Monday, January 18, 2016

Three Things to get an Answer

Dear Family and Friends,

This week went by really fast, it feels like only a day ago I was writing one of these instead of last week.  This week went very well, our sector is improving and we are finding people to teach and have been seeing many miracles.  Things are going well with my companion, this is an eight week transfer so it's a bit longer but I get along well with him and we are working hard.

Something that is going on with our investigators is we have four families that we are teaching but they all need to get married before they get baptized haha.  It's kind of a joke how nobody is married here in Chile.  Also trying to get them to come to church has been difficult.  We teach about the the three things that a person needs to do to get an answer from God, which are, read the Book of Mormon, pray and attend church.  If the people do those three things constantly, it is only a matter of time before they get an answer from God.  The other thing is recognizing the Holy Ghost and his purpose and how he responds to us.

The mission has been an amazing experience and opportunity to answer all the "questions of the soul" and to increase in my knowledge and faith so that I can help people for the rest of my life in that aspect.  This week I don't have any experiences or anything to share but I do want to invite you guys, if you have any questions or want to know anything else about Chile or any other thing, that you can send me an email and I can respond to it.  Keep praying, reading the Book of Mormon, and attending church and never stop looking for the answers to your questions and doubts, they are found in those three things!  I hope everyone has a good week, you're all in my prayers.

Elder Clay

Monday, January 11, 2016

Catch up on the New Year

Dear Family and Friends,

     I have to ask forgiveness for not writing two weeks in a row.  I have been working very hard and have been extremely busy and haven’t had time to be able to write a big letter home to all of you.  I have been really well!  I am enjoying my time with my companion, Elder Tornero, he has such a great sense of humor and very good intentions.

I am also enjoying the sector of Canete.  Even though when I got here we didn’t have many investigators, we have been working hard and doing everything we can to serve the people and we have been able to find some really cool people.  I have also been able to meet many of the members and I get along with them very well.  It’s really cool to see the willingness that they have to work with us as missionaries.  When the members and missionaries work together, the work really increases and is more efficient. 

On the 30th I did an exchange with a missionary in my district named Elder Duffin!  He has 5 months in the mission but it already really talented and speaks Spanish well.  We talked about many things but mainly about the mish and how I remember having his time in the mission and doing an exchange with someone who had as much as I do now, and talking about the same stuff, it’s just a big missionary cycle.  I really enjoy being able to give advice and share experiences that I have to people who need it.

We saw two miracles when we were working together.  At the end of a lesson that we had with one of their investigators, a very humble 22 year old girl broke down crying talking about how much she has been blessed since she had started listening to the missionaries and how everything was improving in her life, it was very spiritual and special.  I even got choked up which hasn’t happened very often in a while. 

The other miracle that we saw was a new investigator that we were able to find, who told us that she had shared with a lot of missionaries in the past but had never really progressed.  At the end of the lesson she said “I finally get it, I understand the importance of your message and I need to pray so that I can receive an answer, because it is very important.”  She told us that with the other missionaries she never really understood it very well and that now she did.  That’s a testimony for me that the Lord is preparing people to receive our message and that everyone has their own time.  Because I know that the message that we shared is the same one that the missionaries in the past did.  I’m just glad I could be part of “her time”.  

To talk about New Year’s Eve, it went really well.  We worked until 8 and then we went to the house of a member to eat a huge “asado” (barbeque) and have a good time.  We had to be in the house by 11 but unlike last year, I was awake at 12 to see the fireworks and celebrations, not nearly as close to everything that happens back home, still a lot of fun.

I spent all of the year 2015 in Chile, it’s pretty crazy to think, and time really did fly this year.  I have had some amazing experiences, met awesome people, served many of my brothers and sisters and most importantly I have served the Lord.  This year was and will be unlike any other year the rest of my life.  Never again will I have the opportunity to spend 100% of my time in the service of people the entire year.  Although, I have been able to learn and make it a custom in my life to always search for the people who are in need and do what I can for them.  I will do that for the rest of my life.  I love God, I love the plan he has for me.  I love the mission, and even though it gets hard and discouraging, I will carry on because the positive experiences outweigh the negatives, and when the negative comes, I will look for the learning experiences that can be found in them.

To start off the new year we met as a zone to play soccer.  During the course of the game, I kicked the ball high over the fence into a yard I would describe with words as “physical hell”. It was a yard that never had seen what is “yard work”.  There were plants and weed that just cut you to pieces, and were taller than 10 feet high.  We asked permission from the owner to look for our ball and he said “You’re not going to want to”.  We went in anyway and from the minute I entered to the minute I left, I regretted it.  I had never been in so much pain and my arms and legs got destroyed.  The plants were worse than rose bushes.  I can’t even describe it, but after 30 minutes and a miracle (because this backyard was enormous and we had no idea where the ball went in) we found the ball.  After washing all the blood off my body, we continued playing haha. 

The month has just began and we have seen a lot of opposition, which I know is normal.  We have done service activities, Dani and Carlos and their family are progressing!  We’ve found a lot of good investigators, we’ve felt the spirit really strong in lessons, I’ve done a lot of exchanges, I burned a pair of my pants for my 18 month mark.  I went to the doctors for my allergies, I got my “trunky letter” (release information).  Started reading the Book of Mormon as a mission, did capacitations, went to compo, realized I’m old in the mission but still feel new, heard some really strong testimonies and strengthened my own.  It’s been a good couple of weeks!  I hope everything is going well for everyone back home.  Love and miss you all

Elder Clay