Sunday, April 15, 2018

4/9/2018

Howdy family and friends. Long awaited news for sure was transfers. I have been in Johnson City for 6 months of my mission. I will be transferred this Wednesday to a place called Hendersonville, North Carolina!!!! I have been in 4/5 states that are within our mission so far (Virginia, NC, TN, and Georgia). My new companion is Elder Molloy! I have met him before and he seems like a chill dude. 

Words cannot describe how grateful I am to have served in JC. I have grown so much physically, spiritually, and mentally here than any of my other areas combined. I have had my favorite companions I have probably ever had...the members here are people that I will also love and cherish. There is so much that I can say about these people. I have made so many great relationships and I have truly come to feel like I am friends with those whom I serve with. 

The recent  coverts here such as Edna, Brandyn, and Alberto are people that I had the wonderful opportunity to teach are legitamately my best friends. I love them so much and it is going to be hard to say goodbye. The good news about Hendersonville is that it is on the way to the Columbia SC temple and so when they go to the temple for the first time (Brandyn and Alberto) I can go with them!!!! Seriously could not have worked out any  better. The next couple days will be filled with goodbyes to so many people that I love. I suck at goodbyes!

My birthday was awesome. I do not feel 21 at all! Alberto is a professional car detailer and so we detailed our Toyota RAV 4 with him for like 3 hours and then ate Jimmy Johns. Later than night I went to a Mexican restaurant with a member and also with Brandyn! We bought matching rosaries and I bought a Mexican belt to represent my Spanish calling haha. Elder Vellinga has the same belt which is a symbolism of our broship!

Saturday I went to an Alpaca farm at the Mushet's home! Remidned me of Peru back in the day! And no mom I didn't get spit on this time. 

I would like to use the remaining time to talk about what happened on Sunday. That was the most spiritual day of my mission so far. It was fast and testimony meeting so we went to Church in a spirit of prayer and fasting! One of the first people to stand up to give a testimony was Alberto. I was so excited. I have had the opportunity ton see very one of my recent converts bear their testimonies in Sacrament meeting which has really been one of the greatest blessings. He stood there and with purity and sincerity bore his testimony of the Savior. He bore his testimony of how grateful he was to have learned about the message of the Restoration of the Church through the Prophet Joseph Smith and how he knows that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. He said that if it were not for the Gospel or a belief in the Savior he would have perished into a very very dark place. For those of you who do not know about his past, he served two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan 8-10 years ago. He  is only 28 and he suffered majorly from PTSD and physical burdens. He has struggled with addiction and with depression. He is a living miracle of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. While he was bearing his testimony I was bawling my eyes out in the back sitting next to Brandyn on my right and Edna was on my left. One of the purest moments of love I have ever felt. I soon got up to bear my testimony after my good friend Elder Stockinger. I could barely get words out of my mouth as my suit and face were stained in tears and I felt so much love and gratitude for the people here. I testified of that. People were dropping tears like no tomorrow. Wow. So really life changing day for Alberto it was his 1st: testimony, he got married, and baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints! We did not go to his wedding because it was very small and private for family but his baptismal service was the most beautiful I have ever been apart of. Alberto asked me to give a talk, baptize, and confirm him a member of the Church. The talk I gave was on baptism and how it relates to the Atonement. I will send my outline on that. Then we went and performed the baptism. It was so beautiful and I felt the Spirit so strongly. Alberto hugged me for like 3 minutes after the font doors had been closed, absolutely bawling his eyes out. I asked him afterwards how he truly felt and he told me "I felt as if I had never set foot on battleground in my life". I testify that the Lord washed away his guilt and sorrow that day. And as I confirmed him a members and gave him the gift of the Holy Ghost, I felt the power of God come upon me as I bestowed a blessing upon him from the Celestial Kingdom of Heaven through the priesthood power. He has such a good life ahead of him with his new membership and family. I am so thankful I got to be apart of that experience before I left. I know that God's hand was in every step of the way for him and for me. What a beautiful day April 8! 

I am excited for a new start band to finish strong!! I love all of you! I love Johnson City!!!! I will miss it but I am excited to start new! 

Elder Mac
 
 



 

4/2/2018

A week I will never forget on my mission. There have been so many changes in the world since I have been on my mission....ranging from the election of Donald Trump to Sustaining a Prophet of God in a solemn assembly. I will always sustain the brethren of the church. They are the leaders chosen to guide God's church.

The spirit spoke to me that living prophets are REAL. Not just some figurative idea or fairy tale, but a real live fact that we can find joy in. This gives me an even stronger witness that I know Christ is my Savior and he loves and cares about us. There are so many amazing things that have happened this weekend. HISTORIC things. 

So many things happened this week. From going to a dinner and having a dance party with Edna and Oduwa eating Nigerian food to going to a rock concert (christian fellowship church). 

It was amazing because an investigator of ours invited us to his church called Grace Fellowship. over 2000 were there and it was a good service; however, attending the priesthood session with Alberto and feeling the difference in the Spirit was a testimony to me that we really do have the fullness of the Gospel and it is available for anyone who is REALLY looking.

That is the problem with Christians in the South; or anymore perhaps. They are awesome people and have great values, but they deny the power of God to be the same yesterday, today, and forever, and they are "content" where they are at because they do not believe God has revealed more. A shame sometimes, but hey we do our best. I love the South and the people and I know that one day every knee shall bow and every tongue shall TRULY confess from their lips and HEART that Jesus is the Christ. 

For conference weekend we were spoiled by the members! For Saturday session we watched it with one of my favorite member families the Fords, and then we went to visit Liz and cleaned her house and car and sent her to tears of joy. Then afterwards we watched the afternoon session with the Westovers and Edna and Oduwa!! Saturday morning we went over to the Wells home for crepes and deliciousness! And then we went with them to Jake the Snakes house and enjoyed that! Seriously the best weekend ever. We also attended priesthood session with Bishop Abbott and Alberto!! I have learned so much and had the best weekend!

This weekend, Alberto Castro, Elizabeth, and her son Peter should be getting baptized this weekend before I leave!! Pray for each and every one of them please!!! They are such amazing people and are ready to receive this covenant with the Lord. 

This is most likely my last week in JC!! Wow.....I have loved it!!! We will go out with a bang!! I love these people individually for who they are and I am trying my best to teach them how to feel and fill their lives with the Spirit of God! Remember that before we can help others we must help ourselves. 

We have to make a conscious effort every day to fill our lives with light. If we let ourselves "go with the flow" and be tossed to and fro, the natural man or woman within us will take over! We must choose to follow God every day! 

Love yall

Elder Mac 
 








 

Sunday, April 1, 2018

3/26/2018

Holy smokes this week was absolutely unreal. SO much action. Seriously I have had 0 time to even study this week because of our schedule!!!! Imma jump into it: 

So last week for PDAY was busy signing up for college and that got all taken care of and we played a ton of sports. Today was insanely fun. We played 18 holes of golf for the first time in 2 years for me! I did surprisingly well. Even had a 30 foot birdie putt from the fringe!! 

Unreal. Alberto is doing so well.Seriously love that man. He is progressing towards baptism on April the 7th and also will get married this week!! 

The Jonesboro Elders found a trailer park completely FULL OF HISPANICS! Elder Vellinga and I have been going so hard with Hispanics. We have both always dreamed about teaching in Spanish together! La vida es buena! 

Elizabeth had surgery on her mouth and got all her teeth taken out. We gave her a blessing and she is doing well. Her son Peter will be baptized on the 6th of April! She might as well. 

We went on basically a 3 days road trip Thursday, Friday, and Saturday! We went and worked with the Greenville Elders for Thursday. I spent the day with Elder Battad. We had an awesome day in the beautiful country and had some very spiritual conversations. I love getting to bro out with the Elders. We slept on couches that night and woke right up and got on the road towards Knoxville and went on exchanges with the APs Elder Hancock and Sharp. I came out with Elder Hancock and Elder Sharp and I go home together. Sharp is awesome, he will play football for Oregon St post mish. Elder Vellinga on Friday night got to baptize a lady he was teaching before he came to Johnson City! Her names is Becky Cooper! It was beautiful. I got to be a witness for it. After that we ate at Pey Wey with the APs and parties. Life es buena. After all that we went to a baptism in Greenville that Sister Hall, the STL I have been serving with for 6 months, had been working for a really long time to get! Super spiritual weekend. 

We have been meeting with Debra Stone since December and she is working towards being baptized again. She has concerns with stress-correlated smoking and has a hard time around people. We really felt the Spirit as.  We testified of the Atonement of Jesus Christ that can help her overcome her weaknesses. 

One guy I can never stop talking about is Brandyn. Seriously the dude is my best friend. No one can get us to shut up when we are around each other! After Elders Quorum he had really felt the Spirit when a man in the Quorum expressed some weaknesses. Brandyn came up to e basically in tears and asked what he could do to help him. I have never seen him do that or anything too similar before, but I know that the Spirit is with him. Such an awesome dude. 

This week will be crucial in helping people get to the font and finding new people and helping others progress and dropping those who do not want to. We love the work. We are so tired every single day! Giving it our all. I love my comp Elder Vellinga. People think we are brothers. WE ARE!:) Love yall. It was Elder Vellinga’s Birthday on Thursday while we were in Greenville! 

Elder Mac 








3/19/2018

ayyyyy muchachos y familia. This week was insane I hope yall had an awesome St Pattys Day. I got pinched like 30 times because I wasn't wearing green but I guess I just enjoy attention too much. Nah I decided to wear Alex's wedding tie because I got to baptize someone who is like a Brother to me. So much fun yet so much tribulation this week. As it says in Alma 17, "they had many afflictions; they did suffer much; both in body and mind.....but they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently that they might know the word of God...and they have given themselves to much prayer, and fasting...and when they taught they taught with authority and power... 

Update on Alberto Castro!!! He has decided that he wants to get baptized on April 7 (best bday present ever). After considering the powerful message we left with him last week he had the feeling that God wanted him to get baptized as soon as possible. Bishop Abbott will marry them soon!! 

We moved Brandyn into his apartment last week and then let him know that Satan was going to unleash his wrath and whirlwinds upon him this week, and that when he faces these trials he will need  to rely upon the Lord. randyn is such an example to me of keeping the faith and having a positive, happy attitude on life. He has mastered optimism. He committed to give up vaping and did really well this week. The blessings of him keeping the Law of Chastity were insurmountable. For those of you who are reading this......I have been teaching Brandyn since November of 2017......such as grind but so worth it!!!  Anyways but since he has moved out he has been avoiding relationship problems that were unnecessary and doesn't have to constantly deal with kids that technically aren't really his to handle anyways. Stress gone. 

It all started on Sunday. Brandyns girlfriend Liz broke up with him right in front of us (she is still investigating the church and her and her son have baptismal dates for April 6)...it was a haymaker though... Dated for 2 years. He was so strong and moved past that real quick. He always kept telling me "dude I got you" when we would talk about him getting baptized in a few days. He then got really really sick and we went over and gave him a blessing and the next day he was feeling way better. However, because he got sick he missed work so he would basically have to work overtime until the day before his baptism. Nonetheless, he endured well! Then I got sick!!! More sick than I have ever been on my mission.....and I was supposed to baptize him! It was just nonstop action. I went on a power up with my past companion Elder Prueitt and also with Elder Farnsworth and Elder Nixon. That Thursday I worked all day but it was miserable...and then I worked all day Friday until 4:30 then decided to go home while Elder Vellinga took some of the other elders to go do Brandyns Baptismal interview etc etc. I immediately fell asleep for 4 hours. SO nice. Brandyn did really really well with his interview and from then on we were smooth sailing to the service. 

The service was beautiful and very spiritual. I got to baptize Brandyn. It felt like I was baptizing Alex or Jake or even one of my uncles or something like that. So so proud of this dude. I love him with all my heart and the Lord will bless him and he stays faithful to the church. He can bless so many peoples lives. We hung out with him for a couple hours after the service! A lot of members were there who had supported him on his way to this covenant. 

The next day I was still feeling under the weather, but I had the opportunity to confirm him as a member of the Church. So many wonderful promised blessing were given to him through the Spirit such a finding someone to marry in the temple and doing family history work for his loved ones who had passed on. He has almost no immediate family members, but gained so many! He was shedding some tears as he took the Sacrament for the first time renewing his covenant he had made with the Lord. 

Most of yall will probably meet this guy in the future. Flying him out to California someday!! We will be planning a temple trip soon! Love yall 

Elder Mac 
 





 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

3/12/2018

AYYYYYYYYY fam. This week was absolutely nuts. I will share some of my notes from Mission Leadership Conference, Zone Conference, and some gnarly experiences. I hope you bear with me because I’ve been shredding some sweet swells lately with the Lord.

Our mission had a ission tour for a member of the Quorum of the Seventy named Elder Sitati. He is a convert from Kenya and grew up on the farmland in East Africa! He is such a stellar dude. 

Going to MLC is always a party because we get to see some of our friends and also have a road trip party with the Sister Training Leaders, Sister Hall and Sister McCune. Seriously so awesome. Here are my notes from MLC: 

  • Mission Presidents are chosen out of 5000 men
  • Served a mission in Nigeria
  • Look to our mission President in a very serious way; draw close to the Picketts
  • Opportunity to have a mentor truly interested in OUR success 
  • Griffins and Picketts will be there for my sealing (INVITE THEM:))
  • My desire is that we leave this counsel that if you have any spiritual burden that you will feel them light and look to resolve them
  • What are the issues you are facing?
  • Elder Vellinga: connecting with other missionaries 
  • Having the Spirit to guide me in my assignment 
  • The Spirit doesn’t give you anxiety 
  • Elder Spencer: if there is a struggling companionship, and 1 is carrying the load and the other isn’t, will they miss out on the fruits?
  • Yes, however the fruits are different 
  • Fruits: unity
  • The need for the repentance is in the companionship itself
  • Do you love and want to sacrifice for your comp?
  • Circle the Wagons; reinforcement if necessary 
  • Elder Tanner: discerning the needs of investigators/missionaries? 
  • Ask and listen
  • Be comfortable in silence 
  • Be a good listener, and the gift of discernment will eventually come to you through inspiration
  • Revelation: in your mind and heart
  • How do you feel? 
  • Take interest in their lives
  • If people are committing to listen to you, are you committing to listen to them?
  • It is in knowing their issues. There’s an answer to every problem in the BOM
  • What is the Chief Complaint?
  • Elder Macdonald: help find satisfaction in the work
  • Elder Sharp: helping baptismal dates get to baptism 
  • Elder McIntyre: Missionaries competing against each other
  • Competition is a useless concept 
  • The Lord’s grace is sufficient for all who try their best
  • Do your best, and don’t try to be the best (that’s what Satan wanted))
  • Elder Hatch: how can we inspire the members to get more involved? 
  • We have direct contact with. the Bishop and WML, and the lead and influence all the Auxiliaries 
  • Every. Interaction. w members is a finding opportunity
  • Members are more effective at finding than we are 
  • Members Finding is a culture, and sometimes we will have to influence us 
  • Missionary work is not about helping missionaries, it is about increasing their faith 
  • Sister Smith: feeling worthy enough to help people
  • Sister Hall: being too hard on themselves; (Be Ye therefore perfect) 
  • Elder Barnes: finishing the mission strong 
  • 2 Nephi 2:11
  • D&C 88: 36-39
  • Lifting water bottle with water bottle 
  • Once we understand, we learn to work w it 
  • 2 Nephi 2:15
  • 2 year old do not express themselves beyond their Needs
  • Moroni 7:10-17
  • Satan tries to convince us that our temporal needs far outweigh the Spirit of Christ
  • You can eat good food and it can nourish you; whatever you put in comes out 
  • Your body will process whatever is put in it, agency is the same way
  • To get from bitter to sweet we need to be enticed by the Holy Ghost 
  • Light, patience, love, guidance, gentleness 
  • Alma 31:5
  • They aren’t personal studying if they are struggling 
  • Ephesians 4:11-14
  • 11: Organization of the Church
  • 13: ALL of us knowing the Gospel
  • 14: avoid deception 
  • D&C 84:106- we are here to edify them in the zone (Our Purpose)
  • Take: we are together to strengthen each other, obediently

  • Mosiah 3:19
  • We need to entice missionaries and help them feel that this is good for them. 
  • Turn to the MP if all else fails 
  • What will help us have the Spirit with us?
  • Keep the Missionary Schedule 
  • Let Christ love us
  • Preparation is the key to having the Spirit 

It was a very spiritual experience. Preisdent Pickett asked me to share with MLC also how I have been able to overcome my challenges on my mission, which have been many. Like everyone:) 

I want to bear my testimony that I knew Brandyn Myers in the life before this one. I agreed to preach the Gospel and I know that I promised him I would do anything to help him out. He is 5 days away from his baptism and he has just moved into his new apartment. He literally had nothing, but we harvested furniture, a queen size bed, dressers, recliners, vacuum, etc etc. Even stuff from our own apartment so he could get settled in. We had a lesson with him yesterday, and his girlfriend Liz (who is on baptismal dates) literally broke up with him right in front of us because she just lost her marbles....but he is staying strong. Pray for him!!!! That is all I ask. 

Elder Vellinga and I are working as hard as we can for the salvation of souls. The title of this weekly refers to the scripture found in Moroni 7:16. Let us recognize that the Lord gives us his Spirit because when Satan tries to convince us that our temporal (temporary) needs are far to great to overcome, we can know that Christ can help us through all trail. The dye is cast! Vamos. 

Love yunz here’s some fotos....

PS: registering for college again...deuce 

Elder Mac