Monday, May 16, 2011


Catching up on photos!
Brother Kirk, one of the MTC teachers

Sister Murphy, one of the Visitor Center Teachers at the MTC

The AMAZING Br and Sister Oswald

MTC District B February 2011 - Love you all!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

20 April 2011 The Daily Routine, etc.

I thought I would tell you a little about what a normal day is like.  I’ll tell you what it was like during the last transfer, since I’ve only been at the Beehive House (my new assignment) one week.

A typical day starts at 6.20am when we literally roll out of bed and pray that we’ll have a good day, see lots of miracles and my alarm will be perpetually broken.  Then it’s out to the hall or down to the dungeon/garage for exercise.  Usually that would just be a walk with a little jogging thrown in, but I’m working harder at it now.  From 7 - 8am it is breakfast, shower, clothes and make up.  Not always in that order and not always all of the above.  Next comes the part I wish we had more time for - personal study.

Personal study is sometimes the best and most vital part of the day.  You should see my copy of Preach My Gospel.  President has told us to use it like a work book, so that’s what I’m doing and it is incredible.  PMG should be the new Gospel Principles.  It makes the gospel so simple and so direct.  The ‘whats’ ‘whys’ and all the stuff in between.  Obviously it doesn’t go into great detail, but that’s partly why it is so amazing.  ‘Everything you need to know about the gospel in 20 words or less’ kind of thing.

9:00am - Companion study.  Last transfer it was hard.  I was not good in the morning.  It’s much better now.  Probably because we go to the garage every morning.  Much more of a workout and time to talk/wake up since we’re in new apartments.  Usually comp study is reading the daily 4 pages of the white handbook, reviewing what we learned in Pers Study, reading or studying from PMG about our weekly attribute (see my fav - chapter 6) and role playing.
Role Playing is the most effective and useful tool we have for studying.  Practicing and pretending teaching situations is really helpful.  We role play and real play (that’s when we’re members, not guests, so we’re basically ourselves) for situations on the phone, in the Square and now in the Beehive House.  Remind me some day to explain what the Contacting Model and 2 Nuggets are - we role play parts of those, too.  (I’ll have to make a T Mission dictionary/encyclopedia some day)

 From 10:00am - 9:00pm we have shifts of varying length on the Square, on the phones (Motors in Square vernacular), on chat - we’re the ones you chat with through, and teaching over the phone if we have appointments.  Lunch and dinner come when you can fit them in, but never during scheduled chat time.  Twice a week you can go home an hour early for 8:00 dinner.  Mail comes around 1:00pm and if we all happen to take lunch around then.....well, it’s really just coincidence.  At 8:45pm we pack up and head home.  9-9:30pm is planning.  After that it’s journaling, praying and off to bed, usually with ice cream and fun girl-time worked in.

So that’s how I spend my days.  Now, most of our time is spent in the Hive, we a lot less Square, Motors and practically no chat time.  But I love the house and we’re getting the hang of it.

Dad mentioned using a talk by Elder Holland when he spoke in Sacrament Meeting at home.  If there is one thing a missionary can tell you about it’s that.  I’ve learned that we really can’t understand it.  We can describe it, feel its power, be grateful for it, but no one can really understand it.  If you thought you did, you’d be in great need of applying it to your prideful heart.  (Side note: It’s been in my head a lot that there are beautiful and tragic parallels between Christ’s life & legacy, and the life & legacy of Joseph Smith.  A wonderful Family Home Evening would be watching the new Joseph Smith movie online.

 I can’t describe how much you need to rely on the Atonement as a missionary.  There is no possible way on earth that we could do this without Christ.  Missionary work or just life in general.  He died so we could live.  More than that, He gave every single moment of His mortal life to His Father’s plan.  Every minute was for us.  He never thought for himself, his own wants and needs.  And us?  We are unprofitable servants indeed.  King Benjamin spoke the honest truth - we cannot do anything to save ourselves (see Mosiah 2-4).  The analogy where we’re in a pit and there’s a ladder or whatever, but we can’t get out without Christ dropping a rope for us.  Nothing we do has saving power.  Only through the Atonement, only through Christ can we be saved. Our works are important, but they don’t do anything to save us.  I had a session with people who believe only in grace.  It is unbelievably hard to explain that it is both.  I go back to that conversation often so I can plan for the next time it happens.  But my point is that the Atonement is so deep and so....unfathomable that you just have to....I can’t even describe this.  If Brigham Young was converted by simplicity and power and shot down eloquence, I guess I’d better stick to the “brief but clear” approach.  Here it is:
I know that Christ is the Creator, Saviour and Redeemer of the world.  I know He used His life to show us the way to live.  He did all that His Father, the only true and living God, sent Him to do.  He is the Only Begotten of the Father.  He lives.
Sister Clayton

13 April 2011 Transfers!

Surprise! Guess who survived her first transfer?? And guess who's trainer is home in Japan by now? And who's new compy used to live in Temecula/Murrieta (but claims Palmyra, NY since that's where she was living before the mission)? Yep, that'd be your missionary. So pdays are Wednesday, I'm in the Beehive House, and I'm living in the spiffier apartments behind the main apartment building. Oh and her new companion is Sister G. She's awesome. Already. Getting a new companion is much less stressful the second time round.

Yay for packages! I love how often y'all send packages. It's very much a greenie thing, but I love it. Besides, President Brown (MTC Pres) counseled us to always stay green. So keep the goodies coming. ;P

Sister Clayton

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

7 April 2011 Post Conference and Austin

Guess what?  I'm driving. Yeah, your missionary is now a missionary driver. It's scary. But I figured it would be better to do it than not. And I absolutely love Sister S now.  She's one of the sisters in the companionship in charge of driving, etc. We call them Fleet. Sister S was the one I passed off with. The "test" includes driving to the airport, Walmart, and then home.

You can’t imagine how down and disappointing Monday was after the high of General Conference Weekend.  But I hope I’ve changed because of the experience - that I’ll be wanting to talk to everyone and have a greater desire to share our message with everyone.  Funnily enough, Sister C committed us to invite everyone we contact.  The day after Conference was so weird.  But that's because we got to sleep in till 9, they provided dinner, and we watched a movie that night. Secretariat. Disney, but based on a true story and actually pretty good.

I promised to write you about Austin.  We weren’t the first sisters to meet him, actually.  One of our current APs took him on a tour and recently he’s been talking to Sister K and B, from Korea and Australia respectively.  Austin is from Korea, although he grew up in the States (hence talking to Sister K a lot).  Then we met him when we were on exchanges with Sister C.  He was trying to get a (free) Book of Mormon for his friend.  We talked to him, answering questions and trying to get a referral for him or his friend, addressed his concerns, etc., and finally just gave him a referral card with our names and number.  He called us about a week later, maybe less.  When we called him back, his story had changed from “I read the Book of Mormon twice and *shrug* I didn’t get an answer” to admitting that when he read it the second time he felt something.  He as good as testified that he knows Joseph Smith was a prophet.  He said that he didn’t believe Joseph could have written it on his own, that a normal man couldn’t have written is w/out God’s help.  Austin has done a lot of “research” about the Church, met the missionaries in North Dakota where he is going to school, and even gone to church once there.  But his experience with the ND missionaries and ward wasn’t that great.  He loves the Temple Square sisters, though.  Because we’re so dedicated and enthusiastic about what we do.  He’s served a few missions for his Christian church.  He even wants to serve a mission if he can when (sorry if) he joins our church.  We spent a huge chunk of that first phone call talking about missions, etc.  To make an awesome story short, every time we talk to Austin he is stronger and more ready to be baptized.  Not in any extreme way, but enough for us to notice it.  Now he has met his bishop, gone to church, watched some of General Conference, met the new missionaries in his area, and is going to decide for sure by Sunday whether or not he will be baptized.  I was worried when he put a date on it, but he’s going about the decision in the right way.  He is praying and reading the Book of Mormon every day.  He said that his decision will be what the Lord wants.

You can see why we’re so excited.  He keeps every commitment and he is really progressing.  It is amazing.  I’m worried about continuing with our investigators when I___ leaves, but I’m sure it’ll be ok.

To my Facebook friends: Conference is amazing.  Members are really the reason missionary work moves forward.  Thanks for trusting us with your friends.  Utah weather is insane!  Happy Spring!

Time to go. I have to get compy to pack so she'll be ready for Wednesday. I can't believe it's already week 6. And she's going home next week. This time next week I'll have a new companion, zone, and probably Pday, too.


Sister Clayton

3 April 2011 General Conference

It’s now 10:00pm on Sunday.  General Conference is officially over.

  I LOVE CONFERENCE!  We are all on such a high right now.  I can’t even describe it.  This is the kind of joy Doctrine and Covenants 18 must be talking about.  And this is just for potential referrals - the official name for referrals from members.  We haven’t even met, let alone baptized these people and I am FLYING.  I have never been so happy.  So I should probably explain.

Conference Weekend is all about the members.  With our calling program here (calling non-members anywhere in the world and teaching/offering a free gift from the Church to them by the missionaries), it is so important to get referrals from members.  And that’s what General Conference is focused on - uplifting the members and helping/getting their help with missionary work.  As a mission, we set a goal for how many potential referrals we will get from Friday to Sunday.  A year ago, the goal was 3,000 - killed it (mission-speak for success).  Last October it was 5,000 - killed it.  So this year, after a lot of prayer, etc., the goal was set at 6,000 potential referrals.  Honestly, there were times I thought we couldn’t make it.  But President and the APs are right - we don’t even know our potential!  We got.....are you ready for this?......6,455!!  I’m screaming and cheering inside just thinking about it.

We had a fireside kind of thing tonight to close the weekend.  President had us invite the people who gave us potentials to come as well.  We met in the Tabernacle.  It was the most amazing thing.  First, when we sang ‘We Thank Thee O God For A Prophet’ and one verse of ‘The Spirit of God’ as prelude - no piano/organ - CHILLS.  And the APs just...they’re amazing.  There was lots of cheering, applauding, testifying and a spirit that just fills you to the core.  Not unlike when the Prophet walked into the Conference Center this afternoon.  As soon as he enters the room, the CC goes silent and everyone stands up.  Awesome.  For now, my voice hurts, my feet are numb and I’m way too happy to sleep.  But we get to sleep in until 9 tomorrow!  Jesus Christ lives and I am honored to wear His name.  I want every day to feel like this.

Sister Clayton

PS - All my love to Brother Morgan and everyone at Institute.  Apparently most of Institute just wrote me.  I love it.
  Brother Morgan - you're the greatest, ever!  Miss you!

31 March 2011

Sister Ishijima's dad and oldest of her three younger brothers are here for Conference. I don't know how it happened but they were in President's office and he and Sister Holmes and the APs were there. We had a little chat and basically President told us that we could spend as much time with them as they needed/wanted, etc. We took them through God's Plan (a cool thing for families) and we're giving them the full-blown-all-out-everything-included tour tomorrow.   Tomorrow is when the Conference madness really starts. Friday through Monday we're on the Square all day. 20 minutes for meals. I'm anxious. Both kinds. Excited and totally dreading it. I'm just used to the quiet, the time, and all of that. This weekend is going to be loud, packed, and FAST. But I can't wait. I don't know which session we'll be in, I'm hoping it's Saturday, preferably afternoon. That always seems to be my favourite.
    I can't believe it's week 5!! I'm so sad about the sisters that are leaving. Almost all the closest of the friends I've made are going home this transfer. The zone leaders, my trainer, Sister Terry. Half the people I know are leaving. But that's the mission, especially here. Always changing.

Sister Clayton

Earthquake in Japan

Just wanted to let you know we heard about the earthquake in Japan, especially since that's where my companion is from. It'll be better when people stop asking us if her family was affected. We're keeping up on the news, too. Gotta love Deseret News. President had us all informed and let the Japanese sisters call their parents to make sure they were okay. The radiation is scary, though. It's too bad that the missionaries won't be able to be in there getting involved in the clean-up. We were seeing the upside of the possibility that this would help missionary work there. The reactor stuff is kind of messing with that. Keep working on the positive. Do what we do - we look for miracles every day. No matter how small, we find them.

Oh! Temple! Went to my first session at the Salt Lake Temple this morning. Awesome. We have to go through when I'm done. It's amazing. I prayed hard for an open mind because I was scared it would be like being endowed for the first time again. But I wasn't freaked out or upset and I'm really looking forward to going again. (I so miss being in my temple and working as an ordinance worker. And yes, I almost always say "my" now.) I bought a temple bag, but it's rather small and the zipper is pathetic. Still, I get to use my own gear.

Sister Clayton

A Sad Day in the Life of a Missionary

Et tu, Tanda?

From Mom:
When Sister Clayton left on her mission, there were two goodbyes that were the hardest, one of them was to the family dog, a Bouvier des Flandres named Tanda.  Our sweet puppy was 13 and had been struggling with arthritis, deafness and general old age for some time.  While we were thankful that Tanda survived through the 2010 holidays, and to the day our daughter reported to her mission, we all knew she would not be with us when our missionary returned.  But "that day" came sooner than anyone anticipated.
And so, on 15 March - The Ides of March - Sister Clayton received the email that began:

Grab the kleenex, hug the companion.
Tanda Louise Clayton    2 August 1997 - 15 March 2011

There is no way to break that news gently.  Let me give you the bare bones and you can tell me how much you want added in.
I don't want to add much more to this particular email.  I want to write you
another one in the morning about happier things.  But I like a quote from Joe
Garagiola (a baseball catcher who was also an announcer) "I guess you don't
really own a dog, you rent them, and you have to be thankful that you had a long lease."
Put on Jericho, it helps.  "He sees every single tear...feels everything you're
feeling...wants to hold you matter what the pain, He cares."
Love you so much

From Sister Clayton:
17 March 2011
    Hey.  Just wrote C___ about it.  Sobbed the whole way.  But I'll be alright.  We both know that.  Just wish the hard moments weren't so hard.  Could use a bear to hug just about now. :)
    Sister W___ just came over to "borrow" some Advil.  Yep.  That helped.  She's so easy to hug.  And now I'm at a Saint Paddy's Day party in the Brit's room.  And we're listening to the Prince of Egypt soundtrack.  I'm happy.  And no one has asked about the puffy red eyes.  I'm good.  (Sister T___'s the English one, btw.  She's from O____.  Yep.  I'm gonna visit her.)
    So I promised you a miracle report.  Best one:  we were on our way to talk with a guy in a wheelchair and a young-ish man came up to us.  He asked if he could stop us for a second....and then handed us a referral!  I nearly fainted.  We usually have to squeeze the life out of members to get a potential.  It was so amazing.  And he was really nice.  So many miracles every day.  Wish I could write them all.  One of the greatest is the friendships between the sisters.  I love these women.
    Party is breaking up.  Time to plan, journal and get some sleep.  Really early mission meeting tomorrow.  Love you.  Don't worry too much about me.  I'm better than my sisters at home will be (about Tanda).
Going onward, ever onward,
Sister Clayton

10 March 2011 UT SLC TS

Me and Sister I - what we love to talk about

Out for P-day

Me and Sister I at Work
We might have gone to the Temple today but my companion had a training meeting this morning. It was fun, I got to be on the Square with Sister M and ... her companion (I know her name, but I couldn't spell it). It was so much fun. They are really awesome and so funny. Anyway, about family history. We actually gave a tour to a guy this morning who was interested in family history. His name is Steve and he was the greatest. Love him. Agnostic, but very open and really liked the things we were talking about. When we offered to have missionaries bring him a BoM, he even said that he was going to ask how he could get a copy. Funny thing, we gave another tour just after that to another guy named Steve. Not as successful in terms of referrals, but just as awesome.
    My first couple days here in the field were really hard. Now, though, it's amazing and I've realized that I can miss home (I should miss home) but it doesn't have to keep me from giving my all to the work. I hadn't really listened to Jericho Road yet, but a couple of the sisters working in the office (in the secret underground lair of Temple Square) were listening to it yesterday when we passed by. So I was listening to a bunch last night and a bit this morning.   As far as scripture study, I love that this week is parables for Gospel Doctrine in my parent's ward. I've been reading Luke in personal study and I'm almost finished. I have definitely noticed that you don't have to dig too deep to understand/apply parables. It amazes me that He made it so clear who He was and what would happen, but no one saw or understood.

3 March 2011 UT SLC Temple Square

Email to the parents
First email from your official missionary! Woot! Got here early-ish yesterday, had donuts, met Sister Holmes, got our stuff, met the president, and (officially) the APs, met our trainers, had pizza, went to work, went to the great and spacious (weird!! shopping! at Walmart!), unpacked, slept like the dead. That was pretty much my day. And we really were dead by the end of it. You'll be getting a picture of me and the awesome President and Sister Holmes in a letter soon. The "your daughter got here safe" letter. I guess the picture is proof ;)

I love you. Apparently I'm emotional at the moment. Just writing right now makes me want to cry. But I'm here now and I've gotta be strong. It's just going to take time (probably a lot of it) to adjust to being out of the MTC and especially having a new companion and new roommates (didn't help that I started unpacking in the wrong room last night). I love my trainer though. Sister I_____ from Japan. She's really sweet and I'm learning a lot. Music!! I can listen to music again! So happy. I missed music. Oh! I did got a thing from the Sunbeams yesterday. I love that Sister Cowles sent stuff to get here on all my first days. Thanks for passing on my notes. I love Brother Morgan. He really is the best.

Sister I____ and I were just in the Referral Center - where we call potential referrals (what we get from members), follow up on people we've sent church materials to, and do the chats. We spent an hour chatting to an English guy about why we don't drink tea. That was fun. I almost don't think he was for real. Hard to tell.

So tired. I can hardly think at all right now. If this email makes sense that will be my miracle for the day. I thought the first few days of the MTC were bad - this is ridiculous! (It's really weird not to have to worry about a bright red count down in the top corner of the screen.) Oh! So on the 18th we're going to be doing a tour in Japanese. Yeah! I'm gonna introduce myself, do lots of smiling and nodding, then (if I even learn how) give a very butchered version of my testimony in something resembling Japanese. Fun. Actually I'm excited. I'll probably understand my companion better when she's speaking her native language. Funny how that works.

Look out for the newbies at the MB for me. Tell them how much I love them, etc. Especially if you see Sister S. Tell her I miss her laugh ... just that I miss her. It's so weird that they're home ... that they're in S__D__, I mean. More just that they're not with us anymore. I'm really glad, though, that there's 12 others I can commiserate and hopefully keep a connection with while I'm here. It was fun to hang out with Sister W__ and Sister S__ (one of our roommates from the MTC) last night while Sister W__ unpacked. (We were supposed to be unpacking, too, but we'd been told not to be alone and our companions were still here so the three of us stuck together - not having been told that on our first night we're allowed to be alone if the doors are open.) We had tons of fun though, I love being with them. President (I think it was him) told us that the most important person here is your companion. Still, being able to talk to the people I started out with, who know me best, is great. Having other sisters who are on the same level (of confusion and exhaustion) is comforting.
I love you. I really miss you all right now. But I'm sucking it up and giving it my all, so don't be worried. I'll try to write letters sometime later. Love you!!!

Sister Clayton

President and Sister Holmes - Love them!

2 March 2011 - Mission President's Letter

2 March 2011
Utah Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission

Dear Parents
Your daughter arrived on Temple Square in good health and fine spirits.  Sister Holmes and I enjoyed extending to her a personal welcome.  As a missionary, your daughter will teach many people of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the basic beliefs of the Church, as many thousands of guests visit Temple Square each year.

Temple Square provides shared housing for each missionary.  Apartments are located in desirable neighborhoods.  They are well maintained and within walking distance of Temple Square. Additionally, each is equipped with a washer dryer.  Competent medical staff is available should your daughter require these services.

Missionaries are encouraged to write home weekly, preferably via email.  Letters from home are important to and welcomed by your daughter.  When you write, if relying on postal delivery, please address your letters as follows, as her residence will change several times during her stay here.

Sister Holmes and I look forward to serving with your daughter.

With warmth and respect
Michael H Holmes, President
Utah Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission

25 February 2011 - MTC

Crazy week!  What with our Elders leaving, having a double p-day, and starting visitor center training - no rest for the.......missionary, right?  But it's been a good week.  Made so much better by your letters.  I'm really going to miss the daily Dear Elders once I get to the field.

News update time.  There are 13 sisters in my VC class: 7-Temple Square, 6-Mormon Battalion.  So now you have to go check it out and say hi to my friends at the same time.  Our 2 teachers are awesome.  Happy, energetic, kinda crazy but not overly annoyingly peppy, etc.  We have a lot more MDT (missionary directed time) in our new schedule.  If I weren't about to lose MDT altogether it might be....too much.  But it is nice to have more than the one-hour personal study.  Especially since I've started using that to read Luke.  I'm probably confusing you with MTC jargon.  Sorry.  It's hard to remember sometimes that we kind of speak a different language here.

I can't believe that Sunday will be my last Sunday in the MTC.  I love it here.  Probably because we can feel like missionaries without being out in the mean scary world.  It's like being in the temple - you're in a bubble and the world outside doesn't exist anymore.  I wish I could tell you every detail of my days.  You have no idea how hard it is that I can only share the smallest part of what I'm doing.  I regret all the days I answered "fine" when you asked me how my day went.

I mentioned that I'm reading Luke during personal study.  I was prompted with a need to read one of the Gospels - to read about Christ and read His words.  So a couple days ago I decided on Luke and started reading/studying.  I want you to know that I know that Jesus Christ lives.  He knows us and He willingly gave every thing for us.  He lived, taught and was crucified.  When He took upon Himself our every trial, sorrow and affliction, He saw our faces.  He knows individually how to help us because He atoned for everyone individually.  I love Him.  And I'm coming to know Him in a way I've never experienced.

Time to go.  I love you.

Sister Clayton

22 February 2011 - MTC

Our elders left this morning. Depressing, but there's no time to be depressed here and life goes on. Plus they are going to do AMAZING work in Hawaii so I'm super excited for them. And Elder Brazee will finally be in South Africa by now, so all around it's an exciting day. (He had two 6 hour layovers. His total travel time was something like 30 hours. But he got to stop in Heathrow - awesome!)

Not too much else to say. Amazing musical fireside on Sunday. We sang some favourite hymns and became a real MTC choir for an amazing arrangement of Called to Serve. I still have chills. And I love being able to watch Music and the Spoken Word. Relief Society was great too, Jana Staples from the RS board spoke to us on the Holy Ghost. The more I hear the story of Christ and Peter walking on water, the more I love it. I'm excited for the devotional tonight - we're all hoping it will be an apostle this time.

Just got to the devotional.  There was a huge fuss over filming us as we walked in.  So of course "it's the Prophet" was being whispered everywhere.  But it's Patrick Kearon of the 70 and I'm super stoked.  Isn't he the one who gave the awesome no-flip-flops-in-the-desert talk?
Apparently you should watch for us "between Conference" in April - if I'm understanding the purpose of their filming us tonight.  By the way, it is the same man and I'm soooooo excited for this.  He's amazing.  He's only be in the 1st Quorum for a year!
He really is SO amazing.  The love and faith comes rolling off of him.  He just quoted Jericho Road, sort of.  Said "you are about your Father's business".  Wow.  Just wow. 

Tell everyone in Primary how much I appreciate the love and the pictures.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

16 February 2011 - MTC

On Sunday night after the 7:00 fireside we watch movies.  The first week we saw The Testaments and this week was the Joseph Smith movie.  You have got to watch them.  Both were such amazing experiences and testimony builders.  Thank you for the daily thoughts and prayers.  And for sending me some of my music.  I'm excited to play pretty prelude music on Sunday.  I miss playing the piano in Primary.

Our Elders leave for Hawaii next Tuesday.  Elder B___ left for South Africa Sunday morning.  And the two other sisters in our district leave the Tuesday after for San Diego.  Keep an eye out for Sisters K___ and S___ at the MoBat.
Sister Clayton

District B Elders - The Best!

Where in the World is District B!

MTC Dist B Roomies -- Sisters Forever!

16 February 2011 - MTC - Dear Primary II

Dear Primary
Hello everyone!  I hope you are all still smiling, because life is WONDERFUL.  The MTC is busy as ever.  Laundry day is an exciting event here.  We are working harder than ever and our testimonies grow more and more each day.
Thank you so much to the classes who have written me.  Especially the Sunbeams for their wonderful picture.  Unfortunately, I can’t write to you all individually, but I’m so grateful for your letters.
There’s one lesson I’ve learned here that I want you to remember.  When life gets hard – start singing!  Sing out and Keep Smiling.  I love you all so much.
With all my love
Sister Clayton

9 February 2011 - MTC - Dear Primary!

Dear Primary
How are you?  I hope you all have huge smiles on right now.  I can picture all your faces, and my gets 10 times bigger.  We are all working really hard here.  The MTC is such a wonderful place, but it is easy to get lost!  I sleep in a room with 5 other Sisters.  We have a lot of fun.  My companion’s name is Sister W.  She is funny, sweet and has a really strong testimony.
I love each of you so much and I miss you.  Please write when you can and send pictures of what yoiu are up to.  I told my district all about yoiu and they can’t wait to see a picture.  Stay strong and remember who you are.
Sister Clayton

Me and SisterW at the Provo Temple

2 February 2001 - MTC

Dear Family
Day 1 has (almost) come to an end.  Maybe the best way to describe it is by comparing it to the first day of EFY - only better....and more surreal. There are three bunk beds in our room, but only five sisters so far (one is flying solo for now - something happened to delay her companion).  My companion is great.  Her name is W__ and we're both going to Temple Square.  It's almost time for lights-out so I'll write more about my roomies and everything tomorrow.  Just know that I am going to be with a smile.

Day 2!  But it feels like this morning happened a week ago.  I love our district.  The elders are the best of the best and us girls are already sisters in every way.  We met our Branch President, his counselors and their wives tonight.  The Miller's are simply amazing.  We also met our other teacher.  We'll have the same two teachers for the next three weeks or so.  Br Bastien and Br Kirk are so inspiring.  We've already taught at least 3 lessons and acted as investigators a couple times.  The role playing is really helpful and it really is better to just jump in and start teaching.

There is so much to say, but not enough time to write it all.  I got a card from the Sunbeams this morning.  The have a picture of me in their classroom!  We write letters on P-day, which is Wednesday.  Emails are done when we have laundry time.

Time to close.  I love it here, even if it doesn't quite seem real yet.  Hugs to everyone.
Sister Clayton