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!