Wednesday, December 23, 2015

He Hears Our Prayers

We have been keeping track of how many new people we meet each week, our average hangs at about 80. 

Almost everyone seems to notice the increased impersonalization in our society. This insidious detachment truly affects our worldview & actions as human beings. Whether it is abstaining from voting in the democratic process or apathetic views toward other public affairs - this behavior unravels the very thread this country was sewn with! 

I think back to a candid interview I saw on the news where the reporter asked a young man on the street if he knew what apathetic meant... the young man answered "I don't know and honestly I don't really care"....

It seems that today, in modern society - things are quite impersonal. Customer service in many venues has become an oxymoron, drones replace our friendly UPS guys, face to face communication has been substituted with texting , and even our public school system has adopted faceless nameless standards in which placate the true learning experience that school is supposed to be! In no ways because of this are these behaviors excused but surely we can infer where they originate from. 

Probably the most saddening belief I witness from people on a day to day basis, is that God sees us as personal as we see ants. People really think He doesn't hear nor answer our prayers. They think He might be "too busy" for our personal cares & worries. There is a reason that no one feels empowered nor pleased by this discouraging trend and ideology in civilization. That is because it was never the way it was supposed to be. Moreover - that is not the way it IS.  

One of the basic tenets or core beliefs of our faith is that God is our loving Heavenly Father, and just like a Father, He loves his children. God is the same, but loves us with an even more sublime love. Part of Him loving us so much is the fact that He hears, answers, and cares about our prayers and the desires of our heart. 

The roots of our faith stem from a young man named Joseph Smith. He lived in upstate New York during the time of the second great awakening. The second great awakening was a time where religious tumult was in full force, sects were growing and there was much theological debate within them. Young Joseph was confused by this clamor and upheaval, where one pastor claimed salvation was one way and another (using the same passage of scripture) explained it a completely different way. 

Joseph wondered how the gospel could be seen 100 different ways. He knew that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8) These thoughts rolled through his 14-year-old mind and left him with a desire for the knowledge of what truly was the right path to traverse on. He felt a lot like some of us feel nowadays. As if someone is trying to fit a "one size fits all" hat on you and it doesn't fit, but yet they insist it will eventually... 

Joseph read a scripture in the New Testament. It was James 1:5  If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. This scripture really spoke to young Joseph. He felt like that was how it should be, that God truly does hear and answer prayers! He had faith that Heavenly Father would answer his humble and sincere prayer of which church was the right one to join! 

Joseph went into a grove of trees and did just that. He prayed to know which of the churches were teaching the truth. Here is what happened -When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!

18 My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.
 19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”  

My favorite part of that account is that Heavenly Father called Joseph by name. It wasn't a stock recital of scripture - he truly gave Joseph the wisdom that he lacked. I know that he will do the same for us! 

The Coach of the Navy football team Ken Niumatalolo put it plainly & a little humorously when he said -  "A lot of people tell me that God doesn't care about Navy football. I think that is true to some extent, but hey God cares about me and if we lose I don't have a job so I guess in a way he does!".

 Many people think we as missionaries are out here to just convert people and get commission or something based on how many people we baptize. That is false. (Super false) As missionaries our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ. The simple knowledge that God cares about each and every one of us is invaluable and immeasurable. I have been so lucky to see lives change as they come to that conclusion. I am reminded of a song that I once heard and the lyrics go something like this. -
Before you look
Before you lust
Before you curse
Before you judge
Before you believe
 shes worth nothing,
oh remember
She's somebody's child
She's somebody's girl
She's somebody's joy 
the day she came into 
this world
She's somebody's tears 
they can't help but cry
She's drops of blood
on olive leaves,
in a garden late at night
When the Savior of the universe
suffered to remove the worst
he loved her 
all the while
She's somebody's child. 

There are many theories on world peace and domestic tranquility but my goodness, if everyone saw one another as brothers & sisters, sons & daughters, mothers & fathers - Wouldn't the world be a better place? I am sure that there is a direct correlation between the growing trend of impersonability and increasing violence. As Robert F. Kennedy once called it "The Mindless Menace of Violence" 

.It is not the concern of any one race. The victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. They are, most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed. No one - no matter where he lives or what he does - can be certain who will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed. And yet it goes on and on.We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers as aliens, men with whom we share a city, but not a community, men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in common effort. We learn to share only a common fear - only a common desire to retreat from each other - only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. For all this there are no final answers.
Yet we know what we must do. It is to achieve true justice among our fellow citizens. The question is now what programs we should seek to enact. The question is whether we can find in our own midst and in our own hearts that leadership of human purpose that will recognize the terrible truths of our existence. Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land. Of course we cannot vanish it with a program, nor with a resolution.
But we can perhaps remember - even if only for a time - that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short movement of life, that they seek - as we do - nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.
Surely this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our hearts brothers and countrymen once again."

I testify of our Heavenly Father's love. I know that if we pour out our hearts to him he will answer our questions and put our heart at peace. I know this not from being a missionary and seeing the gospel work through others, but I have seen it in my own life. I know this because an 18-year-old young man named Tyler went looking for answers one night and he found them. 

I don't know everything nor do I claim to. Many times life will throw a curveball at us and it will bring us to our knees. I grew up in a Christian home and since birth I had been taught about Jesus Christ's sacrifice for us. I had been taught about life after death. For 18 years I was taught everything I could have ever wanted about the gospel. But it wasn't until I hit my knees at a moment in my life where nothing was peaceful nor making sense to me that I got a mere glimpse into the fullness of God's love for each and every one of us. His love is perfect & personal for each of us. This year Christmas means something so much more to me than it has in the past. Because Jesus lives I can be forgiven of my sins. Because he lives I know I am loved. Because he lives my family & I can be together forever no matter what happens here on earth.

I bear my solemn testimony that because he loves we have nothing to fear. Jesus is the Christ. He is the gift. 

Love to all & Merry Christmas

Out tracking on a cold day

Bow and arrow practice

Cookies from some members

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Chasing My Dreams with My Feet on the Ground

Tyler requested that I post a link to this video on his blog! Click on the blue words below:

Chasing dreams with my feet on the ground
A lot of people ask me why or how I am so happy and upbeat all the time. On balance one can safely assume that I have a smile on my face! Truly I just enjoy life. Now this gift wasn’t magically imparted upon me by some genie in a bottle ( at least I'm pretty sure..) but I do remember having a very distinct experience that helped me understand life and goals a little better. My sophomore year I was a mediocre student at best (Even that is a stretch). Without a doubt my #1 priority was football, and my only college aspirations were to go somewhere where I could play football. My work ethic was unexceptional at best & "the future" basically was setting a goal for my next max bench press. I figured that I would worry about career goals after my illustrious football career. I was determined to be the 1st 5'7 180 pound defensive lineman for BYU or some other Division 1 team. This all changed at a youth conference in 2013. 

For those who aren't familiar with what a youth conference is, it is a 3-day weekend filled with service, dancing, speakers, girls, and more dancing. I was pretty excited to dance my heart out and meet new people. I can assure you listening to older folks talk to me about what they did as a teen in the 70's wasn't at the top of my priority list for that weekend. Luckily for me, however I managed to stumble out of the refreshment line and into a class taught by a man named Chris McChesney. He was one of the most dynamic presences I have been around! He really engaged the entire audience and I myself was entranced by his passion and enthusiasm for not only what he was teaching- but life itself. I am not too receptive to pre-written speeches & I could tell that this man was speaking out of his heart and not off of a paper.. One thing I can say I was blessed with from the Clancy gene pool is initiative. So being the outgoing person I am I decided to go up to him afterwards and just get his name. 

What started out as an exchange of information became a riveting hour long conversation with us finding lots in common. I could write for an hour telling you about our conversation but what impacted me most was what he told me as we parted ways, he said “When you find your passion in life, whatever it might be.. You chase it, you grab hold of it and never let it go, never forget you are in charge of your future & no one else.”I don’t think I have ever been hit with a statement quite as hard as that. His hortative call truly hit its mark. from that point on I became a man on a mission. 

When I got home from the conference I cleaned my room cleaner than its ever been. Although that sounds insignificant it became indicative of the new direction I would take my life in. .I went from getting by in school to the honor roll. I went from a reader of political literature to a writer and speaker. Most importantly I left the crowd of followers and became a leader. I call it chasing dreams with my feet on the ground. 
Being a dreamer and a doer. 

Proactive really is a cliche term nowadays. In my opinion proactivity isn’t reading an article about public opinion on gun control, Proactivity is going out into the community and discussing the issue with locals. Back home this become one of my favorite activities and a great learning experience for me as I met and talked with citizens from not only the United States but places such as Ghana and Norway. Part of chasing your dreams with your feet on the ground is setting tangible and concrete goals. For example, if I wanted to be student body president that was my vision - my dream. Now a goal would be to commit 20 students every lunch period to vote for me. All of the little goals you set work into the larger picture. 

It is interesting for me to see that although some claim to be a member of a certain political party, when push comes to shove we all want the same things we have the same vision - we just go about a different way of achieving them. All too often I am saddened by the fact that we forget we are all on the same team, fighting for the same cause. Many see a dark and dismal future for our country. If you turn on the radio or watch any news station there will undoubtedly be a story of some disenchanted teen screwing up. If you have lost faith in our generation it might be understandable….But I’ve got news for you. I have met several young people on my mission here in Colorado Springs that have a strong sense of patriotism and a commitment to honesty & accountability. 

In the summer of 2014 I had the opportunity to meet an innumerable amount of young men and women who are enthusiastic about fixing America’s problems. At Boys' State I had the opportunity to debate with other high school seniors on hot button issues where there is not a clear right or wrong. It taught me to respect others’ opinions, even if I strongly disagree with them. 

That summer I was also lucky enough to be selected as the SC state representative to the NRA YES in Washington DC. At the NRA Summit we took part in an array of events ranging from touring a Civil War battlefield to debating American foreign policy. I learned a lot from my peers and well known speakers from the likes of US Senator Marco Rubio and Chris Cox from the NRA. Most of all however I was ecstatic to be able to witness and be in the presence of so many brilliant young scholars and thinkers, each with their own unique opinions on
how to leave America better than we found it. 

In our society today there is no shortage of American critics. Some of these pundits ought to have a big countdown clock to doomsday behind them when they are speaking. The words of a well known soliloquy come to mind as I am out here serving a mission and witnessing the world from front and center. 
The verse comes from the Man of La Mancha and it goes like this

It is the mission of each true knight...His duty...
nay, his privilege!
To dream the impossible dream,
To fight the unbeatable foe,
To bear with unbearable sorrow 
To run where the brave dare not go;
To right the unrightable wrong

In closing, I would like to leave you with a message of hope.
There are plenty of young people out there just like me who are
determined to make the world a better place and
want nothing more than to see our great nation continue on the
path of greatness.
I give you a pledge today that American Exceptionalism
is not dead, in fact it is far from it.
With Love, Elder Clancy

Ice skating

At an indoor Climbing wall

Elder West and I with SANTA!

BBQ time!

One of the elders with a ham radio

Saturday, December 12, 2015


Much is said, and much is written about the  nature of mankind. According to most sources, Man is selfish, cold, and calculating. I would say, by and large, the consensus is that people are "in it for themselves" with no regards to others...unless of course it makes them look good to "help" those in need.  

If one were to watch the news for more than 15 minutes I have no doubt they would view a story of a greedy banker, a philandering politician, or maybe a billionaire running for president with the tasteless mantra of "I'M RICH!". 
Serving a mission however has shown me another side of mankind. A side that I think could do us as a people a lot of good. That side is one of charity. 
There is a story that my Father used to tell me and I think it embodies the character that we all wish we had. It is about the Man in The Water.
In September of 1932 a young boy was brought into this world. His name would be Arland Dean Williams Jr. Growing up in small town Illinois, and attending The Citadel in Charleston, SC -  not many people would know him, much less consider him a hero. All of that would change on January 13th 1982. 
That fateful afternoon he and 73 other passengers boarded Florida air Flight 90, getting on at Washington National Airport in DC -  on their way to Fort Lauderdale, FL. They would not reach their destination that day. 
30 seconds after the initial takeoff they stalled - and at 4:01 PM they plunged into the frigid Potomac river. Instantly, 78 passengers, bystanders and crew members perished. When the dust settled there were only 6 survivors. One of those survivors was Arland. 
The rescue effort was scrambled at first, as with any crisis situation information was not 100% accurate and because of the blizzard conditions that day many 1st responders were hindered in their efforts at first. Finally at around 4:20 PM the Eagle 1 - a United States Park Police Helicopter arrived on the scene and began to aid in the rescue of these surviving men and women. 
Inline image 2
The helicopter rescue team dropped down a rope and began their valiant effort to save these drowning victims. When the rope was lowered to a man who was clinging onto the wreckage of the plane. He clamored onto the rope and they were able to pull him ashore. The rope then dropped in front of Arland. Defying so called "human nature" Arland set aside his own desire to live and passed the rope to the woman next to him, giving her a chance to live again. When the helicopter returned they dropped two lines allowing Arland and another survivor to be pulled ashore. But that was not to be. Arland, with no regard to his own well being, then passed BOTH of the lines to other survivors, allowing them to live, allowing them a second chance at life. When Eagle 1 returned, Arland was no where to be found. He was gone. Drowned, or overwhelmed by hypothermia at the bottom of the Potomac river. 
Although Arland's acts in a literal sense only saved 3 people, he saved our world from the self deprecating ideal of "every man for himself". What Arland showed us that day was the very root of the American spirit. He showed us the Christlike love that we all wish to embody. 
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Our country was not founded by a helter skelter mob of angry unreasonable yeomans fighting against taxes. Our constitution was  not composed by men who were driven by selfish desire. Our country did not get this far by letting every man, woman, and child fend for themselves. We will not sustain our great lifestyle if we also look to the rusted motifs of natural selection or social darwinism. 

No, along with our sacred and important individualism there is another element to our wonderful way of life. This wonderful country was sewn into fruition by men who had vastly different ideological preferences and political worldviews. However they were able to put their self interest aside and work together for the common goodInline image 6.Inline image 5 Inline image 4We won World War II not simply by military strategy and the atomic bomb, but we won the war by a strong effort not only abroad but right here at home. Women went to work in the factories, and everyone gave up a little here and a little there - chipping in whatever they could to defend this wonderful beacon of freedom we call the United States. 
Inline image 7Inline image 8When the world watched Dr. Martin Luther King in August of 1963 expound on the injustice & inequity experienced by African Americans in our society, Men and Women both Black and White were moved by his hortative words to change it. They wanted to cure the cancer of racial inequality because they knew that it was anything BUT what America stands for. Although many see the civil rights movement as a divisive time in our country, the contrary can be said as well. It was a time when the citizens of our great nation stood in solidarity for one another, they stood for the dream when one day their children wouldn't be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Isn't that what the American dream is all about? That no matter who you are or where you have been, you can go somewhere farther!
Inline image 9Inline image 11Inline image 10
On September 11th 2001, no one cared who you voted for in the election. It didn't matter what your view on abortion was. When the police officers and EMT's rushed into the burning north tower they didn't stop and wonder if the men inside favored gun control. As bystanders carried battered bodies from the rubble, focus group issues weren't even an after thought. When the towers went down our strength as a people went up. The American spirit spoke to everyone's soul that day with a potent & nostalgic voice saying "United we stand, divided we fall".
These moments were all defining switch points in our nations history but let me make one thing clear- we need to keep up the fight. There are those who desire to divide us and marginalize us by putting us up into liberal, conservative, black, white, southern, northern, young, old. They are the ones who tell us each and every day that based on where you come from, what you look like and what news station you watch before you go to work - you have different values and want different things for your kids. This will truly be to the detriment of the United States - if we see our fellow American citizens as "us against them". 
We have come far as a country but we have a long way to go. We aren't perfect. We have made mistakes - we will learn from those and make new ones. That's just the way it is. But that is not to say we shouldn't band together for righting wrongs. In a land of great affluence we still have young boys and girls who go to bed hungry each night. When our veterans come home from a war in a far off land- some can't even rely on getting the quality healthcare they need. On college campuses and other public spheres, exorbitantly rich tyrants stifle public expression and free speech. Again, may I say we have a long way to go. But I am not a pessimist nor am I someone who is counting down our doomsday clock. I am a biased and unwavering American Exceptionalist. In lay terms - I believe in us as the American people. I believe that every single time in our history where we have faced a trial, we have stood together as one. We unified ourselves and overcame our shortcomings. 

May this paragon forever be the quintessence of American virtue, today and tomorrow. Because when you think about it, the brave selfless souls who came before us passed the rope to us. They gave us a shot. It is my whole hearted prayer that God our Heavenly Father, truly will continue to bless America
Elder Clancy

Elder Johns and I on our tandem bike

Surprise on the back of our car one day!

All the missionaries in our area took a winter driving class at Master Drive.It was actually a lot of fun! We got to like spin out and stuff.
I did pretty good. I learned a lot of things I had no idea about. 
Here we are with our "Masters Degrees" ha ha.

Sunrise from our home

Walking the dogs

BYU Tree at some local members' home.
They have some awesome trees.
Here is another of the beautiful trees(They have like 9 trees
in their house all with different themes)
With our Christmas tree at the Wilkes

Arthur helping us do some work

At a recent wedding