Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Week of Firsts

First things first...Hayden has been gone one month! I can hear the giggles from all you returned missionaries and missionary families. us a month is a big deal. I remember having a conversation with Hayden on this very topic before he left. It went something like..."You can do this Hayden! Imagine you have a six-foot-sub sandwich to eat. You aren't going to eat the whole thing in one bite. You are going to take one bite at a time. Think of that on your mission. Little by little you are going to "eat" away at the days. One week will become two and two weeks will turn into a month and so on..." Well, he has eaten a month's worth of his six-foot-mission-sub-sandwich!

He had a lot of great stories to tell this week. Read on...

"Hello familia y amigos!

Como estas? Wow, I am fantastic at Spanish. Haha! I hope that you have all had a great week with school and what not starting up! Yes, I just had to retype week because I spelled it weak. My English has done been begun to hit the road. However, it is pretty amazing to see how quickly we are able to progress in Spanish. I have definitely had a lot of help from the Big Guy upstairs. This brings me to my topic this week. The week of firsts.

I had my first dream in Spanish, and my roommates tell me that I talked the whole time.. So that was a cool experience. Maybe I will be that awkward missionary who can't speak his native language after all..

Another cool first was I got my life threatened for the first time! Haha! Through a mixture of charades and fast Chilean mutters.. This guy told us that we need to hang ourselves, he was going to stab us, and that we love Satan.. Ok it wasn't really that cool. The dude was 75 and walked with a cane. He was also like 5 feet tall.. Nonetheless you could say that I have survived a big time assault. Oh, did I mention he was also behind a fence?

I also had the pleasure of a Chilean first. I survived an earthquake. I was just sittin' there doing something or another then whaddya know? Everything started shaking. My district failed every safety drill we have ever had.. We kinda just sat there and laughed while all the pictures and stuff were rattling.. Apparently the earthquake was in the news back in the states. You all know a survivor.

Every day brings a new first of some sort. One morning this week I was our for a run to one of the tallest buildings in South America.. This dog followed us. Then it got hit by a car. Poor little perro.

Anyways, life is good around 5,000 miles South. I am humbled each and every day to know that I get to do the Lord's work for these amazing people down here. They are amazing and I am able to learn so much from everybody I meet. If you get a chance this week, watch the Mormon Message, Because of Him. It is awesome. It pretty much sums up the reason I am out here doin' what I'm doin'."

Have a good week my friends,
Elder Clegg

Hayden will be out in the field before long. We are looking forward to hearing where he ends up and who gets to be his senior companion/trainer. We are proud of him and his hard work. We miss him like crazy and pray for him constantly. Thanks for all your love and support. Now...I think I'll go make myself a sandwich.

A view of the Andes Mountains. (Remember it is winter down there.)
The Santiago Temple at night. I believe this view is from the MTC. (I could be wrong.)
Hayden being Hayden...

Friday, August 22, 2014

Semana 4

Since Hayden is the first missionary to leave our nest, we weren't quite sure what to expect. But, I can tell you this...there is such a sweet spirit in our home. Perhaps it is because we made a goal to have family prayer and scripture study EVERY day while Hayden is gone. (And this is a big deal because we try hard, but we've never been so consistent.) Or maybe it's because we want to remain as faithful as possible, as we petition Heavenly Father on Hayden's behalf. It could even be the fact that Hayden's service is blessing our family in ways we are not aware. I am guessing it is a combination of all three. That, and prayers from supportive family and friends like you! Thank you!! Here's what our Elder had to say this week...

"Hello friends and family!

My hands are freezing right now and I am typing on a Chilean keyboard, so pardon my English and such! Haha I was just out on the town for my P-Day.. About got hit by a car twice so I am also a little traumatized.

As far as this week goes, not that much new has happened. Just more of the waking up at 6:30 and doing work until 10:30. Hopefully you guys still believe I am spiritual and all.. I don't write about many spiritual experiences, because it is constant. Needless to say that things such as administering blessings with 16 missionaries was pretty cool. Also, going to the temple on P-Days is one of my favorite things! It's amazing to be able to go through with so many missionaries.

Funny experiences are plentiful. One of the Elders in my district is named Elder (name withheld). He is kind of a creepy fellow. Anyways, he has taken up an obsession with giving massages to everyone at any time. You could be standing at the urinal and next thing you know he is behind you trying to work out a knot in your back... Haha if you tell him to stop he gets really sad... So it's a constant battle between trying to be nice and wondering where his hands have been.

On a different note, my most spiritual MTC moment came one night when I was feeling a little down and missing all of you back at home. I got up to go get a drink and walked straight into Elder Bangerter who I looked up to a ton when I was a sophomore. I got to chat with somebody from back home for a while and I know that it was a blessing.

You are all either starting up the school routine, heading off on missions, or leaving to college! Best of luck to everyone. Be sure to update me as to how you are all doing! I think about random people from home at the most random times! Thanks for all the memories guys!"

Much Love,
Elder Clegg

The top picture shows Hayden's favorite teacher in the MTC. Hayden calls him Ruitor. First name? Last name? Not sure. He says that "Ruitor" is the average size of the Chileans he is meeting. Hayden must seem like a giant!

The bottom picture is one we took on the day of his farewell. (Can you tell that I don't know how to do a picture caption yet?)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Semana 3

Elder Clegg will be halfway done at the MTC tomorrow. That means he has been out three weeks! Our family gets pretty excited for Tuesdays now. We know we will get to hear from him. This is what we learned last Tuesday.

"Hello friends and family...

This is your long lost friend, formerly known as Clug, Clegg, or maybe even Hayden. Now I am Elder Clegg and that is a bit different! So it turns out I am not dead. I have always kind of just discounted the two years of my mission out of my life. Now I am just coming to realize that I am actually going to be doing a lot during these two years.

I expected the mission to be pretty painful, but it turns out that it is pretty fun! I love the people of Chile already. When we get to go walk around the streets and speak in what little Spanish I know, they are all so nice! I'm at the MTC in a city that has the feel of LA, but is surrounded by mountains that remind me of Alaska. I look out the window and see the Santiago temple. Then on the other side of my mission is the beach.

The Elders that I am serving with couldn't be better! I have made so many great friends already.. I definitely do miss my friends and family from home though.

We spend 12 hours in the CCM.. Chilean MTC.. Then we head back to a Swiss Embassy which is called Alcantra to sleep. Then repeat. Every day. Except for the 3 hours of P-Day we get. Haha none of this would be bearable without awesome teachers and funny moments.

I imagine that is what most of my emails will be about! For example, my companion has some serious OCD. So I constantly bug him in ways like Jim does to Dwight on The Office. Haha I hide his stuff, put my things in his places, and pretty much just bug him and it makes me so dang happy. Haha oops!

Anyways, I would love to hear about what's going on back at home!
Love and miss you all!

Thanks for helping me get to this point!"

In a different email he sent, we learned he has been sick. He said he has been able to still do the work and put in the effort necessary to make progress. We know the love and prayers expressed on his behalf are helping. We are grateful! Here's to another Tuesday tomorrow!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Semana 2

We were unsure what day to expect his next email. We guessed it would be Monday.
We checked our email accounts 20 times that day. (You think I'm exaggerating...)
Tuesday morning came and there it was! Semana 2...that means week 2. We thought
we were pretty smart to figure that out. So, here are his words. Enjoy!

"So much has happened this week! It started off with our travels. I ended up traveling with 18 elders and 2 sisters who are going to Oeste! (My mission) The flight to Atlanta went very well. I sat next to Elder Farah who is now my best friend at the MTC. He is from Alta and we chatted the whole way there. The layover in Atlanta was interesting. I consumed my last American meal, waited for a couple hours, and took off! The flight down to Chile was probably one of the worst I've been on! I sat next to a guy and this was our conversation. Me - Are you cold? The Thug dude - No Hablo Ingleis. For 9 hours of no sleep, I sat on the plane next to him. Hahaha we got off the plane and made it through customs, but at the bag check place, I managed to get all of the food we put in my suit case through.. (300) fine if I would have been caught.. Didn't know that. All the other Elders had theirs confiscated. SOOO.. now I'm the big man with the food. Besides a stranger trying to get me in his taxi, I made it there safely.

The cool part is that I am not staying at the CCM (MTC). I am staying at a place called Alcantra, which is an old Swiss Embassy. The first building purchased by the church in Chile. It is awesome. It takes us about 15 minutes each way, and that is the best part. I am in the best room in the house! 4 Elders to a shower.. As opposed to 8. However, the two room mates I have are pretty annoying. One of them eats cheetoes louder than any person I´ve ever met. Until about 12:30 in the morning. Every Night. So that gets old. They are also very weird, but Esta Bien. Also, everybody here is sick. I've managed to make it this far, but nobody makes it out of the MTC without getting a cough.

Each day is pretty much the same. We get up at 6:45. Study for 1 hour. Exercise for 45 minutes. Go to the MTC until about 10 at night. I have been working so hard on my Spanish, and it's amazing how far I have progressed. I was able to teach my first lesson completely in Spanish 2 days into the mission. Hopefully I continue to be able to learn the gospel and the language quickly. It's very hard work, and very draining. I'm working my butt off though!

The food. The bread and pears are good... Haha each meal is pretty much the same. Rice, noodles, or potatoes with some sort of chicken. Breakfast is yogurt and granola with a variety of other good stuff. Breakfast is good, but the lunches are already getting hard. Oh well. I'm eating a lot and trying to maintain good health!

The weather. It's pretty cold in the mornings, but the days are BEAUTIFUL. Perfect temperature. That has been the best part. The city is amazing. My classroom window has a perfect view of the Andes Mountains and the Santiago Skyline.. Not to mention the temple and a big Chilean flag. That makes the 9 hours of learning each day not so hard.

The highlight of the week for me was Sunday. (It's the very start of my P-Day, Tuesday mornings will be the time.) On Sunday we watched a video of Elder Bednar doing a MTC Devotional from January 2014. You guys should all watch it if you can. I was straight up crying when he started to bear his testimony of the BOM. It's true you guys! I can't wait to share it with the Chilean people. I just have a lot to learn first."

The top picture is one of Elder Clegg and his district. Hayden's companion is on his right.
The bottom picture shows all the Sisters and Elders staying at the Alcantra.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The beginning

Hayden Michael Clegg was set apart as a missionary on Monday evening, July 28, 2014. He spent the rest of the night saying goodbye to friends and family. (That AND packing.) We got to bed pretty late and woke up to "the day". He said goodbye to his truck and whatever other possessions he deemed worthy of a farewell. We left for the airport shortly after 9:00am. The ride down was...interesting. We talked and laughed. All the while we were nervous, excited and honestly, a bit in shock. Pulling in to park at the airport was tough. We knew our last few minutes with our son/brother were happening. We could tell he was anxious to get going. Mike helped him check his baggage and then...a few pictures, a lot of tears and a visual of him going up that escalator we will never forget. When he got to the top, someone asked him where he was going. The last words we heard him say were, "I'm going to Chile!" He was so ready to serve! He was flying to Atlanta and then on to Chile. It was an all night flight, expected to arrive in Chile around 8:00am the next morning. Much to our relief and joy, we received our first email from him the next morning. He told us he arrived in Chile safely and made it through customs. His first impression of Chile was, "the mountains are massive and the people are short". (I suppose most people seem short to Hayden.) We had to wait another full week before we heard from him again.