Monday, February 16, 2015

week 62: getting transferred

Well first off, I'm glad people liked the poem. I have no confidence in my writing and I was worried all week someone from home was going to run up and kick me down. Not really but yeah.

We got the news on Friday that our area is closing. Today will be our last in Hammanskraal, and it is a bit more than extremely heart breaking. We did some good here. The Saints in this area are pretty darn secluded from the rest of the church, so we got pretty close to them. In a way we were their link to the Church. It sounds like the Stake has a plan to strengthen them though, so we are no longer their "anchor."

Keamogetswe Makwela was confirmed on Sunday and it was the cherry on top of an awesome four months of work. We reactivated a few, taught a lot, and baptized just one, but all in all it has been a wonderful experience. 

For our Family Home Evening groups, Elder Silvester and I performed "God Be With You 'Til We Meet Again." He played the uke, I played the harmonica on the second verse. On  the last verse the whole group joined in singing, it was hard to hold back tears on that one. With every area it gets harder and harder to leave, I'm not really a fan of it to be honest. It is crazy to think I'll most likely just have two areas left. I take comfort in the hope of seeing them again one day though. 

The church this side is a lot different, so it is probably hard to understand why the missionaries and members get so close. At home we saw the missionaries once, maybe twice, a week? We see the members here most every day. I don't know, it is hard to explain. Missionary work in Africa is quite a bit different than in the Chelan Ward, believe it or not. 

Elder McClellan and Brother Washington

I was and am still sick. Unfortunately my medical knowledge is only as follows, "Head hurt? Take advil!" So yeah haha. I kinda just make my body fight off what ever it is when I do get sick, I don't have money for meds anywho. They are crazy expensive this side. It didn't make for a very fun day Tuesday. It was 105 degrees and we walked 25.5km's. Worst thing ever. We literally walked from 11-6. The worst was every time I needed to puke there were people around so I just had to swallow it. Gross. I figured, people who are walking around puking all over probably won't look like servants of Christ. Probably should have stayed home that day. Oh yeah, we also got robbed. But got it back. I was about to beat a dudes head in. Powerful.

Our car is being a bit of a bother. It was in the shop for about 9 hours total this week. We need a Backie. Well, did need one, haha. 

Two Kudu we saw in the area

But yeah, that's what I have for this week! The package isn't here yet, hopefully it arrives soon, it will serve as a much needed boost. 

Love, Elder McClellan

Monday, February 9, 2015

week 61: so much awesome

This week was awesome. I went on another exchange to Sunnyside (Pretoria) and we ended up tracting and contacting for 5 hours. It is really nice to be at this point on mission, things such as that no longer feel overwhelming. What once made me want to jump off a cliff kinda just happens naturally now haha. Believe it or not, walking up to strangers and talking about the gospel (even in Africa) is not a very easy thing. 

Keamogetswe was baptized yesterday! It was amazing, 4.5 months of work finally paid off, and wow is she a quality convert. An hour before the baptism the Soshanguve missionaries let us know that the baptismal cloths were still at their flat. Flip. We had to drive to the Mabopane chapel, then to Pretoria, then back to Soshanguve to get baptismal suits. Somehow I did an hour and a half of driving in and hour. While keeping the speed limit haha. There was just no traffic. The baptismal program was flawless, and after she was baptized Kea bore her testimony. At first she kinda just said the standard "I know the church is true" and such... then she paused for about a minute, started crying and bore one of the most powerful testimonies I have ever heard. I have only helped with one conversion in this area, but she is worth about 10 regular ones. I've only seen two other people so converted when they were baptized. Powerful. 

I talked to the APs  (Assistants to the Mission President) Friday night, and it sounds like this will be our last week in Hammanskraal. Not for sure, but probable. We are apparently having the problem of 10+ people going home, and 3 coming in... so naturally some areas will need to be closed.

This picture is with Tiego.

The FHE groups are doing okay. The Kekana group is still thriving, but Temba is struggling. The guy that was supposed to lead it didn't even show up yesterday. Ahhh. It's a bit rough, but we are going to keep trying and hopefully get it sorted out this week. 

My spiritual though is Mosiah 1:16. "And moreover, he also gave him charge concerning the records which were engraven on the plates of brass; and also, the sword of Laban, and the ball or director, which led our fathers through the wilderness, which was prepared by the hand of the Lord that thereby they might be led, every one according to the heed and diligence which they gave unto him." The Lord has prepared a way for us to make it safely through this life, if we give heed to His directions. We just need to be diligent.

This little girl is just about as cute as can be, all I know is her name is Johanna. She doesn't speak any English; every time she sees us she runs up and hugs us. 

Hope you all have a great week!

Love, Elder Kelly McClellan

Editor's note: the following was from Kelly's letter last week; originally, he said not to put it on the blog because he felt shy about his writing. I thought it was very inspiring, so I asked him for permission to share it here - I know all of you who read this blog will also be uplifted by his words. He is an awesome guy!

I wrote this in sacrament meeting yesterday...

The bread is broke, the water blessed
I partake in hopes my soul may rest. 
His body lifted, His blood shed
that His mighty mercy may extend.

Amongst the trees He suffered all,
of the cup He willfully took,
He did for me what I could not.
In humility He bore it all,
that if I so choose I may not fall.

Upon the cross He hung in scorn.
Pierced were His hands, feet, and side.
He gave His life a ransom for many,
for His friends His love did show
that by obedience we may return to a Heavenly home.

Wrapped in cloth and placed in stone,
many thought the great Jehovah was gone.
Briefly He sojourned in the world of spirits. 
A light gone out, returned eternally brighter.
For me He died, yet for me He lives,
that in the arm of flesh I need not rely.

A Perfect Man suffered, bled, and died
that I, perhaps, may choose to be sanctified.

The Savior's love knows no bounds.
By His works we can be made at one
and the imperfections of mortality over come,
that our celestial home may be within reach.

The bread is broke, the water blessed
I sit here wondering, "Am I doing my best?" 

Monday, February 2, 2015

week 60

Well, if you were to look at this week on paper it would most likely be considered to have been worthless. Lessons and such were low; but more important than the stats, luckily, is what we accomplished. The FHE groups are thriving (alright, well one is haha and the other two are on the way.) We contacted the last two members on our roll that we had never seen before. And the Spirit was super strong. 

Keamogetswe passed her interview! It will be the first baptism the area has had in many months, and I'm so very excited for that. We got her to pick one of the local members to baptize her, though at first she would have none of it. We figure it'd be better for her to have that experience with someone that will be staying, rather than us who are going to get the boot it seems in just two short weeks! 

Last Monday we drove an hour to a church property way up in the mountains. After an hour hike we were at the top of a ridge overlooking a beautiful lake and farm lands. At the top there is an old abandoned British military outpost that dates back to the Boer wars and all the way up there were a number of hand cut  stones that once had constituted a barricade around the base. It has been vacant for hundreds of years and the baboons have now made a habit of destroying the walls, but it still made for an awesome experience! The Church bought it for hosting camps. Normally after a hike to the top there would be a spiritual message and stuff put on by the missionaries taking care of the property, but apparently we are already strong enough and the experience was not afforded, haha. 

That pretty much sums up last week. Oh, we also had an exchange on Friday. I went to Sunnyside (Pretoria, the country's capital) and had quite a blast with Elder Benge (from CA.) Man, this country is, uhm... immoral. Once the sun went down all the weirdos came out. We passed a lesbian hair salon and all the hair cutter people were naked. Awkward. We also some how found ourselves in the club district of the city while trying to track down a member, and well, needless to say, that led to a few interesting experiences. 

Awesome week. 

Love, Elder Kelly McClellan