Sunday, November 4, 2012


Hello Family!!!
I am sitting in the laundry place writing you and I’m soaking wet because I lost my umbrella and it is pouring here! It should start snowing soon though. This last week was kind of illustrated by ‘today’s weather’ with me being impatient, soaking wet (more like beaten down spiritually), and not in the best mood. Nevertheless, there have been many things this last week that have made me stop, stand still, and see the hand of the Lord in my life.
I don’t know if I told you already, but, on average 80% of members are less active here in my current area. In our branch {branch is a word used to describe a congregation of members} we have 360 baptized members and about 80 that come every Sunday. They need our help and are so special in the eyes of Heavenly Father. This week, in fact, one of our less active members in our area came to our apartment and looked for a remote control (he is also our landlord). Continuing the story…he was at our apartment for about 4 hours looking, and in between him taking a break, we were able to share with him a wonderful spiritual thought where we explained the importance of church...and the miracle was that his home teachers had taught the exact same thing the day before. Sunday… he came to church realizing the Lord was talking to him! It is incredible to see the tiny moments that make life and the mission worth everything.
Within our district {district is a word to explain a few sets of missionaries in a nearby area} is another tender mercy that I was able to see this week. It was a rough week for me and it turns out that our whole district is having a rough time too. The Elders and sisters are going through similar things with various twists (frustrations that more people are not willing to listen), but there is no doubt in our mind that (1) President Campero is an inspird man {he is the mission president living in Ukraine for three years and is from Bolivia} and that Heavenly Father knew we all needed to be together in the same mission, and (2) the adversary is working hard on us. Here in our mission there is a lot of things that look like the time has almost come (signs that the 2ndComing is close), and we feel like it is the deep breath before this work explodes here...and Satan is doing everything he can to stop us. But, we will not stop. We are rejected on almost every hand. Many times a day I hear the same things that the people “don’t have time” and “your message isn’t needed”, and that they already “have enough” of God. We know otherwise. Like all trials too, the scriptures are a place I have gained my strength. I have been memorizing scriptures lately in Russian, and I remember one morning contacting and being shut down and the scripture in Isaiah 53:3-5 having new meaning for me: "He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. And we hid as it were our faces from him. He was despised and we esteemed him not. Surely he has bourne our griefs and carried our sorrows, and yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But (and this is the where patience and diligence kicks in) he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes, we are healed." He was rejected and still did the work of the Father. This is my calling to do the same.
This Sunday we also had an incredible experience singing as a district. We finished all of our church meetings (which I’m starting to understand the language now, ha ha) and then we went back on the streets to find people to teach. We have a very musically gifted district and often sing on the busses and whenever we are together. That Sunday we were singing on a busy street corner and contacting at the same time. We were able to receive 7 contacts between the lot of us and had an incredible time. The Lord is in the Work!
Even really late last night we were headed home and about 30 minutes from our apartment, it was obviously dark, and also raining (and really late, smile) and as we were late and couldn’t find where a street was and as we huddled under one umbrella and tried to find the street….never thinking that it was a prompting from the Lord…. we just thought to go look at a building next to us to see which building it was, and to our astonishment, we were able to see it was not only the right street, but also the right apartment complex. Little tender mercies like that are the ones that make you look heaven ward, and with a sweet, sweet feeling, aside from all other trials, thank the Lord for his tender mercies. Truly His Hands are in the Work.
The work is challenging, but not impossible. The road seems long, but never unbearable. And all the while I have my Savior at my side (and my missionary companion), and the Book of Mormon and Bible as a guide. No unhallowed hand may stop this work, and only hallowed hands may do it, for His kind pierced hands are also in the work.
I love you all so much and pray for you. Pray for us. Pray for these people in Ukraine. They need this Gospel and the peace it brings, unadulterated and eternal, that comes from knowing our Savior Jesus Christ.
With Love, Determination, and the Enabling Power of the Savior as My Strength,
Elder Claypool

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