Sunday, July 15, 2012


Hello favorite family in the whole world and existence of eternity!!! I've thought of you all so much this last week...but don't worry, it's in the good way ;) Well...where do I even begin? This week was pretty rough but at the same time super beneficial! Being here at the MTC there are many opportunities to bear testimony and especially to ponder the path of your life. And with all that you are taught, experiences make you really wonder, ponder, and reflect on your life. To be really honest though, this was probably one of the hardest weeks of my life recently.

As a missionary, there is a lot required of you and lot in which you are expected to perform. The Lord has called you to serve Him and expects that you do so. When it comes to following the rules and being obedient to that which I have directly in front of me, I do just fine. We get up every morning at 6am and make sure we start off the day right...but being a missionary is much more than just being obedient. In Preach My Gospel, it reads that we cannot convert people beyond our own conversion, or, in the words of the Emeritus Seventy that spoke this last week, "you cannot expect your investigators to gain a testimony of something you do not have a testimony of." Needless to say, whether by the Spirit's promptings or atmosphere of the MTC, I have pondered questions regarding this: What do I desire? Why am I here? Do I have a testimony? Am I converted? Am I willing? Do I love the Savior?

All these questions and more have been on my mind as I have been driven against a wall needing to know these answers. I felt multiple times throughout the week like I was drowning in the sea of my own confusion and mental tempest. I would remember the Savior, why I was here, and what I was doing and it would all be better, but then I would relapse into these fits of doubt (frustration). However, the Lord is mindful of His Children. On July 4, we were to teach another member of the zone whom we didn't know; to practice our Russian and to edify one another. Elder Bunnell and I sat across from each other and gained knowledge of each other and such, then headed back to our individual classrooms to prepare for the next hour. As I sat in a sea of confusion, I felt no direction, I felt lost, I felt alone, I...realized... I was only focused on myself. I would pray for help and then try to focus on Elder Bunnell and what he needed rather than myself, but to no avail. But like I said, the Lord is mindful and I know that. I went into that lesson with a small idea of what to say with a sad excuse for a lesson plan. We sat down and in Russian, we began to teach. Elder Bunnell proceeded to share a simple list of scriptures that had within them exactly what I needed. Through tears we continued the lesson as without fail, every scripture felt as though it was dictated from the mouth of God to me personally. What was the truly amazing part, followed the lesson. In bearing testimony, Elder Bunnell, in halted Russian, described to me that while preparing his lesson, he had only heard of half of the scriptures and just felt like the Lord what guiding him to not only what I needed, but what he needed. In simple Russian testimony, he bore record that God really did know me exactly, that He knew exactly what I was going through, and he knew exactly what I needed. I know that now too.

The rest of the night was wonderful, as I hope your 4th of July was as well, but I couldn't expect that that would be my only trial. Throughout the week, I continued to struggle and ask myself if I truly was converted on "all things", and where I measured in every aspect of my testimony. Nevertheless, I would continue to try to do that which I was supposed too. Pray to my Heavenly Father, meaningful and with the realization that not only is He listening, but kneeling with me, is what continues to be my strength. I would pray to my Father for guidance, for comfort, for peace, and without fail, I began to see His hand in my life. I would receive an impression here and an impression there each day, and like a gentle current or breeze, I could feel His guiding hand, but not necessarily know the direct route to go. I've realized that no one can strengthen my testimony but me. Yes! I have a testimony and I have had one, but the Lord in His infinite mercy, of which I am incredibly grateful, has openly showed me just how much I need to grow and become "more converted". I realized through the week and the comments of my companion and others speaking by the Spirit, that this time is a time of great testing for me. I cannot convert people beyond my own conversion nor can I just expect to go with what I have. This mission is a mission to serve the Lord. To devote my heart and mind to him 24/7 and to the children whom I serve. I am learning more of the Atonement, I am learning more of the man called Christ, and just what He has to offer...the offering of his whole self for me (and for you). The road is long and I have even longer to go before I can truly be the missionary and man that the Lord would have of me, but for now, I have faith in Him from whom salvation comes. And as I learn more of all that I lack in, I realize that all comes back to that great and last sacrifice of my Savior, even Jesus the Christ (See Alma 34:14). Use the Atonement. Learn more of the Atonement. and seek more fully to become converted to this Gospel. This is His work. I testify of Him. The Church is true.
Love, Elder Claypool

PS Tell Eric Hi for me and Ryan congradulations and that I'm proud of Him. I really do love you guys so much and am so blessed to have a family as supportative as you all. I'm trying to learn and serve the Lord now and finding our out hard that is and how far I am from being anything I wish to be...but i guess in a way that's okay. The hope I have to remind myself daily of is that that there was once a perfect Man who walked the earth so that by him, in him, of him, and through him, I might have hope. This is the hope of My salvation, the man I am working to represent. Jesus Christ my Savior.

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