Friday, March 31, 2017

God wants full custody, not weekend visitation

Some more southern church marquis quotes:

Thou shalt not kill. Stop it.
His light shines to us in the world
Have you asked Jesus Christ how to have eternal life?
Jesus is someone to run to, not from
Remember to thank Jesus everyday in 2017
The son warms your winter days
God wants full custody, not weekend visitation

We met some great people, some crazy people and everywhe
re in between this week… One thing about the mission is that you gain people skills. I have learned how to treat people correctly, how to love someone- truly love someone, and how to get along well and become great friends with someone who lives with you and is by your side 24-7. I have learned how to teach kids, older peeps (shout out to the seniors) and how to teach people from all walks of life. 

I was reading a newsletter from another missionary, and something he said really hit me. He said, "When our intent is to increase people's faith in the Savior, rather than convincing them this is the only true church, we've had more success." I agree 100%. We are servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, called to represent him for these 2 short years. We are standing in his place, doing what he would do if he were here. Ultimatley, our purpose is to first learn, understand and apply the atonement of Christ to our own lives, then it is to help everyone else- members, nonmembers, other missionaries, to live by the principles of the gospel, so that by living them, they may come to an understanding of and be able to access the atonement in their lives. 

We met a lady last night who had been taught by missionaries 6 years ago. She warmly let us in, and we talked for a few minutes. she shared how her marriage was at rock bottom, and that her and her husband were going to split any day. Those sister missionaries she said brought the love of God with them. As they visited with her, they helped increase her faith in Christ. They brought the spirit of God into her home. They were a blessing in her life, and brought her closer to the Savior. We are called to preach the gospel, and to baptize. but ya know, I have not baptized many on my mission here in Carolina. Looking back though, I know that Heavenly Father used me as an instrument to bless the lives of other people. By helping other come closer to Christ, we come closer to him ourselves. Yes the way to come to him is through baptism, and we are working very hard to get people there, but if they do not get there, no effort is wasted, since they are one step closer for future missionaries who will be a blessing in the lives of these wonderful people in South Carolina.

Last night we talked with a guy named Jimmy in his home for about an hour. We taught the restoration of the gospel. We taught about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. We bore powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon. He had read a little bit from Mosiah chapters 2-4 and he loved it. He talked a ton, but it was great to see how much the gospel of Jesus Christ has blessed his life. He has served so many people and he truly has a light about him. He does not want to come to church with us, but wants to meet again. He said he really likes the Book of Mormon and will bring it to his church to share with others! It is a true book! It outlines the gospel of Christ and the plan of salvation. It is our job in this life to search out pure doctrine, then to act on what we come to know is true. The bible and Book of Mormon contain the fullness of the pure doctrine of Christ. We need both!

Mormon 7:8
" Therefore repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus, and lay hold upon the gospel of Christ, which shall be set before you, not only in this record but also in the record which shall come unto the Gentiles from the Jews, which record shall come from the Gentiles unto you."

We taught Jasmine the gospel of Jesus Christ this week and she is all in! She is set for April 22 to be baptized. She still has not come to church yet, so we will teach the importance of church attendance to her. She understands everything we teach her!! It is awesome!
We met a black man in the street (like usual) who stopped and just talked to us about how we should talk with people. He talked about how we need to be from the heart. Everything we say must come from the heart, then they will believe you…he said lots of things, but I thought about that a lot. Maybe I have been lacking in sincerity lately, because what he was saying just came out of the blue! I've worked on being more sincere to others this week.

Elder Fife and his fam came to town! Love them tons! So glad that I got to meet them!

Elder Mac

Monday, March 20, 2017

So, first off-- Downtown has been packed this week! Duke and North Carolina in town and many games went on! It was cool seeing all the fans! At church yesterday we had in attendance the family of two players! Frank Jackson, who plays for Duke, had family at church yesterday, as well as Stilton White for the Tar Heels! That was cool! The Gamecocks upset Duke! As of now, Coastal Carolina, and Clemson are reigning champs in baseball and football…it would be sick to have a Carolina team win basketball too!

Another fun fact- all of this clown stuff with clowns chasing people across the country started in Greenville. lol.

We walked into a burger place this week, and on CNN there was a street video cam of 2 mormon missionaries getting robbed…the missionaries took down the punks and scared them off! I felt some pride to be a missionary! heck yeah!

We have been counseled as a mission to be getting 10 hours of service a week. We have struggled to hit that, but this week we put more effort into finding opportunities to serve, and stuff just fell into our laps! Because of our efforts, we were blessed with putting 2 solid people on date! We put them on date each after a half day of service! Kinda cool! One on date is Jasmine, who is the sister of Frank. Frank, (14), Gigi (8) and Jasmine (26) are all not members of the church but their mom is. We have been working with that family for a long time! We taught the Plan of Salvation and Jasmine bore a powerful testimony on prayer after we asked Frank if he knew that his Savior loved him. She wants to be all in or not in at all…and she wants us to help her commit! That is what we are here to do!
Another we put on date is Alex. Alex is 21, and has a brother, a step dad (who just went to jail) and a mom. His mom is from Mexico and still does not know English (been here for 28 yrs). We taught the message of the restoration. He mentioned how his whole life he never has gone to church much. He felt that it was important to just have a solid relationship with Christ within himself- no need of reorganized religion-- but here is the thing- he shared next with us that he has been feeling very strongly that the before mentioned thing is not enough. He told us "I need to go to the House of the Lord, to worship him more fully". He shared 2 experiences where God answered his prayers, and where God also directed his path as he read from the Bible. I want to add to that- I know that the scriptures are a special tool that God has given to us to grant us peace, comfort and direction, because that is what I have received. He will always guide us.

We had a great meeting with the stake presidency this week and talked a lot about member relations between missionaries and members. We talked about service and shared with them what we have been personally doing in this area. I love these stake leaders.

Church was great yesterday. Actually, the last two weeks. I know that Heavenly Father is mindful about what is going on in our lives, and will aid us accordingly. We learned about patience, submitting ourselves to God's will and revelation through prayer. One thing that was mentioned stood out to me in this regard… in a war, the first thing an enemy will do is jam all communication of the opponent. Without that communication, the opponent cannot really do much.
Ephesians 2:2 "prince and power of the air" is the devil himself. He is doing all he can to jam our communication with heaven…to try and keep the heavens closed off to us. One thing that has hit me the last few months is that I need to be constantly evaluating my life to make sure that what I am doing is not blocking revelation to come to me. Salvation cannot come without revelation. We need it.

I have grown to love this story in the book of Matthew:
Matthew 16:13-18
That rock the church would be built upon is not Peter, but is revelation. Our foundation must be on revelation- we must do what is necessary to humble ourselves and put in effort to open the windows of heaven, for our own sakes. Jesus is the Christ, I have felt his love. The Book of Mormon is a witness that he is our Savior. Nothing will waiver me from that, because it is my rock.

There was a face to face event for youth by Elder Holland and Eyring. It was something I needed and it talked so much about prayer, revelation and the restoration. I invite all of you to check it out! you won't regret it!

Bring It On!

confederate flag above upside down American...welcome to the south

confederate flag above upside down American...welcome to the south

  1. Can you find the attack owl and the warning?

somewhere in Fountain Inn

Falls Park in Downtown Elder Boone & Elder Holmstead are in white 

Falls Park Downtown

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

It's all about service & bringing people closer to Christ

Monday night we had a lesson with Martha and her friend Myra! It was Martha's birthday as well, so we had some cake! She is getting closer to baptism and she is reading more from the Book of Mormon. One thing we have focused on lately is strengthening our relationship with the members in our area. Every week we go visit two or three families and give them a Book of Mormon. We ask them to write their testimonies in the Book of Mormon in a weeks' time. If they feel so inclined, they can give that book out with their testimony, or we take it back, and then we pass it out. When we go back to collect it, we share a message and get to know them a little bit. It has been working gout pretty well! 

We visited this lady and sat with her on the porch. She said she hasn't had missionaries stop by in a long time! We read 3 Nephi 19 together and the spirit was strong. She said she had been lacking in her studies and felt like this was God telling her to start up again. As we read it was interesting because Christ was praying for those whom the father had given them out of this world, rather than for those in the world. She asked a question about that, and it made me think a lot. Jesus Christ is our advocate before the father. He will advocate our cause. I don't think that just on judgement day, that will be the case. We are blessed as we try, and he will advocate for us as we change and become someone who more closely exemplifies him. That brought me much comfort to know that we have a Savior.
We met a black guy walking down some random trailer park street we were in. I'll admit, I judged him at first. We got out and walked with him. He had found an ID card of some hispanic that was left on the ground, and was trying to return it. We helped look for the house, and couldn't find it. All he was doing, was wanting to serve. He told us he got out of prison (in there for 25 years) and while he was in, his parents passed away. He has no family either. I really felt for him as we walked and talked. We are truly children of God. We seem to forget that sometimes. It does not matter how far off we have traveled, because there is always a way back with through our Savior. 

We struggled this week with finding new people to teach- the slump has gotten kind of tiring; nevertheless, we press on. We finished the week with a tender mercy though. We checked by a home of a former investigator and were invited in. This was a sweet Russian family. We talked about the Plan of Salvation and they shared their views as did we. At first it seemed as if they were completely different, but as we intently listened, we reealized they believed the same things we did in term of our purpose, our life before and after! They gave us dinner, and we talked for over an hour. I never met someone so intelligent before in my life. His thought process and the way he put his beleifs out there just made so much sense. He said, "I guess we are already Mormons." We will see them again this week.

I'm grateful for my mission, for this gospel, and for the experiences I have had. All I want to do is bring people closer to Christ. That is all I care about, and when others don't undertand that, it is when it gets frustrating. I need to use more patience, and I know the Lord will guide us to those who are ready to accept this message we share, just as that Russian family last night.

Elder McLaughlin- envió desde mi iPad

Monday, March 6, 2017

Meetings meetings and more meetings

This week was a pretty slow week! Holy Moly! We had Mission Leadership Council on Tuesday! As always, it was really good. We decided on some new standards of excellence… basically they are mission goals established to raise our vision and increase our faith. They help us stretch, work effectively and reach higher levels of performance. We were pretty happy about that.

Zone Training Meeting was Friday as well, so Elder Brian and I trained on those standards of excellence, and we also trained on the strengthening and enabling power of the atonement "grace. Elder Bednar of the Quorum of the 12 apostles gave a talk called "The atonement and the journey of mortality." He talked about this strengthening and enabling power as contrasted with the redeeming and cleansing power of the Atonement. They both work hand and hand to help us, if we use it. Don't have much time to go into depth with it, but go look up that talk!

Thursday morning there were some emergency transfers in the mission, and we had to pick up some elders and move them around…5 hours of driving! That was fun hahah. Elder Brian and I bought drinks from the gas station and basically road tripped.

Wednesday night, Martha came to Book of Mormon class again! We taught her afterwards, and she is 100% committed to a baptismal date on April 8th! She said that the only thing holding her back is her drinking coffee. In the church we live by a commandment called the word of wisdom where we abstain from tobacco, illegal drugs, addictive substances, coffee, tea, and alcohol. One of the requirements before baptism is to be clean of these things. We are still working with her to help her overcome it. she seems excited!

Another investigator named Frank (he is14) went on a campout with the scouts on Friday, and we did not even know it! One of the guys in the young mens (also a former stake president) texted us for Frank's number and personally made it all happen! We have been getting a lot of help with fellowshipping Frank, and he loved the campout! Now he did not come to church, but we will be working with him still. He is super solid, and just needs to be coming to church some more!

One thing that we have been doing in this area, is not leaving an area that we had planned to be in, until we knew why we planned to go there. That has brought many cool experiences. Last night we went to contact a Bible referral, but all day yesterday I felt way under the weather. Getting sick is fun! We knocked around the referral, and this guy answered his door. We introduced ourselves as Elder McLaughlin and Elder Brian, and he said his name was Elder Aiken... He is some preacher of a church. We talked bout the Book of Mormon and started teaching about the Restoration. I mentioned the apostasy and that the Priesthood authority was taken from the earth. He did not agree with that- and frankly that is where our church and the others take a different route. For us, there had to have been an apostasy in order for a restoration to occur. He started talking about why there was not an apostasy, and then went into the fall of Israel... we read Amos 8:11-12 where Amos is prophesying of the downfall of Israel, and talks about the apostasy. He did not agree and then went on about messengers and how God will use men and women and inspire them to bring a message to other people. I politely stopped him and then testified to him. I said something along the lines of "Sir, I agree completely with what you just said about messengers being inspired to bring news or a message to one of God's children. As representatives of Jesus Christ I know that we have been led here to you today to tell you that more happiness and direction can become yours through studying the Book of Mormon." I testified that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and that if he would read it, he would come to know of that truth. We told him that all we were doing is inviting him to read this book and see if what you learn won't bring you closer to your Savior. I felt the spirit strong as I testified and my feelings of weakness from being sick went away as we testified.

The Book of Mormon is true scripture. The Bible is as well. We believe in the same Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and Holy Ghost that all the Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians believe in. We are Christian and all we desire is for people to see what they are missing. There are so many great Christian people here. I love that. Our purpose is first to live the gospel of Jesus Christ and understand the Atonement of Christ. Then it is our responsibility to invite others to partake of this atonement through sacred ordinances done by priesthood authority that has been restored, and to help those we invite to understand why all of this is important.

Elder Holmstead, Brian, Boone after MLC dinner