Tuesday, June 30, 2015

7 - Yay, clothes! Nice people!

Email address (preferred):

Mission address:
Sister Rachael Geniel Clark
California Long Beach Mission
6500 E Atherton St.
Long Beach, CA 90815

Things this week has been quiet, but busy. No need to go thrift shopping this week or for quite awhile, Sister Wassner's daughter gave us a big box of nice clothing to keep and pass along what we don't want with the other sisters in our zone. I got a bunch of jackets and a few skirts. One shirt, but it is a nice ones that compliments almost everything I already brought with me.

Got to play apples to apples with our zone briefly, it doesn't take long to learn the rules of that game thankfully since I was the one who taught everyone how to play. Spent most of my last P-Day oiling my typewriter so it would function properly, it helps to also have the tape all the way don were its supposed to rest. Somehow it wasn't loaded on correctly before going into storage. It works almost perfectly now! The really old one still has a sticking V, oh well, I honestly just liked it for its looks, that and its roller is super old and the tape has punches out of t from the letters punching through it due to age and no oil. 

We visited Amelia and taught her the law of chastity. We intended to come by and just contact in her area since lots of people are out and about most days, and to our surprise she was with sister galbarith. She even brought it up on her own! She was telling us that she can't understand why all the younger people are having children things and never getting married, then told us that she is so happy to be single till the day she dies if she never finds someone to marry. She has raised children given to her in the Philippines to almost adulthood, so while she may not be a mother by birth, she is at heart. She cares so much about them, showed us pictures of them, and worries about them. I hope she does get a lawyer and adopts one of the girls that literally was given to her to raise, then the mom took her back once she was almost an adult and went to Australia with her other son who Amelia also raised. I couldn't ever imagine being given a child to raise and call my own, then have the original mother swoop them up after sort of or never being in that child's life.

Mostly she explained to us why she is waiting to be baptized. She wanted us to see her as she is, wearing not so modest clothing like almost everyone in california, and imperfect, so that when she does become baptized we can testify she put those things on the alter of sacrifice to her heavenly father and has changed. She is so Christ like that many people mistake her as mormon already and never see her as a catholic investigator. So prepared! That's why she brought up the law of chastity, she knows she won't be able to wear her " sexy clothes" as she terms it. Those Philippino ladies are so funny when they get older!

We did a 2 and a half hour service to sister frosty and helped her organize a cluttered hall closet and donate many things to DI. She is in her 60's and doesn't have much use for many thigns anymore or knows that the likelyhood of her using a certain item is once or twice, so she wants younger people to use them instead of sit for forever. She grew up in the depression and with the waste nothing mentality, so for her to get rid of so willingly so many items was neat! We got a once used rice cooker this way! most of the extra items were still in the wrapping. That was such a blessing for me since I love rice and usually spend most of my lunches and dinners cooking more than eating. sometimes I even have to run and grab a bite to eat before leaving and have to put what I just cooked int he refrigerator. I'm getting faster now though. Anyways, it was also neat to see sister frosty's food storage too in there, sadly though only the containers of wheat were salvageable, the rest was beyond expired! Some stuff from the 70's even, but most just expired. Just goes to show that its important to rotate and eat out of your storage, or it will do you no good! 

Brother Moore met with us to teach Josh a referral from LA, but he wasn't there. We met with Tamie a caner patient and active service to the homeless through her local chuch kind of lady. We discussed service that our churches give and offered to do service with her on a feeding day they have for the homeless.
We then went with brother moore to see Luis and did a lesson outside since his mom wasn't home. He was so excited to meet with us and we talked about god being our heavenly father, our life on earth, and why he is so eager to meet with us. we found out that at one point he believed in yin yang as a god while doing karate, but then he realized that was false and while he was in a hard spot in his life he decided to turn to god in prayer. he is now so fascinated with almost all christian religions and is searching for the truth. (and he told us in his own words that the Jehovah witnesses are so pushy and honestly scared him for what they preached to him on the doorstep. He never lets them in.)
He let us in because we were inviting, very polite, didn't shove or preach our gospel to him, and cared about him as a person, not just some baptismal number. We also brought the spirit into the lesson and he felt that and felt that listening to us was a good thing.
It just goes to show that how we present ourselves truly does matter!

I got to do family history work as well, I found quite a few new people to add to family search and Miriam turned 110 so FINALLY I could reserve her for work in the temple. I have been waiting for what seems forever for her, she was the one I found photos of in my grandmothers box of photos and fixed them in photoshop. If it weren't for those photos, I would not have been able to find 80-100 other names through ancestry.comand work with a relative of mine in alaska. Heaven;y father always guides you if it is for his work! 

We visited Angel and I felt very prompted to ask her to go to church, next moment she told us how elder Nye, Gillbert (a recent convert who is passionate about the gospel) and many other missionaries keep asking her to go to church. She flat out says no to them every time! I was a little discouraged, but decided to wait till near the end to ask anyways. She showed us her many talents with making jewelry and braclets especially! She is so neat!!! She has gone through so much with her MS, its so hard for her to go to church on sunday because on friday she takes her MS shots, by sunday she is in a lot of pain. Come monday she can function for work, otherwise she would miss out on a whole day of work. I finally asked her, and she said yes! I was so shocked! (latter she told sister george it was because of how I said it. I didn't set up a front or bug her, I just asked and said I was lonely and would love to have her company while at church. (which I really was since barely any investigators (besides amelia) have been coming)) 

We went to a Super Cool Reastraount called guppy Tea House,  I had never seen such a HUGE bowl of soup in my life, it was as if they took a whole pot of soup, put it into a super fancy japanese style mixing bowl, and gave it to you! IT WAS THAT BIG!!!! They definately give you your moneys worth there. It also has fish tanks with pretty fish and plants at almost every table on the wall, and plants EVERYWHERE, it is like a jongle in there. I LOVE IT!!!! Sister george and I agreed that we needed to go back again some time to try out their shaved Ice, Read bean japanese style, ITS MASSIVE AS WELL!!!! You could feed a whole family or two quite nicely with how much they give you. Its not that expensive either, its standarrd utah non fancy sit in restaurant prices too! I ate fried rice for days after that.....

We visited Luis again, this time we went with sister fanene, it was an answer to a prayer for us to find her almost half an hour before the lesson. (latter she said it was an answer to her prayer too, lots of emergencies have happened in her family so it was good to get out, not think about it, and do service with the missionaries) She was so good for him, they understood each other so well since she was a convert to the church and understands how they feel perfectly. We went over prayer and how we can feel the spirit after prayer and know that that can be an answer to prayer. We also talked about things that helped us when we were struggling in life and felt like darkness was all around us and how we came to god and found peace afterwards. He loves that we don't reject what he says about what he believes. many other churches told him that he was bad to do so or to question anything in his personal progress to trying to understand his purpose in life or better understand christs gospel in the bible. They also would help him at first, then after he came, they just let him go and that is when he needed support the most. I see this happening as well with new converts, many members only say hi, but they fail to be their friend and help them transition to their new life as a member of our church. He is what I call a dehydrated Mormon, and so child like in the sense that like primary children, he seeks after Christ and his teachings so willingly instead of like so many hard hearted adults.

We met with amelia again, we went over more of the plan of salvation and even helped her gain a testimony and clear understanding that Joseph Smith is a prophet, john calvan and the others were just helpers in bringing the bible into english and weren't prophets. That confused her and the language barrier doesn't help either, but little by little she is understanding. It just takes time with her.

The Departure fireside was SUPER GOOD, sister george, skelton, and tuumorrbatar sang I know that my redeemer lives in their respective languages in a trio. Mongolian, Tongan (I think) and english, it went so well. I could tell this group in particular was hard for president and sister tew to say good bye to since they were their first group when they came.
 almost all of the MTC missionaries that I went with came and at least the elders and I shared a few stories before we had to leave.

I haven't heard from terri for awhile, so I am very worried about her, i hope she is OK.

How are you doing? How is everything?

No pictures today, I am running out of time. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

6 - HORSES!!!!!

Email address (preferred):

 Mission address:
 Sister Rachael Geniel Clark
 California Long Beach Mission
 6500 E Atherton St.
 Long Beach, CA 90815

I got to work with horses this week!!!!!! There is a service project that this area regularly does and this time they wanted anyone who has had experience with a horse to help groom the horses. It was so much fun, I didn't get tie to check out the petting zoo part of the service Project, but that was OK for me. We also did exchanges that day so I was with sister Fredrickson. She had a horse named Duke and was a little unsure of what to do since this was her first time, but I was real happy to step in and give directions on how to catch the horse, tie them up, groom them, and even help out putting fly masks on them too! My horse was named Isabelle, the oldest horse their that had real bad sway back, but a sweet horse. I was also one of the few people who was even allowed to pick out their hoofs, they were so well trained! Very different from the horses of Ching farm back home that I had worked with previously, they were stubborn and hard to work with most of the time. That was so nice to do, last thing we did was clean out the paddock and let them loose. 
Sister Fredrickson and I also had been asked to help cook a brunch for the group. juice, french toast, and 6 Lbs. of bacon. Goodness do some of the elders love bacon.... they could each eat 3 lbs. by them selves. I had to keep them out of the stash while cooking them because when the sisters came, 1 lbs. of bacon was already consumed by three elders alone while my back was turned. Thankfully a recent convert who was helping knew the elders would do that sort of thing and brought more.

Sister George had a recent convert who meant a lot to her die recently so we were able to go to the funeral. Rose cemetery in Whittier is MASSIVE, it could be a city within its self!!!!!! 20 lots (or called gates here) that are each the size of a large cemetery in Utah. Its so big it has an information kiosk, maps, and colored line systems you follow to get to the correct chapel or cemetery gate. We were following the blue lined road, not yellow this time XD. Such an amazing lady, she had MANY of her fellow spinners, quilters, and knitting ladies who came and shared stories about her. She was a teacher, professional clown, grew her own cotton and would spin it into yarn, teach how to work with spun yarn to crafting groups, and strong LDS woman who came back after leaving the church years ago due to confusion on some doctrine.

This week overall for finding was dead slow, nothing, just nothing, then finally Sunday we felt like visiting this certain area where we had found gabby, and across the street and a few houses down we met Luis, he even wants to bring a friend or two to our lesson come Tuesday. He is interested in learning more, but is also one of those people who want to learn about all religions too, but hopefully he will progress.

Its a miracle as well with Amelia, she is craving the spirit that we bring and loves talking about god, still confused about things, but she loves having us around and is progressing Slowly but surely! She even asked us to meet with her more often, she gets so tired of not feeling the spirit around the people she takes care of so it is a real treat to spend time with us. She even treated us to McDonald's Smoothies one day when she told us," Hey come over sometime, I have something for you!" Boy does she spoil us, Golden investigator for sure!!!! I am so happy to have just her right now to teach, but more is always better.

Things with the bugs are improving as well, We think they were hiding out in all the old furniture and kitchen stuff in the spare room, but now that it is all gone, deep cleaned, and we are good at keeping the rest of the apartment clean, we have only seen 1, other than that, things are settling down a bit and we were finally able to put all our kitchen wares away after a deep cleaning of chemicals, bleach, and who knows what crawled on that surface the past month. 

Now I am infamous for my cleaning abilities in the mission head quarters of long beach, they have been half joking about me doing a cleaning demonstration so that our mission has cleaner apartments and to boost the health of everyone. Lots of missionaries have been getting really REALLY sick because of the conditions of the apartments lately.

I also got to do splits with sister foster from the MTC and her companion sister paw. Their Car was Recalled for brake troubles, Their poor Chevy car has gone back for tune ups, car troubles and recalls TOO OFTEN. They finally just asked to do splits this time with us next door (area that is) Sister foster and I taught Terri at heritage park, I found out that the missionaries only taught her the last three lessons and counted the sorta there lessons she was in the room with from a year ago then baptized her. No wonder she has been feeling the way she has! She needs all the lessons again as if she were an investigator! She does have so much faith though!!! Such a strong lady. Her son is doing many things that she started doing years ago and she was so worried that he would go down the same bad spiral she did and hit rock bottom, so she had to kick him out of the house, but she also is so loving and was so worried about her son being homeless for awhile since she was once their. In fact, she almost laughed about the time she finally had the turning point in her life was when she was so high on drugs, then going through withdrawals so bad that she couldn't move and just looked up and prayed to heavenly father to send someone to help her, she was feeling so bad and hurt so bad from the drugs. Next thing she knew the sheriff came and took her to jail and she got sober then. "darn it all, I can't even get up if I wanted to, but when they get over here to me they will make me. I have no choice" she thought. She was so upset at that moment because all she wanted then was more drugs to make the pain go away and was praying for some dealer to come her way. She told us heavenly father has such a sense of humor, but that he loves us so much that he knows what we need. thought it may not be what we want and we fight it,but it is what we absolutely need in our lives to make us happy again and closer to him.She has come a long way since that over 9 years ago. Its hard being a mom when you need to kick your own child out because they are taking such advantage of them and being disrespectful/disobedient to the rules of the home. At least she was able to see him again for fathers day and spend time with his dad as well. After the lesson she brought bread and we all fed the ducks and turtles. I almost caught a turtle! So close.. next time I will. Such strange goose duck hybrids here, took some photos!

There are lizards here, everywhere. Not very often do you see one, but boy do they sound like mice or quail scurrying around like back home in the bushes. I almost caught one of them too! No snakes yet, but I will leave them alone if I ever see one, I heard that there are some venomous ones that look strikingly similar to non venomous ones here.

How are you doing, I haven't really gotten much in the way of replies back, so if you do have a spare moment, I would like to hear back from you. 

Here are some photos! I wish you the best of luck in your day, Thanks for having interest in me.

Also went to a park and saw this massive tree with some neat looking roots. Little odd, but cool looking, I might use is for reference in some future painting or mural.
Birds around that park are so cool too! This blue bird kept flying down, hovering in flight while looking around like a humming bird does, then would fly off. It did that a few times just a few feet away from where we were, SO COOL! Then this sparrow was doing laps around some trees like some sort of a race track or something. Kept flying around and around just so happilly with only a flap or two is all. Just kept soaring and soaring close to the ground. I have never seen that sort of behavior for a bird before! 

Monday, June 15, 2015

5 - We thank you for your patronage!

So, this week I have killed a total of 28 roaches, heard an average of 20 fireworks and 3 gunshots a night, and found 0 new investigators. Could always be worse, but it definitely could be better. We did however find a neat farmers market, with the crankiest and meanest manager ever. He made it VERY clear we were not allowed to do anything here as far as missionary work is concerned because, and I quote, “there are lots of atheist, and I mean atheist people as atheist can be here. We don't want religion or we would be doing this here wouldn't we? We want to be left alone and just do our vegetable and fruit shopping. it is a miracle I even allow you two girls in here to shop." the rest was just him being rude and quite frankly I found many LDS people there who would stop us and talk for a bit in the middle area...... oh well, won't be going back anytime soon. I have never been so offended by a person before in my life! The offending parts I left out and kept it to the nice parts for you here.

Other than that sorry guy, not much luck for myself and Sister George. We did find a really nice portirican lady who gave us the low down of the neighborhood, CATHOLIC, made us know that for sure, but was super nice and even invited us to have dinner with her and to talk sometime. She met with missionary’s years ago and loves us over for fun, a little odd, but cool!

Mostly Sister George and I have been working hard with cleaning up the potentials book, so full of 2007 even one 1998 name in it that was never updated. A lot of people in this area move constantly so it is a battle with trying to keep investigators and potentials before they move. Even the ward is down 80 people in the last year with barely anyone coming into the area. To make things worse 2/3 of the ward are elderly and we have been having every week 1-2 members or their family members die. It’s been a very hard and tearful time for everyone.

It makes me just so glad to know the things I do in times like this, it’s comforting and makes the sadness of their passing somewhat of gladness for them and an excitement for when I will be able to see them again. One lady that sister George taught and got baptized was this 90+ year old lady who years ago was super strong into the church, then got confused with a part of the doctrine of the church and left seeking for the true church.... needless to say after 30 years, she realized that she had been in the only true church and was retaught things again, cleared of the confusion, and got re-baptized after a year of waiting (she had her records taken out of the church) less than a year later from when she got baptized she passed away a week ago. You never know the people you meet and their stories. I love that part, just meeting and listening to these amazing people with such kind hearts who let you in.

I was told by president that Sister George and I were to be family history missionaries for at least an hour a week now, SOOOOOO COOOOL!!!!!!

I can't wait! I love doing family history, it’s like completing one big puzzle that's really old and not all the pieces are there, but finding them is half the fun! I hope I meet some people on the street who I can help and work with them in the amazing family history library we have here, IT IS SO NICE AND ORGANIZED.

Tried to go shopping here for clothing at thrift stores, they are quite sad and picked over, only stained old clothing or over the top skanky clothing here.... I took for granted for sure the DI's in Utah where you can walk in and almost always find SOMETHING decent you could wear. Clothing stores around here ARE EXPENSIVE and SKANKY.... or modest and even more expensive! Good grief. I do have enough for the week, but it’s nice to have more than 8 outfits to choose from each week and not wear them out after a couple months of constant use. Thankfully I choose some nice high quality skirts and brought them here so I won't be too bad. I did get a very nice dress here, just need to modify it to be a little more modest since it is too big for me anyways, and lengthen it a tad just to make it more my style along the bottom. Now for a white jacket/shirt to cover the sleeves. The one I bought from home I lost just before leaving somehow and the one I have looks like it will get too worn out before I leave so I am trying to pick and choose when I wear it.

The ward members are so sweet here, they care so much about us and love having us over, It’s nice to have a welcoming ward, now to just get them to let us go to visiting teaching with them so we can help out the less active. All the ward member sheets and teaching sheets, and EVERYTHING here is a year or so outdated making everyone's calling so hard. Nothing is getting done around here till the sisters last month and the elders went out and helped. We

aren't supposed to, but everything was a standstill for everyone until we did it. Hopefully we can be a missionary now that that's been done.

Yep, most days I spend is cleaning up record sheets and cleaning out the apartment (which is finally clean... bugs are a lost cause now.... but yeah) Amelia our golden investigator got a baptism date, SO COOL!!!! Best missionary miracle ever. It makes you feel like a superhero when you are following the spirits promptings and know just want to say to touch their heart, and help guide them towards joining and feeling the greatest blessings on earth that heavenly father has just waiting to give them. When the scriptures says you will receive more blessings than you can handle, God isn't lying for sure! It’s amazing to see the progression of our investigators and see the joy and happiness our message brings. If only everyone in life knew what I did, they would be begging to have what I do. Most just don't understand it and see it as something completely different.

Well, I have to get going, no new pictures this week, but next week I will. PLEASE, feel free to write me or email me, I love reading mail, especially letters (because I can re-read them anytime I want) Let me know you are doing.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

4 - Miracles

Email address (preferred):

 Mission address:
 Sister Rachael Geniel Clark
 California Long Beach Mission
 6500 E Atherton St.
 Long Beach, CA 90815

Things are going well here in long beach, getting a miracle almost every day it seems. Just this week sister George had a feeling to not follow our plans and felt like we were supposed to visit someone else. We prayed, then I felt like we had to go to the apartment and find a name in the book. We went back and decided on two names on the same street, one didn't live there anymore and the new owner wasn't interested. The second was this lady named gabby who came out here door and said, "Missionaries! I'm meeting with your bishop tomorrow, God sent you didn't he?... I just got off the phone with an LDS friend of mine and prayed for help and you two show up the next second latter." She was in tears and definitely needed some love. She was possibly going through a divorce after 18 years of marriage, has an Autistic boy, and herself and the rest of her kids have ADHD. She is so loving and always puts her family, especially kids, before herself. She was struggling with her autistic child and going through college and desperate for a job, even more so with the threat of becoming a single mom with special needs children to care for. We talked with her for a bit and she told us that no one had told her that her being so family and children focused was so wonderful in a long time and that she was beautiful (which she was). So many things she needed. She is religious in another church, but came this Sunday to our ward for sacrament meeting with her friend, it was so wonderful!!!!

Blessing and miracles do really happen when one is following the spirit and gods plan.

Other than that, Amelia our progressing investigator said she would be baptized! Saying and doing are always two different things, but she is our golden investigator so I don't think she will be trouble. This is Sister George’s first baptism in this area ever and in the last 6 months. It’s a hard mission if you aren't Spanish speaking that is.....

The other day we were traveling in a small tip of our area that's triangular and no members are there. It’s really run down and honestly not safe, but we went there and after a very short time visiting potentials we talked with some people on the street who tipped us off that they were in a gang, not interested, but told us something was definitely going on and to STAY OUT of the area for a while, especially sister missionaries. We followed their advice and got out of there.

It may not be Compton, but some parts of our area puts me on edge a bit. Thank goodness the sisters get cars and we are restricted to only cars after 6 PM. Thankfully other than that area, most of the sketchy areas we have got wiped clean two years ago by the cops. They even destroyed and rebuilt over the gang headquarters in the one ways when they drove them out and took them in to jail. Some small pockets still appear, but most have been driven out now. The police do their best to keep them out of Norwalk neighborhoods near where our apartment is.

I heard that some elders in Compton a while ago got literally picked up off the street, thrown in a van, driven outside the city, and then dumped out by the gang members inside

the same van. They told them to stay out of the whole city till they told them they could come back! Something nasty was going on with the rival gangs and they didn't want the missionaries killed in the process on accident... Other than Asian gangs, most really respect and even protect missionaries from harm. That doesn't mean all do, but almost all do. Quite odd.....

I got to go to the LA temple today, even got some family names done. Such a neat temple! So very different from any I had ever been to. All are always a bit different, but this one is even more so. P-day today as well because of it, so strange to have a Tuesday P-day.

Yesterday we cleaned out couch out real good though and went to lunch at a beautiful sculpture park in Cerritos with Terri. Terri was going through a very hard time trying to adjust to life back in California and with her family. Her son makes her worry that he will go down the same spiral she did. I hope not. She also has been feeling so worthless and lonely lately. She is so used to having EVERYTHING she has taken away every few months when she was homeless years ago and some bad feelings from her becoming a member. Just so much going on for her right now. She almost died in prison with hep C years ago, that's when she finally realized things and went 180 on her life. The squirrels who played with her on outside lunch time and her sheer will to not die in prison kept her alive. She is so sweet and kind, I just love her and hope her family changes and treats her better soon. She is also still trying to get used to being a member, 1 month and still going strong. While at lunch she gave some really great advice and wisdom to Sister George and I, with her being at rock bottom and so many other things, she had to get over so much. It was just what we both needed, and her too I hope.

Still so many people who are so kind and let us in, want to hear of Christ... but they are all good.... so disappointing. Most missionaries get the honor of doors slammed in their face, I wish that happened more here actually. Sad as it is sometimes, I wouldn't say it is a waste of my time to visit since who knows, they may join latter on. But for now, I COULD be with serious investigators, instead of internigators (those who love visits, but GO NO WHERE)... so frustrating. Oh and they tend to go off topic and yammer on a good long while too! Most our days get spent on internigators, and the occasional bible basher that just can't stop bothering us to have just one more visit.

The elders, poor, poor elders, have one such person who they have deemed a thorn in their side. They said that once they get new phones or something they are very tempted to write in the area book WARNING, do not visit, accept calls, or ANYTHING, from this person. They are nice, but GO NO WHERE. They keep saying they want to be baptized, but do nothing to change or read anything. They do not understand why they need to be baptized on top of that. Oddest case I have ever heard of. I think they only want to for benefits, nothing else, which is not a good reason.

Other than some interesting people, Which Norwalk is famous for apparently, it has been really fun. Some days trying, but fun. Down to a roach a day, but at this rate, I don't think they ever truly will be gone. Quite sad.

Some of the photos I have taken lately, sorry for not having one last week, we got cut short on time. Please let me know how you are doing, I always love to hear back.

Photo notes etc.

a laser tag style (meaning with places to hide behind) dodge ball game with stress balls..... It was fun, especially when the second week the elders decided to turn off half the lights.... and the balls don't kill you when they hit you.r