Monday, October 27, 2014

Challenges and the Chicken Dance

Weekly update from Temuco, Chile: It has been another challenging and learning week for me. Every day I am faced with new problems that are different than I have ever experienced in my life and through them I am able to learn and grow. I have experienced about every emotion possible here, ranging from the greatest happiness to the greatest sadness. I know that the things that I am going through here are shaping my life to what the Lord wants for me. Every difficulty and test that I face, I thank the Lord for the opportunity to be humbled and learn something new. It is so surprising to me that amount of change I have seen in my life in such a short 4 months, not that I have changed my personality but the importance and priorities of things in my life have definitely been shaped to what they should be. But as I said this week I have had some challenging times, but also I have had some really good experiences.

We played basketball in our church clothes against one of our investigators and his friend. It was pretty funny, we had all the neighborhood kids surround around the court watching us 2v2. It was pretty hard to play in church shoes but the gringos did come out on top:)

Also another thing that happened this week that was pretty funny was we had a ward activity. And as some of you probably saw, we taught the old men of Catrihuala the Chicken Dance and performed it in front of the ward haha. My mom knows where the video is if any of you want to see it. It was pretty dang funny trying to teach the men it, they were getting so confused and it is the simplest dance ever.

We also did some service this week and cleaned a "front lawn" of one of the members. I have never seen so many rocks and weeds in my entire life. By the end of it was just all dirt and I´m pretty sure we are going back another day to plant a garden. Just gardening in Chile, wow.

This week I had an intercambio with Elder Currulef, he´s from Argentina but he knows English pretty well! It´s so funny when Latinos know English because they all know sayings and quotes from movies and it is so hilarious when they say them. Anyways we had 3 appointments and they all fell... So yeah we contacted all day. It was really hard, we didn´t have any success. It´s difficult to think that I am going to love Chileans after days like that haha they were pretty mean that day. They say some pretty rough stuff and even the nice ones won´t listen to our message most of the time. But it´s all good, we´re working hard.

This week and recently I have been impressed and amazed by something. The amount of trust that the ward members have in us, as missionaries. I mean I am an 18 year old boy who has pretty much just messed around his whole life, working hard in school and sports but never having any real hard challenges, but still the ward members share things with us and ask for help in things that I never would expect they would. But that is why we are here, we are representatives of Jesus Christ and I am so grateful for the opportunity to have these people here. 

More about the ward activity, it was a countries theme and the ward gave the USA to us... So Elder Miller cooked his famous friend chicken, and I had to give a testimony on the difference between the United States and Chile. Dogs and fences, I refrained from the urge to say how the USA was better than Chile in EVERY way haha jk but yeah that and the chicken dance after.
Facts about my life in Chile right now: We only have 3 light bulbs in our house so we have to carry them around to the rooms we want light in, it is a million degrees outside when we work, and I´m thinking of inventing some missionary shorts and sending them to President Monson to see if they´re good.

Okay a really cool experience that happened this week to wrap things up. So we have these two really good investigators named Patricia and Paolina. They were able to come to the Stake Conference yesterday. Patricia works with the Stake president in our stake but he didn´t know that she was investigating our church. During his talk in the stake conference, he saw her in the congregation. At the end of the talk, fighting tears, he addressed her, and bore one of the strongest testimonies I have ever heard. It was incredible to see the sincerity and love in his voice and you could really see such a great joy that he had from just seeing her there. They were both crying by the end, it was amazing. This is the work of the Lord and this is His true church in the world today, I can bear witness of it. I love you all and hope that you guys can stay strong in your faith and invite others to come unto Christ and the truth as well. Until next week.

Elder Clay

Monday, October 20, 2014

The best thing... A new investigator

This week has been pretty good, but it has been one of the hardest ones for me in a while. Not a lot happened this week but we had some pretty cool experiences with some new investigators that we found. I don´t know why exactly this week has been so tough, but I know that when I was at my lowest points, the Lord did and does comfort me. I am grateful for all the advice that I have received from others on how to make this mission the best one for me, and I strive myself every day to improve what I´m doing or thinking to make this mission the best for me. The words of my cousin Cam, come to my mind as I am trying to have this mission change me to the person I want to become, but as he said in a letter to me, "The mission isn´t about me, the mission is about the Lord, and helping Him with the work that He has prepared for me." That has been some of the greatest advice, especially when I´ve been down. There are countless scriptures that say that the Lord will comfort and bless the lowly in heart and the humble, and that the Lord will always prepare a way for people to do what he has commanded of them. I can testify that those things are true and my testimony in them and in him grow every day.

I thought about and have talked to Elder Casperson about how our days of teenagers and messing around are all gone. Haha it is a sad thought but I know that it had to come sometime. The scripture 1 Corinthians 13:11 hits hard, and if you know anyone who is still immature and childish and is older, you can give that scripture to them as what we call down here in Chile, "a palo":)

I had the opportunity to see one of the young men in the ward open his mission call this week, it was awesome! He is going to Buenos Aires North Mission! It was so weird watching someone open their mission call while on the mission, and they do it a lot different than I was accustomed to. It was also all in Spanish, only a little different than mine.

We came across an old lady this week who literally couldn´t understand me for anything. I practically yelled in the clearest voice I could, "Puedo pasar por su baƱo?" like 5 times before she caught the drift that I needed to use her bathroom haha but she was a very nice lady but a little crazy.

Okay now for the best thing that happened this week. We had found a new investigator, Patricia, a week ago and we stopped by her house this week. She had been very nice and we thought she could be a good investigator. When we stopped by this time, her daughter was with her. We taught them both the first lesson and it went really well.  At the end when we asked them if they were to receive an answer to their prayers that this is the true church of Jesus Christ, what would they do.  They started to cry, and then Patricia preceded to tell us that she had seen us the day we first contacted her walking in the street earlier, and if we were to knock on her door that day she would know that we were sent from God to her. Well we had. While both crying, they accepted to be baptized if they received an answer. One thing that I think is so cool about missionaries in this church is that all we ask the people to do is to pray to receive an answer that this is the true church, no forcing or anything, also that we can promise that if they pray with a sincere heart and true intention that they will receive an answer. It makes the investigators know that they are receiving this answer for themselves and no one else. 

With everything else in the mission, we continue to play soccer every Saturday morning, it stinks haha only because I stink at it. I find myself thinking about playing ANY other sport, especially lacrosse, miss it more than anything.

I have received some good life advice from my mamita, who literally has the greatest look on life I have found in Chile. If someone really wants to change, they can. We continue to teach Chileans English slang, so funny. I think that that is it for this week.

Shout out to my Grandma and Grandpa Pease for sending the first letter I have received, it was amazing. Also thank you to everyone else who now has sent one. I love all of you guys, especially the ones who actually read this because that means you actually miss me;) Just kidding but really I hope all continues to go well at home, you are in my prayers.

Elder Clay

Monday, October 13, 2014

"Clean the canyon", "I grocery shop" and More...

Overall, this week has been pretty good, the mission gets a lot better after time and adjustment. Sometimes I have difficult times but these times are starting to happen less and less, but let me assure you that they definitely do pass. But that is how life is supposed to be. We’ve been taught since we were young that God give us difficulties and challenges so that we might be able to grow and learn, something that has helped me a lot when I am having a hard time is I try to look at what I can gain or learn from this moment, I encourage you all to do the same. We are bound to make mistakes, mess up, and sin, but that is what is so incredible about this Gospel, we have the Atonement. I know that through this marvelous work of Jesus Christ we all can receive a remission of our sins if we come unto him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. It has been something amazing in my life.

I wasn´t the greatest kid before the mission, I wasn´t doing anything incredibly wrong but I wasn´t living life the way I should have. When I started to prepare for my mission, the Atonement and my testimony in it started to shine. Through this, I truly started to see a change in my heart. I can testify of Mosiah 5:7. We are sons and daughters of God, and He wants us to come unto Him. Sometimes in life it´s difficult and we fail, but always remember Mosiah 26:30 and the promise that the Lord makes unto us. I don´t know exactly why I am saying this all right now, but for some reason I feel like I should because I have started to realize how big of a role the Atonement is in all of our lives and especially how amazing it has been in mine.

Alright now onto how my week has been and what I´ve been doing. It started off with some guy approaching us on the street and telling us that he felt like there are evil spirits in his house and he just has a bad vibe about it. He had moved into it recently and he proceeded to tell us of a story that the person who lived in it before him told him about how his ex-girlfriend haunts it. haha Pretty crazy stuff,  but he asked if we could do anything for him. So we did a house blessing. Unfortunately, it wasn´t like all the scary movies I´ve watched and no devil came running out of a closet or anything.

Another thing that me and Elder Casperson got to do after a lesson with Lilian and Vick, we asked the usual "Is there anything that we can do for you?" Of course the normal "no" answer came but my companion offered to "clean the canyon". I wasn’t sure exactly what that was, but by the time that I was standing on the roof, standing on a edge that was tiny, I had an idea. It involves throwing this machine thing down the chute of the chimney. It was pretty sketchy climbing up these shack things to make it to the roof, then trying to balance as we undid the whole chimney top and throwing the thing down in it. And we had to do it twice because it didn´t work the first time. We encountered every kind of problem during the time but we did it! I came out with black marks all over my shirt and pants hah not the smartest but it was fun! And a good experience.

This week has been really, really cold.  One of the days we woke up and it was 11 degrees C (50 F) but of course it was so hot by the afternoon. It’s kind of like Utah here in the sense of weather, one moment it will be sunny and hot and the next moment it’s raining and cold. But other than that Chile is completely different than Utah.

This week and for the past couple weeks we have been focusing on finding new people to teach, so we have been contacting a lot. It’s kind of hard and discouraging because we haven´t been the most successful but we keep on trying day after day. Well, that´s all I really have for this week, sorry it´s kind of lame haha I´ll try and do something crazy this next week :)

Oh I just remember something that was cool.  This week because it was fast Sunday we had a fast and testimony meeting. Earlier in the week our ward was able to travel, those who could afford it, to Santiago to go to the Santiago temple. It was so cool to see them all bear their testimonies on how amazing the temple is and how everyone needs to go. It is humbling to see how much people have to give up and sacrifice to go to the temple. Many, if not all of you back home have a temple very close. Take advantage of it and realize how blessed we are to have temple. If you don´t have a temple recommend or haven´t gone in a while, I invite you to do whatever you need to do to make it happen, because really the temple is heaven on earth. That´s all for this week, I´ll continue to eat crazy food and live the life of a Chilean and tell you some more stories next week.
Elder Clay

Mom’s side note – We asked Connor about his meals in Chile and told him we were having the missionaries over for dinner on Thursday this was his reply to us:
Breakfast I either have cereal or yogurt and granola, lunch every day is with a member at about 1:00, and dinner is when we get home at 10 at night and it has been peanut butter and jam sandwiches for a while lol. TREAT THE MISSIONARIES WELL, AND GIVE THEM DESSERT. . I’m like a grown man, living on my own haha so weird to think. I was thinking about it today and realized it when I was grocery shopping haha I GROCERY SHOP, in Chile to add to that :)

Monday, October 6, 2014

First Intercambio!

How is everything going back home?  This week has been a very good week! A lot of independent times this week where my Spanish and knowledge was tested, but it’s all good because I passed with flying colors!  

The biggest thing that happened this week, besides conference of course, was I had my first REAL intercambio!  Elder Casperson left for a day and a night, and Elder Parkin came and was my companion for that time! And yup, the same Elder Parkin that arrived last week.  So it was him, who has one week in Chile, and me, who has one month and a half, working a normal whole day of contacting and lessons. I thought it was going to be very difficult and that I was going to do bad.  It was the exact opposite, it went great!  I talked so much and taught so well! I did very well being senior comp.  In all seriousness, I surprised myself so much.  I was exactly like how Elder Casperson is to me.  It made me realize how much I have actually grown and how much I know, directing us around, and leading lessons was awesome.  The whole experience of not having someone to fall back on really helped me be the best missionary I can be.

All of this was tested again when during one of the sessions during general conference, when we were waiting for the next session to start, we went on splits with the young men in the ward and contacted for a while.  It was quite the experience.  Each missionary had their own young man. But in all, the intercambio with Elder Parkin, and the splits with the young men was a very good experience for me to help me see my progress.  But of course the following days I was humbled by the Lord as I stumbled to get out words in lessons and contacting.  I know that the Lord strengthened me that day I was with Elder Parkin and I know I am given stumbling blocks so that I can learn and grown.

This week we have been focusing on finding new people to teach so we spent whole days at a time contacting.  Let’s just say we haven’t had the best luck this week.  Over 100 contacts this week and we didn’t find anyone who seems good to progress.  It was pretty discouraging but we are working and I know that we will be rewarded in the Lords own time. We continue to work with our recent converts in strengthening their testimonies and helping them with whatever we can.  

General Conference.  I had the opportunity to watch it in English, so I was very happy for that. I could go on and on about what I liked and learned but I think my favorite was the talk given by Lynn G. Robbins.  If you missed it, you need to look it up and watch or read it.  It was Saturday morning session and he talked about never forgetting which way you face.  Geez, I’m reading through my notes right now and there were so many good talks.  But I can say that Saturday’s sessions were better than Sunday’s sessions ;)…but both very good though. It was really cool to see in the priesthood session that the choir was made up of missionaries in the MTC. I saw three of my friends singing in it!!  It was so funny haha but made me miss my friends a lot.  

That’s about it for this week. If you didn’t have the opportunity to watch conference I suggest that you watch them online. It was such an amazing opportunity to receive personal revelation that comes through the words of the prophet and apostles. I never know how to end these things... Talk to you next week?  Yeah that.  Love you guys!

Elder Clay