Wednesday, June 13, 2012

First P-day in MTC!

Hey Family! I can't believe I've already been here a week! I can truly say that it has been a challenging week at that, but I have grown a ton! As you can guess, my p-day is wednesday's and that's when I can email you! I love you guys so much and  I am so grateful for your love and support with me. While we were walking back from the temple today (me and three other amazing Elders from our residence room, Elders Grant, Worthington, and my companion Riddle), we were able to see the new missionaries coming in, saying goodbye to their families, and the tender moments that we were watching. I hope each of you know how much I love and care for you all with all my heart, and I hope you know that I am where I am supposed to be; I know that. The first week was incredibly difficult as not even an hour into being at the MTC I was struggling to understand what my Russian Teacher was saying to me as he was speaking nothing but. (He's actually Liz Adams's older brother as if the world wasn't small enough). By day two, we were teaching our first investigator in Russian and rather haltingly at that. However hard it was, and however frustrating it was, it is so worth it! I can testify that the programs here at the MTC are so inspired that there is no wonder why we always succeed as missionaries. One thing Elder Riddle and I have had the opportunity to do is teach a man from Russia named Mihael every day for the past week except for Sunday and today. We've learned so many lessons from these experiences that are helping us become better missionaries. As I learn more Russian, I am so grateful that I have to think out and plan a lesson first with a language I do not know because if all this were in english, I wouldn't have come to learn a little more just what it means to rely on the Lord and the Spirit. In our prayers everyday, aside from praying for each of your welfare, we always ask for the gift of tongues and the gift of understanding. The gifts of the Spirit are real and available to fulfill the neccessary requirements to receive the blessings and then ask for such gifts. It never ceases to amaze me how much I feel these two specific gifts in my life this last week as we were able to understand this investigator that spoke zero english and were able to bring the Spirit into the lesson through the simple things we knew how to do: bear testimony, pray, make promises, and have him read the things we didnt know how to say (For all those Elders and Sisters going foreign speaking, don't forget that pamphlets, the scriptures, and even Preach My Gospel are great tools for your investigator to read when you have no clue how to explain things).

Here at the MTC, there is an incredible Spirit here as you look around and realize that every single Elder and Sister here has been set apart as an authorized representative of Jesus Christ...probably one of Satan's least favorite places ;) The food is plentiful, but not as good as mom's; the people are incredible and make me want to be better, and once again, the Lord manifest His hand steadily in my life.

Remember how I had said one of the hardest parts about my mission would be being able to communicate...well I was pretty right. Russian is an incredible beautiful and wonderful language but also incredibly difficult. I am so greatful for the gifts of the Spirit or else I would have absolutely no hope and be done with it all ;) Oh, and remember how I had mentioned that one of the most foreign thoughts for me was that I would be fluent in a foreign language? Well in seeing the examples of the Elders and Sisters that have been here for 6 weeks ahead of me, it gives me great hope. And remember how I had said that one of the hardest thoughts for me was to be able to bear my testimony in Russian as I didn't really view it as a language that was condusive to the Spirit? Wrong again!!! As we bear testimony frequently (only in Russian), say our prayers (only in Russian), give sacrament meeting talks that have to be prepared every week as they select random individuals (only in Russian), and even singing hymns (And ONLY IN RUSSIAN!!!!) , the Holy Ghost has manifested to me in so many was the fulfillment of the Lord's words when He says that He will speak to every people in their own tongue and in their own ways. And as I am here for two weeks to learn the language of Russian only to teach using the language of the Spirit, I have a firm testimony that the Spirit works incredibly well through Russian and in conveying to hearts, and not only understanding, the truthfulness of our message.

The last thing I wish to do I to encourage you all to look for ways to turn out in love and charity as the Savior Jesus Christ did and does, rather than focusing on yourself and turning inwards as the normal person would. focus on building Zion and lose your life in the real Life that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I love you all so much! Mom, thank you for being so absolutely incredible and the best mom I could ever ask for. Dad, I cant even tell you how much you are an example to me and how much I talk about and ponder your attributes in trying to be like you! I love you! Korm, you are my best friend and I want nothing more for you than to get out here in the mission field and serve the Lord one day. I love you MaKormick. Twins, thank you for bringing so muych joy into my life and know how sorry I am I missed your birthday.
Elder MaKade Claypool 

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