Monday, January 25, 2010

*Whew* This Week

     SORRY!!! Last week was a national holiday, and none of the missionaries in Santa Rosa were prepared to go to a members house until it was too late to do so. We had to go out with the Greenies that came in last week at 2:30 and we didn't hear about going to a members house until 1:00. We were dirty and sweaty and I still needed to give myself a haircut. Needless to say last week was ridiculous.

     Transfer day was just as crazy since my companion Elder Grandela finished his mission last Wednesday and is extending for 4 weeks to serve a little extra. So he went to the farewell dinner while I hung out with Elder Abbot (yes from the Abbot family in our stake) and Elder Busch from my BYU days. It was fun, but I felt out of place and was shuffled aroudn between companionships all day long. Yeah, there's too many things that I could say that happened, but not enough time to say what happened. Regarding mail, Elder Knowles graciously promised me that he'd find a way to forward any mail that goes to the Santa Rosa address. and for everyone here's my new address:

     888 Verano Ave
     Sonoma, CA 95476


     Blurb (of my letter to the mission president):
Elder Grandela and I have only really worked from Wednesday to Sunday of this week, because the festivities with the missionaries going home. I felt like  a third wheel between all of the companionships that passed me around until Elder Grandela came back that evening. It was nice to get to know the area though.

     We never got around to making goals since we started so late in the week, so we started to get to know all of the members and start visiting all of the old contacts that we have. It was sad that we found as many records scattered in random places in the apartment as in the area book itself. I would not have them if it wasn’t for Elder Grandela. This week we have found quite a few people through the members and through tracting that we are very excited to get to work with. The first is Elizabeth Ramerez who was referred to us by Sis. Perez. We taught Elizabeth in Sis. Perez’s home and it was a sweet lesson. Sis Perez bore strong testimony of the things we taught and how it blessed her life. We also found a family by tracting, Miguel and Evalia. We had an appointment pretty soon afterward so we taught a quick short and powerful lesson about the Restoration. We hope to figure out more where they’re at this coming week.

     Sorry that this letter isn’t so well organized, the connection is really slow and not working so good this week. I hope it improves this coming week. Things are going good out here, and I’m learning a lot from Elder Grandela, and I’m sad to see him go before this transfer ends, but he’s served his time, and has other missions to fulfill in his life.

     Your Missionary,

     Elder Mackelprang

     PS: I promise to get some funny stories out next week about biking and crazy people that I've run into... remind me to tell you about the guy who saw 7 different virgins in dreams and about other experiences. Like i said I'm out of time and I can't really write more because of the library limit :P

     I read the other emails and I'll write a quick couple of letters to answer your questions from your emails last week
I love you all! Keep up the faith!

Elder Richard Mackelprang

Friday, January 22, 2010

Transfer to Sonoma

     We didn’t receive any email from Elder Mackelprang this week, so we assumed it was either because of the holiday last Monday or because of a transfer.  It turns out to be the latter.  Here’s an email we received from Sis. Smith from Sonoma who fed Richard and some other missionaries last night:


Hi Parents,

     My name is Amber Smith and I'm a member of the church here in Sonoma. Your son just had dinner with us in our home tonight.  I thought I 'd email you as he didn't  know if you knew that he had been transferred here.  We're a small town tucked away in a beautiful valley with vineyards all around us.  It looks just like Tuscany.

     We enjoyed having your son over , as well as the other 3 missionaries.  It's a joy to feed them, a pleasure and an honor as we have had 3 boys go out on missions and I would wish someone would do the favor for them. He seems very pleasant and content to be on a mission.  Maybe a little homesick, especially when I told him that I was born and raised in Arizona.  He began to open up about where you both came from and wanted me to email you to see if we knew each other.  I doubt it, as I'm about 7 or 8 years older, but you may know my relatives.(younger cousins)  I was raised visiting Fredonia every summer with my Aunt Tezza and Uncle Dwayne Judd. They have a daughter, Charlyn Linton that still lives in Kanab with her husband and family.  He's a chiropractor, I believe.  Our family is huge, as my Dad came from 13.  We have close to a thousand relatives from my Grandparents, Logan and Mary(Hatch) Brimhall.  My Dad, Vaughn, was raised in Taylor and I guess one of you were raised in Woodruff.  We drive by the turn off to Woodruff every year when we drive from Winslow (where my Mom lives and I was raised) to our ranch in Pinedale, by Snowflake.(with a beautiful temple)  Small world.

     The ward here is good about feeding the missionaries regularly.  Our sons went to countries that  didn't do that much, but they survived and have been so blessed because of their service, as well as us. We had 6 kids and still have one at home. Soon to leave and go to cosmetology school in Provo this summer with a friend that is taking the missionary lessons.

     If you have any questions or anything, let me know.  I'll let your son know that I emailed you.

     Take Care,

     Amber Brimhall Smith


     Sonoma is about 25 miles away from Santa Rosa (Richard’s last area).  You can see the location on the map on the blog page.  Thank you SIs. Smith for feeding our son!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Jan 11 2010

Hello Family!

     Here's my highlights about my investigators this week.

     We’ve had good success with finding new investigators this week. The 4 people are Jose Tamayo, Luis, and Cecilia and Victor Buenrostro. Jose had a friend named Arturo who told him to come to church, and he has been coming to church for a few weeks now, but we haven’t been able to meet with him until this week. He’s a really intelligent man, and a keen student of the bible and the scriptures. I sat next to him during Sacrament meeting yesterday, and he was asking me about Alma and who he was and his story, and I gave a quick history behind Alma the elder and a little bit about alma the younger and showed him where he could read the conversion story of Alma the Younger. He read the entire chapter, and some of the chapters that were referenced during the talks during sacrament meeting 1 Nephi 11, and others. He’s someone who is prepared to be baptized really soon.

     Luis is a young man who is very inquisitive. He’s interested in learning about what everyone believes, but I’m not sure how deep his interest really is. If he follows through with the commitments I trust that the Holy Ghost will bear witness to him of the truthfulness of the Restoration. We’ll see if he follows through.

     Cecilia and Victor are a married couple (I’m sad to say that legal marriage is a rarity in many cases in the Latino culture here, so I’m excited when we meet people who are in truth married.), and they are searching for the truth for themselves (Elder Knowles and I were way excited to hear this, people who are searching are people who will usually follow through). We shared about the restoration with them, and they seemed to like and committed to reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. The only thing that might hamper them is that they drink coffee, but when they receive the testimony by the Holy Ghost that shouldn’t hamper them at all.

     Roberto and Paulina Perez are progressing, and we committed them to prepare for baptism when they receive their answer, so we’re excited and working hard with them. We taught them about the Plan of Salvation, and ended up talking about temples and how we can be in eternal families. I was hoping to invite them to come to the visitors center at the Oakland temple when we go this Wednesday, but they both have jobs during the week.

     We’re going to be teaching the Hernandez family about marriage, and it’s divine nature, because Isabel Hernandez has doubts about why you need a legal paper saying that you’re married. They are wonderful people and fact that they aren’t married is the one thing that is holding Daniel and Isabel from being baptized. We’re bringing Bro. Ruellas to the lesson to support us and testify of marriage.


Comments About Dad’s Email
     Sorry to hear about all of the house problems, but better now than later when it would be worse.

     About finals, girls, stressing about how hard they are and how unprepared you are for them is detrimental. Focus on studying, and remain calm. Stress will only wear you out faster, and will not help with your studying.

     I'm amazed that Joshua will be going to Buy Scout Camp this summer! Wow! It seems like yesterday that I was playing capture the flag with Greg, Erik, John, Ben, and the rest of the guys. You'll have lots of fun Josh! Watch out for the mosquitoes though.

     I talked to Leah about BYUI during our Christmas talk, but I kept telling her to look at BYU as well. Look at all of the options, benefits, and such of each college before you make too many plans.

     Alma is a cool book! It's one of my favorite in the Book of Mormon, and the funny thing is that in Spanish alma is the word for 'soul'. both literally and figuratively alma is the soul of the book of Mormon and has many many pieces of doctrine that we can pull from it, but I'm running out of time to talk a lot about it today... :P Read it for yourselves and think about it.

To answer your questions:

  1. (How has the weather been treating you?) The weather is cloudy/ moist / foggy/ cool, in other words nothing uncomfortable.
  2. (Do you often get invitations to members homes for dinner?) We ate at Bro Johnson's yesterday, we had smoked pork BBQ with salad and potatoes. It was good! The food calendar fluctuates between dinners every night, to none at all. It's a funny pattern.
  3. (Any news on the need for a bike?) Yes, I do need a bike, I'll be trying to get it in the next few weeks.
  4. (When does your branch have Stake Conference?) I'm not sure when it is.
  5. (Do you ever drive, or is your comp always the driver?) There are designated drivers for the entire transfer, so I haven't driven yet since I'm new.
  6. (Do you have any questions for John, Andrew, Greg, etc. that you'd like me to pass on?) - How is John in Mesa? Can I get his address? Apologize to Andrew for me about the confusion with the emails :( I wish I could email him too. and if you would remind me of the Everett's address so that I can put it in my address book.
  7. (Any specific food items you'd like in your next package (Pizza kit, cookie mix, etc.)?) - Cookie mixes sound great! I like the nuts and jerky as well. Hold back on the toyish stuff.

Your missionary,
Elder Mackelprang

     P.S. We're going to the temple this Wednesday!!! in Oakland!! Lots of pictures will be taken.

     P.P.S. Letters will be a few days late since Wednesday will be our actual P-day. Today was just for necessities. Love you all! Later!

Monday, January 4, 2010

This Week: 2010!

Hello my family!

     Thanks for all of your emails! It's great to be able to read from all of you since I still don't get much mail at my apartment yet. Speaking of which I should still be there for this next transfer so those of you wanting to send me mail go ahead and send it to my Stony Point address. Ask my parents for more details. So my blurb about this week (note that this an excerpt from my letter to President Bunker):

     This past week has been interesting and still a little slow because of all of the holidays. We’ve taught Jose Alverado, Roberto and Paulina (his wife) Peres, and Margarito and Cristina Hernandez this week. Or other appointments dropped because they found work or jobs, or something to that effect. Our fastest progressing investigators are Margarito and Cristina. We were going to extend a baptismal date to both of them at our last appointment, but Cristina wasn’t there and it didn’t feel like the time was yet right to do so. We hope to teach them when they are both there together to help them with their small concerns and help them get baptized and come unto Christ.

     Roberto and Paulina are our next best investigators that we’ve taught this week. Paulina is a new investigator, but she was really interested when we talked about the Restoration, and is one of the few people that we’ve taught that seems to understand the significance of what this Restoration means to the world. We committed them to read the Book of Mormon and they said they would pray about it. I’m excited to see how they progress.

     Jose Alverado is dropping from his higher standing as one of our better investigators because he’s having trouble keeping his appointments with us. When we see him next we will give him a kind warning if it continues that we’ll have to wait until he feels like we’re important enough to make time to meet with us, and actually keep the appointment. Jose is still almost there, he doesn’t feel worthy or ready for baptism, and we’ve been trying to bring am investigator to all of our past appointments to him, but he has let us down and has been busy doing something else.

     Personally, I’ve been doing great! I took your words to heart when you told me to step it up and be prepared to train another missionary after next transfer if it be necessary. I will not let you or the Lord down, President. I’ve been studying in the D&C during the past week, and all of the promises, and prophecies that are found there. I’m also trying to find ways to focus my personal studies to help me teach and understand the basic principles and doctrines so that I may help people understand when they ask me questions. I’ll update you on how that goal progresses in my next letter. I’m really happy to be here, and to be able to serve. I know that the Lord is blessing my family, and that He’s blessing me too, in more ways than I can see. I will keep strive to work as hard as I can and be a great instrument in the hands of the Lord.

<<End Mission President Note>>

As pertaining to your questions Dad:
- We exercise 5 days out of the week
- We have personal and companionship studies from 8AM until 11AM most days except for Sunday, Monday (P-day), and Wednesday (when we do service)
- If you want to send me audio, a CD would probably be best, since we have cars, my companion will have to listen to it with me anyways…
- Your packages have been wonderful, and I've enjoyed the pretty healthy snacks, but try to avoid sending too many toy-ish stuff President hates that.
- No I have not used the plastic cockroaches you've sent me yet. I probably wont unless someone is really bugging me. No pun intended.

I wish you well. This Church is the Restored church that Christ established during His life on this Earth, and like it was then it is led by a true prophet of God, Thomas S. Monson, and by apostles who lead us and guide us in these troublesome times. I actually realized something from the story of Christ talking to the people of Israel is so much like what we're doing today. We have more light which we want to share with everyone, but everyone else clings to what they already have saying "it is enough", just like the Jews were saying that it was all about the Law of Moses, many people here say it's all about the Bible. The Bible is true and a great book, so far as it is translated correctly! The Book of Mormon helps us understand what was lost during the great apostasy and not be lost in the confusion left over from the apostasy. That is the sweetness of this Restoration! Christ is with us, and we shall walk forward nobly and boldly declaring His words of repentance and baptism. I know that my Savior lives, and loves all. In the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Your 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.