Friday, April 11, 2014

"Salvation is an individual matter; Exaltation- a family matter" - Apr. 7, 2014 - HAPPY BDAY ELDER CLAYPOOL!!!!!!

Thank you so much for your email this week and for helping to allow me to be able to be here. We are so blessed to have the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation. It helps me realize a few things: 1) We are privileged to experience all the trials and blessings of this world,  2) We have freely received this life and thus should freely give to others and our Savior, and 3) How can we not love life when we understand so much?! The Lord is just so merciful.

With every day I have been trying to be more and more focused, and some times I don't make the difficulties of missionary work easier by beating up on myself...but I am growing.

We have been super blessed to have another investigator accept a baptismal date and now work towards it. He'll be a wonderful missionary someday too! Our investigator Sanya is progressing with flying colors and soon his mom should be doing well too. We just need to keep on keeping on. Thank you so much for all that you have done and all that you haven't done. I truly can say on this day of my birth that I have been born of goodly parents (I know you always say mom is best).

I love you!  I read quote in a member's home I really enjoyed in Russian. The translation is:  "Salvation is an individual matter; Exaltation- a family matter".

Thanks so much for bringing me in to the world!!!!!! As I was saying my evening prayers last night and morning prayers today, I was overcome with gratitude for all the blessings that I have received in my relatively short 21 years of life...and truly all I have to show for it is to point fingers at others who have given me life and given it to my with abundance. My Father in Heaven, My Savior, You Both, and all the many brothers and sisters that have mentored me and helped me to be who I am today. Isn't it funny how on our birthday's we focus on ourselves when in all reality it should be a day of even greater giving back for the fact we received life freely. "Freely ye have received, freely give" the Savior said...I'm still working on the whole selfless thing, but we'll get there eventually :)

This last week went by incredibly fast. I have been battling with keeping focused as usual, but I guess it keeps me humble realizing my weaknesses. I was really studying this week what it means to serve the Lord with all our mind, and realized that just thinking about the mission and nothing else seemed a little too superficial of an answer for me - its not a principle that I can apply after my mission. So in studying more and more, I realized that our minds and our wills are very closely related. When we serve the Lord with all our mind, we are constantly searching for His will in all things. In seeking the will of the Lord more in my thoughts rather than worrying about whether or not I was focused on the work, I have found the words of Isaiah to ring true: "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee" (26:3). I am finding great peace in just seeking the will of the Lord and "look[ing] unto [Him] in every thought" (D&C 6:36).

Our area is going well with a slower week, but with still lots of potential. Sanya is doing just wonderful and even came to church with us this week! He also aided us with service on the cabins of one of the members. The members are doing a wonderful job of finding and helping to friendship our members here.  It was wonderful to have the member who struggled with quiting smoking for many, many years be able to just have a heart to heart with our investigator multiple times throughout the day. Sanya looked so good at church this Sunday! He came to church this Sunday in his suit, tie, white shirt, and slacks. The Gospel Principles teacher didn't even recognize him as an investigator :) He still has a ways to go, but the Gospel is literally transforming his life from captivity to freedom. His mom is also sitting in on the lessons now and even reading the Book of Mormon! Any person who wants a better life: daily read the Book of Mormon and apply what you read. There is truly power within that book. It is truly from God. We also have two other investigators who are on date that are both member referrals, Yuri who is a sweet man that has been through a lot and just wants to change his life for the better, and Sasha who is the son of a member, 17, and extremely spiritually mature...he'll make a wonderful missionary soon :) It's been super nice that they are member referrals as well because when one of them was sick this last week and we were unable to meet, the member was with him almost everyday because of work. So the work is moving forward. Thank you so much for your prayers!

I love you mom and am far from perfection...but we are moving forward to our best selves :)
Elder Claypool

PS- We will be watching General Conference this weekend and I am super excited!
PPS- Nina, the red-haired lady, is moving forward, but slower. The members again are playing a crucial roll in her returning to activity :)

Happy Birthing-Me-Day :)

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