Sunday, June 16, 2013

"I am more blessed that I would deem myself worthy to be..." ElderClaypool's new assignment - June 2, 2013

Hey Mom!
You know, I was a little worried when for the first time in my whole mission I didnt have a letter from my favorite mom in the whole wide world...but in reading your reason behind it all, I am so proud of you and would hope that you would choose the Lord over writing me any day! Its wonderful to hear from you nonetheless ;) How was your trip!? Was it just amazing to relax and enjoy yourself? My last p-day in my area we were able to really just walk around Donetsk, had a nice sushi lunch (super good!) and just relaxed. That was good to have since the next few days were really super hectic. We had transfer meetings like you had predicted and I received my new assignment and area. When we arrived at transfer meeting, we were greeted by 10 new beaming sisters ready to serve and all so young. How amazing is it that all but 1 decided to serve a mission after President Monson made the age change. What an incredible testimony it is to see the youth of the church stalwart in following the promptings of the Spirit and following the modern-day prophet. Amazing! They began the transfer meeting with all of us standing in a circle as usual, ready to announce all the missionaries, their companions, and areas, thus inviting them to be seated. President got up and announced the first transfer that with Elder Butterworth I would be serving as his assistant. I cant even describe the wall of shock that hit me. I was not expecting that in the least and am still pretty shocked that I am where I am. I feel super humbled to be able to serve with President Campero in his last month, be here when Elder Soares of the Seventy comes, and really with my companion introduce the new mission president, President Lockhead, to the entire mission. In short....I am more blessed that I would deem myself worthy to be. We had a few meetings with all the trainers and sisters. There are so many sisters in the mission right now that almost all of the sisters are training (all except for the two who are still being trained) including a few 3-somes of sisters. It was pretty funny actually that when we were praying and said "amen," the unexpected feminine voice tones was really all that we heard at that training meeting :) It was a pretty stressful first few nights here too with a new sister going to the hospital and another having an allergic reaction to peanuts in a candy bar...the poor sisters on top of it all were trying to have our first ever sister's seminar and really have a good time...but now they're even stronger I guess. The really funny thing is that on Thursday we didn't have a place to sleep with sisters sleeping in our apartment and the medical-attention-needing sisters taking our vacancy spot at President's home. So we went and stayed in my old apartment. I would have never guessed that the night after transfers I would be in my same old apartment ;)
Regarding me being called as AP (assistant to the president)  probably the one that is the most surprised is me, but I'm starting to fill in the shoes a little bit. It's a lot, but I can appreciate just a little bit more what you and other church leaders have in their callings. I'm grateful that the Lord is letting me learn, make mistakes, and grow.

Missionary Leadership Council was wonderful! It was the first time in mission history and it was wonderful to have the Sisters on the council. It brings a new dynamic that just lifts the whole mission. We are really focusing on working with the members since the focus of our mission for about a long time has been personal finding. Finding on our own efforts is something that we can do. We've proved it to the Lord, but now we are going to the higher law. It's a much more fulfilling law too. For one of our practices we were able to watch the video from the Worldwide Leadership Training when Elders Clayton and Christiansen visited less-actives. Truly to come into a house, full of love, with the goal to restore them to their past testimonies, knowledge's, and blessings is the one of the greatest experiences we can have in this life. Often times our less actives are not prodigal sons and daughters, but simply lost coins that we have forgotten, misplaced, or turned away from. I find so much joy in finding those people that have left or have been lost.

We are able to see president more often.  There is a lot to think about and a lot that I don't really know how to do yet...but I really want to do my best. Be the best example, and help these missionaries and all the people come closer to Christ because of it. Pray for our mission and these missionaries...they are absolutely incredible, but we can do much, much better. I can too. Luckily, my Australian companion (from Brisbane) is an incredibly wise missionary that I will and can learn so much from. I feel so incredibly honored to take part in this historic time of the mission...We will see just what the Lord has in store for the mission and just what He can do with me.

I often pray for my future family and kids...and I have no doubt they pray for me, just like I do not doubt that I prayed for you. Thank you for all that you are. You have the perfect perfections and perfect imperfections that I need, needed, and will still need from my earthly parents. I pray for you every day.

So the last few days have really been a blur with Elder Butterworth being super patient with my lack of knowledge. But I was incredibly blessed with the opportunity to go to my old branch and see Kolya's baptism. It was really the first one that I was able to see almost all the way from start to finish...when he was baptized he was just glowing. Because of his work schedule he was baptized Sunday morning at 8 am. (Elder Carley and his companion had to sleep at the church and wake up at 2am to start filling the font since our fonts take so long to fill) There was a good number of people there, the service was wonderful, and immediately after that he was confirmed at sacrament meeting. Wow. That's really all that I can say. The Lord took a man that was a normal Ukrainian man and turned him into an incredible being of joy. It's amazing what the Restored Gospel can do to any person willing to apply it. So here I am in Donetsk...but we have a bit more to do now. We don't have an area or investigators...but these wonderful missionaries and all the people in the mission boundaries, member and not, are under our jurisdiction. Prayers and as much inspired advice and you could give me to help me be the best I can for this mission would be wonderful! I love you all so much and really do know that the Lord has called us to the work in our various callings and that really each of them are so important. What matters is not what our calling is, but what we do with what we are given. Here we go!

Elder Claypool

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