Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"Diligence and Faith = Many Miracles" 3/18/13

 Good morning!

To start off, thank you so much for your words of patience...there are a lot of things that I think about in my mission that are changing. It seems with every companion that I have, I change a little here, and a little there. Sometimes this change is uncomfortable and not wanted...but if we take the time to see that God should be in 1st place in our lives and not ourselves, we will realize that any excuse we have is just relying on our own abilities and not the Lord's.
I'm doing pretty good this week with no exciting new in regards to transfers. I'm staying with my companion for another and am grateful. I need to grow a lot to be a good leader, and my companion helps me quite a bit with that. There are going to be 8 new elders and 1 sister today coming in and next transfer about 9 sisters come in. Then after that another huge number of sisters. The mission is going to have a lot of sisters to say the least. Its good too, because sisters are always the examples. ;) As far as I know, in our mission we can only email immediate family, but those who wish can email me...hand written might be the best because then I'm not super behind in writing back. Hand written post gives me the time I need.
Yes, our acting president does speak only Russian, and I love him and his wife to death. His wife is the district relief society president and just to give you a view of the two, we were at the church building doing studies and a Relief Society activity was in the preparations. President Podvodov told us to keep studying while the rest set up because of the importance of studies...later after the activity we had an investigator meeting to go to, but Sister Podvodova was wanting us to eat refreshments. I said "Sorry we cant, we need to go save someone." She responded "Gotta save yourself first, so go eat!" Those moments just make you laugh ;)

 Speaking of Lord Apong (investigator from Africa), he's doing alright. He came to church a week ago, but then didn't come. He's a 19 year old young man who admits he really doesn't follow commitments. The last lesson we had with him was about the Plan of Salvation and he was a little shaken with the idea of 3 degrees of glory. It is a beautiful doctrine that just didn't make sense to him.  Then (and this is mainly my fault) we talked about the authority of baptism. He wasn't ready to learn this. I learned-- If we try to teach by anything else but the Spirit it doesn't work...He closed up after that lesson. We'll help him though. I just feel bad that I relied on what I thought and not on what the Lord would want me to say to him.
Our investigators in general aren't making must progress this week, but there are many miracles happening right now in our mission and it's because of our faith and diligence...however, we need more faith and hard work though. A miracle last Saturday in the mission was we had 5 baptisms in one day! A man, who I had the opportunity to interview, was baptized in the morning, and (as a testimony of the power of a baptismal service) an investigator's dad was at the baptism and gave permision to his daughter to be baptized. We had to run over there, do the interview, and later that day she was also baptized. Amazing!
Last Sunday we were having a really rough day. We had translated almost all 3 hours, were tired, hadn't eaten and were on the streets after a lesson that wasn't that good. We were about to cross the street when an impression came to me to go down the street we were on. We did so and after a few rejections, a mom and daughter and granddaughter stopped. We asked a bit about them and they said they were baptized in our church. When they said the names of the missionaries starting off with 'elder' and a last name like 'Olsen' we thought "NO WAY!!?!?!" But they were less actives not on our records from Siberia. The Lord led us to them. That wasn't the end, not even the beginning. We then walked passed a group of people who then stopped us with the words "You're Mormon right?!" answering yes, they said they had been searching for us for ever, lived about 2 hours away, and were praying to find us. They found us. We took them to the church immediately and did a tour. They asked so many questions and just were so prepared. Within 15 minutes of the tour of the church she was asking what she needed to do to become a member of our church. Then after that a random member popped her head out the office door, and said "I can answer that" in regards to a question. That's the kind of members that missionaries need: Willing ones. We've met with them now every day for the last four days. They have just soaked in everything, forgotten a lot, but they are literally the start of the church in this city without missionaries and members. We don't know where this is going to go, but we'll be able to drive up to her, teach her and those that she gathers to try to start the church there. It is absolutely amazing that though there are so many teachings in the world today, the Lord still is preparing those who are kept from the truth only because they know not where to find it. We need to be ready to help all find it. If a member or full-time missionary, we just have to follow the Spirit, live right, and we will be in the right places at the right times. This work is absolutely the work and glory of God. In no other work can you say miracles are a daily thing. I am so grateful to God for all that He gives us and all we can receive. But if we are only willing to give a part-time effort, we can only receive a portion of the blessings. We literally determine everything, for everything is determined by our  individual choices. Be miracle seekers! We're asking our missionaries and ourselves the question every day: What made your day miraculous? Amazing how many answers you can come up with.

 President Campero (our Donetsk mission president) had been in America for a while (as you know). He has been diagnosed with prostrate cancer. We don't know what it is going to amount to, but we'll probably have a new mission president in July. Keep him in your prayers.

As for Natalia and her meeting with the Professors, it went very well. It was a very open discussion, but was still amazing. She wants to help us find more people, but really just doesn't get that she needs to progress.  We'll work with her of course.

The work continues.

Hugs, Elder Claypool

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