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

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