Wednesday, July 12, 2017

There is No Comfort in the Growth Zone

We had a pretty good week this week! Fourth of July was fun. We started off in the morning at our ward and Spartanburg 2nd ward's combined breakfast. I talked with President Parry a bunch. He is in the mission presidency and was in the Greenville East Stake Presidency. We talked sports, and I have not done that in a while! We threw the baseball around with a bunch of people, and then a game of softball ensued! My first up to bat, and on the first pitch I SMACKED that ball far over Elder Peck in left field. Never has that happened on all my years of baseball. Maybe I should've played softball? Later that afternoon, we had our first Zone Conference with President and Sister Innes. They are AMAZING. Very open, and they are very personable. They were actually church hosts in SLC for many famous people and princes and stuff from all around the world. They shared some cool stories too. 

President has like a greenie fire within him. It is so motivating. He talked about changing our trajectory and aiming higher and further. He said that the Lord expects us to quicken our pace and to use everything we have been provided with- including creativity, to make things happen. He read us a cool quote that says, "the Lord provides the men and the means whereby he can best work at any given time, for the carrying out of his wise and sublime purposes.
The man for the hour will be ready whenever the hour strikes." Let us be the men of which hour we are called to serve. I am in Spartanburg at this time, and so I am the man of the hour right now, in this place. I am doing what I can to make things happen with what the Lord has provided! He shared with us a training Elder Holland gave at the mission presidents seminar. One thing that stood out was this: "to be spiritually efficacious, [you] have to be spiritually genuine." Think about that one. That night we went to a cook out where we had a few investigators, hispanic members and less actives too. It was fun. Lots of food and some volleyball.
My shoes came apart that day and a member called me that night. He told me to meet him at Burlington the next morning. I knew what he was going to do, and I tried to tell him that I would be fine. In anticipation for what was going to happen, the least I could do was make him and his family cookies. So I did, and he bought me some new shoes. Let me tell you, it is so hard to receive service from someone else. You feel like you do not deserve it. This brother told me to not deny him blessings of serving me...half jokingly with a chuckle of course. I felt so grateful for this act of kindness.

Service activities this week consisted of finishing staining a overlook porch at hatcher garden, and mowing a HUGE lawn for one of the other elders investigators. It was all pretty fun. Doing service in the yard or with hands on things is so much more fun... and we get a lot done too.

On exchanges with Elder Peck, we taught two guys named Eduardo and Luis, who we found walking around. They really did not seem super interested and after talking for a few minutes, they told us they work every day so we could not set up a return appointment.  They were not very religious they admitted, but claimed to believe  in Catholicism. I felt like I needed to be bold with them. I could see their potential! I asked them something like, "so, brother, what do you feel like your purpose is here in this life, on this earth? You work so much, but to what end? When we die, we are not going to have all of these riches with us in heaven. No money. It is important that we grow some sort of spiritual side. If all you do is work to eat food and pay the bills, why then do you think we are here." I didn't just rant as it may have sounded, but he answered a tid bit. His buddy asked how we knew what happened to us after we die, and so we expounded upon the scriptures. Elder Peck went into talking about judgement and overall it was really good. We got a return appointment. I believe it is so important for us to understand who we are and our purpose on earth. If we do not understand our purpose, if we do not apply scripture, we are merely SURVIVING life and its fun trials and challenges, rather than LIVING life the way our Heavenly father intended. We are to be things that ACT, rather than being things that are ACTED UPON. 
It is sad to me that many don't see this, but that is what my calling is. To establish His word, so others can make a clear choice to accept or reject it.

So, we found a lady named Teresa and A guy named Alejandro while proselyting a few weeks back. We found out this week that Teresa and Alejandro (they do not know eachother) were both baptized in Idaho many years ago! We got their records moved over. I have found now 11 people on my mission who were  baptized many years back, but whose records were not known in the area. It is really cool. We taught Teresa last night reading together from 1 Nephi 1. She understood it and loved it! She closed with a prayer and thanked God for directing us to find her (we were going to leave an area when I saw people on a porch and decided to go up and talk to them and that is how we found her) and also thanked God and asked that we would be able to help her back on the correct path. She is the one who believes her mom sent us to find her.

Now, Alejandro invited us to a party on Saturday evening, and this this is what happened: 

Arriving more than an hour late, and feeling a but timid at what we were about to do, we put on our big boy pants and took courage as we sort of crashed the party being thrown for a little boy and his twin sister whom we knew not. Our arrival seemed to make the clock slow down. As I scanned the vicinity, my eyes met those of dozens of my Latino brothers and sisters. All conversations seemed to pause, and their stares penetrated and drained what confidence we had just mustered up. I would like to say our appearance was breathtaking, and I am sure it was- four young elders, sporting an array of rain coats, handmaid ties, slacks and muddied shoes from walking in the rain that beat upon the tarp covered tent and rolled off into the dirt. However, we were taller than everyone else, American and we were not friends with anyone inside. You could say that we stuck out like a sore thumb. Alejandro, who invited us, greeted us warmly when he saw us and that took a lot of the pressure away. Our goal in all of this was to talk to everyone and find someone to teach. There were a couple dozen people there, so we thought it would be easy. We were seated like the other families were, except they had already chowed down their plates of food and were waiting for the real party to begin. One by one, Alejandro's daughter brought us each a plate of chicken and mole served with rice. Store-bought corn tortillas soon followed. We were asked what we wanted to drink, and after having all declared our desire for water, sprite was brought out instead. Close enough, right? Haha! With Spanish music ablaze, and my mouth too, I seemed to forget the stares and the awkwardness. We did our best to smile and be friendly. We tried conversing with many, but they seemed reluctant and could not carry on a conversation. Nobody would give in to talk to us!

Elder Peck decided to be bold. He looked around, stood up and approached someone to talk with them. Unfortunately, that soon died off and he came back to the table. More families filed in, but the same results followed. Having finished our food, and seeing that there was no imminent success, we thanked Alejandro and then left. Feelings of relief then humiliation soon came. We went out of our comfort zone, but sort of failed as missionaries and then retreated. We let fear and awkwardness eat at us, as if we were the chicken and mole- which by the way was fantastic! We tried to talk with people, but we for sure could have done better. We learned a valuable lesson through this. 

There is no comfort in the growth zone. When we want to get something done, we will face challenges, but we have to set aside our fears to accomplish what we intended. We can only move on. But hey, it made a good journal entry, am I wrong?

Dios Te Ama

spoon prank video from Shayla McLaughlin on Vimeo.

Me & Willy in a lesson... love the smile
Aftermath of 4th of July softball- me, Peck, Blackham, Holmstead, Sheen, Willardson, Hamilton, Jensen 
First Zone Picture with President & Sister Innes
Funny pic during Pres. Innes's awesome training

South Carolina is full of this
Peck & me on exchanges
Visited Sandra & Ashley. Taught them new member lessons while in training forever ago-- Ashley grew like a foot.

4th of July coconuts
Brother Ramirez
Professional Killers 😂 
Spartanburg or Charlotte? 😐 
small fireworks
Elder Jamon Negro
Voleibol with investigators and members
Talking to everybody
hot dogs & hamburgers- no Mexican food!
thought he looked cool on his bike. zoom in.

Wofford College Field

Waiting for an investigator:)

IMG_0027 from Shayla McLaughlin on Vimeo.

Abril dribbling a ball video

IMG_0026 from Shayla McLaughlin on Vimeo.

Crazy sitting cat video

Crazy cat video from Shayla McLaughlin on Vimeo.


  1. Making matching ties... I'm impressed!

  2. OH... and by the way... glad you didn't get a broken nose or teeth when the Elder hit the golf ball off your face! And... I liked what you said about Acting rather than being Acted upon.


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