Well, well, well, what a week it was. I don´t think I have ever felt so stressed out/frustrated/blessed in any other week of my entire life. We are in a very important month right now. Our mission president set a goal for us to baptize 300 of God´s children this month, so the pressure has been pretty tough thus far. We are pretty far behind our goal right now and there is only one more week left. We need to baptize 86 more people this week to reach it. Everyone is crazy to baptize everyone in every single area in the mission now, and with this type of work, you tend to get a little stressed out when things don´t go so well. Fortunately, we have been teaching a lot of people here in Lorena, so I wasn´t ever scared, but whenever you plan a baptism during the week, Satan always tends to work a little bit harder to annoy us. We had two men, father and son, who were planning on being baptized this week, but at the last minute, they told us that they didn´t want to make the decision at that time, so then I started to get nervous. We were visiting woman who was trying to make a come-back to Church this week. She went last week with her 10 year-old son and they LOVED Church again! We passed by their house and the first thing that happened was that we met all of their cousins who lived in the same house. One little girl offered to say the prayer and said a really good one too! The very next thing she asked me when she said, "amen" was, "what do we have to do to be baptized?" And then I thought, If only everyone could ask me that kind of question! We taught them about baptism and they committed to study with us that week so they could be ready to be baptized on Friday. They were all doing well, even gave up drinking coffee, which was a BIG thing for them, and were ready to go on Friday. We called the bishop, the primary president, and a few other members so they could be there to show their support for the inactive member and her family. When we left our house to pick up our investigators, we saw a great big rain cloud above our heads. It rained harder than I have ever seen it rain out here so far. All of the members told us that they weren´t going to the baptism anymore because of the rain and no one was able to take the kids to the chapel. I got so frustrated and mad and sad and all of the above because we had planned everything perfectly. The rain didn´t even reach any of the other areas in my zone either, and didn´t last more than an hour. It rained in just the one spot, at just the right time to disrupt everything. I got super upset with myself and didn´t know what to do, but we had faith that the Lord would prepare everything for the next day so that they could be baptized. When Saturday came, everything went perfectly. Almost half the ward was there and the inactive woman was extremely happy that the members still cared about her. I was super happy to have learned a great lesson about patience this week. Patience and humility are some attributes that I am striving to perfect in my life and work right now. To be a true follower of Christ, I need to know that everything depends on His own time and will, and I need to show my humility enough to show that I understand and accept that His thoughts are not my thoughts, neither are His words, my words, and that I am His servant and not the other way around. Missionary work will always continue... at what magnitude and success will depend on me being subject to the will of the Lord always.
I believe that this is something that we can all put into practice. Sometimes we get so upset when things that we plan don´t necessarily go our way. But if we really understand that when we do everything in our power to make something happen, and then it doesn´t happen, then it really wasn´t what the Lord wanted. He will help us and guide us in all that we do, but He will always do it His way :) His way is always best... even if we can´t see how.
I´m receiving barbeque classes from a member´s husband out here so I can come back home and show you how we do it Brazilian style! We have a barbeque with them right now, so I can´t spend too much time on the internet right now. I love you all and I love reading about what you are all doing back at home. I don´t ever get homesick, but I do love hearing all of the adventures that I am missing. Don´t ever forget that I love you all and am working hard to represent my Savior, His Church, and my family the best way that I can! Have a great week!
Elder Steven Clark