Sunday, August 12, 2012

2 weeks left in the USA

August 9, 2012
Oh my family!!! It’s so good towrite you and to hear from you! I'm so proud of the missionary work that youare doing and the support that brings me. Even though we call it missionarywork, the real honesty of it all is that we are all missionaries on this earthsent from the realms of Heavenly Father in the life before this to come andbring others to Christ as we too come unto Christ. This is “life's work”, notjust missionary work!
This week has been super amazingand continues to get better. I will admit that the last few days I have beengetting especially impatient, unloving, and unfocused. I don’t know if it’sbecause of the fact that in less than two weeks I'll be on a plane to Ukraine,or if it’s the Adversary working extra hard. Either way, it’s gotta change ;)
A few things I have beenextremely grateful for this week include: prayer, the Spirit, and just how mindful our Father in Heaven is mindfulof all of us. After lunch almost every day, Elder Riddle and I try to get a fewcontacts in on MTC campus to work on Russian, build unity, and invite theSpirit. It may seem kind of weird to do this on campus, but it is so worth it!All need to be invited everyday to come unto to Christ, even us missionaries ;)So, we were contacting some workers in the MTC talking about the restoration ofthe Gospel of Jesus Christ and I had the opportunity to recite the First Visionin Russian.  As I recited those holywords written by the Prophet Joseph himself, I was flooded with this peaceful,yet powerful confirmation that this message --that God loves us and does speakto His prophets today and that all can come back into His presence because ofthe Gospel of His Son Jesus Christ -- is absolutely true.
In watching the Restoration videoin Russian a day later, I was able to receive yet another converting witnessthat this message is true. I know with all my soul and all my heart that Josephreally did see God the Father, our Loving Heavenly Father,  and Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. Iknow that what happened in that Sacred Grove of trees is everything to me andmy life. There is not a single thing in this world worth living for or dyingfor than the truths and testimonies that come from when a 14 year old boydecided to ask God a sincere question. I know this is true, and so can you!That's the most beautiful part about this Gospel and our message.  All can come to know of the truthfulness ofour message if they just ask God. We don’t have any tricks or mind games up oursleeves.  For any who wonder, we don’tlearn how to be cunning convincers of some proclaimed truth (after all we'reall pretty much just 19 year old boys who barely have their heads on straight;), but rather we learn to invite, to bear testimony, to share the word of God,and let the Holy Spirit do the rest. Truly all we have is our testimonies,God's own word that can change your very heart and existence, and an offer forsalvation and eternal happiness to individuals and families to all who arewilling to follow the Savior into the waters of baptism and continue on thepath. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t know this was true and that everyoneneeded this message because it is the only message that truly matters.
Thankfully, because God loves us,another thing I know in my heart is He has given us ways to come to know of thetruthfulness of this message. The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of JesusChrist is there for all as an unshakeable and untouchable witness that theRestoration really did occur and that Joseph, the translator by the power ofGod, did what he did. Recently here in the MTC, I have been praying for mytestimony to increase and to know in my heart that these things of what I amdedicating my life to are true. God blessed me with those answers. In the closingverses of the Book of Mormon, Moroni, an ancient prophet and last prophet towrite in the record that is now the Book of Mormon, exhorted all men to ponderthe things the God had done for the children of men from the time of Adam tillnow, to read the words of the Book of Mormon, ponder them in your heart, andthen ask God the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the Book is true. Andsimply as that, if the asker has a sincere desire to know the truthfulness,have faith in Jesus Christ, or trusting in Him to give an answer, and beingwilling to act on the prompting given, then by the Power of the Spirit of God,or Holy Ghost, you will have the truth of it manifested unto you. I have readevery page in the Book of Mormon and I have come to know of its truthfulnessthrough doing as Moroni promises. As a representative of Jesus Christ, I toocan promise that if you do this, even if you already have a testimony of theBook of Mormon, you may receive an additional witness or simply a witness thatthe Book of Mormon is true. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God andthat if we live by the precepts taught in that book, we can draw closer to God,our families, and never-ending happiness than by anything else.
p.s.  I hope you enjoyed the video of us singing asit was a total surprise to me that Brother Lamarouex was going to send it tillafter he recorded it. Give him this address for me so that he can keep intouch. Tell him thank you for me (he was just released this last week). Sorryif I was not as detailed in the activities of the week, as I promise to be moreso when I'm in the field, but I just want all to know and would hope thatsomehow my testimony can touch anyone who is willing to receive these things.Thank you so much for being the best family and such a blessing from God. I canhardly put to words how I feel about this Gospel and this message and theimmense blessings I have been able to receive, but in the words of ourinvestigator who just lost his job (he was a Russian priest) because he isbeing baptized this Saturday and has little to no school or money: "If Godknow me, and I know he does, what else really matters?"
Let us be faithful and trust inHim who has always been faithful to us. I love you all so much and am doing mybest to become like my Savior for all of you. I still have my struggles...dailyin fact...but I know that His hand is constantly in my life. This is life! Getinvolved in the greatest and most important work in our existence!
Elder MaKade Claypool (soon to bein the Ukraine)

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