Monday, July 27, 2015

Every New Beginning Comes From Another Beginning's End.

July 27, 2015

Joy
Wow. I don’t even know what to say. My time in Padre Bernardo is over and my mission just has a few short days left. I will be leaving for Brasilia tomorrow and I will stay there, close to the mission home until Friday when I board on the plane. I am beyond grateful for my time here and the way I was able to finish my mission. Padre Bernardo will always have a spot in my heart. Saying goodbye is the worst part. I finished my last week of my mission running. We were able to accomplish much this week and the week ended with 3 Baptisms and a wedding for the Padre Bernardo Group!

Companions
Mazinho and Divina got married and were baptized this week. The other companionship taught most of the lessons to them but we were able to see the progress and help them get married and baptized! It was a great experience. They are so great. They will be great leaders here in the church. Elder Kesler was able to finish his mission baptizing the family he has been working with since we got here. We also had the baptism of Maria Paula, She is another daughter of Carina and it was very special witnessing her baptism too. Carinas family is changing so much and I am so grateful for the time that I had to work with them and watch their liveschange! I just hope that they continue on the path that they have started.

Nativa, who was our very first baptism here, gave a talk on Sunday, Imagine someone who is very shy, open up and give a powerful talk. She spoke about endure to the end! It was a perfect talk. Nativa has so much faith and has had nothing but struggles in her life. She spoke about how she was almost ready to quit when two missionaries meet her and started to teach her. It’s these small moments of happiness that make all of our struggles and heartbreaks worth it.


Elder Nascimento and I have been working hard, with just a little bit of help from the Lord, Padre Bernardo will turn into a Branch in the next month or so. This week we had more than 40 people participating at church. The school that we meet in is starting to become a church building with members talking to each other, little children running around and many hymns and laughter.

I am so grateful for my mission. Words cannot describe my feelings and what I would like to express. I hope in the last few days I will be able to find the right words. But, I know that God knows of my journey and what I have learned and experienced. My prayer is that I will be able to take everything that I have learned and continue to serve my King, long after my service here is done. I love Brazil, I love Arizona too, I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t think and pray for the Scottsdale Mission too. I love my Savior. I love this Gospel. I love being Mormon. Thank you for all the love and support that everyone has sent my way. And in just a few short days I will be with you once again!

With all my love, for the very last time,


ELDER Clark

A Birthday to Remember!

July 20, 2015

A "do it yourself"  kind of lunch!
Lunch!




















This week was a wonderful week compared to last week. Man oh man... It was a lot of fun and we were also able to accomplish a whole lot! We found some beautiful families that accepted our visits and we were able to help some other investigators make one more step towards baptism! The biggest blessing is that we were able to find men who wanted to hear us too! I think one thing that I have learned one my mission is that women have more faith... I hate to say it being a man but it has been the hardest thing to find men who want to hear us, but this week the Lord blessed us with that success. Which left us very excited because in the weeks to come the church will grow a whole lot in little Padre Bernardo.

One family that sticks out is that of Roni and Flavia... They are the perfect couple. I have never seen a couple more simple but more happy than they are. And they just understand everything we say and leave with them. I am so sad that I won’t see them be baptized because they have to get married first. But man, they are going to be such a blessing for the church here. I have never seen anyone that works as hard as Roni, from 7 in the morning until 8:30 at night, every day, with only one day off every 2 weeks. He is so happy. One thing that amazes me is that when we visit them 8:30 at night, he has just arrived from working all day and he takes their new born baby in his arms to give his wife a rest because she had been holding him the entire day.....Roni is the man.

Baptism!
We had a baptism on my birthday! Jaqueline was baptized! It was a very special baptism. Jaqueline is the daughter of one of oldest investigators, Carina. Their family has become a second family to us here. Carina loves the church and is one that just understands everything too.  She will be baptized soon. But her 17 year old daughter decided that she didn’t want to wait for her mom and so she went ahead and was baptized! This family has had miraculous changes in their lives. After Jaqueline’s baptism, we were able to teach her step dad, who didn’t want anything to do with us before. One more man that God gave us to teach! Carina has 4 other children that have been going to church and one more child of hers will be baptized next week! Once again, I am sad that I won’t see the baptism of Carina. But, I am super happy that I was able to participate in the first baptism of her family. The best part of it all was when we had a BBQ after the baptism and her whole family was around the yard talking and goofing around, and she said out loud, (I don’t know if she knows that I heard) looking around at her children “Everything is going to change” in a very satisfied voice… I love the mission.

My birthday was great! I had a surprise party that Silo and his family did for me with almost everyone that is going to church with us! His house was FULL of people and it was so much fun to see everyone together, laughing and talking. I got some super cool presents and then the day was full of lessons! Who could have asked for a better birthday on the mission!

This will be my last full week of work. It’s time to go all out... I am not going to leave anything on the table! I love this work and I am going to miss it so, so, so much! I love you all! Until next week, with the LAST EMAIL!


Elder Clark

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Unexpected

July 13, 2015

Elder Clark
This week was a little difficult for us here in Padre Bernardo.... Last week we fast and prayed a lot to have a great week and we felt like this week was one of our worst here. We worked and worked but each day it seemed like one more disappointment after another. We have been talking and we are getting about 30 ALMOST 40 people to church each Sunday, but the problem is there are few people that are able to be baptized right now... We have a goal to become a Branch next transfer. That will make it a branch in less than 6 months! But, we need a few more members especially more men. That was our goal this week; to find the men and families that have been waiting for us. And it seems like we didn’t complete our goal. We had other people that we were helping prepare for baptism and because of one thing or another, they ended up not wanting more visits... well they wanted visits but just didn’t want to continue with preparing for baptism. It got so frustrating and by the end of the week we were pooped and we felt a little helpless. ITS SO CLOSE to being a branch here... it just needs a little bit more. We are trying to help this group get there! For sure the results of our week were not what we were expecting, and we are praying that this week will be much more successful.

But, it’s not all sad! The Lord always has a tender Mercy to give to his children when they need his help. Sunday was a very special day and by far the best day of the week. Shirley who was baptized a few weeks ago was asked to give a talk yesterday and during the whole week, we would go to her house, asking if she wanted help with the talk and she just said no, I think I got it all covered. Well Sunday came and without any help she gave a wonderful talk about the light of Christ! Everyone was blown away. It seemed like she was a member for a long time. The spirit was so strong and I just couldn’t stop smiling and thinking about what a strength she will be. The other talks given at church were great too! She really set the tone for the whole meeting block. After church, everyone stayed a little later at the school just chatting and visiting... it really felt like a church of Jesus Christ. We left the school uplifted and ready to work again, and we actually were able to find a few people that were actually wanting to listen to what we had to say. The Lord provides a way to uplift his children... always! What an unexpected end to a tough week.

Life is sweet and I can’t believe my life as a missionary is ending. Just 2 more emails and I am home!! I love my Savior and I love you all!


Elder Clark

Monday, July 13, 2015

Family Matters

July 6, 2015


Celebrating July 4!
This week was a week full of work but it was also a really fun week! First off, Happy Fourth!! Man I miss celebrating Independence Day. But we had our own little party here in our back yard... We made a little fire and we found marshmallows!! So what did we do? Roasted marshmallows and made s’mores! A good ole American thing to do! 

As for the work, we had a real special baptism. Palloma was baptized, Palloma is Shirleys oldest daughter. What a sweet story it’s been for this family... While we were teaching Shirley, Palloma didn’t want anything to do with the church... but after she watched her mom’s and her sister’s baptism, she started to think about it a whole lot and decided that she wanted to make the same change in her life too, so we helped her learn and Saturday was her baptism!! When Shirley started meeting with us, she showed a lot of concern for her family and that she wanted to start something new and right with her family. She was hoping that through her example, others in her family would follow in the future, she had no idea that her prayers would be answered so fast! Her husband wants to be baptized too. I think next month he will be baptized as well! In about 3 weeks, her cousin’s family will be baptized too!! This church is all about the family and it’s amazing to see the miracles the gospel does for those who embrace it and apply it.

Baptism


Family



There was a tragedy on our street where we live this week, a toddler was struck by a car and died... our street is usually full of kids and families laughing and visiting one with another, but this week was very different, very solemn. The family is very active in another church and it was great to see that although they aren’t of our faith, the Lord comforts and helps his children with the difficulties of life. This family has received a lot of support and comfort. We have talked a little with them. They had a lot of faith in God and are not angry with Him, but trust Him, knowing that everything will be alright in the end.

This week I was able to learn a little more about the plan that God has for me. I hope that I am living my life in a way that pleases Him. I know he will help me become better each and every day. One thing that I love here is that I am teaching the youth class on Sundays. I learn so much when I teach and I love hearing the answers from the youth about God and His teachings. I just love this gospel!


Elder Clark

Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Light to the World

June 29, 2015

Thanks for the food!
I hope these last weeks of my mission will be the same as this week was; Full of work, miracles and laughter. I love the mission so much and I am starting to arrive in panic mode, because I want to go home real bad, but at the same time I want to stay here and continue the work that I am able to do. But I know that all great things must come to an end and that life has more plans and adventures to send my way. We were able to find a lot of people this week that are super willing to listen to our message. We have seen miracles working here in Padre Bernardo!

We are teaching a whole lot of women, and not that that is a bad thing but we want to have a balance of women and men at church with us. So this week we did a fast so that the Lord would help us find the men here that are ready and willing to follow the Savior. And boy, were our prayers answered! We are teaching a young man that is really smart. He loves to read and stopped us on the street and told us that a couple years ago he lived in another city and the missionaries went to his house a couple times but he didn’t really remember what they taught him. We went to go visit him and he showed us a book that he had read when he was 15. It was the “Teachings of President Brigham Young”.... yupp, when he was 15 he read the whole book. He even remembered a lot of what was written! He had a lot of questions which we answered teaching him about the restoration. We told him to pray and read about what we told him. A few days later we returned to his house, and He told us that he had been waiting to talk to us for the whole day.... he even wanted to go to the gym 6 AM because he knew that we would be there exercising. He told us that when he woke up he had a clear answer and that he believed that what we told him is true and that he would like to continue to learn more! We have also been helping another man who went to church for almost a year in another state but when he moved here there was no church and he wasn’t baptized.  He loves the church and its teachings and we are helping him prepare to be baptized too! God is the true missionary and I know we are just here to find the people that he is preparing and has already prepared.

This last weekend we had to teach in the dark a whole lot because the city had two power outages... It was fun to work so in the moonlight but it was also a little harder because nobody is on the roads when there is no power... because its dark... haha but some of our best lessons and visits were in the dark with a single light to help us see. How could a missionary not think of Christ and how He is the light of the world. Without Him, there is no light in our lives, there is no happiness and boy, a city without light is a sad sight... and where does everyone go? To the houses or places that have a lot of people and a lot of light. Because we are comforted by the light, we are attracted to it. Like Christ. I am so grateful for the light that I have and the time I have had to share it with others!

Missionary Meals

Padre Bernardo is becoming another home for me. We have made such great relationships here and I truly love the people here. We have gotten to be great friends with our only member family that when we eat with them, it is just laughs and laughs and laughs. Our recent converts are starting to feed us too and it is always so much fun! The work is progressing really well here and we are finding people that will be the rocks of the church here in the future. Please continue to pray for us and the people we are teaching. There are a lot that are ready to be baptized but just have a little problem or two to resolve before they can enter the water! I love this work and this church. Thank you so much for the love and support!!


-Elder Clark

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Beginning of the End

June 22, 2015

Still Companions!
Today is official the first day of my last transfer of my mission. Can you believe that? Because I sure cannot!! This transfer will be the best of my mission I know it. We went to transfer meeting today and Elder Nascimento and I stayed together for our 3rd transfer together! I think he is getting a little sick of me but at least he will be able to kill me (It’s a missionary thing - to call a missionary who is returning to his home as ``Dying`` and his companion who is with him is the companion who ``Killed`` the missionary who died, haha) He is excited for that. But I don’t think it’s helping him very much because he only has 5 months on the mission! But after 2 transfers together we know how to work together and we are going to work until our shoes fall off… because my shoes are literally dying too...


This week was a normal week of working. We have a family that we have been working with for a long time now that has grown really close to us. We are trying to help them stop bad habits and the parents to get married so that everyone can get baptized. They love the church and participate in every activity that we do. They will make such great members when they are baptized and will contribute a whole lot to the growth of the church. The dad isn’t very interested but the mom and her 5 kids are preparing to be baptized! I sure hope I will be able to witness their baptisms before I head home.

Brasilia

We found some people this week that are amazing! They have amazing stories and amazing personalities! We started teaching a lot of people this week that seem like they have a lot of potential! I hope that this week we can follow up with them and have a lot of success with them. The work here is so much... work! But I am loving every minute of it!

Baptism
This week we had the baptism of a man named Raimundo (Hi-moon-doh) and boy, this is man is probably the most simple man I have ever met. But also one of the best men I have ever met too. He has so much faith and just wants to do what is right. Talk about a man who is in tuned with the spirit. He is the perfect example of broken heart and a contrite spirit. His life will be changed forever because of the gospel.

We also found a woman who was baptized over 20 years ago, really it was her that found us, we were walking on the street and she yelled to us “Are you two Elder??” Of course we said yes and went to talk to her! She was baptized more than 20 years ago but shortly after her baptism she moved here and lost contact with the church! She is now married and has a family! She didn’t remember a whole lot about the teachings of the church but she told us that she never started going to another church. This week will visit her to meet her husband and her children. We are super excited for her because it looks like we will have one more family coming to church with us.


God is great and loves each of his children! I love being his servant! I love all of you! Thanks for everything!


Elder Clark

Lives Changing

June 15, 2015

I love this gospel and the blessings that it brings to anybody that embraces it. We have had seen miracles in the lives of the people we are working with. Shirley who was baptized last week with her daughter is amazing! After her baptism she has become a different woman! Her biggest worry about the church was that she would have to do everything alone because her husband and her other children were not very interested in our messages or the church. but she had faith and went ahead with what she believed was right and now the rest of her family is seeing the happiness and the difference in her life in just two weeks, and now her oldest daughter and husband have a baptismal date too! Every time we visit this family, we can see the difference the gospel in making in their lives, and all the sweat, tears, and lack of sleep become worth it just to see these blessings in the lives of others.

Nativa, who was baptized 3 weeks ago is having a lot of difficulties in her life right now, but she always tells us that it is different this time; That she is facing these problems with more faith, less fear and that she has been more patient, because before she acted irrationally to some things but now, she is calmer and able to handle the things that are thrown at her. I have no doubt that this is an effect of the gospel! I love being able to hear these stories and feel the happiness that others are gaining!
We have been working and working and it seems that we have the base of the church here settled. We have 5 families that are going to church regularly now, each family started with just one member of the family coming to church but now each family has most of not all of the members coming to church! We are very excited because the people that we have are very special, and have just been waiting for the gospel in their lives, and now they have found it!! We hope that threw these families, we will be able to find more and more and that the church will just continue to grow! Everyone that is going to church is preparing to be baptized but the thing is that almost each one has something that we need to work out before they will be able to make this passage in their lives.
Elders





We went fishing again this morning... it wasn’t for piranha but it was still super neat! I was able to catch 3 fish on my bamboo fishing rod!
Companions









I love this Gospel. It is so simple but yet so eloquent. I don’t ever want to stop learning and progressing in it. I love everything about it, I am so grateful for my mission and everything that I have learned. There is no place I would rather be then where my Savior wants me to be. Next week is the start of my last transfer. I can’t believe it has finally come. This last transfer will be the best transfer of my mission! And then it is all over. 

Thank you for everything, I love each and every one of you!



Elder Clark

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Meet The Mormons!

June 8, 2015
Showing "Meet the Mormons"

This week was a successful week! We worked hard and had a lot of fun too! We had a special activity that happened this week. We did a movie theater/drive in on the main square of the city. The movie “Meet The Mormons” just came out in Portuguese and we came up with the idea to show the city this movie so that people could.. well.. meet the Mormons! We set up a projector and screen in the middle of the main park. We invited the members in Brazlandia (Our closest ward) and about 30 members and 6 more missionaries came a few hours early. Then we stormed the streets, invited everyone to come and watch. We the sun went down we played a few Mormon messages before the movie started. The activity was a big success, few people stayed and watched the whole movie, but during the movie a ton of people passed by watching a little and we were able to make contacts with them and explain to them that the church that we represent isn’t just a church in this small town but worldwide! It was a great way to show the city who we are and it was so cool to have so many members helping us! ("Meet the Mormons" is available on Netflix)

Padre Bernardo Pioneers
We had 2 more baptisms this week! Shirley and Bruna, mom and daughter! We have been working with them since our second week here and Shirley has read almost all of the Book of Mormon! Bruna is 11 and super smart. Shirley is real special, she would have been baptized sooner but she wanted to be absolutely sure that she would baptize and stay in the church and not just quit when it got hard! She is married but her husband has some things to take care of but he told us after the baptism, “I’m going to be the next one to be baptized!” Which is funny because we found her older daughter on the street after the baptism and she told us too, that she´ll be the next one baptized! So, we are going to have a race in this family! Her cousin is being taught by the other Elders and she and her husband will be baptized next month after their wedding! We have finally found our pioneer family! They are a huge family that is going to bring lots of family members to the church too!

The church is growing slowly but it’s growing! We are working hard but it’s been pretty difficult! But, I love it. I just hope it can start picking up here soon! We are teaching a huge group of people, but the amount that are understanding and wanting to learn more is pretty small. This week in my studies I had a lot of answers come to questions I had because of this area, I am so grateful for the scriptures that we have and the time we have to study them too! I had a real neat experience that an investigator asked one of the same questions I had and I was able to speak clearly the answer, and while I was explaining, I understood the answer better too, and that was the Holy Ghost teaching me, while I was teaching someone else. The gospel is amazing and full of miracles. This was a successful in in all aspects! I love the work and I love the mission. I hope that I can finish these last few weeks running and seeing even more success.
Soccer Feet

Thanks for all the love and support, I love you all and can’t wait to see everyone!


Elder Clark


Monday, June 29, 2015

Transformation

Jun 1, 2015

Baptism!
This week was a very special week. This week was a week that I could see and feel the change that is happening in the lives of so many here in Padre Bernardo. I love being able to see the gospel working miracles and changing lives. The first of this week was our 1st baptism here! Her name is Nativa and
Baptism in a River
literally we met her our first day here. We have been working with her and her family for all his time and she finally had the desire to be baptized! She is super special and has a very sweet spirit. She is very simple but a strong will. She has 4 kids who we are still working on to be baptized but they will soon follow for sure! She made history here in Padre Bernardo and it is amazing to watch her life change right before my eyes! We had a baptism service at a farm and I was able to baptize her in a river! Now, that was a neat experience! She is already taking us to her friends to teach them too. She is the first of many to come unto Christ here in Padre Bernardo! Remember her in your prayers.

We have another family here that has become dear friends of ours. They are learning and progressing a lot! Here in a small city, there is a lot of gossip and everyone talks about everyone... and so a lot of people talk about us, and they tell this family lots of things that I just not true. We had a super sweet lesson with them where they expressed their concerns and questions and we were able to respond so bearing our testimony. Carina (the mom) got real emotional and told us that she has already gone to many churches and always had doubts about the things they teach and say, but she said to us that “I know it’s true, I don’t have doubts here. I don’t know why, but there is no “if” about it, I don’t even know a lot about the church but I don’t have doubts.” Man, she is wonderful and has a wonderful family, the only problem is that we have to get her and her husband married. Here in Brazil, that takes at least a month to do all the paper work. But, we are very excited for them too!

This week Silo, our ``Dad`` here.... took us hiking... it was awful! There wasn’t a trail and we just starting climbing a mountain to look at vultures... he is a big nature guy and thinks they are beautiful… but I don’t think they are beautiful birds no.... aaannnddd I got stung by a bee, right on the lip... but it didn’t swell or anything so that was a good thing!

Elders and Friends
The other companionship is teaching a couple that just needs to be married and then they will be baptized! They are great and love to give us food. Yesterday we had a BBQ feast and I almost died because of all the food I ate and then I went to walk in the hot sun working... Think about something that is hard to do... but I am glad that today I have time to rest and recuperate.

This week we are starting Bible study and let’s see how that goes! We hope it will attract more people to just get to know who we are! We are trying anything and everything here to teach and help the church grow here. We are working hard, worn out but we are happy.

The work is moving here in Padre Bernardo! We are so happy here and love the work! We have met so many people and have made great friendships. The gospel is transforming the lives of our investigators, the one family of members here and the missionaries serving here. We are having the experience of a lifetime here.
Love,

Elder Clark

Living the Good Life

May 25, 2015

Padre Bernardo is just a dream! Life is so good and the work is going really well. I am tired beyond reason but I have so much energy at the same time. Elder Nascimento and I are working really hard
The Elders of Padre Bernardo
to help all the people we have progress and make decisions in what they need to with their lives. We have so many people we are working with that there isn’t enough time in the day to do all that we want and need to. I am so grateful for the time I have to work here and the miracles I am seeing every day. The church is truly a church of miracles and love. I have loved being here and helping people get to know a church unlike any other church that exists here, I am proud to be a representative of the Church of Jesus Christ!

We met a couple this week that are really intelligent and have lots of questions for us! One thing that they said really made me happy and confirmed to me that we are doing the right kind of work here. A couple of weeks ago I said that we decided to change our way of working from just teaching and searching for the people who are ready to hear to searching for opportunities to serve and help and be friends with everyone. This couple told us that everyone speaks super well about us. She works in the government building helping families and she said that LOTS of people pass by there and mention us. Everyone says that they are really liking our visits and that we are so different, dignified but cool. There is another religion here that does the same type of missionary work here that NOBODY likes and at first everyone thought we were from that church but now people know the difference. That was the goal, to put a good name out there for the church!

We helped a family move from one house to another and we were able to ride in the back of the truck on top of all the stuff and we felt like celebrities because in 6 weeks we have gotten to know A WHOLE LOT of people and as we were driving through the little city on top of a giant truck, we were waving and talking to a ton of people on the street. Another great thing about knowing lots of people in the city is that we get rides a whole lot. Even people who don’t want anything to do with the church but who we have visited give us rides. That’s a huge blessing because this city has a whole bunch of hills that kill us when we have to climb them during the afternoon in the hot sun. Each night we come home with some kind of fruit or food that people give us and we are starting to eat meals and have BBQ´s with people here in the city! But it’s not all just fun and games; we are working a ton but having even more fun doing it!

Attendance at church is growing, very slowly but its growing! We are excited because there are a lot of people that are attending every week. They just need to resolve some problems before they can be baptized but we are so excited because when the first baptism happens here, they will just come and come and come! Padre Bernardo is on the edge of the cliff, just needing a little nudge and this city will start to fly! Thanks for all the prayers and Love! The Lords hand is in this work and I am grateful I have the chance to participate!

Lots of Love,

Elder Clark

“Stay in the Boat” Matthew 8:23-27

May 18, 2015
Baking Sweet Rolls and Cheese Bread
Wow, what a week. This week passed by SO fast but when I think about last Monday, it seems like almost a month ago. Time is literally playing with my head. We started the week with a little trip. We had to head into the city for a Zone Meeting and we spent almost the whole day Tuesday traveling. Our meeting was productive but it about killed us with the traveling. I don’t know why but it seems like the days that we have to travel and I don’t work very much are the days that I become most tired on my mission. There something about traveling on the bus that just drains your energy.

Speaking of draining energy. Man oh man. We started English classes this week for anyone who
wants to learn. Elder Kesler and I are the Americans who give the class. I don’t know how but I got stuck with the children 8 years old to 12 years old. (Think of the funniest class ever.) We have been doing the classes for two weeks and we only do them two times a week. Each Wed. and Sat. and we already have a ton of people coming. One day I think I had about 30 children in my classroom. It was pretty hard to keep control. But, the cool thing is they are actually learning! We play lots games and they are learning pretty fast. It is super funny too because we walk in the streets the children yell “Hey teacher! Hey guys, that is my English teacher!” “TEACHER!” There is one kid who wanted to teach everyone the word teacher so that they could call me teacher, but the thing is all the kids remembered the word as TIO (TCHEE-O) which is the word for Uncle in Portuguese. So during class, when the young ones have a question they yell “Tio! Tio!” (Uncle, Uncle) I can’t help but to laugh. Oh what an adventure it is! There was a little miracle that happened. A kid brought his deaf brother to class Saturday and we started to play a game where I yell out a color in English and the kids have to find the color on the board. Not wanting to be left out the small deaf boy stood in line, but also not wanting to play because he can’t hear when I yell the words, he always let the next kid go in front of him. (I don’t know if I have already told you but we are teaching a deaf young woman and she is teaching us sign language.) I got his attention and started to sign the colors that I would choose. He became super excited and started to participate and even won many times! I was very happy I was able to help him have a good experience and I am so grateful for the opportunities God gives us to help other people, even in the most simple ways!


Stake Center
We spent this whole week preparing for our stake conference that happened this weekend. We were super stressed because it was to happen far away, like everything is from us. It was a huge challenge and we were all super stressed because it seemed like we were going to have a wasted Sunday without church here. But, that was the miracle. It was one of the best Sundays of my mission! We were able to get a Bus to take people to the conference, organized with the stake to have food after the conference before our trip home and confirmed investigators to take the journey with us. The stake center for our stake is one of the biggest and most beautiful church buildings I have ever seen. We wanted a whole lot of people to go with us to see a church building and how the church really is a worldwide, super organized church. We took about 30 people with us and had one of the best, most spiritual conferences I have been too. The giant church was FULL of people. Everyone is excited to see Padre Bernardo grow and so when we arrived, many people came to greet us, and to help direct everyone. Our investigators from a small town without one big building were all eyes as we entered the beautiful church building, full of happy, shining people in shirts, ties and skirts. The talks and messages of the conference were amazing, each person was very, very inspired! The theme of the conference was “Stay in the Boat.” Everyone talked about how we need to have courage to follow Christ! Just to wrap it up, everything went perfect. Nobody wanted to leave to come back home. I can’t even describe all the miracles and tender mercies the Lord helped us with! I don’t think I will ever forget this stake conference.


Elders and a cow

I am so grateful for my mission and everyone that I have met. I am so excited for Padre Bernardo the upcoming weeks! I think the conference lit a fire in us, the stake and our investigators! Thank you so much for your prayers and support! I love you all!


Elder Samuel Clark

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

They Like to Party

May 11, 2015

Happy Birthday Padre Bernardo! May 9th was the city´s Birthday and oh man, the people here know how to party. Thursday until Sunday was one big party here. With concerts every night and big parties at main square and music and Calvary of Horses and Gustavo Lima (a VERY famous singer) and everything! The parties made it a little hard to work at the end of the week because everyone was just partying, visiting with family and pretty much doing everything except stay at home. Our church attendance suffered too because of mother’s day and the parties. Almost nobody went to church. It was a little disappointing but understandable. This week we have stake conference about 2 hours away from here and we are hoping to take lots of people there with a bus! Pray that we can get a bus to take everyone!

We have ran into a problem here, It seems like the small local churches are feeling threatened with our presence here and are starting to preach against the Mormons and spreading anti-Mormon fliers around to some of the homes that we are visiting. But we are seeing that it isn’t affecting the work here because the families that we are working with are just becoming more curious as to what the big deal is! Lots of people are defending us too! One man was talking to one of our investigators and was talking bad about us and she told him he had the wrong information and that we are super cool and good people. She even invited him to receive our visits. He didn’t accept but it goes to show that the Lords work will always go forward and that nobody can stop it! It is amazing what excitement 4 young men in white shirts can do in a small city. I am loving every minute of it!

We met a super great family this week; Mom, Dad and 5 children. One of the children is Deaf and she just signs to her sister who translates everything for us. She is also teaching us sign language and we are getting pretty good at it! We are already making sentences with her! haha This family is really receptive and wants to learn more about the church! They are from the north east of Brazil and every word that ends with s, they say it as if it has sh, which is awesome too!

We are very excited because our first transfer here is over and now we are ready for the baptims! We have a bunch of people that are SO CLOSE they just need a little push! It has been hard because this little town has a LOT of faith and when something new comes to town, talking about God, it is hard to change what you already believe. But the Lord has prepared a ton of people here. We just need to find them all!

Yesterday was so great to talk with my Mom! I love my family a whole lot and can’t wait to see everyone in less than 3 months! But no time to think about that now! I still have a ton of work to do before my turn is through!
Mothers Day!


 I Love you all and thanks for all the support and love!


Elder Clark

The Church is True

May 4, 2015

This week was a week of just work.  We visited a ton of people, met even more people and are trying everything that we can think of to help the church grow here. I think the hardest thing to do is express everything about the church to help people understand that our message isn’t just another good message about Jesus Christ but it’s THE message. We are seeing miracles with the church and our investigators here! We have tons of people interested and some of them are progressing really well! Our days are full of lessons and, of course, some days are a lot better than others but we are trying to have quality visits every visit we make!

Missionaries on the radio
This week we went to the radio and did a little local broadcast or announcement about the church! That was a neat opportunity and I hope there will be some results from it!

We have one investigator that she went to church with us and wasn’t that impressed because we are doing our meetings in a elementary school and there are not many people. I think she was hoping for a little bit more. But what a miracle technology is! She started looking at the church’s site on the internet and she was very impressed with the size and organization of the church! She became very excited again and is reading the Book of Mormon like a champ! We need to have success here soon so that they will build a chapel here. Because if the church builds a chapel here, it will be the most beautiful building in the city and everyone will realize the magnitude of the church!

Taking a break!
Like I said, this week was a lot of work. We visited a ton of people and are filtering the people that really want to know more and the people who won’t progress. We tried to find more people and had success with that! We just need more prayers and faith! I love this work and every challenge that we face!


Thanks for everything!


Elder Clark

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Progress and Opposition

April 27, 2015

This week absolutely flew by... I don’t even know what is happening with the days. The work is going really well here and the days pass by so fast. There is so much to do and so little time! This week we had a lot of success but we have had some setbacks too...

We have met a lot of incredible people here and they will be a grand force in the church here very soon! We are very excited because it turns out that some of our strongest investigators are a family the other elders are working with.  This family seems like they will be the pioneers here. They are so great. They are reading and defending the church against people that are starting to talk bad about the church. This is the same woman that told us that she wants to be able to say the same things that we say about our testimony. If she doesn’t get baptized this week, I think next week, for sure! We are excited for these upcoming weeks because we are hoping for a lot of success and the beginning of the growth of the church here in Padre Bernardo! We have a lot of people and families that are progressing really well! But with all this progress, there is opposition too. Almost all our families are facing problems or friends and families are discouraging them to participate with the church. Even so, they are going strong!

Coconuts!
We are trying to just get the name of the church out in the open with a good reputation... and one way we have been doing that is we visit other churches... and boy it has been super cool. We have visited some already and the people love it. They appreciate that we are willing to visit churches with other people. It has gotten to the point that when we are walking on the street people yell for us to visit them in their church. We have learned that some churches here are better than others. We visited one that I will not name, but they just screamed and then when we had to leave, the pastor came up to me and started talking in a language that wasn’t Portuguese... nor English.... and then she took my hand and told me that she took away the band of death... because I would have died that night is she had not blessed me... man... I left feeling a bit strange.  But mom, your son is still alive thanks to revelation! I love the gospel music here. There are a lot of churches with bands that play really good music! haha for sure,  has been a really neat experience to learn about other churches first hand!

We have one more missionary here from Arizona. He was waiting for his visa for 3 month and got here this week. He is in a trio with the other elders. His name is Elder Adams and he has the best area to start out his mission here in Brazil.

I am super tired and working hard. I am so grateful for all that I have and the opportunity to serve my mission here. I am loving every minute of every day! I love you all and thanks for all the prayers!


Elder Clark

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Good People

April 20, 2015

I caught a Piranha!
Padre Bernardo is a small town that has people with the biggest hearts. I love the people here. This week was full of difficulties but also full of blessings and miracles. Padre Bernardo is growing to be one of my favorite areas on my mission! It has been so fun to open this area, being a small town, people noticed and started to talk about us real fast. It is not every day that 2 young men, 2 being from the USA walk around in the blazing heat with shirts and ties. This week was so great that I don’t even know where to start.

So at the beginning of the week we started to think about the way we are doing the work here. We had been working super hard, teaching, teaching and teaching. We got a little frustrated because the majority of the people we are teaching love our visits but are not trying to learn more. They are not keeping their commitments. We decided we were doing the work all wrong. We got here and we were hungry for baptism’s and the church to grow super-fast but then we realized that just knocking on every door and teaching was not the best way to do the work. We are here and we are the first contact that most of the people here have ever had with the church. So it is even more important to leave a good image and impression of the church and of the missionaries here. We put ourselves in the place of the people here and what they think about us. So, we decided to change the work a lot. We started to attend meetings of other churches with our investigators and man is it cool to see how other churches work. Everyone there treats us super well and they get very happy that we are visiting them! Even some people said that they want to visit where we congregate too! We are going to go on the radio, do more service and be happy and friends with everyone. After we made that decision, the work here exploded! We aren’t the missionaries who will try to force our religion on people anymore, We are those Mormon boys who are here to help the city in any way we can!
Elders
Our first week we had only 14 people, 10 not counting us, 4 not including the 2 families that are members already, and this week, with our new philosophy and excitement...... WE HAD 31 PEOPLE GO TO CHURCH WITH US! The best part was that they were families! We got super, super excited! Everyone that came to church liked the meetings a whole lot! Only about half of the people that promised to come to church did. The missionaries (us) gave the talks for sacrament meeting and I think that will be the first of many talks that we will give (haha). We have many other people who are reading the Book of Mormon and who want to know if the church is true that didn’t go to church. We love it here and the work exploding! We have one family who told us that they want to be able to say the same things that we say about the church and about our Savior, and almost all the families want to feed us lunch! We eat with Silo and his family (only members who live here) everyday, haha so it will be good to take a load off them.

This upcoming week we have much to do! We are going to the radio to let people know about the church, we are going to have lunch with a family of pastors that are very interested in the Book of Mormon. Who have about 100 people who go their church too, Can you imagine? We need your prayers! The heat is trying to beat us. But we are going to work through it, pray that we have cloudy days! I love this work and I love every single blessing that the Lord sends my way. This would be impossible without Him.

OH! Today we went to a lake and went fishing for piranhas! We had to use the heart of a cow to catch them! Then we had a BBQ, one of the best p-days of my mission!

All my love!

Elder Clark

This is Country


April 13, 2015
Piranha for dinner, yes Piranha!
Man, I love Padre Bernardo! This city is so cool! It is a farming city. Almost everyone that lives here works on the farms. There are a ton of trucks here and lots of people that walk around in cowboy boots, jeans and cowboy hats. There are a ton of wild life and strange food!  I love it! But it is also hard because how the farms work here is that the men go and stay there during the week and so come home on the weekends. So basically the town full of woman during the week. Still, we have found some amazing families!

I never thought I would be in an area that we have to introduce the church to people who have never
Meet the Mormons
even heard of missionaries. It is so cool to be able to explain who we are, and why I, an American, am in the middle of nowhere Brazil. The people here are super receptive too. There were many times this week that we showed up at someone’s house, and before we could explain who were, they already invited us in and just started talking to us. It is amazing! I love this small town. We have been teaching like mad men this week and the only problem that we are seeing is that everyone accepts us super well here, but few have a desire to learn more. They are all amazing people but already are strong in the religion that they have. There are some churches here that have been here since the dinosaurs. The Catholic Church is the strongest here. I think about half the population is Catholic here.

Everyone at Church
 Church was neat; we had a whopping 14 people there! haha Man, I hope that number grows fast. We are working so hard to find the people who have just been waiting for the gospel! My companion is great. He only has 3 months on the mission but he teaches well and knows how to work! I love this gospel and I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to start the church here in Padre Bernardo. Pray for me and the city here. We need all the help we can get!

Love,


Elder Clark

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Beginning

April 6, 2015



So we had transfers this week and you know that little town that I have already talked about called Padre Bernardo? Well I was transferred here today. I am more than excited! This city has 8 people that are members and they meet in a school building for church. Missionaries have never, ever worked here! I came here with a new companion, Elder Nacimento from Sao Paulo and another companionship. The city is basically in the middle of nowhere and super far away from Brasilia.  We arrived here 10 minutes ago and our day is almost over.  I am in the state of Goias.  I am so grateful for this opportunity and it looks like I will spend my last 3 transfers here. President spoke with us today and told us that he wants a branch here soon! I am so excited to work and start church history here in Padre Bernardo. I know it won’t be easy. But, I am ready for the challenge! 

My last week with Elder Dobner was the best week that we had together too. We worked super hard and found some incredible people! One young couple that is super interested and another family! I hope and pray he will help bring them into the gospel! I loved Brazlandia and the people there. I am sad that I only had one transfer there and I didn’t see much success. But, oh the things that I learned! I know that I left my heart and soul there. I worked hard and I know the Lord is pleased with the work that I did.

General Conference was the best. I had to watch it in Portuguese and I have to say it’s a whole lot more meaningful and spiritual for me in English. But it was a cool experience to watch in Portuguese. I loved the talks and messages that were given! (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/sessions/2015/04?cid=HP_SU_4-5-2015_dPTH_fGC_xLIDyL1-B_&lang=eng)

Sorry this is so short and not very detailed but I don’t have much time and there is a whole lot to do, I love you all and thank you so much for all the prayers!!


Elder Clark

Desperation


Mar 30, 2015



Elders
Man, this week was very... interesting. We met a whole lot of people and taught a whole lot. We are working as hard as we know how but the thing is that no one is really listening, story of my life right now. We found some really good people this week though. I am super excited to teach some of them this week. We found one young man (that is 19) when we were knocking doors. It started to rain while we were talking and he told us that we shouldn’t enter his house because of problems that they have there. So, we invited him to come to the church with us because he lives pretty close, and he says “why not?” Saturday we taught him at the church with another young man that was already there. We are real excited about him! We have found a lot of new people to work with! I just hope that next week, I am not transferred!

One day we walked passed the church and the young men were playing a game called ``Bate Bola`` in the middle of the street. It’s a game that for sure I’ll bring to the states to play. You have 2 teams of two players and it’s basically baseball but with only 2 bases and 2 players. I don’t know how to explain it but we played with them for a little bit and it was so much fun! My companion and I lost the first game, because we were still learning. But after that no one could beat us! I should’ve have taken a picture but I didn’t even think to do so!
More Tile Work

The biggest challenge we have is getting people to church! We were so sick of almost nobody coming to church that we spent the first hour and a half of church running around the city, trying to get everyone we know to church... but the thing is EVERYONE that we passed have some sort of excuse or wasn’t even home. We got so desperate that we started inviting people on the street to come to church and knocking on doors inviting them to wake up and go to church with us! We actually got 3 people to come visit with us that way! We had not met them before but we are going to their home today to teach their families! Yesterday was a tiring Sunday.

This is the last week of one more transfer. I can’t believe how fast it is going. Sometimes I get a little down because I feel like I don’t have anything to show for all the work I have been doing. But I know the Lord has his plans and his way of doing things. I am so grateful for all the experiences I have had that have changed and shaped me. I love this gospel and I love this work.


With much love,
Elder Clark

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Time Flies


March 23, 2015

Car Selfie
This week was crazy. First of all it was super hard because we had to stop visiting a lot of people because they just were not wanting to progress. They liked our visits but just were not willing to do more than visit with us. It did help that it just continued to rain ALL week and this time it was cold rain, nothing compared to what is happening back home, but it was cold for me.

This week passed by so fast and I just can’t help but feel that I don’t have much more time. The time is flying so fast past me and I just can’t get ahold of it! We are working so hard but I think we just have to work a little bit harder to get the results that we are hoping for. But as always, the Lord is changing and shaping me. I just hope I can take in everything that he is trying to teach me.

We found a super special family this week that I am hoping and praying will progress. The mom has had questions for a long time about what church is the true church. She loved our message and said that she really needs to search for herself! She has 5 kids and a husband that all seem super promising!


We spent all day in Padre Bernardo yesterday, a city that is about an hour by car from Braslandia. That place is super special and missionaries should arrive there this week. They will be the first missionaries ever there. The Lord has prepared so many people there. Yesterday made me super excited to see how it turns out there.

Elders!
So today went by very fast, we had our actividade da zona (zone activity) today and we don’t have much time to write our emails. Sorry to anyone that I did not respond to this week too!

But, I love you all and thanks for everything!

Elder Clark








Christmas in March
(The package just arrived.)

Rain, Mud, and Missionary Work

March 16, 2015
Current Companion
                This week we saw rain like Brasilia has never seen rain before. For 4 days straight, it just rained and rained and rained. It got to the point that our house started to leak! We got used to walking with wet feet and trudging through the roads that had turned into rivers. The rain made the work a little harder but we were still able to teach and find people. Brazlandia is super good. The members here are great too; they are willing and ready to help. The best part is we are starting to do more service projects! That is something that I was missing a lot in the other areas. But, the members here aren’t afraid to put us to work!
We are teaching and teaching lots of people here but the thing is that they are not progressing very well. It’s so crazy how much you practice and plan for people and then you get there and they barely pay attention! haha Our biggest problem here is that while we are finding lots of families to teach, no one is married! The process to get married here is 30 to 90 days! We are working with some couples to get married!
We have one couple that is really special. We found them Saturday night and the next day they were in church!! When we sat down to teach them, the first thing she asked is ``if there is only one god, why are there so many churches? How can we know which one is the true church?" HOLY COW! Our message is the exact answer for that, the Lord truly prepares people.
                This week we had our Mission Leadership Counsel. It was great! It is always great to hear from President! It took almost 4 hours to get home because the buses were on strike and we had to wait at the bus station for almost 2 hours. What would the life of a missionary with a car be like? Haha!
Former Companions - All Zone Leaders 
                Life is good and we are just working. We have to work harder and harder because the enemy is working harder and harder against us. We had one family that was progressing ALOT and this week they dropped us out of nowhere. It was a heart breaker but we will continue to try and help them. The enemy is strong but will never win. I love the mission for everything that happens that helps ME, shapes ME, and betters ME. I know that when I am better, I can better help those around me.

Love you all!

Elder Clark

In a Blink of an Eye...


March 9, 2015

My companion and I put all of this tile here!
This week flew by unbelievable fast. The work here is super-fast too. The thing about this area that we are learning is that people accept our message and let us come into their homes, but they pretty much only will do that. They are willing to listen to our message but they aren’t willing to do the things they need to do. They just like to hear the good word of God and do not really understand the importance of our message. I am not complaining because we are teaching and the days are full of appointments but it makes the work hard to keep up because in one week we will find lots and lots of people to teach, and in that same week we stop teaching them too because they have no desire! But, it’s always a process and we are having a lot of spiritual lessons.

Elder Dobner and I teach really well together. We are able to knock on doors, walk into a home and teach the first lesson in about 10 minutes if we need to. It’s been really great to teach with him. Our normal message is about 30 min on the dot from the time we walk in to when we leave. The best part is that we don’t seem like robots, because that’s one of the things that I worry about a whole lot.

Elders!
We travel a lot here too. This area is super far from all the other areas in our zone. Our zone is basically the city of Ceilandia (which is the biggest city in DF) and our city that’s about an hour away. So for all our meetings and interviews, we travel for a long time.

I got super sick for the first time on my mission. I am still recovering with a small cough. I don’t even know what I had, but its passing and I am able to work normal again!

We found a super sweet couple that we are super excited about. They are so ready for the gospel! The only thing is that they need to get married and the process here in Brazil takes forever! Almost more than a month! But, good thing comes to those who wait!

I love the work and I love my Savior!
Until next week,



Elder Clark