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.