Wednesday, November 6, 2013

"Love Conference" - 10/21/2013

Post 10/21

Oh dad, your jokes every week are just the highlight of my internet time....besides of course all the other inspiring messages that you and others send.

Thanks so much for your thoughts about peaks and valleys...the idea of opposition is something that I've been studying pretty intensely these past few days especially as I have been brought to the need to help investigators understand the Plan of Salvation...And for myself personally, it is such a liberating thought to focus on what I can do and then let the Lord do the rest. It's such a fundamental truth that we often skip over: The Lord asks us to serve will all our heart, might, mind, and strength, but even more so I would say that he doesn't require any more or less than that. When we serve with all our heart, that for me means our sincerest desires, our hopes, and foundation of everything we do. On the flip side, when we serve with our might, that's just going out and working hard. Working "smart" however comes from serving with all our mind. And then the last is what I think you were talking about: Serving with all our strength(s). I add the s because it helps me better understand that I am called to serve with what I have - all of what I have - but what I have. Give all we have got. That is enough for the Lord. "[F]or unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have" (2 Ne 28:30). We receive what the Lord has given us by actively using our gifts for the sake of the growth of the kingdom of God. I'm here on this earth for the sake of fulfilling my Father's will, and that will is to bring the people of Ukraine and Sumy into the waters of baptism and prepare them to receive the ordinances of the temple. It's a pretty cool cause. Makes me happy.

I love you dad, mom, Korm and twins. Hug all my aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents.
Conference was just incredible and was able to help me this next week just better understand the Gospel in ways that I had never understood it before. What was merely doctrine to me before my mission is now becoming me with more breadth, depth, and purpose than I have ever experienced before. My companion is just doing so wonderful. I'm realizing that even with a wonderful elder where we both get along, we still have to be patient with each other and keep loving and serving one another. He's a trooper for putting up with me. There are actually six missionaries here in Sumy, four elders and two sisters. Only one of the elders was here before, so practically our entire district is new, but we did it to change the mindset of Sumy. It is so cool to see that when you change your attitude, the entire world changes and even our effectiveness changes. Here's the secret I think to getting to that crucial attitude shift: gratitude and correct understanding of truth. We had quite a few run-ins this week with the same type of person: hopeless, purposeless, and directionless. It is so heartbreaking to think that the old mind-set of missionaries about this city is upheld by the members and inhabitants of the city. We met with people who were incredibly bounded by addictions, limited by mentality, and chained in sin. Two of my dearest investigator friends here have literally said they have no hope in the future and cannot believe in a God that so willingly lets Satan reign. It makes you just want to weep. They even have the audacity to tell us as missionaries that our work is in vain since no one is going to change, for they have to choose themselves. It seems like kind of a predicament doesn't it? They are stuck in a dammed hole with no hope for progression. Like the man that we met yesterday, he was so locked in the damming effects of his poor choices that it seems almost impossible to change his heart. What is the point then of being here and teaching the Gospel?

Well...its pretty grim odds to be against especially when this is what you hear from people on the street and that poisonous voice you hear trying to whisper lies to your heart. But I wont believe it for one second. The idea that a man cannot change is to deny the eternal nature of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and to judge a man beyond mercy's reach. That is the beauty of our message: when we choose to take upon ourselves the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, change our lives to be in accordance to our teachings, we can start over, be clean, and become even better people than before. The argument still rears its ugly head however: All men are to choose for themselves, so what's the bother of trying to convince them to choose something if it is their choice when it all comes down to it? To any member, missionary, or dear friend who seems to have given up on their duties to preach the good news of change and improvement to Christ the Lord, I want to share an eternal truth: "Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other (2 Nephi 2:16). Satan's doing his part, but we are also doing ours. So let's rally around our title of liberty - liberty of the human family from sin, depression, and captivity, and bring the light of our message that God in His love has reached out to us, His children, once more to bring about a marvelous work and wonder as the children of men, through his divinely called servants and Priesthood power, are gathered and welcomed safely home. The Work of Salvation is our banner, and it's inscription? "For our wives, and children, and family, and friends - to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of Our entire Heavenly Family."

It's a pretty cool thing to be a part of isn't it!? :) I bet you are eventually tired of hearing my ramblings of what I am learning ever I'm grateful for the patience :) The work is moving forward here and I am finding so much happiness from the ability to just live for the sake of others before myself. 

I love you! And all the people here that see your photo are amazed that you look so young and shinning! Hopefully the ugly duckling will grown into the handsome beauty that he hopefully got from his mom's genes ;)

Elder Claypool

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