Monday, January 27, 2014

week 7: doing the Lord's work

Well let's see, where to start. Let's start with the suck, then we will get to what's shap (it means good.)
The Suck:
Our golden investigator James Teffo is leaving us. He is an amazing soccer player and he is going pro. :( He is going to Petoria. I know one of the missionaries there, he was in my group, so he should be in good hands. We met with him after church and he bore his testimony to us. It just about made me cry.  Then Brother Mashishi told everyone there his conversion story and that did it. Wasn't a dry eye in that room I don't think. 
We had to drop Paulus. He would not give up coffee. For 4 lessons he went on about how it would help him get a family and have kids. He is 61. Then he went off about how he is going to a lawyer to get a special coffee. Brother Mashishi told him "Next month I will be of 60 years, in all this time I have never heard anyone speak like you!" It was Hilarious! And it made me start laughing. Don't worry I repented of it.

On Tuesday I'm going on exchanges with an AP (Assistant to the President.) That was a "well flip Elder" kind of moment when I found out. Should be fine since I'm such an amazing person and missionary, but it is inconvenient at best. I'm sure he will enjoy my humility the most.
I punched a cabinet in the kitchen because a spider scared the crap out of me while I was cooking toast. I can't bend one of my fingers now and it is all swollen. Luckily it was my left hand so it will not affect my ability to baptize a nation.
At a lesson a member kept interrupting me to the point I just stopped teaching. I could not get a word in. I told him "I am never, ever, ever, ever taking you to a lesson ever again." I was furious. I repented of this as well.

The Shap (supposed to be sharp, but they cannot pronounce R's here):
We had an amazing week! We meet the Mission's Standards of Excellence in almost all categories, including lessons and such. It was a great week! Also our chapel was full on Sunday! First time ever! Woooo! Yipppiee! It was amazing, and better yet the speakers didn't go off on deep doctrine; it was the first time they have not since I have been here!
Gospel Doctrine class blew. The lesson was supposed to be on the Savior, but the teacher just talked about Lucifer the whole time....What the flip? So, so off topic. 
Priesthood went well. Me and Elder Wadsworth taught how to conduct the Sacrament properly by request of the group leader. Then Tini, a RM (Returned Missionary) took it upon himself to try to counter everything we said and made it sound like we were lying. That chump. Then Brother Mashishi taught a lesson in Spetie. By the way, I can say hakuna matata and people understand me. I love it.
The primary is wonderful! Under the direction of Sister Harward they called us in and sang for us. They then gave us cookies and told us how much they loved us for how hard we were working to make the group into a branch. It was the best thing ever. 
So here you ask people "how's it?" and they usually say "I'm fine". The other day I asked a guy "how's it?" and he responded "number one". What the flip does that mean? I have so, so, so many stories to tell upon my return. I'm keeping a journal of funny stuff I hear and see.
The work went well this week, we are working super hard and putting in very long days and it is finally paying off. Very rewarding. 
I've started writing again. Mainly poems, but also papers on different gospel topics. It helps me study better, and it is the only thing I can currently research. I may write a story today, depends if we get money or not. Oh yeah, we are out of food and they failed to send money again. Its okay, I'll just look like I survived a concentration camp when I return. Probably not, but yeah.
The spiritual thought: 
I left the paper at home. Oops. Read Alma 30:8* (I think) and make a decision. 
* "For thus saith the scripture: Choose ye this day, whom ye will serve."
I miss home, but I don't. Honestly I think that when I return my heart is going to stay in South Africa. It literally pains me to contemplate leaving. Oh yeah, tomorrow will be two months! That was really fast. 
This week I have been able to take advantage of the Preach my Gospel manual in a new way. There is a section called Christ-like Attributes. My companion and I are opposite people, and as such it causes friction. PMG is helping me quite a bit. 
Jesus the Christ is an amazing book. Everyone needs to read it. It is so obviously an inspired book. Plus he wrote it while he lived in the temple, so it is pretty much good to go in my opinion.
Paul wrote to me and I wrote back. Honestly that was the happiest I've been while emailing ever. I really, really, really miss my friends. A lot. I hear from most of my best friends every week though, so that's nice. 
This week I've spent a lot of time studying the Atonement and Plan of Salvation. I've come to two conclusions:
1.) people who investigate the church and don't join are either a.) dingbats or b.) a fool of a took. 
2.) The church is so very, very true.
People too often rely on their own knowledge and just about everyone fails to realize our purpose for being here on this earth. If we could change these two things, people would be much more accepting of the plain and precious truths that I have come to know. The Gospel as we present it is just so common sense, if only people would pray when we ask them to. 
Well time is about up. Life is good. The Church is true, and I only have 22 months left to do the Lord's work :(
Oh one last thing. I was thinking, members of the church often think that it is a hard thing when the Lord asks them to devote two years of their life to serving Him. They fail to remember that the commandants are for our benefit, not our hindrance. The greatest blessings in my life have come in just the past two months.
No time left. 
Elder McClellan 

Monday, January 20, 2014

week 6: lots of fun, and not fun

We have our water back on luckily! That is quite the blessing. So our car; well it just sucks. We got it back Friday, it broke again Saturday. We had to walk for hours to get back. We took it in today, and they said they know what it is now. Stupid. Its only cost about 10k rand to get the flipping thing fixed!
Not sure what to write... uhm.

We have 4 people on date, 3 will almost 100% get baptized next month. I finally realized why I've been sad, we are working so flipping hard and we don't really seem to be making a difference. 90% of the people here are too uneducated to understand what we are saying, even the members were shocked this last Sunday to find on that Jesus was the one who created the earth. It's extremely frustrating. One day this week we literally had to walk 3 hours to get from one appointment to another. Our area is so big that you can drive two hours and still be in it. Our area goes almost to the border with Zimbabwe apparently, there is just no reason to go up there. No one would come to church. However we had one amazing experience this week that made everything worth it. James Teffo, one of our investigators, is golden. He is amazing at soccer and is going pro this month actually. He only has to do one more thing I think to be on the Kaiser Chiefs. Anyways in Elders quorum he raised his hand and said that he knew the church was true, that what we were teaching him is true, and he has already read of all of 1 Nephi in a week since we gave him the Book of Mormon. In all honesty I almost cried. It was so awesome. 
I had a spiritual thought, but I forgot the paper at home. Sorry, I know I suck. 

Through some wheeling and dealing I have acquired some hand carved statues. A wildebeest, lion, 3 monkeys, and a hmm... well woman thing that is quite scary to be honest. 
We have been walking and walking and walking and walking and walking and walking and walking. I'm very tired of it. And every time we walk it's either blistering heat or a flipping monsoon. Apparently walking in the rain makes your future wife more beautiful. I must be marrying, well... honestly I don't think anyone could be beautiful enough to make up for all this rain and lightning. We were walking the other day, and as we walked by a transformer exploded, that was terrible. So loud. 
The highlight of my week was last night, I was using the toilet when all of a sudden something was crawling along the ground. It was a baby albino lizard! I played with it for a while before letting it go outside. It was about half the size of my pinkie. It was great, I'll upload a picture. Well flip, my camera card is not working. Sometimes I wonder why nothing ever goes right, then I remember I'm in Africa. Anyways, it was a really cute lizard, and I miss it.
Yesterday while on our 15 kilo trek, a armed escort of soccer players drove by us. It was really cool, they had all sorts of guns and stuff. I really miss my guns. I guess they need to be protected because they are millionaires. The average wage here is 70 cents an hour apparently. They practice in Seshego and then play in Polokwane. The city is already preparing for the world cup in June. 
Two great songs:
In Christ by Owl City
Hello by Book Of Mormon Musical (don't listen to the others, they are terrible, well mostly.)
Music seems to be fairly relaxed here on my mission. I like it. A lot. It always makes me feel better when I'm considering hitting my head on the desk so that I don't have to walk anymore. :)
The best part is that we get fresh lemons, limes, and mangoes as much as we want. They grow year around and I really like that. 

Tuesday we had interviews with President Omer. He is awesome! I'm probably going to cry when he leaves in June, he is such a great man. He said that he can tell I'm going to be a "powerhouse" missionary. Woo! I guess haha. Apparently I'm doing pretty darn good in his eyes.

I've realized that probably the best thing I have learned so far is to never give up. Sure I'm bitter about it afterwards, but when we are in the area I manage to just keep going and going and going. I really don't mind it until I get home and my feet and back are killing me. 
It's hard, but for some strange reason I love it and can't really imagine ever going home. The scriptures are true when they talk about how great your joy when you are bringing souls unto Christ. 
Sorry for the negative email, a taxi almost ran me over on the way here so I'm still a bit upset about that.
Ive been told that no one will mug me because I am "huge." I've never seen a black person my size or bigger. They are a very small folk. Its funny, well, and scary - at night people walk around with bricks or tire irons so they can protect themselves if they get jumped. Okay, there is nothing and I mean nothing in this world more terrifying than an Albino prostitute. They are terrible, and should be kept in... well... I don't know but removed from this area at least. 
It's interesting, if I wanted to I could be a "prophet" and make tons of money. The people here just believe and believe all these "prophets" on TV. You should look up TV Joshua. He is a "prophet" if I've ever seen one ;)
Though I complained earlier life is great, and I love it here. Having lots of fun, and not fun. The work is progressing even if it is quite slow. My area is apparently known as the dead zone for mission work. The Polokwane branch president got really fired up the other day in Sacrament meeting apparently. He scolded the congregation and said "all the good members have moved to Seshego." It's funny, we are just a group, but have more Priesthood members and higher attendance than them. I think it's more because we are working so hard, no members have actually moved to Seshego, so I have no clue what he is talking about. :) 
Someone asked me in an email why I don't come home. I thought about it, and it's because I know that I'm serving God in the only true church upon the face of the earth. If this wasn't so, I would have been home long long ago. It's amazing to see the Spirit soften hearts, to see the gospel bless lives, and to be guided to the people who actually are prepared for the gospel. I was just looking through former investigators when I found James, the Spirit prompted me to call him and man was he prepared this time around. He is our top investigator, and will most likely be my first baptism. Elder Holland (I think) said something like: "They may doubt what you teach, but they can never doubt your testimony." This is true, a testimony can soften hearts and lead to an amazing investigator coming into the church. I hope none of you ever doubt my testimony, I know the church and what we teach is true, or I would not be here. 
Please ignore my negativity. I'm sick and almost got murdered by a taxi, so I'm not in a great mood to be honest.
I love you all very much and am so grateful for your influence in my life :) I pray for y'all daily, do what you can to stay alive.
Elder Kelly McClellan

Monday, January 13, 2014

week 5: no water and walking

(view from Elder McClellan's flat)

To start out with I have to get this off my chest. The mission rules say I should write with uhm... class basically. I thought about it, I know most missionary write all professional like, but that's not me.
Spiritual thought! dun dun dun:
2 Ne 9:39 "Remember to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually minded is life eternal." I think in this life we all care too much about things. We want a new this or that, and often times we forget what's important which is the Gospel. Jacob 2:18 says "Before ye seek riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God." I kind of want to expand on this thought. This second verse is in context talking about earthly possessions, but it can also just be applied to earthly activities. It's really easy for me to say this given my current predicament of being on a mission, but we all need to do better at focusing on God and his will. Too often we think about what we want instead of what He wants. We have faith in Him, but as we live our lives we tend to put Him in the back of our mind as we go throughout our life. It's been hard, but as I continue to get off my high horse and get in line with the Lord's will I have been majorly blessed. Just a thought, apply this to yourself how you will. Maybe your already perfect at it, I don't really know.
This week was unproductive! We had 20 lessons, and well yeah it was hard. I envy elders in the USA! They live such cushy lives with their chapels and active members and their water. Oh yeah we have been without water for a week and our car died! We now walk everywhere. We live about 15ks from our area, and as you can imagine this is quite inconvenient. That coupled with the inability to take a shower makes for a very grumpy missionary at the end of the day. One or the other would be fine, but both together is rough. Luckily the ZLs (zone leaders) are going to let us use their shower later today. Some days we walk well... until my feet bleed haha. Oh well, Curtis emailed me and gave me some tips on how to deal with it so hopefully that will help.

I began reading Jesus the Christ this week. It's not hard, people talk it up a lot haha. It's simple to understand and has an amazing mass of information that everyone should know! I love it, I'm only about 25% through it so far. 
The other day I was praying at the end of a lesson and I said "in the name of Jesus Christ" and then started looking around. I forgot Amen, oops. Everyone laughed at me and it was just wonderful :).
Last night we were at a DA (dinner appointment) and the Harwards (Senior couple) were supposed to pick us up. They forgot. We were in one of the sketchyest neighborhoods in our area too haha. Luckily they made it back before someone killed us and threw us in a ditch.
Its been fairly boring this week. Lots of walking, lots of people shouting "mahua" (white guy), and lots of canceled appointments. Our area is so big it can take us 3 hours to walk from one appointment to the other! It is annoying to say the least haha. 
Thursday we had a DA, Elder Wadsworth called to confirm and the person he called said they couldn't do it. He called the wrong person, and about 8:30 we got a call from a very nice old lady saying "well, the food's ready. Are you coming?" That was a "well flip elder" kind of moment! 
Life is good, the sun is hot, and the days are long. We got an investigator by the name of James. He is amazing, came to church and he is actually going to come back! Woooo! 

Got interviews with president Tuesday. I'll have to tell him about all the bad things I do and all the girl friends I have haha.

Went to Mokopane Friday on exchange. Was with Elder Jenson. He is funny, we didn't do a whole lot. He is dying (this means his mission is ending), only has 4 months left.

As for everything else, well the work is pretty good. The church is still true, and I have yet to see a lion.

The best way to get me money would be to send a prepaid debt card you can get at Walmart. That's what we use here and they work well. Just make sure it's a visa. If it has a pin then send it via email not in the package. And hide the card in something else. The mail people will steal it. Sooo like send it in a pair of socks or something... Idk. You have to be creative to not get jacked here.
My new camera is working well. I feel like this letter has been terrible, I'm sorry. I'm very grumpy.

I've kinda been down at times lately. Don't really know why. The work isn't any harder than before... well it is, but that's not it. I'm not homesick. So I don't know what the problem is haha. I guess it's about that time to walk the 6ks back home. Hope all is well, praying for y'all lots!
Elder McClellan


Monday, January 6, 2014

ups and downs of week 4

Well, I'm glad to hear all is well and that people are enjoying the blog :)
So for the spiritual thought of the week this is what I got. Gen 19:17 "...look not behind thee..." This is the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Hopefully we cannot apply this entire story to our lives, but this part of the verse I think we all definitely can. Personally I have struggled with the events of the past. This however is a new year, and through the Atonement of Christ we can again have a fresh start. We are not all perfect, we are all sinners who fall short of the glory of God, but through the Atonement we can become white as snow. When we use the Atonement in our lives we can put the past away. When we do so it is best to not look back, the future is bright and it's ours for the making. I think the fact that it is a new year makes it a perfect time to forget the past, and move forward, making the future what we and the Lord want it to be.
This week was full of ups and downs! But let's start with the ups first! New Years Eve we had to be home by 6 due to all the drunkards, so we had a pizza party, and even better the Senior couples paid for it! New Years Day we had a braii (bbq) at our flat and said good bye to our beloved zone leader, Elder Palmer, who returned home Friday. Later that day we went to the park and played sport (football, rugby, cricket, and baseball). It was a great time, and while we were there we met two guys that live in my area! It was awesome. That night the Senior couples took us to dinner. I had 4 racks of ribs....Yebbooo.
Thursday was a terrible day! Like horrible! I was sick, my feet were bleeding from these huge blisters I have acquired. I managed to make it through the day though, and boy was it worth it! When I got home that night I had a package waiting for me and I've never been so excited for Christmas presents! I greatly appreciate everything, but in particular the Sees Chocolate. During that day I remember thinking, "There better be something good about today... maybe there is Sees chocolate in my package!?!?!? If not I may just go off the reservation and live in the bush." I was so happy when it was there, and I made it a point to show all the other Elders, because they hadn't washed their dishes and that annoys me. They coveted my chocolate and boy was it great. :) I did end up sharing it though. I'm just too nice... 
So this is awkward. I hung the Christmas card on the wall by my desk, and so far 6 different Elders have commented on Bronte. I have grown tired of explaining she is married, pregnant, and I will beat them. So... I posted a biblical picture over her, and now I tell people it's just the 3 Nephites in that picture. I would take it down, but it makes me happy to see everyone while I study. 
Ever since I told you it doesn't rain here it has been raining constantly. Makes for a great time trackting. Oh well, it keeps the insects away. Oh yeah, and it increases the beauty of your future wife from what I hear.
So late last week my camera uhm... took a walk. So I had to buy a new one. It makes me sad, I have no more spending money haha. I was really wanting to buy scriptures that were covered in custom leather. Maybe I'll be able to find a way! I took the pressure bulb and belt off my backpack, it was drawing far too much attention. #dontwanttogetmuggedmorethenihavetobe
Its weird, lately my hand has been like, longing to hold a gun. It's driving me crazy, I miss the feeling in my hand very badly. It's worse than any homesickness I have felt thus far!
We are now a park and walk mission, it's good and bad. Good is my tan makes me look like a Mexican or colored, bad is our area is about the size of Seattle (no joke). It makes for very, very long days.
We have 3 dinner appointments a week, they can be sketchy. I don't eat their meat. No mi gusta cow intestines. 
I listen to the music I brought a ton, so far my favorite albums are the Tangled sound track, Jenny Philips, and the Nashville Tribute Band. All are very, very good. I really like the Tangled song they sing when in the boats watching the lanterns. Oh yeah, and the Jungle book sound track is wonderful.
When Elder Palmer left he gave me a green granite Jaguar that has been hand carved! They sell for like 100 bucks! And he gave me a clay box, when you pull a lever a snake attacks a frog. Mi gusta mucho. 
So there is this girl at the KFC in our area, and she has a hankerin for some Elder McClellan. It's ridiculous. The senior couples took us for ice cream one day, and I suggested we go through the drive through so I could avoid seeing her. Guess what flippin happened? She sees me through the drive through window, gets a huge smile on her face, waves, walks over and starts flirting with me. I want to tell her to get off of me, but that's offensive according to Elder Wadsworth. May have to boycott KFC.

So my companion gets upset easily, and every time he does his mouth looks funny, and it makes me laugh, and it makes him more angry. This morning he started studying early, which is all fine and dandy, but he wanted me to turn my music off. I still had 10 min until study and I wasn't dressed yet, so I told him sure, I will in 10 min. He was a very unhappy camper. It was funny. He makes me angry a lot too, so I usually don't feel too bad when I make him angry.
After this we are going to go to Pick and Pay and get some food for the week. Believe it or not, 15 bucks in South Africa doesn't go very far. I usually get eggs, bread, cheese, and milk. What a fun way to live! However, I  have fully embraced the Word of Wisdom. I eat meat very, very sparingly.

Give everyone my love, and let them know I miss them. Especially Panda. Hope all is well, I'd tell you some inspiring words about faith or something, but I don't really feel like you are in danger of going apostate.
Don't forget me

Elder McClellan
(The pink building is the primary school where church is held.
Bottom right shows most of Elder McClellan's district on New Year's day.)