Sunday, June 23, 2013

"Slowly etched into my soul" June 23,2013

Hello mom! 

I'm glad to see that you are keeping busy in the service too! One motto that I'm trying to adopt is that I am always busy, but never too busy. It's pretty easy to have so much to do that the Spirit can't guide us or our schedules don't allow us to do small acts of service that change eternities. People are important, I'm learning. 

This last week was pretty quick with lots to do, but at the same time, feeling like we didn't do anything. Specifically I am grateful for the Spirit's ruthless patience with me these last few weeks and the quiet, recurring promptings I received that prepared me for some major moments of my life this week. First was in a zone meeting in Donetsk. They had us all hold our breaths for 1 min and 10 seconds. It was pretty difficult but I managed to do it...timed seemed to go by so slow. Then they had two elders from 1 min and 10 seconds fix a Rubik cube. Those 1 min and 10 seconds flew by incredibly fast. The moral: Are we in our lives surviving or thriving? They took a string and wrapped it around all of us in the audience representing our life span. It was a really long rope. And then they showed us what our mission looked like. Then they took out time for sleep and food...the rope was incredibly short...and then they gave us each a small clipping of thread that represented this current transfer. With that small amount of time, we could influence millions of eternities if we simply did what the Lord would ask and thrive, not merely survive. I am so grateful that for the first time in my life I feel like I can honestly say that I love my mission. I love this work and really I am starting to become converted to it. A quiet fortitude is coming into my life that has been slowly etched into my soul over the course of times and experiences with the sharp but tender tool of the Spirit. I am beginning to thrive in doing the work of the Lord and becoming more dedicated to doing the Lord's will and not being one who says "Lord, lord," but doing nothing close to fulfilling his will. 

The second thing I feel was a huge turning point in my mission and existence was this weeks mission conference. I was able to see so many members of the church that I have so dearly grown to love. I was able to simply love them. How inexplicably  wonderful is the feeling to purely love a person without any subliminal or self-seeking motives of your own. I felt a little more like the Savior those days. At the conference we were treated to have President and Sister Bennett from the East European Area Presidency there as well as President Ulysses Soares and his wife, one of the Presidents of the Seventy. It was incredible to hear just how they loved this people and the country. For anyone out there who may think that Russia, Ukraine or any of the post-soviet countries and their peoples are anything less than the beautiful children and creations of God that they are, I invite you to repent as I had to invite myself to do. These people are so incredibly incredible that have gone through so much with millions that died because of Satan's cruel, murderous hand to wipe the children of Israel off the face of the earth. Their country is flowering and blooming with so many trees and flowers that anything dirty, old, or dilapidated does not compare with beauty of what they really are. I love this people and I love this land. I could honestly spend the rest of my life here helping the Church and gathering this was I called. 

The General Authorities put into words all that the Spirit had been etching into my heart with clarity and resolve that comes from being sent from God Himself. I have realized this weekend just what it means to be a covenant keeping person. I learned what joy comes from fulfilling your covenants; not just doing them, but fulfilling them. It is interesting that when we fill our lives with covenants, we inturn are fulfilled, or full-filled, in our goals and purposes of existing. To be driven by a divine knowledge that you have made covenants with God Almighty is to be a disciple of that he can trust. However, I learned that this is, like all things a choice. 

God gave us free agency to act. It is that simple. We catch a vision, set some goals, get on our knees with requests to receive, and then we go to work, evaluating our steps as we go. Agency is a remarkable gift. Its so amazing to me to think that when I signed the paper to serve the Lord and sent it to his prophet, I covenanted to fulfill His purpose, Work, and Glory. I didnt realize that until now...or rather it just hasn't clicked. 

So I need to shape up, continue to be myself, and realize that I have so much more to give. I am a representative of Jesus the Christ...and like Elder Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve apostles stated in response to the question "how can we come to know the Savior like you do?" said: "In order to know the Lord, we have to serve Him, - and in order to know Him better, we have to serve Him better." 

It's pretty cool what a few hours of the Spirit and years of experience can do to you. That's why I am so grateful for the Spirit in my Him everything just clicks at some time or another. And when it does...well, that's what we call a mighty change of heart. I hope you can feel a sense of just how much I am coming to love the Lord with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. Im coming to love the people the same. Im not quite there with loving myself to be honest, but I'll get their too. 

I love you Mom! and all of course who may read this.

Till next week!
Elder Claypool

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