Monday, August 26, 2013

Dios es bueno.

Man, if you guys knew how much I love receiving your emails sometimes.... I feel so spoiled with blessings a lot of the time. I can't wait to come home and see you all, along with my good friends. But until then, I am growing here in the mission! Mom, I loved that quote you sent me today - thanks. I wanna share one with you, too, that made quite a big impact on me - and it came from your own husband! Dad recently said to me: "Usually, continual charity is given as a gift from God when asked for by righteous individuals for the purpose of blessing God's children." You guys are bomb parents.

Okay so I gotta do this letter quick cuz it's almost time for the zone to get together for lunch. SO..... in case I never mentioned before, Bocas is BANANA CENTRAL. I guess from here in Bocas they produce and supply all bananas to all of Europe! Crazy?! Ya. Let's just say I'm eating a lot of bananas - they only cost 5 cents! And they are so dang good - sin preservatives!

So ya, this week was better than the last. We've still been trying to jump-start the area. I'd say it's been one of my toughest areas - it reminds me of Penonome in a lot of ways. The difference here though is that there is a very high population of native Indians here, the Ngobe Bugle tribe (they're the ones who wear that dress that I send home). And well, their Indian culture makes it a little more difficult to teach. But, it's cool cuz they're direct descendants of the Lamanites! As opposed to a lot of Panamanians in the city who come from Spain and what not. The population here is almost purely indians and jamaicans. Haha it's really sweet. 
We had a good meeting with our branch president, Pte. Vazquez, this week - he's such a stud. He's looking to find priesthood for the branch, cuz that's what we're really lacking. I want to find a family SO bad. It's always been my dream. I recently read an amazing talk by Gene R. Cook titled "Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ" (he actually gave the talk in Peru!) It really reminded me yet again of the power of faith and how I can utilize it here in the mission. I'm excited to be here.

Other happenings of the week: we spent almost half a day painting a fence for a service project! Fun. I'll try to tell you guys more about all that later. But for now, I have to go!! Love you all so so much. Hope you all have a GREAT week! 


Elder Clarke

Monday, August 19, 2013


Bueno. This week was kind of a harder one. I figure it's about time I have more trials in the mission though, seeing as I went through quite a long streak of "good times" there in Paraíso. I think when we look at trials this way - with the eternal perspective - the trials aren't as much of a burden. Trials are temporary, they pass, and then we come out on top....stronger!

But anyway, our baptism didn't ever go through..... and then she didn't come to church! Dang it Yenni. I guess what happened is her ex-husband (who`s a long-time less active member) went to the bishopric during the week and accused Yenni of a whole bunch of crazy stuff to prevent her from getting baptized. So... we've gotta have her get interviewed by the bishop and stuff now. It could take a while longer than we thought. But she's really awesome! She's been investigating the church almost 4 years! Apart from that, our area is really kind of... dead? I dunno - we just don't really have any investigators. Heck, we hardly even have members in our area to help us! So the realization of that this week has been kind of tough, not to mention my ankle is still giving me problems. But, the Hna. Selva is a nurse here, and she's been helping me so much! Her and Pte. Vasquez. Hna. Selva works in the hospital and this morning help me set up therapy sessions to get the movement back in my ankle! That whole Selva family is so so awesome. I'm gonna try to send a pic of them - they are really a remarkable group. Former district president, and their son-in-law is our current branch president! Presidente Vasquez - man that guy is great. He's from Mexico! He has a really cool story - can't wait to tell you guys about him.

Anyway, in other news, the mission got a phone call this week from Salt Lake City concerning us missionaries here in Bocas. They called to see if we were all allright? Apparently in Costa Rica or on the coast or something there was an earthquake... but we didn't even feel anything! Everything "chillin" here. ("Chillin" is one of the many English words used out here in Bocas by the Jamaican people. They speak what's called "Wadi-wadi" - it's like Jamaican English. So sweet. I feel like a gangster when I talk to them. I`ll send pictures sometime of the famous Felix and his Jamaican restaurant :))

Also, Elder Seegmiller, Houghton, and I started the "push-up challenge" this week. Man it is gonna be brutal. But I think we'll finish the change lookin' fine. The first week isn't that bad, but it gets increasingly harder every week so, I'll keep you posted on that.

Well, I suppose I should end on a spiritual note. I am currently in Mosiah again in King Benjamin's discourse. That guy is so humble! I'm also trying to study how The Spirit works personally in my life - how I recognize it and such - to make sure I follow the promptings I receive. Cool connection I made: The Spirit testifies of all truth. Now, truth is all things that once were, how they currently are, or how they will be. So therefore, The Spirit knows of things how they will be, before they are. And THAT`S how He can warn us of things. Man, I gotta make sure I know how to heed to the whisperings of The Spirit. In my studies, I'm also gonna start studying a Christ-like attribute every week, cuz I feel I've been dropping in that.

Well guys, I love you all a whole ton!! I'm excited for the youngins (including Krissy) to start school! Katie, tell Mr. Lind hi for me - I think you'll like him a lot. Also, Scotty, keep playing hard in tackle. Football is the bomb. Parents, I hope you both have a good week as well and that Grandpa returns home soon to his house! Love you!!
-Elder Clarke

Monday, August 12, 2013

How much closer to Costa Rica could I be?

Sup, fam!!!!!! Ah - my new roomates have got me talkin´ like that.

Anyway, how are you all doing?! I loved reading what everyone was/is up to! Mas que todo, so cool to see those pics of all the missionaries returning home! SO cool you guys went and saw Elder Fowlks and Elder Follette.  Elder Follette is so great - one of my fav. companions. He actually wrote me this week and told me about meeting you guys - mostly that Dad just kept making him laugh.... haha.

Also, REALLY cool to see Elder Hyde return home. Man, I can´t wait to chill with him at BYU. You can see the light of Christ in that guy´s face - he´s an inspiring friend. You´ll have to tell me how his homecoming talk goes.

I´m glad you guys were able to go on a cool trip! This is just another example of what great parents you are - continuing to make family memories with the younger kids. You guys are gonna have to give me parenting lessons. How´d the mini-vacation go though? I hope good.  CONGRATS on your 23rd anniversary!!! So sweet. The temple is a good way to spend celebrate it. The only bad thing about that number is that it means I will be 23 years old in 2 years.

Well.... now I´ll talk a little bit about what´s happened to me this past week! I´m so sorry for the lack of email last week - I´ll try to make up for it ahora. So.... changes were on Wednesday..... and I was sent to...... BOCAS DEL TORO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Whoo!!! I actually asked the assistants to send me out far (the only thing I´ve ever requested in the mission). I have always wanted to come out to the far interior, and I´d never had the chance! I was afraid I might not ever get to see it, but luckily I´m out here in Changuinola, Bocas now. There is a decent-to-good chance I might finish the mission out here. COOL! Bocas is like the farthest province away from the city, and we´re right next-door to Costa Rica! I definitely plan on going and visiting the border one of these upcoming P-days. Also, they sent me here as zone leader again (not really what I was expecting, pero bueno - more lessons to learn! I´m excited.), and my companion is Elder Olivas, from El Salvador. He was born in Nicaragua but lived practically his whole life in El Salvador. Wanna here a cool stat? We started the mission in the SAME district, at the SAME time. I've literally known him since my first district meeting. He is a definite bro - a really cool guy. I'm excited for the change.

Also, for the first time in my mission, I am now living in a house of 4. Whoa! Talk about different. Everything is a little bit different in a house of 4, haha. I am liking it so far though - mostly because this other companionship is SO tight. Two gringos - Elder Seegmiller from Las Vegas, Nevada, and Elder Houghton, from Provo, Utah! Ya!! These guys are SO hilarious. They are the perfect companionship, and they have more fun doing the mission work than just about anyone else I've ever seen. They are gonna be good friends of mine for life I think. Lastly, after my ankle heals, Elder Seegmiller and I are gonna start going to play bball in the mornings at the chapel. Can you say awesome way to end the mission? I'm pretty pumped.

Lastly, I wanna talk about a BAPTISM we've got coming up!! This Saturday! Her name is Yenni. Man - really cool story about her. I feel really privileged to be part of her baptism. I´ll have to tell you about it next week. I feel like The Lord is too nice to me sometimes - it seems like every time I arrive to a new area, we usually have a baptism pretty soon afterward. What a blessing!

I love you guys - I hope you all have a great week. And read the scriptures! The BOM is the key.
Hasta luego,

-Elder Clarke

Monday, August 5, 2013

You`re gonna hate me..... but I`m not gonna write a letter home for the blog this week. :(

Mom, you`re gonna hate me, but I simply don`t have time today - a general authority is coming in September and we have to fill out a survey for him and it takes a long time..... I`m so sorry :(
Pero la verdad is there`s not a lot to report...... my foot is still really bothering me. We weren`t able to work that well this week because of it. Changes are this Wednesday... I will be leaving this zone - I don`t know to where though. I`ll tell you next week. We found a WAY cool family though this week and I`m really excited to see what happens with them in the coming months. I LOVED all the good news from home and that Katie went on a date! And CONGRATS with your schooling!! I love you so much mom. Give everyone my love and especially Grandpa! And Dad! AND YOU! Love you all. I`m sorry about this week.
Love your son,
Elder Clarke