Monday, November 24, 2014

Charlotte's mom is getting baptized!

This week went very fast for me but I’m not sure why because we didn´t do a lot more than just work all day every day haha. Nothing too crazy happened so I’m not sure what to write about. We bowled last Pday which was pretty fun, there were 16 of us, I being the only gringo, but I took second place behind Elder Rivera which was ridiculous because I bowled a strike and a spare in the tenth slot, I thought I had it. 

We had interviews with the President of our mission this week and those went very well. President and Hermana Bluth are both very loving and smart people and they gave me some helpful words.

This week we set two dates for baptisms! One with a girl named Cecilia who is really receptive and the other.... the mother of Charlotte!! That was one of the happiest moments on my mission because we have been working with her since I got here in Chile but now she says that she knows that our message is true and that she feels that it is true in her heart. It was so amazing to hear her say that because she hasn't been really receptive until this last week,  she has always said that she was born Catholic and was going to die Catholic because that´s how her family has always been.  It really showed me that if people will at least open their hearts to our message and be willing to listen and pray with real intent, they will come to the knowledge that this is the true church of Jesus Christ in the world.  I have been studying the blueprint of Jesus´ church when he came to the world,  and it´s so amazing how our church lines up exactly how he had established it when he did, down to the last little thing.

 I had an intercambio with Elder Muñoz this week, he is from Chile and has 23 months in the mission. As they say in the mission, he is almost dead.  It was way cool talking to him about what he's experienced so far during his mission. I can´t even imagine having only one month left in my mission, it´s going to be very weird. 

One thing that happened this week that made the week was that I got to play lacrosse! Elder Parkin received a package from his parents that had two fiddle sticks in it! Fiddle sticks are just smaller version of lacrosse sticks, and even though they weren´t the exact real thing, it felt sooo good to play again! It was so much fun and Elder Parkin is actually pretty good, I told him we are going to play after the mish. It felt so good and was so much more fun that soccer for once haha. 

We had an activity for the Elders Quorum where we played soccer and we brought Diego, our recent convert, who is pretty much professional, and he just wrecked everyone haha. I want to see him and Lucas Cawley, my best friend, play against each other.

We continue to teach Patricia and Paulina and I think they will get baptized before there´s a chance that I leave from here this next cambio, December 15th. I really want to see a bunch of good investigators that we are teaching baptized, but also I would like a change of sectors haha. Catrihuala, my ward, has been so good to me. I’ve walked Avenida Costanera more times that I can count. I continue to work hard every week and see the impact that I am making on the lives of the people here in Chile, but also on my life.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Challenges with Change, Loving the Mission

What’s up family and friends?!  It`s been two weeks since I sent something, sorry last week I had a lot of stuff to do and there was some miscommunication so I didn´t have time to write the group email. I will try and cover everything that has happened in the past two weeks in this one! It`s going to be hard because a lot has happened. I can`t remember if I already said this but right now I am living with an Argentinian, Colombian, and Peruvian. Three Latinos and one gringo haha it is a lot different than it was before but I am experiencing something that I want to. At times it is definitely difficult but there are times where I love it! The need to speak Spanish 24/7 has definitely helped and I can see my growth.

Elder Rivera, from Argentina, I have already been living with and we have become good homies and we have had some good times together in intercambios and stuff. His new comp, Elder Hurtado, from Columbia, is very nice and pretty funny too. We get along well and he tells me every day how much he loves me and if I come to Columbia, I have a place to stay. he´s a good guy. That leaves us left with the missionary from Peru. My new comp, Elder Maguiña! I went from having practically someone who was the same person as me for a companion, Elder Casperson, to someone who is different than me in many ways. He is from Lima and is 23 and at first sight and for the first couple days he was a very quiet and withdrawn person. I have come to find out that he is a very outgoing person,  and yet he doesn´t talk alot. He has 14 months in the mission and he is a convert of 3 years. I am being challenged in many ways but I am grateful because that is how we learn and grow.
My prayers and hard work at contacting finally paid off this last week and we were able to find some new investigators to teach! We`ve also been working a lot with less active members and our recent converts. I wish I had two missions, one to find, teach, and baptize new members, and another to work solely with less actives and recent converts because here in Chile, there are SO many less active members. Like if everyone who is "in" our ward came to church, there would be over 1000 members haha crazy I know.

Last P day I had the opportunity to watch The Saratov Approach, I had never seen it before and I loved it! Almost cried in front of my new comp, but I refrained:) But really if you haven´t seen it, I suggest it. The faith and reliance the missionaries put in the Lord is amazing and I can´t believe it´s a true story haha my mother would die while watching it.

Our lessons with Patricia and Paulina have been very good lately, we still have a couple of stumbling blocks to get over before they can be baptized but I feel like they will do it. During one of the lessons when we were teaching the Plan of Salvation I had one of my most favorite moments on my mission. Patricia told us about her life before, her experience meeting us, and that she knew that she had to get baptized. It was incredible. She was crying and it was one of the strongest times I have felt the spirit on my mission. She talked about how she has always tried to be the example for her family and how she is pretty much alone in her decision to do this, but she knows that it is the right thing to do. I know that the Lord will provide the way for her.

We´ve been working very hard this past week and we have had some opportunities to do some service. It felt good to do some manual labor again, I´m not sure if that´s what it is called, I´ve forgotten English. So now I have trouble speaking both languages haha. I have forgotten so much but I hope that I am filling the open space with spiritual things, because that is what we really need in our lives. I have started to really focus myself on trying to learn and see the true love that God has for his children. The days here are really hard for me, especially of recent, but I know that the Lord blesses me with little things throughout the day that keep me going and working hard. I am so grateful to be out here one a mission and for all of the experiences I am having. Especially for all of the people I am meeting. The mission is not easy and continues to be the hardest and most humbling thing I have done but there is nothing else I would rather be doing right now. I encourage all who are thinking about it, to do it. The Lord will provide the way. I love and miss you all, especially with the package I received from my parents recently that had a ton of pictures of everyone and my life before, but soooo worth it:) Until next week, and always remember, the Lord is ALWAYS there for you!

Love, Elder Clay

Monday, November 10, 2014

Zone Conference

This is a picture from last week at Zone Conference, his mission presidents have a blog called LoCo in Chile and we found this.  His last meal with Elder Casperson (sitting at his left).

Connor wasn’t able to email a blog letter today however I did get to email back and forth with him this morning for a time.  He is missing Elder Casperson, and says this past week has definitely been the hardest one so far.  His new missionary companion is from Peru, Elder Maguina, he can speak some English so he speaks English to Connor to practice and Connor speaks Spanish to him.  He is a little discouraged as no one seems to want to hear their message.  No matter how discouraged he is, he always ends with an optimistic outlook for the new week and says “I will work hard, keep my head up and don’t worry mom, I will be fine!”

Something I was ecstatic about was he received both packages I have sent to him, so there is hope he will get the Christmas packages that are now on their way to him!  He only opened one package with some photos, treats, letters and a t-shirt we sent.  He didn’t know whether or not to open the Thanksgiving one.  I told him there was no Thanksgiving dinner in it so to open whenever he wanted.  I am hoping with all your messages of gratitude to him, he might open it on a day he’s feeling down and then he will be smiling before long!