Saturday, September 10, 2011

There’s No Place Like Home…

Richard flew in from Santa Rosa California at about 8:40pm on Wednesday evening. Here are some photos of his return and his release…

175788_10150303024648409_540173408_8108006_1595104362_o Waiting for the passengers to disembark.
286434_10150303026613409_540173408_8108011_361601609_o Here he comes!!!
329208_10150303031178409_540173408_8108049_1591513515_o Josh was the first to run up and give Richard a hug. Followed closely by Hope and Jenna.
290198_10150303038943409_540173408_8108096_506820725_o Together again!
314434_10150303042763409_540173408_8108157_525479656_n Walking out to the parking lot.
291592_10150304617103409_540173408_8116657_202905720_o Just after Richard was released by President Maxwell, before he reported to the High Council.
330545_10150304617673409_540173408_8116658_1999666761_o A more natural view of the family Smile

We’re all very happy to have him safely home!!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I'm Coming Home!

Hello again.

I got special permission to write home today, so here’s a note from the last day of my mission.

I'm sending this right after my Zone Conference, and before I head to President's house for dinner, etc. It's been a very interesting day... We covered a lot of basics, and I know that the mission is in good hands.

It's still kind of a unbelievable and gradual thing to actually realize that I'm coming home... I wont be here in California soon... in just about 24 hours... I'll be home... I'm happy and excited, but it is saddening how difficult it will be to leave this place.

I know that I have done great good for the people here. I know that I have learned a lot, and I know that I can be true to myself, and I know how to do what the Lord has called me to do. I see many blessings being fulfilled in my life, and I know it is only the beginning. I fear the trials and hardships that lie ahead, because I feel that there will be many when I least expect it...

I fear what the future may hold, but I know that I can have faith and hope in the Lord to be my strength. I know that He loves me, and that He will sustain me if I will reach out and grab His out-stretched hand. He is always waiting for us, lovingly, longingly, for us to come home.

Why do we wander? Why do we wallow in sin, which only brings us unhappiness? Our joy is light, and our light comes from our Eternal Father. He gives us all the light that we can hold, but we need to cleave unto that light, or we become filled with darkness. Bitterness. Regret. Hatred. All these things are misery. The devil will laugh as he continues to instill these feelings into people everywhere as he reigns Babylon and her whimful pleasures.

We have been commanded from a prophet today to stand in holy places, and I would repeat that inspired council. Stand in the place that will not fall, where we CANNOT fall. Even to the temple, the House of Holiness, The House of our God. Go often. I speak to those who live in my home boundaries. We live Easily within 10 minutes of our Apex temple. 

I wont tell you how often you should attend, but re-evaluate your commitment to the Savior and what He has to teach you about His Gospel in His holy house. Follow the directions and inspiration that you receive.

In Zone Conference, I gave my departing testimony about change. I recounted my feelings, fears, etc. that I had before coming out to serve. I remembered missionaries talking about completely being changed. That they were no longer the same person. I feared that. I feared change. I liked who I was, I knew of things that I wanted to change, and needed to change, but I was afraid. That fear held me back. Since then I've learned that I can be who I am, and still change. I've learned that there is nothing to fear about change, because change is the only constant. Change will continue to be the only constant until we become even as our Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ.

I'm out of time, we're off to President's house now, but I thought you'd enjoy this taste of spiritual learning that I've had here in the mission, and in my Zone Conference.

I love you all, and I'll see you all in about 24 hours! 


Elder Richard Mackelprang

Monday, September 5, 2011

Well, It's Been Fun. So long NorCal!

Mom's email

:-) You made me laugh inside, and smile quite a few times. I didn't realize that I was supposed to count. I liked your snake story, or the "encounter of the scaly kind." ;-) We always have funny happenings at our house. And people wonder where I learned to laugh...  The Smoothies recipes you mentioned sound really good, and I'll enjoy going on the campout _this week_ with Joshua and his troop, and I'll talk to you alllllllll about this when I see you on Wednesday evening. I haven't seen Aunt Marsha yet, but we will soon. I'm alive, and I'm excited to come home. I love you MOM! You have a big hug waiting for you! ;-)  

Dad's Email

It will certainly be nice to spend some time with Aunt Marsha.  I’m glad I have permission to visit with her today (Labor Day). It's funny how I end up seeing her and the family on holidays. ;-)

It sounds like Seminary is going or will be going great!

Thanks for the heads up about the people who want me to talk in church.  I'm not too surprised that I'm getting asked to give several Church talks. I was expecting it.

I’m impressed with Joshua’s scouting! Finishing his Life award while he’s 13!!  Way to go!

Well I'm getting into shape again being on bike, and I'll be there in person soon enough! TTYL.

Love you all!

Your missionary,

Elder Richard Mackelprang

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Last Week of Coincidences

DSC_0365 Napa & Vallejo Zones with Napa Stake President Frye.  Elder Mackelprang is on the far right.  This was just before the move he mentions below.

So yeah. There was a big unexpected upset last Friday when I received a phone call from the Mission Office, and was told that I was going in a Zebra Trio (2 English, and me the Spanish)  for my last week of my mission. So to add to the irony that I'm dying in my Greenie area, I'm staying in the same apartment that was my first home as a greenie, where I first got trained, and had my first Christmas. Talk about returning to the land of my first inheritance (to die)! So I know that there's only 1 week left, but I would absolutely love someone to send me a letter this last week to break the myth that no one writes a missionary on their last week of their missions. I'd really appreciate it. 

DAD'S Email

That's wild that you guys had an earthquake. I actually have never noticed a single earthquake since I've been here. Maybe I'm not just paying attention, or I may just be a good luck charm. But I have had people ALL of this week telling me about how there was an earthquake back there, and how some buildings fell down, etc. Yeah, I was beginning to worry, but then I remembered how the media tends to sensationalize things, and how hurricanes leave nothing but rain at our house, and how the Lord is taking extra care in your welfare right now. So I'm glad that nothing happened.

I do like the idea of BBQing some ribs when I get home.

Jenna let me know that you made her seminary class president. I'm sure that you'll rock the seminary world. You seem to be a popular teacher.

I'm excited about coming home too, but I'm still focusing on being hard-working. I know that Andrew and I will have some fun, especially with Matthew getting home. Good times are ahead of us. 9 more days!


  • Do you want to run with us in the Greensboro 5K in October?  Yes, I'll be joining you for early morning jogs, etc. The more the merrier. I'll sell Joshua on the idea.
  • Do you want us to make any special arrangements or plans for the first few day’s you’re home?  I'll figure out exactly what I want to do the first few days home, but I REALLY would like to go to the DMV and get my license back. One that I wont have to worry about for 4 years! :-P But I'll let you know next week.  <<Editor’s Note: Elder Mackelprang’s driver’s license expired a few months ago, and NC won’t renew unless you’re on military leave, or renew in person>>
  • Are you going to need another memory card for pictures, or do you have room on it for this week?  I've been taking more and more pictures. My card still has room sufficient for these last few days. Don't worry about it. I'll be taking more.
  • You’re reporting to the High Council next Thursday.  Have you thought about your report?  I haven't thought about that report actually. I wasn't familiar with what they'd be asking me. So thanks for the heads up.

MOM'S Email

;-) No worries Mom. I'll write next week! I can't promise how long it'll be but I'll write, and tell you that I'm alive, and about any close calls with getting run over... oh yeah. I forgot to mention that I'm on bike again, up in Santa Rosa. Aunt Marsha may have told you, but I'm in Santa Rosa again for this last week, and I'm on bike. So I get to start losing weight again! I'll be more prepped for exercising with everyone when I get home. I may get the chance to see Aunt Marsha again; she said something about not having school on Labor Day, so it may be just 2 or 3 days before I come home. That made me laugh. But how can I say no?

I'm sure that I'll have plenty to do when I get home, and getting my license again will be very nice! I feel very locked up and constrained because I cannot drive. I still don't understand how some people still don't go get their licenses. It makes the world a lot easier. Better a busy calendar than a really blank one. I'm sure I'll have some time to rest and prep myself to go back to school, but I'll get it all done. I look forward to it. It's time for the next step, the next chapter of my life.

I've heard from MANY people that the East Coast felt a tremor. So, I figured that it's mostly over-excitement since I myself remembered how much our relatives would always over-react to hurricanes coming our way. I've had fun explaining that our area is too far in-land to be much of a hurricane hazard. I think people like to over-embellish the stories they hear on the media. I can imagine you with your umbrella just under the home depot entrance and fighting with your umbrella until you take the 20 steps to the door. :-) It made me smile.

It'll be interesting to see just how much my little Squash has grown. I'm sure I can't call him Squashy-Joshy anymore. He's probably big enough to actually try to tackle me. I'm sure that we will have some fun times ahead of us. We'll make some memories for sure.

I've heard about Dad losing weight, and I'm proud of him! I'll have to follow suit so that we are all going in the right direction. I agree with your philosophy, but there is a time where it's nice to know about the numbers. It can be a good impetus to get you started, which is the hardest part. 

I know that the Lord has blessed us greatly, and that this is only the beginning. I know that there may be trials in store ahead, but that I need to focus on today, and fight for today, and let tomorrow come. I'm grateful for all that I have seen and done here, and I'm grateful for the blessings and growth that I've experienced from having served here. I know that it is the beginning of many great things in my life. It really is a new beginning.

P.S. I will challenge you to keep writing weekly updates as a journal entry, and I will follow up with that when I get home! I've learned about inviting and helping other people make and keep goals, so you better watch out! ;-)

Yep, so I'm outta time. See y'all soon!

Love your son,

Elder Richard Mackelprang

Monday, August 22, 2011

2 Weeks... Is It Really True?

MOM's Email

It's Alright Mom, I understand why you didn’t write last week. I heard from Dad that you weren't feeling very well. I know that I don't get very sick very often, but when I do I remember why it is that nothing gets done when you're sick. No worries.

I did enjoy the Taylor's visit. It was funny what you were telling me about how lucky I am to see them so often, because Aunt Marsha was saying that she loved the fact that I was so close here, because she's seen me more often here than she does outside the mission. ;-) It's true. I'm blessed, and I'm probably going to see them again next year after the winter semester at BYU Provo. I'm planning to road trip with Robert back to Santa Rosa next April and visit the mission before President Bunker ships home. I think it'd be a great opportunity. But we'll see how that one plays out. I was very happy and excited to get the jam and the pie. I wasn't expecting it at all. I'm very grateful that he took the time to handpick the berries, and cook them up himself. I'm impressed at his cooking skill. The Chinese restaurant was good, and I realized when I went with the Taylors that I swear that it's a restaurant that we went to as a family when we visited California as a family several years back. It's called China Wok, and there's a "One of a Kind Barbie Museum" behind it. I remember Dad making a funny comment about it, and about a comment I made about the family meal on their menu. It was interesting. It's crazy how all of these random, strange memories come back to me as I go and see these places, and serve here. It's actually really cool.

I was pondering on the changes that I have seen in myself as you were closing off your letter to me. Ironically I have gone back to reviewing the first "records" of my 2nd 3 months in the mission journal. It's interesting to see how my outlook and character have matured since then, but I have also seen the "normal" me peering out as I realize that my time is coming to an end as a full-time missionary. I realize that I can't go back to where I was, and that the only real way to go, is forward, with purpose. So I know that even though I wont progress as rapidly as I have here, and even though I will still have a lot of the same likes, and hobbies, I'll be more in control of who I am, and rise up to what is expected of me.  

I have had some weird dreams about coming home last week, but not so much this week. I know that it'll be a weird adjustment at first, but I know that I'll adjust quickly. That's something I'm improved on is adjusting to new circumstances.

I'm definitely excited to see Bishop Anderson again. I guess it's the Lord motivating me to go to singles ward. He already has several enticements there already to motivate me to go, so it seems like I'll go there. I hope that I enjoy it more than before my mission. I also hope that girls aren't chasing me around anywhere. :-P But then again, I'm not so good-looking as I was before the mission, so I'll have some time to burn the fat again. I do look forward to being in a choir again. I need to stretch out my bass notes again. I definitely don't want to lose my contra-bass notes. ;-)  

I'll pull that little brother of mine into some exercise, or he might not get to play and have fun playing games with his older brother. No, I wont be manipulative, but I'll encourage him. I promised him some bike rides, and we'll go on some walks for sure. I'm sure I can think of some ways to encourage him. I don't blame him though. I was the exact same way if you remember. exercise, and goal setting were some of the banes of my existence. We can help him. We'll get there.

Your letter hasn't made me more trunky. I appreciate the updates. It was a great letter. I'm sure that things will feel very different and strange when I get home, but life moves on. Have a great week Mom! Love you!

DAD's Email

I'm glad that Joshua is progressing so much on his scouting. I'll make sure to help him out with all of that when I get home.

Good luck going back to school Jenna!

I have the opportunity to go to the temple my last time in the mission this Saturday. I get to go to the Spanish session again! I'm going to love that. It was SO clear, and I could understand it all wonderfully last time. I look forward to this temple trip, and going again when I come home.

We definitely need to be more appreciative of the Holy Ghost. He is the key to all of this. We are trying to explain a 3 dimensional concept to a 2 dimensional people, conceptually speaking. Look up the Holy Ghost in the Bible Dictionary. There's some homework/ study to prep y'all for school. ;-)


  1. Any recent pictures?  I did take just a few pictures today, but I lent the card reader to a missionary last week, and he broke the SD card slot trying to put his card into it backwards. So you'll just have to wait for 2 weeks until I bring the last few pictures home. I'm not very picture-taking savvy. Even though I keep the camera hidden in the car, the picture moments don't seem to occur very often. *shrug* I'll be taking pictures of me and the members during these last Sundays so that I can have some pictures to talk about.  
  2. How’s the journal coming along? I have filled a good portion of my missionary journal. The regularity in journal entries vary, but it's about 1 a week, sometimes, 1 every 2 weeks. I'm doing a speedier version of the transcribing of the first 6 months of my mission, where I wrote a few notes about every single day. That was interesting, and is interesting seeing the changes from about 2 years ago to now.
  3. Have you had time to send testimonies / notes to any old investigators or members?  I still have been writing regularly to a less active I helped reactivate in Rohnert Park. I actually got a letter this week saying that he finally got the Melchezidek Priesthood! I was way excited about that! He is a great man, and I don't want to lose contact with him. I don't have current addresses on other people that I would like to write. Latino culture tends to move a lot here in the states.
  4. Any investigators progressing well?  I've been working with Saul, but it seems his cold feet are determined not to get wet before I leave. I have faith to make some great things happen before I go, but Saul seemed like the best and greatest opportunity to have a baptism as I leave. Well, I know that he WILL get baptized, even if it's not before I go home. If anything else he's become a good friend. At very least I'll have Jorge Giron on track to get his mission papers started! He will make a great missionary. He will have to face many challenges to go, but I know that he can do it. I'll be there encouraging him the entire way!

Other than that, I'm just working hard, and doing all I can to leave this place better than when I found it. I love you all! I look forward to seeing you soon! Keep the faith! God will provide.

Love your son, friend, and missionary,

Elder Richard Mackelprang

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Just a Few Weeks Left

DAD's Email

So this week. This has been a really good week. We've met a lot of people, and have been doing a lot of work. It's been great to see just how great the work is, and with the end in sight it's finally starting to begin to sink in that I'm really going to be leaving this place... Even with that in mind, I'm still plowing ahead at full speed to get things done, and to achieve those goals that I spoke about last week. I'm loving it here, and I'll be sad to leave, even though I am excited to come home. For a new chapter in my life. Things have changed, and they will continue to change, and something that the Lord has been teaching me in these last few weeks is how to really deal with change. So, even though the future may hold some interesting things, or maybe even scary things, I know that if we trust in the Lord and press onward then we will have nothing to fear.

Jenna & Leah's Daycare adventure. I'm glad that Leah was successful, and enjoyed her endeavors in taking care of all those kids. I've seen the spectrum of how crazy kids can be from visiting people's houses... It can get pretty crazy. Good job Leah! Good Luck on your new job hunting.

I also got my flight itinerary this week as well. That was cool. That was part of the sinking in that I'm going home. I think that it's funny that they make suggestions to help you try to not make me trunky, but with things as they are with everyone asking me when I'm going home, there really isn't any help for it.

The "new me." Well. I know that I have changed somewhat from the beginning of my mission. But I like to think that for the most part that I am the same person at heart. It's hard to express, but I think that most of the changes that do take place are the small, and sometimes subtle ones, but I can understand how they are great at the same time, since you're changing the path you will walk for the rest of your life. It can be pretty deep stuff to meditate about.

I’m sorry so many of the family is having trouble on the "cold" front. The Flu bug just loves to jump around doesn't it? I'm glad that I've only had 1 sick day on the mission. That was a very off day. It felt weird being in the apartment all day, and not being able to leave. we'll see what it's like being home.

Love your missionary,

Elder Richard Mackelprang 

1 Month Remaining...

MOM's Email

Well, only one month... I'll definitely go out fighting! I've a few goals in mind on what I want to accomplish here with my last 3 weeks. I have 3 goals:

  1. Help Jorge start his mission papers
  2. Help Saul get baptized (he can be baptized whenever he wants to, he just has to commit himself. He's already had the interview and everything.)
  3. Help Yolanda reach her baptismal date for the 20th of August.

I haven't heard Jenna or Leah talk about their little daycare for a few weeks. I hope that it's going well.

:-) Mom, you're an awesome teacher. I know that I'm unfamiliar with teaching teenagers, although I can imagine it's a tough task to take on the 10-second attention-span of this new generation. But the Gospel helps us, and participation is definitely key in all of that. Asking good ?'s is one such way to teach effectively and help you understand if they understand what you're teaching them. I would recommend Preach My Gospel chapter 10 if you want to ponder on some teaching techniques that you want to try. I know that those are invaluable tools in teaching. It sounds like you're doing a great job, and I have full confidence in you and your abilities. Everybody loves you, because of the spirit you carry, and I know that it must affect the girls. Even if it seems that they aren't paying attention all the time, the words of Christ will sink into their hearts, and it will bless them one day. (I was reminded of a conference talk from not too long ago that mentioned Alma the Younger, not really listening, but when he came to that Crisis, he REMEMBERED the words that his father spoke. The Lord will provide, and direct your steps. You're doing a good work. Keep it up!

WHAT!?!?! YOU!? JOGGING!?!? I'm just kidding! ;-) That's great! I'll definitely need some help getting back into the full work-out routine now that I'll be dead focused in getting a job and losing weight, and preparing for college, and a calling and so forth. Too many projects, and too little time. :-) We'll just make the best of it.

DAD's Email

1. Stake Priesthood Meeting. Those meetings were pretty memorable. We have some very inspired and humble men in our stake. I hope that it remains that way. It'll be hard to see President Maxwell released here in a few years. Those sounded like great talks. That's interesting that there is emphasis on retention of Returned Missionaries. I would have thought that it wouldn't have been as difficult for RM's to re-integrate.... I don't forsee that being a problem, but I can understand that I will face challenges that I may not yet forsee. But from everything I've learned out here, and from the people's lives that I've helped change, I know that I can't let that happen, if not for me then, for them. If I become as hypocritical to tell them how to change their lives and live the Gospel in the face of challenges and I can't myself? I would be less than a man, and a liar. I have too many people's faces reminding me of who's watching me and my example. That WILL NOT HAPPEN! It makes my blood want to boil.

2. I did receive that calendar invitation to meet with the Stake Presidency. That's funny that Matthew and I will be there the same day at the same time. We seem to bump into each other a lot that way... ;-)

3. For the 5k in October, I dunno if I can run it, but I'll certainly join the family in it. Leah's the speed racer of the family, but it'll help me get back into shape. Well, we'll certainly see wont we?

4. Happy Wedding Day to my friend Erik Wells! Enjoy your wedding day to the love of your life, forever and always! Thus begins a new chapter for your life. Good luck my friend, until we meet again!

5. Yep. Leah told me that Andrew is her Home Teacher. I didn't hear who Andrew's home-teaching companion was, but I imagine that it might be someone I know. I had that call as the bulletin specialist when I was at the BYU ward at college. :-) She probably is doing more with it than I did. I didn't have a lot of tools to work with since I was only able to use Google to make it.  

6. I'll be there to help encourage you to jog, and will even jog with you. We'll make it work. We both need to exercise more, and I'll enjoy having someone there with me. It's easier to have a jogging buddy, so to lose yourself jogging while listening to music.


A. Well, I don't have any stories that I can think of, but... I dunno. I'll write some down, and send it in a letter sometime soon. speaking of, I need a few more stamps, I'll be using the last of the stamps today, that Mom sent me about a month ago. I did have a funny experience last Saturday accidentally leaving the mission boundaries, and going over the bridge over into Crokett, and immediately turning around and coming back only to run into a toll booth that we didn't see until it was too late to turn back, and what's worse is that we didn't have any cash on us, and it was cash only. So the $5 toll became a $30 fine (with the original fee included). *sigh* That's one thing that I really hate about California. Stupid toll bridges... So I'm stuck since I just get by with what I get from the mission office for food, and living expenses... My companion expects me to pay half of the fine with money that I don't have... Could you help me out by sending me $15? and a few stamps? We had some bad luck last week. :-P

B. When I get home, I'll probably just want to sleep in a little bit since I'm going to have a little jet-lag, but I really don't know. I'll look at my bucket list and look at some things that we could do as you, Mom, and me to have some fun those first 2 days, and as a family on those nights.

C. I'm still progressing by playing basketball in the mornings, I've lost 15 lbs so far (in the past 2 months), but I need to lose a whole lot more. So It's a slow process, especially with such a regimented schedule. I like more flexible ones. (hence I want to sleep in a little, and then figure out what I want to do when I get home. ;-)

I love you all! I hope to see you soon!

Love your son and missionary,

Elder Richard Mackelprang

Note that this is a moderated blog - Elder Mackelprang neither reads or (directly) writes to this blog. This is done by his father.