Monday, March 16, 2015

Last time . . .

Dearest Mother!!!

How are you doing?!?!?! :)

I hope you are having the very best day of your whole entire life. This is the last email I'll send you here on the mission! Thank you so much for your email and the awesome picture of the week!!! :) haha, Scotty is a babe. I'm so happy to see all of you!!!! :) I'm going to give you all such a big hug. Um, response to question number two, the Church standards are that only the immediate family come to the airport to greet the returning missionary; only the parents, and siblings. I would like to follow that standard, and after picking me up let's go right over to the grandparents house and we can meet the rest of the family there!!! (uncles aunts..etc) I don't need to see friends for a few days, and don't plan on it really. To question number one, I already bought garments; 10 bottoms and 10 tops. I'm thinking that I'm just going to bring back the new ones, and throw the old ones away here. To question the third; CUALQUIER COSA!!! ask Steve what that means. Honestly, I don't even remember what I used to eat in the United States - it's the truth. Not a lie. I have no idea. I don't remember! Cualquier cosa está bien. 

That's great I'll be speaking with Elder Cook!! He's a great guy. I'm happy for Christian Wells too. The gospel is the most beautiful thing that changes people!!! Mother Dear, I am so sorry about your tooth!!!! That is so sad. I'm glad you're feeling better now. Anyways, I'm sending you my itinerary, just in case! Thank you for all of the very wonderful things you do dearest Mother!!! I love you so much!!! And I'm so grateful and happy to have been able to serve a full-time mission; it's the best decision of my life! I get so nervous for finishing! But I'm going to give ALL that I've got these final days. Tomorrow I'm doing an intercambio in Huanta, Wednesday is my last day here in Ayacucho, Thursday we'll be in Lima for a mission conference with Elder Waddell, counselor of the Area Presidency, and I'm playing a musical number at it!! More Holiness Give me, with our zone as the choir. It'll be awesome! And...Friday and Saturday who knows where I'll be...somewhere in Lima. Sunday is the final interview with President, Monday is a final life-training with the Area and I'll be home on Tuesday! 

I love so much the people here in Ayacucho, I'm sad to leave them!!! We have 2 awesome families who are looking forward to being baptized in April and May with great excitement and joy; the Family Espinoza Cruz and the Family Navarro Cosipuma. They are doing so great, we've taught them all the lessons and Doctrine with power and authority and they always come to church! We've found a lot of other great new investigators, and 2 less actives who want to come back to church!! I gave a talk yesterday in church..it was awesome. I love my companion, Elder Nuñez, he is such a great missionary and I'm going to miss him so much! He has this professional camera that we've been taking lots of cool pictures, I'll show them to you soon because there' s too many to send! 

I know that the Gospel is true, and that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, and that we MUST be obedient and faithful to the end. I love you so much and will see you soon! Have the best day ever!!!!!!!!

Sincerely,

Elder Clarke 

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Lord Jesus Christ, the Living Son of the Living God



Dearest family and friends,

´´My mission is to testify of Jesus Christ.´´ - Joseph Smith. I testify that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the World. I know this without a doubt, and it is my determination to testify of Him to all, in every moment, from now until the end of my mission, and throughout my whole life. I know He suffered every pain and sorrow that mankind has ever gone through, and that He will give us mercy and his comforting grace if we repent and do His will. I am
positive that through faith on His name men may become so much more; I know they can truly change and become more like Christ. Most importantly, I know that men can be forgiven of their sins through His complete and infinite sacrifice, and that they may dwell in the presence of our Heavenly Father. There is nothing more important to me, in every aspect of my life; this is the very most important thing. It is the most important thing in the life of all humankind as well, although they don't realize it. Every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess, that Jesus is the Christ. There will be given no other name nor way under heaven by which salvation comes to men. Jesus Christ lived a sinless, perfect life and was crucified by wicked men; by the power of God the Father, He was risen from the tomb, to never again be subject to the effects of death and sin. I know that all men shall live again and be brought to the presence of their Maker to be judged by their works, and that those who have been wicked, will be wicked still; and all those who have sought the will of the Father will enter His kingdom. I know that the Atonement offers us courage to press forward with a perfect brightness of hope for God and for all men when darkness and temptation covers the way. It gives me hope, and love, and faith to do His will. ´´It was this truth, this reality that allowed a handful of Galilean fishermen, turned again apostles, who without a single synagogue or sword went on to shape the history of the world in which we live in today.´´ -Elder Holland. I am taking His name upon me and committing to testify of His divinity for the rest of my life. I know that my Redeemer lives! and loves us! In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Sincerely,

Elder Clarke

Monday, March 2, 2015

Chicken!

Dearest Mother,

Elders Clarke & Nunez
Thank you so, so much for your testimony. I appreciate it so much. You are a wonder-woman! And I love you so much. Thank you for always helping me feel the love of the Savior and remembering Him. You live your life so centered on Jesus Christ and it's so admirable! Never change!!! 

I hope more than anything that people can feel God's love. That hurts me a bit..when others can't feel God's love. I know that God is more loving, just and merciful than I am and I'm glad it's in His hands. All I want in my life is to be able to develop a great love for others, the love of Christ; charity. It's so important. I feel like many missionaries don't feel that and it bugs me. I'm so grateful for the Doctrine of Christ; I know that it changes people. It leaves people thinking...meditating. I hope to be able to share more of that with all the family. 


I've been studying VERY profoundly the Atonement this week...and it's amazing the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I don't know what will happen in the future, but have the complete confidence and assurity that I will be claimed by His merciful grace if I keep repenting and giving ALL that I have. I have a TON to improve still. I hope to be a missionary the rest of my life, and will; I'm making the decision now! 

It's a beautiful, joyful time in the mission. President Douglas came for a training with our zone and we also had Stake Conference in which he spoke. His talk was so incredibly powerful; it's absolutely amazing. That man is going to be an apostle someday. He always shares with us his great desire to see the face of Jesus in the flesh, and just has the most powerful testimony of anyone I've ever heard! His life is so centered and focused on the Doctrine of Christ, and really changes people. 

Here are some pictures with Fermin and his family! We did a service at his house one morning helping him cook in his restaurant, and he taught me how to make some Peruvian dishes. I'll make it for you back home! Haha. He's super awesome, and his family. Those are his two kids. 

I'm giving everything I've got, Mamá! I'm trying to do my very best. We're finding lots of people, bringing them to church and teaching very well the doctrine, but they're just not wanting to accept it. But we are changing little by little the lives of Fermín's family and the family Navarro as well. We have many great blessings!

I'll pray lots for Scotty, Katie, Adam, Steve, and the rest of the family! I'm doing just fine here, experiencing trials but I know and testify that the Lord strengthens me every day, so there's no problem. I'm so grateful for the Holy Ghost; it's played a fundamental part in my life. I know this is God's work and that it WILL go forward, despite all opposition! I know He has all power! Thank you Mother Dear for everything you do, I love you so! Have the best week ever!!!

With sincere love,

Elder Clarke


Have the best day ever! 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Real Repentance



Dear Family and Friends,

This has been a very memorable week of the mission. I am so very thankful to represent Jesus Christ, and to treat others as He would treat them. I testify of the immense love that God has for each one of us; I have felt it and see it in the eyes of the Peruvians. I know that the greatest joy of all comes from a true process of repentance, a real peace that lasts forever. I know that living the gospel isn't as easy as we sometimes make it seem; repentance is a painful experience that brings us the remission of our sins. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that through His Atonement we can always be forgiven of our sins - anything. He has felt it all, and wants to help us. The Gospel is so beautiful, and I am eternally grateful for Repentance in our eternal Plan of Salvation. 

We have seen that Fermin and Mariela may need a longer time to have a true repentance process, and I am grateful to let it happen. We learn in 2 Ne. 30:2 that ´´God does not make covenants with anyone who doesn't repent.´´ We can't have a spiritually positive and truly lifting experience with making or renewing a covenant unless we have a true repentance process. I know that THAT is what brings lasting joy, happiness, and an incredible peace in our lives. That's all I want for people in this world, and I know that's all that Christ really wants too. Let us be sensitive to others' spiritual needs and help them have a true experience with repentance, so that they may find rest in their souls, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sincerely,

Elder Clarke

Monday, February 16, 2015

God hastens His work.

Dearest Family and Friends,

I am so grateful to be serving here in Ayacucho. There's never been a better time in my life! I am SO happy, every day. I know with all my heart that God is the one who hastens His work; this is not our work, and although we may have an important part to help out with it it is not ours. HE hastens HIS work. I testify that He has prepared so many wonderful people and it's a joyous blessing to be a part of it. I know with all of my heart that joy and satisfaction are found in the FULL, consagrated service of others. We must give our whole lives in service for others' benefit. What a wonderful time this is in my life. 

Elders Clarke & Nunez
We have 2 families of 4 assisting church, progressing, and they have a marriage and a baptismal date. Please pray for them!!! Fermín, had his plan to formally ask Mariela to be married on the knee and everything on the 14 of February. Yesterday after Elders Quorom he came up to us and told us she accepted, and that they are having a much better relationship and very happy. He invited us out to lunch tomorrow where he will formally ask permission to Mariella's mother to be married. Really, they are both changing and repenting to be able to resolve their problems, and it is an incredible change to see. Wow. This man, Fermin, has such a strong testimony of the restored gospel and Book of Mormon. At the beginning, he didn't want anything to do with the Book of Mormon. The missionaries visited him and he just wanted to Bible-bash. I testify that as we show our love to investigators, our patience and understanding, and we suffer with them, they change, and it's a true repentance. It's a true and powerful change of heart carried out by the Holy Spirit. We didn't say anything in our first 3 lessons with him except for reading chapters of the Book of Mormon together - nothing more, to help him understand it, and left commitments to read it. He kept his commitments, and now tells us that baptism with the correct authority is vital for him and his family. Their baptismal date is the 21 of March, which just happens to be the very last day I'll be here in Ayacucho. He is so excited, and I cannot express the emotions I have for all of this. Every moment of every day, all day long I am just thinking about these wonderful investigators we have...how glorious their baptisms will be...how to help them..and I can already see them getting sealed in the temple. I ask you all to PLEASE pray for this family that they will make their baptismal date! And that they can get married in time! I was worried...maybe they would have enough time to get married, but apparently it'll only be a process of about 2 weeks. Pray, and if possible fast! whatever you can do. They are wonderful people that I have come to love so much. 

Elder Nunez cleaning the bathroom!

The other family is Reynaldo and Raida and their two kids. They are such spiritual and faithful people, and have their plans also to get baptized - very good friends with the Bishop and his wife. Their kids are going on the young mens campout today and tomorrow. So sweet!!! My companion is the best companion ever. Really...he impresses me every new day. He maybe doesn't have a firm testimony yet...cuz he's a very new member, but has the strongest desire of anyone I've ever seen to learn all he can and get converted. In our companionship studies...unto tears, he asks me to teach him more, and does everything he knows how to do. It's a little hard for him to understand....(very..low educated I can tell) and requires lots of patience, but it's a joy for me. These are my favorite kind of companions. He's wonderful, and is a great example to the people we are teaching. 

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support; I know that God is working miracles here because of it. I love you all more than I can express, keep doing all that you can, for anyone you can, to help feel the love of God. I know that it is great, greater than any other feeling I've ever experienced, and it fills my heart to a fullness of joy. Let us share this with all, with great passion and the Spirit this week! Have the best day ever!!!!

Sincerely,

Elder Clarke

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Buenas Tardes!!!!

I am SOOO happy and excited for this last cambio!!!! I am training a brand new Elder, Elder Nuñez from Bolivia! He is SUCH a good guy, I couldn't be happier. Very humble of heart, focused, ready, willing and desirous to learn and work hard, everything I need for my last cambio to just give my all and be 100% consagrated and obedient. It's truly the best day ever. :) Haha, President and Sister Douglas always comment that to the other missionaries too, that every day's the best day ever! Really, there are a lot of awesome focuses changing in the mission and I'm ready to just give it all. 

My companion apparently was baptized when he was 14, and his parents were separated and both moved away to different places the majority of his life....(I think before he was baptized..not sure). His dad is somewhere in Brazil and his mother lives in Spain. I think they're members..but inactive. Anyways, he is the only brother and has 4 sisters, he's the second oldest, and sounds like he was pretty much in charge of caring for them. He's a hard-worker, and notes that he's had a great change. Apparently he wasn't a super good kid when he was a teenager, maybe didn't make the best choices, and just barely reactivated about a year ago and has a super strong testimony and desire to share the gospel. I love him a lot already. :) He speaks perfect portuguese!! And...yeah. 

Also, our area split cuz we had so many awesome investigators! Two hermanas are here in the ward now...with fuego. Really good missionaries, I'm excited to work with them, and we have a good district and zone. Please pray for our investigators that they'll get married and baptized this transfer...it's ALL I want!!! This transfer's got to be the harvest!!! :)
I love you all so much, thank you so much for all your support! Keep living worthy of God's immense blessings He wants to give us, and give your all! All your love, and all of your will to being EXACTLY obedient, diligent and faithful! Have the best week ever!!! :) I LOVE YOU ALL!

Sincerely,


Elder Clarke

PS: Happy Birthday this week, Grandma Dearest!!! Your letters should be arriving this week!

Monday, February 2, 2015

We are called to Help others Come unto Christ

Dear Family,

It has been an absolutely wonderful week. We've been blessed with many teaching and finding opportunities and had a great number of investigators at church again!! We have a couple who has accepted baptism and look forward to a temple marriage, and many other miracles by God this week. I could not be more grateful for this time of my mission, always at the end is when God uses you to reap the harvest that He has so mercifully prepared!!! We are very sad to only have 1 more week together as companions, Elder McDonald is the bomb!!! Thank you for all of your prayers of support and love for the missionaries; I know that God hears and answers your prayers because of your great faith and hope that His glorious work hastens in these latter days. Please pray that all of these wonderful investigators will come to have a strong desire placed by the Spirit to keep the commandments we teach them for themselves, especially to get married and be baptized.

I have learned this week from teaching many people that we cannot force the Gospel onto anybody. No matter how good or in line with God's will our intentions or desires are, we cannot expect someone to live it just because we tell them. That's never what God had in mind. I know that He sent His Only Begotten Son to experience every one of our trials and challenges and suffer the punishment of our sins to know how to help us to change and repent WHEN WE DESIRE STRONGLY AND DECIDE TO, with undoubting faith. Once we repent and put our will in-line with God's, miracles happen. The greatest of those miracles is often the warm surety in our very souls that God forgives our sins, and remembers them no more. Of this I testify with all of my heart, that God forgives those who come unto Him with a broken heart and a contrite Spirit. I know that God lives, and that He eternally loves each one of us despite our decisions, and constantly persuades us to come unto Him to be saved. I know that this is God's work, and that if we do not know how to do it in His holy and sometimes more difficult way, which is not our way, we will experience this great joy we gain from serving others with love and HELPING THEM to live the gospel. I am not called only to preach it, but to persuade with the love of the Spirit that they may keep the commandments for themselves and be converted (see John 7:17). I love you all and testify that God has forgiven me of my many errors, and that He will still sustain me through my weaknesses to bring to pass His glorious work, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder Clarke

PS have the best week ever!!!