Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer Heat…


I'm sorry about the bad haircut. I'm not so proud to say that I did myself, but it was my first attempt with just hand scissors. Another lesson learned.

But the good news is that we'll be having another 2 Zone conferences this transfer! That will be awesome, and it'll mean more pictures for you until I get the SD card converter, or I fill up the SD card.

Things are changing out here in the mission, and now is the best time to serve! It'll be interesting since Devin and Rachel, Katherine, Ben and all of the others that leave to serve missions soon will be learning a completely different curriculum than when I was at the MTC just 8 months ago. It's truly amazing to see how the small changes have affected our mission, and now we're moving to the changes on how we teach. Which are even more focused on on the spot inspiration.

I had an experience with this method of teaching this week, and it was the most spiritually powerful lesson that I've ever been apart of. It should have ended with me inviting the investigator to baptism... but I'm still working on inviting everyone to be baptized in every lesson. This is how missionary work is meant to be! This is what makes missionary work worthwhile and even fun! Yeah, it's still work and it can be hard, and you don't always have success. But it takes what we have, and it moves it all to the next level!

I'm quickly coming up to my 1 year mark... it scares me how fast time has flown already. It seems like yesterday I was in the MTC, and the day before that that I was in Arizona visiting with family... I'm definitely going to make the best use of the time I have left to share what I can with everyone!

Another Big thing that happened this week: We have an investigator with a baptismal date! Lucio Mendez! We've only met with him twice, but he's felt the spirit, and he's committed to finding out the truth for himself, and to prepare to be baptized by Aug 21. We're really excited, and I know it wouldn't have happened if we haven't started to ramp up how we do things out here. He will find happiness, and we will have joy with him as does. I love being out on a mission!!! It's an amazing experience!

I love you all and I hope that everything goes well for you, and that God may be with you.

I know that this church is Christ's restored church on the Earth. I know that He has called a modern-day prophet to lead and guide us. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and can bring us closer to God if we will just read it's pages.

Your missionary,

Elder Mackelprang

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Seven Eleven...

FarfieldZoneConferenceJuly17DSC_0222 Santa Rosa Mission - Fairfield Zone Conference.  Richard is on the back row, right in the middle.  The picture was taken by Sister Bunker (Richard’s Mission Mom)

This week things have been pretty good! It's been a little trying lately, not from anything in particular, but I'm moving forward, and finding joy in giving myself whole-heartedly in this His work. You can't be unhappy if you're making so many people around you happy, and helping them laugh. Seeing people's eyes light up, and seeing them change for the better makes my day each day. Sometimes those days are long when nothing seems to be happening right, but just keep that smile on, and everything will work out. 

The new blog format looks good, thanks for the picture. It seems really weird to me that a whole lot of the young women in the C2 youth program back home are finally going on missions. What's funny is that they'll get home not too much longer after I do. That's awesome! I'm sure that Mom had a blast out there in AZ! I really hope that I can do some like that when I go back to BYU next year. That would be a blast! But then again I could probably wait until that summer since it'll be another reunion for everyone then. We'll see when we get there.

Here are some thoughts that I had when reading a spiritual thought from Pres. Bunker:

  • We are free agents unto ourselves have the ability to act for ourselves, and not be acted upon, which is what the scriptures say. We have a God-given power to choose to change for the better, and it's only the devil and his angels that tell us that we cannot change. I know since I've had to face the things/ characteristics/ etc. about myself that I don't like to see and to change them. By our own power we are weak, but with the Lord all is possible and achievable. It gives me comfort to know that my Savior loves me enough to help me push along, even when I feel ready to drop.
  • I'm happy to serve with Elder Bittner again, and I look forward to many great and wonderful opportunities that await us this transfer. The numbers are still looking a little low for this week, but we're improving little by little on everything as a whole. We just have to keep moving forward. I appreciate your love, support, and your prayers, and I'm ecstatic about zone conference this Thursday! I always feel refreshed and renewed with vigor to improve more and the raise our effectiveness together as a mission. 

Here's what has been going on this week:

  • New Investigator - Raphael    A young man who joined in one of our discussions awhile back, but was only 1/2 paying attention and listening. We invited him to join us this time and we taught him the restoration. We're still working on getting him to read the Book of Mormon since he doesn't like reading much at all, but we're excited to teach him. 
  • New Investigator - Lucio Mendez   We taught him with a member yesterday, and he liked it a lot. He was going to come to church, but the world cup went into overtime, and so he didn't make it. He was sincerely interested in what we had to say, and I feel that he'll follow through with the commitments as we work with him. We excited and hoping for the best.
  • Rita and Jesus Alvarez - They're progressing and are moving forward though a little bit at a time. They're reading a little bit each day which makes Elder Bittner and I excited for them, since the majority of our investigators end up saying they didn't have enough time to read, or something along those lines. We will be extending them a baptismal invitation this week if all goes well, and I hope and pray that it does.

Questions You Asked me: 

  • "You mentioned your "camera died" in your last email -- did you mean the batteries ran out, or that the camera is now broken?  I'm hoping the former :-)"  Yeah, the batteries died. It's in perfect working condition, and I still have some extra batteries so I should be fine.
  • "How are your clothes working out?  How about shoes / socks / pants / shirts?  Some time ago you mentioned you needed more shoes -- how is that going?"  My clothes are doing very well. The shirts are holding up, which makes me happy. I like how durable the shirts are turning out to be. The suits and pants are doing great! I'm set with everything. I still need to check in with the missionary mall to see if I can make due on the warrantee, but I just need to write them about it, and I'll see what happens. Shoes are lasting ok.
  • "When is your next Zone conference?  Was the temple trip in place of that?  I'm asking because whenever you have them, I can count on Sis. Bunker to get some nice pictures of everybody in the zone."  Temple trips are organized by district, and aren't generally associated with zone conference. We all just happened to plan it for that one day, which was cool. Zone conference is this coming Thursday, and I'm really excited for that. :)
  • "How's the bike holding out?"  The bike is really good. Especially now that it's not so pressured under daily use. It still rides very well, and I like it.
  • "What are you studying for companionship study these days?"  Companionship study focused a lot of planning for your investigators, the doctrine, the skills, and role-playing situations to practice how to extend commitments. It really helps with your self confidence, and preparing you to be more bold and understand what you're investigators are thinking, because you're trying to act it out like you are talking and asking them at that moment. It's really cool.
  • "Have you asked any of the members to teach you to cook stuff?  One thing that was fun for me and my companion was to ask one of the sisters in the ward to teach us to cook something -- I remember some Sweet and Sour Pork that we did shortly after I arrived in Taiwan (about 1 week).  I didn't speak much and understood even less, so I remember the event, but not the recipe.  You should ask some of the Spanish members to teach you guys some stuff.  It could be a fun experience (if the President thought it would be ok)."  Definitely I will ask for some of the recipes and how-tos of some of the meals. Some of them are really simple, and REALLY good. I've come up with some recipes of my own from cooking, but that's been on hold lately since we almost always end up eating out once a day. _sigh_ that's what happens when you cover an entire zone with a car, and limited miles. You find where you can eat on the way.
  • "What's the walk - bike - drive ratio for you these days?  Last time I remember you saying, it sounded like you were driving a lot."  Yeah, we mostly drive, like I said, we cover the entire zone. So, unless we plan to focus in one area a lot we end up driving a lot.
  • "Have you been writing in your journal?  Be sure you do.  You'll treasure the thoughts and experiences you have on your mission all your life, but only if you remember what they were..."  Yeah, I'm writing in my journal. I'm still trying to write in it more regularly, but I'm working on it.

Actually, I don't remember that story you mentioned about scaring Uncle Van while we were driving on Roller Coaster Road in Tucson, but I think I can remember something like that with Uncle Dale... maybe it was uncle Van. I don't think that I was trying to scare him like that though, I was thinking he was uncomfortable and I was helping him by leaning the seat back a little bit.  I thought he knew I was there and was going to do it :-)  It's funny how some of those crazy things happen. I didn't realize that I was famous for that.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Happy Independence Day

<<We mentioned to Richard that Joshua and I would be at Camp Durant this week, and also mentioned about the face recognition ability built into Picasa.  Sister Bunker had a picture of Richard on her blog also (from the Oakland temple).  I’m including it here.  Richard is on the back row.>>

OaklandTempleJuly2010_DSC_0061 Oakland temple July 1, 2010.  This is Richard’s Zone.  He’s on the back row, third from the right.

Camp Durant should be awesome, it'd be cool to see it again, and see how it's changed. Maybe I'll come back and accompany the scouts on their trip. That'd be fun. Josh had better write me! :P I'm sure he'll love it out there. (I think that the wireless internet out there is cheating and defeating the purpose of camping, but... I guess I shouldn't be complaining since I'd have fun with that too.)

Mom will love her time in Arizona, and I'm sure that aunt Janelle and uncle Mike will enjoy letting her take care of Chas, Taylum, and Camden. I wonder if Taylum will be as shy towards her as was towards me? She's a darling though. no, Camden wasn't born when I visited everyone. He was born just a few weeks after I came out. It'll be funny to see him running around when we go visit everyone again. 

Yeah,  Dad I know It's awesome and amazing all of the fun software/ hardware that are coming out. It's fun to take a peek when we have a group of us explore Radio Shack at the mall during shopping. It just makes you think of just how fast things change.

We did get to see the fireworks, and it was a decent show, but we made sure to be in the apartment by 9:30 and to follow the other mission rules regarding the evening schedule. There wasn't much else, but we had a good time.

Transfers were yesterday, but nothing's changing for me. I'm here with Elder Bittner, but I'm sad to sad goodbye to my good friend Elder Williams... We'll be going home the same time which is really cool. He's like Uncle Jeff was for Dad I think. I'm sure that Elder Williams and I will keep up with each other after the mission. (he lives in Utah ;-) )

This week has been a good week! It has been full of work, and I was actually surprised at the end that we only managed to have a total of 9 lessons this entire week... but I guess that all of the visits we've made to see people and set up appointments , or the really short visits we have don't quite cut it for a lesson. We're still improving, and working on talking to everyone, using questions of the soul, and making our missionary skills well-rounded. Overall I really love this area, and I'm gaining a stronger love for this people, and the members of the ward as I get to know them more and more. I'm excited for zone conference, and I'm looking forward to the inspiration we'll receive from that, and the direction we need to take with furthering our personal sanctification of the Santa Rosa Mission, to take ourselves to the next level. I can feel the difference already, and I could feel how right these changes were when I first heard about them from Elder Wisniewski back in Sonoma. I look forward to seeing the heights we'll reach together as we all make that effort to move forward and upward, and bring salvation to our brothers and sisters here in California.


  • Amada Carrillo - she was faltering a couple of weeks ago after a run-in with J-dubs, but she's back on track. We were teaching her about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and how it all works with repentance which she had some questions about that and how it works with baptism, since she has a member friend that has had some trouble after being baptized. We talked to her about that and showed her that God is just and merciful and that we can always repent, and how baptism is key to repenting. We invited her to be baptized, but she wasn't quite ready. We invited her to pray to know the truth again, to ask if this was Christ's church restored. We're excited for her, and we'll see how she progresses from here on out! We'll keep inviting her to set a date, and hopefully she'll find out for herself soon!
  • Eric Jacobo - we haven't been able to have a set lesson with him this week, but we found the perfect member friend for him. Bro. Vargas knows him from several years back and they we're really great friends, and with his help I think Eric will be moving forward faster. We have a solid commitment from him to come to church next week, since he wasn't able to yesterday, and we'll be inviting him to be baptized to keep him focused on why we're here to share the word of God with him. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg. We've found some great contacts in the past couple of days, and we're excited to work and teach more of our brethren here in Fairfield. I hope things are going as well for the other areas in the mission.

I know that this church is true! I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God! I know it with all of my heart, and no matter how many people try to tell me that I'm part of a cult, I know that I have that spiritual witness from God, that these things are true. I know what I have felt. I know what I know. Christ lives, and He is our Savior.

I love y'all!

Have a wonderful week!

Your friend, and brother

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.