Monday, April 28, 2014

week 20: transfer news - staying put!

I have literally no time today. Sorry. P-day (preparation day, when missionaries can take care of personal business like laundry, shopping and emailing) is Monday, but Africa has a stupid holiday every week so we often can't email until Tuesday because everything is closed. I hate it. 

The week was aight. Lots of lessons. Lots of walking. Hmm Pitbull just came on in the internet cafĂ©... I hate Pitbull. Anyways, transfer news came.... and I'm staying. What the flip? Like that's pretty rare haha, 6.5 months in the birthed area (the area a missionary goes to from the Missionary Training Center)... I'm very ready to move on to be honest!  My companion is the new District Leader.

Woo Bronte graduated! That's pretty cool. She looks pregnant now haha. I guess that happens.

Flip yeah... no time!

I'm sorry this letter is lame.

Elder McClellan

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

week 19: a day late, but great

Last Monday was amazing, I went zip-lining up by Tzaneen. Best birthday present to myself ever. There were 11 lines down a jungle valley, we went over 2 water falls. The largest water fall was 50m and the smaller was about 20. I'm not sure I've ever been somewhere as beautiful as that! I'd send pictures, but I forgot my thumb drive. 

Seshego is getting difficult. African holidays last two-three weeks. Literally all of our investigators left our town-ship, we had 3 investigator lessons last week. :( Worst week ever. We did however still manage to have 23 lessons. We did LOTS of  IA and LA (inactive and less-active church member) work. 

Joe looked really good in those Mormal photos, he was shap shap. 

Yesterday we had a zone activity, we went and played sport in a park in the colored area of town. ("Colored" is not a racial slur in South Africa, it is the name given to half white/ half back people.) We played football and rugby, but decided to leave when some people in the corner of the field began to make a porn movie. That was awkward, but from a distance we made sure to let them know that God was not happy about their actions. 

Since I've been on mission I've kind of just been in a "yolo" (you only live once) kind of mood. It's quite fun actually, I'm doing things I never would before. Chasing rhinos and elephants, zip-lining in ghetto Africa. The thing is we have to have enough fun on Monday to last the rest of the week. Sure missionary work can be fun, but it's hard to see it when you walk 20ks a day. 

I've now been here about 5 months, that was really fast. Not sure where the time went there haha. 

Last night was scary, we were on exchanges so I was the only one who could drive the car. I was deathly tired by the end of the day, and well, I literally almost killed us 4 times. It was terrifying and I'm pretty sure the only reason we are alive is because God has a work for us to do. ish....

Uhm lets see here... yeah life is good. 

There is a Mormon message called Earthly Father, Heavenly Father that you should watch. Its powerful. 
Here is the link.

Love, Elder McClellan

Monday, April 14, 2014

week 18: not much news

Well let's see here. Okay well yeah.

This week sucked mostly. I was literally on my death bed for half of it. I had a temp of 103 for a few days. That sucked. Luckily I felt well on my birthday though. Saturday we were at correlation and this is when I began to feel the most sick, by the time we left I was drooling on my self and could barely walk. Went home and passed out. 

My birthday was pretty darn good. 4 people from around the mission called me and sang happy birthday over the phone, then the senior missionaries took us out to dinner. Got your package Saturday night. It was amazing and made my life, thank you! 

We have 3 correlations with different people throughout the week, but Tuesday we meet with the Harwards (Senior missionaries.) As I walked in Sister Harward told me that I was baptizing someone on Sunday....alright haha. Yesterday I baptized Thapelo MMekeke Thomas Molepo. He is 8 years old, and literally the size of one of my legs. He is a tiny dude haha. I've had a lot of cool experiences on my mission, but I think this one was the best. After I baptized him he got up in front of everyone and spoke what has to be the sweetest testimony I have ever heard. Brought tears to my eyes, what a great day. 

Not a whole lot else happened this week, the computer won't let me upload pictures. Today we are going ziplinning. Looking forward to that. 

Love, Elder McClellan

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

week 17: Kruger National Park

So much to write, I'm going to forget half of it again. 

To start out with, we had a terrible week. Our entire zone did terrible in fact. It was a school holiday, people were drunk, everyone was out of town. Had a whopping 15ish lessons. We are dropping 75% of the people we teach because they're all fairly fong kong. The APs (Assistants to the President) are going on exchange with us today... that won't look very good, but it's alright. The fact is that in the year previous this area had 2 baptisms and since I've been here we have had 5, and they are all fully understanding of the gospel which is even more amazing. We have many many hours of tracting in our future, I'm almost hoping I get hit by a taxi haha. I hate tracting. Oh well, guess its just time to put my shoulder to the wheel. 
Last week Saturday was quite interesting. Everyone was drunk, we were sitting across from a tavern waiting for an investigator, when a fight broke out. Pretty epic. One guy destroyed another, and then they both almost got ran over by cars. The cops showed up, but all they did was buy a beer and leave.

Yesterday may just have been the best day that ever existed, anywhere, at anytime. A member took us to Kruger National Park. For free. He paid for food, cold drink, entry fee, lunch, dinner, petrol, and a car rental. Brother Sekhula is amazing haha, he is 35ish and a self made man. He is probably the wealthiest man I've met to date, and he is also the most generous. So we left the flat at 4:30, it was pitch black and cold. We had a 2 1/2 hour drive to one of the entry gates. Just before going in we stopped at a garage and all six of us missionaries were talking about what we wanted to buy. He walks up and asks, "are you holding a zone conference or something?" We laughed and then he says "get stuff, today our budget is huge." That took us all back, that's when we realized he was paying for everything haha.

Elders -me, Johnson, Rueckert, Bro. Sekhula, Davis, Brasher, Haynes

So we finally got into the park. We would see a giraffe or zebra here or there, but then we found it - a full grown bull elephant feasting on Mopani trees! TV, movies, and American zoos do this animal no justice. They are MASSIVE. 

After viewing him for a time we moved on. We saw all sorts of stuff, elephants, zebra, impala, waterbuck etc.

zebras snuggle... ha

Then things got real. We looked out into the river, and what did we see? Crocodiles feasting on a zebra that they had just dragged into the river. It was crazy to watch, sad, but amazing at the same time. Crocs are a violent animal. I tried to get video, but it just didn't happen. 

crockie mate, its eating a zebra

After we watched it, we drove to another place where we could get out. (You have to stay in the car unless marked due to lions, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas and the like). Anyways, we got out on a bridge that was marked safe, and we look down in the water and there were hippos! They are fat as flip. After some more viewing we moved down the river and saw some hippos mating, that was something. 


After moving on quite quickly we came across some more elephants and Bro. Sekhula had a great idea! He looks at it, then at us, and says, "hmm, well.... let's make this thing mad." That we did. You may recall a few weeks back we chased rhinos - that was a bad idea. Angering an elephant? Well, that's a very bad idea. After a time he tried to spray us with his trunk, then charged us.... that was terrifying.

this is the one we made angry.... 

However I have marked three things off my bucket list!

Chase rhinos (check)
Anger an elephant (check)
Wet pants while being attacked by elephant (check)

Each  becomes increasingly unfortunate as you go down the list. Any-who, after we left the elephant we kept going. And going. And going. Eventually we got out and we were 3ks from the border with Zimbabwe and 20 from Mozambique. We were very far from home. The day was amazing, it's something else to see all these animals in the wild. Oh yeah, so we saw lots of baby things. Zebra, elephants, impala, but nothing compares to a baby monkey. It literally could have fit in the palm of my hand. I wanted it. Also! We took a turtle for a ride... not sure why, but we did. I have now seen all of the big 5 accept for a leopard. 

The country side in Kruger is amazing. They literally just took a chunk of wilderness and put a fence around it to keep (well, to try to keep) poachers out. 

We left before sunrise and got back after sunset

Last Friday we got back to the flat to find that all of our stuff was turned upside down, moved around, and hidden. The Zone Leaders broke into our flat and screwed will all our stuff. The only good that came from it was they left a fish in my water bottle. We decided to keep it, and put it in our bath tub. For a few days he flourished, he was the pride and joy of the flat, and we gave him the name of Marlin. He was such a happy little fish, but unfortunately when we returned from Kruger he had gone belly up. Though it broke our hearts to see him go we flushed him and moved on. I miss watching him swim around as I take my morning pee. 

We don't have General Conference yet, and we won't for three weeks. It did give us a chance to have testimony meeting... it began with poor conducting and some things that would have been better not said and it ended nearly 2 hours later. In that time only 7 people shared testimony... accept there was no testimony about it. It was all stories and gratitude and this person is doing this and I'm not so sure about that. It was everything it shouldn't have been. By the end I was on the verge of stabbing myself in the throat with a pen. Sundays are nerve-wracking here - all we do is worry, what will the members say this week? Who is going to be offended? It sucks.

A few weeks back I had it in my mind pretty darn firm that I wanted to be a farmer, but after yesterday at Kruger talking to Bro. Sekhula, I'm not so sure anymore. He owns a engineering firm and well, I may just have to switch teams. Everything he said he does sounded like tons of fun. May just have to do that.

Two weeks ago I lost my debit card, so Thursday I canceled it. I got to call Manson! It was weird to call home and not talk to family. Though it was nice to be reminded of what it's like in a small town. All I had to do was tell her my first name and she took care of the rest, haha. Gotta love it. 

Life is pretty swell, and it appears that I'm approaching my 19th year of life. It really weird how you don't remember most of what's happened. I don't really like it. For my birthday we are not really doing anything, just tracting. Yippie! Hope all is well back home, can't wait to be there. 

Elder Kelly McClellan