Tuesday, June 29, 2010

June 29th, 2010 MTC in Brazil

One more week down here at the MTC! Somente quatro semanas mais!!! The language is flying for me and I am getting so excited to get out there to start teaching real people. I understand that I have a lot to learn still because there are a lot of words and phrases that I don´t know how to say yet, but I know that with the Spirit of the Lord on my side, my lack of knowledge will be replaced with a will to learn. My district is exceptional at learning Portuguese. All of our instructors have told us that we have been learning at a faster pace than anyone else in the MTC, but we aren´t getting too big headed because that is when we will start to hit a wall. I was just made the new Assistant to the President this last Sunday and our branch is receiving yet another new district! It´s so funny to watch these new elders come in and see their faces after they get off the plane. I just remember how crappy that day was and I feel like I need to go let them know that everything will be all right. We getting two more elders from Provo to come into our district tomorrow and I´m pretty excited about it because there is a good chance that one of the elders could be a kid who I went to high school with, but we´ll see. So this is a pretty big week for us because this Friday, each companionship will be getting six Books of Mormon and like two or three hours to go out and place them with the people around the MTC. My companion and I have been practicing this for the past few days now and we feel pretty confidant that we will be able to place all of our books and then some. Our Portuguese is good enough to carry on a conversation with Brazilians, but our vocabulary isn´t very big yet, so that hinders some of the small talk. I am so excited to get out there and practice this because I will finally feel like a missionary instead of a student. But I do appreciate my time here because I get to study so much. We will get another opportunity to do this again in two more weeks when they will take us out into the BIG city of São Paulo and we will get to do the same thing but with less time and more books. Tell Spensor to expect a lot of weird smells around the city on P-day, and yes they let us out on the town every P-day so we can stretch our legs and speak with some of the locals and purchase really neat things. That is where my money went last week lol. I bought these leather scripture cases for my english scriptures, but I won´t get them for another three weeks or so, but I will take a picture and send all of my MTC pictures to you guys so you can put them all on the blog. I have been enjoying myself so much here, especially when I remember how blessed I am to be in this great country and be able to have the power of God with me. Sometimes I don´t know why Heavenly Father would trust me with so much responsibility, but then I remember that He is forcing me to grow up everyday, so I will be prepared. Dad, thanks for helping me with everything and keeping me updated with all of the things that are going on. Love you all! Keep pushing along and know that I love you and appreciate your prayers! Até Mais!!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

June 22, 2010 From MTC in Brazil

Hey Everyone!!! This week was so great for me and my learning here at the MTC. We are starting to learn how to teach in Portuguese and I was freaking out about it all week because I didn´t really think that I was quite ready for that. When we started forming our lessons, I was so surprised at how easily the words were coming out. The more I practice, the more confident I am in my abilities to communicate with the people here. It is so nice to have Brazilian missionaries here to help us with our language. I have two Brazilian roommates and I am constantly practicing my Portuguese with them and I help them with their English as well. It´s so crazy to think that in just 4 short weeks I have been able to come so far with a language that I knew nothing about. I know that the Lord has had His hand in all of my progress and work throughout my time here. I absolutely love this country! The World Cup is going on right now and the streets are absoulutley crazy! Car horns, blow horns, screaming, and celebrating each time Brazil scores a goal. I have never seen a more proud country for their soccer team. Brazil is 2-0 so far and in first place in their pool. We aren´t allowed to watch the games of course, but we can tell whenever they score because we will hear this erruption of craziness from all of the apartments and houses around the city. I took a picture from my room in the MTC of someone´s house that is just really poor and rundown, but it has the biggest satelite dish I have ever seen, just so they can watch the games... absolutley amazing. This story grabbed my heart this last week: As we were walking around on P-day last week, we were passing this old house and we heard so voices from above. We looked up and saw three little girls in their Brazil soccer jerseys smiling and waving at us because they knew that we were missionaries. I love being a missionary so much and that experience just solidified my testimony of the love that comes from being in a calling that is meant to serve people. Jesus Christ was loved by the children and because we are His representatives, we have the same love from the children here. This country is so loving and there is a lot that I can learn from the people about how to love. It´s a good thing you´re such a great teacher huh dad? haha I thought about you this Sunday for Father´s day. There isn´t a single experience that happens here that I don´t want to share with you Dad. I wish I was able to call you each day and tell you about every spiritual experience I have, but that will make my homecoming that much more special. Thanks for being a great example to me and teaching me how to work my hardest, even when things and people aren´t neccessarily helping you out. You have taught me more than you think. Thanks! I love you so much and I am eternally grateful for the family that you´ve raised and allowed me to be a part of. Every day here at the MTC is a spiritual experience and I fell myself grow closer to God each day. I love you all and thank you so much for the emails and letters! Keep them coming because I love to read them! Até próxima semana! Fique forte!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

June 15th 2010

I guess I was just in such a hurry to read all of your emails last week that I must have accidentally skipped over them. But thanks so much for all of the messages this week! They always lift me up and help me remember why I am so happy to spend eternity with you guys. That is so awesome about Matt and Payton! Please tell them to keep emailing me, but let them know that I won´t be able to email back. Tell them to send me their addresses so I can write back. Brady is a stud! I cannot wait to hear about his football games and whatnot! Tambi is still my bestest friend! Good job Austin for hitting the ball! You will be on the REAL Rockies in no time! And I am happy to hear that Jessica and Kailey had a great time at girls camp! I love you guys. So this week I had a great time bonding with my district. It seems like every week we grow closer and closer. I am so blessed to have been put with such a great group of guys. It looks like the AP in our branch is leaving next Tuesday, so all signs point to me to fill his position. It´s really nothing to brag about, especially because all leadership positions in the church entail that you become more of a servant than a leader, but that is why I´m here. Christ was a leader through serving and loving His people. This morning was our day to go to the Federal Police station so we could do something with our visas, so in order to make sure we were processed today, we had to be at the building and wait in line 4 hours before it opened. So we all woke up at 3 this morning so we could wait in line for 7 or 8 hours. I felt like I was waiting in line for an Aggie game all over again... except it wasn´t nearly as exciting and I couldn´t understand all of the swear words. I have been learning so much Portuguese over these past 3 weeks and I am totally and completely amazed at how fast this is coming. I hit my walls every now and again where I feel like I could be much more useful as a missionary in my native language, but it´s those good times when everything clicks and I have another peice of hope that Heavenly Father has a plan for me to be fluent in this language. It´s World Cup time around here and Brazil is playing today at 3:30 and as I am writing this message in the MTC, there are horns and stuff going off because people have been pregaming since 1. I never realized how important this sport is to the world, but I love it! Now I wish I could play it! The MTC is so amazing here. Everyday is a spiritual experience for me. I can find something to make my testimony grow with relative ease. We have devotionals and firesides every tuesday, saturday, and sunday nights and all of them are so great for learning. We even have Elder Neal A. Anderson coming to talk to us this Thursday! I go into each of these meetings waiting for the Spirit to tell me how I can become the best missionary possible, and I leave humbled because I realize how much of a blessing it is to know what I know. Each Sunday afternoon after church, there is an optional movie we can go to. This week´s movie was the Joseph Smith Restoration Movie. There is no way that this church and its ordenances aren´t from Christ... they are too perfect to be made up by a 14 year old boy. Our ancestors would not have suffered so much pain and affliction for something that wasn´t as true as the Book of Mormon. I love this church and I love my Savior, and I especially love all of you! Thanks for all of the messages! Keep going strong and keep growing your testimonies. They will carry you through any hard time you face in your life. Read Helaman ch. 5 together please. Has Brady been reading the Book of Mormon while at camps? That always helped me stay focused. Love you guys! Can´t wait to hear from you again! Ate´ Mais! Eu amo vocês!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sao Paulo MTC Week #2

You guys have no idea how happy it made me to read all of your emails! I have been missing you guys so much over these past two weeks and I love to hear how well everyone is doing. I am only allowed 30 minutes on the computer each week, so I will try to give a summary of what I´ve been up to, but if I don´t get everything, please don´t be mad. The food here at the CTM is so amazing! I love how authentic they make everything. I have dropped a few of the pounds that I initially gained because I didn´t want to come home looking like a fatty. Each time we get on the bus to go to the temple, I get to have a great tour of the city, or at least a small part of it. The pictures that I have are so amazing and I can´t wait for you all to see just how beautiful this place is, in its own unique and special way. I know that the Lord loves all of his children, especially his Brasileiro filhos! Like I said last week, everyone here is just so friendly to us. This week was a rough one. I found out just how patient you have to be in order to let the Lord do his work on you in order to learn the language. I am picking up on it very quickly, but I get frustrated because I just want to be able to speak it fluently right now and just get to work. But I am very grateful that I am facing the majority of my challenges like this right now, instead of out in the field. I am learning a lot about myself in here. I am realizing that now is the best time for me to grow up and become the man that Heavenly Father wants me to be. I kept looking back at my life in high school and the majority of college and I see how all of my spiritual experiences have prepared me for this work. At times, I am so excited that I want to just leave right now and get to work, but then there are other days when I am humbled and find out that I don´t know enough quite yet. My main goal while I´m here is to be maticulously obedient, so I can have the Spirit with me at all times when so my learning is benifited by the Holy Ghost. I need His help now, more than ever before. Thank you guys so much for the emails! It really made my day to hear from all of you! Like I said before, I only have 30 minutes to write, so if you could keep the messages more condensed it would help me out a bunch so I can read them all and still have time to respond to them. I love you all and thank you so much for supporting me through all of my life. I want to tell you all a scripture that has been very near and dear to my heart for a very long time. D&C 121:7-9 is when Joseph Smith was in Liberty Jail and he is asking God why things have been so hard for him and the rest of the LDS members. The Lord says, You will be okay, these hard times are only for a small moment, and if we make it through, then we shall find our reward in heaven. We have friends who are here to help us through everything! I love this Gospel, and I love my Savior Jesus Christ, for everything He did for us. I never really thought about how amazign His sacrifice was, and how grateful we should be. I am so happy that families can be together forever. I would hope that we would always remember that whenever you are feeling even the least bit of unhappiness, because that thought always keeps me going stronger... Love you all! Love, Elder Clark.

There is so much I want tell you guys! I don´t even know where to begin! I could tell you about the plane ride. The minute I got on the plane to Sao Paulo, I didn´t really know how to feel once it took off. The feeling is so weird to know that I won´t be in Utah for the next two years. I really don´t think I was completely in my right mind when I left because I just had the excited missionary attitude and the knowledge of being away for so long just hadn´t sunk in yet. On the plane, the excited feeling still didn´t go away and I sat next to a guy who was from Cortutiba, Brazil, and he was so nice and friendly to me. His name was Jonas and he was a businessman. He was asking me about why I was going to Brazil and I got to explain my purpose with him. That kind of got the early jitters out of my system because I really had to reflect on the reason I was going to serve a mission in some dangerous place that I´ve never been to in my life. He gave me his business card and said that if I was ever in Cortutiba, that I should call him and he´d show me around. Now, even though I won´t be I won´t be able to see him, I still took it and gave him a pass along card with a picture of a temple on it and told him that there was on like this in his state, too. He took it and told me to keep in touch with him. I won´t lie, it was scary to just give him the card, but I knew that I would have regretted it if I hadn´t. When we arrived at the MTC, or the CTM as they call it here, there were 13 of us all together and they split us up into two different districts. My district included me and five other elders. Elder Smart is from Dallas and he is very knowledgeable in the Gospel. Elder Jackson is from Boise and he is really quiet but he works hard in class to know the stuff. Elder Thomas was the one from Taylorsville and he is a really cool guy. Elder Walton is from Atlanta and he and I get along the best because we were both three sport athletes in high school and he even played baseball at BYU this last year. Then there is my companion, Elder Bracken. He is from Salem and he´s a very nice guy. He wants to work so hard at learning the Gospel and the language that sometimes he frustrates himself, but he always has a good attitude. Our personalities don´t really mesh well, but we both want to be obedient and work hard while we´re here, so we get along just fine. We had interviews this Sunday with our branch president to see how we were doing, just in case any of us wanted to pack up and go home because we missed our families too much. When it was my turn, he asked me about you guys, and I don´t know what it is about you guys that gets me so emotional, but any time I get to share my feeling about my family, I can´t help but breakdown and cry and bare my testimony of how grateful I am for teh sealing powers of the temple that bind us together forever! Our branch president then later told me that the Lord had impressed him to call me as the district leader. I know that it doesn´t mean that I´m better than anyone else in my district because all of these elders are so talented, but I just have a little more responsibility now. I think that the Lord called me to this because he knew that I´d be thinking about you guys too much if I didn´t have something else to occupy my mind. I love teh elders in my district and I´m very grateful that the Lord feels confident in my abilities to be a district leader. My teachers here are great! We are learning so much and very quickly. I can already pray and bare my testimony in Portuguese. Both are very simple in words and sentence structure, but I´m more confident in my ability to learn this language now. At first, I was a little doubtful, but I know that the Lord will help me with whatever I need. The food here is so good! I say that now because it´s my first week, but I really like the rice and beans and all of the meat they feed us. There are some things I cannot tell what they are or where they came from, but I usually end up liking it anyways! This may turn into a very bad thing because I have already gained about four or five pounds here... not good. This city is huge! Seriously! I see so many tall buildings everywhere and most of them are just apartment complexes FULL of people! I love the humidity right now, but they say that it´s the dry season right now, so I´m in for more change by the time I get out of here. The warmth is nie because the toilet seat is never cold when you sit on it in the morning. Yet another blessing from not going to Provo... I love this place so much and I am really beginning to love my mission and my whole purpose for being out here. I was really doubting my faith at the beginning of this whole adventure, but my prayers have become so meaning full out here. I feel closer and more receptive to God´s love out here while I am learning how to do his work. I love this church, and I love my Savior so much! Everything he´s given me is a blessing that I know that I will not take for granted for the rest of my life. You guys are one of those huge blessings, and I love you all so much! I hope you know that I miss you and love you very much! Love Elder Clark...