Friday, March 29, 2013

Ben is Called to be an AP

March 11, 2013
Dear parents,
I really liked getting so many letters last week.

This past week has been interesting, our baptisms didn’t work out and our zone is a little out of control.  Elder Guedes, a really good elder in our zone, has been transferred (emergency, but the emergency was with another elder, a missionary was sent home for beating up his companion). Note to Dan, Emma, Eliza:  if you guys serve missions don’t beat up your companions, make them apple pies and iron their shirts/skirts.   So that was sad for me, I really liked Elder Guedes.

We had a zone conference with Elder Godoy.  It was the best zone conference I have had in my mission.  Elder Godoy is a really great and inspirational person.  He served as mission pres here in Belém about 10 years ago.  He taught a lot and didn’t slam the pulpit and tell us we were horrible missionaries.  That was something I really liked, he showed us how to help others resolve their problems and in general how to be better missionaries.

Afterwards I was interviewed by Elder Godoy.  I was one of 4 or 5 missionaries to be interviewed.  It was a really great interview.  Along with the normal interview he asked what I thought the difference was between the two mission presidents I have had, Pres. Campos and Pres. Scisci.  I talked about some of the strengths of each one.  With Pres. Campos I learned a lot about loving the people I teach and with Pres. Scisci I have been able to develop more attributes of Christ.

I am out of time but I love you guys a ton.  Until next week!

Love Ben

March 18
Hey family,
Things here are going well, we have definitely seen a lot of progress with some of the families we have found.  The highlight of last week was when Dalva, Borges, Yasmin, and Ingred came to church!!!!  They really liked it and later today we will have a family night with them and the Stake Pres. will be there as well.

This past week I had a really great experience.  During a division I visited two brothers that are inactive with a young man (Gabriel) in the ward.  Unfortunately, the two brothers are really lost and are not interested at all in the church, even though it is clear that the life they live without the church is really sad.  We left without any apparent progress.  I was feeling sad about it but I really wanted to keep working so that I could find someone that actually wanted to change and hear the gospel.  I then saw a man walking in the street and felt that I needed to talk to him.  I looked over to the Gabriel with me and said he lets talk to that man.  So we ran after him and started to walk with him.  I talked to him and we made a visit in his house.  Later in the week we got to teach the whole family (Jonas father, Helena mother, Maurillon 16 year old boy, and Larissa 11).  They are really great and really prepared to hear the gospel.

We have been really blessed with a lot of families to teach.  I am afraid that I will be transferred in two weeks and not have a chance to see these families baptized.  If I stay, I think the same thing will happen that happened in Larangerieras (lots of baptisms in the last month).  I really don’t know what will happen because 8 zone leaders are going home along with an assistant to the president, so Elder Leite or I will be transferred for sure.  I attached a letter that I didn’t have time to finish that talks a little about some of the feelings I have had about finishing my mission.  Last week after I wrote to you guys I wrote my letter to President Scisci, and said that I wanted to stay on the mission for more time, I know that it won’t work out if I stay for a whole transfer so I told him that I was willing to serve until the 14th of August or the 20th of August.  President Scisci emailed me back this week and but did not give a definite answer, (it is difficult to send a missionary home in the middle of the transfer).  We will see how it turns out.

Oh fun story.  We killed an ROUS in our house!!!  Well it was actually on the patio.  It appeared from over the wall and started twitching on the ground I am not sure if the rat was doing some sort of preparatory rat yoga to prepare to attack us or if it was suffering a heart attack.  But Elder Leite and I preferred not to find out which so we killed the rat with a broom handle.... the broom broke a few weeks earlier when elder Leite failed at killing a cockroach that crawled on his pillow...  In the end we threw it in the garbage.  Thankfully the garbage truck passed the same day.  So that is my crazy story for the week.

I love you all and hope that your Spring Breaks were wonderful!!

Love Elder Clark

P.S.  I attached a pic of me Elder Leite and Elder Anderson the assistant to the president from Burley, Idaho that will be heading home in a week and a half.

March 24, 2013
Hey Mom & Dad,
I have been called as an Assistant to the President, I have already left Satélite and will live close to the city center I will work in the mission office and likely travel a lot.....we will see.  So today I don’t have p-day.  I’ll write a letter tomorrow.

Love you guys!!!!

March 28, 2013
Hello family,
So first off sorry for not sending an email the last few days.  My p-day is different as an AP from now it should be on every Tuesday but it is subject to change depending on what I will have to do during the week.

I have a lot to say and not much time to write... we will see how much I can write.

Starting with last week, I went to Outeiro to do a division with Elder Lopes (who is going home within the month).  It was nice to see some of the people I taught and it was especially nice to see João Paulo, an 18 year old that I baptized.  He is very active.  Outeiro is having problems right now and I hope that the work I did there will help the Branch.  They moved into another meeting house that is a lot better. Unfortunately church attendance didn't raise much.  That was a bit sad to see.

When I got back to Satélite after the 2 day 2 night division, I was a bit tired, but we worked hard.  The group of people we where teaching had changed a bunch, Elder Leite had taught a few new people.  I didn´t plan on being transferred, so I tried to get caught up.

On Sunday we left early in the morning to bring people to church.  We went to the house of a new investigator.  No one was there, so we started walking to the next house and we ended up walking right into one of our investigators that had committed to go to church.  He was heading to the Igreja Universal  (a really crazy church that asks for offerings every meeting and does a bunch of other things, sometimes they fake miracles and sell holy water).  So we stopped and talked to our investigator and invited him to church.  We walked with him to church and he loved it.  He will be baptized this Saturday if everything goes well.

Sunday afternoon.  We went to Paracurí, an area in my zone where Elder Gonzalez, my son on the mission, is serving.   They had a couple that would be baptized after Sacrament Meeting.  We were there to do the interviews.  They went well and the couple was excited to be baptized (they had also been married that same week).  While I was doing the interview with the man that would be baptized, two of my converts from Laranjeiras,  Ulisses 18 and Denise 23 (I taught Denise but she didn´t get baptized while I was there she had more preparing to do) came.  It was really nice to see them.  Denise is now a councilor in the Young Women’s and a ward missionary and attends Institute.  Ulisses is now a ward missionary, the 1st councilor in the Elders Quorum and is also active in Institute.  Super cool!  They were really glad to see me and I was happy to be able to converse with them a little.  Denise got a bit emotional telling me how much I helped her join the church.  I didn’t know that I had made such an impact. It’s nice to learn that our efforts to do good bore fruit.  Both of them want to serve missions and there is a good chance that next transfer they will serve short term to help out.

While I was there in Paracurí I got the call from Pres. Scisci.  He called me as an Assistant to the President and briefly told me about my responsibilities.  He also told me that I would need to buy new white shirts because mine are almost all yellow.  So we will see what I can do.  I got a few slacks from Elder Anderson (from Burley Idaho, the old AP that was trained by Elder R Silva my trainer) because almost all of mine have ripped above the ankle.  During the transfer I got a few white shirts that other missionaries left when going home.

Monday I got to the mission office and started learning about the system we use to record numbers and get their weekly reports.  We had the going-away dinner with all of the missionaries going home at President Scisci´s house.  That was nice but also sad.  A lot of friends I had were going.  It made me miss home a bit.

Tuesday the new missionaries got here and I gave a briefing/training to the trainers.  Then I helped give an introduction to the Mission that night at the House of the President.

I haven’t eaten breakfast since last week.  It’s been really crazy.  I also have gotten very little sleep.  But now it should be calmer.  My Companion is Elder Moreno.  He is from São Paulo.  He is cool.  He was suppose to go home this week with the other group of missionaries but is going to stay until the last week of the transfer to show me all of the AP duties  so that I can train the next one that will be called in 4 weeks.  Crazy!

So that’s all for now I will write next week.

P.S.  I always read all of my emails, but sometimes I don’t have time to respond.

Love you guys!!
Elder Clark

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Two Letters, Three Baptisms

February 24, 2013

So this past week was crazy.  We baptized 8 people in our zone this last Saturday, on the B-day we planned.  It was really great.  We had a baptismal service for our whole Stake.  It turned out really great.  Two of the baptisms were from our area,  Ana Clara and Adria.  We had a bunch of other baptisms that fell through as well.  Ana Clara almost fell through as well because she got really sick and a lot of women from the church that she used to attend went to her house and started telling her a bunch of lies about the Church and tried to convince her that she shouldn’t get baptized.  But she stuck with it.  I was really amazed she really has worked to gain a testimony and repent.  She is probably the most prepared person I have ever baptized.  When people really search for God and are willing to follow Christ, God always provides a way for us to overcome.

Elder Leite has been a bit stressed these past few days and yesterday he got sick and spent the day at our apartment resting with a young man from the ward, while I visited people.  When I got home at about 7:30 to let one of the young men go home on time, I walked in the apartment and found E. Leite sitting on his bed in only his garment bottoms with a fan blowing on him.  He was looking really sick.  He taken his temperature and he had a fever of 104.3.  That is really high.  I had never seen someone with a fever that high.  So I quickly ran to the house of a member that lives on our street, and only the mom (who is very pregnant) was there, but because of the situation we brought her to our apartment to help out. We decided to take him to the hospital.  At the hospital they gave him a shot and a prescription.  By that time the fever was passing and he was feeling better.  That was an interesting experience.  

While waiting at the hospital, the Oscars report passed quickly on the news and I realized that I had not seen any movies this last year...  I’m not sure how I feel about that.  

When we were about to leave, a bunch of policemen (they where SWAT... well the Belém equivalent) appeared in the hospital because they had a prisoner that was in terminal condition.  We conversed briefly with one of the officers who said in essence that the man was caught in the act of robbing someone and that a police officer had unloaded a clip on him, but the officer used a bunch of slang to say that.  Apparently the prisoner had killed a police officer because he had a tattoo of a clown on his leg (apparently that bandits here in Brasil get a tattoo of a clown on their legs if they kill police officers). Crazy story.

So that’s my crazy story for the week.  I am doing great and I am being safe, Mom.  E Leite is doing better.  

I hope that your week was great and that this week will be productive.


P.S.  Mom, your shelves look great! 

March 4, 2013

Dear Dad,

Thanks for the e-mail.  I really liked the description of Dan's testimony.  He is really great.  It seems like everything is warming up there [in Moscow].  Here in Satélite, things have been a bit cold because of the rain.  For the past few days I have slept with my Trogdor hoodie because it has been a bit chilly -- I think between 19 and 22 degrees Celsius.  It will be interesting to come back home and sleep in a bed and not a hammock.  But I have been thinking about ways to secure one [with hooks in the walls] at home…

This week has been pretty hard.  We have not had much progress with our investigators and we have found about 5 families that need to get married so that makes it a lot harder to help them, and more complicated for us missionaries. During the week we had a lot of important appointments that fell through and yet again our bishop did not come to our baptism (probably because we told him about it on Tuesday and called to remind him on Saturday.)  Well usually when we make mistakes we learn better.

So this past week the most important thing that happened was that we Baptized André!  André was the boyfriend of Ana Clara.  We taught him and it was clear that he was really prepared.  During the week he went to the other side of Belém to get his Sunday clothes from the house of his grandma.  He went to his baptism and the church on Sunday in a white shirt, tie, dress shoes and he even took out his earrings!!!

So that was nice to see.  Oh and I got to confirm him a member of the church which is always a spiritual experience.

I´m doing great here and thankfully my zone is doing a lot better.  So things are looking up.  

Oh dad, I will think about the UI Hockey team but I still don´t know.  The UI is really.... cheio de iniquidade.  But I’ll give it a look.  Oh, I also got a letter from Josh today which was really great.