Monday, December 30, 2013

week 3

Part I (letter to Shannon)

To start with, I Elder McClellan, Master of Baptisms in the Africa South East Area, do not have a big heart. Good try though. It was great to hear from y'all on Christmas, but in all honesty hanging up was extremely hard haha... Oh well, I'm made of steel so I got over it after 4 days of deep depression. Not really, but yeah it was hard.

So for a spiritual though I got this. Don't wish you were someone else, don't wish your circumstances were different. If you're faithful, God makes you exactly what you need to be to reach the full measure of your creation. ( Alma 29: 3,6). Not much, but I'm having a hard week haha.

I've been told 3 times now I should do everything in my power to get married within a year of my return... Don't know how I feel about that, but hopefully I can end up going to BYU-I so that I can follow the advice of church leaders. Isn't it just terrible when they tell you to do something you want to do anyways?

I've been sick again this week, it's hard to stay healthy meeting so many people. All four elders in my flat are sick. Okay so this blows! Our money ain't here, I ain't got no food, and I ain't got no way to buy food. I haven't eaten in nearly a day already haha, and Salt Lake isn't sending the money until late this evening or tomorrow! Those flippin' chumps. I want to pimp slap them with a Book of Mormon right now. (Not sure if that's appropriate for a missionary to say, but hey I'm food deprived... what can I say?)

We went to Tzaneen (click here for info on Tzaneen) on Friday from Zone meeting. It is beautiful! But it rained like crazy and there were at least 15 fatal accidents on the way there. I'm going to try to upload pics. Most excitingly I saw my first baboon! It was bigger then I thought. On the down side I saw like my 30th dead body since I got here. People are dying like crazy here. Walking to the shop I'm at right now I walked across a pile of about 50 AK47 shell casings. I'm glad we have a gate and electric fence around our flat! Gotta love Africa!

Our investigators are kind of being chumps. Don't worry they don't have computers so they can't read this when you put it on the blog. The will not keep their commitments, I'm going to do some serious fasting and prayer this week so I can know how to get them motivated.

In other news, I keep out-smarting my companion through use of my superior logic and intellect. He doesn't like it, he has gotten in the habit of changing his original statement once I prove him wrong so that he can say he is correct, haha. Oh well.

The church is true, look to the Prophet for guidance, and endure to the end. If you do that and don't suck you'll probably be fine until we talk again. Miss everyone a ton and can't wait to hear back from everyone.

Elder McClellan

Part II (letter to Kurt)

Adjusting to mission life is fairly easy, I love it. The work is easy really, just have to put in the effort. The days are long and the weeks are short. I've discovered it's easier to look back on how fast time has gone than how much time is left.

I'm excited to get home already, but at the same time it hurts my soul to think of leaving. Two years really isn't much time to serve the Lord. I've made it my personal mission to get our area book in order, it's in terrible shape. Making progress though.

By the way, if someone offers you cow intestines, don't accept it. It's a mistake, I promise you it really is. Same with biltong that has cockroaches cooked into it. May be the two biggest mistakes of my life, and that is saying something haha.

If Shannon wants she can put this on the blog too, I forgot to send her some of the stuff I put on here.

Tell the basketball team to do better also. I don't know how they're doing, but I'm an Encouragement Master now, so that should do the trick for sure.

Elder McClellan

Monday, December 23, 2013

week two in the field

Okay,  here we go, I always forget so much!
So this week was crazy. I was sick nearly to death, but I managed to keep going. Mainly through lots of prayer and lots of mental toughness, though most of it was probably prayer and faith that I could keep going. Somehow I only got sick while in the apartment haha so the Lord was definitely wanting me to keep working! I've now been in the field two weeks, and I now know the only difference between fear and faith is action! When I first left the MTC I was terrified to talk to people, I was too worried about messing up, but I've come to realize that it doesn't matter how inadequate I may be, the Lord always gives those who serve Him the strength and words to do His will. Once I realized that the field got so much better!
  • Ether 12:27
  • "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness.  I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

  • This has become very obvious in my life now, when you get out of the way and let the Spirit do the work everything just flows haha. I've spent a lot of time reading Luke 2: 7-14 this past week and reflecting on the life of the Savior. When reading verse uhm... 13? I believe, it occurred to me that we could have been there! That would be pretty amazing. 

  • This week during one of our lessons we were teaching a man named Paulus the plan of salvation, but somehow he got onto the law of chastity. He is 61 years old, it was harder to convince him to live it than all the teenage boys we have taught it to combined! It was ridiculous. I mentioned this at district meeting and all the Elders laughed, the senior couples however sat there stone faced.... that was awkward haha. 

  • This week started off pretty slow as far as teaching, but it picked up towards the end. We had a father led family drop us, that was rough, but he has his agency and there was nothing we could do. I did however make a point to tell him that his hard heart was affecting the salvation of not only him, but his children. Didn't change anything, so hopefully the seed that we planted will grow at another time down the road. We had a very good week besides that, lots of lessons, lots of new investigators. People here are mostly accepting of the gospel, they just fail to keep commitments. Church attendance is the bain of our existence, last week we had over 30 people swear up and down that they would come. Only one showed up... that was a "well flip elder" kind of moment. I almost wonder if we should leave trails of chocolate leading to the church to entice people to come haha.

  • I have become a master of the grilled cheese sandwich. That, eggs and cereal are about all I make now a days. The dinner appointments weren't that great this week because I was sick, I almost threw up all over Sister Sartosas table... Es muy malo. The next day however she bought us groceries so that was awesome! We now have 5.5kgs of pap... I hate pap... haha. It's a good stomach filler but that is literally it. The taste is non-existent and the texture is that of semi-dried concrete. 

  • Being literally as far as possible from where you start from really makes me appreciate the country that we belong to. There is a different feeling to America than the rest of the world. Thinking on it, I can really tell that it is the land of promise that Lehi talked about and that we live in the country he said would exist. I find it makes my life a lot easier to not think of home though, so really the only time I do is during my prayers. Homesickness hasn't really affected me at all, I love it here, I just miss a handful of people back home. 

  • It's been HOT. It's so much hotter here then in Joberg, it's quite annoying! Oh yeah, I stay in the city where the 2010 world cup was held. Hoping to go check the stadium out today. I have gained an appreciation for soccer, cricket, and rugby already. I'm trying to get a Springbucks jersey and I've decided that Manchester United is my soccer team. Last week we had a district activity and drove super far to play put put. I came in 5 under par and beat the next person by 10! Kurt, I hearby challenge you to a duel on the marrow that I get back. And yes, it will be to the pain. :)

  • I've spent hours studying the plan of salvation, and I've had some really cool insights that I can't wait to share once I'm home. A lot of it is well, yeah. Can't wait to go back to the temple! It's really too bad it's 3 hours away. I've decided when I get home I'm going to go to the earliest temple session I can find and stay in the celestial room until they ask me to leave. 

  • Me and my companion get along pretty well. The only problem is that I'm smarter than him, and he often tries to convince me of things that aren't so. Oh yeah, and he will not stop quoting things, sometimes it takes all my might to not strangle him. Besides that he is a great elder, and I have learned a lot about missionary work from him.

  • "You were held back 6,000 years because you were the most talented, the most obedient, the most courageous and the most righteous. Are you still?”- President Monson
  • I really liked this quote and it made me think, hopefully it will you guys too.

  • Not sure what else to add, life is good, the gospel is true. Oh wait! So the black girls here have a huge problem with modesty, and they also seem to really want them a white boy. Some days I can't walk 10 feet without some sort of harassment, it's ridiculous. When we go to KFC (yes even the black people here LOVE chicken) there is a girl that takes our order every time. And every time she flirts up a storm with me, it's ridiculous. I wish I could record it and send it. It's hilarious, oh yeah also, people here love to black bottle us. I'll leave that one up to your imagination, but yes your first though it probably correct. But anyways as I was saying, the gospel is true, the country is amazing and I wouldn't leave for the world. Hope all is well, pray for y'all a ton. Please don't die.

  • Love,
    Elder McClellan


Monday, December 16, 2013

week 1: straight to work!

Okay here it goes, hopefully I don't forget anything.

Sorry its been so long since I've written, I missed last week because when we got to our area we went straight to work! So I left the MTC last Tuesday and met President and Sister Omer, they are wonderful people and I think he choose the perfect area for me. My companion is Elder Wadsworth from Idaho, he would get along very well with the Vanderholms. All he does is quote movies! Most of which I've never seen so it drives me crazy.
We are serving in an area called Seshego, and staying in a city about 10Km from there. We are in the province of Limpopo. The people are wonderful and every single one of them is black. I haven't seen a white person in days! (besides the other 2 elders in my flat). We have a good teaching pool, and had a very productive week. In 3 days we taught 15 lessons, got 8 new investigators, and we put one more person on date for baptism. I admire the church members here, but their lack of knowledge is astounding. We are a group (smaller than a branch) and we meet in a primary school that looks more like a prison. They need help, but unfortunately it's not our place to do so. They had kids without the Priesthood helping with the sacrament... a few of them were in primary. The guy conducting called out the people that hadn't been to church in a while in front of everyone haha. They are not very concerned with how people feel here unfortunately. Another problem we are running into is the distrust of missionaries by members. There is a rumor floating around that an Elder got a member pregnant a little over a year ago. So we are trying to overcome that, and it seems like some missionaries came in and just started baptizing anyone they could so members often lack crucial knowledge. We are doing lots of member lessons to try to help with that. Another problem is that investigators will never say they don't understand and don't ask questions. So we will teach something one lesson, then mention it in another one and they have no clue what we are talking about! It's frustrating, but I'm doing my best to be patient. I really do love the people, they are just kind of a headache haha.
The area reminds me a lot of western Washington and parts of Idaho. It's been hot this past week, but it rains some too. There really is no in between with the weather. There are lots of animals here. There are Baboons and monkeys here, and lots of birds, lizards, snakes, and spiders. I conquered my fear of snakes: 

Two days ago I was brushing my teeth when I looked to the window and saw a snake poking its head in and eye balling me. At first I was startled, but then I was like... well, I guess you're just a snake (however it was poisonous). I hit it with a bar of soap and it fell the two stories to the ground from our flat. Unfortunately it took the soap with it.

Spiders are a different story.

This morning I walked in the bathroom to take a shower, all of a sudden a spider the size of my fist crawls across my foot and I screamed like a little girl, ran out of the bathroom and into a wall. I then went back into the bathroom after preparing to do battle (I had a tennis racket) but then I decided it wasn't worth my life. I let my companion use that bathroom and went to the other one :)

The food is good, all I really buy is bread, cheese, peanut butter, milk, and yogurt. We are fed 3 nights a week by members. Last night we ate at Sister Ruth's (6 of us Elders). She made rice, chicken, pumpkin, and coleslaw. It was excellent and there was a 3 year old girl there that sang for us. It was wonderful!

So my second day in the field I started driving! This place fits my driving style wonderfully. Cops NEVER pull anyone over. It's kind of like a race, except there are a ton of cars in places. There are speed limits... but they aren't followed. My second day driving I missed a speed bump (it was painted to match the road) and I jumped the car! All the black people around us started cheering and whistling haha it was amazing. The best part yet, I was only afraid that we were going to get car jacked once! We pulled up to an appointment and right after I unlocked the door some kid opens it and grabs my shoulder. It was sketchy haha. 
I love the black people here, they are friendly and inviting, though they never keep their promises. The other two elders in the flat (Elder Johnson and Haynes) are in a city so they don't have as much to do. People aren't very accepting there. It's crazy what people live in here, the best houses in my area would be considered ghetto and the worst would be on par with a card board box. The roads are crazy! Half are paved the others are dirt that often are washed out. There's mud every where! I'm not sure how our Chevy Aveo gets through it all. We really do need a Bockie.
I've come to appreciate the 3 hours of scripture study in the morning more then I ever though, it's an amazing spiritual experience every morning. I've been studying a lot on the plan of salvation. For some reason that's what doctrine I'm most interested in.
I miss everyone a lot, but as long as I stay busy I don't notice it. A few of the emails today were pretty hard to read and made me cry haha. Oh well, I read in Doctrine & Covenants this morning that crying at certain times is for the benefit of your soul.  I'm so happy to be here, and I'm proud to have a chance to be part of the Lord's work. I'd write my testimony, but I don't have time, I'll send it in a letter.
I pray for you guys a ton, and I hope everyone is well!

Love, Elder McClellan

Johannesburg temple at Christmas time

Elder McClellan hydrating

Me, my "father" (trainer), "grandfather" (his trainer), and brother (entered the mission together.) It was super rainy that day and we were all soaked. This was on transfer day.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Serving in Seshego!

Elder McClellan is safely in his first area!  We received the following from his Mission President:

"I am pleased to inform you that your friend, Elder Kelly McClellan, has arrived in the South Africa Johannesburg Mission and he is doing wonderfully.  We are delighted to have him serving with us in the Mission.  Elder McClellan will serve initially in the Seshego Area of the Northeast Zone. His companion and trainer is Elder Shane Ammon Wadsworth, from Idaho, United States.  

Uplifting and supportive letters from home are important to missionaries.  We encourage you to write or e-mail your friend weekly.  His mailing address throughout his mission will be -                          

    Elder Kelly McClellan
    South Africa Johannesburg Mission
    Private Bag X4
    Ansfrere 1711, South Africa

Packages should be labeled “Missionary Supplies” and valued less than $40.00 to avoid high custom charges.  For secure items please use FedEx and the physical address:  3 Phillips Avenue, Discovery 1709, South Africa. 

We appreciate your support of your missionary and thank you for sharing him with the South Africa Johannesburg Mission.  I have included a picture of your missionary with Sister Omer and myself.


S. Craig Omer, President
South Africa Johannesburg Mission"

I highlighted the special directions for mail - Elder McClellan has a limited budget, we definitely don't want him to have to pay high custom charges!  The easiest way to communicate is through email; if you do not have his missionary email address, leave a comment and I will send it to you.

I found the following information on Wikipedia (full link here):

* Seshego is a town in the Limpopo province, Capricorn district, Polokwane municipality of South Africa. 
* In 2011 its population was 83,863. 
* The town’s industries produce food, beverages, tobacco, textiles, wearing apparel, leather goods, wood and wood products, fabricated metal products, machinery, and equipment. 

Here is a map from Bing:

I am sure Elder McClellan will have some interesting observations for us on Monday!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

into the field

From Sister Reber:

"The MTC is empty.  There is no more laughter in the halls.  The missionaries left this morning for their missions.  They were excited and ready to get out into the field.  I will most likely know their trainers.

These are the final photos I'm sending you.  It is the group photo that will hang on the wall of the MTC...

and also a Preach My Gospel photo with them holding up their manual."

(Can you find Elder McClellan?  Back left of top photo, second row behind the girl with the colorful skirt in the bottom photo.)

So... he is out of the nest and ready to fly!  Today I am praying that he will be safe, that he will get along with his trainer, that the "real" South African food will agree with his stomach, that he will find people to teach and feel joy.  I am so thankful to Brother and Sister Reber for giving him such a good start.  Now that he is in the field, we will probably only have updates once a week.  Check back Monday for a letter!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

musical missionaries

From Sister Reber:

"Each missionary at the MTC is in the MTC choir.  Today they performed 'Angels we have Heard on High' to three different wards.  Elder Autry and Elder Mukonda took turns leading.  I accompanied on the piano.  They were fabulous!

Yesterday we had a great opportunity.  I invited the Christian Fellowship Group (of which I am a member) to a Christmas lunch at the MTC in our apartment.  I am the first Latter-day Saint to be on their committee and they have been pretty nervous about me.  It is a miracle that they agreed to come to the MTC.  Although the 5 different churches they belong to are in the neighborhood, they didn't know where our church was.  So yesterday we had a chance to bring the Church 'out of obscurity.'

After we ate in our apartment, we led them into where the missionaries were in class.  Then the missionaries performed for them.  The guests were amazed and just loved it.  We sang two more songs and they joined in.  The Spirit was strong and they could feel it.  This was a remarkable event to dispel bad feelings about the church.  President Reber fielded questions for an hour after singing.  The missionaries were a big part of this wonderful event."

(Were you able to find Elder McClellan?  Front and center in the top photo; second row, just behind and to the left of the guy in the red vest in the bottom photo.  Doesn't he look great?!?)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Hands-on service in the MTC

From Sister Reber:

"This morning the missionaries at the MTC gave 30 minutes of service.  Each missionary had an assignment with their companion.  They work hard, then get cleaned up and start their training and classes.  It is a nice change of pace for them.

I also included the photo of the Elders who helped wash dishes after we returned home from the Temple.  Aren't they great!!!"

a party at the MTC

From Sister Reber:

"Last night we celebrated Elder Johnson and Elder Cummings birthday.  They were sung to in Shona, Zulu, Beba, French and English.  It was really neat.  Both admitted they had never had such a party.

The missionaries continue to progress!  Tonight we have people from the community come to the MTC so they can teach them.  It should be a great experience."

(I wonder if Elder McClellan enjoys singing with the missionaries more than the Toolsons? haha)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Johannesburg Temple trip

From Sister Reber:

"We attended the Johannesburg Temple.  Nine of the missionaries received their endowments.*  It was a glorious day and a good experience for everyone.  If the missionaries look happy... it is because they are!"

(I love how easy it is to pick out that red tie -  Elder McClellan looks great! 

* In a general sense, an "endowment" is a gift of power from God. Worthy members of the Church can receive a gift of power through ordinances in the temple. The endowment includes instruction about the plan of salvation.  For more information on temples, visit this link:

Thursday, December 5, 2013

First full mission report!

So there's a lot to say and not a lot of time. Here we go.
The first day was very hard for me, they didn't have us busy and we had way too much time to think. Me and my roommate went to bed very sad that night, but since then it has been amazing! I love my roommates, my district (I'm a district leader... wooohooo!) and my companion. My companion's name is Elder Moyake (muy-ah-key). He is from Port Elizabeth and reminds me a lot of Marcus.
South Africa is.... different. Never before have I seen such an obvious division of wealth and poverty. There will be a mansion with a brand new Porche parked out front, then across the street there will be slums. The food is awesome! Pretty much American food just with a twist. They use a lot of spices and such and things are quite tasty. Due to lack of water we drink a lot of juice.
So in this past week I have had an awesome experience. Spiritually I have made a huge amount of progress, the scriptures are more meaningful, the talks are more interesting, and the personal revelation I have received has been life changing. I guess when you study the scriptures 3 hours a day and have 6 hours of classes you make some progress in your spiritual understanding haha. I love it here so much, you could not make or pay me to leave at this point. The people here are amazing and they have a great accent. Oh yeah by the way my companion is a Cosa (a tribe like the Zulus but not famous) and he can speak in clicks!
My district is awesome, we get along super well. As I said me and my companion are district leaders. We have two teachers, Brother Marmman and Sister Ndwaline. Bro Marmman is my favorite teacher, he served in Australia and got back about a year ago. So we do this thing where our teachers act like investigators. The first lesson we taught we gave "Grace" a Book of Mormon, forgot to explain what is was, then walked out without setting a follow up appointment.... Oops. I've improved so much though! The understanding I have for the gospel now and how to teach it has probably quadrupled.
So yesterday we had a security and heath briefing. This was my favorite part: "If they want your cell phone give it to them. Don't fight back, if you do guess what? The will stab you in the dome with a screw driver... then guess what? You ain't got no cell phone." It may not sound funny, but the way he presented it was hilarious. We walked to the store today and I only thought I was going to get mugged once! I'm not too worried about safety, I know as long as I'm doing what I'm supposed to the Lord will keep me safe. However food and water will be a different story once I leave the MTC. Sounds pretty sketchy. I'd rather be stabbed in the dome than contract some of the diseases and parasites they talked about.
Went to the temple yesterday and got to see my companion go through for the first time. What an experience! The temple is small, but has the MOST beautiful grounds I have ever seen, I think it puts temple square to shame to be honest. At the distribution center I bought a Giraffe scripture case and a Zebra hymn book. (they were killed for food, not to make the case and book, don't you judge me).
I love it here, I love the people, and I've even come to love the MTC. President Reber is an inspiration! This is like his 8th mission! Only 4 days left in the MTC.
Hmm hmm what else...  So we have an hour of sport everyday, I've been playing volleyball and yesterday I was the "mvp" haha... No clue how. There are 27 elders and 4 sisters. There are no sisters in my mission because it is far too dangerous. Every house here has a tall fence and barbed wire and an electric fence, then most have armed guards on standby waiting for an alarm to go off! Pretty intense haha. The people here drive terribly! Brother Mackie is a mad man while driving us around! But it makes it exciting haha. Oh yeah here is a bro Mackie quote (he is the MTC director). "Harry Potter? I cannot stand Harry Potter! How is someone a hero if all they do is lose? Harry Potter is GAY! Hey you know what if you like Harry Potter you're GAY!" Haha it was so funny, though out of context here it might not seem so.
It's really weird here, so there's like modern parts, then slums, then giant grave yards, then mansions all interconnected. There is no clear definition between nice parts of town and sketchy parts.
So much more to write but no time to do so! I just want you to know that before I came out I was not so sure of what I was doing, but I now know for a fact that this is the true church of God without a doubt in my mind and I am so thankful for being here. If people knew what it was like they would never consider not going on a mission. Though its the hardest, saddest, most tiring thing I've ever done it is also the best experience of my life to date. I cant believe I was going to skip a mission for a girl! That's just rubbish!
I miss everyone so much! I pray for everyone that I love back home daily, and can't wait to see you all again, though I hope it doesn't come too soon. Only 723 days left! Can't wait to hear back from y'all, hopefully Pday (Preparation day, when missionaries write letters, do laundry and shopping) will be Monday from now on (it's Thursday in the MTC), but I probably won't be able to write this Monday.
Elder McClellan

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

"Miracle" at the MTC

From Sister Reber:

"On Monday I checked all of the missionary's rooms.  They all passed room check and the reward was a delicious South African candy bar.  I think you will easily see that they were pretty happy about it.  For those of you who never saw a clean room when they lived at home... this is a real miracle."

(Elder McClellan definitely looks happy!)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


From Sister Reber:

"The African missionaries taught the 'foreigners' to eat the staple food in Africa.  In South Africa it is called 'Pap.'  It is a ground grain and is eaten with the fingers.  We had a great time with this cultural event.  I hope the photos show the meal time at the MTC as well as eating pap."

Doesn't this just warm your heart?  Elder McClellan is getting all adventurous with his eating, and smiling about it!  But he is still half closing his eyes for photos.  I miss that boy!

Monday, December 2, 2013

week 1: Missionary Training Center (MTC)

No email today; it is possible that Preparation Day is not on Monday in South Africa.  Or that internet is down - they've been having crazy weather.  Luckily, we still have an update!  Earlier in the week we received some pictures and notes from Sister Reber.  She and her husband preside at the South Africa MTC.  She is Kelly's "mission mom" until he moves out into the field with the Mission President and his wife.  I was planning on attaching her emails to Kelly's news, but we will go with what we have!  From Sister Weber:

"The missionaries have all arrived at the MTC.  Their luggage all arrived too... which is rare.  They have companions now and have started the intense training.  There are 4 Sisters and 27 Elders from 8 different countries comprising this group of missionaries."
(Can you find Elder McClellan?  Third row back, second from the left?  He looks good!)

"We had a huge hail storm here at the MTC.  It flooded the atrium... as rain came after the hail stopped.  Water came in under the front door of the MTC.  Many of the African missionaries had never seen hail before and they loved it.  The excitement was amazing.  Sorry if your missionary isn't in the photo... I was busy mopping up water."
(I am including the top photo to show how huge the hail was; Elder McClellan is in the middle back of the second photo.)

I will post Elder McClellan's impressions of life at the MTC as soon as we hear from him!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Safely in Johannesburg!

(The previous posts were written by Shannon.  From here on out, they will be letters directly from Elder McClellan!)
I got here safely as did my luggage. The flights were long, cramped, loud and uncomfortable. I was alone until I had been at Heathrow for about 5 hours. I then bumped into a group of about 15 missionaries. I'm super excited and am already having fun, Today is kind of just an orientation day. My companion is about half my height but super black. I have no clue how to say his name haha, hopefully I'll have it down by the end of the day.
I've been feeling the Spirit super strong, I spent quite a bit of time journaling and reading my scriptures while traveling. I've only slept 4 hours in the past two days so I am incredibly tired. Can't wait for bed tonight! I talked to 3 or 4 awesome people while traveling, unfortunately I do not have the time to tell you all about it at this moment.
ITS HOT! They dun lied haha, I really really wish I could shave and take a shower right now. The mtc is super small, 32 elders and sisters in total. I think there are only 4-6 sisters. The food for lunch today was amazing! No clue what it was but it was tasty. 
I'm feeling fairly sick right now, probably from lack of sleep. Hope you all are doing well! Can't send pictures until I'm out of the mtc, the internet is really bad. I've been thinking about and praying for you guys a lot!
Elder McClellan 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

the big day is here

It has been such a privilege to be part of Kelly's life the last two years.  His self-confidence has grown with his testimony of the gospel.  There will be a big hole in our hearts and our home as he serves in South Africa.  But - I wouldn't want it any other way.  I am so proud of him, and excited for the experiences, opportunities to serve and blessings that he will have.

On Monday I was thankful for one last trip to Starbucks (well, for two years anyway.)

Kelly was my errand buddy.  He doesn't really like to sit around, so any time I was going to Walmart to get groceries, or running to Wenatchee, or just wanting a cocoa, he was game.  I will miss our chats.

Yesterday was the big day!  We left the house at 6:30 am, making sure to leave enough time so that we could stop in Entiat for one more hug from Carrie.  While enjoying the beautiful sunrise, I couldn't help wondering how they will look in Johannesburg.

Our next stop was President Hunsaker's office, where Kelly officially became Elder McClellan.  Joe and I were allowed to come in for his blessing and setting apart.  What an amazing, powerful, spiritual experience!  One part that brought me great comfort was the promise that he would feel angels around him, lifting him up and protecting him.

We had just enough time to grab a quick bite to eat and then we went to the airport.  Pretty impressive that everything Kelly will need for the next two years is contained in two suitcases!

One last photo before it was time to say goodbye...

I have been tracking the flights online.  First stop Seattle - what was supposed to be a 6 hour layover ended up being 9.  He left for London at 9 pm, arriving at 615 am our time.  As I type this, he is having another layover, waiting to depart on his 10 hour flight to South Africa.  He should arrive in Johannesburg at 1130 pm our time.  I am earnestly praying that he has somehow been able to get some sleep, that he has had nice people to sit by, that he is able to find the other missionaries he is supposed to meet up with in London, and that his luggage safely arrives.  So I am also grateful for the power of prayer!

open house

On Sunday we had a dessert open house for Kelly - a chance for a few people to send him off with love.  He was so funny about the party; he told me a number of times that he was more nervous about being the center of attention for two hours than he was about spending two years in South Africa!

Once people started to arrive, he settled in.  I was only allowed to invite people he had a personal relationship with, but I think every single person who was invited showed up, so it was still a houseful.

I am grateful for all of the support we feel from our church ward and from the community.  And that Kelly survived being celebrated!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Farewell Sunday

(This was originally published on our family blog November 9, 2013)

Today Kelly gave his farewell talk at church.  He did such an excellent job - he hates speaking in front of people, but you never would have guessed.  One of my favorite parts of his talk was this:

"A few months ago I realized that there is a huge difference between having faith and acting on faith. The people that know me know that I loathe radical change, I am perfectly happy with something being the same day in and day out. Serving a mission, however, is quite a change, and because of that I was afraid to do so.  There are countless examples in the scriptures of people spreading the gospel, but my scripture study brought me to one example time and time again, and that was the story of Enoch. After the Lord had told Enoch what he wanted him to do :
bowed himself to the earth, before the Lord, and spake before the Lord, saying: Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?
And the Lord said unto Enoch: Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee. Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good.' (Moses 6:26-27) I spent a fair amount of time thinking this over, and I believe that Enoch was afraid to serve because he didn't think he was good enough. But once the Lord reassured him that he could and would succeed, he went forth to be one of the best prophets of all time. My time spent studying the scriptures has given me much reassurance and has helped me to decide to serve a mission."

I am thankful for Kelly - for the good decisions he is making and for the experiences he is going to have in Africa.  I am thankful that we get to claim him as part of our family.

A day to remember!

(This was originally published on our family blog September 9, 2013.)

We had the opportunity to go to the temple with Kelly in preparation for his mission.  Danny Weidman, one of the missionaries who taught Kelly the Gospel a little over two years ago, came up to WA for the occasion.  Carrie and Celeste also joined us.  (Paul was initially dressed up, but got impatient and changed into comfy clothes; Joe was in Manson for football.)  It was a beautiful day.

I am so thankful for Kelly, and for the chance to share the last couple of years with him.  He is going to be a great missionary; we will miss him while he is blessing the lives of the people of South Africa.

Called to Serve

(This was originally posted on our family blog on August 3, 2013)

When we arrived home from Utah, something very exciting was waiting...  Kelly's mission call!  I think we were all holding our breath while he opened the envelope.

"Dear Elder McClellan:
You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  You are assigned to labor in the South Africa Johannesburg Mission..."

Kelly has been saying for the last couple of months that he wanted to go to Botswana.  Unbelievable!  That is the mission right below the one he will be serving in!  He reports to the South Africa Missionary Training Center on Thursday, November 28, 2013.  He is absolutely thrilled.

I want him to know how much I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to share his life.  I am so happy for him, and proud of  the challenges he has overcome.  I will be praying for his success and baking cookies for the next two years!