Tuesday, April 26, 2011

April 26, 2011

Well… this has been an interesting week this week. First well, Ok mom, I didn’t tell you some stuff because I didn’t want you to worry. A couple of weeks ago I had some stomach issues and the bathroom became my very close friend. Sunday, it stopped, and then Thursday night it started again. I called the doctors and we got everything figured out and everything’s all better. SO DON`T WORRY. I GOT IT TAKEN CARE OF.
That was just another stressful part of the week. I got a letter a while from Aunt Julie a while ago (by the way thanks A TON Julie, they are so great and it’s better than emails. I’ll have to do something ginormous when I get home to say thanks) and Spencer Luke told Elder Luke that he needs to be outside his comfort zone to really be learning. That phrase has proved prophetic for his cousin too. I was really starting to get the hang of Kanasin. I never got lost anymore, the ward was getting a lot better (we started out with about 120 people in sacrament and finished with about 150 when I left). We were finding people to teach and things were really going well. I got comfortable and changed to a new area. And getting to know a new area is a little bit different. Neither one of us know the area really well. We get lost a lot and things like that so thanks a lot Spence for prophesying my problems. Na, actually it’s true I’m learning a lot, one of them is learning to trust on the Lord. If I have The Spirit with me I will know if I am doing something wrong, and will receive the guidance to do things better.
Another challenge from this area is that the people are a lot more closed up. It kind of reminds me of when in Alma the people were dressed in fine clothes and wouldn’t listen and then the people that were “more humble” were ready to listen. The contacts here are really hard. They really don’t want much to do with us. In Kanasin, you had about a 15-20% rate of someone accepting a visit, then after were all the probabilities if they would be there, if they would accept our visit and things like that. Here it’s like 5%. The thing that I'm going to need to learn to master here is to squeeze references out of people. References weren’t a big part of it in Kanasin. The people were more accepting. Well I'm out of my comfort zone again. Thanks a lot Spence. =)Of the people that we are teaching, one of them was a sweet reference (a ward member knocked on our door and showed us where the reference lived and told us that we had to go with him right now to go see him). His name is Angel. He listened to the missionaries for a couple weeks about five years ago, but it wasn’t really all that for him. We wentback Tuesday and we were talking a lot about prophets and things like that. We taught the first lesson and the ideas of prophets today are really scary for him because he doesn’t want to follow a false prophet, but he is super willing to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. He also asks a lot of good questions. He doesn’t know ityet, but the things are looking pretty good for him. He took his Book of Mormon to work with him. =) Also we actually got contacted by a guy that was pretty sweet. His name is Emir. He is from Belize and speaks English and Spanish. He asked me what time it was in English and from there we started talking. I had just been talking to my companion a few minutes earlier about The Atonement and so I talked to him about it. We kept talkingand turns out that he has already made some big changes in his life. He was a drug addict and an alcoholic and is still in the fight with alcohol. When it got the time to ask if we could come by and visit him he was really acceptive. We were super close to his house and we walked to his house to show him. We gave him the restoration pamphletto read and when we came by later on in the week he had read it. It was really sweet because it got him thinking about if his baptism was done under the Authority. I remember talking to dad before the mission about how explaining “no’ nicely to that question is one of the hardest and most delicate things to do. But he was really into it. Wecame by the next day to do service but the problem with him is that he left Monday to go get his wife and kid from Belize and bring them here. In a few weeks we’ll check back with them.Well those were the things that made the week get along. Being sick wasn’t the funnest. Thursday night and Friday morning was the really long battle. This was before I went to the doctor and I was having strange thoughts. My mind settled on the idea that I had stomach cancer and the President was going to have to send me back home even though Ididn’t want to go. Kind of a strange night. But I do not have cancer, just a weird bug. Took my pills and my phantom cancer went away. I`M BETTER MOM.The new house is nice. We don’t have over head fans like in the old house so it’s a little bit hotter. It is bigger though. We have two rooms instead of one and the kitchen is just as nice (with one counter!). So far in this week I have seen five cockroaches so thatcould be interesting in this house. My new companion has 3 changes more than me and doesn’t know that Elder, Mom. He’s a convert to the church too! I didn’t know that and we had a long talk last night how we both came to know the truth through our own ways. He lived with his mom and step dad. His mom supports his decision, but not financially. Ifelt about three inches tall when I talked about my whole family being members and having a small army of support behind me back home. My respect grew a lot for him.Well gotta run. The spiritual thought for the week is hope. There’s a Mormon message by Elder Holland who had to do some pretty rough stuff. His message is what I’ve learned this week and what I Echo to everyone else. “Don’t you quit. Don’t you quit. There is good times and help ahead. Don’t you quit.” Well I'm not going to quit, even if I do havephantom cancer. I won’t quit. Even if it is blazing hot outside (which by the way, it is getting really hot too). There are people who need me and they exist. Those great spiritual experiences will only come about if I keep working and don’t quit.Well now I really got to run. Love you all. And don’t quit! (Well theGood Race, don’t quit it).
Con Amor
Elder Mackay

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

April 18, 2011

April 18, 2011
Well… this week was the changes and I got to…. Leave! There were a lot of mixed emotions about all that but I’ll talk more about all that in the end. Make all of you read the stuff in between first.
One of the cooler lessons that we had was with a lady that has been going with the Jehovah Witnesses about six months. We baptized her daughter a few weeks ago and it sparked a little bit of interest. We taught the restoration and it worked out pretty well. One of the big shocks for her was that Jesus and Heavenly Father aren’t the same person. She’s got some pretty deep Catholic roots, but is trying to find ‘her church’. We talked with her the second time and she was a little bit more open for one reason or another. We read 3 Nephi 11. We talked about baptism and she was open to the idea of this church being the right church. If she receives an answer that this church is the true church and has the authority, we committed her that if or when she finds out all this that she would be baptized. There’s a lot of stuff that could still go on here but I hope that she progresses. She’s got to do the little things and she needs the help of the members.
Thursday we went to Telchaquillo. We were talking to a guy that his wife and his whole family is a friend and he isn’t. We talked about what holds him back and he says that he doesn’t believe in the same things that they do but he thinks that the church is good because of what it does for his family. Last week, we committed him to read the Book of Mormon and to pray about it. He said that he was going to read it with his wife, but later he decided that he wanted to read on his own. During the week, his daughter caught him reading and he put the book down fast. When we came back (Thursday) he still hadn’t prayed. We taught about how important prayer is in knowing the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. We read the first chapter and in the end I asked if he would pray about… and then things specific about Lehi and his family. He said he would. I then asked him, “If this book is true and these things really did happen, do you think God will answer your prayer? “ He said, “I think so.” We’ll see how he progresses.
The other coolest thing from this week was we took a lady to the park around the temple. We taught the plan of salvation and incorporated the part of the temple and how it fits into everything. Also we committed her to baptism. She was living with her boyfriend and knew that this impeded her to be baptized. She not doesn’t like her boyfriend because of how lazy he is and how he does this things (they actually are important reasons) so she talked to him and they are going to separate. When the separate she said she would be baptized. She said that she’s willing to do it a few days after he leaves. She’s already carrying her book of Mormon to work with her and reading a lot. When we went to the temple we talked about all of this for a while then just sat and looked at the temple. She said that she couldn’t stop staring at the temple. And also that she wants to be a part of what was the temple. Not just to go inside to see what it’s like she wants to be as much as a part as a pillar. In fishing turns, we got the hook set pretty well in her. She then took us out to pizza later and I wasn’t complaining.
Then Sunday came around. In the evening we made trips with the young single adults to visit the less actives. It was pretty sweet to bring the spirit to the rooms where the spirit hadn’t felt it in so long. We made probably four or five visits. It’s crazy to think that if I wasn’t a missionary and if I didn’t do the things I had done, I could be them. When we finished the activities we came home and got the changes. I am now no longer in my “crib” (were I was born). I am now in an area called Pensiones and it’s deeper in Merida. My new companion is Elder Hutchison. He is also the district leader in our district. He’s got about a year in the mission (crazy to think that that’s only four months more than me). He is from Tuscan and a pretty cool kid. One of the crazy thing that we are going to do this week is we are going to basically start new in the area. My companion was here for ten days before and doesn’t know a whole lot about the area. One of the cool things about the area is that it was the area of one of the elders from my district in the MTC. I left my area to come to where he was born and he left this area to where I started. So right now he‘s in Kanasin. It was way cool to talk to him and tell him “hey watch out for so and so. Hey watch out for this.” But now that I’m in Merida things are going to start being a lot different. For lunch that we just ate, The lady gave us two big hamburgers and the oven type fries. It was soo good. Well, I gotta run. Hope that you all have a good week. And mom, if there’s one thing that I’ve learned in the mission, is that the heavens are not sealed. Love you all (close your eyes and I’ll be there).
Elder Mackay
¡Oigan acepto cartas!

April 11, 2011

April 11, 2011
Well it’s been a very good and quick week. The best part of the week was the baptism that we had on Saturday. This baptism had the most support that I have seen in a long time. We had three girls baptized (I’ll send pictures later on). That kept us pretty occupied this week. They are pretty cool kids (ages 15, 14, 11). One is Guadalupe that I’ve been talking about every week. Her little sister that was baptized about a month earlier came and helped her out. It was so fun to see the excitement in each of their eyes. Part of the program we sang “Called to Serve” (in Spanish). It wasn’t quite the same as singing with 500 missionaries in front of Prophets and the rest of the world, but it still brought the same message of who I am as a missionary. When we did the actual baptisms, all who were being baptized were really excited and wanted to watch each other. There were smiles from ear to ear on all of them and those that were helping. Also, two of the girls that were being baptized don’t have very much support from their parents, but they do from other relatives. This however could be a big stepping stone because their parents (one of whom is studying with the JW) came and watched the baptism. There’s a lot of work to do.

Another cool experience that we had this week is I did divisions with another elder that has been in my zone for all my changes and in my district for all but one. We get along super well and are fairly new so we got a lot of fire with “growing” direction. The coolest part was the first thing when we left in the morning. My companion was looking through the area book and found an old investigator that he didn’t recognize. We went out there and knocked on his door. After we asked a neighbor if he still lived there (the neighbor didn’t want to listen to The Message). We went back and knocked again and he came out right. We talked a little bit about who he is and what he has been up to. He’s a heavy alcoholic. He went to alcoholics anonymous and was clean for six months or six years (I don’t remember which). But he fell again and wants to change. He even admits that it’s an addiction. In all of that he said that all his life he’s been looking for the church that’s true if there is a true church. We taught the first lesson and promised him that the things that he does in the church such as baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost would help him fight his addiction. We extended and he accepted the baptismal invitation. He said that he had to because in this church was his salvation. Even though I probably won’t get to go back and see him, its still an experience that I’ll always remember.

Also that day something pretty funny happened. There is a custom among the women here. It’s the shaking hands idea but instead it’s a kiss on the cheek (you know what I mean you’ve seen it in the movies). we went to an appointment that was getting ready for her baptism that should be on the 16. My companion (it was still the day we did divisions) had taught her there for about three weeks or so and knew here pretty well. She shook my hand and then went to give him a kiss on the cheek! He was super scared (even though he is a black belt in tae kwan do) He couldn’t pull the words out of his mouth for a little while then he started to explain why and he couldn’t pull the words out fast enough. Kinda made the situation awkward but I couldn’t help laugh inside.

The last cool/sad part of the week was Sunday. The food appointment was set to go to the people that I had baptized first. We went there and she said that we would go the relatives who live just down the road. We went there and when I asked how school was going they said not so good. Here, they pay to go to school every day. The kids haven’t been going every day because there isn’t enough money to go every day. We finished eating (by the way, they asked for two blessings and revelation even comes in Spanish broadcast), and went back to the house the conversation went something like this

Elder Mackay : Hermana how have things been?
Hermana Ana : more or less, ok.
Elder Mackay : Well... I heard that your kids are having a tough time going to school because sometimes there isn’t enough money. Is this true?
Hermana : (looks at the floor) yes
Elder Mackay: Why didn’t you tell me? We’re here to help you. The church is here to help you.
Hermana : I know...
Elder Mackay: You guys are people that I have baptized. Therefore you guys are very important to me. (Starts tearing up)
Hermana : You likewise. (Starts tearing up and crying). Explains what’s been going on and that they want to do what’s right, just feel so trapped by the economic side.
Elder Mackay: If I could I’d give you a hug right now. Hermana is it ok if we talk to the Bishop about this to start figuring out this problem?
Hermana : Yes
Elder Mackay : We’ll come by later this week to check and see how you guys are doing and we’ll talk with the bishop

I felt like such a shmuck for not visiting them earlier on. I figured out something though. We can’t leave anybody behind on this earthly trip. We’ll be checking with the bishop. Afterwards, we went home and made a list of all the problems/todo lists items that we can’t forget about. Well gotta run. Hope you all have a great week. Don’t forget why your here and what your sent here to do. Love you all, and as often as you write me I will right you
Con amor
Elder Mackay

Monday, April 4, 2011

April 4, 2011

Well who would have known that this point would get here so fast! It’s really crazy how fast the week goes. And this week, has been a little bit crazier than normal. First thing is that we have been blessed with help. Two returned sisters have given us three references this week. One is a girl who we ate with the week before (she is a cousin of one of the returned sisters.) We talked with her through lunch and then last Sunday, her mom asked if we could give her daughter the lessons. We scheduled an appointment for Wednesday. When we got there, the returned sister also invited another teenage cousin to come listen to the lessons. They both accepted baptismal dates. More people who were just going to church but just didn’t get baptized. The fifteen year old Guadalupe is still going strong. One day this week we are going to go visit her friend and family. Her friend came to a ward activity this week. Guadalupe is going to invite them to her baptism. Its going to be super sweet if it all works out (hopefully it does). Also the other returned sister is bringing her neighbor to church. He is eight years old. He wants to be baptized too! Also this week we contacted a reference in Telchaquillo that I think will progress. He says that he wants to change and that he has tried, but he doesn’t have any friends to help him. He’s stopped drinking before, but after about two months started drinking again through his friends. He said that sometimes he can’t sleep at night for what his life is like.. He also wants to set a good example for his kids. It’s pretty nice to find someone who wants to change. He is a pretty faithful guy and he saw another guy (who now is member) change a lot. He wants there to be something that helps him change. This got me going on what it is that make a person start to listen. First is the desire, then the exercising of a particle of faith, how these young kids are teaching me something different and I’m going to try it. Hopefully by the end he gets the changes in his life that he wants. He looks really promising. That’s not so good about Bill. I hope he gets going better. Tell him that he’s got to hang on. Its not the end. Also a thing that’s starting to change is the weather here. Its getting hotter. Like really hot (yes mom I’m drinking lots of water). I don’t think I’ve ever sweated so much on an average daily basis. Its really getting hot though. Conference was good! I didn’t get to watch all the sessions, I missed one. But from what I saw it was really good. It’s in Spanish here, but with English captions. I don’t get why they have English captions but its nice. I’ve gone through half my conferences away from home, now I just got to watch two more and I’ll almost be home. I did think about you guys at home watching. We are really blessed back home. Some people had to go on a bus for about an hour and then walk a bit. We can wake up and watch it in our PJ´s. It’s really interesting how all that works. One of the really good talks that I liked was about the difference in to be, and to do. Its interesting that its not the things that we have done once make us who we are, its our talents and habits that make us who we are. Well, gotta run. Things are great and really hot here. Ill come home with some nice lines. Thanks for your prayers, and know that I pray for you too. Con amor, Elder Mackay

March 28, 2011

So can’t believe it but its Monday again. This week I'll complete SEVEN months in the mission. Next mile stone is eight months which is a third of my mission. Its going by way too fast and I can’t believe that I only got seventeen more months. I know that seems like a weird phrase but really I had like two weeks in the MTC and about a month in the field. Or so it seems. This past week I completed four months in Kanasin. Who knew time could fly by so fast! Just a few statistics for all of you. This week was capacitation. It was really cool. It was two days and by the end I was tired of sitting down. All the days we did practices and it was really neat some of them. Even though they weren’t real investigators, it was about feeling the spirit and learning to go with what it’s telling you. Its also kind of cool to see some of the elders that I've done splits with that are really young in the mission grow too. We’re getting better and better. To help demonstrate some of the ideas, we watched some of the movies from The District. The District is the set of movies that I watched before I left for the MTC. It made me remember how pumped I was to serve and some of the memories. As far as investigators, we still really are holding on to Guadalupe. Saturday we had a little testimony meeting. First I bore mine, then my companion, then her. I said, “now you told us that you had an experience, what was it that made you feel that the book of Mormon is true?” She bore her testimony and said that she knew that the church is true. We had a nice little chat and she is super pumped for her baptism. This week also we went to Telchaquillo. Nobody we had planned to teach was ready. We even went to a guy’s house and said that he was tired and that he didn’t sleep all day. He works in the nights and said he needed to sleep some more. We chit chatted with his family outside while we waited for our ride to come pick us up. It was really nice to talk with them though. Hopefully if we can gain the trust of his family members he’ll open up a little bit. A few miracles that could be pretty big. One is that we ate lunch in a part that we haven’t really ever been to. The family who gave us lunch just had a daughter come home from her mission. We thought all of them were members but the mom of the family came up to us and said, “can you guys give the lessons to my daughter?” ah shucks do we have to? :) Another is that our leader in Telchaquill stopped by the church afterwards. I asked him how everything was over there. He said that he’s got a friend that really wants to listen to us. Some of the people there are kind of wishy-washy and say that they’ll listen because its, “The word of God.” They hear it, but they don’t listen to it. He could be a really good prospect. And another member said we could come to his house and teach his wife. He’s a member and was going to serve a mission. The only problem was that he had to get married because of other things. Can’t really be a full time missionary if you’ve got a wife at that age? Oh well. We gave some service this week. One is that I'm helping a less active kid understand his math homework. He really tries hard, but just doesn’t click all the way sometimes. He didn’t have a mom or dad to check his answers or give him math problems to do during sacrament meeting. Also we visited an old investigator and moved a couple or rocks for her the next week. By a few I mean about 50. We got sandwiches afterwards though so that was nice. The only problem is she is still living with her boyfriend and doesn’t want to get married to him and can’t kick him out. Shoot darn I guess. Well lots of hopes for a good week this week. Hope that all is well from you back home. If you’re wondering for things to put in a package still mom, an elder here taught me to do a rubix cube. It’s nice to let off some steam in the nights when 4 appointments fall through and it’s been a rough day. If there’s anything else let me know. Congrats on the baptisms of Weston and Ashlynn. I think I already said that for Ashlynn but if not I'll say it now. You guys are taking big steps in your lives and in the right directions. Carry on Carry on CARRY ON! Elder Mackay P.S. Anyone excited for general conference?