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!