Thanks so much for the pictures and the emails, you guys are the best! It looks like Andrew had such a fun birthday, it's finally my P-Day, so something may be coming in the mail for his belated birthday soon here. I bet he was in heaven opening that cute Thomas the Train, Andrew heaven right there. :) He's sure growing up so fast, I can't believe he's three! I'm so glad Andrew came to our family, I can't even imagine our family without him now. That's exciting to see that Dad got a new car! What kind of car is it? It's very classy, I like it, good choice. I'm so happy for Michael, he got Mrs. Bremer?! That's so exciting, I bet he's going to have such an incredible year- she sounds like an incredible teacher! What a blessing, now he can have the best of both worlds - a great teacher, and a fun experience with all the great activities at Kaysville elementary. I'm so happy for him! I can't believe Natalie is off to Boston... How exciting! It was sure fun to see the darling way Colton asked Rachel to homecoming! How fun, you guys will have to keep me posted on how she answers him. Also, I loved the story about the Black's they sound like an incredible family!
So to answer your questions
1. Brother Dalton's referral isn't in my area, I am hoping to talk to the mission president at our next zone meeting. Which should be coming very soon here.
2. We get to attend the temple every other transfer, (a transfer happens every 6 weeks) I got to go with my companion today, the Spokane Temple is so beautiful! I loved the new film as well, it was so touching and I felt like you could connect more with the characters. It was incredible, and I felt I gained much more insight from it!
3. Thanks so much Mom, you are so sweet! I would love that actually... If you could possibly send me the corduroy skirt (in the green tub in my room) and the Polka-dot skirt with the pink flowers, (Should be in my closet on the shelf on the left hand side) and maybe one more shirt for P-Day, (possibly my favorite blue with the beads, that would be wonderful!) If you can't find some of them, no worries. Thanks so much! You are wonderful!
Anyway, this week has sure been wonderful! So fun trivia for you about Washington... There is a huge population of Russian people here, so some of the billboards are written in Russian! It's so neat. Also, Washington is known as the land of meat and potatoes. Everyone here feeds us meat and well, you probably guessed, potatoes. haha. It's delicious, but sometimes it's a little taxing afterwards while I'm biking. Something else fun about this week. We teach a less active couple- Lynn and Dianne Ellsworth, the husband Lynn makes Electric guitars, and actually made a guitar for Eddie Vanhalen, and he also created the world's biggest guitar and it was in the Guiness Book of World records for awhile. How neat is that?!
Now for the spiritual side of things, this week I have learned so much! At all of our meetings this week we have talked about the Atonement. I've come to realize that everything about the gospel is possible because of the atonement. The most important part about the Restoration is the fact that through it we have access to the atonement, in the plan of salvation if it weren't for the Atonement we couldn't get back to Heavenly Father. I've known these things my whole life, but as a missionary, I feel I am actually coming to know them for the first time. It's amazing that you can learn something, but as you delve in deeper we can receive even further revelation. I got emotional during my studies, I've never really fully understood how incredible these truths are.... Just the fact that we can eternally progress if we constantly emulate the atonement each day. Sister Knowlton has this great analogy we use in many lessons- It goes as follows...
~ Lets say you take all your worries, all your feelings of inadequacies, things you wish you could have done better during the day, regrets, etc... and put them in a box. Now close up that box, and put it at the Saviors feet. You'll want to open that box back up to see what you left in it, but don't. Just leave that box at the Saviors feet, he's already paid for it. You don't have to worry about it anymore. Then the next day, try to be a little better. Just don't forget each night to leave that box at the Saviors feet.
I love that analogy! I use it as a missionary each day, I wish I would've talked to everyone, and I'm still not perfect, sometimes I wish I could have a chance to give a lesson over again. I know that in our daily lives, if we give that box to the Savior each night, he'll help us carry it. I read this life changing talk by Elder David A. Bednar, called "The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality" we have shared it with many of those we've taught this week. Whenever I used to think about the atonement, I thought about it forgiveness of sins. It is the forgiveness of our sins, but there is another incredible part of the atonement I didn't really recognize before. That part is enabling power. It's incredible, in Elder Bednars Talk- "The Lord desires, through his atonement and by the power of the Holy Ghost to live in us- not only to direct us but also to empower us." another of my favorite exerts from the talk reads, " The enabling power of the Atonement strengthens us to do and be good and to serve beyond our own individual desire and natural capacity." It's incredible that we can be strengthened beyond our own capacity! I have felt this on my mission, as I've biked up a huge hill and felt exhausted I pray for strength and he helps me make it! I know that he can give us strength to do and overcome any challenge we may face.
As for experiences this week, we are still teaching the White's and things are going great! Thank you for your prayers for them. Also, we are teaching this wonderful family- The Abrams they are a couple in their 30's Jeremy and Natsuko (she is from Japan) and they have two darling kids named Tiffany (Age 11) and Dominique (Age 10). Sister Knowlton has been teaching them for awhile, and they are doing really well. We taught them about tithing and we had a bag of marshmallows and we gave them 10 marshmallows and asked for one back, and then we read Malachiit talks about how as we pay tithing the windows of heaven will be opened and there won't be room enough to receive it. After we read that scripture we had cute little Tiffany hold her hands open, and we poured out the whole bag of Marshmallows. It's so true though, that with tithing, in reality we get back all that we give to the Lord. Through our Beautiful Temples, Church Buildings, Activities, etc... It's amazing, so the Lord gives back to us as we give to him.
Also, tender mercy of the day. Today it's my friend Sister Hood's Birthday, and we went out to lunch to this cute Mongolian Barbeque restaurant, called Hu Hot. Funny name right? Anyway as we went to pay, our waiter told us that a gentleman who'd already left had paid for our meal! There were about 10 of us there and he'd paid for all of us, I was so touched. We didn't even get to thank him... But I was so grateful, what a wonderful man. It's amazing, I see little tender mercies here every day. The Lord's hand is in everything.
Anyway, my testimony is growing so much on this mission. It's such been such an incredible experience, and I've only been here a little over a month.
I love you all so much, I'm sure grateful to have such a wonderful family!
I hope you guys have a wonderful week!
Sister Sarah Clark