Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas Skype and other Pics

Connor wasn't able to write a letter this week, however he did send some pictures.  I also added our Christmas Skype picture and one of sweaters he sent to all of us.  It was wonderful talking to him on Christmas, we even had his brother and sister in law on a cell phone (Casey's holding in pic) face time so they could say hi.  Mary, Casey's wife was there too she took the picture since we didn't have a selfie stick!  He had been to the beach that morning which is about an hour from where he lives and is loving his new area.  He told us he is doing great and is super busy, all in his Spanish accent!  He sends his love to everyone.

Monday, December 21, 2015


Family and Friends,

My first week in Canete was a really good week and I'm really enjoying my time here.  The last Monday I said goodbye to many families and friends that I have in Victoria which was a little hard to do.  My time there was completed but there are many people there who I will remember forever and be life long friends with.  I give thanks to all the people that I met and who made sacrifices to accommodate me during my time in Victoria and I know that our Heavenly Father will bless them.

Packing all my suitcases and bags was a little difficult this time because I have way too much stuff now.  As you go from sector to sector in the mission you collect more and more stuff and I think I reached my limit this last transfer.  But it may be that I am in my last sector in the mission and I will be able to leave a lot here when I head home.

I got all my stuff to the bus terminal and me and my best bud from the MTC Elder Washburn bought tickets to ride all the way together.  It was first a four hour bus ride to Concepcion and then another three hour bus ride to my sector in Canete.  During that time me and Elder Washburn talked about the good ol' days in the MTC and how crazy it is how much time has passed.  When we got to the terminal in Concepcion, Brian, my convert was there waiting for me!  It was awesome to be able to see him and talk to him for a while!  Also I met up with my companion Elder Tornero!

To tell you a little more about him, he is from Lima Peru and just ended his training in the mission.  He's 18 and a member all of his life.  He plays the piano really well which is rare to find in Chile, so the sisters in the ward all appreciate him for the choir and hymns.  He's a funny guy with a great sense of humor. He likes to work hard and doesn't get discouraged easily.  We will be together for at least 8 weeks and it should be a great time.

I am living in a house with two other missionaries, Elder Lee, who is from Korea but speaks perfect English and Elder Langeveld, who is from Ogden.  Our house is actually pretty nice and big for a missionary house and the best showers that I have taken in the mission are here!  I have never been in a sector like Canete before but it reminds me of Victoria a little bit, just a lot bigger!  The branch has attendance of around 130 members usually so that's pretty cool.  The members are really nice here and the love the missionaries so that's good.

Well arriving to the sector I found out that we don't have a lot of investigators so this entire week we have been contacting a ton!  There is however an amazing family that is listening to us that I was able to meet and we hit it off really well. It's really cool because they live in pretty much campo, very far away from the city so we have to take a microbus for 30 minutes to get to it. Their names are C and D and they have two children who are 8 and 6.  The cutest little kids.  They have been sharing with missionaries for aournd 2 months now and it's crazy to see their progress.  D was Atheist and now she believes in God and wants to get baptized, C feels the same way.  The only problem is, like most of the people in Chile, they aren't married.  They have been together for 12 years and this last visit with me, they committed to think about marriage seriously, which I'm very excited for.  Please keep them in your prayers.

A really cool experience that happened this week was in the morning on Friday we went to the hospital to sing Christmas carols in the hymn book to the sick people in their beds.  We probably sang to about 15 different rooms which were filled with 3 or 4 sick people with their families there visiting them as well.  They were all very grateful and if felt really good to do that.

I also am teaching English class here, but we need to work more on how to get more people to come, by advertisement.  Normally 2-3 people come but I want to get more to come.  All in all this week has been a hardworking week and a little stressful but I know that it is shaping me into the person the God wants me to be.  I want to thank all of you for the support and love that you have given me, it has kept me going in the hardest of times.

During this Christmas time, I invite all of you to look for ways to serve the people around you, I know that is what the Lord wants.  Remember the true significance of the birth of Jesus Christ and what is means personally for you.  Merry Christmas!

With much love,
Elder Connor Clay

Monday, December 14, 2015

Transfers, Family Home Evening, Christmas Conference

Hello everyone,

Today is transfers which is really crazy to think because this transfer flew by.  It was only four weeks because they can't do transfers near the holidays because it costs a lot to send and receive missionaries by plane during this time. 

My father in the mission, Elder Casperson, is ending his mission which is crazy to think and I'll miss seeing him around the mission but I know he worked hard in his mission and killed it so I'm happy for him.  I hit my 6 months left mark, which for me, is just another reminder to work hard and serve the people in every opportunity that I can, in whatever way I can, because my time is becoming short.  But I'm very excited for what these last months have in store for me. 

To tell you a little bit of what has happened lately, we have been doing a lot of service and walking and contacting.  Victoria is known for being a pretty rough sector and my time here has confirmed it.  But I'm very grateful for the time that I have had to grow and learn here in this sector and for the trials and difficulties that I have had.  I have spent countless hours in the street contacting and I feel gratitude for what God has given me in my life. I'm glad that I can serve God for these two years to show the thanks and love that I have for him. 

Some things that have happened this week, we had a Family Home Evening as a branch in our church on Monday and it went really well! A lot of people showed up and everybody enjoyed themselves.  We as missionaries gave the message and it was about the Atonement and birth of Christ, it was really powerful and the spirit was felt strong.  We also had a band but it was a band that plays typical old Chilean music. I don't know how to describe it but it was awesome!  Also the sisters in the ward made a bunch of food and it was just a good time.

Another big thing this week was the Christmas Conference as a mission.  It was a lot of fun and it was sweet to see all my friends in the mission at the same time because the whole mission was at this one.  The messages and songs were very spiritual and the sketches and slideshows were entertaining and funny.

I'm getting transferred out of Victoria and I'm heading to a place called Canete.  A lot of my friends in the
mission have been there and I'm really excited to go there!  I'm going to be companions with a missionary named Elder Tornero.  He just finished his training and is from Peru!  I'm really pumped because I've heard that Canete is a good sector, so planning on going there and working hard!  Love you guys!

Elder Clay

Monday, December 7, 2015

John 3:16

A short excerpt from the small amount Elder Clay was able to write to us today:
I wasn't able to watch the First Presidency Christmas devotional because it was at 10 at night here in Chile and I'm pretty much asleep at that time because I'm so tired from the days. John 3:16 is one of my favorite scriptures and I find that people don't really understand the greatness and simplicity of that verse. The love that God has for every single one of us is something that has motivated me to keep on going in my most difficult times. I know that I am not perfect and far from it. But it is incredible to me to think that God sent his son to this earth to bring to pass the possibility that all of us have now to repent and become better people. I'm very grateful for his love and perfect plan. We actually have been sharing lately a new video that is called Ha Nacido Un Salvador or A Savior is Born in English, I'm sure that you can find on lds.org. But at the end it makes the statement, Find out why. And I have found that pretty much everyone knows that God sent his son and they know what Christ did but they don't know why. They don't understand the fall and the need that we had of a Savior. Its been an amazing time sharing about that.  My forty day fast ended last week, it was very cool to see the changes that came into my life and the progress that I have seen.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Christmas early, Gospel betters lives, the Chiropractor

Family and Friends,

I don’t have a lot of time but I’ll fill you guys in with a little bit of what I did this week.  I received one of  the packages that my parents sent me for Christmas and it was obvious that there were fiddle lacrosse sticks in it and I wasn’t going to wait until Christmas to play with them!  So I opened the package and only took the two sticks out and nothing else, saving the rest until Christmas.  It’s been a fun week playing with them the little time we have in the house and it’s fun trying to teach the other guys in the house how to play and a little about what lacrosse actually is.

I was able to do a baptismal interview for a lady named C.  She was very humble and prepared to be baptized.  The change that she made in her life was very impressive and I know that the Gospel, when applied, betters our lives and improves our situation.  She was baptized this Saturday and the Elders told me it went very well and she was very happy.

Lately in our teachings my companion and I have been focusing on inspired questions to help and teach the people.  It is something that I absolutely love and have a strong testimony of.  It’s incredible the way that you can touch a person’s heart just by asking the right question. 

                                            Now that took a lot of walking!!!

We have had to go to Temuco a lot recently, which is an hour away by bus, for my companions back.  One of the days this week we went to a Chiropractor and after he did work on my companion, he asked me if I wanted to be re-aligned or whatever and I was more than willing.  It felt so good after and I have never heard so many pops than when he did it to me. haha

For the Christmas activity for the mission, all the zones have to do a skit or video and what we are doing in Victoria is going to be pretty funny.  We are doing a musical sketch to the song “My Christmas Wish” by Alex Boye.  It is really evangelical and actually what my part in it is I’m pretending to be him and lip-singing the whole thing.  There’s four of us who are clapping like as if we were in a Baptist/evangelical church. Hallelujah!  Haha it is going to be hilarious but really good and spiritual too.  It relates a story of a mom and her family and we are doing it as if she was receiving the missionaries and then her whole family gets baptized at the end. A family of 8, miracle!

That’s it for this week.  Love you all!  Have a good week.

Elder Clay

Monday, November 23, 2015

Transfers, Service and Beans

Hey Family and Friends,

This week went as fast as the one last week and not a lot has happened in between but I will fill you guys in on some things!  The week started with saying goodbye to the people who were leaving the zone.  That included Elder Healey and Elder Faas, two of my best friends in the mission and homies that I have grown really close to. We have a Christmas activity for the whole mission December 9th so I will be able to see them both before they end their missions and since Elder Healey lives in Kaysville and I have plans to live together with Elder Faas in college I will be seeing them both after!  I also was reunited with my companion from the MTC, Elder Haynes, because he is now in our zone.  He is the same little fireball that he was in the MTC but now we can look back and laugh of the times that we had back then.  I am living with Elder Patino, Elder Stevenson and Elder Stevenson’s new companion, Elder Ruiz.  We were in the same zone a year ago in Coronel and I wrote about doing some exchanges with him there, he is a good guy. 

The week started off absolutely freezing even though we are in Spring and it rained a ton.  Walking around in the freezing cold and rain doesn’t even faze me anymore and I know that I will miss it after the mission, well maybe :)  This week was one full of service and I absolutely love to be able to fill our schedule in with service activities.  A funny experience, a member called us and asked us to be at his house in the morning because he needed help moving something.  We showed up and right as we did, this truck backed in with some sort of machine in the back.  It was a machine that you use to make tables.  Which is what this member does, and it is BIG… and HEAVY!  Literally it was the heaviest thing that I have ever lifted in my life.  There were 6 of us and it was the hardest thing ever to get it out of the truck and back through this little passage to the back yard of the members home.  We are lucky Elder Ruiz who is huge got transferred into the sector because I honestly don’t think we could have done it without him.  The member was yelling orders at us a million words a minute while we were lifting it to try and guide us haha, it was quite the scene.  I came out of it with only a smashed finger, I feel lucky, God was definitely looking out for us on that one because anybody could have lost a finger or toe. 

From there we went over to the hours of a member where we offered to clean all around her house that probably hasn’t been cleaned in 3 years.  It’s weird how much I enjoyed pulling weeds and reorganizing things.  I can’t wait to have my own house and my own yard, which surprises me that I say that also because I remember talking with my parents when I was younger telling them how I never would have a big yard or anything like that because I hated weeding. Haha

Another funny story:  there was a part where we were going to take out this giant stick that was supporting the “garage” but we weren’t sure about it.  We placed rocks underneath the part that we thought would fall in and then planned to take out the stick.  Instead of taking it out slowly, ensuring that nothing would go wrong, my companion just kicked it out.  I stood there in utter disbelief thinking the whole thing was going to fall in on itself but everything went well and now it looks a lot better.  We pass by that house in the mornings and didn’t plan on stop helping until everything looked good and clean but then tragedy struck.  Saturday morning my companion woke up with really bad pains in his back and he can barely walk.  We have been in the house all weekend with the exception of leaving to eat lunch and church.  We have an appointment with a doctor today so we will see how it goes and what’s wrong.  I think he just lifted something wrong when we were doing yard work but not sure. 

Other than that, I’m pretty sure we have eaten lentejas which are like smaller sized beans almost every day this week for lunch, but gotta be grateful that the members give us lunch :)  I also got a call from Elder Casperson this weekend and he was with Brian and one of my favorite families from Coronel!  I was able to talk with all of them and it was really great.  Very grateful for everyone that I have met on my mission and the experience that I’ve had.  That’s it for this week.  I love you all and hope all is going well back home.  Much Love, Elder Clay

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Elder Pinto, Seminary Graduation and other Experiences

Hello everybody,

This week was a pretty chill week and it went by really fast.  Time has been flying lately and I can hardly believe that we are already in the middle of November.  This week was the last week of the transfer and we found out the transfers today, but I will talk about that at the end. 

This week started off with an exchange and I was with a missionary named Elder Pinto.  He is from Argentina and has about 6 months in the mission.  I don’t know if you guys know this but all the countries below the United States that speak Spanish all have their little accents.  Everyone speaks Spanish buy someone from Peru speaks with a different accent then someone from Argentina.  Anyway, Elder Pinto has one of the strongest Argentinian accents that I have ever heard.  We had a really good time together on the exchange.  We had one of the best lessons that I have ever had on my mission, the people we taught were so receptive and had the best questions and doubts.  It’s always hard leaving from exchanges like that because even though I only met a family once, I have such great desires that they can progress and I want to be a part of it.  However, I know Elder Pinto and his companion will do a good job with them. 

Also, the last district meeting of the transfer was cool, our district leader asked all of us to share our testimonies like we would in a sacrament meeting.  It was really awesome to hear the testimonies of all the missionaries in a form like that. I shared Ether 12:4 because that is pretty much what my testimony is based on, I don’t know how Ether did it because really it is the exact testimony that I have and the words I would use.  Very grateful for the scriptures. 

Another cool experience that we had this week was we were contacting houses and we ran into this woman that had shared with missionaries a while ago.  You could tell something was wrong and she was really mad and told us that she didn’t want to hear anything about God or anything like that.  We asked her if there was anything we could do for her and after talking with her for a little bit longer,  she told us that her mom had died a month ago and she still had bad emotions from that.  I testified of the Plan of Salvation and I really felt like my testimony impacted her, there was a different feeling in the room.  She started crying and told us to come back a different day to talk,  it was a very good experience. 

Another thing that happened this week that was fun was we got invited by some of our investigators to go to this dance performance, performed by the school her children attended.  I really liked it, they did dances from all  different countries according to that country’s culture.  I especially like Chile’s and Argentina’s.  They represent the United States by cowboys and jazz, which made me really want to dance. 

At the end of this week there was a seminary graduation and we had to help a lot in the preparation of that.  Including we had to get mannequins from a store and bring them to the church.  It was pretty embarrassing because they were naked and we had to carry them through the center of the city to the church.  They were only men, if that makes it better…   Haha  The seminary graduation went well and we had a cotton candy machine and a bunch of other stuff. Also later that night there was a baptism of a little girl that was really beautiful.  They put on a video about fathers and her father hasn’t been doing too well lately and I think it gave him something to consider.

Also yesterday I gave a talk about tithing that went really well and it was cool to see the people who went and got tithing slips right after and thanked me.  Well to let you guys know about my transfer…. I’m staying here!  However it is only a four week transfer that’s coming up.
Have a great week, love you all!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Shaved heads, Halloween, Growth because of challenges

Last week Connor didn’t have time to write and this week he sent 3 voice recordings.  I took notes and here’s a little about what he’s been up to: (my notes are in parenthesis)
I and some Elders shaved our heads, not all the way bald but a number 1.  (He didn’t send any pictures, if that means anything.)  A lot of people ask to take selfies with us, and we always oblige, it’s quite funny.

Elder Murphy our district leader gave the best talk in a conference we had.  He used an analogy of WOW, the “healers” prepared themselves before hand with buffs so they didn’t take “damage”, which is similar how we have to prepare ourselves in life to be ready and prepared for the hard things that will come our way. (Not sure of what words I got right explaining that).

I am still loving teaching English and the people are getting quite good at it so I think they must be practicing.  It is still funny how some people act like they know English well though, and really don’t.  I had to get a paper notarized that was in English.  I went into a bank and was telling an employee what I needed, and that I could translate.  Another person walked up and said “I can read English” and took the paper and pointed to where a date was to be entered and said “this is where it needs a signature, right”?  I said no actually that’s for the date, so I ended up translating.

In Chile half of the people celebrate Halloween just like they do in the USA.  They dress up, knock on doors and get treats.  The other half of the people think it is an evil pagan holiday and actually get mad at people who celebrate it.  I remember last Halloween and can’t believe how fast time has gone and that it’s been a full year since then.

Last P-day I had to go to Temuco to the doctors for another x-ray of my ankle.  He said it looks great and healed completely and I should take care of it by not playing any sports.  I can’t stop playing so I will just be really careful.  I have such a great desire to play lacrosse after my mission.

I was reading back in my journal a year ago about all the difficulties and challenges I was having at the time and how stressed I was.  Now those problems have completely changed and don’t worry or concern me at all.  I am amazed at how quickly things can get resolved and no longer be difficult.  I know we have hard things in our life so we can learn.  There are always hard things in peoples life but the problems we have are opportunities for us to exercise our agency and decide how we are going to react to the situation.  This is something I have learned on my mission.  I am just trying to be a better person every day.  I know I have a lot of area for improvement but I am doing what I can and hopefully by the end of the mission I can look back and be proud of what I’ve done here.  Also proud of who I’ve become.

We helped a sister who needed help setting up her bed.  She then took us out to sushi.  It was not hard core sushi, but I had never tried any kind.  I dipped it in a sweet sauce and really liked it.  I’ve had it now three more times since that day. 

As I sit here talking in English for a long time, it’s hard not to just start speaking in Spanish.  As you can see I have said some Spanish words here and there and have forgotten some English words.  This was just the opposite at the first of my mission, when I would be speaking Spanish, I would throw in English words and just want to start speaking English.

We had interviews with President Bluth last week.  I really love him, he is such a wonderful man, and his wife is a wonderful person too.  We talked about the principle of repentance.  In closing I just want to say I have a great testimony in the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  I love talking to people about repentance and how to apply the Atonement in their life and become better people than they were before.

I love you all and hope you have a good week!