What a great week it was! I have quite the funny story to start everything off...
So I live with three crazy Brazilians, right? There is absolutely never a dull moment in our house. We are always super happy and goofing around when we´re at home, but the minute we walk out the door we are always looking for souls to bring to the Gospel. Actually, this week our zone baptized 11 people! We all work really hard and it´s so fun to come back home and talk about what happened with the other missionaries. Well, as P-day was coming to an end last week, I jumped in the shower after playing American football with the kids on the street. Just an FYI, in our house you basically have to sleep with one eye open because you never know what the other Elders are planning. As I was in the shower, I heard a little bit of laughter outside of the bathroom and then all of the sudden, the door swung wide open and I only saw three grown men with firecrackers ready to throw at me! Well, I am sure you all get the idea... I freaked out as the fireworks went off as I was taking a shower. I got out and spoke calmly and reverently as I tackled the three perpetraitors!!! In our house, it´s not abnormal to have a bomb go off at 3 o´clock in the morning. These guys are nuts! I love the mission!
All right, so this Friday was the President´s Counsel meeting with all the zone leaders in the mission. We all went to President Moreira´s house to hear what he needed to tell us. He got up and told us all what was expected of us. Something that I absolutley love about my mission president is that he is very direct and to the point. He tells us how we need to act and doesn´t sugar-coat the insults. He told something like this... "Elders, Let´s all turn to Alma 5. These scriptures tell us that if we are not doing everything to serve Christ, we are not serving Him, but we are serving the devil. I am sick and tired of hearing about slacker missionaries and if you all don´t ship up, you will never enter in this house again because the devil´s servants DO NOT enter into my house!" We all signed a paper telling President Monson that we would dedicate ourselves to the work and we need to live up to this responsibility. As I have mentioned in my last few letters, our mission is number one in baptisms in Brazil and the general authorities are asking President Moreira to send a report saying what he is doing to baptize so many people. He told us that if we don´t knock it off with the disobedience, he will not send the letter to them. I totally agree, I want him to be able to tell the Apostles that we are true servants of the Lord, not slackers. I love my president so much! He is such a great example of hard-work and obedience and I am so glad that I was called to serve with him.
Well, we baptized a really special family. A few weeks before I got here, my companion was walking next to this woodsy area and saw a woman working. He stopped and yelled to her, "I found you!" She stopped and looked at him all funny and said, "I don´t even know you!" Well, the started teaching her and she told them that exactly one year ago she had a vision. In this vision she saw a giant mansion and God had told her that that mansion would be here home and she needed to look for it. She denied the invitation to go to Church the first few weeks and then finally went one Sunday. She told us that as she turned the corner and saw the Stake Center, an absolutely beautiful building, her heart started to laugh and she knew that the Church was her mansion that God had shown her one year ago. It was the same color and shape and everything! She always wondered why God had told her that she would have a mansion one day because she has always been a poor woman and could never afford a house like that, but she recognized that she was at home whenever she entered into the Chapel. She and her son were baptized yesterday and she even got up and bore her testimony during sacrament meeting about how well she knew that this is the Church that Heavenly Father needed her to be in. It was really special to hear her tell her story to everyone. The water was super cold, and my companion and I were almost dying from the frigid baptismal font, but she told us that she only felt the warmth of the Holy Ghost within herself. This woman, Maria, was a child of God waiting for an answer, and received her mansion, just as He had promised.
I know that this Church is true. I know that God is preparing so many people everyday to be brought unto the fold. I love this work and I am so happy that I am a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Joseph Smith was a true prophet and now we have President Monson to guide us in these last days. I would not be here if I wasn´t sure if all of this were true. I KNOW it´s true. I love you all! Have a great day!
Elder Steven Clark