Monday, June 29, 2015

Letter from Botswana/Namibia Mission President

Dear Friends and Family of Missionaries, 

It is with great excitement we welcome each of your sons into the Botswana/Namibia Mission. We met with our new missionaries for a couple of hours after the mission realignment announcement was made at the Pretoria, South Africa Stake Conference. They are a wonderful group of 37 Elders and 4 senior couples with the desire to serve the Lord where they are called to serve. We know there will be some apprehension and disruption as we make this change over. Please know we will do all we can to reassure your son is where the Lord wants him at this time of his mission. We know it was through inspiration that they were assigned to their particular District and Zone. In the 2 years we have been in Botswana it has been witnessed to us many times that the Lord is in charge of his work of salvation, and if we will be the instruments in His hands we will be able to fulfill all He asks us to do. We have learned to put our trust in the Lord and lean not to our own understanding. We are very grateful for President and Sister Dunn and the service and love they have given to these Elders and Couples. We know they will be greatly missed. We are looking forward to this new growth in our mission and know it will be a blessing not only to the missionaries but to the members as well. We will continue to see the hand of the Lord in this area of the vineyard. Please continue to encourage and help them through this transition. 

Our mission includes the countries of Botswana and Namibia and the northern part of South Africa. At the present time we are located in Gaborone Botswana, but will travel to all areas of the mission each month. Botswana is located to the west of Pretoria, SA. The church has been in Botswana since 1990 and a stake was organized in 2012. There are also 4 branches which are under the direction of the Mission. The past 2 years we have faced difficulties in receiving work visas and at the present time only Botswana residents are being called to serve in Botswana. Namibia is to the west of Botswana and on the Atlantic coast. The church has been in Namibia since the 1990’s also and a District was created in March of 2015. At the present time we have 4 Elders serving in Namibia and are hoping we will be able to increase this number. Both countries are well developed and very receptive to the gospel. They are a very peaceful and loving people.

At the present time the mission office is located in Gaborone, Botswana. The following is information about mailing letters and packages. If letters have already been sent to the Johannesburg mission they will be forwarded to our mission. Letters can be sent in envelopes using appropriate international postage. Packages should be kept small, clearly marked "Missionary Supplies" and be valued less that P300 ($30) to avoid high customs fees, which will be paid by the missionary. Packages sent by surface mail take about 2 months to arrive in Botswana, whereas packages and letters sent by air take about 3-4 weeks to arrive.

Mailing address:
Elder _____ 
Postnet Kgale 
AD 172 ADD 
Gaborone, Botswana

Maintaining contact with families is important for missionaries so we urge families and missionaries to write or email an uplifting letter once a week. More frequent communication than this can take a missionary's mind away from his mission and foster homesickness. Also, unless there is a specific need modest packages should be limited to birthdays and Christmas. Most necessities can be readily purchased here. Expect the mail to take about 3-4 weeks to arrive in Gaborone. Delivery to remote areas of the mission may take additional days and sometimes weeks. E-mail is available in all parts of the mission. Missionaries are allowed to e-mail family members on preparation day which is Monday. Facebook, chatting, instant messaging and SMS is not an approved means of communication according to the Missionary Handbook.

In accordance with Church policy, phone calls by missionaries to their families are limited to Christmas and Mother's Day. Families are urged to help the missionaries keep the rules by not calling at other times.

In an emergency we can be contacted by:
Direct phone number for the Mission Office:  00 267 393 3536
Mission email: 
President Wilson 00 267 7134 0325
Sister Wilson 00 267 7130 6273

We are looking forward to getting to know each of your missionaries. We know we will come to love them as we do our own boys. If you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

President and Sister Wilson
Botswana/Namibia Mission

President and Sister Wilson

week 81: big changes!

Well, this has been a bit of a crazy week haha. Its kinda like I got dropped on my head. I'm still sick, but its not so bad anymore, I just think the virus likes me and doesn't want to leave. And yes, as of Wednesday I will be part of the Botswana- Namibia mission which is crazy haha. Two years ago when I had the dream I would be in Botswana I was pretty darn sure of it, then my call came to South Africa (just months after Botswana left this mission) and now I'm being reassigned haha. I'm kind of at a loss for words about it to be honest, and the feelings are pretty crazy. Like, I've been in Johannesburg for 20 months. All the people I've grown to love are here, most of my friends are staying behind. Its hard. At the same time I'm extremely excited for what the next few months will bring,. Funny thing is I don't even know If I will ever make it to Botswana, with 4.5 months left they may not be able to get a visa. Part of the Botswana mission but odds are I'll never see it. I'm sad and happy and a bit angry. I find it amazing that Heavenly Father prepared me for this two years ago, he told me I was going to be in the Botswana mission. He has some pretty darn good foresight.

I feel like a brand new missionary again. Everything is starting over, but I have very little time on the clock which is a bit discouraging. I wish I could stay another year now, but that's pretty much impossible. 

As of now I'm staying in Kwa Guqa. The northern part of the Johannesburg mission was absorbed into the Botswana mission, and this area is part of that. 

Its pretty cool, Elder Cook (the Area President) said all of our names were sent to the First Presidency and they prayed about who it should be that would change missions, and they choose 36 of us out of 180. 

(photo of missionaries who are moving to Botswana Mission)

(At the farewell luncheon with Sister Dunn)

Here is some info on the Botswana mission: There are 4 missionaries in Namibia, 7 in Botswana, and now somewhere around 40 in South Africa. There is 1 assistant and 2 sister missionaries. Yeah. Its a small mission covering 3 countries. Awesome!

I really hope I get to go to Namibia before I go home, from what I hear its one of the most beautiful places in Africa. 

Also, the chances of me coming home in October are a lot slimmer. I'll most likely be home in December now. 

I'm at a pretty comfortable point on my mission, but as of Wednesday everything is changing. I don't really like change, but I'm taking a lot of comfort in this promise the Lord gave: D/C 84:88 "And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up."

That's about all I got this week. My head is still spinning a bit about all of this; I'm sorry if what I wrote didn't make sense.

Love, Elder Kelly

Sunday, June 28, 2015

news from the Mission President

Sunday, 28 June, 2015

Dear parents and Priesthood Leaders of missionaries in the South Africa Johannesburg Mission:

I wanted you to be among the first to know about a historic milestone in the missionary work in here in Africa which was announced this morning, and will take effect this coming week.

In a recent meeting of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, approval was given to realign the boundary between the Botswana/Namibia and South Africa Johannesburg Missions, and to transfer the Pretoria South Africa Stake and the Tzaneen South Africa District from the South Africa Johannesburg Mission to the Botswana/Namibia Mission. This change will be effective 1 July, 2015, and will affect 45 missionaries currently serving in the Pretoria, Sunnyside and Tzaneen Zones of the South Africa Johannesburg Mission.

This change in mission boundaries coincides with the splitting of the Pretoria Stake and the formation of the new, Mabopane Stake. Both the new stake and the adjustments to the mission boundaries were proposed and sustained by the members and missionaries in a special stake conference held this morning in Pretoria. The net effect of this move is that it transfers a stake and district from the South Africa Johannesburg Mission.  It will also immediately bolster the compliment of missionaries in the Botswana/Namibia Mission which has struggled to get missionaries into those countries due to visa issues for the past 18 months. As a geography reminder, these two countries are adjacent to South Africa, and are located on its northern border.  The affected zones from the South Africa Johannesburg Mission are the northernmost areas of our mission, and a logical addition to the Botswana/Namibia Mission.

 The missionaries officially reassigned to the Botswana/Namibia Mission are:
Elder Kelly McClellan

While Sister Dunn and I are obviously saddened to part with these great missionaries whom we have come to know and love as sons (…along with four of the best senior couples to be found anywhere), it is inspiring—and in fact more accurately, dizzying—to see the hand of the Lord move the work forward on this African continent. In addition to strengthening the ability to handle the burgeoning work of building the kingdom in the north, this is a pioneering opportunity to stretch and grow which will bless the lives of all involved. But please know that even as your son moves on to this exciting opportunity, that he will always be a part of the South Africa Johannesburg Mission.

I’m also pleased to tell you how much your son will love his new Mission President and Companion—and how much they already love your sons. We know President and Sister Wilson and they are outstanding people and seasoned servants of God. They have already served two years of their three-year call in the Botswana Gaborone Mission, and so are experienced leaders of a mission. Their home is in West Jordan, Utah and they are the parents of five children. President Wilson, who was born in Columbus, Ohio is steeped in church experience having served as a counselor in a stake presidency and is a former bishop, high councilor, elders quorum president, and Young Men president. Professionally he worked as an engineer with Ceramatec, Inc. Sister Wilson, who is from Payson, Utah, has also served in many callings including as a former ward Relief Society president, ward Primary president. Again, your sons will love serving with this terrific couple.

As your communicate with your son on his P-Day tomorrow, my prayer is that you, too, will feel the spirit of this inspired move, and share that with your missionary. While you or your son may be naturally feeling some uncertainty about this, I testify to you that God is indeed in charge. And that this is but one more evidence of the hastening of the work. As the Book of Mormon asserts, “But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men…” (1 Nephi 9:6).  Elder Neal Maxwell also reminds us that all things do work together for our good. “Trust in the Lord as He leads you along,” said Elder Maxwell. “He has things for you to do that you won't know about now but that will unfold later. If you stay close to Him, You will have some great adventures. The Lord will unfold your future bit by bit.”

One thing is for sure, it will be an adventure! And we feel so blessed to be a part of this historic and inspired move forward. If you have any questions or if I can help in anyway, please let me know. In the meantime, please know that the Dunns and the Wilson love your sons and will be doing our very best to make this adjustment successful.

Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah for Israel!

With love and blessings,
Michael A. Dunn, President
South Africa Johannesburg Mission

Editor's note: who remembers where Kelly originally wanted to serve? Read this post. The Lord is mindful of Elder McClellan!!!

Monday, June 22, 2015

week 80: sick

So I told you I was sick right? Well, I thought I had a cold, but it turned out to be some weird African flu thing. Today is my first day out of bed since last Monday besides going to the doctor on Thursday. We had to drive four flipping hours to see a darn doctor. Africa...

So let's see, this last week I slept, and slept, and complained, and slept. It was great.

Unfortunately that's all I have to tell you. I'm still feeling a bit sick, but I'm much better. But yeah, that's what I got. Sorry haha.

Love Elder Kelly

Monday, June 15, 2015

week 79

Well let's see. This last week was quite busy. 

We went to the temple on Friday, got picked on by some church PR reps afterwards. They were making a video about Fatherhood, and a few of us got to talk. (Video is on Kelly's fb page.) Here is a picture of my zone:

And a picture of us saying goodbye to the Bergs (PR missionaries):

That was a pretty great day. I've been pretty drained lately and it really reinvigorated me. There was a General Authority in the session and his daughter was there. I had met her in my last area and she kept looking at me the whole time. Pretty darn distracting. 

I was feeling great until the missionary next to me decided it would be a good idea to grab the wheel and jerk it while we were going 120kph in heavy traffic. After that I was pretty mad the rest of the day. 

It appears you know of my hair cut. That happened Saturday morning. After nearly 20 months of companion study I wanted to liven things up, so we cut my hair! I actually really like it. Got a whole bunch of compliments. One girl even asked me to marry her. It is working, haha. I think I may keep it to be honest. We went to the office today to get a brand new car and they said nothing about I'm pretty sure it is fine. Besides, Elder Scott (senior missionary in Nelspruit) taught me a good principal, "when in doubt, do it, then ask for forgiveness later." I'm not sure if that is doctrine... or if he was serious... but it sure makes life a whole lot less stressful. 

Let's see. What else. I'm still sick. I have yet to do anything about it. Maybe tomorrow we will finally have time to go to the chemist. Actually, we got invited to a party by the bishop tomorrow. Maybe Wednesday. Life is hectic and busy this side. I can't wait for the sweet relief of having nothing to do. 

On the bright side of things I have been extremely happy since the Temple trip. It was strange, in the Celestial room I just had the feeling all would be okay. I was like, well yeah, nothing is wrong. But I found out today why I got that on Friday. Strange how all that works. The Lord prepares us.

I've kind of gone through phases on my mission of what I like to teach about. As of late it has been the Holy Ghost. At the start of my mission people always said that the Holy Ghost was the true teacher. This kinda made me mad. I was thinking, "Aren't I the one that came to Africa?" It has been wonderful to see my understanding of Him and my relationship with Him grow. We have bad days quite a bit, but I have realized it is hard to be upset when you have His companionship. Things just seem to roll off. You're never really lost. You always know what to do or say next. It took me a year and a half haha, but I finally understand what people mean when they say to rely upon Him. Through His companionship I have definitely seen an increase in happiness, and I've also come to know my Savior and Heavenly Father greater. It is kind of funny how it works. Everything about the gospel is a circle. Everything relates back to another thing. It is like someone really smart came up with it or something!

I'm not sure if any of this makes sense. I'm alive and well.

Elder Kelly

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

week 78

This week we taught a whole bunch, I'm not sure if it got us anywhere, but we taught a lot. No one we taught seems to want to do anything to help themselves, but they are very happy to listen. Well not everyone we teach, but most. It may be time to start rebuilding our teaching pool. A few people have a lot of potential at this time, they understand and all, but they are failing to make that next needed step which is to do something about it. I miss town haha, less people to teach, but they actually do things.

On the bright side of things we got two brothers who hadn't come to church in months to come on Sunday! That was awesome, and better yet the ward did a good job of greeting and fellowshipping them. Hopefully, we can help them become reactive again over the next month or two.

We had Zone Conference on Tuesday, so we had to drive to Pretoria again. We talked about a lot of inspiring stuff, but I can't remember specifics at the moment... I'm really tired and hungry so it is hard to think. (Editor's note: Here is the Zone Conference agenda I found on the Mission President's wife's blog. "SAJM" stands for South Africa Johannesburg Mission.)

08h15    Group Study            Welcome! To help us prepare for Zone Conference, we’ll
now study together and listen to a talk given at last year’s
Mission President Seminar by Bishop Causse. Following the talk, President Dunn will moderate a short discussion on what we have learned.

09h00    Welcome              • Welcome to Zone Conference
• President Dunn presides, Elder Browning to conduct
• Opening Hymn: #219 “Because I have been given much”
• Invocation: Elder Bua

09h05    Announcements        • Green Card collection (Assistants)
• Lunchtime raffle for Green Card holders
• Please write down any questions you have on the paper provided and put them in the box at the back. These will be answered by leaders at the end of the day.
• New inserts for the green policy manual…please pick up
• Turn over time to Sister Dunn for birthdays followed by the Assistants who will discuss our mission goals

09h10    Birthdays  (Sister Dunn) • Announce all birthdays

09h15    Mission Goals  (Assistants)        • Announce/Distribute SAJM Messenger bags
• Mission Goals Review

09h20    Program                 • “Becoming a full-purpose missionary” (President Dunn)
• Followed by a snack break at 10h20 in the foyer
• We will then go to our workshops:
-        “Teach & Testify” (Bedfordview) – HC Room
-        “The 30 second approach (Benoni) – RS Room
-        “Self-Reliance & Integrity” (The Vaal) – Chapel
• Please rotate “down” to the next workshop
• Lunch served at noon in Cultural Hall
-        Group Zone Photos will be taken
-        Please thank senior couples for serving
-        Raffle for green cards
• 13h00, third session of workshops
• 13h40 slideshow and questions

1340     Announce    • We will now have our SAJM slide show and then turn
the time over to President Dunn for questions. At the conclusion of his remarks…
• Closing Hymn: Mission Song
• Closing Prayer: Elder Savage

Pretoria Zone - Elder McClellan third from left, back row

We watched Elder L. Tom Perry's Funeral on Friday. or Saturday. One of the two. It was good I guess. If a funeral can be good.

I have started rereading Jesus the Christ. That right there is a great book. I finished about half of it this week. I think I may slow down though, make it last a bit longer. Also, I'm in need of scriptures again. I won't tell you what happened to them this time. This is the 4th pair I have gone through now. Actually. It's the 4th pair someone seemed to think they had a better plan for than I do. All of my notes and markings gone again. Yay. 

But yeah, that was my week. We have more meetings and stuff we have to go to this week and Friday we are going to the temple. Should go pretty darn quick.

Love, Elder Kelly

Monday, June 1, 2015

week 77

Well you got me, I'm "trunky" as they say. (Editor's note: "trunky" means ready to go home.) I prefer to say I'm tired. But all is well, we had our best week this past one since I've been in this area, so that was nice. Thabo is good, he is a great guy. 

Elder Bryner and I are both supposed to be going home in 5 months. I'm not sure why President put us together haha, he is more tired than me. But we get along great and we are trying to make some plans to make the work go even better than it already is. I guess we will see in the upcoming week if it works out. It's hard at this point, but I'm still working and I feel the Spirit so I'm happy.

We are going to sit in the flat all day today for P-day because the missionaries we share a car with drove two hours to a different place last night. Yay. That's about all I got. Since there is nothing to do I think I'm going to go take a nap.

Love, Elder Kelly