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

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Happy August!

MOM's Email

Yep. I'm starting to see the time sift through my fingers too... 5 weeks, and about 35 days left... :-P that's really crazy!

We'll definitely get the chance to go to the Spanish branch together, and it'll be fun to talk to Matthew and Andrew in Spanish. It'll be good to have people to practice with.

Good luck with school Joshua! Work hard! And have Fun!

Teaching. It's very important. I've learned a lot about it, but there's always something left for us to learn. I could definitely teach English. Or at least I'd like to think so... so we'll see what happens. Maybe I can teach at the MTC. Just know that you're testimony is heard, and since you were called to be the YW Pres. That it is helping some young lady there through whatever struggles she may have. I know that because I know how impacted I was by Eric Wells, and Bro. Wells as well. He had a very big impact on my life. I will very fondly remember those days. You're playing a very big, and important part in some youth's life. I testify of that. Follow the spirit, and one day, whether it be here or the next life, you'll see just how much you did for those girls. 

DAD's Email

Congratulations to Brittany on her new job! NYC, huh? That sounds like a great trip. I'm glad that you got to see Aunt Diana and Uncle Mike, and Brittany. I'm sure that you had fun looking at her trip pictures. I don't think I have as many. It's just difficult for me to find the right moment / inspiration to take some. I'll make sure to take some pictures today. 

I didn't go to cafe Rio very often when I was going to BYU. I was stuck on foot. I didn't have any people with whom to go to Cafe Rio, nor the money to spend there either. That may change since I may be more of an explorer when I get home.

Joshua's awesome. :-) I know he's way excited to see me, and to play with me, etc. I'm excited to see him too. We're going to have lots of fun. Thanks for your love and support Josh!

  1. My companion's name is Elder Polson. He's from Colorado, just south of Denver. Somewhere near Castle Rock.  He's shorter, and quite the fireball of energy. He can be socially awkward sometimes, but he has a great heart, and he loves the people. He struggles with a short attention span as well. He's a great companion and he tries to help out in every way he can, so it's good, but we're different. It's difficult to explain, but I'll leave it at that. We get along, and work well together, but we're very different. Pictures will be forth-coming soon.
  2. I will be getting to see the Taylor clan one last time, probably in 2 weeks, they really want to take my companion and me out for dinner. It will be very nice to spend some time with them before I come home.
  3. I still haven't gotten my Flight info yet, but I imagine that I will very soon. I appreciate your copy of the info. I imagine that I'll be getting the info sometime this week.

Well family mine. There's about 35 days left... So I'll see you REALLY soon! I'm working hard and I'm feeling great! So I'll see you! Be well, and stay safe!

Your missionary,

Elder Richard Mackelprang

Another Transfer, Another Week

Hey everyone! *Whew!* It's been a great week, with lots of great experiences with finding some great new people, and adjusting to a new companion, and really carrying the area.

Like I said last week, I'm still here in Vallejo, and will be until I come home, and things are moving along quickly. Faster than I probably realize, but as long as I'm focused and working hard then I wont worry about it.

It seems that everyday someone asks me how long I've been out, and my companions tell them EXACTLY how much longer I have... :-P It's kinda funny, but I'm not worried about it. I'm glad that I'm around some of my favorite friends, and companions for this last hurrah! I'll make it memorable.

This week will be interesting, especially since I will probably get the chance to sit in on one of our recent converts Patriarchal blessing! He's almost completed his year, and we're helping him prepare for serving a mission of his own, and helping his brother get baptized. It's really great!  I'm keeping busy, and positive about how everything is going. Here's my comments about your emails.

MOM's Email

Mom subbing in Primary. That just seems really natural. Then again, since I have lots of memories of her serving in Primary I guess I just generally think that way.

The Singles Ward  finally meets in the Cary building. That will be an adventure when the time comes. I'll be able to choose between the Spanish Branch, the Singles Ward, and the Cary 2nd ward. :-) The best 3 choices I could ever wish for.

I'm not the best as recounting Missionary experiences. I will probably have some good stories to tell, but I'm not good at recounting stories from memory. I'll do my best to have some good stories for y'all. ;-)

Andrew – thanks for the letter.  Keep up the good work! Good luck on your finals!

I know that many things have happened in "My House" since I've been gone.  I am expecting lots of changes. I might actually be surprised that not all that much has changed. I guess I'll see soon enough.

Finding a job will be interesting. It'll be nice to have a job where I can practice my Spanish. It's a great skill that I love that I have.

I'm glad that you all have had a great summer. Summer is wrapping up to a close. Enjoy every last minute of it.

DAD's Email

Weathers nice here in Cali. I'm glad I get to skip out on the hot times out there. It sounds pretty grim.

I'm excited for the Hanging Rock camping trip in October. Yeah that'll be nice. I look forward to being able to appreciate nature more now.

Wow... That's a lot of pork you guys pulled for Youth Conference... 200 lbs. That just sounds intense. I'm sure Youth Conference was a blast, but Jenna was too tired to relate all of her tales and experiences with that. Hopefully I'll hear about that soon.

I hope that I can go boating when I get home... everyone will probably be back into school mode though... rats. Well, I'll see how we can set up a boating trip sometime later.

The Youth Talent shows. What memories. Cary 2nd ward Priests never fail to live up to high standards. They certainly have followed the crazy humor of what I remember of my times in the Youth program. Keep the dream alive! ;-)

I'm working hard, and I will endure to the end. It looks like it'll be a challenge, but what accomplishment comes with no effort? See you all soon!

The church is true!

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.