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