Let me start out with a major miracle and tender mercy I experienced two weeks ago, on Monday night.
So I was having an awful day. Which is weird, because I love PDAY! But I was just in an awful mood. During dinner later at our apartment, I decided to pick up the talk "The Tender Mercies of the Lord" by Elder Bednar. My dad sent it to me awhile ago, and I'd read the other talks he'd sent, but this one hadn't felt right until right then. It was really good, and I wondered where I'd receive such a tender mercy. I felt alone - I knew God was there, but I felt so, so sad.
So off we went to our lesson with Megan. She told us that after her lesson last time, when we'd been talking about not needing a perfect knowledge but having faith, she told us it clicked for her. She felt like she needed to understand all the history and such before she was ready. Because any one could be a prophet, really, so how did we know? But after we left, the Spirit quietly told her that she just needed to trust God, and have faith in Christ, and make that first step, and everything would happen as it needed to.
As we taught her about the first principles of the gospel, her eyes glowed with understanding. She's already experienced repentance, and she continues to make changes every day. As she's made changes, and had more faith, she's been more pleasant to be around (as she says), so much less stressed, and just happier. She make the leap of faith to set a baptismal date, on May third, and then just a couple days ago to marry Johnny in a very simple ceremony (she'll have a bigger one later) so she could be baptized!!
As we talked about faith, she shared with us that for some reason, somehow, she just totally forgot to pay her rent! And even overspent a little. She said, "I was at the table figuring out finances, and I pulled out the jar from the cupboard that has extra change, and I had JUST enough to pay my rent... and I said a prayer, not like a formal one, but I just said a prayer, "thank you so much for letting me have enough, and thank you for all you've done in my life." And she compared it to Pres Uchtdorf's talk on gratitude despite our circumstances.
So we ended at 8:30 (she said a great prayer, as she always does- she even started using "Thee" like a pro!) and she told us Sarah was having a little family night and we were welcome to come! So we decided to stop by for a bit.
HERE IS THE TENDER MERCY. YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE WHO WAS THERE. So everyone's just chillin there, watching the game and talking and such. and first I see Sarah, and Johnny, and Brad, and then I spot the Myers, and Matt, AND THEN there's Kyle, and Sister Boggs, and Megan is there, and I JUST WANTED TO WEEP. We didn't even organize this, and here are all the people we're working with, together, having family home evening on their own volition.
After a little bit, Sarah gathered everyone together for the lesson. She and sister Boggs planned to talk about conference, and share what they learned. And one by one, each of these incredible people, all on their own paths of progression towards God, testified about different things they learned in general conference. As they were talking and sharing their experiences with conference and the bits of light and revelation they received, I looked around the room and I couldn't help but get emotional. I looked at each person, and thought about the places they were in their lives. All were different. I wish they could see it! It was a miracle in the making. All are making their way back to Christ, and they're helping each other do it!
|Painting at Brother Parker's House|
So Saturday the 12th we started out by doing service at an older member's home, Brother Parker. There were two Methodist church groups there, Chapel Hill and Summit, and our mission district, and other members, so it was super fun and awesome! We mostly just painted, the inside AND the outside. They tore up the kitchen carpet and put in new (Elder Harnish measured it like a boss and E Roundy and I put it down and glued it. New experience, I probably defintiely shouldn't do it professionally...), and cleaned up the yard and such. Sister Cardon had like 6 little girls from the ward following her like ducklings and painting her. She was really cute with them and it was sweet. :)
The ministers gathered us and we signed a bible for him, and blessed the house: the minister from Summit said a prayer, and had us all face the house and extend our hand toward it or put a hand on Brother Parker while he prayed. It was awesome! Apparently these churches do a few houses every year! It was neat to come together with them.
IT WAS INSANE.
Basically, it included this:
John running around the church (he's 18) and refusing to put on a jumpsuit (he finally did in the end)
Brother Corey (his first time baptizing) didn't have any white clothes that fit, so he had to wear a white dress (I'M DEAD SERIOUS).
John's mom did an a cappella musical # of amazing grace, and his sister did sign language, and she forgot the words but nobody knew the second verse so we couldn't help her out (just picture Napoleon Dynamite but at a baptism)
And as Bishop was welcoming him to the ward, he was in the back, holding his 3 year old niece and dancing with her.
That's all. Wish you were there.
|Way Better than the Chevy Cruzes|
Sister Leavitt's birthday was Monday!!! It was crazy. First of all, 30% of the 2013-2014 Chevy Cruzes got recalled due to a flaw in the axle... so that includes TONS of the missionary cars, haha! So Chevy is giving us all rentals till they get it fixed, and guess what we got? A SILVERADO. IT WAS RIDICULOUS. We ended up switching it out a few days ago for something smaller (an impala), but heck, it was fun while it lasted! So then Sisters Leavitt and Bishop have to take theirs in, and (because they have to switch it out for something GM), the only thing they had left? An Escalade. Hahahahahaha - Happy Birthday to Sister Leavitt! It was hilarious. We ended up having a birthday dinner for her at Golden Corral (a feast fit for a birthday queen!) and I ate TONS of salad with beets and peas and artichoke hearts. Also cotton candy. It was amazing. Hahaha :) And there's this guy, Brother Smiley, who basically lives at this restaraunt, and he always sings with the employees for birthdays because he's got a super loud voice. I think the Elders were teaching him at one time. :)
We also got to go to the temple this week with the Love family! They've been before, but not since several months ago, which was their first time.
We had a lesson with Matt at the Olsen family's house. He brought his three little girls, and the Olsens have 3 girls the same ages, so they were just best friends. :) It was awesome, because the girls came to church the next day, and they already had friends so it made it lots easier for them. The lesson was so incredible - the Olsens bore powerful testimony about how the gospel blesses their family, and of the plan of salvation.
Then there was Sunday. How to explain...?
I'll start with the easy stuff. :)
So in the morning, I woke up on time (VICTORY!) and got ready and had great studies. Mom sent me an incredible day-by-day walkthrough of the final days of Christ, and I've been reading them in personal study. I feel like I've come to such a greater understanding of Christ through it all; yesterday morning I got to read about His resurrection. It was so powerful, all of it.
The talks in church were wonderful, plus two beautiful musical numbers (our ward is so talented!), and then we got to teach sharing time! We taught about how families are a part of God's plan. It was fun. :)
Then we came back and dyed eggs and had lunch, and I harped some, and later on we had a wonderful Easter dinner with the Myers and their friend Jennifer. We had chicken, vegetables, mashed potatoes and country gravy... it was seriously the best meal I've had in ages.
Then there was the Lamb of God.
I wish I could explain to you the depth of this production; it was so powerful, and so moving. From the first few notes, the first few words.... besides the fact that I was so surprised at how professional and polished it was, good heavens, it just pierced my soul!
I think I went into it expecting that I would be most connected with Thomas, or most taken by His Mother Mary, but PETER. His undying declaration of love and faith in the Savior, his thrice denial of Him, and his bitter cry of, "Oh, What have I done?" and then his oath to never forsake or deny Him again, but to declare even till death that He is KING.
And then Mary Magdalene, her sadness at the empty tomb, and all Christ had to say was, "Mary," and she knew Him. "Gloria, Gloria!" She sang, with such joy and fervence, and I felt it too! It's hard to describe, but I feel like my testimony of the Savior has multiplied tenfold. I feel like it might sound bold to say, but I now know, more than I have ever known or understood, that He lives. Our Savior. Our Brother. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, He lives! And I know it! I'll never be able to deny it or forget it, because it's true, and it's the most important knowledge I think I could ever have. I know I still have so far to go, but I just, I KNOW. There's nothing more I can say than that. And this knowledge is the most exquisite joy I have ever felt.
I feel like a new creature.
I love you all. I'm so grateful for your love and support. It means more to me than you know - My life is changed forever because of the last 9 months of my life here.
Love, Sister Clark