Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Christmas

Merry Christmas!  How blessed we are to have a whole season of celebrating the birth of our Savior.  Sure, the presents, lights and decorations are fun, but we know that that's not what this time is about.  Just analyze our seasonal greetings: "more Christ" and "holy days".  I hope we haven't let the commercialism turn us into Scrooges or Grinches.  This is a time of joy; a time to rejoice in the miraculous birth of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

Two weeks ago I was able to sit in the presence of our beloved prophet at the Christmas devotional.  I love what President Monson said about being more interested in giving and people than in getting and things.  As he said, don't spend Christmas--keep it.  Be Scrooge after the spirits' visits.  Because, as President Monson also said (or emphasizes, according to my notes) Christmas is what we make of it.

I know that Jesus Christ was born in a humble stable.  I know that He was and is the Son of God.  He lived for us, atoned for us, died for us and lives again to grant us everlasting life.  I know my family in heaven is watching over me and each one of us.  The gospel is true.  Every bit of it.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Just a quick note from the missionary's mom:

Sister Clayton will be going outbound on Tuesday, 20 December.  She will be serving in the New York Utica Mission until 14 March 2012, when she will return to Temple Square.  Her address during this time will be:

New York Utica Mission
PO Box 149
Whitesboro, NY  13492

Packages Only:
New York Utica Mission
8439 Clark Mills Road
Whitesboro, NY  13492

And she thought it was cold in Salt Lake City.......

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pictures - November 2011

Here are some recent photos:

SisterD and I finally made it to the Bountiful Temple!

The current trio, Sister H, D and Me!

My Zone zone!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What I am Thankful For - November 2011

You are what I am grateful for.  I wouldn't be me if it weren't for each of you.  I'm thankful we fought, but forgave.  I'm grateful for every silly moment, lame joke and giggle-fest that made family prayer take two hours.  I'm grateful there were rules and expectations.  I'm thankful for every prayer I never heard that was said for me.  And because I have you, I'm grateful for eternity.  Father lives.  His Son lives.  And they are the only ones I love more than you.

I love you all THIS much!

Thanksgiving 2011

From the crossroads of the West.....


It’s official – the holidays have begun and from 5pm to 9pm, Temple Square is a madhouse of crazy.  But amazing and fun.  We’ve only experienced the first night, so I’ll tell you about TSquare later.

I literally had a dream come true on Thanksgiving.  The Temple Square Mission had a DANCE PARTY!  Well, a missionary-approved dance party.  Still, super fun.  But that was only a small part of the day’s festivities.  Here’s a rough itinerary of my day:

 6:30 - 10:00   Normal activities - study, exercise, etc.
10:00 - 12:30  TSquare time.  Except for 2 FANTASTIC teaching appointments, which we are still rejoicing over.
12:30 - 12:50  Quick change!  Get into P-day clothes (jeans) & get to Westgate.
1:00   Depart TSquare and head to.....nobody knows (even the driver - haha)
1:30 - 1:40     Arrive at Noahs!!!! (that's where everyone went last year)  Greetings and Instructions by the APs.  There are 3 game rooms, each with a tele screen, and across the hall a GIGANTIC room for eating & dancing)
1:40    Pool!  I watch while compy plays.
          Watch crazy volleyball court with a giant movie screen
          Play table tennis and generally hang out with SisterW (another DL in the zone and a good friend)
3:00    Watch "How to Train Your Dragon"  Yay - I really like this movie.  And in an awesome theatre room.
4:00    Get interrupted by SisterB from Melbourne (our AP2) giving us the call to dinner.
4:15 - 5:00     Dinner!  With Mary Poppins in the background.  Seriously, there was a telescreen in every room!
Dinner was catered by the same people who make sandwich boxes and taco dinners for us at Conference time.  Tonight was turkey, taters, corn, stuffing, rolls, salad, pie, etc.  All the good stuff.  And boy, were we stuffed!  Yum!
5:00    Entertainment!
SisterG did her TSquare rap; Sisters L,V,D (our roomies) and SisterB did an Italian song; and.....Pres&SisterH!  Actually, President had his son do a "rap" he and his companion came up with on their mission in Alabama first, then Pres& SisterH danced for us.  So cute and so funny.  Don't worry.  I have lots of video and photographic proof of all this.
5:20    DANCE PARTY!  It was mostly the same 5 songs, but some we played 5 times in a row for the limbo contest, line dancing, freestyle, etc.  So Much Fun!
(I have always talked about how much fun it would be to have a dance with this mission and I got my wish )  There was lots more dancing, picture taking and general fun in the 4 rooms we were using.
6:30    Announcements
6:45    Talk from President.  Inspiring us as always.  No one should go to bed without getting on their knees to give thanks to God for their blessings.
7:00    Supposed departure.....but the bus was late.  So it ended up being time to watch "Beauty and the Beast"  WOOT for Disney classics.
7:30    Actual departure time.
8:30    Abundance of picture taking in the apartment with me and compy.  Yes, pictures will follow.

 So that was Thanksgiving, Temple Square Mission-style.  Today is actually P-day, so the Christmas lights are on at the Square, and we have morning P-day until further notice (probably my birthday).  It's weird, and we get an hour less of p-day, but it's what other missions do.  Weird.  I really like being part of the special (and best) mission.

This is where I sign off for today.  Love you all.  Merry holidays and Happy Christmas.  I have a District meeting to plan.  Ugh.  I'd rather give a talk.

Testimony of the day: President is right.  So I'll say, It's All True.  Or I wouldn't be here.

Sister Clayton

PS.  Some of you will get this (you know who you are).  Guess who passed by me last night when I was talking to an awesome RM.......CARL!  No joke.  It was very Twilight Zone.  And no, I didn't talk to him or see him for more than 5 seconds.  But he's alive!  Ah, Ghosts of EFY!

Me and SisterH
They kidnapped us!

Everything funny.....

.....we learned from President!

SisterW-my MTC companion

Dancing Mission!
SisterG - companion #3

Love You!


I love catching up with former
companions.  I love them so much.
We are more than friends, we are
truly eternal sisters.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 11, 2011

27 October 2011 The Emergency Room

I want to respond to stuff, but it's probably more important to tell you what happened this week. I had my first trip to the emergency room!  Don't freak out, I'm totally fine.....Now.
Here's the brief details:
I woke up Tuesday morning at 2:30am with a twinging pain in my left side, just above my hip. I tried to ignore it, thinking it was just a cramp. Spirit-prompting #1: I went to the bathroom, somehow thinking that would help, and passed out twice. I knew I wasn't on my period (pretty much the only times I've passed out before were due to that) so the "Houston, we have a problem" button came on. I was white as a sheet and drained, so I tried to lay down again. Obviously, that didn't work. Now comes the stupid prayer with the intelligent answer I'd already known. I prayed to be healed and was told to call my zone leaders. Duh. By now it's 3:00am and I called Sisters H and C. So glad they're my ZLs. You have no idea. They're crazy, but so wonderful. So we played phone pong (not quite tag) for a while from me to the ZLs, the ZLs to the APs (who called President), and back down the line to me, who was now feeling increasingly nauseous. So the ZLs told me that the APs were coming to take me to the hospital. (Delayed) Spiritual-prompting#2: That's about when I woke up my companions (SisterV later gave me lots of grief for not waking them up sooner). And just after that, I started throwing up. *side note: This is sounding a lot worse than when it actually happened. But I was pretty darn miserable in that hour before we got to the hospital.* The APs came and I somehow had the presence of mind to ask what I would need. Medical card. Thanks to not listening to the prompting I had the night before to take all my stuff home, my wallet was still at the Square. Yes, even missionaries can be really, really dumb. Super dumb. Still totally embarrassed about how dumb that decision was. But I digress. The APs went to the Square to grab my wallet (which was useful when I had to pay the $10 copay later) and came back to take us all to the hospital.

Sheesh, this is a long story. So we got to the hospital, and while the dear lady at the desk is trying to check me in, I throw up again. I'm sure they've dealt with worse, cause it got absolutely no reaction (that I noticed in the less-than-coherent state I was in). At least this has cool bags instead of bed pans. Anyway. Kelsie was my nurse and I absolutely love her. It's probably 4 in the morning by then and she was great. She gets my vitals, etc, and they wheel me in to room 6. It was a nice little room. I get into my gown and get my first EKG while Kelsie draws a few vials of blood. I wonder if Mom used to be like me, before she knew everything about hospitals. I was asking the woman doing the EKG what it was, etc. And when Kelsie had to get more blood later (much later, after they'd put in the IV) because one of the samples clotted, I asked her about what blood clots are. It was funny that I'd just been in tons of pain and throwing up, but I was strangely calm and everything. Actually, I realized after a while that since they had checked me and gotten into the room that the pain was gone.

Moving on. Dr S.Welch (whom I also love a ton now) came in after a while, asked more questions about the pain and where it was, etc, and told me that it was a problem with my kidney. It was either a stone or an infection. They just needed to do the tests, etc to find out which one. I think this is when there was a bunch of waiting around happening. And when I got the IV so they could start pumping fluids into me. I remember because I already had the IV in when Daniel came to do a CAT scan. (I'm really happy I remembered names from that morning.) So I've had my first CAT scan. I'm finally catching up to the rest of my family (especially mom).  Sorry, too much levity

A little before 5:30 the APs swapped with my companions since there are only 2 visitors allowed at a time. And of course, who should brake this rule 20 minutes later. President. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I updated the APs on what was happening and we talked and joked for a while. When they got my wallet, they had also grabbed my camera, so I have a couple pictures of me smiling away in my hospital bed. Yeah. Only at Temple Square. Well, probably not I guess, but it's not surprising for us.  We're a little camera happy.  Anyway. Then President came. Already in his suit. At quarter to 6 in the morning. Again, probably not surprising. And of course he came in kind of joking about why we were there. But it's impossible to take that seriously when you know President. And when he's giving you a kiss on the forehead as he does it.

After a little while Dr Welch came in, probably 6:15ish, and told us that it was for sure a kidney infection. So I was getting a prescription for the antibiotic pills, and I would need to come back the next couple mornings to get another IV antibiotic to kill the infection fast. President and the APs left after a while and Kelsie came back to give me some pain meds, nausea meds, my prescription, and my discharge papers. I'm really happy it was her on duty that morning. She was fun, funny, and really sweet. And really good at answering the few questions I had.

We talked with President in the lobby for a bit to get further instructions and I went back yesterday and this morning. Yesterday they gave me the second IV and left it in (I thought) so they could do one more this morning. Nope. I had to deal with that thing in the most awkward spot just so the doctor this morning could tell me I didn't need it. Oh well. I'm just happy I'm better and the sisters will stop reacting to me like I'm going to die. Well, I can't blame my zone for it. President arranged a trip to the Bountiful Temple and Tuesday was when our zone was scheduled. Obviously, without us. And I've been at home for two days. You'll be happy to hear that I slept most of yesterday, and when I wasn't asleep I didn't leave my mattress. (Having a mattress on the floor really isn't different than sleeping on a bed. Who knew?)

So I'm finishing the pills and having a check up with the mission doctor in a couple weeks. I haven't been in any pain (except headaches [not an unusual occurance] and feeling slightly nauseous the first day) and I'm being a good girl about resting and taking my meds. I had no problem following orders from President and Mama Holmes to take as much rest as I needed yesterday.

President and Elder Young gave me a blessing yesterday, too. When we came out, Sister Holmes was there and that was the first I'd seen her since it happened. She was more serious, with being a little ... not angry, but ... just serious ... than President was that first morning. But I gave her all the info and she hugged me tight, gave me a kiss, and made it clear that I was to take as much rest as I needed. Love her so much. I haven't seen her as much recently. Anyway. I think that's everything.

I'll send pictures of the whole experience next week. I actually thought everyone might get a laugh from me in my cute hospital gown. I was surprisingly awake for how early it was. Hospitals do that, I guess.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

More happy stuff. I missed my year mark! A year and one week ago I was endowed at the San Diego Temple!!!!! And in 6 days I'll have been on my mission for 9 months! So weird! I'm already halfway through. Bizarre.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

*Side note:  Glug glug glug - that's the sound of me now drinking more water!  No more kidney infections for me!

Sister Clayton

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

20 October 2011 What I do with my day, Temple Square Style!

Hiya!  Sitting on my bed with the windows open, wearing jeans and a Woot! Shirt and listening to cds almost makes me feel like I’m at home, not just P-day.  Strange how comfortable that make me.  It’s nice to feel at home in my home away from home.
I got a few really cool inbound  calls this week.  Time to explain the RC to you.  When we’re not on the Square, we’re in the call centers.  There we either teach or make “RC call”.  Teaching is somewhat self-explanatory.  We set appointments with investigators and have a short lesson with them over the phone.  We follow up, extend commitments/invitaions, have kneeling prayer, the whole shebang.  And all in 10-15 minutes.  I’d like to see other missions do that!  And that’s teaching.  Right now the big thing is changing our focus to baptism.  Before, it was IRC, which stand for Investigator Referral Confirmed and means they are meeting with local missionaries.  But our prupose is preparing the elect for baptism, etc.  Our new…thing:  we find, we teach to baptize, we baptize to seal.

(Best part of P-day.  When my Kiwi cooks and insists on feeding me.  Mmmmmmmm.  Just potatoes and chicken, but it is darn good. ♥)

Now RC.  RC stands for Referral Center.  This is where we call referrals from members.  And call members to get information about their friends/family, as well as report on how the calls went.  So when someone calls you to ask about your people, they’re doing RC.  When we call member referrals, the overall objective is to invite them to meet with local missionaries.  We try to go by what we call the Contacting Model (which we also use for the Square).  Here it is:

Contacting Model

Establish a relationship of trust
(who you are, why you’re calling, get to know them, crack a dumb joke)

Create environment to teach
(PMG pg 107 Briefly teach to their need, usually from lesson 1 and usually the Restoration or eternal families.  Key: brief and clear)
Teach & Testify
(PMG pg 107 Briefly teach to their need, usually from lesson 1 and usually the Restoration or eternal families.  Key: brief and clear)
(Invite them to learn more from local missionaries.  Promise blessings specific to them.  If they say yes – get their infor and make teaching appointment.  If not:)
(ask why they said no, find concern , address concern, invite again)

And that’s what we try to do.  In 10 minutes.  Talking to a complete stranger.  The thing is, it's not as terrifying….no, scratch that.  It is as terrifying as it sounds, but it's not as terrible.  I’ve talked to some amazing people.  And they never think it’s as weird as you think they will.  (Bad grammar, I know.  Sorry Otter.)  I like what Elder Holland says on PMG  pg 8 (I’m applying it a little differently), if they don’t refer “the first thing you do…is be devastated!”  It’s true.  “teach with power and authority and then be devastated” if they don’t accept missionaries.  But we move on.  And that is the RC.

 And now you’re remembering that I mentioned “inbounds”.  Mmm.  The fun part.  Inbounds come from two sources: and Pass Along Cards (media inbounds, technically speaking).  Those come to us and other Visitor Centers (but mostly to us).  The are honestly trollers most of the time; just pranking, arguing or being insincere.  But media inbounds are usually great.  They call because they actually want something: a Bible, Book of Mormon, a DVD about Christ, families or the Retoration, or a visit from the missionaries.  We take their information, teach a principle (again, Restoration is standard and most effective – duh), invite them to get their –whatever- from the local missionaries in person and learn more about the gospel, and then call them later to check if they got the item.

So that’s what we do in the lair, I mean Call Center.  I still like thinking of our mission office as The Secret Lair of Temple Square.  The offices (of the Presidency, APs and OAs), guest services, one call center, the kitchen and several study rooms are in the basement of the South Visitor’s Center.  It’s fun to “emerge” and guests look at you funny because you basically appeared out of nowhere when you came up the stairs.

I’ve discovered something since I’ve been here.  I have an almost entirely different experience as a missionary (and temple patron of my age) because of my 3 months as a temple worker.  My roommates were asking about all sorts of stuff related to me having worked in the temple.  I have more understanding about how things work there than anyone my age.  Obviously not about the things that actually happen.  I counted back in my first transfer and by that time (not sure if I included the times at the MTC), and I had gone through approximatelly 30 sessions as a patron or ordinance worker.  What 21 year old can say that?  Granted, I wish I had done more with that time, but nobody is perfect.  Anyway, it just struck me yesterday that I am really lucky.

President Hansen’s letter included the pew aerobics section of Stake Conference.  Huzzah for the new High Council members.  It will be fun to have Brother Little come to our ward.  And I know Brother Keller will enjoy working in Young Mens.  And Pres Hansen included a personal note about loving a picture Mom showed him.  Is she carrying them around in her purse?  Jeez.  I’m glad he got to see a picture.
Hard to believe, but in two weeks, I will have served half my mission.  Wow.

Another quick note.  Went shopping and got two Christmas cds: Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby.  Yep, I’m a very happy missionary.  Bing’s cd even has his song with Bowie.  And Frank’s has a medley he did for a WWII broadcast.  I am a VERY happy missionary.

You have no idea how happy I am that there was no Stake Presidency change.  
He just has to make it through one more and I’m safe.  I know that since I want it so badly it’ll
probably happen just the opposite.  I love President Hansen so much.

Update on your wandering missionary.  Compy got her Visa to Brazil and I am now part of a trio.
New Companions:    Sister F from China
                                  Sister V from Sweden
New Apartment:        a mattress in their room
New Zone:                 None.  Still a District Leader, too

My New Companions, Sisters F&V

20 October 2011 -- A Funny Story?

I’m going to tell you a funny story.  
Picture this:  
It’s Sunday.  It’s early, early in the morning and you wake up because people in the apartment building next door are yelling.  There are lots of shouts of “Get out!” mixed with the f-word and various names.  This is going on for about 5 minutes that you’re conscious of.  Then there is banging at the door.  Your roommate opens it and a zone leader tells you there’s a fire next door and everyone needs to evacuate.  Here we go again.  You get your companion awake and think what you need to grab.  Laptop?  Don’t have one.  Mr. Beary?  Not here.  Shoes, need shoes.  Well, those I’ve got.  You throw on tennies and a sweatshirt, get your companion to put shoes on, grab the keys and head out.  You go downstairs, following the line of pajama-clad sisters outside and up the hill.  Great.  Sprinklers.  And they’re hitting the path you’ve got to go through.  RUN.  You follow where the sisters ahead are running, to avoid the freezing blast of freezing water and finally make it up to the parking lot in front of GP(the other apartments).  Okay.  Now what.  Zones.  Split into zones.  Both your companionships are with you.  Yeah, they’re still the best.  SOUTH 1!  Naturally the ZLs show up last.  Wake up everybody in GP.  Freaking Cold!  Huddle in your zone and just wait for the APs to tell us what’s next.  Everyone’s here, and now we’re all going to pray our building doesn’t burn.  Of course, Sanders would start singing Spirit of God.
Sound fun so far?
Basically we’re there waiting for an hour while they put the fire out and clear the building.  After a while, sisters in my zone start singing hymns.  It was nice.  We were all huddling and singing, etc.  President came, told us there wouldn’t be Sacrament Meeting so we could sleep in, and sent us all to bed.  I think all of us felt instantly….safe...and peaceful the second he showed up.  So we went back to bed and spend the day swapping stories.  Good times.  Now it’s just a fun story we all talk about.

Friday, October 7, 2011

22 September 2011

Way to go mom!  Huzzah for talking about the missionaries at work.  See?  It's seriously that simple. Of course with us, we add in teaching, but you'll get the hang of it. And when you find people like that here's what you do. Get their numbers and I'll call them, as long as I don't already know them. Seriously. I call, tell them you were thinking of them, I'm your daughter, this is part of my mission, teach a little to their needs, and invite to learn more from missionaries. I don't care how many people turn me down, I want to call more people. You can easily imagine that that's the hard part for me in this mission. Hate making calls. But it's incredible. And I want to call people in San Diego. Gets a little more trust right from the start if I know their area. Loved calling the guy from Irvine last transfer, so easy, and he really opened up. Anyway. Get phone numbers and start praying about which people at work, in the neighborhood (my friends can call), family, random strangers in Vons. Seriously. This is what we do. We're fulfilling prophesy with how we use technology to spread the gospel. So make your sheep list or whatever, but when you get numbers pass 'em on.

There's my missionary work for today. I've been telling Ricardo for weeks that the bishop can get him whatever help he needs. He's one of my investigators. Recently divorced, has a little girl, and they just found out that his finance is pregnant. He's the nicest guy really.

Gotta go.  We're having lunch at In-N-Out.  Yay!

Sister Clayton

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pictures, of the silly variety 15 September 2011

I thought I'd send you some silly photos of the day I went in for a haircut.

First, me and compy, SisterS from Mexico.  Companions AND friends - the best of both worlds. 

SisterW from Scotland and her drawing.  Wonder who it looks like - haha.

Evidence that I am eating real food. Yes, that is a double-double and there is cheese on that heaven-burger. I'm branching out. And they have really good cheese.

Your favorite missionary is now a pixie. The before photo:

And after.  I love the salon I found in SLC.  I want to keep going there!

Monday, October 3, 2011

October General Conference 2011

General Conference results. Total Potential Referrals from members: 9,222.

We're going to die next Conference, if we have to out-do that total. But we'll love it. Day One we only got 2,000-something so we had a mission meeting the next morning. President pumped us up (after some ... analysing of our ... obstacles) and the theme became don't ask them to do what you wouldn't do yourself and we all had to give at least one name. It changed a lot after thinking of potentials I could give. Speaking of. I need some phone numbers now. (wink)  If there's anyone you get a prompting for, just send me phone numbers and I'll call. Well, if I don't know them already, if I do then you'll get to get a call from someone here asking you about them before they call. And I know you'd love that. SisterS loved talking to you about your co-worker, mom.   (Don't worry, SisterS will definitely be coming to visit.)

The hard part of General Conference was that transfers were just before, and SisterS was at the end of her missionary service.  But President asked her entire class to stay an extra 5 days and work GC weekend.  Not a hard choice!  After all, I stayed up late and got up at 4 in the morning to walk down to the garage with her and say goodbye. Sunday night was so depressing. No lying about that one. But they're gone and it's a new transfer and we all move on. It's hard to have most of my closest friends and all of my companions gone, either on outbound or at the end of their missionary time.  But my zone is cool and there are still plenty of sisters I love here. Anyway. My point was that while change is good, I'll never stop hating it.  My mission teaches me to shut up and deal with it.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

1 September 2011: Messages, Personal Study and Christmas Lights

My companion, SisterS from Mexico, is an Apostle magnet.  She’s met/seen at least half of them.  And on Tuesday, August 30th, we saw President Packer.  The South VC (Visitor's Center) was closed randomly with about an hour’s warning for an hour in the early afternoon.  We came back from lunch/cake baking around 3, so we went to put our things downstairs, but the South was still closed.  (it was supposed to open at 2:45)  We were just noticing the Aps, a few ZLs (Zone Leaders) and the security guard at the door, when we turned and……well, hello, President Packer!  There were a couple sisters a few steps ahead with a tour and just waved and smiled as his 4-5 guard escort wheeled him into the South.  I was so brain numbed from the realization of “that’s Pres Packer” that all I could do was slightly smile, wave and nod back.  SO COOL!  We have already decided that since it’s her last transfer, we’re going to meet the Prophet.

From Personal Study:  1John 5.  It just… blew my mind this morning.  It just clicked.  Not the “oh, I understand everything now” kind of click, more the “I understand, maybe it means this, hmm, it’s kind of like that scripture…hey, maybe I can do this to…”, etc.   I love how one scripture leads to another to another, etc.  1John seems really awesome and I love 5:3 (For this is the love of god, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous) when it says basically that the commandments are easy.  It was referenced in Matthew…the scripture that says “my yoke is easy” (Matthew 11:30 – For my yoke is easy and my burden is light)

People comments:
   Awwww, Ethan!  There are times when I really miss those kids, and The Twins.  Sorry I missed Ethan's family when they were here.  That was when Compy was sick.  I have several notes they left and I keep them with me.  Kjersta - it doesn’t matter how “late” a letter is, I love getting them.  Definitely send stuff.  And seriously – Emma is incredible.  Watching her grow….I definitely want a daughter like her.

  Brother Clement I am so happy you are working in the Temple.  It’d be awesome if I got to work the same time when I get home.  My Friday Morning Shift is calling!  Hopefully next P-day we’ll get to the temple.  We couldn’t today because of the motorcoach tour and mission meeting – we’ve already started counting down and prepping for General Conference.  I share about Br Clement and his wife and the Cash’s quite a bit.  They’ve inspired many a visitor here – members, non-members and other missionaries.

   WOW – L1 – thanks for the novel!  It took two stamps! Tons of your half-page stationary front and back! I'll write you today of course, but you are an amazing sister. I can't complain after getting massive stuff like that.  I talk about you and your family detective work at least a few times a week.  People are very impressed with the 500+ people you have found.  And huzzah for that number being too low!

I love that God has an order to things.  That comes up a lot in the things we planned regarding things our guests would have this last week.  “Why can’t you go in the Temple?  Well, God has a plan and He requires us to do things in a certain order, etc.”  If anyone has good scriptures about that, please share them with me, because that question comes up A LOT.

They're putting up the Christmas lights!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I feel like I'm Ethan's age. Oh my goodness. You should just see me. I seriously feel like a little kid. I love Christmas!!!  I can’t wait for the holidays.  From Halloween to New Year’s is going to be the best, at least that’s what I’m expecting.  And if I go into it like that, it can’t fail being amazing.

Conference!!! We just started a Conference count down this morning. So weird! That means I'll have been on Temple Square for 6 months and out for 7. I feel old and like a baby all at once. (The countdown is hard for the departing sisters though, it's a count to when they leave. Really hard to keep compy's mind off of that sometimes.)  And don't forget - if you have the name/phone number of any relative or friend who would like a Book of Mormon or Church video, pass that info along to your local missionaries.  You can do it!  Everyone knows someone!

Loving the Work

Sister Clayton

25 August 2011

On Sunday, Sister Ma did the special music and OH!, it was the most beautiful and heavenly praise I’ve ever heard.  She is a trained opera singer, but she doesn’t push it.  She can hit and hold the notes with ease but it’s not at all overbearing.  And when she’s in a group, she doesn’t stand out, unlike some other singers.    She sang a medley of sorts – the first verse of The Spirit of God and all of Battle Hymn of the Republic.  It was amazing.

I saw something about a new Relief Society book being sent out.  It sounds really cool.  You’ll have to tell me about “Daughters in My Kingdom” if you get it.  We say it a lot and it mostly comes from me – “I can’t wait to read Church books”.  I am going to have to make time for a lot of Church reading.  Jesus The Christ being first.

I love when people give me letters with ideas to look at during personal study time.  And can I just say about our Kiwi – my goodness, I love her!  It rocks to have the same P-day as the roomies.  We sat on my bed for almost an hour looking at pictures today, after she sang for me.  And I just did some practicing with the poi she made.  Arm exercises disguised as Poly dancing.  My Kiwi’s gonna get me in shape!  And I’m joining Sister So and Sister F for Poly dancing tomorrow.  Sister M from American Samoa and NZ teaches it.  Should be interesting.  We’ll see if I can actually dance at all.

PresidentH talked about taking our problems and "whatevers" from the past and saying “so what?”, then turning “so what” to “now what”.  My brain went straight to “what’s next?”.  That’s my motto this transfer.  What’s Next?  Time to let past be past and think just about the future.  What am I going to do now to change?  It just reminded me of an old favorite scripture: 3Nephi 12:47 “Old things are done away, and all things have become new.”  I look at it like sins, mistakes, grievances, etc., even though Christ is talking about the old/new law.

I am getting an amazing genealogical/bloodlline lesson from my pure Mannassah Kiwi here.  It’s incredible.  I am going to love sorting out my Dad’s line.  Even if it kills me!  But it is time to wrap up now.  Hopefully next week I’ll be able to tell you about my Transfer Conference report.  And taking Sister So to In-N-Out.  She's never been and I can't believe there is one here in SLC.  A little bit of home right here!  So happy.


Sister Clayton

18 August 2011 - Transfers, etc.

I think it's obvious what my first news should be. I'm sitting with my new companion ... Sister A. S. from Mexico! I was so happy. She was in my district when I was with Sister Mz and I love her. I'm also back living in DA which is really fun. Well, not so much with the bathrooms, but you can hang out with more sisters, borrow stuff easier, you don't have to walk the extra hill, and it's easy to go down to the garage/dungeon for exercise. I like my room and my new roommates, Sister H and her trainee from New Zealand, Sister K. The Kiwi is so awesome.

Our assignment this time is back in South 2! Yay for Square time. Our assignment is opening and closing the Joseph Smith movie here in the JSMB. It's nice to go back to an assignment I know and to get better at it.  Only 4 went outbound this time. Sister Li went to Alabama (which is cosmically awesome because Mg trained her and went to the same mission on her outbound), Sister A from Vegas and my beloved Sister S from MD are now in New Hampshire, and *drumroll* Sister G is in Houston South! I was so excited for her. And the funny thing is - that's Mg's mission. The sister that just got back from there was serving in Mg's old ward. So they we're already talking about how she's going to find her and they'll go on splits, she'll give them rides, etc. It was fun. It's so weird, though. Now I finally get what Sister G was talking about when she told me how weird it is when the people coming back from outbound are ones you know pretty well.

Transfer Conference! My goodness. So much fun. I won't give details cause I don't know how much time I have, but it was so cool. We met in the Tabernacle and we got to sit in the choir seats, get the lowdown on the organ from Clay Christianson, and got the backstage tour of the Tabernacle. It was like a behind the scenes of the Paris Opera House or something. The womens dressing room is underneath the lawn between the Tab and the Assembly Hall. The lair down there is huge!  I'll get pictures from one of the other sisters. Stupid me didn't grab my camera when we went up to the choir seats.

Love the Work
Sister Clayton

13 August 2011

Transfers are next week.  I learn a lesson with each one and so far one transfer is all I can handle of that particular lesson  And today we get pday ALL day. We're going to have so much fun.  I like being busy on pday.  We're going to a baseball game tonight. It's our zone activity. Should be pretty fun. And we're watching a couple church movies with some friends (one of the sisters in my class, actually, but not one I knew/know very well). So it's going to be a fun day. 

Yesterday was so awesome. The senior couple that had to go home a couple months ago to take care of his parents came back for a visit! It was so awesome. I love them sooooooo much. I've already made plans with them and Sister F to road trip up (or down) the west coast and spend some time with them in Portland. Elder and Sister Sgs. They are exactly what my mom talked about when she told me how much I would get attached to senior couples. He is soooo funny and reminds me a lot of dad. I love them so much. He was even the one who brought up the fact that "since we visited you on the mission, you've got to come see us when you're off the mission." Of course that's directed to all of us. But it was so fun to sit with them for a while. Elder Sgs and I were talking about how fun it would be to go up the coast and train rides and he loved the story I told him about taking the train to EFY and how we got the guys to announce that all the EFY kids were having a party in the restaurant car. I'm totally serious about wanting to go up and stay with them in Portland. At least a day. 

Off now to do some shopping, etc.
Love you all
Sister Clayton

Friday, September 30, 2011

6 August 2011 - Doctor, Doctor

Just a short trip to the computers today.  Thanks to the family for the package. I already showed Sister Mg most of it and the brownies and cookies are halfway gone. There should be pictures soon. 

Why did I already share everything in my compy's birthday box? Well, because since Wednesday we've been at home most of the day because she has/had strep throat. No, I didn't get it. I think, anyway, I've got a sore throat, but it's just from a cold I seem to have got at the same time. It's not strep because she's been checking my throat against hers the last couple days. It's been interesting. Lots of study time. And since they gave each companionship a DVD player we've watched a lot of the District and other churchy things. 

The Queen of Tonga came to the Humanitarian Center on Tuesday. That was exciting. And there's rumours of Groban being at Music and the Spoken Word tomorrow (which we're going to). That's life here. 

Sister Clayton

30 July 2011 - Companion Birthday!

This should be an awesome birthday for Sister Mg, with the box I just got from home! I don't know if I love her more than the others (I do really miss G sometimes), but I'm learning and changing more than before and it is fun to be around her and the friends she has. I do really love her.

Thank you, Darlene. You sent an awesome letter and I'm gonna use some of what you wrote when I'm at the HC. I'll write a thank you note soon, but hopefully Mom has passed along my thanks.  You rock!

Time is still going crazy slow and fast at the same time. Days go slow and then all of a sudden the week is over and it's Wednesday again. (Yeah, weeks are measured Wed-Wed now. Surprise!) Humanitarian Center is fun. We got to be there when they had their big safety celebration this week. Three years without time-lost injury. Or something like that. No one injured bad enough to miss a day of work for 3 years. So there was Panda Express and African music. We were in and out taking care of tours since they didn't lock the doors, but it was still really fun.  Also, I love HC because the secretary used to be a Temple Square missionary sister. Recently, too, because my companion knew her pretty well. She's only been home less than a year I think. She is really fun, awesome, etc etc. She brought us cookies and shared her expensive Italian restaurant leftovers with us. Mmmmm lasagna. Miss that. I still don't really cook. Only when absolutely necessary. Lots of sandwiches, fruit, cereal, poptarts, and Blue Lemon (really good, inexpensive, good-for-you food right across the street; we don't eat out a lot, but it gets us better food than if we ate in, so don't worry.)

Things are good. Love my compy.  She makes me see what I need to improve and even though we have moments of frustration for whatever it's pretty easy to get right back to work and out of those feelings.

Love the work!

Sister Clayton

Thursday, September 29, 2011

23 July 2011 - Summer Heat Wave

Bishopric change at home, huh?  Bishop R. - you have been a wonderful influence on my life ever since you gave me my first calling in YW when you were First Counselor in the Bishopric. It was a privilege to work with you as bishop and you'll always be "bishop" to me. Especially as I prepared for my mission, your advice and help were so important. I won't forget that interview for my first temple recommend and the inspired way you prepared me for that experience.  I love and appreciate all you did as bishop.

PresidentH seems super busy right now anyway. Sister H had another foot surgery recently, lots of sisters are getting sick from dehydration, a few sisters have passed out, and Sister Ma (who had to leave the mission temporarily in her second transfer to do some medical thing at home) just got emergency surgery to have her gallbladder removed. So yeah, he's got a lot on his plate this summer.  Keep them all in your prayers.

Brother W: I'm really flattered you have my photo up in the clerk's office!  You mean a lot to us (the whole clan). We were looking at journals at Deseret Book yesterday and it made me think of when you gave me mine. All the times you've given me some talk or book or DVD, it's just little things like that that I remember. And those things let me know that even though I may not know you as well as I would like, you are really an important part of my life. Love you, Grandpa Tom.

Speaking of ward members, Sister Mg and I were up late talking about her cousins and my ward-cousins (the twins and the J-kids might as well be cousins or better).  It made me think about who's going to remember me and how much things will have changed when I get home. But I'm excited. I love being here, heart and mind (my body doesn't really have a choice), and I want to be unrecognizable when I get back. My compy actually said that's something her outbound mission president told them. If you go home and your parents still recognize you, your mission was a failure. Elder Holland said (in an address to the MTC that we watch clips from a lot) that in the age of Preach My Gospel the focus is not on converting the investigators, but converting the missionary. So I plan on coming home a new person. Even if it's subtle, even if I didn't baptize anyone (ok, there was Austin), I want to be someone who can live the gospel better than I did before.

One last thing - guess who was looking for me but missed at the Pioneer Day Concert?  Sister Stenson!  I hope she tries again!  She was a wonderful missionary in our ward and such a friend as I was preparing to serve MY mission.

Off to relax so tomorrow I can be about my Father's business.

Sister Clayton

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

9 July 2011

9 July 2011

First off, thanks to Mom for the Big Band music cd.  I’ve missed Big Band music so much.

It’s my 4th transfer, almost my 6 month mark, and I’m trying to think of what’s different about me since I left home.  There are so many things I’m still not good at or.....whatever.  It’s like I haven’t been progressing at all in some areas and very little in others.  I want to come home a better person, but it’s been 6 months and I feel like I’m worse than when I left, now that I realize all the ways I wasn’t living the gospel at home.  I guess that might be what makes us better – acknowledging and changing what stops us from being better.  I feel like I wasted time last transfer and I hate having regrets.  I know I can’t afford to waste or lose time out here.

Sister Mg (my new compy) and I are serving at the Humanitarian Center and I have a new appreciation for how fragile we really are.  There are so many people in need.  And we can’t just throw money or blankets at the problem.  We have to teach people and help people become self reliant.  That’s the mission of the Church’s Humanitarian efforts.  If you, or anyone at church, has Humanitarian stories, I'd love to hear them and share them.  I talk a little bit about the baby quilts that we do in the ward, and I'd talk more about the Cedar Fire, but I don't remember much.  Maybe some people at Church could give Mom or Dad some stories and they could forward it to me.  Having personal experiences to share really enhances the spirit.

Sister Clayton

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

5 July 2011

Hey. Guess who survived another transfer? Yep, me. Transfer 4, here we come. I hit my 6 month and 1 year left marks this transfer. I'm in Extended Zone so I'll be in either Welfare Square or Humanitarian Center. Being in Extended is like being in Cover - that's the zone I was in when we were in Beehive House. Anyway, I hope the mission lingo doesn't confuse you. My companion is Sister Mg. Don't know much about her, except that she's American.  Should be good. 
Random quote this week: President and the Apostles always say - no growth in a comfort zone and no comfort in a growth zone OR apparently the gospel is designed to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

Hi to everyone. I'll send pictures of this transfer soon. Love you, love the work.

Sister Clayton

Thursday, September 8, 2011

7 June 2011

I had the best surprise this past week.  I was on exchange with SisterP from Leeds that morning.  We’d all just got to the South VC basement and SisterP had two things to tell me.  1) We were scheduled for a motorcoach in half an hour (Motorcoach: a scheduled tour with 25+ people from a tour bus).  So we had (for me) and unexpected group of 24 people, who turned out to be a mix of Chinese/English speakers, and only 9 wanted to go with the English speaking tour.  2) There were two people upstairs who said they were from my Ward.  SisterP had mentioned she was about to go on exchange with me, so we’d probably see them.  Bless her.  They hadn’t given her their names, so I had no idea who I would see when we went upstairs.  You can imagine the glow, grin and (near) gallop once I saw it was them.  Don and Terry Tenney!  It was so good to run up and give Terry a huge hug.  So good.  (It was so very special having Terry pick me up at the airport and spending some time together before she dropped me off at the MTC.  No one I would've rather been with, other than my parents.)  We only chatted for maybe 2 minutes, but it made my day and it still puts me in a good mood to think about it.  I don’t even remember why they were in SLC.  But I mentioned their calling as Temple President, teased Don about having kept up on his Spanish (he has, apparently), talked about when they would be leaving, and then basically we hugged and left to wait for our motorcoach.  I talked about them all day.  I think poor SisterP knows everything she could want to know about Don and Terry.  (We were on exchange for four hours, so there was plenty of time to tell stories, extol their virtues, etc.)  I think that was the same day we ran into the Oswalds, but I didn’t write it down.  SisterP was in that MTC branch, too, so it was really awesome that we were together when we saw them.  The Oswalds were my favourite at the MTC, even tho’ I LOVE the Millers.  We were only with them a couple minutes as well.  They were with a bunch of kids and grandkids.  I had met a couple at the MTC – they’re the cutest, sweetest girls.  They had done some sort of YW walk from Draper Temple to SLC, I think.  So weird to see Br Oswald in jeans!

Thanks to my sister for the temple cards.  If you have any for baptisms, that would rock!  My companion really wants to do baptisms, but I think we can go only if we have family names.

Gotta get back to The Work,
Sister Clayton

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

2 June 2011

Thanks for the letter and the copy of your Sacrament Meeting talk – it was awesome.  I imagined listening and watching you give it as I read, I bet you did great.
I think sometimes we want to approach life and the gospel with the “what’s next”, checklist attitude.  But like what Elder Robbins said at General Conference – there is no end to your To Be list.  Living the gospel, studying it as well, can’t be checked off a list when you’ve finished it.  It’s continual process, hence “endure to the end”.