Monday, September 30, 2013

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ADAM!!!

Dearest Family!!!

How my heart is filled with joy to be able to talk with you all. I love you so much! And am having the best day ever, down here, in Perú. 

You´ll all have to forgive me; I am really awkward with words these days, in my English, and can't speak very well. But I hope you are able to feel a little bit of joy and Spirit reading my letter. Soon I am going to send another voice recording (after a lot of practicing speaking...) so you can hear me speak!! :) haha. ahh, family.

Mother, Dear! I received a big letter from you this week, and wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart! It really uplifted me and encouraged me spiritually. You're the best mom ever! Thanks, family, for always supporting me and encouraging me spiritually. It really makes a difference, let me tell ya. 

This week.....I'm not really even sure what to say. I'm givin it my all, down here! We put more baptismal dates, a few new investigators, trying to work with the ward, invited EVERYONE to church this week, with daily contact to remind them and encourage them...and still, the people didn't come to church. Only one. I'm to a point that I'm not exactly sure what more to do...after assigning members to bring them and everything...idk. I've been reading the words of Nefi this week, and they inspire me incredibly. In chapter 17 and 18, he is an incredible example. Even though he has difficult companions, Laman and Lemuel who are always trying to get him down, he bears his testimony so strongly, and works even harder. Where is all this spiritual power coming from? He is incredible. And even though he doesn't know how to build a ship, he goes up to the mountain often to ask God how, and he fulfills the will of the Father. Anyways, I can't explain everything that I've learned, but he's such a good example for me! The scriptures give me such spiritual strength, it's incredible! Every morning I have to tap into that spiritual source to reflect the light of Christ and the hope of the gospel to everybody here in Pamplona, to always encourage and inspire. 

I am SOOOO excited for General Conference this weekend!!! It's going to be absolutely amazing. I hope you all enjoy it, and have the best weekend ever! I always love seeing the things you're doing, like hiking to the Y and such, and keep it up! You're the best family. And I'd like to send my greetings also to the foreign exchange student girl at our house! I hope she is loving our family. :)

Love you all!!! Keep on being inspiring!

Mucho Amor,

Elder Clarke

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

INTERCAMBIOS!!!!!

Hello, Family!

How lovely it is to hear from you all!! How incredible you are, and what great examples. I love always hearing about all the great things you're all doing, keep it up! Send my greetings to the new girl from Germany who's staying with us now, what a great opportunity!! Parents, you're so amazing, right when me and Steve get out, you never stop working hard to serve and help other people, in your callings, and people from Germany?! So sweet. I love you so much. Thank you for the uplifting and inspiring emails! And STEVE!!! Oh my goodness. I love you so much, and good luck on those last two months. Make every single day count, with lots of goals and focuses every day! You're my biggest example ever and I love you. Return with Honor.

Elder Savino & Elder Clarke
So, we had changes this week! Elder Arancibia se fue a Chorrillos! And I am now training! Elder Savino, is my new companion, and he has such a humble and kind, giving heart, it really is motivational to witness. I am helping him right now becoming to be an obedient and effective missionary, and it is a sacred responsibility. My testimony and strength has grown so much here on the mission. 

Jesús se bautizó last saturday!! It was beautiful, and I love him to death. Lots of great investigators that are getting ready for baptism, and more on the way! Doing great work here in Pamplona! 

Elder Clarke & Jesus' baptism
I am very excited to train, but definitely qualify to receive a lot of heavenly help from above. I am still learning, and don't know how to do quite everything, but here is my plan, brothers and sisters, and can be a plan of all of us.  1) Be exactly obedient in all that I already know how to do (which will fill most of my time), setting goals to reach that point. 2) When I don't know what to do, or need additional strength and motivation, I'm gonna ask the Lord in great prayer, and go and work hard with lots of faith, and it will be given me what I ask for. 3) The Spirit will enable me to do all things I need to here in Pamplona. 

The mission is really breaking down my mind and will in to simple things according to the holy principles of the Gospel, and will grow into great accomplishments pretty soon.

Love you so much family!!! I will write more later.

Love,

Elder Clarke

Monday, September 16, 2013

9-16-13



Dear Family!!!

I am SOOO happy to hear from you all!!! I got such a touching letter from Grandpa, also from Grandma, and was so happy to see pictures of all your beautiful faces! Thank you for the email last week, Steve, I'll reply soon I promise! And...ok, I´ll be honest, I actually didn't have time last week to read dad's email, but I printed it off and read it, and nothing inspired me more in all my life!!! Thank you so much. I am going to write a letter very soon.

"see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil"
OK. SO. This week has been the bomb!!!! We have all worked so hard, and have seen the fruits of Obedience, Diligence, and Repentance, big time!!! Here's the big news. We have 7 con fecha now!! (baptismal date) and four of them are new investigators of this week. I can testify how quickly the mission work can turn around, it's insane!! And the Lord is ALWAYS in it, and blesses us for our efforts. We have baptisms lined up every Saturday starting now until the end of October! And surely more to come, because the members are helping so much with references, helping help them and, yeah. I love this ward here and never ever want to leave!!!! Pamplona, for life. 

Jesús will be baptized this Saturday, and is as strong as ever!! He is so down and planning on serving a mission, comes to church with white shirt and tie, and is always so happy and excited, and has already read the whole first book of Nephi! And continuing. He is my favorite person ever. And he wants me to baptize him! So that will be great to look forward to for next week. 

Also, we have another Jesús with fecha, and, guess what. Super sweet. His aunt is Carmen Huallanca, and his cousin is Omar Huallanca, who was companions with Steve. His mom gave us the reference, and has been with us almost every day teaching Jesús, and he is so excited and loves the gospel! He wants to serve a mission too. Heré's the coolest part. Omar Huallanca gets back from his mission Oct. 24, and Jesús will be baptized the 26, and wants Omar to baptize hinm!! And I am DEFFInitely going to get a picture. So sweet. Steve's gonna be so excited!

Elder Cruz & Elder Clarke
Anyways, Changes are coming this Saturday we're going to find out!!! I have actually come to really love Elder Arancibia, and we have so much fun together!! This week especially. He's good, but I'm excited for a change. Oh, had a good intercambio this week with my district leader, Elder Cruz, also gonna send a foto of him, he's from El Salvador. 

Okay, I'll tell you about the rest later, cuz I´m very short on time, so sorry!! But also we had ANOTHER multi-zona here, kinda weird how many but they are so, so awesome, and we learned a ton about working with the ward. And our vision was elevated!!! I am so excited to keep working even harder with the ward.

"chicken foot" soup
So...I´ll just tell you about it now. So, I was eating this soup...and there was this ...thing in it, usually chunks of meat something like that, and I pick it up to eat it, and guess who it is??? Well, It was a chicken’s foot. Plain and simple. It was the best! Haha, I laughed so hard. I promise, I didn’t eat it. 

sweet Peruvian Saints who are feeding the missionaries!
P-day craziness!
I cannot adequately express the joy that comes into my heart from Repentance. I cannot wait for the day to get back home and share with everybody I know what it really means to me, and also the Holy Ghost. There is nothing in the whole world that means more to me. I have run out of time, and I will talk with you all more later!!

This is Elder Clarke's answer to my question of "what service have you done for your companion this week?"  His answer:

To do service for Elder Arancibia this week? Hmm...I´m not sure. Ha. Sometimes I pay for him on the bus...polish his shoes, make him breakfast, or ...OH!! I always wash the dishes. Every single day, immediately after we finish eating lunch, so that every thing is always clean. That´s the best way to do it, and I wash them in the shower, cuz itss a heck of a lot faster than the sink we have!! Haha. 




WITH ALL THE LOVE I CAN GIVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elder Clarke

Monday, September 9, 2013

Dearest Family!!!



Dearest Family!!!

Ohh, how I have enjoyed thoroughly receiving all of your messages and love today. Thank you, sweet Mother, and Dad for writing great letters! I always print them out and cherish them. And Grandma too, and Steve!! Ahh, man. I love you all so very much. And for today, I´ll be honest I don't have a whole lot of time to write, cuz I was reading all of the lovely messages! Oh and thanks for the awesome pictures of the week, Mom! Elder Warren's the bomb. I am actually emailing with him too, him, Nick, Carter, and Nate, we are all sending an email around with pictures haha. It´s great fun. I love the mission! 

This week...man. Well, ok. So last Sunday, was the best experience ever! Jesús, fairly new investigator with a baptismal date, came with us to church, and I got to sit next to him the whole time and explain everything that was going on, share my spiritual insights, and help him get to know other members, caring for him like a shepherd. And I cannot tell you the joy it brought me, and the love of Charity that built up in me from that. I gave him one of my blue ties to wear, cuz he already had another color of blue shirt and pants and wanted to come all guapo (good lookin), and he did! Man was it cool. And he's asking us how he wants to serve a mission...and is already doing lots of activities with the JAS in the church. Well, he was supposed to get baptized next week but there will be stake conference so it would have to be another week, so we planned for last saturday to push it up! Cuz he wanted to receive the Priesthood soon and all. It was inspiring! Anyways.....come Tuesday, we were walking to an appointment, and passed by this house where there are always drunk people out drinking..and Jesús was there with one in hand as well. I cannot tell you of the sorrow that filled my heart, I didn't even know how to respond or act. My companion just asked him, ´´Hey, tonight at 8, right?`` And we walked past, and he said, ``Jesús fell in his baptismal date.`` I couldn't even believe what was happening, and felt so bad in my heart the whole time to that next appointment, that we had failed our purpose as missionaries for not saying something to help him. Well, the people for our appointment weren't there, and I told my companion we have got to go back and help him. He kinda just put all the pressure on me cuz it was my idea, but the Spirit told me I had to. I learned that day that our purpose as missionaries is not only to invite people to come unto Christ to keep the commandments and make sacred covenants, but to HELP them do that as well. We've got to remind them to read, pray, every moment, and literally bring them to the chapel on Sundays. Well, we went back, and I can't tell you of the fear in my heart, but the motive of my love for this child of God to help him in his trials pushed me forward to be bold and go up, facing adversary in the face, and the Spirit helped me say what was needed. Because of that, we got to make an appointment for him later that day at the hour he was really available, and talk to him more about repentance. He's turned around, and is actually doing better to progress for baptism on the 21st. Anyways, I have been learning so much about Repentance lately, and how it is actually one of the greatest gifts we have been given from God. And, just like all other gifts, we have to develop them in order to be of worth to us. Well, I repent myself every day, and the Spirit helps me in everything I need to do His will. I can't tell you of the joy that accompanies me, and the peace in my heart for doing the righteousness He wants for me. In that has also included for me to reprimand my companion a couple times to help him be more obedient, and that is always such a scary experience, especially when he is your trainer. But, I don't want any of you to worry, because I know that the Lord has been right here with me, every step of the way, just like you've all been praying for. I thank you with all of my heart, and send you my love again here from Perú. The best example I have ever seen of a missionary in all of my life, has been my mission president. He is really the most inspiring man I know, and is powerful because of obedience and repentance, and the Spirit given for accomplishing the will of the Lord. He came to a meeting with our zone yesterday as we met with the Stake presidency to improve our work with the wards. 

Anyways, I have no more time, but love you all more than I can express. Have the best week ever!!!

Love,

Elder Clarke
Alma 26:22 (he who repents shall know the mysteries of God)

Monday, September 2, 2013

I have never had such a good week as this one!!!



Dear Family!

How it joyed my heart to hear from you and see those awesome pictures of this week!!! That is the best thing in the world!! Man, how jealous I am. I hope you are all aware that we are going to have to climb Mt. Timp again together when I get back! It is a MUST. Haha. I´m gonna print out those pictures you sent me cuz I love them so much! What a beautiful family you all are. Man. And nice work Adam and Scotty for runnin´ up that mountain! Haha. And Gina and John?! So sweet! Send them my greetings as well! Also to my beloved brother Steven Elder Clarke!!! I always love reading his letters. 
           


Okay, I have so much to write this week!! Maaan. It has been the best ever. Ok. So Tuesday we had a surprise multi-zone conference with Pte. Douglas which was amazing!! And I saw Elder Bromley again! He´s in the neighboring zone, and saw Elder Durfey! It always makes me happy to reunite with friends. And I learned so so much!!! President Douglas is an absolutely amazing and inspiring man. Really, it´s incredible. And just like Pres. Welch promised, as I follow the counsels of my mission pres. I see blessings and miracles, and I sure saw them this week in our area! Also, Wednesday, another surprise! Pres. Douglas just happened to show up at our district meeting, too, which rarely never happens. I think he is really making a special effort to kick our zone into gear. And then this weekend, Elder Arancibia and I have never worked so hard before! And so diligent and focused on the investigators and members here, and so many blessings. 

Juliana was able to have her baptism yesterday, in the morning! It was such an incredibly spiritual experience for me, wow. Okay, to help understand the spiritual experience, I guess I´ll have to be straight up. I have never seen a baptism here yet in Perú that hasn´t started at least an hour after the scheduled time. The people here are not very punctual! And it is difficult to get the people to actually come. Anyways. So, oh, also, we were supposed to have her interview this Thursday but she came like an hour and a half late from her job, and wasn´t able to have it done, and she was super super sad, and by a miracle we were able to have her interviewed by one of the counselors of the mission presidency saturday morning at 6:30 am! Wheww. ha. Anyways, for this baptism I really helped our companionship make the preparations and plans ahead of time (unlike how it was done in the past) and it was really hard for me, but I stepped up and made the effort with all diligence to be obedient and focused and help my companion to do the same, and every night went to bed absolutely exhausted but satisfied by the spirit which gave me strength to do the work of the Lord how HE wanted it done. And...come Sunday morning...it was another similar situation and we waited for Juliana to come for like an hour and a half...and, after doing all that I possibly could, she finally came, and I had to just give up hope of my will having it be on time and everything in order, but I still had the help of the gift of Charity to keep pushing through and being happy through it all. Then, in the service of the baptism, I seriously felt the Spirit stronger than I ever have before. When the returned missionary of our ward gave the talk on the Baptismal Covenant, meaning and importance...July´s cousin did the baptism (because her parents are not supportive of the church, didn´t come)...her other cousin confirmed her, and he bore his testimony after the baptism directly to her, and it was the most tender thing I have ever heard. And July´s testimony after, so strong of the Book of Mormon and the prophet (finally after much work there), and the testimony of the Bishop after. Wow. There was so much love, and support to her from her cousins, the Spirit, all of the ward members, ...and after the closing prayer, July got up and had all of the J.A.S. (organization of the young single adults) come up and give her a hug one by one, greeting her into the ward, and the Spirit testified so strongly to me of how important all of this really was, and that it was much more important than worrying about having it all be on time and such. Really, this changed her whole life here, the change made in her, and the direction she´ll be going in after. She has truly entered the fold of God, and I felt that love of Him sooo strongly, it brought me to tears. Then I was so grateful and thankful for Him, all He helped me accomplish for the well-being, spiritually and temporally, for His children here in Perú. What an experience.

Okay, also, our other investigator Jesús!!! Will be baptized next week!! Ahhh, dang, I don´t have time to talk about him, but he´s the best part! I am so excited for next week.

I love you all so much family!!!! Have the best week ever!

Love,

Elder Clarke