Hey everyone! I'm so excited I finally get to talk to you. So much has happened, are you ready for the crazy?
So on the first day, I woke up a bit before two a.m., caught 2 flights, talked to you guys, met and loved my mission president and his wife (He is SO TALL! Freaking 7 feet, no lie), met Logan Fee (who's an AP - he's so cool! He was so helpful in getting everyone where they needed to be. I can tell he's been an awesome missionary), went TRACTING (first day guys!), and the best part?
So on the second flight I met an Airman named Franks. He's 22, and is all finished with training so he was headed to the base in OK to finally actually start his career. We had the best conversation, seriously. It lasted the whole flight! It started something like this:
"So, Sister Clark, what do you do?"
"I'm a missionary!"
"Cool. What's your guys' official name?"
"Oh, well we're known as Mormons, but..." etc etc "and I'm here to bring people to Christ."
"That's awesome. How do you do that?"
I explained true conversion and then the whole question frenzy ensued. He asked about polygamy, men's and women's roles in the church, the priesthood, why there were two types of baptism (by water and by fire), and what else, what else... oh, I brought up modern day revelation from a prophet and he thought that was awesome. The fact that our church is a growing and progressing one. He's studying to be a chaplain for the military and he mentioned that the things that he will be studying are the same things that a preacher fifty years ago and even longer before that learned. He said we aren't "stale." He also asked how we can still be ourselves. He said the other Mormons he knew, all they really had to their identity was that they are Mormon. So when I mentioned that I play the harp, and something about a guy I dated, he was surprised that I'm a "real person." You know, I'm unique and not Just a Mormon. ANYWAYS GUESS WHO WAS SUPER EXCITED WHEN I GAVE HIM A BOOK OF MORMON?! Yup. It was an awesome experience.
So being in the field has been so different than I expected. First off, lemme tell you about my SUPER AWESOME companion. Her name is Sister Leavitt, she's from South Jordan. She is so spunky and seriously cracks me up all day long. She's been out for 4.5 months. She has seriously taught me so much. Our personalities and likes and dislikes etc are pretty different, but lemme tell you I have learned so much from this lady.
So I figured we'd be sharing a place with some other Sisters, but it's just us! Our apartment is the COOLEST. So we share a bedroom (the furniture is all new from the church so it rocks - a lot of other missionaries are in apartments that have held missionaries for years and years) and my bed is way freaking comfy! I didn't know I needed to bring a pillow though . . . thank goodness my sweet comp had an extra. I'll buy one today!
WE HAVE 2 BATHROOMS AND 2 HUGE CLOSETS. I know," whattt???!" It's awesome. I need to figure out how to get my shower head to work though so I don't have to keep taking baths all the time... :)
Anyways, on the day I met S. Leavitt, I mentioned that I love making ugly faces and she was like WHAT??? and told everyone about it. She's too legit to quit. Also, she's AWESOME about exact obedience. She's totally here to do the Lord's work.
So my first area is called Norman. Norman 1st ward, we split it with the Elders. So here's the thing about our area - it didn't have sisters before. They just had Elders. So basically we're shotgunning. Crazy, right? So Sister Leavitt and I are definitely learning together... except that she is teaching me so much, so really she's smarter than she gives herself credit.
It's been rough because I was expecting to start teaching right away, but mostly we're planning and organizing. I was feeling pretty down about it and Sister Leavitt reminded me that Christ fasted forty days to prepare for His ministry. NOT THAT WE'LL TAKE FORTY DAYS, so don't worry about that. But we need to be prepared.
SOME COOL THINGS:
- I saw my first firefly! SO AWESOME. They really look like fire (WHODATHUNK??)
- We have a car!
- Music is a pretty wide range - it just needs to be uplifting and NOT romantic
- The members feed us dinner BASICALLY every night.
- Our apartment!
- Sister Leavitt!
- We figured out that if we boil our tap water it doesn't taste so nasty!
SOME NOT SO COOL THINGS:
- THE BUGS HERE ARE HUGE AND THERE ARE ZILLIONS OF THEM AND THEY EAT MY LEGS AND THE SPIDERS ARE GINORMOUS. There is a spider web on MY SIDE of the car on the side mirror. EVERY MORNING. So creepy.
- The water here is NAS-TAY! It definitely tastes like dirt.
- Our apartment. Is so. Stinky. It smells so wretchedly of stale smoke! :(
- I forgot to buy a bunch of stuff on Wednesday! (thank goodness it's PDAY!)
SOME MORE GREAT THINGS:
- I have spaghetti!
- Our elders are the bomb.com. Seriously, they're always helping us out so much and it's so sweet.
- My own bathroom!
-I have food! Brownie mix! and frozen peas! and cereal!
I have met some amazing people here. Mehri and her two kids Nevaeh and Kamleah (12 and 7) and they are awesome. They were meeting with the Elders before and were passed along to us when we split the area. They just invited us right on in! She even offered to give us dinner if she could get some food stamps. So sweet. Nevaeh saw us and she was like, "You know that thing where you get clean from your sins? I wanna do that!" She's been to church a couple of times and totally wants to get baptized. Her mom is like uhhmmmmm not till you're older. So I'm hoping we can teach them the importance and blessings of baptism.
So we have a new investigator! His girlfriend is mormon (they're 17) and he decided to take the discussions. He's so smart and I know he felt the Spirit. Sister Leavitt is teaching me to be bold! She invited him to do a ton of things including being baptized on the first lesson and I was like WHATT?! And he was like, yeah! (REASON # 949958 MY COMP IS AWESOME).
One more person I want to talk to you about. Rochelle. Teeny tiny sassy black lady in her fifties. She's seriously only bones! She's met with mormon missionaries before and always loves us. She loovvveees Jesus. So when we first met her, she was running out the door somewhere, but she prayed with us. She snatched up our hands in a prayer circle and she prayed first. Then she looked up expectantly at me, so I started praying too. :) I told Heavenly Father we were grateful for somethings and she jumped right in and said "Oh yes. Oh thank you Lord Jesus. Mmmmhmm." IT WAS AWESOME. Then Sis. Leavitt prayed too. And then Rochelle grabbed her bottle and put her cigarette back in her mouth and went on her way!
When we met with her again yesterday, I'd been praying and fasting to be a consecrated missionary, and also that I would love and see everyone I meet just as God loves and sees them. When we stepped inside Rochelle's apartment, she was just waking up from a nap. The feeling of the room was very still as she just told us all about some things she's gone through in her life. We didn't teach a lesson. We didn't need to. We gave her a chapter to read in the Book of Mormon, and prayed with her, but mostly we just listened. The Spirit was there, and told me that now she's ready for the lessons. I was so grateful to see her in my mind dressed in white. She has the light of Christ in her, and I'm excited for her to have the Holy Ghost as her constant companion.
Something else I've been studying is a talk by Elder Bednar, I don't remember what it's called - but I'm learning AGAIN the difference between Grace and Mercy. Mercy is what makes bad men good. GRACE is what makes good men better. He gave several examples in the scriptures of prayers during times of trial. I'm sorry I don't know the scriptures off hand, and I think it was an MTC talk so you won't be able to find it, but if I can get a copy of it and send it over I will. It was empowering. So in these prayers in the Book of Mormon, they didn't ask for the trial to be gone. They didn't ask for something different. They asked for the strength to carry on, to become BETTER. It also gave an example of pioneers who had nothing left to eat. All they had was hide. They prayed for help. They discovered a way to scrape of the hair and soften it enough to eat. Elder Bednar mentioned that he would have prayed for something else to eat! I would have too! But they prayed instead for their stomachs to be strengthened and accustomed to the hide. It lasted weeks.
I'm sorry this is so long, but I'm so grateful for this opportunity to serve a mission. It's so hard. I'll be honest. Often I feel discouraged. But when I do, I feel the love of Heavenly Father around me. I feel your prayers. I seek comfort from the scriptures, from prayer, from your letters of encouragement, and then I know I'm not alone. I know this work is the most important work on the earth. I love this gospel and I know without a doubt that it is true.
Love, Sister Clark