwing everything in the trash bag. Jenna told her kids that's what she's going to start doing anyway is just starting over and throwing everything out. She was really excited that we came to help her out. She works all the time so she just never has time to clean and I think she gets really stressed out. Also she left her church. And she's going to come see the baptism this Saturday and come to church next Sunday. I'm really really excited! They're the best people.
Ray got the priesthood last Sunday! I forgot to mention that. He is awesome. And he's the coach for the young men for church basketball. And he blessed the sacrament yesterday!!!! And he said the closing prayer in sacrament meeting. He's progressing really well. I love seeing people who are baptized stay active and move towards the next ordinances like getting the priesthood or going to the temple. That's what measures a true conversion and a real convert. It's the best thing ever.
Well I love you!
Sister Clark

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Week #30

Hi mom!
We had the craziest week.
Monday we had dinner with our new investigator Robin. She has the CUTEST little boys on the planet! So she gave us left overs and after we got home we had a really strong impression to take it over to our neighbors because just that morning an ambulance came and picked him up! I guess he's okay because he answered the door and was very grateful for the food because then his wife wouldn't have to pick it up after work. It was already 9 by then. And they have a little boy too. I want to teach them! Nicest people ever. Tuesday we made contact with a part member, super less active family. Guess where they're from? Washington!!! Whidbey and Arlington. Made an awesome connection with the wife, who is not a member. She is hilarious and kind of looks like Tessa Schraeder. They're feeding us this Saturday for lunch.... also the Seahawks game will be on haha. They're die hard fans of just Washington in general.
We got a media referral! Except totally not for the right intentions. So his name is Brett and he's going to Bible college in Spokane. We figured maybe he's genuinely interested... or maybe he needs to write a paper.... So our first lesson went great. We answered a lot of questions and talked about the restoration and his parents sat in and listened also. They were super excited to have us back and to hear about the Plan of Salvation. So we went back Thursday night, were there for 2 and a half hours! And all they did was pull us from bible verse to bible verse to the point of when we left I had no idea what we were even talking about! So there's my first experience with bible bashing. We had to cut them off and they wanted us to come back Saturday. We went Saturday with Sister Stoddard and she really brought the spirit and was so good at answering their questions! THEN we made breakfast for them Sunday because they wanted to come to church and when they blessed the food they pretty much just stomped all over the plan of salvation. I have NEVER had my testimony attacked more in my life than in those 4 days. They even "invited" us to reevaluate what we're doing out here. Are you kidding me?! I was livid. I didn't know what to do. We have an appointment today but we're not going. We're just going to call and stand our ground because it's a waste of every body's time. There's no change or wanting to change going on there. They argue with every little thing so I have no idea what their purpose was in filling out that referral or really for us going back as many times as we did. I guess I was still just hoping and praying that at some point they could feel the spirit and open up their hearts. Nope. And church was even fantastic. It was testimony meeting and the spirit was super strong. But do you wanna know the funny thing? Although I felt like my testimony had just been thrown to the dogs and spat on, I always came out of that house with an even greater assurance of what I know to be true. This is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. It's easy to lose sight of that until you have to defend your faith. So that's probably the biggest thing that happened this week.
Also turns out I like sauerkraut. A neighbor of one of the members made us pork and sauerkraut for New Years. It's a German tradition I guess. It was delicious. Thursday morning we had such a big snow storm and we had to drive to Springfield! We left at 8 to get there by 9. It's usually just a 30 minute drive! We had interviews with President and he told me "you're too good to not be great, relight the fire". Okay okay President I'll be better. It's pretty intimidating going into interviews. Then Friday and Saturday we had exchanges with the Piqua sisters. That was interesting. We had homemade egg rolls and cream cheese rangoons from the Tiptons! SO GOOD. I love Chinese food. And we had the best lesson with our investigator Tiffany Saturday night. She is so smart and just reads and reads the Book of Mormon and remembers everything and applies it in her life. We're going to extend baptism this week. She's so wonderful.
Let me tell you a little bit about the weather. I will never complain about it being too cold ever again. First of all, we were being told there was going to be the storm of the century with 12 inches of snow. We only got 3. BUT on Monday it was about -10 degrees, with the windchill it was -38. The airforce base shut down! We of course still went out but everyone we saw told us to go home because they put out a warning to not go outside. If we were to be outside more than 5 minutes, we could get frostbite. Good thing we went where we knew we could get in. It was so cold. Yesterday was okay.With the windchill it was only -20.
We have found so many people this transfer and both Sister Loder and I are staying for another transfer! I'm super excited to just get all of these people moving!
Sorry this letter is so long.
Love you!
Sister Clark

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Week #28 & 29

The past couple of weeks have been interesting. We went to OSU for the new missionary training and the trainers actually got to go out and street contact this time! Except it was Christmas break... so there were no people on campus. I have no idea what those missionaries do during break. That would be so hard! Our investigator Tiffany came to church 2 Sundays ago and just loved it! The members were awesome and took her from class to class so she had to stay the whole time. And she donated to our giving tree. She's awesome. We also had a ward mission plan pizza party at the church and 2 girls walked in that were with their friends playing basketball and asked if we went to this church.... I thought those stories were just myths! Nope, stuff like that really does happen! So we gave them a chapel tour and Book of Mormons and pamphlets. They live in Dayton though so that's out of the mission. But one of them already had set up an appointment with the missionaries there previous to our chapel tour. Pretty much everyone wants us to come back after the holidays which is pretty frustrating because we have nothing to do til then! I'm excited for the month of December to be over. Christmas is the best on a mission... the actual season? not so much. 

Christmas Eve and Christmas day were just awesome! We got tons of gifts from investigators and ward members. A potential we've been working on for a while got us each an assorted basket of chocolates, which he really didn't have to get us, and I just wanted to cry. It was just so nice! I have never felt more loved. The people in Huber Heights are incredible! And we got Choffy from one of the members. It's brewed cocoa beans. Mmmmm it's like coffee for Mormons. We had dinner with a family in the ward and she is such a good cook! We sat and watched them open presents and I felt right at home. We were so busy that day. Then Christmas we got to skype! Sorry I didn't have much to say. Honestly, I probably could have just stared at you guys for an hour and a half and have been perfectly content. It was just nice to see you. I also called Brett and Bryce and talked with them for a bit. Surprisingly, it all didn't make me as homesick as I thought it would. Afterwards we stopped to see some investigators and then went to the Stoddard's for Christmas dinner. Christmas was deemed our p-day so we took a nap and made pancakes and opened all of our gifts under our little Charlie Brown tree. We had a lot! Thanks for all the gifts and tell grandma and grandpa thank you, too! Sister Loder's family also got me a few things, which was really nice of them. We made lots of Christmas cookies for our neighbors but we still haven't really had time to deliver them...

Friday and Saturday we were pretty much out of commission due to me waking up in the morning and puking my guts out. We got hit with the 24 Hour Flu this week. And we had 2 appointments Friday! I got a blessing that morning, went to the appointment, then came home and threw up and then slept for 3 hours. Around 4 I was feeling much better so we went out and contacted a referral and went to another lesson. Then the aches hit and I felt like I got hit by a train. Sister Loder was then sick all night and all day Saturday. She had to give a talk at a baptism Saturday morning and I had to play the piano so we went to that and then she came home and slept. Again around 4 we got up and contacted a media referral we got! Then we had a dinner appointment with some members. She swore she was feeling fine. After dinner we came home and she immediately headed straight for the bathroom. We're fine now. But it was a rough week. This week we're just going to work our tails off to make up for last week. 

I've been thinking a lot about all of the things I've learned on my mission and about myself in the past 6 months. Can you believe I've been out that long?! I'm learning more and more that if we focus on the numbers, the mission becomes more about ourselves and our own success and worrying about how other people see us. I've come to find that as we don't have people progress towards baptism or they decide they can skip church that week, I get really sad! Because they just don't understand how important all of this is. That it's not something you can just push aside and procrastinate on. I'm learning more and more to really value and be concerned for people and really for their eternal salvation. I think that's how you determine what is and isn't a successful missionary. Getting people to church and having baptisms are great and that is successful, but as we learn to become more like the Savior and develop his attributes and learn to really love people and worry about them, then we become truly successful missionaries and instruments in the Lord's hands. I love this gospel. I know it brings happiness, the kind that is not fleeting. How lucky are we to have the full gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth and to have a loving Heavenly Father that has blessed us with another witness of Jesus Christ and a prophet to help guide us? I just wish more people took the time to listen. This is intended for everyone. Every living, breathing soul that was, is and will be on the earth. What a blessing it is to have that knowledge! Go share it with all your friends!

Love you mom!

Sister Clark