Monday, November 30, 2015


This week was cuhraaaazzzyyyy (Olaf).

LAST Monday, we spent it with the lovely Mackenzie, our investigator, and we went to a Scandinavian park! Memories were made. Pictures were taken.

                                   Our investigator, MacKenzie, with a crazy looking troll!

                                                   A giant horse in the Scandinavian park.

                                            Replica of a Scandinavian church.

Tuesday, we found a less-active member named Dorothy! She lives in a cool, vintage-y apartment building. But it only looks vintage on the inside. The outside is boring and modern. We're going to see her next week :) We had dinner with a family that lived on the Air Force Base, and we had to stop in the visitor's center to get passes. It took twelve years, I'm pretty sure. We were an hour and a half late to dinner! It was packed with people coming to visit family for Thanksgiving, so we had lots of people to chat with :) When we finally did get there, we ate for ten minutes and I managed to spill gravy all over Sister Finlinson, we shared a speedy message about the new Christmas video that came out on the 29th, and then we left. We wanted to go to institute with Mackenzie, but we ended up being WAY late because of the Air Force Base deal, so we only got about twenty minutes of it. But afterward, we had a lesson with Mackenzie :)

On Wednesday, we saw a recent convert named Lori. She lives on base as well, so we had to do the visitor's center thing all over again! But, we met this cool guy named Dave from Wisconsin who's a pastor. He has some sort of crazy lung disease where they're continually hardening and making it difficult to breathe. But, he's super chipper, despite his physical state :)

Thanksgiving was nuts! Sister Nelson in our ward asked the missionaries to help her set up for the ward's Thanksgiving lunch. There were ten of us, along with Sister Nelson and her husband, who were slaving away in the church kitchen, chopping potatoes and making gravy and cooking the turkeys and ham. AND, there were two stove fires! It was all very exciting. We didn't burn down the church, though, so everything worked out. After lunch, the McRae's invited us over to their house for dinner, so we went and had a second Thanksgiving. They sent us home with lots of pies :)

                   Also, some wild turkeys outside of our apartment complex. On Thanksgiving.

Friday during district meeting, the institute teacher, Sister Ringen, came in and talked to us about helping to find all of the YSA-age members in our area. We have a new assignment! Get them to institute! So we'll be working on that this week. For dinner, we went to the Ortiz's. They're from the Philippines! They fed us this Philippine dish that had a crazy name, but I forgot what it was. It had rice noodles with this squid/shrimp sauce stuff, and we put hard-boiled eggs and green onions on top. They also made really good dumplings that, I'm pretty sure, had crab meat in them. And we had flan for dessert.

              This is the Ortiz family! They're from the Philippines. They fed us this really tasty dish with a cool name that I can't remember, and then they sent us home with 25 pounds of rice.

Saturday happened so fast! We went to two baptisms, one for the missionaries in 2nd ward, and one for an eight-year-old girl in our ward. 

                 A picture of Godwin at his baptism! And Bishop Jacobs, and Sister Finlinson, and myself.

We were asked to sing in church on Sunday. So we did. We also got to see the Haffners! The Haffner kids only visit their dad here in Minot every other weekend, so we try to see them when they come. They're wonderful! They showed us that they'd been making candy cane reindeer and other festive things. And they're all super good at drawing! We went to the Pelo's for dinner with Mackenzie and talked about the ways we receive revelation. We watched the Patterns of Light videos, which are my favorite, I'm pretty sure. 

This coming week will be crazy, too! Sister Finlinson and I are going to Bismarck on Tuesday and Wednesday to go to the temple and MLC. And transfer calls are on Saturday! Hopefully neither one of us has to leave. 

Happy December, everybody ^.^

Sister Clark

Sunday, November 15, 2015


(This post was sent November 9, 2015)

Sister Finlinson and I were able to pin down exchanges yesterday, and we went through the white handbook vigorously to make sure we're measuring up as good sister training leaders. There's lots of good stuff in there! I'm hoping that exchanges aren't a total disaster, but even if they are, it'll be a good learning experience. ^_^

I've made it a goal to read 3 pages from PMG every day, and thus far it has been extremely enlightening! All of the stuff I learned at the MTC and forgot is right there in those pages. It's cool to be refocused on my purpose and to relearn what that means. The trick now is figuring out how to apply it so that it sticks.

We were given four marvelous opportunities to see our investigator, Mackenzie, this week! Sister Finlinson and I have thought a lot about what we can do to help strengthen her testimony. She is truly amazing. She's come with us to a couple of dinner appointments with members, and she would've come with us to another investigator's lesson if she didn't have to work. Isn't that crazy? Mackenzie has felt the influence of the Holy Ghost, but she's afraid of admitting to herself that all this is true because she knows that she has to act on it. That part is difficult for her, mostly because her parents aren't really on board, and she's afraid that it'll distance her from them. 

We got a new investigator named Alex this week! The 1st Ward Elders tracted into him and referred him to us. He's recently graduated from college, and he's a computer technician. He thinks really deeply about everything. It's very refreshing! I had a moment while we talked with Alex where I knew that I came to Minot to meet him. He and Mackenzie both have the same concern about being unsure whether the Holy Ghost is a real influence, or if it's just a psychological thing that they made up in their heads. I know how they feel! I've felt the same thing. 

Sister Finlinson and I have been trying to help further motivate members in missionary work, and we felt like it would be a good idea to help them with their family mission plans. Except, I feel like we're coming across as more patronizing than helpful. It's not intended to be, but most of the messages sound like, "You need to be doing missionary work" instead of, "How can we help you resolve your concerns so you can feel successful in sharing the gospel?" So we're working on that :) I think it would be good to remember that "ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (including me.) There was a cool phrase that one of the teachers in the MTC said. It was something along the lines of "We're all in the same boat. I need the atonement as desperately as you." 

I love Sister Finlinson's desire to be good! She is constantly evaluating to know how to improve. I feel like a lot of the times I want to be better, I don't know how, but she's so great at making things happen. Also, she has this motto of always giving one hundred percent in communication. I'm starting to really understand why open communication is so important! I'm grateful for her example of counseling with me as her companion in everything we do, and wanting to go forward together instead of only focusing on self-improvement.

This coming week is going to be fantastic. The Lord is going to make things happen.

Love y'all!

Sister Clark


(This post was sent November 2, 2015)


I was able to say goodbye to a lot of the people I love in Valentine, but as we were driving out of town, it made me sad to realize that I'd probably never see a lot of them again. BUT, that's what Facebook and letters are for :) We stayed in Pierre with the Sisters Wednesday night, and then we carpooled with the Elders to Bismarck Thursday morning. While we were packing all of our stuff into the car in the morning, the Pierre sisters kept running outside because I had left things around the apartment... I've become very scatter-brained. I'm pretty sure I still left some stuff there. But when we got to Bismarck, I got to see so many missionaries that I missed! Like Sister Cavey :)

(p.s. we meet in so many cities because our mission is so huge and spread out... but we get to where we need to go eventually)

My new companion, Sister Finlinson, and I drove to Minot from Bismarck with another set of sisters in our new zone, who basically gave us a rundown of what was happening in Minot. It was nice, because both of us were brought in from other areas, so we didn't really know what was going on. Also, when I got my transfer call, they told me that I was going to be the companion to a sister training leader, but apparently now we're both sister training leaders. They're like zone leaders, but sisters. So, not only are we new to the area, but we are both new to being STLs... Minot is going to be such a grand adventure :)

                           Sister Clark and Sister Finlinson in front of Bismarck Temple

On Friday, we tried to just take the day to go through the area book and get oriented, as well as unpack, but the members here are so wonderful and they have us working right off the bat! We've been running around like chickens with our heads cut off for the past three days! We had our district meeting and met the other missionaries in our district, and we had a marvelous training by our district leader, Elder Frame, on how to improve our finding. And, we did role plays! I didn't think I'd ever be so excited to role play. But, I really like the opportunity to practice what I'm trying to learn, because I can mess up while practicing and then do it right in real life. Friday night, we met Sister Nelson, who is the alleged missionary mom here in Minot :) she gave us a ride to the ward Halloween party at the church, where we met a bazillion people! I'm in a ward now, which is strange, because I haven't been in a ward in like ten years. I'm used to small little branches! Also, Sister Nelson was an instructor at the Paul Mitchell college (or something), so that was cool to know. I might ask her for a haircut :) All of the members are so wonderful! I feel like, in general, people want to help do missionary work, but they don't know how. So, Sister Finlinson and I are making it a goal this transfer to focus on how to help them be successful in their own member missionary work. That's what we're here for anyway: to build up the church wherever we go!

Saturday was Halloween! We met the Haffner family, and they are superb! Brother Haffner is a wicked-awesome artist. It's crazy how good he is! We had dinner at the Feists, who are members that we met on Friday night at the Halloween party. After that, we stopped by Bishop Jacobs' home and talked with them for a few minutes before we headed home to plan a bit more. Also, we got a text from a guy who happened to be the Chief of the Toltec tribe in Williston (ND), and apparently he's a member as well! He asked if we could set up a scripture study. One of my favorite things about this mission is all of the immersion in Native culture. It's awesome!

Sunday was amazing! We're in the Minot 3rd ward. We met our investigator, Mackenzie, and we heard all about her awesome story. She started dating a young man in the 2nd ward, and then he went on a mission to Africa! After he left, she thought she might want to investigate the church, so she did :) Except, her parents really aren't on board, because they have some legitimate concerns about the whole thing that happened in the 70s about the priesthood... probably among other things, it sounds like. Hopefully they'll be willing to meet with us so we can see if we can straighten out some of that mess. But, she herself has developed quite a testimony! But her biggest hang-up is that she's worried that she has talked herself into believing the church is true, and that the Spirit isn't a real thing. She had questions about how to differentiate promptings from our own thoughts. I kind of identified with that a bit because I wasn't super sure how to recognize spiritual promptings before I came out on my mission, and so I couldn't tell if it was the Holy Ghost or my own thought. But it's crazy how much instruction Heavenly Father gives through the scriptures! He tells us right in Galations 5 and Moroni 7. When I came across those, it was the coolest thing.

Also, there's an air force base like ten minutes out of town, and we have members there! The security to get in is pretty crazy. We had to go to a visitor's center and give them our social security number and drivers license, and then since Sister Finlinson and I had never been on base before, we had to have our pictures taken. They did a quick background check while we waited, so it took a while... especially since there were a million people ahead of us. We were there for a good hour and a half, but that was mostly because we had to go back and do it again since the first paper didn't print out very well. But, Sister Finlinson helped me push myself and open my mouth, so we talked to everyone that was in the waiting room. There were three sets of missionaries in there, and everyone was chatting together and having a grand time :) I feel like this companionship is going to be beautiful.

Oh! And! At church on Sunday, I met a cool couple named the Amsbury's, who had actually lived in Erie, Pennsylvania, and they know the Karl family in my home branch! It was a marvelous revelation.

Minot is going to be wonderful, I can tell :) Have a great week!

Sister Clark

               Sister Clark with Sister Stone and her new Trainee, Sister Boyack 


(This post was sent on October 26, 2015)
This week had some pretty cool things! We were able to meet with Rochelle and George, AND Christi! They're all growing in faith so much! It's cool to see them increase their desire to follow Jesus Christ.

                                   OUR INVESTIGATOR, CHRISTI!
Also, the sister missionaries serving in an area close to us moved into our apartment because they didn't feel safe in the trailer they were in. It was super fun! We had to go on exchanges one day because Sister Stone was sick, as well as Sister Richins from the other companionship, so Sister Williams and I went out and did work in Valentine while the two of them stayed home.


We had dinner at Lisa's house on Thursday and read with her in the Book of Mormon. I always get excited to hear that she has read in between visits. She doesn't think she moves through it very fast, but she's trying so hard! She has an exchange student from China who asked for a Book of Mormon in Chinese. It was cool :) her name is Lillian! She taught me how to make an origami strawberry.
 Church on Sunday was SO WONDERFUL. The speakers spoke on keeping the Sabbath day holy. It was really nice to be reminded that Heavenly Father gave us the Sabbath as a gift, to replenish our spiritual wells for the coming week. George came to church!

                              MARIE CALLENDAR CHERRY PIE

 Also, Sister Stone is going to be training a new missionary in Valentine this coming transfer, and I'm being moved to Minot, North Dakota. I'm sad to leave Valentine :( but Minot's where the Lord needs me, so I'll go. I apologize for the brevity of the email.. it'll get better. Have a superb week! Love you!

Sister Clark

                                     BEAUTIFUL SUNSET IN VALENTINE!

JOHN 3:17

(This post was sent on October 19, 2015)

Life is good this week. I got to go to the temple on Tuesday, which was the best thing :) There's definitely a feeling of peace there. You can't help but know that it's the Lord's house. I'm really grateful that we're given temples so that we can be sealed to our families forever! Mine's crazy, but I couldn't live without them.
I was able to go to MLC (Missionary Leadership Conference) on Wednesday, and I met one of my trainer's former companions, Sister Broberg. It was a cool moment! She was also trained in Valentine, and we talked a lot about the people she knew and missed. I was touched by how much she cared about them! MLC was focused on how to help us plan better and focus on our purpose. I feel like I learned a lot! President Doneldson from the MTC was there, and I found out that he was the mission president for the missionary district in The District 2.... that was neat, I think.

                               Sister Clark in front of capitol building, Pierre, ND

After MLC, I stayed in Pierre until Saturday.. We had exchanges in Pierre on Friday and Saturday, so in order to save miles I was in Pierre for Thursday as well. I got to sit in on the planning session for our Zone Training Meeting with the zone leaders and my sister training leader (Sister Mower). It was cool to see them take what we learned from MLC and see how they can help our zone be better. I also watched the 12 Steps to Change videos, which are about addiction recovery. However, I recommend that everyone sees them! It's so helpful to understand how they feel, and the principles apply to everyone.

Church this week had a theme of missionary work! I was so motivated by the speakers in sacrament to go out and share the gospel, which is good, because that's my job! Overall, I was just impressed by the thought that you don't have to do crazy big things to be a missionary. One of the speakers had a list called "22 Ways to Hasten the Work for the Faint of Heart." It was way helpful!

I had a couple of really cool moments this week, and one of them happened when Sister Mower and I, on exchanges, were drawing the Plan of Salvation on the sidewalk (with chalk, silly). I know that a lot of people will walk by it and either not care or laugh at it, but that's alright. We go on missions and share this message to find those people who are searching for it. We're going to come across a lot of people who aren't, but that doesn't mean we should stop trying!

I also really love John 3:17, because it points out that Christ came to redeem and not to condemn. I get discouraged because of my imperfections and inadequacy compared to him, but he didn't intend for that to happen. Jesus Christ wants us to know of his love, as well as God's infinite love, for us. They want us to succeed! They want us to see that it is possible to obtain perfection, even if not in this life. Everything is stacked in our favor; every trial is an opportunity for growth, and Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are continually beside us to pick us up when we feel like we can't get up on our own. I know that they love us. We're all trying to achieve the same goal, and we're here to help each other out. And, when we do mess up, the Atonement is there to make us better!

Love y'all! Remember who you are :)

Sister Clark

                              Sister Clark meets Sister Clark once again!


(This post was sent on October 12, 2015)
First things first: I GET TO GO TO THE TEMPLE ON TUESDAY!!!
(I don't know if you can tell, but I'm excited.)
I was invited to go to a Missionary Leadership Conference, along with several other missionaries who don't usually go (the conference normally consists of zone leaders and sister training leaders), on Wednesday in Bismarck. AND, everyone gets to go to the temple Tuesday night. Which includes myself :) There are also rumors that, because so many people are attending and there are people coming from the Missionary Training Center, we might be getting iPads :D which would be very exciting.
ALSO, Valentine is beautiful in the fall. Go home, Boston, Valentine is prettier. (I've been singing "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" if you wondered.) The weather has been perfect, and the leaves are all vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow.... well, there's still some green, but it's getting there.
We were able to watch conference at a couple different members' homes, and two of our investigators watched conference as well! I was so excited when Elder Renlund was called as an Apostle of the Lord, because he had come to our mission last month to speak to us. I love the feeling that watching General Conference brings into the home, I love that we're able to receive modern revelation through a living prophet, AND, I love that the Lord loves us a whole heck of a lot :) I've decided to start 'ponderizing' a scripture every week.... and I also heard that Elder Durant got some flack because of that word (was it copyrighted or something?), but I still really like the idea of memorizing/pondering one scripture every week. I want to focus on scriptures that talk about Christ and how His atonement helps us to become better. Luckily, that's a subject that has no shortage of scriptures :)

We saw a recent convert, Kristeen, this week and talked to her about the importance of family history. Families are so important to Heavenly Father! THEY'RE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. Now that she has been baptized, she's going to work toward going to the temple and performing sacred ordinances for those who have passed on without having the opportunity. Isn't God so merciful?
We got a new investigator this week! Her name is Brittany, she just moved to Springview with her husband, Jeremy, from Ohio (woohoo!), and they have an adorable 8-month-old baby boy named Garrett. Sadly, we only get to go to Springview once every two weeks or so :( but we're definitely going to see them every chance we get!
Have a lovely week, everyone!  Count your blessings. It makes life happier.

Sister Clark

                           Missionaries in Sister Clark's district!


(This blog was sent on September 21, 2015)

Highlights of this week:

Our branch mission leader set up splits on Tuesday, and we were able to go out with a couple of sisters that night. We're going to make it a regular thing on Tuesdays :)

We learned that baking things as a proselyting activity should be done only during meal hours, before and after proselyting times, and p-days. It's too much of a time waster. But also, people love zucchini bread.

We're planning on staying in Ainsworth on Wednesday evening and proselyting out in that area (and Springview) for Wednesday and Thursday! We called Sister Stoker, the wife of our branch mission leader, who is super excited to come tracting and finding with us during that time. She helped to set up splits out there, too, which is wonderful!

Our car battery went the way of the Dodo on Saturday. On Thursday, every time we started our car, we had to jump it. Friday, it seemed fine, but then on Saturday it wasn't doing too well, so Elder Hawley (our vehicle coordinator) just told us to take it in. So we did. And we got a new battery, just in time to head up to Pierre for District Conference. (We live in the only district in the U.S., besides the MTC.)
We went to the Saturday night session of conference, and then we stayed with the Pierre sisters overnight in their apartment. Sister Anderson got transferred out, and guess what! Sister Mower's new companion's name is Sister Clark. We should've taken a picture... next time.

We had one of the best lessons with George on Friday. Sister Stone gets along really well with him because they're both super stubborn and sassy :) SO, between her and President Johnson, who came with us, the spirit flourished, George was able to learn what the Lord wanted him to hear, AND, Sister Stone invited the two of them (George and Brenda) to say at least one prayer as a couple every day. She's absolutely brilliant. I'm so proud of her, listening to the spirit :) IT WAS AWESOME.

Sister Stone is amazing. She helps me strive to be better. I learn from her all the time, especially from her ability to be herself and have fun while still working hard. It's going to be very difficult to part with her, for sure.
Have a marvelous week! Try and notice all of the blessings that are rained down upon you :)
Love, Sister Clark