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