Monday, May 14, 2012

The Final Email from Steven (Monday, May 14, 2012

Oi Família!!! Not much to say really right now. This is officially my last e-mail that I will be sending as "Elder Clark". I really have enjoyed writing these e-mails every week and sending them to you all to read. I have tried my best to write about the good stuff that I experienced throughout my weeks. I have a terrible memory and I am glad that I have these e-mails saved so that I can always come back and read about my own experiences. I am also extremely grateful for my dad having encouraged me to write in my journal every night. I have often gone back to my journal to relive some of the good times I had on the mission. Often times I would end up with a huge difficulty in the work or a personal problem and I was able to go back in time through my journal to find out how I dealt with a similar situation in the past. How I was able to come out of the problem, or how my feelings were about that certain subject. I am able to compare and contrast the differences in my attitude in each problem that I faced in the mission. I am also very lucky because I recorded the most spiritual experiences I had during the days. I wrote in this journal EVERY SINGLE DAY of the mission! I wanted to be just like my dad, and I was able to do it! I am so excited to one day show my kids the journals that I kept. I´d like to give a very special thanks to my Grandma and Grandpa Stevens who helped me so much financially while I´ve been out here serving. There was a time in my mission when my companion was very irresponsible with money and I ended up having to pay for almost double the normal costs. That extra money that you guys put into my account every month saved my life out here! I am also so glad that I have been able to save up a lot of that money to show that I really am grateful for the sacrifice you made for me. I didn´t spend the money unwisely because I knew that it represented the love that you two have for me. That goes for everyone who ever put a little extra money into my bank account during these two years. I know that they were donations from the heart, so I treated them that way. Thanks to all who wrote me letters and sent me e-mails throughout the mission. I always seemed to get a letter in the times that I needed a little pick-me-up. It was nice to hear about news from home (braces, got taller, won an a election, got MARRIED, and etc...) and I always loved to read about the testimonies of so many friends and family. I loved the letters that Grandma Clark would send because I always got the low-down on the weather, the entire family, the Jazz, Grandpa Clark, and the ward. I´ll admit that I didn´t always have the dilligence to write back, but I appreciated every letter that she sent. And a very special thanks to my mom, dad, and brothers and sisters who were very good at sending me an e-mail every week. There are so many missionaries whose parents don´t even send them e-mail anymore and I am so grateful that mine always sent me something. I am so blessed for being able to serve specifically in this mission. I can´t believe how great the hand of the Lord is on the Earth, and I know that I wouldn´t ever recognize it as often in my life if it weren´t for the mission. I will take home with me a whole bunch of trinkets and souvenirs from Brazil, but the most precious thing that I will take home with me is the testimony that I gained while I was working here. I owe it all to my great parents that I have. My earthly parents AND especially my celestial parents, whom I know love me so much. Good-bye everyone! I´ll see you all on the other side! Love, Elder Clark

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday, May 7th 2012

Oi Família!!! I must say that I did not ask for the weeks to pass by so quickly. It´s kind of catching me off guard. This week was quite the week of good times. I decided to spend this week doing companion splits with the zone leaders in a zone that I had already worked. I don´t know if you all remember that city that had the big ol´ name of Itaquaquecetuba, but I went back there to pay a visit to a few special people and give my last good-bye to them all. I especially wanted to see the family that my companion and I completed while we were there. The couple´s names are Sidney and Adriana. My companion and I baptized Sidney while were there about 10 months ago. He was pretty hard to convince in the beginning but now he is super strong in the ward and is serving as the secretary in the elders´ quorum. He baptized his 8 year-old daughter since then and they even gave me some special news... their family will be getting sealed this year in August! I couldn´t help but cry and laugh and do all sorts of unmanly things when I heard them say that. I love that family so much and I am so glad that they are learning how to "endure to the end!" I´m just sad that I won´t be here anymore to see the sealing, but that is the least of my worries right now. I just have a good feeling of fulfillment now in my life. This was one of my biggest goals as a missionary and I am so happy that I was able to accomplish it. Like I´ve said so many times, I don´t know what I did to deserve such great experiences or be around such great people, but I am in debt eternally to my Heavenly Father. Another cool story of the week! In that same area, two complete families were baptized the week before I went to visit again. Just a little background info... ten months ago while I was still working in that ward, I was climbing up a huge hill on an extremely HOT afternoon! My companion and I decided to stop at a random house to ask for a glass of water. We knocked on the door and a woman came out and offered ice-cold water to my companion and I. We took advantage of the opportunity to talk to her about the Gospel. She would´ve let us into her house that instant but her husband wasn´t at home yet, so we marked to pass by another day. We left a booklet of the Plan of Salvation with her and went on our way. I completely forgot about her and we never went back to that house and soon after I was transferred to the area that I am in right now. Well, what happened with that family and that booklet that we left with that woman? That woman waited for our visit and we never came. Her sister, who lived in the same house as she did, was hospitalized. That woman gave the booklet to her sister and started to read it. They all got interested in the message of the Church but the missionaries never came by. Ten months went by and finally the Elders came by their house again through a street contact. They fell in love with the Church, and were baptized! Two couples and their kids were baptized into the Church, and it all started because my comp and I were really thirsty. I didn´t know that it was them who were baptized and I asked the Elder to show me were they lived. When I saw the house, I was a little taken aback. When I saw the woman, I went crazy. I asked her if she remembered me. She looked at me and said, "You were the first Elder to come to our house!" Normally, when I feel the Spirit in my life, it´s a small and simple feeling. But as I was talking with that family, my heart felt like it was ready to jump out of my chest. You really don´t find these types of experiences in any other place than when you´re on a mission. It seems like a story straight out of the Ensign, but to me it really could only be the Lord´s hand that does these types of miracles. Well, it´s my last full week of work here on the mission. But no one has to worry. The trunkiness is at a minimum :) These really awesome experiences are helping me keep my focus. Love you all! We´ll all talk soon on Skype this Sunday! Elder Clark