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

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