Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Week #76

Hello mom!

Well this just feels really weird, my very last email. We had a good week, except it did not end in a baptism. Unfortunately. We were doing everything we could to get him baptized but unfortunately, he decided to wait another week. I'm really hoping he goes through with it. 

We had a little going away party yesterday and Friday with the members and investigators and I had to give my farewell testimony in church. That was just a mess and I was trying really hard not cry. It's so strange. A really weird feeling that it all just doesn't seem real. It seems like I'll just be transferred to another area here in Brasil. There's so much that I'm going to miss here - sunshine, warm weather, palm trees, fresh coconut water, AÇAI, fish, music on the streets, loving people, Portuguese, and Brazilians. 

But I'm also excited to start the next phase of my life and a new chapter. And I'm very excited to see all of you! I miss you guys. 

Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full. 2 John 1:12

See you on Wednesday!

For the last time,  

Sister Clark

Monday, November 24, 2014

Week #75

Hi mom!
I seriously can't believe I only have 6 days left as a missionary. Since today is p-day and I'll be leaving Abaeté next Monday. not sure if I'll be able to email next week because I'm not sure when I'll have to get on the bus, but email me anyway, maybe I'll get to check when I get to the office.
Well this week was pretty slow. not too much to report. Unfortunately, it did not end with a baptism. Junior said he'll be baptized but he wants to talk to his parents first and he's preparing to be baptized this Saturday. So there's going to be lots of prayers and fasting this week. Especially because he didn't go to church yesterday. I'm also pretty sure he has a crush on Sister Fontineles.
Wednesday we had zone meeting. My very last zone meeting ever. It was super sad.

We met some awesome new investigators this week. We were searching for a referral and met his neighbor instead. We went inside and then met 9 of her family members. 7 of which are now meeting with us. Karina just has to get married and then she can get baptized. Her "husband" is super open and I'm sad that I won't be able to see them progress but at least I'll get to teach them for a week.
ALL of the members are reminding me of how little time I have left. It's super depressing actually.
Yesterday was super difficult. We had nobody come to church. yesterday was Círio de Nossa Senhora de Conçecão. Or in other words, the entire catholic church walked the entire city starting at 9 am following a statue of Mother Mary that sits on an alter that they carry. And then they bow to it. I literally felt like Alma the Younger when he arrived to preach the gospel to the Zoramites and they were all reciting prayers on a high tower. Then at 1 pm the parties started. We were walking home from church and every corner and every street had at least 3 houses/bars playing very loud music and tables full of beer. So that was going on all day long and literally everybody was drunk. Keepin' the Sabbath Day holy. So we couldn't really proselyte/make contacts/teach anyone because you hear the music even when you're inside the house and the spirit pretty much left the city of Abaetetuba.
Sorry it's short but like I said, it was a slow week. Sister Fontineles is now walking with two crutches and Sister Scisci told her that she'll have to talk to the doctor and if he says she needs surgery she has to go home. She wants to stay for Christmas in the mission but I'm not sure if that's going to be possible because almost every day we have to come home early because her knees are hurting. And we don't have a lot of members to go on splits.
This week we are going to be way busy. We already have a ton of appointments for tomorrow and an activity every night. It's going to go by fast. I have mixed feelings. It's so so weird to think that next week I'll be home. Don't be late to the airport :)
Love ya mom! Happy Thanksgiving
SEE you next week!

Sister Clark
I literally am in love with açai. But I don't think I'm going to be able to bring it home.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Week #74

 Can you believe now it's just 2 weeks???? The weeks go by slow (which is just fine by me) but then when it ends I can't believe the week is already over and we're starting another and now I just have like what? 14 days or something. The sisters and members are counting down for me which is not helping.
Sister Fontineles is doing a little better. She got super sick Sunday night because she was so stressed out from having to stay in the house. So Tuesday she bought a crutch and is walking around with it and seems to be a little better. Yesterday was rough it was hurting super bad but at least now people are offering us rides. Tuesday night a taxi pulled over and gave us a lift for free. So that was pretty cool.
Monday for p-day some members took us to a gadapé which was really just full of temptation because they had real pools there and it was super hot and we're not allowed to swim. So we just put our feet in the water.
The rest of this week we were just trying to find people to teach. It takes a lot of time to get from one place to the other because of Sister Fontineles' knees but at least she's able to work now. But she refuses to call Sister Scisci. This week we'll have to go to Belém to see the doctor because she ran out of medicine.
We are teaching some really awesome people that I think will progress. We'll probably only have one more baptism before I go home and I'm hoping it'll be this week with our investigator Junior. He is reading the Book of Mormon, has been to church twice, and prays at the end of every lesson. His prayers are so sincere, like he's just talking to God openly and literally says whatever comes to his mind. It's awesome. I love hearing the prayers of non members and recent converts.
Riti has come out with us twice this week already and there is a HUGE change in her. In just 3 days after her baptism she already seemed more happy and she confirmed that Friday night when she bore her testimony in a lesson. Before, she was just super depressed and was never happy and now all she can think are happy thoughts. It's a complete 180 with her. She seriously is happy ALL THE TIME and it's just so cute. I think I'll miss her the most when I leave.
Sunday I had to give a talk on missionary work and I cried. It was pretty embarrassing. Everybody said they really liked my talk and that it was cute that I got all emotional about leaving except then they just made fun of me for the rest of the day.....
I'm trying to decide if I want to bring açaí home. Are you all interested in trying it? If so I can bring some home but I'll have to put in a cooler or something to stay cold and I'm not really sure how to do that or if it'll cost anything. but I'm addicted to açaí it's probably the best thing in the world. So let me know what you think.
If you're planning a dinner when I get home can I make a request? I just want to eat tacos and cake haha. Two things that I miss the most.
Okay love you mom! Until next week!
Sister Clark

Monday, November 10, 2014

Week #73

Hello mom!

Well, if I said I wasn't excited to come home I would be lying. I miss you guys but I'm staying focused here and just loving the time that I have left. 

Another week of my mission has come and gone and it was a hard one, I'll be honest. On Thursday Sister Fontineles decided to stay in the house because of her knees. So we stayed at a member's after lunch calling other members to go on splits with me. Except nobody was available. But it wasn't all for naught because at least we were at Rita's who was preparing for baptism so we followed up with her and did some service for her mom. Friday we were able to get two members to go out. Man, you can sure feel the difference when you're not with your companion. There's a reason why we are to preach the gospel 2 by 2. When Sister Fontineles and I have a full day working together we're like the power team. But on splits with the members we're not able to do as much. Which is strange because you would think we would get more work done because you have two sets working the area. In our case it's the opposite. There's a reason why we were put together. Saturday we had to fill the font for Rita's baptism so we only had one hour of work after lunch because Sister Fontineles can't walk very fast and lunch was on the other side of the city. So I went on splits with a member and made some contacts. Yesterday we were unable to get a member so I had to stay in. We basically lost our week. I'm not sure what this week will be like. It's basically a day to day thing if she's able to go out and work or not. She finally made the decision that she'll call Sister Scisci and talk about her options. She wants to stay one more transfer because she wants to be on the mission for Christmas but if it continues to be like this, not sure if they'll allow one more transfer. This is the 3rd time this has happened and the last two times she stayed in for a week. So it's getting to the point where it's effecting the work. I'm just trying to be patient and work when I can but it's driving me crazy not being able to work, especially my last transfer. And I know it's not her fault. So I'm just trying to work with it. 

So let's talk about Rita's baptism. This girl really was a miracle. It was absolutely perfect. She has been so excited all week. She saved money to make a cake and buy snacks. It literally was a party Saturday night afterwards. She looked so cute in her little white jumpsuit. her brother baptized her and she had invited also a few friends. We had a good turn out of members and she was surprised that people she hadn't invited showed up. I think in that moment she felt important and supported in her decision. When there's a baptism in the ward, it should be a ward party. EVERYBODY should be there to show their love and support and make the new convert really feel welcome and that this was the right decision. Especially when they're shy and timid like Rita. Saturday was a good day. I'm hoping that we are able to baptize a few more people before I go home. I love baptisms! 

So that's pretty much about all I have to say for this week. Sorry it's short but not really a lot happened. Some prayers for Sister Fontineles' knees would be very nice and greatly appreciated. 

Love you mom! 

Can't believe it's only 3 weeks!

Sister Clark 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Week #72

Hi mom!!!!!

Well, we're pretty much still lost here but we're finding our way around. luckily we have awesome members who come out with us and show us around. We've been going on splits with the members a lot because Sister Fontineles has bad knees. Like, super bad. So going on splits is the only way we can actually get all the work done. For sure the Lord's not going to let me have a normal or easy transfer. There's a whole new list of challenges for me here that is definitely trying my patience and working me to the point of exhaustion. and I'm barely even sleeping. But we had a pretty successful week. We had zone meeting Wednesday so I got to meet the other missionaries. There are 3 American elders who just barely arrived from waiting for their visas. one waited for 15 MONTHS. Basically his entire mission. It's so weird to see them try to speak Portuguese because it reminds me of how I was 6 months ago. So to get back to the area we have to take a bus for about an hour and half. So guess what I did??? I got up at the front of the bus and told everyone who we were and that we have a really important message and then I went from chair to chair getting addresses and making contacts. It was so scary but so awesome at the same time. 

Also we met our goal for baptisms last month so we get to go to the fair tonight and ride rides!!!!! We got permission!!!!!!

We had a miracle happen yesterday. Rita, the daughter of a member who has been investigating the church for quite some time, told us that she wants to be baptized - THIS SATURDAY! WOOOOO HOOOOOO! We are seriously so excited. Sister Fontineles has been slowly working with her since she arrived just gaining her trust and friendship. This has had a complete change of heart. 

Yesterday I was sitting in sacrament meeting listening to a young man give his testimony and he said that this was his last fast and testimony meeting i the branch because he's leaving on a mission. Then Sister Silva got up and talked about how it's been 4 weeks since she left home and how the time passes so quickly. So suddenly it hit me. Just like the guy, that was also my last fast Sunday on a mission and in the Abaetetuba Branch. And just how Sister Silva has only been away from home for 4 weeks, I will be GOING hom in 4 weeks. Yeah, the time sure does pass by quickly. I suddenly had this feeling of anxiety and I got a little emotional because my mission is ENDING. Brasil has become my home and these people have become part of my family. I will never get this opportunity again and probably I will never come back. 4 weeks is not a lot of time and suddenly I don't want to leave! I love being a missionary and I love seeing how the simple truths of the gospel can change some one's life. The church is true. It just has to be. 

That's about it this week. Love you mom!

Sister Clark

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Week #71

Hi mom!

That would be awesome to fly into Provo and drive back with Robert! And it would be nice to have a car. I could drive back with him too. I really need to talk to a counselor about what I need to do to change my major and if I have to retake any classes. Also I need to find an apartment. So I'm all for that I'll fly to Provo and drive with Robert and then drive back to Utah and fly home? It would be nice to do some shopping THERE too where tax is cheap and they have more stores haha. 

Well I LOVE this area. I'm in Abaetetuba (Uh-by-tuh-too-buh). It's huge. I thought Oriximiná was big but our area is seriously so big. We eat açai everyday for lunch which is awesome. I love açai. I'm trying to find someone who could make the pulp for me so that I can bring it back home. We'll see. It's on the river but we don't ever see it. And we don't have to get on a boat which is awesome. It's a 2 1/2 hour bus ride from Belém. So I'm still pretty far out there. We're opening the area so we basically have no idea where we're going or what we're doing which is frustrating and fun at the same time. We get lost a lot but at least we get to see all the parts of our area. My companion is Sister Fontineles and she is great. She's not shy about anything and loves to talk to people so that's awesome. It's a branch here, not a ward. But the active members are super helpful. I'm still playing piano every Sunday. I was sad to leave Oriximiná but also super excited because I had been there for so long and I wanted to know another area before my mission ended. 

So let me tell you about this week and the trip. 
Monday was p-day so we basically did nothing and knew about the transfer at 5. So we had to run to the lancha and buy a ticket and get some other things situated so we only had time for one lesson Monday. Tuesday morning at 8 I got on the lancha to Santarém. After about an hour the boat hit something in the middle of the river and broke. Yes, broke. We were going so slowly and I thought we were going to sink! After 4 hours we pulled over and switched boats. The other one was smaller, older, and not as comfortable and every wave we hit we were bouncing! It was like the trip from you know where. I spent the rest of Tuesday in Santarém with the sisters there and Wednesday morning we got on the plane to Belém. I met the sisters there and we got on a bus at 3 and arrived at 5:30. After, we had to go to the church for "family night" that's meant for members to get to know our investigators. So I had basically 3 days not doing missionary work. Thursday we were so lost we just made contacts and taught one lesson. Friday we had the mission tour in Belém so we had to go back there and we didn't get home until 6:30. So this week we had 3 days of actual missionary work. This week basically just didn't even exist. But the mission tour was awesome. I was able to see almost everybody from my district and the MTC and I FINALLY saw Sister Sender! My comp from the MTC. During the interval we basically pushed everybody out of the way and hugged. And she started crying haha. I loved being her comp in the MTC and I could not wait to be able to talk to her again! Except she's going home early to prepare for school so we won't even be going home the same time. Elder Fernandes of the Seventy was there for our mission tour and it seriously was just AWESOME. I learned so much and it got me pumped to finish my last weeks strong. Because right now I just feel so tired but I want to work as hard as I have throughout my whole mission so Friday was exactly what I needed. 

Saturday and Sunday we basically just walked around clueless looking for addresses of former investigators and contacting people on the streets. Sister Fontineles has problems with her knees so she can't walk too much. Yesterday we had to go home early because the pain was so bad. We've met some really great people here so far and Sister Fontineles is all about teaching by the spirit which basically nobody does here in this mission. It's more like let's teach the lessons and get it over with and baptize. But she actually likes to teach people. So we're super excited about this transfer and we get along really well. She reminds me a lot of Tessa Schrader. 

So that was basically our week. I'm really excited about this area and our sink has a FILTER so we don't have to buy mineral water. Also today I'm sick haha. I can't imagine what it's going to be like when I get home and I have to re accustom to the food and the water and the cold and lots of things. 

I'm hoping this week will be a lot better and we can actually do some missionary work! 

Love you
Sister Clark

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week #70


OK this week was CRAZY. It's transfers today but we still don't know anything. Everyone thinks I'm staying here for my last transfer. But I really hope I get to know another area in the mission. 

This Saturday we had a service project cleaning the health department...... which I found a little ironic. A place that should always be clean.... it was filthy. So I was thinking the whole day how blessed we are in our country to have clean hospitals and doctors offices. We moan and groan about things but we seriously don't know how grateful we need to be until we're in another country and see how they have to live and how the hospitals are. Remember when I went to the hospital in Santarem? Yeah I don't want to go to any health thing (hospital, doctor etc) until I'm home in the states. 

We had a REALLY good week. We found a ton of new people to teach and our teaching pool is huge. We have two potentials for baptisms this week. FINALLY we are having success here! Manuel and Celia said that they've prayed and have received an answer that this is the truth. We were so excited! Only problem? They're not married. And he doesn't want to marry her. I think he's afraid of the commitment. So that's another stumbling block. We had 7 people at church yesterday. It seriously was a miracle. We met an old man, Raimundo, who is just super smart and accepts everything and turns out he knows a lot of the members. hmmmmmmm. But he loved church and brought his 3 granddaughters. We met a MARRIED couple. But I don't know how interested they are.

This week we were super busy planning a surprise goodbye party for Sister Oliveira. We told her we had a "meeting" with the members Saturday night to talk about missionary work and we were going to do a PowerPoint. Only when we started the PowerPoint it was full of pictures from her mission! We stole her flash drive with pictures...... and she cried and cried and we had one of the members make pizza and cake. It was a huge success and she didn't even know! Afterwards all the members told me that I'll end my mission here too and I told them that I'll be expecting pizza and cake as well :) She left yesterday on the lancha after church and it was so weird seeing her leave. She'll be home in Curitiba tomorrow! And I was just thinking the whole time about when I'll be doing the same thing in just 6 weeks. It doesn't seem real that this is my last transfer. I think about getting on an airplane and it just.... doesn't seem real. It feels like I will spend the rest of my life being a missionary and I will never leave Brasil. But I know that in just a few short weeks I'll be home. This transfer went by SO FAST and I'm only imagining this transfer now. I love being a missionary. But when I get home I still be one! Just not with an official name tag. I am for sure helping out the missionaries when I get home. 

Funny story from this week
A member's dog ran away from home while she was away in Manaus so the house sitter has been going crazy looking for him. Well Tuesday night we were walking on the street and here comes Freddy the dog and he knew exactly who we were. He stopped and we said "what the heck are you doing come here NOW" and he lowered his head and slowly walked towards us. It was super super funny how he recognized us and was super obedient. We took him back home. I don't think they told the member anything. She got back Saturday.

Well I think that's about it. I cannot believe October is almost over and this transfer is over and we STILL don't know about transfers. Usually they call Sunday or Monday morning and still nothing. 

Love you mom! See you in 6 weeks! 

Sister Clark 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Week #69

Okay here's my week, it was full but went by so fast. Seriously, I'll say this again, I can't believe it's already p-day. 

This is the last week of the transfer. So Saturday or Sunday we'll know who's staying and going. Sister Oliveira has to leave on the lancha Sunday afternoon because her flight to Belem on Monday is at 5 am because her mission is over. So we're thinking that whoever is getting transferred will have to travel with her. We'll see. They don't really think a lot about transportation when they're doing transfers. If you remember what I told you about last transfer. It was a mess. So hopefully it's a little more organized. 

Some recent converts FINALLY had their baby! He's so cute and has so much hair. Unfortunately, they still haven't recieved any visits from the members and they're super poor and in need of food. There's a lot of poverty here in the state of Pará. 

We were so determined to find new people to teach this week since we had 2 weeks in a row that nobody came to church. We were contacting people like crazy on the streets and found 13 new investigators. One already says she has an answer that this is the right path to follow. She just has to get married. EVERYBODY needs to get married here. It's crazy how many people are together for years and years and years and have like 20 kids and never got married. 

We made a contact with this guy named Donni who is super smart. He basically taught us the restoration it was awesome and he was super excited to pray about everything we talked about. Only problem is that he travels every weekend so he wasn't able to go to church. But he is super prepared we just have to really focus on him. We also ran into a former investigator of mine that moved to the other side of the city so we couldn't teach her anymore. She was living with her boyfriend when we were teaching her and they had just had a baby. Now the baby is 6 months old and she broke up with her boyfriend and lives with her parents. Also turns out that her sister is a member. She is awesome and remembers everything the missionaries taught her. Which is awesome. 

Wednesday we met a ton of very interesting people. We taught a member's neighbor and turns out she killed someone..... so that was awkward. She wasn't interested in us coming back anyway.

Saturday we were fasting. Which was just a terrible idea because we ended up walking to basically outside of the city. I can't upload pictures today but I'll send some next week. We were contacting a referral and she lives super far. I think it was more than 30 minutes walking and we walked out of the city. We finally found her house and the member was there, which was awesome and they took us to go see a gadapé (not sure if that's spelled right). It's a little natural pool where a ton of people go swimming. It was super cool and we put our feet in the water. After we taught the member's mom and a girl living with her and the girl was super attentive. She already went to conference and was super gung-ho about going to church the next day and baptism. The only thing is traveling to teach her. But she was at church and the members will pick her up every Sunday. So at the end of the lesson these big thick storm clouds start to role in.... fast. I have a lot of pictures of it. We literally said a short prayer and left running. Trying to outrun the rain. We made it into the city and then the rain hit. We must have looked so ridiculous running like crazy people.  

Last but not least Saturday morning Sister Oliveira said she had a surprise for us. We went to a member's house and she put in her flash drive to show us a slide show. I thought "Oh great here we go another slide show about missionary work". So she pulls up the slide show and it says "what do your families expect of you?". Started with Sister de Jesus and a video of her whole family talking. I can't even describe the feeling when I saw that she had asked our families to send a video. Of course I was last and of course Sister Mendoza's family talked for 5 minutes so I was sitting there very impatiently and then I saw your video! It was super weird to hear your voice haha and at the end everybody wanted to know what you said and everyone was crying and it was just awesome. Except afterwards I was just thinking "I miss my mom!" But I think I'll survive another 7 weeks haha. 

I bought medicine for my toe because remember when I told you that a member dug out my ingrown toenail? Welllll then it got kind of infected and started growing some kind of fungus I think. That's what the pharmacist said anyway and it's been improving. It was super ugly before but I don't have any pictures. But don't worry I don't think I'm going to lose my toe or die or anything. I also bought new sandals. They were only $R35 which is like under 20 bucks. 

Love you!

Sister Clark 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Week #68

Hi mom!

Well to start off I weighed myself the other day and I lost more weight. That makes over 20 pounds.... not sure if I'll drop more before I come home. I can't believe it's already October, that this transfer is almost over, and that I only have 2 months left here. 
Conference was awesome! Except that it was in Portuguese so I couldn't really understand the interpreters very well. I understood Elder Godoy's perfectly, though. So I'm now sitting reading emails and listening to conference in English. 
Okay this week was something else to say the least. Monday we ate homemade pizza. It was pretty delicious. 

It was another week of challenges and I am very very tired. But ya just gotta keep on going. Tuesday Sister de Jesus and I made a goal for 5 baptisms this month. We had 3 people basically already set in stone and a married couple that we were working with. The couple and 2 other baptisms fell through. 2 were two children that the mom said there's no way she would ever give permission for her kids to get baptized. Even though they go to church every Sunday with a member. So after this happened we made plans to be as obedient as possible to make sure nothing else falls through. Well, we got back to the house Tuesday only to be informed that we had a mini transfer because more Americans arrived and I was being transferred. Sister de Jesus started to cry and I was just like what? So the zone leader called and said it was true and I started to pack my bags. 5 minutes later the sisters come in and tell me to stop because it was all a joke! I'm still in Oriximiná for another 2 weeks until the transfer. The jokes in the house are wearing me down a little bit haha. One time they woke us up at 6:30 pouring ice cold water on our heads....... 

We've met some really great people this week. We met a really humble couple but I think the husband is a little more interested than the wife. He's way awesome. We also received a referral from a member.

Thursday we went to Santarém and Friday we went on exchanges. I went to the other side of Oriximiná with Sister Mendoza. It was weird to be back in that area and we met some really awesome people. They had a referral to contact and this young man paid a lot of attention. The spirit was super strong and he is very smart. I'm excited for the sisters to teach him. Also, it rained a lot and afterwards we were standing on the street looking at our planners when a bus drove by and hit a pot hole filled with water..... that splashed all over us. It was like a movie. We were so dirty. We also met a hippie in the park whose wife was from Spain and they had just arrived in Oriximiná. Turns out he's a member of the church! 

Conference was awesome. Although it was hard for me to understand it, I still felt the spirit. Just goes to show you that just looking at the prophet and the apostles today, you can really feel that they have been called of God. We have a prophet today and 12 apostles. I didn't have to understand what they were saying to feel the truth of their calling. And I sat there thinking about the members of the church in other countries. It takes a lot of faith to believe in a prophet that doesn't even speak their language and lives in the states. And yet, they have a testimony. 

Unfortunately, we had nobody come to conference. People give the same excuses over and over and over again. I think in a year and a half I've probably heard every excuse under the sun. I don't remember who said it but in conference I remember a speaker talking about taking time to read our scriptures and how many times we give the excuse that we don't have time but of course we have time to watch our favorite show on TV. As missionaries we hear so many excuses from people and I thought about how Heavenly Father must feel when we, as "faithful" members of the church, give excuses to not do our part to help build ourselves spiritually, or help build the kingdom of god. We give the reason that our lives our hectic and we never have time to stop but how much time do we spend on facebook, watching TV, movies, listening to music, driving. 30 minutes of our day we can't give to help build our faith and testimony? I do not want to go back to the life I lived before my mission. Pure laziness. I want to let my mission change my life and attitude. 

Another thing I noticed this week. The sisters made a contact with a couple on the street and came to church the last two weeks. Turns out they're super good friends with the bishop and his wife. But every time we ask members if they know anybody they all say they only know members of the church. So I was thinking..... how many doors are the missionaries knocking on and talking with people that we know?  People that are our friends? And how many times do we tell the missionaries that we don't know anybody outside of the church? And how many people would come to church, if we as members JUST ASKED. Are we going to leave it to the missionaries to find and talk to our loved ones? or are we going to speed up the process and help them out a bit? Missionary work is not just up to the missionaries to knock on doors or make contacts on the street. When we are baptized, we receive a missionary tag on our hearts. We make a promise with God that we will help build his kingdom. 

So that's pretty much all I have to say for this week. We basically have to start from scratch this week again but we're going to keep working because there are people here prepared! We just have to find them. 

Love you!
Sister Clark 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Week #67

Hi mom! I have the computer again that doesn't do the question mark so this > is a question mark.

The companionship is great! Sister de Jesus only has 6 months on the mission and she still has a lot to learn but she's a great teacher and we have a lot of fun! I'm really happy right now. Everyone in the house is awesome, and we do all the grocery shopping together and it's just so great. 

I am SO excited for conference! It's the best two days on the mission. After conference I always feel like I can keep going. This week is going to fly because we have to go to Santarém for zone meeting and then we have conference. I was thinking the other day that it would be totally okay to end my mission here in Oriximiná. I can't imagine knowing another ward or people here in Brasil. I just really love everybody here. And all the members want me to end here. More because most of the young women want my skirts haha

This week was a week of challenges. Seriously. Probably the hardest week I've had on my mission. To start off with on Monday I had an ingrown toenail that hurt really bad and a member dug it out for me. I cried a lot haha. The activity we had in the park with the members resulted in a lot of contacts and referrals, but when we went to contact the addresses.... all but one were wrong. Wednesday nobody wanted to accept a baptismal date and we had to drop our four awesome investigators that are just not progressing. They all have a testimony and come to church but just don't want to get baptized and aren't married and aren't ready to do anything about it. Our other baptism unfortunately fell through because his dad didn't allow it. 

So there's the challenges. Now for the blessings. Gabriel, my investigator from the other side of Oriximiná, FINALLY decided to get baptized! It was awesome! Also, in the midst of all the crappiness that happened this week, we were sitting on a bench resting our legs when one of the members walked by. he's this cute little old man and he told us that he wanted to invite us to his birthday party. it was so sweet. so we went and we had our own little table and yesterday we ate cake :) We also have an awesome investigator that is progressing really well. She's on track to get baptized next Saturday. Also we had a miracle! One of the members is always bringing her neighbors to church. They're 10 and 12. She talked with their mom and she said it would be okay if they got baptized! We're hoping this Saturday. 

Funny stories from this week.

 We brought a baptismal record to fill out with one of our investigators. we taught her the plan of salvation and told her that the baptismal record is her passport to the celestial kingdom. She then goes..... "I have to take a plane to get there> Because I'm afraid of airplanes." I was dying. She's hilarious. 

we were eating lunch at a member's house and she told my companion that her husband made the beans. Sister de Jesus hated the beans. She said that it wasn't very good. So she goes on talking about how the member's husband can't cook. Suddenly he shows up and Elivana (the member) says "Bruce, she did not like the beans". Sister de Jesus goes on to explain that it basically was water and had no beans in it. Then Bruce says "Well, it wasn't me who made the beans". Sister de Jesus...... "uhhhh who made the beans". Bruce: "Elivana". We were DYING. I've never laughed so hard in my life. Good thing Elivana wasn't offended. It was hilarious. She explained that they didn't have enough to make the beans perfectly so that's why they were the way they were and she's pregnant so it's really hard for her to cook with all the smells. Oh it was so funny. 

Also we have açai in the fridge. I'm always happy when we have açai. 

Well that's about it for this week. 

Love you! 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Week #66

Hi mom!

My flight is booked for December 2nd. I'm hoping I get transferred my last transfer. It would be nice to know a different area in the mission. I've stayed in Oriximiná since I got here. I'm thinking I'll go. It's hard to tell. We still have 4 weeks left of the transfer.

Okay so this week was fast. I was thinking last night about what I would write and as I was thinking about the week I realized that every week during the week seems so slow but by the time p-day arrives I can hardly believe that the week is already over. We just do so much in one week. it's hard to remember everything. 

Monday I found a dead mouse under my bed. That was lovely. I'm thinking we might have to end our English course. Nobody showed up Wednesday until about 6:50 and even then it was only 3 people. And it's just not very productive for finding people. It's only the members that come. Also, since we got a piano here I have to play the hymns every Sunday. And they don't let me choose. Turns out I can play almost anything without practicing. Who knew! And now all the members want me to teach them piano...... I wish we had the time. 

I'm thinking we're going to have to wipe our slate clean and find new people. Our awesome investigators aren't progressing anymore. Which is a little frustrating. We have one family we're working on and the daughter who's 16 is always reading The Book of Mormon. Like, nobody else can read it because she's always reading haha but she feels like she's not ready to get baptized and it's been 2 weeks since she came to church. I think a lot of our investigators don't really know our purpose. But we have one baptism coming up this Saturday and another next Saturday. I'm hoping all works out! 

We had an awesome lesson with Bishop Wednesday night with our investigators. We read a part of Lehi's dream and talked about the important things in life. Especially enduring to the end. The spirit was super strong. Oh our family with the 16 year old, the mom said that she and her husband are going to get married soon,  and then she wants to get baptized soon after! I'm hoping it's during this transfer. 

Saturday night we had an activity at the park where we made contacts talking about family history. It was supposed to be with a ton of members. Well, only 4 members showed up at the church to help out. It was pretty depressing. But towards the end TONS of members showed up and started making contacts. We had a big screen, too, showing slides about family history. It was pretty legit. We managed to make over 80 contacts and receive referrals from the members. Now we just have to go visit everybody at home. I'm thinking this week is going to be busy. 

I'm not sure if my chacos are going to survive 10 more weeks. I'm hoping at least until the end of the transfer. If they die then I have a cheap pair of sandals I bought here for church that I can wear for the next 6 weeks. 

Also an American elder gave me some stuff that he got in a box from his mom so I've been making a little bit of food for the sisters here. we've eaten toll house cookies, guacamole, and Alfredo. They loved the Alfredo! It's going to be really strange to come home and eat at night. Here we eat lunch at 1 or 2 and it's like dinner and then for "dinner" at night, well, we really don't eat at night. usually popcorn or fruit. or a milkshake haha. I learned how to make ice cream from scratch! pretty cool. 
Love Sister Clark

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Week #65

Hi mom!
This week was, well, interesting to say the least. It's weird being on the other side of Oriximiná but I really like it. We have some investigators really progressing. They come to church on their own! We had 6 people at church yesterday, it was awesome. But that's not the most interesting part. First of all, I would like to say thank you and dad for teaching me a lot about life. Like managing money. So we all knew the transfer was coming up. I figured I would be transferred so I put money away for the trip. It's required here in the mission to have a reserve fund of $R100 in case of emergencies. Well the transfer came and Sister Shepherd got transferred.  I had to accompany her on the trip to Santarem and bring back the other sister, because I saved my money, haha.  So I went to Santarem AGAIN this week.  I stayed in Santarem for the day with the sisters. That night the new missionaries arrived and only 2 other Americans were transferred. So that makes only 3 and I'm the only American sister. Thursday we went to zone meeting and after Sister Mendoza and I and another elder got on the lancha to go to Obidos and Orximiná. It was really funny to see their reaction to being on a boat in the middle of the amazon. For me now it's normal. I think this was my 4th time on the lancha and 9th time on the barco. I'm a pro. So that's my story for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
The new sister is awesome. We do all of our grocery shopping together. It's awesome! I think this transfer is going to go by fast. Unfortunately. Always when everyone is cool the time passes faster. Also I'm senior companion now haha. So that's pretty cool. But really for me there doesn't exist senior or junior. The work is the same and we're equal. Sister de Jesus is awesome. She has a lot of energy and is just real with people. I like teaching with her.
So that's pretty much all I have for this week. It was a really hectic and crazy week. I'm counting down the days until General Conference! Only 3 weeks away.

Also my chacos are breaking. I'm hoping they last me just 11 more weeks!
Love you!

Sister Clark  

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Week #64

Hello mom!

Well let's start off with transfers. I got transferred.... where to... Oriximiná II.... Yeah so I got transferred to the other bedroom in our house and the other side of Oriximiná haha. I'm super excited because we have a family and I wanted to be here for their wedding and baptism! I won't be teaching them now but at least I'll get to see them get married! So yeah, this transfer was a little strange. Sister Shepherd is leaving and I'll be the only American in the house and the only Sister American in the zone. I'm super grateful to be staying here. I love this zone! And I'll get to travel on the boat and lancha a few more time too :) Sister Shepherd was balling her eyes out this morning... poor thing. It was a little awkward. what can you do "sorry I'm taking your place..." yeah it was a little awkward. Ok this week....

Was just awesome! We had a baptism! The daughter of our family that we're trying to marry and baptize got baptized! We had Rege propose to Fatima on Tuesday. It was so cute! Fatima LOVES church. Yesterday she came all by herself, she didn't even wait for us! Right now we're experiencing a power outage. But I'm on a laptop hehehehe. Okay back to my week. Well, really I can't believe this transfer is over already. It went by so fast. We have been so blessed the past couple of weeks. We've been getting so many referrals. It's really the only way to do this work!

 So really this week we were busy getting Erica ready for baptism and now we're teaching their neighbors. We also had to go to Santarém Thursday for zone meeting. Also, we finally got a piano in the chapel! And now all the members want me to teach them..... 

Thursday night we did a member missionary workshop. It was during the hour of FHE at the church and we didn't tell anyone that it was going to be different because, well, they wouldn't show up if they know. Ah, it was awesome! We made little name tags and had games and role plays and at the end we showed a video and everyone stood up to sing called to serve with the name tags. It was really cool and the spirit was super strong. Everyone was just beaming at the end! 

Good thing I'm staying in Oriximiná because Saturday night we were at a member's house and Lolo (the little girl that I sent pictures of) climbed up on my lap and gave me a big hug and said "não vai embora, não vai Sister Clarky" Translation: Don't go! It was the sweetest thing ever. 

So that was pretty much our week! I think these last 2 transfers are going to fly by. I get anxiety a little bit thinking about coming home. So I try not to think about it. 

Love you!
Sister Clark 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Week #63

Highlights from this week

We had FHE with a Irmão Benedito e Irmã Valmira and their family. I just really love them! They made a surprise cake for Sister Oliveira's birthday with a poster. Notice my stool that I'm standing on..... haha. It was super fun and during the lesson Irmão Benedito started to cry. It was just so cute. I love that family! Wednesday we had a lesson with Rege and Fatima and we asked if she recognized any blessings from going to church. She said yes and started to talk about how much happier she is. I love seeing the change in people when they really have the desire to act. She's so awesome. We taught her the Word of Wisdom and she's all for quitting drinking coffee. Coffee here is interesting. People don't drink huge mugs like we do in the states. It's usually a little tiny tea cup and everyone says that when you go to the doctor the first thing he asks is if you drink coffee. If you say yes, he makes a note of it. If you say no, all is well. Interesting..... So Fatima is totally on board for baptism. She just has to get married first. But she absolutely loves church. We met an awesome investigator Friday. She has breast cancer (probably) but has a ton of faith. She basically taught us the plan of salvation. I always learn something new from her every time we visit. We had a really good week this week. We finally have a teaching pool and we found 8 investigators in one day! We also had our investigator Geraldo show up to church. We kind of forgot about him because he lives super far but he said we never came to his house so he decided to come to us. He's reading the Book of Mormon everyday and absolutely LOVED church. He says he feels like this is what's right. Only problem? He's not married! And he doesn't want to marry his "wife" because he doesn't like her haha. She actually was living in Manaus and came to Oriximina for 15 days, which then turned in to 6 months. I think they're just living together because she needs a place to stay. She's going back at the end of the year. So looks like he won't be getting baptized until December. But he is golden! 

Also Sister Oliveira told me that she knows a member in Santarém that builds guitars. She said he might even build ukuleles. He made a guitar for her for only $R200. A ukulele would be a lot cheaper! I want one!!! But I also think it would be hard to bring back into the country. So I'm not going to buy one. 

Remember how I said marriage is just popping up everywhere? Well we were with a recent convert and he wanted to do a role play with us in which we taught him (acting as an investigator) about marriage. At the end he said he only wanted to do the role play to help US understand the importance of marriage and gain a testimony of it. As if we don't talk about it enough throughout the day. 

Well that was pretty much our week. I can't believe it's September already! This is the last week of the transfer. Next Monday you'll know if I'm staying or leaving. 

Love you!
Sister Clark

Week #62

Olaaaa mãe!

This week we worked so hard with our investigator Luiz to prepare him for baptism. Unfortunately, he doesn't want to be baptized. When the investigator makes this decision, there's not much else you can do. You can't force them to get in the water and hold 'em down. So that was pretty sad. Sometimes I really hate agency. 
I've been neglecting to write that we've been visiting the members and asking about their conversion stories to help them remember why they joined the church and why they should share the gospel. The power in which these members bore their testimonies was so strong. One young woman that comes out with us talked about how much she loves this gospel and the things it has taught her and the way it has changed her. These members may not know everything about how the church works, but they do know, without a doubt, that this is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I love the members here. I was thinking yesterday about how I didn't even know these people even existed! I mean if you think about it, we always talk about other countries but it doesn't become real that there are other people in the world, until you leave your own country. When I arrived here after being in Ohio for so long, it was really hard to love the people here because I felt like they weren't "my people". Oh please. How wrong I was. They may not speak English, and they may not be American, but I still feel the same immense love for them and I look at them as my people because they're my brothers and sisters. They are children of God. Literally. It's been such an eye opening and amazing experience to serve here. 

Let's talk about what happened yesterday because it was just the best day ever. First off, our investigator Gabriel is preparing for baptism this Saturday! He LOVES church and the reverence in the chapel and he believes Joseph Smith really was a prophet. Also, we have a family we're working on and the wife was determined to go to church this Sunday. The whole morning I was praying and praying that they would be ready when we arrived at their house. We showed up a little bit later than we said and guess what we saw? Fatima was standing in front of her house, baby in her arms, with her other 2 kids and their neighbor. READY FOR CHURCH! I've never seen a more beautiful sight. I was so excited! She said she thought we were'nt going to show up because we were late. But we all went to church and everyone loved it. We went by later last night to talk to her and she was just super happy. Also she said that she and her husband took our challenge to pray to together. They're praying as a family now! I need to stay one more transfer here! We talked about marriage with them and they're totally on board. They have 8 kids together and have been living together for 18 years. It was so funny. They both looked at each other and Rege said "do you not want to marry me?" and she said "do YOU not want to marry me?" After he said, let's get married then! They have changed so much since the first time we met them. They just seem so much happier. 

Well that's basically what I wanted to share today. This week went so fast and we only have 2 weeks left of the transfer. I don't know if I'll stay or go because next transfer is Sister Oliveir's last. 

Love you!

Sister CLark 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Week # 60 & 61

Week #61
Guess what I learned to make?? Pão de Queijo! Remember the cheese balls at Tucano's that Jordyn loves? I will make it for her when I come home. Also popcorn on the stove. I'm a pro. 

Monday morning the zone leaders called to tell us that if we didn't make 100 contacts this week President Scisci would call us. So we made a goal to talk to everyone and really made it a focus. Well, we made 102 contacts. We had FHE Monday with Denis and Suellen and their family. We watched The Testaments and their oldest son who's 11 cried at the end. I love that family. So we were full of the spirit when we left and we decided to contact their neighbor that was sitting outside. Only thing is I didn't realize he was sitting in a towel.... there goes the spirit. 

Tuesday we cut open some coconuts and ate the inside. It tasted like almonds. Basically we just had days of contacting and appointments falling through. It was a very long week this week. I've never been so tired on my mission. And the sun is getting hotter now. It's starting to burn my eyes. I don't think I can wear contacts. So we were working so hard to find people this week. Although a lot of appointments fell through, we have some pretty great investigators. One of our investigators received an answer that the church is true! We just have to help her recognize that now she needs to act. We're teaching 2 families. They just have to get married.... and it's always the men that say they don't want to make the wrong decision. Get married and then 5 years down the road are unfaithful or want a divorce. Years and years together and children and they're STILL unsure? It's actually really sad. I feel bad for the women. 

We had our first English class Wednesday. It was really fun and we had quite a few people. 5 non members came! I prayed in English and it was really hard. I don't know how to speak English anymore. What's it going to be like when I get home?! 

Yesterday we went on splits with members and I went to see a man that the other sisters found. He's been reading the Book of Mormon and really likes it! He said he feels that this is the right path. Only problem? His "wife" (they're not really married legally) talks FOREVER. She talks about stuff that's completely irrelevant. And then they started fighting. This happened after I invited him to say the closing prayer and she started talking about how he needs to ask for forgiveness and blah blah blah. Finally I yelled (because they started to fight again) "someone has to pray! We have another appointment". Oye. We're going back again tonight. 

Also they have a dish here in the state of Para that is made with a poisonous plant. They cook out all the poison. I ate it on Saturday. It wasn't too bad. They also eat Piranha. That's the next thing on my list to eat. 

It was a really slow and hard week. And pretty much all I could think about is what are we doing wrong? What did I do wrong to deserve this? Basically just throwing myself a little pity party. But really, missions are not supposed to be easy. What reward would it be if the mission was a breeze? Christ's mission definitely was not easy. Why should it be any different for us? The important thing is even though it's difficult, we stick it out. For 18 months, for 2 years. Why? Because this is the truth. Because we don't want to arrive in the Celestial Kingdom alone. Because this is true happiness. Eternal happiness. This is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I have no doubt about it. 

Love you mom. I will pray for the business! 

Sister Clark  

 Week #60
I finally bought a hammock! I'm going to use it in our new house because we're probably going to move. Into an ACTUAL house. It's so cute I'm really excited. We have a coconut tree in the backyard.
OK this week was kind of long. We're basically STILL starting from scratch because we want to focus on the area closer to the church. So this week was full of contacts and appointments that fell through. Good thing I'm already used to that thanks to Ohio. We had an awesome lesson Monday with our investigator Luiz. Denis and Suellen came and she shared her conversion story. The spirit was super strong. It was awesome. We're still working on baptism with him. He hasn't come to church for the past 2 weeks. This has been our biggest challenge - getting people to church! 

We received a referral from a member. A family! (not officially married) but they're awesome. They're reading the Book of Mormon and ask lots of questions - except they didn't come to church.... 

I have to do some more paperwork for my visa. So that's kind of annoying. We travelled to Santarem Wednesday night. Sister Oliveira and I bought a camarote. A little room with a bunk bed. So we didn't have to sleep in hammocks! It was awesome and it even had air conditioning. We had zone meeting in Santarem Thursday and we talked about using our time more wisely and effectively. It was a really good meeting. After we returned to Oriximiná on the lancha!

We're working with a member's mom right now trying to baptize her. She's always at church and loves it and loves all the people. She's really old though and forgets a lot of things so our lessons are always interesting and a little funny. She just repeats a lot of stuff. But when it comes to baptism she is super serious and finally said she would pray and think about it! So we'll see. it's my dream to baptize an old person because they're so stubborn! 

Saturday we were on the radio! We got invited to talk about what we do. It was awesome. We're going to a different station Tuesday, also. And Wednesday we're starting an English class! We've been inviting EVERYBODY and the whole town is excited. 

Funny little story of the week. Sister Oliveira wants to learn English so I decided to talk about my family with her to see if she could understand. Well, turns out I forgot how to speak English. I was talking super slow and mixing in Portuguese. It'll be interesting when I come home. 

More Americans will arrive in the mission next week so we'll be having a mini transfer. Who knows what will happen or if Oriximiná will be effected.

Well I sure love you mom and thanks for always supporting me! 
Love Sister Clark

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Week #58 & #59

Hi mom!
Glad to hear things are going well. I can't believe all the changes. It's going to be weird when I get home. I can't believe it's already August. And already P-Day. This was the fastest week ever. Time has been moving too fast. I only have 3 transfers left and I'm not ready to leave Brasil! And I found out that they had a transfer here of only 5 weeks so I'll be coming home a week earlier than I thought. Noooooo! 
Well, Sister Mendes and Sister Salazar left Tuesday night on the boat. She took the cellphone with her because she thought she would need it to find the sisters' house there in Santarem. We didn't have a phone for 2 days. I don't know how the missionaries in the past did this work without a phone. Sister Oliveira and Sister de Jesus arrived Friday morning. They couldn't get on the Lancha Thursday so they had to take the barco over night. So Sister Shepherd was my companion for 2 days. That was interesting. 2 Americans trying to speak Portuguese.... We had to work both of our areas so we walked the entire city of Oriximina. We walked a lot. So I feel like every week I always have a good story to tell. The only thing this week is that my heels started to crack open. The members said it's because the pavement is so hot, it's burning through my shoes and my feet are drying out. It's so hot here that the pavement will break your shoes in half. Luckily this hasn't happened yet. But it already happened to Sister Mendes and another sister here from the states with her chacos. So back to my feet - a member gave me a pedicure haha and I've been taking good care of my heels. There was a sister here who had the same problem and she didn't take care of it so it got all infected and was bleeding and oozing and I guess it was pretty gross and she couldn't walk for a week. That will not happen to me. 
We FINALLY received Book of Mormons. We've been without them for 4 weeks. The sisters brought them from Santarem. So Sister Oliveira is from Curitiba. She just got transferred from Santarem so we were in the same zone last transfer and she goes home in October. If I stay with her one more transfer this will probably be my only area. But Sister Oliveira is awesome! I love her. 
We received a referral from the zone leaders and taught her on Friday. she's super prepared. We went back Saturday and her mom told her she can't "switch religions". We're still teaching her but I'm not sure if her mom will let her get baptized. We met her uncle and guess what? We're going to be on the radio this Saturday to talk about what we do. I'm pretty excited. And we're going to start an English course. Everyone is super surprised with how well I can speak for only having 2 months here. The gift of tongues is real. 
We're spending most of our time now making contacts because we want to teach people that live closer to the chapel. Our whole teaching pool is at the other end of the city and nobody comes to church. It's pretty frustrating. 
Also this week started the festival of Santo Antonio. Last night there was a lot of fireworks and nobody was home. Literally, every body in the city was down by the boats. So we went to a little cliff by our house to watch the fireworks and look at the river because they had little paper lanterns floating in the water. It was really cool. I want to come back here during all these festivals and actually be able to watch everything!
Well I think that's about it. We have to go to Santarem AGAIN this Thursday for zone meeting. Maybe now I'll finally be able to buy a hede.
Love you! Until next week!
Sister Clark
Maybe I have a parasite.... I've had the same kind of stomach pain 3 times already since I've arrived. Who knows. 
Oh remember how I was so excited to sleep on a mattress? Well I've been sleeping in a hede for 2 months so I had to readjust to a real bed and I actually had a hard time sleeping. My back hurt worse on a mattress. But now it's okay. 

Well we had transfer calls yesterday and Sister Mendes and Sister Salazar are leaving. Sister Salazar arrived with me and I cant believe she's already going! Which means I'll be staying here for one more transfer with Sister Shepherd. Our companions arrive on Wednesday. My companion will be Sister Oliveira. We're already in the same zone and she went with me to the federal police for my visa so I already know her. I'm so stoked she's super nice and goes home in October. She's from Sao Paulo. 

 I went on exchanges with Sister Salazar. It was awesome. She loves to talk with everybody so we made 24 contacts in one day. Which is pretty rare. And with contacts, we met some pretty interesting people. We met a man who is 70 years old, has already been with 7 women and has 21 kids. And he's been with the 7th woman for 21 years and he STILL doesn't know if he'll stay with her. Sheesh. 

Wednesday we had a lesson with an investigator and we met his daughter. Guess what? She was baptized in 2003 and a year later went inactive because she lives too far from the church. We are starting to work with her to reactivate her because she still has a testimony. She's awesome. And her dad came to church Sunday! He has a baptismal date for next Saturday

So Thursday we had a little incident. Sister Mendes and I returned to our house quickly to drop off some things before heading to the wedding at the church. When we arrived at hour house the gate was open and I thought it was a little strange. When I opened the door Sister Mendes' doll was on the chair with a knife and a book of mormon with a post-it that said Eu nao gosto dos mormons (I don't like mormons). Our house was trashed. Sister Mendes and I locked the door and left running. I have never been so scared in my life. We didn't know what to think or what to do because how could someone break into our house? We arrived at the church and told the bishop what happened. We wanted someone to come back with us just in case someone was in our house. Then we told Sisters Salazar and Shepherd. They didn't believe it and we kind of laughing because they thought we were joking and they didn't see it for themselves. Then Sister Mendes started telling everyone what happened. Which was a little annoying and the other sisters were really really mad about this. And they were totally calm. I was thinking because they hadn't seen it yet. They said that we were exaggerating. Back to before we arrived at the church. Sister Mendes asked me if I thought that this was a joke. But how could it be? It had to be real. And then I thought of the handwriting and that it looked familiar.  Sisters Salazar and Shepherd are completely calm and laughing at the whole situation. Are you connecting the pieces? Because I started to. And then the bishop pulled us all four aside and told me and Sister Mendes that this was a joke. The other sisters said of course it wasn't but then Sister Mendes said "If I find out that this was a brincadeira (joke) I will call President and let him know what happened". Then they started to look at one another. I asked Sister Shepherd loud and clear (in english) if this was a joke and she said what do you think? and then just walked away laughing. So then we all went into a room in the church and they told us that it was all a joke. Oh and this was all in the dark because of course the power went out in the chapel.  Oh those Brazilians, they like a good joke. I can laugh about it now, but was like annoyed because it really scared us. I just have to roll with it here.

So I'm just very grateful for this week and this transfer to be over. 

I love my mission. I love serving people here and sharing the gospel with everyone. This time is very very important to me. The church is still true. I still have a testimony of it and of missionary work. All I can say is that we have the Lord on our side or how else could we make it through? 

Glad to hear things are going so well at home. Have an awesome week! Until next Monday!
Love you
Sister Clark

Monday, July 21, 2014

Week #57

Hi mom!

I don't even know where to start with this week. So I guess we'll start with Monday. We had our zone p-day. It was way fun. We played volleyball and futebol and lots of games and President Scisci showed up to start interviews. He was very funny about it, though. He didn't want us to miss out on playing volleyball haha. So I had my interview and it went well. The only thing is that he asked about my health and of course I couldn't lie because, well, it's been pretty crappy. Especially since Monday I threw up 6 times. So who knows if he'll transfer me closer to Belem. I hope not. So Monday night President wanted to take me to the hospital. All I wanted was a blessing and sleep but instead we went on a little adventure to the ER. I never want to do that again. The hospital there is exactly how you're imagining it probably. Not very clean. So we were there for 2 hours and then we went to a different hospital. There I received an IV with some vitamins and they gave me medicine for stomach pain. Sheesh. I wasn't even that sick. And I wish I had brought my camera. 

Tuesday we had zone conference and I took medicine that morning so pretty much I was half asleep for most of it. And we were sitting in the front row. How embarrassing. But President and the zone leaders talked about the importance of working hard and being obedient. I guess our numbers having been low here in the mission. President is thinking about taking out one of set of sisters in Oriximina because the members aren't working with us and guess what? We have 700 inactive members in the city of Oriximina. We should not be baptizing here. We should be reactivating. So either President will take out a set of sisters or close the area if things don't change. 

So anyway Tuesday night we traveled back to Oriximina with.... a washing machine! Finally! And some new fans and mattresses. I'm finally sleeping in a bed. Que bençao. 

So basically we're still just trying to find. Nobody is progressing. And it doesn't help that we've been out of Book of Mormons for 3 weeks. It's so hard to get proselyting materials out here. 

We have an awesome investigator who came to church Sunday. When we told him bout a living prophet he got super excited and asked for his phone number or email. He really really wants to talk to him. We told him we'd talk to President.... we didn't really know what to say. 

Story for this week: We were teaching a lesson one day and in the middle of the lesson I looked across the street just in time to watch a man smack his two year old in the face and I watched him hit the ground. Nobody did anything. His dad rode off on his motorcycle and the poor little boy was just crying and crying and nobody did anything. I don't understand how people can do that. Sister Mendes and I could not focus so we ended our lesson. But as we were leaving one of the men that was listening to our message shook my hand and started to talk bout how beautiful I am and blah blah blah and then he held my hand and started walking! So I let go to shake hands with everyone else and then he asked if he could call me. Uh...... no..... Everyone here shouts at me because I'm blonde. I think I'm going to dye my hair. 

So it's been quite a week. We find out Saturday about transfers. 
Oh also Sister Salazar saw a picture of Brett and she wants to marry him haha. Do you think he would like to live in Peru? She said he'll eat really well hahaha. 

Love you!
Sister Clark 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Week #56

Bon Dia!

I can't believe Robert is home?! That's insane. It's going to be so weird when I get home and everything will be so different. 
Well I have no idea where to even start with this week. We got to watch the world cup Tuesday against Germany. Well, that game was just embarrassing. 7x1. I can't even believe it. Brasil did not show up to play. There were tons of riots in the capitals all over Brasil. I heard in Sao Paulo they set a bus on fire. Brasilleiros love futebol. Everybody was crying and Sister Mendes was miffed. And I was just sitting there like..... it's just a game. And Germany played really well. Oh well. I'm pretty sure Brasil lost because all the missionaries in our mission were allowed to watch the game. So culpa de quem? Presidente Scisci. 

We had lunch with some nonmembers Tuesday and we taught them the plan of salvation because they lost their son. The wife said she had a dream about him and the spirit world and it was exactly like I had described it to her. The plan of salvation is real. My testimony of it grows more and more every time we teach people because it just makes sense. 

We've just been really busy trying to find and teach. Basically we just contact all day. Josiane was baptized Friday and confirmed Sunday. We were really busy this week getting her prepared for baptism. I think she'll serve a mission. She is so smart and has a great testimony. 

Saturday we had two guys come up to us and ask us what church we were from. I just kept walking because this happens a lot and usually it's not good. Just men trying to harass us. But then one of them was like "oh sorry, I just want to learn more about your church and I want to change my life". Huh??? So he came to church yesterday and we also brought his sister and his brother in law. We just asked them that morning and they loved church! Then we returned later in the afternoon and taught them the restoration. It was awesome. I'm really excited to teach them. Only problem is none of them are married but have families. So we'll have to get them married. Nobody gets married here.
 I'm writing you from Santarem because we have a zone p-day today and zone conference tomorrow. Which means last night we had to get on the boat again. I'm going to buy a hede here because it's less expensive. R50 means more or less $25. I do not like sleeping on the boat. It's so crowded and you can't sleep. Plus when we arrived in Santarem suddenly we had a huge storm. It was insane. They don't call it the rainforest for nothing. So we'll be in Santarem for 2 days and then return Wednesday either by barco or lancha. We don't know yet. I think that's it. Only 2 more weeks left of the transfer.
Love you!

Sister Clark 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Week #55

I can't believe Robert comes home Friday. That's weird. Also the Millers are in Tokyo now, right? When I get home can we go visit them? haha. I'm doing well here. The language is coming along. Everyone is really surprised by how well I can speak for only have 5 weeks here. One day I was a little frustrated with my companion because she told me to go speak English with some people and I only wanted to talk in Portuguese and so I started talking to her and then walked away and the man she was talking to with the other sister was shocked by how well I spoke. The next transfer is July 29th. So in 3 weeks? I don't know if I'll stay or not. I'd like to move around the mission but I think I'll have at least one more transfer here. 
Well this week just flew by. I cant believe it's already p-day again. A lot happened this week so I have quite the letter. We have an investigator (the one I said would be baptized last Saturday) that is actually getting baptized this Saturday. She taught us the first lesson all by herself. Yesterday she told us she was wanting to bear her testimony during sacrament meeting. Speaking of church, we had ANOTHER couple show up and the girl isn't a member. Miracles are just happening for us here.
We're teaching this really great young man who's super smart, too. He just gets it. And the spirit is always really strong in our lessons. He really needs this gospel. 
Thursday we had to go to zone meeting in Santarem. So Wednesday night we got on a barco to travel there. 10 hour boat ride. We had to sleep in hedes. I borrowed one from a member. They're like, R50 and I don't want to buy one. I want one by I don't want to spend the money. But I kind of need one. Anyway, we arrived in Santarem at about 4:30 am. Elder Poaletti, from my MTC district the first time, is in my zone. So I got to talk to him! It was definitely a different zone meeting here. Afterwards, the District Leaders had a meeting that went until 12:45. We have girl DLs here so my comp was in the meeting. The bishop in Santarem told us that the lancha (faster boat that only takes 5 hours to get to Orximina) would leave at 1:30. The last time I took it, it left at 1 so I thought it was a little strange it left at 1:30. Well, my thoughts were correct because we showed up at 1:05 just in time to watch the lancha leave. They didn't have another one so we had to take the barco again. Well, this boat didn't leave until 7 at night. So we were stuck in Santarem for 6 hours. We just contacted. I had a really creepy guy grab my hair and a drunk guy tried to grab Sister Mendes. Needless to say, it was an adventurous day and I'm not a fan of Santarem.
So that's pretty much my week. We had 14 people locked in for church and only 2 came. But at least we got 2! Tomorrow is the World Cup and if Brazil wins (which they will) they'll be in the final on Sunday. Which means we're not going to be able to leave our house at all Sunday after church. But then it will all finally be over.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, our washing machine broke and I have to wash my clothes by hand.
Love you!
Sister Clark

Monday, June 30, 2014

Week #54

Hi mom!

I think the sickness is from all the bad water. But I'm OK now. I drank coconut water and that stuff is magic. Makes you better in a heart beat. 

Well Monday and Saturday we had to stay in for the World Cup. I think Brazil is going to make it to the finals. The next game is Friday (so we'll get to hear fireworks on the 4th of July) and then after that I think there's only 2 more games. Thank goodness. 
Tuesday we met a lady that's already a member of the church! She said she met with missionaries and went to church in Manaus so we taught her the first lesson. Right before we were about to extend baptism she says, "I was baptized in your church." Huh?? We want to help her get reactivated and involve her family. 
We're thinking about dropping all our investigators and just starting over with people closer to the church because everyone we're teaching lives at the end of the world and they are just not progressing. Nobody came to church Sunday. We did have a miracle though. A member's girlfriend has been coming to church and she wants to get baptized. So she'll be baptized this Saturday. Pretty cool. 
We helped Denis and Suellem paint their house this week. Two days in a row. It was super fun. They have the cutest kids and I just love that family! And Suellem was baptized Saturday. She has such a strong testimony of the church. It's incredible. 
Thursday President and Sister Scisci called me to wish me a late happy birthday. Sister Scisci sang to me and President asked how I was liking Orixiina. He said if I don't like it, he'll move me closer to Belem. Ummm that' okay, I'll stay here at the end of the world. Oriximina is the farthest area in the mission, and the second hottest area. All the areas I've had both in Ohio and here have been at the edge of the mission. I've never once been close to the mission home. 
The language is coming along great. I still get frustrated sometimes but I'm grateful for the Portuguese that I can speak. It's kind of weird that I can speak another language. Every morning when I read the Book of Mormon I'm just surprised that I can understand almost all the words. The gift of tongues is real, I'll tell you that. 

Well that's about it for this week! Thursday we have to go to Santarem which means we have to take a boat over night and I'll be sleeping in a hammock. R110 to travel to and from there. So expensive. 

Love you! 
Sister Clark

Week #53

Hi mom!

I'm alive don't worry. But I am sick today. I don't know what with. Sister Mendes said all Americans are sick for at least the first 2 months. So that's awesome. I'll survive though. Hey, happy fathers day! Last week? I totally forgot because we didn't celebrate it here. So tell dad for me!!! Also will you tell grandma and grandpa that I received their letter back in Ohio but I couldn't read the return address so that's why I never wrote back. Tell them hello and that I love them when they come to visit! 

I forgot to mention last week that we had a miracle at church. This girl showed up and she's dating a member and they want to get married in the church and she wants to get  baptized! Crazy huh: Reminds me of when we found Jackie. Just golden. 

Tuesday we had to stay inside again because of the World Cup. But it wasn't as crazy this time because it took about 2 hours for someone to score a goal. They ended the game still at 0-0. We have to stay in today too. I'm tired of staying in for the World Cup. It's so boring just sitting in our apartment! 

Funny story from Monday night. We watched The Restoration with Maurol e Ellim but when we got there, we realized they didn't have a DVD Player. So they went and borrowed one but forgot the cord. So Maurol had to get that, too. Finally, we were ready. Only to open the case and find that we didn't have the DVD! So we had to run back to our house and get the movie. Good ting we live close. Everybody was laughing at us. But they loved the movie! And we talked to them about Doctrine and Covenants because they have relatives that are members and Maurol sat and read a couple of pages while we were talking with the other people. He really wants this. Saturday Ellim prayed for the first time! She really opened up and even asked how marriage in the church works. What?! She's making progress, just need some patience. 

We have some really great people otherwise that we're teaching that are super prepared and really want to be baptized. It's awesome. We also have an investigator that loves to hear me talk. Don't know why... its kind of awkward. When I teach she just looks all googly eyed. Shes like, 85. So I always teach our lessons with her. 

Oh also everyone thinks it's really cool that I know how to drive a car. 

Denis and Suellem got married Saturday night. it was perfect. They looked so happy and I just wanted to cry! Suellem will be baptized this Saturday. She has such a strong testimony of the church. 
Love ya!
Sister Clark 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Week #52

I forgot to tell you that when I was in the MTC in Sao Paulo we got to go to the temple in Campinas! It's probably the most beautiful temple I've ever seen. But I don't have pictures because we weren't allowed to bring our cameras. Really lame. 

Thanks for the prayers. I really need them. Things are going good here. And yes I'm doing okay. My first week was really hard and I just wanted to go back to Ohio but I'm okay now. No tears this week. 

This week went by super fast. It feels like yesterday was p-day. I got some real nice blisters on my feet this week. I could hardly walk. It was super bad. But I'm okay now. We found quite a few new investigators this week and it's getting easier and easier for me to speak. And I can almost understand everything people are saying. Unless their old. Because the older people speak with their mouths more closed and I have no idea what they're saying. I'm still trying to adjust to the way they do things here in the mission. It's VERY different and sometimes I just really miss Ohio. And it also doesn't help that Sister Mendes never explains anything to me. 

The power went out 3 times this week. In the whole city. I think because of all the excitement for World Cup. Saturday night we were walking home and a lamp post blew. SIster Mendes started running and then the power went out. It was super scary at first because we were on the street but then we found some nice people with chairs and we sat and talked. It was actually pretty cool after a while. The moon hadn't risen yet so we could see a ton of stars. SO PRETTY. AND they have fireflies here!! Kind of awesome. Never would have known if the power hadn't gone out. 

Well I already have a pretty nice tan. It was really really hot this weekend. Oh and we're still teaching the Uai Uai family and they love me. Because I'm American. They made me sing them a hymn in English and Sabrina (the daughter) recorded it on her phone. Then they wanted me to pray in English and they recorded that too! Also everyone is in love with my mini fan. Fillipe (the Uai Uai dad) tried to buy it from me. I promised that I would give it to him when I leave. Because I think I might spend my whole mission here. I only have 4 transfers left and we just started one this week. I will definitely be here for 2 more transfers because Sister Mendes has been here for 5 so we think she'll leave next transfer and I'll stay and then maybe for my last 2 transfers I'll go somewhere else. Who knows. It's nice to switch things up in the mission. 

We have another World Cup game tomorrow. Last Thursday was crazy. Every time Brazil made a goal I could hear the whole city cheer and fireworks went off. I can see why we're not allowed to leave our house. Especially because also, 2 people died that night. One got hit by a motorcycle and the other was stabbed. 

Also, here, apparently I'm not supposed to step in the water on the street because it's contaminated. Sister Mendes JUST told me after I've stepped in it, oh i don't know, a lot of times. One of the members died from doing this. Soooo if I die.... I blame Sister Mendes haha. Also, in case you're wondering, there's no way of escaping drinking dirty water. Everyone gives us water and juice, from the tap. And that comes straight from the river. I think it's treated a little but not much. I just have a lot of faith. 

The food here is so good! And I'm in love with all the different types of juices we drink. I had Acai for the first time last Sunday. It's so bitter. I had to put 5 spoons of sugar in it, and after it was delicious. 

Well, I think that's all. Keep the prayers coming! Love you!
Sister Clark