Friday, July 27, 2012

Dear Dizzie Deano Banino Papa Bearino and family,
I LOVE TO HEAR ABOUT THE CHILDREN READING THE BOM! but the children love the books! (Elf Quote) That is soooo good and I'm sure it is awesome because truly when a family is living the Gospel they are happier and they are blessed in so many ways including family unity! So I know that it will bless us all! And me as well! Thanks for the updates DADDY! I love to hear from you that austin killed in his soccer tournament! And yes that was my most prized goal ever... lub it!
I eat at members houses A LOT here in Staten Island... We have dinner at a members house almost every night so that is really cool! Truly I have been blessed and not blessed (take it how you will) to have everything go by really fast... I have had like possibly one or two days that have seemed really long but every week goes by faster and faster and I want time to slow down. It is crazy! All the people praying for me is probably why it is going so fast... haha I am truly blessed with this opportunity to serve a mission. I love learning the scriptures, messages, to teach by the spirit, confidence, and love. This is pretty much the best thing that has ever happened to me! Sure you are right I will definitely have times where the time goes slow... but not this first transfer and I suspect that I will be staying with Elder A in Staten for this next transfer as well since he is training me so I also expect that this transfer will go by really really fast as well! Especially because I have been blessed to have a few people that have been placed in my path prepared for baptism. I was able to be involved with a baptism commit for Samaria(black lady who came to church for the first time yesterday and loved it she has been telling people that she is getting prepared for baptism and to be an every sunday church goer), D  (black lady who can't read very well but is very very humble and has been prepared for us by God. She soaks everything up and believes every word we say), and E (wife of one of the smartest people I have ever met less active who wants to get baptised to raise her kids in the Gospel and she has been deciding this for like 4 or so years now but I feel blessed to be the first missionaries to teach her) in the last little bit of time and then we also have F (awesome hilarious black kinda ghetto lady with this gout on her leg :( but she is awesome and very commited to the Gospel) and G (11 year old stud athlete with less active mother who will most likely be reactivated) who will be baptised very soon! So with them and a few other hopeful commits we have a lot of people to teach so that is realllll fun! I think members are getting excited about missionary work (the life-blood of the church) so that is really awesome and fun to be a part of as well! So everything is going well for me but not because of me. I glory in the Lord my God as Alma and his brethren did! He is the reason this work is Glorious! I know that and I am blessed to be a part of it! I don't expect that the rest of my mission will be this laid out for me but I can only hope! ;) haha
But I have made some of the best friends while I have been here! One of my favorite people in the whole wide world is H a Forever investigator that is probably the funniest person I have ever met and I am sooooooooo excited to visit him after my mission with you guys(hopefully we can!!!) But I have high hopes that he will be able to be baptised! Someday he will regardless of the millions of times he has said I am NOT getting baptised! haha he is closer to baptism than he thinks... but anyways he is so funny.... He is from Dominican Republic.
And honestly Dad... Grandpa is the best. But I believe that your humility will get you there with him. As long as you continue using the atonement you will get there. It's a promise! :) I love you sooooooooooo much! :) Thanks for being such a great example to me DAD! :)
So a few fun updates...
Anoushka made us a sweet african style dinner with cooked bananas and DELICIOUS chicken with onions she put inside of it... so good...
We have a family mission plan that we are giving to a select few families to do some good missionary work! Members are crucial to missionary work! so keep it up.
Some lady came up to us and said "what are you selling?"  and I said "eternal life in happiness do you want some?" haha I thought I was pretty clever. We got her info and her name is I and she was really nice but shes moving to Brooklyn so she committed to go to church there! Hopefully that works out!
There was another intense Thunderstorm so that was kinda cool!
Also I should be sending you a few printed out pictures hopefully today but just to get you anticipating it I'll tell you now :)
I am learning some spanish but I have yet to give out a spanish pass along card "puedo darle una tarjeta por favor?! Somos las missioneros de la iglesia de JesuCristo de los Santos de los ultimos dias!" Stuff like that... Hopefully one of these spanish people will take a card! :)
We have been really utilizing the car... we have a lot of miles because Staten Island is a big area for here...
We have been able to play some basketball with J but we will probably go ghetto ball it up this week in the streets with all the hoops where the net is stolen... Ya know...
I made a lot of fruit smoothies to keep my diet healthy this last week... at least one a day... and I have made an awesome workout program that I am following pretty well because being in a car will make me fat otherwise... especially eating at members houses...
I am also starting to understand people a lot better. still a language barrier though...
I am so happy to be a missionary and I am excited for all my wonderful brothers to have this amazing opportunity as well! However I have realized missions in different places are all sooooo different!
I love my mission! I love you all and wish you all the best! Send mom this letter because I don't have time to write more sorrrrrryyyy....
Elder Clark
P.S. way to go through the garage and the office! good work! Hope the house can stay that clean! That would be realllllly impressive ;) But family projects are so fun... No matter how bad my attitude ever was it is always super fun!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dear family,
Thank you so much for the emails! Mom... You have a busy busy busy busy life but i guess whats new? Hopefully Kyle and Austin should keep doing tennis! Thats another life goal! Convert people to tennis! Infact I got to hit with these two kids 13 and 11 years old who I saw playing and I went to talk to them and stuff so I got to hit a few balls and that was fun! Then the kid asked me what the purpose of life was and I wish I woulda said a more direct answer becuase I started to talk about how we dwelled with God before we came here to get a physical body and how we needed to learn and grow and the 11 year old said, "well mine is to Glorify God and Praise him forever!" I was like Sweet! me too! haha but the other one really was nice to me and he was like "keep going with this mission thing because I am Christian too and your doing Gods work" that was nice and cool to hear!  
Good luck with the preschool license mother! I just said a prayer right after I read it but I will continue to pray for you! I love you and your willingness to do so much for our family and sooooo many others. Youre service will be rewarded I promise you! Maybe you should take a night swim real quick after a good days work! :) But I'm right there with you I can't read a book or swim either except when I baptise and when I study BOM or something ;) haha however your work is definitely not as fun as mine so that is unfortunate...

Some of my mundanes... We eat a lot of random food... like a lot of curry chicken, some ponse(sp?), I am trying not to get huge so I set myself a workout program and I have been following it pretty well! but we get fed almost every night and I actually eat a good breakfast now so as I sit in a car its hard to keep off the gordoness... There are 4 in my pretty big apartment (biggest in the mission) and one of them is Michaels friend Elder A
so that has been super fun! The new MP is a stud! He is soooo on top of things and so organized and he is probably one of the most powerfull speakers and strong hearted people I have ever seen! It's really cool because he mixes love with a lot of expectations. But him and his wife love us already so much! mundanes mundanes mundanes... well I am getting a lot better at talking to people and not being scared at all! Thats been good and I'm confident so that's also good! I could definitely improve the simplicity of what I say... On P-days we play basketball, do laundry at a members house, write letters, get the car washed, and that usually fills our day... However much I like P-days really it's not something to look forward to... because normal days are so much more fun! The work will never get boring here... Elder B and I have been working hard and we have been blessed. We had 9 lessons last week, and a couple new people to teach. I was able to give my first baptismal commit and we had two in the last 3 days! These were both random and super unexpected but I guess this happens in the Lord's way and not our planned way! I am really excited to continue to try our best in the next transfer and hopefully the Lord will bless us with a lot of success because I know he can and most likely will! But let me tell you it is nothing that I am doing that is making things go well I do not glory in myself but I glory in the Lord! These people just needed to hear the gospel! He has blessed me with the opportunity to teach them
Thats so exciting that you are hosting a foreign exchange student! Does he know much english? How old is he?
I don't know if I told you but one of my favorite things about the mission so far has been the street sweeps where we hand out english classes cards to the chinese and spaniards! It is sooooooooo fun! Me-in Fay Ing-wan Baan! (free english classes in chinese) and I'd look under the umbrellas to these smiling older chinese folk and say Nee-how! and hand them the card. But gosh it is soooooo fun just talking to people and seeing how they respond!
By the way there is this sweet man right next to me right now that has a giant mustache going to his earlobes! He's a spaniard and his hair is gray it is amazing...
We are gaining the trust of members pretty well so that should help the missionary work a lot! We have been getting creative in the way that we hand out cards... its fun! I have ran by people on the boardwalk and giving them a jogging quick message, put cards in the basket of bikers, did car to biker hand off's, pulled over at bus stops and handed people cards, taught kids how to throw cards (crabtree's real good at it and im learning) and gave them the cards to give to their parents, walked along the boardwalk talking to people (so fun and scary but not after I lose myself) We have yet to join a ghetto basketball game but soon we will! I just wanna be careful to make sure the spirit tell's us to do that so I don't confuse it with what I want to do. But something I have learned is to let silence happen. Silence is great for the spirit! I am working on that! But anyways if you ever feel like you want to buy a whole bunch of EFY music and send it to me I wont get angry at all ;) Because I love it :) Everyday I get excited to have you all meet some of my new friends here! We always get this 20 year old reactivated soon to go on mission stud little man to come on splits with us and I love him like a son. even though he is older than me. Haha but he is so awesome and he will be a great missionary! It is going to be sooooooo weird coming back to normal life... I'm so glad that is over 22 months away I am scared to death of it! I hope I can still give a decent hug when I get back... I don't know at the moment... haha and it will be weird not being around ghetto people... they are truly somethin else! Oh and there are a lot of Jewish areas... Jewish towns... 
drivers here are mean. They don't like people I'm convinced... I've learned a lot about other religions so thats cool :) It's really interesting what they believe and why they believe it (they don't even know!! They need to ask God because he will tell us the truth!)
It's so fun to get to know the other missionaries here! They are awesome! I hope I can have a good effect here on them as well! I'm a baby... But it will go by soooooo fast as it already has! Life is really short and we aren't prepared for it! Thanks to God and Jesus Christ who love to help us out! Thats where we need to trust! I hope you know that the purpose of life is described in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our purpose in life is to focus on the atonement in the way that we live and emphasizing faith, repentence, baptism, recieving the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end! It is an amazing, everlasting, real, and exciting plan for us! Endure it well! I love you all! Keep asking questions!
Elder Clark

Monday, July 9, 2012

Dear Mother and Family,
I love you all soooo much! Thanks for letting me be in such a wonderful family where I can have parents with wonderful faith, love, kindness, and charity. One thing that I have learned is that Charity is the greatest of all loves. When you serve one another as Mom did to serve Dad by taking Jeffy to Kansas you enable that greatest love to exist. That is the greatest thing you can do. Serving a mission is just that... Serving. This is the greatest gift of all because love is what makes it fun. Love is what makes it all worth it. Love is what drives me. And love is the strongest thing that could drive me. I know that the love that we have for each other is eternal and that it is a greater kind of love than any other. That because we love, we are happy. I know that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are the happiest people ever because of the immense love that they have and show for us. Seriously take a second to look around at your life, the things you've gone through, the experiences you have had, the joys of your life. Our Heavenly Father has blessed us soooooo much. What is the common theme with all those experiences you cherish? It is love. It is a gift and you don't need to pay for it with money. Just service and compassion. So that is what I have been focusing on out here!
It's been really cool because some of the best missionary opportunities come from serving people or simply by loving them. I learned this really well because about a week or so ago Elder A and I were driving on the packed freeway to get home ontime one night and there was someone stopped on the side of the road. We pulled over and did everything we could to help this person. And even though just helping him find the closest gas station was all that we could do I guess it had a great affect on him. We gave him a pamphlet because I am a greenie and forgot to grab pass-along cards and not too much later I had forgotten about that experience. yesterday we got a phone call. I answered and said "Hello this is Elder Clark" and this guy named B started talking to me about how he want's to hear the message we have to share because of how nice we were to him on the freeway. However I am telling that to you as a second hand source because I could not understand what he was saying so I handed the phone to Elder A to talk because he has the hang of the language barrier a lot better than me. (that seems to happen a lot even though I am in charge of the phone) Certain people like C from Africa I truly can't understand so I just let Elder A answer it. But anyways this was really an awesome experience and we will teach him by the mcdonalds tomorrow. :)
So that is my life. I love talking to people now. I think I started a Staten Island tradition because I wanted to do a street sweep somewhere (where we talk to everyone) and we drove by the boardwalk and we went there. So now I believe we will do a district beach sweep once a week and go talk to everyone. It is so scary but so fun and soooooooo worth it after you get over the fear of talking. I gotta go because of time so I love you alll!
Elder Clark :)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

We got to go to the statue of liberty and ellis island yesterday and that was pretty cool! I have a lot of cool pictures to send you! hopefully i get a chance soon! My companion Elder A is great! he is a stud! we do good work together. We have things pretty good here though in staten island. I like it here a lot even though im outnumbered by a lot of different nationalities and such but thats really fun actually! New York work is so much different than my mini mission... the people i teach, the way i teach them, what we do during the day and everything is so different. oh and when you get another efy cd can you mail me a copy or something because I'd love to have them :) Traffic here is rediculous and so are the drivers... they are the worst best drivers in the world. they are good at what they do; honking, cutting people off, you know the drill :) I truly am gaining a love for the new york mission work because it took some getting used to... In the words of our past mission presidents wife "It is the most foreign mission in the world." its totally true. I can't understand half of these people because half of them either don't speak english or don't speak much! But its so fun and its really cool that I am able to look at every single one of these people as children of God! It is soooooo awesome because they are and I have a love for them and a strong desire to bring all that have been prepared to the knowledge of the Gospel and how the Atonement can fix everything that is wrong with their lives and how they have a bright future ahead if they just listen to us. With so many people... for example my companion and I are the only english missionaries on staten Island... we are basically incharge of idk exactly how many but over half a million people. With that comes a lot of work and responsibility and need to sift people like wheat to find out who really has been prepared to hear the message of the gospel. Honestly it is so fun being out here just focusing on one thing... that is inviting others to come unto christ by helping them recieve the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, recieving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. All I need to do is continually striving to be the best missionary I can be and my mouth will be filled. I have seen that and I know it's true. But it is definitely a process... I am not perfect but I can see where I can be in the future and it is a good sight. I am excited to continue to learn how to be simple and powerful and fearlessly declare the word of God so that the spirit can testify of truths. This is an exciting, true, fun, hard, and at times scary work but I know one thing. IT IS GODS WORK and it is directly from him. there is a reason that all 15 of the Brethren including 55 other general authorities were at the MTC the week after I left when all 130 new mission presidents were there. The Lord and his leaders are closely related to this work and they know how important it is. This is why it is so important for everyone who can go on a mission to go on a mission. The joy and the growth that occur here are more direct and substantial than any other thing that anyone in their life can possibly do. It is amazing for yourself and for those that you help bring to the knowledge of the truth. Yes it is harder than anything I have ever done but it is sooooooo much fun and the love I feel for people and God far outweighs the difficulties. If I could do things over with the knowledge I have now I would have learned how to study better for school, gotten good scripture study habits, and truly prepared myself more to not be afraid to share the great news of the gospel. It's eternal progression though and it is a blessed and amazing thing. Anyways I love you all! thanks for everything! give the family and all my friends and cousins and everyone hugs and blown kisses! Keep striving to be worthy of the spirit because that is the most important thing! Love,
Elder Clark