Thursday, August 29, 2013

August 28, 2013

We usually hear from Elder Mackelprang on Mondays but this week he finally emailed on Wednesday. Transfers were today but he is staying in Marin, Kentucky and he has the same companion! He is very excited! Here's his email :D

So.... I got Bronchitis... AINT NO BODY GOT TIME FOR THAT!!!! hahaha
Last week was so depressing and not fun at all! Started out Monday with a stomach virus.. Stayed on the B.R.A.T. diet all week! ( I might have added a few letters here and there... so it was more like the B.R.A.W.T.S.C.O. diet :P) about Wendesday my stomach started feeling a little better but I was having a hard time breathing. My breathes were short and sometimes painful. i couldn't take any full deep breathes. I thought it was my small heart murmur finally coming out to get me. Talked to Sister Chloe and Doctor Dunn, who are the mission doctors, and after sitting through it for a few days they told me to go in to the Pikeville hospital and get it checked on Saturday. The nurse messed up on my IV! She stabbed me in my left arm and kept pushing and moving the needle around while saying "I don't know what's happening"... Flip! And then she went for my right arm! haha but she finally got it right. Elder Stout was just having the time of his life while I was being probed left and right because the tv in our room was playing ESPN... i told him he better soak in that tender mercy haha The machine was beeping the entire time while Elder Stout and I waited for the doctor. We weren't sure what was wrong because there were a ton of different numbers on the screen. So we kept pushing a button that would stop it from beeping :P Turns out that my heartrate was only 48-52! Crazy right?! The doctors said it was fine and that it was so low because I have a healthy athletic heart. haha 48 seems way too low tho! They told me i had bronchitis which is why i could hardly breathe and they gave me an inhaler. It's not doing much but i have the antibiotics that Mom and Dad gave me before I left and they are working great! Also taking Zyrtec because my allergies here are a lot worse. I'm back to working now and I'm happy again :) After we left the hospital the sisters who serve in Pikeville made us some vegetable soup so we all had lunch at a near by park and it was great! Transfers is this week and they both won't be in our district anymore so that is a bummer. We have learned a lot from them and their example!
Transfers week is crazy. The zone leaders called Elder Stout and I and before telling us our transfer news, they played some intense scary music, and then screamed "You're staying together!!" haha in return Elder Stout and I screamed "YAAY" like little boys. It was great. We are staying in Martin which is cool because I know we can have a lot of success in bringing others unto Christ here. We are ready to make this transfer 10 times better! Oh and he will be the district leader! Pretty excited to learn from that and help him in any way possible.
President Pitt gave us a talk to read "Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ" by Elder Gene Cook. That talk got me out of the depressed slump I was in. I had faith but I was so discouraged from the week I had. Here is some stuff that I've learned and understand more from that talk. Faith doesn't come from signs. Ether 12:6 tells us that we don't gain a witness (or sign) until after the trial of our faith. Not until after we have been working hard, being faithful and believing, will we see signs of success. Whether it is being a missionary, parent, or an employee, we must do ALL IN OUR POWER to do our part. Once we do all that we can, the Lord will only then extend His hand and do His part in helping us. Blessings come with a price. Before we ask for blessings we need to ask ourself- "Hey Self, will I be willing to work hard and sacrifice to gain the blessing that I desire?" Joseph Smith said: "It is throught the medium of the sacrifice of all Earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God." Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will support us in our trials and give us the righteous desires that we have if we are fully committed and ready to sacrifice in order to receive what we want. Acting on faith waiting for signs that you will be blessed doesn't work well. We need to act in faith and make things happen ourselves and then in the end we will have that sign or blessing from the Lord.
Life is nonstop. it's an upstream battle. We have to be spiritually prepared to face the constant and intense trials of our faith. D&C 58:4 "For after much tribulation come the blessings". Always move forward and upward! We can't afford to take a break and rest, meaning plateauing our progression. If we go through trials full of faith, then our faith will increase and the blessings come soon after. When you want to stop swimming up the stream, progressing and living this gospel because it can be hard, just remember what Dory said in Finding nemo "Just keep swimming, Just keep swimming!" It takes sacrifice and complete faith in Christ to do this.
Faith + Hardwork (steadfastness in Christ) = making things happen. The Lord will make great things happen and bless us if we apply that equation into our lives. I've rearranged my priorities so much here. D&C 123:17 "Therefore let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power, and then may we stand still with the utmost assurrance to see the salvation of God, and for His arm to be revealed." It is easy to get lost and distracted in things of little importance. Stay focus and righteously prioritize!
I grabbed my scriptures this morning and a paper was sticking out of my Bible. I opened up to it and it was 1Peter chapter 1. I don't think I have ever read that chapter before but it was perfect for everything that I was going through. Read it!
verses 6-9 " Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that persisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having seen not, ye love. In whom though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your soul" The season it talks about is our probation, or short time, here on Earth. Our faith is precious and it will be tried. It is of more worth than gold! If we keep the faith and always improve and move forward, then like it says, you will rejoice and at the end you will gain the salvation of your soul! verse 13 tells us to armor our minds and have hope for grace. Be an obedient child of God. Be holy just as Christ is holy. read Versus 22-24. I like 24 which says "all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away." Don't seek glory for yourself. I've learned that boasting of God brings so much more joy!
I love this gospel. Remember that the trial of your faith precedes salvation. Salvation and eternal happiness is what we want! So bear through your trials, being full of faith and committment to God, and you can have exactly that!
I'm starving so we are about to go. have a great week everyone and I'm always praying for Las Vegas! Transfers stinks because I'll miss Elder Turner (current district leader) a lot! I look up to him and will miss his craziness and his love for everyone. I'll miss Sister Larkin, Sister Shumway, and Elder Heart as well. It's a bittersweet how close you get to other missionaries in only 6 weeks and some get transferred. Oh and next weeks pics should be even better haha I have somethign awesome in mind ;D Love you all, have a great week!
-Elder Mackdaddy 





Not feeling to good...






Miss this kid!






Poor Elder! :(
Glad he is okay now!





"Super foggy day that killed my allergies!"






"Creepy house by our trailer."






"You can call me puff daddy for now."















Rockin the over-alls! 
Love it!
I'm glad he has an awesome companion who understands his goofiness!










What a great email! I miss this kid everyday but he inspires me to be a better person 
and to live righteously. 
 
Thanks for reading my posts! I appreciate it and so does Elder Mackelprang.
Write him! He would love to hear from you!
 
 

Monday, August 19, 2013

YAY FOR MONDAYS!

I think I already explained how much I LOVE Mondays now! No more dreaded Mondays for me :D
So we have a lot of updates! Not only did I receive pictures and emails from Elder Mackelprang but I also received a letter from him this weekend and so did my family.
Elder Mackelprang is still doing wonderful but he would really love to hear from you! Write him when you get the chance. He really would appreciate it. Here is his email from today. It's pretty long but well worth the read.

     A lot has happened here in Martin, Kentucky! Looking back, it seems like time flew by! My companion is Elder Stout. He is terrible. I can't believe I've been sent to serve with someone who is from Sin City... hahaha jk I love my comp! He is such a hard worker! i don't think I could have a better trainer. We are working hard everyday and we are seeing results! We teach by the spirit very evenly and together we have been bringing others closer to Christ. I am humbled every day from what God is teaching me. Bear with me... this will be a lot. The very first week I was here in Kentucky we were so busy and it was great because we taught a bunch of lessons and our numbers (Key Indicators: new investigators, Less Active lessons, Lessons with member present, etc.) were really high. Towards the end of the week I didn't feel too great about our work. Yes, we worked hard everyday and overachieved the standard of excellence, but I felt like we didn't acoomplish our purpose. our purpose is to invite and help others come unto Christ by receiving the restored gospel of Jesus Christ through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. We taught great doctine and principles but we didn't really bring anyone closer to Christ. Once I realized that I felt as low as can be. A full week and a half had gone by and I wasn't doing the work successfully and I was disappointing God. I prayed and fasted (as did my comp) to know what we were doing wrong and how we should change our work ethic so we could bring others unto Christ. I had written my purpose on my heart but I wasn't sure exactly how to accomplish that purpose. A few days later my prayers were answered. Elder Synderrgard (A traveling assistant to the mission pres, Pres. Pitt) visited our area to see how we were doing. He went around with us to service and to a few lessons. He noticed I was feeling down about our work and asked me what was wrong. I explained to him how I didn't feel like I was fulfilling my calling and that I wasn't really bringing anyone closer to Christ. We talked for two hours and the spirit was there teaching all of us. We had been using the Key indicators as our goal. Meaning, we strived to get the expected mount of lessons in and hitting the standard of excellence. Our goal is to bring others unto Christ, and the key indicators are just a tool to be able to do that. We go into every lesson now strictly with our purpose and goal in heart, to bring these people unto Christ. These people aren't a number in our planners, they are all children of God. Instead of having 30 investigators, we now have about 8. We are serving to find the elect of God. The way we know that someone is elect is if they keep committments such as reading and praying. It's heartbreaking to stop visiting/teaching someone because I want them to have the joy and blessings that this gospel gives, but it is their decision. Can't take away their agency.... Even though sometimes that would be nice haha God really does answer sincere prayers. He loves us and wants to hear from us! He knows all of our thoughts and the desires of our hearts, but it takes that act in faith for us to pray in order for him to answer and bless us. Some days are a spiritual high and we are able to teach wonderful lessons, while other days are slow and we get doors shut in our faces or all of our appointments fall through. At the end of the day I always evaluate myself, asking if I worked my hardest and if I brought someone closer to Christ.
          We give a bunch of service! Weeds are like trees here. They are so huge! and it's always raining/humid so everything grows incredibly fast! Just a bit different than Las Vegas. haha I love it. Mom and Dad: I'm sorry I didn't work nearly as hard as I could back home. I've really come to realize how important working hard is. It keeps not only the physical part of me moving, but it helps spiritually as well. Missionary work is hard work! And I'm not slacking off! I will be a hard worker for the rest of my life because of these two years. I represent Jesus Christ, which means no idleness! and I will look at work in that way for the rest of my life. Afterall, we are told in the scriptures that idleness is a sin. When i meet God and jesus Christ face to face i don't want to be asked why I didn't work hard, because the only answer to that is being lazy. Dad, I want to be able to look you in the eye when I get home and say I have have served honorably and hard. When I go to the throne of my Father in Heaven I want to be able to look Him in the eyes and say as it does in, 2 Tim 4:7- "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith" This life is for us to prepare to meet God and to perform our labors. I believe that's in Alma 34:32-34.
          
Here are some of the funny/crazy/spiritual experiences I've had:
 
1. Went to a Pentecostal Church: Our neighbors who we have been teaching and really becoming friends with invited us to go to their church a couple weeks ago on Saturday. They were performing so we decided to go. I've never been to another church before so i wasn't too sure of what to expect, but I was excited! It started of with music played by some of the members. It was like a concert I've been to back home! haha It was super loud! They played south gospel music and it was fun. My adrenaline was pumping! Then it got really weird.. A few people starting shaking and moving around really weirdly. A lady turned to my comp and I and told us that they were "overcome with the spirit". The man next to me started waving his arms in the air, while shouting hallelujah! haha I was entertained until he started stomping his feet in circles. He nearly fell on me three times!! I was honestly afraid for my life that he would fall on me because he was about 300 lbs! hahaha  I admire them for their faith. We had to go early during a small testimony meeting they were having so I got up and shared my testimony of our Savior to all of the people. It was a very spiritual and cool experience. My comp bore his testimony right after me and as we walked out the people starting applauding us. hahaha That was a first. Later on we talked to our neighbors Kyle and Shary and they told us that after we left (after the shaking and speaking in tongues stopped) the preacher got up to give his sermon and was walking on top of the benches people were sitting in. I am so happy i grew up in this church. My testimony of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints grew so much during that. I know that the LDS church is without a doubt Christ's church on the Earth again! I might have shouted "Praise The Lord!" a couple times during the music portion hahaha ;)
 
2. McDowell Elementary School flood: The school flooded so Elder Stout hopped on the service train and took the opportunity to help the community. We knew that it would be fun helping out with our first flood (we're both from Las Vegas) and that it would be a great way to help people know how loving our gospel is. We talked to many and cleaned up so much mud/water! As you can see in the pictures is was a mess! I was even on TV! hahaha in one quick clip of the McDowell flood news cover, you see me in my tan/salmon colored shirt mopping the hall by myself! oh ya! It is a redheaded news lady. Talked to her a bunch as she set up and she captured my pro mopping skills :P We run into people and they tell us "hey, you are the boys on Facebook who helped out with the flood!" haha we are famous.
 
3. I was sick a few days ago. We stayed inside the trailer and studied for half of the day. I finally got out of bed and took a shower hoping that it would help. My allergies and stomach have been killing me. Don't worry, I'm fine now but at the time i felt terrible. During my refreshing shower I prayed to know if I should go to work or if I should stay and rest so i wouldn't get worse. God told me through my feelings and thoughts that I needed to go to work for the rest of the day. So that's exactly what we did. As I was getting ready i couldn't help but think of the comparison of my ill body to the people out here without the gospel. Their souls are sad and aching just as my body was. My physical well being was no where near as important as their spiritual darkness. The "medicine" these lost souls need is the gospel. They need to be nourished by the word of God and through that, their spirits will be joyful and blessed! I'm an instrument in God's hands, or in this analogy, like a doctor who can give these people the medicine (gospel) that they need. We went out to see one of our appointments. it fell through but instantly we ran into our investigator Jerry. He hasn't been keeping our commitments we leave him so we were thinking about dropping him. We hadn't met with him for a week. he invited us in and in his own words he said "now boys, I know I was supposed to get baptized next week, but i won't be able to. How does October 15th sound? because I quit chewing tobacco!" He literally chewed tobacco the size of a baseball in his cheek! We were planning on dropping him but God had other plans. I've learned to be more patient and loving to every person I come in contact with. God is working and preparing these people for us to bring unto Christ, we just need to be patiently working hard every day so He will trust us with bringing about eternal life for His children.
 
4.This Sunday we had 2 investigators and 9 less active members at church. Things are looking up in the Martin area and God is the one to praise.

Remember that Heavenly Father loves you all and that lasting happiness comes through obeying His commandments. Be willing to be led by Him. He will lead and teach you if you seek it :)
-Elder Mackelprang

Don't you love his testimony and the love he has for this gospel! It is so contagious and it makes me want to better my life and others as well.
In the letter he wrote me he said it is hard to understand the people there. They all have accents and slang words that he isn't use to. I really enjoyed this part of his letter:

"The gospel really does bless families if ou allow it to. Don't just go through the motions like some people. Really recognize what God has blessed you with indivudually and as a family. The scriptures are more powerful than I ever took the to be! Make it a habit to read them. Especially so Brody and Sadie grow up smarter than we were."
 
I definitely need to work on this more. We read but we could always read more. He also wrote my sister and I thought this would be great to add.

"Everyone here thinks I am from a different country. Some members call me "Elder Hawaii" haha. No one can say our last name. I meet people in the streets and they don't even try to say "Mackelprang". Look up Appalachian accent. That is what I hear everyday.


Above is the link for the news video Elder Mackelprang was on. It was his 5 seconds of fame! He said he was mopping those floors like a pro. It starts at 00:50. It's short but I am glad he was able to participate in this service.

Next up are just some pictures he sent today. Enjoy and HAPPY MONDAY!









Elder Mackelprang and Elder Stout cleaning up McDowell Elementary School.







Elder Stout
 





"We took our dining table outside to study because after the storm it felt like California."







Elder Mackelprang received letters and brownies from the Desert Sage Young Women. He obviously enjoyed the brownies...and the letters :D





Levi got poison ivy rash but he said you can barely tell in this picture. He said it was really red and bumpy and way worse than this picture.





This was taken in his trailer. He was sick that day and this was him and his companion lounging around studying all day. He said it was really cold.







 
Dirt Road: The storm flooded many areas and the hollows (roads) were all messed up and covered in water.






 
And lastly, a train...
Haha

Thursday, August 15, 2013

August 15, 2013

Sorry for the late update! WARNING: This will probably be a long post!
So...Elder Mackelprang is doing great! The only thing he needs is for people to WRITE HIM! His companion gets four letters a week and Elder Mack only gets a couple. Emails are great but hand writing Elder Mackelprang is even better! Please write our Elder. They say that the first 6 months are the hardest so lets make it a little easier for him :D

Here are a few emails Elder Mackelprang has sent me. Hope you like them! If it sounds sort of choppy it's because my emails were in between some of them.

July 30, 2013:
within the next 6 months-1 year we should have ipads hahaha booya! Tell Brody to grow and and pee like a big boy already! haha love the pics you sent. got your letter yesterday. thanks for the quotes :) "God is the same yesterday, today, and forever" Love you sis. Teaching my first full family on friday and I'm excited! I'll tell you about it in my letter that I'll send. Stay strong and turn to God in times of need. i do everyday and i know that He is always there for us. He loves us. Tell kaylee and mom and dad that I'll be sending a letter to them each soon. It takes about 3 days to get to vegas so ya be patient. My comp gets mail 4 out of 7 dayds a week.... his mom is a millionaire haha but I really appreciate the letters i get from you and Abigail.... hahaha but really they help me a lot. I pray for all you constatnly and hope that each day you all grow closer to our saviour Jesus Christ. Oh and hey, I bought a rice cooker for $20!!!! hahahaha Woot Woot!

oh my comp is elder stout. he's form Las Vegas!!! hahahaha He moved to Utah 9th grade but he was actually in central stake bonanza view ward. it's awesome. pres jarvis was his bishop back in the day, and he was my stake pres. his name is bradley stout. We are both learning together how to efficiently do missionary work. It's great. and we have a goal to be strictly obedient so we are both working hard, and it's fun at the same time. Missionary work is hard but it's the best and if we do it right, it's a blast!
 August 5, 2013:
So houses (trailers) here are usually really run down and it's pretty sad. but the two pics of steps to nothing are usual. Last week was great... great in a way that i learned a lot. It was flippin hard. Only had 3 solid lessons the whole week. No one would listen to us and we dropped a lot of investigators who aren't keeping commitments. Working hard to progress the few who are sincere enough to make it to baptism. Pray for David Watson that he will make it to his baptism date on Aug 31, for Jerry Ratliff that he will stop chewing tobacco the size of a baseball, Jessica that she will come to know for herself that this gospel is true. 

Drugs here is a crazy problem. Poverty is everywhere and so many people get there checks from the government at the start of the month. So they buy their drugs.. by the end of the month they are all struggling or out of money so they get desperate. Some people are super sketchy. haha we took out a member with us who was smoking dope a few days before when we came over. trying to reacctivate him and help him out. He has a great spirit and heart, he just doesnt do the best things. God loves us all no matter what we are doing. He loves the drug attict just as much as he loves me. It's just even tho God is full of love and mercy, there are consequences to every action and we are judged of our works. No matter who it is we try to share the message of Christ and the restoration to them because all of us need it. I encourage you to invite the missionaries over and let them teach your fam a lesson. It's great for them and super great to you all. It'll raise your spirituality and bring better peace into your home.

Squirrel season starts aug 18th. should be having that vrey soon haha already have a guy who said he would make us a squirrel stew. i've had cole slaw and it's actually good here. back home its like slime. Food here seems to be way better. fruit is juicier. vegetables are fresher. I miss spam musubi. I need the wooden mold to make some. I actually miss dads shakes haha don't tell him that tho :P We were doing service at a park yesterday, I have 4 blisters on my hands from swinging the pick axe for 3 hours... but a guy in our ward killed a copperhead snake. if it wasn't venomous he would've cooked it up for us.

Getting off. I'll send a letter this week. Love ya, have a great day! Give Everyone a hug for me, Abigail too :) Oh and tell Brody he has stinky toes haha miss him so much! I've been playing with peoples kids a lot and it makes me think of him.
adios hermana 
I should be receiving a letter soon so I will update as soon as I do. Here are a TON of pictures that he sent. I LOVE them so I know you will too! :D









Trash was torn up by a dang raccoon.



 







There are Confederate flags everywhere!




We met Mater!














Armpits :D













Isn't this view GORGEOUS!




He spent all his money at an Amish Market.
I think this is some of his purchases.
Apple butter, bananas, honey, etc.
He said it was the best honey, apple butter, etc... he ever tasted!



My brother doesn't bake (even NO bake cookies!) so this must have been Elder Stout's doing haha




During the first week back to school McDowell Elementary School was flooded and kids were sent home. They helped out the community by cleaning the place up. He said he was even on TV too!











He finds a lot of these. 






Stairs to a wall??



Get it? Find the sign...

:D







This is how tall his trailer is.






I see what you did there :D




I literally could not stop laughing when I saw this!
This totally sums up my brothers personality.
He's a GOOF!





The snake a member caught. He was going to cook it up and feed it to them but it was venomous!
YIKES!








Cleaning up the school.

I hope you all enjoyed these pictures as much as I did. I asked Elder Mackelprang if his companion thought he was weird for taking all of these pictures with the signs and he said at first he did but now he is doing them too and sending them to his family.

My brother is seriously the best! He makes me laugh and I am so proud of him! I miss this kid everyday but I know he is doing the right thing and he will be blessed for it!

PLEASE WRITE ELDER MACKELPRANG!
He really would love to hear from you! His address is to the right or you can find it on his Facebook in the "About Me" section.

Thank You!