Sunday, May 22, 2011

May 16, 2011

What! Monday again! I wish that the week was like twice as long sometimes but at the same time at 3:30 when it’s the hottest, the clock doesn’t seem to move (hitting the hundreds quite regularly). Well this week has been pretty cool and full of fun adventures. Let’s see if I can get them all in.
Tuesday, we had a zone conference. The coolest part was that we talked about Mosiah 4 together. Super strong! And with so many elders dedicated to the work and a mission president speaking, well the spirit would have probably put a drunk in comatose like Alma the younger. We talked about some of the verses and how the desire to share the gospel comes from learning to love the Lord. It was such a cool zone conference. We have a mission goal of every companionship baptizing every week. Realizing that that is a big goal, it seems over whelming, but if we all do the little things and do our best, this inspired goal will be realized. We also as a zone decided that we wanted to finish the conference (we went over two hours).
My companion and I (look mom using good grammar) did an interesting activity. There is a principle in chapter 9 of Preach My Gospel about going about doing good works. We had a couple small little simple things that we could do for people. We started by singing a hymn and then if they let us sweep off their porch. The worst thing is that a lot of the people didn’t want us to do it. One lady finally let us in. She is older but said that there was some more family living with her. We swept then did the Mexican equivalent of mopping after. She was very grateful and we set plans to come back. While we were there, we left the Plan of Salvation pamphlet. We came back and the family wasn’t there. She told us to come back and if they weren’t there we could at least talk with her. We came back on Saturday and started the lesson normally. Then we asked if she had any questions, she said many =) First was about the idea of a judgment, then later about baptism and what’s the preparation for a baptism. Then a lot of, “How does your church do… Why? “ type of questions. Super sweet lesson and when we asked if there was anyone else that we could invite they said that she would talk to her other friend who is in her eighties and has a lot of fear about death and what’s going to happen later on. Other than that activity we didn’t see anything super big come out of it but that lady is going to be something to keep your eye on.
We also found a lady contacting and we had a lesson with her later. The coolest thing is she has a goal to finish the book of Mormon in two weeks! That’s probably speed reading but hopefully something will catch her attention. She not too much going on with her because we only had one lesson and such but it could be the start to a super sweet story.
Another cool thing is that there is a recent convert family that has really taken hold of the church. They met the missionaries in December and when we get to talk to them, they are always so happy. They had a lot of problems but now they are a cute little family. The little kids were behaving badly for a second and she started counting 1….2…..3….. and it brought me back to when I use to do that. I told her that my parents use to spank me and she got big eyes and said to her husband, “Did you hear that? His parents use to spank him to and he’s a good man!” Then the husband said, “Well than maybe we need to spank them more?” It brought back a lot of memories of things that I wish I could take back that I did as a little kid (yeah more growing up. I don’t think I’ll ever be a big kid even though I’m bigger sized than Allen (feel like I’m in math class with double parentheses but in case you didn’t get that last joke it’s a family one so ask my mom)). Anyway it’s super cool to see how the gospel changes life.
The family that we’ve been teaching, well they still haven’t gone to church yet. We had a long talk about the restoration and the importance of Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon. We had a talk about the family living forever and being prepared for the second coming of Christ.
A phrase finally made sense to me. In the introduction to the Book of Mormon, the second to the last paragraph talks about how to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon. And it really is true that we invite all people to come to Christ and ask Heavenly Father in the name of Christ if the book is true after reading and pondering its importance. The last paragraph talks about what other parts will come to be a part of our testimony if we achieve a testimony of the Book of Mormon. First is that we will come to a greater knowledge that Jesus is the Christ. Second is that Joseph Smith has been his Prophet and Revelator. Third that this (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) is the Kingdom of God built here on the earth in preparation for the second coming of the Messiah. The first two always made sense but the third not so much. We as members of the Church, missionaries, and more importantly I desire all to read the Book of Mormon to find out if this is the church of Christ. There is no other way (2 Ne 31:21. It isn’t just being a good person and believing in Christ. To achieve our potential we must be part of his kingdom having faith where is necessary and following the Gospel of Jesus Christ. After the first Covenant that we make to follow Him, we must stand on that foundation, which is strong enough to stand the whirlwinds of Satan (Heleman 5:12). This is the way and there is none other. Satan’s lies deceive people that there is a free ticket given to all through the atonement but it is not so. Read the Book of Mormon (even if you already have) and ask with the unquenchable desire to know if this is the Kingdom of God, be ready to follow the answer given and having faith that you will be answered. There is no other way to find out this spiritual knowledge other than faith. And there is no other piece of information more important than this. Because in the Kingdom of God lays the salvation of everyone. There is only but to find it through Jesus Christ and His atonement. Ask and ye shall receive.
Wish you all a happy week and for those of you who have been slacking on the writing side and are in need of repentance, my mailbox is open=)
Love you all
Elder Mackay
Oh yeah, P.S. a few photos.
First two are a couple pictures of a scorpion we found while we were walking to a meeting. It was probably about three inches long or so. Just to keep you on your toes
The last one is kind of a long story. The toilet works fine, but the hand on the toilet broke. We were trying to figure out how to fix it. My companion piped up and said, “Maybe we could tie a string to it or something?” Well with a little bit of ingenuity and engineering, we now pull the small rope to flush the toilet. More adventures of a lovely mission. Can’t wait to do it at home (just kidding Mom). Love you

May 9, 2011

Well, we talked yesterday, I don’t know about anything else to talk about. I hope I can think of some things.
It was a really fast week. The most progressing people are the two kids that I’ve been writing about, (Kendra and Damaris). They are really pretty much in the water, the only reason why they won’t be baptized this week is because their parents aren’t going to be here so we are going to do it the next week. They went to church with their grandma and its all working out well. You can see they are happy and wanting to do things better. They really are the ones that are chosen beforehand. The biggest question is, ¨how do I find more people like them? ¨
Angel is going a little bit more. We read Mosiah 3 with him and he really liked it. He said that it was another point for the book of Mormon. He started out super attached to his Bible and didn’t like some of the words like, ¨most perfect¨ in the introduction to the Book of Mormon. He also had a question about all the people had been baptized before when the church wasn’t restored. Basically another hurdle for why the ¨Book of Mormon isn’t true¨. We talked about the temple (which he had already seen one time) and talked about what all goes on in there. It is so nice that The Gospel all fits together smoothly because it’s the Plan!
We found a family last week and we finally got to teach them this week. We had our first two lessons and it was really cool… and long. We talked about the church and had our lesson on the restoration in total for two hours… oops. The longest a lesson should be is about 45 minutes. Oh well. We presented the Book of Mormon to them and they were pretty interested in it. I asked the son one time, ¨Why are you going to read it. ¨ He said, ¨To see if it’s true or not.¨ seems like he’s got the idea alright. We’ll see how it all goes. He’s a pretty good sized kid for Mexico so I think some time we’ll have to have a game of basketball and see how it goes.
Another guy named Fray is pretty interesting. He had a super hard question. His family isn’t very happy, his kids live in other places, and he’s separated from his wife. All his life he just wanted to have a happy family and retire with time for his kids. He thinks that there’s no way that he can achieve that dream. His question was ¨if I did all that in order to help with this goal and now it’s not achievable, why did I do it? ¨ Tough enough? Following a prompting or two, I thought about Lehi, and how even though his kids were not always the best (not counting Nephi,) he still prayed and worked hard and did everything just to help them be happy, and that is why we do it; to make each other be happy and achieve family goals. And then we talked about why the atonement is important because the Savior can help him and he can progress in life. Trying to brighten him up and think about the eternal possibilities. We were only able to visit him once because of some scheduling problems but thinking about him and trying to help him understand the role of Christ has actually helped me a lot understand the Hope in Christ aspect in life. When a basketball team doesn’t have a chance of winning, their playing gets worse and so it is for us in life. A person who is living and sin, whether they understand it or not has no hope in the future. If someone doesn’t know they are living in sin, they don’t think about tomorrow they are too caught up in what’s going on now. If they don’t think about tomorrow or next week… well I’d say eternity is out of the question. And the people who know that they are living in sin don’t have hope because they know that in the eternal scheme of things, things won’t work out. They know they won’t receive all the blessings that are laid in store. The only way that we can have hope, is through faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. If we do this, we have a hope; a hope that things can and will be better.
Anyways a little bit shorter than this week. Oh yeah, after getting done talking about cockroaches last night, I came home and killed two and found one in the morning under attack from a group of ants. Well gotta run.
Elder Mackay

Sunday, May 8, 2011

May 2, 2011

May 2, 2011
Well just to let you all know… a third of my mission has already gone by. WHAT?! A third already. NO WAY, it’s been eight months since I have left for the MTC. The MTC seemed like one month, I was with Elder Para for a week, Elder Brixey for a month, Elder Alfaro for two weeks and now that makes a total of almost three months right? No fair…
On Sunday when it’s our time to talk, I have talked to a member and you can call his house at 6:00 our time.
Well this week has been pretty average (no strange dreams of cancer or anything). The people that we have here are about the same as last week. As last week I was getting to know a new area, lots of new strange things to write about. This week… not so much.
One of the things that has really been trying is a guy named Angel. He is really attached to his Bible. The first thing we talked to him about a week ago was the Restoration. Since then we’ve had quite a few lessons on the Book of Mormon and trying to help him gain a testimony of it. That’s one of the things that we see that is really a problem. Lots of people in Mexico get baptized without a testimony. We are really pushing him and he’s reading… just not believing.
Another investigator is name Miguel. His wife is a member and has been a member for about seven years. He just keeps saying “más adelante” which means like later on. We have had a lot of talks about things that we should do now and not put of tomorrow (I think he’s about as stubborn as a 12 year old kid who doesn’t want to do his chores right now…. Yeah sorry bout that mom.) Anyway, his grandson came back from this mission and talked with him and when we came back for our next visit he said that he wanted to get baptized Friday. Fine with us =). Must have been some talk he had with his grandson.
Next is Kendra. Her grandma has been a member for a long time and fell away from the church from a bad experience (was baptized without a testimony). The grandma has since gotten a strong testimony and wants her daughter to be baptized with a testimony. Hence the missionaries. She really already knows everything, just a lot of verifying. Her friend Damarius sits in on the discussions and is way good at applying things. We were talking about the requisites on entering into the Celestial Kingdom and she was able to figure out what she needed to do still.
The other thing that happened is we found a guy named Fray and he is the new guy he is divorced and works hard to make sure his children have a good education and can get a good job. He took the lesson in really well and accepted the baptismal invitation. He asked when we could come back again. He is really low on faith saying things like, ¨I don’t know if there is a life after this, but from what I have heard…¨ I hope that he can gain his testimony. It would help so much in their family situation.
Also we tracked into a home that has a mom and a dad and two kids (15 and 12). They were Catholics but have since changed. They had never heard of the Mormons or what they believed. It was interesting to talk to someone who had never ever heard of us before. They said we could come back Tuesday and if we couldn’t make it Tuesday, Wednesday would be good too. Seems like there is a possibility there too.
This week we also gave a little bit of service. A recent convert has a little bit of land and that is what he works with. I went there and got to get my hands dirty for a second. It felt good to be out doing things like that again. Is it bad if I noticed his field has a lot of rocks in it and needs to be rock picked? Anyway, they are a way cool bunch and they got a five year old son who has about as much energy as I did when I was five.
So trying to help Angel out has helped me study why the Book of Mormon is necessary for us. And I have come to this conclusion.
1) The Book of Mormon is the most correct book as it has been translated once. Because it is so correct, it can correctly do its job as it testifies of Christ. We base our testimony of Christ in this book. Had it not been for this book, we would not be so strongly based in our Rock
2) The Book of Mormon is our base in doctrine. The way we do things the way we live our lives, the way the church is governed is based in this book. It contains the Plan of Redemption and what it takes to be cleansed of sin. It answers the questions of the soul, and gives council in times of trial
3) This Book is different because it is the evidence that The Church of Jesus Christ has been restored in these days. The Bible may be able to cover the other two but this is the test. If the Book of Mormon is true, than the church that I represent is the church of Christ. And one of the ways man can come closer to God more by this book than any other book is when a person gains a testimony of this book and its divinity. In this moment, they come closer to God by finding his church
I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know it is and if it were not so, I would not be able to testify now that it is. I would not be able to testify in a concrete house, wooden house, over the internet, or face to face with a young child. I base my authority as a missionary in this book. If this book is not true I do not have any ability, permission, or authority, to help others to come unto Christ, because I haven’t found him yet either. But because I have, I am able to enjoy this wonderful work and continue on in helping my brothers and sisters come to know who Christ is. This I bear this witness in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen
Just had to get that out there. Talk to ya next week
Elder Mackay