Merry Christmas Everyone!! I hope this Christmas was as great for all of you as it was for me. I got alittle homesick thinking about some of the family traditions I had to do without this year, but overall it was fantastic. We got to do a lot of things to help people understand the true meaning of Christmas, the Birth of Jesus Christ. We s閚t most of our Christmas Eve and Day with a recent convert Adriana and her family. They had never officially celebrated Christmas before so we gave them a Christmas. Unfortunately, as usual something came up that isn磘 allowing me to send pictures from my camera. This week it磗 batteries. But, the two attached pictures are from the Christmas Conference we had last week. The Christmas Conference was amazing. The whole mission was there, all 130 of us. It was fantastic. We had some good training from our president and a nice musical program. Each of the zones in the mission was responsible to provide a musical number. My zone combined with another as a choir to sing Angels we have heard on high. We had a massive lunch of churrasco, which means BBQ. It was delicious. We watched a picture compilation from all the missionaries in the mission that sent in pictures. And the big surprise, the President let us watch The Grinch with Jim Carrey. That was quite fun in Portuguese even though some of the Dr. Seuss translations were a little lost. For example ``Cindy Lou Quem`` (quem means who in Portuguese). The conference was awesome and got us all even more excited to carry on in the Lords work. Christmas Eve we had a wonderful night with Adriana磗 family. Me and Elder J. Santos 创made创 a Christmas tree from fallen Pine branches we took from a planted pine grove near our house. We used wire to bind it together and look more or less like a Christmas Tree. We bought some decorations to make up for the ugly parts. Also our lunch that day was with Hamilton and Ednete, our amazing investigator family. They have a few challenges to overcome before baptism but they are already strong in the Church and sign up on the monthly missionary meal calendar. At Adriana磗 we exchanged gifts and had a wonderful dinner of lazagna, rice, chicken, and pork roast. Fantastic. President made Christmas day more or less a P-day because here proselyting can be a little on the dangerous side because of all the drunk people on the streets. So we spent most of the day at Adriana磗 house again and had a nice lunch with them. That family had a wonderful first Christmas. Adriana is usually a pretty stressed out person but I could see that she really enjoyed herself and I磛e never seen her smile more. Christmas night we went and made some visits to some of the less actives in our ward. It was a real nice and peaceful day. It was so nice to call home and see how everyone was doing. Christmas can be a bit sad your first time away from home, but it was wonderful doing the Lord磗 work and bringing the real meaning of Christmas to people. I hope it was equally great for all of you, focusing on the Birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. I shared Isaiah 9:6 with many people. From this verse is take words for Handel磗 messiah ``For unto us a Son is given...创 Thanks to everyone for helping make this Christmas a wonderful time for me. I love you all. And Happy New Year! Elder McLelland
Well I got really excited today, I recieved a package today and it had my camera cord. But unfortunately the computer I am at doesn´t want to recognize my camera. So yet again you guys will have to wait a while to get some pictures. I´m trying.
This past week has been good. We almost had a baptism but the father of the boy we almost baptized decided that he needs to wait a little longer. The parents will be baptized sometime in January I think, they have to wait to get legally married first. This family is amazing, they have faithfully attended church for two months only missing one week. They are fantastic. We just have to work a little bit more to get rid of some of the doubts they have. It´s coming along.
I went on splits with another Elder for a day, Elder Arrazola. He is from California but his parents are Hispanic. His mom is from El Salvador and his dad from Guatemala. He was really excited to hear that Mike served in El Salvador and was super happy to have someone to talk about papusas with (that really good Salvadoran food we had at the El Salvador Restuarant in Provo). It was fun to have a day with an American companion and actually converse in English for a while.
I´m loving my area. The members here are amazing in my ward. We have low attendance but the people that do come are fantastic. Everyone is willing to help out in someway. We went on splits yesterday with a couple of men from the ward to help us do street contacting. It went really well.
Sorry I don´t have a whole lot to say today. It´s been another great week, and a great P-Day. We met up with other elders and played some soccer for a couple of hours. I´m loving my area and am seeing the Lord´s hand in the work everyday.
Hey Everyone, Well this has beena long tiring week, with lots of blessings. Yesterday we baptized a family of three: Luana the mother and her two children Lucas and Giovana. She also has another child Jo who is only a year old. They are such a wonderful family. When I first got here we went to Luana's house and she wasn't really interested in the Gospel. My companion had already taught her a few things but she didn't really want to commit to anything. But after the lesson we taught when I was there she had more interest and agreed to go to church if we arranged a car ride for her. She went and that was all it took to help her gain a testimony. It's amazing the power of a good Sunday church experience. We went to her house a couple of days alter to teach a lesson on the commandments and she kept saying things like ``i have been wondering about the exact things you are teaching about." It helped her gain a testimony, and me too, the power of following the Spirit in our teaching. It was a really special day for that family yesterday and they will be confirmed next week. Yesterday was also Giovana's 10th birthday so we had a little surprise party for her last night with some members. Now we just need to keep the members involved with them and it will be no problem keeping them strong in the Church. It was also a tough week because we worked a lot of long days and it was super hot. And also super rainy. Friday night was ridiculous in the rain. We were with our Zone Leaders because they did our baptismal interview for us. We waited a little bit for the rain to pass but it didn't let up so we just went for it. It must have been a funny sight seeing four missionaries plodding through the streets that were basically rivers. And I experienced the car driving by and splashing muddy water all over you. Not the funnest thing, but makes for good mission stories. This week has been the wettest and hottest I have experienced. And it's only going to get wetter and hotter these next couple of months. It's really cool to be here in Ribeiro Preto because we get to see other missionaries much more frequently. Every week for district meeting we get to see about 20 other missionaries. Our district is only two companionships but we have almost two whole zones that meet their every week. And everyone you talk to on the street says stuff like ``why do i always see big mobs of missionaries in central Ribeiro? People always see us around the mission office and it actually helps to spark interest in our work. I was planning on emailing some pictures today but I'm having troubles with my memory card in the camera. It's not just the normal SD card it's and SDHC card(whatever that means) sp none of the computers here can read it. I'll have to wait to get my cable in the mail to send some pictures to you of my new area and the baptism photo from yesterday. Hopefully I'll get it straightened out soon. Well that's all I have for this week. I love you all and thanks for all the support you guys give me. This work is marvelous and it's wonderful to see the power of the Spirit working in peoples lives; investigators and us as missionaries. Getting little promptings like ``go knock on this door right now" or ``say this to her" really is an amazing experience. Until next week everyone! Elder McLelland