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”.

Monday, September 5, 2011

31 May 2011

Had to tell you about the birthday stuff. The party was great. I threw leis on everyone and handed out all the stuff while it was slow at the Hive Tuesday evening. So much fun. Everybody munching on candy necklaces, poking each other in the eye with the blow ticklers, popping the poppers and making our work room smell like smoke, taking goofy pictures, tossing balloons around. Good fun. Sister G and I even used leftover party stuff to decorate her trainee's room. So I'm attaching pictures of all this stuff and my new haircut.

Our roomies even made a pinata for Sister G and Sister L (whose birthday was the same day. Sister L was another roomie.). And Sister G's mom somehow got cupcakes delivered to the Beehive House for us. So good. I love red velvet now. The pictures at the restaurant are from our last pday when we went to Red Robin for her birthday. Tons of fun. And it was really fun to walk into the apartment lobby and have everyone cheer for my haircut. (Yeah, so having the limelight for a while was fun.) And for fun I'm including pictures from our walk up Ensign Peak.  You can my entire Mission Field in one photo. (which also happened on our last pday, as well as my haircut and service at the chapel. it was a really good day.)

I'll have more from this transfer and my new companion soon. Oh. Her name is Sister Mz, she's from the Philippines, she's in her 9th transfer, and we're just in a normal zone. Although she's also district leader so that's fun. It means I get to go on exchanges with Sister P from Northern England (small town near Leeds) a lot. No complaints here.

Oh. Check out these articles on the church news website. Our favorite new temple presidents:

Love the spring time!
Sister Clayton

Me and SisterG - My new haircut

Celebratory Dinner

Hiking Ensign Peak

My entire Mission in one photo!
SisterG's Birthday Cupcakes--Yum!
Party at Work!
Birthday Pinata for Sister G&L

18 May 2011

Dear Dad
Thanks for your emails.  You always say just what I need, even if it’s not always what I want.  I think sometimes we get so wrapped up in what we need to be able to say, that we forget that their feelings are the most important thing.  And long as they feel the spirit, then we’ve really done our job.  I love the Feed My Sheep reminder.  We really are gathering the elect – the sheep that are ready to come home.  There’s one woman we’re teaching (met her at the Hive—missionary lingo for the Beehive House) who is SO prepared.  She’s the epitome of “golden”.  But that’s hard, too – when/if the people you really come to love reject it in the end.  But that’s also why faith and hope are so important.  There’s a reason they come first in the attributes chapter.
I’m listening to Sister McW singing a song on her guitar.   I love having roomies who can sing.  She’s actually singing about what we’re talking about.  Finding those few people who are searching.  I wish I could send you a recording of this.  It’s basically a typical day set to song...sorta.  Apparently it wasn’t new.  She wrote it on a day....well, one of those “I can’t do this anymore” days.  But like she said – we just keep going.  Because it is true.
I know Father is real.  He loves us and He hears every humble prayer.  Christ is His Son and my Saviour.  Joseph was not a liar, he saw God and Jesus Christ.  Every day I get to tell someone that.
Love you lots
Sister Clayton

Dear Mom
Mmmhmmm. We've already eaten one bag of cookies. And I wouldn't let my compy see the fun bag. It's going to be an awesome last-day-of-the-transfer/birthday party.  Sister G says thank you, by the way. She doesn't know what she "got" but she said to say thank you. And another huge thank you from me. The breakfast yums come just in time. We're being paid every month instead of twice a transfer so I'm running low on food. Speaking of which, I'm getting my hair cut today and we're going out for dinner to celebrate Sister G's birthday so one of those will be paid for with the card you gave me. Hope that's okay. Maybe you could let me know what stuff you do/don't want me to use it for.

Thanks for the package!! And all the stuff. Oh. Sister S was hoping it was more chicken pops. They were a HUGE hit here.

Time to go home before we get my hair cut. It's been really obnoxious with the weather warming up. Plus it's hard to do stuff with it as it is. Anyway. It'll be cute and I'll send pictures whenever my next pday happens to be. (I kinda predict it'll be the same. I figure I'll be in the Hive all summer now that they've trained me for it. But we'll see. Maybe I'll send a short note Monday so you know when to email. If me new pday is earlier in the week I'll miss a pday so it won't be till the week after that I get to write you.) Anyway. Time to go.

I love you so much, Mom. Thanks for sending my bear. I really needed him.

Sister Clayton

11 May 2011

Brother and Sister W
I just wanted to let you know how much I love getting your letters.  It makes mail time very happy.  Well, as missionaries we’re happy all the time.....mostly.  Some things and some days are really challenging.  But it is amazing what miracles prayer brings.  Also, it helps to love what I am doing here.  Even the things that are hard are wonderful.  That sounds strange, but those things(like getting up in the morning) help me to rely on the Lord and turn a weakness to a strength.

For example, my companion and I are serving in the Beehive House this transfer.  I’ve been working on being more bold and inviting people on our tours to learn more from missionaries.  The other day we were taking one lady on a tour.  Just when I was sharing about the room where Joseph F Smith received the revelation that is D&C 138, and preparing to invite her, the lady walked down the hall.  I was mid-sentence.  But since then I have been stronger with how and when I invite.  When we show Heavenly Father our willingness to act and obey, He rewards us.
I hope you’re both doing well.  Thank you for your prayers and support.
Sister Clayton

11 May 2011

Hiya!  Kind of weird that I just literally talked to you the other day.  It already feels like weeks ago.  But that’s how time works here.  Simultaneously really slow and really fast.

So I mentioned my first blessing from President when we were talking on the phone.  I figure I should explain.  I’ve been having a bad couple weeks.  Looking back, I can see they were worse than I realized.  My “this is hard, I give up” gene was kicking in.  I was sick of feeling like I didn’t know what I was doing or that I couldn’t do it right.  Needless to say, my companion, pretty much my whole district, noticed something was off.  I came to the conclusion that because I didn’t want to talk to my companion or my district leader, I needed to see President H.  He is so awesome to talk to, and seemed to just know that something was wrong.  We talked about the fact that this really is hard.  That I can do it, I just have to believe that I can.  I need to pray to love the work and I need to keep busy.  President acknowledge that I’m pretty smart (or something like that), but he isn’t very smart, it’s enough for him to know what to do and do it.  It’s like my companion has said a couple times: I have the knowledge, but am I actually applying/doing it or not?
President had offered me a blessing earlier, so after committing me to pray to love the work and the rules and do it, I asked him for the blessing.  I hadn’t realized that I had been craving the blessing almost more than the talk.  I love the blessings he gives.  I was there when he and ElderS gave blessings to the Japanese sisters last transfer.  The blessing focused on me finding joy and happiness in the work.  Key word being find.

We’re not supposed to be negative in our letters, but I’d feel worse for making you think I was bright and shiny when I really felt terrible.  I’m better now and getting better every day.

The work is hard, but true.
Sister Clayton

4 May 2011

Hey Family!  So, I’ll be talking to you in......too few days!  But we’re supposed to write weekly letters....
Oh!! Be home and by the phone at 7pm-ish tomorrow. We get FIVE minutes to call and plan the 30-40 minute call on Sunday. So somebody answer the phone tomorrow night.
I got a baptism!  Remember Austin?  He got baptized a week ago!  It’s amazing.  I’ll write more about it next week.

Out of time and out of thoughts.  I think that means it has been a successful day.  It certainly has been a fun one.

Oh, check out the 47.  Yup, that’s the back of my head.

Thank you for the Easter packages. They were awesome. My district and my zone leaders VERY MUCH liked the chicken pops.  They were tasty.  I'm sure they would not be opposed to more of them in the future. And thanks for sending some of my clothes - I love being able to wear real clothes on pday. 

Have to write President. (It was his 70th birthday on 4/27. His kids/grandkids sent party favors for all the sisters. So cute. And we're all making a list of why we love Sister Holmes to give to her for Mother's Day. Love those two so much. Best mission parents EVER.)

Sister Clayton

Sunday, September 4, 2011

27 April 2011

I can hardly concentrate.  It's way too gorgeous here.  Bright, warm, bit of an occasional breeze.  Basically a typical fall/winter day in San Diego.  So we're having a picnic kind of thing while we write letters. (Yes, I put sunscreen on, Mom)  It's me and sisters G, W and dM.  I love our foursome.  We have so much fun.  And I learn alot about being a missionary from them.  We balance fun, home, work and spirit perfectly.

Seriously it is so nice out here that none of us can think straight.  I've forgotten what I was going to write.

I love President and Sister H.  I realized I haven't really told you about them.  Sister H would first want you to know that they have 59 grand and great-grandchildren.  Sister H is the best mission mom.  She is a fashion diva and loves giving kisses.  From the first night I loved her.  I knew I would love President, but I didn't realize how much.  Every time you see him you love him more.  I was nervous before my interview with him last transfer.  I can't wait for the next one.  He is such a goof.  He pretends to not like being surrounded by girls, but you can see very plainly how much he loves it.  Maybe that's why we love him - because he first loved us.  He hates when sisters go outbound.  When they come back, he says they've come home, or back to their proper mission.  He misses them so much - you can see it.  My favourite thing is when President is out on the Square.  He'll wave you over and talk to you, see how you're doing.  That happened just the other day and we were all bemoaning how fast time goes.
Basically......I love our President.

I know this work is hard.  But I know my Saviour lives and I am representing Him.  I'm learning what I need to do to not miss home.  I'm developing a love for my mission and that's how you fight homesickness.

Oh.  Have to share something that hit me in personal study the other day.  Preach My Gospel chapter 3, lesson 1 - Gospel Blesses Families.  It talks about homes established on gospel principles being a place of refuge and safety.  That sentence is in a nutshell why I miss home.  My home is based on gospel principles, so it's a refuge.  And who wants to leave the refuge and get tossed into the scary, stormy world?  But, I'm learning and loving it, so it's okay.

Nothing matters....except the love you give,
Sister Clayton

Me and SisterG and P-day Yumies

Fun on a Springtime Pday