Monday, June 23, 2014

week 28

Well, this week was not quite as easy as the last. We worked super hard, but since we are in an Afrikaner and rich black person area, the successes have been minimal. We did manage to pull out 15 lessons this week though, 4 more then the previous week. I'm again finding myself drawn to the less active work, so beginning tomorrow we are going to start tracking people down and finding out what their status is.

We have one young woman prepared for baptism and she will be taking the plunge this Sunday! Her name is Shanella, she is from Zimbabwe and is currently here staying with a member.

We are working with quite a few other super hopeful investigators, and the area is slowly picking up; we did have 3 investigators at church on Sunday.

Friday night me and my comp had a bit of a fight. He assumed that we could find no males to take to lessons the following day. I told him if we did not have said males, the lessons would have to be rescheduled. He said no, I said yes. Luckily, the white handbook (missionary rule book) was on my side so I won. I proceeded to find all the members we needed to be able to have all of our scheduled lessons. If I was not as humble as I am haha I definitely would have said "I told you so".  

Not a whole lot to report.... Oh wait. Yes there is!

The best part of this area is the service we get to give! Tuesday of last week we went to sister McCarty's (she calls herself mama Africa.) Our task was to take machetes and wack our through the bush and then cut down 30-40ft trees with the machetes. Sounds awesome right? Well right from the get go we hit an obstacle. We first had to go and get tools out of a shed... infested with black mambas. Hmm, in case you are unaware, a black mamba bite (depending on size) will kill a grown human in 4-10 minutes. Yes, this service was going to be sweet. We got the tools and ran out of the shed about as fast as we could and then proceeded to the bush. It was at this time we learned that the bush also had black mambas in it. Fetch. Well, after manning up a bit I took my machete and begun clearing a path to the first tree. I cut it down, then proceeded to the second, and so on and so forth until all of the trees where cut down. This was a great experience, kind of.

I had to go to the doctor the other day for my ear. It was all jacked up. Not sure what was wrong or how he fixed it, but I can now hear better then ever. All I remember from the experience is that it was super painful.

I'm pretty sad, due to my current assignment I'm not going to be able to attend the temple for nearly a year unless something changes. Seven months of that year is already over, but it'd be really nice to be able to go.

Not sure what else to add to what I've said, I hope all is well!

Love, Elder McClellan

Monday, June 16, 2014

week 27: transferred!

(First paragraph is in response to news that he is an uncle - Bronte and David's baby is here!)
Well then, she's pretty darn beautiful haha and I'd rather be home at the moment. I have to give it to Bronte and David, most newborns are funny looking, but she is not. Not really sure what else to say about that... hmm... yeah, I'm sort of having a lack of words at the moment, pretty darn amazing.

This week was flipping crazy. Transfers were on Tuesday, so I got a new area! I am again way the fetch out in the middle of nowhere! Woo! I've been transferred to a place called Nelspruit* in Mpumalanga Province. It's a rich town (lots of mines in the area) and... there are white people! I have to admit, I missed white people, this is nice. Before I was in the land of milk and honey but now... I'm pretty sure this is the garden of Eden. The landscape is amazing, baboons and monkeys run rampant. The city is rich enough that its almost like America. Also, I have a chapel now! Also, our area is huge! Our branch president lives 100ks away, we made a 65k drive to a place called Sabie on Saturday to teach seminary. Sabie is the location of the largest man-made forest in the world. When we went there we had to wear jeans instead of slacks because we had to walk through the woods and such haha. Pretty darn sweet. Within the bounds of our area is Kurgar national park and Gods Window. Both of which are absolutely astounding.  

My new companion is Elder Brackett from northern Cali. He is a pretty sweet guy, has about 6 months left. He reminds me a ton of my brother actually, so we get along fairly darn well.

The branch I'm in from what I've seen is not in such good shape. I experienced the most irreverent sacrament meeting of my life on Sunday. The members however are amazing! We have a handful of white members which is pretty cool, haven't had that before!

The work is pretty slow, we don't fill our days too well, but I'm hoping that within a few weeks that will change. We have town, township, and village in our area so that's kind of nice. Unfortunately, most of our area is too far to teach in. Our K limits are awful, I hate it. (Missionaries have mileage limits on their cars.) Not really sure how this whole hastening the work is supposed to happen with limited resources.

There are two other missionaries within 30ks of us, but besides that you have to drive 220ks to see any others. We are very isolated. We are close to the border of Mozambique and Swaziland.

That's my weekly report!

Elder Kelly McClellan

Nelspruit – or Mbombela – is a city in northeastern South Africa. It is the capital of the Mpumalanga province. Located on the Crocodile River, Nelspruit lies about 110 kilometres (68 mi) by road west of the Mozambique border and 330 kilometres (210 mi) east of Johannesburg. For more information, click here or here.

Monday, June 9, 2014

week 26: hiking and zone conference

Alright this last week was crazy. Lots to report. Lots of pictures.

Let's first start off with the hike. Last Monday we had a zone activity that turned into a district activity because half the zone did not show up. That was awkward. Anyway, we went to a waterfall called Debengi. It was beautiful! Though I slipped on a rock and if Elder Kaufusi had not caught me I would have went for quite a good plunge. #neardeathexperience1 It was pretty sweet, and it was a super easy hike. Honestly the whole time it made me think of Shannon, pretty darn sure she would have loved it. After we discovered that half the zone would not be attending, we went off on a trek through the brush (not part of the hike.) This is ill advised, and I was very vocal about it. Brilliantly, we pressed forward, and by the end I only received two ticks on my bum! #Ihatewhenimright Eventually we made it out and I - once again - nearly fell on a slick rock. 

After leaving the hike we made the 5 hour drive to Joburg for Zone Conference the next day. We (well, I) chose that we would go the long way through Gianai just so I could take a picture of a rock. I've been trying very very hard to suppress my desire to take pictures for hours, but I could no longer be contained on this day. 

Eventually we made it to Joburg and went to a super cheesy (rich) pizza place (ha punny.). Any-who, we got there at like 8:30, we had to be in the mission home by about 9:30 in order to avoid receiving a verbal beating. We managed to make it, however as we left the pizza place we were charged by a group of homeless men. #neardeathexperience2

Zone Conference was the most powerful meeting I have ever attended, the Spirit rivaled that of the temple. First off, there is a special feeling when 100 Elders of the true church are gathered together, but second this was President Omer's last Zone Conference. After he bore his testimony he blessed the entire mission. I didn't even know you could bless hundreds of people at a time, but he dun did it. During his testimony I was fighting back  tears, but after the blessing they were flowing from everyone one in the room. As we left the chapel at the conclusion of the conference President Omer greeted each of us. I could not find words to tell him how I felt, so with tears still in my eyes I smiled and walked away. Now, you probably do not understand why it is that everyone (well lots of people) were so emotional, and you never will until you understand the type of man President Omer is.  He is the most Christ-like man I've ever meet. When he speaks he does so with power and authority. It's hard to describe him, but suffice it to say, he is an outstanding individual.

Friday we had a very interesting day. We had exchanges so Elder Brown and I went to Seshego. To sum it up there are 4 things I learned this day:
1) It sucks when your geyser (hot water tank) goes out and destroys your suit 
2) It sucks to get shot at #neardeathexperience3
3) If you turn off your car while driving it does not record the K's you drive, but it does lock the steering wheel #neardeathexperience4
4) Wear your seat belt or get ejected #neardeathexperience5
I feel as though all of those are self explanatory so I shall refrain from adding any detail in the slightest. 

Saturday was the big day, bum bum bum! Transfer News! On Tuesday President Omer had already told me that I was being transferred, so it was not a shock when that news came. My Zone Leader told me that the Assistants to the President told him I will be getting an undesirable companion. Elder Davis told me this transfer would be a growing experience... I'm terrified for tomorrow. I hate apostate missionaries. If I get one, someone will die, whether it be him or me, I know not, but the spirit of prophecy... or maybe pride... tells me that it won't be me! :)

Yesterday was my last day in Seshego, it was hard. During the announcements at church it was said that the group loves and will miss me. <3  As I bore my departing testimony I was having a pretty hard time. Over the past 6 months these people have become as family, I'm ready to leave Seshego, but never would I be ready to leave these people. From Brother Thabang to Sister Mary, these people range, and I'm of the firm opinion that these are the best Saints anywhere on all of the earth. It feels like I'm leaving home again, but this time I'll never come back. 

Two months after the fact we have finally finished general conference! Did you notice how Boyd k Packer practically bore his final testimony? 

I had not time to prepare a spiritual thought, but let it suffice for me to say that the things which I have spoken are true. Oh wait, fetch. Sorry, for some reason whenever I write my brain tries to use scriptural grammar and references.  Any-who, the church is true.

Elder Kelly McClellan 

Monday, June 2, 2014

week 25

Life is going well, but yeah, I had to disappoint more young women this week. They kind of use babies as accessories, and if it's half white, that's just for the better!

The investigator work is progressing! We will be baptizing.... the week after  I leave this area. I was sad for a time, then I realized it doesn't really matter if I'm here as long as they make it. LA (less active) work is going even better, last month we had 95% contact with the members of our group! That's up 30% from average per month last year haha. The group is on fire right now with reactivation and temple work!

I shouldn't know this, but one of the APs (assistants to the mission president) is my friend, so I asked him, and he told me that  I am getting a new area next week. I'll be able to let you know two Mondays from now where it is that I am.

Next week will be a much better letter because there will be things to report.  Today we are driving two hours north to do a hike, then 6 hours south to stay in the mission home because Zone Conference is tomorrow. It's going to be a long flipping day.

I'm quite sad to be leaving the group, last night I went around getting pictures with everyone. It's quite easy to learn to love these people.

Regarding the track team, Wow that's sweet! Not going to lie, I'm most proud of Willy! That is awesome he got over 40, I can't remember but I'm pretty sure I never did that in a meet. Good for him! What was Maddee's throw? Pretty impressive place for a freshmen.

I'm super excited to hear about Panda's mission call, I actually had a dream the other night he came here and I trained him haha. If he goes anywhere in Africa southeast I'm going to try to see him in the MTC. But, he will probably go to Oklahoma so yeah...

I'll send you a better message next week!
Love, Elder McClellan