Wednesday, September 7, 2016

My mission call changed... AND, we are all here to walk each other home.

***UPDATE from today at the end of this post

First off, Hurricane Hermine didn't hurt us! Just lots of rain!
I have been super blessed to learn Spanish and to share the gospel and my testimony of this gospel to those from Spanish speaking countries. I love the Hispanic people, although it can get frustrating with how much they work, not being able to teach many on a continual basis. But still, I feel super blessed. It is crazy to see how far I have come with my ability to speak, read and write in Spanish. I have still a lot of work to do with speaking, but understanding, reading and writing are pretty good. 
Mahonry-- branch Pres son... He is 13. Hispanic version of Monson, no joke!

Gerardo- baptized 9 months ago in Oklahoma!
Going on a mission in Jan we hope!
In my missionary call letter it states that my call can be changed according to the needs of the mission. I received a phone call from President Turner on Friday morning during personal study. He said that I would be teaching the gospel in the English language now. He also called me to be a Zone Leader this upcoming transfer!! I am super excited to be in this position of leadership to influence so many missionaries. I asked president about Spanish studies. He does not want me to lose what I have worked so hard to attain, and therefore I will be able to still have language study for an hour every day! Looks like I will be having a lot of conversations with myself in Spanish! I have been saying all my prayers in Spanish,
so I will continue to do that! What is cool is that at the end of my mission I can say I worked with all the cultures available in South Carolina! I also tried getting him to spill the beans to where I would be serving, and he said "haha nice try. you'll find out at transfers." Soooo next week I'll let y'all know!!

This week we had a cool experience. We had exchanges on Friday, and on Friday night that meant I was planning by myself since the other Elder does not know my area. Anyway, after planning I felt really good about our plans. We exchanged back and then went out to work. Before dinner we had some good success! After dinner, not so much though. We were in an area where there are trailers spread out across a huge field. 

We tried contacting 6 different households of potentials, but nobody answered. After the last house we got into the car and I immediately saw a guy wheel himself in his wheelchair behind a shed at the back of his trailer. I watched for a few seconds, and he immediately drooped his head. I felt a strong prompting to get out and walk over to talk to him. I put the car in park and we approached him. I did not know if he was a white guy, or Hispanic. Either way, I was still headed over there. I called out in English, but no response, so I called out in Spanish. He put his head up slowly, back still towards us. Our eyes met his, and he had been sobbing. I scanned his body, and his arms were damaged and his legs had some medical things on these medical white socks or something. We got to talking to him and he had been in the hospital for 6 months after some accident that paralyzed him from the chest down. I fought back crying out loud, but I did cry with him. He talked about how it is so hard to live. He said he wanted
to take his own life. He said he was kept alive thanks to a machine. He knows that for some reason God still needed him down here. My mind turned to Alma 7 and I shared verses 11-13 and then testified of the atonement. I really felt for him, and I felt the spirit super strong.

When he is lonely, thoughts of being incapable come to him, but when he is with others he feels uplifted, and that someone cares. As we talked with him, a very strong prompting to give him a priesthood blessing came to my mind. I wanted to fight it back because another thought told me that giving a blessing outside would be weird. I knew the adversary was trying to stop me from exercising my priesthood. I offered to him a blessing, and explained what it is. He accepted and we gave him a blessing. I am so grateful for the Holy Ghost, and for his guidance in this work, and in my life. That is one thing I lacked before my mission, and yes, I regret it. I know that we can be great instruments in the Lord's hands, to bless his children. We are all here to walk each other home. From this experience, I thought about it a little more after it occurred, and I am starting to understand what the Savior meant when he said, "to mourn with those that mourn, to comfort those that stand in need of comfort." On Tuesday we knocked 38 doors and only 2 listened to us. Feeling rejection like this really made this experience with this man that much sweeter. I wish I could better describe the experience, but I don't know how to.

We talked with the little 10 year old brother of an investigator we
have. I asked him what he likes. He said treasure! He went on to explain why, and he talked about the movie "National Treasure"- which by the way, I love. I told him about a treasure. It was a book made of all gold. I tried applying the Joseph Smith story to him,, and he was super interested! That is one thing I am excited for. Being able to apply things to people easier in my native language!

I have been studying humility a lot lately, and prayer as well. Every day we can humble ourselves a little more. Humility shows our dependency on God. As we humble ourselves we can sincerely repent. That is something special I think. Always strive to be more humble. You can never be too humble. I have grown to appreciate prayer on my mission as well. President Gordon B. Hinckley said, "Pray to the Lord with the expectation of answers. … The trouble with most of our prayers is that we give them as if we were picking up the telephone and ordering <pizza>--we place our order and hang up. We need to meditate, contemplate, think of what we are praying about and for and then speak to the Lord as one man speaketh to another." Praying with faith means praying with confidence, an expectation that you will receive an answer. Being that many are of different religions, we worship the same God in different ways, but one of the same things we should all be doing as Christians is praying on the daily. I know God answers prayers. I know He is eager to bless us! That is because I have seen his hand in my life so much this past year.

Love you all. Thank you for your prayers on my behalf!
Elder McLaughlin- envió desde mi iPad

UPDATE from Shayla-- Well, because I'm a ninja, I have used my skills to find out where Brayden was transferred to this morning and now serving as a Zone Leader. I teared up when I found out from my most amazing friend, Jessica.... he's going back to his home away from home! He is in Charleston as the ZL and can now experience the southern culture I was dying for him to see, instead of the trailer parks, since his mission call was changed to English speaking.  This was the desire of his heart- we are so grateful!

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