Monday, November 28, 2016

The Cat Lady & Thanksgiving

Jorge & me celebrating Thanksgiving in style
Hey y'all! This week was a long one! It is hard to remember what
really happened! Lets try to..


Tuesday morning we went and did service as a zone at the rec center in North Charleston. They wanted like 20 or so of us, and so we came with about that much. We showed up and there were already hundreds of people!!! What happened is that there were three huge columns of tables with food on them and under them in boxes. We unpacked the boxes and placed Thanksgiving food items in them. 
Part of the Charleston Zone looking so fly at Tuesday service.

There was pumpkin pie, stuffing, green beans a frozen turkey and whatever else you would traditionally eat. It literally lasted 45 minutes and we did sooo many boxes. They then had drivers take them to peoples houses who needed thanks giving and that was it! It was pretty cool! Hurray city of North Charleston!!
I went on two exchanges this week and one of them was a super fun one with Elder Fuchs!! We were biking around, and we went to visit some kids who they have been teaching. We threw the football with them for a few minutes and then shared a lesson. These kids' mom is an alcoholic, and I think they dont have a dad figure in the picture and as I talked to Elder Fuchs, he was telling me that they are trying to be role models for the kids. They love the missionaries! The kids are pretty dang solid too. We went to go contact a referral named Dominic, but he wasn't home. We knocked around his town house, but nothing. It was 6:30 and it was dark (It sucks how fast it gets dark now). A lady then came out with grocery bags as we were walking back to the bikes.
So there is a forested area that borders the parking lot of this town house complex. There is some dirt for like 10 feet then it gets to some trees. This lady puts the bags down and started dumping out cat food kibble along the dirt next to the curb. It was like 20 ft long. Then she puts out leftover meats and potatoes. Within a minute of this happening, 18 cats come from this forested area to eat the food!! EIGHTEEN!! This lady said that there are 22 plus a few possums and raccoons. Carolina has a terrible stray cat problem. there is no way it will ever get fixed... there are just too many. We talked to her about the cats and every night she feeds them. She has a kind heart for sure. We tied in somehow talking about her religious background, and then we got on the subject of the sacrament and communion. We talked about our beliefs and then the Book of Mormon and she was super excited. She wants to come to church and take "communion again."  She seemed pretty excited to learn about the Book of Mormon too! 

To end the exchange, we had a dang sick lesson at 7:30 with a less-active lady. She is 29 and was baptized at 19 yrs old, but does not remeber jack squat about what she was taught. She hardly knows anything about the church too. So basically they are teaching her as a brand new investigator. We had a member out with us, and she was such a great fellowshipper. We only got to like the first 2 points of the restoration message, but it was a powerful lesson. We each bore strong testimony of the atonement.

Something cool is that a scripture popped into my head and so I
flipped open to it (2 nephi 25:28 talking about grace... not sure which verse) and as I was opening to it, the member started bearing testimony that went in line perfectly with the scripture I was going to share! The spirit was strong that night. Members who know their stuff, and are not afraid to share testimony are so vital and great for our investigstors and less-active members! If you are reading this, and you are a member, GO OUT WITH THE MISSIONARIES! The Lord needs you, and we need you. Speaking of members, the Muckenfuss family has 29 fellowshippers. The more, the better.

Thanksgiving was great! We started off with a turkey bowl, and it went super well! The quarterback was some older guy who couldn't throw to save his life. I decided to give up on ever getting a reception (which I didn't) and go hard on defense instead. I pulled a corner blitz play a lot during the game...talk about QB scrambles. We had some African American guys show up, and they were dang good. They played some college ball, and one was a DB at Furman University! I woke up Friday, my whole body soooo sore! Good workout though. I miss football, for sure.
We ate with a family whose last name is Elder! Haha the Elders ate with the Elders. It was some dang good mess! I want to eat there again! We also had Thanksgiving at the Rivera's house. They are a Guatemalan family in the ward. Us, the spanish elders, the other North Charleston elders, the Costellos (senior couple) and Jorge showed up. I was so full that I couldn't finish apple pie!! Dangit! 'Twas a good day!

Well, I cant recall anything else too big! We have transfers this week and I get a new comp! Not sure who it is yet. Only sisters are being transferred this transfer from our zone! Kinda funny!

Till next week!

Elder McLaughlin- envió desde mi iPad

Last District pic + Sisters Heaton & Davis



Happy Thanksgiving mom & dad!

Thanksgiving with the Riveras


Monday, November 21, 2016

Free Bibles

So we had a really sick exchange full of miracles on Tuesday! We have not had many new investigators the last few weeks, but we sure did get some on Tuesday! So in our area we get tons of media
Elders in the district at The Battery
referrals every week. Mostly for requesting free bibles. We went and contacted some on Tuesday. We went around and at first had no success meaning nobody opened their doors. Then we had some miracles. The first was we went to go contact a referral named Latoya. We drove past her house, and parked then walked up the street. We were almost to the door and we saw a lady walking to us. She pulled a baby from her car and I asked if she was Latoya. It was her! We talked with her for a while and we found out that she works with one of our less-active members. She has talked with missionaries before like 8 years ago, but lost contact with the church! We shared James 1:5 with her and talked about prayer in her life. She talked about needing to learn to forgive others. She had a super bright countenance and I hope she will accept our message! She said she is very open! 


A little later we pulled up to an apartment complex. We got out and a couple came out of their apartment on the second floor and walked to a dumpster. We looked at the number on the door and it was them!! Wohooo! I forget what we shared but it went well! We went by again on Friday, but they were not home. We will try them again this week. We went to go by a potential investigator named Andrea, but as we were approaching her house, I felt to continue past it and go to an investigator named Lakoiya. She was on date before, and the other elders used to teach her before we split their area up. We pulled up, and she was on her way out of the house! That is 3 times that day with people coming out of their house or to their house at the perfect time! With that last impression I had, it was the smallest thought. Like I didn't realize it was a spiritual impression until after the fact. Also to end the night, we yet again hit up a referral in an apartment complex. She was not there. We walked down the stairs back to the car, and there was a younger lady standing out front on her phone. I got in the car and felt that I should get out and talk to her. I turned the key and I was basically fighting the prompting. I thought to myself "don't be stupid just get out and go over there." I got out, and we (Elder Butterfield and I) started to talk to her. She is 22 and she is a less-active! She wants to get back to church and needs her ward family again. She grew up in the Georgetown branch and funny thing is that Elder Butterfield used to serve there, so they were able to talk about some members! It was sweet!!

Other than that, we had interviews with president. The topic was on personal study. It was pretty good! The zone has 7 baptisms 26 of November so I hope all go through!!! The zone is at 3 right now for the month of November.

We had stake Coordination last night and man, this stake really has missionary work rolling forward. I love meeting with President Johnson. He is a close tie with President Ham!!

Ps. We ate at a famous sea food place called Hymans and I sat the same spot as Neil Armstrong once did!

We have an apostle coming in January along with a member of the
seventy and one of the presiding bishops. On a separate occasion in January, we have Whitney L. Clayton coming to the mission for a tour!! WOOOHOOO!

Loves,

Elder McLaughlin

booth at the flea market

Me & Elder Edgington






Sick sunset at the battery downtown Charleston


Monday, November 14, 2016

'Pokemon Go to Church'

This was a good week! 

Every church here has a sign you put letters in or whatever to display a message-- <marquis> I have been writing some of them down. There are some good quotes, and some funny ones too. I'll add in new ones every week.

"give satan an inch and he will be your ruler" -Baptist 

"pokemon go to church"- Baptist 

"The bible is a book that reads you as you read it"- Baptist

"God gave his son. What will you give?" -Pentacostal

"Lifes trials are God's school of faith" -Methodist 

"If you are looking for the perfect church, this is definitley not it" -Community church

"Be still and trust me" -Baptist

Yesterday during ward council, we prayerfully chose names of less-actives to visit and selected fellow shippers for them. The fellowships this week will go and contact these less-actives and see if they could bring the missionaries in to start teaching them! It was so cool to see the ward council put names out, and discuss all of them! Going after the ONE! That is what we all need to be focusing on in our wards and branches. So I am going to be out of order for this email... 

Friday we had a member out with us to go visit an older lady (in her 80's) who is returning to church. Her name is Sister Chaney. We had a really good lesson with her. We read from Mosiah 27 and it really applied to her life. It was cool because when we shared our testimonies, she understood what the chapter meant for her...I forget exactly what she said clicked, but it did! After the lesson (which by the way was in the Ghetto) we find out that the member's car had a flat tire...like he was riding rim. We pulled into a street light and replaced the tire real quick. We had church fold up chairs in the trunk that we used for our lesson, and so when we went to go take out the donut, we placed them along the fence next to us. We totally forgot about the chairs until we pulled up to our apartment. We uses these 3 chairs as our dinner table chairs, and we needed them back. It is a 10 or 15 minute drive, and at this point it was like 9:15--- safe to say we got home late whoops! Saturday morning, said member took his car in to get a new tire, and the guy gave one to him for free! Blessings of going out with the Elders for sure! 

Quick side note: I may have said this before, but my grammar is getting worst the longer I am in the south...no joke! Hanging around the projects and teaching people down there is having its effects haha!

Speaking of grammar, someone gave me a PDF of the Gullah Bible. Gullah are Native Africans, well I don't know too much about who they are. All I know is that there is a Gullah museum in Georgetown, and that they are the only ones permitted to pick sweet-grass and make/sell sweet-grass baskets. They are sold in Charleston at the market, and along the streets of Mt. Pleasant.
I had an exchange in Georgetown this week.
We saw some huge cotton fields! It would be fun to do some cotton picking one day- maybe. One thing those elders do is drive to an appointment 30 minutes early and park far enough away where they can walk and street contact people as they head towards the appointment. We did that together and it was pretty cool! That is something I have not thought of before.

This last week in my personal study, I have been studying the sanctifying power of the holy ghost. I have learned a ton so far, and its pretty exciting. It ties in with everything too- sacrament, atonement, baptism etc... two things that I have learned is that first, we baptize for the remission of sins, and baptism is the starting point, meaning that receiving a remission of our sins is not our final goal here either. Our goal is to have a pure heart-basically changing our carnal nature to have no more desire to sin, which comes through the sanctifying and
strengthening power of the atonement. Having the companionship of the Holy ghost is so vital, because it allows us to have constant access to the grace of God. I'm really excited to learn much more about all of this...this week we have interviews with President Turner and the topic is what we are studying during personal study. I am excited to share!

We set up some sick appointment this week and we hope to be seeing members some more! We have exchanges this week in Mount Pleasant, and Charleston (I'm in north Charleston) and we are doing two baptismal interviews on Wednesday, one here and one in Georgetown. Georgetown is in the stake and it is sooo far away!! 2 hour drive basically!! #roadtrips

The Muckenfuss daughters are about the same age as my sisters, and they have such strong testimonies. They pray with so much power and it is so amazing to witness the powerful spirit they each have. Made me miss my family a lot last night.

The ward had its primary program and we had a full house! The last song they sung was scripture power and every time they sang the words "scripture power" they all raised up their scriptures! It was fantastic!

much love,
elder brayden

Monday, November 7, 2016

Baptism

The week started off and ended great!! Monday we went up at like 3:00 to West Columbia to hang out with the other zone leaders. We were not able to proselyte due to
Halloween, so we just ended up playing basketball. My skill has been honed to the point where I could totally beat Mons one on one EVERY time haha! We have a lot of good ball players in the mission. We have a 6'8" elder who won a state title with Bountiful HS....heck ya! MLC was really awesome again too! The assistants and president gave some really good training. 
Six Zone Leader companionships, Sister Training Leaders, Assistants to the President, President & Sister Turner

We talked about charity and love- well it seemed like we talked about that at least. I learned more about that topic this week for sure, but I need to still do better at applying it. President trained on 1 Corinthians 8:4-13. As we went through it, I was a little bit confused, because he was training on music. But finally it all clicked. if you read these verses it talks about a higher law. When we do something that is not contrary to any commandment, or is
 not wrong, but may offend someone else, we sin against Christ. He mentioned the music we listen to. If we are listening to music that is not against mission standards, but someone else feels uncomfortable or offended by it, don't listen to it. Same principle applies to everything else. If we do something that offends somebody- even if we understand that it isn't bad, then don't do it. Not sure if any of that made sense or if you think I'm crazy, but read the scripture and figure out what it means for yourself :)

Sheena got baptized on Saturday! It was an awesome service too! She wanted me to baptize her, and I was super grateful for that! She was a bundle of emotions.
She felt the spirit, she was anxious, she was nervous, but she did it! This is what a missionary works towards. We brought one more soul to Christ's fold! Only a lot left to go! The success of a missionary is primarily measured by their commitment to find, teach and baptize. However, we are successful missionaries when we feel the spirit testify through us, when we love the people
and desire their salvation, when we obey with exactness, develop Christ-like attributes, warn people of the consequences of sin, work effectively every day, help build up the church unit we are assigned to, live in a way to be in a position to be influenced by the spirit, and when we go about serving people at every opportunity- whether or not they receive our message. I feel that I have been a successful missionary thus far, and still have much more work to do, but I am becoming better every week.

Something I thought about during Sheena's baptism was this: How can you know how to live the way God wants you to if you don't study the scriptures? You can't.

A new policy rolled out at MLC was that going forward, we cannot teach the next lesson (we have the restoration, plan of salvation, Gospel of Jesus Christ, Commandments, laws and ordinances) If the investigator has not done their reading commitment. Instead we must read from the Book of Mormon with them. We should be reading the Book of Mormon in every lesson as well. This will put a bigger emphasis on the Book of Mormon as a tool for conversion, I think. If people will really get into the Book of Mormon, one... it will lead to conversion and two... they will feel greater peace in their life. Last night Jaime told us that she has been reading every day without fail. She said she feels super bad and has a terrible day when she does not read now. I think that is super awesome. She is still going strong for Dec. 17!

So glad that I am on a mission. I keep learning so much every week- forgot my journal that mentions more stuff I learned this week though...

love y'all

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Timberrrr!









video

So I need to go and buy some long pants. During service Saturday and Sunday I was bit so many times by mosquitos! Last night's final total was... drum roll please!

79 bites on all of my body! SEVENTY-NINE!  #itchy. Note to self...wear thick pants in the South. They get you through thin pants and socks too. They love my ankles.

Okay so we put Kevin on date again for December 3! He is super solid! He feels good every time he meets with us. He said that we give him strength that he did not have before we started to meet with him! This last lesson, we read 1 Nephi chapter 1 with him and he understood it super well! He got really excited too! Now he has not come to church because people keep quitting at the place he works at, so he is constantly covering peoples shifts! He will get to church soon though! So you know those cuckoo clocks that play music or make bird noises at the top of the hour? Yeah so immediately after he said yes to baptism, their clock went off playing the tune "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring," which happens to be my favorite song to play on the violin... pretty legit haha! 

SHEENA!! Last night we met with her to prep her for her baptismal interview on Wednesday! She is all ready for baptism this Saturday at 6pm! I am so excited and happy! She is so ready for this in her life and really understands the Gospel. We asked her a question on repentance, and she bore her testimony to us of repentance. It was so powerful! Please pray that all will go as planned for her!

A few months back, Elder Douglas and I taught a less-active member named Maribel one night, and then asked some questions to obtain a referral. We sent that referral out- which by the way was for someone in Mexico. I got word that this referral we sent out got baptized this last week!! Hurray for helping Mexico baptize!

This week we hit up a restaurant in Summerville called Perfectly Franks! It has been featured on the Food Network- the guy with the spikey white hair came or something. It is super original with some wacky hot dogs. There was a peanut butter french toast syrup breakfast hot dog, and all the names had "frank" in
 (mom note: I looked it up online- place looks legit! Featured on Diners, Drive-In's & Dives)
it. 
Aretha FRANKlin, FRANK Sinatra, and many others... I had the Anne Frank which is a turkey dog with swiss cheese topped with coleslaw and spicy mustard. It was DANNNG good!! I did not take a picture though- woops!

I went on exchanges with an Elder in Summerville, and we biked a ton!! 28.2 miles! My legs were dying guys!! These missionary bike elders have some dang strong legs. No twigs allowed!

We did more service this weekend! It was super duper fun! We aren't permitted to use power tools, but we took a picture with chain saws. We did not use the chain saws just to let y'all know that....we would be in some trouble if we did. We took down, or watched a member take down some huge trees...video above. It slightly damaged the house as it came down. Once again people were so grateful for our help. While doing service I met an older lady named Ursula. She had a thick accent and she said she was from Germany! Sent her info over to the Charleston elders, so hopefully she gets taught soon! We helped clean up her yard and she was so happy!

So today we are on lock-down because of Halloween, so it's basically an all-day P-day. Elder Dillree and I are headed up to Columbia to chill with the Assistants and the other Zone leaders. Tomorrow is MLC again so might as well head up a day early.

We have some really cool elders serving around us! Elder Fuchs and Elder Edgington are two of them- Elder Fuchs is a really good missionary and he is currently training out of training! Elder Edgington is hilarious, and is such a greenie hahaha! They took over the old spnaish area and are doing English work there now. They started with 0 investigators and are working super hard! Elder Fuchs is from St. George (as it is with so many of the missionaries here) and Elder Edgington is from Kaysville, UT.

Can't think of anything else! Till next week! I am doing super awesome and couldn't be any happier with this upcoming week!