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