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

Manaus Temple June 4, 2012

Elder Bean is back in the area. He has to take it a bit slow to avoid getting a hernia but it´s great to have him back. Unfortunately however, Elder McKeen was transferred. We thought he would stay with us in a trio but he got sent to a different city. It was a fun few weeks with him. I decided to call him MacGyver because he was always tampering with things and making nifty contraptions out of scraps.
I got some kind of virus over the weekend. I had a lot of diarrhea and vomited all night on Saturday. I´m feeling better now but still need to rest a lot today. My zone has been cursed lately with bad health. Sheesh!
I spoke in Sacrament meeting yesterday. I´m not sure how understandable I was. Plus we were notified at 10am that we would be speeking yesterday afternoon. I spoke about Elder Holland´s talk about the parable of the workers in the vineyard. I loved that talk and the great explanation that Holland gave. ``Be kind, be grateful that God is kind. It´s a happy way to live.´´ Probably my favorite quote from last conference.
Well, in nine weeks from Wednesday I will be home! Is that believable? That´s the amount of time I was in the CTM. It´s really strange. It´s sad to think how little time we have left, but at the same time I can´t wait to get back to see everyone and go to BYU.
Have a great week everyone. I love you all!
Elder McLelland

The Bean is Back! May 28, 2012

Elder Bean is back in the area. He has to take it a bit slow to avoid getting a hernia but it´s great to have him back. Unfortunately however, Elder McKeen was transferred. We thought he would stay with us in a trio but he got sent to a different city. It was a fun few weeks with him. I decided to call him MacGyver because he was always tampering with things and making nifty contraptions out of scraps.
I got some kind of virus over the weekend. I had a lot of diarrhea and vomited all night on Saturday. I´m feeling better now but still need to rest a lot today. My zone has been cursed lately with bad health. Sheesh!
I spoke in Sacrament meeting yesterday. I´m not sure how understandable I was. Plus we were notified at 10am that we would be speeking yesterday afternoon. I spoke about Elder Holland´s talk about the parable of the workers in the vineyard. I loved that talk and the great explanation that Holland gave. ``Be kind, be grateful that God is kind. It´s a happy way to live.´´ Probably my favorite quote from last conference.
Well, in nine weeks from Wednesday I will be home! Is that believable? That´s the amount of time I was in the CTM. It´s really strange. It´s sad to think how little time we have left, but at the same time I can´t wait to get back to see everyone and go to BYU.
Have a great week everyone. I love you all!
Elder McLelland

 Birthday Pizza

Biscuit and Gravy

May 21, 2012

This was a strange week. It felt like nothing really went right. A lot of our appointments fell through. A group of 5 men from Maranhão we have been teaching are progressing really well, but all of sudden they decided not to be at home when we went to pick them up for Church yesterday. But, somehow we managed to get 12 investigtors to Church yesterday! I was so surprised because eveything seemed to go wrong during the week but we had a good turn-out at Church.
We also had a zone conference. Every three months we have zone conference and a tradition that the mission has is that all of the missionaries going home soon bare their testimonies. I bore mine! I have spent the whole mission thinking about that event happening and now it did! I can´t believe the end is so near. It´s exciting but sad all at once.
Elder Bean is doing well. He should be coming back to work with us this week. He had his stitches removed on Friday and is going to the doctor today to find out how much work he will be able to do. Most likely he will have to take it pretty slow for a couple of weeks still to avoid getting a hernia. I´m just excited to have him back soon.
I have decided to call Elder Mckeen MacGyver. He loves gadgets and fixing things and making stuff out of nothing. For example he made us a water filtrationg system out of 2 liter soda bottles, cardboard boxes and small water botter filters. It´s really funny and not all that necessary, but why not! right?
Well, I hope you guys hve a great week. Love you all!
Elder McLelland

Feliz Dia das Maes! May 14, 2012

Mother´s day is so great! And I´m not even a mother! It was great to see everyone yesterday with Skype. Technology sure is great. I can´t believe that I will be seeing you all for real in a couple of months. The time is just flying by so fast. I can hardly believe it.

This week was pretty good. I was quite surprised to find out Tuesday morning that I´m training again! I wasn´t going to have a companion for a little while until Elder Bean got better. But on Tuesday morning an unexpected Elder showed up from the CTM. 8 were supposed to arrive but Elder McKeen came un-scheduled! It worked out great to have a companion now. It´s been funny to see the expression of a brand new American all over again. He is from Milton, Washington. a small city near Seattle. He´s a great kid, and veryexcited.

Elder Bean is doing well. He gets his stiches out on Thursday and hopefully will be coming back to the area soon. I sure miss him. He´s been my favorite companion of all. He´s been living the priveledged life at the Mission home with Sister Prieto. Today they have the chore of making oatmeal chocolate chip cookies! We are gonna have to stop by and do some taste testing. mmmmmm

Well, I guess that about sums it up for me. It was strange to have my last phone call of the mission yesterday. I felt a little out of place and didn´t seem to have much to say. It´s all ending so fast. Two and a half more months to take advantage of! Until next week!

Elder McLelland

Tranfercitis May 7, 2012

Well, this was probably the most hectic week of my life. Last week I talked about how Elder Bean was a bit sick. Well, turns out it wasn´t just a little bit. He had apendicitis! He has been in the hospital since thursday. He should be getting out today though. I was also supposed to be transferred to the São João da Boa Vista zone. My companion was going to be Elder Antone, but I´m going to end up staying here for at least a week or two until Elder Bean get´s better. I might get transferred afterwards. I kind of hope so actually, it was my first zone and I would love to get to go back. Also I was really excited to hear that I might be companions with Elder Antone. We´ll just see how it works out.

Elder Bean and I went to the hospital Wednesday morning because he was having a lot of stomach pain. But they didn´t really do anything (the socialized health care of this country is TERRIBLE!) They gave him a simple medicine and sent us away. It kept getting worse and worse. We went back to the hospital on Thursday at about noon and they finally did and ultra-sound and found out that his appendix had already burst! They took it out and had to do a lot of internal cleaning to get rid of toxic fluids in his abdomen. But he´s doing well now. I´m exhausted from having slept on a small couch in his hospital room at night. I´ll be taking care of the area single handedly for a while it looks like. It´s gonna be tough.

Despite having only worked one real day in the area last week we still managed to get 7 investigators to Church yesterday. It was strange doing basically nothing last week. Also President and Sister Prieto have been giving me so much preferencial treatment. It´s strange. They have been buying Subway and Burger King for me (which is a big deal in Brazil. A simple combo at Burger King comes out to about 12 dollars, way expensive) I also will be staying with Elder Bean at the mission home for a little while too while he recuperates. It´s going to be an interesting experience.

Well, this week should be interesting. The ward was really excited that I´ll stay a bit longer in the area. They had alreay been planning some birthday surprises for me on Wednesday that they are happy to still carry out. Thanks for all the birthdya wishes folks!. Have a great week! love you all.

Elder McLelland

Letter #8

Boa Tarde!              
Well here goes my last email from the CTM. I can hardly believe I have just one more week here and I'll really be in the field doing real missionary work. This past week has been great, and watching conference absolutely amazing. Last Friday we went to do street contacts again but this time it was in the middle of Sao Paulo. I haven't been around that many people in one place I don't think. It was intense, but awesome.            So we had a goal as a district to ``contact" 100 people in our two hours there. We defined a contact as talking to someone and getting further than just a ``hello". Our district made it to 86, and the reason we fell short was mainly due to me and Elder Walker. We ended up talking with one man, Marcos, for about 40 minutes. We found out he already had a copy of the Book of Mormon, but he had questions for us. His main worry was that if he joined the church he would have give up his family and work to serve a mission like us. He didn't understand that that wouldn't be required of him. We explained that the best we could and we talked a lot more about other stuff in the book of mormon too. He also hadn't ever talked to missionaries so we gave him the phone number that usually accompanies the Book of Mormon they recieve. He didn't have it so we wrote it down for him and he said he would call it to find out more. He seemed pretty excited to understand to understand more about the church.             
Elder Bashford, my district leader, is an amazing violin player and he had a really cool experience using his talent while we were contacting. He saw a guy playing a violin on the street to get money from people so elder Bashford went up and started talking to him about the violin. After a while the guy asked him to play so Elder Bashford play from memory Glory to God on High. He really amazed the guy and he accepted a Book of Mormon. While Elder Bashford played, his companion Elder Anderson talked to the people that were slowing down to see what was going on. They gave out some pass along cards as along witht the Book of Mormon. It was a really cool experience for all of us, even though it dumped rain on us for about 30 minutes. Luckily for Elder Walker and I the 30 minutes of rain happened to be while we under a bridge talking to Marcos. So we lucked out.           
 So it seems funny stories have been a common request, so I'll share a story. About 6 weeks ago I bought a tie from who we call ``the tie lady". SHe owns a little shop around the corner and sells cheap nice ties. So I bought a really nice blue tie that has black stripes on it. I was wearing it about 3-4 weeks later and Elder Bashford was also wearing a blue and black striped tie to so I said, ``hey, our ties match today. I got a blank stare from Elder Bashford. It turns out my nice ``blue" tie is actually a nice purple tie. It took me a month to find out. I love being color blind.              
Conference was absolutely amazing this weekend. It was one of the most relaxing weekends because we watched conference and had free study time in between. It was really nice. We watched conference in English, which I was really glad about. Also the Seventy that spoke, Jairo Mazzagardi, is Brazilian and he was one of our devotional speakers we had a few weeks ago here at the CTM. I got to meet him when he was here. I'm totally blanking on who said, it was one of the Twelve, that talked about the 5 steps to living a consecrated life. Was that Eyring, maybe?   I can never remember if I don't have my notes with me. I also really enjoyed the one from Patrick Kearon, the one who told the story about being bitten by a scorpion in Saudi Arabia. I absolutely love general conference.             
Well I have just one week left here and I can hardly believe it. I am sooooo excited. We leave really early next tuesday morning for the airport. we have to leave the CTM by 4AM for a 30-40 minute plane ride to Ribeiro Preto. But I am getting so excited to go. I feel really quite confident in my speaking skills. I still don't understand a lot but definitely enough to get by. Even today while waiting for Elder Walker at the Post Office I talked to a man who is a motorcycle courier. They have a lot here in Sao Paulo and he was telling be about how dangerous it is here. One person dies every day from a motorcycle accident here in Sao Paulo.But it was really neat to talk to him a little bit about me and the church but more importantly to just have a casual conversation with a complete stranger. It definitely has been boosting my confidence. I can't wait to be teaching people and helping them find the way to true joy and happiness. We have preactice lessons everyday and I promise people blessings in our fake lessons. But I still feel the spirit so strongly as I do it because I really know it's true.          
Well I hope all is still going well at home. How has it been babysitting Lily? Leah and Brian, you will haev to tell me all about your nice vacation. How is all the extended family doing? I hope all is well. I look forward to hearing more soon.          
Love, Elder McLelland

Gripe! April 30, 2012

Last week was a much better week. We had to kind of start over finding new people to teach. It happens so frequently on the mission that you kind of run into a dead end and you´re teaching group needs to be cleansed. We found a whole bunch of new investigators. We are teaching a group of 5 men from the ages 18-26. They all are from a state called Maranhão and are here to work. They have been here for three weeks and went to Church with us yesterday and are loving it. If all works out they should all be baptized in a couple of weeks. It´s really cool to see how humble they are. We are finally finding some new people that actually can be baptized. Next Monday will be transfers and it´s unfortunately pretty likely that I will be transferred. I really hope not. I want to see these people progress in the Gospel.
We are both feeling a bit sick today. Elder Bean got a stomach ache and a migraine and I am getting a bit of ´´gripe´´ or the flu. It´s a good thing today is preparation day for us to be able to rest. We were planning on going to do some fun stuff but we are just going to sleep. We were going to make sloppy joes, but it will wait for another day.
We had another fun ward activity last wednesday. We played a game that I remember playing once at a family night with the Underwoods we did several years back. Everyone writes a random question that starts with ``what would you do if...?´´. Then you pass all the questions out to other people to respond. Then you read the question on your paper aloud but the person to your left reads the response they just wrote down. The answers come out hilarious. One was, ``whhat would you do if Jesus Christ returned today?´´ ``I would invite him over for breakfast´´. It was great. We had several investigators there and they were all avle to see that it´s possible to have good clean fun without alcohol, etc.
We are really working on being bolder and inviting people to baptism right from the very first lesson. Preach My Gospel teaches us to not hesitate to invite people to baptism but we were for some reason forgetting this. As we have been showing our faith to be more bold and clear in our teaching and inviting we are seeing the Lord bless us with more committed people. It´s one of the biggest struggles here on the mission: find people who will accept commitments and fulfill them. There are so many people content with living in the ghetto, earning minimum wage, spending the excess on alcohol, drugs and loud sound systems in their cars. It´s amazing how common it is to be content with this type of lifestyle. But we had the best succes last week I have ever had finding new and devoted investigators.
Well, I hope you all have a great week. I hope to be writing you next week from the same area. I really don´t want to be transferred (cross your fingers everyone).
Elder McLelland

O Domingo Vira April 16, 2012

Well, it was another kind of frustrating week. But it ended nicely. We have still been struggling to find people eligible for baptism. The first half of the week we had basically no success finding people but between Saturday and Sunday we found 11 new investigators! It was quite a miracle. An answer to many prayers too, because many of them don´t have the customary law of chastity problems we always encounter. I entitled this letter ``O Domingo Virá´´ because of Elder Wirthlin´s talk ``Sunday Will Come´´(attached file),  which has always been a favorite of mine.I had a real nice expereince yesterday in Sacrament meeting feeling a great peace within to comfort me int he lack of baptismal success we are having. But our mission purpose is much more that baptism. It is to help others to come unto Christ, which is done not only by baptism. Sunday came both literally and figuratively yesterday.

We had a really fun ward activity on Wednesday. We made a life-size version of Chutes and Ladders. the people were the pieces and we took a cardboard box and made a giant die. It was so much fun. It took us a while to teach the rules but once everyone got a hang of it, it went really well. Then the children had fun ripping up all the stuff taped on the ground to help us clean up. 

We are now kind of working in 6 elders in the area now. It´s only me and Elder Bean that work in the area every day. But there is now a companionship of Assistants that work in the area most of the week when they aren´t in the mission office. Elder Botello and Elder Brower (his sister and Leah are friends from Dayton!). there is also a companionship of Travelling Assistants that work throughout all of the mission on weekdays and in our area on Saturdays, Elder Beck and Elder Bell (from my CTM district). I´m thinking of changing my name to Elder BcLelland to fit in with the other 5 elders that have B names.

I´m getting so excited for BYU lately. It´s so much fun to hear that my apartment arragements are getting set up and that all my classes are scheduled. That year at BYU was one of the funnest years ever. I can´t wait to go back. (I´m not trunky, don´t worry!)

Well, I guess that about sums up the week. 
Amo todos vocês!
Elder McLelland

Oh, the iniquity! April 9, 2012

This week was rather dissappointing. We have so many great investigators but they all have long-term commandment problems that is delaying their baptisms. We are teaching a guy that has a cocaine addiction, that´s at least 6 months of being drug free before he can be baptized.  And a ton of other couples that need to be married. I´m really frustrated!! Also the lady we had ready for baptism last week had to travel to another state to have a cirgury done. She doesn´t come back here until december. Oh, well. The mission is supposed to be tough right?
But other than these difficulties it´s going great. I got a call from one of the Assistants on Saturday telling me that I was being emergency transferred! It was all a joke. What a crummy thing to do to me. They all know I really don´t want to leave here and thought it would be funny to trick me. I nearly cried.
Today is nap day. I went three p-days without resting because of errands we had to do in the center of the city and I am dead tired. I haven´t felt so exhausted in all my life. It´s the sign of being an old geezer on the mission.
On wednesday we are planning a ward activity that is going rto be super fun. We are going to make a life size version of the board game chutes and ladders. The people are going to be the pieces and we are going to make a huge set of dice. I´m really excited. Pictures to come next week!
Well, it was a pretty normal week. Things are going great. Also I can´t believe how little time is left on the mission! I love you all!
Elder McLelland

April 2, 2012

Conference is the most fantastic thing of my life. However, my thoughts and inspirations were very different this time that the other 3 conferences I watched on the mission. The first three were obviously very missionary related. This time I was thinking much more about the future. It´s so insane to be thinking about my after-mission life. It´s so close.
Today is the start of another transfer. Elder Bean and I stayed another transfer together. It was definitely the answer to my prayers. We have marvelous investigators here that are progressing so well. I hope it continues in the same way. Many of them went to conference this weekend. A lot of miracles happened to get them there. Our area is a little bit far away from the stake center and it made it difficult to get people there. But things worked out well. We had a lady go that should be baptized this week> I showed here the notes I take as I watch conference beforehand and she was inspired to do the same. She wrote down a ton of notes during the session. It was really cool to see. We also got a family there that we have been working with for a while. they are not married yet and need to marry to get baptized. The original plan was for them to go to the first Sunday session but they ran late and missed their ride to go. But it was actually a blessing because they went to the second session and they heard Elder Ballard´s wonderful talk about family and the blessing of a marriage centered on Gospel principles. The session most centered around families was the one they got to go to. I´m so happy about that. We also got a recently reactivated family there too. I´ve never had so much success getting people to conference on the mission. It´s usually a major challenge.
We had a council with all of the Zone Leaders in the mission on Tuesday. In the program from 1:30pm to 3:00 it was scheduled as a surprise. It was bowling! We got to go to the local bowling alley and shoot some pins. It was a really fun experience. Most Brazilians have never bowled before and it was really fun to watch. I did terribly however.
Well I don´t have much time. I ]´ll write more details next week. I love you all.
Also I´m so excited to hear about Jake Hohsfield´s and Jared Foster´s mission calls! It´s gonna be awesome!
Elder McLelland

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Well, Reginaldo and Maria were married on Friday and baptized on Saturday night. We also had several investigators at the baptismal service which was wonderful. We are teaching another great family, Raimunda and Salete. We also need to help them decide to be married so they can be baptized. It was really good for them to see the service.
Church on Sunday was also fantastic. We are seeing lots of miracles here. We are getting more people to CHurch than I ever have on the mission. The best part is that they are families and adults. It´s great to have youth and children investigators, but it´s even better when they are adults. And better yet, men! The Church really needs to focus on growing through increasing ppriesthood holders. Yesterday was one of the best Sundays I have had. I also gave a talk in Sacrament meeting about the difference between testimony and conversion. We need to have a testimony of the Gospel, but it´s more important to be converted to the Gospel. I think it went fairly well. I was informed Saturday night about the talk. It´s amazing how the mission teaches you to prepare talks on the last minute if necessary. I spit out the Doctrine so quickly.
It´s so amazing to see snow at home! I am soooooo jealous. It has been hot as can be here. Luckily it´s cooled down a little these past few days. I think the brutal summer heat might be finally ending. I sure hope so. May-August gets pretty chilly here and I´m excited for it.
Things are better than ever on the mission. Our zone is struggling a bit but, the area here is amazing. I really hope to stay until the end of the mission. It´s not likely, but prayers can be answered.
Have a great week!
Elder McLelland

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I´m not dead!

P-day was moved to wednesday this week. Elder Tobias of the 7th quorum of the Seventy came to my ward on Sunday for a ward conference (the second time he spoke in the ward I was serving in). Then on Monday we had a short little conference with him, that´s why I didn´t write on Monday. 

Things are going really great here in the area. On Friday we have the wedding of Reginaldo and Maria. They will be baptized on Saturday night. It´s finally happening. We also had a bunch of great investigators at church for the conference. 13 in total! It was so wonderful. We are teaching another family that needs to get married. They are really cool. We helped them move to a new house because their last house was in such horrible shape. They were afraid of their kids getting sick from the rats that were infesting the property. Their landlord didn´t take very good care of the place. They are still a bit hesitant to officially get married despite having two daughters and living together for eleven years already. I think it´s more of a financial issue though. It´s such a  joy to be teaching whole families.

We basically only teach people from the Nordeste (northeast) of the country. They all come to the state of São Paulo to work and save up money. Working conditions are much better here. There is a lady in the ward from Bahia. She was telling us that where she lived she would work hard for a full month just to earn 40 reais (about 25 dollars). Here in São Paulo minimum wage is about 800 reais per month (equivalent of about 500 dollars. It´s such a  big difference. All the people from the Nordeste are so simple and humble. It´s so much easier to teach them than people naturally from São Paulo. It´s so much fun to be teaching them and how happy they are to hear the message. I can´t believe I have less than five months until I come home. Can you believe that I hit the 1 year 7 month mark on Sunday? It´s too soon!

Elder Bean´s birthday was on Monday. We were excited to be able to celebrate his birthday on a P-Day, but lo and behold it was cancelled. But we will celebrate today with the Betty Crocker brownie mixes his family sent him. I might be more excited for it than he is.  I´m loving the work with Elder Bean. He is such a fun guy. Its a big stress relive to have an experienced companion.

Í´m about to have a heat stroke. We have been having 100 degree weather about every day. And we are in a stifling hot lanhouse right now. I can´t wait for the cool season. It actually does get surprisingly chilly  in Brazil in the months of May-August. I can´t wait!

I love you all and shortly I will already be writing again. This P-Day in the middle of the week has really thrown off my weekly routine. 

Até Segunda-Feira!
Elder McLelland

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Big Black Creek Park (it´s fun to translate the names of Brazilian locations)

This week was a really busy week and a bit frustrating too. We had a bunch of meetings with the Assistants this week. We had a meeting with the all the zone leaders on Tuesday. Then on wednesday we had a meeting with all of the district leaders and zone leaders together. We lost a lot of time in our area because of it. But things turned out okay. We had two cool families at Church yesterday. We had kind of a miracle too. we are teaching a couple that had a lot of difficulties going to Church because the wife worked on all but one Sunday a month. But she was fired so she is able to go to CHurch every week. The cool thing is that she realizes it as a blessing to be fired. Now we've got to work on getting them married.
Next Weekend we had the wedding/baptism of Reginaldo and Maria. We are really excited. This family is one of the most devoted families I have met. It is truly a pleasure to work with them. Maria is learning to read through the Book of Mormon. She never went to school as a child and is just now learning. It´s fun to hear her reading slowly and deliberately. She has made a lot of progress. The GOspel inspires so much change in a person. Not just a desire to obey the commandments but to improve your quality of life.
We were challenged by our president to work closer to the Church because it´s easier to get people to go on Sundays. We started knocking doors and it was incredible to find out that people that live basically next door have never talked to missionaries before. Even people that have lived there for 15 years. We had some cool teaching expereinces as a result.
Well, I guess that about sums it up. I love you all! Have a great week.

Elder McLelland
Dad asked for a couple of teaching experiences I have had.
A neat teaching expereince I had was teaching that family in Birigui which was baptized. The dad, Jair, told us one day about an experience he had at work one day. He always got there a bit early and a co-worker said to him that he seemed different. It wasn´t clothing because they wear a uniform at work. It was just a change in his countenance (Alma 5:15,19). He made miraculous changes because of the Spirit. We never had to make direct invitations to have him change. He himself decided to stop smoking/drinking/etc.
Another was last night teaching a young couple that is having a lot of marriage trouble because the husband drinks a lot and gets violent. We visited his wife in the morning and cheered her up and she said the day was so much better just because of our presence their. I had kind of a reality check when her sister-in-law (a member) told me to go there and help because I am the only one this man will listen to. It was really strange to realize how much he trusted in me. and I really haven´t taught him that many times. We went back last night and taught them together about the Word of Wisdom. He was still a bit drunk but calmed down. Even drunk he felt the Spirit and started to show signs of wanting to repent. He told us he wants to fix his life and one day be baptized. He has a long journey ahead of him, but he will make it. It was a really neat spiritual experience.
Elder McLelland

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Wow, exciting news in Auberry Ward. I never got to know Bishp Rasmussen very well. I spent so little time in the ward after moving back. But I really liked him for the little time that I knew him. I´m excited to hear that Marty Page is the new bishop. he will do a great deal. I have learned a lot on the mission how important the bishop is in a ward. If the bishop doesn´t do things well, it can cripple an entire ward. Or it can lead to great success.
Well the things are going great here in the area. Elder Bean and I are working very well together. It´s going to be a great experience. It´s really nice to have an experienced companion finally. It was a lot of fun training but also stressful and tiring. We found a ton of new investigators last week. We are teaching so many families, it´s fantastic. One of the families we have been teaching for a long time finally got their wedding marked this morning. They will be officially married on March 16th and their baptisms will be that weekend. It´s going to be so awesome. Reginaldo and Maria (the ones that have given us pig ear 3 times) are some of the most humble and faithful investigators ever. I´m so excited for them.
This week we are going to have a bunch of training with president and the assistants. Tomorrow we have the monthly zone leader council, wednesday a training for all the leadership of the mission and thursday our zone meeting. It´s going to be a very busy week. But ``correria´´ (busy work) is a lot of fun.
I don´t really know what else to say, the week was great but not too many big events. It´s always a bit different adjusting to a new companion, but it´s been great. Kind of a relief. And that´s about it I think. Have a great week folks!
Elder McLelland

Monday, February 20, 2012

A new horizon

Well, today is a new transfer and I´m really excited to have stayed in my same area. I was really nervous to leave because we finally are getting the work to run more fluidly and are having a steady flow of 7-8 investigators at Church weekly and soon the baptisms will come rolling in. I really didn´t want to miss this opportunity. But, I do have a new companion. Elder Bean from South Jordan, Utah. We have the same amount of time on the mission. But, he went to the Provo MTC because of visa delays. I´m really excited to be his companion. We are gonna have a blast together. I can´t lie, I´m really excited to have an American companion. It´s awesome how we have an instant cultural connection. But it was sad to say goodbye to Elder Mateus.

We had some great experiences this week. We took a new family to Church this Sunday. We are really developing the work with families in the area. Ever since the great experience in Birigui baptiziing that complete family it has become my main focus. Here we have 4 couples that we are teaching and they are showing good progress. The biggest challenge is getting them legally married before baptism. A majority of the people we are teaching are from different states that have come here for work opportunities. The North Eastern region of the country is very poor and has very few work opportunities so many move here to work in construction to try and build a more stable lifestyle. They are such humble people and come here not knowing anything and have ready hearts to hear the gospel. It´s been quite a humbling experience. Also, the pig ear soup is starting to grow on me.

Our mission really kind of strayed from the basics of Preach My Gospel and numbers had been used in many incorrect forms and we all basically turned into robots. But we are having some amazing changes in the mission to really get us more focused on the people and their specific needs. These past two weeks I feel much more relieved and less stressed about my numbers and more focuse on my investigators. Interestingly enough, focusing less on the numbers in themselves is actually helping them to improve. We are getting a lot more people to commit to go to Church and they all are loving it. I´m really loving the mission again.

This weekend is a big Brazilian holiday called Carnaval. It is probably one of the most wicked holiday traditions ever. But luckily it´s not too big of a deal here in Ribeirão Preto. It´s basically Mardi Gras but 100 times worse. Kind of sad to be honest. I can´t wait to celebrate a good, clean 4th of July celebration.

Well, I hope you all have a great week. This has been a great one here for us. I´m really excited and pumped of for the mission. My gas tanking is filling up rather that draining out on the mission....despite the occasional trunkiness and excitement to see you all soon. I love you all!

Elder McLelland

Monday, February 13, 2012

1 year 6 months!

Can you all really believe that on Saturday I hit hte official 1 year six month mark. I also found out the day that I come home. i get the plane on July 31st and on August 1st I will be arriving in the Sates. It´s so wierd to be writing this kind of information. Bummer that I´ll miss Cousin´s Camp.
This week was strangely one of the most spiritual yet least successful and most frustrating of all I have had on the mission. Every night planning we had so many people to visit that there just wasn´t time to fit everyone in, yet executing our plans was terrible. No one was home. It was really stressful. But it was a really spiritual week because of a great zone conference we had. Things are changing on the mission and we are receiving a new vision, the correct vision of using numbers. A lot of things in the past I didn´t agree with, especially a part in Preach My Gospel that says a Standard of Excellence may be established by the President and it is not used to impose goals or to be used as a quota. I always believed so much in that phrase and the mission is finally realizing this correct vision. Such a stress reliever. We have a new assistant on the mission that is really revolutionizing the mission and eliminating bad habits such as the incorrect view of the Standard of Excellence.
It was also a great week being on Division with my Zone Leader Elder Davis. In his area they received a referral from a pass-along-card and she was baptized yesterday. It was quite a miracle and a greta experience. I did the baptismal interview and have never seen someone more prepared to receive the Gospel. We also contacted a referral from a pass-along-card. He is a young policeman and has suffered a really sad tragedy. Him and his wife had an argument about financial stuff and she went off the deep end and ran away basically kidnapping his two daughters. No one, not even his wife´s parents know where they are. He was really heart broken and called for the Lamb of God DVD hoping to find solace. It was a really neat spiritual experience. We explained the healing power of the Atonement, that it doesn´t only cover our sins but all of our sorrows.
The week despite being difficult was great. And I can´t believe we will already have transfers again next week. I can´t be positive but I have a feeling that Elder Mateus and I will e separated. It´s been a great time working with him. One of the humblest missionaries I have ever met in my life. Have a great week! Love you all!

Elder McLelland

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Another threesome!

So I´m in a threesome for a few days again with Elder Davis. He is our Zone Leader and his companion was Elder Rich. Elder Rich went home a coupe of weeks early with his parents. Elder Davis came to stay with us for a few days and should be getting a new companion tomorrow. It´s been fun to talk a lot with him. He is a fun Zone Leader.
Yesterday was a little frustrating because our planned baptism fell through. We had a crisis with the water at the Chapel not working. WE were running around bucketing water into the font and half way through the girl called us up cancelling the baptism. WE aren´t even sure what happened we didn´t find much out. Hopefully we haven´t lost this invetigator. But it was also a good Sunday becuase I got to attend two wards and meet the investigators of Elder Davis´ward and we also had some cool investigators in my ward. I´m loving the area and hoping to stay a while.

The realization that my mission is coming closer and closer to its end has been settling in. It´s a really strange feeling. I can´t believe I only have 6 months left! I´m still loving the mission with all my heart and at the same time excited to come home. I got the package you sent and about cried with joy to get the boxes of Reese´s Puffs and Honey Bunches of Oats. When Elder Davis saw it he was speechless. I shared the loot and let him have a bowl. I´m also excited for the blueberry muffins, yummmmm. I also really enjoyed reading the Thanksgiving leaves from everyne in the family. My favorite was Odin´s tooth getting whacked and Lily´s ``cowboy girl boots´´. Oh I can´t wait to see all the little ones again.
Well, it´s been a pretty normal week. I hope you all have a great one. And remember, give referrals to your local missionaries. We have been having some great experiences teaching through referrals.
Elder McLelland

Monday, January 30, 2012

Torta na Cara

Well, it was nice to finally have a more normal week. The past month or so has been nuts with emergency transfers and getting new companions/trainees. This week was a normal week though, just me and Elder Mateus working in the area. I miss Elder Anderson and Elder Montero. It was some fun experiences with all four of us. Anderson and Montero are now in different areas. The work this week went well too. Last week I had talked about how we needed to let go of a bunch of investigators that weren´t progressing, so this week was focused on finding and we had quite a bit of success. We have some more promising prospects now.
Wednesday we had a ward activity entitled ``Torta na Cara´´, or ``Pie in the Face´´.  It was set up kind of like Family Feud. One person from each team would go up to answer a question and the quickest to respond wins. But if you respond incorrectly your oponent gets to pie you in the face. If you answer correctly you pie your opponent in the face. I unfortunately got pied in the face because I had never heard of Mount Vesuvius. My companion got to pie our Relief Soceity President in the face...I´m worried about our next lunch at her house!
Sacrament meeting was a fun expereince yesterday. So on Wednesday night when we had the ward activity the bishop saw a random drunk man stumbling around the front gate afterwards and invited him to come to our meetings on Sunday. He showed up! He was drunk and talked a lot but I think he liked it. Drunk men sure are willing to try out singing the hymns too. It was really funny to hear him slurring all the words, but he did manage to carry the tune. Better than most of the members actually. I think I´m becoming tone deaf here on the mission. Many missionaries who didn´t care much for singing come back from the mission liking to sing hymns. I, on the other hand, am losing the capability to sing the bass/tenor lines. It´s really kind of sad sometimes to hear the congregation singing so off pitch.
It´s beena great week and I hope you all have a fantastic one this week!
Elder McLelland