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

Monday, August 11, 2014

Faith in Christ by Personal Revelation

Dear Family,

Every week, I am more and more grateful to my Heavenly Father for the wonderful parents I have, and for my family and friends. I want you all to know how much I love you, and pray for your spiritual well-being. I am happy to hear about all your experiences in Panama and the summer! And meeting up with my old companions!!! Haha, ohh man. I love every one of them; Elder Durfey, Elder Hartvigsen, and Elder Dunn!! My heart fills with joy to hear that your prayer was finally answered, Mother!! I hope you love that new job. You are a woman of great faith, which I admire so much. 

I feel happy and overwhelmed with all that is going on in life right now! We truly had a very successful week and are excited to keep working with all diligence. All I want to share with you is my testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that it is infinite. I read a talk called ´´The Atonement´´, by Elder Russel M. Nelson, not sure when it was written by this is the subtitle ´´Los propósitos de la Creación, de la Caída y de la Expiación se centran en la obra sagrada que se realiza en los templos de La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ültimos Días.´´ haha. Go read it, it really changed my comprehension of the Atonement. The Atonement really is the test of our faith that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the only one who could atone for our sins being chosen of the Father, and that God is perfect. We must hope for the immortal, and perfection. 

I really came to understand how to have a powerful experience with personal revelation, and to get answers to where I should go and who I should talk with to achieve a goal. I know that He answers prayers if we pray with faith. 

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

Sincerely,

Elder Clarke

PS: something you might find funny, our room has a serious cockroach problem - they're everywhere! The smoke alarm went off 3 times at like 4am one night because many of them crawled inside and were moving around in there. Haha, anyways, I love Chincha a lot it is the promised land!!!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Be Christlike

(This is Elder Clarke's MOM--I just submitted 3 letters from Elder Clarke. Sorry for the delay--I got behind because I was at girl's camp and then Panama with my husband, touring our older son's mission).

Dearest Family,

I love you to death!! I am so happy and smiling with great joy, to see your pictures from Panama!! I'm so excited to hear all about it. :) I have a wonderful family and great parents!! Steve....man. What an inspiring looking man. I love you lots! Thanks for being Christlike, for being a missionary at heart, and for giving your all. I'm excited to share many experiences with you as well that I've had here in Perú. 

Elders Durfey & Clarke
My heart really goes out to Elder Durfey today. Wow, I really got sad when he left. He's a really great guy, and a missionary of excellence. I love that man!! We'll be good friends later on too - I'm grateful I got to be his companion. He teaches the Doctrine of Christ with such clarity and power - directly, with the Spirit piercing to the soul. I have felt like Alma and Amulek, preaching with power throughout the land of Chincha. We've been incredibly blessed by the Lord with all of the success we've been having! The Familia Molina is awesome - so humble and willing to live the gospel. They'll be baptized at the end of the month, as well as a few others. We have a couple of men with a baptism date who are married to less actives and they're progressing in the gospel, it is beautiful. Investigators only progress if they understand the gospel, if they understand the Doctrine. When we teach better, we see better results. Man, how I love to teach. There is no greater joy in my soul!! Preach and testify. There is no greater calling! 

I invite you all to memorize the words of Christ as he explained His Doctrine in the Book of Mormon. 3 Nephi 11:32-41, and 3 Nephi 27:13-22. There is nothing more precious to me in life. 

Elder Rolando is great! He understands english grammar very well writing sentences and reading, grammar and spelling is perfect. He just needs to practice more speaking and listening - we're going to practice a lot. He's from Quito, Ecuador, the mountain area, and comes from a great strong family in the gospel. He's a good, kind, obedient and hard-working missionary. I just need to help him be more direct in teaching and training the zone, and not be a push-over. We have work to do here and I don't want to mess around! We need to help the zone explode. Our ward is absolutely incredible. The bishop has so many Christlike attributes, love fills my heart every time I see him working so diligently and sincerely in the work. He's an older, tender man who is a 6 year convert...? Very humble and willing to do anything. The ward mission leader is named Mario, and he finished his mission 4-5 months ago and is doing a great job helping us. He served in Viña del Mar, Chile. There are a lot of great families who help us, and the members give tons of names! Referrals, and people to teach. It's such a beautiful experience to work here. 

Keep praying that we can find more families, and that the Chincha zone can increase their faith to reach the standards of excellence. I love you all so much! Please actually LIVE the gospel, INCREASE your faith, and REPENT. If you don't know what to repent of, or how, just pray with true intent until the Spirit tells you what to do. And just do it. I love you all, please have the best day ever.

Sincerely,

Elder Clarke

Panama!!!

Dearest family!!

Wowww....I cannot believe that you are in Panama, parents!! You are crazy ;) Steve!!! Man. I love you all, you sent great pictures!!!! Keep telling me about your experiences - they are so inspiring and I love seeing your great example. Steve's a champ.:) He looks different!! His hair and head changed, he's much skinnier and older now! Haha anyways, give that baby a kiss for me! Un beso en la frente!!! ;) I'm so sorrry, I have 0 minutes now, but just know that the only thing you need, in MIssionary work and in life, is the Doctrine of Christ, clearer than mud. and applying it to our needs. I know that our Savior lives, loves us, and wants to heal and help us in all of our problems, but only if we live His doctrine.

Love you all so much!!! Have the best day ever!!!!

Sincerely,

Elder Clarke

PS: We had miracles in our area this week, finding families putting baptismal dates!! Ahhh. Man. Please just pray that we can find families who are ready to live the gospel. Nada mas. Thanks!!!

Chincha!

Dearest Family,

I am having the best day ever!! The gospel of Jesus Christ enlightens my soul! :) We had a wonderful week here in our area, doing good work but we've got a lot more work to do!! I am so excited for everything we are going to achieve here in Chincha. Elder Durfey, really, is a great missionary. I am so blessed and grateful to be with him and learn from him. He is inspiring. Elder Rolando is very good too! Very humble and willing to give. Our ward here is so wonderful!!!! These people have the light of Christ, they're living the gospel and willing and capable of serving in the Work of Salvation, which is their work. The Bishop is a very Christ-like man, and works hard. We're going to help them establish the church here, baptizing, rescuing, and retaining complete families. That is part of President Douglas' vision for the mission. Part of that vision is also that we raise to the spiritual level of the sons of Mosiah, receiving personal revelation, to fulfill our missionary purpose and carrying out with exactness the Apresurar the Work of Salvation. I am so excited!!! I am so ready, to give everything. 

There is a lot of dirt here in Chincha, every day our shoes get dirty! The people are a lot humbler... it smells interesting too. They say that many eat cat down here - but I promise I won't do it! :) I am buying fruits, vegetables, and wheat bread, and trying to eat healthy. I'm always hungry though...we don't have a pensionist! Nobody wants to do it here. I am persuading some members though, we'll see what happens. I promise it will change.

Thank you family for all that you do! I love you all so much, please keep that in mind! I'm gonna send a package of stuff with Elder Durfey and write you all letters! I can't tell you how much I appreciate your emails you write me Steve, I love you a lot. Thank you for the inspirational stories and council you offer from your mission. You're a great missionary, and so is all of my family!! Love you Mother dear, and Dad!! :) Sorry I don't have a lot of time but I'll write letters!! Have fun on your Panama trip and all that you're doing!! Love you all!! Katie Scotty and Adam!! :)

Sincere love,

Elder Clarke