Friday, July 22, 2011

July 18, 2011

July 18, 2011

Well, another week down. It’s crazy how fast it’s all going. This week especially I don’t know why but it seemed like we would just do a little bit of work and it was time to move on to the next thing. We both are confused about how fast the time goes and where it goes.
This week has been a lot different. Well not different, but having a new companion is always an adjusting thing. We think a lot alike so it’s crazy how many jokes there are. Not that Elder Hutchison and I didn’t have our laughs, but it’s someone from the same world more or less. He played football and basketball too. Today in the morning we played and we played 4 on 3. We were the three and we won. It is nice to be with someone from the same area/culture kind of an idea.
As far as investigators go it’s pretty much still I the battle. We have four people that we are really working on. The coolest one is Yuri. She is so excited for the gospel. It doesn’t matter if we show up late or anything like that, she is still beaming. She is always excited to see us. We verified how she felt at church and she said that she liked it a lot and that her favorite part was that she felt close to God. Well, that’s about as good of an answer that you can find. She is so easy to teach too. She read 1 Nephi chapter 3 and she picked out verse seven. That’s the, “I will go and do the things …” verse. She really liked it and marked it. She is super exited for her baptism too.
Also there is Leonor. She got to the point where she has always felt good about the Book of Mormon but I think that she’s expecting a lightening bolt to come down. She told us on Saturday, “I think I just need to believe, and not try to deny. I just need to go forward with this.” She came to church all by herself too and she is super excited. We had a lesson in the gospel principles class that talked about the Holy Ghost and with our lesson on Saturday I’m pretty sure that she is on the right road. (In case anyone forgot she is the one that read the whole Book of Mormon).
We had another lesson with a lady named Maria de Carmen. We had had lessons with her before, but she never seemed very enthusiastic, but maybe it’s a change of companions or something but she was a lot happier. She also came to church by herself. It was really nice to have her there because earlier we were worried if she was ever going to progress. Now she is on the road. She isn’t super super excited… yet. We are working on her. She doesn’t like commitments so even trying to get an appointment to come back is hard. But she went to church all by herself so it was a big step.
The Last one is a guy named Eduardo. I don’t think that I’ve talked about him a whole lot but it’s a sad situation kind of. This is one of the most loveable guys you can find. He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body it seems like. He has a bunch of animals that he has taken in or things like that. He always makes sure that we have something to drink and has given us food before. The problem is he can’t get baptized right now because he was married to someone else, separated, then later found another wife and is now living with her. So he has to divorce himself with his legal wife, and marry his current wife. Both of his sons are members so he should be a shoe in after he gets his papers figured out. He loves having the missionaries over. One of our first weeks, we didn’t go to his house for a week and he got after us at church. We usually go with him in the night time.
We had a few more good rainstorms. One was Sunday and it filled up a couple streets. Oh yeah, there was a Shakira concert here that was a few kilometers away that we could hear at our house. It was suppose to have 150,000 people go to it and it was free. Oh yeah, I had another interview with president this week. It was short and I feel like it’s a lot of the same thing. I wanted to ask more questions but it got cut off so that’s more of me being made to do some more thinking. I can’t believe that I will be turning 20 this weekend. I feel like I’m still 18 just with a few more years of experience.
When I was thinking about what I should write as a spiritual thought this week, I had a couple of ideas bouncing around inside and the lottery ball that came out is vision. Our vision is one of the most miraculous things that we have. And I’m not only talking about the vision that we have with our eyes. Our imagination is one of the necessary tools that were given to us in this world to learn and to grow. It’s what gives us passion to live our lives, set and later reach goals. If there were no imagination, there would be no reason to read fiction books because a person couldn’t imagine. If there was no imagination, the history books would be far less instructive and the scriptures would wane in power. An unimaginative person can’t imagine the red sea being parted. The understanding of the plan of salvation would be limited to what we could only see and feel. The Atonement and the agonizing pain would not be fully comprehended to its fullest degree because we couldn’t go through that. We can only visualize what it would be like. So since the visualization is so necessary in life, we should use it more I would imagine; its one of the things necessary in the goal making process, its one of the things that helps us to keep our decisions in line, its one of the things that helps us keep on the strait and narrow road, that leads us to the Celestial Kingdom. I have never seen the Celestial kingdom, but I want to go there because I can imagine it in my mind.
Well, kind of an off the wall one this week. Love you all, eat a chunk of cake or something for me, just not strawberry cheesecake.
Con Amor
Elder Mackay

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July 11, 2011 through June 20, 2011

July 11, 2011
Well. It has been another crazy week. Yes mom it was changes and all that. A couple of milestones that are coming up in this change: I’ll turn 20! That’s a pretty big change. If anyone else wants to send anything for a birthday deal I would love letters by dear elder. It always makes a day brighter when someone from the “other world” remembers that I’m here. Also I’ll be half way done a week after I get this change finished. It seems to be about a quarter of the way done not almost half.
Anyways this week has had a lot of topsy-turvy stuff. One of the cool things is that we found the Hermana Leanor again. It was interesting to talk to her again. We had a lesson with her on Thursday and come to find out she had read THE ENTIRE BOOK OF MORMON. How crazy is that? And it wasn’t just a little bit here and there and stuff either. She had questions on the three Nephites and the gift of tongues and different things like that. Now she is reading the scripture index in the back to understand more things. We had a lesson with her and explaining a lot of things then later we talked on Saturday in the chapel. We went and visited the baptismal font and all that. It was super good lesson. She had a lot of questions on how all everything works. She was wondering what she would feel being baptized and if it would help her with her family problems. We got a hold of a member that was in the church and had him come and sit down. He told her about how his family has changed so much since they started the gospel. After that he told her how happy the felt being baptized and how clean and how it felt. He said that it was as if a load had been on him after he came out of the water it all came off. So that was pretty much perfect lesson for her, with the company of the spirit of course. The only problem was that she said she was going to go to church and she didn’t. We got to figure out why not but she is back on the list.
Another sweet prospect that has come up this week is a lady named Yuri (sounds like you-ree). It was interesting finding her. We were knocking doors and I was trying talk about hope and things because it had been a rough day. We knocked the door then this lady drives up in a mo-ped. We talked to her and she said we could come back. The day we had planned to come back we were knocking doors and found an atheist. We had a long battle and then realized how late it was (side note: one of these times I am going to baptize an atheist). We ran over to her and we were like 45 minutes late. We had a little chit chat for like 20 minutes. We made a follow up appointment for the next day. We came back and her sister (Yuri) came out and said that we would be there soon. We started talking with her and we just decided to teach her instead. We were with a returned missionary. We set a baptismal date, and taught her to pray. We came the next day and taught the restoration. We came the next day and she believes the Book of Mormon is scripture. We talked about going to church and all that and she was super excited. The next day (Sunday) she went to church all by herself. Then we had a class on baptism and when the teacher asked, she responded that she was going to be baptized.
This Sunday was changes. I was interesting because we had figured that we had three months together and so one was going to go. Then we found out that mayores usually don’t change as much so I was going to get sent off to some new area. Turns out that I’m staying and my companion is going. He went to Cancun (some area that is super hard t to say that I don’t know what it’s called. Something like teskoafpoeijr. Not really but that’s about all I know is that it starts with a “t”). While I was in the ADO (that’s the bus station) I got to talk with Elder Fuller from my generation. It was pretty cool; its crazy to swap stories and it’s even crazier to be able to swap stories. So I'm here with Elder Wynn. He is from Aberdeen Idaho (incase any of you know anyone there). He is a pretty cool elder. He was already in the zone so I already knew him. It’s funny because this is my third American companion and apart from the MTC I'm the first American companion he has had. He has fifteen months in the mission and is a farm boy so I imagine we will get along just fine. So do I give the birthday stuff to him then? Quien sabe. Any ways things are looking different. Even though he is senior companion, I got to show him the ropes and everything.
We had a couple cats show up at the house, don’t know were they came from. One yesterday turned really weird and started having spasms. When we came back after lunch he was dead. Not such a good thing. It rained pretty good while we were gone so that probably didn’t help him. Other than that no crazy stories. Oh yeah, we had a possum in our back area. It found some twine and used that to climb away.
The spiritual thinking that’s been going on in my head is how useless life is without the Atonement of Christ. We don’t understand the limitless power that is brought with the Atonement. It’s so crazy all the things that it means. Because of it, the gospel and the ordinance of baptism works. This gives people the opportunity to be reborn and to leave behind the burdens that they have been carrying for years. Because of the atonement, innocent children under the age of accountability will not be condemned if they die before the age of accountability. Because of the atonement, people can restore their lives in order. From someone saying a lie or gossiping, to someone who has make and broken sacred covenants in the temple, the power of the atonement can reach them. And without the atonement, there would be no hope for a better life after this short life span. Not only that, now every one can say that there is someone that has walked this earth that loves them and has done something for them. This I would imagine isn’t even breaking the skin on how deep and complex the Atonement is. But this is the one fix all cure. If you want to live a better life. Study the atonement and apply it to your lives through the gospel.
Well gotta run. Going to be a fun week. Love you all. Pictures…. Well hopefully next week
Con Amor,
Elder Mackay

July 4, 2011
Well, another week of the ups and downs of the mission. No crazy statistics this week. Guess I’m forgetting the entire math that I learned back in the day. Oh yeah happy Fourth of July! I just remembered. No red white and blue stuff in the streets makes it kind of hard to remember. Oh yeah, last week I said in my p.s. that it was raining. Well… it rained…. And rained… and rained some more. When we went to buy, it had flooded some of the streets. Like there was probably four or five inches of standing water in the street. Tuesday we got hit by a rain storm pretty good while we were in the street. We were about fifteen minutes away from our house and all the sudden big huge drops started coming hard. Wednesday and Thursday we got some more rain. Friday and Saturday and Sunday nothing. I’d love to hear some updates the week before if I could get it.
Well… it’s hard to remember what all happens. I should start bringing my journal to start remembering what all goes on (which I am still writing in every day over 100 pages now). On Tuesday we got to go with a sister to check out a reference. It was funny because she had invited her before and we had even contacted her and she finally just said yes. We had a sweet lesson and you could tell she was thinking a lot. The member that we took with us was super helpful. Her testimony is super cool. She said that she started reading the Book of Mormon without knowing how to read very well. Now she reads it every day and she loves it. She started it 11 years ago. I imagine she has finished it at least once or twice. She also talked a lot about all the changes she has seen in her life and in her family. We were glad to have someone that could relate to the investigator (oh yeah the investigator’s name is Virgiria). When we got to the part about praying the member got real excited and asked if she could teach it. I never realized how much members change missionary work.
Nothing super interesting happened during the week, a lot of rain and stuff. One of the funny parts was in service. We got to go do some grass cutting with a machete again, only this time for some members. The machete we have is the one that is in the picture that I sent a couple weeks ago. We got chopping away and I told my companion, “make sure you don’t cut yourself or me, please.” What do you think happened? Yeah, he cut himself. It was on his thumb and it was bleeding some. We always carry around sweat rags and he put that on it to stop the blood. We finished then I got to go back to the house to play doctor. It was nice to put the Boy Scout knowledge to use that I thought I would never use. It wasn’t super bad, it was just nice to know what to do.
Oh yeah, mom I’ve tried that colon health pill stuff that was suppose to help. Well… let’s just say it doesn’t. nuff said.
The weekend was pretty packed. Saturday in the morning was super cool! I talked to President one time about me playing basketball. He invited me to play! Saturday we went to a track and it was pretty much an everything area. Had a real track with hurdles (yes I did feel the urge), high jump, discus, pole-vault, tennis, basketball, even a high dive! It was nice to be the tallest one there. When we got there we set up teams and started playing. Our mission president is about mom’s height or maybe a little bit taller. I had heard a lot about him but wasn’t sure. I got to sit the first game so I took advantage to watch what he did. First thing is he said “poor elders. They don’t know what’s coming,” then he drained a three from about six inches behind the line. I guess he learned how to play. It was super fun though. I missed a lot but it felt so good to get back into it. Our crew was me and my companion, the assistants, president and his son, and the other four elders from the mission offices.
Then things kind of went down hill. We had been working with Vicente to try to figure out why he didn’t want to get baptized or what all happened. We went and visited him and he said that he hadn’t confessed everything and that he wasn’t worthy to be baptized. That was Tuesday. Later we figured some things out and he could go to an interview on Saturday. We went over to his house 15 minutes early to make sure he was ready to go and we’d go with him. He threw up a bunch of excuses and pretexts. Really a sad deal. We went and talked with president and we made some plans, but nothing came out of them in the end. It was a rough afternoon. I remember feeling really frustrated and not understanding why things didn’t work out so well. Later on Sunday I was thinking and I realized that that hour or so that I felt of total rejection was a tiny taste of what the Savior felt, as the people he was atoning for rejected him. I felt sad, but a little closer because know I knew how he felt more.
On Sunday we found Fray again. He said that something happened with his work and that he doesn’t have as much anymore but that he is constantly getting back at 8. Also, his family situation isn’t improving at all and he feels really alone when he is inside the house for hours with nobody home. The good side is that he’s kept reading the Book of Mormon. We’ll see how all that works out. We are going to have a lesson with the stake president this week.
Well… the week has been a little bit rough, interestingly enough my thoughts on what this last paragraph have orbited around hope. It’s interesting how much the mission itself teaches. These last few weeks in this area have been hard. It seems like I’m running into a wall over and over again with no changes. Hope is the idea, the desire, the goal, the dream, that things can and will be better. And accordingly with the seemingly impossible, the corresponding hope must be centered around something with limitless power. That is one of the reasons why Christ is so vital to this work. A missionary who doesn’t hope that things will get better, won’t get better and will return to his home missing out on many of the great lessons of the mission. However, the hope is the motivator that says that this door will open, that this investigator will read the Book of Mormon, that this can happen. It can happen, because if water can be turned into wine, that people can be raised from the dead, that the children of Israel can walk through on dry land; if these great miracles can be brought to pass, than why can’t this person change over the course of a few weeks and have the light of the gospel brought into the lives. “we are to give life to the hands that hang helplessly down.” That why this work is so amazing because there are so many possibilities for miracles.
Well I got to run, love you all. Thanks for the long email. Hope you enjoy the pictures and make sure you blow something up for me
Con Amor
Elder Mackay

A while ago you asked how do we set up the hammoks. I guess I haven't sent any pictures of how they work. It is just kind of a normal thing. There are three to get an idea of how it works. This is the basketball crew that we played with on Saturday. And the last one is a sign in the sidewalk. You find a hole bunch of them all over in the streets and things like that from a variaty of years. this one was pretty clean so I grabbed a picture. The years are the important parts. (Editors note - They are the years of his mission.)

June 27, 2011
So well… another interesting week here. It seems like it has been forever since Monday but at the same time I don’t remember, and it seems like we didn’t even get a chance to get out and work. Just another funny statistic (these always seem to come up in this paragraph) but I’ve lost weight! When I left home I was 168 lbs. I gained in the MTC until 177 (three big meals a day with only 50 minutes of exercise will do that to ya). Now I just recently weighed myself on a scale and I’m 160! I can’t believe it to me. Everyone here says it’s because of the heat. One of the elders that I came here with said that I even look different. I can’t believe it though, that I've heard all my life about when someone said , “It was right after I came home from my mission so I wasn’t quite in shape,” and I’m here loosing weight. I got a letter from Elder Clark (thanks Aunt Julie) and in his mission the average weight gain is 30 lbs. here I've seen elders loose 30 pounds or more!
Now getting down to business, is been a hard week with a few streaks of good; nothing big to start out the week. Last week we knocked a door and contacted someone in English! It was so weird. She is from the states, but speaks better English than Spanish. It was my first contact that I had done since I left the MTC. It was weird. We went back Wednesday to teach her with an English speaking member and she said that her husband didn’t like the idea of her listening to us and changing religions. I was sad but I was super worried that I would be able to teach. If contacting was hard than a whole lesson was going to be really different. In some of the meetings we have we see some elders teaching from the states and its weird to listen to it in English. For me it solidified that I was taught to speak in Spanish.
Thursday we had a conference with an area 70. He was cool. He talked a lot about miracles. One of his miracles was that he learned to speak English in two weeks. He said that it wasn’t very good and that he didn’t know how to write it very well, but he learned it. He studies for 16 hours a day for 2 weeks. It was so he could progress in his work. Pretty crazy. He also talked a lot about just the “coincidences” that seemed to happen when he worked with faith. It was pretty cool to listen to it all. Oh yeah, while I was there president winked at me! Just a funny fact but yeah…
Friday was a circus trying to get three baptisms lined out in three different areas. First one was for our zone leaders. We had trouble getting there because we had to take a convey out to a little pueblo. We went to Centro (like the center of the city) got lost, went out to the pueblo, got lost, did the interviews. It was interesting there but not quite the same as Telcahquillo. We came back got lost, then had to give some directions to the zone leaders to come do our baptisms. Then they got lost. We got ours done then we had to go do some interviews for the Hermanas in our district. Long day and lots of walking.
Saturday we had planned to have a baptism. We got there at 6:40ish and nobody showed up and not even the investigator showed up. I remember feeling empty. Like literally everything had been sucked out. I was so pumped for him to leave behind his old life and start a new one. He seemed like so sure Thursday and Friday but I don’t know why. He didn’t show up. It was a long Saturday night without knowing what all happened. We haven’t been able to find or get a hold of him so we don’t know what’s up.
The spiritual thought for the week is on repentance. That’s really the miracle of missionary work. I don’t know how many of you went through the scriptures that I sent last week but with one little teeny tiny lie, we are not able to progress eternally. Every single one of us, though we be rich or poor or smart or… well not so smart, we will all have to repent. Repentance cannot come about without the Atonement. Because of the eternal power of the Atonement, these errors and stains are erased. The power of the atonement is so powerful that we are the only thing that stops it from working. Doesn’t matter the time, the weather, the year, or the person. Even some of the things that are condemned in the scriptures can be forgiven. Guaranteed that some repentance processes take longer than others, but it can be done. One of my favorite scripture stories of all time is the story of Enos. The words are so deep. Also one of the old seminary songs, “oh my soul hungered, my heart cried out. Please, Lord release me from pain and from doubt. Oh my soul hungered…” That hungry soul is crying out for divine help. That heart is crying out for the comfort that comes when one knows that they are cleansed from sin. And the cool thing about it is there is only one cure it’s a one cure all medicine. Repentance through the Atonement of Jesus Christ is the only way to satisfy a hungry soul. This is the way and there is no other, and I love it. It literally takes the loads off. People can breathe again. And it is only for Christ and by no other name can man be saved. Then when the process is finally completed, the end result is a new person, for they have conquered the natural man. They have had a mighty change of heart and put off the desires to do evil. This is the big change, this is the work. Taking people from darkened or not so darkened paths and bringing them into the light. And when we come to the light, we can see more how we need to step closer and closer to the light until that last day. I hope that we all realize how much we need the Savior in our lives and how much we need to repent and step towards the light. Let nothing impede us from stepping and coming closer
Con Amor
Elder Mackay
P.S. Its raining out side =)

June 20, 2011
Well it’s been a good week here. Yes I did realize that it was father’s day. Hope that everything went well. I did think of you dad and wonder what you were up to. Also (probably because I’m starting to grow up and be big) that day when I get to celebrate Fathers Day seems to be getting closer and more real. A wee bit scary.
This week was pretty fun week some days and some days not so much. Monday after we wrote we ran to Wal-Mart (I know Wal-Mart in Mexico? Who’d have thought?) And when we came out it was raining and I mean really raining. We had to walk about five or six blocks and we were soaked by the end. It’s rained three or four times this week. Nothing super crazy like Sunday. That was a lot of rain and it’s a storm that comes from the ocean. That’s why there’s so much moisture. It’s still pretty fun though. The only bad thing is if there’s rain then right after the sun comes out. You get to experience the ¨rice in the rice cooker¨ effect. Its makes it feels like a living sauna just worst.
As far as people go we have found two new people. One of them we found on Sunday and it was an interesting experience. She’s an older lady that is really different from the normal Mexico. She has no religion. She believes in god but doesn’t do anything about it. We had a long talk. Come to find out she had listened to missionaries once before but had never really gotten anything out of it. We tried to set baptismal dates and such but she doesn’t like the feeling of commitments.
Another is a reference. We only got to teach him one time this week but it was about the easiest lesson you can get. His name is Angel and he is 19. We asked what he expected out of us and he said that he expected us to be like we said guides to help find and follow Jesus Christ. Well ya wanna know the easiest and only way to find Jesus Christ? Baptismal was accepted without a problem. Also he has started the Book of Mormon. It was probably one of the easiest lessons. He is going to be super cool to teach.
Saturday was a long day of walking. We really got pushed to see how far we were going to go. We had plans for a family home evening. The members fell through. We had a back up plan and we were going to go with the investigators to the temple. We went to the investigators house and they weren’t there. We tried going to another member’s house and they weren’t there either. Then we went to the investigators house a half hour later. Still not there. It was still pretty rough. We each got pushed to keep going and not give up till the end of the night.
Sunday we had a pretty cool experience. The lady we ate with is a convert she is really sweet to missionaries. She made sure that everything was perfect for us. She then told us how she came to be a member. It was two missionaries that came up beside her and helped her with her bags. They just were willing to help and that’s what they did. She helped us have a little bit more fire. It’s always easier to work when you see the end results. Her son is going on a mission too. I think that even if he didn’t want to she would kick him out the door. After lunch, we went and worked. We had a few really good contacts. Nobody slammed the door in our face. It was super nice. A different day. Also Sunday, the guy from Argentina got assigned to be mission leader. He asked if we would support him in his calling. That’s about a 180 degree change from the last ward mission leader that we had.
Tuesday we had a day of training with president. He talked a lot about faith and the level of faith necessary to do miracles. This leads into the spiritual thought for the week. The Book of Mormon in Alma 37 is part of Alma`s last words to his son Helaman. Part of it talks about the Liahona. The Liahona worked on two things. One was their faith that the Lord could move the two spindles and the second was that they would remember who was the one doing the miracles. President talked about how we are here to do miracles. What we need to do is to cultivate a level of faith where we believe that the Lord can touch the lives of these people. Then after we have achieved a level of success we need to realize that it was the Lord who did it not us. That’s the same thing in every day life. Thanks to the scriptures, our Heavenly Father has blessed us with the ability to know how to have miracles. And it is a pleasure to be in his hands as a tool to do these miracles. I hope that we all cultivate our faith so that the Lord can bless us with the righteous desires of our heart. And when we are blessed, we give thanks in prayer that he might bless us continually. That is what I want everyone to know.
The bomb
These are some scriptures that take me through the process of how big I really am. The activity is to read each one and apply it to yourself. Tied take probably about half an hour. But I’d say it’s worth it. I’ve tried writing it several times and have several versions, but this is the newest
D & C 1:31
Romans 3:23
Alma 39:8
Alma 12:14
2 Nephi 4:17
Alma 36:12-13
Mosiah 2:38-39
2 Nephi 9:9
Luke 22:42-44
Mosiah 3:7
D & C 45:5
Alma 9:27
Alma 36:18-20
2 Nephi 2:25
2 Nephi 4:28
2 Nephi 31:19-20
2 Timothy 4:7
Matthew 25:23
In order to find our chapel, look for a store called Soriana in the colony Canek. It’s a little ways a way from it. It’s kind of in the middle of nothing. On the right hand side if you are looking north.
Well I think that’s everything. Send some attachments. Hope you get them!
Con amor
Elder Mackay

Pictures - So the first one is a kid here named Noe. He is about as rambuctious and crazy as you can find. He finds great delight in running his little toy scooter into the wall. The next is my current tie collection. Its pretty different than when I left. the next was my companion after a long day of work. It was more testing out of the features of my camera and liked this one. The next is a hamburger that a family gave me while I was on splits. It was a super good burger and to drink they gave us a drink from blended cantalope. The last one is our new machete that we bought for cutting the weeds and I liked it alot. Made me think of back in the days with crocodile Dun Dee. "Now thats a knife". Now lets get some reply pictures?

Here are some of the encounters I have had with cockroaches. Later are some iguanas that are camafloged in the rocks. There are three of them. The last one was my creative way to heat up pop tarts.