Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday, April 23 2012

Oi Família, Let me just tell you all that I absolutely loved this week! We had a pretty neat experience with a family that we are teaching. We found an amazing family last week in our search for souls that absolutely loved the Church. They went last week and said that they want to stay here. There is a dad, a mom, two kids, aunt and uncle, and grandma! Unfortunately, the parents and aunt and uncle aren´t married yet, so they aren´t able to be baptized yet, but we are working with them so they can be baptized as well! But we invited the grandma and the grandkids to be baptized this weekend and they accepted! They all got their hair cut on Saturday night to go to Church on Sunday morning! When they showed up at the Church, we all got into the van that we rented to take them all to Stake Conference. My companion, Elder Torres, and I looked at the van full of about 15 investigators and we got a big ol´ smile on our face. It seemed that after so much work and effort we were being blessed by the Lord. And it really wasn´t us who were being blessed but the people who we were taking to Church. But that is a funny thing about the mission. We often think that blessings from the Lord in our life are only things that benefit OUR own lives, but on the mission I have witnessed that when my investigators keep the commandments and go to Church or get baptized, I AM THE ONE WHO IS BLESSED! I haven´t perfected it yet, but I have learned how to be more unselfish here on the mission. I really think that in helping others repent and perfect their weaknesses God has slowly been chizzling away my imperfections... and I haven´t even been noticing it until now. We showed up to the conference and filled up three complete rows with our investigators and their families! And it couldn´t have happened on a better day because who was presiding the conference was Elder Clayton of the Seventy Presidency. :) Something hit me really strongly in our mission conference with Elder Holland and Elder Clayton this Saturday. There were so many great talks! One that really touched my heart was the conversion story of Elder Godoy from the Brazil Area Presidency. He said that when he was taught by the sister missionaries he was baptized at 16 years-old without his parents and with long rocker hair. One week after his baptism, both of the sisters were transfered from the area. What were the odds that that 16 year-old rocker kid would stay strong in the Church? Not much. Well, he went on a mission, came back, got married in the temple, had four kids, served as a bishop and at 32 years-old he had the opportunity to go the U.S. to study. While he was there he accidentally came across one of the sisters that had taught him 16 years ago. He saw her and started to thank her. "Sister, I stayed strong in the Church! I have a testimony! I know that the Church is true! I´ve been a bishop! I am sealed in the temple! Thank-you!" When Elder Godoy was called as a mission president, that sister was there to see him set-apart, but the best thing was when he was called a general authority. That sister´s youngest son was about to be sealed in the Salt Lake Temple when she called and asked Elder Godoy to do the sealing. What great of a feeling that must have been. To see someone you taught the Gospel SO many years ago sealing your youngest child in the temple. Well that only BEGAN the conference. Elder Clayton gave us three steps for us to be successful after the mission. First, don´t stop obeying the mission rules once you get back from the mission field. They don´t automatically stop applying to you once you take off the nametag, they are just slightly adapted to fit your life at home. They should be a standard for us to live the rest of our life. Second, don´t stop studying! Always strive to get a better education. The world is changing and the future is going to be VERY difficult and if we don´t get the best education that´s possible, we won´t be able to sustain our family. Third, never stop having companion study. Once we get home, we should look for marriage, and once we are married we should never stop studying with our companion. Helaman 5:12 says that if we build our faith on this rock, that is Christ, we CANNOT fall. In Portuguese, it says that we WILL NOT fall. Both are great promises! Then came Elder Holland´s turn. He took a little bit from Elder Godoy´s story and said to us, "What kind of person do your converts deserve to see in you here in 20 years?" Imagine how many people we have taught and baptized down here? How many will remain firm and faithful in the Gospel? We don´t know, but how would you feel if one of the people whom you taught and worked so hard to baptize saw you 20 years after the mission and you weren´t even living the Gospel anymore? That you, who brought the truth into their lives, have forgotten everything that you had learned in those two years experience. Elder Holland said, "You can´t have a million dollar experience like Elder Godoy with only 25 cents worth of effort!... You can bet that at the end of your missionary service that God will demand at least one convert from your mission. He will reach through the veil and thump you in chest and say, 'I demand at least one!'" Can you all imagine WHO is that one convert that God will demand that stays strong in the Church? It´s you. The world is a sad a strange place, but at least we, who KNOW the truth, can show that we KNOW BETTER! We are God´s investigators. Just how we want our investigators here on the mission to pray a little more earnestly, or to read and study the scriptures with more dilligence, or to try to be more like Christ, God wants the EXACT SAME THING FOR US! Just how we get happy in seeing someone we helped enter into the Gospel progress spiritually, God gets even happier when He sees His children fulfilling their duty here on Earth. He said that his mission reorganized his life. He didn´t know what a mission was. But now, 50 years down the road, there hasn´t been a single day that has passed by that he hasn´t thought about his mission. What kinds of things do I want to remember when I get back home? I want to remember the sad times, the good times, the spiritual times, and the funny times. I am so glad that I didn´t waste my time nor the Lord´s time in these two VERY short years. I know that if I had been disobedient in these two years, I would be coming back home extremely regretful and wanting to do it over again. I don´t know what I did to deserve such great experiences during my mission, but I thank my Heavenly Father so much for the opportunity. I hope to remember my mission just how Elder Holland does. I love my mission and my Savior. Thanks Family! You´re my world and my future. Love, Elder Clark

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