Monday, December 30, 2013

Excerpts of our Christmas Skype Session

December 30th

Hello po pamilia!!!! It is just your Fillipeno son here in the Philippines doing his normal routine on the good ol P-Day! Today has been a great day because Elder T and I played a good game of basketball and I am about to just give you the whole background story right now haha. SO last Monday we played ball for the first time together being companions and we played first one to shoot twenty 3 pointers wins and last week he beat me so he was talking lots of big boy smack to me all that day and so we decided last Monday that we would play again this Monday and whoever won would have to pay dinner at BIG MACS and big macs is like a little burger sit down place that really doesn't taste that great but we eat it anyways haha look it up on google haha you will probably laugh. Anyways all this week we had this bet that if I win then he pays a big meal for me at big macs and if he wins then I have to pay haha so all this week we have just been throwing out jokes left and right about who is going to win and today we played and I beat him 20 three pointers to 11 three pointers so tonight I am about to get fed a bunch of big macs for free haha. Elder T is a great companion and I cant even express how much fun we have together and we have not even once disagreed argued or even felt the littlest amount of anger. For my whole mission so far I have been blessed with the greatest companions truly. But i do have to say Elder T is the one that is most similar to me and just like a brother to me.
So that story had nothing to do with your email so now i will reply to some things you said. First, thank you so much for your email and i truly really appreciate it and I always look forward to the emails that i recieve on mondays so thank you! 

 I am glad that you recorded the skype session so you could watch again haha i am grateful for the oppurtunity for real that i had to skype all of you. IT was so great to see all your faces and just see the changes. The best thing about that whole skype session truly was just seeing and knowing that my family was happy. I can tell that my family is walking in the path that Heavenly Father wants them too. The happiness that i saw in all of your smiles and countenance was true happiness that only comes from God through the atonement of Jesus Christ. There is a big big difference between happiness and true happiness and for people that have truly felt Gods love and have applied the atonement of Jesus Christ in their lives then they know what i am talking about. The happiness of knowing that God has a plan for me and the happiness of knowing what i need to do here on earth and the happiness of knowing that I will be with my family forever here on earth and after this life is true happiness. Gods plan is the plan of happiness and if we are not doing the things on his plan then we will not feel true happiness and that is why i am happy that i saw my family truly happy because that means they are doing the things they need to be doing with their life. Sister B said to us missionaries a couple weeks ago "that our life is Gods gift to us and the way we live our lives is our gift to him." He wants us to be happy and return with him and live with him and experience the life that he lives and the way to do that is to follow is plan so it is really simple, if we want to be happy and truly happy, if we want to see our family after we die, if we want to be married for eternity and not until just "death do you part" and if we want to be guided in every aspect of ours lives, then we need to follow Gods plan and his one and true Gospel here on earth because if we do that, these are his promises to us. I know that Jesus Christ is real and true and he did die for us for everything we go through and we need him everyday and we need his Gospel and we need his one and only true Gospel. I love being a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I know that this his the Church of Jesus Christ and I love sharing to people the reasons and feelings and testimony of why and how I know that this is his Gospel.

 I am really blessed in my life and I cant count the blessings that i have received here in the Philippines. I live with no running water, the electricity works half the time, there is no toilet paper, I walk miles and miles everyday I go into houses that people would call a wood fort in a America and these people have money enough to put a little bit of rice on the table and they still invite me to come over to their house and eat. With all these things everyday and I cant express the numerous amount of blessings that i have received. I have learned that I don't need electricity or a nice house or running water or money or cars or a phone to find happiness. These people have nothing and they are happy and they are truly happy. What truly matters is family and our purpose here on earth, the atonement of Jesus Christ and the fact of knowing for a surety that he is the way to true happiness. Ask yourselves if you could be truly happy in your heart everyday if you had no car no phone no running water no electricity no money barely a house and barely any clothes and everyday you are struggling and working hard to put food on the table to honestly survive. Pretty hard to think about that right? If you don't feel that you could find happiness in your life if that happened to you then make Jesus Christ the center part of your life everyday because i know if that happened to me i could and would find happiness and that is because true happiness does not come from money cars houses or anything of the world. I know that true happiness comes from Jesus Christ and only from him and his sacrifice on our behalf. If we are not using the Atonement everyday then we are turning down the gift that Jesus Christ is trying to give us every day. After this life we have family that is it so the biggest thing that i feel that i have learned on my mission is just the importance of putting Jesus Christ first and our Heavenly Fathers plan for us first in our lives and as one family as well. I have been blessed with a testimony and understanding of my purpose here on earth and I know that I am nothing with out my savior Jesus Christ. I love this Gospel and I love meeting people and sharing this message with them. I know that if you will center him in your lives everyday you will feel true Joy and you will not fall and you will see a huge difference in your everyday life. 

I really was not planning on saying all that but I kinda of just kept typing but I will jump back to the email. This week has been really great and Elder T and I made a huge goal of this week to just invite people to baptism and find a lot of new investigators. I think this week has been the best week that I have had so far as work goes because we were blessed with 14 new baptismal dates and we found one big family that is really is excited for another lesson. i remember a couple weeks ago i said that this area in Cagayan, the people are just different and they are really out in the poor poor parts of the Laoag mission but truly these people are so kind and always willing to listen to us and they love listening and just are so receptive to this message and it has been amazing serving in this new area and i love it truly. I am gonna be honest haha i think i like this area a lot better then Bangui but i know that Bangui taught me so much as well.

Life is good and i am happy and i am grateful for the life i have and i love being a missionary and i love you all:)

I do love my family and i miss you all :)

Happy Days, All is Well

Elder Clark:)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

December 22, 2013

But hey mama  I have not received the Christmas package yet but that is all good, I know it will come and life is so great in my new area. WE HAVE A CHAPEL HERE! I am excited that I am not working in an area that is just a meeting house, I really like having a chapel it is real nice. I have so much that I want to share about my life right now and just my new area haha there are so many changes and its great. So first, my new companion is the man and we couldn't be more similar and we just click really well and I can tell we are going to be great friends. He is the first companion that I have had who is just very similar to me. You all know that is hard to find another kid even close to similar as me haha but naww Elder T is the man and a great Elder and we are having a blast.
When I first got here the apartment was way nasty and just needed a deep clean haha so that is what we did one of the first days I was here but the apartment is pretty nice, the only thing is that there is no running water so we just go to our neighbors house and use her water well that she has so that is nice. When I first got here as well I could tell that the Elders were really disobedient in a lot of things and that was hard for me at first because that is not me all but it is getting a lot better and the El0ders are starting to try harder for obedience. Elder T hasn't been out long.  When I got here I told him and bore my testimony about missionary work and obedience and he said that he would be exact obedient with me and I can't even express how fun this week has been with Elder T. We have bonded a lot and he truly has a strong strong desire to be obedient and help the Lord in his work. We got here on Tuesday and he was talking about how hard the area was and I told him that it wont be hard and that we will baptize and I promised him that and literally the last couple of days that we have worked we have found a family of 8 who are all eligible for baptism and also we have 6 set baptismal dates right now and we found 12 new investigators and we both had a lot of fun. Elder T did not really learn Tagalog that well his first 12 weeks but this week he learned how to teach the Restoration all in Tagalog and I am trying my very best to help him speak and it is so fun being his companion and just learning with him. Elder T is for sure supposed to be my companion right now in the mission and I am really happy. 

Also one more real quick story, one of the other Elders in the apartment said to me that the ward doesn't give referrals to the missionaries and that it is super hard to receive referrals but on Sunday I had the opportunity to introduce myself and bear my testimony and at the end of sacrament meeting I talked with two members and one gave us a referral for 2 families and the other member gave us a referral for the family next to his house. For missionaries preparing for a mission, obedience is key and I know that in your mission it is the way to feel true happiness and also the way to receive all the help from the Lord that you can. Of course members will not give referrals if they think the missionaries are not obedient but if you show them you are and hardworking then you will gain their trust to help their friends and family come unto Christ through his Gospel. I am not saying these things to boast about obedience I am saying these things to show that obedience is the reason that Heavenly Father is helping me and guiding me everyday in this work because he knows that I will work hard to fulfill what he wants me to fulfill. I love this Gospel and I love seeing the change in peoples lives. 

I cant wait to talk with you all on Christmas eve but Christmas day for me:) I love you all and I cant wait to see your faces!!!!

Ingat Kayo! 
Happy Days, All is Well

Elder Clark:)

December 15, 2013

Hello Family!!!

Another week here in Bangui and it was officially my last week here in Bangui. I am being transferred to the area of Santa Terisita and it is one of the farthest parts of the mission. I am going up more north then I already am. There are three sections of the Laoag mission they are Ilocos Sore Ilocos Norte and Cagayan and I am in Cagayan. I am away from Laoag city and really any type of nice buildings haha I am literally going to the poor and just far away jungle up north. There are probably 100 missionaries in Cagayan and there are probably only 10 that are white and the rest different cultures but mainly Fillipeno or pretty darkskinned cultures. I am super super excited and I really wanted to head out to Cagayan but a lot of Americans don't ever go out there but I am super grateful that the Lord put me out there. I guess the reason whites don't go out there really is because the people out there don't see white people ever and they say the mission is            just a lot harder out there. If you are close to Laoag then you are pretty spoiled but if you are really far away they just don't have much out there. I am way excited and my new companion is Elder T and he is the biggest Samoan in the mission right now and I met him before and he is way great and super nice. He just finished being trained and now we are companions so I have been out just a little longer then him but I am pretty sure we are just two regular missionaries and I am really excited to just work hard with him in a new area and with new people and just everything new. Although I love Bangui and I am sad to leave all these people and this area I am also excited for a change and a new start and just to work hard somewhere else with a new companion. The Lord knows me perfectly and I already know that my new companion and I are going to get along super well and I really wanted to go to Cagayan and just be out there with all the Fillipenos. 

The Christmas party was really great and I had a lot of fun, played ball and played ultimate frisbee and it felt super good just to play and be an athlete again haha and then we did our native dance and that was super funny and we did our skit and that was hilarious as well. Just know that your son was being himself during the skit and dance and if you understand what I mean by being myself then yes I broke out some awkward dance moves and improvised pretty much the whole skit haha it was way fun and a good laugh for sure. 

I have not received my package yet but I know I will so no worries. Life is super good and I am a happy missionary and I am excited for everything the future has in store for me in the mission field. The mission is the best thing that I have ever done and truly you become a man on the mission and that is for real, you go in a boy and think that you are a man and then you actually become a man and you know you are a man. Gosh I cant describe the mission and how much it just prepares you for everything in life. 

I don't have to much else to say but I probably will have a lot this coming up week. Send all the fam my love and have fun at the reunion and just enjoy your time with every single family member. I love you all and miss you all like crazy. 

Salamat para sa lahat, ingat kayo palagi 

happy days all is well
Elder Clark

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December 8

Kumusta po pamiliya:) nagpapasalamat po ako para sa itong email talaga, maraming salamat Nanay:) sobrang mabait kayo:) Thanks mama for this email I am way grateful for it and I am grateful really for the time you take to write it and the love that you send with it:) Its a beautiful thing that I can feel my mamas love from all the way across the world. Sometimes it is weird to think that I am in the Philippines and so far away from all of you. haha Sometimes I will just have like a weird realization that I am in the Philippines and on my mission and just the life that I live is completely different then the life that I lived before my mission. Gosh my life is so great right now and I can't even explain how I feel really. Mama, you said one thing in the email that surprised me. You said that it must be hard to keep my smile everyday and to be honest I love smiling and I smile everyday because I am truly happy. Don't get me wrong, missionary work is super hard and its super hot and I wash my own clothes with my hands and we don't get anytime to rest and I am starting to get a little skinny but hey life is so flippen great and I am super happy. I love waking up and I love washing my clothes with my hands and I love always sweating and I love always being tired but at the same time always having energy to work hard and be happy. I give it all to the Lord because I would be home in Ferndale if I was not a missionary of God and sharing his true Gospel. This life is difficult but because I am a missionary of God I don't think about or feel the difficult,  I think about how I can fix the difficult and how I can make the difficult better and what I need to do to be the missionary that the Lord wants me to be. As a missionary I have never felt more guidance in my life ever! And I truly feel him in my life guiding me every step of the way. I am a happy missionary because this work is true and of God, and I love serving the Lord everyday and there are days where I just don't want to sleep and I just want to keep sharing to people and God gives me the strength everyday to have my heart and mind for him and life is good as a missionary and I am so blessed.

Alright haha now for the reply of the email you sent me. I have not received the Christmas package yet but hopefully I will tomorrow! The whole mission is going down to Laoag to hold an all day Christmas party type thing haha we are going to play sports in the afternoon and then we are going to have a big feast and each zone has prepared their own native dance and then just a skit about mission work and our zones dance and skit is super super funny hahaha I am way excited for sure. This is all tomorrow by the way. If you send Elder D a package maybe just get him a tie and make sure it is a blue tie cause that is his favorite color haha and then get him some nutella and some nike socks and then some goodies, he will really like that and appreciate it a bunch. 

I am not to sure about the calling and skyping deal, I know that we are able to skype if you all want but if you want to call that would be great too because then I can talk with  y'all separately:) I think I would rather call but if you all want to skype then that is way great too:) its all up to you guys and what you want to do, i am just super happy I get to talk with all of you. Who will be there? 

Paul came back to ferndale for a visit!? I bet that made Cooper super happy! Seeing Paul is just like seeing an older brother. Paul is a big example to me in my life and maybe if I didn't truly notice it back then I do notice it now. Paul fulfilled his calling as a young mens president. Heavenly Father knew that was the calling for him because he has helped me prepare for a mission so much and he has helped cooper so much as well. He is a great example and a true friend and I know when I get a calling after my mission I am going to fulfill it and do my best because it makes a big difference. I am way happy you all saw Paul I hope he is doing great, I sure love that guy.

As for me, yesterday we had a black out so there was no power for the whole day and we had church yesterday and a baptism of my two favorite boys in the world haha one is 13 and the other is 11. Anyways, we had no power to fill up the font so we had to go out to the ocean and the ocean was a little bit rough but not really but we still tried and I walked out there with A the 11 year old and we were out in the water and the waves were just a little strong and I raised my hand and started saying the baptismal prayer and right at the end of the prayer the waters went calm as can be and I immersed him in the water and then he came out and just was smiling and then C the 13 year old came out to the ocean and again it was a little rough but at the end of the baptismal prayer the waters just went calm and I immersed him in the water and brought him up and he too had a big smile on his face......... Baptism is real and true and a necesessity here on earth and it is an ordinance of God and because it is an ordinance of God of course we need the power and authority of God in order to do it and I know that the baptism of C and A yesterday was real and true and through true authority of God. 

Also yesterday in sacrament meeting we broke a new record for a attendance and that was 65 so we are super happy but we are working for 80. In sacrament meeting president told me that the Elders are going to give the talks for the day so he said that I would give one and Elder D would as well. So we had no preparation or even time to prepare but before the sacrament I just said a prayer to know what to teach or what to share and then during sacrament I just got the prompting to teach about the sacrament and the importance of taking the bread and water and about reverence and just about realizing and knowing that this is the true church of God so we need to act and speak like He is here, because, He is here. So that was my prompting to share about and I stood up and I started sharing and this experience for me was super powerful, the words that I spoke was all guidance of the Spirit and everybody was focused and really listening. The love that I felt for these people as I stood in the front and shared with them and just as I was looking at all of them was so strong and it was one of the biggest moments that I had just truly felt the Love of Jesus Christ for His Children, I just felt a portion of the love that He has for every single one of his children and it was powerful. Being a missionary, my love for people is not love from a person to a person but truly I feel the Love of Jesus Christ through me loving these people here in Bangui. I think about them constantly I try to know their needs I want the best for them and then I ask why?  they are just people, but I know they are children of God and he wants every single child to return to him and enjoy His eternal happiness and love and the message that I carry and share as a missionary is the path for those children to return and live with him and enjoy that eternal love. I am super blessed and I can't describe my feelings as a missionary but just know that I am happy because of Jesus Christ and I am who I am because of him and He is my strength, my joy, my love and my happiness and my salvation and I am blessed to be an instrument of the Lord to help his children. I would give my life for this Gospel but it is true and the feelings are real and the blessings are real and it is true. 

Thanks mama for this email again and I now I get to email the good ol Colbster:) 

Ingat kayo 

Happy Days all is well

Elder Clark