Monday, October 19, 2015

Ammon 2.0

Another week in the books,Smiling face with open mouth

We are just implementing a lot of service in our area now, like Ammon
did in the Book of Mormon. We did our normal runs of the food bank and
rock creek food pantry but we did some moving parties as well. We
helped the 5 oaks sisters help an investigator of theirs move and he
is super cool, his name is Dave and man he's got a lot of stuff! We
unloaded his house onto 3 truck beds and an uhaul on top of that,
which we brought to storage pod #1 and unloaded. We then went to a
different location and uploaded pod #2 and put it in pod #1. Pod #2
was a lot of fun because since I was the smallest I got to climb over
all the boxes and furniture and start pulling crap out it was super
fun actually!! Another was we got a call from a restricted number but
it was from an old lady who needed some help with some furniture. She
called us Mormon boys and when we finished moving stuff she told us we
were miracles to her. I guess miracles don't have to happen to you but
you can be a miracle for someone else.

We haven't been to Melanie's, the lady from last week, yet because we
call her and she is driving so it's just a bad time to call her, but
she is still interested!

We went on a road trip to the northern part of our area which is the
edge of the mission as well. I'll show some pics of some places we
went, very green and open I'll tell ya! Haven't seen as many
confederate flags though compared to last trip haha.

Some spiritual things I have this week was this poem about the
atonement, I'll attach a picture. It really made me think that there
are no holes in christs atonement. It's real and heals. I also on
another note know that Satan is real, because there is "opposition in
all things" not only is he real but he wants you to be destroyed and
miserable like he is. I've seen Satan work overtime especially on
people I've seen, he knows the blessings of the restored gospel of
Jesus Christ and he doesn't want you to have that. He does this by
deception, lies, deceit, disobedience, pride, and guilt. DONT LET HIM
WIN. I know Jesus Christ lives, he taught tidings of great joy, he
established a church for people to be blessed. He BEAT SATAN by
loosing our sinful bonds in Gethsemane, and breaking death's chain on
the cross. We find Him fully through The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter Day Saints, where He stands at the head. I love Him to which I
can't find an end. I know these things to be true.

I love all y'all and hope you have a swell week!

Quick shoutout to My boy Zach Valliere! It's crazy that your already
leaving to Canada !  Thanks for always being a bro and making sure I
had fun in high school! Smiling face with Sunglasses just be weary of the Mtc dot, wake up early
to get a warm shower, and please don't drink the oj I got sick
actually haha. I'll make sure to email your mission email too bro!

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Miracles Never Cease

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Hello foreign Utahns,

To start on a weird note, we buried a dog... I forgot to mention that
last week, but in between Sunday sessions of conference a member
frantically called us and asked us to bury her dog. So we dug a 3 x3x
3 hole, it was interesting timing I guess... Spiritual high in the
morning and evening but lunchtime? The lord is showing me a lot of
things already, but this is a nice spice to the résumé I guess.

Our lessons this week are all rcla's which means lessons to recent
converts. We do it with the caracci family,I don't remember but I'll
tell you anyway, they are literally the best people ever!! Grandma and
Mama caracci were found tracting, they were baptized and then their
niece Miranda got baptized because she lived with them. Soon after
Chris, the dad, joined in and got baptized as well as their daughter
rayna. They've seen a lot of hard things in life, but their
testimonies are incredible. Chris got the aaronic priesthood recently
and him and Miranda are getting their endowments soon.

Because our area is dry as can be and we are running out of streets to
tract, we are doing a lot of service. On Tuesdays we volunteer at the
rock creek Christian church food pantry, they always call us the Jesus
boys and we were trained right. Haha it's funny when they get fired up
or whatever they do. We also did a Jogathon event at president
ballards kids middle school. It was super fun we marked kids with
markers when they lapped by us. Also there was a cheerleader helping
us and she asked us a lot of questions about who we are. She thought
we were with the government at first haha but we taught her a lot,
although we technically can't proselyte. We found out she lives right
by us but in the skyline area, in fact she lives in the same
apartments as they do coincidently. Also we did our normal Oregon Food
Bank shift on Friday which was nothing new. But on Saturday we did a
grand opening of the laurel parc assisted living facility. It's a
brand new 10 million dollar place, basically a really nice community
house for the elderly. It had a new hot tub, pool, sauna, weight room,
dance room, library, cafeteria, garden, game room, arts and crafts,
etc you name it!!!!!!!!!!! We were there from 7-3 and we blew up
balloons, set up stuff, did tours, and took it all down. It was some
serious fun!!!!

To close on a wonderful note, me and elder Larson had a miracle this
week! So our area is straight up dry. We haven't found anyone new
since I've been here, all of our investigators are moving or getting
adopted so we've been in a spiritual slump so to speak. However one
day elder Larson looked at me and said " you decide who we can visit,
it's all you". I had the list of less actives and was picking people
we had knocked on at least 5 times already. Not gonna lie I was really
discouraged, but I felt a special prompting about a name Ray & Sean.
We went to their place and knocked and this women answered the door
and we found out Ray and Sean had moved! Oh No!! But I felt the spirit
literally shove me to share my testimony of the BoM, so I did and she
was really open to us! She took a copy and told us to come back!! I
was so pumped! Patience is a virtue, always remember that!

Shoutout to....... My cousin Breee!! Ahhhh I miss ya lots Bree you've
always shown me how to have a good time! From seeing Spider-Man to
helping me out when I needed to uncoop from the chicken shack your
great!!!!! Love ya lots!!!!

I hope all your weeks have been swell!
 Love, Elder McDonald


My beloved family who also are friends!
This week has been a rough patch for me actually. All of our
investigators have either moved, being adopted, or dropped us except
for 1. Instead of being a downer though, I want to express my feelings
for conference, because it gave me a boost that I so spiritually
needed to get back on my feet.

First off, conference is SO much more different on the mission! We
have to watch it with members who have to stream it from online or a
special satellite tv package. Priesthood we went to the stake center
where they streamed it. Spiritually though conference is a lot more
powerful and impactful to me. I feel like back home I hardly ever got
anything out of it, but the Lord is showing me now how important
modern revelation and prophets really are. I took notes and it
definitely helped me retain knowledge and impressions I need and what
to study later when they release it online. Conference now is a lot
more special to my heart, and is now more a priority than ever! Six
months is a long time to wait!

So the 3 new ones are super cool! Rasband, Stevenson, and Renlund.
I've done some research on them and they've spoken before and they
have some good talks already!
They are so new but they have such strong testimonies of the Savior
that it doesn't matter. My favorite talks were Holland (of course)
laying down how great mothers are, he seriously makes me cry every
time because the spirit is so strong! I also enjoyed D Todd
Christoffersons talk because he lays down why organized religion is
important. I've met so many people that say "all I need is to be
spiritual, and not religion especially organized ones" so it was good
to hear an Apostle of Jesus Christ clarify these simple and necessary
doctrines. My other talk that I really liked was Devin G Durrant, who
challenges us to save money which  will help us temporally, and
spiritually to PONDERIZE!! My new favorite word! This is a super good
idea to be a good scriptorian and have a bedrock testimony of Jesus
Christ and his dealings with all peoples.

I love President Monson and I pray for him, he was struggling to get
words out and was exhausted this conference. But remember "follow the
prophet, he knows the way". I know he is a prophet of God, and pray
for him always!

My shoutout is to my dear mom! Oh how I love ya!! Hollands talk really
hit me home, it's made me realize how Christlike mothers really are!
You may have not carried me in your tummy, but you've held me up for
18 years. I cant imagine how you do the things you do, you are the
best! You helped me fill my hole in my life, and showed me who I can
be. You've shown me what man I need to be and I can't say thank you
enough. I love you SOOO MUCH MOMMA!

Love you guys and hope your week is swell!

Elder McDonald

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Never Fear the Elders are here!

Hola family and friends!!
Another week passes in dear Oregon, and a lot happened this week. To
start out with we did a lot of service , a guy in the ward over cut
down 2 cords and so we helped him stack it. It was pouring down rain
so it was the real authentic Oregon experience finally! It hasn't
rained here in forever so it was time to see some rain. We had an
assembly line going and I was next to a sister, and she accidently
threw a log at my arm so my bicep is bruised... And not because My
muscles are ripped haha. We also helped a lesbian lady move out of her
apartment, she grew up in slc so she knew who to call to get a moving
crew together... Never fear the elders are here! Although it was super
awkward because we started moving boxes and we found some questionable
items, but she was so grateful for our help and that's all that
matters to me! Service is fun!

Speaking of service I went on my first exchange with my district
leader elder Williams. He is from Texas, and he is super awesome!! He
was in the navy and he deferred for 2 years so he could serve a
mission. Dad you would like him because he knows who Alex Jones is and
he is super conservative hahaha he cracks me up; but he also has back
problems so he looks like Rambo on the outside but really he's a teddy
bear with some feelings. I told him about my back and we're best buds
now. I can't remember if I've told you guys about Desiree but I've
taught her before, she is ready to get baptized she is just trying to
get off smoking, so we gave her a seven day cleanse method that
eliminates the triggers to smoking and it's super brutal cleanse. She
called us the next day and was freaking out so we had to leave like an
emergency and give her a blessing but now she is better, she was at
church and we did a zone fast for her. She really is a strong lady I'm
glad I'm here to know her!

Unfortunately a lot of our teaching this week is sparse, people are
super flaky and cancel out on us. Oh well, a lot of our focus is on
finding new people, so we are walking on a trail by our house and
talking to potentials. So far none yet but we actually get to talk to
people instead of a slammed door so that's a positive! On another
noteWe have to get our car fixed because my Zl decided to run the car
into a post so my bumper is wrecked.... After that I was making a U
turn on a dirt road and I ripped the entire thing off! Haha it's
already going into the shop for the bumper anyway so I'm ok I had to
call the mission office and they were totally fine it was good to

On Sunday everyone was depressed... Because UTAH ABSOLUTELY DERAILED
I'm surprised they did that good, I knew they would win and EVERYONE
called me crazy but I knew it, they might as well pick up the title on
their way home too!

Spiritually I've been thinking a lot about the sabbath day, and the
brethren are really pushing this too so it really is important. The
Sabbath day is a reflection of our commitment to God, Jesus Christ,
and the restored gospel. We know from Genesis that the lord sanctified
this as our day of rest, to more fully appreciate and worship Him. We
also know that Jesus instituted the sacrament on this day so we can
renew ourselves to his name and our baptismal covenants. The sabbath
truly is a sign from God (exodus 31:13). it helps us leave the world
in which we live for 3 hours to take the sacrament, a saving ordinance
by the way, to be nourished by the good word of God, (Sunday school,
ym/yw, elders quorum), and to be uplifted by others around us like our
neighbors and Ward members. Twitter,Facebook, and nfl scores can wait.
It's a shame to see people texting during the sacrament, because it
should be a prepatory and growing experience for people to come closer
to Jesus Christ. I know before the mish I wasn't the best about this,
but I'm finally starting to understand what the Lord wants. He wants
us to go to Church. He wants us to enjoy his special day. I know it
will bless your life more than anything if you attend church, I've
seen it already to people I've taught!

My shoutout this week is hopefully going to help rebound from last
week because they're twins..... Cousin Jake!!!!! I felt bad because I
saw it was your b day last week and I forgot to shout you out sooooo
here I am!!! Happy Birthday! Your teens are over, but your party heart
never will!!! I love ya Jake so much!! Your always there, when I
doorbell ditched Mrs. Coopers house and spoke Spanish to her, Gary's
rats under the tramp, and helping me out with Jr. High romances!
You'll always make the best burrito because of cafe rio, and a fellow
wildcat to boot! You'll always have a special place in my heart Jake,
love ya lots!

Elder McDonald

Columbia, the great outdoors!

Hey friends and fam!!!!
This week has been a blur because we've done a lot and had some really edifying experiences. First off we went to Columbia clothing employee store which is crazy cool!!! You have to get passes to get in and luckily the members I live with had passes; anyway everything is half off so I bought some souvenirs :)))) We went to a tramp park on Monday don't worry my backs fine, we just did dodgeball and foam pits, and plus I'm not that crazy to do any flips that could end badly. It was super fun I got to get my zone a lot better which is good because unity is the key!!! We taught Mo on Monday night and we watched mnf while we ate it was funny because she's super passionate about it so we just had to watch haha we did a lesson during halftime though. Mo is a dry Mormon meaning she goes to church does everything right she just hasn't been baptized!! It's funny her only concern is member missionary work and how not to force people to accept our message. Haha she practically is a member, we taught her again on Saturday but at a FHE at the Cornelius's who are AWESOME!! They remind me of home they have a lot of kids and they are messy haha super cool sister Cornelius is a convert who originally Buddhist and her dad is a Buddhist priest so she helped mo with her questions too!

We went tot the Caracci's a lot this week they are literally the greatest people ever! They all were baptized 1-3 years ago and truly are converted to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Chris so the dad and he has had a rough life but the gospel has blessed him so much and he tells us that all the time, he is getting the Melchizedek priesthood soon which we are happy to hear! We go to the Caracci's 2-3 times a week and if we don't have a dinner they just say come on over!! Haha love them lots!!! 

Wednesday we had zone conference and I enjoyed it but it was a 9 hour meeting/training. I love President and Sister Ballard they are the mission parents out here, and since he's got some apostolic blood in the family so he lays down doctrine simply and powerfully. Basically makes you repent right there and start new again! Haha super cool guy glad he's the pres. Our theme was becoming master teachers, so we focused on how Jesus taught because He was the master teacher and if we teach like him the fonts will be flowing with peeps! 

I notice personally how Jesus Christ taught, normally people asked him the question and he taught using what the people knew. Like in galilee he taught using rural things like animals when in Jerusalem, he used money, trade, inheritance, which is a big-city theme. Christ used the scriptures and bore testimony, and gave service to all no matter who they were. He healed the sick, the dead he raised. He bled in gethsemane and died on Calvary for you and me. If there's anything I can testify of it is Jesus Christ. I know He Lives, and He LOVES all of us so much! We called him older brother before Earth, our Savior who breaks our bonds of sin and grief today, and our advocate to Heavenly Father in the world to come. I know this because I have personal experiences that have developed my faith, even though it's hard. My favorite scripture story in the New Testament is in Matthew ch 14 v.22-33. Read it and figure out why :)) how will you hold on to Christ?

Quick Shoutout to my cousin elder Nate Smeds!!! This is random but I've been thinking a lot about ya Nate, I admire the things you've done on your mission and your life. Your super smart and when your a doc you'll have to fix me up physically and emotionally like on Grey's Anatomy!! Haha I have a missionary in my zone that looks and acts a lot like you too haha! I love you Natey Boy!!!!

Love, Elder McDonald

Ps. Hand written letters should come soon

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Rain, Riches and Really Crazy!

Heeeeey everyone!

This week has been super crazy! First off I forgot to say in the MTC everyone including me was sick so we brought it with us out to Portland and 3/4 of my zone got sick this week! Yay for super virus's! Elder Larson got SUPER sick though so we quarantined him with all the other sick elders in 1 apartment and they played board games and threw ninja stars. The virus pretty much made them go insane hahaha. Anyway I went with the Skyline elders (Elder Sheppard ,who looks like cousin Nate, from Florida and Elder Taggart from Arizona he is super hilarious!). I have to say Skyline is the richest area in our mission and my area of Springville is 2nd richest so not bad $$$ wise. We went tracting but it's super hard because people "have everything" to make them happy BUT we tracted into an Olympic athlete named Gale Ruppsbut. He won a gold or silver medal in a race. Look him up though he was super nice when he opened the door he had no shirt on so it was awkward but elder shephard loves running and know the name so it was super cool, no pics though that was his request darn! BTW that neighborhood housing on average is about 1 million soooo wasn't kidding about rich area. And that's not all! For dinner we went to a members mansion in a gated community which has an average price of 3 million per home! It's where big shots for Intel and Nike work so they are loaded! The members are the Bachmans and they are super cool! It's sad I'm not in there area but it was fun! We had braughts, eclairs, and I did get a picture! Best view in the world!!

Just on miscellaneous notes Every night when we get home we play chess and I'm in the process of solving a Rubix cube it's hard!! We have played 76 matches of chess so far so I'd say I'll be a pro in 2 years! The pieces are lamanites and nephites so there somewhat spiritual haha! Also this week we went to Shari's it's a local pie cafe that does pie shakes they literally blend up a piece of pie and ice cream it was SOOO GOOD! Also I found out that Utah won their game GO UTES! I saw a highlight reel on Facebook so I watched it while we do Facebook. Don't worry we can Facebook we try to share our message through social media and videos it's super cool were teaching Brandon, who used to live here but he's in Cali now so we teach him via Facebook and Skype. Lastly I was being unobservant and I thought I grabbed lotion but I grabbed this thing called Nair. It burns your hair off so my left leg has no leg hair anymore and is super smooth hahahaha I'm fine though it was a good laugh!

Now the Spiritual stuff! If you made it this far congrats theres some good treasures to be read! Our area is super dry so we have been in finding mode ever since day 1 here. We did a whole day of tracting last week and we have a few miracles! We were walking in a neighborhood and we saw this mom struggling so we helped her and started talking. Her name is Lori she grew up in Utah, not a member but knows who and what we are. We testified and gave her a BoM and she told us to come back! So we may have some success! Another miracle was this old Asian man opened the door told us he was moving and so I asked him where. He was moving to Cali the next day and he kept trying to close the door but we got him talking until I testified and gave him a BoM! The man said he would read it on the drive down to Cali so what a miracle! It went from typical door slam to giving out a BoM, the lord works in mysterious ways! My last story is about Sheila. Sheila was a potential in our books so we went to chat with her. We knocked and she came out yelling "it's college game day boys what are you doing interrupting me!" Haha we found out she is a Nebraska fan and just witnessed them get beat by.....some team in Provo? Haha so we had some base to talk about, then it all went downhill when she starts ranting about science and the trinity in the Baptist church. Oh and she hates j dubs too so she went on a rant there, also she is writing sci fi books and has 300 novels about aliens soooo not exactly relatable. We tried bringing her back to not ranting but then she told us the BoM isn't true because of geography and she tried to give us a lesson, but we shut her down by testifying of its truthfulness, that it wasn't written for a geography lesson but as another testament of Jesus Christ, and evidence on how God speaks to us today. She said she trusts her PhD's rather than God, and told us to never come back. Wow she is by far the most absolutely craziest person I've met!

As I've been working this week my testimony has grown so much! I love the Savior and I know He Lives! He really is the life and the light and through Him we can become stronger in all aspects of our lives. I have a testimony because I've experienced it myself and I know the Gospel works! I testify of Joseph Smith, praise to the man who communed with Jehovah! Jesus anointed that prophet and seer! Because of him we have the authority from priesthood powers, eternal truths, and the Fulmess of the Gospel back on Earth once more! All is well if we follow God and his prophets! Stay strong I need you and the Lord needs you too!

Elder McDonaldimage5.JPGimage4.JPG

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