Monday, February 29, 2016

Testimony of Elder Clay

Family and Friends,

This past week went faster than the last!  It’s because we had a lot of events that we had to go to, but it was a really good week!  It all started with a transmission of an amazing capacitation from Elder Bednar for the Area South American South which includes Chile, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.  He talked a lot about the spirit and how he is the real teacher.  The way that Elder Bednar communicates with people and how he works with and acts with the crowd is so impressive.  He also talked about our personal progress as missionaries and how our personal conversion is the most important thing we can do on the mission.  I can honestly say that I have achieved personal conversion on this mission and my life has been changed.  As Elder Bednar ended the capacitation, he left us with his testimony, and let me tell you guys that was the strongest testimony that I have heard given and my testimony of him as one of the twelve apostles and the truthfulness of that was confirmed.  There is nothing else besides the power of God that could make him be able to talk and testify with such great authority and clarity that reached the hearts of those participating.  It was a very special meeting and the influence of the Holy Ghost was present. 

As well, this week I was able to do some more baptism interview for INCREDIBLE people who have received some incredible answers to their prayers.  For some reason or another lately I have been seeing so many miracles in the missionary work.  I know that they come from God and I glorify Him.  Answers and blessings that are happening here in the Zone of Lebu are all backed up with the hand work and obedience from all of the missionaries and investigators and I know that those are the works of the faith which enables God to work with us.  I do not always know how the Lord works or when, but I do know that it comes in His time in His way.

For this weekend we are planning on having five baptisms!  C and his family and also the two kids from the M family!  It has been quite the adventure working with all of them and after a lot of time and stress and set-backs, there were times when we almost gave up.  But there was always something that told me to keep working with them and to have patience and now, we are going to be able to see the fruits of our labor.  They are really excited and five more people are going to enter in to the fold of the God.

I want to end thanking you all for the love and support that you all have shown me since I’ve been on this mission.  It has not been easy or even really fun at times, but it has been amazing to dedicate 100% of my time to the service of my fellow beings and my God.  And I will stay in this service until the Lord says the work is finished.  I testify to you all that this is the work of Jesus Christ and this is his true church.  Seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.  I testify of the love that God and Jesus Christ have for us and that true happiness comes from obedience to them.  I love and miss all of you, you will be in my prayers.

Elder Clay

Monday, February 22, 2016

Changes in People's Lives are Miracles

This week went by incredibly fast and I can’t believe that it is already Monday again!  This week was a really good week and everything is going well here!  My son, Elder Gordillo, and I get along really well and we are enjoying being together.  I enjoy working with him because like most new missionaries in the field, he has a lot of fire to work and he is very real with the people.  On top of that, he is really funny and has me laughing most of the day.  Since he got here, we have been working with less active members and trying to complete families who have one or two members of their family who aren’t members.  Also, a lot of contacting trying to find new investigators to teach.  All in all we’re just having a good time.  Sometimes he talks to me about how close I am to finishing the mission but I try to change the subject to avoid thinking about it, everything has it’s time.

To give you an update on C and D and their family, this week they had their baptismal interview and all three of them passed!  However this past Sunday and next Sunday C had events for work so he couldn’t attend church.  We thought it best to wait until he can be confirmed the Sunday after he is baptized with his family.  So their baptismal date is set for the 5th of March and they are really prepared and ready for it!  It has been quite the journey with them and I have been through so many experiences from the good to the bad, but I know that they have been learning a lot and starting to trust and look to God for help and support.  It’s amazing.  Please continue to keep them in your prayers so that they can stay strong and have the spiritual strength until their baptism. 

We are also now working with this single mom who has 5 children and has had some rough experiences in her life.  She has come to church the past two Sundays with her children and her progress in returning to the church looks really good.  I am great friends with the kids and they are awesome.  Two of them are over the age of baptism but haven’t been baptized yet so we’re working on making that happen.

Another thing that happened this week that was really fun was finally after 20 months in the mission I got to work with my best friend from the MTC,  Elder Washburn!  We’ve been waiting a long time for this and we spent the entire day laughing and talking as we walked and walked the streets of Canete making contacts.   He’s such a good guy and will be a lifelong friend. 

I have been doing baptismal interview with some really amazing people.  Hearing their conversion stories is so incredible and strengthens and grows my testimony so much.  The changes that happen in the lives of people when they make the decision that they want to follow God and keep His commandments are miracles and hearing about the blessings that come into their lives as they choose to leave their old lives behind, addictions, fears, doubts… When they start to forgive themselves and feel God’s forgiveness… This is truly the work of the Lord, the work of Salvation. 

I don’t know how it will be after the mission, but I will continue in the service of my fellow beings, in the service of my God.  I love all of you and hope that all have a good week.

Elder Clay

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

My new kid, Prayers for investigators

                                                 My new kid!

                                    Hermana Johnson went to Viewmont with me

Friends and Family,

This week went by really fast and it was a really good one!  Tuesday I went up to Concepcion to pick up my “kid” and get some capacitation.  I had a bunch of friends up there who were training also so we had a lot of fun together. The room where we got our new companions brought back so many memories into my mind about how nervous I was and then getting Elder Casperson as my trainer and everything that followed.  Except this time, I was on the other side of it.  As I stood up in front of everyone, introducing myself, President Bluth said the name of my companion, “Elder Gordillo”!  My “son” in the mission is the best haha. 

Elder Gordillo is from Mexico and is 24 years old.  He is a very good guy with good intentions and is very humble.  We get along very well and I pass the day laughing because he’s so funny.  He speaks English pretty well and I’m helping him with that.  Something that is really funny that will help you guys understand a bit more about Chileans and how they talk is, constantly during the day my comp has to ask me what the person or people say because he doesn’t understand them.  My comp speaks Spanish, it’s just that the people here speak Chilean haha.  It’s so funny because he gets so confused why the people here speak so fast and drop letters off of the end of words.  It’s not as drastic as having a gringo kid, but as well, I have to help my son learn the language.

C and D did not get baptized this past weekend because C felt like he was not prepared enough but we have had some really good and spiritual lessons with them and they know that they are going to get baptized they just need a confirmation on when they are going to do it.  We are hoping for some time within this month, so if you all could keep them in your prayers, that would be awesome.  I have done pre-interviews for the baptism and they are both SO ready!

I am now living with a kid named Elder Inman, who is from my group and we actually sat next to each other on the plane when we left from Utah! He is from Kaysville and is hilarious.  We get along very well and this transfer should be a good one! 

Other than that, there is nothing really new going on, my ankle occasionally pains and swells but I have a brace now that I’m always wearing so it should be good. 

Book of Mormon chapter of the week, Alma 5.  Absolutely love it and the inspired questions that are asked.  I hope everything is going well back home, about 4 more months left. Love and miss you all. 
Elder Clay

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Wedding and A Kid!


Sorry for not writing the past couple of weeks, every P-day that I had had something  happened that prevented me from having time to write a blog letter. 

Remember the family of C and D who we have been working with for a long time?  Well last week on P-day they invited us to a little picnic and told us some big news, that they are going to get married!  We have been working so hard with them and doing everything we can and now it’s happening!  They have seen a lot of opposition from family and friends and other things but they have been strong and continued on.  Thank you to everyone who have included them in your prayers, I know that they have helped.  

The next day we went to the place where you have to go to put a date to be married and they told us that the closest date was March 20, but after some convincing and a miracle, we had a lady who helped us get it for the 8th today! So they will be getting married today and then they have plans to get baptized this weekend, the whole family!  It has been a crazy order of events but I know that God has been blessing us and them so that they can receive the fullness of the restored Gospel in their lives.  I ask you all to please include them in your prayers this week so that they can stay strong and overcome the opposition.  I have seen many miracles these past few weeks and I know that God has been our support.  Next week I will tell you how everything went and how they are doing!

The other big thing that is happening today is that we have transfers!  Elder Tornero my companion is leaving and I am going to be training!  I’m finally going to be a papa in the mission and I will be going up to Concepcion tomorrow to find out and meet my kid!  I’m really excited and grateful for the opportunity that I am going to have!

I wrote most of this email in the morning but I just got out of the marriage of C and D and everything went amazing!  I feel like I was more nervous that they were haha, but they are married now!  I was one of the witnesses for their wedding and Elder Lee was the other.  I think it’s the first wedding in Chile that has had a gringo and an Asian as the two witnesses hahahah. 

I’m so excited and content right now.  This gospel changes lives.  I will let you guys know more about their baptism and my kid next week!  Have a good week, love you all!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Three Things to get an Answer

Dear Family and Friends,

This week went by really fast, it feels like only a day ago I was writing one of these instead of last week.  This week went very well, our sector is improving and we are finding people to teach and have been seeing many miracles.  Things are going well with my companion, this is an eight week transfer so it's a bit longer but I get along well with him and we are working hard.

Something that is going on with our investigators is we have four families that we are teaching but they all need to get married before they get baptized haha.  It's kind of a joke how nobody is married here in Chile.  Also trying to get them to come to church has been difficult.  We teach about the the three things that a person needs to do to get an answer from God, which are, read the Book of Mormon, pray and attend church.  If the people do those three things constantly, it is only a matter of time before they get an answer from God.  The other thing is recognizing the Holy Ghost and his purpose and how he responds to us.

The mission has been an amazing experience and opportunity to answer all the "questions of the soul" and to increase in my knowledge and faith so that I can help people for the rest of my life in that aspect.  This week I don't have any experiences or anything to share but I do want to invite you guys, if you have any questions or want to know anything else about Chile or any other thing, that you can send me an email and I can respond to it.  Keep praying, reading the Book of Mormon, and attending church and never stop looking for the answers to your questions and doubts, they are found in those three things!  I hope everyone has a good week, you're all in my prayers.

Elder Clay

Monday, January 11, 2016

Catch up on the New Year

Dear Family and Friends,

     I have to ask forgiveness for not writing two weeks in a row.  I have been working very hard and have been extremely busy and haven’t had time to be able to write a big letter home to all of you.  I have been really well!  I am enjoying my time with my companion, Elder Tornero, he has such a great sense of humor and very good intentions.

I am also enjoying the sector of Canete.  Even though when I got here we didn’t have many investigators, we have been working hard and doing everything we can to serve the people and we have been able to find some really cool people.  I have also been able to meet many of the members and I get along with them very well.  It’s really cool to see the willingness that they have to work with us as missionaries.  When the members and missionaries work together, the work really increases and is more efficient. 

On the 30th I did an exchange with a missionary in my district named Elder Duffin!  He has 5 months in the mission but it already really talented and speaks Spanish well.  We talked about many things but mainly about the mish and how I remember having his time in the mission and doing an exchange with someone who had as much as I do now, and talking about the same stuff, it’s just a big missionary cycle.  I really enjoy being able to give advice and share experiences that I have to people who need it.

We saw two miracles when we were working together.  At the end of a lesson that we had with one of their investigators, a very humble 22 year old girl broke down crying talking about how much she has been blessed since she had started listening to the missionaries and how everything was improving in her life, it was very spiritual and special.  I even got choked up which hasn’t happened very often in a while. 

The other miracle that we saw was a new investigator that we were able to find, who told us that she had shared with a lot of missionaries in the past but had never really progressed.  At the end of the lesson she said “I finally get it, I understand the importance of your message and I need to pray so that I can receive an answer, because it is very important.”  She told us that with the other missionaries she never really understood it very well and that now she did.  That’s a testimony for me that the Lord is preparing people to receive our message and that everyone has their own time.  Because I know that the message that we shared is the same one that the missionaries in the past did.  I’m just glad I could be part of “her time”.  

To talk about New Year’s Eve, it went really well.  We worked until 8 and then we went to the house of a member to eat a huge “asado” (barbeque) and have a good time.  We had to be in the house by 11 but unlike last year, I was awake at 12 to see the fireworks and celebrations, not nearly as close to everything that happens back home, still a lot of fun.

I spent all of the year 2015 in Chile, it’s pretty crazy to think, and time really did fly this year.  I have had some amazing experiences, met awesome people, served many of my brothers and sisters and most importantly I have served the Lord.  This year was and will be unlike any other year the rest of my life.  Never again will I have the opportunity to spend 100% of my time in the service of people the entire year.  Although, I have been able to learn and make it a custom in my life to always search for the people who are in need and do what I can for them.  I will do that for the rest of my life.  I love God, I love the plan he has for me.  I love the mission, and even though it gets hard and discouraging, I will carry on because the positive experiences outweigh the negatives, and when the negative comes, I will look for the learning experiences that can be found in them.

To start off the new year we met as a zone to play soccer.  During the course of the game, I kicked the ball high over the fence into a yard I would describe with words as “physical hell”. It was a yard that never had seen what is “yard work”.  There were plants and weed that just cut you to pieces, and were taller than 10 feet high.  We asked permission from the owner to look for our ball and he said “You’re not going to want to”.  We went in anyway and from the minute I entered to the minute I left, I regretted it.  I had never been in so much pain and my arms and legs got destroyed.  The plants were worse than rose bushes.  I can’t even describe it, but after 30 minutes and a miracle (because this backyard was enormous and we had no idea where the ball went in) we found the ball.  After washing all the blood off my body, we continued playing haha. 

The month has just began and we have seen a lot of opposition, which I know is normal.  We have done service activities, Dani and Carlos and their family are progressing!  We’ve found a lot of good investigators, we’ve felt the spirit really strong in lessons, I’ve done a lot of exchanges, I burned a pair of my pants for my 18 month mark.  I went to the doctors for my allergies, I got my “trunky letter” (release information).  Started reading the Book of Mormon as a mission, did capacitations, went to compo, realized I’m old in the mission but still feel new, heard some really strong testimonies and strengthened my own.  It’s been a good couple of weeks!  I hope everything is going well for everyone back home.  Love and miss you all

Elder Clay