I do have to say that dad’s jokes are always a pure uplift to my weeks. My companions are brought to say now after I've laughed my head off, "Yep, that's your dad." I've tried convincing all my companions that I'm funny also, but they don't quite get my humor...and judging by our emails, it seems that we have similar humor.
Please tell grandpa Claypool happy birthday from me, and thank him and grandma for serving a mission. I just received their letter in the mail dates July 9 in which they spoke of their soon-to-be-ending mission. Tell then that I am so grateful that they chose to serve the Lord and really are starting a family tradition. I can't wait to go on a senior couple mission with my wife (many years from now). It will be just amazing! Have you and mom ever thought about going out to serve a mission? I guess you still have quite a few years too, but it's definitely something that all missionaries here are grateful for: senior couples. Our senior couples are the best! The Lord really needs the expertise of the senior couples too. The Church is quite young here and for a talented duo like you and mom, it would be just thrilling for any missionaries to experience your love and support as those that come over to our home already do.
You asked about what challenges I have as an Assistant to the President? well...it’s crazy, fun, and pretty stressful. There are so many things that go on in the mission that I am now aware of, and the special considerations to handle new missionaries correctly, registration/travel things, and just the normal needs of our missionaries, etc. One of the most amazing things that does happen as a mission leader is that the Lord puts a lot into you and the miracles you experience. As mission leaders can attest, our areas are supposed to be exemplary and allow other missionaries to model their area in according manner. Months ago when I was privileged to serve as a zone leader, we were able to see many miracles that allowed us to teach with greater power. Often you have to ask yourself "What does the zone need?" or "What does the mission need to learn?" From this you are able to plan the activities and act out the necessary events that need to occur in order for you as the assigned leader to teach what they need by your actions. It’s really a seemingly unfair way to expect miracles from the Lord (smile) but we are so grateful for it ! We have a whole group of missionaries that didn't yet receive their visas and so the transfer is being delayed a few weeks...but it gives me more time to learn from my companion before the duty of lead assistant falls upon me as he gets reassigned soon. It’s pretty stressful only because my companion knows so much, and he is amazing, but I've realized that with The Lord I can really do all that He asks and nothing more. I've really come to learn how dependent I am upon Christ.
This life is really just one large learning process. I guess to believe in the notion that every interaction, conversation, person, and situation are just things to pass-by, fill our time here in mortality, is to believe in the notion that our Loving Father in Heaven, in all the wisdom of His perfect plan, would not use every minuscule moment of our short time here on earth to learn and grow. If we look for opportunities to learn and grow, we see them. That's one of the greatest blessings of being here on a mission: Learning, Acting, Sharing. I love to learn...not always in the ways that the Lord asks me to do so, but nonetheless, learning and progressing gives me a feeling of freedom; on the other hand, digressing and feeling stuck in a rut just makes me feel awful. The trick is to really follow the Spirit, even if in your efforts it seems like the Lord leads you into a valley when you wanted to be on a mountain. The beauty can be found in both to learn. By faith we know He'll lead us out. Then with all that learning that we do, we apply, make mistakes, learn some more, and apply again. It’s a beautiful progressive-process that defines us as perfecting sons and daughters of God. It’s the essence of our existence.
I pray to learn and always have not the desired outcome itself given to me, but the opportunities to use my agency, follow the Spirit, and apply what I learn.
I love you. Please never doubt that or that I pray for you every day. Mom and dad, you are so amazing good in your callings!