28 May 2012

May 28, 2012

family!

im in vitoria da conquista, bahia! heres a long email for you with no puncuation except for periods cause thats all i know how to do. ill start from the beginning.

ive been sick for the last week and a half, so thats been SUPER fun. on saturday and sunday  (week ago) i had a fever of 101, and a fever of 99 with medicine. hmmmm, that wasnt too good. and i had to speak in church and say the closing prayer for the devotional on sunday night. i felt awful, but people said i made sense. i havent been able to hear out of my ears well for the past week either.

that in mind, i left on tuesday morning for salvador. we left at 530 am. we met my mission president, had lunch, and went through training. There were 15 new missionaries in my group, 3 of us were american and the rest brazilian. That night I met my companion, her name is Sister Ferreira (in portuguese the rr sounds like an h, so basically fe-hair-ra, fyi) She is Brazilian, shes 32 and was an elementary school teacher before her mission. She has been out for 8 months. She also doesnt speak any english. That night we caught a bus to Vitoria da Conquista, it was a 10 hour ride. I literally felt like we were in a bus that was full of people wanting to cross the mexican american border. It was a great way to start the next day!

Wednesday- we arrived at the bus station at 630 and then went to our zone meeting. I didnt really understand much, but sister ferreira explained it to me after. After that, I unpacked for a bit, then we went to lunch at a members house. The missionaries here eat lunch or investigators house every day then have lessons and everything else from 1 to 930pm. From 1 to 930 it was all lessons. All I could do was share my testimony. I prayed and hoped that I was sharing my testimony on a doctrine that my companion had talked about, because I really couldnt understand anything. It was amazing to see that everyone here is so willing to hear the gospel.

i dont have much time: heres the jist: i got even more sick on thursday night, and i went to the hospital, they gave me an iv and gave me drugs that idk what they even were. i got a little better, but im still back to having an awful cold that wont go away with medicine.

i struggle with the language everyday but i know to put my trust in the lord in everything and if im patient i will be able to know the things i need to know.

some strange things: in my area we have water in my apartment every other two days. everyone wears bland, old, ratty clothes. i dont wear makeup, i dont do my hair because it attracts too much attention. ive never lived my life like this, but i now fit in with the rest of the people.

the most pleasant thing to my ears is american music on the radio thats blasted outside our apartment everyday along with fireworks. i wonder, if they let sisters in this area, whats is it like for the elders.
i know this work is wonderful, and i know why i am here. i already love the people, and there have been countless miracles in less than a week. i struggle everyday with the language and lifestyle here since is it completely different.

i love all of you and thank you for your prayers, they have definitely helped.

-sister clark

view from my apartment

me with Irma Jardim

16 May 2012

May 16, 2012

fam a lee,
last email from the ctm! who's excited for me? cause i am beyond excited! A tiny bit nervous, but I am so ready to get out there and apply everything I have been studying!
On  monday we went proselyting near the CTM, it was about a 10 block radius that we could walk. I prayed about street contacting and practiced with my roommates and any other brazilian I saw. That morning it was raining all day, so we were all nervous we wouldn't get to go. After a while, we found out we could go and I got my game face on and went out with my 2 Elders. We each had 2 copies of the Book of Mormon, so 6 in total. We talked to and gave out all 6 in the first hour. It was really fun and I didn't say the same memorized lines each time. Each Book of Mormon we handed out was a unique experience. It was easiest if I initiated the conversation because I'm a Sister, and we talked to 8 people in total. One woman didn't want the Book of Mormon cause she already had one at home. Another guy didn't want one cause he already had a Bible, he said he would start reading the Bible first before the Book of Mormon. I also stopped him while he was driving his car out of his parking space, so it was a bit rushed. The best experience was this one girl who said she would listen to our message. She talked to us for a bit and then said she didn't believe anything that the Mormons believed. One of my companions then asked, "well do you have any friends who would be interested?" She said yes and took a BoM. Once she had it in her hands she said she had a question. She paused for a bit (probably to ask the question in the most simple portuguese possible for us) and then asked do you believe that Jesus Christ came to this earth to atone for our sins and that He will come again? I answered her question asking her to read Alma 7:11-12 and then explained that Jesus Christ atoned for our sins and that He will come again and we need to prepare for the Second Coming by keeping the commandments. She had a look of shock on her face and could not believe that we believed in the same things that she believed in. It was pretty cool to see a change of heart happen in a matter of minutes.
We also had TRC on Saturday with the Brazilian members again. This time it went so well! We taught tithing, prayer, and scripture study. One girl, who was playing the part of the main investigator, could not read very well and when she read the scriptures she struggled a lot, her brother had to help her. She looked like she was about 12 years old. She was just trying so hard to read fluidly, and everyone could tell. I felt the Spirit so strong, I just hope that that is how my investigators will see me when I struggle to speak.
After TRC we got feedback from this one teacher Irmao Mauricio. He said that my companionship is really good at working together, teaching, and the language. So I count that as a win! He did say that my companion Elder Hunt was using the very pegar instead of pagar though when we were talking about tithing. pegar means to catch and pagar means to pay. He said now a days we need to be careful about pegar because it has a bad meaning because of a popular song. OBVIOUSLY i knew that song, its by michel telo and I even knew the dance to it. This teacher could not stop laughing and could not believe that I knew the song. After that day, ALL the teachers knew that I knew the dance to that song and they would all come up to me and ask if it was true. So now, I think I have a reputation at the CTM. I had also taught my Brazilian roommates how to dougie (its a chris brown dance), and they taught their districts and their teachers saw, and now all the teachers think I am an amazing dancer because of these 2 things. False. Regardless, I've been having a lot of fun here, and I'll be sad to leave. But I am so ready to be fluent in Portuguese, be in the outside world, eat good food, and invite/teach people the doctrines of Jesus Christ.
love you lots.
Abby

13 May 2012

May 9, 2012

Fam Bam,

Happy belated birthday Christina!!
This week has been good. Instead of teaching a TRC lesson, we got to be the investigators and have missionaries that are a week behind us teach us. That was pretty interesting to be that perspective. It REALLY made me realize how important the holy ghost is. These missionaries that were teaching us were so nervous and scared that their sentences did not make any sense at all. Really kind of sad (and I'm sure I sound the same way). But I now feel bad for all my investigators I will have for my first transfer out in the field.

Elder Godoy, a member of the Seventy over Brazil came to speak to us at devotional. That was pretty cool since I know his daughter from BYU and we went to the Brazilian Festival in Utah together. He talked about living in the present and future right now. He said we should be living the life that we will be proud to tell other people about and to not have any regrets. Obviously that applied to everyone in the auditorium, but it has definitely helped me focus, and ask myself, "is this something that will help me in the future?" He also talked about his conversion story- he was a hippie long haired kid that all the other missionaries had dismissed and deemed "non investigator material", emphasizing the fact that we need to give everyone a chance.

My companionship this week has been amazing, every lesson we teach the teacher says that we work really well together. Thats probably due to the fact that we are really good friends and there are no problems between us. I will do anything to be friends with my future companion in the field so I can mirror this type of teaching.

I just found out my district was the last of the districts to be a 6 weeker. Now they are in the evaluating phase. I consider myself lucky!

In other news: Here's some TMI.
I have 3 new roommates. Two of them are brazilians. One is going to my mission. The other one is from Portugal. Here's a cultural experience:
To set the mood: In class on thursday we studied and taught the law of chastity.
 My Portugual roommate showered then walked out of the shower with her towel and started talking to me in portuguese (90 percent of my understanding of portuguese is body language). She dropped her towel and started walking around the room naked. Yes I have a European roommate! She continued being nakey for 10 mintues. So after freaking out in my mind, I went out of my room and got my friend Sister Ramirez who speaks spanish and english, she came back into my room and told this sister that that wasn't acceptable here at the mtc. Somehow its not awkward around this portuguese sister. But the awkward thing about the whole thing is that the MTC president's wife came by to talk to me (she talks to me everyday about being a solo sister) and so I told her what had happened.I told her it was definitely a cultural experience/ pretty funny/ but mostly awkward Now every senior missionary couple comes up to me and asks me how my roommates are doing with a smile. Its pretty funny... but mostly awkward.

love you lots!
and thank you so much for the letters! they are awesome! keep it up fam and friends!
-sister clark

the picture is of me and my companions elder dilworth (left) and elder hunt (right) at the sao paulo temple today.

02 May 2012

May 2, 2012

Family,
 
Yo, kenz, yo alive? I don't know if i already emailed this, but thank you so much for that letter, i read it on the plane and it was so freakin good. Girl, you gots talent!
 
This week:
My companions and I taught TRC on saturday. On saturdays the Brazilian members come in. We were really prepared for the scenario they gave us. We prayed a ton and practiced a lot. We walk in the room and there are 5 people, 2 teenage girls, 2 teenage boys and an older man. Blah, blah, blah, I say the prayer and in the prayer they all start laughing at my accent. So that killed the Spirit. It made me so frustrated. I wasn't even trying to say hard words, I was sticking to a simple prayer that I knew. Then we started teaching them, and all they were interested in doing was correcting our portuguese. So it was definitely not ideal. I was praying so hard while teaching and literally begging for the Holy Ghost to come. It took so much effort, but it finally came into the room when I was sharing an experience about how faith in Jesus Christ had healed me (my heart, that one time I had to have a priesthood blessing). So OBVIOUSLY i started bawling. Soon after that, the lesson ended. We talked with one of the teachers (who didn't speak english) and i just said i was frustrated with those investigators not taking it seriously. She thought I was crying cause I was so mad at them. So that whole day ALL the female instructors would come up and give me a hug. Oh man, it was so awkward. Miscommunication.... .But I'm glad it happened. It made me realize how important the holy ghost is and how sensitive I am to his guidance.
 
We had a devotional on sunday and a very enthuastic stake president came to speak. He made me (the only one) read in portuguese in front of the whole ctm. Wow, pretty nerve racking. But everyone said I read well. That was a good boost from TRC!
 
At our devotional on tuesday we watched a dvd of Elder Bednar speaking to the provo ctm (it seemed pretty recent) He spoke about how we live our lives by three things: doctrine, principles, and applications. doctrine: truth revealed by Heavenly Father essential to us. Its simple and  fundamental. Principles are guidlines that come from a doctrine fo rht righteous exercise of moral agency. Applications are what we do. These three things are how we should teach, for example: d: plan of salvation, p" obedience. a: tithing. I really liked this talk and wanted to write down everything he said word for word if i could. its such a good framework for lessons. 
 
Sister Lysenko and my 2 brazilian roommates left on tuesday morning. So now I am alone in my room aka I have to have a slumber party with other sisters until I get roommates. I know this week I will definitely not be getting a companion, but I'm pretty chill with that. 
 
My district also almost got into an all out fight with our district leader. It was pretty scary how heated it got. My district leader (Elder Swift, who is also going to salvador south) said investigators dont need friends in order to be baptized and that we don't need to be their friend, we should just teach them the lessons. A lot of teachers had to come in to stop it cause it was so out of hand. But yes, that is my district leader, and yes, I'm pretty sure we are getting a bad reputation here. Oh well, I'll just do the best I can do.
Love you lots,
Sister Clark


ps- pic is of me and sis lysenko and sis ramirez. we pretty much dominated the sister's hallway. sis ramirez learned english from sis missionaries, so all she knows is slang. so obviously, she fits right in with me and lysenko!