Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Man, I am FULL. Before I say anything I´d like to tell Grandpa that I finally took his advice and went and had a good lunch with my companion with the money he sent me. We went to Johnny Rocket´s here in the mall and we are stuffed. Thank you Grandpa. Wish you were here.
Elder Cuellar & Elder Clarke
right well this week was a tough one, I won´t lie. This is our second rough Sunday in a row. Even more, remember Joli? She was (is) SUPER ready to get baptized - we had her interview set up and everything, and then she talked to her mom about it and her mom didn't permit her to get baptized. Here´s the jist: she's 19, so technically she could go against her mom´s wishes without getting in trouble, but she decided better (and we agreed), that for now it would be better to wait (she still lives in her mom´s house). We were kinda frustrated though cuz it was definitely out of nowhere. For now, we´re gonna try teachin the mom now if she´ll let us. Joli´ll get baptized with time though, I am confident in that. 

Speaking of baptism, wanna hear some good news?! I called Penonomé yesterday to see how some people were doing, and bueno, I don´t know if you guys remember Lina - she´s the mom of the girl we baptized and had many spiritual experiences with. En aquel entonces, couldn't get baptized because she was having some serious marital problems. Well, when I called yesterday she told me she finishing the marriage papers and now should soon be getting baptized! They put sisters in my old area and the sisters and working with her and everything! Whoo! I knew baptizing Abdianis was the start of something special. 

Some quick stuff for the week: I am eating up the new testament and will be in Revelations by the end of today. John the Beloved is awesome - I've been studying up on him and Judas and all of those guys with the help of the scripture guide in the back. Also, I had an awesome division this week with Elder Cuellar from Guatemala - I went to his area (Don Bosco). We contacted a TON that day and had some sweet experiences. A special lesson we had was an old guy that came to the door and couldn't speak. He wasn't gonna let us in because we couldn't really communicate. Well, we insisted and so he finally let us in. It turns out that he could hear perfectly fine - but couldn't speak - his voice box had been removed I´m assuming. Anyway, it was just a really special lesson because he was so humble! Every time we asked him a question, or he wanted to comment, he just wrote it down on a piece of paper. It was a really quite, spiritual lesson. It just made me think in the love of Jesus Christ. I feel like I was able to feel a little bit of Christ-like love toward that man. It didn't matter that he couldn't talk - I know Christ still loves him just as much as me and so I tried to love him like that too. It was cool. 

While I´m talking about cool contacting stories I´ll just finish up with another one that Elder Follette and I had. Yesterday in my morning prayer, I prayed way hard and was asking God if I could see a miracle that day. Well, a couple weeks ago we had contacted this Nicaraguan lady and had a really cool lesson with her. Well, when we went back she was never home until we went back yesterday - and she still wasn't there! But what happened is this time here husband came to the door, and let us right on in without any prior conversation! Just so humbly let us into his home. As we talked, we found out there are like 6 Nicaraguans living in that house, and that they all just recently arrived here in Panama. They are renting a house and they came here for work. Anyway, the cool thing is missionaries in Nicaragua were visiting them in January of this year before they came here! They have a Book of Mormon and everything. We had a lesson with the husband - Keyton - and his cousin, Brusly. We put a fecha for the 16 of June! Super great hopes we've got here. Now let´s just hope they´re married :) It was a super great experience though and I know it was an answer to the prayer I had prayed that morning. God is so merciful with us and will work with us according to our faith. 

OK last thing - it just reminded me of something else. Faith. This morning as we were preparing for our temple session, (that´s why I´m writing today btw - we went to the temple today! I love being in the city :)) I had a great conversation with Elder Hinckley from Evanston, Wyoming. He has about 4 months in the mission and was telling me recently how he has received such a boost of testimony in the principle of faith. Well, I don´t know if you guys remember, but early in my mission, I too, had super awesome faith testimony building experiences. As he recounted what he'd learned, it brought my testimony of that subject back to full-light. It also helped me learn something new. At some point - and many points - in our lives, God will help us gain a testimony of a certain principle. However, after that principle is learned, He expects us to USE it, and APPLY it. OFTEN. I feel like I had let my testimony of faith (and more the practice of it) "get rusty", so to speak. I had "puttin it on the shelf" and kinda forgot about it. It motivated me to look back and brush up on my spiritual experiences more often and continue to apply them. 

Well, I´m glad I was finally able to get a long letter in - it´s time to go now though! Next week should be good - we´re planning a temple trip with investigadores with President and Sister Ward. I love you all!! Have a wonderful week!


Elder Clarke

P.S... wha?? Dave has a CAR in the mission?! Not fair. Haha. Congrats though, Dave, on arriving to Oregon. Aren't plane rides the best? WORK HARD!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Otra Semana

President Ward shining Elder Steve Clarke's shoes.
Bueno, this week has been a little slower.... I dunno why but it seems like forever since I talked to ya`ll last Sunday. I will admit I was sad not to be able to talk to Gma, Gpa, etc... :( But I`ll see you all in like 6 months por alli! :) Real quick I just wanna wish a happy late birthday to SCOTTY! Already a teenager?? What is happening! I remember when you were born! Congrats though, buddy - your nike frees are sick. :) Also, CONGRATSSS to Dave for getting to go to Oregon! That`s so cool! Like, for real. I always wondered what it would be like to be a missionary in the United States - now Dave, you`ll have to let me know. Way to go, dude. 

         So this week was a big week of changes. On Wednesday, we had cambios, and everyone went to new areas and such. Elder Follette and I will be staying together another change, but OH how the rest of our zone changed. I`m gonna try to make a good simile to explain what happened on Wednesday.... I feel like I was placed back in 1992 in the Barcelona Olympic games when they announced they`d let professionals play bball, and therefore, the DREAM TEAM was created. I feel like the coach. President gave us all the tools to bring home gold..... ok, so I hope that made sense, but if not - my zone is AMAZING!!!! We now have an ex-assistant here that is gonna come finish his mission in our zone, as well as two former zone leaders who are also leaving soon. What an unbeatable squad! The whole mission knows that PARAÎSO is the tightest zone in the mission... hahaha. Also new here in the zone is an Hermana Tryon from Arizona? She said she shared a bunk-bed in the MTC with Savannah Kendall! Ha! So crazy. She`s in my ward now. 
Elder Follette & Elder Clarke at a service project.
     Allright so apart from that we had an allright week proselyting.... it was kinda slow, I don`t know why, but we didn't have the success we had in sacrament meeting last week. Looks like we`ll have to re-group and try again. Also, I am CRAVING the New Testament - for real though. I`m currently in Hebrews and I`m just flying through the books. I can`t wait to start reading Revelations again. I've found a scripture that I REALLY love: 2nd Corinthians 6:11-12.... I don`t know if it`s the same in english but in spanish it is awesome. Look it up if you've got time. 

Elder Steve Clarke     

         Well, I just completed my 18 month mark.... so nuts! Where has the time gone?! I can`t believe I've already been out here so long! I don`t wanna get closer to going home... gotta aprovechar my time out here!!!! Well, I know this is a really lame letter - but my time is up. I will talk to ya`ll next week. I love you all so much!!!!! Too much. Well, until later.
Elder Clarke

Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy Mother`s Day!

Heeeey! How are you guys doin?!? I absolutely LOVED talkin' to you guys yesterday. Loved loved loved it! Although I was pretty bummed I didn't get to talk to Grandma, Grandpa, Ken & Monica, Krissy, Kory, etc. :(  
P-Day Activity at the Panama Canal

First of all I just wanna wish Mom, Grandma, Monica, and the rest a happy mothers day yesterday! I still remember like 7 (?) years ago when little Kenny was born on mothers day - what a sweet gift to Aunt Monica. Haha. 

Well, honestly I don`t feel like I have a whole lot to write today because I talked myself all out yesterday. But this past week was a good one. Like I said yesterday, Elder Hinckley is currently staying with us until Wednesday when he gets his new companion - Elder Ramos finished his 24 months! Apart from that, Elder Follette and I got our wish granted from Pte. to stay together another change. Whoohoo! We had NINE (9) people in church yesterday!! Can you believe it?! Things are looking so up here in our area. In our zone too! Samaria just had a couple baptisms yesterday :) 

Well I`ll share some spiritual insight I guess that I`ve had recently... I`m reading the New Testament and this morning I just finished the Tesalonions - I have been reading Paul`s letters to the church for the past little while. Anyway, at the same time I`m also currently reading in Alma, where Alma the Younger has just given up the judgement seat to go preach to the church everywhere. It`s curious, but I've seen SO many similarities between the two. And not only that, I've seen similarities between them and also with our current profets and apostles today: Thomas S. Monson, Davìd A. Bednar, etc. It`s been so interesting! And, well, I've come to the conclusion that it`s not similarities between the actual people, sino it`s just how the church of God and the gospel is! It is, what we call it in Spanish, "uno solo". It`s the SAME. God NEVER varies. His gospel and church have always been organized under the same principles, and His prophets and apostles have always been told to preach the same crucial things to mankind - the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was just really enlightening to me to find that in three distinct time periods - 1) new testament Jerusalem 2) ancient americas and 3) modern-day restored church - all function in the same manner! Even the little things Paul says like "The church from Jerusalem pays it`s respects to you" compared with nowadays when you hear an apostol speak and he says "on behalf of the first presidency, I pay their respects to you." Ah man. It`s been a great realization. Just like it says in the Bible, God`s ways and word will be backed up by 2 or 3 witnesses - look at what we've got! Such a testimony builder to me. 

Well that`s kind of all I think I`m gonna share today but I wanted to give a couple shout-outs to Justin Brockbank and Angie Gleason?!?!? WOW. I can`t believe that. My first like, dear friend to get married. Congrats. Also, guys, that is CRAZY that you were able to eat lunch with L. Tom Perry!!! Whoa! For real I can`t believe you guys didn't tell me! So sweet though - I`m pretty jealous :)  

Hey well you guys hang in there and I will write you next week!
Elder Clarke
P.S... super cool scripture from Paul: 2 Corinthians 6:12-13

Monday, May 6, 2013

Great week!


This week has been awesome! Kind of a hectic one but awesome nonetheless. First of all I got some letters this week and I just wanted to thank Gma, Gpa, and mom´s "missionary mom" letter. All fantastic :)

So I won´t lie, this week I spent the majority of my time OUT of my area, in emergency divisions with Elder Lopez from Mexico/Texas, and Elder Boyd who also just happens to be from Texas. Ha! It was good, but I missed my area. I tried teaching them by example - they had some rough times getting along in their companionship and asked Pres. Ward for emergency changes. Sometimes it´s hard being in charge of so many people. 

The thing that made my week complete was yesterday when Julia got BAPTIZED!!! Whoohoo!! Such a fantastic service. Her testimony at the end was what made it the best. She talked all about how she felt clean and renewed, and about how she was determined to get all of her family into the gospel too. So sweet :) It was seriously a memorable baptism. 

Another GREAT piece of news is that Gustavo is GETTING MARRIED this Wednesday! I´ll try to share pics of them but the computers are being dumb today. We went on Friday night to their "proposal". It was so sweet - Gustavo got down on one knee and everything. Lastimosamente, he has a bigger coffee addicition than we originally thought, and also becuase of his honeymoon, I don´t think we´ll end up baptizing him on the 12th. But it´s ok, we´ll get him soon enough! 
Last night we had a really cool experience - something that idk if it's happened before in my mission - Elder Follette and I were on our way home for the night, just having gotten done teaching Gustavo, and we pass by a couples house that we had visited about 2 weeks ago - they have a BUNCH of marital problems. They´re not actually legally married, but they've been together for years and years. They love the idea of having an eternal family, but as of the last time we had visited, were both just really stubborn and not making any progress. Well, on the way home last night we were just gonna "stop by" to put a cita, but they pretty much just like ushered us right in to talk to us. I guess they had been fighting a TON. Well, we gave them a lesson right there about how love=sacrifice. As we taught, we felt The Spirit a ton, and as we left Florentino (the husband) says "Cayeron de los cielos"... translation: "You guys just fell from heaven". He was so so grateful we had come. It was only then afterward that I realized everything I had just taught was completely The Spirit, and not me. It all just flowed from my mouth and everything. So so beautiful. 

Well, my time is long past over and I´ve gotta end but I love all of you! Have a great week.

-Elder Clarke