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.

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