Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Father's Day, and The Ups and Downs of Missionary Work

Monday, August 13, 2012 6:40 AM

Hey Dad!

I wanted send special note to you for Father’s Day [Father’s Day in Brazil is the 2nd Sunday in August, not June].  I thought a lot about Father’s Day and what it means.  I think it’s funny how sometimes I seem to relearn or come to understand some things better.  I always knew being a father is important or that there is a lot of responsibility, heartache and joy involved.  For example, the father of the prodigal son had moments of pain and grief but when his son came back he undoubtedly was the one who felt more joy and love because what was lost to him was found.  

I got to give a lesson to a family (Camila and Nilson who have 2 daughters about 7 and 5).  They have had lots of problems in their relationship, more because of the past because Nilson drank a lot.  He stopped before we met them but there are still some feelings that haven't been resolved yet.  There we taught about the worth of souls and I talked about what things make us/God happy.  When we understand what makes one happy, we will understand better what will make the other happy, and what we should avoid in order to continue to be happy in tough times.  I concluded that what brings more happiness to us in this life are things like our families being unified, seeing our friends, siblings, children, or parents succeed.   Therefore God is made happy when we succeed, and like it says in Moses, God’s work and glory is to help us succeed and become like him.  Well Dad, I love you and hope that your Father’s Day was the best!

Oh, and I thought it was funny that on Father’s Day I confirmed Pablo (an 18 year old that we have been teaching) a member of the church. 

Love you!
Elder Clark

Another letter the same day:


Happy Monday after Fathers Day!

I thought it was interesting here for Father’s Day there were a lot of people complementing people and saying, “Happy Father’s Day.”  I thought it was cool.  At home I think that Father’s Day was a bit more reserved.  Quite a few people asked me if I was a father.  I thought that was funny and scary at the same time.  I am frequently asked if I have a family (like if I'm married and have kids).  Families start really young here.  

This picture is of me with a lot of post-it notes -- well all of the post-it notes I have received in care packages.  The post-it next to my face says “Obrigado!!” or “Thank You.”  Funny story.  Obrigado is the English equivalent of thank you or to thank and obligated.  Interesting how languages evolve.

I love you both!! Thanks for being my parents!

Your son,
Elder Clark

Monday, August 20, 2012 9:18 AM


Man, this week has been interesting.  I had a bunch of good experiences and a few bad ones.  Remember that family, Ademir and Ana?  Well, they fight a lot but now they have separated.   (I think that he abused her verbally and physically).  The other day Ademir was really angry and didn’t want to talk to be taught that day, so I left him Matthew 7 to read and told him to read it calmly and apply it in their relationship.  Apparently when he read it he freaked out because he didn’t think that he was wrong in any way and that I should have given that scripture to Ana.  He is a really cold and stubborn person.  He said that he didn’t want me to come back to his house any more.  I think we will drop him.  I really felt that the scripture would solve their problems if they applied it, but i guess it’s better now that they are separated because i never saw them smile at one another.  I just feel bad about the two sons of theirs.

On brighter news, we had a baptism (Herrison, age 13).   And we have been seeing progress in our investigators.  We have been running in the morning.  And we did 3 service projects last week.  One included cutting down a mango tree that didn’t give fruit, so I have officially contributed directly to the deforestation of the Amazon.  But, I will strongly encourage them to plant another tree in its place!

Out of time, but I love you guys!  And I am writing paper letters!!!

See ya!

Elder Clark

Monday, August 27, 2012
Hey, gang!  So this last week was pretty interesting.  We had another baptism!!!!  We baptized Luan, a 13 year old young man.  He is a bit timid, but really smart.  I have attached a picture of Luan, Irmão Cicero (the ward mission leader), and me.  The other picture is of an amazing lunch I prepared.

So I have a request.  Mom, can you send a recipe for pot roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, and Aunt Jen’s rolls. (It’s for our neighbor across the street.  She is really nice!)   And recipes for pico de gallo? and homemade corn chips? 

So this week, we finally came to an end with Ademir and Ana.  After I left the scripture with him, Ana, the woman that he was living with, left.  I explained the scripture to him but he didn’t apply it.  For some reason, Ana came back (I really don’t think that was a good idea).  We sat down to talk to them yesterday and they started yelling and fighting before we got to the opening prayer.  I prayed (silently) then we stood up to leave.  Ademir said that he didn’t want us to come back and gave us his Book of Mormon.  We then left and prayed for them, just me and my comp, in the house of some other investigators. 
I felt really sad that I couldn’t help them.  Unfortunately the problems there were not resolved and we were imperfect in the way we tried to help them.  I will learn from what happened and I pray for them often.   

So the work goes forth.  Our ward has made a few changes in the bishopric and we have had a lot of promising investigators that have been to church (we had 14 investigators in church last Sunday) and we have the marriage and baptisms of Magno, Marilene, and Kezia this week!!!!  After 4.5 months they are almost there!!!  My district is carrying the zone in baptisms and I feel satisfied with the work I am doing.  We have a lot to improve but the work is getting done!

I love you guys and hope that all the changes are happening smoothly!! 
Eliza, jump in there and don’t look back!
Ellis, I hope the semester of commuting will not be too stressful and that you do well in school!
Emma and Dan, don’t drive mom and dad crazy and continue to do activities in the family!!
Mom, Dad, thanks and I love you both more than you know!!!

Elder Clark

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