Friday, July 27, 2012

Be A Missionary Family

Dear Family,
It's so good to hear from you! This has been a wonderful week and I really took the things that you had told me in the letter in stride. Sorry for the email not getting to you on time, but there was a lot of good that came of it. Thanks for being so loving and caring!

That is absolutely wonderful to hear about you stopping and talking with the Hammons. They are absolutely amazing individuals and I love them dearly. When it comes to promptings and revelations from the Spirit, I really love what I learned about this from a video by Elder Bednar: just be a good boy and good girl, keeping your covenants and commandments, and you can ensure that the Lord will be leading you. Too often in the Church we have this unwritten rule that we have to know if its the Holy Ghost before we can act on it. President Packer has said "revelation often comes as a conclusion." Not to mention that if you have thoughts to do good you can know its from the Spirit. If it meets the test of inspiring you to become more like the Savior then you can know that it is by the power of God. Don't forget too that the more you become like the Savior, so will your thoughts; thus you cannot expect the Holy Ghost to prompt you to do something if you already know you need to. Just some food for thought that I learned.

For the MTC, its been absolutely wonderful and I cant believe I have less than a month left here in the MTC! Currently we are teaching a Russian Priest and a man from Nova-Sabirsk. Of course they are just our teachers but its all coming along. We're learning how to teach people and not lessons...which by the way is incredibly difficult!!! But so worth it. The Spirit continues to help us and grace us in every lesson. We were also able to get a new teacher this week because Brother Adams got moved to a new Russian district (because we got a batch of new Russian missionaries to help and mentor, wahoo!). Our new teacher's name is Brother Wilson and is potentially one of the most incredible men I have ever met. He carries this reverent dignity with him wherever he goes and is such a powerful, spiritual giant! In my interview with him I was able to learn to love and respect him even more, but also received this advice from him: look for reasons to love people. If you can transcend faults by finding what to love, it will make life so much more successful. Oh and I also was privileged to bless the sacrament in Russian this week...really crazy difficult, but so worth it! Oh and (sorry for the horrible flow in this letter ;) ) I am singing in our sacrament meeting this week with 7 other Elders singing an expanded arrangement of "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" that I had sang. Now its in 4-6 part harmonies and all a Capella. Hopefully our audition will go well and we will also get to sing in a devotional!

Another really amazing experience that occurred last night was Elder Gary J Coleman came and spoke for the Devotional. He spoke on missionary work and the opportunities that it could bring...I guess its just never really hit home - the power of missionary work that is - until I heard the moving discourse from the man that if not for him, I likely wouldn't be listening to him speak or on a mission...I don't even know where I would be.

It's quite difficult to put yourself in the shoes of someone where the terms "plan of salvation," "Atonement," "Holy Ghost," "Modern Prophet," and even "Jesus Christ" are not even understood by them. How ungrateful I have been for what I have. We have the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth today! His plan and prophets are fully revealed and our salvation is in sight! We have a Savior, and a correct idea of His perfections and character, and through His Atonement, which we know and can access through priesthood ordinances and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is available to all! We have the light when all others have darkness. Doesn't that make you want to share it? Sure we're imperfect and have fears, but that doesn't matter! No one ever said this life was anything about us,- like the Savior we are to hold our light up to the world to glorify our Father which is in Heaven. We need our family in on this, we need to inspire the members and all without the truth.

Sister Coleman talked about families and the Gospel, and how her family was a missionary family. I'm so grateful for the examples set by all in our family and how we too are like that, but remember that the Gospel blesses families in all circumstances. We want no empty chairs in the Celestial kingdom. I want ever member of our family including our cousins and such to partake of what I get to teach and represent every single day. I love you Kyleigh and family! Please know that this Gospel is the best way we can live our lives.

Its been another rough week in a sense, but only because of my own pride. The Lord's work moves onward and He invites all to come unto him. I echo the words of Moroni in Ether 12:40- "and now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost...may be and abide in you forever. Amen."

I love you all!!!!!!!!! Come unto Him every day step by step!!!

Elder Claypool

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