Monday, July 27, 2015

Pon tu Mano...

Esta semana yo cumplí un mes en la misión! This week I finished my first month of my mission! Crazy how time flies.

This week we'll start with Spanish Lessons With Hermana Clark:
Ahora- now. Like "we have to go now."
Ahorita- in a soon or a few minutes ago. As in "We have to leave soon," or "we were at their house a few minutes ago." It's kind of counter-intuitive haha :)
Mordar- bite. As in "careful, the dog bites."
Pecar- bite. As in "The mosquitos have bitten you a lot." It's also used to explain how spicy something is. As in "That chile bites A LOT." or "That chile only bites a little bit."
Caridad- Charity. As in "Charity is the pure love of Christ." Not only does charity mean giving physical things like clothing and food to those in need, it also means showing others pure, selfless love like the incredible love that Christ has for each one of us.

Culture Lesson?
Greeting people with a kiss.
Missionaries all over the place shake hands a lot. Elders who serve here do the same- they shake everyone's hands.
I am an Hermana. So I get so many kisses on the cheek every day!
When we greet another woman it goes something like "Hola! Como esta?" Then you don't exactly kiss each other's cheek, but you put the right sides of your faces against each other and kiss the air once.
Good friends of the opposite gender do that here too, but not misioneras haha :) when we greet a man, we shake his hand.

On Saturday there was a baptism in our ward! It was an awesome investigator of the other Hermanas. He is so cool. He is an older man, and He is completely blind in his right eye and mostly blind in his left.
He's been investigating for a while, and two Saturdays ago he agreed to be baptised on this past Saturday. TheSunday after he agreed to be baptised, we were in Sunday School with him when he shared with us that he had woken up that morning able to make out sillhouettes (probably butchered that spelling) with his left eye. There is a young woman in the ward who has become good friends with him, and when her mom heard that, she went to get her. The young woman came in and he said "pon tu mano." which means, "put your hand in front of me." She asked why, and as she put her hand up in front of his face, he took it in his. She started sobbing, as did everyone in the room.

When we make the right decisions, we receive blessings! They aren't always physical. Not every blind person who decides to get baptized will regain some of their sight. We don't always get exactly the blessings we are hoping for. 
But blessings come. Our Heavenly Father sends us the blessings we need in the timing we need them! 

Thanks you for all the support! I read your emails- I'm sorry if I don't have time to respond! I love you all!

The hermano in the ward who gave me nickname, Hermana Parker, gave us Juarez Indios shirts to rep the city!

Hermana's Panta and Garcia made me a cute sign for my one month mark :)
~Hermana Hannah Jo Clark

Monday, July 20, 2015

La Vida Misional!!

Hola, Hola!

Since I'm into my third week in the field, [obligatory statement about how one cannot possibly anticipate just how difficult a mission will be until he or she is actually in the field.] [Follow-up sentence to clarify that the previous sentence was not a complaint, because while this is absolutely one of the hardest things I've ever done, it's also one of the most rewarding and worthwhile.]

Seriously, this is the best. I walk through the streets of Juarez all day with my companion meeting people. We laugh, we cry, we sweat (A LOT (which is good because that means we are hydrated)), and we find ourselves smiling because while it's exhausting work, it is a joyous work!

Alright. Spanish Lessons with Hermana Clark:

Cucaracha- cockroach. As in " We found 5 dead cockraches in our apartment this week! We also found 3 live cockroaches. They soon thereafter became dead cockroaches."

Superheroe- Superhero! As in "You're like a superhero, Hermana Clark!" You know why? Nothing too exciting. Just because half of everyone I talk to says "Like Clark Kent?" Whenever I say "Soy la Hermana Clark." A member of the ward also asked which "city near Denver" I am from, then he said "Like Peter Parker?" Now he, and occasionally the other missionaries in my district, call me Hermana Parker.

Misericordia- Mercy. As in "The Savior Jesus Christ is the definition of mercy." I feel that mercy each day, and I get to teach people about it. The mercy Christ grants us truly is beautiful.

Culture lesson: Door knocking.
We don't knock doors here. For one, it isn't an effective proselyting technique. Also, you can't knock on people's doors here because they gates in front of their houses. So when you go to someone's house, you stand outside the gate and yell "BUENAS TARDES!" which means "Good afternoon." If they don't hear you, you tap on their gate repeatedly with your keys. Then you try yelling again. And if they don't hear you after about 5 minutes, they either are not home, or they are ignoring you. So you leave.

Sometimes, though, you pass a house and they yell out to you. That happened this week. We were walking past a house and we heard "DIOS LOS BENDIGA!" which means "God bless you!" So we were like...let's go talk to her.
We went back and she came out and talked to us. She's a sweet Christian woman and we had an awesome converstation about the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Then she said we can come by any time to talk with her more! We love her.

When I got my call, a lot of people said "you'll get the best food!" I am pleased to inform you, that everyone was right! I eat the best food. The members feed us lunch each day, and it's always incredible! My only problem is that I'm not used to eating a huge lunch, so I can barely ever finish it all. I'm working on it though!
We make our own breakfast and dinner...we eat a lot of veggies, yogurt, and fruit with Tajín. Tajín is one of my favorite dicoveries...It's salty and spicy, and if you put it on mangoes, magical things happen. I like the spicy+sweet thing going on here. Spicy candied apples? Best thing.

Oh. This was fun. So the 4 of us Hermanas serving in my ward were at lunch with some members, when the Father of the family goes, "So, Hermana Clark, are you going to sing for us in Sunday School this week?" I'm like...perdon? He goes "I heard you sing- it was great?" Flashback to my first week. We were at lunch one day with all 6 of us missionaries serving in the ward and my companion said "Hermana Clark sings!" Then they made me sing a verse of Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. Apparently the member we were with that day took a video without me noticing and put it on Facebook. So the whole ward saw it.
So yeah, yesterday in Sunday School one of the Elders played the piano and I sang "Yo Sé Que Vive Mi Señor," Which is the hymn "I Know That My Redeemer Lives." It was actually really nice. I enjoyed it :)
And we sing a lot! In every house we go into my companion asks if we can sing a hymn, then we sing for them. They love it. They say they love it because it brings such a beautiful feeling of peace.
You know what that feeling is? That's el Espíritu Santo! The Holy Spirit! And we get to testify of and with that power all the time!

I am so grateful to be here in Juarez! I am grateful to be here in Pradera Dorada (that's my area). I am so blessed!
Thank you all for your support and prayers! I love you! :)

~Hermana Hannah Jo Clark

Monday, July 13, 2015

Welcome to Juarez!

I'm in Mexico! I live in a little red adobe house! It's super legit!
I don't have a ton of time today because we have a zone conference later and we have to do a ton of stuff haha :)

My companion is Hermana Hernandez, and she is the best! I am so blessed to have her as my trainer! She is from Puebla, Mexico, and she has been in the field for 14 months! She speaks a good amount of English, so that's super nice.
Speaking of that- this is a bilingual mission. Everyone obviously uses Spanish, but native Spanish-speaking missionaries who serve here also have to learn English. They study it every morning when the rest of us are studying Spanish. We use English around our houses, and to open and close meetings, and Spanish everywhere else. So I get to help a bunch of hermanas with their English! It's fun, and it's nice because it helps them understand a bit of what I'm going through not understanding most of what anyone here is saying.
Like I said, we live in a red adobe house. It has two little apartments upstairs, and Hna Hernandez and I live in one, and Hnas Garcia and Panta live in the one next-door. We serve in the same ward, along with two of the Elders who work in the mission office.

So a story.
I had to be in the travel office at 5:00am to leave the MTC. My flight was supposed to leave somewhere around10:15, then my connecting flight from Denver to El Paso was supposed to leave at 3:50.
Well, flights were delayed and I got into El Paso at about 7:30!
BUT. It was for a reason.
Just after I finished calling home to talk to my family from the SLC airport, this sweet older woman came up to me and said, "habla espanol?" (I still don't know how to type Spanish accents. Sorry my Spanish will be kind of incorrect.) I was like "un poco!" So she started talking super fast and what I caught was that she doesn't speak English and she needed to figure out how to catch her connecting flight out of Denver. So I was able to help her figure that out, get on the plane, get off the plane, and find her next gate at DIA. It was a wake up call to see how little Spanish I understood...but I was able to help, nonetheless.

Spanish Lesson with Hermana Clark:
(Disclaimer- Spanish varies from country to country, and even from state to state in Mexico. Chihuahua has a distinct accent and dialect, and that's what I'm working on learning.)
"Capilla" means church. So does "iglesia," which is what I learned, but everyone mostly uses capilla here. I don't know how I never learned the word...
"La ruta" is the bus. As in "we're going to take the bus." And we take it quite a bit...

Speaking of la ruta, it's an interesting/terrifying/exhilirating experience!
Here's how you ride.
1. Stand on the side of the road and watch for it. When the bus you want to take is coming, you wave your arms like a crazy. 
2. It stops SUPER fast and you climb on super fast. As soon as the last person getting on has a foot in the bus, it starts moving.
3. Give the bus drive 6 pesos.
4. move toward the nearest empty seat and try not to fall on top of anyone (because the bus is picking up speed.)
4.1. if there are no empty seats, there are bars running the long way down the bus on both sides. Grab one.
5. Hold on for dear life because the bus will stop, go, stop, go....
6. When you are about a block or two from where you want to get off, you yell "BAJAR!" and the bus starts to stop.
7. Walk to the front so that when the bus stops, you can get off super quick.
8. Get off and say, "Gracias!"

It's been fun.
Also, if you know me well, you know that I don't jaywalk...j-walk...however it's spelled.... I like crosswalks and sidewalks.
Well, they pretty much don't exist here haha if there is a crosswalk, nobody notices. And a lot of sidewalks are broken, so it's easier to walk in the street. So we walk in the streets all day. And yes, everyone here, including us, will run across 8 lanes of traffic to get to the other side of the road. It's pretty different haha

Those cultural differences explained, a new cultural experience is not why I'm here. I'm here to serve the Lord and testify of Christ, and I get to do it every day.
We talk to people in the streets all day every day. We meet so many people, and though I only catch about half of what anyone says when they are talking to my companion, I get to learn a bit of each person's story. It is so cool. 
We are all children of God! He loves each of us more than we can comprehend!
I extended my first baptismal invitation yesterday to a sweet family, and they accepted! I was sitting in this lesson with my companion and two members who came with us, and I was vaguely following the conversation, but I didn't fully understand everything they were saying. Then my companion turns to me and whispers is Spanish, "Invite them to get baptized."
I'm thinking...I don't even know what their saying! I have no way to smoothly to that...
But I said what I knew how to say. "I know that baptism is an important step in coming to better know our Heavenly Father and to be able to return to live with Him. Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone who holds the Priesthood authority of God?"
And they were totally down to keep learning and move toward baptism.
It was a tender experience.

I wish I could tell more stories, but I think the whole emailing-time-management thing will have to come with time.
I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true! The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and God calls prophets in our day!
I love you all!!

~Hermana Hannah Jo Clark

Monday, July 6, 2015


Note: Hermana Clark emailed this on Saturday, July 4. I didn't get it posted until today due to the holiday weekend. Apologies! -Michelle 

So since I'm leaving the MTC early early early on Monday morning, I'm emailing today! Surprise!

So it's Tuesday night, and the six of us District 12A Hermanas are rushing over to the devotional because it starts in 5 minutes. We hussle into the back door and the woman standing there says "go all the way down the stairs and follow that man." So we go down, and where does he take us? THE FRONT ROW. Right in front of the podium.
We proceeded to listen to a powerful devotional by Sister Gladys Sitati and Elder Joseph W. Sitati of the Quorum of the Seventy. They gave powerful talks about what it means to join God's army in these days.
Afterward, because we were sitting so close, we got to shake their hands! Que suerte :)

I seriously love my district. I'm sad to be leaving them on Monday.
Thursday night during additional study time, someone in our zone was on and saw the news that President Boyd K. Packer had passed away. One of the Hermanas in my district was pretty upset over it. We took time to all kneel together in prayer for his family, and we sang hymns together for a little while. There is just such a strong spirit of unity in our district- it's amazing. I love the MTC.

I didn't get to really introduce my district last week, so here's a little bit of an introduction.
My companion, Hermana Romero, is from L.A. and she if going to Costa Rica! She grew up speaking Spanish in her home, so she's kind of a pro.
Hermana Cragun is from Utah! She also goes to BYU, and we both worked at the Bean Museum fall semester, so we definitely knew each other already. She's going to Barcelona, Spain. What's crazy? She was on a study abroad there when she opened her call in February.
Hermana Greenman is from Burley, ID! Her family recently moved to Utah, though. She is going to Atlanta Georgia! Her parents both served in Argentina, so they raised their kids speaking Spanish.
Hermana Sorenson is from St. George most recently. Her dad is in the military, so she lived in Chile for 4 years, and that's where she learned Spanish. She is going to South Carolina!
Hermana Gomez is from Mexico City, and she is going to the Washington D.C. North mission. She is also fluent in English- she doesn't even have an accent. It's pretty impressive.
Elders Bonilla and Damiani are from Florida and Sao Paolo, respectively. They are both going to Arizona. 
Elder Patino (that has a tilde over the n, but I can't type it...) was born in Ciudad Juarez! He moved to Utah when he was 16, and he's going to Texas.

(Oh, here's a cool thing. Not only is Elder Patino from my mission, Hermana Garcia in my zone is from Ciudad Juarez, and my Branch President was born in Las Colonias and lived there as a child. Coincidence? I think not.)

So with the exception of 2 elders, we're all going to different places. It's just crazy that we only met a week and a half ago, and we're all leaving each other in a few days.
Hermana Romero keeps saying, "Hermanas, we only have [fill in the blank] days left together!" Then Hermana Sorenson says "Hermana, QUIT IT." We mostly don't want to admit that our time together is almost up.

Here's the biggest lesson learned at the MTC.
We are here to LOVE people as Christ loves them.
We aren't here to preach eloquently and perfectly. We would fail.
We aren't even here to teach lessons.
We are here to love and teach people.

I am so excited to meet the people in Ciudad Juarez. I'm excited to come to know and love them.

Les amo mucho, todos! Gracias por su apoya y sus oraciones- las siento cada dia.

~Hermana Hannah Jo Clark
On Wednesdays we wear pink.

Sister Hansen!!

Attempt at a district map picture!

That cutie is ready to be in Mexico!

 My awesome maestras, Hermanas Casares y Anderson