Monday, June 27, 2011

June 27th, 2011 Monday

Oí Família!

Hey, do you all remember last week in my letter when I said that I really hope that I don´t get transferred because everything was going so smoothly out there in Lorena? Well, that day I woke up and told myself, "Heavenly Father would be playing a pretty big joke on me if I get transferred right now." Well, once again, I have found out that our loving Heavenly Father has a great and full sense of humor, because I have been transferred from my favorite area in the mission. Now the name of my city isn´t as easy to say as Lorena. Everyone repeat with me, "Itaquaquecetuba." Did you get it? Pretty cool, huh? I really like this place and the members are really nice! I spoke for about five minutes in Church yesterday without knowing that I would have to give a talk. My companion told me that this ward never calls on the new missionary to present himself on the first Sunday, so I relaxed and thought that I would only have to say hi to a few people. Nope. But it was nice, I went up and told a few jokes about my tiny hometown of Spring Lake and then bore my testimony.

Something that really caught me by surprise this week was what happened when I was transferred. This month of June I didn´t baptize anyone. I really didn´t work really hard, or at least as hard as I used to, and the results showed it. I thought that my president was disappointed in me, because I was a little disappointed in myself, and I knew that Heavenly Father wasn´t entirely pleased with my work. I made a promise to God that if He would forgive me for the poor month that I had, I would work twice as hard in July. What happened? I was called as a zone leader. I was absolutely surprised at how quickly He answered my prayer and now I know that I have to dedicate myself even more to help this work continue onward. Brazil São Paulo East has just moved up to the highest baptizing mission in Brazil and the third most baptizing mission in the world. We have to keep workin hard to keep bringing these souls unto Christ. We aren´t working to be better than everyone else, but we are working to be OUR best for the Savior.

As we were walking down the street this week, we had in our minds that we would invite EVERYONE to go to Church. We passed everyone, handing out little flyers that we made and giving service to people who needed it. We were passing by one house that was working on their house. All of the houses here in Brazil are made differently than the houses in the U.S.. All of the houses are made of this huge type of brick that is pretty heavy to carry around. This particular house had about 300 bricks outside of their house that they were all moving piece by piece into their garage. We put down our backpacks and just started to help. We didn´t even ask if we could help, we just went at it. We were with one of the young men of the ward and he and I and my companion started going to town! It felt so good to help them and all the neighbors just sat there watching three young men in white shirts and ties helping these people move brick inside their house. Sometimes words don´t need to be spoken to share the message of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I can´t even believe how fast the time is flying by out here. I live with two other missionaries now in my house and one of them is an Elder who arrived in the MTC with me and will leave with me at the end as well. We both only have 11 months left and that really is not much. We have a duty to fulfill with God out here and there is no time to waste! I am so happy to be a member and missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because I know that we are taking the message of repentance and baptism to the entire world. Christ is coming and we need to prepare these people for His coming. I love these people and I love the mission! I love my family and I get so proud of you all when I hear about your stories during the week. Have a great week everyone. Tambi, read the scriptures if there isn´t TV at Mimi´s house :)

Elder Steven B. Clark

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday, June 20th 2011

Aló Família!!!

Let me just apologize for the lack of the email from last week, but now you can bet that there is a pretty crazy awesome story for this week, huh? Well, my companion and I were really hurting for people to find and teach these past few weeks and I had really not been completely motivated to work as well, unfortunately. I started to feel really sad on Sunday night because I knew that I hadn´t done very well that week and I wanted to do better. I really prayed to Heavenly Father that He could help us find someone to teach and someone to help come to know the Church. As we were walking home on Sunday night last week, we passed a guy on a bicycle heading our direction. I waved at him and said hi and he just kept on going. I put my head down and kept walking as well. All of the sudden, I felt something walking with me at my side, and I knew it wasn´t my companion because he was on my other side. That man had turned around and started walking with us. He asked where we were from and what we were doing. He got super interested in the Church and followed all the way to the Chapel. As we were talking, I could tell that he wanted to invite us to come to his house one day, but he was too scared to ask. So I took the initiative and asked, "Robinson, could we visit you and your wife tomorrow night?" He got extremely happy and said he would tell his wife and they´d be waiting for us. That night, I didn´t realize the answer that God was giving me. We went to his house on Monday night and taught him about baptism and how it helps us get closer to God and that it will help his life. He lives with his wife who has suffered mental problems her entire life and he was kind enough to become her husband to help her through her difficulties that she has. He works with painting and in his spare time he fixes computers for his neighbors (I spoke a lot about my dad with him after I found that out!) We came back the next day to teach about Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the Gospel. As were got to the part about the Book of Mormon, I reached into my bag to grab one to give to him, but I had accidentaly left it in another house we were visiting. I got extremely sad and upset with myself, but then Robinson said, "wait a minute brother, I found something 10 years ago that I think you guys could help me find out what it is." He went into his room and grabbed the oldest Book of Mormon I have ever seen! He said that he found it one day 10 years ago and saw "Another Testament of Jesus Christ" written on it and decided not to throw it out. The Spirit then testified to me that this was the man that Heavenly Father wanted us to find. My testimony and heart were edified after this experience and I really couldn´t explain all of the happiness I felt because He had answered my prayers.

We have also been teaching a family of 10 this month! There is the dad and nine children! The mother of the family left the house nine years ago and doesn´t want any type of responsibility with the children, so now the dad has to work twice as much and take care of everyone! He has so much love for his family and really has done well in teaching his kids the good values of being a successful person in society. He teaches them all about the Law of Chastity, the Word of Wisdom, and pretty much everything that a parent of the Church would teach. He came to Church yesterday and he and his WHOLE family will be baptized this Saturday!!! Can you imagine all those people in white???!!! I am so extremely happy! Then next month we are going to marry another couple and baptize them and there little son! The Lord has truly blessed us here in Lorena!

Well, it´s the end of the transfer again and I am truly praying that I don´t leave. I love this place and I have so much more to do here, but if the Lord wants me to go, I will. We don´t have lunch today so I am making american pancakes for my companion!!! We are both extremely grateful for the package! All of members loved the Twizzlers!!! I love you all and am so grateful for all of help you all give me! Have a great and fabulous week!

Elder Steven Clark

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

Oí Família!!!

To start everyone off with a laugh, I´d like to share a story with you all that happened to my companion this week. So, as you all know, he is a new missionary. We were walking down the street last Monday when all of the sudden there was this 14 year-old girl who stopped us and started asking about the Church. My companion got all excited and started telling where the Church was and when it started and I started to notice something really fishy. She started looking at us with a weird look on her face and cut off my companion and said, "you guys are cute!" I told her, "well, yeah... we´re gonna go now." Then my companion went to shake her hand and she took it and went in for the kiss! She kissed him on the cheek and he sat there stunned! She went to me next and I told her that we couldn´t because we were missionaries of the Church and then she went away. I waited a while, then looked at my companion who had this scared look on his face, and then I started busting out laughing! Haha I couldn´t take it. We had quite a good laugh about it for this week.

Not much happened this week and unforutnately, our President cancelled our P-day today. I wish I had more time but I will fill you all in on more things next week! I love you all!

Elder Clark

Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday, June 6 2011

Oí Família!

My, oh my, what a great time it is to be in Lorena! It´s absolutely freezing here at night and in the morning! I am turning into the biggest wimp! I can´t even stand the 65 degree weather here in Brazil. How am I going to be able to move back home to the -10 winters of Utah? Seriously, I wake up in the morning all refreshed and renewed, and once I take off the covers and put my feet to the frigid wood floor of our house, I get back into bed and put on the covers again! It´s crazy! Right now it´s like 70 degrees and as I am typing, my fingers are trembling. I am going to have to buy another sweater out here because I gave my only one to my companion out here, who is from the North part of the country... right next to the equator haha.

I am doing pretty well out here in Lorena! I am loving the ward, too. We have done a great work here in this little town. That family that we baptized is looking to go to the temple this month to do baptisms there. They also got super excited this week because the ward is having a dance this weekend! They said that they will bring ALL of their friends! The oldest one, the one that looks like Big Mike, is wanting to help one of his friends get baptized because he wants to be able to do the baptism himself. Yesterday, after Church, he started talking to me how he is wanting to go to the temple so badly and that he is going to start going to Institute every Saturday! I can tell you that the ward is really excited to have this Jadson, and I am so thoroughly grateful that the Lord trusted me with these special children.

Speaking of my companion, I am really liking him. He´s a good missionary and really knows how to hold himself during our discussions with people and looks like he´s been in the field for almost six months in spite of this being his first month in the field. The problem is that he and I have our differences in opinion, which is normal, but he doesn´t like to hear my side nor understand my side. It´s really difficult because I feel like I have to teach the investigators and my companion at the same time because doesn´t agree with the way that I phrased a sentence or something like that. Last night, however, the Spirit really helped me find a solution to my problem. As we were talking with the mother of a member of the ward here, she started to talk badly about a lot of the members whom I have grown to love a lot over the time here. I told her that I didn´t appreciate what she was saying and told her that she shouldn´t be saying things like that about others, and my companion started to try to explain things his way to her. When we left he let me have it. He started saying how I don´t have any patience with anyone and that I need to learn how to hold my tongue and say things differently and as he was saying all this stuff I was just getting angrier and angrier. I almost reached a point where I would have exploded and started playing the blame game. But out of nowhere, I felt something whisper to me to not say anything. I put my hand out and shook his and said, "thank-you, I will do better." And I said it with all sincerity. With a lot of people, we can argue and argue and plead our case and try to show them that THEY are the ones who are wrong and not us, but this only results in hurt feelings and pride. I was really glad that I was able to hear the Spirit above my anger because it may have saved our companionship. It was a humble pill to swallow, but pride is something that cannot abide in my heart. Maybe I was right, maybe I was wrong, but I know that I reacted the way that Heavenly Father wanted because I felt a peace fall upon us afterwards.

Sorry I don´t have much to say this week. Just thought I would share with you all what I learned. I hope you all have a great and wonderful week. I love you all! Remember who you are and what you stand for! :)

Elder Clark