Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turkey Day Is Imminent

Hello everyone,

Our Thanksgiving Day will be pretty full: We have 2 devotionals (one in the morning and one in the evening) the morning one is guaranteed to be one of the Apostles or 1st Presidency! Then we have Thanksgiving _Lunch_ and then have _sack_ dinners., we're also decorating stars with our names/ missions,/ and favorite scripture. That should be fun. I want to use Moroni 7:30-32 which talks about Ministering Angels do, but it applies completely to what missionaries are doing here everyday! It was cool to see that we could literally call ourselves ministering angels. Read it, it's really cool! Speaking of Apostles we heard from Elder Oaks last night, and he gave an AMAZING talk about missionary work and things that we should remember in an uplifting way. Elder Oaks is definitely one of my favorite speakers at the moment.

My District and I were joking to each other thought that Elder Bednar or Holland would come Thanksgiving Morning and lay down the 'Hammer of Humilty' on us. I'll let you know what happens. Everything is still awesome here even if things have lost their magical feel.  It's definitely a blessing to be here!

Yeah I've already heard about Kayla's decision and I'm way excited for her!

You're still crazy Dad,  you are still a jokester. My District has actually given me the nickname of 'Mackelprankster' I'm not one to pull pranks, but I've been pushed to do so with some of your gifts in the package I'll give you more stories about that later. 

I laughed when Mom sent me that DearElder on Sunday saying that she needed to get it translated. You'll catch up eventually Mom!

I also think that it's funny that it's still been way wet out there, I guess it's true that I brought the sunshine with me. I'll see what I can do about mailing everyone, but I'm steadily running out of stamps, but I would happily write anyone back once I'm able to get some more... I just have to figure out whether to ask you guys at home to send me some forever stamps that I cannot purchase here or to just get the regular stamps at the Bookstore. I can only buy 20 at a time... yeah. Hopefully I can answer any questions that friends and family have through these weekly emails.

By the way Thank you to Aunt Marsha for the pictures of Chaz and Taylum! They are really  so adorable! It'll be weird to see them more grown up when I get back! 

Oh and Dad... *sigh* you depress me sometimes when you keep talking about the Robert Jordan series!! ARGH! I waited for that book! Alright... I can wait.

Anyways, now your questions...

Do your socks stick to the brick walls of your bedroom?  I think I asked you this before, but I don't remember ever getting an answer.

1. I haven't checked yet

Did Seth Wilson ship out to the Dominican Republic (DR)?  I saw a note on his blog that implied that he was leaving last week, but I didn't understand how that would be possible, unless there is an MTC in the DR.  Do you know anything about that?

2. Elder Seth Wilson left this morning actually, it'll be funny. His first day in the DR MTC will be Thanksgiving.

Did you get your package?  I hope so.  Have you had a chance to scare anybody with your cockroach yet?  Stories, Elder, we want stories...  The tracking info from the post office is whacked.  It says your package was delivered on Nov. 18 in Aurora CO (at 2:19pm).  I'm pretty sure you weren't in CO, right :-)  Or maybe Leah "misaddressed" your package to go to an Elder Watkins who lives in that part of CO...

3. I loved my package! I received a package from Kayla on the same day! She sent me some amazing homemade treats, and you guys gave me toys to pull pranks on people. Needless to say, I've been enjoying myself after 9PM back at the dorms. I have 2 good stories about the cockroach. I actually am not the perpetrator of these acts, but the other members of my District. The first was when the room next to mine put it underneath Elder Kinseys pillow. He slept on it for 2 nights and didn't notice it until he say the antennae sticking out from his pillow one morning. It scared him pretty good. Then the sisters went to a meeting, and so our District Leader put it underneath one of the Sister's Preach My Gospel so that it would jump at her when she moved it. She jumped because she didn't expect it to move, but she was expecting some sort of trick, so she wasn't scared so much as startled. 

Do you have your final flight itinerary yet?  Let us know the details as soon as you do.  We want to be sure we're available for you to call while you're at the airport.  Can you get a calling card at the MTC?  If not, we'll mail you one in the last paper letter we send to you at the MTC.

4. I don't get my flight itinerary until the last week, so I'll let you know the details as I get them. I'm actually going to send a letter to Cole Talbot with the members of my District that are going to the Tucson Mission so that he will have a chance to meet with the missionaries... hopefully I'll hear back from Cole and see how it turns out. 

Did you send back the memory card yet?  We're all looking forward to looking at your pictures.

5. Dad you're not going to like to hear this but it wasn't the tab that was the problem. It was the fact that you sent me HC SD cards. My camera is an ancient one, so the I sent the info about  the card that works in my letter so that you can figure out the details if you think that it's a different problem.

Leah wants to know what specific things you would have done differently to prepare for a mission, now that you're nearly through with the MTC.

6. The Common Consensus for my entire District is to read Preach My Gospel more, at least read through all the lessons once, be familiar with the principles that you will teach in those lessons, and know the scriptures to use with them. A long list, but it's probably how she can best prepare.

Do you have addresses for everybody in the family?  If you'd like I can print out addresses of your grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins and mail them to you on one sheet.  Would that be useful to you?

7. addresses from everyone would be cool, but I probably wont be able to write out to everyone all the time, I think it would be cool to be able to know the addresses if I felt prompted to write someone.

You mentioned some immunizations you needed to finish a few weeks ago.  Are they done?

8. The only thing that I mentioned with immunizations is that I've got them all done! Yay!

Well that's all I can think to write about this week. Gotta Run! I know that this church is true and that God's work cannot be stopped by man, and that we will move forward until we have preached to everyone who will listen to our message! I know that this is Christ's church, and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Your son and brother,

Elder Richard Mackelprang

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

‘Twas the Week Before Thanksgiving

Q/A letter from Elder Mackelprang this week.  Dads questions are mixed in with Richard’s answers:

Do you ever see any of the Mandarin-speaking elders around the MTC
campus?  If you do, give them a big NiHauMa from the Mackelprangs.

Well, I do see Chinese/ Mandrin speakers or people with oriental type characters  on their nametags, and sometimes I hear them counting in Mandrin. :P It's funny that I can still understand what the numbers are from when Dad taught us as kids. 

I'm glad all is well on the home front, and it's great to hear about some of my childhood memories because there are many stories that I don't remember like the rattlesnake picture/ story you talked about. I still can show you the scar from that wound I got at Kartchner pond... that was rotten.  I look forward to your package, and I can gauge how long it takes to get from NC to Provo, and have an idea of how long it'll take to get it to Santa Rosa.  I'm sure that I can find some fun pranks to pull on some of my companions with some of the things you said you'd send me. ^_^  All in good fun of course! I'm sure Josh will be telling me all about his new game in a Dear Elder or his letter, :P it'll be fun to play around with him a little when I get home. 

As for your questions...

How did you spend your "allowance" this week?  What things did you buy?

I spent about $2.5 on snacks and about $2 on spare change costs of dry cleaning/  necessities. There always seems to be something more that I need from the bookstore at the beginning of the week.

Can you receive pictures in your emails?  How large?  How many?  What's the max size?

Pictures can be sent here, I don't know the size limitation, but I know you can send at least 3, just make sure they aren't too big. 

Do you do floor prayers at night in the alcove near the janitor's closet?  If so, do you see Seth there?

We don't do floor prayers, but I think it would be a great way to unify our Zone more, so I'll suggest it to the ZL's. However, I see Seth just about everyday. 

Tell us yesterday's menu?  What did you have for breakfast / lunch /

The menu sounds better than it actually is, but I don't complain that the food is bad, it's just not home cooking (doesn't quite match the quality of the BYU Cannon center).  Usually it's Eggs and Hash browns for breakfast, some sort of sandwich for Lunch, and some type of meat or salad for dinner.  They have ice cream on Sundays, and Wednesdays so I have to watch out a lot! 

Send us a copy of your schedule book for last week.  It would be fun to see all the meetings you have scheduled.

My schedule isn't all that exciting either. It's nice, but it also is just about the same pattern for everyday except for Tuesdays where we go to the TA, Wednesdays because it's P-Day, and Sunday because it's completely different. 

Who spoke to you at the last devotional?  What was the subject?

In our last devotional we heard from the Pres'ding Bishop Edgely who talked about missionary work and how everything we do has an effect that we may never see, and to not judge the success of our missions by the number of baptisms, but rather by how obedient we were to do that which we were commanded. 

I hope you all are doing well and enjoy my next letter which I just sent off today. Hopefully I'll hear from you guys soon!

I love you all!

Elder Richard Mackelprang

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Missionaries Song of Truth

Richard sent this poem today.  Written by Elder Richard Mackelprang
Wandering the world travel seekers who know not for what they search
Listening to many churches that cry repentance to the Earth
Hearing – yet missing the comfort Christ’s atonement brings.
Yearns my soul to find them, and to them I will sing
the truths that burn in my heart through angelic notes that ring
and bless them to remember the perfect love of our Savior, Lord, and King.
That burning in my heart will to my feet give wings to fly
and guide me to those wand’ring people whose thirsty souls will cry -
with joy at the restored Gospel of which the Holy Ghost will testify
of the straight and narrow gate they must enter to become glorified.
Then with then begin our song anew ‘round the world to hungry souls who roam
That we may once again, hand in hand, return to our Heavenly Home.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fall has Fallen

Alrighty, well this week has been really cool, and at other times seems exactly the same as the rest of the other weeks, but I guess that's just the complexity of perceiving time here at the MTC. I also want to bear my testimony on how powerful and wonderful sealings are, and that our kindred dead are so grateful for the work that we do for them. Lately I have felt the spirit strongest while doing sealings during P-Day.

Now to recount some of the highlights of this week...  Elder Seth Wilson is in my Zone!!! He actually lives a few doors down from me in my building! :P It's was way cool to see him again! 

I've learned all of the Grammatical information of how to use Spanish... so now I'm just working on mastering it and speaking fluently. I'm still able to help my class out a lot with their questions about Spanish which I enjoy doing a lot. 

I have gotten to take a lot of cool photos since I sent the faulty SD card home, I look forward to sending it back to you when you send me the new one. 

Well... I can't think of any other awesome highlights... Except for reading the interpretation of Lehi's dream if the Tree of Life in Spanish. That is really cool to read and understand exactly what it's saying now! I'm reading the Spanish from cover to cover while I mark scriptures in my English one from all  the scripture references that I find in Preach My Gospel, that has been a very interesting experience, especially since I'm marking my scriptures with all 12 of the markers that Bro. Wright gave me and they each have their own topics. You guys will have fun looking at the rainbow that my scriptures will be by the time I get home! ^_^  


Now in response to your email... I'm glad that you guys have been able to move forward with fixing up the house without your strong-arm man at home! I actually miss being able to help out every now and then.

I also cannot say how JEALOUS that I am of any of you who have had or will have the opportunity to read the next Robert Jordan Book!! ARGH! It just had to come out 3 weeks after I was gone! That's number one on my summer reading list when I get back.

It's funny to hear that you guys have gotten so much more rain since I have been gone, I guess that I'm the one who is most cursed with bringing the dry spell wherever I go.

To Joshua: I'm proud of you for preparing to receive the Aaronic Priesthood and become a Deacon next April! I know that the Lord will bless you as you strive to be a worthy priesthood holder, and that you will have the opportunity to bless many other people's lives with it. You'll definitely grow more into the man that I know and the Lord knows that you can be.

I'm sorry to hear that Bro. Davis is having heart problems, and I hope that he will be able to be ok.

Christmas-wise... I think that food and/ or money would be fine. I can't think of anything else that I would want or that I will need. So whatever you guys feel like sending is great!

It was interesting hearing about the monthly allowance; I'll have fun learning how to budget here pretty soon if that is the case.

I have no idea what we'll be doing for Thanksgiving here, but they didn't do anything for Halloween so I really don't know what to expect.

The Teaching Appointment thing changes people everything every week so I can't tell you about how our people progress, but I can tell you that we had fun teaching a native Mexican lady the first lesson in Spanish for the first time (our first time :P)! That was cool, and we actually managed pretty well, and I managed to understand the majority of what she said.

Well I gotta go love you all! I know that this church is true and I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve the Lord!

Elder Richard Mackelprang

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

November 4th P-day!


Sorry about getting to talk to you guys so late, I've been trying to get to bed more on time recently so I had 11 Dear Elders to read from you all during my normal writing time after the temple session. It's more difficult to figure out/ plan things out at the moment because we have service starting at 5:00 PM albeit it's only 20 minutes now... it's in the middle of my emailing and letter writing time...

I guess I can start using my old service time for "free time" for letter writing since I can only email on Wednesday's before 6PM Utah time. I didn't bring the notes that I took on the Dear Elder to answer all of your questions for me because today has been rather hectic.

For my package I would love some artwork or just something you guys might make (or longer letters, those are cool too), since my immediate necessities are easily taken care of with my $6 weekly "allowance" here at the MTC Bookstore.

One of the coolest, yet simple insights that I had while I was here was the realization that if you look at all of the stories in the Book of Mormon, you will NOT find a story that does not include an action of faith through prayer. I realized that as I was preparing a 5 minute talk in Spanish about Prayer and Fasting. It was pretty cool.

Also yesterday we had a "teaching appointment" with a native Argentine. We talked in Spanish for a little bit, and then taught him the 2nd lesson in English which will be my companionships last English lesson, with the twist of tying in the Word of Wisdom. I was humbled by my lack of understanding this Argentine's Spanish. It was quiet and all one word. I couldn't pick out one word from the other which was odd since it's never been a problem with any of the other "TA"'s that we have had thus far. I will be more prepared for the next one though.

I doubt that I'm going to be moved up (into an intermediate Spanish district) since they haven't talked to me about it, which bugs me since they said they would get right back to me quote, "ASAP.", but haven't talked to me for about 2 weeks. I'm happy in my district, and I'm pushing myself harder than I did when I started though so I couldn't care less now.

It has snowed twice since I've been here, but nothing has stuck. Oh Well. Gotta get ready for Dinner and class tonight, but I'll prepare and make sure I give a more complete report next week,

Love you all!

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.