Monday, February 24, 2014

week 11: this week was outstanding!

I've felt pretty terrible for the email I sent all last week. I was having a terrible day and well... yeah. This week was outstanding! 

The mail strike is over! I got the package yesterday from President Omer and it made my day! That was a perfect package and I can't really put into words how much I appreciate it. I love the little hand outs you give me. The investigators love them as well. My clothes are becoming destroyed already. The African sun really has a way to kill slacks. 

On Friday I drove us up to Tzaneen (Zuh-neen) for our zone meeting. It was a beautiful drive! You go through mountains, rain forests, and forests like the ones that Oregon has. I almost ran over a baboon who decided to dart in front of the car. On the way back the fog rolled in, that was terrible. It was super sketchy, the roads are terrible and well yeah. TIA (This is Africa.)

The crowning point of the week was the opportunity we had to give a blessing to a young woman that would soon be leaving this world. We gave the blessing with Elder Harward (a senior missionary), and in all honesty when I left that hospital room I was heart broken. For the next few hours that followed I just could not get my mind off of her condition, and it really was hard for me. Later that night we had a meeting with Elder Harward and he shared with us that a few hours after the blessing she passed on. I'm not sure I have ever felt as happy as I did at that moment. I had a peaceful feeling come upon me, and I was no more troubled by the experience. When we left the hospital I thought that I was sad because of her impending death, but thinking back on it now I have realized that it was just because of her state. That was quite a testimony builder of the plan of salvation, and it is something I know that I will never forget as long as I live. I wish I was better with words so that I could better convey the experience to you.

Since coming here I have pretty much given up meat. I can't afford it, and the way Africans cook it is nasty. Oh well haha. I kind of enjoy not eating it, fruit es muy bueno. 

On Friday I had the opportunity to give a sick 4 year old a blessing, it was so bad she was nearly hospitalized. The next morning she was perfectly fine. That was pretty great.   

Yesterday we had district conference and Elder Bricknell of the Seventy presided. This man is outstanding! He is hilarious when interacting with us missionaries. He put one of my friends in a head lock haha. He is a great man. The two key speakers here were him and President Omer (another outstanding man). The topics included the work of salvation mainly, but branched off into most principals of the gospel. 

During one of his talks Elder Bricknell mentioned the time Peter walked on water (Matthew 14: 25-31)
"And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"

His mention of it yesterday prompted me to study it this morning. At first I was thinking, what the flip. How on earth can I apply this to me? After a few minutes I finally figured it out. At first all is fine with Peter, he walks across the stormy sea without incident, but eventually the storm becomes too much for him, he takes his eyes from the Savior and begins to sink. Luckily the Savior was there with an out-stretched hand to save him.

Let's compare the walking on the sea to our life. Just like the Sea of Galilee there will be times of calm and times of storm. It seems to me that every time we have a great spiritual experience or are doing what we are supposed to (study, prayer, church) it is relatively easy to keep our eyes on Christ, but if we shirk off the things we are instructed to do and put them as naught our faith begins to waver and we are too consumed with the storms of life to remember to keep our eyes on Christ, and without a doubt we will begin to sink.

Luckily, just as Peter did, we have a loving Savior with his had outstretched to us at all times. All He asks is that we cry out in faith, and He is willing to save us from the inevitable. (John 16:33). 

It is, however, a much better idea to just avoid sinking at all. No one I know likes to be spiritually "wet". We have been instructed from the prophets of old as well as modern that in order to brave these storms with strength all we need to do is  study the scriptures and pray. If we do these simple, but important things, it is much harder for the adversary to pull us down to his level.

Elder Bricknell taught that in order to become a spiritual giant of sorts all we need to do is look towards the example of the sons of Mosiah. (Alma 17:2-3). "The three steps to increasing our spirituality is to first- pray like crazy, second- feast on the scriptures, and third- fast regularly... That's the best recipe for spirituality I've ever seen"- Elder Bricknell

Hopefully this can help y'all. 

Last week I read Paul's words in 2nd Timothy where he says:
"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day:  and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."

I honestly want nothing more than to be able to say this at the end of this mission as well as my earthly mission. Before reading this I had lots of desire to do better, but had struggled with putting that desire into action. This was just the motivation that I needed. Sure I've always worked hard, but I always knew I could also do better.

Kind of running out of things to write. I hope all is well back home. Mission is going swell. 

Love, Elder McClellan

Monday, February 17, 2014

week 10: some bumps in the road

(Elder McClellan had a hard week last week.  These things happen during a mission, and I know he will overcome his obstacles, but it is still discouraging to read.  Short letter - I hate to put it out there on the blog, but this is how he was feeling when he wrote.  We can all keep him in our prayers.)

We had permission to confirm Rachel, but the branch first counselor said we couldn't because no one ever told him, and she left before we could figure things out. She will have to go another two weeks without the Holy Ghost. 

This week was okay. We met all the Standard of Excellence. Had a baptism. I  hate having a companion. hate it. hate it. hate it. Thursday we got into a fight and I was about to knock him the flip out but I decided to walk away. Never getting married, going to be a hermit when I get home. I do not like people.

Also there is a mail strike on, so there is a good chance the package you sent me got burned.There is also a good chance everything I sent last week got burned, so I doubt anyone will be getting letters for a while.

I'm glad my grandma enjoyed the flowers.

Not sure what else to say, I was sick yesterday. Sick today. Yeah. 

Can't wait for the March 18th transfer (change of area/ companion.) I kinda wish I could go into a coma until then. 

Picture is of Rachel, and a snake I saw.

Love Elder McClellan

Monday, February 10, 2014

week 9: protected

This week was something else. Very unproductive. Oh well, these weeks happen. Only had 16 lessons :(. We dropped about half of our investigators for being fong kong. We tract (go door to door) a few hours a day now in order to get our teaching pool back up to spec. 

I don't include dangerous stories to scare you, it is mainly just because that's how it is haha. This week we were talking to our investigator Thabong, and we asked him why he walked up to us on the streets. He said "it is because you're protected". We asked him to explain, and he proceeded to tell us for weeks his friends had been planning on mugging us, but it never worked out. About 3 weeks ago we walked past them in an alley and I was sure they were going to jump us, and Thabong said they were planning on it, but they were too afraid to do anything once we actually got there haha. He said "two white guys in Seshego? No way, you guys should be dead". It was quite the sharing time haha. Apparently he has since told his friends to leave us alone, so it is what ever. I don't fear much with the Lord on my side, though I don't use that as a reason to act stupid. I have abandoned my backpack, and just carry my scriptures. They don't seem to be interested at all now that I don't carry anything.

The spiritual thought for the week also comes from Thabong. During the law of chastity lesson he said this. "Yah know, here in South Africa it is just normal to go at it at a young age, and for a long time I didn't realize that was wrong. When I turned 16 I found Christ, I took time and read the scriptures. The world teaches these things are okay, but I took my time and got out of the world, and it is because of that I know that this is a commandment of God". I was amazed at this. I wrote it down immediately. It is so rare to find someone like him here, I just think that we can apply that to our lives as well. Sometimes we don't like commandments, but when we take the time to study them out, there is no way we can come up with any logical reasoning to not live them. Thabong is on date for baptism for the 23rd of March.

Yesterday we attended 5 baptisms and had the opportunity to participate in a confirmation. Next week we are baptizing Rachel, she is 16. Elder Wadsworth is baptizing her and I will confirm her the following Sunday.

No way about Bronte! That's amazing! Woo haha. Girls are better anyway! 

Not much happened this week. Oh yeah, I gave a talk yesterday on the temple. They left me with about an hour to prepare a talk haha. The people here feel like if they just don't want to do something the missionary will do it. I wish you could see the shock on their faces when they hear us tell them "no, we will not cover your responsibility". It is priceless!

The church here is very new, people know almost nothing about conducting meetings and it can be extremely painful when investigators are present. On Sunday Brother Dube got up and shared a war story about when they were fighting Zimbabwe. He says "Yeah we were set up for an ambush, but a guy wanted to smoke. He lit up and guess what happened? (he then starts yelling) THEY KILLED HIM ( he hits the stand) AND THAT'S WHY I HATE SMOKING!" I could not stop laughing. Good times down here in the Land of Africa.

Hmm lets see here. I think we may go play with crocodiles after this. In a few weeks I'm hoping to play with baby lions. They are a lot like kittens really. Just big, and well, have sharp claws. 

Not much really happened this week. Elder Kafusi joined our district. He is pretty awesome. It sounds like I may train immediately after I finish my training. President told me everyone says I'm doing excellent, so I guess that's good haha.

Oh yeah, we got a new car this week. Its a manual so that's been fun! Driving left handed stick in African traffic! I'm actually pretty good at it now though, and it is a lot more fun to drive. I got pulled over Tuesday going 84 in a 60... oops :). 

Hmm, yeah. Not much else to report. Wish I had more to say. 

Hope all is well, I miss you all very much. 

That whole Bronte thing has me really happy. I love babies :)

Love, Elder Kelly McClellan 

Monday, February 3, 2014

week 8: Life is great!

Life is great! For the most part. The work went very very very well this last week! We did lots of teaching, we have 3 golden investigators on date for this month, and we got a lot of new people to teach! Friday we went tracting and stumbled into a house full of people. We went back Saturday and taught them, which went surprisingly well, and then a few came to church! WOO! That's pretty much a home run, first week church attendance? Almost unheard of, people here have no clue what a commitment is. The work is progressing, and the Branch President said he could not be happier with the results we are having. He then proceeded to insult the other missionaries and members in the branch haha. Seshego for the win again!

I WENT ON A SAFARI TODAY! WOOO! It was amazing, it was self guided so it was super cheap. Saw everything but elephants, rhinos, and cape buffalo. We literally chased and played with giraffes for an hour! It was the best day of my life, I love giraffes so much! Then I found a giraffe knee bone and I took it home. We saw a baby giraffe, springbok, and warthog. All were very cute and could barely run. Giraffes running is hilarious, look it up on YouTube. Last P-day (Preparation day, when the missionaries do their laundry, go grocery shopping, write letters and have a bit of free time) we went and played with a tank! 

Seshego is getting more ghetto by the day. Sunday our group leader didn't show up. We stopped by his house and he was looking super haggard. We asked him what was wrong and he told us he had been out all night searching for his brother. They found him at 4am, his head was twisted around backwards and he was beaten to a pulp. Somehow he is still alive. This is the second member to be attacked since I got here. Then Saturday we were driving through Blood River, a section of our area that is super ghetto. It is pretty much gangsters everywhere, and they were following us. We proceeded to get out of Blood River asap and we have since marked it as a no fly zone.

On Friday we were walking down the street and this gangster dude rolls up in his Bentley and screams "MY NIGGGAHS" to us. To which I screamed "My Brew" which means my bro. Everyone on the street starts laughing and the guy just pulls away. It was great haha. I love the people here.  Oh yeah, we saw a lambo (Lamborghini) the other day, it made my heart race. I think if it was legal to marry a car I would.

My finger is doing fine now the swelling went down after a few days. However, I stepped on a thorn today that was 2 inches long and it went threw my foot. That blew. That blew a lot.

Also baby warthogs are super ugly. Not at all like in The Lion King!

I'm so happy the Hawks won. I think I could die now and be a happy man.

Woo go Joe! You now have more baptisms than me ;) But far less converts so I think that equals out.

Yah know senior missions are something else. There are so many different types and they range from awesome to suck. Luckily, you still pretty much get to do whatever you want. They live the cheese boy life haha. I'm sure if you want to the Lord will bless you with the ability to do so.

Spiritual thought:
I again left it but hopefully I can remember it. So we are taught in 1 Corinthians that our bodies are temples. When the temple was defiled Jesus purged it all out, even to the point of violence. So I suggest we take the advice in Doctrine & Covenants 88:124, where is says "cease to be idle and cease to be unclean." We must take it upon ourselves to make an effort and purge the bad from us and the Lord will make up for that which we can not do.  Yeah it would have been better....Sorry.

Life is good, I'm so very happy. Also, if possible you should write me hand written letters as well. Its really really really really really nice to get a letter haha.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, and I know it without a doubt. Remember to doubt your doubts more than you doubt your faith. Credit to the German guy who's name I can't spell but who gives the best talks. (He is referring to Dieter F. Uchtdorf, you can find his great talks at 

Also, I'm in the middle of nowhere in north South Africa. I only get packages and mail every 6 weeks. So Feb 4th, then March 18th, then April 29th. Just so you know. I'm in one of the most far north areas, so no one comes here much from Joburg. Its really far away. Like my area goes from Seshego to the boarder with Zimbabwe which is 2 hours away.
Hope all is well, please continue to not forget me.
Love, Elder Kelly McClellan