Friday, April 29, 2011

(Sigh) I Lov e Eternal Families

Wooohoooo!!!! They were FINALLY married and baptized!! Sandra and her family are well on their way to being ETERNAL. So many countless things happened with birth certificates, identification cards, the lawyer..... but on TUESDAY... it all happened.
The wedding was so simple and definately civil and legal..... but at the same time... the Spirit was undeniably present and confirming that the Lord was truly pleased with this family for their desires to be obedient... and that many great things were yet to come. Seeing Sandra`s husband step into the baptismal font... I quickly reflected on the past... all addictions won, the sacrifices made, the tears shed, and the innumerable obstaculos overcome.... and I was overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude for the incomprehendible mercy of the Lord, and that in that font... all would be put behind this man... and that he can truly move on purified and able to reach his full divine potential. Hermana Sandra and her husband bore their testimonies afterwards... and they were so humble, grateful, and powerful... these people have gone through so much... and they have really come to KNOW the Savior in their lives. When we visited them the next day... they were still glowing. As we sang the Spirit of God together... I had that familiar bursting in my chest when the kids were bellowing out the chorus with such vigor and purity....... have I mentioned how much I LOVE this family?? To see the family so quickly and eagerly drop down to their knees in a circle to pray together... I know they´re going to make it. When asked how he felt, the father smiled, glowed, and said very simply, ¨Clean and free.¨- that`s what this is about.

Something peculiar has happened... but I feel something great coming. Remember how the mission is changing it`s boundries and that this part of San Salvador won`t be part of my mission after this change? Well.... for the last 2 changes President has said many things that were clearly understood to mean that Hna Woods and I would be going to Santa Ana to prepare the office for the mission changes. When Hna Guevara came, President told us not to work together as the 4 of us... and so, we didn`t! We assumed that Hermana Allen would be staying to teach the next missionaries from the East mission the area... so Hna Guevara and I dominated a little but FULL area of the area... and Hermana Woods, who had had 9 MONTHS in that area, taught Hna Allen ALL of the members, recent converts, inactives, and investigators from the rest of the area... with the determination not to let any of her work of the 9 months fall through the crack. She would quiz her on names and addresses at night and during the day... and Hermana Allen was SO prepared and ready to carry the torch. So... when we were waiting to hear about changes.. hna woods and I were just waiting to find out what area in Santa Ana WE were going to. SO... when we heard that Hna Allen was going to CANDELARIA.. and I was going to STAY.... I just assumed that the Elders had just mixed us up... that I was going to return to Candelaria! haha... nope. So... here I am with Hermana Hernandez from the East mission... and a map. I have so many mixed feelings... because I´m basically opening the area with the little knowledge I have.... but I know that it`s possible. I`m excited to be able to stay and baptize my investigadors that I`ve been working with... and I know that there is a divine purpose in this. I KNOW the President received inspiration for this change... because there is no visible logic. I also know that... inspiration is ALWAYS more logical than ¨logic¨... so I`m happy to just go with it!
Hermana Hernandez is from Guatamala and this is her last change. (ya... we don`t know why she came to open an area her last change, but she`s praying to be blessed with more time. She`s so great. ) She is such a STRAIGHT arrow- here to work... and knows how to do it! I can tell that she has worked hard all her mission and is determined to finish it STRONG. I have already learned a lot of great things from her- and we have 2 days together. How blessed am I???
I love you all so much. Being with Sandra and her family, Jorge and Rosa..... and the families that are just starting to pop up.... makes me love and appreciate my family more and more. How blessed AM I!?!?! I am starting to scratch the very surface of seeing just how merciful the Lord is. There is nothing I have done, am doing, or could EVER do.. to really warrent the blessing and grace of the Lord that I have in my life.
Hermana Clark

P.S. Where is Anna Daines?? Also... I think that if anyone`s going to send me letters from here on... you should wait. We`re changing our address with the changes in the mission... but they haven`t found a new one in Santa Ana maybe I wouldn`t get them. But... of course I want to hear from you! I`ll post the new address as soon as I get it! :)

The wonders of the Lord

Oh wow... I don´t even know how to begin to describe all the wonderful things I`ve seen, heard, and experienced this week. As this change comes to an end... as I again pack my bags and prepare to leave people that were so quick to love me, and that I have fallen SO in love with..... that familiar dull throbbing pain in my heart creeps up again. This change has been so beautiful. We weren`t perfect, not all of our plans and aspirations came through as planned... but upon reflection... it has been SO beautiful. Even in this last week... so many ready people are popping out of nowhere, and many others are just on the brink of baptism!
For example...
The other day... we were booking it down the road, when we heard behind us, ¨What do you guys talk about?¨- the Spirit hit us both and we came to and we hit an immidiate halt.... and turned around to see and guy in his 20s leaning against a wall smoking with a bitter expression on his face. As we started to talk to him... he claimed to believe that there is no God (I really can`t believe that it is possible for a child of God to sincerely and wholly believe that they don`t have an Eternal Father... it`s such an innate and natural part of us... I struggle to believe that no matter how strong Satan seems to be, or what experiences one may have in life.... there has to always be some particle of every child in this earth that still knows their Father. )... and as we started telling him about the plan of Salvation... his face and total being completely changed. He stopped looking and acting liking a angry joven... and within moments, he transformed into a sad, hurt, and hungry soul that sincerely wanted to know his purpose in this life. He told us he had seen us walking many times and had always wanted to talk to us.. and that especially that day... he felt something really crazy but good when we passed by... and without even thinking... he yelled out to us. We are SO excited to visit Fernando again!
Earlier this week... we were again walking down the road... when I saw up ahead a middle aged women that had worry and heartbreak written all over her face. As we got closer, she yelled out, ¨Sister!!!¨.. I was a little confused... knowing that I had never met her... but she hurried up to meet us and started explaining that her scitzofrenic (oops.. I CANNOT spell anymore, have ya noticed??) daughter that we had sung and prayed with in the street many times before..... had been kicked out of the house with by her other children and husband.. and that she couldn`t find her and asked us where there was a homeless center for them both. I didn`t know exactly what to say... but suddenly found myself grabbing this little old woman in my arms as she began to weep. .... Elisa her daughter ended up showing up the next day, and we`ve been teaching Marie, her mom, and turns out that she studied theology and knows the bible SO well and is SO full of faith........... and is now just eating the Book of Mormon up!
Hermana G and I were contacting... and with little success. We stopped and prayed... wanting so badly to be guided. We passed by a little dirt road.. and a neighborhood that looked kind of sketchy... but when Hermana Guevara said, THIS ROAD!- we went. We were met by a group of little girls that asked us, ¨Where are you going?¨... and I asked, ¨Where do you think we should go?¨... and without a word... they all pointed to the left. So... we went. Trying so hard to listen to the Spirit... we kept walking... and found a little house with an open door... full of adults. When I stopped at the door without saying a word.., almost all at once they said, ¨Pasen!!¨- as if they were waiting for us! Turns out that two of the men there were baptized in the 80`s... but when they moved... they lost contact with the church, and started attending other churches... and were then really confused. As we started teaching the others adults about the restoration... the SPirit was so strong... and the members both said, ¨Oh! I`m remembering! Oh that makes sense! Oh YA! ¨... and by the end... those 5 adults said that they didn`t have any doubts it was the truth... and the 3 others accepted the invitation to be baptized. They live in different areas... so we`re waiting to hear what will happen with them! This last sunday Rey and Luis, the inactive members, came to church, and of COURSE they loved it! We`re trying to teach Rey`s wife and kids... but it`s a little difficult with how full they are with false doctrine from other experiences... but they have such good questions, and really want to understand. I can see them all in white... and I have SO much hope and excitement for this family!!!
This week we were coming back from a multizona and had to take a number of buses... which is SO great for contacting! I got on the first bus, and looked into the eyes of this guy...and was SO BLOWN AWAY by the light he had.... and it hit me so undeniably strong... that he was sitting there ready. I started to talk to him as Hermana Woods sat down next to me, and I told, ¨He`s ready.¨- so on that bus ride, we got his information... and he was so positive and receptive. Then... on the next bus... he was magically there too... and HErmana Woods sat next to him... and taught him the first 3 lessons... and he accepted the invitation to be baptized. We`re waiting to hear from the missionaries in his area what day! :)

There are so many countless miracles and answers to prayers every single day. I feel SO unworthy of all of these blessings... and every time I begin to count them... I feel lower than the dust, but of more worth than all the money in the world... to know that the Lord has heard my prayers... and is so willing to use and bless me. Just thinking of my cries to have the change to be with someone that would inspire and motive me... someone with the passion and drive to be obedient and work harder than we could imagine possible.... and the Lord blessed me more than I could have imagined to be able to be with Hermana Guevara AND Sister Woods, AND sister Allen. I couldn`t be richer.

Last week we taught Rosa and Jorge about fasting... and as he is still searching for a job... we all started fasting together. Kneeling with these spiritual giants... some of the most humble and beautiful I have ever known... and listening to Jorge offer such a sweet and pure prayer flowing over with faith and love for our Heavenly Father.... I found myself weepy AGAIN. Jorge gives some of the BEST prayers- I love them much like I loved the prayers of Rigoberto Martinez in Candelaria- they`re just SO honest and beautiful. Jorge always starts out by saying, ¨Diosito Lindo....¨... which makes me almost giggle in adoration... but he begins to plead for more understanding of the gospel, for his divorcement to go through so that they can make sacred convenants with God and eventually go to the temple to be a family for eternity. - Jorge totally gets it. Did I mention he started studying to be a Priest... but stopped because he knew it wasn`t right? He is SO spiritually in tune... and spends hours now reading the scriptures out load wtih Rosa with his broken fragment of a magnifying glass because his eyes are so bad. (Yes... I will be looking for glasses today.) When Hermana Ariceli, their member neighbor, asked me how they were and I told her how the read and study with such hunger... she asked if Rosa could read... Ariceli`s face lit up and she said, ¨I will teach her to read! SHE WILL READ! I will fast to know how to teach her... and she will read!!¨- I was so touched by such love and charity for a woman that she hardly knew... that again.. the weepy thing happened again.
My testimony and appreciation for the church welfare system is totally blossoming too. As we`ve tried to help the ward be aware of the great needs of Rosa and Jorge and other families... it`s been so touching to enter their homes and see their cabinets full of food from the bishop`s storehouse. I don`t know what this family would have done this week without it. It`s just another manifestation of the Lord`s love and willingness to bless and provide for His children when they are trying to be obedient.
In this time of financial uncertainly... and almost complete deprevation with Jorge and his family.... I was so excited to teach tithing. When they are so worried about how to feed their kids and make ends meet.... to help them know about the most SURE way to call the blessings of the Lord for their family and ensure food on their table through paying tithing... was such a sweet lesson to teach. They have such faith, and when Jorge starts working...they are so excited to obey this commandment. WHAT FAITH! When they fasted... I was so touched to see them give their fast offerings to bishop... seeing their reliance on the Lord no matter their fear and struggles to find the next meal... they so willing gave their last pennies and nickles... trusting that the Lord would not leave them alone. He has not... and certainly will not.
As for Sandra and her family... they have had to pass through SO MANY refining fires... but just as Sandra was promised in her blessing... that her husband would change and come to the truth as she remained steadfast and dilligent... FINALLY... despite all the crazy legal complications, drug dealers knocking their door every day... temptations like crazy from every nook and cranny imaginable...................... the power of the Atonement has over ridden everything... and they are getting married and baptized on monday. The miracles and tender mercies in this family are just out of control wonderful!
- both the family of Jorge and Rosa and Sandra... were references from Hermana Vargas. She herself has so many trials and obstacles... but since she was baptized 2 years ago... her fire and desire to serve and share the gospel has just grown. I just hope she sees what an angel she is. These two families are now focused on and headed towards the temple... all because Hermana Vargas followed the Spirit and randomly knocked on Sandra`s door with teh missionaries when she hardly knew her.... and because she followed the prompting to give this random bus driver a book of mormon. ... she is a true missionary and saint.

I`ve attached a picture of Jorge and his family. Can`t you just see them in white? Ya.. me too.
Hermana Clark

Thank you for the Letters

Thank you so much family for the beautiful letters! I was getting hungry for them. How RAD was that to meet Elder Eyring??? Even though we don´t have to shake their hands to know that they are real apostles called of God........ I will never forget the feelings I experienced when I met Elder Holland.... yet I felt the same power even over here listening to the broadcast. (oh, and Joel, I had the same impression and inspiration when they sang ¨High on a Mountain Top¨ too.... how close did we feel to the family at that moment?)

Thank you for telling about all the sweet miracles and blessings going on over there!! Happy happy life, huh? Not easy.... but so so happy.

Um.... I just LOVE LOVE LOVE working with families... it´s an addiction I never intend to kick... but I itch to feed it more. We´re looking and looking for more... and though they´re not always just on their porch waiting for us... we are so grateful for those families that we are working with that I feel so sure will make it to the temple. We are seeing so many changes in Jorge and Rosa and their family... and I feel SO SO honored to a witness to it all. Jorge is reading the scriptures with his magnifying glass every night out loud for Rosa who can´t read, and they are reporting the most astounding changes in their family! They live up in this little room at the top of this little car wash... all 5 of them in a little bedroom with a stove at the top of the stairs for a kitchen that they share with 4 other adults in the two other rooms up there. Jorge still hasn´t found a job since he quit his job... but they haven´t give hope, but rather have more than they ever have. Of course, there are complications and obstacles with the divorcement... but they are more and more excited to get it all done and GET BAPTIZED! They reported that they had their OWN family home evening... and Jorge read ALL of the pamplets and the Book of Mormon out loud... for THREE HOURS... and that it was marvelous. We gave them a picture of the temple and the proclamation to the family... and when we came back... they had rearranged a whole wall, changed the clothes line and everything.... and had mounted them over old cardboard and nailed them to the wall......... and it was so beautiful. They are say they are the happiest they have ever been, and can´t believe how much better their life in that little room is every day with more love, patience, and joy. They are teaching me so much about the kind of family I want to have.

Sandra and her ¨spouse¨ are getting married and baptized this week!!! They have been overcoming so many addictions, legal things, habbits.... and are truly experiencing a mighty change of heart, and the healing power of the Atonement. We are SO happy for them... and again... totally blessed to be able to see it all happen.

Sometimes I get a little impatient.... just... wanting to see more tangible and quick progress... to see more people make covenants with our Heavenly Father... but I know that there is a purpose and plan in everything. I heard this week that one of the investigators that I had led to and had been teaching in Candelaria, Jorge, is getting baptized this week! I remember that night in Candelaria... wandering around... trying to follow the Spirit... I heard the words of Mormon when he said, ¨I do this for a wise purpose, for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me¨... and feeling that we should contact on a street that I had already contacted before, and had walked a million times over... when I heard, ¨Hey girl!¨ and I usually don´t reply to such calls in english because they don´t usually mean anything good.... but the Spirit penetrated me... and I turned and started walking towards the voice in the dark.... and found Jorge. He had just gotten here from 4 years in prison in the states.... It is such a beautiful miracle... and I know that he has had to work so hard and learn so much to overcome the problems that he had to be ready to progress like this........ and it really just goes to show that with God, NOTHING is impossible. I´m so grateful that we have such ready access to the Atonement... that we can truly leave the past behind... and start over in Christ... to truly be born again.
I´m learning not to expect to see all the exact and clear fruits of the labor this week, this month, or maybe even this change or life...... but I know that the Lord knows the purpose... and I don´t have to know it all or exactly why... but to follow with exactness.

Speaking of following with exactness... I´m also learning that there are many missionaries that don´t want to follow our advice as nurses with exactness.... and it´s a whole ´nother test of PATIENCE. I have such a love and fondness for this silly sweet Elders that I could never have fully imagined having before... and it helps me answer the phone... but also makes it harder to hear them struggle and suffer physically and emotionally... and not be able to be their mom and just hug them. Even though I don´t even have all the burden and responsibility of the nurse because Hermana Woods is still here.... the Lord has already blessed me with impressions and abilities (especially in spanish) beyond my natural capabilities. I am so humbled to experience such a powerful presence and intervention when I have been speaking to spanish speaking missionaries about deligate emotional issues and crises.... and to realize that I have understood and said words about things that I have never talked about in Spanish before... and the only way that is possible... is the pure gift of tongues.
There are a lot of medical things going on... that are interesting... but mostly just frustrating. For example... an elder called complaining of some severe abdominal pain... but wouldn´t say how severe, exactly where it was, or that he had vomitted twice that morning- because he didn´t want it to be anything serious or get in the way of the work. SO... when we tried to evaluate him for appendicitis... it didn´t seem probable since he didn´t have a fever or pain in the right location. Yet... when his lab results showed an infection... after drilling him some more... he confessed to vomitting... and we sent him to the hospital... to find that he was really about to burst of apendicitis... and was rushed into surgery. We learn to let go the frustration of the misinformation... and be grateful he´s alive.
We are seeing an alarming rate of Elders with amoebas. In this last month, we´ve had a number of random cases that they took the supposed medications we told them to get... but 2 weeks later they are totally wilting- still having diahrrea, and won´t eat, and are totally dehydrated- but didn´t want to tell us? Something happens with this sketchy little farmacias that they get and sale FAKE drugs... and so of course they don´t get better!
OR... they get the right drug... and don´t like the taste of them... and we can´t get them to take them... so they continue to wilt with malnutrition and dehydration! Sometimes I just wanna grab them like the cats in dad´s office and use the big pill poppers to get them to take the pills that will SAVE THEIR LIVES!
OR... they can´t find the meds up it the mountains that they´re at... and we get super creative with getting them the stuff they need so that they don´t end up in the hospital for an absurd amount of diahrrea.

President had asked me if I could use my education in my mission and if I´d be WILLING to be the nurse... and I smiled, reflected on what I already knew I´d be facing... and thought of the wise words of my parents when they gave me orders, ¨I didn´t ask if you WANTED to... I said to do it!!¨ and said, ¨good thing you didn´t ask me if I WANTED to. :) ¨
Welp... love you all!! So happy and proud of my family and friends that are dilligently working hard and being true to the faith!!!
Hermana Clark

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Confrence is the BEST!

First a few questions that frequently been burning in me.

- Did Ryan Ramsey get baptized the 2nd? How come no one has told me more about it? arooooooo I wanna know everything!
- Is my Banana in France right now? Wha´happened to her?
- What is Mary Hollenbough doing?
- How was the conference for everyone? I wanna hear about the family fiesta!

Wasn´t conference just THE GREATEST?!? I don´t think physically being there could even have made it better.... it was just SO perfect... and we´re experiencing some really great aftershocks from it... and I have so far to go from really processing all that we heard... and actually applying. That will take me....... a VERY long time.

Two weeks ago we passed by a convert´s house that was going to go out teaching with us, but she wasn´t there. We met her sister in law, 20 year old Andrea, and she didn´t want to open the door to us, but just tell us Hna Diaz wasn´t there and that we could call later. I don´t remember how it happened... but I just remember being totally aware of how persistent and annoying I was to her... but feeling good about it as I insisted that we wait in the house for her to come.... so that we could secretly teach Andrea. What I didn´t know was that for the last year and half that probably a dozen different missionaries have tried to teach her and have been severely rejected... that even the Diaz family started telling the missionaries not to bother. Yet... she finallly got tired of fighting with me... she let us in the door to wait for her for a supposed 3 minutes. I just remember starting conversation with her was something like how´d I´d imagine pulling telling from a squirming 3 year old....... but all of a sudden... we found ourselves finishing a really powerful lesson of the restoration and with the Spirit really strong. This obstinant joven totally changed.... and we left with high hopes. She didn´t come to church after that... and read very little. Yet... we held on to what we saw and felt in that lesson... and weeks later... she came to a farewell gathering of a friend going on a mission. I guess this kid, Javier, had a severe rebel streak but experienced a miraculous change through the Atonement. This farewell with the ward was really sweet... and Javier just GLOWED with the joy that only repentence and the Atonement of Jesus Christ can bring. Andrea was really touched and surprised by the genuine change that she saw in Javier. So... when we saw her quietly sneak into the Saturday afternoon session of conference... we could not have been more elated! She left conference totally stoked.... and came to the two sessions on sunday.
Monday night we brought her to Javier´s house for a final FHE with his family... and we hoped to put a baptismal date. Miracles happened there... but not as we had planned. When we got there... there was another family at the house, visiting to say goodbye. The Spirit hit us... and we ended up teaching them about the Restoration... with help from Andrea. We saw such a miracle and change in her.... this very dedicated and tradition catholic... who never wanted to even imagine or smell something different.... was then testifying of the importance of prophets... and how God can guide us through his servants in this way. We watched the DVD of Restoration about Joseph Smith... and when I asked the mother of the visiting family, the Family Chicas ( ya, I like their name too)... she looked at me with tear filled eyes... and told me that she had been searching ALL of her life to know the truth. She said she was born into the Catholic church... but in her youth and adulthood had visited almost every church possible.... but had never ¨been filled¨... that she wanted so desperately to fill this hole in her soul. The Spirit was SO sweet as we sat back and listened to Javier and his family teach and testify to their friends the reason that they were so happy together as a family... and that God truly did restore his church... for the benefit of their family. I asked Andrea how she felt after conference... and she smiled and said, ¨filled.¨ The family Chicas wept and thanked us so graciously for sharing with them, and though they don´t live in our area... they will be taking the discussions and be ¨filled¨ and baptized.
Jorge Pena and his ¨esposa¨ Rosa and their kids came to conference too!! Jorge was so touched and inspired... that without us saying anything.... he quit his job that made him work on sundays... and testified to US that he knew that the Lord would provide for him with a job that would allow him to live the commandments. Again... I may have wept just a little for joy to hear this. He is finding his legal wife this week, getting the papers together... and getting divorced. We brought them to a member´s house and had an FHE with a bunch of converts that told of their stories and testimonies.. and the changes they´ve experienced in their live. It was PERFECT. The whole family is so excited and stoked on the gospel... and have SO much faith! I want to be like Jorge Pena.
Also... one of the guards of our street... came to conference. At the begining of this change... I realized that we constantly passed by this pleasant man almost every day... but had anyone stopped to talk to him? Yup. They had. Sisters have him a book of Mormon months and months ago... but as the missionaries changed... the follow up kind of stopped. We insisted that he come to conference... and he did! Of course, again, he doesn´t live in our area... but he came to conference totally by himself.. and LOVED it. He reported to us this week that he is changing his job so that he doesn´t work on sundays so that he can go to church!

As we were racing in the streets, knocking every door, yelling to strangers.... trying to get EVERYONE to Conference... sadness crept into my heart. I wanted to, and kind of almost did, yell, THE PROPHET OF GOD IS GOING TO SPEAK TO US! COME LISTEN TO WHAT GOD WANTS US TO HEAR!!!!!!! Those that went to conference left full of faith and inspiration... and empty of doubt that THomas S. Monson is God´s prophet in this day.... and Christ´s church has been restored.

I love working with HErmana Guivara.... she is SO SO SO bold. As I´ve learned more about where she has come from... that her father was killed by the gangs, left to be raised by her mother with 6 kids and SO MANY obstacles.... she continually astounds me by her strength and unconditional faith. She carries the Spirit with her so strong... and never hestitates to call people to repentence and do the Lord´s work. I love LOVE LOVE her!! We are seeing such miracles in this ward... and have a family getting baptized this week. I feel so honored to be a witness to it all.

Love you all! Can´t honestly say that I´ve been homesick... but I do think of home with such fondness and sweetness to remember what I´ve been blessed with. It inspires me every time to get out and share this with everyone else.

I got a beautiful letter from such a dear friend this week that really helped me and touched me. He said something SO great that I wanna share. He said that ¨a true optimist is someone that sees things as they really are, because the truth is that LIFE IS GOOD.¨ It´s so true. Optimism isn´t blindness to the bad... it´s the realization of the reality of the good. I am so grateful that the Lord is so willing to provide us with faith and hope... and a clear perspective of this life.... according to our desires and obedience.
Hermana Clark

The Story of my life!

I´m trying to decide whether to start with the spiritual or the dorky highlights of my week. I think I´d rather leave on a good note... so I´ll confess some of the most awkward moments of my week.

So... remember how I am really directionally impared... super awkward... still don´t the area... and am determined to be relentlessly obedient? Ya... so when I jumped off the bus at our stop and turned back to see my companions still in the bus trying to make their way though a crowd of people... when the bus started to gas it, leaving me in the street ALONE..... without really thinking logically.... I just started sprinting............. and dove into the bus. - ridiculously desperate not to be seperated from my companions! hahaha... it still makes me laugh out loud to replay in my mind the gasps, screams, and faces of shock from everyone in the bus when I looked up. I was just a little bruised, embarrassed... but unseperated from my companion.
I have a lot of faith and trust in the mission rules- and love to testify of the blessings that obedience brings. SO... when I started talking to a woman in the seat next to me in the bus (on another trip)... when she imediately started saying, ¨Aren´t you so afraid here? It´s so dangerous! I´m afraid for myself...but it´s way more dangerous for you here!!!¨- I could confidently testify that we have the protection of the Lord when we are obedient! I explained that I always have my companion with me... that we have very strict regulations....but as we are strictly obedient...we are blessed! We started talking about the gospel... and I was so engrossed and stoked on telling this woman about the Restoration... that when the three other sisters got off the bus... I was totally oblivious. 15 minutes later... in another part of town... as I went to get off the bus right by our next appointment... I looked back to tell Hermana Guevara to get off here.........but she wasn´t there. -it kind of made an awkward moment with my new investigator to explain that I was currently breaking a REALLY important role... and that I was alone for the first time in 7 months.. and if she wouldn´t mind being with while I waited for the next bus. hahaha.... ooooooooooo she railed me for putting myself in such a dangerous situation... that I should at least have a PHONE...and so on and so forth... and all I could think about is how worried the sisters would be. haha... I took another bus... and returned to our little gated street to find an extremely distressed Hermana Guevara, and even the guard was on the phone with his boss asking for permission to leave to look for me because, as he said, ¨We lost our Gringita!!¨ hahaha.... I guess when the sisters realized I didn´t get off the bus, they started running behind the bus screaming... and jumped on the next bus to look for me... because they were sure that Hermana Clark couldn´t possibly find her way back.... and wouldn´t be safe. They even called the President to admit they lost the white girl! Hahaha.... the whole neighborhood was alerted and worried...because such a silly girl should not be here alone! haha... but I´m good! Again... embarrassed...but safe!
It probably didn´t help much with the President´s trust in me when I was finishing an emergency call with a sick elder at 11 at night... and accidently called President, but our phone has a lot of buttons or something... so when I heard his voice... I thought he was calling ME... and he was sleepy and confused... and I was confused... and it was a really awkward moment. Kind of like my life.
Then... the other night... we were almost late to an appointment... so we started booking it.... but running in the dark with these really broken streets... is not a good idea for such a clutz as me. So... thank you Aunt Marcie for the bandaids- especially the really big ones- because they don´t exist here! Women keep trying to give me really suspicious and scary lotions and potions for my leg.... but I´ll be fine with neosporin, thanks.
And... that´s about as all as I wanna admit for now.

We had such a sweet baptism for kids of Sandra. 2 weeks before... Sandra´s mom started having ¨cults¨ in the house- that´s what they call the Evangelical gatherings where they chant and pray. One of the women started telling 9 year old Carlos lies and wacked out junk about Joseph Smith and the church... and Carlos was really upset. This kid is SO special- his Spirit is so much more mature than 9 years old. We invited him to pray to his Heavenly Father and really ask Him if Joseph Smith was a real prophet and if God restored His church. A member gave him a liahona to read the words of prophets in this day. The next day... Carlos was SO excited to say, ¨I got an answer!! I feel SO good! I can´t wait to get baptized!!! ¨Carlos and Brian were so excited... and the Spirit was present and sweet during all of their baptism. Yet... the best moment was when Carlos got up to bear his testimony... and he told everyone how good he felt. He said it felt just like when he got an answer from God that the church is true. He began to get really emotional... and the Spirit settled upon everyone so strong.. and Carlos couldn´t talk for a few moments, and finally cried, ¨I´ve never been so happy... it makes me want to cry!¨. It was so sweet, simple, pure, and true. His father was really touched, and he even gave a brief talk on baptism!!
Speaking of his father... he had an interview with the President... and has been cleared for baptism! He walked out of the interview BEAMING... and it was so clear that the Atonement is REAL. This family is really changing... and they are so happy. They are praying and reading together and doing family home evening... and we are seeing miracles wtih them! They´re getting married this friday and he´s getting baptized this saturday!!

Elsy continues to be such a sweet kindred spirit.. and my love for her just grows more and more. She didn´t go to church this sunday... because the family of her ¨esposo¨ came into town, and didn´t leave until late. We had a really great lesson with her again... and she said that she read and prayed... and felt the Spirit again so strong- and knows it´s true. We always feel the Spirit with her. Yet, this week, we came at night to have a lesson with her... and she came out crying and said that she couldn´t recieve us and asked us to come back the next day. She wouldn´t say what was wrong...and when we asked if we could just hug her... she opened her gate looking up and down the street with such fear and anxiety. When we came back... she had a huge black eye... and told us that he boyfriend had hit her and left. We spent some good time with her, playing with the kids, cleaning the house, making lunch... and I really feel like she is my sister. It´s such a hard situation...because the next time we came back... she answered the door fearfully again, whispering that he came back and that we should come back tomorrow when he´s at work. We are praying and fasting to know what to do and how to help. We are bringing a member that works and a women´s abuse hospital... and are hoping that she will receive advice.

Jorge is so hard to get ahold of because he is ALWAYS working...but we have started teaching his ¨spouse¨- again, they´re not married. Rosa is so sweet and wonderful and they have three beautiful children. She can´t read, but definately felt the Spirit and is coming to conference tomorrow and we are thrilled! We just found out last night that Jorge isn´t legally divorced from his last wife... and that is a really long and expensive process.... and though I feel so good that they will be baptized... I´m aware that I won´t be here to see it.

The other day we contacted into this guy that had spent 30 years in the States... so we ended up talking in english and spanish. Yet.. Hermana Guevara doesn´t speak english.. but he was so much more comfortable with english... so we spoke a lot of english. He was so interested and excited about the restoration... and when he asked so purely in ENGLISH, ¨I want to know something. Hermana Clark, Hermana Guevara..... what do I need to do to be good with God?¨- I was so shocked when Hermana Guevara quickly replied, ¨fe, arrepentimiento, bautismo, recepciĆ³n del Don del Espiritu Santo, y perseverar hasta el Fin¨. When we talked about it later... she didn´t believe that he said it in english- because she understood him perfectly. I KNOW he was speaking in english... just like I KNOW the gift of tongues is real... and was so powerfully evident in that lesson.

I thought to myself the other day... how many times now have I taught the Restoration? How many times have I testified of Joseph Smith? What is the number of times that I have explained the purpose and validity and power of the Book of Mormon? I have no idea.... and it doesn´t matter.... but it feels like the first time every time. I am still SO stoked that we have the gospel in PLENTITUD. The false doctrine I keep hearing here is another story to tell.... but it just makes me more and more grateful that we know that God has never changed... and that He truly uses a prophet and 12 apostles in THIS DAY to teach us. I am even MORE excited for General Conference. I feel like I´ve watched the calendar and counted the days for conference more than any kid could for Christmas. Oh how I love this gospel.... I don´t think it could ever become too repetative or an old story for me. How great is this life???
Hermana Clark