Monday, August 26, 2013

Pictures! :)



Mother Dear!! I am so very glad that you loved all the pictures I sent last week and the long email, I´m sorry there´s not as many to send today! But I still love you the same. :) Thank you for the pictures of the week! They are so awesome!! Haha, that made me SO happy the paltas y pan. (avocados and bread). I can´t believe we have so many missionaries from our ward! That is so crazy. 

Elder Bromley & Elder Clarke--Provo MTC Mission Comps!
I've been reading in the Bible about the Savior's ministry and life when He was working with and teaching the 12 Apostoles, especially concerning the part right after His resurrection. I keep learning more and more how frustrating it must have been for Him to have such imperfect companions, those 12 Apostoles! He taught them so, so much, and still after His resurrection, they still didn't really know what to do after, but He always promised them His peace and love, and divine guidance by the Holy Ghost. The characteristics and perfect example of Christ have really been getting me through the trials here in Pamplona. It's amazing the comfort, and strength I receive by 1)Repenting, 2)Receiving the gift of Charity, 3)Power through the Enabling Power of the Atonement as I exert a ton of Faith. Really, it's an incredible experience here, and I am learning to be a more efficient servant of God. Really it is my only desire here, and I give Him my whole heart in prayer. I can't even explain the extent of that desire, and the profound capacity it gives me to love the Peruvian people, and my family, people like you. ;) I'm directing this email to you just because I love you so much, and just want to tell you all of the thoughts and feelings of my heart, mother. My heart is going out to you right now! Thank you so so much for all of your prayers, I can promise you that I have felt them, and I have seen the power of prayer work in E. Arancibia too. Being a missionary helps me see more openly too how imperfect I am, and everybody! 


But there is such great hope, love, joy and comfort in the gospel of Jesus Christ and His great promises to us, and we just have to realize we have to sacrifice a great portion of our faith and will to receive those, and oh.. how beautiful it is when we receive them. I am a witness of His divine help here in Pamplona. I can't even describe how much I love this area!! It is so beautiful. And the members here! It really is a pretty strong ward compared to the other areas, and the people are so willing in every way, we just got to get more coordination and get things done. But I absolutely love talking with and working more with the members. I feel the Spirit and the gift of tongues to help me better talk with them. Also, we put 4 baptismal dates this week! We are doing so much better, and it is all due to the District Meeting we had this week. Pres. Douglas sent a special message to our zone to do a fast all together for repentance, to see a true change in each and every one of us, to improve our areas. It was so hard for me, to try to help our companionship together to carry out the will of Pres., but there was so much help too. Anyway, that was a tough day of faith and giving our all, and then the next day, 3 baptismal dates! So awesome. Sad news though, our baptism this past week fell through. Julianna has been sick, and couldn't have her interview. But, that's sorta good, haha, cuz her only problem was not reading the Book of Mormon as much, and so she has been in bed for days straight just reading the Book of Mormon! So, that is really good. ;) Haha. Anyways, I am feeling the Spirit so strongly in my life, and things are going very well here. Your prayers are answered, and I couldn't love you and thank you enough. I would like to just share a personal thought and feeling. When we submit our will FULLY to the Father's, exactly like the perfect example of Jesus Christ, our burdens are made light, and we don't worry about the world anymore. The confidence and Spirit and strength we receive from that is remarkable, and a Balm of Gilead. Service is a balm of Gilead, which is to say, takes our burdens away, and makes us happy. This means so much to me! And always striving to love through the imperfections and be positive to try to help and uplift all people around me, I feel so blessed and happy. Well, Mother, I guess I'll just have this be the email for everyone cuz it's so stinkin long by now. 

Anyways, we had a special conference with Elder Quentin L. Cook on Saturday! Elder Waddell from the Seventy was there too, and it was so awesome! Really, I learned so much. They both shook all of our hands, everyone in the building! It was pretty great. But, he invoked the most special apostolic blessing upon us all, which a part of it said, that one day, all of my family, friends, future spouses and children, and everyone around me, will one day witness how the service I am doing, and all missionaries do, in the service of the Lord, is really blessing them as well. I can't explain the Spirit I felt, and comfort of my family and,..future family, how what I am doing is blessing all of you. The comfort of the Spirit is absolutely incredible, I can't express. It is such a privilege and blessed opportunity and gift to be able to bear testimony with all of my soul as a missionary and receive spiritual strength from the Lord Himself, and also use that to love other people with all that I am capable of with His help, to all people around me. To you, Mother Dear, the family, the Peruvians, my companions, other missionary friends, everyone. It fills my whole soul with joy! And there couldn't be a better thing to be doing for me right now, than this. I am so so grateful. I hope Steve gets better really soon!! I'm sorry to hear about that. I will pray hard for him too. Oh hey, I saw Elder Bromley at that meeting, too!!! It was a joyful reunion. I sent a picture ;) Anyways, family, and friends, and Mother, I love you all so much. I really hope you are all well in every way!! I pray for you all!! Have the best week ever. ;)

With all the love and concern of my soul,

Elder Clarke

Monday, August 19, 2013

Understanding the Will of the Father for ME



Dear Family,

I love you all so much! Thank you for your emails, prayers, and love - I hope you enjoyed all the letters that finally arrived! Which reminds me, did you ever receive the letter that I wrote you from the office that they sent with a picture of me and PTE. Douglas inside? Anyways. Thank you grandma for the email!!! And I am glad to hear grandpa is doing a lot better. I will continue to pray for you all. Oh, and Dad! I was reading that exact same scripture too in John 17, that´s so awesome! THank you for your awesome insights, and to Mom too, for always emailing even though you are so tired with all the things you have to do!! It made me so happy, and you will be blessed. I loved the pictures of my friends on missions!!! :) I hope Steve is doing well too! Oh, and tell Taylor Hyde I love him, and congratulations to Sister Tatum on her mission call!!! :)

So, today, I´ll share a couple special experiences. Yesterday after church we went with some members to visit an old lady named Rosa Fernandez, who is living with cancer and hasn't been able to come to church because of it, and doesn't have much longer. We entered her little house, and went to the very back where she was with her husband taking care of her, and it was filled with the spirit almost as much as in the temple. We sang three hymns, and it reminded me of the times I got to go sing at the Old Folks Home, and you better believe I sung my heart out. We gave her a Priesthood blessing, and...I can't express the feelings that were in that room, and the love of the members that they expressed as we departed. When I went to say goodbye, I just kinda patted her hand, cuz she was so delicate I didn't think she could move, but it surprised me when she reached up and grabbed it, and for a longer time than I expected, clinged to my hand and said, ``Gracias, joven.`` so tenderly but firmly, and I have never felt such love before. 

Today I want to express a little of the power that there is in love. I had such a powerful experience re-reading 3 Ne. 17, when Jesus expressed his love to the people here in Latin-America. This scene in this passage still just burns in my mind, in verses 5-6. I can´t stop thinking about it. But this is how I think of the chapter in my own words. Basically, before Jesus was preaching to them His doctrine, and said in v. 1, My time is short, and I need to go feed the other sheep, I've got to go soon. But I can see that you all can't really understand my doctrine right now, so go to your houses and rest and prepare your minds, and I'll come tomorrow to teach more. Now I'm going to my other sheep to teach them, to take advantage of the time I have. And then, in v.5, it's like..all of the people at once are giving him the puppy-dog pout face, wanting Him to stay even longer with them. If this were me, I would be like....why? I have experienced just a little bit of this every day teaching the Latinos down here, and it's true they don't really understand a lot, why we keep the commandments, etc. and it can be frustrating. I'd say to myself, why do they want Him to stay longer, don't they know He has other people to visit, things to do to fulfill the rest of the commandments of the Father to bring to pass the eternal salvation of all mankind? And they aren't really understanding, there's no point. But they are all sitting, staring, and waiting to see what Jesus will do, if He will stay longer or not. And in v.6 He says, Behold, my bowels are filled with compassion towards you. Have ye any that are sick, or afflicted, lame, blind, deaf....long list, or afflicted in any manner? I just stand amazed, and His expression of love burns in my heart. And why did He do that? Because even though they did not understand all His commandments to fulfill them, they were faithful and willing to do all that He asked of them, and that's all Jesus was asking with the doctrine. The Father commands us all to be perfect; but doesn't necessarily expect us to be. But He does command it because He knows obedience to all of those commandments blesses our lives, truly. We must strive to keep all of the commandments, and exhort all other people to keep the commandments as well. Anyways, I don't have enough time to finish my whole thoughts, but I have come to learn that this is the Father's holy will for me right now in Pamplona, and in the mission. To keep His commandments, with a pure willing heart, and exhort all other people to keep the commandments too, and help them with all diligence, and LOVE. like in 3 Ne. 17, and with diligence unto obedience like unto Nephi in 1Ne. 17:15.

Anyways, I will talk with you all more later, I love you all so much!!! Thank you for being the best family ever.

With Tons of Love,

Elder Clarke

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I stay in Pamplona with Elder Arancibia!!

Dear Family!!!

I am so excited to email you all today!!! I have been excited about it all week, actually. This was the best week ever.

First of all, I want to congratulate Mother and Father! Happy Anniversary!!! :) I am so so happy for you both. You are the best examples to me, and I could not be more grateful that you are my parents! Guess what, I totally remembered it was your anniversary too. Cool experience happened that day, too. We finally met the parents of the Sanchez family, that very day! Met the father, which was a miracle, and he is so on-board and accepting that we teach him and his whole family. It was such a good lesson, and met his sister´s family too! Okay, so I´ll tell this cool story of the Sanchez family, how we found them. So, one day, we were contacting people up in the hills, and I said, we should find some members that live around here so they can support the investigators we have here. And Elder Arancibia´s like...hey, you see that green house up there? (basically on the top of the hill) I think I've been there before with Elder Merino (his last companion before I got here). he said I think there´s members that live there, lets´ try it! Well, we went there, and it turns out that he had not been there before. Haha. It is the house of the Sanchez family. And the lessons we have with them are amazing! So spiritual, and they are so prepared and ready to receive the gospel. We met the children that day, and the parents on your anniversary. They're awesome!

Another short update on the investigators, we have one with a baptismal date for the following Saturday (Aug. 24)! Julianna, she´s the bomb! Found her from a member reference part-member family. We took a picture and I think she´s gonna try to send it to your facebook, she says. Haha. But we are doing a lot better! I am really coming to love Elder Arancibia lately, and for that we are working better as a companionship. Which reminds me, the changes!!!! We both stay in Pamplona together another change! :) which I am glad, I still have a lot to learn from him. 
And guess what!!! Well, you already knew, but Elder Bromley is here!! I haven´t seen him, but it probably won´t be long before I do, cuz he is in the neighboring zone right next to mine! He´s in San Juan, I´m in San Gabriel. Anyways, I was so happy when I heard that.

Also, we had dinner with Hermana Huallanca Sunday night again! She says she is working on getting married first, and she will get baptized when she can! Also, we have the English classes every wednesday, and apparently the ward made a page of it on facebook! Haha, so go look that up. So sweet. Another random cool thing, is that I am beginning to learn Quechwa! So sweet!!! There´s lots of people from Ayacucho here who speak Quechwa, and it´s so cool, and Elder Arancibia has a book explaining how to learn it, so I am hitting that up. It´s hard though, cuz it´s all in Spanish, to learn quechwa. But oh well. I learned that Pacha is a word in quechwa!!! I was so happy when I saw that, and thought of Dad. Pacha means the world, or a type of clothing. Also, remember when it says that word in the Book of Mormon, ``if thou say Raca to your brother, shall be condemned...``something like that? Raca is a bad word in Quechwa! Haha. Anyways. Also, Elder Arancibia and I found this big soccer field, and we go running on it every morning for our exercise time! It is the best!!! Also, we both memorized 2 Ne. 31! Word, for word. Pte. Douglas asked us to, ha, and it´s so fun. 

Okay, so I wanted to also tell about the service we had last week! It almost ALWAYS has something to do with fixing somebody´s roof. I learned how to roof a house here! Well...Peruvian style. It´s...interesting. Basically we just find anything we can to cover the roof, make sure water can´t get in, and..make it happen. I learned a few basic principles to it, and it´s anything goes after that. It really humbles me, and these people always help, and it means so much to them. They gave us a cake after we finished! Haha, and it was actually pretty fun. We are like monkeys, on top of the walls, balancing to not fall off! Reminds me of Scotty - I know he would love that. :) Hey Scotty!!! Thank you so much for your email bro, you are the best!! ALso Father and MOther too. :) I love all of you family!!! And , I hope everybody is doing well. I will continue praying for you all.   I was glad to hear you are all having fun on your summer vacation activities!! :) And, Mother dear, to answer your question, yes I have gotten sick a few times after, I just don't mention it in my emails cuz there are other happy things to write. 

Looks like Elder Clarke needs new socks!
Anyway, I loved reading all Alma 42 this week, especially verse 31. The plan of salvation is amazing to me!! Also, I had a really spiritual experience reading the First Presidency Message of the ensign of this month by Elder Eyring, about giving gratitude, and learned that as we are grateful, we recognize the hand of the Lord more in our life, and the guidance of the Spirit more too. What a blessing!! Also, I loved learning about how to be bold this week!!! In Moroni 8:16-17, Alma 38:12, and DC 121:43, 45. Moroni says, that when we are bold, it is because we are filled with love for the people, and sincerely want the best for them, cuz we know that keeping the commandments brings blessings!!! I have such a strong testimony of obedience to the commandments. They are here for us!!

Anyways, I sent lots of pictures today, hope you love them all! I love all of you!!!!!!! Have the best week ever!!

Love,  Elder Clarke
Holy cow MOM!!!! The view here, is incredible!! THe picture doesn´t do justice. On the other side of this hill, just barely past the limits of our area, is the Lima East Mission, and we can see basically all of Lima!!! And we can see past where the ocean is, and the buildings end!! 

Monday, August 5, 2013

FAMILY!



Dearest Family, 
I am so pleased to write you this week. But don´t have much time, at all!! I am so sorry, maybe it's cuz of the overabundance of picures. Haha. Anyways, first off, I want to thank Dad for his letter, and say how beautiful it was! His email, I mean, this week and last. Thank you! And, Wow, to Steve, I hope he gets better soon!! Ohh, guess what! I met Elder Huallanca's mother last night, and we had dinner!! It was so awesome, she is a GREAT lady, and taught us all practically all of the plan of salvation and doctrine of Christ! No one knows how she's not a member. Anyway, it was so good to talk with her about her son and Steve!!! I sent a picture. Also, I hope Grandpa is doing a lot better with his leg, and Grandma too!! I will keep praying for all of you, wonderful family. Katie on her first date!!! Hahah, oh my crazy. That's so awesome ;) You're the best Katie!! I can't wait for you to get my birthday card. I couldn't send them last week either though...cuz everything was closed for the PerĂº independence holiday, it was a good holiday though! Everyone has flags out, it's awesome. 

Okay, so, Mother, I can't remember the names of all the Peruvian food here, but let me tell you, its amazing!!! You can try doing Lomo Saltado for your party thing in the ward!! I hope it goes well. :) And thank you for your email Mom! 

Okay, so this week, has been fantastic!! Elder Arancibia and I have been having much more success, and working better together. I have also been learning how to come to love him more. That's the secret!! I know, that the Lord answers prayers!!! He answers mine, every time I ask, and work hard, with lots of faith. It is such a beautiful thing. Also, a cool scripture to share this week, for good people who are trying hard, like I was last week, is Alma 38. It really brought peace and joy to my soul! Oh, also in Pamplona, looks like we're not gonna have two more missionaries here after all. and...who knows what's gonna happen with changes!! Next week, I'll let you know! I think we'll have p-day Wednesday for that. Anyways...the investigators!! AHh, I have like one minute left. Well, let me just say that they are doing better because we are working a lot more with the members!! I know that is the chosen way for missionary work!! It's a lot more difficult, but also from it comes a lot more joy. And that's usually how you can tell if is from God or not. ;) haha. There are miracles happening here! And I will keep praying for you all as well!!!

I love you. 

Elder Clarke