Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Pictures!!

Hello Mother Dear!

How are you doing?! I hope you're having the best day ever!!! :) I got transferred to Ayacucho, the Garcilazo Ward as a Trainer and my new companion is Elder McDonald from North Carolina!! I am so happy and excited, these are going to be the best cambios of my whole mission!! :) I am sending you a picture here of us in our new room pointing to an Ayacucho picture. There's also two more of Christmas decorations in the bus service place - one is of the traditional Peruvian nativity scenes that everybody always has up here, they're classic! And another one of the typical kind of Christmas trees they have up, they're crazy!

Here's the one of my companion and I. Elder McDonald is a super good missionary, I'm really excited!!! He's a go-getter. He's already had one transfer of his training, and I'm just going to finish the last half of it. Here's another really cool picture of the snowy mountains up here on the way up! It was a little over 11 hour drive, and we left yesterday, Sunday at 9:30 pm! Coolest bus ride of my life. Haha.

Anyway, apparently here in this Garcilazo ward there used to be 2 companionships of missionaries, and they just took out the Sisters here because there wasn't a whole lot of support from the ward - it's kinda struggling. Elder Mickelsen told me that's why President sent me here, to light up this ward with fire!! Haha, or in other words, just get it back up and running well. I am so super excited, this is such an amazing opportunity to consagrate myself 100% now in the last transfers of my mission, I am going to work SOOOOO hard!!! I'm super pumped right now. Hopefully we'll get the numbers up and good, baptize families, get the ward council working well again, and get another companionship of Hermanas back in here by the time I leave. I was pondering, praying, writing and reading last night and felt the peaceful assurance of the Spirit of the Lord confirm that I am here to help this ward, and I know there are people waiting for me, needing someone to show Christ-like love and follow-up diligently on their commitments to live the gospel and commandments. I need lots of help from the Lord, keep praying! You are such a wonderful Mother, and I love you a lot. It was so good to see you all on Skype, and thank you so much for the temple bag!! It will be put to good use. Tell all of the family I love them and that I'm coming like a train. Ayacucho is really so beautiful up here! It looks like the canyons of Utah...just a little different, without as many tall pine trees, and a little big more Peruvian with the house styles and the llamas, and alpacas. So sweet. Hopefully I'll be sending even more cool pictures soon! 




Here's a picture of my pensionista abuelita and I, stirring the big pot!! This is how Peruvians cook with leña, or like with a wood fire. HUGE pots, full of spices and flavors that burn for hours, and make tons of food for everyone! Always with these huge spoons - looks like a witch with her pot. Haha. This little lady is the greatest Peruvian old lady ever. We're definitely coming back to her house to eat food, and possibly stay the night. 

The other picture is of the Molina family - they all came to Soyuz, the bus station to see me off when I departed Chincha. Right during their lunch hour, which is sacred for Peruvians! It was a big sacrifice, they gave me presents, and they love us missionaries so much. They were sad but are looking forward to getting sealed next year! They're wonderful, and they loved the presents SO much. All of the kids were so happy, and they were grateful. I saved the last jar of Nutella that you send a while ago and gave it to the Mom, Miluska. She has such a Christ-like love. It was difficult saying good bye to Chincha. But there are even more good things ahead lying in store. Miracles are going to happen here in Ayacucho, I'm certain of it! We're going to fast like no tomorrow. 

Anyways, that's all I'm going to write today and send, I hope it's okay. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SOON!!! I'm going to make cards for you, Dad, and Grandpa, but it probably won't come in time. But anyway, I hope you are all doing good and have the best New Year ever. I'm excited to see the fireworks up here in Ayacucho, it's gonna be awesome! Tell hi to everyone for me, les mando saludos!!! :)

Much Love,
  
Elder Clarke

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Give Everything to the Lord this Christmas

Dearest Family,

I cannot express my great love for you all. Whether I show it at times, or not, please know and never forget how deep and profound my eternal love is for you and that it will never go away as long as I live the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that the Gospel and Plan of Salvation blesses families and that MY FAMILY is VERY EXTREEEMELY BLESSED for it. I could never thank the Lord enough for the blessings given me, because of your love, your support, and your INCREDIBLE dedication to living the gospel and being CHristike that I see in you every single week. Not joking whatsoever, that is the greatest most precious gift to me...bringing me to tears..there's nothing more valuable to me than to see my beloved father and Mom giving absolutely EVERYTHING THEY HAVE, as I have been in the mission. I can imagine my mother with such tender thoughts as she prays her guts out for me every day...there's no price for that. There is no Price for faith - it is a sacrifice and offering of the soul, and heart. I can feel the consagration and spirit of service my wonderful Dad has......really, thank you so much. I can't express the sincerity in my heart as I thank you, Dad, and Mom, for being such wonderful parents, and for giving everything to me while I'm on the mission. There's nothing more I would ever want or ask of you, than for you to be consagrating yourselfs 100% to living the glorious and beautiful Gospel of Jesus Christ, what I so passionately teach to everyone for 2 years. Katie, Scotty, Adam, and my beloved brother Steve, I thank you so much for dedicating yourselves fullly to being true disciples of Christ and seeking all of the good in this world, being involved in wholesome activities to prepare yourselves for a life of service and love to all others and the Savior by living worthy through your lives, the Gospel of Christ, and preparing the foundations for an eternal home. Thank you so much. I don't have anymore time, but just remember this, that THIS is the gift of Christmas we must give to the Savior, our dedication and consagration to living the Gospel and doing all we can to help others be faithful, and true to Him. THat is exactly what I am giving all of you for Christmas this year, my dedication to my Heavenly Father in magnifying my calling with all diligence and righteousness before Him. May we all do the same this year and next year. And every day of our lives. Every day can be Christmas!!!

I love you all so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Merry Christmas! See you on skype in 3 days!!!

Sincerely,

Elder Clarke

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

He is the Gift

Dearest Family,

Merry Christmas to you all! I was so happy to see your lovely photos at temple square and to know that you are loving the Christmas season!! :) You are the best family ever, and I pray frequently that you remember and feel how much I love you all. This past week I have felt strongly the love of God for others..and have been reminded of the importance of Charity. ´´If you have not charity, you are nothing!´´ I know that this is true, Charity is greatest above all things, and never endeth. I have been reflecting on past experiences in my mission and can testify that the experiences I remember most are the times when I am showing true Charity to others and losing myself in true service as a true disciple of Christ, instead of losing myself worrying about things I can't control. I know that when we feel Charity, we are purified, even as Christ is pure. Unless we have Charity we cannot be fully sanctified of our sins by the Holy Ghost. Like President Douglas tells us every week, we must give 100%, give all of ourselves to the Lord in His service, and we do so with true faith, hope, Charity and meekness and humbleness of heart. That will be my gift to the Lord this Christmas, and will also be the gift I receive from Him this Christmas. I love the Lord with all my heart, and his righteousness. I love the Spirit that God sends to us daily - I am so grateful for the Divine Plan. It is a plan of happiness; I know that He is the Prince of Peace. I invite us all to focus one hundred percent on Jesus Christ and His infinite sacrifice for us this Christmas, and make great use of that Gift in our personal life and in the lives of others. Unless we reach the understanding of those around us, we will not be able to express them Christ's love. Let us all bear each other's burdens this year, comfort those who are in need of comfort, and bless those who are in need. 

This past weekend Rubí was baptized and confirmed! I will send a picture. She was a golden referral of an awesome member here in the ward, and it was such an amazing experience to see how much she changed and humbled herself before God to feel His accepting grace. Yesterday just before sacrament meeting, I was asked to give a talk to replace someone who didn't show up, and it was kind of a surprise, but I was so grateful because I'm certain that God poured His Spirit through me to bless all of the ward. It was a great spiritual experience and I know that God loves us greatly. I love the Chincha ward so much!!! 

We can do a skype call either the 22, 23, or 25 I believe, at whatever time we would like. Just tell me when you would like to do it. Might be good Christmas morning like 10 am...or afternoon. I'm down for anything! I'll create a skype account and we'll figure out how to do it. We only have 40 minutes in total. And YES I received the two packages! One with lots of toys for the Molina family, thank you SOO so much!!!° They are going to be so incredibly happy...and also the one with the chocolates and letters! Mother Dearest, thank you sooo so much for sending such good things to give to people here. You are my hero, thank you for being so thoughtful, generous, and charitable. I want to be like you someday! Honestly, thank you. I love you!!! I am going to share all of the chocolates with the peruvian saints here!! :) 

I hope you have such a wonderful week, I love you!!!!

Sincerely,

Elder Clarke

Monday, December 8, 2014

BEST WEEK EVER

Dear Family,

I love you all so much!!! Please don't ever forget it!:) YOu are the best family ever, and I promise I am praying very diligently for all of you. I hope you are having a great Christmas season and that you are remembering the Savior!!! We are supporting a program launched by the Church in all the world to share with everybody ´´´The Gift´´, there is a short video clip..like mormon message, called ´´He is the Gift´´...(Él es la Dádiva) and it's on the front screen of YouTube, and it's a way to get more member referrals and find new investigators and baptize them. I'm so grateful for all of the blessings and resources the Lord has given us to be missionaries of excellence in this historic time in the Work of Salvation. I invite you all to go watch it!!

Dearest Family, I know that very valuable blessings are only received by very difficult sacrifices. I know that if we are suffering spiritually...we must first check if we're being exactly obedient, and if we are doing what we should, wait patiently with perfect brightness of hope and faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ until we are freed from sin and the temptations of the devil. I know that the Gospel is freedom!!! We will be more free as we obey the commandments of God. I know that He lives, and loves us, and comforts us, and feeds us daily. I know that God wants me to obey!!! It is for our eternal welfare. We must reach out with an infinite love, following the example of our Savior, to help them also keep this sacred and respectful relationship between us personally with our Father in Heaven, to be faithful to those promises we have made. THe promise ot repent and give our very best, unto the end!! 
I know that the Spirit is real, and testifies to us what is true. We must give up our own will in faith, and wait for the Spirit to testify personally to us what we must change and do. God loves each one of us individually, and works individually with us, one- by - one. May we all receive the Gift this Christmas season, and give ourselves more unto God. 

I love you all more than I can express. Merry Christmas!!! :)

Sincerely,


Elder Clarke

PS: Here is a picture of the missionaries in my group, at the leadership conference. President Douglas is so awesome!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pictures Mama!

Elders Clarke & Rivas
I already sent you some of these pictures from the p-day activity, right? If I already sent them, I'm sorry! I'm losing my mind!! Anyways...I'm not taking any more pictures than that. Haha. I'm so sorry-! How is everybody doing?? Man..I am worrying so much about Grandpa, it makes me cry every time I think about it. I want to see him again before he passes away. Is he doing fine now? Please pray for him, and all of our family, and for the missionaries! It is hard being a missionary, I was kind of spiritually drained this last week because of so many things going on, and I've been living on a prayer. Haha. It's really hard when my time is so short and we're not having tons of success in the zone and there's so much to do as a zone leader...but I am trying so dearly hard to stay strong!!! Tomorrow is the leadership council and hopefully I'll fill myself up spiritually tomorrow. It's hard staying focused! I'm stressing about the life after the mission...because I know it's gonna be so much harder!! But...I'm excited. I also sent you a package this past week...sorry it's the last opportunity to send something! It's something for each member of the family, really cool. haha I hope you like, take a picture together with them and send it to me! :) I hope it gets to you, pray for that too! Anyways, have the best day ever. I'll write more next week!

Love,

Elder Clarke

Our zone on our last transfer day.




Monday, November 24, 2014

Dearest Mother!!!

Mother Dearest!!!!

I hope you know how much I love you! And I hope you can forgive me someday for writing so short, you have no idea how much stress and sadness it causes me, I so wish I could write more! We had an activity in the beach and there were so many things to do this morning we didn't get to do much internet, I just read your email before and now am writing a little bit. I promise I will send you all pictures next week, nothing more!!!

Mother Dear, the best news ever.....woow. Elder Cajo's dad totally got baptized last week!!! He went to Cañete where Elder Cajo's serving and he got to baptize his dad. I cannot tell you of the immense joy it brings me, you have no idea! Anyways, we have been working so hard this week, I've never worked harder! We found sixteen new investigators and taught more than thirty lessons!! We're about to baptize a half-family... almost. I'll let you know how it goes soon! 

I am praying every single day for Grandpa, Grandma, Kriss and Kor, all of you family members and everyone's spiritual, physical and emotional well-being. I could not begin to express the love I feel towards all of you family, especially my most loved grandparents. We must push on with all diligence, following the example of our Savior and Redeemer. Everyone stay strong! Love God, trust in Him, and fast. 

I will write more next week I promise! Have the best day ever!!!!

Elder Clarke 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Dearest Mother!!!

Dear Mother and all of the Family!!

I cannot express to you my joy!! It has been a wonderful week, especially the last companionship inventory with Elder Valencia - after such a long time being his companion, there was a reason, for me to learn this one lesson -- that it's  not that we are obligated to keep every commandment perfectly, but that we all have our agency and must keep them with the intention to receive some blessing from God, and to show Him our love for Him. There shouldn't be any other reason to be obedient! Anyways, Elder Valencia finished strong and we'll always be friends. He's a super good guy! 

I could not be more excited to work as hard as we can this transfer with Elder Rivas, un Hondureño!!! :) ALL of the missionaries (except for one) from Honduras here in the mission are the kindest, most sincere, respectful and loving people I have ever met. They are just different from the rest, their Spirit about them, I can't explain it. Elder Rivas is such a great missionary, and reminds me a lot of Elder Fiallos when I was in the office. Anyways, we're going to work hard! There are also 6 companionships in our zone who are in training - 5 of which are newbies from the MTC! and 4 of those trainers have 4 or less transfers in the mission! It is incredible how young our zone is....just the zone leaders, 2 district leaders, and the rest are so new. Haha. I love being zone leader because it's like we're training everyone in so many intercambios we have - service is a blessing! Just like a phrase a friend taught me that is always in my head ´´Oh how praying rests the weary´´...service also rests our Spirits, purifies us, and enables us to do more than our natural capacity.

Yesterday we went to an appointment, they were not home...immediately Elder Rivas saw an old little serrano lady digging a whole on the hard dirt with a shovel and told me we needed to go help her. It brought the Spirit so strongly into our companionship as I followed and so naturally he started to work and serve and talk about the gospel at the same time with her, her brother, and neighbor. I know that every effort we make towards doing good and trying to do God's will will not be lost - the Spirit is a great recompense.

Every day is the best day ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love you all and pray for you!

Sincerely,

Elder Clarke

Monday, November 10, 2014

Teach with Love

Hi Mother!!

I hope you are doing great!! :) Love you so much!! Man, this week I have been working hard, and we've been busy with so many plans to bring people to church yesterday. It was the Stake Conference, and we had a special visit from a Seventy, from Ecuador, named Elder Xavier Espinoza. It was so cool, Saturday before their meetings they asked to accompany us to visit some less-active, new families. For a little more than an hour the Seventy, Elder Espinoza and President Douglas accompanied me and Elder Valencia to visit and teach two great families!!! It was the coolest experience!!! Man, and wow - I cannot express, Elder Espinoza taught with SO much Christlike love to the less-actives, the parents; it really touched me deeply. He said, ´´If we could really understand Christ's love, a lot of things would change.´´ We visited the Molina family with them and also another new family we found this week, Edwin the investigator father who desires to be baptized (referral from the Bishop, he presented us to them) and his less-active wife Sonia, and their 3 less-active children, and they youngest daughter who also wants to be baptized. La Familia Uribe. They are wonderful! They just need to get married before he can get baptized,,but they are really excited to come back to church. Anyways, I just learned that you show people your love by the way you look at them, look into their eyes and express testimony that Christ lives and can heal us from sin if we believe in His name and repent. If we do it sincerely with the Holy Ghost I promise it makes the biggest difference in the world. Help ALL around you to feel the pure love of Christ to teach them to follow Him.

I love you all so much, have the best day ever!!!

Sincerely,
Elder Clarke

PS: Mom it would be great if you could write little hand-written Christmas cards for the Molina family too! :) It would be great. Guess what, Hernán (the dad of the family) received the Melquisidec Priesthood yesterday! And Miluska (the mom) gave the final prayer in the stake conference! It was really cool! Also, so sorry for the shortness of the email!!! I hope you will still love me! the 2 pictures Pres. took for us with Elder Espinoza! :)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

My Favorite Family!!

Dear Family,

This has been the best week ever!!!! THANK YOU ALL SOOO MUCH FOR PRAYING!!!! God has been sooo, so merciful with us, and has blessed us greatly. The biggest miracle of all was that Ivan got work off Saturday and got to go with his wife!!! Wow - and all of the Molina Family went, and July and Junior as well. It was such an incredibly beautiful fast and testimony meeting yesterday, like all the Molina family bore their testimony! I sat with them, and they are so spiritually happy, and just amazing people. I'm so grateful for all of the members in our Chincha ward! Seriously, Sundays are my very favorite days, I couldn't begin to describe the feelings I feel. I talked a lot with President but he was not able to give me permission to go to the temple with them. I was so grateful for it too, I know it's a way the Lord wants me to become more consagrated as a missionary. I have a LONG way to go to be 100% consagrated - it requires great, great faith, and that we repent, being humble even lower than the dust of the earth! We have been blessed to teach a lot of lessons, especially yesterday was awesome! I love so much giving my testimony to all, and seeking their spiritual relief. 

I don't know if you remember Jaime and Salomè, the investigator and his less-active wife, well, last week they got married!! I forgot to mention it, and we went and were like fotographers. Haha it was fun. But sad news...Jaime doesn't really want to come to church...after so many spiritual experiences...and it`s sad and hard for Salomè. Pray lots for him to change his heart. Wow I experienced such an incredibly big miracle when we went to Lima for the leaders conference - I accidentally left my suitcase in the taxi at night....with precious and expensive items inside, including my suit and camera, and slept that night feeling terrible, and hopeless. Then in the morning we went to where they picked us up and the man had returned the suitcase, at like 8am before the meeting. I don't know how to help you understand how that's just something that doesn't happen in South America...especially Peru, Lima, but it was such an incredible miracle from some prayers of great faith. Man, haha it was a scare. 

I am loving so much the mission - we are required to humble ourselves a lot, and be more and more consagrated to the Work of Salvation and our sacred calling. I'm grateful for this experience. Anyways, I love you all so much and am grateful for the emails you sent me! I love hearing about all of your joys and successes...you are a family of excellence!!! :) ANd I love you all. Sorry for not having too much time today, we've been filling our lots of reports and stuff, but I hope you have the best day ever!! :) 

Sincerely,

Elder Clarke

Monday, October 27, 2014

I BEG YOU TO PRAY THIS WEEK!!!

Dear Family,

I love you all more than you know!!! I am so, so grateful to receive your emails and hear about you all. Thank you so much Mom and Dad, I have the best family in the whole world. You have no idea how much my love has grown for all of you! I am truly sorry for not writing much last week- I will always make it a priority to write you before anybody else, because it is the sincere desire of my heart - I want to constantly let you know of my appreciation for your prayers, love, and support. There is no price or anything that compares, and I will cherish this great blessing the Lord has given me forever, and always remember these blessed days of my service to Him with such great support from my family.

Dearest family, I beg of you with tears running down my face...if there was ever a time I needed your daily, long, powerful prayers and fasts, I ask you with all of my heart that you pray with all of your might, and all of your soul this week for the families I'm teaching. This Saturday is the ward temple trip of the Barrio Chincha, and...(I can't believe how greatly the Lord has wrought the Spirit in me to change my will), I have never in my life felt a stronger desire, from the deepest part of my heart, that the desire I have for my recent converts and rescued members to go to the temple this week. There is absolutely nothing more I desire in all of the rest of my mission - this is the most important thing to me, I KNOW it is what the Lord wants. I cannot tell you how hard I have worked this week.........far harder than I think I've ever worked before my mission, despite all of the work and studies and schedule I always had going on, you all remember well. I have never worked so hard this week, with such great faith, incredible amount of patience, and true love to help these people understand all they must do, all that will happen this Saturday when they go to the temple. Think of how great of a change it is in their lives - I don't know if you can understand what life is really like down here, the great differences from our world in Utah. It's Perù. It is a huge sacrifice for them, I have felt it in every aspect, a huge sacrifice they must make to get to the temple, to work with the members to make it happen. I continue fasting even today, right now, that they won't have any problems with work or any other problem that could happen. It is such a great blessing, all these opportunities for them to go to the temple now, and I am 100% trusting in the Lord, I KNOW that if we show Him an incredible amount of faith, acting in all diligence, He will give us the greatest desires of our hearts. I know that this week He will work with great power among the children of men. These converts are fasting and praying this week...because there are great trials, but the desires and dedication are there, and more than anything in my whole life right now I want them to experience the Holy Spirit of the Lord in the House of the Lord. Holiness be unto the Lord!!! I beg of you, more than I've ever needed before....Please, pray for them. Every single day. Pray that Ivan won't have to work Saturday, and that he can get it all done during the days of the week, and that they'll have enough money to get to the church to meet up. Pray that Miluska will get work off just fine, and that Hernàn will be okay on the hour or two of sleep he'll be getting Friday night to make this trip. Pray that their children will read their scriptures this week so that they'll also be permitted to go and see the temple grounds of the temple, and feel a loving protection of the Spirit. Pray that Ronald and Jaime, Junior and July will also make it just fine. There are 10 recent converts and 2 less-active rescued members with plans to go - and it is very difficult for the members comprension and ability to help them with all their needs to make the trip just fine - but it will be worth it - it will be one of the greatest experiences of their life. Please feel the great significance this makes for them, and how much it pleases the Lord, to act with all faith and diligence to achieving the desires of our heart, to do His will to keep His commandments. The rule is that when we're in the south, we can't travel to go to the temple with them, but tomorrow is the Leadership Council and I am going to ask President Douglas with all of my heart permission to go and accompany them. Nothing would mean more to me in my whole mission. I have great faith and know that even if it's not possible, the Lord will be pleased with me. I delight in His powerful Spirit that He helps me feel when I am about His duties, serving in His way.

I love you so much family, thank you for all of your love. Please have the best week ever!!!

Sincerely with Great love,

Elder Clarke

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fotos del Bautismo

Mother Dearest, it is so good to hear from you!!!! 

You have no idea how great my joy is every time I read your emails!!!! And I am so glad you liked the long email...but it'll be cortito (a little short) today!! I had to respond to a few other emails but hey! 
Things are going great down here! This morning Jaime and Salomé went to sign up for the marriage, and get married this saturday, and jaime will be baptized Nov. 15, last week of Elder Valencia's mission. Lo máximo!!! We had a baptism this Saturday, received the Holy Ghost and Aaronic Priesthood already! We have like 9 converts/rescued going to the temple Nov. 1!!!! SOOO sweet....but I'm way sad I can't go with them. 

It's beeen a great week and we'll have an even better one this week! love you all so much!!!!!

Sincerely,
Elder Clarke

Monday, October 13, 2014

Those who Love more, Learn more.

My dear family in American Fork, Utah!!!

Greetings from Chincha!!! Ohhhh my goodness...I cannot describe right now the great joy that I feel. This past weekend we saw General Conference (a week late because last week it was the voting day in Peru for the new governor, and it's a law to not have any chapels of any religion open that Sunday - there was just no church, nothing), and I have not seen a better conference in all of the days of my life. I've never been so filled to the brim with the Spirit of God - luckily we got to watch it in english, the 6 gringos in our zone, and I felt it was like a mini temple-trip; a spiritual refuge from the world to reenergize, and it was incredible. I filled about twenty seven pages in my study journal the whole conference, but more importantly the spiritual impressions engraved in my soul, heart and mind, will never go away as long as I shall live. I am so, sincerely grateful for living prophets today. I know that they are called of God, and that they speak His words. I am so grateful for their plainness of speaking, like unto Nephi, concerning the Doctrine of Christ, Plan of Salvation, Obedience, Christ-like love, Prophets, and Testimony. So interesting all of the talks and how they were based around similar topics, all closely related to missionary work!!! I know that our Savior is hastening the work, and I love His divine cause with everything in my being - I literally felt that type of love as I watched the conference - it filled all of me, and I am giving every particle of faith I have to do what He would have me do. The Holy Spirit guides each decision and act of faith I make every day and every night. Prayer is such an incredible power to build and demonstrate faith. I testify as a disciple of Christ that if we make daily scripture study and pondering time a part of our very being, daily habits, and if we really rejoice in those divine words, we will never fall - because that is a sure foundation, above which Christ himself has promised we cannot fall. 

Last week I learned the great importance it is for each of us to cultivate love towards other people so that we can learn personal revelation from the Holy Ghost during our interactions with them. I experienced that first hand with Elder Cajo on the bus trip back to Chincha after the leaders conference - I'll have to tell you all about it someday, I'm sorry I don't have more time. In short, if we don't open our hearts with love towards those who interact with us, towards leaders who guide and teach us, then it will be much more difficult to receive personal revelation as we listen and observe them - the pure love of Christ brings the Holy Ghost into our very beings who is the ultimate teacher. We must learn all truth for ourselves - we cannot rely on conversion of others in the day of justice. If our heart is not forever firmly open towards our Lord and Master, even Jesus Christ, we will not be able to follow Him not receive personal revelation from His teachings to eventually become even like unto Him some future day, because our hearts have been closed. Let us love and accept all truth, and love all people. ´´Be patient, and kind, and forgiving.´´ -Elder Holland. That's from the talk ´´I Believe´´ from April 2013 Conference; I listen to it every single day various times in our room, and have it memorized practically! I intend to download all the conference talks and do the same from now on. I'm so excited to learn these conference talks!!! SO POWERFUL!!!!!

Let me just say that we are working very diligently with the members of the Chincha Ward. I love this place SOOO much. And yes Mother, Elder Valencia will leave this change and that means I'll stay one more with a different Elder - means I'll be here for Christmas!!!!!! I cannot express my excitement over email. All I want is for you to send a ton of great gifts for the Molina family, our converts, and I will give everything to them, and the other incredible converts, less-actives, and members. Don't get anything for me. I am seriously going to give everything away to these people, poor in heart and loving. My bowels are filled with compassion unto tears. I have never had such a great love in all of my life, and I testify that it comes from my Savior Jesus Christ, for the truth of His everlasting word and for the overwhelming Spirit I feel every day. That great love that has sunk into my very being extends out to the United States, to each personal family member in my gorgeous family. I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH. Never forget that - let it sink into your mind, over and over, and into your own hearts. You're in my prayers, and I can't wait to see you all and spend many hours together, building our own faith in the Savior Jesus Christ. 

October 25 Salome and Jaime will get married! (Salome a less-active and Jaime an investigator, they have 2 darling kids) and he'll be baptized! There is an incredible joy and spirit felt working with families, because they have a greater spirit and love given to them because of having their own kids and family. I know the gospel is true and blesses them greatly. The family night every week is helping the members strengthen their faith and other less-active members in a way I have never seen before. Please do every family night with great diligence! And family scripture study, and family prayer. Make family night prayer a different, special experience, and not a routine thing. Plead with our Heavenly Father sincerely for all you need and desire, and show your faith to Him by keeping His commandments - the little things are the only important things to life for me!!!

Please have the best day ever. Every day!!!

Sincerely,

Elder Clarke

Sunday, October 12, 2014

October 8, 2014

Dearest Mother!!!!

I am sooo, so very sorry you haven't received an email from me until now! Yesterday, there was no internet in all of the city of Chincha....all day long; we were waiting since 10am until like 5pm - it's incredible!!! Haha, pretty funny actually. But I hope you can feel my love! I love soo so so much reading the emails you and Dad send - you are both INCREDIBLE people, and I love you both, and admire and apprecite you in ways you would never imagine. The Spirit is passed from the Lord, to missionaries, to families, to the missionareis, and vice- versa and it is a wonderful experience that lasts 2 years. THank you for inspiring me weekly. I know that you're praying for me because I can feel it, and see it. 

I totally got a package from you in the mail yesterday!!!! Ooohhhh,...I was SO happy to receive it! I was so shocked and surprised, but happy!! Thank you SO much for sending all those goodies and the letters. I'll have to be honest with you, things have been so busy since Monday that I haven't even had time to read the letters yet; all this work as a zone leader is a lot!!! I am seriously working so hard - until my head hits the pillow, dead tired, but with incredible excitement constantly. You should have seen our district and zone meeting this morning. We're going to rise a lot here in the Chincha zone, I'm so excited. But I did skim through some of the letters written by some ward parents!? I will have to say I got pretty emotional opening up one and seeing Thomas Karlinsey's family - I don't know why, that man has just had a big impact on me, and even now I get emotional. I'm so grateful for all those who have helped form me into the person I am today. I'll have to read all those letters later on!

We had cambios, and I'm with a new zone leader training him. Elder Valencia!!!! Who was my companion in the office!! We're companions again, and I'm sooo excited. :) He's a great missionary! It's his last cambio, but we are going to work our tails off. Next week are interviews with President...so I'm excited about that. Anyways, I've got to be going now, we've got a lot of work to do. Love you so much Mom!!!! Never forget it. Never forget that the Lord's work will go forth like a rock cut out of the mountain, rolling with great velocity and shall not stop until it covers the world. He loves us and guides us with His Spirit, if we have faith in His name. I'm sorry I didn't send pictures but I will send lots next week! By the way I'm learning to cook traditional peruvian plates here and it's so fun, with great member families here. Also we have a new pensionista who is so super loving and kind, like none other before, cooks really well and gives us lots to eat. It's the best day ever!! Loves and hugs!!!!!

Sincerely,

Elder Clarke

Monday, September 29, 2014

Love you!!!

Hi Mother Dear!!! :)

How are you doing? I am going to write you while my pictures are loading. Congratulations on reaching your goal to read all the Conference Talks from April!!! You are an incredible example, I cannot believe all of the things you do! Thank you for being a TRUE disciple of Christ, and for TRULY living the gospel; you can tell because you understand the need to act a great many things, and after the act of our faith receive God's holy power. I was reading today in 2 Nephi 6-8, and I LOVE those words of Isaiah!! It is powerful - it all has to do with the House of Israel needing to apply the Atonement; notice how they don't just ask God to save them, but they try to clothe themselves with His power to do His will and free themselves! Anyways, these are fun pictures from painting! I'm really good at painting nowadays!!!  



We did this service with a few other elders, one who is in this picture is named Elder Willard who is also from American Fork - he lives over by Utah Lake màs o menos, and I didn't really know him before the mission! He just graduated this year, and I feel like I recognized his face from before. Anyways, he's a good guy, and he said he knew Katie. 


These are some pictures of the Molina Family - I love them so much!!! They are so converted....the whole family, the parents are so strong together and individually!! It is the greatest joy I've felt thus far in my mission than to help them as converts. Their example inspires ME every time we go to visit them, and makes ME want to be better.  

Mom guess what!! I tried last week to send a whole bunch of letters, to the whole family and a birthday card for Adam, and the international postal service in Peru is on strike!!! Seriously...who knows how long it will last. But I'll try to send the letters through the same lady that I send packages, and she'll send it to you! I'm so glad that Adam is happy and doing well¨!!!! And Scotty as well. :) I LOVED that picture of all of my brothers and sister on the couch, they are all so beautiful and grown up it's amazing! 

This week I am learning how to cook!! Our dear abuelita pensionista who is the greatest...is getting old, and sick, and it's become too much for her to cook for us - and we have no pension. But Elder Rolando knows how to cook latino-style and we're cooking for ourselves every day! It's great and makes me so happy!!!  




I am sorry that this is taking most of my time on the computer...it takes a really long time to upload and I may not have much time to write!! But know that I am doing well, happy, stressed and needing to be even more consagrated - that's my only desire in the mission right now until the end.

We are contacting a TON of families that walk together in the streets here in Chincha, and talk with tons of people. We're searching the less-actives to find more to baptize and rescue, and we're trying to work with the ward and stake leaders really well. Today we're going to Lima for the Leaders Council and will have a zone conference on wednesday, which will be really good and spiritual, and this saturday we will receive transfers. I think Elder Rolando will be leaving, but who knows! We'll see. Love you so much, Mother Dearest, have the best weeek ever!!!!  

Sincerely,

Elder Clarke



Sunday, September 28, 2014

September 22, 2014

Hi Mom!!! :)

I hope you know that I love you so much!! You are so wonderful, and I'm so happy to read your emails. It made me especially happy this week. :) Thank you for all of your love, and support. You have no idea how much it means to me out here!!! Thank you for being such good parents and helping us all so much with the gospel!! I appreciate it more than you could ever know. You'll only know the depth of my gratitude, and my love for the gospel when we get to heaven. ;)  Please know that I am very healthy, and that truthfully there aren't really any exotic fruits out here in Peru!! Haha, I laughed this week that you asked again, sorry for not telling you, but there really aren't any. Just the Maricuyá!! :)

I just want to say that Katie seriously looks so beautiful in those Homecoming pictures you sent me!!! Wow, please tell her for me. She's all grown up, and a beautiful and righteous young women. She's a senior!! Tell her how great she is, every day, and that I love her lots. Also tell Scotty and Adam that I love them, and that I'm sending a card in the mail today, it may arrive a bit late! But my love will be flying through the air to you!!! Haha. That's awesome that the Ogden Temple has been re-dedicated! I hope you are all having wonderful spiritual experiences and having the best day ever every day. Congratulations for doing such a great work in your job!!! You are such a great example. I am going to call you frequently after the mission so that you can constantly counsel me. :) Tell Steve I love him! I'm going to write him. Sorry I'm not sending many fotos...I'm not taking many. But I am changing greatly on the mission, and will never forget these experiences. 

Things are going well in Chincha, our convert families are doing super awesome, going to go to the temple in October to do baptisms for the dead! They are so excited, becoming friends with the members and beginning to really understand the Book of Mormon. I have never had so much joy, as I see this family - especially the parents - change before me. The Lord's hand touches their hearts and softens them to do His will, I know it. My heart is full of gratitude!!! Right now we really just need to find more investigators and less-actives to teach. We must always focus on the solutions and never the problems, because I could wear myself out so very quickly focusing on the problems. We are going to build a stronger relationship of trust with the members and leaders so we can work with them and receive more names of people to teach, and we´ll do it with service, love, and teaching the Doctrine of Christ.

I am going to the zone activity now, to help strengthen the missionaries here!! I hope you have a splendid day. Thank you for all of your prayers, I love you!!!

Sincerely,

Elder Clarke


Monday, September 15, 2014

September 15, 2014

Dear Family,

Buenos días!!! How is everybody doing? It's so good to hear from you all. Today I'm going to write nice long personal letters to everybody. Thank you for the letter you sent me, Mother!!! I hope you all know how much I love you!

This has been a great week, the Molina Family got started on their family history work and have plans to go do..obra vicaria,..I forgot how to say that in spanish, baptisms for the dead, in October! They are so excited to progress and stay active in church and are founded upon the Gospel. We are working hard to gain the confidence of the stake and ward leaders so that we can find more investigators and get more golden families to teach. I am so grateful for every opportunity we have to serve others and strengthen our relationship with God. 

I'll be honest, I am a little bit sick today and maybe don't have a lot of exciting things to say, but I'm basically already better, you don't have to worry at all! 

All I can say today is Moroni 9:6 - trabajemos diligentemente, porque si dejamos de obrar, incurriremos en la condenación. Porque tenemos una obra que debemos efectuar mientras estemos en este tabernáculo de barro!!

Have the best week ever!!! :)

Sincerely,

Elder Clarke

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Dearest Family

Dear Family,

I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ, and knowing how to live it. There is nothing else more important on this earth. I am so grateful for each experience to serve here in Perú!! The work is going very great here this week!

The Molina family is doing great, Ariana in seminary (she took a picture of me and was going to send it to you over facebook), the father learning lots about Priesthood, getting names ready for family history and to take to the temple in October to do baptisms!! We're having great joy and success in retaining them. This week we are ready with lots of goals and plans of faith to find more and put more baptismal dates! I am so very very grateful for my mission president who has put the standards so high. This is the best time of my life, and I'll never lower my standards!!

I was so happy to hear about all that you're doing these days, and know that I pray for you. I cannot express my gratitude for the pure testimonies of my father and my mother, my beloved parents. There is NOTHING more precious to me!! I love you family, and keep working hard and serving the Lord!!

Have the best day ever!!!!

Sincerely,

Elder Clarke

Monday, September 1, 2014

´´Una familia Dios nos dio´´

Dearest Family,

This past week was the best week ever here in Chincha!!! I felt so much joy this weekend, the Molina Family was baptized, and the Flores family was completed with Ivan's baptism! We had 6 baptisms on Saturday!! It was an incredible experience, and one I will never forget. I baptized 3 & Elder Rolando 3, we had fun in the water. :) The Flores family was all inactive, and we rescued them by teaching all the lessons, bringing them to church and to interviews with the Bishop, and baptizing Ivan, the father, who was the only one missing to the family. María, the wife, I have never seen her so truly happy before. She says their joy will be even greater one year from now when they go to the temple to be sealed for this life and all eternity, and when their 2 boys grow up in the gospel to be misionaries as well. I love these people we are teaching so much . They are all so incredibly filled with Charity, Christ's pure love, and willing to submit themselves to all of the Father's will. The Molina family, 5 of the 6 (because the littlest and cutest daughter is only 5 years old) were all baptized and are looking forward to a temple marriage as well, and to raise their children in this gospel for life. Miluska, the mother, shared in her testimony after her baptism that she would personally be in charge of that and make sure it happens. Hernan, the father asked the Bishop shortly after the baptismal service ended, do we pay tithing today or tomorrow? I cannot comprehend the joy and willingness these people have to live the gospel.
Might I add that our first encounter with the Molina Family was July 26, just one month before. I cannot believe how rapidly and truly their lives have changed. Despite their financial lack, we were all so surprised to greet them at the baptismal service as they came with very nice Sunday clothing, shirts, ties, skirts, and pants, that was brand-new; they had bought for this special ocasion, and new life they had decided to live. Even more joy I felt as we found the rest of Hernán's family, who has 9 other siblings and wonderful parents, and we taught them all yesterday and he bore powerful testimony to his sister and brother in law. Yesterday, we went to visit the Flores family again, and despite the poor example and decisions of Ivan's cousins as they were smoking and drinking in his house, inviting him and teasing him, he did not give in; they had been waiting our arrival to teach them even more the gospel of Jesus Christ. They have so much love in their family it has impacted my heart for life. I know that God has prepared these special souls to covenant with Him, and they were willing and ready. For some reason this incredible blessing of undescribable joy has come to me, as I have merely served as a tool in the Lord's hands to convey His Doctrine with power, authority, and the Holy Ghost, and I think I have been changed almost as much as they have during this time. The gospel is beautiful, and even more beautiful with families.
I am so grateful for President Douglas' very high standards for us missionaries to focus only on finding families, to baptize, rescue, and retain them through the ward council under direction of the bishop. I will not lie at all, that it is not easy to have such high standards, but I testify that it is worth it. I know that commandments and God's will is to protect and bless us - and that if we repent, have more faith in His Son Jesus Christ, and completely abandon our sins and take out our own will of our natural man, we will be made into so much more, what God wants for us, and it will be so much greater of a blessing. 

I love you all family. I can't remember a whole lot because we are so much set into the work here and how to help these families in Chincha, but my prayers and hope is that the Lord is watching over you, and I am completely certain that you are in His hands, and that His Spirit is working with each one of you. Work with Him, feel and follow His Spirit. Repent, understand how to put more faith in Jesus Christ, and act with boldness and love. I love you so very much and hope you always remember how His love feels.

Have the best day ever! We'll see you later!!!

Sincerely,
Elder Clarke

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Love the Lord Above All Things

Dear Family,

You are all in my nightly prayers and weekly as I write you I pray for your well-being in my heart. Know that I love you all, with a true love of Christ! As I completely consecrate myself into this work, I get tired as I face the afflictions and sacrifices of all kinds that come from missionary service, and as I put all of my confidence, hope, love in my Savior and act with real faith, the Spirit enlightens my mind, enlivens my soul and wakes up my muscles and gives me strength. In this sacred work, and in that precious process as I repent and live the gospel each day, I find an even greater and deeper love for the people each one of you are. I admire your character and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, your desires and good works. Never get discouraged, never fear, only believe.

I am truly sorry and ask your forgiveness that you did not receive an email from me yesterday. Yesterday was a long day of cambios, and today is our P-Day. All is going very well! I did not have a cambio but there were many in the Chincha zone that moved around. One of the most exciting of those is that Elder Arancibia has come to Chincha!! He will be finishing the mission this, his last change, as a trainer. I'm excited for him, and all of the opportunities the missionaries have in this time to serve.

I am always very joyful to hear how things are going back in American Fork. How good it is to know you are safe and happy. I will answer the 9 questions you have asked Mother! :
1) We have district meetings every Tuesday or Wednesday, and we always get the zone together for 20 min. or so afterwards to elevate even more their faith. We always have weekly focuses from President Douglas that are challenging and increase our faith, for which we are most grateful. I cherish the opportunities I have to speak and inspire the missionaries to have great faith, even unto that of the sons of Mosiah. The Spirit guides! We had a fun little activity last week going to some ancient ruins here...but I forgot to take pictures. We're the ones that should plan those p-day activities...but I don't always do such a great job. Haha. Today we're going to eat lunch as a zone in some buffet restaurant.
2) The culture of the Chincha town is to come down south, drink wine and be merry, and have parties dancing without much on! The people don't seem to care about much...and it's a been a trial for me to witness.  It's just kind of a Perù thing, too. But the people in our ward are very loving, and hard-working and capable. It's a great place in which I enjoy being. 
3) I do love Elder Rolando, he is a very good missionary. Very obedient and understanding and helpful.  
4) We did find a pensionista! The Relief Society Pres. and her husband, I won them over with persuasion and being kind and cheerful. I wash their dishes after we eat and she gives us a lot of food with lots of love, and it's actually very good, and healthy. Couldn't be better!
5) It is winter, and it's not really cold. A bit in the mornings, but I'm fine. I actually miss colder weather from Utah.
6) I have never sung a solo or any kind of musical number. That is not at all a part of Peruvian church culture. I've never seen it done in all of my time here in Perù. 
7) I do play the piano, but not every week without fail. There's another young man who tries to play in our ward. It's good practice for him.
8) I eat cereal every day for breakfast, and many days for dinner as well. I love it! I also eat apples and bananas, and always yogurt. And sometimes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 
9) My clothes are fine. I am trying to figure out ways to get rid of it all actually! I don't want anymore. 

I am having the best time ever here in Perù, for no other reason than that I am a full-time representative and servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. The opportunities I have been given to sacrifice my will are precious, and difficult, but build my faith. I am most grateful, above anything else, for the relationship I have made with my Father in Heaven, and Jesus Christ, through the sacred Gift of the Holy Ghost. It is a relationship upon which I rely constantly, and strive to receive spiritual comfort and answers to my questions. It is my trusty guide, and is reliable. 

I love you all family. Please continue to deepen your understanding and comprehension of the Doctrine of Christ, applying it to your lives with specific questions, and find those questions with prayer and scripture study, and you will receive personal revelation. Have the best week ever!!!

Love,

Elder Clarke

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

August 18, 2014

Dear Mother dear!!

How are you?!? I am having the best day ever!!! :) I am so happy to hear from you!! ALways. I hope you know I love you a lot.

After reading all of the emails that get sent to me, I never have time to write anybody. I am so sorry!! I am a tad-bit stressed for all the things that are going on right now, I´m sorry. I´m not writing a whole lot today. But I love you and know the Church is true!

This weekend the Molina Family we are teaching fasted with us, and went to pay a fast offering! It was a big sacrifice for them because they really do not have a lot. It was very sad, they came to chuch with their offereing enevelope all ready to give to the bishop, and it got lost somewhere at church. But they are so faithful and excited to be sealed in the temple as a family. There is a lot of joy focusing on teaching families.

I will talk more later Mother! Have a great day!!

Love,

Elder Clarke