Monday, September 19, 2011

Lost letter in cyber space

Cooking french toast on our comal (a sheet of metal that everyone uses to cook on) , we put it on our stove, it's usually used on a fire
I am furious that this didn't go through! It said it sent.... well a week late here is last weeks letter...sorry...
Familia, this is truly the best part of the week.

Today, though I've loved P-day I was itching to get to email to talk to you and see what happened in the Holy Land this past week! How great my family is, the best actually!

Of course a busy week here in Honduras and this is the beginning of the sad week, the last week Elder Cotton and I have together. There are changes next Wednesday and it is 99.99% sure that he's going to go.  We work so well together, understand each other, have jokes and can relax, we have a great trust and it will be difficult to see him go because I am going to have to pray for a companion that will work and help our area. 

A great breakfast! oatmeal with peaches from a can, I love that treat!!!
I was reading something somewhere (I know the details are overwhelmingly clear) and I found a quote from Elder Neal A. Maxwell that I really like.  He said, "There are no instant Christians, only constant Christians."  It is interesting here in Monte Carlo and really everywhere the people that claim to follow Christ yet the only profession of adoration is Sundays in church.  As missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we teach a doctrine that changes lives.  We place an incredible importance on showing faith through works.  One thing that we struggle with is getting people to keep commitments and start taking these difficult steps of faith.  We testify that the first time to come to church or read the scriptures, or whatever will be difficult but the blessings will be so overwhelmingly apparent that it will be a necessity to continue keeping the commandments. 
Baptism of Javier
One of the packages from Home!
Our dinner last night- gravy mix and loaded mashed potaoes from Mommy, tuna, homemade flour tortillas that WE made. Super awesome. We're creative. Take notes.

This week we, like last week, worked with Javier and the Book of Mormon. We passed and studied chapters with him and his cousin Johnathan. We have been able to see an amazing change in him since two months ago when we met him and he came to church.  He stopped smoking and was prepared for baptism and was baptized on Saturday.  My favorite day was Wednesday when we read Alma 32 and talked about faith.  I felt the Spirit strongly as I testified about eternal life and how we can attain it.  Everything begins with faith and all we have to do to begin is have the desire.  The Lord doesn't demand perfection, just that we improve something small everyday.  We've had important baptisms before, but I feel like Javier was the first real one. He's 20, he had challenges and doubts and problems and was able to overcome them and gain a testimony. He'll be a strong leader and priesthood holder in the branch. 

Another awesome experience and privelege that I have as a missionary and a priesthood holder is to give blessings.  We passed for Hermana Santos, the mother of Jean Carlo who we baptzed 3 septiembre.  She was sick and we were able to teach her about the priesthood and the authority we posses, the same authority that Jesus and his disciples used to perform miracles.  We blessed her to heal and to be comforted.  Her hubsand will be able to hold this sacred priesthood and bless his family.  They are a great famliy who we are preparing for marriage and baptism. They want to change. 

We often have the opportunity to explain to people why we are in their country preaching and knocking on doors. Every lesson that we teach we testify of its truthfulness and how it will bless the lives of the people individually.  My short favorite testimony to give is that I am living for 2 years without my Mommy.  This has really touched some of the mothers and families that we've taught. As they realize that we would not make that sacrifice without 100% surety that the message is true.  We left everything to share our blessings with the people here.  I am so grateful for people who give us the chance to talk.  There are many many churches here in Monte Carlo and many of them talk bad things about the church.  Quite often people have strange ideas and believes that sometimes they don't let us talk and explain.  It is always a battle and long, hard search to find the people that the Lord has prepared for us.

Our awesome family, Hermano Santos y Hermana Maria are the best! They are the ones who commented to us about reverence in church last week and with lots of faith we promised them that the reverence would improve and be much better this week. The Lord blessed us and the sacrament meeting was much more reverent. I am so exciting to be teaching them because they take steps of faith.  Before we began teaching Hermano Santos didn't really pay us much attention but now he keeps committments and has stopped working on Sundays which is difficult for this famliy because they don't have much and need every job he can get! As investigators they are paying their full tithe! They are going to be married and baptized this Saturday.  We've had some crazy blessings with this marriage process. We have to get a birth certificate with a nota de solteria.  They are from Tegucigapla and what normally takes 20 or more days we got done in like 3.  Hermana Escobar of our district knows lots of people (she's from San Pedro, Honduras).  We'll have the documents tomorrow.  Normally they cost L.200 and there are two documents, one per person. That's a lot for the people here and it's the reason many aren't married.  The Hermana may have been able to get them for free for us! We just confirmed the marriage Friday the 2nd and got their information Tuesday the 6th so this is truly a miracle. 

Sad news about our other family.  Pedro y Flor y sus hijos Maria y Jose were going to be married and baptized as well Saturday but things failed.  He has a job that doesn't allow him to come to church and the job we found for him is too physically demanding and so we'll have to wait for them.  We need to find a new job for him because he makes next to nothing, even for Honduras standards and needs to come to church.  The Stake President and some members will be able to help us.  We're sad for many reasons because they are awesome and want to do what is right. 


Happy Birthday Mitch

Honduras Tegucigalpa Mission baptisms for August: 144, Zona Choluteca Este: 28, Elder Cotton y Elder Clay: 8

Dannee - Send me your calculus worksheets so I can do them!

Letters last week from: Nannie, G-ma, Schmutz. This week: Mommy (3), Dannee, Nannie, G-ma, Whitney, Rachel Wheldon, Kimi.  I love my mail. Got Mom's package this week too! Loved playing frisbee today!

This P-day we met with two other zones and played football (americano) and frisbee. That was great. The only problem is that I'm not going to be able to move tomorrow! I took a beating but the Lord will strengthen me. 

People gave us lots of free food this week! The Hermanas like cooking for us and many members and investigators gave us stuff! Saturday there was an activity in the church and there was a surprise in our fridge: Sandwhiches, cake, and juice! Free food is always our goal.

Funny phrase in a scripture I was reading.  "escoba de destruccion" 2Ne. 24:23

Could you send me that series of intense General Conference talks that Elder Holland gave? The one on the Atonement and the Book of Mormon and I think there was a third. Also the First Presidency gave a declaration about missionary work December 11, 2002. If you can find that that would rock.

Thanks for Windsor's address!

Thanks for the Resoration DVD in the package.  I'll be able to use that with investigators because it concisely (sp?) explains our primary lesson. Could you get me in English and Spanish on DVD? You can download it there...

I loved the pictures from the Clay family reunion that were in the package. Anytime you can slip a laminated photo in a letter that would be awesome. I love looking at pictures of my family. 

Thanks for sending me pictures Mommy! Glad to see everyone smiling. Sorry about the lake! I suppose with the fires and this low water that the drought is pretty extreme...not to happy. Any chance of a hurricane?

I miss the U.S.A. Yesterday was 10 years since the 9/11 attack.  I love and miss my country and am proud to be an American.

Always glad to here about family and friends and updates.

I love and miss you all so much. 

Prae - keep working on your English. I know it's tough.  I'm teaching my missionary companion English.  He's from Guatemala and I know English is a miserable language to learn. Keep trying!

Katri - Get used to the craziness of high school.  You'll be constantly pressured by difficult classes, music, and seminary not to mention social life! It's fun though. Enjoy the crazy and find time to party it up.

Dannee - Love football and keep the GSL and SL's spirited and alive. Also you may not have too much fun in your HC preparations. As I'm sure Dad has already said.  Take back the dresses for ugly ones.  You may not attract the attention of males your age, or any age. But Mason is on the mostly approved list so for now, I'll stay in Honduras and keep my peace.

Mom and Dad - Thanks for the support and love and letters. I miss you the most.

Your missionary loves you!

Lots and lots of love,

Elder Clay

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