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.