Wednesday, February 29, 2012


First of all, don't worry about me.  Carnival is over and it wasn't even that bad.  We taught our neighbors and they seem interested (the neighbors with a son that died).  We had a record number of lessons (17!) with members, and 14 others, and 10 with less-active or recent converts.  So, that was really good.

I also had a cool experience with a less-active that I found a few weeks ago.  She has a pretty rough life right now (more socially and spiritually than financially).  I shared some personal experiences with her about how God allows us to have difficulties and challenges, but these things will make us stronger, better people and help us be the best we can be IF we choose to learn and change.  I think my experiences helped her have more hope.  It was pretty cool.  We had a few appointments fall through, and I felt like we should visit her.  It was perfect timing because she was going to move to a different state the next day.

Thanks for all of your letters.  I haven't gotten my camera back yet.  My zone leaders didn't remember to bring it back from Belem so the letter is pretty short.  Sorry.
I'll try to write another mission-ties letter today!  

Love you all!

Elder Clark

Monday, February 20, 2012

Danger in Abaetetuba

So, last week was very interesting.  I´ve decided that transfers and zone conferences should never fall in the same week.

We got back to Abaetetuba Wednesday night and right when we where walking up the stairs one of our neighbors ran in crying hysterically.  Her son had apparently just been killed.  Yeah, so Abaetetuba is a bit dangerous right now.  Our neighbor was shot and killed by a drug addict female, 13 years old.  It happened in an area that we work frequently.  In the same part of the city, the same guy that was molesting the family of one of our investigators cut off the hand of a man that was working security in the street.  The other security guard guy shot him three times and he is in prison now.  Hopefully, things will settle down now. But all that stuff happened before Carnival started, so we will see.  Carnival has been alright so far, we haven't had any trouble yet.

Our baptisms fell through and none of our investigators progressed this week.  All of the investigators with a baptismal date didn't show up for church, and the youth are on a camping trip, so there were only 70 people at church.  I was really bummed and scared that our investigators where angry with us or something.  It turns out they weren't.  There was just some bad comunication and their ride didn't wait for them.  Sad, but we hope to have a baptism this week.

My new comp is alright.  He tries to speak in English but he has a super thick accent.  He sounds like he has a serious speech impediment when he speaks in English or like he is super drunk.  In Portuguese, you don't move your lips much, it's strange, like mumbling.  Your sounds in the languages come out very differently.  It's weird showing another missionary around.  I've been doing almost everything.  He has a year and 7 months on the mission.  I hope we can learn to work and teach better together. 

So that's about it.  I forgot my camera in the mission home so I don't have as much time as usual to write.  Love you all.  Talk to you later!

I'll be safe don't worry.  ; )


Monday, February 13, 2012

Nineteen Investigators in Sacrament Meeting -- Yep, 19

Mom:  Package stuff:  The shoes that I left in the car would be nice.  Oh, and a small how-to guide for yoga.  I want to start doing yoga as part of my exercise in the mornings.  Oh, and Mapeline (for syrup).  I think that's about it and if you can send some more harmonica music -- hymns or fun folk spirituals, you know, some blues/gospel harmonica music would be awesome.  Well, that's it.  I hope that's not too much or too expensive.   Love you.  You're the best mom ever!

So, I'll start off with the worldly stuff and move to the spiritual stuff near the end.  So, I saw my first big spider a week ago.  It was in the hall outside our apartment.  Elder R. Silva said that it couldn't kill people.  It was about the size of my hand spread.  I attached a pic.  I also had jacá -- a fruit.  We ate a pudding of jacá at a member's house (Irmão Cloudio e Irma Socorro).  It was awesome.  I took a pic with the fruit and attached it as well. 

Transfers:  I will stay here in the paradise of Abaetetuba for at least another 6 weeks.  I'm super excited.  I have really grown to like it here.  My new comp will be Elder Ararujo.  I have yet to meet him.  Apparently, he is really funny.

Culanary Triumph!!!  [Sue's note: I just can't edit that spelling.  It just makes me smile.  ;  ) ]  Well, I made corn bread and it was super good.  Then I tried again and I guess the baking powder didn't work and it didn't rise at all.  So it was more like a brick of rubbery cornmeal, but surprisingly tasty!  I had to be careful, though, because it was really dense.

We didnt have any baptisms, but we did have a lot of success.  We had 19 investigators at church on Sunday. Yup, 19.  10 of them have a baptismal date for the 18th or the 25th.  They are all super cool and that was one of the reasons why I wanted to stay.  We have been working with the branch and with less actives.  I hope we can help them keep progressing.  The new branch president is great.  He is organized and is getting everyone to work hard.  We have one super special investigator named Manuel.  He is 40-ish and works at night, something with security in the streets.  I get the idea that it's like a neighborhood watch thing.  He is really receptive and wants to have more joy and be closer to Christ, so it's been great to teach him.  Lately he has been having some problems.  His son was almost stabbed by some drug addict who stole two of their bikes to sell for drugs.  He has been preoccupied with the safety of his family for the last few days.  The day this stuff all started, we stopped by and I think he was about to do something rash, but we told him to pray about it and that he would know what to do.  Things have wound down now and he went to church and he loved it.  He forgave the ladrão  (robber) and I hope that we can baptize him and his grandson on the 25th.

Well, that's it for now.  Love you all!

Have a great week.

Elder Clark

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I Really Like it Here Now, Especially the Members

So, things have been pretty good here.  I have been working hard.  We have been teaching more families.  We have 4 now.  We have been teaching this huge extended family of a young man in the ward, his name is Eberson.  He is 17 and a little less active.  By the looks of it, he has some family problems.  They have this thing with tattling on each other and I think a fair amount of back-biting.  It's kind of sad to see how their family is so close (they all live really close), but the family ties are not really strong.  The family isn't as happy as it should be.  It's been great to be able to help them and hopefully they will continue to have a desire to learn.  I know that they can be way more happy if they apply the gospel in their lives.  Six of them came to church yesterday!  (And I think we have at least 20 that we can teach there).
Big news.  The construction of the new chapel is going to start in the next few days, and Presidente Campos came to our sacrament meeting yesterday to call a new branch president.  So, now we have a new branch president who is going to set fire to the ward (in a very good way).  The ward needs more motivation and more order for visits.  I'm only starting to realize the importance of doing your home teaching! 
This week has been full of surprises.  We have been focusing on our goal 150 people at sacrament meeting each Sunday.  When we get this number, the district here can turn into a stake!  And with this stake, we will have enough stakes in the mission for a temple district here in Belem.  Everyone is praying for the temple to be announced in the April Conference (Pres. Campos´ last conference here on the mish).  His goal has been to construct a temple here in Belem since he got here 2.5 years ago.  So, we have been working hard with less active members to get the attendance up and to find new people to teach (super effective).   So, each day we find out a little bit more about the history of the church here in Abaetetuba.  Apparently, 7-10 years ago there were 2 branches here and over 250 people coming to church each Sunday, but there was a lot of stuff going on (problems with not paying tithing, temple worthiness, and stuff like that) that kept the branches from getting a chapel.  There were also a lot of problems between members and one of the branches was closed.  Over the last 10 years the attendance went from 250 to (a few Sundays ago) 75.  It was really sad to hear about.  Everyone I have talked to that left the church had a similar reason.  They didn't feel enough support from the other members and other things (it was never about the church itself, more the members).  So, in accordance I have been trying to work with the members (mostly though lessons and short messages) that through love and service they can receive these blessings (a chapel, a stake, and a temple 50$ Reals away instead of 1500$). 
So, that's what has been going on here in Abaetetuba.  I really hope that I don't get transferred next week.  I really like it here now, especially the members.  Abaetetuba is great. 
Culanary triumph!!!(still working on the spelling)
I made the best lemon banana juice you can even imagine!!!!  Sorry, I can't tell you all the recipe because it's super secret, and I'm going to use it in the restaurant/pie shop/engineering laboratory I'm going to open after the mish.
So, that's all for now.  Love you all!