Monday, November 21, 2016

79 - 79 is an odd number to end with. Last day!


Last day.... Feels strange, but I'm doing alright. I got to see almost everyone and get most of everyone's pictures of who I wanted, so I'm happy. Usually I don't get that luxury, but since I didn't meet many people in one transfer, it made it easier. I am satisfied how my mission has been.

We worked on trying to find. My companion at least did while on exchanges for my departure trip to the temple.

During the week we tried to teach, we were blessed with lots of less actives that we taught, again with unexpected ways of blessings. Lots of them I will miss so much! Some we visited even got close to crying because they would miss me visiting them every week. You know you impacted a person's life when that happens. I know I did my job right this transfer despite discouragements. God just needed me to help the less actives in this area more than any other work, and of course the Baker family with their spiritual journey.

Miracle of the week: My departure temple trip.
  Unfortunately, we were the last van to leave, so we got stuck in traffic behind 3 accidents (no worries, it was way far ahead of us). We joked that we could get on bikes and bike to the temple faster then driving. Mostly true for half the trip....  Sadly, we missed the session and ended up walking the halls and enjoying the new paintings of Christ they had recently hung up all around the temple, and we got to see the baptismal font. Dead silent since youth and patrons don't go at that time due to school and work. I felt the spirit so strongly just observing the area. I had been through temples during open houses, but never have I been there in a similar way while dedicated. Such a difference, you can feel the spirit and sanctity of the work that is done there so strongly. I have a big place in my heart for the baptismal font, so that was special. We then did other work which was nice then waited in the celestial room while the session was going on. Very special unusual trip, so it was worth it. Blessings come in unexpected ways.

In the end I never got to teach them another lesson due to some surprise business trips, but I got to see most of their family at church each of those weeks! But I know the next sisters will do a good job, and Sister Dimmick is still here and YSA again! We lost 18 missionaries this transfer including me going home, so they have to combine area's again.

Things came and I am still loving it! Mission accomplished!

Monday, November 14, 2016

78 - Just do your best before the end, come what may, and love it!

Email address (preferred):
rachael.clark@myldsmail.net 

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


This week we have been Busy going around the heights area to find members (mostly people who moved out or do not contacts... at least they were nice to us) and getting lost in the dark. I saw my first coyote, they run fast... Thankfully they only appear at night usually, so we are just fine in our car, driving from place to place. We also saw LOTS of squirrels and a rabbit crossing the road. I have yet to see deer...but I think I am just fine not seeing that in my path. No animals harmed by us while driving, that would be a sad day. We have discovered "the great and spacious building" near the top of our area while getting lost one time. We also found many trail heads as well, and we just stopped and knocked doors in those areas since we figured no one has ever contacted them, and someone has to share the gospel with them or cheer them up, or do service for them. They gave us looks that confirmed our theory that no one ever visits them. At least they also were nice and some even took a picture of Christ.

Not many lessons sadly. Everyone is on vacation, business trip, or just not home this week... or sick. At least there is a new week to try new things, though.

Sister Dimmick's birthday was this week, and we celebrated with the fun balloons and party hats her parents sent her, and I surprised her with a cake made from whipped cream and Nutella as filler and frosting and some European waffle like cookies for the "cake". Then I stuck a candle on and sang her a song. Shortest party ever since we only get 1 hour for meals, but fun. We also played the popcorn popping song and bounced the balloons around during dinner for fun in true Singles Ward style... She loves that movie, so it was a funny inside joke. Then there was a ward relief society party making wooden Christmas tree decorations that we did with our investigators. They loved it! We did too.

Other than having way too much fun during dinner and lunch together baking and cooking food, we have done more knocking and contacting formers than before. At least we were able to set up future appointments for this upcoming week, that is always good. Not much else, but we talked to everyone, and that's what matters. We have noticed that everyone in our area has used their agency to the fullest extent this week, so that aside, we have done well despite our best efforts. A little discouraging, but that is OK.

I was asked to share a spiritual experience from my mission for the mission history files, so I thought I would share:
If there is one thing that helped me the most, it is realizing our purpose as a missionary. We aren't the ones that convert, and we aren't the ones that bring them to baptism. We are, however, the ones that testify of the Gospel and bring The Spirit into their homes so that he then can testify of the truths we share and help them towards God on a personal level. We are merely the vessels that God asks to bring the Gospel to others, open our mouths, and testify of Christ and how to return to our loving Heavenly Father.

I remember a time before my mission that helped me realize this concept. An acquaintance of mine once entered into a costume contest with a character little known to many. On stage, she had 45 seconds to sway the audience that her character was worth something. Unlike many others who said many words, or did dances, songs, or skits; she came on quietly and silently. Not a word was spoken, but what was said to the heart spoke stronger and truer then what anyone had said that day. Everyone was fixed on everything she did, and their were few dry eyes in the audience after she left the stage. she won the hearts of all present and the judges.

That day I learned well timed silence draws people's attention better than fancy words or songs, because The Spirit doesn't compete with noise.

We, too, bring a message to the "stage" of others,  often little known to them if at all; and we have very little time to share it with them to show it matters everything to us and to them. The Holy Ghost is the most quiet payer on the stage, and if we let him in, he will touch the hearts of those we meet and some will be fixed on every part of the message we share. Giving everyone we meet the opportunity to feel The Spirit, often times for the first time ever in their life; will give them more than any words we could ever tell. God knows each of us and loves us dearly, and will use us to bring the things they need most into their life, if we let him in, too.

Just trying to do my best before the end, come what may, and love it!

Monday, November 7, 2016

77 - The blizzard of '77 (is all they talk about in upstate NY)

Email address (preferred):
rachael.clark@myldsmail.net 

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


Lots of last minute things I have had to do that is keeping me swamped on P-days... Like car inspection, apartment inspection... three this transfer alone... Good for the apartment at least.
No time whatsoever to do anything so I wonder if they do this on purpose for departing missionaries. Keep them busy with mandatory trainings with my plan and testimonies and departing thoughts. Busy work....

Besides that, we didn't get to teach the baker family due to illness in the family, but we saw half at church which was good. They are pushing their baptism date latter so I most likely won't be here for that sadly, but life moves on without me. I'm happy for them since they will all get baptized together as one big happy family! So cool!

We had to go get our tires checked at the mission office so we have been all over the place this week. Lost of meetings, lots of canceled appointments as well. We have been having fun despite that and had lots of time walking to contact people. I have discovered however whenever we drive I see TONS of opportunists to contact people, the moment we walk... They all disappear. Irony!

Miracle of the week: since I forgot last week.... I have three this week
1. We finally got to see sister Dunn, her parents died recently unfortunately and she told us that she felt impressed that we would come so she got up early and nicely dressed and was waiting for us to come sometime that day. I also felt impressed and since we were unable to call her first I decided to push on and see her anyways. her phone number changed so we wouldn't be able to get a hold of her anyways, so she was so happy to talk with us and be uplifted with our message!

2. A member from Pickering called us who is moving into our ward, and he wanted to have the missionary lessons to help him receive the higher priesthood, receive his patriarchal blessing, and go through the temple for himself for the first time as well. he must have been told to contact us since we usually help with this with some lessons to prepare them and he had been less active before as well. We were fasting yesterday to find a solid person to teach and god blessed us with him. It is a rare day that someone seeks us out so diligently so I was so grateful to be able to now work with him towards those blessings in his life.

3. We finally met another less active going into activity. He hit rock bottom awhile back and is slowly recovering. He recognized that he needed to go back to church and figure out who he really is. I guess you would call that a mid life crisis at 50.... He was once a CEO of some companies, then lost it all after tragic identity theft. He said though that it made him think about his life and he is now experiencing a lot of new things, like shopping, cooking, and cleaning and other daily chores.
he also asked us, if your parents could be anything they could be at around 50, what would they be? I know that there are many things I want to do with my life... I know that I can only do so many of them, so this is an opportunity for change for him. I guess you would call that a blessing to restart and experience another vocation and life all together.

It is interesting how God takes our busy lives and while we can lose everything, it opened up a better path that will give us blessings even better then we could ever imagine, it's just hard when you start on that path. May not look like much now other than a field of ashes from smoldering and burnt dreams once there. If their is one thing I have learned, God makes his finest creations from the purest thing on earth, Ashes. The refiner's fire is hard to endure, but it makes us stronger then ever! This member just had to go through it all at once. Sometimes it makes me happy I go through it slowly instead of all at once. But as usual, God NEVER gives us more than we can handle, so he must be a very strong person!

And life moves on and on. Hopefully this week with pick up a bit!

Monday, October 31, 2016

76 - All Hallows Een

Email address (preferred):
rachael.clark@myldsmail.net 

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


This week has been interesting... Our car needed long term fixing, so we walked for three days entirely. That was an adventure. I am SO thankful for a working car now! We were only able to walk to two lessons per day due to the distance required to walk. I haven't been that sore in forever. Other than that adventure making a dent in our work, we did get to see the Baker family and helped them strengthen their understanding of the restoration, Joseph Smith, and The Book of Mormon and its role in conversion and The Bible.

We visited the members in the heights, lots of tired mom's making costumes for the Trunk or treat. We also were able to meet Brother Rosas, and Ihave never seen so many varieties of fruits in my life, including some I never knew existed! So beautiful there, he let us tour his garden making up of plumeria, multiple varieties of oranges, tangerines, tangelos, limes, lemons, (I forgot the name but a fruit like a lemon lime looking fruit, tastes like a bland orange, with a slight sweet lemon, and a grapefruit aftertaste) purple/red dragon fruit, sugar cane, white and red pomegranate varieties, two varieties of persimmons, pecan and other nut trees, lots of pepper varieties, sweet potato, papaya, avocado, and other usual garden plants. SO PRETTY, it looked like a sightseeing garden more than a fruit garden how he set it up! He even used used old concrete from the sidewalks to make retaining walls, such a great idea and so pretty... Who would have thought! He even has chickens of all colors and said they love pomegranates that got spoiled by rain (the fruit rots when wet... who would have thought). That was an adventure. He LOVES giving extra food to neighbors and missionaries so we came back with more fruit than I knew what to do with other than share.

We also saw Brother Jensen who has an American Eskimo dog named Sissy. Sadly, she has heart defects that were unknown for years and only 1 usable eye now, so he was worried about her going down hill. His girlfriend also passed away a few months ago, so we focused on being positive despite loss and trials. Also on reading scriptures to help him and prayer. Hopefully that will help him. It is hard to see people going through loss like that in his age of life. Everyone around him is moving on to the other side more and more these days.

Lots of slow progress here, but that is OK. We did go to the Trunk or treat though because the bakers where there. Trunk or Treat's are almost a necessary here in California due to "scary clowns" going around lately. The bakers loved it since it was safe and reliving childhood for their kids to enjoy. LOTS of cars this year! As for Halloween this year for me...apartment cleaning. Almost as scary as what you see outside trick or treating.... Glad our apartment isn't since we deep cleaned it already. That means inventory of books and things, and additional study! Hooray!

Picture of Baker family at trunk or treat... I wore another Little India outfit with a skirt I had! Sister Dimmick was also in ethnic clothing from South America...another missionary hand me down. Our costumes were sister missionaries from around the world... So creative huh?


Monday, October 24, 2016

75 - Kumquats have a sunnier hue

Email address (preferred):
rachael.clark@myldsmail.net 

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


While we may not have done much as far as teaching this week, we did have zone conference, Ken's Baptism, Emergency test for the stake, and apartment check.

We also found most of our appointments canceled, but hopefully that will change this week, but we kept busy and met with ward leaders to help target some people we could help out or visit so we could help the ward and other individuals that may need a message of hope or help with service. We were thankfully quite successful with that this week.

Miracle of the week was when we visited with the emergency preparedness specialist in this ward who recently was called, she was discouraged and lost in what to do. She wanted a map of the ward boundaries but despite all her attempts, the streets were off or unnamed making it almost impossible to use. We came to help her with a service by using my previous map fixing abilities I gained in my previous areas and used parts of an atlas book of sorts (not sure the name) and I carefully placed them up even so copies could be made and/or enlarged latter. She then took us out for lunch as a thank you and gave us some copies that were laminated as well when she finished them. God knows when we need help the most and she said that is was better we came when we did rather than the day before and we gave her the help/service and encouragement she needed right when she was at her lowest. We just felt prompted by the spirit to visit her first thing that morning, it goes to show it is better to follow the spirit rather than ignore it and continue on with previous plans to visit her latter.

She also had us have some kumquats, it was Sister Dimmick's first try at them and her reaction was funny, she tried to eat it without the peel and it was a big sour one too so she wasn't a fan. I however enjoyed a few since it had been forever since I last had some. We joked about that for a long while in good humor.

We went in the La Habra Heights (friendly hills) more this week. It is quite an adventure trying to find people up there and going along those roads. it reminds me of a roller coaster, lots of steep ups and downs with interesting sharp turns on occasion. Thankfully we don't pass by many other cars often in the smaller roads, or else I would rarely make those trips. It is real fun though going up there especially those rare sights of the entire valley below all the way to the ocean if the smog isn't thick only a few members live up there, They weren't home so we have to trek up there again some time.

The Baker family was fun to have a lesson with, we did a lesson on the plan of salvation and the father really enjoyed it. He kept asking us questions and loved our responses so we told him to write down any more questions for next time. He even said that it makes sense to him so much more and is starting to understand why it is us missionaries love to go on missions sharing about what we know and love to bless other people who are willing to listen. I hope they get baptized soon, they are such a great family! I also love the members who always let us use their home to teach at and fellowship them since they live outside our boundaries and can't travel to their home. I'm just grateful that the mission president that is over their area was kind enough to let us teach them.

going back to my last area for ken's baptism was a treat yesterday. Almost half the ward was there in support of them and even parts of the YSA were there to welcome him into the YSA should he like to come. He was so excited and even asked to share i\his conversion story and testimony afterwards. He even told us that his father said to him that he was so proud of him, something big in his life considering the previous nonsupport. His father even said he would be willing to support him to go on a mission should he choose. I am so happy for him!

Ken's baptism! Each time I get to see someone I taught make the choice to be baptized makes me so happy and proud of each and every one. It makes it hard to leave for home in a month, but I know they will all be just fine as long as they continue to face their life towards the savior Jesus Christ and in faith. It was interesting to see Sister Painchaud running over to give me a hug and said "my companion!" she must have missed me after all. Funny how life turns out, I'm just glad we are better off now!
All is well that ends well!



Monday, October 17, 2016

74 - New companion and refrigerator!

Email address (preferred):
rachael.clark@myldsmail.net 

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


My new Companion is Sister Dimmick, and we have been having lots of fun together. This week for the most part has been very slow, but eventful. I moved to the Santa Gertrudes Ward in Whittier stake, and most of my area is in the La Habra Heights and just below. Sadly, whoever decided the boundary lines neglected to put into account the fact that in order to visit certain places, you can only get there by leaving the mission boundaries.... So we are two of the few missionaries who have permission to leave the mission to use a few streets to get there. That was interesting. We also found many small 2 lane roads that we both agreed were too small for 2 cars to pass by at the same time at some points, so we definitely said a prayer before heading out in the heights to find a few members to visit who were neglected in the past due to said reasons and mileage restrictions making it difficult to venture out there for. They really need to give us more miles for those winding roads to travel, but I doubt they will. It was an adventure though! We also got a good view of the entire mission and beyond from some points. Especially since it was the clearest day I could remember in the longest time for here. Normally you can see the smog about 50 feet away, but it was nice and clear that day. I will never complain about Utah smog ever again. California smog is 100 times worse, even for Utah winters!

No luck in the back woods, but we did find out some gated communities over here that we noted on the map for future missionaries so they don't plan to make a 10 minute drive thinking they could get to another section of the area and find out it is gated and have to go ALL the way around for another half hour or more. We did that trip for them....

Miracle of the week:
We also had an adventure as we found out our ancient fridge decided to leak water from the freezer and ruin everything so we had to buy new food and swap out the fridge for a better one. Turns out the housing missionary just had to close an apartment in Whittier and had to figure out a way to take the fridge down to storage so it worked out perfectly for us! Sadly it was an old elder's apartment and it was filled with mold..... needless to say we spent some good time sanitizing it and the deepest cleaning of a fridge ever in my life to get it safe enough to use. Another adventure in itself. Our car coincidentally needed to be fixed so that took up our day that also opened up when all our appointments canceled. That trend followed the rest of the week, so we only taught 1 lesson to our investigator Sherri the entire week and another with Abigail.

Sherri had just listened to a Christian radio station, and we came and taught about the same subject. She marveled how we seemed to know exactly what she needed to hear and prayed for. She is going through a tough time, so our visit helped her a lot and gave her hope. We also helped her find ways to write down her prayer and things in it so she would read it to help her build her confidence in saying her own prayers instead of reading some one else's. After all, the best prayers come from the heart of the person saying it.

Other than that, I found out that Ken from my last area is getting baptized on October 23rd so that is exciting. I just hope we can save the miles enough to make the trip down. Of course I get sent to the furthest away zone possible.... irony.

Monday, October 3, 2016

73 - Exchanging miracles

Email address (preferred):
rachael.clark@myldsmail.net 

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


This week is bringing changes. I will go on an extended exchange with Sister Kwon in the Harper Park ward next door to ours. Sister Painchaud and I were having a hard time with each other, so to give each other time to refresh from the tough transfer we have had, president has negotiated with us since we are so close to the end of the transfer. I hope that Sister Painchaud is helped by this. After exchanges with the STL's last week, she perked up, but it didn't last long, so I made the call so that both of us can hopefully have a good week. We also have a general authority visiting our mission this week, so that has added stress because we need to have everything perfect in our apartment and area book.

We had a great opportunity to go to Bishop Terry's with Leicy and Ken there. They even made us a family tradition breakfast just before it started, that was fun. Ever since their son went off to his mission in England, they said it was just too quiet, so it was nice to have us there. This was the first time I have gone to a member's house for conference, so I was thrilled. It was also nice to talk afterwards and discuss things we liked, had questions on, or clarified. Super fun! Ken loved it, especially Priesthood meeting from the day earlier with the ward mission leader. It is so nice when members from the ward on their own invite people we teach to come to events or activities. That is always the best.

We had to return Stella's plate which gave us an opportunity to talk with her since we haven't heard from her for awhile. We helped her with some questions and concerns she had about Joseph Smith, and hopefully I can find what she needs to hear. It is a hard question to answer, but with The Spirit's guidance, anything is possible when you add God's help in the equation. I am so glad we got to see her and she is doing alright. Just wished she got to see General Conference since that really would have helped her. Satan is really working hard to keep people from truth and joy around these parts these days.

Miracle of the week, while on exchanges we decided our goal was to find a new investigator to teach, and Sister Watson and I did just that. We went by a former who had recently decided at her rock bottom to stop doing drugs and have God more in her life. She said that us coming by was just another sign by God that he loved her and was aware of her. She was happy to hear we are Christian, unlike she first had thought when elders first taught her a while back and wanted the sisters to teach her more of the message. Goes to show miracles do happen, especially on exchanges.

This General Conference was so good, I definitely want to listen to it again since I couldn't write down everything i wanted to in my notebook. I also found as I go along my mission, the more and more I write things for myself and more so the people I am teaching or working in the ward with. Funny how that works.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

72 - Tuesday p-day means all those things closed on Monday are open

Email address (preferred):
rachael.clark@myldsmail.net 

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


Things are well, first temple p-day I have ever been 100% awake on... usually I get slightly sleepy on occasion or on the ride back I'm out like a light trying to catch up on lost sleep. It was very nice to go, although it was the LA temple... skunked again on going to Newport on temple p-day.

We also went to the surf museum finally since its open on Tuesday. That was a fun experience, so glad to visit there. Other than that, it has been a LONG week. Almost all our appointment cancelled so we had plenty of time to go around and meet members we haven't seen before. other than that, honestly not much to talk about sadly as a result.

Miracle of the week: We saw a member and helped him locate his cell phone after losing it, he needed it real bad and he was so excited we were able to help and the person who picked it up was just close enough he was able to drive there before they had to leave for the day.

Fay was able to go to the women's conference and had a great time with Sister Labaron and the other sisters, we also met another lady who came and loved it who wasn't a member. Another fun things was to have giant pretzels afterwards and customize them with the toppings they had out while talking about the amazing talks they had. Great memories for sure!

Lasting conversion comes from sincere prayer and faith on the answers one receives. Never let the world tear that down from your life. The joys of the gospel are too precious to let go out of your life.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

71 - Turning hearts to the children

Email address (preferred):
rachael.clark@myldsmail.net 

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


This week was mostly going through more of the ward list to find people who moved out or people we can teach. We have been short on lessons this week especially since people are getting back into school and kids are keeping their parents busy. Yep that time of year.... Worse than the summer for us for teaching, but that is OK.

Miracle of the week was we were on our way to a potential when we talked to some people smoking on their doorstep. We talked for awhile and they weren't interested, but they knew someone who had been taught by us before and gave us her address and name to go visit her. we were confused since we are the only ones in our area and they were currently being taught so we went over to meet her. Come to find out they confused us for Jehovah witnesses, and they invited us right in thinking we were them. They still were happy to learn from us a little sine they didn't have much time today, her name was Goldie and she told us she just likes the JW's over for bible studies one day a week to learn and be closer to god and honestly had no desire to join them.

Afterwards she still wants to have bible studies with them for awhile longer then she will contact us in the future (hopefully sooner than latter) and we will have studies with her as well. I just hope that when the people who do the studies with her come again, they won't spread nasty lies or anything... I hate it when people we teach get fed lots of lies and get caught up in "religious warfare".... I try real hard not to say anything bad about other faiths or at all, since I would expect the same respect in return. Sadly the world we live in doesn't follow the same chivalry..... especially around here.

My rule of thumb for life is, DON'T spread things about others you don't know about if YOU don't attend or participate in it. For all you know, you could have been told something contrary to the truth and will spread those bad lies around. If you are searching for information about some group or person, ask the source, NOT THE INTERNET OR OTHER PEOPLE UNAFFILIATED WITH THEM.

Off my soap box now....

Other than that, everything is moving along fairly well with people we are teaching. Weather is dropping in the temperatures in the morning and night, day is still mildly hot for the most part, so we bring a sweater in the morning, leave it in the car during the day, then take a coat or jacket near the night. Unless we are by the beach...it gets 10+ degrees colder there, crazy how that works... 1 mile inland is so different in temperature.

We had a primary program this Sunday, first for my mission. It's interesting how if they speak and sing for sacrament meeting, it is much quieter. No ruffling bags of crackers constantly making noise, kids flipping crayons around the pews, kids occasionally escaping into the hallway, and so forth... the usual. Not only that but they sat mostly still, and even better was all the adults were wide awake and listening intently to them talk their short lines or testimonies.... My analysis is they should do this more often. I especially love the pure testimonies that don't start with... I was asked to talk on (insert subject here) or how they were cornered in the hallway and asked to cover for someone or give a talk... or any other slew of time wasting openers. THEY GAVE TRUE TESTIMONIES OF WHAT THEY KNOW TO BE TRUE. That was so amazing and brought the spirit into the meeting and into our hearts so well, I really enjoyed this sacrament meeting this week. Adults, take note from the primary. SERIOUSLY.

Monday, September 12, 2016

70 - Loud celebrations

Email address (preferred):
rachael.clark@myldsmail.net 

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


Yesterday was quite loud with constant helicopters going overhead for memorial services/displays/ ect. Tons of them too, and cannons going off.... they sure do celebrate with a bang around here and make it no small thing. They want the whole world know their patriotism!

Other than those tributes yesterday, Bishop Terry gave some great words of tribute during sacrament meeting. Someone in our ward was born on 9/11, so that day has double meaning for her.  It's also interesting, I think I heard for the first time what happens to a speaker who doesn't prepare for their talk, especially the 30 minute one. You can tell. As they say here in the mission field, the atonement is real, or in other words repentance is real! I'm just happy they remembered what they learned in primary and our investigator Fay was touched by his words. It was her first time there so first time impressions count. Lots of themes about overcoming the constant barrage of perfectionism the world portrays and reality with its truth and Christ's atonement to make things better for class time as well. Made for a good day.

Isn't it just life when I come up with amazing things to share, then when Monday rolls around, I have all but forgotten it all.

I was real sick on Tuesday, but we still got some work done which was great. Feeling better now thankfully!

We had dinner with Kenneth and his girlfriend came as well even though she had her second round of chemo. She was thrilled to tell us she wasn't as sick as she was expecting and is going along well. Just has to avoid the sun at ALL costs. Kenneth even bore his testimony of his mission experiences in Japan and how that has blessed his life. Such a neat experience!

We also saw all of our investigators except one so it's been a great week. Anthony is going on a cruise, but we did get to talk before he left that day. He said he would be so proud of us and the work we do if we were his daughters and our lessons have made a difference. At least we can still see his daughter who is house sitting and dog sitting so we are looking forward to that!

We also saw a former who we dropped. He called us saying he had questions from his reading The Book of Mormon like we asked, but sadly it was the usual bible bashing so we left it at that one requested visit. Glad he likes us, but that isn't our purpose.

Sister Painchaud and I have agreed to disagree for the most part so things will most likely remain as they are now. In life, it is true when they say there are just some people in this world you won't get along with, some more than others. Other than that, work keeps moving along in our area fairly well despite that.

We are working a lot with the ward council and trying to implement new ways to work with the ward for missionary work so things have been interesting.

Miracle of the week: We went by formers and knocked on the door of a lady named Paige. We almost walked away when she talked through the window and said to come another day, then a moment latter said, "Wait right there, I feel like I should talk to you, so let me get properly dressed." She let us in and we talked about the restoration, and she said how happy she was to hear that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. She had been going through a tough spot, and her only daughter is almost done with school, so her life is going to be empty nesting soon. She then told us about her goals in life and how she writes it down (no matter how high set they are or crazy), then she keeps inspirational stories with it in a binder to help her achieve her goals. She is such a giving and nice person. She even said how happy it was to see ladies on a mission and would love to learn more and have her questions answered. She knew God sent us that morning,  and she was getting so down on life, then we picked her right back up and strengthened her faith as well. I love it when that happens!

Monday, September 5, 2016

69 - Relinquishing worldly things

Email address (preferred):
rachael.clark@myldsmail.net 

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


Feeling sick today, not fun!

We also got word that the entire mission is going through "the purge" today so that means we have only 2 suitcases and 1 carry on for all our belongings... Sounds like a lot of elders have to clean out their apartments and sisters decide which clothing they REALLY want. I have to send home a box of books and some souvenirs. It will be tough with food as well because he said to leave it behind. I sure hope I don't have to get moved, because otherwise I'm broke before the end of this month with the food I had to purchase today. Thankfully, I already sorted through lots of things last transfer so I'm in pretty good shape.

Miracle of the week: We found out Anthony went to the hospital due to illness and effects of too many years of smoking, so we talked with his daughter (whose name I forgot... Oops) while she was waiting for him to come home. We got talking about overcoming challenges in life and how priesthood blessings help, and that got us teaching her about most of the restoration. She was quite interested in getting a blessing because of things going on in her life and her Lupus is acting up more lately causing her pain. I hope she continues to have interest in learning because she invited us to come back whenever to talk with her. In the next few weeks, her parents are going on a cruise, hopefully, so she will be by herself for a while for the most part.

Ken is progressing pretty well, but we will have to pass him on to YSA soon if he doesn't decide on a course of action soon. He already has a calling in Scouts due to how long he has attended this ward so this will be interesting.

Other than that, my companion and I have had to see president Patterson about some things... It was decided that we just don't get along and was told not to try and be friends. That about sums up our companionship right now. Our goal is to make the area work and survive the rest of the transfer. We discussed other things, but it was mostly how to go about peacefully doing our missionary duty as things stand. We just have too opposite of personalities to make things work out the normal way, just my luck. He is really trying to keep us together so Sister Painchaud doesn't want to go home or myself get emergency transferred from her. I hope this works, it has been a week already.

Monday, August 29, 2016

68 - Beaches (without Bette Midler)

Email address (preferred):
rachael.clark@myldsmail.net 

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


This week has been trying but better than last week. We got in 4 lessons with Ken alone, mostly on a bench by the beach since it was just across the street. Got cold we found out after dinner times. One would not expect it to be cold, but it does by the ocean. Lessons learned.... He also went to a Baptism going on in our zone, and he was thrilled to finally see one and get a feel of what it really is. He loved the experience, and now he wants to be baptized, just unsure of when. We have over half the lessons done since he will be going off to college in a few months and will be hopefully getting into a firefighting program. He really wants to do that and has been asking questions on how he would be able to go to church still considering the vocation he wants and stuff like that. He is so prepared, it is amazing.

We also got to help out with sea cliffs with Pokeno. The ladies there gave us trouble for not coming as often as we used to be allowed and for us being so busy we couldn't come on a certain day anymore. Along with that we helped a member with putting together signs in the overflow about the history of the HB stake year by year from the past 50 years. Took a while with just three hands so she was grateful for the help and we went to MOD Pizza place for lunch as a thank you. So much has changed in 50 years, back then there was a warehouse they used to meet in called the "tin can shack." Then they were in the recreation center for elderly and had to sweep up beer bottles and cigarette butts before sacrament each Sunday. Hearing that makes me so grateful we have buildings to meet in of our own and we don't have to do that anymore. Quite beautiful, too! To save up money for the first building of their own, members sold their second cars, fasted and prayed often, gave generously to building funds, put on fundraisers, and even took out loans to help.

Miracle of the week: We stopped by Anthony again for fun, and although he was feeling a little under the weather, he wanted to hear from us. Normally he would dominate the discussion and let us know why he disagreed with our church and its policy's on missionary work and so forth, he listened. He also missed us coming by since this whole transfer. We didn't try by since we figured we could talk to many other people who would actually listen. We taught the plan of salvation because he probably has heard that one a million times before. His wife and daughter even came by with a friend at one point, so we restarted in 2 more times so everyone was on the same page. They had many great questions and seemed to enjoy the lesson. We used many scriptures from both the Bible and Book of Mormon, and by the end they wanted us to come by next time and talk about where The Book of Mormon came from and why, aka restoration. His daughter's friend even asked for a copy and might come next time to hear us. SO COOL!

If at first you don't make any progress, try something they might accept and go forward with faith that God will soften their hearts to accept the other lessons latter on!

Lots more lessons this last week which made things go by so much better and faster, hopefully this week will be similar.

I also found out I am staying with Sister Painchaud so this should be good and interesting.

Went near dog beach (since it is in our area) and took pictures of the "sea rats" nearby.






Picture of the piano at Lee Peterson's place they are remodeling. I thought it was neat!



Monday, August 22, 2016

67 - Making a difference

Email address (preferred):
rachael.clark@myldsmail.net 

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


This week was SLOW, very slow due to almost all of our appointments cancelling, a few people dropped us, and other small disappointments. Lots of the people left on our list we found out are do not contacts and or ignore us, so that made for an unpleasant week. At least some of the people were nice, one flat out bashed us.... Go figure, a member on top of that. We hope things don't fall through this week, don't know if I could deal with another week like that one again.

Miracle of the week: I got to see someone today near the beach who the elders taught in HBN almost a year ago. He is still investigating, thankfully he is still out of jail and out of trouble for 2 years now. He was so used to prison life, he didn't know where to begin to live a regular normal life. (One would think they would have programs or something to help them around here.) One day he met another church leader who told him he had great potential, and that comment of self worth was the first he could ever remeber getting in his life for a long long time. That jump started him to want to change, be baptized (in another church more than a year ago) and help others change for the better who are in similar cituations. I wish him luck!

Today we went with Stella on an outing by the PCH (pacific coast highway (shopping center)) that we planned for awhile. Mostly window shopping, but at least Sister Painchaud and her had lots of fun. I think I enjoyed the meal the most. (Not a real fan of the current styles of clothing or prices for that matter.) Saw lots of California shirt shops, make your own T-shirt design shops, and surf shops. (Lots of Pok√©mon Go inspired shirts on display as well, kind of interesting to see.)

One thing I noticed is the overall message that kept coming up when we did scripture thoughts or at church was about even if you don't think you are doing the best work, or even making a difference, YOU ARE. You are doing what God needs you to do if you are being obedient, having faith, and working hard (in missionary terms that is). It has been discouraging, but we are working hard. We may not have lessons to show for it, but we are still doing what God needs us to be doing.

Another great miracle:
We did get to give out our first Book of Mormon for this transfer. Ever since President Patterson put in the no knocking rule, we haven't had any luck with teaching or finding, but one man near the end of the night from out of state was looking at his phone, and we talked for awhile. We shared about the Book of Mormon the usual way when out of the blue I felt prompted to ask him if he had at any point in his life feelings of guilt or regret he wished he could get rid of. I shared about Christ and repentance, and how the Book of Mormon helped me with that journey of using Christ's atonement to heal mistakes in my past and let me move on with my life with leaving my guilt and regrets and sins behind. (Granted that doesn't take away any consequences, but at least you feel better and can do better afterwards). We then gave him a copy and he accepted it then had to get back to work. He would be there away from home and family on a job working power lines for a month, but I hope it can help him become a better person and father and more.

Monday, August 15, 2016

66 - Exodus

Email address (preferred):
rachael.clark@myldsmail.net 

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


This week we spent our days visiting the remainder of the people on our ward list. Met more Do Not Contacts than usual. It's sad when that happens, but we all have free agency, and that matters more in life. We also had exchanges and due to the mas exodus of sisters in the mission (illness, homesickness, and things out of their control). I was put with Sister Poulson (a new missionary) and we sort of did a reversal exchange. We had lots of fun together that day and met a few more elderly members who are in recovery and would love us to come by and teach them until they are able to go to church themselves. I love hearing stories from their youth and how life was back them vs. now and how they were able to overcome challenges with Christ in their life, even how missionary work was back then.

We had a fun outing with Stella at a Japanese restaurant, very authentic, then we taught a lesson on Temples, and she said that years ago she worked with her LDS sister on some family history. She now understands why she was so persistent on learning about her relatives and gathering photos and stories, then she turned it into a video for the whole family to enjoy. She was thrilled she was apart of that whole process and looks forward to our visit hopefully soon at the temple visitors center to learn more and be around the LA Temple grounds.

Things are going well with Ken, He loves soaking up all the things we teach him and informing us on the little discoveries he finds each day.

We had a lesson with Titiana and Sister Goode (a friend of hers for many years) and talked about choices we all make in life and how having a patriarchal blessing helps us along our path of life with guidance and is an invaluable insight of ourselves and our potential that God sees in each of us as we live righteously and do all we can to help those things happen and help others around us. She loved Church and was presented to the relief society sisters for graduating young women's with the other youth. She also is excited to try going to the YSA ward with Lacey next week and possibly the fun activities and classes at institute they have for youth her age.

Miracle of the week was an opportunity to do service with the Harwards. They had to cancel an appointment due to some work they were doing on the house, and we both felt prompted to ask if they needed our help. They had started work on their kitchen and dinning room taking off... yes you guessed it.... dreaded 20+ year old WALL PAPER! They needed to paint the walls and have it ready for some carpet cleaning in 4 days, and they needed it before they moved the furniture into that same room. They were deeply discouraged from learning the usual ways you can get it off for newer paper is useless for the ancient wall covering, and they barely made a dent in the work to be done the day before. We came over and started working at one wall they had tried to work through the other day and found that by soaking it relentlessly with very hot water would get bigger pieces then the shreds they were getting before. It worked out well since we wanted to get to know them more and do service since they were going through so much as it was; and this time we could. We shared experiences about the gospel, how the youth trip to the tabernacle was for the youth, and more. It was almost like 1 big lesson for the time we did the service with them. They were almost done by the time we had to leave and were happy beyond words for our help. They said they could go to sleep that night without worry of not getting this project done in time and were almost in tears (Sister Harward was anyways). After this experience, I'm not so scared of wall paper removal (that and I did a harder job at my own house in the past). More hands make the work light and fun!

Goes to show that sometimes physically working with the less active members builds trust, especially when they need a helping hand. Not only that but the ward as a whole has lots of trust in us, it has been amazing. They have offered us to meet their friends, have us over for dinner (more days than we have available), and tell us all we need to know about people we need more information on to visit so we can share something to cheer them up or help them through a tough time in their life. Our hard work is starting to pay off now!








Monday, August 8, 2016

65 - So cultural

Email address (preferred):
rachael.clark@myldsmail.net 

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


I have discovered something quite depressing about California... anything and everything fun we COULD do as a missionary is CLOSED on Mondays only. Even bike shops are closed on Mondays, so no one can get their bike fixed on p-day.  We would have gone to the surf museum or the art museum in our area, but no good.

You would think we would have p-day on Friday or some other day when it is highly unproductive, Mondays almost everyone is home around here or can only meet on a Monday. So much for cultural and anything else fun we can do. Shopping and looking at the beach from the concrete is the most fun we can ever do around here sadly. Hopefully we can go on temple Tuesday this transfer. The LA temple is closed for the entire transfer, and so is Newport, but for 2 weeks. We all wonder if everyone will have different temple days and go to Newport, or if they will cancel it since only 2 zones can go usually to Newport. I hope not, I am finally here on a transfer that they have temple p-day.

Other than that disappointment, we spent the whole week meeting members and less actives from the ward list. We are ever so slowly figuring out who is who and even which addresses are UPS stores believe it or not. Lots of people who moved out as well. Short term it isn't fun or productive, long term we have scheduled many appointments for this week so it was worth the effort, especially part member families!

Miracle of the week:
I felt like looking in the book for a Polynesian family (since I know many will let us in despite church status due to culture, or will feed us, or know people who aren't members or less active to teach). I felt like we should visit one in the numbered streets and asked for the mom. They said to come by at 5pm. around 6:30 we suddenly remembered to go back and hurried on over (parking is a good 15 minutes away for free parking (or any parking at all), so we hoped it wasn't too late). Ashe wasn't there, but Titiana was there. In fact, she had just come in from collage for three a week stay just moments earlier. Tatiana and her siblings live with their aunt and uncle and are fostered. She loved church as a young girl  and her mother and father had met as missionaries, so the gospel was rooted deep in her family. However, her mother died, and she went to the Samoan ward and was upset from some things they taught that were mixed with Samoan culture. It bothered her, so she went less active for a long time. She was thrilled to have us come back, and we taught a lesson the next day with her nephew coming in and out of the lesson to show us his picture bible and share songs and stories of Jesus. We are excited to see her hopefully at church next week. She said she missed the English ward and had good memories of primary there. She is so cool! she reminds me of friends back home.

While we may not have much in numbers to show our progress in our area, the groundwork we have done this last week should build into many opportunities and friendships we hope will help others bring joy and peace in their lives.

Ken also went to the Youth Conference and almost immediately texted us saying he had so much fun and so many stories and experiences to share. Biggest of all he said he now knows there really is a God, and he loves him. That is so great, and as missionaries it makes us so happy to see that at the very least, we made someone happy from our efforts.












Monday, August 1, 2016

64 - God's love

Email address (preferred):
rachael.clark@myldsmail.net 

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



Things are going well here. Our mission president had a zone conference and emphasized the need to knock off (limit) the knocking door to door, and use members to help find people to teach. Also, just service is for members, and on occasion for us. That one at least doesn't effect us much since we rarely do service in this zone. The first one, though, is going to be a challenge since it's rough enough to find, let alone even get a hold of, members around here to even visit. Many of the formers in our book we visited are formers for good reasons too: too sketchy for us to visit, bashers, or will only let us come to hear their beliefs and have Jesus discussions.... going nowhere fast with that section of the work unfortunately.

We did, however, get to see Stella, a recent convert, a couple times this week. We even met her grandson who has Autism who came for 1 hour of church. That was neat! Stella loves to have us and the ward missionaries over for lessons, and she has gotten to know a few members of the ward so that way when we leave, they don't, and she has people she can turn to for support. We even are hoping to go to the temple visitor's center soon, just have to get our schedules lined up for it.

Miracle of the week is that we had a lesson with Ken and went over the rest of the restoration and beginning of plan of salvation with him (which was almost a review from last time, gospel topics tend to weave in and out of each other like that). He never had religion at all in his life, but after having lessons with us, going to youth activities with Cole and other youth, and church; he loves it. He thanks us every time he learns new things, even if it is a lot to take in and learn.

It is exciting to see people learn for the first time that there is a God who truly loves them and wants us to return to him with our families. Even cooler is that He wants us to have all He does and do all He does, and sent his son to help us know how to qualify for just that.  He even sent prophets to be guides along the path of life, showing us how to live happy lives, avoid bad things that make us sad and harm us, and how to be good people, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and more.

He gave us a church to learn from, share with others, help lift and support one another at. A temple to be closer to him, seal ourselves to our spouse and family for eternity (not just till death do we part), do service at, and learn more how we can come back into his presence. Lastly, with His Son, he gave us the greatest gift of all. Jesus died and atoned for all our sins, mistakes, pains we would ever do or feel, and more.

Ken even will be attending Youth Conference, so that will be exciting.

For youth conference, it will be sort of like living the old testament with a life sized tabernacle with EVERYTHING INCLUDED (the one Moses had started and traveled around the wilderness with). Everyone will be assigned to a tribe of Israel with 2 tribe leaders for each group. SO COOL!

In September, they will move it to the stake center for a few days for everyone in the stake to be able to tour before they put it into storage. I helped make part of it, and us missionaries were sad to hear it would be set up outside our mission, so this will be an excellent opportunity to take our investigators, recent converts, less actives, and general public through it.

We somehow always manage to spend most of our day down by the ocean due to that being where people are to teach, unfortunately this weekend is the finals of the surf competition... no parking so we walked the entire day from our apartment, and the only people who stopped to talk to us were members from around the united states. We also got a few picketers who gave us trouble.... thankfully they left us alone for the most part. We also got a homeless lady with a shopping cart who followed us for awhile who swore her heard off at us and drove us crazy. I felt bad for her, she must have had a hard day, but that doesn't give anyone reason to be rude to someone they don't even know. Thankfully someone let us in so we could shake her off our tail. We also talked with a former who is interesting. Wants to come to church and learn, but won't let you share much without bashing almost, and loves to feed missionaries and takes notes of all the missionaries who taught him over the past 7 years. He loves missionaries and always sticks up for us too... such a strange combination.

We also met Ken, a less active doctor, who is the boyfriend of Debbie we met last week. He is half Japanese and served in japan and told us funny stories of the things they would do in japan to new missionaries. Like the "Ice cream truck"... which was actually a sewage truck that played music like an ice cream truck to warn you it was coming close so you avoid walking towards the smell. Or the time they would purposely tell their companion the wrong word so they would ask a cashier " Is my face pretty?" instead of asking how much money was that item (in Japanese it makes sense with the sentence structure). Other funny word mistakes like that that makes the situation funny. He even said we can have lunch or dinner with us some time with Debbie when the time is right for us both.

There was a funeral on Saturday for Lee's sister (4th or 5th cousin 1 time removed, I think) and it was neat to help out with it and see some distant related cousins. Not too much related, but still neat. Lee and sandy were happy to see us there as well.

Other than that, we helped with the tree society with some projects at the Urban Forest (nearby Shiply's I served at in HBN zone... only this one is in HB ZONE) They had troubles with a large group of youth from an organization where they take kids outside of the ghetto areas who WANT to leave it and teach them service, good works in the community, education, self discipline, and ways they can get ahead so they can move to better living conditions. We got to talk with a few and share some things with them which was great! They had so many volunteers there they had to take turns moving wood chips to places where they spread it around the base of trees. Us missionaries helped them clear up some land for trees to be planted and a water runoff area that got choked with debris from trees and weeds so it can be planted and pretty. They said that Homeless people used to live in the area down by the runoff river and would bring practically their entire house there, refrigerator, sofa, car.... until they never cleaned up at all, then they had to evict them. The Urban forest is for people to enjoy, not to trash up.