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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Answers to Questions

 Momma and Family,
I'm really anxious to hear more about your mission. How much longer do you have your companion?
 
I only have a month left with my companion before he goes home. Then I will probably get put with a Mongolian missionary.

What does a typical work day consist of? A p-day etc 
A typical work day:
Wake up at 6:30 and play soccer with the other elders that live nearby

8:00-11:00. Personal and Companionship Study. During our personal study we read the scriptures, a Liahona, Jesus the Christ, or whatever we feel is best for that day. Then during Companion study we talk about what we learned, practice teaching out of Preach My Gospel, and work out of a book called the 12 Week Program
11:00-9:00. Out teaching. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday I teach English for 1 1/2 hours each day. Then we ride a bus for about 45 mins to our area. Then we follow our plan and teach people. Almost everyday we have to take off our shoes and socks and cross a river to teach an investigator. Many times people aren't there so we teach our backup people.
9:00-9:30. First thing we do when we get home... plan. First we write down our numbers for that day. Pres Monson says:
“When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates". Then we plan the next day. We decide who we are teaching, and what we are teaching, and when we are teaching.
9:30-10:30. Free Time. We write in our journal, usually eat dinner, whatever we need to do.

Tell me some fun and happy stories.
Fun story. Well I was pooped on. We were walking under a building and next thing I know there was poop all over me. Also the bird had diarrhea. It was right before we started teaching English so I had to teach English with poop all over me. On a positive note, my students made fun of me... IN ENGLISH!!! They are doing great with their English.

Another fun story: The mission doctor out here had four of his grand kids visit, and one of the grandsons came out to teach with us for a day. So the whole day I translated for him because one of us had to teach and one had to translate. Since my companion has better Mongolian he mostly taught and I translated. It was awesome! Such a confidence booster to realize that even though my language isn't that good, just three months ago I was like him and now I am able to translate. I couldn't translate everything but I could usually get the general idea across. It was really awesome!

What have you learned?

Here are some things I learned from personal study recently. I was reading Jesus the Christ (which is awesome), and it started talking about Jesus as a child. It said something really cool I never thought about. I've always assumed Christ was born with a full knowledge of His heavenly kingship, but in Jesus the Christ it said that Jesus learned precept upon precept, grace upon grace until He realized His heavenly role. It says Christ was born "a dependent child" just like any other.
Also another cool thing I learned. I've always wondered about Free Agency and God's Foreknowledge of our decisions. I never knew how God could know what decision we would make before we made it if we had the free choice to make any decision. I found the answer in 'Jesus the Christ', the Book of Mormon, and Preach my Gospel. Its kinda like the analogy of a father who knows that his sons favorite ice cream is chocolate so he knows that if he presents a chocolate and a vanilla ice cream his son will choose chocolate. Our Father in Heaven knows each of us so well He knows what decision we will make before we are ever presented with it. So even though we have the right to choose, and we have our Free Agency, God knows His children so perfectly He knows what we will do before it ever happens.

How is it going with your investigators?

Alright a little update on my investigators' status. Naranbaatar, our most prospective investigator, had his baptismal date set for this upcoming Sunday. Unfortunately we were going through the baptismal questions and come to find out he hadn't yet repented, and his knowledge about God was seriously lacking. Its really frustrating because we've gone over this over and over. We ended up pushing his baptismal date a week back to make sure he has repented and has a good knowledge of the gospel. We may have to push it back another week too, just to be safe but we are playing it by ear.
Did you celebrate Nadaam?
Nadaam: Awesome! A popular food here is called Howsher. Its deep fried bread with meat in it. During Nadaam they make SUPER good howsher!!! We bought some and it was super super good. Also a HUGE part of Nadaam is the tournaments. They have the three manly sports: wrestling, archery, and horse riding. My companion bought tickets to the event months ahead of time and we got President's approval so we were able to watch the wrestling. They have this really big traditional dance and performance before the event and we watched it live and it was incredible!! I still havnt worked out the picture issue with these computers but as soon as I do I'll send pictures.

Another fun thing we did was make "American" Howsher. We had Apple Pie Howsher, Bacon Chicken Howsher, and Garlic Chicken Howsher. Sooooooo good!!!

We were also able to go to a music concert too. Elder Boyd's English Sponsor (the person he teaches English for) bought us really great tickets to this music concert. They have preformed in Carnie Hall and other places. They were soooo good!!!!

Well that was Naddam.

Well that's it, love ya mommy
 (Ya, I know this may embarrass him. I don't care. LOVE MY BOY)
-Elder Clement

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Music's Role in our Lives

Family and Friends,

First I wanted to talk a little about the power in music. I heard a lot before my mission about the influence music can have on our Spirituality and lives. I already listened to pretty uplifting music to I didn't pay much attention to the council from so many of the people teaching about it. I found while being on a mission that music is more powerful than I thought. We sing hymns every Sunday at church, even throughout different faiths across the world hymns are one common factor. Why? Because of just how powerful they really are. God promises us in D&C 25:12 that he will answer songs to Him "with a blessing upon their heads". So what about songs negative songs, songs that don't uplift? Let me share an experience:

In Mongolia there are many people that believe in Shamanism. They do weird dances and call devils and evil spirits. They beat on drums in different patterns and beats, praising the devil and calling on his spirits. Now I didn't believe in voodoo and that kinda thing before my mission but coming here has altered that belief. You can feel the evil coming from not only the people that are doing it, but from the music itself. With every beat you can feel the Spirit leaving. There is music in our lives like that.

Music has a big impact on our lives. By singing hymns to Heavenly Father we receive blessings, and by listening to music that uplifts we are happier and our lives will be better. That doesn't mean we need to delete everything off our iPod that isn't a hymn but if there are certain songs or artists that detracts the Spirit from your life, I encourage you to delete it and listen to something else.

Also I have been feeling, and many of my friends on missions have been feeling, doubts about the language, people are teaching, our capabilities, etc. I read this talk in the Liahona about these things:

As a young man I was called to serve a mission in Hamburg, Germany. At the Language Training Mission—the predecessor to today’s missionary training center—I struggled to learn the language. As the first and then the second week passed, I noticed that the others in my district were progressing much faster than I was. While they were advancing to complex concepts, my dies, ders, and dases were a disaster.
I started to become concerned—and discouraged. How could I serve a successful mission if I couldn’t communicate with the people I was called to teach?
I prayed for help and sought a priesthood blessing, which provided some reassurance. But I continued to search and struggle, and one day I felt more uptight and worried than ever. As my companion and I walked down the hallway, I stopped at a small janitor’s closet. I asked my companion to wait for me for a moment. I slipped into that tiny room and knelt down on a mop. I began to plead with Heavenly Father for some relief.
The Lord answered that prayer. I felt this thought come into my mind: “I never called you to master the German language. I just called you to serve with all of your heart, mind, and strength.”
I immediately thought, “I can do that. I can serve with all of my heart, mind, and strength. If that’s what the Lord has called me to do, I can do that.” I stood up feeling tremendously relieved.
From that point on, my measuring stick changed. I no longer gauged my progress and success against that of my companion or other members of my district. Instead, I focused on how the Lord felt I was doing. Instead of looking to the side to compare myself to others, I began to look up, so to speak, to know what He thought of my efforts.
I don’t know that I learned the language much faster or much better from that point on, but I no longer felt the concerns I once had. I knew what the Lord wanted me to do, and it was in my power to do it.
I began counseling with Heavenly Father in the morning, telling Him that I didn’t know what the day would bring but that I would do my very best. “Whatever I can learn, allow me to learn it,” I prayed, “but no matter what, I’m going to give Thee my very best today.”
At night I would pray again to report on what I had studied and what I had done. I shared with my Father in Heaven my struggles and my successes alike. I had begun to turn to Him—not to others or even myself—to validate my progress.
That lesson that I learned in a tiny broom closet more than 35 years ago has stayed with me all my life, through a number of callings and assignments. Whenever I have been asked to do something where the expectations seem greater than what I have the capacity to do, I remember that experience and say to myself, “Wait. Who called you? Who are you serving? Who are you trying to please?
This not only applies to missionaries but also to everyone's lives everywhere. Who are you? You are a child of God, creator of everything and your Heavenly Father. Why are you here? To return to the Celestial kingdom through God's grace and obedience to His commandments. Who are you trying to please? Our Father in Heaven.
I have learned so much from this mission and I am so blessed to be able to apply the things I learn to my investigators and to all of you. God is truly a loving God, and He wants to best for us.
On a less spiritual note...

I had my first Mongolian Shepard's Pie. Not bad, not as good as Mom's of course but still really good. My English sponsor's nanny cooks us lunch whenever we teach and its always super American, its great!!
Fun Fact, did you know that JK Rowling possibly might have stolen her line in Harry Potter about Death being the final enemy to defeat from the Bible? True story.
1st Corinthians 15:26- "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."

-Elder Clement

Monday, July 15, 2013

The People of Mongolia

Family and Friends,

A little about the people here. They are nomads to the very bone. Even the best of members will randomly pack up an leave for the countryside for a couple of months. So on that note on of my baptismal candidates left for the countryside until August so he wont be able to get baptized for a while. But we have an investigator named Naranbaatar, who is incredible. He has such a strong desire to learn and be a part of this church. He loves meeting with us and we try to meet with him multiple times a week. We can always count on him to be able to meet us. We have a baptism planned for him on July 26! In Mongolia investigators have to come to church for 5 consecutive weeks before they can be baptized.


A little about my personal study. I have gained such a strong love for all things pertaining to church reading materials. I read one Liahona, my scriptures, Jesus the Christ, Preach my Gospel, and the Missionary White Handbook everyday. I wish I could read biographies of Joseph Smith and things but missionaries arent allowed (after my mission!). I love reading my books, especially the Liahonas. They are modern scripture for our day and the testimonies of the people in there are awesome. I also love the Jesus the Christ. I've learned sooooo much about my Savior from that and I love learning more and more.


I dont know if you have watched the new mission broadcast but it is awesome! 100% inspired! Here is the URL if you want to watch it. http://www.lds.org/broadcasts/watch/the-work-of-salvation/2013/06?lang=eng
It talks about the importance of Ward Mission Leaders and Ward Councils and also the new strides in mission work! Its really exciting to be a part of this new movement. Also I new several of the people in the MTC choir in the video.

Funny story here:
In the MTC I made up a song called the "Preperate Song". We sang it as a MTC group all the time and my teachers loved it. They thought it was hilarious. Come to find out that my teachers sang it for the new Mongolian MTC group and they made up a new line to the song. This is a part of the email I got from my teacher telling me about this: "Elder Clement you will go down in MTC lore as author of that song. Ta nar shuu! (Your the man)".

Also heres something fun. Mongolian food sometimes looks funny, but most of the time I just eat it and go. Anyways a couple of days ago I was eating this weird round looking thing that was sliced like a piece of baloni. I am about half way done when my companion tells me what I am eating is corrugated sheep blood. Apparently they take the intestines, fill them with blood then cook it and eat it. Thats what I ate. Thick, nasty, sheep blood intestine.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Yummy Sheep Blood

Family and Friends,

A little about the people here. They are nomads to the very bone. Even the best of members will randomly pack up an leave for the countryside for a couple of months. So on that note on of my baptismal candidates left for the countryside until August so he wont be able to get baptized for a while. But we have an investigator named Naranbaatar, who is incredible. He has such a strong desire to learn and be a part of this church. He loves meeting with us and we try to meet with him multiple times a week. We can always count on him to be able to meet us. We have a baptism planned for him on July 26! In Mongolia investigators have to come to church for 5 consecutive weeks before they can be baptized.


A little about my personal study. I have gained such a strong love for all things pertaining to church reading materials. I read one Liahona, my scriptures, Jesus the Christ, Preach my Gospel, and the Missionary White Handbook everyday. I wish I could read biographies of Joseph Smith and things but missionaries aren't allowed (after my mission!). I love reading my books, especially the Liahonas. They are modern scripture for our day and the testimonies of the people in there are awesome. I also love the Jesus the Christ. I've learned sooooo much about my Savior from that and I love learning more and more.


I don't know if you have watched the new mission broadcast but it is awesome! 100% inspired! Here is the URL if you want to watch it. http://www.lds.org/broadcasts/watch/the-work-of-salvation/2013/06?lang=eng
It talks about the importance of Ward Mission Leaders and Ward Councils and also the new strides in mission work! Its really exciting to be a part of this new movement. Also I new several of the people in the MTC choir in the video.




- I am in a branch, which we are really working to strengthen now. There are many many non-actives, and all the good members have like 5 callings or more, so its hard for them to do them all well. Which means there are a lot of things that dont get done. We dont have a ward mission leader anymore (he randomly decided to move to the countryside), and the branch presidency dont meet together so thats our first step to strengthen the ward. Help the branch presidency to meet every week and get a ward mission leader called. We found that we "cant get new members until we strengthened our ward"*, so thats what we are focusing our efforts on. We are meeting with many less actives and helping them understand the importance of being active in the church.






Funny story here:
In the MTC I made up a song called the "Preperate Song". We sang it as a MTC group all the time and my teachers loved it. They thought it was hilarious. Come to find out that my teachers sang it for the new Mongolian MTC group and they made up a new line to the song. This is a part of the email I got from my teacher telling me about this: "Elder Clement you will go down in MTC lore as author of that song. Ta nar shuu! (You're the man)".


Also here's something fun. Mongolian food sometimes looks funny, but most of the time I just eat it and go. Anyways a couple of days ago I was eating this weird round looking thing that was sliced like a piece of bologna. I am about half way done when my companion tells me what I am eating is corrugated sheep blood. Apparently they take the intestines, fill them with blood then cook it and eat it. That's what I ate. Thick, nasty, sheep blood intestine.



-Elder Clement


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Short but Sweet

My week has been really good. We were able to teach more than usual this week, and we feel more accomplished. On Saturday we taught four people (which is a lot even if it doesn't sound like it), and lately I have been trying more and more to talk. I make A LOT of mistakes but I'm learning. I'm trying to learn 4 words a day (its hard!), and yesterday my Mongolian was compared to that of a 2 yr old. Haha they were discussing it right in front of me. If Mongolians weren't so naturally blunt Id be offended but its just how they are!

Church was good, its always hard to understand in church but testimonies are easier to understand. The youth went on the 2nd ever Trek in Mongolia, and they just got back, so at church they all bore their testimonies about it. Everyone at the Trek promised to bear their testimonies but we weren't sure they would, but sure enough as soon as the testimony meeting began they all stood up together and bore their testimonies one after another. They all supported one another and it was a really powerful spiritual experience. It was powerful to see them all stand up together and then to hear them bear their testimonies was awesome. I LOVE THE SPIRIT! I didn't bear my testimony though, not enough time.

We had a good 4th. There is a KFC here (the only real American fast food place here), and we were going to go to that on the 4th but our schedule didn't allow it.

We taught 4 lessons in one day and it was the most lessons my companion has taught for months! It's really hard to teach people here. But there is always hope. We just got a Golden Investigator. He just moved back to the city, from Korea, and came to the church and got OUR number and called US. Then he met with us that day and we were asking about him, turns out he met with missionaries for 5 years and just keep pushing off his baptism. He flat out said to us "I'm ready". He was quoting the Book of Mormon, and the Bible and he knew everything we taught him. He realized he has been missing out and hes ready to change. Its really exciting to meet an investigator like that, THEY REALLY EXIST!!


Yes we have dates for the baptisms, what we have to do here is make them go to church for 5 weeks in a row before they can be baptized. Its to make sure they are dedicated to the church and really have the desire. There is a lot of inactivity here so that's why we do it.
Well I love you,

-Elder Clement