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!
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 President....wow. 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. Somehow..it 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