What? Another week has flown by...AGAIN? Wha' happened?
Someday I will write a letter in Kreole. I'm still trying to learn. Someone tried to teach me.. and told me not to form any consonants, and then to just not think before I spoke. Ya... I'll keep practicing. People just think I'm from England and always tell me what a funky accent I have. haha.
We have had such a great week. What week in this last year has not had contained something ridiculously great and beautiful? Ya.. the mission is hard.. but it is out of control sweet. I love what I get to do every day. ....will I ever get tired of declaring that? :) This week I was was dancing behind the piano to see the big Usher family come in. They're a huge inactive family... and when we finally found them... Brother Usher was drunk, smoking... the wife wasn't talking to him, the kids were happy to see us, but had such sadness in their eyes... and it was a rough sight. We've been working so hard with them.. trying to help Brother Usher understand the Atonement (he, like so many people say, "I'm just not worthy to go back to church yet." - oh that gets me going! We shouldn't wait to loose weight before going to the gym, right?) and get everyone excited again.... and they came this week! They were SO happy... and though the fight isn't over... we definitely won this round against satan this week. Also, one of our past and fallen branch presidents came to church this week- after almost 2 months of working with him.... he came. HE CAME! It's been so wonderful to work with him... these kind of men.. when they let satan in just a little in their lives... it's more destructive than these famous hurricanes here. This brother had fallen into some hard things- being a sea captain and out in sea for weeks with a dark dark social atmosphere... made it so so so hard. I have learned so much with working with him... trying to help him believe in, understand, and apply the Atonement in his life... has brought so much personal healing in my own. We are starting to see true fruits of repentance with him... and sunday was a joyous occasion.
The Lord has continued to put people in our path... and our prayerful pleas are repeatedly answered. We were lost the other day.. and we heard, "Hermanas!!" .... and to our surprise we found a man with crutches calling out to us from the other side of the road. He was one of THE FIRST baptisms in Belize in 1982, and was the first branch president of one of the branches here. Many tragic things happened to him that were out of his control... but the depression influenced him into a big and dangerous fall... and he's one of the most broken men.. I have ever seen. He still remembers his covenants, knows and truly believes the doctrine..... and hardly lives any of it... and it has brought him nothing but misery. Also living with him is member that too still has a testimony... and the both want to return.. but are in such a weakened state from years of sin. I am so grateful for the cleansing, purifying, and edifying power of the Atonement in my own life... that has helped me enter these homes with such confidence and surety that no matter how far one has fallen...that the Atonement can reach way down there. I continually ponder Christ's order to His disciples to "cast into the deep"- and I feel like that applies perfectly to what we are doing here... every single day. We are seeing so clearly the results of sincere repentance... and the sweet joys of when one has been truly forgiven..and the healing and hope it brings to the lives of these families.
The young women of the spanish branch have been working and saving their "shillings" for months and months to be able to go to the Guatamala temple- 9 hours away- to do baptisms for the dead. Many adults went for their first time... and sunday all that had gone shared their testimonies. It reminded me of when the Jaredites finally made it to land, and they fell to the ground and wept with joy and gratitude. I feel like Belize is so much like what it may have been like crammed in and tossed about in those tiny little boats- with the temptations, depression, poverty, anger... you name it- it's here. - So... the experiences that these saints had in going to this heaven on earth- was like when the Jaredites hit land- they were finally safe, comfortable...and most of all... in the place the Lord had prepared for them. The gratitude and overwhelming joy that these sweet members tried to express on sunday was so touching..and it made me homesick- but for the temple. I love love love teaching these temple preparation classes- I would LOVE to have this calling after my mission. Though it's almost been a year since I've been in that sacred place... my understanding, appreciation, and love has blossomed. Sometimes I think about how if I were still El Salvador I'd have taken investigators to the open house... we'd be participating in the cultural celebration and the dedication... but I hardly affects me.. because I am constantly reminded that HERE is where my Heavenly Father wants me- and it's far more important to me to prepare these families to get there.. than that I be there myself right now. We will watch the dedication of the El Salvador temple this sunday... and I am SO SO SO stoked- for myself, but especially the members and recent converts here. We're counting the days! :)
Having hit my one year mark has brought a lot of reflection of the incredible year the Lord has blessed me with. I really couldn't dream of anything better. I am excited for the next 6 months. I feel like I've grown, experienced, and changed so much in the last 6 months... I'm so anxious to see what the next 6 bring.. and what I can bring to them. I got a call from El Salvador yesterday.. giving me the option of ending my mission the transfer before, since my 18 months ends in the middle of a change. I burst out laughing... and nothing more to say but, "What kind of question is that?". :) I will be staying. I love this work. There's no possible way to describe it. I think the closest is what Nephi said when he stated that God had filled him with such love even to the "consuming of my flesh". - I often feel like that.
- Sister Clark