Monday, November 30, 2015

An Eye Single to the Glory...

Hey this week has been stellar! So happy, because we have had some success finally!!! Hopefully there is more to come! To really start out the week, we went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders! It was so amazing. I was re-energized and prepared to work even harder after the exchange ended! 

We had a district feast with 2 districts in Greenville after our district meetings, and it was amazing!! The Spanish elders district cooked and it was amazing!! Basically a pre-Thanksgiving feast! 
afterwards we (Russell and I, since we were on exchanges
Elder Russell & I on exchanges
Sister Albrecht, Mom's fb friend
After this, we met up with Sister Albrecht at Chick-fil-a, and her daughter, Maya, who is 15. It's one of mom's facebook friends through Lindsey Wynia. She apparently lived in Spokane, so I asked if she knew the Lakes-and she does! (Jameson and Hillary) It's a small world! She was saying that I remind her of Jameson- haha. Well, we talked for a bit and took a picture. She is super kind and she and mom would really click in real life. 

We had some street contacts in a neighborhood and this guy we talked to seemed really solid! We gave him a Book of Mormon as well and he said we could come back again! We also got rejected a bunch... for some reason, white people rejection is way harder than Latino rejection. They are sometimes nasty and straight to the point. The Latinos just welcome you in, feed you a snack and say they really don't have time or they are not interested. We went later that night to a bike path behind the Greenville Zoo and drew out the plan of salvation with chalk! Our goal was to get people interested in what the heck two guys were doing playing with chalk, and it worked! Satan is getting creative in the ways of deceiving men, so it's important to be creative in sharing the gospel! We talked to a good number of folks and got their addresses and phone numbers so missionaries could visit them sometime! 
This is our Plan of Salvation chalk drawing! 
To end the night we visited a family of investigators. It went so well! It was a family with 4 little African-American kids and they were super cute! (I don't want to sound, ya know, girly, but don't know how else to put it) they also have a 20 year old brother and they were all golden! They understand the gospel, and the questions the kids asked were so in depth- it surprised me! They really want to learn!!

After our studies this morning, we visited a guy named Pablo. We met him a few days ago as a referral from the sisters. We already talked with him and gave him a Book of Mormon. When he saw us pull up in our car, and when we got out, he tried starting his lawn mower (keep in mind that his lawn mower is old and he is in his 60's) but it would not start, even if he tried his hardest. When we got up to him it started, then made a loud popping sound and died! It was so funny, so his only choice was to talk to us. He said he didn't want to change religions, but we tried to tell him we are here to help strengthen his faith in Christ. He was pretty hard-headed, so we bid him farewell. Funny thing is that a few nights ago when we tried to contact him at his house, his wife said he was asleep, but I saw him hiding on the staircase listening to us! Right after we left, we saw a Latino-looking family outside another house. We went up and it was a young guy with 2 cute kids. Turns out, his parents are Mexican and speak no English, but he is more comfortable with English. He was SO FRIENDLY AND WARM TO US! I was surprised. He is also super humble! He is going through a rough time with his family right now. He has a daughter and a step son, works crazy hours and goes to school at South Carolina. He said he is looking for church because he needs it and has been attending one for a few weeks. He was never heard of Mormons, which is cool, because he has no prejudice against us!!  We got his number, and address and gave him a Book of Mormon and invited him to check out online! Can't wait to see him ultra vez! It's awesome that when I decided to stop worrying about the lack of success and work a little harder, the Lord makes stuff happen! Estoy muy agradecido por el mucho exito este semana! 

The highlight of my week was Saturday and Sunday. Thanksgiving was good too! We played in the turkey bowl! I was so happy to play football. Don't worry, it was flag. Apparently, it is allowed. It was so nice to play it. I covered Elder Fife most of the time on defense, and boy is he a speedster.  I also got to be the receiver on offense most of the time and broke my watch and jammed my big toe, which is now very swollen. So worth it though!!! After, we headed over to Bishop Powell's home for Thanksgiving. My new favorite is fried turkey!  It is so moist and tasty! I also love the brown sugar pecan sweet potatoes! We were fed well and it was my first time trying fried turkey![note from Shay- he apparently doesn't remember all the times that his uncles did fried turkey and almost lit our backyard on fire in American Fork when he was younger]. 
We have been dying to take a pic with these hats the sisters gave us
Saturday night we had a lesson over facetime! The sister training leaders had a husband and wife (both Mexican) who they were teaching with a Spanish member. They decided to stop having the member teach and gave it to us! We got to know them a little bit and we re-taught the restoration. The spirit was super strong and Elder Fife and I were on the exact same page! For example, he started talking about the Atonement and a scripture popped into my head and it was the same scripture he was planning to share! We also shared other scriptures that were totally on point with each other's commentary! Towards the end I had the feeling that he was going to ask them to be baptized and whispered "baptism?" to him and as soon as that happened, the facetime call stopped working for a while. That was testimony to me that Satan knew they were ready and tried to stop us from asking! Not a second after it started working, our phone started to ring!! Holy cow it was a weird, but eye opening experience! We invited them after this and they said they would pray about it. I was praying this week for specific experiences where I could without a doubt feel the spirit and Saturday was one of them. A miracle happened on Sunday night as well. We finally got into a house of a family of 6! They have been reading the Book of Mormon as well and they promised they'd pray to know if it is true! They were so sincere and I know the Lord has been preparing them for a while! 

I know that this work is so important to God and that our testimonies are meant to be shared with others. We need to get some courage and share the gospel, whether that means by talking about it with friends and acquaintances, or sharing by being an example of a true disciple of Christ. We do not have time to be slothful. It is essential to take initiative and start being more righteous. We are helping prepare the Lord's kingdom for when he comes again.

Well we are at church every Sunday from 7am-4pm, so 9 hours of church! No complaining anybody else! It's kind of cool though to have 2 wards. In word council I talked about trying something new. We want to get the wards into the missionary-centered spirit. We want everyone to be excited about missionary work and we need referrals! To do this, I started the 'missionary moment' thing. Every week we will be asking for missionary experiences for members to share. This will hopefully get them excited to share on Sundays what they experience in the week. I invited the elders quorum to pray for missionary opportunities during the week as well.

Elder Fife and I had an awesome weekly planning session and really sat down and discussed in depth three things for each of our investigators: Their personal/ spiritual needs, our goals to help them, and what we will do to accomplish those goals. We set a goal as well to have a baptism on Dec. 26th and two on January 16th. We decided to be better exactly obedient. Obedience does bring blessings and I have seen that this week!! 

Last thing I want to say is that the Book of Mormon is so awesome! When we liken the words included to our lives, we will profit and learn from them! Have a good week!
-Elder McLaughlin

weekly road trip to the library for emailing!
First actual rainy day

A view you don't get in California!

gas is SOOOO CHEAP here!  Thought I might share hahaha

I was on exchanges with the ZL, Elder Russell, this week in Greenville, and this was one of the many impressively huge church buildings down here. It's weird seeing so many churches in one area that aren't all just Mormon churches!

I take a lot of car pics I guess-- Meet Elder Russell

Biking Exchange with Elder Hatch this week in my district...
We don't normally bike, so I wanted to take a pic with my gear on-- yeah, it's kinda weird.

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