Saturday, December 28, 2013

Dearest, dearest Family Los Clarke!!!
 
I love you all so much.  How are you doing!!! Hope you had the best Christmas ever. :) I was so thrilled to see you all on Christmas Eve, thank you for talking with me! It was so great. I have the best family ever. 
 
Super sorry this email is getting to you all really late. This morning we went to the temple, and from there we've just been in the apartment cleaning ALL DAY. I had to turn the place upside down to get it to my standard of cleanliness. :) ha. It was so much fun. I sweat like Dad when I go into super-clean mode. Anyway and my companion's pretty sick so we're just now getting around to do internet, sorry it'll have to be a short letter cuz we're so late. But it's still a fabulous day! Thank you all for writing me, I absolutely loved reading about your fun activities at home! And the pictures of the week! And I am so, so glad you all loved the presents I sent :) Mother Dear, how did you like the Lima Perù Temple shrine thingy I sent? Hope you like it! :) Also, I got Mom, Dad and Grandpa's birthday cards done and will send them asap! Hope all the family has a great break from school and ready to go back ready to do work!
Thank you so much Mother for the wonderful presents you sent and the stockings!!! I did share it all with Elder Valencia and he was super happy. It was a fun Christmas :) I am so super happy with the Sony Walkman too! It is actually really awesome--I`m a fan. I`ve just got to learn how to put music on it and stuff, cuz it`s different than iTunes, but it looks awesome!! However..the music choices that were put on it was an absolute fail. Haha. I was going through it and surprised at some of the stuff that was on there! Here in the mission we`re only allowed to listen to any kind of church hymns - not even EFY is allowed. So...I`m gonna have to revise it a bit. And I am so so sad that the Handel`s: Messiah music was not found! That is unacceptable! I KNOW with all of my soul that it is on the iTunes, and somebody needs to look again. Can you please send with Elder Durfey some CD`s? I need the whole album of Handel`s: Messiah (the actual CD in the case is found on the white book case on the right where there`s tons of CD`s). Also the album of the BYU Men`s Chorus that is on the iTunes (downloaded free off the BYU website), the Vocal Point Album that Krissy bought me, ``Lead Kindly Light``, and the song ``Shine`` by William Joseph. Those ones are key. That`s really kind of it! But I was super happy with the other cool bonuses of the scriptures on recording, the new albums of Marshall McDonald and Paul Cardall, and way more MoTab than I ever remembered! Thank you. I don`t really even know all that`s on there yet...I haven`t had time to look. But really, those three albums are important to me! Handel`s Messiah, BYU Men`s Chorus, and Vocal Point. And as far as anything else goes...no, I think I`m good! I`ve got everything I need...if I could I`d send back home half of the stuff I have to simplify my life, but it`s super heavy. My favorite thing about the missionary life is that it`s a simple life. There`s just a few things that are necessary, and the rest is...whatever! Thank you so much, family, for supporting and loving me, and providing my needs. I really am so grateful to you all! 
 
Elder Clarke with President & Sister Douglas
So this Christmas Eve was way fun, just working..then talking with you lovely family, then we went over to President`s house and had dinner with his family and the office missionaries, had a Christmas program reading Luke 2 and singing Christmas hymns, dessert, watched ``Home Alone`` together! (which brought me a lot of joy) and watched all of the fireworks go off at midnight. It is the COOLEST THING ever!!! Lima is absolutely nuts. It seriously sounded like we were in the middle of a war with gunshots/bombs going off everywhere, like everybody in the HUGE city just puts them all off for like 25 minutes straight! And by the way, President just happens to live on the 23rd floor of a super nice apartment building and we got to see like everything. It was super pretty, all of the fireworks in the sky, and I can`t even reiterate enough how big Lima is. It`s nuts. I think we`re gonna go on top of our roof on our apartment building for New Year`s! But yeah, I didn`t really take any pictures...but I`ll find some to send another day. It was awesome! And Christmas day, we didn`t have to work in the office, so we just went out proselyting and visiting members all day long from 8am-9:30pm! It was really great. The members are suuuper nice, and..well, we`re trying to find more good investigators too. It`s a good ward. :)
Well, I hope I didn`t forget anything, I just want to say again how much I love you! And that this week I was doing some hard-core pondering on Charity. There are so many poor people in this city, just like begging on just about every corner, and it`s really hard to see. But as we share our love and give all of ourselves to other people, we find the joy and the light of Christ. I will talk more about Charity later. Just remember, ``it NEVER fails!!!`` It is never the wrong choice. Ever. 
Love you so much, have the best Christmas break ever!!!
 
Love,
Elder Dave Clarke :)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Dear Family!

Elder Clarke & Elder Hartvigsen
I am so happy to hear about Steve and his homecoming, and getting used to the not-mission life! Super funny!! Haha, man, I am just so excited to converse with you all. Skype is happening this week! :) it´s gonna be awesome! I hope you are all having the BEST Christmas Season of your lives!!! Is it still super cold there, with lots of snow? It´s weird...cuz it´s really hot here, but I love it! :) Today we went to the center of Lima where there are some cool tourist sites, and took some pictures! I'm getting used to the city life here! Things are like a hundred percent opposite of what Pamplona was like. Like, a different life. It's sad! But good. As I told you, we live on the 17th floor the very top, and last night we went up to the roof and it's soooo cool! Just have an awesome view of all of the never-ending buildings in Lima, and the thing that scares me sooo much is that there's no railings or anything guarding the edges. You can just walk around up there on top, and...be careful! But it's really cool, my favorite spot now. I'll take a picture next time. Anyways...please get me a recording of Steve's talk if you will, or at least let me know what he talked about! I bet it was the BEST!!! He is such a good speaker, and I highly doubt he's lost his social skills! He's just, become...a lot happier. :) and sometimes it's awkward! How are you hanging in there, Mother Dear, with all the shopping and stuff? I'm excited to see you all and talk more! Hey, also, I wanted to say hi to Uncle Ken and Kevin and Kor, and Aunt Monica and the rest if that's okay! I want you all to know how much I love and pray for you as well!!! :) 

Elder Clarke & Elder Valencia
So, I'll tell you all a little bit more about our area. Our area is called Barranco, in Lima. Go look it up! It's like the coooolest little town. It's like old-fashioned and known for raising up spunky musicians. It's also kinda super sketchy sometimes and dangerous. It's really close to the beach. It takes an hour to get there from the office, and so it makes it kinda hard to work a lot, but we do it anyway every night. It's the Bolognesi ward, and we share it with a companionship of Sisters. We had a baptism two weeks ago, and are having another one next week. It's a super good ward, highly functional! I like it a lot. Things are going well in the office too, finished up transfers this week which all went smoothly, and I've been dealing with all of the sick people well also. We've got a lot on our plate! Super busy every day doing stuff, and I actually like it a lot more, it reminds me of being super busy before the mission as well. It´s a better life to be busy :) I also like it, cuz I'm on the phone with Sister Douglas like at least 20...sometimes 30 minutes a day talking about all the sick people and what to do. It actually reminds me a lot of talking to my own Mother, because they have like the same personality! I also translated for Sister Douglas for the first time in the new missionary training in the office when all the newbies showed up, it was intense! I'll get better. Anyways, things are going well. I also LOVE contacting people in the taxis. We do it at least 3, 4 times a day. So many people!!! Always talking about the gospel, and bearing testimony, and learning to love people. I love being a missionary!!!

Anyways, we found out Elder Durfey's coming back to the mission! Kinda funny, how I'll be picking him up from the airport now, because he´s the one that picked me up! Anyway, I might let you know if there's anything I want him to bring down for me! The cd´s of music?!? That would be so helpful. He´s coming January 3rd. 


OH! Also, we had multi-zones in every area of the mission, with the missionaries, like a Christmas Conference, and it was sooo fun! And spiritually uplifting as well!! Each zone sang (the office elders did a sweet quartet) and we watched an inspirational movie afterwards called, ´´Facing the Giants.´´ It inspired me so much, as I saw examples of the Doctrine of Christ. Also, President spoke about something very interesting. He spoke about how the mission is a time and a place to learn the principles of how to have a successful and unified family. Then, we go out of the mission to make that family happen! It was very touching how he offered the love of him and Sister Douglas, because there are a lot of missionaries in this mission who have never known a loving family environment, and so the mission is such a blessing for them to have that mission ´´family´´ here now, learn the principles, and go make a change in the world. He also talked about how in his life, his family has been his hobby. It´s such an important part of life that I am super excited for. I've still got a lot more to learn though! Anyways, I also felt the Christmas Spirit so strongly, about how we should just give all of ourselves to Christ at Christmasstime. 

I love you all so much, and hope the true meaning of Christmas, and the true purpose of our Savior, Jesus Christ, sink down deeper than ever in your hearts. We´ll see you...Tuesday maybe!

Love,

Elder Clarke

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Beloved Family!!

How are you all doing?!??!! Suuuupper crazy to hear about Steve getting back from Panamá!!!!!!!! I hope you are all just taking his head off with your hugs, and enjoying his presence back home. I can't even imagine that, until I saw the pictures. Blew me away! By the way, Elder Clarke was looking super duper good!! Man, hopefully I'll look that good someday! What a sweet tie and backpack!! Man...I love that guy. Steve Clarke. I'm super excited to talk with you all Christmas day! We'll get to do some sweet skype here from the office! 

I can't believe the family showed up early to the airport! What? Man. Just goes to show it must have been me and Steve making you guys late all along. I loved hearing about all the things you've done so far with him since he's got back! I hope you can remember some of the stuff he said in his final testimony, and I want to hear his talk too! Try to record it somehow!! Man. Elder Clarke. Good choice going for the rice and chicken! That's exactly how I'd feel - I feel like there's no other food now. Just chicken. So good. I can't believe the man has forgotten English! That's pretty crazy haha, but kinda cool! I am positive that won't happen to me, since our mission is pretty bi-lingual all the time. I'm actually forgetting my Spanish right now being in the office, cuz I talk to Elder Hartvigsen in English every day! 

Anyways...wow. I can't even think now, about what's happened this week. It's been difficult making the change to the new job, that's for sure! But I've learned a TON already. I have learned more than anything how to humble myself further than I ever thought possible, and trust completely in the Lord. If there's one thing that has really, truly impacted me here on the mission, it's Repentance. I can't even begin to explain how much of a blessing it is, how it helps me understand and experience the Atonement of Jesus Christ. That's something I learned waay more in depth this week - The Atonement. Talking in our beds with Elder Hartvigsen late one night really made me ponder deeper than ever. I quote:

´´Elder Clarke, you're gonna have to learn how to find strength from where you simply do not have it.´´  And after a moment of silence...I just replied, ´´and how do you do that?´´  he told me, ´´through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It is the source of all power.´´

That was it, then we went to bed. But I didn't fall asleep for awhile...just thinking about how that makes sense. I am certain that we take out power from the Atonement of Jesus Christ as we apply the Doctrine of Christ to our lives. As we exercise more Faith than we ever knew, enough to make a real change and Repentance in our lives, ponder and remember the Covenants we have made to keep the commandments, rely on the guidance of the Holy Ghost, and Endure to the End. 

I believe that this is the only way Jesus Christ took out the power to bring to pass the Eternal Atonement. He was the Only Begotten of the Father, and therefore had certain rights and power endowed upon Him in order to break the bands of death, and make a redemption for men. But I do not believe that the Father just made it all happen through Christ. Just like any other calling, Christ was given power to do it, but it was up to Him. That is where Agency comes in. Jesus Christ had to apply the Doctrine of Christ to Himself, the doctrine that was given Him from the Father, in order to find strength to do the Atonement, strength where He simply did not have it (in the flesh). I know that our Savior was perfect in everything that He did, and He asked us all to follow Him, and apply the Doctrine of Christ. 

For that reason, I LOOOVE to repent. In every single act I do. I feel extra power, and I know there is nothing better in all the world. And, that power, and with faith, we can do HARD THINGS. Christ is our perfect example. I realized today, that when I am stressed and have tons of things to think about and do every moment, and then I take a short break without having to worry about anything, is the time to ponder. That´s when personal revelation comes to me.  I am SO grateful for the Holy Ghost, that helps me in every situation I am in. I feel like what situation we are in, doesn't matter what, is directly proportional with the will of God. The Holy Ghost helps us bring to pass the will of the Father. And we are given power as we Endure to the End.!

I love the gospel, and am completely converted to it. I will testify of Jesus Christ until the day that I die. I love you all, more than I can express, and hope you have the best week ever with returned Elder Clarke, from Panamá!

MUUUCHO amor y cariño,

Elder Clarke (de Perú)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Dearest Family!  

How pleased I am to write you all! And how sad I am to not have anything to read...  :( haha, it´s ok don´t worry about it. I know you didn´t know that I´d be changing my P-days to Saturdays now for awhile. I had a big change in the mission!

This past Monday night at 10 o´clock, the AP´s called to tell me about my emergency transfer out of Pamplona. Now I am serving as the personal secretary to President Douglas and also as the health secretary for all the mission. I had no idea it was coming! Especially 2 weeks before transfers, it was sad having to pack all my stuff so fast in the morning and leaving my first area the very next day, but I am very excited for what´s coming up. Lots of opportunities to serve, love, learn, and give up my whole self to the mission in more ways than I will even be expecting. 

First of all, it´s a HUGE difference from Pamplona, a poorer area in the mission, and now I live in one of the richest parts of all of Lima! I´m in San Isidro, where there´s lots of big office and business buildings, banks, hotels, and like 27 embassies from different countries around the world. Huge. And I probably live almost a nicer lifestyle than I did in the U.S.! We live on the top 17th floor of a way nice apartment building, and I have the nicest phone of any missionaries in the mission, with access to just about any information about the mission. It´s super cool! Elder Hartvigsen from Alpine, UT is my companion, he´s from Lone Peak! It´s like the only situation ever where two gringos are allowed to be companions, cuz all the personal secretaries have to be gringo I think - because we talk with President and Sister Douglas on a daily basis and are like the intermediator guy between them and all the missionaries - so yeah, he´s training me and he´s a really good guy, and has been a super good secretary. I´ve learned that I´ve gotta improve a LOT on my Spanish...and also just learning all the things I´ve got to do. It´s one thing to being able to speak Spanish well, and it´s like a third level of being able to speak very good English and very good Spanish at any given time, like a translator. I´ve got to be like professional in everything I do, and it´s actually teaching me and changing me a lot. 

We are also baptizing elders at the same time. We share an area with Sisters in Chorrillos, the ward is the Bolognesi II ward, and it´s actually doing really well. The office elders here have a baptism today, and one next week as well! Which is actually really impressive, because we only get like 2-3 hours TOPS of proselyting time every night after leaving the office...normally like 1-1.5 if we´re lucky. It´s a rough job, we´ve basically just got to fix all of the problems in the mission! The missionaries call their zone leaders, who call the assistants, who call President, who then calls us and says...´´Fix it.´´ Haha. It´s great. I´m excited to push my levels of Obedience, Diligence, Faith, and Patience to the extreme. Now I have so many opportunities, so much responsibility, and I´m the boss of my own time and tasks, and I´m gonna do all I possibly can to be obedient not out of obligation but because it is my quest. I KNOW I can bring miracles to our ward, and still contribute a lot. I am so excited, I am just gonna do my very best. 

Anyways, the investigator that we´re baptizing tonight is named Angela, and she´s super powerful!! She is way converted, and wants to serve a mission! I still don´t really know the ward or area much yet...cuz we´ve had lots of work to do, so I´ll talk more about that later. Opportunities to teach and actually be a missionary now are just like a joyful bliss - brings joy and comfort to my heart. It is sacred. I am studying so hard to become a good teacher, that´s like all I want! I am also working really hard to be a Christ-like person. I have so much to improve!

I actually have a big concern...last monday in Pamplona when I was doing internet...I left my iPod there, and it is lost. It made me so sad you have no idea, cuz that had all of my favorite church music to play throughout the day, and I just...need to sing to be happy! But, it was the iPod Nick Clark gave me, so...it´s not like a super big deal. Just, now I don´t really have music on the mish. :( I wanted to ask Mom about that...if there´s by any chance an extra super old nano iPod that works that I could put some Church music on to listen and sing to? That would just put joy and peace right into my soul. But there´s specific music from our computer at home I want, like Handel´s Messiah, Paul Cardall, BYU Vocal Point cd that Krissy gave me...MoTab, the other Mormon Pianists. I don´t know if also you may be able to burn a cd of music and just send it to me in a tiny package and I could load it here on the computer? I´m not sure what to do actually, I needed Mom´s advice. She always knows what to do. 

Also...yeah, I think that´s it. I am sending like the longest email on earth today because I didn´t really have anything to read...I´m just writing a lot. I hope you enjoy it! Haha. Anyways. I am learning a whole lot about health insurance companies and clinics now, and make the appointments for all of the missionaries! Also, I make sure that all the missionaries get legally in and out of the country with ID cards and visas, and buy the plane tickets for them all, make sweet reports of the mission stats on Excel for President, and just do whatever he wants. It´s really cool. I met the rest of his family that live here, just his son and daughter, who play tennis every day here! Sometime I´m gonna go play with them, I´m pumped. I got a letter from Grandpa and Grandma this morning, and it made me so happy! I love you both so much! And, I hope you know, you are totally free to email me as well, I would love to write you! I already included a handwritten letter to them in the second small package I´m gonna send for Christmas. Haha. I hope I can do that soon. 

Anyways, I hope you are all doing so well, having the best week ever, and gettin' everything super nice and ready for Elder Clarke´s arrival, from Panamá!!!!!!!!!! Soooo pummmpped. That´s awesome. Just give him a huge big ol´ hug for me. 

Love you all so much! Email me!
(here´s my super sweet signature I made to put on all the emails I send now)

Misión Perú Lima Sur
Secretario del Presidente

Monday, December 2, 2013

FAMILY LETTER!

 Dearest Family,

I want you all to know how much I love you! Also, I could absolutely NOT BELIEVE that picture Mother sent me of the three siblings on Thanksgiving. Could not believe how much they've changed! Look so much...older!! Wow. Really through my mind through a loop...pondering on how old our family is becoming. But, it's a good thing. :) 

Well...I am actually not really sure what to say, spiritually, today. So I think I´ll just bear my testimony about the Doctrine of Christ. Because I've learned that whenever we don't know what to say, just teach the Doctrine of Christ. It's what Pte. Douglas has taught us, in every single multi-zona, and letter, for a long time. And I keep learning and understanding it better each time. It is what will change human nature, and the whole world.

The Doctrine of Christ is explained best in 2 Nefi 31:4, 5, and 7. Answering the question to ´´why´´ Jesus Christ got baptized helps us understand this Doctrine. Why, then, did He get baptized?

About 90% of the members would say, ´´oh, to give us the example!´´ WRONG. Verse 7 answers why. 

Because He is humble, and shows us that He is willing to be obedient in all of the Father´s commandments.

The Doctrine is that we must follow Jesus Christ by keeping ALL of the commandments, of our own will, because we love the Father. And it doesn't have to do just with the commandment of Baptism, the Doctrine of Christ can be applied to any commandment. It is that we use Faith, Repentance, Making and Renewing and Remembering Covenants, the help of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End to be able to keep every commandment.

I love you all so much, and bear this testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Clarke