Monday, August 27, 2012

Goodbye to AP Elder Cotton

I love my family, día 447, Week 68,

This has been a hard long week. Nothing particularly horrible happened. We are all well and healthy but physically it was tough. By Sunday the mind and spirit were willing, but the legs we so tired. We pushed onward and endured. I think that the mission only lasts for two years, not because the mind and spirit couldn't handle more emotional and spiritual abuse, but because the body couldn't last much longer. Maybe those that are blessed to have cars in their mission would hold up, but like my clothing and shoes, two years will be getting every last drop of life out of them.

Elder Cotton Elder Clay's first companion.  Last day in the field. He will be heading to LDSBC in January! then may be to Texas for the summer
It was change week. Elder Cotton is at home. His last companion, Elder Casey, also a great friend is going to LDSBC starting in September. Mommy, the closest thing for know to meeting Cotton would be meeting Casey. The plan is that Cotton goes to LDSBC in January. His english is good enough that he should be good enough for GPG. We'll see about that though. I already miss him. The horrifying thing about him being gone is that it shows that the mission actually finishes. It is hard to believe that one entire year ago we were together in Montecarlo. Being change week I have bad news: up until know Elder Cotton and our posterity have held a solid line of trainers and trainees within the family from June 29, 2011 to August 21, 2012. For 13 solid months our decendents were training in beginning the mission in Montecarlo. This change our line ended. Elder Tarver's second trainee is training and Elder Tarver's first trainee is training so our family line continues to grow. I am still here with Elder Folsom in Las Minas (a good thing). The new AP's were complete surprises to everyone, probably even Presidente. But that is the revelation. All of the guesses that Elder Cotton and I made before changes were wrong! But so it is! My testimony is unshaken.

So.. the week!

Monday we had a disappointing proseliting because the 2 famliy home evenings that we had planned fell through pretty much. At the first, after going there we're pretty sure that the made up that a neighbor would be attending just so that we would come by. We don't really like visiting members too too much unless there is something productive to do and, well, it wasn't that productive. The best part was the free dinner. It ruined our long chain of productive Monday nights!

Tuesday was a good day. The day before changes is always fun and busy. We were able to get our normal studies done, something that has been happening more and more often as we learn to budget our time a bit better. After our lunch we went to the office to do one last favor for the AP's (Cotton and Casey). We turned in a last few papers to the lawyer for their miracle wedding of last Friday. We also took care of a few of our personal asuntos with him. We then came back to the office, and as usual, we went out to work with a new missionary, fresh off the plane. We were able to get in 3 solid citas with him and have a baptismal challenge accepted! The last few times we've gone out with new kids have been great for us. The last time we found Mauricio, the golden guy begging to be baptized. This time the kid accepted the desafío bautismal. We dropped him off at Presidente's house and then went back to the area. We wrongly predicted free dinner at a member's house so we ended up going home hungry at the end of the night to get the change call.

Elder Cotton, Elder Clay & Elder Gonzales
Wednesday we went to the capilla de cambios where I had to leave Elder Cotton. We took our last pictures together. Elder Folsom and I are excited about the zone this change. We were a little bummed that we lost two of our best Elders though. Two of the three new ZL's this change came from our zone. We're excited to have a new group. Also this week, Thursday to be exact, one of the last really rotten eggs left in the mission is going home. He's in our zone and was part of a lot of the bad stuff of a few months ago. Pretty much this whole week we were preparing our investigators for baptism. We have Joseph (actually Joseph, not José) who is a cousin of Steven, child of Mario y Jaky. They both go to seminary everyday, held at the chapel at 6:00 p.m. They rock. We have Francisco y Clementina and their children: Yoli, Wendy, Jesus, Hector, y Luz, and their cousins/sobrina Lizeth, Paola, y Jefferson. So they were the main focus for the week.

Thursday we met the new zone. Hooray! They look awesome and excited. We had to go talk to the lawyer and then go to the office because Wednesday Elder Folsom got owned by a bee and the mission nurse cleaned out his arm. There were pieces of the stinger still there. It wasn't comfortable for him. The best prosliting part was the divisiones that we did at night. Elder Folsom went with Marcel, a future missionary whose brother is currently in Colombia, and I went with Dasael, one of our baptisms from June who is a hopeful future missionary. He finishes all his studies by next June! Perfect. The best part of my night was testifying to him that the mission is the best thing ever. The lesson with Francisco and Clementina was alright but that was my favorite part.

Friday the baptismal interviews dominated the schedule. In the afternoon I went to do two interviews and Elder Folsom came back to our area with our DL to take care of ours. I like the experience of being able to interview people for baptism. It really shows the miracles of the mission. I know that this work is divinely directed. At the same time I get a little nervous knowing that the Lord has confided in me to be able to do baptismal interviews. Withoug the spirit the work doesn't really go anywhere!
Elder Folsum

Saturday we had our baptism for Joseph, who is awesome. We were able to support the Elders who share our chapel with their baptismal service in the afternoon. Our hope for the zone is always that all the areas can baptize every month. Last month only one didn't, but this month there were two who didn't. That makes us sad especially knowing the potential of the missionaries. We had to do some running to get baptismal clothes because we thought that we, Elder Folsom and I, would be baptizing Sunday afternoon. We took care of the last visits and were dead tired. Our area has lots of ups and downs and hills and stairs and muddy hills and navegating all that in the dark is tiring and tricky!

Sunday was one of the most stressful days of the mission. We went to comite ejecutivo in the morning and then went out to bring the people to church. One of the saddest moments that we had to witness (for more than one reason) was that the aforementioned Lizeth ended up coming to church alone, without her kids, and ended up deciding not to be baptized because she wanted her kids to to it too. We told her that we'd work with her kids and they'd all do it later, but as she was telling us of her struggles in the morning with them about coming to church she started crying. She was ready early as usual but we were all late to church because she was convincing her kids for like an hour. I missed the sacrament this week. After church we ran to do a few visits before our activity. The stake presidency got buses for all the missionaries, recent converts and investigators to go to the temple. We had a devotional behind the temple grounds. It was beautiful to watch it get dark and the temple lights get brighter.
We did get an awesome dinner to end our fast though. I love being a missionary despite incredibly dumb people.

Time is flying so fast. I miss you family so much. Yesterday Dad turned 50. What?!?! You guys rock.

Love and miss you!

Elder Clay

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