Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Pictures!!

Hello Mother Dear!

How are you doing?! I hope you're having the best day ever!!! :) I got transferred to Ayacucho, the Garcilazo Ward as a Trainer and my new companion is Elder McDonald from North Carolina!! I am so happy and excited, these are going to be the best cambios of my whole mission!! :) I am sending you a picture here of us in our new room pointing to an Ayacucho picture. There's also two more of Christmas decorations in the bus service place - one is of the traditional Peruvian nativity scenes that everybody always has up here, they're classic! And another one of the typical kind of Christmas trees they have up, they're crazy!

Here's the one of my companion and I. Elder McDonald is a super good missionary, I'm really excited!!! He's a go-getter. He's already had one transfer of his training, and I'm just going to finish the last half of it. Here's another really cool picture of the snowy mountains up here on the way up! It was a little over 11 hour drive, and we left yesterday, Sunday at 9:30 pm! Coolest bus ride of my life. Haha.

Anyway, apparently here in this Garcilazo ward there used to be 2 companionships of missionaries, and they just took out the Sisters here because there wasn't a whole lot of support from the ward - it's kinda struggling. Elder Mickelsen told me that's why President sent me here, to light up this ward with fire!! Haha, or in other words, just get it back up and running well. I am so super excited, this is such an amazing opportunity to consagrate myself 100% now in the last transfers of my mission, I am going to work SOOOOO hard!!! I'm super pumped right now. Hopefully we'll get the numbers up and good, baptize families, get the ward council working well again, and get another companionship of Hermanas back in here by the time I leave. I was pondering, praying, writing and reading last night and felt the peaceful assurance of the Spirit of the Lord confirm that I am here to help this ward, and I know there are people waiting for me, needing someone to show Christ-like love and follow-up diligently on their commitments to live the gospel and commandments. I need lots of help from the Lord, keep praying! You are such a wonderful Mother, and I love you a lot. It was so good to see you all on Skype, and thank you so much for the temple bag!! It will be put to good use. Tell all of the family I love them and that I'm coming like a train. Ayacucho is really so beautiful up here! It looks like the canyons of Utah...just a little different, without as many tall pine trees, and a little big more Peruvian with the house styles and the llamas, and alpacas. So sweet. Hopefully I'll be sending even more cool pictures soon! 




Here's a picture of my pensionista abuelita and I, stirring the big pot!! This is how Peruvians cook with leña, or like with a wood fire. HUGE pots, full of spices and flavors that burn for hours, and make tons of food for everyone! Always with these huge spoons - looks like a witch with her pot. Haha. This little lady is the greatest Peruvian old lady ever. We're definitely coming back to her house to eat food, and possibly stay the night. 

The other picture is of the Molina family - they all came to Soyuz, the bus station to see me off when I departed Chincha. Right during their lunch hour, which is sacred for Peruvians! It was a big sacrifice, they gave me presents, and they love us missionaries so much. They were sad but are looking forward to getting sealed next year! They're wonderful, and they loved the presents SO much. All of the kids were so happy, and they were grateful. I saved the last jar of Nutella that you send a while ago and gave it to the Mom, Miluska. She has such a Christ-like love. It was difficult saying good bye to Chincha. But there are even more good things ahead lying in store. Miracles are going to happen here in Ayacucho, I'm certain of it! We're going to fast like no tomorrow. 

Anyways, that's all I'm going to write today and send, I hope it's okay. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SOON!!! I'm going to make cards for you, Dad, and Grandpa, but it probably won't come in time. But anyway, I hope you are all doing good and have the best New Year ever. I'm excited to see the fireworks up here in Ayacucho, it's gonna be awesome! Tell hi to everyone for me, les mando saludos!!! :)

Much Love,
  
Elder Clarke

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Give Everything to the Lord this Christmas

Dearest Family,

I cannot express my great love for you all. Whether I show it at times, or not, please know and never forget how deep and profound my eternal love is for you and that it will never go away as long as I live the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that the Gospel and Plan of Salvation blesses families and that MY FAMILY is VERY EXTREEEMELY BLESSED for it. I could never thank the Lord enough for the blessings given me, because of your love, your support, and your INCREDIBLE dedication to living the gospel and being CHristike that I see in you every single week. Not joking whatsoever, that is the greatest most precious gift to me...bringing me to tears..there's nothing more valuable to me than to see my beloved father and Mom giving absolutely EVERYTHING THEY HAVE, as I have been in the mission. I can imagine my mother with such tender thoughts as she prays her guts out for me every day...there's no price for that. There is no Price for faith - it is a sacrifice and offering of the soul, and heart. I can feel the consagration and spirit of service my wonderful Dad has......really, thank you so much. I can't express the sincerity in my heart as I thank you, Dad, and Mom, for being such wonderful parents, and for giving everything to me while I'm on the mission. There's nothing more I would ever want or ask of you, than for you to be consagrating yourselfs 100% to living the glorious and beautiful Gospel of Jesus Christ, what I so passionately teach to everyone for 2 years. Katie, Scotty, Adam, and my beloved brother Steve, I thank you so much for dedicating yourselves fullly to being true disciples of Christ and seeking all of the good in this world, being involved in wholesome activities to prepare yourselves for a life of service and love to all others and the Savior by living worthy through your lives, the Gospel of Christ, and preparing the foundations for an eternal home. Thank you so much. I don't have anymore time, but just remember this, that THIS is the gift of Christmas we must give to the Savior, our dedication and consagration to living the Gospel and doing all we can to help others be faithful, and true to Him. THat is exactly what I am giving all of you for Christmas this year, my dedication to my Heavenly Father in magnifying my calling with all diligence and righteousness before Him. May we all do the same this year and next year. And every day of our lives. Every day can be Christmas!!!

I love you all so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Merry Christmas! See you on skype in 3 days!!!

Sincerely,

Elder Clarke

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

He is the Gift

Dearest Family,

Merry Christmas to you all! I was so happy to see your lovely photos at temple square and to know that you are loving the Christmas season!! :) You are the best family ever, and I pray frequently that you remember and feel how much I love you all. This past week I have felt strongly the love of God for others..and have been reminded of the importance of Charity. ´´If you have not charity, you are nothing!´´ I know that this is true, Charity is greatest above all things, and never endeth. I have been reflecting on past experiences in my mission and can testify that the experiences I remember most are the times when I am showing true Charity to others and losing myself in true service as a true disciple of Christ, instead of losing myself worrying about things I can't control. I know that when we feel Charity, we are purified, even as Christ is pure. Unless we have Charity we cannot be fully sanctified of our sins by the Holy Ghost. Like President Douglas tells us every week, we must give 100%, give all of ourselves to the Lord in His service, and we do so with true faith, hope, Charity and meekness and humbleness of heart. That will be my gift to the Lord this Christmas, and will also be the gift I receive from Him this Christmas. I love the Lord with all my heart, and his righteousness. I love the Spirit that God sends to us daily - I am so grateful for the Divine Plan. It is a plan of happiness; I know that He is the Prince of Peace. I invite us all to focus one hundred percent on Jesus Christ and His infinite sacrifice for us this Christmas, and make great use of that Gift in our personal life and in the lives of others. Unless we reach the understanding of those around us, we will not be able to express them Christ's love. Let us all bear each other's burdens this year, comfort those who are in need of comfort, and bless those who are in need. 

This past weekend Rubí was baptized and confirmed! I will send a picture. She was a golden referral of an awesome member here in the ward, and it was such an amazing experience to see how much she changed and humbled herself before God to feel His accepting grace. Yesterday just before sacrament meeting, I was asked to give a talk to replace someone who didn't show up, and it was kind of a surprise, but I was so grateful because I'm certain that God poured His Spirit through me to bless all of the ward. It was a great spiritual experience and I know that God loves us greatly. I love the Chincha ward so much!!! 

We can do a skype call either the 22, 23, or 25 I believe, at whatever time we would like. Just tell me when you would like to do it. Might be good Christmas morning like 10 am...or afternoon. I'm down for anything! I'll create a skype account and we'll figure out how to do it. We only have 40 minutes in total. And YES I received the two packages! One with lots of toys for the Molina family, thank you SOO so much!!!° They are going to be so incredibly happy...and also the one with the chocolates and letters! Mother Dearest, thank you sooo so much for sending such good things to give to people here. You are my hero, thank you for being so thoughtful, generous, and charitable. I want to be like you someday! Honestly, thank you. I love you!!! I am going to share all of the chocolates with the peruvian saints here!! :) 

I hope you have such a wonderful week, I love you!!!!

Sincerely,

Elder Clarke

Monday, December 8, 2014

BEST WEEK EVER

Dear Family,

I love you all so much!!! Please don't ever forget it!:) YOu are the best family ever, and I promise I am praying very diligently for all of you. I hope you are having a great Christmas season and that you are remembering the Savior!!! We are supporting a program launched by the Church in all the world to share with everybody ´´´The Gift´´, there is a short video clip..like mormon message, called ´´He is the Gift´´...(Él es la Dádiva) and it's on the front screen of YouTube, and it's a way to get more member referrals and find new investigators and baptize them. I'm so grateful for all of the blessings and resources the Lord has given us to be missionaries of excellence in this historic time in the Work of Salvation. I invite you all to go watch it!!

Dearest Family, I know that very valuable blessings are only received by very difficult sacrifices. I know that if we are suffering spiritually...we must first check if we're being exactly obedient, and if we are doing what we should, wait patiently with perfect brightness of hope and faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ until we are freed from sin and the temptations of the devil. I know that the Gospel is freedom!!! We will be more free as we obey the commandments of God. I know that He lives, and loves us, and comforts us, and feeds us daily. I know that God wants me to obey!!! It is for our eternal welfare. We must reach out with an infinite love, following the example of our Savior, to help them also keep this sacred and respectful relationship between us personally with our Father in Heaven, to be faithful to those promises we have made. THe promise ot repent and give our very best, unto the end!! 
I know that the Spirit is real, and testifies to us what is true. We must give up our own will in faith, and wait for the Spirit to testify personally to us what we must change and do. God loves each one of us individually, and works individually with us, one- by - one. May we all receive the Gift this Christmas season, and give ourselves more unto God. 

I love you all more than I can express. Merry Christmas!!! :)

Sincerely,


Elder Clarke

PS: Here is a picture of the missionaries in my group, at the leadership conference. President Douglas is so awesome!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pictures Mama!

Elders Clarke & Rivas
I already sent you some of these pictures from the p-day activity, right? If I already sent them, I'm sorry! I'm losing my mind!! Anyways...I'm not taking any more pictures than that. Haha. I'm so sorry-! How is everybody doing?? Man..I am worrying so much about Grandpa, it makes me cry every time I think about it. I want to see him again before he passes away. Is he doing fine now? Please pray for him, and all of our family, and for the missionaries! It is hard being a missionary, I was kind of spiritually drained this last week because of so many things going on, and I've been living on a prayer. Haha. It's really hard when my time is so short and we're not having tons of success in the zone and there's so much to do as a zone leader...but I am trying so dearly hard to stay strong!!! Tomorrow is the leadership council and hopefully I'll fill myself up spiritually tomorrow. It's hard staying focused! I'm stressing about the life after the mission...because I know it's gonna be so much harder!! But...I'm excited. I also sent you a package this past week...sorry it's the last opportunity to send something! It's something for each member of the family, really cool. haha I hope you like, take a picture together with them and send it to me! :) I hope it gets to you, pray for that too! Anyways, have the best day ever. I'll write more next week!

Love,

Elder Clarke

Our zone on our last transfer day.