Monday, August 29, 2011

Ei tá, sol pai d´egua!

Well it´s been super hot this past week here in Birigui. Hence the headline. I really don´t know how to translate it exactly but it´s a phrase from Belém where Elder Chaves is from. He always said it on hot days.....And don´t worry, I´m using sunscreen!

Well it´s been a really good week. Tough, very tough. But very good also. It´s looking very possible to baptize Ana Paula, Carol and Douglas this week. Ana Paula and Carol are really excited. We just need to help them get over their last little bit of fear. Douglas is a 13 year old young man that is super excited. We just need to convince his mom that he has the real desire to be baptized. He has been going to seminary all week, and alone too! The seminary teacher is super excited because Douglas is getting all of the other youth excited too. I´m super happy. And yesterday one of the areas in my district had 5 baptisms. It was super cool. The work is slowly pushing forward.

To explain the pictures: 
1.  More mishaps with the McLelland name.
2.  I Promise I´m studying!

Today is going to be a super fun P-Day. Next week we have transfers which also means that Elder Shelley is going home! SO to celebrate his last PDay we are going to Rodizio de Churrasco. Or in other words a Brazilian BBQ. It will be like that one in Fresno, Rio Grill. Unlimited access to the meat!!!!! I´m excited. Plus afterwards we are going to be able to watch a Disney movie as a reward for the good number of baptisms in the zone this transfer. We are all excited.

Well, I guess that about sums it up for the week. The work is going fantastic and I´m more excited than ever. Just worried about transfers already! Have a great week folks!

Elder McLelland

Monday, August 22, 2011

Chicken Pox....curse or blessing?

Don´t worry, I didn´t get the chicken pox. Although I am technically at risk because I´ve never had it. Our investigator´s daughter Vitória got chicken pox this week and was actually a blessing for us and we were finally able to teach her. She has a really busy work schedule and it only works out to teach on weekends. But last week we were able to go almost everyday and our investigator Ana Paula made HUGE progress. She was interviewed for baptism and passed with flying colors, she just is a little bit afraid still of making this big of a commitment. Unfortunately the daughter having chicken pox also kept Ana Paula from going to Church. But she will be baptized along with her daughter Carol within the next couple of weeks. We are super excited!
This week has been full of other really cool spiritual experiences. We found a young couple to teach that is really excited about the Church. The husband, David, recently got out of prison for drug trafficking. He made the decision while in prison to change his whole outlook on life. As soon as he got out he started searching for religion to follow. ANd who did he find? The Mormon missionaries! He´s really excited and ready to make the changes necessary. Including marrying his girlfriend that he lives with! He is super awesome.
We are also teaching a teenager named Douglas that is excited about the Church and baptism. He has started going to seminary this week too. His mom is just very hesitant to let him be baptised though. But things are moving along much better in the work these days.
Vovó Francisca! (grandma Francisca) She is the lady next to us in the picture. we spent some of our P-day this morning playing Uno with her. She insisters that we call her Vovó, or grandma. She is a hilarious old lady that has been a member of the Church for about 3 years. She has lot of health problems. She took out her oxygen breathing apparatus to take the picture.
Things are going great here. It´s been one of the better weeks here this week. I´m more excited than ever. Have a great one, folks!
Elder McLelland

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hump day!

Well I made a year on the 11th. Sooo wierd. It´s really strange to think that I am over half way done all ready. But I´m more excited than ever to be here on the mission. Things are going great.
We ere walking on Saturday down a street that I always walk on. And then I saw this big beautfiul bird trying to bite my face (the bird in the picture attached). It´s a pretty big bird if you didn´t notice. Good thing it barely missed getting me. But we took advantage of the moment and asked the owner if we could take some pictures. I thought it was pretty cool. This kind of bird is called an Arara. It´s really pretty.

Happy Father´s Day!!! Yesterday was father´s day here in Brazil. It was like any other Brazilian holiday, BBQs and everyone drunk without any desire to hear a message about the gospel. What a great way to selebrate being a dad, huh? Leave your family to get drunk at a bar with your buds, wonderful!
We are helping a less active lady get back to activity in the Church. She became very heavily involved with drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. She was very addicted to Crack. When Elder Chaves was still with me, we took her to Church and helped her make some important decisions. But when França got here we had a hard time getting a hold of her again. Last week we finally found her at home again> I expected to have little hope of her overcoming her addictions. But to our surpise she has completely stopped using crack for two weeks and has reduced the amount of alcohol and cigarettes too. She told us her biggest source of help is the Book of Mormon. That sure made me feel good. Then she went to Church by herself yesterday. I was really happy about that. We are having a realy tough time getting our investigators to progress and go to Church but we are having some good success with less actives.
I´m really kind of TO´d right now (said like Kip from Napolean Dinamite). We are having a lot of difficulty witht he area here. The members are a little discouraged and it sure makes the work harder. But I´m not blaming the difficulties on the members. We also as a companioship have things to work on as well. Missionary work is exactly that, WORK. It´s tough, but I love it. I hope I can make the best of my second year here on the mission. I sure hope it goes better than the first.
I love you all and you have a great week.

Elder McLelland

Monday, August 8, 2011

Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause?

We say opa a lot in this area. I absolutely love how dynamic the word opa is. It can mean oops, awesome, thanks, and just about any other word you want by changing the tone of voice. Also ``ohh´´ is a fantastic way to hide if you don´t like the food. ``elder, do you like the food?´´ ``Ohhhhh´´. It sounds like you like it but, really doesn´t necessarily mean you do.  such dynamic words.
I really don´t know why I explained that.
It´s been a great week. Kind of stressful but still great. We are having a tough time with get people to Church here, even the members. This area has a big fluctuation in the weekly Church attendance rate. What is normal attendance in the Auberry ward, or any other normal ward there? The best I have seen here was 70 people and yesterday was the worst, 42. And next Sunday will unfortunately be worse because it is Father´s day here in Brazil. EVERYONE is going to leaving town or having a BBQ. And of course BBQ is more important than the Gospel right? Sheesh
But things are actually going well. The District I´m in charge of is really showing progress. WE had some baptisms yesterday in the District with more to come shortly. Too bad I haven´t been able to set the example of baptisms in my area yet. But ``Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory!?´´  I´m really enjoying the work these days. It´s been tough but I´m improving little by little each time. I just wish I was progressing faster. Just like was said in Conference ``the gopel is to comfort the afflicted and to aflict the comfortable´´. Every time you feel comfortable with your work and progress you need to lengthen your stride and step outside of the comfort zone to work harder.
We are currently teaching 4 couples in the same circumstances. I might have alredy mentioned them. In all 4 couples, the man in a member of the Church living unmarried with a non-member woman. The husbands are ``fubecas´´ or slackers, and the wives want to get married and baptized. Such a hurdle to overcome. But we have been able to help a bunch of them and resolve some internal conflicts in their relationships. LAst night I shared Mathew 11:28-30 with one of these couples. ``Come unto me all ye that are heavy laden...´´ I explained about the yoke of Christ. A yoke for oxen doesn´t work if only one ox is pulling. Both have to pull. meaning we need to pull alongside Chirst and he will pull with us. If we do so we will be able to ``run with patience the race that is set before us´´ (Hebrews 12:1). It really helped this couple realize that both of them need to put effor tinto the relationship, and most importantly include Christ.
I hope we all remember to keep including Christ. I have one more year to apply all the lessons I have learned on the mission and to keep learning. We had a training from Elder Godoy, an Area Authority. he made a graph showing the progress of Christ in his ministry. His progress never had a plateau (I have no idea if that is spelled right). At the climax, the very end of his mortal ministry, was the Atonement. The most important singular historic event in the world. Our lives need to follow this pattern. Always progressing forward without a plateau. I hope to keep progressing until the end of my mission to start the rest of my life on a high point.
Have a great week. I love you all!
Elder McLelland

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Snow in Brazil!

Well it didn´t actually snow but we defrosted our freezer and it came out as the exact consistency of snow. It was pretty exciting. Elder França (pronounced Fransa) has never seen snow and this is the closest he will probably get.
Well, my new son as you saw is Elder França. He is from Pernambuco, my third companion from that state. Kind of a coincidence because there aren´t really that many from Pernambuco on the mission. He is from the city Gravatá, close to the Recife temple. He is great. I still miss Elder Chaves, he and I had a special connection I had never had with any othe companion. But it´s going to be another great transfer.
We had a good first week together. We are teaching several awesome people that are looking very possible to be baptised here in a couple of weeks. I hope it all works out. We are also teaching 4 couples in almost exactly the same situation. The man is a less active member and the wife is a non-member. Problem: none of them are legally married and are living together. This is such a problem here in Brazil. I had always thought it was bad in the US but it´s even worse here. No wants to make a commitment to be married. Aftre 30 years of living together they are afraid to get legally married because ``things might not work out between them´´. I think after thirty years they would know that by now. But oh well, we will do ou rbest to get them married!
I am now the district leader of a companionship of Sisters. No offense to the woman, but SIsters have A LOT more to tell me about when I have to call them up at night to see how  the work is going. Normal conversation with an Elder:
hey, how´s it going
good, and you?
how was your day?
good, yours?
How is the work going?
going good (maybe shares a special experience)
how are the numbers going? teaching lessons with members present?
Awesome, have a great night. Work hard tomorrow!
Conversation with a Sister:
hey, how´s it going
good, and you?
how was your day?
15 minutes explaining every detail of the day!
Awesome, have a great night. Work hard tomorrow!
But don´t get me wrong, I´m glad to have them in the district. They are working a lot harder than the other companionship of elders that was in the area before them. This transfer is going to be fantastic. I´m super excited.
Well I guess that about wraps it up for the this week. Everyone have a great week!
Elder McLelland
Explanation of photos:
Snow ball surpise
Me and Chaves on the last night
Me, França, President and Sister Prieto
Newbies are always tired on the first day