Sister Rachael Geniel Clark
California Long Beach Mission
6500 E Atherton St.
Long Beach, CA 90815
Happy late Valentines Day!!!
We had a busy week with three transfers almost back to back. We found 12 investigators though this week!
We also took part in a huge service project with the American family housing and helped clean up a lot that they had abandoned 2 years ago when the community garden project closed, and it is now being turned into housing for 16 homeless veterans. We had to pull down huge vines that were taking over the buildings and trees nearby, pull out a few trees and bushes, and all the dead plants and weeds that are EVERYWHERE. It took the whole day, and now we can see the outline of the place, but we still have another day or so to finish the job within the next few weeks. So exciting. I also caught an alligator lizard (not an alligator, but a type of lizard), and I found that they don't make the best pets from what the volunteers said. They don't like being held, but they aren't fast; making them easy to catch!
We found some amazing people, especially one on exchanges at Whittier the last half hour that discovered groundbreaking research on the human genome who now believes in his own spiritual beliefs, but after talking with him, he realized we have so much more in common and is willing to let us come by again. It is amazing how they say that science truly understood ALWAYS proves there is a god! I hope those sisters get to teach him, he was so nice and polite and was excited to hear someone else's religion. He doesn't think he is crazy about there being more to this world's creation and our own purpose to life than others ridicule him for. It felt like I was just like Ammon speaking with King Lamoni and how at first we misunderstood one another, but once we made that connection that we were thinking about the same person, then we were able to testify and teach by the spirit and have them be open to what we had to say. SO COOL!
We also had the first ever (that I have ever seen) stake conference covering south California broadcast from Salt Lake City. The video wasn't the greatest, but being the first one, I can see how technical problems would arise. It was neat to hear the messages about how we can have fear and not and keep our eyes fixed on Christ so we don't fall like Peter did when trying to walk to Jesus on the water. Though the storms may be around us in our every day lives, we need to stay firm and fear not because Jesus Christ will fight our battles even unto the 3rd and 4th generation past us. That doesn't mean all will be well, but it means we need not be afraid of the things going on. Jesus foresaw this in the bible and with the apostles about our day and age, but the counsel he gave them is the same for us. We also had a great talk on how we need to use the message of the restoration, especially when talking to others about subjects like the word of wisdom, chastity, and so many other things that the world thinks we don't need. When we don't, we will always fall short when talking to others.
Another talk on how Satan will stop at nothing to put "plan stoppers" in our way to keep us from receiving the fullness of joy heavenly father has set up for us to receive from His Plan of Salvation. No matter what we need to stay firm and realize that the people around us, even ourselves aren't perfect, and that the church itself is true. Not to be swayed by clothing styles, food fads, drink choices, parties, or other temporary happiness things that are in fact "plan stoppers". Even that there is hope if we get caught up in one or more of these deterring things, that we can come back because of Jesus Christ's atonement and sacrifice, IF WE ACT on our part. His gift is open for all, it is our choice to accept it and act on it.
Our stake in particular did a neat handout on using family search's new features to do as President Monson and others have counseled to do our family history. Our stake here has only 2% participation to bringing names to the temple, a sad thing when things have been made so simple for us now more than ever. It was a VERY bold and a huge call to repentance like I had never seen before on the subject. Humbling too. God has commanded this to be done. It's his way of hastening the work. They are waiting patiently for their work to be done, and the missionaries there in spirit paradise have worked hard, and now we need to do our part. Be a part of the missionary effort for those who we love who have departed by doing family history. No age nor other requirements are needed to be this kind of missionary. This work is one of THE BEST ways to protect our families from falling away or being caught up in the ways of the world around us. That talk was one of the most powerful ones I had ever heard since I have never myself experienced a talk of calling to repentance that I can recall of this magnitude. Just thought I would share the highlights.
WE ALSO HAD THE BAPTISM OF AJ DALAGUIT!!!!! So cool!!!!! It went so well and he was smiling the whole time. I could tell the moment we met him that he would be the leader in his family to bring them to a higher ground starting with baptism and that he was prepared in his life to make that step. We had wonderful music and talks by the young men and others his family knew. After, he said he felt so lifted up and happy! He can't wait to receive the gift of the holy ghost next week and to see his mom and brother get baptized on the 28th! AJ even said when we introduced the temple lesson, he thought it was the neatest concept ever, to be able to be bound together as a family forever, and one day be married for time and all eternity. Not just till death do we part (which when you get down to it, it is basically a divorcement at death). So amazing how God in his plan created a way for us to all be together forever.
We even got word that Aisha's father gave permission for her to be baptized as well, and we are so happy for her, she will be baptized on the 27th!
Heavenly father has blessed us so much for these past few months. I hope they all continue to strengthen their testimonies and continue on towards the temple some day!