Email address (preferred):
Sister Rachael Geniel Clark
California Long Beach Mission
6500 E Atherton St.
Long Beach, CA 90815
It's been a busy week! Not much in the way of investigators, less actives, or finding, but in service!
We got a new service project which I'm not sure what they are calling, but its in the central park just north of the secret garden right by the park bench café that is infested with passion vine. THEY EVEN GROW INSIDE TREES! They are a menace, carpeting everything in sight and killing everything too. I was told they are dormant in their native environment and are quite peaceful plants, but something about here makes them grow and grow and never stop! We also pulled out linseed oil trees/plants. We were very careful with those plants because of the seeds and oil. Weeds as high as a building, and you name it was growing there. Sister Almulonga, my exchange companion for half the day, felled an entire small tree by herself. A couple of the other missionaries pulled out trees and branches making me and the volunteers in charge a bit worried with everything they tore out and down. I went to work with loppers and cut down the dead growth so only the living was left behind so everyone would not accidentally pull it out they were in such a dead state. I got asked a couple times if I was an arborist since I was so good at it and even said I should get my own pair and be put in charge of that. In all we cleaned up approximately 50sq feet of absolute jungle. We even got our pictures taken for the central park website and/or Facebook page!
A day earlier we did a district blitz and everyone in our district took names we provided of streets to go by and find people to teach or service to give. We came back with a fair good amount which is cool. It was sorely needed, and I made homemade chicken noodle soup with vegetables and cream of chicken soup with potatoes and chives for the lunch for everyone. it was real good!
We had to take our car in several times to the dealership. Every time they would call us to pick up because they figured out the problem, we then came to find out they needed us to drive with them to actually find the problem.... which we aren't allowed to do, so we went home empty handed. I feel blessed to have a car, except Chevy cars in general here cause so many issues that I sometimes wish I didn't have to be the missionary to deal with it.
We went to a less active lady named Debbie and Linda her non member roommate who has been investigating for quite awhile. They was excited for Sisters to teach them instead of always Elders. We talked about parenting, how we joined the church, and its influence on our lives. It was so neat also to meet their pets, most of which are cats who were rescues and a dog who was inherited from Debbie's aunt who passed away. They both met each other at work as a nurse and both their sons are in the military so they keep each other company, but Linda dog sits now since she is retired. We asked them to read a chapter in the book of Mormon, and I look forward to seeing them both again!
We also got to meet Sister Cathey's grandmother who has dementia, and she is really nice. We watched Patterns of Light video with David A. Bednar talking about the differences of the Light of Christ, the Holy Ghost, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I related it to a talk this conference about the really dark long tunnel where the Light of Christ is like a small light, but in that dark tunnel of life, it's very hard to get through on your own. The Holy Ghost is like that friend who had that strong light that made it possible to get through the very dark tunnel, you had to stay very close to them to get along. The Gift of the Holy Ghost was like having that strong light for yourself. With it you can navigate the paths much more easily and can even help others get through it! The light of Christ is within every single person, its the force that compels us to do good and be good! I like the example in the video about this man who sees a mother with a stroller trying to get on a bus, and he feels that he needs to help her. Many say that they were just doing good, but I know that it's more than that. Her son also showed us some tricks with his mega yo-yo sort of toy since last time we ran out of time, and he is really talented with that.
Sister Culala and I had some rough patches, and both at some point hit a low spot with discouragement, but we are doing much better now and worked things out a lot more than before.
We got to be at stake conference with Elder Christofferson, one of the Twelve Apostles and one of the Seventy too! It was such a great experience. All of us missionaries waited till all the children came up and he even stopped me and talked very briefly with me after shaking my hand, that was so neat! It was packed! He talked about this child at a conference who just couldn't sit still and was most amusing to watch, not so for her parents, but he gave much encouragement to the adults of children like that, or soon to be parents to not give up. The effort they put into going to church despite the struggles, fights, running around, and mess is all worth it in the end! You could definitely tell on the stage way back in the cultural hall that some children were running about so that must have been much needed for those parents. President and Sister Tew came as well and got to have a short time to talk as well. Sister Tew talked about the basic principals of the gospel and living up to that as members. President Tew talked about his mission in Guatemala and the love for those people and now for here, it was very powerful! During this I decided to sketch in my small art book which helped me stay focused, so here are some pictures of ones I did at general conference and this Sunday (one was of a horse I took a picture of at the pony petting zoo that I liked). As much as I would like to draw things other than horses and nature, its just easier and looks better to do these from only memory.
One photo of the outside of secret garden, Westminster Sisters new apartment setting it up, and our apartment that is almost all cleaned up from the depths of dirtiness and making into a Sister's apartment with things I found here and there that work well together.