Monday, July 28, 2014

Hey Mom, Dad, Rach, Josh, Michael, and Andrew! :) 

Thank you so much for your emails! It looks like you guys had such fun week! I always love hearing your stories. I loved the pictures this week, and last weeks too! Mom, you are such a good family historian! I'm so grateful to have all these fun pictures! :) I'm so happy for Heidi!  She and her husband are so cute together! I was so glad to hear you guys had a fun time in Bear Lake, and that you were able to spend time with the Allreds! :) I'm glad you had a good time. 

Mom, thanks for sharing with me everything you've learned, it's really brought peace to me, hearing that you guys are doing alright. I want to thank you again for the darling package with all the "Hugs" they were so cute, and it made my whole week! :) It came just at the right time, it was on a day that I was really going through a hard time, I'm so grateful for you guys! I couldn't keep going without you! Mom and Dad, I'll definitely keep you in my prayers. I'm sorry you had a hard week, but it was touching to me to see how Heavenly Father helped you through. You all have grown so much within this last year- it's amazing to see the perspective you have gained with your trials. Thank you for your wonderful example to me. I've come to learn that the deeper the trials we have, the more sorrow we feel- the sweeter the joy we are able to feel later. Heavenly Father has deepened my capacity to feel joy as I've gone through trials, which sounds contradictory, but it's true!   Mom, I know you are blessing so many lives as the Relief Society President, although it's not always easy I know you are growing so much, you are becoming more and more like the Savior.  Dad, I've been so touched to see how much trust you have in Heavenly Father, you are also cultivating even more deepened Christ like attributes. Sometimes Heavenly Father is helping us learn more patience. Something Sister Reed taught me is that- Faith is to know God can fulfill his promises, Hope is believing that he will. I admire that you are growing in your hope, and patience. I know I've definitely had to learn those two great lessons while I've been out on my mission. I know the lessons he's teaching us now, although they aren't exactly the blessings we wish for, are blessings of change that will bless our lives forever. I'm so proud of each one of you, and I know Heavenly Father is as well! 

This week was good, poor Sister Reed was going through a really difficult time this last week, in the mean time I went on exchanges with Sister Rees and Piliami. We covered three wards. We weren't able to get as much work done in our area as I'd wished, but I loved teaching with them. We were able to teach their incredible investigator Monze, she's so beautiful, she's from South America, and we were able to teach her that we have a living prophet today, and the spirit radiated so strongly as we taught. I asked her about the differences she'd seen as she'd been meeting with the Sisters, and she bore powerful testimony that she had found God again. That she had been wanting to raise her 1 year old son Eli with religion, but her and her husband hadn't decided on a church yet. Although I didn't know her, I felt so much love for her. I felt the spirit testify to my heart how special she was to Heavenly Father. I was able to teach that whenever Heavenly Father establishes his church on the Earth he always calls a prophet to be his steward over his household here on the Earth. That prophets help keep his truths straight, and they point us to Christ, and share exactly what God would have us hear. We showed the video We Need Living Prophets in the video many people share their testimonies of how they came to know President Monson is a prophet. She in tears bore testimony that she felt the spirit, that she believes he is our prophet. After teaching that lesson, I gained an even deeper appreciation for President Monson, an appreciation that we do have a prophet today. I'm so grateful for the safety and security I have in my life, knowing we have a prophet who speaks for God. As I looked at her little son, I saw a future missionary. It was touching to think about how many lives one person can influence. It was an incredible experience. 

We also taught a part member family. The Henry's. The wife is very strong in the gospel, but her husband isn't a member. He is a baptist, and is very devout in his faith. He believes in the bible, that that is it. That we don't need anything else. We had the opportunity to teach them about the Restoration, he brought up his concerns. We asked, "Brother Henry, Why would it be important to know these things are true? What difference would it make in your life to know we have a prophet today?" He sat and thought. He then responded, "I guess it would be important to know if there was a prophet." As he re-evaluated the messages importance, the spirit touched and softened his heart. He still is unsure, but I know his heart was softened. 

Other miracles this week. Every week we go fill up our car at the same gas station. One day while we went in to pay for our gas, we met the cashier- Scott. He said he was an athiest, but we gave him a card, and invited him to give us a call if he was ever looking for more in his life. 3 weeks later- this last week he called us and wanted to meet! We met with him, and his heart was softened, he said that he didn't have faith in God, but he wanted to. We have a church tour with him tonight. Another miracle, as we went to teach Meghan and Matthew this week, Matthew had invited a friend over from work, her name is Carrie. She came in for two of our lessons this week. Matthew told us that Carrie has a boyfriend who is inactive, that missionaries had stopped by her door repeatedly, but she'd never wanted to talk with them. After our lesson last night, she gave Sister Reed and I a huge hug. That was an incredible miracle! :) We also met a girl at the Farmer's Market this week- I don't usually go but I was with Sister Rees and Piliami. Things are so much more successful now! We made balloon animals for the kids, and while the kids were waiting for their balloons, others of us would talk to their parent's about doing family history. A member jokingly came up to us and said, "Are they teaching you missionaries to make balloon animals in the MTC?" aha, we got a good laugh out of that. I was able to meet a girl named Angeline, she came up to the booth wanting to know more about the Book of Mormon, we taught her the restoration, the spirit was so powerful! She lives in Spokane, so we're going to see if the missionaries there can get in contact with her. So many miracles this week!  

I've learned so much throughout my studies this week! I wish I had more time to write to you about all that I've learned, I was able to start over the book of Mormon two or so transfers ago, and I'm now in Alma 10. It's incredible that each time I've read the Book of Mormon, I learn something different from each chapter. It's amazing that as I've changed Heavenly Father teaches me new and different lessons. I know that the Book of Mormon was truly inspired by God. I receive answers every time I read it! 
Well, I love each of you so much! I know each one of you has an incredible influence on those around you, and that you are touching so many lives. Thank you for touching mine. I know that the Savior is always there to take us by the hand, that as it says in 1 Nephi 21:13-16, that we are graven upon his hands, that he is always aware of you. I know as we feel the spirit touch our hearts as we read of him, and learn of him, that it testifies of his love. I know before we came into this life, we walked and talked with him, he loves you and knows you personally and you know him. I'm so grateful for his atonement, I need it every day. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week, I love you and pray for you! 

Love, Sister Sarah Clark

Picture Caption- Pizza Dinner with the Davis's and Olsen's in the Sister's ward! :)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Hey Everyone!

Thank you so much for the darling package with the "Hugs" that was so cute! I loved all of them :) Josh's especially made me laugh, "Even though you can't hug guys" That gave me a good laugh. :) It made my whole week! I sure love you guys! I can't believe I've been out for a year now! It's crazy how quickly the time goes by! It's been an incredible experience to see the changes that have happened in my life this last year, and in the lives of those I've had the privilege of teaching. Even though there's been hard times, it's all been worth it, I wouldn't trade this experience. It was so fun to read your emails, it looks like you guys had a fun busy week! Rachel and her room-mates are all gorgeous! I'm so excited for her, looks like a fun group of girls! There's nothing like your freshman year of college, that was probably the funnest year of my life! It's crazy to hear all of Rachel's friends are leaving on missions! I loved Rachel's story about rescuing the guy on TV haha. It's so fun to see everyone growing up, Andrew has sure grown so much! He even has his own pet now? aha. Oh, I love you all so much! :) 

I have been blessed with so many tender mercies this week! We went out to La Casa Lopez for my year mark, and Sister Reed was so sweet, she said she'd treat me. As we walked up to pay, someone had anonymously paid for all 8 of us! It was the kindest thing anyone's ever done! I wished so badly that I could thank them. I absolutely love our district this transfer two times out of the week, we all call in and share our miracles, and we all shared our stories of why we decided to serve missions, our district is so close, I love them! :) 

Well, it's been a great week here in Moscow. We've been meeting with Meghan and Matthew every day. I have a testimony of daily contact, when they feel the spirit on a frequent basis, they continue to want the spirit most above everything else. In 3 Nephi 19 after Christ teaches the Nephites, and prays for them it talks about how their hearts and desires are changes in verse 9 it says. 

 9 And they did pray for that which they most desired; and they desired that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them.
The spirit is how we feel God's love, and that is the greatest thing we can have in this life. 

As Meghan and Matthew have been reading the Book of Mormon daily, and we've been meeting with them daily, and there is such an incredible change in them! Their countenances just glow. They are still praying about marriage, because if they get married they will lose some of Meghan's disability social security money. We keep reading 1 Nephi 3:7- Heavenly Father will prepare a way. There was a musical about Christ's life this week, and we walked over with Matthew and Meghan to the church where it was held, and Matthew stopped on the side walk and said, "I've figured it out, when you guys come over we always feel so happy, it's like you guys bring a 3rd person- the Holy Spirit comes with you." An incredible warmth rushed over me, I've always known the spirit comes with us, but it was incredible that he recognized it! We learned this week more of Matt's concerns, he feels really bad for some things that he's done in the past. He feels he's not worthy to be forgiven, he said he's not sure God loves him. We had a powerful lesson later on repentance and watched, "The Savior Wants to Forgive" and we'd also given him Alma 36 to read, and he felt the spirit testify that it was true, that he can be forgiven. 
We shared 

2 Nephi 28:32 

 32 Wo be unto the Gentiles, saith the Lord God of Hosts! For notwithstanding I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto  them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me;for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts.

We talked about how Heavenly Father's hand is always extended, The spirit bore powerful testimony that forgiveness is real. The Savior's Atonement is real, and it covers all our mistakes, no matter how big or small they might be. 

As I was reading a talk this week by Elder Bednar called, "That we might not Shrink" he quotes Orson F. Whitney
“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God … and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire”

 It taught me that the deeper the pain we feel, the greater our joy becomes. I'm learning that trials help us feel more deeply both sadness, and joy. Because we become more grateful for the joyful times, more grateful for what to some people seem like "small miracles". Heavenly Father has taught me how to be grateful for the joyful times, I appreciate them more than I ever have! 

I also love President Hinkley's quote, 
"Life is not just to be endured, it's to be enjoyed!"

Matthew's joy is able to feel so much joy, because he realizes the atonement is real! :) 

This week we started teaching Daniel, he's Catholic, but he has an open heart and is excited to learn. He's so kind, we've had two lessons with him so far. I've learned that taking the time to listen, and understand is so crucial. He believes God's authority never left the Earth, and showed us  6 marked scriptures about authority. We lovingly listened, and told him we saw where he came from, but explained how important a prophet is- that the authority can only be on the Earth when a prophet is called. After we both understood each other, our relationship strengthened with him. I've learned people don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care. His heart is open and ready. :) 

Thank you for all of your prayers, They help strengthen me each day. I'm so proud of each one of you for who you've become this last year. I know each one of you is blessing so many lives! I love all of you so much! The Gospel is True! :) 

Love Always, 

Sister Sarah Clark 

Excerpt from Sister Reed’s letter:  “Yesterday at church, a girl named Brianna was giving her farewell talk. She talked about the pioneers and also how missionaries are like pioneers, and there's one thing she said that I loved. I'm going to extend the analogy and elaborate more than she did, but just know that the original idea was not mine, it was hers :)

She was talking about how there were so many different pioneers trecking along to Salt Lake, mainly three different kinds. Some were at the front of the handcart. They were strong and had energy, and were able to push forward. They were doing their best. They helped much and were an asset to the handcart companies. God saw them, and He loved them. 
There were also those who didn't have the strength to push in front, but could walk along the side of the handcart. They felt like they should be able to do more, push harder, and help contribute more. But walking on the side was their best. They were also an asset to the companies. And God saw them, and He loved them. 
Then there were the pioneers at the back. The dust from the ground was flying in their faces. They couldn't push. They could hardly walk. They were barely holding on. They felt like a burden to everyone else. They felt they should have been at the front, pushing with energy. They were capable of it before, but they had nothing left. But God saw them. And He still loved them. 

My capabilities as a missionary and a person go up and down. Sometimes I feel like I'm helping so many people, that God is so proud of me, and that I'm doing much good. Then there are times when all I can do is walk, but I still feel successful in God's eyes because that is my best. Then sometimes I feel like I'm at the back of the handcart. I am barely holding on. But my Heavenly Father still sees me. He knows how hard I'm trying. And He is just proud of me for not giving up.

Heavenly Father sent His son, Jesus Christ to the earth. My Savior knows what it's like to be all three. 

There's an account of a pioneer in the Martin Handcart company that I heard about at BYU last year. He was in a place where people were condemning the Martin handcart company for leaving so late in the year, and so then when the winter came so many of them died. He stood up to them, and his words have always touched me.

“I have pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said, I can go only that far and there I must give up, for I cannot pull the load through it.’” He continues: “‘I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of God were there.

“‘Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Handcart Company.’” 

I am not sorry that I came on a mission. The price I have paid to become acquainted with God is a privilege to pay, and I would do it again. Even though there has been little apparent fruit from our labors, look at me. I am the fruit. I will keep going. I love my mission. I love my Heavenly Father. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. Sometimes there may be things that I don't understand, but God sees me. And He loves me. I know that. And "One day, everything will make sense" :)

I love you all!! Have an incredible week! And remember that God sees you, and loves you!

Sister Reed

The missionaries went out to dinner to celebrate Sarah's One Year Mark- Sister Reed offered to treat, and when they went to pay the bill, someone had anonymously paid the bill for all 8 of them.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Hey Everyone! 

Thank you so much for all of your emails. Rachel it was so touching to hear your stories about helping all the people in the rest home... I was crying as I was reading those stories. What a neat job- that you get to help people during there greatest time of need. So many blessings that we have! Dad, thank you again for helping me figure everything out with schooling for when I get back. I'm so grateful! I feel a weight now lifted. Mom, thanks for sharing all the stories you did with me. It was so fun to see cute Andrew with Hazel, and his little fruit action figures haha. Thanks for the touching stories you shared as well.

Well, It's been a hard week- but Heavenly Father has blessed us with Miracles as well- On Monday Evening, Matthew and Meghan were both able to receive priesthood blessings from Davi in our ward. As he gave them blessings the spirit filled their home. It was incredible Davi barely knew them, yet every word he spoke was especially just for them, and what they were going through. In Matthew's blessing, he said, "There are many paths we can take in this life, but the greatest of all is the path back to our Heavenly Father in following Jesus Christ." He blessed him with strength to overcome temptation, as Matthew has been trying to live the law of Chastity, he felt inspired to get rid of several video games, and comic books that he felt contained pornography. We were so proud of him, and we know Heavenly Father is too! :) As he gave Meghan her blessing, he blessed her with peace of mind, that she could have clarity. It was touching, because she is going through several trials in her life right now. Later in the week, on Wednesday they invited us to come to their home for dinner, Meghan even lit candles and put them on the table, and made us a beautiful dinner. It touched my heart, it felt wonderful to be loved, they told us how much they loved us, and how they are so grateful that their lives have changed since they'd started learning about the gospel. After dinner we had a lesson about Eternal Marriage, and we were able to show them the intro the temple video, (The first presidency came out with an announcement the other week, that now we teach our investigators the laws and ordinances before baptism)  :) They are so excited to be able to make it there. They are still praying about marriage. 

Later in the week Meghan had an incredible spiritual experience with the Book of Mormon, Davi had dedicated their home, so the spirit is so strong in that little apartment. Meghan read 3 Nephi 18 out loud right before we came over to read with her. She said she felt warmth, like she wasn't alone that someone was watching over her, and was with her, she said, "You know that feeling where you just want to cry because you feel so wonderful?" It was so touching, she knows that the Book of Mormon is true! :)  Yesterday we went over to watch "Finding Faith in Christ" with Matthew and Meghan- and tears came to Matthew's eyes. There is a scene where Christ heals the blind man, and it really touched Matthew because Meghan has a degenerative eye disease and will go blind in a few years. We finally discovered why Matthew hasn't fully committed himself to the gospel- it's because he doesn't want to accept that life will be hard because the Savior's life was hard. Sister Reed and I both bore testimony of our love for the Savior, that he was the reason we could all keep going. There was an over powering feeling of love in the room, that brought all of us to tears. I feel because of my trials, I have become closer to the Savior than I ever have before in my life. I'm brought to tears more and more frequently. I bore testimony that Heavenly Father didn't want me to ever have to be alone in my trials so he blessed me with a Savior who always knows my struggles, that I can always rely on him. That my trials have shown me what I'm capable of, and that I wouldn't have the happiness, peace and fulfillment I do if it weren't for my Savior. Every word we spoke was spirit driven, I know it was all Heavenly Father. He helped us, I'm grateful for the Holy Ghost that bears a divine witness to the hearts of the people we teach. If it weren't for that I know that this work would not be possible. I love My Heavenly Father with all my heart. After that lesson, Matthew was in tears, and said he really wants to know now, and that he's going to seek his answer more seriously. It's amazing to see that his heart and countenance have changed completely! I love the both of them so much! He said when he receives his answer he wants to be baptized. Thank you for all your prayers in their behalf. Miracles are happening! 

I love each one of you with all my heart, remember through anything difficult that you always have your Savior who knows exactly how you feel. There's this amazing talk by Jeffrey R. Holland- "Like a Broken Vessel" he says, "Above all, never lose faith in your Father in Heaven, who loves you more than you can comprehend." I know that is true! I pray for each one of you, and I know that my life wouldn't be the same without you! I'm incredibly grateful for all of you! 

Love Always, Sister Sarah Clark!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hey My Wonderful Family!

It looks like you all had a fun 4th of July! Thanks for all the pictures Mom. :) Brady and his girlfriend are sure cute.  I'm so happy for him! You'll have to keep me posted on how things progress with those two. :) Thanks for sharing all your experiences with me. I loved the story of Andrew entertaining the other kids haha. He is just growing up so fast! I'm so excited to see everyone again :) Glad to hear you had a good 4th! We proselyted all day on the fourth, but during our lunch break we stopped to get ice cream, so that was fun :) We also had a pancake breakfast, thanks to you guys! :) It was fun!

Update from Moscow, Idaho....

This week- Matthew and Meghan have started progressing tremendously! We were having a hard time helping them keep their commitment to read the Book of Mormon, we'd tried everything- we'd explained the background of each chapter, and to go in with a question. We tried going over to read daily, we'd called/texted them daily to remind them- nothing was working. Then on Tuesday, we received inspiration from Heavenly Father to bring a recent convert with us- Dane. As we came and talked with them, we discovered Matthew had been searching on the internet about his questions about Members of the church, and their experiences. We'd continually counseled him to go to with his questions, but he'd gone to google. He found all sorts of Anti material. He'd read on a terrible website that missionaries just baptize for the numbers, that they didn't really care all that much about those they taught. We bore testimony of how much we sincerely love and care about him. We told him that this isn't a contest, that we sacrifice a year and a half of our lives to see the gospel change people's lives and bring them joy. I was so grateful that just days previous we'd shown him the movie about what missionaries truly do. Just the day previous, we'd learned their food was all stolen by some people they'd housed for a few nights, and Bishop and Sister Boydston took food from their own pantries and brought it to them. Matthew told us, he knew we really cared about him and Meghan, and that he knew those Websites had un-true information. I was so grateful he'd recognized that.

Dane bore powerful testimony of how the Book of Mormon helped him come to know that Christ's church was restored on the Earth. Matthew hung on to every word Dane spoke. Dane was baptized just months ago. I was so grateful for his powerful testimony. We taught them the Law of Chastity this week, and talked to them about getting married, and they are praying about it! :) We had an incredible lesson last night! We prayed about what we should teach them, and we really felt that we needed to teach them about the priesthood again.  We really felt that they need to receive priesthood blessings as they have these mile stone decisions ahead, and they are also going through several personal challenges right now as well. We began the lesson by following up on their reading- They were both just glowing with joy! They'd both read their chapters! They told us about what verses had stood out to them, and they both said they'd felt compelled to mark specific verses. They received answers from their Heavenly Father! It was the happiest moment of my mission! :) I was so proud of them! We watched the Mormon Message- "The Power of God" the spirit filled the entire room. We asked Matthew what he'd felt- he responded- I felt Love.

We read Galatians 5:22  

 22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, (Stop)  joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,"

So Matthew what did you just feel? "The Spirit...." he said as he truly recognized that Heavenly Father had just sent him the spirit to testify of that sacred truth. 

We then explained that they could gain a testimony that God's Authority is again on the Earth, and that they can know it by reading the Book of Mormon, praying to know that it's God's word, and if they gain that knowledge they will know Joseph Smith was called of God to be a prophet- and that he translated the book through the power of God. We helped them pull up the Joseph Smith Movie- "Prophet of the Restoration" they watched it after we left, and we'll be following up tonight on how it went. They both have a gentler countenance, you could see the spirit touching them all throughout the lesson. Matthew explained that he loved church, activities, and meeting with us because he felt such a difference. We explained that what he felt was the Holy Ghost and that he will have that gift "Always" after baptism. He and Meghan are both looking forward to baptism. We haven't set a date just yet- but they are seeing the joy repentance brings. Last night was just unreal. They are tasting the joy of the gospel. They are both getting priesthood blessings tonight. We are so excited for them. They have changed so much! It's incredible! The Atonement has changed them, they are realizing the joy of the blessings that come from living the gospel outweigh anything sacrifices they are making. 

Last night, we met with one of Bishop Boydston's old scouts. He's now in his late 20's. His name is Willis, he's a war veteran. His cousin Deshay came in to join us for the lesson. Willis was very hard hearted, and wanted to bible bash with us. He kept throwing in arguments about doctrine. Amazingly I felt at peace, I knew the message we were sharing was truth whether Willis believed it or not. His cousin Deshay look like he could be part of a Harley club. He had a long thick beard, and looked rough around the edges. He and Willis had seen some pretty terrible things while they were out serving our country. They seen graphic scenes that haunt them to this day. They described the difficulty of knowing that God was loving- seeing what happened at war. As we taught the Restoration, and bore testimony of the power of the atonement, and it's capacity to heal, Deshay's countenance softened. You could tell he felt the spirit. At the end of the lesson, we testified that they way to fully access the power of the atonement was through baptism. He said that when he comes to know it's true, that's something he desires. It was an incredible experience. I felt God's love for him all throughout the lesson! I have faith that the atonement can help him heal. 

Miracles happen! :) Thank you for all your prayers in our behalf. I've seen them answered. I'm so grateful for all of you! I love you so much! I hope you all have a great week. Always remember that you have a Savior and a Heavenly Father who knows and loves you! I pray for all of you- I'm so proud of the wonderful things you're doing with your lives! 

Much Love, Sister Clark