Monday, January 24, 2011


Well, it´s been a pretty exciting week here. The reason this email is a later in the day is because Wellington, the ward member I live with here, took us to see waterfalls for our P-day. It was quite exciting. I stood at the top of an 84 meter waterfall called Cahoeira de Itambé. It was pretty scary to stand at the top of it. Unfortunately we didn´t get to go to a good spot to take a picture of that one. Another one we went to was called Cachoeira de Serras. It was amazing. I took a bunch of cool pictures and some videos there. I thought a lot about the waterfalls in the movie ``The Mission´´. These weren´t nearly as big but still pretty big and in the middle of Brazil. We also got lost on some crazy trails looking for another waterfall. It was a fun experience. It was me, my companion, Wellington and two other missionaries Elder Hull and Elder Antone (Christensen from the CTM).

This past week was really stressful and also really good. Our difficulty right now is that many people just don´t want to keep commitments. We are having a lot of difficulty getting new investigators to church. It´s been quite a qhile since we have had any new ones at church. But the firm ones we are already working with are still progressing and give us the hope we need to keep working. In the mission we have standardized mission goals, basically a minimum of lessons/contacts/etc. that the president wants us to get weekly. President asked my Zone specifically to fulfill all of our numbers by Saturday night. He is trying lots of new things with my Zone because we are doing really well despite being the smallest zone in the mission. It´s cool to see that we are all working pretty hard. I really love me LZs (zone leaders). They are really powerful missionaries that are leading the way for us.

Congratulations to Matthew and Nate Foster on their mission calls. I have been so anxious to hear about where people are going. And I can´t believe James Knight leaves so soon too. It´s so exciting to hear people making this wonderful choice. Here I definitley see a lot of young men losing desire to go. We have a long list of young men of age to serve but have no desire to go. We are preparing one here, Alessandro, already 25 years old. He is really excited to serve and he likes to go out and work with us whenever his busy works schedule allows him to. I bet he will be called to the United States because he already speaks English very well. The Lord needs more young men like Matt, Nate, James and Alessandro to keep pushing on this marvelous work.

Well I think I already told most of the exciting stuff that happened this week. Things are going great and I´m more excited than ever to keep working. I went through a few days of discouragement because we aren´t having the success I would like. But I´m a lot more encouraged now. Maybe the waterfalls did it. I´m also not sick anymore...woohoo! I hope you all have yet another great week. I love you all.

Elder McLelland

Monday, January 17, 2011


Ola, tudo bem com vocês?
Hey everyone! How are you all doing? Everything is going pretty good here in Jandaia. I can´t really seem to get over being sick though because there is never sufficient time to rest and recover. I worked full days almost everyday this week. Friday though I have to rest for a couple of hours because my body just couldn´t handle it. My ears are going crazy too because of the congestion. i can´t really hear out of my left ear today. Not the funnest thing. Plus I think it´s bugging elder Holmes because I am always asking him to repeat stuff.
But the work here is going pretty well. We are getting really close with the amazing family I have already told you guys about. They will be married pretty soon I think. The only thing really holding it up is that she is from another state and is missing a couple a documents such as birth certificate. And because she is from a different state it will take a little bit longer to get it straightened out. But I think just a few more weeks it should happen. Then Baptism!  They are so reay to be baptized. They are already so strong in the Ward and have strong relationships with the members. It goes to show how important it is to have the help of members in the work. Having the members passing by their house, inviting them to family home evening activities, and give rides if neccessary has made all the difference for them. When you guys see new members/investigators at Church do all you can to befriend them. It is so crucially important for this to happen or they will never ``ficar firme´´ --- be strong in the Church.
I think I talked about it a bit in the last email that our ward got a new bishop 2 Sundays ago. I really like our new bishop. the last one was really great but this new bishop is so excited and fired up. He is already going around doing lots of visits and making changes in how things are done. I think it´s going to lead to a lot of good in the ward. i think the ward is really going to strengthen with him as bishop. And he has a more open schedule than the old bishop so that really helps him be able to work in the ward better
Today for P-Day Elder Holmes and I went to one of the malls here in Ribeirão Preto and got MacDonald´s for lunch. it was super expensive but fun to have some nice salty fries and a McChicken. I couldn´t handle paying for a soft drink. But I already get that enough as it is. People here drink a lot of soda, especially in meals with missionaries. But we are strictly forbidden to drink Coca Cola or Pepsi. But we drink a ton of Guaraná which is a soda made from a weird jungle fruit with the same name. It´s apparently a horrible tasting fruit but makes delicious soda.
Last week´s district meeting was a special one with training from the Assistants. The president is using my Zone as a test group for a new way to teach people on the first visit. We use a piece of paper and outline some basic history of the Bible and then the Restoration. And we make is extremely clear what is necessary to gain a testimony of these things. 1st you have to read from the Book of Mormon, 2nd you have to go to church and see it for yourself, and 3rd - the most impprtant - you have to pray about it. We are using this to try and filter better through the people that really have interest and people that don´t want to keep any commitments. So far it´s been working out pretty well. We already marked 4 more baptismal dates with it last week. We will have to see if the people will come through with it but I like this new technique. It is at least helping me be more bold, even if we decide not to keep using it in the Mission. We have to really push the idea of the commitments with it which I have always been afraid to do. But I´m seeing how being bold about it is actually working, people are more receptive to it than I thought they would be.
We got a surprise visit from one of the Assistants and one of my Zone Leaders the day after the training. they worked in our area with us on splits to help us learn how to use this new technique. it was really cool to be on splits with my LZ(zone leader). Elder Robertt (he is Brazilian despite the name) is awesome. He is someone I really admire and hope to be like as a missionary. he takes everything seriously and respects all of the rules - unfortunately a rare trait in the mission. I learned a lot from those two that day. They really know how to work> it kind of overwhelmed me because I am still a bit weak from being sick and got a little unaccustomed to hard work from my first two companions.
Well folks I better get going. I hope it´s been a great week for all of you, it sure has for me. I love to hear from you all!
Até mais!
Elder McLelland

Monday, January 10, 2011

First Week with an American

Hey everyone!

This week has definitely had its ups and downs. But, I am really excited to work with Elder Holmes. I loved having two Brazilians as my first companions. It definitely helped me learn Portuguese much faster. I磎 actually kind of worried about being able to maintain it with an American companion. But we already have been able to bond more than I ever did with my first two companions.We have a lot in common and he also went to BYU so we have a lot to talk about. 

Friday and Saturday were miserable days. I got sick with ``gripe创 which basically means the flu. I had a horrible headache and a fever Friday and Saturday I had no energy to do anything. It felt so horrible to be just sitting at home without much to do. It felt awful to be the cause of our lack of work for a couple of days. But we were still able to pull it off for the week and accomplished a decent amount of work. We just lacked having investigators in church. Saturday is a crucial day to pass by all of your investigators and arrange for them to get to church and it obviously wasn磘 able to happen last Saturday. But I磎 feeling pretty good today and this week should be much better, as long as the sickness doesn磘 get passed on to Elder Holmes.

Our ward here in Jandaia got a new Bishopric yesterday. Bishop William was released and replaced with Bishop Rai. Rai was already in the bishopric before and I really liked him a lot. I think he is going to do a lot to help out the missionary work here. It磗 so crucial to have ward members involved in the work. There are a lot of wards in the mission that just dump all the work on the missionaries and it just doesn磘 work out too well. We already have a decent group of people that help a lot but it could definitely improve and I think Rai will be able to help us out. Sadly we lost our Ward Mission Leader....again. When I first got here in the ward Diego was released because he was a bum and didn磘 do anything help us. The new one was called and that was pretty much the last time he came to church. So he was released as well and then we got Reinaldo. Reinaldo was amazing and did a lot to help us out. it was such a blessing to have his help. But now he is in the Bishopric and so we will have to get yet another ward mission leader. I hope our new one will be as good.

Well I guess that pretty much sums up the events for this week. It wasn磘 too eventful, mostly because I got sick. This coming week will hopefully be much better. Hope it goes well for all of you. I love you all!

Elder McLelland

Monday, January 3, 2011

Feliz Ano Novo!

Howdy Everyone!

Well it磗 been a pretty eventful week. I experienced a ridiculous Brazilian New Year. I hardly slep because of all the noise. New Years here is way get drunk and party at least. But we spent a lot of time with the same family of Adriana that we spent Christmas with. It was awesome.....and I ate a ton of delicious food. I had fish for the first time since I磛e been here. Salmon and some other type as well. Delicious!

Elder J. Santos is no longer my companion, he is spending the day with the president, the Temple tomorrow and will be at home tomorrow night. According to mission slang I 创killed创 another companion. My new companion is Elder Holmes from Orem, Utah. It磗 going to be a great transfer. I can tell we both want to work hard.

Yesterday was one of the most amazing testimony meetings I have experienced. Our fantastic investigator, Hamilton, bore his testimony. He talked about how he thought he almost lost the year of 2010. Things were difficult to them. But he bore his testimony of how the last month made it the best year of his life. He bore his testimony of our role as missionaries, he wants his son to serve. It was such an amazing feeling to know that I was a part of that miracle. And he has finally decided that he truly wants to get married to his 创wife创 after living together 8 years. This testimony along wiht all the rest made it the best testimony meeting I have attended.

Dad wanted to hear what our daily schedule is like. So here it is:
630 wake up/excercise
700 shower/get ready/etc
730 breakfast
800 personal study
900 companion study
1000 language study
1100 start working (if you don磘 have a slacker companion)
1200(ish) Lunch Time!!!!!!!
    Work, teaching, contacting, etc
900/930 Arrive at home, plan, shower
1030 Sleep!!!!!!

The only time this changes is Monday for P-day, we have P-day from 10:00am until 6pm and then we work. tuesday is district meeting in the morning. And sunday is a normal day but without study time because that is when we are at church.

Dad also asked how to be better member missionaries. The biggest thing I would ask is first say a sincere prayer asking for the oppurtunity to find people....anyone. Friends, coworkers, people in the supermarket---anyone! Then do all you can to find those people. And most importantly give the names of those people to the missionaries as referrals. Referrals almost always lead to sucess yet missionaries (at least here) hardly ever receive them. Thay are super important. Ask the missionaries if you can get some pass-along cards to give to people. And remember that throughout all of this pray sincerely for help. If you are sincere and try the Lord will most certainly put people in your way to teach.

Another question: what do I do that helps me feel the Spirit? Unfortunately this last transfer I had a lot of free time at home. But, I learned to use all of that time to read scripture/Jesus the Christ/conference talks/etc. This really brought the Spirit into my life. I have learned even more than before to read the Book of Mormon. Also having some church music to listen to lately has been helping a lot. I feel the Spirit as I listen and the songs get stuck in my head which a blessing because they stay with me all day.

Finally: what makes Brasil different? I don磘 really know how to explain it. So many things are the same. Obnoxious music being played from cars on the streets. Teenagers addicted to Facebook, etc. Strong and humble members of the church. Members who don磘 want to do anything or just do the bare minimum. The differences: rice and beans every day, which I love; everyone believes in God whther they practice it or not; no one here likes to get married (in some aspects even wh]orse than the USA); and it磗 always uncomfortably hot. But this is has been the most amazing 5 months of my life. I have learned so much about myself if nothing else. I have learned my weaknesses, my strengths, and my commitment to the Lord. The mission is the most amazing blessing ever.

I love all of you so much. I  hope you all had a great Christmas, New Year磗 and have set great goals for this year to come. Do all you can to really think of how you can change and apply all of your hearts to fulfilling them. I have made my goals and promise all of you I will fulfill them. Until next week!

Elder McLelland

PS I finally atached some pictures from this past transfer. The baptism, our chapel the neighbor of the Catholic church, Our awesome Christmas tree, and Christmas goodies.