Happy...well there's always some kind of holiday here...I just dont know which one...oh yeah, MOTHER'S DAY!!!
It makes me so excited to hear just how much missionary work you are doing and how much it is blessing you. Seems like your going to pass me up in missionary success soon ;) It really is wonderful to catch the wave isnt it? In just thinking what it means to represent the Savior...I just am so grateful for such an opportunity. We've taken a lot of big steps this week for the future especially in the way that we do missionary work. Just so that all know, a missionary is not called to find or even baptize; they are called to teach and preach the Gospel with power and authority. The role of finding and even baptizing is actually the members' role. I wasn't a very good member before I guess ;) In our mission, the majority of our fruits are plucked by our own efforts in contacting, tracting, and our own programs like english. However, there is a better way, and that way is the way we are starting to walk. Its through the members! That's why in our mission we are taking a step forward, leaving our old missionary habits and becoming missionaries who work through the members. Its pretty rough for me actually because whenever we planned before, our back up plan was always contacting to find more people...now I have to learn to do missionary work all over again.
An Elder in our mission has always been a wonderful example of this, working with the members that is. He is a very successful missionary here too. However, when I came here to the mission, if a missionary spent a lot of time at a member's home it ment they were wasting time and really not a good missionary; or in other words, they just didnt want to work by getting out and hitting the streets. This became the focus of the mission: finding by our own efforts. There were weeks when between 8 missionaries we had received 200 contacts...but hardly any new investigators and maybe one baptism. But this was how we were trained. Now, under the revelation of our President, we are changing our focus and doing missionary work the way the Lord would have it done. We've proved to the Lord we can work hard...now we need to work smart and spiritual. It's not that we werent working smart or spiritual before, but now we are learning what the Lord wants of us. That Elder, whom I love dearly, was the pioneer for us all...how grateful I am for that.
This new style of missionary work has its fruits for us: The less-active family that you were asking about actually did come to church after a miracle of an experience.
We went to their home saturday, after calling them during the week a few times previous to share our excitement in coming over, and started our service. We were just moving bricks and dirt for a 2 hours along with Brother Andrei. We talked, laughed, and just got to know him better. However, that was not the part that made the highlights of the journal that night ;) We had a lesson with them shortly following our service about the sacrament. I don't remember all that was said, other than I have a very sacred feeling everytime I reflect on that lesson. We talked about the importance of the sacrament, the importance of the Holy Ghost, and just how much we need that weekly renewal. We took a pause asking the question, "What would a more abundant influence of the Holy Ghost do in your life?" They answered that question and then we said that the Holy Ghost was definitely present at this meeting and that we can all listen to what he will say, following which we took about two minutes of complete sacred silence to listen. I was praying pretty hard in all honesty that this would actually work. It was just a prompting and not a plan, but we put our trust in it. After a few minutes we said that of course the Spirit told us what to do and that even though we as missionaries didnt need to know, as representatives of Jesus Christ exhorted them to follow their promptings. Brother Andrei raised his hand and said, "I have a huge favor to ask of you: Could you call us at 8am tomorrow morning to make we sure we dont sleep in? We're coming to church." And you know, we aren't perfect as missionaries and dont do all that we could always, but I felt a deep gratitude and felt like a real servant of Christ when we said "We'll not only call you Brother Andrei, but we had already planned on being here at 8am to come to church with you." There was a happiness unexplainable after that lesson. The Spirit was there on the lesson. They came to church, were greeted by all the members who had so long missed them, it was an incredible easter service (easter is the 5th of may here), and they partook of the sacrament. Even though they only stayed one hour, its the first step. Truly no effort is wasted in the work of the harvest.
I'll see you on Saturday at 8:30a your time and 6:30p my time. Happy Mother's day! I love you so much!
Your Son, Elder Claypool
PS, Andrei Lukashuk, my Ukrainian brother, is getting married in a month and then in december when his year mark of membership is up they'll be sealed in the temple. Try to shoot him an email of congrats!