Saturday, April 27

Sarah with the Armenian sisters on P-day

The sisters headed to the Baltic (minus 2 who speak Russian)

The whole zone with matching colors. (Yes, we do that). Missing two sisters going to Latvia. They have done this twice in the last week. It was the elders' idea. (We're silly like that!)

April 25, 2013

Hello everyone! Thank you to everyone who has been writing me! I love hearing from you all and I will respond to as many as I can! My time here at the MTC is flying by and the Preperation days come WAY too quickly! It blows my mind how quickly the weeks fly by, but at the same time, days are so long here! Time is definitely different in the MTC and I'm able to use my time much more effectively. The language is coming along and I am learning it so quickly! But at the same time, I still have so much to learn. I can write the language pretty well with all the grammar rules but I still have a TON of vocabulary to learn and I need a lot of work on my speaking in Latvian. One thing that I really love about learning this language is the meaning it adds to English. While learning Latvian, I have also begun to understand English grammar rules better which is cool, but also, there are some Latvian words that add so much meaning to the words in English. For example, atonement in Latvian is greku izpirsana (not exactly right because my computer won't switch languages, but it is close). Greku izpirksana litterally means "the complete buying of sins". To me this is really cool because that is literally what Christ did for us! He completely "bought" our sins so that we wouldn't have to pay the price for them. Also, another one that I like is nozelot grekus (again, not completely right...) which means to repent, or the direct translation is to regret sins. That is one thing about Latvian that I like is that everything they say is very literal, but at the same time it is super frustrating because there are some things that we say in English that there won't translate into Latvian. So, you have to figure out another way to say it. :) But overall, I love Latvian way more than I like English!!!
So, this week there isn't a lot to talk about it compared to the last few weeks. I've realized that I write really LONG letters and I don't know if from here on out they will be that long anymore, but I will still tell you as much as I can about what is going on here. My favorite days of the week here are number 1, Sundays, and number 2, Tuesdays! Those days are spiritual waterfalls!! So incredible! Love it though!! So, this Sunday was awesome! I loved music and the spoken word. If you guys get a chance to watch it on Sundays, please do! This sunday was awesome. My two favorite songs were "Consider Lilies" and "Redeemer of Israel". Listening to music is an incredible time to feel the spirit and to receive revelation. One lesson that I want to share with you that I had while listening to "Consider the lilies" is that God truly knows everything and is aware of everything on earth. We just need to put our trust in Him and he will take care of us. He loves us and only wants what is best for us.  So, right after music and the spoken word , we have relief society. This week Sister Cherly Esplin. She is the second counselor in the primary presidency and it was a really good talk. she talked about how we can be strong in the times coming ahead. She did this awesome things at the beginning of her talk where she hummed the beginning of a primary song and when we recognized it we stood up and sang it with her. She only hummed two notes when the entire gym stood up and sang "I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Lattter-day saints"! It was so powerful! I loved it! I really do belong to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! This church is true! How amazing it is! She also shared a great analogy about how we need to be like a full water bottle and fill ourselves with the light and knowlegde of Christ, and how if you try to crush a full water bottle nothing will happen. In contrast she had an empty water bottle and a sister came up and easily crushed it. I'm beginning to work on becoming that full water bottle and I've been looking at what the living water it and how I can have it in my life and share it with others.
So, also on Sunday is choir practice. You practice Sunday and Tuesday and then sing at the Tuesday devotional. This is really nice becuase you always have a guartanteed seat in the devotional and you don't have to sit in the overflow. We sang "Where can I turn for peace?" this week and I loved it. The choir director talked to us a lot that how well we sing isn't important and that what is important is if we are teaching as we sing. That was really great. So, I did my best to share the message that Jesus Christ who is our brother and truly loves and understands us. He felt everything we will feel, but not as a whole. He didn't feel a broken bone. He felt my broken bone and my broken heart. He felt my fears and triumphs and everything that I will go through. As well as he then went through and one at a time felt everything for all of us! That is incredible to me! We are loved and thought about my a Father in Heaven as well as a perfect brother who did everything for us, Jesus Christ.
Tuesday was also wonderful. Elder David F. Evans came and shared an incredible message on Repentance. It was long and contained so much, but was incredible! He is very wise. I worked on listening to the spirit more during this talk and writing what I needed to hear in that moment. The biggest message I got out of this was that My Heavenly Father loves me and if I yield to Him and align myselkf with his will, then I will be able to do all things that He needs me to do. I know this is true for all of us. He only wants what is best for us and we are able to do all that is given us to do. He will not give us anything that we can't accomplish.  Also, I loved something that I wrote down, that I don't think he said, but I got out of his message. "I have promised the Lord 18 months of my life and I will do whatever He asks me to do, whenever He asks me to do it." This is my goal and motto for my mission. To learn to follow the promptings of the spirit and truly do everything that the Lord wants me to do. It will be hard, but I know I can do it and that I will be blessed as I follow is will!
Well, I think that is it for this week. I hope you all know that I know this church is true and that I love being a missionary. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know we have a Heavenly Father that loves us and is looking out for us. I love this work and I couldn't even begin to imagine what my life would be if I weren't here right now! This is where I need to be and there is a work for me to do! I can't wait to get to Latvia and begin to help the people there.  I love you all and thank you for the support you have all given me! It means a lot to me to know my family and friends have got my back at home!
Es tevi mīlu!
Masa Klauvarda 

Saturday, April 20

Sarah and one of her best friends, Sister Jensen

Some of the missionaries heading to Latvia

Missionaries from her MTC district

Such great taste! They all picked out matching shirts in different colors before they even got to the MTC!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sveiki! (Hello!)
How is everyone doing? I'm doing wonderful! Also, thanks to all who have sent me letters, I love getting them. Also, thank you to my grandma Sharon for the dozen donuts!!! That was so fun to get and they have been really yummy so far! I truly love being a missionary!! The language is coming along! I love speaking Latvian. I'll write my testimony in Lativan at the end. I've learned a ton and I'm always surprised by how much I can learn. It is amazing what you can do with the Lord's help. I've honestly seen the scripture Philippians 4:13 working in my life. "I can do ALL things through Christ which stregtheneth me." It is awesome!! I've memorized (and used twice in lessons) the first vision in Josephs's words. I've also memorized the baptismal commitment and James 1:5. I'm working on Moroni 10:3-5 this week. It is long, but I definitely know that I can do it. So, this week we moved buildings (on Saturday). When I say moved buildings, I mean our classroom moved. We didn't move far, but it was still weird. They are adding AC to our old building, and getting some repairs done before there are a crazy amount of missionaries here. There are already a lot of missionaries here, but they are expecting a lot more to be coming this summer!! It is so crazy to think that there could be more than we already have! The Lord truly is hastening his work!! Oh, also, speaking of moving buildings, they todl us that there is a possibility that we will be moving again, and there is also a crazy rumor (but possibly true) that we will be moving to the raintree apartments over by Wyview where I lived when I was at BYU. It is just a rumor, but I do know that they are going to be moving some missionaries over there, we just don't know who it is that they will move. Who ever gets moved to Raintree apartments will do class and live over there. It would  be very interesting.
Well, on another note. I finally had a normal MTC Sunday, but there is nothing really normal about them. :) They are great though! I love Sundays!!! We start out the day with a couple of hours of study time and that is really nice. While we're studying the Elders have branch priesthood meeting. At ten the sisters have a huge (i mean whole MTC huge) relief society meeting! It is so cool! They have some distinguished woman come and speak with us for the whole Relief Society time. This Sunday we had Sister Mary Edmunds!! She was amazing!! She gave such a funny, uplifting, spiritual talk. She talked about not getting discouraged and remembering that our Heavenly Father did not put us on Earth to fail. We were put here to succeed and succeed we can!! It won't be easy, but for all the greatest people we know it wasn't easy for them either. It can be hard, and we can still enjoy life.I've been seeing this in my life so much now. While this is so hard, I'm having the time of my life! This is the best experience I've ever been able to participate in. She also said something funny. It started serious as she said with the increase of Sisters and younger Elders we need to pay attention now more than ever, to not touch the elders besides just a simple handshake. It got funny then when she said to keep a list of those that you want to touch when you get back on your mission. :) It was so funny. I loved it. Anyways, the rest of Sunday was enjoyable. We sacrament meeting as branches. I'm pretty sure that our Branch is one of the smallest branches. We are really small. There are two districts. My district is ten people and the other district is five people. So, our sacrement is fifteen missionaries with only four of those being Elders, so all the elders work together to pass the sacrament eahc week. We also still have our branch presidency of course, but other than that we are really small. Well, this sacrament meeting I got to participate a lot! I'm on of three sisters who can play the piano, so this Sunday I played for the hymns (three of them). I realized how grateful I am that I play the piano as well as I'm grateful for my ability to sight read and the hymns I've learned so far. Thanks mom for making me stick with piano until I came to love it because now it is coming in handy!! I'm sure I'll end up playing a lot on my mission. Also, I accompanined an impromptu (meaing we put it together that morning) musical number for sacrament meeting. Two of the sisters going to Latvia with me sang a beautiful version of "I know that my redeemer lives". It was so good!! I did my best to improvise with the hymn and accompany them differently than just playing that piano. It was beautiful. They also sang one verse in Latvian which was beautiful!! I loved it!!! They are incredible. But that isn't all the participating I got to do. Each week we prepare a sacrament talk and then the branch president decides during the sacrament who is going to talk. Well, lucky me, I got to give a 3-5 minute sacrament talk on baptism. It was great! I learned a ton while giving that talk. I enjoyed giving it a lot and I'm grateful I got that opportunity to give that talk.
Well, in the MTC they also have a Sunday night devotional. This Sunday Greg Doubay came. He is the director of media in the missionary department for the church. It is his department that is charge of It was such a great talk. He talked about how he has personally seen how the Lord is hastening His work. He talked about a Christmas campaign they did is New York City. In that time that the campaign was running they estimate that 5,000,000 new people who've never had exposure to mormonism before were able to see a little bit about what we believe because of it. Also, activity on of first time nonmember visitors went up 200%! So crazy! Also, referalls went up 140%! So crazy!!
Also, something really cool you only get in the MTC are Tuesday devotionals!! It usually is a general authority. This tueday Elder Richard G. Scott came!!!! We heard a rumor it was going to be an apostle or member of the first presidency so we got in line an hour early so we could get seats in that room!!! It was incredible! Way better than listening to him at conference, because he was talking directly to us as well as he was very personal and the spirit was amazing! I wish all of you could have seen it, because it was an amzing experience. His talk was all about our loving Father in Heaven and talking to him through prayer. He talked a lot about how talking to our Heavenly Father in prayer is the exact same as talking to your best friend who is standing right next to you. He bore a profound testimony of our Heavenly Father! It was so amazing and inspired. He also stressed that the Lord has called us missionaries to succeed not to fail and how we could succeed in this life. He even got up again after we sang the closing hymn before the closing prayer and said again, we can do this. There is no reason we can't succeed in what we do. The mission experience will help us discover things about ourselves we never knew. We will develop a greater capacity to serve and love.  What an amazing talk. I wish I could type up the notes and share them with you, but it isn't possible sadly.
Well, before I head out a little more about what the MTC is like and what my mission in Latvia will be like. Lots of people want to know about the food. Most of the time it is pretty good and there are plenty of options, but the other day I did eat something (and all of us who ate it) got sick. We weren't sick enough not to go to class, but it took our appetite away the rest of the day, and all of us were pretty miserable so food isn't perfect, but there are some great options. I have to be so careful not to over eat. Also, people ask why I sign letters as Māsa Klauvarda. Well, that is how in Latvian they spell mine name so that it can be pronounced the same, except htye don't have a "w" sound so it is a soft v instead. I don't know what else you all want to know. Also, a few things I have found out about my mission in Latvia is that we will not be allowed to eat with members. Apparently missionaries get very sick when they eat with the members. So, we cook for oursevles and the only time we get to experience Latvian food is occasionally we will be allowed to go to a resteraunt. Also, I found out that this group of us sisters will be doubling the sisters currently in the misison. There are four out there right now!  That is so crazy! The Lord is truly hastening his work.
Okay, super quick. My testimony in Latvian
    Es zinu, kā Jēzus Kristus ir mans glābējs. Es zinu, kā Dievs ir mans tēvs un Jēzus Kristus is Dieva dēls. Es zinu, kā Jēzus Kristus ir mans brālis. Es zinu, kā ši baznīca ir patiesa. Ez zinu, kā Džozefs Smits bija Dieva pravieties. Es zinu, kā Dievs mani mīla. Jēzus Kristus vārda, āmen.
In English. I know that Jesus Christ is my savior. I know that God is my father and Jesus Christ is God's son. I know that Jesus Christ is my brother. I know that this church is true. I know that Joseph Smith was God's propeht. I know that God loves me. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Love you all!!
Es tevi mīlu!!!
Māsa Klauvarda

Thursday, April 11

Sarah and Masa Ormsby, her companion

MTC district (minus 2 sick sisters)

Sarah with cupcakes from Grandma Connie

Companions with cupcakes

Sarah with Sister Dorman (from our ward)

April 11, 2013

I'm so excited to be able to have another p day. Weeks here are long and days are short, and days are long and hours are short. Time here is so warped. I know you probably here that from everyone in the MTC, but it definitely is different here than anywhere else. I reallly love. Thanks for all the letters!! I love being able to read them (this includes the dear elders)!! They are a huge burst during the week. Also, parents thanks for the packages. The treats are always yummy, and it is nice to have a little treat to look forward to at the end of the day. Also, to grandma and kayci, thank you for the cupcakes!! What a pleasant surprise!! We (my roommates and I) chowed down on them right away. We took a knife and cute them in pieces so we could try a little bit of each one. They were so delectable!!
Okay, now to answers some questions. The biggest one people keep asking me is what my companion is like. Well, I love her to death!!! She has been amazing. We had a rough start, but things have taken off from there. I love it. Her name is Masa (sister) Ormsby and she is from Perry, Utah, by Brigham City. She is really great. Her family is the same size as ours (she has three brothers and two sisters) they are just in a different order and she is third in her family. We've began to get really close. We both want to marry cowboys or be able to have horses somehow when we grow up, but she doesn't like any other animals, while I LOVE animals. My favorite part about our companionship is that she suggested that we share a tender mercy with each other every night before we pray together. Then we both write our tender mercies in our journals (we record each others tender mercies as well).  It has been wonderful!! We've really began to develop a unity that has helped in our effors to learn this work!!
Another common question, how is the food. Well, some people have been asking me if I even get to eat, because there are so many people, and yes the lines can get long. But if you follow the schedule and don't take short cuts with your time, things works out. They give you plenty of time to eat, and I always have enough time to eat as well as at lunch and dinner I usually have extra time so I have time to go to the bookstore or pick up packages. The food here isn't amazing, but it is good. It is definitely cafeteria food, but they keep up a good variety, and there are plenty of fresh option (salads and soups) if the three main course options don't look or sound appealing which sometimes they do. I haven't ever been in a meal where I can't find something to eat that I want to eat.
Another big question, how is the language coming. It is coming really well, and I know that none of that is me. The Lord has applified my talent to learn, and it is incredible. I learn so much pretty quickly here. Sometimes it gets frustrating when you can't say something in Latvian to an investrigator or you can't understand the teacher, but I'm learning to press through and be patient with myself. I have to remind myself that I have only been here for two weeks and I'm not going to be fluent quite yet. I also have learned to give up my OCD tendencies a little bit. I've found that if I can't say something perfect I get scared and don't share anything at all. I've had to learn to put myself out there and try my best to say it anyways, and the grammar will come later. That has been so hard for me. I've also had to learn to keep doubt from my mind. I can't doubt and feel the spirit. I constantly have to remember that "I can do ALL things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
On pdays I do get to go to the temple. It is really great. I love the temple and I'm glad I get to go while I'm here, since I won't be able to go once I get to Latvia. My Branch President is President Mickelsen and so far he has been great, but since our first two sundays here have been so irregular, I haven't really gotten to know him yet.
I haven't had a regular Sunday yet, but I've heard that the Relief Societies here are awesome as well as that we get to watch Music and the Spoken word every Sunday before Relief Society.
Okay so now for my week. We have three investigators right now. We aren't teaching Kristine anymore. Turns out she is our MTC teacher Sister Mills, and they didn't tell us that until we were done teaching her. We knew she wasn't really an investigator, but we just assumed she was someone from Latvia who volunteers to help out. Well, when she found out she was our teacher it was a surprise. Also, at the same time we found out that she is married to one of our other teachers!! That totally shocked us all. It is kind of crazy. So, we have four teachers who are all returned missionaries from Latvia. They are Brother Thompson, Brother Mills, Sister Mills, and Brother Brabazon. They are all great. They all take turns teaching us, as well as all of the guys teachers are our investigators now. So, Brother Mills is an investigator named Kostja. He is russian, but has lived in Lativa is whole life and is a gypsy. He is very poor and humble, and he smokes, but is very teadchable and wants to learn this gospel so bad. Also, we have Brother Thompson's investigator. His name is Aivars and he has met with missionaries before and knows all about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. We street contacted him and he tooks us back to him home. We've only had one lesson with him and it seemed to go pretty well. I had a great experience when personal studying for him and I was trying to decide and listen to the spirit on what to teach him next. I was studying prayer (because at this point he needs to pray and find out the truth of it for himself). I would read a scripture from preach my gospel on prayer and in a journal write about what that scripture says. As I followed a few footnotes I can across some great scriptures about how through praying daily we can receive gods love and happiness. It was really great, and I was reading it I had the impression that we need to help Aivars understand God's love for him as well as help him understand that God wants to hear from him and is so proud of him. I also realized at that moment that Aivars doesn't have a dad, and maybe he doesn't understand the concept of having a father and that maybe it would be important to teach him that He has a father who loves him so much!!! It was an incredible experience. We teach that to him tomorrow. We teach both of those investigators in Latvian. Also, we have another investigators named Valdis that we get to teach in English. They want us to be able to practice the teaching techniques that we ar elearning without having to remember the Latvian as well. I like those lessons, but I have found that I still don't know much about the gospel as I wish I could know. Anyways, I need to be heading soon. I still want to send some pictures.
On a quick spiritual note, wasn't conference this last weekend amazing!!! I loved being able to watch it here in the MTC. There is a special spirit that is hear when you get to watch it with all the missionaries. We also got to watch a rebroadcast of the young women session while the men were watching priesthood. That was really special, and that was by far my favorite session. If you haven't watched it yet please do!!! It was incredible. I couldn't help but listen to those young women sing and thinking what a strong generation is being prepared. I pictured them in name tags and I could see so many of them as stalwart missionaries sharing the gospel! I also had the impression that I need to impress on you guys the importance of praying and reading your scriptures daily. Although it can be hard to find the time, it is the anchor we all need in our lives. So, i ask everyone (especially my siblings) to pledge that they will begin to make goals to improve there personal study! I know I'm going to be, so please do it with me!!
I love you all. The work is good and I love being a missionary!!! The gospel is true and I know that Christ is my savior! What an incredible thing he did for us!!! I love Him and I love this gospel! I know the truth of it with my whole being, and I'm so happy to have the knowledge that I have!!
I can't wait to get letters from you all this week. :)
Again, love you!!!! (Milestiba!!)
Masa Klauvarda 

Sunday, April 7

 It's official! Here's her tag.
Sarah's first companion in the MTC - Sister Ormsby from Perry, UT

April 4, 2013

Hello everyone!
The MTC has been incredible so far! It is hard, exciting, exhilarating, frustrating, and all those things wrapped up into one!! It is great though and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else! It is an incredible experience so far. The spirit is amazing here and there are some great devotionals and talks to keep the spirit rich and abundant while in the MTC. I love it!! My companion is Masa (sister) Ormsby. She's great so far. I really like her. She's been so uplifting and positive, and so far we get along okay. The rest of my zone is made up of two small districts. My district is those of us that all arrived on Wednesday together. There are the Latvian speakers (five of them including me), one Lithuanian speaker (she is a solo sister), Armenian speakers (two sisters), and the Georgian speakers (two sisters). In my class there are five of us, four sisters and one elder. The elder's name is Elder Web from Spokane, Washington. He is a solo elder. A solo means they don't have an assigned companion. He just has to make sure that he is with either a companion of sisters or elders at all times. He gets down hearted sometimes not having a companion, but we include him in everything we do. The four sisters are Sister Stout (from Latyon, in Grandma Connie's stake), Sister Woodland (from Pocatello, Idaho), my companion Sister Ormsby (from Perry, UT), and myself. We also have the Lithuanian sister. Her name is Sister Bates. She's from Utah, but I'm not sure what part. I know it is about an hour and half north of here, but I can't recall where exactly it is. The Armenian and Georgian sisters are both going to the Armenian mission, but just speaking different languages. They are really awesome. The cool thing though is that the Georgian sisters are the first sisters to be sent to Georgia which will be so cool! They are incredibly positive people. I know that they are going to make waves in Georgia. I'm excited for the work they will do. For both the Georgian and Armenian sisters, they are service missions. They can teach if they get referrals or are asked about the church, but they are not allowed to proselyte. It will be interesting for them, but I know that they will do well. 
The language is coming along. I get frustrated that I can't speak it all right now, but I just keep reminding myself that I've only been here for a week and I can already speak so much. I can testify, pray, say some simple sentences, and teach lessons if I write it out before hand. It is pretty cool. I love that I can do that! I'm also memorizing the first vision (simplified version from Preach My gospel) and the baptismal commitment from Preach My Gospel, both in Latvian. Pray for me that I can learn the language with patience, because that is my biggest problem right now.
I've also taught for lessons in Latvian to an investigator already. We have another one tonight. Our first three lessons went really well, and our investrigator progressed alot!! It was really cool, but we had a set back in our fourth lessons when she asked a question about a scripture we shared and we weren't able to answer it and as we attempted to answer it in Latvian we just confused her even more. We ended up going over our allowed time which stunk, so sadly the lesson didn't end well. We're hoping that she'll commit to be baptized tonight, but ultimately we want to help her understand that she can take her questions to Heavenly Father through prayer as well. 
I'm not sure what else to share about. I didn't get any emails which was sad, but that is probably my fault since I'm not sure I gave you the correct email address. I hope that you'll send me a dear elder before next week so I don't have to wait to hear from my parents until next Thursday. Thanks to Shayla, Haley, and Melissa for the letters they are the highlight of my day a lot of the time!! I hope that I have more to tell you next week.
I'll end with a little spiritual thought and tell you a little bit about the devotionals and talks we've had. Easter Sunday was a special Sunday and we had a big meeting in the morning where they served sacrament to all 3000 missionaries. That is the first time that they've done that. The Presiding Bishop of the church and his wife. They were great. I didn't know that they both were from France which I thought was cool. Sister Causse talked about how we can speak a foreign language. She said that through Christ we can do everything and learning a language falls under that as well. That was awesome to hear. Bishop Causse talked aobut the atonement and how our understanding of it will be gradual, but as we begin to understand it we will grow so much. He also said that as our understanding of the atonement increases so will our desire to share the gospel. That was pretty cool to hear. I wish I had time to tell you about the rest, but Sheri Dew came Sunday night and gave an amazing talk! As well, as Tuesday Devotional a member of the seventy came and talked to us. I'm looking forward to conference this weekend!! It will be so great to hear from our beloved prophet. He's incredible. 
Love you all and hope to see from you soon.
Masa Klauvarda
PS: My MTC Address has changed a little bit. If you use the old one it isn't a big deal, but the new one is:
Sister Sarah Leigh Cloward
MTC Mailbox #250
2005 N. 900 E.
Provo, UTah 84606-1793
You can also use this address to do dear elder which is free!!!!