Sunday, December 8, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving! Dec 2,2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

We were able to have a wonderful thanksgiving and finally the snow is starting to come down! President and Sister Lochhead did a wonderful job and we were lucky enough to have them at out thanksgiving feast. We all traveled down to Kharkov this last week for a few days to be their for a zone conference and thanksgiving. There are so many things that happened, both explainable and unexplainable that just made me sit on my knees, washed over with gratitude to my heavenly Father and all those that he has sent me. I've eaten way too much the last few days...but Sister Lochhead's pies are pretty good...not as good as yours of course, but they come close. One of the most rewarding things to see was to be able to sit and talk with President Lochhead in our interview. We have a super wonderful relationship and I am so eternally grateful for that. This work really is the work of the Lord and all need to jump with two feet in! It's the best thing to do possible! As for our area, we are having to move on from investigators that aren't progressing, but at the same time, we are seeking to find new investigators and to strengthen the branch. It helps that me and my companion are having a wonderful time together! One of the most rewarding things of this week and of this Thanksgiving season that I am grateful for more than anything else is my testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ. I have met all sorts of people that believe in Jesus Christ, don't believe in him, count him as a good example, see no point in learning of him, and those who sincerely know/are coming to know him. Not long ago, I realized that my personal relationship with the Savior was quite weak and need to be strengthened. I studied about him. I sought to act as he would act, and I listened to His Spirit. This last week when Sister Lochhead was testifying of Jesus Christ, the Spirit resounded in my own heart giving me a reaffirmation of what I had been coming to know in the past few weeks. My testimony has strengthened so greatly! I really only have God to thank for that. Like Peter, though still not perfect with many frailties and faults in my future, I can stand and say with head held high and Jesus really is the Christ. He is my personal Savior, and I am coming every day closer to him. As Elder Holland has said, Seek to develop a life-long love-affair with the live of the Savior. This is my quest in pursuit of holiness: follow my Savior. We really can trust him completely! In order to do that though, we need that confirmation of the Spirit that he really is who he says he is. 

I'm am grateful that my Savior out of personal choice gave himself a sacrifice for my sins. I am grateful and know that Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, is our perfect and only example to return to our Father and reach all the happiness our souls are crying out for. There is power in the words with the Father has been recorded to say through the dispensations of time: "This is my Beloved Son, Hear Him!" Christ really is the way to happiness and the way to all that our Father would have us do. Learn of Him. Listen to His Spirit, and walk in the meekness of his ways. In doing this you too will have peace in him as I'm starting to find!

 Everything is going fairly well with the branch (group of members in our area) and is moving forward in all reality. I really am gaining an even stronger testimony of the power of the Fast.

We were privileged to have President Lochhead in our branch this week and his wife to give a wonderful training from the Work of Salvation broadcast.  So amazing! It then led perfectly into our branch council where we more fully talked about our plans to move forward the work of salvation in our city of Sumy. We don't have ward council very often here, but it was a tender mercy to see just how much a single Fast could bring a spirit into the room and allow us to really move the work forward.

We are in need of finding new investigators, so keep praying for us. Great news is the less-actives are beginning to come back to church and the branch is starting to catch fire. We just need to keep flaming it!

Thank you for your prayers! My calling is going well in the branch serving as Elder's Quorum President. To answer your question, yes, I am using the handbook, but of course can use it better.

One of the brethren in our quorum is a deaf man and so I'm trying to pick up a little Russian Sign Language...guess my sign language at SCC wasn't perfectly preparatory to being able to communicate with him, but at the very least, I'm familiar with the governing principles. The Lord prepares us to serve.  Keep praying for all of us.

I love you. Go to the temple and do some work for me ;) It will be wonderful to go back to the temple together as we did almost 2 years ago!
Keep carrying your Christ-like light to all the world, for he really is The Light and Life of the World.

Elder Claypool