Whew! what a week, what a month! what a two years! Well, the subject line is a quote by Thomas Jefferson, that I have heard before, and right now, I wish I could tie a knot and hang on a little longer! When I think about the past two years, the thing that sticks out the most is the change I have seen in me. It really isn’t much of an outward change, but an inward change in thinking. A few months ago, Sister Ward asked me what it was that I had learned on my mission that mean’t the most to me, and at the time I couldn’t answer her. But I think what I cherish the most is the mistakes that I have made.

This past week we had a Mission Tour, and that’s where we have a General Authority assigned to come to our mission and to teach and train us. Well this week we were very privileged to have Elder Steven Allen and Brother Lee Donaldson come and tour our mission. Elder Allen is the Managing Director of the Missionary Department of the church, and has been for 15 years. Essentially he is in charge of everything we know about missionary work and heavily involved in every aspect of it. He came here and with love in his heart, changed our mission for the better. Its really quite a felling to have someone like him come and teach us, we all knew as he stood there that he was sent from the Lord to teach us what we need to know to be successful, not only as missionaries but as people, as sons and daughters of God. As I sat there and did my best to soak in the things that he was telling us, I kept thinking "I wish I had learned this 2 years ago" But like I said before, I am grateful for my mistakes and shortcomings, because without those, I would not have been able to really understand what it was that he was teaching.

Every day missionaries go out declaring the gospel. But really what they declare is that we can be made clean through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. that even though we suck sometimes, and even though we always seem to fall short, his atonement makes up for all of that. We just have to ask, seek and knock, and he will be there for us. I know that he lives, and that he really is there for us, and that he wants us to repent. God wants us back, he brought us here so that we would be able to find our own way back to him, and be able to appreciate all he has given us. This mission has been tough, and sometimes didn’t always seem worth it, but I know that it has been, every minute of it.

I am grateful for everyone who has loved and supported me throughout these two years, I am excited to be able to come see you again soon. I am grateful for all of my companions, I have learned so much from each one of them. And I am grateful for my two mission presidents who I will be forever in debt to for all they have taught me. I am also grateful for everyone who I was able to meet here in the good old southern states, I love these people.

Well, this is Elder Clayton Andersen…. signing off

Well hello there, how y’all doin?

We had a really good week this week. However it started out not too good. I heard from the missionaries in one of my other areas that a lady my companion and I baptized was not doing well at all, they said she had a week at most. She has cancer, I’m not sure what kind, but i guess it got really bad. So, I called up her brother in law, who she lives with, and he said that she had gone to the ER, because her calcium was really high, which was scary. Well to make a long story short, we went down there to visit her (it’s nice to not have a mile allotment). When we walked in, she was just beside herself that we had showed up. We talked with her a little while about how she was doing. Then her sister, who we had been working with basically since the first day of my mission, asked if Mark (her husband) and I would baptize her, which was just the most awesome thing. I had hoped that this experience with her sister would soften her heart a bit, and it totally did, it was obvious this was something she had been contemplating, and I think we were her answer to her questions. I am really glad that the Lord has all of us in mind, and he places things and people and circumstances in our path at certain times for a reason. And if we live worthy, we can be the answer to someone’s prayer.

The rest of our week was also good, we got a lot of other good things done, but nothing that even really matters compared to that last story. But I want to say thanks for y’alls (yes that’s a word) continued support and love.

-Elder Andersen

We had transfers last week, and Elder Corry ended up going home for surgery again, it’s too bad but at least he will get better. On Wednesday I got my new companion, Elder Clouse, from Gilbert AZ, second companion from there. He’s actually a spanish elder, and he’s here so that we can find out if there needs to be a Spanish area opened up next transfer here in North Little Rock. We had a great week last week, even with transfers we were still able to get a lot done. Its going to be a crazy transfer, but it will be fun. thanks for all your support and for all you do. Love y’all.

-Elder Andersen

Hey everybody! We had a really great week this week, had some awesome lessons, we were also home most of the week, which was an odd week for us! We won’t be home most of this week though. We met some really cool people who are just awesome. We have a zone conference this week, which should be awesome. We are really looking forward to this year and all of the awesome stuff our mission can accomplish! Hope y’all are doing well on your new years resolutions! Not too much to say this week, other than I love it here and i love all the people here too!

-Elder Andersen

thank you so much everyone for all the birthday wishes! I had a great birthday! the night before, we got to eat at the Ward’s, which was awesome, and then got lunch with the kenworthys and the petersens! and then a member took us to Texas Roadhouse for dinner! For a missionary, your life revolves around teaching and food, so it was pretty much an awesome birthday!  We also did a lot of traveling this week. We are doing great here, i’m really liking where I am at. I have really realized this last week, that on my mission i have really gained a lot of lasting friendships that I really wouldn’t trade for anything. I have done a lot of reading in the Book of Mormon, and there are some really great stories of lasting bonds, that I really didn’t notice before. I love y’all, hope you have a great new year!

-Elder Andersen

2012? is this our last happy new year? hmm

Well hope y’all had a fun Christmas and new years. didn’t do an email last week, i had just talked to my family on the phone, so i didn’t figure i needed to email, haha.

Well we had a fun new year, there were fireworks at midnight, (but only a few. mostly people are pretty redneck so they just shoot their shotguns in the air, it’s kinda scary when they shoot rifles, because you have no idea what could be coming your way.) We had a pretty fun new years eve! you’ll never guess what us fun missionaries did… we played cards. Ya not too much fun but hey at least we did something!

We actually got quite a bit of time to go out and proselyte this week which was fun, we have been working with a few pretty solid families. It was cool on Sunday because we have 4 missionaries in the ward and we helped the other companionship arrange rides for a family of 11 to come, it was awesome to see all of them walk in together. it was a pretty cool experience. We are working on getting everything set up for the new year, and I am making a DVD for senior couples encouraging more of them to go on missions, so that should be fun! Well, love y’all, have a great first week of 2012!

Well almost merry Christmas! its crazy how time flies and that we are almost at Christmas, it still feels like December just barely started. We have our Christmas Zone Conference this week. Its on Wednesday and Thursday and we have 100 DVDs to burn before Wednesday morning!  We have lots to do before then, but i for some reason am not worried that we will get it all finished. I have really grown to love the Christmas season, even though it seems like it flies by. On a mission i feel like Christmas is different, which it is, its not the traditional Christmas that i have had in the past, but its a difference that’s good. And even though I don’t get to spend it with family, like normal, its still good and still fun. I’m glad that i have had this chance to now have two Christmases away from my friends and family, because it makes me appreciate the past years just that much more. Love y’all. Have a great Christmas!

-Elder Andersen

of the year

Well, happy christmas season everyone! It’s so great how everything changes this time of year, there’s a lot of lights on at night, and everyone is in just such a great mood. I really enjoyed the christmas devotional, of course, i liked the video during President Eyring’s talk the best, y’all know me, and the movies. I hope all the other videos are as good, those would just be awesome to teach the gospel with. Well, I sang…. ya i know, crazy. We all sang (all 4 of us in the ward) in the Christmas program, and we weren’t even forced to! Aren’t y’all proud of us? It was funny too, Brother Wing came up to me before it and asked if I would help him work "spotlights" for the performers, haha, those were the sorriest excuses for spotlights, but it actually turned out a lot better than i would have thought, and I sang, so that’s saying something. We had a new office couple arrive this week, the Wards, they are way cool, nicest people ever. The Hogans go home tomorrow, so it will be sad to see them go, but we are way excited to have the Wards. Well this week we have, places to go, people to see, and miles to burn… and not enough time to do it all. Love y’all!

Well everyone, we had a great thanksgiving week. It’s finally getting cold here, and a lot of the leaves have fallen. I really want to say how grateful I am for everything that I have been given, as a missionary and otherwise. I have been doing a lot of car swapping lately and car-share forming and I have realized just how blessed we are to have so many cars and things of that nature so that we can work so much more effectively. We had a great week, and I really love where I am and what I’m doing. Thank you all for all of your love and support. I really don’t have much more time this week, but I wanted to tell y’all how much I am thankful for what I have. have a great week!

-Elder Andersen

Hey y’all, We did a lot this last week. Took some long trips, went to Oxford MS and found an apartment there for missionaries to live, and i got to go see a few people in senatobia on the way back which was great! We haven’t been to Jackson yet, i have no idea when we are gonna get over there. But we did get to go to a baptism Saturday night of a family being baptized in Hope, AR the hometown of William Jefferson Clinton! I know, the funniest part is no one there talks about that, its like taboo! I thought that was way funny.That baptism was awesome though, the dad hadn’t been active in the church most of his life, and he was able to baptize his wife and two kids, it was so awesome! We went down there with President And Sister Petersen which made it better too! Well, it seems like there is less time in each subsequent day, it’s crazy. We never get any time to relax, except today us and the APs decided that we weren’t going to answer any calls on P-Day unless it was president, people don’t really like that, but hey, otherwise we have no P-Day, so we actually sat down and played risk for 4 hours, it was awesome! Well, love y’all

-Elder Andersen

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