Sunday, September 9, 2012


Okay so...onto the weeks activities!!!!! First off...a mission is not easy! We often think of missions as walking around, happy-smiley moments all the time, and people just fawning at your feet with the perfect stories. Here in Ukraine, our nicest contacts are often intoxicated and we get a lot of "no's" but I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!! Almost every lesson with investigators we have either been stood up or canceled, and it requires a lot of patience and faith here in the Lords vineyard. I wouldn't trade it for the world though.

The country is beautiful here now that it has cooled down after some massive rain storms that lasted nearly two days (those were fun days for my poor clothes ;) and the leaves are starting to change too. Yesterday when I was on a mini-split with Elder Samuelson and it was just gorgeous even with the super rundown apartment complexes, garbage all across the streets, but the sun was shining, the people in their own quirky way are beautiful, and you can just feel Heavenly Father's hand resting down on our mission. The time is soon coming to see this area of the world become what its has been prophesied to become. I am so grateful for this opportunity and I guess here are some experiences to show it.

Last Wednesday was the torrential down pour in which we were outside most of the day being soaked until I was able to purchase an umbrella. We hopped on a tram and headed to a Sister in the ward who works at the office and always feeds us pizza every week. We took the wrong tram and found out about20 min too late,had to change trams, jumped on to an auto bus, with literally 150 people on it and no room to even think about breathing, and then had to run through puddles and such till we reached her house. The borscht was wonderful,the pizza good too, but my favorite part was indeed when Elder Harvey was eating a grape and found a huge spider that crawled out of his bunch of grapes...he reacted quited enjoyably to me ;) We thanked her, and ran to catch the right tram back home, and to another members apartment. We were drenched and the Sister, nicknamed Mama Bogmedt, pretty much chewed us out for not wearing jackets. I was embarrased for being late, I was soaking wet, didn't know what she was saying, and just as I sat down, about half of my tie was submerged in what we later learned was an incredible borscht soup. Needless to say, I was pretty humbled :) As they fed us, talked with us,and genuinely cared about us, I just felt this wonderful love for them and their love for me. In broken Russian, I was able to simply say that I didn't know how to put it to words, but that I was so grateful for them. The members here are serious gems.

Secondly was actually being able to teach some pretty amazing lessons. We didn't get to teach Galina due to here not being home, but did get to teach a wonderful sister and her son about sacrifice and were all able to partake of a really sweet spirit. We were able to walk through the baptismal questions with an investigator Roman and found that except for a few things, he really had a testimony and was truly ready after we finished teaching him (We'll see!).We were able to teach a young man named Zenia who was ready to be baptized and accepted everything we taught him, but was leaving for another city the next day, not to be back till December. In all these experiences, it gave me hope, a sense of the love the Lord has for these people,and the power of the Spirit. This work is so true!

We also were able to witness a lot of priesthood blessings this last few days. Two baptisms of Elders Samuelson and Russo,a baby blessing of a wonderful missionary-member in our branch, and of course the confirmations of those that were baptized. The Priesthood does and is currently in full operation here in Ukraine. It is truly the power of God and in the ordinances is the power of God manifest!

Finally, our branch...remember how I was telling you not to have the twins quit piano, well I was greeting people Sunday when Brot Victor grabbed me, mumbled something in Russian and led me to the organ right before sacrament meeting started. I sat down, tried to get the thing open, found out all of it was in German on the stops and such, and then said a quick prayer and started playing. It was for sure a miracle. Fast and testimony meeting was wonderful and I got a sense of just how incredibly amazing the saints are here who have been members on average for less time than me. They are truly and elect group of God. After sacrament, (to keep with this new tradition apparently) Sister Dasha grabbed my arm and pulled be to my next assignment: Ukrainian Primary(class for the children under 12). Luckily, I was finally in a class that was at my language level, (even though I still did not understand a ton...) and it was amazing to see these new--and quite rambunctious-kids who will be the future leaders in a land that needs this message so much. It was absolutely incredible! The Gospel is absolutely from God and contained in His Church on the Earth today!

My Companion and I are getting along much more unified, and are really enjoying one another now. We are different and cant expect to be the same, but we have the same purpose here in Ukraine:Bring all to Christ and each other too. We've spent a lot of time eating what is equivalent to Ukrainian rice, (called gretchka) and actually we have eaten it every night, breakfast, and dinner for about three days since we didn't budget our money very well (goal for next month!). For breakfast, gretchka, milk and a bit of sugar. For lunch, gretchka with some ketchup or other sauce (they have a ton of different sauces here and not much else ;) and for dinner, just the same as lunch maybe with some chicken. So much fun.

I love you all so much and cant wait to share more experiences with you as they come. I love you all!

Elder Claypool

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