Monday, September 30, 2013

Hey Everyone, 

Thanks so much for the emails! I sure love you guys and think of you often. Mom, I meant to thank-you for the money you put on my card, that was so nice of you! I was able to get a nice new sweater (the one I was wearing in the "Best Mission" picture) and I got a pair of sweater tights, they are saving me in this cold weather, I'm so grateful! :) I sure appreciated that, and your cute letter- I love the stationary with the bikes. It hits home haha. :) I always love the cute pictures, I feel like I get to be with you guys for a moment as I look at them! Rachel looks so gorgeous in her Homecoming Dress, and I think I remember meeting Colton, he sure looks like a nice guy. He's the one from the "Fancy Date" right? How fun :) I love the one of Andrew at the Regan's home, he's so cute! 

So some fun things that have happened this week.. Yesterday at church we were talking about how we can use social media to share the gospel and they showed this clip, and Sister Scharton was the talk show host! It was so cool! :) A few days ago while Sister Strong and I were eating lunch we were talking about our fun roommate stories from last year, and Erika Bishop was one of her roommates! How fun is that?! The world just keeps getting smaller and smaller.

Also, as always, I have a weekly joke for you guys! 

There were several battle ships out at sea, a new German Commander was put in charge of making sure all the ships were doing well. A Russian ship called in and said, "We're sinking." "We're sinking" and the German Commander said, "What are you "sinking" about?" ahah :) ~ That's another of Sister Knowlton's jokes. 

Anyway, I loved hearing about all that's going on at home, Michie sounds like a neat lady, and Andrea too! That was so neat to hear about the blessing she received, and that even though she's been through so much she's still so strong! That breaks my heart to hear Brother Swim is struggling... I'll definitely keep him in my prayers. Thanks for sharing the story about Ryker's blessing, that was so touching to hear. I sure love reading your emails, I'm so grateful I have your love and support while I'm out here, it seriously helps me get through the hard times, knowing that you are all there for me. 

Well, this has been an incredible week! Although we weren't as successful "number wise", so many small miracles happened here and there. I was devastated to hear that Max relapsed, and we weren't able to visit him all week for safety reasons...We have been praying all week, and I had a special fast for him... As we sat in church yesterday, we looked back at our ward mission leader and his family, (Brother Peterson- our ward mission leader is his home teacher) and at the end of the row sat Max. I was overcome with emotion! Max made it to church! He's been in the hospital under close watch for days... During the meeting I was so grateful the speakers focused on the Atonement, and how God loves us every step of the way throughout our lives journey. I felt the speakers had been inspired as they had prepared, and I felt they were speaking to Max. I was so grateful! As we talked to Max after the meeting, he said, I'm so glad I came, every time I do I feel something special here. I'm amazed that although he's been through so much, he desires to change, and he's working towards it. 

This week I have gained so much insight, President Mullen challenged us to start a spiritual boot camp- we read "The Divine Companionship" by Jeffrey R. Holland. Although it was written for missionaries, I think it applies to all of us. He said that as missionaries, we always need to have our 3rd companion with us. The Holy Spirit, and to make sure we always give him time to teach with us. The way we can always have the Holy Spirit to be with us is to live the commandments we've been given. It's been a bit of a struggle for me, because I have a whole new set of commandments to keep. I need to wake up at 6:30a.m. and although I may be tired, study all three hours. It's not always easy, as President Mullen read 1 Nephi 3:7 he said, I know the Lord has provided a way for us to keep each and every one of his commandments. As we do this, we have The Holy Spirit, to be with us daily. I know in your lives, you can have God's divine guidance, and comfort to be with you on a daily basis if we strive to do the things he asks of us. I know that if we read our scriptures and say our prayers daily, we will be able to feel God's love, have his direction and comfort daily. This is what brings true fulfillment. 

My favorite part of being a missionary is that I get to promise blessings from our Heavenly Father. As those we teach follow the things God has asked of them, we know the promised blessings that are in store. I love telling them, as you read the scriptures- God will bless you with Guidance and Direction in your life. As you strive to go to church- God will bless you in your efforts, and make a way possible for you to go. I love being able to promise- Heavenly Father see's your efforts, and he has great love for you, and he wants to bless you. I have a testimony that God does love us, and he's just waiting to shower us with blessings, and all we must do, is the things he's asked of us. I have a testimony, that as long as we do our best, and only care about what God thinks of us, we won't be swayed by the world, we will stay strong. I know that true joy comes in doing Heavenly Father's will. As we know we are following his divine plan for us, we will feel so much joy! 

Anyway, I am so grateful for our Savior Jesus Christ, and to know we have a Heavenly Father who has a divine personalized plan and purpose for each of our lives. I pray for you guys everyday, and hope you have a wonderful week! 

Love Always, 
                     Sister Sarah Clark
Here are some fun pictures from this awesome family we ate dinner with the other night. The Young Family. :) It was there cute daughter Heather's Birthday! It's so cute she loves tractors so they made her a tractor birthday cake haha. :)

Monday, September 23, 2013

  Hey Everyone, 

Thanks for all the emails, and encouraging words. I'm so sorry to hear about Dad's business challenges... That's so neat to hear about the inspiration he received. I think it would be incredible to see the non-profit grow. I love the scripture in Luke 12:30-31 that says "Seek ye the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you." I really believe the Lord will bless you as you do his work. It's definitely taking a leap of faith, but if the spirit is guiding you in that direction, I'd say keep going that way. You all will be in my prayers. Mom, I'm so excited for you and your new calling! You're going to do such a wonderful job. 

It's been incredible to learn more about revelation as a missionary. It's really touched my heart lately as I've learned that the Holy Spirit can see the same things that God does. He can see the path of our lives and where it leads. He can see the miracles that can occur if only we follow his guidance, he can see the miracles that lie ahead. It's incredible that we can have God's guidance to be with us each and every day. Although we are physically separated from him, I know without a doubt that we can have him with us each day. As I was listening to the sacrament prayers in church yesterday it really touched my heart to hear, "To have 'his' spirit to be with us always" I know that that is true. We can always have divine guidance to be with us. How incredible to think that we can have a being- spirit with us always who knows the divine destiny of our lives, and can lead us on that path. That perfect plan that Heavenly Father designed for your life. I know he's designed a plan for each one of us individually. I know that we have to go through a lot during this life. Each one of our hard experiences was designed to help us grow. I love the analogy that heavenly father is turning us from coal to diamonds. It takes a lot of heat, and a lot of pressure to turn coal into a diamond, yet in the end that plain piece of coal can be turned into an incredibly valuable precious gemstone. We are being turned into diamonds here. It's painful, it's going to take a lot of discomfort, yet in the end it will be worth it. I know that our Savior has felt all of that pain, and he wants to be with us every step of the way during this refining process. 

So, this week had its ups and its downs. We went through the ward list, and we have been going to visit many of the less actives. Many of them are very bitter toward the church, it's so sad to see that many of them are so bitter because they had a difficulty with a person in the ward. I came up with an analogy- " Imagine your favorite dessert. You see someone you are bitter towards eating that favorite dessert and they are enjoying it so much! Because you don't like that person, you decide not to let yourself eat that dessert anymore because if that person you dislike is eating that dessert it must not be good anymore." It's so sad to see that many people because of bitter feelings, keep themselves from tasting of God's love because of imperfect people. We should never deprive ourselves of feeling of God's love or tasting that dessert because of bitter feelings. The two are not associated. I know that the gospel is true, and will always bring joy. Yet, as members we are imperfect, that's why we need the gospel to strive to become perfect. 

As well, many of our investigators haven't been keeping commitments, so it's been a hard decision knowing what to do. Sister Strong and I have been fasting and praying, and we feel we need to start from ground zero, and put those investigators in the area book until Heavenly Father prepares them more. After we fasted yesterday, I got this strong feeling that we needed to go see Jane (The woman we took on the church tour.) She isn't in our area, but Bishop McFarland told President Mullen about it, and he gave us special permission to see her. As we biked through the hard rain, we made it to her home. She hesitantly invited us in. We learned her husband had passed a few years ago, and she talked about her family who she loves dearly. We felt prompted to share the "Plan of Salvation" with her. She has a lot of anxiety, yet as we told her, "Jane, you are a daughter of God, and you know him and he knows you and loves you so much." Her anxiety calmed, and tears came to her eyes. She said, "I've never heard that, or thought of it that way." I was touched to see her heart softened. We then explained how to make it to the celestial kingdom, and I happened to have a picture of our family with me and I put it next to the Celestial Kingdom, and told her that it's our goal to make it their together. We explained the blessings of the temple. As we closed the lesson, Jane said, "I love you guys, and I just feel something so special when you come." we explained to her that it was the spirit she was feeling. It was so incredible to get to share all of this with Jane. I've just taken it for granted... I'm so grateful our family can be together forever, and that to live with Heavenly Father and Christ again, all we have to do is live Christ's gospel, Faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, which leads to Repentance (Simply put- changing for the better) Baptism, and Recieving the gift of the Holy Spirit (so we can be guided back to our father in heaven.) and then we must endure to the end (and have all those special ordinances performed) then we can progress forever! What incredible truth we have. I'm so grateful to know these things. 

Other miracles of the week- Max has now been sober almost 20 days! We got to teach the Laurels for mutual, and our friend Uilani came with us and shared her conversion story. She's only 17 and she had heard of the church, and researched it for about 2 years. Yet, no one invited her. She associated with several LDS people, yet no one took the initiative to invite. Finally, this last year on her way to a graduation party, she sat by this guy she hadn't met before. He invited her to come to church with him, and she gladly accepted. She was baptized a month later, and before she was even baptized she started going out with the missionaries to help them teach. She is incredible! She comes out to help us teach all the time. Her Mom was baptized two weeks ago. Anyway, she is such an inspiration to me. As she shared her story with the Laurels, I think she really helped them gain the courage to share with their friends. So, don't be afraid to share with your friends, I know only good things can come. :) 

~ I have sure gained a testimony of fasting this week. That as we sacrifice, we come so close to the Lord, and are more open to his guidance. As I've fasted more often, I've come to realize how much I need the Lord. The more we sacrifice, the more he will bless us. I love you all so much, and I hope you’re doing well. I pray for you all often, and I'm so grateful for you all in my life! 

Hope you all have a wonderful week! I love you guys so much!

Love Always, 

Sister Sarah Clark 

Monday, September 16, 2013

One of the Sister Missionaries who was going home came to say her goodbyes.

Sister Knowlton, Sister Maloy (who they live with) and Sarah.

Sarah and her new companion, Sister Strong- she's from Orem, Utah.
                                    September 16, 2013

Hey Everyone, 

It was so fun to read your weekly email, and I always love the pictures! What neat stories!

I loved the story about Andrew getting a "purse" haha, that made my whole day! He's such a cutie, I sure miss him! That's great Michael has decided to stick with piano, Michael- I have to tell you that I didn't like practicing the piano for the longest time, but now I'm so glad I stuck with it. Last year in college when I was struggling, I would go to the institute building, and just play the piano and it helped calm me, and now since I've practiced so much over the years, I can sit down and play for pleasure. I know that you will get to that point. Also, I'm the only person in our district that can play the piano. I'm able to play the hymns each week, and I feel it really helps bring the spirit to have accompaniment as we sing. So I'm so proud of you! You'll be so glad you're sticking with it! Also, it's so fun to hear Josh is having a blast in Junior High, sounds like the girls keep getting cuter and cuter. haha :) Mom and Dad, I'm sure glad you guys were able to have fun in Park City! It sounds like your all doing so well, I'm glad to hear that. I'm so happy the S.D card made it home safely, and I'm glad you got some good laughs out of our stories. 

So I'll start off with the weekly joke- this is another of Sister Knowlton's. 

There was a young man with long hair, he went to his Dad to ask if he could borrow the car. The Dad in response said, "Yes, as soon as you get a haircut." The boy was disappointed he came back to his Dad several times asking to borrow the car, his Dad responded over and over that if the boy got a hair cute he could drive the car. The boy really liked his long hair, and wanted to keep it. He came up with a clever retort for the next time he asked his father if he could borrow the car. The weekend came, and he asked his father again, "Can I borrow the car?" his father replied as usual, "Yes, as soon as you get a haircut." the boy replied, "Well, Jesus had long hair", the father said, "Yes, and Jesus walked." 

I got a good laugh out of that one. :) 

So as I mentioned in my letter home, I got a new companion Sister Strong. We have seen so many incredible miracles this week! If you remember Max, the 63 year old, who has struggled with drinking for years and years.. We've been praying and fasting for him to overcome his addiction. He has now been sober for 12 days! 12 days! Isn't that incredible?! He went from drinking 20 beers a day, to complete sobriety! It hasn't been easy at all... He has had seizures the past few days, and pneumonia.. It breaks my heart to see him struggle... But he's incredible! After seeing him almost daily last transfer and talking of the power of the atonement, he gained strength and desire to change. We got special permission to go to ARP this week with him. (Addiction Recovery Program) it's so neat, it's a program at Central Valley High School and those that attend share how the atonement is helping them overcome their addictions. So Sister Strong, I and two of our Ward Missionaries are going with him this week. So keep Max in your prayers. I feel his story is very similar to that of Alma, we read Alma 36:7-25 with him, Alma recounts "How bitter was my pain.... yet how sweet was my joy." so Max is going through much pain, yet he says as his children and grand children see his example, it's making the journey worth it. He's incredible! 

We had another incredible miracle this week that has strengthened my testimony of following promptings of the Holy Spirit. We had a church tour scheduled on Thursday, it ended up falling through. We were about to leave to head to our next appointment. We got a message and our investigator couldn't be there for the lesson. We felt a little crushed. Things weren't going well... We saw Bishop McFarland (of the YSA ward) and his wife cleaning up the grounds outside. We were about to head out, yet I got this strong spiritual prompting to go and help him and his wife. As we helped them clean the grounds there was a woman standing outside, her backyard looks out to the church parking lot. We felt prompted to speak with her. We learned that her name was Jane- she's about 60 years old. She's a Lutheran, and she's lived right next to our church building for 37 years. We learned that anytime the middle schooler's would start a fight by the church, she'd call the grounds people. She had been watching over the church for 37 years, yet no one had ever invited her in. Bishop McFarland came over and told her he believed that we had been sent here for her. He invited her to take a church tour with us and she agreed to come. As we took her through and sat in the chapel and spoke of the sacrament, her eyes were filled with tears. We explained that what she was feeling was the spirit. It was such an incredible experience! We were able to take 6 people on church tours this week, it was so incredible! 

~ Throughout my mission, each day I come to learn more and more of the importance of the Saviors atonement. I read a talk this week by Brad Wilcox called "His Grace is Sufficient" it's in this months Ensign. It touched my heart. I have never exactly understood grace. I learned that Grace, basically means that because of Christ's sacrifice we will all be resurrected. So yes, we are all physically saved. Yet to feel comfortable in God's presence we must work hard to become Heavenly people. That is how we show gratitude for Christs sacrifice is by becoming better each week. Brad related this to the analogy of a mother paying for piano lessons for her child. Does the mother expect the child to pay back her back? No, she has already paid for the lessons, she simply asks the child in turn to practice and do his/her best each week. She isn't expecting her child to be perfect, and of the caliber of a carnagie hall pianist. She is simply asking the child to do his/her best. He related that Christ has already paid the price, yet we must "Practice" each week, and do our best to become the best "Pianist" or people we can be. So that when we return to heaven, we can show him what we've done with the gift he's given us. This talk is on BYU Channel, probably YouTube as well. I'd suggest listening to it. It's incredible! 

Anyway, I'm so grateful for this gospel and how powerful Christ's Atoning sacrifice is. It's incredible to see how it can transform lives. I'm so grateful to get to be out serving the people of Washington. I know Heavenly Father loves each one of us so much! I know that Christ sacrificed for us because he knows of our incredible value, and that we are worth worlds! Don't ever forget that you are a child of God with great purpose here. 

I love you all so much and think of you often! Hope you have a wonderful week! 


Sister Sarah Clark 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Hey Everyone, 

I'm only have a few minutes to email today... Thanks so much for your emails! I sure appreciate them, and love that I get to hear from you guys! 
I'm glad to hear all is going well! 

So funny joke of the week for you guys...

There was a little 8 year old boy who was going to be baptized on the same day as 6 other children. This little boy said he wanted to be baptized, but only if he could go first. His parents explained, that they couldn't control the order, and that he might have to be alright with going 4th or 5th. They asked him why he was so concerned and he said that he didn't want to get the other kids sins on him. (haha, get it? As your sins are washed away) Our relief society president Sister Woolf told us that joke, and I got a good laugh out of it. :) 

Anyway, this week has been an adventure! I'm slightly torn, transfers happen tomorrow and Sister Knowlton is going to Terrace View. I'm sure going to miss her! She's been such a wonderful trainer. I'm staying in the Evergreen Ward, and my new companion will be Sister Strong. Everyone says she's awesome, so I can't wait to meet her! I love the Evergreen Ward, I'm glad to stay. 

So this week a particular scripture that has touched me is in Mosiah 24: 13- 15
13 And it acame to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.
 14 And I will also ease the aburdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand asbwitnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their cafflictions.
 15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord didastrengthen them that they could bear up their bburdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with cpatience to all the will of the Lord.
I love this scripture, I think it's amazing that the Lord can lighten our burdens, that even we can't feel them upon our backs. I think he can truly help us feel joy through anything. He can help us find joy in homework, work, etc... As long as we rely on him, and ask him for that help. Even though as missionaries we get rejected often, that is when Sister Knowlton and I have learned to rely on the Lord. I've learned the secret is to keep a good sense of humor, and look for the good in each day. The other day we both got the stomach flu, so instead of complaining we used that time to catch up on training, and then we watched these funny 80's bible video's and even though we were both so sick we were laughing and I felt our pain was eased. 

Anyway, I'm so sorry I can't write more... We were out running errands, and we just had a family call us and tell us we have a dinner appointment in a few minutes... 

Well, I love you guys so much! Hope you have a wonderful week!

Love Always, 

Sister Sarah Clark 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Hey Everyone, 

Sorry I didn't email yesterday, holidays are some of the best days to proselyte because everyone is home! I think that was the first time I've "labored" on labor day. It was great, very productive day! Anyway, thanks for the emails everyone! I'm glad you guys had a good Labor day as well 1,000 Springs in Idaho looked like a lot of fun! The Winkelman's and the Becker's are sure awesome, what a fun trip! I'm glad you guys are all doing well. So no Hooper this year? haha. Thank you so much for the package, that was so sweet of you Mom! It came on a day that I was struggling, Sister Knowlton and I especially loved the biscuits! How did you know those were my favorite, can't get much better than a package of all your favorite things, that was such a fun surprise! Not to mention, I loved the cute note from Andrew, that was hilarious, sweeping up the water with the broom, and Sister Knowlton and I got a good laugh about the Holy Ghost story. I miss cute little Andrew, he just gets funnier each week. I don't know how I got so lucky to have such a wonderful family. 

Well, it's been a good week. Lately a large portion of our work has been with the members. We have been following up with members to see who has come to their mind, it's been neat to watch them grow in their desires to share the gospel with their friends. After their fast, we encouraged them to pray sincerely for their friends, and the results have been incredible! When we follow up with them we share a Mormon Message- "Lifting Burdens" (You'll have to watch it, it's incredible!) after we watch it with them, we share the fact that as we share the gospel, we invite those we love to access the atonement, God's greatest expression of love for us, that provides relief from all that may be holding us from feeling God's love. Then we brainstorm idea's of different invitations they could extend to their friends. Ideas such as ward activities, (Relief Society, Mutual, Etc...) Baptisms, Farewells, etc... It's amazing that when others come to activities, they see the joy that we have, and they then in turn desire that happiness in their lives. We went to follow up with Sister Paventy, and she said she didn't know anyone who wasn't LDS, but she has neighbors on all sides who she hasn't met that aren't LDS and she has a goal to meet her 10 closest neighbors within the next month. How neat is that? Then we went to follow up with another family the Matthes, their grandfather lives with them. It touched my heart to see that even he wanted to get involved, and wanted to share with the woman across the street. He's offered to go mow her lawn, and invite her to our day of service. Then we went to follow up with the Robinson family, I was so touched to see all of their children wanting to get involved, cute 10 year old Melissa said "I want to invite my friend Hannah to Activity Days, Church, The Halloween Party, and Everything!" it was cute to see her enthusiasm. It's so touching to see everyone so involved. It's been an inspiration to me. So many seeds are being planted here, it's incredible! Just imagine how many more people could enjoy the joy of the gospel if everyone went out of their way to be a friend. I think you guys are amazing, you are such good examples to me as well! 

Anyway, the recurring theme in my studies this week has been that of prayer. I back tracked in the Book of Mormon, so I could get a refresher before we taught the Whites, and I read 1 Nephi 3. It's the story of Nephi and his Brothers going back to get the plates. I'm sure you're all very familiar with it, but it struck me differently as I read it this time. If you remember in the first attempt made by Laman, he simply "Asks" Laban for the plates, and he is chased off by Laban. In the second attempt, Nephi thinks out a plan, and they take all their riches to trade Laban. Sounds smart right? It was, yet the plan still fell through... After they'd done all in their power, an angel came to them and said "The Lord will deliver Laban into your hands" (v 29). I related this to prayer, sometimes I pray just expecting an answer.  Sometimes I wish he would just grant me what I'd prayed for, that would be wonderful! Yet, that's not how God works, he wants me to learn from the trials he gives me. Especially on my mission, Sister Knowlton and I pray, that people will desire to know more about the gospel, yet we have to come up with a plan and receive revelation here, and revelation there. Then usually in the end it's not by the plans Sister Knowlton and I have come up with that people are touched. In the end, it's truly the spirit that touches people. So after we ask, and come up with a plan and follow through with it, God will take care of the rest. I've just come to realize, through every experience, if he didn't just answer my prayers the way I wanted him to, I wouldn't learn anything. 
It's also been interesting to see that the more specific I am with my prayers, the more specific the answer I receive is. I've also learned that when I pray, sometimes I want God to align his will with mine, but in reality, as I pray I've learned to align my will with his.  I have a testimony that if we pray, then come up with a plan and follow through and do all we can in our power, God will take care of the rest. Just like After all Nephi had done, the Lord delivered Laban into their hands so they could bring about Heavenly Father's plan. I know he has an incredible plan for each of us, and his plan is much better than any we could ever come up with ourselves. Don't forget to trust him. 

Anyway, I hope you guys have a wonderful week! 

I love you guys so much!

Love, Sister Sarah Clark 
(Sarah's Ward Mission Leader testing out her brakes)