Well, another week has passed. I am starting to become anxious here I think..... I want to go to Panama!! Hah.
This week has gone all right. My language progression has started to slow down though, and that is not good. I have been trying to speak Spanish with my District full-time, but at times I really have struggled lately. But as I rely on The Lord moving forward, I know he can help me. Under "Prayer" in the bible dictionary, it tells us that He is waiting to bless me - all I have to do is ask... and then DO. Never forget the DO part. Faith is a principle of action. I am continuing to learn through the scriptures, PMG, and most importantly, turn to my Father in Heaven for help every day! I am just happy I get to go to the Temple today and refocus. It's been closed the past two weeks!! (Because of Christmas and such) So I have been itching to go back :)
I want to tell you about an AMAZING experience I had on Monday. So Elder Paskett and I were teaching an investigator named Martha. Martha (about 17) had read the BOM, and knew she needed to get baptized, but was really struggling to commit to it. So we were in the midst of a lesson trying to help her recognize why she needed to take that "leap of faith", so to speak, and come unto Christ through baptism. She finally agreed that she knew she needed to get baptized, and said she would - but then the real concern came out. She was worried about her family and friends accepting her and what people would think of her at school. As she was explaining this, I had the impression to flip open to D&C 122. I then proceeded to share a portion of the last verse of that chapter with her which states: "Fear not what man can do....". As I read these last few lines of a chapter that talks all about Joseph Smith and his experiences in Liberty Jail, The Spirit poured over the room!! It was so incredible. She even started crying! It was EXACTLY the scripture she needed to hear, and she shortly thereafter committed to a date for baptism. How incredible The Spirit is. If we are open to It, and listen to It's promptings, He will guide the lesson, and help the investigators hear what they need to hear. It was a perfect confirmation to me that I am doing the right things out here, and that I am worthy of The Spirit's promptings. I am so glad The Lord trusts me enough to have His Spirit work through me. It was special, folks.
Now a few fun things that have happened. Me and my fellow Panamanians found a native!! From Panama! He grew up there and his family is there. He is a teacher here at the MTC, and served his mission in Phoenix. His name is Hermano Reading, but has lots of family back in Panama by the last name of Lezcano. It was so fun to talk to him. He told us a whole bunch of stuff about what to expect, he showed us pictures, and ya. Just a sweet guy. This past week I also saw Elder Garrison Elliott! He was in my study group in Sociology at BYU. I saw him at a devotional from across the room, and went up and talked to him! It was kind of a cool reunion :) Another Elder, Elder Zack Gillies arrived at the MTC this week. Football guy from AF. He's goin to Anaheim, and he's super-excited to be here. Lastly, I saw Daniel Rellaford! What a guy. He works here, and I saw him on my way to lunch a few days ago. He said he'd say hi to you guys for me :)
Oh!! I almost forgot!! Last Saturday while I was playing ball at gym, Elder Ralph and I head-butted by accident, and my head got sliced open. To make a long story short, I GOT TO GO GET STITCHES!! Four stitches above my left eyebrow. It was super-fun :) I think Satan is trying to annoy me by hurting me. But it doesn't phase me. I like scars. I will send a picture :)
Thanks for sending me that excerpt from Elder Alley, Mom. I can't wait to go!!! I think it's cool The Amazing Race was in Panama too! Thanks for watching it for me, everyone :)
Sorry that this email isn't longer, but I'm all out of time! Hope you are all doing well and I love you all!!! So much! Keep reading the scriptures and praying fervently! Personally and as a family! They are the base of living the gospel.
- Elder Clarke
P.S..... I found out that when I leave for Panama, they only allow me two suitcases, not three. So before I leave I will send the littlest one home with Sis. Belliston with some stuff I won't need in Panama. Speaking of her, thank you for sending my watch!!!! Mom and Dad, you're the best :) Also, the sweats are sweet. And the medicine. Thanks so much guys - really!
P.S.S...... I almost forgot to mention New Years! Sorry haha. I just went to bed at 10:30 - it wasn't anything too special. Hope yours was great! I hope Dave got a New Years kiss, and I can't believe it's already 2012!!