Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Clouds, Monsters and Speaking in Church

So, now aren't you excited that you get a second post from this week?  Yep, let's look at the bright side.  Good news is he sent a picture of a recent baptism!  Yea!
From Elder Darke:
  Another fantastic week!  It was especially great becuase it was cloudy all week!  wooo!  I say this becuase when it is not cloudy it is increadably hot!  So i prefer cloudy!  If it rains It just fills me with joy, so either way clouds rock! :D.  My companion doesnt like rain because it gets his pamphlets and books all wet, (when it rains, it rains!)  My bag though is waterproof!  Its been brazil tested :D.  So other interesting things from the week :D
    We had seven investagators at church today!  Seven!  Thanks like (angelic noises) amazing!  It really made me happy!  The rest of thatsunday was meetings meeting meetings :D.  We had a leaders meeting, and ward missionary training, and a ward family reunion thing also.  So we were at the church almost all day, however I think that we are about to see some amazing activity from the ward for missionary work. Becuase the meetings went very well :D.  I think understand what the bishop must feel like on sundays :D.
    One of our investagator families is really progressing this week :D.  We have been working with them for a while, but this last week one of them started asking all of these amazing questions that she had becuase her proffeser is athest.  So taught her the plan of salvation but we couldnt teach fast enough becuase she was just constantly asking questions about things we are about to teach.  It was really funny :D.  It went really well though.  They were one of the families at the church :D.
    This last week we had a zone meeting for the missionaries!  We had 2 new missionaries arrive that were in our zone.  One was brazilian, the other american. They may be from different places, but their expressions of bewilderment were the same :D.  it makes me wonder If i looked like that when i came.  Probably :D. They will be fine in a few weeks though.  maybe a little longer for the american :D.
   Today I am really tired becuase I kept having dreams about a giant monster trying to eat me.  Explaining this to my non english speaking companion was really ammusing the next morning as well :D.  I think my sherades skills are increasing daily :D.  
    In church I was also asked to give a talk, the morning before Church.  We had things planned though so i couldnt sit down and plan out what i was going to say. To make matters even more interesting, I think our Stake presidency was there as well :D.  So I got up, and doing my best talked about the book of mormon.  How i knew it was true, and how anyone could know the same if they read and prayed about it with real intent.  So I felt like I didnt do very well.  As i went to sit down though I caught sight of my companion as he went up to the stand.  He had a huge smile on his face.  Over the next little while, quite a few people came and told me they understood everything I said.  Here is the thing, I am not sure that I understood what I said.  How did they?  
        For those of you that maybe are young, or even new at giving talks in church. I have some advice that might help.
    First.  Everything will be all right.  Even if you mess up, everything will be fine.
    Second.  Take the inicitive and prepare.  Make sure you spend plenty of time preparing for your talk. This means scripture reading, praying, searching, pondering,  Feasting upon the words of Christ.
    Third.  Relax, breath deep, You can do this.  You are prepared, and you are ready.
    Fourth.  (this is most important)  Follow the topic and gidence given to you by the bishop or his councelers, but make sure you are receptive to the spirit.  The spirit can take the words we say and turn it into a powerful lesson that is different for every person that can peirce them to their very heart, and help them with their problems.  Trust in the spirit, Have faith that it will work out, and he will not let you down.
    Now for what happened to my talk.  The words I said where clumbsy, unskilled, and probably gramatically incorrect.  However the spirit did something to what I said, and helped the people who heard it understand.  He has done this for me many times, I know he wont let me down.  I also know that he wont let you down either.
    I know that missionary work is vitally important.  We have the great blessing of helping other people gain eternal happiness.  What greater work is there?  I know that the spirit will be with us as we worthily try to help others.  I know that the book of mormon is true.  I know this becuase the holy spirit help enlighten my understanding.  The spirit is truly amazing.  It can, and will help anyone that sincerly seeks after, and asks for its help.  This I know to be true.
-Elder Darke

I just love the baptismal font they use.  Simplicity. I think sometime we forget that gospel principals don't need to be dressed up fancy.  They are simply true, it doesn't matter the circumstances.
Love to all,
Melanie (Mom)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Transfers, Prayers and More Spelling Oddities

   Sorry everyone!  I'm sure that you were expecting a post from Elder Darke last Monday!  We were on vacation and I couldn't get to it.  Just think, it'll be an extra special week, you'll get to read two.
  Also, several people (concerned grandmas mostly!) have wondered about Elder Darke's spelling.  They have been wondering why I haven't corrected it or corrected him directly.  I think that I may have shared this in the past, but I want to share his general emails directly as he has written them.  Those who know Elder Darke well know that he has always struggled with his spelling and memory.  Leaving his grammatical errors shows how our Heavenly Father is performing miracles in helping Elder Darke's learn Portuguese and giving him Divine Intervention when he needs it most.  It may seem silly to many, but I can assure you that it has been a major comfort for Galen (and his mother!). As far as it being a schooling issue, I can assure you that he has had a great education with better than average grades and will go far in his life.
  At last, from Elder Darke:
This week was awesome!
    My companion was kind of freeking out all week becuase today is transfers and we dont know if we are getting transfered or not until sunday night.  So He was making sure I would remember everything if he left.  He didnt.  That is ok though :D.  I like him as a companion :D.  He got premoted to district leader though :D.  So instead of transfers he is nervous about that :D.  I am sure he will be fine though :D
    So i forgot about valentines day.  It was a good day though.  However it was totally forgotten :D.  I just remembered becuse I had a few emails that mentioned it :D.  The brazilians dont have valentines day, so it was pretty easy to forget.  They have a different holiday though called carnival or something. Ya, I have no idea what is going to happen :D.  I think we are suppost to stay inside for a few days though.  Thats going to be fun :D
    We have some amazing investagators.  The hardest part seems to be getting them to read, and pray about the book of mormon though.  We have one family that is amazing!  However they are having a hard time reading and praying and we are just like uhh!  come on!  There is so much peace and happiness you can have, you just need to do this easy thing that takes less time then walking to the store and buying a can of happiness (if they actually existed!)  uhh!  so frustrating!  However everyone has their free agency though.  I just hope they start using it to read and pray though :D.
    The power of prayer is truly amazing.  You are litterally talking to our heavenly father who loves us!  How amazing is that!  prayer by itself is pretty wonderful, but i find that praying with a purpose really helps a person understand just how loving our heavenly father is.  That he takes the time to listen, and respond to our prayers is a wonder.  Dont take my word for it though.  Go and pray for yourself and find out exactally what I am talking about.

First: Adress who you are talking to (our heavenly father)
Second: express gratitude for your blessings
Third: Ask him for anything you need.
Fourth: close in the name of Jesus Christ.

  Prayer is a personal thing though.  You are litterally talking to your loving father in heaven.  Tell him anything you want.  pour your heart out to him.  He will listen to everything you have to say.  and finally when you ask for things that you need, be patient.  He always answers our prays, but often he does so in a way we do not realize or recognize, and he is all knowing.  So he answers our prays in a way that is best for us, even if sometimes that means waiting a little while before we get an answer.  However I promise he will answer.  He want to hear from us, and I rather enjoy talking to him, Becuase he really loves me :D.  Just remember Everything works out in the end, even if it doesnt. :D
-Elder Darke

I read the things this young man says and I wonder, "What happened to my little boy?"  I am constantly impressed at how much Elder Darke has grown and proud of the way he continues to affect others lives, including my own.  What an example of Christ like Love.
  Have a great Sabbath!
Love, Melanie (Mom)

P.S. By the way, if anyone wants to leave messages to this blog, they will find their way to Elder Darke.  We also plan on printing the blog in it's entirety to make a book once Galen has returned from his mission. Yah!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Portuguese Baptisms and some Good Reading!

This week's email from Elder Darke:
This week was extra fantastic!
    One of our investagators was babtised!  Wooo!  So I am still really happy becuse of that :D.  That was like the highlight of the week!  It was amazing!  and I was the one that babtised him!  and i felt kind of bad because the water was freezing cold, and he was shivering really bad.  I didnt think about that when i was putting ice in the pool :D.  (just kidding, I only thought about doing it, didnt actually do it :D).  Second portugese babtism!  It went really well!  Once again the hardest part was the name!  I had my companion there to help though so it was fine :D.  So this area is offically amazing!  I like being able to help people learn about the gospel and come unto Christ :D.
    Transfers is comming up and our area is getting more missionaries.  So we should have 4 in our house :D.  Its going to be fun :D.  I kind of hope they are all brazilians because then i will be completly fluent in no time :D.  (I am not yet fluent, working on it, but not quite there :D).  All the members here are also getting excited for the extra missionaries :D.  I think we are going to have a lot of babtisms in this area in the comming transfers :D.  There are a lot of people here that are super freindly and are probably just waiting for the gospel :D.  
    Oh and for those of you that have been looking for a good book.  (and i know many of you like to read).  I would recomend the book ´´Jesus the Christ´´ by James E Talmage.  It is amazing!  Have you ever had a question about Jesus Christ?  I am pretty sure this book will answer your question.  If your thinking, ´´uh i can barly understand the bible, i am not sure i would understand much about this book either´´  Think again!  This book clarifies everything in simple, easy to understand launguage!  and its just plain awesome!
    If your thinking ´´i want a book with some more action!´´  Then read the book of mormon!  That book is chaulked full of action!  Maybe the story of Ammon defending the kings sheep, or the young Strippling warriors, Or even captain moroni and His mighty deeds!  So much amazingness! but why should we keep this to ourselves?  There are people all around us that would love to read, or hear about this stories!  So have an extra book of mormon with you, and give it to one of your many freinds, you never know what will happen :D.  If you need help explaining what it is, I am sure the missionaries, the bishop, or even your parents would love to help you practice explaining so you can do it effectivly when the time comes :D.
    For our lunch appointment the other day this is what we helped the members with.  I for one, was extremly supprised at their insight, and their skill at explaining.  I am not sure how well i would have explained it before my mission, and even now I probably could do better then I am :D.  Now I am not saying they were perfect, but they dont need to be.  Then knew what they were talking about was true, and that itself provides more power then most other things.  All they need now is just the opportunity to share, and I am sure that heavenly father has more then enough opportunites for those who ask for them :D.
    Remember people have agency, its one of the most precious gifts god has given to man.  No matter if they refuse it or not, one thing everybody needs it a friend.  Be a friend, be friendly.  Help all those that need it.  For when we do this we show our faith powerfully.  Actions speak louder then words.  So do good, for those that do good eventually will receive their reward.
-Elder Darke
P.s. As the apostle Paul taught ´´avoid the appearance of evil´´ This is wise coucil. :D.

It continually amazes me, the council that Elder Darke gives every week!  He is growing and gives strength to everyone else, always!
Love, Melanie (Mom)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A "pockat" watch?, investigators, families and gratitude.

Here's the update from Elder Darke.  Sounds like he is progressing well and that he's probably lost a few things.  Just like him! Not much to report, which I take as good.  Sometimes more of the normal is a wonderful thing to hear!
From Elder Darke:
Another fantastic week!  (i know I say that a lot but this week was fantastic :D)
    So a few fun things that happened.
  1. I got a pockat watch (sort of).  Its really a normal watch but the strap part is gone so it is just the time recorder part.  But it makes me feel fancy :D.  
  2. I found out that I have actually eaten star fruit (I am not sure about this one, because i dont know the names of everything i eat :D)  It was in a star shape though so I am going with it :D.
  3.  I also got a letter from the first Presidency! :D.  It was a christmas letter, and i think most of the other missionaries also got one.  However it made me feel special.  and it took me like 20 minutes to figure out what it said :D.  I had to look up every other word :D.
  4.  We also had like 7 investagators come to church sunday!  It was amazing! Most of that was because of members to!  So it was really exciting! :D.
    So this week has been fun and special :D.  I am still far from being fluent.  However I know that as I study, work hard, and have the lords help I will learn!  My progress is amazing in this past few weeks, and I am excitied to see my progress in the future as well :D.  I am sure i will be fluent in no time :D.
    My companion and I have really been praying and asking for blessings for the people we teach.  I am so grateful for the amazing and wonderful things that heavenly father gives us.  As I study the lessons that we teach people I am even more greatful as I learn of things that he has given us.  For starters he gave us all bodies, and an opirtunity to come to earth.  On earth he gave us the gospel (a road map to get back to his presence).  To help us further he gives us blessings on a daily basis!  He is really doing everything that he can to help us grow, learn, and return to him.  The best part is though, even for all the things that i am grateful for, there is undoubtedly thousands of more things that I have not even noticed.  His kindness and grace can hardly be comprehended.  Oh how grateful for these things I am :D.
    Something that really made an impression on my mind this week is the important role of families.  Especiall the roles of parents in the family.  Here I have seen all kinds of different family situations.  Every situation is different, however I have noticed what a difference it makes when there are two loving parent at the head of a family.
    The family proclamation (from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints)  is absolutly true.  When the family is established and follows the direction in the family proclamation, it is so much better then otherwise it would be.  I am grateful for the guidance the church gives all of us in these sort of circumstances.
    My freinds, as we go about every day, do we have the attitude of gratitude that we should have?  Just think of everything you have.  God created it all for you.  Everything.  This planet.  The air we breath, the water we drink.  The Food we eat, and our bodies that we eat it with.  Heavenly father truly has done so much for us.  Have we noticed it all though? Or are we taking most of it for granted?  I know that I am taking most of it for granted, however I am trying to be grateful for everything :D.

People that have heard about Marissa's (Galen's sister) injury - she is doing better and hopefully will not have any long term problems with the concussion.  Now, the nose?  Surgery will take care of that in a month or so!  I think that she misses her brother so much, she wants to mimic his soccer injuries as well! Thanks to everyone for your continued support and love for our family!  It truly can take a village to raise good kids!
Love, Melanie (Mom)