Saturday, July 12, 2014

Dearest Family,

I have a cambio! I am SO excited! Guess who my companion will be?!?! Elder Durfey, from American Fork Utah! I'm going to Chincha as a Zone Leader and will be in a trio with Elder Rolando from Ecuador as well! I am really excited, I know that this is an inspired cambio. I was so nervous before just because I didn't know..but the Spirit confirms to me that there is a great purpose and I am excited. Nobody ever knows what's going to happen with the transfers, and that's the best part! This will be a wonderful opportunity to repent and exercise a lot more faith in Jesus Christ. 

So...after so much prayer, dedication, and following up, the Duran Family wasn't able to finish their marriage papers in time to be baptized this week. I know and trust in the will of God - the Spirit testifies of the truth and comforts my soul. Now I just need to learn how to keep trusting always in the will of the Lord, even when it is difficult to accept. I need to learn to accept it a lot more easily into my life. But I love this family so much that we are teaching, they are going to get baptized and sealed in the temple and I'll remember them and their exemplary diligence and sacrifice forever. I hope Nelson and Diegito become missionaries! I am 150% certain that they will be a family incredibly blessed for all the long way they have come in the gospel now. They are amazing! I am so grateful for all of the members of this Bolognesi Ward, and all of the people I was able to meet and to all of the people to which I was able to bear testimony. I am eternally grateful for my mission, the things I've learned, the servant I've become, and the people I've inspired. 

I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored in its fullness, and I know that it is truer than true. I know that there is no way to be saved in the kingdom of heaven unless God's children exercise faith enough to repent and forsake their sins, sacrifice to leave their carnal desires behind, and humbly follow the example of our Savior until the end. The perfect example Jesus gave us was not just to be baptized, but to be obedient in ALL of the commandments of the Father. I testify that once a person makes a sacred covenant with God is the moment that they begin their spiritual journey, which is the only strait and narrow path that leads to salvation. May we ever press forward with great hope, diligence, faith and charity, helping all of those good hearted but weary men to march onward with great joy. 

Please have the best day ever! I love you all so much! Keep living the Doctrine of Christ every day of the week, studying it, praying to understand it better, and applying it. I pray for the well-being of all of my beautiful family. 

By the way, I must comment before I finish. Yesterday I had extra time in the office and grabbed the ´´My Family´´ pamphlet that is being given out to the new members now to fill out their family history, and I filled it all in with the good digits and even with pictures. I testify that I felt a special and unique, beautiful Spirit as I took time to care about my ancestors. I don't know them that well! And I want more. Grandparents, I'm coming to you after the mission, all of them! I want to know really who these people were, and what they stood for in life. Please if you can send pictures of grandparents Bell, the parents of my Dad, all the grandparents of Dad and all the grandparents of Mom so that I can print them out and complete my booklet. Getting to know people deeply (especially when they're very different from you...from older time period, or another country, etc.) helps you to come to a firmer decision about your own personal standards, and testimony. I know that Family History can be a powerful tool to help us finally come to our conversion in the Restored Gospel and Church of Jesus Christ. I was writing down the testimony of my dear parents in that book, and it made me even eternally more appreciative of them, they're outstanding example from the rest, for all of their love, care, service, and most of all their testimonies. I know that my Mom and my Dad are converted disciples of Christ and they will be eternally blessed for their sacrifice in the Church and for living the Gospel. You have no idea how much that means to me, truly - it brings me to tears. I love you both a lot more than you probably understand. Thank you for raising me up in a way that has helped me come to a strong relationship with my Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the sacred Gift of the Holy Ghost. This is my eternal joy. 

Have the best day ever. :)

Love,

Elder Clarke
 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Dear Family,

This was the best week ever!!! I can honestly say that I feel the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, it is such a precious gift that I enjoy every day of my life. I know this gospel is real and can be applied to us with our sacrifice, and I know that the Spirit is real. I hope you have all felt it more this week!

Rosio's Baptism!
So on Thursday night we were visiting Rosio, who's been preparing for baptism for a bit now, she was going to be baptized next Saturday, but she asked if she could this Saturday! It was surprising, but yeah, she was ready and she did it! I am sooo happy that family is all in the church now, it's incredible the change we've seen in that home. It was certain that she was ready to make that covenant after seeing the look in her eyes and the Spirit she felt after the talk her son gave in the service. The Spirit prepares people to make covenants and accept commitments to live the gospel, to accept the invitation to follow Jesus Christ and keep His commandments, just as He kept every commandment of the Father. When people have the true and sincere desire, they can do anything with their faith. The Spirit inspires us, and gives us good desires. It is a gift for the good decisions we have made, and our faithfulness. If we have been good people, the Spirit will present us the opportunity to repent in our time. I have such hope and faith for all to receive these great tidings - and I will not rest until all those around me have my personal invitation. The Spirit changes people. It all starts with the Spirit! We have to recognize it, understand how it feels, and NOT reject it. I am so grateful for it's divine guidance in my life, I am learning more and more how to receive more specific revelation for the benefit of His children. The Spirit is real. 
Elder Clarke & Elder Groves celebrate July 4th in Lima, Peru!
They printed a picture of the flag and sang patriotic hymns.

Elder Clarke on his 20th Birthday!
Please, please pray and fast for the Durán family, they have the goal to get all their papers done and be baptized next Saturday, and they are so pumped!! It's amazing - Rosario is more active than more than half the members. Their family is amazing. I want to see them get baptized so badly, because the moment and tenderness of the Spirit I felt during the baptismal service today was the most priceless joy I've felt, and my sincere love goes out to them. What a beautiful work this is, to see people make covenants. I know that Repentance is possible to all those who feel the Spirit, accept it's promptings with much faith. I know God loves us and is ready and willing and wanting to forgive. The Atonement is powerful.

This week the Lunts got here to the office! The new couple who are replacing the Alkema's. I love the Alkemas and am sad they are leaving! They'll be done next week, and I'll leave the office, and Elder Fiallos too I think. Anyways, it's been a great time here and I'm truly grateful for the trials I've been given, because it makes the good moments so much sweeter. 

Elder Clarke playing the keyboard at a Zone Conf.
We went to these awesome ruins of Pachacamac today, it was really fun! More than anything, it was kind of like a hike again out in open spaces - that was my favorite part. And there are beautiful sights to see here in Peru - it is an incredibly interesting country, I still can't believe it after a year and a month. The people here are so different in personality; they have a different type of natural man, because their hearts are SO open, willing, and ready to give outward right when you give them your Full attention. They'll do anything for you or give anything to you. They just want to share - it's like a hobby here, like an activity..pasttime, fun thing to do. It doesn't make sense to gringos. But I am very blessed to be here. :) I am being changed, and becoming more loving because of all the love they have for me as a missionary in Peru. 

Hope you have the best week ever!!! I'll keep praying and fasting for you Mother Dear! ;) Keep having fun with all of the summer activities little children, I loved the photo you sent me I cracked up! No mother, I don't know my transfer yet, who I'll be with or where I'll be going, but I'll tell you next week. :) Oh, and with the Familia Matienzo, the golden lesson we had on my birthday, we haven't been able to have another lesson this week with them after many efforts, but we have one tomorrow with them, and another golden referral of a family. Anyway, keep living the Doctrine of Christ. This is our vision in the Peru Lima South Mission: 

´´Subir al nivel espiritual de los hijos de Mosíah estando bajo el influjo del Espíritu Santo (recibiendo revelación personal) continuamente para lograr nuestro objetivo (PME P.1) con poder y establecer la Iglesia más completamente siguiendo con exactitud el ´´Como Apresurar la Obra de Salvación´´, bautizando, rescatando, y reteniendo familias completas.´´

I love it, and it sticks in my mind. Sorry, don't have time to translate it. Love you all with all my heart!!!!!

Elder Clarke