Monday, September 26, 2011

Now a trainer with new companion!

Family! I still love you, even on day 111. It feels good to be well into triple digits. Week 16 will be completed tomorrow!

This week has flown by, yet I've missed you more than ever.  Monday and Tuesday Elder Cotton and I enjoyed our last days together. Tuesday night at 21:30 we got the call.  Changes. Elder Cotton is now Zone Leader in Teguc and I am now training here in Monte Carlo.  Wednesday morning we left here at 04:30 because I had to be in Teguc for the trainer/trainee meeting at 08:00.  I took the bus Ulua at 05:00 (the best bus company. It's air conditioned and direct to Teguc so only 2 and a half hours).  

Trainers and Trainees in Tegucigalpa with Presidente y Hermana

My new companion is Elder Max Andrew Tarver from San Diego, CA.  He entered the MTC July 20 and has only one month more that I do in the mission! He is the youngest of four and is studying to be a mechanical engineer.  I already like him because he lived in Heritage Halls at BYU last year.  That is a good omen. I am very nervous about this responsibility for a plethora of reasons (Side note: I feel that when I use words like plethora that I'll be able to maintain my English.  I fear I'll lose my elegant ability to communicate in my native tongue as I hone my Spanish). 

Elder Clay and new companion, Elder Tarver with Mission President and Hermana.  
 Elder Tarver seems to be a great missionary these 6 days that we've had together.  The responsibility on my part comes in with great force as we do the missionary work! While Elder Tarver and I speak only in Spanish, he still lacks quite a bit of speaking and so I have to teach and talk lots.  What is scarier is that until he knows the area and our investigators and members I'll have to make most of the planning decisions.  I know that the Lord will qualify me for this assignment as I am on his errand. 
4 "generations" of Trainers
Elder Brown trained Elder Cotton, who trained Elder Clay who is now Elder Tarver
The good news is that he works and hasn't complained. We have a rigorous study schedule that began with my generation of missionaries (Those that entered the field in July and onward) that requires 4 hours of study everyday.  We have personal study and companionship study in the morning, proselite from 10:00 - 18:00 and study the language and second hour of companionship study from 19:00 - 21:00.  It will be difficult to maintain the study because we have lots of work to do! However we must always prioritize the study and the proseliting will salir bien. The idea is that the new missionaries will be able to train immediately following their training.  There were 3 new Elderes that came this change and the other two trainers were former ZL's who are finishing up their missions as trainers.  Presidente Hernandez only wants the best missionaries training which scares me a little because I need to try my absolute best to give Elder Tarver a realistic yet awesome experience to begin his mission.  If Presidente chose me to train I know that the Lord chose me to train.  Pray for me that I can have the inspiration necessary to be a good companion. 

Good news about Elder Gonzalez, my beloved MTC companion! He is now in the Zona Choluteca Oeste, right next door to my zone (Choluteca Este).  He has had some very difficult companions and is now currently with his 3rd companion in the field.  He is an awesome missionary that began with much more difficult circumstances than did I.  I got to see him today at the multi zone activity! We played Football (americano) and Presidente came to greet us all! (He came with the real intention to keep cleaning up the mission and started giving serious interviews to a few missionaries).  

Hermana Herrera, Hermana Duplessis, Elder Clay, Elder Gonzales (MTC companion) some random Hermana that crashed our photo and Hermana Cruz.  They all came to Honduras on same day!

In fact Presidente talked to all of the missionaries in changes and told us all that we are here to work and that he doesn't want to send people home but that he has begun to do so.  He is not going to tolerate disobedience which is great.  The image of the church in many ways rests on the shoulders of some very studpid missionaries here who shouldn't really be missionaries! I trust in Presidente!

So with respect to the work and proseliting:

Maria and Santos will finally be married and baptized this week! The wrestiling that we've had in getting all of the paper work is over! They have been asking us for WEEKS when they'll be able to get baptized! They personally go out and bring investigators and members to church every Sunday. They rock.  In a few ways they remind me of my Grandparents. 

Juan Carlos y Ocidi are a great new family, very Catholic, but very open minded. They study the Book of Mormon together with the Bible. We await their progress.  If they can get a testimony of that Book they will become great members of the church capable of helping lots of people. 

We found two new families who want to get married and baptized.  One was a family we found last week and Elder Cotton and I thought they were members! The other is a reference from our beloved Hermana Mercedes.

One of the lessons that Elder Cotton tried so diligent to teach me and that our excellent leader de zona Elder Wedemeyer taught me Thursday I am finally learning and understanding.  Also what Dad told me this week about getting off of the emotional rollercoaster.  The lesson is this: there are very few things that we can control like prayers, study, obedience, attitude.  There are many things we cannot control: leaders in the church, getting papers for marriages, baptisms, members, other missionaries.  But as we better what we can control our influence in the other things will grow.  I want so badly for the missionary work to be perfect here and for my investigators to be protected and treated with tender loving care, but I can't provide that and trying wastes energy.  I always say that I have faith that God will provide but I have to assure myself that I have done absolutely everything possible to help.  I think I've found the balance at last.

This Sunday in Monte Carlo was difficult - 40 asistencia and only 2 investigators - but I am not going to worry! There are weeks like that.  Elder Cotton would always tell me to not worry, get up and keep working and everything would be fine in the end.  There is only so much that we can do. 

I still love being a missionary and sharing my testimony with everyone.  I await with eagerness the experiences I'll share with Elder Tarver.  I do miss Elder Cotton but now it is the era of Elder Clay and Elder Tarver.

Dad - Is there a scriptures that talks about God not giving us trials more than we can bear? Also were you able to find the Elder Holland talks and the First Presidency letter that I requested? I also like to hear that you are climbing ladders at KM.  And who knows, with improving health care you should get everyone taken care of in 175 years.  But I am confident that if you can promote your spreadsheets to the Man upstairs that you'll be able to skip a few steps.

Mommy - If you can stave of sending the package until next week I think there are a few things that I have written down at the house.  I'll get back to you.  From what you write me I have assessed that you are too busy and need to take some Mitzi time. Thanks for your letters. They are my favorite.

Dannee and Katri - Quidditch sounds epic.  Keep being good Bearkat fans and loving Texas.  I miss you lots and often think about when we would do epic stuff like build mountains and forts of pillows and blankets Sunday afternoons when Mom and Dad would nap. Also King and Slaves.

All is well here. I love and miss you all.  I look forward to General Conference and encourage all to watch all sessions! I may get to watch in English!

Also my letter writing may be a little more sparse.  I've been sending various letters every week but the mission is now going to be charging us to send letters whereas before they covered the cost.  I think I'll be stuffing letters all together for my family to mail out.  The postage for us sending international is too large of a percentage of my monthly allowance.  About 1.25 USD each letter, more to send to Europe or South America.  Sorry....

Love my FAMILY, the best.

Your missionary,

Elder Clay (Still happy and healthy and eating, etc.)


Schmutz you rock. Got three letters from you on change day.

Mommy - I loved the pictures!

Mary, Megan, Anna - love that picture!

I email Jared every week just about and just wrote Windsor a letter (to the former address) I am also in contact with Bryant

Texas Crackers that mommy sent with Elder Tarver's U.S. flag in the background. I miss my country!

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