Monday, December 8, 2014

Oct 6th-Dec 8th 2014

Elder Mackelprang's last Christmas in the field! Let's make it a great one by sending him lots of love :D Please email him or better yet send him a Christmas card or even a letter!

 25 Prominence Ln. Apt #202
   Christiansburg, VA 24073

October 6, 2014
I'm Overwhelmed... In a good way. There is always so much to do in so much little time. I feel like the mother in the new Mormon Message video! (go watch it ;). This past week we had an amazing Mission Leadership Council, and then a Zone Meeting with all of our missionaries. We went over the fundamental principles and doctrine of setting goals and planning. These two things are vital in missionary work and life in general.
I don't have anymore time to email because we watched Meet The Mormons today! You have to see it if you haven't! I thought about Mom a lot towards the end. I love you mom, thanks for all that you have done, and still do, for me! I will write more next week about my thoughts about General Conference and what is happening here.
I share my witness that President Thomas S. Monson is a living Prophet. I know that God speaks through him today. As I come to understand more what it means to sustain a Prophet, I realize how important it is to follow and live by every word that proceeds out of his mouth. he literally speaks in behalf of our Father in Heaven. Jesus Christ is our Savior and King. I pray that we all can become more like him in our journeys here on Earth. He is the only way back home together. Lets do our part and help someone else learn more how Christ can carry us back. He lives.

There is no fear where there is love. Focus on the good in others and love every opportunity to serve! After all, it will help you more than those you serve. Be kind and loving, this is one of the greatest commandments.

Love you all,
Have a great safe week,
Elder Mackelprang

Favorite quote from conference: "I am not my brother's keeper, but I am my brother's brother" -Elder Holland

October 13, 2014
Boy, does the time fly by out here. There seems to be no time at all on a mission. With plans and back up plans for every hour of the day, time fades away and before you know it you are turning into pumpkins. If anything I have learned from my mission, it is how little time we have to do the Lord's work. 30 min is precious time that we do not want to waste. Whether I'm out here or back home I hope to keep this mentality for the rest of my life.
This week has been jam-packed with great things. Monday morning we planned and organized a 4-Way exchange with the Beckley district in our Zone! Pretty sure that has never happened before haha but it was a great success. On Tuesday night we drove 1.5 hrs and arrived at 8:30 PM. Elder hollembeak went to Oakhill, I went with Elder Brenchley in Beaver, and the other two sets of elders switched companions and blitzed Beckley. We did a lot of training and uplifting with the missionaries there. It is so great getting to know and love the missionaries on exchanges. it's a good one on one experience to help them out specifically instead of us trying to help out the whole zone. We go on exchanges at least once a week to different areas. Missionary work is hard and can be very discouraging at times if you let it get you down. With a lot of rejection and trials you are put to the test. It is important to keep the faith. Faith is not only a belief but a principle of action. When we go out everyday we have faith in our Savior and hope to find some child of God seeking for answers to their questions, purpose in life, comfort, assurance in God's love. At the start of this exchange we had a discussion with the missionaries about faith and that no matter what happens, if we are obedient and diligent, the Lord will provide the success in His work of salvation. After the exchange we had 2 new investigators and 1 person on date to be baptized. We have a loving Heavenly Father. I know this to be true because over and over again He has led us to His other children who are looking for/need Him. Through sincere prayer and application of faith, we can be instruments in God's hands to bring others to Salvation. To know God and Jesus Christ is eternal life. It is achieved step by step, personally and in the pursuit of helping others. I pray that you will have opportunities to share the gospel. If you pray for the sensitivity to recognize the spirit, you will see moments to share the gospel. Have courage! Don't be ashamed of the gospel, share it! Your family and friends need it. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. The way we show our love for him is through our actions. I invite you all to read "Pray With Faith" by Elder Bednar. It has helped me become more sincere and honest in doing the Lord's work.
I wish i had more time but know that I love each and every one of you. Please, do your part :)
Take care and keep the faith,
Elder Mackelprang
 
October 27, 2014
"Virginia is for lovers"- state motto/saying. I don't know what it is but I am already a Virginia Lover! This place is incredibly beautiful. Similar to West Virginia except that the hills aren't as tall and they roll through the entire area, making it possible to see out for miles! The leaves are still changing and there the area is brisk and chilly. I am home ;) My new area is the Christiansburg ZL. We cover the south side of Christiansburg and the outskirt towns/hollows. My new zone is very different! Back in Charleston we were very spread out with 13 different areas- some being 1 1/2 - 2 hours away from us. Here in the Christiansburg Zone we have 9 areas and all are within 20 min of us! Hallelujah! Also, 6 out of the 9 areas are training new missionaries. Two of the trainers are previous Assistants to President Salisbury who I worked with a lot down in Charleston. I literally couldn't ask for a better zone! They are all great and dedicated missionaries. This week we are having our Train The Trainers and District Leadership Council meetings to establish what we can do to be the best missionaries for the Lord. Also, this week we on Friday we are all traveling down to Roanoke, Virginia to meet with Elder Renlund of the 1st Quorum of the 70. There we will meet with the South half of the Mission and afterward have a special 30 min set aside for us Zone Leaders to meet with him in private. I am so excited to receive counsel and to be spiritually fed. I already sustain him and I'm ready to apply what he invites us to do. President Salisbury is getting a greater hang of what he is doing (it's a big load to be a Mission President!) and things are going really well. He is a great Christlike leader who I'm grateful to be able to work under. 
As we go into the start of this new transfer (period of 6 weeks) I am humbled to know how much my Savior has done for me. He has lifted me up and has created a much better person inside and out. I owe everything to Jesus Christ. I know that He lives and I know that He is the head of this church and this missionary work. The mission is changing me in a way that I can not explain. I've become truly converted and it continues to deepen. My love for others and myself have increased. My sincere desire is to help other people improve their lives. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the only perfect and everlasting way that provides such change and joy. Reach out in love to someone this week. Show Heavenly Father that you love Him and are grateful for what you have been given by serving and uplifting another person. Be like our Savior Jesus Christ. I love you all. Let me know if I can do anything for you guys. Ask me questions if you want! Stay sweet!
-Elder Mackelprang
 
 













 
November 3, 2014
 NEW ADDRESS:                25 Prominence Ln. Apt #202
                                               Christiansburg, VA 24073

This week has been more than I could ask for. First off, getting to know the members in the Christiansburg Ward has been going really well. Our Ward Mission Leader is Bro. Adam Smith and he is a Counseling Psychologist! I've really been thinking about doing that for my career so it has been great being able to ask him questions about the process and family situations (since he has 4 young kids!) The teaching here has been fairly slow but things are starting to pick up. One thing that has been an obstacle has been the sun setting quicker at night. Thankfully we had Daylight Saving Time yesterday but even then it gets dark pretty early. So naturally, tracting at night is very unappealing to many people. But when we don't have any lessons set up at 8 PM, that is pretty much our last option. So instead of knocking every door on a street, we walk around neighborhoods and listen for promptings to knock specific doors. Lately it has been a 50/50 success rate in finding people who are interested, which is way high for late night tracting! We felt prompted to knock on this one door and a man came out. We introduced ourselves briefly and began telling him about the restored gospel of jesus Christ. We asked if we could sit down with him for a minute and we did. As we talked about how the scriptures teach us about our Father in Heaven we asked if there was ever a moment in his life that he knew God was there for him. He paused for a while and told us how his best friend just passed away in an accident. Instantly compassion and charity filled us towards this man and we began to teach him about the plan of salvation. This one minute introduction turned into a 45 min lesson directed by the spirit. We invited him to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized and he accepted. At the end of the lesson he agreed to say the closing prayer and it was one of the best prayers that I have ever heard. I know that we were sent by God to meet him that night. We are meeting with him again this week. No matter how many times we are rejected and cursed at, the one person who listens is worth every bit of it. We are told that to suffer with Christ is a blessing. Rejection is a big part of that. But we are far more blessed to rejoice with Christ when someone else comes unto Christ with us! I share my witness that there is no greater joy! 

Elder Renlund and his wife came and it was amazing. They focused a lot on becoming Preach My Gospel Missionaries and gaining a deeper and more true conversion. Someone that really stuck out to me is how they expounded on having an eye single to the glory of God. He compared it to a dog playing fetch with two different balls. He will chase the one, but once he sees the other he will drop the first and chase the second. This process will be repeated, never bringing the ball back to the owner. He taught us that we must be completely focused and devoted to the Lord's work in order to accomplish what He wants us to. This work isn't about us, it is about others. We must lose ourselves, meaning giving up our desires, thoughts, and hearts to Christ. Once we do so we give him all reign to our life, and he makes something of us. Something far greater than anything we can make on our own. I invite you all to prioritize your desires and actions. Become more devoted to worshiping and loving our Father in Heaven, and in bringing others to Christ. This week we have our Mission Leadership Council and Zone Meeting and our plan in to have each missionary, including ourselves, strive to become consecrated in our service. We are excited to lift the moral and unity of the zone! We have such great missionaries that can do amazing things in the Lord's hands! 

I'm so happy for all of you and pray for you daily. If you are having a down day or just need a boost of happiness, know that Heavenly Father is always there waiting to lift you up. Reach out to Him and you will feel His strength and be filled with His joy. Have a great week everyone! 

Elder Mackelprang
 
November 10, 2014
Pressing Forward
Hey y'all!
This week has been very interesting! We are really getting to know the members here and they are sweet! Starting to teach them and their families the restoration and how to be member missionaries! It has been a lot of fun! We had a great Zone Meeting last week. Elder Stone and I took a few hours preparing it and it was very helpful to everyone. We were thinking of what we could do to help all of the new missionaries. In reality, what we had planned was exactly what we needed too! We had our Sister Training Leaders teach a portion on how to effectively use and become Preach My Gospel. They did a great job and showed how there are promises from the Lord all throughout the manual. Afterwards, Elder Stone and I taught about the role of the Book of Mormon in conversion. Then for the next 50 min we role played to sharpen our teaching skills! Too often as missionaries we are asked questions but give our own response in our own words and understanding. In these role plays we practiced only speaking a little and going directly to the Book of Mormon to answer the questions and concerns. The Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. When people question why we don't drink alcohol or coffee, or stay away from tobacco. They really are questioning whether or not the Book of Mormon is true and if Joseph Smith was truly called to be a prophet. Everything goes back to the restoration. If the Book of Mormon wasn't true, that would mean that Joseph Smith didn't see God and Jesus Christ. We wouldn't know that God and His son Jesus Christ are two separate beings. This would also mean that Prophets and Apostles weren't around today to guide us. The authority to baptize would still be missing. Our families couldn't be together forever. Can you see how important the Book of Mormon is? It is the evidence that Jesus Christ is leading the church today and all of these things are available. We are all committed to using Preach My Gospel more personally and to answer every question by first tying back to the restoration and reading from the Book of Mormon where it teaches about that specific topic. The word of God is powerful. Those who sincerely read, ponder, and pray will gain a testimony of Jesus Christ and His restored gospel. We lose it's power if we don't read it and apply it. I love the scriptures God has so willingly revealed to us. I know the Book of Mormon is His word. I pray that people here in Virginia and those back home will gain a desire to read it. It will bring you to know Jesus Christ lives.
Have a wonderful week everyone. I love you all and always pray for your welfare!
Your Fellow Servant,
Elder Mackelprang
 


 
November 17, 2014
 Going Around The World, In Virginia..
 Can you feel it?

Christmas is around the corner! We have had our first sightings of Christmas lights and now hear Christmas music in the stores. With winter here I think of the scripture in 2 Nephi 2:11- there must be an opposition in all things. The other day it was 18 degrees and it started to snow! haha as I sing there is sunshine in my soul to forget about my numb face, real warmth settles in as I think about finding someone to bring unto Christ. I will take frozen fingers any day for a heart full of joy. When constantly fixed on my purpose to being others to exercise faith and repent, the opposition is under my feet.

A couple days ago I went on an exchange with one of our district leaders down in Floyd. It has been a while since I've been out in the sticks! They even live in a trailer! It took me through so many memories of living in the trailer in Kentucky :) I love being able to serve with such great missionaries all around us. This week we are exchanging with the Radford University YSA missionaries and also the Assistants to President Salisbury. 

These past two weeks have been full of new experiences. As we walked towards an investigators home we came across a man. We asked him how he was doing and he quickly said good and walked away. Instantly we recognized an accent. Without knowing what to say in order to get that man to turn around so we could invite him to learn, I opened my mouth.... "Hey sir, are you from Chili?" He turned around with an "are you serious?" look on his face haha and he said "no, I am from Egypt." I wasn't even close! haha but now we were able to converse and we started to ask him questions about his life in Egypt. We then invited him to learn about the Book of Mormon and Jesus Christ. He explained to us how he was Muslim and began to tell us that we needed to learn more about other religions. One thing led to another and we ended up in the local Muslim Mosque with him that next day. We were able to sit down with the head man there and have a very respectful discussion about religion. As we asked each other about our beliefs, to our surprise, there were more similarities than differences! We sat down with them and many others and read a chapter from the Qur'an. We have made an agreement with Ahmed Mustafa (Ah-Haaa-Med Mooo-stoff-uhh) that we will come over and read a chapter in the Qur'an and than a chapter from the Book of Mormon. They believe that Jesus Christ was a Prophet of God and a very good man. They even believe in His second coming. The piece that is missing is that they don't believe Christ was the Son of God or the Savior of all mankind. This experience has strengthened my testimony tremendously. For this very reason, we have the Book of Mormon. To come to know that Jesus Christ is the savior and that through Him we can gain eternal life. I have studied, pondered, and prayed about what the Book of Mormon says. I know that it is true and that anyone can gain the same witness. Heavenly Father is no respecter of persons, He will tell anyone who has a sincere desire to know and to follow His guidance. God loves all of His children. He loves Mr. Mustafa. 

The second experience was on splits with our Ward Mission Leader, Bro. Smith. We had planned to go see a hispanic part member family in our area. Turns out that they sold their place and a different family was living there now. They don't speak much english, but Brother Smith speaks spanish! He served in Argentina and translated for us as we introduced them to the gospel. As Elder Stone and I taught in spanglish, Bro Smith would translate what they didn't understand. I have bore my testimony in English everyday and in other occasions in Pohnpeian.. but I have yet to do it in Spanish. We are going back this week to teach them again with Bro. Smith. We have Spanish scriptures and materials that we will give to them. No matter what country you are from or the language you speak, this gospel is for you. I pray that the missionaries and members all over the world will follow the spirit and bring the truth to those seeking for it. Question is, are you ready and willing to build up Zion where you stand? Reach out in love and share the gospel with someone this week. Here are some easy suggestions: share a church video with them, maybe a favorite talk, invite them to a ward activity, to church, to meet with missionaries to learn how their families can be together forever. There are so many different ways to share God's love, smile and have fun with it! :)

Jesus Christ lives. The Book of Mormon is true. My hands are cold. My heart is filled. I am truly happy because of my Savior Jesus Christ. I now live to make others happy. What do you live for? I testify that God knows who you are and if you come to know Him more, you will be happy.

I love you guys! Stay safe and serve others!
Your fellow servant,
Elder Levi Mackelprang
 
 November 24, 2014
Gratitude For Thanksgiving!
 Hurrah For Israel! 
Over the span of these last five weeks I have grown closer to my Savior Jesus Christ. There isn't a time in our lives, where if we are humble and sincere, Heavenly Father won't refine and help us. I have gained a testimony of God's love because of the trials we have embraced. Last week- Through hours of tracting, following up with potential investigators, and helping members apply Preach My Gospel in their missionary efforts, we only taught one lesson. As a missionary who has been called, set apart, and sent forth to teach, it can be very difficult when you don't have any teaching opportunities. In result, Elder Stone and I have really dug deep into the Atonement of Jesus Christ for strength, encouragement, and happiness. A lesson that I feel we all can learn more is this- The Lord will hasten His work in His time. Naturally we have the "I want it now" mentality. This mentality most certainly creeps into our gospel and spiritual lives as we go through trials and tribulation. Of course we want to find, teach, and baptize now, but it does not happen every week. What I have learned is that whether or not the work and success is being hastened in the area you are in, you can not slow down your pace. As the lessons have gone down to almost none, Elder Stone and I have persevered and have been giving our all. In this, we are successful and happy. We know that God's children here will come to have faith, repent, and be baptized. What we don't know is who and when. We must be faithful all our days. Whether a miracle will happen today or in a month, it will happen. The Atonement of Jesus Christ has brought much comfort and joy to my soul. I know that Christ lives. I know that as we follow the teachings of Christ, invite others to learn, testify of God's love, and as we look to Him in all that we do; we gain a deep and abiding sense of joy and peace. I am grateful for all my trials. They put me to the test and help me become more like my Savior!
Alma 7:23 - "And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive."
I am eternally grateful for Heavenly Father's love. He sent His son so that we, His children, might become like Him and have eternal joy. Jesus Christ is the ultimate gift from our Father In Heaven. There is none greater. I share my witness that Christ knows you. He understands you and knows how to bring happiness into your life. I testify that through Faith and Repentance we can overcome the weakness and pain of mortality. He is the Son of God. He is our Redeemer and Savior. He is my brother and friend. He lives and loves us. If you open up your heart and accept Him as your Savior you will begin to recognize and feel His grace lift you from your burdens. You will not only be saved by grace, but through His grace you will be changed. I know that this is the church of Jesus Christ. He is the head of it and continues to hasten His work around the world. I rejoice in those everywhere who have faith and repent of their sins. I am always doing so myself. Take time this Thanksgiving week to truly give thanks to God for all that you have. He will listen and feel your love and gratitude for Him. I love you all and am grateful for your good influence in my life. 
This week is jam packed! Tomorrow driving to Charleston for MLC and then afterwards planning our Zone Meeting, Thanksgiving, Zone Meeting, exchange, and then giving talks on Sunday! Oh and we get transfer details this Saturday! This transfer has flown by!
It would be awesome if y'all could send me an email of things you are grateful for! I would love to hear from all of you! 
Have fun gaining weight everyone! haha we sure will with the two meal appointments we have on Thanksgiving. Have a Happy Thanksgiving! Love you guys!

Your friend,
Elder Levi Mackelprang
 
December 3, 2014 
Grateful For "He Is The Gift"
 
 I don't have much time today since transfers are tomorrow and we have to prep for a few things. I'll write as much as i can. Elder Stone and I are both staying here in Christiansburg. A few crazy changes are happening within our zone. Because of the age change for missionaries, our numbers went from 200- 250 missionaries in less than a year. Now that the number of missionaries coming in has decreased substantially, our mission is beginning to go back down to about 200 missionaries. With less missionaries, some areas are closing down. One of those areas are the Christiansburg sisters in our ward. This means Elder Stone and I will be taking over their area and will have the entire ward to ourselves. We have been doing a lot of preparation to make this transition as smooth as possible. It's sad to see the sisters go, but i'm sure everything will work out well. We have been meeting with our Ward Mission Leader, Bishop, and Stake President to get the missionary work rolling in this ward. Half of the sisters that came out the same time as me are flying home on Friday. It is weird to see them go, having served with and around them for 17 months! We started together at the MTC and now they start going home. The friendships you make on your mission will last much longer than this lifetime. In one month I will finish my "Sister Mission". I'm in the last quarter of my mission. Can you believe it?! I promise that I am giving my all. There is no greater work or calling than to represent the one and only true Son of God. I love my Savior!

Thanksgiving is the perfect intro to Christmas! The gratitude list goes on forever~ One thing on my list is that we planned a Volleyball game instead of a football game with the Greene family. Their three daughters all play volleyball and they brought friends over! You can bet I was grateful for that morning after not playing for what seemed like eternity! Afterwards we spent some time planning our Zone Meeting, and went to TWO Thanksgiving dinners. I am grateful for being able to serve the Christiansburg Ward. The members are all incredibly faithful and loving. 

He Is The Gift: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has begun a new initiative this Christmas season. To bring in the true meaning of Christmas, there is a new short video put out to remind us of the sacred birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. 

Go Watch It Now On:  christmas.mormon.org   or   Youtube!

They have given us missionaries special pass-a-long cards to hand out to as many people as we can. In the video we are encouraged to 1. Discover The Gift 2. Embrace The Gift 3. Share The Gift. I have made a personal goal to "Discover the gift" by reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning through to 3 Nephi when Jesus Christ is born before Christmas. What will you do to discover Christ more deeply? To get creative with the "He Is The Gift" Initiative, we have signed up to wrap gifts at the local mall at least once a week. As we wrap gifts for people they donate to a charity that helps families for Christmas. We have talked to the people in charge and have been approved to make our own "He Is The Gift" booth at the mall! As people come by and we wrap there gifts, we will be able to #sharethegift with them and invite them to learn more about the restored gospel. I am excited to make this public! Jesus Christ is the first and greatest gift of Christmas. He is Christmas. The Lord is providing so many ways for us to share His life and blessings with others. Take His invitation: Learn of Him, Embrace Him, and Share Him with God's other children. Ponder how Christ has been a gift to you. I bear witness that He was born of Mary, that He lived and died for us, and that He lives this very day! As you share this with others, you receive more of His blessings and gifts. I love you guys. Have a great week! Enjoy the warm weather for me ;P
Your missionary,
Elder Levi Mackelprang
 









 
December 8, 2014
 This month I am able to celebrate the births of two of the most important people in my life- My Savior and my angel mother. Thank you for being exactly what Heavenly Father sent you to be. I wouldn't be where i am today if it weren't for you who you have been and who you are constantly becoming. I love you and always will! Have a Happy Birthday Mom :)
As we have been sharing "He Is The Gift" with everyone I have been pondering deeper and deeper how Christ has been a gift to me. A few ways is that simply He knows me. At any moment He not only knows but understands me as well. I find comfort in knowing this because that means he knows you too. He knows the people that we talk to everyday. Knowing He is perfect in every way, and I imperfect in all things, keeps me facing towards Him. It is humbling everyday to represent the living Christ. I love Him. In the past 7 days every door was shut or slammed as we invited, taught, and testified... except for one person! One person let us into his home. One person let us teach and testify of this restored gospel. I think of Joseph and Mary who traveled by donkey looking for a place to rest. After being turned away and denied from every inn and home, one person let them into their stable. One person provided a birthplace of the Son of God. One person let Him in. I know the work of salvation is hastening around the entire world. Wise men and women are seeking and finding the truth. We are looking for the one who will let us in. For the one who will have faith and repent joyfully. For the one who will enter into covenant through baptism. The one who will live a righteous life leading toward the temple and eternal life. I bear witness of Christ's divinity as the Savior of the world! He is the only begotten of our Father in Heaven. There is the "one" in each and every one of our lives. If we are faithful and act, Heavenly Father will use us to bring this happiness to them. If we don't share what we have, we lose it. 
SO SHARE IT! :D  I hope you all have a great week!
My favorite quote from the Christmas Devotional: 
President Thomas S. Monson-
"As the Christmas season envelops us with all its glory, may we, as
did the Wise Men, seek a bright, particular star to guide us to our
Christmas opportunity in service to our fellowman. May we all make the
journey to Bethlehem in spirit, taking with us a tender, caring heart
as our gift to the Savior. And may one and all have a joy-filled
Christmas. In the sacred and blessed name of Jesus Christ, amen."

With hope and love,
Elder Mackelprang

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