Monday, February 14, 2011

Paraiso, oh how sweet.

A week scattered and filled with seeds… but the Lord is allowing me to taste of the sweetness of fruits that have finally sprung forth!

Though Candelaria technically is not my area right now (though we´re working in it 2 or 3 days a week because transportation to our area is so scarce…)….. I feel like it is still my area.. and the Lord has blessed me to be able to live here… and to be experiences the joys of the progress of the people here. When Hermana Bautista came back to the house friday night and proclaimed, ¨CAROLINA AND GERRARDO ARE GOING TO BE MARRIED!!¨- my joy really could not have been fuller! For over 3 months we have been working with and praying for that family…. And we are seeing such evident answers to our prayers… the changes that they are experiences are truly miracles. I like to think about the first time we visited them…. How.. closed and sad they were… all the obstacles between them seemed so insurmountable…and though they liked that their kids were active in the church… they struggled so much to believe that they could ever be a complete and happy family. To think of how hard it was for them to pray for their first time... how they thought that they couldn´t possibly make time on Sunday for church… that it would just be too hard to leave coffee…….. to see that they are reading the scriptures and praying together as a family…and have come to church for the last 5 weeks… makes me SO happy- but the best part is- it makes THEM so happy. I love seeing the change of heart Gerrardo has received… because he was the hardest and the most doubtful… but when I saw them on Sunday enter the chapel hand in hand… he glowed. Tonight they will be wed… and Saturday they will be baptized… Sunday they´ll receive the gift of the Holy Ghost… and a year later… they´ll be sealed FOREVER in the temple! Their kids are just giddy out of control with excitement. I LOVE IT.

This last Monday we had family home evening with the Martinez family (Berta and Rigoberto and their kids)… and it was SO SO SO sweet. They are just blossoming and progressing so fast!! Before we started, Rigoberto pulled out a little notepad and pen and asked me, ¨so… how do we do this?¨- and as Javier held a flashlight for him… Rigoberto scribbled out a formal agenda for our family home evening… and he conducted everything so formal… and SO perfect. As they talked about their ¨family business¨…. Rigoberto so instinctively said, Öur family goals for the week… are that we are going to pray and read the scriptures every night. We´re going to complete the reading assignments for the stake.. and we´re going to the activity on Thursday!¨ …. It was a good thing that it was so dark in that little house… because I wept more than a little. Afterwards… I sheepishly asked to keep that sweet little agenda so that I can always remember how I want my family home evenings to be… and the Spirit and joy I want in my own family. I read a scripture Isaiah 29:19 about when the Book of Mormon would come forth in these last days….and the joys that would come…. That so sweetly expressed what I have seen with the Martinez family. ¨The meek shall increase their joy in the Lord and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel¨. And in Doctrine in Covenants 56:18 that talks about the poor who are pure in heart with contrite spirits that the ¨fatness of the earth shall be theirs¨- truly this family is obtaining the richness of our Father in that little shack every night as they gather together to feast upon the scriptures.

I continue to fall more and more in love with Pajonal. Every day that we are able to go up there. As much as I enjoy living in Candelaria… it would be so much better to live up there. We were visiting someone… and the inspiration hit me, AS HER ABOUT A HOUSE. Though the bishop already came up and looked high and low there…. I asked. TADA! She knew of a house…. Perfectly in the middle of everything- very safe and very perfect. I am proposing this option to the President…and we´ll see what happens! Yet… I pine to live up there and stay up there as much as possible. We could seriously teach ALL DAY… because everyone is so open and receives us SO WELL!!! The stake president called all the leaders in all the wards to call in the troops… and yesterday 45 people pilled into the buses and hit our area. In 2 hours… they got 61 references for us. WE HAVE WORK TO DO. Everyone was so enchanted… and the missionaries were so blown away by the Spìrit that is felt there…. By how ready the people are to receive the gospel. Many responses they received were, ¨What? Why didn´t anyone tell me that we have apostles and a prophet again? Of course I´ll be baptized by that restored power of God in the earth!¨- yet, again.. the obstacle is the transportation and distance. Yet… now there are many people consciously waiting for us to visit them… and we´re SO STOKED run door to door! J

Oh.. did I mention that JOSE HERMANDO IS GOING TO BE BAPTIZED!?!?! !!!

We have continued to work with the family Axume… and my love for them just… explodes every time I´m there. They are so funny… I can´t even begin to describe how funny and great they are… they give me such joy…but sometimes more confusion. It is such a dream to be up in the middle of this mountain…teaching 9 or 10 adults at one time.. to have their attention.. and to be received so well… but when they all start talking and asking questions at one time.. or fighting to read the scriptures… haha… it´s hard to hold back my laughter!! They have such faith and I really think they are sincerely interested the gospel… but when the 5 brothers they were asking about marriage in the church… songs from ¨7 Brides for 7 brothers¨ started floating into my head… and that made the giggles even harder to suppress. Yet… Jose Hermando is the only one that has come to church yet… but we have high hopes that the rest will be willing to leave their cows and sheep for a bit and make it to Candelaria. We had been continually inviting them to be baptized… and Jose would say, ¨Of course I´m going to be baptized. I know it´s true…but a little bit later¨. Yet.. after sacrament meeting, he said, ¨I´m going to be baptized the 28th!!¨- well.. ok!! WOOHOOO!! Watching Jose and Juan Carlos leave the chapel after church for the bus up to Pajonal…. I had the sweetest feeling that those little seeds in Pajonal would bring forth more fruit that my greatest faith and imagination can picture right now.

As different as it is… I love living with my 3 latino sisters. Though my Spanish is still shaky in so many ways…. Even in the last 3 weeks… I am seeing SO MANY miracles. Between Hermana Fuentes and I… I am definitely the more aggressive and social one… so I find myself jumping in and talking WAY TOO MUCH…but it´s crazy- because it´s in Spanish! I forget that my world is in Spanish…because… it´s becoming so natural and comfortable. Yet… as I said… I still lack so much. Haha… like the other night.. I was trying to tell a funny story to the sisters… and I tried to say, ¨and then.. I whispered in her ear…¨ … but when they erupted in hysterical laughter and tears… I was so confused and said, ¨nono…that’s not the funny part!¨… but as the laughter didn´t die.. I realized that.. of course.. I said something wrong. When they explained that what I really said was ¨and then… I POOPED in her ear…¨- I learned a new word that I will never forget!

I love my life. I Love this work. Can it be like this forever?

Hermana Clark

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