Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"Jesus Gum"

Sorry for the wait...here is the new blog update for the week! :D
 
Hey errbody!
Not sure if I have told you but the Charleston, West Virginia mission has a goal of at least 50 baptisms a month. What has been happening is about 24 a month. We have all doubled our faith and have been more diligent! So far there are 19 baptisms and we have a week left! We are going to hit our goal and bring many more unto Christ! It's amazing how much the Lord is hastening His work and blessing our mission in result of all the missionaries serving more diligently. These are our brothers and sisters and it is a shame if we aren't working hard to help them through the gate towards eternal happiness. We are having a baptism this Saturday and next month we have 4 lined up. The work is progressing! Our Mission president's wife, Sister Pitt, sends out a weekly letter and this is what it said: “In the gospel of Jesus Christ, you have help from both sides of the veil, and you must never forget that.  When disappointment and discouragement strike—and they will—you remember and never forget that if our eyes could be opened we would see horses and chariots of fire as far as the eye can see, riding at a reckless speed to come to our protection.  They will be there, these armies of heaven, in defense of Abraham’s seed.”  (Elder Holland)  God loves His missionaries and he will send help for us from the other side of the veil.  He will also have ancestors come to people here and now and nudge them towards us because they want their work done.  There has never been such a time as this for missionary work.  We should shout thanksgiving and gratitude for the privilege it is to be counted in the missionary force."
The work of Salvation is hastening. Both sides of the veil are working towards bringing about the work of the Lord. Please pray that this mission will continue to convert many to the truth! We as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are ALL missionaries! There are literally angels watching over us and they are there to match our efforts in our own righteousness and our efforts in helping others come unto Christ. I definitely can't do this work by myself. Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, and all the hosts of heaven are preparing and bringing others to the true everlasting gospel! How great is it to know that not only Jesus Christ helps us, which should be enough, but angels are on our side lifting us up and giving us strength in whatever we do. Trust in God, be obedient, and move forward towards Heavenly Father and happiness. God is love. If we want to feel loved, we need to turn to Him and rely on Him and our Savior.
This week we did an exchange with Paintsville and I worked with Elder Black here in Martin. We taught solid lessons until 10 o'clock at night! We went around with Chris Plummer (recent convert member in my ward who is going on a mission on October 2nd!) and really brought many closer to Christ. Elder Black is a cowboy from Utah. He has a bull whip and it is flippin awesome, and loud! I love exchanges and learning from other missionaries. He has been out for a little over a year and we just had a blast working together!
Elder Stout and I are doing great and really loving the work here in Martin. We are seeing much success. Missionary work is fun when you get along with your companion and you both work hard. Elder Stout and I are probably the most compatible companionship in the world! haha that sounds super gay but it's just been a hoot working with him here in Martin.
Something to make ya'll laugh: Whenever someone tells us that they are retired, because of their accent they say RETARD instead... hahaha I hear "I'm retard" all the time!
We have two squirrels in our freezer!! A few more and we are going to have some squirrel gravy or stew! Mmmmmm! Off to play zombies!!! XD

President Pitt’s Missionary Truth:  Missionary work is about helping people remember why they chose to come to earth!
 
Jesus Gum! Brianna was craving a cigarette and I had the genius idea of creating "Jesus Gum" to help her stay free from her addiction. It worked! She hasn't smoked for an entire week now :D Also gave her some Elder Stout/Elder Mackelprang gum for a good laugh. I love being able to use my personality and goofiness in missionary work. I am unique, just like everyone else, and that shows how much Heavenly Father loves all of His children. It could've been easier to create clones but He has given us unique talents and characteristics. Because of that we have the chance to benefit others with who we are. The goofy/cheesy part of me will never die!
 






 
Elder Teddy Bear
 
 
 
 
 
Our Overly Outstanding Odometer - 33333
 
 
 
 
 
The leaves are beginning to change! It's beautiful!
 
 
 
 
 
Elder black by the computer.
 
 
 
 
 
Jacob's (our older brother) tie he sent me from Italy while on his mission :)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
JESUS GUM!!!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
If any of you really know my brother then you know how crazy and creative he really his. What a genius idea! I really hope this helps her and that she will be able to be baptized really soon!
 

Have a great week! :D

Monday, September 16, 2013

"Here, smell my armpit!"

 Oh man do I have a great letter for you guys today!
Elder Mackelprang is doing great and we can really tell how much he has changed in this short amount of time. Can you imagine how much more he will change over the next 22 months!
I can't believe he still has that many months to go...They say the first 6 months are the hardest right?
;(
Well...here is the email he sent to me today. I am so glad he is such a good writer!
ENJOY!
 
Dear Kin and folks,
Well Da' Gone! Another great week I've had here in Kentucky!
I received a package from Abigail which contained what she was able to record from the blessing President Jarvis gave me when he set me apart. I couldn't remember any of it! Charity isn't something we gain and increase by working for it, It's a gift of the spirit. We need to pray for it if we want to have more of it. I've been praying lately with my comp for more charity and love towards all. Since I've been out here I've had  so much love for the people and have been trying to have more charity by praying for it everyday. To my surprise, the blessing Pres. Jarvis gave me talked about Charity and Love at least 4 times! I know 100% that I won't be able to be a successful instrument in the Lord's hands unless i have charity and love. I had a tick on me last week! Make sure dad tells Bro. Sweeny in our ward haha we talked a lot about ticks. Pray that I won't get lime disease :P
COOK OUT! We had a ward barbeque and it was a terrific turn out! The ward did a superb job at bringing their nonmember/less active friends. We had about 7 investigators there and they all enjoyed it. There was even a giant bounce house slide! haha I may or may not have gone down more than once. Brianna even went down with me! We played horse shoes (which made me think of being back home playing with dad, uncle Brian, and Uncle Gary) and we played a super fun game called Corn Hole haha Elder Stout and i had a blast at the Cook Out and it was a great way to show people that members of our church are normal people too! The things the other churches say about us is ridiculous! haha They are nuts!
Our investigator Brianna is more than someone we just teach. She is pretty much our best friend here in Kentucky. We have been meeting with her everyday and she is preparing on being baptized on September 28th! She is very excited as are we :) If anyone has the will power to do anything in this life, it's definitely Brianna!
Last Monday I went on an exchange with Elder Erickson from Hazzard. We stayed here in Martin. He taught me that patience while teaching is very important. He isn't afraid of silence haha silence during a lesson makes me uncomfortable at times but it's great so the people can think and the spirit can work within them. I'm just a messenger of truth, the Holy Ghost is the teacher. He's a great missionary! He loves computers so when i was in Ashland i found two ties- 1. computers floating in space 2. a computer with a mouse that comes out of the tie hahaha He was speechless XD
Experience I was able to share while teaching the law of chastity-
Ether 12:27 - my weaknesses have been changed into strengths within the last year and a half. Like a typical teenage boy I had a bit of lust in my heart. It's hard to confess but it's true. Most guys do during "the change" between a boy and a young man. I hated it because at times it controlled my thoughts, brought darkness to my heart, and simply affected my happiness and well being. Throughout the years I've had help and have really turned to my Savior Jesus Christ for help. Through Him I have been able to replace lust with love. I have always had a respect for everyone, especially girls, but I never felt like my mind and heart were in a good enough position. I can now say that I am filled with love. As I pray for more charity that love grows stronger each day. Our weaknesses really can become our strengths when we rely on the Lord and have a desire to change. Good intentions aren't good enough. It took me a few years to be happy with myself. For some it takes a lot longer. What I have learned while being out here on my mission is that when we pray for help with a trial, the blessing is most often not to have the trial taken away from us, but to be able to walk with the Lord through the trial and have Him lift our burdens. If we had our trials completely taken from us than we wouldn't be able to learn and grow from them. That's the whole purpose we are here on Earth! To become like our Savior Jesus Christ and to prepare to meet God. It's important that we have patience with ourselves. Our conversion is a life long event. Jesus Christ has patience with us as we make mistakes throughout life, but He always is there to help us along the way. He is there to help us change, over time, our weaknesses into strengths.
Elder Stout's prayer- We always say at least 15-20 min long prayers at night because we pray specifically for all of our investigators, family, friends, and more. Elder Stout began the prayer and my bladder started to rumble! I knew that it would be 20 min until I could relieve myself. I was in a serious predicament. I decided that I would switch on ninja mode and try to sneak out of the room, go to the bathroom, and sneak back in before he ended the prayer. I started my quest to the bathroom. One step, two steps, three steps! I was almost out of the room and to the bathroom and SQUUEEEK! The ground ratted me out and Elder Stout turned around and saw me standing there on my tip toes facing the opposite direction.... I busted out laughing and ran to the bathroom hahaha I returned with shame to our bedroom and in return of trying to sneak out, I got the silent treatment for a while XD I chuckled in my bed for 30 min before knocking out. Haha I talked about it with Heavenly Father as I said my own personal prayer and I'm sure he was grinning with me for a few seconds! ;)
Another funny story: We went to teach one of our investigators and we always hear the funniest things from him! He's a crazy old man! He called my porcupine because of my hair. For some reason he felt like confessing to us that he hasn't showered once in the month of September! He shot up his arm and said "here, smell my armpit!" hahaha That was the first time Elder Stout and I have committed someone to taking a shower. In his prayer he said "I promise to take a shower tonight. And to use soap this time. Amen" hahaha Gosh I love missionary work. Helping people become clean, spiritually and physically, is the best!
I love my companion. He has taught me so much. I know how to focus and teach someone with love, personality, and excitement. I hope I get to stay here in Martin but odds are looking like I'll be transferred. As long as I get to be at Brianna's baptism I'll be happy.
Praise the Lord! Love you all,
Elder Mackelprang
 
I laughed so hard when he talked about Elder Stout's prayer because (warning: about to embarrass my brother ;D) when Levi was younger he use to always wait till the last minute to go to the bathroom and he would have to go so bad that he would sit down and sway right and left really fast doing this wiggle type thing. It was always so funny to watch him do this. At least he learned to just go to the bathroom now instead of doing his "pee dance". HaHa
Elder Mackelprang reads this blog so he probably wants to kill me by now ;D
 
Speaking of Elder Mackelprang reading this...
If you ever want to say something small to him or just want to say hi or leave your email you can always LEAVE A COMMENT at the bottom of this post and he will see it ;D He actually would love to hear comments about his emails and experiences.
 
Before I end with pictures I wanted to share with you all a letter Abigail received from Elder Stout. By reading Elder Mackelprang's letters we can already how spiritual he is and how much he has grown but when it comes from someone else's perspective it really confirms how awesome my brother really is.
 
I just wanted to brag about Elder Mackelprang a little bit. And I will tell you a few things that he wont since his is humble and doesn't boast of himself! So when I first met him at transfers a lot of elders, including the mission president, told me I had the best out of the group and he has lived up to that! Since day one he has been so focused on really helping others come closer to Christ and he does it so well! He is a complete stud and literally every person we talk to loves him! He has blessed so many people already! He is going to be the best missionary in the mission I promise! He has such a love for the work, others, and this gospel that not a lot of people have. He has a strong testimony and a strong relationship with his Father in Heaven. The mission president has also claimed him as the most spiritual missionary in the mission! It is so true! But most importantly he has so much love for his family! I hope you and his family know how great he is and how much he loves you all! Have a great week!
-Elder Bradley Stout  
 
I am so glad Levi is blessed to have such a cool and awesome companion!
 

 
 
 
 
"Walking the railroad tracks to some random hollow named gas fork..."
 
 
 
 
 "We were chased by a horde of chickens!! They literally chased us hahaha it was freaky!"

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rained really hard and a hollow we were on flooded.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Allen Central Football game. Went to support some less actives.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 we got haircuts and I mixed elder stouts hair with mine.
 
 
 
 
 
Ate at Pig on a Poke with our homie Chris Plummer and his momma.



 
 
 
 
 
Reading the Book of Mormon with little Abigail haha She's the happiest little girl I've ever met!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
In the car- not enough room so Elder Erickson and I were in the trunk haha it was comfier than it looks :P
 
 
 
 
 
 
Silly boys!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Had a ward cook out and there was a bounce house. Paintsville elders came down for it with their investigators.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 AUSTIN NELSON: Congrats Austin! That's so exciting! when does he report? So proud of my little son, he's finally growing up :') hahaha
 
HAVE A GREAT WEEK!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Peanut Butter Guy

Yay for Missionary Monday!
I have an awesome email for y'all today!
Hope you all enjoy it as much as I did. I learn so much from Elder Mackelprang and I love hearing about his experiences. I also LOVE pictures! ;)
 
Well hello there!
I have had quite the eventful week. Here are my experiences haha I'll save the most spiritual one for last...
A few weeks ago as Elder Stout and I were coming back to our trailer late at night we ran into this guy and started talking to him. Found out that he didn't have much food so I gave him my EXTRA CRUNCHY PEANUT BUTTER. It was quite the sacrifice for me haha jk. We call him Peanut Butter Guy because we don't know his name.. but he went home without saying much. So this week we decided to go visit him and invite him to learn about the gospel. We knocked on his trailer.. "Whooooo Is it??" We told him it was the missionaries and about 2 min later he came to the door. Now someone can walk across an entire trailer in 10 seconds... so it was already weird. He opens the door and is surprised that it is us "the missionaries" at the door. Instantly he reaches down to his ankles and rips of two bands he had around them. He starts swaying around and can barely hold himself up by the door to talk to us. I then noticed that he had cotton swabs where his veins were and he was cutting off the circulation in his ankles to find a vein in his foot. He was shooting up drugs right before we knocked. PB guy yelled "hey babe, come meet these fellas". A female comes around the corner, stumbling around, and just stands at the door. We introduced ourselves and she just slumped over and almost fell on her face! We asked if she was alright and she said that she just had a heart attack. PB guy (who is tumbling around himself) grabbed her and tried taking her to the couch.. they got a few feet and he just set her down on the floor and she literally looked lifeless. Then he came back and said "oh don't worry about her, she's just tired.." These were the most high people I have ever seen in my life!! We quickly tried to say bye and leave but he started telling us a story about how he is in the CORNBREAD MAFIA and how he last month beat a man to death with a cell phone... Then as he walked away the guy he beat wasn't dead and shot him with a shotgun.. and he literally has the scar and grafted skin to prove it! Inside we could see three needles. It was the craziest thing I've experienced so far.
We ran into a less active member who went inactive when he was 13 and now he is 27 I believe. We have been visiting him and his wife who isn't a member. They have a little girl (2) named Abigail and we always play around with her and her dog Freddie. They came to church yesterday for the first time and they seemed to really enjoy it! I'm so happy when an investigator or less active comes to church!
Elder Stout and I have an investigator who has been through every possible thing you could imagine. I won't talk about those things to keep her privacy but I am amazed every time we meet with her. She has changed so much and I'm so happy she is doing better! here is the spiritual experience with her. Her parents were fighting, her bro in law was flight for life'd out that night from a car accident, her kid was going crazy, and just everything was going wrong. I called her and read alma 36:3 to her which talks about how if we trust in the Lord, He will support us in our trials and lift us up. Then I read Heleman 5:12 to her. The beginning of that scripture talks about Christ being our rock and foundation. Then I read on and imagine chaos going on while i start reading this part: "that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty cstorm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo." Her parents were screaming and fighting, her kid was crying, and everything was going crazy. I could barely hear her. I started screaming into the phone as I read that to her. The scripture came alive! Satan was trying to get in the way. He was throwing his hail and mighty storm at her! At the end of the scripture it all of a sudden got quiet and calm as I read "because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall." I have a testimony that the scriptures are alive and true! Christ really does live! Breanna was able to get through everything and make it to church because she has been building that foundation in Christ. I love this gospel. Have trust in the Lord that he will take care of us. If we have righteous desires, He will provide a way for us to achieve them. I'm so excited and happy to see her living the gospel and working towards her baptismal date. I hope everyone reads the scriptures this week and really try to apply the scriptures to themselves. Praise the Lord! :)
 

What an amazing experience! The story about Breanna not Peanut Butter Guy haha! So glad Elder Mackelprang and Elder Stout were safe!
Here are some pictures he sent me as well!
 

 
 
 
 
 
Elder Stout
 
 
 
 
 
Elder Mackelprang so missed playing tennis!


 
 
 
 
 
 
"Elder Stout on a bench in Archer Park being a goober haha"
 
 
 
 
 
"The coolest spider I've ever seen."
Found it at a members house.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Elder Johnston and I in the car. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Random door with no stairway: I had to climb up there to see if the door le to Narnia! It didn't ;( but there were some cool water heaters in there...



 
 
 
 
 
"We moved out a senior couple and all of there stuff."
 
 
 
 
 
White Shirt: Elder Staveley
Grey Shirt: Elder Spencer



 
 
 
 
Some homes in Ashland. It is the biggest city in our mission.
 
 
 
 
 
Coal Factory smoke
 
 
 
 
 
Random fancy gas station towards Ashland.
(This does not look like a gas station at all! I wonder what the price for gas is there!?)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Elvis was in Taco Bell.

 
 
 
 
 
Investigator Julia gave him this tie. He said, "She is nuts!(wink wink)
 
 
 
 
 
Why don't we have these in Vegas?
 
 
 
 
Picture below is Elder Mackelprang sleeping.
This makes me miss him so much because it reminds me of when I'd find him like this ALL THE TIME! The kid complained about not being able to sleep at night but yet we find him sleeping EVERYWHERE! haha


Thursday, September 5, 2013

August 4, 2013

Here is the email Elder Mackelprang sent yesterday.

So the first week of my 2nd transfer has passed. I can't believe I have been our for 2 months already! My favorite thing out here is learning and growing constantly. I'll talk about that farther into this letter. I'M GAINING WEIGHT!!! hahaha I've gained 6 lbs, and my butt can now be called "normal Stanley" instead of "flat Stanley" as Abigail calls it.. She's weird ;P I'm filling in and trying to work out everyday so hopefully I will stay in shape. We're going running tomorrow morning because we don't want to be the typical missionaries who gain 50 lbs on their mission!
This week has been sweet! The Lord is the head of this hastening of salvation. He works miracles constantly to push forth His kingdom. We went out yesterday with the traveling assistant (missionary who goes around the mission working with missionaries area to area... sort of like Pres. Pitt's spy haha but they help every missionary out a lot) to teach a family and there were 3 other random people there. We started hanging out and having a good time and somehow, very smoothfully, we started teaching different people completely different lessons. The traveling assistant was teaching a friend of the family, Elder Stout was teaching the Less Active members wife, and i was teaching the lass active and nonmember friend. We all taught solid spiritual lessons and it was an awesome experience teaching by myself and being able to explain and answer all of their questions. We have two new investigators now and will keep teaching the part-member family. There is a couple who we are teaching that is having a kid. Taught the Law of Chastity for the first time. I was on an exchange with Elder Staveley for the day and he came out the same time as me. We both had never taught it before so it was a little nerve wrecking going into it. It was one of the coolest lessons I've taught! We taught the Law of Chastity, eternal marriage, and eternal families. They are planning on getting married in the next couple months so they can get baptized :) I love this gospel and know for a surety that families can be together forever. Marriage isn't until death parts you, It's for eternity! I know that if they keep it up and follow Christ, that their family can be happy for eternity. I don't have enough time to write about one of our investigators that is going through the biggest conversion I've ever seen. It's amazing and I want to jump up and cry tears of joy every time she does better. I'll write you about it soon:) God is our loving heavenly Father. I am coming to understand Him and how He feels about us. He rejoices when we do what He commands of us. He rejoices when we follow Christ and help others do the same. He rejoices when we forgive others and ourselves. I understand this so much now because I rejoice when I help someone follow God and Christ. I rejoice when my investigators/less actives repent. I rejoice with pure love when I see someone who receives blessings and is simply a lot happier! God really does love each and every one of His children personally!
It was the end of the month and we were low on miles so we walked about 30 miles! strengthening your faith doesn't require physical exertion... but physical exertion is required sometimes to do the work. It's rewarding though, no matter how many blisters I'll get. We will be walking a lot more this month since Elder Stout is district leader and we will be driving to other areas to do exchanges a lot (switching companions and working in different areas- it is great because we learn a lot from other missionaries). I'll be going to Ashland on an exchange this Friday! I'm excited :D it's my first exchange that I'm the one going to a different area. I've only done them where a different missionary comes to martin from like Prestonsberg or Hazzard, and I stay and lead the day while we teach in Martin.
I knew a package was coming, but geez!! That was the biggest package ever!!! hahaha I had a dream that I was tracting down a street and i found a box with my name on it. I woke up, and a few hours later we went out and there was a package for me. I'm going to gain even more weight now since it's all goodies and deliciousness! And I got the Musubi maker and meat slicer yesterday XD Ya'll are the best :D Thank you everyone for the letters. They are literally worth more than gold to me while I'm out here! I'll write back as soon as possible. I love you all!
-Elder M.

He didn't send me any pictures this time but I got these ones from Elder Stout's (his companion) mom. Enjoy!
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
I believe this is his district. Looks like a great bunch of missionaries!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Teaching a lesson.
 
 
 
 
 
I still don't know the story behind the overalls but they sure are rockin it!
 
 
 
 
 
 
Elder Stout came up with this shirt design and his mom made T-shirts for their district. I love it! So fun!
 
 
 
 
 
 
The biggest church sign I have ever seen!
 
 
 
 
 
 
Riding with the sisters.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
<3
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Elder Mackelprang's face is a little creepy...haha