24 June 2013

6/24/13

Dear Família,
I´m alive, thank heavens! This week on thursday there was a protest in my city (the only protest to take place in my zone of 6 areas). The Area 70 Authorities had said to not participate, not take pictures, not make contacts with anything to do with these protests. Beleza. So my companion and I planned on teaching people who dont live near Centro (the center of the city). We heard that the people would protest in a few areas and that it all started at 2pm, and we didn´t think it would be that big because we not live in the capitol. We were leaving an area that wasn´t too close to Centro, when we started seeing people with their faces painted, Brazilian flags, and whatnot walking towards us. Then there were a huge barracade with a bonfire right in front of a huge lineup of busses. It was 6pm, so we figured that everyone was just leaving the protest. We turned our heads and about 100 feet away were 10,000 people marching down the hill towards us. I have never been so scared in my life! It had the same feeling as the race riots in the United States. So my companion and I walked super fast warning everyone that a huge group of people were coming this direction and to turn around. We avoided it, thank heavens! We passed by a less active member´s house and he was watching the news in Brasília, Brasil where the protests there were out of control. So who knows if the protests will get worse, but all I know is that they are already going to have another protest this next thursday. Yay, super excited.
To add to that, its still been raining a ton, soccer games, and festa da juninha (June Parties/Harvest Festival). So much culture makes missionary work a challenge! But I´ve loved every second of it, and its made us think creatively and seek more inspiration!
On a spiritual note, we have been teaching a lot about the Second Coming. The majority of the people that we talk to ´who dont want to get baptized say, `not now, i dont want to get baptized right now´so we´ve been putting fear in their hearts, and teaching them that no one knows when Christ will come (which is no exaggeration). And that we have church once a week as a preparation for the Second Coming, just as the Book of Mormon says in the introduction. I haven´t taught this way very much, but I have to say, its interesting to see people´s reactions!
And it was awesome seeing Vic Patrick at the fireside! Small world! Loved the Worldwide Training, makes me want to help the missionaries as a member so much because it is 10x easier with their help! (Even though knocking doors is one of my favorite things to do!)

Love you lots, thanks for your letters, thoughts, and prayers.
Síster Clark
 

 
 
1. there are bonfires every night because of the harvest festivals here in northeast brasil. the typical food is anything with corn or peanuts, so the scent of corn and peanuts is constant!!
2. Festa at the church! Was an awesome way to get less actives and inactives to come to church- or at least make friends!

23 June 2013

6/17/13

Dear Loverlies,
This week was an experience. With the downpour of rain that refused to quit (1 foot river of water in front of our house), the constant soccer games, missionary work has been at its finest! NOT! We´ve made the best of it- including making homemade peanut better which I´m now obsessed with, went to Institute with a few of the young single adults, and did some street contacting with some prostitutes.
We had interviews with President Andrezzo which is always a highlight. He gave valuable advice and like always, motivated us to go out and share the light of this gospel with our example!
We´ve been teaching a lot of 14 year old youth this week and last week. Its so amazing to be teaching them the First Vision and we tell them that Joseph Smith had 14 years old as well- really relating these doctrines to them personally. They all are so intelligent and amaze me with their honest search for all that is good in this world. We are focusing a lot on what is a response to their prayers to help them commit to baptism!
I gave a training at our District Meeting this week on the Book of Mormon. I realized something, that in the Teaching Record sheets that we use to record an investigator´s progress it has space for the date, how it went, what commitments they accepted, and selections of the Book of Mormon. From this we can learn that whatever lesson we teach we can use the Book of Mornon, because as we know- it contains the fullness of the gospel! So my companion and I put that into action, and we definitely saw improvement in the understanding and spiritual nature of our teachings.
Hope all is well with friends and family, I´m praying for all of you and love you lots lots!
-Síster Clark

6/10/13

Dear Family,
This week one experience really changed my perspective. We were talking with a man who converted when he was a teenager, served a mission, and only for these past few years he has been less active (he goes to church every few months because, he says knows how important the sacrament is). He has a son, John who is 7 years old and will be 8 in July. John goes to church frequently with his cousins and really likes the primary. John´s dad said that he will definitely be baptized, but he probably will be baptized when he is 9 or 10 years old when he has more knowledge about the sacredness of baptism. We obviously talked a lot about baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, 8 years old is the age of accountability according to revelation given to prophets. This man already knew all of these things, and being a man with little humility, this conversation was literally going no where. I felt the strong impression to bear my testimony about my baptism since no one else present was baptized at 8 years old. I said, `I was baptized when I had 8 years, my parents talked to me about the importance of baptism but said it was my decision. I was excited to be baptized but also nervous. I did not know what would come of it, any big or small changes would happen. But, I decided to be baptized. I remember stepping down into the font with100% nerves, fear. I got baptized and I literally felt like there were angels present. I couldnt see them, but I felt the Holy Ghost so strong in that moment and that Heavenly Father was really happy with me! Even today, I remember every moment and every feeling I felt when I was 8 years old and decided to complete this covenant with Heavenly Father.
 
After I stated my testimony, there was a pause. The first words that this man said, in complete humility were, ´i will talk with my son´ A few days later we talked with the mom and she said they were preparing his baptism. I am so grateful that I could help this family and I have high hopes that this baptism will reactive this family that is so desperately needed in this branch here. As an American here in Brazil everyone and their mom already know that I grew up in the church, they think I don´t have a testimony and I was forced to be baptized. Constantly being told this, I guess I gained a little bit of shyness telling people that my family are members of the church. But in this moment of talking with this man, I have never felt so proud to have been baptized the very first moment I could be baptized, 8 years old and for having such a strong family in this gospel who taught me these truths at a young age.
I love this true gospel and I LIVE IT!
 

 
1. My companion and I were in a different Zone (Itabuna) monday night to do a division with the new Sister Training Leader for a day. (LOVE LOVE LOVE this new calling in the mission! Definitely will help a ton!) We went to FHE with the missionaries in São Caetano an area where my companion and I both served. I started teaching this family and baptized one boy, my companion Sister Maciel baptized the mom, and the Elders baptized a girl in the family. It was a super fun FAMILY reunion!
2. Divisions!! 2 Sister Training Leaders, me and my companion, and the 2 other sisters in Itabuna. It was party

6/3/13

Dear Family and Friends,
This week was wonderful beyond words. We organized a ton of family nights with the  members, service projects, and a big family night in the park with the whole Branch. All were a complete success! We met so many people who had family members who weren´t baptized and were essentially waiting for our invite. Miracles do happen. This week was amazing due to the fact that we planned all these activities really well. Blessings come if we do our part, work hard and constantly seek for opportunities for serve. 
 
My companion and I did a division this week with the Relief Society President and another woman in the branch. Between us we were able to visit all the women in the Branch who have been going to church at least once within this past year. That day was a day FULL of miracles. Makes me have such a strong testimony of visiting teaching! I went with Laís, (not the RS prez) and I taught all the lessons, with Laís bearing her testimony and saying the prayers- I taught the same lesson to every woman we visited : Obedience. I used Elder L. Tom Perry and President Monson´s talks from this last General Conference. Have a new LOVE for obedience after teaching, preaching, and talking about this doctrine.
We had Stake Conference this sunday and it was one of the funnest stake conferences I have ever been to just because my companion and I had served in other wards in this stake so we got to reunite with tons of members and missionaries. President and Sister Andrezzo, my mission president and his wife, spoke as well. President spoke about the basic reasons why we preach this gospel (Christ lives and we have hope through him), Sister Andrezzo spoke about keeping the connection stong with your families. She said, you wonder why the missionaries baptize tons of kids? We don´t encourage them to baptize one age group over another, but our mission has tons of kids being baptized. And why is that? Because the missionaries and the primary give the kids much needed attention. It was interesting to hear that, because that is definitely true in the areas that we are serving!

Love you all, thank you for your thoughts and prayers!
This church is true, I know it, and I live it!
Síster Clark





1. onibus to the stake conference (1 hour). Loved every second of it... even though the member in the front looks like she doesnt!
2. moças em Ramo Centro (young women in Branch Centro). 
3. Elder Santos- RM who served in NJ Morristown Mission and still wears the NY Manhattan pin on his suit coat and lives here in Bahia! Small world! 

5/27/13

Dear Família Abençoada,
Congratulations Mackenzie, Spencer, Madeleine, and Henry! Welcome to the World Baby Amelia! I´m just going to go ahead and say what everyone is already thinking, there are blessings of having a missionary in the field! You are welcome! Bahaha! I loved seeing the pictures and Saturday and Sunday I was so anxious to meet my little niece or nephew! What a blessing families are!
This week we did a lot of service for less actives and inactive members because our branch is seriously lacking in leaders. The church attendance this week was 38. So there´s definite room for growth and definite potentional. One of our star recent converts is named Marilene. She investigated many churches and finally settled down here in our church. She is always super confused because she can´t remember if our church as a specific doctrine, or it is was another church. We are constantly working with her to answer her questions. This last week and the week before she didnt go to church because she said that the members don´t want to help her and they never visit her. So the frustrations of keeping a branch going really hit us hard. If our recent converts don´t feel like they are growing or that they are in a place where they feel support, how can we baptize more people that remain firm in this gospel? We were praying, praying, praying, and asking our leaders and trying new things- finally at a Ward´s Council the Branch President said we should try having family night in the park once a week for more integration. It will be more or less Ward Prayer of what BYU wards do- just go, share a short message, play a quick game iwth a lot of people and then eat pop corn. Bam! Prayers are answered! And we have already organized this activity and are super pumped that this will bring more church attendance and a more love for this branch/church.
Other things this week:
-Became addicted to brazilian hot dogs. finally tried one. whoa! i have an addiction
-invited someone to be baptized by approaching him- did you know you have to be baptized to return to God´s presence? Will you be baptized? In my mind, the worst invite ever because it was so direct, but he accepted and seemed excited to finally be baptized after accepting the invite and learning more about this commandment.
-ate liver after everyone said it was super yummy. umm, no. definitely do not like liver. never again. (and i am not a picky eater here in brasil- i will eat literally anything- (fish, rice and beans everyday, whatever meat, etc)

This church is true. God hears our prayers and he is anxious to help us! The Book of Mormon is true!

Peace and Blessings,
Síster Clark
 

 
 
 
 
 
1. It rained for 2 days straight here. worst day of work ever! but we made the best of it! my companion and i are wearing my rain coats cause our umbrellas both broke because of the strong winds. Everytime it rains here it seems like the 2nd Coming due to the fierce winds and strange/scary looking clouds. No better time to cry repentance than now!
2. My companion and I helped a member and a less active make ice cream for the mutual activity the next day. Who´s pro at making ice cream now? Meee!

3. doing service this week and mowing an inactive member´s lawn

5/20/13

Dear Friends, Family and All!
This week was amazing! We started off the week sprinting, tuesday we had a new goal called Day of Soul of 10 new investigators, 10 lessons with members, and 10 references contacted. If anyone knows about the numbers in missions- those numbers are really high, even for Brazil. But we achieved it! We planned and organized our day really well and were ready for anything! We saw so many miracles. If a family wasn´t in their house there was ALWAYS someone else nearby to teach that was willing to listen and commit to being baptized. I really gained a testimony that as missionaries, we are not here to teach one person at a time, we are here to teach families. We invited everyone and anyone to hear these lessons, and it was one of the most spiritual, fun, thrilling days I have had on the mission.
One of these references is a boy who´s uncle left the church because he was offended. This boy had already read parts of the Book of Mormon, a few pamphlets and basically stated that he wanted to get baptized. Sadly, we organized that a member would bring him to church (who he already knew and was friends with), and when the member passed by his house he had apparently gone to visit his mom in a nearby city. One more week that he has to wait to be baptized! There are countless miracles happening, but its still a struggle to get people to actually go to church- so all you return missionaries out there- any beyond creative ideas to help people go to church (here in brazil we walk with the members to go to church or we introduce a member who will go with them to church).  
This week we had Zone Conference with 3 zones. One thing that I realized has been lacking in my lessons is using scriptures in the Bible, I will occasionaly use them. But my Mission President gave a great discourse about relating the lesson on the Restoration to the people, making this lesson not seem like a strange, peculiar story (even though it is). So, he said to ask the investigator to get their Bible, have them look up the scripture and read it! So for the past week I have been studying scriptures in the Bible that relate to the lesson on the Restoration. Anddddd once again I´m feeling like a retard because I didn´t memorize scripture mastery in Seminary... so all you seminary students out there- memorize those scriptures!
Anyways, life is amazing! This week was transfers, and I will be staying with my companion Síster Maciel for this next transfer as well! My first companion for 2 transfers! I am super excited! And we have the Sister Training Leaders in our mission now. We are pumped to finally do divisions with other Sisters which I have never done before in the 8 months that I have on the mission! And because of visa problems, we only have 2 sisters arriving this transfer, not 7 like everyone was saying a few weeks ago. So we are all praying for visas for the hispanics and americans!

Peace and Blessings,
-Síster Clark
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
1. The sisters in 3 zones at our zone conference this week. We are a tight knit family!
2. My companion and I like to wear our nametags in the center because it gets more eye contact... and yes we realize it looks retarded, but we do it on occasion to change up the pace!
3. My companion, Síster Maciel, me and Síster Cruz. Síster Cruz trained us both is is now training the Síster that I trained for one transfer.
4. BBQ on PDay!
5. Played volleyball and a form of dodgeball that is awesome! Dare I say brazilian dodeball? anyway, it was an awesome way to spend our pday!

5/13/13

oh family,
it was beyond wonderful talking to all of you yesterday! once again happy mother´s day momma bear!
Things I realized talking to all of you:
-on the mission I talk more direct and to the point, and want to get things done
-english is hard
-i <3 my family
-´what´s a testimony?´- madeleine made my heart melt!
-SUPER excited for my baby macarena to serve a mission and get set apart TONIGHT!!
-talking to family really puts things into perspective on what things are really important, instead of getting caught in the thick of things which is all to easy
-and finally- i am so stinkin happy that my family supports and helps me through out this mission! I love this support system that I have!!
This week was a great week full of lessons, finding new people to teach, and going out with a lot of less actives- who surprisingly were willing to go out with us, but didn´t want anything to do with the church. 2 transfers ago I was walking with my companion and a member to our meeting with the Leader of Missionary Work. We were about 20 minutes away, and the meeting was in 5 minutes. Due to a long lesson, we were super late. We were practically walk/jogging. Then, a car pulled to the side of the road and offered us a ride. We accepted because she said she was headed to the same neighborhood as we were. Unfortinuately, her phone rang the second we got in the car, and she was talking the whole time. As we were leaving we were only, very rushed, able to invite her to the church and say thank you. This sunday she and her son and daughter in law came to church! She said she is friends with some other members of our church (who go to a different ward) and that she wanted to bring her son, because as she said, `he needs to be taught.` So we marked a date (tomorrow) to go visit them. She was very grateful and said she was glad that she met us officially months ago. Miracles do happen!
This church is true and I know it!
-Síster Clark





1. talking on skype with all of you!
2. eating crab on sunday at a member´s house

5/6/13

Dear family!

This week in total we taught 69 lessons, 30 of which were with members. We have been running around trying to get a solid group of people who are improving and progressing in the lessons/committments because that has been a difficulty in our area. We are constantly trying new ways to get people to go to church and to find new people. Finding new people isn´t hard at all, but finding new people who are progressing and want to have more than just ´visits´ of the Sisters is the hard part. We are thinking positive and creatively and this week has been one of the funnest, most Spiritually led, and profitable week I have had on the mission. Elder Godoy who is an Area Authority in Brazil and is known by every single Brazilian gave a training in November for the missionaries in our mission before I arrived, he said- if you don´t have quality then get quantidade. And find and teach your quantidade with qualidade. That is exactly what we have been doing this week and we have seen so many miracles of comple change in people´s lives, finding a lot of people who have already visited the church and straight up said they wanted to be baptized. 
The Lord is truly working through us, and we are just merely instruments! This week our Padrão de Quinta (Pattern of Thursday) meaning, the numbers we should have by thursday night changed. It used to be 9 people who committed to baptism and now it is 14 people with 3 men. We are super excited for this challenge because we know this work is accelerating and we just need to do the best we can do and put our trust in the Lord! 
 
love,
Sister Clark
 
I´m sending a billion photos because today I renewed my visa in the morning and then my companion and I went to see the sights in Salvador! It was a touristy afternoon, super fun and the best way to recharge the batteries for this wonderful work! And we talked to tons of people about our purpose as missionaries here!
 




 

1. Me and Sister Maciel at the Pelourinho today for P-Day 
2. Pelourinho! Even as a sister, still can look pretty- yay for me!
3. Famous street in Salvador with the colored houses!
4. MICHAEL JACKSON HOUSE- best part of the day! 
5. Yo kenz this pic is for you! The graffiti in Salvador, and mostly all of Bahia is so beautiful, I am so obsessed with it!