Email address (preferred):
Sister Rachael Geniel Clark
California Long Beach Mission
6500 E Atherton St.
Long Beach, CA 90815
Things are going well here. Sadly there won't be any more departure firesides anymore, so lots of missionaries are either relived they don't have to bear their testimony or almost devastated over losing that last opportunity to see their favorite ward members, recent converts, or investigators from their areas they served in.
We did lots of walking around in the rain this week. There was so much rain that fell that the streets in most areas were flooded on up to a foot at the curb. I am so glad I got some quality shoes, otherwise I would have been prune-ish footed all day. We had to drive a lot this month so far, so we wanted to save miles by walking, and we were on exchanges so contacting was fun and interesting in that way. So many sisters with different personalities, it gives me a great opportunity to see what is and is not effective when teaching and contacting.
We also dropped many investigators. No surprise there, but I never met almost all the ones that where dropped, so they went to the area book for some other missionaries to pick up again. We had so many at one point I couldn't name let alone remember all of them. We now have a much more manageable amount, and I really like them from what I have had experiences with them.
We watched Prophet of the Restoration (1 hour version of the restoration video plus the entire life of Joseph smith beginning to end) with the Dalaguits. It was at the request of brother Dalaguit because he said it was so inspiring and makes one almost cry because you truly feel for and love the people and stories in it. After we were going to leave a commitment and leave since it was just over an hour, then we felt prompted to stay longer. We asked Sister Dalaguit to say the prayer. Half way she switched to Tagalog, but I felt the spirit so strongly then. While I didn't know what was poured out of her heart, I do know it had to have been, as they say, a great wrestle with God, crying and pouring out of one's heart in prayer. I will never forget that experience. I was about crying afterwards. Sister Dalaguit said that she felt so conflicted because she knew that all that we taught was true, but she wanted to stay faithful to her father's request never to change her religion when he passed. Thankfully, brother Dalaguit was there to help her through and share his testimony and scriptures.
Naomi spent quite a bit of the week with us, most often for half or almost the full day. She wants to go on a mission after her 1 year mark, so she is getting a feel for what everything is like with us. She came to Park Anaheim with us as well for service. It was hand print penguins or coloring with the residents. Naomi sadly had a bad run in with a lady who has quite the reputation with her dimensia, but in the end we all laughed about what she said. She didn't know not to talk to her or she will say some of the most vulgar or insulting things ever. I don't hold it to her though. Some things people can't help when they have dimensia. I sat with a lady who I played bingo with, she is so nice and funny. She told stories of her adventures with her roommate lately.
Miracle 1 of the week, we found Sirus and his friend while they were playing basketball. Sister Skelton made a deal that if we made three shots in a row, we got to teach them. If they got three in a row, they got to pick whether or not we taught them. In the end, none of us got it, but they still let us teach them. He told us about how his father passed away and that no matter what he lost him forever, but then we briefly mentioned about the plan of salvation, and that being what we taught and after that he seemed more interested in what we had to share. He even said we can teach him again and would definitely read The Book of Mormon. It reminded me of the story about truly converted converts, in an area where they fell away quickly after baptism; found while playing basketball and taught during the game after a couple months in south america. (Though I think I won't be playing any game to try and convert any time soon or at all.)
Miracle 2 is after that we went to a more wealthy area to find a less active who moved, but we bumped into Michael walking and training his dog. (Best trained dog I have seen here in California so far.) He was talking about all these beliefs that Christian churches always get wrong, and that's why he left the Catholic church years ago. It was so surprising because he was almost LDS the things he talked about. He reminded me of brother Rex SO MUCH. He agreed to talking some other time with Brother Rex. Hopefully he will take lessons after that, sadly he got some misinformation and read some things in The Book of Mormon wrong and got a totally different idea of what we believe and are. He was real nice though.
Stake conference was interesting with one of the area 70 who came. He would stop every now and again to call someone up to bear their testimony on something, to teach, or to even read a song. One thing I thought was interesting was he called on the stake presidency to act out and relate Moses and his holding up his hands and how the presidency works supporting the president up. It was neat. Lots of families and a couple LOUD kids running around at the back, great testimonies on how sacrament meeting should be used to come closer to the savior and feel the spirit give you guidance, peace, and comfort. To not focus on your faults during the sacrament, but to move on. To be mindful of your kids' behavior and others around them. An amazing talk on temples and how visiting the temple is one of the best ways to strengthen your families and children from the things that are out in the world trying to tear down morals, families, and good teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So many ways to be a member missionary. For example, California on average have 50,000 people that aren't members in stake boundaries. Utah has much less than that. Hopefully this will encourage our members to do ?more and find lasting memories and friendships while reaching out to others. (And possibly finding more service projects we can do... we only have 1 right now......I miss doing so much service) And lastly singing the Cyprus Stake anthem.... yep, I have seen everything here. This stake goes above and beyond the call of duty with art gallery like hallways, anthem, fundraising for the ysa to go to Palmyra this summer..... such a stark contrast to my first stake where they had to have a fast so the members would accept even a single calling. They are right next to each other, but so different. I am convinced that the more the members are involved as a ward family, the more love, service, caring, and fun happens. It just takes some time and effort, but when all are putting in a little bit, it makes a world of difference. I can now see why it is so important to accept a calling. It makes everyone happier!