Clark Manwaring is serving a Full-Time Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in The Colombia Barranquilla Mission.
"Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." Alma 26:12
Pictures: A missionary leaving for Argentina Named Pedero Castro, My District, My companion and me.
This week was really good! Jaime was not baptized, he actually moved away because of the loss of his job. It was very hard to hear. Katherine didn't come to church, but wanted to super bad. But she is progressing rapidly, and absorbing every lesson like a sponge! This week has been really good and prosperous, If you remember I met a man right before Christmas who was a humble carpenter. We met with him again and although he is not interested, his son wants to get baptized... interestingly enough his name is Jesus. Pretty cool, huh? I prepared 6 people for Baptisms this week. I'm glad you guys are enjoying your Primary calling. Here in Valledupar there is just One primary teacher for 30 kids, she has a super big job! Tell Ava that she is da cutest warrior princess I have ever seen! Her hearing aids are awesome! So cute! I will know about transfers tonight :).
President Searle came to Valledupar this week to do interviews! Before the interview we had a special training session with the assistants to the president. The aim of the practice was to find the need of the investigator (the assistant) and say "chocolate" when we know the need. I did almost all of it, and when he said a few things about some troubles in his life my companion yelled "chocolate!", and the assistants asked me why I didn't say the word. I told them that the investigator doesn't have just one difficulty, and maybe his problem is a lot bigger. They said that, out of about 80 missionaries they tested with this practice I was the only one that had passed thus far. Woot! The interview was with President and his wife! He said that he doesn't know of many gringos in the mission that speak and understand 100 % of the Spanish AND is working so hard right off the bat. He sympathized with me when I told him that my companion doesn't want to work in the rich areas. He said to seek inspiration to find a way to preach in those areas. So I did, and the revelation came. I told my companion "we´re going to do a competition to see who can ring the doorbell of the gate of the biggest mansion and speak with them; the biggest mansion wins." I won. I found the biggest house I think I have seen in my entire life. A man answered with the German last name Moisel. He was excited to hear that we wanted to share with him and his family! We have a teaching appointment with him this week!
I met a woman, and we told her that I was going to start an English class soon. She asked who is going to teach? And I said "me" and she said "where did you learn English?" I said "in my own country" and she said "They speak English in Chile?" She assumed I was Chileno!
I'm so proud of Lauren and Nick! I hope Lauren has a super awesome time (here in the Caribbean coast we say: Vacano- Ba Ca No- instead of Chevere, and we cant use either of the two in the mission). And Nick Mi Pequeño Saltamonte-young grasshopper. He IS THE MAN! Tell him that I hope he gets called to this mission, and I wish he was my compañero, we could baptize the whole world together. And yes, it is a privilege to be what Christ would be, do what he would do, and say what he would say. There is a real power that I can literally feel around me in all times, because the Priesthood and righteousness are cultivated while we obey the rules.
I love all of you guys Muchisimo, and hope that things are Fantastico back at home! Be a missionary! Write your testimony and give it to someone. Or just say it. Be a friend to someone on your way home. The Lord expects his servants to do what he would do if he were right here beside us! I can feel your prayers for me and for those I teach. I pray for you all as well, but interestingly the people I teach are also praying for you. I love you all so much, and my Familia Vallenata too!
It feels like I have only been here for three weeks, and I dont want to come home any time soon. This week was great! We found a young mother of 18 years named Catherine that the dad left, and she is raising her child. She asked US for the information to go to church! She came this Sunday, and it was so awesome! Another investigator is progressing really well, and with tons of prayer, he will be baptized this Saturday. His name is Jaime. I have improved in teaching skills dramatically. The baptisms will come with Faith and time.
I have grown a TON here. I think I have gained about 15 pounds and quite possibly 2 inches or so. I can grow a full goatee in a day or two. But I have also grown spiritually. Obedience is power in the mission. Some people might think that we are a little more uptight than other missions, and its true in some ways...we have more rules than most missions around the world. But I can literally feel a real power flowing in and around us when wherever we are, because I have never been more obedient in my life. I have also gained such a huge testimony of the power of the Book of Mormon, especially this week while reading in Alma chapters 32-50. Moroni is my hero, and he is quite possibly the most powerful man that has ever lives in the Americas.
An experience. We visited a shut-in. She is technically Less Active, but has TONS of health problems. One of which is Cancer and inflamations in a part of the body that I will not write. But she could not go to the bathroom, sleep, or sit down much...for a week and a half. When we started talking to her I sensed something wrong, and asked. She started sobbing, and said "Elder, I need help. I cannot urinate, and when I do it is blood, and I am in unimaginable pain all day long all week long." We gave her a blessing, and in the same hour the inflamation went down, she went to the bathroom, and slept well, and said later that she felt like there was a power lifting her up after the blessing.
We visited the famous Guatapuri river here. It is the water that we shower in every day because it gets sent right to the house. It is freezing, but I prefer it to a hot shower any day. The river was cool. The are mountains in the background also.The work continues, and I love it. I hope you guys are working to help find refrences for the missionaries to teach there. Have a great week! Love you all!
Con Amor en abundancia,
Top: Me and a sculpture of an accordion and a famous Vallenato singer named Diomedes Diaz
This week was pretty good! None of the investigators came to church yesterday. It was pretty frustrating because we have been working really hard for them to attend church with us. But the lessons were good this week, and I committed 6 people to baptism this week. We need to work hard for them to keep their commitments, but I'm confident that we can do it. I'm still learning a little more sign language before going to go teach that deaf lady. I can communicate fairly well, but I need to know how to sign certain things like the first vision and stuff. I am grateful for the gift of tongues.
We had another exchange this week with a newbie, Élder Tumbaco from Ecuador. I got to do training for him for that day and half of the next. It was a little tough, but looking back at the week, the day that I directed the Area while training him we had the most lessons and people committed to baptism. Also Elder Giron and I are actually pretty good friends now. He still does some pretty annoying stuff, but we are working as a team now. I can relate that rising up to the challenge of a tough companion makes you extremely tough mentally, and I do have more respect for my companion in different ways. the Lord does strengthen us every day, if we are willing to let him into our lives. The Lord helps those who help themselves sometimes!
I cant believe Shaun Johnson is already home from his mission! That's interesting that he helped a couple get married like that, because we have the exact same problem with an investigator that could possibly be baptized in a week or two name Jaime Carrillo. I can imagine that he was a great missionary for the people of Mexico. I'm glad that he did so well in his mission. I'm glad that Seth Kershaw is doing great on his mission also. He is an awesome guy!
I really do love the people I am serving, and I hope that they can feel my love for them. I love Ava too! And all the family! I'm so happy that you guys are proud of me! It is a strength to me to know that I have many people praying and thinking of me!
It sounds like things are going really well back home, and this makes me so happy to know this! I hope Lauren gets the scholarship, and Nick gets really strong, and Nate too. And Jack is so funny! And those pictures of Ava were supah cute!
I hope everything goes super well this week for you guys there in the 801. Things are going super good here in the 035. Transfers are the week after this week. Have a great week! Build the Kingdom of God wherever you are!
Muchos abrazos y besitos,
(Picture #1): Traditional Colombian soup served with almost every meal: Sancocho
(Picture #2):Twinners, emphafasis on WINNERS!!
This week has been really good, lots of work and our numbers were really good. Not many people were around for New Years because New Years is more popular than Christmas here!! Lots of loud music and drunken people. We celebrated at home. Still not much food, but I made a banana y peanut butter shake, and it was delicious¡ I don't know if I have told you guys, but shake and juice culture is super big here. People almost never buy drinks, they make them homemade. The drinks sometimes wipe you clean if you know what I mean...but they are super delicious! I am catching on, doing different juices and shakes lately. But the work is super great! I directed my area for a day, and we had the most lessons and highest numbers of all the days that day when I led a new missionary Elder Rogers in my area! I love the work so much!
We talk almost every day with investigators that Jesus has stepped on the same ground as them. Pretty cool, and I know that it is the promised land because if you Google Earth Valledupar it is surrounded by paradisiacal--super dangerous, thieve infested--mountains! Technically Salt Lakers live in a valley, so we are Vallenatos also.
Thank you for fasting for me! I feel super protected in every way because of prayers in my behalf. I am working so hard to prove to God that I am worthy to wear the name of my Savior constantly. I have never worked harder in my life. I am coming home exhausted and sometimes without food, but I am super happy with my work...the Lords Work! Even Café Rio was much easier. But I love it. I feel blessed that God trusted me with such special people in my area. I know He loves them, and now I know that I do too. The work to do is here for you, pon tu hombro a la lid!
I bore my testimony in Spanish yesterday for the ward and for investigators that came with us, Hermanos Jaime and Raul. The Bishop liked the testimony and scripture I used (Moroni 8:3) so much that he gave an entire lesson on it for Priesthood, referencing my talk a bunch! I was honored!
A member in our ward gave me a manual to learn Colombian Sign Language. I’ve seen a deaf woman in our area and I have had the feeling to talk to her, so my companion and I are trying to learn more. I realize now how important the members are in missionary work. Help the missionaries: give them references of neighbors and friends.