Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Rainbow Clouds, Being a Member Missionary and Ninja training

Week after week, lessons, talks and letters, I am hearing the same thing - "Be a Member Missionary".  Here again Elder Darke helps me understand more of why.  I know that Missionary families everywhere pray that their missionary will have people to teach.  I think that it is harder to stretch ourselves to help provide that person to teach.  When we like a new soda or a new restaurant we usually share our experience with those that we care about and love.  Why is it so different to share something so important to us that it envelopes our life, our decisions, our behaviors and everything that we are?  I know that I try a little harder everyday to share the light of Christ, thanks in part to my amazing son, Elder Darke.

From Elder Darke:
Another Wonderfully amazing week :D.
    This week has been one of working with members!  It is great to see how excited they are to help though :D.
    Transfers is comming up again and my companion is trying to prepare me because he thinks that he is going to be transfered :D.
    Rain storms here are really fun!
    & trying not to be a ´´hobo´´ :D
  So transfers is the 30th and my companion has been in this area for 6 months so he is sure that he is getting transfered.  Due to this he has been trying everything to help me remember all of the people here, where they live, how to get there and everything else.  For a few days straight he decided that i was the seinor companion.  That got really interesting really fast.  I remember people, but their names and how to get to their houses i cant seem to get down.  So we were completly lost for a little bit :D.  We still found it!  but it took a little bit of time, and some hints from my companion :D.  it is all good though :D We survived :D.
    Also this week i got to see some really cool rain storms :D.  So normally rain falls straight down right?  Because of gravity and those things :D.  Well aparently here gravity is messed up becuase Sometimes when it rains, the rain falls at like a 45 degree angle.  Luckily for us though when it started raining like that we were in our house, or at an appointment so we missed most of the rain :D.  I like the rain, but its a little harder to talk to people in the rain becuase everyone is in their houses.  Its really cool to watch though :D.
    So during my time as a seinor companion i was suppost to start and end lessons.  Or my companion would just keep talking and talking.  So while trying to not be rude, I tried to do this.  Later my companion told me that i was being a ´´hobo´´ or a robot.  It makes sense becuase When i started or ended the lesson it was suddent and abrupt. :D.  Thats ok though, i am slowly getting better :D.  
    So this week we have especially been working with members becuase we learned that the church is going to sell our chapel if our area doesnt see some major improvment really soon.  So me and my companion have been trying to help the members as much as we can get excited for missionary work.  Because we know that members are the key to great success in missionary work.  I have been talking to my friends and the other missionaries, and they have told me that some of the best investagators that they have ever taught have been referals from members.  I have also seen this.  The investagaors that have a member behind them are much more receptive.  They are golden investagators.
    For a great example of a member missionary is one youth that is in this branch.  He is a convert of not very much time and he is the only one in his family that is a member.  Through his efforts his mother has started being taught by us.  One of his friends as well, and he is helping reactivate another one of his friends.  That is three people that are people touched by the gospel because of one memember.  If every member in our branch did this, the results would be outstanding.  Not the results in numbers of babtisms, but the result in the number of people that are happier / have more peace in their lives / have learned who they are.  We do not do this so we can brag and say we got more babtisms then those other missionaries. But we do this to invite other to come unto christ.  That is why this is important :D  That is why we are here, and i know that this work is the work of the lord, in bringing many souls back to him.  I know this work to be true. There is not a doubt in my mind, and becuase of this it is my oportunidade to work as hard as i can.  to help as many people as i can :D
-Elder Darke
As a side note.  Elder Darke sent these pictures of  "Rainbow clouds" and "Secret Ninja Training".  I thought that you would enjoy these representations of the personality of our Elder.  I miss this crazy kid!
  Melanie (Mom)

P.s. His birthday is coming up and I will be sending a package to him probably mid April. Any ideas or letters to piggy-back are appreciated!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Two "fantabulitastic" updates!

Well, better late than never?  You get two updates for the price of one today! YAY!

This is from March 10th:
  This week was fantabulatastic!  So a few amazing things that happened!
1.  I played soccer! wooo!
2.  It rained for like two days straight! like hard (im drowning) rain!
3.  Carnival ended! yaa!
4.  Made bannana bread!
5.  Babtism!!! wooo!
This isnt everything that happened, but just a few of the highlights! :D.
    So in my mission we have a rule that we are not allowed to play soccer with other (non missionary) people.  From what i understand this is to help the missionaries not get hurt.  IT makes sense.  But i was really missing playing soccer and being able to play was really fun :D.  No one got hurt.  The only thing that got hurt was the soccer ball.  One of the elders kicked it over the fence and it was attacked by a dog.  so it died.  We had a spare though!  So everything was fine :D.  So after i was really tired, and hot, but it was totally worth it.
    So for two entire days it rained really hard, all day.  The first day we werent prepared so we lost a few of our phamplets to the rain, but luckily that was all. The second day in the morning when we left it didnt look like it was going to rain.  But a few hours later it just started pouring.  Luckily I added my (recently obtained from family)  water proof bags!  So my stuff stayed dry.  We only had one umbrella between the both of us though, so we were both hiding under one umbrella while it was poring.  It was really fun.  We both had huge smiles as we quickly walked to our appointments :D.  It was also really fun to sing hymns as loud as possible becuase no one could hear us because of the rain! :D.  Our shoes were filled with water, our pants where soaked.  But the rain couldnt take away the happiness we had in our hearts :D.  and on our faces :D.
    So carnival, (the week long, missionaries have to go home early) holiday ended!  I was really happy becuase it was really messing up our ability to teach in the afternoon.  We also have quite a few people that can only we taught in the afternoon so we couldnt even teach them :P.  That is ok though,  Carnival ended, we went back to our normal scedual.  Nobody died or anything :D.  ( im the district leaders companion so i get the inside scoop on things :D).  For carnival i really dont know why brazil has the holiday.  All i know is that it is not good for missionaries, so we did not take part :D.
    So Last p day i decided that my companion and i needed some bannana bread.  So i made some :D.  I Still havnt been able to make it like my family can, and i think i used wayyy to much suger.  But it was really good :D.  I acidently made a lot though :D.  So we had to give some to some other missionaries that were visiting :D.
    The second day that it rained really hard, We also had a babtism!  Wooo! The person who was getting babtised is 9 and he is super amazing.  Hes super smart for his age and he is doing well :D.  He even chose me to babtise him!  :D.  It was amazing! :D!  We confirmed him the next day.  This area is super amazing!
    So One of the people we talked to this week was someone that was preparing to go on a mission.  He still didnt feel like he was ready, so he has not sent in his papers yet.  When he said this i remember when i sent in my papers.  i didnt feel ready at all :D.  There were still many things that i felt like i needed to know.  There were feelings of fear that i had not quite gotten over.  Over all, I did not feel ready.  However my heavenly father knows me better then i know me, and as i got down on my knees and asked him if now was the time for me to go on a mission.  He answered with peace, with assurance, with confidence.  Now i was still scared out of my mind (ok maybe not that scared, but pretty scared).  However i knew what heavenly father wanted.  So I decided that it was time for me to go on a mission.
    The funny thing is, even now.  There are still things that i encounter that i still feel like i am not prepared for.  Giving a talk in church in portugese. Helping people get over major addictions.  Teaching things that I dont really know how to teach in portugese.  These are all things that I feel like i am not prepared for.  During these times It reminds me of a quote i once heard ´´there is no growth in your comfort zone, and there is no comfort in your growth zone´´.  I know that heavenly father will help us with everything in this life.  However many times we must take the first step.  Even if that step seems extremly small.  Take it.  Then take another.  Then another.  Keep going, keep taking steps, no matter how small seem to be.  If we look back with an attitude of gratitude we will notice that Heavenly father was helping us from the beginning.  Even for the first step we were not alone.  We just had a hard time realizing it.  I know heavenly father loves each of us immensly.  If you dont believe me, look at everything you have.  Even look at the world we live in.  Heavenly father made it all for us.  This i know to be true.
-Elder Darke

And here's one from today, March 17th.  Happy St. Patrick's day!
This week was fantabulitastic!
-We had a meeting at the mission presidents house, and afterwards we got to ask questions to the mission president!  The questions were mostly random, but they were really funny :D
-I felt like i have been on the bus a lot this week because of some trips we took to brasillia and another area (to do a babtismal interview).
-After the meeting at my mission presidnets house, me and my companion have been having these really deep doctrine disscusions every night.  It is really fun :D. (even though its hard to understand everything :D)
-A great companionship inventory!  

    Tuesday we normally have a District meeting (our district (6 missionaries)) get together and report on the work in our areas.  This includes talking about our investagators their needs and how we are going to help them.  After wards our district leader teaches us a priciple of the gospel, or missionary work,  and we do practice lessons, or contacts to practice what we learned.  We do this every week but this week we had our district meeting at the house of the mission president.  It was pretty normal except for the fact that we were sitting on really comfortable chairs.  After it was done the mission president took some time to teach us.  After wards we were allowed to ask questions.  For this meeting instead of our district is was our zone (our zone is made up of like 3 districts).  So there was quite a few missionaries there, and the questions that they had were mostly really random.  I really enjoyed them though.  There were questions to clarify some rules that we had, other to more fully understand how to better work with our investagators. However one missionary there was just constantly asking questions.  His went along the lines of ´´how did you two meet?´´ (he was talking to the mission president and his wife).  Or how do you know the book of mormon is true?  He had like 10 of these kinds of questions.  It was really funny :D.  We are going to have a new mission presidnet in a few months, so I am curious to see how different he will be :D.
    When we were going to the zone meeting, and comming back the bus took forever!  There was like traffic and stuff so we were on the bus for a long time.  Later that week we also went to the sisters area that is like forever and a half away, so that is more bus time.  So looking back i feel like i was on the bus for a really long time :D.  I kind of like the bus though so it wasnt bad at all :D.  I feel like i could of done better at useing the time on the bus to do contacts or something though.  So i will do better!  
    My companion and I were talking after the zone meeting at the presidents house, and the converstion turned to a question he had.  I dont know everything but i think its fun to talk about the gospel so talked about it for a while.  It ended up going into deep doctrine and stuff.  It was really fun!  My companion knows a lot of things becuase he has had companions that knew a lot of things also.  So it was a really fun converstion (even though it was a bit difficult to understand).  We did that for like 3 days in a row :D.  It has been really fun to just talk (becuase my vocabulary is limited when it comes to non gospel things, its hard to just ´´talk´´). My companion is pretty awesome and he has been super patient with me so far :D.  The only probablem with deep doctrine is we as missionaries need to teach things simply.  As people understand the simple concepts, we can then add on to what the understand.  Its like Building a skyscraper.  Do you build the top floor first?  or do you build the first floor, and work your way up?  So I just need to remember to teach simple truths.
    Also this week we had companionship inventory (we do every week, but this week was a bit different).  I am still new to many things here, so up to now i have been holding in a lot of my feelings.  During companionship inventory i finally let it all out.  (not yelling, or getting mad) but simply asking questions about things that i thought might make my companion mad.  I cant say that he didnt get mad. However i can say that he is pretty amazing companion becuase even if he was mad, he didnt show it.  He helped me understand the various custums here and he didnt do it in a way that made me feel like he was amazing that I didnt understand. Instead he helped me.  It still wasnt easy to be humble and except that i was doing things wrong.  However once i had, and once i stopped holding in my feelings things have been a lot better.  :D
    This week i have been thinking about preparing for a mission.  What to do, and what i wished i did.  
First: if you are preparing, you need a testimony of the book of mormon, and how joseph smith was a prophet of God.  This is probably the most important thing to make sure you have.
Second:  Ask your leaders for advice, especially your bishop.  The advice I received from their hands was invaluable.  It was probably one of the most important things i got when i was preparing.  Make sure you do it plenty of time before you even send in your papers.  This will help you prepare.
Third:  You are going to invite everyone to do things.  Like read the book or mormon, pray, go to church.  For members you will probably ask them to invite their friends to church.  Or something of that nature.  How can you powerfully invite people do you things you are not willing to do?  To help you be a better missionary, start now when you arnt in the feild.  Go teaching with the missionaries in your area.  Read the book of mormon, pray about it.  Talk to your friends about the gospel.  Be an example of a Christ like person.  This will help you in yourlife, both to prepare, and just normally as well :D.
    For the things i wish i had done:  I wish i had spent more time with my family. Games are fun, but as i look back, the time i spent with my family is hundreads of times more precious then the games i could have played in that time, or anything else I could have done.  Part of this is due to the fact that missionaries teach the gospel, that is focused on strengthening families.  Families are eternally important.  
    For everyone i have one more peice of advice.  Even if you are not preparing for a mission.  The advice is this: Strengthen your testimony.  Even if you think it is sufficiently strong,  what could possibly be wrong with making it stronger? :D.
-Elder Darke

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Carnival, Stretching and Preach My Gospel

From Elder Darke:
  So this week was fantasic!    but for a little background information for everyone, this week brazil has a holiday named Carnival.  It gets pretty crazy. All the missionaries are to be in their houses early.  (for me and my companion we are in our house at 6 because a lot of people drink in my area :D).  This isnt like one day either, this is like an entire week.  So It is really different to do missionary work when suddenly you loose two hours in the day. It doesnt sound like much, but it really changes everything! :P.
    So Carnival is interesting.  In my area all the youth (of the church / investagators) have the opportunity to do something called acompemento.  Its like a week long camp for the youth.  So church was really different becuase all the youth were gone.  The church felt so empty.  However that gave me the chance to help with the sacrament!  It felt really good to do that :D.
    (Random news)  I decided a while ago i wanted to be able to touch my toes when i strech.  So I started doing some streches every day.  A few days ago I was able to touch my toes!  ha ha!  First time in forever.  (ya, not that flexable :D)  It made me really happy :D.
    So In my ward we also got some new ward missionaries.  We had a training, and then we let them go :D.  One of the coolest things though.            One of the new ward missionaries is new, and she was really nervous when we first started.  We talked to her a few days ago though, she is already talking to a bunch of people about the church, and If this growth continues, I am sure she will be able to bring many people unto christ.  After learning this I though Wow,  she really must have been praying for opportunites to help people, and the courage to actually do so.
    What a great example.  She was given a challenge that she probably didnt think she was ready for.  Instead of hiding, running away, or something else.  She went to the lord for help and strength, and now she is helping many other people.  How many times have we faced a daunting challenge and Thought to ourselves, How am i ever going to be able to do this?  I am confident that if we humbly ask god for help, he will help us.  For we are his children, all of us, and from personal experience I know that a loving father will always help his children, through thick or thin.  He is there, all the time, watching, waiting to help us if only we will first go to him.  I know this is true.
    One thing that I have realized this week that I need to improve on is developing christ like attributes.  If you have preach my gospel (probably the best missionary tool ever)  It is chapter 6 i think.  I especially like that becuase christ was a perfect person, and this chapter helps us become more like him.  Now I also know that developing christ like attributes is a life long challenge.  However what better time to start a difficult challenge then now?  Or in other words, when is the best time to plant a tree.  20 years ago.  The second best time is now.
-Elder Darke
P.s. Have a great week!

Studies (christ like attributes)
We love this guy!
Love, Melanie (mom)