Sunday, October 30, 2011

Monday, October 31st 2011

Oi Família!

Well, I had my birthday this week. I can´t believe that I am already 21 years old. I don´t know how the time has passed by so quickly. It feels like just yesterday I was still going to high school preparing for a football or basketball game, or studying for a test. But now I realize that high school was almost three years ago for me! I am getting like Dad saying things like, "when I was your age, I had to get up at 4 in the morning to milk 40 cows, and then go to school!" Don´t worry, I don´t think I can pull the ol´ "when I was your age" card yet. But it was great here on the mission for my birthday. My mission president´s wife took very good care of me and made me a strawberry cake with my name on it and everything! She really is like a mom to us all here. She always buys everyone a new tie when it´s our birthday.

I had an amazing week this week. Just to let you all know what happened, I will explain to you all about someone really special from our area. His name is Diego and he is a 15 year old young man who we found here in the ward. We found him about three months ago and we took him and all of his friends to Church. They all loved it the first time and all of them wanted to be baptized the next week. We went around to all of their parents and they all allowed their children to be baptized... except Diego´s mom. She didn´t want him to be baptized in only two weeks and wanted him to wait a little bit more. So we let him wait a little more, and in the meanwhile, Diego went to Seminary every single day and participated in the ward choir, the theater piece that the young mens and young womens put on, and he even wanted to go to the temple with all the youth but got really sad because he couldn´t go. Everyone in the ward knows who he is and loves him to death. He is one of the most polite and coolest guys I have ever met. He always talks about serving a mission! We brought the bishop to talk to his mom and not even he was able to convince her to sign the baptismal form. Well, just the other day, my companion and I set a goal to not leave the house without a signature. We talked and talked... and talked... then his abusive dad came in and it started to get ugly. We stayed calm and bore our testimonies to them both. Diego wasn´t there during our conversation. Both my companion and I felt the Spirit so strongly in that moment that not even the hardest parents could have said "no". She took the paper and signed it, and even his dad signed it! We ran to Seminary to show Diego. When he saw the baptismal form all signed and everything, he started to cry and hugged us both! Just think of a young man who really wanted to be baptized! His baptism today was one of the best I have ever been a part of thus far. When he got out of the font, he gave me a big ol´ hug and said, "now I can go on a mission!" I love this Diego! We have about four other recent-converts who are getting ready to go on a mission next year as well! This stuff is great!

I went to the temple this week as well. There was a young man who always went on companion exchanges with me in my last area who finally got his mission call. He doesn´t have anyone in his family who could be his escort, so he called me up and asked me to be his escort. I got there and I saw his excited face seeing the beauty of the temple inside. I remember how I was my first time. Super curious and feeling the Spirit so strongly. He asked me so many questions and I really was happy to see how much he appreciated what he learned in the temple. I love meeting all these people on the mission. I got really sad this day thinking that I probably never will be able to see the majority of these people again when I finish the mission. I love all the experiences that I am having!

I love the mission and I love my recent-converts! I love seeing how they are growing and learning with me. I will be even more happy when they all go through the temple! My families that I baptized and the young men that will go on a mission in a few more years. There really is not a more gratifying work than this. I am really getting worried about the end of the mission. I can´t let any more moments pass me by! I love you all and thank-you so very much for all the support for my birthday! I love my family!

Elder Clark

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday, October 24th 2011

Oi Família,

Well, I truly took advantage of having pancakes and maple and peanut butter this week!!! I have a new calling in my house now; I am the official pancake cooker! We have an official dish washer, floor sweeper, and now I am the official pancake maker. I love the Elders I live with. Elder Paul is from Idaho and I am trying to convince him to go to Utah State right now. I don´t think there is a single missionary here that I haven´t tried to convince to go to USU lol. I guess my recruiting attitude hasn´t gone away yet. The other elder here is Elder Uchôa from the Pará, where Spensor is serving his mission. He is a really cool guy who likes to goof around. It is a really nice thing to know that I can come home and there is someone who still wants to joke around to keep the light spirit around instead of the "I just had a horrible day and my comp is bugging me" feeling.

I learned quite a big lesson this week during my personal study. I was reading in Revelation 3:15-16 where it says that God wants us to be either cold or hot, but those who are luke-warm will be spewed out of His mouth. What did I understand from this scripture? God wants us to be dedicated in something. We need to be "hot" and really decide to follow God and really keep the commandments. But if we aren´t "hot" we can´t be luke-warm because this is the lazy attitude. Heavenly Father would rather that we be super "cold" than be luke-warm because a luke-warm person doesn´t have any desire to do ANYTHING! Heavenly Father cannot put desire into us, but someone "cold" can be turned to someone "hot" really easily because at least they are dedicated to SOMETHING! Look at the Apostle Paul. He was a great example of a "cold" person. Because he was so against the Church, God was able to use his abilities to convert him and he turned into a "hot" person. A luke-warm person doesn´t really care what happens and will not change for anything and God cannot work with these and they will be "spewed out" of his mouth. I want to be "hot!" I want Heavenly Father to be able to call me one of His best instruments and that I am really involved in everything that I do for Him.

I attached a few photos here to show you all what I have been doing. There are a few pictures from the BANESPA building here in São Paulo which is the tallest in the city. Look at all the buildings! It was really fun being up that high.

I love you all and hope you all have a great week! I am so proud of all of my brothers and sisters and my parents as well. I know that I was placed in this family for a very good reason. Thanks a bunch for the letters and birthday package! Love ya!

Elder Clark

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday, Oct 17 2011

Oi Família!

Just to let ya´ll know, I love my recent-coverts here in my new area! Just four weeks ago, my companion and I were looking for some kid whom we had talked with on the street, but the problem here in São Paulo, and even worse in the favela, is that the house numbering system is totally whack! You could be walking down the street looking at the order of the number of the houses and you will see #12, #14, #16, #84, #76, #12940... and so on. So it´s basically impossible to find the right house here, but we thought we had found the right house and we knocked. It was the wrong door! But it was a family who was super happy to see us and they let us in! We taught them all and baptized all of them in two weeks! More than eight people in the family! The best thing was that one of the sons who is 16 years old has a problem, or HAD a problem. He always wears a hat because he is really embarrassed by his really large forehead. He told us that he would never take his hat off, not even at Church. But the bishop talked with him and gave him a recommend for the temple to do Baptisms there, but he told him that he would have to take off his hat. The next day, I passed by their house and the kid was walking around with pride and not ashamed of his forehead and was super excited to go to the temple! I was so impressed with him and it really did build my faith to see how he would make a such a big sacrifice, because it really was a sacrifice for him, just to go to the temple. This Sunday he even baptized one of his best friends as well and he was so happy! He said that it was so fun that he will bring a new friend each week to baptize! I love my recent converts and they are my pride and glory of my work that I do here. I love you all and I am sorry that my letter is so short this week but I know that this Church is true and I know that it is because my converts are knowing it too! Love you all!

Elder Clark

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

Oi Família!

I remember very well the advice that everyone gave me as I was leaving home for the mission, but the piece of advice that I remember the most was from Dad. He told me that no matter what I always had to send an email to him and Mom. Well I can honestly say that for one year and four months I had never missed a week... But just as every great movie has its end, so does my little angel streak haha! Last week got super busy for me and I only had one hour to send my email and it just so happens that on that hour the internet was down. Life is like a box of chocolates... you never know what you´re gonna get next... and sometimes there just aren´t enough rocks! haha

So what was Elder Clark doing these pat two weeks. Well last week were going around with our mission president giving training and whatnot to all the zones in the mission. We taught everyone how they can work better with the ward members and how to gain the confidence of the bishop in your ward. After that week I got an extremely strong desire to become a bishop one day outside of the state of Utah so that I could have more involvement with the missionaries so that the missionary work could flow so well. I have gained such a strong testimony about baptism here on the mission. When the bishop and the missionaries work together, you baptize a whole lot more and your converts stay strong in the faith. My new bishop in this ward is so good! He really shows his concern for our converts and he interviews them every Sunday! We have baptized a LOT of young men and he has already set goals for all of them to serve a mission! We got together all of the leftover white shirts and dress pants that missionaries had left in our house, and we gave them to these young men so that everyone can be dressed like priesthood holders. All of them are saying how great the bishop is and how they love seminary and it has made the biggest difference! As a bishop you have SUCH a great influence in the lives of the youth of the ward. I would love to have that opportunity one day... not that I want it really soon, but one day when I am ready.

Now this week I was still traveling throughout the entire mission doing companion exchanges. Right now, my area is the most successful area in the mission because of the way we are working. So we do these exchanges with the zone leaders so they can see what we are doing and they can put it into practice in their areas. I had the chance to revisit my old area! It was amazing! The zone leader I was with didn´t tell anyone that I was coming back to visit, so everyone got super surprised when they saw me. There was one family in particular that really marked my life there. When I first arrived, they told Elder David and me that we needed to baptized their son-in-law and their neighbor. We ended up baptizing them both and we created a HUGE friendship. When I was called as the Assistant, I didn´t have time to say goodbye to them, so I decided to give them a surprise. We knocked on the door and one of the daughters opened the door. I hid myself to the side of the door and popped my head out. She screamed and said ELDER CLARK!!!!!! The entire apartment complex looked out the windows wondering who had died lol It was so nice to see them again. Then we went and visited their neighbor whom I had baptized as well. We got there and he was telling me how he was already preparing his little boy to be baptized this week because he turned 8 this week! He has a 17 year-old daughter as well that isn´t baptized and I invited her that day to be baptized with her little brother. She accepted! I told their family that before I returned home that their whole family would be baptized. Little by little this prophecy is being fulfilled. I love that family so much!

Well that is pretty much all that I have! Just like always, when I have a period of time that I work extremely hard and then get a little break I always get sick, right? Well, I got a migraine headache on Saturday that knocked me out! I needed to do so many things that day and I knew that I couldn´t stay in bed. They gave me a blessing and I was able to do what was needed! I have such a great testimony that this Church is true and that the priesthood is true and that we are truly protected when we are giving our best to the Lord. I love you all and hope you all have a wonderful week!

Elder Clark

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Monday, October 3rd 2011

No Letter yet from Steve this week. He must be busy...