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