It was so wonderful to hear from all of you! It makes my whole week to hear you are all doing well. :) Since Veteran's day was on Monday, and we had zone conference yesterday, today is our P-Day. Mom, thank you so much for the birthday present! What a wonderful surprise to have Brother and Sister Feigleson hand deliver it. It was so wonderful to see them! We have such an incredible ward back home. I opened one of the gifts, I absolutely love that red sweater! :) Thank you so much, I look forward to opening them. That was so thoughtful of you. Thanks for the sweet letter as well, I love all the memories we have made together. I don't know what I would do without you in my life! :) I love you!
Everyone, Thank you for your words of encouragement, prayers, and support. I'm so grateful for each one of you. I know if it weren't for each one of you I wouldn't be where I am today. I am so grateful Heavenly Father put us together in families. Each one of you has influenced my life in so many ways, and I'm so grateful we'll get to be together for eternity! I love teaching other's the plan of salvation, and as I put the picture of our family next to the celestial kingdom, I am overcome with emotion each time. It's incredible that we can all make it their together. I can only imagine what that day will be like. I'm so grateful for Mom and Dad who have raised us in the gospel. I know that as we have learned the gospel, Mom and Dad have taught us how to walk in the light. I frequently hear the phrase, "We don't obey because we are blind, we obey because we can see." Mom and Dad, thank you so much for teaching me the gospel. I love having this gift to be out on a mission getting to share with everyone I meet, "how to walk in the light." Seeing people who don't have this light in their life, has truly helped my testimony grow of what a blessing it is to have this light in my life. We are incredibly blessed.
To start off, Sister Strong and I have had some good laughs this week. Our mission president always says, "This isn't just missionary work- It's missionary fun!" that phrase has so much truth!
Every day, I get to laugh, there's so much joy in missionary work. We had a lesson at one of our member's homes- Brother and Sister Mortenson, and they had over the Velez family. Viridiana (We call her Vidi) has two darling daughter's Mia, who just turned 8 and wants to be baptized, and 6 year old Daylene. The girls are so darling, we have been helping fellowship them with ward members and it has helped such a great deal. We have been teaching their Mother Viridiana, who was a convert of 5-6 years ago. Her testimony has been re-kindled and she wants her girls to grow up with the gospel in their lives. Viridiana is finishing up cosmetology school, and is hoping to graduate soon. It's been difficult because it has kept her from bringing her girls to church. The last 3 weeks, her wonderful visiting teacher has brought the girls to church. We have been teaching them the lesson's, as Mia is preparing to be baptized. The girls are very quiet and reserved. The Mortenson family has 5 children, 2 of their children son Kole (11) and Kate (6) have Autism, and are very energetic and then they have 2 other boys who were all over the place. Then the Velez family brought their cute little Chihuahua that was running around, and little Kole and Kate chased the dog through the plan of Salvation cut outs. haha. While we were teaching cute little 6 year old Luke held up our booklet with pictures and kept finding pictures and then he would commentate on them. It was so funny. :) He said, "Faith- is being nice to people." we couldn't help but giggle. Through all the commotion, the girls felt comfortable and were able to get out of their shells, It was so neat. The commotion turned out to be a tender mercy. :) The girls started asking questions, about the Holy Spirit, and what would happen after this life, and cute little Daylene raised her hand and said, "Sister Missionaries, guess what? I read the picture book of Mormon you gave me all by myself." we were so touched to hear she was reading on her own. The next day at church we saw the Velez girls with the Mortenson kids. So many of our less active members have been reactivated not only through their hearts being touched by the spirit, but as well through caring members, who put their arms around them. Members have just as much, or more influence then missionaries. There is the spiritual conversion, but a social conversion, feeling loved and wanted at church is so crucial as well. We have reactivated so many families through fellow ship, to see these members come back has brought just as much joy as seeing Sue step into the waters of baptism.
Yesterday, we had the most incredible zone conference! President and Sister Mullen spoke to us about their training meeting, in which they were trained by Elder Ballard. It touched me to know that Elder Ballard was trained by President Thomas S. Monson, who is a Prophet of God. So in the end, the guidance we received came from Heavenly Father. They spoke of how faith guides us in all that we do. I have seen a recurring theme throughout my studies. Faith has stood out to me over and over again. Ether 12 beautifully illustrates what faith can do for us in our lives. All miracles are brought about by faith, faith is our motivation for all action, and it motivates us to change into the people God has envisioned us to become. It helps us get through our hard times, knowing that God is just building us for greater things. We have faith, that better things lay ahead and that through relying on Christ through our struggles, we will be prepared for whatever God has in store for us. I know God has sure built me so much even these last few months. It's interesting to see that through the hard times we truly grow the most, because these are the times we learn how much we need God, and how much we must rely on him. That is when we truly learn he is there.
I love how Ether 12:4 illustrates that faith is our anchor.
Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which cometh of , maketh an to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in, being led to God.
President Mullen focused so much on the atonement, and it's healing power, and that all gifts of joy we receive come through Christ's atonement. He showed a Mormon Message that really changed my perspective.
Called, "Your Potential, Your Privilege." http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/04/your-potential-your-privilege,
You'll have to watch it, and then read the rest of this email.
Just like the man on the cruise ship, so many people in life live without using the privileges God has provided for them. As people learn of the atonement, and recognize that they can be healed from guilt they have been holding onto, they are freed. They can be enabled through difficult times, they can find strength in all things. I know that the way we access the atonement is through getting down on our knees and praying for strength. I know that as we ask God for specific help, he will give us specific guidance. I know as we seek God in answer to our challenges, he will speak words of comfort, guidance and counsel. The Book of Mormon has been my greatest source of Strength. I know the words were written specifically for us. I know the prophets in the scriptures saw each one of us, and wrote to help us with our specific challenges, under the direction of God.
I have been especially touched to see people out here in the field use the enabling power of the atonement. An Elder in our mission Elder Neilson, has Autism , which causes you to have many difficulties and social anxieties, and he has been out on a month long mission to see if he feels he can serve. He bore his testimony yesterday, and said, "That first week of my mission was probably the scariest week of my life! I was terrified, I was pushed out of my comfort zone more than I would have ever imagined! Yet, I have never felt happier in my life! I will definitely be serving a full time mission!" We all were overcome with emotion, Elder Neilson is incredible, He bore his testimony that it was through the atonement that he has overcome his fears.
I sure love all of you, and I know that anything you may be going through that Christ can strengthen, and heal you. God loves you each so deeply, and doesn't want us to go through our trials alone. He wants to be with us each step of this journey.
I love you with all my heart, and hope you have a great week!
Sister Sarah Clark