Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hey Everyone! 

I was glad to hear you all had a great week! :) It was fun to see the pictures from Natalie's Farewell, I just printed off her talk- I'm looking forward to reading it! She's going to be such an amazing missionary. :) I'm so excited for her! I loved the first day of school picture- Andrew carrying the back pack that's about the same size as him. It's so fun to see everyone growing up- my handsome little brothers. :) It's crazy that schools already back in session, where has the time gone? Its always a high light of my week to hear from you guys. Thanks for all the emails. I love you guys so much! 

Well, to start off, I thought I'd share a funny story from my week. Yesterday, we were filling up the car with gasoline, and our recent convert Joe pulls in. He came over to talk with us. He had been reading in Doctrine in Covenants about the New Jerusalem, and was telling us some of his thoughts. Our receipt hadn't printed, so we had to go in to get it printed off- (We send in all the receipts to the mission office). Joe had come to the gas station to buy some nacho's. We walked in with him, and a member from our branch- Sister Bigelow was the cashier. Joe was so kind, he's always giving us cute little gifts when we visit him. :) He insisted on buying us gatorade, it was so sweet, because he doesn't have much at all- but he always wants to give. As he walked out to go to his car, Casey another member from the branch walks in. Joe came running back inside, and said, "Hey, Is this the New Jerusalem?!" We all got a good laugh. :) Oh, Joe- he's great. 

Anyway- It's been such a good week! Our members have been getting really excited about missionary work. We had Sister Schneider come out with us, and we met her friend Adriann, and he's excited to meet with us! She shared her testimony with him about how the gospel has blessed her life, and the spirit touched his heart. Another miracle- we've been teaching this lady Lindsay- she's in her mid 20's she's so fun and has this spunky personality. She lives with her Aunt Charlotte, and Charlotte's grand kids, Ashlynn- (age 11) Cadence, Jojo- (6) and cute 4 year old Isiah. What a sweet family. We just love them! We've been teaching them since I got here, Sister Ridge had met Lindsay 2 or so weeks previous. They met Lindsay- she was pretty drunk, and not very interested, but said that they could stop by again. The first time I met Lindsay, she wasn't very sober, and had several concerns about why Heavenly Father would let Adam and Eve- Fall. She said she felt like her purpose was to make mistakes so that everyone could learn from her mistakes. She didn't understand her purpose here. As we taught about the Plan of Salvation, the kids all came in while we were teaching. They were pretty rowdy when we first got there, but after we prayed, they listened really attentively. As we talked about the Plan of Salvation, she still had many questions. We told her that as she read Alma 42- that through the spirit, and the words that Heavenly Father would answers her questions. The next time as we came to follow up- she was so excited to share with us what she had learned! She said, "It all makes sense now, Adam and Eve had to fall so that we could come. They had to learn from their experiences!" It gave me a testimony of the importance of the spiritual experiences that they have on their own with the scriptures. That the spirit is truly the teacher. I'm so grateful for the spirit- I know that It's truly Heavenly Father that does his work. I've really come to learn this week, and throughout my mission that Heavenly Father really could do this work how ever he wants. Yet, he let's us have the experience of being a part of it. We learn and become like him, as we do his work. At the end of the lessons we always kneel and pray with Lindsay, Charlotte and the kids. It was so sweet, yesterday as we knelt to pray, each of the kids wanted to pray- they each prayed on their own without our help. The spirit was very present in that little home. Such a sweet experience. 

The other day, Lindsay broke down in tears as she talked with us about the experiences of her past. She grew up in a very harsh environment. She has so many burdens that she is carrying. She is heading back to Montana this week to see her kids, and she talked about how she was afraid of falling back into old habits. Sister Ridge had chose a scripture to define her experiences on her mission. We shared it with Lindsay and told her about how many changes we'd seen in her. 

It's in Alma 5 v. 7, 9

 7 Behold, he changed their hearts; yea, he awakened them out of a deep sleep, and they awoke unto God. Behold, they were in the midst of darkness; nevertheless, their souls were illuminated by the light of the everlasting word; yea, they were encircled about by the bands of death, and the chains of hell, and an everlasting destruction did await them.

9 And again I ask, were the bands of death broken, and the chains of hell which encircled them about, were they loosed? I say unto you, Yea, they were loosed, and their souls did expand, and   they did sing redeeming love. And I say unto you that they are saved.

That is really what the gospel does, we have a forgiving Savior who heals us from the past. The word of God illuminates our souls, and lets us know of the reality of our Savior. The gospel truly does change our hearts. 

I love each one of you! I know that your Savior loves you so much! The church is true! 

Much Love, Sister Sarah Clark 

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