Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sacrifice brings forth the Blessings of Heaven

Dear Family,

Thank you all so much for all of your birthday greetings!!! I am so grateful for such a beautiful and encouraging family. I love you all so very much - EVERY DAY!! I love my family. Thank you for being you. I am excited to open my package tomorrow night and to respond to a lot of your emails, I am sorry I have been slacking lately. I can't express to you Dad, the gratitude I feel for each email you write me, the last one you wrote me on Easter was the spiritual highlight of my month. Also, I like the spanish emails from Steve. :) your jerga panameña me gusta!! ´´mi frencito´´

I am sorry to hear about Grandma Almond passing away this week. I cherish and will always admire Grandma Almond. She had so much light and so much fuego; you can tell people have a passion for life if they shake your hand with a very firm grip even up until the last year of their life. I'm so grateful for her example in this life and know she will accept the fulness of the gospel in the one to come. I thank her for always having loved us great-grandchildren so sincerely. I was happy to hear that Mother had a great experience at her Young Women's camp! You are so great with everyone in the stake!! Also Dad is just an amazing example and I love you two to death for making a difference in the world around you. As I drove through the south of Perú today, I pondered deeply about all of the incredible blessings I've had in my life, and most of that is due to the solid family that I've been raised in, because of the blessings of the Lord brought about by the great faith and diligence of my lovely parents. I hope you recognize the great faith that you have, lovely parents, and that you take courage to do even more to serve in this world. You have such a great light and I would NOT rather have anybody else as parents. No, not one, in the whole world. You're perfect. :)

Elder Bromley & Elder Clarke
MTC Companions Reunited
I just got back from a 3-day trip to the south of the mission with President Douglas, I went on a little intercambio yesterday and I drove up alone with him all day! (like a 7 hour drive). It was such an incredible experience!  So what happened is the night before at 9:30pm President invited me, and we left at 7:00am the next day. Elder Fiallos the assistant, was still sick,  so I went with Elder Dahle. We went to Chincha to do multi-zones and trainings, and they told me 30 minutes before that I would be teaching some of the ´´tallers´´....how do you say that in english..workshops, or training sessions of about half an hour each. President did it the first time and told me to watch very closely and that I'd be doing it the next 5 times to each group of missionaries in the 5 zones we trained. I was so very nervous the first time!!! I was sweating. But President was there kind of training me to do the training..and after I got over the initial fear, I started getting better at it. Normally just the assistants and President train at those conferences, and invite zone leaders when there's an opportunity. I was so blessed for that opportunity to learn how to teach and train well in big groups! It has always been my desire to adquire that skill..I had shared it with President, and he's helped me grow into a great leader. We went and proselyted with the missionaries that night in intercambios helping them in their areas, and that night me and Elder Dahle stayed with Elder Durfey and Elder Amador, the zone leaders. Then early in the morning we went to Ica for another multi-zone and I did the trainings all by myself, and a lot better, bringing the Spirit. Then that night Elder Dahle went back up to Lima and me and the Nazca leaders and President went down to Nazca for a training with the branch and district councils down there until late, which was very good. Nazca reminded me of Utah..the south is very different from Lima! It's wide-open spaces, and just very different. I saw stars at night for the first time in over a year! I was amazed that President talks with everybody he comes across; hotel waiter, gas stations, drive-up windows, people at shops or restaurants, and talks to them all so naturally about the gospel and the church and you see their willingness and attitude just completely change right in front of you and they are desirous to receive missionaries. It's amazing! He's such a great example of what all of us missionaries need to do. 

Elder Groves, Elder Cajo & Elder Clarke
I've learned so many impactful things the last few days from President Douglas' trainings. The principle that has sunk deeeeply into my heart this week, that I will be committed to applying every single day for the rest of my mission, is the principle of sacrifice. ´¨Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven.´´ and President told me that ´´sacrifice is the demonstration of our faith.´´ We cannot have faith without sacrificing something. Just because you have doesn't mean you should take...if you rather give you will be spiritually filled, and receive more to give more, and be a mighty instrument in the Lord's hands. The Lord will always provide for our needs, temporal and spiritual, and will also let us enjoy life -- it is the design of His plan. We will always have happy and joyful moments. But if we follow the Spirit to sacrifice for the more important cause, magnify our callings and fulfill His will, serving others and preparing for others' benefit, we will have a much greater joy. We will truly be experiencing life, making the right decisions in our time of probation, and will be LIVING the gospel of Jesus Christ. To live the gospel means to make the decision to follow the example of Jesus Christ or to not. We must accept Him as our Savior and Redeemer, sacrifice our own natural man and humbly obey His commandments, and this is the only way to truly increase our faith - there is no other way. Accept Him into our life, no matter by what influence it comes from. His light is in many places of this world today, and many feel it. Accept it into your life first, and then persuade your fellowmen to follow this Great Plan. 

I am very sad for our baptism last week, Rosio told us 5 days before that she still doesn't want to be baptized yet. It is so difficult and sad to see people who do not want to exercise their faith - many do not comprehend the blessings they are losing. But if they are not willing to make the first little change, they will not be able to endure to the end, because repentance is a necessary part of enduring to the end. The Duran family that we are teaching should have all of the marriage papers done and settled already this week, and are very desirous to be baptized. They are a wonderful and beautiful family, and I am excited for their future.

I love you all and hope you have the very best week of your whole life!!! Birthday shout-outs to Uncle Ken, who I already emailed, and hope you all follow the example of the Savior this week in every decision you make. Please follow the Spirit and bless someone's life! Bring a soul to church this week!!!

LOVE,

Elder Clarke

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