Sunday, April 27, 2014

Rendirle cuentas

Dear Family,

Happy Easter!! Hope you all ate tons of chocolate and were able to understand and feel better the reality of Jesus Christ. I know that He lives, loves us, and directs His church in perfect righteousness. I know that we are mortal and imperfect men here on earth, and that He will give unto us whatsoever we should ask Him with FAITH. 

Thank you so much for your email Mother Dearest!!! And also Dad for your email, and Steve. I love you all so much. It made me happy to see those pictures of all your wonderful beautiful faces! Keep eating more chocolate. It makes you more beautiful. :) I will now turn the time over to all of Mother's questions that I will answer:

1. When the new missionaries come into the mission they all come from the Peru MTC, and we just hire a bus service to pick them all up with their suitcases and they get here to the office Tuesday morning at 7:30am for their trainings by President about how our mission goes, Sister Douglas and I translating about Health and norms, then the assistants about rules and 12-weeks training, then Elder Cajo and Elder Alkema about Suministros and Finances. Lunch, the trainers are in the office next-door and get all those trainings again as well, then they come together and President calls off the companionships, and after all travel plans and getting them things they need they're off to their areas. I don't have a need to go pick them up at the airport, we have two choffeurs President Pedro and Obispo Juan, who are worthy priesthood holders who can go with the elders alone to the airport to pick them up or send them off. 

2. I kinda totally forgot about Easter here! It doesn't really exist..for Peruvians or members either. The Catholic tradition that predominates is Semana Santa, and it's like the whole entire week they celebrate it. They just have thursday and friday off work, and the whole world just shuts down!  Doesn't necessarily mean more spirituality here, just like vacation. I ate my chocolate though! And shared it with Elder Cajo. Ohhh man, it was actually so hilarious. It was like teaching Tarzan something he never knew existed...all of the different kinds. American chocolate's a lot different, and a lot sweeter. He didn't even like some of it because it was so sweet! He's just like...this isn't food!! Haha, it actually really opened my eyes and surprised me...candy isn't food. It's just..who even knows. Food here in PerĂº is real. haha.

3. Sacrament Meeting was just like any normal Sunday, no difference whatsoever. Didn't even sing Easter hymns - no one knows them. 

4. I did like the candy. :)

5. Elder Wiley has two transfers left and went to Pisco as a zone leader. He's working hard, and is a very consagrated and good missionary. I love him!

6. You can hold off on sending me more emails for awhile. Thanks!

I've been really pondering about the eternal principles of our Father's plan for us, such as agency and the ability to discern the good between evil. I know that we can come to have complete control over our lives if we take every decision to choose right, and follow His plan. He promises us that the enemy will not have power over us if we choose the right. It's simple!! He will still make us pass through difficult trials, because that is HIS plan, it's a principle. But to keep following every one of His eternal principles, His will will become ours in all things, and we will be happy. 

If we can learn to always do EVERYTHING in our reach to accomplish our goals, and work very hard to make perfect plans that we are perfectly capable of carrying our, that don't fail our faith, we will have the Spirit and the confidence to do ALL things. 

And I'm 100% sure that if all those plans and sincere goals are concreted in our minds helping us be diligent in all things, and if we Rendir Cuentas to our Father in Heaven in all these things (give him an account, accountability) with all sincerity asking, He will give unto us that which we ask with faith. 

I love you all and hope you have the best day ever!!! We'll talk more later!

Sincerely,

Elder Clarke

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mother Dearest!!

Here I am, finally writing to you! I am so sorry!!! I hope you understand. :) So far the cambios are going well...honestly lots of stress, and work to do. We ran into an emergency problem tonight where the missionaries almost lost their bus to Ayacucho, but the Lord provided. It was a crazy/funn/most-stressful experience with Elder Cajo that I won't ever forget. He heard my calm prayer :) 

I am SOOO glad to stay companions with Elder Cajo!!! I don't think you realize how much I love this guy. He's such an amazing person and just fun to be with. I am the luckiest missionary in the mission; I really have seen so many blessings. And a new assistant came in tonight, Elder Dahle!!! (from Idaho) I can't tell you how much I love THIS other missionary!! He was my district leader in San Gabriel, and he is such a powerful missionary. And Elder Fiallos, who's the other assistant right now, is so incredibly kind and servicable, he does anything you tell him with full purpose of heart. We make a good team of 4 - I couldn't be luckier to be with the best missionaries out there. I'll be here to see the new Senior couple come in as well, the Lunts who get here June 30. Apparently they speak spanish and are on their like 4th mission...dairy farmer and accountant from Idaho. Anyways, I'll be here for a little longer. I've got SOOO much work to do!! I gotta get things under control.

Thank you so much for the package you sent me Mother Dear!! We saved the Easter candy for today, thank you. :) When is Mother's Day?? I've got to send you a special card!!! I'm glad to hear the family's doing so well. Saludos to Nathan Garner for me!! 

We're doing good in our area as well!! The Hermanas in our ward had another few baptisms, they are so poderosas!! We're having lots more success, finding lots new investigators this week and teaching more. Hermana Mendez in our ward has a cambio to Ayacucho, which is sad, she works so hard and made a huge impact on Bolognesi. I am so grateful to be surrounded by amazing examples, everywhere I go. We have 3 baptismal dates, marrying a couple and the whole family is coming to church!!! I love the work of the Lord, it brings so much joy.

Something that has sunk deep down into my heart this week is the principle and need to forget myself. The example of President Hinckley as a missionary is so touching to me. Sometimes we focus too much on our personal progress and less on feeding His sheep, helping them with their needs by applying the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Just as it is so difficult for an investigator to understand how to kneel down and ask God if the Book of Mormon is true, is seems difficult for us to just understand that we need to make a personal relationship with God in prayer, by making Him a personal covenant and being absolutely true to that covenant. As servants of the Lord, we are much more effective when we make covenants. I can't explain right now all that I feel, but I know that if we get serious about our covenants they can be a great help to us. 

I love you all so much my dear family!! Take care, I will write you more on Saturday. Keep praying with all of your might!!

Love,

Elder Clarke

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Dearest family!!

How are you all! Thank you Mother, I was so glad to get your email. Thank you for continually inspiring me spiritually throughout my mission, I can't tell you how much it means to me!!! I'm glad to hear the whole family is doing well, and that you loved General Conference! The talks were amazing. That is cool that Eric got asked to be the Thailand translator! Wow. Sounds like a super fun Spring Break, at Boondocks!! Good to hear about my tax refund from the Gov., haha, and that Scotty is getting to be so big and tall! Sounds good that Katie will be driving the Jeep, just be very careful!! Good luck to her with the patriarchal blessing this week!!! :) Big step! Also that is so nice of all the family to do service for the Grandparents. I'm happy to hear everything that goes on, I keep praying for your welfare. Crazy that the year mark passed this week, right? I'm old now! Wilian Orosco was my ward mission leader in Pamplona! Tell him hi from me and thank you for all he does! 

As I was watching General Conference last week...the thoughts kept coming to me that most of the words that the apostles and prophets say probably aren't the same as what they would want to say. The Spirit testifies powerfully, and I know that the Holy Ghost guides their minds and words, and they feel strongly inspired to speak the words which the Savior would have them speak to the world, to fulfill and magnify their calling as prophets, seers, revelators, and full-life-time missionaries. It fills my soul with wonder and awe to think of Jesus Christ, as the Head of this church, leading it with all righteousness, doctrine and spiritual power of persuasion in these Latter and most important Days, and how He keeps wanting to remind God's children of the tender mercies that come from doing small and simple things that are good and right, such as loving kindly or giving service, and also that we can receive His strength through the everlasting Atonement. It's wonderful to me!! 

This has been a fantastic week for sure. We have been working so hard!!! Man. This weekend coming up are cambios, we'll see what more happens!! Maybe someone else will come to replace me. I'm excited for the future, and to have more opportunities to serve. 

Thank you SOOOO much for the package you sent me, Mother Dear!!!! I was so surprised and glad, I shared it with everyone here and also thank you for the himnario! All of you, blessed family, are too kind, and too good. Let me know what happens and how you´re all doing next week! I'll talk more later!!

Love,

Elder Clarke

Monday, April 7, 2014

General Conference!

Thank you so much for writing! I loved your emails Mom and Dad!!! You are my favorite people in the world. Loved the picture of Adam's invention!! What a little stud ;) Hope Katie had a fun choir tour! Email me all about it!! :) I hope you all know how much I love you.

Elders Fiallos, Clarke, Cajo & Wiley
So how is Conference Weekend treating all of you?! The messages yesterday were amazing. I love how clearly and powerful the apostles speak to us. My very favorite talk so far was Elder Robert D. Hale's, and also Elder Oaks' last night at the Priesthood Session. So powerful!!! The first session yesterday we weren't able to see it in English...they were trying to fix it all day. The second session we were only able to hear it in english..just sitting there hearing a recording not seeing anything, and last night for Priesthood we got to watch it in english, and today we will again too. I'm so excited to hear President Monson again!!! What were your favorites?? 

We learn much more in depth, efficiently, and quicker if we want to learn with the object of applying and living what we learn. We make that decision beforehand, and it makes a difference! I want to testify that I know the prophets are chosen servants of God, who are ordinary men, but the authority of their priesthood and calling is made manifest through the Holy Spirit by their words and deeds. I know that Jesus Christ speaks with His prophets in these days. What a blessing it is for us to have and get heed to His own words. 

Pull-ups:  a little exercise by the beach.
This week we also had leadership council, and it was the very best one for me. President Douglas gave the most incredible taller, (speech, talk..) on the doctrine of clarity. Nephi's soul delights in clarity, and so does mine! The doctrine is SO clear, all of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The doctrine is applied to people when we focus on their needs. When we teach in this way it is so simple, true, and powerful. I can't explain all that I learned, but it really changed the way I taught my lessons this week, and it's a beginning point of change in my teaching style for the rest of the mission, and hopefully the rest of my life. There is nothing more important to me right now than learning how to ´´Feed His sheep´´, which is to apply the gospel to the lives of His children, by  their needs and clarity. After we are finished teaching there should not be a doubt in any part of the mind or heart of knowing what we need to do to repent, receive blessings and come closer to God. So simple that a child could understand. 

Anyways, I love you all and hope you have the best conference ever today!! Let me know how it goes!!

Love,

Elder Clarke
Elder Clarke & Elder Wiley

Elder Fiallos & Elder Clarke with Elder Wiley in the background

Lima Bay

Elder Clarke under a bridge

Office building where the Mission Office is located

Elder Clarke and his companion Elder Cajo