Monday, December 16, 2013

Hey Everyone,

Thank you for the emails! It was so fun to hear about how you're all doing!  Rachel looks so gorgeous in that green prom dress! Looks like she had a fun time. :) The Christmas program looked awesome, they went all out haha. Thanks for all the fun pictures, like they say a picture is worth a thousand words. So I got a novel! I'm so thankful you document our family's history. It's so fun to be able to see what you're all up to, although I'm not with all of you, I'm so grateful we get to stay in touch. I sure love each one of you so much, especially during this Christmas season, as I've had time to reflect on all of my blessings, you are all the greatest blessing! I love you all and think of you often. 

Thanks for all your kind words of encouragement. Your support means the world to me! Thanks for the fun pictures! Mom, thank you so much for that nice warm coat! It has been a life saver! Also, that is so sweet of Grandma Walpole to send that money, that is so sweet of her! I know if it weren't for your help, I couldn't be out here having this incredible experience. This has been the most life changing experience! I've loved every moment of it! It's crazy to see that 5 months have already gone by. I'm grateful for every moment I've had out here. Although it's hard work, walking out in the cold each day, and looking for people who will listen to our message, when we find the few that will listen, it makes it all worth it. On the days I feel I've put in my all, yet no one is receptive, I feel God is helping me grow. It's made me reflect on my gratitude for the knowledge I have. It's been a struggle to watch and see those who won't listen, I want this joy for them so much... Yet, it truly takes an open heart, and humility. On the days no one will listen I still think to myself, how can we bring joy to this person as we represent the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, so that one day in the future they will have good nostalgia of us as representatives. There is quite a mantle that comes with being a representative of Jesus Christ. 

 As I put on my name tag each day- I look at the words- Sister Clark- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I feel this great sense of responsibility. Although as members we don't wear a name badge each day- 

I loved that Elder Neil L. Anderson said, If you’re not a full-time missionary with a missionary badge pinned on your coat, now is the time to paint one on your heart—painted, as Paul said, “not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God.”  In our baptismal covenants we promise to stand as representatives of Jesus Christ. What an incredible mantle each of us carry. You are a representative of Jesus Christ. 

Well, this has been a great week! It's been a humbling week, As a missionary sometimes I tend to make the mistake of judging my success by numbers and the weekly reports we send in. Even when we've worked hard, and we account to our district leader, at times I feel we failed...  yet I've come to realize that success is not measured by numbers. Success is measured by obedience, and effort. Sometimes we put a label on success for ourselves, we say "If _______ happens, that means I was successful." This week we weren't able to find many who were interested in our message, yet looking back at this week we have been building and encouraging our members, and we've seen miracles! We've been seeing several families and sharing the discussions with them. It's been neat to see their own personal conversion grow. As we've taught, I feel they are gaining perspective of the great joy their friends can come to experience. Each family we've visited this week has a prospective family they are praying for, and are planning to invite them to hear more. Before I came out on a mission, as I thought of missionary work, I thought 97% of the work was to be done by missionaries alone. I thought they found those people interested in the gospel, I didn't think much at all of member involvement. Yet coming out on a mission I've recognized the great role of members. I wasn't a very good member missionary before I came out, as I I was able to take part in the discussions with Katie I started to catch a glimpse of what sharing the gospel with my friends could be like, and when I return home that is my goal, I want to a much better member missionary! I'm realizing this work can't be done without members. As members invite their friends and let the missionaries have an opportunity to meet them, this is when miracles happen. Because the members in the ward are truly those who will be there for these new members coming into the church. We only get to be in area's for a short period of time, we eventually leave. The members are there forever.  It takes courage, yet yields miraculous results that last an eternity. As we invite our friends to come home into the fold of God, we invite them to partake of Eternal Life, to be with their family forever, to feel of the great love of God, to have access full and complete access to the atonement, to know their identity as children of God, and know of their great potential. As we imagine them in white, and imagine them feeling the joy we feel, I can promise our fears will dissolve. I know that with these moments you have to share the gospel, these are the great blessings you are giving to those in your lives. It's so wonderful to hear of all the great opportunities you've had, I know Heavenly Father is incredibly grateful for the courage you've taken to invite his children to come to him. I know as we share with others, this is the greatest way to strengthen our own testimonies. I loved what Jonah said, "Kind acts, can melt frozen hearts." :) 

So exciting news! On January 11, Elder Neil L. Anderson will be coming to speak with us as missionaries! He's going to be speaking to our zone of 20 people for an hour! I'm so excited to get to meet an apostle of the Lord. I know that this isn't the missionaries work- It's truly the work of God, and that it is guided through him by his servants, the Prophet and Apostles. Who in turn guide and direct us. I know this church is true and that it is directed by God. What a testimony we have to know this! 

I love you all so much, and I hope you have a great week ahead, I'm not 100% sure about what time I'll be able to Skype on Christmas, if you could email me your Skype information that would be wonderful! Sister Jensen said we can Skype at her house. I can have her text you the information as soon as I get it! I'm so excited to get to talk with you guys! Thanks again for the video's on the S.D. Card, that has been such a treat! Thanks for all your kind words, I love you guys so much! 

Love Always,

 Sister Sarah Clark  

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