Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Pictures

Here are some pictures that Robert Taylor (Richard’s cousin) sent to us.  Richard gave them to Robert on Christmas when he visited for breakfast.

richard's 009 Elder Knowles and Elder Mackelprang in front of their Christmas tree.
richard's 018 Richard’s Christmas haul…

richard's 019

Be careful, I’m armed with the sword(s) of the Spirit, and the helmet of salvation… (Eph. 6:11-18)
richard's 007 An interesting street name found in Richard’s area.  Maybe he could move back here later…
richard's 021 And this is my Christmas stash…
richard's 020 Here’s my sock
richard's 023 Robert Taylor, Richard, Kristen Taylor, (Sorry, I don’t know the random Elders in the back here), Marsha Taylor, Keith Taylor, Brian Taylor

28 Dec 2009

     So yeah, special case this week because all of the colleges and libraries are closed we get to write emails from members houses. We ended up coming to Aunt Marsha's house again. :-) Funny, I saw them 3-4 days ago! Don't be jealous Mom! Aunt Marsha says HI! So I don't have as much time so I'll share some of what's going on with my investigators:

     I'm adjusting more and more to how things work here in the mission field, and I'm giving my whole heart and soul into the work. This week has been slightly discouraging because everyone is so concentrated on Christmas, parties and other family festivities that most of our appointments dropped us again this week. The investigators we've been able to teach are Margrito and Cristina who live with the Hernandez family, Able and Antonio (our 2 new investigators), and Roberto. We invited Margarito and Cristina to be baptized, but Margarito has his doubts about needing to be baptized again, and Cristina is worried about being baptized and falling down again, but she still has the desire to be baptized. We are going to focus on teaching Margarito about the priesthood and the restoration and about how even though he was baptized before he has a need to be baptized again by the priesthood of God with boldness and love. We are also going to focus teaching the third lesson to Cristina about the Sacrament and it's purpose about washing us clean and renewing our covenants with God again. We will set a baptismal date with them when we help them overcome their current doubts and fears.

     Teaching Able was interesting, we taught him the 2nd half of the first lesson, because we had to teach him outside of his apartment, because the "boss" of the house doesn't want us to come in.  Able has attended the ward Christmas party and has met some of the members and has a friend that came with him who we are trying to get a hold of so that we can teach him too. We are also going to try to teach Able at the chapel and have a member pick him up and be there at the lesson with us.

     Antonio was a contact that we visited a week and a half ago when we were tracting on Sunset Dr.  Everyone was eating, him included, and he didn't seem interested at the time, but we felt prompted to see him again. We knocked on his door and he let us in and we had one of our best 1st lessons that we've ever taught! It was amazing, and I'm excited to see how he progresses, and if we can teach his wife and his son.

     We tried to contact many of our other investigators from last week, but like I said before they were never home when we passed by. Their phones never seemed to work either. After this New Year's week passes things should work back to being more and more normal.

     Oh! I almost forgot about Roberto. We've been trying to talk to Roberto for this entire week, but he got a new job and hasn't been around his house very much. So last night we contacted one of our other investigator families the Sandovals and felt like we should go see Roberto. He was there and we talked to him about 3 Nephi 11, and about the Book of Mormon and the Restoration in more detail than our quick lesson that we had with him the week before. We invited him to come to church and to finish the chapter of 3 Nephi 11. He seems to have a little bit of trouble reading, but I'm excited for him too!

     My studies have been all over the place of late, but I've been learning from Preach My Gospel from page 100 (en espanol) which talks about trusting the spirit. It's great to learn about trusting the spirit and looking at how the spirit has helped Elder Knowles and I to know where we need to go, what we need to do, and what we need to say.

     An example of saying something that needs to be said just came to me. On last Saturday we taught Victor Hernandez who was telling us that he felt bad about telling us that he would come to church and then end up not going, and that he was going to stop trying to come. Elder Knowles talked to him about why coming to church was important and bore testimony that it was something that we needed to do, and I talked about the Sacrament and how we renew our covenants with God, and how even if we miss the other meetings that the sacrament is the most important part of keeping the Sabbath day holy, and worshiping our Father in Heaven, and Jesus Christ. He told us that he would do his best to be there this week, and that he felt the spirit of our message touch him. He's a great man. He just needs to make it to church and he'll see more blessings in his life.

     I'm really excited to see this work progress! This the Lord's church, his only church on the Earth with all of the truths from Adam through Christ's ministry, and those truths revealed to our prophets today! I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God! I know that Thomas S. Monson is our prophet today, and that we can know all of the truths of the Gospel through prayer and the Holy Ghost.

     Keep up the good work!

Elder Richard Mackelprang

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Half Mission Conference

Richard had his Christmas Conference yesterday.  Their mission is so large that they have two half-mission Conferences.  Sister Bunker (his mission mom) posted these pictures on her blog for us…

DSC_0264Presents loaded into the mission van.  Lots of stuff – we sent Richard’s Christmas presents to the mission home (as did all parents) and Sister Bunker packaged them into pillow cases for all the missionaries.

 DSC_0307 This is half of Richard’s mission.  There are four zones here: Santa Rosa, Eureka, Ukiah, and San Rafael.  Note that Richard is in the back row in the middle.

 DSC_0299 Here’s the cake they had to celebrate at conference.

 DSC_0276Richard and his packages.  The other elders are not his companion – we haven’t seen a picture of Elder Knowles.

Thanks Sis. Bunker for your wonderful pictures.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Week

This week has been better than last week, but has still been hard. People are occupied and busy. Were still doing our best to make as many appointments with people as possible, but there are still a few people who are called into work or have something else that they need taken care of.

We have 3 new investigators this week, one we found tracting on Lombardi named Roberto. We taught him the 1st lesson, and set up a return visit. I have high hopes for him. We also taught the 2 daughters of Luis Sandoval. They are hard to perceive what they think of the message and are shy to talk about it. Their willingness to read the Book of Mormon and pray will show whether or not they are ready to progress or not. We also had a person walk into church from off the street and attend sacrament meeting. His name is Jose Tamayo. We are going to go to his house and teach him this week, I'm excited for him also.

We weren't able to teach and meet with Patricia this week, but we contacted her and set up another lesson for later this week as well. We're going to be teaching Maria Sanchez and hopefully her daughter today. We've invited to Sis Hernandez to join us and help teach the plan of Salvation. We hope to prepare both of them to be baptized at the same time. We will set an official date for them in the next couple of visits.

My studies of the Atonement and the it's ability to heal our lives has strengthened. I know that we can all be made clean through the Atonement of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. That through Him we can overcome any obstacle, and that we can receive comfort and strength to overcome any trial, pain, or obstacle that we may have in our lives. It's truly a beautiful thing. Something that I'm going to advise my family and friends to study for themselves. I've also studied the Book of Mormon in Spanish from different chapters in Alma, Helaman, 1st and 2nd Nephi. They all have great chapters that talk about the atonement, the plan of salvation, and the necessity for prayer, and how prayer can bless our lives. I'm excited for the opportunity to teach people about the atonement of our Lord and Savior, and His love for them. If they pray then they can know.

It's sad that people think that it's just not that easy and don't try with that faith and intent that it talks about in Moroni 10:4. They will receive the witness after the trial of their faith (Ether 12:6). Or they blame God sometimes because of hardships, or for taking away loved ones... it's sad to see people whose hearts have been hardened by unbelief when they can receive comfort from the very thing that they are trying to shun. Sometimes this work requires lots of patience, and I'm still working on having that love and patience with me at all times. I know that Christ loves all of us unconditionally, and He always will, no matter what.

I'm loving the chance to be out here working. It's hard to get my bearings with all of these strange and new street names, freeways systems, etc. I'm catching on, and I'm doing my best. Elder Knowles is a great companion, and I'm grateful to have him as a trainer, even though he's still learning things himself, but he's a hard worker, and he does his best to do everything he can for those we serve in the Santa Rosa Branch.


:P so yeah, this is a clip of my letter to my mission president that I will include in my emails home from now on so you have an idea about what's going on out here. To answer some of my parents questions: I'll be calling about 10:30AM-ish (that's California time) from Aunt Marsha's house; so it'll probably be 1:30 or 2:30PM that I'll get to talk to you. I've already contacted Aunt Marsha and set up the details.

I loved the yearly announcement thingy, I can't remember the name for it at the moment... so yeah. I'm glad things are going all right at home, and I'm looking forward to calling home.

I hope everyone is still doing well, and is reading their scriptures! I know that this gospel is true! I know it with all of my heart!I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that he restored Christ's gospel to the Earth again through the gift and power of God. I know that the scriptures are true! They are a blessing to our lives and it is another witness of this gospel! What Elder Holland said in his last conference talk is true: Either the Book of Mormon is true and this is the true church, or this the book is false and this work is a farce. You have been given the opportunity to know for yourselves! Read and Pray! Gain that testimony!

In Christ's name amen.

Have a good week y'all!


Elder Richard Mackelprang

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Richard sent Leah a birthday card yesterday.  In it was the memory card from his camera.  It has about 150 pictures and a movie.  The movie doesn’t have sound (because Richard’s camera is “soundless”, but it looks like their zone singing something – I’ll ask Richard what it is about).  I don’t have names of most of the people in the pictures, but I’ll describe the ones I know about.  Someday, Richard will have to explain the rest…  The ones in the list are in reverse chronological order (I believe).  They start from the day Richard departed the MTC and goes back to when he was travelling to the MTC with Grandpa and Grandma Johnson.

IMG_5116 Here’s the truck the bus ran into on the way from the MTC to the airport.  Ouch.
IMG_5115 Hey – I’m OK.  It’s the truck that got messed up.
IMG_5096 Part of Richard’s district/zone in the MTC dorm.
IMG_5086 Temple Day
IMG_5068 What?  I can’t hear you…
IMG_5059 We’re going right there…
IMG_5056 I count 11, but Sister Bunker said 14.  I don’t know where the other 3 are…
IMG_5042 Richard and the famous Seth Wilson from Tucson AZ.
IMG_5041 I’d like to share a book with you…
IMG_5027 An MTC “Happy Meal”?
IMG_5019 Temple Day (P Day)
IMG_5009 How can you not have this picture in your collection?  I believe it’s an MTC requirement to take at least one of these before entering.
IMG_4972 Robert at conference (pre-MTC).
IMG_4962 Richard with his cousin Heather’s little baby.  This is in Fredonia, AZ on the way to the MTC.
IMG_4957 At Glen Canyon Dam / Lake Powell on the way to the MTC.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Letter / Pictures From President & Sister Bunker

We received a letter yesterday from President and Sister Bunker.  It was sent on Dec. 7 (the day Richard arrived), so it took 10 days to get here from California.  Not a good track record for the USPS…

They let us know Richard arrived safely, and how happy they were to get such a large group of missionaries – 14.  There were 10 English speaking missionaries, and 4 Spanish speaking.  Sis. Bunker pointed us to their mission blog site where there were a wealth of pictures that I’m sharing here on Richard’s blog site.  The mission blog (if you’d like to see it) is:

Hopefully we’ll receive the memory card for Richard’s camera soon so I can post some of his pictures.

DSC_0251 Christmas Packages.  Sis Bunker asked all of the parents to send the Christmas packages to her.  This is a small percentage of the more than 180 packages she got.  Richard’s package is the one in the middle with masking tape along the lower right hand side.
DSC_0331 Here are the missionaries arriving from SLC (note that this is after their incident on the icy freeway in Salt Lake)
DSC_0335 The group of missionaries coming out of the airport.
DSC_0339 Posing before heading back to the mission home.
DSC_0374 At the mission home.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dec 14th 2009

Here’s Richard’s first email from Santa Rosa.  Note that when he mentions Moroni waving in his letter, that’s a joke perpetuated from when I was in the MCT long ago – the teachers there said that there was one sure way to know if your girlfriend was going to wait for you.  They said that as you flew out of the SLC airport, you could look at the statue of Moroni on the temple.  If he waved at you, she’d wait.  Otherwise, you had no promise :-)  On to Richards letter:


Oi! It's been a long and wet week. I'm happy and excited to be out here, but it has been more exhausting than I had imagined. I'm with Elder Knowles who has been out in the field for about 3 months. He's a great guy, and he actually got his call after I did and managed to report earlier than I did. That just goes to show that the Lord knows when we need to be out here to be of the most worth to Him.


It's hard to remember everything that happened that first day... we got on the plane without too much of a terrible incident, and I fell asleep while they were rinsing off the plane to get the snow and ice off (deicing). I was asleep during take-off so I'll never know if Moroni was waving at me or not... oh well.


I talked to the stewardess who turned out to be from California. She has a Mormon family, but didn't know much about missions or about the MTC, so I got to explain how it works. I'm happy that so many of you have emailed me this past week, and so I'll try to answer all of your questions in this next part:

  1. I did get the bedding from aunt Marsha many thanks! The are very nice.
  2. I did get to go shopping on transfer day, most people buy groceries on Tues during transfer week.
  3. President Bunker is an awesome man. He's a common sense, no nonsense type of guy, and he makes it known. I already have a strong respect and love for him.
  4. My first interview with him was interesting. He hammered me down a little bit by talking about the legacy of the Spanish speakers of the mission, and saying how they are the best of the best of his missionaries, and that they are shining examples to the entire mission.  He also set me straight to his interpretation of the rules regarding emailing as I see he has probably sent to Mom and Dad already. I can only send emails to my immediate family, but if I need to send something to you real fast I'll have them forward a note to y'all.
  5. I'm glad that the family is doing well and that Joshua is learning how to enjoy serving others and being outside. You can lose weight too Josh, keep working hard!
  6. I laughed when I read the story about people remembering our name, because the Spanish people have trouble and have to read it to pronounce it right. I'm thinking that I'll let them start calling me "Elder Mack."
  7. The work has been way more exhausting than what we experienced during the MTC, it's been awesome, but because of it, I have been struggling to keep my journal up to date. I'll have to do that while we're playing basketball at the stake center.
  8. I'm currently serving in the Santa Rosa Oeste (West) Stake, and anyone wanting to mail me directly can mail me at 155 Stony Point Rd Apt# 15 Santa Rosa CA 95401.
  9. I got the SD card, and I'll be sending it back in the mail by tomorrow morning, along with some letters.
  10. I'm glad that I've been able to come out during the Christmas season. It's been an easier transition, and easier to talk to people with the spirit of the holidays surrounding us.
  11. We've only had 2 dinner appointments: 1 with the Branch Pres. Hernandez, and one of the members from the PEC Bro Johnson (yeah, he's a gringo in the Spanish branch.) I enjoyed the Mexican food from Branch Pres. Hernandez, and loved the gorgonzola bacon spaghetti from Bro Johnson. Man, he knows how to cook! Yesterday I ate stir fried ramen and veggies spiced with garlic salt ^_^ I loved it.
  12. I did get everything from the mission office the first day, and I got everything back to my apartment alright as well.

The funny thing about the first day was that we spent the night at a hotel... a Holiday Inn to be exact.  I thought that was kinda whacked, but was happy to share a room with Elder Zufelt for one last night. It was funny seeing the fountain iced over and the pool steaming the next morning. We had eggs and cinnamon rolls at their continental breakfast.


We have a temple trip to the Oakland temple planned for this transfer!! YES!! And we get to go quarterly! YAY!! I'm excited! Lots of pictures to be taken there.


I inherited a coat from the previous Elder of the apartment which fits me perfectly, and I will keep it and use it after my mission as well. I like it as much as the coat I borrowed from Dad when I went to BYU, but this one has a small rain hoodie that tucks away in the collar! It has served me well during the rain and drizzle of this cloudy/ windy week.


I have 30 minutes to write to  my family and 30 minutes to write to the President, so I should be set for emailing, and I don't have to deal with that stinking timer anymore! Hallelujah! That timer distracted me from being able to concentrate on writing.


Elder Mackelprang

Monday, December 7, 2009

California Or Bust!

Richard called from the airport in Salt Lake City today.  Apparently the bus carrying missionaries totaled a jeep that spun out of control in front of it while driving to the airport.  Luckily, nobody was hurt, but the jeep was totaled.  The road conditions were pretty icy.

Richard was almost late for his plane, so we only got to talk to him for a very few minutes.  He sounded excited to be off and going, and wanted to get started.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Packing PDay – Leaving the MTC

Saturday (Dec 5th) was Richard’s final MTC Preparation Day.  Here are the emails he sent us yesterday:

Email #1:

¡Hola mi familia! ¿Comó están Ustedes? Estoy bien, y ¡Tengo ánimo por mi vuelto en Lunes!

Typing in Spanish takes too much time... so I´ll just continue on in English…

Dad, I´m really bummed out that you already finished the book after I told you that I would finish the next one before you did. T.T I didn't get a chance to compete...

I'm glad that everyone is well, and hopefully you've arranged for the family to be home on Monday for a 1/2 day of school.

Well I can't think of much else to say that I haven't said since Wednesday, except that I finally used the debit card at the Bookstore to buy another shirt to replace one of my ruined ones, some extra white socks, and some earmuffs. It was pretty pricey $30 after all was said and done... I'll have to make sure that that was worth it.

Oh! Aunt Diana will be happy to know that I finally had the opportunity to use her sewing kit. Not for any clothes, but for my wallet. I'll take a picture of it to send back so you can see my amazing sewing skills. Well hopefully I'll get a chance to answer your questions today.

I love you all! I know this church is true and that we are all called to do God's work here on this Earth! Talk with those you meet and don't be afraid to open your mouth and share what you know! Make the missionaries job easier and find people to refer them to. The work will not progress quickly enough until missionaries and members work together, and the members work on the finding, and the missionaries work on the teaching. Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, and I know that he translated the golden plates into the Book of Mormon through the power of God, and that the Book of Mormon is the true word of God, and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Your Elder, son, and brother, Elder Richard Mackelprang

Email #2:

I'm sorry that I haven't been able to talk much today. This is a weird P-day. I'm glad to hear that Leah got to sing with the Cary High Choir in Downtown Cary and at the Moravian Church, and that they did well. To answer her question, yes I did sing at the Moravian church, it was pretty cool.

There are couple of things that I could use if you could send them to me sometime soon.

  1. My line of authority 
  2. A miniature laminated copy of my patriarchal blessing.

I know that these may take awhile to send to me, but it would be nice to have. Well anyways, I don't have much time... but I only ruined one shirt, it got stained pretty bad, and wont bleach out. Yeah, so I gotta go. I hope you guys are having a good day, and a good week.

Your Elder, son, and brother,

Elder Richard Mackelprang

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

^^ Dec 2nd

T_T The MTC is changing things on me again. They have this new 5 minutes at a time rule that ruins my usual print out emails and reply later system. So I'll have to start writing my emails in two parts to make the most of the time that has been allotted to me to email.

I talked a lot about what happened on Thanksgiving Day in my letter. The cool thing was that we heard from Elder Holland in the morning and had a wonderful Devotional. It's great that I've had a chance to hear Elders Perry, Oaks, and Holland while I've been here. They are some of my favorite speakers (also including the First Presidency and Elder Scott)!

Yesterday we had the opportunity to hear from Sis. Lant who is the General Primary President! She talked about how are hearts need to be like the Army of Helaman, and be valiant and reverent in what we do. One thing that I learned was that part of reverence is that we _revere_ our Father in Heaven and respect Him, not just keep calm and composed. It gave me a new meaning for reverence. 

I've got some more awesome pictures of my District and I in front of the Giant World Map, and some with the Christmas lights outside. They are very beautiful.

I leave this Monday the 7th of December! I get to wake up at 4:00AM to be ready at the travel office at 5AM. I'll probably be calling home somewhere between 7:30-8:30AM approximately. Hopefully the family will be able to be home when I call (Remember I'm speaking from Utah time)!

So far I've only received letters from my family, Aunt Marsha, and Kayla. I hope that I'll get to hear from some more of y'all while I'm actually in Santa Rosa. :P

Packing will be a fun experience. Fortunately I haven't gathered much stuff from the time that I came here.  Well, I'll send part two in a couple of hours! Love ya!

Elder Richard Mackelprang

Part II – Questions / Answers From Dad’s EMail

What did you do on Thanksgiving Day? Who was at the devotional? How was your dinner? Hopefully you had some good pecan pie! I wish we could send you some.

Elder Holland spoke

Can you get a phone card at the MTC to use when you fly out? If not, use some cash (5-10 dollars) to buy one at the airport and use that to call us. You should have the details on your flight by now or very soon. Tell us what the are as soon as you can.

I got a telephone card

I bet you’re ready to get out and get to work. Tell us about the best/worst parts you’ve found at the MTC. How has being in the choir been? Have you had the chance to meet / shake hands with many GA’s?

My favorite parts are Gym, P-days, and Sundays these are just the things that help make the days seem short than an eternity everyday

Mom didn’t get the new memory card mailed off to you at the MTC, and I was worried about you getting it before you left, so she mailed it to the mission home address. I’m assuming you’ll have it when you arrive on Monday. Please let us know if it’s not there.


Do you have any idea when your PDay will be in CA? I’m assuming it will be Monday (since that’s the “standard”, but I was wondering if you’d heard from anybody who is currently there).

Probably Monday

Did Grandpa and Grandma buy you an overcoat/raincoat? If not, I’m betting you’ll need one. Let me know and I’ll put some money in your checking account to get one there.

No I didn't think to get an overcoat/ raincoat

How are your companions doing after 7+ weeks of MTC life? I got the feeling from some of your earlier letters that it was a little tough on them. Are they ready to get out and get to work?

They enjoyed the MTC, but they're very happy that they get to leave the MTC

Have you seen any other people in recent weeks? You mentioned Bishop Bishop’s Brother and Pres. Hyer – just wondering if there was anybody else.

I've seen Gerhardt, and a friend of mine from BYU Tyler White, but other than that no one else new

Do you have any trouble getting up on time? Or does the environment make that easy to do? How about your alarm clock – do you use it or does one of your roommates wake you up?

As I knew would happen, I've had no trouble getting up in the morning. There was 1 morning in the middle of my stay here where I was awake but didn't have the energy to get up for another 10-15 minutes (I get up at 6:20AM).

Well I've got to run, but I'll talk to you guys next week from CA! Love

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.