Monday, September 29, 2014

Cow Foot Stew and Flooding

      Well last week was very tough. I forgot to bring my journal so I'm not going to have a daily update of what we did each day, just more of an overall update. So in the last email I talked about the less actives who the dad was passed out drunk in the mud... Well we went and visited them Tuesday I believe.. and it was extremely sad. I had no idea what to do. The wife and the two kids were there and the dad was still a little tipsy.... The wife was telling us about what the dad does when he gets drunk and how they have absolutely no money for food, the dad was mad and he destroyed part of their house... which meant that every time it rains water comes in. 
     If there is one thing I can't really handle in this life is when people are abusive to children, so this was extremely difficult for me to handle. I had no idea what to say to them all I could do was sit and listen to the parents fight and they both kept trying to bring the boy into it to defend their side. We ended up just leaving with a prayer and telling them that the stake president is there to help them. Elder Carlson and I have gone back one time since, it was on Friday, and the Dad was still drunk. This time wasn't as hard, but we are trying to work with them and get them back on the path. 
      On Friday we also had most of our visits fall, so we went and visited a different less active family. It was a whole different story than the other one. The Dad who isn't a member said that the night before he had been contemplating  calling us, but he ended up not doing it. He told us that he had had just this pain in his heart and didn't know what to do. Not a physical pain but a spiritual pain. He thought about reading the book of mormon but ended up not doing it. He also told us about a dream he had had a year ago about two missionaries coming to his house in his time of need. Which was awesome! It's a reminder that God is preparing his children to come back into His fold. We ended up giving the Dad a blessing and sharing a message about the Book of Mormon. We will see where things go from here, but I really want to see him and his family happy and I hope that they will find that happiness through the gospel, whether its Elder Carlson and I or some different Elders. They just need the blessings that come with being obedient to the commandments of God.

      Saturday.... Saturday was just a great day haha. So we got at the stake center to play basketball at 6 AM and we started playing. Afterwards at about 7:05 we were getting ready to leave when we noticed that there was water all over one side of the church. Elder Bryan the zone leader had forgotten that he turned on the Baptismal font and therefore, we flooded half of the church, and I ended up having to go into the freezing cold Baptismal font and pull the plug.. Which I wasn't going to do in my clothes and walk home wet... so you can imagine what happened. I like to think of that as my first Baptism (Insert smiley face)but after I pulled the plug and spent almost 3 hours getting water out, we got home around 10.. Haha. What a good day. We also ate some stew called Pata. Which is very similar to Pato which is duck, but nope PatA is cow foot stew... It was horrific. Worst thing I think I have ever eaten.

My testimony has been strengthened this last week about the little things. The little things we do in life make a huge difference. No matter what it is, from sports to the gospel. The little things in the end change the outcome. Keep that in mind.

I want to share a quote and it is also the challenge for the week, but this is what is helping me handle the Family who is having the problems.
 ¨We must Develop the capacity to see men not as they are at present, but as they may become¨

Love you all! Hope all is well and I hope you are all enjoying nice American junk food!

Elder McLain

Some of the Elders when they went on the zip line
View from the zip line. 

Cow foot stew. Bleh!

Elder McLain with his new favorite drink. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Some pictures and Elder McLain's last two group emails!

Hello Everybody! Another week in the field is down. It´s already going by super fast! 
Last week was pretty decent. Tuesday we didnt do much, we ended up just teaching a family of less actives, and they ended up coming to church on Sunday which was awesome! But besides that nobody was home. Wednesday I taught my first actual lesson to Danny, who is still really interested and is progressing very well. He's 22 years old and just an awesome guy. Thursday was Patriot day back in the states which meant that we sung the National anthem here, well just me and Elder Carlson, but it still counts. Also during English class that night the two Latin kids we were teaching kept asking us about the Plane that flew into the towers, which I had no idea how to explain in Spanish. That was fun. We taught two ladies whose dad is basically a pastor in an Evangelical church, and they were really involved in the lesson and were intrigued by the lesson on the Plan of Salvation. We were supposed to meet with one of our recent contacts who was our new investigator for the week but he ended up not being home, same with the next 3 days we tried to get a hold of him. 
Friday I basically scaled a mountain to the house at the very top, only to find out that the investigators weren't actually home. Whoopie. Haha. But after that we walked clear to the other side of our area to our investigating family the Rosales, and they weren't home either. We did end up teaching Danny though and he has been reading the Book of Mormon which is the least we could ask for considering our luck with the other investigators. 
Saturday we had an awesome ward activity planned to start at 5:30. Elder Carlson and I showed up at 4 to set up our part and at 5:30 everyone else showed up to set up their parts. So in reality we began at 6:45, which is funny because the emphasize of this activity was to start on time.... Yup on time in Guatemala is only an hour and 15 minutes late. 
Sunday was an awesome day. I learned that faith is definitely necessary in the mission. Last sunday when none of our investigators showed up at the begining of church, I was pretty bummed and counted them out,  and nobody ended up coming late. But this week, Danny had said he was coming to church, and I was just hoping and praying to see him walk in. 9:00 came and no Danny. But I just kept telling myself he would show, and sure enough after about 20 minutes he walked in. He stayed for the whole 3 hours and after we answered the questions he had. But, what's great is the Ward is going to visit the temple in Xela on Friday, and Danny expressed interest and really wants to go. He's going to go visit the temple grounds with some of the members and we are trying to see if we can get permission to go a long.

Besides all of that, a dead kitten on the street..... :( And Today being Guatemala's independence day, the week was pretty boring. But Elder Carlson and I are going to keep working at it and hopefully get some more people with commited baptism dates and also we are going to work on getting some less actives back to church. We will have to see what next week brings. 

For those of you with some free time, look up the Jeffery R Holland's Testimony of the book of Mormon video on youtube. Its my all time favorite mormon message. Also, my weekly challenge. Read Mathew 25:31-40 in the Bible.

Well I love you all. Hope everything in the states isnt too crazy!

-Elder McLain

He loves the kids there already. 

Picture of part of the town. 

Chasing a goat. We still don't know why. 

Parts of the city. 
Elder McLain's group email from this week:
Well this last week was pretty uneventful....

Monday we played soccer...My first time playing soccer with Latinos, I was totally surprised when I ended up scoring 5 goals... It definitely was a good first for soccer here in Guatemala. Monday was also independence day in Guatemala which meant fireworks. They aren't really the fireworks that you think of back home, every time one goes off stuff shakes. It is basically a bomb. They scare me everytime. After P day all of our appointments fell through. But we had the feeling to go and teach the family Batz, the mom is a member but the dad and kids aren't. We talked on happiness and how we can find happiness through the gospel. The dad and mom were both crying at the end and the dad bore his testimony of how he knows that the church is true and that we are sent from God. What? Why hasnt he been baptized? I dont know. So we have been working with him some more and are going to continue to do that.

Tuesday: Tuesday we had a district meeting in San Cristoball which sucked because it meant we had to ride the bus for an hour and a half. I've learned that there are some really good bus drivers, and other just really should find a simpler occupation. Every time they shift I feel like I am going to die...It's horrible, I also feel bad for the transmission of the bus :( That night we taught Danny a good lesson on baptisms for the dead and answered other questions he had after going to church on Sunday. We also Taught the Taj Cual family who are less actives. They are always extremely nice and seem to be progressing.... Well seemed to be. (read on)

Wednesday: Wednesday we taught the family Tale.... The whole time we were teaching I thought the dad was drunk... But I guess that is just the way he is. I was so confused. Turns out, the whole family wants to be baptized, he is just the only one holding them back. So we are working with him and trying to answer all of his questions. I think that in the end with him it is all going to come down to the Book Of Mormon, if the Book of Mormon is true, our church and its teachings are true as well, and Joseph Smith was a  true prophet. We really just need him to understand that and Boom. Baptism. 

Thursday: We taught Danny and he is still progressing and reading the Book of Mormon. Also, we taught Brenda and challenged her to find an answer for herself before this Thursday and make a decision on Baptism. Every Thursday we teach English Class in the church for whoever wants to come... But nobody showed up. We just taught the Hermanas who are in our Area. Heamana Velasquez and Viera.

Friday:Friday was a bad day...Everything fell through and we didn't teach one lesson. Definitely something I don't want to happen again. 

Saturday: Saturday sessions of stake conference with Ocampo from the seventy. He's an awesome speaker. I can listen to all the talks in Spanish and understand about 80% of what is said as long as I am paying attention. The topic of  Saturday was that every member is a missionary, and we need to act on that. Don't be afraid to share the gospel, in the end it can change someone's life which in turn will change the lives of generations to come.

Sunday: Sunday we had the actual session of Stake Conference and Dayny came! It was great and a wonderful message. We are waiting still to see what questions Danny has but I believe that we can move Danny's baptism date to October 11th. That's our goal so we will have to see where things go. We were supposed to visit the family Taj Cual Sunday night..and when we got to their house the Father was passed out, drunk, laying in the mud. They were progressing and doing so well but I guess we are back to step 1 with them. But everybody makes mistakes, and its nothing that cant be overcome or fixed through the power of the atonement.

Today was awesome. We went up to what is called the Canopy, it's a zip line! It was crazy fun. Im going to try and send a video and some pictures of it for all of you to see. When we were trying to get a bus to come back to toto a pepsi truck was driving by and jokingly we like held up the hitch hiking thumb. They stopped... and 20 Elders and sisters climbed into the back of a pepsi truck and rode down a canyon. That was definietly a once in a lifetime experience...a crazy one. 

Well all, I decided to begin reading the New Testament because as a missionary we are representatives of Jesus Christ, therefore I want to learn more about his life so that I can better myself. I love the new testament and all of the stories in it. It has helped me to have a better outlook on things here and understand a little bit more about who I should try and be and who I am representing.
My challenge to you for this next week is to take the primary song, I'm Trying to be like Jesus, and put it into action in your lives. It can be achieved just by simply loving others, forgiving somebody, or anything that is of good intention and kind.

Love you all. Sure miss back home. Have a great week.

Elder McLain

Monday, September 8, 2014

Elder McLain's first week in the field!!!

Elder McLain is officially out of the MTC. He is loving his new area and he seems to be doing well after his first week out in the mission field. Continue reading for the group email from him! 

Well Well Well.
       I am oficially a real missionary doing actual missionary work rather than just sitting in the MTC all day! It´s crazy! My companion is Elder Carlson from Clearfield, Utah and we are in Totonicapan, Guatemala which is just about an hour and a half from Quetzaltenango. So living on the top of a hill my whole life I never really thought that I would have to deal with walking up bigger hills than I was used to, but I was wrong. The hills here are insane! And our house is on the top of a hill as well. Our house is massive, we have 9 bedrooms, a kitchen and then two bathrooms. Plus, we have a whole roof that we can hang out on top of that has a pretty cool view. I'll send some pictures with this email.
      Leaving the MTC was pretty sad, I had grown pretty close with my district and with Elder Macfarlane and Johnson who were also in our room, the Monday night before we all left we got 103 elders into a bedroom which is smaller than the average hotel room and we sang Called to Serve plus God be with you till we meet again. That was awesome and also really sweaty.... Yeah. The next day we got on a bus about 23 kids. 15 gringos and 8 latinos and we headed up to Quetzaltenango, however the main road was closed because of protesting so we had to go around which took 6 hours instead of 3 and a half, that wasn't fun. There were some pretty amazing views however, which I enjoyed very much. I quickly learned that there was a whole lot more to Guatemala than just the MTC, and that the MTC is probably the nicest building in all of Guat. 
          So after the 6 hour bus ride we arrived at the stake center in Quetz.
We had some meetings and got to meet the Mission president and his wife, then we were on our way with our companion. I was extremely nervous for what laid ahead but all in all it ended up just fine. My companion and I walked to a chicken bus with my two 50 pound suit cases, and when we arrived at the bus a guy came, put each suit case on top of his back, didn't hold it or anything he just balanced it, and climbed up the back of the bus with it. It was loco. After we arrived at our house in Toto we went out and began proselyting. We ended up going to a less active members house who had two kids and his wife in a little tin house with dirt floors. His Aunt had just died and he was really struggling so I had the chance to share a message with him. I shared Ether 12:27 I believe. It was definitely an eye opener and at the same time a very spiritual experience.
      The next day we had a zone meeting about half an hour away, and lucky me I'm so tall that I hit my head in the bus and cut it open. What a great way to start out my time in the mission field. I ended up stopping the bleeding and got that figured out. The zone meeting was cool. I learned that Elder Miles, Elder Hadderlie, Elder Ramos and Hermana Martin from my district in the CCM were all in my zone! That was great. 
      Thursday morning we got up at 5:30 to walk to the Stake Center and play basketball with the Zone leaders which let me tell you was a huge stress reliever. My comp. and I won both games, technically we aren't supposed to keep score, but the zone leaders did the score keeping not me. Whoops. On the way to basketball however there was a treat waiting for us in the road, a cat had gotten hit by a car, and was basically cut in half. I could see like all into its stomach and everything. Wow. Yum. 
    Every day we eat lunch at a members house and so far it has been pretty good. I haven't gotten sick which is a bonus. And, I haven't had to try anything too out of the ordinary. There was a chicken heart one day in my soup... with arteries and everything connected. Yum. The tortillas are to die for, that is one thing I don't think I will ever have a problem eating. 
       Here in Toto there are a lot of Bolos or drunks that fall asleep in the street or when they are awake, love to talk to us. They seem to think they know English, but their vocab is rather select if you know what I am saying. Its pretty funny the things that they say to us! Haha I enjoy it.
        As far as the work here goes, they haven't had a baptism in over 5 months....and only have had 4 this year. It's going to be tough but I am up to the task and my comp seems to be up to it as well. Yesterday we had a meeting with an investigator at a members house. Juan Carlos is his name and the moment I saw him walking down the street, I for some reason had a feeling he was going to be my first baptism. Later I found out my comp had the same feeling. But, he could barely walk and there is something wrong with his arms as well. He has some sort of disability, which was very sad to see. But he didn´t let that put a damper on anything. He was a very happy guy and I really enjoyed getting to know him. We taught him the restoration and he seemed to be very interested. I'm excited to see how everything goes with him.
    Well everybody, I have learned a lot in only my first week in the field. I look forward to seeing what lies ahead in the coming weeks. Remember how privileged we are at home everybody. We truly are blessed to live in such a beautiful, clean country and we often don't realize how easy we have it. Never take anything for granted at home. 
I will send some pictures today and hopefully a more organized letter next week.
Con amor,
   Elder McLain

or Elder McDonald's as the people call me here.
A look inside Elder McLain's apartment. 

Matchy matchy. 

Elder McLain and Elder Carlson