It was so wonderful to read your emails, I still have a big smile on my face. :) It's always a highlight of my week! I feel like a months worth of events happen between the weeks! Thanks for all the fun stories. :) I'm excited for Dad with the new job opportunity! Working at the MTC with language development would be incredible! Dad's program is pretty incredible, especially with all the years he put into it's development! I bet missionaries would start picking up the language more quickly. Dad, I'll keep you in my prayers. Sounds like Heavenly Father has some great plans for you ahead. I'm excited for you! I'm glad Rachel had fun at the moonlight serenade dance, she looks gorgeous! I'll keep Michael and Josh in my prayers. Allergies, that's no fun... Andrew is just the cutest, thanks for sharing the fun stories. :) Sounds like you guys had an awesome week!
I've had such a wonderful week! The rainbow always comes after the rain. I had a neat realization this week. One of the questions I went into this last general conference with was, "How can I be more confident as a missionary?" I'll be honest, at times I'm nervous to talk with people, because they seem busy, or intimidating, and I'm not always the best with words. As I went in to conference, repetitively over and over the spirit told me, "Sister Clark, confidence comes through reading the Book of Mormon." I thought to myself, this seems to simple. I do read the Book of Mormon daily, yet some days I would only read a few verses, and focus my study on conference talks, preach my gospel, true to the faith, etc... Which are all great things, but I decided to put the Book of Mormon first. I've been reading 1-2 chapters each day at the beginning of my study, I have felt the spirit testify to my heart so powerfully that this is the truth. As I feel the spirit, I feel God's love for me, and It's helped me feel so close to my savior. As I have felt that love and spirit, I remember that I don't want to deny anyone of feeling what I've felt. Each day I carry my Book of Mormon sometimes I hold it close to my heart when I'm going through a hard time. It just brings me comfort. As I hold it, it helps me remember the peace I feel as I've read it. I've overcome my fear. I know that evidence of Heavenly Father's love for me is this restored gospel, I'm so grateful for all the blessings I have in my life because of it. A knowledge of God's plan for my life, the Savior's atonement and care for me, and the gift of having the spirit with me every day to comfort my heart. There is so much power that comes from reading the Book of Mormon.
This week Sister Reed and I decided to start a 40 day fast from all the things that have been taking us away from having the spirit. The list included: Negative thoughts, fear of talking with everyone, letting our minds dwell in the future instead of the present, unhealthy eating habits, talking about worldly things- movies, music, etc... We started with a fast from food, and prayed for help. Each morning we pray for strength to focus our minds on uplifting and gospel centered topics. I've been able to feel the spirit so much more! It's been a 360 degree turn around. I felt like a good missionary before, but now I feel even more receptive to the spirit. The blessings are worth all the sacrifice.
Since we began the fast, we've had so many miracles, we received a referral from the Pullman sister's to visit a girl named Ashley. We've been trying to get in contact with her for weeks, finally on Thursday we got in contact with her! :) She's darling! She's going to law school, she's African American, and she just glows. As we talked about how the same gospel that was here on the Earth when Christ was, is here again today, we gave her a Book of Mormon. She couldn't believe that we were giving her a copy. We talked about how it would bring her closer to her Savior, and she kept thanking us over and over. I'm so excited to start teaching her! :)
Another miracle, we met a guy named Cullen on campus, and he looked busy so we were hesitant to talk with him. As we began a conversation, I felt prompted to talk about how as we make mistakes in life we feel feelings of guilt and shame but that through being baptized by someone holding the authority of God, he could feel relief from all those feelings, and start fresh with a clean slate. The spirit I felt was so strong. He sat and thought, then said, "wow, that would be incredible!" He told us he's an atheist, because he doesn't know much about God. We met with him, and taught him about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As we taught him that he has a loving Heavenly Father who has perfected glorified body, and before this life he had a relationship with him, and he so badly wants him to return to him one day. Cullen asked, "Well, why do I need an Earthly Father, and a 'Heavenly Father'?" I had read in Mosiah 4 that morning, and felt inspired to share a verse.
Believe in aGod; believe that he is, and that he bcreated all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has allcwisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not dcomprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.
I then asked him, "Why do you feel it could help to be able to pray to him every day?" he thoughtfully answered, "Because he knows the plan for my life.." We testified that what he said was true. That God is all knowing, and see's the big picture, and could help him gain understanding. The spirit was so powerful during that lesson. It's moments like that when you feel you're carried to another realm. Elder Holland gave a talk called, "The Divine Companionship" he talked about how as we teach the spirit can carry us to a Heavenly Realm. I've felt that so many times this week.
We also started teaching Emmanuel , the Sister's from the Sunnyside Ward met him at a car wash weeks ago and felt prompted to speak with him. He came here this year from Sudan, He's African American, and grew up with a Christian Mother, and his Father is a Muslim. He runs track, and told us he came here in search of more opportunities and a better life. As we taught him, he explained that he had a desire to have a relationship with God, and just hadn't felt it. As we shared Joseph Smith's first vision, he just glowed. A moment later he said, "But... God and Jesus Christ are one person" he looked at the picture, and saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ standing side by side. Sister Reed asked, "How did you feel as we shared Joseph Smith's experience?" He said, "I felt so moved, it's different, but I like it." We explained that what he felt was the spirit and that it always testifies of truth. "Joseph, that's my middle name." He said with a smile. Chynna bore testimony that she knew this was Christ's restored gospel. It was such an incredible lesson. :)
I am so grateful for the spirit and that it testifies of the reality of Jesus Christ, and God's love. This week I've relied on Heavenly Father so much to help me know what to say. :) I know that as you feel the spirit you feel God's love, and that is such a powerfully motivating force in our lives!
I love each one of you and hope you have a wonderful week! Thanks for all of your prayers in my behalf and in behalf of those we're teaching. I can feel them every day! :) I hope you each have a wonderful week!
Love Always, Sister Sarah Clark