Monday, January 5, 2015

The year of 2014 has come and gone, and now to repentance (improvement) in the year 2015!!

I was really reflecting on my life this last week, and where I was 1 year ago. I was frantically procrastinating my planning of what and how exactly I was going to teach my students I was trying to work 2 jobs, do the little things, and just live a good life. I had already received my answer to go on a mission, and I was preparing myself for this step and what I would do after......
Fast-forward to this year... I was out visiting those who are lonely, I was talking to everyone I met about something that would change their life for the better, I'm in a new and rainy environment, and I have the opportunity to become more spiritual than ever before because of time that is dedicated to studying the gospel.
This has been a huge change in my life.... a change that I didn't know I needed, but that I am so thankful to have. I really thought I had my life planned out..... I had set goals, and made plans of how I would achieve those. But someone who knows a lot more about what will make me happy, stepped in and helped me change those plans. In reading the talk "Remember Lot's Wife", I was really humbled by the line "She {Lot's Wife} doubted the Lord's ability to give her something better than she already had".... yup that was me! I had my plans, I had my goals, I thought I knew what would make me happy.... But I'm so happy that I have a loving Heavenly Father who knows what I really need :)
I'm so grateful for this opportunity I have to serve the Lord! I am able to really dedicate myself to learning the gospel by studying and teaching it to others. I'm able to serve, and to learn to be humble enough to listen to the Holy Ghost. God is SOOOO good! :) He really does everything to help me be happier in my eternal perspective. He "loves me enough to cut me down" so that I can learn to grow and be more 'fruitful'. I will continue to build on this quote (again from Jeffery R. Holland about Lot's Wife):
"Faith is for the future. Faith builds on the past but never longs to stay there. Faith trusts that God has great things in store for each of us and that Christ truly is the 'high priest of good things to come'".
I can't wait to see how this springboard of time will help me in life. I'm excited to grow closer to my Savior and Heavenly Father this year, and to truly try and help everyone I meet! :) 

A funny event this week was when I met the dog from Air Bud!!! His owners were giving him away or to the pound (can't remember), and this woman we met saved him. She had 4 golden retrievers in which she has saved, and they were all adorable! Cool right?? ;)
This week I was really working on listening and testifying. I really haven't been talking a lot, and I think this is what God has been trying to teach me for 4 months (hence 3 areas, and 5 companions). So I just listen to what is going on, testify of what my companion says, and I don't take control of the situation. I hate not having control, but I was way less stressed. So I will keep you updated with how this goal went this week.
I love my Heavenly Father, and our Savior Jesus Christ. I'm so grateful for the plan that was put into place, and how I have the opportunity to change. Let us all Set Goals, and then make EFFECTIVE plans on how we will achieve them. If you truly plan this out, I know you will achieve the things you want to do this year! So, as a EFY youth taught me, it's not about all the stuff we can lose this year... but what can we gain?? A testimony, a friendship healed, a more loving family, new friends, etc.
I Love you all SOOO much! I know you are amazing, and I'm so grateful you are in my life!!
Sister Clayson

p.s. Mom, All my companions love the purple Abundant Health Pens.... Good thing you threw them into my bag :) Love it!!

Monday, December 29, 2014

CHRISTMAS was wonderful!

Hello Lovelies!!
Christmas was wonderful!! I was able to talk to my family, through tears, but I am so happy and grateful for them! Thank you for all your support and prayers :)
This week, I was able to go to Missionary Leadership Council Meeting. They invited me to come and observe the meeting this time! They talked about the missionary goals, and then discussed how they can help all missionaries reach their potential.
We had a miracle this week!! So our Zone Leaders told us that we would be having a "car fast", in which we could not use our car this last Saturday. It was definitely not a convenient time because we had an appointment really far away at 9am. But, members pulled together 2 times that day to get us to our set appointments. Also, we were able to talk to a man named Juan a couple of times that day. We stayed tracting in the trailer park all day and during finding time because it is GOLDEN. We never really got a lesson in with him, but during our last house of finding time we again ran into him. We really talked to him, and we told him how we have a message that can change his life. We talked about Jesus Christ and how he can strengthen us to have the best life we could ever imagine. He told us how he was really trying to change his life right now. He has been to jail 6 times, and just got out of jail a little while ago. He is not hanging out with the same friends, and he is focusing more on his family. We challenged him to baptism on January 25, and he said he would work towards it with us! :) We gave him a Book of Mormon, and we are going back today :) What a miracle!!!! If we had been in our car, we probably wouldn't have had that lesson with him!
I know that God is real, and that He is helping us become better. We go through hard times so that we can grow and help others going through the same things.
I love you, and hope you continue to keep Christ the center of your lives so that you may see the many blessings He gives to us. Discover, Embrace, and Share His gift to everyone you meet :) You never know how it may change their life.

Love you!!
Love, Sister Clayson

Monday, September 29, 2014

My first official week in the mission and I already have one crazy, and one pretty funny story!

So we are in the beautiful area of Bellevue South (it's across the lake, but next to Seattle). Mostly higher class people live here, so the houses are GIGANTIC! Literally I feel like I'm liking at a magic forest and then a castle pops up! But, it happens every 3 seconds as we drive down the road. Last night we had dinner at the relief society president's house. It was the biggest house I've ever been inside! We were so awed by how big and beautiful it was, but their family was so great! Their daughter is going to come our on splits with us! 

So at 5 pm, 4pm Utah time, we do a mission prayer. This is where we try and get all the ward members, and all the missionaries pray to find and be able to teach with the spirit. It's a great bonding moment!

From 5-7pm, we have our special "Finding Time". So we are knocking on doors, and we don't let any person pass by without us talking to them about the gospel. Literally we run up to a person who is probably a good 100 feet away, and then we talk to them about the gospel. I'm scared to do it, but I becoming more open to it. It's actually pretty hilarious to walk. I know God doesn't laugh about the salvation of man, but if he does chuckle at us it's because he sees three girls in skirts, running down the street to try and talk to all! 

We have one serious investigator, and a couple others who are taking a second lesson this week. We are brand new to the area (all three) so we have been contacting the mission leader and bishop to try and organize our efforts so we are being efficient. Our mission leader is great! He is very high energy, and loves us! Also, our bishop really is great and is focusing on missionary work. They all really do love us! The word spread quickly that we are full of energy and we are ready to work. We were meeting the bishop to teach a recent convert, and a soul to save walked past so we chased after him and taught him a little lesson. I guess that made the bishop really impressed, so word was spread that we are really here to work. I LOVE It! It just goes to show all the efforts we make really don't go unnoticed. People, especially ward members are watching. Ha, I hope they see us running from house to house 1. because we really don't waste time and 2. it'd probably give them a good laugh. 

I've been working on really trying to think about what I say before I say it. I really want to teach by the spirit. But, sometimes that hard when all they give you at their door is 10 seconds as they say "We are not interested, or we are christian we don't need that, or (the best one) read the sign is says no soliciting". haha one time, I said we aren't selling anything and my companion I guess stared at the guy to long, because he opened the door again and said "Don't stare at me" haha you know you should probably listen when you feel guilty that someone looked at you for 2 seconds. Anyways, it doesn't really phase me. It's like a game to see who will open their door, and will they listen to us. So if this is a lesson to anyone, try and give the missionaries referrals to friends or random people you meet that could benefit from the gospel. We talk to EVERYONE, and you are meeting people everyday that could also use the gospel. Use preach my gospel to find questions you could ask people in starting a conversation. They ask them is someone could come teach them more about it. If they don't accept it, in preach my gospel it says no effort is wasted. It was offered to them, and now it's in their hands. Of course never stop trying, but really try to share the gospel with ALL. 

1. Crazy story

On Wednesday I went on an exchange (meaning I was sent to two other moms to take care of me) because my companions had a training. We tracted, and then we went to visit a less active member. I was warned that the house wasn't very clean, and that I'd want hand sanitizer after. But, I didn't expect this haha. This women's house was very cluttered, and she just didn't like to throw stuff away. So we sat on the very edge of her couch and talked with her a little bit. First off, she has hagrid/professor moody's hair. It is black and gray, and literally sticks up and out. She is a GREAT artist. She does wood burning, paints really well, and has some unique art. But the first kicker was, she started to tell us about her yarn. Her friend sends her stuff, mostly animal hair, and she spins yarn. We thought ok that's alright, until she's handed us a spool of yarn and then tells us how she made this special gift for that friend. Her friend's dog died, shaved the dog, and sent her the hair!!!! so she made that yarn out of it!!!! Oh my goodness, I politely poked it and then gave it back. one of the sisters I was with started laughing as the women went to put it away, and it was so hard not to join in. 
Then we went into her kitchen. I don't think she really wants to use her fridge, yet she had things everywhere that require refrigeration. It was smelly to say the least. She sat down to show us some foil art she does, and all of the sudden one of the sisters I'm with lets out a little scream and points. A spider, had descended from the women's kitchen light, tangled into her hair a little, then went back up to the light. IT WAS SO GROSS!!!! The women screamed and got up quickly. Now, this spider's body was probably the size of nickle, we were ready to kill it, and the women said "oh no I'll put it outside". So she got her broom and put it outside. I don't think she realized, but an even bigger spider had made a huge web right next to her door! I was so grossed out! I suggested we quickly do our spiritual thought, and after she showed us more art, I said we needed to go. Spiders are everywhere here, but that was really gross!!

2. Story

Sister Lee, Pingree, and I went to visit a less active in our ward. She lives in beautiful home, but has had leg trouble and other sickness so she can't make it through church. We arrived and the women was so friendly. She talked about how we loved service (we had just barely met this women) and that we'd help clean this room. Ha so of course we jumped right in and cleaned up this room of hers. It felt so great! We tried talking to her about the gospel, and she was especially reminded about how important it was because she found a bunch of papers from when her mom was investigating the church. She found a really old pamphlet from the church. After we cleaned and helped her get out some decorations, she showed us some treats she had bought for us! We thought it was so nice! Then she proceeded to tell us how we needed to 'Shop from her Closet'. She told us how she used to be a business women, and that she doesn't wear all those clothes so we should take some. Oh my goodness, did/still does this women shop! So, we might have been given some really pretty outfits. Some I'm keeping for my mission and others I'll send home to teach in. Ha it was really funny. We were really hesitant at first, but this women's love language is time and gift giving. She just wanted to keep giving us stuff and we HAD to finally just stop and leave. haha I'm just kidding, but we really did have to cut it off because she probably would have kept us there all day and I would have no room in my suitcase (I already don't) for anything. 

We brought an investigator to church yesterday! It was so great, and she was crying because she felt the spirit and love so much! We also talked with the young women and a lot of them are going to come out with us and try to find people to teach! Oh I'm so excited to work with the youth! They are so excited and fun! 

Miracle this week: I have not tripped yet once! For 3 weeks, I have not tripped!  I would say that is an amazing miracle!!

We were able to watch the Women's broadcast and it was amazing! I was offered so much comfort, and support! I also was given a lot of guidance :) Afterward, the ward members were introducing themselves. They are so sweet!!! They made us feel so at home!! Oh I can't wait to really be working and getting referrals from them. 

Challenge for this week!!!
Read, PMG (preach my gospel) pg. 170, 'No Effort is Wasted"
- Realize that God has placed you exactly where you are supposed to be, at the right time, if you are following His commandments. Really try and reach out to those around you because "the worth of souls is great in the sight of God", and "when you bring one soul unto Him, how great shall be your joy if you shall bring many souls unto him". We are here to love and serve those around us. Do an act of service for someone today, offer them salvation. 

You Can Do Hard Things!!

I love you all so much!!!


Sister Clayson