Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Missions are the best thing ever!

ahh... I never know where to start... but... here I go!

Banana- I got your letter and it made my heart frolick with glee! thank you! I will be scribbling a letter to you as soon as I can! I love you!

Um... I am so happy to be a nurse.... but there is such a wicked and selfish part of me that isn´t antsie to be the mission nurse right now! I´m not the nurse yet... but Elders in my zone are already calling me in the middle of the night with questions and aches and pains... and don´t want to listen to me! Then... I start thinking and worrying about them and their problems throughout the day... and it´s a lot of stress! I love love love these Elders... sometimes almost as if they were my own Elder Clark serving with me... and so it´s hard to see them suffer with things... and then to hear that they didn´t take my advice... and are worse now. I´m learning a lot about control in life..... and how I have none. Though I had orginally heard that I´d start training to the be the nurse this next transfer... I feel like the plans are changing... and I´m going to be blessed with more time here.
I don´t KNOW...but I feel like I´ll be staying en Candelaria.. or going to Pajonal! We´ve been hearing from the bishop and stake president... that they´re talking about opening up Pajonal as an area for missionaries really soon! Oh how I would love that! It´d be SO hard in so many ways... but, as I think I´ve mentioned already... I LOVE PAJONAL! I can´t explain why... but there is such a purity and beauty there- and not just the mountains- it´s totally the people. I feel like I´ve stepped back into the 40s when I go there- everyone on their horses... everyone is so clean and nice.. and... pure! I am so excited to see how the gospel will flourish there and would love to be a part of it! Yet.... we´ll just have to see! For now... I am in Candelaria... and am loving it more and more everyday... it´s unbelievable how much love a heart can bear. Does that even make sense? It´s like... my love for this ward, the people, the families.. just keeps growing when I wonder if it´s maxed out! It´s such a different kind of love- and I love it. It´s exhausting and exhilerating at the same time! For instance...
Last week I was on the bus and sat next to this little man that I had seen before in the street with a little cart and bell to sell icecream. The first time I saw him in the street, I loved him! When I got to sit with him on the bus, I thought... ¨this is fate! He is so darling... and I´ll bet he´s ready for the truth in his life!¨ haha... and as we were talking... he was so nice and tranquil... and asked, ¨when are you going to visit me?¨ - how perfect! I was so excited! I got his ¨directions¨... and though a little confused... I was determined to find him and teach him! SOOooo...for days I was telling Hermana Bautista about this ¨lindo¨ icecream man... and how I have such hope for him! We knew his lived a little far out.. so we left the house at 7 in hopes to make it to his house at 7:30 before his left for work- the only time his had available. We took the bus for 20 minutes... and got off in front of a little dirt road... and... started walking in the direction that we knew he lived. (this is in the opposite direction of Pajonal, mind you. This area is HUGE) He told us his lived by this certain school.... and after we walked for 20 mintues, we asked someone where the school was.... and kept walking... and after an hour of walking- we found the school! We asked EVERYONE where his house was... and after 20 minutes of searching... TADA!! We found him! woohoo!!! Though he told me he didn´t have a ¨spouse¨- he did. - weird? As we started to talk and teach... it went so weird. I think... I think he was a pastor. Which is totally fine! I would love to talk to more pastors!....but this was so weird. For the next hour... Hna B and I sat in akwardness as my darling icecream man ranted and raved with his arms flailing in such furious passion... and then he would sprint to the outhouse (I think he had some sort of parasite).. and would run back and before we could really get a word in... he would start again. I don´t really know what he was preaching- and it wasn´t because it was in spanish- I got his spanish.... but his train of thought or flow of his preaching........ I was so confused. After a while... I was finally able to say so quietly that he had to stop to listen.... ¨Hermano... Hermano! I´m sorry about my spanish... it´s probably really hard to understand... but this is so important that you understand what I´m saying. I have a sacred responsiblity to testify to you that Jose Smith was a prophet called from God and we have a prophet today. Do you understand me when I say that? You can chose to accept it or not...but I am called to make sure you have the fair opportunity to know the most important message in the world. Do you understand me?¨- He finally let his arms down... looked at me dumbfounded for a few moments.... and said that he understood... but.... then he went on about the beasts noted in Revelations. As bizarre as it was.... as I listened to his unlogical tyrant... though confused... I couldn´t help but smile and smile.. and not just because I was supressing giggles- but because I had this growing burning of love within me. Only the love of Christ could help me feel that way in that situation. That is NOT a natural reaction of mine in an instance like that. We walked away a little bit sad... mostly startled.... but determined to find someone that really wanted to know.

I am learning something new about the Atonement everyday. We´ve been working SO HARD with Gudiel- boyfriend of a member. This whole time he has said that he wants to see the golden plates of the book of mormon so that he can believe. He reads it all... and is so anxious for more information and intelligence...but getting him to seek spiritual inspiration and confirmation from GOD- has been the hard part. I LOVE that he can comprehend the message in his mind.... but with a closed heart... he can´t fully understand or accept anything! Last lesson... he started diving into deep doctrinal things from the very start- which I love to talk about and think about... but that is not what he needs! He just needs the basics of FAITH. So simple.. but not. After a while.... I stopped listening to him... and started feeling and recieving questions and insights very clearly from the Spirit. I was finally able to get a word in... and said very simply, ¨Gudiel, what do you believe?¨ .... he stopped... a little confused. I don´t remember exactly what I said... but something to the point of... ¨You know this is true. Your doubt is not in the validity of the Book of Mormon... or of Joseph Smith. Your doubts are not of the church... but of yourself.¨.... after a while of silence.... he started to say so sincerely and meekly- a side of him we had not yet seen- that he KNEW so surely that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that this Church is the organization of Christ...... but that his flesh is stronger than his spirit... and that he doesn´t think he can change. In that moment.... I saw him SO different... and I loved him even more. As we taught him about the Atonement of Christ, and tried to build his faith in his Savior...... I felt like the words I was saying were more for me. - truly this- ALL of this- is centered on the Atonement. There are so many layers and principles in the gospel... but the core, foundation, heart of it all- is the Atonement. I LOVE teaching it.. and watching hearts, lives, and eternities change through it. - we are praying and fasting with Gudiel that he will be ready for baptism the 29th.
Another high for the week. I don´t know if I´ve mention Javier... but he´s a 12 year old kid that has been coming to church sometimes- when he can dance around his mom. We don´t support deception of parents.... and we love families... SO... we visited his family a few weeks ago. I don´t know why his mom didn´t want him coming to church before... because she and her companion were SO receptive and positive! We had such a beautiful first lesson with them... and they desired to prepare for baptism. I guess it was a miracle that we found them in the first place... because they are cutting coffee right now (like everyone else in the area! So hard to find them during these times)- and are never in their house. They said a few weeks ago that the first time they could go to churchwas the 16th. We have been watching and praying for the 16th for weeks now. Hna B and I did divisions with some young women sunday morning so that we could cover more ground. When we got back to the chapel... Hna B wasn´t there. Sacrament meeting continued... and she wasn´t there! I had to give a talk... and I didn´t know how to find her.. and I wasn´t getting nervous and scared... but didn´t know how to find her! Yet... 40 minutes into the meeting.... in walked Hna B with Javier and his family. I swear I heard angels singing when I saw this sweet, humble, simple, but powerful family of 5 walk into our little chapel. In their tattered jeans and coffee stained hands.... they were the purest people I have ever seen... and all I could see was them in white. They stayed for all 3 hours... and really liked it. (of course!)- and we´re so excited for cutting season to be over so that we can find them in their house!
There are so many other people, families, stories, lessons learned, miracles witnessed and experienced... but I gotta go! Next time I HAVE to tell about what I´ve learned about the temple here from the couple missionaries ¨in charge¨! I feel SO SO blessed to be here to help prepare families for the temple here. WOOHOO! ETERNITIES!!
Hermana Clark

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