Monday, August 13, 2012

The last week! ahhhhhh! (July 23, 2012)

It´s really strange to be beginning my last week of normal work here in the mission. So many strange thoughts are passing through my head. I don´t really know what to think. It´s so exciting, sad, happy, intimidating, and scary all at once. But I´m going to take advantage of every last minute that I can.

Last week was pretty stressful. It was interrupted by a whole bunch of unexpected to travelling to Ribeirão Preto and other things to be taken care of. I am actually in Ribeirão right now. I should be heading back to Ararquara tonight. Last week was really good though despite the interruptions to the work. The Spirit makes such a huge difference in the work. Without it, we are absolutely nothing.

The Priesthood is such a real power. Before the mission I always believed in the priesthood, but I never had a major experience with it. But I have been thinking a lot these past few days about he experiences I have had with it. I have received several blessings of both health and comfort that have made a big difference in my life. I have also given a couple of health blessings that have stood out in my mind. The Spirit is really what leads us. The Priesthood it such an amazing tool to be able to serve others here on the Earth.

Well, I hope you all have a great week. I love you all so much!
Elder McLelland

Mission Tour (July 16, 2012)

On Friday we had an excellent meeting with Elder Claudio R. M. Costa. He is in the first quorum of the Seventy and is the Area Presidency of Brazil. He was also in the Presidency of the Seventy until called as Area Presidency. It was an amazing experience. We have had an extremely spiritual past couple of days as a result. It was strange hearing the meeting with a different perspective. I saw a wonderful example of the type of man and member of the Church I want to be. At the end of the mission you realize how much knowledge you have gained in the past two years. But being around him and his wife gave me so much inspiration and has made me so much more excited for the next phasse of my life. I have so much more spiritual growth ahead of me still.

Up until friday we had a really tough time finding people at home to teach. It seems we have beating our heads against a wall sometimes. But Saturday was the most productive day we have had  in the area. It was wonderful. And our Church meetings were a wonderful show of the results of spirit inspired work. We had 5 invesigators and 10 less actives there. It was a great feeling seeing the results of our work, or rather the Spirit´s work. Because it really isn´t ´´ours´´. 

I gave a talk yesterday in Sacrament meeting too. I was informed on very short notice and had only about 20 minutes to prepare. It´s amazig though, how the mission makes you capable of talking about the Gospel on a short notice. I spoke on the Atonement and repentance. It was the strongest I have ever felt the Spirit while giving a talk. It was marvellous. Our ward has severe reverence problems during sacrament meeting, but it was silent yesterday. One of the best Sundays I have had on the mission.

It´s a really strange feeling being in the last two weeks of my mission. I have lots of questions qoing htrough my head. For example, ``did I really give it my all?´´ I hope to keep my steam going these next two weeks. I think the rest of the elders in my zone are more trunky for me. They always ask questions about me going home soon. I haven´t even been thinking about it as much as then. 

Anyways, I hope you all have a great week. Until next monday!

Elder McLelland

Rapaz do Céu! (July 9, 2012)

Well, this was the best week we have had in the area so far. The first 2 weeks were frustrating, but fun. This last week was still fun and not as frustrating. It was great. We are having a lot of success right with our less active work. We are focusing on reactivating and hopefully baptizing the incomplete families. We haven´t found a whole lote of new investigators this way, but we have had success getting some less actives back to Church.

Things are getting stranger and stranger as it is settling in that I don´t have much time left. I have some goals that I am working on that are going well. For example, I am working really hard to finisht he Book of Mormon before I get home. I am finishing 3rd Nephi right now. Almost there. It´s wonderful studying these scriptures now that I have so much more understanding of the Gospel. It makes so much more sense now.

We had a meeting with the stake president of Araraquara yesterday. He is only 29 and has been stake president for 2 years. He is really young,b ut an amazing leader. The stake is really struggling here but he is going to turn things around. He really wants to correlate the work between the missionaries and the stake leadership. I´ve never worked this close to the leadership and it´s great. Bummer that it´s on the tail end of the mission.

Well, I hope you all have a great week. Things are going fantastic!
Elder McLelland

(PS in case you didn´t believe how much weight I have lost, the included picture is proof. It´s one of my original shirts!)

Viagem pra caramba!

Well this week was a bit frustrating. We had to travel a lot. Last monday SIster Prieto called me and awanted me to go the docor again. I had to sit in a waiting room for 3 and a half hours just to see the doctor. I took another x-ray though and he said the infection is taken care of. He said for a couple of weeks I might have an occasinal cough to still get rid of fluid. But I am feeling great. I feel like normal now. I´m still going to avoid rain and excessive cold to not have a relapse, but I´m doing excellent. To go to the doctor though we had to take a bus to Ribeirão Preto on MOnday. We were already going to have a meeting there on Wednesday and so we ended up stayingh until wednesday. What a waste of time. We also had to go to another city called Matão to do a baptismal interview. WE lost 4 work days in our area but we were blessed with amazing lessons on Sunday and Saturday to compensate for it.

Elder Gade is such a great guy. We are getting along really well. It´s great that both of us are from Sacramento region. Being with an Elder from Utah or Idaho is just different. (nothing against them though) But our personalities fit perfectly. He´s such a great guy. And he speaks great portuguese for how little time he has on the mission. I´m glad to have him as my last companion.

So while in Ribeirão I took advantage of the fact that there are nice stores there and bought a new suit. Here´s a picture of it. It´s so wonderful having clothes that fit! I just can´t believe how much wiehgt I have lost. it´s incredible. I´m just worried to put it back on when I get home.

Well, that´s about it fr the week. I love you all. Have a great one!

Elder McLelland

Arararararararararaquara (June 25, 2012)

Well, I´m feeling a bit better than last week. However, Sister Prieto is really nervous about the fact that I am still coughing and every once in a while get a fever still. I´m in Ribeirão Preto today to do some more exams. I´m taking the medicine like I´m supposed to. It´s just taking a while to clear up all the way. We had a lot of cold rainy weather last week that didn´t help my health at all.

The new area is great. We had a bunch of bad luck last week getting in to teach but there are some great people here. We were also blessed by three great investigators at Church that are relatives of members. I´m excited to be able to work with them. There is also a really great family of recent-converts that was baptized about 2 months ago. It´s great to see excited new families in the Church.

Elder Gade is from Loomis, CA. It´s really close to Sacramento. He has been to Galt a few times. He only has about two months on the mission. But his portuguese is surprisingly good for how little time he has. He showed on the same day that Elder McKeen did. He likes to draw a lot. Especially graffiti style art. He´s really good at it.

I have the opportunity to live with two other missionaires in the same house for the first time. Elder Mateus (the one I trained from Mozambique) lives with us. He has changed a lot. He was pretty shy when we were together but now he is a crack-up. He is training an Elder from Chile. I have a Chilean grandson! His companion´s name is Elder Matus (yes people get very confused by the similarity of their names.

The city I am in is called Araraquara. It´s an excellent city. It´s not quite as big as Ribeirão Preto. The stake center is in a really cool location right in the middle ofthe city. It is located in front of this old park that is beautiful. The chapel I work at is newer and prettier but not as well located. I love having nice chapels to work at. it is surprising how much easier the work is with a big nice chapel.

Well, things are going great. I love you all. Don´t worry too much about me. I´m getting better!
Elder McLelland

Araraquara! (June 18, 2012)

Well, I got transferred. it was pretty expected. I had been in the
area for quite a while already. It was kind of sad to say goodbye to
everyone though. I´ll sure miss the area and the people. We also had a
baptism yesterday of Amanda. She is a referral we received from one of
the young men in the ward. She was baptized and her brother went to
watch. ´m his baptism will shrotly follow as well.

Well, I don´t want you all to worry too much about me but my health
still isn´t doing so hot. Last P-day I was feeling quite a bit better
but the symptoms got worse again. On Friday I had an extremely high
fever of 103.1 degrees. I went to the urgent care place and they
discovered that I have pneumonia! But it´s not a very serious case
yet. I am taking some strong antibiotics that should clear it up in
about 10 days the doctor said. I hope you all don´t get too worried
about me. I´m gonna be okay.

My new companion is Elder Gade. This is his second transfer on the
mission. I will finish the 12 week training program with him. A lot of
missionaries go home on the same date as I do that are zone leaders
and to avoid a major shock in the mission leadership when we all leave
several of us went back down to district leader. I´m excited to meet
Elder Gade alter today. Our new area is Araraquara third ward. I´m
excited. I just hope I can give it my all despite being a bit sick.

Well, I don´t have a lot of time today. Talk to you all next week!
Elder McLelland

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Hosanna! June 11, 2012

Yesterday was an amazing Sunday. We got to watch the dedication of the Manaus temple. It was a marvelous service. The Manaus has been a long awaited temple here in Brazil. The members from Manaus had one of the hardest journeys to get to the temple. When the São Paulo temple was built, it was the only temple in South America and the members from Manaus had to travel 15 days by boat/bus to get to São Paulo. Manaus at the time was also one of the poorest areas of Brazil. Members made enormous sacrifices such as selling all their possessions, quitting jobs and eating only bannanas during the 30 days of travel. But now they have a temple. Elder Uchtdorf presided the dedication. It was really neat to watch the session in Portuguese. The Hosanna shout is also fun in Portuguese.

We are finally starting to have some more success in our zone. The districts had some baptisms on Saturday finally, with more planned for this week and one in our area scheduled for Saturday. It´s been a struggle but it seems to finally be pulling together.

Next Monday is the start of my last transfer. I can hardly believe it. I´m also most likely going to be transferred. The mission president for sure won´t leave Elder Bean and I together. It´s too hard to have two zone leaders leave an area at the same time so it wouldn´t make sent for us to stay together for our last transfer. I´m actually excited to have another area. It´s just a bummer that I will only have 6 weeks there. I´m really excited for these last few weeks. It´s unfortunately setting in that it´s almost over. Lots of strange mixed emotions. I´m going to be really sad to leave the country, but no missionary can deny the excitement for seeing family and the beginning of the next phase of life.

I´m finally starting to feel better. I had this terrible cough all week long. I called the mission doctor again and he decided it must have been some kind of bacterial infection instead of a normal virus and he prescribed an antiobiotic. I took it for three days and it cleared up the cough/stuffy nose really quick. Also Vick´s cough Syrup has been saving me. We seemed to be cursed as a companionship with health issues though. As soon as Elder Bean came back I got the stomach flu and then this bacteria. And now that I´m doing better he isn´t doing so hot. I think he as been pushing it too hard after the surgery. I try to tell him to take it easy but the urgency of the message is pushing us perhaps faster than we should.

Well, I guess that about sums it up. We are going to have a zone p-day activity bowling this afternoon! It should be quite the experience because Elder Bean won´t be able to do any type of exertion, such as throwing the ball. We´ll see how it turns out.

Elder McLelland