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 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Week #51

Hi Mae!
Well this week was a week of ups and downs. First off, I'm 21! How weird is that? AND I've been out a year! WHAT?! I had a good b-day. We bought some ice cream and did missionary work haha. Nothing special.
I have some pretty good stories this week. Basically everybody on the planet that we meet tells me I'm beautiful. I think it's just because I'm American and they've never seen one before haha. Monday night we passed this old man that thought he knew me and when we left I shook his hand and he hugged me and said "oh meu amor, minha americana". So funny. I have the American charm with the old men of Brazil.
I've been able to understand people a lot better. It's still pretty frustrating because I can't understand completely and after the lesson I don't remember anything they said. But the language is coming along. We teach the first lesson so much here so I'm getting that down really well. I'm so tired of teaching the restoration haha. Anyway it's hard not to get frustrated. Especially because Sister Mendes (my comp) and Sister Salazar always laugh when I don't understand something they or anyone says. So I think that's more frustrating than anything. We had a meeting Thursday night and I really didn't understand anything and they would not stop laughing. I was trying so so hard not to burst into tears. All I want is to understand people.
Our investigators got their marriage certificate this week and next week they're getting married! Well, he's a member and she's not. So 15 days after they get married she can get baptized. They have 4 kids that are all members of the church too. Oh we met this really awesome guy on the street. He's Jewish, but I think he believes in all religions. He came up to us and was like, I need your book. Ummmm okay... So we're bringing him one today. Then just about 20 minutes ago we had a lady ask us for a pamphlet. People are pretty open here. I've only run in to a couple of people who just want to prove a point. It makes me feel like I'm back in Ohio.
I haven't seen anything out of the ordinary except for big rats and spiders. Oh! We had a friend waiting for us when we got home Tuesday night and the next night we met his brother. I think a giant spider laid eggs in our house and now her babies live there. So that's pretty awesome. The first one died, of course but we lost the second one.... we found him in the shower today.
It's definitely a different world here. Because it's so hot nobody wears clothes. Literally. All the kids are naked or in their underwear haha and the men never have shirts and the women barely wear anything. I can't really blame them. It's super hot. Everyone loves my mini fan haha. Also Brazilians think all Americans are rich. So my companion has eaten all my peanut butter and the other day she asked if she could have myCTR and Young Womens rings. She said I can just buy more when I go back to the states. That's the attitude of Brazilians. "You're from America you can just get more, give it to me". Yeah, no. 

Sorry this is so late. We didn't have Internet on Monday. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. It's been raining a lot so that's a nice break from the sun. It's actually been pretty cool for the last few weeks. 

World Cup starts today! We have to go back to our house at 4 and stay inside for the rest of the night. Everyone has decorations out. It's way cool. I'll send pictures next week. 

I think that's all. Love you!

Sister Clark

Monday, June 2, 2014

Week # 50

Hi mom!
Thanks for the pics! Dad should try to sell some boats to people in Brazil..... Also don't send any letters. I will never get them. Tell people that if they want to write me to just email. I am also attaching my last pictures from Ohio. More from Brazil are in another email. 

Okay so I've only had like, one p-day in the past 3 weeks. I didn't get to email last week because we left Tuesday for Belem. So I'm finally back in the mission field! I was so happy to get out of the MTC.

So we left the MTC Tuesday and arrived at around 3 in Belem. Oh and I had to give a talk at church the last Sunday at the MTC. It is hot here in Belem! My mission president and his wife are super nice and were very surprised at how much Portuguese I can understand. Actually, everyone is pretty surprised. All I can say is the gift of tongues is real. So turns out I don't need any of my bags for proselyting because we received one at the mission home. I had an interview with President Tuesday night and he has given me 21 days to adjust to the culture and physical demands and to learn Portuguese and then he gave me a blessing and said I will learn quickly. So I have 3 weeks to speak Portuguese. My companion is Sister Mendes (technically my trainer) and she is awesome. She doesn't speak any English. It gets frustrating at times because I cant understand what she is saying and I cant talk to her. But it will come.

So Tuesday night we got our assignments and I am in Oriximina (or-ee-shee-mee-na). Where is that you ask? In the middle of the amazon. Literally. Its about as jungle as the mission gets. Tuesday evening I got on a plane to head to Santarem and I stayed with some sisters there. In the morning we went to the Policia Federal to work out my visa because guess what? They forgot to put a stamp on it so technically I wasn't legal to be here. But all is well now. So from Santarem Wednesday morning I got on a boat (yes, a boat) to go to Oriximina. 5 hours down (or up) the amazon. It was so cool!!!!!! I cant believe this is my first area. Exactly where I wanted to be. 

Oriximina is awesome. No I haven't seen an anaconda or any big spiders or crocodiles or anything out of the ordinary. I don't think I ever will. We live with two other sisters. Its a little crowded in our little house. And people sleep hedes (hammocks) here. So I'm going to by one because its way better than sleeping on a mattress. Everything is damp from the humidity and sweat and its just really gross. Everyone will listen to us here. Pretty awesome. We teach a lot of first lessons. Its really frustrating because I cant understand a lot of what people are saying and I can't respond because I don't know Portuguese! And I really want to help these people. So I fasted on Sunday. I know its only the 4th day so I need to learn to be patient. 
The sisters here have been baptizing every week and last week they had 13 people at church. Crazy! Also, we walk EVERYWHERE. There is no bus so we just walk and walk and walk and walk and walk. My legs and feet have never been so tired in my life because we'll walk from one side of town to the other and then back for appointments. Not sure the missionaries really know how to plan because doing all that walking just kind of wastes time because we're trying to make it to our appointment so we don't talk to people on the street. When I learn Portuguese I'll make a suggestion. The mission is very different here. From the way they report numbers to the way they teach. Its a hard adjustment. So basically this week we've just been teaching a lot and I cant really talk in lessons and I have no idea whats going on ever. But I'll get there eventually. Just keep my language learning in your prayers! 

Love you lots mom! 
Sister Clark