Monday, June 24, 2013

June 24, 2013

Hola Familia!!!

Oh my goodness, this has been an amazing week! So much has happened, and it has been incredible. There´s so much to say!

First of all, I am sorry for the scare last week! I am doing absolutely fine, no need to worry. :) It seems that I still was very new to Peru, and a little stressed about everything - how to get the things I need, how to overcome sicknesses (haha), how to cope with the work and enjoy life, etc. I probably asked for too many little things that aren't really important Mom, but don´t worry. Everything always changes RIGHT after email time! During P-day and the rest of the week, so, I apologize. I actually have a very tender story to share about how I recovered, with the most tender love and care from the little abuelita that lives above us, oh my goodness. I wet my pillow with tears that night because of her kindness to me. I think I´m going to include it in a letter I'll write to Gma and Gpa, and have them share it with you all too. This little abuelita, is the owner of our apartment, and is a member, and the sweetest lady I've ever met. She is like my Peruvian grandma. Also, our pensionista, Hna. Felicita Llontob, is like my little Peruvian mother. She is so so kind, really an amazing lady, the Relief society President, our laundry person, and she cooks the most incredible food! So, I am so grateful for them both. And ALL of the members here, are amazing. really. I am getting fat! Haha, they always feed us. And honestly I love the food, it is my favorite! Two families had us over to celebrate my birthday, and we made a cake! It was so fun, and really good! They took pictures, and said they're going to put them on facebook and try to show the pictures to Mom. Their names are Janet, and Nataly. They are so kind! 
Elder Clarke & Elder Arancibia
Okay, also before I get started talking all about our investigadors and what has been happening, I want to thank Aunt Ida May and Grandpa for their letters to me! I got them last week, and made me so happy. I am going to take my companion to lunch, too :) you´re the best! Oh, also. I found out that sending letters is really pricy. I am going to send a lot though, I am just not sure when. Sending a single letter is 18-20 soles, and a package is 60. Also good info, 2.66 Soles = 1 dollar, mas o menos. So, for the most part, everything is really cheap down here! Like, okay. So last week for P-Day, we all went to the city to buy stuff, and..:WOW!! It´s so crazy. They have TONS of stuff. The city is absolutely a jungle, I can´t even explain it right now. But also there are a lot of American things that are sold, like Nike and stuff like that. All of the products that have any little imperfection get sent down to places here like Peru, and they sell them all for super cheap. Like, 40-50 soles for super nice shoes, jackets, clothes, etc. When you convert it to dollars, it´s way cheap. I bought a nice sturdy pillow, some sweet sweats that are like stretchy pants for sleeping super warm for like 15 soles, and a classy very nice and thick sweater for 30 soles to wear while proselyting. It´s nice. Even though it´s not that cold here, I still wear a sweater almost every day just so that I won´t get sick. Every day I do, I think to myself that Mom would be so proud of me, for taking care of myself and wearing sweaters like she always told me to but I never did! Now I am. It only takes one experience of getting sick to try to do all you can to not get sick anymore. I really am taking care of myself, and with time I know how to do that better. I also cleaned the shower and toilet, so good today! Man. Dad would be proud. Haha :) 

Dad! That super sweet Training Worldwide meeting you went to last night, we got to watch a broadcast of the whole thing! Oh my goodness, it was AMAZING. That is SO cool you were there. Amazing things learned!! This work is so incredible. I love the gospel, the Lord, and His ways.
Also, I want to say Happy Birthday to Uncle Ken this past week, and cousin Natalie as well!! I was thinking of them too. :) 

I had such a good birthday!! We had a baptism planned, which would have been a great present, but it fell through. But we have 3 people getting baptized next week - it´ll be awesome!! But in the morning on Saturday we went to the stake center for our investigators to have interviews with a member of Mission presidency cuz there were some issues to clear up, and we had to wait a long time. So, during that time, BEST present EVER. I got to play the piano for a while! A ton of the good hymns and songs I know. It made my whole life. Also, I ate so much bread!! I love the bread, and panderia here. And we had a cake and stuff too, it was surely the best :)
Also, Saturday night, Bishop asked us to speak in sacrament meeting for sacrament meeting on mission work, and we did! It was such a good experience for me to prepare and give it in Spanish. Spanish is really coming well for me now. It was such a tender moment, as I expressed my gratitude and love to the members of this ward here in Pamplona, I cried. And couldn't see my notes, which was a problem haha. But a little girl from the congregation ran up and gave me a tissue, and I continued! It was so special. Also, had an exchange with Elder Usma, district leader, in his area, and Mannn. It was ALL hills, tons. It was...seriously, an adventure. Like that's when it hit me, I´m in a foreign country! And at times it can be difficult to do the work of the Lord here, but I learned that as we work our best, the Lord is pleased and blesses us and I have seen that first hand. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be in His work. 

Elder Arancibia is the best!!! It is so fun, every night he reads talks in English and has to translate tons of words which I help him with, and he is getting really good! We have lots of fun, and he is such a happy good character. I am so blessed to have him. I also am learning so many good things from his example in lessons and stuff. He´s my favorite! Hopefully I´m going to send some pictures today. Also, he is so kind! Right when I got sick that morning a couple weeks ago, he disinfected the whole floor while I rested for a bit! And he always sweeeps every night. He´s the best. 

Okay, I had better get going, but I just want to tell you all how much I love you, and I will talk with you much more later! I have such a strong testimony of this gospel, Jesus Christ and His atonement, and this mission work. I am so grateful for every opportunity to build my faith, which happens a lot. I love you all!! :)

Elder Clarke

Moroni 8:16

Monday, June 17, 2013


Father!!! Papá. Maannn. I LOVE reading letters from you! Thank you so much!! It is so good to hear how you are doing, how everything back home is going and such. You really are the best Dad in the whole entire world.

HAPPY FATHER´S DAY!!! ¡Feliz Día Papá!

I wanted to write you a good long letter today, cuz you mean so much to me. I have been thinking a lot about you this week, and this morning especially. I am learning more and more how to apply your good fatherly counsels you've always given me, such as obedience, and diligence. It is so key here on the mission. 

This morning, I was cleaning the bathroom. Maaannnnn. This past Friday, Sister Douglas regularly goes around to random apartments to check them on their cleanliness and such, and she came to ours. She said some of the gunk nasty stuff in the walls of the shower, and bathroom and stuff, are dangerous, and I didn't really know before. Here in Peru, cleanliness really isn't important to anyone. Its so hard for me to deal with. Especially all the Latin companions, they don´t see the importance of it. So I come to a decision, what to do? I know what is right, and have been taught to be diligent and obedient in all things. Sometimes it´s hard to do that when nobody else does, to be the only one. I am still breaking out of my shy natural character in doing things alone, being bold of character, and I always remember and think of you. I think about how many times you were the only one cleaning the house, and we didn't understand why, or we complained. Here in Peru, cleaning is literally for my safety, because I think that was a factor of my getting very sick. But I also see how it is a commandment of God to be clean in all things. It is a burden to some people though. People here in Peru care about nothing but loving one another. And I think sometimes...well? That is a good thing, right? And then, I think about the words I have always been taught. God gives us commandments, because he LOVES us. Commandments are for our physical and spiritual safety and protection, and they are because of love. Love, and wanting us to have a better way, and I always think about the better way in the US. And I am learning boldness of character here to show the better way with love. It is hard to do that without harsh reproaching, but I have learned that if I am sincere in all things, really striving to do the right, and not participating in other things, people see that example and want to follow it.
Dad I am so grateful for you, and how you are so diligent, and obedient. You are my perfect example out here on the mission, and you can seriously bet that every single day, I think about you on the mission, and how I can be a better missionary. So when you are cleaning the house, or the yard, all alone, or try to do the right, alone; always remember, I am too, following in your footsteps, but down here in Peru. It is God´s way, and He will be with us. Of that I am sure. I am SO grateful for the Spirit of God, I feel it right now. 

Press Forward Forever!!! ¡Sigue Adelante para Siempre!


Elder Clarke

Monday, June 10, 2013

Elder Clarke in Peru!

Hello my Family!!! 

How I love you all so much!!!!! Wow, thank you for the letter Mom- I love hearing from you. :) Well, I am in Peru! Haha, how time flies, and how things change. I absolutely loved my last few days in Oregon, I learned so much from a great elder named Elder Anderson. Wow, how he changed my perspective. And Pres. Young, is amazing, he and his wife love people so much. I learned so many great things about missionary work and more about how I can be a good missionary there in Oregon, and knew it was all for a reason. We had stake conference there last Sunday, and two Seventies came to speak, and this is what I spiritually developed from their words in my heart, a new slogan for me: ``Learning to Love is the Life-Long Lesson.``  Whenever you are having a hard time in life, or can´t seem to learn what you are supposed to from any trial, it is probably due to a lack of needing to love somebody more. That is exactly what I learned in Oregon, and am forever grateful! 

Elder Derek  Durfey & Elder Dave Clarke--Elder Durfey is from our Stake in AF & is also serving in the Lima South Mission.  He is currently working in the office and picked Elder Clarke up from the airport.  He sent this picture to his mother this week.  So great to see them together!

The plane ride was absolutely awesome here to Peru - I love planes! :) I sat next to a girl who was actually going to Peru to be a missionary herself, for the Baptist church. It was really cool, we like practically live the same lives, but in different religions. I respected her a whole lot, glad that faith in Jesus Christ is going forth throughout all the world, and we became friends. 
My, oh my, how things have changed here in Peru. Things are so different here! But I want you to know, Mother, and not to worry, that I am all very well and healthy. :) I haven´t been sick at all yet - which is actually pretty impressive for a gringo like me! Ha. Things are...crazy here sometimes, I don´t even know how to explain it. I`m basically over the culture shock by now though. But I absolutely love the people!!! They are SO kind, it doesn't even make sense to me yet. And they love to smile and be nice :) 

When I first saw the Mission I was just like..YES. I know that missionaries are called to be assigned to their Presidents. While I was waiting to get in the flow of things and an area and such, I sat in on a zone leader conference where Pte. Douglas was speaking to them. And my oh my, how serious he is about this missionary work here! He expects us to give our all, and really do our best, and progress. This is exactly what I wanted! And I am excited to work as hard as I can. In the interview with him too, he is just amazing. I couldn't be more excited. 
I have the best companion in the world!!! Elder Arancibia, from Chile. He is the best! We are in an area called Pamplona which isn't too far away from Lima at all. We have a pretty nice apartment too! Better than others I have seen here for the missionaries. A shower, that actually has hot water! which frightens me every day. is connected to the electricity, the lights? It gets it´s power from there to heat up the water, so i am very careful, because I have felt a small shock a couple times in the water that comes out. Haha I don´t know, it´s awesome though. Actually this morning I think I left it on too long, and power went out in all the house, and I think in the buildings nearby too, in the middle of my shower. It was awesome, and power came back later. Our sink barely works, and only little water comes out at a time, so we wash our dishes in the sink! ¡It´s lo màximo! haha, that means like awesome, or cool. Other fun words with that same meaning is chevre, bakán, etc. 

Elder Arancibia is 19 years old, and really is a good guy. He is a good leader, and leads by kindness. We can communicate very well, because I can hold my own in Spanish, and he knows a few words and phrases in English. I am actually teaching him English too, haha. His prayers are tender in English! I make him do them at night. My favorite phrase he says is, ``We are thankful for every moment, please bless us, every moment.`` Also, I think there are classes for English for people in the ward, and we also might do piano lessons too! Haha, I am not sure. But this ward really is the bomb. It has more than a hundred people! And everyone is so nice. 

The Relief Society President is our pensionista, and she takes care of us! She also washes our clothes, and we pay her for it. She is the sweetest lady. Also, there is a little abuelita that lives above us, and she is so kind all the time, and gives us bread! She reminds me of grandma. :) but my grandma is probably taller. Haha. Peruvians are very little. I absolutely love the food here! It really is good. I have tons of rice, every day. Half of our plate is always rice. Sometimes potatoes underneath chicken, and other various vegetables, etc. Always chicken. It´s all really good though! :) Also, sometimes me and Elder Arancibia get bread from the store in the morning for breakfast, and mash up avocados and put it inside like a sandwich! It is good. 
Okay, the cars here are SO hilarious. There are NO rules on the road - police are basically non-existent. But the funny thing is that, nobody ever gets road rage! There is So much cutting off, honking, getting in other peoples way to go fast and stuff, but nobody ever gets mad - it´s just expected. It scares me at times, but I also just laugh a lot. I love it. There are also many dogs here, but they don´t do much. 

I want to share something I have learned here on the mission. All of the wonderful things that happen on a mission, they don´t just come like magic. When you get out in the field, MTC, Oregon, or Peru, you realize that nothing is really different, until you DO something. I don´t mean to take anything away from the sacred calling of a missionary, because it truly is sacred. Because we have authority to be representatives of Jesus Christ, and are blessed with power - but, it doesn't happen until we work, have faith, and try to make a change. That is something fundamental for every future missionary to realize. Expect to work! And, if you do with all your heart, might mind, and strength, you will see miracles, and have power to do amazing things. So, something everybody can learn from this, is that we all need to USE the blessings that we already have. I promise that everybody can see miracles in their lives to do amazing things with your own callings, and spiritual gifts. But you won´t see a change of anything different until you work. Exactly like in missionary work. I am so grateful for this incredible blessing and opportunity to be a missionary. Nothing brings more joy than being in the service of other people, and the service of God.

Also, to every future missionary, PLEASE, you need to know Preach my Gospel like the back of your hand. I studied it, but not enough, and wish I had. Every day I read 30 of PMG, and 30 min of BOM. They are the tools for missionary work. Especially in BOM, the Doctrine of Christ: 2 Ne. 31, 3 Ne. 11, and 3 Ne. 27. The mission requires SO much faith, and preparation. AH. I wish I had more time. But, I want you all to know how much I love you!!! 

Oh, also, Saturday there were 2 baptisms in our ward, it was beautiful! From the work of the past missionaries. But we have lots of investigators now, and are going to do great things! I´m so excited!! :)

I love you all, and know that Jesus Christ is my Savior!


Elder David Kenneth Clarke

Monday, June 3, 2013

Elder David Clarke flew to Peru today!!!

Hi!  This is Dave's Mom.  I was so excited Friday night to get a call from the Eugene, Oregon Mission President's wife.  She told me that Elder Clarke's visa had arrived along with plane tickets for Monday, June 3rd.  He was travelling alone to Lima, Peru today.  He got to call from the airport and talk for a bit during a layover in Dallas.  He told me that he met a middle-aged man on his flight out of Eugene and talked to him about the gospel during their entire flight, and also gave him a Book of Mormon and information to contact the missionaries in his area.  He said he learned great lessons from his 12 short days in Oregon, important principles that further prepared him for his mission.

Later this evening as I checked my email, I found an message from a member of the church in Texas, where Elder Clarke had his longer layover.  This is what it said:

My name is Aljean Blake. I am a member of the Carrollton 1st ward,
Carrollton, Texas stake (Dallas area). I met your son as I was boarding
a plane to go back home. He looked very handsome in his missionary suit. He
positively glowed as I was talking to him. I know he will be a wonderful
missionary in Peru. I was a little sad he wasn't coming to Dallas to serve.

Have a great day,

Sister Blake

I am so grateful for members of the church everywhere, who are watching out for our missionaries!  I can't wait to hear from Elder Clarke next Monday on his p-day, and find out about his new companion and area!