Monday, October 28, 2013


Dang. I spent a while going over some of Dave`s letters this afternoon. They are so inspiring! He is such a great missionary - you can tell from his letters! Already so much better than I've ever been. I also appreciate all the thoughts and emails from you Mom and Dad. You guys are stud parents - you both deserve trophies. If they had parent contests...

Anyway, this week was BALLIN!! Time has never flown so fast, really. I feel like I was JUST writing you guys. We spent this whole week just workin' our tails off! We found 18 new investigators this week!! I felt like the first couple weeks were slow opening an area and all, but we're now in the full swing of things! Ready to see some miracles. Changes are this week, but Elder Teichert and I are obviously stayin' together! Going into my last 6-week transfer.  My hermanas here in Santiago have changes, though, which I'm kinda sad about. I've become such good friends here fast with Hermana Torres, from Honduras. As well as Hermana Cuyán, from Guatemala! I will miss 'em, but we should have a sick district with some new peeps for my last change.

Anyway, like I said, this week was just great. Good news of the week? We had 4 people in church!! Bad news of the week? Israel was not one of them..... dang it. We had a miscommunication for our Saturday lesson and we ended up not being able to get him to come to church with his wife. Darn it all. But? I'd like to tell you about 3 young men that came to church - Galileo, José, and Miguel. They are SO sweet!! They are all brothers - ages 18, 14, and 12. And they walked almost an HOUR to get to church!! Their parents are also really sweet and quite prepared! We've just gotta get 'em married. Since arriving here in Santiago, Elder Teichert and I have already fasted 3 times to be able to find the people God has prepared for us, as well as a family. And as of right now, we really think this Acosta family could be the one. Pray for these guys with us. This family has got so much potential if they all become converted. I can't wait to see how The Lord is gonna help us with these folks. Keep praying for Israel too! I'm confident we'll see success here.

Amongst other news, for the first time in my whole mission, I used a LAWN MOWER on Saturday!! What?! It kinda made me trunky, not gonna lie. Man I forgot how much I missed mowing the lawn..... our church building here has a nice lawn so they have a lawn-mower! Elder Teichert and I helped out the Hermana Morales clean up the church on Saturday - she's goin' through a really rough time right now. We actually had a super powerful spiritual experience with her last week that I'll have to write about soon when I've got time. I just love being an instrument in The Lord's hands out here, as well as being able to use the power of the priesthood to bless other's lives - like the Hermana Morales.

Well, that's really all I've got time to write about for today, but I hope ya'll have a great day and I love you all!
-Elder Clarke

Monday, October 21, 2013


Elders Teichert & Clarke
Bueno pues. Today is a great day! Every day is here in Santiago! I really love being a missionary and it's gonna really stink not being one anymore. I am loving life! And loving Santiago!! Elder Teichert is SUCH a boss. He's made me laugh harder in the past few days than I've laughed in a long time. Such a stud-muffin. Cool fact? His birthday is on the 4th of November, and mine the 9th. We are gonna have to go buy a gallon of ice cream of somethin'.

Shopping for items for their new home.
So I'm gonna be honest, the first week here was really slow. I mean, really slow. I always felt like I wasn't doing anything. We had to dedícate days to just furbishing the house. We also didn't technically have an área for almost a week cuz it took a while to be able to divide up the áreas again with the hermanas (the hermanas here are so great - they have helped me so much and we make a sick district). Anyway though, in the past few days we've finally gotten settled in and there is WORK TO DO, FELLAS!! We're hittin it hard, Elder Teichert and I. He's a super good motivation - he reminds me a lot of myself when I was a newbie in the mish. That's why I love training - it always reanimates you to the max. Gives you a boost in faith and hope. He's such a stud and I know he's gonna be a great missionary. He was only in the MTC for 2 weeks! The same week I completed 23 months in the misión, he completed 1 :) Cabal.

With a member from Brazil.
So we've fasted a couple times already for member help and to find the prepared people for us here in Santiago, including a family. The member help has come on so strong and I KNOW those escogidos are coming soon! Fasting works, man. I can't wait to help this branch grow. Santiago has got so much potential! But anyway, we put a sweet fecha last night with an awesome man named Israel. A husband of an endowed wife. We're thinking a sealing! He's such an awesome dude, and we had a great lesson last night about the restoration of the priesthood. He understood and we're thinkin he'll get baptized here this next month! I dunno why I'm so lucky and The Lord just gives us these prepared people. Anyway. I have a lot to write but I just don't have the time today.... mi querida mama me estaba escribiendo buko y no me dejaba escribirles :) No mentira.... te quiero, mama - mucho :)

Also, can I just say how nice it is to not be a zone leader anymore? So nice. So much relief. Anyway. I love you all so much!! So much. Have a great week and cuídense mucho! 
Con mucho cariño,
Elder Clarke

Monday, October 14, 2013

"Elder, you ready for an adventure?"

FAMILY!!!! How`s it goin?!? Man I've been thinking about you guys lately. Mom talking to me so much about everything at home has really got me missin' you all! But? I now know after this week for sure that there's a WHOLE bunch of work to do before I come home! A whole bunch. As one of many testimony builders, this week was just another reminder of how much God really must love me.

The reason? Well, it started Monday night after we had gotten home from P-day and everything when Elder Saavedra and I are just gettin' ready to plan, when we get a call from Pte. Carmack. This was expected, as we had called him a few days earlier about a marriage/divorce problem we were trying to fix. But anyway, Elder Saavedra answers the phone, and Pte. asked for me. Why me? That was kinda weird - he usually just talks to whoever answers. So, I get on the phone and he says something that I don't think I'll forget for a while.
"Elder, you ready for an adventure?"
I was kinda surprised cuz I thought he was calling for the divorce deal, but nope! He proceeded to tell me that I was gonna have emergency changes!! What? People have had e-changes before in the mission, but never me! It`s kind of a rare occurrence. I didn't know what to expect, but I could not be more THRILLED!!!!! with what has happened.

So I was asked to leave Bocas and come open an area here in Santiago, Veraguas - it's in the zone of Chitrè!! So I`m actually really close to Penonome again. Also, he asked me to come here and serve as DL again and I`m TRAINING again!! What?! I could NOT be more thrilled. So so so happy. I guess an elder got here late from the MTC, (kinda like I did) and they didn't have anyone to train him and they needed to open up a new area. Of all elders, me?! I`m thrilled and so excited. My new "baby boy" is Elder Teichert from Cokeville, Wyoming. He`s a cattle-rancher!!! What? Hahah he's so dang legit. I`m already picking up his western country drawl. He's still 18 and he's a few months younger than Dave! We're here starting literally from zero, nada. We don't have any investigators or anything and we're having to furnish our own brand new house! It's such a tight experience. Sadly, I'm having troubles with my camera so I'll try to send you a pic next week. But it's LEGIT!!

My time is all up but I'll write y'all tons next week! I am so excited to finish my mission this way. It's exactly what I needed and The Lord knew it. He's got GREAT things planned for us here in Santiago. This is where I've got to find my family. He loves me so much - I'm so dang grateful.
Love yoU!
-Elder Clarke

Monday, October 7, 2013

What a week, eh?

Bueno folks, it´s been another week. I don´t have too many of these left?

You guys are famiiliar with the hymn "I Stand All Amazed". This week, and in the past few days, that hymn has become quite a reality for me - I am truly amazed by the love our Savior Jesus Christ offers us. We can be lost in sin, living in the world, or be one of the "best missionaries", and the love our Savior has for both parties is the same! Mom, you always told me you loved all your children equally - I´m not sure if I currently comprehend that, but I hope to be able to one day when I have my own kids. I feel like it´ll help me understand a bit more the love that God has for us as His children. I hope I can love them all equally too. I can´t wait! 
I´m also amazed at the love that God has for us to forgive us over and over again. To let us come to earth, make mistakes, suffer. He sent His own only begotton son to die for the rest of us so we could make all those mistakes and still be ok if we repented. What class of love and patience must He have with us? I´m just grateful He does, for now. I am so imperfect and so badly need The Atonement in my life daily! We´re lucky he´s willing to forgive us time and again. 
So like I mentioned last week, this week came and went in a blink of an eye. Going to consejos in Panama feels like a dream, but I really enjoyed it. I think it was my last consejos meeting - I´m kinda sad about that. I liked voicing my opinion on how to better the mission. The mission as a whole has been struggling as of late with baptisms. I don´t know why this is happening, seeing that we now have more missionaries than ever! I sometimes question our example that we´re giving to the mission as leaders - me personally and the rest of the leaders, too. I sometimes feel like I could do better. I haven´t done divisions in a while, and I think we´re gonna start doing that more now. Helping these newer missionaries learn how to teach.
Now..... Conference!!! Man! What a general conference, eh? I was gonna write a whole lot about my favorite talks and everything, but I forgot my journal at home before coming to write ya´ll! But man. Wanna know my favorite talk? It was in the very first session by Elder Bednar, about tithing and the blessings we can recieve. He took paying tithing to a whole next level for me!! He went DEEP into the blessings that we can really recieve by paying an honest tithe with a willing heart. I REALLY liked it. The best was when he said that paying tithing helps us in the life-long process of personal sanctification. Anyway. There were so many dang good talks though. Elder Maynes, Elder Uchtdorf´s, Elder Scott´s, and Elder Perry´s in the priesthood session. I loved how he based it around the 13 articles of faith! I want to memorize them. 
Well, some great news is that Daniel came to church again! He totally showed up to the Saturday morning session in a white shirt. Elder Saavedra and I are thinking baptism. I love him! Him, with a few others, have a baptismal date for the 19th of this month. Which reminds me! 
Quick story. Yesterday after conference, (about 5:30-6 PM) I found myself without ganas to do anything! I don´t know why, but conference had just worn me out, and I had no desire to go anywhere. Just wanted to lay down and not have to interact with anyone. I don´t know why! Anyway, we had a family night with a less active family planned, and I just wasn't looking forward to it. So, on the 20 minute walk there, I just didn´t know what to do! I haven't found myself like that that many times in the mission, but I finally decided to just say a little prayer in my heart, asking God to help me have desire to go teach and feel love and charity for these people, and want to help them. Well, to make a long story short, the lesson, although the flow was somewhat hard to control with the member help we had, ended up turning out fabulous!! I mean, truly great. We animated the father, Hno. Cantule, for the first time since I´ve been here, to commit to coming to church next week. He works, but he´s gonna get his shift covered. That is saying A LOT for this guy, seeing as he hasn´t been to church in years. Also, with the help from my companion, we were able to put a baptismal date with his littlest 8 year old daughter who´s not baptized! Marlenis :) The best part about it was definately the STRONG spirit that was felt at the end of the lesson. And I felt so much LOVE for them!! God granted me exactly what I had asked for in my prayer! Now are you seeing why I´m amazed sometimes at the love He has for us? He helps us SO much! We are nothing without Him or His help.
I love being a missionary and I´m gonna miss it so much. I love you all! Have a great week! 
-Elder Clarke