Friday, July 21, 2017

7/20/17

Well there ya have it folks, on Wednesday this week I will have hit my full year mark of being a missionary! Officially am on the downhill Slope towards la playa. I cannot tell if this year absolutely flew by or not. The amount of acción that has happened blows my mind away.....In the past year as a missionary I have been in two countries and 2 different states and speaking two different languages and associating with 3 different cultures at almost all point (Americans, Hispanics, and companions). I can honestly say through this year I have been put through the refiner's fire no doubt. It has been challenging and very rewarding as well. I am working my tail off and through that the Lord is helping me become who he wants me to be. This past week we had a ton of action happen and some good experiences and success but I would like to save the words on that and talk about a few important principles I have learned this year about life: 

Obedience: all the blessing from God are predicated upon this life principle. When someone is obedient they show the Lord and others that they are willing to humble themselves and to recognize a higher power and to rely upon that strength rather than his or her own. It is the difference between a truly happy person and someone who would rather be doing someone else. Obedience is the ultimate expression towards your loving Father in Heaven. How grateful I am that the Lord has developed a desire within me to be obedient. I am not perfect, but I know where my loyalties are set. 

Leadership is a Lonely Place: going against the crowd is the hardest thing to do. Sometimes what society wants to do is different that what God wants to do. Actually all the time. His thoughts are not our thoughts. But when the moments in life come to when we need to stand up to exercise of agency for righteousness, we need to do so. And sometimes it is lonely. Sometimes we feel like we are missing out on the "fun" or that whatever everyone else is doing may be the "cool" or thing to do nowadays to "enjoy life". Those of you are youth I encourage you not to be ashamed of following Jesus Christ, ever. We are faced with all forms of temptation that will bring momentary "happiness" and also guilt, shame, fear, and even depression. Do not give heed to the things of the world. Be leaders. Follow Jesus Christ, who went through more than we can imagine. When the greatest leader his world has ever known was hung on the cross, the Spirit of the Lord withdrew from him; leaving him not only still suffering for our sins but also doing so alone. You can always stand up for what is right because he did it FIRST! 

Patience: This term gets thrown out a lot, but what does it really mean to be patient? Patience is the capacity to endure delay, trouble, opposition, or suffering without becoming angry, frustrated, or anxious. It is the ability to do God’s will and accept His timing. When you are patient, you hold up under pressure and are able to face adversity calmly and hopefully. Patience is related to hope and faith--you must wait for the Lord’s promised blessings to be fulfilled. As I've learned and am continuing to learn about this Christ like attribute I've seen my happiness increase substantially. We need to be patient in this life. Nothing worth having is given to us without having to endure through something! 

The Gospel of Jesus Christ: I could write on and on about the most valuable lessons I've learned through this year, but what it all comes down is to the Gospel. In Moroni 8:26 we read about The Christlike attributes in which we all desire: 26 And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God. If you notice the end of that verse implies the goal that we all have the goal to live with God again after this life. How do we do so? Go to the verse previous (8:25): 25 And the first fruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins. The purpose of this life and in order for us to be most happy we need to live the Gospel. We are all here to change, or repent, every day and every hour as we strive to follow a perfect example. When you try to follow a perfect example (Christ) your weaknesses will become exposed. Exposed in ways that may hurt, that may bring you down to your knees in supplication for help or strength. It is the hardest thing to do. To overcome our weaknesses, alone. But if we live the Gospel (which is meant to make bad people good, and good people better) the Lord has promised us that he will make weak things strong unto us. How grateful am I for this knowledge and for the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. How grateful am I, in my own personal fallen state, for my life and the opportunities I have had this past year. 

As Captain America would say: " I could go all day!" Bring on Round 2 and beyond. My heart is humbled as I reflect on this past year. I feel gratitude and peace. 

My dog Roxy passed away this past Friday. She was a part our family since I was in the 4th grade. Man's best friend truly is a fitting name for these marvelous creatures. My sadness from her passing is swallowed up in the joy of the Plan of Salvation. Love ya girl:) ❤ 

Love all y'all/ Les Amo 

Elder Kyle Andrew Macdonald 
 




 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

7/10/2017

This week was wild. Miracles and fracasos and so many new faces and changes in the great TKM! I am thankful to be out here serving in the Spanish Branch in Tennessee! The weather is definitely getting up here and about to enter into the infamous humidity here. As up until now we haven't gotten hit that hard, but it is coming. Elder Allen and I are having a party together and keepin it tranquilo here in Leb Town! 

President Pickett and and family: We had Zone Conference on Friday and we met our new mission president and his wife and family. They are AMAZING. They are from Idaho. President graduated from BYU from the business program and also got an MBA so back to back mission presidents with this type of background!! BYU MBA here I come! 

4th Of July: from/basically 5 o'clock on was a party. The hispanos de la rama cooked up some fantastic carne asada and alimentos and we ate A LOT. We had tons of non members come and enjoy food, company and fireworks! These are firework stands set up all over town to buy fuegos artificiales so the temptation was real to go pyro but we made it through with the help of the Lord hahahaha. That will be my only 4th of July in the South!!! Sure was enjoyed. (I go home next July 3) 

Ivy Villanueva: She is an absolute miracle (we will see her progression) but we received a referral from Temple Square of a lady named Carmen Maravilla whom we had met a few days earlier from giving her a pamphlet while talking to her outside her trailer home! We came to bring Carmen a Book of Mormon and we met Ivy and it turns out that she is a member that lives in Watertown!!! Which is like 10 minutes away but she as baptized a little over 7 years ago in Texas! She is the only member in her family and has a few kids! Pray for her because she seems hesitant about making a return! Another lost sheep. 

Felipe Hernandez: he is such a rockstar I love this man! He is fully active and doing so well. He will pass the Sacrament next week and he also happens to be really good friends with Raul Funes who is our "eternigator" along with his wife so he will be able to help us fellowship them into the church! 

The District: right now the Sisters are the only ones who have baptismal dates. Our area has so much potential pumping right now and we are having success finding lost sheep and bringing in new faces! This week will definitely require a training to help motivate us to find those who are prepared. 

Anna y Alba Blancas: Mother and daughter who came to the activity for the 4th! Member referral! They live in Nashville but they are so prepared to receive the Gospel! They came to church this past Sunday in our building as well! SO stoked. 

Me: I am doing great. My testimony of the Gospel blooms more and more every day and I am finding joy and satisfaction in my work. I still have my own personal trials and weaknesses but I know in whom I have trusted. Gracias a Dios! 

La Clase de Ingles: we are teaching English to Hispanics now every Friday morning and we are also teaching a few people in their homes! It is so fun to see them put forth efforts to learn a new language and to progress in this country! We teach the basics and do a lot of role playing and vocab practice! It is helping me improve my Spanish to a greater degree than I knew possible! 

Esther y Raul: We showed them a Conference talk by President Eyring called "This Day" which gives a general message that we should not procrastinate the day of our repentance. Such a spiritual lesson but they are still lacking the faith to commit to baptism because they are not doing the little things. We told them they aren't prepared right now but can be and can decide today that they WILL read, pray, come to church weekly, live the commandment, etc etc. We invited them to pray about a date. Pray for them :) 

Oscar and Ibeth Lopez: Oscar is a convert of over a year and Ibeth is a return missionary from Mexico. They were married a few months ago and will going to the temple on Aug 5 to be sealed for time and all eternity in the house of the Lord. Oscar asked me to be his escort for his first time going through the temple!! It is right after transfers so I hope I can stay another one. I could stay 6 months here easy:) 

So far so good. Nothing much more to say. I finished the Book of Mormon last night and I ponder upon the last word of Moroni to come unto Christ and be perfected in him. What a glorious Gospel this is. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God and you read it, ponder its message, and pray to know it is true the Holy Ghost will manifest the truthfulness thereof. By that power you may know all truth. Les amo todos y Ciao!

Elder Mac

1. Investigadores 
2-3. Cuetes
4-6. BOM squad 
7. Felipe tho
8. Youngins from Poplar Creek 
9. Mi vato Carlos 
10. Mercado con Distrito








7/3/2017

Guapos y Guapas cómo están allá Oeste? Aquí estamos obrando diligentemente! Roller Coaster week but this time a little bit more on the down slope and experiencing some tender mercies del Señor! I do not have a whole lot to write but some chill photos I'd love to share (best part). 

Update of Carrie Ruiz: welllllll two days after her crying and having a super sweet lesson she let us know like right at the end of PDAY that she had decided our church wasn't for her. Probably got fed some anti-material or just wasn't fully prepared to bring herself to repentance. Either or, we hope we get to see her again! She has such a sincere desire to have a better life. Pray for her!

Felipe Hernandez: is now basically a full pledged member and is back in ACCIÓN! This guy is a rock star. He has so much faith and came back to church yesterday for all 3 hours and participated in the meetings. Hopefully we can get him a calling soon and start just doing the little steps! Honestly this guy is my favorite moment from Lebanon so far!

So we also started teaching English this week and we are going to make a huge push this week to get people to our class on Friday! We teach English in peoples' houses as well. It is really fun and also intimidating but it is probably even more so for the hispanics haha! We do roll plays and situational stuff using posters and assign each of them homework! 

Teaching pool wise we have a few families we are working with, nothing to solid at the moment but just putting forth mucho fe, esperanza, y gratitud! 

New Finding Activity: La Pulga, this massive flea market where literally all hispanics go to buy, sell, and enjoy their free time. And boy was it fun. We aren't really allowed to hand out materials but we kinda do anyway and we might buy a table next week so tat would be really fun! A lot of people said hi to us and desired to talk to us! 

Elder Allen: Slowly but surely helping him find his groove in Spanish. As of now I have been doing the majority of the talking and teaching. I have been trying to help him no have any fear and to be super social with the hispanos! He is a great guy! We got along pretty well. The days are pretty chill and we just do what we are in control of and forget the rest. 

HAPPY Birthday to the greatest country in the world baby. God's Country!!!! Gracias a Dios!!! Love yunz 

Elder Mac

1. Mis Chicas
2. Allen tho
3-4. Guapos
5. Call 911
6. Do not bring me gossip, lets talk about Christ
7-11. Merica' meetin' 
 





 


Saturday, July 1, 2017

6/12/2017

Heyyyy Familia I don't it have a lot of time because I procrastinated and we went fishing 🎣 but this week was awesome! We have been not only working hard but we have had a lot of crazy and even embarrassing experiences (especially me) hahaha! I'll try to include all the good stuff from this week! 

Stake Conference: so on Saturday we had stake conference and a member of the Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Alba, came to speak. I actually had the opportunity to translate his entire talk from English to Spanish which was unreal!! I loved doing that. All goes well until they start reading from the scripture then you have to improvise haha. So we ended up staying the night with the Zone Leaders in their apartment, Elder Sanders and Elder Lakko! It was good to see the boys again. 

The next morning we had the last session of stake conference and the entire chapel including surrounding rooms was flooded with people. I was asked previously to stand up in front of the entire audience to translate one of the speaker's talk from Spanish to English. Let me tell ya, that is much for difficult for some reason! He started talking about his trials and obstacles he faced trying to get to the temple, and he started talking about how he had his brother and also his mother in law living with him whom were sick, and the word for Mother in Law is "Suegra".....well case closed I myself didn't know that word Hahahaha but in my usual confidence I proudly replaced the meaning of that with "fiancé" in English and the speaker looking at me and laughing corrected me in front of the whole audience!! Hahaha yes I was laughed at by the whole Cookeville Stake of Tennessee. But hey they needed a good laugh they were all looking exhausted in the audience......ahhhh yes. The mission memories go on! 

One thing I learned from Elder Alba is that we can, when we are teaching, say and speak in "the name of Jesus Christ". That is something that stood out to me because I rarely do that. It reminded me of the priesthood which I hold and the power it can have to influence others to do good as I use it righteously. I am grateful to be able to represent Christ at such a young age and to be able to hold the authority and power to act in his name, the priesthood. I know as we live righteously and let virtue garnish our minds and hearts unceasingly we will be able to experience the potential and privilege of this great power. Thank you to my Pops for setting an example of how priesthood power up an influence others! Love yall:) 

1-3: District Greatness
4: Estudio de Idioma 
5: 🌻
6: Elder Alba de México 🇲🇽 
7: Translating in front of the stake 
8: Castle Heights 
Ciao y con amor 








6/26/2017

This week I can't even describe all the things that happened but I will try to clam it all intro one email! First off, I got a new companion named Elder Allen!! Elder Hatch left to Cleveland, TN to be companions with my first son Elder Fillingim! Elder Allen is from Mapleton, UT and went to the University of Utah before he came on his mission for a semester! He's been out for about 4 months so this is his 2nd area! His first time speaking español so I get to help him with that! 

Transfers: transfers was on Wednesday so we drove out to Farragut and traded off. I had to say a lot of goodbyes today. First off, to my trainer Elder Mitchell, who will be going home in the next few weeks back to Portland, OR and will be going to BYU! Man I love that guy. We also had to all say our goodbyes to President Griffin and his family. They have done such a marvelous work here in the South and I'm very grateful to have been able to know them and to serve under their leadership! President Pickett and his family will be arriving here this coming week! 

Carrie Ruiz: Angel. We met Carrie a few weeks ago but Elder Allen and Got to sit down with her and teach her the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She is so humble and has such a desire to learn about Christ. I remember reciting the "First Vision" with all the conviction in my heart I could muster up and testifying of how the heavens are open and God still speaks to us through his living prophets. Tears were losing down her face and she accepted a baptism date for July 22. Pray for her!!

Felipe Hernández: Miracle. What can I say more. There's this house that I've driven past probably 30+ times as we go to the same Hispanic concentrated areas, and I remember Elder Hatch and I always wanted to go knock on that door, but we either forgot about it and didn't do it. Well, we did it Friday. And it turns out that Felipe walked around the back of his house and scared the heck out of me!! We talked to him for 45 minutes and this guy was the most GOLDEN Hispanic I'd ever met in my life. Turns out he had already read the Book of Mormon, his daughter was baptized in Mexico this year.....he even recited 1 Nephi 3:7 out loud....my jaw had just totally dropped. He told us his life story and all his ups and downs. He told us he loved the teachings of Brigham Young. He then immediately said he was coming to church with us at 1 PM! So he stayed all 3 hours of church and it turns out that some accusations came up that Felipe might be a MEMBER. So they put his name and birthday in the records of the church and it turns out that he has been a long lost sheep for at least 20+ years!! Gracias a Dios por este milagro! The Lord works in mysterious ways but he never forgets his sheep! 

Esther y Raul: pray for them as well. They need to take the "salto de fe" or leap of faith. They know everything is true, but there are some things that are still holding them back from baptism. We invited them to read every day and to pray in order that they may feel ready! They still have a few steps but they need a goal of a baptismal date! A vision.  

What thing I was thinking about a lot this week was repentance. In Mormon Ch 2 we read in verses 12-14 that the Nephites had began to lament and mourn, a few indicators of repentance. But as we read further they had not truly repented because they found happiness in sin, and that they were willing to "struggle with the sword for their lives". How often to we mourn or lament mistakes or natural desires that we have but we hold onto those things because we remember the momentary happiness that comes from it. How much easier would it be to throw down our swords and to surrender our will to the Lord. Repentance isn't just grieving something or acknowledging mistakes but rather it is a change of heart, a change of desires. Let us align our hearts in Christ Lord. Love yall 

1. Mi Hijo 
2-3. Ciao Pescao Papa 
4. 🤙🏼 this man is headin to the North Shore this week 
5. Adelita's 🍦
6. A New Era
7. Quezada Fam Bam 








Friday, June 23, 2017

6/19/2017

Hola Familia cómo están??? Big news this week! So we had transfer calls on Saturday morning and we found out that my companion, Elder Hatch, is leaving down to Cleveland Tennessee. We served a solid 3 months together and I am sure going to miss the guy. We worked so hard! My new companion is an Elder who just got done training so I will give you more feedback about him next week! This will be my 3rd transfer in the Spanish Branch here in Lebanon! Absolutely crazy week! 

The District: The district is doing a lot better than it has been. Combined as 3 companionships we only have 2 baptismal dates but there is a lot of potential here. We will be an incredibly young district here in Lebanon. The majority of missionaries will be less half a year out, so there is some greenie fire here for sure! One thing that the missionary leadership just came out with is the new TKM Mission Plan! I will post that. I believe that this plan will help move forth the work in such a vast spectrum. Last transfer wasn't really what we were looking for but things are moving! 

Spanish Branch: Honestly nothing really has changed with regards to this however we are trying so hard to get members out with us every single night. The stake here has a goal of 12 member present lessons each week which is a very large number but very manageable as well. 

Investigators: We have found quite a bit of people but for now I would like to put my focus upon two guys named Ramon and Mauricio. We had a miracle happen last week during stake conference where we met a member who knew these two dudes and works with them out in Lafayette. Ramon and Mauricio both do not have a church and are very interested in the Gospel! Pray for them! Pray for us! 

Hatch & Macdonald Legacy: we went hard every day all day. There was not a day when we were not hitting the streets and it did not matter if we would have success or not. It was super relieving to be able to work through the day. My favorite success we had together was definitely baptizing Jared Gonzalez to bring his family closer to the church. Adrian and Monse (the parents) still are not married (Adrian is a member) but they have told us multiple times that we are their favorite missionaries and we are slowly but surely making progress to help this family come into full fellowship. I love them! 

Zone Conference: This Friday was President and Sister Griffins LAST zone conference of their missions. Here in Cookeville we have an amazing zone. We received trainings on the new mission plan I posted on here and also President Griffin gave his last training. He had us all sit down in a massive circle and he started out with one question. He asked, "Why did you all come on a mission?" And he called on certain people to answer the question. He taught accordingly to their answers using the scriptures. And then he asked us "Now, why are you still on a mission?" These questions, as you can imagine, hit everyone so deep but it made me reflect back upon my decision to come to Tennessee and really why we are setting aside our lives to serve. The answers to these questions cannot be put into a few lines, but what it comes down to is a love for God. To love God is to serve those around you and to keep his commandments. 

One thing I was studying this week was a talk called "Grateful In Any Circumstances" by President Utchdorf. He said that gratitude is the catalyst of all Christ like attributes. 
Being grateful in our circumstances will make life sweeter, more joyful, even glorious. There are always so many things to be grateful for, but more importantly there is and always will be something to be grateful for. It is easy to be grateful for the mellow, "all is well" times. But what about when life has you up against the ropes? What about when your life may seem to tear at the seams? Familia I invite all of you to live with an attitude of gratitude, even when the times get hard. The Lord is with you always. 

Elder Macdonald