Monday, February 23, 2015

Real Repentance



Dear Family and Friends,

This has been a very memorable week of the mission. I am so very thankful to represent Jesus Christ, and to treat others as He would treat them. I testify of the immense love that God has for each one of us; I have felt it and see it in the eyes of the Peruvians. I know that the greatest joy of all comes from a true process of repentance, a real peace that lasts forever. I know that living the gospel isn't as easy as we sometimes make it seem; repentance is a painful experience that brings us the remission of our sins. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that through His Atonement we can always be forgiven of our sins - anything. He has felt it all, and wants to help us. The Gospel is so beautiful, and I am eternally grateful for Repentance in our eternal Plan of Salvation. 

We have seen that Fermin and Mariela may need a longer time to have a true repentance process, and I am grateful to let it happen. We learn in 2 Ne. 30:2 that ´´God does not make covenants with anyone who doesn't repent.´´ We can't have a spiritually positive and truly lifting experience with making or renewing a covenant unless we have a true repentance process. I know that THAT is what brings lasting joy, happiness, and an incredible peace in our lives. That's all I want for people in this world, and I know that's all that Christ really wants too. Let us be sensitive to others' spiritual needs and help them have a true experience with repentance, so that they may find rest in their souls, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sincerely,

Elder Clarke

Monday, February 16, 2015

God hastens His work.

Dearest Family and Friends,

I am so grateful to be serving here in Ayacucho. There's never been a better time in my life! I am SO happy, every day. I know with all my heart that God is the one who hastens His work; this is not our work, and although we may have an important part to help out with it it is not ours. HE hastens HIS work. I testify that He has prepared so many wonderful people and it's a joyous blessing to be a part of it. I know with all of my heart that joy and satisfaction are found in the FULL, consagrated service of others. We must give our whole lives in service for others' benefit. What a wonderful time this is in my life. 

Elders Clarke & Nunez
We have 2 families of 4 assisting church, progressing, and they have a marriage and a baptismal date. Please pray for them!!! Fermín, had his plan to formally ask Mariela to be married on the knee and everything on the 14 of February. Yesterday after Elders Quorom he came up to us and told us she accepted, and that they are having a much better relationship and very happy. He invited us out to lunch tomorrow where he will formally ask permission to Mariella's mother to be married. Really, they are both changing and repenting to be able to resolve their problems, and it is an incredible change to see. Wow. This man, Fermin, has such a strong testimony of the restored gospel and Book of Mormon. At the beginning, he didn't want anything to do with the Book of Mormon. The missionaries visited him and he just wanted to Bible-bash. I testify that as we show our love to investigators, our patience and understanding, and we suffer with them, they change, and it's a true repentance. It's a true and powerful change of heart carried out by the Holy Spirit. We didn't say anything in our first 3 lessons with him except for reading chapters of the Book of Mormon together - nothing more, to help him understand it, and left commitments to read it. He kept his commitments, and now tells us that baptism with the correct authority is vital for him and his family. Their baptismal date is the 21 of March, which just happens to be the very last day I'll be here in Ayacucho. He is so excited, and I cannot express the emotions I have for all of this. Every moment of every day, all day long I am just thinking about these wonderful investigators we have...how glorious their baptisms will be...how to help them..and I can already see them getting sealed in the temple. I ask you all to PLEASE pray for this family that they will make their baptismal date! And that they can get married in time! I was worried...maybe they would have enough time to get married, but apparently it'll only be a process of about 2 weeks. Pray, and if possible fast! whatever you can do. They are wonderful people that I have come to love so much. 

Elder Nunez cleaning the bathroom!

The other family is Reynaldo and Raida and their two kids. They are such spiritual and faithful people, and have their plans also to get baptized - very good friends with the Bishop and his wife. Their kids are going on the young mens campout today and tomorrow. So sweet!!! My companion is the best companion ever. Really...he impresses me every new day. He maybe doesn't have a firm testimony yet...cuz he's a very new member, but has the strongest desire of anyone I've ever seen to learn all he can and get converted. In our companionship studies...unto tears, he asks me to teach him more, and does everything he knows how to do. It's a little hard for him to understand....(very..low educated I can tell) and requires lots of patience, but it's a joy for me. These are my favorite kind of companions. He's wonderful, and is a great example to the people we are teaching. 

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support; I know that God is working miracles here because of it. I love you all more than I can express, keep doing all that you can, for anyone you can, to help feel the love of God. I know that it is great, greater than any other feeling I've ever experienced, and it fills my heart to a fullness of joy. Let us share this with all, with great passion and the Spirit this week! Have the best day ever!!!!

Sincerely,

Elder Clarke

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Buenas Tardes!!!!

I am SOOO happy and excited for this last cambio!!!! I am training a brand new Elder, Elder Nuñez from Bolivia! He is SUCH a good guy, I couldn't be happier. Very humble of heart, focused, ready, willing and desirous to learn and work hard, everything I need for my last cambio to just give my all and be 100% consagrated and obedient. It's truly the best day ever. :) Haha, President and Sister Douglas always comment that to the other missionaries too, that every day's the best day ever! Really, there are a lot of awesome focuses changing in the mission and I'm ready to just give it all. 

My companion apparently was baptized when he was 14, and his parents were separated and both moved away to different places the majority of his life....(I think before he was baptized..not sure). His dad is somewhere in Brazil and his mother lives in Spain. I think they're members..but inactive. Anyways, he is the only brother and has 4 sisters, he's the second oldest, and sounds like he was pretty much in charge of caring for them. He's a hard-worker, and notes that he's had a great change. Apparently he wasn't a super good kid when he was a teenager, maybe didn't make the best choices, and just barely reactivated about a year ago and has a super strong testimony and desire to share the gospel. I love him a lot already. :) He speaks perfect portuguese!! And...yeah. 

Also, our area split cuz we had so many awesome investigators! Two hermanas are here in the ward now...with fuego. Really good missionaries, I'm excited to work with them, and we have a good district and zone. Please pray for our investigators that they'll get married and baptized this transfer...it's ALL I want!!! This transfer's got to be the harvest!!! :)
I love you all so much, thank you so much for all your support! Keep living worthy of God's immense blessings He wants to give us, and give your all! All your love, and all of your will to being EXACTLY obedient, diligent and faithful! Have the best week ever!!! :) I LOVE YOU ALL!

Sincerely,


Elder Clarke

PS: Happy Birthday this week, Grandma Dearest!!! Your letters should be arriving this week!

Monday, February 2, 2015

We are called to Help others Come unto Christ

Dear Family,

It has been an absolutely wonderful week. We've been blessed with many teaching and finding opportunities and had a great number of investigators at church again!! We have a couple who has accepted baptism and look forward to a temple marriage, and many other miracles by God this week. I could not be more grateful for this time of my mission, always at the end is when God uses you to reap the harvest that He has so mercifully prepared!!! We are very sad to only have 1 more week together as companions, Elder McDonald is the bomb!!! Thank you for all of your prayers of support and love for the missionaries; I know that God hears and answers your prayers because of your great faith and hope that His glorious work hastens in these latter days. Please pray that all of these wonderful investigators will come to have a strong desire placed by the Spirit to keep the commandments we teach them for themselves, especially to get married and be baptized.

I have learned this week from teaching many people that we cannot force the Gospel onto anybody. No matter how good or in line with God's will our intentions or desires are, we cannot expect someone to live it just because we tell them. That's never what God had in mind. I know that He sent His Only Begotten Son to experience every one of our trials and challenges and suffer the punishment of our sins to know how to help us to change and repent WHEN WE DESIRE STRONGLY AND DECIDE TO, with undoubting faith. Once we repent and put our will in-line with God's, miracles happen. The greatest of those miracles is often the warm surety in our very souls that God forgives our sins, and remembers them no more. Of this I testify with all of my heart, that God forgives those who come unto Him with a broken heart and a contrite Spirit. I know that God lives, and that He eternally loves each one of us despite our decisions, and constantly persuades us to come unto Him to be saved. I know that this is God's work, and that if we do not know how to do it in His holy and sometimes more difficult way, which is not our way, we will experience this great joy we gain from serving others with love and HELPING THEM to live the gospel. I am not called only to preach it, but to persuade with the love of the Spirit that they may keep the commandments for themselves and be converted (see John 7:17). I love you all and testify that God has forgiven me of my many errors, and that He will still sustain me through my weaknesses to bring to pass His glorious work, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder Clarke

PS have the best week ever!!!