Monday, November 28, 2011

A few weeks ago in Glenn's email he said, "This Sunday was stake conference and it was pretty crazy because the General President of the Young Women (Sister Elaine Dalton) was in town and just stopped by to chit chat! She spoke with a translator and it was pretty cool. . The fun part after though was translating for the President to a young man." He was able to make arrangements for a few pictures from that conference.

November 7, 15, 21, 2011

November 7, 2011
Well, another one of those weeks that seemed like forever long but at the same time I can’t believe that it’s Monday again. This week I was in the areas of the, missionaries in my district for two days so I didn’t get to spend much time in my area.
In my area, there are two groups of people that are really exciting me. First is a sister named Claudia. I think I talked about her last week. If not, well oh well. She is going to be married to a member and meanwhile is talking to us. We had a super sweet lesson Tuesday about the plan of salvation and we got to explain some pretty cool things. One was she hasn’t been able to have kids until now. I showed her the picture of Brett’s family and explained how everything can work out. It was cool to feel it.
The other group that I’m about is still the family Jimenez. It’s taking a while, but it’s coming along. All of them have read the Book of Mormon. Now we are just trying to help them understand the importance of it all and recognize their answers. They give us food though so that’s nice. They really respect us a lot so that’s nice. Hopefully we can help them out a little more. They are going to take a lot of work because the three kids aren’t married but have “girlfriends” or “boyfriends”. But it would be a sweet family to see in the temple some day.
In the other areas it was fun. The first lesson was with a sister that had been waiting to receive her answer, but felt like she still hadn’t received her answer. To start the lesson off we sang “Come Come Ye Saints” and I shared why it was important for us. It really set the tone for us. It was a really cool lesson. After we went to a lady that they just hadn’t checked on in a while. We went there and we taught the plan of salvation and we came out with a baptismal form filled out Jthat made me pretty happy. In the other area there was a lady that wasn’t reading the Book of Mormon very much and we had a lesson with her. We said, “If Christ came here and you could ask him what ever question you wanted, what would you ask him?” She is already a member and asked, “why did Heavenly Father let me live without the gospel in my live for so long?” We talked about how she had to know the difference between the good and the bad. She understood but we felt like we hadn’t truly showed the power of the Book of Mormon. We asked for another question and answered it with the Book of Mormon too. It helped my testimony that everything can work out well.
This Sunday was stake conference and it was pretty crazy because the General President of the Young Women was in town and just stopped by to chit chat! She spoke with a translator and it was pretty cool. Other cool things were that we are in a very growing stake of the world. One of the speakers asked converts who had known the gospel through elders to raise their hands. About 75 percent raised their hands. Apart, if the work keeps up, in 2013 they are going to have Mission Mexico Cancun and Mission Mexico Merida divided; and also in 2014 they are looking at putting a temple in Cancun! That would be pretty cool. The fun part after though was translating for the President to a young man. I felt the power as I told that young man that he was going to lead his family and bless it. He was holding a new triple given to him with a special scripture from the President. It was super powerful.
For the spiritual thought, there is no doubt what it would be. This week, we got a call that someone needed a blessing so we hopped in a taxi and raced over there. Come to find out that it was a member that has had to pass through some hard things in life and felt abandoned so he left the church. I’m not talking about like he got dumped but really hard stuff and he has to carry a hard load for things he didn’t do. The coolest part was the end for me. I told him two things
1. I didn’t understand your pain and I can’t because I haven’t gone through these things. But I know someone who has. The Savior with his divine fathership had power over death. In other words, he could decide when and where he wanted to die. That is why he didn’t die in the garden of Gethsemane, because he chose to suffer more. He knows your pain because he suffered it and even more
2. You feel that there is no place where you can find rest from the cross that you are carrying, but there is a place where you can. It’s called the Celestial kingdom. There we are promised happiness and joy beyond description. Literally, there are no words to describe our happiness in this world because these worldly words can’t describe a spiritual experience of this magnitude. There at the door you can leave this weight. And really, this life isn’t that long. But in order to leave this load and feel this joy you have to get there.
He asked if I really believed it. I told him about ‘no empty chairs in heaven’ and about Aunt Laura and Grandma. Well ya. It was special.
Con amor
Elder Mackay

November 15, 2011
Well, this week has seemed to pass by super super fast, but at the same time a ton has happened. The biggest change is in companions. This week was changes and I don’t know if you notice mom, I’m writing on Tuesday. That’s because… well I can’t say now that would ruin the rest of my letter!
I’ll start at the beginning of the week to be more organized. Wednesday we had a training that was super intense. President really let us have it. First we had a humbling experience. He talked about whining and how when a missionary does it he says to himself, “This Elder still just doesn’t get it.” Later he said, “Stepping foot on this earth should take away all our ability to whine.” He went along the lines of, “Being blessed with a body is something that many children of God didn’t get. And we get our bodies and we whine that we are tired. Many young men don’t get to go on a mission, yet all missionaries complain about how hard things are and how hard their companion is. Well I have news for you. There is no life without trials.” Later he talked about the Atonement and how important it is and was and will be. It grew my love for who I call my Savior.
One more thing that is really cool that I have to put in here really quick. I had a little chit chat with a less active and he said I was being tough on him. I felt the world go calm and I said, “I don’t care. I'm your doctor and I know what you need.” I saw him in church this week. Now everything that I tell him I say, “you need to do this,” then I look him in the eyes. It’s so cool to understand my role as a missionary.
Ok I can’t think of anything else really huge. Changes came in and well… I’m going to train! (In Mexico they say that I’m going to be a dad). Sunday after church I got the call and they told me to go to Merida to pick up my “son”. So I went and I got him at about noon on Monday. His name is Elder Garcia. He is really cool. His is the only member of his family. Not like the only active member, but the only member. He is super excited and really ready to learn. He really wants to learn English too. I’m excited to help him in all the changes. It’s going to push me to a new level because I want him to be a good missionary and I don’t want him to pick up bad habits from me. I want him to be the best.
In the investigator lines we have Pati. She is super cool and super ready to do what we ask. This week, we taught one principle every day about lesson three. We learned in our training that this is better than teaching all at once for retention. Also I’ts shorter lessons so we don’t waist so much time. Today in the morning we had our first lesson and my son (companion) did pretty well. We taught about the Holy Ghost and the importance of why we should always have him with us.
Then the second that’s really cool is Claudia. She is super cool and still going strong. We had a super hard core lesson on Saturday and it worked out well. The situation is she is living with a member, and learned and met the church through him. She’s been a golden investigator since then. The problem is they are flat broke. And we have to marry them. To fix the work problem, there are lots of options and the marriage is coming along. That is the only thing that we have to do so that she can get baptized. However, she also has had problems having children and lost a baby that she didn’t know she had. She has had a lot of doctor visits and things like that. The Saturday that we gave the lesson was a hard day for us too so it kind of changed into a lesson for all of us.
We started out singing, “Come Come ye Saints” and my eyes got wet. I felt my ancestors there. We talked about a lot of things that had affected us and why and things like that. It helped us both go through. We took picture. I’ve helped her remember something though. Mom remember a long time ago when I was home for the winter and I couldn’t find work and I tried so many times and I couldn’t find work? And I asked why and I started to wonder if anyone was even listening? And you told me, “Don’t stop believing.” I will forever remember your face and your eyes well up in tears. I know now why I had to pass this. Now I have a testimony that I can testify to the investigators that the help does come. That is what I cold Claudia. I gave her a little toy and I told her to take it with her and I told her the story. And when they tell me about the newest trial that is causing problems, I say, “Don’t forget what my mom said.” Thanks mom.
That’s the biggest thing. If it wasn’t for that trial that I passed so long ago, I wouldn’t have this testimony and I wouldn’t be able to help these people. And now I can’t stop believing either. None of us can stop believing.
Con Amor
Elder Mackay

November 21, 2011
Well… a crazy week; probably the craziest week that I have had in my whole mission. This whole week seems like it has taken forever but at the same time it feels like yesterday I was writing. There have been so many cool experiences, but at the same time, if there is a problem it seemed to happen. I feel stretched pretty thin but don’t worry. Next week I’ll write and…
To start off with I have a trivia question. What is black has four wheels, and is used for transportation? The answer is my companion’s wheelchair! In the MTC in Mexico City, he sprained his ankle really bad and walking all day Tuesday and Wednesday made it get worse. Thursday we went to a doctor he said a month of nothing but staying in bed. Then we went to another one and she gave us some medicine and told us about a week. A member family got us a wheelchair to use in the meantime (before we were shut in the house and I had to carry him or he had to hop. To give you an idea about how bad it is, it’s about the same class as when I did it when I was at Wes’s) We scrambled to get things done and we did divisions Friday. I had a crazy time trying to make sure that everyone got to where they needed to be and getting everything to work. Saturday more doctors. It was funny but sad how many trips they made us take. Then Saturday we had a really sweet lesson. Claudia still can’t get baptized but we took her to a lesson with the Jimenez family. We sat her and her soon to be husband down in front of them and we had them talked and we opened it up to questions. The son who is the hardest nut to crack so far asked, “How do you know that the Book of Mormon is true. It was super sweet to hear them both share testimonies of the Book of Mormon and now it has changed their lives. The son said he was going to dedicate himself more to read the Book of Mormon then when (more like if) he has questions, he’d talk to us but we could come by during the week. We’ll see what happens.
And right now I have to end because this pday was really stressful. The spiritual thought is that I can do it. Apart from that, a member that has about four months as a member asked me for advice. He wanted to know if he should take a higher paying job that would make things work out a lot better. He has a job right now but it pays very little. He needs more money, but he would have to lose his institute classes and not have Sundays off (in other words, he wouldn’t be very active in the church. We talked and he understood that he shouldn’t take the job for Sundays. He started with the whole thing that he didn’t understand and I didn’t say anything, I just put my hand over his eyes and I said, “Do you see?” and he said, “No”. I said, “don’t worry He does (aka the Lord knows what’s going on).” With all the trials of this week, it feels so good to know that there is someone that knows what’s going on. And there is someone that sees and someone that knows why these things need to happen.
Con amor,
Elder Mackay

Sunday, November 6, 2011

October 17, 24,31, 2011

October 17, 2011
Wow the mission is crazy. I don’t understand how much happens in so short of time. This week was a lot of crazy hassles and to make things worse, it rained. I thought I had finished the raining season but we got hit with a tropical storm. It’s not supposed to leave until Tuesday. I’m wearing my “Sunday” shoes (my eccos that I’ve had forever that I try to only wear on Sundays to keep one pair nice) because my other two pares are soaked and it hasn’t gotten very warm to heat them up
This week was a lot of crazy stuff. First was a baptism. We had plans to baptize 3 of a family of four (the dad still wasn’t sure). This week we found out that the mom and the dad weren’t married so… kind of burst my bubble a little bit. I felt super bad but its part of what they have to do if they want the blessings. We did have the baptisms for the two kids. It was a crazy one. The younger brother was afraid of getting drowned. The first time he didn’t go under and he started clinging to the walls. He eventually got back to his senses and let my companion try again. I told my companion to force him down and it worked. His older sister was scared too, but she knew better so she just dealt with it. They got baptized though.
Another cool thing has been a guy named Felipe. I think I talked a little about him in my letter last week. He was about to get baptized but at the last minute he said he wasn’t legally married. So I get to inherit him. He’s already read the Book of Mormon. It was pretty cool to have another one of those investigators. He’s pretty ready. We ran out of things to teach him so we taught him how to present the Book of Mormon and he presented it to his wife. He is reading the Book of Mormon and Bible for about two hours in total every day. It’s nice to have investigators like that.
The other couple that we are teaching is coming along. They are George, and his soon to be wife, Marleni. They are making me stretch a little as far as teaching goes. I need to find new ways to teach them but everything is coming along well.
Now that I’m a district leader I get to do baptismal interviews. This week I did 5 and they all passed. The first one was in a place called Tulum. It was crazy because the kid I as going to interview was taken to work by his dad and we had to find things to do for four hours. The second, third and fourth were members of a family. I got really stressed out because there were problems and phone calls to president - baptism by fire kind of thing. Then yesterday I did another one and it was fine. It’s crazy to be in this spot. I feel like I've graduated grade school, skipped junior high and gone straight to high school. Now I have to be “grown up” and be more organized, sharper, more exact. It’s pushing me to be better.
This spiritual thought comes from an interview that I had with one of the elders from my district. This elder has a new greenie, opening an area, becoming senior companion, and has 3 months in the field. He was a little bit unhappy with how things were going on. He talked about how he didn’t do anything right all the time. I talked to him about how we needed to be patient not only with the people around us but also with ourselves. It hit me one day, “there would be no salvation if there was no patience.” And of course our examples of patience are our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, who patiently are waiting to help us.
Well it’s short this week but it doesn’t mean I love you any less,
Elder Mackay

October 24, 2011
I just finished reading all the emails and seeing all the pictures and let me tell you what- I loved them! I wish it was like that every week (hint, hint to those who haven’t written in a while). This week had some crazy ups and downs.
There is an investigator Felipe that we have been working with. Well we haven’t had to work with him very much, he’s pretty self working. He’s over halfway through the Book of Mormon on his second time around and he’s reading the Bible. We were trying to get everything planned to have his wedding be this week, but it wasn’t happening. The only time the offices here would be open to marry him was a Thursday and his wife has a double shift every Thursday. So we married them today and he got baptized today. However that didn’t stop him from giving a talk in church on Sunday. It was pretty cool he quoted scriptures from the book of Mormon and everything.
There is a couple here (Marleni and Jeorge) who are more or less coming along. The only problem is well… there are a few problems. One is that they aren’t married (which seems to be a common theme here. I haven’t found a married investigator yet here that’s an adult.) Jeorge use to be a whole different kind of guy, and his future parent-in-laws weren’t very happy about them getting married because of who he was. Now that he has started to change, he wants to get married and set everything strait. The only problem is he wants to go talk to his future mother in law. He can’t do that for about another month….. grrr! Also Saturday we got a text from him so we called him up. He told us his wife was dying. That didn’t sound too good. We ran over there (literally ran) and checked it out. She had serious headaches and it had been going on for three days. In a few hours, she said that it hit even worse. It was the worse pain she had ever felt. But the paramedics came so I think they took care of it. They are struggling a little bit.
Another person who has been struggling a bit well… me. Thursday I had a temperature and I didn’t think much of it so I went to work. I came back home finally in the night at about six to check how high my temperature was and I was up to 102… oops! I spent Thursday night, Friday and most of Saturday in bed. It was rough but I made it through. I can’t believe how long it’s taking to get back to 100% and getting back in the groove.
Other than that it hasn’t been super crazy. I have heard that there is supposedly a tropical storm headed this way that could become a hurricane. True? The source isn’t 100% reliable but it could be worth something to check into. Something else that’s way different about this area than those others is that there are a lot of tourists here. Every time I go to Wal-Mart to do my weekly shopping I see people from not just the states but from all over the world (even one time a couple said, “Oh look it’s the missionaries.”) You can even pay in dollars here! How crazy is that!
Well I got to get going. One of the things that I have seen this week especially being sick is that our Heavenly Father knows who we are and how we feel. What a comfort to know that we are not left alone. We struggle through this life and often feel that we are inadequate or that we aren’t worth our Heavenly Father’s time. Or in a trial, we feel that we are so alone, with no one at our side. However, we are not, because of that act about two thousand years ago. Christ our heavenly brother suffered himself to be taken prisoner and to take upon himself everything. And in doing so, he had to do it alone. Now because he did it alone, we never had the need to be alone. We can repent pray and talk to our Heavenly Father and feel the warmth from the Spirit, and have the knowing feeling that he is watching us and he loves us.
Con Amore
Elder Mackay
October 31, 2011
Well, ya it was a crazy week. We had a lot of plans go wrong and a lot of changes, but learning to cope with changes is one of the things that we get to learn in the mission.
Before I forget mom don’t worry I did get my toenail fixed like a month ago. I went to a toe nail doctor (yeah that’s right they have doctors specifically for toenails) and I got everything fixed. There was a pretty good chunk that had gotten ingrown but it didn’t even bleed. Everything was leading up to me going through a lot of pain and blood being everywhere, but ´twerent nothing. I walk around fine without any problems. So please don’t worry J
The biggest thing of the week was hurricane. Tuesday we had interviews with president and he told us that we had to go to Wal-Mart and pick up eggs to make hard boiled eggs and tuna (neither of which I was very excited to eat). Also they told us to pack for five days because there was a possibility of going to Merida. We had plans on Wednesday to go with the zone leaders and camp out the storm until then. However, things changed. At five in the morning on Wednesday, we got a call and we went to the bus stop and we went to Cancun, from there we went to Merida. President said that we had to leave because he was thinking about the report that he would have to give to one of our parents if something happened to us. We were in Merida from Wednesday in the afternoon until Saturday in the morning. We stayed in Merida and worked in the area of the assistants. They just changed areas so we were helping them open it so it was strait knocking doors and getting in and teaching. It was pretty crazy. We talked with a ton of people and we even taught an almost atheist. He said that our look on life was beautiful and that he wished he could believe in it. We did set up some baptismal dates and it was almost hard to leave the area again. At 5:30 in the morning, we had to go back to the bus station to get headed back to Playa. It was good to be back in Playa.
Shortly after we came back, we went to work and we were checking on a referral when a lady came up to us and asked us to talk to her family. We talked and they all agreed that the house didn’t have a lot of peace and that this is what the needed. Under further investigation this could be a pretty special family. Everyone will have to have an interview for one reason or another, but they seem to be willing to work on things. They even gave us a ride to our house after the lesson. They have a few houses and a little bit of land that they rent out and here in Playa it’s expensive to rent so they are living well off that. The dad even has a porche! It could be a sweet family of 6 though.
Two more people that are new. One is a girl who is 16 named Naida. She grew up in the Catholic Church, but wasn’t satisfied with the answers that she was getting so, she left the church. Then she said that she saw missionaries all over Playa (which is true, there are 10 missionaries here in Playa) and finally one of them contacted her and she said she would accept a visit from us. Her mom isn’t super thrilled but she, the girl Naida, is pretty into it along with her brother. Also there is a lady that was a reference too. Her soon to be husband is a member and she had gone to church and talked with members quite a bit. Teaching her is easy and fun because she is acceptive to everything. She is about 30 and her name is Claudia. Her soon to be husband and is an ex chef and says that someday they are going to invite us to dinner. I’m down with that.
The spiritual thought comes from something one of the assistants said while I was working in Merida. “There is nobody who is more worried about the missionary work than the Lord. No matter how much we worry about it, we can only do so much. He however is in charge of this work and he invests a lot of time and knowledge into each missionary. He will not let such a valuable asset go to waste. Sure, the plans will fall but the hour and the work that the Lord wants to be done in that hour won’t. So when the lesson falls, don’t worry, don’t get frustrated, trust in the Lord that there will be something in the work that He wants you to do.” Applying this to “normal life” sometimes we have plans all figured out where we think that everything is perfect. But as usual things change. We need to remember to not worry. As long as we are on the Lord’s errand he will not let a daughter or son of God be forgotten. The Lord is in control, and as the standard of truth says, “The standard of truth has been erected, and no unhallowed hand will stop the work from progressing.”
Elder Mackay