Monday, November 25, 2013

What a great week in the Service of the Lord.

Dearest Family!!!

Wow, what a fantastic day and week. We've been working hard this week!!! Haha, and I am so happy you got the package all safely! That was faster than I thought. And thank you for the fotos! Haha it made me laugh, Katie's face didn't look very convincing like they were good alfajores. Haha, the different tastes of Perú are...different. It's funny, members and people we eat with always ask me, ¨¨What are the foods you eat in your country, or used to eat before?´´ and I always say....I´m not exactly sure...I don´t remember. but I am remembering slowly. last week, tacos, and ... macaroni and cheese?! Last night, yeah. Anyways, maybe you can remind me the typical plates of food over there. Oh, and the letter from Elder Bromley I wasn't able to read! But, I love him so much, what a good guy! We actually see each other quite often. And my suit size...I am not sure. Haha, sorry! But I am actually starting to grow out of my suit..the nice one I took to Perú, little tight in the shoulders now, I´m growing a little bigger because of the push-ups I´m doing I think. I am improving every day being able to do more and more! It´s fun. I am surely going to gain weight on the mission. I´m so excited to see Steve get back!!! Man, you'll spend Christmas with him, so lucky. OH, and I honestly totally forgot about Thanksgiving until you just mentioned it. I don't think I'll be doing anything, cuz it's not a holiday down here, but I will read those scriptures you sent! :) That´s so awesome that Katie went to Preference!!! How fun is that. itranquilo! And, yes I got the package!! It made me super happy! The only thing I saw was the awesome frisbee, the others are wrapped. Thank you so much mother! You're the best. Oh, and other thing I forgot to send you, a member named Nataly Champi bought you a couple SWEET money-coin holders, like a mini peruvian purse as a present for Christmas for you mom, and I´ll send it someday. ha. Thank you so much for the letters, Dad and Steve, man I am going to miss those letters from Steve in how he's doing on the mish. You better write me every week after inspiring me with your wisdom! What an incredible man, that guy, Steve Clarke. He should be getting the birthday card I sent soon! Haha..a week late. Sorry.

Well, we might be baptizing Carolina this week. She fainted in the baptismal font the last time, because of fear and the cold, frigid water that is the only thing available in most the chapels here. But we're gonna do it in a different chapel in San Juan, different stake, that has warm water. We're progressing and doing super good in the work!! 

I would like to tell a little bit about yesterday, a memorable experience with the Bishop. Shoot, only 2 minutes. Well, I am not sure if this program is going on worldwide or just in South America, ¨¨The Work of Salvation¨´, but it is really the most incredible, magnificent and glorious change in missionary work. The members don't understand it in Perú. We are visiting the bishop, helping his family, k and helping him understand it to turn around this ward. We took him to the training video conference yesterday, and...wow. Incredible act of love from the Lord in bringing to pass this new change in His work. 

Sorrry, ran out of time, I´ll write more next week! I love you all so much have the greatest week ever!!!!!!

MUUUCHo love,

Elder Clarke
 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Dear Family!!!

How are you all doing this week!!!!!! I am having the best week ever and am so excited to email you all. My heart was filled with joy to read letters from Steve, Katie, Father and Mother! Thank you all so much, for inspiring me. I love my whole family!!!

What an incredible experience we had with Elder Russell M. Nelson this week! Wow. Him, his wife, Elder Rasband of the Presidency of the Seventy...and 3 or 4 other seventies and their wives. Turns out Elder Nelson actually invited US to this conference! Wow, just our mission, the people who are in Lima, not in the south. So..like, a  bit more than half, not that many people, it was quite the privilege! He shook all of our hands, and...wow. Just such pure people, it was incredible and amazing to just watch and observe him so up close. Also, he is so old! A LOT older than he seems when you see him on Conference...but, he´s awesome. 

The first chapel of the very first stake of  the church organized in Lima, Peru.
Also where Elder Clarke went to hear Elder Nelson speak this week.
President Douglas conducted the conference, and was like a proud father of our mission, it made me cry just seeing him. Elder Nelson gave a talk this April about Subir a la Ola, which means..Rise with the Wave..I think, in terms of missionary work. And that has been our motto of the mission this whole time and always talks about that to us in specific things to change and improve to Rise with the Wave, and in the meeting he reported to Elder Nelson, an apostle, that the Perú Lima South mission is rising to the wave, and that we are ready to see REAL GROWTH in this mission. It just makes me cry right now even thinking of that because of how inspiring it is. I have learned a lot about faith in my mission, and returning and reporting, like Dad always taught me. The Lord commands something, you learn your duty (about the commandment), you make plans and goals with a spirit of prayer and share those with the Lord and really commit yourself to it, then you act boldly in carrying out those plans with faith asking the help of the Lord in every act, you give your ALL being guided by the spirit and a spirit of love in all you do, and then you return and report to the Lord in prayer and see the results. Then, adjust your plans, make realistic goals which are acts of faith, and go get things done. The work and the way of the Lord inspires me like nothing else in my whole life, and it is changing me. It is changing the person I am and will be for the rest of my life, to be a true servant of the Lord bringing to pass His will in all things. Nothing fills my soul with more joy than to bring about the will of the Father, just like our Savior did in all things. 

Elder Nelson spoke about how the Lord always takes the unlikely, and works miracles with that according to the faith of the children of men. It was so inspiring to hear stories he told of his ministry in accomplishing the unlikely, and miracles. Faith is growing to be a part of my very person, always repenting and striving for perfection, and remembering our covenants and the importance of the Spirit, and loving people above all, in the acts that we do. I have such a strong testimony, and know that this is the work of the Lord. 

We had a baptism this past saturday that...failed. That is an interesting story for another week. Let´s just say that in the end the investigator passed out in the baptismal font and we´ll have to try another day. 

I love you all so much, and hope you have the best week ever!!!

LOOOOVE, 

Elder Clarke

Monday, November 11, 2013

Dear Family!

I am so happy and excited to write to you all!! I am going to write extra long, suggested by Mom. Hehe. I laughed really hard when you said you can tell what kind of a mood I´m in when I write. It´s so true though. Mother, I can assure you that I haven´t been sick in a while, and to not worry, because it´s not a big deal anymore. I just take one pill and suero oral and its over in 2 days. Please don´t worry! Just pray for my investigators, even harder. And all of the faithful members in this ward, that they press forward.

Elder Clarke & Elder Savino
Well, I sent off a Christmas package to you all today! It is the bomb. Haha. I´m sending it through the office, and Elder Harvingson is going to give it to that one lady that travels for work, to Utah, and will take it I think. It´s the lady who was recommended by Elder Durfey, and also Elder Harvingston. He lives in Alpine. Anyways, Mother, please! Ha. Don´t make the office Elders wrap the package, that´s just..a little too much. I ´promise I´ll wrap it up nicely and make it look good, and ready for Christmas! Haha. I am super excited. 

Today, we had a choir practice with a few zones in the mission!!!! It was so much fun, ohhhh man. And reminded me of chamber choir. I love singing. We´re doing an awesome musical number of ´´Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing´´, because this Saturday Elder Russell M. Nelson comes to town!! To speak just with our mission. I am so pumped, and so is Pte. Douglas! I hope you all know, just sayin', that our mission really just dominates. In terms of effective missionary work, and just...domination, Perú Lima Sur is the best. And a big part of it goes to Pres. Douglas, he´s just amazing! I am super excited to see what Elder Nelson has in mind for us when he comes. It´s going to be a fabulous experience.

This week, I had my first intercambio with another gringo! Elder Dahle, from Idaho. Man....how different my mission would be if gringos were companions together. We were together for just one day, and it was super different! I am losing my english. We had to practice, doing our daily prayers together, in english...and it was just embarrassing. Can't do them as powerfully as they are in spanish. It was really funny the spanglish conversations we were having. But he also helped me a lot too, and we put 3 fecha bautismales this week! And inspired me to be better. This area has so many people who are just ready to be baptized! Just gotta work super hard and help them prepare. The work is incredible here. I did another voice recording last night and talked a lot more in detail, and I´ll send it today so you can be better informed. But I am learning so much here, changing, and giving my all. 

Yesterday was the birthday of my companion, Elder Savino!! It was such a memorable day that I will never forget in all of my life. The love that I saw was incomparable. I cannot even believe it. If people from the U.S. even saw how simple, sincere and humble these people are in their acts of service and love...they´d just laugh - cuz you just cant even believe it. I still do, sometimes, little giggles to myself, but then I repent and try to be more meek and humble, and Christ-like. It's just an absolutely different world, with love that is sincere and humble above anything, and I'll never forget it. 
Elder Savino's 22nd Birthday Party!
The Young Single Adults of the ward threw a surprise birthday party for him, and also the Bishop's family did a surprise lunch-cake for him, and also a party with our Peruvian family where our room is. Words can't explain, the example of my companion, Elder Savino. He turned 22 years old!!! He is so so so meek, humble, and kind like I've never seen before, like a child. Seriously reminds me of Alex and Colton, from House 19. I have really been learning something about those Christ-like attributes, in Moroni 7:43, being meek and humble of heart. I know that those people, are the ones that will be saved at the last day. It´s an attribute that will never leave my heart, and I will ever be developing it more and more throughout my whole life. I pray every day that in the future I might have a child with autism or a disability...like Alex or Colton..so that I will always have the opportunity to demonstrate Christ-like charity. Nothing means more to me- not any other thing in the world. What a sacred and precious opportunity I'm having right now in the mission. 

Anyways, I hope everybody has felt the love of God this week, and that it has inspired them to make a change in their life to grow closer to Him, through repentance. I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that it is true, and that it changes lives. And I also know that this work, missionary work, is the work of our Savior, and that He has a lot more love for us than anybody could even imagine, and that in the last day none of us will be able to believe how much He truly loves each one of us. 

I hope you have the best day ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Take time to love one another, and take care of each other this week.

Love,

Elder Clarke

Monday, November 4, 2013

Best Week Ever

My Dear Family!!!

How happy I am today. What a week. Best week ever! 

So, I stay another change, no changes. I´ll be here for 6 and a half months, in this my place of birth, Pamplona alta! At first it was a little hard, but I am actually so so so grateful for it. I knew before I even heard that I wouldn't be changed. I know that the Lord has a work here especially for ME to do, and it is so inspiring and spiritual to ponder in that - why does the Lord need ME here? And I have found many answers. I will tell more stories later when I have more time. 

Elder Huallanca--Steve's former mission companion
in Panama who just returned home to Lima
Elder Savino is doing great, growing and learning lots. I am excited to finish his training! I have really grown to love him, and every opportunity in my mission thus far is such a blessing. I absolutely love Pamplona with all my heart, and never want to leave! We're working a lot better with the ward, leader missional and the Bishop, who accompanied us to visit less actives and we had a meeting with him. He commented, ¨¨I feel a strong desire to participate in the work.¨ and we´re helping him raise the vision for the ward. He said he wants to grow to 200 assistence in the church! That is pretty crazy, down here in Latino wards, but it´s possible. We are visiting so many inactives to reactivate them, according to the will of President, and we are finding the prepared people for baptism. I´m so excited. Also, a new focus in our mission is ´´rescued´´ members, a new key indicator that we report every week. We´re doing well with that! Love it. Also, María is as strong as ever! Invited us to lunch and dinner yesterday, and she is such a strong convert. Definitely my fave, and her family.

I met Elder Huallanca on Saturday!! He´s the bomb, so cool. And his mom is so stinkin' kind, and loves to give us food. I´ll have to tell you about that later, haha. The peruvians here love to feed us, like so much that...its a burden. Saturday before fasting we ate two whole meals for breakfast, and two whole lunches with soup, a plate, and dessert. Man, I can put down so much food now, it is a real talent. Haha. All to please the members here, and let them know I appreciate their kindness.

I am repenting every day, and changing habits to become an even better missionary. I love you all so much, and want you all to sincerely know that. I will be sending a few voice recordings, so you can hear from my voice that I love you all! I am sorry I haven´t sent letters to you all in a while, and grandparents too, but today I´m preparing a package to send this Wednesday for Christmas, so it comes on time, and early so it can have some time under the tree when it arrives. You have to wrap it for me, mother dear! Haha, please and thank you. I am so excited for you all to get it! And, I´m also writing lots of letters to members, less actives, and other friends on missions, along with family members, and Steve!!! His birthday! Man. I love him so much, such an inspiring example. I think of him on the daily. Let him know that I don´t want to really harm him by punching him in the throat, it´s just a funny phrase. Haha. 

Family, you are the best. I love you all! Hope you all had such a good Halloween! I love to hear from you. 

I hope you have the best week ever!!!

MuuuUUUuuucho amor,

Elder Clarke