Sunday, May 4, 2014

Love the Savior

Dear Family,

Hi everybody! Is everyone doing well? Having the best day ever?? I sure hope so. I love my family more than anything, and I'm truly grateful to be able to talk with you each week. Thank you for your beautiful email Mother!! And thank you Katie also for your email, you are all so kind. Congratulations on your graduation Mom!!! Holy cow, that came and went fast! I'm proud to have such a smart Mom :) You all look great in the pictures! I can't believe how tall Scotty is growing!! Crazy. :) Also I'm glad that Katie had such a fun time at Prom, and got invited to be in Chamber next year! That is super excited, and a great blessing. I was also very happy to hear that Grandpa was able to give an inspired patriarchal blessing to Katie. I pray for each and every one of you all the time!

I am reading a talk about the Atonement preparing for the visit of Elder Grow of the Seventy. It is called ´´´The Miracle of the Atonement´´ and it has really inspired the way I think about the Atonement - the Savior suffered the price of each and every sin and transgression for all men in the history of the world, AND he suffered every pain and sorrow ever felt by mankind. The first part, suffering the sins, was definitely necessary in the Plan of Salvation to make the redemption available to us for eternal life. The second part...why was it necessary? Or was it? That's a humble thought to meditate on, and think hard about the kind of person Jesus Christ really is. President Douglas and Elder Grow asked us to study that talk that he gave in General Conference in April 2011, and they want us to study it before the conference we'll have with him when he visits our mission this next week. I am very excited!! It will all be centered on the Atonement, and I am 100% sure I need to more deeply enrich my testimony and conversion by applying and experiencing the Atonement. On Wednesday all of the zones of Lima will be invited. There will also be a special musical number, and President asked me to organize it! Makes me nervous out of my socks. We'll just do something simple from the hymnbook, but with passion, ´´´More Holiness Give Me´´. I hope everything goes well. 12 Hermanas and 14 Elders, I'll conduct and we'll have a good pianist. I think we'll switch off a verse or two with just Hermanas singing then just Elders. I'm not 100% sure yet and it's a little stressful. Write me and give suggestions today if you can! :) 

I had a special experience being with President Douglas this week. The first time I've ever been down to the south part of our mission! He called me one day and said, hey we're doing a district leader training down in Pisco tomorrow, would you like to come with me? Haha. So we left the next morning for like a 4 hour trip in the van together down to Pisco.  It was special one-on-one time to learn more about his character and we had some inspiring conversations. One of which I won't forget, as we were conversing about many various aspects of being in the Lord's service, was when I asked him what was the most valuable thing he's done to become a powerful servant of the Lord, he was a bit surprised, but responded quickly and firmly that it was purely loving the Savior. Just, love Him. It surprised me a bit as well. How do we, or can we, love Jesus Christ, Him who we have not seen? And then everything else fell into place as my memory brings back to me all of these recent experiences in the mission of giving more and more to truly love the investigators and members in our ward, more diligently serve the missionaries who call me every day, and of those when I've been striving to strengthen my personal commitment to doing the simple things that bring me closer to my Father in Heaven. If we throw every little or big effort we constantly give into the perspective of loving more our Redeemer, I'm sure that things will be and feel different, and the light of Christ will enlighten our understanding. We will ALWAYS know what we have to do. Just keep giving, and doing all which is good, kind, and right. Anyways, we drove back to Lima that same day with the assistants and talked about the progress of the mission, which was also spiritually guided. We're trying to really train new leaders to come forth in this mission, the last couple groups of missionaries who went home left a huge hole. 

We are teaching two amazing families that brings me so much joy. Familia Durán and Familia Marcos. Rosio, the wife of William Marcos the returned less active, is slowly progresing towards a baptismal date, and it's so perfect because their whole family is incredibly faithful and reading their scriptures together every night, and praying, and at church activities and meetings, and their love is just incredibly at a higher level of sincerity and purity than I've seen before. It's a beautiful family. I hope so much that it can become eternal!!! We had a lesson with all of them last night...and we focused the Atonement of Jesus Christ to help their family become more united, as they always strive to increase their unity. It was a very beautiful and spiritual moment.

Rosario, the wife of the Family Durán, is the most faithful investigator I've ever seen! She's been 100% active at every meeting and activity for the last 3 months and wants to get married and baptized so bad!! Like..she reminds us, and is sad to not be able to yet. She's amazing. Her husband is very faithful and willing as well, and it's beautiful when they come together. They are praying daily as husband and wife, every night, praying that the strike in the government associations will end so they can get married. I am not sure exactly what it is called, but the people who work to get legal documents for people and help them to get civilly married and stuff like that are on strike against the Peruvian government, so we're all just waiting for that to stop so they can get the necessary documents to get married and then get baptized. Their two children also have baptismal dates, and we were with all of them together last night as well. It makes me so happy to see such faithful people! We've heard in the news that the strike might end this Monday (we've been waiting for it about a month and a half now), so please pray fervently. 

I love you all tons!! Please have a great day and be happy! This morning, my scripture study totally changed my attitude and day around. Don't forget to read your scriptures, and focus on the Atonement and Gospel of Jesus Christ. It's the meat of the whole church, and it never stops giving. 


Elder Clarke

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