Monday, March 28, 2011

Jamaica Mon! Hopeton Branch

Hey Mom & Dad, 

Yep it's my first P-day and I'm at an Internet cafe in Mandeville. My area is Hopeton Branch and Mandeville is about 3 miles away, we have to take a cab to get here. Our District is my companion and I and then three sisters.

Jamaica has about 55 missionaries with 5 sisters and about 50 elders. Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, the Bahamas, and the Turk Islands are in our mission so some missionaries go off Island.
We arrived in Jamaica and met two Sisters and an Elder who were in the Bahamas returning to Jamaica and then we met President Hendricks and went through Kingston to the mission home which was really nice. It was nighttime but it was still pretty hot and it smells a lot of ash in Kingston. There are a lot of people with fires and there are dogs and goats wandering around and people living in shacks etc. The food was good we had pasta that night and went to bed.

We all interviewed with President Hendricks in the morning and it went well he was pleased with my letter. My companion is Elder Powell. He is from Spanish Town Jamaica and is a convert to the church, he converted when he was 20 and is now 23 he has 4 months left of his mission.
Like I said we are in Hopeton a little North of Mandeville. There are a lot of hills here and we are biking and walking all the time. It is sunny here but I am actually at the coldest part of Jamaica, it gets really cold here at nights because we are right next to the mountains.  It is Elder Powell's first time in this area so we've been whitewashing and starting fresh by meeting members and teaching on the streets. You mainly teach outside here in Jamaica people don't usually invite you into their houses. Church was good, Sunday School class was funny because all the adults are all speaking at once and trying to fight to get their answers out and the teacher had to keep telling them to raise their hands. it was hilarious, they all get pretty excited about the gospel.

We hand wash our clothes, the shower is freezing cold and only has 4 little sprinkles that come out of it (the water pressure is horrible here), my stomach is getting used to the water so I've felt sick sometimes. Most of the people are nice  I get called white man everywhere I go. Ive only been chased by dogs a couple of times though so thats good. Elder Powell has been good in explaining the culture to me though so I can adapt. We walk and ride miles a day just to get around the hills and jungle and everyone is super spread out.

We went to one ladies house for dinner and that was really good I've had chicken a lot and sweet potato and rice and peas (which is really rice and beans). I miss you guys a lot and I've kept you in my prayers. Tell everyone I said hi and Sister Crespo thanks for her note on my blog. 

Thats great with Roxanna and Astrid I'll keep them in my prayers.

Hope all is well and keep me updated on everything.
Love, Elder Clark 

Monday, March 21, 2011


Hey mom and dad,

My travel itinerary:   I leave Salt Lake at 6:20 a.m. on Tuesday and arrive at Dallas/Fort Worth Texas at 10:05 a.m.  I leave Dallas/Fort Worth at 12:20 p.m. and arrive in Miami Florida at 3:55 p.m.. I leave Miami at 7:45 p.m. and arrive in Kingston Jamaica at 8:25 p.m. I am the travel leader for my group so I'm in charge of making sure we're all safe and to contact the church if there are any problems.

This week has been super super busy. We had a new district come in on Wednesday with 4 sisters and 3 Elders so we met with them on Wednesday. and then had another meeting and tour with them on Thursday. One Elder and one Sister are going to serve in Long Beach. I've become really good friends with everyone, and really good friends with someone who came to the District last week.  His personality is very similar to Seth's, he is going to Texas and is from Washington.

I've gotten a lot of letters and I've tried my best to reply to everyone I just don't have a lot of free time. I just got my haircut while my laundry was in the wash so my head is all itchy and  my clothes are in the dryer now. I have to write a talk on Faith this week still so I'll start that after this email. Keep me updated on Survivor and Amazing Race I like the recaps. That was too bad for Russell.
Our zone is really tight, we all get along really well in our District and my companion and I are pretty used to each other and teach really well together. I got the package with all the pictures and got a package from Ali and from Grandma and Grandpa. Everyone likes the family pics.

We are singing  A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief for our sacrament meeting special number for my district cuz we are the departing district. Everyone has enjoyed the hymns here cuz there is nothing else to sing so you learn to love the music you can sing and listen to.  

We taught some recent converts in a TRC that were a couple with a special needs girl who was there with them and we taught really well about the restoration and plan of salvation.

Ive been keeping everyone in my prayers. I'll have to email you when I get to Jamaica.  My companion wants to go on now and we only have a limited time.
Love you guys,

Elder Clark

Final words from the MTC!

Hey mom,

Its my p-day again.  I got a package from Emy Osborne with a letter and 2 new ties as well as a package from Lavonne Norris with some goodies and pens and stuff. I wrote back to Emy already. We went to the temple today it was great. 

The days have been going by a lot faster now since our first Sunday. We had nine new missionaries come in 6 going to Texas and 3 going to the Marshall Islands. I met with them on Wednesday and yesterday we have different things to go over each night as well as taking them on the tour of the MTC last night. Things are going well its just extremely busy here and we really don't have a lot of free time. I have to write a talk on Enduring to the End for this Sunday last Sunday it was on the Atonement and next week its on Faith. My companion and I teach really well together. 

I need peoples addresses because I don't have anyones so if you could please get Dan's, Kyle's, and Kevin's for me as well as our missionaries out in the field that be great thanks. We lost 2 of our missionaries last week and this week one of the missionaries in my district was struggling but hes doing better now. I haven't seen Travis this week theres so many people here its crazy. I only get to go on my email on Fridays for a half an hour at the most, theres a scary red timer at the top counting me down. Tell dad I got his letter as well.
We're in the laundry room right now its crowded and I have to switch my laundry over in a few minutes.

We've mainly been practicing the first and second lesson a lot. We had a TA (a real or fake investigator they don't tell you) you go into a room and teach someone and there are cameras in the room and your teacher watches you. We had an angry old man named Gene Cross and he asked us a ton of questions and it was hard to stay on topic he was probably our hardest investigator we have right now and its hard not to get frustrated with him because hes very grumpy and moves from one question to another so we are trying to find a way to effectively teach him without getting hammered every minute.

I'm really happy I got called to Zone Leader cuz it gives me extra work to do and I like having a bit more to do and keeping myself busy with busywork. I also got assigned as our group's travel leader so Ive been reading through all of our travel stuff. The three of us going to Jamaica leave at 3am on Tuesday the 22. We go to Texas I don't remember the airport but I don't think it was Dallas, and then we go to Miami Florida and have a 4 hour layover there and then we fly to Jamaica.

Tell everyone hi and that I'm doing well and having a good time.  Tell everyone to have a nice day and I'll write to you this week or next Friday.


Elder Clark

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Snail Mail from the MTC - March 8, 2011

Dear Mom and Dad,

The MTC keeps us so busy there is barely enough time to write.  I was called or assigned I should say to be Zone Leader on Sunday already.  I barely know anything, but I have had to read a lot and study extra hard so that when our nine new missionaries come in on Wednesday they will be able to ask me anything about the MTC and I'll know it.  I am in charge of about 32 missionaries.  I have been praying for our new missionariess for when they come in to the MTC.  I just want them to feel loved and welcomed and most of all that they can have the Spirit with them while here. 

Today was a great day for learning and role-playing, but it was also a sad day.  Two of our missionaries went home mainly because of anxiety problems and homesickness.  The missionaries really look up to me here and I just want to lead with love and kindness because thats what they need here as they've all left their families very recently.  I feel like I've already in four days had to grow up and be the adult and leader that they can look up to. 

I pray for you and hope your doing well.  My testimony has already grown so much and I already regret not sharing the gospel with more friends while I was at home.  We have a group of missionaries leaving us tomorrow to Tempe Arizona and Elder Neff who is such an awesome country guy came in and told us how special we are to him and that he knows we are inspired men even though he's only known us for 5 days and that we have a huge place in his heart.  He and others have come and talked to me today and have told me that I'm going to be an awesome Zone Leader and I pray that I can meet their expectations with love and kindness.

I know this is the true church and that there are people who have been prepared for each and every missionary to teach and help them come unto Christ and we need every missionary here.  I know that many of them are homesick, but I will do my best to make sure that every missionary stays and remains honorable to their call while I'm here at the MTC.  Thought I'd write you a fast note.  Please write back.

Love you,

Elder Clark

Monday, March 7, 2011

News from the MTC

Hey Family,

I got your letter mom from Dear Elder. It has been really busy here we are in class the majority of the time and there is not much free time. My companion's name is Elder Butler and he is from Sacramento and is going to Kennewick Washington.
There are three of us going to Jamaica me, Elder Kegan Taylor (who I was fb friends with before), and Elder Hobbs who is from Calgary Canada and those two are companions. Elder Taylor got called to be our district leader there is a companionship of 3 who are in our district who are all going to Washington as well.
On the first day I saw Travis, Anna Baird, and Elder Watts (who gave his singles ward talk the same day as me). I’ve only seen Travis one other time, we have very different schedules and it is super busy and there are so many missionaries here. My teachers are Brother Gonzalez and Brother Murray. Brother Murray served in San Diego and he was actually one of the missionaries in those newer videos that I had to watch before coming to the MTC. One of the elders in our zone going to Arizona told me that his brother in law went to Jamaica and told me a couple of crazy stories.
Friday's are our P-days but today is our P-day for our first week. The food is okay I guess not my favorite I’ve been eating pretty healthy cuz I can see why Elders would gain a ton of weight, but there is healthier food too so you don’t have to pig out if you don’t want to.
My companion is really tall and played basketball for UVU for a year. I’ve been to the gym a couple of times I mainly spend my time running and lifting weights cuz volleyball is crowded and the soccer fields are closed still for the winter
We met with our Branch Presidency and bore our testimonies and interviewed with them. The Branch President was really cool and liked me a lot and talked to me a lot about school, scouting, and church stuff in my interview with him.
It’s really spiritual here and I’ve learned a lot already. I’ve memorized our purpose, the first vision, and D & C: 4 already. I have to write a 5 minute talk on the atonement by tomorrow, we all have to write a talk each week on a different topic. You can tell Dana I’ve been using that True to the Faith book a lot for gospel references especially as I’m preparing to write this talk. 
Teachers that went to Jamaica said we will learn pa-twa while we are there and its cool cuz we'll get to learn a language and not have to be here for 9 weeks.
I hope the kids had a good time in Utah now that they have to go back to school.
You can write to me using Dear Elder they send me the letter on the same day you write it. O and send me the addresses of the other missionaries in our ward so I can write to them and Seth. Also get me Dan's address and the Nittas and Kevin Jamesons cuz I don’t have anyone’s addresses. I have to get off now but you’re in my prayers and I'm doing well so no worries.

Love, Elder Clark