Blog Archive

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Transfer to Guadalajara, April Leadership Council


April 2, 2018
Easter and Passover where absolutely insane in Barra. There were not a lot of parades, but there were a few, lots of parties. LOTS OF ALCOHOL. LOTS. Lots of loud music! Barra and Melaque were packed with people. Half the people we contacted were there on vacations, but even then, some people actually took the time to listen to us.
I just got transferred to an area called Auditorio in Guadalajara. My new companion is Elder Powley and we are the zone leaders. I’m finally in the city city, and feeling kinda overwhelmed. Everything is so fast paced and I keep missing people I want or feel like I should contact. I have lots of adjusting to do. The city life is very different from the beach life. Street contacting is very different, no one stops. I’m really excited to work here. I have to say though, it’s hard to stay focused sometimes when they play Star Wars, Rogue One on the buses. Still working on the staying focused part. The nice thing is that we are in an established stake. The ward is HUGE in area, but only has about 60 active members, so there’s lots of "ministering" to do! 
General conference was amazing. I’m not sure why, but time and time again I get the feeling on the mission that when I get home and through out my life one of my first priorities has to be church service. I really feel like its something for me.

Leadership Council April 2018 - notes and photos from Sister Clayton
Our theme today was Receiving Revelation. 
President Clayton - Receiving Revelation from the Holy Ghost
Sister Clayton - Revelation through Prayer
Assistants Elder Cluff and Elder Velasquez - Revelation through Church Attendance.
Getting started with a little snack...President’s welcome and introduction 
*What did you see and feel at General Conference?
*Why was it a powerful Conference?
*Why is it important that we gain a testimony of our Prophet's prophetic calling?
The world today.. how is it changing and becoming?
~more violent
~more dangerous
~more strife
~more questioning of what is true
~There is much good...but Satan is raging.
*We must be prepared for the days ahead
*The Lord needs all of us to keep this mission moving forward.
*What you learn today - from the spirit will help you during your mission and after your mission.
*You must remember what you learn and feel from this conference.
 Revelation from the Holy Ghost. 
Receiving personal revelation for ourselves is the most important gift our Father in Heaven has given to us. Everything we do here in the mission is based on the revelation we receive. As we learn to recognize the Holy Ghost speaking to us.. guiding us, prompting us, comforting us, healing us... we are able to then help others understand this precious gift.


We must:
~be worthy to receive revelation- We must qualify ourselves to receive it
~We must obey God's laws with exactness-There will be rules and laws forever and ever. Keeping Gods commandments is a covenant we make.
~How do we receive revelation? After we pray... we must listen. We must write down our impressions, thoughts, ideas and sometimes the words we hear or that come to our minds.
~What can revelation do for us? We could talk about this all day long…. We must give gratitude for the revelation we receive and we will continue to receive more. Gratitude and humility will aid us in understanding the revelation that we have received.
~We cannot expect to hear the voice of the Lord, if we are not living correctly.. or if we stop doing the things
~D&C 43:16 And ye are to be taught from on high. Sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be endowed with power...
The promise of the Book of Mormon is this:  
If we ask God the Father-
*with a sincere heart
*with real intent
*having faith in Christ,
      The Holy Ghost will manifest the truth to all who humbly ask for it. This witness that comes from the Holy Ghost is a powerful and lasting confirmation. It has staying power, because it comes from He who is the testifier of all things. The Holy Ghost teaches us as He confirms things to us. He teaches us through our feelings, our thoughts, and in our hearts. There are many parts or pieces to securing a testimony for ourselves:
*desire to know
*attending church - partaking of the Sacrament
*reading the Book of Mormon
*Praying 
Gaining a testimony does not have to be puzzling, each piece or part of the process is important. If something is left out... there will be a hole or a gap in one’s testimony. Praying for a confirmation from the Holy Ghost is vital.. it is key... it is essential.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Baptisms and the Balancing Act


March 26, 2108
Well where to start. It’s been a crazy week. We had baptisms in la Huerta and in Barra, so planning for both of them was pretty hectic, but everything turned out alright. The only problem is that the familia P. who were baptized in La Huerta, couldn’t come to church because their car broke down or something like that. I don’t know what it is about la Huerta, but none of our baptisms there have been confirmed on the corresponding Sunday. Lots of opposition, but everything went well with the baptism de la familia De Dios!! The men of the familia still don’t want to be baptized, but I think the women finally understood the importance and didn’t want to postpone any longer. It was a really special experience, we’ve been working with them for the last 4 changes, and they finally were able to make the decision to follow the Savior. 

  Other than that, it’s been just a lot of traveling, lots and lots of divisions with Cihuatlan, and the three assistants stayed with us on Sunday night. Our house is not meant for 5 people, but it was cool having them with us. 
That’s about it for the week. It was really nice to be able to participate in the baptisms, but it kinda made the other aspects of the work go down this week. I think I really need to improve how I use my time, balance it out and manage it better. It’s a life skill I think everyone needs. We have to be able to balance our work, school, family life, church responsibilities, and personal desires in order to really be happy. A balance is necessary I think. But the nice thing is that as a missionary you already have your life pretty much planned out day after day. Makes me worried what I’m going to do when I come back home.

Conferences Galore


20 March, 2018
Well, its been a busy busy week, and this next week is going to be crazy!

At the end of this week, we had District Conference, in which the district presidency was completely reorganized. We have a new presidente and counselors. It should be really interesting to see how the new president does. 

  Yesterday we had Zone conference here in Manzanillo! I really wish I could say more about everything but I really don’t have that much time... but I promise a more in depth update next week!

Big news is that we are changing up houses here in Barra for church. We found a bigger house for half the price. The problem is that the old owner is putting up a fight because he made some bad finance decisions thinking that we would be renting from him all year. We told him it was likely and he trusted our word too much. But the mission is asking for us to take the cheaper option. Gotta do what Presidente wants us to do! I still feel bad for the old landlord.  Anyway we sign the contract today.
We´re going to have baptisms in La Huerta and Barra, but we have to haul wet clothes around from the morning to night. That’s gonna be interesting, but I can’t complain! 

Another normal couple of weeks


March 5, 2018
Well I really don’t have much to say! This week we had mission council with all the district leaders and a family home evening as zone leaders. There’s so much work to do I can’t even believe it. I'm not sure how we are going to get everything done here in this tiny group but I have faith! I’m trying to not doubt and just work as hard as I can!
Our family of investigators got married this week!!! But they still won’t accept a baptismal date... They go to church every Sunday. Actually, they are literally the ONLY ones (except our mission leader) that go to church every single Sunday. This Sunday we talked about testimonies in the second hour, and wow, it was super cool. Several of them shared their testimonies, and they literally said, "I know the Book of Mormon is true and that the church is true". Its so amazing to see the process of conversion in the people. 
Sadly some of our investigators have dropped off in this week, but that just gives us more time to teach people who are truly ready to be baptized. Also sadly, one of our investigators who was doing really well now cannot be baptized. Her Aunt who takes care of her, said a very resolute "no" when she asked if she could be baptized. One step at a time. But a huge miracle is that in La Huerta a family who lives super far away came to church! We were actually thinking about dropping them, because they weren’t completing their commitments. But they made the sacrifice and came to church! Also another miracle, there’s an orthopedic surgeon in Guadalajara who is running for governor. Hermana Pelayo contacted him and he agreed to do Irmas surgery for free! She has a really bad bone infection and needs to replace a poorly put plate in her leg but she’s one of the poorest of the members here. This is a huge miracle. 

March 12, 2018
  Bueno this week waaaaaaaaaassss normal!! We had basically the whole week to work in our area. Interestingly enough we achieved basically the same thing as any other week which is a testament to me that the Lord really helps us when we have weeks where we really don’t have any time in our area. Mostly our biggest struggle right now is figuring out who really can progress and who we need to leave. Because honestly there’s a ton of investigators. If we wanted to be teaching all day we could probably be doing so, but it wouldn’t profit anything to be teaching for hours with no results. Things are going reasonably well, and every day there are miracles. We still have many many people that come to church, but their progress is a bit slower than I would like. 
This week we have been able to offer a lot more service than usual which is nice, even though the people may not want to listen to us, it’s still a pleasure to serve these people. In March we are reading the four Gospels in the New Testament and I can see that Christ really came to serve those around him. Al final de cuentas, not many understood or followed him, but that didn’t stop Him from healing and serving those who surrounded Him. 
Anyway, not much else to say about this week! Everything is going well and this next week should be rather interesting! We have district conference and Zone conference so p-day will be on Tuesday! 

Working in Barra and La Huerta


 February 19, 2018 
This was the first Monday during this transfer that we had an actual p-day.  I feel sort of bad because we didn’t really help with the transfers at all.  We’re kind stuck out here in Barra so there is not a lot we can do.  In the evening we visited this young guy with many problems and in he felt that in order to protect his wife and kids, he had to leave them. Sadly, there is not much we can to for this family.  Then we followed an impression to go to Jolueo even though it was super late and the taught O’s family.  Then we got home  (incomprehensible mixture of Spanish and English.)
February 20, 2018
District class was this morning and it went long.  The class was okay, it just wasn’t very focused. We lost some time in class.  Later on we visited a couple from Canada.  they are members who come down to Mexico for vacations.  They don’t come to church though because thy have AA group meeting that they sponsor.  We visited some other people in the evening but nothing super amazing happened. 
February 21, 2018
We had a companionship inventory this morning that was necessary to help us to work together more efficiently.  We got several things sorted out.  We then went to Melanie which was productive.  The then worked in Barra which was unproductive.  
February 22, 2018
We worked in La Huerta and it was the last night that we had to step on the ground with nothing but blankets.  We visited several people, and made the rounds as usual to help out the members. We also took a trip to La Concha to visit an investigating family.  Actually we were thinking of dropping them, but we didn’t. The problem is that the father has no desire to change.  After that we tried finding other contacts, but they weren’t interested.
February 23, 2018
In the morning we worked in La Huerta and set a baptismal date for a youth who has been attending church regularly.  She really loves the church but she doesn’t like the missionary lessons very much.  Then we came home and taught some other people in Barra, but we didn’t make much progress there. We did teach a huge family who asked a lot of questions but they have no desire to commit.
February 24, 2018
Most of the morning was spent taking reports from missionaries, then eating, then studying.  In the evening we had our meeting with O. and that was pretty much our entire day.  We taught one lesson. I don’t like being stuck inside all day.  I can’t help feeling like we wasted a ton of time. 
February 25, 2018
Today Elder Sevilla had a special transfer.  He went to the office and Elder C is our new district leader.  It was otherwise a normal Sunday.  Lots of traveling, lots and lots of church.  By the end of the two meetings, and a few hours of travel by bus, I was tired.  It is hard to have the desire to do anything else.  We did teach T after church, which was cool, but young people don’t have time to read the scriptures and don’t want to make a sacrifice to do so. So, that’s kind of a problem that prevents progress.
February 26, 2018
P-Day!  We played lots of cards and games today which was a nice way to relax for once. Nothing special happened though.  Elder S was shipped off to the office safely, though they were late getting up and going.)  In the evening our appointments all fell through.  We ended up teaching one lady who contacted us, and it was just okay.  I just don’t see  much sincere desire in them.
February 27, 2018
Apart from district class, we had a meeting with the district president in Manzanillo.  We found out that he is going to be released in the next conference.  Then, for the rest of the day, we kind of wandered and contacted.   
February 28, 2018
Today was Noche de Hogar of the mission.  We left early in the morning to get there on time. It went really well.  Most of it was spent talking about problems and struggles in the mission.  I personally have a lot of things that I need to improve on as a leader in the mission.  Afterwards I talked a lot with Elder P, who studied Taekwondo.  
February 26 email:
  Well theres not much to say about this week. We were in our area all week, but had lots of little things to do. Overall I was just very tired this week, and I don’t know why. It made it very difficult for me to really get a drive to get out the door every day and do something productive. Maybe that’s the effect of too much paperwork. Sin embargo, this week is going to be great! We have mission council and divisions planned, so theres no time to waste! 
Everything here in Barra is going well. Some investigators are going to get married this week!!!! and hopefully baptized soon after but there are still several challenges there. Overall, there’s lots of progress, but mainly with younger people. Something that I have found is that as we grow older we tend to believe we have "figured things out" and that those two young American kids don’t really know what they’re talking about. Many people as they grow older seem to close themselves off and trust in their own wisdom. The problem is is that the younger people can’t be baptized if the parents don’t give permission, and it’s really hard to stay active if you live in a tiny branch and don’t have much family support. 
Most of the less active members here are literally like the Nephites. Once righteous and now, lets just say they don’t keep the commandments like they should. It’s just so sad to see people who once knew and lived and loved the truth, turn from the path just because the world says its a little too strict. The Word of Wisdom is one of the most abused commandments here, and Sabbath day observance. They no longer see that they are important but are convinced that God is still with them and that they are on the path. Its very hard to call a sinner who loves the sin and hates obedience to repentance. It makes me think on the words of Thomas S. Monson "may we ever choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.” It doesn’t matter the amount of effort or how great the sacrifice may be, it’s always the better choice to follow the light of the gospel. 



Wednesday, March 7, 2018

March Mission Council

February 26, 2018
        Well there's not much to say about this week. We were in our area all week, but had lots of little things to do. Overall I was just very tired this week, and I don’t know why. It made it very difficult for me to really get a drive to get out the door every day and do something productive... maybe that’s the effect of paperwork. Sin embargo, this week is going to be great! We have mission council and divisions planned, so there’s no time to waste! 
Everything here in Barra is going well. Some investigators are going to get married this week!!!! and hopefully baptized soon after but there are still several challenges there. Overall, there’s lots of progress, but mainly with younger people. Something that I have found is that as we grow older we tend to believe we have "figured things out" and that those two young American kids don’t really know what they’re talking about. Many people as they grow older seem to close themselves off and trust in their own wisdom. The problem is is that the younger people can’t be baptized if the parents don’t give permission, and it’s really hard to stay active if you live in a tiny branch and don’t have much family support. 
Most of the less active members here are literally like the Nephites. Once righteous and now... let’s just say they don’t keep the commandments like they should. It’s just so sad to see people who once knew and lived and loved the truth, turn from the path just because the world says it’s a little too strict. The Word of Wisdom is one of the most abused commandments here, and Sabbath day observance. They no longer see that they are important but are convinced that God is still with them and that they are on the path. It’s very hard to call a sinner, who loves the sin and hates obedience, to repentance. It makes me think on the words of Thomas S. Monson "may we ever choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.” It doesn’t matter the amount of effort or how great the sacrifice may be, it’s always the better choice to follow the light of the gospel. 
March 5, 2018
       Well I really don’t have much to say! This week we had mission council with all the district leaders and a family home evening as zone leaders. There’s so much work to do I can’t even believe it. I’m not sure how we are going to get everything done here in this tiny group but I have faith! Im trying not to doubt and just work as hard as I can!
Our family of investigators got married this week!!! But, they still wont accept a baptismal date... They go to church every Sunday. Actually they are literally the ONLY ones (except our mission leader) that go to church every single Sunday. This Sunday we talked about testimonies in the second hour, and wow. It was super cool, several of them shared their testimonies, and they literally said, "I know the Book of Mormon is true and that the church is true". It’s so amazing to see the process of conversion in the people. 
Sadly some of our investigators have dropped off in this week, but that just gives us more time to teach people who are truly ready to be baptized. Also sadly, one of our investigators who was doing really well now cannot be baptized. Her Aunt who takes care of her said a very resolute "no" when she asked if she could be baptized... one step at a time. But a huge miracle is that in La Huerta a family who lives super far away came to church! We were actually thinking about dropping them, because they weren’t completing their commitments. But they made the sacrifice and came to church! Also another miracle, there’s an orthopedic surgeon in Guadalajara who is running for governor. Hermana P. contacted him and he agreed to do I.’s surgery for free! She has a really bad bone infection and needs to replace a poorly put plate in her leg. She’s one of the poorest of the members here... so that’s a huge miracle.
March Mission Council:


A visit with an Apostle


February 13, 2018
Today was a good day.  We had a lot of good appointments planned and good backup plans, but everyone of the appointments fell through except for one.  but it was really cool because if our appointments hadn’t fallen, we would never have met M. who we contacted in a park.  Actually we were going to look for some less active members, but we had the impression to turn back.  Was we did that we met her.  She told us that she has a desire for peace and happiness in her live but has many challenges with her health and her ability to support herself.  She is a widow and has a little boy with Asbergers as well, which adds up to life being really hard for her.  We talked to her about the peace that the gospel brings to us and the asked us if there was something that we could give her to help her come closer to God.  She readily accepted The Book of Mormon.  That was the major miracle for the day.  It is so humbling how the Lord puts people in our path just at the right time and place.
February 14, 2018
Man, today was rough.  Well, actually it was just really long.  We went to La Huerta and visited various people, but didn’t really make much progress.  We did meet some less active members and made some contacts.  That’s all part of missionary work.  Hermana P. is such a champ though.  She is this 70 year old lady who runs every morning and she, apart from doing a ton of missionary work, is organizing Relief Society and Young Women’s/Men's activities.  I can’t imagine the branch without her!  She is like a second mom to all the missionaries, and she is pretty strict too, which is something necessary here.
Happy Valentine's Day
February 15, 2018
All of our morning appointments fell through today and we didn’t really use our time very well before leaving the house.  I really need to improve with my morning routine.  Then, in the afternoon and evening, all of our appointments fell through again.  We decided that we should go with O’s family to teach his nieces who have a baptismal date.  Right as we decided to go to see them, the bus that runs by their house stopped in front of us, perfect timing!  We found the whole family, which is a miracle in itself, but the Mom of one of the girl’s was there and we were able to testify to her and invite her to church.  She is a very committed Catholic so we were surprised when she said that she would come to church.  I am praying for a miracle for the girls so that their parent’s hearts will be softened and they can be baptized. 
February 16, 2018
Today we traveled all day long.  We went from Barra to Guadalajara to go to the conference with Elder Niel L Anderson.  It was interesting, we traveled as a zone in a van and i got to sit up in the front by the van driver.  That guy had had a rough life, with lots of problems, but is searching for peace.  He asked about the hymns that we were listening to, because he really liked how they made him feel calmer and happier.  He asked how he could download them and asked about church services.  Then we took a taxi all across Guadalajara and our taxi was someone who believed in all religion.  She was very nice and told us at the end of the ride that if she ever had kids, she would send them to the Mormon church!  We gave her a Book of Mormon, who who knows what will happen there.  
Yes, those are squirrels, on our heads, in a bus.
February 17, 2018
Wow…the apostle’s visit was …Wow!  The spirit was so strong! First of all, a few members of the Seventy and their wives spoke to us.  They were rather short talks, but very good messages.  Then Elder Anderson spoke.  he taught in Spanish/English?Portuguese/French … haha, couldn’t keep his languages straight, poor guy.  He kind of gave up on the Spanish after a while and just stuck to English.  He spoke about President Monson and then completely changed subjects.  Right in the middle of his talk he stopped and wondered what we could do to baptize more.  In the missions in Guadalajara, there are probably only 25 baptisms per month per mission, which is really low for Mexico.  But Elder Anderson felt impressed that we need to focus more on people from 15-25 years of age.  He had some ideas for us to set goals as a mission.  He talked about many other things including testifying about President Nelson as our new prophet.  That was maybe the strongest that I have ever felt the Spirit.  
On the drive home, I got to sit in the front again and talk to the van driver some more about the gospel.  I was able to give him a Book of Mormon.  
February 18, 2018
Wow, today was awesome.  Church in La Huerta was super cool.  Last week we talked about la bra missional and the members brought a bunch of their friends. Even one of our investigators brought some of her family with her!  We finally broke 30 people in attendance.  It’s so amazing to thing about how God works.  None of those people com because of our proselyting efforts. they come because to the members. But we put in our part and the Lord blessed us in very unexpected ways. 
Today we learned about an elderly member’s problem.  A while got this member was in an accident and the doctors put a plate in her femur.  Recently the plate became detached and is causing lots of problems.  She went to the doctors and found out that it is much more serious than she thought.  She needs an operation because she has a very bad bone infection.  It is an expensive operation, but she has to have it to save her life.  This member is dirt poor.  Her kids can’t help her and they don’t want to ask her only brother for help because he has helped her kids in the past and they wasted his money.  This lady is the kindest, sweetest lady, but her family kind of treats her like trash sometimes. It is so sad.  So another sister is trying to raise money for her.  
Apart from that, we had church in Barra, which was not as exciting as La Huerta.  We only had 15 people there.  We talked about la bra missional hoping for results like La Huerta.  After the meeting we contacted and visited a few people and then went home to wait for the transfer call to come.  My whole district is staying the same.  I am so excited to spend another transfer in Barra! Awesome!
February 19, 2018
I’m super excited to have one more change here. It almost certainly means that after this change I’m going. But anything can happen.  This week has been super super super busy, but really incredible. Luckily I actually wrote in my Journal! It’s a mission of miracles! 
Just the biggest thing that happened. Elder Anderson came to Guadalajara and spoke to the two missions here. It was the first time that the mission has been together in a long time, and I learned when you get a bunch of missionaries together they tend to turn somewhat immature, but more important was the meeting. We learned many things, but most I just want to say that these men are truly ordained servants of the Lord. As Elder Anderson shared about when President Nelson was set apart, the Spirit filled the room. I know that this is the Lord’s work, and that He literally directs the work. He lives. Our faith in Him is not in vain. It was truly an experience that I will never be able to forget. How grateful I am for our leaders and the revelations that they receive to guide us. I know he received revelation for our mission, and that President Nelson receives revelation for the whole church. What a blessing it is to live in these days! 

Sister Clayton wrote about the visit from Elder Anderson; “On Saturday, February 17th we were thrilled to have met with and heard teachings from Elder Neil L. Anderson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and also Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Presidency of the Seventy.  We combined with the Guadalajara East mission at the Lomas Stake Center to listen to each of these brethren, and sister Jan Robbins speak to us.
  Elder Anderson was personable and spoke with no notes, just pure inspiration as it came to him.  He walked throughout the chapel, in and around the rows of missionaries, making his way to the very last row, and up front again.  He would look right at our missionaries, calling them by name, asking what they were thinking, asking them for examples from scriptures, and to recite verses of scriptures.  He told stories from his service as a missionary and as a mission president.  He shared precious experiences with President Thomas S. Monson, and tender and sacred experiences with our newly called President and Prophet Russell M. Nelson.”
It was a day to remember.  Here we are 148 missionaries strong!