Friday, September 28, 2012

Week 3: Things Are Looking Up!

Week three has been much better. Elder Clayton really seems to be loving what he is doing. He no longer feels sick and his stress levels have decreased, which is the best news we can receive. I will tell you there is some concern I feel for various things he has written about this past week. Unlike some of my fellow family members I'm lost on how this should be processed. I have one thought, 19 year old boys have a strange thought process. He's happy and that's all that matters. Reading his emails are so great, we are all excited for when he goes to Mexico those stories will be very interesting. 

Like always here are parts of his email, he's an odd duck but we love him. :) 

"So this past week has well been the exact same as the other two weeks, due to the fact the schedule never changes.  I got to see the Temple Dedication at the 3'o session, it was awesome.  Can't wait to go to the temple later today!  So it's going to be my first mission fast Sunday this week, I think it will be a really neat experience.  We don't get to eat dinner until 4:30pm. And thats along time when you get up at 6:30am.  I hope they're serving egg salad sandwiches. JK the eggs here will make you sick. :/"

"Oh one more thing, so we have a Disney song sing off in the showers and I could really us some lyrics to some songs, send me whatever and how many Disney songs you can think of, a few that I really want are 'I'll Make A Man Out Of You' from Mulan and 'I Can Go The Distance' from Hercules!  Thanks :)"

"My spanish is doing pretty well, it's still coming slow but at the same time it's coming faster than it would if I were taking a spanish class at school.  What I've really been focusing on is the gospel, there is so much to the gospel that I never knew.  So we get and hour everyday for personal time where we are to study the gospel only, in our Native language.  I don't think I go a day without learning something new.  The best is when we have our firesides, because you can learn so much that isn't in Preach My Gospel!"

"So we lost a district in our zone on tuesday, three of them are going to Tyler's mission Spanish, I told them to keep an eye out for him!  We also lost 5 Elders from our district who went down to the Peru MTC, so now we are down just to the six Mexicans.  But our zone doesn't stay small for long, we got and new district yesterday (6 Elders, 3 Harmanas) so my district is no longer the newbies! haha"

"I've lost 5lb while being here, you get a lot of time for gym.  I run about a mile in a half everyday and play soccer or four square.  Staying active is so amazing, it gives you so much natural energy throughout the day.  Almost got nailed in the face with the soccer ball again, barely missed my head. haha It's all fun though! :)"

"And Mom, I just want to let you know that you are by far the best mother in the world!  And that I love you so much!  Thanks for raising me right, you've done great! :)  And let dad know that he's great too and let him know that I thank him for being so hard on us."

Con amor,
Elder Clayton
PS. No new pictures this week.

Sorry there are no pictures this week. Hopefully there will be some next week, I will post them as they come. A couple side notes, he talked about egg salad sandwiches, my family has a tradition we have had for as long as I can remember and that is, my mom makes egg salad sandwiches on Fast Sunday for dinner. They are probably Ryan's favorite thing and he knows while he is gone he won't have them. He seems to be progressing much faster now that he feels comfortable with his surroundings, we know it's from all the prayers that are being said for him. There is much thanks to all who have kept him in your thoughts and prayers. He only has about six weeks left in the MTC before leaving to either Mexico or somewhere else in the US, (depending on his Visa status) I bet he is so excited to be done. Once he gets to Mexico he will learn much more about their culture and their language than he could ever learn in the MTC.

Address and E-Mail:

Elder Ryan James Clayton 
MTC Mailbox # 302
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

God Be With You Till We Meet Again... 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Week 2 Has Been Better

Elder Clayton had a much better week this week. Thank you to all those who have expressed love and support it really makes a difference. Many questions were asked when we replied to his not so pleasant and somewhat depressing e-mail last week. Yes, he finally told me about his companion and the food! I'm excited to share his thoughts on the subject.

The following is parts from Elder Clayton's e-mail, most of which answer questions that have been asked. Enjoy!

"First, How does Church work here? and How are Sundays?  Well Sundays are probably the best day of the week here.  It's all English all day which makes it so nice.  First thing in the morning after breakfast we go to Priesthood for an hour (Sisters go to Relief Society).  Then we have Study time until lunch. After lunch we have Sacrament. and after that it's basically Study time all the way to the Sunday Night Fireside."

"Hows the food?  The food is actually really good, only thing is it sometimes won't sit very well in your stomach.  But for the most part I've eaten everything they have served me."

"I wanted to thank you guys for you package, the seat cushion by far was the best thing.  It feels so nice!  Also thank you for all the letters throughout the week, it makes time go by a lot faster here.  Also thanks for the emails! :)"

"My companion's name is Elder Manglinong, he is half Filipino.  But he has never been to the Philippines, he's actually from West Jordan.  Funny thing is that his girlfriend was an SBO at West Jordan High, and I know her.  He is a really awesome guy, we got lucky too, out of all the companionships in our district we get along the best.  We are both serving the same Mission."

"On Sundays we get to go and walk around the Temple, which is super awesome.  There are so many Missionary's over there all at once its awesome to find people I know and talk to them.  It can also be weird cause a lot of families also go and walk around, and it's like the only outside people we ever see.  We go at around 3:30 and after I go to Choir.  Oh yes I joined the choir, we sing every Tuesday during the Tuesday devotional."

"The by far worst thing about this place are the nights and getting up in the morning.  So in our room the vent only blows cold air ALL NIGHT!  So we wake up in the morning and it is freezing and nobody wants to get out off bed.  There is no way of turning off the cold air.. :("

"My teachers here are awesome. I have two, one teaches in the morning and one in the afternoon or night.  Our morning teacher is Hermano Angel, he served in Ecuador.  He's been home for about a year and he's really a fun guy.  Our night teacher is Hermana Olsen, she served in Johns mission.  She is super nice too."

It's time for pictures from Elder Clayton! He actually managed to send me a sentence on what each of them are so now we don't have to be confused we can have a bit of clarity.

His district all going to Leon

Ryan and his companion

Ryan showing us Leon on the map
As you can see this week has been much better for Elder Clayton. Please continue to keep him in your prayers. I'm going to clarify something from his e-mail that you might be confused about unless you know him personally. John is our older brother who served in the Kennewick, WA mission, from October 2002-2004.  If you ever have a question for him or you just want to drop a line and say hi please feel free. I know he would love it and I know he will do his best to respond.

Address and E-mail

Elder Ryan James Clayton 
MTC Mailbox # 302
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

God Be With You Till We Meet Again...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Week 1...

Elder Clayton has been out for a  week and a day. We finally got an email from him after much wondering of when his Preparation Day (P-Day) would be. Ryan is learning Spanish so he will be in the Provo MTC for nine weeks, however, we have just passed week number one and he already wants to be in the field working hard and serving the Lord. I have a feeling the next eight weeks for him are going to be long, but what doesn't kill him will only make him stronger. I don't know if I can say the same about the food. He hasn't said whether or not he likes it but I asked so hopefully next week I will have a response to that answer. There are 11 other elders in his district including his companion, and he says they all get along really well. His companion is Elder Manglinong, he didn't say much about him but again I asked so we will see what he has to say. I'm beginning to see a pattern here about him not really saying much about the MTC itself. He did ask us to send him a seat cushion for the chair he sits in for around ten hours a day. 

The following are little snippets from his email home. No better way to tell you what's up than through his own words right?

"There's a saying here that I learned pretty fast it goes: The days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days.  It is so true, we have 14 hour days constantly studying and learning. Still feeling stressed but learning to be patient."

"Sundays are the best here we get to have personal study most of the day which is awesome and there's a fireside every Sunday and Tuesday night. Elder Bednar is supposed to come soon and speak. We get to watch the Brigham City temple dedication here which will be awesome."

"I think the worst part of my days are our daily investigator visits, we have to try and convert a mock investigator all in Spanish, it is so hard. It's amazing though of how much Spanish you learn in one week, I can already say a pray and bare my testimony all in Spanish! It's also amazing how much you mature in such a short amount of time!"

"We get to have an hour of gym every day which is the best! I've been playing four square and futbol (soccer) almost every gym and they're the best!"
"I went to the temple this morning and it was awesome, we saw a couple getting married which was pretty cool! It's amazing how much you can feel the spirit when you attend the temple, it's probably the best thing here!"

Here are some pictures of his first week! again he didn't say much about them so I am going to do my best at guessing so good luck!
Ryan and Robynn. 9/5/12

Mom and Ryan. 9/5/12

Dad and Ryan. 9/5/12

Elder Clayton. 9/5/12

This picture is so something Elder Clayton would do.

My guess is this is his companion

Elder Clayton has had a rough start this past week but here's to knowing things will get better. He is on the more discouraged side of things, which is understandable, learning a language in nine weeks could be considered impossible if it wasn't for the gift of tongues. Tonight my family put together a care package for our missionary fully equipped with Oreo's, soda, Crackers, chips, the seat cushion he asked for, letters, and candy. That should hold him and his companion over for about a week. Please send letters to Ryan showing him your love and support. He could really use the words of encouragement to push him through to the next week and the next two years. Ryan is a strong kid and I have no doubt he will be a fine and faithful missionary. He is a 19 year old kid leaving home for the first time going to a foreign country talking to strangers, building a love and friendships that will last throughout the eternities.

Address and E-Mail:

Elder Ryan James Clayton 
MTC Mailbox # 302
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

God Be With You Till We Meet Again...