Tuesday, November 26, 2013

November 24

My family:) kumusta po kayo? masaya ako and nagpapasalamat po ako para sa itong pakakataon na magemail sa inyo:) I am happy and  am grateful for this oppurtunity to email you:) That is what i just said haha, crazy words huh? This language really is a beautiful language and when you hear people speak it, it just sounds great. Mama, thanks for taking the time to email your son here in the Philippines:) Today has been a pretty great day for sure. I am way happy Elder Bednar came down to the stake center, that must have been a way special experience. Those missionaries are so lucky, they were able to bring their investigators to that, that was probably really powerful. I am glad that you all went and were spiritually prepared for it:)
There really isn't Thanksgiving here and if there is it was super small haha but Christmas is huge here and people had lights up and music playing in the beginning of October haha.
What is little brother getting surgery on? No turkey bowl for them? Sayang Naman! here in the Philippines they just call everyone little brother or big brother and i have been in a habit of it as well. I get called big brother or lil brother a lot throughout my day. That kinda just shows you how people are all just family here, I really love it here and I really love these people. The mission is way fun truly.
Coop! You are working your mission papers! Ano ba iyan? sobrang  ako para sa inyo talaga! I can't wait to hear where you will be serving your mission! Sana pupunta ka dito sa philippines! Hopefull you will come here! I wanna be able to speak Tagalog with somebody when I get home, I really dont wanna lose the language. Coop I am proud of you and your preparation. Keep moving forward buddy, we dont have time to move backwards. Move forward and hold to that rod. 

So transfers are coming up and I am probably leaving Bangui and I have been here in this area since the very beggining and mama you asked me if I want to leave or am ready to leave. I am ready but I dont want to leave. I have built a lot of great relationships with these people here and have had so many great experiences here in Bangui, I know I will really miss this area. But most likely like 95 percent chance that I am leaving Bangui. We actually have interviews with president this friday and I wouldnt be surised if he just tells me then what will happen to me haha he has the tendency to do that a lot. President is the nicest and just loving President that I could ask for. He is great. I am a little nervous to find out what will happen to me though. We will see! 

Mama, yes I do know how to cook and I really enjoy cooking. I am not super good and the other elders are way better then me but I have learned a lot from them. The only problem is that literally everything I eat is with rice so when I get home and cook, you best be ready to eat some rice:) I really love chicken curry and adobo and pinakbet and mongo and sinagang haha really just whatever but they are really good. We eat a lot of fish and the fish here is super good and I love it for sure.

So as for Bangui we broke our record again for attendance at church! 64! And when I first got here to Bangui the attendance was 30 so it has been really joyful to see the area progress and I love it. Elder D and I had a baptism this week. Elder D baptised him and that was his first time baptising somebody and he did such a great job. Elder D is the man and I am way bummed that we are about to have differnet companions pretty soon. We are just trying to make the best of the next three weeks. Elder D is just the goofiest guy but way spiritual and just is the flat out man. 

Thank you mama for all that you do as my mama and I just want to let you all know that I am super happy right now here in the Philippines and it is crazy to think that I am so far away but because I am doing the Lords work and because the message that I have been so blessed to share is true, being away from home is 100 percent worth it. I know that if this was not the Lords work I would not be here, I would be at home with all of you but because that this is the truth and the Lords work he is literally walking with me every step of the day, if i am worthy for Him to be there. I have never felt more love in my life and not just from other people and their love for me or the love of God for me but I feel love for my brothers and sisters here in the Philippines. I have never felt this way about other people in my life. I am lucky and blessed to be a missionary, I cant explain the blessings that come from serving a mission but I owe it all to my Lord and truly do give all of it to Him because if it wasn't for Him I would not enjoy this mission or be so happy. I am happy and I love this mission and that is all from the Lord. God has a Gospel and he has teachings and when people abide by those teacings they are blessed beyond more then they can comprehend. 

I miss you all and truly I love you all:) 

Happy Days, All is Well

Elder Clark

Monday, November 18, 2013

November 17

I love you pops and thank you for this email i do appreciate it. One of the best things about receiving emails from my family is that i can truly feel your love for me through the email. Thank you for taking the time truly every week to write me, i am way blessed to have my family.
There really has not been any effects here in my area from the typhoon except emotional damage. A lot of people are hurt and a lot of people are working through it. That is one thing about the Philippines people, they have each other and even if they don't have much they just give what they have and they truly are amazing people. Elder E received an email from his family today and his whole family is safe and okay :) he was very comforted to read that for sure and he is not totally sure how they are all okay but he knows they are and all alive and totally okay. The Lord is great and he loves his children and blesses those who keep his commandments.

Life is truly happy and why i say that it is truly happy is because the happiness from Jesus Christ is 100 percent different then the happiness of the world. I am truly happy and I know that me here in the Philippines is the exact place where i need to be in my life. So first, Tagalog for some reason just went to a different level this week and I am being supported and helped so much by heavenly father. He wants me to be fluent and he might want me to be fluent even more then i want to be fluent. Anyways, i am really getting to the point where i can just talk to anyone and say anything and just understand and have a conversation and it feels great. Elder De is teaching me so much and helping me so much and Elder E doesn't know much English and so we just speak Tagalog all the time. I don't know how i can speak Tagalog and sometimes i freak myself out when i speak because i just am speaking without really thinking of the word from English to Tagalog in my head, it is just coming out.. Gods promise to his missionaries of the gift of tongues is real and true and I love it. I love being a missionary and i love seeing the true change in peoples hearts when this gospel is shared and applied in their life. 

Story: So me and Elder D who is magaling na magaling went finding the other day and we were walking and we saw this lady just cooking up meat outside her house to sell to people and she called us over and we were talking and she said " missionaries like you came to my house a long time ago and i always let any church into my house to share with me their message but i will never forget the feelings that i felt when missionaries like you were at my house. i never felt those feelings with the other people but i will never forget how i felt when you were here in my house." This is another reason why i know that the message i get to share everyday is the message of God and of his Gospel. She was visited 8 years ago and she still remembers the feelings that she felt and i asked her what those feelings were if she could describe them and she just said happiness and we just kept talking and getting to know each other and she invited us to come back tomorrow to teach her and her husband and her kids and she is so willing to just listen and truly take this message to heart. This lady probably forgot all of the words those missionaries said but she didn't forget the feelings and i know those feelings was the holy ghost bearing witness to her that the message she heard was true. When people feel the spirit they don't forget that feeling, they may forget the words but the spirit goes a lot deeper then that and this truly was a huge testimony building experience for me. These type of experiences  keep me going and just working hard. I am way  tired all the time but I am happy and enjoying life and i always have strength to get things done and just enjoy it. 

I am happy i have a family here on earth and I love you all and keep doing great things and i am glad that our family here on earth is not limited for this time only but we will be together eternally. 

Thanks pops ulit and nanay mahal ko kayo did. kaya mo iyan. 

Elder Clark:)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November 10

November 10 Typhoon Week

I love you Mama, thank you for taking the time to send me this email.  I am truly grateful for you and all of my family.  I am glad that you all are not in Cebu and you are all safe!  I am also very grateful that the typhoon didn't hit us that hard.  Trees and power lines fell down and we didn't have power but that is about it.  Nothing compared to Cebu, they truly got hit hard.  My heart goes out to them everyday and I also do hope and pray for all those people.  There will be and are many people hurt from what has happened here in the Philippines and being a missionary I have the beautiful opportunity to share the plan of our loving heavenly father with them.  I remember Tanner saying on his mission that his testimony for the Plan of Salvation grew so much and I know what he means by that and I feel it too, so much.  I know we are all children of God and even though things happen like this I know He is there and I know He has a plan for all of His children, and I can't express how much God loves us.  I know that through Jesus Christ, we can feel as if our burdens on our backs are just not there and we can feel peace and love and happiness in our hearts.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is true and I know it is the answer for everything and through everything.
I am truly blessed that I have an email here from my family at home.  I love and miss you all and I am glad my family is being blessed.  We received a new elder here in Bangui and he lives in our apartment, but is not my companion.  He has been in the mission as long as I have and he is actually from Cebu and the typhoon hit his home very very hard and he didn't receive and email from his family.  He is a convert to the church for just 2 years and he has the strongest testimony and he is very humble and Christlike.  He has 9 siblings and he and his parents are the only ones that are members and his parents just got sealed in the temple and he has a beautiful family and he didn't receive an email from them today because the typhoon that hit his home.  He doesn't know if his family is safe and he has not heard any news.
One thing that I have really learned on the mission is that my life is good and I am so blessed.  Nothing like this has happened to me of my family and the people here in the Philippines are so humble and so kind and they have nothing save it be their families, so I truly know that when it comes down to family here in this part of the world, there is a lot of love and a lot of support here with families.  Elder E is handling this really well and he has such a big desire to serve the Lord and he is a huge example to me truly.
I am glad you had a good week there at home.  I am way proud of Cooper, he truly has been a leader this year and I am proud of him.  I am joyful that my little brother is excited to serve a mission, I know that means a lot to Heavenly Father.  Coop, Tanner told me this when I was preparing to go a my mission, "You have greater happiness and greater blessings waiting for you in the mission field"  those words really stuck with me and he is 100% right, and now I say that to you , that you have greater happiness and greater blessings waiting for you here in the mission field.  I am super happy and I love being a missionary!
Mama thank you for the package, I am really grateful for that truly.  I am really excited to see what is inside.  MAMA, you have been working with the sister missionaries and that means you have been helping build up the kingdom of God!  Mama, you are awesome, and I love you!  It is not easy to make plans with the missionaries and go work but I know that it is worth it.  I know you felt Christ like love for those investigators and I know you wanted to help them become closer to their Savior.  MAMA, those feelings that you felt in those lessons I get to feel and experience that everyday and I love it!  You are doing your part as a member of Gods church and I know He is happy with you.
I really miss my pops, Dad I sure do love you and I know Tanner can say this same thing...I am grateful to have had a dad like you growing up.  I know how to work hard and I know the importance of just being a good person and I know that I have been taught some great attributes just for life in general.  Dad, thank you for your example to me and I am the missionary that I am because of these examples in my life.
So for my week, it was really great, I don't have much time but I just want to say the week was pretty great.  We really focused on our baptismal dates and they all went to church so hopefully we have 7 baptisms coming here in Bangui.  The work here in Bangui is really progressing and the elders that I am with are truly just great and they work really hard.  The spirit is really strong in our apartment and it has been a great week.  Elder D in our companionship inventory this last week started crying because he is sad that this is our last transfer together and he said he wants to be my companion for the whole mission.  Elder D is the man and a great companion!  I said to him, "we still have 6 weeks together, how about we get some baptisms together and just enjoy these next 6 weeks like crazy.  We are really close and great friends and it has been great being his companion!
Other than that, life is great and I wish I had time to tell you a story but it is all good.  I love you all and I am grateful for you all and I hope you have a great week!
Happiness comes from God!
Happy Days, All is Well
Elder Clark:)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

November 3, 2013

Mama, I am way sorry to hear about Reggie!  That is super sad!  I hope that he comes home soon.  Gosh I love that puppy but if he doesn't then know he is in dog heaven...he is probably just super happy and having fun with other dogs.  Anyways, I feel like I have a lot to say today.  So about the sickness, Mama you are right that is for sure what I had and when I emailed you last Monday I wasn't completely honest, I still had a big fever but I just acted like I didn't and then on Tuesday I still had a fever and I tried to work but I went home early and Wednesday I worked all day but it was rough because of my sore body and especially my knees and then Thursday was worse because I worked all day Wednesday.  I could barely walk on Thursday because of the symptoms of the virus.  We didn't have to work on Thursday and Friday anyways because of the HUGE typhoon that came and hit!  MAMA, this typhoon was big and I was actually a little scared.  There were many telephone polls that crashed down and many trees and just stuff everywhere and it was a pretty strong typhoon.  Heavy heavy rain with fast winds.  We had a blackout for two days which is real hard to cook and no running water.  Luckily we had a well outside nearby so we could still shower and go to the bathroom and stuff.  It was just all outside in a little shack type thing haha.  There is a well and then a little toilet but no seat haha more of just a hole in the ground.  It is way fun when we have blackouts!  I love it!

One thing I have really learned here is just how to be happy without anything.  These people have nothing and they just live and survive day by day and it is truly amazing.  I was so blessed in my childhood and growing up.  For example, we have cars, we have nice bathrooms, we have toilets!  We have showers and warm water.  We have all types of food, we HAVE food!  We have houses and not shacks with a tin roof and we have clothes and a lot of them.  We are truly blessed.  I can't even explain how I truly feel about this topic of discussion.  I just know that the people here are amazing and I love them and I am so blessed for the opportunity to share the gospel with them and help them gain a relationship with their Heavenly Father.  I know that when I am home I will appreciate so many things, so many little things because of what these people have here and what we have been living like as well.  Life here is humble and life here is happy even though very difficult for these people.  Somedays even to just survive is hard.  But what they all have is family and they are humble and I love them to death and I love getting to know them and I love the message we carry because it brings pure joy into their lives and hearts.

I have to go but I love you all and I am sorry this email is not really that great but I will try to send a better one next week.

Pray always and don't just think you have to pray once or twice a day.  The power of a sincere prayer can and will comfort you and give you strength at anytime of the day.  I love being a missionary and I am so happy and excited for the beautiful Colbie Racobs and her mission in North Carolina!  She will be an amazing missionary and I just finished emailing her and gosh she is just so amazing and ready to serve and I know that she knows that this gospel is real and true and I know it too and I am glad that I have a family here on earth that knows that too.  I know that families can be together forever and live in the presence of God and feel all of his feelings for eternity.

Happy Days, All is Well!
Elder Clark

Oh by the way I am still in Bangui for another 6 weeks and I will be training Elder D still here for 6 weeks and then I will probably leave this area:( I am a little bummed to leave Elder D because we are super close and seriously best of friends.  We make a great team.  sige haha ingat kayo mahal ko kayo at madasal tayopalagi upang na maging mas malapit sa ama natin sa langit at upang na maging masaya din:)