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
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.