Monday, September 26, 2011

Conta as bênçãos!

Well, yesterday we had the baptism of José Henrique. It was a really nice experience. And, it took long enough but it was my first baptism of a man. It´s soooo hard to find adult men willing to commit to the Gospel. We had a really nice baptismal service. It was kind of funny actually in the part of the actual baptism. I filled the font up really full on accident. The font is located outside and above ground and has steps going up to enter. There was a little girl standing right there at the steps to get a close look. And with the font being very full, when josé was immersed the water went splashing and soaked this little 7 year old named Sabrina. Everyone started laughing and she got really embarrassed and was crying really hard. But she got over it. It was an exciting and very spiritual baptismal service.
This week was also really tough. A lot of our most progressing investigators fell through. We were supposed to have two baptisms. The other young man was all ready to go on Saturday night but he went and visited his Grandma who is an active member of another religion and she started saying a lot of bad stuff about the Church. He got really discouraged and decided not to get baptized. I hope we have a chance to salvage the situation. Others also decided to stop investigating the Church. It was pretty sad. But I´m still as excited as ever. Especially because we have General Conference this weekend!
We also had Zone Conference last week. It was absolutely fantastic. I love conferences on the mission so much. There is so much power in having 50 missionaries gathered together singing hymns and studying the Gospel. One of the Elders from my CTM group, Elder Bell, is the new Assistant to the President. I really enjoyed hearing his training and the trainings by the other leaders on the mission. It always gets me so pumped up to work harder and be more dedicated to the Lord. Doing so I saw a lot of results last week. The Spirit was with us very strongly and it is such a great feeling to know you are doing the Lord´s will.
Well I hope you all have a great week and enjoy General Conference. I love you all!
Elder McLelland
PS I tried to send picture of the baptism but the computer I am using is having USB troubles.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Man, I'm skinny

Y´ello? Was it Mike we made fun of for answering the phone like that? One of the Elders in my district, Elder Farrington, answers the phone like that too and I have to restrain myself from laughing everytime.
The picture of me is with one of my new shirts. Thanks! they are so much better. I got both of the packages already. The second one with the shirts got here super quick. It got to the mission office in less than two weeks. Also, the AW Root Beer popsicles are fantastic! I can´t wait to get home and eat a pepperoni pizza with root beer.
Well the week was pretty good. But we also had some disappointments as well. Some of our inverstigators that had been progressing decided that they wanted to give up. We taught a young man on wednesday and had a really good lesson with him. He accepted everything and told us that he knew that this is the only true Church on the Earth and the he knew he needs to follow it. We marked a baptismal date with him on the first lesson. We went back Thursday and Friday and he still showed the same excitement. When we went on Sunday morning to pick him up for Church he wasn´t home. He told us later that afternoon that he didn´t want to go anymore because his family is against him going. It was a big let down. We have to go back this week and do our best to get him interested again.
But the good news is that we have two baptisms set up for next week: José Henrique, and his little brother Vítor (hey Victor, why did you dad leave?). We have had a bunch of really good lessons with them this last week. José had to stop smoking and it was kind of difficult for him to stop. Vitor went to Church a few weeks ago and didn´t show too much interest. But all of sudden he came up to us in the middle of a lesson with José and asked to be baptized. Of course you can! We are pretty excited about their progress.
Tomorrow we have Zone Conference! It´s been a long time since we had zone conference and I´m super excited. We always leave so much more excited and pumped up to work. Plus we have a new assistant, Elder Bell (he is from my CTM group) and I´m really excited to hear his training. Plus at conference you always get to see other missionaries you haven´t seen for months. I cant wait til tomorrow.
Well, I guess that about sums it up for the week. It went really well this week and next week....Baptism! Things are finally picking up this area. Baptisms and reactivations of less actives. I love you all. Have a great week!

Elder McLelland

What Feather!

I absolutely love learning languages. There are some many phrases that, when translated literally, don´t make any sense at all. For example ``que pena´´ translated to ``what feather´´ is used to mean what a shame or pity. I really have no idea how this expression came about but I think it´s hilarious. Another example is when a parent is telling a child to stop misbehaving they say, ``Chega!´´ It means ``arrive´´. So, to you frustrated parents, you can say to your children ´´arrive, arrive´´ when misbehaving. I love weird translations!
Well, this week was another good one. And it looks like we will have another baptism next week. José Henrique is a 21 year old that came to Church two weeks ago with a less active friend. He told us that he was pretty active in other churches but never really felt like they were right. He told us that everytime he would visit a church he would leave and look at the front of the Church and ask God if he should be baptized there. He said he never felt anything when he did this at the other churches. He did it in front of ours and had a thought come into his mind ``you finally found it``. We are pretty excited and he is making a bunch of changes in his life. He just needs to overcome smoking and he will be baptized. Yesterday he only smoked on and promised it was the last one he would ever smoke!
We are still teaching Ana Paula and her daughter Carol. Ana Paula absolutely loves Church. He daughter Carol also likes it a lot but has a ridiculously busy schedule and it doesný always work out for he to attend Church. She is envolved in ballet (the dance, is that how you spell it?) THey both love Church but are still nervous to make the big decision about baptism. Both have said they will, but just feel like it is too soon. Everyone that was already a missionary knows the situation very well. But pretty soon I think they will be baptized. She also has another daughter, Vitória that is 3 years old. Yesterday in Sacrament meeting the bishop gave a talk quoting from general conference ``what have you done with my name?´´ HE asked us ``what have you done in the name of Jesus Christ?´´ Vitória recognized the phrase ``in the name of Jesus Christ`` from all the prayers we say and she shouted in the middle of the talk ``Amen!´´ I love seeing little children already picking up on the simple things.
I can´t believe it has been 10 years already since 9/11. A lot of people were asking me yesterday what it was like to be in the States when it happened. Unfortunately I don´t remember a whole lot that happened. I just remember that we forbidden to ever talk about it at school. I was really annoyed by that. All of the other people my age that I have talked to about 9/11 said they spent the day at school watching the news and discussing what was happening. But I really didn´t see any of it happen live because Valley Oaks Elementary School prohibited any conversation about it. But, wow, What a frightening event. What did the nation do in remembrance yesterday?
Well, let´s not dwell on the sad past.  As Joseph Smith said in DC 128:22`` Brethren, shall wenot go on in so great a causeGo forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing. Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them out of their prison; for the prisoners shall go free. ´´ The Gospel, despite all the tragedies that occur, will redeem any lost soul and heal any broken heart.
Have a great week everyone!
Elder McLelland


Well, it´s been one of the best weeks ever here on the mission. We finally had some success this week. Just about everything worked out like it should have. The most exciting part, is the baptism of Douglas! The young man we have been working with for a few weeks decided to be baptized and his mom also gave permission. At the beginning she didn´t really seem to serious about letting him participate in the Church but now she actually pays attention when we come to teach lessons. And she went to sacrament meeting and the baptism yesterday. She really liked it and was very proud of her son making this important decision. I could see her deciding to join the Church in not too long as well.
The rest of the work also went really well this week. We found a bunch of new people to teach and pretty much everything worked out. I´m just hoping we can keep it up. And we also had transfers this weekend. But, Elder França and I stayed together for another transfer. I was kind of surprised because I was used to the routine of getting transferred so often. This is the first time I stay in the same area for 3 transfers. I´m excited to keep working here, and to help Douglas stay strong.
I have really learned a lot this week about the importance of prayer and letting the Spirit do the work. President Prieto always says that we need to throw all the burden of the work on the Spirit. I´ve been trying to do that more and we are surely seeing the changes as a result. I´m more excited than ever.
I can´t even really think of what else to say this week. I can´t really express what I´m thinking right now. It was just a fantastic week.
The other picture included is me and Elder Shelley at the BBQ restaurant last P-Day. I was drinking lemonde and he was drinking Maracujá (i think dragon fruit in English). Elder Shelley goes home tomorrow. I´m going to miss him. He was one of my best friends here on the mission. I got a little ``trunky´´ too when he talked about all the fun stuff he will get to do at home. The most exciting is American pizza. I can´t wait for a simple pepperoni pizza!
Well I hope you all have a great week. This week for sure will be another one for me!
Elder McLelland