Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday, Oct 25th 2010

Oi Família!

Wow... I cannot believe that 20 years has already passed. I really don´t feel much different, mostly because we don´t have much time to celebrate, but luckily today is P-Day!!! Thank-you so much to everyone who sent me an email or letter or anything for my birthday! I really cannot thank my family and friends enough for the support that I receive from you guys. I am so grateful for these things that I have in my life, and more than anything else, my family. So, rest assured, I am thinking about you all today. Well, at least until 6 o´clock because I have to start working again lol.

Well, this week was transfers and the news... Nothing changed lol I am still in my first area with Elder Roblyer as my companion. This is good because we already know how to teach together and still have our investigators to help out here, so it will be a good transfer. It will be a really difficult transfer as well because Elder Roblyer and I have very different personalities and we a different point of view of how we should go about the work here. I know that Elder Roblyer is a great missionary and we are doing a lot to help the people here, but I need to find something to change about myself so that we get along better because I know that it´s not right to change the personality of someone else. He´s a great friend to me as well and he is really helping me learn the language, but as always, people have their differences.

We have an investigator in this ward that is in need of a lot of help. Her name is Penha and she has been going to Church for about 3 years now, but she cannot seem to quit smoking. She is so amazing and she is like my grandma of the mission. She knows that the Church is true and she is trying to quit so badly! It is so amazing to me that Satan, unfortunately, has so much power over us that it becomes extremely hard to let go of sin. I know that the power of prayer can help us so much! I love the help that the Lord gives us through our prayers. I know that Penha will overcome this problem and I would love to see her be baptized.

Thanks so much for all of the messages this week! Please have a great week and know that I love each and everyone of you guys! Have a great week!


Elder Clark

Monday, October 18, 2010

October 18th 2010

Oi Minha Família!

Wow, well you can chalk up yet another transfer come-and-gone already! Tomorrow is transfers again and I cannot believe how fast it went by. If all of these transfers go this quickly, I am going to blink and already be home! But as much as I miss you guys, I don´t really want it to go that fast. I am having the time of my life out here and I am learning so much! I never realized how much the mission really makes you learn and grow. The real trick is that you have to be willing to work your hardest and you have to WANT to learn. Studying the scriptures and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is something that has to be a desire if you expect to learn more about them. It can´t be a chore that we "have" to do everyday. I have always held to one lesson that I learned from you Mom; that the only things that we "have" to do in our lives are blink and die, the rest are our choices. I have made the choice to learn as much as I can here on the mission, and I have already seen the blessings from the Lord.

So I have a funny story for you guys that happened yesterday. So, Elder Roblyer and I were really excited for this Sunday because we met a lot of people, including a few families, to bring to Church in the morning, so we were pretty pumped! We had talked with some of the ward missionaries to meet up with them at the chapel at 8:20 and then do a division and we would bring all of the investigators to the Church. When we got to the chapel, we saw that there were a lot of cars there already and people in the classrooms. I was a little confused, but I didn´t think much of it. We poked our heads in and asked the ward missionaries if they were ready to go grab the investigators and they said, "Elders, it´s already 9:20" Turns out that it was Daylight´s Savings Time here in Brazil and no one, not even our leaders, bothered to tell us. We still went to grab our investigators, but no one was home, unfortunately, and I was pretty bummed.

The other thing that is getting to me right now is that all of the young men who I helped be baptized are already falling in-active because no one in our ward is visiting them. I get really sad because of this because there is only so much that we can do as missionaries, the rest of the work is up to the members and unfortunately we aren´t getting a lot of help from them with visits to recent converts. But I will keep my head up and keep working and bringing more people to the Gospel, and just keep praying that the rest will be taken care of.

So I am thinking that there is a theme to this week with everything that is going on with Jennifer (Jill's Sister) and Grandma Spears. I want everyone to know that I know that the Plan of Salvation is SO real. We are passing through difficult times right now with our loved ones, but I know that our Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us. This life is a time for us to prepare to meet our God, and in the end, we will be an eternal family in Heaven with Him once again. I know that life is not easy, but I know that we have a better place prepared for us after this. I love each of you and, I will keep saying this until the end, that I wouldn´t pick any other family to spend eternity with. I know that this Church is true because the things that it teaches gives us so much hope and happiness! I love you all and to Grandma Spears, I will miss you very very much, and God be with you ´til we meet again :) I will grab a lot of coins out of the big boot at Christmas Eve when I get home just for you!

Have a great week everyone!

Elder Clark

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday, Oct 11th 2010

Oi Família!

Well, yet another fantastic week as a missionary! This week was really funny with some of the things that Elder Roblyer and I did while walking back to our house one night. I will tell you one of the better stories... We were walking down the street when I saw this little cusion-looking thing on the road. It was block-shaped and perfect to kick around when you´re really tired and bored. We were kicking our little block of cusion down the street when we arrived at this tree that just so happened to be in the exact same shape as a fieldgoal post... well, I was thinking that it would be an absolute sin to not stop and kick a game-winning fieldgoal through our make-shift goal posts. We stopped, Elder Roblyer got down in the holder´s position and I took my steps back to get ready to kick the Superbowl Winning Fieldgoal! I launched a grand ol´ kick... wide right... but it was still good for a few laughs.

So this week I had a really amazing experience with one of our new investigators. We met this 42 year-old man, Ireton, on Friday and he had been explaining to us that he had been searching for a church here on the earth that had what he thought was missing. We thought it would be great to show him the film about the Restoration of the Church which has the story of Joseph Smith and how he came to know of the truth of God. After we watched the film, Ireton looked at us and said that he had the exact same doubts that Joseph Smith had and he really wanted to remove his doubts. We gave him the invitation to pray and really ask God to help him know that Joseph Smith really was called by God to be the prophet to bring His Church back to the Earth after centuries without it. I was sitting there thinking about Joseph Smith´s story... I know that he was called by God because of the way that this Church has been organized. We read in the Book of Mormon in 3 Nephi 27:8 that if a church be Christ´s church, then it should have His name. If it be Mose´s church, then it should be called the church of Moses. But everything that Joseph Smith taught, everything that he did, all of the persecution that he went through, he never called this work "his." It was all for our Savior, Jesus Christ. Because of this, I know that this is the work of God. I know that we are teaching people about the restoration of the true doctrine of Christ, not about Joseph Smith. I am so grateful for all that I have been given because of the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ.

I love this work so much! I am finding people regularly who reject this message right in front of my face, but at the same time, another door is opened for me to find someone who is in need of help. For example, last night I was with a member on splits and we found someone on the street who was practically throwing out his information to us because he wanted us to visit him. I love the things I´m learning here and I am so grateful for this opportunity. I love you all family and friends! Have a great week! Tchau!

Elder Clark

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Monday, Oct 4th 2010

Oi Família!!!

Wow what a hectic week this was for us. To start it all off, we had a three-day training session take place for all of our trainers and district and zone leaders. So all of them went to another city and they received all of the new training from Salt Lake while the rest of the missionaries had to take care of the areas. We spent the majority of our time escorting missionaries back and forth from our area to their area to do a division with a member because we can´t leave them alone. We didn´t have near as much time to teach this week as we have had in the past, but somehow, we still were able to get a lot of opportunities to teach. The training kind of threw things out of whack for a while, but I know that it was necessary and the Lord took care of our areas. I know that He compensates for us when we are doing what He has asked.

As everyone knows, this weekend was like Christmas for missionaries! Haha General Conference was absolutely amazing! I have literally been waiting for Conference since the last one ended in April. I love to hear the words of the Prophet and Apostles because I am not a very good at setting my own goals, but they always seem to say something that I want to improve, so they basically set my goals for me. The thing that I was most excited for was to finally watch something in English! They usually set up a TV in another room for the American missionaries to watch in English, but can you guess what happened this weekend? The satelite signal from Salt Lake was only picking up Portuguese and Spanish. I was pretty bummed because I am still not completely fluent with Portuguese and I didn´t want to miss anything important during the talks, but I didn´t have any other choice. I said a prayer right before the beginning of the first session on Saturday to ask for more help with understanding the talks in Portuguese, and when the session started, it was like a light bulb had flicked on or something. I was understanding almost everything they were saying! I missed a few parts of the talks because I have to be paying extremely close attention to pick up everything, but for the most important things, I was completely in-tuned with the message the Apostles were trying send. I know that it was only by the help of the Holy Ghost that I understood as much as I did. I would like to share a few of the things that I learned this weekend with you guys.

I loved Elder Ballard´s talk about the fishermen. I think this should´ve been Grandpa´s favorite talk (haha). But as a fisherman, you have to know which bait will catch the certain types of fish. The exact same concept is applied with Satan. He knows what our weaknesses are and he is a very good fisherman. He will use exactly the right bait to try to lure us to committ sin. Our goal as children of God is to never submit ourselves to the temptations of the devil. Anything that looks dangerous our goes against the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, STAY AWAY! The only difference between a real fisheman and Lucifer is that the fisherman will let you go, but Lucifer won´t. Trust in the teachings of Christ and you will never be snared by the bait of the devil. And if you´ve already been caught, Christ has given us a way to return.

I also loved President Monson´s talk on Sunday morning. We have been given so many blessings in our lives and if we can recognize how blessed we are, we are opening the windows of Heaven to pour out more blessings upon us. Our job is to recognize our blessings and show our utmost gratitude for everything! Gratitude is very important. Stay as far away from jealousy and pride as you can because they always drive away gratitude and bring bad thoughts. Always be thinking of someone you can thank or something to be thankful for, and then SHOW your gratitude to them. You never know when it will be too late to say "thank-you" or "I love you" to someone who deserves it.

I´d like to take advantage of this opportunity and put into practice what President Monson has asked us to do. I love you all! Thank you so much for everything you have all given me. This is to my amazing parents, step-parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles, and friends! There isn´t a single day that goes by that I don´t think of my family and friends and all the things that they taught me. I don´t want to be the person who waits to show his gratitude to those who deserve it, so this is to all of you. Thanks for being my support and teaching me how to deal with my stuggles with a smile on my face. I have the best family and group of friends in the world and I wouldn´t trade you all for anyone else in the world. I couldn´t have picked a better group of people to live with here on this earth and forever with Heavenly Father.

Hope you all have a great week! Remember the things that we learned this weekend and never stop trying to improve yourselves, because that is what life is all about (even though you´re already purty darn awesome). I love you all! Até Mais!!

Com amor,
Elder Clark