Monday, July 29, 2013

¡¡¡¡Feliz Cumple KATIE!!!!



Dearest Family!!!

First of all, I´d like to congratulate Miss Kaitlyn Clarke on her sweet 16 years!!! Happy Birthday! I love you so much, and hope you absolutely have the best day ever. I have a lot of letters ready to send and haven´t been able to yet, but will be sending them today. I´m excited for you to receive them :) So, what are you going to do today to party? I hope you tell me all about it. :) 
How are the people? Thank you so much for your email, Mother Dear, it always makes me smile and happy inside. And thanks to everyone for sending me letters - it makes my day!! Seriously. I hope and pray you are all well!!!



Sooo guess what, this week we went to the temple!! Man, was it awesome. The spirit was still universally strong in there, and it was a joy to be able to experience that again. I absolutely love the temple. And that day was Elder Arancibia's birthday too!! It was super fun - we all went to a restaurant after as a zone and there was a cake for him, and another Elder too for their birthdays. The zone here is so much fun! I love each one of them, and we have fun on P-days. Haha we all played Monopoly in our apartment and just kinda hung out, and holy cow. Monopoly has never been so intense!!! I was just watching, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I love the Latinos here. They are so funny and loving :) And there is this really sweet store across the street from the temple owned by members that sell really cool souvenirs and stuff, and you better believe I blew a lot of money there!! Haha. I´m so excited to send you all the sweet gifts I got. :) Why is Perú so cool!!
Okay. Also, we will have interviews with the mission president tomorrow. I´m excited to see what the changes will be, and to have two more missionaries in Pamplona! Man, is there a lot of work to do here, almost overwhelming. The work has been a little slow here lately, but I know it is going to go crazy when we get a little more help here in Pamplona. I love all the members here! So kind and willing to help. I will never forget them! We've been able to have more member-present lessons this week, and man is it powerful. I have really come to recognize and appreciate more the sacred function of the Holy Ghost, in this work, and in all things in life in general. It is so special, and the opportunitie
s I have to bear my testimony are priceless. I cherish those moments. We have been working with a Family Sivirich, the parents are Jessica y Juan. They are all members and very inactive except for the mother, and we are having awesome family nights with them, and working to get them married, baptized, and sealed. It is going to be great!! Also another family Ticaflores we found this week, the mother is very inactive, and one daughter is baptized. We´re going to baptize them all and get them to the church every week!! I´m so excited. They are so loving, and willing to follow Jesus Christ. This week we had an intercambio, and I was left to direct the area alone, which was good! Starting to become more comfortable doing everything, and relying on the Holy Spirit. Also, I've been LOVING reading Ephesians this week! And John. Here are my absolute favorite passages, about the law of perfect love, and how it indicates we should always be obedient, and how love surpasses all understanding. Man. K, here they are: John 15:9-17 and Ephesians 3:16-20. I have been pondering hard on Love, and Diligence, and which is more important. Relates to Mercy and Justice. And the more I come to understand love, the pure love of Christ, it solidifies to me by the Holy Ghost that everything I have ever learned is true, and that striving for all diligence really is God´s standard, but Love still overpowers all. Both must exist, but the love came first from God, and always overpowers to motivate and push forward the
vehicle of diligence that GETS us forward. Diligence is like getting us into a higher gear, to get there faster, but we still never get anywhere without love. It´s like the gas in the tank! And the standards of the Gospel, I have come to know for myself they are always what God wants, and to understand at times, or..all the time, we fall short. And that´s okay, because with pure love we can be forgiven, and get back up again when we fall. But we always strive for God´s standards, and obedience and exact righteousness will give us power, and He will reveal more!! Also, I have to bear testimony of the promise in Moroni 7:48, that if we pray and ask for the gift of Charity, God really does give it to us! It is so powerful, and nothing has made me happier. :)

Well, I suppose that´s all for this week, I l¡will have to talk to you all more later! I love you so so so much!!!!! Have the best week ever. :)

Love, 

Elder Clarke

Monday, July 22, 2013

Family!!! OH. I am so filled with joy. I love you all!!!

How is the family, what´s goin on? I heard the two brothers are headin to California with Aunt Krissy!! Hope you all have so much fun! :) Tell Kevin and Steph and all their family how much I love them too!!! Hey, so I am sending birthday cards to Katie and Krissy too, didn't forget! I got to buy them and color them last week, but I am not quite sure when I´ll get the opportunity to send them...it´s a little hard, cuz my companion hasn't really helped me with where to take them, but I´ll figure it out! P-days are always crazy. But hey! Good news, we are going to the temple this Friday!!! I am so excited. So we only have email today, that´s all. It´s gonna be the best!

And yes, Mother, I did get the money from the Grandparents in the package; the people actually did open it though, didn't take anything, but wrote on the note (in spanish, ha at first I was confused, thought the Grandparents took spanish classes or something..) that it is not advised to send american dollars through the postal service, cuz it might get taken. But everything arrived just great, and I loved it! The Nutella?!?! Oh man. Ha :) And the next changes are Aug. 11. Things are going really good here!! And that is so awesome the experience you had at girls camp!! Thank you also for the pictures of Elder Warren :) he sent me a letter last week! Haha, also, parents, the picture I have on my desk of you two (the family pictures), Elder Arancibia looked at it the other day, and told me you look like mission presidents and wife. It touched my heart! And hope it does yours too. :)


Anyways, I have learned so much about Love, and Faith, and the Holy Ghost, and Hope this week. Thank you so much, Dad, for your email to us. It is so true that Satan always tries to get us down, but I know for a fact that a positive-happy attitude and the pure love of Christ can solve all the problems. That has become increasingly harder for me through all of the trials that face me in Perú, but nevertheless they are true principles, and have come to mean so much more to me as I put my faith into my Savior. There is never any progress when there is a negative attitude, or discouragement. There are two things that have really CHANGED me on the mission so far:

The Doctrine of Christ, and Christlike Attributes.

These two things can be applied to our lives. And I have been doing that in the mission life, and nothing has brought me more joy, hope, and peace, and gratitude, and desire to act in faith. I have never felt the Spirit, with all of these feelings, stronger than when I get to pray at night, and repent, and then wake up in the morning with a perfect brightness of faith, every day, to battle the trials that will face me, but battle them with the love of Christ. It is the only way!! This is why every day is the best day ever. 

The good examples that have been in my life, ALWAYS, every moment, are in my mind, and help me to strive to keep living better. Here is a quote from one of them, the famous Elder Anderson, from the Oregon Mission, ¨God never expected us to be perfect; He only commanded it¨. Think about that, in terms of the everlasting perfect love Heavenly Father has for us. 

I love you all!! Have the best week ever!! :)

Love, 

Elder Clarke 

DC 121:34-46...(something like that) Super Good. :)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Best week of my life!!!!!



My lovely Family!!!

Mother Dear! Thank you so much for writing me and sending me pictures, even though it was a late night! You're my favorite. I hope the whole family is doing well!!!! I want you all to know how much I love you. And mother, thank you for always sending me Steve's emails - he is such a great example to me. 

I absolutely loved the package!!!!!! I really do have the best family, and friends, ever. Haha Elder Arancibia and I absolutely loved the food. Oh my goodness. I had PB&J sandwich (on pansito rolls) and I have never been so happy in all my life. And the chocolate, and everything. My favorite part definitely was the photo book of my lovely family!! I treasure it - and the photos of friends too on their missions!! Thinking of them also really inspires me from good examples. Oh and tell Megan Flinders congratulations on her mission call! OH, and special message to Katie, please!!!! Please write me a huge long letter, with all of your English skills and writing talents, about your EFY and AFY experiences this summer!! I would die to hear about all of your spiritual experiences, of my little sis. It would mean the world to me. I'm gonna send you a birthday card today! I hope you have the best birthday ever! :)

Okay, a lot going on here! I'm gonna try to write as much as I can. So, we're actually not going to be able to go to the temple this week. Sad day :( but it's ok. Also, we had a Ward Council for the first time yesterday after church, and nothing filled my heart with more joy!! Answer to my prayers, seriously. We are going to be able to do so much more now with the help of this strong ward!! It was difficult before, without essencial things to missionary work like that, and tested my patience and all of the other Christlike attributes a lot. But I have a testimony that the presence of good desires, and lots of prayers, really bring to pass miracles. I KNOW that Pamplona feels all of your prayers back home! Thank you so much. Also, we might be getting another companionship of missionaries coming to this ward next change! Still not certain, but probably. I'll keep you posted. And Elder Arancibia and the zone leaders tell me that I also might be training next change...which filled my heart with such fear! Oh my goodness. Haha. What would happen would be Elder Arancibia and I split up in two sections of the ward here, cuz we know the area, and two new elders would come to each of us. Man the work is going to get so much better!! I am so so happy you have no idea. I am trying to work towards the ability to train alone by next change as a goal, but I have soooo much to work on, it's crazy. I know that anything is possible with the Lord. This week has been up and down roller coaster, hard but really good. I have had to really bump up my Christlike attributes, love and patience and humility, to meet the level of these Peruvians. They have such a different personality, and it truly really is remarkable, the way they live, and the love they show constantly. They live off of love! And I have learned that the mission is all about BECOMING the missionary you have always wanted to be. It is about the journey - we are not expected to just BE that missionary we have envisioned in our minds, not possible! This was difficult for me to learn, but we have to trust in the Lord in always converting and becoming better. And it is ONLY possible in an atmosphere of love, and the Spirit. I can't explain the realization I came to this week, in my most difficult time, of the Missionary Life, but accepting all of this deep in my heart, nothing has filled me with greater joy. I am so so grateful for this opportunity. It is so important to always be positive!!!

Anyways, we are also starting English classes every Wednesday where members bring investigators, and it will be taught by...me! And everybody is sooo excited about it, I'm nervous, cuz I don't know how to teach English! Haha. Any ideas? :) Also, we might be starting up Piano lessons or classes too every week, cuz lots of people want to learn too. Also I will have to figure out how to be a good teacher, in that, and the gospel! I have faith in the Lord that He will help me become the teacher He wants me to be. I am so excited. And have so much work to do!!!!

Okay, so another miracle this week! About the investigators. So, one day we were walking through the mercado, the market, and this man calls out to us, in the very end little tiniest shop, like a shoe-fixer I think, and says, hey, can you tell me more about this book? It was a Book of Mormon which he had for a few years and had been reading it every day in his down time in the market. He said, I know this book is true, and if you need to baptize me, I will do it! Haha. It was so crazy, and gave us the hope we needed at the time!! Anyways, we returned a few hours later that day for a lesson, and got a baptismal date for him. He knows so much and is so prepared!! It is awesome, his name is José, he lives alone, in his little tiny shop in the market, is in about his 50s, and he is missing a leg (it's a wooden one), so, we don't know how we're going to get him baptized yet, but we'll figure it out. :) Also, another investigator that's gonna be baptized soon is named María, the mother of a recent convert. She already has such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon, the Priesthood and the church, and wants to be baptized! Also teaching another investigator, 18 year old named Jeison, and he is exactly like how I was last year! He has lots of great questions to strengthen his testimony, and I relate to him so well and bear my testimony. It is so special. Anyways, I wish I could tell all! But I want you all to know how much I love you.

The scripture passage this week that really hit me was the story in all of 3Ne.17-19, it touched my heart so much, to really see the true character of Christ. Go read it! And ponder it in your hearts. :)

I love you all!! Stay strong in the Faith!

Elder Clarke

Monday, July 8, 2013

Oh My Goodness!!!!

Fammmmilllly. :)

Mother - Do you even know how much I love you?!?! Haha, ohh my goodness. Mom, you have no idea how much I enjoyed reading your letter, and just all the kind things you said. It brought me to tears. I love you and the family all so much!!! And Dad´s letter too!! Do you know I always print them out at the end of my session so I can read them later too? And Steve's, and my President Douglas. Thank you so so much for all of the loving support you give me. I just BARELY, in this exact moment, received the package you sent me from my zone leader! I am going to open it later, I could not be more excited! :) Also, last week I got great letters too! From Grandma, Aunt Ida Mae, and my friends Emily Richards and Sister Murdoch and Tatum Frampton. It made me so happy! Thank you so much. I am going to send Katie a happy birthday card soon! And also gifts to everybody! There is some sweet stuff here in Peru, and I´m excited to send stuff to you my lovely family! What kind of things do you like?! :)

So, we are going to have our zone temple-trip the 19th of July, a Friday. That means that next week my P-Day will be Friday instead of Monday, but I will still do one hour of emailing to you lovely people Monday, and then go straight to work, and rest of P-day is Friday. I am SOOO excited! I'll tell you all about it :)

So, this week, I have been so blessed by all of these Peruvians. They are so kind, I can't believe it! For this, I have been trying to develop Charity. All week, I am going to read the section of Charity, and Faith, Hope, Patience with the scriptures, and write in my study journal ways I can love my investigators, members, and my companion. Mother dear, the quote you included at the end of your email was PERFECT for me right now. Thank you so much!!! I am so glad that other scripture a couple weeks ago helped you overcome your fear at the girls camp, and that you flew like a bird through the sky!! You are the best. :) I'm sorry I haven't commented much on all of the fun things you are all doing in my letters, but want you to know it means so much to read about them!! I think it's SO awesome that you do so much in AFY, and the stake, and Dad with the Priesthood songs!! Man. I listen to that one song on my iPod almost every morning, ´´Sing Praise to Him´´, that one that we listened to about a million times on the temple trip the week before I left, and I think of you every time. I am so grateful for my wonderful father and his amazing example of a Priesthood holder, obedience, and teaching all of us children the things of the gospel in our youth. I could not be more grateful for my wonderful parents, and my family. I love you so much!!! (Ohhh, and by the way Mom, Yes I did receive that letter you sent to the Peru MTC! I got it like, the very minute I entered Peru, Elder Durfey and his companion who picked us up from the airport gave it to me in the car as we drove to the Mission Office! It was the first thing I read in Peru. Thank you :)) 

So, that is the other thing I have been focusing on too this week, Obedience. Dad, your letter was PERFECT for me this week too. Thank you so much, I absolutely love the things you write and learned to me and Steve. You are the best Father!! I learned, from my Mission President, that the Mission simply is NOT worth it, if we are not willing to be completely obedient, and have our focus towards God and our investigators with ALL diligence. There are a lot of missionaries that are kinda just here for the ride, and get lots of cool stuff with the money we are allotted and have fun, but I have learned that really, it doesn't bring joy. I've been getting efficient with the money they give us, tracking daily how much I spend and on what, and getting everything in order to put my focus completely on the work. I testify that it brings joy, and that if we want to have success, and real joy, we must put the Lord to the test with His promises He gives us. In anything. Right now for me, there are TONS of promises He gives concerning missionary work, and that He is preparing the hearts of people to receive the message if we open our mouths, etc. Tons. If we are totally obedient in all things, and try with all our faith to do what He asks of us, we will see miracles. This is a promise and I know that it is true. And when we make this a reality, this is when we are filled with joy never-ending. This is my goal as a missionary, to trust always in these promises, and bring about miracles with my faith. That´s what makes the mission WORTH IT. It is all about hope! (Esperanza) I love that principle, having hope in the promises of the Lord, that they will come to pass. With our faith, and diligence. And one of those promises I am putting to the test right now is Charity. I am convinced, that without Charity, we are nothing!! Moroni testifies of it so beautifully in Moroni 7, and Paul of the New Testament also in 1 Corinthians 13 - almost the same exact thing! I love it. I am convinced that the missionaries who possess Charity are able to serve SO much better, and that the work just comes so much more easily. I am trying to achieve this type of love. 

This morning, I read my Patriarchal blessing. My patriarchal blessing has never hit me so hard as it did this morning. Everything has prepared me for this opportunity - pre-mortal life, and the time I have had already. I am so grateful for all of the blessings I have been given in my life, it is absolutely incredible. The gospel is amazing, and is really changing me right now. The Gospel is about conversion, not about conforming to the rules. You have to convert to the gospel, and allow the principle of obedience to become apart of you, rather than just conforming to the rules. Nothing brings more happiness, because we actually see the promises of the Lord come to pass, as miracles, before our eyes, and we get a little taste of the eternal joy of the gospel, as we allow it to touch the lives of those we serve. I am so touched by the kindness of these Peruvian people, and am convinced that it is through love, and charity, I will be able to help them convert to the Lord. Love, is the motive. I always ponder throughout the day, at how much God must love His children, and Jesus loves us, for His perfect sacrifice for all of us who are imperfect. I see a lot of that here in Peru. But as I ponder in the goodness of God, it inspires me, always, that there is a better way, and that is to love. And family, I want you all to know how much I love you. Thank you for all you do for me and Steve to support on missions! And all of the wonderful service you do in good ole' Utah County. You are the best family in the world.

I am also getting more opportunities to play the piano! Last night we had a meeting for the New Converts and Investigators, and Pte. Douglas came to speak, it was great! It was so fun, we traveled there as a ward with our RC's and Inv.'s, and were a little late, and right when I got there they asked me to play for the meeting! It was really funny, like the whole congregation was waiting on someone to come and play piano. But it all went well. I love the piano! 

Also, our investigators are doing great! We're doing well with María y Jorge, the parents of our new converts Liz y Betsy, single adult age, and they are great supports to their parents. Also the sisters of Dayana, Anjuie y Margorie, are doing well as investigators too! We're looking to strengthen families, and convert all the part-active families. It is great. OH!! Also, this Sunday we finally got a ward mission leader called! Man. That's what I was fasting for so hard. We don't really have a functioning Ward council, which makes it hard, but things are going to pick up in the ward with the missionaries, and I am so excited. 

Also, I totally didn't even realize it was 4th of July this week until Elder Durfey called me that night and wished me a happy fourth of July!! It was really funny. I hope you all had fun in United States!! :) What did you all do?! 

Okay, I better get going, but I hope you know I love you! I will write you more next week!

Love,

Elder Clarke

1 Ne. 19:9

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

BEST WEEK OF MY LIFE!!

Oh my goodness, my family!!! I love you all SOOO much!!!

Mother Dear. I was SO happy to read your email, and see the picture of you on the scary zipline and Dad with his SWEET new truck!!! Man that was so cool. :) And also, I forgot to thank you for the pictures last week of my good friend Elder Warren! Thank you so much, mamá! You have no idea how much I love you. :)

I am so sorry for the inconsistency and low quality of my ability to send lots of pictures, and good messages with insights and info on the investigators - I promise I try! This is a very stressful hour for me, and I am still getting used to it. :)

Okay, so this has been the best week of my life! Ever. I feel I have failed to tell you all how much I love being here in Perú. Oh my goodness. It is an amazing experience! All the people are so, SO kind, and everything is beautiful in my eyes! The valley, and the hills, are absolutely covered with houses, and all different colors, as far as the eye can see. It´s crazy how many people live in such a small area around here - it makes sense why the population is so big! On the top of one of the hills too is this big statue of Christ, like three houses tall, just overlooking the valley with arms spread wide. Every time I see it I think about how all these people in Peru are His sheep, and I´m more motivated to go out and feed them! :)

Ahh, I have had SO many spiritual experiences, and don´t know if I can tell them all! But this week we had our zone training conference where Pte. Douglas and his assistants came to instruct us, and it was really mision changing for me. I am SO grateful for my mission president - absolutely amazing. Right now, I am working on being very diligent, and learning to love first. It is so important!

Okay, so this past saturday, we had three baptisms! I got to baptize the youngest, Alessandra (8 years old). The others were Yanet, her sister, (15 yrs. old), and the other is not related, but Dayana (22 yrs.). They are each so special!! We are really trying to strengthen the families right now. The familiy of Alessandra and Yanet, which was part member but is now...FUll member! :) and also we have got good references from the family of Dayana. I am convinced that the whole work could be done just from strengthening families and all of their references, and the references´ families. It is profound! And there is much to do. The members are the absolute best!! And it is best to work with them I have realized. 

Right now we are working with an investigator named Jorge, the ex of Dayana, and he has had a lot of problems. We had a lesson with him last night about the word of wisdom and law of chastity, and the Spirit was so strong, oh my goodness. I was so grateful to be able to give my testimony and help him change his life! He is very humble, willing to change, and Awesome with the compromisos! I know he is going to be baptized. :)

I have learned this week the importance of Esperanza. (Hope) This is the attribute of Christ I have been focusing on the most this week. You should all read that section in PMG! It is specifically having great faith and hope in the promises of the Lord, that they will come to pass with our faith and diligence. And there are TOns of promises in the mission work!! So, I have lot to do. I have learned that there is no way to do this mission work without a positive attitude. I have been doing my absolute best to keep that up as high as the clouds!! My testimony is rooted deeply in the principle of Hope, and trusting solely on the promises of the Lord, and looking forward to the day of miracles, and everlasting life. 

A quote that has helped me so much this week in the song ``How Could the Father tell the World?``, is this: ``What does the Father ask of us? What do the scriptures say? Have Faith, Have Hope, Live like His Son, Help others on their way."

Also another thing I do that helps me is read the section The Atonement in Lesson 2 of PMG every day in personal study, and write the good things I have learned. THey are different every day!

I love you all so much!!! And am sorry for my unorganized thoughts, I will talk with all of you more later too!

Thank you for being the best family in the world!!! :)

Love,

Elder Clarke

Alma 7:23-25

Also, thank Bishop Wendel for sending great emails every week!