Monday, August 25, 2014

Vivo en Chile

Life in Chile is quite the experience! I have definitely had my ups and my downs this week but I know that this is all part of the mission. The biggest thing right now in my mind and always in my mind is the Spanish. Crazy Chileans, can’t understand a word. But I am improving, at least that’s what Elder Casperson tells me. Most of the time I can catch the drift and put my input into the conversation in simple Spanish. I continue to grow closer and closer to my companion as we bond and as he teaches me and comforts me through everything. Really he has been amazing and has saved my mish. He says he is grateful to have the opportunity to help me like this because he had a Latino trainer and went through the exact same experiences and feelings as me but he couldn’t really communicate with him.

My house is freezing always, the food is definitely different, and the responsibility of living on my own is stressful and new, but this week has been incredible! Mornings greeted by a large ole ward member yelling MOR MO NES out his truck as he drives by. Afternoons eating almuerzo (lunch) is a HUGE lunch because they don’t have dinners here, my stomach still hasn’t gotten used to it! And the rest of the day teaching investigators and proselyting! I have never walked so much in my life.

So I got lost in Chile... I had an intercambio (exchange) with Elder Rivera after a conference we had. We are both new to this area so we didn’t know which Micro to take to get back and we were way far away from our city. We somehow found the right one but after we got back to our city we didn’t know exactly where our house was so we wandered the streets of Temuco in darkness for a while, finally found our house then realized neither of us had the keys. Lol all of this in Spanish was stressful. So stressful. Definitely thought I was going to die on the cold streets of Chile that night. But we did some good proselyting then found our church and met our other companion. Lots of crazy experiences here.

This past Saturday I had the amazing opportunity to baptize for the first time! Charlotte is her name, I think I told you a little bit about her last week. But it was so cool to see the joy it brought her, she started crying after! A 16 year old girl crying because she was happy about a decision she made. And her parents aren’t members but they were there and got to see. They came up after and thanked us so much for all we had done. They even came to church the next day! It was so cool to see a family so happy. That was an experience I needed. It has been extremely difficult here, really hard to not be discourage because of the language.

Lately I have been studying Christ like attributes, especially Faith, Hope, and Patience. I encourage everyone to study Christ like attributes and strive to be more like Christ every day. That is our ultimate goal. To become like him.

Hmm some more stuff... haha we threw darts at a map to find contacts, divine revelation I know. I’ve gotten kissed on the cheek a couple times by people who don’t know missionaries do not do that, but that’s how girls say hello and bye. We play a lot of soccer, and  I stink at soccer and all the Latinos give all the gringos crap because we’re awful, but it’s pretty fun sometimes. I’ll be good by the time I get home.

Thanks for all the support I get from home, it means so much. I will continue to work the hardest I can for you guys and the Lord. A scripture chapter I have really liked lately is Alma 26. It’s a good one. I hope everything is going well at home and if there’s anything I can do for any of you, let me know. Stay strong in faith, the Lord provides a way for ALL of his children. Hasta proxima semana.

Elder Clay

Monday, August 18, 2014

Adios Mexico, Hola Chile!


Goodbye to all the rain in

                                    Chile or Bust!!!!
  Welcome to Chile!                                           
Okay you know what I said about the first week of the CCM being hard? Yeah that was true, but I promise you this is times 10 in hardness of everything! Haha literally I don't know where to begin... You should see where I live, what I eat, what I see, the people I meet, the things I am doing, my parents are going to be so proud. 

I'll start from when I last wrote you.  I left last monday for Chile.  The food on the plane was the best food I had eaten in 6 weeks. Trying to make it around the airport in Santiago to make the plane for Concepcion was such a stress haha bunch of missionaries running around like chickens with their heads cut off.  Once we got to Concepcion we went to the Mission home which was some amazing building, which gave me the wrong idea of my mission.  We ate one of the best meals I have ever eaten in my life, another false impression of my mission haha. We got some instruction for a couple of hours at the mission offices then it was time to sleep. We slept at a NICE hotel, best night sleep of my life. The bed was so comfortable haha. 

That morning we awoke and got ready to travel to meet our new trainers and companeros.  I was so nervous, you have no idea, I couldn't focus on anything. So we all gathered in a room, new missionaries and trainers, and waited to hear our name get called out to pair us up.  Well we were the first companionship paired up but I was so out of it I didn't even hear them call my companions name first, I just remember hearing my name, looking up, and think HE'S AMERICAN! YES! Haha I needed someone who could speak English so bad.  Elder Casperson from Provo Utah. Okay this is where things get good. We are so alike, it is insane. The kid plays sports, is such a homie, and we clicked instantly. Get this... HE PLAYS CoD WoW, and all the other video games I played haha. Honestly so sick I got the best trainer I could have. We are the same in so many different things, he has saved my life on this mish. Plus he likes to be obedient, knows the lanugauge perfectly, and knows how to work well as a missionary. He only has seven months in the mission, which is really young to be a trainer but really he is the best trainer for me. 

We then traveled for 5 hours on a bus to the city of Temuco, where we are proselyting and serving the area of Catrihuala. It was a beautiful bus ride, CHILE is so beautiful! We got here around six and we got right to work. I didn't even unpack haha.  He said "we are going to visit the bishop then the house of a girl who you are going to baptize". So yep I am performing my first baptism in six days to a girl with the name of Charlotte. She's amazing, she's 16, and a model, and so gringa. It's crazy I'm already doing a baptism as a missionary, and I have another one the week after that for a 17 year old boy named Diego. Its pretty sweet. 

Now I'm going to talk about the language. So there are two type of talkers in Chile, 50 percent have zero teeth and the other 50 talk with only a slit of their mouth open, this along with them talking at a million miles per hour, slurring their words, and they just take off the end of some words when they feel like it. So yes I'm learning a completely new language than I learned at the CCM. I haven't been able to understand 80 percent of what's going on for the past week, it's very difficult and frustrating and I'm not gonna lie, I have broken down a couple times. It's very hard to have hope here for my language. Please pray that I might be able to understand and learn the language and I will continue to try my hardest. Elder Casperson has been amazing with helping and comforting me. I just have to get over the fact that the language will take time. 

Okay done with hard stuff, now funny and crazy stuff. So there are dogs EVERYWHERE, just doing what they want.  I live in like a cabin but it's hard how to explain, I'll attach some pictures.  I almost had to take my first bucket shower, mixing freezing water with boiled water, I ate horse, I ride around everywhere on these mini buses called Micros and they just fly around doing whatever they want driving as fast as they want. I have seen some crazy people on those haha. People here just dont have a worry in the world. The culture is so different. We set our first baptismal date a couple days ago. That was so sweet, but to humble us we always get bailed on for appointments and contacting is so frustrating. The Lord knows how to lift, but also humble. The ward I'm in, oh geez, you should see them, they're some crazy Chileans.  I went to my first ward activity, so different, so much weird food, singing, yelling, ugh haha crazy stuff. 

The people I live with are mi and mi papa. Here they refer to the mission as a life, like I was born here in Temuco and I will die when I leave my mish.  My trainer is my dad, stuff like that, but anyways then there's Elder Rivera and Elder Miller, an Argentinian, whom I live with, I love them. In total I am having the experience of a life time, literally living a life in Chile. It's crazy to think sometimes. It is very hard here but I know that the Lord is strengthening me through the trials. Actually teaching real people is amazing even though I can barely say anything or understand anything haha.  I got to see my first baptism last Saturday and to see the joy that it brings was amazing. I can't wait to continue to bring the joy that this Gospel brings to as many people in CHILE as I can. Love and miss you all. Please include me in your prayers, I need it. You are in mine.

Elder Clay
                                                      Me and Elder Casperson

                                                          Our casa (house)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Last P day in the CCM

Well this is the last time I will be emailing you guys from the MTC! I got my flight plans yesterday and I will be leaving Monday the 11th at 8:30 for Chile! I am so excited haha it's ridiculous. I have had enough fake investigators, I want to work with some real ones!! I am so excited to finally be able to serve the people of Chile, because those are they who I was called to serve.  Am I nervous about the Spánish? You better believe it haha more than anything. I pray every night that I will be able to get a companion that will be able to train me well. The nervousness of everything is outweighed by how excited I am to get out of the CCM and finally get to Chile! My experience at the CCM has been amazing though.  I have grown so much and have learned sooooo much. My brain is exhausted and I haven't even started the real mish haha. I have made so many friends that I know I will stay in contact even after my mish. My teachers here... geez  I don't even know what to say. I love them so much. I am forever grateful for them. I can't get over it. I have gone through some very hard times here and I will never deny this is the hardest thing I have done, but really the moments of complete joy and love I have had here are beyond anything you can comprehend. I will forever encourage and invite everyone to go on a mission. Is it bad that I'm crying writing this? Nope cuz you guys know that this is how I am hahah. THANK YOU to all who have supported me. Your love, support, and prayers have gotten me through this CCM.
                                                             Flight Itinerary to Chile

The one thing that I feel has been the greatest thing I have learned here is to not be so consumed in worldly things and realize that in your life religion and family should be before EVERYTHING else. Don't get me wrong, I love my friends, music, video games, social networking, car, sports, and girls, excuse that last one, but here I have really been able to put things into perspective. I am not telling you guys that you should drop all worldly things but I would advise that you should always put your family and standards before anything else.

A quick brief  of what has happened this past week. I was asked by one of my teachers to tutor in Spanish an Hermana from another district and an Elder from my district, that has been really good for me. I was asked to pretty much teach a lesson to two districts by myself haha Hermano Vargas loves asking me to do stuff, but I am grateful for the opportunities. We had a fiesta in our class for our one month mark we passed here. We bought a ton of treats from the tienda and talked about our favorite experiences here. It made me realize how long I've been here haha. Me and my class mates have came to the conclusion that the Spanish to English dictionary is our Google. Saturday nights in Mexico City... The parties go on all night. Any time you wake up in the night, which is a lot I don't know why, but there is music blasting and people singing, sounds like a blast, but sucks trying to go to sleep to it. 

                                             Me and my companion Elder Haynes

This Sunday was fast Sunday. I want to testify of the power of fasting. I can't tell you exactly what happened, but it was incredible how spot on my answers were. Also during sacrament I was the first one to get up and bear my testimony. Now remember this is all in Spanish. I can't really remember what I said because I kind of blacked out but apparently according to others, I did a really good job. Holy Ghost, Gift of Tongues.

I was talking to one of the Elders in my district, Elder Cox, he was telling me how he got to have dinner with Davis Archuletta  before he came here and David Archuletta just barely got back from Chile on his mission. And he was saying how David Archuleta couldn't remember words in English, like he had forgotten how to speak English haha.  I want that when I get back! That's so crazy to think. 
                                                               Hair Cut Day

One of our devotionals this Sunday was on Celestial Marriage.  You're probably thinking why in the world would they teach that as a topic, wouldn't that make them miss home and their significant other? Yeah don't worry I was thinking that too haha.  Anyways one of the quotes I really liked from it said, talking about divorce, "If you could only see your wife as she will be in the glorious resurrection, this very wife you now say you don't love, your first impulse would be to kneel and worship her." The same goes for the husband. This was explained to say that all people when resurrected will be perfected and beautiful, so maybe there is still hope for me! Haha but really it's a long ways away but I am so excited to get married in the temple and sealed for all eternity. 

It's time for me to close up. This is weird this is going to be the last time I write to you from the CCM but I just want to express how grateful I am for the opportunity I have had to be here and to be on a mission. I am SO grateful for my parents to raise me in this church which is the true church of God. These next 23 months I will strive to serve the people of Chile with all my might, mind, heart, and strength and bring them to the happiness of this eternal gospel. I know that I will go through difficulties, because I have already, but I know that I will be able to turn to the Lord and he will strengthen me. Love you guys, next time I write you I'll be in CHILE!!!!!!