Monday, March 30, 2015

week 68

Well, in Selcourt fashion, that one person we found last week has not seen us since. The work here is hard. I no longer feel bad for anyone called to serve in Europe.

Let's see here.... highlights of the week... I was sick. I got an eye infection.  I nearly got murdered by a semi, he dun cut the corner. Fun times in Selcourt, haha. We did manage to get six less active members and one investigator to church. That was impressive.

My companion is being transferred so I'll be getting a new one Tuesday. And I can almost promise he will be white. A member told me the other day, "If we get a black missionary... I'll let him in the yard... but I'm not sure about the house." South Africa is the most racist place I've ever been. And it goes both ways. Fun times. The other day a black dude said he was going to stab me because I looked at him wrong, to which I replied, "Come, I will beat you." Directly translated, I told him I would "lightning" him. Pretty powerful haha. He didn't try to stab me. I'm much more patient than I used to be, but I no longer take crap from anyone. It's pretty nice to be honest.

Uhm. Yeah, that's my life. 

Oh yeah by the way, the first guy I baptized will be attending the temple for the first time this month and I got permission to go. Pretty darn happy.

Hope you have a great week!

Love, Elder McClellan

Monday, March 23, 2015

week 67 (not for the faint of heart)

Well, you know how last week I said we have had some pretty outstanding adventures? Well, last Monday we had one that may just about top all of them haha. However, if you will complain at me for being in danger please skip this paragraph. We went to an abandoned mine out in the middle of nowhere for a zone activity. A member recommended it, and previously there had been a few things done out there by missionaries, so we assumed it would be safe. We got out there and there were a bunch of Africans who have set up an illegal mining operation, totally looks like one of those blood diamond camps, but yeah. We asked them if they cared if we played Capture the Flag there, they didn't care. As we were preparing to start a police chopper flew over us, then circled us about 10 times. That's not all that abnormal. What was abnormal was the fact they had a machine gun pointed at us as they did it. So, we were a bit confused, but carried on. All of a sudden we got a call from a group of missionaries who were on the field opposite of us and all they said was "they are shooting each other." Well, needless to say, we got out of there as fast as we could. What had happened was the miners started shooting each other, and the cops got there and started shooting the miners. We watched them shoot guys out of the helicopter, and chase the miners into ditches and shoot them. Pretty exciting if you ask me. We won't be going back to the mine anytime soon. Gotta love mission life in ghetto South Africa!

This week was pretty awesome. Best week we have had so far! Better yet, after 5 weeks of knocking on gates for hours we have finally found one person to teach! It was amazing haha, but we finally did it. This area is rough as far as the work goes. Oh well, on the bright side, biking 30 - 50 ks a day is making me lose a lota weight, and I like that!

There isn't much else to update you on, life for the most part is pretty standard. Oh, also I've started to be like Joe, all I eat is cereal. 

That's about it for this week, hope all is well!

Love, Elder

Monday, March 16, 2015

week 66: so very grateful

Before I forget for the 4th week in a row... sorry... I did get your package and it made me unbelievably happy! (Editor's note - I included this so everyone knows it is safe to send mail again!)

Well, before I say anything else, I have to say that I love you guys. A lot. These last few months have been pretty darn hard for me and I'm positive that I couldn't do it without all of the love, prayers, and encouragement being sent from home. I can't put into words how big of a difference an email or a letter makes, and it is also pretty darn nice to see who actually cares. After a year and a half I only have a handful of people still writing, but that's okay haha.

This week was full of ups and downs. The first 4 days we were on track for a record breaking week in this area (for this year at least), we had an amazing Zone Conference, and we were able to make some awesome contacts! Then... the sickness happened. I spent the last 3 days in bed, I'm pretty sure I was about to die. Not really, but it was terrible. Especially when you remember there is not a single fun thing in a missionary flat. I spent hours fiddling with my ukulele... and I wrote about 20 letters... but then I accidentally spilled stuff all over them. Also, on that note, during the mail strike a few months ago I'm pretty sure a lot of the letters people sent me were destroyed... so if you think I'm ignoring you... I'm not. They just dun got burned. So yeah. I do take the time to respond to every letter I receive. Also, I think some of the contact details I have for people are incorrect, so If you haven't heard from me in months that's why.

I realized during Zone Conference that I'm kinda short timing it here. I only have five transfers left...and it seems every time I think about it, another month or two has passed. The work here in Selcourt is quite hard, but wow I'm loving it. We spent a few hours last week knocking on doors. Every single person told us to get lost, but it is at times like that when I seem to be the happiest for some reason. It is pretty darn hard mentally to spend hour after hour knocking on gates, behind which a dog the size of a black bear is ready to eat you. I've found that when you're doing all that you can, and when there are no options left (in my mind at least... which is fairly narrow) the Lord's presence can be felt and He leads and guides you to something greater. For example, after three hours of rejection on Tuesday we decided to try another part of our area. While riding over to it I stopped, looked at a street, and chose that one. The very last house on that street was an inactive member we had been searching for, but no one could find.

Another amazing experience was on the Friday before last. We were riding our bikes from Selcourt to an area called Denottar, (about the distance separating Manson and Chelan) and it began pouring down rain. As far as the eye could see there were dark clouds hanging over and within seconds we were soaked. As we were pedaling up the first of the hills I took a short moment to pray. For two things specifically. First, that the rain would stop. Second, that the warmth of the sun would return and dry us. Literally within seconds the rain had stopped and there was a warm breeze on my back pushing me up the hill. I'm sure someone will be willing to argue that it was a coincidence. Personally I saw Heavenly Father's hand in my life that day.

Basically, everyone we are teaching is seemingly getting no where. However, the less active work is amazing. Eight people have been reactivated in the four weeks I have been here. Are they converted yet... no. But they are coming. And that's a start. Not bad if you ask me; personally, I see bring those who have strayed back equally as important as bringing someone new into the Gospel.

While I was sick I was reflecting back over the past few months and I couldn't help but think of how amazing it has been. There have been baptisms, reactivations, and adventures the like of which I never thought I would participate in. I've seen the best and worst humanity has to offer. I've played with a full grown cheetah and sat on the edge of a 1000 foot cliff. I've gone to a remote village to play with children and returned two weeks later to find that they have starved to death. It hasn't been easy, and only maybe half of it has been fun, but I'm so very grateful for all of it. And to think, I almost didn't come. That would have been the worst decision of my life.

I'm coming up on the 4 year anniversary of my baptism and wow, it has been awesome. Even just this past sixteen months. Its crazy haha, and I'm not exactly sure what I'm trying to get at here.

The Gospel is definitely the path to improvement and happiness in this life.

I'm about all written out. Please send me that snail mail letter. It will literally make my week... whenever it gets here.

Love, Elder Kelly McClellan

Monday, March 9, 2015

week 65 (this Elder needs a hug and some new pants!)

Well, this week was about the same. The last three weeks in a row we have only managed twelve lessons per week. We are trying to start working with the ward a lot more, but yeah. 

I'm really sorry but I'm so tired of emailing. It literally drives me crazy.  I always have all this stuff I want you guys to know, but then I get here, look at the key board, and lose all care. 

I gave a talk in sacrament yesterday about my conversion and related that back to the work done by the members, not the missionaries. It went pretty well, everyone came up to me afterwards and told me how wonderful it was. Most of the young ones were just fascinated by the fact I ate a snake... how that worked into the talk I'm not so sure... but they think I'm "awesome" now haha. 

We are not finding much success in tracting. We only contacted one person in all of last week.

All of my clothes are dying haha. I kinda look like a hobo. It will be pretty awkward, on Wednesday we have zone conference that is going to focus on dress standards. They are going to start getting after us apparently if our clothes are worn out, but hey what can I do.  I've been on bikes three weeks now. One pair of pants was torn. My thighs are already too big for another pair, so I'm just left with the third. On the bright side, I'm losing a lota weight haha. My belt is too lose on the lowest hole and I already added an extra 4 to the originals. 

That's about all I got

Love yah lots

Elder Kelly

Monday, March 2, 2015

week 64

Well it sounds like you had a better week than I did. Nothing is working in our area. We have two investigators. Hours of finding a day has gotten us nowhere. I'm tired. Really tired.  I really don't know what to write haha.

Let's see, the best part of the week was probably dinner with the De Villiers family on Sunday after church. The father of the family is the Bishop of our ward (yes, I'm finally in a ward!) and that was pretty great. After dinner we wrote a letter and the bishop examined our hand writing. He was taught by a former FBI analyst and wow, he was pretty much able to read me like a book just by the way I write, so that was cool.

My bike broke the last 2 times I rode it. The mission refuses to give us a car (we cover an area larger than Manson and Chelan put together) and they refuse to buy new bikes. Yeah. I just wrote to President about that, hopefully we see some improvement in the bike system some time soon.

We are going to fast three times this week to petition the Lord for some help. We really need His help. 

Anywho, I'm not sure what else to say.

Our internet shop stinks so I probably won't be sending pictures the whole time I'm here in Selcourt. but yeah.

Love yah lots.

Elder McClellan

week 63: new area

I've been transferred to the Benoni Zone in the area of Selcourt which is a town! I'm out of the ghetto. My companion is Elder Haynes from Australia, the same one I shared a flat with for 6.5 months when I was up in Polokwane. We already know each other and get along great haha, so that makes me happy. We are on bikes. They broke two times in two days. I have spent hours working on them, stupid African bikes. 

I had a miracle occur this week. Yesterday my scriptures were stolen. Got a call this morning, a lady found them on the side of the road and we are going to go pick them up after email! Woo. Can't put into words how happy I am about that. Heavenly Father loves me. Not going to lie. I was mad when we got home last night. Second pair gone. I refused to pray.... "that'll show Him all right"... and yet He blessed me even when I chose to be a fool. 

The church is true. 

Elder McClellan