Monday, June 24, 2013

¡Mas bautismos! ¡Y cambios vienen! Y "Work of Salvation"? Rivals General Conference

Man. When Elder Holland said last night that there had never been a more exciting time to be a member of the church/missionary, he was totally right!! Man. Just like it said in my mission call, I am now finding to be true... "you will find more joy than you have beforehand ever previously experienced". Dang yesterday was a good day. I`d just like to say that the worldwide mission conference blew my socks right off. It was like General Conference, but all directed towards missionary work! It rivaled General Conference for me. Man it was good.

So changes are coming this week - Elder Follette is getting changed out and I`ll be left to govern all of Paraíso with my new comp! I`m way excited. Way pumped. Yesterday, we had two baptisms - Raul and Litzi! Litzi is the result of that story I told you guys about the Kuna kid who asked us to come sing a song with his family. Isn't that great? :) I baptized her and Elder Follette baptized Raúl. Gustavo decided to wait one more week so that his yerno could be there. It kinda makes me sad that Elder Follette won`t see it cuz we  started teaching him together! But maybe he won`t get changed too far away. It will be a cool baptism to start the next change with with my new comp. Adriana is struggling now too - pray for her so she can get baptized. She`s prepared, but she said she still just doesn't feel ready. Let`s hope that changes. Joli came to church yesterday too! 

Also, as Mom, you already saw, we had interviews - President`s VERY last interviews of the whole mission. So fun! As maybe you also saw, we made my "Dream Team" analogy become a reality :) We made zone t-shirts for the "Dream Team", we put all our names and our favorite numbers on the back - like a legit team! It looks like a championship t-shirt. Hahah. (Oh btw that reminds me - I heard the heat and the spurs were in the finals.... any news on who won?? I hope the spurs kicked their trash.) Anyway, interviews were good. Pres. gave me another blessing and blessed me with some really special things for the last 5-6 months of my mission. Specific things I needed help with too. He is an inspired man. I will really miss that guy. He`s leavin` next week!
Well, I`m practically out of time - I`d like to share with ya`ll a couple of cool experiences I had this week but I`ll save them for next week. I`ll just end with a cool thought I had this week as I read the BOM (I`m flyin` through Alma now). I was reading in chapter 53 about the 2,000 stripling warriors, right? Anyway, I thought of something I`d never had before. I don`t remember which verse it was, but it talked about how these two thousand young men were direct descendants of the Lamanites that Ammon had converted. Then I got thinking..... ya know, I really doubt when Ammon first went to teach King Lamoni and all of the Lamanites, he envisioned that valiant army of 2,000 righteous young men. I`m sure he was just primarily focused in on his goal of teaching, converting, and baptizing the King and his servants. I don`t think he ever imagined that their sons would turn out to be such strong and valiant converts. Then it made me think - and it helped me last night too as I saw that enormous army of missionaries in the Marriott Center - that the work we are doing will reap UNCOUNTABLE CONVERTS as these baptisms - even as jovenes - grow up, go on missions, and teach their kids the gospel. I mean, just look at all the fruits Ammon had from teaching the 2,000 stripling warrior`s parents. Man. What a deal, eh? Just imagine all 7,000+ of us missionaries growing up, starting families, and quadrupaling that number of missionaries, just in one generation!!!! Wow. God really knows what he`s doing to prepare the world in the last days. 

I love you guys and hope you all have a wonderful week! :)
Elder Clarke

Monday, June 17, 2013


Dang... what a surprise email was this week. First though, I've got to give it up for the world`s best dad!!! Whoo!!! Happy fathers day, Dad!!! You are, without a doubt, the greatest one. You make all the other dad`s look like wimps. Haha :) For real though, I hope you had a great day. I definitely thought about you. You deserve everything you have and more...... including that (what?!) TRUCK you bought?!? DANG! That´s SO sweet :) For real.... man. I squeeled with joy here in the internet café when I read that. Way to go. Secondly now, Mom, I just wanna tell you that I can`t wait to go on a bike ride with you someday on the new trail :) Man, we´ll have a lot of things to talk about. Lastly, I read Dave`s first letter from Peru, and it sounds a lot like Panamá, except for the fact that he has a hot shower?? What is this? Man. Congrats though, Dave. Oh, and Katie, good luck this week at EFY! It really is a life-changing experience if you let it be.

Allright now lets get down to the good stuff - this week was awesome!!! Elder Follette and I did a lot of work. We had some awesome lessons with a few new investigators - one in particular who I love: a little old woman named Rosa. She`s the bomb - super catholic, raised catholic, but progressing! She says she`s comin` to church next Sunday. Another super cool guy we`re teaching is Rubén. He`s also way catholic - he`s got Jehovah`s Witness grand-daughters and we`re teaching them all! They`re a little skeptic, but we threw down a wicked sweet lesson on the Book of Mormon this week with them. Spreading forth the truth.... it is the most joyful thing to do.

So we´re heading into President Ward`s second-to-last week in the mission! Our zone is the last zone to have interviews with them and they are tomorrow! Mom, I`ll try to get a good pic with them tomorrow for ya :) I`m really gonna miss Pres. He is so great. I look forward to seeing and talking with him after the mission as well. Changes are on the 26th of this month and the new mission pres. will be getting here on the 1st of July. Fun! We don`t know for sure yet who`s staying and who`s going here in Paraíso between Elder Follette and I, but we think it`s him. He`s been here for a while, and he wants to go finish his mission out in Bocas, where he was about a year ago. He goin' back home to Utah in just over a month! It is probable that I will train a new zone leader. I`m just excited for changes on the 26th though cuz the assistant`s are setting up a surprise for the whole mission to come to hear his last talk and testimony. He doesn`t know so don`t tell that to anyone ha :) It should be exciting though!

Well we've got 5 baptisms lined up for this weekend!!!! I`m way pumped about it. One of them? GUSTAVO. We've seriously gotta put our faith in practice so that he gets dunked this Saturday. When he walked into church yesterday with his wife Elder Follette and I almost wet our pants we were so happy!!! That guy is a boss. A true miracle story, too. 

Well, I think I have written a sufficient amount today - I hope everything is going well for all of you and that you all have an awesome week! Love you!

-Elder Clarke

Monday, June 10, 2013


Whoo! It`s a great day to be alive. I had a great week this week! Really! A very good one. I want ya`ll to know that I wore my tie on the 8th this week, and I started running stairs in the morning! Whoo! Gotta start gettin` into shape haha :)

Anyway...... there were many great things that happened this week - most importantly, Davíd Alexander Barahona Gómez got baptized yesterday! Whoo! He asked me to perform the ordinance and we all had a really awesome/spiritual time. Actually a really cool story behind it - Davíd has a grandma that lives in Arraijan (about an hour away from the city) that is a long-time, faithful member of the church. Well, she came to the baptism yesterday! Her name is Marìa, and she was so awesome! She told us how she had been praying so hard for so long that her grandchildren would receive and accept the gospel - and she was OVERJOYED to hear that Davíd was getting baptized! Whoo! It was great to see her during the service as she sat in the front row and cried for joy :) That means we were instruments in the hands of The Lord in answering someone`s prayer! Yes :) Also in the service, Davíd's sister, Adriana, who has been investigating the church for a while now too, came to church with a dress on! What! She is so getting baptized this month! Then Marìa will have TWO grandchildren in the gospel! Anyway, it was just really cool. Not to mention María`s daughter, Jenni, is not ACTIVE in the church! Whoo! We totally helped reactivate her - she`s involved in the activity planning and everything! Man. If this computer would let me send some photos, I could let you see a picture of this beautiful family. The Gómez family :)

I`d like to share a personal insight I had this week that is somewhat related. Elder Follette and I went to teach a lesson to a couple of converts that he had before I arrived - they are also grandchildren of a member. Anyway, they haven`t been coming the last few weeks so we went over to see what was goin` on. Well, I guess their grandpa is a huge evangelical dude and is now prohibiting them from coming to church. So sad. Anyway, we shared with them that they have a secret weapon they can use when their grandpa and nobody is looking - they can read the Book of Mormon! Hah! Anyway, during the lesson, and it happened throughout the week a few times I think, I just kept getting these impressions about how this country of Panamá is gonna EXPLODE with the gospel in the next generation..... and a large chunk of it will be solely due to the strength of the YOUTH. Man. Here I have just seen SO many challenges with the youth..... for real. If you think American Fork has temptations, just come spend a day down here in San Miguelito. Man. But even with all that, I just feel so at peace when it comes to these guys. It`s like my eyes have been opened to really just how much our Heavenly Father loves and has prepared His chosen children for these last days. I just see these youth in the future all growing up, beating the world, going on missions, returning home and starting families, and strengthening the church here in Panamá like never before. Just so cool. I look up these guys so much.
Well I should probly try to wrap this up pretty soon but I`ll summarize a few happenings from the week: we had consejos for all the mission leaders, and a new program was introduced for Pte. Ward`s last month here in the mission! I`m way stoked to present it tomorrow to the zone. We`re gonna have SUCH a good month in June for baptisms! Oh! Which reminds me, we made a zone t-shirt (maybe you remember a similar one I sent home last year from when Elder Rich and I were together? I really hope it`s there cuz I don`t have it anymore.... anyway). It is gotta be the coolest shirt I've ever seen. Once they get printed, I don`t think I`ll ever take it off - I might even wear it under my white shirt and tie. Ha. Oh! OK last thing - I forgot to tell you guys last week but I finished the New Testament! I finished Revelations in less than a week - MAN I loved that book. The whole New Testament in general helped me strengthen my testimony so much and really get a better grasp on who Jesus Christ was during His personal ministry.

Well, I am loggin' out! I wanna end thanking all the family, as well as grandma, for the hand-written (typed) letters in the mail! I loved them! I hope you guys all have a wonderful week! I know I will.
Elder Clarke
P.S.... DyC 19:38, 33:17, and 128:20-21. All AWESOME!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Another Week on the Books

Whoo! Another week on the books. I cannot believe how fast time flies here. This week, sobre todo, I just wanna congratulate big dog Elder DAVE CLARKE for getting his visa to PERU!!!! I`m sure he`s on the airplane in this very moment. Ademàs, I wanna say I've got the best family ever. Mom, Dad, Dave, Katie (pórtate bien), Scotty, and Adam. Pure show-stoppers right there.

Bueno, this week was decent - what made it good was yesterday. Sunday in sacrament meeting is always how Elder Follette and I measure our success - in how many people came to church. The week of working is like practice, and Sunday morning is game day. We had a decent Sunday with 4 people in church. Davìd`s baptism next week should be great! 

Lots of cool things happened this week. We did another division - this time with Elder Sierra from Guatemala. He is so cool! I will be sending pictures but not today because the computer is lame. Anyway, we were looking for a recent convert`s house when we kinda got lost in the ghetto... haha. Then out of nowhere.... boom! We find Hermana. Olivia`s house who`s been a great member for many years. Before that moment, I didn't even know where she lived! But anyway, we talked with her, she showed us around the neighborhood, and then accompanied us to the lesson! Not only that (here`s the good part), but she introduced us to her son-in-law who`s not a member. Alexander. Another sweet investigator! I`m pretty confident in the fact that God helped us find her house. The lesson we had was sweet too - we taught the Best family, and we gave them our missionary badges and had them teach us! We set up a family home evening with them for next week and we should get some more investies that way too.

Another great thing that happened this week was we were walking down the street when a little Kuna (San Blas indian) kid waved us down from his house. Whoohoo! It turns out he was a member visiting from Arraijan and wanted us to come sing a hymn and pray with his family! So, we did so, and then afterward talked to a Kuna mother there and found out she was a member too! She told us she has a 10 year old daughter, Lizty, that she wants to get baptized. We told her we could help her with that! Haha. So ya, we've had some nice acontecimientos this week :)
The temple trip we had planned with Pres. unfortunately never happened, because our Nica family nor the Gomez family were able to go. But that`s ok! We knew it was The Lord`s will we shouldn't go. Which brings up another thing! Elder Follette and I have been learning lots together about fasting recently. Yesterday was a good fast. We've come to realize that as you fast, you MUST be praying and having faith in the fact that we can understand The Lord`s will in the fast. It`s awesome. I wish I had more time to explain it. Lastly, we've seen many service opportunities recently in the street where we've been able to help, and we think it`s because we've been putting our faith to the test and asking in prayer daily for an opportunity to serve. Man. Learning is awesome. My favorite thing about being a missionary. 

Anyway, I should probly log out now - it`s time. I love this work, I know it`s true, and I`m always tryin' to do better! I hope you guys do the same and that you have a wonderful week!
Elder Clarke