Thursday, August 2, 2012

Aug 1, 2012 Post

August 1, 2012
Good morning!  Well, well, well...can you believe that the MTC train isalmost at its end?  I have only 20 daysuntil I head out to Ukraine and begin to serve my people. With this thought inmind, it has led to quite a bit of anxiety, but so much excitement!
A little on how the MTC (Missionary Training Center inProvo, Utah that trains missionaries before they go out to serve) is going:   First, Russianis the most incredible language in the world and we’re up to 4Speak-Your-Language days a week now! (Well, I guess this week will be fivedays). Essentially what that entails is just nothing but Russian all day long.Our teachers are teaching us almost in complete Russian and it is absolutely incrediblehow the gift of tongues actually is. I have a strong testimony of this gift,but, more importantly, and at the foundation of it all, I am beginning to havewithin me a burning conversion to the grace of Jesus Christ. This was evidentlymanifested while we taught two of our lessons to our two investigators on thesame day:
1. Ivan (EE-vahn) was first to be taught on Monday and...wedidn’t really have a lesson plan (oops! Be prepared). We were practicingteaching the word of wisdom in English (rare) to Brother Adams who was pretendingto be an investigator named Vechaslav (literally means "eternalglory" in Russian ;) ) and then all of the sudden our teacher, BrotherWilson asked if we were ready to teach we excepted, and pleased toget 5 minutes to 'gather our thoughts'...aka, prepare a lesson. We had decidedpreviously to teach him about the Savior and who He was, what He did, and how Hisexample applies to us.  We found somescriptures and went in to the lesson praying for the Spirit.  Ivan didn’t know at all who Christ was, butthe lesson went wonderfully! As we testified of Him, the Spirit entered intothe room and testified to all of us that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,and the Savior of the World. In fact, Elder Riddle, in the middle of the lesson,asked Ivan to pray to find out if the words we were saying were true. He did,and this incredible peace filled the room. I have such a deep love andreverence for the One who is becoming my only Hope, my Dearest Friend. We thenspoke on the example of the Savior in 2 Nephi chapter 31 (scripture found inthe Book of Mormon) and committed him to baptism right there. He was hesitant,but he knew we would help him and that his Heavenly Father would help him too.
2. Vladimer (Vlad-EE-mer), our other investigator was alsoscheduled to be taught by us that day. Rather than following the usualPlan-Study-Teach-Cycle on our own as a companionship, we were able to do thiswith Brother Adams.  It was wonderfulbeing able to prepare a lesson with him and my companion and see the results.We planned and taught on the principle of faith and wanted to help Valdimerrecognize that he did have the faith to be baptized. In previous lessons withhim, his issue was that he wasn’t sure and wanted to be 100% on his decision.With this goal in mind to aid his faith, we made a lesson that wasstraightforward, effective, and fun. This is something that I have never donebefore because of how much we focus on the spiritual side of conversations, butI learned an important lesson on this: theGospel is nothing but a pathway to a fullness of joy (maybe the first ofmany MaKade quotes). If at all we feel burdened trying to live the Gospel,unhappy with our life, not understanding how this is the 'great plan ofhappiness,' and we are doing everything we can to keep the commandments and covenants,then ask yourself this question: "Am I using both the redeeming power andthe enabling power of the Atonement in my life at every opportunity?"Remember where true joy comes from.   Nowgo smile.
So, back to Valdimer. We are teaching him; had him do an object lesson that involved himtrusting that we had candy to give him;  and that he could get it, even though he didn’tsee it;  and that if he did 15 jumpingjacks in the middle of this busy walkway (...he of course rejected, laughed,tried to barter the number he had to do);  but he did it and received the candy.   All of that was not the real teaching momentof the lesson.  The important teachingmoment of the lesson was when he read Ether 12:6 and then taught himself bysimply saying "Guess I can’t get the candy until after I have faith and ambaptized?"    He understood the Spiritfrom reading the scriptures.  The Spiritis the only one who gets credit to do any teaching on these lessons, and thebest part is that though we can present the message to the investigator, the HolyGhost presents it to their heart in their way.   My family and friends- Seek the Spirit givento us that is the conduit through which we partake of the grace of theAtonement. Please, partake of the Atonement and come to know this Jesus of whomthe prophets have testified (Ether 12:40)
To say the least, I am so grateful. For all the notes,blessings, treats (thanks everybody), prayers and life lessons that I receiveevery day because of you all and because of our Father in Heaven's love for us.He knows us so personally and wants us to be everything He is and more. He asksthat we pray to Him, so He can bless us. Heasks us to believe in His Son, because it is through His Son that we canreceive joy, even a fullness of joy. Don’t seek to merely gain a testimony ofthis work, but let your works be a testimony of Him who we all were sent torepresent and come unto. In a devotional this last Tuesday that influencedmy heart so much, the speaker spoke of "why we are here," and who itwas that sent us? As a representative of Jesus Christ and an authorizedMissionary for Him, the talk seemed to apply wonderfully to us all.  But, never forget this lesson the Spiritwhispered to my heart: In the premortal-life we all chose. We all chose to comehere and to follow the Savior. Because we have been born in this day and age,we were sent here by our Loving Heavenly Father to bring all souls to Him.There is no greater purpose of life than the purpose we were sent here to do:fulfill His Will, as our Savior set the example for us to do. You are herebecause Heavenly Father trusts you enough with the Salvation of the souls ofAll His Children.  Let us be faithful tothat calling. And if you feel as though you cannot go on or cannot become thatwhich is asked of you to be, take this lesson I learned from this experience asa missionary: Remember who called you. Remember that you chose once before andproved yourself in the life before coming to this earth:  you can do it again! You cannot do it on yourown.  His Grace is sufficient for you tobecome who you are called to be. Whom the Lord calls, He qualifies. Rememberthat you are called and who it is that extends that call.
Love you all!
Elder Claypool

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