Tuesday, January 28, 2014

MORE Baptisms, Humility and Good Advice

Here's the latest and greatest!
  From Elder Darke:
Yet another amazing week!  As I look back I dont think any of my mission hasnt been amazing :D.  Thats because missions are awesome! :D.  
    Wow this week went by fast though.  It seems like just yesterday I was at this very computer writing emails.  When in fact, it has been a week :D.  This week The members have been really amazing here and we had two different activities that we were able to bring investagators to :D.  One was a integration night.  It was fun becuase we separted into groups and tried to answer questions correctly.  While it took a while for me to understand the questions (my companion was rewording them into really simple phrases for me :D.)  and then after that trying to figure out how many books the old testiment had was still not easy :D.  My answer was way wrong :D.  Then on sunday we have a ward reunion sort of thing, and we had investagtors there to :D.  Both very enjoyable.
    We have taught many people this week!  We have 5 people that have agreed to get babtised.  Now we just need to help them finish getting ready for this amazing ordinance.  Five people though.  How amazing is that?  I think its because of my companion, he is a great teacher.  I have been trying to help as much as I can, and understand everything else, but he has been doing most of it :D.  
    This week has been one of learning though.  My companion really has been trying everything he can to help me.  Now advice is not aways easy to except.  When you have made a plan, and it is perfect.  Or at least, it is good enough that is doesnt need to be changed.  It takes a lot to take someone else´s advice.  A lot of humility.  You need to be humble enough to admit that maybe your way isnt the best, and that there are better options.  Humble enough to act on the advice that has been given to you.  When we do this though we look back to see that becuase of the advice that we have been given, our lives are immensly better then they would be otherwise :D. My friends, please take other peoples advice.  It is not easy, not in the least.  But It is worth is.  The advice of our parents, the advice of our teachers, the advice of our freinds.  The only reason they are giving you advice is becuse they love you and want to help you be better.  Dont think of it like they are judgemental, but think of it like they are trying to help.  If we look at it this way, our views on life can be much improved.
    Let me tell you of some advice that i got from a good freind of mine.  I was a teenager preparing for my mission.  I had a hard time memorizing things.  An extremly hard time.  Scripture mastery from seminary was perhaps the most challenging thing from seminary for me.  One day I was talking with my bishop and he told me to memorize scriptures.  As many as i could.  He told me that these scriptures would be great comfort in times of trial.  Then turning to my future mission he told me that I would be able to teach people much more effectivley if I had memorized some scriptures.  He told me an amazing analogy.  Every scripture that i would memorize would become an arrow in my quiver, and as I gathered many arrows i would be able to help people as I fired these arrows through the bow of the holy ghost.
    Now being rebelious me I thought to myself, ´´I cant memorize things for the life of me, and he want me to memorize many scriptures? How am i going to be able to do that?´´  Nevertheless I worked on scriptures.  Now I remember the words to many scriptures.  They give me much comfort and help when I need them.  The only problem is I did not memorize where the scriptures are.  So I cant look them up in portugese very easily :D.  My bishops advice was true.  At the time it seemed to be an impossible task.  As I got a few scriptures down though they became the tools of comfort and power that he talked about.  Now, I can see that effect that scriptures have, I have been trying to memorize even more of them!  For (as my bishop also said many times)  ´´You cannot teach what you do not know, anymore then you can return from a place you have not been´´.  Such wise words, that i would not have known if my bishop had not taken the time to teach them to me :D.
-Elder Darke
Wow!  He's growing up so fast!  It's good to hear that he is keeping his humility with such success!  We hope that you have a wonderful week!
Love y'all! Melanie (Mom)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Cookies, Lightning, a Flood and the Holy Ghost

Here's the latest update from Elder Darke.  He seems well and is getting more and more comfortable with the language.
From Elder Darke:

Hello!  Another Fantastic week!
  Wednesday we had an amazing zone meeting, and Our district leader made us cookies! :D I like cookies :D.  After that I went on a trade to a different area, so i didnt know where was was almost at all that day.  We also had interviews with the mission president!  Everything is going good so i really didnt know what to tell him :P.  It was all good though.  He is very understanding and awesome.
   That night though we got hit with a really heavy lightning storm :D.  It was really cool.  Most of the lightning was in the clouds, so every few seconds the clouds would light up.  That is how much lightning there was.  Then every few minutes or so, a lighting bolt would streak down, it was really cool.  the lightning here is blue.  I am not sure if it is blue in the states or not, I cant remember :D.  So we probably stayed up for far to long watching that :D.  and you know it is really raining a lot when your second story house starts flooding.  we had a balcony, and the water was seeping in from under the door, until the entire front room had water on the floor.  Thats ok though because all of the floors are tile here, so no damage in any form was done :D.
    After that we taught people, and commited some more people to dates for babtism!  My companion is awesome!  He is really good at teaching, he is really helping me learn portugese becuase he doesnt know english, and He is a dork, just like me!  So we end up laughing at eachother daily :D  Today he closed the garage door on me.  it was really funny.  He didnt mean to but, it was still funny :D.
    So in my area me and my companion need to be in our house at 8:30 at the lastest, instead of 9:30.  It is a change that we are still trying to get used to :D.  Most days it usually ends up with us speed walking to our house becuase we only have like 4 minutes left :D.  But we are doing pretty good at being there on time :D.  I dont really understand why we need to.  But i know that the mission president gave us this new rule, and I trust in his judgement to keep us safe :D.  So we are trying to do what he asks us to do :D. 
   A really cool experience that we had was actually yesterday we were teaching the joseph smith story.  we had the video ´´the Restoration´´ (a video of the Joseph smith story)  and we were teaching this family about it.  We played the video, and the spirit just flooded into the room.  Like literally flooded.  It was so strong that everyone in the room started tearing up, and my companion was trying really hard not to cry.  Then with tears in his eyes, he asked if our investagators would follow the example of Jesus Christ and be babtised in his church.  and they said yes!!!  I know this work is true.  That this church is true.  The spirit I felt is just proof of what I Know to be true.  Heavenly father Loves us.  Jesus Christ Loves us so much he died for our sins.  The holy spirit is not ony real, but he can testify of the truth of this work.  as Moroni says `´and by the power of the holy you may know the truth of all things :D´´ (i added the smiley face :D).  A mission is fun, it is amazing, it is spiritual.  It is a learning experience.  It is gods work here on the earth, and I am privilaged enough to be able to help take his work forward, as a representative of Jesus Christ.  I hope everyone gets to be able to enjoy this, either as full time missionaries, seinor missionaries, or even member missionaries.  That is how much I treasure this work, and this feeling that I know is true. :D
-Elder Darke

We just sent another package off for Elder Darke complete with dry sacks and umbrellas!  The next package planned will be for his birthday in May.  If you want to piggyback anything in it let us know!  Elder Darke is begging for some actual mail.  Emails are great, but he can't print them.  He'd like to be able to reread some as he chooses.  Thank you for all of the support and love that is being felt in lots of different ways!  We are very blessed!
Love, Melanie (mom)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Estancia, Charades, Baptisms and Stop and Think!

The update from Elder Darke!
    This week has been amazing!  I got transfered to a new area called estancia.  (i think).  So everything is new.  New house, companion, ward, city, everything. However I have really enjoyed getting used to the changes and discovering new things :D.
    So my companion is Elder L. Nasimento.  He is a brazilian that doesnt speak english (very much) but he has had many english companions so he can understand american portugese very well :D.  He really enjoys playing soccer and he is cool :D. the best part though is that he is weird! like me! :D.  The launguage barrier at times is hard, but i keep my dictionary around and we can communicate fairly well :D.  We are both becoming masters at surades (the game where you act out what you are trying to discribe. I dont know how to spell it :D) though! :D.
    My new area is Estancia!  It is a very large area, and unfortuatly for me, the street system doesnt make sense.  However I am finding that to be common in brazil :D.  Im sure i will get used to it soon :D.  The members here are super nice though :D.  They are helping us a lot by comming with us teaching and simmilar activities :D.  and they are all trying to help me learn portugese :D.  They are all super awesome.
    Oh and I played soccer for the first time in brazil :D.  It was the other day with some members and it was way fun :D.  Brazilians are really good with their feet, but I dont think they are used to playing against a six foot white boy :D.  So we had a fun time!  it was hard to play in dress clothes, but the feild was really small so we didnt have to run too much :D.
    A new thing is that we are getting a new mission president!  He wont be here until April i think.  However he is an american that doesnt speak portugese :D!  Its going to be so much fun :D.  So that is going to be new to :D.  I like my mission president now though, so I am not desperate for it to happen or anything, I am just excited to see how fast he learns portugese, becuase he will need to learn it fast :D
    SO GUESS WHAT HAPPENED!  Two days after I got here the missionaries in the area had 2 babtisms :D.  and I did one of them!  :D  WOOOO!  Her name is Tachiana :D  (Tachiana secadea de fraities).  And the thing that I was most worried about was forgetting her name becuase, come on, that is a long name.  But everything went well, and the spirit was so strong!  I was so happy that (even though I had just met her) She was going into the waters of babtism :D.  It made me so happy! :D  I couldnt stop smilling that day :D.
    As I think about it it reminds me of the saying, ´´If you bring just one soul to God, how great will be your joy :D.´´.  As I look forward I see the rest of my mission, and the time I have to help people be batbtised into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Which I have a personal knowledge that this church is true.  I know it with all my heart, and there is so much comfort that I gain from knowing that.  
    Now as you go about your day,  just take a moment to stop and think.  What is it that I have?  You have the words of life.  You have knowledge that can calm the mind and comfort the soul.  You know what happened before life, and what will happen after.  You know the secrets to eternal happiness.  Now look around, all those people you see, there are at least some of them that dont have what you have.  They are lost and are kept from the truth simply becuse they dont know where to find it.  This is your great privilage.  To help people learn about the truth.  It may be scary at first.  You may not know what to say.  Or when to say it.  To these problems I think the best think it to ask heavenly father for help.  He will give you opportunities, and he will help you have the right words to say.  The right words are somtimes not what we expect.  They are not alway elegent, or at times (especially for me) even understandable.  However as we listen to, and follow the spirit we can work wonders.  This I know to be true.

Elder Darke seems to be doing well!  His other email to me was brief, but he sounded cheerful as usual.  I hope he continues to adapt well and enjoy teaching the gospel.
You are all welcome to spread this blog around to others who know and don't know Elder Darke.  He wants to be able to touch as many lives as possible.  You never know when certain words that you share can touch anothers life.
Love, Melanie (Mom)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Transfers, Elder Nascimento and Lucas, Brazil

This week's update brings some changes, exciting and nerve racking for
Elder Darke.  I am excited for him to get to explore new things and strengthen his Portuguese.  

Here it is from Elder Darke:
    So today was transfers.  And I have been transfered.  This is my new companion, Elder L. Nascimento.  He doesnt speak english.  So this is going to be the most amazing transfer yet! :D.  I am in a place called Lucas.  It is pretty amazing.  It is about 2 hours away from brasillia.  (It isnt super far, but all the cars here have to drive kindof slow becuase the roads here are not perfect :D).  So this is going to be awesome.  And Proof of that is that this week on thursday(I think)  They already have 2 babtims set.  So woooo! :D.
    My last area was great, my companion was amazing.  However I get the feeling that is area and this companionship is going to be super amazing :D.  If nothing else though, I am sure that I will learn portugese, just by the simple fact that my new companion doesnt speak much english.  So this is going to work out well :D.   So I learned that I was going to get transfered at about 10 oclock last night.  So one, I had to pack really fast.  However, as I was packing I just kept thinking about what would happen.  and how I didnt know what the future would hold.  I didnt know where I was going or with who i would be going with.  At first I was just thinking about it out of curiosity.  But soon that became anxousness, and that became worry.  (would I be able to get along with my next companion? was the biggest question I had).  So as soon as I realized what I was feeling, and not wanting to feel like that anymore.  I did a small little prayer.  A prayer of comfort and peace.  A prayer to help me face the unknown with courage and strength.  As soon as I finished the prayer I felt much better.  I didnt feel anxous at all, in fact I felt excited.  I felt ready and prepared to start this new transfer.  
   If some of you are reading this and thinking ´´Well that is good for you, but Heavenly father doesnt answer my prayers´´ Or even ´´I think you are bluffing, and you really didnt feel anything´´.  I beg of you, please dont think this.  Heavenly father loves all of us.  Every single person that is, has, or will ever be in existance.  If we have faith, and pray in the name of his son, Jesus Christ.  Then I promise he will answer your prayers.  He wants to give us blessings, but to get all the blessings that he wants to give us, we need to ask for them with faith.  I think part of the reason I get answers to my prayers is that I know that heavenly father loves me, and will give me help in any way that I need.  We need to remember that faith preceds (comes before) miracles.  If we have faith as a single mustard seed, then nothing will be impossible for us.
   For those that think I am making is up, there is only one that I can say.  I know that this is true.  Please dont take my word for it.  Challenge every word that I say.  And the way to challenge it is to read the book of mormon.  Study it,  Feast upon its words and teachings.  Then while you are doing that, have faith.  Pray to god and ask with a sincere heart, with real intent if these things are not true.  I promise that if you will do this heavenly father will answer your prayers.  Sometimes not in the way that we expect, or when we expect.  But he will answer them.  I promise.  And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
-Elder Darke

Elder Darke is positive as usual, but I do worry that he will feel lonely not understanding the language very well.   His address will remain the same that has been given out for you that will send letters/packages.  That is actually the mission home address.  He says that they don't even have a post office where he will be.  Somehow though, they get him his letters.
We love you all (y'all)!
Melanie (Mom)