Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Onnellista Uutta Vuotta!! (Happy New Year!)

Hey Fam! I couldn't have asked for a better Christmas gift; seeing you and hearing your voices was so fun! I hope the rest of your Christmas went well and I hope you enjoyed the snow for me. Sisar Hales and I are laughing a little because right after we got done telling our families all about how it has been so warm etc. and how ridiciulous it is, it finally started to cool down a little more. Still no snow, but atleast we are getting the cold.
So a little info on Finnish Christmas. Joulupukki (Santa Claus....or direct translation Christmas goat) comes to the door on Christmas Eve. (He lives in Finland btw...not the north pole). Christmas is a three day event: Christmas Eve, Christmas day, and Boxing day. All three days are practically like Thanksgiving in America. You eat, sleep, and then eat some more. It was wonderful to experience a little piece of Finnish Christmas :) 
This week we shared Helaman 14:2-5 with a lot of people, discussing how Christ physically and spiritually brings light into the world. I love also how in verse five we read about the star that they had never before seen. I know there have been many times in my life, especially on my mission, were I am able to see a "new star" that I hadn't seen before as I study the scriptures and pray. That has helped me find understanding and peace when I feel anxious, worried, and burdened. I love that Christ's light is continually shining; we can always find more light. I am so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ.
I hope you all have an exciting new year :) I love you! Thank you for your examples in my life!
-Sisar Clark 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Hyvää Joulua ja Ihme Bussissa (Merry Christmas and Miracle on the Bus!!)

Merry Christmas everyone!! :) I have received a few Christmas letters from people (thank you...so fun to see everything!!) and Sisar Hales and I have thoroughly enjoyed our Holiday time in Lappeenranta sharing about Jesus Christ. (Sisar Hales is such an awesome comp!) The ward here has been incredible and we have so many dinner appointments this Christmas. We are looking forward to seeing more and more of the Finnish Christmas traditions.
This week my ponderizing scripture is D&C 43:15-16 and I love how at the end it reminds us that all the power that is promised and the things taught from on high are all so that we can GIVE. We are here to give and serve.
This week we had a miracle on a bus that I will always remember and be so grateful for. We started talking to the man next to us with just our normal approach of wanting to share the Christmas video with him etc. and it continued till we realized he had a ton of connections to Carson City, NV (where my comp Sisar Hales is from!! What?!). The more we talked the more I felt like I knew this man. I later realized he was a man I met in Kerava. When I met him there he told us of how he had just returned from fighting in Iraq and he seemed to be having some very heavy post traumatic depression effects (obviously hadn't slept in days, blood-shot eyes, shaking, unable to make decisions). He approached us recognizing that we were church representatives and gave us his number, basically pleading for help and then walked away. We tried to give him a Book of Mormon and any help we could offer, but he wouldn't take it. We tried to call throughout the following week, but we were never able to get a hold of him and eventually had to move on. But now here he was right in front of us on the bus in Lappeenranta! He was in a much better mental state and also recognized the connection when I pointed it out. He went quiet and took the Book of Mormon with tears running down his cheeks. The spirit was so strong, and I am so grateful for this special tender moment when I could see so clearly the Lord's hand. This was a memorable reminder to me of how we are just tools in his hands. He couldn't meet because he was returning to Iraq before Christmas, but was so grateful for the Book of Mormon and talked of what a miracles this was.
I hope to remember the joy and peace it brought this man to just receive the Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ! I hope especially this week we can all ponder what the Book of Mormon means to us and our understanding of our Savior. I hope the peace of Christ's birth fills your homes this week as well. I love you and am looking forward to skyping with you! :)
Merry Christmas!
-Sisar Clark

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Vanhin Dyches kävi Oulussa (Elder Dyches visited Oulu)

Hi everyone I hope all is going well this week! All your beautiful, beautiful snow is making me so jealous!! We enjoyed some snow in Oulu, but are feeling quite left out here without some good snow....but at least it is getting a little colder. I am looking forward to talking to you on Christmas and I hope you are all safe and doing well. This week was exciting for many reasons. We enjoyed greatly the spirit and instruction from the meeting with Elder Dyches of the Seventy in Oulu. I learned a lot about how to be a master teacher and help our investigators understand clearly. I have a lot to apply, but I am grateful for the opportunity to practice and improve in teaching daily. We also are very excited about our "golden" investigator from last week (young man met street contacting) working towards a baptismal date in January! He came to church (wearing a white shirt, suit, and tie might I add) and is sincerely praying and reading! It has been a complete joy to teach him and hear about how he has found more "suunta" (direction) in his life By meeting with us, reading, praying, and coming to church.
Some fun ihan suomilainen (completely finnish) Christmas things: telling everyone "Hyvää Joulun Odutusta!!" (Good Christmas waiting! :)) and then these fun little things called pikku joulu. They are just little Christmas partys before Christmas that everyone has. Fun stuff....Hope all goes well with work, school, life etc and Hyvää Joulun odutusta teille!!
-Sisar Clark
ps no pics this week because random circumstances made it so we are emailing at the library and Ive heard that library Computers will wipe out your pics from your memory card ....so maybe next week 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Hyvää Itsenäisyyspäivää!! (Happy Independence Day!)

Hey everyone! You have all been so great at writing, so good that I haven't been able to keep up with responding! I appreciate your emails so much! Thank you! I'm working on responding faster :) I hope that you are all doing well at home. This week was a very exciting week with celebrating Itenäisyyspäivä (all Finns watch this presidential speech/party....most say they just watch it to see all the famous people's beautiful dresses etc. ha) (as missionaries we celebrated it by sharing the gospel! What better way to celebrate!) and today is the most beautiful blue sky day to celebrate John Sibeliuksen päivä (the composer of Be still my Soul). 
We found a new (one might say) "golden" investigator this week from street contacting. He is a young Finnish man studying right now and he seems to have just pure sincere desire to find truth. We are very excited about teaching him more and seeing his progress. The members here have been just stupendous: the Relief Society organized a calendar thing where every day of Dec. someone tries to do something thoughtful for us....we have just been blown away with how kind and loving they are. 
Sisar Hales and I are jumping out of our seats with excitement about a big mission conference with Elder Dyches visiting the mission. To attend this meeting, Sisar Hales and I are practically taking a tour of Finland (get a map and check this out haha): We take a train from Lappeenranta to Kouvola from Kouvola to Kuopio from Kuopio to Oulu (woo hoo visiting the most north Sisters can serve in Finland!), then to get home we take a train from Oulu to Seinäjoki from Seinäjoki to Jyväskylä from Jyväskylä to Tampere from Tampere to Tikkurilla then finally to Lappeenranta again. Wow crazy! We are pretty humbled that the church can make meetings like these possible. They help us feel the spirit and be excited to share the gospel again and again.
I love you all and am looking forward to skyping home soon! :)
-Sisar Clark
pics - an absolutely gorgeous day and view of the harbor (days like these are so sweet and rare :))
- and what is an itsenäisyyspäivää without a good flag picture :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Kaksikymmentäviisi Mormonin Kirjat!! (25 Book of Mormons)

Hey fam! This week was great! Missing you tons, but feeling so so blessed here in Lappeenranta. This week Sisar Hales and I were amazed to see so many fruits of our labors. We had an incredible week where so many street contacts wanted the Book of Mormon (we gave out 25! woo that feels good!...flooding Lappeenranta) and we found a lot of solid potential investigators with return appointments! We are feeling the spirit, happy, and ready to continue working hard (a great companion makes hard times so much brighter and better). Here are some things that have been big focuses in the mission (pretty much ever since I came in country....just haven't really told you much about it yet sorry ha):
- Tracting! and we have found so many successes from that. It just happens to be very successful in Finland.
- Church Videos! We have been doing a ton of our contacting with a focus on church videos such as "Because he lives" and the new christmas video "A Savior is Born". They have been really successful as well. One struggle is we have to ask if we can watch it on their phone or something (because we don't have Ipads) and it is very common for Finns to not bring their phones places etc. Nonetheless, we have really enjoyed working with these focuses
Also, this week Sisar Hales and I ended up teaching/finding a lot of Muslims. We have been asked many times "why do we need a Savior?" We have studied and pondered about this a lot recently and I have found a lot of insight, clarity, and comfort in what the Book of Mormon teaches in Alma 42:11-15; 23-25. Our Heavenly Father's plan is perfect and full of happiness because of Jesus Christ. I'm looking forward to this time of year where we can remember him even more.
A scripture that I pondered a lot this last week was D&C 88:67. It talks about having an eye single to the glory of God, and if we have that we will be filled with light and be blessed to comprehend all things. That is something I'm focusing on more as I teach and find; having the pure motive of serving our Heavenly Father.
I love you all! Have a good week :)
-Sisar Clark
-classic finland street (aka running out of pics to send home)
-enjoying lunch in the Mikkeli young womens room :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Kala Seikkailu (Fish Adventure)

This week was another awesome week! Probably the biggest blessing for me has been feeling the spirit so strongly in our lessons. It is such a comfort to know that the Holy Ghost will take the message to our investigator's hearts and we are not required to be perfect teachers or missionaries. Also, Sisar Hales and I talked a lot this week about how grateful we are for this opportunity to share our testimonies so many times a day. It is such a privilege to truthfully declare what you know to be true and feel the spirit testify through you. Man it feels so great. 
So some fun random thoughts from this week include: I met two former Olympic runners in one day (one an investigator, and another a foreigner we were talking to on a bus). We take very long bus and train rides to head north to Mikkeli every week for District Meeting and they are absolutely gorgeous! It is so cool to see true Finland country side. One awesome members brought us a ton of fresh fish that he caught himself that morning. Sisar Hales and I had never dealt with fish like that before, but I was not about to that this awesome opportunity slide so I mustered up all I could remember from our trip to Alaska and did my best. Surprisingly it actually turned out pretty well! What a fun mission memory that one will be haha :) It snowed more! Yay!
Although we won't be able to celebrate Thanksgiving in the normal way, I'm grateful for this week to remember the importance of living with a heart full of gratitude. I feel very blessed to be a missionary in these last days. I'm so grateful for the power of the Book of Mormon, Holy Ghost, and prayer combined to solidify our faith and understanding. I'm grateful to have a loving Heavenly Father and to be placed in such a loving, supportive, and faithful family. I love you all and hope you have a good week.
-Sisar Clark
p.s. someone enjoy a piece of one of Mom's pie for me this week! (I will definitely be missing those!)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Se saattoi lunta!! (It snowed!!!)

Hei! This week will be one of those mission highlight weeks that you just remember forever. It was incredible! So many blessings! First off, my new companion Sisar Hales is heaven sent. She is a "pro" at pretty much all missionary work and I've already learned so much from her. She is cheerful, so fun to contact and teach with, has a great drive for obedience, and just is great. I'm pumped to work with her. Lappeenranta is a dream area. Wow, the branch is just stuffed full of incredible strong and loving members. (so much to tell you and not enough time or words for it all ha....more awesome details will come in following weeks). We live right next to (and run along in the mornings) the largest lake in Finland, Lake Saimaa, and our area goes all the way to the Russian border....so I might try and learn a few Russian words too. It finally snowed!! and it was glorious!! Definitely lifted our spirits. It has been been cloudy every single day for the past week and a half (so cloudy that even in the 5 hours that the sun is up you still could not even point to where the sun it) and it usually is completely dark by around 3:30 or 4. (definitely can be a little mentally overwhelming...mutta älä huoli kaikki on parhain pain (but don't worry all is well)).And there was one day where we had a solid hour where we could see tiny bits of blue through the clouds!! That was SO exciting haha...cameras were out and everything.
The work this week was pretty miraculous as well. We found two! families that are investigating now from tracting and we gave out more Book of Mormons than I could even imagine could be done in a week. It was a pretty exciting week for Sisar Hales and I :) I'm feeling so incredibly blessed right now and very grateful for warm coats, leggings, and gloves. I love you all and I am very grateful for your wonderful emails and prayers. Good luck this week!
-Sisar Clark
pics: - our first snow!
- spots of blue sky!!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Minä menen Lappeenrantaan! (I'm going to Lappeenranta!)

Change calls: I'm going to Lappeenranta to be with Sisar Hales! Lappeenranta is on the east of Finland, right next to the Russian border (I'll wave to Tommy while I'm over there ha). It is a little more north than Kerava, so hopefully a little more chance of snow! Lappeenranta has its own branch (not ward). It has been pretty rough to say bye to ward members and investigators here in Kerava (especially on Sunday), but I'm excited to meet those in Lappeenranta too. One thing I'm super excited about is that it is the only other place like Kerava where sisters serve in a ward/branch all by themselves. I'm selfish and have absolutely loved having the whole ward to ourselves :) this week has been a great opportunity for me to look back on the past four months here in Kerava and see where I have grown (and where I still need to grow). It was a big blessing and really fun to realize how much I can understand and speak the language (especially understanding talks and lessons in church). But I've heard that the language is a little different in Lappeenranta so I'm sure all that understanding will take another big hit pretty soon haha.
This week was really nice because I was reminded of how my goal isn't to become a "perfect missionary", but to become the missionary the Heavenly Father wants me to become. Focusing on following the spirit rather than perfection has brought the spirit so much more. I'm so grateful for Heavenly Father's personal plan for each one of us. He truly has helped me this past week specifically with contacting. I felt like my ability to ask questions, extend commitments, and understand the language improved a lot.  I saw the Lord's hand in the work when a teenage boy shared his testimony of Christ and what it means to receive an answer through the Holy Ghost after reading Moroni 10:3-5 with him. I've never seen a teenage boy respond so maturally and sincerely to sister missionaries talking to people on the street. We have an appointment to teach him later this week (sadly I will not be here then...but I'm excited for him!)
I was reading in Ether during personaly study and was very impressed with the Jaredites' faith as they prepared and then immediately got in the boats (or immediately put themselves in the Lord's hands). In Ether 6:4 it says "and it came to pass that when they had done all these things they got aboard of their vessels or barges, and set forth into the sea, commending themselves unto the Lord their God." I hope to implement their example in my work.
Thank you for your prayers and support these past six months. I am so blessed. Have a good week!
-Sisar Clark

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Mahtava vähemmän aktiivinen jäsen (The wonderful less-active member)

This week was wonderful and I feel like there have been so many things I've wanted to tell you all, and they may all come out at once. So warning this could be a little scrambled, but hopefully worth it.
First off wow, that was so fun to see so many emails from all my siblings this week! Thank you! Change calls are this week: I don't want to leave Kerava. From everything I've heard about other areas, Kerava is definitely the best for so many reasons. I feel so blessed to have started out here. But katsotaan (we'll see). I know that whatever happens will be from Heavenly Father and will be the best for me so I'm excited to find out what that is. I loved seeing all your fun halloween costumes! You all looked great! (even scary Rob and Kari!) :) Halloween isn't really a thing here in Finland, but All-saints day is=candles all over cemetaries. Sadly, we didn't get the opportunity to see this, except for a small priests grave that is near our home. But, they do that for Christmas and their Independance day (Dec. 6th) as well and everyone says it is one of the most gorgeous things ever so I look forward to seeing it.
So this week was full of last minute cancelled appointments and finding many locked doors while trying to contact formers, but all is well! The biggest blessing for me this week was this wonderful less active woman that was recently found. She moved around and somehow her records got lost, but she was found and now she comes to church ready to learn, participates in all the lessons, asks us to come and teach her from the beginning because she wants to know everything, studys the scriptures and the lesson manuals for the following weeks lessons, prays, and works diligently to do what is right! She is on the older side, but has energy and motivation to do hard things. She is such a fun and impressive example to me! This week the weather suddenly warmed up a ton (especially today), but it has been getting a lot darker. It is usually completely dark before we go in for dinner (5 pm) and will only keep getting darker earlier from this point on. Everyone seems a little down because rumor has it that it isn't supposed to snow until January. We are praying for snow too! The temple was wonderful and such a great refuel. Ah I love this gospel, I love and am so grateful for our family. I'm so grateful for Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father's plan for us. I hope you all have a nice week! I love you and am praying for you! Keep working hard, I know things are stressful at home, but I know that we are Clarks and we can do hard things. :)
-Sisar Clark

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tempeli päivää!! (Temple day!)

Hey everyone! This week has been really great, our recent convert is doing really well (priesthood, temple, all the above...all exciting things). Sorry this week is going to be super lame, because....its TEMPLE DAY! We get to go to the temple once every change and today is the day. Sadly however, it takes a big chunk out of the rest of pday so...just know that things are going well and I will write more next week. I love you and am, like always, so grateful for such a supportive and loving family. Thank you for your prayers. Oh and my ponderizing scripture this week is Alma 26:11-12. Through our Heavenly Fathers help we truly can do miracles. Have a good week!

-Sisar Clark
pics- muiku (probably the most interesting food specific to Finland...really not that abnormal, but ya.) It tastes great!
- Flat Katelyn and I are having a few fun adventures here in Finland :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Meillä oli kaste tilaisuus! (We had a baptism!)

Hey everyone! Happy Tuesday! I got pictures in the mail from magnificent Mom and Aunt Bonnie this week and Katie wins the prize for having the most significant changes. Katie your hair is SO long!! Holy cow! It looks really pretty!

This week was an awesome week! We had our baptism and it went really well! Sisar Bruce and I were in charge of most things (finding, cleaning, filling font, playing piano, singing musical number, giving talk/prayer, bringing food, baptismal clothes, clean up after, etc.) so we were pretty tired after, but happy tired! (eli a missionaries life=happy tired haha) I asked special permission from our recent convert if I could tell a little bit about him and send his picture to friends and family and he said I could so: Joe is from Nigeria and has lived in Finland for just over a year. He was a referral from Elders who met him while he was working and since the first time we met with him he had a desire to be baptized. We have seen such a light and spirit develop in him and have felt so lucky to hear him testify now of how he knows this is true and wants to dedicate his whole life to it. He is a wonderful example to all of us of acting in faith. I hope someday you get the chance to meet him! Although baptisms aren't a measure of success, and true joy comes only from hard work in whatever circumstance as a missionary, it has been a big blessing to see the fruits of the gospel portrayed in another person's life. 

I hope you are all doing well. Callie, thank you for the Christmas Rotation ....Robbie, Kari, and fam...What is your address?...:)
Good luck this week! Love you and praying for you.

-Sisar Clark

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Kaunis kylmä ilma (beautiful cold weather)

Hey everyone! The mission life is going great and I'm feeling happy, blessed, and lucky. There is so much to learn, and then when you think you have learned a lot you see even more things that need improvement on. But, what a blessing it is! We had a lot of really solid "reestablish purpose and expectations" lessons with some investigators we have had for a while and we had more awesome lessons with our investigator who is getting baptized this week! Some more awesome quotes from him this week: "Please, tell me everything I need to do, I am fully dedicated to this church and I want to know everything I'm supposed to do" and "I want to get married and if I get married, I'm going to get married in the temple" ... ya he is pretty great. We are very excited for his baptism and for how much he has already done to have the spirit stronger in his life. He is a great example to all of us.
The weather is awesome right now. Clear skies and we still have all the fall trees and cold! Last week was actually an abnormal cold week. It got down to -8 degrees one night and stayed pretty close to 0 or 2 degrees celsius during the day. Fun fun :) but this week is supposed to be a little warmer. Sadly no snow yet, but looking forward to it.

I hope you are all doing well, I miss you and love hearing about how you are doing from mom (really she rocks at updating). I love you and am praying for you :)

-Sisar Clark

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Yleiskonferenssi! (General Conference!)

Wow what a blessing and treat it was to have General Conference this week. There is a special energy and excitement watching it as a missionary. I also felt very blessed to be able to watch it in English :) woo hoo. We still haven't seen the last session due to time differences and lack of available technology, but we look forward to seeing it soon. My favorite talk was President Uchtdorf's talk on not complicating the doctrine of the gospel. That brought a lot of peace to me and was a good reminder that the Holy Ghost will speak truth simply, clearly, and to our understanding. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the talks and the powerful spirit that accompanied the talks. 

Another big blessing this week was finding a lot of things to be happy and laugh about with my companion. It was a big answer to my prayer and I'm hoping it continues. One of those things we had a really good laugh about was an encounter we had with two drunk men while tracting. Rather than the classic open the door two centimeters, they threw open the door and came barging out ready for a good dicussion haha. We introduced ourselves and did our best to address the situation appropriately as one of the men grabbed the Book of Mormon and began to randomly open it, read a verse, and ask if we believed that. haha The other soon became interested as well and grabbed the book from his friend who then decided that he actually didn't want it anymore and was trying to get his friend to give the Book of Mormon back to us (this ended up with them drunk fighting over the book of mormon as we slowly tried to back away and tell them that they could have it for free). Then the man decided he wanted to keep the book, but that it was necessary that he paid us for it so he emptied all the coins from his wallet and started following us around to give it to us (while his friend is still fighting with him)....anyways long story short the money ended up in Sisar Bruce's hood and the drunk man "running" up the stairs laughing because he thought he tricked us into taking the money. haha oh man that was hilarious. So there is the funny story for the week.

One thing I have learned on my mission so far is the blessing of fasting. It truly brings answers and blessings. Every time I have fasted and prayed with a sincere heart, I have been answered. Heavenly Father has given us such a wonderful opportunity to receive inspiration; I hope I can continue to use it to it's fullest. I am so grateful for missions and how they help strengthen our understanding and testimonies. I know that Heavenly Father truly loves us and has not left us here without help. What a comfort.

Weather update: last night during contacting we saw the temperature got down to 4 degrees celcius...no snow yet, but definitely seeing some changes. Luckily it has been really sunny and beautiful though, just chilly and darker sooner.
I hope you don't get too much of the post conference blues (it is a real thing here in the mission...its like the week after Christmas of something) and I hope your week goes well. Thank you for your prayers :) love you all

-Sisar Clark

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Koti tehtu mehua ja keks (Home made juice and cookies)

Moi :) This week was another good week. And it was made even better when I got to read emails and letters in the mail full of loving and supportive words. Thank you! It is so fun to hear and see how everyone is doing in emails and pics. You guys rock!
So probably the biggest blessing from this week would be our investigator with a bapstimal date. He is progressing so well, and in our last lesson with him he simply and powerful bore his testimony of many things throughout the lesson. He talks of how he is excited to get the priesthood and how much he has seen Heavenly Father helping in his life. He says that he wants to follow all the commandments because he knows they will bring him closer to God and that there is a reason we have them. It is so simple and true. It also has brought me so much joy to see the members reach out so lovingly, although there is a language barrier. Wow, lessons with him will definitely be a highlight of the mission.
Another highlight of the week was meeting with a very sweet woman Sisar Herrmann and I found tracting last change. We had tried to stop by a couple times before but it never worked out, but this week we stopped by and she immediately brought us in and was so loving and kind. She gave us delicious home made juice and cookies and sincerely listened to what we had to say about the Book of Mormon and our church. She was excited to read and pray about the Book of Mormon and was grateful for our message. Her and her little son also showed us these cute books about bible stories that they love to read together. Such a sweet and faithful family. It was really cool to see profit out of tracting that I personally did.
Something I learned during personal study this week: When reading Helaman 4:20-26 I found it so interesting how many times it says that the Nephites could see the differences between them and the Lamanites. "they saw" and recognized how far away from the Lord they had become. In Alma 32:35 it talks about the spirit and truth being discernable. Sometimes it is difficult to see the hand of the Lord, but I hope to keep my eyes open for it always, because it is there and we will see it.
I hope school and work and other parts of hectic life are going well for all of you. Thank you for your prayers :) I love you!
-Sisar Clark
pic- the night after the punianen kuu (red moon) or indian moon .... it was too cloudy to actually see the red moon, but we thought this was a pretty close second

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Ihmeellinen viikko (miraculous week)

Hello everyone :) this week was truly a miraculous week in so many ways. So miraculous I almost hesitate to tell you everything in fear that my emails in following weeks will just be too boring. So I'll only tell you everything if you promise to still support me in boring emails in the future haha. So for starters we had 6 (yes that is correct....SIX) investigators in sacrament meeting this week! It was a circus and probably hilarious to watch Sisar Bruce and I not quite sure what to do with ourselves and so many investigators. While partaking of the sacrament, I just sat in awe of how much loving patience Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for us and are how willing they are to help and bless us abundantly in our weaknesses. In addition, we set a very solid baptismal date this week as well! And in all our lessons with this investigator, Sisar Bruce and I are practically speechless when we see how prepared he is. This week he told us of how he normally doesn't give his number to churches or come when invited etc. but just felt like he was supposed to for ours. He talked about how when we invited him to be baptized he just knew he was supposed to. And then he tells us of how when he started meeting with us he stopped smoking and going to clubs because he realized they weren't helping him come closer to God....(this was before we even taught the Word of Wisdom). Wow Heavenly Father has prepared these people in incredible ways! Anther jaw dropping quote "Ya, I think I want to get married in the temple." Not only were there miracles in the missionary work, but with me personally as well. I felt very blessed to stay positive in difficult times and blessed with energy and happiness. Wow....this week...I don't even know what else to say. Thank you for your prayers....they obviously are not going unanswered. Prayer is powerful.

A scripture that the mission is focusing on this change is D&C 123:17 "Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we standstill, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed." I think this scripture really describes this week. I have absolutely seen his arm revealed and feel so blessed at this time.
I hope you are all doing well. Chris! Happy Birthday this week!! :) Chase and Sarah good luck with your move this week. I hope all goes smoothly and you are able to feel at home there soon. Thank you for your emails, prayers, love, support, and examples! I love you all so much and pray for you often.

-Sisar Clark

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Kolme Kirkossa taas! (three in church again!)

Hey everyone it is great to hear from so many of you. Thank you for your emails! I can't believe that Hayden is already old enough to do baptisms for the dead! What a wonderful experience for him. It is so fun to imagine sweet Savannah toddling around and playing with Roxy. And Callie the #thugmormon pictures in Zion make it look like you had a great time running; I'm only a slight bit jealous.

This week was another week of learning and growing, therefore a successful week. Sunday was exciting day when we had three investigators in church again! We have seen a lot of progress and growth within our investigators and feel very blessed to share this message with them and help them grow closer to Jesus Christ. Also, it is so so wonderful to see how supportive, aware, and helpful the members are in the missionary work as well. We (eli Sisar Bruce and I) ended up having to teach a Sunday School class kind of on the spot and thankfully the members in the lesson were so willing to participate and share their testimonies. That with the help of the spirit helped us squeeze by in that lesson. They have such strong testimonies and dedication to do what is right, even if it is very inconvenient. I'm really grateful for their examples. 

Fall is setting in now and the leaving are changing colors and falling off the trees. It is very pretty and great weather again. I'm very grateful to serve in such a beautiful (one might even say magical) place. With a new companion comes learning many new things and working through new challenges. I'm grateful for the things I'm learning and I'm very grateful for the truth that we know: We are Heavenly Father's children. He loves us. We can pray to him and find peace and guidance. Jesus Christ is our Savior and loving brother. He knows what we feel and is reaching out his hand.

I'm looking forward to General Conference and another good week in beautiful Suomi! 

-Sisar Clark

Monday, August 31, 2015

Minä jään Keravalla! (I'm staying in Kerava!)

Hey everyone :) Hope your week has gone well. Probably has been pretty busy lately, now is when school is starting up and everything again right? Good luck everyone! Also, Happy Birthday Chase!! I know you have been working your tail off recently so hopefully you get to fully enjoy a nice adventure filled, but mentally relaxing day.
So we got change calls this week! Sisar Herrmann is going to Turku and I'm staying in Kerava :) Sisar Bruce is going to come finish and training. I've loved working with Sisar Herrmann and will miss her, but I also look forward to learning new things from Sisar Bruce. Also, wow I'm so grateful I get to stay in Kerava. Seeing Sisar Herrmann tell everyone good bye has made me so grateful I don't have to leave yet. The ward and people here and so wonderful, words just don't explain. 
We had splits this week with the Sister Training Leaders and what an adventure that was. My companion ended up getting super sick that day (actually it was a huge blessing to have it happen on splits day though) so I ended up having to take the reins on all our lessons and everything. It doesn't sounds like that big of a deal, but I was shaking in my shoes pretty much all day. I felt pretty inadequate Finnish wise, navigation wise, and just in general. But, it felt so great by the end of the day to look back and think "Wow, I did it! With Heavenly Father's help, I did it!" Of course everything was so far from perfect, and I'm sure the Sister Training Leaders were thinking it was a disaster of a day haha, but I was feeling pretty blessed and grateful by the end of the day, it was a big success for me. 

Two big blessings from this week:
1) The power of the Book of Mormon is incredible. One investigators that hadn't progressed very much recently read the book of mormon. We called her everyday and every time she suddenly just lights up and tells us all the things she learned from reading that day and how much the spirit helped her feel better the rest of the day. We are very excited for her.

2) We walked into church on Sunday to find two "self referrals" (or people that have never meet the missionaries, but just came on their own) seating in the back waiting for sacrament meeting to start. They said they had read about the church online and just wanted to come visit! :0 wahhh!! We gave them a Book of Mormon etc. they said they wanted to go home and think about it some more before they started meeting with the missionaries, but they said they had a really good and pleasant experience and will probably come back next week. They were both so sweet and sincere. That has probably been my favorite part of my mission so far; seeing people with such sincere, humble desire to learn and find the truth.

One unique thing to Finland is the word "jaksaa". First off, you must know that Fins are very truthful, and it's not rude or anything, they just say it how it is. So, jaksaa pretty much means to feel like or to have the energy to do something. For example, if you are at a dinner appointment and they ask if you want more food you can simply say "en jaksaa" (I don't feel like it) and it is completely polite. haha sometimes I just chuckle a little in my mind still when I say it. But it also is totally acceptable to call in to work for a sick day or tell someone you don't want to come to church that week (as a missionary you hear this one a lot ha) and use the excuse that you just don't jaksaa to come. Oh the wonderful things of Finland ha :)
I hope all is well at home, I love you all!

-Sisar Clark
1- a classic Finland sky....I'm always in awe!
2- Mustikka Piiraka (Finnish version of blueberry pie.....Fins do it way better....it is the best thing on this planet....especially when certain ward members make it for you......definitely my favorite Finnish food yet)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Pikku hilja (a step at a time)

Hei everyone! I hope that your week went well :) Mine definitely did. Although many of our teaching appointments that we were very excited about fell through, we were able to get in contact with a lot of promising potentials from the past few weeks instead!  So one potential I talked about previously in my emails gave us her number and address, but the number didn't work, and her apartment building is locked most times during the day. We were so sad, because she has such a sweet spirit and we thought we may not be able to get in contact with her again. But, never fear! Miracles happen. On one of our random stop bys to see if anyone is near by to let us in (she lives on the way to many other people we visit, so we just randomly try once in a while), we got in!! and she was home!! We figured out what was wrong with the number and will most likely be meeting with her this weekend :)
This week gave me more hope language wise. I was able to see baby step improvements with the language (hence pikku hilja...which might be spelled wrong ...sorry ha) that I normally can't see. Sometimes I feel as though I can understand pretty much all of what people say, and then there are the random conversations where I come out not having a clue ha. Always an adventure, but Finnish is a great language. I love studying and using it. I hope to keep finding ways to improve faster, because I could always use that.
So one funny thing about Finland: everyone is super patient with their dogs. When they go for walks they just let the dog take the lead, sniff anything/everything, take its time. And its not just some people...everyone does this. Finland is just such a calm peaceful place. It's not like the "Hawaii chill" but it just has a pleasant, focused, steady feel. It is starting to get darker earlier and sometimes it is still dark when we get up in the morning. Kind of weird.
I was offered drugs for the first time this week. haha that was a funny one. Good news is a even if I didn't fully understand everything he was offering (because those just aren't really the first words in my word book to learn), I understood enough to know what the correct answer was. (dodged that awkward situation..phew ha)
This week in personal study, I was reading in Alma 26:22. I love how is says "prayeth continually with out ceasing" because many times we hear of all these wonderful and exciting missionary experiences, but not much is said about the fervent and earnest prayers behind them. I have been pondering a lot about the importance and power that prayer has. If you have any insights I'd love to hear them :) And of course I am praying for all of you, and although you don't write much, mom does so don't worry I still have some idea of whats going on. I know that everything isn't perfect, so I hope you know that I am praying for you. I love you all, and I'm so grateful for our family. What a blessing it is! Thank you for your examples!
- Sisar Clark
ps our pday is most likely on Monday next week due to transfers so write early if you want to write :)
pic= this sign says "Jesus will come! Are you ready?"....we thought it was pretty great

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

"Nyt on vaimo" (Now, I have a wife)

Hey everyone :) This week I had the wonderful blessing of going to Interim. It is pretty much like a three day long general conference sessions with the Mission President for all the trainees and trainers. It was wonderful and spirit filled. I learned SO much :). I'm excited to go out and work to apply what I learned. There were many funny stories shared and great memories relived as all these sister missionaries got back together haha. One sister told the funny story of a man they were teaching that would continually talk about trying to find a wife. They ended up dropping him as an investigator or something, but ran into him a few weeks later. The first thing he said to them was "Nyt on vaimo"....(I pretty sure the story is a lot funnier when she tells it) but for some reason the phrase stuck and now we all just keep having the phrase stuck in our head. ha But on the bright side, I definitely know the word for wife now. 

As fun as it was to see old MTC friends, eat incredible mission home food, and learn so much about missionary work, the best part of Interim was going to the temple! Wow, such a strong spirit there. There is nothing like the spirit of the temple. The work was successful this week too! We recently received a lot of new investigators and are looking forward to helping them progress to baptism. (the more I write the more I realize this probably sounds just like any other missionary's email home ha...sorry everyone..)  I saw the Lord's hand in the work this week when we went to deliver a BOM to a wonderful (not finnish...so she needed a different language...that's why we were "delivering" it to her) young mother. First, her door was locked, but a cute little girl walking her dogs came around the corner and let us in. Then, she wasn't home, but we ran into her on the way down the stairs! She was very sweet and we are going to meet with her this week. Wow, I was very grateful for the Lord's help with that. Sisar Herrmann and I both were talking about how we can see the light of Christ in her and are excited to meet with her more. :) 

One thing I learned a lot from this week was Nephi's example. He had the spirit with him for his whole journey back to Jerusalem to get the plates, but that doesn't mean the spirit was whispering in his ear every two second of what to do and where to go. The first time it talks about the spirit specifically telling him what to do is when he kills Laban. Just because we don't her the Holy Ghost telling us every two seconds where to go doesn't mean we don't have the spirit. We must do our best and act in faith, then if we are in trouble or in need of extra guidance the Holy Ghost can warn, guide, protect, and help us. I was really grateful for this example! I hope all is going well at home :) Thank you for your prayers!

-Sisar Clark

Monday, August 10, 2015

Tämä vikko on ollut hulu! (This week has been crazy!)

Hey everyone :) I loved getting pictures from the party this week! Wow how all the nephews and nieces have grown!! It's incredible! So fun to see and hear about all the fun adventures! And Callie! Happy Birthday!!!! I love you all so much :)
Don't have tons of time to write, but wanted to just share a smidgit (spelling? sorry) of the blessings from this week. It was mass chaos early in the week...way too many things to even list...but needless to say, I was pretty stressed and a little overwhelmed. But in these crazy moments we saw more blessings than ever before. Here are a few:
- I had the opportunity to give a 9-10 minute talk in sacrament meeting this week. I was very stressed about it because....well Finnish...and felt very nervous up until the meeting started. But I said a prayer to be calm and was amazed the peace I felt all throughout the sacrament and when giving my talk. It was a simple, but powerful example to me of my Heavenly Father's love and care for me specifically.
- We had an investigator in sacrament meeting to hear my talk!...and he was very very kind after and seemed to really like it! ....and our incredible ward members just swooped right in and were so helpful with fellowshipping him and sitting next to him classes! and just Chruch in general was very uplifting, spirit filled, and a peaceful place after such a crazy week. (Could anyone ask for a better Sunday?)
- One morning I randomly woke up with a thought "Call ____(so and so)"....I didn't even remember who that was....but I asked my comp and she said he was a potential we had tried to contact a few times right when I got here, but never got in contact. I told her we should try again....he answered!!...he wanted to meet...he set up a time....we meet with him tonight! Very excited! I know that was not just a coincidence.
- (probably my favorite blessings this week...but hard to choose) We met with a couple this week from "spirit directed tracting" that could not be more prepared to hear this message and had the first lesson with them last night. Literally, Sisar Herrmann and I walked out of that lesson was pure amazement. It was incredible to hear all the ways the Lord has blessed their lives and prepared them. Wow! I know this couple will be a special part of my mission. The spirit was so strong! Oh ya and one of them doesn't speak Finnish, so we teach in English....that helps me be able to express my self a little more. (all this followed by the beautiful sky to see on the bike ride home....picture attached :))
- I have seen the Lord helping me having the confidence to speak up so much more this week. And because of it, I think my language has improved as well. But the secret is not focusing on the language....and just focusing on testifying and pushing myself that way. Atleast that is the secret for me right now ha. It is incredible how much more you can speak up and put yourself out there when you remember how special everyone is to our Heavenly Father and that this is his work; focusing on the people rather than your own weaknesses.
That is about all the time I have this week, but thank you for your support and prayers. They are definitely being answered. I love you all :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Enkelet (Angels)

Hey everyone! Hope all is going well! Happy Birthday Dad!! I hope you have a great relaxing day. This week has been another great week. During companion study this week, Sisar Herrmann and I were studying in Preach My Gospel about working with ward members. We realized that this Sunday (meaning two days ago) was fast Sunday, and really felt like we should involve our ward by asking them to fast for a specific family member, friend, or acquaintance that they could share the gospel with or invite to church etc. We working crazy hard to try and visit or at least contact all the members and everyone was very supportive and excited to participate. We have already seen some blessings from this and look forward to seeing more. Our ward is so support and great here in Kerava. Another exciting thing in the work is we met an ihan suomelinen (totally finnish...aka very very soft spoken, etc.) young adult women while street contacting. She gave us her address and we went and gave her a BOM and set up an appointment for tonight. After just talking for five minutes on her doorstep, Sisar Herrmann and I both just turned to each other were amazed with how strongly we felt the spirit...just right there on her door step. I'm very excited to meet with her tonight. We also have an investigator praying about a baptismal date right now which is very exciting. She has grown so much and gets so excited when we teach her. It has been really special to see how she lights up with the spirit.
Funny things from this week. A reoccurring topic that seems to follow when I introduce myself is Fin's connecting my name with Superman...Clark Kent. Ha that is always a fun one to hear. Dad we found the olympic runner statue (see picture) while contacting. It is right next to the train station and near the city center :).
So to explain the subject line, this week three different investigators/less active members told us of different experiences they have had with angels. It was really interesting to ponder about the angels that are all around us here. It really made me think of Alma 13:24 and how Heavenly Father truly has and is preparing people for us. What a blessing. I also found comfort in studying about Alma boldly testifying in Alma 9:7, but yet in the people still don't accept him. It was good to be reminded that boldly testifying doesn't always mean people accepting. But it does mean you are being an obedient and faithful missionary, so I'm working on that.
Anyways, I love you all and hope you are having a great time hanging out all together this week. Send me fun pictures! Oh last minute thought, next week my p-day is on monday for a special meeting, so if you want me to get your emails make sure you send them before monday morning. Love you!
-Sisar Clark

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"Sisar Herrmann, katso!!" (Sister Herrmann, look!)

I'm so jealous of how much fun you are all going to have this week with everyone at home together!! You have to send me pictures!! I love picturing the funny jokes and crazy stories being told around the dinner table ha. So tell a good one for me :) and then email it to me too ha. 

This week's exciting spotting was seeing a boy about ten or eleven wearing a BYU hat! Mitä!?! ha we were riding out bikes through Korso and I suddenly just call out "Sisar Herrmann, Katso!!" ha. We had a good time trying to figure that one out. Sadly we didn't have time to stop and ask, but BYU has a fan all the way out here in Finland! One funny thing that continues to happen is people asking if Sisar Herrmann and I are twins or sisters (even before they see the Sisar on our nametag). We both laugh and then hop on the beautiful opportunity to explain who we are and about this true church!

This week was great. We really felt the Holy Ghost guiding us and met wonderful potential investigators. One elderly man was found while tracting, we talked on his front porch for about twenty minutes, he cried and shared the challenges he has had in his life, and we gave him a Book of Mormon and testified of how it truly blesses lives and brings happiness. We are going to go back with a member soon and I look forward to meeting with him more. The spirit was really strong while we promised him that Heavenly Father knows him and cares for him. It was a big blessing in my week. We also almost passed a man that just almost seemed to stand out like we needed to talk to him before I said "Mitä kuuluu?" over my shoulder and he cheerfully turned around and answered. He didn't have time to talk right then, but he gave us his address and told us what time we can come back. He was very kind and seemed excited to hear about this message. I know these don't sound like anything specially, they were huge blessings in our week along with a few others. It is very humbling to see the Lord's hand in this work. We are meeting with an investigator tonight and we are hoping to set a baptismal date with her. She has been investigating for a long time, and has a testimony of the Book of Mormon. We are praying that she will desire to follow Jesus Christ's example. Great blessings and tender mercies were scattered all throughout this week. We miraculously found a less active part member family at home this week, when our main plans fell through and they now want to have family home evening and we asked them to have family prayer. That was a huge blessing! oh and one more funny story. One night while walking home, Sisar Herrmann recieved a beautiful handful and wild flowers from a drunk man. ha Friday and Saturday nights are always full of fun adventures.

The language was a little more of a struggle for me this week. I feel like I have been here long enough to understand more than I do, but I know it just takes time. I'm happy for the many things I've learned and am still learning from these struggles. In my personal studies this week I was reading in Mosiah 18:30 where it talks about the place of Mormon and waters of Mormon. It was such a beautiful place to Alma and his people because that is where they came to know their Redeemer. It made me think back on all the places where I have come closer to my Savior and what speciall places those are. It was a really good reminder of how all the things we are experiencing help us learn and grow and become huge blessings in our lives.
I hope all is going well. I'm so grateful all your emails and if I don't respond right away, I'm sorry I only have so much time, but I'm working on it and hopefully will get all caught up next week. I love you and am praying for you. Have a great week!

- Sisar Clark

ps the random picture with the electric box....that is greg (we just named him)...his picture is all over kerava...we have no idea why....but there you go ha

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Taika Lähistö (the magic neighborhood)

Oh boy! I hope your weeks have been as exhilarating as mine have been. It sounds like Savy is going to be walking any day! How exciting! I love hearing about everyone and Katie!! CONGRATS!! You finished school!! WOO HOO go for a long awesome celebratory run for me! I love hearing about how every one is doing. Thanks for the updates :) Before I begin, just know that I have had some difficult times and everything isn't just a skip in the park. There were definitely some trying times this week, but there is so much good stuff to say that there is no reason to even talk about those things at all. Just know that I'm not trying to hide weaknesses or the difficultly of a mission. 

Now on to the wonderful blessings and miracles this week.  We somehow keep running into all of our former and current investigators everywhere. Trust me, Kerava is not too small for this to be just a coincidence. Heavenly Father has definitely led us into many people's path. Yesterday we went tracting in what Sisar Herrmann and I now call the taika lähistö (magic neighborhood). We prayed before for guidance and felt good about this area, so the next day we went. It had the biggest and nicest houses we have seen in Finland (I know its only my second week...but trust me they were huge ha), which is actually very intimidating and usually means a lot of people that don't have huge open hearts towards other ways of life, but we felt like we needed to continue anyways. We met a lady outside moving a big pile of rocks and asked if we could help. She didn't let us help (like all finnish people...they never accept help...just such sweet indepent people), but we asked if we could come and teach her family and she happily said yes! She gave us the day they would return from their vacation and gave us a big smile. Wow! So cool! That never happens! (I'll keep you updated on that). Then like four houses later we had a fifteen to twenty minute conversation about Jesus Christ with this woman whose husband is very against religion. She just sat there and talked to us, and cried at times; it seemed as though she hasn't had anybody to express her testimony, beliefs, and love with for a very long time. We gave her a book of mormon and invited her to read and pray about it and she seemed very excited....and needless to say we were very excited as well. (again...keep you updated on that). We continually see the truth of the statement that you never know who your next investigator will be unfold in front of our faces. Just so many miraculous contacts throughout the week. Even though all of our investigators canceled appointments and didn't respond to calls or texts this week, we were just in awe of all sincerely searching people we met. Also, our ward is incredible. I never dreamed of eating so much at members homes (and they have all been really great cooks too....so double blessing!) One day it was raining like crazy! (random rain storms everywhere...never leaving without my umbrella ever again) We crossed paths with this lady with suitcases walked about a mile and a half from the bus stop to a big school where all these gymnasts are staying the night (ya kind of weird, but not enough time to explain more) so we walked with her and held our umbrella over her head and just let her talk and vent. She had a lot of really hard stuff going on in her life right now. But we ended up giving her a book of mormon and I just felt so grateful for the rain that day. I was grateful for the opportunity to truly help someone and feel Heavenly Father's love for her. 

I have felt to grateful for Heavenly Father's help in helping me feel much more comfortable with my surroundings, the language, and the people. Even though I don't understand everything, I'm slowly able to say more and more and go out of my comfort zone more and more. I studied a lot this week about charity and was very grateful for the insight I found. I read that charity is the bond of perfectness and peace. What a comfort this was to find. I am striving to have this true love expressed in a peaceful and happy way to these people. Even though I pretty awkward with everything still, I can see heavenly help with this. Also, I have definitely felt blessed when I just opened my mouth. I usually say something weird or wrong, but I feel and see growth each time. I see people understanding when I simply (very simply) testify and it is exhilarating.

Some funny quirks about Finland I noticed: American baseball teams are like a big thing over here. I'm pretty sure its just like a brand thing and they don't actually watch it, but hey it is really fun to see new york yankee hats everywhere ha. The clouds are gorgeous here. They move a lot faster and just seem so much closer to you. (more to come...sorry don't have tons of time)

One fun p-day adventure we had today was strawberry picking! It was a blast! Some wonderful members took us and we had such a joyful time. In Finland, you can go pick strawberries and eat as many as you want for free. So cool.

One funny language mess up this week was at a members home when they asked about my family. I was trying to say I am the youngest (olen nuorin) but I accidentally said I am the humblest (olen nöyrin) ....pronunciation is important...haha ya we got some laughs from that one.

Anyways, I'm very very happy and grateful. Thank you for your love and support. I pray for you all every night and am so grateful for your prayers. They do not go unanswered. Sorry don't have to much time to write everything, but know that I love you!

- Sisar Clark

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Kaunis Kerava (beautiful Kerava)

I'm officially here...in Finland!! Mitä tämä on!? (What is this!?) I'm so excited to be here, a little overhwelmed, but just happy to finally be teaching really people. Finland is incredible. I feel right at home here and can all ready tell it is exactly where I'm supposed to be. So my first area is Kerava! It is about a 45 min train ride north east of Helsinki. My trainer is Sisar Herrmann, a soccer player from Idaho Falls and fellow pre-mission BYU attendi (?). She is awesome! She has only been in the field for four months so we are both learning a lot still, but I'm so grateful for her and can see the Lord blessing me so much through her. Also, she is a wonderful first companion because...she likes to run!! woo hoo! Running in Finland is magical! (taika) The first person that we contacted in Kerava actually turned out to be from Iraq, didn't speak Finnish and he said yes that he wanted to learn more! That was not what I was expecting my first conversation in Finland to be like, but hey! What a great way to start, right ha! The weather right now is literally perfect. It rains once in a while, and is cloudy enough that it doesn't get to hot, but warm enough that I don't need a jacket ever (like I said....literally perfect). The wild flowers are in bloom everywhere right now (Mom you would love it. It is like what we saw in Alaska, but even better). Also, there are trees everywhere, even in down town Helsinki. They are very respectful to the nature here and try to leave as much of it as they can.
Surprisingly, I have actually understand a lot more Finnish then I thought I would. There are definitely still times I have no idea what is going on, but I can follow most lessons and conversations and I was able to follow most everything during church meetings (a huge blessing from Heavenly Father). However, speaking is a little more of a struggle ha. I realized I was pronouncing so many things wrong in the MTC and I realized how important double letters in words actually make. Holy cow! I have so far to go still with the language ha, but that is ok :) Speaking of our church meeting and Sunday, the Kerava ward is full of people with powerful testimonies. I'm so grateful to be serving in this area. The bishop asked me to share my testimony during sacrament meeting like ten minutes before the meeting, and I know I said many things wrong, but I was grateful for the opportunity. It was a good experience and I'm always reminded or the strength Heavenly Father gives us when we go out of our comfort zone. We actually have a pretty good amount of investigators, but the struggle is that it is loma (summer break) right now in Finland and so many are on vacation and not easy to get a hold of. But it is also a good thing because many come back relaxed and more willing to listen (or feel like they have more time to listen or read the BOM etc.). I can tell you more specifics later, but that brings up another interesting thing about Finland. They have very strict privacy laws (like we have to get special permission to even start teaching records and show them exactly what we are writing down etc.) and this includes what we email home. So, for that sake, I'm going to not be very specific about our investigators etc. (I'll still tell you stories etc. but maybe just leave out names or identiying details). (Just so you don't think I'm really bad at making up investigators or something ha.)
One thing that I'm still getting used to and fully enjoy are the questioning looks the finnish people give you when you say hi walking past or on the train. He he it is really fun. But also it confuses me because I actually think they have a question sometimes...then I just feel awkward ha. (nothing new....still awkward...don't worry) So that is something I'm still working on. My least favorite thing is trying to ride bikes in a skirt. Oh my goodness, that is going to take some getting use to. (Callie, have any suggestions?) I haven't had any food that I didn't like so far. It has all been delicious (with a slice of rye bread to go along with it).
Anyways, I don't have tons of time, but I'm so grateful to actually be here and have real lessons. It is humbling to see people have such a strong desire to find the truth. I have a lot to improve on and learn, but I know that everything will work out and there is a reason I'm here. That is the only reason I am able to do this. It brings so much joy and peace :). Love you all and praying for you. Thank you for your emails and support. It means so much.
- Sisar Clark

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Onko tämä todellinen? (Is this real?)

This is nuts! I can't believe we are actually going to be leaving for Finland in like three and a half days! I'm so so so excited and like just a little scared dashed somewhere in there. We got our flight plans on Friday and we will be leaving SLC airport at 8:45 am on the 6th, arrive in Dallas/Fortworth airport at 12:28 pm, (I'll call during this layover and I already have a call card thank you for checking though) depart from dallas at 3:35 pm, arrive at London airport at 6:55 am on the 7th, depart from London at10:20 am and arrive in Finland at 3:15 pm! We are all pretty pumped. 

This week was just jam-packed full of excitement ha. First off, yes dad, the rumor is true. The week after they moved all the sister missionaries into the newly renovated residence, the friendly bat decided to move in bhaha. So yes every single one of the sisters moved back to the old residence in one night. Boy was that a fiasco. All the elders kept trying to be "gentlemanly and manly" and help us move our luggage and all the sisters were hating all the attention haha. Too much fun for one night I'd say. A ton of new missionaries came in these last two weeks that I know which was fun! Like Coby Ploeger and yes Vanhin Craft is one of the new fins! The new Finnish missionaries came in this week! 8 elders and 1 (awesome) sister! They are great! We normally wouldn't over lap with them, but there is a special meeting or something that required they come a week earlier so woo hoo here they are!  The Albanians in our district left this last week so now we only have Fins and Huns in our district so we have declared ourselves the FUNS! I think its a pretty great and accurate name for our district. We really do have a great time hanging out and making the most of this experience together. One cool scripture I found when studying this week was D&C 20:7 and how commandments can be inspiration. Its a short but powerful one I thought. Our skype lesson went awesome this week! We could understand her, she could understand us, and we could feel the spirit and everything! It was such a blessing Sisar Hayter and I needed that day. I'm so grateful for this experience and can't wait to be emailing you from Finland! Can you believe it? Well I love you and I am praying for you! Hope your weeks have been as great as mine!

- Sisar Clark

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Me kävelimme kotiin, hymyillen kaikille (we walked home, smiling all the way)

Hey everyone! Thank you for your prayers and support! I've definitely felt wonderfully blessed! Hey tell Sweet Sophie Happy Birthday!! Woo hoo!! I love showing off the pics of my nieces and nephews to everyone! (I always win at that game!) So send me a pic of her blowing out a candle or something :). Keep me updated on how everyone is doing too!

This week was yet another great uplifting week at the MTC. Can you believe it?! Only 10 more days!! We get our flight plans tomorrow and we are all pretty ecstatic about it. And only one more p-day after today!! Crazy! One funny thing that happened this week a little visit from another critter! While doing our weekly service (putting chairs in strictly supervised straight lines (there and ropes and wood blocks....that's how exact it gets here) to help set up for the devotionals on Saturday night and Tues.) a friendly bat come to join and was flying around in the gym. That was a funny thing to keep things lively. A huge blessing this week was our skype went really really well! We talked with a man named Jarmo and he was so nice! We could definitely feel the spirit (even through the computer) and felt really accomplished because we could actually understand parts of what he was saying! Woo hoo! I finally felt like, wow I actually will be somewhat helpful in Finland. At least I can bear a very simple testimony (that probably isn't exactly right but understandable) and bring the spirit! I'd love to do that! I was pretty worried about my future companion/trainer earlier this week and was praying that everything would work out. And my prayer was answered. I just had an overwhelming peaceful feeling and thought, "Of course everything will work out. Don't you remember that Heavenly Father has his hand in everything. He knows you and will not just forget about you." Whoever my trainer is, I am exciting to see what the Lord has in store for me. Isn't that a beautiful blessing of this gospel! As long as we are obedient and doing our best, we don't need to worry that "the wrong thing" will happen. I'm so grateful! So all the new mission presidents are here now, along with supposedly the first presidency and quorum of the 12. Pretty crazy! They closed off the big main building and have security everywhere. It's a blessing and a curse though. We now have giant random crowds of missionaries everywhere and no longer have gym access because that is where we are all eating. But it is nice to keep things interesting here for sure. Later today the mission presidents are all coming to different classes and teaching, so I'm excited for that! And Grandmom, I'll keep my eye out for the Perkinsons. I know some of there missionaries here and will try my best to say hi! Thank you for letting me know about them! And thank you for that wonderful email you sent me! (you are never wasting my time...trust me) I'm so grateful for the spirit that I feel here and I am so so antsy to just go and teach people this wonderful good news! So many people need this! I hope you are all doing well! I pray for you and look forward to hearing all your fun stories!

- Sisar Clark

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Me Skypettimme! (we skyped!)

This week was full of powerful uplifting experience and fun adventures! To start off, I dreamt in Finnish for the first time!! Woo hoo! That was cool! And each time we read Mormonin Kirjia (the BOM) we pick up on more and more things; it doesn't get better than that. (it helps that we were reading in 1 Nephi when he is having his vision and the angel keeps repeating Katso! (behold) and everything repeats a couple times haha, but still very exciting). Sisar Wade (a friend of Sister Vedrin (spelling?) Johnson) is a older sister missionary going to Finland! She made us pulla (a delicious finnish bread) and always stops to say hi! She is so sweet! There is another sister in our hall that looks and acts just like Kari! Her name is Sister Duffey, and now I have two of three sister-in-laws to party with ha! (I'll try and send a pic before we leave) Don't worry Sarah, I'll keep my eyes open for someone like you! There is a sister from Finland here in the MTC, Sister Nikka, who is learning French and going to serve in the France, Lyon mission! She is very reserved, but very nice! We all got pretty excited to talk to her in Finnish until we realized we actually can't really say that much haha. But a good friend nonetheless. This week we started Skyping instead of normal TRC! This is where we skype and teach a Finnish member! It was a really cool experience, but also kind of hard because you are just reminded of how much you really don't know the language. I'm looking forward to more skype lesson's though, it is a pretty incredible experience to have. Oh also, we moved today! ha They are doing a ton of construction here at the MTC and so all the sisters get to move into the newly renovated residence which is seriously AWESOME! All these new missionaries have no idea what a beauty it is to live there. The showers are HUGE! #blessingsofobedience haha. But in all honesty it is really good timing. It helps mix things up a little and keep it interesting here at the MTC.

A scripture that really helped me a ton this week was 2 Timothy 1:7. It talks about how our Heavenly Father has blessed us with power, love, and a sound mind rather than fear. I have felt so blessed here in the MTC! I'm obviously very anxious and excited to actually get to Finland and start sharing this joyous message, but I'm also a little sad to leave the MTC. It is such a spiritual power house and I've learned so much here; in Finland we have to be that spiritual power house, which is kind of intimidating and motivating at the same time. Our teachers are awesome! Sisar Johnson shares her testimony a lot, and is just a great example to me. She has helped me a ton (not just with the language) here in the MTC. Also, Enos's example of faith and prayer was a powerful one for me this week. His book may be small, but it is powerful. I'm so grateful to be a missionary! I'm happy! I pray for you and hope you are doing well! I love you!

- Sisar Clark