Monday, January 26, 2015

Miracles of Service

I hope you love this picture with all of your heart, might, mind, and soul. In the container is a cake that Elder McDonald made for me last night. He is such a wonderful companion, he cooks for me every single day!!! Lunch and dinner. He is awesome. Anyways, this is a cake that is made in the microwave. The ingredients include a couple spoons of flour, a couple of sugar, a couple of chocolate powder, one egg, a bit of milk, a bit of vanilla, a bit of vegetable oil, and you stir it all together, and put it in the microwave for 3 minutes. It's AWESOME. I highly advise to all of my siblings to try this experiment, it's got my guarantee. I'm so going to do it when I get home too. You'll also be getting some more pictures shortly from Alicia or Luis Perez, who are our pensionists on weekends. They made cui for us (hamster), that they had grown at home! Super good...like chicken. They have a beautiful view from their house.
 This week has been absolutely wonderful. We have found lots of escogidos, and we have accomplished our goals in almost every indicator, working hard and seeing God's grace and miracles, builds my faith, and with many goals we have exceeded greatly! The greatest miracle was that with much effort from committing many members (about 8) we had a grand total of 15 investigators in the chapel, and there were still like 5 plans that fell through. We're helping some good families to get married, and we've put two more firm baptismal dates, having daily contact with them and truly helping them experience repentance. We feel an exceedingly great joy in our labors in Ayacucho, every day is the best day ever! I know the Spirit has been guiding us on many occasions. I'll tell of one experience. 

On Thursday, we didn't have a service planned, and didn't really know what to do. Well, we got dressed and went out to get some copies of some papers for the Area Book, and saw they were moving their Librería store and asked if we could help. They asked us desperately if we would, and we dropped everything there and helped them the rest of the morning. We really felt a great Spirit giving service because they had a great need and were very grateful. They needed to get everything moved out by Sunday because of the monthly rent and would have had to do it all day Sunday, but we helped them get it done faster. They graciously accepted our invitation to visit them, and the next day we taught the whole family and other friends as well. On Sunday, they came to church and had a spiritual experience, and we have a family night planned with them tonight with a good member family. My heart is grateful to God and His goodness for memorable experiences such as this!

We were not able to reach our January baptism goal because the 2 investigators with fecha who were progressing we had planned went to Lima for a month for medical problems. We have almost reached our goal for Rescatados, just need to more who we have planned for this week, and we have everything planned well for next month's goals.

An investigator with baptismal date, named Brayann, turns 20 years old this Saturday, came searching for us to ask to be baptized. He's wonderful and having a real experience with repentance. We minister to him daily! And we go running together with him in the mornings at 6am. Hopefully I'll get more in shape, ha. Fermín's doing well...his whole family is going to church devotedly...but it's a little difficult for him to get married, please pray without ceasing for them that they can have the desire to be married. We fasted for them this week for that cause while we did the service, and we've been teaching so many lessons (like over 30) that we get back home every night exhausted. Keeping everything nice and organized in our huge room and Area Book too. Ayacucho is the promised land. The ward is so strong, the members help out so much, and God is preparing so many people! I could not praise God enough, or give Him enough thanks, for we see miracles daily. Literally, every day. Expect miracles. I know that God works miracles in our lives because of our faith, and that ''if the power and gifts of God shall be done away among you, it shall be because of unbelief.'' 

Sundays are my absolute favorite days in the mission because I am completely focused on others and forget myself totally. Always telling investigators to come over here for their class, to meet members, explaining what is happening and ministering and teaching to their needs by the Spirit, and helping everyone else to have a spiritual experience...really, I am filled with the Spirit and a great joy and peace. It is beautiful. I have a strong testimony of Service, that it is the way to happiness. The thing that makes me most happy and is delightable to focus on is the specific needs of each person, to help them increase their faith, hope and charity and understand God's will and to help them feel the Spirit, and God's eternal love. That's all I need in my life to come; opportunities to serve. That's my only desire. I never need focus on seeking my own will or accomplishments but to help others, and He will make me into something greater than what I would. I love my God with all my soul, and am completely positive that He exists, and loves us, and that His commandments are true. Of these things I testify in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sincerely,

Elder Clarke

Monday, January 19, 2015

Best week ever!!!

Dear Family!!
Elders Clarke & McDonald

I love you all so much and am grateful to hear about you all and your lives. So grateful that our Heavenly Father answered your prayers, Katie and Mom! And Steve...you are so awesome for doing great in school, hopefully I can be as awesome as you!

Here are a few pictures. Here's one of us in a restaurant and I am not smiling and my companion is! Haha, he tricked me. Funny story about that food picture. We ordered hamburgers...and about 20 minutes later they let us know that they were out of hamburger buns...and just told us they'd give us extra fries. Hahaha it was so funny, and really good. There's another one of a huge Christ statue in Huanta, the furthest part away from Ayacucho! I was there for 2 days on an intercambio, it was awesome. 

Anyways, I have very short time, but this has been a great week. We have seen great numbers and tons of awesome missionary experiences and opportunities, but we're learning by the Spirit that we need to seek more inspiration and His guidance to know who is really ready and prepared to make and keep covenants, and to work more efficiently. I am so grateful for this time to be a missionary and want to see families baptized and making eternal covenants!!!! This week we had the chance to visit one of our awesome investigators, Fermìn, with President Douglas and the stake counselor!!! It was such a spiritual lesson and he is so excited to go to church. Please pray so so so hard for his wife Mariela that they can fix their problems and both be baptized, there's nothing I want more, they're so great!!!

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

Sincerely, Elder Clarke




Monday, January 12, 2015

The Lord Requires Exact Obedience

Dear Family of Mine!

Buenos días!! I am so thankful to receive your emails, your faith and support every week. Thank you for praying for me and being such great examples as parents, I love you both. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOTHER DEAR!!!!! I truly hope you had the best day ever, and that you had peace. Truly, I feel SOOO happy seeing that picture of my family by your birthday cake, we have such a beautiful and wonderful family, and I love you all more than you know. Love is such a strong power. I have had many experiences this week and last week just expressing to our investigators that we are leaving them these commitments to pray, read the Book of Mormon and go to church and be baptized because we truly love them and want what's best for them. I have never felt the Spirit testify through me stronger than those moments, and I know with all of my heart that God loves His children and wants them to feel His love. I know that He requires us to live His law, because He is Holy, and when we do we will be sanctified by His Holy Spirit and feel His love. I have never seen people change so much as they have felt this love of God. I think Charity is one of my favorite parts of Missionary Work. We do not do this work for any other reason, nor does God do it for any other reason, except for that He loves His children and wants them to be saved, and we should too. There are some investigator families and incomplete member families here in our ward that have been old investigators and haven't progressed, and one family in particular who are super, super awesome, we are teaching. The father is named Fermin and has been very religious in another religion and has tons of questions about the Book of Mormon, but is very sincere and kind. We testified so strongly of God's love for him and showed him that love by calmly reading the Book of Mormon with him and helping him see how it testifies of Jesus Christ (especially 1 Nephi 10), and answering his questions. He is now progressing and hopefully will be willing to be baptized, but we have seen a great change in him and I am grateful. Also the same way in another case, where the father didn't want to change or be baptized, and we explained Moroni 8 to him to help him more fully understand what a covenant is, and testified of it with great love, and he has actually committed to being baptized with a specific date. Last night we also found this young father, who works alone in an apartment building, and his wife and 1 year old kid are currently in the jungle, and he expressed to us how much he misses them and feels alone. It was amazing how we could relate that to the love that Heavenly Father has for him and how that comes from the gospel, and he felt so much love, and also committed to baptism. I am so eternally grateful to testify boldly to people of God's love and of His true doctrine. I am so excited to come to know more fully the character of God. I love this scripture, D&C 41:5 ´´el que recibe me ley, y la guarda, tal es mi discípulo´´. Also as seccion 93 teaches us, we cannot receive any more to experience His glory if we are not obedient in everything that we have received. The Savior taught us by the example, that it is received ´´grace upon grace.´´ I am so thankful to have this sacred calling from God, to preach with power and authority from God, to help all come unto Him and be saved. This is the same calling that the sons of Mosíah received, and I will ever strive to magnify it with all diligence. This is my life-long calling, to testify of Christ in all things, and all places, and to apply the Doctrine to their needs with great charity.

Keep the faith, and stay strong! If you are not exactly obedient in all things you will not receive more of the Spirit. Be prepared in all times, in all things, and in all places to help those around you with that Spirit you receive. Obey to share Christ's light with others, and do it because you love the light and truth, and love Him. I love you all so much!!! Have the best day ever!!! 

Sincerely,

Elder Clarke

PS: the floor is going to look so great, I'm so excited!!!!!

Monday, January 5, 2015

BEST FAMILY EVER!!!

Dear family!!!

Here are the other pictures, so you can see an even better view of Ayacucho. There was a nice little rainbow yesterday! Haha, it rains a TON here in Ayacucho. A few days ago..we were getting soaked by the rain for like 3 hours at night because we forgot the umbrella. Haha. So awesome! I actually love it. We've been contacting and talking with SOO many people! Much support from the members, it was an awesome day at church yesterday. We even got a couple good families there. It's so good to hear from you all, I'm glad you had such a great Christmas! I hope everything goes well for you all as you go back to work and school that you may have great success!! You are all in my prayers. 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my dearest Grandfather, Mother Dear and Father in this week!! I am so grateful for each one of you and love you lots! :) I will be sending you a card soon! I don't have much time I am very sorry, but I just want to share my testimony with you that I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, and that he was divinely called of God to do a great work in restoring Jesus Christ'
s true church in these latter days. I am so grateful for the scriptures and all of the prophecies we have to read about the Scattering and Gathering of Israel in these last days, and I know that we will experience that joy as we do all of our part in helping His work go forth.

I love you all and have the best week ever!!!

Sincerely,

Elder Clarke